In today’s episode, we are going to be answering the question: Where do you go to get help when you’re first starting a business? And how can you launch that business really successfully?

This is going to be really pertinent for those of you who are in the early stages of business, and who are really wanting to make sure you’re getting to sustainability and profitability in your business quickly.

Let’s dive in!

When it comes to starting a business – and especially one online – there are so many options. There are different options around:

  • Strategies you use
  • Channels that you focus on
  • What you call yourself
  • Products and services that you offer
  • The model of business that you might use
  • The gurus and mentors that are all out there trying to tell you that they are the perfect person to help you get your business off the ground

That all can lead to a lot of overwhelm.

You can often get into the space of not knowing what to do because you’ve got too many options in front of you.

Who do you turn to for help? How do you decide where you’re going to get your startup advice from?

Especially if you’re looking to hire a mentor, work with someone, buy a course, or have someone help you with this process. How do you choose someone that you are going to invest in working with?

What I wanted to do today was break it down into six pieces of the decision-making process, and why I think these are really important for startup especially.

When you are launching a business, there are a lot of decisions that need to be made.

Before I go through these six decision points, I also just want to start by saying that I think it’s important when you’re in startup to not have too many experts that you’re following at once.

Yes, I think you should explore when you’re first starting out, to look for all the possibilities of who might really resonate with you, who’s a great mentor, and who could really help you who specialises in your industry. But then I think it’s important to make a decision and really focus down rather than overwhelming yourself and spreading yourself thin.

I know a lot of women who followed fifteen to twenty different people in startup, and all that did was left them going round and round in circles because sometimes the advice they were getting was conflicting. Sometimes the priorities were conflicting too. All of the mentors said that you need to grow your list, but some said to do it early and some said to wait until you had your messaging clear. All of that confusion just winds up with you doing a lot of work but not making a lot of progress.

So yes, explore. But I think when you’re in startup, it’s important to just really focus down on working with one to three mentors maximum in a range of different ways if you want to, but really keeping it quite narrow.

1. Don’t pick the first person you discover

I made this mistake. The first ever person that I discovered who helped people starting a business is the person I paid US$4,000 to because I didn’t realise how many options there were out there.

At that point in time, I was working in corporate, I wasn’t really on social media that much, and I had had limited exposure to the business coaching world, business mentoring, and particularly people who helped startups.

I came from a consulting background, so the types of business consultants and business coaches that I saw in my industry really worked with large scale organisations and mostly production-based organisations – factories, manufacturing and all of those sorts of things.

Take some time to explore at first, and don’t just sign up with the first person that you like or the first person that says something that resonates with you.

I think it is important to have a period of exploration and just getting to know some people.

2. Pay attention to their sales process and content

When you are listening to this person’s podcast, how does it make you feel?

When you go through the email sequence of getting to know someone and signing up for something of theirs that’s free, how does that email sequence feel?

What language do they use when they’re speaking to you?

Do you feel empowered in that process? Or do you feel like you’re so far behind, you’re totally freaked out, and there’s no way you’re going to succeed unless you hire that person immediately?

When you are going through that sales process, you are experiencing what they are going to teach you.

If you don’t like that experience or if that experience leaves you feeling a little bit uneasy or traumatised, then chances are, you’re not going to implement what they teach you because you’re not going to want to make other people feel that way.

Whenever I’m looking to work with a mentor, buy a new course, buy a membership program, or jump into a mastermind, the first thing that I do is observe their strategies. I go to someone’s podcast, I go to their website, and I sign up for two or three different things.

Over the next few weeks, I observe what that email onboarding process is like, and how that person makes me feel. If I can go to a webinar or a challenge, or listen to a video training of their’s, I will do that as well, to see how much they truly put into their content and how much they’re just using it as a long-winded fear-inducing sales process.

If they do that to me, then I’m not going to buy from them.

I don’t want to learn those strategies and use them on other people.

Often, the success that those people have achieved is because they have wholeheartedly adopted a fear-based marketing practise – even if they don’t realise that they have.

A lot of people have learned sales and marketing from other people who’ve built it on fear-based marketing, and those people have learned it from others.

I’ve seen marketing coaches and people who are mentoring in business, and they claim that they don’t teach fear in the sales process and that they do it as an empowered and feminine sales process. But when you see what it is, it is completely using neuro-linguistic programming, and manipulative fear-based tactics to get you to buy what they want you to buy. They just don’t realise it because they’re not discerning as to what they’re doing to people in their sales process.

Pay attention to the way they sell to you, and how it makes you feel.

Do you feel like you can do this and that you’re so excited to be there? Or do you feel like you HAVE to buy something in order to be able to make it?

