In today’s episode, I’m going to share with you my 10 unconventional business tips for starting out online.

Here for the links referenced in the show notes? 

Nail Your Niche free training:

Let’s dive in!

I thought I would do this episode of the Heart-Centred Business Podcast as a little bit of a self-indulgent moment because I often have so much that I want to say about being in business online and particularly starting a business.

I think that this is some of the best advice I could possibly give you.

Normally, what I try to do is think about the key questions people ask me or the key challenges that people have and how I can answer those things, but sometimes you don’t even know what questions to ask, so this is me giving you all of my best and most unconventional advice for you if you’re getting a business started online.

I have 10 hot tips for you and then I have an extra bonus tip at the end of today’s episode that I think you’ll find very juicy.

1. Don’t JUST listen to JUST me

This is actually a multi-layered tip.

First of all, don’t just listen to me.

I know that in a lot of cases, online marketers, business mentors and people who do similar things to me, will try and get you to commit to just listening and trusting them and to not ask questions.

I am completely the opposite of that – I don’t want you to just take my word for it on all things, and I also don’t want you to commit to never listening to another marketing or business mentor ever again.

You don’t want to just listen to one person the whole way through your business journey.

There is a bit of a balance. You don’t want to have hundreds of gurus that you’re following all at once, but at the same time, I also don’t want you to just listen to me and follow what I say and never question it, or only have me in your inbox or as your mentor in your business.

There are three key things that I think this relates to:

1. Question it

If it doesn’t feel right and you don’t understand why, don’t be afraid to ask questions. If your mentors don’t like you asking questions or don’t like you questioning things, then get a better mentor. That would be my advice.

2. Have a diverse range of voices that you listen to

We know that we live in a very white-centric world, especially in the online business world and especially when it comes to marketing. I also deeply know that that means we’re missing out on some really important insight and diversity in the strategies that we use, and understanding how our work, messaging and presence is impacting people from diverse backgrounds as well.

One of the reasons why I am so vocal about not just listening to me is because I also know that I am a cis-gendered, straight white woman, and you will actually be missing out on some very important insight if I’m the only person that you’re listening to.

3. Trust yourself more

starting online trust business start-up

Learning to trust yourself is an important step to starting an online business.

If you are anything like me, you have probably spent the last few years, if not longer, being gaslit by people trying to convince you that you don’t quite understand, you don’t quite know and you can’t really trust yourself.

In the online marketing and business space especially, this is elevenfold.

This is so dialed up because a lot of marketing experts, business experts and sales strategy experts want you to believe that they have the answers, that they know all and that they are the guru.

Part of their strategies and the way that they do things can often be planting seeds of doubt in your mind about your own capacity and how much you can trust your own decision making and instincts.

Again, very unconventional, but I’m the opposite of that.

I want you to learn how to trust yourself, listen to yourself and trust yourself more and more as we work together, not less and less.

2. Answer and invite emails and direct messages

Again, it’s very unconventional because so many hustle-type people out there want you to be really fancy and put yourself on a pedestal above other people.

They will tell you NOT to invite people to private message you, NOT to invite people to email you, and that you are NOT here for individuals so let them jump through the hoops and do things on mass instead. They tell you if people DO email or direct message you, that you should only answer them for one hour a week maximum, that you need to put all these boundaries and fences up and have an autoresponder on saying that you will answer your emails eventually.

Whilst there may be some extra boundaries and fences that you do need to put up as your business grows, for most people in start-up, high-connection conversations and one-to-one conversations is your number one sales strategy.

We want to be focusing your time and energy on high-connection, high-conversion activities.

To be told not to invite people to engage one-to-one and to definitely not answer them if they do cross that barrier is outdated.

It’s so short-sighted and for many women in business, it’s actually costing you really great growth and really great financial results in your business simply by not engaging in conversation.

It is our feminine strength.

We are so amazing at connecting with people, relating to people and being human and vulnerable, and listening and understanding. All of those innate strengths show up even better in one-to-one conversations, even when it’s a written conversation.

