The Evolution of the Homeless Entrepreneur: It Happens to the Best of Us

Are You a Homeless Entrepreneur?

What happens when entrepreneurs and small business owners lose their websites, or decide not to have one? How does no longer having your own site negatively affect your brand, when you’re still active on social media and booming on Yelp? Well, in essence, you’re a homeless entrepreneur, thriving off of the hospitality of others.

Are You a Homeless Entrepreneur?
Are You a Homeless Entrepreneur? Image Courtesy of Logomakr

Becoming a Homeless Entrepreneur

I’ve watched many new entrepreneurs come into my virtual world extremely excited about their awesome ideas. They need someone to get excited with them… and for them. Their brands need someone who will take all that excitement and translate it into words… written text… that drives people to want to hear what they have to say.

And, if the content creator’s SEO game is tight, they also get a textual artist who knows how to talk to Google and the other search engines accordingly. So, they get the traffic they need to, at least, start the show.

I do this for them, with the excitement and enthusiasm they need to feel confident about launching their new websites. We get it built. My team of writers gets the content written. And, they’re off!

Then, about a year later… I get those horribly discouraging emails and notifications from their web hosts saying that their websites are no longer active. They simply didn’t renew their domain names.

REALLY? You gave up your website over about 80 bucks a year? And, now you’re a homeless entrepreneur.

What’s the Big Deal with Letting Your Domain & Website Expire?

Your website was your brand’s home. For the small price of just about $80, you could have paid your Home Owner’s Association dues for an entire year.

Instead, you chose to go out there into the world as a homeless entrepreneur. Do you have any idea what being homeless means in the 2018 digital age of business?

Most of you think you have valuable online presences because you are so awesome on social media. Then, there are those of you with local brick-and-mortar businesses, who are killing it on local review sites like Yelp.

But, seriously. Is that enough?

No…… it’s NOT. And, I’ll tell you why.

Your business needs a website to call home.
Your business needs a website to call home. Image Source: Neo Genesis Web

You Are a Homeless Entrepreneur

Let me try to break this down for you so you can get a full grasp of why having your own home is just as valuable as networking at other people’s homes

Facebook for Businesses

What an awesome idea this was back when it was first introduced. But, because Mark Zuckerberg vowed to never charge us to hang out at his house, he had to find ways to monetize the site, so he can make money. So, he now charges businesses to network in his home instead.

That means, if you want to reach your target market on Facebook, you have to pay for advertising. And, because of the way the algorithms are set up, that’s a hit and miss game.

Plus, it’s a SOCIAL NETWORK. People don’t generally hang out at Mark Zuckerberg’s house to watch commercials, listen to sales pitches, shop and buy stuff.

Instagram for Business

If your brand is a visual one, then you really should be on Instagram. However, this cool little hangout spot created for people who prefer images and videos over massive amounts of text, is owned by Facebook.

Therefore, when it comes to the homeless entrepreneur, the rules still apply. Short of #hashtags, you’re limited when it comes to links and such. So, you better be sure to have a valuable link in the one place IG allows it… in your profile.

This route is not so good for businesses, especially since they too changed the algorithms, making it harder for entrepreneurs to reach personal profiles. But, those are the rules of this extension of Mark’s house.

If you have your own house, you could put that URL in your Instagram profile, and direct your friends (drive traffic) to your own home (your website).

Yelp Profiles & Reviews

This review-based social network has gotten so big, it essentially has the ability to make or break your brand’s name. That’s if you don’t stay on top of your game.

So, if you’re a local business, make sure you have a Yelp profile for your business. Keep it updated and respond to all reviews… good, bad and ugly.

However, if you’re like most businesses in 2018, you’re not a local business. Therefore, this is not a really valuable house for you to hang out at to help your business thrive.

This house is broken up by state, then by city. So, as soon as you walk in the door, you’re only allowed to network with local people. If you’re a home-based mobile detailing company, that’s awesome! But, if you’re a home-based content creator, local networking just won’t cut it.

You need to be able to hang out with the people in your local area, then direct them to your home. There, they can come hang out with you sometimes, and see what you have to offer far above and way beyond the local level.

But, you can’t… because you’re a homeless entrepreneur. You don’t have a home of your own.

