Why most online businesses fail & the 6 steps you need to make sure yours doesn’t
The Goodness Squad Podcast Episode #20
As I’ve looked back on my own experience and as I have worked with hundreds of Latter-day Saint women, I’ve come to realize that there is just one reason most content marketing businesses struggle – they lack a firm foundation. In this episode, I will give you the 6 steps to building (or retrofitting) that foundation.
Resources mentioned in episode:
Welcome to episode #20 of The Goodness Squad podcast. I feel like that’s kind of a milestone and I should celebrate.
In the last episode, I promised you that I would reveal the 6 steps that many, if not most, new online business owners miss when they are starting their business.
Missing some or even all of these steps can truly wreak havoc in your business. And I don’t want that for you. So I am going to reveal to you today what those 6 steps are and what the symptoms might be in your business, if you are maybe in one of these steps.
My entrepreneurship journey
To begin, I want to tell you a story. A story about a little girl who loved the idea of entrepreneurship. When she was young, she had no athletic ability whatsoever. But her brothers did. And one brother, in particular, was really great at soccer and he had SO many soccer games.
The little girl noticed that during baseball games there were concessions, but there weren’t at the soccer games. So she decided to bring concessions to the soccer games. She saved up her money and invested in candy bars at Costco and then she sold them at soccer games for a little more than she had spent. She turned a profit and then she did it again.
That little girl, if you haven’t guessed yet was me. I have always wanted to run my own business. The first business I actually started was called Frugalicious. It did not do so well. It was a couponing blog and it was barely profitable over a couple of years. Eventually, I just let it go.
My second business was not profitable, initially, and it took an enormous amount of work. It was draining. It was hard on my family. If you want to hear more of that story, go back to episode #1. The only way I was able to pull out of that and turn that business around and make it profitable, and eventually be able to sell it for six figures, was what I’m going to teach you today.
Winging it is not a firm foundation
I went back and I retrofitted what should have been the foundation of my business. As entrepreneurs, we’re full of all sorts of ideas and it can be really hard to not just jump right in without creating a foundation. But we don’t do that when we build a home. Right? We don’t tell the contractor, “Oh, I don’t have enough money. I don’t want to invest in that foundation. I don’t need a foundation.” We know what result that is going to have on our home. And yet we do that to our businesses! We jump right in without any real foundation.
It is no wonder that we struggle. It is no wonder that I struggled. I struggled to find balance. I struggled with overwhelming mom guilt because of the time I was spending away from my family. I struggled to become profitable. I struggled to find customers for my products. I struggled and struggled and struggled and barely kept my head above water for years.
I finally thought, “Okay, I’ve had enough. What is the root problem here?” And that’s where I came up with the 6 steps that I want to talk to you about today. I went back and did these, retrofitted that foundation, in my previous business. And in this current business, I started here with these 6 steps.
The 6 steps you need to follow to make sure your business does not fail
Step #1 – Your Mindset
To be honest, you can see from that early story about me and my brother’s soccer games that I have never really struggled with what I’m going to talk to you about, as far as mindset goes. But many business owners that I have worked with, especially Latter-day Saint women, come into their business treating it like a hobby.
They don’t want to mentally commit. They don’t want to financially commit to the idea that this is actually a business. If a doctor wants to have a degree, he has to commit to paying for college and then all his graduate work, right? All of that. He has to commit to the time and the money and he has great earning potential.
The same is true with us online. If you are unwilling to commit in your mind to the idea that this is a business, then it will never become one. You’ve heard the saying, “whether you believe you can, or you believe you can’t, you are right.” This is just as true in business as it is in any other area. You must believe that this is a business for you, and then you must treat it like one.
There are all sorts of subcategories under mindset. You might have the mindset that you’re afraid to charge because you’re teaching about spiritual things. Or you may have the mindset that you can’t learn tech. All of these fall under this idea, ‘do you really believe this is a business?’ Because, if it is your business, then you will find solutions to those problems.
