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Thread: Taking A Huge Leap--- need help

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    Default Taking A Huge Leap--- need help

    Today, I quit my full-time cushioned salary job to pursue my dream of starting my own marketing firm. I have been studying the world of digital marketing for as long as I remember, having started my first firm at the age of fifteen until it inevitably failed at 16. Two years later, I am trying again, this time having learned from the mistakes that originally doomed my firm from the start.


    I need help. For the first time, I have taken a huge leap and left the job that was financially supporting my business, and now with the small amounts of savings I have, am trying to create my own income solely from my startup. However, I am having trouble marketing my business to other businesses. I live in a place full of small companies, but it seems like none of them either seem to really invest in their marketing efforts or doesn't take me seriously enough to invest the amount of money I'm looking for.


    It's not like I'm inexperienced, I have been doing this my entire life, have won an award for my talents, and have a proven track record of what I can do. Yet, people look at me and don't take my price tag seriously or question my knowledge on the subject. That's where it's difficult to market my business to small businesses.


    What can I do? I really need help and I don't know where to go.

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    Well, the first thing I'm going to tell you and I'm sure others will as well is that you should not have quit your job that was paying the bills. Stories of people who just jumped in head first and somehow made it are greatly exaggerated.

    But I'm sure that's not what you want to hear right now.

    Look, it takes time to learn what marketing works best for your business. How about if you answer a few questions for yourself?

    Who did you imagine would be your target market, and what are you doing to get in front of them now?
    Have you had any customers yet?
    How did you imagine you would land your first customer?
    Are you out there getting businesses, or just sitting back and waiting for the phone to ring?
    What does your website look like?
    Are you doing any local networking?


    One thing I will tell you from experience, is that in the beginning no one cares how great you think you are. No one cares about your awards.

    In order to narrow in on something, I need to know exactly how potential customers are supposed to find you.
    What promotions or marketing are you already doing?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold Mansfield View Post
    Well, the first thing I'm going to tell you and I'm sure others will as well is that you should not have quit your job that was paying the bills. Stories of people who just jumped in head first and somehow made it are greatly exaggerated.

    But I'm sure that's not what you want to hear right now.
    I quit my job for a few reasons, mostly due to unbearable management. My manager did not like me and was looking for every reason to fire me. Why I don't know. No one really has an idea either, everyone there liked me except him. He made my life specifically hell.
    Quote Originally Posted by Harold Mansfield View Post
    Look, it takes time to learn what marketing works best for your business. How about if you answer a few questions for yourself?

    Who did you imagine would be your target market, and what are you doing to get in front of them now?
    Right now since I'm still small, so I've been trying to contact small businesses and medium-sized businesses. To contact them, I've been cold calling and cold emailing. Minimal responses.
    Quote Originally Posted by Harold Mansfield View Post
    Have you had any customers yet?
    Yes. I've worked on a few short-term projects where I made really good money. Right now the well is dry.
    Quote Originally Posted by Harold Mansfield View Post
    How did you imagine you would land your first customer?
    I'd imagine it was through cold emailing or referrals. My dad referred me to a few small businesses and I have a meeting on Friday. Something tells me it's not going to work out once prices come around.
    Quote Originally Posted by Harold Mansfield View Post
    Are you out there getting businesses, or just sitting back and waiting for the phone to ring?
    Cold calling and emailing 6+ hours a day. I don't know what else I'm supposed to do.
    Quote Originally Posted by Harold Mansfield View Post
    What does your website look like?
    https://orblabs.net
    Quote Originally Posted by Harold Mansfield View Post
    Are you doing any local networking?
    There's really no developer conferences that aren't $1,000 to attend here. Little to no meetups unless I go to Boston. I have been using social media to my advantage.

    Quote Originally Posted by Harold Mansfield View Post
    One thing I will tell you from experience, is that in the beginning no one cares how great you think you are. No one cares about your awards.

    In order to narrow in on something, I need to know exactly how potential customers are supposed to find you.
    What promotions or marketing are you already doing?
    Facebook ads, SEO, Google ads, cold emails, cold calls, referrals but that's hard because my friends are useless and don't know anyone by dad knows a few people.

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    Well, cold calling is not only hard, but it is an art and has a very low return. Not only that but every failed cold call is a burned lead and a customer that you will now NEVER get should they come across you any other way. No one likes being cold called.

    Friends are worthless. I would even suggest that you NEVER enlist your friends to help you generate leads unless they are well trained salesmen who fully understand your business.

    Your website is very sparse. It doesn't say much at all and why is the services page, your most important page still "coming soon"? You obviously have the time to complete it.
    If you're cold calling and people are seeing that site as it is now, you are burning leads. Your website should be helping you close deals. It should answer every question and sell your services, not creating more questions that have no answers.

    No phone number on the home page.

    Your contact page, has no contact options. No phone number. No hours of operation.
    Just getting to the form is a puzzle. Why do I have to press another button to see the form?

