Recently Addicted2Success attended Pause Fest, which is a creative tech conference that a lot of entrepreneurs attend. I was lucky enough to catch up at the conference with Julie Stevanja, who is the founder of the very well known women’s activewear website Stylerunner.
Julie’s business is an Australian icon because it grew 30%-50% month on month in the first few years and this has resulted in her startup now being valued ten’s of millions of dollars.
A lot of that success has been due to the more than 450K of followers that the brand attracts and the eye-catching web presence that is hard to avoid.
Check out my interview with Julie on YouTube below.
Here are 7 takeaways from Julie Stevanja’s interview:
1. Know if you want to be an entrepreneur
One of the keys to starting an online business that Julie taught me is to first of all work out if you want to be an entrepreneur. Now we all know this, but what Julie taught me is that when you start to become eager to do something more creative, that’s a really great sign that you probably have the entrepreneur bug.
I often tell people that with all the automation happening in the economy, the one scarce resource is creativity which is usually entrepreneurship. Julie recommends that if this happens to you, try working in a tech startup like she did for a few years to gain some knowledge, then consider starting an online business.
2. Find a niche
The secret sauce to Stylerunner in the early days was that fashion was crowded, but what Julie discovered was that there was no niche within this category that did women’s active wear well. The mistake a lot of entrepreneurs make is that they pick a crowded category to launch a business into.
To find the niche that might work for you, start looking at blogs, social media, and other online businesses. Think about your niche from the consumer point of view. Is there something that you have to buy that is always hard to find online, or that is done poorly?
Once you find your niche, launch with a very lean product, test the market and then iterate your product based on customer feedback.
3. You don’t need to have a tech background
One of the first things I noticed about Julie was that she started an online business with no tech background. She did what most people are not prepared to do and jumped straight into the deep end. If you don’t have tech expertise, you can build it by bringing it into your team.
In Julie’s case, early on, she used a freelancer platform to build her first website that was very basic. Once she had something up on the web, she then spoke with web developers on the cheap side and the expensive side.
She spoke with as many as she could to then drill down to the main concepts they were all saying. From there, she began work on a better site using what she had learned.
“Every problem has a solution” – Julie Stevanja
4. Use social proof to sell products
Upon looking at Stylerunners Instagram account, it’s very clear that Julie understands social proofing. Social proof makes customers feel like other people like Stylerunner’s products, and they are not alone.
Many of the photos that Stylerunner uses are taken by other Instagrammers and people that seem genuine, and relatable. These photos make it very easy to see what the active wear might look like on a real person who is not a supermodel.
Stylerunner’s social media reflects a community and not just a brand or product. If you can achieve this goal with your own online business, then you will be well on your way to having a successful startup.
“If something doesn’t work that’s data” – Julie Stevanja
5. Try some simple social media tricks
Julie taught me some really quick and easy tips that work well for most of the social media platforms. She said in all content you should have a call to action. So if you use Instagram, then your picture description should have a question to get people talking about your post.
We all think we know how important content is for creating an online business, but Julie says you need to go the extra mile. The only content that goes viral is a post where you go out of your way to create value. If that value is relevant to your end customer as well, then you will see an increase in sales from it.
The simple way to test if a social media post works is by seeing how many likes and comments it gets. Over time, you will figure out what’s working and what’s not, and then you can adjust your social media strategy accordingly.
6. Build relationships with investors early
Dealing with Venture Capital or Private Equity firms can be a challenge and if you want to scale your online business later on, you need to know how to deal with them. Julie explains that a relationship with an investor is a bit like a marriage; you are going to spend a lot of time with them so you have to make sure you like them and you feel they are good for your startup.
Start by creating a wishlist of investors (use your competitors investors if you don’t know any) and then introduce yourself to each of them. “You must do this early on” Julie explains, “otherwise, if you wait until you need them to invest, they will know nothing about you, and so they are unlikely to put money in.”
Julie described it to me like this; investors are a bit like converting customers on your website. You need to have a large funnel of them to begin with because only a few of them will convert. Investors are also like customers in the sense that they too want social proof.
If your funnel of investors is too small, then an investor might be wondering why there are no other interested investors. So, to sum up, engage investors early on, and send them regular updates of how your online business is tracking.
7. Get some practical education
In Julie’s case, she has a traditional business degree but what she found is that the education she did was missing a lot of practical advice. The basics of setting up a business and managing it day to day were just not covered so Julie joined an unconventional entrepreneur course run by The Entourage.
She said that the benefit was not only the knowledge but the opportunity to build a network of great entrepreneurs and thought leaders. These people are going through the same struggle so they can often help with highly relevant solutions.
Now if unconventional entrepreneur education is not for you, then there are plenty of other ways to meet like-minded entrepreneurs, you just have to put yourself out there!
