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8 Simple Hacks For Low Budget Startup Entrepreneurs

8 Simple Hacks For Low Budget Startup Entrepreneurs

Startup entrepreneurs should be aware of the risks involved starting their own business. Money plays a big role in the success or failure of a startup. In fact, 90% of startup entrepreneurs are expected to fail.  But does this mean that you shouldn’t chase after your dream?

There are simple, yet cost-effective measures that low budget startups could adapt in their business practices. Here are some effective low budget hacks that entrepreneurs could start to implement.

1. Build a solid content online

Quality content makes a huge difference on how a company is perceived online. Content has been considered the king for quite a while, and there’s no sign of it changing soon. Low budget startup entrepreneurs should start investing on an effective content strategy to get the attention of their niche.

This simple, yet effective strategy has been proven to build a company’s reputation. It can also potentially increase your conversion, while attracting the right people.

Is it cheap? Hiring content creators may not be as cheap as you expect. Big companies are even willing to pay $100 or more for high quality content.  For low budget startup entrepreneurs, they could start building their own content. Using tools such as Grammarly.com, the content can be proofread even without the help of a professional copywriter/editor. If not, they can hire online freelance writers to get the job done. Freelancers offer a budget friendly solution to this type of concern.

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2. Delegate the simple and mundane tasks

It is a common mistake by startup entrepreneurs to micromanage and perform mundane tasks. Startup entrepreneurs could save more money if they focus on the more important tasks in their company.

So who should cover the simple and mundane tasks? If you don’t have the money to hire new employees, you can start having a virtual assistant to get things done. For some businesses, they also allow on-the-job trainees to be part of their organization. On-the-job trainees are young college graduates or students who are trying to gain experience in a relevant industry.

3. Invest on a modern and responsive website

Whether or not you have an office or a physical store, it is imperative to have a modern and responsive website for your startup company.

A responsive design allows the user to have an optimized view of the website in different devices. This type of design responds to the viewing space that is available.

Now that 48% of mobile users start using the internet on search engines, Google has decided to adapt its algorithm to this trend. Aside from providing superb user experience, responsive websites are given an edge on Google. This type of design increases the chance of landing on the first search result page.

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4. Study the industry/market well

As rule of thumb, every startup entrepreneur should never get into something that they don’t know.   Investing in an unknown niche increases the risk of failing.

Market research is something that businesses of all sizes shouldn’t forget. By performing a study in your industry and market, you’ll be able to determine the startup’s potential. Is there a demand? Who are our competitors? Is the market already saturated?

5. Branding consistency

Branding is your key to be easily recognized by your audience. An effective branding strategy can help get the message across effectively. Small businesses should be able to understand the value of using consistent designs. Branding isn’t just your logo. Branding is also about the voice, colors, fonts, and even your website’s layout.

6. Develop a social media marketing strategy

Social media has leveled the playing field for a lot of businesses. Even small businesses have been able to get the same exposure as their larger counterparts, thanks to the use of social media. And the good part is that it can be used for free.

With over billions of accounts floating around in different platforms, social media should never be ignored especially by small entrepreneurs. According to one study, consumers tend to buy products from brands they follow (64% of Twitter users and 51% of Facebook users).

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But of course, not all social media campaigns can yield positive results.  To maximize the reach and engagement, it is crucial to learn some effective social media marketing strategies. This includes establishing the right type of voice to balancing the promotional and non-promotional posts.

And of course, you have to understand that the social media platform algorithms are also changing. It has been a concern among social media managers when Facebook changed the way people see posts from pages.

The average reach of Facebook publishers in 2015 is only at 2.27%. On the other hand, in 2012, publishers organically reach 16% of their fans. This only means that small businesses should also consider sponsored posts, to help boost their reach. But more importantly, it is imperative to reevaluate the content shared on social media.

7. Take the customer feedback seriously

You may have heard Steve Jobs downplay customer feedback saying that customers have no idea of what they want until they have seen it. But for startup entrepreneurs, keep in mind that word-of-mouth advertising is still among the most effective means of advertising.

Word-of-mouth advertising can either help or destroy your business. For a virtually unknown brand, it is crucial to get as many people to recommend your products or services. In fact, 84% of consumers say that they trust recommendations of either friends or family when it comes to products. Same is true for online opinion made by consumers.

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So what should you do if you are faced with a negative feedback online? This is where startups need to have a protocol on how to manage negative comments and reviews.

8. Analytics

Every startup entrepreneur should consider the numbers. Analytics provide startups a reality check, whether or not they are doing the right thing. For starters, check the social media’s engagement, and reach. Compare which posts have the highest reach and engagement.

