Have you ever been told “You got lucky” or maybe you've thought that about someone who seems successful to you?
I've been on both sides of the spectrum and today I want to share about my “Overnight Success To 7-Figures”. You see, a lot of times when a coach or guru talks about how you can have a six (or seven) figure business they say it's just a matter of doing step A and step B, then you will have success just like they did (or did they?).
I call BS on that!
It isn't EASY to have a six-figure blog. And it's even harder to have a seven-figure one.
Here are some of the things I learned on my way to building a 7-figure business
When I started my first website, I didn't have stars in my eyes. I had no idea what would be possible in the long term. Sure, I knew that people were ‘making money' blogging. But I honestly thought that meant they were making like a thousand dollars a month. At that time, I hadn't seen people posting income reports and sharing specifics on how they were monetizing their websites.
1. Blog About Something That You Are Passionate About
I really just wanted to have a place to share what I was doing to make money on the side, and actually, by the time I started writing I had replaced my husband's income and he had quit his job to join my in the business! I had built a pretty successful business selling on Amazon FBA part time and my friends and family were full of questions about how I was able to make so much money while working so few hours. Plus, I wanted a place to talk about business where people would “get it”.
There were just a couple of websites about selling on Amazon at the time (funny, because now there are SO MANY), but there weren't people my age (25 at the time) or ladies, doing it and blogging about it. So I thought, why not? People were definitely interested in my personal life and in Facebook Groups. So why not have a dedicated place to share what I knew.
2. Just get started, It doesn't Have To Be Perfect
When I look back now at the original posts, it's pretty embarrassing. I had no idea what I was really doing. I did the ritual “this is my blog” post. Where I basically talked about myself and that I would be there.
Oh, and here I am again, telling MY STORY…
I did learn something though, people do care about our stories! We relate to other people through our stories of both success and failure.
3. Start An Email List From Day 1
Ok, back to my blogging story. One thing I did from the very beginning was haveing an opt-in on my site. I had learned that in the short amount of time I spent researching how to start a website. I needed to have an email list. The money is in the list they said. So, having no idea how that list would eventually make me millions of dollars, I heeded the advice and put a cute little opt-in box and asked people to sign up for my “list”. No bribe or anything!
See it over there on the right? That was my original opt in!The crazy thing was, people actually signed up for it and when I sent out emails, they opened them!
I was so excited to have just a few people signed up for my email list. It was really motivating and made me want to keep going. People cared!
“Wow, this thing could really turn into something,” I thought.
4. Blog About What You Are An Expert In, Not What Looks Profitable!
My first posts (after that obligatory introduction post of course) were based around things that people had been asking me about. Either in real life, or in Facebook Groups. So I basically wrote about things that I had learned through experience and was having success with. People were engaging with me a little on the website, people were talking to me on my Facebook page and they were sending me personal emails.
I learned something really important at that time.
You are perceived as an expert, when you know any amount more than someone else does. Really, keep that in mind when you are working on your own site and your own business. What do you know more about than other people do? What can you share that people will find value in you sharing with them?
I often see people deciding what to build a website around simply based on something they think will be profitable, rather than what they are actually an expert in. I guarantee that if you put yourself out there in an industry that you know what the heck you are talking about, versus learning enough to get by and make some money, you will do much better in the first scenario! Plus, it's so much easier to talk about what you actually know! No more fake it till you make it crap that is so heavy in our industry.
One thing I did that really made me stand out as an expert was doing income reports. I didn't do them for long, and the reasons why may actually surprise you. I'm not going to get into all the reasons why right now, but I will in another post very soon.
5. Find A Way To Monetize What You Are doing
I started my site in October of 2012 and the momentum grew rather quickly. And I don't mean that I was getting hundreds of thousands of hits on my site, because that definitely wasn't the case! But I had people who were visiting the site regularly, interacting with me and asking me a TON of questions.
I was getting asked the same questions over and over again. Both in my personal life and online. So I decided to try something!
I spoke to some people directly, who had been asking me questions, and asked if they would pay to work with me. If I showed them the ropes in the business I was doing. And most of them said yes!
So I set up to make a plan on what I could teach them and how I would share the information and in January of 2013 (just shy of 3 months of starting my website) I had my first coaching program.
6. Keep It Simple And Just Get Started
I released my “successfully selling with Jessica inner circle” very casually. I knew nothing about Facebook Ads (were there even ads in 2012-2013 on FB?), “launching” a program or even coaching.
But what I did know was that people wanted to know more about what I was doing and I could definitely share the things I knew! For me, the group model made the most sense because I could share with multiple people at the same time and the group would benefit from having others in the same place in the journey that they were.
