Fake it Till You Make it: A Startup Guide for Millennials

Landing your first few clients is a challenge every new business owner has to face. This can be made even more difficult if you’re one of the many millennials taking on the world of entrepreneurship for the first time. You’re not only competing against those more experienced than you, but you’re likely being judged by your age, a cue others rely upon too heavily to tell them how experienced you are. So how do you get your first break?

The key is believing in yourself, and then translating that confidence into something your potential client can see. In other words, you may have to “fake it till you make it.”

Get real about commitment, millennials

In order to transform your business idea into reality, you have to commit, fully and completely with everything you have.

That means making sacrifices, focusing your attention on your new business as your full-time job and side gig all at the same time. Not only does this level of commitment put you on the path to success, it also gives you credibility as a serious entrepreneur. 

Related: 5 Millennial Entrepreneurs You Should Know About in 2017

Embrace tech tools to up your professional game

Millennials grew up the generation immersed with computers, smartphones and tablets. Embrace it, and make it one of your greatest competitive advantages.

Make use of sites like Wix and SquareSpace to create a slick, professional website that says you’re the real deal. Get rid of your personal email address and register for a business domain, using an email provider like Gmail by Google or Office 365 by Microsoft that provides a clean, professional email template you can personalize with your branding.

Mobile apps that allow you to quickly create professional looking invoices, as well as accept debit and credit card payments on the go are also incredibly beneficial. Supplying a professional service throughout customer and client transactions means billing in a timely manner and allowing your clients to pay how they want to pay.

Talk to anyone who will listen

Almost as important as what you know, what skills you have and the passion you bring to the job, is who you know. And who knows about you.

Think of every business interaction as a possible referral, or a chance to gain new insights. Take the opportunity to talk about your business and your goals with those in your network, and ask for introductions to those who are not.

When you meet someone who’s especially connected in your field, ask them for a referral. More often than not, people are happy to help you make the right connections. And those connections will only add to your confidence as an entrepreneur.

Use social media to build your brand

Consumers often look to your business’ social media presence to help form an opinion about how successful you are. Do you have a strong following? Do you post consistently? Is everything you post high quality, and on-par with your branding?

Get creative about how you can align yourself with your ultimate goal. A first-time floral designer told me that before she had a few real life wedding gigs under her belt, she would buy flowers and create bouquets specifically for her Instagram feed. Anyone looking at her business on Instagram could see the type of work she could produce even before she landed her first job. Share your skills, knowledge and passion with the world even before your big break.

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Back yourself and know your worth

The single most important cue that you are worthy of someone’s business is believing that you are.

You’re venturing down the path of entrepreneurship because you are passionate, you know you have what it takes and you believe the product or service you are offering is valuable. Have the confidence in yourself and in your work to put yourself out there. While it can be tempting to give your first few clients a discount, that undermines your true value. That’s the last thing you want to do when your main objective is to build your confidence, and your reputation, as a successful entrepreneur.

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