Entries Tagged 'Self Employed' ↓

A Method to Validate Your Business Idea

In this episode I break down a method I use to validate business ideas and then determine whether to move forward with development or ditch the idea.

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You only need a few customers to be successful

If you think about the numbers, you realize you don’t need that many customers to be successful.  Many people are seeking to get loads of traffic and huge list.  The problem is they are focused so much on growing their traffic and list that they miss the point of taking care of a small number of customers and then iterating.

Your focus from the beginning should be to find a person that wants what you are selling and is willing to pay for it.  If you can’t accomplish this with one person, what makes you think it will happen when you have many people coming to your site or on your list.  Now, I am not saying that more eyeballs looking at your offer won’t produce sales, but what will be the cost of acquiring those sales.  Will you have to write twenty blog post, spend $200 on ads, or follow 1000 people to make each sale?  Will it take you a day, a month, or even a year to get to a sale?  Will you be able to sell at all?

It is far better to answer these questions at the beginning of your venture.  Taking what you believe will make you successful and potential customers happy, building a rudamentay product, and getting actual sales, will prove whether you can be successful and in what time frame it can be accomplished.

I am speaking from experience.  I have build a lot of things I thought everyone would come running to and pay me money for.  The worst being the five years I spent developing a restaurant menu and recipe website that was suppose to shock the world.  It wasn’t until I finally decided to give it up that I realized this type of website was the model of what not to do.  The crazy thing is I was reading about the very stuff this article is about and I just kept right on down the path of failure.

Don’t be the guy who takes years or months to figure out if your idea is a failure.  If you think being bullheaded and going against the grain is a top characteristics of successful entrepreneurs, you are half wrong.  Yes, you have to go against Aunt Sally who says you are crazy for trying to start a business when you should stick to a real job, but you can’t go against your market.  They have to want what you are selling.  They may not know they want it because they don’t have it yet, but they have to want it and want to pay for it once they are presented with it.

The good thing about this way of validating an idea is you figure out you don’t need very many customers to be successful.  If you get 200 customers paying you $20 a month, you have an income of $4000 per month.  If you are selling digital goods, then subtracting even a modest overhead cost of $500 leaves you with $3500.  This is a nice income for many and it is attainable.  I know that many people reading this would say they would love to be at this number right now, but have failed to get anywhere close to reaching it.  I would say you need to stop and access what it is you are doing in your business and figure out if you can make it successful in its present state.

Do you have a product that people want to buy and are buying?  If not, you have to find that first paying customer.  Once you find the first paying customer, you will begin to understand if there is a demand for what you have and if there is someone willing to pay you for it.  Then, you look for your next customer, then the next, and so on.  The further you get down this path of acquiring customers, the better you will become at it.  You will start to see a pattern emerge and you will be able to summarize a process that you can scale.

If you can’t acquire customers, then you have to stop and rethink what you are offering.  It is the ability to stop the process quick and at the beginning of your venture, replacing your initial idea with a modified idea or a new idea, that gives you the best opportunity to succeed.  And because you are finding your real customers early, you are able to charge a price that makes your product viable and that only requires you to gather a small group of fans that will pay you.

27 Bloggers To Follow If You Want To Be Self Employed

The list I have compiled in this post are of people that are living the dream that I want to live in some way.  They are all self-employed and control their own time.   They all have their own stories and have tailored their lives according to how they want to live it.  And I believe that is the key theme that runs through all of the sites; own your life.

Jonathan Fields – is a former lawyer turned serial entrepreneur.
http://www.jonathanfields.com/blog/quit-or-build-on-side/

Pat Flynn – was laid off of his job as a senior drafter for an architecture firm and has been making a full time living online ever since.
http://www.smartpassiveincome.com/my-first-online-business/

Tom Ewer – seven months after deciding to quit his job, he did.  He now makes his living as a freelance writer and developing niche websites.
http://www.leavingworkbehind.com

Pam Slim – she left the corporate world in 1996 to work for herself.  She now helps others do the same.
http://www.escapefromcubiclenation.com

Justin Wright – a blogger, WordPress consultant, and digital nomad whose main goals are to be happy, spend time outdoors, and help as many people as he can.
http://www.lifeofjustin.com

Chris Guillebeau – has been to self-employed his entire life.  He helps others realize their dreams of working for themselves.
http://chrisguillebeau.com/3×5/overnight-success/ – his free book on creating your own success.

