This is the second post in the Online Business 101 series.
Finding your profitable sweet spot is one of the most powerful ways to build the foundation of a successful business. Why? Because you’re offering people who want to buy from you exactly what they want AND you’re exactly the person to give it to them! It’s a win-win.
Why You Should Earn More Money, Instead of Ridiculously Cutting Back
There’s a reason I want you guys to learn and build confidence in earning money online. Let me give you a gander at the money situation happening around the world. People who are rich look for more ways to MAKE money. People who are middle class or below look for every possible way to SAVE money. Do you know what that does? It makes the rich richer and the poor more deprived. Making more money has potentially unlimited potential, while, on the other hand, you can only cut back so much… I mean you can’t live a rich life if you’re cutting back on the things you actually want in life, the things that actually make you more happy (like a night out with friends or a really fun family outing).
I recently adopted this new motto by Ramit Sethi, “Spend extravagantly on the things you love… as long as you cut costs mercilessly on the things you don’t.” (CLICK TO TWEET) Doesn’t that just make complete sense? Why choose to cut back on the things that actually make your day, your week, BETTER? Because (surprise) happiness makes you more primed to succeed.
This is WHY you need to earn more on the side and WHY you need to find your Profitable Sweet Spot to do to exactly that.
Because if no one wants to buy the work you’re offering, well then buddy, you got yourself a hobby. As my buddy, Paul Freet, would say…
Now, what makes a Profitable Sweet Spot?
What are the actual pieces that make a profitable sweet spot, well, profitable and sweet? As you can see in the gorgeous graph below, it takes Natural Skills + Talents, Passions + Likes, What People Are Delighted to Pay for, and, a’course, Purpose.
Natural Skills + Talents – This revolves around what you’re instinctively good at. What natural skill do you have? What’s your talent? Are you good at talking to people, convincing people to try different things, or helping people connect with the right people? Take a peak into your childhood, what came easy to you? If you can’t think of anything. That may just mean you haven’t taken the time to explore who you are and you just need to experiment to determine your strengths.
Passions + Likes – In terms of the actual work you do, there’s a difference between a skill that you’re good at vs a skill that you’re good at that also lights you up. In terms of market and industry, where do you want to help? What kind of people do you want to help that will light you up? Do you want to work with business owners, kids, women. What area do you want to help them in? Health, marketing, fashion, design?
What People Are Delighted to Pay for – Again, I’m not trying to help you create a hobby to just pass the time with. I’m trying to help you make some money. The key here is you don’t want people who simply NEED your service, neither do you want people who WANT your service, you want the select people who would feel it a privilege and DELIGHT to work with you. Yes, that’s fewer people than targeting the whole entire world, but this makes you money that’s great and consistent. Otherwise, you’d be wasting time trying to convince people that they even need your service/product. And, guess what, people like that won’t respect you and you’ll be miserable working for people who are completely ungrateful to you. So, yeah, don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Purpose- The most pivotal thing! As you can see, purpose holds everything else in place and keeps everything united and strong. Nothing floats away when you have a solid purpose. Having a purpose is so important when starting your business because it gives you something to hold onto when you feel like quitting or if it gets tough. It’s even important when you’re super successful because it gives you that sense of fulfillment everyone craves. I explain the importance of having a purpose and answering your WHY in way more detail over here.
So, the basic formal is: Purpose + Something you’re good at + Something that makes you feel alive + Something people beg to pay you for = A Profitable Sweet Spot
How to Find Your Profitable Idea
Now you know what makes up a profitable sweet spot, it time to actually talk about how to find that winning idea. These are the steps:
Step 1: Set Your Goals
Alright, I lied. The real first step is taking on this endeavor. Do you have the guts? Once you know you do, it’s time to set a realistic goal. How much do you want to make? $200 in 1-3 months is a realistic goal for just starting out. Once you get the hang of it, it can exponentially increase to numbers like $500 in 3 months to $500 in 1 month, etc. What do you want the extra money for? Do you want to pay off debt or save up for a car?
