AMY PORTERFIELD: “You do not have to have all the answers in order to dream big and be your own boss. You have to take action. You have to get specific. You've got to put some kind of strategy together, even if you don't know what a strategy looks like right now. But you do not, my friend, have to have it figured out, and you do not have to have visions of changing the world in order for your ideas to be valid right now.”
INTRO: I’m Amy Porterfield, ex-corporate girl turned CEO of a multi-million-dollar business. But it wasn't all that long ago that I lacked the confidence, money, and time to focus on growing my small–but–mighty business. Fast forward past many failed attempts and lessons learned, and you'll see the business I have today, one that changes lives and gives me more freedom than I ever thought possible, one that used to only exist as a daydream. I created the Online Marketing Made Easy podcast to give you simple, actionable, step–by–step strategies to help you do the same. If you're an ambitious entrepreneur, or one in the making, who's looking to create a business that makes an impact and helps you create a life you love, you're in the right place. Let's get started.
AMY PORTERFIELD: Hey, friend. Does this sound like you? You dream of going from an office cubicle or the nine–to–five hustle and grind to being your own boss, doing work that lights you up, gives you location and time freedom, and allows you to break the financial glass ceiling that you're experiencing at your current J-O-B. I have a feeling you're saying, “Abso-freakin’-lutely, Amy.” I hope you're saying that.
Well, my friend, if so, I'm glad you're here, because not too long ago I had that same dream. And I remember going to my corporate job, in and out, just dreaming of working with the people I wanted to work with and being the one who called the shots. I knew I was made for more, and I was determined to make the transition from where I was to where I wanted to be: the creator of a successful online business.
Now, before I go any further, I want you to hear me out on this one thing. I didn't know what the business would look like. I didn't have any idea how I was going to do it. I didn't know how much money I could make. I didn't know how much money I needed to get it started. Little hint: you don't need a lot. I didn't know anything, quite honestly. But there was this little voice in my head that said, “There's something more out there. This is not it. This nine–to–five job is not it.” And so I'm so glad I listened to that little voice.
And I hope right now you're thinking, “Oh, yeah, I know what voice you're talking about.” You might even kind of push down the voice, like, “Shh, be quiet. I got to get my work done.” But it's in there. It's never going to go away, my friend. So, hopefully, this episode is going to get you excited to move forward to go after what you really want. And I hope it gives you some hope, because more than a decade later, I've built a thriving digital–course business, which means I get to enjoy all the benefits that come with being my own boss and sharing my passion with other entrepreneurs looking to do the same. That means you. It's crazy to believe, but over eleven years ago, I left a very cushy, comfy, good job.
And as I look back on the biggest needle movers that helped me achieve my dreams, there are definitely some staple actions I took and that I swear by to this day, and I'm sharing them with you today so that you can make the transition from corporate or that nine–to–five hustle to being the one in charge and creating a life and a business on your terms. I'm also sharing how I made the transition, and a few habits that I know allowed me to find my own path and keep moving forward, even when things got tough.
Here's my wish for you. I want you to have a business you love, where you get to say yes to the things that light you up and no to the things or the clients you don't want to work with. So as we go through this episode, I want you to make me one promise. Promise me that as you make this transition, you'll give yourself a lot of grace and forgiveness if things don't always go as planned, because they won't. Deal? Okay. With that, let's get to it.
When I first had the thought of starting my own business and becoming an entrepreneur, I had the dream of creating digital courses. However, I had no idea how to create a digital course. Maybe you can relate? You have a vision, and you have no freaking clue how to get there. Even more so, I had zero, zip, zilch people on my email list. No social–media following. That's right. Zero. And I definitely did not love the idea of putting myself out there. Can you relate? But I really wanted to leave my corporate job, and for me that was enough to keep the little flame inside of me burning.
Now, I want to be clear. I didn't have visions of changing the world. I didn't know what my passion was. I kind of still don't. I didn't know or didn't think, “Oh, my gosh, I have to do my own thing because there's people that need me, and I'm going to change their life, and I'm going to make the world better. I've got to get out of this corporate job.” And if that's how you feel, I'm a little jealous because to me it's so cool that you have that drive, you have that passion, you have that desire to serve and to help and make the world a better place. I have that now, don’t get me wrong. But those days, back then, I did not. I just didn't want a boss. I didn't want someone else to tell me when I work, how I work, where I work, what I do, who I serve. I just didn't want that anymore.
