In today’s episode I thought it would be fun to give a summary of the 10 top books that have had a huge impact on my life this year and that I believe are an awesome read if you’re wanting to expand your knowledge, build your business, grow your confidence and become an awesome action taker!
To quote one of the authors ‘if you want to walk around so lit up that you shoot sunbeams out of yer eyeballs‘, then keep listening my friend!
1. You Are a Badass – Jen Sincero
From a ‘get out there and make things happen’ perspective this is one of my favorite books.
Written in a down to earth and super humorous manner, Jen has really helped me to light a fire under my backside and I now read a passage from her book and my own 100 day manifesto every single morning.
Here’s the passage I read;
‘Give yourself the permission and the means (yes, this includes the money), to be who you are REGARDLESS OF WHAT ANYBODY ELSE THINKS OR BELIEVES IS POSSIBLE. Do not deny yourself the life you want to live because you’re worried you’re not good enough or that you’ll be judged or that it’s too risky, because who does that benefit? No one, that’s who. When you live your life doing the things that turn you on, that you’re good at, that bring you joy, that make you shove stuff in people’s faces and scream, ‘check this out!!!’, you walk around so lit up that you shoot sunbeams out of yer eyeballs. Which automatically lights up the world around you. Which is precisely why you are here: to shine your big ass ball of fire onto this world of ours. A world that literally depends on light to survive.’
Oh my gosh that sets me on fire!
Plus I’m currently doing a 100 day challenge at the moment, in that I have set myself 3 very specific goals to achieve in 100 days.
In one of Jen’s chapters she encourages you to write a manifesto which is essentially your goals and vision of having already achieved those goals. It’s very similar to what I have taught before in my ‘Power of Focus’ video course I used to give away where you create a detailed vision of your perfect day.
Except this time I wrote a vision of being at the end of 100 days and having achieved my goals. So I sit and read that each morning also to remind myself how I truly want to feel!
I tell you this has had a huge impact on my productivity and I’m getting more done now than I have in years.
So if you can read the book.
If you can’t go find her online.
Lastly decide on a time in the future and write your manifesto!
I’ve had this book on my kindle for a while, but decided this summer to get down and read it.
It’s pretty easy to read and split into two main sections, Personal Habits & Social Habits, six habits, 3 in each section and then practices within each habit.
The six habits included are;
Seek Clarity – Be super clear about who you want to be and why you’re doing what you’re doing. What skills do you need to achieve your goals, how can you make a difference, what do you want to feel, is what you’re doing personally meaningful.
Generate Energy – Optimize your health, be intentional about the energy you’re bringing to your life and some specific techniques on releasing tension and setting intention.
Raise Necessity – Really affirm your why for doing things by verbalizing so it becomes real and important, surround yourself with the right people, and know who needs you on your ‘A’ game.
Increase Productivity – Figure out the 20% of your workload or project that really matters and work on that. Focus and say No to everything that is not a priority. Chart the five major moves you need to take to make your goal happen and then treat each move as a project, then work out the five major skills you need to execute your moves and become insanely good at those. (I would say this was the section I got the most out of.)
Develop Influence – This was about challenging people to think in a certain way, helping them to grow and challenge themselves and being a great role model. As far as I’m concerned the greatest influencers act before they talk. It’s something I aspire to myself!
Demonstrate Courage – Accept that there will be struggle and don’t complain about it. Embrace the challenge. Live your own truth and don’t be afraid to share your goals and dreams. Find something bigger than yourself to focus on which will help to drive you forward.
The lessons that clearly had the biggest impact on me because they’re what I can remember from the book were firstly the whole five major moves.
Once you’ve set a clear goal what are the five major moves you need to take to achieve it.
So, for example, one of my goals in my 100 Day Challenge is to write a book. It’s actually a book for my daughter, a ‘Mums advice’ to her daughter if you will.
My goal is simply to write it. Not to publish, promote etc. Just to get it written as it’s been sitting on my to do list for the last couple of years.
So my five major moves are to;
Create a rough outline – tick
Breakdown the chapters into subheads – tick
Create bullet points of what I want to write about under each subhead – tick
Write 5,000 words every 10 days which gets me to 50,000 words in 100 days which is about how long I want it to be – 10,000 words completed so far by the way.
Take some time out at the end of the challenge and then read through chapter by chapter, amending and tightening up.
When I get to the publishing bit, I’ll figure out my five major moves to publish & promote (if in fact I am going to do as it’s really a book for just my daughter but if it helps other Mum’s and daughters then I may well launch it out into the public realm.)
Secondly the whole get insanely good at what you do.
I personally want to become a full time writer. I love it. And so I will be focusing over the coming years on reading the kind of literature which helps to improve my writing skills and of course writing itself! ‘The knowledge comes from the theory based learning side, the skill comes from practice!’ That’s a quote by me!
