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BUSINESS STRATEGY

3 Things I Did to Grow My Business This Year

3 things I did to increase my revenue this year - how I streamlined my biz and focused on a few small changes that doubled my recurring revenue.

This post contains affiliate links for resources I use and recommend which means at no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission if you decide to make a purchase. 

In my last post I shared 3 things I quit doing to grow my business this year, but if you skimmed that post you might have thought – ok, so she quit a bunch of things, but how did that ACTUALLY grow her business?! Just “quitting” some things didn't just magically increase my revenue – but it was quitting these things that gave me the time and motivation to focus on other things in my business that directly led to more $$$ in the bank, so here are a few things I changed up this year that have allowed me to double my recurring revenue in just a few months!

3 Things I Did to Grow My Business This Year

1) I started to focus on one thing

This one is really two different things (not to be confusing or anything)…

First of all, I started theming my weeks to focus on one aspect of my business at a time. Instead of working on #AllTheThings (content creation, editing, marketing, admin, accounting, planning etc.) every single week, I broke my months down so that I essentially focus on 1-2 things for an entire week. For example, the first week in the month is typically content creation week so I shoot / edit / upload all of the images for the Styled Stock Society and my clients in that week. Then I have a week where I focus on marketing and sales funnels – so this is when I will write and schedule emails, blog posts, social media content, etc. A third week each month is what I call my “flex” week where I work on business planning, website updates, and generally take time to do things like go to the dentist or schedule coffee dates with friends I haven't seen in a while. Last but not least, I have a “free” week where I'm essentially giving myself permission to be free to do whatever I want (usually not related to my business). In the past couple of months I've been using this week to travel with Mochi (we went to Puerto Rico then Aruba) and it will be nice to have this time “blocked off” for relaxing and enjoying the holidays over the next couple months.

If you had told me a year ago (when I was constantly burnt out / exhausted) that I would be working less and making more money this year – I would have said sign me up for that ASAP!

The second part of this focus on one thing bit is that I've actually only focused on selling one thing – my Styled Stock Society membership. Whereas last year I was consulting, creating online courses, working with clients, running a stock subscription, creating affiliate income opportunities, and playing social media director for my Instagram-famous dog…  this year I've seriously streamlined my income streams and put the majority of my effort on just one thing: the Styled Stock Society. I've always been of the “don't put all your eggs in one basket” mindset (and in reality I still have multiple income streams), but when I started focusing on marketing just ONE thing, my membership grew by over 100% in just a couple of months!

Quick tip: If you're thinking about streamlining your business, I highly recommend focusing on one BIG thing at a time. Even if you have multiple products / services, you can pick one each quarter to focus on and you will probably see better results than if you are trying to market and sell everything at the same time!

If you had told me a year ago (when I was constantly burnt out / exhausted) that I would be working less and making more money this year – I would have said sign me up for that ASAP!Click To Tweet

2) I added a tripwire

I literally had “add a tripwire to my main sales funnel” on my to-do list for over 6 months before I finally used Bluchic's Landing Page Templates* to set one up.

Here's the thing. I consistently have people signing up to download my free stock photos who are then added to an automated email sequence introducing them to the Styled Stock Society membership.

I wanted to add in a step – to offer the people who downloaded my free stock photos a limited-time offer to download a discounted bundle of stock photos in order to monetize my existing traffic as well as well give potential members an affordable “sample” of my images.. plus people who buy from you are more likely to buy from you again!

Bluchic’s Landing Page Templates made it so simple to set up my tripwire in less than an hour (you can read more about my experience here) and since setting up my tripwire, I’ve been able to convert more of my website visitors into paying customers! Whereas before, people were only downloading my free photos, I now have an average of 5 sales of my $13 tripwire every day – which adds almost $2,000/month to my revenue all on autopilot!

Quick tip: If you're not ready or interested in investing in landing page software like LeadPages / Clickfunnels / etc. I definitely recommend Bluchic's landing page templates for anyone using WordPress!

3) I created an evergreen email sequence

Aside from focusing on marketing / selling one thing and adding a tripwire into my sales funnel, the other thing that has made a significant difference in growing my business this year is creating an evergreen email sequence. I used to just have an automated mini series of 3 emails that went out to new subscribers to introduce them to the Styled Stock Society. I was also sending one-off emails to my list with tips for using stock photos or when I added new collections / ran special promotions, but I realized that a lot of my newer subscribers were missing out on older emails that might have tipped them in the direction of becoming a SSS member.