Action Step: Come up with your goal mission statement, write it down and post it on your wall in front of your computer.
Here’s an example: “My Mission: Make $200 in side income in 3 months to help me start paying off my 20K student loan debt.”
Step 2: Spew Your Ideas
Time to come with with a list of ideas. Notice how I used the word “spew,” meaning this won’t be (and shouldn’t be) a graceful or intensive thought process. We’re just going to spew, or throw down, some ideas on the page. It doesn’t matter if they don’t make sense and ignore any objections that might come up in your mind about what you write.
The best way to do this is to make a list of a few categories, which can include hobbies, skills, topics you like to read about, applications you like to use, and websites you loving to go to. For each category, list as many answers you can come up with. For each answer, translate it into a possible service. Remember, this is all about getting ideas down. Nothing needs to make sense right now.
Here’s an example: Skill (category) -> Writing (answer) = Copywriter (service)
Another: Applications I Use (category) -> Photoshop (answer) = Graphic Designer (service)
Action Step: Brainstorm every single idea you can come up with that you have the least bit of interest for. Throw down around 40-50 ideas on paper. Use the PDF below to help you out.
Step 3: Test Your Idea
Now, it’s time to narrow down and test your ideas. I need you think of each idea in terms of what makes up a profitable sweet spot (as we talked about above). Your idea must answer these questions: Who would pay for this? Would that person even HAVE the money to pay for it? Would they be DELIGHTED to pay for it? Are you willing to provide this service? Are you capable to provide the service? Would this kind of work ignite something in you that would make you feel more alive? Is there a greater purpose that you serve by doing this work? Answering these should narrow down your list substantially. Of the remaining few, pick the one you think is best. Go with your gut.
Action Step: Narrow down your list to one idea. Ask 10-20 people who are in or near the industry what they think of your idea and collect their feedback. Weigh in with their insights and decide on one idea.
Step 4: Nail Your First Sale
Once you know you have a legitimate idea that passes each of the questions above, it’s time to find a clients. Approach them with your services, whether for a limited amount of time of free work or a straight up paid position (hourly or based on the project). A hard, yet worthwhile endeavor is to make a list of 100 potential people you want to work with and offering your services to each of them. Maybe out of the 100, only 10 reply, which is pretty realistic. Of those 10, you get 2 clients. That means you have a 2% conversion rate. Again, this is pretty realistic. That means if you’re gunning for 4 clients (in this scenario, you’d contact about 200 potential prospects to secure these 4 clients) at $50/project, you’ll hit your $200 goal! Once you start seeing patterns, you’ll know exactly how to approach prospects and get them as clients. Intense, but it works. Also, once you get a good rhythm going, there are a few other tricks that you can implement that will help you later in the game.
Action Step: HUSTLE and get your first client.
I know this post is a bit intense, but it’s a good run though from going to idea to client. Next time, we’ll talk about how to gain experience when you don’t have a lick of it.
Now, what have you got to say about it? Let me know what YOUR goal mission statement is in the comments below. Ask me questions if you’re stuck.
This is the first post in the Online Business 101 series.
There are a lot of types of rich. New Rich. Old Rich. Bad Rich. Crazy Rich. But now, there is a different kind of rich starting to emerge: The Good Rich. The Good Rich are people that build their empires on the most important thing to have in their business: Purpose.
The Good Rich build, what I like to call, SOUL BUSINESSES. Their business is an extension of themselves, a product of their life experiences, and is fueled by a greater purpose. As they evolve, so does their business.
Now, why should you care about this when starting a business? We live in a day and age where there is so much FAKE. These fake people, the Bad Rich, build businesses with only money in mind. They aren’t genuine, they don’t actually care, and they don’t know anything about the people they serve. And especially, they don’t know WHY they do what they do. When you come across businesses like these, you know it because it leaves you with a bad taste in your mouth. You may not be able to explain it, but it’s something in their vibe. And that’s because they lack purpose and passion. There are so many of these people, that when a genuine person comes along, it’s refreshing and people feel connected to them more. And that connection is priceless.
