How I Raised $103,456.32 For a Business I Did Not Start

WARNING: THE RESULTS I ATTAINED ARE NOT TYPICAL. THEY ARE PRESENTED HERE FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY. I MAKE NO REPRESENTATION THAT BY READING THIS, YOU WILL ACHIEVE THE SAME RESULTS.
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Every time I hear someone say I want to do so and so, but I don’t have the money to start, I cringe.   As a believer, I hold firmly the promise that “with God ALL things are possible”, and as such, I don’t let the lack of money be a reason for me not to move forward.rasise startup moeny

There are thousands of people all around the world who are letting themselves live mediocre lives only because they think they lack money. What I’m going to show you today is that no matter where you are right now, it is still possible to start following your God-given path.

In April 2010, I suddenly left a respectable job in one of Liberia’s most innovative and fastest growing banks. Many of my friends and family thought I was crazy for leaving my job with the ambition of becoming self- employed.  I had decided that I wanted to start a printing company, and was researching ways by which I could raise the $25,000 I needed to secure the space and initial set of equipment.

Something happened at the bank that aggravated me so much so that before I knew what was happening, I had already quit. I was too proud (and thank God) to go back to beg for my job, and so, whether I was ready or not, I was already on my own.

Setting an Impossible Goal

There’s something about me: If is goal is not so big to the point where I feel sensations in my tummy, I don’t draw up the courage to go after it.  And that was the case with the $25,000. You see, I had lived in the U.S. a few years earlier, and had made far more than $25K in a year (I worked in direct sales making as much as $300 per day). So the thought of raising $25,000 wasn’t just as moving for me.

I don’t know where the amount came from but somewhere in my spirit, I felt like $100,000 was a more appropriate goal. That scared me. I had never earned that amount of money in a year before. I was scared.
To make matters even more complicated, I set out to do it in six months. I was going to generate at least $100,000 in the space of six months.  By November 30 2010, the first day of the 7th month, I had earned $103,456.32.

This post shares the story of how I did it.

Does it mean that you too can achieve the exact same results? Maybe.

But even if you did half of that, or even a quarter of $100,000 in 7 months as a result of just one of the ideas you get from this article, I would consider its aim accomplished.

The Problem with many Startups

The problem with many people who start businesses is that they often do not allow room for creativity in funding their business ideas. So they think that the source of the startup cash can only come from the government, NGOs, and maybe  savings they had previously.  That can be true, but those are not the only sources. The best resource you have an an entrepreneur is your creativity.  I always say to my clients and students: “If you can’t figure a way to start your business with nothing, then you probably shouldn’t be in business in the first place.”

When I quit my job, and set the audacious goal, the only thing I knew I had access to were my internal resources and abilities.

I did an internal analysis of skills that I possessed at the time . I just wrote everything that came to mind that I could do:

  • Basic website building
  • writing business plans ( basic)
  • Writing sales letters
  • Ghostwriting
  • Playing checkers
  • Critiquing movies
  • Training and speaking
  • Selling skills
  • Teaching Biblical truths (that I knew)

My next task was to decided which services I could offer in exchange for money.  I quickly settled for all except movie critiquing, playing checkers, and Bible teaching  (I wasn’t going to become a commercial pastor). And with that I began to brand myself as a Freelance Business Development Consultant and Commercial Writer.

The World of Freelancing:

Some of the best paid professionals in the world today are freelancers; they have no specific employer, they work for as many people and/or companies as they can, handling as much or as little work as they desire.

The concept of freelancing is nothing new. You will find freelancers with doctorate degrees, just as you will find freelancers with only a high school education. They work when they want, and for whom they want. They charge what they can, make as much or as little as they desire.

There are many options to consider in the freelance industry, and the more options you tap into. Chances are you have the skills you need to offer freelance services in at least one area.  And if you don’t have any skill in particular, you can quickly learn to be a freelance writer and raise the money you need.

How to Become a Freelancer?

Becoming a freelancer is a way to work at home and be independent without needing to start an actual business. As a general rule, so long as you operate under your own name you do not need to register as a business (please check your local jurisdiction for any specific requirements). This makes it possible to get started as a freelancer overnight without a lot of hassle and with the least amount of expense.

Who is a Freelancer?

A freelancer is someone who offers services for a fee. In general terms, a freelancer works independently with no expectation of a permanent or long-term relationship with a single employer.

Why Should You Freelance?

Some people break into freelancing because they want freedom, while others break into freelancing because there’s no way out.

If you suddenly get laid off, you will need to do something in order to keep an income stream flowing. The sooner you can do that, the less financial trouble you’ll be in. While you can look and look for jobs and hope you get hired, you could decide to freelance on day one and try to find work independently. If you’ve had an urge to be your own boss anyway, becoming a freelancer may be a good way to do it. You can even continue your job search while you freelance.