Instead of blocking all the ways that people can connect with you, why not invite people to connect with you? And when they do, why not actually respond to them?

3. Spaghetti at the wall is okay but it cannot be your strategy forever

Whilst I understand that when you’re first starting out, you might like to try a range of niches, offers, branding, colours, social media platforms, etc. because you don’t really know what your strengths are and it’s better to take action than not, you also want to make sure that you’re clear with yourself that you’re NOT going to be doing everything on every platform for all of the niches with all of the products forever.

When we do engage in experiment and play and throwing some spaghetti at the wall in our strategies, it’s through the lens of an experiment, and an experiment is only an experiment when we learn from it. Otherwise, it’s just play.

We want to make sure that if you do choose to throw some spaghetti around and see what sticks, you pay attention to what does stick, what doesn’t work, why it doesn’t work and then you can stop doing it.

You want to make sure that if you do choose to go through a bit of an experimentation phase, that you learn from that experiment, make some decisions, refine your focus and move forward with that refined approach. Otherwise, you are just consistently spreading yourself thinner and thinner, and eventually it will lead to some form of burnout, over-stretching yourself, underpaying yourself or some other challenge that comes from being spread so thin.

4. You should not be focusing on audience growth


Especially when you’re starting a business, your number one job is not growing your audience and it’s definitely not growing your audience at scale because for most people who are in staring online, you haven’t actually created any proof of concept of your business yet.

  • Have you got a niche?
  • Do you understand that niche?
  • Is it the right niche for your business?
  • Have you got your messaging sorted?
  • Are you able to articulate your value proposition effectively?
  • Is your offer written, designed and packaged up appropriately for your audience?
  • Have you sold that offer before?

These are all things that I would be prioritising taking care of before I prioritise audience growth.

The beautiful thing is that instead of growing your audience when you are first starting your business, you can just borrow someone else’s.

There are so many ways for you to tap into existing communities and audiences to do all of those other things and basically test and refine the foundations of your business through making sales that you don’t need to go and grow your Facebook page followings or grow your Instagram followers to make.

You don’t need any cold audience growth in the first phase of your business.

Not all reach is created equal. That cold audience reach, that follower growth, that audience growth in the early stages of business is actually not that valuable to you.

Especially not if you haven’t got those foundations sorted.

Those foundations are sorted by making sales, and those sales don’t come from cold audience growth, but instead from that high-connection, high-conversion strategy.

That is where you sort your foundations.

5. There is NO magic formula

There is NO:

  • Exact 108 steps for you to create six-figure business success
  • Hidden agenda
  • Special sauce secret thing that no one can tell you unless you pay them US$2,500 or more for it

Creating and growing an online business is actually a very simple process that has been overcomplicated, over-convoluted and made into feeling like there is some kind of secret formula because that’s how fear-based marketers make their sales.

There is no magic formula. The formula for creating and growing a business online is reaching the right people and converting them into paying clients.

That is the formula. There is nothing magic about it and there is nothing secret that you need to learn.

No one has the special magic beans that would create this automatic growth on your business if you had them. There is no such thing.

Instead, what you want to do is build your business on very solid foundations with very simple, effective marketing strategies.

Whilst proliferating the belief that there is a magic formula may make me more money in the long term, ultimately, I am creating a business and teaching online business through the lens of the fact that there is NO magic formula, because that is the honest truth. That is what is aligned with my values.

It might be unconventional for someone to say that there is no magic formula, but I just have to say it because for me that’s the truth.

6. It’s easier than you think it is, and it’s DEFINITELY easier than you’re making it

This is another one where it’s slightly unconventional.

If you’ve ever signed up for a launch or freebie that is trying to tell you the EXACT secret formula to business success – and that if you don’t sign up then you’ll never succeed – chances are, they’re also in the process of trying to sell something to you. They’re making it feel like it’s going to be hard if you don’t work with them.

