Before you run away from this because you are sick of hearing about the whole 6figure business bullshit that every damn coach and their protégés seem to be yammering on about – I ask you to pause and hear me out. This is NOT a post about how you can SO easily make 6-figures if you just do A,B,C.
AND it’s not a post about how anyone who claims they can help you make 6 figures is full of shit and should be banished from the internet (not necessarily true, and while there are a lot of sketchbags out there, some are legit).
This post is a balanced and real look at some of the behind the scenes stuff that goes into making this kind of money in your business – and it’s the part that no one seems to be talking about.
I have been thinking a lot and chatting with a lot of my colleagues about what it really takes to make six figures. And there are a few things that we noticed that very few “make 6 figures coaches” are doing.
And that is qualifying their clients.
Not everyone is a fit for every coach. It’s the coach’s responsibility to tell you straight-up whether they can actually help you or not.
My friend Tad Hargrave at Marketing for Hippies does a GREAT job of this. He has a page in between the “buy now” button and the actual checkout process that he calls the “Are you sure?” page, which serves to double check whether the client is SURE that this is what they need. He includes additional info to help them make the decision, and encourages them not to buy if it’s not right for them.
This. is. revolutionary. In a world where we are constantly being sold to, told that no matter where we are, we can get the help we need if we just sign up, this is beyond refreshing.
When we hear these 6 figure business claims, many coaches make it seem like anyone and everyone can just hop on their roster and will go from 0-100 in a short amount of time. In reality, there are many things that a business needs to have in place – things that can take years to build up to – in order to reach this milestone.
If you as a client registers with a coach or program and you don’t have the foundations in place that are required, you likely won’t get results, and then it makes the coach look bad, and then we start hearing stories floating around the internet about how so-and-so doesn’t deliver… when in reality, maybe they DO deliver, if they have the right client, at the right time, with the right foundations in place for the service they are offering.
That’s a lot of if’s that need to align.
There are a lot of bits and pieces of your business that you need to have cleared up if you want to eventually make it to 6 figures in your business.
Not ironically, these are the parts of business that I work on with my clients, particularly in Uncage Your Business (click here for more info and to get on the waitlist for exclusive early bird discounts). Because I was sick of seeing so many people make big promises without helping people set the right stage for this kind of growth to actually happen. It’s irresponsible. And while I’d never claim to help you make 6-figures, because I work with new business owners and that’s just not where they are at (even though some of my clients do get there), I CAN claim to help make sure you have set the right foundation that will lead you in the 100k direction.
7 things you need if you want to hit 6 figures
1. You need to know what you are selling
This might seem obvious, but if you are still in the beginning stages of even trying to decide what business to start, you can’t just hop in with a coach and expect to jump to 100k overnight. The actual process of deciding on a business that will work for you, your lifestyle, your strengths, your values, and your experience – takes TIME. How much time? That can vary, but I’d guess that most people spend about 6months-2years trying out different things and thinking about what they could offer, before they actually bite the bullet and DO it. This doesn’t take into account the time it might take to actually get training and experience in your chosen field. If you decide you want to be a life coach, or a web designer, you are going to have to do some training courses to help get your skills up to snuff.
2. You need to have a clear niche
You may have already decided on what your business will be, but if you don’t know yet who you are selling to and you aren’t specific and clear about that – your marketing efforts will fail. Niche doesn’t have to be defined by a specific demographic or group of people, but it DOES need to be clear enough that people “get it”.
In my Uncage Your Business program, I like to define “niche” by what problems you solve for people, and what kinds of people have those problems. This process is a BIG one. I am sure all of my clients wish there was a random niche generator out there that would just tell them who they should work with, but the reality is that it takes a lot of tinkering and testing to find the niche that is going to feel good for you, who are able and willing to pay you, and who will feel like a fit for your business for the long run. You might *think* you have a great niche, and then you set out to do the work and realize you hate it. Or you might have a few ideas in mind, and you need to take the time to test them before actually committing (much like a marriage, you have to date your niche first – you don’t just choose one and dive in without seeing how it feels first – and you want it to feel fucking GOOD before you put a ring on it).
Tad works extensively with people to help them find their niche, and he calls it a spiral – you start with something broad, you narrow it down a little, but there is still always more narrowing down to go, and you end up going in circles for quite a while (getting clear and clearer with each spiral), until you finally circle in to your true niche. This process takes anywhere from 6months to YEARS – but for argument’s sake, let’s say that it takes around 2 years to really settle into the right niche.