Next, look at your site’s traffic. Are you hitting the expected number of visitors? If the numbers are met, are you really hitting the demographic? For local businesses for instance, it is important that the searches come from the area where they operate.

Conclusion

Becoming a startup entrepreneur can be a struggle. The lack of capital can definitely play a major role how your business operates. But the lack of funds doesn’t mean that you should forget about your dream. Today, there are many ways on how you can run your business even if you only have minimal funds. It is about how you make use of your available resources to your advantage as a startup.

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Published on June 5, 2018

Is It Time for a Career Change? Find Your Answer Here with These Steps

Is It Time for a Career Change? Find Your Answer Here with These Steps

Are you challenged at work? Do you regret career decisions? Are you happy? If the answer to the questions leads to a negative feeling, it is time to determine next steps.

Many people settle for a career that no longer brings satisfaction. Most will respond by stating, “I am surviving” if a colleague asks them “How’s work?”

Settling for a job to pay bills and maintain a lifestyle is stagnation. You can re-direct the journey of a career with confidence by taking control of future decisions. After all, you deserve to be live a happy life that will offer a work-life balance . Let’s look at the reasons why you need a career change and how to make it happen for a more fulfilling life.

Signs that you need a career change

The challenges of dissatisfaction in a career can have a negative impact on our mental health. As a result, our mental health can lead to the obvious appearance of stress, aging, weight gain and internal health issues.

You deserve a career that will fulfill the inner desire of true happiness. Here are common factors that it is time for you to change your career.

Physical signs

Are you aging since you started your job? Do you have anxiety? What about work-related injuries?

It feels amazing to receive a pay cheque, but you deserve to work in an environment that brings out the best of you. If the work environment is hazardous, speak to your boss about alternative options.

In the case that colleagues or your boss take advantage of your kindness, feeling the anxiety of fear of losing your job because of a high-stress environment may not be right for you.

Mental signs

One out of five Americans has mental health issues, according to Mental Health America.[1] In most cases, it is related to stress.

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I remember working at a job in a work environment where harassment was acceptable. I had to walk on eggshells to avoid crossing the line with colleagues. My friends started to notice the difference in that I seemed out of character. It was then that I knew that changing a career to freelancing was the right decision.

Here is a list of mental signs of workplace unhappiness:

  • The tension in your neck
  • Difficulties with sleeping
  • Unable to concentrate
  • High anxiety
  • Depression

If you start to feel your self-esteem is diminishing, it is time to consider if working in a high-stress industry is for you. The truth is, this negative energy will be transferred to people in your life like friends and family.

Why a career change is good for you

I have a friend that works in the medical industry. She was once a nurse working directly with patients in one of the top hospitals in her area. After five years, she started to internalize the issues with her patients to the point where she felt depressed after work hours. It impacted her relationship with her family and she almost lost herself.

One day, she decided to wake up and take control of her destiny. She started applying for new medical jobs in the office. It meant working on medical documentation of patients which is not an ideal career based on what society expects a medical professional to perform. But she started to feel happier.

It is a classic example of a person that was negatively impacted by issues at work, stayed in the same industry but changed careers.

A career change can fulfill a lifelong dream, increase one’s self-esteem or revive the excitement for one’s work.

You know a career change can be the right decision to make if you experience one or all of these:

  • Working in a negative workplace: Don’t be discouraged. A negative workplace can be changed by working at a new organization.
  • Working with a difficult boss: The challenges of working with a difficult boss can be stressful. All it takes is communication. You can address the issue directly with a manager professionally and respectfully.
  • Feeling lost about what you do: Most people stay at their jobs and settle for mediocrity because of the fear of failure or the unknown. The rise to success often comes with working a tedious role or stepping outside of one’s comfort zone. If you fear the idea of being involved in activities that are new, remember that life is short. Mediocrity will only continue to make you feel as if life is passing you by.

Common mistakes of people making a career change

Most people that feel they need a career are frustrated with their situation at work. What is your situation?

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  • Desire for an increase of salary: The desire for a higher income can persuade some to believe they are in the wrong career. The issue with this is more money requires more time in the office or taking on several positions at a time. At times, pursuing a high-income role can be the complete opposite of what one is expected. It is what happens when a colleague leaves a company to a new one and returns several years later.
  • Overnight decision: Let’s face it. We make overnight decisions when stressed out or disappointed with situations at work. The problem with a quick decision is the negative and positive points is overlooked.
  • Rejected for a promotion: I have heard stories of managers that applied ten times for a position throughout a 5-year period. Yes, it sounds to be a lengthy process, but at times, a promotion requires time. Avoid changing a career if you do not see the results of a promotion currently.
  • Bored at work: Think deeply about this point. If you work a job that is repetitive, it is normal to feel bored. You can spice it up by changing the appearance of your desk, socializing with new employees in a different department, joining a leadership committee at work or coming to work with enthusiasm. Sometimes, all it takes is you to change jobs into a fun situation.