And you all know that at the time, my corporate job, that cushy, comfy, wonderful job was working for Tony Robbins. So it had nothing to do with “I don't want to work with Tony.” It had everything to do with “I have this desire to do my own thing.” And I didn't even really totally know what my own thing was.
Why do I tell you this? Well, I just want to make sure you know that you do not have to have all the answers in order to dream big and be your own boss. You have to take action. You have to get specific. You've got to put some kind of strategy together, even if you don't know what a strategy looks like right now. But you do not, my friend, have to have it figured out, and you do not have to have visions of changing the world in order for your ideas to be valid right now. I just wanted to put that out there.
So, I left my corporate job, and my first stop was working one on one and doing social media for small businesses. And I fell for the most common trap that I see newbie entrepreneurs getting stuck in. I started taking on way too many clients, and ultimately I became a yes girl. I still feel exhausted just thinking about this period of my journey. I mean, I'd get off my calls with clients, with a never–ending list of to-dos, and I'd stay up until 1:00 a.m. working on these things and all the while thinking, “This is not the business that I wanted.” And you want to know what? For two long years I had a business I hated. And holy heck, friend, you better believe this is a driving force for me giving you the quick and dirty of building a business so you don't have to experience what I did.
So around the two year mark, I finally had my turning–point experience. And if you've been with me for a while, you might know this story well. But I had one client, who was a jerk, and I was helping him with a live webinar, and happened to be traveling on that day. So I left all of the info with his team. The long and short of it is that something fell apart during this webinar, and he had no one to blame, so he decided to blame me. I vividly remember being on the tarmac, because I was flying, so I was on the tarmac, with him screaming at me on the phone. And he said these five words that just clicked for me. “Amy, this will never happen again.” And he was right. I was done taking clients who didn't appreciate me.
So this experience led me to reevaluate who I was working with and how I was going to make the time to create a digital course, one that I could sell in my business, which had been the driving force early on in me leaving my career. Now, I do what I do so that you don't have to have a bad experience just to transition your business or to make a change in your life. So I challenge you to decide right now that you're going to pivot. Go ahead and say it out loud. See how it feels. Say, “Yes,” or “It's time,” or “I'm going to do this,” because if you're truly committed to pivoting and creating a business that fuels your inspiration, my friend, you've got to make a decision to do it.
Now, notice I didn't say, “Say yes, you're going to do it today.” I believe in baby steps. I think you can set a date. In six months from now, I'm quitting my corporate job. One year from now, I'm out of here. Whenever it is. But I do think it's important that you do decide, are you going to stay or are you going to leave?
Now, there are some things you can do right away to start creating a business model that you absolutely love, even before you quit your nine–to–five job. For me, after that tarmac incident, I got home and let all of my clients go, and I got fast to work. So remember, I first had to make the decision to leave the nine–to–five job, and that took me a good year to finally take the leap. Then, I took a bunch of one–on–one clients, created a business I hated. And then I had this one moment where this jerky client just, like, gave me my aha moment I needed, and I thought, “I'm not doing this anymore.” Went home, fired all my clients, and got fast to work.
Now, I actually don't recommend this, because I let go of all my clients to give me time to create my digital course, and Hobie and I ended up in debt the next year because of that—$40,000 in debt, to be exact. And so what I should have done, looking back, is maybe just kept two clients that I actually could tolerate or kind of enjoyed working with. I knew I didn't want to work with clients anymore, but there were some clients that I could have continued to work with. So that was just kind of a little bit of a rush decision I wouldn't suggest. Have a little bit of money coming in, tighten up those purse strings so that you don't have to have a lot of money coming in so that you can find the time to create your digital course. That's what I wish I did. So if you're in a situation like I am and you want to let go of all of it, I suggest you let go of a few clients and keep a few as well. Free up time to create the business of your dreams. And that might mean that you spend maybe three to nine months where you're doing both. I don’t see a problem with that.
Now, when you start to make money with your online business, which you'll experience at a much quicker rate with a digital course, you can let go of any other clients that you don't want to work with anymore. And if you're not doing the one–on–one thing and instead moving away from your current job, stick with me. We're about to get into the action items for both situations.
So, as we talk about these staple actions, I want you to have a deep understanding that this transition isn't a straight line and it's not necessarily step by step. And if you know me at all, you know I sure as heck wish it were. But the truth is that you'll have to have one foot in both worlds for a while, at least some of you will. And remember, that's okay.
