This is going to be the year, you want the year 2022 to be the year that you really focus on building and starting your online business.
Today, I want to teach you how to go about doing that in five steps.
I want to talk to you about what happened in 2021 and where we're going in 2022.
So have you ever been in this situation where you felt like at the end of the year, or maybe it's the end of the month or the end of the week or the end of the day, where there was just so much that you wanted to accomplish, but you just didn't get it done?
This could be with your health. Maybe you had a plan to run a marathon in 2021, and it just didn't happen.
Or it could be with your relationships. Maybe you've been having a lot of fights with your spouse, and you really wanted to help improve things in your relationship. And you just found out that your spouse wants to get a divorce.
Perhaps it's something to do with your finances. Maybe you had a goal of where you wanted to be with your savings at the end of the year with your net worth, and you just fell short. Or maybe you incurred a lot of debt at the end of the year because a lot of expenses cropped up that you weren't prepared to handle.
Have you ever been in one of those situations where you just get to the end of the year, and you're like, “You know what? I really just didn't accomplish what I wanted to accomplish this year, and now I don't know what to do”?
And so here we are at the beginning of 2022, and you're like, “What do I do to make this year any different than last year?” Maybe you're feeling discouraged. Maybe you're feeling frustrated.
Can you relate to what I'm talking about right now? Or maybe it's just that you had plans and goals and aspirations to start an online business this past year, and you never got around to it.
And that happens, and that's life.
Starting an Online Business
There was a time probably four or five years ago when I had one of my best years ever financially as a lawyer. I got to the end of the year, and I looked back at what I had accomplished and looked at the revenue numbers and things looked great.
But personally and inside, I wasn't fulfilled. I knew there was something missing from my life. I mean, here I'd had this great year, but I was empty inside. And there was something wrong.
There were a lot of times after I graduated law school where I just thought, “I really enjoy the lawyer thing, but there's just something about it that it just doesn't excite me.”
I think a great way to explain this is I have a lot of lawyer friends that are so passionate about the law. They just want to talk about their cases every time you see them, every time you meet up when we could meet up in person for coffee or for lunch or dinner or whatever. They get jazzed about that, or they've got a big trial coming up that they want to share with you all the details and what they're going to do in their case strategy.
I've got a friend who's an estate planning lawyer, and he loves looking at how to do all the things regards to the estate plan, making sure the trusts are all set up correctly and the wills and all that kind of thing. And there's lawyers that just love talking about that stuff.
I enjoy talking about that too, to an extent, but what I found was what really got me jazzed was the idea of building businesses, specifically building online businesses.
So I started researching everything I could about how to build a business online. I started reading books on marketing. I started taking courses online through some of the people that you probably heard about. And I started doing everything I could to just immerse myself in the online business world and figure out what it is that I could do to take this knowledge I had, this specialized knowledge of being a lawyer and somehow package it in a way that I could create an online business with it.
After I started learning about all these things, I then started to take that knowledge that I had now about online business, and I started creating more content. I started putting videos out on YouTube, and I started a couple podcasts. I posted content to social media, and I started building an email list. And I did all these things that you're supposed to do when you're building an online business.
It took a while for me to really get into this, but once I finally fully immersed myself into this online business world, which really happened right around the start of the pandemic, believe it or not.
Once I did that, my online business just really took off. And I went from nothing to about $2,000 in revenue in my first year, really focusing my efforts on building that online business. My YouTube channel went from very few subscribers to over a hundred thousand subscribers on the channel and over 4 million lifetime video views, so that was nice.
Now, while I still do legal work as a lawyer, I only work with a handful of clients that I've really handpicked that they're doing things that I'm excited about, and I feel like I can really help them with. So I do work with people still legally, but it's not the sole source of the revenue for my business as it was just a few short years ago.
I've been able to do all of this because of the fact that I've been able to build an online business that supports me in ways that my law firm never could.
But what I mean by that is it supports me emotionally, financially. I enjoy the work and I get jazzed about what I'm doing. I get jazzed about making these videos and talking to you about online business. There's just so much that I love about this world, and it's all because I learned and started and started building my online business.
I think it's important when I talk about this that you understand where things really started with online business.
