You can have nothing or you can have everything—but we all start out at the same level.
In "real life", sometimes, you can talk your way up the food chain with little experience to back.
Online, you've got to prove it.
You've got to earn it.
As a mompreneur with 3 small children and a [busy] life, growth can be tough to come by.
Personal growth is a given. But achieving noticeable business growth when you've got major life priorities makes growth a wee bit slower.
But that's okay.
It's your journey. And it's unique.
(And it's yours.)
With that said, my story to 1213.56% website growth happened in a little less that 6 months.
I'm sure there are plenty of other bloggers out there who can achieve that in half the time.
But I'm not them.
And if you're still reading, I can guess that you've got lots of life priorities, too.
Or maybe you just can't devote 40+ hours a week to your business right now.
I get it. And that's why I'm sharing my simple strategy that helped me achieve that 1213.56% growth in less than 6 months.
So, if you're another busy mompreneur or you just can't give your business those full-time hours for growth right now, then this post is exactly what you're looking for.
Key 1. Track Your Efforts (Not Just Your Metrics)
We all fail. That's life.
But one of the key problems I've seen with my clients is the failure to learn from failures.
Sometimes you get wrapped up in what "you're doing wrong" and forget to just note it, and move past it.
You forget to look at the problem from a different angle.
The problem here is the "forget" part.
You may not literally forget, but you sure in heck didn't write it down to help you remember it...
So, to start off the 6 keys, you've got to track your efforts just as much as your metrics.
WHAT YOU CAN DO: Keep a business journal or track your progress and efforts in a spreadsheet.
I wound up creating spreadsheets to help me focus.
Because you've got to do what you need to to make things work for you.
And a massive part of growth is creating a trail of breadcrumbs for yourself.
If you're anything like me, recording something (in any fashion) sears the experience into your brain.
Like when my previous minivan (only a couple years old at the time) broke down in a shuddering engine failure.
(Of course when all 3 kids were with me, too.)
I wanted to be 100% sure that we wouldn't have to pay for it.
(The darned thing had less than 50,000 miles on it and was still under warranty.)
So, after I got off the phone with the dealership and AAA (towing service), I took extensive notes on everything that happened. The occurrence, the conversation with the dealership—everything.
I was not going to be responsible for a cylinder blowing on a new-ish vehicle.
I researched the failure to find backup so I could refuse to pay out of pocket. I found there was a cylinder malfunction, a few lawsuits, and a string of warranty battles publicly splayed across the web.
I had everything I needed to get this issue covered, fully, under warranty.
Luckily I didn't end up needing it—they just covered it outright—but that's not the point.
The point is:
If I'd work that hard to cover my tush to save thousands of dollars, I could put that same determination and effort into growing my business and earning more, too.
That's where weekly and monthly tracking comes in.
Just like you set up a budget to save money, each week you should sit down and review what you did in your business.
What was successful?
What was a near-success? (Something you're almost finished with, or something you're excited about pursuing.)
What would you do differently? (Mistakes? Failures? Issues?)
A note for the next week or future.
Give yourself a roadmap to growth.
Maybe you tried something new for a couple months, and it just wasn't panning out.
You gave it the 30-60 days to show progress, and it just didn't work.
Write it down.
Act like you're reporting to "a boss", if that helps.
I found that treating this process like documentation I'd have to turn in (to justify my job, or however you want to look at it) helped me to strip emotion from the failures.
And instead, look at the future and what I could takeaway from any bad experience.
And learn from it.
But let's not linger on only the bad here.
It's just as important to celebrate the successes as it is in reviewing what didn't work out.
If you can replicate your successes, you'll see progress in your business while learning from the failures.
Two birds, one stone.
Key 2. Plan Everything (Down to when you'll respond to that semi-important email in your inbox)
You have to make a plan.
I don't care how awesome you are, or how little you know. If you don't have a plan for action, you've got little going on in the growth department.
Sure, you will grow with time.
Think of all those blogs you stumbled onto where they rank under 100,000 on Alexa (which is a very good thing) and have a PageRank above 2 (a great thing). Yet when you read their content, it's straight up garbage.
That's called years of publishing content.
That's called just having a website that someone publishes to regularly. It doesn't have to be good. It just has to be.
(Websites are ranked differently now, but you get the point, right?)
If that's their version of success, then so be it.
But you're more determined than that. (Otherwise you wouldn't be reading this.)
And planning is key to growth.
WHAT YOU CAN DO: Use a planner for solopreneurs, spreadsheets, or a flexible digital calendar. And map out your growth strategy.
Set up a schedule for yourself using time blocks (or time boxes).
Have your projects, content ideas or themes, and any other important business activity listed.
Key 3. Use Tentative Scheduling (For Most Everything)
I used to be so hardcore about having a concrete schedule set.
But as my kids grew and are in more activities, as I've been through some crazy personal things, and have just become less rigid (*Clears throat* less OCD...) about things—I've discovered the value of tentative scheduling.
My definition of tentative scheduling is having just enough information down to know what you're doing, where you're going next, and how you think you're going to get there.
This coincides with Keys 1 and 2.
Without tracking, you're guessing on what will work.
Without planning, there's nothing to schedule (even tentatively) anyways.
WHAT YOU CAN DO: Create those time blocks (as mentioned in the second key).
