Episode 26: Why and How You Should Be Your Own Product
LISTEN TO US:
It seems that now more than ever people are considering entrepreneurship. With our current situation a lot of people have been laid off or they’ve had reduced hours or they’ve decided to relocate, etc...A lot of people are in a place where working for an organization no longer makes sense or no longer excites them. If you have made the decision to go off on your own as an entrepreneur you may be wondering what to sell. It can seem like a daunting task when you first start out.
Today we are sharing our thoughts on why being your own product can be the best way to go. As speakers and authors we are our own product and there are a lot of benefits to that. We highly suggest you at least consider being your own product, especially if you don’t have a job at the moment and you need to implement something quickly.
Benefits of being your own product
Now is a great time to be your own product. There are many ways to do that (advisor, consultant, thought leader, trainer coach, etc..), but first we want to cover some of the benefits of taking this route as an entrepreneur.
- It is easier than selling a physical product--you are only responsible for yourself, you don’t have to create anything physical or worry about patents, prototypes, inventory, etc...
- There’s not a huge risk--If it doesn’t work out you don’t have to worry about having to let go of employees, you don’t have to worry about unsold products, or selling an office space. It’s also less stressful on you to have less to worry about. And if it doesn’t work out it is easy to change to something else.
- Low cost--There’s really no overhead, just the small cost of starting a website and some other marketing efforts. But you don’t need a building or employees or physical goods.
- Immediate implementation--When it’s just you that you are selling, there’s not a lot of work that has to be done to get the business up and running. You can start selling and making money very quickly.
- You are 100% responsible for your own future/fate--It’s very empowering. You don’t have partners, coworkers or staff, this is all you. You alone are able to make it happen. You can do as much or as little as you want.
Steps you can take to start as an entrepreneur with yourself as the product
So if we have convinced you this is the route to go, there are some steps that we would take if we were just starting out today as entrepreneurs. And actually these are most of the steps we actually took when we did start out.
These steps can help you figure out what to focus your business on, how to start selling, and how to see results quickly.
- Think about things people have asked you for in the past: Is there anything you were doing for free for others in the past. Maybe people used to ask you to do workshops or keynotes. Maybe you have solved certain problems for others. What are your talents that other people have noticed?
- What are you actually good at?: What do you know how to do and what is something you could market to others that wouldn’t be too much of a stretch for you? You don’t really want it to be something that is way out of your comfort zone, especially if you want to start making money fast. This should be something that comes easily to you. Maybe you are good at graphic design, or selling, or coding, etc...Starting a business on its own is hard, so don’t add more hard things to your plate by having to learn a new skill.
- Put together some credibility and backing: Use whatever examples you have of work you have done in the past. For example if you want to go into graphic design, gather all of the logos, websites, images, and so on that you have done for others (even if it was for family or friends). Utilize anything you have that shows your work. Also gather testimonial quotes that you have on hand or ask family, friends, and past clients to give you some quotes to use.
- Put up a website: This is your storefront, it is extremely important to have a website, no matter what you are selling. It doesn’t have to be a fancy, expensive site and it doesn’t have to take a long time to create. Utilize the platforms out there like Squarespace or Wix or Weebly, etc...They have templates you can use, it should be quick and easy. Ideally you should have this up in a week or less.
- Edit your social media to show your skills and what you do: First of all, if you don’t have social media, you need to start. This is the main way people are going to find you and it will impact if they use you or not. Social media is crucial. If you already have profiles, go through and edit them to highlight your skills. Put your best foot forward, don’t hold back and be modest. This is where you need to talk yourself up and be confident in what you have to offer. Position yourself as an expert. Be consistent across all social media channels.
- Reach out to your network: Leverage social media and who you know to get your first clients. Let friends, family, and past clients know what you are doing now and how you can help them. Reach out to prospects and offer free demos or consultations.
- Join social groups: Look for groups in your area that could work as networking opportunities for you. In our current situation most of these will probably be online now, but it still is important. It will help you become part of a community, you can generate leads, they can give advice or help, or they may be able to refer you to other potential clients. Do what you can to get your name and business out there.
- Make yourself available on platforms where people are looking for people like you: Utilize platforms like Upwork, Craigslist, Freelancer, etc..This is where a lot of people are going to find people like you. Create a platform and just like on social media, sell yourself and what you can do.
Guidelines to help keep you on track
Now that you have thought about what you want to focus on and you have the steps to take to get started, here are some guidelines you can use to keep you on track and start making money as quickly as possible.
First of all, try to get everything up and running in 3-5 business days. This means that within a week or less you should have your website up, your social media edited and ready to go, your marketing content created, you’ve gathered your testimonials, and you are ready to sell.
Try to give yourself a goal of getting 3-5 customers to start. Having just one or two, in the beginning, can be a bit risky in case they leave or something happens. Three to five customers gives you a bit of a cushion.
You should also try to keep your investment minimal. Unless you have unlimited funds it is best to keep your starting costs low so that you can make the most of your profit. Really, you can start a business with yourself as the product for little to no money.
Set a financial goal for yourself. This can help you stay motivated and focused. Try to see if you can generate $1,000 in the first month.
As we mentioned above, make sure you are utilizing existing marketplaces like Upwork and Craigslist so people can find you.
And finally, remember to stay positive. You will hit some roadblocks, that’s normal. Be patient with yourself and celebrate the wins. And even if you fail, it’s not a failure. It’s a learning experience that will help you with future opportunities.