Lastly, focus on something bigger than yourself to help drive you forward.
I’m currently launching a new ecommerce brand. My focus is on a), teaching my community how to launch and build their own business and b), I see the brand as becoming an outlet for my desires to get involved in the world of micro lending and helping female entrepreneurs in developing countries.
So if you can read the book.
If you can’t go find him online.
Lastly, get super clear with your goals, find something bigger to focus on that just your own ends and chart out your next five major moves & the skills you need to get you there!
I loved this book! I only read it because my hubby to be had read it before me and recommended it as a good read. Plus as he was reading it he was giggling so that’s always a good sign!
Jesse Itzler is the husband of Sara Blakely the billionaire founder of Spanx. He is successful in his own right and co founded a private jet company which was later bought out by Warren Buffets company Berkshire Hathaway. He now co-owns the Atlanta Hawks, is an author and a keynote speaker.
His story is about how on one of his ultra marathons he encountered an navy seal who he later contracted for a month to come and live in his house and train him to become super fit.
It’s a fab story, very funny and highly motivating although you wouldn’t catch me jumping through an ice hole in a frozen over river for love nor money.
But the book led me to look up the seal in question who’s name is David Goggins. (In the book he’s simply referred to as ’Seal’).
So David Goggins who is now a retired navy seal, the world record holder for the most pull ups in 24 hours, an ultra marathoner and a keynote speaker has written his own book called ‘Can’t Hurt Me’.
This was a tougher read as he recalled the trauma of his childhood and the story of how against so many odds became a navy seal despite going through hell week three times!
His tales of how he overcame challenge after challenge are nothing less than incredibly inspirational and it made me realize just how weak minded we can be when faced with a challenge.
And I’m not talking about bleeding blisters and knackered legs at mile 65 of 100 and continuing to the end no matter the pain.
For me personally I’m talking about giving in to the pizza when the scales haven’t given me the result I thought I deserved or not following through on learning Thai because the language is too hard, or not sitting down to write my book for fear of it being rubbish!
These things really aren’t challenges at all, but as David says we have to callous the mind. We have to do stuff even when we really don’t feel like doing it as it’s that which strengthens our resolve.
The book was hugely inspiring but what’s even more impactful is I now follow him in Instagram where he posts 1 minute videos regularly and whenever I feel my brain is weak, I go and watch one of his videos.
5. The War of Art – Steven Pressfield – Books 1 & 2
As a wannabe author, Steven Pressfield would be a natural choice. As at the age of 76 he’s written 17 books (the first published when he was 52, some 27 years after he started writing).
9 fiction 5 are educational books on writing 3 are historical non fiction books
He’s also written several Hollywood screenplays for films starring names such as Anthony Hopkins, Steven Segal, Emilio Estevez and in 2000 his first novel ’The Legend of Bagger Vance’ was made into a movie starring Will Smith & Matt Damon.
He’s quite the character and I first saw him on an interview with Marie Forleo.
He captured me with his talk about ‘resistance’, the invisible force which stops all of us from doing what we really want to on a regular basis.
In his own words – ‘the enemy—what I call Resistance with a capital “R,” i.e. fear, self-doubt, procrastination, perfectionism, all the forms of self-sabotage that stop us from doing our work and realizing our dreams.’ So I picked up ’The War of Art’, then read ’Turning Pro’ and ’Nobody Wants to Read Your S**t’.
All books are easy quick reads and written more like a collection of blog posts put into a book than a book per say.
I really enjoyed what he called ‘Book One’ & ‘Book Two’ in ’The War of Art’. Book One is all about resistance and how it stops us and Book Two is all about becoming a professional and how to overcome it. Book Three I’ll be honest goes over my head a bit.
It’s all about angels & muses and the authentic self and just got a bit woo woo for my tastes. But it didn’t stop me going on to read two more of his books!
My first audio book, I really enjoyed listening to this book as I walked along the beach near my Mums house while visiting the UK.
A huge advocate for stoicism Ryan takes us on a journey through events & stories about people like Amelia Earhart, Thomas Edison, Margaret Thatcher, Teddy Roosevelt, Steve Jobs, Eisenhower & many more.
His goal with the book was to demonstrate not only how we can overcome obstacles but become stronger because of them.
The very definition of stoicism is ‘the endurance of pain or hardship without the display of feelings and without complaint.’
Unfortunately, I couldn’t tell you which part of the book really stood out for me as it would seem I retain more from reading rather than listening, but I do remember thinking that this was the intellectual person’s self help book.
Rather than the rambunctious ‘You are in charge of your life’, ’Nothing can hurt you if you don’t let it’, ‘Change your story, change your life’ cries from the popular self-help gurus, this was a deeper, more demonstrable exploration of how we can control our perceptions, actions and will in order to better control our life.
