When it comes to starting your own online business, there’s no better way to gain knowledge faster than by learning from experts who’ve already achieved tremendous success in their own business endeavors.
This piece is comprised of a compilation of the first hand tips that each expert has kindly shared with me….
***The experts I specifically chose for this piece vary greatly in their industry/business models/etc, but the successful traits & characteristics they hold correlate amongst each one of them.
Note: I recommend that you absorb parts from each expert that best suit & align with your talents. You’ll then be able to apply their advice directly into your own business journey!!!
1. Alex Turnbull
Alex Turnbull is the CEO/Founder of Groove. They provide amazing online help desk software & even share their journey to 500K a month in revenue openly on their blog. When it comes to exceptional customer service & gaining feedback, there is no one better in the business than Alex.
Alex’s must follow tip:
“Starting a business online makes it really easy to separate yourself from your audience; after all, you’re sitting behind a computer screen, not in front of a customer! The problem is that this separation has destroyed thousands of businesses run by people who decided that they know better than their customers what those customers actually want. Before you blindly build anything, go out and spend many, many hours actually talking to your customers, and listen very closely. You’ll get game-changing feedback on your market, and collect some really valuable language that you can then use in your marketing copy.”
Most business owners don’t take customer development as serious as they should. Read Alex’s epic piece on the subject here.
2. Neil Patel
Neil Patel is the co-founder of KissMetrics, Crazy Egg, & Quick Sprout. Along with building 3 of his own multi-million dollar companies, he’s directly advised for Fortune 500 companies from the likes of Amazon to NBC. If you’re in the online marketing space and haven’t heard of Neil, it’s time you come out from under your pet rock & start listening 🙂
I’m grateful for the work Neil does & kindly shares on a consistent basis online. One of my favorite keynote speech’s of Neil’s from a few years back that I point aspiring entrepreneurs to watch is 10 Business Mistakes That Nearly Broke Me, which he made at SIC 2012 (Seattle Interactive Conference).
Neil’s must follow tip:
“Learn from your mistakes. As an entrepreneur you will make mistakes… as long as you learn from them and avoid making the same ones over again, you’ll increase your chances of success.”
3. Jacob Cass
Jacob Cass is the founder of JUST Creative, a graphic design studio based out of Manhattan, New York City. He has worked with clients ranging from Jerry Seinfeld to Disney, to name a few. If you’re looking for guidance on personal branding, Jacob is your top source for wisdom to learn from (I share a common belief of his in also making working remotely for myself a reality).
Jacob’s must follow tip:
“Getting started in the online world is easy, it’s staying committed that’s hard. To maintain focus you need actionable goals, and that comes from proper planning. What are you trying to achieve? Who’s your market? Who’s doing it well? Learn from others and surround yourself with people smarter than you.”
4. Byan Eisenberg
Bryan Eisenberg is an inaugural authority in online marketing, copywriting, & conversion optimization. Along with co-authoring 3 great New York Time’s best sellers, he continues to push the limits in the field. Always Be Testing was one of my early prized books that I read in regards to website optimization & testing online. Whether you are a newbie just getting started in online business or a veteran, you can apply Bryan’s principles to your business & start seeing a direct impact.
Bryan’s must follow tip:
“It doesn’t matter where you start your journey, just be better today than you were yesterday. That includes all aspects of life. Don’t lose balance.”
5. David Meerman Scott
David Meerman Scott is a world renowned sales & marketing strategist for businesses in the 21st century. He is the co-author of 3 international bestsellers, including The New Rules of Marketing & PR (my personal favorite of his collection…you can get a copy here).
Many great companies are falling to the wayside in today’s economy by NOT adapting. By taking David’s teaching’s to heart, you’re giving yourself a much stronger chance to thrive in the new economy we compete in.
David’s must follow tip:
“Nobody cares about your products and services (except you). Yes, you read that right. What people do care about are themselves and how you can solve their problems. In order to have people be interested in you, your company, and your ideas, you must resist the urge to hype your products and services.”
6. Andy Traub
Andy Traub is the founder of a successful self -publishing consulting business & shares his knowledge consistently on his blog, Take Permission. Traub is a big advocate for “taking permission” opposed to waiting for good fortune to just happen to us. In today’s age of the internet, we all have an opportunity to have a voice, start a business, back a cause, & serve others through the work we do. Andy exemplifies this to a tee.
Andy’s must follow tip:
“On-line entrepreneurs are like professional athletes, they make something ridiculously difficult look ridiculously easy. It’s not easy. It’s work. Remember that when it’s difficult. Difficult doesn’t mean you’re doing it wrong. Difficult means you’re working and anything worth doing takes work.”
7. Srinivas Rao
Srini Rao is the host & founder of The Unmistakable Creative Podcast. Along with interviewing hundreds of all stars in a vast array of fields, Srini’s also the author of the WSJ best seller, The Art of Being Unmistakable (a book I have gifted to countless friends). Whether you’re an artist or an entrepreneur starting an online business, the creative lessons that Srini & his team share are 2nd to none.
Srini’s must follow tip:
“Write 1000 words a day. It doesn’t matter if they’re good. But it’s a great keystone habit that will ripple into other areas of your life.”
