Starting a business is tough; especially when your business is in producing an intangible service. Our society loves instant-gratification. People want to see, feel, touch, or smell results now. The diet industry does a great job at satisfying people’s need for instant-gratification. They’ll show you an altered before & after photo and claim that you can have the same results by simply taking this tiny little pill. Or, if you wear this particular type of shoe, you’ll grow a Kim Kardashian booty. Seriously?!?!? If it comes easy, then it is too good to be true.
As a business owner, that six-seven figure income that you envisioned is not going to happen overnight. In fact, it may take you some time to earn the same amount of income that you would make from working with an employer. But the key is not to become easily discouraged because success is so much sweeter when you wait.
While you wait, focus on building credibility and your network so that you can handle the workload it will take for you to generate the income you desire. Here are some things you could do:
Blogging is a great way to showcase not only your writing style, but your personality. I have a MBA, so I can easily write a 20-page paper using MLA or APA format, or a Business and Marketing plan if I choose to. But this is www.PatriceCokley.com, MY blog, and I choose to showcase my expertise, passion, and my personality. Use your blog to provide your audience with helpful information while being your authentic self. People love knowing that there is a real person behind the words that they read.
I’ve always been a fan of social media before it was even called “social media”. Remember BlackPlanet? How about MySpace? Let’s not forget those AOL chatrooms for specific topics. Social Media is a great way to network outside of your local region. I’ve had the opportunity to connect with many cool people in and outside of my industry that I wouldn’t have been able to connect with due to our geographical distance or status. Social media isn’t all about you. It is about building relationships with your audience and your peers. If you’re lucky, those relationships could form into long-term business, offline.
Participate in online discussions
Online discussions in form of blogs and forums are a great way to showcase your expertise. Make sure to comment on other blog posts and provide valuable dialogue that builds your credibility within your industry. Don’t be a spammer and heavily promote your business. Instead, provide value by sharing the knowledge that you possess. By doing this, your readers will become intrigued and will have a desire to learn more about you and your business. LinkedIn is a great social media network for online discussions.
Building credibility shouldn’t stop at the computer. Make sure you shut down your computer and get out there and network with those within your area. Social media is great, but the purpose is to strengthen offline relationships. Locally, you can work on building offline relationships by attending networking events. Be sure to check out your local Chamber of Commerce for any upcoming events. They are always a great place to start.
If you can write about your expertise, make sure you’re able to speak it. Serving on a local conference panel is a great way to build your credibility and brand. Starting out, don’t focus on how much revenue you will generate by speaking; instead, focus on building your name and your reputation. You may have to speak for free, and that’s perfectly okay. The goal is become the go-to person when someone in your audience needs your services for themselves or someone they know. Word-of-mouth is the best marketing tool to date, and you can certainly start by speaking.
When you started out or when your business was slow, what did you do to continue to build your credibility and brand?