The new microbusiness revolution is changing how we think about work and how we do it
Imagine being able to live your life doing the things you really love. Imagine being able to give your undivided attention to a project that matters to you rather than getting stuck in a rat race working to make other people rich. Imagine that today is the last day of working for someone else.
What if, next week, you start your workweek by firing up your laptop in your home office, calling a client to offer your professional advice, opening the doors of your new store, or otherwise doing whatever you want instead of what others tell you to do? In many ways, thousands of people all over the world are doing exactly that. They’re turning the conventional notion about work on its head, becoming their own bosses, crafting out their path to a new future. This new model of doing business works out perfectly fine for these unexpected entrepreneurs. It is the microbusiness revolution. The microbusiness revolution is a new means of earning a good living while creating a life of purpose and independence. This revolution grows stronger day in and day out as people continue to walk away from the traditional work model, choosing to craft their own path and create the future they want.
Now you don’t have to wait for months to gauge how prospects will respond to an offer; you can instantly test–market your idea. You can set up a PayPal account in less than 10 minutes and get paid by clients from over 180 countries. Better still, as you create a community of loyal clients, you’ll be able to come up with the right things to make for them and accurately forecast how likely you are to be successful without investing too much money. Your odds of success will grow steadily as you gain more understanding of how your skills and knowledge can be useful to others.
Freedom and value. Those are the two core themes on which this article will be centered. Freedom is what we all want, and value is the only way to achieve it.
Make your business about helping others, and it won’t have any difficulty growing
Almost all startups fail to succeed because entrepreneurs often make the mistake of producing goods or offering services that nobody will ever want to pay for. Once most people have an excellent idea and enough resources, they start a company right away without first taking the time to find out whether or not there is a market need for their products.
Find out what people want and then look for a way to give it to them. This is the key to starting a business that is based on skill, hobby, or passion. Your success is unstoppable if you make this principle the foundation of your business. However, if you start your business fumbling along, uncertain whether your big idea will resonate with people, you are only setting yourself up for a big disappointment.
You must be able to give people something that can add value to their lives if you want to plot your way towards freedom and create a business that will flourish. According to Chris Guillebeau, value is something desirable and of worth, created through exchange or effort. When considering starting your own business, if your intention is to help people, you are on the right path.
Even when you get stuck as the business grows, you have to ask yourself: How can I give my customers more value? How can I help them more? All in all, the success of a business is down to the value its end–users, customers, or clients get from it. The main reason you decided to become self–employed is to have personal freedom, and the only way you can get that freedom for yourself is to provide value for others.
To get paid doing what you love, you must connect it to what other people want
It all sounds so easy: find something you enjoy doing and build a business around it, and you’ll be rich in no time. But is it really that simple? The truth is, not every passion can be turned into a paycheck — there are many things you may be passionate about that no one will pay you for.
For instance, you might enjoy eating pizza, but it’s highly unlikely you could center a career around your love for pepperoni and mushrooms, no matter how passionate you are. Instead, find something the rest of the world will find interesting.
Many successful follow–your–passion entrepreneurs understand a vital principle that upcoming and unsuccessful business owners do not know about. And it’s this important point: you rarely get paid for the thing you love doing; you get paid for helping people pursue the hobby or for something indirectly related to it.
For instance, Chris Guillebeau started his writing career by sharing stories about his quest to visit every country globally, but he didn’t get paid for that. Before he started making money, he had to find a way to create value with his passion for travel. Chris understands that he wouldn’t get paid without real value, and traveling would be just a passionate hobby.
For your passion to be viable, you must develop a skill that provides a solution to a problem. Only when passion is combined with a skill that other people value can you truly follow your passion to the bank. Here is a simple formula for turning your passion into something profitable:
Passion + skill + usefulness = success
So, you see that even though passion is just one part of the equation, it is essential to the success of any business. If you lack the skill to turn your passion into a valuable business, it will be nothing more than a passion.
Did you know? The adage “do what you love and the money will follow” isn’t literally true. You’ll only make money from your passion when you combine it with something the world finds useful.
Keep your plans as simple as possible; action beats planning
No matter how great your plan is, it will not be worth anything if it’s not executed on time. How do you even know an idea is marketable if you don’t put it out there in the first place?
While it’s good to plan, you shouldn’t spend all your time making a plan that never turns into action. You can only discover what people genuinely want and gear your idea towards fulfilling their needs through your actions. You don’t need to create a complex plan and over-analyze things. Once you’re sure, you want to start a business, get started as soon as possible and see what happens. Here’s how to go about it.
Select a marketable idea and determine who your end users are
As Chris Guillebeau recommends, a marketable idea doesn’t have to be a big, revolutionary idea; it just has to solve a problem or be useful enough that other people are willing to pay for it. When choosing your idea, try focusing on usefulness instead of innovation.
Keep costs low as much as you can
Most small businesses cost less than $100 to set up; most of the time, all you need is a website, Wi-Fi connection, and one or two pieces of simple equipment.
Get the first sale as soon as possible
Your first sale in a new business is a big deal, no matter the amount. That first feedback is very powerful, as it gives you an insight into what you need to do next. After an initial success, you’ll be able to reorganize your thoughts and decide what actions you need to take next.
