4 Lessons Every #Girlboss Should Think About Before Starting Their Business

Last week, we hosted our first Mastermind. The goal of the event was to help millennial women entrepreneurs and bloggers get the answers to their business challenges. Many of the women were running successful blogs or selling coaching services and I had the opportunity to learn a lot from them.

Here are my 4 biggest takeaways from our first mastermind session:

FOCUS

It's very easy to get distracted from your goals by "shiny object syndrome" (aka. that moment you see someone making a ton of cash-money doing something you could totally do with your eyes closed... so you want to abandon your current goal and try your hand at it?).  

About two years ago, I dived deep into Entrepreneur On Fire where John Lee Dumas coined the acronym for FOCUS as 

Follow One Course Until Success

This tiny phrase became my entrepreneurial mantra. It reminded me to focus on what I really wanted and if I wanted to become successful I would have to stick with it (no matter how many #epicfail moments I had) because each failure leads to lessons learned. 

 

FOCUS... Unless it's time to PIVOT.

Sometimes, the path you're going down isn't a particularly lucrative one. There are times when what you have to offer is not what the market wants. In these moments, it may be best to pivot (aka. change gears and follow that shiny object!).

You cannot force people to want your product... but you can create a product people already want.  So.. how do you know what people want? (drumroll, please!)

 

Get to know your audience. 

How do you really know what people want? You have to take some time getting to know them. Go to the events that they frequent. Ask them out for drinks. Can't get out that much? Don't have the budget? Hang out on the Facebook groups and online forums they use. Talk to your target audience in any form you can until you know them inside and out. 

This will help you visualize them and their specific needs as you're creating. 

 

Align your personal mission with your company mission. 

After doing anything for a long time, it's very easy to fall into a cycle of habit. You get used to blogging, you get comfortable with what you're selling, you make sure you create blog post images for social media sharing and share, SHARE, SHARE! #SocialMediaStruggle

Maybe you started your small business or blog to create something you were passionate about and over time your beautiful creation has turned into a collection of to-do lists that you complete just because and it no longer gives you life. 

Take a week off... (I know it's hard for us to really take a week off, but it's totally worth it, I promise.) In that week, think about what makes you happy and what impact you want to make on the world. Then, think about why you want to make that impact. Finally, ask yourself what you can change about the way you're currently running your business so that it aligns with your personal mission. (Pro Tip: You know you've hit the nail on the head when you're excited about your business again and "shiny objects" are no longer enticing! #winning)

That's it! Starting (and growing) a business only gets easier when you get started, so go out there and build your empire, girlboss! 

February 2017 Blog + Income Report: How We Aligned Our Actions with Our Vision

February was.... an interesting month. Rather than spending a ton of time on the goals we set, we took a step back to reflect on our big vision for Thrive Lounge (making sure we practice what we preach).

We are quickly realizing how easy it is to get sucked into an endless stream of "best marketing practices" and "20-step processes to promote each blog post" and "must-haves grow your email list" ideas. Seriously, trying to be like the influencers was starting to suck the fun out of creating.... and, to be honest, we really wanted to get back to the FUN.

We spent a lot of time thinking about:

  1. How we could REALLY connect with our audience.
  2. How we can create something of value to them.
  3. How we can have fun doing it. 

During all of this internal reflection, we still tried to reach are the goals we set at at the end of January. We wanted to:

  • Make at least $385 through our events/workshops (This would be a 10% increase on what we made in January.)
  • 200 Email List Subscribers (10% increase from January)
  • Add a hello bar to our website (Totally crushed this goal! Check out our new Hello Bar at the top of the page.)
  • 1070 website page views 
Blog Monthly Traffic Report

Page Views: 

  • January 2017: 972
  • February Goal: 1070 page views
  • Actual: 862 (Missed the goal by 208)

Facebook Likes:

  • January 2017: 248 Facebook Page Likes
  • Goal: none set
  • January: 267

If you want to know how we got over 200 followers, take a look at our first blog post here.

Email List: 

  • January 2017: 181 Total Email List Subscribers
  • Goal: 200
  • February: 217 (#Success)

862 Page views, 267 Facebook Likes, 217 Email List

Despite our efforts to share our website on social media, our website page views have continued to drop. We are sharing our blog posts through our email list, Facebook (pages and groups), Twitter, Instagram, Google Plus (yes, we know there's no one there), and Pinterest but no luck in getting these numbers up.  (So if you have some tips on how to get your blog page views up, let us know! :)

Here's the breakdown of where our traffic came from:

Top Traffic Sources:

  • 50% came through direct link
  • 34% Facebook
  • 8.7% Instagram
  • 3.9% Twitter

Top Pages Visited:

Even though our website traffic is refusing to show us some love, we were able to grow our email list - and even surpass our goal! This was due to a few things: 

  1. Creating more freebies to add to the site.
  2. Adding the Hello Bar.
  3. Starting the meetup group catering to our target audience. (Did you know you get all of the emails for the members of your meetup group? #winning)
blog income report
  • January 2017: $350

  • Goal: $385

  • February: $199 (Missed by $186)

We launched a new event this month - C L A R I T Y Mastermind for the Ambitious Girlboss. Throughout February, we sold tickets at an early bird rate and also offered an email-only discount for Valentine's Day.  (Pro Tip: Join our #ThriveSquad to get access to all our email-only deals.)

