We all know getting a business off the ground is a daunting task. Selecting a name, creating a business plan, and choosing services are only the beginning. There are also tax and business laws to consider, office equipment to purchase, and hundreds of other hoops you need to jump through before you even see your first customer. Luckily, there are a lot of resources out there for you, online and off. Unluckily, those vast amounts of resources are overwhelming and contradicting. Where do you start? What advice best fits your business model?
About a year ago, I found myself faced with these questions. I had made a New Year's resolution for 2008 to start a part-time computer consulting business, and was eager to get started. I had never started a business before and was overwhelmed by all the information that was out there.
Around that same time I was also really into reading blogs about many different subjects and interests. Since I enjoyed writing and thought I could do a decent job at it, I decided to give blogging a shot. I jumped headfirst into creating a blog about my experiences starting a business, and it’s been the best tool in my business start-up arsenal.
You may think that you need to be an expert in your field to start a blog, but that couldn't be farther from the truth. I had never started a business before. My solution to this obstacle was to be perfectly honest about that fact. I simply wrote about my efforts and gave advice based on those experiences. Most of my readers actually like that they have an opportunity to follow me through my trials and errors as a new entrepreneur.
What exactly can writing a blog do to help you start a business? Here are few of the ways that, personally, blogging has helped me start my business:
Goal-setting. Writing all of my ideas into blogposts forced me to really plan out my start-up activities. With the overwhelming amount of information out there, it was hard at first to know where to begin with my business planning. My blog forced me to organize my thoughts. In order to have fresh content for my blog, I had to make sure I was constantly completing tasks and thinking about how they affected my business.
Accountability. When you have hundreds of visitors reading what you're up to, it forces you to want to succeed, and it makes it much, much harder to quit. And that goes for much smaller tasks along with the One Big One. Now, every time I say I'm going to do something, I feel as though I not only need to get it done for me, but for my readers as well.
Venting. Starting a business for the first time can be frustrating. A blog provides a great way for you to vent your frustrations to sympathetic readers. For example, I had some issues with registering a domain name for my business and, after writing an article about it, I received emails from others who had been in similar situations. This helped ease my mind and continue onward.
Invites Mentors. Not having friends or acquaintances that had started a business like mine, I didn't have any role models, or mentors, to turn to for advice. Since starting my blog, however, I've been contacted by numerous people who have successfully started their own computer consulting businesses. They often provide valuable feedback and support either via comments on my blogposts, or through email.
If you don't think blogging is quite up your alley, at the very least you can try contacting other bloggers who are in a similar situation as you. There's a good chance that no matter what business you're starting, there's someone blogging about it! (For starters, you can check out my blog, Your Friendly Neighborhood Computer Guy, to see how I’m doing with my business.)
And if you do decide you want to take the blogging plunge--and I hope you do!--I recommend ProBlogger and copyblogger for help with the ins and outs of blogging.
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