New business and no budget? Quitting not an option.

19 08 2008

There is this saying that failing forward is what most people have to go through when they first start out.  For, if one never fails, one never progresses.   

I can tell you that I have been through more jobs and industries than I care to admit, and have failed countless times.  However, quitting never was an option, and I just continue to get back up and keep going until I get it right.   

 

I have listed some different marketing techniques that I hope will help others new to an industry, or those struggling in their current industries:  

 

1.  New in the industry? Find a mentor in your industry that will allow you to work under them and under their label as an independent contractor, intern, or a paid employee.   

 

This will give you experience and knowledge that you will need to continue to progress.   Work out an agreement in writing acknowledging your role and your mentor’s role in the business.  Your mentor can give you invaluable input and experience until you are ready for the next level.  

 

How do you find such a mentor? Go to different websites, and put in a request to speak to the owner about opportunities and offer something of value that your mentor would need, such as a Public Relations assistant (submitting press releases, promoting events, etc).   

 

Another way is by going into a facility and speaking to the owner directly about interning a few hours a week for free, then when you have a relationship in place, go up a few levels and request a paying position, or independent contractor position. Once the owner trusts you, chances are good that you will move up.   

 

2.  Whether you are a newbie or seasoned worker, Network Marketing is a great way to find referrals for your business.  Networking can put you in touch with that “right” person, OR put you in touch with a person who can introduce you to that “right” person.  These groups offer great chances to increase your listening skills, market your product or service, speaking in public and socializing techniques.  

 

Some excellent example groups to try in my area (Oregon): (if not in your area, cruise the internet for ones that ARE in your area)

-The Breakfast Clu

-Toastmasters—Wallmasters (www.wallmasters.org)

-Toastmasters—Nike

-Toastmasters (www.toastmasters.org).   

 

There are women groups and men groups that also offer unique opportunities over the internet and on-line, without having to meet in person.  Just start googling for groups on the web.  There are tons out there.  

 

 

3.  Setting up a website.  Most everyone is computer savvy, or at least on the computer in some way, and like to see a website in place.  Question is, how do you do this on a budget 

 

a.  Working under your mentor’s website, this would be one way of saving some dollars.  (or a company where you are working as a contractor, but still under the company umbrella)

b.  Setting up a FREE website, yes these really do exist, but they are limited in what you can do with them.  However, it is a start, and at least you have information on a site where potential clientele can view.  Go to www.synthasite.com for one of the free websites, no purchase necessary. 

c.  Yahoo.com has a low $$ amount for monthly fee, believe it is $8.96 a month for three months, then after that $11.95 monthly. This service boasts free domain name, unlimited disk space and data transfer, 24-hour customer service and secure hosting.  Not bad for what you get, and affordable. 

d.  If one has friends in the web design industry, have them take your project on for a discounted rate.  (or complimentary)  You can always offer to advertise their name on your site in order to do a “trade” deal and not have to pay-out funds. 

e.  Taking the idea above, do a trade deal for a web designer, offering the same thing, free advertising. 

 

 

4.  Press Releases! Easy and free and I have a list of over 72 sites that do not cost a penny.  Press Releases catch the interest all over the world.  The only catch is that you have to have material that is “newsworthy” and the best thing to do that I have been taught, is tag on to current news and offer something of interest.   

 

Piece of advice—Do not market your service/product blatantly, or the press release will be rejected (as mine have been countless times in the past when writing them myself).   Tagging onto a newsworthy event, and offering something of value (like the breast cancer awareness cruise event that is happening in October www.thelotuseffects.com), will most always work.  Also, make sure you put your business by-line at the bottom and limit advertising in the body of the press release.   

 

Google “press releases” and you can get a basic format printed out to go by.  I always (site permitting) list the business contact information at the top of the release so people can see our name right off the bat.   