So when I graduated law school, that was back in the mid-2000s. When I graduated, I mean, there was no Facebook. There was no YouTube. You could get an MP3 player, and you could load it up with all your music. But you had to download it first from your computer. It wasn't mobile.
There was no iPhone. There was no smart phones at that point. We still had the flip phone variety that you could text on. The kids these days would be like, “What is this device? What are we doing with this?”
Things were very different back then, and the idea of building your own website, you had to know some serious coding. I think I used Typepad for one of my first blogs because that was the only one that was really a what you see is what you get. A WYSWYG editor that you could use. You could just type in there your thoughts and create a blog that way.
That was the world that we lived in when I first started practicing law. There were people out there that were doing online businesses, but I was so focused on building my law practice then that I never really had this intention that I could build something online.
I didn't really understand what online business was, to be perfectly honest.
And then fast-forward about 10 years, and we start to get into this pre-pandemic world where things have changed a little bit.
Zoom is like a household name, right? Before the pandemic, nobody knew what Zoom was, and nobody knew how to do video conferencing. And the thought of, for me as a lawyer, having hearings online or filing things paperless or doing all this kind of stuff, I was doing all that, but other lawyers weren't. A lot of lawyers didn't know how to do that.
Things have really changed quite a bit. Not only in the past 15 years, but in the past two to three years. Specifically with the world today, and it is so much easier today to start a website and to start an online business than it ever was when I first got started.
So today, what I want to teach you is how to go about the process. I've got five things for you to do.
This is going to be the year. You want this year to be the year that you really focus on building and starting your online business.
Step #1 – Pick a Topic to Teach
This is the most important step because if you don't do this, you will never have or be able to build an online business. And that's you need to pick a topic to teach.
You need to pick a topic that people are going to gravitate to and something that you know a lot about, that you enjoy talking about, that you enjoy teaching, that you can share with the world. That's step number one.
You really need to come up with a topic that you want to teach about.
And I always tell people it's really important to pick one of the main three or four topics:
- health and wellness;
- how to build and grow wealth or save time; and
- expensive hobbies
Now, can you pick something else? Yes, you can.
There are people out there that teach knitting that are doing very well. There's people out there that teach basket weaving that do very well. There's people out there that teach about camping and outdoor life and survival. I guess that would kind of fall into expensive hobbies, but they do very well.
So do you have to be teaching people how to make money online? No, you don't have to do that.
Do you have to teach people about weight loss? No, you don't have to do that.
There's so many subsets of markets. Under the gamut of those big four markets that I just mentioned, there's something for everyone. Chances are that you already have the knowledge that you need to start an online business and teach people what they need to know in that online business in one of those main topics.
So that step number one is you really need to come up with the topic or the market that you are going to use as the basis for your online business.
Step #2 – Create a List of Subtopics
Once you have picked a topic, what I want you to do is I want you to pull out a sheet of paper or maybe a notepad or a journal. Or you could do this in an Excel sheet or anywhere you want, really, a Word document.
What I want you to do is I want you to think about that main topic. Write that main topic at the top of the page, and then I want you to write out 12 subtopics that you can talk about with that main topic.
And why 12? Well, because that is going to be your first 90 days of content that you're going to create around that topic.
That's one video or podcast or blog post per week for the next 90 days.
That is what I want you to do. That's the exercise here, and that should be pretty simple.
It's really important that you start to map out what your topics are going to be for the next 90 days, because once you do that, it becomes that much easier just to sit down in front of a camera. And you don't need to have an expensive camera. You can use your phone if you want.
So that would be the next step is you want to map out the first 90 days of your content.
The reason why it is so important to map out that first 90 days is because the simple act of doing that is going to do a couple things.
Number one, it's going to get the juices flowing in your brain about what you want to talk about and how you want to teach your topic. It might also open up some new ideas for you about what different topics you can teach on.
So maybe you came up with an initial idea at the beginning, but by the end of mapping out those first 12 weeks, you will have some much better ideas about what you might want to teach.
Also, if you're having a hard time coming up with ideas, you can do a Google search under your main topic area and see what other people are talking about. Just because other people are talking about it doesn't mean that you can't talk about it.
If people are going to purchase from you eventually, that's the goal, right? It's build an online business where people are going to actually purchase your products or services. If people are going to do that, they're going to do that because they connect with you, because they like your opinion, because they like where you are coming from.
