I’ve written a lot about the overall strategies to grow one’s authentic business. But what about actual, regular actions? In this post, I provide 4 questions to guide you.
Let’s start with the most important question. It’s not “what’s your niche?” or “have you set up your email list?”
In fact, in my new side business that I started back in July, I don’t even have a website yet, nor have I clarified my niche. All I've done is created content consistently. Now I have an audience of about 2,000 people who have engaged with my content in the past few months. You can read about my new business in this blog category: Starting an authentic business.
So the first and most important question -- no matter if you’re just starting your business, or already have a thriving one -- is this:
1. What is your content creation rhythm?
By dedicating yourself to a content rhythm, you'll develop a consistent level of creativity and energy that flows into everything else in your business.
I make no excuses for content creation. Even when I’m sick, my 3 priorities are: (1) sleep lots, (2) drink lots of water, and (3) make sure I still create content!
If you are just starting out, my suggestion is to write new content daily if possible. Nothing perfect. See it as a practice of sharing your authentic thoughts -- surrounding the topics of your business. Aim for 300 or more words each day (if you already write prolifically, cap it at a per-post wordcount of 2,000 words max!)
Writing daily will uplevel your writing skills much faster than if you do it only occasionally. And being a decent writer will serve you in many ways in your business.
Is it too challenging for you to write daily? Then commit to 1 thoughtful post per week, without fail. You might draft the post on one day of the week, and then edit and post it on a different way, allowing yourself to "sleep on it" before publishing.
If you're curious what my current weekly rhythm is (as a mature, solopreneur business), it looks like this:
New Content each Friday -- video and blog post. Example.
Re-purposed Content each Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday:
Video interview with one of my clients each Saturday. Example.
On Wednesdays I usually promote my current offer (see Question #3 below) and on Sundays, I share a post from a colleague (see Question #4 below).
By the way, I primarily post content on my Facebook Business Page so I can schedule my posts rather than have to manage it everyday.
You don’t have to follow my exact process. The point is to have some kind of reasonable schedule that allows you to stay consistent in the practice of expressing your authentic thoughts related to your business.
Stay faithful to the rhythm you’ve dedicated to, while allowing it to gradually change and innovate as your business changes.
When I started content creation several years ago, I was making a lot more new content.
2. What is your content distribution plan?
If you create content, but have no plan to distribute it, i.e. to make it visible, then you might get discouraged quickly, feeling like you’re just talking (or writing) into a black hole.
In my new side business (topic: spiritual mentoring), I have no audience to start with, so I simply use Facebook Ads to distribute content to new audiences, to people who will likely enjoy my content. It is working. As I mentioned, after just a few months, I now have regular engagers of my content. If you don’t know how to use Facebook Ads effectively and wish to learn my system, I teach a Facebook Ads Course.
For my main business, here is the content distribution plan each week:
If you're just starting with Facebook Ads, don't feel you have to spend that much. Try with just $30/month to start, and increase it as you learn how to do it effectively.
For most of you who have an active FB personal profile where your friends are potential referral sources, I would recommend sharing your content regularly to your personal profile as well. In the beginning, that's where most of your network is.
If there are any online groups, e.g. a Facebook group, where they encourage you to share content, that is another place to distribute your posts.
3. What is your plan for offers and launches?
Distributing content regularly is a great start. It builds your audience and credibility.
But do you also regularly invite them to work with you, or promote a product or program that you offer?
Oftentimes, your audience is not even aware of your products and services! Just because you have a website that describes them, or once in awhile you mention it, the reality is that your audience probably isn't seeing your offers enough to really consider it.
Here’s my rhythm of offers:
If you're just starting out, a simple plan would be to post an invitation to your services once or twice a month, on whatever platforms you've been posting your content consistently.
4. What is your plan for connections?
In the past few years, due to my consistent rhythm of content and offers, my client roster has been consistently full. As a result, I've been neglectful about keeping in touch with colleagues and past clients!
Starting in the new year, I plan to get back into the rhythm of “netcaring” (compassionate “networking”)... in part to be a good role model to my clients.
I’ve scheduled 1 hour each week to do the following:
To me, netcaring is about connecting with people from a place of enjoyment (appreciation of some characteristics about them, and truly liking them for who they are) rather than from a motive that you want them to do something for you.
I wrote about how a colleague reached out to me in a way that didn’t feel right: How not to reconnect with professional colleagues.
Now it’s your turn to look at your own plan.
For your own business, answer the 4 questions above.
If you'd like more guidance in this planning, take my Authentic Business Intro Course where I teach through a sample weekly marketing plan for businesses that are in the beginner or intermediate stage. In that course I also teach a time management plan and a sample financial plan for a solopreneur business.
George Kao is a Marketing Coach for small business owners, especially solopreneurs such as Coaches and Mentors. He focuses on ethical & effective ways to grow one's platform and build true livelihood.
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