Often called America’s leading small business expert, Steve Strauss is an attorney, influencer, and USA TODAY’s senior small business columnist. He is the author of 17 books, including his latest, Your Small Business Boom!
Your Small Business Boom – Learn more about Steve’s book and grab your own copy today!
3 Value Bombs
1) Now is a great time to be in business and be an entrepreneur. In this odd era of COVID there’s a huge opportunity.
2) There’s physical and digital ways to make money. Any great entrepreneur can figure out a couple of them, and they can keep replicating what they do.
3) The way to get rich is to duplicate what you do.
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**Click the time stamp to jump directly to that point in the episode.
Today’s Audio MASTERCLASS: Take your Business to the Next Level with These Explosive Ideas!
[1:12] – Steve shares something that he believes about becoming successful that most people disagree with.
- Don’t follow your passion. What he means is that you have to have passion, but you also have to have a market for it. Do what you love, but make sure that other people love it, too.
[3:37] – The story behind the title of the book “Your Small Business Boom.”
- His best-selling book was titled “The Small Business Bible.”
- He got into the word “Boom” due to COVID because as some businesses went out-of-business, others pivoted and boomed!
- He has learned so much over the course of his career, he took the very best ideas from the very best – and from some not so famous entrepreneurs, too – then put them together in an easy to understand, digestible and useable way, to teach people how to BOOM even post-pandemic.
[6:07] – So many people in this world are sheep. They blindly follow the masses. Entrepreneurs should do the opposite.
- Doing the opposite sometimes really works.
- During the great recession, the conventional wisdom was: it’s about time to start a business.
- There’s ample opportunity when everyone else is retrenching.
- Don’t be a sheep. Be a little unconventional.
[9:46] – Top ways to generate passive income.
- 80% of small businesses are a one-person business. That can be a challenge for any entrepreneur.
- Selling on Amazon is an amazing way to make money.
- Real estate is also another way to make money. What’s amazing about real estate is you don’t need 100% of the money to buy a property.
- There are physical and digital ways to make money. Any great entrepreneur can figure out a couple of them, and they can keep replicating what they do.
- Great businesses create multiple profit centers.
[16:25] – Many people wanted to have bigger, higher-paying clients. How do we do it?
- Many businesses either sell to the public or to other businesses. The problem is you tend to have a smaller budget.
- There’s 2 ways to find corporate clients. Either you find them, or they find you.
- If you can create a brand and presence that people can find, they’re going to find you.
[20:19] – The best digital tools.
- Go where your customers are.
- Webinars are an incredible way to take your knowledge and information, and share it with thousands of people.
[22:34] – Can a one-person business scale?
- Absolutely, but you need a team to do it. You can be a solopreneur, but you have to figure out a way to get other people to do the things that you’re not so good at.
- The way to get rich is to duplicate what you do.
[25:35] – Steve’s key takeaway and call to action for Fire Nation!
- Your Small Business Boom – Learn more about Steve’s book and grab your own copy today!
- Now is a great time to be in business and be an entrepreneur. In this odd era of COVID there’s a huge opportunity.
Who's ready to rock today, Fire Nation. JLD here and welcome to Entrepreneurs On Fire brought to you by the HubSpot Podcast Network with great shows like a business infrastructure today, we'll be sharing how to take your business to the next level. With these explosive ideas to drop these value bombs. I brought Steve Strauss into EOFire studios often called America's leading small business expert. Steve is an attorney influencer in USA TODAY's senior small business columnist. He is the author of 17 books, including his latest, Your Small Business Boom! And today Fire Nation, we'll talk about how to do the opposite, not follow the masses. We'll talk about passive income.
We'll talk about finding bigger, higher paying clients. We'll talk about the digital tools that you need and so much more. When we get back from taking our sponsors, turn your small e-commerce business into the next big thing with Klaviyo. Klaviyo is the easy to use email and SMS platform that gives you everything you need to build genuine relationships with your customers. Give it a try with a free account at Klaviyo.com/fire. That's Klaviyo.com/fire. Chances are you're no stranger to high deductible health insurance plans. Why is it that there seems to be no good options. Introducing CrowdHealth, visit JoinCrowdHealth.com/fit and enter code fire at sign up for a special offer. That's JoinCrowdHealth.com/fits promo code fire. CrowdHealth is not health insurance.
