Entrepreneurship basics

Hello! I hope you have enjoyed the BIP posts that I started a few years ago. I have recently been asked about new Ideas and asked a lot of questions about my pots. I have more prompts to come, but I wanted to share my experience and opinions about entrepreneurship basics; it’s not just tech start-ups and you may not need a huge budget to get started. I truly believe in dreaming big and encouraging everyone to do the same. I believe in starting with the skills, experience and resources you already have and growing from there! I encourage everyone to start…simply start. Make time to dream and plan….period.

First, let’s define entrepreneurship. Wikipedia defines – “has traditionally been defined as the process of designing, launching and running a new business, which typically begins as a small business, such as a start-up company, offering a product, process or service for sale or hire.” So even if you are offering computer repair, house cleaning, landscaping, child care, writing services, web design, handmade items at local farmer’s markets, car maintenance, or any of a number of other services or products you are an entrepreneur!

I believe anyone focused on sharing their skills and talents, full-time, part-time, or whenever they have time, is an entrepreneur! Whether you are thinking of starting your own full or part time business, expanding an existing business, interested in starting a side gig, or advancing from your current position at a company then you definitely have an entrepreneur spirit and it starts with a single thought.

So, what is the basic process to turn thought into action? Once you define what you want to do you can start to take action. I wrote about focusing on your interests; defining possible side gig opportunities that fit your interests. You can read that here.

Something that always works for me is to write down my focus. Once I see it in writing it helps me work through the steps needed to accomplish it or adjust the idea, etc. For example if I want to expand my photography hobby and offer small event and senior photos as a side gig on the weekends there are obvious first steps that need completed before I go rent a huge studio space, contact a publisher for a coffee table book deal, or buy thousands of dollars worth of equipment. I need a plan..I need to focus…I need clients!

I made my list and actually had a very successful part-time photography business for about a year until I found a more time demanding job and decided to stop. I photographed families, high school students, corporate golf events, pet photos, a local small band, and even a few shoots for dating profile photos. I decided on photography, because of my love for taking nature photographs. When I started brainstorming about side gigs I decided to focus on what I had to help me define my focus. I already had a nice digital camera, I enjoyed photography, I love being around people, etc. Next step was my action list, which I’ve shared a general recap below:

  • Create a web page (I used the free service through Shutterfly to display samples of my photography and create online galleries for clients)
  • Come up with a business email (another free action item. I used gmail)
  • Advertise and find business/clients; business cards, flyers, I reached out to companies for corporate events, word of mouth, browsed ‘ads’ online, posted cards and flyers at laundry mats, libraries, community boards, online, etc.
  • Set fees and define what is included (I researched the average hourly rate and cut it almost in half because I was not a professional full-time photographer and I wanted to use this opportunity to enhance my photography skills as well as provide an affordable alternative.)
  • Research tips for family and senior photos and offered those on my site and when discussing details with clients (I read a lot about family and corporate photography to enhance my knowledge and help clients decide not only on settings and poses, but also on package options, professional photography terms {to ensure clients I was at least semi-professional}. I also practiced shots with lighting, angles etc. to gain skills and experience.)
  • Set up a payment method. I accepted checks, cash and PayPal payments since I already had a PayPal account from selling some online items
  • File system and organize jobs. I had a ledger with names, packages, dates, costs, and notes to help me track everything. I also kept electronic files for tax purposes, keeping record of payments received and mileage with other items I needed for taxes (there is a limit you can make before needing to file taxes, but I wanted to start off tracking my revenues and spending)
  • Offer incentives. I offered all clients incentives for repeat business or referring friends, either a discount on their next purchase/photo shoot or a gift card if they didn’t have any other photography needs (a $5 to $10 Starbucks or other gift card)

That was my general list and action items. It was low investment, I didn’t get rich, but I made extra money and had a blast doing it! I also made some contacts that I worked with in the future when exploring other creative income options.

I also kept an open mind about input from clients and friends. For example the pet photography came about from a request. I had never even thought of pet photography. That is something I’d enjoy starting up again! I even kept making time for photography trees, skylines, etc. and made photo cards as gifts out of those and through word of mouth I was able to sell some for a small profit!

