How to scale up your online business
If you’re a creator who wants to scale their online business but is feeling a bit stuck, stick around. Ahead we’ll discuss five actionable steps you can take to scale your online business and take it to the next level. Let’s get into it.
Welcome to “First sale to full scale”, a 10-video series that covers the journey from making your first digital product to running a full-scale online business.
Creating products and experiences for your audience takes a fundamentally different skill set than what’s required to build and grow a business. Yes, to have a business, you need to have a product in the first place, but once you’ve created a product for your business, how do you grow and scale it?
In this, our final video of the series, we’re going to build on what we’ve discussed in the previous videos and take you through five steps to scale your online business. Let’s jump into number one.
Step 1: Connect with experts
Most of us grow personally and professionally by seeking the advice of experts. When it comes to the next stages of your business, there are many ways to do this. You can listen to podcasts, watch YouTube videos, read books, but if you’re looking for a truly powerful and direct way to gain insights into how to scale your business, try the following:
Join a mastermind group
A mastermind group is a small group of people, generally around 6–8, who are in a similar place in their business and are committed to growing together. It gets its name from the idea that when great minds come together, they form a “mastermind”.
Mastermind group meetings happen at some regular frequency like weekly or monthly and usually consist of members sharing what they’ve learned, what they’re struggling with, and their vision for the future of their business. They serve as a way to gain new insights, get unstuck, and as a way to stay accountable for the things you’re working on in your business.
You can probably sit down for five minutes and come up with a list of at least 10–20 people who could make great mastermind group members. Or, someone you know may already have a group that you could potentially join. If you’re interested in learning more about how to form or run a mastermind group, let me know in the comments.
Get a business coach
Where a mastermind group can help you with business insights related to where you are currently, a business coach can use their experience and expertise to show you next steps and what you should be planning for further down the road.
Business coaches can be very involved, like someone who meets with you weekly and has a deep understanding of your business operations. They can also play more of a consultant role, checking in with you quarterly and keeping a bird’s eye view to keep your business on the right trajectory.
Getting a business coach can feel like a big step. It’s best to think of it like an investment. If your business already makes money and a business coach could help you scale that up while avoiding major hiccups along the way, that’s an investment worth making.
Step 2: Automate and integrate
Do you ever wish there were extra of you? One to handle the creating, one to handle the marketing, one to handle bookkeeping. Instead of cloning yourself, consider the following Podia tools to increase your sales while saving some time:
Build an email drip sequence
Earlier in the video series, we talked about how to build an email drip sequence that can help you make sales in your sleep. If you haven’t already done so, start right away. An email drip sequence is a powerful and low-maintenance tool to help you get sales.
With Podia, you can easily set up an email campaign, choose from various entrance and exit conditions, set the number of emails you want in your drip sequence, and the frequency at which they’ll go out.
And it’s easy to make edits if you ever need to tweak something to make your sales machine run more smoothly.
Embed buy buttons on your website
Podia offers a custom website tool where you can share and sell your products, with a fully integrated checkout system so you don’t have to mess with plugins. But, if you happen to have a separate website and you’re on the Shaker or Earthquaker plan, you can offer the same great checkout system by embedding buy buttons right on your website.
You can do this right from your Podia dashboard in your “Products” tab and copy embeddable code for a link, buy button, or product card to paste into your website so you can sell your digital products more easily.
Putting these features in place can help you feel a little bit like you’ve cloned yourself… at least until they figure out how to do it for real.
Step 3: Leverage your audience
You might think of your audience in terms of a single interaction like a purchase or a social media comment, but it’s much more than that. When someone engages with your business, that’s just the beginning of the customer relationship. If you’ve cultivated trust and goodwill with your audience and people are enthusiastic about your business, you can leverage that enthusiasm into action. Try the following:
Invite a community member to moderate
If you have an online community, keeping up with your community and engaging with people can be super time-consuming. A moderator helps lighten the load by ensuring that members are following community guidelines and, in some cases, engaging for you when you’re away.
Build an affiliate program
An affiliate program allows you to incentivize your biggest fans to share your business within their circle of influence. This can be a great way to reach an audience you might not otherwise have access to. In the previous video in this series, we showed you how to build an effective affiliate program. Definitely check that out if you’re interested in starting one for your business.
Step 4: Use the umbrella method
The umbrella method is an approach to creating new products for your business that meet the customer where they are. If you think about an umbrella, there are multiple tips at the end of each rib. For your business, these represent your products priced from low to high. Some customers will come to your brand ready to invest a lot, while others may only be able to invest a little, and everything in-between.
Maybe right now you’ve got a low-dollar product, like an ebook or checklist in the $10-$50 range. Think about what types of products you might create to fill in the rest of the umbrella. On the next tip, you might have a mini-course or webinar in the $100-$250 range. The next tip might be a full online course or group coaching meeting in the $500-$750 range. The next tip could be an online community membership for $1000-$1500 per year. The last tip could be a one-on-one coaching meeting in the $2500-$5000 range.
The purpose of this exercise is to find as many ways as you can to match the value you can provide through your products with what the customer is ready to invest at that time.
Step 5: Add teammates
At some point in your business, you won’t be able to keep growing unless you get help. That help can be in the form of anything from a virtual assistant to a full-time partner. With Podia, you can bring on teammates and set role-specific permissions so they’ll have access to only what they need to fulfill their role in your business.
If you’re on our Earthquaker plan, you get five free teammate seats. After that, and for other Podia plans, you’ll only pay an additional $20 per teammate per month.
One of the most difficult questions to answer when considering getting outside help is, “Which parts of my business do I delegate?”
Generally, tasks related to your business fall into one of two columns:
Things that you’re good at, you enjoy, and that require your voice.
Things you’re not good at, you dread, and just about anyone could do.
Early on it makes the most sense to delegate tasks that fall under the second column. The more your business grows, the more you may need to delegate tasks in the first column. In a future video, we’ll get more into the details of this process.
One more note about getting help. It can feel scary to bring someone else into your business, and you may not find a great fit the first, second, or even tenth time. Just like anything else, it’ll take practice, experimentation, and patience before it feels comfortable, but you’ve come this far, so you’ve got this.
So try these five steps out in your business. And if there are any tips you have for your fellow creators and online business owners to help them scale up their business, please share them in the comments below!
And that concludes the “First sale to full scale” series! Thank you for coming along this journey with us. I hope you’ve picked up some valuable insights along the way and wish the best for you and your business. If you have any questions about anything we’ve covered in this video or series, don’t hesitate to leave a comment below.
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