Starting an online business can sound like a total BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal). You might be thinking, "how in the world am I going to get a big enough audience to ACTUALLY start making money?" AND, "how long will it take to build it?"
You see all of your favorite YouTubers and other influencers with gazillions of followers and it all just seems so terribly daunting to think about.
The good news is that you don't need a million followers on social media, YouTube, your email list to earn a solid living online.
In fact, you only need 1000 true fans and today I want to break down the math around how you can do that without selling your soul to the fickle social media empires.
This whole idea of 1000 true fans comes from an article by a dude named Kevin Kelly from way back in 2008 (link below if you want to read the actual article for yourself: https://kk.org/thetechnium/1000-true-fans/)
I've found this 1000 True Fans framework gives me a workable and totally achievable goal to aim at in the beginning. It takes what can seem completely overwhelming and makes it totally doable.
"A thousand customers is a whole lot more feasible to aim for than a million fans. Millions of paying fans is not a realistic goal to shoot for, especially when you are starting out. But a thousand fans is doable. You might even be able to remember a thousand names. If you added one new true fan per day, it’d only take a few years to gain a thousand."
He sets the table by outlining what this 1000 true fans looks like.
"To be a successful creator you don’t need millions. You don’t need millions of dollars or millions of customers, millions of clients or millions of fans. To make a living as a craftsperson, photographer, musician, designer, author, animator, app maker, entrepreneur, or inventor you need only thousands of true fans.
A true fan is defined as a fan that will buy anything you produce. These diehard fans will drive 200 miles to see you sing; they will buy the hardback and paperback and audible versions of your book; they will purchase your next figurine sight unseen; they will pay for the “best-of” DVD version of your free youtube channel; they will come to your chef’s table once a month. If you have roughly a thousand of true fans like this (also known as super fans), you can make a living — if you are content to make a living but not a fortune.
Here’s how the math works. You need to meet two criteria. First, you have to create enough each year that you can earn, on average, $100 profit from each true fan. That is easier to do in some arts and businesses than others, but it is a good creative challenge in every area because it is always easier and better to give your existing customers more, than it is to find new fans.
Second, you must have a direct relationship with your fans. That is, they must pay you directly. You get to keep all of their support, unlike the small percent of their fees you might get from a music label, publisher, studio, retailer, or other intermediate. If you keep the full $100 of each true fan, then you need only 1,000 of them to earn $100,000 per year. That’s a living for most folks."
This was the idea I followed when I started my first online business, ZeroDebtCoach. I was in the personal finance space and "in competition" with guys like Dave Ramsey, Clark Howard and Suze Ormon, to name the biggest players.
This "1000 True Fans" approach, helped me to narrow my sites on serving a specific segment of those markets and REALLY helped me to not feel overwhelmed at the prospect of who I was going up agains.
He says it best in this quote:
"The takeaway: 1,000 true fans is an alternative path to success other than stardom. Instead of trying to reach the narrow and unlikely peaks of platinum bestseller hits, blockbusters, and celebrity status, you can aim for direct connection with a thousand true fans. On your way, no matter how many fans you actually succeed in gaining, you’ll be surrounded not by faddish infatuation, but by genuine and true appreciation. It’s a much saner destiny to hope for. And you are much more likely to actually arrive there."
OH, and two FREE resources that will help you get your online business started by laying out a step-by-step blueprint are:
1) My FREE START. An Online Business quick start guid guide… It outlines this entire "getting started" process and goes into more in depth on what we just covered today.
2) This video here… that walks you through these 5 absolute non-negotiables your market must have if you really want to succeed. So click right here and I’ll see you in this video. I'm actually waiting for you over in this video, right here… :)
Whenever you're ready, there are 2 ways I can help you:
1. If you're wanting forward momentum in your business, I'd recommend starting with an affordable course:
➡️ The ADAPTIVE. Solopreneur - Course Bundle: Productize your knowledge with my niche validation, content, marketing, audience attraction and traffic growth system. Everything you need to start, grow and scale a profitable solopreneur business.
2. Register for my next free in-depth workshop on how to start, grow and scale an online business from a side-hustle to six-figures and beyond: Register here.
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