No matter what kind of product you want to launch in 2020 – a planner, a new kind of yoga mat, jewellery or baby clothes – there are certain steps that remain the same. And these are all steps you that can take without needing to start spending money on your business yet.

Anything you do for your business means investment. And that investment can be either TIME or MONEY.

But in the early days, you want to hang on to your money for as long as possible, and this means doing things yourself as much as you can. The good news is that there is a LOT you can do yourself to start your business, even if the actual product you intend to make is going to mean financial investment.

Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop empire started with just a newsletter that you signed up to from a simple, no-frills web page.

All her value was in that email that you got every week. And do you know what that costs you to create? ZERO.

So this month I’m going to set you a challenge.

Even if you don’t have a product or a website or ANYTHING set up yet, I want you to create your very first email sequence. An email sequence is a series of emails that goes out automatically to new subscribers to your list over a period of time.

So how do you start?

1. Solve The Problem

Ask yourself – who is your target customer, and what problem does your product solve for them?

2. Use Your Words

If you could solve her problem with WORDS first, what words would you use? Write down 10 sentences that would help your ideal customer with the problem you want to solve for her. Now put them in numbered order – is there a natural starting point, middle point and end point?

3. Get Your Words Out There

You’re going to turn those 10 sentences into your first marketing campaign. You can turn them into blog posts, Facebook posts, or your first automated email campaign.

“But how on earth do I set up an automated email campaign?”

Head on over to Sender and sign up for their free service, and create an automated email sequence of 10 emails.

Turn your 10 problem-solving sentences into 10 emails by fleshing them out slightly into a paragraph or two for each one that your dream customer will find interesting and helpful.

And then top and tail with “Hi there,” and “Yours, Sarah” or whatever salutation feels natural to you.

Do that for each of your helpful sentences, and schedule them to be sent one by one every three days after somebody signs up for your mailing list.

In your second email, you can also introduce yourself – keep it short and highly relevant to your topic. Let’s say you are a yoga teacher creating a chakra balancing spray. It could read

“My name is Melanie and I am a yoga teacher in Austin. During my training in India I discovered the importance of creating an environment that nurtures focus and stillness for your practice. I am looking forward to sharing this with you so that you can carve out a space in your home for a yoga practice that brings you strength and peace.”

It’s KIND OF about you, but it’s also about what you are doing for the reader. It tells them why they should keep reading.

If creating this email sequence is the only thing you do in January, you will already be SO FAR ahead of the game.

Setting up an email sequence is one of the most important things you can possibly do to solidly and memorably introduce people to your unique skills and your (future!) product, but it is also the thing that most new businesses put off indefinitely.

If you get this in place from the very start, you will be giving yourself the best possible chance to create a connection with your potential customers from the very beginning.