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Stop Wasting Money On Your New Business

I’m going to tell you this story about a budding “entrepreneur” and some common mistakes. Then I am going to give you some suggestions below.

Let’s get started.

This is a story about Tom. Tom is a middle-aged guy who’s been working in his industry for nearly 20 years. There’s not much about his industry that Tom doesn’t know. But what Tom does know is that he can’t take another day working in his job. Frankly, the way the economy has been treating his industry lately, Tom’s not even sure that he will have a job much longer.

So Tom starts to think and get creative. With all of his knowledge, he thinks to himself, “I’m going to start my consulting business.”

Tom’s been seeing all of the buzzes about the freedom of being an entrepreneur and how he can work for himself. He gets excited. He tells his wife who looks at him in disbelief.

What do you think the first thing Tom does?

He comes up with a business name! Tom’s Awesome Business. Now, he’s super excited. He’s given it a name and so now he thinks “I have a business.”

So what do you think that Tom does next?

Of course, He gets business cards. Tom goes to Vista Print and chooses the most popular business card design, slaps on his information, and orders 5,000 business cards because “Hey they were only $100 and everyone is going to want to do business with me!”

(If he was lucky he got some sort of logo to go along with them.)

Now Tom is smart. He’s savvy enough to know that no one looks at the Yellow Pages anymore. He knows that if he wants people to find him online that he needs to get a website.

“How do I get a website?” He asks himself.

He can do one of three things:

  1.  He can do it himself
  2. He can hire an amateur
  3. He can hire a professional

Now before we go any further I want to review what Tom has done so far.

  1. He had an idea to start a business
  2. He came up with a business name
  3. He got business cards
  4. Now he wants to build a website

This is pretty typical of people who want to become entrepreneurs. They think that this is what it takes. They jump on the bandwagon and they start spending money to make their dream become a reality. However, they forget to do one important thing:

They forget to build an actual business.

Tom may know his industry and what he can do but he doesn’t know how to tell people why he does it. He hasn’t considered all of the other roles he’s going to have to take on when he is working for himself.

So here are some questions that Tom’s wife is thinking in the back of her mind:

  • Is Tom really an Entrepreneur?
  • Is he going to be able to manage himself?
  • What’s he going to offer?
  • What’s he going to charge?
  • How is he going to get paid?
  • Does anyone actually want his services?
  • Will they pay him for it?

Let’s get back to the story and see what happens next. Tom is going to try to hire someone to do the website for him. So Tom goes to a professional first. They listen to what he has and they realize that Tom hasn’t built his business. They know that they have to work with Tom to help him build more than just a website. So they quote him about $5,000 to $10,000.

Tom sees the proposal, has a heart attack, and dies… Just Kidding.

Actually, he gives up on his dream & keeps his day job… (Another Joke, I know.)

Tom gets “creative” and finds an amateur on Craigslist to build him a website. He tells the kid, “This will look good on your portfolio!” Though the amateur is a bit naïve he is smart enough to charge Tom $300 – $500 for the website.

And then it begins…

The amateur starts to design a website but Tom suddenly realizes he likes a different color. And now he wants a new logo. And he didn’t know he would have to write content. Why do I need to tell people about me, I just want to sell, sell, sell! Tom doesn’t want to write descriptions of his services because he’s not exactly sure what he’s going to offer.

It goes on and on and on.

The amateur finally gets the guts to tell Tom to pay him for all of this extra work. Now Tom is upset and he threatens to sue his amateur web designer. The web designer gives Tom his website and tells him to have a nice day. He then proceeds to hack Tom’s identity and…wait…nevermind.

Now Tom finds himself with 4,998 business cards, a business name, a halfway completed website, no business, no prospects, no job (because he already quit). Tom’s in too deep and his wife isn’t looking too happy with him.

I’m not really sure what happens to Tom next. I’d like to say that he had a whale of a customer hire him to do awesome stuff so that he then had the money to go back to the professional and get his website set up.

The reality is that Tom needed to pay bills and probably didn’t have enough money to hire the professional. He probably went on to hire another amateur and before you know it every web designer in town knows to avoid Tom like the plague.

Does any of this sound familiar? Do you know someone like Tom? I know I’ve been guilty of the same thing – building collateral without building a business. If you know someone like Tom, then here are some ideas:

1.  Read The E-Myth Revisited, NOW: I had avoided this book for a long time but after reading it, I came to realize that there are seasons in business growth. You need to fulfill the needs of different business personalities. You need to have a reality check before you become a statistic.

2. Start with a Facebook page: The number one thing you need to be successful in business is interest. Get started with a Facebook page. You can do it for free. You can change your name once on it. You can gauge interest. You can get instant feedback. If it doesn’t work out who cares.

If you say, “I don’t do Facebook.”, just quit trying to chase a business idea and keep your day job. If you aren’t willing to engage the largest community in the world to legitimize your business, then you are independently wealthy and don’t need money.

3. Build your own website first: Wait. What? Yes, you read that right. Listen, between Wix, Squarespace, and other website builders out there, you have a great opportunity to get started for much cheaper. It may not look 100%. But it’s yours and you will learn what it means to have your business online.

NOTE: When you learn and understand this, working with a professional later will be a breeze. I will thank you for it and you will save a lot of money working with me.

4. Let your business evolve: I know that building a business means pivots, changes, and refinements. Let it evolve and update your business on Facebook and your website. When you get to a solid-state, then it’s time to invest in a professional kick-ass website.

5. Don’t Hire Me: I know. I made it weird again. But here’s the thing. You can hire me when you know in your heart that you are ready. Expect to spend a lot of time, a lot of energy, and yes, a lot of money to build something totally awesome. I can only build you an online presence that is attractive, captures leads, educates prospects, and SELLS! If you can’t handle that, don’t hire me.

Starting a business is like having a baby. (Tom’s a guy so he doesn’t completely understand this.) You know the idea of starting a business is a lot of fun at first. But then you go through months of shaping and building your business until finally, you birth something that has all of your hopes and dreams inside of it. Then it starts. You can name the baby, set up a nursery, and build the baby a crib, but it means nothing if you don’t have the baby itself.

If this was interesting to you and you would like to read more stories like this, comment below and tell me how I did. If you think, I’m an idiot, I will gladly accept that kind of feedback below as well, you big bad troll.

If you seriously just want to give me money I’m happy to shoot you an invoice by email and take your payment online, but it’s not really necessary. Just pay me with your Like, Comment, and Share.

James Bullis

James Bullis is a marketing technologist based out of Jenks, OK. Ever since he taught himself how to code HTML from a borrowed book and no computer, he has been on a mission to help other people create amazing websites that get results. He loves working with clients who make an impact on the world especially small business people, speakers, and influencers.

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