Back in 2010 when I started my online adventure I really had no idea what ‘niche’ I wanted to be in.
I knew I wanted to do business coaching of some kind as I had learnt so much along the way of running my own teams in senior management & then running my own business offline and I loved entrepreneurship, marketing, women in business etc.
So I knew that I wanted to work with other entrepreneurs and help them to build their own businesses.
But I didn’t have a ton of experience and I was racked with self doubt.
So out of luck more than judgement I honed in on Facebook for a year or so and launched my first successful online membership site.
Not satisfied just with FB though I gradually expanded to include all social media, then rebranded to Online Marketing Addicts, then decided that boxed me in too much and became Jo Barnes Online.
After my break I have come back refreshed and ready for action to do what I wanted too all along which was to help people build their own ‘Lifestyle Business’.
Phew that took a while!
But here’s the key.
I didn’t sit between 2010 & 2019 thinking about which niche I wanted to be in.
I didn’t twiddle my thumbs and wrack my brains for the perfect idea to launch.
I just grabbed stuff and started running with it, each time bringing me closer to where I wanted to be and also helping a ton of people (and making a good amount of money) along the way.
Yes I guess publicly it may have looked like I couldn’t make up my mind, but who really cares? People are far more concerned with their own issues than yours and will always be far more interested in how you can help them than what you call yourself.
So what do you do when you’re not sure what to do. Anything!
Just get out there and do something.
Not three different things, by the way to see which one will stick, unless you’re 19, can work 24 hours a day and have unlimited resources.
Just pick something that you think is along the lines of what you might want to do and go for it!
You will only discover what it is you really want to do or who you want to be through action!
Micheal P Moran who wrote the 12 Week Year says ‘Execution is the single greatest market differentiator. Great companies & successful individuals execute better than your competition. The barrier standing between you and the life you are capable of living is a lack of consistent execution.’
Make the commitment today to get started, get moving and make your dreams a reality, even if you’re unsure you’re heading in exactly the right direction.
I guarantee you, by taking action rather than by standing still, you will find your path & your passion!
A few months ago I started ‘A week in the life of’ series which was supposed to be a weekly update of things I was working on, but through my indecisive period I wasn’t working on that much so it kind of drifted into the ether…
This week I’m breathing new life into it as I’m on such an upward journey now I hope that my discoveries across each week of tools, strategies & tips to build my business will help & inspire you.
I am also recording this as a weekly podcast, so if you don’t have time to read, you can listen here, or subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Anchor or Stitcher amongst others!
So this past week has been a pretty big one!
Fueling Your Mind for Action
I think too much. Always have. My Mum has always said ‘Jo, you think too much’. Now Rhett says ‘Hun, you think too much’.
The problem with that is my mind is a dangerous jungle fraught with scary monsters jumping out giving me all the reasons I can’t do something or why it won’t work, or how I will be judged!
So, I have to find a super fast path out of that jungle as soon as I find myself walking through it.
My answer to that my friend is – YouTube!
YouTube is like the yellow brick road leading me to the emerald city.
On every corner is someone saying ‘You can do it!’, ‘You are worthy’, ‘It can work’, ‘Here’s an example of it working for someone else’ etc etc.
The more positive videos I watch, the more pop up in front of me in flashing lights, saying ‘watch me’.
I’m fully aware that some of the people behind the videos may or may not be like the great Oz himself and actually not so great, but that’s irrelevant as long as they can lead me out of the jungle and confidently into the big city of ‘action taking’ and ‘forward momentum’.
So my message to you is, next time you find yourself in your own jungle, head to the sparkling city of YouTube and indulge yourself in positive, reinforcing messages that you’re awesome and have everything you need to be who you want to be! 😀
So after a period of indecision & faffing about, I decided to get pretty intimate this week and open up about my current journey.
This is actually pretty scary, because you want people to always see the best, the brightest & the strongest side of you, but unfortunately we’re all only human and sometimes to publicly admit your flaws, really helps you to admit them to yourself and be able to forgive yourself and move on.
It was a super positive experience for me and I want to thank everyone in the FB group for your support and encouragement.
Since becoming super clear on my plans for the next 12 months, I have become so excited and can’t wait to share my learnings & experiences with you. I truly hope they help you with your goals & dreams.
Which brings us to a quick….
Summary of Future Plans
So in summary from all my posts this week, my plans for the next 12 months are to launch our new ecommerce brand, probably in September of this year after the summer holiday period and do lots of over the shoulder training videos on how we build and grow that brand.
I love over the shoulder training. I have done since 2010 when I started with FB.
