Hello SOTGC community,
It all starts with an idea.
It doesn’t matter if you currently have a full-time job, 401k and health benefits, or you are juggling a few part-time jobs. Something inside of you speaks up and says, “There is a void in x, y and z industry, I see the opportunity to fill it.” Or, “I’m really inspired by Sara Blakely, if she can create Spanx from her kitchen in Atlanta without any prior fashion experience, I can launch my dream business too.” Maybe your motivation is to have a bigger impact on the world and create jobs for others, not just have one of your own. There are 101 reasons and motivations to start your own #GirlBoss empire.
Surprisingly, it’s never the ideas that hold women back from building businesses of their own. It’s often the “Well, what do I do next? How do I find my first customer? How do I work on my business while I have a full-time job? How do I do even begin to stand out from the other business owners and products in the marketplace?”
The good news is you don’t have to have ALL the answers to those questions up front. In fact, most experienced female entrepreneurs will admit that the answers reveal themselves in due time. Strategies, pricing, product lines, and brands can all change once you have customers and input to help you improve. Additionally, some women pursue entrepreneurship part-time only to find it doesn’t fulfill them like they thought it would, while others finally find the courage to walk away from their full-time jobs and commit 100% to profiting from their passions.
The beauty is, just like shoe preferences and styles (animal print heels versus patent leather, ballet flats versus neutral colored wedges) the journey is personal and different for every single woman. That little disclaimer said, there are a few time-tested steps you can take, in the shoes of your choice, to ensure your idea transitions into something more viable.
1. Prepare just as you would for a job interview. Just as you’d look up salaries for your current job and industry, you will want to look up sales revenue for your desired new industry. Notate the current annual revenue. Now see if you can narrow your search down to a particular geographic region or even your state, just to start. Once you have a figure that’s more measurable and attainable, you can create sales goals for your business—first on an annual basis, then broken down by quarter. If anything, these figures will help you start to organize your marketing budget, customer acquisition and pricing efforts, while also providing you with a better understanding of how many units/hours of your time you will need to sell, versus what you have available, etc.
2. Differentiate between marketing and sales. Marketing and sales are two different things. They definitely work together and support each other. However, it’s important to remember that marketing builds awareness, brand consideration, and even loyalty while sales is transactional. Sales is the act of your customer purchasing your product or service. When you first launch a business, you can spend a lot of time marketing but not have the sales to show for it. That’s because perhaps there may not be a process in place to help people who are interested in your products and services actually become customers. Marketing efforts can include social media, hosting events, launching a giveaway, and getting local media coverage, while sales efforts can include following up with potential customers, asking existing customers for referrals, and collecting the money for your product or service. Now that you know this, you may want to spend at least an hour per day on sales activities and fill in the marketing and other tasks accordingly from there.
3. Indulge in a love affair with books+blogs! Sophia Amoruso’s “#GirlBoss” book was a hit (and clearly the inspiration for the title of this piece). It’s important for an aspiring entrepreneur to learn from authors often. Why? Books are often the most affordable way to learn and close our knowledge gap when we’re first starting out. But we need to vary the types of books we read as well as read consistently. Commit to a goal of reading one book per month and explore topics from personal development to tactical books to autobiographies or manuals. Audio books are a gal on the go’s best friend! Listen to them while you workout or travel via planes, trains, and automobiles. Here’s a list of my favorite books+blogs for female entrepreneurs: Books “E-Squared” by Pam Grout, “The Big Leap” Gaye Hendricks, “To Sell Is Human” Daniel Pink, “Your Network Is Your Net Worth” Porter Gale. Blogs “Stilettos On The Glass Ceiling” (obviously), entrepreneur.com, MarieForleo.com.
Where to begin? Consider that a question of your past! These three actions are enough to get you feeling and functioning like a #GirlBoss.
Now, I want to hear from you! What is your business idea (or established biz), and which of these suggestions resonates with you the most? Tweet me or leave a comment below.