Author of Unmistakable: Why Only is Better Than Best and host of the acclaimed podcast, The Unmistakable Creative, Srini has interviewed over 600 entrepreneurs, creatives and thought leaders from all walks of life. From Tim Ferriss to Seth Godin, Kevin Kelly, Ryan Holiday and more, Srini has learned from the best, what it takes to become successful in business. Here's his business advice for aspiring entrepreneur who want to start a business of their own:
These days, it seems like everyone is hoping to become an entrepreneur and come up with “the next big thing”. Who can blame them? When successful, the benefits to owning a startup are obvious: being your own boss, creating something from scratch, bringing value to the people around you and, of course, making a bit of coin along the way. But the key phrase in that equation is, “when successful.” Too often, startups fail – 75 percent of them, to be exact, says The Harvard Business Review. So what goes wrong?
Believe it or not, we keep up with blogs by a familiar and comfortable (for me) method: email. I subscribe via email and read (or at least scan) nearly 50 blogs that way. It’s actually far more than that because several of the sources I devour are actually email aggregators that pull the best posts from many, many blogs. I find that gives me the best coverage.
There are a huge variety of loans on the market. That means you can control your level of risk and reward. For example, lending to highly-qualified borrowers might product 4-5% per year in interest. However, lending to less-qualified borrowers can pay 15% or more. The greater the risk, the bigger the reward, and you get to decide what your risk preferences are.
Whether you stick with the above blogs, or go on a following spree, start building a portfolio of go-to RSS feeds or a Twitter list of your own favorite marketing resources. Blogs are one of the easiest ways to stay updated on the industry and learn consistently, and there’s no excuse for not keeping up with any – especially now that you know who to start with.
You want to crush your competition when it comes to the professional look and pinpoint accuracy of your internet marketing methods. It is important to you that you are seen as the business that all other business look up to in this respect. Use this article for guidance. You should make it an option for users of your site to buy products at retail or wholesale prices if you want to increase sales. A good idea is to require users to purchase a yearly membership in order to be allowed to get things at the wholesale price.
For example; if you run an online retail clothing store with shipping options to different parts of the world, you can successfully run the business from Pittsburg, United States of America and have customers from Lagos, Nigeria or from the Philippines, India et al. The bottom line is that the internet has made it possible for people to reach out to clients from all over the world from a corner of their city and of course at a very affordable cost.
The quote above comes from an SEO Book blog entry titled Designing for Privacy. The article talks about how important it is to be transparent with captured information. Businesses are passing around consumer behavior profiles and personal information, sometimes without consent and other times with the unknowing consent of someone who ignored the terms of service. As a result, a growing group of consumers is beginning to voice complaints. It’s up to designers and Internet marketers to address their concerns and make sure current clients don’t become former clients due to mistrust.
"I recommend that first-time entrepreneurs take this as a real wake up call to avoid making excuses for not getting meaningful product validation before spending resources on development. You need at least 95% confidence that the thing you're working on will be predisposed to some initial success. There are too many other factors out there working against you when you're first starting out and are tight on resources that make the road of entrepreneurship hard enough as-is. Don't make it more difficult for yourself by building a bunch of features no one really wants to pay for."
"An efficient Google AdWords campaign, where you are sure you know how the platform works, can be a huge quarry of leads for small businesses," adds Kyle Peterson of Clement | Peterson, a tech PR and marketing firm. "Start with uber-targeted keywords, paying close attention to keyword match types, negative keywords and search query results to eliminate irrelevant visitors, like people looking for jobs," he says.
Use Google Trends to look at trending stories in your niche, after you find the trending articles take a look at the headlines that are trending. Study the headlines of trending articles and before you write your content this will give you an idea of what people are interested in. (Don’t steal headlines, but use them as a brainstorming tool for great content)
"A local restaurant, for instance, can promote just to the zip codes where it draws from. It can even target specific age groups and sex," Bentz says. "Best of all, you can target those customers during the time that they are most likely to buy; for instance, you can display your ads just before and during the lunch and dinner hours." And if your Facebook campaign isn't getting the desired results, "there's no long-term commitment. You can cancel at any time."
