Day 11. Getting help.

If you have completed yesterday’s challenge you will now have your project plan so today we’re going to consider where you might need to get help and how to get it.

We all have different strengths and weaknesses, the things we do really well and the things that are best left to others. How much time do you spend doing tasks that someone else could do better and more quickly? Ask yourself, is doing this task the best use of my time? If you can sell your time at £50 per hour why are you doing a task you could delegate to someone who charges £25 per hour?

Do you ever find yourself saying, ‘By the time I’ve explained what I want to someone else I could have done it myself’? Do you think Richard Branson does everything himself? No, of course not, he knows his strengths and his weaknesses and has built a team to work alongside those. He appreciates the value of delegation and knows how to do it. I know that, for many small business owners, the costs of employing other people to do things for you may seem prohibitive but we’re going to look at ways of making it affordable in today’s challenge.

Know your strengths and weaknesses

My profile proves how right brain dominant I am. Focus is something I have to work hard to achieve!

My profile proves how right brain dominant I am. Focus is something I have to work hard to achieve!

 

Do you show a preference for left brained or right brained traits? If you’re left brained you are more task focused, you may be analytical, results driven and detail conscious. If you are right brained you will be more concerned with people, building relationships and may be more creative.

Of course we’re all a bit of both although one side is likely to be more dominant than the other. If your dominant side is right brained then you may need help getting things done and if you are left brain dominant you may need some help to generate ideas.

When we’re looking for help it is tempting to go for people like ourselves but this is often a mistake, two right brained people will probably have a lot of fun but struggle to get things done whereas two left brained people will have all the i’s dotted and t’s crossed but may not be able to find creative solutions to problems. Which are you?

ACTION: Use the SWOT analysis tool from Day 7 to analyse your own strengths and weaknesses; be honest!

If you would like a more objective view of your strengths and weaknesses I am offering 20% off Prism Brain Mapping profiling for the duration of this challenge. You complete a questionnaire and then receive a report detailing your strengths and weaknesses which I will go through with you by telephone or, if you are close enough, in person. Click here for more information.

Work to your strengths and delegate the rest

 

Take a look at the project management plan you completed yesterday. Which of the tasks on the list are ones that you are good at and should be done by you? Which will take you a long time and cause you anxiety? What skills, qualities or experience will someone need in order to those tasks well and speedily? Develop those into a job description or project brief which you can then use to recruit the help you need. You can then get on with making money at what you do best.

Finding help

Do you have other members of your team whose skills are better suited to those tasks? Do they have capacity in their working day to take on these new tasks or is there something you can do to rejig workloads?

If you don’t have anyone on your team is there someone in your network with the right skills and experience whom you could pay as a freelancer? If paying for help is not an option is there something you could trade in return for the help you need? For example a beauty therapist might be able to trade a treatment in return for some copywriting; a virtual assistant might be able to offer some admin support in return for a wardrobe makeover.

How about turning your problem into an opportunity for someone else? For example many graduates are looking for work experience to help them get a better job. Could you offer an internship or  work experience to help them and help yourself (whilst graduates are sometimes willing to work in the right job for no money they do have to live so try to pay them a minimum wage or at least their expenses). N.B. Employment law varies from country to country so make sure you know what you are allowed to do in your country.

Could you offer an Apprenticeship to a young person looking for training and qualifications to improve their career prospects? In the UK there is some government help to support employers taking on an apprentice (the Mayor for London is topping up that help for a limited number of London employers to encourage them to take apprentices.) Apprentices have to be paid and receive training but this is still less expensive than taking on a more experienced person and allows you to do something to help young people and your business.

Do you need the sort of help that can be done from anywhere? If so why not post your job on the internet and invite bids from people who would like the work? Websites such as http://www.peopleperhour.com/ can connect you with people who are willing to work at very affordable rates. Other options are http://www.guru.com/ and https://www.elance.com which allow you to post your job opportunities which freelancers can then pitch for. To find more just Google ‘posting freelance opportunities’.

ACTION: Decide which tasks to delegate and give yourself time to recruit the appropriate help in line with your project plan.

Next steps, should you choose to take them…

  1. Share any insights or recommendations in the comments section here.
  2. Join the conversation on Facebook to gain support from the 21 Day Challenge community (we’ll be looking at some of the benefits of social media later in the challenge but for now being active on this page and on Facebook can help boost the way people can find you on the Internet.)
  3. Tweet this ‘I’m working on Day 11 of @Glenda_S 21 Day Make money Challenge #21DMMC
  4. Join us tomorrow to when we’ll be putting together our budgets.
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Day 10. Making your project plan.

