“To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under the sun.” ~Ecclesiastes 3:1-8
There is a rhythm to the four seasons of the year: Winter for introspection, spring for planting, summer for growth and fall for harvest.
Often our business cycles and growth as entrepreneurs mirrors these seasons. I can see this reflected in my journey through the Audience Business Masterclass program.
My decision to join the ABM started over the winter, as I was contemplating how I would go about taking the next steps on my blogging journey. Winter, you’ll remember, is the hibernation period – and a great time for reflection and introspection!
Once I realized what fears were causing me to stall with my ABM efforts, I was able to move past them and on to finishing my first incentive and growing my mailing list. That meant commenting and guest posting, which I’ve been working on this spring and summer.
Budding Days of Spring: First Publishing Milestone
Just as trees burst into buds, and flowers shoot up from the earth, when spring rolled around I was like a tulip eager to burst into the world. After laying the groundwork on who I wanted to serve, and what problem I could immediately help them with, I was in a great rush to launch my first incentive, an e-book.
The e-book and my first guest post came out around the same time.
I am not sure which was more exciting: launching the e-book or reading my first guest post online! I felt like I was blossoming along with the spring flowers. : -)
Those early days of spring were hectic with putting the finishing touches on the e-book, creating my landing page and writing the engagement sequence that would follow the opt-in. When Danny says you have to put the work into the ABM class, he wasn’t kidding!
Those first milestones were very important. I could finally see some results for all my effort. I was feeling pretty good about myself – energized, motivated, and ready to cruise through spring and into summer with more guest posting.
Then along came Lesson #6, which is all about engaging engaging your community and laying the groundwork for a successful guest post pitch.
Cruising Through Spring: Engaging While Staying Authentic
With Lesson #6 I went from soaring with success to back to work. Now, I was asked to get out there and engage with my community.
I first went back to the list of competitors I created in an earlier lesson – only to find they were limited. Back to the drawing board! More reading and searching and searching and reading!
For me it is very important that I feel a connection with the site and the readers. I can’t pretend to be someone I am not. What surprised me was that some of the sites I thought would be a good fit, weren’t. And other sites that I hadn’t previously considered were a better fit.
I began commenting on a few blogs, which lead to a few more blogs with similar readers. Before I knew it, I had a list of several place where I felt comfortable commenting.
I learned a few things from commenting.
- I learned that even though you are creating a blog site, you have do a huge amount of reading.
- I discovered that commenting was an art.
- You have to read with care so you can make meaningful comments.
- Be sincere.
- Sharing a little of yourself can open a door for a personal connection to the writer.
- Don’t be afraid to reach out to the writer.
From commenting came the plunge into guest post pitches and the lazy days of summer.
The Lazy Days of Summer: A Lesson in Patience – and Going Forward
Pitching guest posts brought up some interesting quirks in my business personality.
I had the headlines, the outline and the pitch ready, but had to take a few deep breathes before I could hit the send button. That old fear of not being good enough reared up again. I had to do a, “Get thee behind me,” in order to move forward.
As it turns out, all my fears were for nothing. I sent out two guest post pitches, and the next day I was asked to send a final draft. I sent the draft and my blogs were posted the next day. Wow, I thought, this is easy!
Thinking it was easy, I sent out several more pitches – only to have them stall in someone’s computer. I waited and waited. Nada!
Could it be that my fabulous blog ideas had hit the lazy days of summer? Did things in cyber land slow down for summer like everything else? Probably! Why wouldn’t editors be out enjoying summer?
Eventually, though, things did move along and I gathered more insights about pitching guest posts along the way.
- Don’t get discouraged or overly confident.
- Don’t wait around for a reply. Keep writing and pitching.
- Once you have a few articles in your inventory it is easier to be noticed.
- Celebrate your achievement and then keep going.
- Don’t be afraid to pitch blogs in areas that are not your expertise.
- If a site doesn’t work for you, move on.
Looking Toward Fall and Winter: Obstacles and Solutions
When I hit the lazy days of summer, I knew I was going to have to revise my Business Launch Calendar. My ideal plan was to launch my blog site in November. But, I soon realized there were a few problems.
Planning for the big launch has several variables that need to be considered. The first variable is that I’d need a certain number of subscribers (1000), and second, I would need to ask partners for help promoting my new blog, which could take a few months to set up and coordinate. And third, I’d need a promotional period.
In my planning, I did not consider that summer could slow things down. I am still publishing guest blog posts on a regular basis, but I get the sense that the readers are off at the beach or having a picnic. As a result, my opt-ins are not growing at the rate I would like to see.
Given that my list growth has slowed down over the summer, it was obvious that I’d need to redo my Business Launch Plan. And then, I ran into Christmas – December and January. December brings lots of pre-Christmas distractions, both for me and for my audience! And in January, we’re often concerned with having to pay for all the things we bought – and did – over Christmas. Not the best for a business launch.
Now I am looking at a March/April launch. Which is oddly appropriate – I’m back to spring time and new beginnings.
Lessons Learned from Seasons of Growth
The greatest lessons that I take from these seasons of growth are:
- Seasons are important in business planning.
- Don’t be afraid to change things.
- Embrace the lessons along the way.
- Things often take longer than you planned.
- Enjoy each step along the journey.
I am looking forward to the fall and winter. In the fall harvest, I am going to use lessons learned to grow my email list and polish my writing skills. In the winter, I am going to use everything I learned to get ready for a dynamic business launch in the Spring. It is all happening as it is meant to happen this way. Rather like how nature’s seasons are meant to happen in their own way.
Have you run into seasonal roadblocks? How do you deal with them? Do you have a favorite business season? I can’t wait to hear your thoughts in the comments below.