November 2017 recap: copy cats, subscriber chats & new year planning
I'm back with another edition of monthly recaps, the posts where I take you behind the scenes of the studio, and show you what I've been scheming up, as well as the successes and the failures (*ahem - lessons learned*).
BUSINESS IN NUMBERS:
Monthly page views: 31,829
Average session duration: 2:29
I continued the 4 part webinar series masterclass and polished it off, not without a couple hiccups though. 🙈😂
There was some serious webinar time confusion for one of the classes as the time had changed or me here in Europe, but changed in the US/Canada a week later. So for one class I had a more intimate group as the webinar turned out to be an hour later than a lot of people thought. Things happen, it's a good lesson for next time that if I'm hosting a webinar around the weeks of a time change, to really do research into when the time is changing in the US/Canada, where the majority of my audience is. I just figured fall back and spring forward happened at the same date around the world, apparently not. Who knew?
Overall, I'd call the masterclasses a great success. I had people rave over just how helpful they were, and I got over the nerves of hosting webinars. I found a webinar platform (Crowdcast) I can rely on and plan to stick with.
One of the bits I know I can improve on is that webinars can be a big list building opportunity, but I honestly didn't use it as one. The story of my life is 'I hate scheduling and posting on social media' so I marketed the classes mostly to my current list and put up a couple of announcements on the site as I just couldn't bring myself to promote it constantly on all the social media platforms.
I do however have the videos up on YouTube, and links to the workbook downloads will collect emails from new people who find me through YouTube, so that's a very easy, evergreen list building op.
Dealing With Copycats
After more than 1 other web designer quite literally highlighted and copied the text off my website and pasted it directly on to theirs, I spoke out about it. If you haven't already, be sure to go read: Hey copycat, this is how it feels when you copy my site.
(Oh and after the post went out, yes, my copycats did indeed take down the copied content and apologized, so the blog post did its job.)
This post stirred up lots of feelings and opinions on my email list, my inbox was flooded with emails after I sent out my weekly blog post.
The vast majority of my list responded really positively, and just a couple not-so-positively, (though I'll spare you from seeing those ones). Here's just a tiny amount of the feedback I received.
"That's great you're standing up for yourself!"
"Couldn’t possibly love you any more. It’s hard not to want to “be like you”. Y’got your s*** seriously together, girl. And holy cats - you just gave away a ton more info to inspire people to do their own work."
"I wanted to email you to say that you handle it with SUCH grace. Your email firmly states "hey, not cool", while also encouraging women to follow their dreams."
"I love this email! What I love most is the beautiful way it is written. Even while you are addressing an awkward and potentially confrontational issue your generosity is inspiring. If another designer believes they can be like you by copying (flattery schmattery!) they are sorely mistaken."
Lesson: when you get into controversial territory, you should expect and be prepared for passionate responses on both sides.
Honestly, even with things I wouldn't have thought would be that controversial, I've gotten feedback from it. (The fact that I make references to wine in my marketing copy led someone to say that was degrading to women. I've also had a few annoyed men let me know they are not 'gals,' a term I frequently use in my site and email copy.)
When you run an online business or do anything along the lines of putting yourself out there online, people will get keyboard happy in your inbox about it, it's just part of the territory.
It's not possible to make everyone happy and if you water down your ideal client avatar, marketing message and voice, you'll end up appealing to no one. So I have to remind myself (and this might be a good reminder to you too) that by not appealing to everyone, we're standing by our ideal clients and serving them in the way that best resonates with them, the exact people we want to be attracting to our businesses.
Planning for 2018
Planning for 2018 has been something I'm so truly excited for, I've been trying to sneak time here and there to dream and scheme for 2018 any moment I can. I've been reflecting back on my first year full time, deciding on what I want my life to look like next year, and plan the products and services I want to launch.
I've thought a lot about what I want this business to look like down the line, do I want it to be purely a web design studio or take more of a turn towards a personal brand? (Leaning towards personal brand.)
Having never reviewed my business before, as I had always been part time and the business in previous years was a side hustle not a full-time gig, I first had to figure out what I even needed to do to reflect on the year.
I did a little research into how other entrepreneurs reflect on their business and plan for the new year and came up with the following questions to ask myself to guide my decision making for next year.
- What was successful about 2017?
- What felt like money or time wasted?
- What was time/money well spent?
- How am I holding myself back in my business?
- What do I want my life to look like in 2018?
I also defined when I will be taking vacations/traveling & working, and when I want to offer design spots. I then wrote up a list of the things that I need to change in my business in order to live the life I want.
Then to figure out what direction I should be going next year and determine what products/services I should be launching, I needed to hear from my audience.
My set-it-and-forget-it survey has now collected over 900 responses, so I have a wealth of knowledge over there.
I also heard from Pat Flynn that speaking directly to audience members, either in person or on the phone has always given him the best information. So in one of my weekly newsletters I added a little Pre-S asking subscribers if they'd help me out and hang out with me on a phone call for 30 mins one day.
I did 10 calls with subscribers and really was blown away by the chats. Y'all are a well educated, go-getter type bunch with big dreams, and I couldn't be happier than to serve and work with such amazing, ambitious people.
I gained a wealth of info from my calls and am so thankful for the 10 people who took time out of their day to speak with me and help me determine my direction.
I'm going to write a full post sharing my reflection on 2017 and detailing my direction for 2018 on the blog soon, so keep an eye out for that. I'll also be sharing the take-aways I learned from my 900 survey responses, and 10 subscriber on-the-phone chats.
Progress on November goals:
- Submit 3 more guest posts to the next outlets on my guest post game plan list
- Up my CSS game
- Implement the new SEO strategy I learned at TBEX
I officially did not accomplish a single one. Awkward. I started taking an intensive language class daily which takes up 6 hours a day, so I've literally only had time for my client work and keeping up with blogging. So, unfortunately these goals fell to the wayside. Awe well, there's always next month.
Books I'm reading:
NEW ON THE BLOG IN November:
Studio Talk 5 ・Paige Brunton interview with Kerstin Martin
Liking the business recaps? You can check out recaps from other months here: