While many people dream of having their own business, they often think that their lack of education or start-up capital will mean that they are doomed right from the right start. Then there is the constant thought in the back of their mind that everyone must be perfect right from the start or else they will fail.
Reality is though that many entrepreneurs didn’t get things right the first time. Or, they started with one idea and ended up on a different path to what they thought through finding unlikely success: all without a college degree, little or no capital, but just some trial and error and a strong dedication make things work.
David Jenyns, author of Authority Content, is one such person that was able to grow a successful business from scratch, although the path he is on today was not one that he originally thought he would be on.
In this post we are excited to share Chapter 2 of David’s book, where he talks about his background and how he discovered his calling in life, and what qualities you really need to have a successful business.
CHAPTER 2: FINDING UNLIKELY SUCCESS (& REPLICATING IT)
It’s 24th May 2003, and I’m in Melbourne. I’m shaking like a leaf while the room next door slowly fills up with people who have come to hear me present on the topic of using Metastock, a stock market charting software package. It was my first time speaking in public and I now know why people fear it more than death.
This wasn’t exactly where I expected to be, just a few years after leaving school, but it turned out to be the beginning of my entrepreneurial journey, and the genesis of Authority Content.
I had decided against going to university when I left school and instead took out a $5k loan to complete a weekend-long stock-trading course that promised to make me a millionaire. I figured it was pointless to go to university for years to learn how to make money when I could just go straight to where I knew the money already was: the stock market.
Of course, I quickly learned that, in order to make money in the stock market, you needed to have some money to begin with. A $5k debt, living with my mum in a two-bedroom flat and stacking shelves in a supermarket wasn’t going to cut it.
At the time I was heavily using Metastock software. A friend and I noticed that quite a few people in our little trading group were having trouble getting a grip on its complexities. We came up with the idea of creating a book called the Metastock Programming Study Guide that would help people make sense of the program.
At the start of the Metastock venture, I thought the same thing as I did when writing this book: “Why not?” I was a little more tech-savvy than most and I intuitively understood the software. We could help people and make some money at the same time. I took all the Metastock courses I could and then spent six months turning what I’d learned into a study guide.
The feedback from our immediate community was outstanding. People seemed to find what we’d produced really helpful. The only snag was that, as I have already pointed out, our community was small. If we were going to make any real profit from our months of hard work, we were going to have to learn how to market it to a wider audience.
Which is how I ended up in a room, sick with nerves, wondering if I could really deliver something that would be of value to all these people who had paid to hear me speak. The idea was to use the event to share some knowledge and at the same time, introduce people to our study guide.
Things went… Okay actually.
My delivery was pretty awkward, especially since I basically read my notes word for word for about an hour, making little eye contact with the audience. That made me look a bit like a kid trying to be a grown-up. But it was a huge, defining moment for me. I stepped out of my comfort zone and although I didn’t realise it at the time, discovered the first few pieces of Authority Content. If you really, really feel the need, you can watch an excerpt of one of my first workshops here:
Doing More of What’s Working
We continued to tour around Australia, conducting workshops. As I became more practiced and confident, the feedback from our attendees improved. But we still ran into the same obstacle, significantly expanding our audience and growing our customer base remained elusive, we needed to extend our reach somehow.
We had the idea of videoing our last workshop and maybe giving it away as a bonus to those who bought the study guide. It wasn’t a fully formed idea but we figured we’d just record it and decide what to do with it afterwards. With hindsight, if all we’d done was to give away or sell the video, little would have come of it. But I somehow came up with the idea of chopping the video up into segments and posting them on YouTube (this was pretty cutting edge back in 2003).
That’s when the magic started to happen.
The videos started getting views. A few thousand here, a few thousand there. Given that people looking for guidance on using Metastock was a fairly small niche of the larger group learning about how to trade the stock market niche, these numbers were amazing. Within a short space of time, one of the videos ended up with 45,000 views, we were on to something!
Not only was the Metastock Programming Study Guide a success, the first elements of Authority Content were falling into place.
The Triple Your Trading Profits course came next. I partnered with my co-author of the study guide, Stuart McPhee and followed the same pattern. We created a product, we ran a workshop, we recorded it and we uploaded snippets to YouTube. In fact, we did this a whole bunch of times and that particular channel is coming up to having a few million views!
Admittedly there was a certain amount of good timing involved. Sometimes success in business is about being in the right place at the right time. Video was still something of a novelty and it was a little easier back then to capture a portion of the YouTube audience.
But don’t start thinking that Authority Content is just a fancy name for YouTube marketing. Ploughing all your online marketing efforts into YouTube is just as dangerous as trying to exploit Google loopholes. YouTube was – and still is – a core part of this strategy, but if YouTube died a death tomorrow and was replaced by something entirely new and unforeseen, I could switch platforms with minimal effort and lose virtually no momentum in the process.
The Qualities of a Successful Business
The takeaway from this story is that you don’t need to spend huge amounts of money to market your business, you don’t need to spend years in education, and you don’t need to obsess over getting every detail right the first time around.
A little bit of guile, a willingness to step out of your comfort zone, and a focus on delivering something of genuine value to your customers can take you a long way. Yes, this book is going to show you, step-by-step, how Authority Content can work for just about any business. I truly believe it can work for anyone with the following qualities:
1) A product or service that is genuinely great
You can’t fake this. In the internet age, if you don’t have a great product that you believe in 100%, no amount of marketing is going to earn you long-term success. Eventually the flaws in what you deliver will become common knowledge and your business will lose traction.
Profitability may be the end goal and it may be necessary to get your product into more people’s hands, but you’ll never achieve your objective if you’re not also 100% committed to satisfying your customers and giving them something that is worth far more to them than whatever you’re asking them to pay for.
2) The capacity for growth
If your business suddenly experienced a ten-fold increase in customers, could you handle the increased workload? This may sound like a nice problem to have but, if you’re not prepared for it, your business can break in two. I’ve seen this happen when a business is featured on a “daily deal” website and suddenly they receive more customers than they were prepared to handle. The result is a huge volume of poor customer experiences that can be the death of a business.
3) A mind-set that is prepared for the long haul
It takes years to experience “overnight success”, so you must be willing to think about the long term game and even be willing to make short term sacrifices for long term gain. If you’re obsessed with short-cuts and loopholes, Authority Content isn’t for you.
Evolve or die, remember?
If you get stuck using one strategy then it’s only a matter of time before you come unstuck. It’s easy to confuse skill and talent with being in the right place at the right time. If I reacted to my first successes by assuming I had discovered the perfect marketing formula for printing money, I would’ve gone bankrupt a long time ago.
I didn’t do that. I used what I learned from my first success to develop a strategy that is capable of evolving and allows me to move from trend to trend. I don’t have to compromise my fundamental vision of delivering valuable content that helps my target market achieve their own success.
Evolution, adaptation, rolling with the punches, whatever you want to call it, it must be a part of your business DNA.
As David mentions, you don’t need to have a lot of money or a good education to start a business, as long as you are able to have a product that you 100% believe in and are committed to your customers. If you keep your mindset focused on the long-term game and are able to roll with the punches, then you’ll have a much better chance of success.
We hope you enjoyed Chapter 2 of Authority Content and are sure that you can’t wait to read more! We’ll be posting more chapters from the book, but in case you want to keep on reading straight away, you can visit the Authority Content website to grab a copy, or head over to Amazon.