Jordan Selleck, a NY investment banker shares his comments about the 1st ever Angel Money Marketing LIVE event.
Angel Money Marketing LIVE is the only event in America where entrepreneurs learn the art of marketing their investment opportunity.
See www.angelnetwork.com/ammlive for more about Angel Investors Network
If you’re fed up with your job, it may seem like there are only two steps to becoming an entrepreneur. The first is to quit your job, and the next step is to start a company. While it is possible to transition successfully from employee to entrepreneur, it’s a little more complex than that.
Here are the 12 steps you’ll need to take to become your own boss.
Some people call this finding your passion, but it’s more than that. Think about your skills, abilities and experience. Consider what you can realistically see yourself doing for hours each day, for weeks and years.
A viable business is the intersection between what you’d like to do and what others will pay for. Remember the “Jump to Conclusions Mat” from the movie Office Space? Todd loved building it, but no one was going to buy it. It wasn’t a viable business opportunity.
Find a few people that you think would be your ideal clients. Ask them about their biggest needs, fears and aspirations related to the business idea you plan to pursue. Are the benefits of your product or service in line with their real needs? Also, make a note of the words they use, as they’ll eventually help make your marketing more authentic.
Today’s marketing involves content creation, social media, email outreach and more. Make sure you know how you’ll approach each of these alternatives to introduce your idea to customers. At the same time, lay out a business plan that details how you intend your business to function. It doesn’t need to be super formal, but it does need to cover your operating structure, product, delivery systems and expansion plans.
If you can, test your company idea by launching on a small scale on the side, while still working your day job. This gives you a no-risk opportunity to test your ideas, get your first clients and see if the business will hold up over time before you leave the security of your current position.
Running a small-scale operation will help you determine which parts of your idea are great and which ones need adjusting. Take customer feedback seriously and make any necessary changes before you begin scaling up.
If your idea seems viable, determine who you’ll want on your business leadership team when you eventually launch full time. Depending on your personal experience, you may need help in areas such as finance, marketing, customer service and production.
For a small venture, this might mean saving up some money to get through the first few months or taking cash from your 401(k). If your aspirations are a bit larger, you may need to think about how to procure venture capital or other outside investment.
At the same time, you’ll also want to decide what kind of company structure to register. Do you want to incorporate, form an LLC or create a partnership? Get this taken care of legally and carefully define the roles and investment of each of your leadership team members.
When you’re ready, leave your day job. This may feel like an amazing relief after all the work you already put in, but trust me, more work awaits. Although it may be tempting, be sure not to burn any bridges as you leave — you never know when you’ll encounter former bosses and colleagues again, and you may need to work with them in the future.
With your full-time schedule now devoted to your business, set up a company budget. This should include payments for marketing expenses, salaries and other important purchases. Just be sure not to waste money on frivolous expenses!
Finally, all that’s left to do is to work the plans you’ve carefully laid out for yourself. Of course, that plan may change over time as you encounter and overcome obstacles. But, this is it — you’re a full-fledged entrepreneur. Congratulations!
As you can see, becoming an entrepreneur requires a lot of work before you even consider quitting your day job. However, if you follow each of the steps listed above and your idea still seems viable, you can leave your life as an employee and become an entrepreneur instead.
There are still many challenges you’ll face, but for most entrepreneurs, the benefits of meaningful work and self-direction are much more important.
The thought of networking at conferences and industry events makes some entrepreneurs nauseous. If you go into it feeling uncomfortable, your results will be disastrous. Networking is a major part of being a successful entrepreneur, so it’s in your best interest to get good at it — really, really good at it.
Here is a simple plan to make connections and unlock new opportunities by transforming into a networking beast.
You should have all of your goals identified before the event.
Reach out to the targets that you know will be attending in advance. Exchange contact details and stay in touch — plan to meet in the evening and belly up to the bar. Some of your most valuable connections will be born at the venue hotel bar.
Remember that you aren’t there to sell. Avoid rambling off the reasons why your product or service is the best. Instead, ask everyone whom you speak with if there is anything you can do to help their business. This unselfish approach will leave an impression that guarantees they will answer your phone call or email after the conference.