If that approach doesn't interest you then head over to Google Trends and look for a trending topic. Ideally this will be something you find interesting, but that's not an absolute requirement here. Then create a piece of content on that same topic, sign up for a free WordPress account and post it there. Voila – you now have one “clip” for your writing portfolio.
As well as selling your eBooks, Amazon can also create paperback copies of your book. CreateSpace, an Amazon-owned company, will help you self-publish your book. A relatively straightforward process, you must upload your work to CreateSpace and submit it for review. Your book will then be displayed on Amazon, and printed on demand and shipped by CreateSpace when purchased. And you can collect up to 70% royalties for each book sold.
If you have the next Harry Potter manuscript sitting in your drawer and the publishing industry hasn’t been kind to you, try self-publishing. Using tools like Amazon’s direct publishing or working with dedicated consultants like I_Am, you not only get the satisfaction of pushing your work out there but also retain 100% of your royalties! Don’t think you can write a good novel? Then stick to what you know – self-help is a money-making genre!
If you love to travel and find yourself randomly searching for airfare sales or browsing Lonely Planet, why not carve out a niche for yourself as a private travel agent? My friend, Mark Jackson did just that, making extra money online with his travel consulting side business. Start with word of mouth recommendations from friends who know they can count on you for the cheapest flights, and then move on and create a Facebook or LinkedIn group to invite people who want to stay on top of the latest deals. Eventually you could spin this into a full-time consultancy teaching people how to make their dream trip a reality.
The quote above comes from a CIO article titled 8 Expert Online Marketing Tips for Small Businesses by Jennifer Lonoff Schiff. Lieberman states that the more you blog, the more traffic your website will get from search engines. Two new blogs a week will result in fresh content that could even generate some leads if each of your blog posts includes a call to action.
Content marketing specialists are the digital content creators. They frequently keep track of the company's blogging calendar, and come up with a content strategy that includes video as well. These professionals often work with people in other departments to ensure the products and campaigns the business launches are supported with promotional content on each digital channel.
Even if every single class I’ve ever taken applied to entrepreneurship, which I can assure you is not the case, it’s hard to take what we learn in a classroom and apply it to the world around us. I learned more in my first week of trying to come up with a business idea than I did in at least half of the classes that I took throughout my high school career – for many young people this is the case.
Now, here's an online business model that has unfortunately become the butt of far too many jokes. This is because a certain segment of society (that’s you, hipster!) went around loudly telling anyone willing to listen that they were full-time bloggers. The net result of all this misplaced enthusiasm is that if you tell any of your friends or family you're going to start a blogging business, they'll wrinkle their collective noses at you, while coughing politely.
Hey [NAME], love what you’re doing on [Insert Platform]. My name is [Your Name] and I’m the head of SEO at [Your Agency]. I noticed that you have a large following on [Platform], but I wanted to give you a heads up that you’re missing out on approximately [INSERT TRAFFIC ESTIMATE] website visitors every month. Can I send you a quick video showing you how you can capture this traffic you’re missing out on?
Focus on the surveys and offers at the top of the list. Here’s a tip not many people know. CashCrate has a special algorithm that automatically selects the best surveys and offers and places them at the top of the list. There are several factors that go into determining which are the “best”, including payout, approval rate, and a variety of other factors. But all you need to know is that these surveys and offers are great, so you can do them in confidence!
It can be a family member, former boss or colleague or even a trusted online source or blog. A mentor is an invaluable sounding board – someone who’s been where you are; someone with whom you can have regular, non-judgmental check-ins.61.9% of respondents in our survey didn’t have mentors – however those that did said that they found mentors to have a significantly positive impact on their businesses.
"My favorite place to sell my handmade jewelry is Instagram," says Mindy McCarthy, owner of MinMac. "It's the queen of virtual markets. Potential customers can scroll through your collection of pictures and see who they're supporting," she says. "They make a connection with you as a person, not just a business owner. It's very rare that I post a piece of jewelry that doesn't sell within minutes."
Walt Disney cofounded the Walt Disney Company one of the leading motion picture studios. He was also the visionary of theme parks like Disneyland and Walt Disney World. His brand started with the creation of the Mickey Mouse character and eventually expanded to include characters like Snow White, Cinderella and more. As an entrepreneur, he had to overcome adversity with challenges such as people stealing his work, commercial failures and more. However, he kept pushing through staying committed to his vision.
