The 3 Secrets You Must Know About Starting An Online Business
People ask me all the time, "Hey Tiz, if I want to quit my job, if I want to start my own online business or take my existing business online, what are the top three things I have to know?"
Let me drill down the Top 3 things that you need to know if you want to start your own business online.
1. Systems & Processes
First of all, what are systems and processes? Well, a system is a technology. That is automation.
Leverage technology to automate your business.
It's leveraging technology to automate your business. That could be things like websites or CRM or any software that automates any part of your business. On the other hand, processes relate to human resources, to staff. So, what processes and checklists do the staff needs to follow so that your business runs and runs smoothly and profitably?
At the beginning you're not going to have any systems and processes, right? However, what you should aim to do is as soon as you start growing, and by that, you should start thinking about automating your business.
For example, when I started in online marketing six years ago now, the very first thing I did was building an email list, and I was obviously collecting leads. People were going to a website and entering their email address, subscribe to my newsletter in exchange for downloading a free e-Book.
I had systems in place so that the moment that a subscriber accepted he would automatically get a series of emails welcoming him and providing him with value as well as up-selling him some products. That's the systems part. If you already have an existing business then obviusly you can do it too.
Now processes, it's a bit more different. Processes are when you have staff. For example, about six months into the business I did my first product launch. Before that, I was selling other people's products as an affiliate, and that's when kind of things started picking up. When I got very quickly, I think it was around $30,000 a month within the first six months and then we hit $50,000 a month 12 months later.
So, you will need staff, right? The first process I put in place is customer support. I was getting a lot of emails with a lot of questions and comments and testimonials, which was great, but all of that, I put a process in place so that a customer support agent, Judy, she's actually still with me, she was my very first employee and she's still working with me. So, what she had to do is she had to filter those queries.
If you get something that requires a response, how is she going to reply? If she knows the answer, she can immediately respond. If not, she needs to escalate it to the next level up, which at the time was me. That is our process. As you get started, and this is very important, have systems and processes to generate sales as well.
So, how is technology helping you automate your sales process? And that's not necessarily selling. That can include things like, you know, providing content, educating the customer, building authority in the marketplace. Position yourself as an expert or publishing a book, whatever that is, right?
Every time that I would come up with a new piece of content I would record the video, then I would transcribe it, then I would publish it on YouTube, on the blog, on Twitter, on LinkedIn, the whole lot, right? Well, now I'm not doing that anymore. I'm still recording the videos, and by the way, I outsourced that as well at some point, but I found out that it didn't kind of produced some good results and also, I kind of really enjoy this.
I really enjoy bonding with people, so I don't think that's something I won't outsource. As soon as this video is produced, will go to Ann who will take care of reformatting this video, repurposing, editing it, cutting all the silly mistakes that I'll be making. Then she'll be transcribing it and publishing it in a variety of formats.
How do you have systems and processes that get your name out there? That position yourself as an authority? Don't just sell the product. If you provide value, if you provide 10X value, money will flow to you naturally. A good product sells itself.
If you provide value, money will flow to you naturally.
A good product sells itself.
Your job is to put yourself out there, to share your content with the world and naturally you know, that value will come back to you many, many times over.
The difference between the "solopreneurs" who are successful and hit that cap versus those who go on to make five, six, and seven and eight figures sometimes a month is systems and processes.
As you get started, and I know it may feel kind of a bit daunting, overwhelming at the beginning, start thinking systems and processes. How can I systematize it? How can I use technology? Whether it's you just you know, building an email list. Well great, how can you automate and systematize that? Or if it is contacting partners or if you're a coach, a consultant or maybe an author, right, how do you attract people to you?
Well, you've done it once, right? You say I don't know, you did a guest blog post on someone else's website. Great. That will work. That will go great results. How can you use technology to automate that? If you cannot use technology, how can use human resources? How can you use staff to build a process around that?
To start to grow your business, the way to do things is typically when there's something to be done, where possible if it's a very high-value task I will do it myself for the first time and then I will outsource it. Then I will figure out how can I leverage technology to automate this task and how can I leverage processes and staff to automate this task, right? Then that gets put into a system, and process kind of roadmap and then that gets passed on to someone else. Then I can move onto building the next part of the business. Systems and processes get outsourced, given to someone else on the team. I move onto the next part and so on and so forth.
So, if you're looking to start a business, establish your system and processes because the reality is that no one became a millionaire as a one-man band.
2. Self-education and have a good mentor
The second thing that I believe someone who's looking to start an online business and quit his or her job should know is knowledge and mentors. But this is a very different take a from what others will tell you, from what society will say to you.
Well, pretty much everyone will have gone to school, and some people would have gone to university and college to educate themselves. Well, that is not the knowledge I'm talking about.
If that were the knowledge that I was talking about, you would need. You already have that knowledge, right? You would have already started your business a long time ago, and you would have been insanely successful. Clearly, the knowledge that society is giving us through university, colleges, school, whatever that is, does not work. Otherwise, the world would be full of very successful entrepreneurs and wouldn't be complete, as is the case, of people who are working a nine to five J-O-B, getting frustrated with the daily commute, having to deal with all sorts of unpleasant people and situations, right?