Often the reason why we’re making it harder than it needs to be is because of a money mindset issue, (ie we tie hard work to making money, and therefore, the more money we want to make, the harder we have to work so we subconsciously and unconsciously look for ways to make it harder). It can also come down to an industry belief, that if we make it look harder than it is, if we make it seem more complicated, if we make it feel like it’s a bigger deal than it actually is, people are more likely to look to us as leaders for help, support, guidance, hand-holding and secret formulas which we can sell to them.

It’s not as hard to create and grow an online business as you think it is.

It’s definitely not as hard as you’re making it.

For many people when they come into my VIP work or they come into my Take Off program, one of the first things they realise is that 80% of their to do list is stuff that they don’t actually need to be doing. It’s just keeping them busy and making it feel hard.

I often get asked what the time investment is if you sign up for the Take Off program, and for most people, the time investment when they join the Take Off program is negative.

I take hours and hours a week of work that they’re doing because they think that that’s what they need in order to be successful, off of their plates. They think that they need to be in all of the spaces online, but actually, most of that stuff they don’t need to be doing.

Whilst there are some hours a week that I would definitely say is involved in doing the Take Off program, in return for that I take all these hours off their plate until they don’t need to worry about that right now.

It’s a huge relief for people because we do tend to make it harder than it needs to be.

Unconventional, I know.

7. Don’t be everywhere

This one goes against quite a few big industry leaders here, but don’t be everywhere.

You don’t need to be everywhere.

You don’t need to be on 14 social media channels and on the cutting edge of all of them – knowing what they are and how you can show up and be present on them.

If someone’s telling you that you really need to be on TikTok because otherwise you’re not going to make money, they’re usually trying to sell you a course on how to make money on TikTok.

They have a conflict of interest in giving you that advice.

I’m here to tell you that you don’t have to be everywhere. I would much rather see you focus on one channel, generally Instagram or Facebook, as your core social media strategy and just focus on that.

Remember: High-connection, high-conversion.

I love Facebook and Instagram because they are the two social media platforms where you can have that high-connection, high-conversion strategy, and you don’t need to have thousands and thousands of followers in order to be making money.

I have two clients that I’ve been working with over the last couple of months, and both of them have sold over $10,000 in their services in the last month with under 200 followers on Facebook.

Both of them have under 200 followers on Facebook, and both of them have done $10,000 in the last month.

The reason why they are able to do that is because they are focusing down on high-connection, high-conversion strategies.

In order to make four sales at $2,500, you don’t need to have 4,000 followers, you just need to find the right four people. That is it.

You don’t need to be everywhere.

Often, the people who advocate for this strategy are:

1. Old school marketers

They’ve been around for a long time, and being early adopters in other social media channels really did them well, so therefore they think that that needs to be the rule of thumb from now on.

They think that if you want to grow consistently, you need to be an early adopter on any social media channel that comes out, and they try to convince their followers to do just that.

2. People who are proliferating across multiple platforms

I’m talking about eight to ten platforms. They are the people who also say that you’ve got to hustle, want it harder, create twenty pieces of content a day and that that’s the only way.

They’re just making you a giant list of things that you have to do… but that is NOT the reason why you started your business.

You didn’t get into this business to be on every social media platform, totally strung out, burnt out, spread thin and having to respond to messages in fifteen places all over the internet.

That’s not why you did this.

If that’s true for you, then I give you permission to not be everywhere.

Focus down on your one core high-connection, high-conversion platform and build from there.

8. Don’t get up at 4am if getting up at 4am doesn’t come naturally to you

You do not have to get up at 4am to be successful at business.

If you did, I would never have gotten to where I am today.

This morning, I got out of bed at 8:30. Yesterday, I got out of bed at 7:30.

I wake up when I wake up, and I do not jump up and get straight into work and eat frogs.

That’s not my thing.

You are allowed to build a business that works for you, works with your natural rhythms AND that you don’t have to be working 12 hours a day in order to be successful in.

