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Episode 90 of 132

Entrepreneur Trudy Rankin on How to Start Your Own Online Business: The ROI Online Podcast Ep. 90

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The ROI Online Podcast
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Duration: 45:05
Thinking about starting your own online business but don’t know where to start? In this episode of the ROI Online Podcast, director & founder of West Island Digital Trudy Rankin shares why potential entrepreneurs like you can sometimes struggle. Shifting from employee to business owner isn’t alw
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Thinking about starting your own online business but don’t know where to start? In this episode of the ROI Online Podcast, director & founder of West Island Digital Trudy Rankin shares why potential entrepreneurs like you can sometimes struggle. Shifting from employee to business owner isn’t always easy, but Trudy will help you come up with the right direction for your business and fulfill those dreams. West Island Digital—and Trudy in particular—helps you find technology solutions that best fit your business, no matter your needs. They keep up with the rapidly changing online world so you don’t have to. In entrepreneurship, bumps in the road can become mountains that set us back for days, weeks, or even months. Having the right framework, skills and tools can make these bumps disappear, so you maintain your momentum and thrive in your business. Among other things, Trudy and Steve discussed:The creation of West Island Digital and client success stories The process of identifying who your audience is Why matching your business with your personality can make your business more successfulThe Online Business Lift-off programDifferent types of business models so you can choose the perfect match for what you want to doTrudy’s framework to creating your online business from scratch in a less intimidating wayHow technology can be overwhelming and ways to get past that bumpTurning data into stories to save time and moneyYou can learn more about Trudy here:https://www.westislanddigital.com/Follow Trudy on LinkedIn You can learn more about the Online Business Lift-off here:https://onlinebusinessliftoff.com/Read the books mentioned in this podcast:The Golden Toilet by Steve BrownThinking of starting your own podcast? Buzzsprout’s secure and reliable posting allows you to publish podcasts online. Buzzsprout also includes full iTunes support, HTML5 players, show statistics, and WordPress plugins. Get started using this link to receive a $20 Amazon gift card and to help support our show!Support the show (https://cash.app/$stevemfbrown)
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you know, if there's ever been a time that this is so applicable, it's now, it's, um we're having to figure out how to do things differently when we can't go and necessarily shake someone's hand or meet him in a conference room. Or who would have thought you couldn't meet someone for coffee or that would be difficult. But now, now there's a way to take advantage of the technology that exists and actually provide a similar experience. You're just doing it more remotely, but there's a lot of hurdles there in our minds. And so going through your course, going through your training, you help folks get over that. You have something called decision trees. Tell us a little bit about that. Yeah, one of the one of the things that we do with our community is that we we bring in experts on a monthly basis to help them learn something that's going to help them grow their business, and we we have. It's like a win win win situation where we, for those people who are coming in to do those those um, master classes and workshops is that we work with them to create a completely new master class of workshop, all based around a very simple concept that somebody needs to learn. But we we include as part of our collaboration, we do it as a collaboration. As part of that collaboration, we actually create what we call a decision tree or a diagnostic quiz like tool that actually then, by answering, take your framework for what people have to learn. You turn it into a series of questions. You build those questions into a tool that has branching logic in the back end. So it's like Choose your own adventure. How you answer the question determines where you end up. And then at the end of answering those questions, you get given a visual representation of the outcome of those answers that you gave. And so it gives you an aha moment that lets you realize where you are in terms of this thing and the next steps you need to take just the next little steps that you need to take to actually move you from here to here. And it's really, really, really very effective. Um, and one of the things you know, the decision trees are the diagnostic quiz tools those are my Those are my things that I really love because I love the process of helping somebody take that knowledge that's in their brain, turn it into a framework if it's not already in a framework. Or but if it isn't a framework, take that, turn it into questions that are then become very effective in creating that whole moment. That's that's very fun, that is, that is fun thing to do. So so, yeah, and and also the what I haven't mentioned is that those decision trees, actually, as people answer those questions, you end up with this set up data set that allows you to look at it in a meta kind of way. That then lets you look through and say, Well, what is it that people are actually challenged by? Where are