I think one of the biggest misconceptions people have about starting a business is that they first need money to build one. I’ve had countless conversations with young women who feel like they must have investors, or a substantial loan or a ton of money in savings before they can move forward. Now, while this is definitely the case depending on the business you’re looking to create, it’s certainly not always that way. Here’s the low-down on how to create a business that can fill your heart without emptying your wallet.
1. Launch a service-based business. There are so many things I love about service-based businesses. First off, they’re all about helping other people – hence the “service” part. Secondly, it requires little to no overhead. Most service-based businesses can be home-based, or are located at your clients’ homes or offices. You don’t need a fancy website or a blog following. It’s all a matter of choosing something that you love to do and you’re good at, and then telling other people about it.
2. Create a team of interns. I love working with interns. In fact, when I created Embarkability, I had a team of seven amazing interns who helped me build it. Each intern worked with me for college credit and six of them worked virtually. This way I didn’t need to provide office space for them and they were able to help me without leaving their homes. Whether you look on Craigslist, reach out to your local colleges or ask friends and family, interns are a no-brainer, no matter whether you’ve been in business for years or you just got started yesterday.
3. Make building quality relationships a priority. Many aspiring business owners think that they need to spend a lot of money to get the word out about their business. Because they think that the answer to spreading the word is through SEO (search engine optimization) or ads in their local papers – and because both of these options can be quite costly – they often feel stuck and defeated before they even get started. Creating a successful business is really all about keeping it simple. This principle especially applies to getting the word out. Share the news with your friends and family and ask them to share it with their friends and family. Reach out to other business owners who also work with your ideal clients. Focus on creating relationships. Schedule a phone call or a coffee date. Remember, keep it simple.
4. Focus on making money and not spending it. When I started my first business, I didn’t think I could just start generating cash flow – I didn’t think it could be that easy! So I made it complicated for myself. I spent thousands of dollars on classes that I didn’t really need to go to, on a fancy website, and graphic design, among other things. Getting your first few clients and making money doesn’t have to be complicated. It can be as simple as sending out an email and sharing the news with people and going from there.
5. Find an accountability buddy. When you’re an entrepreneur your success comes from the actions you take, which then create the results you experience. You might have amazing ideas and brilliant strategies, but if they’re not implemented, then they’re essentially irrelevant. Seeking out a peer who can hold you accountable to your goals and for whom you can do the same is a simple suggestion that involves a minimal investment of time (five minutes a day of checking in) and no financial investment whatsoever.
So, if you’ve been thinking about starting a business forever, but feel like you haven’t been able to because you don’t have enough money, I hope you’ll now reconsider! Share your thoughts below and let me know how I can help you moving forward!
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Jordana Jaffe is the founder of Embarkability, and teaches women in their 20′s and 30′s how to start their first business. She is offering a free teleseminar on Wednesday, September 12, called, “Start and Grow Your First Business on a (practically) ZERO Budget!” Sign up here! You can find out more on facebook, twitter, or on her website.