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3 Impactful Ways to Building a Successful Business in Your First Year as an Entrepreneur

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I was only 21 when I started my entrepreneurial journey. As a freshman in university, I knew little about business, but I was pumped with energy and determination to make it work. 7 years later, I have built a remote team of highly sought after talents in Southeast Asia. We lead multi-million dollar marketing campaigns for some of the largest education and training companies in the world. During this time, we also landed once-in-a-lifetime opportunities to work with world-class brands like the Golden State Warriors and the Economist. Looking back, we made many mistakes, but there were also things that we did right.

Here are 3 things that I believe any entrepreneur can accomplish which will give them a leg up in their business early on:

1. Become Your Own Publisher

Getting published is probably one of the most valuable things you can do as an entrepreneur early on. It gives you instant credibility in the eyes of potential customers and partners. But it is easier said than done. Most publications will not consider featuring your work if you do not have verifiable proof of your expertise.

However, you can work around it by becoming your own publisher first. Pick a few interesting topics in your industry and write about them. Then publish them on your own blog as a start. I wrote about 100 blog posts in my first year as an entrepreneur. Those blog posts landed paid writing gigs with the likes of Agorapulse and Postplanner, two fast-growing SaaS companies at the time. I was also invited to write for Social Media Examiner, one of the largest social media marketing publications.

Eventually, people started seeking me out as a consultant and that was how my company started. Becoming your own publisher doesn’t mean that you will become an overnight success. It takes time and patience, but you will be duly rewarded when the time comes.

“Don’t be afraid to go out on a limb. That’s where the fruit is.” – H. Jackson Browne

2. Build Your Network

As the adage goes, “it’s not about who you know, it’s who knows you that matter.” Your network is extremely valuable as a founder. When you are starting a new business, hardly anyone knows about you and what you do. Your professional network serves as an extension of your business. They are like additional eyes and ears. People will look out for you and send business your way.

A few years ago, I was introduced to Noah Kagan. Noah Kagan founded several successful companies and he was employee #30 at Facebook and #4 at Mint. At the time, Noah was hiring a paid traffic director for one of his companies. A friend of mine thought of me and introduced us. Although I did not take up the job offer, this shows you just how powerful your network can be. I have landed several 5 and 6 figure deals through my network in the last few years and it remains as my top priority in business.

3. Lend Your Expertise To An Industry Superstar (Even If It’s For Free)

Have you ever considered reaching out to the most prominent people in your industry? Most people do not even think of doing so, because they feel inferior compared to the industry heavyweights. But this is nothing more than a self-limiting belief. There is a lot we can offer to anyone as an entrepreneur if we have developed an expertise.

A few years ago, my business hit a road bump, so I reached out to Dennis Yu, a renowned speaker and marketing agency owner. Coincidentally, Dennis was looking for a consultant to come into his firm and groom his team. They landed numerous deals with Forbes 500 and Inc 5000 brands but were not able to keep up operationally. So, we teamed up and I led his team to run multi-million dollar marketing campaigns for insurance carriers, education companies, and I even had the chance to consult for the marketing team of the Golden State Warriors.

If I had not reached out to him, the trajectory of my business would likely have looked very different today. So, if you are struggling to gain traction in your business as an entrepreneur, consider reaching out to those who are well-known in your industry. Share why you look up to them and ask if there are any opportunities to help them out. If one rejects you, go to another. 

“Winners never quit, and quitters never win.” – Vince Lombardi

Don’t give up!

Building a business is not easy. There are many things you will try that will not work, but don’t let those failures discourage you. The difference between businesses that succeed and fail is only a matter of determination. If you are struggling in your first year of business, I hope these tips I’ve shared today will help you notch a few victories in your entrepreneurial journey.

Which one of the tips shared above resonated most with you and why? Share your thoughts below!

Jason How is the Managing Director of Agency J, a digital marketing agency that has produced $10M+ in verifiable revenue for clients, including education institutions, insurance carriers, and eCommerce companies. He also serves as an enterprise consultant to Hootsuite's most valued enterprise customers. In his free time, he enjoys writing articles and sharing his knowledge with others.

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Entrepreneurs

Why Entrepreneurial Innovation Matters More Than Ever

Innovation and disruption are a key part of thought leadership online. But most online business owners today are blinded by tactics

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How You Can Start Networking in Style in 2023

By investing your time and effort in networking, you will gain more business through the relationships you make

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Are you completely new to networking?

Then this article is a great place to start. Networking isn’t hard on paper…you go along to online and in-person meetings, make new connections and build relationships, and those relationships lead to more work so you can grow your business! The challenge is that in reality, it isn’t quite so straightforward, as our emotions get involved and make things much tougher.

It’s incredibly common for nerves to creep in and to feel overwhelmed and apprehensive when it comes to networking – even when it isn’t new to you. But how can you become more successful at it, feel less self-conscious, and make networking work for you and your business?

Here’s a few tips to help you embrace every business networking opportunity you get, so you can grow your business and achieve your goals.

Rock up with confidence

If you want to keep those nerves at bay and ooze confidence at networking get-togethers, you’ll need to downplay it rather than seeing it as a big occasion. Try not to put pressure on yourself and see it as a casual meet-up with a bunch of people with similar goals to you. To help you relax in the run-up to the event, be sure to set achievable goals and expectations before you go.

Keep your chin up and your goals in mind – positivity is key. One easy goal for your first networking meeting is very simply to speak to one other person and see where the conversation goes. Introduce yourself and your business, but take the time to listen to their story, too. It’ll only take a few minutes and will be over before you know it, so it’s nothing to fear. You may even enjoy it and want to speak to a few more people, too!

“You can close more business in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get people interested in you.” – Dale Carnegie

Where to go networking

If you’ve never been networking before, it might not be very easy to find a group – but only because there’s so much choice and you don’t know where to start your search! Groups come in different sizes and styles, so it’s important to find one that suits you and your business. Informal, formal, big, small… the choice is yours.

For your first meeting, start small to ease yourself in – a big group could prove too daunting, and stop you from feeling comfortable enough to get involved. After all, you want to make a strong first impression!

If you’re wondering which group to opt for in the long-term, give a few a go! Get a feel for them, speak to as many people as you can, and see which one suits! You’ll know when a group feels right for you, and you can see where those all-important relationships are most likely to be built. If a group doesn’t feel like the right for you, give a different one a go.

Get more leads and referrals

This will happen for you, as long as you put the effort into building those relationships. If you take the time to get to know people, and then check in with them and support them, they’ll see you as a trustworthy and reliable contact who they can call on. And when they feel that way, those leads and referrals you’re looking for will come a-knocking.

Once you’ve made relationships with people who you trust, and they’ve had a positive experience working with you, you can even ask for referrals! But don’t rush this, as you don’t want to inadvertently push people away or try and force the relationship along too quickly.

When you do get an opportunity to work with someone you’ve met at a networking group, go above and beyond to offer more value than they’re expecting, as then, they’ll be much more likely recommend you and introduce you to more of their contacts!

Grow your business

By investing your time and effort in networking, you will gain more business through the relationships you make, and you will be able to grow your business.

We know that it’s not easy, going networking for the very first time. And that’s why we want to give you all the advice and tools that you need so you can walk in with confidence and make the most of the opportunity.

2023 is just around the corner, and you have the chance to make it the year you make networking work for your business. And the benefits could be incredibly amazing for your business, just like they have been for ours, and many business owners we have worked with over the years.

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