Ranking the 30 best tips for starting a business in 2019

I’m guessing you landed on this page because you’ve been scheming up ideas for starting a business.

You’re on the right track in life.

Since I’ve built a couple 6-figure businesses in my day, I figured I could drop some intel for y’all.

There’s no better feeling than quitting your day job and building something that’s 100% for you. Coming up with business ideas for your business is the easy part.

The hard part is deciding which ideas are worthwhile, and then actually acting on them.

Although I’m a bit biased towards digital businesses, these tips will work for any type of business.

Let’s go.

30. Elect your LLC as an S-corp

When you file your taxes, you can elect to be taxed as an s-corporation instead of an LLC, even if you are an LLC.

They’re pretty similar, but an s-corp filing looks at you (the owner) as an employee of your business rather than a partner and pays you a salary. The salary you pay yourself is the only part of your earnings subject to Social Security and Medicare taxes, whereas without the s-corp status, you’d be paying that on all your profits. (1)

29. Solve a pain point

If your business idea does one thing, make sure that it fills a market need. Basically, look for a market first before you create a product (too many people do this the other way around).

How do you know if your idea does solve a pain-point in society?

Test it. Spend $100 on Facebook ads and target your product to your audience. Decent sales means you might be on to something.

According to Fortune Magazine, 42% of failed start-ups said that a lack of market need for their product was the reason they failed. [2]

28. Stop chasing shiny objects

Once you pick a business model, commit to it. Dropping your business 3 months in to chase the next hot business model will just lead to failure after failure.

Truth is, you can succeed with nearly any business model. When you’re deep into business model X and not seeing results, it might look like business model Y works better, but chances are your situation would be the same if you had started out with business model Y.

You just have to stick with it for the long term and block out any “grass is greener” thoughts.

27. Set specific short and long-term goals

Long-term goals are the big wins you’re going for, while short-term goals are the day-to-day or week-to-week accomplishments that keep the motivational fire burning.

It’s important that your goals are more specific than “make a lot of money” too. For example, say you want to make $100,000 in revenue this year. Break that down to a daily revenue amount (about $274) and strive to hit that amount each day.

26. Sharpen your sales skills

At its core, business is just selling. Brush up on your sales skills, but also your copywriting skills. Take courses, read books, etc.

Also, if you’re afraid of selling, now’s the time to squash that fear and get over it.

25. Outsource

You should outsource two different kinds of work:

1) Low-value, time-consuming work

2) Work you’re not good at

The former type of work is usually filled by virtual assistants, while the latter might entail functions like accounting, content marketing, or legal stuff.

Websites like Fiverr, PeoplePerHour, and Upwork are good for outsourcing one-time jobs you don’t want to do at a low cost.

24. Start a low-cost business

The second reason start-ups fail? Lack of sufficient capital. Nearly 30% of failed start-ups have cited this as the reason their business went south. [3]

Starting a business with a low budget, or even no budget, is possible, especially nowadays with the internet. Dropshipping, blogging, affiliate marketing, and info products are all great examples.

23. Bootstrap

Bootstrapping is the way of the future. Plenty of today’s biggest companies started out bootstrapping, or completely funding themselves rather than accepting outside funding and venture capital at early stages.

This gives you full control over your business, teaches you to be scrappy in times of hardship, and according to the Harvard Business Review, bootstrapped companies actually attract better talent.

Dell, Facebook, Apple, Coca Cola, eBay, Microsoft, and plenty more were all bootstrapped. [4]

22. Start while you’re still employed

Have a job? Stick with the job, save some emergency cash, and pour your spare time and money into your business until it’s making a steady income. When the timing’s right, jump ship and go into full-time business mode.

Some might actually fare better jumping ship early to get that “I need to succeed” psychological boost (the “back against the wall” method), but don’t do it that way unless you’re fine with the risk.

21. Take consistent action

Reading every business book on earth won’t earn you anything if you don’t take action. Neither will overthinking your business idea for months.

Obvious enough, but many people either say they’ll start a business and never do or give up after the initial rush of starting something new fades.

Don’t give up and quit overthinking. Act. Working on your business consistently every day is what brings results.

20. Don’t fixate on mistakes

Fixating on your mistakes too long can demoralize you into working less on your business.

Instead of wasting your time freaking out about something you did wrong, learn what you can from your mistakes and apply your knowledge moving forward.

After all, failure is a necessary part of success. Just search the internet for “famous failures” and you’ll see.

19. Manage your finances correctly

Mixing your personal and business finances is a big no-no. It makes it hard to keep track of things for taxes, but the law will also determine there’s no legal separation between you and your business by “piercing the corporate veil” and then strip away your LLC protections.

