Probably the question I get asked most frequently is, how can you afford to take a vacation for so long? Well, the answer is… I can’t. I’m not on vacation, and I haven’t been since I left Central America 6 weeks ago. After touching down in Bangkok and renting my apartment here, I have worked just about every single day. If you wonder what it is I have been doing, since it hasn’t been posting blog updates here (Sorrrryyyy!), I have been working on expanding a business concept that has been slowly building for the last couple years called eSecurityPros. Basically, I fix hacked websites.
Notice how I said I’m building on something I’ve been doing for a while? That’s important to take note of. In Step 3, I discussed how you will probably need to try many different business models and ideas utilizing the skill-sets you developed in Step 2 before you find something that brings in the profit you need to accomplish your ultimate goal—Step1! In case you hadn’t heard, most businesses fail. And because most fail, don’t start your first business by taking out a $50,000 HELOC or something crazy like that.
Start small. Figure out what is making a profit, what has demand behind it, and then build from there. Advertising is important at a certain point, but once again, start small. Don’t run out and sign a yearlong contract for a full-page color ad in a magazine that is going to cost more than your business can spare. Give yourself time to learn the lessons of your niche without spending your life savings in the process.
I am just now starting to advertise, and I’m starting with small budgets in a few different areas. I’ll wait 6 weeks and see what happens. The areas that are performing will get increases, the areas that are not will get cut, and I’ll probably experiment with a few totally different marketing ideas as well if my budget allows.
In the meantime my security clients are starting to beg for general consulting and edits to their websites. This is something I tried in the past, but I started doing the security work because open-ended redesigns and such have a horrible tendency towards scope creep. That is, the project requirements tend to grow and grow AFTER I’ve already quoted a fixed fee. But, I’m willing to revisit this business model because the demand is there. I now have the advantage of lessons learned. This time around I know the importance of very specific and clearly defined project requirements, and the power of breaking the project up into segments. In this way, new features can be built (and billed) into the next segment.
This instance goes to underline the point that just because one idea failed the first time through, perhaps the second time you can make it work, but again, start small and build from there. Taking risks is a necessity for building a business, but you can mitigate your losses. This isn’t throwing a die and just seeing what happens. In business you can tilt the odds in your favor through research, knowledge, and most of all… experience!
So once you have experimented and found that business model that is turning a profit, you now have to complete Step 5—Make Your Business Location Independent.