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Day 21. Sharing success.

Congratulations, you’ve made it to Day 21. Well done, that sets you apart from the majority.

What have you achieved?

As we complete the challenge it’s a great time to stop and reflect upon your achievements. The first one is getting to this stage! What would you describe as the your three greatest gains from the challenge? You may have learned something new. You may have developed some new habits. You may have a clear goal and a workable plan to achieve it. You may have found a new tool that has made life easier or more focused. Or your gains may be about the money you’ve made or the decisions you’ve taken, I would love it if you would share your achievements here or in the Facebook group but if you don’t want to go public then it would be great to get an email from you to glenda.shawley@thetrainingpack.co.uk

Celebrate your success

My mentee, Sarah Webb of justsayhi.co.uk has just won Best New Business  in the Hounslow Business Awards. I'm delighted to share her success and look forward to buying her a glass of bubbly.

My mentee, Sarah Webb of justsayhi.co.uk has just won Best New Business in the Hounslow Business Awards. I’m delighted to celebrate her success and look forward to buying her a glass of bubbly.

Success can be a great motivator. It puts a spring in our steps and a smile on our faces. It lifts the people around us, our family, friends, colleagues, customers, mentors, and suppliers. Who can you share your success with? Who will understand what it really means. I remember coming home one day thrilled to have won a big contract we were tendering for, my husband’s reaction was a somewhat unemotional, ‘Well done’ quickly followed by ‘how much money is it worth’ and then some minor domestic details. My bubble was burst! Yes my husband was pleased but he really didn’t understand what a big deal it was. My colleagues on the other hand shared my delight and the odd glass of something sparkling in celebration. They made all the effort really worthwhile.

Who are  you going to share your success with?  Who will understand what it has taken to get to this point? Who will be impressed? One of my goals for this challenge was to give you a means with which to generate your news story to get you some PR. (see Day 19), don’t miss out on the opportunity. Share your success with fellow challengers because if they’ve got to this stage they really know how much effort has gone in to your achievement.

ACTION: Celebrate your achievements. Don’t dwell on what is still a work in progress. When you have reached your financial target please send me an email and tell me how much you have raised. I won’t share your personal figure but add it to a running total made by all challengers and that will be my story!

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 celebrating completing @Glenda_S 21 Day Make Money Challenge #21DMMC
  4. Stay focused on the goal and the vision and let us know when you reach your goal.
  5. If you would like to keep getting tips and ideas for growing business why not follow my blog ? There are new stories every Monday and Thursday.
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Day 20. Taking action.

These action takers don't let excuses get in their way.

These action takers don’t let excuses get in their way.

If you have kept up so far you should have a plan by now but a plan is of no use unless you take action so that’s our focus for today.

Take action now!

One of the major differences between achievers and everyone else is that achievers take action. They don’t wait for everything to be perfect. They don’t wait until everything is in place. They don’t wait until they have done just a bit more training. They dive in! The learn as they go. They bring in help for the things that they can’t do themselves. Are you an action taker?

By now you should have an idea, a budget, a project management plan and a promotional plan so you are ready to take action. If you have implemented some of the tips from Days 8 and 9 you will be using some tools to help your productivity and you should be ready to take action.

ACTION: If you haven’t done it already plan what you are going to achieve in each of your Power Hours for the next week. Make your targets visible. Pin them on the fridge, make simpleology.com your home page, stick a post it on your computer!

Commit.

I don’t know about you but I break more promises to myself than anyone else. That’s why we need to make a commitment. I’ve published all these challenges because I made a commitment to you to post one a day for 21 days, I’ll let you into a secret, they weren’t all ready on day one, the plan was but there have been times when I’ve only been one step ahead of you! Going public with a promise will keep you on track. Selling tickets to an event or places on a course will make it happen.   So what are you going to go public with? Where are you going to go public? How about here in the comments section? What about making the commitment on our Facebook page or on Twitter?

Why not find yourself an accountability partner? Someone who will hold you to your commitments. Someone who will be tough enough with you when you wobble. You could use a friend or fellow business owner or you could get yourself a mentor. Whoever you choose be very clear about what you want to be held accountable for. Agree your objectives and your measures. What will happen if you don’t make your commitment?