Step #2 – Boundaries
This is something that took me a really long time to figure out. When you have no boundaries between work and church and home, they all melt into each other. And that’s what creates that mom guilt because you are constantly feeling like you should, and I say that with quotation marks, you should be in two places or three places or 10 places at once. Boundaries are essential and these did not work for me until I started setting them.
With my family, with my kids, I started getting their feedback on when was a good time for me to work. What did they need from me in order to feel loved and important? Then I could set boundaries around that time they had agreed to. There was so much less mom guilt when I was able to set boundaries.
If you’re feeling like you can be an awesome mom or an awesome business owner or awesome at your calling, but never all three at once, then you struggle with boundaries. Until you solve that problem, you are going to continue to live in that space of mom guilt, stress, worry, overwhelm and exhaustion. You’ve got to set some firm boundaries.
Step #3 – Organization
No matter how many boundaries you set, if you are not organized those boundaries will crumble. They will fall because everything will spill into everything else. Your home life is going to spill into your work life and your work life is going to spill into your home life, simply because you don’t have systems in place.
This is something that took me a really, really long time to understand. Ironically, I’m actually a very organized person in general, but I wasn’t in my business. I think part of the reason, and you may have experienced this as well, is that I didn’t know what to expect jumping into an online business.
In fact, it kind of got dropped in my lap and I didn’t know how to organize it. But when I went back to that business and I retrofitted that foundation, this was a very important key for me. It allowed me to keep those boundaries. I organized my files. I created processes. I organized my bookmarks. I organized my email and so on.
This saved me so much time in the long run. And then that freed up time, I could decide “Okay, do I give more back to my family or more to my work?” You can choose that. It gives you the opportunity to choose what to do with your time when you are organized. So if you feel like, in your business, you are constantly running around, putting out fires and then it’s family time and you’re running around, putting out fires there – I would guess that you are probably struggling with organization.
Step #4 – Comparison
It’s so easy to compare yourself to others when you’re sitting on Instagram or Facebook, right? What a different world we live in than even 10 or 15 years ago. It is so, so easy to compare your worst with everybody else’s best, but this is devastating for your business.
It creates the desire to be like someone else, to be just like them. And when that happens, you no longer stand out online. That doesn’t mean you don’t model things that have been successful. Learn from other people’s mistakes or successes. Absolutely. But when you decide that you actually want to be just like someone else is and you are coveting who they are, this is devastating. Not only to your soul, but to your business. If you blend in online, then by default, you do not stand out. In order to be successful online, you must stand out in some way.
Now, this is far, far easier than you might initially think. I don’t mean you have to stand out by creating a brand new idea for a product that’s never been created before. The way you stand out is through your superpower. If you have not heard me talk about superpowers, go back and listen to episode #1, where I go into depth about how to figure out what your superpower is and how to combat this comparison.
You need to be collaborating with your competitors, not coveting them. I still struggle with this! Many of you probably know who Sarah Allred is from Sarah Grace Live. My initial reaction, when I found out about her, was covetousness. I was jealous of her. She has so many talents that I do not have. And I had to push through that. As I’ve gotten to know her, I have come to see how we complement each other so well, and we can collaborate together and build each other up instead of competing and coveting.
So if you find yourself like I did, when I first heard about Sarah, coveting someone else and feeling guilty because you are jealous of them then you probably have a superpower problem. You probably don’t know what your superpower is. And you haven’t fully embraced that.
Step #5 – Not understanding your customer
What does this actually look like in your business? It looks like trying to find customers for your products instead of creating products for your customers.
What do I mean by that? Think about it for a minute. Do you create a product and think how great it’s going to be and plan it out and get all excited about how fantastic it is, and then go find people to sell it to? Probably, that’s how most of us do things. But guess what? That is backwards and it creates so much frustration. It’s exhausting.
Here’s what you do instead:
You find your customers first, your tribe, the group of people that you really want to help, and you listen to their problems. You really listen. This can be done face to face. This can be done inside Facebook groups. This can be done through surveys, a variety of ways, but you listen to what problems they’re having in their life.
And then you create a solution and that’s your product.
Sounds simple, right? Because you already know they have the problem. And so then when you create a product for them, it is something that they want.
