Your Complete Blueprint For Building an Online Business That Stands Out From the Crowd
Learn how the most successful businesses influence people online — and plan the business of your dreams (without the tedious planning or overwhelm of figuring it all on your own).
Because daydreams don't build a business
I created a free workbook to go with this blueprint, so you know exactly which step to take next for your business.
Let’s keep it real. No one ever said, “I want to be the world’s best employee when I grow up.”
If you’re thinking of starting, or growing, your personal brand business — meaning coaching, consulting, teaching, serving, and practicing — then you are already from the future.
Entrepreneurship is no longer a skill set just for people sitting in corner offices — they are necessary if you want to keep a roof over your head, and a pint of your favorite fancy ice cream in the freezer.
In 2017 Linkedin posted a blog on workforce trends, and they expect freelancers will represent 43% of the workforce by 2020.
That’s basically tomorrow.
The fact that you’re reading this, and already contemplating how you can marry your passion and expertise to serve others, means you’ve got the right mind about your future.
You’re standing at the beginning of such a rewarding road. Ugh! I’m jealous, because it never really is as good as the first time.
You’re going to make magic with your dream business — I know it. The fact that you’re reading this already tells me that you’re the type of person who reads the fine print, and isn’t afraid of new experiences.
Your buyers, customers, clients, and partners are going to love you and everything you do for them.
I’m also really excited for you to jump into this blueprint — and here’s why:
Launching a business you love, one that uses your superpowers and Secret Sauce to fulfill a mission, is soooo rewarding.
Keeping it 100%, it’s not easy work and you only see results when you show up consistently. You gotta have a Cardi B work ethic if you wanna make it drip.
Once you make it happen, however, that feeling of accomplishment is everything. The missing ingredient for you right is probably a game plan and an occasional kick in the behind.
Think of me as your agent, making sure you show up to the studio on time, lookin’ fresh, feeling pumped, and being clear about what you came to do.
Let me break down how investing in my own personal branding system delivered unimaginable returns on my investment:
In 2012, I moved from NYC to California on a whim, no job lined up.
When shaking hands and filling out applications became a struggle, I turned to LinkedIn.
The strategies I tested got me recruited to work at the company.
As I learned more about how to use the platform, and tested more features, my updates started reaching more people.
Now my posts get thousands of views on average.
Adding a website to my personal branding system completely changed my life.
I’ve gone from being recruited to work at places like Google, Uber and Tesla, to growing my career coaching side hustle to 5-figures in revenue in 5 months.
You know you’ve got what it takes to run your own business — you made that decision before you got here. It’s why you’re reading this guide right now (keep going!).
And, once you get through it, you’re going to have so many tools to take you from this very moment to paying clients.
I put together this blueprint because, after helping friends and clients turn their ideas into real businesses, I’ve refined a process that really works.
And I want to share it with you.
Here’s how we’ll roll:
Mar 24, 2018
I’ll teach you how to productize your services. Doing this makes it far easier to communicate the value you bring to your prospective clients. (And communicating value is really most of the challenge, truth be told).
Mar 24, 2018
I’ll help you prospect new clients—show you where to look for them. I’m sure there are a million fishing metaphors for this, but let’s just say fish where the fish are. We’re gonna find you a big ‘ole lake of coins.
Mar 24, 2018
I’ll give you some tools and pointers to take clients from prospect to signed contract — so you can do what you do best, and stack some coin doing it.
Who this guide is for
Ahhh—you have no time to waste, right? So here’s the deal: I’ve written this guide for anyone who wants to set up shop as a personal brand — coaching, consulting, teaching, serving, and practicing.
While what you’ll do varies widely, whether you’re a health coach or an event consultant for example, I strongly believe the recipe for launching and growing your business is made from same ingredients.
Here’s why: (you’re combining your expertise and passion) + (with a high degree of customer service) = (to deliver transformational experiences for the people you serve.)
That’s it, really. The formula is that simple. That’s the similarity, and building a business is like preparing a lasagna one layer at a time, which is why the process works.
Let’s think about it with examples of different types of businesses:
If you’re a health coach, you’re working with clients who want to make a difference in their behavior patterns and life choices. You bring the expertise in nutrition, exercise, and human behavior that your clients need to make real and lasting change.
If you’re an event consultant, your clients will be tapping your expertise on details, process, and vendors to plan and execute memorable experiences.
In either case, to launch and build those businesses, you’ll need a process to describe your offers, find clients, and get them to say “yes.”
Different niches, different needs—but in the end, you’re selling expertise and collaboration to people. That’s the common currency.
How to use this guide
Everyone learns differently—I get that. That’s why I am a big fan of introducing advice, giving you to-do’s, and sharing examples of concepts.
Then, all you really need to do is sit down and work through your ideas with food-for-thought questions, worksheets and checklists.
That’s why I created an accompanying workbook to break this process down for you.
You work through the content at your own pace. That way, you can devote your time, energy, and best thinking to my proven process.
The directions in each worksheet gives you an idea of how long to set aside for each exercise.
I get it—I know you’re busy. You’ve got a 9-5, friends, obligations to family, hobbies. You’re tryna live your best life.
That’s why I try to break it all down into chunks you can do over a cup of coffee. OK, maybe two cups.
That’s it. The idea is to keep it simple but powerful, so you have all the ingredients for success right here in front of you.
Ready to jump in? All right. Let’s do this thing.
I created a free workbook to go with this blueprint, so you know exactly which step to take next for your business.
THE IMPRESS, INSPIRE, AND INFLUENCE FRAMEWORK
Phase 1: Designing a Fascinating, Contagious, and Trustworthy Personal Brand That Attracts Opportunities to Your Inbox
“There is no passion to be found playing small — in settling for a life less than the one you are capable of living.”
— Nelson Mandela
Want to know the most valuable currency in the world, more than Dollars, Pounds or Pesos?
We living in a super connected world filled with showstopping news headlines, irresistible puppy videos, and tempting which-Golden-Girl-are-you quizzes — people are easily and quickly distracted.
That’s why it’s important to show up consistently, and deliver what people want — and what don’t even know they need.
Extra emphasis on consistency, because it’s the real secret to keeping someone’s attention once you’ve gotten it.
Putting yourself in your buyer’s shoes, head and heart will help you more easily convey the value you bring to the table.
Doing this well, and getting it right early, will save you time — so you have more hours to serve people.
So first things first — what should every successful personal brand accomplish? You need to know what the heck you’re trying to accomplish, right?
To measure branding and business effectiveness, I like to use the Impress, Inspire and Influence framework.
Put your young-and-single-and-ready-to-mingle hat on for a second.
To attract people to you, you’re going to rock your best threads. You know that looking buttoned up, groomed and polished is not even a question.
Same thing goes for the way you present yourself online.
You want your prospects to arrive at your website, scroll down the page and think:
“Oooo! I am pickin’ up what you’re putting down! This is so what I needed! Let me drop my email address in this form real quick.”
That means every way in which you communicate your mission, value and the benefits of your services should be:
Think: clean, modern website design.
Compelling and appealing imagery — photos, headshots, social media banners, icons.
A concise and clear "elevator pitch" of your services
Language that feels and sounds fresh, not loaded with jargon.
Speak to your audience in their own words, help them understand that you get them.
It’s OK if you’re feeling overwhelmed at this point. You can also choose not to be overwhelmed because you know there’s an answer to everything. The Google gods and I got your back.
For many people, the visual stuff isn’t fully within their wheelhouse.
Don’t panic — you have 2 options:
- Get help — there are many talented folks out there just like you that do brilliant things with their eyes closed. You can hire this stuff out. With total confidence.
Whether you ultimately hire someone or not, just having a sense of how to cleanly present your brand, visually, will set you apart and help you build your business.
Relationships are important to business. Why?
Because people buy from people they like and trust. It’s really, truly that simple — authenticity wins.
That’s how people blow up on Instagram — people love people who are just… real people.
So your objective with everything—your content, your voice, your approach—should be to inspire connection with your audience.
Storytelling helps you achieve that.
Stories are far more memorable than any other kind of content — and when you’re memorable, you’re going to go further with clients.
In my own business, I’ve found that letting people in on my journey has been enormously helpful in building rapport. Part of my brand is about showing my audience how I’ve learned from the dead ends and failed attempts in my own side hustle.
By sharing that in my podcasts, masterclasses and most importantly my emails, I appear more human—because we all make mistakes. The world doesn’t need another expert or guru, that story is so tired.
I also build my audience’s confidence in my own experience—because I’ve learned from the mistakes I made. Then I break down the steps I should have taken or will take the next time around.