And because of that, you have to become incredibly fierce with your time. So this is your first big step in making your transition. Here's my favorite way to do this. I call it tiger time, where you commit at least to one scheduled full hour to work on the kind of business that you want, and nothing else.
Now, I said at least one scheduled full hour a week to work on your kind of business that you want. Most of you are going to want to do more than that, and you'll have to find the time. If you want it bad enough, you find the time. I do believe that. Is it going to be the most convenient times? Probably not.
I often tell the story that 5:00 a.m., I was in a tiny little condo in Carlsbad, California, and Hobie and Cade were still sleeping upstairs. And I'd get in this big old beat–up leather chair. And at the time I had Gus, my dog that has since died. But Gus would get right next to me and cuddle up, and we would do our work. And I didn't want to get up that early, but we did it. So, I do think there’s something to be said about this is not going to be convenient, my friend. It is going to be worth it.
So, here's your action item. Make a loose plan of what you're going to work on within this hour, set a date, put it on your calendar as a non-negotiable, and show up for it without any other distractions when the time comes. Now, do this as often as your schedule allows during your transition from corporate or some nine to five into being your own boss, or in between clients, if you've already moved away from the nine to five but you don't want to do one–on–one client work anymore.
Now, you might be saying, “Okay, great, Amy. But what should I be working on during my tiger time?” Well, let's talk about it. Here's a few things I highly suggest you start working on as you build your business. And by the way, these are all things that can be done while you're still working at your other job. And to take it one step further, these are some of the habits that you'll want to start creating. So doing these things on a consistent basis and making them habits as you transition is essential.
For starters, get your little behind creating consistent content and sharing it with the world. You've heard me say it before, and I'll never stop saying it. because I have tangible proof that showing up weekly with valuable content for your audience is one of the most–effective ways to build bulletproof trust and grow that list. The reason why I’m such a stickler about this is that in order to have a thriving online business, you've got to create consistent content to attract your ideal community. If you don't, your business will suffer.
A few years back, my own business took a significant turn for the better when I stopped only creating content in the empty cracks of time that I had left at the end of the day. Back in the day, I'd have a podcast episode hit one week, and then I'd miss a few weeks. There was no regularity at all. Since I was not showing up, my audience wasn't showing up either. They just didn't know when I was going to post. So I didn't have a loyal community. This is years ago, and it really stuck with me. So my audience, they weren't waiting to hear from me, because they had no idea when I'd show up. So when I began creating content weekly, same time, same place every single week, my email list grew quickly, and in turn I saw a significant increase in my overall revenue. So in my case, it was a weekly podcast episode every single week, rain or shine. It still is. For you, it may be a weekly blog or a weekly Facebook Live video or it might even be a weekly clubhouse that you are the leader in and you are moderating and you are attracting your audience. There’s a lot of options here, my friend, but it’s consistency. People need to know where they can find you, when they can find you. It needs to be the same time, same place every week.
Creating consistent content on a weekly basis is not always easy, it is not convenient, and it does take time. However, it's a definite step that you can commit to that will pay dividends in the success of your business. Please trust me on this one. Check out episode number 362, with Zafira Rajan, to learn how to make creating weekly content a non–negotiable in your business and in your life. I’ll link to that episode in the show notes.
Another habit and action to schedule into your tiger time is devoting time to get comfortable on video. The popularity of video, live or prerecorded, is not going away, my friend. In fact, I've noticed that this trend that I actually hoped would fall away in the early days is only getting stronger. Trust me when I say that I completely understand how difficult it can be to get to the point where you feel comfortable in front of the camera. Oh, how I understand, more than you know. However, there's an intentional reason that I teach my students to do video often, and why I do video often myself, is that video brings a whole new level of connection with your audience. So in order to get comfortable, try creating a video ritual and practicing it. Also, the more you do it, the better and more comfortable you'll get.
I recently heard a guy talking. I can't remember his name, but I heard him talking about how when he was starting out, he would make tons of videos and purposely never post them. So he had, like, 100 videos he recorded. Never did he post one of the videos, but he just wanted to get into the practice of showing up and doing video. And then, of course, he started to post them. I don’t know if that’s going to work for you, but just know, do whatever it takes to show up on video. And you don’t always have to be totally comfortable in order to make it happen, You can do it uncomfortable, like I did for many years.
