Mike Michalowicz is back for his third interview on the Knowledge for Men show! Mike is a serial entrepreneur, who by age 24 had started his first million dollar business. He then proceeded to repeat his success three more times.
Mike is the author of the entrepreneur’s cult classic “The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur” as well as “The Pumpkin Plan” and “Profit First.” Mike is now the CEO of his third million dollar venture, Profit First Professionals.
“Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than the things you did.” ~ Mark Twain
Nearly every man who listens to this show wants to have the freedom and income that comes from being a successful entrepreneur.
However, we often struggle with starting and sustaining a business that will afford us the lifestyle we desire, in this interview, Mike breaks down 10 essential steps and mind sets that are key to creating your first $1,000/month business.
1. Take Advantage of Having a Stable Income
The first step to succeeding in creating a side hustle is to realize the benefits of having a stable 9-5. When you have a source of income separate from the business or product you are trying to create, it removes some of the anxiety and desperation that entrepreneurs who quit their jobs to build a business sometimes feel.
Since you do not rely on your side hustle for your livelihood, you will not be forced to compromise the integrity of your business so that you can put food on the table, you will be able to build and scale your business how you want, when you want, and with whom you want.
Use the job you have now as a springboard to invest in yourself and your company and ensure that the business you create is the business you want to have, not the business you must have to survive.
2. Fix Problems for Yourself (and Look for Opportunities for Entrepreneurial Action in Your 9-5)
One of the keys to finding a profitable idea that you are passionate about is to fix problems for yourself.
Find things that bother you on a regular basis and try and find what new and innovative ways you can fix them. You will not only solve your own annoyances and pet peeves, but you will likely find that there is a large customer base willing to pay you to fix the same issue.
Another potential way to develop a product or service is to find a problem within the company you currently work for.
As a member of a company, you often realize what product or service they may need to operate more efficiently. This gives you the unique opportunity to create and market your business to a customer with whom you have already established trust. Use the leverage and insider knowledge you have already built within your current company to find a solution to a problem that can be scaled and adapted for similar situations.
3. Never Ask for Opinions, Ask for Investment
When you ask friends or family for their input on an idea, their first reaction will almost always be to try and validate you and your product, to make you feel good about yourself. They will rarely give you honest input for fear of hurting your feelings or damaging a relationship.
This can lead to false hope and a misconception of the value of what you plan to provide. Instead of asking people what they think of your idea, ask them to put their money where their mouth is and invest. This will serve two purposes.
First: This will provide you with more accurate feedback as to how feasible and lucrative your business idea may be, and second: It will help you generate the necessary capital to get your business off the runway. If friends, family, and strangers aren’t willing to invest in your idea, then modify and try again.
4. Setup an LLC
Setting up an LLC for your business and product is one of the cheapest and most effective ways to protect yourself from legal or financial liability. Setting up an LLC early on in your business gives you a cushion of protection from disgruntled customers and employees; this prevents a large number of potential legal crisis from occurring and gives you peace of mind as you conduct your affairs.
5. You Have an Obligation to Deliver Quickly
When you receive an investment or pre-sale, you have an obligation to deliver to your investor or customer quickly. Hustle your ass off and get the promised return or product into their hands as quickly as possible. Not only will this make your current customer happy, but it will increase the likelihood of recommendations and referrals.
Regardless of whether you are able to deliver your product on time, it is essential that you maintain good communication with your customers. Whether this is in the form of update emails, quirky thank-you gifts, or follow up surveys, you will build trust and rapport with your existing client base, which, inevitably, will lead to more customers.
7. Use Time Restraints to Your Advantage
As Mike said in the show, “The less available a resource is, the more we will squeeze out of it.” If you are currently under time restraints due to your employment or family obligations, you will be forced to use what available time you have to the full advantage. From eliminating useless tasks, outsourcing, and using the 80/20 law, when your back is against the wall, you will be forced to be more creative and effective with how you spend your precious few hours.
8. Build Your Business not Your Plan
As a beginning entrepreneur, it is so easy to get stuck in the trap of over-planning and under-performing. Determine your vision for your company, then take action. Don’t wait until you have the perfect plan or business model, just take as much action as is humanly possible. After you take loads of imperfect action, review your vision and the direction of your company each quarter and course correct as needed.
9. Get Uncomfortable
Change only comes from discomfort. You must force yourself out of your comfort zone, you must create a reason to change, otherwise, all of your goals and dreams will simply be a nice idea, fantasies relegated to “someday.” You must make the pain of inaction far greater than the fear of failure.
If you are not currently in a situation that is painful enough to elicit the action you want to take, start setting goals, making bets, and programming yourself to take the action necessary to live the life of your dreams.
10. JUST DO IT
No matter how much advice or guidance you are given, it will not amount to anything without massive action. So get out there, start today, don’t look for perfection, just take action and start making things happen, and you will look back on your life later, thankful that you did.