Regardless of the time and effort it's taken you (and me) to get this far.
Regardless of the experts showing you tips & tricks about the newest social media, SEO technology and reminding you once again that you need JV partners and an affiliate program. This might be the time to scale back and look at the essentials.
It's possible, they aren't right. Not in this moment anyway.
There are key pieces you want to have in place before you focus on the rest.
If you don't, you end up working too hard. Like, rolling boulders up a hill kind of work. And, that's not fun at all!
But, get these pieces in place first and the rest is easier. Probably not blue skies, clear sailing everyday, but a lot easier.
Keep reading, and see if you agree with me?
5 Foundation pieces you can build before summer vacation
(or whatever holiday is coming up next for you)
Yep, that's it! There's just 5 things. And if you're motivated (and I know you are) you could finish them in a weekend.
And, once you do, you can get to the juicy parts of your business. Bringing in new "leads" (aka, people who you love to work with / sell products to, etc)
Let's break it down?
1. You will need a website
a central hub and landing place to refer people to for everything. Super important step. But it can literally be done in an afternoon. Either your own name as the URL, or if you already have a business name, use that. It doesn't need to be fancy, pretty or expensive. In fact, please save your money for something else. Spend money on this 6 months or 1 year from now.
2. A Newsletter List
Don't agonize too long on this one. If you already have a list, great. If you're at zero, consider the $9 for 300 credits at mailchimp. It will tide you over for several months.
You can switch later...although it's not as easy to switch to aweber it is to switch from aweber to mailchimp, let's say. Aweber is really sticky about importing lists. If you can afford $20/mo, choose them. If $9/quarter is more your style, choose the pay credits at mailchimp. But I digress...
With your newsletter list:
- add an opt in form to your website (later)
- add signature line to email (later)
- set up autoresponder series
- a weekly or semi-monthly "newsletter"
3. A Freebie Opt In
Create a free offer of some sort. It could be anything to start with, really. You'll probably change this 6-12 months down the road too.
Set up 4-6 autoresponders that will fit well with your weekly or semi-monthly newsletter.
4. Entry Priced Product
Have some kind of digital entry price point offer potential customers can purchase before they spend more. I recommend $27-47 because this seems to be an amount where people don't need to think too hard, consult with their spouse or look at next months expenses. It's a do-able amount. Serious enough they'll take action with it, though.
You want that. Sometimes people do nothing with the impulsive $7-15 purchases. You want them to take action, notice some kind of change in their life, tell friends and family, and open your emails and other offers in the future
Ideally you want to create something "bookmark worthy".
Psstt.... have you noticed I haven't mentioned blogging or social networking yet? Yeah!!
*Keep in mind you're higher priced offering while creating this product. It should make sense in the grand scheme of things. And should be scalable (no hands on time from you)
5. Collecting Payments
You'll need some way to collect money. PayPal and Gumroad are probably the easiest options.
It wouldn't hurt if you were able to also use these same platforms for everything else you do (be it service based, selling products, running group program or a member based model)
6. Bonus Points For having a personality.
People want to do business with people they know like and trust. From buying clothes to learning about healthy eating, to buying a website redesign. If they know nothing about you, it will be harder for them to remember you when they're ready to buy.
Because it's pretty likely they won't buy right away.
The truth is, it really does take the best part of 2 years to see that organic growth we all crave. Especially if you spend time spinning your wheels (like I did this time). I didn't believe it was true either, until I experienced it again for the 2nd time last year. And I see it among my entrepreneur friends and clients who are also getting into their second year now.
Which is why I want you to rush through the gate with these 5 things.
Because the sooner you have a small product to sell:
- the sooner you can connect with JV partners
- the easier it will be to point people from social media to something that's easy to sell (sells itself)
- the easier it will be to write a follow up email sequence to your free opt in offer (because it can point to your paid product. remember the 80/20 rule though. 80% great content and 20% offer - don't ask them "on a date" too quickly. Take it slow)
- it will be easier to make the Facebook header for your fan page
- easier to start to invite people to like your page, share your posts, write that catchy tagline in twitter
- it will be easier to jump into new groups and point them to your awesome free offer (thaat you know may ultimately lead to buying your small product & eventually something bigger at the right time for them. Because you've created an awesome nurturing follow up sequence.
- It's spring right now (in the northern hemisphere). Take time to do this work and you will see the harvest by fall.