they struggling? What are the things where you can see that if they had some help there, they would be able to make progress a lot faster or be more efficient or or they're the results would be better. And then you can use that information to create more products and services that are going to help people. So it becomes this really lovely cyclical thing where we help people create knowledge that gets turned into a master class. That then helps our people in our community grow their business. And then the people who we've collaborated with to create that master class can take that masterclass webinar and use it to serve their customers that gets popped up on their website, becomes a beautiful lead magnet or it becomes an evergreen webinar that they can charge for. It just works really well as a concept, but it's all built around the idea that you need to understand where people are and then give them in home moment that helps them move forward. You use the data that you collect to make decisions about what you're gonna do, so you end up saving yourself a lot of time and effort and wasted you stop yourself from wasting energy. Uh, working on stuff that people don't care about doesn't really matter isn't going to make an impact on them. So that's that's kind of that's kind of how that all kind of fits together
truly tell us an example of another success story, that of someone that was like, really pushing back on what they had to offer. And then then six months later, we had someone that was a totally different person. I could I could give you lots and lots of stories. It's just like, you know, you know, where can I start? And you know, we've got one person who who she's a carer. Her husband is quite quite disabled and, of course, had to stay home because of that and had her own health issues and stuff. And she started out on one of our programs and ended up having to quit because of her health issues. And then But But she didn't give up. She actually joined one of our later programs, and as when she joined the later program, it was like she was more ready for it. And she she went through all of the processes again, all of the thinking again. And she chose this completely different idea this time to the one she chosen before, and it was much more suited to her. But she's she just she said, You know, she said, Look, this idea popped into my head the very first day of the second time through, she said. I know I don't want to do that. I'm not going to do that. That's that. No. And she said it just kept coming back and coming back and coming back until she finally said, I have to do this. I know there's people out there who are been through the same sorts of situations that I've been through, and I know what it's done to me, and I know I can help them. And so she's built her business around that and in the process of building her whole business around that she's actually fallen in love with building websites. She loves the process of building websites and her websites amazing. It's really cool and and so she She's very, very active on the in the community, just giving other people support and and giving them feedback and helping them overcome their doubts and lack of confidence and giving. You know, just the things that you need in terms of supporting each other as a community. So so that's been that's been really lovely. I mean, I could tell you stories all day you know the banker, the banker who lost his job lives in a rural town, lost his job. There's no other jobs like it around, Um, and he's got He's got kids that he has to support. What do you do? You go and start your own business and, you know, it took him. It took him probably seven months from start to the time that he had actually got to the place where he had his head clients and he was starting to reach his goals. Um uh, financial goals. And then by the time he hit a year, he was actually he replaced his salary from his previous job, and it's been interesting. One of the things that we've heard a lot from people who have being part of our program, especially during Covid, was that lots of people have been made redundant. They've lost their jobs just because, you know, there's this is not the work, isn't there? It's not because of people being horrible. There's just not the work, but they've been made redundant. And when it happens to you more than once, you know, we've had a number of people say to us, I don't ever want anybody else ever in charge of my job again? I want to be able to manage my own career. Having my own online business is one way of doing that and and they're really You should see how hard they work. They just get stuck in and they do the work. They do the thinking, they do the work and it's not easy. It's We tell people at the banning This is not This is not a This is not a get rich quick scheme. This is hard, hard work, but people are willing to do it because they can see the value and they and they have these goals of being able to be self sufficient, which I think is important. But anyway, I could I could tell you, lots of you know, we've had people who have been homeless who have done the program. Um, and it's given them confidence that they had never had before, just just to be able to keep going. It doesn't solve their problems. People still have got issues and anxieties and things like that, but it gives them hope, gives them opportunities that they know that if they apply themselves that they have this alternative that they can put in place, and I think that's kind of hope is probably the one thing that matters the most to people, no matter what their situation is.
