In the summer of 2000 I was finishing up my master’s thesis in Exercise Physiology at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario (Canada’s ‘steeltown’). At the time, I lived with two buddies, and the only computer with Internet access in our house was in my friend’s room in his basement apartment.
One Saturday afternoon, after getting home from running tests in the lab, I noticed my roommate was out at one of his Kung Fu classes, and so I went down to look for job opportunities on a fitness website.
It was during this fateful Internet search that I stumbled across the email address of the fitness editor for Men’s Health magazine, the biggest fitness publication in the world. I decided to take a chance and send him my latest fitness email newsletter, even though it had only 150 subscribers.
A few days later the editor replied back, and wanted to use a piece from my article in an upcoming issue. Just like that I had instant credibility. This one opportunity would be the foundation for the exponential growth of my fitness information publishing business over the next 10 years. It allowed me to become a leader in my industry, and that has made all the difference.
And today we’re going to cover my favorite advanced leadership mindset and marketing tips I was taught by one of my mentors, Dan Kennedy. These 7 steps will help you break the 6-figure and even 7-figure barriers in your business by establishing yourself as leader in your industry and niche market.
1) You Must Have Extreme Self-Confidence
Your business is not only about selling your product. It’s also about attracting people who want everything you have to offer. Your business is YOU. It doesn’t matter if you run a shop on main street in your town or a website serving people from all over the globe, you must be confident that what you bring to the world is unique and different from everyone else offering similar products.
2) You Must Take Action and Implement What You Learn
This step is not nearly as much fun as thinking big, but it is just as essential. The most successful people in the world are action takers. They don’t think too much, they just get it done. If you’re struggling with implementing what you know, then set more deadlines in your business. If you already have deadlines, cut them in half. Be bold. If you have a product planned for release in 3 months, cut that back and set a deadline of 2 months. You’ll find a way to get it done and you’ll be one step closer to being a leader in your industry. Life rewards action.
3) You Can Never Be Satisfied
You can never rest or try to sustain status quo. As Kennedy says, “You must be finding the replacement for the replacement.”
If you are a salesperson having a record year, you must still be looking into the future and planning for when sales aren’t as easy. You must continue to stay hungry and remain on top of the trends in your industry.
Likewise, if you’re an online information marketer, it doesn’t matter if you are getting 10,000 visitors per day to your site from Search Engine Optimization and affiliates, if you don’t keep coming up with new stuff, eventually your traffic will dwindle and your business will die.
Keep learning and networking, and never be satisfied as long as you remain in business.
4) Really Big Thinking – “Make no little plans”
This is my favorite step on the list. I just love to think big, and to plan and predict future opportunities for my business. It’s a great exercise to do on airplanes, because research shows we’re more creative when we get outside of our daily work environment – plus, it’s much more productive than watching a movie you’ve seen before.
When it comes to big thinking, always be conceive and believe that you will achieve great plans. You must be sure of yourself that you will dominate your chosen niche. You must not be afraid to create bigger and bolder ideas everyday and always be looking for markets where you can charge top dollar, and bigger projects and products that will allow you to do so.
5) You Must Work on the Macro and Micro Components of Your Business
Everyone wants to be the “idea guy”, but if you want to succeed you have to force yourself to be good at ideas, follow through, and details. You need to have every aspect of copy, product creation, and lead generation in place if you want to create a 6-figure or 7-figure income.
6) You Must Develop Multiple, High-Value Skills
It’s not enough to be just a good speaker, or salesperson, or product creator. We need multiple skills. First we have to identify an opportunity, then generate leads, then build interest in our prospects, then persuade our prospects to become customers, and finally deliver extreme value and service. Don’t just stop when you’ve become good in one area of expertise.
You also need to develop the skill of learning how to say NO. Too many folks spread themselves too thin, so you have to decide what projects are right for you and will advance your business.
7) Always Focus on Strategic Associations
If you sit at home and think you can avoid seminars and mastermind groups yet still develop powerful affiliate and business relationships, you are sorely mistaken. You need to be at seminars, having conversations in the hallways and at the bar, meeting new people online and offline.
Listen, by nature I’m an introverted person. A highly introverted person. I’d much rather read a book than introduce myself to a stranger. But guess what? Of all the strangers I’ve introduced myself to at the dozens of conferences I’ve attended, not one of them has bit me. And many of them have become friends, and a few of them have become lifelong business partners.
In fact, I might never have had my chance to run Early to Rise if it wasn’t for a Mastermind group I joined where I met Matt Smith, my business partner. So get out there. Go to seminars and events. Plan ahead and have a list of people to meet and questions to ask AND people that you can help. Never go empty handed or without a plan.
Follow those 7 steps to start building a serious business and you’ll soon join the ranks of leaders in your industry.
Craig Ballantyne is the Editor of Early to Rise and Financial Independence Monthly. He also coaches executives of companies with sales over $1 million. Later this summer, Matt Smith and Craig will be offering a new virtual private mentoring program for Financial Independence Monthly subscribers.
If you want to learn more ways to grow your business, then make sure you sign up for this special Business Mastery Training webinar.
*Originally published as Issue # 103 – June 26, 2012