Oh, to live in a world where you no longer have to keep track of when Friday is approaching because Monday - Thursday are just as rewarding. Your work week feels like the weekend and your weekends feel like vacations. Even if you’re working around the clock, you don’t even recognize it because you’re doing what you love.
Ideally, this is the feeling that most entrepreneurs have when they’ve created a successful business. So why aren’t all young creatives jumping the 9-5 ship, diving into their dreams and starting their own businesses?
Although they’re anxious to get started, they’re under the belief that in order to get money, you have to have money. And with school loans, overpriced rent and a slumming economy, we barely have enough money to stash away for a flat tire emergency.
But to break this misconception and give a little hope, here are a few steps to create a business foundation that will generate income and launch success at a low cost.
Give Away Your Services– I know it sounds counterproductive to producing cash, but just for a while. One of the best ways to be credible in your craft as an entrepreneur is to gain experience. This experience must be in the form of completed work provided to your target market.
The great thing about providing your services pro bono is that you don’t really have to worry about screwing up because your services are free! Seriously, sure you want to provide all customers with quality work, but this is the best time for trial and error.
And if that doesn’t sound reassuring, have your friends or colleagues act as your first customers. Working out the kinks with someone you’re familiar with is much better than hearing disapproval from an angry customer who paid a large sum for your services.
Another smart way to gain experience is to volunteer with a business that provides the services you wish to offer. This is a valuable way to gain credibility because you will have an already reputable name to vouch for your work. Also, having a supervisor can increase your learning curve and provide you with more support and less errors.
Legitimize Yourself– Once you have built a portfolio complete with flawless execution and testimonials to back yourself up, you are ready to calculate your worth. Take a look at the rates of other businesses in your region that offer your service. Make an honest assessment of how you measure up to the professionals, then attach a price your service.
Another good way to measure your worth is to ask your target audience. Create a survey to gain insight on exactly how much they’d be willing to pay. (www.surveybuilder.com is a cool, free tool to create surveys).
Once you’ve perfected what you have to offer and associated a value to it, legitimize yourself by getting incorporated! (For cheaper rates on incorporating your business, check out www.legalzoom.com.)
Put Yourself on the Market– Early on, you won’t have a boatload of money to throw away on gimmicky marketing tactics. So, instead of buying a website, create a free blog site to get you started. Instead of printing marketing materials, do online promotion via social media. Instead of paying someone to do your logo, spend a few hours playing around on a site that offers free graphic design tools. Instead of purchasing a billboard downtown to advertise, get in touch with a local blog radio site or access TV site to become a guest.
If you’re a young entrepreneur and you’re spending money to promote yourself, you’re doing something wrong.
Now, go forth and turn your entrepreneurial anxiety into a reality.
Image retrieved from http://atlasprintersupplies.com/default.aspx