1 business advice I’m glad I ignored

by yiye

lightworker to heart-based entrepreneurThere are thousands of ways to start and market an online business.

Because of all the noises out there, many people lose focus and make mistakes right from the beginning.

It’s not their fault, quite often they do things in certain ways because they were “advised” that “this is THE way to go”.

I’d like to share 1 “advice/strategy” that I ignored + why I ignored it + what you should focus instead.

I must admit that it was scary to ignore it at first, because it was directly from self-claimed “guru” or “industry leader”.

I thought I was crazy and lost…

Fast forward, I’m really glad that I ignored it – by doing so I’ve aligned myself to my true calling, created more time, space and energy in my life, and generated results more easily.

If you feel confused, overwhelmed by the sea of information, or losing the joy from your work, please don’t beat yourself up. You just haven’t been shown the full picture yet. Please read on.

full picture, lightworker to entrepreneur, yiye zhang, london intuitive coach


The truth about “You need 1000 subscribers to START a viable online business”


Don’t get me wrong, having 1000 people on your mailing list is actually good advice, it is far better than asking you to dive straight into SEO, creating social media accounts that you barely use anyway, or logo, or fancy business cards, or some flash themes on wordpress.

Yes, 1000 is a nice number. Once you reach 1000, it doesn’t matter if you are doing a soft launch or a hard launch, info-product or service based offering, you will indeed get sign-ups.

Growing your list IS important.


But it is NOT important to grow your list before you even have an OFFER.

There is a time and place for everything.

So many people started to blog everyday, investigate into SEO, Google Ads, guest blogging and interviews before having a clear vision. {note: “clear” – I didn’t say “perfect” vision}.

They work really hard to reach out, attract a wide audience, but later on when it comes to conversion, things aren’t rosy…

You all know that our human nature wants us to feel motivated.

When you don’t see results, it’s tricky to stay motivated.

Don’t make that mistake.

Don’t make it more difficult for yourself – You deserve a simple and achievable way.

Before you consider any kind of marketing, make sure you have an offer first + confidence to put a value on it.

It doesn’t have to be a perfect, sophisticated offer, full of fancy fonts on a squeeze page that you just spent thousands on.

But you do need a compelling offer which can solve a specific problem that your ideal clients have.

Once your experience grows, you can tweak it more, and if you do want to make it fancy like the above, you can CHOOSE to.

When starting out, you only need 1-3 paying clients, not 10, 100, 1000.

Having a list size of 1000 doesn’t guarantee you paying clients of 1000, 100, or even 10 anyway.


So what should you focus on instead?

You must communicate with your prospects.

What do they really want from you?

You see, it is a lot easier to sell people something that you already have, which they desire; instead of making something up from your head and chasing people around.

I guarantee that you don’t really see your gift (and what people desire from you) clearly – because it is such a natural part of you.

Talking to them can close this gap for you though.

It’s tempting to cover up the hard stuff with the easy stuff.

  • It’s easy to set up a fb page, twitter account, talk to a provider to do your logo and business card.
  • It’s a lot harder to work on your offer and get into your clients’ head. Overcome your shyness, talk to them and understand where exactly they are stuck.

But I promise you that once you pass your internal-hurdle, really start to talk to people, things will fall into place for you.

You will be more focused and come up with a viable offer.

Then you can spend sometime on social media marketing, growing your list to 1000…and you’ll do it so much more effectively because you have a clear intention and attention.

Now, let’s compare the different scenarios.

Example 1

Jane is a life coach, she does have a desire to serve people but is not sure what exactly she can do. She is only doing her business part-time at the moment and wants to make the full-time transition quickly.

Jane heard about growing your list, online marketing strategies etc. So she decided to write guest posts, or even contribute to magazines.

It has been working, as her list is growing steadily. People liked her and joined her list.

But her message is scattered.

She has put a life coaching offer on her website. Because she targets a wide range of audience, there is just something missing… the average conversion rate is 0.2%.

It takes her about 1 year to get 1000 subscribers (by doing guest blogging, interviews, free webinars, social media marketing).

And she has 2 paying clients by the end of year 1.

It might improve to 4-10 paying clients in year 2, depending on how quickly she grows her list. She is still not sure if she can make the full-time leap yet.


Example 2

Jenny starts off in a similar situation.

She knows that growing list is important, but she also understands that she has limited time while doing her part-time day job.

At the beginning stage, she spends most of her time communicating with her targeted audience, doing survey, focus groups, forum Q&A…

After knowing their biggest frustrations, Jenny becomes more confident to come up with one SPECIFIC offer, although it’s not perfect.

Jenny’s message speaks to her audience straight away. And she started to get her first-ever paying client very quickly.

In the meantime, she finds ways to grow her list. Her list size reaches to 60 in 3 months time. A small list but she has an impressive 5% conversation rate (ie. 3 paying clients).

As her experience grows, she keep tweaking her offers. She also getting more and more clear who exactly she can serve the best, based on her first-hand experience.

Her time is still limited, so she only guest posts on certain websites where her ideal audience hang out.

By the end of year 1, her list size is not quite 1000 yet, but she manages to keep the conversation rate at 4-5%.

