I started my first "real" business in 2016.
At the time, I called this business FL Fitness.... which graduated into Outlaw Strength.... which then became what it is today: Vegan StrongFit.
This was an experiment at first, as is the situation with most individuals who try to get into online business. It's not built on a product idea. It's not built on a mission of service.
It's built on a desire to escape the hum drum rat race of waking up when you don't want to, to spend 8-12 hours doing work you don't want to do.
Don’t overthink it. It can be simple.
What I want to discuss in this article is how complication and over-valuing of having the "perfect" or even the "right" method held me back from success for years, and how by SIMPLIFYING(and I mean literally thinking and doing less) led me to consistent income and time freedom.
Currently, Vegan StrongFit has helped 300+ individuals transform their minds and bodies using a plant-based diet and a mindset-first approach.
>>>I've also been able to coach/consult many different businesses on their sales/marketing/product delivery methods, which yields me thousands of "extra" dollars in income every year...
In addition to traveling to beautiful places to "house and pet sit..." a source of income from my childhood that I've leaned into as a way to travel and enjoy the world all while getting paid.
Everything I do, I love. I'm well compensated, have incredible time freedom, and according to the internet business "gurus" live a life that's completely impossible.
Which is why after many different business models, significant amounts of trial and error, and picking the main obstacle..... MYSELF.... out of the way time and time again....
I'm finally writing this article.
Because most gurus have no idea what they're talking about. They're giving you shitty advice, and even that shitty advice is being overly complicated.
I'm going to keep this simple:
These are the 4 macro-level mistakes I've made over the years, and the remedies you can use to avoid these mistakes and see consistent growth in your income and the business itself.
If you can avoid them all together just by avoiding where I fucked up, awesome.
If these are a wakeup call to fix your current mess, even better. Because that my friend, is how REAL LEARNING is solidified.
Let's get into it._____________________________________
Mistake #1 - Not commiting to one thing, or avoiding genuine commitment all together.
My "original business" idea, at least on paper, was a website selling yoga fitness equipment. I had yoga mats, yoga blocks, leggings, tops, and other various products I was marketing toward the female fitness community.
Now at the end of the day, this wasn't REALLY my first business. I started selling electronics on Ebay while I was in kindergarden. I sold thousands of dollars worth of stuff on the internet before I finished High School.
I was mowing lawns in the summer and shoveling snow in the winter. I was sending Venmo/Cashapp/and Stock Exchange invite codes and making money that way. If you know my story, you know I made a lot of money selling various illicit substances between 17-22 years old.
I had a ton of entrepreneurial experience, but I got wrapped into the social media algorithms which ultimately led me to a feeling like I needed to be doing "the right thing."
I wish someone would have asked me 2 questions and mentored me through them:
- What have you already succeeded at?
- What do you WANT to do?
Because I'd already made a ton of money in retail arbitrage. I'd already made a ton of money in landscaping service. I knew how to buy in-demand supplies in bulk and then sell them as individual packages for a profit.
But I was surrounding myself with a cacophony of information saying
And I felt like I needed to be on the cutting edge, so rather than doubling down on an already consistent ability to profit, I chased the shiny object.
I could have succeeded in ANYTHING, even the new store I started, but instead I chased the golden rabbit.
This is a good lead up into....
Mistake #2 -Choosing a product rather than a service to start.
After trying to dropship cheap yoga gear from China(and for those of you that don't know, dropshipping is advertising a product from a supplier who will do the shipping/production for you. You just do the marketing and label it as your own),
I decided it wasn't going to work. I didn't have control over the product quality and it took more than 2 weeks on average to get to my customers. Huge no-no.
I decided to try a new thing I'd learned about: Amazon FBA.
That's right, all of the hurdles I'd faced with crappy products and insane shipping times.... I thought it would be solved by investing thousands into a product ALSO made in China of which I'd have even less control of because it was pretty much now only between Amazon and the Chinese supplier.
So I did "market research," chose a COMPLETELY DIFFERENT PRODUCT MARKET, and spent $5000 custom making weight-lifting straps.
Well, the first real buyer had the straps fall apart on him. I hadn't effectively tested the product, just paid a couple people to try it out.... however I didn't wait for their feedback before making my bulk order OR SELLING IT ON AMAZON.
I received two 1-star reviews.... and my store's rating was destroyed. No one else purchased the straps, Amazon continued to charge me for having this stock sitting in their warehouse, and I was down thousands of dollars with no escape in sight.
There's no happy ending. I told Amazon to throw out the inventory and I marked it all as a loss.
With physical products, you have to make sure you're going to be able to sell your product. This requires in depth research.
You then need to thoroughly test your product to ensure it's functional and really it should have some sort of competitive advantage.