so, yeah, I know the people are listening to us. Maybe they haven't actually thought of themselves doing something like this. Maybe they've been helping others. Maybe they work in a position where they're supporting their business. But at some point, I think it's there In the back of their mind is what is it that I should be getting out of this? That's preparing me for what I'm really going to do in the future. What are some? Give us an idea of the steps or the framework that you help people start to approach. So in terms of its in terms of basically getting them to the point where they see what's possible and then they start to work towards getting those skills. Basically, we we use a combination of of Let's let's show you what's possible get you to think about your own situation and then give them some research, some stuff to do, some actions to take, researching, thinking, talking to people, going out and finding people who might be potential customers talking to them, um, and then basically using that data because we have a very strong focus on yeah, you know, using your available information to make decisions about what you're doing in the future. So basically, basically helping people go from no idea to having an idea. We teach them about how to do keyword research to validate that we help them learn how to set up their own website. And then we teach them all the skills around, um, just the different types of marketing and how how online marketing works and how it's a bit different, a little bit different to traditional marketing because they're used to traditional marketing. And then we get them familiar with the online marketing approach and then just help them practice home and hone those skills. And so they can. They can produce something, pop it into the community and ask for feedback, and they'll get a lot of feedback because of the people that I have in my team are all people who actually have their own online business as well. So they have a lot of expertise that they bring to the table in helping people do that. But I'm sure you would have found as well that half the challenge is actually is actually dealing with mindset. You know things. So you know I'm not good enough. I'm not enough. I don't know enough. You know who's gonna listen to me? Um, you know, I'm not an expert on me and we just keep reminding people that if you are two steps ahead of somebody else, they're going to be really grateful for your assistance because somebody who's 10 steps ahead of them is too far ahead. They can't see. They can't imagine or visualize how they could even possibly get 10 steps ahead. They need somebody who's two steps ahead. So if you're two steps ahead, you are so much closer to the problem so much closer to the language so much closer to the mindset issues that you have so much more chance of helping those people than somebody who's way ahead. So that's something to remember. I think that's really, really, really important. Um, and also, sometimes, you know, when we have these mindset issues, it ends up. If you think about it, it's actually all about our ego. We don't feel enough. We don't feel this. We don't feel that, and a lot of times that's just all in our heads. It's not what other people think about us It's not that it's not the, you know, the thoughts that are going through their heads. They're looking at you and going, Wow, how can I get to where you are? I want to get to where you are. You look so confident. And you might be thinking, uh, you know, I'm not confident at all, but in reality you are. You've got a lot more experience in the house. So just that just that, you know, just the mindset side of things is the biggest cause. I think of failures in online businesses, people, people just give up. And if you give up, failure doesn't failure until you give up. If you give up, then you're done.
we'll get on YouTube and we'll watch someone. Maybe regularly. They have a cooking show or they do some some hobby that we just really enjoy watching. But if you stop for a second and and back out and go all right, this person has created a brand based on their past and over their timeline. They've created a talent staff, and then they decided, You know, I'm going to package this and brand it, and I'm going to distribute it. These are the folks that you're talking about that, that they don't need to reach millions of people. But there are. There's an audience that they could really be impactful with. Yeah, absolutely. And And you know what? It's been interesting because our, you know, the work that I've been doing, you know, it's been a bit of a journey. I just just for your listeners, they probably don't know. But I originally started it, work on on our signature program, which is the online business liftoff program, which is a very intensive three month program that takes you from absolutely no idea to having an online business in the platform that you need your website and those things to get started growing. But we started that, or I started that way back in 2000 and 16 and in fact, a little bit before that, when I actually met, I was looking for an intern to to join my business. I had just recently started my own online business, and and I actually was working with Vision Australia Vision Australia as a as an organization, not for public organization, that works for people who are blind or partially sighted. And I went there because I knew the CEO and I just went and talked to them about the chance. You know, maybe I could find somebody in their intern. You know, they have a they try to help people find employment. And I went and talked to them and I found a young man who was interested in an internship, and I started working with him. He had some writing skills, and he had. He's partially sighted. He could see just he could see just enough to to read it has held it right up close to his face, and he loved writing, and he had wanted to find a job since he got out of high school he went all the way through