Hopefully you now have your Power Hour scheduled into your diary and are using it to work on your money making idea. Today we’re going to turn that idea into an achievable project plan using the list that you created on day 8.

Create your project plan

A project management plan

A project management plan

If you organise a lot of projects you may well have access to project management software and the expertise to use it. In which case you can probably skip today’s article and get on with developing your project plan. However, for the rest of you here’s a tool to help you with your project planning. It’s a very straightforward six month plan built on an Excel spreadsheet. So let’s get down to some planning:

  • Start by listing everything from your day 8 list in the left hand column. You’ll need to cut and paste the list into the second and third sections if your plan is going to need more than two months to come to fruition. If there aren’t enough rows for all the items on your list insert some extra rows.
  • Now colour the cell (box) for the day you have set as your deadline. You should be able to shade a cell within Excel quite easily.
  • Now using your list from day 8, decide how long each item on the list is going to take to complete.
  • The next thing to do is to plot your critical path. Which tasks are date dependent or must be done before you can do other work? In my example which is about selling a new course I can’t do much until I have booked a venue and I can’t start developing the course until I have researched needs. I have to sort our a payment method before I can set up a booking link and I need to do those before I start marketing. I also can’t print my flier or upload the webpage until I’ve written them! Which items on your list are time critical? Shade in the cells for those first. When do they need to be done by? How long will they take? (You may need to shade cells for several days if you have a big task to do.)
  • When colouring your cells you might find it helpful to colour similar tasks in similar colours e.g. all admin tasks in one colour, all marketing in another, all tasks you can delegate in a further colour etc.
  • Now allocate time to the remaining items on your list by colouring in those cells too. Make sure that you have allocated sufficient time and that they fit with your critical path. It’s quite possible that you’ll have a number of different activities scheduled over the same period but be realistic about what you can achieve unless you can delegate some of the tasks.
  • Save your plan! The template is in Dropbox so you’ll want to rename it and save it to your computer.
  • Now check that your plan is realistic. If it’s not is your deadline achievable with a bit of re-planning or do you need to change your deadline?
  • It’s always a good idea to add in a bit of contingency time for things that don’t go according to plan, demanding customers, printing arriving late, family illnesses etc.
  • You might want to print off your plan, stick it on the wall and tick off the items as you complete them. Alternatively, if you are using a tool like Simpleology (see Day 8) you may want to add your tasks and their deadlines to your to do list. Another option would be to change the colour of the cells in your Excel spreadsheet as you complete the tasks and use that as your control document.

ACTION: Complete your project plan as above.

Next steps, should you choose to take them…

  1. Share any insights or recommendations in the comments section here.
  2. Join the conversation on Facebook to gain support from the 21 Day Challenge community (we’ll be looking at some of the benefits of social media later in the challenge but for now being active on this page and on Facebook can help boost the way people can find you on the Internet.)
  3. Tweet this ‘I’ve just completed my project management plan on the 21 Day Make Money Challenge #21DMMC
  4. Join us tomorrow when we’ll be working out where we might need help and how to get it.

Day 9. Using your Power Hour.

Welcome to Day 9, are you keeping up? If not today’s post should be of particular interest to you. I want to introduce you to a concept that was given to me by Carrie Wilkerson, the Barefoot Executive and one which I find really effective. It’s the Power Hour.

What is a Power Hour?

In essence it is one hour of complete focus, no distractions allowed. Ideally your Power Hour should be your first hour of the day before you get distracted with all the other things you have to do. It is an hour where you work on your key priorities with no interruptions.

The benefits of the Power Hour

The benefits of the Power Hour

If you can create a power hour five days a week for 48 weeks of the year you will have found 240 hours, that is the equivalent of at least six weeks of time to work on your business’  development. Six weeks! What if I said you have six weeks to work on nothing but your business’ future? What could you achieve? A lot. I know that because it is a technique I use especially when I have a big project to get off the ground.

‘But my day is already full’ I hear you say. Yes so is mine, I have a husband, family and home, a business, I chair the Governing Body of a large primary school, I am a Business Adviser for Young Enterprise, I am on the committee of a number of business organisations, I run a Business Dinner Club and am Ambassador for a group of Fabulous Women and am deputy for another group. I am busy! I can still find time for a Power Hour most of the time and when I can’t I make it a Power 20 minutes.