I have no doubt the messages within left more subconscious impressions which have affected my behaviors since.
Recommended on a Tim Feriss’ podcast. I loved this book.
It took me a while to get through it as I’m not quite as well read as Tim Ferris or some of his guests.
In fact, it made me giggle as it was a conversation between Tim & his friend and guest Naval Ravikant who is like a super intellectual, entrepreneur and angel investor, and Naval said something about Sapiens and said ‘it’s an easy read’.
So I bought the book and from my standpoint, it was anything but easy!
But it was insanely interesting.
The book basically walks through the history of humankind from the beginning to where we are now.
Covering the the Cognitive Revolution (70,000 years ago), the Agricultural Revolution (10,000 years ago), and the Scientific Revolution (500 years ago), the author explored prehistoric humans, where and when humans evolved, neanderthals, the evolution of Home Sapiens (meaning – wise man) and how via each revolution we and the world changed and evolved.
It made me realize that the world we live in today is really just an idea, a thought, a cog in the wheel of evolution.
Capitalism and nationalism that so many fight & die for are no more than a few decades old and money is simply an evolutionary concept. It doesn’t really exist. Trade is real, money isn’t.
He covers religion, gender, war, the economy, the future. It’s jam-packed with so many out of the box ideas, you can’t possibly read it and not have your eyes opened and your thoughts broadened.
It’s a book you can’t go back from if you get my meaning.
9. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F**k – Mark Manson
I really like Mark Manson’s style of writing.
He has a great blog which I refer too regularly and has just released a new book – ‘Everything is F***ed – A book about hope’.
As the title of the book suggests, he’s pretty down to earth and unafraid of expressing his opinion and whilst I don’t always agree with everything he says, I love how open and honest he is.
In fact, I sometimes read a post of his just before I’m about to start writing to get some grammatical inspiration.
The book as the name suggests is about getting comfortable with being different, or expressing different opinions or following your own path rather than that of the crowd.
It’s actually not truly about not caring, it’s far more about being precise and calculated in what you do care about and ensuring you only care about that which is important to you and what could actually impact your life positively.
He also talks quite a lot about identity and how you identify yourself. If you believe deep down that you are or are not something then you will take the actions necessary to prove that.
For example, if you identify with being a great cook, you will do everything in your power to be a great cook and god forbid you to serve up a horror of a meal.
However if something threatens your identity you’re more likely to avoid it, for example, if you’ve been overweight for most of your adult life and you subconsciously identify with someone who is constantly losing weight, the chances are you will avoid taking the actions necessary to lose that weight once and for all.
For real! I can see that.
It’s a fairly quick and easy read with lots to make you think, so I highly recommend giving it a go.
10. Half The Sky – Nicholas Kristof & Sheryl WuDunn
Quite simply this book changed my life.
Written by two New York Times journalists & Pulitzer Prize winners, this is a collection of stories about women in Africa, Cambodia, South America and other war torn, poverty stricken and developing countries.
Interviewing the women themselves, NGO’s, charitable organizations, the writers explored the horrors that the women in these countries are facing today.
Illegal and underage prostitution, human trafficking, genital mutilation, arranged marriages, legalized rape, infanticide, murder. It is horrifying.
However, they also shone a light on the organizations who are trying to effect change, the people on the ground, the charities and in particular the programs which impacted me the most, the micro lending institutions.
Founded by a chap called Muhammad Yunus back in 1976 in Bangladesh, the Grameen Bank is a microfinance organisation and community development bank.
Microfinance is basically a way of funding people in impoverished areas with no collateral or banking facilities and giving them the startup monies they need to start a small business which transforms the lives of themselves, their children & their communities.
97% of the borrowers are women.
The stories are nothing short of inspiring.
The lady in Pakistan being beaten by her husband and Mother in Law and Brother in Law who borrowed $75 to start making and selling shawls at the local market and who now employs her entire village including her deadbeat husband. No-one touches her anymore!
The story about the woman in Cambodia, trafficked as a young girl into illegal prostitution and drug addiction who now runs a home for victims of the same who she goes out and saves via local police raids.
The lady who was tied to a tree in the DRC and gang-raped repeatedly for 2 weeks until she escaped to a refugee camp in Uganda, where she started a small business selling charcoal and now heads up a group of women she called the ‘Angels’ who out of their profits fund other female startups in the camp.
My research led me to an organization called Kiva.org founded in 2005 who work with NGO’s in affected countries to find people who need loans and then through their website crowdfund those loans via people like yours truly in increments in $25 or more.
Last year I lent out $200 to a variety of projects and am sitting on repayments of $227 to re-lend out at the moment.
