Featured in entrepreneurial magazines and collaborated on a book awarded an Amazon Best Seller “The Secret Diaries of a Female Entrepreneur,” Nicole has dedicated her professional life to helping other ambitious women escape corporate confinement and create their PROFITABLE online dream business – with the five crucial business-building steps every rookie entrepreneur needs to apply to gain the clarity and confidence to see results FAST!
“I don’t want people to get stuck in the learning and not earning stage, I want them to be able to earn while they learn”
“Every day, do one or two things that will move you towards your goal”
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/nicole.prentice.56
Chris Ippolito 00:31
Nicole Prentice 00:33
Chris Ippolito 00:35
How are you?
Nicole Prentice 00:36
I’m well, how are you?
Chris Ippolito 00:37
I’m doing great. Welcome to the “Get Coach Podcast.” I figured we’d jump right into what we’re going to talk about, which is the five steps that you teach people to help them find their first profitable online business idea, or in the case where a business owner is maybe thinking of transitioning onto online. Let’s walk through what those five steps look like, and then I think I’ll dig in a little bit more so we can expand on the conversation.
Nicole Prentice 01:11
Perfect, all right. Well, thank you so much for having me.
Chris Ippolito 01:14
Nicole Prentice 01:14
And this Business Idea Audit, this was made after I had clients coming to me just being so confused and overwhelmed with what it was they wanted to do with creating their business. And the audit helps them to look at the business from a high-level point and to see what would be the best path to take and the path of least resistance. Because they’re a new business owner, there’s a lot of information to get their hands on. You want to pick a business idea that will help them capitalize on what they already know, and then to make sure it’s profitable. Because at the end of the day that’s an important part of their business.
This audit just takes away all of the guesswork and it looks at their business ideas they have, how much credibility they have in that area or niche, how much content they can produce and what that would look like, and then their curiosity and how much cash they could realistically get from this business idea.
Chris Ippolito 02:07
That’s awesome. Step one being actually identifying the business idea. If this is an entrepreneur, or we’ll call it more of an aspiring entrepreneur. Because you specifically help people transition out of the corporate world or that 9:00 to 5:00 world and there’s that desire to want to start an online business. But I feel like this could be also applicable to somebody who’s already started a business, but is maybe either struggling and they’re just not sure if this is like the right idea. Do you mind walking through each of the steps, obviously step one being identify the business idea, and just what that exercise looks like?
Nicole Prentice 02:53
Of Course. You hit the nail on the head, it’s for all aspiring entrepreneurs and anyone who’s having a hard time really nailing down their desired business idea. It takes all the confusion and overwhelm out of it and just puts it into a systematic approach.
And the first step, like you mentioned, is to get down all of your ideas on paper. Because a lot of times when you’re starting out, you get caught up in the how to make this happen. And you spend too much time just thinking about it and not enough time actually going out, implementing, and seeing if this idea could actually work. The first step is to just brain dump all the information. All the ideas you have, no matter how small or big they might seem, how maybe impossible or possible, just dump them down onto a list. And I like to set it up and to have five columns. And with this understanding your thoughts and your thinking process of what you want to pursue. And just the first step, brain dump all your business ideas, write them down just to get them out of your head.
Chris Ippolito 03:57
Yeah. And all ideas, right? Because over my lifetime I’ve had a lot of ideas, but I don’t have the technical skill, we’ll say. Like, “Oh, I’d love to create this app or this program,” or whatever, “because I think this would be a brilliant business idea.” Your suggestion is even include those, right? Because the exercise will eventually get to a point where you score other categories that will help you decide whether that’s a good business idea for that person to start or not, right?
Nicole Prentice 04:30
Chris Ippolito 04:31
Awesome. Okay, cool.
Nicole Prentice 04:32
That’s the second part, it’s credibility. This is when you look at the business idea and you see how much credibility you have in this niche. That’s looking at your experience, do you have any certifications, do you have any content written in this niche, are you published in this niche. It’s looking at how credible you are and realistically how experienced you are in this niche. Because you want to start right away, you don’t want this to be something that you can do two years down the road. Right now. Right now looking at your experience, how credible are you within this niche and teaching this subject to someone else. That’s taking away the work of maybe, “Oh, I don’t know if I’m qualified enough or if this is a good idea.” This is realistically looking down and saying, “Okay, will I stand out in the niche and will I be credible to attract a potential buyer?”
