Smarter, Better, Faster, Stronger
We are all striving to run our businesses smarter and not harder, as the catchphrase goes but getting there is easier said than done. How then does a business owner find the starting point for this seemingly daunting task?
Recently, our CEO Stacy Jones sat down to chat with an entrepreneur who was able to quite his job for an e-commerce venture. In this blog post, Hollywood Branded takes a look at the best methods to simplifying your business from the advice and expertise of Digital Ambition's Kevin Geary.
A Little Background On Kevin
Kevin is the founder of Digital Ambition and host of the Digital Ambition podcast. After building three successful online businesses and three separate niches in less than five years, he turned his attention toward helping other people start an online lifestyle business so they can escape the rat race, make an impact, and live life without limitations.
Recently Kevin called us up to talk what it's worth from his experience, what maybe could be avoided if you're working by yourself, but not working with someone to help you and where other people are missing the mark. He'll also go over complicating business practices, whether it's creating crazy funnels, intricate products and websites, reinventing the wheel or trying to be everywhere.
Interview Transcript Highlights
Question: To start us off, can you share how you got started, what got you to where you are today?
Answer: For sure. Let's go back to 2008. I got the opportunity to open this with a successful owner of... not a chain, but he was kind of trying to make it into a chain. He gave me a start opening what amounted to a new location. I jumped on that opportunity and I ran that from 2008 to about 2012, 2013. Now, the problem was he wasn't such a great partner.
I didn't have a lot of control and I was very young and I started to also see a big shift in the martial arts industry in general, at least in that side of it. Like the taekwondo karate's of the world. They were going very heavy on selling out, just write checks for belts. That really wasn't what I wanted to participate in. I was very interested in legitimate instruction, and legitimate ranking, like all the factors combined, I just really started to feel like, all right, this thing that I'm stuck in is sucking the soul out of me. In 2012, my first daughter was born and that made it worse because now I was leaving her to go to this terrible place.
I was confined to a schedule and I really started to look at everything that was going on and I said, "You know what, I don't want to be in this position anymore. I also don't want to go to another job because I don't want to be tied to a schedule. I don't want to be tied to a location." I started putting my entrepreneurial skills that I had acquired to work online, and so I started a health and fitness brand in 2013. I was working it on the side and it really got traction and momentum fairly quickly. About eight months later I was making the same as I was making in that position at the martial arts studio. I basically talked to my wife, talked to one of my friends and decided to take a leap and I said, "I'm out."
I went full time online and have not looked back since. A year and a half after that I was making three times as much as I had been, and the rest is history. What I really wanted to do was become location independent, schedule independent and financially independent. I call that the ultimate freedom. I think online business is an opportunity that gives you all of those things in an accessible way that I don't think any human in history has had the opportunity to pursue. We have a very, very unique opportunity.
That's really why I started what was six figure grinding out, and now as Digital Ambition, the Digital Ambition Podcast, I want to attract as many people as possible to this opportunity.
Question: Well, I think they're saying that within the next three years or so over 40 or 45% of the population is going to be virtual versus trying to work at office jobs and in that confined structure. So it sounds like you're ahead of the game, no?
Answer: Yeah. I mean if we look at the landscape, I think it's obvious to everyone that driving in a car, sitting in rush hour going into an office for a lot of the jobs that people are doing, it's simply not necessary anymore. Then I also think a along with remote work, I think that "employees are going to be able to serve multiple companies, multiple brands with the skills that they have potentially."
But then you're going to see a lot of people becoming freelancers in the work that they do online. Then going beyond that into different forms of online businesses that are total entrepreneurship opportunities. But the internet is the place to be for the future for sure. People are going to be flooding in as they recognize the opportunity that is here, even if they don't intend on doing it full time as a side hustle because there's so little risk. There's so much upside. One of the biggest complaints I get from people is I hate having an income ceiling. I actually like my job. That's what people talk. I actually like my job. I don't have any intention on leaving it, but I hate the fact that I have a ceiling and I hate the fact that I recognize the opportunity. I would love to do something on the side, supplement my income and have fun with that, and so cool. That's an opportunity too.
Question: For brands, managers and agencies who are listening, they're thinking, "oh my gosh, what can I do with this? How can I get my business going in that direction?" It's just sounds like a lot of work cause that's the first thing everyone thinks of is everything's going to be a lot of work. Can we go and deep dive into how you suggest not over complicating your business practices and how you can actually create this online digital business world and be successful?
