Tag Archives: online entrepreneur

3 Simple Steps to Starting a Business While Still Working

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Starting a business is never an easy road; especially if you’re already working full-time. There are many debts to pay as an entrepreneur and if you have commitments to family, friends and others you may be thinking to yourself, “When am I going to have time to start a business?” This was me less than three years ago.

My wife and I had just moved in together, we had our first born on the way and I was overworked, underappreciated, and not to mention uninspired (and underpaid) at my job. Despite a loaded 50-60 hour a week work schedule my internal cry for meaningful work, contribution and freedom tugged at my heart. It was time to make the leap.

Scared, tired and insecure I made up my mind to commit no matter what. Here’s how I jumpstarted my confidence, built momentum and eventually made the switch to a full-time entrepreneur:

1. Learn from Your Calendar– This may sound cliche, however the number one excuse I hear from aspiring entrepreneurs is, “I’m too busy to start a business” or “I don’t have time for starting a business”. I get it, we’re all very busy and I can empathize with your situation.  But, I challenge you to really “get intimate” with your calendar. Stay with me here…

What does your calendar say about you? How much time do you spend on e-mail? Is it efficient? How many hours are you spending engaged in vague plans or organizing meetings? With both colleagues and friends. What are the benefits of these? How much are you accomplishing?  How long has that weekend home improvement project been on your to do list? Have you made any leeway or started at all? How often do you find yourself “half committed” or procrastinating?

If we wanted to, we could have an endless lists of things to do. Learn exactly where you’re spending your time.  Gain a better understanding of what you do with it.  Then ask yourself, “Is this helping me get closer to my goal?”  If not, what’s taking up (wasting) your time?  Track how long things really take (to the minute), what zaps your energy, and where you’re distracted.

I can almost guarantee you will find at least an hour a day that is wasted on busy work, multi-tasking or procrastination. If you’re serious about doing work you love then you will make the time to take control your calendar.

2. Start with an Hour a Day– Building a business is a process and it’s known to be one wild roller coaster ride. Although, much of our culture is hooked on instant gratification, I advise not getting caught in that when starting a business. It’s important to maintain a good energy and an overdrive for instant results can leave you stressed, fatigued and frustrated.

Overcome procrastination by taking small, focused steps. Utilize the habit of consistency to build momentum, increase efficiency and the discipline to knockout bigger and tougher responsibilities. Remove bad habits that are keeping you “too busy”.

Shoot for getting in 5-6 hours of work a week. That’s only one hour a day Monday through Friday. This probably doesn’t seem like enough time, however after a few months you’ll be surprised at how much you learned and accomplished.

3. Filter Out Low Value Activities– Small steps will turn into a groove and you’ll feel an emerging excitement.  You’re building momentum! You may also feel the pressure of being too “busy” again.  Don’t worry, this is a sign that you may be ready for the next step.

Begin progressing by filtering out other low value activities. This may seem tough at first, everything seems important. Do an honest review of what’s really moving you forward, learn which tasks you’re under-appreciating and which ones to cut back on. Minimize, get rid of or, if possible, outsource any (if not all) activities that take up your time and energy.

Next, now fill your new free time with high value responsibilities.  Choose activities that improve how you think and feel about your life. Take action on tasks and projects that get you closer to the comfort and revenue you need to leave your day job.

“The best way to predict the future is to create it.” -Abraham Lincoln

Your dream of starting an online business doesn’t mean you have to quit your job…yet. The great thing about business today is you can start it from anywhere. With the advancements of technology and the access internet provides you can begin starting a business online from your home, in a coffee shop and while traveling for work. Begin the transition today.

No matter which approach you decide the easiest way to make a smooth segue into your own business begins with you. Commit to making your dream the routine and become the person who can fulfill it. Daily. The distance between you and freedom lies in your ability to meet the demands of your vision and create the life you want.  It starts now.

What’s your current most difficult obstacle in starting a business while you still work? You can start or join the conversation by leaving a comment below or on our social media outlets. 

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5 Ways to Improve Your Online Business by Connecting with Your Audience

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When growing an online business (or any business), especially a start-up, there is so much going on it’s hard to know what deserves priority. I’ve found thinking about building your online business like you do building a friendship to be a very helpful. Let me quickly explain, when you initially meet someone the relationship is a little awkward, until you find something that you both have in common or connect on.

Business is similar, however I recommend you be a little more strategic.  Start with a some deep introspection to better clarify what your unique talents are. Then you can think about that all important connection point where your unique talents insect with a very specific type of person who would be interested in learning what you know.  It’s this intersection point that kicks off the initial first impression and you work to build the relationship from there.

