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How To Start Your First Business..

When people ask me what the best ways to make money are, sometimes I laugh.

Not because the question is stupid — but because, well, there really is no “right” answer.

The real answer is almost anything can make money.

The first thing you have to do is change your mindset. You have to start viewing your skills and experiences as bankable resources.

You have to stop underestimating your ability to help someone with what you can provide — whether that’s information, a service or a physical product.

When you’re first getting started making money on your own, the best way to get started quickly is to understand the different ways you can make money, and which one will work best for you.

Generally speaking, there are 3 ways to make money:

1.    Providing a service to someone

2.    Providing information (really a subset of services)

3.    Selling a product

All 3 of these can be very lucrative — it just depends on what type of business you’re most comfortable with, and what type of work you want to do.

Today, we’re only going to talk about providing a service. This is also known as freelancing. 


This is typically the first place that beginning entrepreneurs start, because it’s something you can begin immediately based on the experience you already have — and it’s very simple to plan.

This is the maxim of starting a new service-based business:

If you currently have (or have ever had) a job, you’re capable of providing a service that someone will pay for.

In fact, for many people, the skills you’re already providing to your current employer can used directly to start your freelance business.

·        If you’re an administrative assistant, there’s a good chance your organizational skills will be useful to clients.

·        If you’re a web developer, you can definitely help people build projects on the side.

·        If you’re an accountant, you can help clients with their taxes, or small businesses with their accounts.

Now, not every job can translate directly into a freelance skill — but most can give you an indication of where your strengths are. For instance:

·        If you’re a veterinary technician by day, you can’t necessarily take care of sick cats at your house. But since you love animals, and are good with them, maybe you can open up a side business as a pet sitter!

·        If you work in IT, maybe you can start managing client websites/doing sysadmin work, etc.

The main issue most beginners have here is underestimating the value of their services. I did the same thing when I was first starting my business as a test prep coach.

The company who hired me way paying $18/hour for me to go to houses and teach SAT/ACT exam prep. I thought this was GREAT money…

(isn’t it funny how we judge what fair pay is based on how much more it is than minimum wage, not on how much money we actually need to live?)

One day, I was at a student’s house and saw a brochure for the company I was working with on the fridge. I took a quick peek inside and I realized that the parents were paying $100/hour for me to be there! And I was only getting $18 of that!!

I was a little upset at first, but then, I realized this was actually a great thing.

I was doing all the driving, teaching and consulting.

The company’s only real task was connecting me with the families — and these families had validated that the service I was providing them was worth at least $100/hour.1

That validation gave me the confidence to go out on my own and start finding clients.

April 21 Is Your Last Chance for Mobile Optimization Before 'Mobilegeddon'

For years now, mobile usability has been a factor in Google’s search algorithm. Sites that are optimized suitably for use on mobile devices rank higher than their non-optimized counterparts, even on desktop devices. But until now, that ranking factor has been both limited and ambiguous. 

Aside from a “mobile-friendly” tag associated with various sites in mobile search results, it hasn’t been entirely clear which factors Google considers when calculating mobile rankings or how many sites (or which ones) are currently affected. Because of this, many business owners have postponed or avoided optimizing their sites for mobile devices, and have survived to tell about it.

Starting April 21, that’s all going to change.

According to a recent Google blog post, the search giant is currently working on a major algorithm change that will revolutionize the way mobile friendliness is determined. Starting on April 21, this new algorithm will be gradually rolled out worldwide, affecting mobile searches in all languages in all corners of the globe.

Scope of the update

If you’re aware that Google already considers mobile usability as part of its ranking calculations, you might wonder why this April 21 deadline, dubbed “mobilegeddon,” is important.

It’s true that many of Google’s “updates” are actually just data refreshes and tweaks that hold little bearing on existing search rankings. However, Zineb Ait Bahajji, a member of Google’s Webmaster Trends team, was quoted at SMX Munich as saying that the new mobile-friendly algorithm change will have more of an impact on search rankings than either Panda or Penguin, two of the largest and most impactful search algorithm updates Google has ever launched.

For now, we don’t know much about the update itself, so it’s not entirely clear what that impact will be. We do know that it will change the way Google evaluates the mobile-friendliness of websites, but we don’t know what new factors will be added or how dramatically these factors will be able to change a website’s search visibility. Given Bahajji’s comments, it’s reasonable to guess that the majority of non-optimized sites on the web could see significant decreases in search visibility.

The trend toward mobile search

By some estimates, more than 60 percent of all Google searches are now performed on mobile devices, so it makes sense that Google wants to capitalize on this traffic and ensure the best possible experience for its users.

In addition to the upcoming algorithm update, Google is already starting to roll out ranking changes based on information from indexed apps of signed-in users. This may have a major impact on how search results are displayed as well as what type of results are displayed. While traditional search results exclusively display websites, future search results could focus on apps and other mobile tools.

However search results progress, it’s clear that the companies who cater to mobile users best will earn the most visibility from Google.

How to prepare

If your site is already mobile-friendly, you won’t have much to worry about. However, if you’ve not yet implemented a mobile strategy for your online presence, now is the critical time to get it done. Follow the steps:

  • Ensure the mobile version of your site is active and functional. Responsive designs are the most popular, but you can also have a separate hosted mobile version of your site. Google doesn’t have a preference, as long as mobile users’ experience isn’t interrupted.
  • Ensure Google’s mobile bots can crawl your site. If Google can’t see it, it may as well not even be there.
  • Check each individual page of your site on a mobile device to ensure navigability. Just because your home page is mobile friendly doesn’t mean the rest of your site is.

  • Google additionally offers two tools you can use to check whether your site is mobile-friendly. First, you can use the appropriately namedMobile-Friendly Test to see whether your site meets initial qualifications. It’s not entirely clear whether this checklist will cover all the factors the April 21 update will introduce, but since it’s coming straight from Google, it’s safe to assume it’s fairly reliable. Google Webmaster Tools also contains a convenient Mobile Usability Report you can run to examine your website as Google sees it. If you find any errors or discrepancies, you have roughly one month to get them all fixed.

This April 21 Google update looks to be the biggest mobile-related algorithm change we’ve ever seen, but I’d bet money that it isn’t the last. If you don’t have a mobile version of your site in place by April 21, your search visibility could be seriously hindered.

At this point, you may not need a dedicated app or all the bells and whistles of a dynamic mobile user experience, but beware: Google wants its users to be happy. It’s on you to get the job done.