I want to make it as easy as possible for you to start a client business…
Too many people sit at the starting line. Never getting started. Never getting going.
Never taking those first critical steps. Steps you MUST take, whether your goal is a side income, six-figures, or something much bigger.
I don’t care if your goal is to make six-figures per year, or six-figures per month.
You have to get going first.
And frankly, getting lost in all those BIG goals is probably what’s holding you back.
When starting a business, it actually pays to think SMALL.
As in, what’s the littlest I can do to get moving? What’s the first step? What can I get done now, so I’m ready for the next thing, and the next, and the next?
Trite-but-true: the entrepreneurial journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step.
So what’s that one step?
We’ll get there in a minute.
To get there, I need to borrow language from Silicon Valley and specifically The Lean Startup.
One of the key concepts pioneered by author Eric Reis was something called a “Minimum Viable Product.”
Rather than build out a product with the full feature set before launch, define a minimum feature set and get it into the market as a beta test. Then use customer feedback to iterate.
Build a better offer based on market demand and feedback, not based on your imagination (which too many offer creators discover is not in alignment with what the market really wants).
Don’t sink a bunch of time into an unproven offer before its launch.
Instead, sink the minimum amount of time into your launch, launch small, and sink all that time into making it better based on early adopter feedback.
This has become the de facto process for startup success in Silicon Valley and beyond.
And it 100% applies to starting a client business as well.
Last Friday I released a video on the 14 milestones any thriving client business will pass.
If you didn’t watch it and you’re serious about building a client business, go watch it. Seriously. 14 milestones in 14 minutes encompasses the entire process of building a client business to 7- or 8-figures and beyond.
(These 14 milestones are the foundation for my Client-Getting Blueprint training.)
Ethan echoed the reaction I think many viewers will have in his comment, “This is very interesting. Wish I had it before starting my marketing business.”
I’m finalizing the content on the first 3 milestones, and will be recording the training in the next few days.
But I know so many of my readers are still stuck at the starting line. So I wanted to do a quick overview of the first three milestones here.
Because each represents a different approach to “minimum viable” thinking that you need to hit before getting started.
Of course the Client-Getting Blueprint will go much deeper — it will actually have worksheets to help you define each one.
But by giving you an overview, you can at least orient yourself in the right direction.
Milestone 1: Develop a minimum viable offer…
I call this your starter offer, your version 1 offer.
You need to determine who you serve. What problem or challenge they face. And what deliverable you can provide to help them solve it.
So, for example, you could serve e-commerce Facebook marketers with at least $1,000/month in ad spend, and you help them test a large volume of ad creative.
Or you work with financial publishers whose top copywriters are too busy with big promos to write all the short copy they need, and you help them fill in those gaps.
Or you work with online course creators who need email marketing to sell their courses, and you write autoresponder sequences to introduce and promote their offers.
I guess at this point I’ve given all examples around copywriting and marketing, because that’s the core of my audience. But the same thing applies in all kinds of client businesses.
You could help parents of high-schoolers get financially prepared to help their kids with college costs, when they’ve put it off too long.
Or you could help homeowners envision and design their dream remodel.
Or you could…
I don’t know!
The idea is that you need to know who you serve, what they want that you can provide, and how (generally) you can do it.
This should reflect a general capability you have. And to the best of your knowledge and research findings, it should be a market that exists and is actually wanting to pay for solutions for the problem you solve.
Milestone 2: Build a minimum viable funnel…
Imagine you connect with a perfect prospect.
How do they start a conversation with you, regarding how you can help?
You don’t need anything fancy here.
At a minimum, you need an email address or a phone. If they can call and you pick up, you can connect.
But that actually is a bad strategy in the long run. Because you won’t always be available.
And actually, the more available you are, the lower on the totem pole you are perceived to be.
The best experts on any topic are typically very hard to get ahold of. Or at the very least, they have a process you have to follow if you want to connect.
(I learned this through Dan Kennedy. If you wanted to hire Dan, you’d have to fax a 1-to-2-page description of what you wanted from him. If he thought you were worth it, his assistant might schedule a quick call for any clarifications at Dan’s discretion. Otherwise, you’d be asked to pay for a consulting day. Then and only then would you actually get ahold of Dan. And only after a consulting day would Dan consider you for a project. Dan made the point that this was how he became the Dan Kennedy, and you would be mistaken to assume you could only do this after becoming someone of his stature.)
The minimum process I recommend is a calendar booking tool, like Book Like A Boss.
And some way (I prefer Zoom calls) to get on the line with your prospects.
You need to know what to say on that call. And that’s another topic in itself. (That I covered in last month’s BTMSinsiders Insiders Call.)
But once you have this set up, you have a destination to send your perfect prospect to.
You can say, “I’d love to chat about how we might work together. If you go here, you can book a quick call on my calendar, and we’ll see if we’re a fit.”
I call this a Manual & Organic Prospecting Funnel, because it’s enough of a “funnel” to send prospects to that you generate through manual and organic traffic strategies.
Which brings me to…
Milestone 3: Start sending minimum viable traffic…
… Into that funnel.
For this, you can manually prospect to your ideal clients.
You can go to conferences and events.
You can have conversations online.
You can reach out through LinkedIn, or other social media.
You can do all that manual prospecting, trying to drum up at least enough interest to get someone to want to get on the phone with you, and at least consider whether you might be a fit.
Likewise, you can do “organic” marketing without spending a penny on ads.
You can share information about the solutions you provide, in places your prospects can find it.
You can contribute to discussions as part of groups (but don’t be pushy with your offer if you’re not the admin of the group).
Look to provide value around your problem-solution, in places where your ideal prospects hang out.
When you do this right, if you are truly being helpful, you will have prospects who are interested. They may start conversations. They may ask you for more information.
When appropriate, you can mention that you’d be happy to chat with them and see if you can provide further help.
Make it about helping. Make it about value. If they are an ideal client, there will be a moment where it makes sense to take it beyond that initial exchange and where you can make your offer.
There are subtleties to this. You don’t want to just keep giving people time for free.
But if you’re providing value in public, that’s marketing.
And if you get them on the phone, the end of that call should be you making your minimum viable offer.
There are actually 3 minimums you need in order to start your client business…
— Your minimum viable offer.
— Your minimum viable funnel.
— Your minimum viable traffic strategy.
Once these are in place, you have enough to move forward to Milestone 4, which will including “putting in the reps” — actually getting clients, learning the process of working with them, and starting to lay the groundwork for what comes next in your business.
Again, this will all be covered in much more detail in the Client-Getting Blueprint training through BTMSinsiders.
As I write this, the intro covering all 14 milestones in greater detail is live, along with the worksheet to help you lay the groundwork for success going through the program.
And I’m finalizing the content on these milestones for recording and adding to the catalog in the next few days. With the rest of the training coming in the next few weeks.
I’m so excited for this training — I think it’s going to create a ton of business breakthroughs.
Yours for bigger breakthroughs,