That’s what I love about micro loans. You lend the money, it gets repaid and you loan it again to someone else. So you don’t help one or hundreds you potentially help thousands as your money gets loaned over and over again effecting dramatic changes across the globe!
Back in 2015 my partner & I started a business selling products on Amazon. Kitchen products to be precise.
Within one year we had grossed over a million bucks with just one product.
In the following years we grew our product line and our revenues so much so that I packed up work for a couple of years to focus on my health & my daughter.
However after two years of lunching & brunching I realized this was not my destiny and earlier this year relaunched my Jo Barnes Online brand as Your Lifestyle Business.
My mission is to arm action taker with the tools, strategies and inspiration to build a business you can run from anywhere in the world whether that be your kitchen table or a beach in Fiji.
For those of you listening who have been part of my journey for the last 10 years you’ll know this isn’t my first rodeo.
I made a very nice living between 2010 & 2016 which is when I stopped working from video courses, ebooks, membership sites, affiliate sales etc.
But when I relaunched this year I wanted to do something different. I didn’t want to charge for the education part of my business. I really believe that information on it’s own is readily available for us now everywhere we turn.
Just search up ‘How to Start an Ecommerce Business’ and a gazillion free posts & videos will pop up.
My goal instead is to utilize my education as my audience building tool and make money via ecommerce pursuits, books (I really want to become an author), possibly retreats in the future and along the way some well researched, well positioned and very valuable referral offers.
So, I’m about to launch my first experimental ecommerce store using Shopify. The goal being to build my own store and educate the members of my FB group as I go with over the shoulder videos, posts, and lots of discussion.
If you’re not a part of the FB group then do come and join is. It’s free!
I’m not going to launch on Amazon because even though it’s a cracking site to start a business, it’s not very exciting, you have limited control and I want to play with print on demand & drop shipping.
And having built the Shopify store for our kitchen products brand I know my way around the platform a bit and it’s a lot of fun!
So here is my 12 step plan for launching my new ecommerce brand! Exciting!
Step 1 – Choose your business / niche.
Whether you choose to sell on Shopify or Amazon picking a niche is so important.
If I could go back to 2015 when we started on Amazon, the one thing I would change would be to have picked a niche that we were passionate about, that we could have built an audience around, that we could have created content about and that we could have talked about all day long.
The mistake is just to go for a niche because it’s popular. That will get you so far, possibly even 7 figures far on Amazon, but the landscape is becoming so competitive, the more passionate you are about a niche and the more you build an entire brand around it the better an advantage you have.
I honestly believe that micro brands are the future.
Amazon has completely cornered the market for the one stop shop where you can find everything you need.
My personal recommendation would be to get very specific with your niche and start a store in one narrow area, such as yoga pants or a specific type of sunglasses or a particular type of water bottle etc.
My brand is an outlet for my ‘female empowerment’ passion. It’s called Legends Not Ladies, quote by Stevie Nicks and is a hat tip towards feminism I guess (am not a feminist per say). But I do have a desire to be apart of the female empowerment movement and thought his would be a great outlet to support women everywhere.
It’s also an experimental brand as I want to have a play with print on demand and drop shipping, neither of which are ideal long term options for me.
Print on demand suits creatives and artists more as the profit margins are tight so if you are the designer your outlays are less.
Drop shipping has long delays between ordering and receiving and you cannot always test the quality of a product. Plus there is no uniqueness. You are simply advertising someone else’s product and saying it’s your brand.
For a long term sustainable ecommerce business you want to be private labelling products and branding them with your own brand and even better, creating products which are completely unique to you.
However both of those require purchasing and holding large quantities of inventory and so to begin with we’re just going to pick the low hanging fruit to get a hang of the business model without too much risk.
Step 2 – Purchase domain
Ok so now you know your niche you can do steps 2, 3, 4 & 5 in tandem or in any order.
Step 2 is to decide your name and purchase the domain.
The name of my brand is ‘Legends Not Ladies’ based on a quote by Stevie Nicks. I love it!
It’s created mixed emotions in my community with comments such as the ’not’ part is negative and ‘why can’t we be both’, but this is where you have to go with your own gut instincts.
I believe if I named my site Legends & Ladies or something similar it would just be another vanilla brand in a sea of vanilla brands.
Legends NOT Ladies has a bit of oomph about it. It’s a bit contentious and has an air of feminism which I’m not particularly affiliated with, but I do like the connotation so I’m sticking with it.
Don’t spend too long here. You could spend months trying to think of the perfect name and domain. Just pick something you think could work, not too complicated, fairly easy to type and go for it, even if you can only get the .co or .net version.
People find websites via links these days so .com is nowhere near as important as it used to be.
Pretty important step is to decide who you’re selling too.
I talk a lot about customer avatars and truly there is no better explanation online that Digital Marketers customer avatar worksheet I recommended in last weeks podcast.