26. Services – You can offer a paid service, such as life coaching, blog coaching, goal setting or financial planning. Just be sure to investigate all the legal implications and make sure you’re not claiming to be a professional if you’re not one. With a service like this, you’re basically using your blog to sell yourself. You’ll need to convince people that you’re worth buying and then be able to back up your claims once they purchase your service.
Not only will this multiply the money you’re bringing in in a serious way, but it protects you against any sudden changes in the market or in your business. Remember that old saying about putting all your eggs in one basket? A few hours a week committed to just one or two of the following opportunities will put you in a much stronger position to be financially safe and independent.
First off, I’m a blogger so it seems wrong not to mention it, but more importantly, it’s a legitimate way to make money. It’s quite possibly the least straight-forward way on this list, but it’s very doable and it’s also quite possibly the funnest way on this list. I love blogging and I know hundreds of bloggers who feel the same. So let’s talk about making money blogging and what it really means.
Of course, our checklist cannot go without a mention about SEO as one of the essential online marketing tips 2018. For your web address to be displayed in the top ten results of major search engines (Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc.), can optimize the URL, include target keywords in the content, and write blog posts on popular resources as a guest contributor (more SEO hacks here ).
22. Advertising – This is definitely the most old-school way of earning money with a blog. It’s also starting to become the least common way. You can sell advertising spots directly on your site or you can sign up with a company like Google AdSense or Media.net. Either way, you won’t see a whole lot of money from ads until your views are well into the thousands each day.
18. CraigsList – Some things don’t ship very well. Other things may make you feel uncomfortable to sell to someone across the country. Anytime you’re selling a large item or something you just don’t want to ship, Craigslist is a great place to go. It’s simple to list your item (again, take good pictures!). If you don’t like the idea of putting your phone number out there, the interested individual can send you a message to your inbox without even getting your email address.
Steli is the CEO of Close.io, a high-powered inside sales communication platform (and my pick as the best CRM for small business) that's powered by his years of experience driving millions of dollars in sales for hundreds of venture backed Silicon Valley startups. Here's what Steli has to share as far as business advice for aspiring entrepreneurs who want to start a business today:
If you love what you’re doing and it’s something you want to improve in continually, then you can have a more secure footing in your chosen business. Keep updating yourself with the latest in your online business, stay connected with your audience, expand your product offerings, and give the best customer service that you can, and it will set you apart from the others in your niche.
Medium is an online community where anyone can post articles and essays and get them in front of their audience of millions of monthly readers. While it can be a great place to build your audience for your own blog or find customers for your consulting business, with Medium’s new Partner Program, you can now make money online whenever someone reads your articles. Register for free and you can choose whether your articles are freely available or only readable by those people paying $5/month for a premium Medium membership. You’ll make money based on the amount of people who read and engage with your posts each month.
Your marketing strategy will never be successful if you do not have a clearly defined audience. Before you spend a dime on marketing, figure out your target market first. There’s no need to pay top dollar to hire a fancy market research firm. If you know your product, you should be able to figure out your market yourself. For example, who will be most interested in your product? Men or women? What is their age group? What are your customer’s interests? What is their likely financial situation?
Based on my own experience, it pays to be a thought leader in your own industry. In today’s world, it is easy to publish your own information (including videos), but the traditional media outlets still carry a lot of weight. Get positive exposure and help others by sharing your expertise. By building up a following and strategic partners, good things will happen. On a side note, it pays to love what you do. Hard work and dedication can separate success stories from those that do not have their heart in it. As the old Confucius quote goes, “Find something you love to do and you will never have to work for the rest of your life.”
Modern technology has enabled entrepreneurs to do their work from almost anywhere. In fact, many companies operate in a wholly digital environment, lowering overhead costs and offering freedom to entrepreneurs who want to conduct business on the move. Creating an online business is simply a matter of focusing on your strengths and expanding your network. Here are 12 great online business ideas to get you started.