Check out Julie’s startup Stylerunner to find out more about her company or follow @Stylerunner on Instagram
3 Prince EA Videos To Change Humanities Path To Greatness
If you haven’t heard of Prince EA, then you should of. He’s the guy who delivers amazing spoken word rhymes over the top of inspirational soundtracks. His YouTube channel has millions of views, and the video’s he produces are some of the best quality and most creative you will find.
The production that goes into these videos has to be seen to be believed. If you’re looking for a millennial with a different view of the world who is not afraid to ask the questions nobody is asking or the questions nobody wants to answer, then Prince EA is for you.
If you’re pursuing any level of success, then Prince EA is a must.
Below you will find what I believe are his top three videos that will change humanities path to greatness!
1. Why Most People Die Before Age 25
This is a heartfelt video about how people stop chasing their dreams before the age of twenty-five and how they die inside even if they live a long life. Prince EA talks about how people make excuses for their dream and delay their dreams.
He says that life shouldn’t be something that you just get on with. Everyone can relate to this video, and the challenges Prince EA talks about are real for all of us whether we like to admit it or not.
“You will never start this video again with the same perspective you had when you clicked play”
2. I Am NOT Black, You are NOT White
This video will seriously change your perspective on the world and the many different races that co-exist. Prince EA presents the idea that our race is nothing more than a label and that labels cause racism and wars.
He explains that who we really are is not skin deep and that we are all global citizens. He uses a brilliant analogy about our bodies being like cars that we get from a dealership called society. Our race is nothing more than a model of car but at its core, we are all the same.
I love how Prince EA says in this video that who we are is found inside, not on the outside. You’ll find this video will move you and challenge your current view of the world. This simple idea that is presented in this video is the key for all of us to have global success.
This idea is what has the power to bring us all together and create as one team rather than in silos. Burn the freakin labels!
“Who would you be if the world never gave you a label?”
3. Can We Auto-Correct Humanity?
Prince EA’s most popular video with more than 17 million views is all about changing our relationship with technology. The myth we have been sold is that technology has made our lives better. In reality, technology has caused us to lose the human connection between each other.
Yes, technology has many advantages, but what it has done is exacerbate the flaws of the human blueprint. The digital age, as Prince EA puts it, has become obsessed with taking selfies and creating content that is about “I” instead of “we” or “us.”
This digital disease has been caused by a choice. Choice is at the centre of every one of life’s significant challenges. Prince EA says it the best when he says that our choices cannot be autocorrected. It’s time for all of us to have a regular digital detox.
What is one lesson you learnt from Prince EA’s inspiring videos? Let me know in the comments section below or on my website timdenning.net or my Facebook.
(Video) What Is Success? An Entrepreneurial Story To Inspire You
Going back a few years I was lucky enough to be part of a very successful business. At the time, everyone told me that I was successful and living a dream life. While the money, cars, clothes, and nightclubs may have made others think I was successful, I felt I was anything but successful.
I was low on energy, depressed, anxious, and uninspired. As I recently reflected back on this entrepreneurial journey that most never get to have, I asked myself the question “what is success?”
It’s a question I want all of you to ask yourselves and answer truthfully. Everyone’s answer will be different but strangely enough, the fundamentals of our answer will be similar.
The reason I made this video for all of you is to get you thinking about your version of success and show you how you can get it so very wrong using my own story. The good news is my story has a happy ending. I won’t share with you what that is cause you have got to watch the video to get that.
Let’s just say that all of the walking around late at night listening to Tony Robbins Tapes helped me to discover something new during my ultimate low. It’s in these times of severely low inspiration and shocking heartache that you can discover something new.
“As quick as you can make lots of money and have lots of success, it can be taken right from underneath you, so be humble” – Tim Denning
All it takes is a new idea (a seed) to come your way (and be planted), and it can blossom into something totally unexpected. Who knew that listening to something could take me down a whole new path that I never expected.
You’re smarter than you think you are, and you will never have all the answers no matter how hard you try. As you get older, you will realise that you can’t plan any activity or control it, so when you learn to just go with the flow and be on the lookout for something great, phenomenal things can happen to you.
Whatever you put out into the world comes back at you ten times harder. My hope is that if you put out nothing but good vibes then you can do some seriously cool stuff. Firsthand, I can say that the more good I put out, the more good comes back.
There is a platform for all of you to achieve what you have always dreamed of and you just need to find it. It’s hiding somewhere where you least expect it so keep an eye out and don’t dismiss any idea without thinking it through.
When people try and reach you on social media, be humble and respond to them if you can. Be grateful for what you have because nothing lasts forever my friends and remember it’s not all about you.
I made this video for all of you, so I hope ya’ll enjoy it and get inspired by my story!
What’s your story? Let me know in the comments section below or on my website timdenning.net or my Facebook.
