2. How can you help?
3. Engage the small business.
4. Build a brand.
6. Research competitors to do what they do and crush what they're not.
7. Put your ideas to use to gain exposure.
8. Hang on because it's going to be one hell of a ride!
Ah the Independent Contractor. Simple words of agreement can take you from paychecks and time card's to the freedom you've always dreamed of. Leaving the rat race to serve the rat race. My former laundry business could be summed up as a tech savvy twist to an ancient service. Now, being a middle man is easy but what isn't easy is being a middle man that 1- Has some kind of control over the service or 2- Finding a service that this could be implemented into. Enjoy :)
I didn't wake up one day and say ahha! laundry. No, the only reason why laundry was chosen was because someone presented the opportunity to me to help build their new brick and mortar biz. Independent contracting come's from relationships with business men. When im looking to start a new Muse i don't pick the field and then network for that space. Instead i network for all spaces than analyze which space needs my input.
So how tough is it to get going once you have your idea in place. I'll take you through All of the steps of Comeclean.it to show you how I had my first paying customer in just 6 days from idea to reality.
As the middle man I had to bring paying customers to the physical laundromat. Doing so while keeping a separate brand meant I needed to keep the focus on me. Building a website simply with weebly.com allowed me to build a functional site in 2 day's, therefore giving me a face and credibility to start building my customer relations. Site is built and now it was time to negotiate a wholesale price with the laundromat, as I will now be their best customer.
Example: Laundromat charges $3/LB to wash and fold your clothes. You would then be looking for 30% - 50% discount on the service. Making the service free for your customer's whether they use you or the store directly is a huge advantage.
Once the price is set verbally or legally open an LLC and you are officially in business. Now find your competitors weakness' and pounce. Stick with it. Being consistent in business will be your hardest task but will also be you backbone (trust).
In order for me to have the communication with my customers that THEY wanted I had to bite the bullet and purchase a smart phone. This was my office my car was my service was my product and my site was my store. Offering better time for pick up and deliveries I automatically grabbed the attention I needed. Attention to appointments was a huge factor. If I had a schedule for pick ups and had an appointment every 15 minutes, I had to be on time. This goes back to making it easier for your customer. If i were to say there is a 3 hour window like my competitors I mite as well been wearing a cable guy shirt because who likes them?! So take the time of your customer's seriously and they will reciprocate giving you more free time.
Sound's easy right? Now proceed with consistency until it is now overwhelming for you. This will happen and you will look back and say is this why I started this? Time to hire someone to do your job but only after your cash flow each month will pay your employee well and still put enough money in your pocket to keep you driven. This is the stage in your new business when you have to make a decision. Is it worth it? Will i ever be able to generate enough for more employees? Sometimes negotiating a better price with the B&M could be your savior or maybe it's just time to MOVE ON. Either way stay as emotionally detached from the task at hand as possible or you may find this stepping stone to be your last venture.
With a few guerilla marketing campaigns that I will go further into detail below you have created a Muse that will able you to have much more free time to do the things you want, or to simply pay the bills while you develope your next big idea.
So take a look around your community. See what small business' need help because of tired small business owner's or just lack of Tech. knowledge and go inside and speak with them. Most small business owner's are willing to make an arrangement so long as it's beneficial to them.
1. Networking - As an Entrepreneur your networking abilities will be your number one asset. Using your personality and genuine interest to attract people towards you and your new venture. If you are not a know business man and opportunities aren't just coming to you, you will have to go out and find them. The biggest key will be to keep an open mind and to stay under the radar.
Exp.- You just found yourself in the same room as the man who made you quit your job and start this crazy lifestyle in the first place. Simply thank him and forget who he is. Even though you probably crafted the entire night to "accidentally" see him. This is the best advice I can give to any entrepreneur. Instead listen and engage in a conversation with them. Don't agree with everything he say's unless you truly agree with him, this person probably has enough people doing that already.
You heard he ran a marathon recently? You have a genuine interest how he did it. Ask him to email you his work out plan when he gets a chance. Have a better plan? Offer to send him yours. This is engagement through two people on a common interest that builds the strongest longest lasting relationships. Stay away from networking events as much as possible and control your connections through experiences.
2. It's time to find a problem to solve. Maybe the bakery down the street from you that has been there for 40 years is losing business rapidly do to tired ownership or lack of innovation. Maybe starting a bread delivery route is in order with some kind of tech. implemented. What ever it may be more money will be coming to him in turn will be going to you at little or no effort on the Brick and Mortar side. Something as simple as a Facebook page could woo your prehistoric prospect. Start simple think big.
3. Engage the small business of interest and build a relationship. Buy coffee from that deli you want to help every morning taking time out of your day to ask how everything is going. This can be done while you are developing your business idea giving you a better understanding of what they need or if they'll be interested at all. Build trust on both sides because you will need it. Remember you will be most likely dealing with this person for the length of you endeavor so make sure you can deal with that.
4. Once you've found your way to infiltrate build a model via website. This gives the owner the best visual way of seeing what it is you want to an how you will execute. It doesn't have o be expensive or extravegant a simple working/non working display will do just fine. Be prepared to have done this work for not money but credibility.
5. You did it! They are now interested. Now is time to negotiate your prices. Taking your fair share with a cut that won't put him out of business. No strings attached, you will be making what you deserve and that's it. You can raise the price of service and keep your brand totally separate or you can offer a free service and give the actual store some credit which will be beneficial in the future of negotiating a better price.
6. Now that the price is set. Time to do the leg work. See who your competitors are and do some research. Check all of the review sites ( Yelp.com,Zagaat.com) to see what your competitors are doing and not doing. We're not reinventing the wheel here so if they are doing something that work's implement it, if they are doing something that doesn't it's time for innovation. This will be your core/edge on the competition.
7. Time to get going. Now all you need is customer's. Maybe ask the store owner if you can put something up offering your service to his existing customers in benefit bringing more. Guerilla marketing is my drug of choice. Here is a site to get your juices flowing with some budget ad. campaigns.
8. That's right hang on because you have just entered the world of business. There will be many was you can go from here but remember to always stay true to yourself and have fun. The business is not your new job but a task in your real job of being and Entrepreneur."Some will laugh, many will follow"