I must warn you, I wouldn’t recommend this to everyone, but I wanted to do this to prove a point to my peers who want to become entrepreneurs. Launching a 6-figure business is very possible.
If I could launch two at the same time, hopefully, this will inspire you to finally get one going.
Before I go on, I must warn you that pulling this off requires sacrifice. You must be prepared to have a suffering social media life, miss out on birthday turn-ups, pass up on vacations to flex on the gram, etc.
If you are ok with that read on…
In 2017, the two businesses I started were all online-based businesses. The first was a social media advertising agency, Customer Mojo. Because of the amount of success I had using social media marketing and advertising, I launched this company to help small businesses grow. The second was an e-commerce brand for black men, called Fresh Heritage. I launched this company because out of my own desire to find great grooming products for my beard.
These were both very different companies, but I used the same principles to grow both of them and it helped tremendously. Here are my thoughts on things that will guide you to a successful business.
1: Start A Business That Solves A Problem
I believe the best businesses solve problems for people. If you focus on this, your marketing becomes very easy because you are literally improving people’s lives. Think about it… who wouldn’t want to pay a small fee to eliminate a major problem?
Often times, I hear people pitching me their new business idea and it doesn’t solve a problem. It’s just an idea that they thought was cool. If this is you…I would think long and hard before launching a cool idea that doesn’t solve a problem.
Fortunately, we don’t need to think too hard about problems because the best problem-solving ideas usually come from things that we go through each day. For me, I had a beard and struggled to find high-quality products made specifically for men of color.
I found myself always using my lady’s products. After running into my gym buddy at Target who was also shopping in the women’s section for natural hair care products, I recognized that other men had this problem too. Learn more about how I started Fresh Heritage here: Foundr Magazine Podcast
2: Focus On a Very Specific Thing
Once you recognize that there is a problem worth pursuing, you should niche down and focus on a very specific segment of that problem (or have a very specific solution to the problem).
Starting a business is a long term marathon, not a short sprint. There are so many things that can and will go wrong in the beginning and you don’t want to multiply the craziness by not being focused on providing one solution or product. This will save you energy.
But this also makes perfect business sense, here’s why… your limited time, resources and money goes a lot longer if it all being channelled into one product or service!
If you had a startup budget of $5,000, you will get a lot further spending all of that money marketing and developing one single product, rather than if you had to split that money amongst 5 products (if you are in e-commerce) or 3 digital products (if you’re an online course or product creator).
Spend all the upfront time and money making your first product dope. Once you become known for having one single great product it will be a lot easier to introduce dope product 2, 3, 4, down the road because you’ve built a name for yourself.
My social media agency focused on one thing up front: Facebook & Instagram advertising. So many people reached out to us to do other things but we just said no and kept killing it for our clients until we became the go-to people for successfully running Facebook & Instagram ads.
Our referrals got so crazy, we got recommended to work with Essence Magazine, Ri28 Challenge, One Music Fest, BYOB Conference, The Atlanta Greek Picnic, Animaniacs and dozens of other great companies.
3: Validate The Idea Before You Start Selling
This is one of the biggest mistakes I see people make and it’s probably a key to most business failures. People have a tendency to go straight from the “idea” stage to the “selling” stage.
I believe the best way to do this is to master the art of social media marketing and advertising. Did you know that more people are logging into Instagram and Facebook each day than they are watching cable television or listening to the radio?
That means the average person now has the power of CNN, ABC, and CBS in their smartphone (if you know what you are doing). The average person under 40-years old logs into Instagram and/or Facebook up to 15x per Day.
Focus on building an audience for free on Instagram through influencer marketing, using different engagement hacks and putting out great content for your followers. Once you have that on lock, move into paid advertising to amplify your daily reach.
Our e-commerce brand created some video content on our iPhone and because I knew what problem I was solving for our audience and I knew how to profitably launch Facebook and Instagram Ads, we had a lot of early success. That video has been viewed more than 12 Million times on Facebook alone.
4: Invest In Expert Advice or Coaching
Long ago, I realized that there are people who’ve already been through and mastered what I was struggling with. Think about it, you can decide to struggle with it for the next 6 months or spend some money on a course, coaching program or mentor who can help you figure it out in a few days or weeks.
Time is my most valuable asset and I am a big believer in speeding up my learning curve to quickly acquire a skill. In growing these two businesses at the same time, there were a lot of roadblocks that came up because I was doing stuff for the first time, especially in my e-commerce business.
In 2017, I spent a little over $10,000 on online courses or conferences to acquire skills or improve the ones I already had. I can’t even begin to explain how much that was able to speed up my success. I was always giving people my money because I was thirsty to learn a new gem that I could apply in my business that would take it to the next level.
There is a lot of bad information out there, though, so I would recommend you only take advice from people who have been where you are and have accomplished what you are trying to do. Connect with those who have learned from those people and ask them what they learned. Learn from others first.
If you are reading this and want help starting an online based business or you want to grow an existing business check out these two case studies to get a behind the scenes look at what I did to find success.
Check this one out if you have a new business that is doing less than $5,000 per Month.
Check this one out if you have a business that is doing at least $5,000 per Month and you want to scale to $50k+ per Month.