Jan 14 2014

A Can’t-Mess-It-Up Checklist For Your Very First Year of Full-Time Entrepreneurship (and BTW, the Clubhouse is closing today!)


il_570xN.524587964_sz8s

 2014 Desk Calendar by blushface

In the midst of your very first year as a Woman of the World (which is what I call being a full-time entrepreneur)?

Gearing up to become a Woman of the World in 2014 or 2015?

Here’s a simple, bare-necessities can’t-mess-it-up checklist to take over the world as a new/soon-to-be Woman of the World, and if anyone tells you that you *have* to have anything else, they’re wrong:

  • A one-page website. As long as it makes it clear as to who you are, what you do and for whom along with a way to contact you, you’re golden. Resources: About.me, SquareSpace, Wix, WordPress.com.
  • Business “cards”. It’s so important to have something to leave someone with when you’ve sparked their interest in what you do. Business cards are still standard, but I’ve been to conferences recently where people passed out business tattoos, pencils, and post-it notes – so don’t be afraid to get creative. Resources: Vistaprint (the discount codes from Coupon Cabin are always the best ones for that site), Moo, Sticker Robot (that’s where my sticker biz cards + postcards came from), this Pinterest board.
  • One product or service to offer – and the who, what, and why behind it. When I started this site in 2008, there was only one thing you could buy from me: 12 one-on-one coaching sessions. I didn’t add another offering (even an ebook!) ’til 2010, and it allowed me to make my effective escapeResources: your own passion/experience as to what you wanna work on and how. If you need more clarity, The Right Brain Business Plan and The Renaissance Business are both great resources depending on what your challenges are. If you’re not sure what your business would be – but you know you want one! – I created a workbook and online course for that, and can also work with ya one-on-one (I opened up 2 spots to start with me next month!).
  • A way to track your income and expenses. The tax man always comes knocking, and while you don’t need to be incorporated in order to start making money (I didn’t become an LLC ’til 2010, although I started getting paid for my coaching in 2008), you do need to keep good records as to what’s going in and what’s going out for your business – especially because there’s so much you can write off! Resources: Mint, YNAB, Outright.
  • A bio that shows off your background, experience, personality, appearance – and why someone would wanna work with you. Resumes are for traditional jobs, and nobody that’s gonna hire you or buy your product is gonna ask for your resume. Instead, your bio is your calling card, and a way to make a killer first impression and answer the “But is she qualified?” and “What would she be like to work with?” questions. Don’t forget the photo, to make an even better connection with the reader. Resources: Alexandra Franzen’s Mad Libs style template + The Great I Am worksheet, plus pretty much everything else she’s written.
  • A newsletter list + a monthly newsletter. I am so not one to say you have to join every social media platform or that you must blog or whatnot…but a newsletter list is a must-have. Just think: a way for people to raise their hand and say, “Yes! I wanna hear what you have to say! Please let me know when that is!” Who are you to deny them your amazeballsness…and who are you to deny your business the chance to work with the people who feel connected to you? Resources: Mad Mimi, Mailchimp, AWeber.
  • Low overhead. Like, seriously low overhead. If you have a virtual business like I do, the only things you really need to pay for is a domain name + hosting, and maybe a logo designer or a custom theme to look like the professional you are. If you offer a product, do what you can to order only what you need. Coworking spaces and assistants and copywriters can come later. Resources: Etsy is fab to find affordable logo designers and website templates . Out of the Resources mentioned above, Mad MimiMailchimpMintWixAbout.me, and Vistaprint all are free (although some have Premium services, or start charging when you reach, say, 2K subscribers). 
  • A supportive, like-minded community. I built my business solely online, meeting my “tribe” via blogging and tweeting. That was 5 years ago, and if I had the mastermind-y accountability groups that are de rigueur now, I know my growth would’ve absolutely have been accelerated. Sure, you can have a successful business solo – but where’s the fun in that? Resources: my Clubhouse (which closes tonight at 6 p.m. Eastern!), the Puttytribe, The League of Business Badasses, Kari’s Creative Community and Kickstart Labs. It all depends on what you know you need to thrive!
  • A price that actually makes you money. You might be a newbie, but it doesn’t mean you have to give away the farm. Make sure to mark up your product or service enough to be paid for your time and expertise. When I first started coaching, I worked with 5 clients for free (because I needed that for my certification), and then charged $25/session until I graduated. After graduation, I charged $75/session…and have increased my pricing from there pretty steadily. If I only worked with “guinea pigs” or kept my $25/session rate for more than a few months, I’d have to pull the Plan B emergency cord for sure. Resources: for help with pricing, there’re some great posts and books right here

Seriously – that’s it! The most important thing I can remind you of is that you’re looking for Phase 1 of your business: the bare minimum you need to get your name out there and start working! Everything else can come later – blogs, twitter accounts, LLC status, and workbooks galore.

But for now? Stick to what’s above and you’ll be claiming your Woman of the World crown right quick!

Any questions about your first full year as an entrepreneur, or mine? Anything you think I missed? Wanna wish me a Happy Birthday (it’s today!)? Say it in the comments!

TAGS:
POSTED IN: Career Actions Activated, Creative Career Charge
COMMENTS: 20 Comments


20 Responses to A Can’t-Mess-It-Up Checklist For Your Very First Year of Full-Time Entrepreneurship (and BTW, the Clubhouse is closing today!)

  1. Christen says:

    Michelle, this is so helpful. Thanks so much for putting the list together and sharing thsoe resources. It helps keep things in perpsective and for me it’s a reminder to focus on providing something of value first and foremost.

  2. Very good advice Michelle, I like how you’ve broken down here!

  3. Happy Birthday, Michelle!! Great list of resources, but one of the best on this list is the Clubhouse!

  4. Sridevi says:

    Happy birthday Michelle! You rock :) You’re awesome sauce

  5. Quiana says:

    Happy Birthday!!!

    Great list. Wish I had this for my first biz. I spent so much money it took forever to recoup all that!

  6. Sara says:

    Thanks for the advise Michelle! It’s helpful as always. I need to work on my first product and pricing that I can live and grow on. Happy Birthday!

  7. Erin says:

    Badass list. Love it. Needed it. Am working my way through it!

    Thanks again for more excellent info!

  8. Curtis says:

    Happy Birthday Michelle!!! I found your website a several weeks ago and was waiting for good time to send you a big THANK YOU for all the uplifting inspiration. Your writing and videos have made a huge impact on me. I may be a guy on the outside, but, in spirit, I have a “woman of the world” inside me that’s a huge advocate of empowering the feminine in all of us. You’re great work is changing the world for the better and I’m so glad your here!

  9. Pingback: Places to go, people to see. | January 25 2014 « Esmé Weijun Wang

  10. Pingback: Best of the Week | All Put Together

  11. Diara says:

    I’m printing it as my to do list for next week :-)

Leave a Reply!

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *