When I first started my entrepreneurial journey, I didn't really know it. I'd started a blog, and it became a brand, but it wasn't really a business. Why? Because I wasn't generating any revenue. I was writing blog posts, making graphics, posting cute selfies and working my ass off to build a reputation for by brand, but I had nothing to offer anybody who enjoyed my content. The first thing I created was called the "Fit Mama Planner" and was my first actual lead magnet that was supposed to give my audience something valuable in exchange for their email address. At the time, I didn't really know why I wanted their email address and I also didn't market the free planner very well (...it also wasn't really very good but, it was the first "thing" I'd created and I took A REALLY LONG TIME creating it so I was proud of it 😂) I should also note here that when I was doing this, Canva wasn't as good as it is now and didn't have templates or any other amazing features. It was basic AF. There are so many amazing resources available now!
Over the years, I've taken a lot of workshops, courses, and programs to develop my skills as an entrepreneur/mompreneur/solopreneur - and ultimately a business owner. I've learned a lot during this time and am really getting passionate about sharing what I learn with up and coming business owners. So, that's what I'm going to do. Today, I'm going to share 4 things that every new entrepreneur needs, and they're all things I wish I had/understood done earlier in my business. Hopefully they're helpful for you!
1. Define who you're going to help. This can be called your Ideal Client Avatar (ICA), your Target Demographic, your ideal customer profile... whatever you want to call it. You need to know who it is you're going to help. Now, I don't believe you need to draw a stick person to represent this person and then draw little arrows all around him/her with verbs that describe what they're like. Many times, your ideal client is YOU, a few months/years ago. That may be the case for you; it definitely was for me. This means you may also not have too many testimonials at the beginning, but you have YOU as a success story. That's what you'll go by to start. Your ideal client does not NEED to be just like you; you might start a virtual assistant business and maybe you want to focus specifically on podcasters because even though you don't have your own podcast, something from your past has equipped you with excellent editing and production skills. There is a massive need for this type of administrative work and you could build a really great business helping that ideal client even though they're not YOU a few months ago. In my case, I want to help moms become authors; and I am my own ideal client. A mom with a kid or two, running her own business, without the knowledge or time to take her book idea and take it through the publishing process. (I mean, I would hire me in a heartbeat 😂) Don't make this cheesy or overly complicated, just ask yourself: who am I helping? If you want to come up with a whole bunch of sentences that describe this person, go for it. I do actually suggest you NAME your ideal client, because it'll help you to create aligned products, services, and valuable content with him/her in mind. (In case you're wondering, I have two ideal clients; I've named them Kristen and Tracey.) Every time I consider creating something, I picture these women. I ask myself "does Kristen need this?" "Would this be helpful for Tracey?" If the answer is a resounding yes, I move forward. When I write content, I think about how what I'm writing can land with Kristen and Tracey. You don't need two; just pick one (for now). So anyway, figure out WHO it is you are going to help. Also consider: what are some of your ideal clients PROBLEMS? Define those too. What problems does he/she have, and how can YOU help solve them? 2. Get clear and strategic about your content pillars. I really wish I had organized my content prior to just talking about anything and everything when I first started. Here's what I want you to do: *Now would be a good time to mention that there's a workbook that goes right along with these suggestions; so you can take this from a hypothetical brainstorm to a tangible reality. Get used to taking action, friend. It'll serve you well! Get the workbook here:
In order to do this, you need to get this one thing straight: the idea is to be a BIG FISH in a SMALL POND, and not the other way around. The reason we go NARROW instead of WIDE is because you want to really go deep with the people you want to work with. If you try to talk to everyone, you talk to no one. So? Get really clear and specific about what things you WILL talk about, and what you AREN'T planning to talk about. Just because you're going to be a "fitness expert" doesn't mean you need to talk to every human on earth who's interest in fitness. If YOU were looking for a fitness expert, would you gravitate towards a big, muscle-y man with massive pecs? Or would you gravitate to a woman similar to you? I can't answer that for you, but the point is - you'd pick one over the other. Your best friend would pick one over the other. Your husband's best friend's brother would pick one vs. the other. Am I right? You need to define who you're speaking to and then NARROW DOWN your topics. You don't want to speak to a room of 1000 people if only 2 of them are interested in what you have to say. You want to speak to a room of 100 people who are all highly engaged with what you do. To start, what's your GENERAL topic? Example: Fitness Next, what's your LEAD topic? This is a strategy to narrow down WHO exactly you're working with, inside your general topic. It's helpful to think of this like __________ for __________. Virtual Assistant for Podcasters; Copywriter for Real Estate Agents, etc. Example: Fitness for moms. Then, decide what sub-topics you will focus on. I call these "follow" topics. (Because they follow the lead topic.) Pick 2-3 follow topics. Not 18, 2-3. NARROW, not wide, remember? Example: Fitness for moms Follow Topic 1: Working out with your kids Follow Topic 2: Quick healthy meals NOW is where you can brainstorm MULTIPLE different topics that fit under your follow topics. This keeps you FOCUSED. Yes, I know, it may seem like you're going to exhaust your audience or exhaust your message - on the contrary. You can come up with many different ways to talk about many different topics inside your 2-3 follow topics. THIS IS THE POINT. Decide you'll focus there instead of saying "I talk about fitness" and then talking about ANYTHING fitness related. That's talking to 1000 people in the room and very few of them are aligned. When you narrow down, you're speaking to the 100 engaged people. (Brainstorm your topics in side the Biz Clarity Workbook.)