So instead of only sending regular weekly / bi-weekly emails to my list, I started adding relevant emails to my automated email sequence to create a more intentional evergreen sales funnel. Sometimes people need 5 or 7 or 11 touch points before they know/ like / trust me enough to buy from me, so automating those touch points has not only made my sales process easier but has also led to more consistent membership signups!

Quick tip: If you're looking to up-level your email marketing game, ConvertKit* makes it really simple to set up automated email sequences. Head over to this post to learn more about ConvertKit automation rules that have saved me a ton of time! 

What have you changed up in your business to grow this year?

3 Things I Quit Doing to Grow My Business This Year

3 things I stopped doing to grow my business this year - how I streamlined my small business to grow my revenue while doing less work.

You don't have to do #allthethings to be successful.

Last year in my quest to figure out what it is I “really” want to do with my life, I launched WAYYY too many things. So this year has been all about trimming the fat. Getting rid of the things that 1) I hated doing 2) weren't profitable enough for me to want to do more of 3) weren't allowing me the freedom to live / work the way I wanted.

Streamline.

I'm not really into picking a word of the year, but I guess you could say that's what mine would be.

One of the things that sort of bothered me about being a marketing consultant was that I felt like I was always telling people what to do. I mean people were literally paying me to tell them what to do, but in general I felt like I was constantly shouting “you should do this because….”

I'm sure you see / read / hear it all the time…

You should post on Instagram every day. You should blog every week. You should start a YouTube channel for the SEO benefits. You should be doing Facebook live videos to connect with your audience. You should launch an online course so you can stop trading your hours for dollars.

#realtalk – You “could” do all of these things and still not be any more successful than you were before.

I'm not saying any of these things are “wrong” or that you “shouldn't” do them…

BUT AT SOME POINT YOU HAVE TO STOP LISTENING TO WHAT OTHER PEOPLE TELL YOU TO DO AND FOCUS ON ACTUALLY DOING THE THINGS THAT DRIVE YOUR BUSINESS FORWARD.

You don't need to be active on all the social media platforms – spend the majority of your time on the 1-2 platforms that have the highest ROI and don't stress about the rest!Click To Tweet

Wanna know what I quit doing over the summer that made absolutely no difference in my business?

  1. Blogging regularly – I used to publish new posts every. single. week. and long story short, I haven't been doing that regularly this year. Yes, this has (slightly) affected my blog traffic, but more importantly it has not negatively affected my revenue! Quick tip: if you don't want to make time to blog regularly, make sure you have evergreen blog posts that can consistently drive traffic back to your site even when you're not publishing new content. The main reason I continue to get consistent traffic > subscribers > customers is that I have Tailwind working on autopilot to promote old posts!
  2. Being active in Facebook groups – I used to waste SO MUCH time on Facebook. Yes, connecting with other people in Facebook groups can be a great way to grow your business / make friends / build community… but it can also be a time suck. Personally, I wasn't seeing the ROI from Facebook that I wanted, so I archived my own Facebook group and (accidentally) stopped being active in other people's groups as well. Ya know what changed? Nothing. Most of my traffic / customers / clients come from Pinterest and Instagram so spending less time on Facebook has made no difference in my business other than having more time to spend on other things! Quick tip: You don't need to be active on all the social media platforms – spend the majority of your time on the 1-2 platforms that have the highest ROI and don't stress about the rest!
  3. Working with new clients – Yup. I had a lot of things happening over the summer (travel / moving / life / etc.) that made it hard to commit to custom photography projects in advance, so I decided to take a 2 month break from client work. I was slightly terrified at first (my client work made up roughly 1/3 of my total income as of May), but I had my biggest revenue months EVER without working with a single new custom photography client. This is the most surprising one for me because I honestly expected a dip in my revenue from making this decision, but I think removing client work from the equation gave more more time to focus on growing other income streams – and I didn't hate it. I'm not giving up custom client work forever (for now!), but this revelation is definitely making me rethink how I structure my time and packages for the future! Quick tip: Sometimes you have to step away from one thing to move forward with something else. Don't be afraid to change the way you do things in your business when they aren't the best fit for the life you want to live.

Spending LESS time on all these things has led me to have more time to focus on other priorities like the Styled Stock Society and also to take advantage of other opportunities. Like…

So one more time…

You don't have to do #allthethings to be successful.

Tailwind - best Pinterest scheduler for bloggers

8 Ways to Increase Your Revenue Now

8 ways to increase your revenue right now - short term strategies for small businesses to make more money now and avoid the summer slump!

This post contains affiliate links for products I use and recommend which means at no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission if you decide to make a purchase. 

