The 1-Page Exercise to Help You with Any Business Decision: Mission > Method > Mechanism

If you can rock with me for just a few moments, I will explain a simple framework to help you make business decisions . . . of any kind . . . at all . . . ever.

It’s so tempting as a business owner to go back and forth on deciding between two software tools (“Do I need MailChimp or ConvertKit?”) or between two different methods of accomplishing a goal (“Do I want to connect more deeply with my audience through an email list or a Facebook Group?” // “Should I blog or do Facebook Lives?”) . . . when really, the question as is will waste your time because it’s likely that your overall mission or problem wasn’t well defined.

Meaning: The more defined and clear a business question, problem, or goal is, the more the clear answer is and the faster the best choice will make itself seen.

I want to introduce you to the Mission > Method > Mechanism framework.

This model (a.k.a.: short adult homework activity) will help you with all of your business decisions . . . and honestly, your life decisions as well. It helps you define your mission (goal), decide on the method (way) you will go about your mission, then (and only then) select the mechanism (tool) to carry out the chosen mission in the chosen way.

Your mission is more important than the means or method you go about doing it in, and your chosen method is more important than the tool you decide to execute with, so Mission > Method > Mechanism. Let’s begin. Or, grab the PDF framework (it comes with a few pages of instructions as well:

Now, let’s begin.

1. Define your mission.

The first thing to do is choose a key business mission (goal) you want to focus on. You’ll go through this process multiple times for different goals, so just start with one.

Create a statement that has a clear, measurable outcome.

Examples of business missions (goals) that are NOT clear and will lead to foggy decision making:

  • “To become an expert in my field.” Hard to measure. Hard to know when your audience or the world at large feels this way about you. Terrible goal that can leave you feeling unaccomplished.
  • “Empower women to be their own boss.” Get back to me when you can measure this.
  • “Create an engaged, trustworthy email list.” Not the ‘trustworthy’ word though.
  • “Stop trading time for dollars with my services.” But like, how?
  • And so on . . .

Examples of great missions (goals) that are CLEAR and will lead to epic decision making:

  • “Build an interest list of 100 people for my new online yoga course before it launches.” Simple to measure. You either end up with 100 people, or 0 people, or 2,730 people, etc. on your interest list. Good job, friend.
  • “Help one woman transition out of her full-time job into running her own freelance business that makes as much or more income for her within six months.” Go on with your bad self. Super measurable, super clear.
  • “Create an email list of 500+ people in the next 6 months.” Those numbers are clear.
  • “Release an online workshop (for around $100) teaching people how to DIY the home organization service I currently do in a DFY (done for you) capacity. Test the workshop out by pitching it to my current email list (140 people) to see if they buy and speak well of the product.” Yeah, I know, these “clear” goals can take up more space sometimes than vague ones, but it will be much easier to develop a strategy and select the tools to help make them happen.

Now that you have your mission statement . . .

How to Start Pitching Guest Posts (Even If You Are A Complete Online Business Newbie)

Psst—This amazing guide on how to pitch guest posts the smart way is by Sana Choudary (catch her bio at the end of the post). Her mission is to help humans like you build your email list and revenue by getting guest posts.

Do you feel like a total newbie online? Or maybe just a newbie to building your email list through guest posting?

Do you want to guest post but aren’t sure how you can sell influencers on the benefits?

I get it. I used to feel the same way.

I had no idea:

  • How to find the right sites for guest posting?
  • How to sell them on the benefits of my guest post?
  • What to have in place before I pitch?
  • What to research or be aware of before I pitched?
  • What to include in the pitch to make them believe my post was a fit for them? Even though I was a total newbie with no readers, credentials, or other guest posts and a site so new it still had demo content!

Then one day I realized…

All my problems boiled down to one thing

Not knowing how to sell my guest posts to influencers in a human way.

I did not want to come across as an obnoxious salesperson pushing a guest post they didn’t want.

Neither did I want them to think I was some sleazy hustler goading them into accepting a post that didn’t really benefit them.

