A Newbies Guide to Local Marketing: Before You Start

Get a Headstart …

You have to create a legit business name.

The good news … it’s easy.

(disclaimer: I am not an attorney and am simply giving you my personal opinion, views, and observations.  Always consult a qualified professional for business related matters). 

We’re pretty lucky that we can start our businesses so quickly. Not a lot of industries have it that luxury. Most require mounds of red tape like: licensing, certifications, OSHA, privacy concerns, and random compliance checks.

Heck, we can set up shop in our kitchens and cash checks tomorrow if we want.

But you still need to make sure your biz is legal, compliant, and protected.

Legalize Your Business.

You should do business separate from your personal name.

Technically you can do everything under your personal name, but it’s not really the right way.

So go file a DBA. This allows you to call yourself any name you want.

You could even name your business “Gimple Gillroy the Monster Marketer”, as long as no one else beat you to it.

After that, go here and get an “EIN” number. This is so you can open a checking account. Then get a free checking and a debit card.

The whole process should cost less than fifty bucks and can be done in one day.

Image credit: Freshbooks.com

The fancy name for a DBA structure is called a sole proprietorship. While a DBA may not have the coveted “LLC” or “Inc.” abbreviation at the end, Sole propietorships are the most popular business structure in America.

Believe it or not, Seventy-percent of all businesses in the USA are sole props.

If your state requires it, you might even want to get a sales tax permit. Don’t tell me it’s too tough, If craft vendors at the local renaissance fair can get a sales tax permit, you can too, trust me.

Protect Your Ass

In the local marketing world, our risk of being sued or having property damage is fairly low. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be careful.

At some point, you might want protection.

You can hire “Tony Two Toes” down at the local delicatessen but he’s kind of pricey for what you get in return. And his methods of resolution are a bit dicey.

You’re better off forming a Limited Liability Company. Or Incorporate.

What those do is protect your personal assets against liability. If some dingbat decides to sue you because you screwed up his website, you won’t have to worry about losing your car or home. And he’ll get to keep his kneecaps.

LLC’s and Corporations may sound scary and complex, but you can hire a service like legalzoom or incfile to do it all for you. And don’t worry if it’s too much to take on at the moment, you can start out as a sole prop and switch to an LLC or Corporation when you’re ready.

That’s what I did.

Read my article about choosing S Corps over LLC’s.

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Don’t Listen to MBA’s and College Idiots.

MBA type advisors and business management “experts” tend to make starting a business a monumental undertaking. That’s because they’ve never owned a successful one themselves. They just learn what their professor (also a non-business owner) spewed out.

Write a business plan! Stockpile cash! Build credit! Create a lot of Reports! Lease an office! Take out a Loan! Create an exit strategy!

If I listened to that advice I’d still be working at Walmart. Entrepreneurship is about being resourceful and finding ways to make things work no matter the circumstance.

I know zero business owners who credit a college degree to their success.

Listen to professionals for paperwork and legal stuff, not entrepreneurial direction.

Stuck in Hard Times?

Assuming you’re reading this guide in the first place, you might be going through a tough time in life.

It’s gonna be Ok. Bobsy’s here.

Local marketing is a business suitable for you because you don’t have to invest much at all. And you’ll be generating cash right away.

I’ve also noticed how almost all great businesses were born during hard times. So I’d say you have quite the advantage.

Don’t let ANYONE scare you into thinking you’re not ready to start. As long as you’re operating legally and you’re aware that business involves some risk, the less time you spend planning and paperworking the better.

Let’s Get You Some Sales FIRST.

Watch Shark Tank and you’ll see entrepreneur after entrepreneur who have quit their jobs, re-mortgage their homes, cash their 401k’s, max their credit cards, and borrowed every dime they can just to prepare their baby for it’s big launch.

They’ll have all the product research and development you could dream of. But they have no sales.

These are misguided idiots of the highest caliber.

Sales are what matter.

Sales solve everything. They can get you out of almost any problem.

That’s why I want to show you how to make sales first and THEN build your business.

Outsource Everything You Can. It’s Critical.

Here’s a mind-fuck … Sometimes it’s not selling that can be the challenge, but fulfillment.

Taking a customer’s money is simple enough, but sucks  royally when you work forty hours fulfilling it.

Marketers underestimate the time and effort of the delivery of what they sell all the time because all they see is $$$ at the sale. They’ll sell a website for $500 and spend three weeks toiling over it. So basically you worked a full time job for two weeks at $10/hr.

You have to avoid that. The less time and energy it takes for you to deliver your goods, the better.

“No person will make a great business who wants to do it all himself.”Andrew Carnegie

Imagine owning a restaurant without any employees. You’d have to prep food, seat everyone, take orders, cook, ring the register, serve food, wash the dishes, and clean the equipment. You’d also need to do the books, ordering, inventory, banking, advertising.

And clean up the bathroom when someone has an “oopsie”.

It Doesn’t Mean You’re Lazy
(Despite What Your Friends Think)

Your friends and family won’t understand outsourcing. They’ll think you’re a lazy prick, the same as they think of their boss at work.

But outsourcing keeps you fresh and focused. When you’re not distracted or exhausted, you end up with a better product.

I see too many marketers trying to save money by building websites, doing SEO, writing content, researching, and other laborious tasks. They’re so exhausted from the fulfillment that they can’t put any drive into growing their business.

And they wonder why sales aren’t growing.

You Don’t Need to Learn Tech

Amateur marketers always think they have to know how to “do” everything they sell. That’s ridiculous.

Most successful businesses are run by people who know nothing about the technical workings of the products. Leave that stuff to the geeks who have that kind of patience and brain capacity.

You think Elon Musk knows how to personally build a rocketship?

You think Steve Jobs knew any computer coding?

He did not know technology. He’d never designed anything as a hardware engineer, and he didn’t know software.”Steve Wozniak (co-founder of Apple) -- talking about Steve Jobs

Shit, the owners of Outback Steakhouse never even visited Australia before starting their restaurant.

My point is, you don’t need to know the inside outs of something in order to sell it.

And even if you do know, it’s almost always not worth doing. For example, I’m a fairly decent graphic designer but I outsource 95% of all my design work. My time is worth more than what I can pay someone else to do it.

Stop Being Lazy.

Quit the procastination. Quit looking at snake oil.

Stop looking through Facebook all day.

Stop taking naps.

Get up earlier.

Go to bed later.

Stop complaining.

Stop consuming.

Start producing.

This is what entrepreneur’s do.


Next …

With just the bit of information you just read through, you’re already miles ahead of other local marketers.

Let’s start covering some actual marketing services …