Follow this guideline to get you started and stay the course
Have a multi-million dollar idea but not sure where to start?
We fall into the trap of thinking it’s going to take too long. And while Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither will your business, it doesn’t have to be as difficult as we think.
Starting a business can be very overwhelming. I can confirm that. I have founded five companies. Each had their own set of challenges and rewards, but there are commonalities that, in my experience, can apply to almost any business no matter what.
It’s a basic formula I follow that helps me get started every time.
The fact that there are really only three steps to do might make the hustle culture laugh. It also shows that you might be wasting your time on things you don’t need.
Full Disclosure: Every step requires work. I don’t want you to think that starting, running, and growing a business is easy. There are many ups and downs, but by following this guideline you will be better able to get started and stay the course.
Whether it’s an online course, an eBook, a 1:1 coaching program, or a bespoke service, you need to build the offering.
This offering doesn’t have to be your main passion or something you will do for the rest of your life. It’s something you want to do now because it solves a problem people are struggling with and you want to get your business up and running. You see a void that needs to be filled, and you are exactly the right person to fill it.
For example, when I started tech PR, I wasn’t exactly tech-savvy, but it was the dot-com boom and startups wanted to get their name and product in the press. I saw an opportunity where I could help businesses grow, make money and make a decent income myself.
Then the bubble burst. I was unemployed so I started my own tech PR company in 2002. People thought I was crazy to start a communications company focused on a sector that had just collapsed and burned to the ground.
Here’s the lesson: when markets fall, there is tremendous opportunity to service those markets. It has been destroyed. You can be part of the rebuilding process. Bodies are always needed. Start building.
Now that you’ve got the thing you’re building, it’s time to spread the word. You don’t have to complete it before marketing it. More on that later.
You can start with teasers and “COMING SOON” content on social media to generate interest and collect email addresses from potential buyers. This email collection initiative will also help you build your email list.
I recommend you start advertising 21 days before launch, but you can give it a longer runway if you start from scratch in terms of audience. However, don’t give it too long a runway. People get bored and switch off easily.
Build it gradually, with posts and emails increasing in frequency as launch approaches.
Ok, so you’ve spoken up. People are interested and respond to your CTA with “tell me more” or ask about your shiny new product or service. Now it’s time to sell the damn thing.
You can do this in two ways:
- If it’s a sub-$999 service, you can probably get away with setting up a landing page with a payment link. Connecting your PayPal is easy, especially if you create a PayPal.Me link and have a direct checkout URL. I’ve seen some entrepreneurs get away with it at sub-$2,299 levels, but they’ve usually built a large following and trust with their audience.
- sales pitches. This is mandatory if you are selling a high-priced item. People aren’t going to spend thousands of dollars on your new product without getting to know you first. You need to get on the phone with your prospect and personally sell them your new product or service.
I began marketing Morning Manifesto, the weekly planner and gratitude journal that I wrote and edited before it was even finished. It sold out before it was sent to the printers. Mind you, I don’t have a large audience.
I’ve posted it on my social media pages, emailed my tiny list, and personally reached out to friends and family. I also created a Facebook event and reached out to my audience to invite their friends and acquaintances to participate. I turned it into a party that everyone wanted to attend.
You don’t have to finish baking the cake to sell it. You can sell it and then bake it.
For example, if you are creating an online course, all you need is a landing page with course information to start marketing. This helps you gauge interest, and you don’t spend your wheels and valuable time creating an entire course if people aren’t interested in buying it.
When you have enough paying customers, complete the first module. Set it up as a drip feeder and work on each subsequent module while your students follow along. For example, work on week two while they are in week one, and then “unlock” week two at the scheduled time. Build week three while they work week two.
These items listed below are nice to have, but you don’t need them to start them. Believing that you are doing this will only create overwhelming and stuck.
- funnel — You don’t need one to sell something. I’ve generated over a million dollars in revenue without a single funnel. Heck, they didn’t even exist when I started my PR company. It’s nice if you have a range of products at different prices so you can up-sell or down-sell, but you don’t need one to launch it.
- website — Not required to start building, marketing and selling. Set up a simple landing page with information, a “Tell me more” button and a “buy now” button, depending on the price point.
- Huge fan base — Not necessary either. Take advantage of the audience you have and build from there.
- Brilliant headshots and photos — Take some selfies and use stock photos instead.
- A huge portfolio of reels and videos — No, you don’t need it to sell your idea. when you feel got to, then do some Facebook Lives.
- credentials — No certificates? No problem! There are many things you can do to gain trust. When I started my PR company, the only reference I had was my previous employer. That didn’t stop me. I believed in myself, busted my ass, proved myself, built great relationships with the media, got results and voila!
Keep in mind: These entrepreneurs, with all the stuff you need to get started, have a team of people working for them. They have writers, social media people, cameramen, a sales and marketing team, a production studio, a personal assistant, etc.
Don’t get caught in Shiny Object Syndrome. You’ve been at it for years. You can certainly get there, but don’t let that put you off or scare you that you don’t have it all right now. You have something that will solve a problem. That’s really all you need to get started.
Just start building, spread the word, and sell your thing – whatever it is. Keep building on that with the next thing, and so on.
Don’t get caught up and intimidated by what others are doing. Your competition is not other people. Your biggest competitor is your belief in yourself and the way you think.
The easier you make starting your business in your head, the easier it will be to turn your business idea into reality.