If you’re an entrepreneur of any kind, you likely have a hard time giving up on possibility…   

This is both your greatest gift + your most detrimental weakness. 

That’s why I want you to ask the question (right now!)… “Am I turning down opportunities OR saying ‘no’ to distractions?”  

In episode 129 I explained “The Rule of One,” i.e. choosing one target market, one product, one conversion tool, and one traffic source for one year (listen to the episode to hear all the details!)

Today I want to be really clear…  If you’re under $1M in revenue, there is no exception to this rule. 

Yes, you have to niche down. Yes, you have to choose ONE.

But the good news is – there’s relief in choosing “just one!” There’s relief in letting go of everything to do one thing well. 

In this episode I’ll answer your follow-up Q’s to episode 129, “The Rule of One,” plus go deep into… 

  • How I learned this lesson the hard way
  • Why I’m saying ‘NO’ to top-notch business advice
  • And one thing to note if you’re in ecommerce

Tune into this 15-minute episode + commit to getting REAL with yourself + your business in 2020. Then head over to Instagram (@emilyhirsh) to share your results!

If you’re ready to launch + scale with Team Hirsh, head to HelpMyStrategy.com to apply to work with us!

Key Points: 

[1:32] The entrepreneur’s greatest gift (+most detrimental weakness)

[3:15] “But my business is different!” No, it’s not. 

[4:50] Here’s how I learned this lesson

[6:26] It’s not an opportunity, it’s a distraction

[8:33] Sometimes this means losing money… 

[9:30] I don’t need more advice, maybe you don’t either

[12:37] One thing to note if you’re in ecommerce… 


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Episode Transcripts:

Hello everyone. Welcome back to the podcast. I hope you guys are all having an amazing January and first couple of weeks of the new year. I love the new year energy, coming off that holiday. And it’s also an exciting time in a lot of our clients’ businesses, because January is usually a really good month, especially for people in the health and fitness industry. So I love January and just that new year energy. So I hope you guys are all enjoying that and having a good start to 2020.

So, a while back, I did a podcast about the Rule of One in marketing [episode 129]. And so, if you haven’t listened to that, go back and listen to that podcast. But, I got some follow-up, actually, messages and questions about it. And I knew I would, because here’s the thing… [The basic message] of that podcast told people that you need to focus, and that if you’re under a million [in revenue], you should only have one offer, one target audience, one strategy… basically one thing, one traffic method, one thing in every category that you focus on. And you’re very focused. And that really stresses a lot of people out, including myself a while ago. When I’ve had [a] coach and especially my main friend, Alex Charfen, and coach, who’s my biggest business advisor… I just do what he says… tell me things like, “You’ve got to simplify,” or “You can’t do that, and you have to do only this,” I would fight back, and I would fight back hard often, because I thought, “Well, this is another revenue stream,” or “I want to do it,” or, “I’m bored,” and I could see potential.

And I think it’s the biggest gift and the biggest weakness that entrepreneurs have is, we can see all of this potential. And so we can see like, “Oh, this could just make so much money.” And so we can’t turn it down. We can’t turn it down, whether it’s different audiences we’re targeting, different clients we’re going after, or different products we’re offering, or… making it so that we’re on YouTube and Facebook and Instagram and all the things, and doing it all.

That is our biggest weakness, because we think like that is… We can find opportunity, and we know how to do that and create and find opportunity. But if you lose focus and you don’t have enough focus, you actually are going to hurt yourself. And so, I got a couple of follow-up question messages of people who were like, “Well…” This actually makes me laugh, because I just love it. It was me, too! It was like, “Well, let me tell you about my business and why I have three different target audiences,” or “…why I have three different funnels…” and then, “Tell me if you still think the rule applies to me.” The “rule of one” is for [businesses earning] under a million [in revenue]. When you pass over a million, I think you can have a few different offers.

I wouldn’t say you could go after multiple audiences, though, still. I think it’s more powerful to continue to go after the one that got you to a million. But you can break the rule a little bit after you hit $1 million in your business. So these people were under a million, and they sent me these messages or a response to our podcast that was just like, “Let me explain my situation, and then tell me if I’m an exception to the rule.” And I love it, because that’s exactly what I did, too! I was like, “Well here’s why it’s okay that I don’t follow this rule,” [I said that] in the past. And so my answer to both of them, actually… and I did respond to it, and I did respond to them, just to give them a little bit [of information]. But I’m hoping that, if they listen to this, this helps them out [more].

