Advertising
Advertising

The Era of the Unintentional Entrepreneur: An Interview with Kevin Reeth of Outright.com (Part 2)

The Era of the Unintentional Entrepreneur: An Interview with Kevin Reeth of Outright.com (Part 2)

The Era of the Unintentional Entrepreneur

    In Part 1 of this interview, Kevin Reeth (Co-founder and CEO of Outright.com) and I discussed some of the challenges and benefits of entrepreneurship and the emergence of a new breed of “unintentional entrepreneurs” – people who, because of the economic downturn, find themselves exploring the possibility of going freelance, starting their own business, or hiring out as a consultant. In part 2, we discuss some of the technological tools that make entrepreneurship – unintentional or otherwise – a viable option right now.

    Advertising

    Kevin Reeth (KR): One of the good things about the timing now is that it has never been cheaper or easier to start a company from the logistics and marketing perspective. The ability to get your name out there, to get a web presence, to get online, to get people to be able to find you, has never been greater. If you just know the basics, you can use technology to better manage your time, better manage your processes, and then get paid and deal with the money. Open Source software, websites like ours [Outright.com], all this new technology has made it a lot easier.

    Dustin Wax (DW): What are some of the most effective and promising tools that are out there for entrepreneurs?

    Advertising

    KR: We’re big fans of social networks for self-employed people, because what it basically does is kind formalize those informal relationships. And you can get it down without worrying about curstomer relationship software and all that stuff. Of all of them, I think for professionals LinkedIn is the leading candidate.

    Definitely get on Google and use Gmail and Google Calendars. It’s free, it’s awesome,  and you can tie it to your own domain name using Google Apps for Your Domain. Phenomenal toolset, and it’s completely free.

    Advertising

    And we strongly recommend that people take advantage of free online tools to get a web presence. Get a blog on WordPress or Typepad or Blogger. If you want something a little more expensive, get a domain. Go to GoDaddy, get a domain, get cheap hosting, and get something very basic website up.

    We also recommend Craigslist. It’s a great business tool! If you have to buy anything, do not pay retail. See if it’s on Craigslist first. Companies are started and fail all the time. And they’ve bought the things you need and they’re going to want to sell that stuff. You can find a lot of stuff in great condition. Also, you can use Craigslist to promote your services for free or very little.

    Advertising

    And then of course, once you do start making a little bit of money and Uncle Sam wants their piece, then we strongly recommend people take a look at Outright.com.

    DW: I think the real interesting thing right now is the way that data is being shared between different applications, like from Freshbooks to Outright. Once that stuff starts being really integrated, when you can put your LinkedIn contacts for instance into your CRM program or whatever, that’s going to be pretty interesting.

    KR: I think you hit the nail right on the head, and that’s exactly where we’re trying to take this. You see it with The Small Business Web, a site that was put together with the folks at Freshbooks and Shoeboxed and BatchBook and MailChimp. One of the greatest things that has happened in the last few years with the web is, in addition to open source software, the open movement around data flow. You see this with Facebook and  the number of developers they can get building on top of it, you see it with Twitter. Most of the success of Twitter is all the people who’ve built stuff on top of it to extend it in really new and creative ways. Making the data open and available basically creates the opportunity for the broader population to innovate on it and it creates little micro-industries. It’s a massive development and I think we are at the very beginning stages of this.

    In Part 3 of this interview, Kevin and I will discuss the program at Unintentional Entrepreneur and how they’re working to provide knowledge and support to small business owners, solopreneurs, and freelancers. Be sure to check back Monday!

    More by this author

    Building Relationships: 11 Rules for Self-Promotion How to Become an Expert (And Spot out One Nearby) The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder That Works) Is Procrastination Bad? The Truth About Procrastination Revealed Back to Basics: Your Calendar

    Trending in Featured

    1 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines 2 How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck 3 15 Ways to Cultivate Lifelong Learning for a Sharper Brain 4 How to Get Promoted When You Feel Stuck in Your Current Position 5 Building Relationships: 11 Rules for Self-Promotion

    Read Next

    Advertising
    Advertising
    Advertising

    Last Updated on April 8, 2019

    22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

    22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

    Unless you’re infinitely rich or prepared to rack up major debt, you need to budget your income. Setting limits on how much you are willing to spend helps control expenses. But what about your time? Do you budget your time or spend it carelessly?

