Episode 35: If I Had to Start My Business Over in 2017

In the nearly 10 years that I’ve been in business for myself, I have to say things have changed dramatically. There are so many more tools and technology that are affordable and accessible and easy to use that I just didn’t have 10 years ago. There are a lot of different ways that you could grow your business, that you could approach your business, that wasn’t even a thought in my mind 10 years ago.

As I sat down to really think about this question and to answer what would I do if I had to start completely over and from scratch, I realized I would follow a very similar process to what I did 10 years ago, and I wanted to share this process with you.

It’s really about seven to 10 steps, depending on where you want your business to go.

But if you can follow these steps, no matter if you are starting a brand new business or taking your business in a whole new direction, so essentially starting a brand new business, or you’re just trying to figure out the gaps in your business so you can make your business work better for you and see better results, going through and making sure you can put a checkmark next to each of these steps is going to make sure that your business is truly working for you.

My Life 10 Years Ago, and Today

Like I said, starting over nearly 10 years later, there are going to be some things we have to think about. The biggest thing for me that I have to think about and that I want to preface all of this with is my life is completely different now than it was 10 years ago.

Ten years ago I was a newlywed, I did not have children. We did not have any huge responsibilities. Thankfully my husband and I didn’t have any debt. We had a lot of freedom and flexibility.

When we decided for me to go ahead and leave my traditional consulting career and focus on my new path, my next path as an entrepreneur, we downsized. We moved from a more expensive townhome to a less expensive townhome. We got rid of cable. We sold off a bunch of stuff we didn’t need anymore. We got rid of a car.

We minimized as much as we could so that I didn’t have that hanging over me, the worry of actually having to provide for us.

Now 10 years later, I’m going to make different decisions, because now as you guys have heard me talk about, I am the sole breadwinner for my family.

My husband is no longer teaching English. He works with me. I own a home. I have other obligations that I have to take care of. I have three children. You all know kids are expensive. Childcare is expensive. Preschool is expensive.

What would I do if I had to start my business all over? I would have to really first start by understanding what I need this business to do for me. What do I need this business to do for me?

Questions to Ask Yourself Before You Get Started

First, how much TIME do you have available to invest in your business?

Each and every week, how much time is actually available to you?

Now, this answer is going to vary from person to person. Ten years ago, I didn’t have any major obligations. We didn’t need me to work in addition to starting my business. I could have said, “Yes, I can work 40 to 60 to 100 hours a week on this business.” I had nothing else that required my time.

These days, I have three kids. I really can only give my business the time that I have while my kids are at school. I would say anywhere from 25 to 30 hours a week on the high end, but more regularly probably about 20 to 25 hours a week.

That time availability is really, really important because the decisions you make based on that are going to be pretty different. Ask yourself, how much time you actually have available on a weekly basis to work on your business?

The next thing that you really need to understand is how much MONEY do you have available to fund your business?

Now, here’s the honest truth. It is very, very difficult to go out there and get a business loan for an unproven, untested business, especially businesses like the ones that I work with that are solo entrepreneur service-based businesses.

You have to have money somewhere to invest in your business. There’s a lot you could do very inexpensively and we’ll talk about that, but there’s still going to be things come up that you’re going to have to pay for, that you’re going to have to fund.

Do you have money set aside to invest in your business? Do you have basically no money, you have to start making some money to reinvest back into your business as quickly as possible?

Do you have $500, $1,000, $5,000, $10,000? Is it coming from your savings? Is it coming from money from a family member? Where is that money coming from?

What do you have set aside earmarked to invest in your business? This is also going to dramatically impact how you approach growing your business.

Now, I could say that these days if I were starting from scratch and I had come from, let’s say, instead of making this six-figure salary in my business, I was making a six-figure salary in a job, hopefully, I would have some money set aside.

I can tell you that when I was younger and didn’t have as much set aside yet, I had about $5,000 earmarked for my business. That was what I knew I could put into my business, especially in the first year of my business. I didn’t have a whole lot more than that, and I wasn’t wanting to dip into all of our savings.

The final question to ask yourself is: when will you need to start paying yourself and how much will you need to be able to pay yourself per month in order to take care of yourself, your family, and your needs?

Again, this is going to vary from person to person. Ten years ago, no kids, no big expenses. We actually had most of our lifestyle covered by my husband’s job. I didn’t have a huge take-home salary requirement, which freed me up for a lot of things. That meant that I could reinvest more heavily into my business.

