Post written by
Co-Founder of Lexica Labs.
When someone close to me got sick, it lit a fuse. If, for whatever reason, I needed to step up financially, I was in no position to do so.
At the time, I was climbing the corporate ladder at the NBA and, like most of my contemporaries in the ultra-competitive world of sports, I lived paycheck to paycheck, despite earning multiple promotions.
I panicked, went online and applied for the first freelancer PR job I saw. Within 10 minutes, I got a gig for $800. Looking back, I am not sure what I thought I could do with that money, but this was the first catalytic event in my life as an entrepreneur.
Thankfully, I never needed to use that money because the health scare subsided. But now I was hooked on a new revenue stream. Last year I sent out an invoice and realized that my side hustle had eclipsed $500,000 in earnings.
It was a pretty good milestone considering I only devoted time to it at night and on weekends and holidays. I never leveraged a single contact from my day job and took on projects galaxies away from the sports industry. I even worked on a women’s empowerment trade show called "Fab Over 50."
As a New Year’s resolution heading into 2019, I decided it was time to take the training wheels off. I incorporated and become a full-time entrepreneur.
After three successful quarters that surpassed expectations, I officially partnered with my biggest client and together we co-founded a content marketing company.
If you are debating whether it is time to start your own company, here are four tips to help you succeed.
1. The Wax On, Wax Off Theory
During my decade working at the NBA, I learned from some of the best minds in corporate America. There were several occasions that I appreciated the lessons in real-time, but the experience ages like fine wine with each passing day. I am forever grateful to my bosses and teammates for making me better. It reminds me of that scene in The Karate Kid when Daniel realizes for the first time that he has unwittingly learned to defend himself. If you are coming from corporate America, do not underestimate how well your experience will translate to being a business owner. From micro tactics to macro strategy, you are likely even better than you thought you were. Now is as good a time as any to test yourself.
2. Monetize Your Biggest Strength
When I worked in-house, securing hits was my biggest strength. Unfortunately, in a non-revenue generating group, you can only be compensated so much regardless of output. At our company, my partner and I developed a business model based on measurable results. The response from clients has been exceedingly positive as they get to take their foot on or off the gas depending on the results of our campaign and the impact it has had on their traffic, domain authority, SEO and ultimately revenue.
If you are launching a company, figure out how to monetize your biggest strength and you can create a win-win environment for you and your clients that makes working fun and rewarding monetarily.
3. No Office, No Problem
When many people think of the gig economy, they picture millennials working from Bali. While that is awesome (and I’m coming to visit), it is time to realize that remote companies are real and a corporate office is no longer a prerequisite to success. If brick-and-mortar retail stores, which sell physical products, are turning to online storefronts, is it so far-fetched to suggest that certain service industries can be successful remotely? I assume an office may make sense at some point but, for now, I can do without the pomp and circumstance. Office politics, egos and painful conference-room birthday parties do not translate into revenue growth for our clients. Brilliant ideas, hard work and flawless execution do.
4. Launch A Seven-Figure Business For Under $1,000
Historically, to run a business you needed startup capital for office space and expensive equipment like photocopiers, furniture and huge filing cabinets. Today, with cloud-based services, all you need to get started is a laptop and a Wi-Fi signal.
• Email: Microsoft Office 365 is available month to month for $12.50, plus an additional cost per user if you have a team. This includes Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneDrive, Skype and other programs that deliver the same network that Fortune 500 companies use.
• Website: A WordPress theme costs a few hundred bucks. Wix is another solid option, but they struggle with SEO, so if you are trying to generate incoming leads, stick with WordPress.
• Logo: Companies like 99 Designs and Fiverr will design a high-quality logo for a few hundred dollars, and some also handle business cards, social media pages and promotional products.
• 800 Number: In case you want some pomp, several companies offer an 800 number that rings to your cell phone for a small monthly fee.
• Hiring: You can find amazing talent on sites like UpWork and find new clients, too.
• Office (bonus expense): In the event that an office is critical for your industry or style of work, WeWork provides all the amenities you need for approximately $500 per month. You can also present your product or service offering during lunch-and-learn sessions to the like-minded entrepreneurs sharing the space.
Now is an excellent time to launch a company. The economy is doing well, potential clients are investing in their own growth, and advances in technology allow you to operate at 100% efficiency from just about anywhere. If you see a gap in your industry and believe you have a solution, this could be the defining moment in your life when you bet on yourself and win big.