This strategy helps you set the table for a future discussion. Don’t forget to follow up with everyone — open up a dialogue within 72 hours of the event. This helps to ensure your encounter remains fresh in your new contact’s mind.
Establishing a half dozen meaningful connections is better than collecting 50 business cards from people you will more than likely never speak to again. Spitting out the same script-like spiel might get you a business card, but probably just to make you go away.
Take time to engage in conversations with the goal of making an impression — it’s that follow up after the networking event that’s important. Those are the conversations that lead to business deals and opportunities.
Nobody is going to remember interacting with you unless you are memorable. If you are at a conference make an effort to ask at least one question during the Q&A session following every keynote you attend.
Don’t just fire off a fluff question — you need to make sure your questions and interaction is intelligent. This is a great way to get on the radar of everyone in the room. People will approach you after looking to connect and they will even initiate the conversation. If you are memorable, you become a magnet, pulling in contacts from every direction.
It’s always easier to work a crowd when you have a wingman or wingwoman — it gives you that extra confidence and if you strategically select your networking partner you can make sure you are equipped with someone that makes up for your shortcomings.
For instance, if you are shy, partner up with someone that is very outgoing. Let them open up every conversation and then introduce you to bring it home and make that new connection.
You attend networking events and conferences to make connections, right? Then use this simple plan to make sure you make the most out of every event you attend.
What separates the successful entrepreneur from the one who fails?
There may not be just one answer. However, the common theme among successful entrepreneurs is they have the right mentality to embark on the entrepreneurial journey.
What specific mentalities do successful entrepreneurs possess? Here are eight of them.
“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.” – Apple, Inc
When Steve Jobs returned to Apple in 1997 the famous, ‘Think Different,’ campaign was launched. This was no coincidence. Jobs was known for not following the status quo, which is why most entrepreneurs turn to his career for inspiration. Most successful entrepreneurs strive for the freedom to do what they want and not be told that, “this is how things are done.”
“Over the years, I have noticed that there are two kinds of thinking. One kind leads to success, joy, and fulfillment. The other leads to failure, fear, and discontent.” – Michael Hyatt
Best-selling author Michael Hyatt believes that for people to be successful they need to be abundant thinkers. Characteristics of abundant thinkers include:
So, would you rather be generous, confident and able to make meaningful connections or stingy, pessimistic and fearful?
“He who would learn to fly one day must first learn to stand, and walk, and run, and climb, and dance; one cannot fly into flying.” – Friedrich Nietzsche
As any entrepreneur will inform you, there’s a lot of trial and error involved with starting and maintaining your own business. No matter how knowledgeable you are regarding your industry, how many college degrees you have, or how much money you’ve made or lost along the way, entrepreneurs face their fair share of success and failures. That’s a part of the journey. Being able to learn, however, increases your chances of success since it will help you adapt to changes, as well as discovering what works for you and your business.
I think frugality drives innovation, just like other constraints do. One of the only ways to get out of a tight box is to invent your way out. – Jeff Bezos
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos may believe that being frugal can help with innovation, but living a frugal life is championed by many other entrepreneurs and business leaders. For example, Warren Buffett, despite having the money to purchase anything he wants, lives a modest lifestyle. Instead of toys and mansions, Buffett’s riches come from loving what he does and doing it well. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg famously drove an entry-level Acura even though he was worth more than $7 billion.
Being frugal doesn’t mean that you have to be cheap. It means not being careless with your money. Instead of taking loans out to purchase a luxury vehicle, save that money so that you can expand your business.
“The happiest and most successful people I know don’t just love what they do, they’re obsessed with solving an important problem, something that matters to them.” – Drew Houston
Don’t just start a business for the sake of starting a business. Successful entrepreneurs start a business because they see a real-world problem and have the drive and desire to solve that problem. Remember, as Martin Zwilling puts it perfectly in Entrepreneur, “Entrepreneurs see problems as milestones to success, not barriers.”