But this time all my training will be FREE!
Yep, I have no desire to sell video courses or go back into the world of product launches.
I have a long term plan of building a large audience of people who will hopefully buy my books when I publish them, some of whom may join us on immersive retreats around the world in a year or two and in years to come might join a higher level mastermind I may or may not launch (I haven’t thought much beyond the next year).
So I’ll let you know when all that comes to fruition later in the year.
However in the meantime…
Make It Happen Monday
I had a HUGE shift with my MIHM vids this week.
Contrary to popular belief and what the content I currently produce says about me I do not want to be a female version of Tony Robbins.
That’s not to say I don’t want to demonstrate how to be strong, empowered and courageous.
In fact that’s exactly what I want to demonstrate.
And that’s not to say I don’t want to publish messages of empowerment because I think we all need to fuel our minds as much as possible with empowering thoughts (as per point 1)
But it’s not my focal point, it’s a by product.
And yet I was finding that every video was a message of empowerment with no real actionable strategies for people to take away.
Plus my 12 year old Instagram obsessed daughter informed me that I waffled too much at the beginning and it took me ages to get to the point. So long in fact that she turned me off within 20 seconds! (Love that she’s already thinking like a marketer!)
So this week after having prepared & completed a content strategy for June – August, I set about scripting and recording 5 episodes I’m feeling super happy about.
One is empowerment led, but still actionable and the other four are strategy led, actionable videos which I hope will truly add value. I’m excited to share! 🙂
So right now my priorities are on engaging (& growing) the members of my Facebook Group & my email subscribers.
You guys are the lifeblood of my brand and I’m here to serve you, so if you haven’t yet joined the FB Group please do so here.
My second priority is of course the content I create, my blog posts, MIHM vids, podcasts etc.
And my third is then promoting that content across mainly Instagram & FB
Current Tools I’m playing with
With all the traveling I do (off to Japan & Hawaii in 2 weeks), apps & tools are essential for me to run my business.
I have been shocking at being consistent with Instagram & Facebook so I’m currently playing with Planoly & Later, scheduling apps mainly for Instagram, but Later looks like it also includes FB.
I’m mid investigation but will let you know which one I prefer within the next couple of weeks.
I’m also looking at Tube Buddy to help with my YouTube account, but haven’t signed up yet as they want complete control of my YT account including deleting videos etc.
I have been in touch with their support and will report back if and when I sign up and start using it.
Promotional Strategies I’m Exploring
So its all good and well creating content, but we have to promote it or no-one will ever see it.
It’s become blatantly clear to me that the social networks do not want you linking people off of their platforms and so posts with links get less airtime.
So how else to get people to my blog?
As much as I dislike the old behemoth because it’s so complicated, I am once again looking at SEO and trying to devise a super simply strategy for headlines or posts that might get some SEO love.
I’ll get back to you on that also, but if you have any tips, please do share below!
Challenges You or I Might Be Facing
I just want reassure you that if you suffer from a bit of self doubt and stop yourself from doing things because of it, you’re not alone.
Even this post, I’m asking myself, is it too long, too much information, too little, should I say this, should I say that?
But in the end you just have to make a commitment to yourself that you’re going to show up and do your best.
You’ll learn, change and improve as you go, but you’ll never do anything if you don’t get started in the first place.
Shows I’m watching
Not sure why I wanted to share this, just thought it would be a bit of fun!
Rhett & I totally binged watched Season 3 of ‘Designated Survivor’ last weekend. Kiefer Sutherland is so cheesy as the President, but it’s a great show and they really tackled some weighty issues this season. Many tears were shed by me!
Now we’re on to season 4 of Billions! Love that show, although it hasn’t started with a bang. And I’ve had little time to watch so have only managed 2 episodes.
Also in the background, ready for long journeys if I don’t feel like writing or reading and just want some brain zone out time is of course ‘Outlander’! Oh my gosh – men look away a moment – ladies, how about Jamie Fraser?? Many an episode spent a bit hot under the collar. That’s one of those shows that you have to cover with your hands if you’re watching sat next to someone on an airplane! ☺️
So there you have it, my meaty week!
Hopefully future weeks won’t be so long, I guess this was like a pilot for future more focused & specific summaries! 🙂
Let me know if there’s anything in particular you’d like me to cover in my Friday ‘week in the life of’ posts.
As I said above, I’m here to serve you.
Thanks so much for reading!
