Does it seem like everyone advertising online is bragging about being an overnight sensation?
It’s not a common occurrence. In fact, it rarely happens at all. So don’t get down on yourself for gradual growth. Even inconsistent, up and down is more the norm than the exception.
I’m coming up on 10 years of business in 2019 and I’ve definitely experienced gradual growth. And that’s because I haven’t:
- spent more than I earned
- hustled around the clock
- taken every online course offered
- burnt out working too much
Instead I took my time to:
- figure out my message and brand
- promote when I knew how to do it effectively
- sell only when I felt like my offer was clear
- share when I knew it was the right time
And that’s not for everyone but I was at a time in my life when I didn’t have complete focus on work. I had a huge job – being a new mom and went through a lot of life changes. It wasn’t an easy time to ramp things up.
But I stayed the course and plugged away experimenting with everything – live events, FB groups, live networking, offering free sessions, FB ads, SEO, group courses, online networking, speaking … You name it, I’ve tried it.
However, all of the things I did were missing a few important qualities – long-term commitment & a connected strategy.
Other than time, there were some major blocks (you might want to read about those first) holding me back.
I’m using those to plan differently from now on. It’s all about starting with the boulders.
Planning around boulders
You might have heard the rocks, pebbles and sand in a jar analogy of how to manage the important to do’s in your life. Well, if you haven’t, it’s about how to fill up your jar.
If you fill up the jar with the sand (little things) first, you’ll probably get most of the pebbles in and have no room for the rocks. When you begin putting in the rocks, many of the pebbles will fit around them and a lot of the sand will fill into the tiny hard to reach spaces.
You can plan your life & business in a similar way.
In business the boulders are the foundational pieces for your success. They need to be in place or the whole system won’t work.
Things like visibility (advertising, promoting, sharing & communicating) so you can attract new customers, content (posts, offers, brand story, personal stories and website copy) so your prospects can view your value and results (satisfied customers, consistent outcomes, reviews & reputation) are the biggies that need to be present.
That doesn’t mean you need to do 10 things to get visible, produce content in every place and have many kinds of results to be successful. The opposite is actually true.
Getting visible in one place, with one type of content, with one main specialty is ideal!
Those are your boulders, so making sure they’re big enough is part of the challenge.
Podcast. I’m launching the Mastery & Message podcast soon. And, let me tell you, it’s going to be a lot of work. But it’s so worth it because it’s checking ALL my major boxes – visibility, connection and content. Those are pretty much the foundations I need to establish over the next couple of years. PLUS, I’m very excited to show up and talk to real people in depth. It’s a major passion project for me.
Writing one blog post per month has to be in my mix. Not for traffic, like a blogger. Instead I do it just to keep my search rankings high. I receive quite a few leads (that lead to clients) from people who find me through Google. I’m not ready to give that up as it’s a huge source of my income. It’s not a major time suck and it’s essential right now.
Client connection. Keeping my current clients happy and staying in touch with past clients is very important for staying relevant and the best person to serve them now and in the future. If I don’t stay engaged with them, they’ll find new sources for support. What they do and care about is what I need to learn and also care about.
Casting the net wider with pebbles
My pebbles are non-essential activities to stay alive, that are really important for growth. Because I plan to start offering group masterminds and courses this year and next, list-building is something I need to conquer. Because I don’t need a mass audience in order to grow, I don’t need a massive following. I do, however, need to move things in the upward direction.
List-building. I’m picking only two platforms to grow my list with over the next year – Instagram & Facebook ads. Both of these are designed to help me have more communication with people I can help. And it’s not just for list-building directly. Many who I first connect with in these formats will follow me in other places, if I do it right. That’s one thing I’m committed to doing, 100%. Showing up using these tools properly, so my efforts get outcomes. Speaking of staying connection … 😉
Outreach is a totally new thing for me. But totally overdue. I probably should have clued in that as an extravert, chit-chatting online all day wasn’t my thing but staying at home in silence also wasn’t the solution. And finding local groups who were having the conversation I wanted to be a part of hasn’t been easy in a super small town. So I finally got bold this year and started reaching out to people I admired for phone calls.
The results have been more rewarding than I imagined. It’s what got me committed to launching a podcast, a new ideal client and lots of validation about my brand and message.
Group offers. I have a new framework I’m using to guide my clients (and myself). It starts with Bold Positioning, Fearless Messaging & Brave Marketing. Without going crazy down the evergreen online course path, I’m going to experiment in a couple of live group formats using my new tools and methodology. What I am now teaching may have an even bigger benefit to my clients when they learn with others.
Keeping things fresh & smooth with sand
Learning anything new that’s not already on my priority list is sand.
New technology and tools that I think would be nice to have but not necessary to have like Asana for project management or improving my Instastories. Even spending more time engaging in groups on social media is sand. While connection there is nice, I’ve got to support my bigger things to make sure they work.
And while what I’m doing still sounds like A LOT of work, especially for one person, with no team (although that might change in a hurry), there’s so much I’m NOT doing.
I’m not running a FB group, doing FB live, on Twitter, or Pinterest, spending time on LinkedIn, hanging out in online groups, applying for guest podcast interviews, speaking at events, networking at live events or conferences nor doing ANY guest blogging … and I’m sure there are more things I just can’t think of right now.
Compared to a lot of solopreneurs who are focused on growth, I’m keeping it relatively simple.
I’m expecting all this to change in a year or less. As I become more solid in these strategies and continuously track where my clients find me, I’ll likely shift my priorities.
So maybe you don’t want it to take 10 years to become an overnight sensation, but you can speed up your visibility and relationships with the right people which all lead to more revenue.
Are you ready to boldly step out, create a brave brand and get the right clients?
Find out how to do that my grabbing a copy of my Noticeable Brand guide so you can get your boulders in place.