There are lots of opinions about what is needed to be successful in having a business as an online entrepreneur. And as an Enneagram 8, I’m not lacking in opinions either. I believe there are 5 key aspects that are essential to grow a successful business. Curious what those are? Well, wonder no more, that is exactly what I’m sharing in today’s episode.
- Episode 059: The Step That Many Life-Long Learning Entrepreneurs Miss
- Episode 058: 7 Types of Routines & Systems to Intentionally Create As An Entrepreneur
- DM me on Instagram
- Content Creation Template
- The 5 Key Aspects that are Essential to Grow a Successful Business:
- A Validated Offer
- What you do and who you serve
- A Legal way to accept money
- Life-long learning
- Supportive Systems
Rather read before you listen? ⬇️
There are lots of opinions about what is needed to be successful in having a business as an online entrepreneur. Naturally, as an enneagram 8, I am not lacking in opinions and believe there are 5 key aspects that are essential to grow a successful business. Curious what those are? Well, wonder no more, that is exactly what I’m sharing in today’s episode.
Okay, before we dive into all the amazingness I have planned for this episode, I have to ask: is keeping up with the content you are creating a total time-suck? I get it. That used to be me. Until I created a tool to allow me to plan out and organize all my content creation in one spot in a way that worked for my brain. If content creation and keeping all the posts, reels, podcast episode, videos, blogs, stories, lives— all of that straight is something that is taking up an incredible amount of your time and causing you to feel overwhelmed, I actually have an excellent free template that you can go grab right now. This is the exact content editorial template that I use to plan out & keep straight all the content that I create for my own business. Head on over to erinhaworth.com/freetemplate to grab it.
I started my business back in 2018 and when I did, there was a lot of information available to me. There is even more of it now, 3 years later. I wanted to be smart about how I started my business because I didn’t have unlimited resources of free time, energy, cognitive bandwidth, money— any of those things.
I wanted to be resourceful and build my business in the smartest, most strategic way possible. And chances are you do, too.
We don’t like wasting time, energy, or money. And this episode is specifically for you to not live in the throwing-spaghetti-against-the-wall tactic space, which often wastes those resources.
There are millions of people giving you advice on your business, especially on growing one. Type anything into Google or Pinterest, there are countless articles, trainings, videos, blog posts, freebies, programs, experts that come up and you start to wonder who you can trust and how to pick out the voices that are for you.
These key aspects that I am getting ready to share are geared toward newer entrepreneurs but if you are an established entrepreneur don’t turn this off yet. Because if you don’t yet have these 5 aspects figured out, I highly recommend you do them now before scaling your business any further. Better later than never, right?
The first aspect is a validated offer. The last thing you want to do is to throw a bunch of money and spend a lot of time creating a business around solving a problem that actually doesn’t exists or to just add your name to the list of people who sell the exact same thing as everyone else. So you’ll want to do some market research. What are others in your field doing? What problems are they solving? What are people saying they need? What are they missing from the solutions currently available to them? Is there a need for what you’ll offer (if there are others in the field, that is a pretty good sign) and is there a gap for you to fill (are people who have this problem still dealing with it even after having tried some solutions)? These two questions are critical for success because it allows you to understand the field in which you are playing and how to position your business in a way that sets it apart from everyone else.
The second step is to get clear on what you do and who you serve through creating a business plan. There are plenty of business coaches, gurus, and other entrepreneurs who are happy to share their opinion on if you need a business plan or not. Here is my take: If you are going to have investors, a board of directors, going on Shark Tank, or a business partner, you likely need to go through the process fo creating a formal business plan. But if you are a solopreneur who is self-funded, you don’t need a 40-page business plan full of jargon that no one will ever read. A simple business plan can be exactly what you need to get the clarity you need and then… TAKE MASSIVE ACTION. And that is exactly what I talked about in episode 17: how to create a business plan that you’ll actually finish and use. Having a business plan is making decisions all at once to give you the clarity you need to actually take action and run your business. This plan will be a living document. It will likely change and need tweaks and edits but you have to start somewhere.