0 (1m 25s):
It's a community powered alternative terms and conditions may apply. Steve say what's up to Fire Nation and share something that you believe about becoming successful. That most people disagree with.
1 (1m 39s):
JLD, Greg, to talk with you, my friend. And I love that question. My answer is don't follow your passion. Okay. And you know, and here's what I mean by that. Look, we're all told to follow your passion and in a sense, of course, that's great. Well, we all want to, if you're going to become an entrepreneur, if you got to run your own business, if you're going to quit the grind and take a risk, you want to do something you love. I get it. You look, you did it. When he launched his podcast, I I've done it in my life, my career, my business, but you're passionate. Doesn't necessarily pay the bills. I mean, if your passion is 18th century, Flemish architecture, hard to create a business around that.
1 (2m 22s):
So you have to have your passion, but you also have to have a market. It's those two things that will create a successful business. Yeah. Do something you love, love that. We all love that, but make sure people love it too. And they're going to spend money to buy what you know, and what you sell. That's that's my take,
0 (2m 40s):
Correct? You, but by correcting you, I'm actually showing that your point is even more prescient and correct than people might otherwise think because I had no passion for podcasting. I had zero passion for communication. I had zero interest in microphone. None of that, none. I just knew. I knew one thing I had to surround myself with the right people. If I want it to be successful in a podcast was the avenue to get me there. Now let me be honest. My passion for podcasting has bloomed over the past decade, like years, 2, 3, 4, I woke up and I was like, whoa, I actually really love podcasting. I mean, I had to get good at it before I loved it. I had no passion for something that I was terrible at, which I was day one.
0 (3m 23s):
And that's a great takeaway Fire Nation. The passion can come with.
1 (3m 28s):
And can I just add one thing to that? What you did know is that there was a market for a daily podcast about entrepreneurship, right? So that is, you know, the interesting thing here. There has to be a market for what it is you want to do.
0 (3m 40s):
So, so true. And that's one thing that I always say is, are you creating a real solution to a very specific problem? And if you are doing that, you have a chance of winning. Now I love the stories behind the titles of books. I mean, there's a whole story behind my title of the common path to one common success. We talked about it a little bit in your column and some other times that we chatted as well. Why did you decide to call your new book, your small business? Boom, give us a story behind that.
1 (4m 12s):
Well, one is my, my best-selling book is called the small business Bible. So my agents that will, you know, we need something kind of alliterative to that. And so we kind of were playing around with different ideas, but the, but how do we get to the word, boom. Well, you know, look it, as we all know, COVID changed everything, right? Some, some businesses, too many businesses went out of business, but others pivoted and even others. Boom, you know, I did a, a series of interviews myself last year with some PayPal merchants who really succeed in during COVID. And one of them was this woman who owned these infrared saunas in New York city. Well overnight she had to close all of her saunas, right?
1 (4m 53s):
Because, because of COVID what did she do? She pivoted. And she started creating infrared blankets that she sold on home using e-commerce and she makes more money now with our e-commerce blankets than she ever did with their physical locations. And I thought to myself, you know, I've met so many entrepreneurs over the years, you know, interviewing people as I do for my, my USA today column. And what is it? The ones who were great at it do, right? What were they doing differently? Especially during the pandemic. And I thought, God, I've learned so much over the course of my career in the last year. What if I took the very best ideas that I've come across from very famous entrepreneurs and not so famous entrepreneurs and put them together in a really easy to understand digestible, usable way.
1 (5m 41s):
Cause that's what I'm good at and, you know, teach people how they can boom, even, and especially actually almost post pandemic. So that's the idea. There is ample huge opportunities right now. And let's look how you can take your small business and take it to then to the next level, whether it's a single solopreneur business or 50 employees, let's boom. It, that's the idea
0 (6m 6s):
Fire Nation. I really want you to understand is that when you're trying to build a brand, that has to mean something to you. I mean, let's be honest. I mean, this isn't Steve's first rodeo. I mean, he is now the author of 17 books, but everyone has a meeting. Every one is building upon the brand prior to that. And now one thing that I want to move into, and this is going to sound a little harsh, but it's just the reality is sheep. So many people in this world are sheep, not you Fire Nation. You want me to listen to this podcast? If you are sheep, sheep followed the masses, they just blindly follow the masses. You believe that entrepreneurs should do the opposite of being sheep.
