Our second participant in our ESCAPE Plan Web Reality Show is Karen Boise. Karen is a board certified life coach who specializes in helping late bloomers create a new life for themselves.
Karen is in the early stages of her business she calls Compelling Exploration. She has been working full time for the last four years for a community college as an academic coach, working with codering students who are working in intensive, immersive bootcamps.
Even though she loves her job, she realized that she wanted to work with people in all types of transitions, and especially late bloomers. Karen, herself, describes herself as a late bloomer, having found out what she really wanted to do in her late forties. For her, it was at that point where she says the whole world changed for her.
What excites her about starting her own business is that it will give her the opportunity to work with people all over the world, not just in her current town of residence – Albuquerque, New Mexico. She is attracted to the lifestyle of the solopreneur, being able to work anywhere, from her computer, and being able to have destination workshops in different parts of the world.
It will also give her the flexibility to juggle other aspects of her life. She describes herself as a sandwich generation-er, with a husband and 14 year old son at one end of the spectrum it is important for her to be able to spend the time with him during those formative years between 14 and 18 – and being able to care for her mother who has Alzheimers at the other.
In our first session with Karen she outlined where she had got to in her business and that she had talked to everyone she knows about what she was planning, and even had two people who had signed up to try out her coaching so she could hone her processes with them.
The main thing that concerned her was that although she had talked to a lot of people about what she was doing, very few of those conversations had led to people wanting to sign up for coaching. However, where she acknowledged she struggled was in ‘asking’ people to sign up. She worried that asking was an imposition – and that she was uncomfortable ‘asking’ people. However, as any sales trainer will tell you, half the reason why people don’t get sales is because they don’t ask for them.
This is a problem a lot of solopreneurs have. Karen is certainly not alone in that. The trick is to turn that thought process around and rather than seeing ‘asking’ for the sale as imposing on the prospect, instead see it as an offer of help to the prospect. Especially in life coaching. The prospect is seeking help – otherwise they wouldn’t be having the conversation in the first place. The coach can offer them a way that the prospect can get the help they need – that way includes getting paid, of course – and the client needs to pay in order to have ‘skin in the game’ – otherwise they won’t value it, and as soon as the going gets tough they will just stop doing it, because they lose nothing by doing so.
When it comes to finding potential client prospects, the problem with anyone who is looking to change their life, it is all in the timing – they don’t need help until they need it. But talking to people helps in that it puts the idea of getting coaching help into their minds, and if the person Karen is talking to knows someone who is going through a transition, then they will be able to refer that person to Karen as a known source of help.
The big problem solopreneurs face, and coaches especially, when they first start out it having the proof that they can help the person in need. Without a case study or two they are never going to persuade enough people to sign on to make the business viable. It will be a constant struggle to get new clients.
The way we help people in the early stages of their business allows our clients to overcome these problems, get the initial paying clients they need to validate their processes and gain those all important first case studies. Because, without those, reaching out to the wider world will be a waste of time and effort.
Sheila Galligans’s reason for wanting to start her own business is a common story you see with a lot of solopreneurs. Her mom was in hospital and she needed the flexibility to be able to visit her mom on a regular basis – AND earn a living at the same time – a level of flexibility that just wasn’t available as an employee.
When Sheila put together an organizing event and earned $2000, all while sitting with her mother in her hospital room, even her mother thought she might be onto something.
Sheila went on to have a fair bit of success with her business, Go Big Global, where she organized telesummits for people. However, the problem was that the success was not consistent enough to be sustainable and she ended up having to take part-time work again.
One of the main reasons she couldn’t maintain the success she had, as she admitted during her first coaching session with us, was that she got completely caught up with, and overwhelmed by, the nitty gritty of her business. She would obsess over the detail of everything. Nothing could go out until it was perfect. And she felt she should be doing all this “stuff” that eventually just made her grind to a halt.
She has a passion to be successful and now has a new incarnation of her business where she helps people get guest spots on people’s podcasts. It is a great idea and has huge potential, and, because of sheer tenacity, Sheila is the perfect person to run such a business.
BUT – even in our first discussions with her, she was making the same mistakes. She was obsessing about getting a lead page up in her Lead Pages account. She was obsessing over her website and was outlining all these pages and content, articles and who knows what.
