Grow Your Business Online Uncategorized

Why YOU May Be the Biggest Problem in Your Marketing (And How to Fix It)

blog 9.3

I’ve been reading the book the 12 Week Year, and it’s got me thinking in a big way about how we’re our own worst enemies when it comes to being able to succeed.

The premise of the book is that only by getting committed and focused, and then breaking down your years into 12 week chunks, can you truly be great.

When you’re running a small business, if you’re going to achieve greatness, whether that be making an impact or building a profitable empire (or even better, doing both), your marketing matters.  Because your marketing is the front-end of how people discover you and learn to know, like and trust your brand.

But what if you’re out there marketing your heart out, and things are feeling less than stellar and your numbers indicate the same thing?

Start by looking at your marketing approach to see where you may be your own worst enemy:

#1 Does Your Marketing Feel Like You?

Before you think I’ve taken a sharp turn into the metaphysical realm, hear me out. When it comes to online marketing, it’s hard to find the right balance for how to approach things, especially when a lot of what’s being taught is distinctly masculine in energy.

For example, even the names of some common tactics are aggressive (tripwires, anyone?) and can seem out of alignment with who we are. I know for me, I strive for a happy medium in my marketing of the masculine and the feminine because I’m as likely to reference Danielle LaPorte as Ryan Deiss, and as a person, I have a definite edge to me.
But let’s say you’re more feminine in how you work and approach what you do, then masculine energy and tactics are going to be majorly misaligned for both you and your audience.

Then, there’s the tricky business of how you like to best communicate. Do you speak the language of innovation or passion? Details or excellence? Understanding how the world best sees you can make a critical difference to how that message is received, how you choose to market and how you feel when you’re doing it.

That’s exactly why I’ve included a training on your marketing personality using the Fascination Advantage System from Sally Hogshead in the upcoming No B.S. Marketing School. (And good news, I’m a Certified Fascination Advisor, so I’ve got special insights into what that report really means!)

[clickToTweet tweet=”Dudetastic marketing tactics make you feel the ick? Here’s why.” quote=”Dudetastic marketing tactics make you feel the ick? Here’s why.”]

#2. You’re Doing ALL the Things

Marketing is sort of like a buffet. There’s 100s of choices and you want to eat what you like and not combine things in a way that are going to make you seriously queasy later on.

You may have shiny object syndrome and be jumping on every bandwagon with the latest tactic or tool as soon as it is released, or suffer from just doing a lot of things and not doing any of them well.

We’re all guilty of this at times (myself included) as we want to play around, see what works and not miss out on opportunities. But this divided focus ultimately sinks us as we don’t optimize every single strategy and tactic we have.

Perfect example is blogging. Most people blog, but they let a lot of the pieces around it fall apart because they’re focused on crossing ‘write and publish post’ off their weekly to-do list. They don’t always blog with a plan in mind for their content, they ignore SEO, they don’t really promote the post and so it rarely sees the light of day after a couple days.

But how much better would that post be if there was a plan and promotion around it?

Pick a handful of tactics and do them really, really well for the best results. Skip the rest or put it in the “parking lot” for later.

#3. You Don’t Stick Anything Out Long Enough

Every single day we’re inundated with success stories, which can mess with our heads in a big way. It can make us think that things should be happening in a matter of mere days, instead of months or multiple years.

Have you ever said:

“Yeah, I tried that, it didn’t work?”

Stop and ask yourself if it really didn’t work, or if you didn’t stick it out long enough. This happens a lot (and I mean a lot) with podcasting. People do 10 episodes and they fade away.

Having just reached the 100 episode milestone for the Marketing Moxie show, I can tell you this much, 10 episodes isn’t enough to base an informed opinion on regarding if your show is working or not.

Consistency is the hallmark of successful marketing. If you constantly start and stop things you’re never going to have enough details or data to base a decision about if something is working or not.

On the flip side…

#4. You Keep Doing Things That Simply Aren’t Working

While it’s important that you give things time to see if they’re producing results and supporting your business goals, there’s a time to move on.

It could be that you’re holding on to a website that desperately needs to be rebranded so you can serve your clients. Or you’re insisting that Google + is still the #1 social platform around.

No program, no tactic has an indefinite shelf life, which is why you need to build in checkpoints monthly or quarterly to assess how things are going.

At the point you’ve been podcasting for six months or a year, and your downloads are mediocre at best, you get little listener feedback and it’s not helping you accomplish your goals, then you can say maybe it’s time to retire the show. Give it your all, and then be brave enough to admit when something isn’t working.

The same goes for your messaging, copy, site design, any social platform, product/service, emails, and so on.

Also, keep in mind that as your business evolves you’ll outgrow things, and you need to watch for the warning signs that it’s time to freshen things up or let them go.

Once you’ve got a handle on these fundamentals of how you approach your marketing, then it’s time to look at your “marketing” cycle, which I’ll break down for you in more detail next week.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Get out of your own damn way with your marketing. New blog post.” quote=”Get out of your own damn way with your marketing. New blog post.”]

Which of these four areas do you need to address in your business? What can you do to improve your overall approach to marketing to help things serve you and your audience better?