Fave Quote of the week
“Do not discourage yourself with what you haven’t done, encourage yourself with what you will do.” Neale Donald Walsch
Imagine it’s one year to the day from now and you have achieved everything you wanted to this coming year…
Where are you? What are you doing? What does your life look like? What does your business look like? Who are you working with? What’s a working day in the life of you?
Allow your mind to completely wonder and dream as if nothing had gotten in your way over the year.
You’d obliterated all fear, taken massive action, the stars had aligned and everything you wanted in your business had happened as planned.
When I did this exercise I knew that by this time next year I wanted to have written a couple of books and helped as many people as possible build their own lifestyle businesses through my content, books & free videos.
But I also imagined that by this time next year our new ecommerce brand was up and running.
That I had spent time ‘playing’ with drop shipping & print on demand to see which products were most popular before I began finding ways to perhaps get products manufactured fair trade in developing countries with the help of NGO’s and potentially people Kiva.org were supporting.
When I realized the direction I wanted to go in, it wasn’t hard for me to know where to start.
Back in 2010, I knew that my ultimate goal was to help people build businesses online.
But back then I didn’t have the experience or the know how, so I honed in on one thing and focused on facebook fan pages.
I immersed myself in Facebook and taught people how to grow their brand and email lists using facebook landing pages.
By the time I launched the Social Networking Academy some 8 months or so later, I had 18,000 people on my email list and generated $117k in the launch week alone.
This is the power of niching down. You can always expand later.
As someone who’s very passionate about walking the walk, it makes sense for me to focus on ecommerce moving forward.
This is a fabulously scaleable business model for a lifestyle entrepreneur and as I want to grow our new ecommerce brand I can teach what I’m doing at the same time.
So although I’m sure to cover associated topics such as, social media marketing, email list building, content marketing etc, because its all part and parcel of the same thing, for the next year or so I will lean heavily towards ecommerce and physical products.
Therefore the answer to Q1 – What’s your hook? What’s your unique angle within your niche that you want to become known for?
For me over the next year or so it will be teaching people how to build ecommerce based lifestyle businesses they can run from anywhere in the world.
What is it for you?
Remember this doesn’t have to be lifetime. Just think about what you need to do now to achieve your goals this time next year.
Don’t worry that you might alienate certain groups of people by becoming specific about what you’re doing.
I guarantee you, that I will attract information marketers along with ecommerce businesses because so much of what I teach applies to both models.
But the beauty of niching down is that it allows you to become super clear about your subject matter, your content creation and your message.
The clearer you are, the more action you will take and the more people you will attract.
Tomorrow I’m going to walk you through how that works when selecting your target market also.
But believe me, the more focused and niched you can get, the more of the right people you will attract even if they’re not quite what you expected.
So, please take the time to go through this exercise. Really allow yourself to think big & visualize in great detail.
If you’re not a visual person, make some practical lists of where you’d ideally like to be a year from now if everything went as planned.
Then looking at the direction you want to go in, get super clear about where you want to start and don’t be afraid.
You are not missing out on anything by focusing in. The opportunities around us are going nowhere and you will speed up your progress by starting small and growing rather than trying to be all things to all people.
I had instantly connected, resonated and encouraged her to take massive action which she did.
Coincidently, just 2 weeks prior I had had a similar conversation with a lady in Jaipur India, who wanted to take her husbands cooking business online so they could work from anywhere, do some traveling, visit their kids at university etc. Jaipur Cooking Classes Story
We took instant action, put together a short video and talked so much my brain, tummy & thoughts were on fire! And not from the curry.
Both ladies were keen to learn more, know more. Where could they sign up? Could I give them homework? Did I have videos etc?
Two women from distant lands wanting what I could offer, but due to my current state of indecision, right now, did not have to hand in any structured and meaningful way.
Of course I recommended any resources I could think of, but it became blatantly clear I needed to have a word with myself.
So I did what any self respecting, action taking 46 year old woman on a paradise island would do and relaxed with a few cold ones in the pool! 😂🍺
So it may surprise you to know, that all of us suffer with all sorts of insecurities & fears at various points in our lives, even those of us who come across as super confident.
One of my fears was that by taking the break I did, I had now missed the boat in the digital space.
The market had become far more saturated than it was when I started in 2010, and by boys & girls far younger & sexier than I!
How was I going to compete, with what was I going to compete and did I really have the energy??
Meeting Geetika & Jess reminded me just how many people there are in this world and how much of any market is still untapped.
As of writing over 43% of the entire population are still not even online.
The opportunities are abound and without sounding twee we are honestly only limited by our own belief systems.
Geetika & Jess wanted my help. They didn’t care how old I was or whether I looked good in a bikini.
