The Entrepreneur / Business Owner's / Self Employed Lounge

Siddartha

Pigeon
Alright gentlemen, last time I was here, I had nothing; this time, I have something.

I'm capitalizing on both my digital design skills, my ability to do frightening amounts of research in short times, and my favorite niche in order to create an online print/merch shop (using PoD services) and also an amazon t-shirt PoD service to deliver my brand to the world.

I've already created a DBA and gotten most things out of the way, just waiting to set up my business account with the bank on thursday.
My greatest challenge at the moment seems to be marketing. It's a big field so all I'm doing at the moment is advertising my pre-launch on instagram; and tomorrow I'm going to use the tactic of following users that liked other posts in my niche in order to draw traffic to my instagram page.
At this point everything else sorta feels locked-down (read both 100$ startup, side hustle, and materials from ittybiz) but I'm a bit lost on how to do the marketing and create the drive and conversions to hit my goal of 20 sales a day.

Is there anyone out there in this same type of setup/market that could offer advice to a total newbie?
 

Papaya

Peacock
Gold Member
Lund said:
I did my master's degree from one of the Ivy Leagues (Harvard, Princeton, Yale, Cornell <--- you guess, its one of these 4). I created a startup through the business/entrepreneurship department.

Anyone have tips on how I can receive funding for my startup from my Ivy League alma mater? They are flush with $$$$ in the millions and billions.

I can't reveal anymore info about me; as I do not want to risk being identified.

What exactly did you learn in return for your (or your parents or the govt's) money then ?
 
Siddartha said:
Alright gentlemen, last time I was here, I had nothing; this time, I have something.

I'm capitalizing on both my digital design skills, my ability to do frightening amounts of research in short times, and my favorite niche in order to create an online print/merch shop (using PoD services) and also an amazon t-shirt PoD service to deliver my brand to the world.

I've already created a DBA and gotten most things out of the way, just waiting to set up my business account with the bank on thursday.
My greatest challenge at the moment seems to be marketing. It's a big field so all I'm doing at the moment is advertising my pre-launch on instagram; and tomorrow I'm going to use the tactic of following users that liked other posts in my niche in order to draw traffic to my instagram page.
At this point everything else sorta feels locked-down (read both 100$ startup, side hustle, and materials from ittybiz) but I'm a bit lost on how to do the marketing and create the drive and conversions to hit my goal of 20 sales a day.

Is there anyone out there in this same type of setup/market that could offer advice to a total newbie?

I have two things for you:

1. Everything locked down by reading Tim the fraud ferriss 100dollar start up? Start selling stuff is the next step, you’re a long way from locked down.

2. If, like you say, you can do a frighten amount of research in a short time, then go to amazon, read positioning by jack trout and al ries and then read every other marketing book amazon recommends to you.

If you read that book it will be interesting to see how you differentiate yourself in the very crowded t shirt printing market place.

Come back for more advice once you’ve sold some shit.
 

the.king

Sparrow
Hello good people.

I am a Chartered Accountant (European equivalent of CPA) with experience in big four accounting firms. Currently in my early 30s.

I currently live in a small EU country (where I'm from), working for a small and pathetic finance firm. Wage slavery is draining my life, drop by drop every day. Every day is literary more pathetic and sad than the day before.

I am on a mission to open my own accounting/audit firm. When my firm is established I will quit my job and move full-time to my own firm.

I currently rent virtual office space (receptionist answers telephones on my company's name, I have a sign with my logo on the door of a professional-looking building, and have conference room available for meetings with clients). I have business cards, registered a company, and have my first few clients.

I rely extensively on online advertising - SEO and PPC (google ads) where I dominate in my city. But winning new clients is very slow and exhaustive (I get A LOT of emails and calls from people who aren't serious prospects).

Any thoughts as to how I could win some good clients ? Honestly this forum is one of the only places in the world I would value advice.
 

MrTickle

Robin
Gold Member
the.king said:
Hello good people.

I am a Chartered Accountant (European equivalent of CPA) with experience in big four accounting firms. Currently in my early 30s.

