The Easiest Getting Started Guide To Entrepreneurship (even if you don't have a business idea yet!)

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure for more info.

entrepreneurship getting started guide

You can't scroll through Facebook without seeing yet another entrepreneur peddling their sure-fire way to make millions on the internet...

...  in just a few short months.

... without spending any money.

... without building an email list.

... without any experience.

The list of unlikely events goes on.

In a world of hyper growth and an increasing need to tell the world about our wins, it's easy to believe that everyone has it all together except you.

"These online entrepreneurs can make entrepreneurship look much more glamorous than it actually is," says Eva Janotta of Simply Put Strategies.

One day, Eva found herself the proud recipient of a pink slip. (Not really, she just lost her job.) Rather than finding a new job, she decided that she would go out on her own, break the mold and build a business. 

I bet we've all thought about that at one point or another, but Eva decided to go for it!

In our #SideHustleGoals video series, Eva shares exactly how she did it - from start to finish. 

 

What Should You Consider Before Becoming An Entrepreneur? 

Your Current Lifestyle

Eva credits her willingness to jump into entrepreneurship head first in part to her life stage. She was young, bright-eyed and busy tailed and ready to take on the world.

Being young offers more than a playful innocence. You also have the best of both worlds - a youthful outlook on the world and flexibility in your habits. In many cases, you'll also have no family to support. (Entrepreneurship is a bit more of a risk when you have a child or two.)

 

Your Current Expenses

Eva was renting a small bedroom in a home shared with several other renters. Because of this, her cost of living was very low. She had flexibility in her living expenses and she didn't have a family to support at the time. Without a ton of huge expenses, she was confident she could take a chance on herself to start a business.

 

your Ability To Reduce Your Income

Essentially, you'll need time to build your dream. Time is something that's very limited - especially if you're working 40 hours a week at your 9-to-5 job. Eva was able to reduce her income because she reduced her expenses. With less bills to account for each month, she wan't in a huge hurry to find a job after being laid off. 

 

Get More Hours To Put Towards Your Business

Eva only needed steady income that would cover her dramatically reduced expenses. To ensure she would still have enough time to work on her business, Eva started working a part time job at a grocery store for 3 days a week.

 

How Do You Get Started?

The first business Eva built was a professional organizing business.

She enjoyed organizing her things and thought that professional organizing would be a great direction to take her life next. She planned go into people's homes and counsel them on what items to let go of, what to keep and how to arrange their things. 

 

Test Your Idea... On Real Clients

She got started immediately by out an email to her neighborhood listserv. She didn't charge her first few clients for her services. Instead, she offered to organize their things in exchange for testimonials.

She quickly got referrals and clients from around the neighborhood and her little business was off the ground.

By simply testing out the professional organizing business, she was able to validate that there was a market within her community that would pay for these services. 

 

Don't Be Afraid To Walk Away

Something unexpected happened once Eva worked with a few clients: She realized that professional organizing wasn't a good fit for her. #GoFigure

Eva could tell pretty quickly that professional organizing didn't make her happy the way she envisioned so she shut down her professional organizing business

"Stop things when they don't feel good"  - Eva Janotta

Test out your product or service among a small number of users to see how you feel about them before building out your business.  

(Pro tip: Don't start your business by spending your time and money building websites and creating branding. Instead, see if there is a market out there for the business you would like to start AND see if the business is something you'd be interested in doing by simply trying it out first.)

Eva sees this as a huge success  because she didn't not waste much time or energy building out a business and marketing plan for a business that didn't align with her vision for her life.

 

Pivot, When Necessary

After one #EpicFail, I would've totally been sitting in a corner, licking my wounds, but not Eva! 

She leaned on one of her past experiences when a friend came to her needing help with social media. Eva was officially in the social media marketing business.

It turns out that online marketing felt just right and energized Eva in a way that professional organizing did not. Her business grew from word of mouth and her clients (who totally loved her work) started telling people other about her.

Over time, things started to pick up pace.