What Do Freelancers Do?

Freelancers can be asked to do just about any kind of work you might imagine. Here are just a few of the most popular types of freelance services:

  • Business Writer
  • Grant Writer
  • Technical Writer
  • Researcher
  • Copywriter
  • Travel Writer
  • SEO Consultant
  • Ghost Writer
  • Private Investigator
  • Virtual Assistant
  • Web Designer
  • Tax Advisor
  • Legal Researcher

Each of the above mentioned options plus the others not mentioned are separate professions in and of themselves. There are people who have dedicated their entire lives to Business Writing. Some have even gone further to dedicate their lives to a sub branch of Business writing which is Business Plan development. Those are the people that I would refer to as specialists; like in the world of Medicine where we have brain specialist (neurologist) or women specialist (Gynecologist).

Unlike the specialists, there are those  who have opted to be General Practitioners allowing access to any of the areas they feel comfortable and equipped to enter.

Whatever the path you choose to follow, whether specialist or general practitioner, there are fundamental principles that apply to all; principles that involve what it takes to become a successful freelancer.


So what’s my story?

Between 2004 and 2007, while living in the U.S. as a temporary refugee, I checked out many income generating options. I spent hours online researching and learning. One of the first things I learned to do was to write Business plans. While working various Jobs in Sales, marketing and Financial Services, I was writing Business Plans. I followed that by learning to design simple and effective websites.

Now, I had not one, but two additional sources of income. If I wasn’t writing business plans, I was designing websites for small business who wanted to put their products and/or service online.  Once the websites were designed, the owners were hiring another group of freelancers to write the sales messages for those sites. The freelancers were called copywriters. For some reason I could not get my head around the fact that I was designing these sites and others were getting paid about the same to write a simple letter.  So what did I do?  You guessed it; I learned the art of Copywriting as well.

Before long, I was helping small business owners get funding by writing their business plans, once funding was secured, I helped them implement their marketing plans, and establish an online presence by designing the web sites and doing the sales letters. In effect, I had become a Small Business Consultant.

In 2007, I returned to Liberia after being denied Asylum. For a while, it was hard because I was used to meeting my prospects face to face, and then working with them through the processes. Now I was in Liberia with no possibility of meeting any one face to face. If I were to continue working as Small Business Consultants in the U.S., it would have to be by means of the internet. It was this need to continue providing service that led me to learn Internet Research.

To make a long story short, I spent the next 18 months developing my skills as an online freelancer. During that time I provided as much service locally as the market would buy.

Today, not only am I an expert at direct sales and marketing, but I’m also a force to reckon with on Business Plan development, Project Proposal Development also referred to as Grant Writing, as well  Web Content development, Copywriting, and Research.

As the years went by, projects began to dry up for me from overseas. Maybe it was becuase I had started doing more local work in Liberia. Eventually, I was contracted to help set up the bank. And my freelance career was paused.

How I made over $100,000 in only Six months

When I set out to do a $100k in 6 months, I had no clue how it was going to happen. I knew I needed to trust God and take some real gutsy actions which I did.

I emailed everyone I could telling them of  my business plan and ghost writing services. I prayed. I produced simple fliers on A4 paper in black and white and distributed them to businesses. by the end of the first 7 weeks, I had signed contracts worth a total of $47,000 in business planning services. I was now working on four separate investment proposals.

Maybe it was being in the right place at the right time. But I know it was divine orchestration. It took me nearly four months to complete the projects.

Exactly 10 days after submitting the final document, I was called by an expat. He wanted me to do his biography. Honestly, the work was worth about $10,000.  But knowing that the guy was loaded ( I did my background research before our meeting), when it came time to discuss price, I just threw out the number to see what his reaction was going to be – $32,000. To my surprise,  he did not even blink. It was as if he was expecting the fee.  Right there, he paid me $16,000 in cash.

I would go to complete that project, collect my other payment, and do a few other smaller projects by the end of the six months.

at the end of the 6 months, I was still getting calls to do business plans, grants proposals and websites that I forgot about starting the printing company.

Soon I was training others to do business plans and develop marketing strategies.

In all, I think it came down to two things:

  • Setting an audacious goal
  • Trusting God to help me

So What can you take from my experience?

Begin with the Basics

What you believe becomes your reality. Check your beliefs surrounding money.
Here’s what I chose to believe:

Making Money is one of the easiest things to do in the world

To some people, this may sound like a really bold statement to make; and to a select few, deeper meaning will be taken from the statement.

