How To Start An IT Business
One of the fastest growing and most profitable markets in the world is Information Technology. When I first started my IT business, I had more questions than answers. I had little money, little experience and didn’t know where to start. I took a big risk at the time but it paid off more than I could ever imagine.
Everything I learned about IT was on my own. Just like you today, I read articles, watched videos and prior, I had NO experience at all. Can you start an IT business with no experience? You could, but you better be a quick learner, at least know the basics of the IT field you’re getting into.
It’s this simple, I started an IT business because I was tired of struggling. Worrying about bills, I get it. I had a growing family, a minimum wage job that wasn’t leading to anywhere. But I took a chance and never looked back. Today, I’m going to show you how I have grown my IT business and how you can do the same.
Choosing Your IT Field
All of you will have to choose your IT field. Information technology businesses can offer a wide variety of services to customers, from web design to search engine optimization. I started out learning online marketing, SEO and web design. The more IT services you can offer, the more marketable you become.
Keep in mind, I knew nothing about IT. Sure, I could surf the web, but as for my technical skills, I knew nothing.
I didn’t go to an IT school, I didn’t take online IT classes. I learned for free by reading articles and watching YouTube videos. So if you have no IT experience, it doesn’t matter. If I can learn it, you can learn it.
I learned everything that I could for 6 months. By this time, I was capable of handling small IT projects. While I didn’t take on any clients, I did create my first stream of income.
Earning Money While Training
6 months is a long time to go without any income. I’ve been writing since the mid 90s. I did ghost writing and SEO writing part-time in the early 2000s. While I knew how to write for SEO, I wasn’t experienced in other SEO techniques. But back then, you really didn’t have to do much but build links. I didn’t know technical SEO and strategies, but I knew the basics.
A few years passed and I was tired of my job, I wanted to work from home and make a career out of it. After a few days of searching, I came across Hubpages. Hubpages is pretty popular, you’ve likely heard of it. Hubpages taught me a lot and I was one of their top writers for years. (Based on traffic results) You can earn money with Hubpages by writing content. You can also earn from Google, Amazon and Ebay.
Don’t think Hubpages could pay off big? I’ve earned over $32K there. It has been a consistent income stream for me for years. It’s free to join them. It helped me as a writer, applying SEO to keywords, designing pages. It was a huge stepping stone for me.
I also joined affiliate marketing programs to earn cash on the side, generating my 2nd, 3rd and 4th income streams. Today, I have over 50 income streams. This is where you sell other people’s products for them to earn a commission. There’s literally thousands of programs to choose from.
If you’re looking to start a business in this realm, check out Online Blog Guru.
Joining Freelance Platforms
The very first freelance platform I joined was Elance. Joining Elance literally changed my life forever. Within my first month of joining, I done landed my first 5 clients. This was week one. I found myself at a crossroad, a decision that would change my lifestyle forever.
I was quickly faced with two options, either work full-time as a freelancer or continue to work at my 9-5 job. But here’s the thing, I couldn’t do both. The 5 clients were a full 60 hour work week. I could no longer work at home and at my job. This came up quick, I still remember making the decision.
I was scared as hell, I was getting ready to quit the bloodline of my income. It wasn’t much of an income, but I counted on that weekly money. I worked that job and online for a few weeks, stretching it out as long as I could. Then one night, I told my wife I’m quitting.
She told me I was crazy. I felt I was crazy, but it was the best decision I ever made. 2 months later, my wife was able to quit her full-time job and she was able to stay home with the kids.
All Of You Will Face A Decision
Most of you that want to learn how to start an IT business, you’re doing so because you hate your job. Some of you may be laid off, I know there’s a lot of coal miners hurting now. And if you’re working, you’ll likely face a similar scenario.
Will you dance? Or will you go on working a job that leads you nowhere?
If you’re like me, you will self reflect. I thought about a lot, my job, my bills, my wife, my children. That’s a tough decision.
Perhaps your decision is easier and I hope it is. I guess my point, you have to be serious about starting your IT business. There’s no half-assing this. You need to do it right and I’ll walk you down the path. But please, be deadly serious about it.
Working 7 Days A Week
Being your own boss of an IT business, it’s awesome. I love traveling, I love speaking to others with the same passions. I enjoy talking to students. But make no mistake, this is hard work. Very hard work.
You’re responsible for everything. Both good and bad. That can add a lot of stress, especially if you’re working with multiple clients at the same time. Here’s what helped me.
