With 2015 approaching, you have probably noticed an influx of “Lessons from 2014” posts, or similar articles reflecting on the year that was.
I am going to take a different approach as we round out 2014 and head into 2015, by explaining what you need to do in 2015 to grow your business. This will be based on my experience from 2014 and what helped me grow my business the most.
Take a moment to think about each topic below, and how you could incorporate it into your 2015 business plan.
You won’t regret it (I sure didn’t).
#1: Create your own information product, software product, or online course
I put this at #1 for a reason, and I’ll explain why.
One of my biggest struggles in running my own business has always been productivity. I don’t mean getting stuff done, I mean getting the RIGHT stuff done.
I have gotten a lot better at this, but in the past I would find myself focusing on “busy” work, rather than on productive work that actually got me closer to my goals.
You know what I’m talking about – responding to emails, checking stats, calling someone, etc – things that I could check off my “to-do” list, but had minimal impact on growing my business and income.
Once I learned to focus on income generating tasks, I found myself becoming an expert at more and more activities.
This led me to realize that I had knowledge that others would benefit from in their own businesses.
And from there, it led me to create my own online courses – such as The Profit Club, Broad Targeting Formula, Effortless Tee Formula, and Ultimate Tee Outsourcing Formula.
I urge you to do the same in 2015 – take a few hours each week to test out new strategies, implement new techniques, and find problems to solve. This can come in the form of an online course or even a software product.
And here’s a little secret I want to share with you…
You’re probably already an expert at something that you can teach to others (if you really don’t think you’re an expert, you can find someone who IS an expert and partner with them).
Just look at your income generating activities from the past few years. Or look at your hobbies, your accreditations, or problems you’ve solved in your own life and business. Chances are, if you benefited from these things, others will as well.
This is especially true for speakers, authors, consultants, and business owners. People want to learn how to do what you do!
And I haven’t even talked about how creating your own online products can leverage your time!
You can create a course once, and then sell it as many times as you want.
We truly live in an age and time where business opportunities are possible that just weren’t feasible in the past. You can create an online course from your couch, promote it to others from your couch, and sell it from your couch.
Let that sink in…
It’s amazing to me how many people choose to ignore this or don’t believe it. I used to be the same, thinking the knowledge I had was “basic” and that no one would pay for it.
That was until I hired a mentor, which leads me to #2.
#2: Hire a mentor
I spent more on mentors in 2014 than I choose to share, but I can honestly say my business is far better off because of it.
Now for the sake of transparency, let me say that every mentor I’ve hired has not worked out. I’ve had a few misses, but the ones I’ve connected on have drastically changed the path of my business.
For example, when I was running marketing campaigns on Facebook and having a ton of success, the thought of creating an information product or course was never really on my radar. Sure it crossed my mind, but it always seemed overwhelming.
One of the mentors I hired has sold millions of dollars in his own online products and services, and he walked me through the process of creating and selling a course.
The results were phenomenal, and I began to see the possibilities of doing this over and over again.
And having a mentor was invaluable to me again earlier this year, when I was in the middle of creating a new course and abruptly stopped.
I told him that I thought the course was too basic and that it lacked the “IT” factor.
I will never forget what he said to me, because it completed changed my mindset.
He said, “you feel it’s lacking, because it’s simple to YOU.”
That may seem like a simple statement, but it really hit me over the head. I realized that the knowledge and information I had seemed like it was lacking something to ME, because I already knew how to do it.
I went on to launch that course, and it became the course I’m most well-known for.
Without a mentor, that may have never happened.
And without a mentor, I probably wouldn’t be discussing #3.
#3: Do some coaching and consulting
One of the best things I learned from a mentor of mine was to make money on my activities as many times as I could.
So if I was running a marketing campaign that was profitable for me, I could then take that strategy and create a course teaching it to others. And after creating that course, I could then take on a few clients who wanted more in-depth coaching or consulting on their specific business.
So what started as a marketing campaign for myself, quickly turned into something I was able to generate income on three times.
Think of it like a pyramid, where your customers continually ascend to the next level of your services.
I hired another mentor in the middle of 2014 to help me with my coaching and consulting sales and delivery.
The takeaway from this is similar to the takeaway from creating your own online courses, which is that people are willing to pay for the knowledge you have.
More accurately, people are willing to pay to shortcut their way to success.
If you have attained something that someone else wants to attain, or you’ve become an expert at something someone else wants to master, you have the ability to consult.
This can be a retail business owner who has built their business to half a million dollars who consults with other retail business owners on how to do the same.
