One night, as I was about to wrap up my freelance work for the day on my couch, something surprising caught my eye. A bright red “1” had appeared at the top of my laptop screen – a notification that another email from a potential client had just come in!
Ah, the sweet sound of opportunity–as a freelancer, nothing is more exciting than getting another client who wants to work with you. So when I was urgently scrolling through an email about an amazing project that this potential customer wanted me to consider taking on, it seemed like all my dreams were coming true!
But then something occurred to me: not only did these clients have big ideas they wanted set in motion–I had big plans for myself too. After all, what’s the point of working freelance if I’m not allowed some time and space with which to cultivate my own ambitions?
Fortunately, I had several paths to take. Technology doesn’t only have freelancing and consulting as alternatives if you don’t want a 9-5 job. If becoming self-employed isn’t your cup of tea, why not start your own company? It could be related to technology services or the development of an app; it might even involve something that ignites passion in you like running a non-profit organization. Even if freelance work is what makes you happiest, there’s always room for side projects that stir enthusiasm in you!
“See, once you have the technical chops to turn a client’s dreams into reality, you can apply those same skills to your OWN projects. Need a site with online shopping? You can do it! Need to work on an app with a UX designer and an iOS developer? It’s in the bag.”
While your technical capabilities and innovative ideas are important elements of a successful business, they don’t guarantee success. You don’t need any special degree or prior experience to make it happen either – what you require is an action plan that will help you take off right away!
According to online business expert Hilary Rushford, if you don’t launch your idea within a month’s time, it may never happen. So regardless of how prepared you feel – the best moment for pursuing your dream is right now!
That doesn’t imply that you have to reach $1 million in sales within 30 days—what it means is that you need to take the plunge and get your hands dirty.
Follow this two-week plan to get your business up and running in no time. During the initial week, you’ll work on detailing critical information about your company, customers, and how it will be brought into action. The second week requires tackling logistics like paperwork completion and other behind-the-scenes efforts that are necessary for success.
I had the great opportunity to talk with our founder, Adda Birnir, and gain valuable insights into launching a business. Additionally, I conducted an in-depth examination of my own personal journey as I strive towards starting up Week of Plenty.
Clearly, you must put in diligent effort if you expect to build a successful enterprise – just inquire with Adda for confirmation! Nevertheless, the most difficult bit is getting started. With this plan at your disposal, you will be well-equipped to kick off on your journey towards success.
Are you an avid freelancer? Even if you love the work that you do, this two-week bootcamp can act as a great strategy to help build and refine your freelance career. Download it today and jumpstart your way towards achieving success with greater ease!
Your 2-week Action Plan for Launching Your Business
Before we start, I must emphasize the importance of taking time to concoct a business plan. Running Lean by Ash Maurya is an outstanding book that can aid you in streamlining and refining what exactly it is that your company will offer. This book belongs to the Lean Series which was derived from Eric Reis’s The Lean Startup.
If books don’t quite mesh with your lifestyle, try signing up for an online course like Marie Forleo’s B-School! This bootcamp will help you get organized and prepared but at the end of the day it requires dedication from you to make that dream a reality.
How to Use This Bootcamp
- Download the guide.
- Print or save it.
- Schedule time in your calendar over the next 2 weeks.
- Complete each day’s step, revisit this post if needed.
1. Refine your idea. (Monday)
If you haven’t already, this is the perfect time to build a strong foundation for your business. Think about what need it fulfills, who will use it and how much money you’ll have to invest in launching? Don’t fret if that seems like jargon at first – there are numerous books and e-courses available which thoroughly explain the intricate details of starting a company. Once done with those resources, come back here so we can keep going!
After spending so much time responding to all the grueling questions concerning your business idea, it’s essential that you take a step back. You have been wholly committed in this thought process for an extended period of time; now is the ideal opportunity to refine and perfect it. Just like how you should be able to explain your career with ease using an elevator pitch, similarly, presenting your company concept must come naturally off the cuff.
Are you ready to take the challenge? If so, it’s time for you to share your business idea with three of your friends and three strangers. Should they not understand what it is that you are trying to convey – ask yourself why is this concept failing them? Think back on everything again; what part of the idea isn’t obvious enough or doesn’t immediately make sense? It may be time for some revisions!
Struggling with your pitches? Perhaps the issue lies in reconsidering what problem you’re resolving and to which audience. Doing some research and tweaking your idea is essential for success, so don’t be afraid to experiment! Also bear in mind that as time passes, so too will your concept – it’s all part of the process known as iteration.
Additional note: since this text seems to focus on business advice/inspiration I would suggest using more professional language (e.g., revising rather than changing) that may sound less informal or colloquial when read aloud or shared among colleagues 🤓
2. Write out your business plan. (Tuesday)
Congrats on putting your idea out there and getting feedback yesterday! You’re probably already working on a business plan, so now’s the perfect time to refine it. By making sure that you have all of your ducks in a row before starting, you can ensure success down the road.