Now – don’t read this as a failing on Sheila’s part. This is a problem that many many solopreneurs find themselves in. It is so easy to get attracted – and distracted – by shiny objects we think are vital to our success.
They aren’t. They are success killers – especially at the early stages of a business.
What is vital to your success? Paying clients.
You can have the fanciest website in the whole world, but without a client success story and case study you are never going to build enough trust to a point where people will be confident enough to part with their money.
You start with the people you know – you get one or two clients by going out and physically talking to people – you work out your processes in terms of creating a successful outcome for those clients – you create case studies from those and you get those clients to give you a testimonial. Until that is done, there is no point in funnels, optins, social media, and whatever shiny object you can add to that list. By all means have a website – but make it really basic and simple – have a homepage that outlines who and what you help with, and an ‘about me’ page that sets out why you are the perfect person to help them. That’s it.
In our first coaching session we got Sheila to abandon almost everything she was doing – and getting overwhelmed by – and we got her to start making phone calls to people she knows – and tracking her results. Within two weeks of our coaching call she messaged us to say she had just landed her three clients at $600 a piece, plus another in process.
Not only has she created a whole lot of awareness and interest in her new business, she is now getting paid clients – AND she is no longer obsessing over stuff that, at this stage, really doesn’t matter. Needless to say, she is a happy bunny right now!
Sheila admits herself that she couldn’t do this without coaching. It is an investment – there is no doubt – but that investment will repay you many times over, just from avoiding the wasted time, effort and money that so many solopreneurs experience through years of trial and error. [Here’s Sheila’s simple one page website]
If you have that dream – make the investment – and save yourself a whole load of missteps and heartache.
Almost everyone has now heard of the saying “People do business with people they know, like and trust”. The case study is a huge part of the ‘trust’ factor, and showing that you’ve actually helped someone else is KEY to getting people to trust you… but how do you get a case study if you are just starting out?
It is always the ‘catch 22’ – I can’t get clients without demonstrating how I can help people – so how do I get a client in order to show what I can do??
Qualifications and certifications can demonstrate a basic level of competency in a particular field, but that is not the same as showing how YOU took a particular client and totally turned around their problem.
So what does a case study look like?
The ideal is to have a story, at least part of which is told in your client’s words, with the following elements:
You can create this in a variety of formats to suit your particular audience. A common format is the downloadable PDF, but you could also show it as a Slideshare presentation, as a video, as a web page on your site – maybe even all of the above – but certainly as part of your webinar, if that is the funnel you are building. (To get an idea of what a case study PDF looks like click here for Hubspot’s free template).
If a prospective customer/client reads/sees that, then when they get on a call with you, they are already 75% sold on working with you. The case study is the most powerful piece of content you can have – because your client, through their story and experience, is doing all the heavy lifting for you.
Don’t even think about doing a webinar until you have this piece secured. You’ll be wasting your time and effort. Trust us!
BUT – I hear you ask – how do I get that client in order to get the case study in the first place if I don’t have a funnel in place to get the client?!!
This is where our own process comes in – and is something a lot of the marketing experts don’t teach, mainly because they are looking for clients who are at a later stage in their businesses and have already been through this process (even though a lot of their prospects don’t realize this when they sign up).
What you do is leverage the people you already know – friends and family – and friends of friends and family. You basically connect with them, tell them what you are trying to create, and say that you need to work with someone to validate your processes and solutions and who can provide a case study (usually for free or for a heavily discounted rate).
The process of doing this will also help you enormously, not only in terms of providing an invaluable case study, but also when it comes to creating offers (because you will now know what people are looking for based on experience), creating messaging to attract inquiries, and even in perfecting your sales scripting for when you talk to those prospects.
You need only the simplest of websites, to provide clients a place to get to know who you are and what you offer. No SEO, no email marketing, no blogging, no social media – none of that stuff. It will only bog you down in a mire of ‘busy’ work – none of which will produce any clients for you until you have validated your process and have case study.
