As listeners to our “Own It!” podcast will know I’ve been going through a bit of a transition period with my business along with the changes in my life. Well, more like a seismic shift really!
My co-host on “Own It!” Judith Morgan and I talk about this a lot on the podcast as we are both rampant Creator personality types (as are many of our clients) and it’s hard for creators to stop creating. New business ideas being particularly difficult to resist.
(I’ve included a list of helpful episodes of Own It! around this topic at the end of this post – never let it be said that I use the podcast as my business therapy session!)
We had both decided that any new creative ideas should be shoehorned into marketing initiatives for our existing businesses, as it does take your tribe at least a year or so to catch up!
In March I was happily building my facebook ads agency towards a million dollar a year turnover (just because I thought I could and that it would be fun).
At ClicksAndLeads.com we’d just had two of our best months to date in terms of new client enquiries and intake and I’d just come back from the Internet Marketer’s Cruise. I’d also driven across America from Florida to San Diego for the Traffic & Conversions Summit. Just after that I went to Australia for SuperFastBusiness Live and had a great time there.
Everywhere I went I was picking up new clients, I loved the work as it combined Geek with Creative nicely, I loved the travelling and it really felt like I’d hit my stride for “The Big One”.
Then on March 12th, 4 days after I got back from Australia, Steve died suddenly and obviously, it really knocked the stuffing out of me.
There was no reason why grief would affect the quality of the actual work, especially as a lot of the initial setup by then was not done by me but by Sarah, my sister, carefully trained and now bringing her own creativity to the table in maintaining the Facebook Ads campaigns and expanding on the original strategy created by me.
Because Steve had run my boutique hotel where we hosted workshops, then been involved in The Money Gym (my previous business) and then became a freelance WordPress Designer in his own right, loads of people knew him and word of his death spread like wildfire on Social Media.
Whether it was because people didn’t want to “bother” me at this time, new enquiries for ad campaigns dried up somewhat and while we carried on with existing clients, as usual, my appetite for marketing and growing the business as actively waned dramatically.
I also got horribly distracted from the core business by chasing down a potentially lucrative non-IM target market, the need for which was suggested by my business mentor and the market being suggested by a good friend on a night out. I even went so far as to get a simple little app made for it (I’ve always wanted a global “Software As Service” business!)
And while I’m not very “woo woo”, as we all know there is a universal energy around business and “what you focus on increases” while the reverse is also true. In the first year or so I only worked on ClicksAndLeads.com and business grew. But year two was different; while I struggled to get up every day and carry on with life, while I wasn’t focused on growing the business, the business didn’t grow at all.
By the time Sarah came up with the idea of going to housesit somewhere warm for the winter, I’d pretty much decided that I didn’t want to do ClicksAndLeads.com anymore.
I thought I would enjoy doing some Funnel & Conversion consulting for a small number of businesses, especially after reading Alan Weiss’ “Value Based Fees” book, so I adapted the website for the other market sector but then I found I couldn’t be bothered to market that either.
I really was struggling with my direction, motivation and decision making. This was a real shock for me, being so blooming decisive, highly motivated and action orientated most of the time. I usually make people feel quite exhausted!
“Give yourself six months off”, I thought. Go to Greece (for we’d been offered a housesit there for 6 months), keep working on the rewrite of “The Science Of Getting Rich Online”, get that published and perhaps blog about the whole “working and living in Greece” experience and also make a book out of that, perhaps.
OK, that’s it, hurrah! Books will be my new “front end” business while I would continue to mentor business owners on internet marketing via what would become my Clicks & Leads Academy membership.
Then I got to Greece, felt the need for some intellectual stimulation after a few weeks or so, so I signed up for “My Spirit Business” with Mike Hill and Kylie Slavic.
Their marketing really appealed to me, I wanted to connect again, to care again, to identify my next “tribe”. I’ve always had a tribe since The Money Gym days and I missed not having one.
By week 4 of the course, I’d decided that perhaps I would like to work with people, like me, who had faced a big life change, who either wanted to start an online business as a means of changing their life OR who had a business they wanted to take online so they could be more flexible in life.
I set up an optin page, with a free giveaway, and a “deep dive survey”. I started Facebook Ads to run targeted traffic to the optin / survey and sat back waiting to see what these people’s biggest challenge was around the life change that they were facing.
This was the main question I was asking them, along with “if I could wave a realistic magic wand, what do you think the solution might be?”.
The campaign took off like a rocket, with cheap enough clicks and a great optin rate. Most of those who opted in were filling in the survey and most of those were going on to register for the “Your Best Year Yet” webinar that was the free gift. I was all ready to create a new signature coaching programme once I had seen enough of the survey respondents answers.
“Yes, girl, you’ve cracked it” I thought to myself. “Onwards and upwards”.
120 odd responses later, sifting through the answers and collating the info ready to report results to Judith on this week’s “Own It!” I found myself becoming more and more depressed feeling. While I was generally feeling more cheerful about the possibility of creating a life without Steve, the responses to this survey brought me right down again.
Why was that, I wondered?
After a couple of days thinking about it, I realised that it was because I’d been advertising to a non-business audience, and the survey respondents were very much “employee” mentality, very unaware of themselves on a personal development level. In fact, most of them didn’t seem to have done any personal development at all or feel any sense of power over their own destiny, if only they could think and act differently.
I could tell that because their various challenges (and some were absolutely heartbreaking) were full of blame for external people or circumstances. Similarly, their “realistic magic wand” solutions were also all external, usually involving winning the lottery, being given a dream job or somehow magically “getting back” a departed ex-partner.
Permanence, pessimism and personal fatalism was the order of the day here, not the opposite, Optimism. Yes, you can change from a pessimist and that change leads to a more empowered outlook on life.
No wonder I felt temporarily depressed!
But all was not in vain…
As soon as I realised all that, I felt my mood lift immediately.
These people were not my tribe, I needed to work with more self-aware, action taking business people! People who were creating something, making something, changing themselves and their circumstances, attempting to make a dent in the universe, as Daniel Priestley would say.
It appears I’ve come full circle!
Now some would call all that a monumental waste of time, but it was a road that had to be travelled, in order for me to be able to realise this for myself, rather than have it imposed from outside, by a coach or mentor or well-meaning friend.
I woke up this morning at just before 6am and while I tried to delay getting up by watching a few Casey Neistat videos, including a particularly great interview with Casey and Lewis Howes on the School Of Greatness.
But no, the lure of the computer and action waiting to be taken was just too compelling.
I’ve been ON FIRE today, creating a new optin, a new “deep dive” survey, re-jigging the marketing funnel and initial offers, sharing Instagram memes and writing this blog post, while dodging Nina the Cleaner, whose day to work her magic, it is.
The Facebook Ads are running and I can do no more, so it’s just as well we have a dinner date at Dionysus Taverna with Stella and Tim, our neighbours.
Helpful Own It! Podcast Episodes