Don’t give up now! Make a public commitment to what you are going to achieve and then take the first step. Good luck.

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 taking action to make money on #21DMMC
  4. Join us tomorrow to when for the final day of the challenge.

Day 19. Using PR.

With just three days to go how is your Money Making Plan shaping up?

Today we’re going to consider how you can use Public Relations to raise awareness of your money making venture. In essence what we want is for other people to do the promotion for you without being paid!

Referrals and recommendations

One of the best ways to generate interest in your money making venture is to get existing customers and people in your network to recommend you. Some will do so without being asked, others may be willing but need prompting. Think of ways that you can encourage referrals and recommendations:

  • Ask for them, include a note on receipts (e.g. if you are happy with your purchase tell your friends, if you’re not tell us)
  • Thank people when they pass on a recommendation, send a card, write a letter, call them, thank them publically at a networking event. If the lead turns into significant business go a bit further by sending flowers or taking your recommender out for a meal
  • Set up a recommend a friend scheme perhaps with a money off voucher for both the new customer’s first purchase and for the introducer, or formalise it into an affiliate scheme
  • Use your networking events to make it clear what kind of referrals you are looking for
  • Produce some marketing material that those willing to recommend you can have  to pass on to their associates

Media coverage

Advertising can be very expensive and is rarely as effective as an article in a publication read by your target audience. If you have a big budget then you can appoint a PR consultant to get you into the media but this can be expensive and results are not guaranteed. You can improve your chances by choosing your consultant carefully. Make sure that they specialise in your area of interest and that they have contacts in the relevant media; ask to see examples of the coverage that they have got for other people.

There is a lot you can do yourself with a bit of time and effort. Remember that journalists are not there to do your advertising for you but to produce stories of interest to their audience. This means that, to get news coverage, you need to have a story not a sales pitch. Surveys are often popular, can you turn your market research into a story without disclosing confidential information or giving away your competitive advantage? Can you celebrate your launch? Are you breaking new ground with your idea? Are you doing something unusual? Can you create a story? Take a lesson from Richard Branson who makes stories when he needs press coverage e.g. by dressing up as a Maharaja and riding an elephant or by abseiling down a building when Virgin Atlantic is opening a new route.

Daiva, Ursula and Yemi from our Hounslow Enterprise Club had their new businesses featured in the local press this week.

Daiva, Ursula and Yemi from our Hounslow Enterprise Club had their new businesses featured in the local press this week.

Turn your story into a news release and send it to named journalists who write on your topic in publications that target your market. Do your homework, Don’t be tempted to blanket mail all journalists, they will bin your release. Think carefully about possible media, you may have success on smaller publications produced on a shoestring than in the mainstream. Think about your local media, small special interest magazines, company newsletters, customer magazines, student media, local radio, smaller TV channels etc. Click on this link for more about how to put a news release together.

Remember to keep an eye on your target journalists in your Twitter stream. Are they requesting help with stories? If you can’t help do you know someone who could? Reply to the tweet with an introduction. Re-tweet the message, Compliment them on interesting articles. Share some knowledge or information that will add to the article. Build a relationship.

A word or warning. Unlike paid for advertising or advertorials you will have no control over what a journalist publishes so be especially careful about what you disclose in an interview. Off the record conversations don’t always stay that way. Don’t tell a journalist anything you wouldn’t want to read about! Remember a journalist’s primary interest is a good story.

ACTION: How are you going to incorporate PR into your promotional plan? Devise a system for getting recommendations and referrals and/or develop your story into a news release and send it to at least one journalist.

Should you be running an event?

This one isn’t low budget! However running a launch party, an open evening, a party or some other event to which you can invite customers, prospects, journalists, local dignitaries and perhaps celebrities can go a great way to creating a buzz about what you are doing and get you some press coverage. This 21 Day Make Money Challenge has been a PR activity for me and whilst I’d love to see more of you commenting, tweeting or joining us on Facebook it has got people following across the world which was one of my objectives.

If you are going to do an event make sure you are clear about what you want to get out of it, set a SMART objective. Set a budget and think what you can do for that money. Get the word out early and often to make sure that people come; there’s nothing worse than having the press and a local dignitary as your only attendees! Ask your friends and family for support if need be. Consider bringing in a professional events planner if your budget will allow.

