What would you do if you were building a business from nothing and you only had 30 days to create a new job for yourself? Could you make enough money with your blog to survive?
That’s exactly what I discussed when I got together with Bailey Richert, who faced something similar. After quitting an unfulfilling job as an engineer at 25, she had to find a way to make her blog work, and in this talk, she explains how it all came down to one key strategy. A strategy you can do, yourself. A strategy that would lead to over 7,500 subscribers. Read on, to see how…
Hey, thanks so much for taking the time to hang out. So, let’s dive in. I know you’ve been working with Russell Brunson and helped him with his summit, which is plain awesome. And the big question you’ve been asking the speakers is what would they do in their first 30 days, if they were starting from nothing. So let toss that question your way. What would you do if you’re going back in time and you had to reboot your business? What’s your 30-day blueprint?
It’s a great question. It’s definitely something that I thought about a lot, and I even wrote an email to my audience about this exact thing. The thing is when you look at the plans of all of the speakers, even though we use the structure of a 30 day plan, I think realistically because they were trying to be as helpful as possible, most of the speakers crammed a lot more than could probably get done in 30 days. Which is great, actually, because instead of just leaving you with this idea that, oh, in 30 days, all you’ll really be able to do is focus in on your niche and develop your brand, that there are actionable steps to take.
But I think for a person who’s just getting started especially, a lot of those 30 day plans might take you 60 days or 90 days or a lot longer than that to actually really pull through. For example, during the very first week of their 30 days, one of the speakers might say, “Gather all the video testimonials you can from everyone that you’ve ever worked with.” Well, I don’t necessarily know if it’s realistic to assume that can all be done in 24 hours, right?
When I was developing my plan, I thought about that a lot. Realistically, my plan would probably not exactly fit into the 30 days either. But, what I would recommend to people might take six to nine months. What I said was you need to take a look at infrastructure and getting that stuff set up first.
I know that those aren’t necessarily revenue generating activities immediately; to work on your niche, to figure out who your audience is, to work on your visual brand, to get your website up and going, to start putting out some free content.
But all of those things are most definitely going to help you down the road. Because one of the things that I think that you should be doing after you get all of that infrastructure up and going is a virtual summit.
It helps you grow your email list, bringing in some revenue, developing your first info product, reaching out to other people in your niche, and really building up relationships with other influencers.
So, there’s many different benefits that come from that type of marketing. But in order to do a summit successfully, I believe that having all those things that come before it is really critical, right? If you reach out to an influencer and you want to encourage them to say yes to your invitation to be on your summit, but you don’t have a website with a professional message and brand, they’re probably going to say no.
All of those essential things in the beginning really set us up for foundational success moving forward. I would say, start by figuring out those basics, getting that infrastructure up and going, setting the foundation, move into building up your list with a virtual summit so that you can have your own audience to whom you can launch your own info products. And then one of the things that I said that I would do towards the end of my plan is I would actually utilize my virtual summit to do a pre-sale of my very first online course, probably as an upsell in my virtual summit funnel to try to get some idea validation for my very first info product outside of the summit. And then I would take that information and if it was a success, do a full launch of that product after the summit. Or if it was not successful, reassess and decide on what path they wanted to take next.
Definitely, a little bit longer than 30 days, but that is how I would get started from beginning to first monetization.
Starting with summits, that was what got you going, right? I always feel like the best way to build a business is to take an iterative approach. You try something, you figure out what works, you repeat those parts and then you add and build on that. So, I’m assuming that when you did your first pass, you probably did not have all those exact same elements in place.
Oh sure, absolutely. I was in business long before I did my very first summit, but that’s actually why I did my summit. I was experiencing a plateau in my business at that point. Everything was fine, but I was looking for an opportunity to grow my business in a way that I felt was authentic and was also going to help me achieve lots of growth tactics together. When I did my first summit, I experienced such incredible business growth, I turned around and did my very second one just nine months later, 2016 to early 2017.
If I had known what that was going to do for my business from the start, I would have done it even earlier. One of the things that I’m constantly telling people in my virtual summit trainings is that virtual summits, a lot of people think that you need to already be a huge success to do a summit successfully, or you need to already be a very developed business owner. But the reality is that virtual summits, sure, they’re excellent for somebody who’s already established, that’s no problem. They can do them too. But they’re also fantastic for people who are just getting started because of the way they can grow your business so quickly. It’s a fast track to getting to a level of sustainable success quickly.