- Time Management – You must learn how to properly manage your time.
- Workflow – Assign work to be done.
- Make A Schedule – You work more efficient when you have a schedule to follow.
- Get The Right Tools – Every IT business needs the right tools.
- Outsourcing – Eventually, you either hire in-house or you outsource.
Making Meaningful Connections
When you first start your IT business, it’s likely very few know you. One of the most important steps you’ll need to take is building relationships. The good news, you have more than enough resources to start making some friends.
Anyone that knows me knows I failed at this early in my career. The biggest mistake I’ve made. Trust me, you need friends. Not just relationships, but real friends.
My friend Michael Pozdnev is the owner of I Wanna Be A Blogger. Michael is one of the best at making new relationships and branding his company. He just recently published One Simple Hack To Blogger Outreach, make sure you read it. Plenty of awesome insights on how you can grow your own network.
Ian Clearly is another great talent you want to get to know. Ian is the founder of Razor Social. His Guide To Blogger Outreach is the perfect blueprint to for all levels. It’s a must read, do take the time to check out his website.
In the IT industry, there’s a lot of great influencers in every imaginable genre. If you want your IT business to be successful, and I’m talking 6-7 figure profits, you have to establish yourself as a thought leader in your niche.
And one of the most successful techniques that will get you there is knowing your topics and outreach.
Strive For Perfection And Learn It All
One of the best choices I made growing my IT business was learning everything I could. For the past 10+ years, I learn something new every day by reading an article or watching a video. I am self-taught. Again, I never took the first class in route to starting Hale Associations or growing it.
I’m not going to say you shouldn’t take IT classes that are offered. We all learn differently. For me, I did better doing it on my own.
I’ve been picky all my life, but I founded by business on one main principle, “I’m going to be the best at this come high hell or not.” That was my mindset. And by positively thinking in this manner, it pushed me to work my ass off and still does today.
Here’s what you need to remember, clients come to you (majority) because they want to grow their business. High rankings, big time exposure, that’s all great. But when it comes down to the bottom line, it’s all about revenues and profit.
Yes, if you don’t make a company more money, it’s viewed as a fail.
Now, in web development and web design, not as much. But digital marketing? You bet. It’s all about sales. So don’t get disappointed if you’re doing all you can and the end results are not there. It happens to the best of us.
The key to protect your young IT business is knowledge.
Freelance IT Business
When I first started out, technically I had a job, but I wasn’t an official business yet. I was a freelancer getting my feet wet. Platforms like Elance, Freelancer, Odesk, Upwork, these were my stepping stones.
Starting out in IT, these platforms are perfect for new IT freelancers and businesses. Unless you have leads coming in through your website, this will likely be your main resources for lead generation and new clients.
When I joined these platforms, my business took off. Within a month, I was fully booked and making a name for myself. A year later, I was able to launch my IT business and become official. Anyone can have that same success.
I’ve seen so much success from freelance platforms, I still work there and even though we get leads through Hale Web Development, these platforms keep our work load full.
To become an official business, you should see what is required by your state to do so.
Get Your Website And Blog Up
Your website and content will always be a reflection of you and your business. Remember that. Personally, I neglected my website for some time. If you’re offering web design services, what will potential clients think if your site is barely pieced together?
They will likely laugh and move on. That’s just the reality of it.
Treat your business website like you would a client. Your website is a valuable key to growing your online business.
Everyone needs a Google Analytic account and Search Console account (formerly Google Webmaster Tools) This will allow you to track important data points for your website and clients’ websites.
Here’s how to build a blog in minutes.
Choosing A Business Name And Domain Name
This is easier said than done. However, this is very important and you need to try and get it right the first time around.
Your business name and domain name should match if possible. If not, your business must be branded toward your services and products.
If you can include a keyword that has search volume in your business name and domain name, more power to you. But ultimately, you want to do your best to choose the correct name so you don’t have to rebrand yourself later on.
Once you know your business and domain name, you can go to set up a hosting account. I’ve always used GoDaddy and Bluehost. I leave nothing to chance when it comes to my business, you shouldn’t either. I’ve been with them both for years and I’ve never had the first issue.
If you sign up with Bluehost from Hale Web Development, you get a special savings. You can sign up here.
*We’re a Bluehost affiliate and receive commissions. We appreciate your support.
Choosing WordPress For My Business
There’s a number of different reasons why I choose WordPress over all other platforms. For one, it’s very easy to learn. You can learn WordPress in a day without question.