 

Use All The Tools In Your Arsenal

Eva leaned heavily on her past experiences to become a brilliant social media marketer. You can always take skills that you already have to build something that will be valuable to your community. What skills do you already have that could add tremendous value to someone else? 

 

Take Baby Steps

Remember that job Eva had at the grocery store?

Once Eva's social media business started to grow, she noticed that she didn't have enough time to do both.

Rather than completely lose her stable income from the job, she decided to work less days over time as her income from Simply Put Strategies started to grow.

After her first year of business, Eva dropped from 3 days to 2 days per week.  Just six month later, she dropped to 1 day a week. Finally, Eva made the leap into becoming a full time entrepreneur after two years of business. 

 

It Doesn't Happen Overnight

Entrepreneurship is not a sprint, it's more like a marathon. Take your time learning how to build it right. Build a strong foundation on which to grow your dreams.

 

Get Ready For The Ride

Becoming an entrepreneur isn't nearly as glamorous (or fast) as many social media posts might lead you to believe. In fact, Eva will be the first to tell you about how emotionally challenging being an entrepreneur ban be. But if you're up for a challenge and ready to build something of your own that you can be proud of go forth and prosper, my friend!

It's totally do-able! 

xoxo


Meet Eva

eva.jpg


Eva is one of five entrepreneurs featured in our #SideHustleGoals video series

Eva Janotta is the owner of Simply Put Strategies, a social media marketing consultancy that uses social media to create and nurture relationships between brands and their fans by telling the unique brand story. 

Learn more about our #SideHustleGoals video series here.

 

Are You Unstoppable?

Join our community of 2000+ UNSTOPPABLE millennial women for exclusive access to premium content & events for women taking their career + hustle to the next level. (Yes, that's you.)

Powered by ConvertKit

Vision Board Party Planning: How To Set Ticket Prices For Your Event

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure for more info.

vision board party ticket price.png

Ready To Plan Your Next Vision Board Party?

Grab the party planning checklist I use to plan easy breezy (and totally unforgettable) vision board parties for my fav ladies!

We won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time. Powered by ConvertKit

So, you've decided to host a vision board party? Congratulations!

Vision board parties are super fun + transformative parties where friends connect and chat about goals over wines and cheeses while creating a visual image of what they want their future to look like. 

I have been hosting vision board parties, potlucks and conferences for the past four years (so I'm clearly a huge fan!). Deciding whether your event should be free or an event with paid tickets is a pretty easy decision to make. 

Related: How To Plan An Unforgettable Vision Board Party

 

Why Should You Charge A Fee?

I recommend charging people to attend your event when you've put a significant amount of energy into the planning stages of the event and if you've spent money to produce it. 

 

Things You Might Pay For

Our first vision board event was a huge production. We spent weeks putting together speakers, sponsors, decorating the space. There was a legit agenda and vendor tables. In this conference-style type of event, we paid a lot of money in advance.

Here's a list of things that you might have to pay for to host a vision board party.

 

Materials

The most important items you'll need for your vision board party are the materials used in making a vision board. That means that you'll need magazines, poster boards, glue and scissors for every person that attends your event. 

Related Posts: 

 

Speakers

Depending on how you'd like your event to flow, you might want to invite someone to speak at your event. I've done several of these events where I'll teach how to build a vision board, how to create a vision or best practices for goal setting.

Bringing in a speaker will require that you spend time researching influencers and leaders, pitching them to speak at your event and them coordinating their appearance with their team. Some speakers will require a fee to speak at your event - these fees should be accounted for in your ticket pricing. 

 

Space

If you're hosting a vision board party for 10 or more people, I would recommend getting a space that will accommodate a larger audience. You'll need a space for the food to be served and another space that will hold a larger group, sitting at tables. 

 

Food/Drinks

When it comes to food and drinks, I recommend going with food options that aren't too messy. Since people will be making the vision boards during your event, make sure you choose foods that will not make your fingertips greasy. (In general, I'd stay away from buffalo chicken wings. They're tasty, but they do make it difficult to flip through magazines!)

Also, make sure you check with your event space. Some spaces do not permit red wine to be served at events. (It's incredibly difficult to clean up!) 

