I wanted to go behind the scenes today and share with you some of the crucial business decisions I made this year that completely changed our business and life. Because to be real, a year ago I was a little scared. Things were a bit up in the air and we changed our business model.
There is so much that is possible. I wish you could see all the decisions I have made in the past 6 years. Some of them were pretty crappy decisions. But some of them were life-changing.
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So a little back story first about something that drives me crazy about our topic today.
The comments that drive me crazy on my blog are when people think they can’t do what I have done because they think I am different and make more money or have more time than them. The only difference is the decisions that I make. The decisions that I started making way back in 2010. Most likely, I may just be one step ahead of you. Maybe 2017 is the year that you make some really great decisions and you change the rest of your life. How does that sound? Time to be in control. time to get what you want. Time to go all in and not hold back.
There is so much that is possible. I wish you could see all the decisions I have made in the past 6 years. Some of them were pretty crappy decisions. But some of them were life-changing. One that comes to mind was hiring my assistant, Lor. That was one of my best decisions ever when I was just starting and she still is AMAZING and works for CCG today.
I want you to be really mindful of the decisions you are making each and every day. Is what you are doing today helping you get to where you want to go? If it’s limited beliefs and thinking that you can’t do what someone else has done, you need to stop thinking that way.
I want to behind the scenes today and share my business with you. I want to share with you some of the crucial business decisions I made this year that completely changed our business and life. Because to be real, a year ago I was a little scared. Things were a bit up in the air and I changed our business model.
After 5 years of doing individual coaching and group coaching and earning a great living doing that and being able to quit my job and have my husband join us in Team CCG. But I realized through a lot of self-reflection that I wanted to be doing way more teaching instead of individual and group work. And that leads me to one of my best decisions of 2016.
The Best Business Decisions I Made in 2016
1. Transitioning to a Membership Site Model
In Q1 of this year, we probably had about 50 courses that we were planning to make mini-bootcamps for the site and just sell them individually. And then I joined Lynda.com and I realized the value of having all the content on just one site for others to access themselves. Even though I previously had a membership site in 2012 that I had to close, The Get Ahead Club, I knew that the membership model was still the best fit for me.
But I needed to make the transition. And it was hard but we did it anyways. The beginning of 2016 was rough but John and I stayed focus on our end goal, just growing the membership. We also started two membership sites at the same time in April. Don’t do that. That was one of the bad decisions along the way. We are happy we just dug in and did it now but it was definitely tough growing two membership sites at the same time. As I write this we have over 330 members in our membership sites and we literally started at 0 in April.
That’s some crazy growth due to some other amazing business decisions we made.
2. Attending Infusionsoft ICON Event
Infusionsoft’s ICON event was the first event John and I attended together. It wasn’t cheap because we had to pay for an Airbnb for a week and host my parents to watch Mila so we could attend the event BUT it was a game-changer for so many reasons. My husband is an Infusionsoft superstar so we both really split up and learned as much as we can. There were a few speakers that we heard at the event that changed the direction of our company.
The first one that comes to mind was the ICON winner, Nate Shaw, of the Brooklyn Music Factory. His business model was monthly membership and I just couldn’t get it out of my head how stable that seemed when you knew you had a lot of members paying you month after month. It had to be something I needed to get to. Over and over again I kept seeing membership models everywhere. I had to get in on it. I already had the content and of course, loved producing the content. So instead of selling all of our courses individually, we decided to package everything up and sell 2 membership sites. Love Your Career Formula and Corporate Rescue Plan. But, how were we going to make sales happen fast because we basically were starting over from scratch…enter another amazing decision.
Note: Infusionsoft is an advanced email marketing and sales system. You can learn more here.
3. Investing in Sixth Division
I’ve always been a fan of investing in getting coaching for myself. But this year was different. Instead of coaching and training in the beginning of the year, we needed an Infusionsoft consultant to help us take our marketing campaigns to the next level. We joined Infusionsoft in 2015 and we were doing ok. But, we knew we could be using the tool’s benefits way more. So we hired Sixth Division for a half day consulting (not cheap) and it changed our entire business. They created a campaign for us that we have been able to rinse and repeat as well as set up so much automation behind the scenes all leading to our membership sites. In the long run, I can help way more people now. Woohoo!
If you have infusionsoft and need some help, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll make an introduction personally to these guys at Sixth Division. They just rock.
4. Investing in TRIBE
Now my August, we were doing sort of ok. Both membership sites were plateauing at about 50 members each which was great for just starting in April. But, I knew I could help more people and I was crazy stressed. Even a doctor told me I needed to decrease my stress. So enter Stu Mclaren who I had kind of been aware of for years. He created Wishlist Member which I have been using for probably about 4 years then. I knew he had worked with Michael Hyatt to grow Platform University into the giant it is today. So when he launched is membership site course, which was not cheap at all, we stretched and made it work.
Tribe was life-changing. Stu modeled something that you don’t see online these days…like ever. I shared so many of his values and beliefs and he’s overall just a nice guy and that shows in everything he did and is still doing for that course. My business will be “before TRIBE” and “after TRIBE” because since taking the course, our members grew and our retention rates increased. More importantly, I have less stress managing two membership sites. Yay! I know I’ll be using what I learn in that course for years and years to come and I am so glad I invested iso much in education this year. Things are finally starting to click.
Note: I almost made some horrible decisions investing my money in education this year. You have to be so careful these days!! Really investigate who you are giving your money to. I had a “million dollar” coach tell me that I could never help 500 women launch their dream careers and businesses by the end of the year (that’s already been done earlier this month) and I had another “million-dollar” coach completely change the program the day after I paid for it. I got my money back on that one. All that to say, be careful, do your homework and make sure you don’t throw away your money online these days.