It can be a Facebook expert who teaches other businesses how to effectively use Facebook to grow their business.
I want to repeat this — chances are you are ALREADY an expert at something.
If you currently do something that makes an income, if you currently have a business, if you’ve solved a problem for yourself — then chances are you’ve got some knowledge that others can benefit from, whether in a 1-on-1 fashion or a workshop.
Coaching and consulting are a great way to grow your income and generate additional income on activities you are already doing.
#4: Do webinars
This won’t apply to everyone, but I had to include it due to the amount of growth my business saw in 2014 due to webinars.
Whether you are selling a mid-ticket course or high ticket consulting, webinars are POWERFUL.
I never believed I could generate six figures from product sales on a webinar, until 2014.
I never believed I could sell high ticket consulting directly from a webinar, until 2014.
To have the attention of your target audience for 45 minutes to an hour, and to then have the ability to pitch a product or service to them, is what I consider the biggest income opportunity of 2014 and the foreseeable future.
As a colleague of mine recently said, ‘at some point in the future there will be a more powerful medium than webinars to sell products and services, but right now there is nothing that compares.’
#5: You absolutely must use the Facebook marketing platform
This goes without saying for most people reading this, but right now no other advertising medium is more targeted and more robust than the Facebook advertising platform.
You can target people by their income, job title, buying habits, interests, and more.
Heck, you can target people who buy peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, eat cereal, have a dog, own a house, and like the movie Home Alone.
Now THAT is some targeted advertising.
To add to that, Facebook gives you the ability to sequentially market to people, based on activities they have or have not taken.
So if I wanted to run ads to someone reading this blog post, I can!
If I want to run ads just to people who registered for my webinar, I can!
If I want to run ads to people who read my blog AND registered for my webinar, I can!
If I want to run ads to people who read my blog, registered for my webinar, and like Ace of Base, I can!
And Facebook even gives you the ability to run ads to people who are just like an existing audience you already have.
So if I took the audience of people who read my blog, Facebook will give me 2,000,000 other people who are just like my blog readers.
And in most cases, it’s a VERY accurate and targeted group of people that I can reach that I previously could not.
#6: Network with others in your industry
Do not stay content just hanging in the same circle of people. You should always look to up-level your network, even if this means paying to join groups or masterminds.
This will lead to partnerships, joint ventures, and doors opening that you personally would never have gotten the key to yourself.
I struggled with this a bit until recently.
I get it, it’s hard to let go.
No one will ever do it as good as you can do it.
But I learned that it’s not possible for me to grow my business and try to do everything.
Find stuff you don’t like doing or that is time consuming and outsource it.
I’ll do a future blog post on this, going into more detail on how to find outsourcers for particular pieces of your business.
#8: Get organized
I added this one at the last second, due to some recent breakthroughs in the day to day organization and operation of my business.
As recently as two weeks ago, here is how my business operated:
I had one online tool I used for my “to-do” list. But it really also served as a CRM and a place where I kept all my ideas.
I also had a calendar, which was used for more urgent to-do tasks, appointments, and reminders.
Lastly, like most of you, I had my email, which tends to be a reactive tool, where the course of your day can change by what enters your inbox.
After deciding I needed to make a change, I realized I could break out my activities as follows:
-Things to do now – these are activities I need to complete for that day.
-Daily reminders – things I want to remember, but I want them out of my head. Can be taking a daily vitamin, working out, etc.
-Little nudges – things that aren’t urgent or daily, but I want to remember them occasionally. Can be a reminder to call someone, to read a book, or something else.
-Idea bank – things that I don’t have use for at the moment, but I want to keep handy. I keep these in one area so they don’t overlap with my daily tasks, but they are available as needed.
-Things to do later – activities I need to complete at some point in the near future that I set reminders for.
-Things to outsource – this can be a piece of content, a member’s area, or anything else.
I created a system to easily manage all of these things now.
The best part is I have everything run through my inbox!
Before I was going back and forth with email, calendars, CRM’s, etc, but now I have one central location where everything goes, set times they go off, without having to worry about forgetting something.
So if today I need to call someone, I’ll get an email reminder in the morning.
Or if I haven’t taken my car in for an oil change in 3 months, I’ll get an email reminder.
And it makes me more organized and productive because everything stays in my inbox until I either complete it, read it, or defer it.
2014 was a huge year of growth in my business, from a financial, mental, and organizational standpoint.
Your business may be in a different place, but the above activities are what has had the biggest impact on my business, and I urge you to implement some of them in your business as well, in 2015 and beyond.
What else are you focused on for 2015?
Comment below and let me know.
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