Have you been thinking about starting your own business? Maybe making some extra money on your lesson plans or becoming a consultant or independent coach?
It's totally do-able!
Here's a guide to get you started. All of the resources I have used to help create my business are here in one place. WARNING: There's a lot of information here.
It can be overwhelming weeding through all of the junk people offer you as help once they find out you are thinking of starting a business. What is good, and what isn't? Should you buy courses or just figure it out yourself?
I remember not knowing what I didn't know. Not knowing where to begin was the worst part. Do I start a blog, build a website, or??? Who do I connect with? How? Why? When? Who is my customer? What do I want to provide for my customers? What am I passionate about? HELP!!!
I'm here to help you. So, here you go.
I have assembled all of the resources that I have used at one time or another that were helpful to me. I am not an expert in any of these things, but each of these people are. The good news it, they all offer a lot of free content. You really can start this without spending anything at all. If you have money to spend to get going, great. You can get some great courses that will help. However, you don't have to buy anything to do this thing you are dreaming of.
Start Here: Details below and a Free Cheat Sheet.
Now more than ever, with all of our electronics that are surprisingly isolating, we as a people have a need to connect with others and to be helpful. As teachers, we do that every day. But... sometimes we are called to take what we know and do and help others become great teachers too. That's where Edupreneurs come in. Who better to help a teacher than another teacher (YOU)?
Let go of fear. Quit letting fear decide your future for you. If you feel you are called to start a business, give it a go.
Think about it this way. What happens if you don’t try?
Here’s some help for you as you decide and discern.
Why: Why do you want to do this? Is it to make extra money? Replace your day job? Help others with what you know how to do? Why? If it’s only all about the money, you’re in it for the wrong reasons. You need to be passionate about helping others in some way as well- even if it’s making organizational products that you can’t find in the shops. Without passion, you’ll fail. Your passion is what will get and keep people listening.
1. Don’t invest money you can’t afford to lose. Don’t invest any until you have a full business plan.
2. What are you good at that makes your heart sing? Sometimes we are so focused on making things work or on doing what we want to do, we aren’t hearing what we are supposed to do. What are you supposed to do?
3. What is God’s plan for you? Sometimes we have to step out in faith and realize we don’t always know for sure. We just pray, head in the direction we think we are supposed to go and ask God to stop us if it’s the wrong path. We also ask Him to open the doors that need to be opened and close the doors that need to be closed. Don’t worry. He will.
4. Set a goal for yourself and give it a try.
5. Set a time limit to check in with yourself and take an honest look at what you are creating. Put it on the calendar. Are you still being led in this direction? Are you on track to accomplish what you set out to do? Do you need to re-adjust or re-evaluate?
Here's the Key: Do you want to do this enough to risk failing? Sometimes things work out and sometimes, they don’t. If it fails, so what? You’ll have learned something and can either try again or move on to other things. Most of us have failed at business first and then tried again. You wouldn’t be alone it that. ☺
Need some encouragement and direction?
Here's some of my favorite resources. Think of them as virtual mentors. Remember these are all business people. They make money on helping you, if you buy from them. However, they have lots of free, helpful content. Go with the free stuff until you are certain you need more help, and you are on the right path. These are people I have found helpful in their free content and some of their paid content as well.
Whether you have a book inside you that you're wanting to write, lesson plans you want to profit from or wanting to start blogging, there is something here for you.
Some easy and free ways to start- a Facebook page, Pinterest, Etsy or TpT (Teacher Pay Teachers) and/or a blog. Don't forget MailChimp's (free) basic level email marketing service (got to start an email list).
My Favorite FREE Content
Natalie Lussier (Free 30-Day List Building Challenge)
Christy Wright (podcast and blog)
ConvertKit (free webinars)
Abby Lawson (blog and videos on YouTube)
Amy Porterfield (podcast and blog)
Jo at CopyHackers (blog)
Purchases I made early on:
I attended Christy Wright's Business Boutique as I was just getting started and found it quite helpful.