No BS Mktng Social Media Images2

If you want to learn more about your marketing approach and how to make results happen in your biz, check out the No B.S. Marketing School. It’s now open for enrollment and is $150 off through next Wednesday, September 9th.

When you’re running a business, marketing can quickly become a full-time job. Which is great if you’re making a living as a marketing expert.

But if your title is actually CEO, coach, consultant or creative [fill-in-the-blank], this can quickly become a big old problem.

Because newsflash, marketing isn’t your job. Running your business is.

Which is why it’s time to put marketing in it’s rightful place. And what if, instead of trying out another expert’s advice based on exactly how they did it, you dialed in to exactly what works for your personality and your customers — actually gets YOU results?

This is exactly what the No B.S. Marketing School is all about. By focusing on the part of your marketing you can control and absolutely nailing it, you can dramatically alter the course of your business.

Get the Scoop on the No B.S. Marketing School

conversion rate strategies Grow Your Business Online marketing strategy

5 B.S. Online Marketing Myths Debunked

blog 8.13

Whether you’ve been hanging out in the online business world for weeks, months or years, you’ve probably heard a lot of “rules” about how things need to be done.

Rules, formulas, success strategies, blueprints – there’s an endless list of these things you should be doing according to the 24/7 parade of experts.

A lot of these things fall into the category of best practices and are proven ways to help you accomplish your goals. And hey, why kill yourself to create a revolutionary way of doing things when this shit is proven? That’s a great way to drive yourself into the ground, no need for that!

On the other hand, a lot of these things fall into the realm of what I like to think of as B.S. online marketing myths, especially when they’re taken out of context by would-be experts or business owners who simply don’t know any better. Or they actually do know better and don’t give a rat’s ass because racking up cashola in their PayPal account is priority numero uno.

Here’s my handy list of B.S. online marketing myths that need to be put to rest or at least taken with a grain of salt:

#1. The Money is in Your List

Yes, email marketing can be extremely effective, and when you sell to your list you can make some significant sales. But only when it’s done right. Which is precisely where the “money is in your list” mantra falls apart.

Email lists aren’t all created equal. Business owners who “sell to their list” successfully use a sophisticated system of nurturing, managing and connecting with their list, from opt-in sequences to ongoing content and more. They don’t just show up and say, “Hey email subscriber, welcome to my list. Now gimme all your money.”

The problem is that somewhere along the way, the concept of the money being “in your list” turned into your email list is just like a ATM. Your email list will only respond to your sales emails and promotions if you show up the rest of the time and deliver immense value, but most of all treat them with respect. No funnel, no email copy and no offer will ever replace respect. So before you decide your email is a magic money making machine, decide how you’re going to add value before you sell.

#2. Make Money While You Sleep

I don’t know about you, but I definitely love waking up to new sales in my inbox. But I don’t fall asleep every night and rub my hands together and think, “How much sweet, sweet money will I make while I sleep?”

Yes, you can make money while you sleep. But that shiz doesn’t just magically happen. And it’s likely going to take WAY more than writing an ebook and throwing it up on a LeadPage to make that baby actually work.

Here’s what’s not being said about the magic bullet called passive income. There’s nothing at ALL passive about it when you’re creating it, and it may take months or even years for it to get to the point where it’s truly passive.

[clickToTweet tweet=”New blog post – What’s not being said about passive income. (Hint: it’s not so passive)” quote=”New blog post – What’s not being said about passive income. (Hint: it’s not so passive)”]

For every passive income success story, there’s 100s of more people grinding out meager passive income sales on the side while they coach, consult and do more. Sure, you can go all in on passive income and decide you’re not working 1:1 anymore, but you’d be the exception, not the rule. (Hear that? It’s the sound of bubbles being burst, sorry friends!)

#3. Everyone is an Expert!

I’m going to spare you the string of expletives that I often spew out when I see so-called experts claiming their expertise.

Anyone CANNOT be an expert on anything. Period. Even on the Internet. No matter what that book you read says or what some blow hard Internet marketer tries to convince you. Stop.

Of course, expertise is subjective, and we all do need to start somewhere. But there’s a way to share your knowledge and let your work speak for itself without trying to trump yourself up into being an expert.

If this makes you uncomfortable, it may be time for you to think hard about if what you’re offering or focusing on is in line with what you can truly deliver results on. Doing something once for yourself doesn’t make you an expert.

Thanks to the expert economy where everyone is a would-be expert, the bigger distinction is just doing the work and delivering real results. That’s where we should all be focusing our energies.

#4. If You Build It, They Will Come

After spending months getting your new website ready – writing copy, working with a designer – your launch day is finally here. The hard work is over, as you’ll be live on the internet and sales will be rolling in.

Launching a website is the easy part. Actually getting traffic to your site will be a work in progress, as you focus on social media, SEO, referral traffic and so much more. And it’s harder than it seems, especially in 2015.

I started my first blog nearly 8 years ago, one that I built up to having more than 12,000 unique visitors per month at one point. How? For starters, I blogged five days a week – that’s literally hours spent every single week on writing and photography for each post. Then there’s marketing time spent on social networks, email marketing and more.

That same scenario has played out time and time again on blog projects I’ve been involved in. If you want consistent and significant traffic, you need to be creating great content, working on your SEO and promoting that content well.

Traffic doesn’t just magically arrive on your site. You earn it. Which brings me to my next point…

#5. What You Really Need is More Traffic

Let’s say you’ve got a steady stream of visitors to your site each month, but you’re not making that many sales. And the number of subscribers you acquire each month is nothing to get excited about.

Conventional wisdom is that to get more sales, you need more traffic. You need more people coming to your site to fix your problem, right?

All the traffic in the world doesn’t matter if you’ve not got the fundamentals on your website in place. If that traffic arrives on your site and it’s a janky hot mess, it simply won’t convert. You can keep sending more and more and more traffic, but it’s not going to make a difference on your bottom line.

It’s like pouring water into a bucket with a hole in the bottom, you’re never going to be able to fill it up.

Conversion rate optimization can be incredibly complex, but I can guarantee there are improvements you can make to your site starting now to help get your visitors to stick around and take action. (I’ll be addressing one of the biggest ones with online business owners during Orientation Week – details below on how you can join us.)

It’s your business and you’re the boss…so you get to make the rules and can decide if you’re going to believe these myths or not. Many of these myths we’ll be putting to rest for good during the fun and free event I have coming up, Orientation Week. Consider this your invite to join us.

[clickToTweet tweet=”New blog post – 5 B.S. Online Marketing Myths Debunked #truth” quote=”New blog post – 5 B.S. Online Marketing Myths Debunked #truth”]

OW Social Media Images MM Cover (2)

This August, instead of deciding you’ve got 2015 handled, what if you tapped into that feeling and took your marketing back to school? And not to just any school, but the No B.S. School of Marketing, a place where you get to reinvent your marketing (and how you think about it).

Orientation Week is a week-long, 100% free event with a daily lesson. No fluff. You’ll get in and you’ll get out. Best of all, each day you’ll get something done in your business that sets you on the path to marketing success.

Get the details and join us by hitting the button below.


Grow Your Business Online marketing strategy

The Unsexy Secret: It’s All About Consistency

blog 7.23

A few weeks ago, I was asked by a new prospect what I thought the big difference was between good online businesses and ones that were truly great.

I think she may have been looking for a much more exciting or sophisticated answer than the one I produced without missing a beat.

My answer? Consistency.

Definitely not what people want to hear. And seriously unsexy. But this is what makes all the difference. Especially in a world that’s lacking face-to-face connections.

Why? Because being consistent is harder than it looks.

If you’ve been in business for more than a hot minute, you know exactly what I’m talking about. That rhythm of the same things over and over can be soul sucking, especially when you’re bursting with new ideas and things you can’t wait to do.

If you can show up and consistently offer value, your audience will notice. They’ll trust you that much more because if you can arrive in their inbox every Wednesday, they can rest assured that you’ll deliver their new website, ebook, or copy that they’re paying you for on time.

As a marketer, I can offer you up a million ideas on what you could do, but if you can’t execute on consistency, it’s not going to matter. Showing up every day, every week is what builds a rock solid foundation that gets results.

So how does a highly motivated but innovative and fun-loving entrepreneur who doesn’t love the grind make consistency happen?

Put Your Ideas on Hiatus

It’s WAY more fun to dream up new ideas and make big plans than to do the simple daily tasks that breed consistency.

The problem with all those ideas is that they tend to feel like you must act on them all right now. Especially if you’re like me and you have high innovation where ideas are flying around 24/7. Next thing you know, you’ve dropped everything to pursue a new idea at the expense of everything else.

The surefire solution is what I call an “idea hiatus,” where you literally stop acting on your ideas. In my case, this has been a huge relief as I park my ideas in a notebook and come back later.

If you’re a thrill-seeking, idea-generating machine, I challenge you to put your ideas on a break for 30 days. You just may be surprised at how much calmer you feel, as you’re not off on a random tangent and distracted by shiny objects.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Lose the shiny object syndrome and try this to build your biz.” quote=”Lose the shiny object syndrome and try this to build your biz.”]

Eliminate Any and All Excuses

Even the things you love can be a drain at times.

It’s time for a confession. As a writer, there are weeks when I’d rather do anything else than write a blog post. Or times that I’d like to never record a podcast episode again.

Content creation is a grind. As soon as you’ve got one piece of content done, there’s another one waiting for you. So it’s easy to start making excuses and talk yourself out of it.

Once you’re on the excuse train, it’s hard to get off, and next thing you know a month passes by and you’ve not sent an email out or posted a new blog post. Losing momentum can kill your mojo for good.

My solution? Eliminate any and all excuses. For me, I’ve realized that all the steps to get content out into the world bog me down, so I’ve created systems and processes to hand this off to my super capable and amazing team. Now, I can’t make excuses because I have one job to do. I’m the talent, the content creator, so I should be able to show up and do my thing.

