An Interview with Audience Growth Expert, Stefan Ciancio

How can the readers get a similar result? What would be the steps they need to take? 

One of the easiest ways to grow an online business is to sell your expertise or knowledge. If you can help someone move along 1% further than they were, you can help them greatly and I believe you have an obligation to do that.

A big part of my business is selling my knowledge. Another part is making their businesses easier, which I do through software products that help other business owners scale, save time, perform tasks easier, etc

One of the easiest ways to get started online is learn a high income skill and teach it or sell your services. For example, copywriting may be one of the highest income skills of all time. Learning Facebook ads is another. If you become proficient in these skills, you can do extremely well.

I had a friend who was down on his luck start learning copywriting using entirely free resources online, and a couple of books. 

Within a few months of being on the freelance site upwork, he landed a five figure a month gig as a copywriter for a prominent agency. A job he could deliver from anywhere in the world from his computer. 

So… learn a high income skill, and either sell the knowledge or offer the services. Use webinars to get people warmed up and ready to work with you. Webinars are a huge part of what allows me to sell my products and services.

 What has most surprised you about your journey so far?  

I am surprised by how fast things change in the digital world. The skill sets evolve fast. Keeping up is a very important part of the game. There’s a few fundamentals that don’t change, but the mediums change. For example, email marketing is not nearly as prominent as it once was, and it’s more about social media and SMS now. That may change again soon. It’s always changing. You need to learn to adapt or you WILL fall behind. 

What mistakes did you make and how could you have avoided them?  

One of my big mistakes that I still make to this day is spreading myself too thin. I still do this but overall I have gotten better. This is a problem because sometimes I would think that if I spread myself over 5-10 different projects at once, 1-2 of them were bound to work.

However, when you do this, you end up dividing your time over everything and end up not giving each project the nurturing and time it needs to actually grow. 

A good analogy is if each project is a seed you plant in a pot, and your time is the water needed for the seed to grow. Your time (water) is limited. If you divide the water across 10 plants equally, they only get a little bit each, which is not enough for them to grow into their full potential. If you spread all that water(time) across just 1-2-3 plants (projects) you will have 1-2 big successful plants (projects) as opposed to 10 failures.

Another mistake I made in the beginning was not understanding the insane cost of trying to do everything myself. Outsourcing is now a very important part of my business, and I recommend others to try and outsource as much as possible as well. A small team goes a long way.

What have people’s reactions been like towards you? What are the highlights and how did you deal with any negative reactions?  

It’s always interesting when you tell people you’re an entrepreneur. Two of the common responses are usually excitement/respect, and the other is something along the lines of “oh”, and you can tell they are thinking something along the lines of “entrepreneur is code word for jobless bum”. 

I don’t care anymore about what people think because I know I’ve made it, and I don’t have anything to prove. 

I remember working full time and was a little shocked at the skepticism and disbelief I got from my old engineer coworkers when I said I was starting an online business. I wish people were a little bit more open minded.

What challenges have you faced and how did you overcome them?  

When I quit my job, I had thousands of dollars in the bank, and tens of thousands of dollars in debt. I overcame it by focusing on what worked. Within 4 months of quitting my day job, I was able to get my income to over five figures per month and keep it there for a while. I only quit my job because I had ONE income stream that had proven itself, and I knew with an extra 45 hours in my week, I could focus entirely on it, and get it to a point of job replacing income (and then some). So, focusing on the thing proven to work is my advice here. 

Other challenges I faced, that I suspect many other entrepreneurs face, is ridicule and doubt from friends and family. I remember seeing a short video for entrepreneurs on FB, which had a quote… “in the end, your success will speak for itself.”. So, I stopped caring about the naysayers- and focused 100% on building my own success.  Secondly, I was able to join many online communities of like minded people who were encouraging, empowering and on the same path from me from all around the world. The joy of this plus the excitement of being on the same path with people from all over, kept me going. This is definitely a great piece of advice- try to find people who fit your narrative. Find people who are encouraging and empowering, and you will find that your journey becomes easier. When we limit ourselves to our existing, limiting, disempowering echo chambers… we limit our growth and lose sight of what we really want.

Ironically enough, 2 of my friends were so inspired in the end by what I had done, that they both ended up quitting their day jobs as well to become full time entrepreneurs. 

Luana Ribeira

Luana Ribeira is a best selling author, international speaker and host of business Innovators Radio.