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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.
If you’re not sure what your business is then listen to last weeks episode.
Know who your business is for.
Who do you want to serve? Who do you want to work with? Who is your ideal client / customer?
The online world is incredibly competitive and so to stand out from the crowd we need to be speaking directly to our audience and if you don’t know who that is you can’t talk directly to them.
I know this is scary as you feel by targeting one group of people you’re eliminating or alienating another, but it won’t actually work like that in practice.
You will begin to attract the very audience you desire plus people you never thought you’d resonate with because you’ll be found easier.
You’ll cut through the competition far easier and do you’ll automatically have a lot more exposure.
I highly recommend ‘The Customer Avatar Worksheet’ on the Digital Marketer Blog.
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!