Has your phone got cobwebs growing off it? Are you working to a soundtrack of crickets chirping? While being slammed with a massive workload brings its own set of challenges, if your WordPress business is just not busy enough, then this can sound like a good problem to have. Here’s how I gave my flagging business the jolt to the heart it needed…
Many, if not all, of the contributors to the WP Elevation blog are well established and successful WordPress-based business people. No doubt they owe a lot of this success to their excellent operational skills.
I need to be honest here and admit that this is not a 100% accurate description of me.
I am the proud owner of a moderately successful micro-operation that has been blundering along since 2008 but has only recently really begun to thrive. The only reason that the business has not yet grown from “one dude in a shed” to “multinational corporation” is because of … well ... the dude in the shed – me!
More specifically, my complete lack of organisational skills, which have worked very hard to keep said dude's biz on the down-low.
Thankfully, everything has changed now that I have dealt with... (cue dramatic music) …
The Negative Triple-Threat
I was struggling with the business of delivering WordPress websites a couple of years ago because:
- I could not deliver them profitably
- I could not deliver them fast enough
- I could not find enough time to do marketing
Consequently, I was often faced with the classic freelancer's feast-or-famine scenario and, during the famines, staggered perilously close to – horror of horrors - having to go get a job.
Thankfully, now, while I still have much improving to do, I am much busier.
Much, much busier.
Seriously, I'm so busy it hurts. Please send help. And chocolate.
Here's why I think the situation has improved:
I Began Systemising My Business
For a long time my business had zero systems. This was because I was in no way a businessman. I just shot my big mouth off one day back in 2008, sold my first website and started rocking the shed. All bravado - no plan, no systems.
Things started changing the day I did something about that.
I Stopped Trying To Re-invent The Wheel
Being a self-reliant kind of chap, when I eventually decided I needed some kind of system, I used to just make them up on the spot. Usually, they sucked.
However, by spending some money on a set of strategies and systems to make the business run better, including WP Elevation, I saved a lot of time and many of the ideas I implemented, markedly increased my professionalism in the eyes of my clients, not to mention my profitability.
I Started Hiring Quality Outsourcers
I had tried with very little success in the past to improve my business by outsourcing development and design. The point was to increase my ability to spend time on marketing to generate new business.
Trouble was, I kept hiring out to the cheapest bidder, and this only lead to all kinds of pain and many, many wasted hours.
By hiring better outsourcers, I spend more per job in cash, but I save so much time it works out better for me, both financially and mentally.
I Actually Did Some Marketing
Like the proverbial mechanic with the conked-out car, I was running a web marketing business but barely doing any web marketing!
Clearly, I needed more leads, so it made sense to eat my own dog food and spruce up my website, start blogging more often, collecting emails and actually using them.
It's not even that I do it all that well, the secret is just to do it.
And The Result Of All This Hard Work?
Within 7 months of implementing these measures I was… making LESS money and had LESS clients than when I started!
So I started searching for a job. Then two surprising things happened.
I didn't get a job.
The old charm act failed me and I did not get hired straight away. Actually, I was being picky about the jobs I applied for, but still this surprised me somewhat (being an ego-maniac).
Business picked up.
Meanwhile – the business “did a 180” on me! By early (Southern Hemisphere) spring I was so busy it hurt. And I've been in the game long enough to know that it was more than a seasonal fluctuation.
It Won't Happen Over Night...
It was kind of a “Panteen moment” … if you remember the TV ad from ages ago … it didn't happen overnight - but it DID happen! The operational systems and the marketing I'd implemented had taken some time to work, but they eventually did and I couldn't be happier.
I was miserable when my little business was failing, but since it has turned around I have been having a ball. Sure, the future holds no guarantees, but I am recommitted to the business and I have learned a great lesson:
Take the time to work on improving your marketing and your operations, and be patient about seeing the results!