mhm getting a master's degree in writing because he just couldn't get a job. So he just kept working on his skills. And finally, just out of sheer desperation and boredom, he started writing a blog and he wrote, You know, he he had. By the time I met him, he had written a number of blog posts and I asked him, You know, how many people are coming to your website on a monthly basis? And he said somewhere around 1000 and I went, Oh, that's actually quite a lot of people for the types of things that he was writing about. And I said, Well, how are you know? Are you monetizing that? And he said, What does that mean? I didn't know you could make money from that, and it just went from there. I helped him. I helped him figure out how to monetize it. He he now has an online business where he buys and sells antiques and he does them up. He creates videos of him doing up his antiques and stuff, so but I took that. I took that realization that the world, the Internet world could help people like that actually have a different perspective. And then I went and talked to the CEO of Vision Australia and said, Let's do this for more people. We did it for more people And then we turned it into a program that focuses on just doing that, giving people other ideas and opportunities for doing stuff. Um, and just just that process has allowed us to see very deeply the different needs of the different groups of people who, like I said, don't actually fit the 9 to 5 mold and and they're all slightly different. But the desires are the same. The desire for financial stability, the desire to make a difference in society, the desire to have something to do that makes them feel valued. Um, and because even if I just come back to to Shahan, who is the young man that I was working with when he started earning his own money, just the way it changed the family dynamics and how he worked with his parents was actually quite significant and like he had a good family, you know, it's great family, great parents, but just it just changed the dynamic, he became, He became more adult, Um, and and it just leveled things out just a little bit. Is this kind of interesting dynamic?
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it doesn't matter who they are. They've got life experience and they've got skills that they've had to accrue just by living that they can use to help other people. So I don't I don't think we mentioned, but we we, you know, we do work with People are older, but we also work with people who for whom. Uh, they just don't suit a traditional 9 to 5 job mold, and they need an alternative. They need an alternative to to just the way that society tends to work around jobs and careers. And and by because of that, we we do tend to work a lot with people who are carers. So there there are people who have spent their entire, you know, working life instead of working in a paid, job accruing career experience. They've been at home looking after somebody who's got a severe disability or illness or sickness. Um, and when it comes time for them to, either you don't try to look for a job or they need to look for a job or they desperately just need a break from their job. It's almost impossible to find any traditional job that's going to fit their needs time wise or to even allow them to get. They haven't had the chance to get the experience they need to get the job. So So by focusing on on what they've already crude and allows them to get over that lack of confidence that they they've got nothing to offer. Yeah, when you think about so we'll get on YouTube and we'll watch someone. Maybe regularly, they have a cooking show or they do some some hobby that we just really enjoy watching. But if you stop for a second and and back out and go all right, this person has created a brand based on their past and over their timeline, they've created a talent staff. And then they decided, you know, I'm going to package this and brand it, and I'm going to distribute it. Yes, these are the folks that you're talking about that that they don't need to reach millions of people. But there are there's an audience that they could really be impactful with. Yeah, absolutely. And and you know what? It's been interesting because our, you know, the work that I've been doing, you know, it's been a bit of a journey. I just just for your listeners, they probably don't know. But I originally started work on on our signature program, which is the online business liftoff program, which is a very intensive three month program that takes you from absolutely no idea to having an online business in the platform that you need your website and those things to get started growing. But we started that, or I started that way back in 2000 and 16 and in fact, a little bit before that, when I actually met, I was looking for an intern to to join my business. I had just recently started my own online business, and and I actually was working with Vision Australia Vision Australia as a as an organization, not for public organization, that works for people who are blind or partially sighted. And I went there because I knew the CEO and I just went and talked to them about the chance. You know, maybe I could find somebody in their intern, you know, they have a they try to help people find employment, and I went and talked to them and I found a young man who was interested in an internship, and I started working with him. He had some writing skills and he had. He's partially sighted. He could see just you could see just enough to read it has held it right up close to his face. And he loved writing, and he had wanted to find a job since he had gotten out of high school. He went all the way through getting a master's degree in writing because he just couldn't get a job. So he just kept working on his skills and finally, just out of sheer desperation and boredom, he started writing a blog and he wrote, You know, he he had. By the time I met him, he had written a number of blog posts and I asked