All the time people tell me they feel stuck in their current jobs, want to make more money, or help more people, but they feel that it’s almost impossible for them to do so.
They say, “I do not have any really great ideas or any high-paying skills that people are going to pay me a lot of money for — and even if I did, I have no clue how to find high-paying clients who will actually pay my what I’m worth.”
In 2012, I thought the exact same thing, but to make it more difficult, along with having no large network of connections or any amazing ideas, I moved from the USA to South America and was living in a foreign country where I couldn’t even speak more than two sentences of the country’s language.
So you might ask how, since then, I was able to start and grow a six-figure business that helps people and companies all around the world.
Well, I can tell you from experience that if you have the correct mindset, focus on what matters, and are determined then you can make money doing just about anything.
To help you with this, here are eight lessons that I’ve learned from going from $0 to $21,000 in my first 12 weeks:
1. Change your mindset.
I still remember thinking that there is no way that anyone will ever pay me $100 for something that I can do while sitting in a Starbucks in a country where I couldn’t even speak enough Spanish to ask for their WiFi password. (gracias, google translate!)
Then I said the same before a client paid me $425, then $5,700, then $8,932, then $34,597… I’ve stopped saying that now.
Right now, you need to start viewing yourself and your knowledge as extremely valuable and understand that someone will pay you for the skills that you already have right now.
2. Figure out one main skill that you do best.
This is the thing that is sometimes the most difficult for anyone first starting out. How do you know what you should do and how do you know if it will be really profitable or not?
Should you do graphic design, webpage development, write articles, be a virtual assistant, language tutoring, data entry? There are hundreds of possibilities.
3. Make sure you enjoy what you’re going to be doing.
Whatever you decide to specialize in, you want to make sure that you actually enjoy it. There’s nothing worse than waking up every morning and hating what you’re doing – especially when you’re your own boss.
Whatever you’re thinking about doing, say to yourself, “Is this something that I would actually enjoy doing on a Saturday afternoon?”
If you wouldn’t enjoy doing it on a Saturday afternoon, then try to think of something that you really would enjoy.
4. Set specific goals
After you decide on a service that you’re really enjoy doing, make a list of 10 short, medium, and long term goals consisting of how many clients you would like to have, how much money you will earn, and by exactly what date you will have this by.
Make sure to also include a couple fun, non-work related, goals also. Mine consists of things like “On this date I will take a month vacation to _____”.
To give you an example, one of my fun goals was to take my family on an incredible vacation together. I crossed that one off the list when I bought their plane tickets and booked a cruise to Brazil for everyone, including my in-laws.
Try to also make some of your goals not only about yourself. These help keep you going when you’re putting in all of the really hard work.
5. Get in the heads of your competition and ideal clients.
In order to have a successful business, you need to understand exactly what your clients are looking for and what your competition is offering.
The day I decided to be serious about my business, I sat down and printed off at least 60 pages consisting of various competitor websites, posts from forums that potential clients frequently visit, and any related articles that I could find to better understand exactly what my competition is offering and what my clients really want and need.
After I did this, there was a huge change in my thinking and it really allowed me to start to get a very good idea of what other competing companies are offering and what my clients really need.
6. Have more conversations
After discovering a profitable business idea, finding clients seems to be the next issue that so many people struggle with and admittedly is one of the most important.
First, before even thinking of finding clients, make sure you did not skip step 5. Actually do your research and understand exactly what your potential clients want, what keeps them up at night, and try to understand their needs better than they know them themselves.
Once you have a decent idea about what you’re going to offer then get to work to find your first client, but do not go directly to the job boards, Freelancer, UpWork, Craigslist, etc.
When starting off, the first thing that you need to do is make a list of everyone in your personal network, including family and friends of friends, and just get back in touch with these people and have a friendly conversation with them.
While having those conversations, don’t be pushy, but see if there’s anyway that you could help them out with (insert service here that will make their business more profitable or their life easier), and then keep in contact with them after.
I got some of my first clients from doing this, and to this day still consistently make thousands of dollars a year from those first calls and e-mails.
7. Deliver the best customer service possible.
One of the biggest reason for my success, I think, has been that I have always wanted to treat every client like they are my most important client.
This is easier when you’re first starting out, but as you get more clients later and have several projects running simultaneously, you need to continue to force yourself to keep this in mind.
The fact is, there are most likely many people who can offer the same services that you offer, and probably for less than you want to charge.
Because of this, your level of customer service, dedication, and your commitment to making an amazing experience for your clients makes a huge difference – especially when asking for referrals or for a monthly reoccurring contract.
8. Learn from people’s mistakes and experiences.
One of the biggest things that I wish I would have done when I started was to contact more people who are providing the same services that I wanted to provide, or who have done what I want to do, and ask their recommendations and guidance. This would have saved me an incredible amount of time and mistakes.
When deciding to become a freelancer or start an online business, you need to realize that this is not a ‘get rich quick’ scheme and that the road to growing a successful and profitable business takes time, dedication, and the commitment to always be growing, learning, and constantly helping as many people as you can.
I’m sure you’ve heard this many times, “If it was easy then everyone would be doing it.” This is definitely true when starting and growing a six-figure business.
Thankfully for myself, and many others, the rewards of being able to spend time with my family, travel when I want, and being able to really help people while growing my business far outweighs the challenges.