    Deadlines are the chronological equivalent of a budget. By setting aside a portion of time to complete a task, goal or project in advance you avoid over-spending. Deadlines can be helpful but they can also be a source of frustration if set improperly. Here are some tips for making deadlines work:

    Advertising

    1. Use Parkinson’s Law – Parkinson’s Law states that tasks expand to fill the time given to them. By setting a strict deadline in advance you can cut off this expansion and focus on what is most important.
    2. Timebox – Set small deadlines of 60-90 minutes to work on a specific task. After the time is up you finish. This cuts procrastinating and forces you to use your time wisely.
    3. 80/20 – The Pareto Principle suggests that 80% of the value is contained in 20% of the input. Apply this rule to projects to focus on that critical 20% first and fill out the other 80% if you still have time.
    4. Project VS Deadline – The more flexible your project, the stricter your deadline. If a task has relatively little flexibility in completion a softer deadline will keep you sane. If the task can grow easily, keep a tight deadline to prevent waste.
    5. Break it Down – Any deadline over one day should be broken down into smaller units. Long deadlines fail to motivate if they aren’t applied to manageable units.
    6. Hofstadter’s Law – Basically this law states that it always takes longer than you think. A rule I’ve heard in software development is to double the time you think you need. Then add six months. Be patient and give yourself ample time for complex projects.
    7. Backwards Planning – Set the deadline first and then decide how you will achieve it. This approach is great when choices are abundant and projects could go on indefinitely.
    8. Prototype – If you are attempting something new, test out smaller versions of a project to help you decide on a final deadline. Write a 10 page e-book before your 300 page novel or try to increase your income by 10% before aiming to double it.
    9. Find the Weak Link – Figure out what could ruin your plans and accomplish it first. Knowing the unknown can help you format your deadlines.
    10. No Robot Deadlines – Robots can work without sleep, relaxation or distractions. You aren’t a robot. Don’t schedule your deadline with the expectation you can work sixteen hour days to complete it. Deathmarches aren’t healthy.
    11. Get Feedback – Get a realistic picture from people working with you. Giving impossible deadlines to contractors or employees will only build resentment.
    12. Continuous Planning – If you use a backwards planning model, you need to constantly be updating plans to fit your deadline. This means making cuts, additions or refinements so the project will fit into the expected timeframe.
    13. Mark Excess Baggage – Identify areas of a task or project that will be ignored if time grows short. What e-mails will you have to delete if it takes too long to empty your inbox? What features will your product lack if you need a rapid finish?
    14. Review – For deadlines over a month long take a weekly review to track your progress. This will help you identify methods you can use to speed up work and help you plan more efficiently for the future.
    15. Find Shortcuts – Almost any task or project has shortcuts you can use to save time. Is there a premade library you can use instead of building your own functions? An autoresponder to answer similar e-mails? An expert you can call to help solve a problem?
    16. Churn then Polish – Set a strict deadline for basic completion and then set a more comfortable deadline to enhance and polish afterwards. Often churning out the basics of a task quickly will require no more polishing afterwards than doing it slowly.
    17. Reminders – Post reminders of your deadlines everywhere. Creating a sense of urgency with your deadlines is necessary to keep them from getting pushed aside by distractions.
    18. Forward Planning – Not mutually exclusive with backwards planning, this involves planning the details of a project out before setting a deadline. Great for achieving clarity about what you are trying to accomplish before making arbitrary time limits.
    19. Set a Timer – Get one that beeps. Somehow the countdown of a timer appears more realistic for a ninety minute timebox than just glancing at your clock.
    20. Write them Down – Any deadline over a few hours needs to be written down. Otherwise it is an inclination not a goal. Having written deadlines makes them more tangible than internal decisions alone.
    21. Cheap/Fast/Good – Ben Casnocha in My Start Up Life mentions that you can have only have two of the three. Pick two of the cheap/fast/good dimensions before starting a project to help you prioritize.
    22. Be Patient – Using a deadline may seem to be the complete opposite of patience. But being patient with inflexible tasks is necessary to focus on their completion. The paradox is that the more patient you are, the more you can focus. The more you can focus the quicker the results will come!

    Featured photo credit: Estée Janssens via unsplash.com

    Advertising

    Advertising

    Read Next