When my kids came along, that changed really quickly. Suddenly my twins were born in 2010. When I came off maternity leave going into the beginning of 2011, I knew very clearly I needed to bring in an additional $2,500 a month in order to cover all the extra expenses of childcare and the increase in our cost of living, since we had to move from a one-bedroom apartment, townhouse, into a three-bedroom house. We had to be able to have enough room for our family. That’s kind of the range we started from.

At first, I didn’t need to pay myself for a good long while. I knew I could probably go six months to a year without paying myself, without really dipping into our savings.

When we had kids, suddenly I knew I had to bring in $2,500 a month and I needed to do that as quickly as possible.

These days, if I were having to start from scratch, I would need my business to actually have a take-home income of at least $8,000 a month. That means I off the bat would need a $100,000 a year business.

Hitting that mark can totally be done in your first year of business.

I’m here to tell you I did it six years ago. Yeah, in 2011 when I took my business 100% online and was coming off of my maternity leave.

It is totally doable and I’m going to talk you through the process I took to hit that six-figure mark in my first year of business and how I was able to actually bring home the revenue that I needed, or the take-home income that I need.

#1 – Understand What You Need This Business to Do For You.

So that’s your goal. The first step, the first part of this process is to understand what you need this business to do for you. You’ll understand that by looking at how much time you have available to invest in your business, how much money you have available to invest in your business, knowing when you need to pay yourself, and how much you need to pay yourself per month.

Once you understand this, you need to make X amount per month by this particular month, working this number of hours per week, so in my case, I needed to be able to make $8,000 per month by, let’s say, month three by working 30 hours a week, that is going to quickly tell me where I need to invest my time and my money.

Because there are certain ways you can generate revenue that can happen very, very, very quickly, and there are other ways that you can look at generating revenue that is going to take a bit longer.

We’re going to come to that in a few steps down the road here, but that is my first step in this entire process – just understanding your requirements, understanding what this business needs to do for you.

If you don’t answer these questions, it’s really easy to build the wrong business, the business that’s not going to support you and it’s not going to take care of you and your family. That’s not a good place to be in.

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#2 – Find Clarity on Your Business Idea

Once you have that, you know what your business needs to do in order to take care of you, then we can start getting clarity on the right business idea. This is the second part of this process is understanding the business you need to build and figuring it out, figuring out what is it that you actually are building here.

A couple of questions that I would be asking myself. First, what skills do I have to offer? There are a lot of skills I have to offer.

If I were to sit down and think about all the things I could do to generate money, I could offer to clean peoples’ houses, I could cook meals for people, I could teach yoga. I’m a certified yoga teacher. I could go back to teaching yoga. I can make a list of all the different ways I could generate money by offering what I know how to do.

Then I need to ask myself, what problem can I really solve for people? Every single one of those ideas has a problem to solve for people.

If I’m offering to go out and clean peoples’ homes, I’m solving the problem of people not having the time to clean their own house and they need that help. If I’m offering to go and maybe let’s say I’m going to be a personal chef and cook meals for people, I’m offering the problem of people not having the time or just needing that additional support to get meals on the table at the end of the day.

You want to be clear about what is the problem that you’re solving with that particular skill that you have to offer. Once you figure out that problem, you need to figure out who needs that solution. Who needs that solution?

Again, I’m throwing these ideas out here just based on literal skills that I have in my back pocket. One of my first businesses that I started was in college, and I was catering for events at the School of Music.

Whenever we had our senior and junior recital, people would come in from out of town and all of our friends would want to host a reception afterward.

That’s how I kind of got bit by this whole entrepreneurial bug myself and realized, “Hmm, maybe I don’t want to be a music performance major. Maybe there’s something to doing my own business,” and I started by cooking for people.

That was a skillset I definitely could have pulled out of my back pocket and focused on as a potential business.

I could have figured out, “You know, they need my skillset as kind of a personal chef because people are exhausted and overwhelmed. Well, who is exhausted and overwhelmed and just needs healthy food on the table?”

Working moms could have been a perfect group of people that I could have talked to. Then I could answer the question, how can I help them get healthy food on the table? Am I going to do the work for them, so cook for them?

Am I going to show up and teach them how to cook healthy meals and teach them how to shop and how to meal prep? Or am I going to just teach them on a more hands-off way, so they show up for a workshop, they show up for a class compared to me actually walking them through the whole step and being more of like a private teacher?

