Step 1: Identify A quantifiable target income to replace Your current salary / to support your current lifestyle

Step 2: Free up 2-3 weekly "time pockets"

Step 3: Identify and immerse yourself into a target market to familiarise yourself with the needs of that market

Step 4: Identify a "niche problem" you can solve with your existing skills. Turn this skill into a solution for this key problem

Step 5: Offer a solution to help target customers solve their "niche problem"

Step 6: Refine your service, scale up and systematise to reach your income target

 

Let me explain each step briefly, then I'll show you an example of someone going through these steps.

 

Step 1: Identify a quantifiable target income to replace your current salary / to support your current lifestyle

For most aspiring corporate escapees, the goal of being liberated from the corporate job and pursuing personally fulfilling and meaningful work feels like such a far-off, distant dream.

Because of this, most aspiring corporate escapees don't ever take the first steps to building their Freedom Business. We think that we need to "build a coaching business and get clients". The problem with this is that this goal is vague, and it seems like something that's way too far beyond our reach. 

The key to overcoming this paralysis is to identify a quantifiable, specific goal and getting a concrete grasp of what it's going to take to achieve this goal. 

 

Paralysis-type Goal:

I want to be rich!

Quantifiable, Specific Goal:

I want to make $5,000/month without ever having to go into an office again.

 

Paralysis-type Goal:

I want to learn how to cook!

Quantifiable, Specific Goal:

I want to join a mystery food challenge and win first place!

 

Paralysis-type Goal:

I want to travel the world

Quantifiable, Specific Goal:

I want to visit 8 different countries (for at least two weeks) every year for the next 10 years.

 

The simplest strategy is to:

1. Figure out the income you need to support your current lifestyle. This serves as your corporate escape milestone.

2. Identify action-based milestones you need to reach to achieve this final goal. 

 

Let's look at an example...

Sarah Chambers, a 34 year old new mother who returned to work from her maternity leave was considering leaving her position of 6 years.  She was a Chartered Accountant one of the Big 4 accounting firms and she’d spent over 11 years of her life dedicated to this profession.

To identify her corporate escape milestone; first, she added up all of her living expenses. The cost for rent, transportation, food, entertainment, and miscellaneous costs added up to approximately $3,800/month. She then factored in an additional 15% for savings and emergencies. She ended up with a final number of $4,370. With this number in front of her, she knew the exact income she needed to generate from her Freedom Business in order for her to escape from the corporate world.

After identifying this corporate-escape milestone, she went on to identify the action-based milestones she needed to reach that would lead her to this corporate escape milestone.

 

She decided on these potential options:

A. Acquire 5 clients at $1,000 each client per month. This would give her a $5,000 per month income.

OR

B. Acquire only 3 clients at a premium pricing of $1,500 to give her a $4,500 per month income.

 

In other words, Sarah needed to get 3 clients at $1,500 per month or get 5 clients $1,000 per month to achieve her "escape". With these action-based milestones laid out in front of her, the "escape" became a lot more obtainable.

 

Step 2: Free up 2-3 weekly "time pockets"

"Not having any time" is such a common problem for us busy, aspiring Corporate Escapees - especially when we're starting out. After finishing a long day of work, fighting traffic to get home and handling household chores, we don't have the time or energy left to do anything else.

The way to overcome this challenge is NOT to quit your job, but rather, "create" pockets of time for yourself. 

 

Create more time for your Freedom Business by:

1. Identifying 2-3 redundant, everyday tasks that wastefully consume your time and energy.

2. Delegating, simplifying or eliminating these tasks completely. By doing so, you "create" the free time that you can then invest into the building of your freedom business.

 

Going back to Sarah's case; She first identified the following redundant, time-consuming and time-wasting activities:

  • Weekly laundry run - 2 hours a week

  • Lunch preparation each morning - 3 hours a week

  • Tidying and cleaning around the house - 2 hours a week

  • Twice a week movie night with friends - 6 hours a week

  • Traveling to and back from work - 6 hours a week

 

From there, she simplified, delegated or eliminated these activities:

  • For her weekly laundry run, she made a deal with her neighbour's 12 year old daughter to take care of her weekly laundry run for her. The compensation is $10 each week. Her neighbor was fully supportive of this because it's a lesson of being responsible and resourceful.
  • She also started to batch-cook her lunch for the week. Using the time she freed up from not having to do the laundry runs anymore, she's able to pre-cook her week's worth lunches every Sunday afternoon. 
  • She looked into her local classified ads and hired a cleaner to handle her house work. This costs her $35 per week.
  • As for her movie nights, she decided that it's not something she's willing to give up. Bonding time with her friends is important to her.
  • Her biggest "win" in creating pockets came from making an agreement to carpool with a colleague. She paid for her colleagues gas cost in exchange for rides to and from work. Since she's saving the cost of driving herself, she didn't have to fork out anything extra. She also explained to her colleague that she's working on a project on the side and needs to use the rides as her "working time". In other words, she's not going to be engaged in chit-chat with her colleague during the car rides. These periods to and from work were ideal for making calls, planning out content on her laptop and self-education. 

With $45 a week and a little creative thinking, she was able to "buy" herself about 10 hours of free time each week for building her Freedom Business. Instead of seeing the $45 investment as wasteful spending, she saw it as a necessary small investment that's going to yield big returns in the future.

 

Step 3: Identify and immerse into a target market to familiarize with the needs of the market

One of the biggest mistakes new, first-time entrepreneurs make is that they create products or services that nobody wants.

This problem could be easily avoided by LISTENING to the customers, finding out what they want and simply creating the thing that they're looking for and placing it in front of them.

The first thing you want to do with your freed-up pockets of time, is to invest it into learning about your target customers.