But, the rule still applies to you. So, I want you guys, if you are… One specifically had three different target audiences they were going after with two different main offerings. And it was like, “Here’s why. They’re all working, they’re all working a little bit.” And I’m like, “Are they, though? Because you’re not at a million… and you have a lot have a lot going on.” And so, oftentimes what happens, and here’s what happened to me is, I would think that I have to do this thing. I would think that I have to go after different audiences or that I would have to have multiple offers, and I would almost create stress and urgency around doing that, and around getting that to work and growing both of them, and creating that stress.

There was one point in the early, beginning of my business… Many of you might not know this… so, I started out as a virtual assistant, and then I built my agency. So my very first course that I created was, “How to Become a Virtual Assistant.” And then I was also working with clients. So that is like, two different businesses. And it took me until, gosh, I want to say a year and a half ago to two years [ago], to just completely shut down and ignore that course.

I was not going to pursue targeting people who wanted to become a virtual assistant or even grow their agency. I was focused on the other business that was making all the money and that was growing faster, and I just shut it down. But until that seed was planted in my head [of], “You should shut it down, and you should focus,” I didn’t even really think about it. I just kept, kind of creating this stress and creating this urgency. And I think that entrepreneurs are, again, also really good at that, [at] creating projects and these deadlines, and we put it on ourselves and it… I don’t know, for me it’s like, I’m really good at doing that. And then sometimes I back up, and I’m like, “Why do I have this urgency over creating this thing?” [when I actually need to ask,] “Do I really need to do that?”

So until that seed is planted, you don’t really think about it. And so my goal is to plant that seed for you guys, and plant that seed of… if you are under a million [in revenue], you should have one target audience and one core offer. End of story. There is no exception to the rule, because yes, you could make it, yes you could still grow with multiple, but it’s going to be a lot harder.

And so this specific person, I just asked her… My response back was, “[…] Out of those two offers, do you have one offer that’s more profitable or the delivery is more built out, [i.e.] it’s easier and more streamlined for you to deliver?” She immediately had an answer, “Yep, I do. It’s this one.” And I said, “Okay, so that’s your core offer. Kill the other one.”

And I think that when you say that it’s like a relief. It’s like, “Oh my gosh. Yeah. I could let all of that go. It’s not even making me that much money… [and I could] put all my time and energy and money into the other offer.” And then it’s like this thing, I don’t know, because I’ve been through it, and I think she experienced it, too, where it’s this thing of just, “Oh wow. Like, so I can do that? And I have permission to do that?”

And so, my goal is that you guys feel that way if you’re in this situation. And then she’s like, “Well, so within that other offer we have like […] three or four different industries that we’re targeting. Do I have to go down to only one?” And I said, “Yeah.”

So I said, “Is there one that is your core, like you’re experts in, and the majority of the people are in that industry, and that you should go after them?” And she said, “Yeah,” and she named it. And so I’m like, “Well, there is your answer. You go after that industry, and you sell that offer.” You go after the industry that you already… the audience that you are already having success with, and you have the most success with, and you’re seeing the most results with already. And then you probably have these other side projects that you’re like, “Well we have like one client, and so that will work, because we can get more of them, and we have one client over here, this audience…” And you don’t want to give up the opportunity, but it’s not an opportunity, it’s a distraction.

So you focus it down to that one audience and then that one offer, and you just kill the other offer. And sometimes, honestly, that means losing money. And that means… I think the hardest part is letting go of all the time and the effort and maybe even the investment that I put into trying to make that other thing work… But trust me, you will make so much more money and with less effort and stress if you just focus and you just say like, “Forget it. That was a learning lesson.” And I’ve done that a couple of times where it was just like, “I shouldn’t have ever started that project. I need to focus down, and I’m going to let it go, and I’m not going to worry about the money that I invested into it, because that was my learning lesson.” And the more you do that, the more you realize that you’re going to focus, and you’re able to do that.

A quick side story, this is a funny side story. I want to share how obsessed I am with focus, because it was the key to my success, because it was the key to me scaling my business and growing my team and having that success. So, I just spoke recently at Internet Marketing Party here in Austin. And David Gonzalez puts it on, and he does what’s called a “think tank” for all the speakers, and it’s this nice thing where they do… it’s almost like a little mini-mastermind, and he’ll fly in experts, and you tell him the topic that you want to talk about, and they’ll come in and kind of mastermind with you.