In fact, I was having a conversation with my friend Tad while I was writing this post, and this is what he had to say about niching. If you have been struggling read this:
3. You should probably have a website
This may not always be a requirement to get you to 6-figures, but if you plan to sell online, it’s definitely important to have a site that looks good, that represents your brand and your offerings well, and that looks legit (ie. that hack-job DIY website you put together is GREAT when you are starting, but it will likely need a professional facelift before you start doing more extensive online marketing). This doesn’t have to take a long time, but I’d say that most business owners don’t get to this point in their business until at least 2 years in (because you need to be clear on steps 1 & 2 before you even think about investing in a site).
4. You need to have a business model that will let you grow
Some of the hired help when it comes to 6-figure business coaches may work on this piece with you, but if their focus is on marketing, you’ll need to have this in place first. Do you actually know what you will be selling and is it scaleable, and when you run the numbers, does it all add up? If not, this piece is important, and you will want to make sure your coach will be helping you with figuring out a business model that will work for you AND generate 6-figures consistently (and won’t just tell you to raise your prices to astronomical heights to make up for the difference). This can take at least a year, but usually 2+, of tinkering, often longer, to make sure that your services are bang-on, that you are very clear on what your clients want and need, and that you know your exact areas of expertise. You can’t make assumptions about that stuff if you want to grow.
5. You need to have an audience/a list/people who know who you are
Again, this piece may or may not be covered by your business coach, so double check before you hire them if you are gunning for 100k. It takes time to build a list of quality subscribers who TRUST you and want to pick up what you’re putting down. If you have NO one to sell to, you will need to take time to build up your audience first before expecting to radically grow your income. You don’t need a HUGE list, but you do need at least a core group of people who are already buying from you and who are following along with what you do. This can take anywhere from 1-2 years with consistent, active list building efforts.
6. You need to have time
If you want to grow big time in your business (and create profit that is sustainable over the years), you’re going to need to hustle. A lot. You don’t just have one great launch and then expect to be killing it over and over again. It takes time, and anyone who tells you it can be done in just a few hours a week (unless you are hiring out a lot of help) is leaving out some of the truth. If you’re building your business while you work full-time, or you have 3 kids for whom you are the primary caregiver, or you have other commitments that little how much time you can actually dedicate to your business, it’s natural to expect a slow-grow (and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that). It also takes you time to become a true expert at what you are doing, and be able to do it in varied enough ways that you can help a variety of clients. Many people who are teaching you how to make 6-figures are teaching you exactly what they did – but that might not work for you, your target market, or your business. You want to make sure that you have been doing what you do long enough that you have a proven track record and are able to show that you know what you are doing. And this takes time.
7. You need to have a business owner’s mindset
I’m not talking the woo-woo, “do the secret” kind of way. I mean you need to learn to think like a business owner, something that doesn’t always feel natural if you’re just starting to practice it. When you hit the 6-figure mark (or if you want to) you need to be prepared to think of your business as a BUSINESS and not of yourself as an employee. If you are in scarcity mode, or rushing to try to do this “quickly”, you are already cock-blocking yourself. You need to be prepared for ups and downs, for a slow build, and not be COUNTING on making 100k so you can live. You likely also need to have extra cashflow and be cool with spending it for help with your business – if your mindset is one of being cheap and not investing where you need to, you’ll get back what you put in aka. not much.
So all in all, let’s do some math:
Getting clear on business idea = 1 year
Getting clear on niche + creating website = 2 years
Testing out services and coming up with business model list building = 2 years
Time + mindset = ongoing
Total = That’s approximately 5 years of building before most businesses are in a position to even start to think about hitting the 6 figure mark.
This is obviously an average, and I don’t really care about hearing stories of how much faster so-and-so did it, or how much longer it’s taken so-and-so. It’s true that everyone works at a different pace. It’s true that some people are more well-connected and can jump right into being marketed to thousands of people just because of who they know. It’s true that everyone has a different level of hustle. But for the most part, it takes time.
How many of these foundations do you have in place? I know the FOMO that sets in when you see all the claims online about how easy it is (when it does NOT feel easy to you). But you absolutely NEED to set your foundations before you can even think about growing to 100k (or more!). It’s ALL possible, but it’s not just ONE thing that will get you there. It is years of building and growing and evolving that will lead you to the magical money place that you want to be in.
Don’t stop building if you’re not there yet. Take the time to focus in, get clear, test things out, and tweak as you go – your future business will thank you for creating something solid and sustainable so that 6 figures is a reality not just one time, but over and over again each year.
PS. Uncage Your Business is open soon. We’re spending a month together rocking your business foundations – your brand message, your niche, market research, that pesky elevator pitch, your packages – we set a solid CORE so that you can get out there and grow. Click here to learn more and get on the waitlist for exclusive early bird discounts.