I currently live in a small EU country (where I'm from), working for a small and pathetic finance firm. Wage slavery is draining my life, drop by drop every day. Every day is literary more pathetic and sad than the day before.

I am on a mission to open my own accounting/audit firm. When my firm is established I will quit my job and move full-time to my own firm.

I currently rent virtual office space (receptionist answers telephones on my company's name, I have a sign with my logo on the door of a professional-looking building, and have conference room available for meetings with clients). I have business cards, registered a company, and have my first few clients.

I rely extensively on online advertising - SEO and PPC (google ads) where I dominate in my city. But winning new clients is very slow and exhaustive (I get A LOT of emails and calls from people who aren't serious prospects).

Any thoughts as to how I could win some good clients ? Honestly this forum is one of the only places in the world I would value advice.

What niche/specialism are you operating in?
Who is your target audience business or personal?
 

Coja Petrus Uscan

Hummingbird
Gold Member
the.king said:
I rely extensively on online advertising - SEO and PPC (google ads) where I dominate in my city. But winning new clients is very slow and exhaustive (I get A LOT of emails and calls from people who aren't serious prospects).

Any thoughts as to how I could win some good clients ? Honestly this forum is one of the only places in the world I would value advice.

Welcome to the world of small business, where you deal with the bogus ideas dreamed up by know-it-alls and the desperate.

My former company used to be number 1 on Google for web design. It generated about 3-5 inquiries a day. I wish I still had them as they were comedic gold.

They were generally junk, people looking for a website for as cheap as possible; trying to push quotes down because they had a better offer from India.

Web development is a really bad game as clients have no idea what they're buying and why they can't get the same results for much less. You can't tell how long something will take until it's done. Projects can stretch on for ever. Clients can come back with infinite changes. IN particular I remember one client whose £600 project stretched on for about two years.

One of the most bird-brained ideas that came in was a guy, who in all seriousness, had come up with a brilliant idea. He wanted us to make the next big search engine and go up against Google. His budget was £500.

So out of about 100 inquiries per month, we only took on about one client from them. Those tended to be fairly decent price-wise and one company offered £100,000 for their project.

As you go on you will no doubt refine your sieve. And if you're good, you can structure yourself so people have to fight for you. Don't make yourself look overly available or desperate, even if you are, as that is the road to being stuck there.

The vast majority of clients were from word-of-mouth. And that was a much better source.

Later I had another company that was on page one for SEM (search engine marketing). I don't think I had any clients I picked up from that.

In that incarnation I picked up all my clients from either word-of-mouth or from posting on business forums like this. There are a lot of accountants who do the same, so see if there are business forums in your country.

It took me about 6 months to load up with enough clients to make a wage I was happy with. In the mean time do what you have to do to cut your expenses while you get enough clients. Live with your parents. Downsize. Work 80-100 hours per week. This is the kind of graft it often takes to set up your own game.
 

the.king

Sparrow
MrTickle said:
the.king said:
Hello good people.......

What niche/specialism are you operating in?
Who is your target audience business or personal?

I live in a small place. I genuinely feel there is no particular potential for segmentation.

Accounting in general actually has very limited potential for segmentation (from an accounting perspective there is not much difference between a shipping company or someone selling potatoes - revenue is revenue, expenses are expenses etc).

In spite of the above I branded my firm as 'accountants for small/medium businesses and individuals' because I figure these are the kind of people who would be looking for an accountant online.

My target audience is thus by necessity small companies and individuals (accounting, tax returns, VAT returns, audits etc etc)
 

the.king

Sparrow
Gework thank you for taking the time to write this post. I will visit the link you gave and try to find something similar.

gework said:
They were generally junk, people looking for a website for as cheap as possible; trying to push quotes down because they had a better offer from India.

I cannot describe how real this feels :razz: Junk really is the word.

To be honest with you my life so far insulated me from these people. Working with really massive/organised clients (the typical client of a big 4 accounting firm) makes you forget what kind of low quality human garbage exists in the world.