“Good things happen to those who hustle.” – Chuck Noll
Entrepreneurs are go-getters. They never stop. In fact, that’s how Gary Vaynerchuk launched Wine Library. According to Gary, “I was walking into any business that might be relevant to my community and passing out flyers and coupons one-by-one to gain more exposure. Nobody gave a crap or knew who we were, but I knocked on doors and made sure we got the exposure we needed.”
If you want to succeed, you have to hustle. You have to put in long hours, build a quality product, and do whatever it takes to get your name out there.
“Most of the successful people I’ve known are the ones who do more listening than talking.” – Bernard Baruch
While entrepreneurs are free-spirits and make their own decisions, it’s also important that you listen to what others have to say. If you aren’t listening to your customers, how do you know if they’re satisfied with you products or services? Maybe this entire time they haven’t enjoyed what you’re providing, which is why sales have been sluggish.
Whether it’s from customers, team members, colleagues or mentors, always take the time to listen to advice. However, it’s you who ultimately has to make the final decision.
“I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. Twentysix times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” – Michael Jordan
Athletes are some of the most passionate and driven individuals on the planet. How often do you hear about the insane training regiments that athletes subject themselves to in order to play the game? How about the Olympic star who was told that they’ll never compete again, only to win a medal the next time around?
Athletes regularly defy the impossible. And so do entrepreneurs. Evan Spiegel, for example, was told that Snapchat was a “terrible idea” by a venture capitalist. Did Spiegel listen? Of course not. He marched forward and made Snapchat a hit.
As an entrepreneur, you’re going to face failure and opposition, but you’re passion and obsession with your idea will be the drive you need to find success.
Have you ever heard the saying “Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life?” It’s a secret that people who are passionate about their work have come to understand.
Many struggle to know what it is they are truly passionate about, let alone how to make an income doing it.
Unfortunately, passion isn’t something we traditionally see in the everyday office workplace. Individuality is discouraged in most corporate environments. People who are especially “eccentric” tend to wither in that world and eventually fade out.
But what if eccentric is just another way to say “being yourself”? Because we all have little eccentricities, somewhere, and we exude the most fun and passion when we let our freak flag fly. In eccentricity often lies innovation, vision and creativity — all things that are incredibly valuable.
At some point in elementary school it becomes no longer “cool” to show too much excitement. The kids who maintain their exuberance beyond the age of 8 or so tend to be ostracized and shunned. At such an early age we internalize that our passion needs to be watered down so we can fit in.
In today’s ever changing job market, it is actually imperative that you stand out — not fit in. This is why your passion, if it has died out, must be reignited. So that you can be outstanding.
Here is where the work begins. First let’s address how you can relocate your passion if you have lost it.
As we grow up we tend to forget what we lost ourselves in as kids. What were the things that lit you up and you could spend hours immersed in? For me, one of those things was basketball. Maybe you loved climbing trees or making up songs or playing video games with your friends. Maybe it was art or music or writing stories in your bedroom.
Try to remember what it was that made you happiest. If childhood doesn’t offer any answers, try digging into the most recent memory of your happiest moments. Name that thing that you love.
This is important. Especially if it has been a long time. You owe it to yourself and to the world to bring your passion back into your life.
Start with one day a week. Maybe a dance class, or get back to the gym for a pickup game.See how it feels. See how you shift. Take that passion with you into the next day and see how you can bring it into the world by sharing the good with others.
Maybe you smile more. Maybe your work is more creative.
Passion comes from within. That’s why it can be so elusive, because we start waiting for the world to bring passion to us rather than cultivating it ourselves.
We are passive, waiting to be entertained. We seem to have forgotten that we are the ones who are in charge of hosting the parties and creating experiences in our lives. Unless you bring something to the table, who would want to invite you to theirs?
So by doing what you are passionate about consistently, you will remember how to exercise your passion muscles.
Maybe you don’t have the ability to do the things you once loved due to injury or other limitations. This doesn’t mean you give up on passion, it means you get to start exploring. You really never know what activities or pursuits may captivate you once you engage in them.
Ultimately, it is up to you to generate the passion that will inspire others and the world. When you master that, you will see your self worth increase and therefore your net worth.