Sounds fairly simple right? Then why do we have such a difficult time acquiring new business? 80% of entrepreneurs fail…yes, four out of every five.  I don’t want you to end up like this so it’s important to understand you can’t attract the attention, interest and desire for your services without building an audience.  More importantly, relevant, engaged, and valued relationships with them.  Here are 5 steps to improving your business through connecting with your audience:

1. Share Good Stuff- When we first meet a potential friend it’s almost a natural instinct to impress so we share our most interesting or funny stories. We want them to feel excited to connect, welcome, and with a desire to learn more about us.

This is a great place to start with your content.  Share some (a lot is better) of your best inspirational and educational material.  Think about what would resonate with them the most.  What do you know well enough to help solve their current most pressing problem? What insight can you share to inspire them to take the next step? What content format would they most likely use to absorb it and help increase your credibility?

2. Listen to Your Audience- As you continue to share with your audience it’s time to shift your focus a bit.  It’s time for you to get to know them better.  You’ve done a good job gaining their attention, but now it’s important to create further engagement.  The best way is to listen and gather information they share.

You can continue to keep this process informal by asking powerful questions within your webinar or at the end of a blog or video.  Do this with a clear call-to-action to leave replies to in your comments section.  It’s then up to you to sift through the comments they leave on your blogs, social media posts or within forums.

You can also create a formal short survey and follow the above process or send it to your e-mail community & private groups.  I recommend keep it short (less than 10 questions) and simple and only ask what you believe will help bring more value to your audience in the future.  With good, engaging content your audience will often tell you what they want or wish they had before without even asking, however you have to have an open ear.  Listen to for your audiences frequently asked questions.

3. Find Their Attention Triggers- With an open ear you’ll probably recognize some consistencies as in your audiences problems, demographics and psycho-graphics.  If not, look for overarching themes related to their physical, emotional, social and logical desires. Themes can help you better pinpoint where and what is keeping their attention.

If you’re hungry to make a difference then you’ll want to target the same places they spend their time and money.  These places have either a large number of potential customers or a very targeted group with a specific desire you know you can support.  Where is your audience spending their time online? Is it Instagram, an industry forum, LinkedIn, etc.? How are they getting answers to their problems or finding inspiration now? What mediums do they consume their information?

4. Choose an Intersection Point- The better you understand your audience the more clear you’ll become on where and what you can do to inspire and assist them.  The greatest point of connection will occur when you have a detailed solution to their specific struggle. This is typically the point where your best talent or skill intersects their current need.  This intersection point is a big bridge builder between you and your audience.

If you can deliver (over deliver is better) a simple, but effective solution to a nagging frustration then you and your brand just increased in value in their eyes.  At minimum, help them feel more confident and sense of progress and they’ll look into a further relationship with you.  Simply shoot to change the troubling emotional state that’s been bothering them and they’ll trust you more. Where do your talents help “close the loop” for your audience? When do they need this solution most?

5. Get Personal- If you want an audience to stick around for a long time then it’s important to get them to “plant roots” in your community.  Continue to add value, grow your relationship, and now find the way to their heart. In essence, be authentic and consciously, yet carefully share your personality with them.

Be the professional in their circle who they know, like and trust better than the rest.  By strategically sharing your values and beliefs, stories of struggle, how you’ve conquered goals, helpful insights along the journey and more you can help your audience better understand what you stand for.  Decide early what you’re going to share with your listeners, subscribers and customers.

Although getting your audience’s attention is very important, it’s even better if you can be the one who captures their heart.  Create a community they want to grow in and they will keep them coming back.  What’s an important value that will ring true with the majority of your audience? What story of struggle will help them better relate with you?

Moving Forward

A great business helps to make a difference in the community while sustaining a profit for continued growth and impact.  However, it’s extremely difficult to do so without having an audience that enjoys listening and learning from you.  That’s why building and connecting with your audience must be one, if not your primary focus when trying to improve the bottom line of your online business.

Many entrepreneurs succumb to fear, self-sabotage or a simply a lack of productivity.  Don’t be an entrepreneur treading water.  If you want to be and stay relevant then you must keep your online business moving forward. The truth is, if you’re not connecting with your audience in today’s fast paced market then you’re treading water and actually going backwards.

What do you do to keep you and your online business moving forward? You can start or join the conversation by leaving a comment below or on our social media outlets.

 

 

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