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If this is your first time reading the blog, I run a small marketing agency/consultancy which I started when I was working a day job. I quit that job in June of 2017 to go full-time with this business.
I’ve decided to start posting a monthly update to show progress on my big goals for 2018 and keep myself accountable – as well as give you some ideas for how to improve your own business or side hustle.
January 2018 Summary
- Recurring: 1 new client in January
- Non-Recurring Clients (coaching, one-time projects, etc.): 2 new clients
What I’ve Learned:
- Go deep into a niche, and don’t switch gears until you’ve exhausted every resource you have there – this could be in terms of networking, marketing, building more products and value for that audience – just gaining more market share in general.
I went to a networking event where one guy was talking about potentially changing his very specific audience to expand and add new niches to this service he was running. Then we found out he had done virtually no marketing, little networking, and definitely had not exhausted all avenues in that area.
He just felt like he should expand his target audience just because it was time – there wasn’t really a valid reason to do so either. He hadn’t thought about the fact that he had so many more options to grab market share from his competitors in that space. It’s made me think a lot about the direction I’m moving into during 2018.
- You should be getting “no’s” from 6/10 people you pitch your products and services to. If not, your prices aren’t high enough. See the video embedded below from Gary V and Chase Jarvis talking about this.
I’m going to be raising my prices and stop worrying about bringing on every single customer, because my time is valuable and I have more expenses now – I need to be more strategic about what I do.I’ve known this for a while, but it smacked me hard in the face when I heard it from those two. It’s one of those things you know but aren’t taking action on – which I’m realizing means you don’t actually “know”. #deep 😉
- I need to work on my confidence. Twice in one week I heard from peers that I need to have more confidence in what I’m doing. I do amazing work and my confidence comes through when I’m writing, but on video or in-person it’s just not there.
Both times I heard incredible compliments in the form of me doing great work, and helping people with my writing – but that I need to trust myself and stop holding myself back because I lack confidence in certain situations.
That is NOT easy to hear from people I respect – but it is something I’m going to have to work on if I want to get better at entrepreneurship and grow this business to a point where I can virtually step away and have other people run it. I have a feeling this is going to take a while to conquer, but it’s necessary if I want to have the impact I plan to.
- Books I’ve Read:
- I read through about 75% of the book Profit First – which is one I recommend EVERY entrepreneur/business owner/side hustler reads because it will change your mindset on “reinvesting money” back into the business. Review coming soon for sure – so stay tuned!
- If you read my post about entrepreneur insomnia, you’ll know I plan on reading more fiction and memoirs in the coming months. I hope this will help with being able to ease my mind at night and sleep better. PLEASE send me your recommendations via Twitter, or comment below. I am so out of my element with those kinds of books.
I’ve been reading The Art of Racing in the Rain and it’s been a great change so far from solely reading business books. I think someone put a bowl of onions in the room when I was reading the first four pages 🙄
Goal Progress for January 2018
As a reminder, here are my overall goals for 2018:
1. Step up my networking game – Success
I went to 3 “official” networking events this past month:
- 2 coffee meetups with entrepreneurial groups in Philadelphia
- A nighttime networking event for women entrepreneurs – this was SO kickass.
I’ve been all over Twitter this month, which has surprisingly brought me two business leads – even though the only time I really talk about marketing and running campaigns for clients is in my twitter bio:
If you aren’t following me on Twitter, I’d love to hang out with you there – do ittttt 🙂
Yes, some people will say that’s not networking, but I call it networking…so there.
2. Niche down and focus on a few clients – Fail
3. Content marketing and inbound leads – Fail
4. Bring on an extra person – New employee starts 2/4/18
This is going to be an interesting ride, but I’m extremely excited about it. This person works so hard, is extremely smart, and while they aren’t exactly familiar with a lot of digital marketing stuff, I know they’re going to rock this position.
