There is one thing you can count on when you begin your own
business. You won’t be bored. There are plenty of details
to accomplish, a number of tasks that await each day. You
won’t find yourself looking at the clock much, that’s for
What do you do? That’s easy! What ideas do you have?
More importantly, what would you like to do? What are your
current interests? What hobbies do you have that you’d
like to work at more and make them pay?
Let’s say you have a vivid interest in history. You’ve
spent a lot of time reading history books. Let’s say
you’ve even specialized and do most of your reading about
the American Civil War. Do you think there might be
something you can do about the Civil War?
Of course there is! If you have a computer and subscribe
to the Internet, why not try polling people via E-Mail
about their interest in a Civil War newsletter that you
will publish monthly — on line! A substantial interest
will set you to coming up with a subscription price and to
begin enrolling people. If you have enough interest, this
could be your full-time job. You’ll spend the month coming
up with the assorted items for the monthly newsletter, from
articles about unusual aspects of the war, to
commemorations of anniversary related events that month to
news about meetings held everywhere for other Civil War
enthusiasts to book reviews of the latest volumes written.
If you have an interest in the Civil War, you’ll know that
there isn’t any period of history which has generated more
interest and more books about the particulars.
But what if you’re not into computers? If it’s the Civil
War you’re interested in, contact the local universities
and colleges and find out who teaches the subject on their
campus. Contact those individuals first for suggestions.
It could very well be that they long to write their own
book about the Civil War, but don’t have the time during
the academic year to do the necessary research to write it
on their summer break. You have the time, though, and they
may be willing to hire you as a researcher for them.
You should also buy any Civil War magazine (current issue
if possible) you can lay your hands on and turn to the
classified sections of their pages. Read everything you
can. There may be direct advertisements needing help or
names and companies with interests in the Civil War whom
you can contact. Find out if there are any local Civil War
Roundtable chapters in your area. Find out if there are
any Sons of Confederate Veterans (or Union) or United
Daughters of the Confederacy (or Union) chapters locally.
Attending those meetings will bring you into contact with a
number of like-minded individuals. Some of these folks
might pay you to write about their ancestors. Or they may
know publishers who specialize in Civil War history that
would be willing to listen to an idea you had for a book.
Or you could contact some local community colleges and out
together your own course on the Civil War and get paid to
This is the kind of analysis you need to do with any of
your ideas. Make lists! Put your idea at the top and
think of all the possible connections to it. Leave no idea
out! Nothing should be considered silly or off-limits!
This is your business now! The most obscure contact can
yield the greatest results. Try them all!
This should also serve notice that any idea is possible for
business. If it’s something you like to do, why not try
it? Many of these ideas can be followed up on your own
time even while you’re still working for someone else.
If you hate the job you’re currently in, wouldn’t it be
great to work at something you truly love? Especially if
what you love has an interest for others — enough interest
to have someone put down a few bucks for your product or
service. The Civil War is a great example. People that
have an avid interest in it will shell out a few dollars to
read anything about the subject. The more they read, the
more they want to know. And there are thousands of ideas
that can sustain the same kind of interest!
Securing clients for your service is the key. New
subscribers to a newsletter will more than offset the ones
who, for whatever reason, don’t renew. The more new
customers you obtain, the more likely your business will
experience tremendous success.
Prospecting for new clientele is an ongoing process. It
never stops! Some people may not care for that end of the
business, but you’ll be different. Why? Because you’re
working in your own business, doing what you love to do in
an area that you have a great amount of knowledge and
curiosity in. When you talk about it, there will be no
hiding the fact that you truly believe in your product or
service. Talking about it is fun. Talking about it is
prospecting. Hence, prospecting is fun!
How do you get people to open up today when you’re in a
conversation with them? You ask them about a subject you
know they like — and then let them talk. Prospecting in
your business is going to be much like that. You’re going
to feel compelled to talk to people about a subject because
it’s your favorite topic. Those that share that interest
are going to like listening — and talking about it!
They’re prospects! They’re interested! They’re potential
You may choose to advertise your product or service. This
has more start-up costs to it, depending on where you
advertise. Try and be market-specific! In other words,
advertise to an audience most likely to be interested in
your subject matter. For Civil War buffs, there are plenty
of magazines that you can target an audience through
successfully. Advertising the same product or service
through your local newspaper at two or three times the
price makes less sense since it’s more money and not as
You can also reach an audience through some type of direct
mail. This also carries a significant expense in terms of
postage costs. Thus you want to be sure that you are
reaching an audience base most likely to respond. This
should be a secondary approach, however. Reaching out via
the phone lines is more cost-effective.
You can start getting news out about your product or
service through your family and friends. They can do a lot
of word of mouth advertising for you. The more people they
talk to, the faster the word about your business gets
around. If you are also prospecting by calling others,
even remote acquaintances, all the better. The more people
that know, the more likely you can get some referrals.
This is the hardest part of the business — getting enough
people to know about what you’re doing. But once you know
how to do it and you’ve started the machine rolling, this
all becomes easier. You may end up with more clients than
you know what to do with — a great situation to have!
There are a number of resources out there for you to review
and contact as you get started. The advice and information
you can obtain may help you to avoid some of the more
common mistakes. Every connection you make might lead you
to a nest of prospects. Many of the organizations listed
here can help you focus in on the right direction and save
you time and money pursuing people who have no interest in
what you’re doing.
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You can’t take time off
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