Oohey. This one is going to be a whole load of honesty, with a side of realness, and a smidgen of TMI for dessert. But hey. My goal is to present the behind-the-scenes truth, so that, if applicable, you can make decisions and take action based on a realistic picture. Not a world full of staged images (which I take sometimes too—so I’m not judging), embellished income reports, and all that jazz.
My Top 8 Business Mistakes of 2016
1. Not choosing the right path during the ultimate debacle and disaster that consisted of offering services and accidentally selling more spots than I intended.
All my close friends and family know of something we affectionately call #Project50. Which was a time when my sales software was supposed to limit registrants to under 20 people (for a custom content plan I was putting together for each person), but it didn’t shut down until I noticed the error and did it manually . . . when over 55 people had registered.
Cue panic music and nervous laughter.
You see. I really hate to disappoint people. There are some parts of me that want to be “so above” caring what other people think, but at the core of who I am, I just do. I don’t like hurting people’s feelings (which makes me the worst and most confusing girlfriend ever when I’m trying to break up with someone), and I don’t like the feeling of letting someone down.
So, instead of refunding the last 30 or 40 people and potentially disappointing them because they wouldn’t be able to take advantage of the crazy price I was selling the package at, I decided to just clear my schedule (which meant not creating as much content), let people know the delivery time would be a little longer (and also offer them a refund if they understandably didn’t want to wait), then get to work trying to finish each plan—but still give each one the attention it deserved.
It was a disaster. Some people got their plans on time, other people kept getting offers to either (1) get a refund and accept a free eBook as my apology, or (2) wait a little longer and accept a free eBook as my apology. It drug on and on. I kept hoping people would just ask for a refund. And in the end I had to “force” refund a few people because I just couldn’t finish each plan.
So, you may not know this, but the first paid online course launch I ever did (about 2.5 years ago) was to an email list of only 71 people. For a total of $1350. And some recurring revenue of about $1000 per month after that. And guess what? I ran exactly zero high-pressure webinars (or webinars at all) for my launch, and I sent zero pesky emails, just emails filled with value and information.
It was a crazy time. In which I had no idea what I was doing, but I desperately wanted to get my valuable, organized information out to more people at once—more people than I was able to reach through 1-on-1 coaching and small in-person workshops.
“But, what’s up on this case study though?” You may be wondering.
It’s funny. I was having a conversation with one of my best friends not too long ago—a friend who was definitely around me all the time when I was launching this first product—and they had absolutely, 100%, no idea that my email list had only 71 people on it when I first released this course. And then, they told me it actually inspired them a ton.
That meant so much to me. And also made me realize that the few Periscope broadcasts I’ve shared this in before are not enough to really help and (hopefully) inspire others. I knew I had to make a case study out of it.
And so I did. I made two versions even. A shorter one that you can consume as a podcast and cheat sheet and a longer one that you will be able to watch as a workshop in the near future. For now, may I please introduce you to the audio version.
You can catch it as a podcast episode here (it’s even downloadable). And you can download the accompanying cheat sheet here. Or, you can read below for some of what I cover in a Q+A style. It’s not the whole episode and all the tips, but if you’re short on time or only want to read, the cheat sheet or summary below is for you.
So, some of the main highlights of what I cover are in this episode are:
- What it means to “scale” a product. (Hint: Scalability does not mean passive income.)
- How I built my (super small) audience before my launch.
- How I decided on the topic of my first course.
- What exactly my first course consisted of.
- How much (if any) money I had to spend to make the course.
- How I picked the price for my first course.
- How long the course took to make and if it was finished when I launched. (Hint: No. It wasn’t.)
- How I promoted the course and which promotion efforts gave the best results.
- How much (net) money the course brought in.
- What % of my total list purchased.
- What I did after my launch.
- And more.
As I’ve been creating some new secret brands and helping both clients and friends build more clarity and profitability into their businesses and websites, I’ve noticed something major. It’s HARD to find good WordPress themes for infopreneurs.
As someone creating valuable content and selling your knowledge as information products, it’s extremely important to have a website that is attractive, functional, and organized in a way that helps direct your audience to what you need. And if you’re like me, in love with WordPress and all its capabilities (not that I don’t frequently build Squarespace sites too), then you may be lost on what themes best suit your needs.
And I wouldn’t be a proper co-host of #InfopreneurMonth (P.S. it’s free; check it out and register here) without putting together a list of amazing themes that you can use for your information business.
Hey, did I mention that it’s #InfopreneurMonth?
Okay, now that we know all about the exciting content of this month, let me introduce you to my 10 favorite themes for infopreneurs . . . all available for under $50 from Creative Market . . . one of my favorite sites to get business goods from.
