As I got on the freeway at 8 this morning a noticed the guy next to me, a car with a surf board on top. And I thought this is a great life and a great place to be. Here I am off to the tennis courts and this fellow is going to ride a few waves. Where were you going in your car this morning?
I used to be in a suit and heels driving off to a job at 8 in the mornings. Well, to be truthful, most of my life I’ve worked for myself, but I had a brief period of driving and working for companies in an office somewhere, sometimes commuting as far as 70 miles each way.
What drove me crazy about working for someone else in an office was the amount of wasted time. I like to be productive, not waiting for someone to ‘get back to me,’ or sitting through mindless meetings.
If you’re still working at a job and would like to be freelance or self-employed, start like I did. Start your Internet business while you’re still getting a salary and build it up until you can afford to become independent.
You can be creating content and blogging or at least working on some parts of your side business during some of those meetings or in the time after you’ve done your regular work. This is important because if you’re like many entrepreneurs, you have more ideas than brains, and you probably can’t tell which idea will end up being worth it.
In the late 90’s I used to schedule teleseminars during my long drive home. I had my headset on all the way from La Quinta to San Bernardino… either teaching a class or learning about Internet marketing.
Then in the evenings after I got home, I’d be coaching clients over the phone. At one point, I had 5 different projects going on, or rather one paid salaried job and 4 side businesses. One of them, my Internet based newsletter service is still going strong today. We’ll be announcing that new website in a couple of weeks.
Another side business, Mind-FX Science, recently got funding and we’re manufacturing energy and performance drink mix for healthy brains. That’s also getting a new website, new products, and is taking off strongly.
I’ve since dropped all my coaching and coach training because the company I founded with Denise Wakeman, The Blog Squad, has exploded and our blog consulting and training takes up most of our time.
When Denise and I started working together it was to increase the marketing strength of my newsletter services on the Internet. We had no idea how important blogs would become…to the point where most professionals now days start a blog first before a newsletter or a website.
It’s important to be focused, but at the same time open and flexible. You need to know which businesses are likely to expand, and go with the flow.
Recently we had a phone conversation with a man with many ideas for writing ebooks, who wanted to start blogging. But he wasn’t yet clear about his target audience (he had several), his message (he mostly had his own experiences to tell people about), or what the market needed (what his audience needs and wants are).
He hadn’t done any research to find out if people will want to know what he knows, and couldn’t list the benefits to his potential clients or readers.
And you know what? When I started out, I was the same way. I had a message I wanted to get out to others, with complete ignorance about what the market wanted and needed. I just figured that if I could use a newsletter service, maybe other people could too. (I was lucky, I was right, but it hasn’t been easy and it’s not a huge market).
Do your homework. Find out where there is a need. What are people’s pain? What do you have that could solve that pain? Who else is doing well in this field? How do you differ? Where can you get in touch with the people who need your solutions?
Then start with content. Write as much and as often as you can. Blog posts, articles, newsletters, web pages. You need to get Google juice going by writing the keywords your potential clients are using to find solutions to their problems.
You can’t always be clear and focused when you start an online business, I certainly wasn’t. But one thing is for sure: You won’t find clarity and focus unless you start. The best way to start is by writing content that attracts potential customers to you.
Next time you get on the freeway I hope you’re driving to the beach or the tennis courts or to whatever you enjoy doing. As they say, "work to live, don’t live to work."
I’ve always believed that if you do what you love, what you’re passionate about, the rest will follow. Now, if only someone would pay me to play tennis all day…. ;-0