S2 EP1: Intro and Megan’s Business Update

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At the end of Season 1, Megan gave an update on her business and listed 7 things she had decided to differently from the first (failed) business that she started.

In this episode, Megan revisits that list and shares which items she followed through on, which she didn’t, and what’s changed in her business over the last 10 months.

Episode Transcript (click to expand)

Note: This transcript was automatically generated and may include typos.

[00:00:00] Welcome to the Dollar Sprout Podcast, where it’s all about building a business that offers consistent income and flexibility so you can live life on your terms. And now your host, Megan Robinson.

[00:00:18] Megan: Hey there. Welcome back to the dollar sprout podcast. Thanks so much for being here and for joining us in season two. This is going to be the first of a two-part. Episode or two part series. Um, about updates on my own personal business. Um, so funny story, I was going to air this episode for season one. At the beginning, it was going to be the intro episode. Um, I was going to.

[00:00:49] Tell you all about, uh, I’m sorry. I think I just said season one, I meant season two. It was going to be the intro episode for season two. I was going to tell you all about what we have done differently in season two. Um, About how we had, you know, more experts or not even more experts, but more kind of expert style. How to guest interviews in season one.

[00:01:14] For example, we had an episode of. Um, Season one where we spoke with Lexi merit of pretty decent. And, um, it was all about how to. Launch. An online course. And, uh, do it in the simplest way possible. Right. But it was more a how to episode. Great episode, by the way, highly recommend you go check it out.

[00:01:39] And in season two, we really focused more on telling our guests stories first. And of course, a lot of wisdom, knowledge and actionable tips naturally came out of that. But instead of approaching it from, you know, this is exactly what we want to get out of this conversation. It was more like, We want to hear your story and personal experience and what lessons you’ve learned along the way.

[00:02:03] So I was going to do this as an intro episode at the beginning of the season. And tell you all about that. Um, and I am going to backdate this episode. So if you’re, if you haven’t listened to season two yet, then. There you go. That’s what to expect in season two. Um, but I am actually recording this at the end of season two because I got very, very sick.

[00:02:27] Right early on in season one, when we had already scheduled all the other episodes to go out. I got very, very sick and lost my voice and didn’t get a chance to air this episode. So, um, I got to a certain point where I thought maybe this just may make sense to wait and do at the end of season two.

[00:02:46] So. I’m going to do part one this week, talking about my business. And then I’m going to do a part. So I’m going to talk about my business, where it was at the beginning of season two, which was like roughly 12 weeks ago. And then I’m going to do another episode next week and tell you about all of the lessons that I learned in season two.

[00:03:10] And how I’m applying them and what I’m doing differently in my business. And just kind of give you my business updates. So, um, let’s see. The last episode of season one. My business update was published on May 2nd, 2022. And it’s currently. Um,

[00:03:32] I made. Okay. I made notes for this episode on March 5th, 2023. So there were about 10 months in between. Um, when my last business update was published and when I made these notes for this episode, I know a lot happened in between then, um, that last business update was titled seven things I’m doing differently in my business. This time around.

[00:03:58] So, what I’m going to do in this episode is I’m just going to go through the list of those seven things. And I’m going to talk about. Um, if I actually stuck to them and if not, what’s changed in my business. Um, and then I’ll share more at the end about. Um,

[00:04:17] Kind of what the rest of actually I probably, yeah, I’ll share more at the end about, um, Miscellaneous stuff and what the rest of 2023 looks like for me. But before we get into that, um, I should probably give you an introduction to what my business is in case you don’t already know. Um, so some quick background, I started my business in December of 2017.

[00:04:40] That’s when I formed my LLC and I started a personal finance blog. Uh, blogging turned into financial coaching. And I did that for a few years along with some other miscellaneous freelance work. Then in January of 2022, I decided to switch my business to online business management slash operations management.

[00:05:03] Because I was already doing a lot of that for small businesses that I’d worked with really since like 2016. So I took a certification and I started looking for clients and that’s basically. Where I was the last time I made an episode on my business updates. I think I was just about to finish my certification.

[00:05:22] When that episode went live. Um, Like. 10 months ago or 10 months from, like I said, when I made these notes. Okay. So now for the updates, the first thing I said I was doing differently in my business this time around was. Actually having a plan for how my business. We’ll make money. I know that that probably sounds so silly, but.

