Stop Relying on the Wizard of Oz to Magically Build Your Business

Warning: I'm going to make some enemies on this one, but it needs to be said....
Tonight I sat on a panel of investors, listening to a company pitch their business.  They were basically a content creating business, wanting to get discovered by a national audience.  When asked what they would do with their money, their first response was 'hire an SEO person'.  This was after spending thousands of dollars already on an SEO company, along with $20,000 on a social media company that they didn't see any results from.

My first bit of advice to them was based on the content they were putting out, popping $3-$5K a month on SEO wasn't going to solve their problem.  There are too many other outlets that would do what they needed for their business.

I also want to say that this makes my blood boil!  I was the person who spent $10,000 during my second business for someone to run my PR.  My gut told me not to do it, but I thought it was where I needed to be, so my...

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5 Small Business Marketing Tips

I talk to a lot of small business owners, and I can promise you the #1 question I'm asked is:

How do I get more customers?

Finding customers is a complete catch-22.  Without customers you have no money, but without money you can't find customers.

The bad news is that's mostly true.

The good news is that we live in a time where starting a business and marketing your business is easier than ever.  When I started my first business just 11 years ago, I struggled with how I was going to get my name out there.  I did old school marketing tactics like putting up fliers in a neighborhood.  It worked.  However, one of my biggest strategies was getting listed in the phone book.  True story.  I was devastated when just days after LLC'ing, the newly published phone book showed up at our doorstep, which meant I had to wait an entire year before getting it out there again.

Long gone are phone books, the need for expensive tv and radio ads, and...

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Setting Business Goals - Should You Go Big or Go Home?

The question came up in our mastermind call today, and I think it's a perfect one to address here.  When it comes to setting goals how do you know when to go big versus small?

The truth is that going too big will make the whole thing overwhelming, and you will have a harder time getting momentum and getting things done.  Many times you'll end up in paralysis analysis and the amount of decisions that have to be made will cause you to not make any.

On the other hand, if your goals are too small how do you dream and get to the bigger picture?

My answer is simple.  Why can't you have both? 

In fact, I believe you can't do one without the other.

Let me take a step back and share a story.  When I started this business we had some pretty big dreams about buying massive winery property, and even had these listed on our vision boards, etc.  I would go to bed every night visually sipping a glass of wine from my property sitting in the hills.  It was...

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The One Thing You Must Master as an Entrepreneur

Have you ever had one of those days where you look at the clock, and it's already 6 pm?  Instead of closing your computer with another successful day behind you, you ask yourself 'where did the day just go, and what did I even get done?!'

I, unfortunately, was having way too many of those.  I've been investing in real estate for almost 17 years.  I bought my first house at 22, and have been learning how to rent and leverage ever since.  Overall, it's been a good experience, but between repairs, difficult tenants, and new city rules, etc, I realized it was taking up too much time.  Plus, after reading the book Essentialism (one I highly recommend), I realized two things.

  1. Even the smallest of time and energy was going to something that wasn't serving me
  2. .I was emotionally investing.

I won't get into the emotional part, but what I do want to talk about today is mastering your time.

Here's a perfect example of what happened this morning.  I have a tenant...

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Stop Asking For Permission

I'm not 100% sure I know what I'm doing.

I need to learn just a little more before I can officially make this happen.

There's someone doing something similar, and I'm not as good as them.

What if <fill in any negative blank here> happens?

Do any of these sound familiar when you're getting ready to take on something, whether it be a business or even a new job?  As much as I would love to tell you that I know all of these things because I hear them from clients, the truth of the matter is, that I've said them at least once fifty times to myself.

We all go through this.

Every.  Single. One. Of. Us.

I've said this many times before, but I think it's important to realize that the only thing standing between you and the person who actually made it happen, is that they just decided to make it happen.  They didn't know more, weren't more prepared, or didn't wait long enough for something lucky to fall from the sky.  They just made it happen.

Last month I...