You then need to pay fees to have your products listed. You need to advertise and run effective back-end email campaigns to build interest. This requires money up-front.
If you do end up making sales, you have to package and ship/manage customer returns and complaints/consistently have new products and catchy marketing to fit the seasonal consumer desires...
It's a lot.
Now imagine you're going to offer a service.
- You're good at something,
- …someone wants coaching/having it done for them,
- …you provide the service,
- and now you have feedback that you could use to attract other clients.
While it's possible to have an approach this simple for selling a product, it's going to be much harder to make the kind of money you could make selling a service.
Services are built first and foremost on relationships. It plays to a positive effect when selling a service for you to do things like directly reach out or get on a "sales" call with someone interested in what you're offering.
If you've ever had someone reach out to you through the DMs seeing if you're interested in buying supplements or hair-care products.... it just feels sleezy.
Why would you need to DM me? If I need new shampoo, I'll just go buy it.
But if someone slides into the DMs offering to transform your stock portfolio, or help you get ripped, or help you transform your confidence in dating.... that's much more intriguing.
And a service is BASED ON THE NEEDS OF THE INDIVIDUAL CUSTOMER. A conversation feels more personal, like the service provider really cares about helping you.
If this is something you'd like me to expand on more, drop a comment. I just think from a logistics perspective, it's way easier to start a business where you're providing the service version of something you're already good at.
(PS if you'd like to learn about how to "productize" your knowledge into a service that's totally unique, let me know and I'll make some more content on this.)
Mistake #3- Outsourcing confidence
Or you could say, not relying on self-learning. By the summer of 2021, I'd already spent almost $10,000 on business coaching overall.
Looking back, much of it I would say was completely worthwhile. The first business coach I ever had was a dude from New South Wales called Matt Cama.
Matt was an incredible coach. He showed me how social media content could be tweaked just slightly so that every idea I had could be turned into a value packed post that would attract people to my offers.
He showed me how to walk through a simple series of questions while on the phone with a prospect that would lead me to having a clear idea of what they needed as a solution... while simultaneously getting them to commit to working with me before I even presented a price.
His coaching was an epic foundation that led to my first sales as a fitness coach.
I should have paused there and focused on implementing what I'd learned, but the action-laziness got to me and I fell into the dangerous trap of "analysis paralysis."
I didn't have the confidence or the initiative to do the work...
And so rather than building that confidence... rather than facing the insecurity and building the internal systems to BECOME WHO I NEEDED TO BECOME...
I outsourced it again. And again. And again.
Until I'd spent thousands of dollars learning the same things over and over again, and still I had a drained confidence tank with no idea how to fill it.
There isn't a long lecture that needs to go here. The solution is simple.
Most people spend 80% of their time learning and only 20% of their time doing, believing that when their confidence is low there's "just something I'm missing."
It's the feedback from going out and taking action. That's what you're "missing." How do you avoid it? Rectify the following:
Mistake #4- Not Keeping things simple.
And by simple we mean clear, dependable, structured in process.
Your physical health protocols should be simple. Your mental and emotional health protocols should be simple. Your relationships should be simple.
And what you have to do in your business should be simple.
My coaching business has never been complicated.
Originally, it looked like:
- Reach out to someone and offer coaching.
- If they're interested, jump on a call and talk about what they need.
- If they want to sign up, coach them for 6 - 8 months until physical results are gained.
What did I struggle with? The confidence to reach out. The fear I wasn't saying the right things. The deep desire to have a fully automated system that would allow things to be easier.
All of these "problems" could have been overcome so much faster had I acknowledged that confidence comes with action and reflection. Improving a system comes from specific spot-treatment and an ability to automate what's already working.
But rather than staying consistent and progressively fixing/automating what I could..... I chose not to trust myself and instead exist in that "80% learning, 20% doing" mode.
Simplicity allows you to keep your schedule clear and measure the simple tasks you're doing on a daily basis, comparing and contrasting with your results.
“You should be too busy to 'do coffee,' while still keeping an uncluttered calendar.”
The bottom line is you can make money doing anything. The easiest way is to choose something that you're confident will be a real value-add to the people you end up serving. If you can't keep the actions simple, you won't be able to make the growth dependable. Learning comes from doing, and so if you're not confident enough to take action.... you're probably not going to solve that just by paying someone to teach you more things.
You're not missing the next tip/trick.
You're missing a fully-charged mental and physical energy battery. And you charge that by…
- Mastering your mindset.
- Having a consistent strategy.
- Having the accountability structure in place to do-the-do…
...whether you feel like it or not.
I'm starting a mastermind to help people accomplish just that. Business gets easier when you get more balanced. Here's a video where I explain the process: