Two years ago, my wife and I closed two businesses in Florida, and decided to start over in a new state.
After 22 years of building those operations, we also wanted some time off.
By God’s grace, we took that break, and then the world gave us an additional recess we didn’t request.
In the form of a pandemic. 😢
I still shiver about the mandatory isolation from friends and family. And watching people I know get very sick or even die.
For a while, everything went online.
Work. Schools. Events. Groceries. Dining. Shopping. Church.
In a twinkling, we were all thrust into a virtual experience.
Some of this was already happening. But the health crisis accelerated a trend toward online experiences which had been gaining momentum for years.
It was no different for people launching businesses during this time frame.
According to Salesforce.com, 4.4 million businesses were launched in 2020. Last year added 5.4 million to that figure.
The first quarter of 2022 alone, yielded an additional 1.4 million business starts. 😲
That’s more than 10 million new businesses launched in the past 2 years or so!
I count myself in that number.
Following the national (and international) trend toward online business models, my partner and I softly launched an online business coaching company in 2020.
I say “softly” because we weren’t fully committed at the beginning.
We had been brick-and-mortar business owners for decades. How would a purely online business function?
How would we find customers? And how would we help them solve their problems via remote or virtual connections?
Those are just a few of a hundred related questions we asked ourselves.
We found answers to those questions in 2020 and got going with earnest in 2021. With one full quarter remaining in 2022, we’ve exceeded our financial and growth goals for the entire year. 👏🏽
With hard work and by God’s grace, we plan to double our revenue in 2023.
I’m not sharing this with you to brag or for hype.
The online business explosion has created enough of that. 🤮
This message isn’t “Get a website, post on LinkedIn and you’ll be rich.”
Neither LinkedIn nor life works that way.
Most of hypey content you see are the RESULT of a ton of hidden pain and work dressed up as instant Internet riches.
Nothing sells like “Get rich and quickly!”
This is not that.
Sharon and I are building a successful coaching business because we’ve launched and built successful businesses in the past. We help real business owners solve real problems.
This takes skill, perseverance, some luck (a/k/a hard work), and in our case, faith in ourselves and the Lord.
But here’s the truth.
It can be done.
You can go from zero or little to thriving. You can monetize your life experiences and skills. You can build an online business from scratch.
If we can start over in our fifties, you can start from wherever you are.
But starting is the easy part.
It’s relatively painless to set up a small business corporation or an LLC.
You can also create a website, amazing graphics, send emails, and even create content with technology.
Click the image below for a five-minute video of some free or cheap technology that helps you to do just that. 👇🏽
The hard part is gaining and maintaining traction in your business.
That requires grit.
That requires skill.
That requires systems.
More than anything, it requires the business owner to become someone other that the person who started the venture.
In an entrepreneurial environment, growth is mandatory.
So, how do you gain traction as a new business?
So complicated that many books have been written on the topic and a whole industry exists around the topic.
But my job, as your Trusted Advisor, is to simplify things.
Please allow me to share five things we have done (and are doubling-down on) to create long-term traction in our business.
Share Your Expertise. To gain traction for your business you have to become known for what you do. There are many ways to this, including paid advertising, for example.
There are other unpaid methods of becoming known such as sharing your expertise through blogging, writing a newsletter, sharing how-to videos online, developing an email list, social media, and others.
You will hear a million differing views on this.
Some say blogging is dead, but I can point out many successful bloggers with thriving businesses.
The same is said of email marketing, online video sharing, and even networking in person.
They say …
But that’s not true. Any of these methods can help you to develop traction in the marketplace.
You just have to commit to one strategy and execute until you build momentum.
One common mistake I’ve seen is trying too many approaches and not mastering any. The key to success is going deep before you go wide.
Build a team. You are going to need some help along the way. In our case, we started as a two-person team. But we’ve never hesitated to invest in team members where needed.
If you’re a small business or solopreneur, you may instinctively shy away from expenses. That’s a good thing. There are all sorts of bright shiny objects to waste money on.
Avoid those like the plague.
Instead, invest in people who will allow you to buy back your time and/or make more sales.
In other words, plan your team-building around revenue creation. Your team members should pay for themselves and bring you back profit.
Learn, Unlearn, And Relearn. For people like me in their fifties, this can be hard. Especially for those who’ve been previously successful.
I’m highly educated.
I’ve built businesses.
I give keynote addresses to large audiences.
I’ve written books, and I’ve been paid handsomely for all of the above and for other things I’ve done that I won’t bore you with here.
It’s tempting for me to think “I’ve got this,” or to get lazy on learning.
But according to the futurist, Alvin Toffler, “The illiterate of the 21st Century, will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.”
In other words, even with all of my accomplishments, the emerging online world of business is ground zero.
In a technical sense, I have no advantage over the average 16-year-old, who geeks out on YouTube and figures out how to monetize it.
They’re doing it every day. I connect with a bunch of them to learn what they’re doing and how to adapt the useful parts for my audience.
Something to think about. 🤔💭
Gaining traction is hard.
But if you begin to share your expertise with your target customers, leverage yourself with a small (even remote) team, and commit to learning how to grow a 21st century business, you will pull your business out of neutral.
You will begin to experience the freedom your business was created to produce.
PS. Let me know if I can help you with any of your goals. Click the links below to check out some of the ways we can work together.
I'd love to see you there!
I'll see you back in your inbox next Monday!