A career change can take time, networking, education and the job search process can be a journey. Here is a list of things to consider before making a final decision:

  • How long have you worked in your career?
  • What is the problem at work? Do you work well with the team?
  • Do you receive recognition?
  • Can you consider working in a new department?

The reason it is important to think about the work situation is some people decide to change career for factors that are insignificant. Factors that can potentially change if the person works in a different department or new organization. Here is a list of unimportant factors to think about before you decide to make the transition:

Now that you had a chance to review your work situation and none of these recommendations can help, it is time to take the next step.

How to make the change for a successful career (Step-by-step)

The ultimate key to success is to go through a career transition step by step to avoid making the wrong decision.

1. Write a career plan

A career plan has a dead line for action steps that includes taking new courses, learning a new language, networking or improving issues at work.[2] A career plan should be kept in your wallet because it will motivate you to keep pursuing the role.

You can learn how to set your career plan here.

2. Weigh your options

If you have a degree in Accounting, write down five positions in this industry of interest. The good news is diplomas and degrees can be used to a variety of roles to choose.

You don’t have to stick to what society holds a top job, in the end, choosing the right role that will make you happy is priceless.

3. Be real about the pros and cons

It is time to be honest about strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats that are impacting the current situation.

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A SWOT Analysis of a career can include:

  • Economic factors
  • Direct competition: Is this role in high demand?
  • Location: Do you need to move? If the goal is to work in tech and living in Cincinnati is not realistic, consider moving to San Francisco.
  • Achievements: To stand out from the competition achievements like awards, committee involvement, freelance work or volunteering is a recipe for success.
  • Education: Do you need to go back to school? Education can be expensive. However, online courses, webinars or self-study is an option.

A career blueprint is the first step to creating realistic goals. A person without goals will be disappointed without a clear direction of what to do next.

4. Find a mentor

A mentor that works in the desired position can share the pros and cons of working in the role. Here is a list of questions to ask a mentor:

  • What is required to be successful in the role?
  • What certification or educational development is needed?
  • What are the challenges of the role?
  • Is there potential for career advancement?

A chat at a coffee shop with a mentor can change your mind about the desire for a career change.

Find out how to pick a good mentor for yourself in this article: A Good Mentor Is Hard to Find: What to Look for in a Mentor

5. Research salary

Some people decide to change careers for a role that pays less or perks like benefits to make up for the difference in previous to potential salary.

It can reveal the cities throughout the country that offer a higher salary for those that have an interest in relocating for work.

6. Be realistic

If your goal is to move up into an executive position, it is time to be honest about where you are in your career.

For example, if boardroom meetings, high-level discussions about financials or attending weekly networking events are boring, an executive role may not be right for you. If you are an introvert and working with people every day is nerve wrecking, you need to reconsider a job in sales.

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Ask yourself if you can work in this role for the next five years of your life. If other benefits that come with the role are enticing, other roles are fit that will make you happy.

7. Volunteer first

A person that wants to become a manager should take on volunteer opportunities to experience the reality of the position.

Becoming a committee member to pursue a presidential opportunity can provide a perspective on leadership, maintaining a budget and public speaking.

Volunteer in a role until you are certain that it is the right opportunity.

8. Prepare your career tools

I recommend asking a boss, colleague or mentor for career tools. If you prefer professional assistance, you can seek out resume writing assistance. Here is a list of things to consider when preparing career tools:

  • Online search: Search your name online to see what shows up. I recommend searching images that are on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat or other sites on a personal account. The last thing you want to realize is the job search is unsuccessful because there is unprofessional content you posted online.
  • Be LinkedIn ready: Recruiters conduct a LinkedIn search to see if the work experience is the same on a resume. Remember to change the wording on LinkedIn from the resume, or it will appear there was no effort put into creating the profile.
  • Portfolio: A portfolio of work is recommended for people that work in the arts, writing, graphic design and other fields. I recommend a portfolio online and one that is available in hand when attending job interviews or networking meetups.

Final thoughts

It takes time to move towards a new career. Pay attention to the physical and mental signs to maintain your health. You deserve to work in happiness and come home stress-free. If you avoid the common mistakes people make, you will discover the role that is the best fit with your skillsets.

Master these action steps and changing careers will be on your terms to make the best decision for your future.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

Reference

[1]Mental Health America: The State of Mental Health in America
[2]MIT Global Education & Career Development: Make a Career Plan

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