If I Started Over Tomorrow, I’d…

by Jason Gracia · 17 comments

Starting from ScratchIt happened four years ago, but the memory is so clear that it could have happened yesterday…

It’s midnight on a crisp winter evening. I’m digging under a slew of blankets to keep that crispness as far away as possible. I flick the light on my nightstand to life and double click the home button on my iPod. I push play and moments later Gary Vaynerchuk is dropping marketing truth bombs.

What Would You Do?He revels in it.

I love listening to interviews with experts. Whether I’m getting ready in the morning, driving around town, grocery shopping, walking up and down the hills of Madison, doing dishes, or lying in bed, I can’t get enough of them. And that night was one I’ll never forget.

As sleep slowly crept around me, a question (my favorite question) snapped my ears to attention. It’s the question I hope for in every interview. It’s the question I ask every expert in our Six-Figure Expert Profiles. It’s the question I’m going to answer for you today.

If you had to start over, what would you do first?

A brilliant question! It pushes aside all the fluff, all the extra, all the complexity and confusion and gets to the heart of the matter–what does it actually take to make things happen? I soaked up the wisdom and hustle of Vaynerchuk’s reply and drifted off to sleep.

THE SCENE

I wake up tomorrow at 6 AM. My website, my email list, my contacts and good looks are gone. (Who are we kidding? I could never lose those good looks.) The first thing I do is wonder why I’m up at 6 AM; nothing good happens that early.

The next thing I do is…

Step 1: Create a Blog

Get Hosting & Domain: I walk the eight steps to my home office, power up the computer, and take a seat in my spinny chair. After a few spins, I go to BlueHost (affiliate link) and sign up for a year of hosting. I create a new domain–JasonGracia.com–or, if that isn’t available because the people who stole everything else from me also have my domain, I create a domain that speaks to the heart of my expert topic, TheSixFigureExpert.com.

Install WordPress: The sting of having my business erased begins to set in, but I shake the feeling and carry on. Must focus on the future. I log into my BlueHost account and install WordPress. Less than a minute later the install is complete. (This is not, mind you, WordPress.com, which hosts your blog free of charge. This is WordPress.org, which is installed on your private server. Confused? This should clear it right up.)

Find a Theme: I then look for a premium WordPress theme. I scour the popular theme sites for just the right look and feel. Among the sites being scoured are…

Install the Theme: The right theme speaks to me (modern, professional, with a touch of pizzazz and a pinch of chutzpah). I download it and log into WordPress (using the login info I got after installation). I click to add a new theme and upload my choice. My site is now up and running, looking stylish and waiting for…

Step 2: Develop Content

Pillar Posts: I take a short break for some fruit and granola (the fruit, if you’re curious about the details of this imaginary scenario, are raspberries and blueberries). I know I need to create powerful content to kick things off with a bang; my first offering to the world will establish my credibility, authority, and overall brand. It has to be good.

I research the market in which my expertise lives and look for common problems, frustrations, questions, and concerns. I also study the most popular content in my field–what clues can I find to help me pinpoint the major needs and wants of my audience? After combining those clues and the core strengths of my expertise, I craft five pieces of pillar content to have something of high-quality to offer my upcoming visitors.

Lead Magnet: I then dive into creating a massively appealing lead magnet. As you may recall from an earlier post…wait…I don’t have a website. Shoot. Hmm…well…once upon a time in another life I wrote about lead magnets, pieces of content offered in exchange for an email subscription. They can be PDF reports, audios, videos, free samples, quizzes, etc. I love to create reports, so I open PowerPoint and get to work.

Main Pages: With the pillar posts and lead magnet complete, I finish the groundwork and create the main pages of the new site: About, contact, blog, etc. The site is now ready to go. I laugh at the thieves who stole my business. Ha. Ha.