Figuring out that right business idea is so, so important because now we’re getting closer to what you should be focused on in your business. Now, obviously, in my back pocket, I have a lot of skills, as do you.

I guarantee that if you are reading this, you are super talented and you have a lot of experience in probably a lot of different areas that you could bring to the table. We are multi-passionate people. There are things you likely love to do, skills you have that people wouldn’t even know about you.

You have a lot of skills you could potentially offer. The key is now to look at these questions to figure out the right business idea.

What skills do you have to offer? What problem can you solve? Who needs that solution, and how can you help them to implement that solution? Are you going to do the work for them? Are you going to do it with them, alongside them as a teacher or coach, or are you simply going to teach them how to do it and they do it themselves?

Vet Your Idea

Once you start looking at these business ideas, once you start looking at this idea on your plate, you have to vet it against the first step of this process. How much time do you have available, and how much does this business really need to be generating for you per month, and how quickly does it need to be generating for you per month?

Going back to these ideas I threw out there, if I only have 20 hours a week because I’m a busy mom, I know that going back to teaching yoga might not help me get where I want to go, simply because it’s going to be too many hours and really challenging to get to that revenue level without having more hours available to me.

If I only have $5,000 to start a catering business or a private chef business, that just might not be enough because there’s equipment involved and other things involved in that.

You can start vetting your ideas against what you need this business to do for you. You can vet it against how much time do you have. Is it actually going to fit within the constraints that you have available?

You also can look at, are you excited about this idea? There are plenty of ideas, I’m sure if you sat down and brainstormed like 10 different ideas for the direction you want to take your business, there are some that you kind of are lukewarm about, and there are probably a couple, more than one, where you’re like, “Oh, I could see myself doing that.”

#3 – Validate Your Idea

Once you have a clear idea, and you have a match here between your business requirements and the idea, they match up, you know that this could potentially work, then it’s time to move on to step three of this process, and that’s validating your idea.

I can’t talk about this enough, because I feel like a lot of people skip over this step. They skip it completely and try to move along to what, in my list of things, is closer to step six.

They just start skipping way ahead before validating their idea. I have to warn against that.

If you have not validated your idea, if you haven’t made sure that there are people who not only are interested and want this idea but people who will happily pay for this idea, you will spend a lot more time throwing spaghetti at the wall, trial and error, trial and error, trial and error.

That’s still going to be a little bit of the process, but you will dramatically shorten that trial and error period if you just take the time to validate your idea, to validate whether it’s the new direction for your business or a new product you want to launch, doesn’t matter. Validation is still a big part of the puzzle.

Talk to People

How do you validate that idea? The easiest way to do it is to simply get out there and start talking to people.

Once you have an idea of the problem you’re here to solve and the type of direction you want to take your business, you need to go out there and actually get out from behind your computer, from behind your desk, and have real conversations with real people.

I would say if you can’t find 10 people who are willing to talk with you and share their experience and their challenges and their struggles with this particular problem you think you have a solution for, it’s going to be very difficult to build a business around that idea.

If you’re really serious, I would take it to a whole other level and make it a goal to talk to 50 to 100 people.

The more people you can talk to the better. You will get so much clarity and insight about the particular problem they have because chances are what you think you’re doing is a little bit different from what people are saying they actually need.

Until you have these conversations it’s going to be really, really hard to get your marketing dialed in and your messaging dialed in so that it all lines up, so that it matches what people are actively looking for.

We’re going to be talking a lot more in next week’s episode, Episode 36, about how you can talk to people because I have an incredible student, Tami Hackbarth, who went through this process and actually interviewed over 100 women. She called it her 100 Women Project.

The results she got were just mind-blowing, the insights and clarity she got. It totally has accelerated everything in her business, just taking the time to do those interviews.

I highly recommend setting aside time to validate your idea. You want to talk to at a minimum 10 people, but if you can really, really go all out and focus on getting 50 people, 50 conversations, 50 interviews, asking them where they’re struggling.

Ask them where they’re frustrated, where they’re stuck and why they haven’t been able to do this themselves, what they’re most frustrated about when it’s trying to get out there and get the solution to this particular problem, you will get everything you need to build that solid foundation for your business.

#4 – Describe What You Do in One Sentence

Once you’ve validated your idea, then you want to make sure you can describe what it is that you do. This is so important. I’ve actually, as I’ve outlined these and numbered these, as you’ll see in the show notes below.