Are you an entrepreneur? Do you have an entrepreneur spirit? Do you have tips to share or questions? Please comment below or email me at successencourager@gmail.com

Dream Big, Set Goals, Take Action, concept, tags on the table.

Dream Big, Set Goals, Take Action, concept, tags on the table.

This is your sign

It can be difficult to take a leap and begin the work needed to achieve a goal. Any type of goal can be life changing; focusing on your health, changing careers, starting a relationship or business, writing a novel, etc. Even a chosen change can bring on a bit of stress. Goals are fluid though, they change as you need them to, they do not happen overnight and you have complete control.

This is one of my favorite quotes – You can’t edit a blank page. As a writer I have sat in front of many blank screens and notepad pages and felt renewed when the page becomes alive with thoughts translating into words, paragraphs and scenes.

You don’t need to be a writer to understand a blank page cannot be edited. A goal cannot be achieved or adjusted if it’s never started. I’ve shared some realistic daily steps for goal setting here. If you are looking for a sign to get started, I hope this provides some encouragement as you read. You have the strength and willpower. Anyone that says you can’t do something simply sees their own limitations and fears.

Goals are personal, even if it seems like a common goal such as get healthier or start a business, no one starts this goal focus for the exact same reason or achieves results in exactly the same way.

  • Find your why; the reason you want to focus on your goal and the future you envision. Keep that ‘why’ close to you throughout your journey.
  • Dedicate time to your goal and the steps needed; small steps are still steps!
  • Embrace your reason, your way, and your uniqueness.
  • Find your circle of support!
  • Take care of yourself no matter what type of goal you work toward, support your own mental and physical wellbeing. Caring for yourself is never selfish

What is your focus? What are you filling your page with? Remember, you’re capable, you’re unique and you have the willpower!

 

edit a blank page

Dear Vulnerability,

June 7, 2018

 

Dear Vulnerability,

Your rare appearance the other day was actually a welcome sight. I have spent years avoiding meetings with you even taking a longer path or avoiding a journey entirely at just the slight chance we may have briefly interacted.

I’ve grown over the years though. I’ve learned from heartache, forgiven my wrongs and those of others and grown confident despite my insecurities. Through these lessons I have realized just how beautiful you are.

Without knowing you, learning from you and sharing that knowledge with others there is no way to truly discover love. Without your insights I don’t think I’d truly know myself which is key in letting others know me.

Your teachings are valued beyond what my words can express. Thank you for the enlightenment. I believe we will be seeing a lot more of one another, my dear friend.

 Respectfully,

Dana

 

More information about me on my ABOUT ME Page!

sealed letter

The Goal Pitch

A goal pitch summarizes a goal you want to achieve. Typically, pitches are used for novels, movies or ideas and are just one to two sentences. A goal pitch allows you to narrow down your focus to help you commit to it and develop an action plan to make your goal a reality. Once you have a focus and commitment you can create daily or weekly or even monthly steps in your action plan.

The goal pitch puts words to the future you envision. For example, if your goal is to live a healthier lifestyle, narrow it down by asking WHY ? Maybe it’s to travel more, be active with family & friends, feel better and have more energy. Once you have those whys you have more motivation and can justify your action plan and remind yourself why your goal is so important.

Keep your action plan simple, to the point and realistic. Don’t start out saying you want to run the marathon that is next weekend. It’s not impossible, but if someone told me I had to run a marathon in a few days, I’d want more time to mentally and physically prepare! It’s a great goal, but would most likely require a few more steps to be completed first. A good first goal would be to eat healthier, maybe swap out a veggie lunch for a fast food one, or be more active by incorporating more steps into your day, morning yoga and meditation, or a beginner’s exercise routine at home or at a gym.

Incorporate your first step into your routine and keep your why motivators in mind. Once your first step feels more routine, add an additional one or two and celebrate accomplishments along the way. Set weekly or monthly status reports with yourself to acknowledge how much progress you have made and realize the healthier lifestyle you want is possible. Remind yourself that setbacks aren’t dead ends, simply breaks that can be overcome.