Just go to digitalmarketer.com and search for Customer Avatar worksheet or see the link directly under the podcast.
Once you know who you’re selling to, you can start to think about your brand colors, the feeling you want to portray on your site, how you want your site to look.
The best thing to do at this stage is to have a look through other ecommerce websites and make a list of ideas for your brand.
Just google ecommerce website examples or head over to the Shopify blog for loads of ideas.
Step 3 – Decide what you want to sell.
What products will you sell?
This will depend largely on the niche you have chosen.
For example if you have chosen the jewelry niche because you make it, then you’ve decided the product before the niche.
Let’s say you decide to go into the pet niche, there are so many ways you could go; outfits for dogs, pet food, safety products, training products, grooming products.
I would say start small and scale.
So for instance my brand is about female empowerment so my growth strategy is as follows;
1. Print on demand – T-shirts, pillows, bags, shoes, mugs, journals etc with empowerment quotes 2. Drop shipping – Jewelry / Stationary 3. Private Label / Own products – Journals, diaries, stationary, bags 4. Affiliations – books, other people’s products 5. Not for Profit – Ideally the end goal is to use the site as a vehicle to sell products made by women in developing countries funded by micro loans.
If we take the pet example, you could start with outfits for small dogs, then move into say harnesses, then maybe add safety products, then training products, then grooming products etc.
Or you could stay with just outfits and become a dog fashion store.
The choice is yours, go where your passion lies. (Hence my brand leans towards stationary, I love it!)
Step 4 – Choose how you’re going to obtain your products.
As I said in Step 1, you have a choice between Print on Demand, Drop Shipping, Affiliation, Private Label, Manufacturing Your Own Goods.
Only you can decide which business model suits you right now.
Print on Demand means that you just need to design the artwork and all the products will be printed and shipped directly from the manufacturing company.
Drop shipping means that you advertise the product, the buyer purchases it and you them purchase it from the manufacturer who then sends it directly to the buyer.
Arbitrage means you buy things cheaply and sell them for a profit. So you may head down to your local stores at sale time and stock up just to sell at a higher price later from your own site.
Affiliation means that you advertise other peoples products and get a commission for every sale you make. Be careful with this one as profit margins will be low.
Private Label is where you source products in bulk, usually 5,000 or more and brand the product with your own brand name either directly on the product or on the packaging.
Manufacturing your own goods says what it does on the tin. You would design and then find a manufacturer to make your own unique branded products. To be truly unique you’d need to go down the route of patents etc or the manufacturer can just sell your design to someone else by the way.
I know it’s a crooked world!
Step 5 – Decide where you’re going to sell.
Locally? Internationally? In just one specific country?
Again this greatly depends on the niche you’re in and the business model you choose.
I have a friend I’m working with who wants to open a clothing store and she has all the clothes in her home which she had designed and made a while ago for another project she was working on and once she’s sold those she has a manufacturer she knows who she will continue to source clothes from.
She will wrap and ship the products herself so she will start her site selling only locally to ensure the system of shipping etc works, that she’s profitable and then we’ll look at expanding her reach.
You may find that print on demand is too expensive to ship internationally. I’ll tell you more when I’ve had a play.
Drop shipping most products will probably come from China so you should be ok to sell all over the world but to start with you might say just in your home country to test the waters.
If you’re arbitraging it usually means you’ll be shipping it yourself, so you’ll need to bear that in mind.
If you’re private labeling & / or manufacturing it will all depend on profit margins and where you’re shipping from.
We’ll cover this in more detail as we go and grow, but just bear this step in mind.
Step 6 – Create logo & site designs
Alright so with all decisions made it’s time for the fun stuff!
Get your logo designed! (Or design it yourself)
I’m a terrible designer so I paid $299 to 99 designs and started a design competition.
It’s still running at the moment but I’m pretty sure we have a winner. Plus it’s given me some great design and color ideas for the site.
Shopify comes with lots of great free themes so once you’re signed up you can select a theme and then decide the images and colors you want for that theme.
Don’t spend too long here. You could spend months building the perfect site only to sell nothing!
Focus on the products and the sales process, you can tweak and improve the site as you go.
Step 7 – Sign up for Shopify or your ecommerce store of choice.
For my store I will be using Shopify because it’s super easy to use, built specifically for you to sell products & has lots of apps & bells and whistles that connect it to print on demand services, drop shipping services & social media for easy promotions & sales.
Over the last 10 years we have had the fortune to live in or visit over 30 different countries.
We have traveled with wild abandon dragging our little daughter with us for the most part, slowing only when it was clear that school agreed with her & she should stay in one place for a while to make the best of it.
We still go away every holiday & I continue to travel at other times through the year.
