3 Things I Did to Grow My Business This Year

3 things I did to increase my revenue this year - how I streamlined my biz and focused on a few small changes that doubled my recurring revenue.

In my last post I shared 3 things I quit doing to grow my business this year, but if you skimmed that post you might have thought – ok, so she quit a bunch of things, but how did that ACTUALLY grow her business?! Just “quitting” some things didn’t just magically increase my revenue – but it was quitting these things that gave me the time and motivation to focus on other things in my business that directly led to more $$$ in the bank, so here are a few things I changed up this year that have allowed me to double my recurring revenue in just a few months!

1) I started to focus on one thing

This one is really two different things (not to be confusing or anything)…

First of all, I started theming my weeks to focus on one aspect of my business at a time. Instead of working on #AllTheThings (content creation, editing, marketing, admin, accounting, planning etc.) every single week, I broke my months down so that I essentially focus on 1-2 things for an entire week. For example, the first week in the month is typically content creation week so I shoot / edit / upload all of the images for the Styled Stock Society and my clients in that week. Then I have a week where I focus on marketing and sales funnels – so this is when I will write and schedule emails, blog posts, social media content, etc. A third week each month is what I call my “flex” week where I work on business planning, website updates, and generally take time to do things like go to the dentist or schedule coffee dates with friends I haven’t seen in a while. Last but not least, I have a “free” week where I’m essentially giving myself permission to be free to do whatever I want (usually not related to my business). In the past couple of months I’ve been using this week to travel with Mochi (we went to Puerto Rico then Aruba) and it will be nice to have this time “blocked off” for relaxing and enjoying the holidays over the next couple months.

If you had told me a year ago (when I was constantly burnt out / exhausted) that I would be working less and making more money this year – I would have said sign me up for that ASAP!

The second part of this focus on one thing bit is that I’ve actually only focused on selling one thing – my Styled Stock Society membership. Whereas last year I was consulting, creating online courses, working with clients, running a stock subscription, creating affiliate income opportunities, and playing social media director for my Instagram-famous dog…  this year I’ve seriously streamlined my income streams and put the majority of my effort on just one thing: the Styled Stock Society. I’ve always been of the “don’t put all your eggs in one basket” mindset (and in reality I still have multiple income streams), but when I started focusing on marketing just ONE thing, my membership grew by over 100% in just a couple of months!

Quick tip: If you’re thinking about streamlining your business, I highly recommend focusing on one BIG thing at a time. Even if you have multiple products / services, you can pick one each quarter to focus on and you will probably see better results than if you are trying to market and sell everything at the same time!

2) I added a tripwire

I literally had “add a tripwire to my main sales funnel” on my to-do list for over 6 months before I finally used Bluchic’s Landing Page Templates to set one up.

Here’s the thing. I consistently have people signing up to download my free stock photos who are then added to an automated email sequence introducing them to the Styled Stock Society membership.

I wanted to add in a step – to offer the people who downloaded my free stock photos a limited-time offer to download a discounted bundle of stock photos in order to monetize my existing traffic as well as well give potential members an affordable “sample” of my images.. plus people who buy from you are more likely to buy from you again!

Bluchic’s Landing Page Templates made it so simple to set up my tripwire in less than an hour (you can read more about my experience here) and since setting up my tripwire, I’ve been able to convert more of my website visitors into paying customers! Whereas before, people were only downloading my free photos, I now have an average of 4-5 sales of my $13 tripwire every day – which adds a nice chunk of change to my revenue all on autopilot!

Quick tip: If you’re not ready or interested in investing in landing page software like LeadPages / Clickfunnels / etc. I definitely recommend Bluchic’s landing page templates for anyone using WordPress!

3) I created an evergreen email sequence

Aside from focusing on marketing / selling one thing and adding a tripwire into my sales funnel, the other thing that has made a significant difference in growing my business this year is creating an evergreen email sequence. I used to just have an automated mini series of 3 emails that went out to new subscribers to introduce them to the Styled Stock Society. I was also sending one-off emails to my list with tips for using stock photos or when I added new collections / ran special promotions, but I realized that a lot of my newer subscribers were missing out on older emails that might have tipped them in the direction of becoming a SSS member.

So instead of trying to send regular weekly emails to my list, I started adding relevant emails to my automated email sequence to create a more intentional evergreen sales funnel. Sometimes people need 5 or 7 or 11 touch points before they know/ like / trust me enough to buy from me, so automating those touch points has not only made my sales process easier but has also led to more consistent membership signups!

Quick tip: If you’re looking to up-level your email marketing game, ConvertKit makes it really simple to set up automated email sequences. Head over to this post to learn more about ConvertKit automation rules that have saved me a ton of time! 

What have you changed up in your business to grow this year?

3 Things I Quit Doing to Grow My Business This Year

3 things I stopped doing to grow my business this year - how I streamlined my small business to grow my revenue while doing less work.

You don’t have to do #allthethings to be successful.

Last year in my quest to figure out what it is I “really” want to do with my life, I launched WAYYY too many things. So this year has been all about trimming the fat. Getting rid of the things that 1) I hated doing 2) weren’t profitable enough for me to want to do more of 3) weren’t allowing me the freedom to live / work the way I wanted.

Streamline.

I’m not really into picking a word of the year, but I guess you could say that’s what mine would be.

One of the things that sort of bothered me about being a marketing consultant was that I felt like I was always telling people what to do. I mean people were literally paying me to tell them what to do, but in general I felt like I was constantly shouting “you should do this because….”

I’m sure you see / read / hear it all the time…

You should post on Instagram every day. You should blog every week. You should start a YouTube channel for the SEO benefits. You should be doing Facebook live videos to connect with your audience. You should launch an online course so you can stop trading your hours for dollars.

