There are so many ways to find success in business. The internet has made it accessible to almost everyone.
I would preface this answer by saying the following:
Don’t start a business solely to make money. This strategy has a very low success rate since it leads you down a broken path. Regardless of how well you hide it, your market will be able to tell what your real M.O. is. If they see you’re trying to make a buck, they won’t pay any attention.
Be a real, genuine problem solver, and you’ll find success.
Here are the 7 Steps to starting your online Biz
Mindset [Sounds fun vs. All-in]
People LOVE talking about mindset but hate reading about it and implementing it. Why…?
It’s harder to see an immediate ROI if you don’t know what to look for.
I think it’s vague enough of a topic that anyone can sound like an expert on it (myself included). On the other hand, I truly believe that it must be solid or nothing else will work.
People are often looking for the exact tactics and strategies to accomplish something. They usually fail because it doesn’t align with them and they have the wrong mindset going into it.
If you want to start a business, you can’t be 75% in. You must be all the way in. Understand that it will take energy, effort, grit, and time.
You WILL hit a roadblock at one point or another. You will most likely fail before you succeed. Are you passionate enough about it to push through even when you feel like quitting?
Be patient. Consistency leads to momentum. Momentum leads to growth. Growth leads to success. Understand that it will take time. If it didn’t, everyone would be successful. This weeds out the impatient ones.
Change your relationship with failure. You’re going to fail and it’s going to hurt. Even a tiny failure can be enough to knock people off their path, so make sure you’re ready. Change your mindset so that you’re looking for failure. The faster you fail, the faster you grow, pivot, and succeed.
Don’t over plan. Action is better than planning. Yes, plan out your business model, but keep it flexible. Nothing knocks you off your path more than having a part of your plan completely fail without room to pivot or shift. Plan enough, take quick action, fail, repeat.
Eventually, you’ll figure it out.
If you struggle with failure, read this.
Find Your Sweet Spot
Okay, once your mindset it solid, it’s time to find your sweet spot. Your thing. The intersection of what you love, what you can get paid for, what you’re good at and what the world needs (ikigai).
It’s often the hardest part of this entire process, yet your life (happiness, fulfillment, legacy, purpose, impact) is fully reliant on you finding your sweet spot and building around it.
My definition of Sweet Spot: When your skills, passions, and purpose collide to create your unique genius that must be shared with the world.
My entire brand helps people find their sweet spot and build something around it so you can assume I’m fairly intrigued by this concept.
If you jump into a business idea that doesn’t lie within your sweet spot, you risk quitting before you even get started. Plus, why would you want to work on something you don’t even enjoy?
If you need help stepping into your sweet stop, sign up for the free 5-day challenge.
Okay, you found your sweet spot, now it’s time to brainstorm your ideas. Remember, live within your sweet spot.
What I recommend is buying a big sketch pad or notepad where you can do a mind dump. Get somewhere quiet or in nature, get a cup of coffee if that helps, and start thinking.
Make a list of all your ideas, all the problems you want to solve, all the problems you believe you can solve etc.
Check out google trends and keyword planner tool to see what people are searching for and where there is a demand.
Do market research. Who are all your main competitors and what is working for them? How can you add your own unique spin to it that differentiates you from the rest?
Start crossing off the ideas you don’t love.
Get it down to your top idea and create a loose business plan (search google for help on this) before moving to the next step.
Don’t spend a second on your business idea until you validate it. I can’t tell you how many times I got all excited about an idea, built it all out, stayed up late, spent money on it, and then heard crickets.
I finally learned to freakin validate! 🙂
There are many ways to validate your idea. Here are some I recommend from least effective to most. I recommend going in this order generally.
- Ask your friends and family (with a grain of salt)
- Ask your followers (social media, email etc.)
- Post the idea on Quora (don’t worry, no one will steal your idea, and if they do, so be it).
- Post it on Reddit and other forums. Try to find entrepreneurship or business related subreddits.
- Post it in relevant Facebook and LinkedIn groups.
- Join or start a mastermind and run it by them.
