Good luck on your journey, what is your product?
I thought I'd chronicle my journey to starting my first real business with only my skills and little to no money and going from there.
I hope to look back on this in 24 months and see how far I've come. If you get something from this,great! If not, good luck to you and your ventures.
All I've strived to do was become the most persuasive salesperson I could be, believing I can use these skills anywhere. For the past decade, I've sold door to door, retail and corporate sales. My academic background is in computer science and logistics. Reading TMF in May gave me that extra nudge to want to take things further.
I floated around looking for ideas online and offline but nothing I tried made money or kept me motivated enough to grow it.
I've followed the get good grades, geta good job, save your money, buy a house and invest if you can advice for too long. I have a damn mortgage. I'm a single parent. I haven't paid for petrol in 5 years. I think I have enough to get me through two months of personal bills. I cant move into my parents house to ease my financial commitments. I'm scared $#!^ for what 2013 will bring but I want success bad enough that I push on.
To create a successful and profitable business in two years where we first in mind for our customers. I am not doing the selling and other tasks involved for the business. I'd only want to manage the business.
Two milestones I'm working towards: paying myself anequivalent to my current JOB salary each month and hiring 2 sales reps.
Prior to May – enjoyed my corporate job. I performed well so was 'safely' employed but I knew I wasn't going to be here much longer. I just didn't know what was next.
May – awakened by TMF. Registered a trading entity solely to claim my little expenses on tax as I tried a handful of ideas. Nothing worked or paid.
August – tried one idea I believed had potential. Half ass attempt at cold calling. Got discouraged by rejections. Put idea on the shelf and convinced myself I had to create the 'perfect' plan and just read more books and forums (BS excuse to actually taking action)
October – not one to sit around and realising the idea had to be sold I took 4 days off my JOB, pounded the pavement and cold called. BAM! Made my monthly income in 4 days. Began planning my exit from JOB.
November - resigned rather than risk damaging my reputation with the company and peers I respected in my JOB by having one foot in the door as an employee and one foot out the door as a business owner. Plus the company was going through a re-shuffle. While everyone I worked with was worried about having a JOB I was preoccupied with 'how do I create jobs?'
December – got my first product out and learned things I will and will not be doing next year. Saying goodbye to my JOB and career.
I will keep this update at least monthly. If I slip, can someone PM me and kick my ass for an update please!
Good luck on your journey, what is your product?
Thanks. Direct advertising products and services. Looking to expand to online services in future.
UPDATE: taken first steps into putting plans in place to hire Commision only sales reps to sell advertising by speaking with solicitors to draft contract agreements. Just getting prices for now but at least I know what leveraging time for money using reps will cost and legalities involved.
Lesson: for distribution of my first publication this December I opted to do it myself rather than distribution company because I wanted to guarantee delivery (and save a bit of $). Oh man! What a bad idea! Since Dec 1 I am still walking the streets hand delivering to every home. Ill never do this again!
At least I learned though that I can order less printed materials for this community next time because I know approx how many homes do not want unaddressed mail. In the long term knowing this saves me money.
My last day in a career JOB was on Friday.
Glad I'm somewhat forced to take a break as my suppliers and many of my target customers (small businesses) are on holidays or extremely busy to consider their marketing in the next two weeks.
I was burning myself out just thinking of work/business for myself 24/7. Note to self, work life balance is a must for peak performance.
Meanwhile, keeping my eyes open for meaningless jobs like pizza delivery, night fills for some extra income while I build my business during the day from Jan 7
Bump - how are you going Intensity?
if you need any contacts in Brisbane just let me know and I'd be happy to put you in contact with anyone in IT, finance/capital raising and law
As a fellow Melbournian, I will be keeping a look out for your progress! Go get em!
Thanks for the interest/reminder/ bump guys!
Update to come. I have plenty to report. The road to success definitely isn't a linear one
Im not saying its right or wrong, im just curious.
