5 Business Lessons. 5 Conferences. 3 Weeks. What I Learned and You Can Too!

Confession: I wrote at least 25 smart-sounding headlines before scrapping them all and settling on this one.

Because let’s face it… that’s what this post is all about.

It’s about conferences, lessons, and travels. It’s about a journey, spanning thousands of miles. It’s about 5 conferences in 3 states in the US, over a period of 3 weeks. It’s about valuable lessons learned.

Best part? Solo travel to the US for the first-time ever!! As an ISFJ, this was HUGE for me!!

It’s life-changing, biz-revolutionizing and nerve-wracking at the same time.

And no sassy-sounding headline was doing it justice.

So, there!

For those of you not in the know {aka not friends with me on Facebook, on my email list or in my free and fabulous parentpreneur community!} yours truly traipsed to the US last month for the first time to attend:

Amy Porterfield’s Entrepreneur Experience

Success Incubator by Darren Rowse and Digital CoLab

FinCon by Philip Taylor

Money Mindset Live by Denise Duffield-Thomas, and

Business Boutique by Christy Wright

Each event had a speaker lineup that made my biz-loving heart scream in delight. But silently. Because ISFJ. 😉

Amy Porterfield, Rick Mulready, Devin Duncan, Pat Flynn {he, by the way, was at THREE of the events I attended!!}, Darren Rowse, Steve Chou and SO many more.

I’ll be sharing my life lessons from this trip in an upcoming post, in this one I want to share my business takeaways, ones that we’ll implement in 2018 to meet our crazy goals including doubling our revenue.

Again. 😉

15 Business Lessons You Can Never Find in an Online Course or in a Business School

 

I’m sharing these lessons in the order we’ll be implementing them but feel free to pick, in any order,  one or two of these and implement them in your business.

Reading this post may get you all excited…

….but the truth is excitement does nothing for your profit or your purpose.

Action does.

So, read the post but then pick your next action step and share it with me in the comments. Mmmkay? 😉

1. Persist but Evolve

This was my biggest lesson from Darren’s session at Success Incubator.

As entrepreneurs, we often focus on putting in the sweat equity,  and that is great, but we also need to pivot where and when required.

Darren emphasized the importance of persisting yet evolving so you don’t keep spinning your wheels or battling overwhelm at every corner.

Keep at the entrepreneurial game but also keep up with the times.

Keep your eyes peeled and your ear to the ground so you know not only what your audience expects from you but also in which direction the industry is turning.

How we’re implementing this:

As full-time entrepreneurs for the last 6 years, we’re in this for the long-haul and Darren’s advice hit home because we’ve got a fair bit of evolution happening behind-the-scenes, which includes a brand-new site design and logo!

We’ve also evolved our promotions and launch plan, and you’ll know more about that as we go into 2018! #underwrapsfornow

2. Give Your Business the Gift of a Health Check

Another one of Darren’s gems! This is SUCH a valuable takeaway and one that most of us tend to forget.

Best part?

The end of the year is the perfect time to do a health check for your business to see what’s working and what clearly isn’t.

However, whether you do it now or six months later, what’s most important is that you do it.

Darren recommended evaluating your business’s health in 7 main areas:

  • Content
  • Engagement
  • Traffic
  • Monetization
  • Design
  • Technology
  • Productivity

How we’re implementing this:

Mayank and I did our monthly business meeting and went through ALL 7 areas and identified the 3 areas we’re the “unhealthiest” in 😉

  • Content: In 2017 because we had a LOT of client projects, creating content for our own brand got pushed on the proverbial backburner.

We’ve fixed that by going back to basics and creating our content and promotion calendar (see #3)

  • Design: The Content Bistro brand is much-loved and we constantly get compliments on it. BUT it’s due for a refresh as it’s been three years since the last redesign. We also want our blog images and social media content to reflect our brand consistently! 

We’ve tackled that by hiring and working with the amazing Megan Smith of Garlic Friday on a fresh new logo and brand identity. Same name, incredible new look and feel!

  • Traffic: Linked to content is traffic. We’ve built an incredible community of nearly 6000 subscribers and get a sweet 10K pageviews every month BUT we know this can be MUCH better.

We’ll be aiming to double our email list by the end of 2018 and reaching 50K pageviews a month by implementing our content-rich strategy.

3. Plan your Content AND Your Promotions

I had the honor of listening to Pat Flynn’s sessions at THREE events.

You guys… It’s a dream come true.

Not only is Pat a consummate storyteller, he also packs in the most actionable content in the most engaging way.

His session at Success Incubator was all about his content and promotion calendar, which we’ve since implemented to map out our first 3 months of content and launches.

While I can’t share the exact template that he gave us, here’s a quick overview of the 3 key steps he shared:

Step 1: Define publication, structure, and frequency – will you be blogging, podcasting, emailing and how frequently, for each.  

Step 2: Add in your Promotions – this can include product launches, affiliate promotions, events, contests, special occasions, etc. When will you be organizing these and what content would you need for them.

Step 3: Fill in the Gaps – Pat recommended starting with the topic of the post/content instead of focusing on the title. THAT for me was such an aha moment because as a writer I tend to take waaaaayyy too long on crafting the perfect title for plugging into the calendar. Not anymore!

Next, add your monthly themes. Every month has a theme.  

How we’re implementing this:

Like I shared, we’ve used this to map out our content for the first 3 months of 2018 already, including promotions! I feel SO in control once again! 😉

SUPER excited about this because I’ve got an incredible lineup of content for you, coming up. ALL free. ALL bookmark-worthy. Yes, I know. Very humble, indeed. 😉

4. Build Your Email List… the Rosemarie Groner Way!

One of the best parts about Success Incubator was attending small-group mastermind tables.

At my table I was lucky to have Rosemarie Groner of The Busy Budgeter who shared her incredible email list building strategy with me.

Her strategy includes using Facebook ads to drive traffic to your opt-in and then, recovering the cost of those ads with a tailored product.

Insanely simple. Wildly profitable.

How we’re implementing this:

So, you already know, my goal is to double our email list at the very minimum by the end of 2018.

I’m right now obsessed with building our list and giving them the most insane value as well.

We’ll be implementing Rosemarie’s strategy right off the bat and using what I learned about Facebook ad testing from Rick Mulready (see #7) to test and tweak them.

5. Live Content Workshops are Like Green Smoothies for Your Business

Amy Porterfield is pretty much the queen of consistent content creation.

And her session at Entrepreneur Experience was all about leveraging LIVE content workshops for your launches.

She walked us through every.single.step one needs to take to do a Live Content Workshop without losing your mind in the process.

How we’re implementing this:

Yes. The only way to implement this is by doing a live content workshop so keep your eyes peeled for this one by us sometime in Q1 2018.

6. Don’t Let Launches Suck the Blood Out Of You

Y’all know how much I love launches, right?

I mean launches are smack-dab in my zone of genius, and I’ve had several incredibly profitable launches of my own and I’ve been a key team member for client launches, as well.

So, you’d think I know everything there possibly is about launching, right?

Wrong.

First up, no one, and really no one, can know everything there is about launches. #nokidding.

Secondly, when you get a chance to learn launch strategy from Amy Porterfield’s business partner, Devin Duncan, you pay very, very close attention.

Devin’s session was like I actually told him, “Angels singing sweet music to my launch-lovin’ ears!

He laid out the complete launch strategy that Team Porterfield uses to map out different phases of their product promotion.

I knowwww!! I was taking notes like my nerdy high-school self! Good times!

While I can’t share everything that Devin generously shared with us… here are some questions for y’all to keep in mind when planning your own launches:

  • Is the product tested?
  • Decide how long to keep the cart open depending on product price, number of times the product is promoted and the importance of the product in the product suite.
  • Webinars are the way to go for launch leverage and you must roll non-attendees
  • Once the cart is open, break up your launch emails into a minimum of 3 segments – webinar registrants + attendees, email clickers and non-registrants.

How we’re implementing this:

First up, we will be doing more webinars when we’re in promo mode.  

Next, I loved the easy-flow-intensity of Devin’s promotion plan. And I especially want that in our launches as well because we balance both client projects and our own.

And yes, I’ll be using these kill-all-resistance strategies when mapping out client launches as well.

So if you want my brains on your launch, let’s talk!

7. Face Up to Facebook Ads

If Amy’s the queen of consistent content creation, Rick Mulready is the KING of Facebook ads.

His session at Entrepreneur Experience was MIND-BLOWING.

Why?

Because he walked us through every single best practice for optimizing your Facebook ads.

I mean, we all know how to run ads, right?

But what happens once you’re running them.

How do you test? Tweak? Optimize?

Rick gave us incredible strategies including key metrics, troubleshooting metrics and more.

Some of my takeaways that may benefit y’all:

  • Set up custom reports with customized columns so you can look at results that are relevant to your objective.
  • Run ads for 72 hours before making any decisions.
  • When optimizing ads, the first thing to change is the image or video. Also change ONE element at a time when split testing.
  • Don’t use multiple Facebook ads in one ad set because the algorithm will declare a winner really quickly. Instead, use one version of the ad in ONE ad set and another in an identical ad set.