Think what message you want people to take away. Will you deliver a speech? What do you want the press to write about? If you want a celebrity or local dignitary to say a few words brief them about what you want them to say. Do you need business cards, fliers, brochures or a promotional gift for people to take away with them?

Don’t just do an event for the sake of it. If you are raising money for charity have lots of ways in which people can donate. If you are doing it to win new customers or raise your profile tell your guests how they can help you. Then go and have some fun!

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 my PR on @Glenda_S 21 Day Make Money Challenge #21DMMC
  4. Join us tomorrow to when we’ll be taking action.

Day 17. Using social media

With very few exceptions I believe that every one trying to make money should use social media. If your prospects go anywhere near the Internet when making purchasing decisions then you should be on social media. Yes I know it can be time consuming and fraught with danger but those things can be managed. So today I’m going to invite you to develop a social media strategy.

Which channels should you be on?

Infographic from mashable.com using data from Pew Research

Infographic from mashable.com using data from Pew Research

I’m not going to suggest that you go mad and get active on every platform especially if you are not currently active on any but, if you are not already active on social networks, I do want you to experiment. As with all marketing you should go where your customers and prospects are but you can also use the networks to find suppliers, journalists, employees, freelancers and collaborators and to keep an eye on what your competitors are up to. Don’t tell me that your target audience are not on social networks because some of them will be, even my nearly 90 year old Dad has a Facebook account! One survey found that 32% of over 65s use social media and that number is likely to continue growing, so which platform to choose.

Facebook: Love it or hate it you should be on Facebook, it is by far the biggest platform with over 1.15 billion users of whom 40% are said to be in the 45-54 age range. This is interesting since the perception is often that Facebook has a younger user demographic. With Facebook you can have a personal page where you encourage your ‘friends’ to engage with you; you can control how much information different people see with the way you set your privacy settings. You can also have a business page which you invite people to ‘like’ your page which then has them receiving information you post. You can also set up groups within Facebook where members can connect with each other, discuss issues and share items of interest, Click the link at the bottom of the page to be taken to the 21 Day Challenge group. I’d love you to pop along and ‘like’ the Training Pack’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/TheTrainingPack

TwitterMy personal favourite! It is a micro blogging site so you tell your story in 140 characters which you ‘Tweet’ to your followers. Your followers can then retweet your messages to their followers which can extend your reach considerably. Twitter enables you to share links to websites, blog posts, booking media and more. It is very well used by journalists looking for quotes or people to feature in articles. Twitter makes celebrities and industry notables much easier to contact than any other medium, replies aren’t guaranteed but many do engage with their genuine fans. It would be great if you could follow me on Twitter at @Glenda_S

Linked InIs generally seen as the professional site and is used to find employment, professional services contracts and/or employees. Again Linked In has interest groups which you can join and contribute to to enhance your online profile and establish your expertise. If you are selling a product or service in the business/employment arena then you should have a Linked In profile at the very least. I’m on Linked In as Glenda Shawley, I’d be happy to connect with you there.

Pinterest is a very visual medium where you ‘pin’ images to boards with a suitable comment. It is especially useful if you are selling a product as you can upload images and links to your sales pages. I also find it useful for developing vision boards such as the one recommended on Day 2 of this challenge. I also like the fact that I can support my clients by posting images of their products or services too. I’d love you to follow my new business Pinterest account at www.pinterest.com/thetrainingpack Have you visited the Pinterest board I set up for this challenge yet?

Google Plus: I have to confess that I’m still getting to grips with Google Plus but I can see it has the potential to be a really useful tool. The big advantage is that it integrates effectively with other Google services such as You Tube and it certainly helps with search engine optimisation. You can post messages, pictures, videos and more to the site and organise your connections into circles so that they only receive the most relevant of your communications. The Hangouts feature within Google Plus allows you to have online meetings with a small group using your computer’s webcam so this would be a great bonus for trainers, coaches and others working remotely.