Its just unbelievable how much free time people have. I exchanged 10s of emails and skype call after skype call with 'prospective clients' only for them to bail out again and again.
People who want you to basically work for free or people who think they can pay you 100 EUR and you are their personal secretary for the year.


Like you said I see this as a refinement process until I build a solid client base, and then hopefully it will be downhill (word-of-mouth) from there.


I think every business who invests on SEO/PPC should have concrete processes in place to filter out all the junk clients as quickly and painless-ly as possible. I think such processes include:

- not being too available like you said.
- have your clients jump through small hoops (to prove they are serious etc).
- Invest more on clients willing to meet in person (promote phone numbers rather than emails, promote locally rather than country-wide etc).
 

MrTickle

Robin
Gold Member
the.king said:
MrTickle said:
the.king said:
Hello good people.......

What niche/specialism are you operating in?
Who is your target audience business or personal?

I live in a small place. I genuinely feel there is no particular potential for segmentation.

Accounting in general actually has very limited potential for segmentation (from an accounting perspective there is not much difference between a shipping company or someone selling potatoes - revenue is revenue, expenses are expenses etc).

In spite of the above I branded my firm as 'accountants for small/medium businesses and individuals' because I figure these are the kind of people who would be looking for an accountant online.

My target audience is thus by necessity small companies and individuals (accounting, tax returns, VAT returns, audits etc etc)

To target small businesses I would try networking. You may or may not have a networking group near you. If you do look to join that. If you don't have a group look to attend business functions.

Networking is an art in itself and requires patience. You need to attend regular events get to know people there and ideally give it a year or more as it is a slow burn.

The way I think about it is that people might buy on only 1 day of the year. So by regularly seeing people you are forefront of their thoughts and thus increase your chances.

Also remember you are not just trying to sell to the people you meet. They will know people so might recommend you. There is little substitute to pressing the flesh when trying to win business.

Your industry is perceived as boring by most other people. Wrongly in my opinion but that's life. I can count the number of accountants I've met who have said "yes accountancy is boring but I'm not". So don't do that. Ever.

You don't want to be like the rest. Take every opportunity to impart your wisdom and give away free info that is useful to people. Be helpful portray yourself as an expert. Talk about specific case studies where you have saved your clients serious money. Some examples:

a) Tax return deadline - Hey everyone it's in x days. Make sure you get it in or there is Y fine. If you or if you known anyone struggling I can help.
b) Are you struggling with cash and visibility? Do you want help setting up cash flow forecasts? (see if you get in with a business for a small simple job - it could lead to more)
c) Did you know the tax law changed recently for x and you can now claim y if you do this. Want to know more I can help.
d) A recent client was paying x in tax and I helped save them Y because they didn't claim z. Are you the type of business that has z? Do you know anyone who is?

In addition to networking I would reach out to your competitors and see if they have any excess work that they need help with.

Finally I would try and find an edge for your business or a point of difference. All accountants appear the same at first glance so how can you be unique? Maybe you offer an easy method for clients to securely transfer data to you? Maybe they have an online login to get copies of their accounts rather than requesting by email.

What can you do to make your clients life easier? Maybe you could have a system that put their financial year end and will auto remind them for VAT return deadlines, annual returns etc.
 
gework said:
the.king said:
I rely extensively on online advertising - SEO and PPC (google ads) where I dominate in my city. But winning new clients is very slow and exhaustive (I get A LOT of emails and calls from people who aren't serious prospects).

Any thoughts as to how I could win some good clients ? Honestly this forum is one of the only places in the world I would value advice.

Welcome to the world of small business, where you deal with the bogus ideas dreamed up by know-it-alls and the desperate.

My former company used to be number 1 on Google for web design. It generated about 3-5 inquiries a day. I wish I still had them as they were comedic gold.

They were generally junk, people looking for a website for as cheap as possible; trying to push quotes down because they had a better offer from India.

