the drift

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Working With What You've Got

Sage Yazzie
June 13, 2023

An introduction to growing your new business

As a new or smaller business, cost-effective ways to grow will always be an owner's best friend. This way of growth is relative to today's environment, as the digital era has made it easy to start your brand, even if you're initially working elsewhere. Web-based services, for example, can create a living off virtually no budget besides LLC registration fees. Any business can achieve this through the diversity of marketing strategies, no matter how small. They add up over time, and funding is just a fast-forward button; utilizing as many cost-effective ways as possible can optimize growth organically and sometimes even passively. This comes with many different ways to market and profit from your brand. However, it can get complicated quickly if not put into a real-world scenario for reference. In this blog series, I will expand on the many ways you can go about cost-effective growth through my experience as a new business owner.

This week, I'd like to share my thought process behind why I started a business at such a busy time in my life and the zero repercussions it could have brought to me versus beginning a few years later. I will also start the list of ways you can diversify your brand by trying new things and seeing what works for you, as there are countless ways to build brand awareness while not breaking the bank. A living's worth of profitability isn't going to be the first thing you stumble upon, so like I said above, the little stuff adds up over time and can create bigger and better opportunities down the road.

I started my own business about six months ago amid my undergraduate degree with the intention of not having enough time or money to give it my full attention immediately. In my eyes, consistency and commitment are the two most essential traits for starting a business, and I saw no reason for either of them to be compromised. My initial thought process is better explained through the following statement: As long as I make the COMMITMENT to register my business and put CONSISTENT effort into creating brand awareness(no matter how small)... It's better than starting a few years later with no foundation. I would preach this to anyone considering starting a business, as the avenues for organic/cheap growth are endless. 

My brand's beginning has identified itself as a videography and photography service, which only takes a little structure to get started. Still, it was a good starting point as I am very passionate about it and could find free time to indulge. This allows me to provide a profitable service at minimal cost(besides the gear it took to get started) and provide my brand with content to create an image and voice for itself. I also started working for oakpool when I registered my LLC, which has taught me not to be stagnant. Being open-minded to different types of profitability and marketing is vital for early growth. For example, one of my earliest brand awareness campaigns was creating stickers with my logo and getting them out there in any way I could. This included every way you can think of besides e-commerce: giving them away to friends, family, and strangers, sticking them in places with decent traffic, etc. I only sold around half of the stickers I bought to break even on the financial investment. I didn't care if I made any money as this was a "free" reach campaign with my social media outlets seeing correlative growth that seemed worth the hassle. I did, however, gain a few clients through the sticker campaign paired with organic social media that I had been posting weekly. Ultimately, this left me with a great ROI(return on investment). I plan on doing the sticker campaign again as it is easy and low risk, but I also want to build up a step higher with t-shirts sometime soon. Also, to go on a little rant about digital advertisements, they are definitely to my disadvantage as of right now. What I mean is, if you don't have a stream of income already, it doesn't make much sense to me to spend an already minimal budget on attempting to gain a client or two. Instead, you can get your first couple organically and reinvest that income into a planned marketing budget. And that is not to say that online ads are bad because they are a fantastic tool when used right. Organic reach and brand awareness seem like the more logical place to start for me, and I hope that makes sense. I'll elaborate in a later article on how great Meta and Google ad campaigns can be, but for now, let's just stick to stickers and word of mouth, as they can lead to conversions without harassing your wallet just for a lead. In most cases, I would suggest this approach to any new or smaller businesses and hope you keep that in mind when choosing a direction early on.

I don't care how cheesy it sounds; pressing the start button is truly half the battle. I hope my initial experiences as a new business owner has sparked some confidence in anyone thinking about starting their brand. Growth will be a slow and steady race for most with a tight budget, but it is still possible. Diversity is critical in cost-effective growth, and I can't wait to share more ways with you as I continue to find them along my journey. Next time, I'll share how organic content and engagement is a must-take, low-hanging fruit through my experience working at oakpool. I work with many different types of companies that use a similar formula for organic growth, and the commonalities are worth reiterating due to their applicability across platforms.

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