THE BLOG

Calling All First Time Entrepreneurs! The Time Is Now

06/25/2015 05:35 pm ET | Updated Jun 25, 2016

The DIY (Do-It-Yourself) niche used to refer mainly to home renovations or arts and crafts projects. Today, it applies to creating and building your own career as well. Thanks to technology, 'CYO' (Creating Your Opportunities) is the new DIY. It's the name of the game in today's economy. We live in an entrepreneur's dream world where we can create our own opportunities faster and better than ever before thanks to the connectivity of our networks and online communities. The accessibility to people and opportunities is just a click away if you are willing to do the work.

If you want to start your own your own business, you've hit the jackpot in terms of timing. It's never been easier or less risky to start up; whether it's for a product, service or a personal brand/talent. You no longer need the green light from someone else to progress in the field of your dreams. If you have a talent for cooking, you can open a food truck. If you can sing, you start a YouTube channel. If you've developed a new consumer product, you can build a brand and begin to sell it online in about 48 hours (after you've developed the product).

I'm amazed at the freedom that the CYO (Create Your Opportunities) economy offers. I'm not saying it's easy to build a business, but it's certainly possible if you've got passion and persistence, coupled with a service, product or talent that will enhance the lives of many people. If you're not happy in your job and have always had a passion for something else, there is very likely a way to monetize that passion now.

Social media has completely disrupted the marketing and advertising world. The targeted and affordable advertising options on social platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are game changers for both the solopreneur and big brands. Some big brands have finally eased into these new media buys and now many are connecting with social influencers and bloggers and have budgeted accordingly. People with large online communities are being paid to promote products or serve as paid brand ambassadors.

From people with amazing talent to those with a unique perspective or even just an oddball personality that attracts a mass audience, YouTube has been a cash cow. The numbers associated with views, subscribers and revenue are absolutely stunning! It's not about waiting to be discovered in Hollywood anymore, it's about putting your gift out there and offering it up to the world through YouTube. A viral video can be life changing for a brand or entrepreneur/small business.

There are YouTubers who generate six- and seven-figure incomes from building their own channel and basically having a ball doing what they love. Brands are knocking down their doors so aggressively that the top YouTubers now have management and representation at elite talent firms in Hollywood. Here's some YouTube inspiration for you: The Top 10 Highest Paid YouTubers, curated by the 'Most Amazing Top 10' channel, which compiles Top 10 lists every week and has 87,000 subscribers. This particular video has 792,000 views.

In the old days if you loved to cook, maybe you went to culinary school and worked your way up through the grueling kitchen life, a la Anthony Bourdain. Now, if you've got talent, great tasting food and a unique niche, you can open a food truck (Cousins Maine Lobster, Koji BBQ Taco truck, the Grilled Cheese truck) and tweet your way into every neighborhood without ever signing a lease.

If you've got a product or service idea, you can have your own brand up and running in just days. You can even have others pay for the proof of concept through crowd funding! Some of the most popular crowd funding platforms are Kickstarter, Indiegogo and Crowdfunder.

There are plenty of businesses that will help set up your solid business foundation quickly, effectively and affordably. Here are links to several resources:

  • LegalZoom is easy & affordable for setting up your DBA, ownership status,Tax ID, trademarks, copyrights and miscellaneous other legal services.
  • eLance is a platform with freelancers that offer all sorts of services from graphic design to SEO to just about any aspect of building your business.
  • Fiverr also has independent contractors who will do just about any creative or professional service for (starting at) five bucks.
  • Shopify and Squarespace are great eCommerce platforms.
  • Square is one of several apps that allow you to accept credit card payments via your phone. It was founded by Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey.
Building your own website is now affordable and quite accessible even for non-techies. Joanna Stern wrote a Wall Street Journal article with her top picks for build your own website tools. It's not necessarily the 'build it and they will come' economy though. It's a very noisy online world but it sure is possible to give it a shot now without terrible risk, especially if your product or service doesn't cost much to produce and you utilize search engine optimization. That's a must.

There is one absolute must-have character trait that has to be in place in order to take on the CYO (Create Your Opportunities) lifestyle, it's drive. You are your own leader. You have to be self- driven and willing to pave your own path to success. If you are self-motivated, willing to hustle, to learn, to ask, to build, to work... to create your own opportunities, you can curate your own career.

The Internet now offers a level playing field for those who may have been long shots in the past. This Create-Your-Opportunities economy is exciting and liberating. Anything is possible if you can figure out a way to create, build and expose your idea, product, service or talent to enough people to be able to earn a living doing what you love.

You don't have to build an empire. just take advantage of today's technology. Take baby steps, it's a process but it's definitely do-able.

  • First, you have to get clarity on what it is you really want to do.
  • Then start by making a list of steps/possibilities that will lead you toward that goal.
  • A little momentum on a daily basis can be very powerful.

If you want to be an entrepreneur, do it now. There's never been a better time to create your own opportunities... and then share it all on social media!