Systems may seem like overkill, but I can’t even tell you how many times this saves me from myself. While I can make the “call” not to publish in a given week, I don’t because I know my team is relying on me as well as my readers.

If you’re riding the excuse train, create a system and recruit some help – even if it’s a friend to help you stay accountable.

Clarity Breeds Consistency

More cases than not, a lack of consistency is result of being unclear. I see this time and time again with my clients and in my own business. The times when blog posts, email or social media aren’t going out regularly, it’s because there’s no real plan for what needs to be said or what should be happening.

Clarity breeds consistency. When you’re unclear, you get tied up in knots and overthink everything. But when there’s a solid, clear plan in place, you can go into autopilot and get it done.

But how do you actually create that consistency? Some of my favorite ways include:

  • Creating a 90-Day Marketing Plan. (You can grab a template here.)
  • Brainstorming 3 to 6 months worth of blog posts based on your upcoming business goals.
  • Rolling out new ideas as tests only. If you’re doing a podcast, try a season with 10 episodes. A new program? Offer it first as a small group beta.
  • Getting clear on your voice and story so you can create content that’s on point. (Get the Storytelling Shortcut to help you with this.)

So, are you ready to get consistent? What’s your game plan based on the action steps in this post? Comment below.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Consistency may not be sexy, but it gets results. New blog post.” quote=”Consistency may not be sexy, but it gets results. New blog post.”]

Grow Your Business Online marketing strategy

When You Feel Like You’re Doing Your Business ALL Wrong

blog 7.16

Last week, I wrote about some crazy things I’ve noted in online business, including six figure success, and that post hit a nerve.

But one thing I heard over and over is that it resonated with many of you because you’re so tired of feeling like you’re doing “it” wrong. Your business, your marketing, your way of doing things (which actually are very aligned for you) feel wrong when judged by a particular set of standards.

The truth? That set of standards or modus operandi is wrong for many of us, and until we try doing things our way, we’re simply not going to know. And until we try a few things on for size that really don’t work, we won’t know either.

You’re not doing things all wrong. No one is. You’re learning and growing and evolving. You’re testing. Correcting. Tweaking. Fine-tuning.

This is ALL part of the gig, so when you’re feeling all kinds of wrong, even for a split second as you scroll through your Facebook feed, remember this – there is no wrong. Even the wrongs get you to the right.

Drop the judgments, go a little easier on yourself, and focus on these things instead:

#1. Tapping Into Your Special Something

We’re approaching after school special territory here, I know. But this little nugget that your mama, favorite teacher or other important person drilled into your head applies to your business, too.

And with good reason: skills are learnable and highly commoditized. So as a copywriter or designer or jewelry maker, the only difference you’ve got is you. People hire you for you first and your skills second. So if they don’t like you and don’t connect with you, it’s not going to happen.

Which is why we all need to stop trying to be something we’re not or creating this ridiculous smoke and mirrors image. Showing up as you are with exactly how you can serve NOW, no apologies, is what’s most important.

Instead of focusing on what you don’t have, amplify what you do have. Communicate and show up in a way that works for you.

A Perfect example is a rather long conversation I had with friend earlier this week about where our personal/professional line is. In a world full of social media and Periscoping and endless “look at me” moments, it’s easy to feel like you need to broadcast your life.

For me, that’s not the way I roll. It makes me exceedingly uncomfortable to put my family in the spotlight or to dig deeply into parts of my life. Could I share them? Yes. Would more people connect with me? Likely. But I’d feel like a big old bag of crap and anxious as hell.

Great for some people, but it doesn’t just work for me. In the past I’ve had friends and colleagues suggest that stems from a lack of confidence or that I’m simply hiding. Not true, not even for a split second.

After years of struggling with this and wondering if there was something wrong with me, thanks to the Fascination Advantage System I have an answer. (If you’re not familiar with this branding/communication personality test, you need to check it out. It can be extremely eye opening!)

My primary advantage is Innovation (the language of ideas) and my secondary is Mystique, which is the language of listening. Mystique personalities tend to be understated and when they speak, they want it to be thoughtful and meaningful. In other words, I’m not built with the celebrity gene. I’m happy to do my thing, share my ideas and do it well, but only do it when it’s helpful and not just for entertainment purposes.

#2. Know that “Rules” are Made to be Broken

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I’m going to say it again. This cookie cutter/template/formula crap is just that – crap.

Think of these things as a starting point and then see what works for you. Not every single rule or concept is going to work for your business model or personal style, or even be right for your customers. And trying to contort your business to fit into a round hole when you’re a square peg is going to make for needless discomfort and drama.

You built a business to do things your way, so why are you torturing yourself by following a laundry list of rules?

Some rules, guidelines and best practices are going to work, some aren’t – and that’s all good. It’s your job to distill that down into your own version of success and make them your own. The key here is to be open to the rules and then break them, not just throw them all out at once.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Break the biz rules, just don’t fall victim to special snowflake syndrome.” quote=”Break the biz rules, just don’t fall victim to special snowflake syndrome.”]

Breaking rules is 100% encouraged, but don’t go breaking all of them to prove a point. I’ve seen one too many business owners delude themselves into eschewing all conventional wisdom in an effort to be a special snowflake and have it backfire.

