A friend of mine wants to start a business. She’s successful at work but isn’t earning what she is worth. Like a lot of people I’ve met, she really wants to start a business but here’s the conundrum:
It’s hard start a business when you’re busy with a “regular” job. On the other hand, it’s hard to quit your job then start a business.
Here’s what I recommend:
- Choose what you want your business to be about. Even if you don’t yet know WHAT you want to sell, you probably have some idea about the topic. Are you a mechanic and want to (eventually) run a business that is mechanical in nature? Do you love jewelery and (eventually) want to do something in that field? It doesn’t matter yet what you sell, but choose your topic. It can be fairly broad.
- Start a blog. Spend 20-30 minutes a day writing a blog post. Do it every single day. Build up a body of knowledge on the topic. (Okay, if “every day” is too much, then start off a little less — say 3 times a week — and slowly increase over time until you’ve developed a good habit of daily blogging). Aim for high quality, insightful posts that help to advance your reader’s knowledge of the topic.
That’s it. That’s all you have to do in the beginning. If you’re at this stage — a sort of “dreaming the entrepreneurial dream” stage — then this is all you need to do. Don’t worry about search engine optimization, blog design, social media, etc. (That’s good stuff, but it’s not the point right now).
Eventually, you can take it further and turn your blog into a business (as I’ll describe in a minute), but your top priority should be consistent, compelling blog posts every day.
What you want to do is build a body of knowledge, which will:
- Position you as an expert.
- Help you explore the depths of the subject
- Teach you things you didn’t know
- Build an audience (and they’ll be more likely to listen and respect you because you don’t have an agenda of selling them anything)
- Create an asset of information that you can later draw from
FAST FORWARD TO QUITTING TIME
Let’s say you stay with your company for another couple of years. You don’t love it, but the income is nice and the health care pays for your knee operation, but now you find yourself transferred to a department with a boss you don’t like. You can see yourself quitting in a month or so.
The good news is, you have been consistently positioning yourself as an expert for the past couple of years. You have 600+ blog posts and an audience of faithful readers.
Here’s what to do next:
- Decide what you are going to sell. A product? A service? There are lots of options. Pick one or two that you can do now and shelve the rest for later.
- Create your sales funnel. Describe the contacts at each stage of your sales funnel and how you’ll engage them at that stage and then move them forward. (Download this Sales Funnel Quick Reference Guide to get you started).
- Implement the contact-engaging marketing that you’ve just outlined in the above step to engage and market to your Audience, your Leads, and your Prospects.
- Quit your job. Woohoo!
- Implement the contact-engaging content that you outlined a couple of steps above.
Thanks to your consistent effort, you have positioned yourself as an expert long before you made the leap out of your job into the world of business ownership.
ADDITIONAL TIPS TO MAKE THIS WORK
- Pick a topic you love and know something about and can spend years doing. Otherwise, it’s not worth it.
- This only works if you are consistent. I’ve seen people do this and succeed. I’ve seen people not do this and struggle. It really does work. Set an alarm, brainstorm some topics, and be relentless. Consider it an investment into your escape hatch. (Check out this blog post about blogging frequency and check out this blog post to discover what you should never, ever do).
- I mentioned earlier that you shouldn’t worry about search engine optimization (SEO) at this point. There are probably some SEO aficionados that are rolling in their graves right now but my reason is this: I want it to be a fun and simple effort. And search engine benefits will still be present in your blog, it just won’t be an intentional thing that you’ll do right away. You can always integrate that in later.
- Don’t fret about what you’ll sell while you’re working. That will work itself out, trust me. Here is a blog post about 5 different types of content monetization to get you started. There are other things to sell, too, but content monetization is an easy first step. If you can’t figure out what to sell, send me an email and we’ll talk about it.
Like anything that is effective, this method takes some effort. There will be days when you want to quit. But this is, in my opinion, the most effective way to start a business when you want to start a business someday but aren’t ready to quit your job just yet.