Web development is a really bad game as clients have no idea what they're buying and why they can't get the same results for much less. You can't tell how long something will take until it's done. Projects can stretch on for ever. Clients can come back with infinite changes. IN particular I remember one client whose £600 project stretched on for about two years.

One of the most bird-brained ideas that came in was a guy, who in all seriousness, had come up with a brilliant idea. He wanted us to make the next big search engine and go up against Google. His budget was £500.

So out of about 100 inquiries per month, we only took on about one client from them. Those tended to be fairly decent price-wise and one company offered £100,000 for their project.

As you go on you will no doubt refine your sieve. And if you're good, you can structure yourself so people have to fight for you. Don't make yourself look overly available or desperate, even if you are, as that is the road to being stuck there.

The vast majority of clients were from word-of-mouth. And that was a much better source.

Later I had another company that was on page one for SEM (search engine marketing). I don't think I had any clients I picked up from that.

In that incarnation I picked up all my clients from either word-of-mouth or from posting on business forums like this. There are a lot of accountants who do the same, so see if there are business forums in your country.

It took me about 6 months to load up with enough clients to make a wage I was happy with. In the mean time do what you have to do to cut your expenses while you get enough clients. Live with your parents. Downsize. Work 80-100 hours per week. This is the kind of graft it often takes to set up your own game.

Most of our clients come from word of mouth or networking.

Ideally @the.king you would have built up a nice group of clients at your existing firm and taken them with you so you could hit the ground running.

In the absence of this, it’ll be a slow burn. Prepare accordingly. Rome wasn’t built in a day etc
 

Thomas the Rhymer

Ostrich
Gold Member
I've more than doubled my prices. I was dreading any growth in the business because any more time/effort put into it would have taken up time I use earning an income from other sources. One my previous clients arranged a business coaching session for me and the coach told me that I need to really increase prices, I'm undervaluing the services I give.

So either my business will now sink from reduced demand due to the high price or it will finally be worth all the sweat and effort I'm putting into it.

Either way I'm good, I don't mind continuing it as a side hustle if it turns out to not really be a viable idea for a full time business, so it is part of my Plan B.

I've already had one customer happily pay the increased rates, although I've also had three cancellations thus far due to the high rates.

I'm need to figure out how to market myself now that I am priced more like a 'luxury' service.
 
Thomas the Rhymer said:
I've more than doubled my prices. I was dreading any growth in the business because any more time/effort put into it would have taken up time I use earning an income from other sources. One my previous clients arranged a business coaching session for me and the coach told me that I need to really increase prices, I'm undervaluing the services I give.

So either my business will now sink from reduced demand due to the high price or it will finally be worth all the sweat and effort I'm putting into it.

Either way I'm good, I don't mind continuing it as a side hustle if it turns out to not really be a viable idea for a full time business, so it is part of my Plan B.

I've already had one customer happily pay the increased rates, although I've also had three cancellations thus far due to the high rates.

I'm need to figure out how to market myself now that I am priced more like a 'luxury' service.

I’m willing to bet you’ll have an even bigger problem in the future as your demand goes up.

You’re right that you’ll have to adjust your marketing to reflect your higher prices.

I put the prices up for what we do this season but that is because we had too high demand last year vs the number of guys I have to service that demand. It was the logical thing to do.
 

NoMoreTO

Ostrich
the.king said:
MrTickle said:
the.king said:
Hello good people.......

What niche/specialism are you operating in?
Who is your target audience business or personal?

I live in a small place. I genuinely feel there is no particular potential for segmentation.

Accounting in general actually has very limited potential for segmentation (from an accounting perspective there is not much difference between a shipping company or someone selling potatoes - revenue is revenue, expenses are expenses etc).

In spite of the above I branded my firm as 'accountants for small/medium businesses and individuals' because I figure these are the kind of people who would be looking for an accountant online.

My target audience is thus by necessity small companies and individuals (accounting, tax returns, VAT returns, audits etc etc)

I am going to disagree with the idea that accounting isn't specialized. I myself and am accountant, but I am a specialist in one particular ERP financial package - so I am specialized.