Facebook Algorithms: More than 100,000 factors determine whether or not your Facebook posts are shown to your target audience.
Facebook Algorithms: More than 100,000 factors determine whether or not your Facebook posts are shown to your target audience. Image Source: Tech Crunch

Where Is Your Value Now?

In many cases, homeless entrepreneurs became that way because their websites sat dormant for an entire year. So, when GoDaddy or other web host hits them up for that annual domain name fee (HOA dues), they don’t pay it. They figure:

“I wasn’t ‘using’ the site anyway. So, what difference does it make?”

It makes a huge difference, because now… you have no home to call your own.

Think of it like this…

It’s one thing to have a furnished home that you just don’t like hanging out at very much. It’s a completely different thing to not have a home at all.

1. Being a Homeless Entrepreneur Means a Gap in Your Resume

Your website serves as part of your online professional resume. Remember the last time you were hunting for a job? You pulled up that old resume and tweaked it over and over again trying to make it suitable for each individual job application.

When you have your own website, you have that same control. You can tweak your site to meet your current niche, current trends, new message, new target market and so much more.

Do you know how many people Google you or your brand when they’re interested in something you’ve said on social media? People Google you even when you want something or offer them something. They want to know who you are first.

These are just some of the people who want to see your “resume” when they Google you. You are talking potential…

  • Customers
  • Clients
  • Vendors
  • Creditors
  • Investors
  • Lenders
  • Donors
  • Employers
  • Employees
  • Contractors
  • Dates (Nlol)

At any given point in time, you have the access needed to update your own resume… your website. You can tweak it for your new niche to reel in new clients or use it as a place to pitch to lenders and investors.

Whatever the case, it’s your house! You set the rules. Because you own it, you control:

  • Who your target market is
  • What it looks like
  • What it is all about
  • When you post
  • Where you target market is
  • How you get your message across
  • Why people come to visit your house

Just like your home is the most important part of your financial portfolio, your website is the most important asset in your entrepreneurial portfolio.

Your website conveys your brand's message in ways you simply can't on social media.
Your website conveys your brand’s message in ways you simply can’t on social media. Image Source: Big Commerce

2. Being a Homeless Entrepreneur Means Having Nothing Valuable to Offer in Return

You can be the coolest friend on the planet. Maybe you’re that friend that loves stopping by Mark Zuckerberg and other people’s homes to encourage other entrepreneurs. People like you are true assets to our lives!

And, if you’re smart enough to hang out at smaller homes, like other entrepreneur’s websites and blogs, then you are really on the path to some valuable networking for your business.

When other small business owners, entrepreneurs and bloggers stop by my home on contentmarketinggeek.com, and leave comments, share posts or send me a message, I feel absolutely honored. Who doesn’t feel all googly inside when someone visits and compliments their home?

That’s what true friendship is about… I come see you… You come see me. We connect on a deeper level when we visit each other’s homes. Right?

Therefore, eventually, I’m going to want to visit your home too someday. But, I can’t… because you’re a homeless entrepreneur.

All You Had to Do Is Just Blog!!!

The way Google and other search engines are set up, this is what happens when your site is dormant…

  1. Search engines crawl your site a few times
  2. They realize you never add new content
  3. So, eventually they just stop wasting time crawling it
  4. No one visits your site

That’s the pattern I’ve watched for years. And, it breaks my heart… ESPECIALLY when I see those same entrepreneurs posting CONSTANTLY on Facebook and Instagram!

LOOKA HERE PEOPLE:

  • Facebook is a blog
  • Instagram is a blog
  • Pinterest is a blog
  • LinkedIn is a blog
  • SnapChat is a blog
  • Reddit is a blog

I don’t know how to get this into the skulls of my customers and clients. But, these social networks ARE BLOGS.

That means… YOU BLOG EVERYDAY. You just do it on Mark Zuckerberg’s blog instead of your own. Now, when you look at it like that, how much sense does that really make?

Get yourself a home of your own. Post those loooooooooong posts on YOUR OWN BLOG, then SHARE THEM on Mark’s blog.

Now, doesn’t that make much more sense?

Some of the major benefits of blogging on your own blog, as opposed to blogging on Mark Zuckerberg;'s blog.
Some of the major benefits of blogging on your own blog, as opposed to blogging on Mark Zuckerberg;’s blog. Image Source: Slideshare

Show Your Followers Some Homestyle Hospitality

As your follower, there will come a time when I’ll want to hang out at your house sometimes. That’s just how online friendships work.