[00:05:50] In 2017, when I started my LLC. I was just kind of under the impression that I would figure it out, you know? Uh, but I didn’t really have a plan or any kind of solid business strategy.

[00:06:05] I just, yeah, I thought I would like start a blog and like I said, figure it out. So two updates on this one, the first is that it worked my plan to, uh, actually make money in my business. Worked. I mentioned in the last update that my business was at $0. Revenue per month because I was still in the planning and prep phase.

[00:06:28] But in July. Um, so when was it? That I said the last episode went live in may, May 2nd, 2022. So then in July of 2022, Um, may. June July. So like two months later,

[00:06:49] I took my business full time. And, uh, it’s weird, but also cool. Um, Uh, I’m not on payroll. I’m now on payroll, uh, as an employee of my own company. And it only took me like four and a half years, but we made it so. A big part though, of. Doing that was moving the freelance clients that I have at the time.

[00:07:15] That I was working with as an individual under my LLC. So like I said, I’ve, I’ve been doing miscellaneous work, but for whatever reason, when I had my LLC, I never wanted to do anything that wasn’t directly related to like my personal finance business, my financial coaching under that LLC. So other clients that I had been working with, I was working with freelance.

[00:07:41] Um, So I moved those under my LLC. And then I also got some new clients last year. And yeah. Was able to take my business full-time in July. So that’s the first update. Second update. I mentioned a goal of having consistent seventy-five hundred dollar months by September, 2022. Um, at the time I recorded or at the time I made these notes.

[00:08:09] Uh, so like March of 20, 23, I had not. Made it there yet. Um, definitely have had some months that were more and some months that are less, but part of this is that the service offerings that I started with have changed a little bit over time. Which I think is pretty normal. Um, so what I thought I was going to be selling then.

[00:08:34] Backend, you know, May of 2022. Isn’t what I’m selling now. And I’ll talk a little bit more about that when I do the episode. Uh, next week when I do like the end of season two recap on my business, I’ll talk more about that. The second thing that I said I was going to do differently in my business this time around was keep it super simple.

[00:09:03] Um, I want to say that this is relative, right? I didn’t stick with this. The way that I thought I would originally, I had this idea for a system’s VIP day and I was just going to offer that one service at one price point. But then I had leads that were asking for different things. Um, so I ended up doing some custom projects and retainer packages.

[00:09:27] And then I had a bunch of ideas for digital products. Uh, but I haven’t made any of those yet, or even really shopped around too much to figure out if they’re worth making. But I am getting back to this one. I am trying to simplify a little bit more. I’ve had a couple of clients that I’ve worked with doing very custom projects for like eight months or so.

[00:09:51] Um, and my cousin projects, I mean, they would come to me and say, I need a system for tracking my client metrics for X, Y, Z, or I need a documented process for how my company delivers services to our clients. You know, I need you to help us. Um, make our workflow for our team more efficient. And, um, then document it, document everything right.

[00:10:17] And I would put together a project proposal or work hourly on these custom projects, but this. Month or the month. Of March, 2023. I started switching to only work in clot, only working with. Clients on retainer. I found that for me. Custom projects are just more of a headache. And often it only allows me to make a small impact in the business.

[00:10:47] Whereas on retainer as an operations manager, I really get to dive deeper into the business, have my hands in different areas and just make a bigger impact much faster. And I really liked that. So I moved away from simple for a little while. Uh, you know, and part of that was also cashflow. It’s nice to get money coming into your business, especially when you’re first starting out.

[00:11:12] But I am getting back to it. So I am working on. Simplifying my business again. And again, I think that’s totally normal from the conversations that I’ve had with business owners. You know, your business doesn’t usually stay the same. Um, there’s a lot of, there are a lot of iterations that every business goes through. So.

[00:11:33] I feel okay about it. But the third thing. Okay. So number three, in my last business update, I said that I was launching my business without a website. And that changed pretty quickly. I, uh, I still don’t think you need a website to start a business. Actually, we have a guest. We had a guest in season two.

[00:11:57] And I won’t spoil it for you, but she talks about how she didn’t have a website for 10 years and she still had a thriving business. So it definitely depends on the type of business that you have. But, you know, for, for the kind of business that I have as an operations manager, Um, you really only need.

