5 Ways To Create Leverage In Your Online Business
The Internet is wonderful because it has created so many opportunities for solo-preneurs… people who otherwise would not be so likely to venture out on their own and start a business, but could do so, and did do so successfully because of the low risk and high reward opportunities online.
One of the greatest challenges most of these solo-preneurs face is the “solo” portion of it, which is largely the result of the fact that they often lack entrepreneurial or “big business” education which teaches leverage.
You know the picture… you strike out on your own, and quickly realize you are wearing so many hats in your own business and get stressed out…
Or you have so many great ideas for businesses, sites, products… but so little time and resources to put them all into place.
…or you have a ton of energy and excitement, but you lack the “big idea” you need to really make things happen for you.
Or maybe you have that one great idea, but you just don’t have the experience to bring it to its fullest potential.
This post is designed to give you some ideas, inspiration, and specific strategies you can use to create more leverage in your business today to help you overcome some of the adversity you face as a solo-preneur, and take your entrepreneurial drive, energy, and ideas to the next level.
5 Ways To Achieve More With Your Online Business
#1 – Outsource!
As a solo-preneur, you must start outsourcing some of your tasks and responsibilities. These can be things you need done but aren’t doing, things you’re currently doing but aren’t part of your unique abilities, things you’re currently doing but can be done cheaper (based on how you value your own time), or just things you suck at that someone else with specific training can do better and probably faster!
I can get into a lot of detail on outsourcing… but you’ll be better off reading the specific strategies I outlined in my previous article: The 10 Steps To Successfully Outsourcing Your Online Business.
My life and my business has never been the same since I started outsourcing many of my technical, research, and even managerial tasks. I can now focus on my unique abilities that actually earn me money, and I have much greater leverage in my business and what I can do for myself and for my clients.
#2 – Get A Business Partner!
Having a business partner can be one of the greatest forms of leverage for both you and your partner, especially when done correctly. This doesn’t mean you take what you currently have and give half of it away to someone who’ll be your partner, and it doesn’t even mean that you’ll start a new venture and split everything 50/50.
You can set up revenue sharing and equity partnerships for new or existing ventures based on what each person brings to the table.
This can be a great option if you have new ideas for businesses, but don’t have all the time or resources to build them. In such a scenario, you would provide your ideas and some resources and some of your time, but find a business partner to run that “profit center” for you where you give a fair share of revenue and equity to that individual. This allows you to leverage your ideas, resources, and creative abilities, while having someone else do most of the implementation work. This also allows you to build multiple businesses simultaneously and expand your larger brand while also providing other entrepreneurial minded people with great opportunities that may be much greater than what they could produce on their own.
On the flip side, you can partner with a more successful entrepreneur and help them build out their new ideas, giving you great experience and a huge financial upside with less risk, while leverage their ideas, resources, experience, and creativity.
Of course, you can also equally partner with someone on a brand new venture, in which case you want to make sure you are really leveraging each other’s unique abilities. You want a partner who is strong where you are weak, and vice versa. This way, 1 + 1 does not equal 2, but something greater, because you can do much more together than if each of you just duplicated yourselves. It’s not just about finding someone “like-minded” but more so about finding someone with complimentary skills and strengths – even if you might not always agree, you can create more profitable and leverage businesses this way.
My biggest piece of advice, something I learned from my mentor Yanik Silver, is to clearly define your own unique abilities and having your business partners or profit center leaders do the same, and create partnerships based on these results. The Kolbe test is a vital tool for determining your strengths and unique abilities. Yanik had me take this before he considered working with me on any level, and since then I’ve had each of my employees take it and anyone I’ve considered working with on a significant level in business (and in life… I even had my girlfriend take it!)
#3 – Leverage Other’s Larger Brands or Traffic!
You don’t have to have the massive traffic or own a recognized brand to reap the benefits. You can leverage others’ brands and traffic in a win-win relationship where you both benefit greatly.
Guest blogging is one of the best and simplest examples of this leverage strategy. I am writing this post for IncomeDiary right now… sure I could write and publish the same content on my personal blog, or build my own blog about business advice and making money online, but it would take me ages to get nearly the same amount of traffic to my content as I get on the first day of having this post published here. In addition to my name and my ideas being exposed to thousands of readers, I am also getting brand recognition by association with the IncomeDiary brand, which increases my credibility online and opens up all kinds of other opportunities for me… I never know who might be reading this. Meanwhile, Michael gets some awesome (my humble opinion) content on IncomeDiary and gets a get variety through his various writers. He makes money from the site each time a new article is published, so it’s in his best interest to get people like me to write.