Instead, I wanted influencers to feel excited about my guest post right away!

I wanted them to know without a doubt that my guest post would be immensely valuable to them and their audience.

If I could do this they wouldn’t care that I was a newbie.

Neither would I have to take lots of time away from building my own blog, because the guest posts I’d pitch would get accepted.

And this started my journey of figuring out how to pitch guest posts in a more human way.

Even though it took a long time and a lot of work, in the end, it was all worth it because…

Selling my guest posts in a human way changed everything

I have since guest posted at:

  • Adweek even though at the time I had just started my site and didn’t have any other guest posts
  • Well-known sites like VentureBeat, NavidMoazzez.com
  • Ryan Levesque’s Ask Method community which led to the invitation to speak at their 1000 person ASKLive conference

Credibility Photo Collage
These days I don’t need to pitch guest posts often.

Because the ones I do pitch get accepted– I get 4 out of every 5 guest posts accepted.

How would you like to get 4 out of every 5 guest posts accepted?

Today I’m going to show you my three best ideas to make this happen. I also have 3 very special FREE gifts to help you even further. Make sure you read all the way to the end to get those.

Table of Contents

How to sell your guest post the human way. Hint it’s more than just building relationships

How to get your online headquarters ready for pitching

Think Twice About Your Online Course’s Refund Policy

P.S. For you fellow Drake fans, I was considering titling this post, “If you’re reading this, it’s not too late” but then I realized you would have no idea what the article was about.

P.P.S. I am seriously open to debate on this topic. I will present my views but I am deeply interested in learning from the way other people see the world.

There is one reason (you—if you’re someone who is busy building a meaningful business) I was inspired to write this, and I have a few quick illustrations below to show my reasoning. Hopefully you won’t hate me when it’s over.


Why I’m strongly against online course and digital product refund policies that make people do X amount of work or jump through fiery hoops to get a refund.

You.

I write this blog for you. I create tools for you. I stay up at night dreaming, scheming, and creating for you. Not just in the “I say this because this is how online marketers are supposed to talk” way, but in the “No, literally, I relate to where you are and who you are, and where I had to come from to create various businesses and products I love” kinda way.

Refund policies that make clients submit worksheets, and modules, and proof of this and that and the other rub me the wrong way.

If your entire audience consists of people who don’t care about money at all, then cool.

If you have people in your audience that care about spending their money on things they get value out of, or who are on a specific budget, or who may, despite your wishes and requests, spend their last dollar on your program, then hmm.

How to Start a Profitable Online Business for $50 in 3 Months or Less

This post is for your eyes only if you are currently trying to start an online business (a profitable one) from scratch . . . and you want to do it in three months or less . . . oh, and you only want to spend about $50.

Whereas this post (originally published in April of 2015) used to link to a podcast episode on this topic, I decided to completely revamp the post. Why? I think the first chapter of my newest book (which you can find out more about at the bottom of this post) might inspire you and help you to create an amazing online business this year. Ready?

Let’s only assume 3 things as you start your business:

  1. You have access to a computer and the Internet a few times per week.
  2. You have access to a smart phone (yours or a friend’s) that can take pictures and connect with social media.
  3. You either have your closest friends’ and family’s email addresses, or you’re connected with them on Facebook, or through some other electronic means. As in: You can get in contact with your people—whether that be 10 people or 1000, for me, it was more like 10 when I first started. Or, if you’re not connected with friends and family, you’re okay with building a presence online and engaging with strangers (who will totally become your friends, don’t worry).

Now, let’s get into the first chapter.

Chapter 1 of Build Your Freedom Business for $50 in 3 Months or Less: How to Start Coaching, Freelancing, or Selling Information Products Online

“What have I gotten myself into?” you may be asking. A lot of things. But the main one is discovering a new system for starting a business you love. Really, a way of thinking and moving through the very involved, and intricate, and amazing world of creating a profitable online brand or empire.

