How to Set Yourself Up for Success
Set up a designated “work space” if you don’t already have one. The key is to find a space in your home that is quiet and distraction-free. (Or at least as low-distraction as possible!) It’s ideal if this space will be used solely as your work space versus it also moonlighting as a family space.
Make your space distraction-free. Do you need to turn your phone and all other notifications off? Do you need to put a do-not-disturb sign on your door? Do you need to share with your family when you will be working so that they can respect your work time? You’re going to need to be intentional about this because it’s not going to happen on its own!
Set the mood. What do you need to add to make it a more creative space? Do you need to clear the clutter off your desk each day before you get started? Would lighting a candle, playing soft focus music, or turning on a white-noise machine help you concentrate during your session? Think about the times in your life you’ve been the most focused and what the physical space was like. Try to bring some similar elements into your work space if you can.
Consider a co-working space. If you look around your house and realize there is just no space for you to work—or if you’re one of those people who concentrates better when there are other people around—consider investing in a co-working space.
How to Define Your Business Topic
The challenge with comparing yourself to everyone else is that you will rarely stack up. In our own minds, we almost always come up short. We have this magical way of deleting the long track record of accomplishments in our wake, focusing only on our fears and failures.
Be a racehorse. Head down, blinders on, stay in your lane, keep going. You’ve got too much important work to do to be paying attention to the horses around you. Frankly, they are none of your business. Your business is right in front of you. Stay focused.
While you’re at it, adopt this mantra: “There is an abundance of success to go around and I am absolutely deserving and open to receiving my share.” Repeat the mantra as often as needed. When you shift your mindset from looking for all the reasons it won’t work to truly believing that you not only can achieve success, but deserve to, the way you show up and go after your dreams will change dramatically.
When you’re looking for ideas, it helps to pull inspiration from things that have already proven to be successful. Maybe you help small businesses with their taxes, or your friends come to you for help throwing parties, or you’ve created a simple system for planting a vegetable garden within a small space, or you have a special way to teach someone to play an instrument without reading music. Let’s take a look at the areas that are already yielding the biggest results for you. Ask yourself the following questions:
In what areas are you already being paid for your time and expertise? What do your friends and family come to you for advice or guidance about? If you have one-on-one clients, or even if you’ve done something successfully for yourself, what process or framework did you use to get results? What kind of questions do you get asked all the time? What topic are you always talking about or being asked by others to “pick your brain” about? What successful businesses are out there that you know you could do really well in your own unique way?
How to Identify Your Ideal Customer Avatar
Even though you might have imagined them, your Ideal Customer Avatar exists in real life. Talk to that coaching client or colleague who would be perfect for your product or service. Reach out to your friends and family members and see if they know anyone who would be a good fit or get referrals from peers in your industry. Ask your social media followers if they would be willing to jump on a call with you. To figure out who to meet with, think about the people you want to work with. This is your Ideal Customer, after all.
Aim to schedule at least two to three (the more, the better) 15- to 20-minute validation calls with people you think might be your Ideal Customer Avatar. The goal of these calls is twofold: (1) Uncover insights, fears, concerns, challenges, experiences, wants, and needs of your audience. (2) Determine whether you are on target with your “you” factor or business topic. Remember, one of the factors in the sweet spot test is the profit potential. Are people willing to pay for what you are offering? If something is off or is just not resonating, these conversations will give you more clarity and insight so that you can further develop your idea.
When you have your validation calls, listen more than you talk. See if the avatar description you created resonates with them. Ask open-ended questions to help you understand their wants, needs, and pain points. Questions like:
Tell me about your [topic that relates to your business topic, e.g., “dating life,” if you’re a matchmaker] as it looks now. What are your biggest frustrations related to this topic? Where do you feel stuck? Why do you think this has been a struggle for you? How long has this been a struggle for you? What has stopped you from taking action in this area? What have you already tried that has not worked? Have you ever searched online for solutions? Did you take action from anything you found?