I did a couple of posts on Facebook, had a Paypal buy button, and reached out to people who had shown interest in what I was doing.
I figured if I could just get 10 people to pay me $50/month that would be $500 and worth the time I was going to be putting into it. My goal was to get 20 people, so that I would be making $1,000 a month. I was working on my Amazon business and bringing in thousands of dollars a month, so I just needed a way to justify taking time away from my other business that was already profitable.
I really wanted to help people too, so it was a win-win!
I'm not saying everyone should go out and create a coaching program…But it is a very viable business model and it worked for me for over 2 years. I still use it in certain situations, and will probably do it again! It is one of the easiest ways I know to make money right away. And, the people you are teaching, will tell you exactly what they need to know. So no guess work.
7. Be Social, Not Spammy
One of the first ways I began to have people online reaching out to me was by being an active participant in Facebook groups. But, here's the thing…
When I was participating in Facebook groups, it was nothing like what is being taught today. Now people say to be active and post questions and interact on those questions to show yourself as an expert.
The way I did it was unintentional and so much more organic than going into someone's Facebook group to get clients. I can spot a spammy “expert” by the first 2 sentences in their posts and they get immediately banned from my groups.
Someone who has actual knowledge in a subject, usually likes to share it freely, no matter if they are getting clients or building a list! Just by hanging out in a few Facebook groups and participating in the regular conversations, people will start to notice if you are doing something unique. For me, it was the way that I sourced products and was getting really high-profit margins. People were interested and I gladly shared what I knew.
From there people would friend me or “like” my Facebook Page.
8. Share Your Knowledge Freely!
Once I had organically established myself as an expert (again not necessarily trying to do so) I had people who were leaders in the industry start seeking me out to provide content to their audiences. You see, industry leaders love to have new people to share information with their follower. Or new unique ways to do things in their niche!
I was totally willing to get out of my comfort zone and speak to other people's audiences. This really showed me that what I knew, others were really interested in.
After being a guest on a few podcasts (they were called online radio shows back then), I had a clear concept of what details people needed to know about what I was doing.
Plus, I was getting exposure…Meaning I was getting more website traffic, more email subscribers and more group coaching clients.
By March (3 months after starting it) I had grown that small coaching group to 40 students wanting to know what I knew! Now I was making $2,000 a month talking about something that I was extremely passionate about, and changing people's lives in the process. Talk about feeling good about helping people.
$2,000 was about what I was making a month working full time in sales, before I got laid off from the last real job I ever had. Still, at that point, I had no idea what was possible! I figured that those coaching students would move on in a few months and go on to work their businesses without me. Boy was I wrong!
I continued doing that coaching group for almost 2 years, ending it when I wanted to focus on other things in my business and family. The group was generating over $8,000 a month in income and had over 100 members. By then, the price had gone up to $100 a month and some of the original 20 members were still actively participating and we are even still friends today.
9. Digital Products Are Truly The Holy Grail Of A Digital Business
During my group coaching I was teaching concepts that would work for anyone in the Amazon business, even if they weren't in the coaching group. I realized then that it would be a good idea to start making digital courses. So I could share with people outside of the coaching group, the things I was sharing on the inside. Just without that one on one aspect.
I created my first ebook in May of 2013, knowing NOTHING about how to create a digital product. Do you see a pattern in the way I do things?
I literally wrote a big FAQ ebook. I took all of the questions I had been answering over and over and put them in written format. I took a weekend to write the guide and then had a friend edit it for me. I turned it into a PDF from the word document and got an ebook cover on Fiverr!
Remember how I had been building a list from day one? Yup, that meant I had people that I could SELL the guide to when it was ready to go!
I can still vividly remember the scared feeling of pressing send on that email and then the extreme excitement when that first Paypal notification came through on my phone letting me know that I had made a sale! People were paying for something that I had written! Holy cow.
Then more and more people bought.
Later (that same day) the haters came out to play (a story I am sure I will be sharing later so make sure to subscribe to email updates) and that was a point where I could have said forget it, who I am to be getting paid for what I know and been done with that! Had I quit then, I never would have known what it was like to have $10,000 months selling digital products, then $20,000 and now upwards of $100,000 a month.
10. Paying Affiliates Well Will Boost Sales!
Once I had sold the ebook to my own list for about a week, I started to reach out to leaders in the industry to see if they would be affiliates for me. I offer a 50% commission on the ebook I was selling and commissions on any future courses I would potentially make. Some people did take me up on it and I am thankful to this day that they believed in me enough to trust me with their audiences. And, most of them are affiliates to this day and still make money off of those very first customers because of the way my affiliate program is set up.