Secondly, from Bluehost or GoDaddy, you can install your WordPress site with one click.
Thirdly, have you worked in the admin of Joomla or Drupal? Tough to get around, even for us experts. WordPress is simple to navigate and has a much friendlier interface.
Another reason is functionality, features and themes. With WordPress, you have tons of options to enhance your website, make it look better, more professional. There’s more resources out there for WordPress than any other platform.
There’s no question that WordPress was the right choice for me and my business. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
You’ll have access to premium WordPress themes and plugins as well. These are simple to use and adds new limits to your website’s functionality and appearance.
Search Engine Optimization
Every website needs it, you’ve likely heard of it before. SEO, also known as search engine optimization. Organic traffic is usually the top converting traffic. This is why it’s crucial to know what SEO techniques help you rank in Google. There’s thought to be over 200 in total.
SEO Guide To WordPress – Great guide that shows you how to optimize your WordPress website for SEO.
There’s a lot to learn in today’s SEO, way much more than when I first started in the early 2000s. It’s a term and strategies you must become familiar with, especially for those of you looking to start a SEO business.
One of the best and most affordable SEO softwares on the market is SEO Profiler. Check my full 10,000 word review on SEO Profiler. I’m also a huge fan of Ahrefs.com
Just like Hale Web Development, there’s a ton of awesome websites and platforms to learn.
Social Media Marketing
Just like SEO, social media marketing is another important strategy you’ll need to learn to grow your IT business. Facebook is the king of social media and no other social platform comes close.
You can use Facebook to grow your network and promote your business. Facebook’s new features really provide some amazing data and feedback, opportunities as well. There’s a ton of different ways to market your business on Facebook.
Go back to the importance of making meaningful connections. Facebook makes it easier than ever before. Go out, use your personal and business profiles to connect with influencers in the IT industry.
Be sure to connect with us on Facebook, I’ll connect with you also.
Outsource Or In-House Hiring
At some point, I hope you get your business to this level. Should you outsource your work? Or do you go in-house? Personally, Hale Associations does both. However, we didn’t start outsourcing until this year. The first few years was completely in-house.
Please take note, it only take one bad experience to make your life a living hell. There’s nothing wrong with outsourcing. In fact, it can work great. We work with a wide range of SEOs, PR firms and Marketers. But when you first start out, you have to be careful.
Most businesses fail within the first two years of launching. The stats are overwhelming. I don’t want to discourage you, but some of you reading this will fail. It’s nothing more than the business cycle.
If you choose to outsource your work, you have to have 110 percent faith they will perform the work. After all, it’s not their name on it, it’s your name and your business. This is what scared the hell out of me. I have a hard time trusting people.
I didn’t want to risk our reputation on outsourcing, so I hired and personally trained our entire team.
If you want your business to grow to a 6-7 figure business, you will need more then just you to pull it off. Eventually, your business can get to this level. This is also where your connections (friends) can come into play. Hopefully you’ll have friends you can depend on when the time is needed.
I love interviewing people and I prefer to hire in-house. But a successful business has to have one or the other, or both to grow. Sure, automation can help, but it only gets you so far. At the least, you need a good few experts to help manage the business.
Reviews And Reputation
Reviews and reputation are very important as you first start your business. This is especially true for those of you that will be working on freelance platforms for projects. My best advice, do a great job. A 5 star review is valuable.
I’ve always went the extra mile for clients. For most of them, it’s greatly appreciated and my positive reviews reflected that. Just like my profile on Upwork, I’m recommended by 97 percent. That’s huge and I get 2-3 job offers a day due to my profile.
Make sure your profile is detailed and accurate. It’s never too early to start your portfolio. Always keep track of results, you can use these as case studies. Try to do a great job and if you do, the positive reviews will come in.
Starting out, the only thing your business has is your reputation, so be kind to her. Great work always pays off. I’m a firm believer in what goes around comes around. Always be honest.
Clients can be tough to handle. If you’re starting a SEO business, check out this article on client and freelancer relationships.
Hale Associations Today
I couldn’t be more proud at where my business is today. We have constantly grew every year we’ve operated. We have exceeded a 6 figure income and we have our aim at 7 figures. The markets for IT projects and jobs continues to grow. There’s a ton of great opportunity for anyone looking to start an IT business.
SEO, SMM, web designers, all of these IT positions are in high demand.
I hope you leave here inspired and ready to start your online business. Remember, I’m here to help you. If you have any questions, leave a comment.
You can reach me directly at email@example.com