So, you’re in the game…Now what?

Written on Friday, December 18th, 2009 at 9:26 am by Liz
Filed under Financial Freedom.

Starting your own business is a daunting task. Believe me, Ric and I didn’t know what we were doing when we first got into this online marketing business.

There we both were, he just out of the corporate jungle he tried to conquer and me home with a newborn in tow. Buried in student loans and disappointed with the path we thought we wanted to take, we decided to go into business for ourselves. We thought we knew everything we needed to know, but boy were we wrong! <g> There were certainly a lot of bumps in the road before we even got where we are now.

gambling chips
That’s why in ways, starting your own business may be compared to gambling. Yes, I said gambling. <g> You pretty much start with the same checklist, really. Knowledge of the game (or so you think <g>), check. Enough money or capital to buy in and bet, check. A considerable amount of luck (or so you believe <g>), check. Confidence in your ability to stay in the game and win, check and check.

In way over your head?
Like I said, Ric and I did not know how or where exactly to start. I mean, we did not have many connections yet. After a lot of hard work and balancing acts, we finally got the hang of things. But, did we stop there? Definitely not! But I digress. Let’s go back to my gambling metaphor. <g>

So one night, you decide to live more on the edge and enjoy a night of gaming. You go into a casino and see all these tables filled with people who, of course, are there for the same reasons you are. How do you choose which game to play? What group should you join? Will you be more comfortable playing against the amateurs, or do you think you could take the known hustler in the room? Do you feel that lady luck is on your side, or do you suddenly realize that in order to win and bring home the prize, you have to do something more tangible. Up the ante, if you will. I mean, you cannot be contented with a mediocre plan of action. You’ll have to think of ways to improve your game — anticipate all your opponents’ moves and assess how you’ll go about using your skills to counteract them.

Five ways to fire up interest

Our colleague Clara Freeman has an article in the Small Business CEO online magazine entitled, “Five Surefire Ways to Ignite Interest in Your Freelance Writing Business“. In it, she listed five measures to keep your freelance business growing and not just keep getting by as it has the first few months since it started. She used her own freelance writing business as an example, but I believe these tips can be applied to any type of business. Let’s run them down.

Define your niche

What’s your specialty, something you’re really good at? Where do your interests lie? What can you do that others cannot? You can be a master card counter (considered cheating in some, if not most, places <g>). Perhaps you’re a genius mathematician, a good chess strategist, or even an expert slot machine player? Or, maybe you’re good at reading body language and facial expression. (Now, that’s a handy talent to have! <g>) Whatever the case, you’ll always be good at something that others are not. You’ll just have to recognize what it is within you and focus on improving it.

So youre in the game...Now what_3

Become inquisitive

Ask around about the other players in the game. Research the backgrounds of clients and similar businesses in the market. Discover the weaknesses of potential opponents or clients around you and pit your strengths against them. Catch the weak spot you could tap into and offer your services for. When you find the right services to offer to the right people, discover their “tell” if you will, then you can continue moving toward the goals and objectives you have set for yourself and your business.

Study the market

Test the waters before jumping in. Remove from your list the games you’ve only played once or twice before and can’t even remember the rules of. Know the nuances and loops of the market. Find out where exactly you can use your skills. See where you could offer your services, even for a smaller price (or maybe even for free <g>) — just to get your foot in the door, so to speak.

Don’t be discouraged by the slightly dingy game room or the smaller bets. The important thing is to get your name out there and have your talents recognized by the other people.

So youre in the game...Now what_1


Network

Get together with other players. Let them know your strengths, and get on board with them to wax game plans, talk shop or practice the latest five card toss or eight ball or whatever new game you might have heard from somewhere or someone.<g >

When you’ve set a goal for yourself to bring your business to the next level, you must get yourself known. Exchange tips and tricks with colleagues or join online social networks and forums. There are plenty of people to meet out there. Each of them is a potential link to a larger network. Who knows? Instead of going to the game, the game might just come to you.
Marketing class

I’m not really sure if there’s gambling academy out there <g>, but there are certainly masters who could teach gambling 101 to any interested apprentice. In the case of business, there are plenty of business classes you could take — in school campuses or online. There’s always room for knowledge, and those who refuse to learn something new remain stagnant.

It’s a form of personal growth and marketing strategy at the same time. You’ll gain confidence in your abilities and learn the science behind the business. You’ll not just know the names of the plays, you’ll have firsthand knowledge of why a royal flush trumps a full house, or why your queen is fiercer than your king.

Thinking you know the game doesn’t necessarily mean you actually know the game. Not because you’re in it already means you will win. Although you’ve gotten your business started and you’re doing fine, there’s always room for more.

Don’t get stuck with the getting by attitude and aim to bring your freelance business to a higher level. In order to achieve financial freedom, you’ll have to make more than what your small business brings in right now. How? Follow these five tips to attract more interest in your business.

Do you want to add to the list above? Do you have further advice on how a small business owner could inspire interest? Let me know and leave a comment below.

Keep on playing!

Liz


One Response to “So, you’re in the game…Now what?”

  1. Thanks for the insights, Liz. I respect greatly folks like you taking a chance and jumping. The act in itself strengthens character, I think. Being willing to ask for help is important, too – agreed. Re generating interest, I balance out the “heavy lifting” with some fun stuff, and I make sure to celebrate those little successes that come up. Made a sale? Ya hoo!

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