If a survey were to be taken, you will find the over 60% more people will have a problem with that statement than those who will see meaning in it. Therein lays the first MAJOR issue that must be dealt with before anyone can think of earning anything near a hundred thousand United States dollars in six months.

That issue is the issue of BELIEF:

I’m going to be in your face with this one. The reason why most of you reading this article right now don’t make as much money as you would like is simple: YOU don’t believe.

You don’t believe that it is possible for you. You don’t believe that a person with little education can still be financially successful. You don’t believe you deserve the best things in life.

Well, how on God’s earth can you expect to enjoy any amount of financial riches when you don’t even have faith in your ability.  The first and foremost thing that you must get in your head is that you MUST believe that it is possible for you to be what you desire.

If your goal is to become a successful freelancer, my friend, YOU MUST BELIEVE! If you can’t get yourself to belief it, drop this book now and go push a wheelbarrow for all I care.

Believe in yourself and the ability to make it happen. Believe that you have what it takes. And if it the skills that you lack, then go get them!

Once you’ve cultivated that belief, than you are ready for the real deal; and that deal begins with the

SKILL ACQUISITION.

What would you say of a person who claims to be a professional auto technician if he or she did not spend the necessary amount of time in apprenticeship or obtaining a technical certificate?  You would probably conclude that said person was not capable of meeting your needs.

Equally so, you do not expect any individual or company to hire your freelance services if you do not have the necessary skill set.

As I mentioned earlier, most of what I learned in the freelancing world, I learned when I came across the American Writers and Artists, Inc., (AWAI).

The American Writers and Artist Inc. is an institution set up to cater to freelancers. Although the word “American” is in its name, it does actually cater to members from all over the world.

With these requirements in place, the only other thing needed now is the desire to succeed!

Many people give up too easily. Just at the point where they are about to experience their breakthrough, they give up. Well, I’m sorry to say, but the world of freelancing is not for quitters. If you’re quitter, start re-engineering your mind NOW or else….

From this point on, promise yourself one thing: That whether freelancing is for you or not, you will never quit in your desire to be successful.  And if you want to follow the path of a freelancer, then welcome to the world were desire is a Major currency.

The thousands of freelancers before me had that desire, and it paid off. I had it and it paid off. NOW is your turn.

So without much talking let’s get to the first freelance option I worked.

Business Plan Writer:

Before going into the ins and outs of the profession of Business Plan writing, it is important that we look the document called business plan.  In the developed world (US, UK, Canada, Australia and major European countries), the business plan is a very important piece of document.

A business plan is simply a resume for your proposed business. Its primary importance is that your business plan becomes your calling card. Anytime you are going in to talk to a property manager about leasing space for your business, or you are meeting with a potential lender or investor, your business plan will announce/outline who you are and what your purpose is.

In most cases, a business plan is created to explain and illustrate the vision you have for your business, and to persuade others to help you achieve that vision. To accomplish this, your plan will need to demonstrate on paper that you have a firm visualization of what your business is going to be. It needs to convince others that your business concept can be successful and that you possess the expertise-alone or collectively-to assure that it will be both successful and profitable.

With over 70% of businesses in the US alone, being small businesses that need business planning, there is no shortage of people who need business plans written.

Business plans are written, for some companies, annually, while some others write them every three years, or upon the launch of a new product or service.

In Liberia as well as other developing countries, small business owners have caught on to the importance of doing a business plan. They are now hiring the services the professionals to do their plans, or to train business owners on how to write their own business plans.  My company, Marketing Innovations, Ltd entered into a Franchise agreement  with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) in 2011 to provide Management Training to Small and Medium Enterprises ;

So how much can you get paid for doing a business plan?  Well, there’s no set answer to that. Every professional will come to set their own prices within a given range.

When I first started writing business plans, I would accept anything the client offered because I knew I had to develop my skills. As I improved, I started to charge a flat rate of $500 for plans with budgets up to $15,000.  As time went on, I continued to work on my craft. Today, I only write business plans with budgets of 1 to 5 million dollars charging anywhere from 0.75 to 2% of the budget amount. The variance in the percentage reflects the amount of research that may be needed to complete the plan.

So let’s put it in practical terms: For a Business plan with a budget of $1.5 million, and little research, the fee would be at 1%.

Let’s do the math:

BP Budget: $1,500,000
Writing Fee:  1%
Time to complete: 15 business days

So for two week’s worth of work, I earn $15,000.

Please don’t get carried away by the sights of big money. It does not happen overnight. It took long study hours; heavy networking and share will power to get to this point. When I started back in 2004, I was not commanding such high fees.  To complete such work in one to two week, I would have to sit at my desk for 10-12 hours daily. That is some serious sitting.