Here are some ideas for finding your hour:

  • stop watching television
  • stop playing Candy Crush, Solitaire or other addictive games
  • get up earlier
  • go to bed later
  • batch cook and freeze portions for another day to reduce your time in the kitchen
  • swap childcare with a friend to give each of you an hour’s peace from time to time
  • limit the time you spend chatting to friends (note I said limit, not give up!)
  • sort out the clutter so it isn’t constantly sapping your time

Using your Power Hour

So now to make the best use of your hour:

  • Block the time out in your diary, it is an appointment with yourself and just as important as any other appointment you make
  • Put the phone on to answerphone, switch off your emails and the Internet (unless it is essential for the task you want to achieve)
  • Go to the loo (toilet).
  • Make a cup of coffee or your drink of choice.
  • Close the door and tell people you don’t want to be disturbed for an hour.
  • Clear your working space of any other tasks or distractions
  • Decide what you want to achieve (if you have adopted Simpleology it could be an action towards one of your major focuses)
  • Keep a Power Hour folder so you can start work where you left off easily.
  • Set a timer(this is the only use for your Smartphone in the next hour so make sure it is on silent!)
  • Start work, stay focussed and stick at it until the timer goes off.
  • When you have finished your hour make a note of where you are up to or what you need to do next so that when you get another hour you don’t waste time working out what you have to do. (Another task for Simpleology perhaps.

If you are anything like me you’ll find that you don’t want to give up when your hour is up! Fine if there is nothing else pressing in your diary but all too often life gets in the way. Why not celebrate your achievements with a post on Facebook or Twitter?

An alternative

If you find an hour of focus too hard to achieve then the Pomodoro technique might work for you. Here you focus hard for 25 minutes, then take a short break before you do another 25 minutes focus, then another short break and so on. when you’ve done four 25 minute sessions you take a longer break. If this technique appeals this tool can help you manage your time. http://www.pomodoro.me/

ACTION: Block out a power hour (or 20 minutes if you can’t manage an hour) in your diary everyday until the end of the challenge (11th October), this will give you the time you need to develop your plan. It’s my guess that at the end of the challenge the Power Hour will become a regular habit 😀

Next steps, should you choose to take them…

  1. Share any insights or recommendations in the comments section here.
  2. Join the conversation on Facebook to gain support from the 21 Day Challenge community (we’ll be looking at some of the benefits of social media later in the challenge but for now being active on this page and on Facebook can help boost the way people can find you on the Internet.)
  3. Tweet this ‘I’ve just plotted my Power Hour into my diary ready to make money on @Glenda_S challenge #21DMMC
  4. Join us tomorrow to when we’ll be putting together our project plan.

Day 8. Time to make a start on the planning.

Congratulations for getting to this stage of the challenge. One week down and two weeks to go. How are you getting on? I know some of you are finding the challenge useful and thought provoking if a little hard. Making money is not easy but hopefully at the end of this challenge you will have a doable plan to make your goal. Don’t worry if you find you need more time to complete each challenge you can store the challenges up to do when you are ready. The next couple of days shouldn’t be quite so demanding as the last few.

What do you need to accomplish your goal?

Today I want you to start thinking about what you will need to turn your idea into an income generator. I want you to make a list. That’s all! I don’t want you to do anything with that list just yet we’ll turn your list into a plan on Day 10.

So what should be on your list? 

What resources will you need? Think

  • time
  • money
  • people
  • equipment
  • raw materials
  • space

Will you need to learn any new skills? What are they?

What actions will you need to take? These can be quite broad at this stage so ‘marketing’ rather than specific actions such as ‘post to Twitter’

ACTION: Write your list and keep it safely ready for our project planning session on day 10.

A tool you might find helpful

http://simpleology.com is a really helpful planning tool to keep you on track.

http://simpleology.com is a really helpful planning tool to keep you on track.

I don’t know about you but I need a list to keep me on track. My problem is that I always have too much on the list to achieve in one day so I can spend ages transferring an undone task from one day until the next. For the last couple of months I have been using a free online tool that allows me to capture what I want to do and to use that information to plan my day.

There is some built in training which can become a bit tedious but is worth doing even if you don’t do it in full every day. Why not give it a try here? Let me know how you get on. If you are already using a tool that others might find helpful do share it in the comments below. Thank you.

