Ever felt the entrepreneurial call tugging at your consciousness?
Maybe you have. You’re just waiting for the right timing, you say.
But let me tell you from the outset that there’s no better time than now. You either start or not. Seth Godin often says that if you start now, you’ll have a business or at least a wealth of information to work on when you look back 5 years later. But if you don’t, you have nothing. Zero, nada, zilch.
And even if the economy is facing a downturn, the pros of building a business still outweigh the cons. If your business is the only one supplying the demand, you’ll also be raking in all of the profits.
I’m not saying that you should found a startup willy-nilly. But don’t let overthinking or fear stop you from planning and dreaming. Perhaps these business ideas will inspire you to dare:
Listen to Your Needs
Sometimes, you have to take a cue from your personal needs. Take this story about two young men from Irvine, California, who were frustrated about the lack of lunch options in the area. There weren’t many fast food restaurants near their workplace. And surrounding food courts invited long lines while the adjacent parking lots were too small.
This sparked a question on their minds: what if there was a way to deliver good food to them instead? Having an idea is one thing. But the money is in the execution. So they started a restaurant delivery business. Since then, they have served over 15 million people. It turns out their problem is universal among workers whose break gets cut in half because of those lunch runs.
Monetize Your Skills
People in the arts might cringe at that statement. There are artists who don’t create for the “mainstream” audience. Or literary writers who don’t want to sell out to big businesses. But this is not about being a capitalist pawn. It also goes beyond knowing how to use a camera, edit videos, and upload them on YouTube.
I’m referring to a wide range of technical and artistic skills. Are you good at landscaping? Photography? Interior design? Home cleaning? All of these require a specific skill set. And if you’re good at any of these, you can build a sustainable business out of those mad skills.
Find Your Cash Cow
If you’ve thought of selling goods to augment your income, why don’t you go for it? Burt’s Bees began with the two founders making candles from beeswax for extra cash. Then, they thought of creating other products like soaps, perfumes, and lip balms. The lip balm was a hit.
Once it was clear to them which products were selling big, they created more of those. Your business doesn’t have to be as huge as Burt’s Bees to apply this method. But if you have a bestseller or two, focus on them and never compromise their quality.
Get Into E-commerce as a Side Job
Do you have a penchant for collecting stuff? Maybe you have a sizeable collection of toy cars or vinyl records. What if you build an e-commerce site out of your hobby? Not only will you be able to practice it; you will also be making money.
Some people start selling the objects they buy from abroad. I know someone who loves golf but orders clubs overseas. Before, he would ask who among his buddies would want to tag along and then buy the items in bulk. Soon, he created a website, marketed his service to other golf enthusiasts, and built a stable sideline from there.
Start a Home Business
The digital landscape provides many opportunities for people of all ages. This means you can test out a business before diving into it full-time. You can rent out a room on Airbnb or Homestay, manage social media accounts of brands and individuals, or become a virtual assistant to a startup entrepreneur.
These are all legitimate jobs which you can do on weekends or evenings. You don’t even have to quit your day job just yet. But while you’re exploring your options, you can draft a business plan and brush up on your skills. Once you’ve gathered enough experience, decide whether it’s time to become your own boss and do what you’re passionate about.
Build A Conscious Company
Going green is not just a trend but a necessity. So if you can create products around environmental efforts, you’re also serving the greater good. Organic products tend to command a higher price, though, so it’s a plus if you can make yours affordable.
Further, you have to brainstorm your unique selling proposition with business partners (could be your family or friends). This diaper delivery service is a great example. The cloth diapers it sells minimize your baby’s environmental footprint. At the same time, it also solves the soiled nappy problem for most parents by providing a weekly dirty diaper cleaning service. That’s hitting two birds with one stone.
Don’t Be Afraid
At the end of the day, you’ll have something to work on if you get to building a business. Whether it’s mistakes or sales you accumulate, you can use what you have to continue aiming for your goals. The examples I mentioned exist because their founders dared to try. So don’t be afraid to respond to the entrepreneurial call and dare to try.
9 Tips to Develop a Successful Brand Website for Entrepreneurs
If you are planning on launching a new blog or website, then one of your main concerns will be to attract as large a number of visitors as possible in the first go. After all, without getting ample visitors, your blog won’t turn profitable.
A good way to streamline your thought process regarding this will be to view blogs like products and imagine the changes in the launch sequence. Small changes often bring about big changes that have a huge impact on your success.
Now, you don’t have to spend thousands of dollars on blog launches. Instead, if you follow the tips given below, then these small tactics can actually make a big difference to the success of your blog launch.
1. Focus On Killer Content
Prepare some killer content in advance of the launch. What do we mean by killer content? If a piece of write up can make a reader impressed so much that they share it on social media or comment on it, then that is definitely a killer content, something that will easily attract a lot of visitors.
