Wisdom I Wish an Expert Would’ve Shared With Me 7 Years Ago
Reflecting on your business is an important aspect of growing it.
Knowing what’s worked in the past, what mistakes you made and how you can improve moving forward are all healthy reflections to make.
Through these reflections, I came up with 10 lessons I hope you can benefit from if you’re deciding to become an entrepreneur or want to grow your business.
Don’t make the mistake of ignoring these following things:
1. Work To Your Strengths When Creating Content
Try to figure out what your strongest assets are as a content creator.
I’ve created a lot of different content throughout the years but I always come back to writing. Now, I may not be the best writer in the world and I take some liberties with the English language once in a while (it being my second language, at least that’s my excuse…), but writing has always been easiest for me.
Stumbling over your words on camera, editing your speech and doing hours of post production for a short video is my personal idea of a nightmare you can’t wake from because you’re in purgatory.
Don’t get me wrong. I’ve done tutorial videos and products that I’m really proud of but when it comes to creating online content my biggest asset has always been my writing.
When you’re creating your online business, make sure you play to your strengths instead of wasting your time improving your weaknesses. Of course, don’t neglect your weaknesses, but don’t stress over them either.
Of course, don’t neglect your weaknesses, but don’t stress over them either.
2. Automate Everything You Can
Automation is the key to not feeling overworked as a solopreneur. It’s the difference between feeling like you’re constantly working in your business as opposed to working on your business.
When you have systems in place that automate your emails, lead capture, sales funnels and product delivery you free up your time to grow in other areas.
As much as I would like to believe it, I’m not a superhero (if I were I would be the original 90’s Kyle Rayner).
Because I don’t have superpowers, I can’t do everything my business needs in order for it to run.
That’s why I outsource everything I’m not an expert in.
That means design, customer support, editing, accounting, legal and anything else I’m not absolutely great at (or enjoy wholeheartedly).
Doing so frees up my time to focus on my strengths and serve my audience.
So if you’re trying to do everything yourself, make a list of things that take up too much of your time and start outsourcing them.
Virtual assistants and one-off contractors on Fiverr are cheap.
There’s no reason you can’t invest $5 for a peace of mind.
4. Keep Creating
I did an 80/20 analysis of my income for last year and noticed that two of my products contributed about 80% of my revenue. So I kept creating content to support the marketing of those two products.
However, that doesn’t mean you should stay complacent with developing new things. Keep creating marketing content to sell your bestsellers but also focus on creating new products to reach new customers.
Stay creative and keep making stuff. It’s the simplest way to grow an information business.
5. Diversify Your Income
Although 80% of my revenue comes from two products I still want to make sure that overall pie is as large as it can be.
That’s why you should create as many income streams as possible.
Here’s the breakdown for last year’s income streams:
- Product sales
- Affiliate sales
- Amazon ads and affiliate income
- Music production services (recording, mixing, mastering, production)
- Freelance consulting
- Web design work
- Book royalties
- Live music performance
- Marketing strategy consulting
- 1 on 1 coaching
At no point does my income dry up because there are simply too many streams running at the same time. Sure, some months are better than others but I never run the risk of being “fired” and ending up with no income.
6. Tiered Pricing
One of the worst things you can do when you’re selling an online product is to offer it at only one price.
You’re leaving a lot of money on the table because chances are, some of your customers will want a premium, high-end version.
So if you’re ready to launch your product make sure you have multiple pricing tiers to cater to every segment of your customer.
Here’s a great blog post from Videofruit that discusses this strategy in detail.
7. Offer Services
If you’re not a product person but you have in-depth knowledge and expertise in your industry, the easiest way to get started is to offer services instead of products.
I started as a freelance writer, then started writing on my own site.
From there I began offering products exclusively while I was going to university. Services take more time to fulfill than products so it was easier to do while going to school.
Now I offer both in various ways, from business consulting to music production and 1-on-1 coaching.
Your path might be different depending on your situation but offering services is the easiest way to have something to sell.
8. Charge More than $100
Related to my tiered pricing advice earlier, there is something I wish I had learned much sooner.
Offer something that costs over $100!
You might not sell a lot of those packages but if you don’t offer them you will leave money on the table.
Say your market buys most of your middle tier at $47 and then some customer buy your lower tier at $17, for example.
If you just leave it there, your high-end customers can pay you at most $47.
But if you offer a high-end tier at $107, then chances are a percentage of them will want your premium product.
That means an extra $51 in the bank every once in a while. Who doesn’t like that?
9. Engage With Your Audience
Your business can’t be a one-way street. Make sure you take customer feedback where applicable and use it to help your business grow.
In the past I’ve tried my best to answer comments, reply to emails and ask my audience what they struggle with through surveys.
Now I’ve taken the engagement one step further by creating a special Facebook group for my audience where we hang out, answer questions and support each other to make better music.
How can you engage your audience further?
10. Ignore the Haters
I’ve talked about this before but it bears repeating:
You will be criticized for anything you do on the internet. It will be annoying and ugly. It will make you feel lousy and insecure about whether you’re contributing anything of value. You’ll dream about abandoning your work to go live as a hermit in the mountains. (That last part might just be me…).
However, what that criticism usually means is that you’re actually doing something enviable! People are jealous! Ain’t that cool?
Keep going, make more content.
Anything of value will be met with criticism. That one negative email you get will somehow outweigh the ten praises you received the day before. Just take a deep breath, put those thoughts away and go read your praises.
I talk about my “Feel Good Folder” and how to ignore the negativity in a bit more detail here.
If you liked this article please give it some applause to tell others about it!
If you’re an entrepreneur, I’d love to hear what you’ve learned in the last few years of your business that you wish you would’ve known when you started.