Even some of the biggest advocates for business models that are low time investment, still advocate for doing the hard work early so you don’t have to do the hard work later. They still advocate that 12 hour days are just something you have to do sometimes in your business, especially when starting up, and then they tell you that it will get easier and you can get down to 4 hour days LATER.

That’s delayed life syndrome all over again and you are teaching your business what it can expect from you in the future.

If it’s not your style to wake up at 4am, you don’t have to do it.

If you’re not someone who loves burning the midnight oil and staying up late, don’t do it.

You do not need to do any of these things in order to be successful.

You are allowed to build your business to your strengths, with your rhythms and your patterns.

In most cases, the more boundaried you are about the time that you give to your business, the more effective that time is when you do it.

9. Hustle can take a hike

I know, I know, it’s so empowering sometimes and it feels so uplifting to be hustling for it, working really hard, doing tough things and making yourself so uncomfortable every single day, but a lot of that hustle mentality is just part of that industry belief system that proliferates over and over again, and honestly, I just don’t buy it.

I know for myself throughout my seven years in business now, the times when I’ve been in hustle mode are the times when I’ve been the most stressed out, put on the most weight, eaten the worst quality food, stressed myself out so much that I hardly slept, worked so hard, and ultimately, didn’t really get me as good a result as when I was just focused, consistent, and boundaried.

If you feel like one of the reasons why you’re not as successful as you could be right now is because you’re just not motivated enough, you’re not hustling enough or you’re not working hard enough, I give you permission to throw that reason out the door.

You can absolutely be successful by getting rid of that hustle mentality.

If you haven’t read it yet, I highly recommend the book Chillpreneur by Denise Duffield-Thomas. It’s absolutely gorgeous, written by a beautiful woman for beautiful women just like us, and it really helps to disassemble some of those belief systems that absolutely proliferate in the online entrepreneurial space in particular.

Hustle can take a hike – let’s just choose the easy way, the lazy way and the fun way.

ELFeasy, lazy, fun.

10. You don’t need to spend big money to make big money

I understand that as a service provider in the online marketing and business space, it would be really handy for me to proliferate that belief that in order to really commit to a challenge or a program, you need to invest big money because money is the motivator for you to actually get the result.

It would be really easy for me to say to you that if you want to attract clients that spend big, if you want to earn big, then you need to invest big and role model the behaviour that you want from your clients. But honestly, it’s all just buying into that pyramid scheme BS that the online business world would love for you to believe in.

Ultimately, it’s a complete fallacy.

Some of the most amazing business owners that I know, built their business on the sniff of an oily rag. They did not invest big and they did not spend big money in order to make great money in their business.

I am one of those people.

I’ve never joined a $50,000-a-year mastermind.

The most I’ve spent on a mastermind was $25,000 and it was one of the worst investments I’ve ever made.

I’ve received so much more value and had so way better results from working one-to-one with people. One of my favourite things I ever did was a $2,000 program. Another one that I did was a six-month VIP coaching package that was $5,000. I bought a course for $97 that completely helped me with my marketing and building my presence online.

You do not have to invest giant amounts of money in order to be successful in the online world.

Honestly, this whole belief system that the price tag is equivalent to the result that you get is actually just a fallacy. In a lot of cases, it’s a strategy that’s used to make you believe that it’s more valuable than it is.

In old-school marketing terms, we would see people saying that if it’s $5,000 or it’s $2,000, the people who pay $5,000 are going to be more committed, they’ll do more work and they’ll get more value out of it because they paid more for it. But this has been used as an excuse by a lot of people who create really half-done masterminds and underdeveloped courses.

They use that as an excuse to charge way more than the product is actually worth.

I just want you to know that you DO NOT have to spend huge amounts of money in order to make money online.

Similarly, you do not have to make quick decisions to invest if you want to attract quick decision-makers.

It is a completely manipulative tactic that is trying to talk you into making a decision without thinking about it.

I have a rule with my partner, which is a sleep-on-it-for-48-hours rule with any investment of over $1,000.

