Category Archives: Business Building

Are you leaving employment to start a business?

The Solo Success Start-Up Guide It’s something that quite a few people are doing at the moment.

However, if you’re leaving employment to start a business,  you face an immediate challenge.

What should you be doing each day if your business is going to succeed?

There’s no shortage of tasks you could focus on, but the question is:

Which are the right tasks?

Managing Your First Month In Business

It’s early days but when you’ve left employment and you’re still getting used to being in business you will struggle with your scheduling.  That’s a shame because there are make-or-break activities that need working on.

  • You need to think about who you serve and how you serve them.
  • You need to think carefully about who you’re going to do business with and how you’re going to get your first piece of business.
  • You need to think about how you’re going to promote your business so that it will grow.
  • You need to think about how – exactly – you’re going to make sales.

That’s as well as doing all the things that land on your plate every day.

How will you decide what to work on and what to put to one side?

Starting A Business The Smart Way

You need a plan and a timetable that will make sure you don’t neglect what really matters in your business.

You can find a list of vital 21 activities to complete in your first month in business by clicking on the link below.

Leaving Employment To Start A Business

You’ll also find guidance on how to help yourself to get the right things done.

The advice is taken from The Solo Success Start-Up Guide by Margaret Adams.

 

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SuccessLike to see the first twenty of my Starting A Consulting Business – 100 Tips series.

Then look no further.

  1. How to quit your job gracefully and professionally
  2. Take advantage of available support.
  3. Don’t work alone!
  4. Your USP is …
  5. Keep control of your website.
  6. Decide what your legal status is going to be.
  7. Choose the right name for your business.
  8. Create a virtual business card.
  9. Decide where your business with be based.
  10. Don’t forget your insurance!
  11. A new business and a new direction.
  12. Starting a consulting business – learn on the job.
  13. Use your time wisely.
  14. Set limits to the hours you work.
  15. Decide if you should you work when you’re ill.
  16. Working efficiently damages business. Why not try a different approach?
  17. Starting a consulting business – only you can do it!
  18. The pros and cons of outsourcing
  19. Decide if you’re going to become an employer.
  20. You’re starting a consulting business – so tell the world.

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Ten Reasons Why You Should Develop Your Business As A Writer

There’s a lot to be said about how to develop your business as a writer, as this blog demonstrates. From time to time it’s also worth thinking about why this is an important task.
 
 Here are ten reasons why you should develop your business as a writer.
 
Of course, there will be lots more you could add to the list.
  1. These days you need multiple income streams. Jobs are less safe than they once were and the income from savings has plummeted. Therefore, you need to make sure you have eggs in lots of baskets as far as your income is concerned.
  2. Once established, a self-employed income can be more predictable than a job income. When you’re managing your own business, you are in control. You build your business and you build your customer pipeline. When you see a gap in the flow of work, you do something about it.
  3. The golden age of retirement is behind us. Retirement ages are rising. We can all expect to work for longer in the future.
  4. Running a business as a writer is an aid to learning and self-development. You have to keep learning to ensure you have new things to say.
  5. Learning and development helps you to broaden the scope and reach of your business.
  6. Over time you could become an authority in your niche. This will add to your status in your field and enhance your earning potential.
  7. Your writing can open up other opportunities: in speaking, in consultancy in blogging, in coaching and mentoring . . . and many more.
  8. Your business success will help to build and sustain your self-esteem and your sense of self-worth.
  9. You can help others via your writing.
  10. Whilst you’re building your business you’re earning. That’s great news!

 

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Rejected – or not?

For many years I didn’t write for publication.

I wrote in lots of other contexts and produced training programmes, assessment frameworks, guides, handbooks, advertising copy . . . and so on.

I hesitated about publication because I had heard so much about the rejections that writers receive. The accepted wisdom seems to be that writers get rejected, and that rejection is just part of a writer’s life.

Some of the tales that writers tell about their struggles to get published are horror stories. They tell of years and years of trying to get published, plus rejection after rejection. Writers make approaches to agents, which are turned down. Publishers say no. It all sounds very depressing.

I chose not to put myself in this sort of situation because I really didn’t want those experiences.

However, when I finally decided to broaden my writing activities to include publication, I didn’t find myself facing rejection.

My first book proposal was accepted. The contract was with me three weeks after I had submitted my proposal.

My second book proposal was also accepted.

The first feature articles I submitted were published in magazines that can be found on news stands.

Yes, I have had a book proposal turned down. I have also been in a situation where an editor did not respond to my query.

However, the vast majority of proposals I have made to editors  have been accepted.  The material has been published and paid for.

So why is my experience different from that of many writers?

I’m convinced that my success in getting published – which must stand at over 90% of my proposals – is the result of my being a businessperson who writes rather than a writer.

I write for real audiences. I make sure I understand who the readers of a publication are before I think about what I might want to say to them. I find out what their issues and concerns are. I think about them as real people. I follow themes and trends in their magazines. I do all of this before I consider what, if anything, I might want to write.

When I contact the relevant editor the conversation is about the readership of the publication and its interests. I only offer what I think will be of interest to the readership once I am sure, as a result of speaking to the editor, I have judged the mood of the readership correctly.