That’s why, today, people need soul more than ever. In fact, they’re hungry for it. So, when you proclaim your soul business, people are attracted to that fire and that feeling of being alive that is manifest in your mission. And that attraction, that fire, that drive, creates a love and a loyalty that makes a more successful business.
In order to have this soul business, you need to have a STRONG purpose in what you do.
So, how do you add soul and purpose to your business? In order to add soul and purpose, you must become clear on WHY you’re doing what you’re doing. There’s a great quote from Simon Sinek’s Start with Why, that goes:
Because people buy WHY you do something, you need to be crystal clear on your message and it needs to have heart! Otherwise, you won’t make as much as you can OR your business may just fizzle out of existence. Here are two examples:
We make great computers. They’re beautifully designed, simple to use and user-friendly. Wanna buy one?
Everything we do, we do because we believe in challenging the status quo. We believe in thinking differently. The way we challenge the status quo is by making our products beautifully designed, simple to use and user-friendly. And we happen to make great computers. Wanna buy one?
I write great copy. It’s clear, cleverly developed, and powerful. Wanna hire me?
Everything I do, I do to help women make their difference. I believe that women with a voice will save the world. The way I help these women is by helping them deliver their message in a way that is clear, cleverly developed, and powerful. I happen to do this by writing great copy. Wanna hire me?
*This example is from Simon Sinek’s Start With Why.
If you’re just starting out, the best way to figure out your why is to figure out what issues matter to you the most as a human being. Then, figure how to to help people overcome that issue with a kind of work that connects with you the most. Personally, I believe that everyone is gifted with a special skill or talent. It’s in you, even if you haven’t discovered it yet. There’s a really great quote about this too.
I call this SOUL WORK. Find the work you’re meant to do that uses your greatest strengths, makes sense in your HEART, and answers a specific WHY that matters to you, personally and intimately. That way, you will always be driven to do your best and that passion will show like fireworks when people work with you. And that, in itself, spreads the word of your awesome. Again, this is why I am a copywriter. You can read more about my WHY here.
So, what happens if you already have a business? Does that mean you have to start another? Not necessarily. It just means you need to be clear on WHY you do what you do.
Next time, we’ll talk about how to pick soul work that people will actually pay you for.
Now my challenge to you is to answer any of these questions in the comments below: Are you ready to be part of the Good Rich? What’s your purpose or your WHY? Do you believe everyone has a soul work they’re meant to do? What do you think yours is?
Each new task feels like adding another burden on your back. Another chore, a bit more pain, mega anxiety. Don’t even get me started on the panic attacks. As soon as one deed is done, another is dealt your way. It just never seems to be enough.
What if you could feel as if you’re at the top of your game, on top of the world! The “burdens” become beautiful and exhilarating challenges that you get to add to your arsenal of awesomery. Yes, you’re that audacious!
What if I all you have to do to make that change is honor your past?
I recently had the displeasure of having my past life call back to me. The people in my old life thought I was still in the rut that they helped me into. And when I realized this, I laughed myself to sleep thinking that I had escaped a world of wires that they were still caught in. (It’s a shame though really.)
It made me see how far I’d come.
I have learned that you must be in a constant celebration of yourself. Look back and see when you did something good and blow it up in your mind. Tell yourself, “Holy crap, I am freaking awesome for doing/thinking/being that.”
No matter how small of a step you’ve made, honor it. Respect it. Alas, small steps are the only thing that really change us into who we want to be.
It’s about being proud of where you came from, where you been, where you fell, where you rose. You have to give yourself credit because it’s easier, funner, and a more beautiful process to add to the wealth of your being. Rather than pulling yourself down further by seeing only the negativity, only the burdens, only the pain. Give credit to your progress. It’ll be easier to do even more for yourself after that.
What have you yet to honor and give yourself credit for?
The picture was old with a 7-member smiling family looking back. On the left, in a jean miniskirt and red tights, was a little girl. I knew that little girl well. I looked her in the eyes and realized how much I had betrayed her. I felt the tears fess up and fall.
That little girl, she was brave and bold and lived on the stories of heroes. And that’s all she wanted to be, a hero. She heard story after story of these them saving the world. She wanted to be a part of those stories.
She used to carry around a yellow memo pad and write stories of ancient times with her own heroes. She thought she could change the world with those words, just like how other stories had changed her heart and strengthened her resilience. But that yellow brick road turned dim. The brave little girl grew up and those dreams were tucked away into the back pocket of her mind.
Now, here she was, looking herself in the eye. Tears streaming down her face. So, she curled in bed and tried to reason with that little girl in the picture on why she had failed her, why she had betrayed her.
The little girl who wanted to write was instead taking a more realistic path. She’s not sure how that happened, but the words never left her. They’re something that can’t leave the body. They danced inside her and she couldn’t help but be flickered by their light. They tried calling her back, but she was too scared.
Until something happened that she did not intend and she was forced to face the little girl that wanted to save the world. And finally she listened. Finally, I listened. I gave myself permission to lead my own life and it’s been the most liberating thing I’ve ever done.
I’ve let the words take over and the stories spill. Through mentorship, instruction, and practice, I’ve built a business that caters words to businesses and tells their story. I help women make the impact they’ve wanted to give by putting them in alignment with their business and message.
It’s like any craft, it needs to be perfected. A message needs to be crafted precisely, a process which needs understanding of human psychology. Something you can’t fake, feign, or wing. It’s delicate.
I’ve had my moments of doubt and apprehension. They visit just as frequently as anyone’s demons. I get scared to work with some clients because I’m not sure my writing is up to par with their mission. I can get unsure and stiffen to the very idea of writing. This is why writing is the main thing I’ve set to drastically master this year.
My work isn’t just work to me. It’s my impact on the world. I help people’s dreams come true because in order to bring a dream into reality, you first have to name it to claim it. I assist my clients in that discovery process. Becoming a better writer means giving the best service, clarity, and exposure to the lovely ladies who invest in me. My business would truly reflect my purpose. I believe writing has dozens, if not hundreds, of facets that can be tinkered and tweaked with. I am determined to learn every angle in order to convey the perfect message for my clients. For this is my way of saving the world.
Now, I let the little girl reign. And this is the happiest I’ve ever been in my entire life.
Stories. They’re everywhere. How do religions teach? Stories. What does music sing of? Stories. Why do those movies make us cry, laugh, or send a shiver up our back? It’s all because of the stories.
Today, I found myself replaying this trailer over and over again because of the way it made me feel.
Fear is a psychological barrier that inhibits and cripples you from acting. Most importantly, fear is a CHOICE. “Don’t misunderstand me,” danger is real, so be aware of it. There’s a right way and a wrong way to deal with fear. And if you succumb to it, don’t be afraid to try again. The wrong way to deal with fear is to deny it and push it back, because it will just trying coming back at you. The right way to deal with fear is to let it take its course, follow the sensation as it takes its course through your body. Once you understand how fear makes you feel, it’ll be easier to act despite its presence. Choose to make fear irrelevant.
This trailer shows that the place where fear thrives is in our origin. I find that to be true. There is a fear in finding our origin, more specifically, finding our purpose. We wonder why we have been given a chance, why we exist, and we question the point of our origin…
How’d this trailer make you feel?
There was a woman I saw the other day, an elderly woman. She had a smile on her face and her eyes were closed. A stroller was in front of her, probably that of her grandchild’s.
There’s this thing that happens when I look at people, especially old people. I spin the world around me and stand as if I exist in the same moment she’s living. With her same history. Same memories. Same hopes and dreams. I wonder what she wants out of life, if this moment is the moment she’s been waiting for. Or if she’s still waiting on something, maybe she’s given up. I wonder how I would be feeling if I were her. All this takes a few seconds before I zip back into my own body.
So, when this old lady crossed my eyes, I wondered who she was. Why was she alone? Where was her family? Why was she stuck babysitting? Why was she smiling? Why were her eyes closed?
I wondered what it would be like if I were her. When I’m an old lady and I’m smiling with my eyes closed with a stroller, why would I be doing that?
Why would you smile when you’re old? For me, it’d be because I’d had a great, epic life and I’m happy. I’m talking best-selling author, traveled around the world, teaching young kids how to build their own entrepreneurial empires proudly, illuminating as many hearts as I can, and showing the world through example what Islam is really about.
I’d be smiling with closed eyes because I had fresh baby ears awaiting the tale of my life story, so that one day she can be a part of my legacy and be a better version of human than I could ever be.
Why would you be smiling as the wrinkled version of yourself?
Reminiscing to my days in college, I had this peculiar rule on test days: I would always dress myself in feeling amazing. Other students, dressed in their pajamas of crusted mindsets and lazy eyes, asked about it. I used to say it favored me with extra “UMPH.”
And it’s true, because it does. What you don is what you deal to your mind. I waken grace and faith when I energize myself with the hijab (scarf) and gear myself with reign in a chic outfit.
Hijab gives me extra UMPH as a Muslim and my reigning outfits gives me extra UMPH as an entrepreneur.
When you dress the part, you become the part. In fact, taking this measure helped me land a new client.
So, anyone else detect this energy?
“Okay I failed, but I didn’t really try that hard.” I used to say that all the time. It was my moto for never achieving anything. I was a bums fo’ life kinda girl. Definitely not a shining moment in my life.
It’s what I said when I got a D in Chemistry in high school.
It’s what I said when I didn’t do my homework during that period either.
It’s what I said when I didn’t get into NHS the first time around.
It’s also the reason why I found myself disappointed in everything I did.
Because “okay I failed, but I didn’t really try that hard” doesn’t change or help anyone, especially you. Losers say it and I was a friggin’ loser. I was also an outcast in high school, but that’s a whole different story for another day.
You and I both know why you say it. Don’t get cheeky with me, I was there once. When you say “okay I failed, but I didn’t really try that hard” or “if I wanted to do it, I’d do it” what you’re really saying is I don’t want to invest my heart into this, fail, and be utterly ripped apart by devastation and embarrassment. So instead, you take the coward’s way out, you hold up those phrases as a shield to protect yourself, as I once did.
It’s sorta like failing on your own terms.
But the real truth to it is that once you commit you get so much power and energy out of that, that even if you fail, you dust yourself off and try again. Success will come over time, when you create a practice for yourself, dedicate yourself, and give it everything you got.
Amateurs say, “I failed, but I didn’t really try that hard.”
Professionals commit 100% and get superpowers. Their failures are setbacks that barely phase ‘em.
What are you?
*This post is inspired by Steven Pressfield.
Let be honest. When you talk about your dreams, this is how it looks: the head lowers, the voice drops, and words like “sorta,” “kinda,” “ish” start blabbing out of your mouth. Our dreams are sometimes the biggest secrets we keep and we’re afraid of the world to discover them.
On the other side, you also know what it’s like when you talk about living up to society’s expectations. There’s this pride you get, a kind of worthless sort of pride that doesn’t really mean anything to you. You can see it in the way they talk, the way they flaunt it, with their head held high. I know that feeling very well because I used to act like that when I was pursuing medicine. When I would mention it, there would be the energy of expectation I would give off and I would get an energy of approval from people, friends, aunties, uncles, pretty much everyone. I was actually very much caught up in that feeling, it made me think I was doing it, doing life* right.
Until sense hit me, either that or insanity (as some of my friends voices insist of revealing half the time I talk to them about my business). I mean seriously, stop recommending me to a million jobs whenever I mention copywriting. *oh-so-subtle-but-not-really-hint* If the help was earnest, I appreciate it. Otherwise, you should have noticed, I stopped talking to you. *smile*
Dreams Aren’t Meant to Be Understood by Others
That’s because they’re YOUR dreams. Time and time again you hear of the has-been haters of some of the most successful people in the world. Need a reminder, check this out:
image is not mine, no idea where it came from, but it belongs to wherever it's from.