I’ve actually labeled this one step as its own step because I think it’s so important.

So many entrepreneurs that I talk to at any stage of their business struggle to tell people what it is that they actually do.

Clarity is everything. If you don’t have clarity on what you do, people will be confused. If your dream clients don’t understand what you do or how it solves their problems, you’ll struggle to sell anything. You will struggle to get those people to turn into buying clients.

Step four for this entire process is to describe your business in one sentence. I know it sounds really challenging, right?

I’m going to boil it down to a little Mad Lib. Now, my Sweet Spot Strategists know that I love using these little copyrighting Mad Libs because it just makes it easier. It gives you a framework so that you can more clearly articulate these messages about your business.

Here’s the framework:

“I do {this} for {this type of person} to stop {this} and start {that}, so that they can {see this result}.”

For example, in my world, for what I’m doing, and at this part if I were to start my business over again, I would definitely continue with what I’m doing, with business strategy.

It is my greatest skillset that I have to offer that provides the greatest value, and it’s what I absolutely love doing.

My example here for my one sentence is, “I teach heart-centered entrepreneurs to stop spinning their wheels and to start creating a solid, focused strategy so that they can live more and work less.”

It’s suddenly a lot clearer who I’m talking to, what their challenge is, where they’re stuck, and the result that they’re looking for.

Once you’re able to describe what you’re going to offer in one clear sentence, you’re able to describe what you do in one clear sentence, then we could actually start putting things together.

#5 – Create Your Offer

Now, the fifth step of this process is to create your offer.

You don’t want to go out there and just start telling people, “Hey, here’s what I do. I can help you,” but not actually know how you’re going to help them, not actually be able to explain how you work, what it’s going to cost, what the process looks like, and what they need to do next.

Working One-On-One

You actually want to take some time up front to create your offering. Hands down, the fastest path to cash is working one-on-one.

Services are where I always start. I know there is so much talk out there about creating leveraged income and passive income and doing online training programs, or creating membership sites, or creating eBooks and all these things that everybody’s talking about, making six-figure launches and seven figure launches, et cetera, et cetera.

I get all that. I hear you. But let’s talk back again about my constraints.

If I only have 20 hours a week to work on this business and I only have $5,000 to invest in this business, I know it is going to take a lot more money or time in order to make anything else really pay off and provide the revenue that I’m looking for in the timeframe I’m looking for it.

I always tell my students, “Start one-on-one.”

There are so many benefits to starting one-on-one. It’s so much easier to fill your client docket and hit your revenue goals one-on-one.

It’s so much easier to market one-on-one because you don’t have to focus on getting in front of as many people as possible. You only need to get in front of the right people.

You can easily fill your client docket without having to have a huge platform, or a huge list, or a lot of complicated technology, or having to understand a ton about marketing. You can fill a one-on-one client docket with nothing more than your ability to have a conversation with somebody. No complicated technology required at all.

I love starting one-on-one because I really, truly think it is the most solid foundation for your business.

Those who do start one-on-one are able to go on to those more “exciting” leveraged or passive offerings down the road with a lot more clarity, with a lot more insight, and with real proof and real testimonials that they know how to get people to results.

If you’re able to get people to results one-on-one, it’ll be 1000 times easier to get people to results when you start working in groups, you start working with many people at once.

Creating and Pricing a One-On-One Offer

We’re going to create your one-on-one offer, and I have to say if I were to start one-on-one, I would start with at least a $2,500 offer, a $2,500 one-on-one offer. Why that price point?

Now, some of you guys might think, “That’s too low,” and some of you might think, “Whoa, are you kidding me? That’s way too high.” Let’s talk about this for just a second.

The biggest reason I would start with a $2,500 offer is if you start with that in mind and then design that offering that is going provide that amount of value, you will have a much easier time actually getting enough people to work with you to achieve your goal.

As I said before, if my goal is to hit six figures in year one, a $2,500 offer means that I only need to work with 40 people per year.

Or if we break it down even more, if that’s not in a yearly program, it’s more of a six-month program, then I need to work with 20 people every six months.

Suddenly things got a whole lot easier. It is much easier to find 20 people every six months than to find a couple of hundred people every six months for a program, an online program, or an info product.

When you have a higher price point, you can work with fewer people.

This is so important, especially if you’re like me and you only have 20, 25, 30 hours a week. You have to make sure that you actually can make the revenue you want and you need within that framework.

I would start with at least a $2,500 offer.

