10 Steps To Building A
$500,000 Per Year
Building an expert business that does $25,000 to $50,000 a month in revenue is a great example of something that is “simple not easy.”
Interestingly enough, it’s this exact truth that keeps many people stuck.
Because many would be successful experts can’t help themselves when it comes to looking for the “easy” solution that is going to get them to their goals.
Now the struggling expert is not completely to blame for this…
Just scroll through your newsfeed and you’ll find all sorts of people selling you on “easy” solutions that are going to get you to “$10,000 a month in 30 days” or “$100,000 a month” with a magical automated funnel that requires no actual work.
It’s probably no surprise to you that these easy solutions being solid are rarely what they’re cracked up to be.
The good news for you is that as a result of following this space VERY closely as well as building my own successful expert businesses in three different markets and helping countless clients do the same, I know what it REALLY takes to build these types of businesses to the $500,000+ per year mark.
Spoiler alert: much of what you’re about to read are things you’ve probably already heard before.
That’s by design.
When it comes to building a successful expert business, there really is nothing new under the sun.
What follows are 10 steps to getting to the $500,000+ per year mark, that *actually* work.
And if you’re willing to buckle down and Do. The. Work. You’ll soon enjoy your own epic success.
Here you go…
Decide On Your Market And The Problem You’re Going To Solve
Stop me if you’re heard this one before: you want to start solving ONE problem for ONE particular type of person. Since you probably know this, I’m not going to go into details on why this is super important.
But what I will do is give you some insights on what market to focus on if you’re stuck. My favorite markets are 1) business/entrepreneurship; 2) health and wellness; 3) personal development and 4) career building.
By and large, the people who build multi-six and 7-figure expert businesses the fastest are in these markets.
Of course, it’s very possible to get to over $500,000 per year in other markets, it’s just a bit easier in my experience.
Time needed to complete this step: 2 to 4 hours.
Conduct Client Avatar Research
Do your homework, find out your target prospect’s deepest desires and pain points, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.
Pretty much every course on how to build an online business or coaching program discusses this one so I won’t go into a ton of detail on it here. Main thing: doing this is always time well spent.
Time needed to complete this step: 2 to 10 hours.
Map Out Your Signature Framework
Alright, now that you know what your prospect’s problems and desires are, it’s time to map out your signature framework that illustrates how you get your clients to where they are now (Point A) to where they want to go (Point B).
I’ve heard this one called you’re Unique Solution, Signature System, Unique Branded System and other things along those lines. They are all basically the same thing.
Yours will typically be based on a series of steps, a series of pillars, or a series of stages.
Common things to call it are the ____ Method/Formula/System/Blueprint. It’s worth spending some time coming up with a cool name for your signature framework.
You can uncover what your steps/pillars/stages are but reverse engineering the actual steps you take your clients through and starting there.
Time needed to complete this step: 1 to 4 hours.
Map Out Your Initial Offer
Alright, we’re *almost* ready to get out there and start selling.
The next thing you need to do is map your actual offer.
If you’re starting without a huge audience, then you’re going to grow the fastest if your start out with a premium offer.
This will typically be a 1-on-1 coaching offer or a hands on done-for-you service.
Your offer is the vehicle by which you take people through your signature framework.
As far as the deliverables of your offer goes (meaning how long it lasts, how many calls, and things like that) to figure this out the question I always ask my clients is:
In real life, how long does it take for your clients to get the result you’re promising?
Personally, I think three to six month arrangements are a great place to start.
When I was starting out I was doing weekly 60 minute calls and that worked really well. Every other week also works great for a lot of people.
Don’t stress about this one. Do what works for you and your clients.
With regards to price, a lot of this really does have to do with your “self-esteem” and confidence to ask for higher prices.
If you’re in a good market, then $1,000 to $3000 per month are good places to start.
Here’s a SUPER tip I got from Adam Urbanski: when you’re starting it’s best to have an offer that you’re SO confident in that it feels like it should be a no brainer to your target market.
Having this kind of confidence will make a big difference when you do your initial sales calls.
For example, when I first started offering one-on-one consulting, I was charging $2000 per month for weekly 60-minute calls.
I did this to get some initial momentum and it worked out really well. Soon after I was charging $5,000 per month. But I definitely did have the confidence to start out at that rate.