I probably have at least half a dozen themes and treatments I could offer before the telephone conversation begins. I refine what I will offer as a result of the first part of the conversation with the editor.

What I’m doing here is what successful businesspeople do. I’m segmenting the market before I take action. I’m getting to understand my prospects. I’m doing my best to qualify the audience in terms of their characteristics, interests and concerns.

I’m also sounding out the editor of the relevant publication and discussing possibilities.

What I’m not doing is trying to find a market for an idea that I already have. I’m not trying to sell a commodity – an article or a feature that is already fully formed in my mind. I’m discussing what will be of interest to a readership. Then I make a proposal.

As a result, when I make an approach to an editor, I tend not to be rejected.

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Promoting yourself as a fiction writer and as a non-fiction writer . . .

The promotional challenges you face are quite different when you write fiction from those you face when you write non-fiction. Yet, in both cases you need to think about your image and your personal brand as well as your writing.

When you promote yourself as a writer of non-fiction the chances are you’re promoting yourself as an expert in something. Perhaps you have written articles about aspects of your book or books. Maybe you write a blog about your subject, or speak at conferences, or work in the relevant industry.

Your key messages are likely to be:

“I know the answers.”
“You’ll be interested in what I have to say on this subject.”
“I can help you to solve your problems.”

And that’s what you need to do through your books.

When you promote yourself as a writer of fiction, you’re selling something else.

You’re trying to sell to someone the idea that you’re a good storyteller.

There is a problem here. There is no agreed definition of what makes a good story, let alone a clear statement about what makes a good storyteller. There are also lots and lots and lots of novels out there, so how can you differentiate your novel from all the rest?

Don’t think you can just talk about your book. Every one has great things to say about their books. You need to give people other reasons for taking an interest in you.

If you start to say that you’re a good storyteller or a great writer of romance, it’s more difficult to prove your case. Of course, track record is important, but every one has to start somewhere, so think about other ways of enticing people to read your work.

Maybe your messages about yourself are to do with your age and your experiences. Maybe you live in the same area as your target readership or where your novel is set. Maybe your background is similar to that of your target readers. Maybe you have an interesting personal story to tell.

And lots more of the same.

In order to succeed you need to think about your image and the personal brand you are creating whatever you write, because this is part of your sales message.

What’s more, it’s never too soon to think about this aspect of your work, so don’t neglect it whilst you are writing your great work.

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Don’t set out to fail.

Last time I wrote about Paul – or Paula – and made a link between an entrepreneur who goes about building a business in ways that are unlikely to work and writers who adopt a similar approach.

It’s a big mistake to go forward with a business idea, just because you think it’s great. We’ve already dealt with the need to accept the differences between writing for yourself and writing for a world that will pay. Click here to read the post.

It’s also important to know what the market is buying. Whether you have a business idea, an idea for a novel, or an idea for a non-fiction book, you need to do your research about the current market. You also need to get in touch with real purchasers and find out what they are buying and why they are buying. In other words, you need to get close to your customer.

Finally, you need to remember that you don’t sell great ideas. You sell benefits to people. You sell solutions to their problems. You sell products and services which add value to your customers. Your idea is only great as far as anyone else is concerned when it does something to help them.

I’m going to deal with issues arising from these points in more detail over the next couple of weeks.

I’ll be doing this from the perspective of writers looking to be more commercially successful.

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Defining Yourself (4) – Define your brand.

Discussions about brands can cause people who prefer to define themselves as writers to panic.

They don’t want the spotlight on them. They want to stay in the background. They want to sit at their computers and produce text. They want to point people at the outputs of their endeavours and away from them.

“That’s okay, isn’t it?” They will ask – hoping to get the answer they want.

They won’t get it from me.

Successful businesses need successful brands. In fact, successful businesses are built on successful brands.

A brand is a promise. People know what they will get when they buy a brand. They seek out the brands they like and in doing so demonstrate loyalty to those brands.

In the case of creative individuals, when people buy, they are actually getting a tiny slice of the person who created the product as well as the product itself when they make their purchase.

That tiny slice of you is what makes you special. It’s what differentiates you from every one else. It’s this aspect of your work that you need to promote and to highlight.

You are doing yourself a disservice by trying to sink into the background and sell each item you produce as a commodity.

Guess what? People pay less for commodities than they pay for what they think is special.

If you have ever been in competition with lots of other people for the opportunity to write a feature, or to complete a piece of writing work, your output is being judged as a commodity. You could do the piece of work, so could lots of others.

Little wonder, then, that buyers look for the lowest price.

If people are buying a piece of writing from you as a commodity which they could get from other people, you definitely need to think about your brand.

When people buy from me – whether they are buying a handbook, a guide, a feature, a book idea or a training programme – they know they are buying an approach which makes difficult concepts easy to understand.

That’s what I do. I take complex ideas and make them easy for people to understand and to work with.

Now, think about this with regard to your own work.

Why are people coming to you? What are they buying from you? (Why are they coming to you rather than to anyone else?)

Work out the answer and start to define your brand. It will help your business, if you do.

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Filed under Business Building, Defining Yourself