top of page
  • Writer's pictureFay Semple

The Cornerstone of Online Business Success

I've recently been looking back through my old diaries. I've kept a daily diary since January 1987. I'd left school the previous Summer, unable to stay to complete my A levels as we were moving back to England from Ireland. I started work that same year, June 1987 as a shelf stacker in a supermarket.

By my late 20's had I worked my way up to Project Manager, managing UK wide secondary school projects in the field of Design & Technology on behalf of the Department for Education & Skills. I had to develop a system within Universities to train teachers, and liaise with partners and stakeholders to successfully deliver the outcomes of a 7 figure project, and repeat and improve on those results each academic year.

But there came a point, when I began my family, that I resented not being in control of my time and that my salary was dictated by my employers. It took me until I hit mid-life (because life has a habit of keeping on happening) to finally create my own business from a side hustle. That's right… I actually started out in 2019.

And it's hard to imagine more humble beginnings. The story is too long to recount here, but I started out of desperation – I needed a change in my life.

So I made one simple decision.

To start my own online business. I'd had a side hustle as a dowser and geomancer for years, but I wanted to bring that to a wider audience. Plus I had a lot of professional experience as a project manager in the public sector and in non-profit. I needed to find a way to make my spiritual work as successful as my professional career.

And I started with one single action…

I hired a coach to help me turn my vision into reality (which I put on a credit card - and that's a whole other blog post...). I learned a lot in those 12 months of coaching. I'm not going to lie, it was a right of passage.

Building a website, creating a lead magnet to build an email list, building a social media presence, on top of working in paid employment, being a single mum to two children and dealing with a very stressful divorce to free myself from my abusive (now ex) husband was bloody tough.

With hindsight, and with my project managers glasses on, everything I learned was valid, but there was a huge problem. A problem that led to many of those in my coaching cohort getting NO RETURN on their 8K investment over that 12 months.

That's a whole bunch of hard-working, dedicated and cash strapped women feeling anger, frustration and heartache. The worst part is it was all avoidable. Just one simple restructure to the coaching program would have changed everything!

Because of that omission, it took me too long to see the value in my REAL skillset whilst in that coaching programme. In theory, that coach hit all the touchpoints, but in practice, we were creating a ready-built business and we had no idea if there was a market for our offers!

Yes, we'd identified our ideal client, worked on our branding, spent hours and hours nailing our mission, messaging and positioning with endless posts on social media... But it was exhausting. On top of the coaching, we'd also invested in systems and software that we were told we needed. Yes, you do need them for a successful online business, but you can grow into them as your business grows. To invest in them without clients was madness!

I joined that programme because I wanted time freedom and financial abundance. Thats not what I got and trust me, I did ALL the things - mindset, strategy, affirmations, journaling, consulting with a mystic pigeon, you name it, I did it. I threw everything at it. Because I was desperate.

Over time I built a client base, but I realised the real nugget in the coaching I'd had was how to reverse engineer all that I'd learnt. I'd been looking at the coaching as an inexperienced online entrepreneur, not as hugely experienced project manager who managed budgets of 7 figures and high delivery targets!

I needed to simplify everything, strip it right back to the bare minimum. All I needed to start a business was an email list. I didn't need a website, a podcast or a huge social media following and that leads to my Cornerstone of Online Business Success:

It's All About The List (And Your Relationship To That List)

For almost all online businesses, your only real asset is your list. Or more accurately, your lists, because you should have many of them (prospects, clients, affiliates, email, social media, etc.) …

Your content can get knocked off social media, your technology can be bettered, your search engine rankings can go away. But no one can take your list away. And with that list, you can overcome nearly any setback. It's your “license to print money”… it's your insurance policy.

BOTTOM LINE: In your Online business there are all kinds of things you can't control, but your list is the one thing that you CAN control.

What if you don't have a list?

Well NEWSFLASH – none of us started with an email list. We all got them the same way – we BUILT them. Every list starts with a single subscriber. If you don't have a list yet, that just means we started before you. But it's not a race, and there's no finish line… so just get going and start building your list.

I started with 22 email addresses.

Of course, building the list is only the first part of the equation. The second part is every bit as important… you need to have a relationship with your list. But that's a whole different blog post.

Whew… I really didn't mean for this post to turn into a tale of expensive coaching for no return. I wouldn't want that for any other woman who's ready to invest in herself and her future. I wanted to show you how we all start somewhere and there is no perfect start, moment or situation.

I guess I just get worked up when I see people making the same mistakes that I made when I started and I wanted to save others the heartache.

This is why I've created the most amazing brand new masterclass called From Idea to Income, to help you start from where you are now and generate income AS YOU BUILD YOUR BUSINESS. You can join here

17 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page