“I am an entrepreneur” is a very complicated phrase to me. When I did an ironman and had a full time job in NYC that was entrepreneur-ish. When I pitched my 9-5 company to fund a non-profit that was entrepreneur-ish. Frankly, everyone can start a company and get an llc. What I would want to know is what have you done that proves you are not like everyone that just wants to start a business. Why would someone want to buy from you personally? That is the big picture idea that often gets overlooked as an entrepreneur.
Here are 3 ways you can define entrepreneurs.
You have a “great” idea and may want to keep it a secret. When you talk to mentors or network you are really close to taking the leap but need 100% assurance that it will work out. You talk a lot about ideas but have not yet invested or got your rookie mistakes out of the way. You are still hyper competitive from your days in corporate and are learning how to collaborate effectively to start your own business.
A solopreneur is exactly as it sounds. This is where many entrepreneurs start out and many can thrive with new technology and some marketing wizardry. To build an online presence you might need to design your website, build your brand, market yourself, design your courses, and reach out to clients for business. You may be building a business from scratch or building a portfolio of your work experience to work as a freelancer. The big draw here is that you can work from anywhere and theoretically grow your business online once you have a system set up to generate leads. A really big deal is knowing where to go when you get stuck. Here are some resources I go to regularly.
fivver.com-For specific or odd jobs like video editing.
clarity.fm-Speak with a mentor at a costly price.
upwork.com-You might hire a copywriter or website designer here for ongoing work.
digitalmarketer.com-They have marketing certifications and really up to date marketing info.
click funnels-Think about those nice sales pages that tell you to buy something you really need.
This is the entrepreneur that might have already started one or several businesses,has gotten seed money, or joined an incubator with their team. They may have direct experience in an industry from their corporate role. This where the terms “clean tech” “fintech” anything tech live. A lot of incubators will look for specific types of entreprenuers. The Capital Network is a good place to start for aspiring and existing entrepreneurs in Boston. They just hosted an event with top accelerators in Boston.
Tips for networking as an wannabepreneur, solopreneur, or entrepreneur
Let go of your over 1 minute elevator speech that becomes a rant. Get to the pain point that you want to know from them and move on. You can reach out with more specifics in your follow-up but they do not need to know every aspect of your business.
When you are going longer on your rant (elevator speech) do not dismiss other networkers that try to intervene and ask a question to you. If you say, “hey, I want to finish my point” it comes across as “hey, these people are more important than you so buzz off.” Would you say that to your intended audience?
You can feel the difference when you rant vs when you are speaking purposely to get an answer right?
Follow-ups from my last post:
The podcast: It may never get aired because of sound issues. I was in a Wework and the noise on his end during recording may not be able to be edited out. With podcasting, sound is everything. A lesson learned.
The race to 10,000 FB likes on my page-I did not enact this strategy because:
I am now rebranding and moving my site to squarespace. WordPress is much more versatile but it is not helpful at this stage of my business. Plus, every time you want to update your website on wordpress someone wants to charge you $1000 or above. In this case I got a better deal and ongoing consulting with someone that wants to build a relationship with me.
“Shiny” opportunities I find that take me away from my business:
I saw an opportunity to apply to be a published author for a “how to” book. Of course, this is where you can get in trouble when you deviate from your business, but “street cred” as an author is a good thing right?
The overall theme is that your unique experiences really shape how you will succeed as an entrepreneur. While there is a steep learning curve, there is also a lot of opportunity, and lots of exciting paths for you to take.
My conference is next week and will review that experience in my next post.