I publish a weekly newsletter on creativity, freelancing and living a non-traditional lifestyle
So you are ready to update your website... Or create a new one...
Now the big question is: What do you actually say on your website?
There is a lot of noise on the internet about different ways to approach your website. I'm not saying that my approach is pure gold, but it has served me well.
In the entrepreneurial sense, it is an ambiguous thing about "how it feels to work at your company" that is rather hard to quantify.
Yet you hear entrepreneurs talk about it all the time.
While I don't believe there is any specific "how to" on building a great culture, I do think there are many things you can pick up, learn, and apply to your own company.
In this article, I need to call bullshit on myself.
About 18 months ago, I wrote an article titled Zero to $33k in 6 months - Lessons learned.
The contents of the article had a lot of valuable insights.
"I can't help but wonder if all I needed to get rolling was for someone to show they believed in me." - Jess Brown, Lead Strategist at Content Allies.
Over the past two years, I have evolved from a solo consultant to running two companies with a total team size of over 30.
During that time, I've seen several of the team members I brought on board radically transform their lives and reach new levels of achievement in their careers that was unlike anything they were doing before.
Being a thought leader is like cheating at business... everything is easier.
Entrepreneurs and consultants that I speak to are constantly struggling with sales and marketing.
For a moment, I would like you to consider that doing more of the same isn't going to help you.
I would like you to consider that there is a better path...
There is a path that will make any marketing you do perform better.
There is a path that will make any sales calls convert higher.
There is a path that will make all of your sales and marketing easier.
It is the path of becoming an industry thought leader…
One fear that many people have when starting an interview-based podcast is their ability to actually conduct the interviews.
Often, this fear of being a "bad interviewer" is a mental barrier that the host has to break through because, in reality, they would be great if they just gave it a shot. We see this all the time with potential customers at Content Allies.
Regardless, after 130+ interviews on my Working Without Pants Podcast, I've picked up quite a few tips on how to conduct a great interview.
Your business model- It ultimately creates some of the biggest questions that most entrepreneurs face as they start off down the journey of building something new.
What am I going to build?
Who is it going to serve?
How am I going to package it?
It is pretty common that people ask me if I am writing and creating all of my own content.
The answer is yes.
While I am beginning to experiment with writers who will be supporting me through turning interviews into content, as of today, I write it all.
"We churn ~20% of our customers off every month"
"We churn ~11% of our customers off every month"
"We churn ~10% of our customers off every month"
These are all quotes from various owners of marketing productized services.
For years, I would pick up and read books like crazy.
If someone recommended it to me, then I went for it.
And while there was a lot of good in this, there was also a lot of waste.
And there was a lot of mental chaos created by reading so many books ad hoc.
"We have a sales problem so we are going to hire a salesperson."
This is a mistake I have heard over, and over, and over, and over again from the consulting firms and agency owners I advise.
The owners have a decent business going, but they can't seem to get sales figured out.
"If you were to start over again today, what would you do differently?"
This question was asked of me recently on a podcast, and I found it ironic because at the moment I am starting a new business.
After 2 years of building up Lead Cookie and scaling myself to working 5 hours per week, I have decided to build a second venture.
"I feel like I am on a roller coaster ride" - This was a consistent quote from me in the early days of building Lead Cookie as I had calls with my adviser, Alex McClafferty.
Each day I woke up early and worked insanely long days, in what felt like an endless cycle of just trying to keep my head above water.
And each week, during our advising calls, Alex would have to remind me of this simple lesson:
"You are not on a roller coaster. You are in the driver's seat. You choose what business you build."
Niching and positioning is something I see a lot of entrepreneurs struggle with. They can't seem to nail down a strong value proposition and instead want to do it all.
They read blogs on positioning, watch video courses, and seem to obsess over this...
Yet it's uncommon that I see many people finalize on a niche and positioning statement that really works.
There is a business concept that I learned recently which was a huge revelation for me.
It helped me optimize Lead Cookie, increase our profitability, and streamline our operations.