Bonus: If you haven’t subscribed to Rick’s podcast Art of Paid Traffic, I’d highly recommend that you change that without a second thought. So don’t linger, go over and subscribe right now! He packs in a TON of value and gives great tips.

And because Facebook ads will be a huge part of our growth plan in 2018, I was thrilled I got to learn from Andrea Vahl too at Success Incubator.

Andrea Vahl is the creator of Grandma Mary, Social Media Edutainer and co-founder of Social Media Manager School.

She outlined planning your Facebook marketing funnel and my key takeaway from that was – every piece of content MUST have a KPI. In other words, have a goal for each piece of content.

It reinforced what Pat had said in his session as well – Purposeful content creation is what matters.

How we’re implementing this:

Like I’d shared in lesson #4, we’ll be using Facebook ads a LOT more to build our email community and Rick’s tips are going to be super helpful when testing and optimizing them while Andrea’s tips will help us ensure we only share the best content at all times. 

8. Declutter Your Blog

This business lesson came from Jeff Rose of Good Financial Cents along with other incredible breakthroughs.

Jeff’s session was on how he went from $100K years to $100K months.

Yep. Months.

But unlike a lot of other coaches who may fling the $100K number around without giving you concrete actionable tips, Jeff’s session laid out his complete roadmap to those 6-figure months.

Starting with a content declutter.

A content declutter means removing, from your blog, anything that isn’t of insane value or aligned with your blog’s direction and purpose any longer.  

This includes those 400-word posts that are like junk food for the blog – inflating the post count without adding any real value. 😉

Jeff recommended either deleting and redirecting those posts or trimming the fluff and fat to make them lean and muscular.

Okay, he didn’t really use those words but you get my point, right? 😉

How we’re implementing this:

Happily, this tied in well with our Business Health Check findings as well. Mayank is currently working on our site content audit and identifying posts that need to either die a quick, painless death or need a makeover!

9. Create Content That Changes Your Reader’s Day

At Business Boutique, I, again, had the pleasure of listening to Pat Flynn.

This time, he talked about creating content that connects and sells… and my BIGGEST takeaway was to create content that changes your reader’s day before you start to focus on changing their life.

 

SO profound.

SO practical.

How we’re implementing this:

By asking YOU. That’s right.

We’re inviting you to tell us what you’d like us to create for you in the next year as part of our annual 2018 ConnectionFest aka Survey.

Click here to take it so you can help us create content to change your day and then, your life 😉  

10. Video Isn’t Scary

If you know me for any length of time, you know that video and I aren’t good friends. At all.

So, when I listened to Leslie Samuel of Become a Blogger share his rapid video editing process, I thought “Uhhh, not for me!”

Well, when, Leslie and I got talking… imagine my horror and surprise when he somehow got me to agree to do videos regularly, in 2018.

The guy’s a genius and also, a magician because honestly, I was always gonna run from videos. #truestory.

Anyway, long story short…

How we’re implementing this:

Leslie convinced me to do more videos and you’re going to see them on our Facebook page and YouTube channel!!

We’ll be doing Saucy Saturdays every Saturday (duh!!) on Facebook where I’ll be sharing books I’m reading, tools we love, copy makeovers and more!!

YouTube video strategy is currently underway 😉

11. Hire the Smart Way

One of the biggest decisions we made in 2016 which really helped us grow faster was hire the right people for the right jobs.

For instance, hiring our full-time editor has been one of the smartest decisions we’ve ever made. SO good!

Natalie Sisson of The Suitcase Entrepreneur who’s been a longtime mentor and a current client shared her hiring tips as part of her session at FinCon.

She walked us through the steps of not only identifying how to discover who you need to hire but also how to find them without burning a hole in your budget.

One word: Upwork.

How we’re implementing this:

While we aren’t hiring for any positions right now, we will definitely be doing so in the future, and I’ll file Natalie’s tips for reference until that time!

12. Monetize High Traffic Pages… the Sleaze-free Way!

Have you met Jim Wang of Wallet Hacks?

No?

Well… change that right now!

His session on monetizing high traffic pages was SO good.

{Sidenote: I’m saying that a lot, right? Can’t blame me… all the events were packed with such amazing takeaways!!}

Jim walked us through a step-by-step process of leveraging high traffic pages without losing focus or sleep!

His steps included:

  • Identify the top 10 high traffic pages.
  • Categorize primary business objective  – revenue, readership or relationship
  • Create your value capture ladder
  • Optimize visitor performance to increase conversions

How we’re implementing this:

As part of our site content audit (lesson #8), we’re also identifying high traffic posts and will be monetizing them based on the value capture ladder that Jim shared!

13. All Roads Lead to…YOU

Steve Chou of My Wife Quit Her Job has long been someone I’ve admired and followed.