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Lesson 10 - Every Business is a Marathon, Not a Sprint

I talked about this some in Lesson 2.  As excited as you are to get your business out to the world, it's going to be hard for people to listen, let alone respond.

Starting a new business is exciting and fun, and even though you know you can help, and really help, anyone who buys your product, the fact is, it's not going to happen over night.

I can also tell you with great certainty that anyone who claims to be an overnight success, isn't.  There has been some work behind the scenes.  There has been some trial and error, and although it feels like their business appeared from nowhere, it didn't.

You have to be willing to be in this for the long haul, or you just won't succeed.  If you're looking for a quick buck, then entrepreneurship probably isn't your game.  Stay in Corporate America where you'll be guaranteed a paycheck in at least a few weeks.

Do I wish I would have had more people at my first event?  Absolutely.  Was it one of the hardest...

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Lesson 9 - Know Your Customers - As In Study Everything You Can

This is one I see so many people miss when it comes to building their business.  They take a guess at who their customer is and then hope their guess is close to right.  Or they make it really broad in that they want to help everyone scared that they're going to possibly miss that one person who might be interested.

As I started this, I thought I could utilize my existing audience from The Starters Club.  However, as I began laying out the content I wanted, and the focus of the event, I soon realized that wasn't going to happen.

So not only did I have to build an event by scratch, I had to start from scratch on everything!!!

I actually sat with someone today over coffee, and he asked me about the marketing, and how I pulled it off in such a short amount of time.

The answer was simple...

I was a mad Facebook and LinkedIn Ads machine.  It wasn't a set it and go, it was a set it, study it, tweak it, and then study it again.

I fell asleep thinking about ads,...

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Lesson 8 - Stop Waiting and Take Action

I had the idea of putting on an event in the back of my mind for a while, but I was afraid to take action.  Plus, as much as I have worked with other businesses and built my own, I still had myself convinced this wasn't capable of taking on.

I saw the need for an event like this.  As much as I wanted something like this to happen, I was secretly sitting back waiting for someone else to do it.  I just didn't consider myself someone special enough to put this all together.

What made me finally do it?

Well, I started talking to enough people about why I wanted to do it, and why I was considering it, that I finally decided I needed to stop doing and start taking action.  I put it out there to enough people, and I didn't want to seem like everyone who else who talks a big game but never does anything about it.

Maybe there was a little bit that I was scared of people's perception of me, but I guess if that means making something big happen, then I'm okay with that.


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Lesson 6 - Your Content and Social Media Isn't Just For Fun

There are two important lessons I want to get across here.

  1. Just because you can put out content, doesn't mean you should.
  2. Just because you have the ability to be on social media that doesn't mean you should.

I know this goes against what everyone tells you in that you should jump on all social media channels and try to be all things everywhere.  And Content is King, right?  We hear that over and over again.

Content shouldn't be created just for the sake of creating content.  When you're building a business, you're getting pulled in a ton of directions.  And yes, content is crucial.  It's a great way not only to get your business found, but for people to get to know you better.  However, strategy is everything for connecting with the right clients and for keeping your sanity.

It's tempting, between blog posts, videos, and podcasting, you could create content until you're blue in the face.  However, it's crucial you figure out your point of...

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Lesson 5 - Know Your Strengths, But Stop Labeling Yourself

I have lived most of my life telling myself that I'm not great at sales.  My first real 'sales' job was at The Buckle, the clothes store that worked strictly off commission.  I had my moments of greatness, but I wasn't a sales person who was on 100% of the time like my manager always seemed to be.

However, when I use something that I love or believe in, I have no problem selling that to anyone who comes across my path.   So the question really does become am I sales person or not?

I've been able to sell.  I've had to be able to sell.  Without being able to sell I would have never built my businesses.  However, I would say following up and cold calling are two very weak qualities for me.

As a business owner, I believe it's crucial that you know what you're great at and do more of that.  If you're in the position where you can hire what you're bad at, do that.  However, sometimes we may not have that luxury.  I did have someone join me on a...

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