You’ve probably heard of a potential gold mine called digital marketing, which is the reason why you’re reading this article. Well, you’re not wrong. Digital marketing is indeed a mine filled with opportunities, but it could also be a land mine if not approached appropriately.
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Here is a 5-step guide on how to start your digital marketing business from home:
1. Put In the Work
As the great philosopher, Aristotle once said: “He who can’t be a good follower can’t be a good leader.” A person can be knowledgeable and creative, but when he lacks the capacity to manage clients and deadlines, he isn’t going to make it far in business. Before working for yourself, you need to know how it feels working for someone else.
What most people fail to understand is that the experience you get from working for a digital marketing agency will save you all the headaches and trouble that you’ll face if you dive right away and start your own business. Here are the things you learn when you put in the work:
- You learn how to handle client relationships – Nobody gets better in building relationships without experience. Working for someone will give you the chance to develop client management, which is a huge skill in a digital marketing business. You can invest in Digital Asset Management.
- You develop empathy – When you know what it’s like to be in your client’s position, you develop an understanding of their sentiment. It will help you become a well-rounded professional.
- You learn a variety of skills – Whether you’re managing a client or just a part of a marketing team, you will learn many skills. More often than not, these teams are small and will require everyone to learn as quickly as they can to get campaigns rolling.
- You learn how to have grace under pressure – You learn the value of deadlines, and you get comfortable with working under pressure.
2. Do Contract Work
While you’re doing a full-time job, you have to take on another challenge, which is to do some side hustles. Doing so will give you a good foundation of establishing your business before even deciding if it’s something you can manage to do full-time. The following are the two reasons why you need to contract work while maintaining a full-time job:
- Lets you do your thing while mitigating risk – Working for yourself will be difficult and it’s not always fun. Doing contract work will give you the chance to get a feel of what it’s like working for yourself and the responsibilities it involves. Doing contract work will also require you to create contracts, manage existing clients, and file your taxes, all of which are vital aspects of running a business.
- Builds relationships that you can benefit from – Through contract work, you can steadily increase your clients and get referrals from previous clients. You get to know a lot of people in the industry and build connections with them. You expand your network. This will help you get off the ground without much problem, and transitioning your side hustle into a business becomes more natural.
Contract work lets you start on the right foot, allows you to learn the elements of running a business, and helps you get clients to support your business.
3. Find Your Niche
This is the point where you’re finally diving in. You’ve left your job, and you’ve transitioned into doing your business full-time. When you’re starting, you’re always thinking of getting more clients in, no matter who they are. It’s normal to feel this way, especially when you’re thinking about profit and increasing your client portfolio.
To help you find your audience better, ask yourself the following questions:
- What is your niche? – Determine who are the clients you want to be working with and why. Are these clients small businesses or are they big corporations? What industry do they belong in?
- Who will find your brand appealing? – Figure out how you want your brand voice and tone to sound like. Who is your ideal audience and what will make them listen to you?
- What sets you apart? – There are hundreds of digital marketing agencies and consultants out there. What makes you different? What are the things you value that will tell clients you’re what they need?
4. Work on Your Portfolio
Needless to say, you should already have some sort of portfolio by now after doing some contractual work. A killer portfolio is what will help you get more clients and provide social proof of your work. If you followed the steps mentioned above, you’re already way ahead of the competition.
Your portfolio should have the following elements:
- Headlines and snippets
- Case studies and supporting data
- Client testimonials
- Goals and targets you have for the client
It’s an excellent practice to personalize your portfolio before sending or showing it to a prospective client. It lets them know that you’re serious about doing business with them and the extra effort will be appreciated.
5. Figure Out How You Want to Scale
When you hear about people starting their own business, you often think about big office spaces with cool interiors and a bustling office. That’s not how it always is, especially if you’re bootstrapping. Make sure you’re doing fine yourself before even thinking about getting more people and scaling your business.
Doing things on your own in the beginning will also benefit you in many ways, such as being able to focus on what the agency does and knowing how to handle and keep clients. It will also help you understand what type of person you’re looking for because you know what qualities you need.
Most agencies successfully scale by doing these steps:
- Hire freelancers – Initially, you can hire freelancers to do some projects for you in which you can take a percentage of. They don’t require benefits like full-time employees do.
- Hire part-timers – When you’ve established some kind of cash flow, you can hire part-timers that you pay on a regular basis for a specific period. This will help you get used to paying salary to someone, but without the risk of a daunting overhead.
- Get your first employee – Once you’ve established yourself in the industry and you’re generating healthy cash flow, that’s the time you can hire full-time employees. They can help manage workloads for you, handle other clients, and help you find more clients to grow your business.
Don’t be pressured by growing your business fast; most businesses fail because of accelerated growth. Doing things on your own in the beginning will help you become business-savvy and give you valuable experience.
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Starting your own business isn’t as simple as it sounds. It involves dedication and commitment. If you find yourself not enjoying it, don’t drag yourself into it. Get yourself some real-life experience by working for a digital marketing agency, do some side hustle work, and slowly transition into starting your business. It’s not the fastest route, but it’s safe and it gives you a greater chance of succeeding in a competitive industry.