You just started working at home survived week one as your own boss!
Keep the momentum going and don’t give in to the temptation to tackle your personal to-do list this week. I promise there will be time for that but not this week.
I’m not saying to skip doing your chores or to delay implementing a new exercise schedule. I absolutely love getting laundry folded and put away on Monday afternoons and listening to podcasts on lunch time walks.
But I really encourage you to resist the urge to take a personal day the first few weeks of your new business.
Use your momentum from a successful week one to tackle your business to-do list not your personal to-do list.
I’ve created a list of the Top 5 Must Do’s the second and third week you work from home to help keep your momentum going.
Kick off weeks two and three as strong as you closed out week one and continue to set yourself and your new business up for success.
Lady Boss Goals
Before we get into the Top 5 Must Do’s lets stop a minute to talk about your business goals.
The primary goal of most new business owners is to gain new clients and expand their audience. You want to grow the list of people who know, like and trust you, right?
Weeks two and three are all about expanding on the work you did in week one to generate and nurture new leads and increase your visibility.
The list below provides tactics to to expand your new business network, focusing on your elevator speech and creating a written description of you core offerings.
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Starting Your Business: Essential Must Do’s Weeks 2 & 3
1. Engage your friends in a Facebook conversation
During week one I highlighted the importance of your LinkedIn profile and using LinkedIn to nurture your network.
This week its time to use Facebook to engage your friends in a non-sales way.
Everyone loves to share good news on Facebook. I’m pretty sure one of the very first things you did last week was to change your employer on Facebook to be your new company.
Your job change likely generated some congratulations and thumbs ups.
This week ask a question on Facebook.
My favorite question is “What is your favorite local coffee shop to work from?” Or “What is your favorite location with Wi-Fi that’s good to work from?” People love to answer these questions.
The goal is to keep your new company and new status of working for yourself at the top of people’s minds.
An easy and free way to remind your personal network that you are now a business owner is by asking questions on Facebook. The key here is to train your Facebook friends to become lead generators for you – not try to sell anything to them.
Friends and family can end up being great lead generators. Use them!
And this includes your your mom – moms loved to be used. Call all of your mom’s leads because you just never know who is in need of your services!
And if it was a dead end at least it was good practice.
2. Join an association or business group
Or join two industry or women’s business groups. If you live in a major metro it should be relatively easy to google and find an association for your industry or a related industry.
If you live in a smaller community you might need to get a little more creative. You could consider joining a local Chamber of Commerce, civic group or even an alumni group for your college or university.
Associations and Chambers usually have a fee to join but they may allow you to participate as a guest while you evaluate if their activities are a good fit for you.
Its important to make key investments when growing your business. Industry associations and Chambers of Commerce offer you the opportunity to network, gain knowledge to re-invest in your business and even grow your leadership skills.
That old saying about “you get out of it what you put into it” is true for memberships organizations.
Set yourself up for a good return on your investment. Spend some time getting to know the other members and the organization goals.
If you enjoy the group inquire about taking on a leadership role – maybe start by chairing a committee. These types of organizations are always looking for willing volunteers.
As the owner of your own business there is no opportunity for internal promotion. Membership organizations offer leadership promotion possibilities and the opportunity to grow your skill sets while growing you network.
3. Focus on creating your elevator speech and boiler plate language
Hopefully the conversations you had in week one provided you with insight on what elements of your business and services resonated with people. And if they didn’t don’t get frustrated. Sometimes I have a hard time describing my strengths and skills but can describe a friend or colleague’s without even thinking about it.
Your elevator speech should convey confidence, experience and knowledge. I have some tips to get your brainstorm going. And if you already have your elevator speech finished you can scroll down to week three for the next step.
Use week two to outline who you are, what your company does and the services you provide. A couple tricks to brainstorm for this exercise include googling other companies and the associations for your industry and reviewing your own resume.
When goggling other companies focus on their About webpage and the bios on their Leadership Team webpage. It’s important to remember you are your Leadership Team. Be confidant in the words you choose to describe yourself. What stood out to you about how they described what they do and their executives’ backgrounds? Make a list of those words and descriptions.
Industry association websites are great ways to find key words that resonate with your audience. You might also want to click on the service provider members of the association to see how they describe your industry.
Now pull out your resume and review what you’ve done in your career. What makes you the right choice for clients to hire?
In week three take your elevator speech one step further and begin creating a couple of boiler plate paragraphs about your company, services and your bio. I’m often asked, “can you send me an email about what you do?” Have that language ready to send as soon as its asked for. This is also a great time to start asking for testimonials and recommendations from colleagues and former clients of your previous job.
If you already have your elevator speech and boiler plate language the next step is to create a simple website. I use a Bluehost self hosted WordPress site for my website due to its ease of use and very low monthly fee. Don’t let the thought of the perfect website layout or theme distract you from the goal of your website – lead generation. Simple is better.
Start with a homepage/landing page that describes your company’s services, an about you section and a professional looking photo. Your website is a great place to include testimonials and quotes from clients and colleagues. A photo of you is important because it personalizes the relationship you are trying to develop with new clients. People like to know who they are working with. If you don’t have a current professional photo, get dressed put make up on and ask a friend to snap one with a camera phone.
I am not very technical and was able to have a simple and professional looking website up and running with very little effort using Bluehost and a self hosted WordPress site. The Bluehost support team walked me through the few times I was stumped. They were very helpful and kind with out making me feel silly for what I suspect were pretty basic questions.
If you need additional tech support or are complelty non-IT literate there are companies like IMark Interactive that have very reasonably priced individual or monthly WordPress support options. Having a basic website can increase your company’s exposure for a small investment of time and resources.
4. Set up 2 or 3 coffee or lunches each week.
For the same reasons as in week one, coffee or lunch with colleagues, mentors or friends are important to keep the momentum going. They give you an opportunity to try out variations of your elevator speech as you are finalizing it and to practice asking questions that lead toward an understanding of the value of your services to potential clients.
If you are worried about the cost or loss of working time these coffee and lunches are causing don’t let that overwhelm you. It is likely that at least one person a week will cancel or re-schedule. I see cancellations as gifts of time that can be used to focus on other must do items.
5. Send thank you and follow up notes.
Again, I am going to repeat what I said in week one because it is that important for lead generation and lead nurturing. Send thank you and follow up notes. If sending thank you and follow up notes hasn’t been one of your stronger networking skills this is the perfect opportunity to change that. Block out 30-45 minutes every Thursday or Friday to hand write notes or send emails. And if you already have a successful strategy for sending thank you notes this is a great time to start sending notes congratulating someone for a recent success.
By following this Checklist of Essential Must Do’s Weeks Two and Three:
- You engaged your Facebook friends in a conversation reminding them about your new company;
- You joined an industry association or local chamber of commerce to expand your network, gain new industry knowledge and grow your leadership skills;
- You created your elevator speech and boiler plate email language. You might have also created a simple company website to expand your lead generation reach;
- You continued practicing your elevator speech with your network and asking questions about what project they are working on;
- And you sent thank you notes.
The energy you put into the first three weeks of you new company will be worth it. Lead generation and lead nurturing takes time and consistent effort, but the results are exciting. You are laying the foundation for long term success.
The next few weeks may feel like a rollercoaster ride. Enjoy it! Learn from the ups and learn even more from the downs. You worked hard to get here – celebrate your success!
What did you enjoy most about the first weeks working for yourself? What did you find most challenging?
How to Master Your Elevator Pitch. What exactly do you do, and why should I care? Here’s how to tell it shorter and smarter. From Inc.com
Small Business Development Center. SBDCs offer local classes and small business counseling services.