We’ve all heard the flashy stories of someone implementing a new strategy and suddenly making much more income. The truth is sometimes less dramatic, we don’t hear as much about businesses that grow because of smaller changes made over time.
What I like about Jill’s story is that it illustrates how business grows most of the time. Not in some big flashy breakthrough, but through steady progress in the right direction. As Jill said to me, “it’s not like you said to do something and I went and did it, and made oodles more money.” But what she did do is make several adjustments that over time have made a measurable difference in her business results. It might not be glamorous, but it’s real, and it’s repeatable.
Jill joined the Action Circle in December of 2013 after attending our Annual Planning Day and getting a lot of value from that process.
Jill was a few months out of an intensive nine-month business-building program that helped her put the foundational pieces in place and develop more consistency in her business. But once that program ended, she didn’t want to go into something at that level of intensity, but she didn’t like being on her own without support.
She considers herself pretty self-motivated, so accountability wasn’t a priority. But she wanted support and feedback and to be able to bounce ideas off of people. Through the twice monthly group calls, and some of our special Action Circle events, she learned a few simple but key principles she could incorporate into her business.
One of her big insights was focusing on active versus passive marketing. On moving away from strategies that may keep you busy (like connecting on social media or blogging) and towards activities that have a higher risk of rejection (like asking people if they’d like to work with you), but also a higher chance of actually generating sales.
In Jill’s case, that meant focusing more on direct outreach to potential clients. Interestingly enough, what worked well for Jill was serving her existing clients really well, and looking for additional ways she could help them. Something I said on one of our calls really stuck with her, that “It’s your job to think about how you can serve people more and tell them about it.”
One of our key Action Circle principles is to be experimental. Jill is a recovering perfectionist, but she really took to heart that in business it can be better to be fast than to be perfect. She got more playful about tossing out offers to her existing client base. She said she thinks of it like throwing candy at a parade, some of it may fall on the ground, but that’s ok.
In addition to the Annual Planning Day, in the Action Circle we do Quarterly Reviews to review progress and Nuts and Bolts Planning Days to develop strategy. We also did a multi-week focus on sales skills. Jill said all of this helped her be more strategic, and get more clear where to put her energy. She said she realized, “ I don’t have unlimited time and energy, I need to do what is important.”
As a result of these modifications, Jill has seen some changes in her bottom line results. Her income so far this year is three times what it was last year. Not only that, but May was her highest income month ever, about double what she’d done the first part of the year! And she enjoys that new sense of ease about making offers.
So, a few key takeaways from Jill’s story:
- For better results with less effort, focus on active marketing vs. passive marketing.
- Your time is precious, take time to decide what’s really worth doing.
- You can often make more revenue easily by finding new ways or additional ways to serve existing clients.
- Be playful with your offers. They won’t all land, but the more easily you make offers, the more likely you’ll make more money.
Learn more about Jill and her work at Smart Simple Websites & Outreach by Jill Holman