Don't sacrifice morals for a quick buck — At the outset, you'll want to do all sorts of things to make money online, but don't sacrifice your morals for a quick buck. Not only will you put people off, but you'll lose Google's trust. You also shouldn't concern yourself with things like Adsense or other ads on a blog before you have around 100,000 visitors per day. Yes, per day.
Crypto currency trading is the next big thing in finance. The value of crypto has shot up in recent months with Bitcoin reaching over $18k for just one Bitcoin! You too can get a piece of the action by purchasing crypto currency from one of the bitcoin / crypto exchanges and waiting for the value to increase. I would recommend you do your research before you dive in, and don’t forget to only invest what you can afford to lose.
When first considering email as part of your internet marketing mix, take the time to dissect the opportunity. Who is your target audience you are trying to reach by email? What types of products or services has this target audience purchased before? What type of email content would be the most persuasive to this audience? And most importantly, how do you measure whether the strategy was successful?
The quote above is from the article What I learned about email marketing after losing $135,000 a day. Kagan discusses one of his previous startups, which failed when one of their largest partners banned their service and caused a catastrophic drop in sales. One of his biggest internet marketing tips is to have a direct line to customers rather than depending on Facebook or ads to reach your target audiences. Kagan says that Internet marketers should build and grow their own email lists. Email marketing is the most effective way to speak directly to all of your customers and maintain a stable line of communication to them.
Well, according to the business owner it was the person running their digital marketing. As a result, they wasted approximately eight months marketing a website that couldn’t make any sales. The reason the business was failing according to the owner was because of the keywords that were being targeted in the marketing campaign. This is a horrible excuse.
When I began to think about my next business venture, I realized my passions had shifted, and that I was fueled not only by affecting positive change, but also by my family. Family inspires me to work harder, be better, and push through any roadblocks that may come my way. It has become the foundation of my current company, Picniic. Find the thing that motivates you to get up and work every day, and make it the core of your business.
The basic idea behind an online drop shipping business is that, as a small business owner, you don’t have to maintain a large inventory (or any inventory whatsoever) of products or handle any delivery to your customers. That eliminates the financial cost and risk of having a warehouse full of stuff you might not sell, and the hassle of arranging to send orders all over the country or the world. In fact, you don't have to manufacture or store any products at all.
4. Call tracking and analytics. You can’t improve upon what you can’t measure. Analytics provide a tremendous amount of incredibly useful data, such as where your website visitors come from, how long they stay, and what they do on your site. Google analytics is free and pretty darn good, and we recommend it. We also recommend you make sure you can track every lead that’s generated by your website.
As an internet entrepreneur, you'll need your own web presence:website, blog, social media platforms, landing pages, sales pages, banner ads, or e-commerce site. But instead of selling your own products, you sell the products of other companies. You can use several of these combinations, if you like, as long as you get your marketing message to the public.
The quote above comes from an article on his website titled Increase the Persuasive Momentum of Your Conversion Funnels. Persuasive momentum refers to the progressive decision-making process that aligns your customers’ goals with your business goals. That there are three elements to persuasive momentum; relevancy, value and a call to action. In order to increase conversion, Eisenberg says you must address needs at every step in the buyer journey.
Take it seriously. Yes, you’re applying for an online job. Yes, you can do the work in your underwear, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a “real job”. You must treat it as such or they aren’t going to treat you as a serious candidate. You aren’t the only one who wants to work in their underwear. In fact, the competition online is likely higher than it is in your local area.
If you've developed valuable skill sets or picked up certifications within your industry over the years, offering your consulting services to local business owners can be a lucrative way to make money online. Whether you're an expert marketer, business strategist, or manufacturing aficionado, there's likely a local business owner who's willing to pay you to help them solve an issue with their company. Start with this 18-step checklist to becoming a local business consultant from Karyn Greenstreet and then use my guide to crafting an effective cold email to convince them to hire you.
Test websites. Remote usability testing means getting paid to navigate a website for the first time and giving feedback to the website owner. Most tests take approximately 15 minutes, and you can get paid up to $10 for each test. A test involves performing a scenario on the client’s website and recording yourself doing it. For example, you might be asked to go through the process of selecting and purchasing an item on a retailer’s website.