And to write such content, you need to focus on four things – topic, content, headline, and image. Firstly, decide on the topics you are going to write. It must be something that generates immediate interest and is right on the mind of your target market – their most relevant pain at the moment.
Next, decide on the content of the article. The content should flow smoothly and must make sense moving from one paragraph to another. You could make use of interactive content and add an element of fun to ensure they keep reading.
Once the write up is done, you have to decide on the headline. And this is one of the most important parts. The headline has to capture the attention of the reader. So, when you have written a couple of headlines, look at them and ask yourself whether you feel like clicking through them or not.
Finally, pick up a suitable image to go with the article. Just like the headline, the image should also generate sufficient interest and a sense of intrigue in the reader’s mind that they are motivated to read on. Follow these four points, and you will easily have a set of killer articles ready by the time your blog is launched.
2. How to Work Your Niche
When choosing a niche for your blog, focus on the narrowest niche of the niche. For example, don’t talk on the stock markets. Instead, when starting your blog, go for tips on investing options. The further down you go, the better response you will get.
The prospects who visit your blog are truly someone passionate about the topic, and who love your content. Build a relationship with them, and besides other benefits, you can also get ideas for your next set of content from these folks.
As narrowed down your niche becomes, the easier it gets to sell whatever you are trying to. If you plan on starting a course or podcast or if you plan to market an ebook – having an audience with core interest in the niche will equal to more success than having a big following with not strong enough interest in your genre.
3. Get In Touch With an Influencer
So, you now have a few high-quality articles ready to be published. But how do you get the initial momentum and attract a ton of visitors to the website? This is where influencer marketing comes in.
An influencer simply refers to a person who has a large number of followers on social media or by virtue of their content. Find an influencer in your niche and set up an agreement with them to share your articles. Often, you’ll have to give something in return. This varies from similar exposure in future to sharing profits.
Take for example that you have prepared content that explores the Marvel cinematic universe. Look for influencers who have the largest number of followers in the movie niche and are known to be open to influencer partnerships.
Get in touch with them, and ask for their requirements for sharing your link. Find the best value-for-money influencers and schedule your posts. This will ensure that your blog receives a massive amount of traffic right from the launch date.
4. Conduct a Giveaway Contest
Now that you are guaranteed to receive huge initial traffic from influencer marketers, it is time to take your blog to greater levels and attract more new visitors. And one of the popular ways to get this done will be to conduct a giveaway contest.
For example, you can set up a Facebook contest wherein a person who shares your articles on their social media profile will be eligible for a special prize. This need not be a big prize. But as long as people find the reward attractive, they will share your article.
As such, more of their friends will see your article and go through the process yet again. This can easily get your blog thousands of new visitors.
5. Don’t Focus Too Much On Publishing Every Day
When you start out with blogging, you might have a notion to write long posts every single day. This is a misconception. Such a piece of advice would make sense for an experienced blogger who gets thousands of hits on their blog every day.
But since you are just starting out, it is likely that it will take some months before your website starts generating thousands of views on a regular basis. And until then, you need not worry about wasting time publishing posts every single day. Instead, ensure that the articles you publish are of the highest quality.
6. Do Guest Posts
Now, if you are strictly going to have a very limited budget for your blog launch, then you may not be able to spend too much on promotions and using influencer marketing. An alternative way for you will be to use guest posting.
Check out similar blogs in your niche, and see if they are willing to publish your articles on the condition that your blog link is shown prominently in the blog post. For example, if you are planning a blog on middle cap stock investments, check out the top investment websites.
List them by the estimated number of visitors they receive each month and their search engine rank. Then, send them an email with your article proposal. That’s it. Once they accept you as a guest blogger, you can start posting your content.
And if you are able to come to terms with blogs with a large reach, you will likely get thousands of visitors to your blog right from day one.
7. Choose Function Over Looks
How a blog looks is definitely important for its success. But something much more important is its functionality. So many blog owners put too much importance on the design rather than the usability.
As a result, though the blog may look visually appealing, the user may find it too difficult to navigate. This can turn them away from the blog. You should never make this mistake. The ease of using the blog should always come first.
The design should only complement the usability. As such, if the users are visiting your blog for the first time, see to it that they get great content in an easily navigable manner, then you will have a higher chance of retaining them as regular visitors.
8. Have an Awesome Lead Magnet
Always, always make a list. Prepare an awesome lead magnet and get readers’ email addresses, and start building your own list of prospects. Lead magnets are something that captures their attention, and incentives the prospects to exchange email address with your offering. Make it so good they can’t ignore.
The advantage of having your own list is that these are people who already know and trust you, so, if you plan on selling something in future, you don’t need to depend on external sources to market or test the product.
9. Interact – Build a Relation!
I can’t stress enough on how important it is to build a relationship with your audience. When your audience feels a personal connection, they are more likely to return. You will always go to someone who makes you feel welcome and is relatable.