Keep in mind the specific words they use. These are a gold mine for your future copy, emails, sales pages, and social posts, so take lots of notes. You might even see if they would be okay with you recording the call. The actual language they use is what will resonate most, so as you begin to create your product or service and write your marketing messages down the road, you can come back to these specific words and phrases and integrate them throughout. These calls give you a glimpse into the mind of your Ideal Customer Avatar—don’t take that lightly!
How to Build a Following on Your Terms
Focus on choosing the one platform that makes the most sense for your business. As you grow, you’ll be able to repurpose content across platforms. To see which is the right fit for your business, the author made an overview of the major platforms and what she suggests posting there.
Facebook Slightly older (mostly between the ages of 25 to 55). An online community around your “you” factor or a collaborative group environment. Facebook Lives and interactive content like polls and requests for recommendations. The more engaging and interactive the content is, the better it will do.
Instagram Slightly younger (mostly between the ages of 18 to 34). More informal and personal. Stunning visual imagery and design, as well as videos (both short form and long form).
LinkedIn The “professional” space, including fellow business owners. Original content to build your authority. Long-form copy like blog posts, native content (written in the site, rather than links to external sites), and top 10 lists.
Pinterest Adult women. Content to drive traffic to your website since there’s no like/comment functionality. Appealing photos of your products, infographics about your area of expertise, or highly designed teasers for your weekly content.
YouTube All ages and gender identities. Long- or short-form video, including instructional content, tutorials, product reviews, “best of” lists, Q&As, interviews, and everything in between. SEO-friendly content since YouTube is one of the top Internet search engines.
Twitter Adult males, aged 25 to 50. Short-form, text-based content, including news updates, trending information, and links to longer-form content like articles and videos.
TikTok Largely on the younger side (10 to 34), but a growing older audience (35 to 54). Catchy and trendy short-form videos of up to three minutes, using filters, music, and on-screen graphics to tell engaging stories, be upbeat, and have fun.
Now take a moment to refresh your memory on your Ideal Customer Avatar. Where does your Ideal Customer Avatar already hang out online? Are there any specific demographics about your Ideal Customer Avatar that align more closely with one platform over another? What is your primary objective with social media? In other words, are you looking to increase brand awareness, connect and engage with your audience, drive traffic to your website, increase your authority as an expert, etc.?
Based on your answers, choose the most relevant platform. Make an account if you don’t have one already. Then map out two to three weekly content pillars and outline what your posts will look like for the next few weeks. Or if you’re like me and have some reservations, give yourself a challenge that will push you a little outside of your comfort zone but is still attainable.
Three Revenue-Generating Strategies
While it doesn’t matter where you start, and you can test drive all strategies over time, it’s just important to start somewhere. And the best place to do that is with a little research. Go to your favorite social media account (or maybe even look across a few platforms), and identify 20 businesses or entrepreneurs you follow. Then create an actual list—whether it’s in a Google Doc, your journal, or the notes app in your phone—and answer the following questions about each business:
What are they selling? Is it a digital course? A membership? A coaching program? A service? A physical product? A book? Do they have multiple product offerings? Are they a personal brand, a business brand, or an influencer brand? For example, Amy Porterfield, Inc., (personal brand) versus Spanx (business brand) versus the Kardashians (influencer brand). Are they affiliated or partnering with anyone else—meaning are they promoting a product or service for another business? For example, your favorite beauty blogger sharing their morning skin-care products or a podcast host you listen to regularly promoting a new book.
Once you have your full list, spend 15 minutes evaluating what you just learned. Grab a highlighter and highlight the business models that speak to you the most. Which did you see on your list—consulting, individual coaching, group coaching, service, online course? Which were you drawn to as you were going through the accounts?
And remember, the goal here is not to have a journey without bumps. In fact, the inevitable bumps are an important part of the learning process. Just because you follow a business online and they have a social media presence doesn’t automatically mean that model is profitable. You never know how successful someone is, or the bumps they’re experiencing, until you’re inside the business.
What matters is that you stay focused, leverage the lessons you learn along the way, and use them to grow. If you do, they will make you and your business stronger and more resilient than you can even imagine.