Hey guys! I’ve been getting a lot of business questions from my readers asking advice on how to build their business, their tech systems, and a team to help support them when they don’t have a lot of cash to invest as a creative entrepreneur…
So, I thought I would put together a little list of what I did when I was starting to help give you some guidance!
1. Website. Starting from the ground up! We use SquareSpace which is completely affordable and you can update it yourself without paying somebody. It’s definitely a bit of a learning curve at first, but what I did when I first built my website, was devote a full day with a partner where that’s all we did. And we gave each other treats! For me and Tana, it was kombucha and dark chocolate breaks on the hour! For you it might be binge Downton Abbey in between sessions. (Am I the only one still catching up on Downton Abbey? No spoilers please!
Wix is free and another great option. WordPress, too.
2. Designers. For your logo, your email signature, your marketing pieces, social media graphics to post, podcast music, podcast announcers, ebooks, letterhead, research help, social media gurus, copy writing… anything!
The answer? A friend…or Fiverr.com! (And I am not even an affiliate of Fiverr so I’m being honest here!) I can honestly tell you from my actual experience that when you need something done quickly and cheaply this is a great place to start. And frankly, I have become good friends with one of my designers who lives in Uzbekistan of all places, and he does gorgeous work for my e-books etc. You can also just opt for a certain country (like the US) if you’re worried about some people being taken advantage of in certain countries with the low price. What I do if a price seems too low, is just tip a hell of a lot! Sometimes double the price. Fiverr has someone to do anything.
3. Podcasting. When you’re just starting out you can just use your Mac computer if you have one with garageband, plus a cheap $30-$50 microphone. Libsyn is a platform that is under $20 a month to host your podcast, and it’s super easy to use. If you’re worried about the quality of your microphone, just know that sometimes when I am on someone else’s podcast they actually prefer me to use my earbud microphone, oddly. So, as you’re starting out, you can get away with that, too. Or even go outside on location. I’d did that with comedian John Fugelsang years ago, (You can listen to our interview here), and it added a lot of funny ambience.
4. Advisers and support. Start a mastermind group! You should absolutely not start a business without this. This is a group of people at your level or a little above (or a little below), who are all mutually helping each other to solve career building riddles, connect with people in their field or to just simply listen to you bitch about how Facebook ads don’t work. I will be doing a podcast on how to create a mastermind group soon, so go to my podcast and subscribe so you make sure to get it: Subscribe to “The Improvised Life with Katie Goodman.”
5. Get help growing your social media presence. If you don’t have money to pay someone to post and engage for you, then I’m afraid you just have to do it yourself! But doing it alone is often maddening and it’s so hard to stay motivated. One idea is to trade with a friend! Sometimes it’s incredibly difficult to write your own stuff and figure out what your audience wants. Sometimes we say something like, “Hey I’m doing this thing and it’s got this this and this and that!”, when what your audience really wants to know is how will it help them, and how will it affect them. A friend who knows your work can really help you create some copy based on what they get out of your work personally. And then you can trade, and do it for them!
6. I have absolutely saved the best for last: TANA!!! My company manager Tana has absolutely changed our business. Being someone who is completely on the same wavelength as you but who IS GOOD AT THE STUFF YOU’RE BAD AT(!!!) is going to make all the difference. Don’t hire somebody just because you love them very much because they may also have all your same weaknesses. (I will admit I actually got both a great friend and someone who can do shit I can’t so I lucked out!)
We started out with very few hours and just slowly built as we made more money. This is a great way to just get some support, motivation (!!) and help. Even just two hours a week to start with.
And I just can’t stress enough that as a creative entrepreneur you cannot work by yourself. I’m going to say that again: DON’T WORK BY YOURSELF.
It’s exhausting, it’s demoralizing, it’s frustrating, and it’s less creative. You know I am a collaboration junkie but I genuinely believe this is true for everybody. Even a solitary introverted poet has an editor. But particularly if you’re a growing a business, you need someone to talk things out with and to tell you when what you’re doing doesn’t seem to be on track with what you want to accomplish or give to the world.
I hope this is helpful! I would love it if you guys would make little VIDEOS OF YOURSELF talking about any entrepreneurial hacks you figured out and I will share them and possibly put the audio on an upcoming podcast! You can comment, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Now go kick some (cheaply accomplished) ass!!