Tired of your job? Get in line, there are a few million frustrated employees in front of you.
The line of people that actually do something about it is much shorter however. It is easy to bitch and moan, but freeing yourself from the limitations of the dreaded day job takes action.
We talked recently about the potential pitfalls of working for someone else.
So you decided to go down the entrepreneurial path looking for more control over your life and happiness. What is the next step?
The next step is to start now. Seriously do not wait another day. Every day you should be doing something to bring you closer to your ultimate goal.
Here is your guide through the metamorphosis from employee to entrepreneur.
The most common excuse heard around the world is “I have no time.” Stop lying to yourself.
If you care about making a change in your life, you can make the time. You can also do this without impacting your family life, social engagements, and other important factors.
If you are young and single, you have it easier. But especially if you are married and have children, you need to get creative with your use of time.
Here are some of my favorite time hacks that worked for me:
Typically during the drive to work, I would listen to talk radio or music. Neither is going to help you build your empire.
Load up on podcasts instead. There are several great podcasts that will provide inspiration, as well as a healthy dose of tactful education.
I religiously listened to Mixergy podcasts my last few years of working a day job. They were absolutely crucial to me.
I listened to one person after another that had taken a chance to start something, worked hard and were rewarded with the kind of life that I wanted for myself.
It was evident that these entrepreneurs were not much different from me, nor were they wizards or geniuses. They simply were people that had the nerve and passion to start something new.
Along the way I learned a great deal about digital marketing tactics, branding, networking, customer experience, and so many other valuable and applicable skills.
What I learned was more valuable than my college education.
Here are some podcasts I have found to be especially fruitful:
Most jobs allow for an hour to be spent however you like.
Sure you need to eat, but you can eat while reading, writing, or researching whatever it is that you need to get the ball rolling.
This may not seem like a ton of time, but at the end of the week this adds up to more than a half-work day.
Your news habit is unhealthy. For starters the news often is negative and disturbing, putting you on an emotional roller coaster.
Reading news is also an incredible time waster. You start with one article, which leads to another, which leads to you leaving a comment somewhere, tweeting out a link, before long you end up somewhere totally unrelated to where you started and an hour has gone by.
If you need to take a break and want to browse the web — read about something related to your new venture.
Put aside those Stephen King novels for now.
There are several mind-expanding books that every entrepreneur should read. Read these at night before going to bed and let your subconscious mind process it more deeply in your dreams.
A common mistake is building your product or service and then waiting later to work on building an audience for it.
This is completely backwards. You need your audience from the beginning.
How else are you going to learn about their needs and desires?
You may think that nobody will want to follow you before you have an operating venture. This is not true, we managed to gather over 10,000 Twitter followers for ThoughtFlame before we started doing any development on it.
It takes time to build an audience, so start doing this now.
Now that you have connected with some people that may be your customers one day, start asking them questions.
Talking with people to validate your idea, get new ideas, and receive feedback. Along the way you many also secure your first customers.
Skip this step and you are likely to fail — at least that has been my experience thus far.
You need to build things that people truly need and want.
There are going to be bumps in the road and it is doubtful that your new venture is going to rocket from the start.
Don’t quit your day job just yet. You can start on the side until you find your way.
Working on the side will allow for you to learn from mistakes and build up some momentum — all without stressing about paying the bills.
You could easily spend a countless amount of time and energy on your business name. The import thing is to get started with your new business. If you take three months to debate and brainstorm company names, that is three months of progress and development you will never get back.
With your business name is in place, you now need a logo to be the face of your company.
I have had good luck using 48hourslogo. I recommend setting your project to $200 and for guaranteed pay. This ensures that more designers and better quality talent will work on your logo.
You should end up with many choices, have something you can use within a week, and in the end have a professional logo.
You can always revisit your logo later; so do not get hung up on this being perfect from the start.
With WordPress and great design subscriptions such as Elegant Themes, it is easy to create a very nice and professional looking website cheaply.
Make sure you using a responsive design — mobile traffic is going nowhere but up and creating a site today without it working well on mobile is not smart.
What is harder to do is good copywriting. With a free content management system and inexpensive design, you should have money left over to spend on copywriting help.
Providing good customer service is crucial for any new business. With a full-time job, being responsive to customers is especially challenging.
Customers can always find a bigger and more heavily funded company that will ignore them and treat them badly. You have to differentiate your new business.
Use your lunch breaks for customer phone calls and emails, get to them first thing in the morning before going to work, and right after work when you get home.
Use bathroom breaks if you need to.
If you hustle and make this a focus, you should still be able to impress with your customer focus.
When you have customers complimenting you publicly on your great customer service, you will know that this pays off.
Your business has launched, you have a website, have established a social media presence, and have a few customers.
How do you grow and get the word out? Should you tap into credit cards for advertising funds? The answer is content marketing.
A very simple model that works is to create unique and engaging content, build your social media audience, and share that content with your audience. Try to focus on creating pieces that are over 1,000 words long or are heavily visual.
If your audience and content are both targeted to the same kind of people, this will work beautifully.
Your audience will amplify your message and your website will gain more traffic.
Generally more traffic will lead to new business.
Remember to avoid the pitfalls that many companies run into with their content marketing.
You are not going to go from a puny weakling to Mr. Olympia in a day. You are building a platform here brick by brick. Just keep laying bricks and eventually you will have something substantial.
You get wrapped up into writing about what you think is important or interesting. The focus needs to be on what your audience wants.
Great content without a hearty and targeted audience to amplify, share, and consume that content will be ineffective.
Keep growing your social audience on a daily basis. Never let it stagnate or flat line.
It can be easy to stop writing new content when your business gets busier. If you need to, find someone to help you generate new content. Possibly you can barter your business services for that of a copywriter?
That is it for now, what are you waiting for? Get started today.