With a new event, you never know what to expect. We had no idea whether people will like the new concept or if you just wasted your time building something that no one wants. We launched the event mid-February and sold 7 tickets by the end of the month. This is a huge success because these sales immediately validated the idea and we can feel comfortable creating more events like this. :)

 

What Else Happened This Month: 

  • Started a meetup group! (Just for fun)
  • Booked one nonprofit workshop for March (woot woot!)
  • Created a short to-do list to promote each weekly blog post.
  • Took Melyssa Griffin's Pinfinite Growth Course (which is AWESOME)
Monthly Goal Setting
  • Start planning for VisionCon 2017 (get a legit business plan)
  • 238 Email List Subscribes ( this would be a 10% increase from February)
  • 948 website page views (10% increase from February)

 

WHAT WE LEARNED:

After VisionCon, we were in a hurry to build our empire (because one successful event totally means you're empire-worthy). We were receptive to every idea from every influencer on how to build your email list, get more page views, win at social media, AND become a rockstar influencer (all at the same time, of course). This left us feeling very drained because we were no longer enjoying the process.

Taking a step back to reflect on what is best for BOTH us AND our audience was the best thing we could've done this month. It's very easy to get side-tracked from your vision because there are so many people online totally killing it in their niche giving advice on how you can do the same. It's tempting to try to follow all of the good advice and best practices. But, what good is building your own company when what you're creating is no longer in line with your vision?

Creating a new product was our opportunity to be innovative and bring something different to our audience. Starting a meetup group was a chance to connect with our audience, provide value and get back to the fun side of Thrive Lounge (because all work and no play was turning us into dull ladies)! The shorter to-do list for blog post promotion also gave us an opportunity to promote each blog post and get our marketing on without being exhausted by the end of the process. At the end of the day, we found a balance that works for us (#success)!

Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.

So, You've Created a Vision Board... Now What?

I LOVE vision boards. No seriously, I really love vision boards.

I created my first vision board 3 years ago, when I was heartbroken, broke, and unemployed (Yes, I said broke + unemployed. NOT living paycheck to paycheck. NOT barely scraping by. Broke + Unemployed). Hopefully, you can only imagine what that felt like (and if you've ever experienced it first hand and lived to tell the story, let's grab a drink mmm-kay?).

That vision board took me down a path of rebuilding myself from rock bottom, starting a successful freelancing business, going back to school to get a master's and ultimately starting Thrive Lounge and VisionCon - our annual vision board conference (I told you I really LOVE vision boards!). 

How do you effectively use your vision board to give you the most value? In short, how does this little board translate into wins, success, fame and fortune? (Okay, I might be exaggerating a bit with the fame and fortune part... but maybe not, girlboss! 😃)

 

1. Find THE BEST place for your board. 

All locations are not equal. Your impeccably designed, totally IG-able reading nook might look like the perfect place for your vision board... But if you only go in there once a month, think twice before you start carving out a space for your big vision. 

The reality is, your big goals are accomplished by the tiny things you do daily. So, the best place for your board is a high traffic area where you will see it every day to remind you to take those tiny steps towards your goals. This year, I placed my vision board above my bed so I can see it every morning when I wake up and every night before I go to sleep. Last year, when I was in grad school and working freelance online, I pretty much lived on my computer. I put my vision board right above my computer desk so through all of my late nights, I could always look up and remind myself of my big goals.

Pro Tip: No place is off limits. I have my student loan debt payoff chart in my bathroom. #Goals

 

2. Reflect... with your board. 

Find a time that works for you every day to sit with your board and think about what action item you can do to push that goal forward. Pro tip: If you do it at the same time every day, over time you will form a habit! 

Every morning, I sit and look at my vision board. From far away, it looks like I'm doing yoga, but in reality I'm attempting to meditate but I don't know how to sit still. In the middle of every child's pose, I look at each of my goals and ask myself "Am I living the life I want to live?" This year, I am laser focused on budgeting and paying down my student loans. during these moments of reflection, I think of additional ways to increase my income or decrease my spending. 

 

3. Share your board with your family and friends.... and associates... and anyone who will listen. 

The more you talk about something, the more you internalize it. Speak it into existence. On top of that, when you tell your family and friends about it, they will start to ask you about it when they see you. 

When I was younger, I told my uncle I was going to be a doctor.... Every time I see him, he still asks me how's medical school - even though I graduated with a master's in something totally different (cue side eye + eye roll), but I digress. The point is, other people will start to hold you accountable. The more people you talk to about it... the more advocates and cheerleaders you will have in your corner. (And every MVP performs better with cheerleaders :)

Creating your vision board is only the first stepping stone is accomplishing your goals. It's up to you to make those dreams come true. Happy Goal Crushing, girlboss.