Research the current trends in your niche and start discussions. Focus on adding value to your readers’ lives and you will soon build a loyal reader base.
While knowing the stats and researching numbers is important. Knowing when to post and what to post is the baseline. The real magic lies in your brand being relatable to the audience. The more to can provide a custom-tailored experience. The easier it will be to succeed.
Make sure that you implement some or all of the above suggestions in your blog launch strategy and you will definitely see a good result, both in terms of viewership and in generating loyalty.
How Influencer Marketing Helps You Put Your Business on the Map
In today’s times, social media is a life-changing tool for small businesses. The plethora of platforms available at our disposal to use – to benefit us and our businesses in ways that didn’t seem possible earlier – offers huge opportunity to engage with a community of prospects at a fraction of cost.
The key, however, is targetting the right audience and then coming up with resourceful ideas to pull them in. This is where influencer marketing comes in. Influencers are people who have a community of people following them with same interests.
“Influencers are people. People (or maybe personas) with a brand and an audience. What makes them attractive to advertisers is their ability to speak to a very defined group of fans. The way the ecosystem is maturing looks a lot like the internet in the early days.”
You don’t have to go out there to look for individuals with same interests, you can look for influencers that work with your field and have millions of potential customers ready for you to convert into leads.
This practice has made marketing so much more lucrative and easier. You will be a fool to not use social media to its full potential when it comes to affluential marketing. The success of a good social media marketing campaign is in its ability to reach out to the audience and engage with them, rather than to sell stuff.
Simply running your social media accounts on autopilot or pushing content only to put your products out through Twitter, Facebook or other social media accounts to a huge number of fake followers is simply not the right way to do it.
This is when you can use influencers to do the work for you. Though it’s kind of a new landscape for a substantially large number of people even in the marketing industry, influencer marketing has been around for quite a long time. What people don’t realize is that they exist and function within a nuclear testing ground of marketing strategies and yet, for the most part, is unaffected by it.
Influencer marketing was a concept spawned out of this idea – It’s not what is being said that’s important, it’s WHO says it that makes it count.
What is an Influencer
In essence, brand marketers “inspire” or reward strategic “influencers” to get the sales pitch out to the target customer base instead of doing it themselves directly. Influencers are basically entities (people or enterprises) who have a definite large number of followers who appreciate the content put out by the influencer.
This credibility is built over years of research, building networks, and regular engagement with authoritative figures. This is largely evidenced through social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Over time, the influencers garner a fan base. This fan base could also be supporting an idea or philosophy that the Influencer represents through his actions or body of work, such as published articles online, political/non-political campaigns, video content, podcasts, or other multimedia content.
Corporate marketing personnel utilize social media and content marketing to drive the message across to a target audience. Influencers are expected to spread these specially crafted content through their personal social media channels and blogs.
In some scenarios, the content is created by brand marketers. But most of the time, influencers create their own customized content.
So how exactly does this all work out?
“Influencer marketing is the first real consumer-driven marketing channel. It’s real people talking to real people. If you look back, consumers have really only had a voice for about the last 10 years. As that happened, people started to talk about things they were passionate about, building audiences and providing real valuable content to people.”
In today’s setting, an influencer can work by reaching out to your target audience and persuading them to pay attention to your business through the following techniques:
- Writing blogs about your business, reviewing products and services.
- Posting information or updates about your products and services through social media accounts.
- YouTube review videos on products and services.
- They can provide you permission to guest post on their portals, which is subscribed to by your target audience.
Influencers can do any one of the above or any combination of the above to help your business brand make an impact on your target audience.
But how exactly do you set this in motion?
Influencing the Influencer
One thing to keep in mind is that influencers are running a business themselves. They are not going to be helping you just for the sake of it unless you have a pre-existing relationship with them. Make sure to research the market value for the niche and approach the influencer with a proposal based on their influence and work. Making use of influencers essentially translates to the two following scenarios:
You will need to cultivate relationships with some of these major influencers so they end up subscribing to your blog and/or start following you on your social media channels. To make this happen, your existing content needs to be relevant to their content and needs to have solid verifiable credibility. If these influencers link to your content from their sites or share it on their social network channels, you have scored major points for your business.
You get in touch with influencers directly and persuade them to publish your content on their personal social media platforms, thereby getting an audience of their followers. Of course, for that to work, again you need to have established credibility in the first place. In this scenario, you score points as soon as your content gets published on their platforms.
Your interactions with influencers need to be based on genuine rapport and common interests. You have to prove that you are happy and capable to add value to whatever enterprise or campaign your influencers may be running. You have to show that you have a genuine interest in developing a favorable network while facilitating authors of quality content to gain exposure online.
