2019 is a great time to be an entrepreneur. Yes, starting your own business is tough, but there are a massive number of options available to you when you’re taking your first steps. Huge markets. Huge demand. Huge variety. However, without the right approach, that’s not always such a good thing. Sometimes too much choice can be a hindrance, not a help. There are so many options that you dabble between them. There’s no clarity in your strategy. When it comes to getting started, one of the most important things is to minimize risk and maximize success. The vast majority of online businesses fail within their first month, whether it’s through lack of leads, lack of sales or lack of delivery. So it’s vital to follow a PROVEN business model to reduce risk and encourage rapid growth. The easiest and fastest way to see results in business – and give you the best chance of becoming successful – is by following an agency model. You can learn the skills required in a matter of weeks, rather than spending years building audiences. As a result, you won’t fail in your first month. You’ll flourish. And here’s how. 1. Choose Your Funnel The first step in starting your own business is to choose your funnel. Research shows that Upwork – an online freelancers’ platform – is the optimal approach. It’s a simple, effective way to generate leads. Get 4-5 reviews on your profile and you’re in a great position. How do you do that? Ask some of your freelance clients (or anyone who’s willing to pay you money for your skills) to pay you through Upwork and leave a positive review. It’s crucial for social proof and finding future clients. 2. Become The Expert Whichever service you decide to sell, you won’t win work unless a prospect is confident in your ability to deliver the project. But don’t worry, most potential clients on Upwork do not have an extensive understanding of what it is they need. All you need to do is learn the basics and research information online. Take an Udemy course and your expertise in the field will already be well beyond that of the prospect. As you expand your knowledge, you’ll pick up more and more industry informational. You’ll appear to be an expert in just a couple of weeks. 3. Pitch For Projects Next, you need to start sending proposals. Proposals are messages to prospects who have posted a job on the platform. Send between 10-20 each day to keep your funnel active. If you’ve done Step 1 correctly and your reviews are solid, your response rate should be around 20%. The typical way to send proposals is through text, but video proposals can double your reply rate. Use Loom to film customized video proposals and include a call-to-action for the prospect to get on a consultation call with you. 4. Sell On The Call It’s a consultation call for the prospect, but it’s a sales call for you. And getting on a call is the MOST IMPORTANT part of this process. It’s the chance for you to show the potential client how you can add value to them and why they want to work with you. Visit https://businessmentor.com/ to learn about the most effective sales technique. Once you have your expected close rate of 25%, you’ll be averaging one sale per week. More than enough to see your business reach the next level. 5. Decide On Delivery You’ve won the work. The client has paid. Now it’s up to you how to take things forward. For advanced skills like copywriting, you might have to handle the delivery yourself for a while. But for general marketing like Facebook Ads, you can start outsourcing immediately. This is why the sales process is so important. You need to be closing high-ticket sales so you can outsource the work to other freelancers on Upwork. If you only close a contract for $200, you won’t find someone to do it for $60. And that’s the margin you need. You should never pay the outsourcer more than 30% of the project value. 6. Scale And Refine As you follow steps 1-5, you’ll rapidly develop your skillset. You’ll go from freelancer to agency owner, learning how to close high-ticket sales and manage major projects – all in a matter of months. The risk of failure in the early stages has already been minimized because you’re operating a proven business model that delivers quick, easy wins irrespective of your ability. But now’s the time to take things up a notch. Scale your operations and refine your processes to maximize revenue and profit. Optimize and outsource your lead generation. Hire a project manager. Boost your close rate to 40%. There are so many possibilities for you to grow your business. And to think, it all started from creating a profile on Upwork.