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Are you considering starting an online business? Ramit Sethi is The New York Times best-selling author of I Will Teach You To Be Rich. He’s also the founder of a site by the same name as well as Growth Lab.
Sethi’s sites claim more than one million readers each month. He’s worked with over 35,000 students around the world via his online courses like “Earn 1k” and “Zero to Launch.”
His company specializes in helping students start profitable online businesses. For this interview, Sethi revealed three areas every would-be online entrepreneur should focus on if they want to grow a business faster.
1. Get Your First Customer
Starting an online business is challenging and rewarding. Entrepreneurs can pick from a dizzying array of tools to grow their business and sell their products and services. As an example, many online entrepreneurs sell courses and can pick from providers including Teachable, Kajabi, ClickFunnels, Thinkific and more.
You could even spend all day promoting your course on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. It doesn’t help that these networks proliferate the idea of success lying one click away.
Sethi knows otherwise. He said,
When it comes to starting an online business, there are so many things you could focus on–a fancy-looking website, building Instagram followers, brainstorming the products you can sell, or the ultimate copy that can increase your conversion rate by 0.049%—but all those don’t matter if no one is willing to pay you for your skills!
Instead of focusing on a shiny tool, he suggests entrepreneurs identify a target customer, interview ideal potential buyers and then offer a product or service they’ll pay for. ”Too many people have an idea and excitedly jump right into the building process—starting a website and building products,” he said.
“If you’re trying to start and grow a business, put all your energy into finding and getting at least three paying customers. Talk to your friends and family. Talk to the people having problems in your market. Customers willing to pay you is when you know you’re providing true value to your market and the world.”
2. Move Slowly Up The Value Chain
When Sethi started his business, he wrote blog posts offering free financial advice or years. Eventually, Sethi published an ebook called Ramit’s 2007 Guide to Kicking Ass and charged just $4.95.
Sethi still gives away 98% of his material, like this Ultimate Guide to Business Ideas. He’s also branched out into other areas like money and relationships. Meanwhile, Sethi’s premium courses cost anywhere from tens or hundreds to thousands of dollars per month, depending on the target audience.
Like many successful entrepreneurs, Sethi has moved his company’s products and services slowly up the value chain. “I started releasing more premium products, like my “Earn 1k” course to jumpstart a reliable side hustle and “Zero to Launch” to help you start an online business, at premium prices because I knew people were getting great results. We have over 20,000 student success stories to prove it,” he said.
3. Choose Whom You Look Up To
Deciding who your mentors are is a big decision for entrepreneurs because their thinking will inform how you build your business. Many new entrepreneurs wonder just how they can land their personal Bill Gates, Ariana Huffington or Howard Schultz.
Instead, remember you can embrace the teachings of a successful entrepreneur by reading their books, watching their talks or taking courses they’ve created. “My heroes are people who have built ethical businesses that offer everlasting value, like Howard Schultz of Starbucks,” Sethi said.
“Entrepreneurs who brag about how much money they make with shiny tactic X and how little they work are just not the type of people I want to surround myself with.” When your business is more profitable, you can always hire a mentor who specializes in helping businesses like yours grow.
In one of his courses, Sethi recounts spending five figures hiring a mentor who helped him solve a business problem over lunch. Starting a business, online or otherwise, is tough, but it can also prove immensely profitable. Some of Sethi’s students have earned six and seven figures from their products and services after completing his courses.
Sethi attributes their successes to meeting customers where they are and creating sustainable products they love. “When you focus on the quality of your material, the things that you used to think are SO important—like how your course looks—matter less.”
July 2, 2019 at 01:43PM
Forbes – Entrepreneurs