[00:12:20] A couple of retainer, like two or three retainer clients to be full-time in your business. And for that, you don’t necessarily need a website. You know, you can, you can network to get that. You can like. Meet people online, you can cold pitch your ideal clients or whatever. You don’t need a website.

[00:12:40] But I wanted one. I want it to have an online presence, um, something that I could point potential clients to. In a way for them to find me without me having to be super active online, because I’m not much of a social media person or a networker. But I still kept as simple. I used Squarespace for my website this time.

[00:13:01] Which is super different coming from the blogging world, because for bloggers, WordPress is usually the default option. But Squarespace makes things really simple to set up and it was perfect for what I needed. So I made it, but I honestly haven’t changed anything in. I don’t know, probably like eight months, except for adding a few testimonials from some of the clients that I’ve worked with.

[00:13:27] And I’m really glad that I didn’t stick to this one. And then I made a website because the way that I’ve gotten pretty much all of my clients so far is through the directory from the certification program that I took. And business owners go to the directory. Then they reach out to the people that they’re interested in.

[00:13:44] Um, like that they want to work with. And I honestly think if I didn’t have my website, then not as many people would have reached out to me because I’m not active on social media. It’s probably different. If you are active on social media or you have some sort of other online presence. But. I just don’t. I never post on social media. I just creep on social media. So it’s worse for me to have a website, but again, you really don’t need one to start a business, especially if you’re willing to put yourself out there on social media.

[00:14:15] Or just network. Offline. I just, I just personally, don’t like doing either of those things. Okay. Number four was, I said I was implementing a course freeze.

[00:14:31] I am so embarrassed about this one, because I definitely did not follow through with this. And I actually spent a lot of money on courses and coaching last year after I said that I was going to do a freeze.

[00:14:47] Yeah, I spent. Okay. So I spent about a thousand dollars on a course. That was all about how to put together a very specific service offering. And I don’t regret that one. It was very helpful and it was very eyeopening in a lot of ways, even though. I haven’t sold the specific program that I used. Um, or that I used that course to put together.

[00:15:13] But it was still helpful. Course. I learned a lot from it and I think it’s going to help me in creating other, other service offerings. So, but I also signed up for a high ticket coaching program in October of 2022. And then I got so busy and overwhelmed with client work and, um, some other stuff that I had going on with my family.

[00:15:37] Um, 2023. Has just been a crazy year for family stuff. Um, and I just had no time for this coaching program. So. It was a lot of money. I had to pay a lot of money up front and then it was another like thousand dollars a month to stay in the program. So I actually paused. My membership to this coaching program. Um, I think in February of 2023,

[00:16:06] Um, positive for like three months. And I have to make the decision pretty soon of if I’m going to pick it back up or not. And I’m thinking probably not. Then, uh, just like right before, I think we started season one of the podcast or season two of the podcast. I bought a course from Pete McPherson, who was the first ever guest on the dollar sprout podcast.

[00:16:33] Shout out to Pete. Go listen to. His episode in season one, if you want to learn more about his story and, um, what he’s been up to as a blogger and an online business owner the last few years. But. Uh, yeah, I bought his course on how to use AI to create really good blog content. Very excited about that.

[00:16:53] Um, I still haven’t gone through it yet, but I’m, I’m still excited about it. So, um, I will go through it at some point. But the moral of the story is that I failed hard at implementing a course for you. Is. And I think maybe I just need to accept that this is the way that I am. You know, I love learning. I love buying courses.

[00:17:16] But I probably could benefit from setting. Like an annual spending cap on it or, um, We’re like just being more intentional. Cause I’m, I’m such an easy sell, you know? I will get on it. If it ha if it has anything to do with a sales call, I will get on a sales call and the minute they hit me with the.

[00:17:38] Oh, you get a $500 discount. If you sign up today, my brain just starts freaking out. Like all the scarcity, marketing, marketing tactics. They work for a reason, you know, and they work really well on me. So, uh, yeah, I think I just maybe need to be more intentional about the courses that I buy. Um, and plan for them a little further in advance, you know?