Educate yourself on things that can make you successful.
The knowledge I'm talking about is education, is self-education. The biggest obstacle between you and success and your goals is, guess what? It's what's in between your two ears. Educate yourself on things that are going to make you successful.
The knowledge I'm talking about is education, is self-education. The biggest obstacle between you and success and your goals is, guess what? It's what's in between your two ears. Educate yourself on things that are going to make you successful. And we're going to talk about this later ... whether it's business strategy, creating a product, selling other people's products, or becoming a better coach, becoming a better consultant, whatever that is.
Now, there’s a problem with education which is, time is initially seen as to be an issue, right? So, you proactively choose which mentors you want to learn from, which courses you want to take, but you know, their time is limited.
Learn how to learn faster.
How can you consume a lot, a certain amount of education? Well, and again, this is not something that universities teach us. The answer is, learn how to learn faster.
There are techniques like speed reading that allow ... I can now read a book in 15, 20 minutes, right? Prior to that, it would take me two months to read a book. There are ways you can use, and we'll be talking about those at the Internet Income Summit, that you can use to learn and consume content faster.
Now, let me ask you, who is going to be more successful? The entrepreneur, who's gone through one course on the subject area? Let's say you're a coach. Who's learned to be a better coach? Someone who studied one single course or someone who studied 10 courses? Obviously, the guys who studied 10 courses, right? Yet they all have the same amount of time.
So how would your success change, how would your life change, how would your results change, and how would the results change for your clients if you were able to educate yourself 10 times more, 10 times faster? That's something very, very important. Education on its own can become overwhelming, so it's important to have mentors.
A good mentor tells you the things that you don't know.
What's the difference between mentors and education? Well, education is absorbing knowledge on a specific topic. It's essentially you been told what the coach, the guru, the educator wants you to know or believes that you should know about a specific topic. A mentor is very different.
A mentor is very different. A mentor is someone who does one of two things or both. Number one, he tells you things that you don't know you don't know, and that's very, very important.
That's where a lot of people get stuck, and that's when people ask you ... I'm constantly hiring mentors and people ask me all the time, "Hey, Tiz, you know, what's the deal? I mean, why do you want to work with me as a mentor?" And sometimes I have particular objectives, and sometimes I just say, "Look, I don't know what I don't know. I need you to look at my business, my circumstances, look at what I'm doing, and say, and tell me things that I should be doing that I don't know. That I don't know I don't know."
So, essentially ... the second thing that a mentor will do is he will answer your questions and he will give you specific answers to your specific problems in your circumstances. So, in that respect, that's very useful because a course is something specific to a topic, whereas a mentor can help you break through and get to the next level, given your specific circumstances, resources, mindset, business, et cetera.
Now, and this is something that people often miss, is that you have to give the mentor leeway, there may be questions that you should be asking, but that you don't know you should even be asking in the first place, which is why, again, it's important to just share this with the mentors and say, "Look, open book, this is where I am now," and I do this a lot with my students and I'll be doing a few hot seats at the Internet Income Summit, and I'll do this with my students, right? I say, "Well, tell me what you're doing now, where do you want to be, and then ask me questions or just let me share with you what I think may get you there in the fastest way, which you may not even be aware of."
One of the best ways of learning, of internalizing something, is to teach it with others. Not only ... It helps make the world a better place. It helps a lot of people, and for once, I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for someone who had gone to great lengths to educate himself, hire mentors, learn, implement, and then teach it to me.
One of the best ways of LEARNING and INTERNALIZE something is to TEACH it to others.
Whatever you learn, no matter how simple it is, some people don't know it. SHARE IT with others so that others can also benefit.
Whatever you learn, no matter how simple, how silly, there are people who don't know it, right? And I feel it's my duty to share this with others so that others can also benefit from this. The thing with the university and the college system is that they've told us that, hey, once you finish college or university.
Even if you did advanced degrees, even if you have a Master's, a PhD, or have two masters, whatever, right? They tell you-you're done. You know everything that needs to be done, that ... You know everything that needs to be known.
That is not true. If anything, that's when the learning really becomes, because what they teach us at college and university is just not relevant in the business of ... Well, in the world of entrepreneurship.
3. Monetization path
And the third thing when it comes to starting alone in business that I think you absolutely, absolutely must know is, what is the monetization path? How are you going to make money?
It's not just about great ideas, and it's not just about helping others, the business also needs to be able to earn money.
Big & Great IDEAS are flawed if not properly marketed.
It's not just about having a great idea. It's not just about helping others, but also, others need to able to be, like I say, voting with their wallet for what you're doing for them, the product or service that you're selling to them.
The concept of building it and how they will come is completely flawed. There are having so many examples out there of great ideas that just either were not appropriately marketed because the founders didn't have the knowledge, the know-how.
