I wrote my Entrepreneur 101 post back in February and added Entrepreneur 101 as a stand alone page around the same time. I wanted to create a page where I could share all of the little things, services and time savers that I’ve learned in five years of entrepreneurship with anyone else who’s thinking about starting a business. Entrepreneur 101 has been my most popular post and my most popular page, almost since I wrote it, so I’m happy at least someone’s reading it. Hopefully it’s been helpful to at least one person so far.
I’ve learned a bunch more since writing Entrepreneur 101 and wanted to update the page to include some of the cool tools I’ve been using with Entrustet over the past few months.
Help A Reporter Out – HARO
I heard about HARO through Ellen Nordahl (check out her blog, it’s a good one) about 6 weeks ago and quickly signed up. HARO is a free way for you to get PR about your area of expertise. You sign up for the HARO emails and receive 3 per day. Each HARO email has about 50ish requests for experts and sources from journalists who need information for stories they want to write. I’ve seen reqeuests for sources from national publications, magazines, tv shows and other high influence publications, as well as smaller blogs looking for good stories. If you see a request for info where you have expertise, you create a pitch in your HARO account and it gets sent to the journalist. If the journalist thinks you’re a good fit, she will get back to you either by phone or by email. I’ve been a member for probably about 6 weeks and have responded to 6 requests and have been mentioned in two articles, with a third one on the way.
You should subscribe to HARO just for the entertainment that comes from reading about all of the different stories that people are looking to write in the near future and from the intros to each email. If you sign up, make sure to check out the founder Peter Shankman’s blog post about how to use HARO correctly.
HighRise – 37 Signals
37 Signals is a good company to know, even if you only read their great corporate blog. They create really simple productivity tools that help you get things done. We use HighRise to manage all of our contacts for Entrustet and it’s really inexpensive, about $15 per month. You should start using a spreadsheet for your contact and task management, but once you get over about 50-75 contacts that you need to manage, check out HighRise. 37 Signals also puts out a great checklist management program as well as Basecamp, Backpack and Campfire, which are other great tools to check out.
Get Satisfaction lets your users tell you what they like, don’t like and would like to see improved on your website. It is also a community based customer service program. For example, if someone has a question about how to use your service, they can ask it on your Get Satisfaction community and anyone of your users, or you, can answer the question to provide the answer. I’m not using it now, but have used it with clients in the past. At $15 per month, it is a great solution as soon as your startup or company starts to grow and gain users.
Wufoo makes creating forms easy and makes the forms themselves interesting and fun. We’ve only experiemented with their free version, so I can’t comment on the paid versions, but check them out if you are creating forms.
I know I talked about networking in the original post, but I can’t stress enough how important it is to talk to others in your community. Social media is a good starting point, but real relationships are made with face to face meetings and phone calls, not 140 character tweets or even emails. You can use social media to augment your relationships, but there is no substitute for getting out there and talking with people.
Do you have any websites, services or tips that you think should be added to Entrepreneur 101? Do you disagree with any of mine? Let me know, it’s always a work in progress.