Since this blog is a safe place, I’m going to be brutally honest with you today. For the past 18 months or so I’ve been stuck — like really stuck. No matter what I tried, what I did, or how I approached my blog/business nothing gave me the results I was looking for. IT SUCKED.
I felt like all the time, effort and money I’ve spent over the past 5 years of blogging was all a waste. I began to feel like a fraud.
Finally admit you’re struggling
If you’ve been following along with my journey you know that last year my #blogtobiz plan was a failure in terms of reaching my income goal to earn at least 50% of my income from blog through product/coaching sales.
After not having a clear direction I just gave up and went back to what I knew would work: freelancing. I went back to the basics, started pitching new clients and secured more freelance work. This made it easy to pay the bills and I was able to get back to a good routine.
But something was missing.
I had the unsettling feeling that I didn’t really conquer my demons, I just gave up on them and moved on. So in the past few months I circled back to my goal of earning money through affiliate income and selling courses as ways to diversify my income streams.
Expert advice doesn’t work by itself
No matter what courses I purchases, advice I took from friends or coaches and tips I read across the interwebs, NOTHING WORKED. At least not in the way that I’d hoped.
I’m an extremely Type A personality so when someone has a course outlined with videos, workbooks and homework, I’m actually one of those people who does the entire course — worksheets and all.
I spent a lot of time soul-searching and going on countless morning walks, as a way to block out the noise and listen to my gut. I wanted to hear what my inner voice was trying to tell me.
And this is what it said…
What if you already reached your goals? What would you do differently?
How would you treat your freelance business, your blog or your money differently if you already reached all the goals you set for yourself? Would your approach change if you saw the results you were looking for?
For me, the answer was yes (which was surprising to hear from myself), I would treat my business and money differently. How exactly?
As I was having this conversation with myself I realized that my mindset surrounding my blog and my business was the one thing really holding me back from achieving my goals. Instead of treating my business and income goals as something I was successful at, and appreciating where I was at, I was continuously striving for something else, something better, something more.
I HAD to change my mindset and start treating my business like it was already happening, as if I’d already reached a place of abundance — because, well, I already did.
The results were better than I could have imagined.
Progress takes dialogue not monologue
As part of June’s blogging theme I wanted to talk about a topic that I’m obsessed with: productivity and systems. So I wrote out an entire month’s worth of content topics, ideas for a course and emails to share with my audience.
Basically, it’s what I wish I knew as a newbie freelancer (heck, even as an intermediate freelancer!), as far as organizing client deadlines and generally being productive. I presented it in a way that I would want to learn it and acted as if I was talking to a friend (because, quite frankly that’s what you are).
Often times there tends to be a disconnect with talking TO people who read your blog and talking WITH them.
Dialogue versus monologue. Somewhere along the way I started monologing and not engaging the community with dialogue as much as I should have. That was the first thing that had to change.
A growth mindset starts with confidence
Next on my list was the low self-esteem and confidence I had with the products I created. Fortunately I didn’t have any issues with my freelance services, but the same principal applies if you’re struggling to sell your services.
If you have confidence in yourself, what you sell and the services you offer, it will show in how you present yourself. I thought I confidence in what I was doing but little by little, each month I failed or didn’t make sales, my self-esteem was slowly chipping away.
This continued until the point that I became so scared to put myself out there I emotionally disconnected myself from the process and just began churning out content. The problem is, that once you’re not emotionally invested in something anymore, everyone else can subconsciously feel that too.
Why would someone else want to invest in something you’re no longer invested in? That realization was my second wake-up call.
Sell $637 of course sales in 2 weeks
I called the course, Be Ultra Productive but changed my approach quite a bit. Instead of offering if for free, like I’ve done for months in the past, I charged a pre-registration fee of $49 (which increased to $149 after the live training).
I also moved all my courses over to a platform called Teachable (which I’ll blog more about in a future blog post). I hated my original membership site and the way the trainings were presented.
Again, why would I expect other people to buy a course that I personally hated the way it was laid out? It’s a simple question but none-the-less another mindset bombshell that changed my perspective.
Promote your work like you believe in it (duh!)
I know, it’s a novel concept to think that you should actually promote a product or course that you really believe in. But, as I mentioned, I wasn’t always emotionally connected to what I was selling.
Yes, the courses or training I produced were great, and helped a lot of freelancers but there was something missing.
So this time around I backed into by producing something that wasn’t part of a “business plan” or “content strategy”. I created blog posts, Tweetchat content and newsletters based on the upcoming course, not the other way around (creating the course first then producing the marketing content afterwards, which is what a lot of bloggers do).
Offer additional payment options
Bloggers who sell courses or products always stress the importance of offering multiple payment options. But I didn’t think it was really that important. I mean, how many sales was I really missing out on because I didn’t offer PayPal AND credit card payment options?
Well, apparently I was missing out on a lot.
Of the 20 new signups I received for the Be Ultra Productive course, 7 of them purchased the course through PayPal and the other 13 purchased using a credit card only.
If I didn’t offer multiple payment options, I would have missed out on $323 or nearly 45% of the overall sales.
In other words, the $99 per month plan I’m using from Teachable.com (that offers two payment options for potential customers) has more than paid off for itself in just the first 30 days.
Market your course they way YOU want
Bucking traditional course marketing advice (or freelance marketing advice), choose a promotion plan that YOU would actually participate in.
Are you seeing a theme here? Choose your own approach, the way you would want to pay, to learn and sold to.
Instead of sticking to traditional marketing advice like, blasting out to your email list, or doing tons of webinars that upsell your product, find a way to promote your work the way YOU want.
I chose to host a #carefulcents Tweetchat that was an entirely dedicated to productivity and business system tips. I did this mostly because I wanted to talk about those things on Twitter and knew other freelancers would too.
I even landed a new coaching client right after the chat (on top of helping promote the course). Win-win!
I always preach the importance of listening to your gut and being the kind of boss who forges her own path (or his own path), but somewhere in the past 5 years I forgot to take my own advice.
So here’s to practicing what I preach — again!
Make a difference not sales
More than anything though, I don’t strive to make sales I strive to make a difference. I aim to actually offer helpful and practical advice through all of the platforms and content I create. I put a LOT of time and effort into the courses I produce and community that I’ve built over the past 5 years.
I hope this makes sense, even though I took the long way around proving that just a simple change with my mindset helped me earn $637 in course sales in 2 weeks. But more importantly, it helped me bust through my blogging slump and have more confidence in my work.
Changing your freelance mindset to one of growth and abundance takes time, so don’t get discouraged if things don’t change overnight. Heck, it took me five years to overcome my mindset hurdles!
Have you embraced a mindset change recently? What was your “ah ha” moment?