There are times when I get called to offer business plan training for small business owners. For trainings, I get paid on average of $1,500 per day. The Business plan training is a 2 day training meaning that I’ll earn an average of $3,000.  There are times that I will have to charge lower obviously as this is business. But you get the idea.

The US small Business Administration’s website (www.sba.gov) has great resources that teach folks how to develop quality business plans.  These resources will give you a good foundation in business plan development from the business owner perspective.

For those with serious interest in beginning a career as a Business Consultant or a specialist Business Plan Writer, I may be able to offer one on one coaching for a reasonable fee. Simply head out to http://danmaxwelljr.com/coaching  and send me a message.

Your best option however is to take advantage of free templates and advice available online. Once you have the foundation, and can write business plans from the perspective of a Small business owner, we can coach you in breaking in to the freelance industry.

 

Copywriter

Look, It really is a crazy and unfair world out there …

On one hand, we have people who work the their asses off year after year … slaving away for bosses and managers who don’t appreciate them … to earn a paycheck that does little more than pay the bills. They’re constantly in the rat’s race.

On the other hand, there are those who seem to have found a better way. Those who control the lives they live.

These are the folks who have all the money they need.  They work when they want to, where they want to, and for whom they want to. The best part is that they have all the free time in the world to do whatever on God’s earth they want to do.

In troublesome economies, when others are losing their jobs these folks keep living their good life, like nothing’s changed. Why? Because for folks like these copywriters included, nothing has changed.

Copywriting is one of the surest ways to earning a lucrative income. With copywriting, I am sure to meet my obligations without any worries. The truth is, I know I can always market my skills to an endless list of potential clients and keep enough copywriting projects rolling in.

And when those times come when I don’t feel like writing sales letters, I used the skills I’ve acquired as a copywriter to engage in other activities.  All the projects that I’m working on currently were obtained using my copywriting skills even though neither of them involved writing sales letters.

So what is Copywriting?

The simple definition is the copywriting is writing that offers a product or service for sale. There are generally two routes that copywriting takes:

The Advertising Agency Route or the Direct Response Route.

Many of the ads of that you see in the newspapers, magazines and television commercials are written by Agency copywriters. They write short catchy and clever copy. But those copies do not call customer to take immediate action. Their impact can also not be measured properly.

Direct Response Copywriting on the other hand is the kind of advertising that get’s people running for their checkbooks and credits to buy now.

If you were selling a product or service, which ad would you want to spend the most money on? Advertising that just entertains, or advertising that get’s people to buy now?

You see, good copywriters are forever in demand. Marketers will always call on you once they get to know that you write awesome copy.

With Copywriting, you control your financial and personal freedom. When I became a freelancer and added copywriting to the list of services I provide, my professional live took a big turn. When I set the goal to earn $100,000 in 6 months, copywriting was huge in making that happen. I had the knowledge, skills and freedom to take on as many projects as necessary in the attainment of my goal.

The thing is, as a professional direct marketing copywriters, you can make a boat load of money, and the best part is that you can make it from anywhere in the world. How else could I be telling you this from Liberia?

Well, I don’t think I need to say anything more about the profession of Copywriting.  I signed up for free and later took additional courses at Real Writing Jobs.  AWAI’s Accelerated Course to Six figure copywriting is hugely responsible for who I am today as a professional.

Now I should mention here also that I do not only write sales copies for business owners. There are other big name copywriters who have more work than they can handle. So rather than turning their clients away, they hire out their services to up and coming copywriters like myself.  I have written copies of a number of success and established copywriters. I do the writing, they can the credit, I get paid.

My first copywriting project, I earned $75.00. Today, I will not take project of less than $2,000. This is simply because I have lot of work to do including writing books which is my ultimate passion.

So how do you break into the career of copywriting? You do that by learning from the best. There are countless copywriter training programs out there; but for me, by far the best copywriter training program available today is the Accelerated Program for Six-Figure Copywriting published by the American Writers and Artists Inc. You can learn more about the Accelerated program for six figure copywriting by clicking here:

If you’re looking for startup capital for your business, start by offering some freelance service. That’s exactly what Bamidele Onibalusi from www.writersincharge.com did.  Today he has a fish farm and is investing in other businesses in Nigeria.

If you want to check out some available freelance writing job, check out Real Writing Jobs.

So, that’s my story.

If you have any questions, I’ll be glad to answer them, simply post them in the comments below, and I promise
to respond promptly.

Catch you later

6 Comments

  1. G.C.Horton January 3, 2016
    • Dan Maxwell Jr January 3, 2016
  2. Kavinah January 3, 2016
    • Dan Maxwell Jr January 3, 2016
  3. Wojtek Mozdyniewicz January 3, 2016
    • Dan Maxwell Jr January 3, 2016

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