The truth is, my overnight success has been 10 years in the making.
After studying visual communications at one of the best schools in Sydney, I worked full-time as a designer and hustled my many business ideas on the side.
It wasn’t until I was fired from my full-time job in 2011 for being a Mum, that I knew I had to make this running a business thing my full-time gig. I could feel it in my bones, but my hands were literally shaking from the fear and emotion of it all.
The decision was scary, and I felt a lot of pressure to make it work. We had bills to pay and a family to provide for.
At the time my concept of starting a business selling organic cotton baby clothes was forming, and I thought I could fall back on my freelance design experience to help pay the bills.
In that moment, I decided to see being fired as a blessing in disguise and that the universe was simply realigning my fate so I flipped the finger to working for an employer and didn’t look for another job.
I navigated my freelance design and had a steady flow of clients. I realised sometime down the track I was always going to have to cap how much I could earn because I only had a limited amount of hours in the day, which maxed out my income potential.
While I was freelancing, I was also building my organic cotton baby business and two years in I was flat and exhausted. It sucked out my time and finances and gave me nothing in return.
I invested a lot for this little business thinking it was going to be my cash cow but I didn’t start seeing a return until year 3.
Selling a physical product required so much of my time, for such little profit.
Designing, producing, importing, dispatching, marketing had me working early in the mornings and late at night. It was not a business module with freedom. Or profit.
My markup was 100% and straight away I needed to reinvest 50% of that to replenish stock.
Then I had to take out more from that remaining 50% (i.e. my profit) for miscellaneous items like bubble wrap for packaging, envelopes/packaging, stickers, business cards, stock photos, graphic designers and the like.
Plus you have service fees like hosting and domain, Paypal fees, accounting software fees, social media scheduling software fees, the list goes on.
Sometimes there will be a difference between what you charge for postage and what the customer pays or you’ll need to replace and resend lost items and for the last year of business I had a warehouse dispatching for me so they took out a cut too.
Don’t forget, on top of all that you’ll need to pay your tax to the ATO.
And, we haven’t even got started on an advertising and marketing budget to gain new customers and sales and continue growing.
So, from all that, on a product that sold for $20 there would literally only be a dollar or two left for me.
Sometimes more, sometimes less.
My freelance work was bank-rolling this business and after the thrill and passion wore off, it started to become not fun. I didn’t want to run a business on just love alone. I wanted to create a business with unlimited earnings and freedom.
So, I sold that business and because I had grown it to have a large following of over 40,000 people on social media and the mailing list it sold for a tidy sum and that was the only time I really got paid for the work I put in.
Some might think the freelance and organic cotton baby businesses were a failure as I exited them and they didn’t exceed an income much more than when I was employed full-time despite working double the hours however, I took everything I didn’t like in those businesses and used it to create a business that gave me what I wanted.
And, here is where the game changed.
The experience of working out what I didn’t want to do, was exactly the missing piece of the puzzle I needed to create a six-figure business doing what I did want to do.
These businesses that didn’t work out, lead me to freedom + profit.
I went back to the drawing board and invested my time immensely in learning and following from the experts who were living the life I wanted. I listened to podcasts, I watched webinars, I read blogs and signed up to all the emails.
I was that Mum at the park on her phone, that everyone glares at thinking to themselves ‘why isn’t she playing with her kids, she should get off that bloody iphone’
I feel your dagger eyes through the screen, but I love my kids in other ways, just not that much at the park.
Whilst I was in the reflecting and learning phase, I pieced together a formula as I learned online marketing. This formula is responsible for taking my business from a one man band, to dizzying heights where I now employ a team of 6.
This formula means I can travel to Scotland for 4 weeks and spend time with my in-laws and log on whenever I want to while overseas. This formula creates an income for me while I sleep. This formula means I wake up to Paypal notifications and I haven’t even done anything to make the sales.
