As a kid growing up in Brooklyn I always wanted to start a business but lacked the confidence, resources and support to make it happen. Despite that, I never stopped dreaming. I spent my career supporting entrepreneurs as a banker, teacher and public servant, but knew that I could do more, so I started Progress Playbook, a learning and media platform for entrepreneurs. We believe that anyone who has a dream to build a business that will benefit the world should have step-by-step support along their journey.
Build an audience
Create a business plan
Establish your brand
I quit my job
Land your first customer
Set up your business foundation
Tell as many people as possible about your new business
Secure more clients
Expand on your brand assets
Hire others to support you
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram
Sole proprietorship form x-s01
1. Build an audience
I started building my audience years before I launched Progress Playbook. I built relationships with entrepreneurs, service providers and organizations by organizing a meetup group, sending out business newsletters using constant contact. teaching business classes and finding ways to help everyone I could. All these activities and others helped me to build an audience with hundreds of people and establish my personal brand.
2. Create a business plan
I am a planner by nature, so I created several mini (1-5 pages) business plans that mapped out my mission, my customer profiles, problems/solutions, product phases, potential revenue streams and my marketing/sales approach.
3. Establish your brand
Once I had my business idea and plan, I had to come up with a business name. I landed on Progress Playbook, because it was catchy and represented the entrepreneurship journey of making continuous progress. I purchased the Progress Playbook domain name on Hostmonster and also secured the name on all social media platforms, including, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. I then hired a graphic designer to create my logo, and then built my own website on squarespace and used canva for deign support.
4. I quit my job
After 5 years of working for New York City government, managing 2 of their business service centers at NYC Business Solutions, I decided to quit my job. My workload was becoming more and more demanding and all I could ever think about was starting my own business. With the push of a few friends, I finally made the decision to quit my job and give my notice into my boss. I was terrified but excited about what was possible. Because I had a great relationship with my boss I was able to negotiate working part time for 5 months while I worked on my business. I also had about 3 months of living expenses saved and had a few teaching gigs lined up that helped me get by.
5. Land your first customer
What are the odds that one month after I decided to quit my job a colleague that I worked with in the past reached out to me and asked if I would be interested in being a consultant for The Actors Fund to design an entrepreneurship program for performing artist and entertainment professionals. I said, YES. After a few interviews with the Actors Fund, I landed my first customer, and worked with them to design the Creative Entrepreneurship Program. My initial business plan did not account for working with organizations to design entrepreneurship programs but I adjusted my plan based on this new need I found in the marketplace.
6. Set up your business foundation
In order to work on my first project I had to get some things squared away. I went to the county clerks office and registered my business as a sole proprietorship (we switched over to an LLC a year later). in kings county (a.k.a Brooklyn - my home and favorite place), because it was the easiest legal structure to set up and the least expensive I applied for a EIN number on IRS.gov, opened up a business bank account with Chase and applied for a business credit card. I was officially in business. :)
7. Tell as many people as possible about your new business
I had great momentum and wanted to keep it up, so I set up several meetings every week with people that I thought could help me. I shared my vision and told them that I was looking for clients and support. I scheduled 3-5 meetings a week and had a goal to close 6 customers in my first 6 months.
8. Secure more clients
The meetings paid off. My contacts referred me to several organizations and some of them were looking for support in designing and executing entrepreneurship programs. I closed 6 deals in 6 months, which I was able to do because of my experience and the relationships I built over the years.
9. Expand on your brand assets
After months of going to meetings and business events and not having a business card to give out, a colleague and friend of mine, designed and ordered my first set of business cards. I also signed up for a gmail suites to get a professional business email address and number.
10. Hire others to support you
I work harder now then I have ever worked before. As a solopreneur I was responsible for everything, including getting customers, servicing customers, developing products, business planning, bookkeeping, networking and the list goes on. To alleviate some of the workload, I hired a virtual assistant on upwork who supported me for 10-15 hours a week and handled things like scheduling, invoicing, basic research, CRM, email marketing and other administrative tasks.