Episode 2: Can You Really Trust the Online Business Life?

Does the laptop life REALLY provide the stability and freedom people want? Is it just a pipe dream reserved for a select “few” people who got in early enough? In this episode, I discuss a conversation with a friend about whether this online business life is really stable enough to support a family full-time.

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Hey guys, what’s up? This is truly today I want to talk to you about a conversation I had with a friend. It was really interesting because, you know, as an entrepreneur online business owner, I feel like everybody is one, right? All my friends are online, business owners. I run in groups and it’s hard to imagine that people don’t understand what this world is like, but all you have to do is either talk to your neighbors or go to your local coffee shop or a library or church and you’ll realize how many people have no concept of what a laptop life and online business even is. So I was hanging out with his friend and she’s like, “Julie, how do you, how do you feel secure with this type of life?” You know, she couldn’t really understand how someone would, would feel secure enough to leave a traditional job in exchange for like a job that’s just like happening inside a laptop.

And to be fair, it does look kind of funny to the outside person. If we look at it, it’s like my entire house, all my finances, my children’s education, my food, shelter, clothing, everything is dependent on what happens inside of my little MacBook and so it can feel very much like there’s not a lot of pomp and circumstance, right. When you have like a CEO of a bank, you know, he has the big tall building with the glass windows and he has an office and he has a receptionist at a desk in front and there’s a lot of like tangible things that you can see around him that’s like, wow, look at what he does, look at what he delivers. Saying he but it could just as easily be a sheet in terms of like we feel the weight of the job, of the responsibility of the role, the position, et cetera, etcetera.

So when you’re making money from your laptop to the outside world, maybe even to yourself, if you haven’t started yet, you feel like it feels flimsy. Right. And this is one of the problems with online business is that compared to a brick and mortar or a traditional job, it feels flimsy because there’s not a lot that you can touch, taste or hold. And so it’s easy to feel like I don’t know if this is going to work for me. And so I started to tell her that I felt the same way when I got started. In fact, for those of you who listened to my very first episode, I kind of gave you my timeline of what happened. And I think the misnomer is that people think that when you finally take the plunge, you leave your nine to five or whatever your traditional job is to do your own business.

That it, that you’re going to feel ready. And I think that’s complete, like completely false. I don’t think anyone ever feels truly ready. Maybe if you’ve got six months of savings saved up or you have a spouse who’s the breadwinner, so it’s not like your money is necessary to actually put food on the table. But if you’re like me and you are the breadwinner and are the, you know, it’s, it’s all on your shoulders. I don’t think anybody ever feels comfortable because it is such a different paradigm. We’re going completely against the grain of what most people are taught, what most people remember in their own, like family of origin and we’re doing something entirely different. So I guess the first thing I said to her was like, it never feels comfortable, like you just have to do it anyway. But the second thing that I realized and then I explained to her is that people typically say that they start a business or they have a laptop life because they want financial freedom.

And it’s true. We do, we want money, we want to come and go as we please. You want to have more time with our kids. All that kind of stuff. But I actually got into it for financial security, which is weird because most people would say that starting your own business is risky. And it is. But I can’t really think of what is riskier than depending on somebody else for my financial future. And that was the situation I was in in 2014 when everything sort of fell apart. I had been dependent on my husband making money in order for me to live, in a job. I’m dependent. Like when I worked at a college university, I’m dependent on the state of Connecticut passing the budget, right? And considering that my job is as valuable. Otherwise, I get cut. I was always putting my financial security, not just financial freedom in the hands of someone outside of me and I don’t know about you, but that can create tremendous anxiety because you don’t ultimately have control in an online business.

In my laptop life, I can decide to turn up the heat and turn up the gas and make more or I can turn it down and make less. Some of you who are starting, you’re like, I’ve got the heat turned up to 1000 percent and I’m not making money yet. There is that definite period of time when you’re trying to get momentum that you may feel like things aren’t working. But once things start to work, something happens where the brain. And I just remember my brain and my heart. I was like, this is actually the key to financial security is putting my financial future in my hands instead of somebody else’s. So I was telling my friend this and I could see that she was sort of buying it, that I. I told her, I said, everybody who works in a traditional job environment, most of them have an income ceiling, right?

Working harder does not necessarily equate to more money or if they’re being paid by the hour, maybe it does to a point. But guess what? There’s only 24 hours in a day, right? That always runs out. Like you can only work so hard so long before you have to sleep because it’s, if you want true wealth, a wealth that snowballs, that continues to work for you and create that kind of financial freedom you want, but also that security, you don’t have any other choice but to build an online business. And I could see. Then the light bulb went off. So then the conversation kind of changed and she was like, well, what type of online business is the most secure? I was like, ah, I know that feeling and so I wanted to talk to you guys about this a little bit because I know that when you’re getting started you want to know like the anxiety about being able to make money and put food on the table is like which type of business is the best one to go with.

I’ve worked with lots and lots of online business owners, so I have my personal favorites, but I just thought I would share with you a lot of people think that the easiest type of online business to start is like a course or consulting coaching kind of business and it’s not a. there’s actually a lot more steps to doing that business. Then there are to a business like the one I started which was a service based. I’m an agency type business, freelancer type business. So in my opinion when you’re getting started freelance or agency model business is actually the easiest to start a for several reasons. Number one, you actually are delivering tangible assets to people that make it easier to sell because you know, in the world of selling in general, physical products are easier to sell than digital products. Why? Because we can taste them, we can touch them, we can feel them.

