6 Things That Took My Business BEYOND $100,000/Year
I need to set the scene by taking you back about three years.
I had been trying to build an online business for a few years at that point, but I hadn’t really made any money. Can you say frustrating?!
The story doesn’t end there, though (thank goodness!)…
I went from making ZERO dollars in my business to breaking SIX FIGURES within that same year.
Yes. Here’s how it happened…
I tried quite a few different business models when I started my online entrepreneurial journey. BUT, three years ago (when I was still frustrated and making nothing), I settled on online marketing because it was the most appealing to me, and I enjoyed the challenging learning curve.
I focused on it, became an expert at it, and began selling digital products.
You ask me, “So, Gillian, if you weren’t earning any money in those first few years online, what in the world were you doing?”
Here are the four different focuses I had:
- Blogging every week
- Networking with others
- Posting regularly on social media
- Learning as much as I could about online marketing
All the while, I was searching for the missing ingredient. What hadn’t I figured out quite yet?
I wasn’t just spending a couple of hours working on my business every week. No, on top of my day job, I was spending upwards of 25 hours EVERY week figuring out what I needed to change in order to make money. I wanted more than anything to make my business work! I spent about 50 percent of the time working on the first three focuses above and the other 50 percent of my time researching and learning all the intricacies of online marketing.
After A LOT of trial and error, things began to click for me, and in a short 12 months my business went from zero to six figures, and I can attest to six specific decisions I made (or things I stopped doing) to make that happen.
I’m gifting these six secrets to you today in hopes that you can Work Less and Earn More far faster than it took me to do.
#1 – I chose one specialty to focus on
I was scared that, if I niched too far, I wouldn’t be able to get enough clients to work with me. Because of this scarcity mindset, I started my business too broad and offered a plethora of random services and products to appeal to all types of customers.
I wanted to give my audience OF EVERYONE whatever I thought they wanted.
That didn’t work though…
By not specializing in one specific area, I didn’t look like an expert in anything.
By not speaking to one specific person, I wasn’t speaking to anyone.
What I learned in those first few years is that I could provide better services and products if I stopped trying to be all for everyone and, instead, became the expert on one topic for a specific audience and offered online products based on that one thing.
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#2 – I stopped trying to sell
Initially, I had a sales-focused mentality. Most every activity I worked on in my business had to do with selling. I tried fancy sales funnels, built my email marketing platform, tried my hand at Facebook ads, and the list goes on…
No matter how hard I tried to sell, nothing was working for me.
I was missing one foundational piece of the puzzle: I had no idea if people actually wanted the products I was offering. Not only that, but I also didn’t have any good testimonials or reviews to share with potential customers.
And, let’s face it, despite all my sales efforts and attempts at selling, no one was buying!
So… I backed off selling and focused on the missing pieces.
#3 – I made something worth people’s attention
Once I backed off selling, I focused my attention on creating free, quality content.
My goal was to make one thing that would stand out above my competition. Something of high quality that gave people noticeable, fast results. Something I could truly put my heart and soul into selling.
“How did I do this?” you ask.
I stopped trying to show up on Every. Single. Platform. and focused on creating one HIGH-QUALITY YouTube video every week that I KNEW was worth paying attention to.
I learned that people don’t want all the noise. They are searching for value.
I found that, by creating a smaller amount of well-thought-out and quality content, I was more discoverable – and that’s when my audience took off.
#4 – I tested different product ideas
Remember when I said that I stopped selling because I didn’t know whether people even wanted to buy what I was trying to sell? Well, I decided to do a little market research to discover what product idea would actually stick.
In the beginning, I tried creating elaborate online courses and products with full-feature sales processes and complicated funnels. Then I got frustrated when all that effort didn’t pay off.
I put all that hard work in BEFORE getting validation for the product I created.
I decided to reverse the “go big or go home” thought process and to go small instead.
In order to test my idea, I worked on some quick, simple launches with smaller products. Rather than putting all my time and energy into creating a full-blown product that my audience didn’t want, I focused on hosting one-hour live workshops on specific topics at a $27 price point.
This didn’t quite create six figures for me, but it allowed me to make some money while I gathered the data I needed to validate my ideas.
I repeated this live workshop model every month for about five months, and once I realized which topic my audience was most interested in learning more about, I built that idea out into a larger course that I could sell for a more premium price tag.
If you need to test your product idea and want more intensive training and support to do so, join the VALIDATE waitlist!
#5 – I got help strategically
Early on I tried hiring several virtual assistants and business coaches because I was told this would help me scale. Neither option worked for me, and rather than gaining an edge, I spent a ton of money without seeing any positive results.
It wasn’t that I shouldn’t have made some hires. It was that I needed to change my strategy for whom I was looking to work with.
I focused in on a few areas where I knew I needed the help to grow my business, and to do this, I asked myself a few questions:
- What was taking most of my time that anyone could do? If I found someone to help with the more time-consuming, everyday tasks, it would free me up to focus on the things only I could do – specifically planning and filming my YouTube videos. Though I enjoyed the video editing process, it taxed my time and kept me from creatively producing more videos. Finding a video editor if you are on camera is life changing. This was the first successful hire I made!
- What was the most important thing I needed to focus on? I needed to decide what prime mover would make the biggest impact on my bottom line. A prime mover is something that, the more you do of it, the more money you can make. For me, that was making high-quality YouTube videos, and hiring a video editor helped me with that as well.
- Where was my company’s bottleneck? Where was I getting stuck and preventing my business from growing? As a visionary always making future plans, I’m really bad at managing day-to-day operations. On my own, daily to-dos aren’t a well-oiled machine because I get bored easily! I needed to hire someone to help me with project management, and hiring an online business manager (OBM) was one of the best decisions I’ve made for my business!
#6 – I built an evergreen sales system to sell my product 24/7
Now, I know I said at the beginning that the #2 thing I did was stop selling. At the beginning when I was making these changes, it helped to stop selling so I could focus on what my audience wanted from me.
However, at some point, I needed to start selling again in order to scale into six figures. Naturally, you have to have a sales system to sell products and make money! The problem I faced early on is that I needed the market research data in order to sell effectively. I didn’t know WHY someone would want my product early on.
After successfully selling a handful of live workshops and talking to my audience about what they wanted from me and why they wanted it, I could move back into selling with those valuable insights. That knowledge made me more effective in my sales process, and I became better equipped to build sales systems that would convert.
My live launches kept my income relatively small and on a bit of a rollercoaster month after month, so I knew I needed to build an evergreen sales funnel that would sell my products 24/7.
The first evergreen funnel I created was a membership site, and it brought in a more predictable monthly income.
Three things this evergreen funnel did for my business:
- I no longer had to attract new customers all the time.
- It helped stabilize my rollercoaster income.
- My income was able to snowball and grow over time with each additional marketing campaign.
There you have it!
These six changes I made are truly what took my business from $0 to $100K (and now beyond!):
- I chose one specialty to focus on
- I stopped trying to sell
- I made something worth people’s attention
- I tested different product ideas
- I got help strategically
- I built an evergreen sales system to sell my product 24/7
My business just keeps growing, and these foundational pieces that I took the time to put into place are what made scaling possible.