Step 3: Attract Visitors

Email Service: I have a professionally-designed website. I have pillar content. I have a lead magnet that will build an email list…ahh, the email list. Visitors won’t magically become email subscribers. I need an email management service, a company that gives me the ability to register subscribers and, then, send them emails. Of the many options available, I choose AWeber. Others include…

Gather Eyeballs: I have a professionally designed website. I have solid content. I have a lead magnet to turn the right visitors into subscribers (and an email service to make that happen). And I still have my good looks. I’m feeling good. The last piece of the puzzle is to attract my target audience. There are dozens of strategies, and they all work. In my case, starting from scratch, I first…

  1. Visit blogs in my space, study their message and mission and content, and send the founder an email (or send a tweet) introducing myself, complimenting him or her on their site, and offering either my lead magnet as a useful tool for their audience or to write a guest piece (there is much more that can be done to garner guest spots, but cold emails do work). The guest pieces include a pitch and link to my lead magnet in the byline.
  2. I then reach out to other experts (or the same from my search above) looking for opportunities to advertise in their weekly newsletters. What to advertise? The lead magnet. Always. Many experts simply point to their websites, but that is a waste of time and money. Point visitors to your premium content, your report or audio or video that over delivers on value and turns a skeptical visitor into a lifelong fan. Even better, create a new lead magnet specifically for the websites you’re contacting. Tailor-made material like that will do the trick like nothing else.

The Dream Becomes Reality

I woke having lost it all (well, except for the good looks, but we’ve already been there, done that). In three simple steps, I’m back. Traffic is coming, subscribers are joining, and soon I’ll deliver high-quality content on a regular basis to build relationships and deliver results for my people. Then it’s time to create products and services to satisfy their needs and wants. This is how empires are built.

In fact, this is no exercise, my friends. This is reality.

These are the exact steps I followed to launch JasonGracia.com. Starting with only an idea, a few months later I had a fully-functioning website, a growing email list, and income. I did it all in three easy steps: Create a site, develop content, attract visitors.

Don’t be fooled into thinking it’s too hard to get started. Don’t be fooled into thinking it’s too expensive or complicated or impossible. It’s not. I’m your average human with likely more hangups and pesky eccentricities slowing me down (I obsess over the tiniest details, I insist on doing everything myself, I’m emotionally impulsive). But I did it. More than once.

And you can too.

Questions? Comments?

Each activity above comes with many steps, some obvious, others anything but. That’s why I’m here, along with the rest of the Six-Figure Expert community. Whatever questions you have, ask away. Whatever concern is swimming in your mind, let it swim down through your fingers and onto your keyboard (in other words, type it). Whatever you need, we’re here to help you turn your expertise into an empire.

Comments

Jason Gracia

The three simple steps above helped turn $35 into nearly $1,000,000. It doesn’t have to be complicated. As long as you’re bringing value to the marketplace, it’s far easier than most people think.

It takes work, of course, hard work. But if you’re afraid of hard work, you’re already in the wrong place. ;)

Jason

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Mosheh Ben Avraham

Awesome advice… very concise, I appreciate this post :)

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Jason Gracia

Mosheh,

Glad you liked the post! From the outside people may feel creating an online business is an overwhelming feat, but it actually comes down to a few core moves. If you have the goods, packaging them for the world is well within anyone’s grasp.

Jason

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Randy Benjamin

Jason, well said. The pillar of success lies at the hand of the person willing to move into the space of good old fashioned WORK! A.K.A.(action).

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Jason Gracia

Randy,

Amen! It takes work–hard work–to make things happen, no matter the task at hand. Far too many have been fooled by the promise of effortless, overnight success. The dream is compelling, but it’s a dream.

As you said, it takes good ol’ fashioned work.

Jason

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David Harbour

Jason, This may well be one of the few times I have seen anyone walk through the steps in a simple, easy to follow format. It is so easy to get caught up in the bells and whistles information overload that you throw your hands up in frustration and never even start.

Secondly, at a cost of way less than $100 in most cases, even if the first one, two or even three attempts doesn’t pan out, you haven’t lost much and probably learn a few valuable things in the process.

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Jason Gracia

David,

Thank you so much for your kind words. I know exactly how you feel. Years ago my head would spin with all of the steps gurus through my way; I felt like I was in the midst of a tennis ball-sized hail storm of contradictory advice. Ouch.

There is a lot involved, without a doubt, but it’s not as complex as people make it. It’s simple, but not easy. And that means someone willing to work HARD can make it happen. They can live the dream and spend the rest of their lives sharing their passions and earning a well-deserved income in return.

You are absolutely right! I started my six-figure business with $35. In the past it took tens of thousands. Now it takes $0. You can literally run a six-figure business for $0 a month. That’s where we are now. That’s unbelievable.