For a lot of service providers, those who are in the health and wellness space, which is a lot of my audience I know, who are out there being health coaches or nutritionists or yoga teachers, et cetera, a $2,500 product or program might seem a little scary, but when you start breaking it down, it can make a lot of sense for you.

In fact, I just went to my gym at the beginning of the year. I have been working out on my own for over a year and I’ve got hit with a couple of health challenges and a couple of injuries and I realized I really need to work with a professional, I need to work with a trainer.

When I sat down and talked to the trainer there and they shared with me what it will cost per month, it came out to I think it was just about $200 – $250 a month. Well, if I multiply that out against 12 months, that’s a $2,500 program.

It’s totally manageable. It’s totally manageable for me to pay $200 – $250 a month to have a trainer who’s there with me every single week helping me fine-tune my workout, helping me manage my nutrition, helping me with all the things I need to be paying attention to in order to achieve my goal.

I don’t want you guys to be caught up in worrying about, “That is way too much.” If you sit down and structure it properly, it will be a bargain. It will be a bargain because people will see the ultimate value in what you’re offering.

If you have something that’s even more valuable, or you’re going to offer a lot more as part of your one-on-one program, you could also start looking at what would it look like if you offered a $5,000 offer.

Suddenly instead of needing 40 people a year in order to hit your $100,000 mark, you’d only need 20 people a year.

What kind of businesses does that make sense for? I see so many creatives, especially who have underpriced themselves, but let’s think about it.

A solid website is probably going to run you about $5,000. If you were to hire a photographer to come shoot your wedding, $5,000 is totally reasonable. You can definitely create the right offer at the right price point in order to achieve your goals, and also make sure that it’s providing the value and the results that your clients are looking for.

This is one of those conversations where we could really dial in and go really deep around how do you structure that offer? How do you figure out what’s included? How many sessions? How long? What deliverables do you put in there? What extra things do you put in there? How do you really make sure you’re providing that much value?

That’s a whole other conversation, but just by starting with the price point, I hope that I’m shifting your mindset a little bit.

Instead of thinking about just an hourly rate, instead thinking about, “What do I really need to be doing for each one of my clients on a yearly basis, or on a six-month basis? How much value do I really need to provide in order to hit the tools that I’m looking to hit in my business?”

That’s the reverse engineering I would be doing in my head if I was starting from scratch. I know, and I did this.

My first rate for my six-month coaching program was $2,500, so I know that it works. I know that it’s a great price point for what I had at that time. Now it’s about three times that but I know I could hit the goals that I need to hit with that in mind, and I have the time available to work one-on-one.

Now that I have that mapped out, I know again, recapping where we are so far…

I know what problem I’m solving. I have an idea of who I’m here to help, and who needs that solution. I figured out if I’m going to actually do the work for them, if I’m going to do the work with them as like a coach, or if I’m going to teach them how to do it.

I’ve validated that idea because I’ve gone out and talked to people. I’ve boiled it all down into a clear, compelling sentence that helps people understand what I do, and I figured out what the offer is, and how I’m going to help people on a one-on-one basis.

While we’re recapping, don’t forget the Business Growth Checklist that you can download and use to plan your path!

Get Your Business Growth Checklist!

Are you focusing on the right thing, at the right time, in your business?

If you feel like you've been spinning your wheels, this checklist will help you determine what you should focus on, right now, to get to the next stage!

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Once you’ve gotten through those first five steps, and honestly these first five steps, it could take you a week, two weeks, three weeks, it does not have to take super long for you to walk through these steps and figure these different pieces of the puzzle out, then it’s time to really get into implementation mode.

#6 – Get Paying Clients

Now we’re on to step six of this whole process, and the goal of step six is to start getting real paying clients.

This is where a lot of people get scared. They get so freaked out. Getting real paying clients. How do you go out there and find your first one-on-one client?

Well, the biggest thing we have going for us at this point is we can talk about what we do, we know what problem we’re solving, we can clearly articulate it, and because we’ve already created our offer, we understand our price point, we know how many people we need to get in front of.

We know how many people we need to talk to in order to fill those spots.

Let’s say I was going with my one-on-one offer is going to start at $2,500 and that is a six-month program. My goal is to get my first 20 clients in the door. In order to get those first 20 clients in the door, I’ll need to talk to more than 20 people, because not everybody’s going to actually sign up to work with you.

How can I get in front of enough people to fill 20 spots? My biggest piece of advice here is to figure out how to get in front of other peoples’ audiences.

I think this is a big sticking point for a lot of entrepreneurs. They think they need to find people one by one by one, but the best way you can find people is not by talking to people all individually up front.

It’s to start getting in front of many people at once and then allowing those people to self-select so that when you do get on the phone, you’re more likely to gain a client.

Here’s what I would do. I mean, this is exactly what I teach inside of my Get More Clients program that’s all about filling up your one-on-one private client docket.

This is the exact process I followed when I was kicking off my business 10 years ago, and when I was relaunching it as an online business when my twins were one in 2011. This is the process I went through.

Realize Your Network

What would I do to get in front of other peoples’ audiences and start getting real paying clients in the door? First things first. I’d sit down and brainstorm every single person in my network. Who are all the people I know?

Now, don’t get scared. We’re not going out to pitch everybody that you know. We’re not going to pitch your friends, and your family, and your former colleagues, and your college roommates with what you do because chances are slim that every single one of them is actually who you’re looking for.

But chances are really high that they know the right type of person that you’re looking for, or they know somebody who can help you get in front of those people.

The biggest reason you need to start with your network is those warm introductions, those warm referrals can make all the difference.

If you make it a goal to focus on warm introductions and warm referrals, you will maybe only have to talk to 40 or 50 people in order to fill 20 private client spots because they are much more likely to sign up and work with you. They already have a warm introduction.

That person knows, likes, and trusts you. That credibility tends to rub off and it makes it a lot easier for those people to say yes. Starting with those warm introductions, those warm referrals are so important.

Celebrate with a Business Announcement!

What do we do once we have that huge list of our network? I like to start with a business announcement email.

This is something that I thought of 10 years ago when I was starting my business because at that time, all of my friends were getting married, and they were all buying houses, and I was thinking to myself,

“We are celebrating all these big events in peoples’ lives. We hear the wedding announcement, we have the engagement party, or we get the postcard in the mail with the new address for their new home and they have a housewarming party. A business is just as big of a deal. We should be celebrating this big milestone.”

I hear from a lot of people that they don’t do this. They’ve never actually sat down and reached out to the people in their network to let them know, “Hey, I started this new exciting thing and I want to tell you a little bit about it.”

I think one of the biggest reasons people hold back is because they’re worried that it might come off as sleazy or pushy, but again, our goal isn’t to sell to our network, it’s to ask them for help.

Chances are your network wants to support you, but they have to know what you’re up to, they have to hear from you in order to support you.

A business announcement email is simply letting your network know, just like you would let them know that you’re expecting a new baby, or let them know that you’re hosting a housewarming party, let them know that you’re opening up a brand new business and you’re so excited about it.

If they want to learn more, here’s how they can connect with you, here’s the type of people that you want to chat with. Let them know, “Hey, if you know anybody who is struggling with this particular problem, I’m currently offering free 30 minute consults, and you can let them know. Send them right here.”

You could even add a little copy and paste blurb for them to email out to that particular person. You can let them know if there’s a workshop you’re going to be running. You can get them to know how they can get engaged and involved with your business.

It’s all about asking for help instead of asking for a sale. People are much more likely to say yes, especially at this beginning part of your business or this beginning part of the next business you start, they’re much more likely to say yes to a request for help in getting the word out. That’s where I always start.

Local Business? How About a Business Launch Party

If you are a local business especially, you might consider hosting a business launch party. This is a great add-on to that business announcement email because you could host a quick little business launch party, and it could be as simple as a happy hour where you’re inviting your network to show up and say,

“Hey, I’m looking to be introduced to these types of people. Bring a friend. I’m going to be hosting a happy hour. I’d love an introduction. It’s going to be very fun.”

You can tell them if you’re going to speak at all or whatever else you might be doing at it. When I hosted this business launch party for myself, I just made the focus on building relationships and getting to know people. I offered a raffle for a prize.

I really spent my time talking to people, and just for five minutes talked about what this new business was about and how excited I was. The rest of the time, relationships, relationships, relationships. I think this step is all about relationships.

Another big mistake I see for people as they start their businesses, they don’t get out there and get those relationships fired up. But every opportunity I’ve ever had has really started with a relationship somewhere.

That business announcement email, warming up your network, letting people know what you’re doing is so crucial, because like I said, our goal is to get in front of other peoples’ audiences.

I often help people do this by looking for who they can collaborate with. I ask my network, “Hey, who should I know in this field?”

If I was going to go get back into teaching yoga, I would reach out to my network and I’d say, “Hey guys, I’m so excited. I’m starting up my yoga business again so that I could help new moms get back into shape without abusing their bodies. I want to know who do you know that is also talking to new moms? Who do you know that is also in the health or wellness field?”

I would be looking for those introductions. From those types of introductions, I would be looking for opportunities to partner up with people because the more you can partner up with people, the more opportunities you have to get into the space where you can actually talk to existing audiences.

What do you do when you find those partnerships? Whether it’s organizations like a Chamber of Commerce and all those other business organizations we have around here.

If you are thinking about collaborating with other entrepreneurs, I would be looking for opportunities to get out there and teach, to educate, to share what you know.

I used to do these as “Lunch and Learns”, where I would literally invite people to bring their friends or bring their clients to a restaurant, and we would have a great meal and maybe for 15 minutes, I shared a little bit about a specific topic.

That was such a great way to get 10 or 15 perfect-for-me people in front of me.

I would say to somebody like a colleague, a peer who’s also working in the space, “Hey, I’m looking to host these Lunch and Learns. It’s going to be on this specific topic. Go ahead and invite 10 to 15 friends. Let me know how many people you have and we’ll meet up at this restaurant. I’ll happily buy everybody lunch and share this information.”

For me, at that point, it was totally worth it to spend $8 to $10 per person in order to get the right people in front of me. After I would host those Lunch and Learns, I would invite everybody to a free consult.

Now, you don’t have to buy everybody lunch. You could do it as a brown bag lunch and learn. You could invite people to come to a space, maybe a conference room that you rent out, or whatever space you have available.

It could be at a local library where rooms are generally free if you’re not selling anything right there. You could invite people to come to something like that where you can share for 15 minutes a piece of education that’s helping them, that’s tied to helping them solve that problem, and then inviting them to have a consult with you to learn more.

I also love doing things like workshops at local businesses, and other organizations. Maybe speaking at local events. Again, if there’s an association or a group that is talking to your audience, look for those opportunities because teaching those workshops, teaching those seminars, speaking, can really help you get in front of other peoples’ audiences.

This is how you can meet the type of people you’re looking for, and then invite those who are ready to take action to take that next step and to have a free consult with you.

Those free consults, I have to say some people hate them, some people love them.

I love them because they’re a great way for people to actually get one-on-one with you, on the phone preferably just because it’s a little bit easier to manage. But when you have those free consults it’s an opportunity to talk to people.

You will get more and more and more clarity the more you talk to people, and those free consults are no different. You’re going to learn a ton about the people you’re here to serve.

You simply want to get on the phone and ask them about their struggles. Ask them about their challenges. Ask them where they want to be and what their goals are, and then help them figure out, help them see where their roadblocks are, where they’re getting stuck.

If where they’re getting stuck lines up with how you can help people, that’s when you simply let people know, “You know, where you’re getting stuck is something I love helping people with. I see this in a lot of my clients. I see this in the people I support. These are the common stumbling blocks, and the best way to overcome that is with XYZ.”

Then describe what it is that you do and how you help them. Suddenly you will have the system in place now. Simply by getting in front of other peoples’ audiences, getting in front of the right type of people, and then inviting them to these free consults, you will now be able to fill that one-on-one client docket.

I know in just a few minutes I’ve made it seem really simple on the surface. There’s a little bit more to it. It takes a little bit of practice and a little bit of courage to get out there and do that, but it is totally doable. It’s exactly how I got my business up and running, and it works for so many of my clients.

Just a recap before we move on: At this point, you’ve already gone through the first six steps of this process, where you’ve gone through a complete validation of what it is that you want to be doing in this new business or when you’re taking your business in your new direction.

Or you probably see if you’ve been kind of struggling to get your business to really work, you might see some gaps here in where you missed a couple things in the validation process. You’ve got people working with you one-on-one, and then you’ve started to build out this simple marketing system.

Like I said, if your goal is to keep it simple, you want to continue working one-on-one, you can just continue rinsing and repeating at this point.

Once you’ve got that simple marketing system in place, you just keep working on that, keep inviting new people into your business when another spot becomes available, and you just rinse and repeat, rinse and repeat, rinse and repeat.

You’re kind of on the slow and steady growth path, but you can keep it that way and keep your business overall really simple. I love that. I love an uncomplicated business model.