Make sure you market your product before manufacturing
Be sure if people actually want it before you put a lot of time and energy into making a product.
Ultimately, you don’t need to do a lot of formal planning for a microbusiness built on low costs and quick action. All you need is a product or service, a group of clients, and a way to get paid.
For your business to thrive, you must learn to make offers prospects can’t refuse
On your journey to becoming a successful entrepreneur, it is vital to know how to offer your product to people in a way they can’t refuse. Yes, you must create what people want to buy, but you must also ensure that you’re marketing it to the right people at the right time.
No matter how useful your product or service is, trying to market it to the wrong people or at the wrong time will only make it appear useless. A great offer is a right promise made to the right people at the right time. Once you’ve got the right crowd at the right time, the next step is to take your product or service and craft it into a compelling pitch — an offer they can’t refuse. Here’s how you go about it.
How to construct a great offer:
- What are you selling?
- How much does it cost?
- Who will take immediate action on this offer?
- What is the primary and important secondary benefit of the offer?
- What are the main objections to the offer, and how will you counter the objections?
- Why should someone buy this now?
- How can you make this offer more compelling?
While constructing your offer, Chris Guillebeau suggests you bear some important factors in mind. First, you have to understand that what people want and what they say they want are not always the same thing.
Secondly, understand that most people like to buy but hate being sold. While most great offers often apply subtle pressure, nobody likes a hard sell. So, to make your offer compelling, carve it in such a way that it creates the illusion that a purchase is an invitation, not a pitch.
And finally, make sure your offer provides a nudge. Your offer doesn’t really have to create a “You must have this right now!” feeling among consumers, but it must create a sense of urgency. So, structure your offer so that it provides a gentle nudge to encourage immediate action.
Hustling: self-promotion is the key to getting your business up and running
When promoting something for sale, businesspeople fall into three different categories.
- The charlatans: all talk, with nothing to back up their claims
- The martyrs: all actions with plenty of good work to talk about but are unable or unwilling to do the talking
- The hustlers: these people represent the perfect combination — work and talk fused together
Here is also another way to look at people trying to market something:
- Flash: style without substance. This set of people are like the charlatans; no one respects them
- Unknown: substance without style. Like the martyrs, everyone who knows these people respect them, but not many people know them
- Impact: style with substance. This set of people are the hustlers
According to Chris Guillebeau, the willingness of an entrepreneur to promote in an authentic, non–sleazy manner is a core attribute of micro business success. The key to letting people know about your project without paying exorbitant advertisement fees is by being a hustler — creating something great and talking about it.
So, how do you go from martyr to hustler when you’re first getting started with a project? First and foremost, take the time to make something worth talking about — you don’t want to be a charlatan. But then start with everyone you know and ask for their help. Make a list of at least fifty people and divide them into categories: colleagues from a former job, college friends, acquaintances, etc. As soon as the project is good to go, at least in beta form, start the publicity by reaching out to them.
Try to put yourself out there and get people talking about your product as much as possible. Spend 50% of your time and energy creating and 50% connecting.
Spend as little money as possible and make as much money as you can
As an entrepreneur, you need to always bear in mind that your goal is to make money. It is very easy to become overwhelmed with all kinds of projects and tasks that have nothing to do with making money when starting out.
There are all kinds of things you can do, on any given day, that has nothing to do with making money — but you should beware of those distractions because, without the money, there is no business.
In essence, the main goal of business is profit; it’s not being liked or having a huge social media presence. It’s also not about having amazing products that nobody buys or having a beautiful website with perfectly crafted email newsletters.
Also, it’s very important to know that borrowing money or investing a lot of money to start a business is completely optional. This doesn’t mean that there are no examples of successful businesses that have been built through traditional methods; it just means that borrowing is no longer essential.
Try as much as possible to start on a very low budget. As Chris Guillebeau advised, it’s much more essential to focus your efforts on making money as soon as possible than on borrowing startup capital. The golden rule for starting small and growing big is to spend as little money as possible and make as much money as possible.
To start a business that will thrive and succeed, identify what skills you already have and consider how others may find them useful. Your path to freedom lies in the overlap between your skills, your passion, and something that other people are willing to pay for. So, find out what people want and then find a way to give it to them. If you set out to truly add value to the life of others as an entrepreneur, then you are on the right path.
Start your business on a very low budget. You don’t have to go into debt just because you want to start big. Most “solopreneurs” start their projects with $100 or less. Rather than pump an enormous amount of money into their projects, they invest sweat equity by working as hard as they can with little capital.
The best way to get your business off to a good start is by focusing your efforts on making money as soon as possible rather than on borrowing startup capital. One way to do this is to Price your product or service based on the benefit it provides, not the cost of producing it. Whenever you want to set the price of a new project, ask yourself: “How will this idea improve my customers’ lives, and what is that improvement worth to them?” Then set your price accordingly while still being clear that the offer is a great value. You can also offer your customers a limited range of prices. This helps you create optimum profitability and increase income without increasing your customer base.
Think of a business idea that’ll cost you little to nothing to start up, and get to work on it! And don’t forget to start publicizing your product as soon as you get started. Maintain a regular social media presence. Post at least two helpful items, respond to questions and attend to those who need help.