In my last video we talked about 3 things an online entrepreneur needs to model from the offline business world. Today we’ll go deeper into the second lesson ~ that you can’t build a profitable business by yourself. (You can go back and read the first lesson about scheduling your online business for success if you missed it.)
I know you became a solo entrepreneur because you want to run your own business. Be your own boss. Create things without supervisor approval and mind-numbing team meetings to reach a consensus. And to eliminate from your life the people you have to work with 40 hours a week, but wouldn’t spend an hour with voluntarily.
But, leaving all of these things behind doesn’t mean you have to, should, or even can build your online business alone. It also doesn’t mean you need business partners, or employees, or an office outside the home.
The good news is, you can be an online entrepreneur, and sit alone in your home office. And still be connected to a huge network of people who do work for you, partner with you, teach you, and benefit from your knowledge.
Let’s look at why you need other people in your online business, who you need, and where you can find them.
1. Why you need others
The large majority of you have likely had a “regular job” at some time in your life. Think back to that. Could you have done everything necessary to make that business run? Even if you had the skill, would you have had the time? And were you the most qualified to run every aspect of the business?
In most cases, it’s exhausting if not laughable to even think about running the entire business by yourself. The same holds true for your online business.
At a minimum, you’ve got content creation, product creation, social media, other marketing/traffic generation, website management, graphic design, and ongoing training to accomplish in your online business. And remember, you started this business so you wouldn’t have to be a slave to the 60 hour work week!
So the bottom line is you need others to help you figure it all out, and to do the things you can’t, don’t want to, and don’t have time to do.
2. Who you need
There are two kinds of people you are going to need as an online entrepreneur. People you can outsource work to, and people you can learn from and with.
You should be outsourcing work from day one. Even though you can’t afford it. The reality is, you can’t afford not to do it. Outsourcing is the same thing as having co-workers in your offline business,except, you control who they are and how many hours they work.
What if 60 hours a week could be put into building your online business and you only had to do 20 of it yourself? Think you could be making more money? You control how many hours a week go into your business. You also control how many of those you are working.
You may have to start small, and outsource 10 hours a week, but that’s okay. It’s 10 hours your business otherwise wouldn’t have. Start by outsourcing the things you enjoy least and are no good at.
The other people you are going to need are your trainers, mentors, colleagues. Every company provides its employees with training. As a online entrepreneur, you have to provide yourself with training. There’s no way you can keep on top of all of the things that are going on in the online business world and in your specific marketplace. You need a group of people you can learn from. You’ll also be passing on your expertise to them.
3. Where you can find them
This is probably the hardest one to answer. Independent contractors and networking/business groups are everywhere. But be careful, because they are not all created equal.
Here are some of my best resources. For outsourcing small projects you can go to fiverr.com where people will do things for you for $5. Of course their goal is to get you to spend more with them on bigger projects. And if they’re good, you will. If you need to start with a bigger project, you can get bids and have an ocean of workers to choose from at elance.com, rent-a-coder.com, guru.com or oDesk.com. There are others out there, but I’ve had positive (and not so positive) experiences in all of these places.
Just choose carefully and remember, cheapest is not always best.
The best way to find someone to outsource work to is by word of mouth from people you trust. Which is another reason to get with a community of other online entrepreneurs.
Again, you have to be careful. There are groups out there who exist only so the members can promote themselves. There are groups full of negative people who will do nothing but drag you down. And there are groups where the members spend all day talking about the big plans they have for their business, and no time actually implementing those plans.
Do a Google search by typing in the name of your market, plus “forums.” For example “weight loss forums.” And, do a search using your keywords in Facebook, there are an increasing number of Facebook groups about most everything.
If it’s an open group or forum, you can play around a little before deciding to join. More likely you’ll want to join a closed group or member-only forum. Still, if you don’t like what you see when you get in, leave.
For your online business education and community there are a few Facebook Groups that do it right. First is a paid group called You Can Do Inner Circle. The leader of the group is Kim Garst, who knows her social media/online business stuff. You’ll want to find a good paid group as soon as you can, the quality of everything is just better because everyone there is taking their business seriously.
But, there are also some great free groups. Kim’s free version is called You Can Do Social. Social Media Trends for Small Business is another great group, as is Marketing Strategy. I can help if you’re interested in getting into any of these free, but closed, groups.
You really must watch closely how much time you spend on Facebook Groups, or any forum. But the groups I mention each have a unique focus and are worth popping in on once a day or when you have a question.
I can’t even put into words what finding the right group will do for you. Not only will you learn more, and faster, but you’ll also find supporters, friends, future partners, clients for your own business, great referral sources, and just about anything else a solo entrepreneur needs to make her online business fun and profitable.
So, crawl out of your cave and let’s make some connections. You’ll be glad you did and your bank account will thank you! I look forward to hearing who you’re bringing on board your online business.