When you have your case study, THEN look at creating a webinar. Again, use your local networks to invite a select group of people to the webinar – does it lead to phone calls? Validate the webinar – make sure it does the job you need it to do before you think about using Facebook Ads to drive traffic to it. There is no point in driving a ton of traffic to something that won’t work for you. You will save yourself a lot of time and money.
If you know the webinar converts – and you know that you can sell x% of the people you talk to on the phone into one of your high-end packages – then you are on the road to having a business that is:
Controllable – ie. get the number of clients you need when you need them,
Predictable – ie. you spend $XX per month on Facebook Ads you will get XXX people registering for the webinar, which leads to XX phone calls, which leads to X signups at $XXXX
Scalable – Once you start getting more clients than you can handle (and wouldn’t we all like to be in THAT position!), then you can look at creating group programs, or VIP weekends, or retreats, or whatever works where you can cater to more customers and clients.
Too many people try to do it the wrong way round and get bogged down in the endless minutiae of their outreach and end up either never having enough clients; giving up altogether because the amount of work is not worth the returns they are getting; or they find themselves stuck in the cycle of feast or famine.
The case study, in the terms that we have been talking about, really relates to businesses that are based on teaching something – a business coach or health coach, for example. But what if your business is about selling products?
It really depends on the product, of course. But here is an example from a client we worked with who was selling olive oil on a Fair Trade basis and who worked with a lot of food bloggers to get the word out about this oil. Her ‘case study’ was really about how 69% of ‘Extra Virgin’ olive oil tested in the USA was in fact a lower grade – it was fake. However, the olive oil she was selling was the genuine article AND was sourced directly from the farmers who grow the olives in Palestine. Couple that with some testimonials from customers who love the oil and can taste the difference and you have a great case study that really does a lot of the “selling” for you. This is a ‘why my product is better’ case study.
Similarly, for businesses that curate products – maybe that are based on a particular theme, and you use blogging or some other way of attracting visitors to your site and where you likely get affiliate commission from the sales of the products from your site, in that circumstance the client is the product producer, and your case study will be based around how much traffic you are generating to the site and how many sales you are getting for other, similar, product producers. You might also play up the quality of the products by saying they are ‘personally hand selected’, ‘I only offer products that I use myself’, and so on.
Both are examples of how you can create a case study for either a product, directly, or for Joint Venture partnerships where you earn commission by selling other people’s products.
Either way, the case study is a hugely important part of building trust in the potential customer, so they can see that you provide your customers with a quality product, service or solution.
That is why you need to find a way to work with clients first, maybe offering a deal to get them to agree to do it – but getting that case study before you attempt to go out there and sell your product or service to a mass or wider audience. In the case of the olive oil, you may get customers buying it anyway – but you will get a whole lot more with the case study than without. Its all about trust.
Our “hack” – for solo business owners – is to take you through the correct sequence of processes to set you up for success – right from the start. If there are flaws in your process, or in what you offer, better to find out BEFORE you go building a whole bunch of products that no-one will buy. Believe me, that is a mistake we know from experience!
Like a no-obligation chat about your business? Click here to schedule a call and see if we can help you leave the ‘struggle’ behind and get straight to the success.
There’s a reason why the website doesn’t come in until stage three of our ESCAPE Plan process.
If you are not sure what “Stage 3” is here is the sequence of our ESCAPE Plan –
E = Explore – What should you be doing, or not doing, as a business – what will work for you?
S = Serve – who are the people your business will serve – who will be happy to pay for your product or service? Validating that process. (What problem can you solve for them?)
C = Create – Your product or service, and the platform through which people can find you and buy from you. Leadership Authority via a case study. Minimum Viable Website.
A = Amplify – How get yourself known in the wider world so you can reach even more customers – speaking, guesting, the book, paid advertising.
P = Perfect – How you can perfect your processes and systems so you can serve more customers.
E = Expand – How you can leverage your business beyond what you can do yourself.
Many people who are looking to get a new business going, the first thing they say is “I need a website”! They start thinking about SEO and blogging and setting up social media so they can have their little icons on their website, what their logo should look like…
If you are just getting started in your new business, maybe even building it up as a side gig until it is making enough money for you to quit your day job, then the website is way down on the list of things you need to be thinking about at the early stages.