Find a popular blog in your industry and start guest blogging for it. You’ll be impressed how quickly you gain credibility and industry recognition… and you’ll find that your own traffic will increase as a result, as will your sales and your ability to charge more for what you do because of the association with a larger successful brand. So long as you provide great value, the owners of the blogs or magazines you write for will greatly appreciate your contribution. It’s a total win-win, and doesn’t cost you anything except your time.
Guest blogging is just one way of leveraging others’ larger brands and traffic. You can also explore different co-branding opportunities, such as co-authoring or contributing to others’ literary works (there are branding agencies for new authors that help align you with best sellers… costs some money but can be worth it if you want to be a recognized writer or contributor to your industry). Another great strategy is to interview big names (like IncomeDiary has done)… this not only gets you great content and big-name-brand association, but if you do it right the big names will share the interview content with their audiences, which can drive some great traffic back to your site.
You don’t have to necessarily have a “blogging business” to leverage such strategies. For example, my primary business is a web services company, but my blogging for IncomeDiary or doing my own side interviews with Internet marketers helps establish me as an authority in my industry, all with a lot less work and less money than it would take to get the same level of recognition through paid advertising or direct sales.
The flip side of this is that if you already have a recognized brand, you can totally use this strategy to let others leverage your brand to create more leverage in your own business. If you own a blog, you can recruit great guest bloggers. If you own more of a traditional business, you can use your recognized brand to recruit interns who will work for you for free in order to gain the experience and the brand association that comes with working for you. What better leverage than free labor! Especially free labor passionate about the opportunity to contribute to your business…
#4 – Create a Product!
An excellent way to leverage your current efforts is to create a product if you haven’t yet. Since we’re talking about online businesses here, you’re likely familiar with information products. You have to realize that if you are doing something successful in business, people are probably willing to pay you to teach them how you do what you do, what resources you use, what strategies you’ve picked up, and how to become successful at what you do.
If you believe that you do something or know something that people are willing to pay you to teach them, then you have a simple opportunity to leverage your current knowledge and/or business processes by creating an information product out of them.
This is pretty simple… document what it is what you do that others would find valuable. Write it in such a way that you could understand it when you were brand new and wish you had this information. You can make it a combination of PDF’s, videos, audios, worksheets, etc. You can sell it through a marketplace like ClickBank or entirely through your own membership site. There are entire products and sites dedicated to teaching you to create and monetize your own information products, so I won’t go into all the steps here, but I’ll definitely encourage you to explore any unique value you have to offer that others would pay for and turn it into an information product. One of the several ways this site (Income Diary) makes money is through Michael’s product where he teaches how to make a profitable site like this. He could have the profitable site with the product, but Site Profit Domination makes the site a lot more money from a process that was already being used and documented anyway.
Even if you only sell it for a few bucks (you can do better than that!), you’re creating additional leveraged income that you would not have otherwise had from knowledge you already had. In addition, documenting your unique processes and success story can actually help you improve and systemize your own business!
I’m going through this exact process now, putting together a high ticket product on how to build a successful web services company, and in addition to opening an exciting stream of leverage income for me in the near future, it’s been an incredible process of documenting and systemize my business processes and increasing efficiency and delegation within my company.
#5 – License Your Ideas or Strategies, Let OTHERS Do The Work!
You might have some great ideas or business processes, but don’t want to put in all the work to make and market your own product. Maybe you just want to make some of the product, then let some professional put the finishing touches on it, do all the marketing and distribution for it, take care of all the customer support and business development… then you just take a check every month for having the idea and getting it started.
This is what licensing is like for physical products, unique business processes, technologies, information, and more. In the online marketing world, one of the simplest way to pursue leverage this way is to let an Internet marketer or Internet marketing agency publish your product. You’re responsible for creating some good content, they do the rest… you can have much more successful results this way, and it’s a whole lot more leveraged than doing it all yourself. Meanwhile, you can focus on your primary business or go work on more content.
Of course, if you have marketing skills and distribution networks, you can leverage other people’s efforts and intellectual property while you use your marketing abilities and resources to publish their products, making the bulk of the revenue for their product or concept. What makes this somewhat different from a partnership described in the first strategy is that the one creating the product here is quite different from a business partner or a profit center, but more so an author or in some cases an idea catalyst.
I hope these five strategies for creating more leverage in your online business help you to create more freedom, earn more money, and focus more on your passions. If you don’t end up using any of these specific strategies, then take the inspiration and start think about other ways you can better leverage your business or your personal abilities. You’ll find you can reap massive benefits and also serve a lot more people.