I believed that if I wanted to grow my reach, I needed to make it worth it to the people I was asking to give me access to their lists. Not just offering a wimpy one time commission. I knew that they had worked hard to build their own list and it was an honor to have them promote me.
If you are following my timeline, it's now almost 8 months since I started my website and I had a small email list of a few thousand people, 40 people in a coaching group paying me $50 each and an ebook that was selling for $47 ($37 on sale most of the time). The first month the guide sold over $3,000 and then $6,000 the next month. To this day, that guide still sells at $27 and has done over $80,000 in sales over the last 3.5 years. You can see the first years sales in the screenshot to the right.
Selling just that one guide would be enough to replace my old income…
Having that guide selling really lit a fire in me though and I caught the teaching bug. I was starting to really get a grasp on what the possibilities were.
11. Don't Stop At Just ONE Training Course
I think that at that point I was at is where a lot of people decide that's good enough and just let it be. Instead, I decided, if it worked once, it will work again…and again…and again.
I had years of experience under my belt and lots of things I could share, and was doing so in my coaching group. So starting in January of 2014 every time I taught something in the coaching group that resonated really well with the members, I turned it into a digital product. Some did better than others. But I was creating the content anyway, so I may as well keep putting it out there 🙂
I learned a lot that year as things in my business really took off. I realized that I couldn't do everything on my own and I needed help! I hired people in different areas of my business so that I could keep up with doing the parts I loved. I set up partnerships that were set up badly and ended really badly. (Again, another thing learned the hard way I'll have to share so you can learn from too). There are a lot of things that no one talks about in the content marketing industry, so you just gotta “wing it”.
You see, there are a lot of things that no one talks about in the content marketing industry, so you just gotta “wing it”. I did the best I could!
12. Scale Prices Up As You Are Seeing Success
One of the things that made the biggest impact in my business was creating a larger dollar product. Some call it “high end”. Sure, I loved and still do love selling a lot of low dollar courses. They all add up and are a significant amount of money, even if I only had just one.
But, I saw a huge need in my industry and that coaching group I thought people would move on from, was growing and growing. So I didn't have a place any longer to help brand new people. So I set off to see if it would be worth it to start a beginners course from scratch.
The way I do things is finding out if people will give me money FIRST and then I create the product (especially if there is a lot of time involved.). I decided that if I could get 30 people to commit (and start paying) me $300 each, I would create a course with them over the next 3 months. I actually got exactly 30 people to sign up for that beta group of what is now known as the Amazon Boot Camp.
I know I probably sound really naive, because I keep saying this, but man did I have no idea what that would do for my business!
When the course was finished and the beta group had gone through it (and was seeing their own success) I was ready to put it out into the world. That's when I had my first (of many now) 5-figure launches! There's that email list at work again!
People often ask me now if I wish I had just gone straight to the higher price point course. And to be totally honest I'm glad I didn't. And even today starting another business (here at She Builds A Business) I have no desire to go right into a course that is hundreds of dollars.
First of all, because they take a lot of time. And secondly, waiting to launch a high-level program gave me time to get to know my audience and what they really needed. I was able to build up credibility and know that when I sold the course people would buy it.
Unfortunately, so often I see people jump right into digital courses and start selling $1,000 courses right off the bat. They may sell a few the first go round, but more often, and less talked about, they sell none…and are absolutely heartbroken!
Starting out small worked out really well for me and I wouldn't change anything about it!
13. Invest In Yourself Financially To Help Your Business Grow
I was able to scale my business to the point of making $10,000 a month on my own and without any “training”. I had bought a few small courses to help me navigate certain things, but nothing fancy.
Once I got to the point that I was ready to really see if I could scale up my business and get coaching, I had a hard time finding someone that was further along in their business than I was. I didn't see the point in getting a coach or buying courses from people who were making less than I was.
I did eventually find someone that I believed was more successful than I was and had some amazing systems in place that I wanted to be able to emulate in my own business. I was pretty much “winging it” and didn't have anything streamlined at all! So my goal was to get some more passive income streams into place and get what I had working already, more precise.
Working with my coach I was able to get my systems tweaked and saw increases in revenue very quickly. My first goal was to double my monthly income and that happened after just a few months of working with Nicole.
I think it is very important to choose who you want to work with very carefully and make sure that they have qualities and things that you want to do in your own business when taking courses or choosing a coach. Your business is so personal, and you need someone who you really click with to be able to trust what they say for you to do.
