Episode 008: Show Notes
Looking to be successful, but not sure how to bootstrap your business? Today we’re jumping in and talking about frugal habits of successful entrepreneurs. We’ll walk you through exactly how we hacked our business until we could hack no more. We’re chatting about the exact systems and tools we purchased and when. We’re uncovering why it makes sense to invest at certain times in your business. In today’s entrepreneurial world, people have a tendency to assume what “everyone else is doing” is exactly the same formula that they should follow. People think that the only way to be successful is to copy others exactly. We are busting that myth right on out!
It’s time to stop peeking over their shoulders. Instead, focus on what makes sense, when it makes sense and why it makes sense for you and your business. Think through whether you really need it in your business, or if you’re are just taking the “monkey-see, monkey-do” approach.
Staying Focused on Success
The first order of business is cash dollar bills, the money, money, money! If your business is not making you money, you simply cannot pay for #allthethings. So take a look at your business — and at yourself — and ask those critical questions. Do you need to up your prices? Do you need better marketing? What is the state of your website? How can you reach out to new potential clients? Really focus in on those grassroots efforts to grow your business and get people through your door. Essentially, you have to build the foundation first before you can even see where it makes sense to invest.
Build a Foundation First
There is a reason why businesses become successful, and it’s not because they hired others and invested in systems right off the bat. Success is made possible by the initial hard work and time that you put into your business, actually doing what it takes to build it from the ground up. There is no sense in hiring others to do the work when the foundations have not yet been built. You absolutely HAVE to be willing to give up some hours in a day to focus specifically on business-building strategies, implementing those grassroots approaches consistently to eventually start a snowball effect to reach exponential growth.
You Need to Learn for the Long-Term
The bottom line is, no one cares about your business as much as you do. You alone care more about the long-term longevity than anyone else, including your spouse, or your best friend. If they are not directly invested in the future of your business, they just can't care about it in the same way you do. One of the biggest detriments to your business growth is having someone come into your business to do the work for you before you’ve had the chance to learn how to effectively implement it into your business. A lot of it is about doing the work first so that when the time comes, you know exactly where in your business you need to invest.
Understanding Your Growth Timeline
The first place to start is with your website. You can have all the social media accounts out there, but if you do not have a website to lead your audience to, then you are missing out on a big opportunity. Start with an option that is feasible for you. There is no shame in starting small.
Your website is your digital storefront, so make sure it is professional and easy to use. Remember, good is good enough, and simple is always better.
Next, you can focus on building your email list. This does not mean that you have to invest a lot right off the bat. There are many free options to use in those early stages.
Our First Two Major Business Investments
Once our business started to grow, we invested in WebinarJam and Leadpages. Again, this made complete sense for OUR business at the time. WebinarJam gave us an incredible platform to chat with our audience in a really personal way and share our knowledge through some amazing training sessions. Webinars are also great list-builders. For the first six months we doubled our list, month after month, every time we hosted a webinar.
Leadpages acted as the connector between our webinars and our website. It was exactly what made sense at the time. Those two things are what exploded our list, with each email added as another opportunity to sell.
You Need a Backup
For a long time, we stuck to the free version of Dropbox. After hacking together multiple free accounts, we made the investment (which honestly wasn’t a lot).
We recommend having at minimum of two places to backup your files, such as Dropbox and an external hard drive. For us, we have two cloud-based systems and a physical drive that we keep at home, just in case of Armageddon. And believe us, when the time comes that you need these backups, there is nothing greater! It saves many precious hours of hard work from being lost into the abyss.
Create Strategic Relationships
From the beginning, we invested in building relationships with other creatives. For you, this may look a little different, so take it with a pinch of salt.
We would trade headshots from a local professional photographer for our marketing strategy. We would trade Instagram management for help with a public relations professional. We would simply trade anything where we could draw on our skill sets to then get something in return. This does not work forever, and we believe people deserve to get paid dollar bills for their services.
But especially in the beginning of your business, you are going to find other people who are also in the beginning stages of their business. They are often more willing to do a share for share just to help out. Make this equally beneficial for both parties.
Don’t Be Scared. Invest!
So here’s the thing: at some point, you have to navigate the mental juju and learn to invest early on the core aspects of your business. Sometimes you need to push yourself to take a risk, especially if it’s something that will directly tie into your business income. Instead of trying to save money because you don’t think you will have enough clients, get more clients! If you are looking at investing in a system and it scares you but you know you can do it, definitely jump in. There is no reason to wait, especially if you are already profitable and all the other signs are there too. Do you research, and really look at the long-term plan.
Think about the tools that you are using now and how you can share it with others in a profitable way. For us, this meant joining up with the Leadpages team to do a webinar and share their product with our audience. This one webinar was enough to pay for our Leadpages for the next five years! ONE webinar.
Definitely do your research and find out who you can recommend your favorite tools and systems to, and then get paid once they start using it too. It can even be as simple as posting a “Resources” page on your website and creating affiliate accounts. Link up some of your favorite products and earn a commission off sales. One thing to keep in mind is that affiliate sales are often more of a long term plan, so be strategic!
- Learn how to stay focused and stop peeking over the shoulders of others. [0:02:17.0]
- Understand why it is critical to build a foundation first before hiring others to do the work for you. [0:04:26.7]
- Find out what it means to do the work yourself and learn for the long-term. [0:07:28.2]
- Understand your growth timeline and exactly where to start investing first. [0:09:12.0]
- Discover our first two major investments and why it made sense for our business. [0:12:23.0]
- Why is it important to invest in file backup strategies? Learn our strategies for success. [0:14:33.2]
- Learn what it means to invest in your business without spending any money. [0:15:52.4]
- Find out when it is more important to invest and how to get over that initial fear. [0:19:36.7]
- Discover #AffiliateCity and why that can easily be an additional revenue opportunity for your business. [0:22:30.8]
- Take a deep breath, keep your eyes on your own paper, and stop looking at what everyone else has going on.
- Write out the things you’re wanting to invest in, look up how much they will cost you, and come up with a rough game plan of when you think it might make sense to add to your business.
- Focus on building the manual so you can hand it off. Take note of the processes, and keep track of them so it can easily be passed on.