Chris Ippolito 05:23
Yeah. And when they’re going through this column by column, it’s a scoring system or a yes/no thing? In this case credibility, because I’ll just share one example I’ve always had is just around the subject of artificial intelligence and machine learning. I have no experience in that or technical skills. I would brain dump all the ideas. And then as I’m going through the columns, when it comes to credibility, I would say yes or no, or a score? What’s your system, what does that look like?
Nicole Prentice 05:57
For each column it’s a bit different, but for credibility I like to actually list out what qualifications or what content or what articles I’ve written in this area. I actually would like to write that down because you want that for proof later on when you’re marketing the business. I would suggest to write it down.
Chris Ippolito 06:17
Okay, write down the qualifications. In my case, machine learning, zero, there’s nothing. However, if I were to go to something that’s more financially related, like investments or banking or whatever it is, I could include things like my CFP designation and all of the different courses I’ve done over the years that were in that industry. That’s what you’re getting to, right?
Nicole Prentice 06:41
Yes. You also want to include any type of clients you’ve worked with. That’s experience that you can leverage, as well. And it’s also important to leverage your degrees and your past corporate experience. Because a lot of my clients, they come from corporate and they can utilize the experiences that they have had in their business. You really have to investigate and figure out how you can utilize what you have done, your experiences, your knowledge, to help someone in this specific niche.
And then once you brain dump and do all the credibility that you have, this is when you score it. You want to score from 1 to 10. 1 means not so credible, 10 means highly credible. This will all make sense at the end, but this is where you put numbers to it so we can get a better idea moving forward in which business idea is the best for you to pursue.
Chris Ippolito 07:32
Cool, okay. Now that we’ve done business ideas, then once we have all our business ideas, we start looking at the category of credibility, what’s my background, what’s my experience, what’s my knowledge. You list that all out, you score that accordingly. Then what’s the next step, what would they want to explore next?
Nicole Prentice 07:53
All right, the next one is content. This is the content that you could teach someone, this is what they’d pay for. And I don’t want people to get stuck in the learning in that earning stage, I want them to be able to earn while they’re learning. With my program I utilize a 90-day system to work with clients on a one-to-one basis. With your content, you want to think about what you know right now that you could teach this particular person in this niche. You want to jot down all the ideas that you have. And off the back of this, when you score it, I want you to think about how fast you could create this content. Like do you know it like the back of your hand or do you have to do some research?
This one the scoring, again, is 1 to 10. One would be, “Oh, I’d have to spend a few years researching this and doing interviews.” 10, “Oh, I have a system I already use with clients. I know what to do, I’ve done it myself. I can teach someone right now.”
Chris Ippolito 08:52
Okay, I like that. Because, especially building off of the credibility, my example is almost more particular to somebody transitioning away from 9:00 to 5:00. They’ve worked in this career for an extended period of time, and then even within that career they just naturally gravitated towards maybe a certain type of client or a certain kind of work. Now when they’re talking about content, they’re like, “Oh, I actually have content already created, I just didn’t think of it in the sense of content.” They could take a lot of that process or those lessons that they’ve learned over their career and create that into some form of content, being either a course or an e-book or blogs or videos. That’s what you’re suggesting, right?
Nicole Prentice 09:43
Yes, exactly. And I would suggest for when looking at this audit for content, I always suggest people start with doing one-to-one mentorships when they’re first starting a business just so they can nail down a process and not waste time creating intellectual property before they nail their messaging and their ideal client. This is stuff that you could teach someone in person, you don’t have to spend the time creating worksheets and stuff like that. It’s just understanding the process and how fast or when you could be able to teach someone with this knowledge.
Chris Ippolito 10:20
Right. Because speed to results being important, you’re saying look at it from a perspective of what could you teach one to one quickly. Okay.
Nicole Prentice 10:36
Like what could you teach. If there was a client coming to you tomorrow saying, “I need help with this problem that you can help me solve,” what would you teach them on a one-to-one basis?
Chris Ippolito 10:45
Right, okay. Cool. All right. Now we’ve got content figured out. I would assume then the same thing, you would score it from 1 to 10. 1 being you have either no content, 10 being there’s an abundance of it. Right?