0 (6m 47s):
Tell me more.
1 (6m 49s):
I do, you know, do the opposite. It comes from this classic Seinfeld episode where the gang is sitting in the coffee shop and George orders tuna on toast. And then he says, he says to the waitress and Jerry and in the green, you know what nothing's ever worked for me when I ordered Hunan toast, I'm not ordering the exact opposite of tuna on toast. You know, chicken salad on rye, which, which may or may not be the opposite. And as soon as he does that, this beautiful woman at the counter turns at smiles at him and Elian says, oh, go talk to her. And he says, oh, you know, I can't, I live at home. I'm bald. I live at home with my parents and Jerry says, you should do the opposite. And so George gets up and says, my name is George.
1 (7m 30s):
I live at home with my parents. How are you? And she says, well, hello, great to meet you. Yeah. Next thing you know, they go out and the idea is doing the opposite. Sometimes really works. You know, look, the great recession 10 years ago, the conventional wisdom was it's a bad time to start a business, but who started during the great recession? Uber started during the great recession. Venmo started Instagram started, there is ample. As I said before, opportunity when everyone else has retrenching, you don't have to retrench. That creates an opportunity. If you think for yourself, the conventional wisdom is conventional. I, you know, I tell the story in the book and the small business, boom about bill Walton.
1 (8m 14s):
When he went to UCLA, my Alma mater and he got there. And the very first day of practice, he's highly recruited guy, coach wooden said, Doman coach wouldn't maybe the greatest coach of all time said, kids. We're going to learn how to tie our shoes. And Walton said, I couldn't believe it. What, what is this old man trying to show me? But he was doing the opposite. And what, what the coach knew was how you tie your shoes is important because your feet are how you play basketball. But it's maybe even more important than that because it's the little things make the big things happen is what Walton learned from this great coach and what we can learn. Little things make the big things happen. So sometimes you think you to do these bright, big things, to do the opposite, to make a change, no, a couple little changes in the right place.
1 (8m 58s):
And you can really maybe take your business to levels that you didn't even expect. So that's the idea of doing the opposite, right? Don't be a sheep thing for yourself. Don't be conventional, be a little unconventional. That's why we're entrepreneurs. Right?
0 (9m 10s):
Literally the idea that I became or the reason that I became an entrepreneur, I've always been a little contradictory, is a good word for it. In fact, I don't know if you've ever taken the Enneagram, Steve, but I, out of one to 9:00 AM a challenger. I just like to challenge. And I don't challenge just like to pick fights, but just because I think so much can, can happen when we don't just agree with everything, everybody, but we actually challenged what they believe. Even sometimes I kind of agree with the person. I kind of want to see what their defense looks like to learn more.
1 (9m 45s):
I think that is the makeup of a typical entrepreneur, right? If you don't challenge things, you're going to end up working for other people. And that's okay. You know, people are all kinds of people in the world. Some people are employees and some people are athletes. And some people like a challenge thing in there. They become entrepreneurs. I think
0 (10m 1s):
So true. Now, one thing I want to move into is passive income. I mean, we all want to make money while we sleep. I mean, that is the dream. And I can tell you that dream can become a reality. There's a lot of my revenue streams that make me money while I sleep. What are your top three ways for small business people to do just this?
1 (10m 18s):
So I'm sure Fire Nation has heard some of these before, but the, I, you know, for so many entrepreneurs look, most small businesses are one person. Businesses are right there. Solo preneur to 80% of all businesses are one person businesses. And that can be really a challenge for, for any entrepreneur, because if you're not doing the work, maybe the work doesn't get done. If you have a physical store and the store closes at night, well, what are you going to do? So, you know, going where customers are aware of customers now they're all online. So a couple ideas of course are, you know, e-commerce on your own site or on Amazon or eBay look AMA selling on Amazon, becoming an Amazon seller.