Even if you have explored the viability of your business idea, and know who it is you will be serving, your ideas still need to be validated You need to know that your process will deliver the results the client or customer is looking for. And, most of all, you need proof that it will, and proof that you can convert prospects into paying clients.
People do business with people they know, like and trust. We hear that all the time. Why? Because it is the truest truism in running a successful business.
The ‘trust’ element of that trio is very largely about being able to prove that you can get them results –
This you do by showing them you have already done it successfully for someone else – the Case Study. Without that you are going to run out of customers or clients very quickly.
Where a website WILL help is in the ‘know’ and ‘like’ parts. However, that doesn’t need to be anything but the most basic site to start with. Don’t worry about SEO – no amount of SEO is going to get you traffic at this stage, and even if it did, without the case study and validation of your process and offer, it won’t convert that traffic into paying clients.
All you need is a basic site – we suggest WordPress because it is easy to set up and use – and is likely to be the platform you use for more expansive site when you get to that stage (eventually you will need an assistant and most Virtual Assistants know WordPress).
Most importantly, it is free – at a time when you don’t need to be taking on unnecessary monthly expenditures. The platform and how you choose it deserves a post in its own right – there are a lot of competing choices out there and no end of people who will say you should use “this” or “that” for all sorts of valid sounding reasons – suffice it to say here, we recommend WordPress, hosted on a service that will include a domain name in the price – something like Bluehost.
The point is that when you first start out, no-one is going to find your website unless you send them there. But the people who you do send should be able to find out about who you are, what you are offering, and why you want to do what you are doing.
Have some basic content about the problem you are solving so that people will self identify that they are in the right place if they have that problem. Talk about how you can help them. And, most importantly, have a clear path for them to work with you – even is that is just providing a phone number and email address. That’s ALL you need at the start.
The one nod to technology we do advise you take at that early stage is to install Google Analytics and your Facebook Pixel so you can get information about the people who do visit your site and what they look at on your site in general. Tracking visitor numbers, average time on a page, and bounce rate, is a good habit to get into, right from the start. It will become all the more vital once you really get going.
This does mean creating a business page on Facebook – but, again, just set up the minimum viable business page – the same as the website – you don’t need to be posting regularly – yet.
Once you have validated your process, got a good client case study to demonstrate how effective you are in solving people’s problems, you start generating traffic to a webinar that generates calls, and you have your sales process down – only then should you be looking at upgrading your website, thinking about branding (based on your story), some core content based on the frequently asked questions that your clients ask, or objections they might have; and start looking at how SEO might help that content get found in searches etc.
That is the time you want to think about investing money into that process. Avoid web designers that are all about the design and look of your site – find ones that understand how a potential customer will react when they find the site – what that customer wants/needs to know – how easy is it for them to find the specific content they need – quickly – and how easy is it for them to take the next step towards working with you.
What can you offer for free that will get people on your email list?
Don’t overload them with information – they don’t want information – they want a solution – all content should lead to a call to action.
Putting a Facebook pixel on your website will ensure that people visiting your site, (and who are Facebook users, which is a LOT of people), will get the ad for the webinar retargeted to their Facebook feed – and so the loop is completed –
Facebook Ads > Webinar > Call
SEO > Website > to Pixel > Facebook Ads
But it is important to understand that there is a sequence to getting to that stage.
So many solopreneurs waste so much time and money by reversing the process and going all out on the technology, the website and the Facebook Ads before they have even validated their business and process. And then, when it doesn’t work, they blame the technology, often just calling-it-quits because they see people making a success of it where they are just failing.
It can work – you just need to follow the plan.
And following the plan is so much easier if you have someone who knows what they are doing, supporting you along the way, and showing you which steps along the path to take and when. It really makes the process quicker and far less stressful.
Hmmmm – now where would you find such helpful people?
Want a step-by-step guide to online business success?
We are very excited to announce the first five of our core group of experts for our ESCAPE Plan Web Show! We certainly don’t know it all and we want our web show participants to get they help THEY need to make their business a success! We will be announcing more guest experts very soon, but here are the first half of the dream team:
Michele Scism – Sales
We know we needed an expert in sales. The vast majority of solopreneurs struggle with the sales part of what they do. Who better to help our Show Guests than Michele Scism. We have known – and coached – with Michele ourselves for long time and she is probably one of the main reasons we are doing what we do and how we do it!
