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Pump the brakes...
I know you’re chomping at the bit to launch your online business. But if you don’t follow a proven plan, you’re in for a rude awakening as you try to transition to digital CEO.
So, where do you start? Hit GoDaddy for the perfect URL? Claim an Instagram handle? Launch a Facebook ad campaign?
As online business experts, my wife and I are always asked where to start — and how long it takes — to build an online business. It’s a logical question that almost always comes at the wrong time.
You do not start your business with a website, logo, social strategy, product, or service.
In fact, stop the madness and listen up.
We’ve helped many people just like you build 7-figure online businesses from scratch. And ultimately, automate those businesses so they can put an end to the manual labor for the thrill of the freedom lifestyle.
Here’s the catch: The most successful online entrepreneurs follow our proven 9-month strategy.
Keep scrolling as we reveal the 9-month milestones that will guide you from online wantrepreneur to online entrepreneur…
P.S. Beyond sharing our online biz blueprint below, we also help you dodge the common pitfalls that the majority fall victim to before ever earning their first dollar (like buying a website or designing a logo way too early on).
Here are the crucial milestones you must hit to successfully launch your online empire.
I know, I know. You want all of the juicy details behind each milestone.
Lucky for you, I’m feeling generous. Let’s dive deeper on each...
Don’t put the cart before the horse….
Clearly define your vision before you ever consider hiring someone to build your website, getting active on social media, or crafting content.
Getting clear on your vision is a non-negotiable if you want this whole online business thing to actually work (just ask around, if you don’t believe us).
There are 2 major milestones related to your vision: Defining your life vision and defining your business vision to later fuel your business plan (more on that in a minute).
They both involve some serious soul searching.
No vision? You could end up with a 5-year lease on a place you despise (guilty). You could become slave to a schedule you can’t stand (guilty again). And you could end up working for someone else, when your intention was to work for number one (been there, too).
As you chew on your life vision, ask yourself questions like:
Stop thinking about tomorrow, next week, and next month. Start thinking about your life.
And while you’re at it, understand only you can determine your vision.
When my wife and I met, she was like, “um, I don't want to build my online business the way you’ve built yours. You never stop. I like to cook … and garden. And I love this thing called yoga. Ever heard of it, dude?”
She nailed it. I’m still not sold on yoga, but I’m convinced we all have our own dream business and dream life. So listen to your gut, and define that dream.
Anna (my wife) and I are polar opposites when it comes to how we’ve built and run our businesses, but both of us get to take full freakin’ advantage of the freedom lifestyle.
This step takes about 1 week to accomplish.
Let’s talk shop…
With your life vision complete and your business vision coming into picture, it’s time to shift to your business plan.
This process — when done right — builds confidence. You start to piece together the big picture. And when that happens, you're like, eff it ... this doesn't feel so daunting, after all.
Skip it, and you’ll be trucking along aimlessly, hoping for the best while experiencing the worst.
Now, we can’t teach you how to craft a strong and strategic business plan through a blog, but give us a shout if you like what you’re reading. We’ll give you the individualized coaching you need (digitally or in person) to ensure you have a plan in place that will pay huge dividends.
Keep in mind, developing your business plan has a major psychological impact that serves as much-needed motivation when you need it most. Psychologists tell us we get stuck when we can’t see the next step. Paralysis by analysis, anyone?
With a clear vision and a well-developed business plan, the next step is always right in front of you. So, you’ll have instant momentum and ongoing motivation as you follow a well-lit path to your ultimate destination.
This step takes about 1 week to map out.
Here’s the simplest equation you’ll ever complete: No audience = no one to sell to.
Let’s be real: Your business is going to need to make money so you can continue to perpetuate your message and pass it forward.
Developing an audience is what fuels you through the mistakes, the failures, the late nights, and the early mornings to make this thing a financial success.
Everything you say in the digital world matters. What you post on social, what you write about in blogs and emails, and what you talk about on camera needs to speak to your defined audience.
Just spreading a message won’t do the trick. It's gotta speak directly to your community to trigger a reaction. Or else you're going to have a bunch of non-buyers — a death wish for your biz before it ever got going.
So, start by developing an intimate understanding of your target market; their problems, wants, frustrations, ambitions, and needs should all be deeply familiar to you. And let’s not forget the less-obvious stuff like their preferred communication method, communication style, values, etc.
Once you’re inside their heads and their hearts, you’re equipped to craft the perfect message, content, and offer to attract and convert them.
And now that you know exactly who you’re speaking to, it’s time to start implementing growth tactics.
Here are a few strategic things you’ll work through to develop your audience:
For most, this means speaking to your audience on social media and transitioning them into an environment you can actually control: Your email list.