Nicole Prentice 11:03
Chris Ippolito 11:05
Then what’s next?
Nicole Prentice 11:08
This is my favorite one, curiosity. This is looking at how passionate you are about this niche and business idea because it takes time to build a business and you want to do it for a few years or your whole life. It’s important that you’re curious to want to explore this business idea or to spend time within this niche working with this type of client. A rating from 1 to 10. One, “Really not interested.” 10, “I’m very excited every day to wake up, to get more information about this, and to spend time with clients in this niche.” 1 to 10 scale, pretty simple.
Chris Ippolito 11:38
And pretty self-explanatory, yeah. Curiosity, check. Now it sounds like we’re at the fifth and final one, which I’m going to guess is money, how profitable could the business be. Let’s talk a little bit about that.
Nicole Prentice 11:54
All right, this is one of my favorite parts. You want to look for proof that this business idea is profitable. When doing this, this is when you research the competition in that niche. You’ll go in and see what they’re offering, and then see at the price point that they’re charging. Because we want to realistically see, “Okay, what can I get for coaching in this area and what are people already charging?” This is when you go out to research and note down the prices. In the column I always write down what they’re offering, the competitors in the niche, and what the price points are.
Do that. And then as you do this for all of your business ideas, you look at 1 to 10 and say, okay, one, “They’re not charging very much,” or 10, “This is a premium, high-level, high-ticket client that I can attract.” You want to rate that. And I always like to get a basic look at my goals for my business early on and see is this something that I’d be interested in doing and is this the type of money I want to make.
Chris Ippolito 12:54
Right. I’m trying to think of some examples. Actually, in one of your videos you shared with me was the example of dog walking, which I like that idea. And you do your research and you find that price range that the average person is charging for dog walking. The exercise would be you write down that number, and then you would score that according to more the lifestyle that you’re looking to build, is that the idea?
Nicole Prentice 13:26
Chris Ippolito 13:27
Okay. If you’re thinking of this business as, “I’m hoping to exit my 9:00 to 5:00 and transition eventually to this business, will the rate which is normal to charge for this service be able to support the lifestyle that I currently have as well as aspire to have”?
Nicole Prentice 13:48
Definitely. And it’s important to realize that it’s just a starting point, but you have to have income goals and think like, “Okay, if I can make $1,000 per month with one client and I only need $5,000 per month, five clients is very doable.” You have to look at your goals and what’s realistic. And then when you’re looking at the competition, you have to see the experience that they have and adjust the price accordingly so that you are able to position yourself in a way that speaks to what experience you have and is, I don’t want say “fair by the consumer,” but is realistic for what you can actually get as a new coach.
Chris Ippolito 14:26
Right. Yeah, if you’re going the route of coaching. Why don’t we use an example that we actually both do, which is building sales funnels and helping entrepreneurs with sales funnels? And the reason I want to use that one, more so on the category of pricing, and there’s a lot of other services out there that would be similar to this, it can be really wide ranging as far as what you can charge for that kind of service. Because based on the research I did, I even found people that did it for a couple hundred bucks all the way up to big names like Russell Brunson’s company, they do and build sales funnels for people. It’s $100,000 up front, plus 10% of the revenue that goes through the funnel, up to a maximum of a million dollars. In a sense it could be a million dollars that they’re paying for that funnel. That’s a pretty wide gap.
If somebody has a business idea that they’re looking to start, and then they get to that pricing category and they find something like that, what would be your advice to them as far as helping them figure out what’s the right price for them to realistically charge so that they can help themselves go through this audit?
Nicole Prentice 15:53
Definitely, okay. When doing this, it’s important to look at your ideal client and who you’d be interested to work with. Because Russell Brunson, he is working with a high-caliber client who probably already makes six figures-plus.
Chris Ippolito 16:06
Yeah. If not seven or eight, yeah.
Nicole Prentice 16:08
Yeah, or even more. When you’re first starting out, when you’re researching your competition, look for someone who’s one or two steps ahead of you. Maybe they’ve been in business for two years, they’ve already helped a handful of clients, which you have not. And you look at what they’re charging and you want to be really in that ballpark. And then, again, you want to look at your experience, do you have a proven track record that you can show results for. And if you can, if you can show that this will help your client receive X results, then you can charge that worth. And you want to look at the results that the clients are able to get and you really want to own those benefits. Whatever the benefit is, you need to look at your ideal client and think what realistically will they pay to receive this benefit.
