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How to Make $20K in Your First Business

Business is tough! Starting your first business is scary, it takes a great amount of determination, patience, and passion. There are countless unknown variables and circumstances that will impede your momentum and attempt to block your success. But keep going!

An Old Dollar Bill

I'm not a millionaire and I won't pretend to be. This article won't teach you how to make a million dollars in 6 months because I haven't reached that point yet! But this article will show you how to make $20K in your first business.

Now, to some people, $20K might not be a lot of money but to me, a young African American male raised in the ghettos of South Central Los Angeles, making it out alive was pitted against 2 to 4 odds. Furthermore, making $20K legally in business was simply unheard of amongst my peers, end of story!

Last year to my amazement we racked in a whopping $23,423.44 dollars for 2016.

I know you could use an extra $20K in that business you're about to start? Give me a few minutes to show you how I did it, and how you can make $20K in your first business.

Change Your Mental Model

This might be cliche but it's true. In order to make $20K in your first business, you must believe you can! You MUST change your mental model to embrace the fact that making twenty thousand in business is in the realm of possibilities.

For me to believe that I could make $20K was a tough jump. All my life I was raised in the hood and there was nobody within a 10-mile radius who was rich. My parents weren't rich, my grandparents weren't rich and I had no rich relatives.

To be frankly honest, I didn't believe that I could make $20K until I actually seen it. And this begs the question, what comes first, the goose (the belief) or the egg (the money).

I'm not sure if the goose or the egg came first but I do know this, in order to change your mental model, you must do it through ACTION.

Your action is a pathway to change! Scientifically proven, when a person acts he/she triggers a pathway in the brain that solidifies over time. The more you do, the more you can continue to do with ease.

A Come In We're Open Sign jesse orrico

After I made $20K in my first business making $80K seemed attainable and quite easy to accomplish. Therefore, take the first step with consistent action every day to change your mental model over time.

Pick A Business You Can Scale

Face it, you'd never be able to make $20K mowing laws! Nothing against law mowers, but your ability to scale and/or grow is severely limited by your physical location.

For example, imagine you mow lawns for a living working 10 hour days and charging $60 per lawn. In order to gross $20K, you would have to mow 350 lawns per year, approximately one lawn per day.

This sounds like a great business model right?

Wrong! Here is why. Your total revenue is based on your physical location.

What if you wanted to make $40K, $80K or even $100K? In order to scale from $20K to $100K, you would have to mow 1,750 lawns per year, approximately five lawns per day. But you will also have to find new clients, clean/maintain equipment, manage your website, have meetings, send invoices and stay active on social media; not to mention spending time with your family and other important personal matters.

This business model isn't scalable, there simply isn't enough hours in the day to manage the business and render service (i.e. cut the lawn). In order to increase your sales revenue, you will have to increase your time output which is impossible because it's only 24 hours in a day.

If you want to make $20K in your first business, you must be able to void your physical location. To scale, you CANNOT be limited to one place (i.e. cutting a lawn).

There are many ways to scale and/or increase your revenue some include offering a variety of services, providing recurring payments and offering different price points.

But that is for another article!

Right now just remember a scalable business is a business that can grow and meet the market demand without breaking the process. Later in this article, we'll dive deeper into the process, but in order make your first $20K in business you have to pick the right business and a scalable one.

Understand You Core Business

This topic is so vast, I could write a book on how to understand your core business. But for the sake of simplicity, we will just cover the basics.

A Come In We're Open Sign Álvaro Serrano

In a rush to make money people often skip over this critical step. But in my experience, nothing will wake you up faster than reality, and sometimes reality strikes you in the face with a message.

And that message is the fact that you don't know what the f%#k you are doing and your clients are paying and depending on you for your expertise.

With no vision, you're sure to perish! Without a solid understanding of your business, you will fail 100% of the time. In the beginning, when you identify your core business be content with that fact that your business model will grow and evolve. Your processes will change, you will get better, you will become more efficient and effective in due season.

“With no vision, you're sure to perish! Without a solid understanding of your business, you will fail 100% of the time.”

But don't wait until you feel like your good enough to document your core business mission and/or philosophy. Perfection is the enemy of action and consistent action is critical to change your mental model and make $20K in your first business.