Time needed to complete this step: 1 to 3 hours.
Get Your First 10 Clients
Finally, it’s time to start SELLING!
Once you’ve done the first four steps described above (which can be completed in a day or two if you’re fast. Definitely no more than a week) it’s time to get out there and start booking your first ten private clients.
This should be your ONLY focus at this point.
Specifically, you want to be focusing on two things:
- Doing things to generate sales calls and
- Making offers
The more offers you make, the faster you’re going to complete this step.
By far the fastest way most people are going to be able to get their first 10 clients will be to use the resources that are already within their reach.
The two best ways I’ve found are tapping into your existing network and doing organic social media marketing.
Here, Client Getting 101 techniques like making a list of 100 people you know who could be good fits for your services or good referral partners and then booking calls with them work wonders.
Going to the right events can also really accelerate your process.
Bonus points if you’re able to do some speaking gigs. Personally, I’ve found that speaking at small group masterminds to be very high leverage.
With organic social media marketing, the main keys are to be PROLIFIC and to get into one-on-one conversations with your more engaged people.
This is definitely a bit of a grind at first, but it’s the most tried and true way of getting that initial momentum that I’ve found.
If you do this, I can practically guarantee you’ll book your first 10 clients within three to six months.
It can even be less if you’re already starting out with some solid credibility and an existing audience to tap into.
(Note: if you’re COMPLETELY allergic to doing anything 1-on-1, then you can skip to step 6. However, I highly recommend you go through this step.
Working with clients 1-on-1 is going to be the fastest way to increase your revenue and will also help you really master your results-getting framework that you’re eventually going to scale beyond working with privately clients.)
One thing I need to point out there is that at this point, you’ll have to be a flexible as to what your actual offer is.
As you talk to more people and make more offers you’ll get a sense of what they want and what really sells.
Once you figure that out, it’s time to go ALL IN and make that offer to as many qualified people as possible.
One final note here: you’re going to have to learn how to do sales calls here.
The most important tip I can give here is to find a solid sales call structure and stick to it.
If you need more support on this check out Anthony Aramini’s material. He’s got great stuff when it comes to selling well in a non-sleazy, ethical way.
Time needed to complete this step: 2 to 6 months.
Do An Audience Building Campaign
We’re moving right along here!
We have our first 10 clients, solid revenue coming, an offer that SELLS, and some solid momentum.
By now you should be making anywhere from $5,000 to $25,000 a month, which is super awesome. You’ve essentially built a 6-figure business!
Of course, success breeds new and different problems we need to solve.
At this point, you’re pretty busy with clients and you’re making money, but you most likely need a bigger audience if you’re going to get to the $500,000+ per year mark.
So audience building is the order of the day here.
We have quite a few options here when it comes to audience building, both organic and paid.
Some good paid options include:
- Facebook / Instagram advertising
- YouTube Advertising
- Google Ads (display and search)
- Which one you choose depends on your market.
- But despite the rising costs of FB ads, it’s still a good place to start for most expert businesses if you’re going the paid route.
- Organic options include:
- Organic Facebook (including using your personal page, launching a group, and using your biz page)
- Blogging and SEO (including Medium and guest blogging)
Main note here is that you want to create one good lead magnet to start with and get good at one or two lead generation strategies and really focus on them.
Your goal here is to get your first 1000 subscribers.
You’ll actually be in pretty good shape with 500 subscribers, but 1000 is ideal. So let’s focus on that goal.
Once you’ve hit that magical 1000 subscriber number, then it’s time to move on to the next step.
Time needed to complete this step: 2 to 6 months.
Launch Your High End Group Program
By now you have a solid base of audience, some solid authority, and (hopefully) quite a few happy and successful clients.
This is awesome. At the same time, you’re probably finding yourself working a lot and you’re pretty much maxed out with 1-on-1 clients.
You’re now in a good position to raise your 1-on-1 rates, which will give your revenue a bump. And it’s definitely time to switch to something a bit more leveraged.
In other words, it’s time to launch your first high end group program.
With your group program, essentially you’ll be taking people through the same framework as you have been doing with your 1-on-1 clients, only you’ll be doing it in a group format instead.
Lots of options here. I like 90-day, 6-month, and one year programs personally.
If you’re at the earlier stages and don’t yet have a ton of authority, then you’ll find that shorter-length programs (6 to 12 weeks) are easier to sell.