1 (10m 58s):
Isn't it really kind of an amazing way to make some money. First of all, everyone's going to Amazon. Amazon is actually one of the biggest search engines out there. And Amazon creates all these amazing tools for entrepreneurs and small businesses to succeed. So if you're to create an Amazon store, they're going to give you the tool to these, you know, look at some of this great business for your small business. That's kind of amazing, same thing with e-commerce. You can, you know, sell on your store, but maybe you don't want to go. Digital real estate is kind of an amazing way to make money. What I love, what I love about real estate as a passive income source is that you don't need a hundred percent of the money to buy a piece of property.
1 (11m 40s):
You could buy. Let's just use the example of a hundred thousand dollar building. All you need is 10%, $10,000. You can buy something that's worth a hundred thousand and you can leverage that whole a hundred thousand into making a lot more money. Now, what else can you do that? If you want to buy a stock, you have $10,000. You're going to buy 50 shares of Disney, but what if you only needed 10% to buy it? That's kind of amazing. You can only do that in real estate. So there's physical ways and digital ways to make money while you sleep. And any great entrepreneur is going to figure out a couple so that they can keep duplicating what they do.
0 (12m 17s):
I think Fire Nation, you really need to realize that you can pick your lanes and start going down the path, and then guess what there's opportunities for you to really dive deep on the warrants one-star working that are going to be providing you with that passive income that you're going to be generating over time. And for me, I mean, you can look at our income reports. We have over 13 passive income streams that are coming in. Now, some bring in a few dollars a month, some bring in a few hundred. So I'm bringing thousands, some bring in tens of thousands of dollars. And we've just always put more energy and focus into the ones that really started gaining traction and momentum. So is there anything else you want to talk about when it comes to passive income?
1 (12m 56s):
Well, you just said is so important. Rate businesses create multiple profit centers. The problem for so many small businesses is that they create one profit center, maybe two, if you're going a couple of ways to make a buck and they, they do that. And they're great at that, but they do it to death and they don't create more. And the problem is when part of your business is down, you need other parts to be up. Amazon started out selling books and now what do they do? They sell everything or Starbucks, you know, they only sold hot coffee. Now they sell, you know, all sorts of things. Why? Because you need multiple revenue streams so that when part of your business is down, the other part is up. Money's coming in all the time and you don't have to be worried about the quote unquote business cycle as much when you do the way, when you do it, the way you're doing it, John, the way I like to do it, the way I'm recommending people, people do it.
1 (13m 42s):
When I talk about it in the book,
0 (13m 43s):
We have so much to talk about here today, Fire Nation. That's I really want you to realize we're going to be talking about some big, big ideas about how to find bigger, higher paying clients. We're going to talk about the different digital tools that are out there for you entrepreneurs and for those people that are solopreneurs, and want to keep a one-person business as what they do. We have some stuff for you as well. When we get back from thanking our sponsors, looking for a single place online, where you can access next level project management tools, plus organized documents, systems, apps, and more with your team. Introducing notion notion is an all-in-one team collaboration tool that combines everything you need to run your business effectively in one space.
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0 (17m 25s):
I mean, Hey, if we're going to trade time for dollars, or if we're going to work with clients, we want them to be big and high paying so that we're getting a good return on our time investment. How can we do so
1 (17m 34s):
Chapter of the book is a different strategy. That's how I organize the book and this idea of getting bigger, higher paying clients is a strategy I've used a lot of them. This is the one that I've used myself the most in my own business has been really incredibly successful. And the idea is this look at so many small businesses sell either to the public or to other small businesses and that's fine. But the problem with selling to the public or to other small businesses is that they generally tend to have smaller budgets. But if you, if you start to target higher paying customers with bigger budgets, you are as nature as a nature of that going to make more money because they have more, more money to spend.
1 (18m 23s):
So well, who am I talking about? I'm talking about corporations, I'm talking about government, I'm talking about high net worth individuals. And the secret is, and this is a great boom strategy. If you pivot your business and start to target customers, clients with bigger budgets, corporate clients, boy, it can change your business really in significant ways. And then once you do that, what's the benefit of that? Well, then you can co-brand with their brand. And you're all of a sudden you're working. Like in my case, I started working with Microsoft to be the first big corporate client. And that's when the light bulb went on over my head, like, oh, so selling to chambers of commerce who are nonprofits, they don't have a whole lot of profit working with Microsoft.
1 (19m 10s):
I can co-brand with Microsoft. I can tell other people. I work with Microsoft. All of a sudden I started getting more work from other corporate clients because that's an impressive client to that you work with. So it, it can duplicate itself and really, you know, geometrically help you make a lot more money and have a lot more funny, even, maybe work less. How about that?
