Flashback to about four years ago. I had everything I thought I wanted: a job, partner, house, a car. You know the drill.
But there I was, lying in bed at night, feeling deep down that it wasn’t enough.
I longed for freedom, but I wasn’t sure what it looked like or how I’d find it.
I had an hour-long commute to work. I woke up at Midnight four or five times a month as part of my job. Staff meetings plowed straight through lunch.
In my spare minutes, I’d dash to the bathroom, scarf a granola bar, and shout out an answer to someone’s questions as I darted by.
If you see pictures of me back then, I look pale and distant.
Something had to change.
I made what I thought might be the biggest mistake of my career. I moved backwards. I quit the job that was making me nuts and went back to a copywriting position I had worked a year earlier.
Self-doubt gnawed at me. Would I regret this? But I also felt so relieved. It was like coming home.
Although I was happy with my job, I continued to seek that freedom I longed for. So I went to school to receive my yoga teaching certification. Teaching yoga taught me two things:
- I didn’t want to teach yoga.
- Many yoga studios were run by young women who needed business help.
I started to help one of my local studios with her website, and BAM! Something clicked. I wanted to help women feel less overwhelmed by their websites and copy.
I signed up for an online business course almost a year ago exactly.
Normally I’m very indecisive when it comes to spending money. It has to be a sure thing. But this was the first of many steps where I surprised myself. I just knew. Now’s the time.
As soon as I signed up, I felt a mix of wanting to throw up and wanting to high five the world.
What had I just gotten myself into? What if I hate it? What if I never make this money back?
As the days led up to the start of the course, I noticed this thought kept coming up: “If I die tomorrow, I’ll know I tried something. I took a chance.” And that was enough for me.
It wasn’t easy, but it was fun. And even though I still work full time, I love this business so much that (most of the time) my energy stays up. Signing up for that course was one of the best decisions I ever made.
About six months in, I had a total of two clients. The good news was they were the definition of “ideal clients.”
The bad news: I wasn’t really sure how I had gotten those clients. It felt more like luck than strategy.
I was overwhelmed and flustered. What was I missing?
That’s when Danny Iny’s webinar for the Audience Business Masterclass popped up in my inbox.
I had previously opted in for Danny’s video training, which I loved, so I watched the webinar with high hopes.
During the webinar, I did the thing I always do when I like something. I told myself how much I’d be willing to pay for it (before knowing the price).
When I saw that the actual price was half what I was ready to pay, I signed up without hesitation.
ABM helped me see the whole picture. Things started clicking in a way they hadn’t before.
My biggest takeaway so far (I haven’t finished all the modules) is my content calendar.
I’ve gotta tell you, my content calendar was a major sticking point for me. All the experts talk about having your content planned 6 to 12 months out. I was always scratching my head: how the heck am I supposed to do that?
Having your content calendar figured out must be like finding gold because every time I looked for an example of one online, I’d find the worst spreadsheets ever. It was as if bloggers were saying, “There’s no stinkin’ way I’m going to share this with you now that I’ve unlocked the secret.”
Thankfully, after watching Danny’s videos, I was able to create the most rockin’ spreadsheet ever. It was like I could finally see my business from an aerial view.
Today, my blog posts are planned through the end of August. (Still working up to the 6 month thing.) And all my big projects are planned through February of next year (!).
As promised, I’m giving you what the experts won’t: a swipe file of my content calendar.
(Real quick: this is just a sample of what my calendar looks like. I would’ve included more but I couldn’t copy & paste my full spreadsheet due to all the weird formatting. I think you’ll still find it handy.
Feel free to add or remove whatever you want. For example, you might not care about your Alexa ranking. I had someone publicly diss mine, so I started watching it to educate myself.)
How It’s All Playing Out
If my content calendar hadn’t come together, I never would’ve been able to plan my Vulnerable Blog Challenge last month.
The calendar enabled me to work far enough in advance that I could prep like a pro.
I found people who would donate prizes, I created all the rules and challenges (based on The Great Online Marketing Scavenger Hunt), I gave people time to register, and I also gave my guest writers time to submit their posts.
My goal was to get 100 participants, and I got up to 64. The conversion rate for my opt-in page was about 20% which I’m pretty thrilled about. (I have a pretty good idea of why I didn’t get as many participants as I expected, and I’ll likely be writing a blog post about my experience soon.)
The upside is that this contest has given me the confidence of knowing that I can plan a project in advance, network with my peers, and do something meaningful with my business.
My next big project is to revamp my services and really zero in on my ideal client. (I still haven’t “landed” on the client, but I’m getting closer.)
But before I can figure out my client, I’m taking some time to get to know myself: my goals, my vibe, the theories and wisdom I want to share.
After I nail that down, I’ll have a better idea of who I want to share that with and who will benefit from it the most.
I’ve been tasked to continue sharing my journey with you. But when I try to predict what would keep you glued to your computer, I feel overwhelmed and paralyzed.
So, tell me. What would you like to hear more about? Do you want to hear about the mistakes I’ve made? Want some copy tips? Interested in how I’m finding my way to my ideal client?
I’m up for anything. I’d love your feedback and guidance about what I should share with you next. Leave a comment, and we’ll get this party started.