(Inspirational Video) What If Today You Knew You Were Going To Take Your Last Breath?
How To Make Enough Money From A Blog To Quit Your Job – Kate McKibbin
In my third and final interview from The Pause Fest Conference, I sat down with Kate McKibbin, who is the founder of the Drop Dead Gorgeous Daily Blog. Kate is an expert in building blogs from nothing and through her own sites, she was able to quit her day job within 12 months, and make multiple income streams.
Kate is so knowledgeable in the blogging world that she started an online course called Secret Bloggers Business to share everything she knows. She was able to make a substantial amount of money from these blogging courses in a very short period.
Check out my interview with Kate on YouTube below.
Here are 5 key takeaways from the interview:
1. Start your blog lean
The temptation to go onto Freelancer.com and hire the most expensive person you can to help you build the best-looking blog from scratch is something you should avoid. Early on, you should concentrate on finding your niche and narrowing in on your target audience.
If you waste too much money before you have got a small amount of traction, you won’t know if your subject matter and the way you present it is relevant. Once you have nailed your niche, concentrate on giving as much value as you can.
2. Build an email list from day one
The issue with building up followers on social media is that you don’t own their data; specifically their contact details. Even though this strategy has existed for ages, Kate still swears by it: make your main focus building an email list from day one.
This email list down the track will become your customer database when you turn on monetisation. Forget the naysayers who tell you email is dead because it’s not; you just have to use it in the right way, deliver value, and not overdo it.
To help build your email list, try releasing a free eBook or a free course to get more subscribers. These two methods have been around for a while, but that’s because they work the best, as long as the content is perceived to be valuable and you put some effort in.
3. Ignore traditional blogging models (monetise early)
The bloggers who are the most successful are the ones who are not trying to follow the traditional blogging model. The traditional blogging model, Kate says, is to try and build up an audience before you start making any money.
Why would you put all this time into something and then start to make only a little bit of money much later down the track?
Your goal should be to make money from your blog from day one – period!
4. Test some monetisation concepts
When you offer free content and products, pretty quickly people will contact you asking for more and that’s when you can test some paid products or services.
The best way to test a product, according to Kate, is with as minimal spend as possible. The easiest way is through a free Kickstarter Campaign or by creating a landing page and driving traffic to it through a low budget Facebook Ad Campaign.
One tip Kate insists on is never to run Facebook ads just to get traffic; always have some type of opt-in offer as part of the ad. Also, you don’t need a huge budget for Facebook Ads – try starting with $5-$10 a day.
Once you have tested a few ideas with these methods, you will then have a rough idea of what people want and you can concentrate on putting a lot more effort into some new products.
“What you think people want, and what your friends agree and your mum agrees people want, doesn’t necessarily have any baring on what actually is going to happen”
5. Sell your own product vs someone else’s
With a blog, there is always the option to sell and promote other company’s products or to sell your own products. If it’s a personal blog about things you love, then you may be better off being an ambassador for other brands.
The most effective strategy, though, that Kate recommends, is to establish your own platform to sell your own things. Otherwise, you will be helping grow someone else’s platform and only getting a percentage of selling their products.
The other advantage of selling your own products is that you can do it with a much smaller list of email subscribers.
If you insist on working with brands and promoting their products, then you should start communicating with them early on. This way, you will build a long-term relationship with them that you can leverage once your audience is big enough.
6. Try eCommerce early on
Another income stream you can earn from your blog is to trial an eCommerce store as an extension of your site where you sell physical goods and ship them to your audience. Kate tried this and for her, she wasn’t passionate about it and felt it was too much work.
Either way, you should test an eCommerce store early on to see if it works for your niche and to gauge if it’s a good return on your time. The key to putting time into an eCommerce store is to understand how it’s going to affect your lifestyle by taking time away from other things that you love to do.
7. Offer a paid course
If you’re solving a problem for people with the content you are sharing on your blog, then that can be turned into a course of some sort. Kate did this by emailing her followers and offering a blogging course to see if anyone would actually pay for it.
When people signed up and paid her through PayPal, she then began creating the content for the course. Taking this presale approach to selling digital goods is a great way to create the mental willpower needed to come up with quality course content that is valuable to your audience.
As you become a subject matter on the problem that you are solving, you may be asked to go to the next level and make a further income from your blog by being paid to speak at events. As your audience really starts to grow you could even think about running your own events.
“There is never a point where I can say this business is sorted. You have to be constantly growing, developing, and innovating. It’s all about continuous problem solving and trying new things out”
Books Kate Recommends
The One Thing – Gary Keller
Sacred Success – Barbara Stanny
Check out Kate’s blog Drop Dead Gorgeous Daily and if you want to start your own blog then have a look at Kate’s Secret Bloggers Business site.
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