As far as how to launch your group program, one great strategy I first learned from my friend and super client Luisa Zhou is to do a challenge that takes place inside a FB group that culminates with a webinar.
You can also do other types of webinars and email-based promotions where your goal is to get people on calls.
I have a 3-day 7-Figure Launch Intensive that goes into a ton of detail on all things launches, but obviously I can’t get into all those details here .
Probably the most important thing to keep in mind here when it comes launching your first group program is that you’re still going to have to hustle a bit: going that extra mile and engaging in 1-on-1 conversations on FB messenger, through email, and then on the phone is going to work wonders.
Time needed to complete this step: 1.5 to 3 months.
Scale Your High End Group Program
As a result of launching your high end group program, you’ve gotten a good infusion of cash you can use to further grow business by using it to add a team member or two, advertising, going to some higher end events, upleveling your branding and things along those lines.
You also should have reached a new level of credibility and exposure with this initial launch.
Your next big focus should be two fold: you’ll want to continue building your audience and authority and you’ll want to look into really scaling your group program.
This will also be a good time to raise your pricing on your 1-on-1 services once again.
If you have a solid base of one-on-one clients, the addition of this group program should put you close to that $500,000 per year level.
To be making $500,000 per year, that’s $41,666 per month.
So for example if you’re already doing $20,000 per month with one-on-one clients, selling four of your 5K programs per month will get you there.
Having said that, this may be a good time to start scaling down your 1-on-1 client load and focusing more on the group.
The overall idea here is that, once you have a winning group offer you’re going to want to focus on selling that for the next 6 to 12 months.
This will definitely get you to that $41,666 per month mark if you’re not there already.
As far as how you scale it, first, look at how you’ve been generating leads and clients up this point and then double down on those efforts.
In addition, you’ll now be in a good position to build a proper “funnel” and scale through paid advertising.
And as you scale your group program, you’d also be wise to execute consistent marketing events (a.k.a. launches and mini-launches) to your existing audience on a regular basis.
Finally, as all this is going on you’re going to want to continue building your audience and authority using the tactics and strategies described above.
Time needed to complete this step: 6 to 12 months.
Launch A Course
So this one is actually more a bonus step and preview of coming attractions.
In real life life, you’re probably going to be able to get to the $500,000 per year mark with just a one-on-one offering and a high end group program.
Regardless, at some point it’s a good idea to launch some kind of a lower-end offering to get more people into your world and further scale your efforts.
So this is the point when you’re going to want to start thinking about launching some kind of a course.
I suggest starting with your flagship course based on your main framework. This will generally be something in the $200 to $2000 range depending on the market.
Tip: start by launching your flagship course to your internal audience before you venture into doing a big partner launch.
Time needed to complete this step: 2 to 4 months.
Okay, so now we’ve been in business for over a year… we have an existing audience, happy clients, flagship offers and we’re well over the $500,000 per year mark!
You did it.
VERY few people who start an online business get to this point.
Of course, there is ALWAYS room to grow and post likely you have visions of going BIG and reaching millions of people and making an even bigger global impact.
You’re now in position to do just that.
At this point you’re going to want to look into doing things like writing and launching a book, doing a big partner launch, upleveling your media presence, doing Ted Talks and things like that.
You’ll also have the funds to really invest in scaling your team and in additional advertising.
Basically, now it’s time for you to REALLY step into the big leagues.
With the foundational aspects we put in place with steps one through nine, you’re now more than ready to do this.
As Bruce Dickinson artfully said one of my favorite Maiden songs…
Your Time Has Come!
Time needed to complete this step: 1 to 10 years.
So we’ve just gone over the 10 steps it takes to build a $500,000+ per year expert business.
As you can see, the steps themselves are quite simple and straightforward.
The thing that trips many people up is the execution of these steps.
Instead of just Following. The. Recipe that is laid out for you, many people try to skip steps and do things in the wrong order.
And as a result they keep spinning their wheels and never build a successful business.
Hopefully, this post has inspired you to stay focused and commit to Doing The Work that is going to get you to where you want to go… and then some.
I know you have what it takes to build an amazing business. All you have to do is follow the steps, stay consistent, be antifragile, and keep moving.
As always, the best time to get started is NOW.
Let’s get to work!