14. Do What Others Aren't Doing To See Results Others Aren't Seeing
In March of 2014 my husband and I were featured on the Smart Passive Income podcast with Pat Flynn (episode #99). This gave the digital business another boost. First of all, that podcast is freaking amazing! So it was such an honor to be a guest of Pats (and I would love to share this success story on their too!).
Up until that point, I hadn't been reaching outside of my own niche very much. I had a few affiliates that were in industries outside of selling on Amazon, but not many.
Being on the podcast really opened my eyes to the possibilities of reaching out to new audiences. Up until then, most people teaching Amazon were relying on Facebook and google to get traffic. I actually had many sellers angry with me for taking the opportunity “mainstream” and bringing in so much “competition”. Well, the good news is that over 3 years later, the business we teach at TheSellingFamily.com is still very viable and there is plenty of room for new sellers, even to this day 🙂
I had a lot of people ask me how I got the spot on SPI and many could not believe that I just asked for it. To this day Pat and I still talk and I am so thankful to him for the knowledge he shares so freely with his audience! I often learn things from his podcast that make incredible changes in my businesses.
Later that year my husband Cliff and I had the privilege to participate in a mastermind event that Pat Flynn and Chris Ducker hosted in San Diego and that was another turning point in our business.
15. If you don't enjoy something, let it go!
It was at that event that we realized there were a lot of things that weren't 100% enjoyable and that needed to be changed so that we could have more joy from our business. On the 12 hour (thanks to a major accident that delayed us many hours) drive home, we decided that we were going to close the doors on our coaching program even though it was bringing in almost $10,000 a month! We felt 100% peace about the decision and knew that it was what was best for us.
We really wanted to focus on things in our business that we completely enjoyed and were more passive.
When we got home, we rebranded our teaching site and updated a lot of our courses. We got our systems in place so that things were running smoothly and had time to really enjoy the life we were creating for ourselves.
16. Have Systems For Everything So You Can Take Time Off
I also spent almost an entire year letting my business just run while spending very little time on it. Because I had a lot of systems in place, an amazing team working with me and multiple products selling, things were able to continue on without needing my full-time attention.
I had a lot of different opt-ins in place, autoresponders running and google traffic was pretty consistent.
Over that year, I spent a lot of time working on myself as a person and getting comfortable with who I am. Going through so many changes in a short amount of time, really did a number on me. There were things about myself that I didn't even recognize anymore. I was making a crap ton of money, working very little hours and having anxiety attacks for no reason. I felt like I couldn't stick up for myself or say things that I needed to. I let myself get walked all over and backed down in situations I wouldn't normally. My friendships were suffering and all I wanted to do was hang out at home with my family.
Spending the time and money to put myself first was one of the best decisions I've ever made! I am at such a better place now and feel more confident than I ever have.
Because I spent that year working on myself, I was able to spend this last year working on a growth stage in my business again.
Working felt fun again.
Creating courses was fun again.
Coaching clients was fun again.
And my income doubled again!
I was excited to try new things again and it showed in my business. I started doing interviews and guest blogs to generate traffic. I started a mastermind group with super star ladies killing it in their businesses. Focused on social media and list building. And worked with other industry leaders to do Joint Ventures that I always turned down before.
I even started doing live webcasts where people could actually SEE me! You see, I spent the first few years of my business hiding behind slideshows so people didn't have to see the real me. I was afraid that if they knew the real me, they wouldn't like it. But I was wrong! The feedback I get from actually putting myself out there now is amazing and so fulfilling!
17. Be Willing To Step Into New Things
So here we are at the 5-year mark in my blogging and website owning journey. I am excited to say that I have officially gotten to the point of generating over a million dollars a year on my own products. I don't say that to brag. I just believe that it's important to be transparent and I see so many business coaches who have no proof to back up what they talk about!
I'm also at the point where I feel confident in what I have learned over the last 5 years to step out into something new.
I have been working with people privately and at the few live events I go to for marketing, to grow their own businesses. Just like I did when my whole focus was teaching Amazon, I have a very unique way of getting stuff done and making money.
That's why I started blogging about blogging and creating online courses.
I'm ready to share what I've learned over the last 4 years to grow my 7-figure business!
I want to help you be seen as the expert you already are and get paid well for it. I'm tired of standing by and watching entrepreneurs struggle and not make money with their websites.
So if you are ready to get into my head, make sure to subscribe to my email list at the end of this post! I've got so much to share with you and your business is going to be growing by leaps and bounds because of it!
Thanks for reading this novel and letting me share my journey with you!
There you have it! These are the 17 things I've learned while building my 7-figure website over the last 5 years…
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