This is the greatest time ever to be in business for yourself.
No, not the third best time, or even the second. It is THE greatest time to be an entrepreneur, ever.
And I can confidently say that without hyperbole for a variety of reasons. Want to start a one-person business? Great, you can. Want to start a business on a shoestring? Easy peasy. Want to be small but grow big? Got you covered.
The main reason for this is that technology has transformed the playing field. Today, any business can be small but look big, act big, and make big bucks.
I have recently had the privilege of getting sneak peeks and previews of some of the top tools technology companies have been developing to make the business of small business better, and they are pretty amazing.
Let’s start small, with a one-person business and the idea of freelancing. If it seems that everyone has a side-hustle these days, that’s because it is essentially true, and a main reason is that technology has made finding and getting gigs easier than ever.
UpWork for instance is a fantastic online platform where freelancers can bid on projects. Recently, UpWork published its annual Freelancing in America survey and that report exemplifies what I am talking about:
In the past four years alone, the number of freelancers who have made solopreneurship their full-time gig has jumped from 17% to 28%. Why? Among other reasons, not only do technology and platforms like UpWork make finding gigs much easier, but people love it – 71% said they would not leave freelancing for a job “for any amount of money.” Wow.
What if you need help running your business? Then I would say you should check out one of the latest online dashboards on the market.
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One of my favorites is made by Keap (formerly Infusionsoft.) This all-in-one tool helps small businesses all along the sales cycle: From marketing and acquiring new leads to tracking those leads to managing staff to invoicing clients.
What’s even better about the Keap CRM (Customer Relationship Management) is that it automates the entire sales process, freeing you up to do other things. The software automatically handles follow-up, updates client records, and gets you paid.
What if what you are just looking to start a business?
Consider the latest from Yahoo Small Business and their new tool called Business Maker. A few weeks ago, I was in Chicago and was given a demonstration of it by Kush Shrivastava, the managing director of Yahoo Small Business. To say I was impressed would be an understatement.
The dashboard easily guides you through the startup process, as Yahoo has teamed up with an array of partners like PayPal, Symantec and Legal Inc.,to help you get going.
This intuitive one-stop-shop walks you through the steps needed to start your business and then seamlessly offers the tools and partners needed to take you to the next level. And maybe best of all, it is designed to scale and grow with your business.
Finally, what if you need help with your website and social? While many of the tools and platforms above certainly can help with this, I must make special mention of the latest from GoDaddy.
Called Websites + Marketing, it is the "+" that really stands out. There are plenty of sites out there that will help you build a business website, but what was impressive about the GoDaddy option was that it integrates social and marketing into the process.
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As explained to me by GoDaddy’s celebrity spokeswoman Ayesha Curry, the AI-powered InSight tool helps you create a customized action plan based on your individual business and market needs. With this dashboard, you can manage, all in one place, your site, your social media, your email campaigns, pay-per-click, everything.
So yes, it is indeed the greatest time ever to be an entrepreneur.