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This is a question I see asked in Facebook groups 23x a day.
I’ve been asked it hundreds of times over the years.
In 2020/2021, I interviewed 75 Dads (on the phone) about starting an online business.
Some of these conversations went 20 minutes.
A handful of calls went North of two hours.
I asked them questions about their fears & frustrations, and their dreams & desires when it comes to starting an online business, among many other things.
The most common fear: Fear of failure.
The most common frustration: Where do I start?
This is a blog post I should have written years ago.
I wanted to create a resource for when someone asks — Where do I start?
I recently received this question on the Facebooks;
I knew it was (finally) time to put together this resource.
I pride myself on keeping things as simple as possible.
Eliminating the confusion, overwhelm and complexity.
I was addicted to those three things for years, and they caused unneeded stress, anxiety, embarrassment, shame, guilt and frequent trips to the liquor store.
Starting an Online Business is as Simple as A-B-C
Not long ago, I came up with what I refer to as the A-B-C Framework when it comes to starting an online business.
A – Attract an Audience
You do this by publishing content on one social media channel of choice. A channel you feel comfortable with. A channel you enjoy producing content on. It’s mind-blowing how many entrepreneurs ask, “How can I do Tik Tok without showing my face?”
My answer is always the same: Find another platform.
Love to write? Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn are great.
Love making videos? Tik Tok or Instagram.
Want to stay anonymous (not reveal your face or name)? Twitter is an underutilized platform, and a perfect platform for the introverts.
Here are a few accounts who are anonymous;
There’s no “best” platform.
Ignore the Greedy Gurus who sell you on the best platform.
It’s more important to pick a social media channel you’re committed to, one you enjoy using, and one where your ideal target market hangs out.
The Purpose of Social Media
We’re using this channel to make “noise” (generate attention/awareness), connect with our target market, network with others, build relationships and build your email list (next step). You’re going to use this channel to promote yourself, your work, your thoughts, and your offers daily.
Show Up Daily
This is non-negotiable. Publish your work daily. Unapologetically share your thoughts, beliefs, perspectives and/or lessons daily. This is the Attention Economy, and showing up daily is how you win.
What About Long-Form Content?
A blog, podcast and/or YouTube channel is what I refer to as “long-form’ content. This is content that is searchable on Google, and will work for you for years. For example: I have a YouTube video I created in May 2012 that still generates me views — 10+ years later!
When starting out, I don’t recommend this type of content. Focus on building an audience on social, and then you can decide if a blog, a podcast or a YouTube channel makes sense for you. I recommend one, not all three.
B – Build Your Email List
If you’ve been in the online entrepreneur space for longer than 37 seconds, you’ve likely heard the phrase: Build your email list.
It’s something I heard in 2010 when I got started.
Unfortunately — like my algebra class in high school– I didn’t listen.
Please, please, please learn from my mistake.
Your email list/database is your most valuable asset as an online business owner.
An email list is something you own, something you control.
In today’s “Cancel Culture” obsessed world, your social media account could be deleted without any notice.
Social media is “rented land”.
Your email list is an “owned asset”.
We obsess with building assets over here.
How to Build an Email List
There are a plethora of tools out there.
I use and recommend Systeme.IO.
There is a bit of a learning curve when it comes to Systeme.IO. Every piece of software has a learning curve. They provide lightning quick customer support, so if you have any issues, they’re able to offer help quickly. I have a 25-part Systeme.IO tutorial series on my YouTube channel that you check out here.
If an all-in-one tool like Systeme.IO intimidates you, I recommend Carrd.
You could have a landing page up & running by the time your head hits the pillow tonight.
C – Convert Your Email Subscribers Into Cash
This is where the money is made online.
It’s not on social media.
It’s through your email database.
You email your database frequently (at the bare minimum — once a week). If you’re in the space I’m in, I recommend at least 3x per week. You’re easily forgotten if you’re not staying top of mind by emailing your database often. You worked so hard to build your database, now it’s time to leverage it.
I email my list daily-ish (5x – 6x per week) and these messages are NOT uncommon;
What Do I Email My List?
The answer to that question could be an entire course.
Here’s a cliff notes version:
You share content with them (blog posts, podcast episodes or YouTube videos), interviews you’ve been on and/or links to social media content. Teach them something. This does not have to always be hard teaching (how to do XYZ). Teaching them something could be you sharing your thoughts/beliefs/perspectives. People nowadays crave wisdom, and find this to be much more valuable than 7 tips to maximize muscle growth.
You can sell your own products (digital or physical), another company’s products/services/software (affiliate marketing) or a service you provide.
Ask yourself three questions when producing content online;
- Does this educate my audience?
- Does this entrain my audience?
- Does this elevate my audience (lift them up)?
If you cannot answer “yes” to any of these questions, start over.
If you can accomplish two of these, great. If you can hit the trifecta, even better!
What Should I Sell?
As you publish content online, you’ll start to receive questions from your marketplace.
These questions are typically “problems” they’re struggling with. Your job is to help them solve that problem. This could be in the form of a piece of content you share/recommend, a product or service you offer, or another company’s product, service or software (affiliate marketing).
Winner mindset: How can I help this person?
Loser mindset: How can I make money from this person?
If you’re looking to create something of your own, I recommend taking my 48 Hour Ebook Challenge. When you write & publish your ebook within 48 hours, I’ll become your first customer. This gives you an incentive to take fast, imperfect action (one of the winning traits of a successful entrepreneur).
Online business can be as simple as A-B-C.
Simple, not easy.
Your biggest challenge is going to come from the thoughts in your head. The fear of judgement, fear of failure, imposter syndrome, crippling self-doubt, second guessing yourself 238 times a day and little to no support from people close to you.
YOU’RE NOT ALONE.
We all battle these demons. I find the high performers are better at managing them.
When you’re ready, here are a few ways I can help you….