 

5.  Blogging, Ezines and Forums…catch people’s attention by just writing from your heart.  As I have learned, do not advertise blatantly in either blogs or forums.  Keep it real, from the heart, as people are not looking for perfection, but for help.  Make your articles something people can use.  I tend to be a more technical writer, but it is an asset to be creative and fun as well as serious on these sites.   

 

For Forums, keep it light and feel free to also help others by answering questions, however, again keep your advertisements out of the forums, unless you are in an area that allows for this.  Make sure to read the rules on sites you visit.  I have violated more than one in my learning curve.  Forums are meant to give and receive advice, read up on upcoming events, news, and just another way of networking.  They are free and fun.   

 

Blogs are an awesome way to write articles that interest you and give your input to others.  Blogs to me can also be a sort of “daily” diary or journal on your life.  You can keep it fun or you can have a serious topic, it is completely up to you.  Just be yourself.   

 

Ezines, just a news publication via email.  Check out Lotus Effects site where there are ezines posted (www.thelotuseffects.com) if you need know how on what they are all about.  Ezines are business publications that are just emailed instead of mailed to people that are already on your warm market. Usually you send these out once a month for what is going on in your company, upcoming events, tips and ideas, as well as putting ideas in that others email you.  For instance, if you have an article idea, you can email Liz at liz@thelotuseffects.com with the article and she will get back to you on publishing in her next ezine.  This is an excellent free way of getting your name out their to another person’s contacts.  

 

6.  Writing an E-Book and then offering it for free on your website, is just another free method of advertisement.  E-Books can run from $20-$30, depending on what you feel the cost should be.   Offering a complimentary E-Book that is downloadable and costs you nothing to produce except your time, is another excellent source of gaining respect and clientele.   You can put this offer out in the mail as well as drop it by businesses, and also offer it on your website and promote through emailing, etc. 

 

 

7.  Social sites, such as LinkedIn and myspace.com are just a few more sites that are free and one can start doing marketing through meeting others on these sites.  I personally do not use myspace.com, but have associates that have much success with this site.  However, they do not cost you money, and you have everything to gain by trying them out.  There are many more out there, just Google for social sites, and more should pop up.  

 

There are so many more methods and ways out there, such as pod casting, UTube (if you have the capability), message boards, ad swapping, affiliate programs, email discussion groups, free classified listings and the regular method, plain hard work where you pick up the phone to call a warm market.  Gathering business cards from offices and placing calls later can get you past the gatekeeper to the manager or owner.  This is the old fashioned method that costs gas, but nothing else except your time.  Being able to get past the no’s and keep going is going to be a valuable trait in your new businesses.   

 

Hope this helps someone out there!  I know I struggle still, as I am newer in the industry, but baby steps will take you closer each time, and with each failure, the chances of success are that much closer.   Never ever give up on your dream, for the times when you are struggling the most, and feel like falling down, if you hang tough, your blessing will come.

 

I am going to emphasize this event again, because Breast Cancer is such a huge deal, we all should celebrate October.  Please go to www.thelotuseffects.com to sign-up for the October cruise sailing away the 13th, OR if you cannot make it, join us in being a sponsor for the event of the year.  We appreciate efforts made, and cannot wait to see you there!

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3 responses

29 08 2008
Joe Sanders

I’ve just started a new job, in a totally new job field, trying to help build a new turnkey email marketing company http://www.getwildfire.com for small businesses. I came across your blog post and it gave me a jolt of encouragement as i’ve learned very quickly that I have a lot to learn about trying to build a business! Thanks

30 08 2008
Stacey Abrams

Thanks Joe! We appreciate the comments and glad the blog was encouraging. I would also recommend http://www.merchantscircle.com. They list you for free, and it is a networking opportunity site that creates warm markets for your business. It is a nice tool for someone on a budget that is just getting started.

Many blessings to your business, and know you will do well! Keep on plugging away. Research is everything and continue to ask questions to mentors around you.

Stacey

1 07 2010
Sharon

These are some good starting tips for the fresh graduates our of high school and college. Finding work is hard, especially in our present time. Look into anything that can possibly help you find work.

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