See how that works? It’s all part of my own story.
The Inspire part of the framework is also about calmly and confidently offering solutions. Back to the single-and-mingle metaphor, you inspire when pick the perfect spot for the next date.
Your clients will be seeking you out—and will be inspired to sign with you—because you offer something that actually helps them solve a pain-in-the-ass problem.
Back to our examples at the beginning:
The health coach offers a path to a healthier lifestyle—and lasting, transformational changes to bad habits.
The event consultant offers to take a highly complex, highly stressful situation and transform it into an unforgettable experience.
These are solutions. That’s what you’re offering—of course, along with your collaboration and customer service mindset.
This is what really sets businesses apart from the crowd, because when folks drop the ball on their customers it gives you a chance to pick it right up.
Ultimately, you’re going to be asking your prospects to do something with you—to take the next step. That’s your call-to-action.
I call that the Influence part of the framework because you’re tastefully and thoughtfully influencing them to take action. This isn’t about being sleazy or making this awkward.
That call-to-action might be to schedule a first consultation, an exploratory call, to learn more about your services, listen to your podcast or download your freebie.
Whatever it is, you want to make sure that you’re actually asking them to do it. Remember, folks wanna get back to those puppy videos — so while you’ve got their attention, let them know what’s in it for them.
The important thing to remember, though, is that before you can become influential, you first have to impress and inspire.
You’ve got to earn your opportunity to influence, to ask someone to take a specific action.
You warm up to them, and nurture the relationship. Then you consult, advise, and help someone make a tough decision.
Your goal is to spell out all the steps in a process, and strike confidence that you offer exactly what they need, how they need it.
(See how I did that?) Your next step is to complete the Impress, Inspire & Influence worksheet. This exercise will help you spell out exactly what you bring to the table for your collaborations, without the awkward pauses or sweaty palms.
DELIVERING A FIRST CLASS, TRANSFORMATIONAL EXPERIENCE
Phase 2: Designing an Unforgettable Offer That Blows Minds and Tops Wishlists
“We only have what we give.”
— Isabel Allende
Have you ever driven a Tesla?
Before going on a test drive, I didn’t quite get the appeal. Nice looking cars are a dime a dozen in California.
After driving one off the lot, the rep in the vehicle had me turn down a few streets and get comfortable with steering and braking before directing me to the freeway.
Before the light turned green, just before the onramp, she said to me, “now, don’t be afraid to just push it and really test the accelerator.”
The light turned green, I put my head back on the headrest, and I let my right foot do what it wouldn’t do with my own car — I freakin’ floored it.
Let me tell you — there is absolutely nothing like the sensation of going 0 to 60 in less than 3 seconds. It’s something you’ll want to experience again and again.
And that’s your goal as a business — to accelerate results for the people and businesses that invest with you, while cementing an unforgettable experience in their minds.
Tesla are at the top of a lot of people’s wishlists (mine too, not gonna front). Your products and services need to have wishlist status too.
Now that you understand how to serve people using the Impress, Inspire, Influence framework, it’s time for you to think about your business’s Core Offer.
The Core Offer is the transformational experience you’ll offer your clients.
It’s the heart, soul, rhythm and beat of what you do to drive your mission forward, and fulfill your burning sense of purpose.
It’s the thing your business becomes known for, like Redbull is known for putting on crazy events and stunts, or Lady Gaga is known for creating unforgettable performances and styles.
Your Core Offer is the most valuable thing you’ll bring to your collaborations.
For the health coach, the Core Offer is the six-month coaching program with weekly video coaching sessions and unlimited email support to ensure 100% success.
For the event consultant, the Core Offer is the planning with weekly status calls, and the flawless execution of the event to make sure everything starts on time — and doesn’t exceed budget.
When planning your Core Offer, I want you begin by thinking about your superpowers.
What is the signature, flagship thing you’re known for—the thing you can do effortlessly that can have the biggest impact for someone else?
To help with brainstorming, I encourage you to think about your Core Offer as a complete experience for your client.
You don’t serve french fries without ketchup, just like you don’t have Beyoncé at Coachella without Destiny’s Child and Solange and Jay.
To successfully productize—and to make the most of your time and the best value for your client—you’ll want to focus on one transformational outcome for one person.
Focus in on a particular job role, audience, persona, or client—rather than trying to sell everything to everyone. Think carefully about everything that rocks their world and their wallets.