It is a hard gig. I worked for a small company years back calling people out of the phone book selling them fridge magnets. People love talking about fridge magnets...
Again, good luck mate. Looking forward to your updates.
Can't sleep so writing as we speak
Update – Jan 26
So I spent the Christmas and New Year break doing Christmas and New Year break kinda things although I still had business and work on my mind 25/7.
Initially I was never happy with the name and look of my business so I set out to change it. I toyed around with some names and ideas and finally came up with the right look and name. I also decided I would focus on building up the online side of my business, to create a deals and coupons website, as well as the print side because online is just too big to ignore. It’s a selling point to be able to say I can provide both print and online advertising, both of which are still effective IMO.
I set an official launch for February 4 whilst I do the not-seeing-client-side of things in the meanwhile. I initially planned on hitting the road on Jan 7 but things came up with family responsibilities and took precedence.
Many times I questioned whether I was just making excuses to get out there again and find business, scared that everything wasn’t perfect, scared to fail etc etc etc. But in all honesty to myself, I know I was just being hard on myself and I was burnt out. I know I work my ass off and I hadn’t had a real break from working for a good 4 years, I’d pursued my goal to work for myself for the past year with total disregard for work/life balance, my relationship with my girlfriend cam close to breaking point and needed attention, I have massive financial and personal responsibilities which can’t be ignored and is draining and all I ever do is talk business ideas that I’ve become such a bore with little interest in seeing my friends. I updated my goal this year to still work intensely to achieve success but with a work/life balance. After all what’s the point of so much success if I won’t have the people I want around to share it with. I’ve never been driven by money alone so it’s not a sacrifice I am willing to make. I want it ALL. I know I can do it.
This journey us as much emotional as it is mental and physical. Pay attention to it because it will effect you. Know your limits. A work life balance is a must (for me especially – I can’t sell and be charismatic, persuasive when something major troubles me. Clients can sense it that you’re not 100% there)
Remain flexible. Unexpected things come up. You can either let them affect you positively or negatively.
After I built the website, I started on the search engine marketing and social media. I’m doing SEO and article marketing to rank for keywords my clients and users would look for and social media – I’m finding Facebook is my preferred - to boost awareness for my site and increase visitors. I’ve also found paid ads to work well on Facebook as I’m targeting a local audience. I expect this will take a few months before I see results for this because the keywords are competitive.
Currently I have affiliate offers on my site that is satisfying any (little) visitors. The challenge will be to sign up local businesses and drive traffic. This is my major dilemma. Which comes first – the chicken or the egg? Do I build a website and sign up business owners who will be reluctant to pay up for a service without many visitors or do I build up visitors and possibly disappoint them with no valuable deals on the site. I take it a day at a time and try to do both.
I’m also spending a little offline to boost local awareness of my business. So far I’ve had my entire car back window covered with my site. I’ve had large car magnets for the sides made too. I have a banner which I intend to hang out my side window while parked at busy locations and I’m going to try something ballsy to capture more attention which I’ll reveal when/if I do it. I could get a fine for doing it so I’m really considering the risk.
Your website is never finished. There’s always something to improve and test.
it’s so easy to think you have to be on all social media channels but this is so time consuming and ineffective. Pick one and master it.
Take SEO slowly. Natural link building is a slow process.
In between work and family, I still find time to read. This inspires me and boost my motivation. Look up Gurbaksh Chahal. I recommend his book. I also get a tonne of ideas from reading I choose to implement one or two ideas. No point just reading and not using it.
I’ve also applied for a night time pizza delivery job. A friends friend is hooking it up so fingers crossed I get it. The extra cash always helps and I’ve even found a way to use the time to also get something done for my business. If I get it I’ll (sneakily) do a quick survey for my business with each delivery. So if you’re in Melbourne and have a pizza delivered and get asked some quick questions not entirely related to pizza then be kind enough to tip me and shake my hand as a fellow Fastlane follower. Haha.