Related: 9 Crowd-Pleasing (and Affordable) Wines You Need At Any Vision Board Party

 

Decor

At our first event, we purchased DIY photo booth printables from etsy and a few other inspirational messages to have around the room as decoration. You may want to have the decor match the theme of your vision board party. If you do buy event decor, then you can add the cost of that into your ticket price. 

 

Pros and Cons to Charging A Fee

 

Pros

  • You have an opportunity to break even on your event (and maybe even make a profit)
  • The people who buy a ticket will actually show up. (When an event is free, only a small portion of the people who sign up will actually show up.)
  • You have an accurate head count for food and drinks.

 

Cons

  • Less people will register for your event.
  • You have to create an event that is worth the price of admission.

 

How Much Should You Charge?

If your vision board party will be a larger production and you're spending a significant amount of time on it, you may be hoping to make a profit. Here's how to walk through your pricing your party.

 

Cover Your Expenses

At a minimum, you'll definitely want to cover your expenses. This will include everything I mentioned above (and anything else you end up buying for your event). 

You may have been able to get cash sponsorship or some other type of donation (like the food or drinks). If you received any cash sponsorship, you can subtract this from your cost of expenses because this is money that you can spend on your event that's not coming directly out of your pocket.

You can create a simple, preliminary ticket price by just taking what you spent and dividing it by the total number of attendees you expect to have at your event. 

 

Preliminary ticket price = (cost of expenses - sponsorships)/
estimated # of  attendees

 

Then Add Tax

Most of your event costs will come in that last few days leading up to your event. No matter how much advanced planning you did, there will always be something you forgot - or something you didn't know about. 

When we hosted our first event, we ordered tables and chairs from an event rental place and a u-haul truck to carry everything around. When we arrived at the event renal place, they informed us that they were closed for the rest of the weekend and we'd have to wait until Monday to return the items. That means we had to pay for 2 extra days with the u-haul - an additional expense that we did not plan on. 

Final Ticket Price = Estimated Ticket Price x 1.5

 

Adding a multiple into your ticket pricing will also help to CYA in the event that ticket sales are low. 

 

How To Make Sure The Experience is Worth The Cost

Depending on the ticket cost for attendees, you can dramatically raise the expectation for your event. (People will be expecting totally different experiences for a $15 and a $99 event.) No matter what you end up charging to attend, it's most important that you deliver on the attendees expectations. 

 

Clear descriptions on what they will receive with their ticket purchase

When you're hosting a paid event, you have to convince people that they want to buy the ticket but you also want to make sure that they will receive exactly what they expect. You this by mastering your event description.

 

Speakers with Credentials

Securing high visibility + influential speakers will increase the value of your event dramatically. People will definitely show up and be pleased with their experience if you have their favorite influencers in the building sharing goal setting gems for the new year.

 

high quality food and drinks

Who doesn't love food? If you can provide finger foods and great beverages for attendees, they will be more than happy to pay a higher ticket price. 

 

gift bags

Gift bags are always a nice touch to the end of an event. It gives attendees something to remember the event long after the vision board fun is over. If you have a higher priced event, it also helps to add more value to your attendees. 

 

workshops/panels

Your event is only a success when your attendees feel they've reached their goals. Having guided workshops and speaker panels will give attendees more opportunities to learn, be inspired and get their questions answered before jumping into a brand new year.

Related: How My First Vision Board Party Turned My life Around
 

How To Host A Vision Board Party For Free

While it's great to be able to make a profit, sometime you just want to rock out with your homegirls and talk about goals. Here's how you can get it done for free: 

 

Crowdsource Everything

This means have your friends provide all the materials. Everyone can pretty easily bring their own boards, scissors, glue and a few magazines from home.

 

Make It A Potluck

You can have the event be potluck style where everyone brings both a dish and a bottle (of wine, alcohol, whatever) to share.

(Side note: I always recommend asking potluck attendees to bring both a dish AND a drink. I hosted one event where I instructed to bring a bottle OR a dish and we ended up with 12 bottles of wine and no food.)

