Nobody starting out down the entrepreneurial path has any clue what he or she is doing. It’s simply not possible. On the entrepreneurial path, you can really only learn by doing.
Sure, we all read Venturebeat and scour Paul Graham’s essays to attempt to stand upon the shoulders of giants before us. Ultimately, though, we will end up learning from our own small victories and losses.
There is no set or guaranteed path to wealth, success, and glory, although one thing is certain: it will take many months and many small and consistent actions to make success happen.
What’s worse, you have no idea what to do.
You’ve never tried to do this entrepreneurship thing. You don’t even know how to get started asking the right types of questions.
We all want to solve huge problems, make a dent in the universe and become billionaires.
However, getting there requires baby steps, experimentation, learning from our mistakes and failures, and persevering.
Thus, take some pressure off yourself by having a goal of making $100 from the internet by the end of this week (yes, I know the title said “today”, but you might already have your jammies on).
How will you accomplish this? Especially if you lack skills, capital, customers, and experience?
We’ve come up with a simple way for you to utilize the global outsourcing market and use simple arbitrage to accomplish the tiny feat of trying to make $100 today.
1. Find a Service
Thanks to the explosion of the internet worldwide, you have access to hundreds of thousands of service providers who are willing to work for thousands an hour to dollars an hour. For the purposes of this exercise, we’ll start with a site we love, Fiverr.
Fiverr is essentially a website where you can get an extraordinarily wide range of small projects, or “gigs”, done for $5 USD. In some cases you might have to pay a bit more to get larger gigs done but the projects are measured in increments of $5.
You need to get on Fiverr and explore different service options. Write down a list of the services that you think would be useful to businesses and individuals and compile them into a google doc or spreadsheet somewhere.
2. Find a Customer
Okay great you’ve got a bunch of service providers ready, willing, and able to work with you. Now what?
Write down a lot of businesses that you are indirectly or directly connected to – such as local delis, restaurants, retail stores – preferably ones that you frequent often so that you are familiar with the people you’ll be pitching.
Think about what specific services on Fiverr might be practical or useful to that specific business. Perhaps their website hasn’t been updated since 1996 and they could use a new logo. Maybe they don’t have a website at all and they need a basic wordpress site done. Compare what the person or business seems to be lacking and try to think of a way to add value with the list of services you’ve compiled.
3. Pitch Customers
Now that you’ve got your list of potential customers/businesses and also know what sorts of services you can provide as a value add, go visit them and begin pitching them. Tell them that you’ve begun freelance work and that you’d love to do a small project for them that will help them out. Explain precisely what you can do, the timeline it will take, and the price it will cost.
Remember, you are only trying to make 100 bucks here so there isn’t much pressure on either party. This is a friendly conversation. The worst thing that will happen is that they say no but remember that you have digital skill sets.
Moreover, promise them that they only have to pay AFTER you have delivered and when they are satisfied with the result. This way, it’s a no brainer for them to try you out.
4. Outsource the Task
Great! You’ve convinced your first customer ever and are about to become a service provider. Find the specs and details of the results that your customer wants and email them to your fiverr provider. They may ask followup questions, which you will in turn ask to your customer.
5. Deliver the Goods
There will inevitably be a period of time when you are sending drafts back and forth between your customer and your fiverr provider. Ultimately, you will come up with a positive result and deliver the goods.
6. Collect Payment
You can do this pretty much any way you’d like, although for the purposes of convenience you should try to collect payment via Paypal. You’ll likely need to use Paypal in order to outsource to your Fiverr provider, so get your account set up as soon as possible.
Congratulations! You are now an entrepreneur. You just had your first experience with market research, sales, customer service, and project management.
The point of this exercise is not to built the next Microsoft or Apple.
The point of this exercise is to do the following:
- Learn how to spot opportunities and needs
- Learn how to delegate and manage projects and labor
- Learn how to go through a customer acquisition and service experience on your own terms
- Experience what it is like to build wealth out of thin air simply by solving problems for people
How have the wealthy built their fortunes?
They’ve solved problems for people and made their lives better.
On a tiny scale, you will have accomplished the same thing by going through this exercise.
Let us know what kind of success you have! Got stories about making money online? Post them in the comments!
For a more detailed analysis and plan, check out this followup article as well.