So ever since I stopped writing my income reports (why I decided to stop is here), and we started focusing heavily on content that will kill it with SEO, I feel like I lost a little bit of the personal aspect and life updates that I used to give every month.
So, enter ‘Business Behind-The-Scenes’ posts where I can share what’s been happening, why I’m making the decisions I am and generally what’s happening in my life alongside the business.
In this post I’ll cover whats been going on in the last quarter, so July, August & September 2020!
I had two major goals in July, completely redesign our sales page for my Square Secrets course and create an automated challenge to lead into our next launch. I also decided to work on a project just for fun with a friend, creating a website for Holly Becker so she could launch a photo shoot studio & event space!
The sales page for my Square Secrets course had been the same for about 2 years. I built it originally when I launched the course the first time and since then had simply added to the FAQ’s and testimonials and had swapped out a few photos here and there.
I wanted to update it to feel more modern and my current vibe, as well as update our presentation of our course bundle on the sales page.
We had previously linked to another bundle-specific sales page back in the day, but had tested presenting both options on the one main sales page and saw an amazing increase in bundle sales! So I got to work redesigning the whole thing.
Lemme tell you, sales pages are a B.E.A.S.T.
I’ve learned now that what feels like a small task ‘redesign sales page’ in fact will without a doubt take a full week of work.
So word from the wise, if you’re ever building or designing or writing a sales page, give yourself a week or two, you’ll seriously need it.
If you know me you know I’m the Queen of ‘how can we automate that?’
I HATE little tasks on my plate.
And I also don’t want to annoy my team members with little pointless jobs either, so anytime we create something, we create a process and then try to work out, how can we use technology to automate that as much as absolutely possible?
As the business has grown, it’s become necessary to have someone else on my team run our launches because it’s absolutely to big of a job to be handled by me alone at this point.
I got our launches so dialed in, so process-perfected and streamlined that during a launch I only had 2 jobs:
Do a live video every day leading up to the launch
Host a webinar
The other 103 tasks associated with a launch (no exaggeration) are executed beautifully by one of my team members!
But I wanted to automate it more, so I decided to create a challenge to replace the live videos with. (More on how that actually went later).
Basically, in the month of July I spent weeks writing challenge scripts, designing the challenge pages, creating workbooks, researching video equipment, buying and setting up video equipment, realizing I needed to buy batteries for the microphone and twist-ties to hold the cord against the boom for the microphone and buying more stuff. Then I finally sat down, shot the videos, edited them and uploaded them.
We then had to explain the challenge to our affiliates and make sure they all had the correct links.
It took WAYYY longer than I expected, but isn’t that everything?
Granted, I’m unafraid of hard work if it means freeing up my life in the long-run.
Shout out to my amazing marketing girl Dean who has developed us an entire YouTube strategy and has been preparing to launch our channel!
(Well, technically we already have a channel, but we never really tried with it. I just posted a video randomly when it made sense to go along with a blog post, now we’re going all-in however!)
Dean took a course, developed a strategy, researched what video topics we should start with, wrote scripts, gave me shooting instructions, prepared thumbnails, edited the videos and optimized them once they were uploaded!
Because we’re sticklers for consistent content, we’re completing 8 videos before we launch the channel, as producing video is a LOT more work than producing blog posts, and we want to be well ahead to ensure we can stay consistent.
Our launch date is still TBA, but you bet I’ll be all over Insta to let you know when it’s here!
(Setting up my little in-house studio! Sound dampening blankets and all! )
There’s been a BIG secret I’ve been keeping to myself for a while, primarily because I didn’t want to say anything before it was absolutely for sure.
And now it is, I’m ready to spill the beans!
I’ve partnered up with Paige Hulse from the Creative Law Shop to help really improve the business take it to the next level!
