A third reason to go the free route is comes down to so-called ‘side-project marketing’. The central idea of side-project marketing is that you offer product A for free, in order to get paying users for product B. One great example of side-project marketing is Unplash. Originally, Unsplash was a website for free stock photos created by the founders of graphic design marketplace Crew. The founders of Crew simply wanted more ways to attract attention to their product, and in order to do that, they built an entirely new product. The starting premise of Unsplash was simple: offer 10 new license-free stock photos every 10 days. I like to use this example, because Unsplash has been very successful. After gaining some early traction, Unsplash grew incredibly fast, and Crew was acquired by Dribbble. Interestingly though, that means that it isn’t a great example for side-project marketing. Why? Because rather than fulfilling its purpose of marketing the founders’ main product Crew, it became a stand-alone product. Perhaps a better example then, and on a much smaller scale, is what we do at Enter Network with our weekly Entrepreneur Sessions. Every week, we bring a variety of entrepreneurs together in a short check-in. We discuss what everyone is working on, and talk about potential problems or challenges people are facing. While it is great to bring entrepreneurs together in this way, it also proves to be a great marketing channel for our other products. We’ve gained several paying customers for our monthly support group and meetups by offering this service for free.
Austin is an entrepreneur, author and the founder of Cultivated Culture, where he teaches millennials how to land their dream jobs, skyrocket their salaries and work 100% remote jobs in a matter of months. Here’s his best business advice for first-time entrepreneurs who want to find a side hustle idea: “My best piece of advice is to focus on taking small steps and being consistent. It’s going to take time and it’s going to take work, you can’t start a successful side business overnight. With that in mind, you should start by doing three things.” “First, come up with a tangible, overarching goal. This could be something like landing 5 clients at an average of $1,000/month per client in the next 6 months or building an email list of 1,000 subscribers, launching a course and selling at least 50 copies in the next 8 months.” “Second, take time every night to write down a goal for the next day that will take you one step closer to your greater goal.” “Then third, block off 1 hour every day to accomplish that goal. If you complete your goal in the first 30 minutes, use the next 30 to start on the next step that brings you even closer to your bigger picture goal.” “That’s the easy part. The tough part, and the part that will make or break your success, is being disciplined and repeating these steps at least 5 or 6 days each week. If you can stay consistent, the results will add up and you’ll surprised at how quickly you’ll progress.” To add to what Austin said, creating a regimented schedule of exactly when you’ll be working on your side business can help you stay in the clear with your day job and avoid making costly mistakes that could get you fired (or sued).
Steli is the CEO of Close, 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: “One of the most painful and common mistakes I see first-time entrepreneurs make is that they fall in love with their own business idea.” “They’ll spend months building what they believe to be the next innovative, disruptive, game-changing startup. Then they launch… and nobody buys, nobody cares, nothing happens.” “Don’t fall in love with your business idea. Instead, fall in love with the problem you’re trying to solve for your customers, and validate your business idea early on that it is a problem worth solving.”
Working solo will help you get things done faster, but working with a team will help you go further. Every successful entrepreneur has a team of people that helps them achieve their vision. You need a group of people who can do what you cannot. Often when starting a venture, you like to do everything by yourself. However, when your business begins to grow, you need to get people who can do certain tasks better than you, so that you can concentrate on the core business and what you do best. It is no secret that you cannot achieve A-class success by hiring C-class workers. Hire the best people that your budget can afford. While making hires, it is essential to consider a person’s character; skills can be taught, but attitude cannot. In certain situations, it may be good to make use of freelancing platforms to gain access to the best talent. You do not have to make full time hires; you can begin with part-time and grow over time. Most importantly, take care of your team. Treat your team well. They are the people who support the vision of your business. If they are happy and satisfied, they will give their best work, which will result in your success as an entrepreneur.