Get separate business checking and savings accounts and perhaps a business credit card for your business revenues and expenses. Unless you’re paying yourself, don’t draw on business funds for personal use.

18. Learn digital skillsets

I know I’ve said I’m digitally-biased, but this is important for all businesses nowadays. It doesn’t matter what kind of business you’re starting: the internet is how you spread the word, even if you’re in the brick-and-mortar game.

According to Forbes, these are the 7 most important digital marketing skills right now: analytics, SEO, HTML, WordPress, video, basic design skills, and SQL. [5]

Remember, you can outsource these… and if you want to take it all on yourself, there are plenty of trainings and software programs out there to help you out.

Learn the basics so you have the digital literacy to build your business.

17. Never stop marketing

Especially in the early stages of your business, you always should be marketing, even if you run a client service business and your client roster is full.

Because if 2 clients suddenly fire you tomorrow, you’ll be left out to dry unless you were looking for more clients.

16. Get good at time management

As an entrepreneur, time management means two things:

1) Focusing on the highest-ROI tasks first (selling, growing the business) and proceeding from there until you reach the lowest-ROI tasks.

2) Actually making time to get each task done throughout the day.

Try something like the Pomodoro technique. You’re “on” for 25 minutes, “off” for 5, rinse and repeat. Take a longer break every 4 Pomodoro sessions. (6)

15. Create multiple streams

I’m a big believer in diversifying and multiplying your income streams.

As a business owner or self-employed entrepreneur, not creating multiple income streams and sales channels is akin to an investor investing all their money in one company. What happens if that one company’s stock plummets? The same thing could happen to your income if you don’t multiply your streams.

Start with one, pour your time and resources into it, but then branch out from there when it’s finally bringing in decent cash — this will help you grow, and it’s the only way to achieve a sense of stability. Trying to build several new streams at the same time will only waste your money and burn you out.

14. Learn to pivot

If something isn’t working, don’t continue to beat a dead horse. Try something new instead.

Starting a new business is all about experimentation. If something isn’t working for you, just drop it and move on.

In the beginning, Dropbox, now a $1 billion tech company, tried again and again to explain their product to people via text, but no one was buying in. So instead, they decided to switch it up and make a funny video, almost as a joke, to describe their product instead.

What happened?

They went from 5,000 wait list sign ups to 75,000… overnight. [7]

13. Start with a minimum viable product

Don’t delay your launch. All you need to get started is an MVP (minimum viable product).

Once you’ve got that out on the market, you can tweak and improve until you’re raking in the cash.

Groupon started out as a group of friends and entrepreneurs who wanted to score discounts by buying things as a group. They made an app that allowed them to coordinate a group of 20 people (yep, just 20) who all wanted to buy the same thing, and then struck a deal with a local business. After realizing the power of group buying, Groupon was born. [8]

12. Start your business in Wyoming

You want to start up in a place that has a history of entrepreneurial success and a large pool of talented employees, but also (and more importantly), a good business tax climate and low costs.

Wyoming hits a home run on all these fronts, especially tax climate: they don’t have a corporate income tax, individual income tax, or gross receipts tax. They also have one of the lowest sales tax rates in the country. [9]

You can also consider Delaware or Puerto Rico (6% flat tax!) if your business is digital and you’re feeling alpha.

11. Don’t be afraid to experiment

Entrepreneurship = experimentation. Drill that into your head.

There’s a really good chance that your original idea to what you’re trying to do will evolve into something completely different, and that’s ok.

In fact, economists from the Harvard Business School published a study asserting that experimentation is not just key to, but in fact IS, entrepreneurship. [10]

10. Get some productivity apps

Todoist for organizing your work and keeping your to-do lists, Evernote for storing ideas or writing things down, Quickbooks for accounting/bookkeeping, etc.

Those aren’t your only options for those functions, so look around if you prefer something else.

Don’t go overboard on productivity apps. At some point, you’ll spend more time managing them than the time you saved using them in the first place.

9. Scout your competition

Know what they’re selling and for how much.

Know their conversion rates and their traffic analytics (Ahrefs, Alexa).

Read what people are saying about them. Read the reviews. Study their social media interactions. Check out news about the company and your industry in general.

What PPC keywords are they bidding on? (Spyfu)

What are they blogging about? If their SEO game is strong, how are they getting their links? (Ahrefs, Majestic)

8. Find a mentor

Get yourself a mentor. Forget originality — there’s nothing wrong with a copycat if they’re living a life you admire.