Depending on your individual requirements and objectives, your business plan will vary. Are you seeking to convince investors? Then a more comprehensive, traditional plan such as this one is possibly better suited for the task.
If you are a part of a smaller organization or business, with its main focus on efficiency and productivity, then it is awfully helpful to keep your business plan concise and agile. That way you will be able to adjust quickly as needed when the need arises in order for your company/organization to stay competitive.
Make sure to take note of the three most essential components when creating a startup business plan, and then commit it all to paper.
Prior to advancing, use this stage to rethink your expenses – especially if you’re planning on utilizing this business plan to acquire startup funds.
What are you waiting for? Take the plunge and begin crafting your masterpiece! Or, feel free to hit delete if perhaps a few of your ideas didn’t quite fit into that first business plan.
3. Define your user base. (Wednesday)
If you’ve undertaken a Skillcrush Blueprint or any project of web design, product development, and the like – then you are undoubtedly aware of user personas. This notion becomes essential for success in business (or website!) ventures: as no matter how awesome your product may be – it won’t make an impact unless someone purchases it. A well-developed user persona will offer insight into who exactly needs to buy your idea!
If you’re searching for a way to better understand your target customer, take a look at HelpScout’s insightful article on how essential it is to identify who they are. Click the link and get up-to-date information that will set you on the path of success!
If you’re feeling bold, why not take the plunge? Create a document and form a detailed profile of your ideal user. Get into the nitty-gritty details to really bring them to life!
Trying to answer questions like “What is her name?” or “What does she want out of life” can be a tough task. To make it easier, try thinking about someone you already know and use that as your basis for understanding the target user. If further clarity is needed, Entrepreneur’s 10 essential inquiries when defining your target users will help put everything into perspective.
Rather than attempting to create something that works for everybody, it is wiser to hone in on a precise issue and thoroughly solve the problem of only one group. Do not take my word for it – read this article!
Spend 15 minutes constructing an all-encompassing persona of your target user, and make sure to hang on to it; you’ll need it tomorrow!
4. Talk to a user. (Thursday)
After you’ve identified your target audience, it’s time to reach out. Yes, this means communicating with humans! A common mistake entrepreneurs make is investing copious amounts of energy and resources into a solution before they can even be sure if their user base will purchase it.
Did you know that before Skillcrush ever came up with any classes or Blueprints, we started out as a tech-term newsletter? We took the time to ask our users what they wanted and needed from us.
The bottom line?
Your assignment: It’s time to schedule meetings with up to fifteen (or more!) people and solicit their honest opinions on aspects of your business plan. Go ahead and ask them the important questions—would you purchase this? Why or why not? What would cause you make a purchase: the name, product, or price point? This invaluable feedback can help inform decisions that will drive success for your business.
To reach your intended consumers, why not set up shop right in the places they frequent, such as Whole Foods or Dunkin Donuts? You can casually approach them and explain your product’s potential benefits!
Gather all the feedback you can, make sure to jot down notes and details, then review your plan to identify any areas that may need changes. Consider if you should adjust your idea or target a new audience – after that get ready to launch officially the next day.
5. Claim your domain and social media handles. (Friday)
After considering all the necessary elements of your business and its target users, you are now ready to set out on a path. Even though slight changes may be required along the way, this is when solidifying your business plan becomes vital. Let’s make sure we establish an anchor point right here before continuing ahead!
Your task right now is simple: If you haven’t done so already, buy your domain name and secure the corresponding social media accounts. To make sure no one takes them away from you, reserve any other potential handles that could be confused with yours. For example, create a Twitter account using both your business’ name and personal name – as customers might try to locate either of those when looking for you online!
For tips on choosing a domain, check out this infographic.
6. Come up with a marketing plan. (Saturday)
Now, let’s be serious. You likely can’t craft and execute a comprehensive marketing strategy for your entire business in one day; that is if you work regular hours elsewhere. However, you can initiate the process and generate enough of an outline to get going!
3 places to start are:
If there’s one thing even Derek Halpern says you must do as an entrepreneur, it’s to build your email list. If that feels like a daunting task, Nathalie Lussier provides the perfect solution – her 30-Day List Building Challenge. As for blogging? It genuinely has countless advantages but primarily helps entrepreneurs gain credibility and trust by providing helpful content to their readership base!
If you want to boost your social media presence, look no further than the advice of Laura Roeder – one of my favorite social media gurus. She offers plenty of tips and tricks on how to build up a strong following for your profiles. So don’t miss out! Join her email list today and start growing your network right away.
Above all, design your marketing plan around the channels used by your real consumers. For example, if you’ve determined that most of your users are active on Facebook, think about creating targeted advertisements for them there. If they’re highly engaged with influencers through Instagram – take advantage of such an outlet to promote and spread awareness of your brand!