When I’ve told certain people that I really love their course and I want them to send me the details but I just need to sleep on it for 48 hours before buying, there are some people who get completely judgemental and manipulative about that. They tell me that they were under the impression that I was a decisive leader in my industry, and that because I’m not making a quick decision, they don’t think that it’s the right fit for me because if I want to attract quick decision-makers then I need to be a quick decision-maker.

That is absolute manipulative crap and I don’t tolerate it.

I know that that strategy is simply used as a psychological tactic to convince me to part with my money quickly so that I can’t think it through.

Do you really want to work with someone who would prefer to make you NOT think it through? No.

Would I prefer to teach you strategies that are empowering for your audience, and that allow them to think things through and still make an empowered decision to say yes? Absolutely.

Do you want to show up as a marketer who pressures people into buying things through these manipulative tactics? No, you probably don’t so you are in the right place if these unconventional strategies and pieces of advice are resonating for you.

BONUS TIP: Learn how to spot fear-based marketing strategies

The reason why this is my unconventional tip is because there are a lot of marketers, trainers, coaches and mentors out there who have been taught fear-based marketing strategies.

Many of them don’t even know that the strategies they’re using are fear-based because they just do what they’re told.

Some of them do know that the strategies that they use are fear-based but they justify them by telling themself that they’ll be thanked later once their client has got the result.

But ultimately, fear-based marketing strategies are built based on a lack of consent.

They are built through the lens of gaslighting people and using psychological strategies and tactics to convince people to buy something that may not necessarily be the right fit for them, or that it may not be the right time for them to purchase.

For a lot of people, fear-based sales strategies also have you running around in circles thinking that you need to do 100 different things because you’re freaking out about not being successful enough yet.

When you learn how to spot these fear-based strategies, it is very empowering as a business owner.

You need to be able to recognise when something is making you feel really uncomfortable and freaked out about missing out on something before you’ve even gotten into the juicy content of a webinar, freebie, etc. Being able to recognise that feeling in yourself and spot the fact that they’ve dolled up your fear before they’ve presented the answer and swooped in as your saviour, is really freeing.

It gives you permission to identify and disengage from that fear-based strategy.

That fear-based strategy will be used to convince you to sign up for things you don’t need to sign up for, keep receiving emails you don’t want to keep receiving, buy products and services that you don’t actually need to buy, and ultimately spend money that you don’t need to be spending to grow your business.

Learning how to spot those fear-based strategies is a really sexy way of avoiding overspending and overwhelming yourself in that startup business journey as well.

Those are my 10 (plus a bonus tip) unconventional business tips for starting online.

To reiterate:

1. Don’t JUST listen to JUST me
2. Answer and invite emails and direct messages
3. Spaghetti at the wall is okay but it cannot be your strategy forever
4. You should not be focusing on audience growth
5. There is NO magic formula
6. It’s easier than you think it is, and it’s DEFINITELY easier than you’re making it
7. Don’t be everywhere
8. Don’t get up at 4am if getting up at 4am doesn’t come naturally to you
9. Hustle can take a hike
10. You don’t need to spend big money to make big money

BONUS TIP: Learn how to spot fear-based marketing strategies

If you would like to work on getting the foundations of your business clear – your niche, value proposition and offer – in a way that feels aligned, I’d love to invite you to come and check out my new Nail Your Niche training.

It is a prerecorded training that you can do at your leisure (and you can also listen to it on double-time so you can get through it nice and quickly).

This will help you to look at those foundations of your business and make sure that you’re very clear on them all.

If you want to check that out, you can find it here:

I’ve got a big favour to ask you. I want you to share in the Heart-Centred Community, which of these 11 tips did you find the most valuable?

Come on over to the Heart-Centred Soul-Driven Entrepreneurs Facebook group, use #podcastaha, let me know you’ve been reading episode number 245, and I want to know which of these was most powerful for you and why. Bonus points if you can tell me which one you think is the most unconventional as well.

Thank you so much for joining me today.

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

Tash Corbin Business Mentor and Strategist