Paige and I have been internet friends for years. We both started our businesses around the same time, and she’s been my go-to for legal templates and advice since I started. She also kindly agreed to be a guest expert in my Square Secrets Business course where she shares with my students how to legally go about setting up their web design business and what kind of contracts they need in place to protect them and their clients when they embark on running a web design business!
She’s been on my podcast talking about how to legally protect your business with contracts, without breaking the bank, I’ve been a proud affiliate of her shop for years and she’s been working on trademarking a few things for me.
Basically she’s my trusted, go-to US lawyer.
Paige was looking to really give her legal template shop some love and attention but with her time so tied up with her law practice, she needed help. Paige also admitted, law was her love, not online marketing, web design and launches.
Which, coincidentally, is the stuff that has me buzzing with excitement to work on!
So a collaboration was formed!
We spend July & August figuring out exactly what our working relationship together would look like, and I was hatching ideas on how to really make CLS kill it online.
I came up with a long list of all the changes we could implement, we signed a contract (obv) and in September I got to work!
A business friend in the city, Holly, and I came up with a fun idea one day, to turn her not-very-often-used office into a photo shoot studio and event space! I created the website, and Holly took care of the marketing and running of the space itself.
The only shooting and event spaces in our city are so awful, corporate, masculine and ugly. We both would never actually want to use any of them, and figured there would be other creatives in our city with the same issue.
So decor8 studio was born! It was a bit of a complicated website design, we had really specific needs, like a booking software that had a certain layout, as well as a German-English website and booking system.
I spent a few weeks whipping her together a site, and I’m so pleased with the end result!
In the long-shot chance that anyone else is in Hannover, Germany, I’d def encourage you to book it for your next event or photo/video shoot!
(I actually filmed my challenge videos there and it’s truly the perfect location for anything of that sort!)
August was full of finishing up renos at our house, packing, moving and unpacking.
We moved into our dream home and couldn’t be happier with it. Truly every day we wake up, we think of how lucky we are.
15 friends kindly helped out with the move, making it truly a breeze.
At first I felt the need to furnish, furnish, furnish but quickly learned I was putting myself under unnecessary stress by trying to furnish a massive house all at once, so I decided to chill out and just let the furnishing happen with time.
So we’re happily living in a partially empty home and still don’t have a closet or any decor on our bookshelves, but it’s not getting to my anymore, we’re just happy to be here.
Thankfully we had prepared our challenge and our new team member Shannon prior to the launch, as our move-in date got pushed back (house renos took longer than expected) and ended up being the exact same time as our launch.
In the week I’d normally be doing live videos all week leading up to the launch, I was packing our entire apartment, buying more boxes, and packing more. Instead our automated challenge hummed along and ran while I worked on moving which was such a blessing!
On day 2 of cart open, 15 friends and my husband and I were running from apartment to moving truck to house to apartment again. It’s safe to say, my mind was far from the launch.
The day after our move when we wanted to unpack everything, that’s when I realized we had a problem on our hands.
Our emails were getting the most abysmal open rates and our sales were slightly lower than they should have been at that point in the launch.
It took me days to realize there was a problem because I was so fully involved in moving.
We extended the early bird option for a day because many people hadn’t received the emails notifying them of it.
When the launch ended and we had finally unpacked I had some time to reflect on the launch and why it didn’t go as well as we had hoped.
Obviously we had an email problem, but we realized there was another too, the lack of live excitement and my involvement in the launch.
We automated to the point where we didn’t have the excitement that normally goes along with a launch and we believe that was a key reason our sale didn’t do as well as we wanted it to.
Granted, I’m looking at this past launch as a success in that we were able to run a huge launch in which I was fully uninvolved. That in and of itself is something most never achieve.
But granted, I’ve learned that for future launches to truly get the hype and excitement that is expected in a live launch, I can’t be moving or so engrossed in some other project in my work or life.
This has been such a fun project, something I’m eagerly trying to clear my schedule to get time to work on. There have been nights I’ve been up until midnight just so excited by the work I’m doing.