You Tube: is the second biggest search engine after Google so you should be on there! You don’t have to film yourself or even do a voice over if you don’t want to. You can make your PowerPoint presentations into videos as I did in Days 15 and 16 of this challenge, you can make an Animoto video as I did on Day 2, you can record testimonials from your customers as Valerie Smith of Viva Videos did for me below or you can film an event, product demonstration, talk or anything that takes your fancy.

Instagram: is another visual medium where users can share photographs and videos. One way to use Instagram would be to get your customers to take photos of themselves using your products, attending your events or gathering information for you. With their permission you could share those photographs in your marketing activities.

Managing your communications

It is essential that you manage your social media engagement or there is a chance that it will take over your life. I know that you will come across people offering to manage it for you but whilst that has its uses I don’t think you can abdicate all responsibility yourself. The most important thing is to have a strategy, or strategies. You may have a different strategy for each network, for instance you might use Twitter to connect with journalists, Facebook and Pinterest to sell product and Instagram to engage with your customers.

ACTION: Choose one or more social networks that you are not currently using effectively and decide what your objective will be for being there. Who do you want to engage with e.g. prospects, customers, suppliers journalists etc.? What do you want to achieve, is it to build your prospect list, to sell £x amount, to get press coverage or something else? Integrate this with the marketing plan you started developing on Day 15.

Here are just a few tips for the most widely used networks.

Which ever network you decide to focus on be active, spend at least 10 minutes a day taking part. Engage people in conversation. Be interesting. Use any insight tools they have to see when your audience is most engaged and be there then, this often means first thing in the morning, lunchtime, just before close of business and maybe evening.

Use a tool like Hootsuite to manage posts in advance across a number of platforms. For instance if you are organising an event you’ll want to make promotional posts across your different networks at different times of the day, you can use Hootsuite to schedule these in advance. This is particularly useful when you have a very busy day, you remain visible on social networks without having to find time you don’t have!

Facebook: building a following takes time, watch what other people are doing successfully and think how you can adapt their ideas to suit you. Photographs tend to be more popular and readily shared than words. Join in conversations, be encouraging, share tips. Many users, especially in the ‘craft’ sector run contests open to people who ‘share’ and ‘like’ their pages, they draw a winner when they hit a predetermined  target for number of likes. Facebook has an enormous amount of data about their users which allows them target your advertising very precisely, you can give it a try by putting a cap on how much money you want to spend a day or for the campaign.

Twitter: Build your own followers by following other people who meet your strategic objectives, many will follow you back. Use the search function to find people. Re-tweet messages for people you’d like to build a relationship with and whose messages would be of interest to your followers. To make seeing important messages more easily create lists and add the people you are following to these so that you only see their messages. For instance I have a list of journalists so if I’m looking for a PR opportunity I will click on that list to see if there are any suitable requests there.

Use the # function to find and join conversations that meet your objectives. For example #bizitalk will find people talking about business; #London will find people talking about London. Use Twitter to drive invite people to open events and to drive traffic to your website or blog. A word of warning, Twitter has some controls in place to keep things personal this can be a disadvantage if you follow a lot more people than follow you back. It tends to kick in for the first time when you follow 2000 people whilst your own following is a way off that number.

Linked In: make sure that you have an up to date professional profile and look for, and then participate in groups that allow you to demonstrate your knowledge and personality but be very careful about making an overt sales pitch, they are generally frowned upon in Linked In.

ACTION: Take the channel that you set objectives for and start building your following and posting interesting content. Use the comments function here to tell us how to tell us how to find you on your chosen channel and then follow the other people who list their details here or in our Facebook group. Connect with me using the links above and I’ll follow you back (unless Twitter still has me in jail!)

Recommended reading

I can’t cover all there is to know in one, even rather long, challenge. I suggest you use the link below for plenty of quality content which will answer many of the social media questions you are likely to have. Why not post some questionsin the comment box or in the Facebook group and see if we can share expertise with other challengers.

http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com

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 ‘Now which social network am I going to try to grow? #21DMMC
  4. Join us tomorrow to when we’ll be considering our offline marketing.

Day 16. Should you be blogging?

This blog about a controversial advertising campaign was one of my most successful.

This blog about a controversial advertising campaign was one of my most successful.

