In a world where everyone is online, everyone has a phone in their pocket or they are in front of a computer at least 6hrs a day, you have to capitalize on that. Print, TV and radio are out the windows. That is old fashioned thinking. You don’t even have to pay for the ads on the social networks, which do work great, you just have to be social! Our generation was lucky enough to be blessed with all this FREE technology at our fingertips. You have the ability to start pretty much any business you would like with the device that sits in your pocket. Facebook and Instagram can be used for much more than keeping in touch with family and memes. Facebook and Instagram are no longer the only options either. It seems like new social networks are popping up every few months. You need to be sure you’re on the major players like: Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIN, Twitter and Snapchat. It doesn’t matter which generation you are trying to reach. Your mom probably has a snapchat by now. What matters is your content. You can’t just make one post and push it to all these different platforms. You need to be creating content that caters to each platform. I’ve personally made this mistake in the past, Instagram would be our “starting point” and the post would just be pushed to Facebook and Twitter. I noticed that strategy was not working at all. We had a huge following on Instagram, but Facebook and Twitter were lacking. You have to tailor the content to each platform and interact with the users on each platform. It can be a bit time consuming but the results can pay off big time! Imagine just dedicating a few hours a day to social media instead of giving $5k to a radio station, tv network or print ad. AND seeing whose consuming your content and being able to interact with them and answer their questions in real time. My business has quickly surpassed other local businesses in our area with this strategy. They continue to push heavy on old mediums that just don’t work well any more, especially with our customer base. My main customer base is 18-35, one of the hardest to market to. I know if I want to stand a chance, I have to be on all the technology they are on. Don’t get caught up in hanging on to old methods just because they worked at one point. You can’t be scared to try new things. Try, fail, learn, repeat.
So many people get caught up in their fears and “What Ifs.” The people who really succeed are the ones who take risks, they embrace risk. There is an old saying “No Risk, No Reward.” This is absolutely true. There will always be problems, there will never be a perfect time and someone will always be there doubting you. Don’t listen to those people, listen to your heart, listen to this voice inside of you saying JUMP! Many people simply won’t be successful in life because they are scared. Living in fear will get you nowhere. You don’t have to go all out and quit your job but you do have to be willing to go above and beyond. If you really want something you will sacrifice for it. That means not wasting time with TV and video games or whatever your favorite method of time consumption is. It means going to work, taking care of your family and then staying up late at night working on your dreams. You may be a little tired in the morning but if you’re really in pursuit of your dreams, that’s your drive. That’s what wakes you up this morning and pushes you to crank out your day at work so you can get home and get back to building your dream. A dream is just a dream until you dedicate time and effort to it. If you’re not willing to put in the work, you’re not meant to have it.
It’s easy to say “oh I have this going on, so now isn’t a good time” or “this just happened, so now isn’t a good time. THERE IS NEVER GOING TO BE A PERFECT TIME. Talking about it, thinking about it, PROCRASTINATING about it will get you nowhere. You’re going to stay in that endless cycle. Building your own business isn’t easy and it isn’t for everyone. Be willing to work and learn and you will be amazed at what you can achieve. I’ve hit so many roadblocks on my path but I figure out ways over, under and around them. The feeling you get after you knock down another obstacle is great! Often times we build things up in our head and make them out to be a much bigger thing than they are. Then once we conquer them, you have that “Oh, that wasn’t so bad” moment. Never be afraid to fail or look like a failure to others. Failing is part of the learning process. Those stuck in the rat race will always have a comment about you failing that one time, but they are failing EVERY day. You’re learning every day. One easy way to avoid looking like a failure to people is not bragging about what you’re working on until AFTER you’ve achieved it. So many people want to fake it for the internet and gain some sort of social status. The people on your social media don’t pay your bills, if they did you wouldn’t be looking to build a business. When it comes down to it, just go for it, fuck what people think!
Keeping your business organized can be one of the biggest challenges but knowing all of your numbers and seeing your cash flow is important. This is why you need to get yourself in to good practices from the beginning. I highly recommend starting out with Quickbooks (https://quickbooks.intuit.com/) or xero (https://www.xero.com/) very early on in your business. The longer you wait to begin accounting, the harder the problem becomes.
I use quickbooks in my business and personal finances simply because I have a grasp on it from my computer repair days. I’d say 95% of small businesses I worked for used quickbooks. The software has changed a lot in that time. It used to be bloated software that had to run on each PC and networking them to work off a single company file could be a headache. With that, you have to worry about computers crashing so maintaining multiple backups was critical. Long gone are those days. Quickbooks now operates “in the cloud” and is easily accessible via any browser along with apps on mobile devices. You can also integrate most banks and credit cards to give you a full 360 view of your finances. This all makes keeping track of transactions in or out a breeze and you can attach receipts or invoices to the transaction as well.
Getting into these practices will save you a HUGE headache when it comes to tax time! You won’t have to stress about gathering records or being sure you’ve maximized your deductions. Your daily input to quickbooks ensures that has been done properly. You will have all the reports your accountant could ask for, such as: profit and loss, sales and revenue, inventory and expenses.
In conclusion, choose whichever software meets your personal or business needs. But do yourself the favor and save yourself the stress by maintaining records properly, you’ll be much happier and so will your accountant!
Hey everyone! My name is Mike Martinez, I was born and raised in Omaha, Nebraska. From an early age I knew owning my own business was in my future. One of my earliest memories indicating this was my mom hosting a family get together at our house. I organized my room into a “store” stocked with all the old toys and various posessions that I no longer wanted. I notified all of my cousins that the store was open for business and to bring their wallets with them. My mom quickly caught on to what I was doing and shut my store down!
My dad also helped in my journey. When I was young he owned his own mobile auto body business. He would repair paint, dents and chips from his van. I’m not sure why, but this venture didn’t end up working out. He then went on to work at an automotive place specializing in transmissions. While doing this, he also operated a garage at home in his spare time. At any given time I remember there being at least 4 cars ready to be worked on. He instilled upon me that if I wanted something I had to work for it. I quickly learned not to just ask for money, I had to ask what work was available for me to make money. I would help with oil changes, brake jobs and shop cleanup. I feel this changed my mentality about money and helped prepare me for my future.
In my high school years, I had two major interests: Computers and Car Audio. Most kids my age had no clue what they were going to do with their future. Not me, I knew without a doubt that I was going to start one of those businesses.
A brief run down of my history, which I will delve deeper into in later posts:
- Computer Repair business
- Automotive Lock-Out Service
- Construction Contracting
- Retail/Ecommerce Smoke Shop