 

Host it at home (or a free space) 

This takes away the cost of a space for your event. Just make sure whoever's home you're using is large enough to accommodate the whole group.

 

Whether you host a vision board party for your close friends or for a large group, they're guaranteed to be a ton of fun! Once you get people in a room together talking about their goals (with lots of wine) you're going to have a great time. 

Ready To Plan Your Next Vision Board Party?

Grab the party planning checklist I use to plan easy breezy (and totally unforgettable) vision board parties for my fav ladies!

We won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time. Powered by ConvertKit

How I Made My First $1000 Blogging (and the Lessons I Learned on the Way)

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure for more info.

first 1000 blogging.png

Access The Step-by-Step Process I Used To Create My Big Vision and Transform My Life

Thrivelounge

Join the free 5-day challenge that walks you through exactly how I've created an effective & transformative vision that attracts good energy, great people and unlimited success.

Powered by ConvertKit

I can say with certainty that I'm not a giant fan of blog income reports. There is honestly nothing I hate more than online guru's who swear up and down that it's sooo easy to make money online. 

When I started my blog in October 2016 all the bloggers I followed were doing it so I thought I should, too. 

For the first few months of the blog, I wrote about how I didn't make money (again) so I started talking about my traffic and social media growth (like this post from May 2017). After doing that for over a year, I decided that I'd only give an update when I reached a huge milestone like $1K, $10K, $50K, $100K and beyond. 

So here we are... I've finally made my first $1000 online.

My Blogging Journey

I started my blog in October of 2016.

My best friend and I hosted monthly knowledge-sharing and goal setting events catering to millennial women in the DC area and we wanted to expand our reach - so we started a blog.

 

Our First Paid Event

After hosting free events for 2 years, we decided to host a conference in December 2016.

We spent countless hours in event planning, booking speakers, landing a few hundred dollars (and free food) in sponsorships and completely filling the room. We even did a news segment! At the end of the event we made about $200 each after expenses. 

The struggle was real! We might've made $1/hour.

A few months after the event, my co-founder (and BFF) decided to leave Thrive Lounge and pursue her passion - so I was rolling solo.

I tried hosting other events, but they all had the same outcome. I had expenses up to my eyeballs so I always ended up making nothing or losing money

That's when I decided it was time to ditch event planning as an income generator (I was clearly bad at it) and instead create online products. 

 

My First Dollar

 
chart (1).png
 

After making the decision to ditch events, I decided to turn my focus to creating online products. On November 2nd, 2017 I launched The Vision Board Planner.

I made my first official dollar that month when a friend purchased The Vision Board Planner for her vision board party attendees. (She also hired me as a speaker for her event.) Since the money didn't "officially" hit my account until December I started this chart where the money started coming in. 

Even though I published my planner to my online audience, my first purchase was still someone I knew in person. I hoped that people reading my blog would click over to my shop and buy the product, but that did not happen at all!

 

Timing Is Everything

There's a huge difference in how much money I made in December and January compared to the rest of the year. That's because vision boards are primarily December/January kinda thing.

While people are setting New Year's Resolutions, they are also planning vision board parties and creating their personal vision boards. My sales reflect the popularity of my product around this huge life-reflection time of year. 

I intentionally created The Vision Board Planner in November for this very reason. Make sure you know your audience and when and why they buy. If you know there are certain times of the year that your products will be in high demand, make sure you're ready for it. :)

 

How I Made My First $1000

 
chart (2).png
 

Digital Products 

My blog income really started to grow once I actually started sending emails to my list.

I spent a lot of time creating beautiful + helpful freebies to build subscribers, but I never sent out emails because I was terrified that they would unsubscribe. 

In December (prime vision board creating time), I decided to send out a few emails to my list simply reminding people about why they should create a vision board and what a vision board can do for their lives. 

It turns out people really were interested in creating vision boards because when I sent out an email (even with no discount during peak discount-on-everything time of year) people clicked over and purchased the planner. 

Excited by the sales coming from people on my email list, I decided to be more intentional about my email marketing.