Did you start to think about how you are going to market your money making venture yesterday? Did you consider blogging? Today we’re going to think whether a blog would be useful to you.

Why blog?

If you need to be online but don’t have the budget for a purpose designed website then a blog might be the answer. You can run a website and blog for very little or even no money. A blog is particularly useful if you need to demonstrate your expertise and reach out to a global market.

A blog will allow you to build a following and track where your visitors are coming from and what they are reading. You can promote engagement with your prospects by encouraging comments and polls as well as integrating your posts with other social media channels. To be most effective you will need to post articles on a regular basis and keep on subject.

Successful blogging

There are millions of blogs online which makes it really difficult to get your voice heard. However there are a number of things that you can do to improve your chances:

  • be really clear about the audience you are writing for (this should be the same as your target customer)
  • be consistent in what you write about, e.g. if you are wanting to recruit people to your diet programme write about healthy food, if you are raising money for charity write about the work of the charity and the problems they are solving
  • be regular, commit to posting on a regular basis to build your readership. Try to post at least once a week, twice is even better but if you can’t manage that write at least one post per month
  • develop your voice, let your personality shine through. People buy people, not everyone will like you but that’s OK. If you’re too bland you’ll win few readers. Don’t be afraid to be controversial or to write about controversial subjects. I always get more engagement on my blog when I write about a topic where people have strong opinions.
  • use other social media to drive traffic to your blog
  • comment on other people’s blogs from your blog account, choose people whose audience is similar to yours
  • seek opportunities to write guest posts especially on high traffic blogs targeting your audience
  • promote your blog on your business card, email signature etc.

Setting up your blog

In most polls WordPress emerges as the clear winner of the most popular blog host contest but some swear by Blogger, others like Posterous and Tumblr is growing in popularity particularly for blogs with high visual content. My personal favourite is WordPress which is easy to use, integrates well with You Tube for uploading video and gives great insights into where visitors are coming from and what they are reading.

If you haven’t set up a blog before this video might help to get you going on WordPress.

ACTION: Think whether a blog would be useful as part of your promotional strategy and if the answer is yes, set up your blog. Write your first article and share it in the comments here and in our Facebook group. We’ll share the links and promote your blog on Twitter too.

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 thinking about blogging #21DMMC
  4. Join us tomorrow to when we’ll be working out how to use social media to promote sales.

Day 15. Developing your promotional plan.

Welcome to the third and final week of the challenge. By now you should have a plan and a budget and be ready to start selling. We’re going to spend the next five days looking at how you are going to find and win customers for your money making project.Today we’re going to start thinking about your promotional plan, you’ll probably want to add to this as we cover different marketing activities in the following days.

First things first.

There are a number of things we need to think about before you can develop your promotional plan. On Day 3 you identified your target market, how specific were you? Did you really drill down until you had a narrow but deep niche of potential customers? If not I suggest that you take another look. The more precise you can be the better. When you know exactly who your target customer is it is easier to find them and speak their language. Try and build a picture of your target in your mind’s eye, give her a name and a personality, then you’ll be able to have a conversation with her when you start promoting your offer.

On Day 5 you researched your competition. What did that tell you about where your offer is different? How is your offer better than your prospect’s? Why should customers buy from you in preference to your competitors? You need to understand this in order to communicate it to your prospects in a persuasive manner. Some people refer to this as your USP or Unique Selling Proposition, others as your points of difference.

What problems are you solving for your prospects? How do those problems make them feel? What would life be like for them if their problem was solved? These are the messages your prospects need to hear. This is what you should be promoting.

N.B. If you are doing this challenge to make money for a good cause you will need to find an emotional reason for your prospects to connect with that good cause. You might have to make them feel guilty, sympathetic or sad.

Remember people buy more with their emotions than with their reason!

ACTION: Be specific about your target market and the problems that you will be solving for them and identify how your solution differs from your competitors. Write this down.

Developing your promotional plan

Nobody can buy a product or service that they’ve never heard of so your promotional plan needs to be focused on raising awareness and desire in your target audience and then getting them to take action and buy.