Don't Wing It! I see a lot of people just wing it (i.e. open a business without a plan) but in business, this is suicide. Trust me I understand, I didn't have a plan when I first started my design company. But without a plan, I was never able to grow.

In order to be taken seriously, you MUST take the time to understand your business, your target market, demographics, products/services, price points, legal issues and marketing channels before opening the doors.

This is serious business, without this knowledge your dead in the water, shipwrecked in the sea of business failure before you ever set sail. Don't let this happen to you, start strong and set a high standard up front. Trust me, your bank account will thank you later.

Here are a few starter questions to define your core business:

  • What is your brand name? List any respective alterations and abbreviations.
  • What is your brand message? What is the one message you want people to remember about your business?
  • What are your core business values? What does your company stand for?
  • What is your personal vision for the company? Where is the finish line for you?
  • What is your mission statement? How will your company help the world, how will you change something?
  • What is your business model? How will you make money, what activities turn a profit?

Tools & Processes

Process, Process, Process! Where there is smoke there is often fire. When there is a problem in the business it can often be linked to a failed process and/or set of collective processes. Marcus Lemonis is my favorite investor, he always emphasizes People, Product, and Process.

Before Marcus decides to invest in any company he's hell-bent on meeting the people, using the product and seeing the process. Often times after his initial investment Marcus will completely revamp the companies tools, processes and/or people. This is because he understands the companies inability to grow can often be traced to a process that is out whack.

Change the processes, change the revenue!

In order to reach your goal of making $20K+ per year, you must build your business on a simple process that works. For example, if you own an eCommerce business, how does your process look from online order to fulfillment? How do you keep your customer information, do you send them emails? If so, what do you say in those emails? Do you wing it? How do you handle bad reviews? How do you process new social media leads? How do you contact those leads? What's the process after you've contacted the lead?

See this whole process thing can get complex very, very quickly. Now imagine someone running a business will none of these questions answered at all. It would be absolute chaos!

In order to build a process, you must use proven industry standard tools to help you run the business. Under these tools, you have documented processes that simple yet effective.

Here are a couple of amazing tools that can help you manage your business. Visit our resource page for a complete list of amazing platforms.


Asana Logo

Hand down the best to-do manager in the world! To be effective you must be strategic, Asana allows you to create a simple to do list that will help you get things done.


Insighly Logo

The best Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software on the market for small business owners. I’ve used countless CRM systems over the years including SalesForce and ACT. But Insightly is very simple and highly effective.


Without Evernote, I couldn't function. In order to scale your business, you must centralize your documentation and put everything in the cloud.


Freshbooks Logo

Come to terms with the fact that you're in business to make a profit. You Gotta Get Paid! Freshbooks online software is by far the best financial software for small business entrepreneurs.


Toggl Logo

Toggl allows you to keep time, segment and/or allocate time towards a specific task. This platform is amazing for keeping accurate time records. Time is Everything, Don't Waste It!

I have some other great tools I can share that can help your business. Let me know if I should create a separate article (i.e. Introduction to Effective Business Tools) in the comments below.

Put Yourself Out There

You picked a scalable business. You understand your business. You've picked effective tools and processes. Now you're ready! This is where the rubber meets the read. Fail at this stage and you might as well kiss this whole article goodbye. In order to to be successful you must put yourself out there!

Putting yourself out there is probably the hardest step to accomplish because it requires an internal fight within yourself. See, nobody likes to be anti-social, NOBODY! Don't believe? Put a man in solitary confinement and revisit that statement.

When you put yourself out there (i.e. actively promoting/selling your service to the world) there is a level of fear that is accompanied by each new level in your business. That nervous feeling you get before a meeting will never go away completely, it will just transform into another form of fear over time.

New Levels equal New Devils. Over time with conscious effort, you can learn how to transform your fear into strength and courage. Putting yourself out there requires a heart to help people. But putting yourself out there also requires a heart that's cold and truly doesn't give a f%#@ about anybody's opinion.

A Man Jumping Off A Boat Sonja Guina

Being a successful business owner is hard work! Stop listening to the blogs and/or people who say that starting a business can be done on your spare time; only spending 10 hours a month making over $250K per year. That's nonsense! Bull$%#$ must I say! If your goal is to just make money and not help other people, get out now, you're in it for the wrong reasons.