Answer: The first thing, and I want this to kind of stick in people's minds when they're doing and when you're thinking about starting, that's a little bit different than if you're already doing something. But what I always say that I like this phrase to just stick in people's minds 'cause anytime they're like, "Okay, new initiative, let me take action." Right? They should review this little thing, right? And it's this make the simplest thing fail first. That's what I always tell people. Make the simplest thing fail first. People have this idea that in order for something to work, in order for something in marketing or online business to be successful, it has to be complicated. They sit down and they map out like these very intricate steps, and if this happens, we'll do this and then this, and it's like an eight part funnel and we have to have a onetime offer, and we have to have this upsell on the back end that goes to a down sell and they just go step by step by step with all this complication.
Then I come in and I say, "but you didn't make the simplest thing fail first, right?" So if they say to themselves, "I'm going to make the simplest thing fail first." The question is, what is the simplest thing? All right, well let's implement the simplest thing. Now, let's see what happens if it fails, it fails. You can always make it more complicated, but what often happens is they implement the simplest thing and it works and you don't need any more complexity beyond that. If you didn't make the simplest thing fail first, then you haven't really started in the place you should have started in. You got to start with the simplest thing because it often works. If it does happen to fail, that's fine. You made it fail first. Now we move on and add a little bit of complexity and we can move our way up from there.
But there's no reason to just dive into the deep end of complexity thinking that, that's how it has to be. I think a lot of times people tell themselves the story of, well, simple can't work, 'cause if simple worked, everybody would do it. But really everybody's doing the really complex stuff, right? They're getting mired in just overwhelm. Like you said, it seems like it's going to take a lot of work. Maybe it doesn't, maybe it doesn't take a lot of work, you know? It depends on the mindset you come at it with. Let's talk about starting for a minute. What is the number one thing people do online when they start? I need a website and they go build this giant website. They sit down and they're like, I need an about page, and then this page and that page and the products and the services and on and on and on.
What we find is that, when you're first getting started, it's actually better to build what I call a hook and lure website, which is a one page website that has very specific messaging on it. It's a very specific layout and style and the entire point of a hook and lure website is to validate your messaging to the audience you're trying to reach because there's a very specific outcome that we want to achieve on the hook and lure website, and so if you're sending traffic to your hooking and lure website and they're not converting then we have a messaging problem and we can fix the messaging problem or we can fix the offer problem. But if you have a giant website and you're trying to send traffic from all these different places and they're going to all these different pages and then you're like, it's not converting.
Okay. Which part of it? 'Cause you built this massively complex thing when nothing was proven in the first place, right? So that's another... that's right out of the gate. That's one way that people go ultra complex online when they should have made the simplest thing fail first.
Question: I'm assuming that goes with whether that is an actual product or a service, no?
Answer: Yeah, absolutely. With a product that somebody is trying to create, well, first of all, let's go to the how did we get the idea for the products, right? Did we sit around and brainstorm and say, "Hey, What do I think people want?" Then we build it because that would be the incorrect way to do it. That would be the complex way to do it. It's much easier if you know the people you're trying to serve to go figure out, number one, do they already want something that doesn't exist or are they buying something but it's not that great and we can make a much better version of it.
It's easier to sell things to people when they're already asking for it versus having to create something new and then educate them on why they need it. That's what happens a lot of times with companies they 'cause they're like, "Hey, we're going to create this." We got a brilliant new revolutionary product idea, and then they take it to the market. The market's like, what is that? I don't know what that is. How does that work? What's that going to do for me? Then it's a very expensive to educate them and convince them, versus what I typically teach for new online business owners is, let's go into a niche. Let's find the itch in that niche, the problem that people are really having. Let's figure out how to solve that problem, and then let's involve them in the process of solving the problem. It's actually conversations of like, all right, cool, I'm going to build this thing.
Now, here's what it's going to look like. Are you in, here's what it's going to look like. Here's what it's going to do. Are you in? Because if you're in, I will give you a really good deal to help. Help me build this. I'll build it alongside you. So it's the best thing that you could have imagined, and then I will release it later to everybody else. But I'm going to give you an opportunity to come in and build it with me, and people are like, heck yeah, I will do that. 'Cause if you think about it, a product that might be $300, $500, $1000 down the line, they're going to get in for a hundred bucks and they get to build it with you and tell you exactly what it should do.
A lot of people jump at that opportunity and so now what you're doing is validating that and then you build it and then you release it and it works because you've built it with real people, not out of your imagination but off of real market feedback and relationships. That's another example of just the simplest way to do it, right? Like you go in, you ask people what they want, see what they need, build it for 'em, sell it to 'em, move on with your life.
Check Out The Podcast!
The selected highlights above are just the tip of the iceberg of information that Kevin shared! To hear the rest of it, listen to the full episode of our podcast!
The Next Steps
Want to learn more inside tips from entrepreneurs, business owners and marketing experts? Check out these other podcast interview highlights!
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You can also subscribe to our Marketing Mistakes Podcast to hear the full interviews!