The only person who needs to understand your dreams is YOU. It’s the opinion of yourself that makes or breaks you. It’s the opinion of yourself that causes you to begrudging cough up your dreams or declaring them boldly, like a billy goat on a mountain…erm or not…
You, your ideas are worth exactly what you think they are. Be who you want to be, otherwise you’ll be, well, someone you don’t want to be. So, BE THE BILLY GOAT. BAHHH! Okay fine, maybe that’s not cool and you might freak people out. How about a DRAGON? RAWR.
Billy goat/Dragonify your dreams in the comments. What’s that secret you got?
“OMG, I WANT TO BE AN ENTREPRENEUR! I GOING TO QUIT MYJOB AND FINALLY TELL MY BOSS TO SUCK LOLLIPOPS! I’M GOING TO BE RICH BY NEXT MONTH. YE-HA SKIPP-IDDY-DO-DA-DAY!”
Okay, woah there, buddy. Let’s calm down. Don’t get so excited that your head pops off. Being an entrepreneur is a risky thing. 95% of entrepreneurs fail. Why? Because that attitude right up there, as well as not being prepared enough. So, for the record, don’t quit your day job.
The Transition to Entrepreneur
So, you know what step one is right? Don’t quit your day job. Second? Starting the transition. Before you get into building a business and getting it vamped and shiny, you need to understand a thing or two about what you’re doing. So, here are the things you need to take care of.
Your time. There are only 24 hours in a day, 168 hours in a week. And you’re probably sleeping half that time. With all that’s going on in your schedule, can you block out a minimum of 5 hours per week to dedicate to this? If it can’t seem to fit. Ask yourself if you would like being exactly where you are, on whichever path you’re on, 1 month, 3 months, 7 months, or a year from now? NOW try prioritizing it into your schedule. Because if you do no work, you get no perk.
Your motivation. Are you doing this for the right reasons? Just so you know, the wrong reasons are money, getting rich quick, and purely for escape (as in you just want to escape, you have no idea what you’re doing, so you plunge into entrepreneurship because it sounds cool).
Your support/accountability system. Do you have people rooting for you? On the flip side, many wise entrepreneurs suggest not telling people who are close to you of your aspirations if you know they won’t have your back. Instead, find a select few (1-2 people) that share your views about entrepreneurship (maybe create an online support group). You can tell your family and friends later on, when YOU are fully solid on your ambitions and nothing can waver you.
Research. You have to understand business and you have to understand where your strengths are. Finding the match between the two will help you pick the right service/product to offer.
The key is to keep it on the side, for now. It’s like a new born baby. You don’t just thrust it into the real world and say farewell. You raise that child and prepare for its growth. Oh, and the perfect phrase to plug in here too: BABY STEPS! BABY STEPS! BABY STEPS!
Take your time. Do small things, consistently. Then, you’ll see real progress.
Another reason to keep it on the side is that if it goes south, then you won’t being going with it!
- Start saving some money. Before you take any sort of action or buy anything, you should have $500-$1000 specifically saved for your entrepreneurial ventures.
- Create an accountability group. List and contact 3 people who’ll support you and keep you on point.
- Look at your weekly schedule. Block out a total of 5 hours of time throughout the week. Try to make it each “session” at least 30-45 minutes long. Dedicate those hours to entrepreneurial research.
If you feel like you need an in-depth process on how to tackle the transition to entrepreneurship and understanding what it entails, my new book, “The Actionbook to Entrepreneurship ” comes out on November 6th. It’s packed with guides, worksheets, and action steps. ALL KILLA, NO FILLA! Coming FREE to all my subscribers because I love you guys!
What do you need help with the most in regards to shifting gears to entrepreneurship?