This has only been possible because we started a business back in 2010 which we could build & manage completely online. Since then we have gone on to create two life changing businesses and have plans for many more.
In last weeks episode – ‘What Business Should I Start?’ I shared with you the different types of lifestyle businesses & how to decide what business you should start if you’re currently unsure in which direction to go.
Today we’re going to explore the 10 steps to building your lifestyle business no matter the model you choose.
Know the business you are in.
Too many people start with ‘I want to make money online’
‘Doing what?’ I say.
‘Making money online!’
There is no such thing really. The internet is a tool to help you reach a much larger audience with your product / service / brand.
So you have to have a business idea to start.
As an example I’m currently launching two businesses.
One as an author, in that I’m building an audience who will hopefully buy my books I have yet to write.
Secondly an ecommerce business selling physical products.
Both require roughly the same 10 steps I’m sharing with you today, starting with the fact that I know what my business is.
The post gives a detailed explanation of creating your ideal customer avatar along with an accompanying worksheet.
Start building your audience.
You know there’s really no hard & fast order for some of these steps.
You can start with a product or not. You can start with an attractive email list building offer or not.
The key is to start whether you have anything to start with or not. Which is why I start content.
Choose your platform. Don’t try to be everywhere all at once, you will burn yourself out.
Do you want to be a blogger, a YouTube, a podcaster?
Perhaps you want to be an Instagram influencer or an expert on FB lives.
Go where you think your audience might be.
If through doing your avatar you think my audience watches YouTube vids & browses Pinterest then vow to master YouTube then Pinterest.
If you think your audience prefer blogs & Facebook then master blogging then FB.
I tend to pick a platform so moving forward for me it’s podcasting & a social media outlet to promote my platform so I’m liking Instagram at the moment, so that’s where you’ll find me!
Start to create quality content consistently and getting it out in front of your potential audience and you will start to gather an audience.
Please note quality trumps quantity. Take it from me.
I have tried quantity but unless you have your own digital marketing agency & a 24/7 videographer it’s tough so go for quality.
The secret to quality? Be valuable.
With every content piece you create ask how you can add maximum value.
Create a community.
So rather than just relying on organic shares of your content, begin to grow an engaged community by building an email list and / or inviting people into a Facebook Group.
Your community are your feedback mechanism, your marketing army, your core buyers & a lot of the time become your friends! 😀
Sure you can run ads to the new yoga pants you’ve just launched on your site but imagine you had an email list of 50,000 people all receiving your free yoga vids in their email every week and discussing / chatting with other community members in the group!
How likely is it that a large percentage of community members will order your new yoga pants?
Pretty high I would say!
Plus they’ll tell you how well they fit, can you add another colour, another size, another style. In fact could you also offer tees & socks etc.
They are walking talking market research!
The best way to build a community is to offer something of value for free.
So for example I’m about to start posting ecommerce training videos in my FB community for free, you just have to join to access them.
I will then at some point ask you to sign up to my email list to get notifications of new videos, worksheets & extras etc.
One of the fastest ways I built my email list in the early days was through webinars, so don’t be surprised if a few webinar invites don’t come your way in the future.
There are a multitude of ways to build your community each one deserving of an episode all on its own. More to come.
Build Your Asset Base
Simply put nows the time if you haven’t already to add whatever it is you’re selling.
So if you’re selling information products you might sell a video course, an ebook, a book, a membership site etc.
If you’re a coach you’ll be selling your coaching services.
Ecommerce – your products.
Influencer – your audience, your sponsorship deals.
SAAS – your software etc.
As I said in Step 3, there’s no hard & fast rule as to the order of these things.
Perhaps you had a product all along & then began to build your audience. It’s entirely up to you.
For my new ecommerce brand I will be promoting products & building my audience at the same time.
For my book, I won’t launch it until I have a bit of an audience to launch too.
It really depends on your goals and end objectives.
But all I can tell you is the stronger & more engaged your community, which by the way is directly correlated to how much value they feel they receive from you, the easier you will find it to promote & sell your product / service / brand.
So even if you start with a product, it’s important to be offering that value & building an engaged community at the same time.
One of the things that makes selling on Amazon so much easier than your own ecommerce store is that they’ve already done all that community building for you.
So you now just need to put your product in front of their audience.
(Quick note, to be continuously successful on Amazon though it would do you well to build your own audience. It’s a very competitive marketplace and you can easily get knocked out if the way by someone with more money than you!)
The quickest and easiest way to get your products / services / brand & content out into the marketplace is to use promotional techniques to do so.
Whether that be SEO, gaming social media algorithms, co promotions with other marketers, paid ads etc.
You need to be promoting even more than you’re creating.
If you publish a video on YouTube other than getting the tags right, your title, description etc you need to be adding a segment on your social media channel of choice, sending out to your community, trying to get other people to promote it for you or running ads & promotions to it.