After years of creating various businesses, years of creating websites for clients and personal projects, and most recently, years of creating and running online businesses full time, I can without doubt tell you I’ve failed a lot.

Wait, what?

Yes. I’ve failed miserably, I’ve failed publicly, and I’ve failed my way to success. Let me explain. Because I believe the lessons learned can help you create your own business online with less stress, fewer headaches, fewer sleepless nights, fewer mistakes, and less time. It will still be a lot of work, but man will it be worth it.

Let’s explore.

The Internet created a whole new world of possibility and completely changed the way we (1) get information, (2) make purchasing decisions, and (3) operate businesses . . . among other things.

The online space as it is today makes it possible for people like my friend Erika, a mother of three adorable kids, to make a living online training people how to provide better customer service. The Internet allows my friend Mike to provide coaching for mind, body, and emotional health. It allowed my friend Kelsey to create and sell planning templates to busy women for a full-time income until she decided to also show people how to design their own (which gave her another full-time income). My friend Ivan sells design and brand strategy work online. My friend Aislinn markets and sells her freelance writing skills online for a living. And I could go on . . .

I have friends doing everything from teaching yoga, and selling interior design or architecture services, to creating fabric patterns and selling cookbooks online. I myself write and publish books on business and marketing, plus create courses on starting and running a business, getting better at conversations as an introvert, and using yoga and movement to increase your flexibility, durability, and range of motion as an athlete or gym rat.

How is it possible to make and sell the types of products and services all of these people are creating? How can you really create significant extra income each month or perhaps even work for yourself full time online?

There is more than just one way to accomplish this goal, and in this book, you and I are going to explore the “system” I’ve used to create a full-time income online in the following ways: through freelancing, through online coaching, through self-published books, and through online courses.

Please be mentally prepared that this process is not easy and will require consistency from you, and that the “system” I’m showing you is a solid framework that you can modify and mold to fit you.


Here’s an overview of the system that we will dive into deeply within this book:

Step 1: Start with PASSION.

As cliché as it sounds, I think that the passion you feel for a hobby, a cause, a people group, a certain subject, or a specific skill will be a key driver of creating something meaningful and awesome.

In this book, we will get into a questionnaire to help you discover some of your true passions plus a list of 1001+ niche topics to help you pinpoint what interests you, what you want to talk about and create content on, and what you love.

As an example, for the purposes of this overview, let’s take a woman named Frankie who is a yoga + fitness instructor, a woman named Ingrid who is passionate about the uniqueness and strength of introverts, and a man named Paul who has transformed his health and body by becoming vegan and eating an amazing plant-based diet.

Meet Frankie, Ingrid, and Paul. Your friendly avatars will help us process all this epic information on starting an online business coming at you.

Frankie identifies her passion as helping people get fit.

Ingrid identifies her passion as helping introverts embrace + use their personality traits and succeed in life.

Paul identifies his passion as the power of veganism to transform your internal health and your body.


Step 2: After identifying your passion, identify your PEOPLE.

Part one. When you have a specific topic/niche in mind, it’s time to start imagining the basic details and habits of the type of person who will be interested in your topic or who needs help with what you provide content on.

Paul might assume that women (and a few men), between the ages of 24 and 50, who have had digestion issues or who are having a hard time losing weight or staying energetic throughout their day might be in need of his information.

Frankie might start to realize she really wants to work with martial artists and other athletes in need of strength and agility. She might then assume most of her clients or audience will be between the ages of 20 – 40, and she might also assume that many of her clients will be men.

Ingrid might realize that most of the people she’s ever talked to about extreme introversion are women, between the ages of 25 – 50 who are tired of being made to feel like their personalities are weird or bad.

Part two. Once you have the basic details of your people in mind, you can head to the Internet (and to in-person events, hangouts, or organizations) to actually find these people and engage with them. In fact, you may already be involved in groups either online or in real life that hold your ideal audience members.

Part of creating a successful online business is narrowing down and/or deeply understanding your audience--the people you want to help.