#realtalk – You “could” do all of these things and still not be any more successful than you were before.

I’m not saying any of these things are “wrong” or that you “shouldn’t” do them…

BUT AT SOME POINT YOU HAVE TO STOP LISTENING TO WHAT OTHER PEOPLE TELL YOU TO DO AND FOCUS ON ACTUALLY DOING THE THINGS THAT DRIVE YOUR BUSINESS FORWARD.

Wanna know what I quit doing over the summer that made absolutely no difference in my business?

  1. Blogging regularly – I used to publish new posts every. single. week. and long story short, I haven’t been doing that regularly this year. Yes, this has (slightly) affected my blog traffic, but more importantly it has not negatively affected my revenue! Quick tip: iI you don’t want to make time to blog regularly, make sure you have evergreen blog posts that can consistently drive traffic back to your site even when you’re not publishing new content. The main reason I continue to get consistent traffic > subscribers > customers is that I have Tailwind + BoardBooster working on autopilot to promote old posts!
  2. Being active in Facebook groups – I used to waste SO MUCH time on Facebook. Yes, connecting with other people in Facebook groups can be a great way to grow your business / make friends / build community… but it can also be a time suck. Personally, I wasn’t seeing the ROI from Facebook that I wanted, so I archived my own Facebook group and (accidentally) stopped being active in other people’s groups as well. Ya know what changed? Nothing. Most of my traffic / customers / clients come from Pinterest and Instagram so spending less time on Facebook has made no difference in my business other than having more time to spend on other things! Quick tip: You don’t need to be active on all the social media platforms – spend the majority of your time on the 1-2 platforms that have the highest ROI and don’t stress about the rest!
  3. Working with new clients – Yup. I had a lot of things happening over the summer (travel / moving / life / etc.) that made it hard to commit to custom photography projects in advance, so I decided to take a 2 month break from client work. I was slightly terrified at first (my client work made up roughly 1/3 of my total income as of May), but I had my biggest revenue months EVER without working with a single new custom photography client. This is the most surprising one for me because I honestly expected a dip in my revenue from making this decision, but I think removing client work from the equation gave more more time to focus on growing other income streams – and I didn’t hate it. I’m not giving up custom client work forever (for now!), but this revelation is definitely making me rethink how I structure my time and packages for the future! Quick tip: Sometimes you have to step away from one thing to move forward with something else. Don’t be afraid to change the way you do things in your business when they aren’t the best fit for the life you want to live.

Spending LESS time on all these things has led me to have more time to focus on other priorities like the Styled Stock Society and also to take advantage of other opportunities. Like…

So one more time…

You don’t have to do #allthethings to be successful.

4 Myths About Stock Photos (And What You Really Need to Know)

4 myths about stock photos - why styled stock photos can be a great affordable photography resource and what you need to know about using stock photos for your brand.

So I know stock photos sometimes get a bad reputation when it comes to using them as images for your business. But I know that 1) not everyone can afford custom images for their business 2) not everyone has the time to take their own photos and 3) even if people have the time, they’d rather spend it on other things (like binge-watching netflix, drinking wine, or actually spending time with their family)!

Stock photos can be great way to create a cohesive visual brand across your marketing channels, especially if you have a new business and want to make the most of your budget!

Unfortunately, not all stock photos are created equal. When you understand some of the myths and misconceptions around using stock photos, you can ensure that you choose the right kind for your business!

Myth #1 – Free Stock Photos Are All Bad

Free stock photos are easily accessible for a wide range of people. While that’s very convenient, it also means that A TON of people are using them. If you want to create a unique visual brand for your business, using free stock photos is probably not the best choice, but free stock photos aren’t necessarily all bad. There are plenty of websites that have free stock photos that could be a good fit for your business. It’s definitely going to take some digging and some research to find great free images… but it might be worth it to convey your brand in a more attractive way. (PS you can grab 10 free feminine stock photos RIGHT HERE!)

Myth #2 – Paid Stock Photos Are Expensive

Stock photos are actually available at a wide range of prices. They certainly don’t have to be free or wildly expensive. Websites like Creative Market and Etsy are full of beautiful stock photos at a reasonable price. They are also a number of sites that offer affordable stock photo memberships where you can download a certain number of stock photos every month. And if you’re looking for a stock photo membership where you have instant access to download an unlimited number of photos, there’s the Styled Stock Society – where you can get instant access to over 1,000 photos for less than $20/month.

Myth #3 – You Don’t Have to Credit the Photographer

The terms of use associated with stock photos differs depending on the photographer and copyright owner. It’s really important to understand how you can and can’t use your stock photos when you’re using them for your business. Some sites come with licenses that allow you to use stock photos for both personal and commercial use, while sometimes they’re just for personal use. Sometimes you have to credit the photographer and other times you don’t. In fact, you may only be able to use images a certain number of times based on the photo license. It’s really important to understand the full terms of use when using stock photos for your business because you want to make sure that you’re using them legally.

(If you’re using my stock photos, credit is never required… but it’s always appreciated!)

Myth #4 – You Can’t Customize Stock Photos To Fit Your Brand

Depending on the terms of use of your stock photos, you may be able to customize them to fit your brand. You could add color overlays, filters, or text in your brand fonts. You might also be able to crop, rotate, or otherwise manipulate the orientation of a stock photo to make it look a little bit different. You might even be able to insert your own product images into stock photos! There are a few different ways you can customize stock photos to be a better fit for your brand – just make sure that the way you use your stock photos isn’t a violation of the terms of use.

Stock photos can be a great way for businesses with a limited budget to create a cohesive visual brand. Just remember that not all stock photos will work for you! It’s really important to find the right stock photos for you that not only represent your brand, but also come with the terms of use that are a good fit for your business.

Are you using stock photos for your business or blog?

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