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How to Bring in Moola When You're Freakin' Broke!

by Guest Blogger, Lena West, Chief Social Media Strategist at xynoMedia Technology

I got an email from a colleague today and she's seriously hurting for cash right now. She's got a good Broke business and a professionally designed website - she just can't seem to turn all that goodwill and collateral into cold, hard dollars for her business. What she needs is full-on marketing of the grassroots kind.

Step 1: Be OK with it -- for the moment.

Your situation isn't going to change overnight so you need to do what you need to do to get things done.  If that means a night job at Wal-Mart, that's what that means. It is what it is. The main thing is for you to realize two important things:

  • This is a temporary set back and;
  • You can get yourself out of this.

Step 2: Accept that you're going to have to use time instead of money.

When you're cash poor, you need to use your time -- and use it wisely.  So, any place that you would normally spend money - you're going to have to do it yourself. That said, use your brain with this one. There are certain skill sets - graphic design comes to mind - that you just can't learn but, aside from those types of skill sets, you're going to have to do a lot of work on your own.

You can't be cash poor AND time poor.

Step 3: Make a list.

These are all of the things that you could do to get cash flowing in - not just right now but for the long term.

When you're doing marketing yourself, there's a ton of things you can do:

  • blogging
  • guest blogging
  • blog commenting
  • lead generation tools
  • cold-calling (yuk!)
  • referral harvesting
  • keep-in-touch marketing
  • power networking
  • speaking
  • writing articles
  • teleclasses
  • webinars
  • newsletters
  • ezines

Step 4: Prioritize your options. 

Some tactics, like referral harvesting, will net results faster than say, ezines. Put all the short-term result-generating activities at the top and long-term activities at the bottom of your list - literally not metaphorically.

Step 5: Pick 3.

As you can see from Step 3, there are loads of activities. Where most people get tripped up is trying to do it all. Wroooooong move. Select three and then do those WELL and CONSISTENTLY.

Step 5a. Be consistent.

If you're going to blog, blog daily at the same time every day.

If you're going to harvest referrals, make a set number of calls per day every day.

Don't think about it. JUST DO IT.

Bottomline: I'd be interested in having any of you, who are currently cash strapped, to go through these steps. I mean REALLY do them - give it your all. And, if in 90 days time, you don't have any more money or clients than today, I'll eat my shorts.


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Lena West


What awesome real-world advice!

I TOTALLY agree with the more people hear about what you're doing (even if it's just a little bit of something...they don't need to know that!) and once they know you're doing well, they'll refer people to you like crazy.

It's all about having a positive mindset and trusting that the work you do provides a serious contribution and makes a huge difference in your client's businesses.

I haven't read the Success Principles book - I'm not a fan of Jack Canfield, but it's interesting that you mention this conecept because I was just reading the same sentiment in a book last night.

Thanks for chiming in,



Definitely reach out to any connections you have - be on their mind! My husband's hairdresser's daughter sees me in the bank at least once a week - so when the local refugee center (of which she's on the board) needed a fresh look for their fundraiser invitation she recommended me - and I handled the design, printing and mailing of the piece - I made a little bit of money on each part; and they got an affordable piece they were thrilled with (their words!). Probably never would have been considered had she not seen me and had me in her head!

Remind everyone of what you do in a non-threatening way (don't appear broke or needy – actually the more you say how wonderfully busy and successful you are the more likely people will hire you!) Network like crazy! Use the time you're not producing cash to produce "client possibilities" and expand on your "positivity factor" - I talk about my clients and people see how happy I am to work and hire/recommend me!

Practice "knowing" the money will be there; envision having what you need, focus on having your needs fulfilled and being grateful for what you have. I used to be afraid the work wouldn’t be there – I let that fear go and got super-productive on what I had to do and work has continued to flow in at an amazing pace ever since!

Jack Canfield’s “Success Principles” is a great resource – one of the best quotes refers to not letting “roadblocks” or “detours” be “stop signs” – it was a life-changing notion to me…

Hope this long-winded comment helps… V-

Lena West



Nonprofit work is a good thing when you're not busy with paying work.

And good personal credit? An absolute necessity!

My personal creidt was SHOT when I started my company and I bootstrapped it in New York on a cash basis. Don't ever let anyone tell you you can't do it. But, try not to get into credit trouble - building my business would have been infinitely easier if I had good credit to start.

Thanks, Mary!


Mary Schmidt

Another tip - from the time when that whistling noise you heard was the wind through my empty bank account - get involved with nonprofit work, ideally in your field. Keeps your name out there, people get to know you as a peer, and you're keeping your skills sharp (and not sinking into depression waiting for something to happen). That volunteer work can also evolve into a paying gig. It did for me with Habitat for Humanity...which in turn led to other things.

Also, for those thinking about going out on their own...your personal credit rating is golden. If you've got good credit, you can bootstrap for years (but you've got to be very disciplined and systematic, duh!)

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