And then I always like to do market research, as well, with this and spend some time with ideal clients and say, “Okay, realistically what would you pay for this and what is it worth to you?” Because you want to look at your experience and the outcome that the client will get and mash those together and figure out what is this worth to the client. And like you said, there is a huge range. I think you said like $100 to $1 million.
Chris Ippolito 17:22
Yeah, it’s crazy. In the in the category of sales funnels, just for this example, if you go on places like Upwork, or what’s the other one I’m thinking? Fiverr. And this might be just their method of acquiring leads, is they’ll list this really ridiculously low price point as far as like, “I’ll build you a sales funnel starting at $150 bucks.” And you’re like, “What?” Anybody who’s actually built sales funnels and/or is familiar with the kind of work that goes into it, you’re like, “No, that’s not possible.” But that could be enticing to somebody who is looking for that service but is strapped for cash, right?
Maybe we almost need to take a step back, I might be focusing too much on that. Because as the audit goes, you can look at each of these categories. And then the price point may get almost nullified by the fact that you look at other aspects of the audit and you go, “Well, I don’t have the high enough experience with enough content in that category to even make this a viable business idea.” The price point almost becomes irrelevant, right? Let’s maybe take a quick step back from that and just go through. Now somebody’s gone through this whole process.
Nicole Prentice 18:56
Chris Ippolito 18:57
They’ve gone through, they’ve listed all their business ideas, they’ve started scoring the categories. Now what? What do they do next?
Nicole Prentice 19:04
This is the fun part. This is when you look at the four columns, the credibility, content, curiosity, and cash, and you rank them. We discussed this before, you rank them from 1 to 10. 1 being the low end, 10 being high end, in each category. You want to do it for those four columns. Business ideas, you just keep them business ideas. And then you want to add up that score. And the total you can get is 40. And you want to see which of your business ideas ranks the highest with your score after completing the audit.
This will help you to know what niche or business idea in which I’ve listed do I have most credibility in, will I be seen as an expert, can I realistically create content and help someone with this business idea now, and then do you enjoy it and realistically how much money I can make. It’s a blend of all of those to find the path of least resistance that you can start working on now. Once you get experience in a niche with a specific type of ideal client, just start going out there and going after this business idea.
Chris Ippolito 20:09
Yeah, I like that, I think that makes more sense, because I think I was just getting a little too focused on the pricing. Which I think a lot of people would, to be honest. Because they would go, “Okay, yeah, great, great, great. But how much money can I make?” Do you know what I mean?
Nicole Prentice 20:26
Pricing is a hard one because it takes a lot of research. When I work with my clients, we’ll do the audit, but then we’ll spend a week or so just looking at the price and what they can charge. There’s a lot of research that goes into finding, “Okay, what could you actually charge?” That one, you have to make your best educated guess, but there will be more research after you pick your business idea.
Chris Ippolito 20:47
Okay. Now we’ve scored it, the highest possible score is 40. And then really they just rank them as far as scores, and then your advice is basically take the one that is at the top and just focus in on that one. Take all those other ones, set them aside, don’t succumb to shiny object syndrome like most entrepreneurs will, and then you just start building the business around that and start looking for clients.
Nicole Prentice 21:19
Yes, definitely. And like you said, shiny object syndrome, I fall into that so many time.
Chris Ippolito 21:24
You’re an entrepreneur, of course you did.
Nicole Prentice 21:26
Yeah. It’s important to really just find one thing and stick to it. And I find a lot of times that my clients spend so much time in their head thinking about what would be the best business idea. This helps them just to get it down on paper and to figure out which would be the best thing for them to pursue now, and then just to go after it. It gives them some level of, I would say, confidence knowing that this would be a good business idea for them to pursue. It takes away the guesswork and the thinking to just go do it. Like, “Now this is what you want, just start doing it.”
Chris Ippolito 21:59
Yeah. Because it’s more about just creating a system that helps identify what is their first profitable business idea, not necessarily the best, right? Because a lot of entrepreneurs tend to actually start multiple businesses or eventually create multiple sources of income. Your exercise is more to help them focus, help them identify that first profitable business idea so that they can start putting the energy and time behind that without the distraction of really figuring out how or what to do.
