12 min read
This article has been translated from our English edition.
One of the most difficult parts of starting a business is starting a business. You might have a great idea, incredible skills, or emerging market vision, but if you don’t have connections with high positions or backgrounds, quitting your full-time job and starting a whole new business can be incredibly difficult.
One solution to this problem is to try a franchise. However, if you have a different vision, it is best to slowly grow your business with the time and money you already have.
These three strategies can help you maximize your resources and guide your product or service toward profitability. That way, when you’re finally ready to turn your hobby into a full-time business, you’ll feel more confident.
1. Refuse to offer your talents for free
Hopefully The joker He is not one of your role models in life or in business. in the The dark knightThe evil clown (played by Heath Ledger) commits myriad crimes, including murder, bank robbery and, worst of all, millions of dollars in a fit of resentment. But The Joker has a single line in the film that all entrepreneurs should remember well: “If you’re good at something, never do it for free.”
Perhaps you have completed unpaid internships in the past to give your CV a fancy name or to gain experience in a new industry. However, according to the Ministry of Labor, internships or unpaid work are only legal if the worker is seen as the main beneficiary of the job. Among the necessary boxes that may need to be ticked to demonstrate that the unpaid worker is the real beneficiary, there is evidence that “the internship provides training that is similar to training in an educational setting” and “the internship is formal Training of the intern “.
If you already have mastered the essential skills for your next business, e.g. B. Copywriting, business consulting, or public speaking, don’t do this for free. You’re just fooling yourself with a paycheck that could help you build your business. You could even alienate potential investors or customers.
It’s like the old anecdote about the flea market washing machine: if you put it outside with a sign that says “FREE”, people will assume it’s broken and worthless even if you tell them otherwise and ignore it you. But if you valued it at $ 40, people could end up fighting for such a good deal.
The same goes for your potential business.
To turn your skills into a business you need to learn how to use your skills by attracting paying customers. This may take some time. What is an optimal price for your offers? What is the target market? Which marketing strategy is most aimed at new customers? What is your optimal sales funnel? Answering these questions can help you turn your skills into real business much faster than doing a friend a favor.
If you’re not sure where to start, Meredith Schmidt, Executive Vice President and General Manager of Salesforce, Essentials, and SMB, wrote a great article for you There is a simple five step process to find the right price for your listings:
- Understand the value of your product or service. Schmidt says you should ask your customer an additional question first. “Something like, ‘What would you think if we calculated the X amount?’ The second is an unaided question like, “How much would you be willing to pay for it?”
- Research the competition. You don’t have to copy what other companies in your industry are doing, but they can help you find a price that will give you a competitive edge in the marketplace.
- Determine your costs. This may seem obvious, but if you don’t know how much you’re spending on your product or service, you don’t know your equilibrium cost: the minimum price of your offering to get back what you invested.
- Create a basic pricing model. You may hate math, but there is a pretty simple formula you can use. First, take the price of your offer and subtract the cost you need to incur. Then multiply that number by the amount of your sales and you get your profit.
- Proceed to the behavior numbers. Schmidt reminds you that readers are going left to right and therefore pay more attention to the numbers on the far left than on the right. An item priced at $ 19 may seem way cheaper to someone than it would be priced at $ 20, but it’s only a dollar difference. These behavior metrics can help you sell more without lowering prices significantly.
Schmidt also points out that your company’s pricing can be an inaccurate science: if you ask too much, you can lose some customers. You charge very little and don’t make as much as you could. Trial and error can help you find the right number for you when you are ready to give it a try.
2. Use freemium models and third party stores to complete your offerings
What if your business idea is digital? It may not be practical to expect consumers to pay for your product without being seen on the site (pun intended) when they have so many free options. Even the most popular subscription platforms in the US, such as The athlete ($ 1 per week for the first six months) or The New York Times (USD 1 per week for the first year) they offer heavily discounted entrance tests.
