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There’s Never Been a Better Time to Be a Self-Starter

More than ever in the history of the world, new technologies and social media have allowed for more affordable and seamless ways to be a self-starter and start and grow different types of business. What are some of these key trends and how can you leverage them to create the business and life you want?

Ana Kertesz, HOWto.LIVEit Founder & CEO, is joined on this conversation by the incredible Elaine Pofeldt. Elaine is an independent journalist who specializes in small business, entrepreneurship and careers. Her work has appeared in FORTUNE, Money, CNBC, Inc., Forbes, Crain’s New York Business and many other business publications. She is the author of one of my favorite books of all times, “The Million-Dollar, One-Person Business”, a look at how entrepreneurs are hitting seven-figure revenue in businesses where they are the only employees. Over the course of her career, she has interviewed and interacted with a variety of successful entrepreneurs, gathering best practices on how they launched and grew their businesses.She is currently working on her new book and we can’t wait to see it. Get Elaine’s expert profile here.

On this conversation, you will learn about:

– The 3 main factors that have changed our entrepreneurship environment in a way that has allowed for more people to have less barriers to be a self-starter

– How technology has allowed for entrepreneurs to have access to a global marketplace with examples of entrepreneurs who have successfully leveraged this access to a global marketplace

– How anyone can access different tools to start and grow a business from the comfort of their homes, or from anywhere, in the most affordable way ever.

Hi, I’m Ana Kertesz and this is HOWto.LIVEit. Today, we’re going to talk about why there’s never been a better time to be a self-starter and what it means to you. Maybe you’re itching to leave a job you don’t love anymore. Maybe you have this idea you never had the courage to get started. Maybe you’ve been on a break and you’re contemplating different options. Good news is there’s never been a better time to start and grow your business. I’m joined today by Elaine Pofeldt, my friend and the incredible independent journalist, the author of “The Million-Dollar One-Person Business”, and whose work has been published by Forbes, Fortune, Inc, NBC, Money and many other incredible publications. Elaine, welcome. Thank you so much, Ana, it’s great to be here. Elaine and I are very passionate about entrepreneurship and many different ideas of bringing other people’s ideas to life. So Elaine, let’s start with what’s your view on the three main factors that have impacted the reason why this new trend of why there’s never been a better time to be a self-starter? Well, I definitely agree with you, Ana. There’s never been a better time to start a business and there are three trends that are really driving this. One, is that technology has become so inexpensive. 15 or 20 years ago, people could not put up a website inexpensively. They didn’t have mobile phones. They didn’t have so many of the tools that we have today to reach a global marketplace. Now anybody can start a business, you can start a business for less than $100 from your home in your spare time. Another thing that is driving this whole trend is the growth of freelance platforms, like Upwork, Freelancer, People Per Hour and many more specialized industry specific platforms. That makes it very easy for people to jump right into starting a business without having to figure out how do I take payments? or how do I know this customer is legit? Everything is already set up and it’s a training ground for future entrepreneurs. Another thing is the widespread acceptance of Entrepreneurship. It used to be kind of a fringe thing. If you were an entrepreneur or a freelancer and now enterprise clients are hiring a lot of consultants and freelancers. And so we all know somebody who’s freelancing or doing their own thing in their own business, so it doesn’t feel so socially unacceptable I guess is the word, as it once did for a lot of people it just feels like the norm. I wanna dig further. into one of the points you mentioned, which I think is one of the biggest changes that has really happened in the last few years that has made it so much easier for people to start and grow their own businesses, which is technology has allowed for people from anywhere in the world to access a global marketplace. So people can access clients, users, using different platforms that years ago did not even exist, right? And you have obviously interviewed incredible entrepreneurs. Can you give us one or two real stories of people who have leveraged this great access, you know using technology to access a global marketplace? There are so many examples today of entrepreneurs that are going across borders from the comfort of their homes that I don’t even know where to begin. But one that immediately comes to mind is Blvck Paris. It’s a brand that was started by Julian Ohanian and Thomas Johnson. Julian is in Belgium. Thomas is in In Australia, and they met on Instagram. Julian was putting up pictures of products that he turned black like black M&Ms and they were going viral on Instagram and they both love design and they connected there and then they decided to start a streetwear brand that is a million-dollar two-man business working remotely. They work on video chat from across the world across time zones, and they leverage the popularity of their Instagram platform to build this fast growing brand and now they plan to build out a whole line of fashion items that’s mostly for men into a full-fledged fashion brand. That’s unbelievable! But you don’t have to be that far away from your customers. Another way to do it is to go into an adjacent country and one example that I love is Meghan Telpner. She’s a nutritionist who started out selling things like her three day green smoothie fast, which is a cleansing diet and she sold that by a PDF file. It was like 11 years ago and people started buying it. This led her to start developing online courses as technology became available for her to do that, and they became so popular, she started an academy called The Academy of Culinary Nutrition, where she teaches people healthy cooking. And it grew into a global phenomenon and she has a lot of customers in the U.S. It’s an English-speaking country. And so she’s been able to break into a lot of English-speaking markets. From Canada? From Canada. And she’s a mom with a little two-year-old boy at home and she keeps on growing this business like gangbusters. So it’s really exciting to see what you can accomplish if you’re open mentally and emotionally to it going worldwide. Guys, I want you to listen to this, because Elaine has interviewed a lot of entrepreneurs, who have been able to start and grow their businesses in a very lean way, and she’s mentioned here two examples. Her book actually has incredible other examples and she’s working on a new book, which we’ll talk about some other time. But one of the points you mentioned before, which I have been living it, you know every day, which is there’s you know, so many new tools nowadays. It’s become so affordable to start a business from home with as you said lies and even a hundred dollars, right? From building a simple website, to getting a new domain, to creating, you know graphic design, to testing and getting feedback as the platform you have recently told me about, to getting you know payments done, accounting, I mean, there’s a whole array of tools. What has been your experience on how these entrepreneurs have been able to build a lean business. How do they leverage on these tools, and what are some of the learnings? What’s so interesting to me, Ana is that they’re not all techies. In fact, I would say the vast majority are not, but they’re big users of technology to extend and optimize what one person can do. They try to offload menial tasks in their business prior to the point where they have to hire an assistant maybe, you know virtual assistant or contractor to help them. They’ll often use tools like Schedule Once or Salendly to schedule their appointments. I know personally, I probably save three hours a week scheduling appointments instead of emailing back and forth. You just send your calendar link. It sounds so simple, but it really is a time drain if you’re doing those things. In terms of naming the business I told you about, PickFu it’s a tool where you can test different names for a product or a business to see how people are reacting to it. Because if you tell your significant other or your mom or your friends the name of the business, they’re going to say “oh, we love it”, you know, but the public won’t be as kind but that’s kind of what you need, the objective feedback from people who don’t know you about what they are responding to as people. So, that’s a great tool. I learned about that from actually from several of the million-dollar one person businesses. There are so many specialized apps for things like podcasting, that’s a great way to market your business and there are so many great and low-cost tools for these things. And the upshot is it’s tremendously empowering yes, or an individual who wants to run a business. There’s so many things that you can do before you’re at that stage of needing to bring on even a single contractor. I was here having a great conversation with Elaine Pofeldt She’s an independent journalist and the author of the incredible “The Million-Dollar One-Person Business” We talked about why there’s never been a better time to be a self-starter and what it means to you, some of the trends,, some of the tools and we wanna make sure you go out, you learn, and you live it.