Creative entrepreneurs often worry that building their business will be difficult and slow. After all, when you consider selling your product or service, marketing your offer, finding loyal customers, and everything else that goes into running a company, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by how long it may take to see results.
But, you can grow your small business quickly and generate more income by selling irresistible offers that are actually fun to create. Natasha Ho of My Six-Figure Year has made a career out of just that: building a business fast and having fun while doing it.
Natasha is a marketing and sales strategist—plus a chef, wife, and mother—who helps service-based entrepreneurs grow their businesses (and enjoy their work time) to achieve the lifestyle and freedom they desire. Like many of us, Natasha started in a 9-to-5 corporate job, but once her son was born, she decided to leave her marketing gig (and the three-hour round-trip commute) and explore opportunities that let her spend more time with her family.
At first, building a business from scratch felt slow and draining for Natasha. But, once she took her mentor’s advice to “sell first,” she earned $20,000 in a week with her very first offer, virtual cooking classes. Natasha then repeated this method to sell out immersive retreats, one-on-one business coaching sessions, and more cooking classes—growing her business to six figures in its first year while working just 25 hours a week. Now, Natasha gets to help other creative entrepreneurs increase their revenues, cut their hours in half, and have fun while working with their dream clients.
How can creative entrepreneurs grow their small businesses quickly?
When Natasha first started her business, growth seemed difficult and gradual. She realized the tactics she had chosen—building an email list and a social media following—would make her company grow slowly. While email and social are vital marketing components, Natasha decided that bringing money into the business could be easier and faster with a different approach: sell-out offers (AKA services or events that are so valuable to her target audience that she sells every single offer or spot). She breaks down this method into three actionable steps creative entrepreneurs can take to grow their small businesses quickly:
1. Decide who your dream customers are.
Natasha found that many of her initial clients weren’t a great fit for her business, which drained her energy. Her offer was getting results, but she needed to find new customers. “If you enjoy who you work with, you’ll enjoy what you do,” Natasha says. So, she took the time to determine who her dream customers were—and what tactical things she had to do to convince them to buy.
Natasha realized how important it is to actually want to spend time with the people you’re serving in your business. That makes it so much easier to show up, work hard, and have fun while you give your clients the best experience possible. You should be a great fit for your clients, but they should also be a great fit for you!
2. Sell your offer first; then, market & create it.
Natasha started her first business during the pandemic in 2020, when she wanted to share cooking and travel with people but didn’t know how. Her mentor listened to her idea and said, “Go sell it first.” While this was different from the marketing strategies Natasha had already tried, she took the leap and sold virtual cooking classes before actually creating the offer (AKA before writing and designing the actual class).
Customers loved her idea of “traveling” around the world with global cuisines while cooking from home. Just six weeks after that conversation with her mentor, Natasha generated $20,000 in sales from her virtual cooking classes! When your mindset shifts from “I have to create an offer” to “I get to create an offer and impact the world by selling,” you can bring joy to others and help them solve a problem or try something new—just like Natasha did.
3. Reframe selling as having a conversation.
Fun fact: The first person who bought an offer from Natasha was her ex-boyfriend from high school! While he may have seemed like an unlikely first customer, the experience taught Natasha that selling is all about having conversations with the connections you already have. Because her former boyfriend knew her and trusted her on some level, he was willing to talk to Natasha about her offer. Eventually, that conversation and connection led to a sale.
Many people feel nervous about selling and worry they’ll come across as spammy or overbearing. But, Natasha encourages creative entrepreneurs to rethink sales as simply having a conversation. When you start to view selling as an opportunity to get to know someone better (and share more about yourself), you’ll be more honest and vulnerable with your prospects. And, when the person you’re talking to is able to trust you and your word, they’ll be more likely to put their trust in your offer and buy.
Why should creative entrepreneurs add “play” to their work?
While we spent much of this episode exploring how to grow a small business quickly, “play” is something that’s essential to Natasha and needed to be discussed. Before Natasha frequently incorporated play into her business, she used to put aside any notion of “fun” and go into work mode—but that didn’t make her work very enjoyable. And, when her job was draining, it was harder for Natasha to find the energy to play with her son or connect with her husband once the workday ended. “But, I don’t want them to get my leftovers,” she says.
Natasha’s mentor encouraged her to bring the joy she experienced while playing with her son into her work. So, she started turning goal-reaching into a game and saying “yes” to the projects (and clients) that made her excited and happy—and “no” to the ones that didn’t. Before she knew it, Natasha was having fun at work and finding joy in the accomplishments that she and her clients achieved. Natasha encourages other creatives to add play and fun into their work so they, too, can “enjoy the journey and celebrate every win.”
What’s the secret to successfully having a 25-hour workweek?
To be able to cut back on her work hours, Natasha has had to be as efficient as possible. That’s why she exercises during workday breaks, directly asks customers to invest in her offer during sales conversations, and logs off at the end of the day so she can be fully present with her husband and son. This efficiency frees Natasha to focus on quality (not her number of work hours) when she’s creating and selling offers.
While you may not be able to transition to a 25-hour workweek overnight, you can start auditing the time you spend on business activities. For example, Natasha sees a lot of creative entrepreneurs working long hours and sharing free education with their followers. While these no-cost resources can absolutely be helpful and valuable to prospects, they aren’t directly generating income for the business. Instead, you should determine what will move the needle in your business and spend your time on those tactics that call prospects to action and encourage them to buy.
Friend, I hope Natasha’s story and advice have inspired you to start conversations with your dream clients and have fun while selling! When you do, you can enjoy watching your small business grow more quickly and having more free time for the people and things you love.
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