by Jenna Kutcher
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Nothing feels more intimidating than starting. Judging by the amount of DMs and comments I see about how I got started in my business, I feel like you might agree that starting can be the hardest part.
My friend Natalis Ellis started BossBabe with her friend Dr. Danielle Canty as a community for unapologetically ambitious women. Sounds like my kind of community, right? It has since grown into a massive resource with over 15 million members learning how to start, grow, and scale their businesses.
Natalie also knows that starting can be the hardest part, and that’s why the babes behind BossBabe created a framework around it. Our goal for this episode is to demystify the how of starting your business, what you can do to move from side hustle to full time, and why being resourceful is more important than having resources. No more waiting, let’s start right now.
Resources versus Resourceful
Natalie dove right into the behind the scenes story that led her to launching BossBabe. Did you know she was an entrepreneur at age 13 (building websites for businesses) and one of her first businesses out of college was a supplement company? So crazy!
Part of launching any of her businesses was learning the importance of being resourceful when resources weren’t accessible. Natalie said, “There’s a massive difference between the essentials and the ‘nice-to-haves’.” When her supplement business was just starting out, it would’ve been nice to have a fancy label, but that was above her budget. Instead, she learned photoshop and created the logo and label herself.
Once she started to reach certain milestones, she invested in the fancier ‘nice-to-have’ components of her business.
When you first start your business, you’ll be tackling every aspect yourself, “but everyone is telling you to stick to your zone of genius!” It’s a dilemma, but what’s great about it according to Natalie, is when you’ve grown to the point of investing in a team, you can teach them your methods.
“Don’t create the entire [thing] if no one’s bought it,” Natalie advised. What’s the minimum product you can put out there? Do you need an expensive professionally designed landing before you even have sales? Think of developing your product or service in a way that lets you test the proof of concept before investing your resources to develop it further.
Pillars of Success: Purpose and Audience
What Natalie found at BossBabe was that for businesses that actually get off the ground, only 1 in 4 succeed. So they dug into the factors that carried that 25% of businesses from concept to success, finding that there are five pillars that make or break a biz.
It’s getting really clear about what you want to do and why you want to do it. Think about setting goals for a defined period of time but don’t get caught up on having a long 10-year roadmap. It’s about one step at a time, and reminding yourself of those goals so you’re pushed to take one small action each day that gets you closer.
The audience pillar is focused on building a network for people you can sell to. At the beginning (and for the life of the biz) it’s important to nurture a network and connect with a community. There’s no right or wrong way to do this, but it could look like starting and growing an email list, Instagram account, Facebook group, or a platform where your ideal client is hanging out. Then, start to share the product or service you’re creating in a free way.
Pillars of Success: Revenue
The third pillar in the BossBabe success framework is revenue — making and managing money. Starting to setup a spreadsheet or accounting system that will help you manage and review the money your business is taking in and sending out.
But how are you going to actually sell to clients and make money? Think about your revenue strategy, especially if you’re in the resourceful phase (versus having a lot of resources). How do you turn your email subscriber or Instagram follower into a buyer? What does the customer journey look like?
The Know, Like and Trust factor is important in the customer journey. I talk about this a lot, too. Think about how you can develop that within the customer journey, so you can take someone from wanting your freebie to wanting to buy your product. Whether it’s on your email list or on social media, providing valuable, purposeful content from the start will keep your potential customer with you on their journey.
Pillars of Success: Systems and Growth
This is all about making sure your business is working for you and you’re not working for it. In the beginning, Natalie says it’s a good idea to preempt everything you might need. This might look like setting up boards or tasks in a project management system, like you would if you had a team.
You can also create screen recording videos of tasks so when you get to the point of hiring a teammate, even a VA, you’ll already have the resources that person needs to get started. Preempting is about setting up your systems before you even need them.
Finally (and speaking of teammates), the fifth pillar of success is thinking about growth. Mindset comes into play here, because you have to believe that growth is possible in order to go for it. Doing the mindset and personal development work, surrounding yourself with people who are at a higher level than you, and really understanding the picture of what’s possible is all part of your path for growth.
It’s Not Linear
The five pillars of success that Natalie walked through are not a one and done path for all entrepreneurs at every stage. You might cycle between the phases or be in two at once as you launch a new product or service, but it all comes down to purpose, audience, revenue, systems, and growth.
Natalie’s actionable advice is to write down these pillars and note where you’re at with each of them. Then, add one thing under each pillar that you know you could do a little better and focus on. Small steps will build over time.
Press play to hear Natalie walk through each pillar of success because it was truly a mic drop moment. It felt like she was walking me through all 300+ episodes of the podcast in five concise steps!
Employee to Entrepreneur
I asked Natalie for her advice to someone who is just in the idea stage or side hustle phase of their business, who wants to eventually pivot to full time entrepreneur. I loved her super actionable steps here.
First, think of your hourly rate at work. Maybe it’s $20/hour or $40/hour. You’re getting paid that rate to show up and perform at your job AND think about your business idea. It’s a little bit of a mental shift, but consider it that way.
Start with a 10-step action plan, narrowing down the 10 things that have to happen before you can take the plunge into full-time entrepreneurship. Things like creating a website, designing a logo, writing copy… Then mark the things you could hand off to a freelancer with a low hourly rate.
And then think about milestones for yourself. When you hit X, reduce your hours at work. When you hit X, you’ll go full-time in your own business. Maybe it’s when you make your full-time income two months in a row, then you’ll quit your job. It’s going to feel like a risk, but it’s a calculated risk, something that entrepreneurship is full of.
It’s not about being fancy at the start. It’s about getting working systems in place so you can serve paying clients. Wake up thinking, “How do I get closer to signing a client today?” And do it.
More from this Episode
Want to know Natalie’s game changing social media strategy that’s moving the needle for her right now? You gotta press play on the full episode or tune in on your favorite podcast platform.