If you’re in the process of shifting from employee to entrepreneur, and life is pulling your attention in a million different directions—your nine-to-five job, your family responsibilities, and getting your business launched—then you may feel like there is so much to do … and so little time.

And because you’re here, reading about entrepreneurship, expanding your knowledge, you’re a brilliant person. Therefore, you know you must choose a focus. You realize the way you spend your time is an investment, and you want it to pay off.

So how do you ensure your time is well spent? How do you know where to place your focus?

The very first thing you must do as an entrepreneur—yes, in some cases, before you even know exactly what you plan to offer in terms of services, products, or packages—is to BUILD AN AUDIENCE.

The most efficient way to do this is to create, nurture, and grow an email list. Here are some tips for doing so:

Tip 1. Get to know the members of your list.

Once you start to build a community, it’s time to get to know its members. As you offer interview series and online events, you’ll have the unique, golden opportunity to interact with the people you’re emailing.

Ask questions:

What are their biggest fears and concerns? What do they most want in life? Which knowledge or skills could you help them with in order to overcome those obstacles?

As an entrepreneur, the *Number One skill* to develop is your listening. Always listen.

As you interact with more and more people, you’ll begin to see patterns emerge.

Tip 2. Work on the product you want to deliver to the members of that list.

Once you’ve identified the specific skills e your potential clients need, you can begin to develop your offerings.

How you package your services, products, and programs, of course, will depend on your potential clients’ lifestyles as well as how you choose to leverage your time.

For example, your ideal clients may be better equipped to complete programs they can access on their own schedules—like you’d create for a home study course. Or, perhaps they’d experience better results with personalized support, guidance, and accountability—like you’d create with a group coaching program.

You can’t make just any old offer. As you’re creating yours, keep in mind the following advice… 

Tip 3. Use words your clients actually say.

As an entrepreneur, you possess a unique understanding of your potential clients’ challenges. The best way to convey that is to use the very same words and phrases your clients use.

When you listen, you’ll begin to hear the same words and phrases over and over again. And when you use those in your emails, videos, and training and sales materials, your potential clients will feel like you really “get them.”

One way we do this at HeartCore Business: Shanda keeps an online “suggestion box” where people can ask their questions or suggest topics for her to cover.

When she reads the messages in that box, she takes note of the words people use—and she uses those same words and phrases in her email marketing, on her landing pages, and in her sales pages.

You can do this, too!

Tip 4. Practice marketing—on yourself!

Marketing isn’t about making sales. (What?! Stick with us, here.)

Marketing is about sharing your solution with the people who need it. It’s about showing your potential clients how you can solve their problems.

You can practice marketing to prospects by marketing to yourself…

Think about something you complain about, in your daily life, whether you complain out loud or in your mind.

Maybe it’s something your partner does that annoys you.

And then think about the solution to that problem. More than likely, the solution is for you to stop being annoyed or frustrated by what he/she does. But as you walk yourself through solving that problem, you’re actually practicing your marketing—because you’re offering solutions.

It’s all about honing your inner leadership, so you can lead other people.

As an aspiring or fledgling entrepreneur, you’re busy. Where you focus your time matters.

So choose to focus it on an activity that will bring you a return on your investment. The absolute best return on your investment will result from building your list.

Follow these tips to do so with maximum effectiveness and efficiency.

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