Owner of DecisiveMinds.com, she is a third generation entrepreneur and expert in online and offline marketing, pricing, revenue projection, sales, team building and much more. Her mantra she learned from her father – “You don’t own a REAL business unless you can go on vacation and it still makes money.”
Jena Rodriguez – Branding
Jena is one of Michele’s greatest successes and is now a master Brand, Business and Brave Strategist and founder of Brave Masters, Inc. Her commitment is to boosting brand clarity, by helping business owners how to capitalize on their “natural” abilities and package and price their greatest strengths so that they can create a money-making, world-changing brand.
Over the last decade as an entrepreneur, Jena has learned that the ONE thing needed to reach one’s fullest potential in life and in business is BRAVE. Being brave is about saying YES without evidence, moving through fear, and being uncomfortable yet doing it anyways! By getting her BRAVE on, Jena was able to move from charging $89/hour to generating over $1.2 million in revenue over the last four and a half years – and helping her clients do the same! Check her out at www.bravemasters.com!
Joan Pelzer – Social Media
Joan is a Femfessional and force to be reckoned with – our greatest memory is podcasting live on her show from the foyer of a live event we were both attending in Houston – that was fun! Joan’s expertise is ocial media and online engagement with clients ranging from entrepreneurs and small businesses, to a UN-based NGO. She is a dynamic connector with the innate ability to identify, articulate and deploy strategies to optimize a brand.
Ellen Finkelstein – Speaking/Webinars
Ellen is a long term collaborator of ours – we have been guest experts on each other’s webinars many a time! One passion of hers is to help entrepreneurs use presentations and webinars to reach more people. In her business, Change The World Marketing, she uses her experience to help others create client-attracting websites, grow their lists, create products, and deliver powerful webinars. For us, she is providing expertise and help for those who looking to present in person as a speaker, or online via a webinar (Webinars play a big part in the process we teach business owners).
Carol Verity – Websites/SEO
Carol has been helping her clients “Get” digital for over 20 years. She began her digital journey way back when the internet first took hold and ever since she has been designing and building websites, teaching social media and content marketing and generally immersing herself in all the technologies that help us do business on-line.
Her business, We Get Digital, based in London UK, has gained a solid reputation in web design & build and she recently pioneered “SocialSEO”, a blend of Social Media and SEO that really helps businesses climb up the search engine listings.
Interested in getting help from us and our dream team? Check out the application page to see exactly who we are looking for. Remember, there are only 3 places per season, so if you think this might be for you, fill out the application and let’s talk!
Lately, as part of doing research for our new web show, I’ve been talking to MANY solopreneurs.
The one thing that really struck me was how many great ideas people have for businesses – BUT – at the same time how many were stuck on how to really bring them into fruition.
The problem? The technology. People were either overwhelmed by how much there was to choose from, and therefore were stuck not really knowing what they should be doing and what would be wasting their time and money –
OR they had a good idea about the kind of technology that would work for their business, but were also stuck because they weren’t really sure in what to do with it to make it work.
Everyone has a strong knowledge about the thing they do, but far too many of you are not doing it because you are stuck on business aspects of the business – and especially with technology and marketing.
And, smart, hopeful solopreneurs have a huge target painted in their forehead by the marketing software companies and “gurus”, who all insist that you’ll only be successful if you do MY program. During my conversations, I heard the same story again and again.
“I bought XXX program for $2447 – and the content was really good – but I couldn’t quite “get” it enough to implement it in my business. So, I went to a few of the classes and then just stopped.
A month or so later, I bought another program – and the same thing happened. Then, I hired an assistant but I couldn’t find enough for her to do…
I thought that perhaps I needed my own coach to make all this work – so I invested in a year long program for $15,000. But, I don’t have the team (or the money to hire a team) to implement the coaches’ suggestions.”
Does this sound at all familiar?
What if you had a team that could help you one-on-one for the price of a group program? Normally, you would be concerned about the quality of the help you were getting!