We teach our students to treat their email list like currency.
You see, you’ll use email to cultivate conversations and nurture relationships, without having to worry about distractions, algorithm changes, and other catastrophic issues that come with developing your audience on platforms you can’t control (take that, Zuckerberg).
The best part? When done right, list growth can occur while you’re sleeping, hanging by the beach, hiking a peak, or spending quality time with family and friends.
This step takes about 2 - 3 weeks to complete.
Go ahead, call me crazy…
But earning money starts by giving your audience something for free.
To help supercharge your list and attract new prospects, you need to offer your audience a free gift (AKA a lead magnet). This value exchange sets you up to successfully make an offer for cold, hard cash.
Just asking a lead to purchase is no easy feat. But when you give them something useful that shows your authority, talent, and expertise, they instantly warm up to the idea of buying from you. You’ve then nurtured a relationship that takes them from curious to interested .. and from closed off to willing to spend.
We’ll then initiate a follow-up email campaign to the folks who raise their hand for your free gift to make a cash-flow offer. The trick is the cash-flow offer you develop must align with the free gift you provide to have any shot at converting.
After all, the number one thing that will shut your business down — no matter how good you are — is if you have no money coming in. So conversion on your cash-flow offer is key.
When done right, your cash-flow offer will generate enough money to allow you to shift some of your time from your current gig to your online endeavor as you prep to jump all-in on your digital biz and get a taste of the freedom lifestyle.
This should take about 8 weeks to dial in.
Now’s the time to get cracking on your signature offer.
We encourage our students to develop an 8-12 week transformation-style program or course.
Regardless of your expertise, there's a transformation in what you do.
You’re likely able to coach people up on the fly, but transforming your services into a process-driven course that can eventually run on its own (automation is a magical thing), requires developing a strategic framework for it.
This is the milestone where we teach our clients to create a map, a system, a framework, a methodology — whatever you want to call it — so their core offer is custom-built to deliver repeatable and duplicatable results. All without much ongoing manual labor.
You want to earn money while you sleep, date, dine, and travel, right? Your core offer will generate passive income, which is what makes the digital world and freedom lifestyle so darn appealing (and addicting).
So, it’s time to develop your core offer and test it with a focus group. By doing this, you can use feedback loops to ensure clients are getting results, while building priceless social proof like testimonials and case studies to start earning referrals from the jump.
Far too many wantrepreneurs immediately run with their core offer, without gathering tangible feedback they can implement (and market) in advance. Consider this focus group your soft launch / stress test to see what you’re made of in the moment, and to gather valuable feedback that will pay major dividends down the road.
In the meantime, your previous milestones are churning; your list is growing, you’re distributing content, your lead magnet is attracting prospects, and your cash-flow offer is getting you by so it can soon be flipped into a continuity program for more passive income.
You're also getting a much greater understanding of your audience, advertising, and skillset each and every day.
We have our students run about 3 rounds of focus groups before they move forward with a full launch so they have a bullet-proofed offer that works like a charge. Then it’s on to our final step…
Building this offer takes about 4 weeks to launch this.
Just 9 months in, this whole sucker is jamming and generating you cold, hard cash.
Now you can dream bigger, while simultaneously stepping away a bit.
You know how to control your business. You know how to turn the dials. You know what your audience wants. You know how to solve their problems. And you have a successful framework you can pull from to create new layers of offers, programs, and services within your business.
Use what’s working and chunk it out into new offerings, so you have something for every pricepoint.
Now, you’re starting to scale your biz and with automation on your side, your list is constantly growing, your ads are out there, and you've got people coming in and getting results without having to lift a finger. My friend, thanks to all of your up-front work and the addition of automation, you can now sit back and enjoy the freedom lifestyle you’ve earned.
Sure, it was a tough 9 months. But that 9 months set you up for a lifetime of success.
If you nailed your vision in the first step, you know exactly what you'll be doing with that extra time and money, too. Nothing beats getting paid on autopilot!
We sincerely hope you found tremendous value in those proven tips, tricks, and tactics we provided. But you still need the right experts in your corner to actually execute on these things.
Save yourself the fear, frustration, and financial loss that comes with trying to launch your online biz alone by scheduling your FREE Visionary Strategy Session with us today.
During this completely free, no-risk call, we will reveal the details behind this plan so you know exactly what you need to do to successfully get started. We’ll also answer your questions — ask you some tough questions — and ensure you get rolling in the right direction.
If you’re nervous, scared, or unsure if you’re ready for a strategy session, read what a few of our students have said here. Like you, they had the same butterflies in their stomach before joining us on the journey to the Freedom Lifestyle.
Let’s make magic happen — together. Changing your life is one click away.
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