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My 6 Secrets to Growing an Online Business That Pays Really Well, That I Love, and That Makes a Difference


The only kind of business I want anything to do with is a business that is focused on doing something that is helpful to humanity. That’s it. Period. Cash with consciousness is where it’s at.

I started my website in 2010, and I had no clue what I was doing.

I knew I wanted to make something that was helpful and that fed my soul. Beyond that, I was just making it up as I went along.

I get asked about how to grow a following online, how to connect with people, how to make sales, and how to make the whole thing profitable and fun a lot. So, I wrote down my top 6 secrets to making this online business thing work.

So, here goes!

Secret #1: Take Inspired Action

I didn’t have a clue what I was doing when I got started, but I did have a burning desire to say something. I had a message I wanted to share and it seemed like writing it down on a blog was a good way to go. I had started reading a few blogs in 2009 and I thought I could add something to the conversation.

I paid someone I found on Twitter $100 to get my site set up, and I paid a girlfriend who moonlighted as a graphic designer a nominal amount to design a header.

I didn’t have a strategy or a long-term vision. I had something to say and I felt a burning desire to do something about it.

Key takeaway:

You don’t have to know what you’re doing. Start and then you’ll figure it out along the way. twitter-logo

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Secret #2: Learn, Learn, Learn

You’ve probably heard the cheesy but true phrase: “Learners are earners.”

No one was born great at growing an online business. I promise you that.

Everyone who you see making their mark on the interwebs learned a set of skills over time and then applied them.

At the beginning I went to a lot of conferences, took a lot of notes, took a lot of courses, and followed a handful of experts who really resonated with me.

I implemented what I learned and my income and my following grew bit by bit.

Secret #3: Run Everything Through Your Internal Guidance System

There’s a lot of advice out there about what you should (or shouldn’t) be doing.

Instead of taking action on something because some expert said you should, run it through your internal guidance system.

If a piece of business advice feels off to you, ask yourself: is this feeling off to me because I have a limiting belief I need to take a look at or because it’s simply not right for me?

Only you will know the answer to that question, but you have to ask it first.

Secret #4: You Don’t Have to Have It All Figured Out

There will never be a point in your business career, no matter how much money you’re making or how many people are on your list, when you have it all figured out.

So many people stall on taking action because they’re waiting until they have it all figured out. And year after year goes by and they don’t take action on their dreams.

Instead, get started with inspired action (secret #1) and then keep learning as you go (secret #2) and trust that the information you need will be available to you when you need it.

The biggest myth is that people who have built solid online businesses somehow had some kind of special plan or secret sauce that isn’t available to the general populace.

In fact, they simply had an idea and took action, knowing that they would learn what they needed to know along the way.

Secret #5: Allow Yourself to Evolve

My first site was called AuthentiKate. Then I went on The Freedom Tour. Then I created an entire brand around my book, Money: A Love Story. Then I didn’t know what I was doing for 3 years but I kept engaging with you, my dear community, and serving in ways I felt I could serve.

And then, wouldn’t you know it, a whole new body of work came through this fall, and I feel like I’m really doing the work I was put here on the earth to do for the first time in my life.

But the key is that I didn’t wait until I had the divine inspiration for what my life’s work would be and the clear vision for how to build it as an online empire.

Nope. I kept writing things I wanted to say and kept helping my community in ways I thought I could help.

And things have evolved a lot since 2010. And they shall continue to evolve. That’s what’s so great about the internet. Nothing is static and reinvention is really easy!

Secret #6: Go at Your Own Pace

There are lots of people who will tell you about their overnight success and their 6 figures in their first month online.

Well, there’s always a backstory.

My recommendation? Take the inspiration and learning you can from others and then go at your own pace.

There are different seasons of life, and not all of us are at the season of working 16 hours a day to launch an online empire that makes bank the week it goes live.

I could have grown faster and could have a bigger list, but I said no to opportunities that didn’t feel authentic and took my time.

There’s no such thing as an overnight success. I know you know that. But it’s so easy to compare yourself to other people on the internet who you really don’t know. And it’s also so easy for people to make themselves look a certain way on the internet.

So please remember, as my friend and teacher Mama Gena says:

Your timing is perfect and elegant. twitter-logo

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Those are the 6 secrets that have made the biggest difference in growing an online brand that I’m super proud of, that produces more than a half a million in revenue each year, that is super profitable, that is really fun to run, and that makes a difference in my community members’ lives.