Until next month. Good luck on your ventures!
Im going to give you my two cents and you can like it or you can hate it. I know exactly what you are feeling and going through. Either way I understand your hustle and hope you get after it.
1- You are scared. Scared of rejection. You said you hated cold calling and its "a hard gig" so you are going to leverage other peoples time..yada yada. WHY in the WORLD would you pay someone to do your job when you are trying to find a pizza delivery job to make ends meet? lol that is RIDICULOUS! So what you are saying is that you are strapped for cash.....but you want to go hire/fire/train/worry/pay these reps to go sell for you? Not to mention all of the legal work with the employees if you are doing it right. Out in the big world when you dont have money starting a business.....you start with the lint in your pocket and build by yourself from the ground up....if everyone who started a business just hired 50 sales people and payed them commission then we would all be doing it. Odds are the commission they get from you probably arent as high as selling security/pest/etc...so what makes you think you will just find these experienced/trainable/perfect sales guys that are going to bust hump for you and not ever complain or quit? Get real brother!! My advice is get real, bust ass by yourself, get embarrassed, get humiliated, and go make some money! Just by reading your story I can tell you think you have it half bad "financial obligations", "my GF", "work/life balance".....let me be honest with you.....successful people rarely EVER have a work/life balance when starting a new business....When I need a break I go to the gym/city limits/park for a run, etc. and then im right back at it.
2- Last thing....why are you going out trying to pick up a gig delivering pizzas when you could be selling or advancing your business? Is making $7 an hour worth more than working on your business for those hours? Yeah it might not pay out in cash to start but in the end it will pay off for more than $7 an hour delivering pizzas...You are worried about leveraging other peoples time when you barely know how to manage your own.
I honestly hope you succeed and make it, but sometimes you need someone to tell you the flat out truth. I have been in the exact same position as you are right now....scared to pick up the phone...thinking "oh, well what if I had 5 sales reps just do it for me and bring me the bacon. Ill just do commission only and that way I never lose money"..............
Thanks kid money. Appreciate the time you took to write that and I understand your point. However Ill just clear things up though. The hiring other people is a future plan. I looked into the legalities and what it would take to implement but thats about it really for now. Its a plan to scale one aspect i can do alone, I understand I can't do that yet with limited funds. Hiring Commision only reps pays for itself. Finding and keeping trainable people different issue but I would never hire anyone for a job I'm not willing to do myself.
Heres my logic. Lets say I make profit $5000 after cost of goods and agree to give away $2500 after x spaces sold. Then I don't pay until x spaces is sold. If thats done in 2 days or a month i know I'm happy to give $2500 per rep for their time and effort(while I also continue to knock on doors or do whatever else I must)
What my overall long term goal is is to create a business system that operates with out me. Heck I didn't leave a corporate job with the goal to create one for myself. So ill be looking to systemise the sales, design, print, logistics etc using other people's time while I slowly step back and take on other important roles with an out sell up and cash out.
I'm not scared to cold call. It's been the only job I've been good at. And the one reason I left corporate sales is because I back myself on this ability. I don't use phones sales. I thrive in the face to face interaction.
The pizza gig is a night job casually. For now only. Until my business picks up. I intend to work my business from the crack of dawn to 10am doing the paperwork/computer side of things then 10am to about 5pm cold calling. Most clients i see are no longer around from 5pm onwards so I've got the time. I'm not cash strapped just yet but I'm also not going to wait until I am. It's added pressure I don't need if I can avoid it.
Update: I've had to slow down on the dream of building my own business right now due to finances. In short, my business ventures is on hold. Making the jump back into employment, in something i love and enjoy and will pay immediately. In the meanwhile, back to the drawing board and figure out my next move.
So it sounds like you went with the "nothing" part.
Afraid so. Not a big thing since I went from "not much" to close to "nothing".
Good luck dude, I hope someday you get what you want. I always follow your progress man, just keep up, and no matter what happens, don't give up.
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