His session at Success Incubator was all about how he sells his eCourse via his blog, webinar and podcast.

Again, my launch-loving brain geeked out because this was a $1499 eCourse that we’re talking about, and he sells it in evergreen mode, pretty much, on auto-pilot!

How?

By implementing his “All roads lead to Steve” model.

Funny but fantastic.

Right from the time his readers make initial contact with him via his blog till the time he does his webinars, he brings them back to his content and his product so he has a much higher conversion rate than say, a one-off webinar or even a regular launch.  

Again, I took a bunch of notes and some of my key takeaways especially for list-building:

  • Deploy exit intent only popups!
  • Blend sign up forms WITHIN the post.
  • Everyone who comes to the site is pixeled! Steve then shows them his BEST posts and then, retargets them with his opt-in. He also encourages them to share the opt-in page by offering a “smart bribe”.

How we’re implementing this:

We’re starting by tying in our content creation to ensure that we also rank well on search, both for Google and Pinterest.

Next, we’d be implementing the “All roads lead to us” strategy for our services by leveraging social media, Facebook ads and yes, video content and webinars as well.

14. All Efforts Should Have Measurable ROI

So y’all already know how smart Rosemarie Groner is when it comes to email list building, right?

Now, let me show you how incredibly savvy she is when it comes to marketing.

Rosemarie’s session at FinCon was all about ROI.

In fact, she’s all about ROI so much so I’ve started referring to her as Rosemarie “ROI” Groner in my head. Yes, I’m weird, like that!

Anyway, she shared HER roadmap to high ROI starting… yes, you guessed right with her CONTENT.

Rosemarie’s implemented two things that we’re keenly focusing on in the first quarter of 2018 – affiliates and Pinterest.

She shared exactly what she’s done to generate over $100k every month from her blog, The Busy Budgeter.

My key takeaways included:

  • Tie everything in with clear ROI. If it doesn’t have a return on investment, ditch it.
  • Leverage search and Pinterest for traffic.
  • Have a laser-focused strategy and plan for promoting affiliate products.

Speaking of ROI… I also attended Money Mindset Tour by Denise Duffield-Thomas and it was SO good, because right now our business is poised for some big steps, revenue-wise and Denise has been my money mindset mentor for the longest time ever.

She highlighted how when we make more money, we help more people and THAT is SO true. Not only that, working on your mindset is an ongoing process and we need to constantly rejig our mental GPS to bring it back on track and that is why it is SO important to be surrounded by the right people.

How we’re implementing this:

First up, we outlined the affiliate products we want to add to our monetization plan for the business. These are all products we deeply love and believe in 100%, and that is why we want to share them with you.

Next, we’re ensuring that our content will be search optimized and with our new brand identity be, as Rosemarie would say,  “Pinterest pretty”!

As far as our money mindset is concerned, I’ll be going through Denise’s bootcamp once again. An exercise that I tend to always do when I’m upleveling and taking big strides.

15. Call to Action… Always!

And saving the best for the last… a takeaway from a woman who rocks my world every day on Facebook and Instagram – Nicole Walters.

Nicole is the founder of NicoleWalters.tv and is whip-smart and all about action when it comes to marketing and strategy.

Unsurprisingly, her closing keynote at FinCon AND her session at Business Boutique was all about leveraging that call to action.

Make sure you’re showing up.

Make sure you’re doing it consistently.

Make sure you’re asking for the sale.

If you aren’t following Nicole, you totally should be. No-nonsense, incredibly warm and approachable and insanely smart… She’s the coach you want on your side when you’re growing your business.

How we’re implementing this:

Simple. By being clear with our calls-to-action. Honestly, I’m pretty good at this when it comes to our launches and promotions. After all, it’s what I do best.

BUT

I needed Nicole’s reminder to see how I’m showing up on social.

Phew!!

There you go.

15 heavy-duty lessons that you can implement for a 2018 that’ll knock your socks off without setting your sanity ablaze.

PLUS, you didn’t even have to leave your couch for these.

Although I’d highly recommend you do… because nothing beats those in-person connections.

Speaking of which, keep your eyes peeled for my next post in which I’ll reveal the key life lessons I learned on my trip, including the one where I realize I’m not as strong as I think. #truth.

For now, here’s what I’d LOVE for you to do.

Two things: Click here to take the Content Bistro 2018 ConnectionFest so you can tell us what you’d like to see more of and help us help YOU accomplish your 2018 biz goals. PLUS, you can win 1 of 3 one-on-one marketing sessions too!

Next: Share with me in the comments the ONE action item that you’ll be implementing in the first quarter of 2018.

Annnddd… go!!

5 Business Lessons. 5 Conferences. 3 Weeks. What I Learned and You Can Too!