There was a time when simplifying my business felt like giving up.
What is it about our culture (at least western culture), that we can’t shake the ‘no pain no gain’ mentality? Why does it feel like things have to be hard to be worth anything?
Fortunately, those days are behind me.
Now I feel like I’ve won the time lottery (it exists in my head, just go with it).
I was talking with a friend recently and I realized how everything I’ve done in my business has brought me to exactly where I am now and it feels so right.
Let’s take a brief stroll down memory lane and we can look at all the iterations of my business. I’ve come full circle to what it is I really wanted to do (and this path has prepared me to step into this next phase).
I’ve mentioned a bunch of times that my intention when I started my business was to be an information marketer. I had zero technical skills, no idea about creating websites and had only played with WordPress.com. All I knew was that I was fascinated by online business and knew I had to make it work. I needed to work for myself and pretty much committed to never going back to retail management again (we won’t talk about my stint in real estate or insurance, because… yawn).
I’d had my fair share of attempts at other businesses:
- MLM (my guess is a LOT of entrepreneurs have been down this path at one time or another)
- Contract recruiting for retail
- Physical retail scrapbook store
- Loan & Real Estate agent
- Insurance agent
Makes me tired thinking of everything that went into each of those ventures.
Especially the real estate and loan agents, because again, they were a little dry for me (and I am SO not good at being at anyone’s beck and call).
Once I connected with this whole online business thing it was like coming home.
I couldn’t get enough of it. I was consuming as much information as I could, with a bunch of words I had zero understanding of but it clicked (pun intended).
I KNEW it was possible.
Fast forward 9 years and here are the different paths I’ve been down that have brought me to exactly where I am today (I can’t really give you a definitive timeline, but know that it started in 2008 and has brought me to 2017) Up until 2017 I was still offering websites for clients:
- The WPChick is born and I start doing websites, not really knowing what I was doing
- I start dipping my toes into creating courses and create a Google Analytics for WordPress course (and shipped a DVD!)
- Started hiring developers to take the websites I was creating to a new level
- Genesis was released and I started teaching how to use it (to the everyday user, not devs)
- I created WordPress Genesis for Beginners (Ebook), then did an iteration with videos and bonuses a year+ later
- Launched my podcast (best thing ever)
- Started doing coaching (late 2012 / early 2013)
- Started running Facebook ads (this is when I joined a high-end mastermind)
- Launched my outsourcing company
- Decided to start offering done-for-you podcasting
- Hit a wall in 2016 where I was TIRED
- Decided I needed to SIMPLIFY
- Started daily emailing
- Closed the outsourcing down
- Decided no more websites
- Started focusing on courses and teaching
- Affiliate marketing
- LeadSurveys is born
- I am enjoying my business more than I ever have before
Long story short, I’ve come back to to the fundamentals of what I wanted to do in the first place.
Is it easier for me now than it would have been even 5 years ago?
I have an audience and I know so much more.
I’m not weighed down by the challenges of making the technology fit.
However, I will tell you that I had I stayed the course of doing what I knew I was supposed to keep doing (i.e., not getting sidetracked by shiny things) my business would probably be in a different place today. That’s not a judgment, simply reminding you of the role you play in getting to where you want to go.
I also know I’m much more confident in my abilities and how I want to run my business today than I was 5 years ago.
As much as I like having a nice income from my business, the freedom to enjoy the fruits of my labor has to be there too. And it wasn’t. I had created a business that had more overhead (salaries) than I had ever wanted and I felt like I was in a constant state of chasing something. The big launch, the big lifestyle, the big high-ticket offer, the big ‘whatever the latest guru is preaching’ thing….
Before you start thinking I’m anti the big lifestyle (or however that may come across), at the end of the day I’m not anti-anything except for what doesn’t work for ME.
I had some amazing experiences but I’m not driven but flashy stuff. The houses, cars, planes, watches… none of it gets me excited. Don’t get me wrong, I like nice things, but I’m way more inspired by experiences (travel) and freedom.
But I found myself feeling like I needed to keep up with a lot of that and have all kinds of funnels, strategies, campaigns, retargeting… AAAH….
None of that works if you don’t have a basic foundation to build that on.
How I’ve Simplified
Like I mentioned above, I’ve stopped taking on service work (websites or podcasts. I have a couple clients I work with monthly for podcasting and social media, but that’s it). I’m wrapping up my very last client website this week (with some adjustments and tweaks to be made within the next week I’m sure).
The outsourcing will be completely wrapped up at the end of March. I’ve connected everyone directly with the team members they were working with and will be closing down my Teamwork account then as well. I still have a developer I work with as well as my designer (I’ve worked with both of them for years now). The goal is to get my designer back on a retainer when LeadSurveys is up and running so she can support us with all our graphic work there (content, downloads, training material, etc.). In the meantime, they’re both working for me on an hourly basis.
Deciding to get rid of salaried help has been HUGE.
I get the whole ‘team’ thing… but it depends on what you want to do.
I know we’ll need to build a team for LeadSurveys, but that will come later (support, more development, content, and social media). The goal with that is to grow at a consistent rate, not the ‘hockey stick’ growth you hear about with some SaaS companies.
At this point, I am LOVING not needing to get anything to anyone (other than my audio editor and Gordan, my time is MINE).
Here’s what my business looks like today:
- Courses: Mini-courses & Signature Course (you’ll have to listen to get more details on these)
- One-off coaching sessions: 90 minutes
- Affiliate marketing: Creating content & teaching with affiliate products
- Podcast sponsorship
- Content & Marketing
How much simpler is that?
I get giddy when I look at my calendar for the week and see huge blocks of time that are open. Where I can create and market my own business.
The crazy thing is the opportunities and magic (I’m a Harry Potter girl, I can’t help but use the word magic) that are showing up in my life because of this. I won’t go all sideways on you guys but the people and opportunities that are showing up in my life keep blowing me away.
The Tools I’m Crazy Excited About
I’m going to go into more explanation with each of these in the podcast, so if you want more in-depth information on these be sure to listen to the full show.
- Snappa: this has truly become my go-to image creator for social media images and blog posts
- Demio: New webinar platform I’m loving
- WebTextTool: holy mother of all that is good in the world I LOVE this tool! SEO, keywords, content analyzing. Nuff said.
- Gliffy: I’ve used this for a while but used it a LOT during the Content Strategy Course. I don’t use mind maps but this fits the bill perfectly for mapping things out.
- Trint: I’m using this for my transcriptions now. Upload and edit, easy peasy (especially since I discovered the 2x speed).
- AirStory: Content planning, organizing and collecting at its finest.
- PowerPack for BeaverBuilder: Over 40+ modules and tons of page templates for BeaverBuilder
- Beaver Themer: This takes building sites with Beaver Builder to a WHOLE new level!
- NewKajabi: this is where I’m storing my mini-courses, Content Strategy course and any other training I do. I’m finally putting this investment to work.
- MonsterInsights: It’s no secret I don’t enjoy spending a lot of time in Google analytics. Now I don’t have to with the MonsterInsights plugin.
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