Gary Vaynerchuk or Gary Vee as he is more fondly known recently spoke about how to grow a business dream whilst still doing the nine to five grind. His speech resonated with me, as I have my own experiences of starting with nothing but a dream and building it up to something that I am proud of.
Side note – Firstly, if you don’t know who Gary Vee is then shame on you, and secondly when I talk about my business success, it is a teeny enterprise consisting of 3 clients. Nevertheless, I am stoked that I have managed to turn my passion for content creation into something I can monetise on, even if it is on a small scale. Here are the steps that have gotten me to where I am now.
A couple of years ago, I began to write voluntarily for both online platforms and newspapers. I was so passionate about writing, and had more time on my hands to contribute in this manner. Unfortunately, life got busier, and my time more limited, so I was unable to contribute as often as I would have liked to have done. Also, my talents had been noticed so I began to get offered paid gigs (and the paid work will always take precedence over volunteer contributions).
At the time, people sneered at my efforts. Why bother writing stuff for free? was a question I was asked frequently. Well, it was all my volunteered time that got me to where I am today. As an amateur writer, I never stood a chance of getting paid work straight up, but my contributions to different mediums knitted together to form quite a nice portfolio of work for me. And with this, I immediately gained more authority as a writer and the paid gigs started to come in.
If you are a copy writing business freshie, volunteer! There are heaps of places that you can contribute to, and whilst it can seem fruitless in the short term, you will really be glad of it in the future. Plus, when you are presenting your portfolio to clients, how are they to know that the work you did in the past was for free?
BYE BYE SOCIAL LIFE
Gary Vee often speaks of forgoing hobbies, television shows and beers with friends in favour of the hustle. That is, instead of couch potatoing it after work, get on your laptop and start tapping. Your dreams of a copy writing business are only as far away as you push them; I would go as far to say that copy writing business’s is one of the easiest there is to set up.
There are limited start-up costs and your market is massive; you can service anyone in the world with the internet. Instead of scrolling through your phone and refreshing Facebook news feed five times a minute, put your time in the evening to good use. Start to pad out your business, do some research; if you are brave enough you might even start bidding for freelance work. Every small step matters, and the important thing is that you put these after work hours to good use. You know that awesome saying – Do something today that your future self will thank you for. There are no truer words.
I spent countless weekends working from my home and missing out on social events. At the time, I may have been a little resentful, but I am really thrilled now that I gave hangovers a miss in favour of my career happiness.
HELLO SOCIAL MEDIA
Social Media has been fundamental in building my business for me. I live in a small town, and it is relatively easy to make a name for yourself here. I set up a Facebook business page, posted regular valuable content, and more importantly I promoted myself on local pages.
Through this, I have managed to get some business win’s; in fact, once I had secured the first client, I was already onto a winner. In small locations, where business owners are tight knit, word spreads quickly. Once I had done a good job for my first client, the others came rolling in. Word of mouth is mighty powerful folks, and in my opinion the most powerful marketing tool that there is.
The beauty with tapping into social media to spread my business name, is that I control the volume of coverage. As I have commitments in my day job, I know that I can’t be snowed under with my copy writing work. I promote myself on local town pages when things are a bit slow for me, and when some work comes in, I just stick to posting on my own Facebook page for branding and consistency.
CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILTY
I decided to team my love of dogs and writing together, and offered my services voluntarily to the local job shelter. I now create a monthly newsletter for the shelter, which has not only benefited them but also allowed me to give back to the community that has helped me grow in my business. Also, from a commercial perspective, it is has allowed me to promote my skills to a range of industries. I write and create a sponsor spotlight section, which entails promoting local industries that support the shelter. These industries have been introduced to me through this, and I have gotten some sales enquiries this way. It goes to show that behind every social engagement there lies a possible opportunity. I sound like a shark and I like it!
CONTINUOUS PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT
I am non-trained in the academic sense of a writer/content developer. I did a degree in Tourism Management and the best that has done is collect dust. When I realised that writing was my vocation, I did lots of reading and learning online. Everything from SEO to Google Analytics have all been digested through a variety of YouTube tutorials. Again, I watched these instead of my favourite TV shows.
Content creation continues to evolve, along with every facet of digital media. This means you need to be prepared to invest your time in continuous learning. Knowledge is key to being one step ahead of your competitor.
If you are offering a service on the side of your nine to five, you got to be confident. To make money from your talents, you must be self-assured and believe in your abilities. I have no problem putting myself out there; if someone asks what I do, I whisper that I work in HR and shout that I am a writer. There is nothing more credible than someone with confidence, and people will want to buy a piece of that.
What do you think of my tips on building your business after hours? Is there anything you would add? The crux of this article is that if you want to achieve your business dream, whilst working a nine to five, you must make sacrifices. But how worth it is to say that you are doing something with your life that sets your soul on fire. That wins me over more than any crappy to show does any day.