May 4, 2024

From 7 years of failure to a $4M business — what you can learn.

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Last week I shared a Tweet that covered my own weird career journey, which I divide into three distinct phases.

  • Phase I: Filled with failures and setbacks
  • Phase II: A complete turnaround because of finding my passion at work
  • Phase III: Applying the lessons of success at work into building my first business

I got a bunch of comments, asking for more practical advice on how I moved from phase II to phase III, and what advice I would give others.

So I thought about what I would do if I were starting over today, and those ideas turned into a simple 4-step plan.

This plan should help you focus on what you love, get some attention, build a following, and position yourself to land some business.

I built this plan to be executed on LinkedIn because I think it’s the easiest place to grow a brand and business right now, but it could be just as easily executed on another social platform.

Let’s dive in.

Step 1: What am I good at, and why me?

Start by identifying the intersection of something you’re good at, something you love to do, and something people are willing to pay you for.

For me, that was teaching founders how to build sales teams to sell their software to physicians. Much different from what I talk about and teach now. But that’s how I started as an entrepreneur.

For you, the intersection is probably different. For example, if you're passionate about helping others improve their public speaking skills and you’ve done some public speaking, that could be a great niche.

But let’s take it a step further. Maybe you’re an introvert, and that’s a unique angle to take on public speaking. Are there introverts out there who are willing to pay to become as good a public speaker as you are? I bet there are.

Your niche could be ‘Confident Public Speaking for Introverted Professionals.’

Step 2: Use the "Teach, Teach, Teach, Sell" content framework

In the beginning, you need to make people aware that you exist. And LinkedIn is the dominant platform for getting attention right now.

Consider using the "Teach, Teach, Teach, Sell" framework to create a balanced content mix.

80% of the time you’ll provide value to your audience. And 20% of the time, you’ll softly promote your expertise, products, or services.

Here's an example of how you could implement this framework on LinkedIn:

  • Post 1 (Teach): Offer a step-by-step guide on how to structure a compelling presentation for maximum impact.
  • Post 2 (Teach): Provide a list of the top 5 breathing exercises to calm nerves before a presentation.
  • Post 3 (Teach): Share a framework introverts can use to remember their speech when they’re on stage.
  • Post 4 (Teach): Share a guide to interacting with the audience Q&A at the conclusion of your speech.
  • Post 5 (Sell): Share a soft pitch for your public speaking coaching services, emphasizing your unique approach, tailored for introverted professionals. Consider weaving your story into this piece of content.

If you follow this 5-post cycle consistently, you'll establish the trust, expertise, and authority I talk about so often. And those are the three things you need in your niche to generate leads for a coaching business like the one in our example here.

Step 3: Engage with your target audience using the "$1.80 Strategy"

The "$1.80 Strategy" is a concept coined by Gary Vaynerchuk, which involves leaving your "two cents" on 9 relevant posts each day across 10 hashtags each day.

Your $.02 X 9 posts X 10 hashtags = $1.80

Candidly, I think that’s overkill. I used a much simpler version when I was just getting started on LinkedIn. We can think of my version as the $0.18 strategy. And of course, adapt as you wish.

My 18 cent strategy just means leaving your two cents on 9 relevant posts per day.

When you consistently engage with other people’s content, you increase your visibility, attract new and relevant connections, and make your name, face and brand a regularly occurring character on the platform.

Here's how to do it:

  1. Find 9 posts from your LinkedIn feed (or 9 people) that are relevant to your niche (in our example: people who post about public speaking, introversion, or professional development).
  2. Leave a thoughtful comment on each post. Don’t just write, “good post” or “agree”. Share your insights and experiences, tell stories, offer up knowledge that expands on the person’s post. Or ask a good question to drive the discussion. The more you end up as the most relevant comment, the more people see you, your name, and your face. And that’s how a following get built.
  3. Repeat this process daily for a year to build relationships and increase your visibility on LinkedIn.

Step 4: Analyze and adjust your strategy

Lastly, none of this stuff matters if you’re not tracking what’s working and what isn’t.

Use LinkedIn Analytics or Shield to track the performance of your posts and your overall presence.

Identify which types of content generate the most engagement, and adjust your strategy accordingly. Is there a specific subject that works best? A style or structure? A day or time?

And don’t forget to pay attention to the demographics of the people interacting with your content. Ideally, you can tailor your content to their interests and needs. And if you don’t know what people want, ask them.

You can continuously refine your content approach, based on the data and feedback from your followers, and this will give you the best chance at success.

Look, no strategy is perfect. And there are a million ways to get started and build a brand. But if follow these four steps and stay committed to helping your target audience, you'll be well on your way to gaining traction on LinkedIn, and building a serious presence in your niche.

If you're looking for more advanced strategies and tactics for growing your audience and business on LinkedIn, consider checking out The LinkedIn Operating System. There's a reason it has 22,500 students and 50 Top Voices, and why I've been ranked The #1 Global Influencer on LinkedIn by Favikon.

The course will pull back the curtain on how personal brands and businesses get built on the platform. In just 90 minutes, you’ll have an actionable framework you can follow to do the same.

If you're not ready for a course yet, lay out the 4 step plan I've covered above and make it a point to get started this upcoming week. You won't be sorry you did.

That’s all for today. Good luck out there.

See you next week.

BONUS: I put together a 20-step guide that covers every single piece of advice I can think of after building my business from $0 to $7.5M in the last 4 years and 8 months. This document will be an ever-evolving doc that will get updated as I learn more. And you can access it for free here.

Whenever you're ready, there are 4 ways I can help you:

1. The Creator MBA:  Join 4,000+ entrepreneurs in my flagship course. The Creator MBA teaches you exactly how to build a lean, focused, and profitable Internet business. Come inside and get 5 years of online business expertise, proven methods, and actionable strategies across 111 in-depth lessons.

2. The LinkedIn Operating System:​  Join 22,500 students and 50 LinkedIn Top Voices inside of The LinkedIn Operating System. This comprehensive course will teach you the system I used to grow from 2K to 550K+ followers, be named a Top Voice and earn $7.5M+ in income.

3. The Content Operating System​:  Join 10,000 students in my multi-step content creation system. Learn to create a high-quality newsletter and 6-12 pieces of high-performance social media content each week.

4. ​Promote yourself to 215,000+ subscribers​ by sponsoring my newsletter.

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