What’s the one thing keeping your buyer up at night, that they’d pay a premium to have taken care of, end-to-end?
Which details would they want you to handle?
What kind of support would they want from you?
Which results would they want, guaranteed?
Really successful people are those who own the answer to a question. You can’t be a generalist and expect to be successful.
A Life Coach that doesn’t pick some aspect of life to coach about will never get anyone’s attention.
You should be a specialist. Like a Life Coach that helps busy men be more present for their kids, or one that helps people adjust to living in a new city.
That doesn’t mean you have to be “known” or “discovered” to have a successful business. You don’t need to have a New York Times Bestseller under your belt to be profitable.
What I’m encouraging you to do is find one big problem to solve for one person, then get good at solving that same problem for other people.
That’s better than standing around and saying, “hey, I can help you with this, or that, or this, and this, and this, and some of that.” You’ve already lost their attention — and that’s real currency.
Then, contribute to the conversation and community. Offer up your expertise in Instagram comments and in Facebook groups where this person would hang out.
Build your brand capital by leaving breadcrumbs wherever your ideal clients hang out. Your goal is to become someone who’s discoverable, valuable and memorable.
That’s where success lies in this line of work. Let me break down my own entrepreneurial evolution so you can see there are levels to this work.
When I decided to start side hustling, I honed in on providing one service — LinkedIn profile optimizations.
When I hit a wall and got sick of looking at resumes, I decided to increase my rates. Keepin’ it real.
This meant branding myself for the next level — designing a website and expanding myself beyond my social media.
While researching web designers, a friend introduced me to Fiverr.
After learning about the online gig service, I thought — I could do this too! There was no startup cost, I just needed to set up a killer profile.
I started freelancing by creating logos and social media content on Fiverr using free tools like Canva. I completed $5 gigs, one at a at a time.
Then, I reinvested my earnings into tools like Beaver Builder that let me build professionally designed WordPress websites in minutes.
This is when I learned the importance of not only honing in on a Core Offer to keep the process manageable, but honing in on one audience.
It was difficult to brand myself as a career coach, and a freelancer, aaaaand a brand strategist. People didn’t know what to do with me.
But, the feedback and perspective I gained was game changing, and I’m here to share the gospel with you — don’t fall for the trap of doin’ too much by not being focused.
This process of testing and experimenting lead me to where I am.
Now I’m building a dream business doing exactly what I love most — teaching and creating.
Now I want you to invest some time on developing your Core Offer. I’ve included a simple exercise in the free workbook to help you design an unforgettable offer that blows minds and tops wishlists.
ATTRACTING QUALIFIED, RIGHT-FIT BUYERS
Phase 3: Creating a Free Offer That Attracts Your Buyers and Changes the Game for Them
“I believe luck is preparation meeting opportunity. If you hadn’t been prepared when the opportunity came along, you wouldn’t have been lucky.”
— Oprah Winfrey
A success stew is made from two key ingredients: an unforgettable Core Offer that blows minds, and a buyer who’s up at night because of a problem that just won’t go away.
Equally important is making sure everyone’s expectations are on mark and realistic.
What’s the prerequisite to working with you? How do you want to filter, or qualify, clients?
Maybe they need to have some base knowledge before they would ever find value in what you offer — you can’t get someone to see value in nutrition coaching if they don’t know how everyday food affects their body.
You don’t have all the time in the world to work with everyone, especially as you’re getting started.
You’ll want to filter to make sure you’re only working with the clients who are the right fit for you. If you’re not excited about working with them, you’ll both be disappointed about the outcome of the collaboration.
And no getting discouraged about this stuff: you’ll learn and refine who your ideal client is as you go. You’ll know much more a year from now than you do at this point.
Everything you know you learned over time, right?
I get this, and so will you. But we all have to start somewhere.
So, how you do you want to filter?
Does your business serve a specific city or state? Age group? Homeowners? Dog lovers? Maybe the people you serve are a little more specific — English bulldog lovers (that’s me!).
Are you a Wal-Mart, offering everyday low price? Or a Gucci, offering “you can’t sit with us ‘cause you’re not on our level” experiences? I’ll always encourage you to be a Gucci, especially as a purpose-driven business. You can serve a lot more people with capital.
Level of Service
Is your business an all-inclusive luxury resort, where everything is taken care of for your guests? Or a glamping site where folks get their own heated tents near a communal bathroom? Be clear about the level of service and commitment you’re offering.
