When I first began doing my motivational speaking back in 2008 to juvenile offenders I would often get asked how was I able to transfer "Non-Marketable" skills to business and entrepreneurship. The fact that they actually believed that the things they learned in the streets would not be applicable in a business or professional setting is in fact a myth and one that I believed for quite some time. That belief paralyzed me mentally until I went to community college and learned that everyone starts somewhere and skills and experiences can be applied to several industries. When I would survey the crowd to find out what they knew how to do it would range and from taggers to car thief's to burglary and what I would tell them next would absolutely shock them. I would go to tell them how those skills can be transferred into a potential business for example:
and there are other examples for everything that you think is a waste of a skill. One of the best exercises that assisted me in doing a skills audit was when my undergraduate professor Dr. Newman made us do a 25 page resume in his professional sales course, yes you heard me right 25 page resume, yikes! He wanted you to list every job or responsibility that you have had since you can remember, which I found that if you do it everyday you will not only complete the 25 pages, but exceed it. So if you are wondering if you have the skills for a certain job and/or industry please do a 25 page audit and do it daily until it is filled.
As a former Drug Dealer and business school graduate I know that I have a unique skill set and advantage over any of my competitors even the Harvard and Princeton graduates, as like Jay-Z said "They only graduated from one school". Stay tuned for my "Drug Dealer to Businessman" video series coming soon, where I will be sharing my experiences and tips on how I went from being a 6 figure Drug Dealer to a 6 figure online businessman so please subscribe to the channel.
I am a small business owner and I am not afraid of failing, well at least that is what I tell myself when I am about to embark on a new journey. As a small business owner we can often become complacent or relaxed in our marketing and customer acquisition strategy particularly if you have experienced early success. As a business owner, just like scientist you need to always be experimenting so that you can find the perfect combination of product, customer service, and marketing that your customers will not only enjoy but also lead to a conversion or purchase. There are several ways you can conduct business experiments without a huge investment,here are a few:
The technology in our smartphones allows us to not only take amazing quality video, but also the ability to edit and post to our social networks all from the palm of our hands. You tube is the second best search engine to Google so you want to make sure you have some sort of presence in the You Tube or video space. A local restaurant in Los Angeles Simply Wholesome does an amazing job with Video.
Buy Ad Words
When someone does a search for a service and/or product Google and other search engines look to match the keywords in their search with relevant websites that can provide that information. You as a business owner want your website to come up when keywords that describe your business and/or service. The way you can do that is buy purchasing/bidding on Keywords in Google Adwords and that can be done based on clicks to your site, time of day, and now location. In addition Google Ad words also allows you to schedule You Tube ads as well, you will need to have an ad words account.
Buy Social Media Ads
Most of your customer are on social media for hours at a time, some prefer Facebook and some prefer Instagram or Pinterest, the beauty in that is that all of those platforms offer targeted advertising opportunities to reach those customers. These platforms allow you to target audience based on interest, location and demographic information based on whatever budget you set for the day, for example I have run $10 experiments for my videos just to practice, we spend more on that with a morning Starbucks trip. If you have a graphic or video you can upload it and go through the approval process and each platform has different standards, for example here is Facebook's.
Ask for the Review
In my personal business we have found success in first thanking our customers with a hand written thank you notes, and in that note we ask the customer to leave us a review if their experience was a positive one, if not please give us a cal immediately. This is one thing that I rarely see small business owners do, "Ask for the Review" try it out. Find a creative "soft" approach to asking for the review, I would suggest not offering an incentive as it will not be a "genuine" or "authentic". They can leave a review on Yelp, Google, Facebook, Trip Advisor and so much more, so find out which is the most relevant to your customers and Ask for the review.
You want to always be experimenting with something in your business and life, because that is the only way will have a breakthrough.
As a business owner, entrepreneur, boss we often are working with very slim budgets or at least we often believe that we need to have a lavish budget to produce content and compete with the "Big Dogs" of our industries. I often here very successful people suggest that you if you want to take your success to another level you should hire a coach. I have found that it is not as easy as they make it seem, even though I have not given up hope and until my budget gets a little better I have another solution, Podcast. Yes Podcasting I have found to be an amazing (short-term, budget restricted) supplement to coaching as you can ear hustle on some of the best conversations from some of the smartest people on the planet. The only requirements are time and data and you can be easily on you way to gaining insights, suggestions, tools, stories and more from the best. Here are 5 of my favorite podcast :
I had the opportunity of watching a Facebook live with the Harvard Business Review Facebook Page and they had a speaker named Dorie Clark and she was amazing. She was speaking of gigs and the time that it takes to really get your business going as a consultant, marketer, coach, blogger and more. I am not completely finished with the book, however so far truly amazing and you will not be disappointed. (See book below).
Just remember "Your Brand" is you and you should always be investing in something towards your brand development i.e time, money, and effort. If you do not have the money then invest time,if you have money, then do both, but by all means, please do something.
Duane Cofield over 15 years selling Cocaine from the age of 11 in the gritty streets of South East San Diego. I know the "game" in and out and very few can show me something new..I am now a business owner and professor of business a a few Southern California Universities. I am available for consulting, speaking, coaching. Please subscribe to the Official Drug Dealers to Businessmen You Tube Channel Here