One of the biggest mistakes made when starting a business is modeling too closely, or flat out copying, whichever Big Name Coach or business owner is already making money in your market.
We look at their success and think, “I just have to do what they’re doing to make money and be successful like that.” But it’s not that simple. Their offerings, business model, and audience are working well for them because it’s their business. Just because it works for someone else doesn’t mean it will work for you.
My clients constantly ask me for a blueprint of how I run my business, structure my programs and packages, and plan my marketing. I always tell them the same thing: What works for me won’t necessarily work for you, so it’s better to start off with a model and offerings that really light you up!
When I first started my business, I modeled the typical “online business” structure too closely, and I ended up very unhappy with what I’d created and the clients I was attracting. I also wasn’t able to really show up in my business, and that left me feeling stressed and unfulfilled. Since I’ve stepped away from the standard, I’ve created many offerings that bring me so much joy, and provide such a needed service to my audience. More importantly, I work with amazing people that I absolutely love.
How to Create Your Unique Business Vision
1) Figure out what offerings excite you most.
At this point, it’s not about deciding what you want to offer, it’s about exploring the possibilities and uncovering which of them speak to you the most. Believe me when I say that whatever your passion is, it’s possible to work it into the wide variety of products, services, and offerings you may choose to create!
As you explore the possibilities, you may find that writing a book, hosting live workshops, and doing one-on-one coaching speaks to you. Awesome! At this point, you don’t have to worry about what you’d write in the book, what you’d teach at the workshops, or what the coaching package and process would look like. That’s not the point of this exercise.
For now, this is about discovering what feels exciting to you where you’re at now, with the knowledge you have about yourself and your passions. Make a list of all the possible offerings out there, then circle the ones that really interest you. After you’ve circled them, do a gut check and eliminate any of the ones you circled because you thought you should, or because everyone else offers them.
Set aside practicalities and what you “think” you “should” create. Focus on what really speaks to your soul. Those are the only items that should be left.
2) Explore the big wide world of business models.
One of the best ways to do this is to explore the possibilities that already exist and draw inspiration from unexpected places. This isn’t about finding businesses or entrepreneurs who have a website you adore, or are a leader in whatever industry you want to start your business in. This is about exploring different industries, business models, experts and non experts, and everything in between to draw inspiration for your own unique business.
One of the biggest challenges you’ll face as an online business owner is creating something unique. As the internet expands and creating websites becomes more affordable and accessible, everyone is blogging and starting online businesses. You can’t simply create a website that looks like your favorite expert’s website, copy their marketing strategy, and follow their every business move expecting to experience their level of success.
While I do believe in modeling what works, I cannot stress how important it is to step away from what everyone else is doing and come at your business from a fresh and unique perspective. Take the when and what and how off the table for now.
For this step, find five businesses that have something you love. This could be how they package a product or service, their unique take on offering said product or service, their business model and structure, how they work with clients and customers, or how they’ve paired unique passions and interests. This isn’t about finding websites that impress you, logos you love, or sales pages you want to model. It’s about finding inspiration for how you want to structure your business, what offerings you feel inspired to provide, and how you want to be of service around your passions.
More importantly, find five businesses in five different industries that aren’t related to your own. It may be an online clothing retailer, a local tire shop, a cafe you went to five years ago, or an Etsy craft store. There’s no right or wrong business for this exercise, but remember, this is about exploring possibilities and creating a vision that’s as unique as you are! The key is to ask yourself what you really love about their business, and why you love it.
3) Get creative about the content.
The “content” can be the content of a program or ebook, or it could be the process you take your clients through in a coaching offering. This is where your passions, interests, expertise, and skills come into play. The core of the work you do!
Once you’re clear on what offerings you’re most drawn to, and have pieced together a unique business model that feels exciting to you, it’s time to get creative about what you’ll actually provide. The best way to do this is to reverse engineer your offering, starting with the benefits and results you want to promise.