It never ceases to amaze me how people just assume they can “start a business” without knowing anything at all about what to actually do to start one! These are the same people who dream for decades about “freedom lifestyles”, but when pressed for their actual plans, they respond that business is risky and they’ll never manage to leave their corporate jobs...
Well of course it’s risky if you haven’t got a clue what you’re doing!
Think about it - if you want to have a baby, it’s a pretty daunting task to think of bringing this little tiny creature into the world, and be solely responsible for keeping him or her alive. At the very least, I’d hope you’d read a few books on the subject to know what to do.
We’re lucky with babies in that mentors are all around us. If your mother and mother in law are nearby, you’ve likely got a willing support network right in front of you. Your friends and colleagues have likely had babies too and are happy to answer questions - and your healthcare providers (privately paid for, or paid for through tax) are also there to help you.
In many ways, a business is a bit like a baby. You’ve got to do know how to do certain things to be able to keep it alive and make sure it grows properly.
The only problem we have is that we don’t often have very many friends and family around who know how to grow a business. In fact, we likely know nobody at all with any business experience - especially for online business.
This is why it’s vital to reach out for support from a professional - just like you’d hire a doula or see a midwife for your baby - to find out how to grow your business. There are so many different support methods out there, it can be hard to choose the best form of support. To help you out, I explain each of these below...
Free Content ($0)
Free content is awesome if you just want a quick answer to something specific. “How do I change the colour of my button on my site?”; “How do I upload a YouTube video”, etc. There is SO MUCH free content out there on every topic imaginable - you’ll always find an answer eventually.
Free content can only get you so far though. Because there is just so much stuff out there, if you sift through it all for each and every little decision and project in your business, you’ll waste a ton of time. Years, in fact. Time is money - for every month your business is not functioning, that’s thousands in lost earnings.
Online courses ($50 - $2000)
Online courses are a big step up from free content. Firstly, it’s organised information. You can follow along the X steps laid out in front of you, and you’ll get the results promised in the course.
Courses can be anything from a “learn about Facebook pixels” mini $50 course, to a larger programme covering branding or marketing in detail for more like $2,000.
Usually courses are pretty specific, so you’ll need more than one to get your business totally up and running. I still buy courses to learn and improve upon specific areas of my business.
Done-for-you services and Consulting
Done for you services have their place - for example, you maybe don’t need to learn how to design websites yourself, you just need someone to come in and create a beautiful site for you. Or maybe you have grown a lot and need to outsource an area of your business.
Consulting works well if you need help on a specific project - like maybe you want to get your strategy clear in a full day session. These services tend to work better when you already have a business set up and functioning.
Group programmes ($2,000 - $20,000)
Live group coaching and mentoring programmes are a step up again from online courses. A bit like an online university, they give you live access to the teacher, coach or mentor to have your questions answered.
You have more accountability, so you are more likely to follow through on the entire programme. (Most people never finish online courses at all).
More importantly, you also have more support. Especially for something like building a business, it’s a complicated process. You need the strategy, and you need to get the emotional support as well. Building a business is a journey of personal growth far more than just a professional learning exercise. You’ll be forced to confront your blocks and push through your fears, like being visible, or doing sales calls.
My business success started sky rocketing when I joined group programmes. I recommend this level of support to almost everyone when they are starting out in business.
Private Coaching ($5,000 - $100,000)
Private Coaching offers you an extra level of support again from group level. You get 1:1 sessions with your coach or mentor so you can have much more bespoke experience. Each session is focused exclusively on you and your business. You can follow less of a curriculum and instead do exactly what you need to do to hit your goals.
Private coaching is great for people who need more personal support - they are more fearful, or they need more time to work other blocks.
It’s also great when you’re a level above beginner and you need to start making strategic choices for your business - do you scale up and go for massive exposure this year, or go super high end and create luxury packages for your highest end clients? Working 1:1 with a coach or mentor will allow you to create the strategy you need for your business.
The most important point here is to NOT to try to DIY your business. You will waste so much time - and likely so much more money - than just paying the money in the first place for the right level of support.
When I first started my business, I didn’t even know about mentorship! I just started with what I could do: I wrote a cookery book about healthy eating and expected to sell millions of copies.
But I didn’t know how to market, so I was spending every evening and weekend writing blog posts and coming up with recipes, but only about 3 people saw them (including my husband and my mum!)
I wasted 3 whole holiday days DIYing a website that looked so bad I had to pay someone $500 immediately to fix it.
I made really stupid investments, like boosting Facebook posts to the wrong type of page on my site at £10 a day (£300 or $450 a month!!) I even invested in PR representation at another £300 a month! On top, I chose the wrong payment platform that was taking up to 10% of my measly book sales.
Overall, I was out of pocket by over $900 a month - and earning less than $100 in book sales for my efforts...
It was pretty disheartening.
Like I said, that all changed when I enrolled in an online business programme to learn how to market online.
- I was motivated and energised because I knew exactly what to do to start my business - I was more organised and focused
- I switched my offering to live 1:1 coaching instead of trying to sell thousands of ebooks to replace my salary.
- I felt confident in my offering and started getting great feedback from trial clients.
- I worked steadily on a few core business strategies - which cut my working hours way down
- I learned how to market effectively and start to build an audience of ideal clients
- I had the support of a coach and the other programme participants, who helped me when I freaked out or got stuck in my own fear
Within 5 months on that programme, I got my first client. Within 8 months, I had replaced my corporate salary. 18 months in, I had earned six figures. Two years in, my husband could leave his job to co-run the business too.
I doubt I’d have even left my 9-5 job by now had I not put up my hand and asked for the support I needed. Maybe I’d have given up on my business altogether...
If you’re looking for support now to start your business, I’ve created a high-quality free online workshop called The Simplest Way to Start a Freedom Business. It’s been getting great feedback so far, so I think you’ll find it really helpful in giving you a strategy to start your business - the easy way.
What support have you invested in for your business so far, or what do you plan to invest in this year to get started? Leave a comment and let us know!