Next steps, should you choose to take them…

  1. Share any insights or recommendations in the comments section here.
  2. Join the conversation on Facebook to gain support from the 21 Day Challenge community (we’ll be looking at some of the benefits of social media later in the challenge but for now being active on this page and on Facebook can help boost the way people can find you on the Internet.
  3. Tweet this ‘I’m starting to make my plan on @Glenda_S 21 Day Make money Challenge #21DMMC
  4. Join us tomorrow to when we’ll consider some I’ll share an idea for making the time to get things done.

Day 7. Time to make a decision.

Over the last few days you’ve been developing your ideas, looking at the competition and working out the financial viability of your ideas. You may already have reached a decision about which idea to pursue, if not today’s the day to make that decision. If the numbers exercise yesterday was inconclusive I have a couple of decision making aids for you to use today.

SWOT analysis

A SWOT analysis is great for decision making.

A SWOT analysis is great for decision making.

This is one of my favourite tools when I have any kind of decision to make.  It’s virtue is that it is very simple and very visual so making reaching a decision relatively easy.

If you haven’t used the tool before it is usually represented as a grid as shown in the illustration. Strengths and weaknesses refer to the ‘internal’ elements of the issue you are considering, the ones you have control over. Opportunities and threats are ‘external’ and are the extraneous elements over which you have little control, things like the economy, government policies etc. As you will see the strengths and opportunities are the positives and weaknesses and threats the negatives.

The beauty of this simple tool is that you can see very quickly whether the positives outweigh the negatives so you will soon know which ideas to bin!

ACTION: Do a SWOT analysis for each of your ideas. You might find an obvious winner.

Here’s a template and a few questions to help you.

Grid Analysis

A grid analysis will allow you to differentiate even further to reach a decision.

A grid analysis will allow you to differentiate even further to reach a decision.

This is another tool that I find really useful, especially when a SWOT analysis hasn’t produced a clear winner. In a grid analysis you determine you assessment criteria, the things that are really important to you, and then you score each of your ideas or issues against each of the criteria. I usually use a score out of 10. When you’ve allocated a score to each criterion and each issue you total them up and hopefully will have a ranked order of preference.

In order to reach a decision on your money making idea decide what are the most important considerations and list those on the grid. You can download a template here  I’ve included some potential items to consider but you can change these to suit yourself.

ACTION: Complete the grid analysis for the ideas you’ve still got left on the table and see where it takes you, hopefully you’ll be able to decide which idea to pursue.

Next steps, should you choose to take them…

  1. Download the SWOT and Grid analysis templates or print them out to use pen and paper to complete them. Make your decision about which idea to pursue.
  2. Share any insights in the comments section here.
  3. Join the conversation on Facebook to gain support from the 21 Day Challenge community (we’ll be looking at some of the benefits of social media later in the challenge but for now being active on this page and on Facebook can help boost the way people can find you on the Internet.
  4. Tweet this ‘I’m working on my SWOT & grid analyses to decide how I’m going to make money on @Glenda_S ‘s 21 Day Make Money Challenge. #21DMMC
  5. Join us tomorrow to when we’ll start the process of turning ideas to action.

Day 6. Will you be able to make a profit?

So here we are at Day 6, hopefully with some potential money making ideas taking shape and an understanding of the competition that  you face. Over the next couple of days we’re going to start evaluating your ideas to see which has the best chance of success. Today we’re going to look at the numbers.

What are your costs?

Will you sell all your products or do you need to allow for some wastage?

Will you sell all your products or do you need to allow for some wastage?

Most ideas need some form of investment at least in time if not in money.

ACTION: Make a list of all the things that you are going to need to invest in and how much they will cost, be consistent about the way you deal with tax, either include it in all calculations or in none.

Here are a few things to think about:

  • Raw materials: what will you need? How much will it cost? How long will it last? (Are there minimum order quantities and do these work for you?) What will the wastage be? Can you put the waste to other uses? Is there any resale value in unused raw materials? Try to work out a cost per unit.
  • Premises: are you going to need to rent premises? How much will it cost you? Don’t forget that you may have to pay for set up and take down time? Do the charges include gas, electric, cleaning and any other premises costs, if not how much do you estimate these will be?
  • Staffing: nobody wants to work for nothing so don’t forget to include your time calculations plus any staffing costs for your helpers. Be realistic about how long it will take you and set yourself a reasonable hourly rate. If the amount you can charge won’t cover your staffing costs the idea isn’t viable! All too often I see small business owners not paying themselves enough money. Get this calculation right from the outset even if you don’t actually draw the money until you are consistently making your targets.
  • Packaging & distribution: if these costs are relevant to your idea calculate these too.
  • Insurance: will you need any extra insurance cover and, if so, how much will it cost you?
  • Equipment: if you don’t already have the equipment you need is it something you can borrow or hire? What will those costs be? If you need to buy equipment, how much will it cost? How long will it last? Will you be able to use it for any other purpose or do you have to cover all the costs with the idea you are currently working on?