0 (19m 29s):
That sounds pretty good to me, Steve, and I mean Fire Nation, I really hope you realize that this is a roadmap that has been proven. This is being used by people right here today in now. So before we do move on, anything else you want to add on this topic?
1 (19m 45s):
There's two ways to find corporate client. Either you find them or they find you now the ideal way is if they find you and how will they find you? That's because you created such a valuable brand that it's out there and people hear about you or your social media presence is such that people find you, they do a Google search or they're on social media, or they find links and they find you. And all of a sudden, they go to your website or they go to your social media pages, or they hear about you. And they see, oh, you've worked with Microsoft or, oh, you've worked with X, Y, or Z. And all of a sudden, they're going to want to work with you too. So if you can create a brand and a presence that people can find, they're going to come find you, and then you really charge more because they're finding you the other way in the way most small businesses start is that you find them.
1 (20m 33s):
And how do you do that? Well, it's a matter of doing your work. You get online, you go on LinkedIn, you do some research. You find some company that you think would be interested in what it is you have to sell. Then you've got to find the right people. And I tell you how to do it in the book, but I'm not here to sell a book. I'm here to help people make more money and have more fun and to have a more successful business. And by targeting these bigger customers, finding them online, finding the right people, and then coming up with a proposal, just like you, wouldn't business, pitching yourself and creating a relationship. There you go. Find them or they find you. And that's how you're going to get bigger clients,
0 (21m 5s):
Find them, or they'll find you and see there's a lot. And I mean, a lot of digital tools out there for entrepreneurs, we're talking, podcasts, webinars, live streaming, and that's just the name. If you, in your book, you break down what you think are the best, break it down for us right now.
1 (21m 21s):
What you have to do is go where your customers are. That's really the idea. If your customers are listening to podcasts and everyone's listening to podcasts, boy, there's a lot of value in creating your own podcast. And I'm sure Fire Nation knows this and has heard it before. But by having your own podcast, you become the expert, right? You, you connect with people in your industry. People start to look to you. A lot of value in that or webinars are great. Webinars are an incredible way to take your knowledge, your information, what you know, and share it with many different people. Thousands of people, I'm doing a webinar in two weeks with score.
1 (22m 2s):
Typically we have 3000 people sign up for one of our webinars. Now, how amazing is that? You know, it can be visual. You can interview people again. It's a great way to get people, to find it. And if you're, and one of the real values of a webinar or a podcast is that you're getting people's attention for extended lengths of time. And that isn't a really unusual thing online. You know, typically people go to a website and they spend 60 seconds. If you're lucky, you know, a couple of minutes reading an article, you know, people watch a video. They want that video to be over in two minutes. Boy, if you do a podcast, if you create a webinar, you're getting someone to pay attention for 20 minutes. People listen to podcasts.
1 (22m 42s):
As we know, generally speaking all the way through, because they're doing other things maybe, or if they're really enjoying the podcast, it's because they have great hosts and great guests like us, right? John or a webinar. You know, there's a 45 minute commitment, but people, if you're going to sign up and watch your webinar, they're going to pay attention to it. So those are some great ways to build your brand, to build your expertise. And at the same time, get your name out there and then what's going to happen. What we were just talking about, people are going to find you, they're going to come to you. They're going to hire you. We love that.
0 (23m 16s):
We do love that and foundation. I really hope you understand that this is the power behind these different digital tools that we now have at our finger tips. Now we do have a lot of solar preneurs listening. So let's just break it down for them. Can a one person business actually scale.
1 (23m 32s):
Absolutely. But ironically, you need a team to do it. So you can be a one person business. You can be a solopreneur, but you have to figure out a way to get other, to do the things that maybe you're not so good at. You hire a virtual assistant to take some time off, to take some of your workload or out. And when you free yourself up by hiring a virtual assistant, then you're free freedom market more or sell more or whatever it is, you are great at that reason, people hire you. If you're not spending your day doing email and sending packages and all that kind of stuff, you free yourself up a little bit. Then you can do more. You know, I am a lawyer, although I, I don't practice anymore.