I tailored the customer journey to each reader's interest using ConvertKit. Basically, when a reader subscribes to my list, they will follow an automated sequence of emails that tells them more about me, the benefits of vision boards and then let them know about the product I have to offer. 

This immediately led to an increase in people purchasing my products... and I didn't have to create any new content. #winning

 

Speaking Engagements

I was hired to speak at two vision board workshops in December. Both of the events were hosted by people I knew so it was very easy to make the sale. In both cases, they asked what my fees were... and paid it.

No negotiation. 

No shopping around for lowest prices.

No hassle at all. 

 

Affiliate Income

100% of my affiliate income came from ConvertKit. This is the only service that I highly recommend to anyone trying to transition from hobby blogger to professional blogger. 

ConvertKit has literally changed my blogging game and I couldn't be happier with everything about it. 

Surprisingly enough, even though I have created content in the past about ConvertKit and I have several affiliate links on the blog all of my affiliate sales are people I know in person. (Just goes to show that sometimes you have to get up from behind your computer and make some friends.) 

The best thing about the ConvertKit affiliate program is that it's a recurring payment. That means if a friend signs up for ConvertKit through your link, you will get paid every month they pay their bill! 

 

The Expenses

 
chart.png
 

The only ongoing service I pay for on the blog is ConvertKit, the email service that helps me manage my list.

I also pay for website hosting with Squarespace (but the payment did not come up within this time period so it's not listed here).

In December, there is a huge jump in my expenses because I paid for Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing. I had been following the creator's blog for months, daydreaming about her affiliate income - she makes over $30K per month through affiliate sales each month.

As soon as she posted a holiday sale for her affiliate marketing course, I jumped on it. 

Related: 9 Simple Tips For Beginners To Use ConvertKit Like A Pro
 

Net Income

Okay, let's be real... Even though I have legitimately "made" my first thousand dollars on my blog. I don't get to keep it all. I have to subtract my expenses. So my net income is what I get to keep AFTER subtracting the money I spent each month. 

revenue - expenses = INCOME
$1120.10 - $411.87 = $708.23

 

What's next? 

Of course I want to continue making more money from my blog so I want to continue thinking about ways that I can . (I invest about 15 hours per week working on it!)

 

What I've Learned So Far

fail forward.

I tried hosting local events three times before I realized that it would not be a revenue generator for me. I couldn't figure out how to make it an event worth paying more for or how to get my expenses low enough to make it affordable for attendees. 

That was a fail, but it was a great learning experience and I was able to cultivate a strong close knit community of focused and brilliant women. 

 

TRY SOMETHING NEW.

Rather that giving up on my blog and becoming discouraged, I decided to try something new when I created my vision board planner. I knew that vision boards have made a huge impact on my life and I was certain they could help others. I just needed to find another way to reach them. 

 

CULTIVATE A COMMUNITY.

Creating the vision board planner directly read to my first sale. My event planner (from my event-planning days) was hosting a vision board party and she reached out to me directly to speak at her event and bought my planner. 

While it's important to put your butt in the chair and create content for your blog if you want to be a professional blogger, it's equally as important to get out into your community and make some friends. When an opportunity comes up that you're a great fit for, those same friends will come directly to you. 

 

Put your side hustle income in a separate account. 

I was not expecting to make any money (since my blog went a full year and three months making $0) so I didn't have a plan in place once I launched The Vision Board Planner. Instead everything was linked to my personal account. Needless to say, the money I made in December and January completely disappeared. (I probably used it to pay a bill or something.) 

The second you anticipate making money, open a separate bank account. That will help you keep track of your side hustle income better as your grow.

 

It's been a long journey of creating and building my special place on the internet for goal setting and vision boards (and I'm not done yet!). I've learned how to be consistent with something that's important to me, how to be a better writer and met and mentored tons of women ready to take control of their life.

I may not be making a ton of $$ just yet, but I'm still enjoying the ride. 

xoxo

Are You Unstoppable?

Join our community of 2000+ UNSTOPPABLE millennial women for exclusive access to premium content & events for women taking their career + hustle to the next level. (Yes, that's you.)

Powered by ConvertKit