Erica Duran, a business coach and freedom based luxury lifestyle designer, gives expert support, guidance and accountability to service-based entrepreneurs so they can earn an abundance of money ($5K-$20K+ per month) from anywhere. Here she talks about how to succeed as an online entrepreneur:
How did you become so interested in online entrepreneurship?
I always wanted to be able to work from anywhere, set my own hours and not have an income cap. I also found that being an online entrepreneur you could literally make money by just being yourself.
Why is it an exciting time to become an online entrepreneur?
It is such an exciting time to become an online entrepreneur because even regions of the world where families don’t have computers, they are getting smartphones and getting online. The marketplace is huge. You are no longer bound by how far you can drive in one day to get to and from work.
What were the most important lessons you had to learn as an entrepreneur?
Some of the most important lessons I’ve had to learn as an online entrepreneur is the fact that online your target market or niche is even more important. The online world is so big and you must claim a target that you’d like to work with. Also, that mindset is pretty much 80 percent of your success and the other 20 percent is getting properly trained and having a marketing strategy that is right for you. Another lesson is that you must design your business around the lifestyle you would like to live and set up boundaries and stick to them! Online businesses are open 24 hours. Someone or something should always be working on your business but it doesn’t have to be (and should not be you).
What are the most common mistakes you see your clients making with their businesses?
The most common mistakes I see clients make before we start working together is not niching down far enough in the beginning and not doing any outreach. “If you build it they will come” does not apply to most online businesses. Especially in the beginning you must do massive outreach! Online businesses are no different than in-person ones – the fact is relationships and your network are still the quickest path to success and income goals.
What leadership qualities do you observe in successful online entrepreneurs?
The leadership qualities I observe in successful online entrepreneurs are communication and enrollment. Building relationships, networking, writing your copy, having sales conversations and converting sales all take an expertise in communication and enrollment.
Which online entrepreneurs do you look up to? Why are they worth following?
I used to have many like Tim Ferriss. But for the past two years or so I stopped following others. I found that it was just a time waster. It would cause feelings of competition and comparison. When you are following someone, even if they are giving you amazing tips and how-to’s, it is never the complete story or in the right sequence to work. What they do may not work for you. It would never be the whole picture of what one should do because most likely the one reason that person is successful is something that comes so naturally to them they leave it out of their info products. Following and modeling people too closely leaves everyone sounding the same in their blogs and other content.
I believe that by looking within yourself more and creating from that space, you then put things out into the world that will attract your ideal clients. This is where receiving one-to-one coaching was so important for me. She was able to coach “me” out of me and help me find my voice. Now, when I work with a client we uncover their unique brand essence and way of working that works for them.
Why did you embrace minimalism?
I embraced minimalism because I wanted to have more experiences rather than things. Having “things” takes up so much time maintaining everything. I am a minimalist, but not frugal. I have few things but they are of good quality or exactly what I wanted (no keeping up with the Joneses). And honestly, I can’t even think straight when things are messy and cluttered.
What’s the No. 1 thing leaders can do to increase their productivity?
Great question! I was actually a productivity expert online before I pivoted into business coaching. The No. 1 thing leaders can do to increase their productivity is FOCUS on what they really want. Stop and think about the result you want from a task or project BEFORE you dive in. This goes along the lines too of what I said before about following/modeling others too closely. You can see that so-and-so has a podcast so then you spend hours trying to create a podcast for your business but then realizing that there was no strategy around creating it or known results rather than “get more visible”.
I ask potential clients this one question all the time when I see them running around trying to do a blog, are on all the social media sites and starting a podcast and they are still broke, “Do you want to be internet famous or do you want to make money?” These two things will intertwine at some point, but in the beginning, you have to decide on which direction because it will make all the difference in how you spend your time and what your immediate income will be.
Why do you believe in mentorship?
I believe in mentorship because it is the fastest and cheapest way to get a result that you are after. The key is finding a mentor that is getting the result you want for yourself and not just someone you are following online. And it is the only way to see outside of ourselves and our own stories, limitations, blocks and circumstances. I think that it is also important to find someone who isn’t a crazy big online “guru” – those types are sometimes too far away, too many steps ahead of where you are and they can’t relate anymore.