Ingrid might find a Facebook group or another type of online community for introverts and join it. She might also start reading the comments on top blogs about being an introvert.

Paul might find a Facebook group for people trying to lose weight or struggling with digestion issues (there are groups online for all types of needs, people, and interests).

Frankie might connect with people in her gym or people who regularly comment on a popular MMA Instagram account or a men’s health magazine’s Instagram account.

Part three. After you’ve engaged with your people a bit, it’s time to learn more specifically how to help them. This may include working with them pro bono, providing free content to them, or even creating some low-priced services or products to test the waters.

Paul might offer to coach one of the women in an “Overcome IBS” group online through a plant-based diet for 30 days. He might also create some free meal plans and share them with his friends on Facebook.

Frankie may decide to offer a few free sessions to a martial artist at her gym who she has seen lifting in such a way that will slow his progress towards becoming more quick and agile. She might also decide to do a “10 Days of Basics” series, where she covers some foundational lifts, exercises, and principles for people who want more speed and agility—then she might share her videos or pictures with an online group she is a part of and invite people to ask any questions they may have.

Ingrid may start asking questions in the “Introvert Power” Facebook group she found about what people’s biggest struggles are or where they feel most misunderstood. She might then create and share several new blog posts that address the topics the other women have brought up.

Be consistent and small. That’s how you win at business.

These are the words I will pass on to my daughter or son (if I have a child in the future) should they ask me about how to be successful, or start a meaningful business, or build a purposeful life.

I have actual tears in my eyes as I begin to write these words. Partially because I was humbled and unable to speak after reading your comments on yesterday’s post (thank you, forever), and partially because I am overwhelmed with the simple, powerful truth I’m about to share.

These words probably won’t be new to you. No words really can be. But it’s the decision to embrace and apply them that matters.

Raise your hand if you are like I am when it comes to ideas—you have 1.3 million of them . . . every single time you blink or inhale.

They crowd your mind, excite you, drive you, wake you up, prevent you from sleeping, and honestly . . . eventually overwhelm you.

Your ideas are great. And any one of them CAN work. Any one of them CAN be the thing that helps you create a lifestyle where you’re able to breathe, take breaks, provide for your family in new ways, actually go on a vacation, etc. ANY single one of your ideas can do that.

But they’re likely all missing the thing that all of my ideas were missing a few years ago before I started this brand.

Consistency and smallness.

“Mom, what can I do to be great? Even when all the odds are against me?” asks my fictional child. Let’s name him Emmanuel—obviously we can all refer to him as Manny. Or, “The Man.”

“Son,” I reply slowly. “Be consistent, and be small. Every single day.”


Be consistent.

Show up. Consistently.
Keep creating content.
Speak passionately to a crowd of 0.
Until you’re speaking passionately to a crowd of 3. That’s 3 whole people, with whole lifetimes of experience and memories, who have chosen to tune into your words. That’s an honor.

Create. Consistently.
When everyone else has gone to bed.
When everyone else has stopped paying attention to your dreams.
When absolutely no one seems to care.
When someone has recommended to you that you stop or that you move onto something more logical (to them—major eyeroll emoji).

Love. Consistently.
Until your love finds the community of people it’s most needed by.
Until people can’t help but take your concern for them seriously.
Until someone, somewhere believes in themselves again.

Listen. Consistently.
Not just until you hear the one thing you choose to respond to.
Not just until it gets uncomfortable.
Not only for the sake of appearances.
Not only to focus on how someone else’s words make you feel. But also to focus on how they feel.
But also to understand what people need from you.
But also to know what to create consistently, where to show up consistently, and how to love consistently.

Be small, son.

In the way you approach an important goal.
Because if you focus only on the grand dream . . .
And if you focus only on the one outcome you’re hoping for . . .
And if you care most about the final destination . . .
Then you miss the opportunity to take the steps to get there.
Then you miss the stops along the way that were meaningful and beautiful for you and for others.
Then you miss the signs that were pointing another direction—where more purpose and greatness were hiding.