When I first started my business back in 2008, it was as a side hustle in addition to my full-time nonprofit job. I had been blogging for less than a year when people began asking me to come and speak at conferences around the country. That’s when I knew I could actually make some extra money from my ideas and expertise. I quickly realized that if I just did a few things consistently to market myself, that people would keep contacting me for business. Five years later, I’m still enjoying a thriving speaking career as a significant part of my business!
What I’ve noticed among my fellow women entrepreneurs however, is that we often get stuck on the marketing part when trying to get our business off the ground. Sometimes, it’s a lack of knowledge, but more often it’s really a lack of confidence. We get stuck because we’re holding a subconscious belief that we shouldn’t be charging for something we love doing so much that we’d do it for free.
If you find yourself in the “stuck” space, here are three things you can start doing TODAY to bring money into your business right now. Sometimes, it’s the simplest baby steps that make the most immediate impact!
1. Start telling everyone you know that you’re open for business.
When you’re first starting out, it can be really scary to actually make the big announcement that you’re open for business. It’s so frightening for some women to put themselves out there, that many never do this step! Most of us would rather be subtle about our marketing and have customers magically flock to us every day. Of course, this doesn’t happen. And as a result, many women fail to make sales on a consistent basis, let alone during the first few months of their business.
2. Start charging money for your products and services.
Duh, right? Yet you’d be surprised how many women entrepreneurs have a hard time asking for money, let alone asking for what our time is really worth. According to research by negotiation expert Linda Babcock, women are two-and-a-half times more likely than men to feel “a great deal of apprehension” about negotiating. This is very common in salary negotiation and also shows up in how we price our expertise, services or products. When you’re getting your business off the ground, it can be easy to fall into the mindset that you have to offer all your services for free.99 or at a deep discount to get some experience and encourage word of mouth marketing. The problem with that is if you provide too much value to your customers for free, they won’t be as likely to pay you when you start charging for it!
3. Start using social media to promote your business, not just to talk to your friends.
While women dominate many social networks online, we really don’t use the tools as much as we could to promote our businesses and engage with potential customers. This is one of the things that really frustrates me because there’s so much potential for our businesses on social media if we use it correctly! If you’re already on Twitter and Facebook, you probably tend to use it for personal use rather than as a marketing tool because you’re afraid people will unfollow or unfriend you. But social media offers an enormous opportunity for marketing your business for free or low-cost. And the sooner you take advantage of it, the more income you can bring in. Fun fact: more than 90 percent of my business comes through my blog, Twitter and Facebook!
If you’re not making any money in your business right now (or not making as much as you want to), don’t agonize over it. Worrying doesn’t help you move forward. Simply ask yourself, which one of these steps can you take today to start turning things around? I’d love to hear about where YOU are in the process of starting or building your business right now. Please leave a comment below and join the conversation – our HBW Community is becoming a great place to connect with like-minded ladies, ask questions and get support
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