If working for someone else isn’t making you as happy as you expected, it might be time to quit your 9-to-5 and start your own business.
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The following excerpt is from Kanika Tolver’s book Career Rehab. Buy it now from Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iTunes or click here to buy it directly from us and SAVE 60% on this book when you use code CAREER2021 through 4/17/21.
There’s nothing more discouraging than going to a job you hate every day knowing you have a dream or a business that you can’t give your full attention to. If this sounds like you, dropping out of your career could be the best move you ever make. But I think it’s important to try to transition gradually into full-time entrepreneurship and start building the dream while you’re still working. While you Rehab you on your career rehab journey, you can Rehab your business as you develop your business idea.
When you Rehab your business, you’ll develop a solid product or service by going through the following four stages, just as you would for a career rehab process:
- Design (Ideation). Create or define your business idea; identify whether you plan to sell products or services.
- Build (Branding). Brand your business with a logo, business name, slogan, or tag line. Create descriptions for your business’s products or services.
- Test (Marketing). Identify your customers or clients and use online marketing tools, like a website, social media networks, paid advertisements, and email subscription technologies, to reach current and potential customers.
- Launch (Selling). As you launch your business, provide packages, online specials, and incentives to new or returning customers.
Your design (ideation) phase is always happening in the background since you’re likely thinking about ways to start your new venture as you prepare to transition out of your job. But the other three stages might need a bit more explanation, so let’s cover some of the issues you may face as your brand, test, and launch your new venture.
Brand your business idea
For most new entrepreneurs, branding is the hardest part of starting a business. You may have an idea of what you want your logo to look like and what your business name should be. But making that vision come to light can be a long and difficult process.
About five years ago, I stumbled across the online tools and legal services listed below, which have really helped me brand and legally protect my career coaching business and digital technology business. I’ve personally used the following for logo design, website design, fliers, business registration, and business tax ID registration:
- Fiverr. The cheapest online freelancer platform that connects you with logo designers, website designers, writers, book cover designers, mobile app developers, etc.
- 99designs. Another online freelance platform that connects clients to designers, where you submit design requirements for your project and multiple graphic designers compete for your business.
- LegalZoom. An awesome legal technology company that will help you register your business, business tax ID, patents, trademarks, copyrights, etc.
- Trademarkia. Another online legal resource, where you can find attorneys to help you register your trademarks and patents.
Market your product or service
Once you get your business logo and website created, you’ll be ready to start marketing your products or services. But before you just jump out there and start selling your business, you should sit down and plan a marketing strategy, the same way you developed a job search strategy for yourself, and identify where your potential customers are, either online or in person.
There are many free marketing tools you can use to help execute your business marketing strategy. Below are ten free marketing tools I’ve used over the past decade:
- Hootsuite. Offers a limited free plan that allows you to manage up to three social media profiles. You can schedule up to 30 social media posts to market your products and services.
- Social media business pages. You can create a free business social media profile on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram to promote your business.
- Mailchimp. Free email marketing tool for your website that collects email addresses for an online database, which you can use to market newsletters and ads to your customers.
- Google Analytics. Google’s web analytics tool can track your website visitors from every state, country, mobile device, and internet browser. It’s a great way to assess where your customers are located, anywhere in the world.
- WordPress. A content management system that offers free themes to help you create a website or blog for your business.
- Yoast SEO Plugin. An addition to WordPress websites and blogs that will improve organic search rankings on Google, Yahoo! and Bing.
- Canva. Free graphics editing software you can use to create images for your social media posts, blog content, and website pages.
- Bing Places for Business. A free service through the Bing search engine that allows you to list your business online.
- Google Search Console. A resource that allows you to submit your website to the Google search engine. The service improves your SEO and identifies errors that could potentially hurt your Google rankings.
- Craigslist. A free site that allows you to list your products for sale and market your business services in your city/state, depending on your location.
Sell Your Product or Service
As you prepare to divorce your job and marry your dream, it’s vital that you start setting sales performance metrics and goals for your products and services. While you’re still working, try to project your monthly income based on sales. You must develop a selling strategy that fits your products and services. Try these ten ways to sell your product or service:
- Create an online store on your business website.
- Sell your products using Shopify, a popular ecommerce platform.
- Create a merchant account on Amazon to market your products.
- Sell your products using a mobile application that’s built specifically for your company.
- Create a referral-based system to sell your services to new and existing customers.
- Conduct live webinars and video seminars and sell your services on YouTube, Facebook Live, and Instagram’s IGTV.
- Create alliances with other popular business owners and online influencers and get them to share your products and services.
- Sell your expertise by marketing your products and services at speaking engagements.
- Sell your expertise by appearing on popular podcast shows.
- Become a vendor at conferences and events so you can sell your products and services to attendees.
Build your business while you work
When you’re in a bad career situation or feel that you’re ready to divorce your job to marry your dream, consider what new skills you can acquire while working that would benefit your business. What training could you get your company to pay for that would benefit your brand and marketing strategy? You have to constantly wear your hustler hat and think strategically, because your job and business can benefit from your professional development enhancements. Try these tips to grow your business while still working a day job:
- Work for a company that sells products or services similar to your business idea.
- Ask your job to send you to training that will help you learn how to better brand, market, and sell your products and services.
- Build your business’s online following by leveraging your existing professional network on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, etc.
- Read related books, blogs, and articles daily that will help your business grow.
- Listen to business podcast shows where other entrepreneurs share their stories of setbacks, failures, and successes.
- Attend local business meetups and conferences where you can learn the ins and outs of selling your products and services in your area.
- Learn how to find funding for your business through loans, angel investors, and grants.
- Begin to build your team by identifying professionals in your network who could help your business grow.
As you practice these moves to grow and scale, remember that your ultimate goal is to convert your brand into a business.
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