There’s a lot of noise out there in internet marketing land and I want to remind you of something:

Your voice matters.
Your ideas matter.
You have a gift to share.

Integrate the secrets I shared into growing your empire, whatever size it may be, and you will build something truly beautiful.



Which of these 6 secrets resonates most for you? How will you apply it to your business? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!

P.S. If you’re looking for more training and support for growing an online business, check out the free online workshop my friend Marie Forleo is offering right now. She’s built an 8-figure online empire with no special training or connections, and I think you’ll love her practical, down-to-earth wisdom. Grab the free video workshop here.



  • hi Kate, love the simplicity of this post and the honesty and particularly the fact that you dont have to know it all to make a start!!

    • Kate Northrup

      Exactly! No one knows it all when they start. Most of us know next to nothing and it’s through the doing it that we learn!

  • They all really resonate with me! I would say I’m really feeling #3 & #6 right now. You’re exactly right about everybody telling you ‘what you should do’ or ‘what you shouldn’t do’ and it’s about me running it through my internal guidance system. I know if it feels good to me or not and I want to create an authentic business that is true to myself and what I stand for. XO, Erica

  • Thanks Kate! This was so on point and right on time. What resonated with me was go at your own pace, trust your instincts to guide you, and learn, learn, learn. I agree wholeheartedly that’s it’s easy to bogged down waiting for perfection but we have to keep moving step by step with grace & confidence toward our goals! Yes, yes and yes to that…

  • Hi Kate! Thanks for this! Perfect timing! Honestly, they all resonate! I felt very affirmed by each of your 6 secrets. I’m continuing to work a full-time day job while growing my coaching practice. Some days, I want to throw in the towel and give up. Luckily, those days are few and far between. I’m keeping my eye on the target and each day, keep moving forward. My business IS gaining momentum! I truly believe in it and me! I’m grateful for all you do to inspire us! ~Kelli

  • Thanks for sharing your wisdom, Kate. I just took the leap myself and am feeling incredibly uncomfortable sitting with feelings of excitement mixed with “oh no, what did I just get myself into?” I have to tell myself to just chill out. With all of the noise online, it’s refreshing to be reminded that the evolution will happen naturally, over time.

  • Thank you Kate for these 6 wise tips. Just perfectly stated and I really resonate with every single one. I needed to hear this today as well, so thank you for the work that you do. Cheers to you. Julie

  • carla

    Thank you Kate! How important to receive your advice in a sincere, simple, honest way. It leaves me with a sense of calm, optimism and joy. Good luck with everything ;)

  • “Go at your own pace” really resonates with me. I am a mom of 3 kids who has lived with my husband and kids in 3 different states. The hours in my day pass quickly. I have so much to share and I am excited about where my business is headed but I am headed there at the pace that is right for me and my family.

    • Kate Northrup

      Yes! Your pace is the best pace. You are in a particular season of life that has specific priorities. And there will be other seasons that have other priorities. The key is to keep staying in action and to not beat ourselves up for the season of life that we’re in!

  • Kate, thank you for always being so open and sharing your process with us.

    I’m still figuring it out. Maybe I’ll never figure it out. And for me, that’s starting to feel okay. It feels so good to see how far I’ve come along so far.

  • You read my mind! All of this is what I innately believed about starting an online business, but this is the first time I’ve seen someone put it down in writing. So many of us have inspired ideas and feel that we have wisdom to share, and we don’t want to be just another person with a big idea for a blog that ultimately never comes to fruition. But “my timing is perfect and elegant”! I know I will get there. Thank you for the encouragement; it really put the wind in my sails today. :)

  • And that yellow shirt you’re wearing in the feature photo…WOW! So gorgeous!

  • Wayne

    Great post. Thanks for the tips. I find your work inspiring and uplifting.

  • Hey Kate, I love the running everything through your own internal guidance, and honestly, I resonate with all of them in different ways. Would have loved to see you live on the masterclass, and I’m so grateful for what you bring to the world. PS – My husband found you online and said to me, “Hey, Kate Northrup – she’s one of your peeps, right? Woah, she’s so cool! Today, she…..” and he went on and on telling me to check out your FB live. He’s hooked! lol

  • Sheila

    Kate, I really admire your down to earth common sense attitude. I find myself nodding in agreement with all of these 6 secrets. I really needed to read this right now, thank you!

  • So, So Timely. Thank you.

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