Being so hell bent that you’re different and deciding that everyone else out there is doing it wrong doesn’t make you innovative or edgy. It makes you deranged, because you’re going to drive yourself into the ground trying to get where you want to go.

There’s always a lesson to be learned from those who come before us, so check your ego. See where you can dig in and use their successes to help you grow or find a new way of doing things.

#3. Please Sit Down

Take off your shoes and sit down. It’s far too easy to get swept away in a sea of negative self-talk and shoulds, and then you’re all tied up in knots.

You’re not wrong. But you may need to sit down and take a chill pill so you’re in the right frame of mind. Close down social media and get focused back on yourself. What’s your why, your goals, and your way of doing things?

The 24/7 always on, always connected way of online business is a massive problem and it holds us back in so many ways. It makes us feel bad when there’s really NO reason to be.

If you find yourself getting into this frame of mind, disengage. It’s the fastest route to ensuring you can keep your eyes on your own paper and not feel wrong about things that are perfectly fine.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Stay sane in the world of online biz by keeping your eyes on your own paper (New blog post)” quote=”Stay sane in the world of online biz by keeping your eyes on your own paper (New blog post)”]

Know it happens to ALL of us, but it’s up to us to learn how to deal with it. I’ve taken great care to unsubscribe, stop following and more to protect myself from those things that trigger me. Learn what triggers you and makes you feel less than, or worst like you want to throw in the towel or just throw up.

We’ve got limited time to work on our business, so stop wasting your time with things that make you feel like you’re doing it wrong. Find content and people who lift you up and make you better is a far better use of your precious time. Hone in on what works for you and how you can best serve and you’ll be well on your way.

What things do you feel like you’re doing wrong? How do you cope with them?

Business Strategy for Entrepreneurs Grow Your Business Online

Quit Dabbling, Start Doing: Creating Your Online Marketing Action Plan

blog 7.2

In honor of a new quarter, I want to ask you a question…are you a dabbler?

Specifically, a dabbler in marketing….and if you’re not sure, here are some signs that you’re dabbling:

  • You’ve paid for a pile of marketing courses that languish on your hard drive for someday. Or you’ve taken them but have applied very little of what you learned to your business.
  • The typical modus operandi is to start a marketing project with LOTS of excitement, only to fizzle out in a few weeks.
  • Ideas: you’ve got ‘em. Lots of them. Tonnes of them…but you don’t actually know how to separate the good, bad and super ugly.
  • You feel like you’re doing ALL of the things, but you’re not sure what’s working and what’s a waste of time.
  • Most of all, you can’t figure out why some people are SO freakin’ successful and you’re still stuck in park.

While dabbling happens to all of us at one time or another, we’re half way through 2015 and it’s time to get our shit together. Dabbling doesn’t get results; dabbling holds us back from success and tricks us into thinking we should be way further ahead than we actually are.

In short, dabbling is distracting and dangerous to your business’ bottom line.

If you’re ready to stop dabbling with your marketing and create an online marketing plan, here’s a few ways to make that happen:

#1. 90-Day Marketing Plan

For most of us, we have a business to run and clients to serve. And while marketing is important, it’s not our full-time gig. It’s just the thing we use to grow the biz and it fits in around everything else we’re doing.

Which is why I love the idea of a 90-day marketing plan. You may have heard me talk about 90-day plans for your business in the past (I’m officially obsessed, thanks to my friend and client Amber McCue), but invariably for me, marketing is always a big part of my plan.

The idea of the 90-day plan is that you can focus on bite-sized chunks, which is exactly why I’m creating one specifically for marketing for this quarter. This creates clarity around ongoing marketing activities and a new initiative related to my program launch later this Summer.

With my marketing strategy set for the year, this plan is tactical in nature and breaks out activities and actions by month.

So, what do you include in your 90-day marketing plan? That’s up to you, but here’s what’s in my ongoing marketing plan for Q3:
90 day marketing plan

You can grab your own 90-day marketing plan template here.

#2. Test & Fine-Tune

There’s not a single marketing tactic or program that you can set and forget. Everything needs to be tested and fine-tuned over time.

Without an eye on experimenting to see what works for you and watching for signs that things just aren’t cutting it anymore, you’re missing out on ways to make your marketing more productive and profitable.

What should you test? Here’s a few ideas of things you can have some fun with in the next few months:

  • For your email list – Split test your email subject lines. Most services will allow you to easily do this.
  • For your blog – Try offering a content upgrade (worksheet or PDF) that your readers can opt-in or add a signup box at the end of your posts. (Oh wait, I’m trying that on this post!)
  • For your social media  – Try using different media, such as a video or audio, to increase engagement. Or experiment with images.
  • For your sales page – Change your calls to action and add more social proof, such as quotes or media logos.
    For your interviews and  guest posts – Create a custom landing page to direct listeners or readers to.

#3. Measure Business Impact

Success is a funny thing. If you don’t know what you’re looking for, you can easily miss it.  Which is why for each of your activities you want to be looking for ways to measure how your marketing programs are impacting your business overall.