How soon will a client see results? 30 days? 60 days? Real, lasting, impactful change might not be possible in a single meeting or session. Clear timing helps people think realistically about when they’ll see results. I don’t know if any seeds that sprout overnight.
These are some of the things you might consider — and that I certainly have. While you want to build an audience for your business, not everyone is going to be a client.
And that’s OK.
Your time is the most valuable thing you have to offer, and so you want to reserve that to work with only the right-fit clients, and invest in collaborations you’ll really enjoy.
The ones with where you feel like you’re jamming and delivering your best hustle, and your client is doing the same, and you feel like business BFFs… BBFFs.
So, filter away by giving away the baseline information away for free:
You’ll also find skeptical folks among your audience and your prospects. Buyers come in all shapes, sizes and mindsets.
When I got started, I found myself spending a lot of time holding people’s hands and assuring them that what I offered was going to manifest in results for them.
Any good shopper wants to know about quality. And of course, over time, you’ll get better at selling your services.
But you’ll want to guarantee results to build confidence in your prospects.
A few examples might be:
For business consultants: after 3 months, you’ll have a complete business plan, fully executed, with predictable revenue
For health consultants: after 1 month, you’ll feel relief and have 10 menus for quick, healthy weeknight dinners to get through crazy busy weeks
Build a package around your guarantee. Give yourself enough time to do the work of making transformation happen. Set expectations with your clients that you can both fulfill.
Above all, avoid one-off consultations. They don’t attract the right kind of client, they burn time, and they will wear you out. Real change happens over time, with consistent effort.
You want to build value in your business, and that takes time. Recognize that truth and honor it.
In the workbook I’ll take you through a simple exercise for designing a free offer that attracts right-fit clients for your business, and changes the game for them.
TOOLS OF THE TRADE
Phase 4: Selecting the Right Tools For Serving and Influencing Online, So You Don’t Get Stuck or Waste Money
“Raise your words, not your voice. It is rain that grows flowers, not thunder.”
However you serve — coaching, consulting, instructing, practicing, healing — or who you serve, you need some basic tools of the trade.
They will help you to establish your credibility and attract clients. You catch flies with honey, right?
They’ll also help create seamless collaborations and keep people happy, and get things done quicker so you can make more revenue.
Now, you do not have to go crazy. More is not better—believe me, I know. I’ve definitely been guilty of confusing myself and clients with too much tech.
You also do not need to spend a lot of money. These days products are designed and priced with DIYers in mind.
Before you hire anyone to help you, I say give it a try. The Delete and Edit buttons are your friends. Embrace them on this journey and you’ll create and sleep easier.
No matter your approach, what you absolutely need to invest is time and focus on making sure you look really buttoned up across all your channels.
It makes a difference when you do. Trust me, think with your single-and-mingle hat about this.
Here is my list of what you’ll need to cover off on to ensure you’ve got the very essentials for a successful launch party:
You don’t have to go crazy, and you can definitely stick to something simple, such as a logotype (that means text only).
There are plenty of resources online, DIY tools and inexpensive marketplaces such as Fiverr. I myself have used and loved Canva.
If you decide to work with someone, be sure they provide vector files so your logo can be used for any marketing online or offline.
A simple, clean site with Home, About, Service, and Contact as a site map will be plenty to give you credibility. You can add the blog later when you’ve got your content strategy down.
Choose a domain (URL) that sounds professional and is relatively short and easy to remember.
You’ll need to populate your site with images and copy (the words that go on any page related to your business, online and offline). Whether or not you create that material yourself, keep it simple and clear while you get started.
If you’re like me and you don’t mind spending a little extra to avoid aaaaany headaches or hiccups, I recommend using a managed WordPress service with WPEngine, and an easy pagebuilder loaded with pre-made templates like Beaver Builder.
These are all tools I use for my own website, and managing my own site is as easy as making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
Email Service Provider (ESP)
This tools lets you collect email addresses on your website, deliver your freebie, create automated email sequences, and broadcast emails to your whole list when you have updates.
No matter what stage you’re at, your number one goal is list building. Your email list is safe from any algorithm changes on social media, and is the lifeline of any business.
You have plenty of options, and ConvertKit is my personal recommendation because of their great customer support and ease of use (it’s not free, but again, I’m the type of guy who doesn’t mind spending a little to avoid losing focus of the big goals).