How much can you charge?

I suggest you try out a number of different figures to ensure financial viability. So think about the figure you would really like to charge, think about the average price your competitors charge and think about your absolute lowest ‘sale’ figure which we hope you would only use to clear places or stock.

Work out your break even point

Add up all your fixed costs (costs which don’t change whether or not you sell anything) things like rent, salaries, insurance, loan repayments etc. It’s probably best to work these out for a week or a month but you could choose a different period.

Now work out your variable costs, those that are directly related to generating sales and fluctuate accordingly. Work these out on an individual item basis.

Once you’ve got all these figures we can work out how many items/tickets etc. you will need to sell to cover your costs and break even. Here’s an example, we’re selling widgets:

Fixed costs for one month:

Salary                          £1400

Rent                            £   700

Insurance                 £      50

Loan repayments  £   100

Total                           £2250

Costs per widget

Raw materials         £   25

Packaging                 £      1

Delivery                     £      5

Total                          £     31

Research tells us that we can sell our widgets for £60 so to work out how many we need to sell to break even:

£60 (Selling price) – £31 (Direct costs per widget) = £29

The difference between the selling price and costs is known as the contribution to your fixed costs. So if we divide £2250 (our monthly fixed costs) by £29 (contribution) we can see that we will need to sell 78 widgets (77.59 rounded up) to ‘break even’, once we sell 79 we will be in profit, just!

So let’s see what happens if we could sell our widgets at £70, our direct costs would still be £31. £70-£31 =£39. £2250 divided by £39 = 57.69 so we will need to sell 58 widgets to ‘break even’

However if we have to reduce prices to £50 we have to sell many more. £50-£31= £19. £2250 divided by £19 = 118.42 so we will need to sell 119 widgets to break even.  That’s a 50% increase in the sales needed just by reducing our price by 16.66%.

ACTION: Work out your break even point at the three different price points we discussed earlier.

Some things to think about when testing the viability of your idea

  • How many items, tickets or how much time will you need to sell to reach break even?
  • How much repeat business are you likely to get?
  • How many new customers will you need to find to maintain sales? (I was recently working on targets with a client, we decided she needed 6 clients per week which seemed very achievable but when we worked out that, on average, her clients book two appointments it meant that she would need to find 138 customers a year to reach her target which seemed a bit more daunting.
  • How long do you expect to maintain sales for and will this be long enough to cover all your investments, particularly equipment?

ACTION: Do these calculations for the top two or three of your ideas to see which is most viable. If none of them work then I’m afraid it is back to the drawing board 😦

Next steps, should you choose to take them…

  1. If you need help with today’s task do email me.
  2. Share any insights in the comments section here.
  3. Join the conversation on Facebook to gain support from the 21 Day Challenge community (we’ll be looking at some of the benefits of social media later in the challenge but for now being active on this page and on Facebook can help boost the way people can find you on the Internet.
  4. Tweet this I’m working out whether my idea is viable on @Glenda_S 21 Day Make Money Challenge #21DMMC
  5. Join us tomorrow to when we’ll consider some other evaluation tools.

Day 5. What about the competition?

Welcome back! Hopefully you now have some ideas simmering and are getting closer to finding a way to make money. So today I want you to start investigating the competition.

Competition is a good thing. Competition means that people want what you have to sell. A lack of competition indicates that there is no market. I believe we can learn from our competitors and even do business with them. In the 21 years I have been in business my most lucrative contracts have come by working collaboratively with my competitors.

What form does your competition take?

The obvious form of competition is from your direct competitors, people offering a very similar service to yours. Of course these people can be a threat but they can also be really helpful to our businesses. Have you noticed how restaurants in proximity to other restaurants usually do much better than those that are isolated? The more you understand about your direct competitors the better.

  • Exactly what do they offer?
  • What do they charge?
  • How do they trade?
  • What are their operating hours?
  • Who are their customers?
  • What do they do well?
  • What do they not do so well?
  • How busy are they?
  • What marketing do they do?
  • Are there gaps in their service provision that you could fill?