Right now, we are recruiting for 4 business owners have their businesses transformed as part of our web reality show. We need to cover costs (and make sure that our contestants are committed). For $2500 – you get 90 days of working with us collaboratively, to get your business up and running plus help from our growing roster of experts (watch for the first announcement on Thursday), as needed AND exposure to our audience as we share your success story along the way.
Ah, but aren’t you just another one of those gurus, I here you ask?
We’ll no – we very much look at our client’s business and see what they need. We start from the premise that you, as the businesses owner, just wants to get on with what you do, not spend all your time on marketing and admin. Where we are different is that we try to get you running successfully with the minimum amount of fuss. We just do what works for you – in the way YOU work.
We created the web show idea as a way to really show off to a wider audience exactly how we work and how we get people up and running. I’m super excited about the businesses we’re already talking to about taking part.
Will yours be next? Click here for more info.
Over the course of the last couple of weeks we have been having conversations with a number of our long term community members to try to make sure that what we re planning with our web reality show is something that will be useful to solopreneurs, and will be something people want to participate in, whether as a show guest or an audience member, or even as a guest expert (more on that in our next post)
We had a lot of great input from several people and have added to the concept we originally came up with, including a new element of audience participation (Thanks to Ellen Finkelstein for that one!).
The overwhelming reaction has been very positive and everyone is seeing it as something new that no-one else is doing. So it looks like it is all systems go!
In our last post, we asked “Would YOU do this?” And we are now ready to unveil who we are looking for to partake in our first series. So here are the core criteria of who we are looking for:
The application page is now up and will be open for the next two weeks. We will be choosing a total of 4 participants, the extra one being there in case one of the 3 chosen participants drops out.
We are still open to suggestions, if there are elements you would like to see on the show or you think would make the show better, we’d love to hear them.
In our next post we hope to introduce the first of our guest experts, so check back for that one!
In our last blog post we talked about our new showcase for helping solopreneurs to make a living on their own terms by creating a successful business through reaching an audience online.
And we asked for your help – because we want (this time), to make sure it is going to be something you want and that will help you get you to where you want to be be – quicker and with fewer and less costly mistakes! (All solopreneurs make mistakes – it is part of the process).
So here is our idea – let us know what you think …
We want to follow the stories of 3 solopreneurs in a new 11-part reality web series series – either who have a business idea and are just starting to build an audience online, OR who have started – maybe are a year or two in – but are stuck and need help to get real momentum.
We will create a 90 day plan with our three podcast participants and follow their story over the three months of the plan. We want to show how three individuals with a passion to create their own business, deal with steps to make that happen.
We will be helping them to hone their audience, helping them to create awareness with that audience, that they have something to offer that can help them, how to capture that interest and convert them into paying customers. We look at the technology they need, how to show what makes them unique, build trust. How to predict and track visitors and sales. Ultimately, how to build a semi-automated sales machine that will work for them consistently and predictably and that will enable them to live the kind of life they want, on their terms.
The idea is to bring in additional experts to help them with various aspects of their business as needed, whether that be ecommerce, branding, mindset issues, whatever they need. And we will see if we can successfully help them launch upward on the journey towards financial autonomy – or will they crash and burn?
Each participant will work with us behind the scenes and will be recorded 3 times each. Our ‘season’ will consist of an introductory show, 9 interview shows, and a wrap-up show to see how everyone did, making a total of 11 weekly shows for a season (possibly 2 seasons per year).
We also want our viewers to participate as well. We shall be doing weekly challenges, based on the challenges the show participants are going through. Viewers can post their challenge homework to a dedicated Facebook Group and will be awarded points. Prizes will be awarded to the people who gain the most points over the season. That way, the viewers can ‘play along’ and make progress on their own businesses, benefiting from the advice given on the show.
We are also looking to do a weekend live event for 6 more participants who want to go through the process but don’t want to be on a ‘reality show’. This will be a 3 day intensive, pretty much going through the same process but over three days and will have ongoing email support for the full 90 day period.
So what do you think? Is this something you would watch? Participate in?
Would you want to be a web reality show participant?
Would you prefer to come to a weekend live event instead?
Is there anything you would like to see added?
What would YOU look for in a 90 day program?
