Back in college, my friend Sam and I were both working toward degrees in engineering. Sam and his girlfriend were newly engaged, so he had to start bringing in some money—for a wedding ring, the honeymoon, and their future in general. There would be rent to pay and perhaps children on the way. He needed to get a head start and build up a fund to handle those expenses.
Shortly after their engagement, I left the university to pursue internet marketing full-time. It would be a long long year before I made any money. And even longer before I made decent and consistent money.
And just as a young couple about to tie the knot, I didn’t know exactly what I was doing in my business, or what the future would bring. I didn’t have all the answers to how to succeed in business. I just went for it. I made plenty of mistakes.
Simple as it sounds, the most important thing I learned on my way up is that you’ve got to have money. As a new business, you must focus all of your energies on actions that will bring in sales!
Busy-ness vs. Business
A lot of people sit at the computer for hours and engage in all kinds of activities and think that’s what it means to be “in business”. This includes building a website, creating a cool logo, designing business cards, and setting up a blog. I have done it.
For many people, any one of these tasks not only requires hours to complete, but may often require dozens of hours of study to figure out how to do it.
They hear about this or that new plug-in or other “latest and greatest” thing and they’ve got to find out more about it, they’ve got to get it somehow, install it—whatever. And all the time they are doing these things, they haven’t brought in a single dollar. They consider that they’re getting somewhere, but after a few months or a year with no income to show for it, they can become confused … depressed even. “How could I have put in all that effort and get nothing in return?” they wonder.
Building a website and these other kinds of tasks are important things to do at some point, but they are not the first things you should be putting your energy into. You actually don’t need any of those things to start making sales! When you start bringing in cash, you will have already begun to develop a list of customers. When you’ve got customers and leads (people who give you their email address but have not yet made a purchase), then you would need a blog or a website—but not before. See how that is?
So being busy isn’t necessarily being in business, unless you’re busy doing the things that bring in cash.
So, why all this concentration on making those first sales? Is it just greed? No.
Being in business is making money! More importantly, making money allows you to continue to be in business. And, even more importantly, it allows you to scale up your business.
By “scaling up,” I mean you have the wherewithal (cash) to reach far more people with your advertising and to afford facilities and people to help you deliver your product or service to an ever-growing number of customers. You’re doing the same things you always did, just for a widening sphere of customers. That’s scaling up.
Without making those first sales, you don’t have the “fuel” to scale up—unless you want to take it out of your savings … but if you were focusing only on actions that brought in sales, you wouldn’t have to do that.
The Nuts and Bolts
The simplicity of it is this: You have an offer—a product or service you want to sell. To sell it, you need:
- A landing page (also called a “squeeze” page, opt-in page, or sales page). This tells people about the product and sells it to them with persuasive copy or a video presentation. If you’re an affiliate for someone else’s product (such as MOBE or a company you found on ClickBank or another affiliate network), they will already have created these pages. If you’re selling your own product, you will have to create your own.
- Traffic: you will use paid online advertising to attract people who are interested in the kinds of product or service you’re selling. They will click on the ad and go to the landing page. This is called “driving traffic to your offer.”
That’s what any start-up or small business needs to do: Get their offer in front of the eyeballs of the right audience so that they can see it and have an opportunity to buy it. And that is what you need to focus all your efforts on in the beginning.
Yes, you can use free advertising methods, but it takes much longer (to both learn how to do it and then do it) and, especially in the beginning, will not produce worthwhile results. On the other hand, you could use Facebook pay-per-click ads and start getting results—clicks and even sales—within a day or two.
So get busy doing the things that bring in sales and you soon will find that you are in business!
Don’t have an offer yet to promote?
Want to work with me personally?
Or attend our Home Business Summit!
-Thanks to Matt Lloyd!