Business has been on my mind a lot lately — mostly because there’s a lot of noise and misinformation on the interwebs right now.
I started my blog close to four years ago simply as a healthy recipe archive. I’ve always had an equal desire to be healthy and not give up the foods I love. So, I basically started my blog to share my healthy recipe creations with friends and family. I never intended it to be a business. BUT…
God and the Universe, however, had other (better!) intentions.
My blog started getting more attention the more I posted – mostly through people sharing it. It was all organic; people genuinely liked what I was posting so they shared it. I wasn’t spending any time thinking about how I would get more likes, I was just posting what I actually made that day. It was real, and easy for people to take the posted recipe and recreate it in their own kitchen. Which leads me to the first lesson…
Lesson #1: If you want to grow an online business, spend less time thinking about what you “should” post and more time just being authentically you. Your audience wants to get to know you.
The more attention my blog received, the more I felt like I needed to be perfect. I started depriving myself of different foods – the very thing I always said I wouldn’t do — because I was putting so much pressure on myself to be the picture of what I thought was perfect heath. I then started to dislike my blog.
Imagine that: a blogger who doesn’t like her blog. Lucky for me I knew other bloggers, and they all told me that it’s normal to become disenchanted with your own creations at some point or another.
With some loving nudges from my family, I decided to focus less on being perfect and more on being real. And guess what, my blog following started to grow even more.
I used to be a pretty strict vegetarian. Then I turned 30 and my body changed. I started eating lean organic animal protein because it made me feel better. I had started my blog as a vegetarian recipe blog and felt backed into a corner. But, the more I got real, the more my audience grew.
As I’m typing this, I’m just realizing that I need to share more carnivore-friendly recipes. I still eat mostly plants and believe that doing so is the #1 thing a person can do for good health. But I also add in some sustainable fish or organic chicken or turkey a few times each week.
Lesson #2: Your audience doesn’t want perfect, they want real. (Halla-f-ing-lujah!)
As my blog traffic was growing, I was introduced to a woman named Marie Forleo and she completely changed my life. The timing was serendipitous. Marie was teaching a course called B-School (the B is for Business) about how to create and run a highly profitable online business. I already had a blog, and it was time to turn into a business.
But how? I felt like that would be impossible. An online business that actually pays me well? That’s just a fantasy, I thought.
I came from the world of Big 4 accounting. I worked at one of the largest professional services firms in the world and I was accustomed to making a high income. It was hard to wrap my head around the thought of making great money online.
But Marie is the real deal. And her training is outstanding. If you’re into online business you may have seen people all over the internet pimping her program. It’s for good reason: IT WORKS.
Lesson #3: If you want an online business (or an aspect of your business to have an online component), then learn from someone who knows what they’re doing.
Nowadays, people often ask me how I get paid for blogging. Um, I don’t!
If you notice, I sell a few paid programs on this website. I aim for at least 80% free content for all of you, and if you want more, you can choose to do one of my paid programs or become one of my Partners if you want to duplicate my business model. Getting paid for my online programs is what allows me to give you the other 80% for free.
I enthusiastically believe in giving away free content just for the sake of making peoples’ lives better – that’s why most of my stuff is free. But I’m also a real person with rent, living expenses, food bills, utility costs and sometimes an affinity for shiny things. So, I also have a few paid programs for people who want to take it to the next level.
My online business has given me a far greater means than any corporate job or brick-and-mortar business probably ever could. I run a multiple 6-figure businesses with barely any overhead. Most of the tools I use online are free or cost very little. I have customers and partners in 11 countries and can basically run my business from my iPhone. It took my accountant a year to wrap his head around my profit-to-overhead ratio because traditional businesses have never seen anything like it. I learned how to build my online business by working with mentors who had already created success. If you want an online business, learn from someone who’s done it.
Free Online Business Masterclass:
My free online business masterclass is available for a limited time, you can register for the next session here. (Be sure to secure your spot asap—they go quick and the free class is available for a limited time.)
Lesson #4: Give your audience more free content than paid content, and your online business will flourish.
The money is nice, but the benefit to my audience is much (MUCH!) more important. This is where it all gets really, really good.
I genuinely love what I do. I have a deep-rooted passion for helping people. I’ve always been this way. I used to tutor my 6th-grade classmates on our math homework because I couldn’t stand the thought that someone might not understand it.
I have a lot of visitors who will never buy anything from me, and I think that’s awesome. While I definitely want everyone to go through my Health Habit Inner Circle, knowing that some people just stop by my site for some healthy inspiration truly makes what I do worthwhile.
I now spend more than half of my working time mentoring my Partners to help them grow their own online empires. I can’t think of anything more soul-nourishing than helping other people build dreams and achieve goals. We have created a high-spirited, crazy-supportive community that makes me giddy to get up and work each morning.
It’s different for everyone. I don’t by any means believe that everyone’s ideal career is or should be just like mine, and I encourage you to find your own.
Lesson #5: Embrace imperfection (really, embrace it!)
Perfectionism is the greatest danger you face right now.
I used to think the greatest danger I faced in my business was messing up or failing… but NOPE. Not even close. The greatest danger my business has faced over the years is my underlying feeling of wanting everything to be perfect. Once I learned that I just needed to get it started (done is better than perfect!) everything started to fall into place. I’m about to launch a project that’s been five months in the making. It’s a healthy habits quiz, and it’s not just good, it’s FANTASTIC, But, the process hasn’t been perfect (ha, it’s been far from it.) Here’s the thing: I didn’t have to get everything single minute perfect, I just need to get it started. From there it’s just about tweaking to make it right. Right is different than perfect because what you think is perfect in the beginning doesn’t usually even make sense at the end of the project. You don’t have to get it perfect, you just have to get it started. Then, tweak from there and you will end up with something that not only works, but serves your customers as well.