Starting a business is easy!

For $149.00 you can start your business by going to for more information.

Starting a business is easy but growing, maintaining and expanding your business is hard work. Anybody can start something, but it takes a different type of person to finish something.

To have a successful business you must put yourself out there and face your FEAR! You have to put yourself out there over and over again. No matter what happens, win, lose or draw, you must be willing to fight for success or die in the process.

Putting yourself out there isn't easy but once you're ready here are a couple of ways to take action:

1. Invest In A Great LogoNothing kills a company faster than a cheap logo. If you don't do anything else, you must invest in a strong brand identity that is memorable and unique. Keep your logo simple and to the point, based on a 2/3 tier color scheme.

2. Build Your Website Around Lead GenerationI've personally been involved in 100+ design projects. Understand that your website isn't a fancy brochure; it's sole purpose it to make money and consistent passive income, period.

Stop the DIY approach and take your website VERY SERIOUSLY! Your website is your most important asset, it's your cash register; pick a designer and/or coach who can increase your online conversion rate.

3. Start Creating Content ASAPOne of the best ways to grow your company online is to create amazing content. The rules of business have changed, the internet has shifted the landscape between company and customer. Provide free value-based content to increase your sales revenue.

4. Approach Social Media Marketing with a PlanThis is a no-brainer, you HAVE to be on social media in the new millennial. A business can no longer base its business model on the old, traditional brick and mortar concept. To be successful you must approach social media marketing with a plan! Every post must have a reason and/or a part of a higher business goal.

Provide High-Quality Work and Better Customer Service

When you first start out you won't be as good as you think you are! Truth be told, it takes years to become an expert in any given field. All things considered, as long as you're up-front with your clients about your capabilities you will be fine.

Don't lie to your clients about what you can do for them. Nobody knows it all, your clients know this. When you lie to them (i.e. Over Promise and Under Deliver) your client will lose respect for you and your business. They WILL tell other people and your reputation and/or business will take a major hit.

When you first start your first business you will have to provide better customer service to balance the learning curve it takes to produce high-quality work. High-Quality Work Takes Time! But you can offset the lack of high-quality work with better customer service until you hire more people and/or able to balance great work and great customer service.

“When you first start your first business you will have to provide better customer service to balance the learning curve it takes to produce high-quality work.”

Answer telephone calls, respond to emails within 48 hours and respond to emergencies immediately. In order to provide better customer service, you have to work FOR your clients. They are YOUR BOSS.

Your clients must feel special. They want to feel like you're invested in their success because you should be. When your clients make more money, they can pay you more. Make your clients successful and you will become successful, it's that simple!

So in closing never shrink on quality, NEVER! You will never be able to know everything but if you're committed to providing better customer until you can provide the highest quality of work, making $20K is easy-work!

Learn Aggressively

Last but not least, you MUST soak in new information every day. Read articles, listen to audiobooks and watch videos. This step is MANDATORY, this is Non-Negotiable!

A Fancy Library with Statues Giammarco Boscaro

I've been a life-long learner, I love to learn new things from amazing people. But what I learned making my first $20K is that there is a direct correlation between how much you make and how much you know.

You hear it all the time from great entrepreneurs like Mark Cuban and Warren Buffet, learn, learn and learn some more. The Bible said it clearly in Proverbs 4:7, "Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom. And in all your getting get understanding."

I'm not sure why it is or how it works but in order to make $20K in your first business you MUST LEARN on a consistent basis. You must have a passion and zeal to install new software (information) on your hard drive (your brain). Your mind needs an update, you can't update your bank account without updating your brain. Again, this step is MANDATORY, this is Non-Negotiable!

To learn on a consistent basis you have to (1) set a schedule and (2) follow a consistent program every day. Take your study very seriously, it is the only thing holding you back.

Get at me!


Bryan Bowser Signature

Do you have any great tips you would like to share? How did you make your first $20K, share, I would love to hear from you.

A Word about Affliates

Some of my articles contain affliate links to products, apps and services. If you click through and purchase, my company will recieve a small commison on the sale. Rest assured, I only recommend products or services that I personally use or believe will be helpful to my readers.

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