 

We do this by:

1. Listening in on and engaging in conversations with this target market. By doing so, you get to learn about their dreams, goals, aspirations and needs.

2. Learning about the problems and frustrations they experience on a daily basis.  This understanding of your market wil reveal problems that you can solve in exchange for competition.

 

As for Sarah, she was actively involved in a weekly, new-mum's meet up group where new mums come together to discuss new-mum related topics. Since she's been attending this meet up regularly, and had made many friends in the group, she was quite familiar with the list of challenges new mothers face.

She knew that these women were struggling with things like..

  • Sleep deprivation
  • Time management
  • Dealing with body changes
  • The "baby blues" and other emotional challenges

 

Step 4: Identify a "niche problem" you can solve with your existing skills. Turn this skill into a solution for this key problem

Most new business owners have a hidden insecurity that prevents them from promoting themselves: the fear that they're not yet an "expert". Because of this fear, new entrepreneurs appear timid and unsure in the eyes of their prospective clients.

The result - their prospective clients don't feel confident in their advice and are reluctant to hire them.

The way to overcome this challenge is to become a "niche problem solver" instead of promoting yourself as an "expert".

To illustrate this concept; pretend that you're driving across town in the middle of the night. All of a sudden, you hear a loud "POP". You pull over on the side of the road to check what happened. Sure enough, one of your rear tires just went flat. At that point, would you start shopping around online to find the world-renowned car expert to come help you out? My guess is not. Rather, you would find the closest person around who says "Yeah, I know how to patch up a flat tire" to come fix up your tire for you, right? 

In the same way, you want to become seen as the person who's capable of fixing a specific problem that your target market is experiencing. It's also infinitely easier to develop a solution for an existing problem as opposed to becoming the world-expert on a subject. You want to shift your thinking from "promoting yourself as an expert" to "becoming a niche problem solver".

Once you've learned about the problems of your target market, you want to pick out the single, key problem that you can resolve for them with your existing skills. Once you've selected this key problem, you want to work with your target market to help them solve this problem. During this process, you get to develop a functional and proven solution for this "niche problem".

 

As for Sarah, after a few conversations with the other new mums from the meet up group, it was clear that a big frustration of these new mums is dealing with body changes. Specifically, they're looking to get rid of the excess weight from the pregnancy period. 

By chance, through proper eating and keeping up with her Yoga regime, Sarah was able to reclaim her pre-pregnancy body within 3 and a half months after giving birth. Every week at the new mum's meet up, inevitably, Sarah would get 1 or 2 comments from other new mums about her great figure. This was her hunch. 

Eating healthily and participating in a exercising regime was always something that's second-nature to Sarah, but after being asked repeatedly about her "secret to getting back her pre-baby body", she's starting to see that she may have some valuable knowledge others would pay for.

She followed this hunch and started guiding 2 mums from the meet up through her healthy eating routine and bi-weekly yoga-regime. Twice a week, she would have a 30 minute call with them to give pointers, address questions, keep them accountable and measure their progress. She subsequently created a post-pregnancy healthy meal plan and recorded a 15 minute video tutorial of her Yoga exercises.

 

Step 5: Offer solution to help target customers solve their "niche problem"

After you've identified the "niche problem" and have identified your solution to the problem, you're in the position to offer this solution to your target market for compensation. Since the service is created based on the needs of your target market, you won't run into the problem of having to "hard sell" or "convince" people into wanting your service.

 

After working with the new mums for just under 3 months and seeing their results, Sarah became confident in her ability to help other moms get rid of their post-pregnancy excess and weight and reclaim their body. With her healthy eating schedule and exercising routine documented, she went to the organiser of the meet up group and offered to share her eating schedule and routine with all the new mums at the next weekly meeting. The meet-up organiser had no reason to refuse. 

At her presentation, she first prefaced by saying that she's NOT a weight loss expert, but she had uncovered a method new mums can use for getting rid excess weight. Then, she went on to explain the concept of her diet and demonstrate a few of the exercises from her Yoga routine. She ended her presentation by by inviting the 2 mums she had been working with to showcase their results. 

After the presentation, she was bombarded with questions on the fine details of the eating and exercising regime. She invited everyone to e-mail her if they had additional questions. For the mums that e-mailed in with more extensive questions, she made an offer to them to help guide them step-by-step through the eating and exercising regime.

Sarah was just starting this new business and still lacked confidence.  She priced her new, 3 month pre-pregnancy body coaching program at a modest $500 per month. This led to her first 2 clients for a total of $1,000 per month in monthly coaching revenue.

 

Step 6: Refine service, scale up and systematise to reach income target

As you become more experienced in solving this "niche problem", you will become more effective at solving this problem. Also, you will discover more "niche problems" of your target market that you can develop solutions for. You want to improve and expand on your service so you can serve more clients, scale up your earnings to reach your income target.

 

After picking up her first 2 clients, Sarah went ahead and approached the other New Mum meet up group organisers in the city. She made the same proposition for sharing her pre-pregnancy body success. She presented at 3 more meet ups which led to 4 more clients; this time, pricing her service at $1,000 a month.

This second wave of clients helped her reach $5,000 per month in revenue, which exceeded her income target $4,370 per month. She had the chance at this point to quit her job, but decided to stick around for a little longer until her business income became more solidified.

She started a basic Instagram documenting her client's before-and-afters. 4 months later, with the referrals from the previous clients rolling in, and other new moms seeing before-and-afters displayed on her Instagram profile, she became fully booked with 10 clients. This allowed her to escape from her corporate position confidently, knowing that her finances were secure.

 

Now that I've explained the 6-step framework for building a freedom business, let's take a look at a real life case study...