Now despite the fear of uncertainty, she can see that her business becomes self-sustainable and she is ready to take the full-time leap…


The examples above just shows the power of quality, and the importance of building the ground work of your business first.

Contrary to common belief that when you start out you can’t afford to be fussy, I’d say the opposite:

When you start out, your time and resource is very limited, as a result, you can’t afford to be NOT choosy how you spend your time.

I hope this post can help you get some clarity and avoid this classic mistake.

Don’t worry if you are making this mistake – we all do – you probably just got mislead.

It’s OK to make mistakes on the way, but it’s NOT OK to beat yourself up about it.

Enjoy the rest of your week + I sincerely hope that you can pick up the momentum if you’ve lost it.

In the comment area, we’d love to hear from you: Did you ignore anything that in turn has paid off? Any lessons you learnt that you want to share with the community?

If you find this post useful, please “like” it. Thank you!

With love,


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[Related post]: Use 1 kick-ass mindset to attract more customers





Fully agree with you that there is some really cr*p advice out there from ‘sages’ in business…and it gets worse when they are leaders of a large organisation..with tonnes of history behind it -you know which one I am talking about:). I think key to business is also having a vision or a mission that surpasses pure money minting (nothing wrong with money but it disillussion many – pure pursuit of money sometimes comes with compromise for quality – which reduces conversation/return customers)

Have a good one



Thanks David!
I agree with the having a mission surpasses pure money minting – consciously making money.
Guess that’s why a few biggies collapsed a few years ago…

Have a beautiful weekend!


This makes SO much sense. And it shows me why I’m off to such a slow start with my Coaching 🙂 The thing is, I am trained to keep it open. When I’m working with my Coach, it also can take on any direction. This is very much the nature of Coaching and what I love about it, and that’s my conundrum – I do not have (or want) ONE specific message.

I am, however, planning on doing surveys and talking to the people on my list. Maybe that will give me an idea!

Thank you for this, as always it’s so very helpful and inspirational <3

Much love and blessings,


Hi Sibylle – I love keeping it open too…to a degree that being flexible brings me back to my truest calling, so that when I do my work I feel like a relief.
In terms of the nature of coaching, OK, this is just my personal style of intuitive coaching, I help clients to see “what”, then the “how” bit is flexible, surprising and in the flow…often people struggle is because they can’t decide/not comfortable/confident to decide or see their “what”…but if the “what” part is scattered, then it’s really difficult to manifest results.
Enjoy your surveys, make sure it is qualitative…
Maybe you think your message is scattered but hopefully the feedback from your community can help you to see the common driver behind it…

Have a beautiful weekend!


Hi Yiye! Thanks so much for this advice. Intuitively I have been feeling I need to really be clear before I can take on a ‘big’ list growing marketing campaign even tho I am hear differently. So it is so good to hear confirmation. However also the flip side I also feel that the more I coach the more my message/purpose will become clear but how do I coach or find clients without a clear message! Bit confused really! X


Hi Renee, I appreciate that the need of “the more I coach, the more it become clear” – I’ve been there too. Quite often it is our ego being insecure and telling us the more the better… but actually if you are focused you only need 3-5 testing…eg, even if now you have 20 people wanting to work with you, you might not be able to find the capacity right at the moment…You have a really delightful energy – trust your intuition…
As for the practical side, your message will indeed get more and more specific and clear, it will evolve all the time. Once it gets one step further, then tweak it immediately and ask your higher self to arrange a synchronicity to bring ONE person who will be the best fit. Then you practise on that, have more clarity + tweak more + attract the next one…quite often spirit doesn’t want to tell us the XYZ answer, instead s/he leads us one step at a time. Through the whole process, we understand ourselves better. Enjoy!
You can read this post as a reference: http://yourlifeexpression.com/2012/09/14/do-you-lose-sleep-over-your-taglinesniche-4-tips-to-turn-it-around/

Patti Capparelli

Ziye, I enjoyed reading your post. I especially liked the examples. In my line of work, I have to be true to myself and to my priorities. I tune into my intuition regarding the advice I receive from the experts. Some things feel like I’m doing it for the sake of doing it, not because it is truly how I wish to spend my time. That’s why I don’t hop on the latest social media trend.


that’s great to hear Patti!


Hi Yiye,

Great article! I am at the start stage as Jenny in your article and now think twice what I actually will do next.

I have tried to share this article in facebook, however technically it was impossible – the window was very small vertical and it was not possible to click “ok” (please feel free to contact me – I can explain you the problem in details).

Good luck!



Thank you Margarita!

Blissom Booblé

Very informative article. The information was useful and could be applied immediately.


Thank you Blissom!


I love this post, Yiye! It’s always interesting and challenging to be very clear about our mission and purpose. I’m working on coaching offers this week and I keep putting it off ; ). Thank you for sharing. Big hugs, Karina


thank you Karina! congratulations on the offer + more people need it!
love and hugs

Christie Halmick

I’ve ignored that advice as well! I designed without a list at first even. Then launched my first course with a very small list! It’s growing, and I’m making money at the same time and helping more ladies, right now, than I would be if I’d waited to get to 1,000 to make an offer!


Hey Christie – very honoured to have you here! and thanks for sharing your wisdom and first hand experience!

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