Whether your focus is health, career, relationships, starting a business, or anything in between, a focus and action plan can help you achieve it. Categorizing your daily routines with the nourishment categories I posted previously can help you focus even more.

In April, I’m offering a FREE goal pitch session to the first five people to contact me that are interested in creating a goal pitch and a beginner’s action plan. We will work through several questions via email and once a short goal pitch is created we will work on a basic starter action plan. Email me if interested! successencourager@gmail.com

Thank you for reading and I look forward to hearing from at least five of you that are ready to focus on at least one of your goals!

For more information about me and the professional services I offer please read my ABOUT ME page!

 

 

Making this year different; encouragement and more

Sometimes the best way for me to focus on goals, no matter what time of year, is to recap what I’ve already accomplished. I’m doing just that with this post. My goal is to encourage others during career changes, starting a side business, full time business, or simply in day to day life…sharing my experience and ‘two cents’ with others to encourage and inspire.

As I mentioned, I’m not the ideal resolution maker, but the New Year is a great excuse to reflect on the past months and focus on goals for the upcoming months. I appreciate the feedback I have received this past year so very much! THANK YOU for reading and following my blog. Thank you for contacting me, sharing your support and tips; I appreciate you all! You are all certainly helping me focus and I hope I can return that inspiration! Here’s to a New Year, new energy, great health, organized focus and goal success.

If you are interested in starting your own business or side job please read through my posts for ideas, marketing tips, and more! I’ve recapped my BIPs (Business Idea Prompts) below. I will be adding more very soon! What is a BIP? Visit my intro page here

The first BIP – Love canning (as in food canning)? Want to make it a side job/extra income opportunity? You can! Click on the BIP link to see how!

Teach your talent – Most likely someone else wants to learn about a skill or talent you have; knitting, painting, paper making, welding art, gardening, gift basket arrangement, dancing, writing, foreign language, computer program training, poetry writing, jewelry making, etc. there is a countless number of talents needing to be shared in the world! So, why not teach yours?

Love finding a bargain and reselling it? Purchase and sell bargain items as a ‘yard/garage sale professional’. Items to sell can be found by attending auctions, sales, and consignment or thrift stores then reselling the items for a profit, but instead of just a one-time summer event, it can be done every weekend or a few times a month.

Enjoy events, having fun, and have a talent for entertaining? There is a growing demand for entertainment at children’s parties, family gatherings, and other events. Party planning can be costly and time consuming to start up, but focusing on entertaining alone, can be a very profitable business and fun.

Have a talent for organizing, love to run errands, or are you detailed oriented? Side jobs and full or part time businesses rely on finding customers willing to pay for their service(s). A major need, any time of year, is finding time for errands, chores, and other time demanding tasks while still balancing a regular life routine.

If you don’t find any of those BIPs an option and you are open to learning a new skill or enhancing an existing hobby/skill check out tutorial ideas and suggested learning here

Thank you again for reading and let me know if you have any questions, tips or ideas to share!

Have a great week!!!!

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A new year…a new reason

I’m not one to make resolutions; I constantly want to improve all year through. I get distracted though, even lazy at times. Staying focused and motivated can be difficult can’t it?

I appreciate each new year and the opportunities it brings with it. Months pass quickly, but each year’s end is a new reason to focus. Something I acknowledge as a daily battle. I have so many interests, so many ideas, so many bucket list items…And they use to be just that….list items. Sometimes the lists would stay the same; nothing would be marked off. I lacked focus. After seeing year end lists that looked similar or even the same as the past year, I decided to focus on doing, not just dreaming or listing.

I personally think in categories. It’s easier for me to categorize my thoughts, my goals, my lists. Below is a sample of how I focus more and actually complete goals. I encourage you to achieve more this year, use this year ending and a new beginning as a reason to focus, a reason to conquer at least one goal you have moved from one list to another, and a reason to enhance the already amazing soul you are.

Please share your tips for staying focused below or email me! successencourager@gmail.com

  • Be real. In the past I have set goals such as read 100 books this year…. Realistically, 52 would be a better personal goal. Boundaries are meant to be pushed, but in a realistic way!
  • Set your pace. I have to limit my goal setting or I get overwhelmed. Whether setting one goal or 10 or even 100, know your own pace and what you can truly focus on
  • Say it out loud. Simple as that…say it…share it…Write it down
  • What is your passion? You need to be interested and excited about your goal
  • Define your category. Are your goals health focused, relationship focused, career focused, self-improvement focused, etc.? Do you have a goal for each category?
  • Find your tools. What tools or resources do you need to set your goal(s) in  motion?
  • Time. Do you need time daily, weekly, monthly or need to set a new schedule?
  • Milestones. Can you break the goal into smaller goals and celebrate each milestone?
  • Alone or with a tribe? Can you do this alone, with a friend or need an entire group for support?
  • Don’t be discouraged. Even baby steps toward a goal are accomplishments!

There are the basics. And here is an example of how I put those to work when goal setting.

  • My goal – As typical as it may sound, I want to lose a few pounds. A goal that has been put aside due to surgery and lack of motivation. By summer I want to lose 25 pounds. There I shared it! I will write it down and keep it on my vision board to see daily.
  • I’m being real, I have a few other goals to accomplish, but this is for my health and number one. Accomplishing this goal will allow me to accomplish others.
  • I’m passionate about feeling better and losing weight so I can do more with my young nephew, my family and of course my husband.
  • I have access to a small gym. My husband and I are focusing on diet changes as well.
  • I need to set a goal of at least 3 to 5 days a week for 30 minutes a day. I’ll start with walking and maybe the stationary bicycle
  • I will track my milestones and celebrate them!
  • My tribe is my husband who is focusing on his health as well.
  • I will not be discouraged. I can do this…

What opportunity will this new year provide you?

Happy New Year! Happy new goal setting…Happy new reason for improving you. 🙂

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Advertising flyer example (basic)

Hello everyone! I have been asked to share a simple sample of an advertising flyer. So here goes! This is a basic idea, but all the information is there 🙂 You don’t want the flyer too crowded, but you want it to include a bit about what services you offer, contact information, to be eye catching and simple to read. Please share your thoughts if you have other information you’d use for advertising or if you have any questions please let me know! Happy Monday all 🙂

 

2016 publication flyerJPEG

The power of blogging

Be Informed –

The main goals of most blogs are to inform, inspire and hopefully entertain from time to time. As a blogger (whether writing for myself or a specific topic as a guest blogger) I strive to provide information helpful to others such as writing inspiration, resume and cover letter revamps, career change, conquering writer’s block, or simply looking to personally grow, (or any combination of any!).

What is a blog and how does it inspire readers?

I’ve discussed this question with friends, coworkers, freelance writers and others. Google defines a blog as: “a regularly updated website or web page, typically one run by an individual or small group, that is written in an informal or conversational style.” It’s a combination of the words ‘web log’. That is pretty broad! So, to add my own two cents and expand a bit – some blogs inform, some entertain, some state facts and others opinions. Some even do all those things. Typically, the blogger is very passionate about the topic and wants to support the readers by providing valuable information in their posts and being available for questions; supporting readers.

Information is power. While some blog posts contain basic information they should serve as a refresher to some readers or as a way to learn at least one new tip, skill or tidbit of information. If it’s the first time a reader has reviewed an article on a certain topic it should answer questions for them. Ideally, I aspire for all readers to be empowered to focus on an idea or wanted change in their life and begin working toward accomplishing that goal after reading one of my posts. I enjoy sharing what I have learned about writing and business to those wanting encouragement or to simply be a bit more informed.

Readers success is what matters! If I can help with that success (be a true success encourager), then I’m more than happy to do so! I check blog emails daily and try to respond within 24 to 48 hours, so if you have a specific question about a post or want additional information about a topic just ask! You can email me at dana@danabuchanan.com, visit www.danabuchanan.com or use the comment section here.

Future posts will be on various topics; sure to be something for everyone! I’m always open to topic ideas and want to hear from you! I’d love to hear your thoughts on blogging, success and what works for you; leave a comment!