Let’s start with the most important. It’s not “what’s your niche?” or “have you set up your email list?”
When advising a new client who is starting their solopreneur service business, I don’t recommend creating a website right away, nor clarifying a niche yet.
I recommend that you first create content, because that is where true clarity comes from.
Here is the first and most important question — no matter if you’re just starting your business, or already have a thriving one:
1. What is your content creation rhythm?
By dedicating yourself to a consistent habit of content, you’ll develop a sustainable level of creativity and energy that flows into other parts of your business.
I make no excuses for content creation. Even when I’m sick, my 3 priorities are: (1) sleep, (2) drink lots of water, and (3) make sure I create content!
If you are just starting out, my recommendation is to create content daily. (It’s fine to take a break on the weekend.) We’re not aiming for anything perfect or polished. See it as a practice of sharing your authentic thoughts, in the ways you already know — whether it’s writing articles or making videos. Daily practice will grow your skills faster, and eliminate excuses, compared to trying to do it once a week.
If writing, aim for 200–500 words daily. This will uplevel your skills much faster than doing it occasionally.
If making videos, aim for 1–10 minutes per video, daily. When I first started making videos I did it 5 days a week until I got to video #100.
Are you working a full-time job and caring for family, and it’s truly too hard to create daily? Then commit to 1 thoughtful post per week, without fail. You might draft the post one day, then edit and post it on a different day, allowing yourself to “sleep on it” before publishing.
If you’re curious about my weekly rhythm as a mature, solopreneur business, it looks like this:
New Content each Friday — video and blog post. Example.
Repurposed Content each Monday, Tuesday, Thursday:
- Monday & Thursday: 1 previously well-received blog post, re-posted as a Facebook Status Update, that I can then boost to new audiences. Example 1, Example 2.
- Tuesday: 1 re-edited blog post, with new video. Example: this very post you’re reading was originally written in 2018, edited and re-shared in 2020 on a Tuesday.
- Saturday and Sunday: Video interview with a client or colleague. Example.
- Wednesday: I usually promote my current offer (see Question #3 below).
I primarily schedule/post content on my Facebook Business Page so that I can reliably reach my audience, via Facebook Ads.
You don’t have to follow my exact process. The point is to have a schedule that allows you to stay consistent in expressing your authentic thoughts related to your business.
Stay faithful to your content rhythm, while allowing it to gradually change as needed.
When I started creating years ago, I was making a lot more new content:
- 2015: my rhythm was 5 new videos a week, with a short written post accompanying each video.
- 2016: I slowed down to 3 new videos and blog posts per week.
- 2017: then it became 2 new videos and blog posts per week.
- Since 2018, I’ve been creating 1 new article/video per week, but editing/resharing content on the other days, as described above.
2. What is your content distribution plan?
If you create content, but have no plan to make it visible (to “distribute” your content) the truth is that very few people will see your content. You might get discouraged quickly.When new clients ask me how to distribute content, I recommend starting with Facebook Ads. After a few months, you’ll have regular engagers.Another great way is to use collaborations, in other words, having other people distribute your content (could be your videos or written pieces), if they have an audience of people you want to reach. I’ve been successfully collaborating on content distribution for years, so I now teach a course on that too: Simple Collaborations and Authentic JV’s.Here is my current content distribution plan:
- Weekly email newsletter which takes people to my latest posts. Example. I also send a monthly email newsletter with my best posts: Example.
- Facebook Ads each Week: $30 best video (from 2+ months ago) to my warmest audience (engagers in past 2 months). $30 best recent text post/article to my Lukewarm (people who engaged within the past year but not past 2 months). $20 best-ever text post (that is related to my core message) to Cold audience (people similar to my clients but have not engaged in at least 365 days.) FYI: I teach a Facebook Ads Course.
- I also share my Mon-Fri posts on my Linkedin and my Twitter.
- At least once a month, I get interviewed on some video channel or podcast. Example 1, Example 2.
