One of the most confusing areas of running an online business, or marketing funnel business (or any business for that matter), is knowing who to trust when it comes to advice.
One of the biggest mistakes I made when first starting my business, was to listen to people who were on the same level as me.
What this means is that I would attend breakfast networks, networking events, local masterminds or Chamber of Commerce events and I would take advice from people who were essentially in the same position as me.
Don’t get me wrong. It’s incredibly important to grow a network of businesses, peers and colleagues that want to grow and are on the same page as you. However taking advice from them on how to run a business can be a dangerous act.
Some of the advice I used to be given when starting my business, by people who had not progressed any further than I had, was:
- Don’t waste your time on Facebook, it costs too much and doesn’t yield any results.
- SEO is dead. You shouldn’t be optimising for Google.
- It’s impossible to grow to an agency size without external investment and funding.
- Don’t waste your time with self-help books. They are all the same and they are just hippie mumbo-jumbo.
- If it was that easy to make $1 million, we’d all have done it by now.
You can see how some of these pieces of advice are a) absolute bollocks and b) advice from people who have never tried it.
I remember one particular network colleague who would tease me about self-help books and books on finance and mental thinking such as “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill. Now of course, I realise that these people are often afraid to see progress or change and do everything they can to prevent others from experiencing it.
So who do you trust? Who should you listen to who has a) done the things you’re looking to achieve and b) believes that you can do it and is willing to show you how?
That’s where I’ve picked out some of my top influencers and experts for the various parts of running a business that I trust.
Facebook advertising – Miles Beckler
One of my big focuses for 2017 was growth and scale. Those are the words I most associated with, where I would find success in 2017. The ability to create large audiences, who are targeted and drive them back to my content via Facebook advertising was my biggest pain point of 2017.
Everyone on the internet was very keen to tell me two things.
- I should invest in Facebook advertising to drive more traffic
- The theory behind Facebook advertising and traffic within a funnel
However I had struggled to find anyone who went through the practicalities of setting up paid Facebook advertising, setting up audiences and creating compelling adverts and copy.
The biggest insight that Miles shared with me by his YouTube channel, podcast and blog, was the ability to measure and manage my budget for lots of Facebook ads at once.
My biggest fear with Facebook advertising was that I didn’t want to spend thousands of dollars and not gather any email leads or signups or customers. Miles showed me how to manage this on a daily basis, within my budget and what I should really be focusing on (hint: your audience).
If you are looking for expert advice on Facebook advertising and many other aspects of running a business. Particularly building marketing funnels for both yourself and your customers. Look no further than the excellent Miles Beckler.
Marketing funnel theory and conversion optimisation – Digital Marketer/Ryan Deiss
Anyone who knows me, or has had a conversation for more than 30 seconds with me, knows that I’m a massive fan of Ryan Deiss. Ryan is the CEO and founder of Digital Marketer. If there is anything to do with marketing funnel theory and conversion optimisation, Digital Marketer will have some kind of content based around it.
I’ve interviewed Ryan before and talked about his CVO funnel. Customer value optimisation funnel. The basic theory is that whoever can spend more on acquiring a customer, wins.
Russell Brunson, Miles Beckler, Grant Cardone, Jeff Bullas, even Napoleon Hill in the aforementioned Think And Grow Rich used or use a similar process to what Ryan teaches.
Driving traffic to a lead magnet page, offering a splinter product to cover the cost of the initial traffic, offering your core product and then a profit maximiser is essentially a CVO funnel.
Their free blog and podcast alone have incredible amounts of content and knowledge. Not a week goes by where I don’t check out their blog, even though I pay for multiple memberships with Digital Marketer.
If there is a new technology, process or theory that you want to learn more about, I guarantee you Ryan has either tested it and written about it or has got a course and education material around it.
What Digital Marketer doesn’t know about online marketing and building funnels for yourself and your customers, isn’t worth knowing.
Video content creation – Sunny Lenarduzzi
Sunny Lenarduzzi grew her YouTube following to 100,000 subscribers in under a year through one incredibly simple process. Publishing one video a week. That’s it.
Sunny happens to cover hundreds of topics via her YouTube channel. Everything from social media, to mentoring and time management.
However if you want to understand more about creating video content, look no further than Sunny Lenarduzzi.
One of the problems people face when creating YouTube content, or their first video content, is their apprehension towards not being perfect or not producing a good quality video.
In reality, producing content that people can watch and making sure that the topic is interesting is paramount. This is one of Sunny’s biggest takeaways.
Sunny has loads of videos on Facebook advertising, Facebook messengers, ranking on YouTube, building confidence, finding the right mental and everything else. All around she’s a fantastic entrepreneur and inspirational speaker.