Now, also remember that when you do video, your main goal should be to offer and deliver value. Always come back to this. Offering value will grow your audience. I actually talk about boosting your confidence on video in episode 291 of the Online Marketing Made Easy podcast, so I'll link to that in the show notes as well. Episode 291. It's an important one for you if you struggle with video.
Another important action and habit for making the transition is to fuel that big, beautiful brain of yours. Becoming the go–to expert in your industry means that you never stop learning. After all, if you aren't growing, you're dying. When I was first starting out, I devoured as much as I could about building an online business. I read the books, I watched the videos, I listened to the podcasts, I took the trainings. I did everything that I could to become an expert in this area. And quite honestly, I still do a lot of learning, even eleven years in. As an entrepreneur, make it a weekly priority to fuel your brain and continue to learn.
Now, be careful here. This comes with a double–edged sword because I don't want you just learning and not doing. So what I like to do is I like to commit to one or two hours a week where I learn; the rest of the week, I'm doing. That's significantly different, right? One to two hours a week I learn; the rest of the time I'm doing.
Now, that doesn't count for when I am on a walk with Scout and I'll listen to a podcast, or when I'm in the car driving. But when I sit at my desk and I'm doing nothing else but watching a video training or listening to something and taking notes or taking a special summit that I wanted to learn from or whatever, one to two hours a week; the rest of the time I'm doing. If you want to be different from everybody else, there you go, my friend. Most people aren't doing as much as they are learning, and learning can keep you stuck if you don't have boundaries.
Now, a great way to get started with this is to identify the things that you'd like to learn about building an online business and being an entrepreneur, and make a list of all the books and the podcasts and resources that will help you master those topics. And then, get really intentional. Put it in your calendar. This is when I'm going to listen to this podcast or watch this training or whatever it might be. But if you calendar this stuff, you're more intentional of how you spend your time.
All right. Last action item and habit that should be part of your tiger time is finding a mentor or two. I did this early on in my business, and you guessed it, I still abide by it today. Finding a coach or mentor that you can meet with on a regular basis is a great way to remain accountable. And you need someone to support you in the tough times and when things are really good as well. You want to celebrate with somebody. Plus, it's a powerful thing to do during your transition. So I'm a firm believer in learning from mentors who have gone before you and have succeeded in creating a life and a business similar to the one you dream of creating.
So, if I look back over the eleven years of the mentors that I've had, I could count them on one hand, meaning that I'm really loyal to the mentors that I choose, and I also don’t want too many mentors that fill up my brain with all these strategies and ideas and things and opinions, and then, again, I feel paralyzed and I don't do any of them. So I like to choose just a few mentors, and this is how I choose my mentor. Do they have a business or a life that I want to aspire to? Done. That's how I choose my mentors. Do they have a business or a life that I want to aspire to? And if the answer is yes, then I'm going to double down. Whether I follow all their stuff, I buy their digital course, I'm part of their coaching program, whatever it might be, I invest in them. I invest my time in what they're teaching. I go all in. So I highly recommend that strategy to you. Check out episode 313 if you want to identify who a good mentor might be for you. That's episode 313.
Holy heck, my friend. If you ask me, that was a lot to cover. And the reason I say that is that I know habits aren't easy to put into effect. I know you've got a lot going on right now, whether you're still in a nine–to–five job or you are a consultant or a coach or a service–based provider looking to move away from that or maybe not do as much of that so that you can have a digital course that brings in consistent revenue. So I know that you've got a lot going on, and you likely are at least exploring or really wanting to create a digital course. And the way you move into that is you start changing the way you show up, and that really lies in the habits that you are committed to. You can get there, my friend, and I hope you're fired up and feeling ready to tackle that transition into becoming your own boss, because if I look back and I'm eighty years old and you ask me, “What's the best decision you've ever made beyond marrying my hunky husband, Hobie, beyond that one,” I would say, “I became my own boss.” Best decision I ever made. And I want that for you as well.
Listen, I know it takes time. I know you've got to get uncomfortable. I know it's not convenient. And I do believe something that people don't talk about enough, it’s going to take some patience. But believe me, if you take the actions and you form the habits that we went over in this episode, I know that you'll find yourself with a business that you absolutely love, one that aligns with who you are and one that really gives you the lifestyle that you desire. And that's my goal for you.
All right. I'll see you next week with more guidance on how to build an online business. Thanks for joining me today. See you next week, same time, same place. Bye for now.