Between 2009 and 2014 I built an online business from zero to six figures and since, into seven figures and beyond. Highs, celebrations, accolades and successes, crappy realisations of failed ideas and projects, terrifying and stressful decisions and risks, awesome people and life-changing thrills and experiences … My Story is one of developing acute self-awareness above all else. But three strategies have served me well as I lurched, crawled, leapt and clawed my way through the early years and beyond.
Zero to Six Figures Tip #1 | Collaborate, Reach Out, Ask for Help
From the moment I created my very first online programme, I started sending it to people. Professionals in my industry who had credibility and a deep understanding of my subject. I spent countless hours researching online, following, then engaging on Twitter (the Gram wasn’t a thing then). Who were the experts, the respected voices, the industry thought leaders in my space? I looked for the practitioners and teachers who knew more than me, who I could learn from and who could advise or steer me. I said hello, passed intelligent comment and joined the conversation, and gradually moved on to asking permission to send them a sample of my work.
Do you like it? Is it safe? Would you recommend it to your patients or clients? What would you change? And ‘How can I help you?‘ Guest posts for their blog, sharing research and feedback from my growing online readers and customers, social media sharing and collaborating…
Many didn’t respond, but a few did. Slowly I built relationships and slowly, the feedback and the endorsements started to come. The approval of these experts, now numerous as well as distinguished, was to become one of the bedrocks of my future success online.
As the new kid on the online-block, I needed to build my reputation and credibility. And when you’re dealing with people’s bodies, medical credibility is the holy grail. Seeking and building relations with those who already had it, was vital to enable me to build and perfect a product that I would know was safe and effective, and to establishing my voice.
Tip #2 | Create Valuable Content and Know Who It’s For
I’ve been a massive fan of Gary Vaynerchuk for a long time, and in his 2013 book ‘Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook’ he introduces this simple mantra of the same name. Offer something interesting, amusing, helpful… offer VALUE at least 3 times, before you ask for the favour or the sale. Then start over. 3x value to 1x ‘please check out my stuff and maybe buy it’.
We don’t get to write a couple of blog posts, hit publish and enjoy instant internet fame, business success or perceived prestige. I spent a few years (yes, years) finding my place, my voice and earning my credibility. Create content that is interesting and useful and valuable to people.
But many people spend their time creating the wrong content.
Know the difference between your peers and your customers. They do not want the same value from you. I do invest time and effort into building relationships with peers and thought leaders in my industry. But my writing, my graft, day in day out, was and always will be for my customers.
I see people invest so much energy into trying to impress the other people who know the same stuff they do. Posturing for ‘who’s the cleverest’ in cliquey Facebook groups won’t build your business. Giving value to your customers will. Make sure you know the difference.
It’s customer stories who determine your reputation and success because they have no other agenda. Customers know that, and they trust other customers because of it. Your content, and your stuff, has to be GOOD.
Tip #3 | Step Out. Over, Over (and Over) Again
You will never be ready. You will never have enough money in the bank, your children will never be the right age, your product will never be perfect, and every day you will be faced with a challenge or situation you have never experienced before. So don’t wait, because you’ll wait forever and your zero to six figures idea will be just that. Another idea that never got implemented or saw the light of day. Step out, step out, step out.
This entrepreneurial gig isn’t for everyone. But if it’s you, just go.