When I made the decision to go full-time with my company, I knew I’d have to work harder than ever to ensure profitability and growth because it was all on me now. Before I dive into how I turned my passion into profit, let’s take a brief stroll down memory lane (especially for those of you who don’t know me). For starters, I discovered my passion very early on in my career post undergrad…
In 2009, I joined a tech startup that was on a mission to be the one-stop website and marketing shop for SMBs. At the time, they were a direct competitor of HubSpot’s. Within the first two weeks, my passion for online marketing ignited as I wanted to learn everything I possibly could about it. Every day after work, I’d set aside an additional two to four hours to learn the ins and outs of how to execute effective online marketing strategies and tactics. During this time, I was also pursuing my MBA so that I could broaden my views on how to strategically create and scale a company.
In 2011 (a few weeks after graduating with my MBA), I started my own company, FastMarkIt. My goal with this company was to be an independent marketing firm that was set out to help startups and SMBs holistically execute marketing strategies and tactics that would help them meet their business objectives.
FastMarkIt continued to be a side venture as I dived deeper into the tech startup scene that was emerging here in Colorado. I began building a personal brand online by blogging and within a few months I started generating inbound leads from my blog. C-level executives were reaching out to me directly on my blog or through LinkedIn seeking marketing help.
I was not incredibly serious about going full-time with my company because I really loved the tech startup community and how much I was learning. All in all, I was only spending two to five hours a week on my company since much of my time was consumed with the startup(s) I was a part of.
As time went on, I recognized a recurring trend – If I continued to work for someone else, my dreams would never have 100% of my time. In addition to this, I found it more and more difficult to not be in a position where I could autonomously make decisions to help steer the direction of a company because I wasn’t the CEO.
Eventually, my company continued to grow to the point where I was yielding a six-figure income. By that time, it became apparent that working for someone else just didn’t make sense anymore because it was difficult for me to be effective. At that point, I made the prudent decision to take the plunge and be my own boss.
The purpose of this blog post is to not only give you insight on how I turned my passion into profit, but how you can too! So keep on reading…
Invest in yourself
Know that you’re deserving of designing and creating the life you want to live. If you don’t invest in yourself, no one else will. Believe in your ability to execute your own vision. Put in time to learn what you need to in order to be successful, network with people who have ‘already done it’, and be persistent. Although this may sound cliche, a great place to start is to create your own website/blog to help showcase your work and expertise.
Be laser focused
One thing I’ve learned is that if you try to be everything to everyone, you’ll only hold yourself back because you’ll soon become nothing to anyone. Instead, identify what your craft is and what you’re really good at. From there, jot down ideas on how you can monetize your craft and how you can build value for others who choose to work with you.
Solve a problem
Understand the competitive landscape as well as the market opportunity at hand. The last thing you want to be is a solution looking for a problem. For instance, when I first started FastMarkIt I remember being tired of working with agencies who were over promising and under delivering (especially within the small to mid-size market). I wanted to create something different; something that wasn’t out to be the next biggest marketing firm, but that would provide high value with strong client relationships at the forefront.
Don’t just focus on selling yourself; rather, focus on where you can build value. More specifically, develop high-quality content and let that do the selling for you. Simple content pieces such as white papers, checklists, blog posts and webinars (see my resources page) are all ways people can learn more about what you have to offer without feeling like they are giving up more than just a name and email address in return. These content pieces also give people a chance to see what you’re all about (e.g. expertise, knowledge, authority, etc.) before they pay you to help them.
Take Massive Action
Don’t be afraid to fail, be afraid of not trying at all. Lay out an action plan on how you’re going to execute your ideas and how you will determine success. During and post execution, make sure you look at the data points that show you what’s working and where the market demand is. You can then customize your action plan to resonate with a specific persona and push to grow market share from there.
In summary, start small and gradually grow. Hone in on 3-5 executions that will help you move the needle before taking on more. By doing this, you allow yourself to not only be focused, but also avoid feeling burnt out.
Keep in mind that all great things will take time, so don’t give up. If entrepreneurship were easy, everyone would be doing it and succeeding at it.