Ideal Directories How to Turn Your Past Work Experience into a Flourishing Online Business
Ideal Directories How to Turn Your Past Work Experience into a Flourishing Online Business

How to Turn Your Past Work Experience into a Flourishing Online Business 

Published September 26, 2022

Whether you realize it or not, the work experience you’ve gained from previous jobs can be incredibly helpful in pursuing a career as an entrepreneur. Most people who are or have been in the workforce have many of the necessary skills and knowledge base that can be directly applied to starting their own online business.

No matter what your background is, there are valuable lessons you can draw from it to help you start and run a successful online business directory website. Directory website owners come from all walks of life. You don't need experience specific to the industry, but you can leverage whatever previous work experience you do have. Most people assume that starting an online business like a directory website requires an extensive background in computers or technology, but most actually have experience in sales, retail or marketing. While there are certain skills that can be more helpful than others, it all comes down to identifying your applicable work experiences and the skills you’ve learned so you can use them to your advantage.

So whatever industry or type of company you've worked for in the past, there are plenty of opportunities to apply your previous experience to being an entrepreneur and starting your own business. Read on to find out how to make your previous work experience work for you, so you can build and run your own successful online business with Ideal Directories.

1. Identify your strengths and weaknesses

One of the most beneficial things you can take away from any job you’ve held is understanding your strengths and weaknesses. Think about what you enjoyed most and excelled at in your previous work experiences. Those are your strengths. Then, consider what you didn't enjoy or found challenging. Those are your weaknesses. By understanding your strengths and weaknesses, you can figure out what areas will come easily to you and what you may need to improve on or seek help from others when starting your own business.

For example, if you're a great communicator, you can use that skill to sell business listings and build relationships with potential advertisers. Or, if you have a creative side, you can use that to promote and market your directory website. On the other hand, if sales doesn’t come naturally to you, you might consider hiring a sales rep to sell listings for you.

Here’s a Tip: To help you in this process, grab a piece of paper and create a list of your strengths and weaknesses. Visually looking at the words on the page will help give you a better understanding of yourself so you’ll know what tasks you’ll feel comfortable performing and what might be a challenge for you.

2. Figure out what you’re passionate about

Most entrepreneurs use passion to fuel them, which is shown to have key ties to their creativity, persistence, and overall performance. If you're passionate about something, chances are you have a lot of experience or knowledge about it. Maybe you learned from a previous job that you enjoy researching and writing, or have an interest in marketing and growing a brand. Most people have multiple things they are passionate about, the key is knowing what they are, and how to apply them when starting your own business.

Depending on the type of business you choose to start, you may even be able to find new things you’re passionate about or unveil a passion that you’ve always had. For example, do you like helping people and the thought of helping small businesses in your community? When you start your own directory website you’re providing a valuable resource to your local community and advertising opportunity to small businesses. You’re essentially helping consumers in your area get the products and services they need while also helping small businesses in your area grow and prosper.

Here’s a Tip: Make a list of things you love to do. It can be anything from personal interests to hobbies. Once you have them written down, figure out ways you can apply them to your business. 

3. Tap into your personal network and previous contacts

One of the best ways to jump start your own business is to leverage your existing network and previous contacts. If you’re starting a business directory website, your job is two-fold: You need to generate interest and attract people to your site, while also selling business listings to advertisers. To help you get off on the right foot, think of anyone you know or might have worked with in the past that  would be willing to support you in your new endeavor.

If you have friends or family members that own their own business, pitch them first on a listing. They already know and trust you, so they'd be more willing to take a chance and advertise with you. Also think of your previous co-workers or possibly clients that you’ve worked with in the past. Reach out to them, share a little about your new business and ask if they can recommend a business that should advertise on your site. Not only will this help you get some money coming in, but it can also help you promote your site and spread the word. Tapping into your existing network is a great way to reach potential clients and generate referrals.

Here’s a Tip: Social media is a great resource and way for you to connect with old friends and previous co-workers. Facebook and LinkedIn in particular make it easy to find and search for people. The platforms even recommend people for you to connect with based on those you are currently friends with - making it easy to grow your network.

4. Leverage your previous sales and marketing experience 

While everyone’s career path is different, there are many skills that we acquire and carry with us as we progress through our professional journey. While some skills may seem more applicable than others, don’t write them off right away. Many entrepreneurs tap into their past experiences and find creative ways to apply their learned skills to help them run their business.

As previously mentioned, there’s no “right” or prior work experience needed to run a directory website; however, if you’ve worked in sales and marketing in the past there are many ways that you can benefit from that experience. If you’ve worked in sales before, you may have a good understanding of how the sales pipeline works, the importance of conducting follow ups, and the advantages of using a sales script. If you have marketing experience, you're likely familiar with promoting a brand, designing ads, using social media, and creating compelling content to attract customers.

Here’s a Tip: Are there any tools or resources that you found to be helpful in your past sales or marketing jobs? Maybe you used a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool that made it easy to stay organized and follow up with leads, or a design software like Canva that you used to create professional graphics, or even an email marketing platform that you've used to communicate with customers. If it worked for you once before then it’s worth trying to incorporate it into your own business strategy.

5. Hold yourself accountable

It's important to treat your business like a job, even when you're the boss. That means sticking to regular work hours, minimizing distractions, limiting breaks and being as productive as possible. Sometimes, that may also mean doing things that you don’t necessarily want to do, but doing it anyway because you know it needs to be done.

When you’re a business owner, you don’t have someone else telling you what to do. You need to take responsibility for your actions and hold yourself accountable. When you’re just staring out, this is especially crucial. It's very easy to avoid doing the things that are difficult but matter most (like making cold calls or pitching local businesses) because there is nobody around to say you have to. When you're your own boss, it's also very easy to quit. Most solo-entrepreneurs throw in the towel early, not because they are not successful, but because they didn't stay committed long enough to reach success.

Here’s a Tip: Set short term and long term goals for yourself. Hold yourself accountable to selling a minimum number of listings every month and do everything it takes to reach those goals. Also, stay committed. Get in the mindset that this is a long-term business and stick with it for at least a full year.

6. Learn from others 

There is a true value in learning from others who have experience and knowledge in something that you’re working towards. If you think back to any new job you started, you most likely went through an on boarding or training period. During that time, you probably worked alongside or shadowed another employee who showed you how things are done. You had to follow their direction and apply what you learned so you can do the job you were hired to do.

In the same way, one of the best ways to learn how to start and run an online business is to study those who have already done it. See what worked for them and what didn't, and try to apply those lessons to your own business. Additionally, look for successful entrepreneurs who are willing to mentor you; they can provide guidance and support as you get started. You may follow them on social media and check their page often for motivation and inspiration.

Here’s a Tip: If you're starting your own directory website with Ideal Directories, follow our lead. We've helped hundreds of entrepreneurs launch their own business. We know what works, what doesn't and share those tips when you sign up. Utilize our training material, how-to guides and resources to accelerate your business by piggybacking off the success and knowledge of others.

You’ve got the experience, now start your own business directory website! 

You don't need a highly detailed resume of experience to run an online directory website, but you can leverage whatever previous work experience you do have. Beyond sales and marketing experience, there are a number of different skills and resources that you can use that will help you in your business. From leadership and management, to problem solving and customer service, the experience and the knowledge you’ve gained can come in handy in many ways and help make your directory website business a success.

With some basic computer skills, it’s easy to start and run a business directory website with Ideal Directories. We provide you with all the technology, sales and marketing materials to help you get started. If you follow the resources we give you and use the tools provided, you’ll be able to reach your business goals in no time. Get started today!
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