It's been roughly eight years since we started the business from scratch. Since then, people have been asking us a very simple question:
“How did we get started?”
It's a great question. But it's not the REAL question you should be asking.
Why? Because in those early years we made ALL the mistakes we possibly could...
How To Start A Business From Scratch
I remember in our second year of business I felt like quitting. So I don't think you want to copy exactly what we did 8 years ago because it wasn't the smoothest ride towards success. But we've definitely figured it out since then.
So the real question you want to ask is this...
“If we had to start over again... knowing what we now know with eight years of experience and training thousands of people across Australia... how would we do it differently?”
And that's what I would like to go through today. Starting a business from scratch.
I don't expect you to copy everything that we would do, but it is a good blueprint for people that want to make a start doing what they love for a living, instead of working 9 to 5 at a job that they're not really passionate, about and not getting paid what they're worth.
The 6 Vital Steps For Success In Any Business
So, here are the 6 vital steps to follow in very rough order because I believe you don't have to get it right, you just have to get it started:
The FIRST thing I would do is get in the 'ballpark' of what I'm interested in.
Once I've got that ballpark then,
The SECOND step I would do is develop a product.
You don't have to develop a full-on product with all your i's dotted and t's crossed and everything like that. You just have to have a few bullet points written down. Just enough to talk about it and inspire someone to purchase it.
Next you need to name and price your product. And ideally I would have two kind of prices.
The first price might be for a coaching program that you saw someone else develop. And so for example you could develop a coaching program to do with weight loss for people over the age of 40.
Once again, you don't have to get it right. You just have to get it started.
It just has to be within the ballpark of something that you could do. If you're waiting for some sign out of the blue to say "yes! this is the thing I should be doing for the rest of my life!" then you'd be waiting a very very long time. So, the price has two prices. The first price is what you would ideally like to charge in let's say three years time. That could be a $2000 coaching program.
The second price is what you would charge in more like three months time. This could be something like $200 because you're just starting out.
So, I would choose an ideal price and then a cheaper price. Moving on...
The THIRD thing I would do is actually think "What can I give away for free?"
What can I give someone for free that would give them value and therefore build a relationship between us? For us at Authentic Education it's a free event, but for you it could be a webinar, free discovery session, a free piece of your product, or a free download.
So, as an example, we run "Prosper From Your Passion" which is a free 1 day course showing you how to turn what you love, into what you actually do.
So whatever you decide to give away free, it needs to be something of incredible quality because you're starting a relationship with your market. So, you don't want to be asking them for money right off the bat. You give something for free and in that free thing give as much value as you possibly can. And then for a small percentage of it, say "Hey if you like that I've got this other thing that you might be interested in." Obviously, it's a little bit more complicated than that but this is a rough ballpark of what I would be doing.
The FOURTH thing I would do is actually go and start marketing it.
I would use Facebook Ads or some type of marketing method like email marketing, joint ventures, or social media. There's a whole bunch. But I believe if I was starting a company from scratch and wanted something profitable quickly I'd use Facebook Ads. And at the same time I would be building an email list. And once I had one marketing method that was working well, I would go to a second one. So, once Facebook is working well, I might try Google Ads as well.
The FIFTH step is creating and delivering your product.
So, now that I've got this product idea I would actually solidify the product and then start creating all of the things to include in it.
I'd write all of the bullet points of what they get, write the manual, look at what the customers homework might be, and anything to do with actually creating that full product which they paid money for. So I would start creating the product and then delivering it to the customers.
And by the way, this happens only AFTER I've sold it.
Even Thomas Edison the world-famous inventor of the light globe said that he's not interested in creating anything that no-one's going to buy.
So, I start marketing first... then create the product.... and then deliver it.
And LAST but not least, I would repeat the whole process again.
I would go and create another product that the same person is interested in. Ideally, if one person is interested in health, instead of going searching for another customer, I would rather satisfy the many needs of that one particular customer instead.
So I'd repeat the whole process again and think about what else does this person who's interested in health need. For example they might enjoy relationships and I would create the whole thing again and repeat the whole process around relationships.
What I wouldn't do...
I would class many of the things that business owners do as a distraction if it's not directly related to creating a new product and selling it.
Finding out who your ideal client is, looking at the actual products and developing things that would help them are important. Developing marketing for your product, getting in front of new customers, offering value, building a relationship etc are all important. If it's not directly related to that, I believe it's a distraction and therefore it can wait. Things like business cards and websites that don't sell etc are all distractions.
I remember one time I was sitting in my email inbox, and in the back of my mind I caught myself rearranging my emails with the best coloured labels. I was trying to decide what colour to make my tax label... is that a red label or a blue? And that was such a complete waste of time.
BONUS: The 5 Essential Mindset Shifts Required For Business Success
So, if I could go back in time, sit myself down and have a little pep talk, from a mindset point of view, here's what I would change...
#1 The person who has the longest term view is the one that wins.
What I mean by that is very often when we're trying to do a big project - including building a new business - we're always focused on the short-term. But I believe that businesses grow in an exponential curve sometimes.
Remember, I felt like quitting at around year two, but then we took off right after that.
And with a lot of our clients we can start seeing results around the three month mark before they take off. This is because we've developed systems and we've actually seen the path so many times and refined our system so many times. But the results can be a lot quicker.
So, I would say number one from a mindset point of view is: focus on the long term.
#2: Just have faith in what you're doing is the right thing.
If you're focusing on actually helping solve people's problems, that's the number one thing you can be focused on and if you keep doing that and you actually keep helping people with their problems then success will definitely follow for sure.
#3: Just know that if you focus on solving people's problems, the money is bound to follow.
If you look at any business in the world that has a great degree of success, they're always focusing on solving their customers problems. And that also gives you the resolve to keep going when the times get tough (and they do get tough from time to time).
#4: Don't compare yourself to others.
I always used to look at other people and think "they're further along in the journey. Maybe I should have done nine-to-five work. I could have been earning $120,000 a year or whatever it was." So just focus on your own journey. It's a totally different journey to them. One is exponential and perhaps one more is linear... but just focus on your own journey.
#5: Just enjoy and celebrate each of the small wins...
Celebrate each of the progresses and successes because you're never going to finish or perfect this thing called "business". Or this thing called "life". Or this thing known as a "relationship". It's never going to be done. So, you may as well celebrate along the way!
And, there you have it!
To recap, here's what I would personally do if I was to start again...
Number One: Get in the ballpark.
Number Two: Develop a product that's rough and ready even if it's on the back of a napkin.
Number Three: Go out and give something for free.
Number Four: Start marketing your product
Number Five: Create and deliver your product
Number Six: Repeat it all again with another set of products