Could I help them build their businesses and live the kind of life I was living?
‘Live the kind of life I’m living’. I’m a walking, talking, breathing advert for my own brand.
I am – ‘Your Lifestyle Business’
You can’t get much more unique than that!
In tomorrows post I’ll discuss why it’s important to start with the end in mind in order to get super clear about where you are now and succinctly answer the question – ‘What’s your unique angle’, but in the meantime a great exercise is to take a deep breath and write down all the things you’re afraid of with your business.
Everything you can think of, write down just for you, you can throw it away afterwards.
Write, read and own your fears, and then work to obliterate them.
Is what you’re telling yourself really true or just a story you’re making up in your head?
Feel free to share any fears if you need help destroying them for good.
In my last post I posed 4 questions both to myself and to you as a lifestyle business owner.
1. What’s your hook? What’s your unique angle within your niche that you want to become known for? 2. Who are you serving? Who do you want to serve? 3. Why are you creating and publishing content? What’s your reason for doing so? 4. How are you ensuring you’re adding the most value and meeting the specific needs of your target audience?
I asked these questions because since restarting my brand back at the beginning of 2019, I haven’t really had a clearly defined plan or direction and as a result have been unhappy with my own efforts to create content that truly resonates and adds massive value to my target market.
I also gave some great examples of brands and influencers who very specifically through the content they publish answer each and every question without ambiguity.
Probably the most important question we should be asking ourselves above all questions.
Why are we doing what we’re doing? Why do we want to do it? What’s the driving force behind the goals we have? Behind the business we’re trying to build? Behind the content we’re trying to produce?
When I relaunched my brand as ‘Your Lifestyle Business’ earlier this year having taken a couple of years out of the digital marketing space, Rhett (my other half) asked me why I wanted to start this particular side of the business again.
We have a successful Amazon business right now and I’m in the enviable position of not having to work if I don’t want to, and we also have plans to launch and build a completely new ecommerce brand in 2020 more in line with who we are and what we love to do as a long term 10 – 20 year plan.
So in all honesty I could just sit back, wait until we start our new ecommerce business next year and focus solely on that.
But I know (and he knows) that that alone is not going to fulfill my particular needs.
I have a greater purpose.
And it took me rewatching this Simon Sinek video to really clarify my purpose.
In the video he’s basically saying – ‘You will attract people who believe what you believe, what you do proves what you believe, so what do you believe?’.
All of a sudden I went back to the examples of the brands and influencers I talked about in my last post.
Why did I resonate with those guys, did I believe what they believed?
You bet your bottom dollar I did.
Looking beyond the podcasts, the courses, the videos, the books, I realised what really resonated with me was that I believed what they believed.
Look at the people or brands you use or follow. Do you know what they believe? Do you believe the same?
It’s quite eye opening.
So bear with me here as I explain my beliefs about the world, because it is these deep inner workings of my complicated overthinking mind that form the purpose for doing what it is I want to do and I hope will help you to do the same;
– I believe that capitalism which inherently is a good thing and can raise entire countries out of poverty has exploded in the last few years into greed and the only way to regain some equilibrium is for more people to become masters of their own destiny and achieve financial independence & freedom for themselves, their families and ideally their communities.
– I believe that more people need to travel and experience the world beyond their back garden in order to open their minds, increase their understanding of cultural, religious and economic differences and thereby increase tolerance around the world.
– I believe that organizations such as Kiva.org are giving women in developing countries opportunities they may not otherwise have to grow their own small businesses, transforming their lives, their villages and allowing them to send their children to school, which creates a huge positive ripple moving forward.
– I believe that more people should be building businesses from their passions and interests, focused less on the bottom line and more on spending their days doing something they love, while funding a good lifestyle, while adding value to their marketplace.
So therefore in a nutshell, I believe that the more people who can build a ‘lifestyle business’, ie a small business which gives you enough to fund your lifestyle, become financially independent, travel the world and be able to give back even in a small way to those less fortunate will lead to a better world.
I also believe that because of my experience, our future goals (mine & Rhett) and our current lifestyle I am perfectly placed to help as many people as possible achieve this goal.
So there you have my why for doing what it is I want to do and to be honest, once I’d sat down and really explored my reasons for doing what I wanted do, the other 4 questions at the top of this post became pretty easy to answer.
In my next post, I’ll tell you how two chance encounters led to me realising that I was already on the right path with ‘Your Lifestyle Business’ but for now, go and watch the Simon Sinek video.
Why are you doing what you’re doing? What’s your driving force?