This is not set in stone for us – if no-one wants it we won’t create it – we don’t want to make THAT mistake again. And we are happy to entertain changes in the program. So let us know what you think…
If the feedback is positive, on Tuesday we’ll let you know more about who we are looking for to participate on the show…
Last week we talked about where we went wrong in our business, to the point where we literally had to pull the plug because it just wasn’t working. However, the lessons we learned from our 100 interviews in our Paycheck To Passion podcast were still valid as far as being able to help solopreneurs succeed. These lessons were that solopreneurs struggle with 3 things:
1) Not having a concrete plan (or path) to follow
2) Not having people around them who understand what they are going through or trying to achieve
3) Getting overwhelmed by trying to do everything there is to do in a business all by themselves, and thus not ending up doing the thing they went into business to do in the first place.
However, there was a fourth lesson we learned – and learned the hard way – just because you think you have a solution people will want, you need to test that assumption before going all the way down the long path of building it. It turns out that, although our solution to the above problems all solopreneurs face addressed each of the issues, the “fix” (in this case, Time Traders Club), wasn’t how solopreneurs operated – at least not enough of them. The problem was that the solution we came up with was too complicated for most solopreneurs to work.
The problem was that we were passionate about helping people make a living on their own terms, doing something they love to do, by reaching an audience online. Our ‘crime of passion’ was not doing the research to make sure the ‘how’ of what we were delivering was what was wanted.
However, those issues are still very relevant to a lot of solopreneurs out there. We still very much want to help solopreneurs overcome them, by giving them a concrete plan to follow; connecting them with other solopreneurs who understand the unique challenges they are going through; and to help them avoid getting overwhelmed by all that they have to do on a daily basis, by showing them there are other – better – ways to operate than by trying to do everything yourself.
So here’s what we are thinking.
We want to showcase how it can be done in a brand new story-based video podcast.
So many solopreneurs waste years of effort and thousands of dollars on doing the wrong things. As “Solo Biz Hackers” we want to hack passed that wasted effort and get people to the part where their business starts working for them. This is how we help people on a one-on-one basis in our coaching practice.
But we need your help.
We don’t want to make the same mistake as before and go into all the effort of building something only to find it is not what people need.
So this time we are asking first – doing the research – making sure what we offer is what you need.
Check your inbox on Thursday and I’ll go into more detail about our vision for the new podcast, and how you can help us make sure it is something you will want to see happen.
In our last post, Jasper wrote about why we decided to pivot our business away from Time Traders Club. It really came down to two things for us…
Time Traders Club (a time bank for entrepreneurs) sounded better in theory than it was in practice (we weren’t making money at it) and also we ended up becoming coaches in another program and didn’t have the time and energy to essentially start over and do what needed to be done to make Time Traders Club work.
It has been a few months since we made the decision to close down Time Traders Club, and I can now look at what happened with a bit more perspective. There were three reasons that Time Traders Club never took off…
The first one was that we didn’t properly test the idea. When we talked to people about TTC – they were really excited about the concept. We quickly grew our free membership to hundreds of people. There were two issues with that – the first was that we weren’t selective as to who could be in the group. Everyone who joined was great – but we had the wrong balance of people We attracted a lot of people who needed technical help – but few people who had the skills to truly help.
Plus, we were making things really, really complicated. Because we were trading “hours”, we needed a system that allowed people to find people whose skills matched plus track the hours. Because a virtual time bank is a NEW idea, there weren’t systems in place that did this well. We spend thousands of dollars on three different systems, none of them were easy to use for the members. Trades did not happen because they weren’t easy to do.
And, finally, because people joined the group for free help, they weren’t as willing to pay to be part of the group. We didn’t have enough paying members to keep the lights on and we needed to close our doors.
I’ve had plenty of time to reflect since then…. Plus coaching other business owners to success has helped me frame what happened to our business a bit better.
We still believe that knowing how to leverage your skills to make money online is one of the most important skills you can have right now. Being able to make money on your own gives you freedom to live the life you want. We want to help you do that.
And, combining what we learned from Time Traders Club and from coaching clients this past year, we THINK we’ve come up with a better way.
But, we need your help… because we don’t want to get it wrong again.
I’ll let you know what we have in mind next week.