And he kept asking me like, “What do you want your think tank to be on the day that you speak?” And I was just not really responding… I wasn’t ignoring him, I was like, “I’ll think about it, I’ve got to think about it.” And then it came close, like the month before, and I was like, “Honestly, it’s a really good opportunity to have that, and to have people come in, but I am so focused, I have my plan, I have my strategy, I know what I need to do, I know what I need to do with my team. I don’t need more ideas. I don’t want to go in a room for four hours and get ideas that are potentially going to be really distracting. Even if the ideas are really good, they will be distracting!” And I know exactly what I’m doing for the next year, and focus, and it’s not an exciting… my focus is, keep growing my business on what’s working, keep building out their processes so they’re even better. It’s not like this exciting new thing.

So you don’t have to constantly be launching new things and having new ideas and building new products to have success. In fact, it’s the opposite. And so I actually turned it down, and it was funny, he’s like, “We almost never have speakers turn that down. That’s amazing that you’re that focused and serious.” And I’m like, “Yeah, because I’ve been in rooms where… they don’t know my business. Four hours is not enough [time] to go deep into my business and figure out the problems. I have really great relationships with entrepreneurs and friends, like Alex Charfen, here that do that for me. I don’t need more ideas, I don’t need more advice. I’m very clear, and that will just be distracting.” And so I turned it down. And it’s actually a really great opportunity. And so that was just a side note. That is how I see my own business, too.

So, in summary of this episode, it’s kind of a follow-up from the Rule of One, and the question of, “Do I have to niche? Do I have to niche down my audience? And do I have to get specific with my offer? Are there exceptions to that rule if you’re under a million?” And my answer is, “No, there are no exceptions.” I want to plant that seed in your head, because I want you to go through that experience that I’ve gone through where, I thought I had to keep pursuing this. It was like, “I’ve already put time, I’ve already put money into this project. I can’t stop now,” or “I’ve already put money into this product,” or whatever it is, “I can’t stop now. And I have to keep going.”

And so, planting that seed of like, “Do you, though? Do you really have to keep going? Is there a better way,” will make it so that I want you guys to just start considering what that would look like. And chances are, you’re going to start to feel relief, and you’re going to start to feel like, “Oh yeah, this makes total sense, and this is how I should do it.” Because that’s what I felt when that seed was planted. But until the seed was planted, I thought I was on the right path, and I thought like, “I should pursue multiple things, and I should have multiple offers,” until that is there and you start, kind of, going through the scenario of what that would look like, I think it’s hard to see it. So that’s my goal for you guys.

And so the answer is, yes, you have to niche down. You have to get specific with one product, especially if you’re under one million [in revenue]. Now, I do want to note, if you’re in e-commerce, obviously you might have a couple more products, but you’re still solving one problem with those products, and you’re targeting a target audience. So you’re not selling something for moms and then also something for pets, for example. I don’t know, that’s the first thing that came to my head! Because that’s two different businesses. That is going to be very hard.

So chances are that right now there’s an opportunity for you to focus, for you to stop doing projects that don’t actually matter and that you just think you should do, and really get clear. And January is a good time to look at that. January is a good time to evaluate that. And if I can be that voice for you… I love it, how your first response is like, “Well, let me explain my…” a lot of people’s response [of like], “Let me explain my business, my scenario, and why I’m an exception to the rule.” That is so entrepreneurist, and I did the same thing many times of like, “Well wait, you don’t actually understand. I’m an exception.” But no, you’re not. You still need to focus. It is still the key to success.

And I want you guys to include that, especially at the beginning of the year. It’s a great time to be looking at that. Looking at your goals, looking at the projects you guys are working on in your company or your team ,and asking yourself like, “Is this really what we need to be doing? Are we focused? Are we niched down? Are we specific with what we’re doing?”

Thanks so much for tuning in today, guys. If you guys would like to work with Team Hirsh this year, and have us help you either launch and scale that one offer, one funnel, or if you hit do have multiple, because you’re over a million [in revenue], we’re good at doing both of those things. You can go to HelpMyStrategy.com to apply to work with us, and I’ll see you all next time.