As a young marketing coach who earned over six figures online by the time I was 24, my success story would not have been possible without these crucial lessons.
My journey has taught me to balance ambitious vision with practical execution, the importance of consistent lead generation, the power of direct messages (DMs) and the real intention behind content creation as a service-based business owner. That allowed me to scale without paying for ads, with an email list of less than 300 people and a few thousand followers on Instagram and Facebook.
I’ve managed to scale past the six-figure mark mostly through 1:1 client sales. The key was not amassing a huge audience, but connecting meaningfully with the audience I had. And I know I’m not being delusional when I say that the lessons I’ve learned can help you on your journey to grow past six figures no matter how young or old you are on paper.
However, a bit of delusion here and there doesn’t hurt.
The importance of a delusional vision backed by practical execution
Launching my coaching business at 22 while holding down a full-time job required some audacity. From day one, my goals were lofty. As a Chinese immigrant who moved to America at age 8 without understanding a word of English, I thrived on defying expectations and bullies that made me feel small.
Even when I didn’t feel like I belonged as a little Chinese girl growing up in America, I wanted to make a case that I DO belong in any arena I play in. Whether that may be school, work, or entrepreneurship. So in my first month as a new coach, I declared to my business coach at that time that my goal is to make $50,000 in the next 30 days — but I fell short of this ambitious target. Still, I managed to earn $13,000 two months after launching my coaching business.
But ambitious goals are only half the equation. It’s crucial to have practical strategies to reach these objectives. Many service-based entrepreneurs looking to grow past six figures may dream big but fall short in execution. Without actionable steps and strategies, lofty ambitions will remain mere dreams.
To bridge the gap between a delusional vision and reality, don’t shy away from seeking advice from those that have done it before you or have helped many others create the same level of success you’re wanting.
Focus on generating leads over chasing dopamine hits
Many online service-based entrepreneurs, specifically those that sell coaching, consulting or some sort of done-for-you packages focus too much on vanity metrics.
I always compare business to dating. You (hopefully) don’t date everyone who notices you, so you shouldn’t try to do business with everyone who gives you attention or a dopamine rush. Likes, comments and impressions aren’t leads. They only count as leads when they qualify as potential clients for your offerings.
The key to effective lead generation lies in understanding your ideal clients. How and where you find leads can have a profound impact on the trajectory of your business to be profitable and sustainable. I grew my coaching business by focusing on Facebook groups initially for the first year. That’s where my ideal audience was. Facebook groups are still a goldmine for online service-based businesses and coaches.
Yet don’t insist on using a certain platform because you’re used to it — adjust. Be adaptable like the market. Be where your ideal clients are. For example, Instagram works wonders for creatives and online entrepreneurs, LinkedIn is great for career professionals and TikTok is ideal for Gen Z and the younger demographic.
When you determine who your audience is and how you can help them, you need to show your audience who you are. Remember, if no one knows you, no one can hire you. If no one knows that you’re selling something, no one can buy it.
Harness the power of direct messages for sales conversion
Having a pool of leads is great, but converting them is what truly counts. Direct messages (DMs) are an accessible and effective tool for this process that many online service-based business owners are not utilizing when they are trying to grow past six figures.
Again, the approach is like online dating. You show interest, establish a connection, build trust then pitch your offer/call if it makes sense to the right person. This strategy alone helped me to grow my business from zero to six figures. By making my audience feel seen and heard, I ensured that I never needed to send a cold sales pitch. The right connections in the DMs naturally turned into a discovery call and then later to a paid client. It’s that simple.
Just like how you never have to force a first date, sales conversions in our business work the same. DMs also provide a wealth of marketing insights that you can relay back to your content and offerings.
Having an intimate conversation with your audience lets you identify how you can help them even further. That enables you to elevate your message to cover more of their pain points, and perhaps even improve your existing offers to better fit their needs.
DMs are like a more personalized version of your content marketing strategies, particularly for 1:1 offers. You get to personalize your message and the ways in which you present your offer for that one specific potential client you’re speaking with. Instead of trying to squeeze your whole offer in one email or one content, you get a whole conversation to frame your offer.
To leverage DMs to their full potential, be observant and curious. Use them as a two-way communication channel. Stay attentive to your ideal client’s problems and what they are searching for help to constantly refine your strategy.
Spend less time on content creation
Reaching six figures required me to completely silence the perfectionist within me. Instead of obsessing over perfect content, I viewed it as a means to express my value, thoughts and wisdom.
Some of my best content originated from real-life conversations I had in the DMs with potential clients. That enabled me to give practical advice to my audience without consuming too much time.
This allowed me to focus on making personal and intentional connections with my small following, usually through DMs and discovery calls. These personal connections, rather than perfect content, were vital for driving consistent sales. Plus with our human attention span only getting shorter and shorter as social media evolves to consume our day-to-day, what’s the best way to capture our audience’s attention (that AI won’t be able to easily replace)? Do you think it’s a piece of content, or is it a meaningful conversation with your ideal client?
There you have it: Embracing delusional goals, focusing on practical lead generation, leveraging DMs for sales and avoiding content perfectionism were key factors in my success. The same principles can guide you on your entrepreneurial journey especially if you’re looking to grow past six figures too in your service-based business. Enjoy the ride.