That’s a big indicator of how they’re going to teach you, and therefore the way you are going to make your audience feel as well.

3. Work with someone who specialises in where you are in your business now

This is a little bit controversial, but it’s so important that you are working with business strategies, mentors, programs, and courses that are appropriate for where you are now, not where you want to be.

I understand that it would be magnificent for you to have a $25,000 ads budget, a team of ten people and to be able to have a 100K launch in the next couple of weeks – I totally understand how amazing that feels.

But if you still don’t have clarity on what your business model is, your ideal marketing strategy or you don’t have the budget for that, then signing up to work with someone who expects you to have that budget and who expects you to have that level of support, is actually going to create a big gap for you that you’re not going to be able to fill.

I’ve even had it myself where I’ve facilitated some more intermediate and advanced programs and masterminds, and people have joined and said that they’re not there yet but they’re going to work really hard, catch up and do all of the things that I’m teaching. Most of the time, I’m able to say to them that it isn’t appropriate for the stage of business that they’re at and redirect them somewhere else.

But sometimes I haven’t even known.

I once had someone join a mastermind of mine, and she lied about how much income she was bringing into her business because she thought she could make the big leap. When it came down to it with the strategies I was teaching and the things that we were trying to do, she didn’t have the solid foundations to actually get the results. We ended up having a conversation and she moved into something else with me.

There are so many people who do this to themselves.

They WANT to be ready to sell, promote and launch courses, they WANT to be ready to invest thousands of dollars in Facebook ads, and they WANT to be ready to hire a team of six people, but they’re not ready and they buy programs that are too far beyond their stage of business.

Jumping into advanced programs is going to really highlight the holes in your foundations if you are still in the early startup stages of business, and if you don’t have:

  • Consistent flow of audience members into your social media strategy
  • Consistent growth of your mailing list
  • Confidence in your messaging and your marketing
  • Consistent sales coming in
  • Confidence in the niche that you’ve selected and the model that you’re building on

I have people come to me about the Take Off program in particular. They say that they’ve been in business for 18 months, so they’re not really in startup and don’t need help starting a business. They say that the Take Off program isn’t for them, but when I ask a few simple questions in regards to where their clients come from, how many followers they have, and how often they send out their newsletter, it’s clear to me that they don’t have any of those foundations in place.

And that’s what the Take Off program is really about.

I have to stop saying that the Take Off program is for startups. Instead, it’s really about nailing your business foundations and getting you to the point where you’re making that consistent 5K – 8K a month.

Many people want to believe that they’re not in startup anymore, but really, they are in terms of building their online marketing system, building their presence online, and nailing the attraction and conversion strategies for their clients.

I want to encourage you as much as possible to work with mentors who specialise in helping you where you are. NOT pretending that you’re miles ahead because you think that you can leap into that without having those foundations in place.

4. Ask before you join

When I’m joining a program, I always ask:

  • What are the prerequisites for this?
  • What are your assumptions about where I’m at in joining this particular program?
  • To make this program work really well, what do I need to have in place?

Sometimes I’ve been sold things where they tell me that it’s for every stage of business, and then I jump in and they’re operating from the assumption that everyone can spend $4,000 a month on Facebook ads.

When I joined that particular program, I had no budget for Facebook ads.

I could maybe spare a couple of hundred dollars, but I didn’t have consistent clients yet, so how was I supposed to find $4,000 a month? The program was only $1,000, and yet there was an expectation I was spending multiple thousands of dollars a month on Facebook ads.

When I asked the person before I joined the course what the prerequisites were and what I needed to know, there was no mention of the fact that I was going to be asked to spend $4,000 a month on Facebook ads. AND they had a 60-day refund window, but you had to show the receipt for Facebook ads that you’d spent over $5,000 on Facebook ads in the 60 days. How is that a refund window? Anyway, that’s a whole other conversation.

Make sure to ask these questions first:

  • What are the prerequisites?
  • What are the assumptions that you make about my business?
  • Are there certain things that I have to have in place in order for this to work?

5. Find a specialist in your area of work

This point is a range of different things that you just want to consider depending on your specific situation.

For example, if you are a health practitioner, you might want to work with someone who specialises in helping health practitioners.

Especially in the world of psychology and other specific medical spaces, you need to have certain things in place. There are certain rules that apply to you in your marketing, such as not being able to use testimonials or not being able to advertise in certain ways.

If you are starting a network marketing business, find someone who’s actually a specialist in helping people start a network marketing business, because usually you have regulations and rules to follow. You can’t promote on social media or you can’t talk about certain things on social media.

It’s best to work with someone who is familiar with your industry as a minimum, but also if you can, someone who has success in your industry. This may make it more effective for you getting that help starting a business.