Did you just think: Ugh, numbers. Double ugh, math. Yeah, I totally get it. But if you’re not going to set up some basic measures, it’s pretty hard to figure out if your time and money are being well used.

This doesn’t need to be complicated or require you to turn into a data nerd. Start by tracking some basic numbers, like these:

  • Number of sign ups to your email list per month.
  • Open rate and click through rate on your weekly email.
  • Monthly blog traffic or podcast downloads.
  • Goal completions via goals you’ve set up in Google Analytics.
  • Social media follower counts by month.
  • Number of bookings/sales per week or month.

Figure out what’s most critical in your 90-day marketing plan and map out the measures you need to define success. Actively tracking and monitoring these numbers can help you celebrate your successes and do more of what works, while ditching what isn’t getting you where you want to go.

Are you going to stop dabbling and start doing?


Grow Your Business Online

10 Lessons from 10 Years in Business



While I was away frolicking on the beach in Hawaii and wearing copious amounts of SPF 60, a big milestone came and went.

On May 13th, it was my 10th anniversary in business. That means a lot of things, starting with I’ve defied the odds and this is the longest I’ve “worked” anywhere. It feels big and it’s exciting, as I know the next 10 are going to bring some of the best possible things imaginable.

When I set out on this adventure, I just wanted to make enough so that it was a viable plan for me not to head back to work after my year long maternity leave. Armed with a business plan typed up in MS Word and a Staples low rent business card, I systematically put the word out to my network. My husband and I agreed that I had until September to make $4K/month, as that would more than meet our financial needs.

No savings, no parachute, I jumped out of the plane. Thankfully, we did have his income so the mortgage and the bare minimum was covered, but the pressure was on. In under 60 days, that goal was blown out of the water and it’s only grown from there.

There’s a lot of things that have gone into making this all happen, and I’ve reflected a lot on this. (More than is probably normal, because hello, #introvertproblems. There’s a lot of time spent in my head.)

Here’s a quick list of the lessons learned from 10 years in business:

#1. Find Someone Who Believes in You More Than You Believe in Yourself.

Hands down, that was my husband, but I had a whole legion of cheerleaders as I got the ball rolling. No one ever questioned my decision. I’m not sure if that’s because they’re scared of me or my friends and family know that there’s no stopping me when I make a decision. (It’s probably both, because I don’t take kindly to people saying I can’t do things as I discussed in this post.)

Maybe it’s not your partner, but a friend, a cousin, a sister, but you need someone who’s there to help you pick up the pieces when you’re a hot mess and you feel like you can’t go on. And those days are going to happen…

#2. Some Days, Some Weeks Are Going to Suck Hard.

These are the days when you fantasize about of all things, getting a job. Because many days working for someone else would be a million times easier than this thing you’re doing. Until you realize that no matter what, this beats the alternative so you fire up the coffee, wine or vodka and get on with it.

And sometimes, it’s okay to tap out, lie on the couch and watch 8 hours of Lifetime movies. As long as  you pull yourself together the next day – it’s restorative.

#3. I Swear, But You Sure as Shit Can’t Swear About Me.

I’m not exactly delicate about language at times, because sometimes a good cuss word is the best possible way to get your point across. And if you’re the word police, please move along – because it’s not a sign of lack of intelligence or low education. (My sentiments are summed up nicely by S.E. Sinkhorn in this post.)

But there are exceptions. Starting with when the CEO of the company calls you at home during dinner time from overseas and kicks off the call labeling you a fucking idiot. (I maintain this is purely because he’d already ripped the balls off his entire team and killed their spirit, so he had to move on to me.)

In that case, all bets are off. Within minutes I’d turned around, called my day-to-day contact and terminated the contract, effectively immediately. You NEVER have to accept that type of abuse. Even if you are a bitch (which I completely am at times) but no client has the right to tell you that, especially during your dinner.

#4. Find the Good Ones and Hold On.

Take the time upfront to find good clients, and when you find ones you love, hold on for dear life. Seriously. These types of clients where you just get each other, can work in flow and you don’t have weird issues with invoices unpaid at 60 days are a beautiful thing.

So how do you find great clients? Don’t ignore the warning signs. In the consult process, have a checklist you run through looking for indicators that this is NOT going to be a good fit. And then just say no.

Saying no is hard, it’s painful to reject money. But honey, that money is never worth it. If your gut says no, it’s a no. The end.

#5. Hire People Who are Smarter Than You Are.

Hiring is hard. Especially when you’ve been the CEO, the director of marketing and the janitor. I know, because I’ve been a one woman show more years than I care to admit.

But if you hire people who are really good at what they do, giving up control becomes so much easier. Set the systems in place and let them do their thing. But remember they aren’t mind readers.

And always look for people who are committed to what it is you’re building. Because if they are “in” it with you, they’re going to go the extra mile and stick around for the long haul. (Special shoutout to the team who makes things happen behind the scenes here – even this blog post is a team effort.)

#6. Create a Brain Trust.

When I moved into the role of account manager at my old job, my mentor gave me a really important piece of advice “always vent up”. Meaning you shouldn’t use your team to unload all your business baggage.