Most businesses also have indirect competitors, in other words another business competing for your customer’s pound or dollar but in a different way. For example, you might take your hostess a bouquet of flowers, a box of chocolates, a bottle of wine, some handmade toiletries or something else. Your customers have a budget and can only spend it once, what options do they consider? Understanding how your prospects think about what they will buy will help you to identify your indirect competitors. When you know that you can go through the questions above to understand where you can compete.

Be inspired by your competitors

CompetitionStrong competition will keep you on your toes. It will encourage you to look for new ideas, to challenge yourself and your colleagues to even better customer service and to find your point of difference. Take an in depth look at your immediate competition. Look at what they do well and where there is scope for you to compete.

ACTION: Draw up a table to record your findings.

You probably know who your local competitors are but if not talk to potential customers about where they currently go to meet their needs. Take a walk around your neigbourhood with your eyes wide open. Look in local business directories or talk to your Chamber of Commerce or local authority. It might even be worth trying out their services.

For competition further afield do an internet search, visit their websites, track them on social media, look at review sites such as Trip Adviser if appropriate. Read their blogs, watch their You Tube videos. These will usually give you an insight into the personality and interests of your competitors which might help you find your point of difference.

Read your trade press, some of your brightest competitors are probably using PR to build their businesses so may well be featured in articles. What can you learn?

Don’t be intimidated!

I go back to my first point, competition is a good thing, don’t be put off by it unless your market is already saturated and you are only offering a ‘me too’ service. Use your understanding of your competitors and your understanding of your own unique personality to craft an offering that is right for your target market. One that will appeal, that will have a character of its own and one that you will be proud to be associated with. I look forward to reading about how your offer is different.

Next steps, should you choose to take them…

  1. When you have completed today’s task  why not tell us how your offer will be different to your competitors?
  2. Join the conversation on Facebook to gain support from the 21 Day Challenge community (we’ll be looking at some of the benefits of social media later in the challenge) but for now being active on this page and on Facebook can help boost the way people can find you on the Internet.
  3. Tweet this Today I’m working on understanding my competitors on Day 5 of @Glenda_S 21 day challenge, #21DMMC
  4. Join us tomorrow when we’ll be starting to look at tools to evaluate our ideas.

Day 4. How will you make your money?

Hello again.

As we discussed yesterday the best way to make money is to find a target market with a problem that you could solve at a profit. If you struggled with that exercise then today’s activity might help you to identify other ways in which you could make money.

Ideas for businesses

If you are already in business then your best source for making more money is your existing customers. These are the people who already know, like and trust you.

  • Ask these people what else you could do to help them.
  • Review your existing customer’s purchase history & offer them a product/service that they haven’t bought before, perhaps as a special deal with something they buy regularly
  • Remind customers that it’s probably time to buy again. For example we have a water filter that needs changing every six months or so, if the supplier reminded us it was time for a new one we would probably buy from them rather than going back to Google!
  • Offer your existing customers a reward for introducing new customers when those people buy from you
  • Put your prices up!
  • Run an exclusive ‘customer and their friends’ event. Make it a party but use the opportunity to sell.
  • Consider joining an affiliate scheme to sell other people’s products which would appeal to your existing customers.
  • Introduce a new product or service based on your understanding of your current customers’ needs.
  • If you run a delivery scheme could you charge another business a service fee for delivering a product on their behalf? For example a greengrocer could deliver bread or flowers.

Bring in new customers

  • Every business needs new customers, do you have a regular marketing campaign to enable more people to hear about what you do? (We’ll be developing a marketing plan later in the challenge)
  • Use your shop window or exhibitions etc. to showcase your offer in a way to appeal to new customers

Explore new routes to market

  • Take your business out into new spaces. For example, Simon Osborne of Poisson fishmongers in Ealing is getting great results from a stall in Brentford market.
  • Look out for pop up shop opportunities, for example Barclay’s Bank in Hounslow is offering opportunities for businesses to display their wares in their banking halls
  • Should you have an Amazon or Ebay shop?
  • Are you selling online either through your own website or via Facebook. Facebook seems to work particularly well for craft type businesses.
  • Look for opportunities to collaborate with other businesses

Getting new ideas

  • Read relevant trade press, visit exhibitions and trade shows to make sure you are aware of new developments and opportunities in your industry (more about that tomorrow)
  • Keep your eyes and ears open, it’s surprising how easy it is to pick up new ideas by seeing what other people are doing or hearing people discussing their problems, likes and dislikes. (You might find this article useful http://thetrainingpack.wordpress.com/2013/05/16/are-you-an-entrepreneur/)
  • Do a customer survey
  • Borrow ideas you see on your travels especially when you are in a different environment
  • Watch some of the business TV shows such as Dragon’s Den or the Apprentice
  • Try some creative thinking techniques. Read the works of Edward de Bono or search ‘Creative thinking techniques’ on the internet.
Stimulate your creative thinking by coming up with a list of different uses for this plastic bottle. Try doing the exercise with other people to get even more ideas. I challenge you to get 50!