The same for your podcasts or blog and / or your products & funnels.
The best content & products in the world are no good if they’re not seen.
So almost from the getgo you need to be looking at creative ways to get your brand / content in front of your target audience.
The first step is in knowing where your audience is which we touched on in Step 2.
The second step is being uber valuable as that will attract people to you & encourage word of mouth.
Then it’s using all the resources available to spread your message.
Once again this section is both long and wide so we will hone in on some great marketing & promotion techniques in various future episodes.
Add systems & a power team.
By now you will likely be exhausted!
You’re creating a podcast a week, trying to encourage people to join your community & nurturing them with valuable & consistent content, building out products and utilising marketing & promotion techniques.
You just don’t have the time or the energy to do it all!!!
Now is the time, if you haven’t already to put in place your power team.
To start with you might only have one other person on your team.
I grew my digital marketing business to a very healthy high six figure business with only 2 other full timers & some freelance contractors and we built our Amazon business to 7 figures with only 1 virtual assistant.
So you don’t need hundreds of staff to make it much easier on you to do what you must do.
I say what you must do because it’s important you hold on to the tasks that really only you can do, unless your long term goal is to exit out of the business completely which is a different discussion.
But most of my audience are building smaller lifestyle businesses and turning passion into profits so I imagine there’s a part of the business that’s yours and yours alone.
For me that’s content creation. Writing, recording, posting.
That’s not to say it won’t change in the future but you must ensure you start by delegating the lower level tasks out to your team freeing you up to do the important money making tasks.
Not sure how to get started hiring a VA? Here’s a post I wrote a while back complete with a job description and a robust hiring process – How to Hire an Awesome VA
Continue building & nurturing your audience & community.
This is one of the greatest mistakes I’ve seen online entrepreneurs do & I myself have made this mistake in the past.
Just because you’ve had a few sales or a success launch or your ad strategy is working doesn’t mean you should neglect your community & current audience. They are the core of your business and as such demand your best attention.
But like all of us they have a multitude of things happening in their lives vying for their attention at all times.
Neglect them and they will neglect you.
I don’t know about you but I hate the promotions I see banks do all the time.
X% off for new customers. Then you call up having been a loyal customer for years, ask for a similar discount and get told it’s only for new customers!
There’s something distinctly wrong with that picture!
Nurture your community. Keep adding value where you can. Listen and act on their feedback and acknowledge their importance in and too your business.
The more you look after your community the faster you will organically grow as they will be recommending you left right & centre to everyone they meet!
Plus it just makes you feel really good yourself to be a part of such a positive & friendly community.
Add further income streams.
Be super careful with this one as you don’t want to grow too fast.
I know that sounds counter intuitive but if you don’t have the systems or resources in place & suddenly catapult your business into high growth you could find yourself unable to meet commitments, dissatisfactory customer support & a reputational crisis on your hands.
Once you are satisfied that your business is running well and you want to up the ante you can begin to add alternate streams of income.
So if you sell stand alone video course, you could wrap them all up into a membership site.
Or you could start as an affiliate marketer & add your own courses as you go.
You could add more product lines to your store or more stores.
Perhaps you add a backend educational product to your front end product store.
There’s a whole stream of ways you can begin to add different revenue streams it will depend on your business & model.
But in all my years of doing this I have always found unless you’re starting with a solid team and plenty of financial resources it’s best to start small and grow as you go.
As I said in Step 7, we built our Amazon business to 7 figures with just one product and over the following two years grew that to 50 products but the sudden growth in product lines actually caught us out and we had to quickly scale back of risk losing growth in our whole brand.
Sometimes less is more!
So analyse your business as you grow. Listen to the feedback from your community so that you can provide what they’re asking for and grow slowly but surely.
Seth Godin said ‘The shortcut is usually the longest route’. Meaning that 9 times out of 10 when you try to shortcut something it usually takes you far longer. I wholeheartedly agree!
Trust the system & stack your income streams one by one.
This is meant to be fun!
I know business can be stressful. Learning something new can be stressful. Stepping out of our comfort zone etc etc.
But at the end of the day why do it if it doesn’t bring enjoyment to your life?
There are so many ways these days with the emerging ‘gig’ economy to make a bit of extra money to supplement your income so if you’re in this just to make money then starting & growing a business may not be for you.
But if you have a hobby or a passion that you’d love to share & monetise then building a lifestyle business is the way to do it.
The end result is doing what you love every day, and earning enough to do it from wherever you want whenever you want.
So there you have my 10 steps to building your Freedom Lifestyle Business.
I do hope they’ve proven useful.
Thanks for listening and if you get a moment I would so appreciate it if you could rate & review the podcast on iTunes.