Bonus: Download our free guide 10 Pages to Creating a Successful Location Independent Online Business
8. Dominic Wells
Dominic Wells is an online leader in affiliate marketing & creating ready made niche sites for others to buy. The online landscape has dramatically changed over the past few years & Dominic is on the forefront of those changes in the industry through his company Human Proof Designs.
Dominic’s must follow tip:
“Understand where you are in the pecking order, and try to align yourself with other entrepreneurs in your space. Become their friends, follow what they do, share their stuff, but don’t demand their responses or expect them to have time for you. Over time, they’ll realize you’re serious and will be more than happy to help you out, as they were once helped out themselves. Being able to get mentions and links from these more established entrepreneurs will do wonders for your own authority.”
9. Verne Harnish
Verne Harnish is founder of the revered Entrepreneurs’ Organization & has been helping companies “scale up” for decades. If you ever have the chance to see Verne speak live, don’t miss the opportunity. In the meantime, a book of Verne’s I strongly advocate for to aspiring business owners & startups post proof of concept is Scaling Up (you’ll be glad you read it).
Verne’s must follow tip:
“First thing an entrepreneur must do is take out a piece of paper and make a list of the top 25 “influencers” they need to get behind their new (or existing) venture. This is the advice Regis McKenna, the legendary marketing guru of Silicon Valley, gave me back in the early 80s when I launched the Association of Collegiate Entrepreneurs (ACE). He was advising Steve Jobs and other tech luminaries and I asked him to help me as a student at Wichita State U. Anyway, I made the list – President Ronald Reagan, Steve Jobs, Owner of Venture and Inc. Magazines, etc. – and spent an hour each week finding a way to get these influencers behind the student organization I had launched. And sure enough, it worked. Every one of the people on the list played a part in ACE scaling up globally in 36 months, including President Reagan and Steve Jobs. So make your list and work it. I still do this today whenever I’m launching/expanding/growing anything – my business, helping my children, or advising the non-profits I support.”
10. Nasim Pakmanesh
Nasim is taking a much unchanged industry (the floral industry) by storm. Through Roseshire, Nasim & his co-founder, Don Hutton, are changing the way customers view roses by providing the best quality in the world and only working with the most sustainable growers.
Nasim’s must follow tip:
“The most valued piece for me is to be ambitiously persistent. Without ambition, persistence can fade off by itself or from peer pressure to do something else. Without persistence, action won’t be created, and ambition will just stay an idea. The two have to coincide with each other.”
11. Gary Leland
Gary Leland is a successful entrepreneur & pioneer in the world of podcasting. Since 2000, Gary has built his core business, SoftballJunk.com, into a leading authority in the niche market. Being passionate about the business industry you’re in (whether its offline or an online business) is essential to success & Gary speaks volumes on this through his work.
Gary’s must follow tip:
“Pay more attention to your business and pay less attention your competitors. Just because a competitor does something, does not mean it is the right thing for you to do.”
12. David Allen
David is an expert on productivity, time management, & has created a wildly popular method/book known as “Getting Things Done.” Every great business owner understands that time is your #1 resource (you can’t ever get it back). David’s philosophies on helping others improve in this area of their life can have a major impact on online business success.
David’s must follow tip:
“My simplest instruction is to keep it all out of your head — your concerns, issues, potentially relevant projects, actions to take, etc. Get into a conference room, or boot your computer, and do that—completely. Then notice what changes in your experience of being more in control with the proper perspective.”
13. Stuart Walker
Stuart is the head of Niche Hacks. They uncover profitable niches, teach you how to get into them, & provide abundant information on traffic/growth strategies for you to put to use. Stuart is a master in the field when it comes to building a business around a specific niche market online.
Stuart’s must follow tip:
”Go niche and go niche some more. Don’t start a general blog but drill down into a specific sub-niche of a wider market and then target a specific type of person / demographic. After that it’s all about focus, determination and hustle. You gotta make it happen and not lose focus.”
14. Michael Port
Michael Port is a best-selling author, the most sought after public speaking coach in the world, & is a former professional actor (having guest starred on Sex & The City, The Pelican Brief, & various other roles). He is one of the most humble authorities online & his teachings have strongly resonated with me in my business efforts. If you want to grow your online business, acquire more clients, or have more influence on your audience, Book Yourself Solid will be a perfect read for you.
Michael’s must follow tip:
“Make commitments and fulfill them: your reputation depends on them.”
15. Vladimir Gendelman
Vladimir Gendelman is the Founder and CEO of Company Folders, Inc., winner of multiple awards, including ranking in Inc.’s list of 5000 fastest growing private companies in America three years and counting. Vladimir is a thought leader in print design, and has published a variety of articles in major publications, including Forbes and Time.
Vladimir’s must follow tip:
“Write up a solid, extremely detailed business plan that specifies a series of specific goals to reach at specific times. Those goals can deal with any aspect of your business—not just financial goals, but also the state of work relationships. Think of it as a roadmap: the more clearly the landmarks are labeled, the more likely you are to be able to reach them. Start with goals for the first, second, and third weeks that your business is up and running. Then, follow up with goals for the first, second, and third months, followed by quarterly milestones for the first year and annual goals after that.”
In closing, I hope you will take action in applying the above advice into your own business. These mentors have each played a positive impact in the work I do today & I’m grateful to each of them.
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