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There’s a scene from the Sopranos that features Tony Soprano speaking to his therapist.

Caution: it’s not verbatim.

Therapist: “you gotta get a prostate exam.”

Tony: “I don’t even let anyone wag their fingers in my face”

Bada bing, bada boom! And they both busted out laughing!

Sometimes in life we have to do the thing that’s most uncomfortable or bust out laughing. I hope you got a good laugh out of that! Back to business!

Many millennials want to be their own boss but are unsure of how to go about the process. If you’re filled with uncertainty and lack of mentorship then today is your day!

I’m sure you agree that business today is quite different than business was twenty years ago. This ain’t your grandmas business world!

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Unless you’re opening a gas station or a restaurant or any other business that requires you to become a brick and mortar store, there’s no necessity to get a physical location.

Today, most businesses are virtually located. This is great especially for millennials because virtual also means location independent. So if you love adventure and travel while achieving your dreams, you sure can do that!

You really only need some form of access to the Internet, a great work ethic and a dream to make it.

However, being in business myself, I do believe that you do need some kind of budget. Wait! Before you go running, your business can be built on a small budget.

Let me share with you how:

When I started my business it was mainly to help a struggling business. They needed some help online, though they didn’t have a budget. The owner was forced to take on the janitorial position, lay off some well-meaning folks and really cut corners to keep her legacy alive after being in business for over twenty years.

Their story tugged at my heartstrings and I decided to help. I charged them little or nothing, but I gave it my all to help them.

I was out shopping soon after that experience and I got a referral. Eventually I met that business owner, as you would imagine I didn’t have much to show to him. I was a bit nervous going in to our meeting; nevertheless I sucked it up and did the presentation.

I charged that business about ten times more than the first business and I got my deal! I’m convinced with confidence, a lot of moxie and practice, you can do the same!

Almost all of my income today is mostly profit. I’ve been in networking over 8 years and I’ve learnt, practiced and continue to learn the art of connecting. One of the best things that you can do is to learn how to relate and take a genuine interest in any potential connections.

One of the mistakes I made early on was being too direct and professional. I had a very “Venire al punto!” Way of doing things.

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Well, you do need to be direct and professional, but you also need to connect on a personal level as well! I started taking the time to get to know the folks I met and that has proved to create a lasting, memorable effect in our relationship.

My brother is an excellent fisherman. Now, that’s not what he does, but he’s fabulous with anything hands-on. He’s a jeweler; he can make unique pieces with his hands, he can carve an immaculate bat (for playing cricket, he’s a fan), he can even make furniture pieces and boy can he catch like a hungry bear!

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When I was a teenager he took me fishing. I had to be really quiet and I remember in a matter of five minutes he’d filled his bucket with fishes! I was in awe. And yes, I did catch something…I caught one!

He’d had lots of practice and he had lots of tools. Back in those days, he made his own fishing rod and dug up some earth worms to fish with, he had special tools for making jewelry and to carve his bat.

My point is he became an expert only when he’d worked his butt off at learning these skills and when he had the appropriate tools. Can you imagine if he tried to carve a bat with a spoon or fish with his hands? Oh wait, he can do that too…

You need tools too; perhaps an iPad or computer to gain knowledge, store files, to foster relationships and grow your expertise. You’ll need a website for credibility and your social media profiles up and active. Virtual businesses need P.O Boxes, a work phone or you can always use your cell and don’t forget business cards. These are some examples of what you’ll need.

If you’re running a virtual business, you’ll need a location to meet clients. I met prospects at Starbucks for a long time and I still do. If you live in America I know for sure there are virtual offices all over.

As a millennial building a business, I’m able to rent an office and/or conference space for a nominal fee complete with Internet Access, phone access, kitchen access and with secretaries to do your bidding!

The company I use; Regus has over 3000 locations and 900 cities across 120 countries! Hey, there may be a location in the city or country you live in!

One of the ways I received contracts is by charging nothing at all!

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What do I mean by that? Well, when I met new startups and non-profits I would decide, based on their budget and their cause whether I wanted to offer an aspect of my services for free especially if they were struggling.

Who do think they call when they need any additional services? Why me, you’re right!

You’ll need to network your products and/or services. In my experience, here’s how you network;

Start with your sphere of influence; your friends and family, your colleagues and acquaintances.

Then you move on to your social networks. Leave no stone unturned! Make sure everyone knows your purpose and your business!

I found free networking groups, I attended local chamber of commerce meetings, the local business journal meetings and boatloads of trade shows and guess what? You only have to attend one and you’ll get invited to all the others.

Folks on a non-existence budget can build social media presences for free and create organic growth. Keep in mind that paid social media ads are very low cost, doable and gives you the option to target your niche market.

Start a blog and/or a YouTube channel. Let people know how you can serve them and add value to their lives.

Remember this tip; all businesses are about filling needs. All people are about having those needs filled.

Someone with bad skin has the need for a skin care regimen and perhaps consistent facials. Do you offer that service? A single working mom has the need to find a reliable, trustworthy and family friendly day care…my point is there are over 7 billion people in the world, how many needs are you filling?

My next point is, know your ideal customer! If you include everyone in our target market then no one gets interested. Is it this guy? Who is it?

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In my traditional business I work only with small businesses and professionals.

This is vital when it comes to understanding what your customers’ desire, what makes them tick and in figuring what avenues and areas to advertise your business.

My final advice to you would be to get an accountant before you get started in business. It’ll prove to be a great investment to get the right information from a knowledgeable source.

You can get your business off the ground and profitable right away! I’ve said this before; don’t wait until the stars align because it’ll never happen. I said this to my friend a few days ago and I’ll say it to you as well; ship your ideas already! Just do it!

Feel free to email or comment if you have any questions.

C.T.A: Did you absolutely love this post? If you did, it would be greatly appreciated if you liked and shared it on your social networks. How about any additions? What business are you starting and what’s your plan of action?

 

 

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photo credit: Tony on the Subway via photopin (license)

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How to Start a Business on a Small Budget and be Profitable

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