G Suite includes everything you need to collaborate and communicate with clients, and is really reasonably priced (less than $5 a month).
You’ll have a seamless brand presentation with an email that’s sleeved to your new URL (firstname.lastname@example.org), a business phone number (in case you want to have a separate line without getting a 2nd phone), a Google Calendar, and more.
Optimized LinkedIn Profile
This is a must, as LinkedIn is the go-to place for professional information on people you’ll collaborate with.
Your profile should have a polished headshot (no bathroom selfies, please), clear, value, achievement-oriented summary copy (never explain what you did, share what you accomplished), and a listing of your experiences and skills. Recommendations are icing on the cake.
Complete Email Signature
Make sure you’ve got complete contact information in your email signature, and that it’s set to be included on every original message as well as reply.
You never know when someone will be looking to initiate contact with you or refer you to another potential client. Don’t leave money on the table by not having your contact handy.
Be sure to include your phone number, link to your website, links to big projects, and links to your key social media accounts.
Invoicing & Accounting
As your business grows, you’ll want to make sure you’re keeping tabs on your revenue and expenses.
Believe me, it will help a lot at tax time, and having a systemized process for invoicing (whether it’s at project conclusion or at the end of the month) keeps you focused on the revenue generation of your business.
Tools like And Co. are free, and you can use the platform to track proposals, accept payments, and automatically send invoices.
Use everything in your toolbox to demonstrate past success to clients.
These can include testimonials and case studies, work samples, mock projects, references, and more.
Your sales collateral should use language that is client-focused, and should detail the deliverables and support included in your service package.
Now I want you to select the tools that fit your budget and business goals. I’ve included a list of all my recommended this-is-crazy-easy-to-use and shmoney-making tools in the workbook. Once you narrow them down, it’ll be time for execution — a dream business doesn’t build itself, right?
YOUR PROMOTION PLAN
Phase 5: Strategies for Getting the Word Out About Your Business, So You Can Start Attracting Buyers and Fulfilling Your Mission
“Sometimes, idealistic people are put off by the whole business of networking as something tainted by flattery and the pursuit of selfish advantage. But virtue in obscurity is rewarded only in Heaven. To succeed in this world you have to be known to people.”
— Sonia Sotomayor
Can I keep it real with you?
This very moment, where I’m writing these words and you’re dreaming about your possibilities, almost didn’t happen.
I’m as introverted as they come. I’m not center stage, I’m very much behind the scenes. Don’t give me big parties, give me intimate dinners with my A Listers.
As I built my own business, however, there was no denying the correlation between my coins and my content. When I wasn’t visible, I wasn’t profitable.
And the truth is that even though I’m building a business that serves people, good intentions don’t pay bills.
Here’s the honest truth about building a successful purpose-driven business: it’s a business, and the goal of a biz is to generate capital.
You can’t help people without capital. Even non-profits need cash flow to make their impact, which is why grant writing is such a coveted skill in that sector.
Giving your time is great — but your time and a million dollars can dramatically change lives.
So my advice to you, no matter where you are in this journey, is to fall madly in love with marketing. Your mission, that calling and that sense of purpose that you have — they need you riding first class on the marketing train.
So, pushing forward, once you’re ready with all the key elements for your new business, it’s launch time!
You’ll want to make sure you promote your website and services to your network—and ask for their support in getting you off the ground.
Most importantly, ask for feedback. Really good peeps tell you when you have spinach between your teeth.
This is how you improve — receiving a heads up about a misspelling, or a suggestion for something else to include.
Make sure you pull every lever and use your existing resources once launch time is here. Sing from the mountain tops — because you’re on a mission.
Email Your Network
Be sure to include a link to your new site and encourage them to sign up. Ask them to forward the email to at least 3 people they believe would appreciate the information you have to share.
Promote on Facebook
If you’ve got a bunch of Facebook friends, or you’re in some professional Facebook groups, all the better. Make sure you’re getting your info out there for the connections it will spark. Create a blurb or snippet of text and ask your connections to share it with a link to your site on your behalf.
LinkedIn is the best place to promote your side hustle. With work samples and valuable content in your profile, you can start prospecting for clients right on LinkedIn. Upgrade to Premium and send InMail messages to people and businesses in your industry. Offer up useful advice then invite them to check out your free content.