Stimulate your creative thinking by coming up with a list of different uses for this plastic bottle. Try doing the exercise with other people to get even more ideas. I challenge you to get 50!

Ideas for new businesses  

  • Do you have a skill or a hobby that you could make money from?
  • What problems frustrate you? Do other people have the same problems? Can you find a solution that other people would pay for?
  • What are other business owners struggling with? Could you offer a product or service to help them?  (Book keeping, marketing, administration, deliveries, customer research are just a few ideas)
  • What new technologies are in development? Do these offer you an opportunity (think iPhone/iPad apps etc.)
  • Are there any infrastructure developments where you live that you could take advantage of?
  • What government initiatives could you exploit? (energy efficiency, recycling, employment support immediately come to mind)

Ideas for all

  • Have a clear out! Have a sale or sell on Ebay
  • Re-package your products and run a limited time offer on your existing range
  • Christmas is coming, how about putting together some gift packages, maybe in collaboration with other traders.
  • Sell your time by offering a service other people need: cleaning, ironing, gardening, baby-sitting, shopping etc. (This doesn’t have to be a long term option but can be a way of making cash whilst you get your big idea off the ground. A friend of mine did early morning cleaning when she was setting up her marketing business, it gave her immediate cash without encroaching on the time she needed to be available for her clients. Just make sure that you comply with relevant legislation)
  • Do you have a skill that can make you money? Have you noticed how many cooks are turning their hands to running supper clubs?
  • Write a blog, build your audience and then use it to generate an income from advertising. This is not easy but is working very well for some people.

ACTION: Read this article and then take some time out to let the ideas form. Go for a walk, do some gardening, go to the gym or just sit. Switch off interruptions. Put up the ‘Do not disturb sign’. Tell other people to go away! Just give yourself some thinking time. Write down your ideas today but don’t evaluate them, we’ll do that on Day 7 when your ideas have had time to develop.

Next steps, should you choose to take them…

  1. Why not use the Facebook group or the comments section to share your ideas and seek input from other challengers.
  2. Click to Tweet this I’m busy generating money making ideas on @Glenda_S Training Pack’s 21 Day Make Money Challenge #21DMMC 
  3. Join us tomorrow when we’ll be understanding our competition.

Day 3. Who will you be selling to?

If we are going to make money we are going to need people who are willing to buy from us so, before we can decide what to sell, we need to understand our target market and what their needs are. Ideally this challenge is about making money by doing something different to your normal business. It might be by reaching out to a new target market. It might be by selling a different product or service. It might be by leveraging your time and skills in a different way. It might be by doing something completely different.

Too often people start with a product or service that they want to sell rather than a problem that people want solving. You may be familiar with this song from the musical Oliver, it demonstrates the classic mistake.

Who will buy?

Ideally your target market will be one you know something about, perhaps one you fit into yourself. If you are a parent of a pre-schooler you will understand some of the challenges that other parents of young children have, you will also have connections with some of your prospects which will make it easier to test out your idea.

If you own a small business you will understand some of the issues other business owners face and you’ll probably have prospects in your network. If you are having problems supporting aged parents then there are probably others with the same problems so if you can find a solution others might be willing to pay for it. You get the idea.

ACTION: Decide what market you want to sell to.

Understanding your target.

So now you know what your market is you need to develop as much understanding of that market as you can. Here are some questions to help:

  • Are they male or female?
  • What age are they?
  • What is their marital status?
  • How many children do they have? What age are they?
  • Where do they live? Are they home owners or renters?
  • What do they do for a living?
  • Where do they work and how do they get there?
  • What do they do in their leisure time?
  • What do they read? Do they read in print or digitally?
  • What problems keep them awake at night? Can you solve those problems at an affordable price?

And if you are selling to a business audience here are a few more questions to consider:

  • What does the business do?
  • How long have they been trading?
  • Who are their customers?
  • What route(s) to market do they use?
  • How do they find new customers?
  • What networks do they belong to?
  • How do they source supplies?
  • What problems keep them awake at night? Think staff, customers, profit, production, marketing, finance etc. I’m sure you’ll find at least one thing!