With the influx in the influencer marketing business, it is smart to invest in people who can bring you targeted leads. You have to be thorough in your research because it is a numbers game, some influencers are not above using fake followers to show a big number to you. Along with their following, be sure to check their engagement activity – the huge number of followers isn’t going to be buying your products but the people taking the time to engage probably are.
“Any influencer can get a ‘one-night stand’. Trusted social influencers leverage data and help the brand define success to get a call back the next day.”
7 Steps to Make Your Dreams See the Light of the Day
Every person who has ever thought of starting a start-up and hasn’t seen it through has started with an idea and somewhere along the line stopped at the idea. What makes a business idea work is the persistence to see that idea be converted into a sellable product.
“A dream doesn’t become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work.”
It takes time and hard work to bring an idea to fruition. Growing a business will need more work than a job ever would, which many people transitioning do not realize. You will need to sacrifice more than you bothered to consider, you will have to work more hours, you will lose sleep, but in the end, it will be all worth it.
If you plan everything properly and keep your vision set on the goal, it becomes easier. Keep moving forward and keep taking baby steps. Here are a few things you can do to finally make your dreams see the light of the day without you feeling overwhelmed and ditching your ideas before they even take their first breath.
1. Document Everything
Whenever an idea strikes, putting it all on paper is the best way to go. Having everything laid out will give you a clear idea as to what is needed to make that idea become a reality. You will get to see all the pre-requisites right in front of you and it will give you a pretty good clue of the amount of effort you will need to put in.
“Documentation is like sex: when it is good, it is very, very good; and when it is bad, it is better than nothing.”
You will not be moving forward with an unrealistic approach toward the project. Making a mission statement or writing down your vision in a document and keeping on visiting it from time to time will help you stay true to your dream. Whenever you feel like you are losing track of things, you can revisit this document to remind yourself what your goal was.
2. Research Your Idea
Once you know what all you are going to need or want to get to the starting point of the action sequence, to get the ball rolling, pull all stops to gather information. Information gathering is a crucial phase of any project.
A preliminary check on your target market, manufacturing and distribution costs, comparing the costs of similar products, studying the demand, etc. is a no-brainer. This is important to know that there is a profit to be made before you invest a great deal of time and money developing your dream into reality.
3. Find a Mentor
Now you have an idea and you have spent considerable time researching the market and the product, but you don’t know where to go from there. If it is a field that is completely foreign to you then the hurdles are at every corner and even if you are quite familiar with the technicalities of the field, the experiences of someone can give you invaluable insight.
“One of the greatest values of mentors is the ability to see ahead what others cannot see and to help them navigate a course to their destination.”
-John C. Maxwell
Find a mentor who can help you guide through the process, someone who has been there and done that, or someone who has bright ideas as to how you can proceed and can provide you with a logical argument to whatever you have at your disposal.
4. Design a Prototype/Working Model
Having a real-life example of how your product is going to work or how it is going to be received in the market makes you ready to deal with the real deal before it even becomes a reality.
It also helps you make a more informed pitch to your investors. Having everything ready to be explained and showing how much thought and research has been put into every decision is a great way to show investors how serious you are. It also helps you discover all the flaws or kinks before your idea can be patented or the production can be started.
5. Find the Right Investors
If you do not have the capital to invest, chances are you don’t, then you will have to find an investor who believes in your vision and is willing to invest in it. This is where thorough research and having adequate documentation comes in.
Knowing the market of your product inside out will help you sell your idea to investors. Finding the right investor is important because when both the parties are on board with the idea and have the same vision, working becomes that much easier and there are fewer decision clashes.
6. Marketing and Distribution
Marketing is when you create a business plan and figure out how you would bring your product to the market. It includes decisions like whether you want to manufacture and sell the product all by yourself or you want to license another company for sale.
Distribution channels need to be figured out. Comparisons need to be made to decide what option will help you make the most profit and what fits in with the vision of your product, of your company.
7. Marketing Channels and Advertising
You might have a great product but if people don’t know it exists then there is no point of it existing. You have to put your product out there for people to discover it and try it. You have to figure out what channels are the best for the product you are planning to launch.
“Whether B2B or B2C, I believe passionately that good marketing essentials are the same. We all are emotional beings looking for relevance, context and connection.”
Learn about the tools at your disposal. Use social media to create a brand presence and to generate leads. Social media channels are also great to track customer feedback and get suggestions. It helps you make a direct connection with the customers and reach out to potential customers.
Having an idea is just not enough if you want to see your dream turn into reality. Steps are meant to be taken not stared at. No matter how good your idea is, if you don’t do anything about it, it is as good as not existing.
If it feels overwhelming, take one thing at a time. Go through the process one step at a time. Focus on developing your idea, then focus on researching – not everyone can multitask and manage different phases of the process together. It is okay to work a phase in isolation – as long as you don’t stop working toward your goal, it is okay to go as slow as you like.
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