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10 Ideas to Earn More Money in Year 1 of Business
Hats off to you for deciding to become an entrepreneur! You love what you do. You decide your own schedule. You even get outdoors to enjoy more sunlight. Hooray!
Now, there is one small, sneaky problem: you have to earn money and, to earn money, you have to ask for it, look at it, track it, and do a bunch of other things that you were never taught in school and that you don’t really like.
Here is the good news and bad news:
Money comes into your bank account by asking for it—it is called selling. If you don’t ask for money this week, chances are that your bank account balance won’t change. Your most important activity is having at least three sales conversations per week.
I know it can be so tempting to organize your business cards, enter everything into the system, create your offerings, etc. That path that causes so many business owners to go broke. They spend so much time getting ready to sell that they never sell at all. By the time they get to the selling, they are desperate and anxious. This is not attractive to clients.
Most likely you’ve heard of theKnow, Like and Trust factor. The longer someone has known you, the more likely they are topurchase from you. My first client was thepianoteacher whose class I took. My second client was mybrother’s best friends. My third was the girlwho lived across the hall from me. The important thing to note is that these weren’t people I had close relationships with. They just knew who I was.Would you ratherpurchaseinsurance from someone yourbrotherknows or a complete stranger?
Make it a point to let your friends and family know about your business. Send them a letter via snail mail, send them an email, call them on the telephone. Ask them to connect you to people who might use your services or purchase your products.
When I ran my first group program, I had trouble filling it. I didn’t have a huge online list and I didn’t know tons of people. So I reached out to one of my best friends and his wife and I offered the program to them for free if they were willing to spread the word about it. I even had them sign an agreement to do so.
And spread the word they did...I had four registrations because of them. Find an ambassador or two. But just be sure that the ambassador you select actually has a large network; otherwise, the whole strategy will not work (and you’ll end up just giving programs away).
Remember how I said your friends and family can be a great source of referrals? Well, of the 10 ways to earn money, this one could be the most fun! Postcards are the most inexpensive way to send direct mail. Pick a large postcard format. Then select a photo that will draw attention and still connect with your brand. Add a caption.
For example, we sent one out one year with a photo of a dog sleeping. The caption said, “Are You Exhausted?” Then on the back of the postcard, write about the problems your clients could be having and invite them to a solution of either setting up a conversation with you or coming to a webinar.
Once the cards are sent out, follow up with phone calls to check in and schedule more appointments.
There are other service professionals who are working with your ideal clients. If you are a nutritionist or wellness coach, great referral partners would be personal trainers, chiropractors, massage therapists, acupuncturists and other types of healers. When you go to networking events, look for your ideal referral partners and set up phone meetings with them. Note: It will be a waste of time to schlep all around town scheduling meetings with everyone.
When I started my first company I was training for running marathons. I swam with a swim group. I took spinning classes at the gym. So I asked my swim coach and biking instructor if I could spend five minutes talking about my business and inviting people to set up conversations with me. They immediately agreed. I ended up getting one client from each brief talk.
Even if you aren’t attending classes now. Or your business isn’t related to the classes you are doing, I want you to think about how you could be creative with any of the group activities you are involved in. Could you speak to your book club? Or talk to the parents who hang out at your daughter’s gymnastics class? Get creative about the people who already exist in your world.
Sometimes what you need the most is just one person who is willing to tell everyone else about you. Someone who has a huge network or a huge impact. Essentially, this is about finding a leader in your community and giving them a discount or complimentary product or service—just a taste of something. Ask if they would be willing to talk about you and share their experience with their communities. This could be someone such as your pastor, a school principal, or that friend that has 30,000 Facebook fans.
Think about where your clients are hanging out. Where do they dine? Where do they shop? Where do they vacation? Where do they work? Then visit those places and set up a table, host an event, or at the least leave fliers. For example, I noticed that my clients liked to shop at design stores. So I went to a furniture shop that had just opened in my neighborhood. They wanted to run events that supported the community so we created a small event together and invited both of our lists. Approximately 25 people came and I booked quite a few conversations with people.
Post an invitation to a conversation with you on Facebook. Be sure to put a description on what the conversation would entail and what results they might get out of it. You may even want to add a success story from a previous client.
The number one area that most people struggle in their businesses, especially intheir first year of business,is around time management. The day just gets away from you. One new habit that will increase your productivity immediately is clock-watching.
Clock-watching means that every time you start something in your business you look at the clock and set an intention for how long you are going to work on that task. When you are finished with that task, you look at the clock and note whether you were under or over your intention. Over time you’ll get better at estimating how long you are going to spend on something. This helps you to stop wasting time on things that don’t matter and start focusing on those activities that help you generate more money.
Now you might have noticed a few things. First I was keeping it simple for anyone to do even if you don’t have that much technology set up yet. Second, everything is based on you knowing who your target market is. That requires clarity around who you are working with! If you are still stuck in that area, please email usso that we canhelp you get that organized.
Now go earn lots of money and make this world a better place.
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