Do some googling, and find yourself an influencer in your industry. LinkedIn is a great place to do this if your niche is technical or business related, or if you’re more into something creative or visual do some searching on Instagram. Find their blog. Follow them on Twitter.

Read everything they put out, but more importantly, seek ways to serve them and expect nothing in return.

7. Build your network

“Your network is your net worth.” #truth

In the book Neighbor Networks by Ronald Burt, it’s shown that networking with a bunch of different people can boost your cognitive abilities and emotional intelligence.

And of course, networking can land you more clients and customers for your business. You might even meet a future business partner.

Thanks to the internet, networks are everywhere.

Facebook groups, sub-Reddits, and LinkedIn are probably the best places to start.

6. Use crowdfunding

82% of businesses fail to bring in enough cash to sustain themselves. Basically, there’s a good chance you’ll run out of money and flop early on. [11]

It’s not that hard to get funding for your business nowadays if you know a thing or two about PR and digital marketing.

Enter: crowdfunding. Websites like Kickstarter and GoFundMe have made it super easy to raise money for your idea, and you can still call yourself self-funded this way because it doesn’t count as venture capital.

5. Track everything

Remember how I said experimentation is at the core of entrepreneurship?

Well, experiments are about more than just trying a bunch of new stuff. You also have to track the success and failure of each thing you try in order to know what works and what doesn’t.

Test your ideas. Run polls, do A/B testing, track when something is doing well and figure out why. Then scale it.

4. Start a blog

Why do I have this blog?

I could just do my own thing, bring in my money and end it there. So why do I go through the trouble of spending 20+ hours on posts like this?

Because I think it’s important as an entrepreneur and business owner to share the knowledge and expertise you gain along the way.

Starting a blog that helps others offers them value, which is one of the best ways to get people to trust you and come back for more. It builds your cred and reputation, and it’s one of the best marketing tools out there.

Not to mention that constantly pumping out blog content means you’ll start to rank for certain keywords in internet searches.

3. Learn SEO

Imagine a successful business without Google involved.

It’s hard. Without traffic, (which is mostly Google, Facebook or YouTube) you’ve got nothing.

Lack of SEO is a big reason why businesses fail.

What really is search engine optimization??

1) Build out baller, organized content going after keywords….like this post… “how to start a business”, which gets searched 39,000 times per month

2) Get other people to mention or link to your articles

That’s 80% of SEO. Congrats.

2. Build time wealth

There’s a lot of talk nowadays about following your passions, finding your dream job, and turning what you love into a career.

Why not just make a ton of money and build a business that allows you to have time wealth?

Once you have an online business making $10,000 per month, you’ve built a lifestyle that allows you to follow your passions.

You don’t even need to be passionate about your business, although it definitely helps.

1. Help local businesses

Here’s the thing: there’s no more predictable path to building a profitable business than focusing on local services.

Competition isn’t there.

Instead of trying to start your own local business – which would require inventory, start-up capital, a storefront – you can help these businesses by providing them with leads to build their business.

Local lead generation provides more value to local businesses than just about anything else.

What business will tell you, “No thanks, we’re good, not interested in more leads..”

1) Build out websites that go after local niches, like pest control in a big city or a personal injury lawyer

2) Collect leads through email opt-ins or a phone number that you rent so you can listen to the calls

3) Collect money either through a pay-per-lead model or pay-per-sale, depending on what you negotiate with the business owner

Leads are the superpower of the Internet. Few people understand this.

Recap

There’s really been no better time to start a business.

There are some key takeaways when it comes to starting your own business that I want you to remember from this article:

1. Do something digital

Why? Low start-up costs and quick feedback loops, which validates your idea without spending more than $500.

Freedom to work from wherever you want, whenever you want.

2. Do something that can be automated

There’s no sweeter feeling than going to bed at night knowing that the paychecks you’re making will keep rolling in, even in your sleep.

Time is your most precious resource. Figure out which of your business ideas you can automate, and go with those.

3. Do something local

You may have dreams of going global, but start local first. Narrowing your focus and targeting a specific area will give you a huge competitive advantage.

4. Do something scaleable

Being able to reel in passive income is sweet, but it’s a little underwhelming when you’re reeling in $2.03 a month from your Amazon affiliate account.

It’s gotta scale.

Whatever you do, the most important advice of all is this: start your business.

Start something, because more than likely, your business will evolve anyway as you work on it daily.

Stop sitting around scrolling through articles.

I wasn’t shy about my #1 recommendation (local lead generation) because I’ve seen it work for many, many people.

I’ll Paypal you $500 if you show me a better business to start than our method.

Meet the Author

Brad
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