Last week we talked about all of the things that didn’t work to grow my business in 2020 and this week we are going to talk about all of the things that DID work.
Despite 2020 being a flaming host mess most of what I did in my business actually worked to grow my audience and my income and keep that biz-related stress to a minimum. My main challenges, not surprisingly, were around having the energy to stay focused and do the work, but the strategy stuff was a success.
Now there are some things I’ve been doing for years that still work and are the backbone of my business…
- Showing up on IG and stories multiple times/week
- Emailing my list every week
- Having pre-recorded workshops to sell my programs
- Showing up + being consistent always works
But there were some new things I tried this year that helped as well…
Resources + Links
Starting a podcast
This year I finally decided to start a podcast. And this was something that, as podcasts were getting more popular, I never thought I would do. But at the end of last year, it started to sound like kind of a good idea. What held me back most was that I didn’t want to do hour-long episodes and I didn’t want to have the extra task list of scheduling and interviewing guests.
So I made it easy on myself by doing short episodes, all alone – and I have to say I’m pretty happy with that decision. And from your feedback, it sounds like having short and actionable episodes has been helpful for you too.
The one thing that has been challenging is that there are no stats to tell me if people who listen actually turn into students or clients. I can see the number of listens, but I cannot see the number of subscribers or clicks to buy. So I giving podcasting two thumbs up based on the responses I get on Instagram, via email, and how much I enjoy recording episodes myself. But after one year, podcasting gets two thumbs up from me.
Another thing that helps to create episodes consistently…
Talk to texting my content
Instead of writing my podcast outlines like I would a blog post, I have been setting them up on my laptop in a Google Doc, then I open the Google doc on my phone, click the microphone button, and talk through what I want to share.
I’m generally aiming for about 1700 words to end up with about a 15-minute podcast. When I would type that out it would take me about two hours, but now by talking through my content I can whip out a podcast draft in 20 minutes. This means I can now batch episodes because recording only takes me about 20 or 30 minutes as well.
If you don’t like typing or it takes too long to write content, hit that microphone button on your phone and talk it out.
Sending weekly podcast episodes via email
Another thing I did for my podcast that helped to boost my listenership is sending the link to episodes to my email list.
Every Thursday a new episode goes live and every Thursday I take the description and the links and send it to my subscribers. And doing that has doubled my listens.
This is probably a DUH moment for a lot of you, but for some reason, I didn’t start sending podcast episodes until halfway through this year. So if you are creating content somewhere else like YouTube or doing lives or IGTV videos don’t be afraid to send those via email.
Your audience isn’t following you everywhere and, especially if you’re connecting with them on Instagram, they are not always going to see your posts. So share on social, but also send a link to your email list. People pay more attention to their inbox than they do when scrolling social media.
Having an office
After working from my couch for eight years I had no idea how much I would enjoy working in my office. Not only am I not looking at the dishes, dog hair, and thinking about all the chores I should be doing, but because I’m not sitting on the couch, the dogs are no longer trying to climb all over me while I’m working.
I do still end up on the couch or the balcony every once in a while, but being able to sit at my desk, focus for a couple of hours, and then close my laptop and completely step away from work has been relieving.
Also, before moving into this apartment we finally got a TV. I had been watching TV on my laptop for years so it didn’t occur to me that I would be thrilled to have a TV. But I realized that when I was watching Netflix on my laptop I was still staring at the thing I do my work on so there was still that constant feeling of needing to do something or always thinking about what’s next on my task list. Which didn’t feel like a problem until I was off my laptop. Being able to completely shut off work and spend evenings away has been better than I ever expected.
Joining a program that felt like punching above my weight
A big investment I made this year was to join Rachel Rodger’s We Should All Be Millionaires membership. I definitely feel like a small fish in a big pond over there. Other members are talking about having teams and six-figure months, and I am not anywhere near that but being in this program has been motivating. In the Facebook group, people are talking about their wins every single day and encouraging each other to make big scary moves. And they are also sharing detailed information about their lunches, their programs, and how they are running things. I am learning things about having that size business and able to put some of those things in place earlier on or at least feel prepared and know what to expect when growing to that size.
