You tried webinars. You tried Facebook ads. You tried Facebook ads for your webinars. You tried doing what That Really Successful Person You Follow On Instagram does and … nothing.
I get it, dude. I’ve been there, too. Today, my friend friend Kyla is saying what we’ve all suspected: there’s no online success formula. Kyla is a business coach and digital strategist who’s worked behind the scenes in hundreds of businesses, from six figure brands to one woman shops. She helps business owners make their businesses irresistible, profitable & simple to run. Download her ‘Act Like A Boss’ checklist here.
If you’re a freelancer, maker, business owner, writer or other creative with a desire to make a living from what you love, the path forward toward that dream is often unclear.
We’re talking a “pay for a fancy teacher to come down from the mountain to tell you what to do and then pray they solved everything” level of unclear. (Though, I hope you don’t feel the need to do that after this post!)
My story is a little different. I’ve been self-employed since 2009 thanks to my blog. It’s completely changed my life and allowed my husband to leave his career so we could work together.
That didn’t happen because I’m the smartest or most talented person who wanted that. It’s because I have a simple system that helps me stay focused on what matters in my business and to cut out the rest.
The elephant in the room is that your strengths, customers, and voices are different than mine, so what gets traction in your businesses will be different too.
In other words: a cookie cutter, done-for-you solution just isn’t going to work.
So what will?
Here are 3 ways focus on what works uniquely for you, so you don’t lose time chasing magic formulas
1. Measure your results so you know what works for you
All efforts to get the word out about your work are not created equally. Do you feel like it’s enough to post on social media and then curl up behind the scenes of your business?
I’m here to call B.S. on that. (Sorry, not sorry!)
For most of us, there’s a time delay built into our work. It takes time to see the results stack up and reveal what our audience is excited or turned off by. We need to circle back and measure our results regularly.
If you judge feelings instead of results, you’re signing up for an emotional rollercoaster. Click To Tweet You’re also guessing and hoping that you’re pouring time and energy into things that create customers for your business.
And guesses and hope aren’t a strategy!
You can start measuring your results by tracking:
- Your revenue.
- Your expenses.
- Your profit.
- How many people from each social media platform clicked through to your website.
- Your website’s top 5 – 10 referral sources (websites that link to yours in the highest volume.)
- The number of inquiries about your offer/sales page views in a month.
- The number of new customers in a month.
- How new customers found you.
- The cost to acquire new customers if you’re advertising.
- Which email subjects earn the highest open rates with your audience and any patterns you can see between them.
Knowing these answers these will give you enormous insight into what’s working for you and your business right now.
As I like to say, what works for you > what works for everyone else. It’s a motto that takes the guesswork and emotional stress out of your marketing.
2. Recognize distractions
Distractions are tasks and projects that take us away from our essential work. They’re often small-scale, manageable problems that are tempting to solve, if only because they’re so solvable!
But do you really need to check your newsletter’s open rates, when you have customers waiting to hear back from you?
The best defense is to notice your biggest distraction temptations so you can see them for what they are when they try to pop into your workflow.
Again, these are different for all of us, so if you receive value from these things that’s allowed.
- Finding the perfect theme for your website
- Choosing a platform for your next big thing
- Implementing feedback from people who aren’t your ideal client
- Using social media because you feel obligated to
- Closely monitoring your competition
- Waiting for the perfect idea
- Asking for feedback on your logo
- Not starting your blog/course/project until you have the right name
- Waiting until you’re ready
- Your fear of failure (& mine too)
On the flip side, it’s equally important to know what can look like a distraction but is actually part of what makes it easier for you to succeed.
- Finding the right words
- Establishing and honoring your boundaries
- Volunteering or pro-bono work
- Thinking up ways to delight the people your business touches
- Staying with hard things
- Giving yourself time to “simmer” on big ideas
- Refocusing on the big picture
- Asking clarifying questions
- Taking the time to remember and voice the ground rules for what we want to create
3. Build a simple sales system based on your strengths.
Real talk: This is the clearest path I’ve found to get out of magic formula thinking, and still get fairy godmother results in my business.
It’s building a simple sales system that multiplies my message through my unique strengths and reliably attracts ideal customers and steady sales.
Now I know, everyone has baggage with the word sales, but stick with me!
What I mean is: a reliable way to attract your best customers year round, from multiple sources that you can control.
Instead of being based on assumptions about your business, it’s based on straightforward choices that you already know the answers to, like:
- How many products and services do you want to draw attention to throughout the year?
- What tasks do you love in your business?
- What tasks do you actively avoid, or always seem to procrastinate?
A simple sales system based on your insight can easily draw out and use your expertise in a way that cookie cutter formulas just can’t. It creates endless micro-opportunities for your work to resonate and excite your best customers, and to build trust with future customers who aren’t ready to buy.
Wish you had a guide through the process of building a sales system that uses your voice, your strengths and profitable routines you can stick to?
Thank you for the blog post. I should really start tracking my results. I’m always finding excuses because “I’m too busy with a full-time job” yadda-yadda… I’ll make time!
Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog
I SO needed to hear this today. Thank you!!!
Thank you for another helpful post! This year I finally started tracking my finances and when I looked at April I realized that in the first four months of 2017 I earned as much as I did in the whole of my first year in business in 2015! Now that was a pleasant eye opener! I also track my profits by “sales buckets”, i.e. web design, support/maintenance and e-courses which is another great measure of which areas work well. I also love what you say about the distractions because that is, hands down, my biggest challenge. It’s partly my nature, partly my resistance to success, partly my fears – but I get distracted very easily! So I am trying to develop a system that works for me with regards to managing these distractions. Your newsletter and posts are always very helpful and motivating, thank you!
So glad you found this helpful, Kerstin! Kyla’s stuff is great!
This post is gold! Thank you for some perspective.
“1. MEASURE YOUR RESULTS SO YOU KNOW WHAT WORKS FOR YOU”
Hmm. So I guess it’s unwise to schedule more than one book promotion service for the same time frame unless you have a sure way to check which promo produces the best results.