My five month journey with SFM – learning and launching an online business.

Back in September 2020 I announced to the world that I wouldn´t be returning to school, as I have done for the last 17 years, in favour of starting a new online business.

Since then I´ve quite literally worked my socks off. Studying, learning and then doing what I hope will help me to succeed in the online business world. And after a little over 5 months I finally feel ready to show my hand and launch my business.

So as a prelude to my great big business/You tube/website launch I thought that I´d best remind you that I´m coming. And share with you what I´ve been doing with myself, in case you´re intrigued and maybe thinking of doing the same yourself.

So back in June I signed up with this company called the six figure mentors or SFM. You can read more about them in my previous blog post and watch my video (linked in the homepage) where I review the education I received after signing up for their Mentors “all-in” package.

Feeling very excited and motivated I began the “getting started modules” designed to prepare you in starting your own online business based around something that you´re passionate about and in module one I learned all about selling and marketing online.

In module 2 there was lots of mind-set training, talk of the law of attraction and finding your life purpose. As I learned more about it all, I decided that I wanted to use You tube to get my message out there – bought a telephone tripod and support so I could record in the car and started recording things – mainly me being me, singing and carrying on.

I also started a DIY project this month, converting the built-in wardrobes in the spare room into a soundproof recording booth. I had previously thought about this to try my hand at voice acting and to be able to record songs properly. I started boarding out with old bits of wardrobes I found left by the bins, trying to do an hour or two on it every day, mainly in the evenings. So by the end of the first month I was buzzing and well on my way to making my first million……or so I thought.

In the second month of my online business journey I planned and printed out my own “daily routine for success” and started doing it every day. I felt really productive and positive and was already into module 4 of the 7 getting started modules. I began trying to find my niche for my business and then chose and bought a domain name for my website. I´d got this idea of doing the things I really loved and I´d kept seeing this number 101.

I found out that in the American university system, something 101 is something for beginners. I liked that…..especially as I´m no expert at this online business lark. Plus, in numerology the number 101 is heavily linked to new beginnings, ambition, creativity, personal fulfilment and happiness. Perfect I thought….I´ll ´ave that.

And so the new website called Living your best life was born, or at least, the domain was. My business was going to centre on promoting the same education that I was currently enjoying, and I would get that message to the masses by creating a You Tube channel and a weekly programme to show people how I had done it and how they could do it too. The aim of each programme being, to inform, educate, inspire and entertain…….easy right?

Well, kind of. I started working on my website and decided to focus on recording things for the You tube channel, writing ideas and scripts for recordings of various different types of videos. I tried lots of things, including cooking outside on a calor gas camping stove and learned a lot about image quality and noise issues, not to mention that being in front of camera isn´t quite as easy as it looks.

I also told my boss that I wanted to take a year´s sabbatical to dedicate all my time to this and thankfully they were really understanding.

I then got back to working on module 4, as I felt I´d got a bit side-tracked by the You Tube channel.  And I continued working on my website, but I was having difficulties getting used to the site building tool that was meant to make WordPress easier. “Patience padawan” I told myself, patience.

Progress on the sound booth continued to be slow but steady, but my ideas were taking shape and I was happy with how it was all going.

In month three I made really good progress and finished modules 4, 5 and 6 of the 7. I created my email subscriber list and synchronised that and my website with SFM´s mini website which provides potential customers with more information about their educational products.

I also learned the nuts and bolts of online marketing and realised that I need to get good at this pretty quickly. I realised that I would need to start creating content like blog posts as well as the You tube videos to give solutions to the customers I´m trying to serve.  

Although this was a bit scary given that I would need to be doing a fair bit of research in order to write these, it was nice to know that you don´t have to pretend to be an expert and it´s quite acceptable to LEARN, DO and then TEACH.

I started module 7 and continued learning about ways that you can create relationships with your customers.

During this month September rolled around and for the first time in 17 years, I didn´t go back to school to start a school year. It felt strange, but in a good way. I wrote a message on Facebook and Instagram to inform the world about what I was doing. The feedback was positive, which was lucky because I realised that there was no going back now!!!!

I started thinking about a logo, but progress on my website was still slow because I was finding WordPress to be a right pain in the posterior.

I did a course called WordPress 101 to try to figure out why I was struggling so much. It was a good course but not relevant to the tool that I was using to build my website. But I persevered and finally made a bit of progress – at last it was starting to take shape.

On the You tube front I recorded myself making a breakfast smoothie – filming in the kitchen was seriously time consuming, but I enjoyed it. And I was still plodding on with the sound booth little by little.

So that was month 3 and another one without any money coming in. A little bit frightening, but I was still feeling positive about it all, even if I was really starting to feel the urgency to get the business launched and start trying to earn some money.  

During month 4 everything felt like it was going in slow motion, everything except the time that is. I spent a long time writing my first ever blog post about starting an online business and finally I published it on my website.

The realisation that I should really be writing one each week was a frightening one, but I reminded myself that this was the first time I was doing all these things and told myself that when you start doing things more regularly they will get quicker and easier. Even so I couldn´t help thinking, “old dogs, new tricks”.

On the website front WordPress was still playing silly buggers and being a pain to use. It felt like taking one step forward and two steps back, so in the end when I couldn´t do what I wanted, I just got rid of everything and started again.

I asked SFM for some help and they put me onto the support team specifically there to help with the site building tool. I wish they´d directed me there two months ago instead of recommending the really good but totally useless 101 course. Still I´d persevered and finally I felt the darkness turning to light.