With the ebbs and flows of business throughout the year, summer tends to be a slow time, but that doesn’t mean we can totally slack off until September! If you're feeling the summer blues and wondering what you can do to keep bringing in the $$$, I’ve put together a list of 8 easy ways to make more money in your business right now without spending a ton or launching something completely new. With these short-term strategies, can avoid the summer slump, and increase your income – or even take a vacation of your own!

8 Ways to Increase Your Revenue Right Now

1. Run a Sale

A lot of people talk about discounting as a negative thing to do for your business, but I don’t think it's necessarily bad if you’re trying to bring in new customers or clients. If you position your sale a limited time opportunity, you’ll get people to act now rather than later. This is a great way to get rid of excess inventory if you have a product-based business and encourage get your audience to purchase something before it's gone for good! Earlier this summer I did this with a couple of courses that I was closing by offering them at a discount before they were closed for enrollment forever. 

2. Offer a Limited Time Bonus

If you don't want to discount your products or services, you can incentivize new purchases by offering a bonus or a bundle for people who are going to purchase from you. This is where handy ‘buy one get one’ offers come in. Or tell your clients if they book a consulting session, they get a free eBook or a gift card toward a future purchase. With this strategy, you're not just selling products, you're giving your customers something in addition to motivate them to act now.

3. Announce a Price Increase

If you’ve been in business for a while or you're expanding your offerings, you can give your audience the opportunity to hire you or purchase something at your current rates before they go up. This definitely increases customer interaction because everyone wants to feel like they got a deal. I recently raised the prices for the Styled Stock Society and a week prior to raising the prices I let everyone know it was going to happen, so whoever wanted to join before the prices went up had the opportunity to do that!

4. Add a Tripwire to Your Sales Funnel

A tripwire is a low cost ‘easy yes’ offer that helps you turn a lead into a customer. It’s an item that solves a very specific problem in your target audience’s life. This could be something like a template, a sample, access to an archive, training, or content you've already created. It’s something that’s small and has a low price tag so someone would be excited to pay a small amount of money for something that has a lot of value. The idea is that once someone buys from you, they are more likely to purchase again. By getting them to buy the small offer you create an opportunity to upsell them a larger package or product. In the meantime, it’s an easy way to make money while you're growing the know / like / trust factor with your customers!

Not a designer? (me neither!) – Bluchic's landing page templates make it easy to set up your tripwire in minutes!

If you position your sale a limited time opportunity, you’ll get people to act now rather than later.Click To Tweet

5. Offer a Popup Service

If you provide services, think about how your could take one specific part of your existing service offerings and create a mini version for a limited amount of time. You want this new offering to be smaller in scope and smaller in price. For example, photographers who offer portrait photography might do a smaller mini session with a specific theme. A health coach could offer a one week quick start meal plan instead of a 6-month program. A social media manager could create a limited time service like social media profile audits rather than their typical ongoing service. Popup services are a great way to introduce new customers to what you do without the pressure to invest in larger, more time consuming packages.

6. Run an Affiliate Campaign

If you have affiliates for your business, create a short series of emails to remind them how they can promote your business while earning money themselves. You might give them specific ideas on how they can promote your business with emails or social media updates. You could also provide graphics to help them promote your business and even swipe copy so you make it as simple possible for people to share how much they love your business! If you don’t have affiliates yet, you can still have brand ambassadors and even just business besties who share a word about your business you give them credit to your shop in return. Sometimes the easiest way to get new eyes on your business is by having other people promote it to their own audiences!

7. Update Your Evergreen Sales Sequences

First of all – if you don’t have evergreen sale sequences, you should definitely create them!  A lot of people will get their audience to subscribe to an email list and send them one thing and then… nothing. Research shows it typically takes at least 7+ touch points for a customer to feel comfortable with investing in your business. If you stop after one or two touch points then you're missing the opportunity to reach people who want to potentially buy from you! Create or update your evergreen sale sequences and add additional automated emails. Think about what else you can add to them to help educate potential customers and also remind them of the products and services you offer. Remember – just because you sent one email three months ago doesn’t mean someone's going to remember who you are today! 

If investing in costly landing page software like LeadPages is holding you back from creating sales funnels, check out Bluchic's landing page templates for a more budget friendly alternative!

8. Ask for Referrals

Asking for referrals can be uncomfortable for some people, but if you've provided your clients with value, there's no reason they wouldn't want to refer you to other people who could also benefit from the same services. This is a simple strategy that most people don’t do! If you don’t have a system in place for following up with your previous clients, checking in to see how they’re doing, and seeing if they need anything else, you should put one in place – AND use this as an opportunity to get repeat business by asking them if they know anyone else who could benefit from the same service :)

So those are 8 easy ways to increase your revenue and avoid the summer slump! What other strategies are you using to make more money right now?

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