Running an agency – Troy Dean
Troy runs WP Elevation, Rock Star Empires, Video User Manuals and used to run a very large and successful agency.The reason I say “used to” is because Troy’s focus is now on speaking, motivation, coaching and courses. But that’s not to say that he didn’t have an enormous impact by his agency for his own lifestyle.
Formula 1, QuickBooks and Westpac are all previous customers. When it comes to running a website and digital agency, Troy Dean is not only legit but he’s been through all of the shit that you struggle with day-to-day.
Over the years Troy has not only been a mentor and advisor to me, but we’ve also grown close together as friends and colleagues at WP Elevation and Sell Your Service.
Some of Troy’s blog posts on running a WordPress agency, finding clients for your website agency and how to run a lifestyle business are some of the most pragmatic and exposing posts I’ve ever read. When it comes to real life examples of someone who runs an agency, starting from nothing as a one-person band and moving up to organising and managing a team – Troy Dean is who you want to look to.
Sales strategy and training – Grant Cardone
I understand why some people don’t like grant Cardone.However, if you want better sales advice, training and expertise, you ain’t can find it outside of Grant’s training.
Grant Cardone is one of the top CEOs in the world, he’s a prolific author, motivational speaker, trainer and entrepreneur.
Most businesses, particularly marketing and digital creative businesses, hate selling. The idea of cold calling for clients and leads, hard sales tactics and pressuring people into buying is their idea of hell.
Grant Cardone proves that the best salespeople in the world are excellent listeners, believe in their products, have a conviction to helping their customers succeed and are moral and ethical people.
If you feel that you don’t like sales then you need to check out some of Grant’s training and books. There is absolutely no reason that you are not able to make sales, make phone calls, send sales emails and close deals for your customers.
100% of your revenue comes from sales. There is no other activity which has as much impact on your bottom line as sales does. You can either get very very comfortable and excited about selling products and services to customers, or someone else will.
Grant Cardone is the best route to understanding a sales approach for your business when you are just starting out. And when it comes to the killer insight stuff he’s also can be there too.
Content marketing – Jeff Bullas
If you want pragmatic, down-to-earth and insightful content marketing advice. Look no further than Jeff Bullas.
Jeff’s website is about running an online business and digital business. However his content marketing strategies and practices are brilliant. When it comes to using content to position yourself as an authority, generate sales, increase traffic and attract leads, what Jeff doesn’t know about content marketing isn’t worth knowing.
Jeff only started blogging later in his life. He’s an older gentleman based in Australia who doesn’t have the same child prodigy background that many online entrepreneurs do. He only started blogging and using the internet around 2008. Since then he’s been listed on Forbes as one of the top 20 influencers of CMOs, a #1 ranked global digital marketing influencer and the ranked #1 content marketing influencer in 2014.
His blog has fantastic guest posts but mainly is a source of pragmatic and useful advice for entrepreneurs and online businesses.
Small business finance and money management – Mike Michalowicz
Money management is often overlooked as a business skill when running a business. However, Mike Michalowicz and his incredibly pragmatic book Profit First talk about how to manage your money, income and revenue in order to be profitable even when you’re a small one-person business.
When you start to move into micro and small business territory, with a few members of staff and a few income sources, Mike’s book and website/blog are outstanding sources of understanding and insight on money management.
2018 will be my year of money management and investing. I plan on making $2 million revenue through two independent products and companies. Therefore understanding where my money works and how it’s used now is fundamental to the growth of that number.
I think of Mike’s tactics like pouring fuel on fire. If I’m unable to manage $100 why would I be able to manage $100 000 000? If money is an “icky” subject for you, then make sure you read Profit First. It literally made all my businesses profitable overnight. It’s that simple.
General experts in internet marketing/business
There are a few more gurus and experts that I wanted to touch on. However they are either too broad in their expertise or I follow them from a distance. That’s not to say they aren’t outstanding examples of entrepreneurs and leaders within the business space. It simply means that I won’t dip into their content and consume their authority pieces as often as I do the other names on this list.
Neil Patel is a serial entrepreneur with businesses like CrazyEgg and Kiss Metrics. His blog is in itself a treasure trove of incredible resources and incredible insight on running a business.
Stefan James runs Project Life Mastery. Ultimately Stefan is a seven figure internet entrepreneur and Project Life Mastery is about helping you run the best business you can for your lifestyle.
Dan Norris is the author of Seven Day Start-up and The Content Machine. I absolutely love reading Dan’s work and again, his content in itself is outstanding for running online businesses and making the most of your ability.
Are there any influences or experts that I’ve missed off this list? Even as I write this post, I think about Kristina Romero, Mariah Coz, Amy Schmittauer our and other incredible online entrepreneurs who I just didn’t have time to write about. Maybe I’ll write about them in my next list.
If I’ve missed anyone off that you think I should cover let me know in the comments below.