- Run an anonymous survey to get feedback. Send it to friends, followers, peers, and platforms where relevant people hang out.
- Start a crowdfunding campaign.
If it makes it past all that and you still feel really good about it…
- Create a landing page with a form and some copy about your idea.
- Create a price payment process that shows the full price to them, but doesn’t charge their card (or you can refund them later).
- Start driving traffic to it using Facebook ads (or any other form of paid advertising that you’re familiar with). You could do $5 a day, you just need enough data to prove a profitable conversion rate.
- Play with the ad and the target market for a couple weeks before making a decision.
- Okay, so you sign some people up for your idea and there is nothing on the other side…don’t panic! This is where you send them an email that says, thank you for signing up for ‘product name,’ it is in the final stages of production and we are validating that it is as awesome of an idea as we think it is.
Okay, let’s say that you only get to #5 in your phase one of validation before too many holes were poked in it. You’ve lost motivation and no longer see it. Don’t panic, this is normal!
- Make some tweaks to refine the plan.
- Ditch the idea and go back to the “Brainstorm” phase of the cycle and repeat this process until you completely validate a plan.
- Go back to your sweet spot and refine it.
1 month of product validation is better than 12 months of forcing a bad idea to work. Make sure you’re patient with this phase before you move forward, it will save you time, energy and money in the long run.
Okay, your product is now validated and you need to build it! Whether it’s a course, a membership, a book, a physical product, a service, coaching etc., this is the phase where you put your head down and build it.
You have motivation since you know this idea is going to work, you proved it out already!
Keep the user experience and design in mind throughout the entire process. Do what you can with your budget to make it the highest quality you can.
Set a due date and don’t let ANYTHING get in your way. I told myself I would finish a 50 page guide in a couple weeks one time. One thing led to another and it required way more time than I allocated for.
I had told people when it would be done, so I didn’t want to let them (or myself) down.
So, I pulled an all-nighter at a 24hr cafe and knocked it all out. I DO NOT recommend this, but if it comes to it, so be it.
People know when you are being disingenuine, so check yourself and your ego to make sure you’re being authentic before you start creating marketing campaigns.
There are so many different marketing strategies out there, how do we know what to do?
- Content marketing
- SEO + SEM
- Social media
- Email marketing
- Paid advertising (Facebook ads, Adwords, PPC)
- Influencer marketing
- Affiliate marketing
It can get overwhelming quickly. So I recommend you do research on each type of marketing to see which one aligns best with your market. Where are you people hanging out and engage?
- Are they on facebook? Run Facebook ads or hire someone to run them for you.
- Are they reading a lot? Write on platforms like Quora, medium, Steemit, and reddit. Create a blog and write/hire writers to produce targeting information that educated you market on the solution they are trying to solve.
- Are they searching google for your product? Focus on content marketing and SEO.
You can always learn these strategies, but if you have the budget, vet out and hire an expert to do it for you or mentor you along the way.
Whatever you decide to do, start with 1–3 strategies and figure them out before you start adding more.
Use Google Analytics, Facebook Ads manager, and other analytics tools to track how you’re doing. Make the necessary tweaks.
It’s a simple formula. You pay $X to facebook (for example), x amount of people see it, fewer people click it, fewer people buy it. If you’re profiting, boom, you’re ready for the next step.
If not, keep playing with the variables:
- The Product
- The Ad
- The Market
Once you start to profit, it’s time to scale. With Facebook ads, for example, you would simply pour all the money you have into that ad. So long as you proved that it’s capable of making you a profit, you have essentially created a money machine.
The other things you need to focus on are things like support, branding, online reputation, outsourcing, and hiring so you can remove yourself from the time-consuming tasks and work on growing the business.
Focus on building trust with your customers, building the brand and finding out what else they need from you.
What other products can you create now?
Want to start an online business? Maybe you’ve wanted to start a blog, create a product, or create that online course. These are all fabulous ways to generate more streams of income. If you want to build your brand, schedule a time on my calendar. Let’s dive in.