I’ve decided to start writing about my business goals and achievements each month. I want to dive into what I’ve been doing behind-the-scenes of my business and The Shelancers Club so you can really get a sense of what my daily freelance life looks like and what I'm up to. I'd really appreciate your feedback on this new feature of the club so please let me know your thoughts in a comment below or in our private Facebook group!
In these posts, these are the things I'm going to discuss:
- My newsletter growth
- My blog growth
- The goals I achieved this month and my goals for next month
- Lessons I've learned throughout the month
This month has been pretty great for me! May and June were really crazy so it's been nice to relax a bit more in July. I spent the first two weeks doing client work. I used the third week to spend time on my own business, and I went away for the final week to lie on a little countryside beach and read books all day long. It was a well-needed break!
My July goals
I pick 3 goals each month that I want to focus on and I pin them up on a board in my workspace so I can always see them. I love having that constant reminder, and I loooove crossing a goal off when I've completed it, there's something so satisfying about that!
In July, these were my three goals...
01. Get 150 subscribers for The Shelancers Club. Sadly, I didn't put much time or effort into marketing TSC so I didn't reach this goal. But it isn't all bad because I made a lot of other improvements! I made the TSC membership site part of my own site so you can now find it at neshadesigns.com/access-shelancers.
There's no option for creating a membership site on Squarespace so I used what a lot of Squarespace users suggested- Tinypass. It blocks anyone from viewing the TSC pages of my site without paying or logging in first.
I LOVE this version of TSC way more than the site I previously had. I quickly created the old site when I was launching the club and it only took me one weekend, but it was time to upgrade. I hope you like the fruity, bright colors and vibe of the new site! It's in line with my personal brand now.
I'm planning on marketing the club a lot during Autumn. But throughout Summer I'm going to continue making improvements and making this club extra special.
02. Streamline my processes. I didn't do lots of streamlining, but I managed to get a few tasks done. I updated all my canned emails, I created a new welcome pack (which you can view here), and I made a cute PDF that explains my Pinterest process to my new clients.
03. Organize my finances. I've been working with Melissa to tidy up my business finances in Wave. Wave was doing some freaky stuff with my transactions so we're sorting that out. She also had a look through the bookkeeping I've done myself and confirmed that it was okay. To be honest, I don't know why I haven't contacted an accountant until this year. I think I was scared of the cost, but I've realized this year: you have to delegate tasks so your business can survive. It doesn't matter if it costs you a bit of money. It's worth it!
My blog growth
In July I took a free email course called Build a Profitable Blog by Mariah of Femtrepreneur. The whole course was fantastic, but the one magic piece of advice that stuck with me this: if you're going to grow a profitable blog you need to post evergreencontent. This means creating ridiculously high-quality blog posts that are long (I mean 5000 words if you can or 1500 if you're struggling), informative, helpful, and packed with statistics, case studies, screenshots or freebies.
Last year my blog posts were very short and random. They didn't benefit my business at all. From now on, I only want to post evergreen posts on my blog!
In July I wrote and scheduled 4 blog posts. They're a lot longer than my usual posts and they're packed with information. I'm hoping my readers will like this increase in quality!
And I don't know if you've noticed, but I've done the same thing with my articles for The Shelancers Club. I'm writing less articles than I did when I first started the club in April, but my newest articles are a lot longer and more helpful.
Now, let's peek at my blog stats!
The reason there are no stats shown before May is because I switched to Squarespace around that time and Squarespace only shows stats from that point onward.
There are a few reasons why my traffic hasn't been very high in June or July...
- When I switched to Squarespace, I lost traffic.
- Last year I barely blogged at all, so this year I couldn't expect to get the same high volume of traffic I used to. With time and quality blog posts, I'm hoping to get my traffic back to how it used to be.
I'm posting these stats on July 21st not July 30th, so my July traffic isn't as high as it will be by the end of the month. But even so, I've already beaten June's traffic.
