10 Tips On Selling Yourself As Well As Your Startup

women-business-presentationToo many entrepreneurs I know still believe that that their great idea will carry the startup, and they may even minimize their own value, especially if they have introvert tendencies. Yet most investors agree that the “idea” is worth nothing alone, and it’s the entrepreneur execution that counts. That means that selling yourself is more important than selling your idea.

In the corporate world, experts have recognized for a long time that how people perceive you at work is vital to your career success. No matter how talented you are, it doesn’t matter unless managers can see those talents and think of you as an invaluable employee, or a game-changing manager, or the person whose name is synonymous with success.

In the entrepreneur world, your perception is equally critical, except the “managers” in this world are your investors, customers, vendors, business partners, and team members. Per a classic book by Dan Schawbel, “Promote Yourself: The New Rules For Career Success,” you can maximize these perceptions, which apply equally well to entrepreneurs as well as professionals.

Everyone needs to realize that whether it’s in the workplace or in the startup community, business is a new world today with new rules. Whether you are a new young Gen-Y entrepreneur, or a Baby Boomer who is struggling to stay relevant, here is a quick guide to some of the changes that Schawbel sees in the workplace requiring self-promotion, that I have updated for entrepreneurs:

  1. Your startup “idea” is just the beginning. Your startup idea only scratches the surface of what is required to build a successful business. Use the idea to kick-start your relationships with co-founders, investors, customers and business partners. Your ability to promote yourself and learn from these will determine your ultimate success.
  1. You are going to need a lot of skills you don’t have right now. A recent Department of Education study shows that soft (interpersonal) skills have become more important for success than hard (technical) skills. Entrepreneurs need leadership, teamwork, listening, and coaching skills, which you can learn from advisors and networking with peers.
  1. Your reputation is the single greatest asset you have. Your CEO title might be good for your ego, but in the grand scheme of things, what matters more is how much people trust you, whom you know, who knows about you, and the aura you give off around you. What other people think you can do is more important than what you have done.
  1. Your personal life is now public. With the Internet and social networks, things you do in your personal life can affect your success in a big way. Manage your whole image, rather than ignore it. Even the smallest things, like how you behave, your online presence or lack of it, and whom you associate with can help build your brand or tear it down.
  1. You need to build a positive presence in new media. There are plenty of benefits to new media, if you maintain a positive presence. Your online social networks enable you to build your reputation, connect with people who have interests similar to yours, find educational opportunities, and put you in touch with people who can help your startup.
  1. You will need to work well with people from different generations. Because the combination of economic need and increasing life spans is keeping everyone in the workplace longer, you will need to work well with people of all different ages. Each generation communicates differently, and has a different view of the marketplace.
  1. The one with the most connections wins. We have moved from an information economy to a social one. It’s less about what you know (Google search will help you in seconds), and more about whether you can work with other people to solve problems. If you don’t get and stay connected, you’ll quickly become irrelevant to the marketplace.
  1. All it takes is one person to change your life for the better. Remember the rule of one. All you need is that one investor, that one major customer, or that one distributor to keep you ahead of competitors. It’s up to you to get that key person on board to support your business. Self-promotion in the right way can make all the difference.
  1. Hours are out, accomplishments are in. If you want to grow your business, stop thinking about how many hours you work, and aim for more milestones and traction. Success is more results, not more work. Measure your results and promote them to every constituent. Help them to realize your value.
  1. Your startup is in your hands, not your investors or even customers. Be accountable for your own business success, and take charge of your life. Look for win-win business relationships, since people won’t help you if you are not helping them. If you aren’t learning and growing, you have nothing to promote and aren’t benefitting anyone.

The challenge for all entrepreneurs is to gain visibility and show value without bragging and coming off as self-centered. Take personal credit where credit is due, but also share the successes of the team and the business milestones with everyone. Success leverages success.

Now, how do you start? I like Schawbel’s recommendation to do one thing every day, like add a new skill, or build a new relationship that will advance you. Developing this “one step forward a day” habit will keep you current, make you feel more fulfilled and confident, and increase your ability to promote yourself. Are you promoting yourself today, or demoting your startup by default?

Marty Zwilling
Startup Professionals Musings

How To Reinvent Yourself As A Business Startup Today

Marcela Sapone, CEO & Co-Founder at Hello Alfred talks to DOL employees and outside attendees as they gathered in the Great Hall in the DOL Building fora panel on “Positive Choices in the Digital Sector: Building Good Jobs Principles into Emerging Platforms” "Future of Work."The era of stable lifetime jobs for business professionals within a single company are gone. Companies are rightsized quickly now as markets change rapidly, and business professionals are quick to jump to new opportunities for growth and survival, with no ties to special benefits or pension plans. Thus smart business professionals are rapidly becoming the new entrepreneurs.