Unless you have decades of history or tens of millions of venture capital, it may not make sense to start raising right away. In such cases, a freemium model can help you monetize your digital platform without scaring off potential customers.
Not familiar with freemium? Harvard Business Review He defines it this way: “Users get basic functionality for free and can access more extensive functionality for a subscription fee. When you’ve connected LinkedIn, You have shared files through DropboxHave you watched TV shows? Hulu or have you been looking for a partner in gamehave you experienced the model first hand. It works for B2B companies too; for example, Box, Splunk and Yammer “.
One of my favorite examples is League of Legends from Riot Games, a free online game that generates billions through optional purchases.
Or, you can create additional, semi-related paid opportunities on your site. For example, USA It’s not a fashion or technology company, but you can buy items and accessories on our website.
The best way to do this, if you want to avoid the headache of dealing with the security required for ecommerce, is to take advantage of established third-party websites. The Amazon Affiliate Program “helps content creators, publishers, and bloggers monetize their traffic” by earning “up to 10% commissions on qualified purchases and programs.” You can connect your website to an online store such as Shopify so that “Customers can enter their custom URL into their web browser to visit your online store. You will still use your third party service provider to manage your domain setup, pay for your domain, and renew it. “
If your business is service minded, you can consider self-employment to build your customer base while getting paid. It’s almost like the reduced tests we talked about earlier The New York TimesHere potential customers can test what you have to offer without making a long-term commitment.
Enterprising associate Julia McCoy is the founder of Express Writers and has posted some articles on our website about how to become a freelance copywriter. While you may have different skills, much of your knowledge can be applied to a wide variety of services.
McCoy says you can take five basic steps:
- Find your niche. You may think starting a wide web is your best option, but McCoy notes that in your area of expertise, “Authority writers are paid up to $ 1 a word as they make a lasting name for themselves in their industry.” And while a dollar a word doesn’t sound like a lot, consider the fact that productive writers can easily produce several thousand words in a single day.
- Decide which hard and soft skills are important. In a separate article, McCoy outlines three hard technical skills that one may need to become an excellent freelance writer, including SEO and content strategy. But your customers will be people, so developing more interpersonal and soft skills like empathy or curiosity is just as important.
- Build your portfolio. What do you already have to offer as evidence of your worth? Can you refer people to a well-designed website with customer testimonials?
- Pitch for projects. McCoy recommends Upwork and Fiverr for those who are just starting out on a freelance basis. However, if you already have some pointers, you can try reaching them directly.
- Rinse and repeat. Just as a company iterates, so should your freelance process. More projects mean a better portfolio, a better defined niche, and more lessons. Keep using each step of the process to expand your network and reputation.
The author of Business pressLaura Briggs wrote a book called “Start Your Own Freelance Writing Business: The Complete Guide to Starting and Scaling From Scratch“In an excerpt published on our website, Briggs explained how you can set your freelance prices. For example, if you are a writer self-employedShould you charge by the hour, by page, by project, or otherwise? Ultimately, it’s up to the freelancer, but Briggs says there are a few things to consider before deciding what is best for you.
For example, if you work faster than your competitors, you can devalue your work by an hourly rate. However, if you’re working on an art project, consider project price reviews.
Keep it simple Explain who you are, summarize why you are the right person to help a client with their project, and provide details about your work.
This is how you can make money and grow your business without leaving your traditional job
Are you trying to build your business without giving up your 9-5? No worries. Even if the ideas above don’t work, you still have options. You can try to post information about yourself and your activities on websites like Gofundme, Kofi or Patreon. You can try selling your handcrafted products on Etsy. You can build an audience by spending your time on an email list, social media platform, or networking with people who can help you achieve your dream.
But if you don’t have the time or money to quit your job, at least try to do something every day to build your business, even if it only takes a few minutes. As the old saying goes, we often overestimate what we can do in a day but underestimate what we can achieve in a year.