For a hard working expert, it’s a good time to be alive. :)

Jason

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Beth

awesome post Jason- but then they always are! And of course we know you couldn’t lose those good looks- at least not until you are as old as I am :) just you wait…LOL

Simple steps, easy to follow- why I always love reading what you do. I can UNDERSTAND it without being overwhelmed. Some people put stuff out there that exhausts me before I finish reading it- not you! Thanks for another great inspirational post- now I hope I never need it- but good to keep for future reference
xoxo

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Jason Gracia

Beth,

You are too kind, but that’s just the type of person you are. Always a sweet thing to say.

Expect about my looks–I hope to keep them when I’m as old you as.

That’s 38, right?

Jason

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Dan OBeirne

Hola Jason! Enjoyed your article here and it should help many people.

Many times you have to take the next step even though you can’t see the final destination. With this post, though, it is easier to see the big picture.

PS Along with our travel biz, I am relaunching an old wellness coaching biz and bought a shiny new WP theme. BUT once I installed it doesn’t look at all like the demo. Do I need to find a WP expert? Any suggestions are much appreciated.

Best from Spain, DanO

Happy holidays!

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Jason Gracia

Dan,

Thank you so much for taking the time to read this week’s post! You are right…it can be hard to keep pushing forward when you don’t know where you’re going. I hope this helped.

I know exactly how you feel about the design. Years ago when I bought my first WordPress theme, I was sorely disappointed when I installed it only to find it looked nothing like the original. Ugh. But I love design so I dove in and created my own look and feel.

For those who don’t know design or code, I would visit eLance or Odesk to look for a freelance WordPress designer. If you can show them the original, they shouldn’t have any problem recreating it for you.

Good luck!

Jason

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Miss-D

Wow Jason, thank you. Like Beth I always look forward to your inspiring simple yet powerful business tips. Really it’s up to us now.

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Jason Gracia

Miss-D,

Thank you so much. People like you, Beth, and the rest of the community help to make it what it is. And I couldn’t be happier about that.

Jason

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Samuel Lim

Hey Jason,

I found your site through Live Your Legend. I am really amazed that you take the time to respond to each and every comment, especially when I know your time is extremely valuable and you could have spent it on developing more income. Thank you.

I am currently creating five pillar articles for my blog for compulsive overeaters. Am I targeting too large/broad/general a market? For instance, should I narrow down my audience to say, male compulsive overeaters in the beginning, then expand out later? Secondly, how can I further develop expertise in freeing people from compulsive overeating?

Thank you.
Samuel

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Jason Gracia

Samuel,

It’s easy to forget or overlook the fact that a human face sits at the other end of an email address or blog post comment. I work hard never to forget that. I am allowed to do what I do only because of people like you, people who take time out of their day to join my world and share their thoughts and ideas. For that I’m truly grateful.

When it comes to nicheing down, there’s no hard and fast rule. I targeted humans with my first online business and became a six-figure expert. Then again, the speed of success (as well as the speed of results for your market) does increase as you focus more and more on your target audience.

Before narrowing your focus, I would orchestrate a deep dive into your industry. How large are each of the market segments? Are there websites that cater to specific groups within the overeating niche? Magazines? Blogs? Facebook groups? Discover how the market divides itself and how large each of those pieces of the puzzle are. Then you’ll know better if you should narrow your sights or welcome all into the fold.

To be a true expert you have to be able to deliver the promised result. This is the root of it all. If I placed ten overeaters at your feet, could you personally walk them to success? If so, maintain a consistent education, reading books, journals, scientific studies, research papers, etc. If not, you need to focus 100% on building your skill set. Start at the beginning, learning the science and psychology behind overeating. Talk with experts in the field. Get training. Then read those books, magazines, and journals.

You’ve chosen an important topic; the food we put into our bodies can be our salvation or our poison. With your expertise, thousands will make better choices and live longer, happier lives.

Jason

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Adam

Really enjoyed this one. I would do the same thing. I love my blog. It really is simple to get started doing just about anything with what you laid out, but yes, it does take a lot of hard work. That scares the majority off.

I try and educate business owners on the power of a blog. It’s the only thing that can generate a lead today, tomorrow and/or next year. It works 24/7/365, never calls in sick or takes a vacation. It doesn’t flirt with the lady in accounting either. It should be your best sales tool.

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Jason Gracia

Adam,

Ha! I love it!

I think I caught my blog batting its eyelashes at Copyblogger a few times, but otherwise you are spot on. A blog is a sales tool that never stop churning along.

Jason

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