As a mentor to startups, I see more startups that are really an individual professional, marketing themselves as a consultant or freelancer in this new gig economy. This is a positive in uncoupling them from a dependency on a single company or boss, but the downside is that they have to suddenly manage all facets of a business, including finances, strategy, and savings for the future.

Of course, entrepreneurs delivering services have existed for some time, including business consultant, independent contractor, and freelancer titles. But these titles are not descriptive of specific roles or skills, and have always had marginal credibility in the business community. I suggest that new entrepreneurs lead with their “professional” title, which suggests their focus and specialized skill, and can be applied to almost any role. Here are some examples:

  • Marketing Professional. Every company and startups needs marketing experts, who are skilled and knowledgeable in the development of marketing programs, content creation, lead generation, and the utilization of social media. This world changes rapidly, and needs a professional with experience in digital and conventional media to keep up.
  • Software Development Professional. Even big companies I know find it hard to keep their in-house programmers up to speed on the latest technologies, including mobile devices, the latest Web technologies, and multi-tenant applications in the Cloud. More and more are scouring LinkedIn for specialists willing to do short-term relationships.
  • Staffing Professional. Staffing requirements come and go in every company, big or small. One of the harsh realities for most product entrepreneurs is that they have deal with hiring and firing as their company grows, and they have no experience or idea where to start. For existing trained professionals, it’s an opportunity to become an entrepreneur.
  • Administrative Professional. Long ago, these were called secretaries, often starting in the typing pool, with the best aligning themselves with an advancing executive, leading to a long career. Now the new breed of these is a self-managed entrepreneur, working remotely, with real expertise on the administrative tools and ways of business today.
  • Sales Professional. The best sales people in any company are highly focused, and self-motivated by the commissions they can earn by closing a few big deals. They know how to capitalize on social media, viral marketing, events, and the new tools of the trade. They are always ready to move on to the next big opportunity as markets change.

I’m sure you can think of a dozen more examples today. Tomorrow you may be looking for a Personal Finance Professional, Health-Care Professional, or even a Startup Professional. We are becoming a society of entrepreneurs. Even the education system is starting to recognize this, with entrepreneurial courses and majors springing up in every university across the world.

Thus you don’t need to invent an innovative product or technology to be a real entrepreneur. The cost of entry as a services professional is at an all-time low, with powerful free tools to create your own website, cheap incorporation of yourself as a Limited Liability Corporation (LLC) via the Internet, and community colleges offering courses for anyone in the new technologies.

The challenge is that not everyone is ready and willing to take on the responsibility for their own skills, lifestyle management, and financial stability. Many of these new entrepreneurs come to me looking for an angel investor or crowdfunding, which will never happen. Investors don’t fund entrepreneurs offering services, since these don’t scale, don’t have large margins, and need just a customer contract to start.

So if you have some resources, some skills, and some confidence in yourself, maybe it’s time for you to jump on the entrepreneurial bandwagon. There is no longer any excuse for a professional businessperson to be stuck in a position they don’t enjoy and can’t control. The entrepreneur lifestyle is much more satisfying, and has unlimited potential.

Marty Zwilling
Startup Professionals Musings

The best way to learn marketing is to just do it yourself.

I have a lot of downtime due to corona. I specialize in inbound marketing and content management. So I wanted to level up and took an SEO class on pluralsight(which was just okay if I'm being honest), found out about search console and brushed up on it, and then tested all of the techniques I learned on a website I owned but never optimized. I've also helped out a nonprofit and a friend optimize their website and have seen positive(not page 1 though) results.

I have also figured out how to use UTM parameters to track campaigns, write ad copy, run facebook ads, target an audience, and track all of it through Google Analytics for a new mental health newsletter I launched. I know exactly how much I spent, which platforms are giving me better conversions, when conversions are organic vs. paid, and which ad copies are better. This was a big deal for me because it was something I knew I didn't have experience in and thought I could only learn through an ad agency or through a mentor.

But then I said, "Fuck that. I'm gonna figure it out myself." And I did.

To be honest, it took me a long time to figure all of this out. If I had been trained it would've made the learning curve faster and easier. But when you feel stuck, you just have to make a move.

I'm also not an expert in a single area. For example, I haven't intentionally gotten to page 1 for SEO(I have unintentionally though). I just know the basics(+) of all these different areas which is ideal when you launch a startup.