Yes, you can be honest, but you don’t have to use them as your sounding board for every little thing. Which is where your brain trust comes in.

This is your short list of go-to people for when you need to work out the details, talk through situation, brainstorm or go on a business getaway. They’ve got your back and if you worked in an office together, you’d be going out for drinks together on Friday night to recap the week.

Most of all, they are people who get where you are. The ones you can share your big money goal and they hold that vision for you without rolling their eyes. They make you want to do better, because you’re all growing together.

#7. Fix Your Money Mindset.

Until 2 years ago, I didn’t realize the actual state of my money mindset. I mean, I had money, things were good, but oh my word, I had some major issues that were standing between me and finding flow.

It’s a long list, and it continues to be a work in progress. But I’ve gotten up close and personal with my money, worked with a coach to fix my entire story around money and things are much calmer.  I go much longer between the moments where I’m wondering if the bottom is going to fall out or being anxious about the balance in my bank account.

Handling this has made my business so much simpler as I don’t have issues asking for money, raising my prices or anything else. If you want to make more money. Fix your money mindset. Sounds a bit out there, but it works.

#8. Not All Hustle is Created Equal.

I come from the hustle hard school of business, where if you hustle hard you’re rewarded. But not all hustle is created equal.

There’s busywork like hanging out on Facebook all day “networking” and then there’s hustling. When you’re hustling you’re focusing on getting the highest value activities done. Learn the difference between a to-do list designed to make you look like you’re doing something while you’re avoiding the stuff you should be doing, and the type of hustle that bring in clients and revenue.

#9. Sometimes It’s Just Not That Deep.

In a world that’s driven by passion, purpose and finding your why, you can drive yourself absolutely mad looking for deep meaning in everything you do. My friends, sometimes it’s just not that deep. Not everything you do has to be charged with meaning, sometimes it is what it is.

Show up, do your best and move on. Know where the meaning really is, and what it’s okay to not be reading more into, because I can guarantee that you’ll end up stuck and positively paralyzed by trying to make a mountain out of a molehill.

#10. Want a Competitive Advantage? Do What You Say You’re Going to Do.

Sounds pretty simple right? So how can that be a competitive advantage? It just is here in the wild West of the Internet. Starting with deadlines. If you say Tuesday close of business, don’t deliver it Thursday morning with no reset of expectations.

Don’t over promise and under deliver. Make realistic promises and then over deliver. Because that’s all too rare. If you can to that I fully believe you’ll stand out in a sea of pretty shitty services and dubious results.

Harsh, but 100% true. Do what you say you’re going to do.

(Disclaimer: I’m not perfect, but I do live up to my promises 97.8% of the time.)

And bonus lesson

#11. Math is Your Friend. Even if You’re a Math Dropout.

From your revenue to your conversion rates, you need to make friends with math. Numbers matter in your business and hold magical powers. What you need to grow is likely hiding out right within your business. Instead of chasing unicorns and pots of gold, get your sales and marketing math in order.

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned in your business so far? What’s been the most surprising?

[Tweet “10 years, 11 lessons from @magspatterson. New blog post.”]

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Give Your Gut Check a Reality Check: Why Conversion Rate Matters


A couple of years ago, I finally realized that one of my real superpowers in my business was my intuition. And that as the CEO of my enterprise, this is one of the most valuable tools I’ve got in my arsenal.

When I ignore my intuition, things go to shit pretty quickly. So when my gut speaks, I listen.

I’m going to wager to guess that you’re nodding right along, because you, too, rely on your gut to run your show.

But there’s a little problem with too much intuition, too much relying on all the feelings ﹘ sometimes it can be seriously short-circuited by things like PMS, ego or that nasty bitch in your head. (Or possibly even delusions, because hey, sometimes big dreams give way to delusion.)

Which is why if you really want to succeed, you need to find a way to strike a balance between the realities of your business and your gut feelings. I like to think of this as the gut check vs. the reality check.

Why You Can’t Ignore the Numbers

When you’re in camp intuition, it’s all too easy to let that be your driving force and run from a place of knowing.

And that’s a big old problem. I know because I see this every freakin’ day, sometimes multiple times a day. People struggling to make their business work because they’re doing their absolute best but they aren’t looking at the numbers. Or they’re unwilling to because they feel like that makes their business icky or soulless.

I get it, I really do. But if you’re going to be the boss, you need to get this in check and understand that, if you’re going to succeed, your gut cannot be the only thing running the show.

Knowing your numbers doesn’t make you sleazy or soulless. It makes you smart. Smarter about your decisions. Smarter about what to do next. Smarter at predicting results. Most of all, it sets you up in a way that means you can set goals and reach them.

When you know your numbers, you can create a realistic plan and reverse engineer what you need to do from there. Best of all, you’ll suddenly find more flow and ease in your business because the plan is solid and you’re not killing yourself chasing unicorns.

Business gets a lot less scary when you have facts on your side.