[00:18:03] Um, That way I have maybe less buyer’s remorse, but. The only, the only thing that I do regret over the last year. Signing up for is the, um, Like I said the high ticket group coaching program, and I really also. Side note. I just feel like. The program did not end up being what they sold it as, which was a really big bummer too. So I regret that one, but that’s okay.

[00:18:33] You know, you live in, you learn. So moving on. Uh, number five, I am selling first and then building is what I said, because I have such a pattern. In the past of, um, building things, specifically digital products. And then never selling them. ’cause, I just love the process of creating something. You know, I love the process of like taking an idea that I have and turning it into something tangible.

[00:19:07] And. Systemizing it or whatever, like. Taking something that I do. Really well and making it a process that other people can easily follow. I just love. I love that process.

[00:19:23] Um, but yeah, I really messed up on this one. I just told you about the thousand dollar course that I purchased. That was basically. A blueprint of how to put together a similar program to what the course creator cells. And I guess my reasoning was, if she’s selling it, then I can sell it too. But what I didn’t take into account was that I’m not great at finding people to sell to.

[00:19:50] So, like I said, I put together this program, which is really good by the way, like phenomenal project plan, really, really good tools and systems and delivering the service. I’m really proud of what I put together in the program that I created.

[00:20:07] And I have all of the backend set up for delivering this service. But I have never sold this service.

[00:20:16] And that my friends is, that’s my pattern. That is my Achilles heel. If you will. I love building and creating things. And I often do that before I’ve figured out if anyone will actually pay for them. So. Don’t be like me. Um, but I will say that’s the only thing that I’ve done. That with so far in this business, which is better than I can say for my last business. Um, I was constantly building and creating new things that I never sold in my financial coaching business. So my lesson learned here is that I just need to get better at selling things.

[00:20:52] I really just need to get my work in front of more people. I think. And that is. Often the most difficult thing for me. So. That’s something I’ll be working on in 2023. Um, number six I’m unfollowing, tactical style podcasts, and leaning into my creative side. So that was, that was one of the things that I said I was doing differently in my business at the end of season one.

[00:21:24] And I will say I really appreciated guests, Jeremy NS and Lexi merit for influencing me. In this way in season one. I can’t say that I’ve been feeling particularly creative in my business lately. And I think part of that is just the nature of the work that I’m doing and the way that my business has set up.

[00:21:43] Where I’m currently, I’m the one doing most of the work and constantly working with clients. And my days are just fairly hectic right now. So I don’t have the time and the space for creativity in the way that I would like. But I’ve definitely changed the type of content that I’m consuming. I’m not listening to or reading, um, tactical style, podcasts or books anymore.

[00:22:12] Which I don’t think there’s anything wrong with, especially early on in a business, you know, there’s so much to learn and those, that type of content can be. Really helpful. It definitely has its place, but I just got to a point where I was learning a lot of information that I didn’t need in that moment.

[00:22:29] And it was just feeling very overwhelming. I always felt like, oh, I should be doing this. Or I should be doing that. Like I should be starting a membership or I should. Learn how to do Facebook ads or whatever it was. And it may be. Really. It made it really hard for me to focus on one thing.

[00:22:52] So. I’m just more intentional and, um,

[00:22:58] Listen to tactical information less. And I’m more intentional about the tactical information that I do consume. Right. If I don’t need it, if it’s not something that I’m focusing on in my business right now, then I won’t listen to it or read it. Instead, I am using my consumption time to watch more shows or listen to.

[00:23:21] More creative podcasts like Seth Godin’s akimbo. Right. And that may sound counterintuitive to a lot of advice out there. Like a lot of hustle, culture or entrepreneurship culture is like, oh, wake up every morning at 4:00 AM and listen to a business podcast. But. Consuming more fun, creative and story-driven content.

[00:23:44] I think has given my brain. More space. It’s. It’s just made things feel less overwhelming. When I’m not exhausted from client work. Um,

[00:23:59] Yeah, or I’m sorry, when I am exhausted from client work, it’s just really hard to, to consume. That kind of content and, um, Yeah, listening to more creative content has made me feel less overwhelmed and it’s made it easier to tap into my own creativity to. So I think I’m doing really well. Look at that. There’s, there’s one thing on the list, at least that I followed through on pretty well. Not, not too bad.