1st Quarter Goals:
1. Increase sales by 25% – On Track
Taking the dollar equivalent of this 25% increase goal and dividing by 3, I am on track to achieve this goal. Of course, that is if all of my clients pay before March 31st. 🙂
Being honest, I really wanted to knock this goal out of the park and I’m doing well at this point. I do need to recognize that a 25% increase in sales is still quite decent so even if I don’t hit that, I’m still improving my numbers. As I mentioned before, I am quite competitive at this point in time.
To make sure I hit this goal (and go above and beyond it), I may end up moving my cold outreach goal I originally had planned for Q3 to February or March.
I am also getting ready to raise my rates again because I’m not getting the 6/10 people who are telling me no. I know I’ve been underpricing but this video really solidified why I need to up my pricing at this point:
Listen to their conversation about pricing around minute 12
Productize My Offerings – Not on Track
I have been thinking about this, but have not made much progress yet. I did buy a course on this called Productize by Brian Casel. I haven’t gone through the course yet, mainly because he’s redoing everything and I would rather go through the upgraded version than the current one AND the upgraded.
In the past I would want to learn every single thing and take both, but what I’ve learned over the last few years is that I know I won’t actually do that.
Redesigning My Site – On Track
I am going to be redesigning my company website for a few reasons – one, the current theme I’m using is not one I’m sticking with – and two, I need a new homepage and a pricing page that showcases what I offer.
The current site is okay, but I’ve heard from multiple people I need to redesign it, and I’m not in a place to spend a few grand to have someone else build it – so I’m doing it myself.
There are three main steps here for this new site to be “good enough”:
1. Choosing a Theme: This is done.
I’m going with a Genesis theme from Studiopress because they just work and run great; and they are pretty simply to put together because of the layouts; and they have many stable plugins to help customize your site.
I’ve also built a staging site so I can work on it as I go, and not have a half-done website out there for the world to see. I use BigScoots for hosting and they were kind enough to create this staging subdomain AND installed wordpress for me on there. Great customer service is all I’ve ever gotten from those guys.
2. Redesigning the Home Page: Not working on it yet
I’m not moving on to this until I have the theme installed and looking the way I want it. Yes, I’m starting to put together the copy for the home page, but not the design – that will come later.
3. Adding a Pricing Page: Not working on it yet
This one will come last, after the homepage – and once I actually figure out what my definite pricing structure is. That is going to take more than just building a page on a website with a pricing table – it’s going to take a lot of thinking and math.
The Rest of 2018
Here is what’s coming the rest of the year and the progress I’ve made on other goals so far:
2nd Quarter Goals:
- Increase sales 87%
- Build out case studies – no progress
- Build out a cold outreach strategy – no progress
- Be a guest on 3 podcasts – I was on 2 this month
- Jeff Sauer’s JumpStart Podcast, which goes live in March
- The Computer Business Marketing Show which was done via Facebook Live
3rd Quarter Goals:
- Increase sales by 77%
- Contribute 12 guest posts – no progress
- Set up a profitable facebook ads funnel – no progress
4th Quarter Goals:
- Increase sales by 58%
- All out marketing frenzy – no progress
Online Business Tools Worth Mentioning:
- Agency Analytics – one of my clients was looking for a dashboard of sorts to showcase some SEO and analytics data so we can better manage his campaigns. I’d heard of Agency Analytics before but hadn’t actually dug into it. I set up a few trials with some different platforms and liked this one the most.
- ConvertKit – I’ve been using Mailchimp for my entire blogging career. I’m ready to have more flexibility in what I can do with my email lists, so I’m doing a 45 day trial of ConvertKit to see if I like it. I’m not using it for my full email list yet, but am for my “Freelancing With A Day Job” 7-day email series (join it here if you haven’t gone through yet!). So far so good!
I think this January was a pretty good start to the year. I’m not super thrilled with everything, but I am grateful for everything I’ve been able to accomplish.
I also recognize that there are a lot of times when I do something that seems great from the outside, but internally I’m not 100% satisfied with. I think that just comes with the territory of running your own thing, or maybe it’s just how I am.
I’m looking forward to continuing to grow in February and really take sales and this business to the next level.
>> So I want to know: Was this helpful/interesting/something you’d like to see again?