In today’s episode, I’m going to share with you what I would do differently if I had to start my business over again.
I’ve done this type of podcast episode every year since I started my business and it is so much fun to look at what I would do if I was starting a business from scratch today.
Let’s jump in…
I absolutely love doing a fresh version of this podcast every year.
The reason being that the online business world is changing rapidly.
When it comes to starting a business, if I were giving you advice based on what I did when I first started my business back in 2013 without taking those changes into consideration, then I wouldn’t often be giving you very good advice.
A lot of the core marketing and messaging strategy has been particularly similar, and I would still give the same advice to this day when you’re starting a business. But there are many things that I would do 100% differently.
I want to make sure that I’m upfront with you about what I would do differently if I were to start my business all over again today…
1. Look for ongoing mentoring
When I first started my business, I signed up to work one-on-one with a business coach on a VIP day. All I had was six hours. In those six hours, we did a lot of amazing theorising, and we came up with some great models and ideas.
But ultimately, when I went out to implement some of the things that I had learned, a lot of them didn’t work.
I had no one to go to to get insight and feedback on why it hadn’t worked for me and what I was supposed to do now… How do I continue to get out there and find new clients?
I invested US$4000 when I first started my business in that one VIP day, and I would definitely not do that again.
Instead, I would look for either a group program or an ongoing mentoring package.
Then I could work with someone, go out and do homework, do some work behind the scenes, and then come back and get feedback on what I had done. I could also get redirection if something I tried didn’t necessarily work.
Due to the fact that I did all of my coaching and mentoring with a business mentor when I first started my business in one go, it was all based on theory. My mentor wasn’t familiar with the type of people that I wanted to work with in the online business world and she didn’t have a lot of experience or connections in that space. This meant that when I tried some of the strategies that she had recommended, they didn’t actually work.
I can see upon reflection why they didn’t work. Over time, I learned what was going to work for my target market and my ideal clients, but I didn’t have the benefit of having ongoing check-ins with a mentor over an extended period of time.
That would have made such a difference to my first six months in business.
2. Don’t DIY your website
I say this every time I do this type of podcast episode, but it was such a silly idea on my part to initially DIY my website.
Granted, back then we didn’t have a lot of the awesome tools that we have these days. Squarespace wasn’t a thing and we didn’t have the tools that you could use to DIY your website.
Even now, if I was starting my business from scratch, I would not get behind the scenes of my website and try DIY it. I would just wait until I could put aside enough money from sales in my business to build that website.
When I first started my business, I DIYed my website a couple of months in, and I didn’t get a single sale through my website until about five months into my business.
I did some big website updates after that and I actually ended up hiring someone to do my website for me because the DIY course that I bought was way too techie for me.
I know for myself and also for the businesses and entrepreneurs that I work with now, that there is no way that you need a website before you can start making sales.
I’ve had clients who’ve made $30,000 in sales before they’ve ever had a website in their business.
If I were to start my business over, I would hold off on having a website. I’d just use a Facebook page and the free tools that were available to me to get my business off the ground, make some sales, get money in the door and really prove what the right messaging and brand was first.
Then I would just hire someone to build me a nice and simple WordPress website.
That’s how I would do it if I were starting my business all over.
3. Start a business course with more students
After working with that VIP coach for one day, I just tried to work things out myself for a little while. About two months in, I decided I was going to invest in a social media course. Unfortunately, that course only had five people in it.
Whilst it was great and I made amazing connections with those people – two of which I ended up being in a Mastermind group with – there weren’t enough students in that course in order for me to actually have access to a great ready-made network.
I see a huge difference between the people who, when they first start their business, join a small program versus the people who join something that’s got hundreds of people in it. It really does open up so many more opportunities for you when you have other peers going through the program with you.
There are enough people that you don’t have to necessarily be partnering up with every single person that’s in the program with you, compared to when there are only six people in there.
I would definitely look for a social media course and social media marketing course that had more students in it than the one that I joined because it wasn’t really a big enough program to get the networking benefits from it.
I can see now that if I had had a better network of other entrepreneurial people who were going through courses with me and that I saw as peers and colleagues, it would have really sped up my business growth, especially in the first six to twelve months.
4. Nail your marketing
When it comes to my marketing, I wouldn’t really make any changes.
I used Facebook groups to get my first clients and my existing networks, but really I just tried a bunch of different things, and when something worked, I doubled down on that strategy.
I’m really proud of myself for how quickly I got into the groove of online marketing, considering I had zero experience when I first started my business.
