I think “small business” is one thing, and “personal business” is another. If you run a liquor store in Oklahoma, you run a small business. If you are a guy in a corner of his house trying to produce content at a breakneck speed or a girl in Maine starting her own retail scrapbooking empire online, that’s what I’m calling a “personal” business. All of these could grow into something bigger than what they are, but at the very least, let’s agree on the basic difference. I’m talking about personal businesses.
7 Ways to Grow Your Personal Business
- Expand your presence– put out a blog, a podcast (maybe both) showing what you’re all about. Put your “brand” in front of people by communicating the things you stand for, the way you work, and what your personal business is about.
- Network– Communicate with all types, not just the people you think your business represents. Get ideas from all over the place. Help other people with their problems, and they’ll be more interested in communicating with you about your challenges. Take every opportunity to talk with people about what they’re doing, and what you’re doing, too.
- Be Relentless About Time– Allocate time to your personal projects as often as possible. Keep your day job. Make sure your family still exists, loves you, and wants you around. Other than that, start siphoning away time from all your hobbies and pour it into your personal business.
- Think About Money– If you want to pursue your passion, start thinking about ways to fund it. Altruism doesn’t get you out of the day job and into the role you’re passionate about. Find ways that aren’t even directly related to the business to make some extra money. Make sure they’re more standalone money-makers, and not things that require even more of your time.
- Be Economical About Time– When you take the kid for a walk in the stroller, have the iPod in one ear feeding you podcasts about your personal passion. Pay someone $5 to do your groceries, and use the hour you free up to produce more of the product or service you offer. If it’s a service, make more calls. Grow more leads.
- Ask– Ask people for help in building the business. Ask friends to buy your product or service. Ask them to recommend you, if they believe in what you’re doing. Seek contacts from their contacts. See what you can grow.
- Adapt and Grow– It’s not always what you set out to do that funds your world. The folks behind Flickr didn’t set out to make a photo sharing site. They were writing an adjunct app to share stuff while they played in a big online game. And then they sold that itch-scratcher for millions to Yahoo! Be open to the possibilities of money coming into your idea from an angle you don’t expect.
The personal business I’m focusing most on right now is helping others with creative content. In lots of cases, I’m creating content for others. But what I’d really love to do is help others turn podcasting and blogging into a new conversation with their customers and clients.
My goal is to help others create content on their own, by helping them understand the tools, and coaching them through the good and bad of what I’ve experienced and observed with the new media revolution.
If this information was helpful, leave a comment and let me know. If you want to hear more, email me, or ask me via the comments section to elaborate or expand. I want your feedback. What will help you solve your content and communication problems?
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