Hi Dylan Sigley, I am currently stuck working a 9 to 5 job that I hate and want to start my own online business. Can you share with me some tips on how to get started?
Thanks for the great question.
Most people find it tough to get started, mainly because they think it is really complicated and will cost a lot of money. But, in my experience, it really comes down to following five simple steps to building an online business.
Starting an online business isn’t complicated if you know how to sell. It doesn’t matter if you have a fancy website, or a well-designed logo, or what colors you use. The only thing that matters is sales.
I am going to use the example of a services-based business that uses the drop servicing methodology. This is my specialty and what I know back to front. It’s what we teach through Dylan Sigley’s ‘Drop Servicing Blueprint’ course.
Follow these five steps and you will be well on your way to building a profitable and scalable online business.
1. Find the Right Business Idea
The first step is to find the right business idea. There are two ways you can go about finding the right idea. The first is to go out there and find ideas that are already being implemented successfully by other people, and the second is to come up with an idea of your own and research if it can actually be implemented.
If you go down the first path you can start by joining entrepreneur groups and business groups on platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn and have a look at the types of businesses other people are running. You’ll be able to get lots of information from people about what is working for them online and how they went about setting up a successful business. On top of looking at Facebook and LinkedIn groups to find business ideas, you can also go on to freelancer sites like Fiverr and Freelancer.com and look at what kinds of services are being offered there, and which types of services have a lot of demand from companies. You want to find a service that can be sold and delivered completely online. You will also need to make sure that there are freelancers out there that can carry out project delivery at a lower cost than your competitors, the difference in what competitors charge, and what freelancers charge is your profit margin.
It is possible to come up with your own idea for a service to sell, but I always recommend to people just starting out that it is best to provide a service that already exists. You can quickly validate that there is a demand for it and that it is possible to deliver (because you can find other people already doing it). You don’t need to reinvent the wheel to build a business that gives you ‘freedom money’ (ie – enough to live on and quit your day job). Chances are you not going to have some amazing ideas like Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerberg had, so just focus initially on finding something that you know there is a demand for and that you can deliver. You don’t have to be the next Elon Musk, just focus on becoming the next Dylan Sigley and you will be living a life of freedom in no time!
2. Reverse Engineer the Competition
Now that you have decided on a business idea, the next step is to reverse engineer the competition. You basically want to figure out whether your business idea is one that is being implemented by a lot of companies already by doing a quick Google search. When you search for your service type/ business idea you can then see how many other businesses are offering it. You can then validate whether it’s a good idea or not by visiting their websites to research how they market their service, how much they charge, and how they deliver the service.
Once you find competitors that are offering your service well, you can start to ‘reverse engineer’ and build your own business systems based on theirs. For example, if I was setting up a new company called ‘Dylan Sigley Video Services’ I would see how my competitors have set up their websites, how they present their service/ offer and how they charge for it – so that I can learn what to do for my business. Just remember not to copy them outright!
3. Design an Irresistible Offer
Now that you know what service you will be selling, and how to build your business systems, the next step is to design an irresistible offer. Because you are starting an online business, you have a competitive advantage over the traditional businesses out there. Because you’re completely virtual, you can take advantage of communication technologies and a global labor pool to keep your costs a lot lower than our traditional brick and mortar competitors. If for example my new company ‘Dylan Sigley Video Services’ is competing with a bunch of competitors that have to pay higher salaries to their staff and rent expensive offices, then I can compete with them by delivering the same level of quality at a much lower cost.. This is your main competitive advantage and gives you a great entry point into the market. All you have to do is set your prices somewhere in between how much your competitors charge and how much it will cost you to hire freelancers to deliver the project. The bigger the difference, the higher your profit margin.
4. Create a Sales and Marketing Plan
Now that you’ve found a great business idea, reversed engineered your competition, and crafted an irresistible offer, it’s time to go to market. There are many ways to market yourself – both paid and free. The best free methods include cold email, social media, and social outreach, and the most accessible paid methods include Google, Facebook, LinkedIn ads, etc.
If you have some money to invest then you can choose the paid methods, and if you have time but not a lot of money you can focus on the free methods. Don’t try and do all of the marketing channels at once, because if you do, you’re going to dilute your attention across all of them and you’re not going to be able to master any one of them. Whereas if you focus on one, you’re going to get results a lot quicker because you’re going to find out what works and what doesn’t.
The top method I advise clients that go through the Dylan Sigley ‘Drop Servicing Blueprint’ course is to use cold emails as your first sales method. You can find contact information for target customers in free directories like CrunchBase and LinkedIn and then contact them with your offer. A lot of our clients have had great success with this method.
5. Test and Scale-Up
Once you have crafted your message and figured out which audience you are going to target it’s time to actually go out there and test it. You want to test different variations of your offer so that you can see which one performs best. You can test different variations of your sales email, your landing page, and your sales scripts if you talk to clients on the phone.
Once you find out what is working and you start to make sales, double down and try to scale up your drop servicing business. This means doing things like building up the back-end of your business by implementing systems to try and automate as many tasks as possible. You can also hire other freelancers to carry out tasks for you such as lead generation. This will free up your time to be able to focus on more important tasks such as project delivery and making sales. The beauty of this model is that once you have mastered it for providing one service, you can look to offer more services. The end result is a continuously growing business that doesn’t even require a lot of your time!
The Bottom Line
If you want to build a successful online business focus on the things that matter. Put your energy into finding the right business idea, reverse engineer your competition, design an irresistible offer, develop a marketing plan, and finally test and scale. If you can follow these five steps you will be well on your way to building a real online business. You will be able to build a business and get clients very quickly because at the end of the day getting sales is all that matters.
If you would like a step by step guide for how to build, scale, and automate your online business then check out the ‘Dylan Sigley Drop Servicing Blueprint’.