With a bit of help, my ideas for a logo started coming together too, as an artistic friend got to work turning my doodle into the real thing.

Preparations for the You tube channel were also evolving rapidly as I recorded more videos, including a yoga session and lots of clips for an opening sequence and a video loop for my website.

I even managed to upload it with my newfound WordPress prowess!  I also continued planning for my first 5 weekly You tube programmes and even completed the script for the first programme.

And then the proverbial hit the fan. Firstly I realised that I was trying to do too much each week for the You tube programme. There was no way that I´d be able to maintain what I had planned every week. So I had the idea of doing three main feature videos each week – one each for health, wealth and happiness.

And then secondly, and more importantly, as I was learning more about You tube and how it works, I realised that my weekly show idea, that I´d put so much time and effort into, wasn´t going to work, because that isn´t how You tube works.

Thank God I found this out before launching. I now understood that I needed to make videos with content that matched what people were searching for, videos that solved a problem or answered a question.

And so I got to work writing the script for a review of SFM for my first video. I worked on that script for most of a week and wrote two and a half thousand words! But now I needed some animations to illustrate everything I wanted to talk about. I found Powtoons and spent another 3 days learning how to do those.

I then started setting up a Facebook page and the You tube channel. It felt like WordPress situation all over again. Everything took so long and it felt like I had more and not less to do every day. I spent a whole day making a banner for my You tube channel and Facebook page.

Progress was so slow again and I wasn´t overly happy with the results either.  I knew I had to be patient and persevere.

On the sound booth I got the inner ceiling in and worked on it a lot until I finally got the electrics sorted and all of the boarding done on the inside. There was also a fairly major design change somewhere around now as I realised that it would be great to be able to use this space to record my You tube videos. So I decided on two doors on the front instead of one, to enable me to open it all up and record myself inside the booth with the camera outside. Thankfully it wasn´t a problem to make the adjustments. After completing this the internal insulation went in and the plaster board went up on the outside. It was finally starting to look like it was almost finished. Little did I know what lie ahead.

By now it was getting tough. So much still to do, progress still seemed so slow and the end, or should I say the beginning seemed no nearer. Patience and faith were needed. I knew I Just had to keep on keeping on.

In month 5 the list of things to do seemed to keep getting longer instead of shorter. But things were finally getting done, eventually. I got the finished logo and felt really happy to finally incorporate it into the website and You tube channel banner. I also made a few tweaks to the website homepage to make it more congruent with the You Tube channel. I felt like I was getting more clarity where the You tube videos were concerned. After more research on You tube SEO (search engine optimization), I realised that three videos every week was ridiculously ambitious if I wanted to create quality content, so I made the decision to aim for one video per week, alternating between simple tips for better health, wealth and happiness. But for some reason I had the “bright” idea to launch everything with a “special” week where I would put out an introductory video plus another three videos to give everyone a taste of what was to come.

The first video was now going to be about how to live your best life and I would use it to introduce what I plan to do with my business, website and channel. I got to work writing a script and also started thinking about the other three videos. A “wealth” video to review the six figure mentors, a “health” video where I planned to make a healthy green smoothie and a “happiness” video about the importance of gratitude. I also continued producing B roll video clips and images (secondary clips to add humour or illustrate or emphasise something). Whilst the explanation of this takes only a few sentences in reality it took me days and weeks to do the research and crystalize my ideas.

And throughout all of this I was aware that I needed to finish the sound booth as soon as possible so that I would have somewhere to record the videos. So I plastered the outer walls, in a manner of speaking. I have a newfound respect for this trade. Plastering is an art form, for which I have zero talent. Horrific is the only word! The plaster went from the consistency of sauce to stone in about a minute and afterwards the house was a mess. It looked like I´d been plastering the floor! When it dried completely there were cracks everywhere. I left it for a few days and painted the inside. Eventually I managed to get it just about decent and quickly painted it to hide the horror show. And then I cut and stuck the soundproof insulating material to the inside and finally had it finished. I had been a bit of an ordeal towards the end, but I´d got it done, at last.

And after a long time waiting for its arrival I finally managed to get a lapel microphone and was able to start recording the videos. I really enjoyed recording and although the editing was a very long process I enjoyed that too.

And so days turned into weeks as I recorded and edited the four videos I wanted to have to launch everything. I´d hoped to launch at the beginning of November but that came and went. Christmas was rapidly approaching and so I set myself a deadline of the first week in December. I worked on the video descriptions, Tags, time stamps and subtitles which are all really important if you hope to rank your videos in You tube and get them seen. Again this took a long time as it was all new to me. Then there was the thumbnail, the graphic that goes on You Tube like the “album cover” for each video. Another new skill to learn, but again, thankfully it was good fun.  

And with these things finally done I started putting the videos and everything else that goes with them, on You tube. It was mad to see my first video up there, complete with the thumbnail with me and my silly face. I think I was video number five hundred and something for the search term “how to live your best life”. That will hopefully change once I start telling people where they can find it!

After that I had to check everything on the website, write and post a few blog posts and start telling everyone that I was finally ready to get started. It had been an epic journey and really only to get to the start line, but on reflection I´ve learned and achieved a lot. Now the fun really begins as I need to create a video every week and start making sales and revenue. Let´s see how that goes and where it takes me? I hope you will join me on the journey. Tomorrow you will be able to see my first two You tube videos which will be embedded into the home page of the website. I hope you will enjoy, like share and subscribe to help me make this endeavour a success. Thanks for reading, watching and sharing your feedback so that I can keep improving as the journey unfolds. And I hope I will help and inspire you to live your best life.

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