Glen Allsop – started creating websites when he was 15.  He is has tons of free content on how to market online.
http://www.viperchill.com

Michael Dunlop – started making money online when he was very young.  Had an epiphany on how to convert visitor that has totally changed the way he markets.
http://www.incomediary.com/

Maren Kate – founder of Zirtual.com, I think the name of her blog says it all.
http://www.escapingthe9to5.com

Dirk De Bruin – I really liked this side-by-side comparison he has on the benefits and drawbacks of working for yourself.
http://www.upgradereality.com/fire-your-boss/

Corbett Barr – says you should not just useinfo from a person’s about page to write about them in a list like this, so, I didn’t do that for him.  He has some great insights into making your own destiny.  He runs thinktraffic.net and corbettbarr.com (formerly freepursuits.com
http://www.corbettbarr.com/18-months-2-blogs-six-figures – free ebook about his journey.

Christine Gilbert – quit her corporate job in 2009, sold everything, and is making a living while she travels the world.  She is working on a documentary about people who work online and travel the world.
http://almostfearless.com/travelbooks/book/the-wireless-generation/

Sunil – an immigrant who moved to the USA when he was 15 and makes a living working online.
http://www.extramoneyblog.com/

Cody McKibben – quit his job in 2007 and has been self-employed ever since.  He travels Southeast Asia and works from his laptop.
http://www.thrillingheroics.com

Lea Woodward – lives a location independent lifestyle with her husband and daughter.
http://www.locationindependent.com

Barbara Weibel – left her 70 hour a week job to pursue a 6 month backpacking trip on her own.  She has some really beautiful photos on her site of her travels.
http://www.holeinthedonut.com/

Theodora Sutcliffe – started out on a one year journey with her nine year old to travel Asia.  Decide they liked it so much, they didn’t stop.
http://www.travelswithanineyearold.com/

Simon Fairbairn and Erin McNeaney – sold everything in 2010 and left the UK to travel the world.
http://www.neverendingvoyage.com

Daniel Noll and Audrey Scott – left the Czech Republic in 2006 to travel and take photographs.  They have been to over 70 countries.
http://www.uncorneredmarket.com

Christy and Kali – decided to travel after college.  They work online to make a living while they travel.
http://www.technosyncratic.com

Colin and Tracy Burns – working remotely and traveling the world with their two small children
http://www.ourtravellifestyle.com/

Katherine and Michael Tyson – an artist and software developer who are traveling Europe while they work.
http://www.technomadics.net

Michael Tieso – sold everything he had in 2009 to travel and make his living on the internet.
http://www.artofbackpacking.com

Cori Padgett – a ghostwriter and internet marketer who love to help others realize their dream of becoming an entrepreneur.
http://www.biggirlbranding.com

Ross Dawson – a successful entrepreneur,  I thought the post below were some compelling reasons to be self employed.
http://www.rossdawsonblog.com/weblog/archives/2012/02/7-compelling-reasons-to-become-self-employed.html

Carole Seawert – a marketing copywriter who has been writing twice as long as she was an employee.
http://www.freelancefactfile.com/benefits-of-being-self-employed/

David Airey – a self employed graphic designer and design author.
http://www.davidairey.com/self-employed-graphic-designer/

All of the blogger in this post are living the lives they want to live.  They have taken control.  They are their own boss.  If you desire to be your own boss, I hope you find the strength to get there and take the steps necessary.  I know it will be the greatest adventure of your life.