I used Natalie Lussier's free version of PopupAlly for Wordpress and loved it so much, I purchased the pro version PopupAlly Pro.
Getting Started: The Basics
Product/Business: What will you do? What is your niche market? What will you provide for your customer? What’s in it for them?
Ideal Customer(s): Who is your idea customer? Who will buy your product? Describe them in detail. Hobbies, family, work, beliefs, physical appearance. What do they do in their spare time? This is who you are talking to every day. Create an image in your head you can’t forget. Write it out and keep it on hand as you write blog posts, market and create products.
Business PlanStep-by-Step Plan
Business PlanSmall Business Administration
Elevator Speech: 30 seconds- tell me what you do in enough detail I “get it”.
Competition: Check out your competition or others similar to you. What are they doing? How are you different?
Business Card: Use Canva (template here). Make sure social media and website is listed on your cards.
Mentors and Other Help
Score.org Free business mentoring in most cities
Library: Many libraries have free seminars and other help. Call your local library system and ask.
Lynda.comThis is LinkedIn’s paid course site. You can learn to do just about anything on this site. The courses are very professional and helpful. Paid monthly. Sign up and use what you need and then unsubscribe when you are done. (Put a time limit on it and put it on your calendar to unsubscribe.) Note: My library system pays for a subscription, so I use it free with my library card. Check with your local library.
YouTube: Learn to do anything. Not all videos are created equal.
SBA: Small Business Administration Check with your local chapter to see if they have any assistance. (Many people find them helpful. I have found locally they just want me to borrow money. So, not worth it for me.)
Who: Any Business
What: A personal way to impart information, engage and educate your customer
How: Regular posts put out (weekly, bi-weekly or monthly), then (through email) mailing list is notified when it’s up and encouraged to check it out. Post on social media as well.
Who: All businesses
What: An online presence giving your business a first impression stating what you do, why and any pertinent information about your business. Includes your story, who you and your staff are and a way to contact you and connect with you (social media links). Can also house your blog, a gallery of photos, products, links to sponsors, and education of your clients and potential clients.
Platforms + Hosting: Squarespace, Wordpress, GoDaddy, BlueHost
Need: URL, host, website template, tutorials or a tech person to build it for you
Etsy: Perhaps you make chair pockets, stuffed reading buddies, cute journal covers or something else that makes learning fun, easier or more organized. Etsy is the place to start for physical products.
YouTube Channel or Podcast
Who: Teachers with something to say out loud.
What: "How to" videos, instructional content
Getting and Keeping in Touch with Your Audience
Email Marketing + Newsletters
Who: All Business Owners
What: Your gateway to your customer.
How: ConvertKit, Mail Chimp, Constant Contact
Sign-up on website and Facebook- free offer (value) in exchange for email
Being Social: Your Online Presence
Board Booster(Pinterest) It's inexpensive at base level. Liberating! Once you start, you'll never go back to being on every day. So easy to load up once a week or every two weeks and get on with your work.
HootSuite(FB, IG, TW) I love that this autoposter has a FREE option. You get enough features to get you going. What's not to like?
How Often to Post: Post (minimum) 3x/week (photo- business, tips, quotes) Extras- re-tweets, comments on others, lifestyle- family, where you live, pets, hobbies, travels, spouse, fun)
Keep your feed going. Take one day a month to pre-load auto-posters
Hashtags: Where do you want your presence to be?
Call to Action: “Like” this post, “Follow” on social media, sign-up for our newsletter… What do you want your reader or potential customer to do? What are you hoping to accomplish with your post and social media?
Canva (Canva's Tutorial)
PicMonkey (Shayda's Tutorial)
Who: Business needing/maintaining a personal connection to followers/clients (relationships)
What: Encouragement, personal life glimpses, showcase what you do, customer appreciation, engage with clients/potential clients, announcements- promotions, etc.
