Starting anything new is hard!
Let's just get that out there... Starting anything for the first time can be downright intimidating. I get it. I've been there. That picture is me, with my staff in my office in the former Soviet Union when I had a wild idea to go start a business there- with no money, sort of a plan, a little understanding of the Russian language.
Can you say crazy?
You have a dream, a goal, maybe even a plan. But between your goal of “One Ring to Rule Them All” and this starting point, lies all of Middle Earth with all the problems and challenges we know all too well.
Becoming your own boss, an entrepreneur, is pretty challenging, but it isn’t impossible. What I want to show you is that by making good decisions and choosing the right path (your system, platform, or method), you CAN do this.
You don’t have to be young, the smartest kid in class, or super wealthy to start your own business- especially not an online biz. It isn’t necessary to have a special talent, or great connections in an industry. These things can help sure, but they are not what will make your success or break it. That’s completely up to you.
It's all Completely. Up. To You…
You have to start somewhere - It might as well be here... today!
When I was about age 8, I had an idea to sell doll clothes to people in my neighborhood. Never mind that the people next door were in their 60s. Or that the couple after that had no children at all. I made some money!
I used to take pieces of fabric and sew clothes for Barbie-type dolls (sometimes by hand and sometimes my mom would let me use her machine) and I would put them in a red wagon and go door to door in the neighborhood of 3 or 4 city blocks.
The lesson I learned is this: People don’t buy doll clothes, they buy YOU!
I didn’t know anything about my target market or my “demographic”… I just knew I wanted to share what I had created, my thoughts and my creativity.
I continued to have ideas as I grew up, fueled by a mom who was always looking at ways to supplement her single parent income (with 4 kids, lord knows she needed help!). On my 21st birthday she gave me an Amway kit… Not what I was expecting, but it goes to show you how out of the box her thinking was.
Just before I turned 40, I resigned from my corporate job at a major oil company and decided to go to the former Soviet Union to open a business (the one in the photo above) teaching business skills to kids like our exchange students who were bright but had zero marketable skills with which to get a good paying job with the international firms flooding the former USSR after its collapse.
Not your traditional Entrepreneur's dream, for sure.
I left Houston as soon as my daughter graduated from high school knowing she was off to university in the fall with her dad. Through a series of circumstances I didn't plan on, I ended up being there 10 years. Some good times, some hard times, but I wouldn’t trade the overall experience for any amount of money.
What I learned in those years, and more recently in running StrategyLinks, my online business, I’m going to share with you in upcoming blogs.
The coping skills, planning and selling skills- I needed every one of my life lessons to get me through. I want you to have the benefit without having to go through the tough times.
Starting with nothing ... except a plan!
When I came back, I was divorced, orphaned (both parents passed away while I was gone), I had no driver’s license, no credit card, no bank account, no home. And yet, today I make a nice six-figure income because I had a plan and haven’t given up.
No one is going to tell you this will be 100% easy. In fact, the ads you see online that say, “No work required, no investment, 30 minutes a day doing little to nothing,” are worth just that- little to nothing! When people tell you there is no such thing as a free lunch, they're right. Anything worth having is worth fighting for, right?
So, what does this have to do with you and your dreams?
As you grow your business, take advantage of all the lessons others share.
Starting is the hardest part, but it is where the magic happens.
Just like planting seeds in the spring, it’s where you determine what your future harvest will be- weeds or watermelons, so to speak. So let's start with a few questions to get your thinking in the right direction.
1. Ask yourself where you want to be in 1 year. Write that down and put it on your wall or tape it to your
monitor frame- put it somewhere you can see it.
For now, make it big, expansive, fanciful, concrete- whatever makes you smile. This is going to be your passion motivator for a long while so make it big and desirable. Don’t worry about the specifics to make it achievable yet, we’ll get there.
2. Next, write down what talents, skills, interests, or other abilities you have that you want to use in
business. Notice we have not decided whether this is online or a brick & mortar venture yet.
For this step just lay out what tools you have to work with- that will shape what kind of entrepreneur
you grow into.
3. Do you like working with people, face to face? Are you better in writing or on the phone?
Maybe you already have an exact idea of what your biz will be?
Write it all down as specifically as you can.
Now, work backwards to see how this shapes your dream:
You want to be ________ (where), doing ________ (what), in 1 year:
............... How much money will that require to do it, to be living that style?
............... That means you need the potential to make how much per month?
Take the amount you estimate will be needed per month $__________ and divide that by 160 (the number of typical work hours in a month).
This is how much you will need to make per hour to achieve your lifestyle or goal.
If your goal requires more than $100 per hour, you'll need mad skills (or you need to start learning) and big connections to make that in one year. (Two or three, more likely!)
For a new online or digital business, that amount means a fair amount of hustle to make it. It can be done, but how much are you willing to put in to make it happen? Anything less than “Everything I have” will lead you on an unhappy, unfulfilling venture.
You've got to 100% commit now or adjust your goal. It may sound harsh, but it's a truth you need to know. Most failures by entrepreneurs occur because they get discouraged and quit too soon.
For those who want to do the math, $100/hr works out to be more than $200,000 per year. You can certainly make much more than this with the right strategies, but be aware it is also possible to end up making much less. (In the spirit of full disclosure statistics show that only about 4-6% of online businesses make over six-figures each year; 90% make less than $5,000.) So why would you consider it? Because success is possible!.
If you target realistically to reach your year 1 lifestyle goals, there are a number of ways to make that without requiring a degree from Harvard (and the student loan debt that goes with it!).
Only you know if you're willing to give it your best shot or not.
As Yoda said to Luke, "Do or do not; there is no try."
Here are 7 (scalable) ways to start making money quickly:
- Freelance work- graphic design, creative or technical writing, dog-walking service, personal trainer, etc.
- Online store selling courses you create teaching whatever your skill is to others.
- Affiliate marketing- selling products of others- if you are willing to hustle to find and promote others'
- Network marketing- joining a product marketing system (some are multi-level, others aren't)
- Direct Sales- also known as commission sales, selling diamond jewelry, high end electronics, cars, etc.
- Real Estate- not easy in many markets these days, but it can be lucrative despite the feast or famine
nature of unpredictable selling seasons.
- Multi-level Marketing (MLM)- where you recruit others to a team and all of your share in the sales of
the team in certain planned percentages.
(This is what my mom did, working her way up to a Direct distributor with a team she built over time.)
Being in business for yourself means either you sell your time and skills, or you sell something others create or offer.
Make a decision about this early. Make the choice and stick to it. Changing your mind every other day will cost you money and ultimately lead nowhere fast!
That’s enough for today. Answer the questions, think about your choices, and make some initial decisions so we can help you get started. In our next blog, we’ll talk about pros & cons and how you can get set up quickly.
In the next post, I’ll also share with you lessons I learned while setting up Strategy Links- and how making no $$$ still saved me $28K in taxes!
See you in the next post! Be sure to leave me questions and comments on any challenges you're working on!