How Amy Porterfield Went from Employee to Millionaire Entrepreneur
Entrepreneur's New Year’s Guide
If you have ever searched "Facebook marketing," you've probably saw the name Amy Porterfield. She is a bestselling author, social media expert and online entrepreneur whose business, now well beyond basic Facebook training, is on track to hit the $6 million mark this year.
Before launching her social media marketing business, Porterfield created content first as part of Harley Davidson’s internal marketing team, and then for performance coach Tony Robbins. From live events to podcasts to product launches, Porterfield has done it all, and done it well.
Here are six tips from Porterfield on turning career success into solo success as an entrepreneur.
1. Get top-notch experience.
Porterfield grew up appreciating the Harley Davidson culture, of which her father was an active participant. She never clad herself in leather, but when she realized she wanted to go into marketing, she set her sights on a job with Harley Davidson. Later, after attending and enjoying one of Tony Robbins live events, she decided her next job would be as a member of his team. She chose to start her career with not only brands she admired, but top brands in the market today.
“[I was always] thinking about what I really like to do, and [then I had] this great audacious goal to go and work for those people,” she says.
2. Invest in yourself.
Porterfield shared that she joined mastermind groups and paid mentorship programs before she could comfortably afford them. Even as an employee, she invested time and energy into finding the right contacts in order to get her resume in front of the right people. However, when she was offered an entry-level position with Robbins, she turned it down. Porterfield refused to settle for less than she was worth, even at a dream employer. Weeks later, she was offered a better position in his company.
“I’m glad I stuck it out, because I got to do the most amazing work with Tony and loved every minute of it,” she says.
Porterfield’s actions are examples of believing in, betting on and investing in yourself.
3. Learn as much as you can.
While working with those brands, Porterfield absorbed as much as she could, even crediting her time as an employee of Robbins as a key to her success today.
“I learned how to be an entrepreneur from him, how to be resourceful, how to create content in a way that entertained, inspired, educated, empowered," she says. "And it was a really hard job working in the world of Tony Robbins, and so I learned what I was made of.”
Keep a student mindset and you’ll be able to adapt and grow throughout your career, and later through changes in the marketplace.
4. Put in the hours.
Like many, Porterfield thought entrepreneurship meant she’d live the “laptop lifestyle,” working only a few hours per day. At this thought, we both laughed.
Common advice today is to say yes to most opportunities at the beginning. For example: guest post opportunities or a joint venture partnerships. Porterfield adds that you should set low expectations for those opportunities. She explains that she tried everything, but most of the partnerships, interviews and media opportunities yielded little or no results.
“Most progress you’ll make in your business typically is putting your head down, creating your content, finding out who your audience is and serving them," she says. "Not all that other stuff that feeds our ego.”
Admitting she still works long hours, she explains flexibility is the benefit of entrepreneurship, so she can adjust her schedule and never miss a family event.
5. Stick with it.
This is a tactic that Porterfield says might be her “secret sauce.” Many entrepreneurs, filled to the brim with ideas, move on from one product to the next, especially if an initial launch doesn’t go as planned. On the contrary, she kept relaunching the same program for over a year, with improved results each time.
Stick with a program and keep tweaking, she said, because, “if it works a little, it can work a lot down the road.”
6. Make time for what matters.
Porterfield, like many I interview, uses time blocking on her calendar. She blocks off time for the most important things in her business and her life. For business, she has four hours of “Tiger Time” -- time that is fiercely protected -- each day. She knows that she is at her best in the morning, something she noted as important to know about yourself -- and uses the block only for new ideas and content creation. She also makes and recommends that other online business owners make time for team meetings multiple times a week, even though her employees are virtual.
For her personal time, she has hired help so that her time with family can be spent with family rather than cleaning, cooking or grocery shopping. Now, if she’s not working, she can be totally present with her family.
7. Find support systems.
One of the most refreshing aspects of my conversation with Porterfield is how often she admitted she was filled with doubt, convinced she’d have to go back to life as an employee. She had concerns about her business and products and even anxiety about running out of ideas. How did she get through it? Community.
“Running an online business, you can feel so isolated," she says. "Masterminds, looking back, have been a big thing for me.”
She leaned on her mastermind groups, asking them for help with major decisions at their quarterly meetings. She also had a handful of friends and family members who would remind her of what she’d accomplished so far. Now, she is able to focus on her best work, content creation. Things such as sales funnels, metrics and tracking are handled by her business partner, Devin Duncan, whom she found through a mastermind group.
Entrepreneurship is not easy, and finding a community will help energize and encourage you to keep going. And you should keep going.
“Although [entrepreneurship] brings lot of pressure, the direction is mine, and I love that," she says. "It often feels like the sky’s the limit, which is really exciting.”
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