    Your website is marketing.
    Being that your website is your MAIN marketing and sales tool it needs to be as close to perfect as possible.
    You're telling people that you're an award winning marketer, your website needs to look like you're an award winning marketer.
    Your website needs to be able to speak for you when you aren't there to speak for yourself.
    If you're calling yourself a marketing expert, and when your phone rings the first thing you hear on the other end isn't "Hey, I found you online. Really like your website.", it's not good enough.

    Last one...

    If your website isn't categorically better in EVERY way than the website's of your target audience, you're wasting your time. If they're website is better than yours, then you obviously can't help them with their marketing because they're already doing more than you are.

    Before you waste anymore time sending people to your website, you need to finish building your website.
    Until you do you're just shooting yourself in the foot and burning leads.

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    Owen, Owen, Owen! Don’t take this wrong but you’ve been on this site for awhile, yet you have basically ignored much of the advice from the older folks here, in particular Harold.

    There is even a recent discussion topic that talks about how age relates to entrepreneurial success.
    I know this hard to swallow for a young enthusiastic person like you, BUT experience is the real key to success. Not just a skill set.
    Many of us have done what you have just done. Jump before you were ready without a parachute.

    First, I’d listen to every word Harold (and others) have to say. Harold laid it out in detail for you. I can’t add much to what he said. However, although I haven’t seen your website, like Harold said, it better be smash bang awesome before you let any prospects see it. Personally, as a potential client I’d dismiss you instantly with a lackluster website.

    Here is some further advice I can add. It’s not necessarily your youth that is the problem, it IS your inexperience. Although you may think you are experienced, you are not. Believe me, it shines through like a laser beam when you are dealing with prospects.

    Why is your inexperience so obvious? Well, because you have no relevant experience. I mean relevant to the prospects you are dealing with. You may know the technical aspects of your trade but you can’t relate to the businesses you hope to do work for.

    I will use Harold as an example because what he does is somewhat similar, but it relates to every mature businessperson. His success, besides his skill set, is probably more based on his overall knowledge of business. From conversations on here you can tell that he is well versed and knowledgeable about business in general and particular businesses. In other words he can relate to any type of business.

    What does that mean? Well, I’m pretty sure if I needed to contract Harold he would be able to understand my business (not just his). He could probably tell me what I need, not just what he can do. Can you do the same? I doubt it. How did he gain this knowledge and ability to be versed in business. Just from experience basically, I would guess. Even if he didn’t have direct knowledge of my business I know he would relate from his other experiences.

    In my world, although what I do is very formatted, I also need to be versed in many business models. If I can’t understand and discuss a client’s business with reasonable knowledge they will dismiss me immediately, no matter how well I can do what I do.

    The other side is contacts! This is extremely important. It not only creates a network of potential clients it also generates a network of resources. In my case it is critical. This only happens with time.

    I do hope you get lucky and get some clients but I would suggest you plot out your next few years. You should probably work for a company that does what you want to do. Learn how they do it. Learn ALL aspects of the business, not just the part you like. Create some contacts and a reputation in the industry. Don’t think of it as a burden, think of it as an opportunity. Probably everyone on here has worked for someone else before launching their own business.

    I started as a young man at the bottom of a fairly large company. I worked my way literally to the top where I was running the company. I learned everything there! Marketing, merchandising, labor negotiations, sales force management, administrative management, logistics, financial controls etc. Those hard learned lessons are invaluable to me now.

    I know you probably think you know everything you need to know, but you don’t. Get some “real” experience under your belt, become well versed in business. It will make your leap into your own business much more likely to succeed.

    Not what you wanted to hear, I know.

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    I appreciate the kind words Paul and wanted to chime in on that overall experience thing.

    As most know I worked in bars, restaurants and nightclubs for 20 years. From $5 pitcher college bars, to high limit gaming bars in casinos, to wine and $1200 a shot Cognac bars. In 4 different states. There is no book that can teach you the experience of face time with so many different kinds of people and be able to not just hold a conversation with them, but provide the various kinds of customer service that each expects and do it successfully enough that they leave you a bunch of money. And keep coming back to leave you a bunch of money.

    Throughout that time I also held various management and leadership positions that gave me experience in everything from managing staff, to handling suppliers, health department agents and dealing with local laws, licenses, conflict resolution, and putting out every fire under the sun.

    As a limo driver, multiply that level of service by 10 and you're completely on your own. 100% responsible for how much money you make, how many regulars you have, and the safety and security of not just them, but yourself and your vehicle which is a target for con man, grifter, pimp, accident fraud, and criminal who sees it. Then throw in celebrities, politicians, foreign dignitaries, and people so wealthy they look like they modeled for that game piece in the Monopoly game. You can have a governor one day and a bachelor party of losers the next. Everyone gets the same good service.

    That cannot be learned in books. Customer service is the core of a successful business. You need to get face time experience and be able to deal with every kind of person. Smart people. Dumb people. Angry people. Poor people. Rich people. And be able to treat them all with the level of intelligence and respect that each situation deserves.

    Then, I also spent time as telemarketer. I hated that job. I hated sales. I discounted the importance of sales for years. When I first started building my own websites I built them from the attitude that I could not do sales, so the website had to sell for me.