Step #6 – Focus on Solving A Problem
So many of us just create something that we think is going to be really cool, but we don’t actually consider the problem we’re solving. And then when we market that product, we don’t focus on the problem that it solves. We focus on the features. All the cool things. “It has six modules and it’s got short lessons and it’s amazing” and all these different ways, but we don’t focus on the problem that it solves.
This is the sixth mistake that I made. And when I changed these six things:
- not understanding my customer
- not solving a problem with my products
My business did a 180, it changed everything.
And that is what I want for you.
Your assignment for today is to think through those 6 things and see where you see yourself in them. Do you struggle with mindset? Are you treating your business like a hobby because you’re afraid to commit to a business? Are you struggling with boundaries and constantly being pulled in a million different directions and feeling guilty all day, every day, and exhausted? Are you struggling to be organized? And even though you’ve set up some boundaries, they keep just crashing down around you and you cannot seem to hold them? Then you’re struggling with organization. Are you struggling with comparison? Do you struggle to post online because of what other people are going to think? Do you covet your competitors instead of collaborating with them? Do you understand your customer? Have you spoken to them? Have you listened to them? Do you know what they need from you? And then have you created a product that solves that problem?
The Good Start Game Plan is Your Foundation Building system
If you are struggling in more than one of those areas, or if you would like some more help creating or retrofitting the foundation for your business, then I would love to invite you to The Good Start Game Plan. This is my signature e-course and its purpose is to make sure you create a business you know will be profitable and manageable as a Latter-day Saint mom, as a mother who knows what’s truly important in life.
It’ll help you avoid these 6 mistakes, or fix them in your business, so that you can do everything you need to in 22 hours a day instead of 28 hours a day. That way you leave with a list of a hundred different problems that you know your customers have, and you can create blog posts and freemiums and lead magnets and products that solve those problems so that you can be immediately profitable as soon as you launch or relaunch your business.
How would that be different? There are four main ways that this course differs from other online courses that you might find out there about online content marketing businesses, or service-based businesses.
First, it’s designed for busy, busy moms. The lessons average right around 10 minutes, many are as short as 3-5 minutes so that you can listen to them while you’re sitting in the carpool lane or putting on your makeup.
All of the lessons are available in video, audio, and transcripts. A written format so that you can even read while you’re sitting in the waiting room with the doctor and you can’t listen. Every video is actually searchable. You can search for any word in the entire course and be taken exactly to where I say that word.
Second, it’s gospel-centered. We bring in the scriptures and quotes from prophets and you will learn not just how to be profitable, but to do it in a way that honors your home-centered focus.
Number three, it’s designed to change you. This isn’t just something I want to teach you. This is something I want you to act on. I reward you for doing so. You will earn points when you complete your homework or a checklist of to-dos and you can use those points to purchase other products from me.
In addition, you get six weeks free access to me during my Ask Me Anything Hour where you can ask me anything at all about your business and I will help you.
Fourth, as we’ve talked about in this episode, it is foundational. This is the foundation that you need for your business. So if this is something you believe would help you, I want you to go to TheGoodnessSquad.com/goodstartgameplan.
You will have access to all the new upgrades, the most incredible of which is a bonus where I teach you how to create and deliver a lead magnet, which I like to call a freemium. This is basically a gift you give someone in order to get them on your email list. I teach you how to set up and sell your very first digital product for free on your WordPress website. I walk you through all the tech that is required to do that.
So if this is something that would help you, come check it out at TheGoodnessSquad.com/goodstartgameplan. I know you won’t regret it. And because I am so confident in it, I have a 45-day guarantee. You can get your money back if it does not help you in your business.
Thanks again for being here. I hope you have found value in this episode and that if you see yourself in one of those six areas that you are able to take a step back and focus on that for a week or two. How can you improve in that area and therefore see more success in the balance and profitability of your business?
If you haven’t done so already, make sure you hit subscribe because, in the next episode, I am going to be teaching you why your website needs to do more than just look pretty. I’m going to teach you how to use your website to serve those who actually come to visit it. This is a fantastic concept. Websites that serve are far more successful.
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