In the online business space, there are a lot of big name brands. People everyone knows and whose names we frequently throw around as success stories and case studies.
When someone wants to start an online business, they often look to these big names as examples of what they want to build someday.
I want to have a blog, a podcast, a course, a membership community, a SAAS app, a fancy autoresponder sequence, speaking engagements and a bestselling book that teaches people something about having a business, chasing a passion, and have an awesomely awesome life of awesomeness.
We want that because that’s what the big names have. But those big names are often at level 3 of the game.
Like with anything in life, you can’t get to level 3 without first going through level 2 and you can’t get to level 2 without going through level 1.
Seems simple enough right?
Grant, what the crap are you talking about with these levels?
I’m glad you asked.
Level 1 in business requires that you get really good at something.
Level 2 is that you teach what you learned in level 1.
Level 3 allows you to move to other markets and niches.
Let me give you some examples to demonstrate this…
Pat’s brand teaches people how to build smart, passive income streams. But Pat didn’t come right out of the gate and start there. He started by creating and selling an ebook to teach people how to pass a random architectural exam (level 1).
As he continued to learn more about that and dial in how to best do it, it gave him the credibility and platform to teach it to others (level 2). Today he teaches on a variety of related subjects that have nothing to do with writing and selling an ebook (level 3), but because he went through the first two levels, he can do that.
Michael has positioned himself as “Your Virtual Mentor.” It’s a great brand and one many people would love to do. Being a virtual mentor sounds cool. But long before he planted his stake in the ground for that, he taught people about publishing.
He was the CEO of Thomas Nelson publishing and was an expert in that space (level 1). It allowed him to then teach on that topic (level 2). After building that platform as a publishing expert, he’s been able to go more broad and teach people about goal-setting, platform-building, and writing a blog (level 3).
Amy is known for Facebook marketing. It’s a hot topic that a lot of people are interested in, and Amy knows that world inside and out. Amy got really good at Facebook marketing (level 1) and then began teaching it to others through courses (level 2).
Today, in addition to Facebook marketing, she teaches people about list-building, sales funnelsk webinars and other online business topics (level 3). But that doesn’t happen unless she first starts with getting really good at Facebook marketing.
Let me give you one more example…
If you said you were at level 1 and wanted to build an audience around lifestyle design, health & fitness, and write a book about learning disguised as a cookbook, people would think you’re crazy. Tim started at level 1 by writing what he’s most commonly known for, The 4-Hour Work Week.
He not only lived that life but then taught it to others (level 2). Because of that audience and the credibility he built, he was then able to go into seemingly unrelated markets to write The 4-Hour Body and The 4-Hour Chef (level 3).
Do you see what these (and many others online) have in common?
You have to start at level 1 and get really good at something. Then you can move to level 2 and teach others about what you’ve learned. Finally, as you build your audience, you can go broader with level 3.
So what does this mean for you?
1. You can’t skip levels. Let’s be honest…level 3 is pretty sexy. Being viewed as an online (or offline) business expert or guru seems pretty cool. Having lots of topics you can talk about that people look to you for is awesome. But there is no cheat code to skip to level 3. You have to start at level 1.
2. Pick ONE topic (or audience) for your level 1. You can’t start level 1 by trying to get good at a bunch of different topics. That doesn’t work. Pick ONE topic/niche/market you can dominate and then eventually you can move to other areas.
3. You can’t teach what you don’t know. I think it would be interesting to teach people about Facebook advertising. It seems to be a hot topic and a growing opportunity. But you know what I don’t know a ton about? Facebook advertising. So I can’t skip to level 2 and start teaching something I haven’t lived.
4. Start narrow and build broad. In the examples above, Pat, Michael, Amy, and Tim each teach a wide variety of different subjects and topics. But they didn’t start like that. They got really good at something narrow before moving to something more broad.
You can’t just skip levels by hopping in a magical green tube like this is Super Mario Brothers. It doesn’t work like that.
You want to get to the level that your mentors and heroes are at?
Be willing to put in the work they did that got them to where they are.
Image courtesy of: sunnyUK