Crafting a marketing plan is similar to writing your business strategy, but it will have shifts as time passes. Devote some effort now to make a blueprint for growing an email listbase, launching a corporate blog and constructing a social media presence.
7. Take a break! (Sunday)
While it might seem like overworking is an expected trait of startup founders, you need to take a step back in order to maintain clarity and focus! Take some time for yourself to relax and recharge – your ideas will benefit from the break.
8. Call an accountant. (Monday)
Before you can decide which logistics to organize (such as your business bank account), it is wise to seek the advice of an expert. As each company’s needs may be unique, ask yourself a few questions before making any decisions:
- What kind of business should I register? An LLC? An S-Corp? Something else??
- What kind of records should I keep?
- What do I need to know about taxes?
Make sure you investigate the most pertinent questions to ask your accountant, and then make a time. It’s not hard at all! 🙂
9. Register your business. (Tuesday)
Today is the day you take action to establish your business. Thankfully, there are multiple online avenues available today that make this process easier than ever before – even if they come with a few charges here and there. If you’re still unsure as to which legal entity would be best suited for your needs (LLC, S-Corp or something else), then head over to sba.gov and do some research on it! It’s important though that you remember each state has its own requirements when registering businesses; simply type in “register my business in [insert State]” into Google search bar & voila! You’ll have all the information needed right at your fingertips!
Don’t miss the step of creating DBAs (doing business as). A DBA is a form that must be filed by your company to account for all its aliases. Let’s say you own Gina’s Pasta, LLC with an eatery known as Pasta Pantry–hint: “Pasta Pantry” is now a DBA! Furthermore, if ever you receive payments in your name individually, then another separate DBA may need filing too. Don’t let perplexity take over and check this article out for details on when and why these documents are necessary.
10. Open a business bank account. (Wednesday)
Wednesday – the ideal day to make your business banking dreams come true! Today, you’ll be taking a big step forward in establishing your very own bank account. Does it feel like reality is finally here? Make sure to bring all of the following items with you:
- DBAs we talked about.
- Business registration papers. If you opened an LLC, they’ll probably be called “Articles of Organization.”
- EIN Number, or employee identification number. You might need one of these for tax purposes, and you can find out if you do and how to get one at irs.gov.
- A deposit! You gotta put something IN that account! If you don’t have a lump sum ready, ask your banker how much is required.
- Any other things required by your bank! Call the bank or read up here to figure out what else you might need to bring along.
11. Check with a lawyer.
Don’t forget to check your business plan with a lawyer! Now is the perfect time to ensure that everything you’re doing falls within all legal requirements. If there’s something you’re worried about, then consult an attorney for advice and assistance. Here are some topics worth considering:
- Paying people
- Starting your business plan while you’re still at your full-time job
- Sharing your business plan with friends to get feedback
And if you’re looking for a lawyer, check out Priori Legal.
12. Make a list of everything you need to do. (Friday)
Do you have roughly 2.3 billion ideas, tasks, and worries consuming your headspace? If so, let’s get them down on paper today! Forget categorizing or ranking what’s essential right now – just jot everything down in one huge list. We can worry about prioritization tomorrow – for the moment, simply capture it all.
13. Make a 30-day plan. (Saturday)
I can still vividly recall the day my husband chose to launch our restaurant, Shorty’s Pizza Shack. He had a well-defined plan of action, he’d done his due diligence researching the market trends, and even knew what it would take financially to finish constructing the building – down to its name! Despite having all these preparations in order though, he remained tentative about moving forward. Little did I know how influential my words would be when I told him something like, “Well, if you don’t do it now, when you’re totally READY, you’re just chicken.”
It’s time to take a leap of faith! Occasionally, it’s essential to return to the basics and reassess our strategies. Nevertheless, at times, the best course of action is simply taking that first step. Start today – you won’t regret it!
Take today to craft a 30-day plan of action and you’ll be amazed at how much progress you make in 1 month! To ensure success, make sure each step is realistic. There’s no use giving yourself one day to construct an entire website or two hours for testing your social media scheme – stick to achievable goals every day, and don’t veer off track.
Sure, like any successful startup, you should be willing to adjust your plan as needed. But right now? All you have to do is create a plan… and don’t forget something else vital: A schedule! So take out that calendar of yours and assign yourself an action item for each day (try referring back to that mind dump from yesterday). With this approach, success will soon follow!
14. Celebrate! (Sunday)
Congratulations on your business venture! To keep up the momentum, look for a supportive community. One Woman Shop is an exceptional option with its resourceful set of tools and resources to aid you in starting out as an entrepreneur. Pop open the bubbly and get ready to embark on this journey armed with knowledge from One Woman shop!
This article was originally published on Skillcrush. More by Skillcrush on Levo:
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