Just because somebody else talks about out this topic doesn't mean that you cannot do that. So I want you to keep that in mind.
Now, I say 90 days as a guideline. Ideally, you could map out the entire year.
I actually sat down. It took me maybe a half hour, 45 minutes, and I mapped out my entire year of topics that I want to talk about every week on the YouTube channel from here until the end of the year. So I've already got all the topics planned.
Now, does that mean that I'm going to follow this to the T? Does that mean that every single week, I'm going to do the video that corresponds to what's in here? No, it doesn't mean that, but this opened my eyes.
I came up with so many ideas about things that I want to talk about and things I want to share on my channel in 2022. But if I had not created this list, I would never have done that.
Now it's a lot easier to sit down and press the record button on your camera if you already have a topic in mind of what you want to talk about. Or maybe even if you want to sit down and script your video ahead of time, it's a lot easier to do that if you have a topic.
If you have to sit down each week and come up with a new topic or a new script for something that you want to talk about and you aren't sure where to start, this will help you do that because it just makes it that much easier, because now all of a sudden, I already know what my topic is going to be for next week. And so sitting down and writing the script and writing the bullet points that I want to touch on for next week is that much easier.
So that's number two, is you need to create a list of topics that you want to teach about in the next, I would say, minimum of 90 days. If you can go out to a year, that would be even better.
It's funny. As I started doing this, once I got to around 12, 13, 14, 15 topics, it got a little bit harder to come up with topics. Now, did I come up with them? Yes, but that's where I had to go to Google and look at what other people were talking about and say, “Oh, you know what? I think that would be a good topic to talk about. I'm going to talk about that.” And that would be something interesting that I want to learn about so that I can teach you about that topic.
So that's what I would recommend in doing, minimum of 90 days, but if you could, go out a year because you will be amazed at the ideas you come up with. So that's number two.
Step #3 – Pick a Medium
Number three is you have to pick a medium. And so now you've got a market that you want to talk about and teach about. You have a bunch of topic ideas that you want to teach about. Now you've got to pick that medium.
So how are you going to teach this topic to people? Well, back 10 or 15 years ago, really the main way that people did this was through what's called a blog, and so people would post a weekly or twice-a-week newsletter on their website called a blog.
That was where they did the bulk of their teaching, right? That's where they'd come up with an article they want to write, and they'd write that article. And that was how they got their message out to the world.
Today in this day and age, it's so much easier. You can start a YouTube channel. Or you can start a podcast if you want. You could start going live on Instagram or Facebook once a week to spread your message. There's so many different ways that you can do it. So you just have to pick a medium and then really stick with that medium.
Personally, YouTube has been my medium of choice. I love YouTube. It's a great platform. You're going to see a lot from me in 2022. My brand is really going to change quite a bit, and I'll leave it at that. I'm still developing the concepts and ideas in my head about how I want to portray myself on YouTube, but things are going to be changing. And it's going to be super cool.
But that's my chosen medium. For you, you might come up with something different, and again, it could be a YouTube channel. It could be a podcast. It could be going live on YouTube or Facebook or Instagram. Or it could be, maybe you're going to be teaching on TikTok. A lot of people are going on TikTok these days. That's fine too.
Or may you do want to do it with a blog. Keep in mind, if you do it with a blog, it's going to take a lot longer for you to get traction because it's going to take a lot longer for people to find you. But if you take that blog post and then you repurpose it on a Facebook or an Instagram or someplace else like that, it might be easier to get found that way, maybe LinkedIn.
There's all sorts of mediums out there for you to choose, but pick one and start posting regularly on the topics that we've already brainstormed, which leads me to the fourth step.
Step #4 – Teach Something Each Week
You've got this list of ideas. You've picked a platform that you want to focus on. And you've got your master idea that you want to teach about.
Now you just need to be consistent, and so that means teaching every single week.
Should you do it two or three times a week? I wouldn't recommend it, not when you're just getting started, and the reason for that isn't because that isn't great. If you could do it two or three times a week, that's great. But that is also a pretty good recipe to get burned out over time, because you might start out the gate strong, and after a week or two, you might be like, Jesus, I can't keep this up. This is ridiculous. But by posting once a week, that's not too hard.