The concept is "The Queen Bee Role" and it actually comes from Mike Michalowicz's most recent book called Clockwork.
It may seem counterintuitive, but taking a vacation is one of the most productive things you can do as an entrepreneur.
As I write this, I just returned from a 1.5-week vacation where I did hardly any work. I will be honest, I checked in a couple of times, but for the most part, I was totally disconnected from my team.
On the surface, you would think that a vacation means you are not getting anything done.
"Your business is a reflection of you."
This simple lesson that I first learned from my adviser, Alex McClafferty, keeps proving to be true time and time again.
Over the past few months, I found myself rather stressed and ridden by anxiety.
And as a result, that flows onto my team, and eventually onto our customers.
For the past 4 years of my entrepreneurial career, I have been on a path of building a scaleable, productized service.
For years, I stopped and started many that ended in failure.
And eventually, with Lead Cookie, I hit a pretty decent success.
"That which is measured, improves" - Peter Drucker
One of the simplest and yet most effective things you can do to improve your business is to create a metrics dashboard that measures your Key Performance Indicators (KPI's).
When you have insight into your metrics, you can see problems before they arise and course correct.
About two years ago, I found myself frustrated.
I had been at the entrepreneurial game for 8 years at that point, and I still just didn't feel like I was "making it".
I was working countless hours.
I was making OK money, but not nearly what I had hoped for.
And I ultimately just felt like I should be doing better than I was.
5 minutes... That is how long I spend working on a podcast or blog after the recording and writing is done.
Everything else is 100% systematized.
I don't touch my email marketing software.
I don't touch my website.
All I do is create the content, and the rest just happens.
The month was March of 2018.
I had just laid off 6 people from Lead Cookie.
Lead Cookie had racked up $22,000 of credit card debt.
And for the next two months, I wasn't going to be getting paid.
I picked up a copy of the book called The One Thing by Gary Keller.
And the opening line changed me.
"If you chase two rabbits, you will not catch either one." - Russian Proverb
Over the past 20 months, I went from being a consultant to running a productized service, generating over $50k MRR. During the first 6 months of that time, I worked with my advisor, Co-Founder of WP Curve Alex McClafferty, and I am currently working with him again.
During those 6 months, I took a total of 120 pages of notes from our calls. After each call, I would go back and highlight my key learnings and insights.
Recently, I decided to read through all 120 pages of notes and pull out the key insights.
There is a habit that my team has done on a weekly basis for over three years now.
We did this even before Lead Cookie existed when it was just myself and my ops director.
This habit has been a complete game changer for our business.
It's called Workshop.
68.56% of Lead Cookie's revenue is a direct result of my personal brand.
This comes in two forms.
In this article, I am going to explain my philosophy behind the choice to build my personal brand, and more details on how I utilize it to drive such large amounts of revenue toward our business.
Failure. It fucking sucks.
In November, I started up a business in stealth mode that would eventually become Content Allies. I signed a few early customers in stealth mode, and then publicly launched the company at the start of January.
The problem I was aiming to solve was one I experienced myself.
At Lead Cookie and Content Allies, we have a team of over 20 virtual assistants who work with us. They are literally the backbone of our company and run a majority of the actions that our company takes on a daily basis.
And as of today, we have a 95%+ success rate when hiring new virtual assistants, and an extremely minimal turnover rate. Only two team members have left us since starting, and both were because they received offers that were at triple the pay rate we offered them.
2083 email signups.
That is how many people have opted in for my Lead Cookie lead magnets in the past 18 months.
That is 100% organic without any advertising spend at all.
28.32% of revenue.
That is how much of our overall revenue has come from Content Marketing at Lead Cookie.
Whenever I started Lead Cookie, I had a mentor ask me some questions.
But to be honest, I didn't really think through them well at the time. This is what lead me to leaving open a fatal flaw in my business model which I wrote about last week.
And so as I start up a new venture, I returned to the big question that my mentor asked me at the time. I have shared the question in more detail, and even walked you through my own processing of that question with Content Allies.