    HOWEVER, that telemarketing job put a cherry on top of the customer service skills that I already had. I went from hating the phone, struggling to read a script and make it sound natural, not being able to overcome objections, to being able to talk to anyone about anything and close them and not be scared to say "...and what card are you going to be putting that on today? Mastercard? Oh Visa. Go ahead with the numbers when your ready starting with a 4. "

    Today and for the last 10 years being able to close over the phone has been 100% of how I make money. If someone wants what I have, has the money, and they get me on the phone, I'm going to close them. Most right away, some take a few more conversations, but I'm going to close 90% of whoever I talk to. That is an invaluable skill and you cannot make it in any business without it. Especially if you're doing cold calling. It is a skill. You cannot wing it.

    I didn't just jump up one day and magically knew how to deal with people. I'd been dealing with the general public, every age, sex, religion, political persuasion and profession my entire life. From actors to ranchers and everything in between.

    You wouldn't think that any of the above would have any bearing on what I do now, but the truth is the experience I gained without even knowing it is responsible for everything that I do now.

    You can learn all the technical skills in the world, if you don't have a little life experience, customer service experience, and sales skills you cannot make it. It shows in EVERYTHING you do.. the website you build, the ads you write, the connections you make, the conversations you have, the opportunities that present themselves. Everything.

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    A traffic jam when you're already late
    A no-smoking sign on your cigarette break
    It's like ten thousand spoons when all you need is a knife

    Ironic, isn't it? Especially when an award winning marketer is asking for startup marketing help.

    I'm going to be very blunt here.

    Like Harold and Paul said, your website may be your biggest anchor outside of possibly your confidence (I'll touch on this later). No phone number. No physical address. No USP that sets you apart from the other fly by night, wannabe marketers out there.

    I did what you did and jumped in with both eyes closed, feet first, with a mid 5 figure debt anchor. I had no right to even enter the industry that I did. All I knew how to do was manage cash (spend less than you take in), grind carbide, and sell myself so that I got one chance. Sounds simple doesn't it? I've got the basic business skill set so how hard could it be?

    Every single one of my preferred customer base has been burned in the past by someone who said exactly what I said. So have every...single...one of your preferred clients. I can't emphasize this enough.

    So tell us, who, exactly, is your preferred client? A mom and pop restaurant? Local fab shop? Fortune 500 conglomerate? How about Harold, Paul, or myself?

    Quote Originally Posted by Owen
    Facebook ads, SEO, Google ads, cold emails, cold calls, referrals but that's hard because my friends are useless and don't know anyone by dad knows a few people.
    Hasn't worked for who knows how many one and done posters here so why should it work differently for you?

    Quote Originally Posted by Owen
    Cold calling and emailing 6+ hours a day. I don't know what else I'm supposed to do.
    I have a few ideas and I know nothing about your business. Cold calling, social media and email don't seem to be working so what's next on your list of award winning marketing methods? I could throw you a bone here, but you need to be able to puzzle this out.

    Quote Originally Posted by Owen
    I quit my job for a few reasons, mostly due to unbearable management. My manager did not like me and was looking for every reason to fire me. Why I don't know. No one really has an idea either, everyone there liked me except him. He made my life specifically hell.
    Been there. Done that. Got the t-shirt. Accept it. Get over it. Move on. Understand that this could be a lot worse when your self employed.

    Quote Originally Posted by Owen
    Right now the well is dry.
    So how thirsty are you?

    Quote Originally Posted by Owen
    I have a meeting on Friday. Something tells me it's not going to work out once prices come around.
    Good for you to have a meeting on Friday but don't go in with that attitude - you will lose 100% of every sale when you have that opinion before you even sit down. Change your mindset now to "I'm not walking away from the table until I have them committed". Price is negotiable and every buyer will push you on price. Ask for the sale.

    With all that said, your word is your bond. If you say you are going to do something you go above and beyond (within reason) to make sure it gets done. If I can't trust you to do what you say you're going to do we will never get to a handshake agreement let alone a signed contract.

    @Harold - $1200 a shot Cognac?
    Brad Miedema
    Fulcrum Saw & Tool

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fulcrum View Post
    @Harold - $1200 a shot Cognac?
    More in the casino. The most I've ever rang it up for is $1500, but it was to a "high roller" so it was comped.
    https://www.louisxiii-cognac.com/us

    There's even a market for an empty bottle.

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    Regarding local networking:
    Quote Originally Posted by Owen View Post
    There's really no developer conferences that aren't $1,000 to attend here. Little to no meetups unless I go to Boston. I have been using social media to my advantage.
    It's not developer conferences and meetups with other techies that you want -- you want to go and meet small business people (your prospective customers) at Chamber of Commerce "Business After Hours" events and other similar general business "networking" events...

    ETA -- this is in line with what Paul was saying about being able to understand your customer's business (not just your own)
    Last edited by tallen; 07-17-2018 at 06:58 PM.

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    I agree that Developers conferences are not the right tool for the job. They are looking to network with other developers and for $1k a pop won't want to waste time being sold to unless you have a booth there. IMO paying to go to one of those would be a waste of money. That $1k could go a lot further on other marketing.

    As was mentioned, surely you see not just the irony but what should be an internal alarm that you're a marketer asking how to market.

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