Don’t believe me? Well, look at it like this…

If you had your own home, I could:

  • Stop by and say “Hi” sometimes – You invited me to come by your house (shared a blog post of FB). I clicked it and read it on your site. I’ll probably Like it. And, if it’s really awesome, I’ll comment on it and share it too!
  • Chill and have a couple of cocktails or some tea – I’ve accepted so many of your invites (shared posts), that I now stop by your house regularly and read a post or two on my own. I’m a friend (fan) now, so of course I’ll join your mailing list!
  • Come through for a nice, hot meal – I read something in your newsletter (because I’m on your mailing list) about a free download, webinar, video tutorial, etc… And, I have got to come by your house to get that! Let it be just what I need, and you have reeled in one loyal friend.
  • Warm place to lay my head – Now, I’m having a major problem. And, because I know your brand so well from hanging out at your house so much, I know FOR A FACT that you have the solution to my problem. I am coming straight to your home todayspecifically to shop and click BUY NOW.

At the end of the day, it’s very hard to get me, and most of the consumers of 2018, to click BUY NOW on social media. We prefer to come to your home to see what you have to offer. We also want to hear what you have to say. So, it better be valuable.

How Much Is Your Budget?

If you’re an entrepreneur trying to get your small business of the ground, you need an online presence in 2018. That’s a fact.

No matter what service or product you sell, your potential customers and clients are Googling what they want and need before going out to hunt for it. If you don’t exist online, how in the world will they find you?

But, in the end, many entrepreneurs do not make marketing a priority. So, they make no effort to create a marketing budget whatsoever. This is one of the biggest mistakes made by startups.

Are You My Coca-Cola?

When you think of the #1 soft drink in the world, the name Coca-Cola comes to mind. It’s by far not the best soda pop on the market… well, at least not to me. I mean, let’s face it. Some of us don’t even like cola.

But, yet and still, from one side of the globe to the next, this brand stands as the #1 soda brand on the planet.

WHY?

…because of the marketing team behind the brand. Coca-Cola has had some of the most successful marketing campaigns in the world:

  • Perfect Harmony – Went on a campaign to “teach the world to sing in perfect harmony,” which quickly became an international theme of peace
  • Smiles – Taught us to learn to chill out by simply having “a coke and a smile.”
  • Share A Coke – What Coca-Cola lover doesn’t like sharing pics of their names on fizz on social media?

And, that’s just three! This brand knows how to get inside our minds and make our souls sing out, even if we don’t drink Coke.

Video: Coca Cola Commercial – I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing (In Perfect Harmony) – 1971

In 1971, Coca-Cola launched an unsuccessful campaign. But, producer Billy Davis had a vision, a revamped it as a musically-genius ad called Hilltop. At the time, the $250,000 commercial was the most expensive ever made in history.

Since then, the song has been revamped numerous times. It’s even been transformed into full-length songs by The New Seekers and by The Hillside Singers. This is one jingle that truly sticks in your head.

Watch the recently remastered version of Hilltop below:

You Need a Marketing Budget

Do you believe you have what it takes to make your brand the Coca-Cola of your industry? Then, you need to be prepared to put time and money into your marketing.

That means… unless you have time to run your business and market it properly, you need a marketing budget. Even if you only have $100 per month… that $25 per week can get you a couple of decent, well-researched blog posts to help improve your online reach.

Here’s what you do:

  1. Find yourself an awesome content creator
  2. Give her/him two of your proudest social media posts each week
  3. Have your textual artist create two 500-word blog posts from them, including some research, stats, maybe some quotes and links to authoritative sources

Now, for about $25 per week, you will start to increase the traffic to your site in a matter of weeks… because search engines demand that you update your site regularly with what they call “fresh, new content” in order to rank.

Pay Your Website’s HOA Dues

Then, when you get that notice from GoDaddy to pay about 80 bucks… essentially your Home Owner’s Association dues for parking your house in their community… PAY IT.

Stop branding yourself as a homeless entrepreneur! You are an awesome brand to be reckoned with in 2018. This is YOUR YEAR to shine. Get yourself a home, decorate it, nurture it and by all means… invite people over to mingle with you.

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