Why Did You Want to Start a Business?
It all started when I was 11 and I created this blog about the Boston Red Sox—and being a New Yorker in Boston … well, you know how that story goes.
So I went online and created a blog and that was how I got to connect with other Red Sox fans. As a result, I developed such a love for blogging that I decided to start talking about how to get more blog traffic and how to get more social media exposure. I realized that it was what I wanted to do. This was making revenue and I didn’t want to have to graduate college and search for a job. At that point, I felt like this was something that I had to be doing.
I was encouraging people to buy products that I liked using. in 2012 it was a lot of affiliate marketing, but at a certain point, I began creating my own products, such as writing books and creating my own training courses. At that point, the snowball effect had taken a strong position.
How Did You Start Your Business?
It started with me taking the first steps. For creating training courses I created my course before I did crazy research. I knew I could put a bunch of videos together, have a promo video description and then I was set. For writing a book, it was a similar thing—I took the action first and then I decided to do the research. I feel like you can do so much research but then you get “analysis paralysis,”. I think the more research you do without taking action, the more impossible a task seems.
So I decided to take action before I did the intense research. I only took a little action—it wasn’t actually anything big, but I took enough action to reach the point where I was committed to going forward regardless of what research I obtained.
Monetizing Your Content
I believe 2012 was the first time I realized I could monetize my content. Now, as I mentioned earlier, I was doing a lot of affiliate marketing, but I was also writing content. The way I saw it, the content was making the revenue.
I don’t specifically remember when I first published my book—I think it was either 2013, but leaning more toward 2014. When I published my first book it was a battle, but then the second book was easier. And the third book was even easier. And as I continued to write these books, create these training courses, it just became easier because it essentially became a habit.
The response has been very strong—I get a lot of people thanking me for taking the time to write my books and create my training courses. I really like that type of response because it’s motivation to continue. When you see other people admiring your work, you have a stronger reason— a stronger desire —to continue producing that type of work to provide more value to that particular group of people.
The First Step to Starting a Business
If you’re interested in starting your own business, my first suggestion would be to do what you can to take any type of action that you can take right now.
It could be something as simple as sending an e-mail to someone who you know that you need to connect with, just so that you’re taking that small leap because as you take more small leaps, you’re going to get to that final product.
So my recommendation is to take that type of action now. Once you take the action and do some research, you’ll have an idea of how much effort you’re going to need.
I like to always overestimate the amount of effort that would be required to achieve a certain goal. If you overestimate, you’re going to put in more work, you’re going to force yourself to think of ways to work smartly and that’s going to help you make your startup move faster.
Creating an Action Plan
I highly recommend coming up with an action plan.
The first book I wrote, as I mentioned before, was a struggle because I thought of the ideas as I went. Now, when I’m writing books and training courses, I’ll sit down for about 15 minutes creating an outline which basically says: This is what I have to talk about in the book and this is the order I have to talk about it within this book.
I always create an action plan before I create a product or pursue something—I have drawers filled with all these different plans. There are very few plans that go perfectly. You have to assess the amount of work you’re doing and then look back at the plan and make adjustments along the way.
Maybe you set a plan to achieve a goal beyond expectations so you’re moving at a faster pace. Why would you give yourself the same goal? You have to raise the bar to make progress and grow your business.
Staying on the Right Track
As different problems come up, as different expectations are exceeded or not exceeded, it’s up to you to make adjustments to your plans to ensure that you’re staying on the right track. Once you have the idea and the plan, you have to get really specific on the action you’re going to take right next.
For example, for any blog post or book or course I’m running, I start with the introduction. I’m very clear on what I have to do first because if you have something that you know you have to do first, that just allows you to enter the workflow quicker.
Starting that workflow, it’s entering an undisturbed state of productivity. It will be easier for you to take the second step, the third step and the fourth step which are going to help you get what you need to get done for today.
The Importance of Content and Strategic Positioning
The way I see content is that content is the free preview of the actual product. If you produce high-value content for free, then people are going to think, “Wow! the product is absolutely going to blow me away,” because the content is already so good.