This formula means I can down tools and watch my daughter at the sports carnival. It means I can drop her off to school and pick her up. This formula means if my son is sick I can stop working and go and pick him up from daycare where we can go home and snuggle on the lounge until he gets better.
This formula works for anyone, whether you are starting out and your business is in concept stage, or whether you have a business but you are feeling overwhelmed and lost about how to take it to the next level. Trust me, this formula will take it there.
Where you sell traditional products, digital products or services, this formula don’t care! It will still work its magic.
This formula is known as a Funnel. If you were thinking the F word was something else, you have a filthy mind, girlfriend.
So, let’s break the F word down.
We have 3 main ways we can grow a business.
Get more customers
Increase the profit per customer
Make more transactions per customer
Which do you think is the easiest way?
I will tell you right now, it is not #1.
Memorise this: Hard selling to a customer from a cold market is the hardest way to make a sale.
What is the easiest way to make a sale?
Selling to a customer who already knows and likes you. Who already trusts you. Therefore the magic answer is #3.
To put this into a plan, we must first work on acquiring the customer, but then also extending the number of transactions said customer makes with us.
Here are the steps:
- Determine income stream
- Choose a traffic stream
- Offer a freebie
- Offer a tripwire
- Offer your main product
- Extend the profits
Step 1 – Income streams
Remember when I said this formula don’t care whether you have already started a business or whether you haven’t yet?
This is because the type of product we want to be promoting can be added on, or made into the feature income stream.
We want to be choosing from the list of highly automated and passive incomes, choose something that ties in with what you are already doing.
- Online Directory
- Membership platform
- Digital downloads
Get to know your customers and target market, soon you’ll start to be able to spot opportunities for providing extra services to them. Find their pain points and provide a solution with your product.
Step 2: Creating traffic / an audience
Choose your traffic stream and become an expert in it. For me it is Facebook groups. I love the dynamics and that I can create communities where my audience can interact freely. Between both my FB groups, I now have over 10,000 members.
Don’t spread yourself too thin trying to do Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and god knows what else. As busy Mums that is a recipe for failure.
Now my Facebook groups are coasting along nicely, I have moved onto Instagram and I am loving watching the new stream of traffic hitting my website via Google Analytics.
Pick one, master it, then move on to your next one.
These traffic sources include…
- Email marketing
- Social Advertising (Facebook/Twitter/YouTube ads, etc)
- Banner Advertising
- Organic Social Media
My traffic strategy for Business Jump is:
- Creating blogs with loads of valuable content and information
- Having an opt-in on the blog to capture emails
- Driving cold traffic to said blogs via social media and FB ads and organic SEO
- Remarket to my acquired warm audience via email marketing and FB ads.
Step 3 – Freebie
Ok, so the above sounds easy right?
Here is what no one else will tell you.
Between those steps are 1001 little bits of the puzzle that all need to piece in together to make it work.
The most important key to getting it to work is enticing people to read your blog and sign up to your opt-in.
To do that, here is the secret…
Your free stuff, needs to be so good, people can’t believe it is free. It needs to be better than your competitors paid stuff.
Right, now I can sorta feel you finching at the thought of giving away such valuable free content.
Fair enough, traditional business practices have us gating and pricing ourselves silly.
But stick with me.
The point of giving away our content is to create connections, relationships and trust.
If someone knocked on your door and when you opened screamed at you BUY THIS, BUY THIS NOW!!!! DO IT!! DO IT NOW!!
You would slam the door in their face right and deadlock it right?
That is what it is like when people do those posts on Facebook that are all about ‘20% off sale, ending soon, 50% off sale buy now!! Free shipping!!’
So, don’t do that.
Instead think about how you feel when you are welcomed into a restaurant with a massive smile and greeting, you have your chair pulled out for you, water poured and free bread, olives and dips popped on the table while you are reading the menu.
You like this option so much more right? You walk away saying, what a great restaurant, we’ll go back there again.
So, how do we convert that into an online experience?
First create a read magnet, which is a blog that attracts people to your website, like *cough* this one that you are reading right now.