Do you truly want to save? Take a serious look at how you spend and then change it. Quit smoking those cigars, take in a roommate, park your car—and you’ll save as much as $10,000 a year. It really is just as easy as all that! Are you finding it harder and harder to blame savings shortfalls on your measly pay check? Will it surprise you to learn that how much you save has little to do with your income? Well it is very true, in fact. It has more to do with whether you want to save and are willing to adjust your finances to boost your savings. A recent study by Venti’s and Wise, “Choice, Chance and Wealth Dispersion at Retirement,” found a very wide range in how much people at the same income levels were able to save for retirement. The study pointed out that it wasn’t just the higher income folks who managed to save the most. Indeed, even people in the lowest income groups were able to save more than some of their middle-income peers—by as much as $100,000. What was their conclusion? Persons with little savings on the eve of retirement have simply chosen not to save as much and spend more over their lifetimes. The key, then, is simple enough: Spend less than you earn and SAVE MORE. It is easy to see why some people get into financial trouble. Some people don’t stop and think that earning money is only one part of the financial health equation. The other critical part is learning how to manage money and save. A big part of the problem for so many is that people just don’t know enough about their own financial reality. They don’t even know what they earn, they don’t even know what it takes to live comfortably, and they don’t even know their true, discretionary income.”
Vasil is a super connector for entrepreneurs. He’s the CEO of Startup Socials, a global community of entrepreneurs that connects and empowers professionals working in the startup ecosystem. He’s also the founder of Growth Marketing Conference, Silicon Valley’s largest digital and growth marketing event. Here’s his best business advice for aspiring entrepreneurs who want to start a business: “We have an exciting tradition at Startup Socials. Every Friday we meet with entrepreneurs one-on-one and help them solve startup related challenges.” “One of the most costly and painful mistakes that I see over and over again is hiring in marketing and sales too early. Things tend to go VERY wrong when a founder brings on board a senior sales or marketing person who is lacking entrepreneurial spirit and/or experience working in startups. Instead of hiring full-time, founders should seek out and consult with experienced marketers and sales veterans who work with startups on a daily basis for a fixed fee or company stock based on specific goals.” “Ultimately, your need to become your startup’s best sales person and best marketer before hiring.” And remember, the fact that you can recite all the business slang, blogging terms or industry jargon that’s pervasive within your niche, doesn’t automatically make you a good salesperson. Connect with your target customers and learn how to truly help them.
Surround yourself with people who are better than you. Surrounding yourself with people who are better than you or those who are headed in the same direction will help you grow and attain your goals quicker. Be critical of the people you spend your time with. As they say, you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with. Avoid relational baggage when dealing with people. People who aren’t pursuing growth will pull you back and push you further from your goals. Surround yourself with positive people who are happy about your growth and success.
Guy is Chief Evangelist of Canva, the author of thirteen books including the acclaimed Art of the Start, which has been hailed as a weapon of mass creation by entrepreneurs around the world. He’s also the former chief evangelist of Apple. Here’s his business advice to aspiring entrepreneurs who want to start a business of their own: “My best business tip is to focus on the prototype. Don’t focus on your pitch deck, business plan or financial projections.” “If you get a prototype out and you get enough people using it, you never have to write a business plan, do a forecast or do anything like that. A prototype is where you separate the BS from the reality.”
This is one of the more critical entrepreneur tips because most entrepreneurs think they are superhuman. Ha! They like to charge through 16-hour workdays, seven days a week, 365 days a year. However, there is a difference between being busy and achieving success. Allow me to remind you: rest is a crucial aspect of an entrepreneur’s success. If you study successful entrepreneurs, you will realize that they value their rest, and they guard their personal time well. When Microsoft Founder, Bill Gates, was the CEO, he would take so-called ‘Solo Think Weeks’ two times in a year. During this time, he would spend his days reading, reflecting and strategizing. Rest is vital. Make sure to have a good sleep, at least 6 to 8 hours per night. Sleep will keep your body rejuvenated and boost your immune system. Have you ever realized we come up with some of our best ideas while in the shower? This is because when you’re in the shower, your mind is in a state of rest. Taking time off from your business helps you unwind and engages your creative side. Taking time off as an entrepreneur will allow your employees also to take some time to rest. This way, both you and your employees will come into work well-rested, and you’ll be able to produce at your best level. Schedule a good massage or set aside two days every month to allow your body and mind to recharge. In the long run, rest will also make it possible to actually enjoy the business success that you work so hard to create. Your health is your wealth.
Pacesetters in a marathon play an important role. They take the responsibility of tracking and ensuring that their teams cross the finish line in the first position. Being a pacesetter will help you break the mold and become a disruptor. This is the number one way to stay ahead of the curve and set trends in your industry. It will establish you as an industry leader and go-to business for cutting edge solutions. You can be an industry pacesetter by coming up with innovations and discovering systems that increase your effectiveness. Also, be a great listener and understand what your customers want. Develop solutions to address their pain points.