You can also look at things like their specialisations.

If you are starting a product-based business and you want to sell physical products, I’m not the right person to mentor you in your startup journey.

Of course I can help you with some of the social media stuff and you can listen to my podcast because most of this can be applied to service and product-based businesses. But I tell people not to join the Take Off program because it’s specifically about selling your services as a coach, mentor, trainer, web developer, graphic designer, etc.. It’s about selling services and moving into digital products eventually – like courses and memberships and those sorts of things – but not physical products.

You want to make sure that if you’re going to work with someone, you understand what their specialisations are so that you have that information to decide whether they’re going to be the right fit for you.

You can also look at things like their results in their own business, results of their clients, social proof, testimonials, and those sorts of things. Although I give about a 0.5% weighting to social proof results and testimonials these days because a lot of coaches are out there telling people to fake it.

It was very disappointing, but I even discovered that someone was saying that they’d made $100,000 in sales for the month, and when I reached out and congratulated her saying that she could buy that car she’d been wanting, she told me that it was actually that she got a free spot in a $50,000 program as a deal for letting someone into her program so it wasn’t actually cash. I was shocked that she was out there saying on social media that she’d achieved something that she hadn’t actually achieved.

It’s as though there’s always an asterisk against things.

I don’t pay a lot of attention to results, social proof and those kinds of things.

If I can see someone that I know has done that program, I’ll reach out to them privately and ask what their experience was, and I’ll ask very specific questions. I won’t just ask what they thought of it, I will ask questions like:

  • How long were you in the program?
  • What specifically did you build as a result of the program?
  • What were the results that you got?

I get specific when I ask them questions.

Especially if the person is an affiliate for it, I don’t just ask them if they liked it because it’s in their best interest to say that they loved it and it was amazing – but they don’t actually tell you what they did.

I asked someone recently what they thought of a program, and they said that it was amazing and they loved it. Then I asked my more specific questions about how long it had taken this person, and they said that they only did the first two modules but they really loved being in the community and surrounded by amazing people. And for me, that wasn’t what I was looking for.

I was actually looking for some step by step guidance.

If you’re going to ask someone about it, ask the key questions so that you can get some really useful information about whether it’s the right fit for you or not.

6. Get clear on whether you want alignment or difference

This is the final piece of advice that I have about getting help starting a business.

For example, I am a raging extrovert and quite happy on camera. Some people come work with me because they’re the same and they know that they can work with me. They know that the strategies I teach them are closely aligned with who they are and what they can do.

But I also have a lot of people who come to me as a business mentor because they are the opposite. They are introverted, and they’re not as confident on social media. They want to expand their comfort zone and experiment with some more forward-facing, video-based strategies.

I want you to just take some time to reflect: Are you looking for someone who’s really similar to you so that you can model what they’ve done and design your business in the same way that they’ve designed theirs? Or are you looking for someone who’s a little bit different?

This is where I think having one to three people that you follow closely in your startup journey and that maybe you work with, can be really helpful.

You can have someone who’s like you, and you can have someone who’s the opposite of you.

That can be really helpful to give you that balance and nudge you out of your comfort zone. But also, make sure you’ve got someone you can model from who is more aligned with who you are, and how you are going to show up as well.

As a little bonus on this episode of the Heart-Centred Business Podcast, I have a free resource for you – especially for those of you who perhaps need help starting a business or getting those foundations in place.

When I say starting out, I don’t mean you’ve been in it for 10 minutes… I mean that you still don’t have that consistency of your processes in terms of marketing online – you haven’t got the results, and you don’t have the scalability.

This resource is called Fast Track Your Startup.

In this training, I take you through the key foundations that you want to actually get implementing as quickly as possible, so you can start making money quickly in your business.

By doing this and getting that money in quickly, you can then make some decisions about the model, the messaging and the niching, because you’ve got those solid foundations in place.

As always, come over to the Heart-Centred, Soul-Driven Entrepreneurs Facebook group, use #podcastaha, and let me know that you’ve been listening to episode number 228. I’d love to know: What are your questions, lightbulb moments or decisions as a result of reading this episode of the Heart-Centred Business Podcast?

Something I haven’t done consistently on this podcast is asking you to review the podcast as well. If you can find the review section and give me a review (making sure you let me know who you are so I can give you a shout out), that would really help me to get this podcast in front of other people.

It’s how people get to find the Heart-Centred Business Podcast, and of course, it always gives me some really good warm fuzzy vibes when I get people’s review and feedback on the podcast as well.

Thank you so much for joining me for this episode of the Heart-Centred Business Podcast.

Until next time, I cannot WAIT to see you SHINE.

Tash Corbin Business Mentor and Strategist