One of the things that I absolutely love about people who take my course and that I get to see do summits early in their business is how they’ve experienced those huge results, and how they feel like their business has just gone into hyper speed, or hyperspace, or whatever. It’s pretty cool to be able to see the growth that they’re able to achieve, which is very similar to what I also experienced.
I know it’s going to range depending on what you do. But for the people you’ve seen doing summits, or for yourself in your experience, what would you say is a realistic timeframe on the faster side, but what would be a realistic timeframe to go from zero to having a summit going?
I have a formula actually for doing your first summit, which is a 12-step process. I say that that 12-step process can be done in 90 days, which is the minimum amount of time that I would recommend to put on your first summit. Normally, it could also take a little bit longer, and there’s nothing wrong with that either. But you need at least 90 days, not just for yourself. I know that there’s people out there that potentially could work faster. But what you need to do is also give your guest speakers enough notice in order to be able to put it on their content calendar. You need to give your potential attendees and the audience enough time to be able to learn about the event and to actually get it out there and promote it.
Whenever you think about all the different activities that you have to do, or that your speakers have to do, all the promotion that’s involved, you’re looking at a minimum of 90 days.
One of the big mistakes I see is that people think of everything as unrelated. Everything is a one off event. It’s “Let me do this one thing. If I do this one thing, this is going to make the millions. And I’m just going to wash, rinse and repeat.” But what I’m hearing is that a summit isn’t just an end result, buta springboard to everything else
Oh, absolutely. Whenever I’m doing my virtual summit training, I always call a summit, a business development event. I’m always trying to get people to realize that the benefits are going to be significantly greater than just that that you will experience before and then during your event.
Let me tell you a little story. When I did my very first summit in 2016, I had somebody who was not even a speaker on my summit, just somebody who saw my event, really enjoyed the premise of what I was doing, and asked me if I wanted to be on his podcast. I said, “Yes, of course.” I did the interview, didn’t think much of it. Several months later, somebody heard that interview and actually became my client. And then when I was done working with that individual, they recommended me to one of their friends who then also became my client.
So, we’re talking of six, eight months down the road, many thousands of dollars in business from this one event, and that revenue was not even captured in the case study I did about that first summit. Because how could I possibly have known that I was going to be making that money down the road?
That’s just one small example of what can happen whenever you put yourself out there, because you’re going to be getting so much more visibility thanks to your summit.
I’m going to backtrack a little bit, because I know that your background, obviously, from the very start was not in info marketing. Could you tell me a little bit about where you started?
Sure. Well, I think, like a lot of people, I grew up believing that there was a certain path that I had to follow. As an American, we call it the American dream. I was really dedicated to that for so long. I really believed that education was going to be my way to success because that’s what our parents taught us, right? I became High School, valedictorian. Studied really hard and won a scholarship to go to college as, say, engineering students. I studied engineering and eventually graduated, and through a series of jobs wound up in California working as a full-time environmental engineering consultant.
That was from around about 2010 is when I graduated, and then up to 2013 is when I had that job. Around 2013, when I was 25 years old, I’ve been working in this job for a few years, and I started to undergo what some people have called a quarter life crisis. Just basically like a midlife crisis, only at age 25. Really starting to question my path and wondering how I had gotten there, what I was doing? I know that it’s a little cliché in some ways, but everything that people say about those kind of questions that they go through in that point in time in their lives was absolutely true for me. I was watching a lot of my co-workers who happened to be older men, about 30 years older than me as is the engineering fields. They worked at this company for their entire lives. At the end, they had a certificate to show for it.
I started to think, “Is that what I want?”
For me, I just knew that wasn’t going to be enough. When I sat down, and I really thought about all the different things I wanted for my life, I wanted to be able to travel more, see my family more, because I lived on the opposite side of the country from them. To dedicate more time to my philanthropy. I knew deep down that I was only going to be able to achieve those things if I became my own boss. I didn’t study business, I didn’t know anything about business. I just knew that that was the only way I was going to be able to obtain the kind of freedom I want because I couldn’t think of I didn’t know of any other job that would allow me that kind of freedom.
When I got started, I was actually still in my 9-5 when I started writing my first book, which was actually in the travel niche. I’ve been to over 30 countries. I love travel, and that’s how I got started. I think I’m a decent writer. So, I basically said to myself, I’m going to be an author. But I decided I needed a little bit more formal education in entrepreneurship.
So, I decided that I would enroll in graduate school at MIT for two years, and finish a graduate program there while building my business. My goal was to graduate and be fully self-employed, which I was luckily able to do.
While I was at MIT. The business that I was creating, I actually decided to pivot. As I mentioned, the first product that I was creating was this book. I stayed in the travel niche for a little while, writing more books, doing eventually some online courses, public speaking. I was seeing some decent success.
And I had a lot of people—friends and family—but also total strangers, reach out to me and start asking me questions about not the travel stuff, but actually more of the business stuff. How was I able to self-publish? How was I getting success with my online courses and all these other sorts of things? So, on the side, I began teaching people about infopreneurship is what I now call it. Back then I didn’t really call it that, but that’s what I do now.
I was teaching people about infopreneurship and my audience for that content and those products actually started to grow insanely rapidly. So, in 2015, I decided to make a decision that I was going to focus full-time on teaching these infopreneurship principles and become a business coach, which is what I’ve been doing ever since.
That’s fantastic. I didn’t know about the travel. I remember you took a trip to Cuba earlier this year, but I didn’t know it was a think you did.
Yes it is. But I don’t talk about it in my current business. I’ll mention every once in a while when I’m abroad, or if I feel there’s a way that I can wrap it into a business lesson than or something like that. But the truth is, I’m actually quite abroad very often, and I don’t really talk to my audience about it that much. The reason is that there are many lifestyle entrepreneurs out there doing something similar to what I’m doing, and they are using travel as a huge part of their marketing, because they will take pictures of themselves on the beach and say, “Don’t you wish you could be here instead of in a corporate office?”
They’re really preying on the desires of people to not do that much work, right? We’ve heard of the four hour work week, and hey, you can work two hours a day from the beach and still be a millionaire. The way that I position my business around becoming an infopreneur and learning about infopreneurship, I want to do a couple of things. First of all, I don’t want to give anybody unrealistic expectations. You don’t work from the beach, there’s no Wi-Fi there. The screen glare on your computer would be terrible.
You work from your Airbnb or from a co-working space or something like that. The second thing is that I don’t want people to feel that they have to travel. I have so many people in my audience that they want to get into infopreneurship not necessarily to quit their 9 to 5. They’re just looking for a way to share their own life experience knowledge and passions with others in a forum outside of work, or where they can make a little bit of extra money.
So, yes, for me, travel is a big part of that. I am single, I don’t have children. I have the flexibility where I can be on the road a lot. And I’ve developed my business so that it can be successfully run from the road. And I’ve also battle tested that quite a bit. I’ve definitely had some failures while I’ve tried to work on the road and it didn’t work so well, and that sort of stuff. I’ve learned and I’ve really grown, but I don’t really make that an angle in my marketing, because I don’t want people to feel like oh, if I don’t want that lifestyle, I don’t belong.
Fantastic. I really love what you’ve said. So, I’m going to wrap it up on this note. If you were talking to someone, and they’re sitting around and they’re looking for either something on the side, or they are frustrated, but they’re grappling with the fear of doing something different, and trying to figure out whether it makes sense and whether it works. What advice do you have for them?
I would say that there are so many steps that you can take in your business to get started before you have to start making those big decisions. I see so many people that discover infopreneurship or they discover online business and they get so excited, and they start thinking about, well, when do I get to quit my job? That’s really great, and someday you will get there. But we were talking about my 30-day plan, and I said in the beginning, there’s so much of that foundational stuff you have to do right? Picking your niche, defining your audience, figuring out your brand, setting up your website, reaching out and building your network, all that sort of stuff. Those things can easily be done while you’re still working your 9:00 to 5:00, on your lunch break, in the evenings, on the weekends. And you can work on those things, and you can take those initial steps without putting yourself in any financial position of risk whatsoever.
I know for a fact that we as human beings cannot be successful and creative, and work hard at our business whenever we have this huge layer of stress. If we quit our jobs, and we suddenly lose our main source of income, and we’re living on savings, we are going to be putting ourselves voluntarily under financial stress for no good reason. For those people that are sitting out there thinking, well, this is very interesting, I have thought about doing something different, I’m not sure. Dive in and see about it before you make any of those huge commitments. Take the time to start. You’re getting in, getting your feet wet, and learning about what you need to do, and taking those small initial steps to work on your business or, just trying to figure things out and start setting things up before you do anything drastic.
Whenever it does come to the point where you’re thinking, well, now I am sure this is what I want to do, absolutely. Make sure that you have the income coming in first before you leave the secure source of income from your 9 to 5. That’s the general plan that I would recommend for people that are just getting started.
Also, be sure to get free training on virtual summits at virtualsummitschool.com.