Time blocks are taking a set amount of time and assigning it an activity.
To keep it tentative, you don't have to assign full, detailed tasks to each segment of time in your day. But you do need to set up a timeframe to complete those specific tasks.
EXAMPLE: My time blocks are set up to work on specific activities within labeled blocks of time. Like:
7:30-8:00AM: Take Kids To School
[8:00-9:00AM: Socialize or run an errand.]
9:00-11:30AM: Recurring Tasks (Respond to emails, social media work, etc.)
12:30-4:30PM: Project Work (Email series, blog post writing, product work, etc.)
4:30-8:00PM: Family stuff (pick up the girls from school, fix or help the hubs with dinner, and spend time with the family before the girls go to sleep)
8:00-9:00PM: Tie Up Loose Ends Time (Finish any unfinished work for the day)
9:00-10:00PM: Computers down and time with the husband
Think of time blocks like themes for your time.
"These are the things I should be doing within this timeframe."
They're like friendly, albeit strategic suggestions of what will make "today" your most balanced and productive day yet.
Key 4. Make Adjustments [Often]
Tying in from the first 3 Keys, you're going to have to make adjustments along your journey.
Picture setting a meticulous schedule that you just don't want to budge from.
You put all that work into developing a plan to have to throw out the whole last 7 months because your audience isn't responding to the content direction at all.
But, imagine sticking to that original, meticulous plan (that's no longer desired by your audience) and just crossing your fingers, hoping it all works out?
If you don't make the necessary tweaks to keep a happy audience, what's the point in publishing anything? Well, better said, publishing something profitable, that is?
When you monitor your metrics, you'll find this happening in some areas of your business. That's a given.
Maybe it's a product you worked your butt off on, but it just isn't selling.
Maybe it's an email series that's losing subscribers over 4% at a time.
Maybe it's a course that you want to create so bad, but your audience didn't care about it when you surveyed them. (Meaning, it won't sell.)
Do you still go through with these things and hope for the best?
Or do you listen to your audience and make adjustments?
WHAT YOU CAN DO: Track what's working and what isn't. And whether you have a product, series, or an existing project to track or not—scope out your competitors.
Because we all have to make changes here and there. That's life and business, both.
You just need a tentative plan and schedule that's flexible and progressive enough to allow your business to advance.
Key 5. Tailor Your Work To Your Audience's Growth
This one was the biggie for me.
I was all over the map with content...
Sure, it was all under my growth strategist's umbrella, but one month I'd be talking to beginners, and the next month I'd be sharing with more advanced solopreneurs.
Where's the grace in that?
(That's how you lose an audience, let me tell you...)
So, I knew I wanted to continue writing growth materials for 3 different types of solopreneurs. But how could I go about doing that without losing the high quality subscribers over their confusion or frustration?
WHAT YOU CAN DO: Segment your email list.
So first, build up your email list.
Once you pass the threshold of around 800-1,000 email subscribers, it's time to start segmenting.
Sure, you can do it earlier, but prior to the 800 mark, generally you're still figuring things out as you go.
My call is the 800-1,000 subscriber range is when you need to buckle down and break up your email list into categories—or segments.
EXAMPLE: As a Solopreneur Growth Strategist, I have 3 segments:
New[er] Solopreneurs. People new to, thinking about, or refreshing a solo business.
Striving Solopreneurs. People who are stuck, struggling, or having trouble picking up steam with progress.
Growing Solopreneurs. People who are doing okay or well in their business and just want to continue moving forward.
Now, I didn't go and guess these segments...
You have to know your audience.
Also, you won't always have a vast plethora of topics within each segment, either.
Maybe you're a food blogger.
You have one group (segment) for meat lovers, and the other group for vegetarians. Or maybe it's Paleolithic diets and vegans.
See where I'm going with this?
You need to get specific with your audience. Know what they want, need, desire, and where they are in their businesses or lives right now.
Because that's when you'll find the right audience for you.
(We'll dive deep into segmenting your email list soon, promise.)
Key 6. The Tools
The tools you use on a daily and weekly basis are just as important as the actions you take.
When I dove into writing about productivity, I bought lots of different apps, and looked into and purchased numerous programs.
But, through everything, I finally whittled down the list of tools I use every day. Faithfully.
Some are free, some aren't. But after testing out at least 40 different tools for different reasons, I decided to put together the exact list for you.
So here are the 12 tools I use daily and weekly to grow and maintain my business:
BusyCal (Calendar) for Mac + iOS
MailTab Pro (Mail Client) for Mac + iOS
Simplenote (Note app)
Squarespace (Website Platform + Host + Store)
Pixelmator (Design Tool) for Mac
Hemingway Editor (Content Editing) App
ConvertKit (Email Marketing Platform)
Buffer (Social Media Automation)
My 1213.56% growth stemmed from most of these tools, partnered with the other 5 keys in this post:
Taking action on the results found through tracking
Planning the action steps and following your plan
Scheduling for growth (tentative)
Making adjustments to strategy along the way
Catering to, listening to, and "watching" your audience—and offering and providing what they want
Start by reviewing your audience.
P.S. Comments, emails, running a business and being a mom of 3 were just too much for me to handle all together, apparently. But the lack of a comment box doesn't mean I don't want to hear what you think! Share your thoughts with me via @GoffCreative on Twitter or directly via email.
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