[Tweet “Knowing your numbers doesn’t make you sleazy or soulless. It makes you smart. New post by @magspatterson”]

Breaking Down Your Numbers: Making Conversion Rate Your BFF

So, what numbers do you need to pay attention to? There are a lot of numbers floating around your business, and unless you’re a math whiz, you likely don’t want to crunch them all day long.

There’s one simple number that can help our businesses grow and thrive.

Meet conversion rate.

This little number is something you want to make your BFF because it holds so many secrets to what’s really happening with your marketing and sales. This is exactly why conversion rate matters.

(If you want to learn the ins and outs of conversion and what exactly conversion rate is, check out the new challenge I have coming up at the end of this post.)

And before you tap out by saying, “Hey Maggie, I’m not like the Internet marketing dudes. I’m not going to run my business this way,” I encourage you to take a second and hear me out.

How did your last launch go? Your last anything? Did you meet your goals, or were you flying on a wing and a prayer? What if you could make where you’re succeeding even stronger so you could reach more people?

I know that as online business owners we’re all special snowflakes, so this type of thing can feel super restrictive, but knowing your conversion rate actually is a proven way for you to take power back in your business. For you to be the fierce and feisty CEO of your empire, because you’ve got shit handled.

Plus, things get simpler when you combine the power of your gut feelings (intuition) + reality (facts) to guide the way.

A great example is list size. In no way do I advocate for treating your list like an ATM or focusing on growing in a way that’s not aligned with your vision. (Nor do I condone becoming obsessed with numbers.)

A typical conversion rate when selling to an email list in our industry is 1%. You may get a higher conversion rate depending on your activities, but if you plan for 1%, you’ve got a great baseline.

So why then do people expect to have a list of 1000 people and get 100 people enrolled in their thing? It’s because they don’t know the numbers. Or they expect that their special snowflake status will supercede facts and they will be the raging success story that defies the odds with their 10% conversion rate.

What if…instead of making things so hard, we looked at the facts at hand?

What if…we just took a few minutes and really focused on the realities of running an online business, instead of raging so hard against the “rules” because we’re scared of being a sleazebag?

What if…we used our gut check alongside our reality check?

Here’s a math equation you can stand behind no matter how creative/special/unique/amazing/mathphobic you may actually be:

Gut check + reality check = unstoppable success

That’s something I totally stand behind in my biz, and I invite you to join me in finding out how you can put conversion rate to work.

[Tweet “Join the free Conversions Challenge with @magspatterson to get your gut checked. #conversionschallenge”]

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The Marketing Shoulds – What’s On Your List?

I recently did a podcast interview and we got to talking about my take on the marketing shoulds. You know the idea that you should do this, or you should do that to build your business.

The next thing you are shoulding all over yourself and you feel all kinds of wrong.

And why? Because someone told you should.

I don’t know about you, but the day I jumped out of the plane with no parachute and quit my super comfy career complete with fancy title and paycheck, it was because I didn’t want to be told what I should do for another second.

So why are you letting the shoulds run your business?

That case of the shoulds is what has you running around trying to be on 7 social networks and launching a million things without a plan. Without an idea of how they really map to your big picture goals.

Save the shoulds for suckers who don’t know better.

[Tweet “Stop shoulding all over yourself. Do this instead. New post with @magspatterson “]

Best Practices are a Starting Point

But Maggie? What about best practices? If so and so says to do it, they are successful so I should too.

See how that works? Before you know it, you’re running a business based on the success of someone else who in all actual fact is not at all like you at all. Or has a different market. Or flexible ethics.

Did you get into this business to do exactly what someone else tells you?

Best practices or shoulds are like the 101 course on how to do things. Learn the principles and take it and make it your own.

Your willingness and ability to make it your own is where the rubber meets the road for your business.

Here’s some common business and marketing shoulds that I decided simply aren’t for me:

  1. Popups on websites. So. Annoying.
  2. 49 page long sales letters.
  3. Pricing where I have to hit the buy button to see the cost. Also, pricing where I have to watch 20 minute of video to get the price.
  4. Sending me the “wrong link” and another email with a special offer right after with an apology. Please.
  5. Hating on one-on-one work and trading time for dollars.
  6. Drivebys where you stop by a group with your salesy post and can’t be bothered to participate any other time.
  7. Talking about six figures as a goal.
  8. Sales conversations that tell me I can’t afford not to do something.
  9. Acting like everyone should be an entrepreneur or expert. Some people, just no.
  10. Kissing ass to get ahead. Not now. Not ever.

What’s your list of things that you aren’t going to do? That you won’t accept? That you want to do better for your marketing and your business?

Afterall, it is YOUR business, not the million dollar making expert or the latest it girl. Hit me in the comments with some of your shoulds that have got to go.

[Tweet “Are you running a business based on shoulds? @magspatterson wants to know what’s got to go. “]

Want Help Clearing Up Your Shoulds?

Check out the brand spanking new Marketing Makeover package. This package is designed to give you a marketing kick in the ass to help you get over the shoulds and lay out an action plan. It’s like a trip to an awesome hairstylist who changes your look and boosts your confidence.

You can get the goods and pricing on this limited time package. (And no, that’s not me being cheeky, I really only have a couple spots due to ongoing work.)