No one tells you about this side of running your own business. You know - the bit where your business isn't make any money... You read all the stories of people going from zero to seven figures in a few months - but you don't get to hear about the months and years of struggle that have gone on beforehand. The mis-steps, the self-doubt, the failed launches...
So, I'm here to tell you; if your business isn't making money at the moment that doesn't make you a failure. We all start somewhere and there is no specific length of time that it's supposed to take.
That being said, I'm guessing you'd quite like to start earning some money sooner rather than later, so with that in mind, here are 5 things you can do right now to get those sales rolling in...
1) Review Your Offer
If you're struggling to sell your product or service, then your business isn't making money, The first question to ask is if your offer is is of value to your audience.
The second question is whether you're communicating that value effectively.
To help you along the way, I'm going to highlight some of the most common mistakes people make when it comes to creating and marketing their stuff. If you're making any of these errors then fixing them will go a long way to helping you sell.
2) Evaluate Your Audience
This is a sneaky little problem that a lot of people miss.
If our business isn't making money, we blame the offer or we blame ourselves - we're just not good at selling!
What we never think to do is look to our audience.
The fact is though, everything else could be spot on, but if there's a problem with your audience, then you're not going to sell. Here's what I mean...
There's one issue that comes up again and again with my clients and the business owners I chat to. And that's getting really clear on WHO your audience should be. Who is your target market?
Our natural instinct is to go as broad as possible. The broader the market, the more people we can attract, right?
In fact, the opposite is true: the more specific you can be with your ideal client description, the easier it will be for you to attract those people to your business. Let's look at some examples.
If you were a dog groomer for example, you might say that your ideal clients are dog owners. However, to get more specific you could just focus on certain breeds or sizes of dogs.
Or if you were a life coach, you might want to help people with anything and everything in their lives. However, you could get more specific by focusing on specific things like relationships, career or self-confidence...
Consider if you're being too general with your own audience and how you could refine your ideal client description to make it more specific.
If you're just starting out with your business then the good news is that your lack of income is more than likely down to pure numbers.
You just don't have a big enough audience yet. Let's take a look at a basic sales funnel so you can see what I mean...
Say for example that you're selling a fitness course and you're using a 5 day Push Up Challenge to promote it. Perhaps you can expect to convert around 5% of the challenge attendees (which is actually a pretty good conversion rate btw!), so in order to get ONE sale, you'd need 20 people to participate in your challenge.
You've created a landing page where people can sign up for the challenge and of the people visiting that page, around 25% are actually joining. So to get your 20 participants, you'll need 80 people to see the landing page.
With me so far?
Lastly, you're promoting your landing page on your blog and social media. Around 20% of people are clicking through so you'll need 400 people to see your promotion...
This is just an example and I've plucked these numbers at random - but hopefully they give you an idea of why you're struggling to sell if your audience is still just a handful of people.
Now that might feel frustrating - but it really is a positive problem to have because it's incredibly fixable!
The first fix of course is to focus on building your audience and you can do this in many different ways.
The second fix is to focus on more pro-active selling strategies while your audience is still small. Rather than using funnels like the one described above, just go out and actively search out your ideal clients and connect with them directly.
Join my Facebook community!
If your audience is filled with people who are NOT your ideal clients, they're never going to buy from you.
Now, I know you KNOW that really. But are you remembering that when you're going about your daily hustle?
Are you remembering that when you're panicking about your numbers? Worrying that you're not getting enough blog views or FB likes or Instagram followers?
Time and time again, I see people SO focused on these vanity metrics that they forget WHY they're building their audience...
So they do 'like for like' to give it a boost.
They invite all their family and friends to like their stuff too - whether they're ideal clients or not..
No judgment - I've done it too! But now I realise how silly it was - I was filling my audience with people who don't care about my business. They're not going to engage and they're certainly not going to buy.
When it comes to building your audience, please, please, please remember:
QUALITY OVER QUANTITY.
3) Assess Your Sales Strategy
Did you know that when I first started out with my coaching business, I made a huge mistake for around 9 months?
I just wasn't getting any clients and my confidence was getting lower and lower.
Then it hit me. I wasn't actually SELLING... like, EVER.
It sounds pretty dumb - but I was so caught up with writing blog posts, getting new followers on social media and filling my Facebook group that I just.. well.. FORGOT about the selling part.
So, in case you're doing the same - just take a moment to consider. Are YOU selling?
I mean, what are you actually doing to sell your offer? Because *spoiler alert*, just adding a 'work with me' page to your website or adding a link to your sales page to Facebook doesn't count...You need a sales strategy and if you don't have one - well, I'm guessing that's a big part of why your business isn't making money yet.
Not sure where to start? Here are a few things to consider:
4) Check Your Mindset
There's no escaping it, the path to building a profitable online business is largely done from the inside out. If your head ain't in the game, then frankly, there's no point in playing.
So, if your business isn't making money, then do me a favour and spend some time considering your answers to the following 3 questions. They may just reveal what's been holding you back...
Do you feel like a CEO?
Seriously, do you?
Because that's what you are! This isn't a hobby. It's not a lemonade stand at the end of your drive that you're doing to earn some pocket money or to pass some time at the weekend.
This is your BUSINESS. Are you treating it that way?
Do you deserve to succeed?
Imposter Syndrome is all too real, especially when you're just getting started.
I have 13 years of corporate experience. I worked across pretty much all fields of marketing and customer relationship management - and I did it for a FTSE 30 company. I managed a department, I recruited and trained, reviewed and occasionally even fired people. I worked on million pound projects and for products with over a million customers.
But when it came to starting my own business, I suddenly felt like a complete beginner again - because I was! Running your own business is different to corporate. Sure there are tons of transferrable skills but there's also a steep and ongoing learning curve which can make the most experienced of us feel like a fraud.
The thing is, if you feel like that, it's going to come across in your business. You need to believe in yourself - if you don't, how can you expect your audience to?
Do you believe in your offer?
Here are some of the thoughts that I'm willing to bet have passed through your mind at some point:
If you were nodding along to any of those then chances are you're sabotaging your chance to make money because those niggling doubts will come through in your messaging and your marketing.
They'll also stop you from promoting your products consistently and with passion.
If you don't truly believe in your offer then ask yourself why and then fix it.
5) Have Another Income Source
I couldn't decide whether to include this point or not - but I think it's important to say.
If you're not at the point where you're making much (or any) profit from your business yet then there's no shame in doing whatever you need to in order to keep some money coming in. If you're constantly worrying about how you'll pay your bills then you won't be able to focus on growing your biz.
There's no rule book when it comes to this stuff. If achieving your dream means staying in your 9-5 a little longer or taking on some extra freelance work for now, then do what you need to do - no one's judging you but you.