Full $0-$10,000 Business Blueprint for Undocumented Entrepreneurs
In this blog, I delve into the common questions many of us in the undocumented community grapple with when starting a business. Drawing from my own experiences, I outline a practical, step-by-step framework that has helped me generate significant income through various side hustles. This guide is designed to empower you, offering insights and strategies to turn your entrepreneurial dreams into reality.
🎧 Listen to This Guide:
Prefer to listen? Check out the audio version of this guide here.
📺 Watch the Video Guide:
More of a visual learner? Watch me discuss these strategies on my YouTube channel below.
People always send me the following questions:
- how do I start a business?
- How do I choose my business idea?
- How can I make money when I am undocumented?
- I want to start a business but I do not know how?
- Should I legalize my business first?
This takes me back to when I was starting my journey because I had those exact questions too. My response was the following: first, you have to make sure your business idea solves a problem, then you test it, then you show others, then you get people to pay you for it.
I didn’t know it at the time but what I was sharing with them was my framework.
This framework alone has allowed me to make $10,000 a few times now with two different side hustles I started, which include:
- A Headshot Photography Business for college students when I was 19
- Public speaking at Colleges
This exact framework is also what is helping me sell the course I currently have. People seem to find it helpful so I would love also make it available to you!
Phase 1 Part 1($0-$1): Your business idea should solve a problem.
Your entrepreneurship journey begins with a spark – an idea that answers a pressing need. For me, it was changing the way college students presented themselves professionally. I saw beyond the iPhone photos they had on Linkedin to a service that could be affordable to improve their professional image.
In this phase, you ask yourself: What problem or gap in the market needs a solution that I could provide? To help you with this, I recommend you write a list of problems you can think of and then write solutions:
- Problem: I hate doing laundry because it takes so much time
- Solution: A service for someone to do people’s laundry to save them time.
Phase 1 Part 2 ($0-$1): You have to test to see if this could work
Have you ever asked yourself… why do I buy from this food place? Why do I watch this show? It’s simple, because you know about them and their food. Friends probably recommended them to you, or you tried their food and you loved it.
But think about the following… why would someone buy from you if they don’t even know you?
When I had the idea for my service.. I remember setting up my first free headshot event – to help me connect with others, but also to learn about the process of how this service could work.
I was totally okay with doing this for free, because I would answer the following questions:
- How do I deliver the photos?
- What lens will I use?
- How will I work with shy clients?
- How will I work with short and tall clients?
At this phase it isn’t about the money; it is about the message "I am here, and I have something of value to offer." I remember thinking to myself, if they give me their time, that is enough proof for me that this service could work.
Luckily, 6 students showed up to my event. And they were all happy about this event.
In this stage, I recommend you test the market with doing the following:
- Survey your potential clients with problems they have and learn about their ideal solutions
- Interview your potential clients with problems they have and learn about their ideal solutions
- Provide a free trial of the service to your potential client, this way you can do the service and provide the result that you seek.
- Host a focus group of 5 of your potential clients with problems they have and learn about their ideal solutions
Just pick one, and then make sure you write down notes to keep your learnings all in one place.
Phase 2 ($1-$1000): Create a portfolio to show others your work
After my initial event of free headshots, I had a total of 400 photos. I then asked myself, how could I show this to other people? I decided to opt in for a simple landing page with my past client photos so I can show other people.
In this phase, it is not about quantity, it's about quality. I chose the best 3 images and I placed those on my website. The first step here is to determine whether you offer a service or a product. Once you have that answer you choose the platform that might best fit your needs.
- Service: I want to resell bikes
- Platform: Offerup might be a good place to start for your portfolio
Phase 3 ($1000-$5000): Get people to pay you for your product/service
By this time, you have tested your service/product, you have a portfolio, and now it’s time to get people to pay you for this. Now you are probably asking yourself, how do I find those first few clients?
It is simple: It starts with the network you already have. I looked through my contacts and realized that within my reach were potential clients and referrals. Your network is broader than you think. Look at your email conversations, phone contacts, and social media connections.
A message as simple as, "Hi [NAME], I hope this [TEXT, EMAIL, MESSAGE] finds you well, I started a [NAME OF SERVICE] for [YOUR TARGET CLIENT]. Do you know of anyone that might find this helpful?", can go a long way. No matter what channel you decide to go with, it’s a numbers game, I always aim for 2-5K reach out to get feedback.
At this number, you’ll get 3 responses:
- Not interested
- I am interested
- I know someone that might be interested
You can also experiment with discounts or one time offers per message.
Example: First 10 people get it 80% off, next 10 people get it 50% off and so on and so forth.
Phase 4 ($5000-$10K+): Feedback and Iteration
Reaching that first $10,000 is a moment of transformation. It's where you decide the next step in your entrepreneurship journey. Will you expand or maintain the side hustle?
This is a personal decision, one that will shape your business. If you choose to grow, the legalities – LLCs, S-Corps, EINs, business permits – will come into play. You’ll need to decide your business structure:
- Sole proprietorship
- C Corporation
Once you decide a business structure, you can use a percentage of your earnings to set those up. Outside of setting up your business, you also use this time to learn about your customer’s experiences with your service. Get feedback, gather testimonials, interview them to learn about what they liked and what could be improved. Once you learn about their feedback, improve your service and go back to phase 1 all over again.
Our undocumented status may be a legal reality, but it doesn't define our potential. We are entrepreneurs, innovators, and dreamers. Through our ventures, we're not just earning an income; we are creating our own future. A future where we take control of our financial circumstances.
Let's not just dream of success; let's build it, one connection, one service, one product at a time. And if you ever feel lost, reach out to me.
You're part of a community that's rooting for you, every step of the way.