Or the founders didn't have the education to run the business.
Now, if you're selling a service, that's great. For example, when I used to be very heavily involved in the launch of DVFX email marketing agency, that was a service-based business. One of the challenges that we had is that it wasn't scalable. The products were very high quality, were done for the email campaigns for a huge company like Decker's and very kind of Fortune 500-type companies. And the problem is it wasn't scalable. It was email copywriting, and it takes five to ten years to train a high-quality copywriter to that standard. So, it's very difficult to scale.
There are benefits to selling services. For example, if you sell a service you can usually charge significantly more than a product, and therefore, if you're just getting started with your online business, then that's a great way of generating, easily, four, five figures a month. Just by getting started by selling your service. And then of course, you start with a service, and you can migrate into a product, or you can start selling a product directly.
Actually, that's how I started. I started selling first other people's products, so all I had to do was build a list. That was fantastic. I don't have to do any of the product development, the support, nothing. And then I would get paid a commission. And as I got better and better at it, I started having my own product. And obviously you make more money, it's also more work.
Have a very clear idea of how you're going to monetize. In my case, initially, my monetization method was, have an email list, promote them interesting products, products that they want to buy. And that worked very, very well. In your case, it may be giving out a service or whatever it is.
For example, if you look a lot of the YouTube vloggers these days, obviously you can watch TV, it's on YouTube for free. But what's the monetization method? Well, they're making ads for sponsorships and adverts on YouTube and so on, so forth, and on their blog. Have a very clear path to your monetization method.
Now, does it need to be perfect?
No. Right? Chances are that your idea of what may work, actually doesn't work, but you may find, going through that process, that something else works. We don't know at the outset what will work, however, start with a good educated guess.
And again, that's why it's important to have mentors. Because they can kind of take their years of experience, listen to your idea, and in a split second, give you not only a logical, but an intuitive decision, a gut feel, for whether they think that's going to work or not.
Is that a guarantee that it's going to work or not work? No. But it's many years of intuition and experience compressed into one, and it's just an extra piece of information that will help you make that educated decision on how to start. And then always aim for the first sale.
My first sale was like $45. It wasn't anything. However, that's super, super important. The moment you have your first sale you know that you're on the right track. You know that you have something that people are willing to pay for. And once you have that, then it's just a matter of scaling up.
Once you got your FIRST SALE, you know that you're on the RIGHT TRACK.
You’ve got the first sale, the first few sales. Again, the amount doesn't matter. What matters is that you've made you're first sale, that your proof of concept of whatever it is that you're doing works.
For example, in my case, it was the first sale of a currency trading product, of a Forex product, through my email list. Why was that so important? Because now I knew that the process that I had in place, build an email list, promote other people's product, and worked.
And then, and again, I'll be talking about all this in great detail, step by step, how to build an email list, how to choose which products to promote, how to develop your own product, how to sell your own product. We'll be touching on operation as well.
But anyway, very briefly, then from that point on ... And this is something I will be talking about in the second day, specifically, at the Internet Income Summit is, how do you scale up? You've made one sale, you've made a few sales. How do you make a thousand sales?
Use systems & processes to scale your business
Now it's a very different conversation. Actually, it's a lot more fun, I think, in terms of well, okay, how do I do these 10X? And it's not just, like people say, "Oh, well. You just grow your business 10X, you just spend 10 times more on advertising and that's that." No. That's not true.
There are scale problems. What gets you from 0 to 10 is not what gets you from 10 to 100. It's not just doing 10X, right? So, the question then becomes of, how do you put ... again, systems and processes. Right?
There will be challenges, and again, that's the importance of having a mentor who's been there, done that before. But, however, all of these centers around having that monetization method.
Challenges will always be there... that's why you need MENTORS.
How are you going to make money? If you know how you're going to make money, you have a path and something will come out of it.
Either you start your business, you have a certain monetization path, you know that whatever that path is, turns out it works, happy days. Or if not, at least you're testing something. You're getting a negative result, right? And you can go in a different direction but one way or the other, you still have a result.
So, it's very important, again, when you're starting an online business, to know these three main things. Super, super, super important. Number one, systems and processes since the outset. You cannot, right? No one becomes a millionaire or a multimillionaire on his own, or her own. Doesn't happen, right? Since the very outset, especially at the outset where maybe it's only you or you and your partner, you don't have a lot of time and money, right? Very, very important, systems and processes. How can I leverage those, right, so that the business grows without me?
Number two, and that again, super important. I cannot stress it enough. Here in my notes, I've got it in big, bold, is knowledge and mentors. How are you educating yourself? Are you going to continue to invest in yourself, to hang out with people who've achieved the results you want to achieve, or even your peers, right? And that is very important, and also mentors. Mentors are more expensive, but it can give that shortcut. A mentor can save you ... It happens to me all the time, one, two years of my life. How much is that worth, right? So yes, mentors are expensive, by they're worth every penny. And finally, the monetization path. You need to have a very clear idea of how it is exactly that you're going to make money.