Categorized | Shoestring Startup

Personal Passion + Fun = One Awesome Business Anybody Can Start

Personal Passion + Fun = One Awesome Business Anybody Can Start “Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.” ~Goethe

Name of your company and URL?
Solopreneur Steps
http://SolopreneurSteps.com

Date started?
I started the actual website of Solopreneur Steps in February of 2012. It has been a long time in the making though through over 20 years of business attempts and conceptions.

What is your product or service?
The main service provided is helping other people realize that they can take what they love and turn that into a business that profits within 30 days – and there are only 3 main steps to take.

There are a number of other services including consultations, word readings (think tarot reading with words and not cards), teleseminars, and more.

As far as products, there are several of my eBooks available on the site, and customized MP3’s.

Something that is coming soon is a membership area that I am very excited about! There will be a “Connect Zone” where us solopreneur types can find people who:Want to do a joint venture with each other, want to help each other by splitting marketing costs (dual marketing), and “Members Helping Members” where we(the members) offer our product or service at a discount (or barter) to other members. On the membership area, people will also receive personally answered questions, by me, that are submitted by other members and have access to in-depth interviews and articles from experts who specialize in areas like: public speaking, offline marketing, online marketing, advertising, direct sales, etc.

Why did you start your company?
I started Solopreneur Steps because there is so much unhappiness in the world, so much harried time spent during the “work” day, and so many people who are under-utilized. We all have something that we are phenomenal at doing. It is that thing that makes us shine and bring happiness to not only our lives; but the lives of others.

It is my goal for everybody to earn money by doing what they love. And that brings me to the word SOLOpreneur. It is like ENTREpreneur – only you do it by yourself – solo. When we can think about starting a business by ourselves, we can then start to see how we can afford it.

How was it financed ?
Financed?! No financing. Just by the seat of my pants and a hope sent up in a helium filled balloon! Seriously, though, I did (and still do) whatever I could with the personal income of my husband. Maybe (and I mean maybe) $20 per month. I was able to purchase some initial marketing items with our tax refund – that totaled under $300. (Don’t get me wrong though – I didn’t have to purchase those items! I just saw that opportunity and jumped on it!)

If I need to, I will reduce our grocery bill so I can have extra money if I need it. We can eat beans and rice a few nights if we have to!

What free online or offline tools do you use?
My imagination. That’s always free. If you look at my site, you will see some “comics” that I draw – and I am no artist!

I rely heavily on facebook, twitter, and tumblr for online tools. I also regularly contribute to a few similar (but non-competing) blogs and message boards. I also make sure to fully utilize the “tag” feature on my blog and have an SEO feature installed as well.

Offline I leave my business cards wherever people gather, drive my car around with lettering on the back windshield, and talk to people – a lot of people.

Do you use Social Media tools like Facebook, twitter, LinkedIn or ? Provide exact URL of each.
Just to be honest – I use my personal accounts for most of social media. I am who I am and I want to share that with other people. I have nothing to hide and I believe social media should be “social” and not sales-y.

Anyways – business owner to business owner – you need to form a personal relationship with each of your clients/customers so you can build a level of trust. Thankfully, I am not a jerk on facebook, so this works out fine for me.

https://www.facebook.com/ehugarchavez
https://twitter.com/#!/erinjoijoi
http://solopreneursteps.tumblr.com/
http://www.linkedin.com/pub/erin-hugar-chavez/40/ba/814

How many people are currently working, including employees (freelancers or independent contractors for specific projects)?
There are three people working at Solopreneur Steps: me, myself and I. HA! All joking aside, I accept guest blog posts (with no pay to the writer), and will be paying a small amount to the experts on the membership area of the site that is coming soon.http://solopreneursteps.com/contribute/

What is the best advice you never got?
The best advice that I never got is to not go to college. It is normally a huge waste of time. I wish people would raise their kids to encourage their natural talents, abilities, and passions to flourish. That would save us all a bunch of time and allow us a lot more happiness. Why wait until we are of retirement age to enjoy our lives?

Also, the best advice I never received was to have fun at your business! Too many people are so stressed and so serious! I know that is not a way I want to live, so why should I conduct business that way? Rules are meant to be broken. I break them all the time.

What almost killed your business in the start?
ME! Something I have learned about myself is that I love creating new projects, but I don’t really love maintaining them. It is for this reason that I constructed my site the way I did – so I could always come up with new ideas. After the initial outlay of the site though, I got bored again and was ready to move on. It is a daily reminder I give myself to create new ideas and offer creative insight.

What is the one thing that you did right?
I have fun! I realized that I am not going to mesh with everybody. I would much rather be ME, and have fun, than try to be somebody I am not, and get bored.

Are you currently in the black or red?
I am in the black!

What type of marketing or advertising do you do?
I market in any way that is fun for me.

For example, with our tax refund money, I ordered some vehicle lettering that I put on the back windshield of our car. It says, “Does your boss SUCK?” and then my url. I like that because it is sassy and grabs attention – something that is absolutely required for shoestring marketing! You can see a picture of it here: http://solopreneursteps.com/2012/03/outrageous-car-lettering/

I have also purchased business cards that are double sided. One side is meant to appeal to men and the other side is to appeal to women. I have them on my back windshield of my car so people can grab one in the parking lot – or wherever I am stopped at. You can see them here: http://solopreneursteps.com/2012/03/easy-peasy-marketing/

The other piece of gold I ordered with our tax refund money are these fun “business cards”. When they are folded, they look exactly like a $100 bill. On the inside of it, they have all kinds of information that will drive people to my site. The beauty of this is that people will never throw these cards away, they will tell people the story of when they found it, and they will show their friends. What other business card has that longevity?! You can see them here:http://solopreneursteps.com/2012/04/funny-money/

One of the most fun ways I market is by drawing silly (and sometimes dirty) cartoons, where “Sam” is the burdened employee, and “Solopreneur Girl” is always the wise one telling Sam that his boss sucks. Of course, there is “Boss Man” who is the horrid boss that encapsulates so many typical bosses that are in the work place. I also draw some (what I think) are pretty cool messages. You can see them here: http://solopreneursteps.com/category/funny-art/

What would make your business more “Successful”?
The same thing would make my business more successful as it would any business – more profit! To get more profit, we need more fun, unique marketing (to stand out), so more people will come to our sites (or brick and mortar), so more people will see how wonderful we all are and buy our stuff!

Would you want to be acquired by a bigger company, run it yourself or sell in a couple of years?
I would sell in a heartbeat. Of course, I would have to know that the main mission of the site would remain intact: To help people find their passion, develop that passion into a business idea that will be profitable (and to make a profit within 30 days), and to market their business in ways that are fun and affordable to the solopreneur.


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