If you’re just starting with Facebook Ads, you don’t have to spend that much. Try with just $30/month total to start, and increase it as you learn how to do it effectively.
If you have an active FB personal profile where your friends are potential referral sources, I would recommend sharing your content regularly on your profile as well. In the beginning, that’s where most of your network is.
If there are any online groups, e.g. a Facebook group, where they encourage you to share content, that is another place to distribute your posts.
Distributing content regularly is a great start. It builds your audience and credibility.But do you also regularly invite them to work with you?Oftentimes, your audience is not even aware of your products and services! Just because you have a website that describes them, or once in a while you mention it, the reality is that your audience probably isn’t seeing your offers enough to really consider it.Here’s my rhythm of offers:
- Every month: Launch a different online course. See the list here: George Kao’s Online Courses
- I post about my course of the month on Wednesdays (Example 1, Example 2) — whichever day you do it doesn’t matter as much as how regularly you do it.
- Every 12 months: Launch annual group program, MasterHeart.
- Every 24 months: Launch a new book or new edition of previous book.
If you’re just starting out, a simple plan would be to post an invitation to your services once or twice a month, on whatever platforms you’ve been posting your content consistently.
4. What is your plan for connections (netcaring)?
When I first started, reaching out for collaborations was my main marketing strategy. Even though many people didn’t respond or say Yes to me, a few important ones did, and that really put my business “on the map”, so to speak.Before we have a large audience, it’s really helpful to collaborate with others who already have a bigger audience than we do. Since I’ve been collaborating for 10 years, I now teach a course on it: Simple Collaborations and Authentic JV’s.
In the past few years, due to my consistent rhythm of content and offers, my client roster has been consistently full. And yet, I still continue to reach out every month to at least a few potential collaborators: people with similar audiences (sometimes bigger, sometimes smaller) that I could trade interviews with.
I recommend that you do the same. Especially if you still have a lot of client openings.
I call it “netcaring” — keeping in touch with people you like (remembering what you genuinely appreciate about them) as well as reaching out to new potential collaborators who seem like kindred spirits. Here is a sample weekly plan.
- Reach out to 2 previous clients to see how they are doing — not to try to get them to enroll again, but to genuinely care and see if you can help.
- Reach out to 1 colleague or potential referral partner, to genuinely appreciate something about their work and to say hello. If they respond and it feels right, see if they have a piece of content that they’d like you to share with your network. (Or perhaps you’ve already done the homework and shared something of theirs — if so, let them know.) Sometimes they may ask to reciprocate and share something of yours, but don’t require or expect it.
- Comment on 1 popular post from an influencer or thought leader who has an audience that you’d love to reach. You can comment on their post on Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, or Instagram. Try these different ones to see what kind of engagement you get on your comment. Don’t sell in your comments, but try to genuinely add your presence and contribution.
Just be sure to connect authentically. I wrote about how a colleague reached out to me in a way that didn’t feel right: How not to reconnect with professional colleagues.
Remember: netcaring is about connecting with people from a place of genuine enjoyment (appreciating some characteristics about them, and truly being grateful for who they are) rather than from a motive that you want them to do something for you.
Now it’s your turn to look at your own plan.
For your own business, answer the 4 questions:
- What is your content creation rhythm?
- What is your content distribution plan?
- What is your plan for offers and launches?
- What is your plan for connections (netcaring)?
If you’d like more guidance and templates for such planning, my Authentic Business Intro Course goes deeper.
I wish you an effective use of your time as you build your authentic business.
Learning best happens through action and observation, so I encourage you to go for it. Experiment and learn!
(This post was first written in 2018, updated for 2020.)
This post was previously published on georgekao.com under a Creative Commons License.
If you believe in the work we are doing here at The Good Men Project and want a deeper connection with our community, please join us as a Premium Member, today.
All Premium Members get to view The Good Men Project with NO ADS. Need more info? A complete list of benefits is here.
Photo credit: @lonely_planet on Unsplash