Coming into an established business that’s doing well but being able to really elevate the marketing strategy and web design is something that I’ve learned brings me a lot of joy.
It’s such a fun project to get to implement some of the strategy we’re using in my business on another and see what happens!
Wondering how you up-level a business? These are the tasks I’ve started with:
1. Created a statistics tracking system, so we can track where we’re doing well, where we’re not and what we need to focus on doing in the future to improve the business!
2. Conducted a survey, especially since I’m not a lawyer and am not as in the legal world as Paige Hulse, I had to survey her audience to get a feeling for her audience’s pain points, challenges and upcoming projects.
3. SEO keyword research, to see what we need to be creating content around to kill it in Google.
4. Improve primary opt-in gift and make small site adjustments to increase opt-in conversions
5. Site redesign to improve the shop experience
6. Switching some behind-the-scenes softwares so we can implement the marketing strategies that requirement some more complex tech down the road
I haven’t shot photos for my business in a year, when normally I do a shoot every 6 months.
I had procrastinated for so long because I didn’t have a new good idea for the concept of the shoot. Most of my past photos are me in a pretty office, looking like I’m working.
I really didn’t want to do the same thing AGAIN with different outfits, that felt like a waste of time and money, so I held of until I had a new idea.
I thought through what makes me different and my story to try to determine what my shoot should entail. That’s when I realized, I had very little European-looking photos, yet that is my primary differentiating factor, the fact that my business is what enabled me to move here and live abroad.
That’s when it hit me, I should do a superrr European shoot in Paris (because Paris is beautiful obv).
Turns out, cases of COVID are on the rise in Paris and a few weeks before I wanted to do the shoot, they implemented a “you have to wear a mask inside and outside” in the entire city rule.
Photos with a mask on? Non.
So Paris was out.
I considered London, but it would definitely be more of a coordination effort to go somewhere else and with fall fast approaching, I wanted to shoot before the leaves all started falling. So I figured the easiest thing to do would be to shoot photos in my own city.
I asked the photographer for our wedding to help, picked out the most Parisian-looking places in the city and put together a (slightly-over-the-top) v European shoot.
Here’s a preview of the pics!
I checked my Asana the other day and realized it was time to renew the contract with my bookkeeper. I was shocked to see she had already worked for me for a year!
I’ve been working with Accounting with Ashley and it has been the absolute most simple, easy, stress-free solution to my bookkeeping.
Prior to Ashley I had a German bookkeeper who every month without fail would make mistakes in the bookkeeping, get it done wayyyy late, or both. Not to mention, it was all done in some clunky AF German accounting system straight out of 1997 where I could not remotely find the numbers I needed to make decisions.
Working with Ashley is a night and day difference to my last bookkeeper.
My numbers are completed quickly at months’ end, she works with systems I understand, and is just so simple and easy to work with.
If you need a bookkeeper, I highly recommend her.
She’s Canadian, so if you’re in Canada, she’s able to help not just with bookkeeping but also tax prep. Or if you’re abroad somewhere like me, you can just go for her straight bookkeeping services.
Anddd Corona strikes again!
One of the students at my husbands school tested positive for Corona, meaning he was quarantined at home for 2 weeks.
(Don’t feel too badly for him, he loves to work from home and wander around our garden in his breaks.)
So we spent a lot of time cozied up at home and it made me realize just how much I want to go back to my original home, Canada. With 14 day quarantine still a requirement when you arrive from abroad in Canada and no end in sight to it, I decided to sign myself up for another 2 week quarantine and fly back home in October.
It’s been almost a year without being back and I’ve missed out on so many friends & family life events.
I figured I’d make the best of the situation and booked myself a cozy AirBnB on a lake with a yard, so I can at least enjoy the view of the water and be able to roam around the backyard during my 2 weeks of being forced to stay in.
So if you follow on Insta, get ready for some photos of beautiful changing leaves on a lake soon!