It is not impossible to put out one video a week if that's what you want to do, if you want to do YouTube. Flip on the camera. Talk for four or five minutes about your chosen topic. Teach about your chosen topic, and upload that video to YouTube. That is not terribly difficult.
But to do that two or three or four times a week or even every day, that's going to get a lot harder to do because it's going to become your full-time job. And there's other things that you're going to need to do with your online business that we'll talk about in another time.
So that's the fourth thing is you want to start posting that content every single week to your channel and commit to doing that for at least one year through the end of 2022.
Step #5 – Create a Ton of Value
And then the fifth step of this process is while you're doing all this is you just want to make sure you're creating a ton of value.
So don't just be posting videos that talk all about you and puff you up and share some story that nobody's going to care about. You want to be sharing informative videos, videos that people can take action steps with and actually work with.
And I say videos. I mean, again, it might be a podcast. It might be a blog post, whatever it might be. Make sure you're sharing a ton of value because when you share a ton of value, people are more likely to subscribe to your channel or subscribe to your podcast, and they're more likely to want to listen in the next time you post something to your medium of choice. So make sure you're providing a ton of value.
Summary: Starting an Online Business
So once again, let's talk about these five steps.
Number one, you're going to pick a market that you want to talk about. Pick an idea, a topic idea that you want to teach about that you want to be the foundation of your online business. That's the first step.
Number two is you want to make a list of topic ideas that you can teach on for the next minimum 90 days. If you can go longer than that, up to six months or nine months or a year even, that would be even better. It doesn't take that long to do. You could do that in as little as an hour. Just sit down and write out all your topic ideas.
Number three, you need to pick a medium, whether that be a podcast, a blog, YouTube, going live on Facebook or Instagram, something like that. Pick a medium where you're going to publish this content.
And then finally, make sure you're delivering a ton of value and make sure you deliver that value every single week. So people know to expect if they go to your channel, there's going to be something good coming next week because they listened to the last two or three weeks of your content, and they liked it.
So they're going to come back and want to consume more of what it is that you are sharing.
Common Mistakes When Building an Online Business
Before we go, there are some common mistakes that people make when doing this, and I want to touch on those real quick today.
I'll be perfectly honest. These are mistakes that I have made and that I've had experience with in growing my online business, and so I want to cover these really quickly so that you don't do the same mistakes I did.
Mistake #1 – Overthinking
Mistake number one is that you overthink it. Don't overthink it. Whatever you do, when you're first getting started, it's not going to be perfect, and that's okay.
But what's more important than overthinking things and not doing anything because you're afraid of the negative feedback or you're afraid of failing or maybe you're afraid of success, whatever it might be, don't overthink it. Just do it.
Just turn on the camera, start talking, and share your value with the world. That's the most important thing. So don't overthink it.
Mistake #2 – Getting Overwhelmed with the Legal
Number two, and as a lawyer, I get this a lot from people is they don't start because they're worried that they don't have all their legal ducks in a row before they start.
You don't need your legal ducks in a row to start a YouTube channel. You don't need your legal ducks in a row to start a blog or even a podcast.
Now, are there some things that you might need to be concerned about? Do you need to set up an LLC at some point? Yeah, probably. Do you need to have some disclaimers in place if you're teaching people how to make money? Yeah, probably.
You can find those online through a template store, or there's a lot of places where you can get access to this type of information.
Obviously, we teach this through our OB Foundations community and our Lock It Down legal toolkit.
But when you're just getting started, what's more important is that you take action, and you get started. Don't get overwhelmed with the legal.
As soon as you're ready to start making some money, you do need to get those legal protections in place, and I recommend you do that pretty quick.
Don't let legal be the thing that's holding you back from picking up your phone and recording a video today because you can do that without having an LLC in place.
Mistake #3 – Worrying About Messing Up
So the third mistake I see people make is that they're just worried that they're going to mess up, so they don't do anything. And I can't tell you how many consults I've had with people where they are just nervous about putting a product out there or putting a video out there or putting a blog out there or whatever it might be.
They're just worried about putting themselves out there because they're afraid of what somebody's going to say. Or they're afraid of what their audience is going to say. Or maybe they have a spouse who's telling them, “No, you can't do that,” or maybe they have a family member who's who thinks it's a joke, what they're trying to do.