Here’s a template for you to use to scope out your promotional plan. Be clear about which target market you want to sell to, if you have more than one you may wish to focus on different groups in different months. Set your self a clear objective for what you want to achieve each month. Your objectives might include:

  • a sales target
  • number of signups to your mailing list
  • number of downloads on a free product given in exchange for names and contact details
  • number of enquiries
  • number of hits on website
  • number of people booking a trial session

As you will see all of the objectives should be very specific and measurable, they should also be achievable and have a deadline. So set yourself a specific objective for each month. You might find this example helpful.

ACTION: Complete at least the first two columns on the marketing plan template. You might also like to start thinking about activities that you could do in the remaining columns but I’ll have more ideas for those in coming days.

A quick lesson in marketing.

 

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 started work on my marketing plan with @Glenda_S #21DMMC
  4. Join us tomorrow to when we’ll be thinking about blogging..

Day 13. Financing your plan.

How did you get on setting your budget yesterday? Did it show you what level of investment will be needed to get your idea off the ground? For example are you going to have to invest in raw materials or marketing before you sell anything? Are you able to finance that amount yourself preferably without getting in to interest payments on your credit card? If not then today’s challenge is designed to get you thinking of different ways in which you could raise the investment needed?

Sadly money doesn't grow on trees so you may need to read this page to find other options!

Sadly money doesn’t grow on trees so you may need to read this page to find other options!

Financing equipment

I’m starting with equipment because it is a capital expense and, as such, tends to be viewed differently by lenders and the tax authorities. By now you should know what equipment you need and how much it will cost but do you need to buy it? Have you checked out recycling sites for example www.freecycle.org.uk or http://www.londonreuse.org/for-business/ there are probably similar sites in your locality? How about posting what you are looking for on Twitter, Facebook or Gumtree? You may not be lucky but if someone is wanting to get rid of what you want it would be a win-win. Look out for charities in your area that take other people’s cast offs, restore them and sell them to others who need them and in doing so provide employment opportunities for those in need.

Do you need to buy the equipment or could you lease it? Would leasing save you money? The sums may well depend upon how long you need the equipment for and what length of agreement you can negotiate but it is worth exploring.

If you do decide you have to buy do you really need new? It’s often possible to make considerable savings on items which have hardly been used. Ebay would be a good place to start looking.

If you are buying it can be worth talking to your bank to see if you can arrange a loan. A loan is usually a lot cheaper than an overdraft. However if you are buying for a business you may need to produce a business plan before the bank will consider you. Lenders are often more comfortable lending to finance equipment purchases because there is something to secure a loan against. For more ideas see the section on ‘Raising Finance’.

Using other people’s money

This is not as underhand as it sounds! Could you set up an account with your supplier which would enable you to pay in 30 days or more? This would allow you to convert your raw materials into product which you could hopefully sell before you have to pay the invoice. If you can settle the account with a credit card you may get up to 30 more days before you have to start paying interest on the money. Just make sure that you remember that this bill will need paying before you spend the money on other things and be aware that a supplier is unlikely to deliver further items if you haven’t settled their last bill.

Should you be taking payments, or at least deposits, from your customers before you buy in raw materials? If you are providing a bespoke service then this is almost certainly the case. Make sure that you have a clear contract or terms of business to protect both you and your customer.

Could sponsorship be an option? Your sponsor will probably want to know that what you are doing is consistent with their values and typically that it will reach their target audience. They should want to use their sponsorship to generate positive PR, such as media coverage, for their organisation and will probably want their name and logo to be highly visible in whatever you do. Typically sponsorship is an option for charities, events and not for profits but it could be an option worth exploring.

Raising finance

If you can finance your money making venture yourself then this is the quickest and easiest way to get going. If not, do you have friends and family who would be willing to back you? You really shouldn’t expect them to do this for nothing! Offer them a share in your profits, a decent rate of interest or a free service in return for their support.

Could you bring partners into your venture? Of course if you do they will expect a say and a return on their investment, are you prepared to share your decision making and your profits?

If you are planning to start a business in order to make your money making target then there are other options for raising finance but they have both advantages and disadvantages. You will need to produce a business plan which shows that your business is viable and you will probably need to prove that you have made a decent investment in your business yourself. Why should they risk their money if you won’t risk yours?