him, You know, how many people are coming to your website on a monthly basis? And he said somewhere around 1000 and I went, Oh, that's actually quite a lot of people for the types of things that he was writing about. And I said, Well, how are you know? Are you monetizing that? And he said, What does that mean? I didn't know you could make money from that, and it just went from there. I helped him. I helped him figure out how to monetize it. He he now has an online business where he buys and sells antiques, and he does them up. He creates videos of him doing up his antiques and stuff, so but I took that. I took that realization that the world, the Internet world could help people like that actually have a different perspective. And then I went and talked to the CEO of Vision Australia and said, Let's do this for more people. We did it for more people and then we turned it into a program that focuses on just doing that, giving people other ideas and opportunities for doing stuff. And just just that process has allowed us to see very deeply the different needs of the different groups of people who, like I said, don't actually fit the 9 to 5 mold and and they're all slightly different. But the desires are the same. The desire for financial stability, the desire to make a difference in society, the desire to have something to do that makes them feel valued, Um, and because even if I just come back to to Shahan Who is the young man that I was working with when he started earning his own money? Just the way it changed the family dynamics and how he worked with his parents was actually quite significant. And like he had a good family, was great family, great parents, but just it just changed the dynamic he became. He became more adult, Um, and and it just leveled things out just a little bit. Is this kind of interesting dynamic you think about that? What you're doing is that we have a lot of people that do have something of value to offer, but they talk themselves out of it. Or maybe they're intimidated by the steps that they need to. Or maybe they don't know the steps, even that they can start to process and walk their way into something that's uniquely them and very valuable to an audience that would really appreciate it. Yes, yeah, yeah, yeah, and and and it's it's that's That's part of the fun part is is introducing people to the different types of business models because we we basically we've got a bit of a framework around that because there's so many different ways that you can earn money using the Internet and and you can combine, combine them, layer them whatever. I'm sure you that your you and your listeners know what I'm talking about. But for people who haven't been introduced to that, I haven't thought about it that way. It actually creates quite an aha moment where they go. Oh, actually, I can do that. And then you take that knowledge about the business models and you combine it with your personality, thinking that you've done about your personality and then you able and the problem that you've been thinking about. And you do a bit of a triangulation to come up with your preferred problem that you want to help solve and your preferred products on how you want to help, actually want to help people. So it's really kind of It's so much fun watching people just go. Oh, I get it. I really want to do this and it's going to be so much fun. So, yeah, the people are listening to us. Maybe they haven't actually thought of themselves doing something like this. Maybe they've been helping others. Maybe they work in a position where they are supporting their business. But at some point, I think it's there in the back of their mind is what is it that I should be getting out of this? That's preparing me for what I'm really going to do in the future. What are some? Give us an idea of the steps or the framework that you help people start to approach. So in terms of its in terms of basically getting them to the point where they see what's possible and then they start to work towards getting those skills. Basically, we we use a combination of of Let's let's show you what's possible get you to think about your own situation and then give them some research, some stuff to do, some actions to take researching, thinking, talking to people, going out and finding people who might be potential customers talking to them, um, and then basically using that data because we have a very strong focus on, you know, using your available information to make decisions about what you're gonna do in the future. So basically, basically helping people go from no idea to having an idea. We teach them about how to do keyword research to validate that we help them learn how to set up their own website. And then we teach them all the skills around, um does the different types of marketing and how how online marketing works and how it's a bit different, a little bit different to traditional marketing because they're used to traditional marketing. And then we get them familiar with the online marketing approach and then just help them practice home and hone those skills. And so they can. They can produce something, pop it into the community and ask for feedback, and they'll get a lot of feedback because of the people that I have in my team are all people who actually have their own online business as well. So they have a lot of expertise that they bring to the table in helping people do that. But I'm sure you would have found as well that half the challenge is actually is actually dealing with mindset. You know, things. So you know I'm not good enough. I'm not enough. I don't know enough. You know who's gonna listen to me? Um, you know, I'm not an expert on me and we just keep reminding people that If you are two steps ahead of somebody else, they're going to be really grateful for your assistance because somebody who's 10 steps ahead of them is too far ahead. They can't see they can't imagine or visualize.
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