And I don't want you to get yourself into that situation.
Again, this kind of goes back to that first mistake, overthinking. You don't want to overthink this. You just want to get this information out there.
Mistake #4 – Not Being Consistent
And then, so the fourth mistake I see people make is they get started, and they post content consistently for three or four weeks. And then they stop, and the reason they stop is because nobody's engaging with their content. Nobody is watching their content. They're not getting any views on YouTube. Or they're not getting any downloads to their podcast. They're looking at their Google Analytics, and they're not seeing anybody hit on their website. And so they're like, “You know what? This is never going to work.” So they stop.
I should have said this as mistake number one. This is one of the absolute biggest mistakes that I see people make, is they lose confidence in themselves because nobody is consuming their content.
Let me tell you right now. This is a secret. You might not know this, but the first 10 or 20 or 30 posts you put out there or videos you do, they're going to suck. And nobody's going to watch them, or very few people are going to watch them. I just want you to know that right now, because if you thought that you were going to post your content and it's going to be like professional grade, professionally edited, and it's going to look great, it's not going to happen, okay?
If you go back and look at some of my first videos on the channel, they are absolutely ridiculous. They're horrible. My microphone was bad. The video quality was bad. The lighting was bad. Everything was bad. Heck, probably a lot of the teaching was bad, but for some reason, I kept doing it. And after a while, they popped.
Now, what I didn't know at the time, and this was a huge mistake that I made, was that it popped when I had stopped creating the content. But the thing about YouTube in particular is that YouTube will keep showing your video, and it might take three or four or five months before they figure out who to show your video to. And once they figure out who to show your video to, they're going to show your video to more of those people.
And when that happens, your views are going to go up. So it could take three, four, five months, if you do this on YouTube, before any of that content really gets shown to people that need to see it. And if you stop posting before that happens, then you're just going to lose out on all those views and subscribers and potential audience members that could have happened to you if you kept going.
So it's important that you just keep going. You've got to fight through the dip when you're not getting any views and just to keep posting that content.
And so that really goes along to the forth mistake is that people, sometimes worse than stopping altogether, is that they're not consistent. So maybe they post three videos one week, no videos the next week. The next week after that, they post one. Then they go two weeks without posting anything. Then they post five in one week. Your audience doesn't understand when to watch, and YouTube doesn't understand when to show your videos to people because you're not posting consistently.
So you want to post with the same cadence on a weekly basis, and so if you're going to try and post every Tuesday afternoon, post every Tuesday afternoon. Every Wednesday morning, post every Wednesday morning. And that's what you should do.
Just pick a day and make that the day that you're going to be posting the video, and then after you post that video, promote it and start working on the video for the next week. That's the way you stay consistent with this. So whether it's YouTube or a podcast or, again, a blog, you want to make sure you have that cadence set in where you're posting on a regular basis all the time.
Those are mistakes people make.
What do you do now?
Right now, I challenge you to pick a topic, write down 12 topics that you can focus on with that topic, and get started creating content. That's what you need to get going on right now.
That's my big takeaway for you is it's important to just pick that topic and get going. And if you need to, schedule time on your calendar to work on your content, because if you don't schedule it, it doesn't get done. At least in my world, if you don't schedule it, it doesn't get done. And then focus on creating that video or that podcast or whatever it might be and publishing every single week.
And I want you to sit back, and I want you to think about what your life is going to be like if you pick that topic, and you post once a week for the next 52 weeks. Teach something related to that topic. If you do that for the next 52 weeks, how is that going to change your life? I think you would be amazed at what could happen, and that's what it takes. It takes that consistency.
Everyone starts with zero. Everyone starts with zero subscribers, zero revenue, zero people on their email list, zero followers. And the way you get to your first hundred subscribers or your first thousand or your first 10,000 or first hundred thousand or million is you start posting, and you post consistently every single week. And you get your rhythm. You figure out how to do it, and you go for and there. And then the rest is just gravy, and then that's how you build your online business, at least the foundation of your online business.
If you like what I'm talking about here, here's another video I talk about where I'm going to be teaching more about what an online business is and why you should start one, why they're so important, and why they really changed my life and why they can change your life as well.