Next on my list is to figure out retargeting via google ads and making the data presentable via excel. This is probably one of the more important parts on figuring out KPI's and CPA's.

Anyways, I hope this gives other people the motivation just to go throw shit on the wall and see what sticks.

submitted by /u/ecurrencyhodler
[link] [comments]
Startups – Rapid Growth and Innovation is in Our Very Nature!

Educate Yourself On How To Become Successful At Email Marketing

Business owners who just start out with email marketing campaigns are usually unfamiliar with the proper etiquette involved. You should always handle your email marketing campaign in a professional manner, you will have happy customers and ones that will want to talk to you. Continue reading for more email marketing tips regarding email etiquette.

Do not send out unsolicited emails. People who receive your unsolicited marketing messages may report them as spam. This hurts your reputation, and if there are too many complaints about your messages, you may get your IP address blocked.

Always get permission! Unsolicited email is not welcome, and in certain cases, can get your ISP blocked. When contacting someone, always include a newsletter or an offer – this way the customer has the chance to agree to receive your messages. The last thing you want is to be branded a spammer.

To make sure your emails don’t turn people off, always seek permission before sending them out. Include a subscription button on your site, and encourage regular customers to have their friends sign up as well. If you’d like to give people some extra encouragement to subscribe, you could feature subscriber only deals.

Consider using a template that allows for each recipient to receive a personalized message in the greeting. People respond more favorably to emails that address them personally, and are less likely to reject the message. This personalization is simple to accomplish, and will grow a greater relationship with your customers.

If you want your email marketing messages to get to the right inboxes, target anyone whom you send to. If you already have a core set of fans or followers, offer discounts or promotions to those who get friends to show up. Anyone curious in your products and services probable has known others with similar interests, which mean you, can organically grow your list through existing social relationships.

Continue offering incentives to customers after they sign up for your email list. For example, give customers a 10 percent discount if they remain on your email list for a month. This keeps customers from losing interest in your marketing materials and unsubscribing or deleting your emails after just a couple of newsletters.

To keep your email recipients engaged, use various sequences for different types of readers. For example, if you get an email address from a sale, that customer should receive a very distinctive welcoming email than a reader whose email you received from a lead. If readers aren’t getting what they want from emails, then they simply won’t read them.

Don’t send emails to people who have not given their express consent. When you send out spam, your emails won’t be effective. In fact, many may find such emails annoying enough that they will not do business with you in any capacity.

Go for professional over slick with your emails. Don’t send emails that look like flashy webpages. This comes across as impersonal to the recipient. Also, keep in mind that many email programs will not display HTML images. So, do not focus on images in your emails. Go for concise, professional, and inviting so that everyone can read it.

Post a version of your newsletter with graphics and animation on your website. Then send your email list a plain text version of the newsletter with a link to the web version. This keeps your emails simple enough to stop them from being diverted to the spam folder as well as encouraging your customers to visit your website.

Do not restrict yourself just to email marketing. As you identify your core clientele that trusts you, see if you can get phone numbers and physical addresses. Build on your relationships by expanding your communications with your loyal core base by contacting them through these mediums as well as email.

When developing an email marketing campaign, you must make your material look professional. If it does not look professional, customers will pass over it without paying any attention at all. There are plenty of scams and junk emails going around, and your legitimate marketing campaign must stand out as something they want to look further into.

Build your own custom templates. Avoid just sending out generic emails, be creative with them. Try to get your messages to reflect aspects of your business’s branding, such as color palettes and fonts. If you include any images, make sure you include a link to a plain text version so that those with images disabled can read your messages.

Always make sure customers have a clear and concise way to opt out of emails at any time. They signed up with you because they wanted more information, and if at any time they wish to stop receiving that information, they should be able to opt out. It is only fair.

When someone subscribes to your email marketing list, confirm that this is what they really intended to do. Implementing this double opt-in strategy will make it much less likely that your email provider will receive spam complaints about you. Also, you will be assured that the people receiving your emails are actually interested in what you are sending them.

Try using A/B testing for your email marketing campaign. This basically entails creating two very different versions of the same email (A and B) and sending “A” to half of a small test group and “B” to the other half. Whichever half receives the most positive response is the one that you should be using for your campaign.

Include an audit memo on the follow-up emails that you send to your clients. Paste a link on your message that tells them to download this right now. The ending postscript could convince these clients that now is the time for them to experience success, and they can do so by following the link provided.

As you have learned from this article, it is very essential that if you are using email marketing you do it the right way. This will reduce the chances of your customers unsubscribing to your messages. Remember this advice to make sure your client base grows.