3. Create content on your own real estate, not a rental It took me a long time to really understand this one. You might spend a lot of time connecting with people via social media, and think you have a really great audience and community. But... what if Instagram disappeared tomorrow? What if they decided to delete your account for no reason, by accident, and you couldn't get it back? How would you build a business if you didn't have instagram? My mom built an incredible business teaching piano lessons when I was a kid. I never really realized that my mom was a "mompreneur" when I was a kid because, that title didn't exist. But she was a mom who was also an entrepreneur. She had a successful business and ran it out of our home. She did not have instagram to grow her business, she did things old school. She did great work and got lots of neighbourhood referrals. If my mom was leaning only on the mailman to deliver flyers for her, and then the mailman quit or didn't follow through on her marketing... how would she build her business? The point of this is: don't spend all your time working on content that winds up on a platform NOT OWNED by you. Don't spend all your time painting and renovating your rental, when it could be ripped from underneath you without notice. Spend your time upgrading the space you OWN. Your website, your podcast, your blog... create long form content and then create market-able repurposed content that can be used on your marketing platforms - like Pinterest, instagram, facebook, twitter, etc. Start by using your one long-form piece of content to create all the other pieces of content. Lead your ideal client to an initial problem with your long-form content, then offer more to the puzzle with your lead magnet. When you repurpose the content, always drive people back to your blog/website/podcast, etc.
STEP 1: What's the purpose of your content? Direct people to some kind of free download, AKA a "Lead Magnet". This should be something your ideal client would LOVE. Create it in Canva or even word. It doesn't need to be crazy. Put it somewhere; your website, or keep it on a landing page using software like Mailchimp or ConvertKit.
STEP 2: Create content on YOUR OWN PLATFORMS FIRST. One long form piece of content that you'll create smaller, repurposed content from. I always begin with a BLOG POST. Then I create a podcast episode, and 4-5 social posts that correspond to this ONE thing I'm talking about in my blog post. No need to re-invent the wheel. Let's get as much as we can from this ONE piece of content you're creating. STEP 3: Repurpose. Create a corresponding podcast episode, social posts, YouTube or IGTV video, Pinterest graphics, etc. All these re-purposed pieces should drive people back to the content you own with the embedded freebie. STEP 4: Give each re-purpose a specific call to action. When recording podcast episodes (or videos for YouTube or IGTV) make sure you're pointing the person to either the existing blog post (where the freebie is embedded) or directing them straight to the freebie (your website link, or landing page). In each social post, direct them to the blog post or to the landing page. Get these people used to taking action for you. STEP 5: Use the same topic/theme and write another blog post that can correspond with the same download-able freebie. One blog post could be "How to re-fuel after a workout" and can be centred around your top tips for eating after you workout. Another post could be "Top post-workout snacks for women" - leading to the same exact lead magnet. Another still could be "3 important nutrients to eat after you sweat"... leading to the same lead magnet again. Do you see what I mean? WORK SMARTER, NOT HARDER! The bottom line, that took me a LONG TIME to figure out... is that instagram could delete their entire platform TOMORROW. Or, your account could get deleted for no reason and you'd suddenly have zero audience. Don't allow someone else to have all the power. Create valuable content, and keep it on your own platforms. Then use social media as a marketing tool to drive people to your owned real estate, and collect their email address so you can email market to them in the future. Win win. 4. Always have an offer This doesn't mean you always need to have a PAID offer, but the point of always having an offer is to train your audience to take action with your content. Ask them to leave a comment, send you a message, go to your website, subscribe to your newsletter, or download your free workbook/e-book/guide/worksheet/video/mini-course - whatever. Eventually, you'll get them so used to consuming all the value you're providing, that when you have a paid offer, it won't be a big deal. Ideally, it will follow nicely with what you've already been putting out there (AKA, liked my free post-workout snack recipes? Awesome! I'm running a nutrition workshop in two weeks! I'll be going into even more detail about what to eat post-workout and why. It's $27 to save your spot!) You want people to see you as someone who has valuable things to offer - both for free and for sale. Not just someone whose hobby is posting on Instagram and "building a community".
If that's all you're after, this isn't the post for you and I'm sure you've left already. Lol. These are 4 big things I wish I'd sorted out and planned better before starting my brand in 2015. It didn't become a business until 2018 and even then, I didn't have a clear idea of what my business was for. Until I figured that out, things couldn't really take off. Let me know if you enjoy using the workbook to map out your own business strategy! Get clear and things will happen much faster, I promise!