Behind the scenes of my business: October

In these posts, I share:

  • My blog growth
  • My newsletter growth
  • How I did with last month's goals
  • My goals for next month
  • Lessons I've learned throughout the month
  • My current obsessions

My website growth

October visits: 15,340 (+1333)

October audience: 12,546 (+1095)

Most popular post published in October: My top 10 tips for newbie designers

My top 3 traffic referrers: As usual, it was Pinterest, Direct (people directly visiting my site), and Google. But Twitter almost came in third place because a few of my awesome friends decided to tweet a few of my posts!

I've been a lot more active on Twitter the past couple of months, and it really is paying off. Because I'm on Twitter more, more people reach out to me over there. I also feel that because I tweet my friends blog posts as much as I can, some of them return the favour and vice versa. It's nice to show support for other online business owners whenever you can! It shows that we all care about each others success and not just our own. 

I'm kinda surprised my October traffic is higher than my traffic has been so far this year because I was away for two weeks. However, I DID schedule a couple of blog posts while I was away and they reeeeally paid off. I checked my phone a few times while I was away and found so many wonderful responses to what I'd written!

I learned one major lesson here: scheduling blog posts is an absolute must if you're going on holiday.

Ironically, since I've returned I haven't written a single blog post except for this. But here's the thing: I don't feel like writing at the moment. Sure, it's easy to write a post like this which is full of stats and figures which I LOVE! But I've been finding it really hard to write something about design or freelancing, so I haven't forced myself to. I've been blogging long enough to understand that my blog and business won't die if I take a little break. I'll start writing again next week, but for now I'm enjoying the extra time on other business activities. 

My newsletter growth

Current number of subscribers: 2794 (+700 approximately)

Most popular opt-in: 5 ways to promote your services (This is a content upgrade on my blog post, My top 10 tips for newbie designers.)

After watching a webinar by Nathan, creator of Convertkit, I dropped Mailchimp in favour of Convertkit. Why? A few reasons...

  1. I'm in the process of publishing my first email course, and I had the lessons all set up in Mailchimp. But there was a problem. I wanted my current subscribers to have access to the course as well as new subscribers. In order for them to get it, they'd have to sign up to a new list. But if almost 3000 people resubscribe, that doubles my list in the eyes of Mailchimp, meaning I'll have to pay a hell of a lot more money per month to use their services. On the other hand, Convertkit counts a subscriber as ONE subscriber, no matter how many times to subscribe to your various lists. 
  2. Convertkit makes it way easier to create courses. Sometimes Mailchimp's interface confuses me there are pages hidden everywhere, but Convertkit's interface is super simple. 
  3. Convertkit can take the place of Leadpages as well as Mailchimp, because it enables you to create sales pages as well as send newsletters. I wasn't a fan of Leadpages when I used it, so I wanted to see if Convertkit could replace it. It disappointed me a tiny bit here because Convertkit doesn't allow you to create buttons for each blog post that, when clicked, opens an opt-in form. But its other features were amazing, so I stuck with it anyway. 

If you're considering switching from Mailchimp to another newsletter provider but you're scared that you'll switch and then hate your new platform, don't worry about it: Mailchimp has got your back. 

Mailchimp allows you to pause your account, meaning they'll stop billing you and you won't be able to send newsletters via them, but you'll still have access to your list. This provided me with a huge sense of security when I was switching, because it means that I can easily resume using them in the future if I decide to. 

How I did with my October goals

Book a design client for November. Done! I went through a slow stage in October which freaked me out because I haven't had a slow stage in my business for ages. But it's all cool. I booked clients for November, January and February. I can breathe now!

I would to say one thing on this topic though: You can kid yourself that your business will never have a slow stage, but it will, I promise. Don't beat yourself up about it. You just have to be prepared for it.

December goals

Prelaunch my first eBook. I have everything I need to prelaunch this book. My sales page is ready, my price is ready, the cover is complete, and I even have a few webinar cohosts in mind who have products that would go well with this book as a discounted bundle. I just need to finally push myself to prelaunch and see how it goes!

Finalize the plans for my first ecourse. I have a course topic and module ideas, I just need to do all the other stuff like write a sales page, test my ideas, create a launch calendar... fun, fun fun!

Do 2-3 webinars. OK, this goal is by far my scariest, but I can't wait to leap on it. Doing things that scare me makes me feeling alive. It makes me feel like I'm making progress. I'm not planning on doing these webinars along, I'm going to find some awesometastic co-hosts. Stay tuned!

Lessons I learned in October

  1. Always, always, always schedule blog posts to publish while you're on holiday. I was worried that the blog posts I published wouldn't be seen by anyone because I wasn't at home to promote them. But I underestimated my friends and followers, who promoted them for me. The posts that published while I was away gained more attention than most of my posts do!
  2. As I mentioned, I was on holiday for two weeks in October. I sometimes spend my holiday constantly checking my emails, but not this time. I only checked my emails a couple of times. And out of the 300+ emails I received, I only replied to three while I was away. I really feel like I learned that replying to emails is not a priority when you're having a break from daily life. As long as you notify your clients that you're going away and not replying to emails, it's fine. 
  3. I love the members of The Shelancers Club! This was a huge lesson for me in October, because I got the chance to meet a few them over Skype. And guess what? They were INCREDIBLE. So talented, so cool and so friendly. I'm Skyping with two more of them this month and I can't wait! (If you're curious why and how these Skype meetings came to be, it's because of a new consultation service I offer. The details are over here.)

