Building a business is one of the best ways to achieve financial freedom, fulfillment, and positive impact in the world simultaneously. But that doesn’t mean that it’s easy.
As any successful entrepreneur will tell you, it takes a lot of hard work and sacrifice to build a business. Most entrepreneurs experience many years of setbacks, frustration, and
failure learning experiences before they achieve success.
For most entrepreneurs, the road to success looks a lot like the arrow on the right:
As an entrepreneur, you don’t always have to learn from your own trial and error. No matter what stage you’re in, there are always other people and companies that you can learn from.
Over the past few years, we’ve had the privilege of interviewing, creating content and collaborating with literally hundreds of successful entrepreneurs from all over the world. Whether for blog posts, YouTube videos, and even online courses that we’ve created, these entrepreneurs have generously shared their insights to help our community of entrepreneurs and online course creators succeed.
“The most important phase is your pre-work: surveying your audience to understand what they’re most interested in, and then running a pilot to test demand and ensure you’re providing information that’s relevant and important to them. That will put you on track to create a product people actually want.” – Dorie Clark
“Money follows momentum, not perfection. That means that you don’t really need your website perfect and that your course also doesn’t need to be perfect. I’ve re-recorded our core product six times since its start in May 2015. Just get started and get sales, that’s the most important part at the beginning.” – Scott Oldford
“Look at the audience you’ve attracted. Even better, look closely at those who have already purchased from you. If you already have a list of 5,000 or more, instead of focusing on adding to your email list or growing your social media audience, focus on creating new content for the people you’ve already attracted. What new product or program do they need next? Create for them and you will be building a product suite. I have a product suite of 3 core programs and each program builds into the next. It allows me to continue to support the audience I’ve already attracted while also growing my revenue.” – Amy Porterfield
“I do not subscribe to the theory of build it and they will come. I want to know what they want, and that’s what I’m going to build.” – JJ Virgin
“Nobody is ever really perfect. You have to at some point decide this is what I’m going to roll with, and then tweak based on feedback. You don’t want to wait until you’re perfect because other people are launching. You want to launch, and you get that initial feedback, and you change and you tweak.” – James Altucher
“Our Facebook Group is not just a group, it’s a community and we have organically grown it to over 20,000 members in a little over a year. I help promote other people, we celebrate other women often, and truly practice collaboration over competition. I think that I have grown such a strong following not only because I create good, logical, content, but I have created a trusted brand that is uplifting, but also fun.” – Dana Malstaff
“People will vote with their credit card. If they don’t actually put money down, the idea isn’t validated yet.” – Michael O’Neal
“A great brand starts with understanding who you are and what you stand for, understanding your marketplace, and understanding your positioning. What is the perception that you need to create in order to appeal to your target audience? The intersection of credibility, differentiation and uniqueness, and relevance is where you want to best position your brand.” – Re Perez
“Care a lot about your community and be consistent and create content on a regular basis that’s going to help people, and you will build a tribe of people that are so ready and willing to become customers of yours for life.” – Sunny Lenarduzzi
“You don’t have to appeal to every single person, but if there is somebody or a small group of people that really believe in the content you’re sharing and they find value in it, if you’re actually serving the aspirations that they have, then they will share that with others, they will make that a part of their life. And eventually, having that personal platform allows you to accomplish not only the things that you want for yourself and your family but ultimately the legacy you want to leave in this world.” – Adam Braun
“We often think that we will be judged or ridiculed for being vulnerable and open, but what happens is dramatically different. When we open up and we share parts of ourselves we become more human, and that humanity is what connects us to each other. So if you want to develop connections with a tribe, engagement with a tribe, people who really understand you and your message, you need to open up and share your story.” – Alexi Panos
“You’re not supposed to market and get people to understand the value of what you have. You market so that people understand that you know how they feel. The best way to market is for people to feel you understand them, not trying to get them to understand your product and its value.” – Mark Lack
“I grew my list during my launch by running Facebook ads directly to a webinar landing page. I ran the webinars almost daily. I reinvested the sales from the webinar I ran on Day 1 right back into more ad spend on Day 2. I was able to quickly ramp up my marketing and grow my list during my first launch. That small list I started with of 150 has grown to a community of over 50,000 coaches, consultants, authors and experts in an incredibly short period of time.” – Jeanine Blackwell
“Do not be afraid of competition. Their very existence validates that there is demand for the problem you’re trying to solve or for a solution to it. So look for that competition.” – Greg Smith
“It’s incredibly important that you have some kind of a mechanism to turn the attention that you’re getting through your media interviews into leads and sales.” – Esther Kiss
“Start with 1 or 2 main channels of communication and publishing where you can be sending people. Experiment with other touch points that you know people are using. Those might be doing Facebook Lives, Instagram Stories, Snapchat, and layering on other ways of reaching new audiences such as Facebook ads, guest interviews, and strategic partnerships. Keep it simple and always be sending people back to the main channels.” – Anne Samoilov
“We’re not in this business to just get people to buy our stuff. We want them to see the change and the impact and create the success stories.” – Nick Unsworth
18. Just because it works for someone else doesn’t mean it will work for you. Ask more questions, always.
“Ask more questions, always. Assess whether “the one method” people are telling you is the only way to go, even makes sense for you and your topic or audience. I’ve found more engaged audience members and more sales waiting on the other side of ignoring traditional advice and focusing on key questions about what my audience needs than through re-creating systems that others have used. Ask more questions, always. Does it apply to you? How can you use it without the elements of it that you don’t like? What would utterly surprise your audience at this point? If you’re asking yourself “Should I do webinars or a 10-day challenge to promote my course?”, ask instead, “In a world where webinars/challenges don’t exist, how would I ideally help people and share my product with them?” – Regina Anaejionu
19. Invest your time creating systems and hiring people until you have a business that can run without you.
“The way you multiply time is by spending time on things today that give you more time tomorrow.” – Rory Vaden
“There are only two ways for a person to learn about something that they never even know they didn’t know. Number one, they find out the hard way. We in the entrepreneurial world call that the school of hard knocks. The only other way to get it done is to have someone mentor them, train them, or share their knowledge with them. So instead of people having to re-invent the wheel, or find out things the longest, hardest, most expensive way through mistakes, those of us who have a skillset or have knowledge – it’s not just that we should, I feel that we have a responsibility to share that.” – Cole Hatter
Written by Tyler Basu, from Thinkific