Entrepreneur Taking 'Spark and Hustle’ Across Country

Entrepreneur Tory Johnson says she is mentally scarred from a pink slip she received 14 years ago, while working as a publicist.

“I thought I would have had that job forever,” Johnson said. “I was terrified that if I ever worked for anyone else again, they could get rid of me in an instant. The only way to overcome that was to start my own business.”

Now, Johnson is working to help other entrepreneurs and wannabe business owners take their own leaps of faith. Next week, the author and business owner will kick off a 20-city “Spark & Hustle” tour, speaking to women and men across the country about how to turn their passion into something more. Two years ago she began the tour with just one event, which grew to eight events in 2011, and this year will go nationwide.

“They all have that spark, idea and passion,” Johnson said. “But want to know how to turn it into money. And that is where the hustle comes in, and that’s what I focus on.”

Here are some tips from Johnson on how to create a plan and start ‘hustling’ yourself.

No. 1: Know your “why.” Having a singular focus will enable an entrepreneur to stay the course, Johnson said.

“This is very important, because the going will get tough, and it can be very easy to throw in the towel,” Johnson said. “When your why is deeply personal, that is not an option.”

No. 2: Know what you are selling. Johnson said entrepreneurs often launch into lengthy explanations of what they are trying to sell without giving specifics, which doesn’t do their business or audience any favors.

“With amazing clarity and precision, have the ability to be clear and concise on what you sell,” she said. “What is the value you are offering me? You need to tell that to me quickly, because if not you have lost your customer already.”

No. 3: Target your audience. Figuring out who you want to cater to is also important, Johnson said. The more specific you are, the more successful your business will be.

“People will say, ‘I am targeting anyone,’” Johnson said. “But when you aim for anybody, you get nobody. Figure out their ages, lives, likes, lifestyle—the more you know about the demographic, the easier it is to find and target these people.”

No. 4: What will it cost? Determine how much it will cost to start your business, and how much you can charge for your product or service, she said.

“Have some formula of how much you need to make in a year with X amount of clients or products sold,” Johnson said. “Without the numbers, there is no business.”

No. 5: Start hustling. Don’t get stuck in planning mode, she said. This is easy to do, especially when starting out.

“The magic doesn’t happen in planning mode,” Johnson said. “It happens when you are taking action to start building a business.”

No. 6: Determine success. Have some type of measurable benchmarks in place for your business to determine your success, Johnson said. Holding yourself accountable for these measurements will enable you to tweak and work out the kinks in your model.