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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

6 Smart Moves to Grow Your Business and Your Profits

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How Entrepreneurs Can Fortify Their Startups Against Fraud

Businesses that neglect workplace fraud detection are leaving themselves open to catastrophic losses

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Lessons We Can All Learn From Martin Luther King Jr.’s Leadership

While reflecting on the magnificent life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. I began to uncover what truly made Dr. King such a powerful leader

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While reflecting on the magnificent life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. I began to uncover what truly made Dr. King such a powerful leader. Many revere him for the change he brought forth so it’s no wonder that he was heavily influenced by the man who said, “Be the change you want to see in the world”. He embodied that statement on the deepest level and lead people through one of the most challenging yet historic times in our nation. 

But what was it that made Dr. King’s movement so different than the rest? A quality that transcends ego and unites a people so divided? 

My greatest and most moving discovery while studying the life of Dr. King was the very answer to our question. 

Yes, he had the personality to be a leader, yes he had the bravery to use his voice, yes he evoked REAL change in government and policies, but the manifestation of all those comes from his willingness to lead a movement truly rooted in consciousness. 

A peaceful approach

Dr. King was continuously met with frustration, hate, and even violence by both law enforcement and those who wanted to fight for equality through violence. But the more violent things became, the more he dug his heels into a peaceful approach. Dr. King’s unwavering faith in the power to lead with peace and not violence is undoubtedly why his legacy is such a pillar of our nation still to this day. It is easier to fight.

Hate, anger and separateness from one another are primitive emotions on the emotional scale of well being but It takes awareness, understanding and elevated consciousness to move from a place of peace and understanding. Dr. King knew that we all have access to these states of higher consciousness and that our true power lies in a peaceful approach.

He is an example of the truest essence of our consciousness in this human experience. How to truly love your neighbor as yourself. 

Conscious compassion

Even the strongest opponents are human. Meet hate with love + compassion for the enemy” he said. It wasn’t his resistance to violence that made him a peacemaker, but rather his commitment to keeping compassion and connection to all humanity at the forefront of his movement. A profound understanding that underneath all the hate, violence and discrimination, we are all one. We all come from the same source and we are all human.

A conscious king

A man of his position, his power, his following could have been easily swayed by the human temptations of the ego. But he remained steadfast in his cause to bring forth real change. He understood on the deepest level that we are truly a stronger force in the universe when we move as one unit, with one mind, and one goal. That the separation from one another is the weakness of humanity. That our strength is in those things that unite us all, the qualities that give us life.

His success was in uniting not just the people of America but the consciousness of America.

No matter our gender, or our social class or our color, we all love, and we all seek peace. We all feel joy and happiness, we all want to be met with compassion and understanding. 

His cause went far beyond the need for physical freedom and equal rights. His cause was for freedom of mind, freedom of heart, freedom to be one. 

Lead with love

In his last speech he said, “I may not get there with you, but we AS A PEOPLE will get to the promise land”. And we will. At some point, we will inevitably come back to this oneness that we all come from.

The truth is? We don’t know when our last day is. Our last march. Our last speech. So this Martin Luther King Jr. Day I ask you, what will your legacy be? Are you leading a life founded in the principles of Dr. King’s movement, founded in the higher consciousness of humanity? Every moment is an opportunity to love, to show compassion, to bring forth peace and in the words of Dr. King “The time is always right to do what is right”.

Dr. King said, “I’m here to remind you, we’ve come a longggg way, but there is still work to be done”. 

And I’m here to remind you this Martin Luther King Jr. day in 2024 that we HAVE come a longggg way, but there is still work to be done. 

His fight is our fight. His mind is our mind. His spirit is our spirit. Rooted in the consciousness of all humanity. We are all one. And when we embrace the understanding of that, we will truly say

“Free at Last, Free at Last, Thank God Almighty, We are Free at Last”.

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