And it’s been helpful, with the chaos of 2020, to watch the trainings and coaching sessions on the days I felt off, unmotivated, overwhelmed. It helps me get back on track and makes me feel a little more productive when I didn’t want to do anything.
So if you didn’t find that support this year, I encourage you to invest in a program, a community for next year so you aren’t figuring it all out on your own. And The Essentials is always open for you, just saying!
Moving all my programs into a membership
Speaking of The Essentials – this is a move that I have to give credit to Rachel and the Millionaires members because I would have never made this decision on my own. And that is – moving all my programs into one membership.
I’ll be honest I was nervous about how this would work. I have been running these programs separately for the past five or six years but one of the main things they talked about a lot in the Millionaires community is having one program and I’m over here with like eight.
Now I systematized my marketing enough that it wasn’t a challenge to market and run them all, but when I started going through the Millionaires program, the idea of one singular product felt exciting. And because someone who is a good human, runs their business with integrity, and makes millions said that this is the way to do it I decided to take that advice.
So I moved all my courses (or the majority of them) into one program and I am into it. I love running the community, I love running the coaching calls, talking about this program feels effortless to me, and having those recurring payments is real nice as well.
All the big growth-creating changes I’ve made in my business in the past eight years have always felt really really exciting and really really scary at the same time. But I have come to learn what that feels like so I know that even though I have lots of questions and doubts about how things will work out, that feeling tells me that the benefits will outweigh the challenges.
Going through my own journal prompts
I launched the Solopreneur Success Journal near the beginning of the year. So I spent a couple months going through the entire journal and writing out all 100 of the prompts. And I was blown away by my own journal prompts. It was so helpful to kind of give myself a reality check over what I needed to do better in my business, habits I needed to focus on, and the mindset issues that were slowing me down.
And challenging myself to sit down every single day and write something for every single prompt helped me uncover a lot of stuff I wouldn’t have been aware of or take the time to dig up on my own without those prompts.
You can get a copy of the journal as well if you need to do some digging into your mindset and business. It’s available in book form on Amazon or you can grab the PDF version and print it yourself over at xosarah.com/ssjournal.
Running $10 ads to boost my Instagram posts
This is something I actually did a lot this year. Any time I had an Instagram post that was getting good engagement I would promote it to grow my audience.
When most people create IG ads within Instagram (by hitting the promote button on any post), under audience they type in keywords like digital marketing, online business, Instagram. But general keywords are way too broad.
Instead, under audience, choose something like Marie Forleo or Gary Vee because people who like them are likely growing a business online. You can type in people, you can type in companies, publications. You won’t find everything and everyone, but there will be something that connects with your ideal audience related to what you do.
Paying to promote on Instagram means I didn’t have to go into the intense and complicated Facebook ads dashboard. I have used it before and it does work, but being able to hit the promo button and throw $10 at a post to get some new followers is much easier. And it’s a less intimidating way to jump into advertising.
So those are the things that help to grow my business this year…
(In addition to showing up in front of my audience consistently.) I hope you came away with some ideas that you can try for your own business in 2021.
If you want my process for evaluating the past year, figuring out what worked and didn’t, and planning for 2021, my New Year, Next Level Workshop is still available. You can get the workshop recording and workbook by going to xosarah.com/newyearworkshop
And I hope you’re getting some time off at the end of this crazy year. Recharging so that you can go into 2021 feeling a little less weighed down and refreshed and ready to work. I am taking off three weeks. I scheduled two weeks off but I remembered I’m the boss and I don’t have to go back to work the first week of January if I don’t want to. So I’ll be back on the 14th with a new episode.
And one last thing before I sign off for the year – I want to say thank you…
For listening, for sharing, for leaving reviews, and letting me know how what I share impacts you. Hearing your feedback helps me to keep going, keep coming up with content, and keep creating episodes for you. Running this business is fulfilling and successful because of all you, my students, my clients, my Instagram buddies, my podcast listeners. I appreciate each and every one of you. Thank you so much for hanging out with me every week and I will talk to you again next year!