ACTION: Decide what problem you can solve profitably and describe your target for that solution in detail using the questions above and any others that will help you build a clear picture.

Next steps, should you choose to take them…

  1. When you have completed today’s task  why not share your targets here?
  2. Join the conversation on Facebook to gain support from the 21 Day Challenge community (we’ll be looking at some of the benefits of social media later in the challenge) but for now being active on this page and on Facebook can help boost the way people can find you on the Internet.
  3. Tweet this I’m working on developing my understanding of my target market on the 21 Day Make Money Challenge. #21DMMC
  4. Join us tomorrow when we’ll be generating some money raising ideas.

Day 2. Building the vision

Welcome back.

If you completed yesterday’s activity you should now know what you are aiming for. You’ll have a figure that you want to make, a reason for making the money and a deadline by which you want to achieve your goal. Today we’re going to work on making a real commitment to our goal.

Creating the vision.

There is something very powerful about creating the vision of what we are trying to achieve.  Imagining ourselves having achieved our goals can be a really powerful motivator. The more real we can make that vision the better. So we’re going to have a bit of fun today imagining our success.

Imagine today is the day you have set as your deadline and you have achieved your goal:

  • How do you feel?
  • What is the voice inside your head saying?
  • What are your loved ones, your customers, your associates, your fellow challengers saying?
  • What can you see? Can you see the results of your money making? Can you imagine the children’s faces on Christmas Day when they open their presents and imagine how you feel knowing that you won’t have a big credit card bill next month? Can you picture the places you are going to visit on that special holiday? Can you imagine owning and using that new bit of kit you set as your goal?
  • What can you smell and taste? Maybe the turkey is roasting in the oven, maybe you can taste the exotic foods you’ll be trying on your travels or perhaps you can taste the champagne!

ACTION: The more of your senses that you can engage in picturing your achievement the more motivating the vision will become. So switch off any distractions, close the door to interruptions, shut your eyes and start engaging your five senses (sight, sound, feel, taste, smell) in creating the vision of your achievement. When you’ve done that come back for the next activity. 

Capture the vision

Now, before you lose your vision, we want to capture your ideas so you have something to keep coming back to. I have three ideas as to how you might do this but you might have others in which case please share them here in the comments or in the Facebook group.

  • Create a vision board

Here’s one for the more kinaesthetic among you! This involves cutting and sticking images that represent your vision on to a large sheet of paper. So if your target is money for Christmas you might have photos of  children opening presents on Christmas Day, of the family round the Christmas tree, of the turkey ready to carve, and of the cut up credit card. If you are trying to make the money for a new computer you might have a picture of the computer you want to buy together with images of the games you want to play, the software you want to use etc. Make your vision board as colourful and inspiring as you can. Why not put the amount of money you are trying to achieve in the centre so that you are really focused on your desired result. Now pin your vision board up where you will see it and be inspired every day.

Day 2

Here’s an example of a vision board I made as part of another activity.

  • Make a video

Here’s one for those of you of a more technical bent. Make an Animoto video of your vision. You can make a 30 second video for free and upload it to You Tube to share with others or to keep private if you prefer. You’ll need some photos or video clips and can add in text such as your target amount and what you are making the money for. Here’s the one I made as an example:

  • Pin it!

For those of you who love social media you could create a board in Pinterest to share your vision. The beauty about a Pinterest board is that you can keep adding to it as you find more inspiration and, if you like, other people can pin images or comment on your pins which could give you more ideas.

I have set myself a goal of making between £1000 and £5000 to have my online presence re-branded for greater consistency but especially to reflect my personality. I have therefore created a board with pictures of websites that do more of what I want to achieve but I’ve also included lots of pictures that reflect who I am and what matters to me. This should inspire me but could also help a designer when I’m ready to brief one. Here’s my board, the beauty is I’ll be able to use it as a place to store more relevant images as I come across them.

See my Pinterest board here.

A clip of my Pinterest board.

A clip of my Pinterest board.

Next steps, should you choose to take them…

  1. When you have completed today’s task  why not share your vision here, send us a link to your video or Pinterest board, take a photo of your vision board upload it to Facebook and then share the link in the comments below.
  2. Join the conversation on Facebook to gain support from the 21 Day Challenge community (we’ll be looking at some of the benefits of social media later in the challenge but for now being active on this page and on Facebook can help boost the way people can find you on the Internet.
  3. Tweet this I’ve just created my vision for the 21 Day Make Money Challenge. #21DMMC
  4. Join us tomorrow to identify your target audience for your money making activities.