1 (24m 14s):
I came to my senses many years ago, but you know, I had a partner that I worked with when I was just practicing law. And he would always say to me, Steve, you never get rich working by the hour billing, you know, trading your time for money. You know, whatever it is, even if you're making a hundred, 200, $500 an hour, very hard to get rich doing that. The way to get rich is to duplicate what you do. So let's say you're, you're a writer. Well, if you go on to freelancer.com or any other of these other marketplaces, bid yourself, get some work, you can get so much work that you can hire people to do some of the work for you by hiring out, help you as a solo preneur can, can be an entrepreneur, which is you're getting people to help you.
1 (25m 3s):
You're getting the money. You're charging your client a little bit more. And all of a sudden, you know, you've scaled a one person business in ways that maybe you didn't think you could do before, because you're not doing all the work, but you're making all the money.
0 (25m 15s):
I did have to do a deep dive of that when I was actually in law school, I'm a dropout Steve. So I'm no, I'm not even, not even a law school graduate. I'm a law school dropout. Thank God would have wasted so much of my time, so much of my time. But you know, one thing that I did think about when I was in law school was like, you know, doesn't matter how many dollars per hour I'm making because I'm going to be miserable and I'm never going to achieve the type of lifestyle, freedom that I want. And that finally gave me the courage to just depart from that. So that was just kind of a little takeaway into a jail these past
1 (25m 47s):
And absolutely, and look at, I really enjoyed being a lawyer for a while, but it, but it doesn't whether it's law or whatever, if you're not. And we started out talking about passion, if you don't love what you're doing, you're not going to be, you know, that's not going to translate to your customers. And if they don't get that, you are great at what you do. And one of the reasons you're great at what you do, because you love what you do then you're, you're never going to take it to the next level. You're never going to create your own small business. Boom. So you, you absolutely of course do the right thing, John, by saying, Hey, this is not for me, even though it theoretically is for me clearly, it's not for me. So we all have to do that at some point, I think.
0 (26m 23s):
Totally, absolutely. And Steve let's end with a bang brother, give us the one key takeaway that you really want to make sure Fire Nation gets from everything that we talked about here today. Give us a call to action about how we can connect with you. And of course, pick up a couple of copies of your book and then we'll say goodbye.
1 (26m 39s):
Yeah, absolutely. So if you want to find the book and learn more about the book and how to create your own small business, boom, go to small business, boom.com. And my friend, John, I learned something from you and we were doing some work together. I've created some freebies for a Fire Nation. So if you go to small business, boom.com, check it out, there's going to be some free stuff that you can get. A, if you order a copy of the book, book comes out in a couple of weeks and I of course appreciate people checking it out. And what I really want people to know is this is it's a great time to be in business. It's a great time to be an entrepreneur. And it seems like an odd era. This COVID era in it is an odd era, but within that odd era is huge opportunities.
1 (27m 22s):
And with some of the strategies that we've outlined that you, that you outlined on your show, John people can really create your great, your small business, boom, and really create a successful business, which is what I love. Helping people start, run, grow, and succeed in their business. That's, that's my passion. So I love being able to be here with you and, and your audience. So thank you so much for that. And thank you for all that you do as well.
0 (27m 45s):
Well, you're welcome, brother. I appreciate the kind words and the Fire Nation. You're the average of the five people you spend the most time with even hanging out with SS and JLD today. So keep up the heat, head over to eofire.com, just type Steve and the search bar. His Shauna's page will pop up with everything that we've been talking about here today. Steve, thank you for sharing your truth, knowledge value with Fire Nation today. For that we salute you and we'll catch you on the flip side. Hey, Fire Nation today's value bomb content was brought to you by Steve and Fire Nation. Do you have an online store idea? Check out the ideato.store contests by.store domains. They're giving away cash prizes up to $30,000 for sharing your online store ideas.
0 (28m 28s):
Learn more at www.ideato.store. That's www.ideato.store. And I'll catch you there or I'll catch you on the flip side. He'd turn your small e-commerce business into the next big thing with Klaviyo. Klaviyo is the easy to use email and SMS platform that gives you everything you need to build genuine relationships with your customers. Give it a try with a free account at Klaviyo.com/fire. That's Klaviyo.com/fire. Chances are you're no stranger to high deductible health insurance plans. Why is it that there seems to be no good options.
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