Every February I like to take a break from talking about emotional eating and focus on another passion of mine, owning my own business. Every week this month I’m going to be giving you advice around starting and growing your own business.
Have no interest in starting your own business? No worries. Not only will most of my tips apply to you kicking ass at your corporate job, I’m also going to talk about how to love the job you have. So make sure to pay close attention, you’re going to get a lot out of this too.
Today I’m going to walk you through the basics and where to start if you have nothing but a great idea.
Step 1. How are you going to make money? Are you going to sell information on your site like a coaching package, a group program or an e-book? Are you going to sell a physical product like candles, makeup or fancy underwear? Are you going to sell ad space? Just having a blog where you talk about your feelings will not make you money. You must have something to sell.
Step 2. Create a website. Make sure it’s not ugly. Even if you have a brick and mortar company, having a website is key. Do not build a website without exploring Step 3. A personal plea: don’t put up an ugly website just so you “have something up”. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but as my friend and co-host of LIVE FREE Sonoma, Nisha Moodley says, if you come out to the world as Walmart, you will never be Chanel. There are a lot of great website templates out there, especially on Etsy. Make sure your fonts are consistent, your colors match (just choose three) and make sure your photos don’t suck. Professional photos go a long way.
Step 3. Learn marketing. When I started my business I thought I was going to be a full time coach. Nope. I currently spend 90% of my time being a marketer, and 10% being a coach. Being great at your craft is a big part of being successful, but if you can’t get people to know who you are, or effectively connect with them, then you’re screwed. I learned everything I know from Marie Forleo who has a free training available right now that you MUST watch. Your business will honestly fail fast if you don’t master what she is teaching here.
Step 4. Build a mailing list. This needs to be your number one priority. No list, no money. I build my list by having a place on my site where people can get a free e-book called, “I know what to do but I’m just not doing it.” You can download it at SarahJenks.com if you haven’t done so already to get an example of what I’m talking about. When people enter their name and email to get my book, they are put on my mailing list (I use Office Autopilot, but I started with MailChimp). I spend a lot of time getting people to download my e-book by posting it on social media and guest posting on websites such as Huffington Post, the Daily Love and MindBodyGreen. I then send out my weekly coaching articles (like this) to my list every week so you know I love and care about you.
Step 5. Periodically ask for money. It’s not enough to put out a post once a week about a random topic, you have to ask people to buy something from you once in a while. Tell them your candles are on sale, mention that you have 3 spots open in your coaching practice, publicize a group program.
Step 6. Be interesting. I know SO MANY entrepreneurs that spend all of their time working and have absolutely no life. I can totally relate to going down that rabbit hole, but I know from experience that when you actually (not just pretend to) have an awesome life, many more people are going to want to buy your stuff. I am so passionate about this business tactic that I created an entire retreat around it called LIVE FREE. You can get on the list to hear about our next one here.
Step 7. Cut yourself some slack. I’m so grateful that I now have a successful business that allows me to do what I love, have a great life and now, and take off 9 months to focus on me and my little guy who is arriving in a few weeks! But it wasn’t always like this. I spent years figuring everything out, living off of credit and wondering if it would ever get easier. Honestly, it wasn’t until I got really serious about marketing and spent as much time as I could with Marie that things finally started to click. Do yourself a favor and watch her free training. She’s a riot, whip smart and will save you a lot of heartache.
In the comments below I want to know:
1. What’s your business? Or What business do you want to start?
2. Which of these steps do you know you need to focus on?
3. Do you have any tips for the newbies?
I can’t wait to jam with you on this.