Nicole Prentice 22:39
Chris Ippolito 22:41
Nicole Prentice 22:42
Chris Ippolito 22:45
Okay, now let’s paint a different picture. Somebody’s gone through this exercise, they found their first profitable business idea. What would be that next step that you would suggest that they take? Is there usually a pretty defined next step, or can it vary depending on maybe the business idea itself?
Nicole Prentice 23:07
After they have the business idea solidified, you want to go and do research with your ideal client. And depending on how much experience you have in this niche, it might be easy just to reach out to someone you have helped already. Or you can go into Facebook groups and reach out and do polls and stuff like that. Because for your messaging, your marketing, and for your content that you actually offer in the course, you want to figure out what this ideal client wants. You want to address their biggest pain points, so where they currently are, and their brand new day, where they want to be after working with you, your product, or service. We’re trying to find that gap. The gap is the information that you teach them to help them get from point A to point B.
Now it’s about looking at your business idea and that niche and what you’re interested in, going out and spending some time with an ideal client and figuring out what it is you actually need to provide. And then when you spend time with them and hear about their pains and what they want at the end of the day, that’s your marketing. Now it’s figuring out, okay, what does this person want, what am I going to provide them, and how am I going to attract them by utilizing their words and their wants and needs to market to them and to tell them, “Okay, I have this solution for you to help to get from A to B.”
Chris Ippolito 24:26
Right. I think that’s really important because identifying the gap is the key. I know I’ve been guilty of this, is making the assumption I know what my target market wants, versus going in and listening and finding out what they actually want. And if you do this business audit and you’re like, “This business idea scored a 36,” you’re super pumped and you’re like, “I totally know what they want.” And then you start creating your marketing and your messaging and your content. And then you launch it with Facebook Ads or whatever it is and all of a sudden it’s just crickets and it misses the mark and you’re like, “I don’t understand, according to the audit this should have been an amazing business idea.” But they probably missed that step that you suggested, which is, okay, you’ve identified the business, now go and be an observer. Right? Go observe, go communicate, go find, in their words, the problem that you can solve for them.
Nicole Prentice 25:34
Yeah, definitely. And this can be really easy. I have created, I think, like a five-question survey and posted it in Facebook groups where this potential ideal client would sit. Just ask them, “Hey, would you mind filling this out?,” or maybe offering free coaching sessions in exchange for them to just answer your questions. You find that there are a lot of people who are willing to exchange some information for some time or some benefit that you can give them. And this really helps you just figure out, like you said, to overlook what you think they want and actually find out what they do want. And then this is gold for marketing. They’re telling you word for word their problems and the solution they want, and that’s what you need to be able to speak to them and attract them when you’re marketing your service.
Chris Ippolito 26:19
Yeah, 100%. I think that’s great because there’s a lot of people that struggle with the desire to want to have their own business, but can’t figure out the right business idea. Maybe they’ve got a whole bunch of them floating in their head, but then, like you said, they’re like, “I just don’t know which one to pick and put forward and put energy behind.” Part of it probably has to do with fear of picking the wrong one per se. But with the process that you shared with us today, that takes that away, which is great. And thanks for sharing, I really appreciate that.
Nicole Prentice 27:00
Chris Ippolito 27:02
Is there anything that I didn’t ask or that we didn’t cover that you would want to add to the conversation today?
Nicole Prentice 27:08
I think you hit on fear. And when you first start a business and you’re in corporate, or just an aspiring entrepreneur in general, there’s a lot of fear and hesitation because this is something new, it’s out of your comfort zone. And it’s important to not let that hold you back, or not let your limiting beliefs or the thoughts of others stop you from pursuing a desired goal. My biggest advice would be to every day do one or two things that will move you forward towards your goal. Because if you spend too much time thinking about it, that’s when you are like, “Oh, no, this might not work,” and you get caught up in the what-ifs. You just have to start doing it. And you’ll make mistakes, you’ll fail, and that’s how you learn. It’s all about just putting in steps each and every day and focusing on one thing. And then keep trying again and again, get the help that you need, and just keep working towards one goal and it will come to fruition.
Chris Ippolito 28:03
That is an amazing segue into how I like to wrap up every episode, which is what is that one thing that you would suggest the audience takes as a next step to help them uncover that first profitable business idea for them or, if they’re already in business, to validate whether this is the right business to be putting the energy and time behind?
