What It Really Takes To Make It Online
Seduced by the “laptop lifestyle” and all the glamour that is promised in the glossy marketing, often very little thought is given to the fundamentals that create the flexibility and freedom of a successful “expert” business online.
On the 7th anniversary of leaving my “real job” this month, I thought it would be worthwhile to reflect on what it really takes to create a sustainable online coaching or expert business from what I’ve experienced and in helping hundreds of other women build theirs.
When I unwittingly entered the arena in 2010, I was at zero. I had my knowledge firmly rooted in the corporate space, and a naive dream of a life of ease and flow (and plenty of dollars) that would come quickly.
I liken it to having a baby, before that baby comes you only think of the great bits, like how it will fill up your life with love and joy always, but give little thought to the sheer grind of the work actually required.
That’s what jumping into the expert space is like – it can seem deceptively simple to get in and start making the moolah. And I have seen some examples of women who have done this, but they are the unicorns and the rest of us may find a windier road to get the results we’re looking for.
I don’t want to rain on your parade, everyone’s journey is different, and the highs of this business are amazing, but don’t forget to bank on a few lows to keep it all in perspective.
To my mind, there are some essential elements to success you need to factor in to avoid too many snarls and align your expectations to reality (boring… I know).
Here they are:
1. Master Your Words
In case you didn’t notice, the art of direct response copy drives the online space. You have milliseconds to capture your prospects’ attention and engage them in your message. So, you better get good at writing the kind of copy that makes blog posts and ads pop and brings videos to life.
My favourite resource for this is just paying attention to the marketing of other marketers (and even bookmarking landing and sales pages for inspiration and ideas). You’ll start to see a certain structure after time and understand how you can find your own tone while keeping to essential sales and conversion frameworks.
2. Build An Engaged Audience
It doesn’t really matter how big your audience is, as long as you are building engagement with your content and value.
The best way to drive engagement, even when you’re just starting out is to keep it consistent. Consistently show up and offer guidance and advice BEFORE your audience buys from you. That way, you build anticipation and authority, which are essential qualities to drive demand.
Consistently build your email list by offering lead magnets ( test and see what topics resonate, and ensure you build follow-up sequences to nurture your opt-ins to purchase). You can offer these in other people’s tele-seminars, guest blogs, podcasts, Facebook Ads or organically in your own social media.
Sounds obvious, but you need to consistently make offers so your audience has a chance to buy from you and you get the opportunity to make money. I can’t tell you how many times I see people shy away from actually making offers until things are perfect, you have done a gazillion blog posts or your email list hits a magic number. The truth is, you can make offers from the word “go”, as long as your package and price is right and answer a very real problem in the lives of your client.
The other thing to remember is to consistently make the same offer to allow it to gain real traction. Most offers need some time to gather momentum, so try not to abandon your efforts for the next shiny object.
3. Have A Compelling Offer
Without a well-thought out offer that satisfies a demand from your target audience, you will fight harder to reach your targets and may even fall short of them.
Be ruthless about getting specific about who you serve so that your offer becomes much clearer and you can stand out from the competition, even if nobody knows who you are yet.
Generally, this does not mean you make more money (unless you have capital to take on the big boys), finding a niche is where it’s at and the more you can narrow your focus without losing the commercial opportunity, the better.
But finding your niche can be tough – and scary. It can feel like you’re eliminating potential sales, but in fact you’re getting closer to more sales when you zero in on your message to market.
4. Price For Sustainability
Perspective in pricing your products, packages, and services is a core requirement for sustainably growing your business and your profits.
So many people think pricing lower gets more clients, but this can be a recipe for burnout. Now, I know you need to be realistic and I’m not advocating high prices at all costs, but think carefully about pricing for quality, particularly when you only have a small list or database.
The key to success with higher ticket pricing is to ensure you create massive value in packages that are outside of the time with you.
Think about creating packages that build communities with value and allow premium access to you in a leveraged way. I talk more about how to do this on a recent podcast I did with Amy Porterfield. Listen in here >> http://www.amyporterfield.com/2017/03/153-3-ways-to-get-more-mileage-out-of-your-course-especially-if-you-have-a-small-list/
5. Systems That Sell
When you are your brand, it can also mean that you can easily fall into the trap of being everything in your business. And although running lean can be great at times, it can also place enormous strain on you as the sole driver for EVERYTHING.
It’s easy to tell you to build a team, but when you’re bootstrapping your biz, cashflow may not allow it. But, if you can bridge the gap between the time a Project Manager or Assistant will save you and you ensure that you use that time to market and sell your products, then you will be on your way to having even more time to market, sell and grow.
6. Get A Money Mindset For Success
Unfortunately, the biggest barrier to making it online is you. Well, your mindset, really. And not to get all Tony Robbins on you, but busting through your mindset blocks and resistance will bump your sales faster than that awesome new software.
Particularly, your money mindset. This level of resistance rears its ugly head mostly in pricing, visibility and making offers – basically the critical elements of growing a profitable business.
You need to get a handle on this in order to grow and maintain that growth (there’s plenty of business owners who have experienced whiplash growth only to shrink back soon after as their mindset is screaming to bounce back to where it feels most comfortable – in the past.)
My best resource for this is Denise’s Money Bootcamp. This program will unblock your money mindset palaver fast, with really simple strategies to change your perspective. The best part is, this course has already helped thousands of entrepreneurs move from stuck to success. Take a peek here >> https://goo.gl/uqXU74
These 6 essentials are definitely not limited, as I could easily reel off another 6, but these are by far the most important pillars of business growth in the online expert space, in my experience. With all the things that demand your attention in business, please pay attention to these elements and you’ll soon have what it takes to make the difference you want to in the lives of your clients and your own.