Stu’s course is closed now but you can learn more about him at stu.me.
5. I Brought the Podcast Back
Yay!! We had taken a 2-year break and in June after listening to a Gary Vaynerchuk video about how content creators are not producing enough content (guilty!) I dove back in. I had been hearing so much from other coaches that I needed to start delegating more so that’s why I hadn’t been so involved in the content. But, that’s when I decided to stop listening to them and start doing more of what I do love, creating content! We’ve published a weekly show since June and have some exciting things planned for the podcast now in 2017. Our downloads have quadrupled and I think this was a great decision since now more people can listen during their commutes!
Make sure you are subscribed on iTunes!
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6. Adding Guest Contributors
It is hard to give up control of your blog posts but do you know how many amazing other writers are out there! My mission has always been to help others and give back. So by hosting guest contributors it not only helps them get more eyeballs on their products and services but it also helps our readers by giving them more tips and advice that I know can help them. For us, the amount our page views have grown this year is so dramatic and it was mostly due to daily blog posts because of our amazing guest contributors.
In 2015, our TOTAL page views for the entire year were 442,000. Right now, average page views PER MONTH is 455,000 at Classycareergirl.com. I focused a lot on page views this year and still will as my goal for next year is to get to over 1 million page views per month. Note that this is mostly organic traffic. We pay some for Facebook ads and Pinterest ads but not that much.
7. Brought On Interns and a Community Manager
September was big for us at Team CCG. We expanded the team and hired our amazing Community Manager, Aida, to help us manage the Facebook group for our 2 membership sites. We also hired 7 interns to help us in different areas of the company as well. My goal is to train them and teach them everything I know to start delegating way more to these ladies into 2017.
8. Focusing on Instagram and Pinterest
Where we focused this year really shows now. Your daily hard work will pay off too! Just like our page views have skyrocketed this year because we focused on growing them, our Instagram and Pinterest accounts skyrocketed as well. We went from 1,500 followers on Instagram to almost 7,000 today and our Pinterest account when from 4,000 followers to 18,000 today. More people are now seeing our articles on Pinterest which is where most of our traffic is coming from. Traffic from Instagram is tiny but I know long term this is a great brand recognition tool that I need to keep up on. In 2016, I also separated my personal Instagram from my business and started growing my personal Instagram as well as created an Instagram that is focused on one of our membership sites, Corporate Rescue Plan. So I think that is a great way to get the word out to more people as those accounts start growing now too.
9. Weekly FB Lives
I love FB lives. I can connect to my community so much. I do weekly facebook lives in our Corporate Rescue Plan FB group and it just allows me to answer questions on a weekly basis and get to know our members so much more. If you are not using FB Live in your business, do it now.
10. Focusing on Growing Our Facebook Group
I believe our numbers for the FB group at the beginning of the year were around 1,000 and we are over 4,200 today. My goal has always been about community building. Changing it back to my brand name of the Classy Career Girl network was a great decision as well and we created rules for the group! Adding a community manager to help me manage it all was a great decision too and just being more present there this year. The leads we have coming from that FB group are very special so I want to continue nurturing it and also just connect people in the group to support each other out.
11. Focusing On Passion Projects That Don’t Earn Money
Passion projects like The #MyStartupStory and our FREE, gorgeous 90 Day Planner update. I poured my heart into them and learned that people don’t just want a cheat sheet or a checklist, to optin these days. You have to give them something that you would actually charge for. My Startup Story was a ton of work! I didn’t even sell anything at the end of it. It was truly just a list builder. I gave out a ton of branding advice that I know I could charge for but people loved it!
The 90 day planner I worked on for an entire month of August and had it designed professionally. I lost money on it but the amount of people it is helping and will continue to help is incredible. No regrets. These were passion projects that I get to do now because I have a membership site model that isn’t always open. I am not always selling which is so nice. I can do fun free stuff that I get excited about and not sell anything at the end. I love that.
12.Sharing My Story and Being More Open
It’s not been the easiest year despite all of the above successes in our business that’s for sure. In August I had my third miscarriage which wiped me out and put a lot of stuff on the back burner so I could focus on grieving and going in and out of doctor appointments. One of the best things I did this time though is write about my journey. My first two miscarriages were before my daughter was born and I felt so alone. This time, I decided to share my journey and joined the first week of the Capture Your Grief in October on my personal Instagram page. They gave me writing prompts and writing through the tears really helped me during that month.
13. Thinking Bigger
We have a big dream and vision at CCG. For the first time ever, our business is scalable. It doesn’t just rely on me working indivdiually coaching my clients. I believe our company is going to achieve some incredible growth in 2017. We are set up to make that happen. More importantly though, in 2016 we helped 500 women launch their dream careers and businesses and we are right on track to help 2,000 by 2018 (or sooner!). It’s time to create some new goals and missions here at Team CCG. We will be back in the new year ready to share those with you.
Thank you to everyone who listens to our podcast. We truly appreciate you!!
Two quick things:
If you are not yet in our Classy Career Girl Network FB Group please join us to get support to launch your dream career at www.classycareergirl.com/ladies.
Also, our Freedom Workshop is coming up on December 29th. I’d love to have you join us. It’s an entirely free workshop that is going to help you become your own boss in 2017. We’ve been working really hard on this training series for you and it’s literally the best thing I have ever done. If you want to build a business that makes an impact or you have a business and you just want to scale and automate even more in 2017, you can sign up at www.corporaterescueplan.com/freedom
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