Have an amazing week, life life on purpose and of course Make It Happen!
Do you know you want to start a lifestyle business but are stuck for ideas? Perhaps you’re low on cash, time, self belief?
Whatever it is one of the issues facing you is the sheer amount of opportunities now available to us.
Where do we start?
In todays episode of Make It Happen Monday, I’m answering an email I received from a lady called Sarah who asked this very question – ‘What business should I start?’
Here are my top 3 tips for hacking away the jungle of information surrounding you and making your way out into a sunshine filled clearing with decision and precision in mind!
Hello! Welcome to Make It Happen Monday.
I had a great email a couple of weeks ago from a lady called Sarah who said;
‘I’ve been following you for a couple of years and everything you put out is fantastic.
I’ve been looking at different online businesses, but find it challenging on which to start.
I have very little disposable cash to invest. Can you advise me what you think would be good to start.
I need to be doing something that brings me the lifestyle like yours.’
Great question Sarah, but a toughie for me to answer as it really depends on your time, resources, passions, skills, interests etc.
But I thought I could give some suggestions that might help you in the decision making process.
There are literally hundreds of lifestyle business ideas you could start tomorrow ranging from dog walking to ghost writing to digital marketing, selling on Etsy, building websites etc etc.
But almost all of them can be categorised into the following areas;
1. Freelance Services – virtual assistant, marketing agency services, building websites, etc. 2. Information Marketing – online courses, ebooks, affiliate marketing, books 3. Coaching / Consulting – one to one, one to many coaching services 4. Ecommerce – selling physical products online – Shopify, Etsy, Amazon, Ebay etc 5. Influencer Model – Sponsorship / product endorsements etc 6. SAAS – Software as a service – Software, apps etc
There may be the odd outlier but most fall under one or more of these 6 categories which helps when thinking about which model suits you the most.
So here are three steps you can take to really hone in on the the type of business you’d like to start and what that business might be.
Focus on the process not the result.
Your objective might be to create an amazing lifestyle where you travel the world and work your own hours as and when you want to, but focusing on that will only take you down scammy rabbit holes following people and programs who sell you the dream, not the reality.
Your lifestyle will be a direct result of the effort you put in and the value you bring to the table.
So what are you interested in or passionate about?
What hobbies or interests do you have which could be translated into a business opportunity?
Do you love entrepreneurship in general (like me) and want to help businesses grow?
Do you make beautiful jewelry or clothes in your spare time which you’d love to sell online?
Are you a natural cook and would love to teach people how to make cakes, or vegan food, or Indian food or healthy meals for kids etc.
Do you love Yoga and believe perhaps you could become an online Yoga instructor.
It all starts with what you love to do, what are your hobbies and do they correlate with a gap in the market or an area that you believe you could really add value.
If you’re still not sure and can’t think of something that really floats your boat, then look at the available business models as laid out at the beginning of this podcast and in the show notes accompanying this episode.
What business model excites you; blogging, being an influencer, offering a service, selling physical products, building a brand etc. If there’s a model that excites you then you can learn a new skill to adapt to that model.
For example, you could immerse yourself in Facebook Ads and become a FB ads coach.
You could immerse yourself in graphic design and become a graphic designer.
You could immerse yourself in ecommerce and start an online store in a popular niche as I have done.
You could become a podcaster and interview people in a specific niche, build an audience and make money from sponsorship.
The ways to build a business are endless, you just have to decide on something (even if it’s not quite the right thing for you just yet) and go for it.
It’s the story of how I got going even though I wasn’t entirely on the right path at the time. It’s better to be moving and switch lanes than to do nothing and just think about your goals.
If by this stage you are still undecided – although I would hope you might have one or two potential ideas by now – focus on who you’d love to serve.
Sometimes deciding on ‘who’ we’d love to attract / impact / serve with our business can help us decide what business to get into.
Foe example perhaps you’d love to inspire Dads who work too hard to manage their time better and focus on their health & families more.
Perhaps you’ve just navigated your way through your kids teenage years and feel you’re well placed to help parents with teenage kids survive the onslaught! (I’m speaking as a Mother of a new 13 year old here)
Maybe you’ve just had a baby and suffered with postpartum depression and would love to help other new Mums cope.
The opportunities are endless my friend, so you have to decide on something and then go for it.
Next week I’m going to run through the 10 Steps to Building Your Lifestyle Freedom Business from the Ground Up which pretty much applies to all of these business models so between now and then jot down some business ideas going through the 3 steps I’ve shared today and then after the next episode you will be able to formulate a plan and the one that gets you the most excited to follow the plan is the winner!
I do hope todays episode has helped.
Thanks for listening and if you get a moment I would so appreciate it if you could rate & review the podcast on iTunes.
Have an amazing week, live life on purpose and of course Make It Happen!