Many of the accountants I have seen billing at premium rates are specialists, for instance:
(1) Estate specialist - advising clients on how to work the passing of wealth between generations and planning effectively.
(2) Foreign Tax Returns - I am Canadian but worked in the USA at certain points. As a result I had to file a US tax return in coordination with my Canadian using tax treaty rules, needless to say I had to hire a specialist for this who was billing at a premium.
(3) Industry Specialists - I started out working exclusively with agriculture accounts, there were many unique rules and you had to understand the industry to gain the clients confidence. I also have an acquaintance who specializes in the construction industry, and has had lots of success.

I agree with the other comments of developing your client base one by one, handshake by handshake, referral by referral. Always overdeliver for your clients. Remember to enjoy the journey. Don't forget to develop a niche skill or specialization, if you keep your eyes open it should appear.

And yes, I definitely can relate to being in a boring stale workplace without any room for real advancement. Don't let it get you down, and congrats on the decision to make it work as an independent. It was one of the reasons I became an accountant, the idea that it was a profession you could cut your own path in as an entrepreneur.
 

JimBobsCooters

Woodpecker
Will second that accounting is incredibly specialised. A tax accountant is incredibly different to a financial accountant, management accountant, forensic accountant, systems accountant, etc, etc.

Even within the broader fields you'll find very specific specialists, so tax can be broken to corporate, income, superannuation or other tax areas. Non-tax accountants will be as useless as the local baker at giving you genuine tax advice.
 

JimBobsCooters

Woodpecker
So...

I've been offered a role that is entirely remote and allows me to basically do what I want while making more money (if I choose) but I'm looking for advice on how to best manage it as it's still a client involved role that will require me to be able to make calls to and receive calls from clients whilst ideally still being linked to an Australian number and was hoping that someone might have ended up with a similar situation and already found a good solution.

If you have Australia specific advice that would be perfect but anyone who has done similar from elsewhere please still throw in your two cents!

In short need the following:

1. Clients call an Australian number that promptly directs to my phone, preferably via a VOIP type service as Australian sim is rarely in my phone (Ideally want clients to believe I'm in Australia as much as possible).
2. Call from me work to as an Australian number, preferably displaying my actual Australian number.
3. Support from Russia, among other places, but Russia generally is the problem child of my regular haunts.

Note that a substantial amount of the clients are going to be old and very IT illiterate, with clients where Skype/Whatsapp/Viber/etc are an option that will be the easy solution (it may be the solution anyway, that's why I'm asking!).

Anyone encountered this type of scenario and found a good solution?
 

Irenicus

Pelican
Gold Member
Has anyone tried selling Pepe the Frog merchandise on platforms such as Ebay - I have a great idea. And no, it does not involve magnets and clothing.


If you do/did, did you encounter any problems, considering that Ebay is in Sillycoon Walley, which is pretty much taken over by soyboys?
 

kirdiesel

Pelican
Anyone know any SUPER GOOD Instagress alternatives??

I have googled my ass off looking for a good one but there seems to be so many right now its confusing to figure out which is the best for my needs.

I need to get at users that follow specific companies and hashtags.

It seems like most people on Instagram have gone private, making it harder to reach them simply with an autoliker. Back when Instagress was in, all I had to do was leave an autoliker running and my page would get followers quickly and organically.

I am not interested in buying likes or followers because I need to people to buy the stuff I am selling. Just need an automation program that is awesome for organic growth.
 
My outsourcing project is going well.

I have a social media and website guy doing some cool stuff right now and all of my admin is now being handled by a virtual PA. this frees me up to concentrate on sales and organisation.

Specialists in their area is worth it.

Secondly, I just managed to get me personally and the business sponsored by a major brand in the ski industry. Is this evidence of the money comes to money effeçt I’ve been looking out for?


On a different note, i just finished reading ‘Shoe Dog’ by Phil Knight. It’s a tale of how he started Nike. Absolutely incredible story and required reading for any entrepreneur. Really relit my ambitious drive.
 
Top