Then create a lead magnet aka a freebie, like *cough* the one right here:
The freebie is an irresistible bribe that gives a specific chunk of value to a potential customer in exchange for their email address.
It could be a free challenge, workshop, e-book, checklist. Survey your target market and ask them what they want.
Although no money changes hands, this is a transaction. And, it is often the first transaction you will have with a potential new customer. You need to woo them, give them TLC. Let them know how it feels to be in your business space.
If you are going to drive cold traffic to your freebie you can consider creating a specific landing page to help sell your freebie, like *cough* this one, or you can embed the opt-in form into your blogs.
I alternate between both.
The freebie exists to increase leads who are potential customers. So, think carefully about what you think your leads would be most attracted to and offer it to them, for free.
It does not need to be something lengthy or complex. Just beneficial.
Now, once your lead has opted in they enter what is known as a funnel.
A funnel is a pretty awesome marketing strategy which automates your sales process and provides you with freedom as your business runs without you.
Step 4 – Tripwire
In your funnel, you’ll have a sequence of emails setup.
Your first email should absolutely be about delivering your freebie as promised.
Then we can start on our tripwire presentation.
A tripwire is a low priced product presented to your new lead once they have opted in to your freebie. Generally it is under $20 and needs to be a no brainer for your new lead to purchase.
The strategy here is to convert your lead into a customer whilst recouping some of your costs that you may have spent on promoting your read and lead magnets.
Working off the same vibe as your freebie/lead magnet, it should flow, and when deciding on what it should be, ask yourself, ok they read my blog, opted-in to my freebie, what is the next natural step for them to take? Then give it to them in the tripwire. Regardless of whether or not your tripwire has been purchased, we’ll still move onto the next step.
Step #5 – Your core product
Your core product is one of the above income streams listed out in step #1.
Now we can go to town on promoting it.
Remember I said above that doing the hard sell is what gets businesses nowhere? So, instead focus on promoting your core offer to your newly acquired warm audience via your email marketing, or FB ads re-targeting the traffic that was on your website.
Sure you can sell it to a cold market, but on a secondary basis. Focus on your warm audience first.
After all, they have already read your blog, opted into your freebie and potentially purchased your tripwire. If they are still hanging about you’d be crazy not to offer them what is next in line.
Step #6 – Maximise your profits
After your customer has purchased from you, most businesses will stop the relationship and go on to finding a new customer. In a cold market. That is starting again in the hardest way right?
Instead of that, how about we think to ourselves… how else can we serve this beautiful, amazing customer who has just purchased from me? What would be a natural progression for them?
For example, once my e-course students have finished their e-course they go into a new email funnel which continues to provide value and benefits. Within this sequence I have thought to myself…
Ok, so they have just setup a business or launched a new product, what might they need next?
Further advice on growing their business, right?
So I have placed information on an advanced FB e-course they might like to check out in this email sequence. As I have taken these e-courses myself, I can authentically recommend it and if my customer signs up I make a commission.
So, I know that probably seems like A LOT of information, but the honest truth is we are really only just scratching the surface of this formula.
It took me about 8 months to pull it all together, test it, measure it, refine it and so on. I am still testing and refining but the results are there, for example:
I grew my Business Jump email list from 0 to 2000+ on a very low FB ads budget within 6 months using this formula and my Facebook group from 0 – 2700+ lovely members in around the same amount of time.
I have created a business with multiple income streams, which sells while I am spending time with my family, or sleeping or focusing on scaling my business.
This formula powered my business to 5-figure months and six-figures within its first year and now we’ve just started into the second year I can not wait to see the results with the additional scaling strategies I have in the pipeline.
The thing to remember is though, it is not fool proof. It takes time and dedication to find the right pieces of the puzzle and not everrrrryone, will sign up despite you offloading a tonne of ace content to them, and that is totally fine. Wish them well, be glad that you were able to serve them in some way and focus on the ones who did sign up.