In this interview, Aske Christiansen shares his experience how he started his Facebook advertising business, ScalingYourBusiness.com. He also shares how he likes helping people succeed and seeing their improved sales is his greatest achievement. Traveling a lot and living abroad have been a challenge to him but it always has been his avenue of constant learning, improving and trying new things fearlessly.
When you are done absorbing Aske's insights and advice to budding entrepreneurs, make sure to follow him on Twitter!
What motivated you to start Scaling Your Business? How did the idea come about?
The idea came pretty randomly. After a few failed business projects I realized I enjoy helping people.
Having gotten good results with Facebook ads in the past and remembering how much I hated it at first, I realized there might be other people out there who felt the same.
I’ve been interested in advertising for a long time and one of the things I particularly like about Facebook is that advertising is based on relevancy so people should be happier to see your ads as they’re a better fit than on most other websites or even offline.
What originally motivated me to start my own business was meeting a girl I liked while I was studying abroad. I thought that it would be horrible if I would ever be in a situation where I couldn’t be with someone great because of a logistic problem - such as getting a job in a foreign country. After a while I realized that having my own business would be the best solution for me.
What was your mission at the beginning of starting your business?
At first my mission was to help people - I know this might come off as super cheesy but it makes me happy to see when other people are happy because they solved a problem that has been nagging them. My mission is still the same and it’s the thing I like the most about having my own business.
When times get tough, what would you say motivates you to keep going? To not hit the snooze button and to keep fighting for your goals.
Times rarely get’s so though that it’s difficult to handle - I’m doing something I enjoy, so I’ve already won.
I think I might be too deep down the rabbit hole. To me there’s no such thing as giving up, I can't see myself living a life where I don't have my own business.
To be fair I didn’t always feel this way and before I reached the turning point, I was having a very strong reason for doing it. Whenever things were tough and I felt like they weren’t fair, I kept reminding myself that if I don’t do it now it will probably never happen. And I can’t live my life without having experienced what running my own business is like.
What is unique about your business? Is there a competitive advantage that you have over the rest?
I don’t know if it's a competitive advantage but traveling a lot, living abroad and constantly challenging myself in all areas of life makes me fearless to try new things. It’s like a habit that helps me do just stuff without thinking too much about it.
Instead of being scared of things not being perfect, I make them good enough, ship them at see what happens. It makes me progress incredibly fast in every area of my life. Of course it doesn't always go well but to me okay - at least I learned something new.
As I’m a one man show at the moment this is also great for business but as I build my team, I’ll probably need to look for other competitive advantages.
Have you ever gotten a disappointed client or customer? If so, how did you handle the situation?
Actually, I haven’t. I’m very throughout with vetting clients and customers before I work with them but I’m sure there will be one at some point. I imagine it’s unavoidable.
To me it’s a waste of time to take on a client if I’m not sure I can help them. There are plenty of online teachers and coaches out there I know I can help, so I’d rather work with those instead.
In your experience, what is the biggest mistake that entrepreneurs and small business owners make when using Facebook?
In my experience it’s assuming that dropping $50 on Facebook ads will easily turn into $100. For most business it will but it takes some learning to figure out.
As long as you have the right expectations for the work it requires, you’ll do well with Facebook ads.
A lot of people seem to be confused about the targeting options when setting up their ad which is unfortunate. To be fair though, the more options Facebook gives you, the more complicated it becomes. Your first idea might or might not work but you should be ready to test more ideas if you’d like to do well with Facebook advertising.
Is there any resource that helped you write a solid plan for your business?
Yes, most of the stuff on Ramit Sethi’s site is great for building a business online. He covers everything from finding an idea to building it. His emails are one of the few I open every time.
What are the three best pieces of advice that you would give to anyone starting a business? What do they need to know from the very beginning?
Planning for failure is the most important thing you can do. You’ll fail a lot, just like everyone else and that’s fine. Things would be boring if no one ever failed.
Planning for it is the one thing that’ll make you kick ass no matter what. The way I go about it is creating a plan for what to do when my first idea fails - it usually does!
It get’s easier the more you do it and soon you’ll laugh as you only needed to put your second idea into action to achieve what you were trying to. Ramit Sethi has some great material about it on his site if you want to learn more.
Things will also take longer than you thought. It’s usually annoying but afterwards, when you think back you’ll see that it makes sense.
Most people, including myself, suck at planning for new adventures. It’s usually because we don’t know enough to make a really solid plan, so iterating the plan as you learn more is important.
The last thing, and my favorite, is to have fun. Starting a business is challenging and a lot of fun - if you let it be. Think about it, what’s more fun that getting the thing you dream about the most?