[00:24:27] And that brings us to number seven. The thing that I said I was going to do at the end of season one is treat everything like an experiment.

[00:24:39] This one, I think I’ve done pretty well with, um, it’s a mindset shift that I learned from Lexi merit and season one of the dollar sprout podcast. So. I know I’ve mentioned Lexi’s episode a few times now. So if you haven’t listened to it, I highly recommend that you do. And it’s essentially the idea that, um, just the idea of not being too attached to the outcome of things that you do and create in your business.

[00:25:07] As Lexi says, everything that you do in your business has multiple variable variables from the messaging to the copy, the colors, fonts delivery. Everything right. And if someone doesn’t buy from you. It’s not personal. You just have to tweak the variables until you get it right. And that mindset has really helped me.

[00:25:29] A lot in my business, it’s, it’s helped me approach my business from a lighter place. I’ve started showing up online more. I’m still not a big social media person, but, um, I’m on tech doc from time to time. And it’s just freed up more. To put myself in my business, out there without being personally attached to the outcome.

[00:25:56] So that’s it. Those are my updates on the seven things I said I would do differently in my business. Uh, this time around. And my goals for 2023.

[00:26:11] Let’s see. I would say my first goal. That I wanted to reach in 2023. And again, I made the notes for this podcast. In. March late February, early March of 2023. So when you listen to the update, which I will publish next week, some of these things might have changed a little bit. Okay. But the first goal that I wanted to make that I set in the beginning of 2023.

[00:26:44] Was to reach six figures from retainer clients alone. I mentioned earlier that last year’s focus was on selling a VIP day service. And while I would still like to get there. And I’m excited about that offering. I’m also. Really enjoying working. Deeply with fewer clients. So. Right now, um, we’re, you know, in, in, in March, 2023, my retainer work was at a little over $5,500 a month.

[00:27:20] And, um, I decided that I would like to get one more client at at least $3,500 a month. And maintain my retainer client work. Through the rest of 2023. So that would put me at like two to three retainer clients. Um, And yeah, like I said, I just, I like the idea with working with, of working with clients long-term and seeing the impact of that work over time.

[00:27:53] And if I were to get one more retainer client at $3,500 a month, that would put me at over $9,000 in retainer work. Which is $108,000 a year. In revenue. So that would be great, right? And my other goal for 2023 is to launch some sort of digital product. I don’t know. Exactly what it would be. Um, I have a few ideas right now.

[00:28:22] And I’m kind of excited about all of them. So I just need to do some more research and nail down a product.

[00:28:32] But I don’t want. To put a financial goal around the digital product, because I don’t even know what it is right now. We’re how much I might sell it for. So instead. Uh, I think I’m going to make my goal based on number of sales. And. I want to launch a digital product and get my first 10 sales. And don’t laugh at me cause I know that’s probably really low.

[00:29:02] But I want to set myself up for success here because. I have just never been very successful at creating and selling digital products. I think I’ve created some really good ones, but I’ve never sold a lot of them. Right. So if I can launch a product and get 10 sales in 2023. I will be super happy and I’ll have met my goal.

[00:29:26] And that’s it. That’s my full business update. So thank you for sticking around. If you made it this far. Um, I’ll share another update. I’ll technically be sharing it a week after I post this update. To the podcast. Um, but. There will be. 12 weeks in between. Uh, What I’m talking about now and what I’m going to talk about next week, because again,

[00:29:57] I got sick. Beginning of the season and didn’t get to record this episode. So the updates that I’m telling you right now, Are actually updates from my business 12 weeks ago. But at least you didn’t have to wait 12 weeks to hear, you know, both of these episodes. Right. Bright side.

[00:30:18] Um, but also if you haven’t listened to season two yet, There really is so much goodness that came out of season two. I had so much fun doing the interviews for season two. Um, for me personally, it felt a lot more laid back because I wasn’t trying to get one very specific topic out of guests. So it, it just gave a lot more wiggle room to have.

[00:30:44] Natural conversation. So I think you’re really gonna, like it. And over get to subscribe to the show so that you don’t miss a thing. And if you’re loving what you’re hearing so far, leave us a review and let us know. Thanks for being here and for being part of the dollar sprout community and for letting me be a part of your day today.

[00:31:03] And I’ll see you next time.