Current Obsessions

  1. F*** Yeah Sales Funnels. You guys know how much I love a good funnel. That's why I couldn't resist Mariah's sales funnel course. I purchased it when it was first released and I'm STILL constantly going back to certain lessons. It's amazing. 
  2. Convertkit. It took my a whole three days to finish swicthing from Mailchimp to Convertkit, but I'm loving it so far. Its email course + automation features are the best!
  3. Pinfinite Growth. I'm still totally loving Pinfinite Growth, a course on building your business with Pinterest. Pinterest has always been one of my biggest referrers. In fact, I teamed up with them a year ago! So this course has been great at teaching me how to utilize Pinterest more and more. In fact, if you head to the sales page you'll see a testimonial on how this course has helped me business!

*Some of the links in this article are affiliate links. Hope you don't mind!

Creating a welcome package for your clients

Video Notes

Any websites or resources that I discussed in the video are always listed and linked below. Links with an * next to them are affiliate links- just thought you guys should know that. Enjoy, my friends!

Click here to download my welcome package!

Click here to download the slides from this video!

Canva: If you're not confident using professional design programs like Photoshop and InDesign, Canva is the next best way to create beautiful PDFs. Canva has dozens of templates you can choose from, and allows you to add your own photos and edit the text and color styles. It's the PERFECT way to create a quick and pretty PDF in 30 minutes.

Adobe: Many of you already use the Adobe suite (being designers and all) but for those of you who are new to this, here's the link to the Adobe website. These days, you can pay £30 a month (or something crazy like that) for the whole Adobe suite. So affordable, and so worth it!


How to create clever client homework

Video Notes

Any websites or resources that I discussed in the video are always listed and linked below. Links with an * next to them are affiliate links- just thought you guys should know that. Enjoy, my friends!

Click here to download a cheatsheet of questions you can include in your client homework!

Click here to download my Design Workbook!

Click here to download the slides from this video!

Typeform: A premium form-maker. 

Wufoo: This wasn't discussed but it' another form-builder you could use. It's a lot cheaper than Typeform. 

Adobe: Don't forget- you can create pretty PDFs in Photoshop or Illustrator and simply upload them to Acrobat Pro to add fillable form fields!

Stress Less & Impress*: I enrolled in Stress Less & Impress back in the Summer and it helped me straighten out my project management, client homework, website form and more. If you need to clean up your work process and you'd like more info than the videos I've made here, check it out. (Your mind will be blown.)

Download: Client Homework Cheatsheet

As you saw in my video, Creating Clever Client Homework, it's an absolute necessity for service-based businesses. If you want to understand what your client wants, how they feel, what their goals are, and what styles they like, you need to ask the right questions. Whether you already have a questionnaire you send to your clients, or you’re a newbie who has never created client homework before, this cheatsheet will help you. 

I’ve put together a long list of super awesome questions you could ask your clients. You can copy and paste all of the questions into your own questionnaire (using Typeform, Wufoo, or creating your own fillable PDF), or you can add some of these questions to your existing questionnaire. It's completely up to you! 

These questions are a great starting point for freelancers. BUT- don't forget to add questions of your own. If there's something your clients always ask you, or something you are always asking them, add it to your questionnaire. Your questionnaire will save you a lot of time answering back and forth emails, and it help your clients see you as the professional that you are. 

Hop in the Facebook group and let me know: Are you going to use some of the questions from this cheatsheet? what are some questions you already ask your clients?

How to wrap up your client projects

Video Notes

Any websites or resources that I discussed in the video are always listed and linked below. Links with an * next to them are affiliate links- just thought you guys should know that. Enjoy, my friends!

Click here to head to my Client Library (aka. My Goodbye Package) and use the password "designclient".

Click here to download the slides from this video!

Calendly: The scheduling tool I use. Clients can schedule consultations with me and their booking goes right on my Google Calendar.

Here's a copy of the email I send my clients when their project comes to an end. Feel free to copy it and use it with your own clients!

"Hey _________,

As our work together comes to an end, I wanted to send a special thanks your way. You've been amazing to work with, and I hope you've enjoyed our collaboration as much as I have. :)

To end our journey on a high note, there are two points I want to leave you with:

1. If you're pleased with the work I've done for you and you'd like to leave me a testimonial, I've created a short feedback form you can fill out. Click here to check it out. Testimonials are priceless for my business, so I'd really appreciate yours.

2. I'm offering you 10% off your next round of services with me, if you’d like to work together again in the future. I’m hoping you do!

Thanks a bunch,
Your Name

PS. Check your snail mail over the next couple of weeks- I've sent you a little something."