What do you think the number one way is to make money as an entrepreneur, regardless if its online, off line or in a massive start up company? I’ll tell you and it is a often over looked secret that is sitting under your nose…. get your first client. What is the second way to make money as an entrepreneur? Get your second client… and so on and so forth.
This may seem like stupidly obvious advice but honestly, if you are in the midst of beginning your entrepreneur’s journey getting a client and making a sale are often far from your mind, though you know you need to “make money fast”. This is the conundrum that I faced for almost 6 months when I first began Oracle Launch and was trying to make www.PowersellerPrincess.com profitable. I forgot about the actual sales part of starting a small business and instead focused on re-writing my ad copy, redesigning my website, buying business cards and brainstorming all the time.
It took me nearly going broke to realize “wow, I’ve spent all this time on tweaking my business ‘idea’ instead of acquiring clients, making sales and bringing the ‘idea’ into reality. Now take a sobering deep breath, are you guilty of this carnal sin of entrepreneurship as well?
What do you DO??
Firstly define what it is your business “does” often if you are in the boat where you keep re-tweaking your business model you’ve missed this vastly important point as well. If you have a blog and teach people about finances that is great, but what does your LLC Financial Educator do to make a profit? Don’t say “I don’t know… THINK” because if you don’t know what your small business or start up does to bring in money (even if you aren’t actively doing it now) then you don’t have a business. You have a hobby that you hope one day will pay off.
PowersellerPrincess.com teaches eBay sellers how to reach the level of eBay powerseller and monetizes through two products, an eBook & a wholesale list.
Oracle Launch is a web design and new media marketing firm that helps take off line businesses and launch them into the online realm in creative, cutting edge and forward thinking ways that will ensure their business is ‘branded’ online.
Escaping the 9 to 5 is not a business, it is my blog where I document my entrepreneurial journey of escaping the 9 to 5 grind and building my own businesses. Would I like to monetize on it someday? Maybe, but not if it will jeopardize my original goal.
So firstly draw a very clear line between your blog, your business and your ‘job’ if you still haven’t kicked the rat race disease just yet. They should all help each other but none should feed off the other or goals of each get confused with another.
How to get your first client/make your first sale
Now that you have figured out what it is you do, it is time to figure out how to get your first PAYING customer. Whether it be a client that you offer freelance services to, an eBook that sells on your website, a physical product you offer in your store… You just need to sell the first person on your offering, then the second, then so on… Baby steps. Just remember baby steps.
What are your competitor’s doing? This is a great way to help brainstorm ways to actual cling that cash register. How are your competitor’s getting their clients, especially pay attention to the ones who have been around for a while. When I began to get serious about Oracle Launch I watched my competition and got friendly with them, pointing out that I was a ‘newbie’ and would LOVE their advice. People are usually willing to help you out if you just ask, don’t say “I’m going to crush you later with this” just listen and learn, then take their action plan and make it better… then you dominate.
What is your urgent need? As in what does your product or offering give someone? What pain, real or imagined does it alleviate? Examples: Doctors cure real pain, Hair Stylists cure low confidence, Therapists cure mental pain, Fashion designers cure the pain of feeling unattractive, Accountants cure the pain of having to do your own taxes and Grocer’s cure the pain of being hungry.
How are you better, faster, or cuter than the rest. What is your ‘edge’? Mine is that I am a young woman, I’m spunky and I spend lots of time with my clients filling their head with how RADICAL their off line business is going to be once I “launch” them into the online realm through social media, website development and branding. What’s yours? Are you just plain BETTER than all your competition, if so you need to make DAMN sure of it. Because if not you can’t use the ‘i’m better’ coin to with any success. But you can use another way of excelling, just think and get real creative. Examples: Apple makes the coolest computers, Disney gives you the most memorable family vacation experience, Bentley gives you one of the most expensive cars you can buy and Starbucks gives you the most locations all with a very standard taste and presentation.
After all of this thinking you should have a pretty good idea of who your first client or customer is, now you just need to find a way to reach them (marketing) which can be as inexpensive as trolling search.twitter.com for people in your area that are talking about how they need a haircut (if you are a stylist) and sending them DMs that read “Hey my name is X, I would love to cut your hair for a $20 opening special”. Marketing can also be as complex as renting out billboard space or buying many small ads in trade journals, it is all up to you.
For those of you who have already won their first client or customers please leave a comment below with advice for others that have yet to cross that barrier, and for those of you who are trying feel free to interact with questions or comments.