You could also strategically publish content that relates to your product. So if you’re going to launch a product in about two weeks, you can prepare people for it by writing blog posts on topics similar or exactly related to the product that you’re about to release.
And you can include call to actions within those blog posts, so you have to be very strategic with which type of content you write in relation to an upcoming affiliate launch or an upcoming product that you want to launch.
Marketing Your Content
For me, a lot of marketing involves social media. When I publish a blog post, I’ll spread the word, I’ll tweet about it, I’ll post it on Pinterest and that’s how I get the word out for my content.
But regardless of what you use, you need to have a plan that ensures that people who are coming in contact with any form of your content add themselves to your e-mail list. The e-mail list is really the most important asset that you have online. So, for my social media, I’m pointing people to my landing pages. Even when I point people to my blog posts, in a sense, I’m still always directing them to an opt-in offer.
Optimizing Your Social Media Presence
You start out by using all the social networks, but if you continue going down this path you’re going to be mediocre at 10 different ones instead of mastering one.
So use them all at the beginning to see which one works best for you, and then focus on that one platform.
If you focus on one social network it’s easier to master it. When you master a single social network it’s easier to master the other ones. That’s because social networks are just like the Romance languages. If you master Spanish it’s much easier to master Italian, French and all the other Romance languages because they have a lot of similarities.
For instance, I was able to master Twitter before any other social network. Now all of a sudden I have 40,000 Pinterest followers just because I carried the methods I was using on Twitter over to Pinterest.
Increasing Your Conversion Rate
There are a lot of different factors you want to look at when it comes to improving your conversion rate.
You want to look at your landing page conversion and optimize that because you want more people who visit your landing page to go deeper into your sales funnel. Making some tweaks on the landing page could be the difference between a 30 percent conversion rate and a 40 percent conversion rate, which is critical when getting thousands of people to visit your landing pages. Eventually, it could be the difference between hundreds or even thousands of subscribers with just that 10 percent increase…
You want to get as many people to click as possible. How can you increase that conversion rate for the sales page, especially?
Well, the color scheme, the text that you use, the pictures that you use—all of that stuff matters, but regardless of what product you’re offering, and regardless of what you’re trying to get conversions for, my suggestion is to test one thing at a time.
If you test 10 different things and you get the same results, as far as you know you could’ve discovered five things that doubled your opt-ins and five things that cut your opt-ins in half. You would never know because you’re testing all these different variables.
The second thing I can recommend is to constantly look at all your conversion metrics because that data is going to help you see where improvements can be made. It’s going to give you a benchmark that you can use to determine what type of progress you’re making.
Pushing Yourself with Goals
You keep the momentum going by giving yourself much bigger goals than you’ve given yourself before. So it’s not just a matter of how getting slightly better than you were last week. It’s a matter of achieving a monumental jump so that this year’s results exceeds last year’s results.
Being a disruptive force in your niche just requires you —and I know a lot of people say this—to be unique in your own way; whether you provide an intense level of value or have a really strong story. Are you creating more content than everyone else? Is your content really really good? What is that differentiation factor?
Setting Successful Habits
The important thing is to set habits for yourself to get the results that you want and create that differentiation factor. So, for instance, my goal for 2017—one of them, anyway—is to come out with one new YouTube video every single day. From the first of January to the 31st.
What I’ve decided to do is establish a habit where I create at least three videos per day. Now the goal all of a sudden looks like light work and it doesn’t even take me 15 minutes.
Related: Turning Your Idea into a Business
Believe in Your Ability
No matter what you pursue, there’s going to be criticism and there are going to be people who are really adamant that they don’t like what you’re doing. I’ve gotten a few of these people but you just have to ignore them, move forward and if you are confident enough in yourself then all the doubt that exists outside of your fan base won’t matter.
If you focus on the doubt and all of the people who don’t believe in you, you’re going to lose sight of your customers who believe in you, but more importantly, you’re going to lose sight of yourself.
So, as you see this criticism coming, just understand that it’s part of the process, it’s nothing to get sad about. It’s like any type of obstacle, it can be overcome, if you believe in your ability to overcome it. I truly believe that all battles are over before they truly begin—they start and end with the mind. The final outcome is just validation of what you were thinking all along.