Here are some of your options for raising finance for a business:

  • a bank loan: in the UK there is some government backing to help banks take risks, if the bank turn you down ask if they would consider you under this scheme
  • crowd source funding: a relatively new way of raising finance usually from smaller investors in return for shares in the business. You set your goal and don’t get any of the money until you get the backing for all of it. One example is http://www.crowdcube.com/
  • venture capital: this is where a person or organisation with money backs businesses that need it in order to make more money. Venture capitalists will be looking for scalable businesses from which they can make a decent profit. They typically want to own a significant proportion of the business and to sell their share in around 5 years.
  • business angels: rather like venture capitalists but perhaps a bit less aggressive! Whilst a business angel will want to make money out of your venture they will typically share their skills and experience with you and may take a longer term view about making a profit.

ACTION: If you need to raise finance decide which three methods you are going to go for in order of preference and prepare your case. Set a deadline by which you will ask for the backing, add it to your project management plan unless it is already there.

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 out how to finance my money making venture #21DMMC
  4. Join us tomorrow to when we’ll be putting together our cashflow forecasts.

Day 12. Budgeting.

Welcome to Day 12, the first of three days on Managing Finance. Don’t groan! (I’m talking to the right brained amongst you now, who probably would like to get on with being creative and building relationships!) You wouldn’t expect a Making Money Challenge not to address managing finance would you?  I know from most of the courses I run that financial planning is something that doesn’t come easily to everyone so I’ve broken it into three steps that build on the work you’ve already done on Days 6 and 8. Today we’re looking at budgets, tomorrow at raising finance and on day 14 planning cashflow.

Those of you who looked at my Prism profile will realise that I’m in with those who would rather do most things that manage finances and I am not an accountant so I’m going to keep this as simple as possible. If finance is something you find difficult to get your head around I recommend Cash Flows and Budgeting Made Easy by Peter Taylor published by How to Books and available on Amazon, it is written in an easily understandable style with plenty of examples. (I am not getting a cut from sales of this book!)

Why budget?

I’m sure that I don’t need to tell you how easy it is to spend money! Holding on to it is much more difficult. Budgeting for your income and expenditure introduces a bit of discipline and control. It helps with decision making too, when you know how much you have available it is much easier to decide whether or not to buy.

Typically in a business you would set an annual budget but for this challenge you might want to set a budget specifically for the activities and duration of the challenge. What you are doing is working out how much you will have to sell and how much you will have to spend to achieve the amount of money you have set as your goal.

Setting your budget

Setting your budget.

Setting your budget.

If you worked out your break even on Day 6 you probably have most of the figures you need already, we just need to map them into a budget and then check that they make sense. Here’s a template to allow you to do just that. This is an Excel template so if you have any difficulties downloading it please contact me via the comments section below or in the Facebook group.

The template is editable but if you add extra rows you may need to redo some of the formulae to ensure get the right totals. You will see that I have numbered certain items where you may have more than one expense e.g. raw materials. I suggest you change these so that they reflect what you need to spend money on. Enter these figures in the budget column. Once a week, or once a month if that is more practicable, add your actual income and expenditure into the actual column. The variance column should calculate the differences automatically, allowing you to see where you need to sell more or cut down expenditure.

If you worked out your break even point on day 6 it should be relatively easy to work out how much you need to sell to achieve your money making target. Of course we didn’t factor in overheads such as administration and marketing into these calculations so you may find you need to sell more to cover these costs in order to make your target. Remember that if you need to sell more your direct and variable costs are likely to increase too.

You can use the template for any period you choose. One budget to cover the period until your deadline for making the money may be enough because we’ll be working out a monthly cashflow forecast on day 14 but you could do a monthly budget if you feel it would help you.

When you have put in all the figures does your budget total equal the money making target you set yourself? If not what do you need to increase or decrease? Is this realistic? If not, what needs to change?

ACTION: Complete the budgeting template and check that you are on track to make your money making target.

I’ll ‘see’ you tomorrow when we work out your options for raising any finance you need. Happy number crunching!

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 out my Money Making budget on @Glenda_S’s 21 Day Challenge #21DMMC
  4. Join us tomorrow to when we’ll be looking at how to raise finance.

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.

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.