Four ways to skyrocket to the top of a new industry

I remember the day clearly. I told my then fiancée I was going to leave my career as a pastor (a job I had been doing for 14 years) and step into full time entrepreneurship. Despite her reassuring me that I could do it and that she "had my back", I was scared spitless.

Fast forward only a few years and I now have a multi-million dollar business and am considered one of the leading authorities in my space.

If you are ready to make a career change and jump into the entrepreneurial world, you’re in good company. The number of people quitting their jobs to start something new is at a six-year high. According to a study by the Kauffman Foundation on national start-up trends, the rate of entrepreneurship continues to rise, and there are nearly 530,000 new businesses starting up each month.

So how do you go from being unknown to skyrocketing to the top of your field? I’ll share with you how I did it in less than 18 months.

1. Identify a real need in the marketplace and match it with a skillset you have.  

My 'aha' moment happened when I was sitting in an event that my friend Giovanni Marsico was hosting. The question was asked to the audience, "How many people in here have used Facebook Ads for their business?". The majority of the hands went up. Then the follow up question was "How many of you have been profitable with those ads?". The majority of the hands went down. I was shocked. That was the moment I pivoted from being a Digital Marketing Consultant to Facebook Advertising Strategist. By recognising an opportunity and matching it with a skill set I possessed, I very quickly found my niche.

2. Follow the 96/4 principle and become a big fish in a small pond.

You may have heard of Pareto’s Principle: the 80/20 rule. The concept is 80 per cent of your outcome comes from 20 per cent of the effort. The same is true when looking for the market you are trying to serve. After identifying my niche I had to quickly figure out how to go from being a small fish in a big pond, to being a big fish in a small pond. To do that, I applied the 96/4 principle. I first narrowed down the 20 per cent I could help with Facebook Advertising. But rather than stopping there (which would have been a 'Red Ocean' - a market with high competition where I’d have a harder time standing out) I wanted to narrow down the 20 per cent of the 20 per cent - the four per cent.

3. Make a list of dream clients and help them using the four 'invisible' assets.

After careful study of ultra-successful mentors and friends, my friend Giovanni taught me about these four assets that every entrepreneur has: 1. Your TIME 2. Your GIFT (or as I would call them your talent and skill) 3. Your RELATIONSHIPS 4. Your REPUTATION. The key is not just knowing them but the sequence in which you can use them. When we first start out, the asset we have most of is time. So we use our time to further develop our gifts. Then we use our time and our gifts to cultivate relationships. Then we can leverage all three of those (time, gifts and relationships to build our reputation). I did just that! I made a list of 'dream' clients, many of which were my heros (now friends) who I wanted to work with and I essentially made them an offer they couldn’t refuse. I told them I would carry out my service for them and they would only pay me after they got a result. Fortunately two of them took me up on this offer, and I was able to over deliver, and the rest as they say, is history.

4. Focus on serving people and getting results to be the most referable person around.

People buy from who they know, like and trust. When I work with someone, not only do they have a great experience and great results, I want the experience to be so good that people can’t help but to refer to me to others (without me even asking). I found that this happens when the focus was on serving the person, even more than getting results. Yes, results are paramount, but numbers are static. Relationships are dynamic.

So there you have it. If you have big ambitions of success in a new industry, I hope these tips help! If they help or if you have an innovative tip that worked for you, I’d love to read them in the comments below.

This is a guest blog and may not represent the views of Virgin.com. Please see virgin.com/terms for more details.

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