9 min read
The opinions expressed by the entrepreneur's contributors are their own.
I swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
This isn't just another business start-up article that gives you general tips and general information that sounds great on the surface, but doesn't really give you actionable advice.
Rather, this article is raw, full of action, and may scare some of you. Read on at your own discretion.
A 2018 study by Bankrate found that only 39% of Americans could have enough savings to raise a $ 1,000 emergency fund, and 44% couldn't cover $ 400 emergency expenses out of their own pocket.
Starting a business can be a difficult task regardless of your financial situation, but the lower you are on the business class scale, the higher the difficulty.
Related Topics: The Complete 12-Step Guide to Starting a Business
If you're the average person, with an average bank account, regular job, family to support, and bills that consume a large percentage of your income, then the deck is stacked against you.
It takes money to make money. Selling online is all about eyeballs. How many people can you get to see and interact with your offerings?
I tell my eBook students, "You can write the best book in the history of the universe, but if nobody ever sees it, you will never get a sale." On the flip side, you can get the worst book ever published and with the right marketing techniques and financing, you can get first-rate sales, at least until you get a few bad reviews. "
When you start your own website, open a Shopify store, sell on Amazon, social media, or any other online marketplace, you pay for those eyeballs either through advertising or through fees. Sometimes both. The only possible exception would be those with a large and active number of social media.
Long story short, if you're the average person without a legitimate budget, you're kind of confused.
Learn from my mistakes
Sometimes we all need a reality check. I wish someone would have sat down and told me this when I was 23 because I wasted tens of thousands of dollars on failed online business over the years and it was money I didn't have.
I was the average guy with the average income, job, and bills above average. There was a point in my life when my monthly income was negative $ 1,000. I had to get a $ 20,000 personal loan to increase my income and pay my bills for a year.
Honestly, I don't know what the bank was thinking when they granted me this loan, but I'm glad they did because I was seriously considering filing for bankruptcy and if I'm being honest I probably should have should.
This has been one of the worst and most stressful periods of my life. If this article can save a person the heartache I went through, it will be worth it.
Move over to success
A few years later I supported the US special forces as a military contractor in Syria. While sleeping in a tent, eating canned food, and stealing WIFI from a neighboring country, I launched an online job website for aviation professionals with security clearances interested in serving in combat zones.
Related: Do you need a business idea? Here are 55.
The website itself became profitable, but it was only a few hundred dollars a month in profit. It wasn't a massive win, but there wasn't much else like it in the industry.
The uniqueness of the site and the audience I was able to build through Facebook advertising caught the right people's interest, which resulted in a single dinner, and ended up consulting with a multimillion dollar company.
Since then it's been going downhill. Sometimes we just need a single breakthrough.
If I can do it from a tent in Syria, you can do it from your couch. However, it didn't happen overnight. Here is the process I had to go through to get to this point.
Overcoming the obstacles for the average citizen
The mistakes I've made that have put me in the worst financial position of my life are the same mistakes many others make on a daily basis.
If you are in a position where you have no expendable income but want to start an online business, read the following advice carefully …
Realize that starting a legitimate business is out of the question until you have resolved your own financial problems. This was a difficult realization for me, but I've learned that you can have the best business concept in the history of the universe, but if you can't finance it and do it right, it will never work. Sell anything you can sell. In particular, liabilities with monthly payments. If it wasn't nailed down, I sold it. I've lost money on almost everything, but it's been worth it in the long run. Consolidate your debt and cancel any unnecessary subscriptions. This enabled me to lower my monthly obligations, lower the interest rates on certain debts, and pay larger portions for the debt.
Focus on the money
Find a higher paying job. We often underestimate ourselves and what we can achieve. Stand there and see what is available. What's the worst thing a potential employer can say no? That's how I actually ended up in Syria. I was able to more than double my salary by taking on a position most people with a ten foot pole would not touch. In fact, I've always loved the job more, but at first I just made a personal sacrifice to achieve a long-term goal. As a business owner, if you are unwilling to make sacrifices, you are in the wrong direction. Use a skill, learn a skill, or try something new. Stop worrying about starting a business and focus on actually making money. I was able to make an additional $ 1,500 a month writing content for people's blogs, creating social media content, and writing small informative eBooks. Here's a solid clue. If you want to make money, be ready to do the grunt job. Do the things that people don't like to do themselves.
It wasn't glamorous, but it speeded up my debt payments. I've been able to do most of my business with niche forums and Facebook groups. Here's a solid note: niche forums and Facebook groups are two of the only places on the internet that you can get these eyeballs for free, but you need to offer something they are actively looking for.
I had never offered any of the services I offered, but with a little practice and learning from people on YouTube, I was able to exceed customer expectations.
Related: 5 Steps How To Start A Business And Get To Market Quickly
Start and scale a company
Once you are out of debt or around and investing at least $ 2,000, it is time to start your online business.
Here is the process I like to follow:
Don't think of big companies. Better start small and build. Use the new skills you've learned to make extra money during your debt settlement phase and start something that you know can be profitable. We all have our dream businesses, but at this point it's more important to start something low-risk and stable. Learn to get excited about the process and the business in general, not a particular idea or concept. Once you have a steady flow of business, find out how to outsource with freelancers. Implement processes to get away from the equation enough to simply manage the business and deal with customers. That way, you can still benefit from the business, but you can work towards your next business. Take the income from the first business and invest it in your next business concept. Ideally, you are only investing the profits from business number one in business number two. That way, you can continue to build your personal savings from your day-to-day work while investing in online businesses. Rinse and repeat.
Do not rush. Enjoy the trip.
Personally, I would like to run three to five companies at the same time. Two or three of them are going to be low-end companies funding my ideal businesses.
The grunt work businesses are profitable because everyone hates doing their own grunt work. This is why people pay to have their homes cleaned and their lawns mowed.
You can easily and successfully scale without investing any money from your full-time job. That way, you can keep saving and growing financially while building something real.
Starting a business can be difficult and shouldn't be rushed.
In reality, it's a pretty straightforward process if you are patient.
Fixate yourself. Focus on the money. Start with something low risk. OutsourceInvest income in other business concepts. To repeat
In my opinion, this is the only process that gives the average person the best chance of building a successful online business.