They arrive at our house in an Amazon box, we see the value, right? So physical products are way easier than digital products, which feel, like I said before, a little bit more flimsy. So when you’re starting a business, if you don’t have money to start an e-commerce business, right? Because you don’t have money for inventory and you decide, oh, I want to sell a coaching course business. That’s what I want. The problem is you’re dealing with that flimsy effect, so you have to be really good at sales. I’m really good at marketing to really get that momentum going. However, in an agency business, you are delivering more of a tangible asset because number one, freelancers are selling websites or they’re selling copy or they’re selling some sort of content or a sales funnel or something that the customer feels like, here I received this.

Now even though technically it’s a digital product, there’s a level of tangibleness to, hey, I built your website and now here’s your website, and then they use the website every day and they’re engaging with the asset that you created them, so there’s intrinsically more value. But the second thing that an agency or a freelancer sales is they sell time. They help the business owner or the customer get their time back, and so when I was a web designer, not only was I selling the website, but I was also helping them get back the 50, 60, 70 hours it would have taken them to do the website themselves. So freelance and agency businesses are an easier sell to customers. So that’s why I like to get started. The second reason is because there’s absolutely no overhead. You don’t have to get inventory. And the third reason is that you don’t need a huge following because every client and every customer is worth so much more, right?

So you can do a sales funnel for $5,000. Well, how many $97 courses do you have to sell to make $5,000? So for security reasons, I think that the freelance and agency model is a great way to enter the online space. The caveat would be if you have some capital to start with, you can absolutely start with ecommerce because typically, like I said before, physical products are easier to sell, but that just, you know, the margins are a little bit smaller and you gotta to make sure you pick your product properly and all that good stuff. Once you have kind of broken that wall and you feel like, okay, this is good, like I’m starting to make money, you’re also probably learning cons of online business skills. The next kind of business that I would recommend would be a coaching or consulting business where you kind of deviate from, “Hey, I’m going to do this for you,” to, “Hey, I’m going to consult on this for you.”

And again, if you can sell one to one, if you can get a one on one client first, then you can work on getting groups of people to say yes to you and eventually the masses. And so that’s kind of my hierarchy. It starts within a freelance or an agency model, move into a consulting model and then move into a course business if you want. I know that people who have course businesses ultimately I’m really need something else around the course business if they don’t want to feel like the entire business is writing on their brainpower. And so a lot of people who do courses and consulting, they supplement with physical products. Lady Boss, I don’t know if any of you know of her, but that’s a perfect example. She had an info product business where she’s selling a book and she’s selling an academy of courses.

But then she introduced swag and supplements, right? Physical products that help create scalability. The other way that you can take an info product business and blow it up is with software and you see this with Russell and ClickFunnels. He had a coaching business and marketing business, you know, selling courses in marketing. Well, when ClickFunnels came on the market, that software that kind of beautifully matches what he was already teaching this info product is business scaled to 100 million and beyond. So that’s kind of at scale once you’ve gone freelance or agency and then you kind of move into course in coaching and consulting and then you move into courses for the masses and eventually you decide to supplement that with physical products or software as a service. That’s when things really can get super big. So if you’re just starting and you’re like, oh, I’m going to go build software, well that’s awesome and you absolutely can, but you’re going to need, you know, depending on the software, 50, 70 $100,000.

So that’s my bootstrap methodology. And I talked to my friend about this and I think I really think her mindset shifted in that conversation because she realized that to create an online business, actually it doesn’t take a ton of money. I say if you can start with between two and $5,000 to sort of see your business and if you are willing to do kind of the bootstrap method where you’re doing the freelancer or the agency kind of stuff, to learn the skills and to sell services that are easy to get customers for a then you’re well on your way. And this is exactly the model that I’ve done. It’s exactly the model that I teach all of my students, clients and customers. And the most important thing I can say about this whole topic about is it really secure? I will never go back to having an income ceiling.

I will never go back to a situation where I am not in control of my finances. I can’t tell you the amount of peace and contentment it has. When I know that, hey, maybe this product failed or maybe this client didn’t like my work or whatever. But it’s okay because I have the skills now that I can go out and I can find new customers that can come up with new ideas, new products, and really my financial future is only limited by what I’m willing to do. Not a boss not a spouse nothing. What I choose to do, and I had a financial advisor tell me, he said, Julie, the only two things that I would ever invest in truly because the ROI is unlimited, and he said he was big into real estate, but he said your own business. He’s like, where else? What and where on what other planet can you put in a dollar and make a thousand?

The stock market won’t do it for you. You know all the cryptocurrency won’t do it for you, but if you invest in yourself in your ability to make money, the ROI potential is absolutely unlimited. So I hope that helps. I hope for those of you who are either starting your laptop life or you’ve got friends and family were like, this is crazy in your nuts that this podcast today helps cement for you. That you are making a very, very good choice, a secure choice. It’s not a risky choice. It’s a secure choice. I appreciate you guys, talk to you again soon.