I got to $20,000 in my sixth month of business and that was so phenomenal. It completely blew me away how quickly and effectively I was able to develop my marketing strategy and my messaging. This occurred by me just working it out as I went along. I didn’t have an ongoing business coach or mentor, the social media course that I did didn’t cover organic marketing strategies, messaging, copywriting or any of those sorts of things.
I just got really curious about what people were looking for and whether I could meet that need.
With this approach, I started crafting and experimenting with offers and messaging that I thought would be useful and resonate with the people that I wanted to work with.
When it comes to my approach to marketing my business when I first started, I would still do exactly the same things as I did back then.
I ran a webinar a month from three months into my business onwards for the first two years, and I would definitely still do that again.
Webinars were one of my biggest ways of:
- Growing my audience
- Growing my mailing list
- Creating a trusting connection with people
- Converting people into paying clients
When it comes to the way that I marketed, I am really glad that I worked out what was going to be a good fit for me and really resonate with my clients and my business.
It took off and I’m so grateful that it did.
5. Scale marketing activities and strategies faster
When I first started my business, I did some experimenting with Facebook ads. I did three rounds of Facebook ads with a $1,000 budget per round.
It was in month four, month five and month eight of my business that I did these Facebook ad experiments.
For my $1,000… I got zero return.
This resulted in me becoming a bit shy about exploring Facebook ads.
The reason why those ads didn’t work was that I was using a really bad strategy.
I hadn’t learned how to scale my marketing beyond warm audiences, so I needed to really refine my messaging and marketing so that it worked for cold audiences as much as it worked for warm audiences.
The Facebook ads strategy that I was learning wasn’t necessarily being taught by someone who had great experience with getting results for clients. It was just taught by someone who was experimenting themselves, had found something that worked for them specifically, and was telling other people what they should do without having proven results with clients in other industries.
If I were to start my business all over, I would be a bit more discerning about where I get my advice in relation to using Facebook ads. I would definitely scale up faster, especially in terms of Facebook ads, consistent list growth and regular newsletters to my mailing list.
I think that those things would have made a huge compounding interest kind of impact on the ongoing growth of my business.
For the first two to three years of my business, it was 50% easy, fun, playing and doubling, but the other 50% of it, I would get too close to the end of the month and realise that I really had to hustle just to be able to pay rent.
There were times where I didn’t really create that sustainability of income as quickly as I could have.
I’d say that it was because I was ready to scale some of my marketing strategies, but I was too shy to use ads. I was also a bit resistant to being more consistent with my list growth and scheduling things up.
It took me a long time to get into the groove of both consistency and investing in paid advertising.
I would do that a lot faster if I had my time again and were to start my business all over.
6. Relaunch programs that do well
When I first launched the Take Off program, which is my signature program for helping people start a business, I launched it and I had 13 students in the first round.
Then as that first round was coming to an end, I had some of those students saying that they wanted to continue working with me due to the change that they’ve seen in there business with clients, marketing and many other aspects of their business. They wanted to know what was next, so instead of relaunching the Take Off program once I’d finished the first round, I created an entirely new program and launched that.
Then the only people who really purchased that new program were people who had done the Take Off program before. This meant that I actually ended up only making six sales of that program in the first launch of it. Then I did a relaunch to a broader audience and made about 30 sales in the second launch of it, but it was a low-cost product so it wasn’t a sustainable income for me.
The goldmine was right there in front of me and I ignored it for months and months on end.
If I were to start my business all over, I would relaunch the Take Off program as soon as the first live round had finished. I would have relaunched it four or five times before I ever created another product again. Looking back, if I had relaunched the Take Off program and got it the momentum that it deserved way back then, it would be a much bigger program today.
I am still working on consistently relaunching that Take Off program and really nailing my messaging, marketing and launch strategies for that program so that those launches can run on autopilot.
I’m really lucky these days when it comes to launching the Take Off program because all I really do is fill in my launch document, give it to my team, and then turn up and run my webinar.
It is a much easier process for me these days.
I know that if I had done that way back when I first launched the Take Off program in 2014, it would have been a very different story in terms of the launch and growth trajectory of that program.
They are the six things that I would be doing differently if I was restarting my business from scratch today in 2020.
If you have any questions or ahas from today’s episode, come on over to the Heart-Centred, Soul-Driven Entrepreneurs Facebook group, use #podcastaha, let me know that you’ve been listening to episode 215 and share your lightbulbs, things you’re going to do differently and questions relating to this episode.
If you’re ready to “fast track” your business, get it off the ground, and build a business model around your strengths, I have a great free resource for you!
It’s called Fast-Track Your Start-Up.
It’s all about building your business and getting money in the door quickly by building it to your innate strengths.
Until next time, I cannot WAIT to see you SHINE.