The third aspect is a legal way to accept money. Your business is an expensive hobby unless you are making money. Before I dive into this one, I do want to say that I am not an accountant or financial advisor. I highly recommend that you choose to have a separate business bank account from your personal accounts, no matter what the legal structure of your business is. And then have a way for people to pay you online. I personally use Stripe and Paypal as my payment processors and I like that combination for my business because it allows me to accept credit cards, e-checks, and for someone to use Paypal or Paypal Credit to pay me. You get to decide how you’ll accept payment. One quick note on payment processor fees: most payment processors charge 2.9% or some sort of fee for each transaction. This is the cost of doing business and you should prepare for it. Every time I log in to Facebook groups, I see someone trying to side-step that fee by using unauthorized payment processors to accept payment for services, which is a violation of their terms of service, or that they try to pass on the fee to the client, which is illegal in several states. To keep things simple, if you are going to accept online payments, expect those fees as the cost of doing business.
The fourth key aspect is a healthy relationship with learning. One of my biggest values in life and my business is to always be a life-long learner. I think we are in one of the coolest times when it comes to access to information. The world is changing at an incredibly fast-rate and part of that is in response to the connectedness that we have. Being able to find answers to your questions quickly is no longer an issue. I listen to an incredible amount of podcasts and audio books, read magazines and books, watch videos and trainings, join programs and work with different people to level up over and over. But there is one thing that I noticed about myself and others who were life-long learners: when we value learning from others’ experiences and culled lists of best practices, it is easy to fall into the trap of thinking they have it all figured out and we can just take what worked for them and implement in our life, in our business in the same way. And that doesn’t work. At least not long term. It isn’t enough to just devour books and hire a bunch of people to give you the answer. You have to be able to take that information, those best practices, and integrate it into your life and your business. I’ve said it before and I will continue to say it but there is no right way to build a business. There is a way that is going to be the best way for you based on what your business is and how you are structuring it, what field you are in, the goals you have set for yourself and the business, your strengths, your dreams, your interests, your experiences. So part of developing a healthy relationship with learning is knowing when to look outside of yourself for inspiration, when to look within you for guidance, and how to combine all of that to create a way forward that works for you. If you want a bit more guidance and advice on this go check out episode 059: The Step That Many Life-Long Learning Entrepreneurs Miss.
The fifth and final key piece is supportive systems. When I say systems, I don’t mean software. I am talking about Dubsado, Honeybook, Asana, any of that. Systems are how you do anything in your business. I outline the 7 types of systems you need as an entrepreneur in episode 058 is you need a refresher. But everything in your business is done as part of a system. The most important thing with this one is that systems are supportive of you, your goals, your dream, and help make achieving everything you want to achieve easier, NOT more complicated.
If this is a sore spot for you, I may have something for you. I want you to head over to Instagram and find me at ms.erin.haworth. Click that message button on my profile and just send me the word “SYSTEMS”. I’ll send the details.
BONUS!! Hire a coach. There is such value in having someone in this role, at all stages of your business. A client of mine originally hopped on a breakthrough call with me before she officially started h er business. She kept calling her business a “baby business” because while she has a successful corporate career, she was new to the entrepreneurial world. Within the first 3-4 weeks of working together that coincided with when she signed her first client aka the beginning of her business, she was completely booked out and had successfully raised her prices twice in that time frame. When she and I talked about her wins in such a short time, she said something to the effect of “I knew that I needed someone by my side to help me navigate this journey. I needed the outside perspective, someone getting me, my voice and what it is that I am wanting to create. Investing in my business from the start is what has provided me with the opportunity to have these results so quickly.”
I also invested in a coach early in my business, before I had signed my first client. And although it wasn’t the experience I was hoping for, I learned some valuable lessons about how to and how not to run my own business and how to work with clients.
Outside perspective can not only provide innovative ideas and a backboard for bouncing your own ideas off of, but also accountability to keep you on track. Accountability is actually the #1 thing potential clients say they need. Hiring a coach means that you have someone to help you map out strategic next steps so you are confident about how you spend your finite time, stay on track, and pivot when necessary to get you to your goals faster and more easily. That relationship can provide clarity in where you are and where you are going, how to leverage your talents and skills, to hone in on what’s most effective for you, and to encourage and inspire you to take action to get to your goals faster & easier.
I offer one-on-one coaching as a service to my clients and I only have limited spots, so if you are interested in chatting with me to see if I might be a good coach for you, DM me on Instagram the word “COACH”. I’ll share all the details.
These steps are meant to guide you and set you up for success. You obviously can do other things as you work on these steps, but these have been the steps that have been most impactful in my own business.
I always like to end each episode with an action step that you can take right now to help you move forward and begin to implement immediately. Here is your action step for this episode: Do a quick audit. Do you have all 5 key pieces (plus the bonus) mastered? If so, brilliant! If not, it’s okay. Make a plan to change that no to a yes!