Follow Your Buyers
Going to face-to-face, mix-n-mingle networking events has worked forever to grow businesses. Make sure you’re out there doing it, too. Spend time wherever your ideal buyer spends their time — you’ll gain valuable insight by listening to them and putting yourself in their shoes. Not to mention you can collect business cards and add contacts to your email list.
Consider Strategic Partnerships
Some of the best collaborations are born of complementary service. Do you have a friend or colleague who could be a potential partner? If you’re a marketing consultant, perhaps your friend is a graphic designer. If you’re a wellness coach, perhaps your friend is a chiropractor. Referrals can go both ways.
Speaking Engagements and Workshops
The best way to impress, inspire and influence people is to gather a crowd and share your story. At the end of the talk you’ll want to invite people to your site or a unique landing page where they can sign up for your email list.
The best way to build credibility while attracting qualified people to engage with your brand is to contribute to the conversation. Reach out to blogs, magazines, and influencers who you genuinely believe serve your audience well. Pitch your ideas to contribute an article, tools, slideshow, or infographic on popular topics among their audience.
An engaged Facebook or LinkedIn Group that is dedicated to topics or interests most important to the people you serve can be an online oasis. You get a front row seat to everything that inspires and frustrates them, and you can win hearts and minds by offering up really valuable advice and experience. You organically pull qualified people into your orbit this way.
Getting the word out that you are on a mission is an essential habit to develop if you’re going to generate the type of capital that makes a lasting impact. I want you to complete the exercises in the workbook and develop your very own promotion plan. You’ll decide on the best strategy for your business, and commit to an execution plan.
YOUR SALES SYSTEM
Phase 6: Strategies for Maximizing Your Value, and Your Profit, So You Can Move Your Mission Forward
“Leadership belongs to those who take it.”
— Sheryl Sandberg
So, the word is out, you’re getting into your promotional groove, got your entrepreneurial trainings wheels on. You’re getting better... but you’re not getting the results that you really want — more money for less of your time.
Maybe after sending someone an email about setting up a consultation, you didn’t get a reply back.
You left a voicemail 2 days ago, and you’re still hoping for a call back about that proposal.
Or, you actually got a chance to have a follow up conversation, but you’re not winning the person over. Something isn’t clicking, or they say the price tag isn’t what they expected — and you feel stuck, nervous or frustrated.
Any of these situations giving you palpitations right now? Whew!
I get it, I’ve been there. But you know there’s a solution to all of these scenarios, right?
It’s possible because other people do this really well all the time, hanging out at the money buffet. And you, my friend, are about to get a seat at the table too.
You’re going to have a strategy for following up on that email with something irresistible.
You’ll have a script for voicemails that get answered, without being sleazy.
And you’ll know exactly how to overcome the price tag issue without seeming desperate.
First, think carefully about the buyer’s experience in working with you, from beginning to end.
There are a few phases to developing a business relationship:
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Getting to know your client’s worldview and priorities, uncovering their biggest problem and appetite for a solution like yours
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An opportunity to demonstrate that you’ve carefully listened to their problem and have a method, timeline and budget planned for making it go away
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A chance for the client to ask questions, talk through different scenarios, freak out, then ask more questions — so you can save their day with smart, confident answers
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Dotting your Is and crossings your Ts on contracts and next steps so you and the client can enjoy a sense of relief before getting to work
You only get a small window of time and attention to win someone over, which is why your objective is to do most of the listening.
The way you do this is by asking really smart questions, sitting back with a pen in hand — and helping them push past any moment when they get stuck.
I’ve found that having a checklist for “discovery”—the short convo when you’re figuring out what your potential client needs and if you’re a fit—is worth its weight in gold.
Here are some questions you might consider asking in a discovery conversation:
What specific outcome would make the greatest difference?
Where are you stuck?
What's most important to you when working with someone? What do you need from this collaboration?
When will you make your decision?
It’s also important that you know how to put together a strong proposal before you’re asked for it, so you can deliver it to your prospective client and get a “yes” on the job.
What do I mean by that? Have a standard format to your proposal so it’s easy for your to customize and get out the door quickly to earn that “wow!” factor. You shouldn’t be writing each proposal from scratch.
To keep this simple for you and the client, a strong proposal boils down to four things:
Clear grasp of goal and deliverables
What’s the outcome, result, or asset being created?
