What a First-Time Startup Really Looks Like

There are serial entrepreneurs who can come up with a new idea and find all kinds of financial backers right out of the gate because of who they know. They will start out in a decent office with a few staff members and a clear plan to attack their goals and dreams; they make starting a business look luxurious and simple. However, starting a business like this isn’t typical and doesn’t happen in this way for most people.

What does a first-time startup really look like?  In fact, 69 percent of first-time entrepreneurs in the United States startup businesses are home-based.

What My Business Startup Looked Like in 2016

There was only me: an unemployed single mother living off her savings, which I had to pull from my retirement to sustain my goals of working from home. I was motivated mostly by the desire to create something profitable that could make me more money than hourly wages ever could.

I worked diligently from my laptop in my two bedroom apartment. The little red couch was my office space and a round table to hold all my study materials I printed. I built my first website with the help of Youtube videos and WordPress. I tried to wrap my head around the technical process and felt overwhelmed many times. There were moments when I had to walk away from the computer just to digest all the information I was learning.

You may feel guilty for walking away from the computer because it feels non-productive. Do not blame yourself like I did for not knowing the system fast enough. It’s okay to not know everything and be determined because learning a new skill takes time and eventually, the skills would become second-nature.

When I wasn’t building my website, I spent my time watching training videos and consuming knowledge that I hoped would make me a brilliant entrepreneur with all the answers. Though the education was valuable, a point came when I realized it was time to stop training and start implementing the strategies I’d been learning.

My Typical Day as the Owner of a New Startup

I started out by purchasing an educational program, how to work from home, by making money online with affiliate marketing. This was my first introduction to online marketing. I rushed out of the gates to learn as much as I could because I wanted to be effective and start earning an income right away. I had invested in a company, MOBE, that did a majority of the work of putting together webinars, emails, and products for me, and my role was to bring them traffic.

First thing I had to change was my mindset

Second, I had to get a website or a blog, called online real estate, in order to drive traffic to my promotional offers. There was a system I needed to follow in order to be successful.

Each Monday, I would wake up around 6:30 am and start with an inspirational devotion while making breakfast. Then, go wake up my daughter by 7:30 am and get her ready for daycare. I figured out real quick that keeping her at home while I tried to work was my biggest distraction. I couldn’t focus for more than 15 minutes because she wanted to play, eat, drink, play (repeat). For single parents, moms or dads, who can work at home with their child then BRAVO! I can’t do it. Now, if you are great at multi-tasking then wonderful, you can save a lot of money working from home. However, I needed solid concentration and no interruptions in order to be effective or productive.

After dropping my daughter off at daycare, I would return home to my couch and place ads. It took practice focusing on one traffic method at a time. I had a coach tell me repeatedly to stick to one or else I would get overwhelmed and quite from the overload of information. I would update my blog every 2 days or so to attract more leads to my front-end offer, which was a $3 book about starting an online business.

The rest of the day is spent setting up social media posts from Monday to Saturday with PostPlanner to keep my audience engaged and staying up to date with my content. I have to admit it is very simple and I can spend the rest of my week looking at my traffic or my profits and spend an hour tweaking my ads or editing them.  If people like what you share on your social media then they share it and this increases your online presence. Be the leader of inspiration and information so people will turn to you. Do the research on your and expand your knowledge so you can connect and share with others. You also want to provide a way for people to reach you so I recommend setting up a business email and connect to them. I enjoy writing to my subscribers or corresponding with people.

Becoming an entrepreneur involves building a list of followers, feeding them good information, and directly marketing to them without incurring the cost of advertising. You do not want to bombard them with the sell, sell, sell, type of emails. You want to be engaging, get personal, and offer information they can use in their own lives. Writing emails can be very time-consuming. There are automated email services that can help increase your productivity and give you back your free time or else you can get sucked into an admins role respond and be sending emails all day. I have found Aweber to be very user-friendly with easy video tutorials to help set up and start email marketing. They connect to social media, landing pages, blogs, shopping carts and many more integrations. You want to be able to run your business and not get trapped into the business running your life.

However, I have to admit that it is difficult for me to talk about myself. Sharing my story hard because I felt it was being selfish or boasting too much. But by talking about myself or sharing my personal story I am able to connect with certain people. I know that connecting with the whole world isn’t idealistic but I realized that I don’t need to connect with everyone. I can inspire and help single parents or a stay at home parent who wants to contribute to their household, increase their financial freedom, or add an extra income. So, I became comfortable analyzing myself and sharing that with the world how to overcome adversities and obstacles in life and business.

At the end of the day, I would give myself an hour at the gym and enable those good hormones to be absorbed into my body before picking up my daughter at around 6:00 pm. We would go home and I would have a conversation with her about her day, cook dinner, and play together.  Monday’s are very busy for me but for the rest of the week, I spend time learning or using my free time to take care of other things. The flexability is wonderfu in addition to the financial freedom. Growing your online presence takes time so don’t give up if you don’t see results right away. You will see the money start to trickle in and grow.

That’s How I Became an Entrepreneur

Startup investor Ron Conway said, “Any time is a good time to start a company.” He’s right. If you have nothing more than a laptop and a plan, you can become a successful entrepreneur. It just takes willpower, drive and the ability to believe in the future payoff of today’s actions.

If you want to start your own business, don’t worry about things like office space, employees or huge investment capital. Use what you already have and just start building. Be persistent and make sure you have daily goals you want to accomplish. Small actions make a big difference!

Maria Roark


Why Every Business Needs a Website

2 thoughts on “What a First-Time Startup Really Looks Like

  1. Sarah Quilici

    Girl! I cannot tell you how many times I told David, “I can’t do this. What am I thinking?”. Everything you wrote in this post is exactly how I felt. Thank you so much for sharing and being honest. The thing I really struggled with was trying to process so much at once. I had to leave my work unfinished so many times because I was overwhelmed. Keep up the good work and the good posts!

    1. Maria Post author

      Thank you! Your site is wonderful. I enjoyed looking through your blog and it is going to help people who love arts and crafts. You inspire me!

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