I love the intelligent design of Wildfire. It brings in the popular trend to highlight one main call to action (CTA) at the top of your site with a large hero image, but it also allows you to highlight other content and resources quite nicely on the home page (in the 3 boxes below the hero image).
As an infopreneur, you could use the top CTA to direct people to your newest, best free resource that serves as an opt-in for your email list. Perhaps it could be something like:
Oh man. Listen. I 100% believe what I’m about to say and it IS big. I’m not even necessarily being the overly dramatic version of myself that I normally am.
Here it is.
There are six distinct blogger career paths, which if you understand and work on, can absolutely change your world.
I’ve been down each one of these paths in the past, and it is time to share them . . . and to change the careers that we consider, pursue, and build for ourselves.
P.S. Everything below and more is available as a podcast episode. And here is the flowchart I reference and show.
For years, and years, and years society has been quick to teach us the traditional career paths of lawyers, and teachers, and plumbers, and even professional basketball players. We know which schools we need to go to, which judge to get an internship with, how to get certified during night school, which recruiters and game stats we should shoot for, etc.
We know that once we become a lawyer, we can look forward to either practicing law at a major firm and trying to make partner, or starting our own firm, or teaching law, or working as a public defender, or working for a major corporation as an attorney, or doing pro bono, or advising a non-profit, or getting into politics and perhaps running for president of our country one day.
But, what about career paths for bloggers? For content creators? For some of these positions and interests that are popping up, making money, and sticking around?
Just as becoming a lawyer doesn’t guarantee you money or clients, but it does provide many paths to monetize (explained above) and many specialties to focus on (family law, corporate issues, intellectual property, taxes, tort law, etc.) and is thus considered a legitimate career . . .
becoming a blogger doesn’t guarantee income or fame, but it does provide many paths (explained below and in the podcast episode) and practically endless specialties to focus on (food, business, travel, crafts, fitness, accounting, fashion, etc.) that make money and should thus be considered a legitimate career.
I hope they start teaching it in schools everywhere soon. But until then, may I please present my shiny new Blogger Career Paths flowchart with some explanations and notes (if you’re taking them) that I hope will blow your mind? Okay. Let’s get started.
The first thing to understand is what is happening in any career path, anywhere, at any time, on any day. You are learning something new in one of two ways. You are either:
Yes, my friend. I have a treat for you today. A serious expert (in the form of trial and error and success at getting organized and making her projects flow well) is giving us the behind-the-scenes, no skimpiness version of how to really use Asana (a tool the whole byRegina.com team uses) to manage your clients and projects. She’s even taking us through specific actions we’ll want to take in Asana and giving us some screen examples. Check it out.
Hi, I’m Nesha! I design brands and websites for lady entrepreneurs + teach other brand & web designers how to build profitable and sustainable businesses.
Let’s jump into organizing your clients and projects.
Have you ever tried to manage your projects through emails? You end up with hundreds of emails between you and the client, making it impossible to find the feedback they sent you last week or the attachment they sent you the week before.
To make matters even worse, your client seems to think it’s best to start a new thread instead of hitting reply on your emails, so your conversations are now broken into dozens of threads.
If that doesn’t sound familiar, how about this: have you ever gone to start a project and then realized your client hasn’t completed their pre-project homework or handed over the files you need? It halts the project right in its tracks and adds days (sometimes weeks!!) on to your deadline.
If you’re a freelance designer, photographer, writer or any kind of service-based business owner, you’ve experienced this before. It kiiiinda makes you want to pull your hair out with frustration.
When this kind of project disorganization happens, I’m guessing some of these thoughts fly through your head:
Why is my client always starting new threads even though I’ve told her not to?!
Why do my clients NEVER remember to hand in their files on time?
How come my clients NEVER remember to make their payments on time?
Why do I constantly have to remind my clients to send me their feedback on the work I’ve done?
Spot the common thought here? We like to blame our project disorganization on our client’s forgetfulness. But the reality is this: WE should be the ones making sure our clients remember to send us feedback on time or hand in files on time. WE should be the ones making sure our clients make their payments on time. WE should be the ones organizing the project management; we should’t rely on our clients to handle it.
So how can you finally get these problems solved? By using a project management tool.
A project management tool is a private space online where you and your clients can organize everything that needs to get done in your projects. You can communicate, create to-do lists, attach files, set deadlines, set reminders and tons more.
Each time you take on a new client, you simply create a new project in your PM tool of choice, name the project and invite your client! Then you can both discuss things in one neat, organized spaced.
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