Defined scope of work
Be clear about what you’ll do and support, and what’s not included.
Costs and payment terms
Fees, deposits, timing for payments to be made.
Clearly defined timeline
How long will this project take, and what are the milestones that help you and the client know you’re on track?
There are terms you will want to work into your proposals, so that you give people a decision timeline, and so that you’re compensated if and when a client decides to drop you.
It happens every now and then, and it’s usually not personal. Nothing to freak out about, just a reminder of the importance of being consistent.
You should also make sure that your contact information is on the proposal, so that if it’s passed to someone else, that person knows how to reach out to you!
TAKE ACTION: Use the checklist included in the workbook, and create a proposal template with all the right ingredients for a success stew.
It’s important that your clients give you clear commitments on contracts, they’re just as much on the hook for a successful collaboration as you.
It’s also important that you don’t give your time away for free because you’re on a mission and you need capital to serve people.
A yes is a yes is a yes—you should have a firm approval on your proposals, and ideally you should have it in writing (email, not social media).
There’s nothing worse than thinking you have a project when you don’t, or thinking you had a verbal when in fact you didn’t.
Also, please puhleeaazzz please, don’t undersell yourself. Don’t discount, even if you’re hearing crickets after launch. Never come across as desperate.
To help strike a deal with a potential client who’s on the fence, consider giving bonuses — and quantifying the cost. A bonus with a dollar value creates totally different perception of what you’re offering.
If you agreed to design a website for someone and they don’t buy, you can throw in an additional service to sweeten the deal, like copywriting, valued at say $1,000. This increases the value of the offer without having to come down on price.
You can also use create scarcity with bonuses. You might use it as an incentive to get a client to sign with you by a certain date or the bonus goes away.
This isn’t sleazy, I promise. It will convert anyone who’s serious about seeing results, which means the collaboration is more likely to be successful — and worth your while.
A note on payment terms—you’ll need to decide how best to run this in your business.
You want to create the optimal cash flow, and you also want to ensure that your clients are willing to pay on reasonable terms.
You have options for creating payment terms that work for you and your client:
Prepayment, where your clients pay the full fee upfront before working with you
Progress billing, where your clients might pay 50% down and the balance at a certain point in the engagement
Post payment, where your clients only pay at the end
Retainer or installment, where your clients are paying for a certain chunk of your time on a monthly basis
You’ll also want to decide how you’re going to accept payments: PayPal, Venmo, Chase QuickPay, check?
I recommend using And Co. because you can accepted credit card and PayPal payments. This gives your clients great flexibility. And it’s free, ‘cause that’s how I roll.
I’m not a lawyer or accountant, so it would be unethical (and rude) for me to tell you exactly how to structure your business and finances. But these are important details to consider when you plan for the long-term.
If and when you’re ready to talk to someone, I recommend checking out LegalZoom and RocketLawyer as options for low-cost access to licensed professionals.
Complete the exercises and use the checklists included in the workbook to be sure you have everything you need to create your collateral for your proposals. Once you’re done, you’ll be ready to set up your payment and invoicing system so you can start booking clients without fuss.
Phase 7: Scaling Your Side Hustle Using Modern, Easy Online Business Strategies So You Can Create New Revenue Streams
“Obstacles don't have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don't turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it.”
— Michael Jordan
Congratulations on making it to the end of The Complete Blueprint For Building an Online Business That Stands Out From the Crowd!
I know I’ve thrown a lot at you — and you’ve stuck with it. This tells me you’re ready to do what it takes to make your dream business happen.
You’re ready to follow the steps, put in the work, and above all — have fun. You know by now that it’s possible to fulfill your mission, while enjoying yourself and living your best life. None of these things are at odds.
I encourage you, once you’re pulling in clients, to get very efficient and organized about your production schedule.
Get focused with the time you have set aside for your business, and very savvy with your prioritization skills.
Now, you know I’m not going to leave you hanging, right?
Throughout this blueprint I’ve emphasized the importance of following through and doing what you need to do to move your mission forward.
It’s my mission to help purpose-driven, socially conscious businesses create great buying experiences, and make great money — so the world becomes a greater place overall. I’m here to help build the next Marie Forleo or Warby Parker.
So… when you’ve a wall, and you’re ready to start offering higher-end services (to make more for your time) and use easy automation to grow (so you have more time), I encourage you to check out my FREE 60-minute business planning masterclass.