Put Yourself On The Road To Network Marketing Success

Some business owners think that using network marketing for their own business is a difficult task to accomplish. This is not the case, as with the right information on network marketing, it is easy to implement. The article below will give you advice on how to implement network marketing into your business.

In network marketing, you must sell someone without having them feel like they’ve been sold. You should use tools like neuro-linguistic programming to figure out how to talk to each individual in a way that makes them feel comfortable, and use facts and figures to allay their fears. Once they trust you, you’re golden.

You will need to highlight the good points of your product in network marketing, so this means you should go with a product that you really enjoy. If you’re selling barbeque seasoning and do not like to use the grill, then you’re probably in the wrong business. How will you be able to pitch this product effectively?

As a network marketer working as a recruiter, you will have to show and prove the financial capabilities of what you’re doing. People cannot feel as if they’re being used to pad your personal bank account. Show them examples of people who’ve made money and how they can follow that path.

A great way to help your network marketing career is by bettering yourself. Taking courses on communicating effectively or self-esteem building, will only make you a better salesman. Even yoga or meditation classes are a great investment into your business by calming your mind and helping you focus on the goal at hand.

Watch your energy levels when approaching new prospects. If you come over like someone just shot the starting pistol you will repel people away from you. Also, if you are like a turtle in a race, people will not have any interest. Be careful and develop a good middle ground for your enthusiasm levels.

A clean office can lead to better focus, which will help you in your network marketing business. Make sure to keep all your receipts related to your business in plastic totes and tuck them away – if you leave them laying around you’ll find some will end up missing, or eaten by the dog!

Your connections are key to building your network marketing business. Your family, friends, and friends of friends are all the people that make up your connections. Of course, after that, it then goes beyond your boundaries and other people are building your business for you. You also have the expansive chance to market online to people you don’t know. However, your connections are a solid foundation of your success in network marketing.

If you decide to promote your business though blogs, you can go the extra mile and have your own blog domain, rather than using an existing service. This will entice search engine robots to fall in love with your site. Network marketing will soon be a breeze when you use blogging to its full potential.

If you are running your network marketing business out of your home office, get business liability insurance! Typical home insurance doesn’t cover business equipment for a lot of money, so call your insurer and find out what your coverage is. If it’s insufficient, think about adding home business insurance to make sure you don’t lose everything in the case of a disaster.

Set goals for yourself. Establish a certain volume of sales that you should reach on a monthly basis. Keep a dairy of your performances and organize everything into statistics. If you are not reaching your goals, ask yourself if there is something you are doing wrong. Remember to keep realistic goals in sight.

Be honest. Some people have a very negative view of network marketing, and while you cannot be responsible for anyone else, make sure that you always communicate and behave honestly in your business dealings. This will make people feel comfortable with you, trust you and make them want to work with you.

No matter how good you become at marketing you haven’t finished learning at any point. There will always be a tip you don’t know or a technique you haven’t used before. This means that you will always have to be a student of marketing even if you are actually a teacher of it!

Keep your desk clean and free of germs so that you can continue to work on your network marketing every day without having to stop for an illness. The more time you’re spending in bed recuperating, the less time you’ll have to sit at your computer and work on your network marketing strategies!

Make a schedule for yourself, and keep to it. Though you may not be punching a clock at a big business, you need to treat yourself as if you are. Set boundaries and guidelines you can easily stick to. It is easy to get lazy, and network marketing is not the place for laziness.

Network marketing is a serious business and you have to treat it like one if you want to be successful. There are very few easy roads to success. Put in the time and effort necessary to succeed, and you will reap the rewards.

Start a blog about your company. This will attract people looking for an opportunity, but it will also attract customers in the market for the product your company sells. A blog will also give people the chance to learn about you, which makes them more likely to join you and buy from you.

Go offline for leads. Just because much of your business is conducted online, that doesn’t mean that you can forget about the outside world. Create flyers for your products and post them around town. Do a local presentation for your business opportunity. Place a classified ad in your local newspaper. This will help you get an entirely new set of leads to grow your business.

As stated above, businesses sometimes think it is difficult to use network marketing, but this is untrue, as it is pretty easy. The difficulty of implementing network marketing in a business depends on having the right information, and the advice found in the article will help any business use network marketing.

When You’re Distracted At Work – Be Ashamed Of Yourself

Ditch all productivity apps and start controlling your mind again. One ingredient for a huge productivity increase is a good dose of harsh self-criticism. Because let’s face it: If you’re unable to fully focus for a few hours a day, you’re a sad pathetic loser and should be ashamed of yourself.
Forbes – Startups