Most popular post
The most popular post I published in July was A social media schedule for small business owners. It was a freebie that I created for my Shelancers, but I decided to share it on my blog to raise awareness of the club. It worked! People are constantly sharing it on Twitter and Pinterest.
Least popular post
My least popular post in July was Choosing the right Squarespace template. That's understandable, since this post is only relevant to Squarespace users and a lot of my readers are Wordpress users. The reason I post about Squarespace is because it attracts my ideal clients. It's also handy to refer my clients to these articles when they ask me related questions.
My best referrers
My top 3 referrers were- and always have been- Direct traffic, Pinterest and Google.
Direct traffic is when someone directly types your site into their browser, so I assume that's the way most of my regular readers access my site.
A few of my posts went viral on Pinterest and continue to bring in traffic. I'm regularly active on this social media site and I pin something from my blog every day.
Google is responsible for my most popular post of all time, Free Moodboard Templates. That post ranks #1 for most 'free moodboard' searches.
My newsletter growth
The diagram above shows you my list growth per month, not the number of newsletter subscribers I have. I currently have about 2500.
In June, I gained 123 new newsletter subscribers for Nesha Designs.
From July 1st - 20th I gained 85 new newsletter subscribers for Nesha Designs. I estimate I'll get about 100 by the end of July. I think the decrease is due to only posting 3 times in July instead of 4.
I switched to Squarespace in May/June. When I was using Wordpress I would get about 164 subscribers per month because I had an opt-in above the fold. My new Squarespace template doesn't include that option so I feel that plays a big role in why my subscription rate has decreased in June and July in comparison to the rest of the year.
Why didn't I have many subscribers in 2014?
I didn't blog very much. I would go 2-3 months without posting anything, and I definitely didn't send any newsletters. It was very foolish of me because my newsletter and blog has done wonders for my business this year!
Why did I have a sudden spike of subscribers in January?
This year I did lots of experiments with my marketing. One of the things I tried was placing an opt-in on my most popular post: Free Moodboard Templates. I gave one template away for free directly in the post. If they wanted another 5 free templates they had to sign up. Thanks to that one clever list-building tactic, I gained 288 subscribers in January and 379 in February.
I removed the opt-in from that blog post in March because I realized a lot of the people signing up weren't my ideal clients or readers. I want people to sign up for my newsletter because they really love what I have to say, not because they can get more moodboard templates.
Even though I removed the opt-in from that post, I genuinely believe in this list-building tactic. I think it's only valuable when the freebie you're offering is about something you specialize in; something your ideal customers/readers are struggling with.
Lessons I learned in July
I learn something new from my business every month. Business is one big experiment, and the more you try things out, the more you improve. I learned...
- Hiring others is well worth the money. Why spend time and energy doing something you hate when you can hire help?
- Creating other forms of income is one of the best things you can do for your business. This month I've been keenly aware of that and I'm working on adding even more steams of revenue to my biz.
- It's better to spend time creating than curating. In July I unsubscribed from a lot of newsletters and I no longer get so distracted by them. I'm able to focus on the newsletters I love and invest the rest of my time in my own creations.
My latest obsessions
Jenny Shih. I kept hearing about Jenny on my favorite blogs so I decided to look her up. Her blog posts are fantastic and I totally fell for her beautiful business.
Budget Nerd. I love Mark's witty way of writing. He's able to turn blog posts about money and accounting into really fun reads.
Build a Profitable Blog. Mariah's free ecourse reminded me I needed to up my blogging game and create higher quality blog posts.
The 10 day unmistakeable brand challenge. Sian's free challenge is a lot like Mariah's, but about branding!
The 4 Hour Work Week. You've probably heard of this. I had too, but I'd never bothered to buy the book until now. I loved it! This book really gets you to think about your business is different ways and prioritize things in your life.
Tell me in a comment- do you like this post? Should I continue to share these articles each month?