The Ultimate Roadmap to Self-Employment Success: with Mike Kawula @MikeKawula #VCBuzz

The Ultimate Roadmap to Self-Employment Success: with Mike KawulaSelf-employment comes with lots of obvious benefits: Being your own boss seems like a dream! You can build your own business and still own your free time.

This is true until you actually try. Starting your own business is stressful and scary: It comes with lots of little and huge things you’ve never even imagined existed. Planning, budgeting, finding money to cover all expenses, seeing your life sucked into the never-ending stream of problems that never come alone.

How to survive the first few years of self-employment and succeed? Let’s discuss!

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About Mike Kawula @MikeKawula

Mike Kawula @MikeKawula is dad, husband, entrepreneur, author and co-founder of @DinnerTableMBA helping families build powerful conversations together that strengthens the family.

Mike is author of Self-Employed: Now WTF: The No BS Guide to Not Only Surviving but Thriving in the Early Years of Business which we highly recommend reading if you are planning to become an entrepreneur.

Questions we discussed

Starting business

Q1 How did you become an entrepreneur? Please share your career story!

Growing up my parents would call me Alex P. Keaton. I had little businesses going, learned how to read the WSJ early, even bought Carleton H. Sheets How to buy a Home with No Money Down from a late night info-commercial late night when in High School.

After school I worked on Wall Street, met my awesome wife and on 9/10/2001 found out I was having my first child. On 9/11, before the first Tower fell, I had walked in to resign and take my PT Hustle and go all in.

Since I’ve had a Local Cleaning Business with 50 employees, an online dropship business selling office supplies, a coaching business, a SaaS and now my passion (dream business) empowering Moms & Dads to raise Confident, Happy Kids.

I’ve had a few wins, plenty of lessons and today my new business is more a hobby since it isn’t monetized yet, thus I do a lot of coaching till I find my customer desires/pains. That’s where businesses really take off IMO.

Q2 Let’s talk about your book. What inspired you to write it and how can it help self-employed entrepreneurs to survive the first few years of business?

My process for growing a business works online, offline, local and/or international. Thus, after sharing it over and over with clients & friends, I decided to put it all in a book.

The beginning talks about pushing aside the obstacles we all face (family, friends and even ourselves). The middle goes over a 4-Step System (Traffic, Activate, Delight, Virality/WOM) and the end are 100+ Ideas for Traffic.

I feel there’s tons of opportunity in podcasting for any business.

Q3 There’s a separate chapter on how to set yourself to success? Could you give some takeaways from that one?

3 Big thoughts on setting yourself up for success.

  1. Imperfect Action Beats Perfect Inaction
  2. Eliminate the Naysayers
  3. Don’t be a Foolpreneur

On point 1: Good is better than Great. Striving for perfection & worrying about nonsense can kill a business before it starts. Remember your business day 1 is different day 365 after customer feedback & pivots. Get customers, get feedback & delight.

On Point 2: It’s hard but you may have to eliminate friends &/or Family. You need a good mindset and you have no time for crabs in a bucket that pull you back down. Mentors are good for feedback, negative nellies need to be tossed to the curb.

On Point 3: Follow the Eisenhower Matrix. Google it. Spend your time on the top 2 quadrants and outsource or eliminate the others. Wasted Time can kill a business, focus on Income Producing Tasks & Measuring Performance (ALWAYS).

This is a big part of the book. If anyone wants a copy, Ann will have a Digital I’ll send her to get to anyone who’d like it digitally. This is a big passion of my seeing Entrepreneurs set them selves up for success

Q4 Let’s talk about W.T.F, Where’s the Freedom you dreamed of… Is self-employment really as awesome as we think? How to get yourself prepared for all the stress and hardships? How to still be motivated?

WTF = Where’s the …Freedom, Flexibility, Future BUT WTF do you have all 3? Business is hard and I’m a big proponent of Mentors and Positivity, so much, that sometimes I’ll tune out of Social Media to keep my mind protected.

Make sure to stay healthy. Eat & Sleep well and take a lot of walks. Surround yourself with Uplifters. All nighters are ridiculous… I spent long time working with startups at Ebay Ventures & GA and saw few of them make it.

Lastly I walk almost 3 hours a day thinking, listening to podcasts and in silence. Yes I GSD = Grind occasionally, Sacrifice time with Family and D = I’m Determined…but I’m always focus on…are my Actions GSD in business (not just playing business).

Agree. Have to do what right for your body and family first

Q5 What one piece of advice would you give to someone planning to become self-employed?

Advice 1 (more than one sorry): Nail your messaging so that in less than 3 sentences someone know clearly what you do. Nail exactly who your customer is (talk to each new one, existing one and those that leave to learn everything in detail).

Advice 2: Find 5 People doing something similar to what you’re about to do and learn everything about what they do. Their Messaging, their ads, their emails, their customers and find a way to partner with them in a Win/Win.

Advice 3 (): There’s a lot of BS online. Tune it out. Stay focused on your destination, your customer experience and your family/happiness. Ignore SOS (shiny object syndrome).

Advice 4: Create Virility in your product / customer experience. Partnerships & Existing Customers will beat a Facebook or PPC campaign any & all day.

Advice 5: Lastly put out content early. My biggest mistake early on with my Dropship business was not focusing on SEO & Content and being dependent on Ads. Your going to be in business a while, Content is the gift that keeps giving.

Our previous self-employment chats:


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