Nicole Prentice 28:30
There are two things here. I would spend time with my ideal client, as much as I can, because I cannot tell you how important it is just to really understand what they need. Because I’ve wasted so much time just guessing what it is that they need and want. But if you spend the time with them, that will help you with all aspects of your business. And that will give you some validation that, yes, there are people out here, this is what they’re struggling with, this is their situation, and this is what they want and this is what they’ll pay someone to get. Really spend time with your ideal client.
And then get the help wherever you need it. Because a lot of times we think we have to go at it on our own, and we don’t. Find the help that you need just to get you on your next step and to give you the skills and knowledge, the knowledge that you need just to take your desired business and keep moving it forward every single day.
Chris Ippolito 29:21
I think that is very solid advice. And if somebody wanted to gain access to or learn more about this business audit process, where can they learn more about that and also learn more about you?
Nicole Prentice 29:35
Sure. I have a link I can give you and you can share with them that will give them access to this audit. And within this training, it’s a video training, I walk them through some examples. I think I had a dog training one, something silly. It just shows them the psychology behind this process and how to walk through it themselves, then they can do the exercise and figure out what business they want to pursue. And then you can find me on social media, my name is Nicole Prentice. I can give you links to my Facebook. I’m on all the platforms, but I spend a lot of time on Facebook. The best way to reach me is to connect with me, drop me a message, and I would love to go from there.
Chris Ippolito 30:14
Awesome. Yeah, I’ll make sure to include that in the show notes and video description. And actually one thing I wanted to share real quick, or if you could share, is you’re an Amazon author, you have a book on Amazon. And I was wondering if you could real quickly share how you actually went about writing that book and the process behind it, because I think that was super interesting. And maybe we’ll leave that as a teaser for perhaps a follow-up episode.
Nicole Prentice 30:50
Sure, of course. This was a very fun project I was a part of. And the book started with a group, there were 20 of us who were in the same mentorship program. And we all came together and we’re like, “We want to inspire others and for us to reach them with utilizing our story to show them, ‘Yes, I understand what you’re going through,’ they can relate to what your journey is to show them, ‘This is what I went through,’ and then to give them information that will help them with their next step.”
It was an inspirational piece. And we all got together, and here’s the book. We all compiled our own story, telling them where we were before we started our own business, what life was like, some parts of the journey, the highlights, the low parts, and to give them information on how they can be successful in their own journey to their desired outcomes. And the main way that we were able to make this happen was by combining our networks. Because when you have 20 women who are actively promoting themselves on social media every day, that’s a huge reach. We were able to become a bestselling author because the promotion and the network that we had promoting this book. And really just the sole goal behind it is just to inspire others and to give them the information that they need to live their best life.
We just marketed the hell out of it and we kept pushing this campaign, and then we launched the book. And I found that it was successful because of the sheer impact it had with the 20 ladies involved. And it was a great process. And if anyone wants to become a bestselling author, I would recommend getting together if they have a similar idea and they have a similar goal, and then coming together. Because reading 12 stories is a lot more powerful than just reading one, it’s a bigger impact in the end and it’s a lot more fun in the process.
Chris Ippolito 32:43
Yeah. When you shared how you went about just getting 20 people together, sharing their stories, and then putting that all together, and then that’s a book, I was like, “That is so brilliant.” Yeah, it’s such a great idea. I’d love to maybe unpack that a little bit more in a follow-up episode if you’d be open to it because I just think there’s a lot of people listening who have always desired, “I’d love to write a book, but, man, what a daunting task to write a book and publish a book.” But there’s so much value there as far as building authority and just there’s so much value behind it. Maybe what we’ll do is, again, if you’re open to it, is we’ll reconnect later on and we’ll talk more about that whole process and that whole journey and how somebody else could duplicate that, because I think that would be a fun episode.
Nicole Prentice 33:37
Yes, of course. It was a great process. And after going through it, it’s simple, and I’d love to teach others how to do the same.
Chris Ippolito 33:44
That’s awesome. Cool. Well, I really enjoyed our conversation, Nicole. Thanks a lot for being a guest and definitely looking forward to future conversations.
Nicole Prentice 33:55
Of course, thank you so much for having me.
Chris Ippolito 33:58
You’re welcome. Take care.