Rich Bitch Step 8: Work It, Bitches

Catch up here: Part 1. Part 2. Part 3. Part 4. Part 5. Part 6. Part 7.


Rich Bitch
Rich Bitch by Nicole Lapin

I want to say that I run a couple successful websites that earn income based on ad-revenue, but the truth is, I’m still struggling to find my audience and keep people coming back for content. In creating this website, and also Around the World in 80 Books, I’ve become a sort-of business owner. I pay for my own expenses, write my own diversified content, market myself to anyone who will listen, and generally manage my site. This chapter’s focus is on the entrepreneurial spirit that’s in all of us and how to effectively push yourself to becoming your own boss and moving your career forward.

Step 8: Are you ready to be your own boss?

A simple quiz should help put things in perspective.

  1. Do you have 6-9 months of expenses saved up?
  2. Have you done a ton of research into the profession? Have you studied the competition and talked to others who are already in the business?
  3. Have you come up with a business plan?
  4. Are you already established in the industry, with a good resume, complete with experience and references?
  5. If your grand plan fails, can you quickly get another job?
  6. Do you need extensive health coverage for yourself or family?
  7. Have you recently become frustrated with work and want to pursue what seems like a cool idea?
  8. Do you have a new idea for a business…almost every day?

If you answered yes to the first four questions, you’re on the right track to starting a business, if you answered yes to 6-8, you might need a reality check, and to do some more research.

I will admit, with my websites, I can definitely reach out to other bloggers and professionals to see how they grew their audiences, there’s nothing wrong with that. Could I improve my industry connections and network my way through industry events? Sure. I know there are things I can improve on. Including the savings aspect–listen, I’m working on it!–there are certain steps to researching and starting a successful business that elevate the platform.

This chapter is brutally honest. Lapin asks readers “are you ready?” and if the answer is no, that’s okay, but it’s better to have ideas firmly planted in reality, than start a business on a whim and expect it to go well.

Steps to starting a business:

  • Have a plan. Create a business plan, both an elevator pitch and on paper, that way, if you speak to a potential investor, you will have your plan (including costs and projected profits) ready to send their way.
  • Know the jargon. Understand the difference between revenue and profits. Research your field and know what is expected of you as a person in that industry. I can’t say how many times I’ve messed this up in job interviews for entry level positions because I wasn’t prepared.
  • Put it in writing. Any business venture needs a contract with the other party. Do not skimp on this. Verbal agreements will not get you anywhere if you’re screwed over.
  • Dream with your eyes wide open. Have realistic expectations for success. Know that it won’t happen right away, or even a year from now.
  • Don’t be a dictator. Work with people, not lording over them.
  • Maintain your relationships. Keeping contacts, even if they are from your old job, never hurts.
  • Eat a slice of humble pie. It takes a while to get yourself together. Know that you will make mistakes and you don’t know everything (this is the hardest thing for me to learn!).

Lapin sums up the networking portion of building relationships in the last half of the chapter. As with any other article on networking on the internet, it comes down to being a good person and making a good impression. That sounds simple in theory and it is much harder in reality. For me, it’s easier to speak with a small group of people I don’t know, rather than a large conference room full of strangers. I’ve learned that if we’re doing an activity, it’s easier to speak freely. But if it’s networking for the sake of networking, that where I start to get anxious. I recently left a networking even after the panel was over because I was too anxious to stay at the bar and awkwardly talk with someone. I was worried that I’d just be stuck in a corner and watching the crowd. The fear of networking kept me from meeting new people and refreshing older connections. There are other networking events coming up that I can hopefully make new connections. Lapin also suggests that maintaining relationships is just as important. If you meet someone in a mentor position, send a small gift that reminds you of them, or send a follow up email with details about your conversation and a suggestion to meet for coffee at a specific place. It really would go a long way in maintaining those professional connections. This advice can be applied to any industry and it feels more accessible than some of the other chapters.

And of course, networking events are not the only way to meet people, Lapin actually suggests having conversations on Twitter and reaching out to people through social media. This is more my speed! Other places that combine work and play are volunteer organizations that align with your interests. For me that would be anything involving literacy. Luckily, I’ve already signed up with an organization that helps me get involved with numerous literacy organizations throughout NYC. It’s a great way to network and also do good for the community.

Overall, I think this chapter was the most relevant to my life. I’m not starting a business yet, but I’m in the business of working hard to get what I want. I have career goals that align with my websites, outside interests, and work ethic. The advice she offered was solid and not condescending. So maybe I’m not ready to start my own business right now, but I feel that it’s not completely out of reach.

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