Connecting: @mentions #hashtag in your niche
Who: Any business
What: Developing a following, update clients of newsworthy info, encouragement, brag on your clients successes, announcements…
Connecting: @mentions #in your niche
Who: Business with a blog or products that lend themselves to photos- recipes, workouts, teaching ideas, home décor, gardening, travel…
What: Visual search engine; products, blog traffic, encouragement, the saving of ideas others will want to have.
How: Tutorial on board setup here. Tutorial on creating pins here.
Connecting: Key Words, Promoted Pins, Rich Pins
Who: Any Business needing/wanting a personal connection to clients/followers/potential clients (relationships)
What: Post encouragement, engage with customers, brag a bit, customer appreciation, showcase what you do, inform potential clients, announcements- promotions, etc…
Who: Everyone (individuals)
What: Connecting with professionals in your field and connecting with potential clients; developing a following as a thought leader
Connecting: Groups, Articles, Invitations, InMail
What: Showcase your blog and get more subscribers, connect with other bloggers
How: Create an account. Sign up your blog. Easy.
Who: all bloggers
What: Connect with other bloggers in your niche
How: Comment regularly on blogs you like, link parties, team up with other bloggers and do a group post or post on similar topics on the same day mentioning/linking to each other’s posts and encouraging readers to check out the other blogs.
Connecting: comment regularly, then email a request for a guest post or collaboration- be sure to state what’s in it for them and make your request simple for them.
TPT- Teachers Pay Teachers
What: Upload and sell lesson plans, worksheets, etc.
Connecting: Link from other social media and your website
eBooks: Book Boss
Courses: Teachable, Teachery
TpT: Teacher Pay Teachers
Email Signup: (Your key to building and keeping an audience and making money.)
(ConvertKit, Constant Contact, MailChimp)
Signup for clients to enter their email so you can keep in touch.
Incentive for email signup (free downloadable content)- post on social media and website or blog.
Planning and Keeping Track of Information
Create a naming standard for each item you will be saving so you can find it easily.
Yes, you’ll create folders for many of these. But, I have naming standards in case things get misplaced. Shocking that I might misplace something, right?! Naming standards makes files easily searchable without having to remember what the heck you named the file.
As one of my good friends says, “I have two brain cells and one of them is busy.” Eventually you're going to misplace something, so make it searchable.
Graphics (I use a location abbreviation and then the file info.)
Pin- Summer Reading
FB- Summer Reading
IG- Power of a Smile
TW- Quote- Frankl
Printable- End of Year Checklist
Giveaway- gift card
Web- Detail Standards Spreadsheet
Course- The Organized Classroom
Login Information and Sites (you use for your business)
Website and other sites:
Color Codes: Hex and RGB (different sites use one or the other)
You’ll also need: watermark, Logo, accounting, connection schedule (other bloggers, link parties, etc.)
Hashtag List (to start with)
Key Word List for Pinterest
Who to connect with, events, invitations, giveaways, freebies, future blog posts
Teachers and Parents: Calendar of timely events and heads up a month before to prep posts, freebies, events, etc.
Getting It All Done: Schedules
Social Calendar: Which influencers and bloggers you are going to comment on each day- posting, link parties, social media postingNeed: FREE forms for download
If your business lends itself to it…
TV News reporters (lifestyle or anchors) to come in for free- morning show or evening show, companies you buy from to come in for free or tour (photo and tag)
Other similar owners/bloggers in your niche (not competing) or businesses that you partner with or can pair with to promote you both (better together)- Incentives: giveaways for visiting your sites
Google Maps: Claim your business online, other review sites (if you have a physical store)
Pinterest: Promoted Pins (link here)
Facebook: Facebook Ads Jo at CopyHackers has a great post here.
*This post contains affiliate links. I may receive a small commission for mentioning some of these products or posts in this article if you purchase from them using the link. My promise to you, my reader, is I never have and never will promote anything I don’t personally believe in. You can view my policies here for more information.