#7 – Double Down on What Works (Create Baseline Revenue)

But if you’re like me and you know that there’s more you want to potentially do in your business, then you want to start thinking about how you’re going to create that leverage and what needs to happen next, because the simple fact of creating leverage is it’s going to take a lot more marketing and a lot more people in order for it to work.

You have to really double down on your marketing efforts.

If you know you’re going to be offering a group program, or creating an online training, you have to really double down on your marketing strategy to make sure that you’re going to get enough people to see what it is that you’re creating.

It takes a lot more eyeballs on your business to fill a 10 person group program than to fill a one-on-one offering, especially if you’re not going to be talking to every single person individually.

#8 – Develop Your Process

As you’re doing this work, as you’re working on your marketing and you’re continuing to work through your one-on-one clients, you want to make sure that you’re developing your process before you start to talk about anything.

You want to make sure that you’ve actually taken advantage of the opportunity your one-on-one clients have given you to serve them and to see where they’re getting stuck so that you can map out what you would do in a more leveraged format.

If you had to teach this to more than one person at a time, or if you had to coach more than one person at a time, what steps would you take them through?

Where do people get stuck? Where do you find yourself saying the same thing over and over and over again? Could you turn that into a resource? Could you turn that into a tool, a guide, a cheat sheet? That becomes the foundation for your course.

#9 – Presale!

Once you have that together, then I would start going through the process of testing by a presale.

I would not create the course 100%. I presold my course before I had 100% built it.

I presold it with an email launch to my email list. I did not at that point try to do anything complicated. I didn’t try to do webinars or anything else. I simply did emails, emails, emails, to a beta version of my course.

Once I saw that people were buying the beta, then I committed 100% to building it out further as my full flagship offering. I love this way of doing it because when you presell the course, really all you have invested in it at that point is maybe an outline, maybe a sales page, but not a ton and ton of time and energy.

I know how much time it takes to build a course now. I know that it took over 200 hours to build Sweet Spot Strategy, so by preselling it, by simply using three to five emails to your email list to fill the spots for this more leveraged group program, then you can really test the temperature, see if people actually want it in this format.

#10 – Deliver Your Course + Continue Working One-On-One

If they buy it, awesome. Build it, deliver it. Then you’re on the track to rinse and repeat and continue making that course better. If they don’t buy it, then you can ask them, “Hey, I saw that you didn’t buy this. Why not?”

You can really literally just ask people, “Why not? What was holding you back? Was there something I’m missing? I want to make sure that I’m creating exactly what you’re looking for to solve XYZ problem.”

Then, you can continue working one-on-one to maintain the revenue you need and stay directly active with those perfect-for-you clients, and keep learning what people are looking for so you can improve your course in the future.

That’s It!

This is the process I went through in my first year of business.

It sounds like a lot of work and it really is. Doing it again, with all I know now 10 years later, it’s STILL going to be a good amount of work.

Your first year of business is the hardest year in business. But if anything, I hope you really took away a couple of key things.

One, validation. Validate, validate, validate. That was almost half of what we talked about is validating by talking to people and validate by getting people to actually pay you.

Two is, if you don’t have endless number of hours and an infinite budget, then the fastest path to cash and sustainable baseline revenue is going to be working one-on-one. Don’t get hung up on an hourly rate.

Start thinking in terms of, “What program could I develop for my clients one-on-one to help them get where they want to go?” Higher value programs are going to be where it’s at to make sure that you start out with a more sustainable business model.

Then start thinking about building a simple marketing system. You need to be able to attract, engage, and nurture potential clients into your business.

That’s going to be key if you want to make sure that you always are able to fill those one-on-one spots, and if you’re wanting to add more leverage or more passive income streams, it’s going to be essential.

It’s not even going to be a matter of if you have to do it, it’s required that you’re going to have to do some marketing in order to make leverage or passive income streams pay off. That is really what it boils down to.

That is exactly what I would do if I had to start all over again, year one in my business.

I have to say whether you’re starting a brand new business from scratch, or you’re taking your business in a whole new direction, or you’ve been struggling to get your business to really take off and you can now see that there are probably some gaps in how you’ve approached getting your offerings out there and getting those paying clients, I want to let you know that Sweet Spot Strategy walks you through each step of this process.

If you’ve found today’s episode helpful, I want to encourage you to check out the free download: the Business Growth Checklist.

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This will help you test for any gaps as you continue moving from the startup stage to the success stage, and then the scale and sustain stage of your business.

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