It is no secret that I am the “accidental entrepreneur”. More than one media reporter has heard my story and then deemed me this title. And, it is true. I cannot deny it – 15 years ago I had no idea about the real definition of “entrepreneur” – let alone how to become one.
I was fortunate to have found other entrepreneurs via social media connections. Twitter was my “virtual rolodex” as I “met” some of my best mentors among the 140 character Twitter posts. I honed my skills by studying techniques, other websites, blogger writing styles and much more.
Now the roles have switched. This student has become a teacher. I now pass on knowledge to others after years of learning how to strategize, organize, activate and monitor digital marketing plans. Here is some words of caution – if you are seeking marketing support, especially on social media, review the credentials of the people who you enlist to help you. Some may call themselves “experts” in the field of social media or marketing, when in fact they dabble or use others to do their ‘grunt” work. This can result in a lot of woe. Find people who will conduct best practices with your company as they would expect others to do with theirs.
I hope these suggestions will help “newbie” business owners and perhaps save some unnecessary grief.
- Grab ALL of your online presence for your company. If your company name is “Jane Likes Cookies” then be sure to get the JaneLikesCookies.com (.net) websites, the Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin, Pinterest and other social media platforms.
- Make it legal. That means get your DBA, business licenses, trademarks, etc. if that applies in your state/ city/ town.
- Make a business plan. There is a famous quote from the author of the Little Prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry: “A goal without a plan is just a wish.” We all have the wish to succeed, many fail because they simply didn’t take the time to make a sustainable plan.
- Be realistic. How many hours can you dedicate to your new business? Sadly, good ideas that become businesses still need endless hours of labor to keep the momentum going and growing.
- You have to spend money to make money. Be sure to add a marketing budget – and make it healthy. Even Facebook advertising costs money!
- Make an editorial calendar. What will you post on social media sites and when? Here is a hint: make images and collect links to post ahead of time. Put them in folders on your computer to keep organized. Snap lots of photos of your growing company. Having a launch event? Post about it!
- Use a consistent hashtag and track it. Following the #JaneLikesCookies hashtag can provide useful information about your audience demographics. Analytic programs that track a “hashtag” are available for fee and a few are for free. KLEAR is one of my favorites as is Hashtracking.com
- Ask for help. You have a great idea. You have made a lot of plans. But, you feel overwhelmed because you can’t do it all! Ask for help with what is boggling you down.
- Network. Go to lead generation groups, Meet-Ups and other gatherings where people can share about their businesses. Remember you are there to get help and also to reciprocate by helping others.
- Smile and laugh – often. Laughter is a huge way to release stress. And, who wants to be overly stressed when they should celebrate their new business.
- Take your business online with e-commerce. There are a ton of sites to sell your goods, but one is getting a lot of attention. Check out TalkShop.Live for a great avenue for selling your products with very little fees involved.
Wishing you the best of luck on your entrepreneurial journey!