There are so many things as a business owner I wish I had known and implemented from Day 1. But instead, I’ve been learning as I go and making a TON of mistakes along the way. Mistakes that have cost me $20k in credit card debt and left me struggling regularly to pay my day to day bills and expenses. I often feel more like a #strugglepreneur more than an #entrepreneur. Most days there is absolutely nothing I can do about it either - except keep my head up and keep going. Knowing that I now have systems in place moving forward that will pay out dividends later. But just in case you’re reading this and about to start a business, here are a few things I wish I’d done from day one to make this business venture more profitable and systematized (code for FUN) from the get-go.
1. Systematize Your Money
If you’re an entrepreneur and you haven’t read Profit First yet PLEASE stop what you’re doing now and order it on amazon. If you’re about to start a business and you haven’t read Profit First yet PLEASE stop what you’re doing now and order it on amazon. Have I made myself clear? Good. Moving on.
Profit First was developed by Mike Michaelowicz as a way to systemize your business funds. Essentially it works like this - certain percentages of your income get divided into categories, namely Profit, Taxes, Operating Expenses and Owner’s Comp. You should be setting aside Profit from day one to ensure that your expenses aren’t eating all your profit. Too often our “profit” is mixed in with our expense account and while on an accounting balance sheet it may exist, the cash isn’t there to prove it. By opening MULTIPLE BANK ACCOUNTS and separating the cash you will ensure that your business is profitable from day one.
This system will ensure you save the right amount of money for taxes, your business is frugal, and that you always have money stashed away somewhere for a rainy day.
On this topic also start working with a bookkeeper and CPA from Day one. DAY ONE!! Ok, I think I’ve made my point. Finances are the BIGGEST cash-eating-monster that is out to get entrepreneurs. Don’t let it get YOU.
2. Content Creation is Part of Your Business Plan
Content is king in this day and age - so instead of getting two years into your business and THEN trying to figure out how to make content on top of client work - build your content into your business plan from Day one. Whether it’s a podcast, or a youtube channel or a blog - pick your thing and work on it CONSISTENTLY (consistency is key to everything in business) for 1-2 years before re-evaluating. I highly recommend Youtube because as Forbes tells us “With 3 billion searches per month, YouTube’s search volume is larger than that of Bing, Yahoo, AOL, and Ask.com combined. If YouTube’s user base were a country, it would be the third-largest in the world.”
Yeah. Wow is right.
Set aside 1 day a week to work on your Youtube Content and then structure your client work and admin work around that. Content should be a top priority as it works as a marketing strategy, sales funnel, SEO magnet and elevates your status as an expert.
3. Have an Entry Level Offering That Makes you Money By Itself
Here I am pretty much referring to an online course or webinar. Create an offering that can meet people wherever they’re at by keeping it at a relatively affordable price point. Depending on who you talk to, this might be $30 and it might be $700 so I’m not here to tell you exactly how much but create an online course with value by using your Culture Add (Thanks Danielle Leslie) to determine exactly what you can teach the world. Price your services at a price point that feels right and matches what else is on the market. Use this offering as a sales funnel on your website (collect e-mails when they sign up) and recommend it when someone can’t afford your signature package. This will help ensure that you always have some passive revenue, even if it’s just a leetle.
This course will also help give potential customers experience working with you and build your reputation so that when they’re ready to buy, they come knocking on your door.
4. Branding from Day 1
One of my biggest regrets is not working with a branding professional from Day 1. While it might be an expensive investment (around $3,000) to get a full package, it is ENTIRELY worth it. How your brand appears in the world MATTERS. How people perceive you and your services MATTERS. It will give you more confidence when selling yourself if you’re clear on who you are and what you’re about and your materials match that mission through color and design. This is also important for your social media - which needs to match the other branded aspects of your business (website, business card) and needs to represent you in the best way. People are SO WILDLY influenced by branding it’s INSANE. They buy something because it sells them a deep desire they have within - even if it’s something subconscious that they can’t pinpoint. Have you ever bought the more expensive candle because of its texture, color, scent, and label? YAH. IT’S STILL JUST A CANDLE. That’s branding for ya. First impressions are everything - make it count.
5. Know Your Worth and the Cost of Your Services
It’s much easier for me to stand behind my pricing when I’m confident in the math behind it. Having never been a “math person” this has been somewhat painful to do but so worth it. Being in a service industry like video production it can be extremely hard to figure out what to charge - especially when your competitors are all over the place with pricing and most people determine their pricing based on their experience. Well, how do you put a value on experience? What kind of experience counts?
I’ve found that doing some exploration around what price points you’re willing and unwilling to work for can be extremely helpful in these situations. Additionally, you’ll need to take into account how much you desire to earn each month, how much your expenses will cost you (personal AND business), and how many clients you’ll be able to handle at once. Play around with the numbers until you figure what is going to work and then STICK TO THOSE NUMBERS relentlessly for at least 6 months before re-evaluating. One of the biggest mistakes I’ve made is jumping all around in my pricing constantly. It’s confusing for me, confusing for my clients and unfair to clients who’ve paid more or less for a similar package as someone else. So pick numbers and stick to them. If you find they’re not working, re-adjust and then test again. A bit like a science experiment.
As your confidence and expertise grow your prices naturally will too. Be patient, don’t try to earn too much too quickly. Slow and steady wins the race.
That’s a wrap!
I hope this was helpful for you guys. Feel free to leave comments below with questions or to reach out to me directly for any other business insights! Happy to be of service if it means #nomorestrugglepreneurs.