Is the work you’re doing towards your goal working at all?
What if you’ve been working for several months and don’t have much to show for it? Is this normal? Is this how it works at first?
Speaking of normal, what is normal!? What kind of results should you be expecting?
Today on the show we talk about several places you can look to diagnose where your problem might be coming from.
And the first step is looking at those expectations. How can we intelligently set our expectations in modern indie business?
Dive into the show and enjoy…
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“Entrepreneurs: If the work you’re doing isn’t working, here’s where to look”
Expectations: Looking at what you’re looking for
The big rule here is to set your expectations around the work you can do. As Chase acts out on the podcast: the goal you CAN control.
What work are you committed to? What is the effort, the job, the task, the project, the ongoing activity, you can commit to.
3 months from now you may not be able to hold yourself accountable to the results of your work (traffic, revenue, subscribers, etc.), but you can hold yourself accountable to the workyou committed to.
What actions can you commit to taking to get you towards your goals? Can you SET your expectations here instead of elsewhere?
If at the end of the year you didn't know what you did — you only know that you didn't reach your goal — you're gonna feel in a bad way.
However, if you set your expectations on the work you commit to — the goal you can control — then you hold the keys to your own fulfillment.
BTW, if you learn to manage your expectations like this it will keep you out of the horrible comparison trap, where you compare yourself to others and, no matter how great your results, can always find someone doing better than you.
If you don’t have a kind of “guiding light” in your own plans and expectations, you’re leaving yourself wide open to this comparison game.
Define your guiding light for the next season, a game plan for the work you KNOW you can control.
Note: all this stuff is broken down in more detail on the podcast. Subscribe in a podcast app on your phone and go on a walk and listen to it! It’ll sink in deeper and you’ll come back refreshed… we can just about guarantee it.
Are you “publishing” enough?
Publishing is in quotes there because you may not be a publisher of blog posts, podcast episodes, Instagram updates, etc. But, as we talked about above, this is about the work you’re committed to doing.
Are you doing enough of that work?
For instance, a blogger can’t publish 11 posts in 12 months and expect big results. Something closer to 50 or 90 in 12 months gets you much further faster. (More on why this works later on.)
It can be helpful to think about this as a numbers game: the more you do, the more you learn. The more you learn, the smarter your strategies. The smarter your strategies, the greater the chances for good results.
- This is a place you can be TOO lenient on yourself. It’s pretty easy to do so.
- It’s also a place you can be too HARD on yourself, trying to bite off more than you can chew. If you burnout as an entrepreneur that serves nobody.
- VOLUME, QUALITY and CONSISTENCY are all things to think about here.
- This Simple CEO Spreadsheet can help you interpret the metrics for your work.
- The Start a blog that Matters Course is purpose built to help bloggers with this publishing consistently thing (as well as the “what the hell do I blog about!?” thing.)
Do you know exactly who you’re talking to?
Maybe you don't know exactly who you're talking to. Target market, ideal client, and niche are all words you need to know, fo’ sho’.
Our free guide on defining your audience on this is packed with insights. <== click that if you don’t have this on your computer at all times.
The gist here is simply this — if you don’t know who you’re talking to, you don’t know how to give them what they want.
Maybe you simply don't have a good enough handle on who you're talking to.
- Find one person to target, one person you know at least a little. Aim all your work at that person, tune it all to resonate with him/her. (Again, this is explained in the audience guide.)
- Check out this podcast episode for more conversation about this topic: You Know You Need to Define Your Ideal Client, Target Market & Niche, Right?
Have you found the core issue yet?
Have you listened enough to your potential customers to be able to reflect their desires back to them in language they definitely understand?
This is a sign of really understanding the core issue of your business.
Obviously this is tightly connected with the previous “knowing exactly who you’re talking to.” When you know who they are, you can focus and find what they really desire/need/want/struggle with.
Your goal is to RESONATE with your audience. Maybe you’re not resonating.
It’s a very really possibility that you might not have spent enough time listening. There’s literally no better training on this than Steph’s Customer Conversations training.
That course teaches you how to find them, what to ask them, how to listen and how to get the insights from THEM that you’re sorely lacking. Invaluable.
Is your design/message/hook not resonating?
The wrong look, feel, aesthetic, angle, message and hook can make qualified visitors literally bounce off your site.
Again, if you don't know your customer you could be way off on this one.
Pro tip: If you don't have the skills to make a more elaborate design work for you, err on the side of minimal design!
- Inside Fizzle there’s a course on the Essentials of Web Design for Business Builders. This will guide you through the big issues even if you have no idea about designing anything. Really, really valuable stuff when you’re doing everything on your own.
Is your conversion funnel working?
If you have some traffic but nobody's signing up or purchasing in any meaningful way you may have a conversion problem.
People are coming, but they’re not converting.
Like above, it could be the wrong message, hook or look. Or it could be that you’re not ASKING clearly enough. Or it could be you’re not enforcing the BENEFITS enough. Or it could be that you’re just not making something really valuable to them yet.
In Corbett’s course on How to Grow Your Email List to 10,000 Subscribers and Beyond he teaches a bunch about how to put together an “opt-in incentive” that really resonates with your audience. That’s available in a free trial in Fizzle here.
- If you don’t know how important email is in your business, read this: 127 Ways to Grow Your Email List (and the Only 3 that Really Matter)
Are you working in the wrong medium?
It's possible that customers in your topic/niche are seeking content in a different medium.
By medium here I mean text vs video vs audio. And each of those can be broken down further. E.g., text can be broken down into blogging, email newsletter, reading on Medium.com, writing guest posts on other publishers’ websites, etc.
Wheres the intersection of those three questions for your topic:
- What medium does your information beg to inhabit?
- What are your customers looking for?
- What can you create?
Remember the hypothesis
Remember, everything in your business is a hypothesis, i.e., an informed guess. Your job is NOT to be a genius, it’s to be a researcher, to observe, infer, test and understand.
You're testing what works. You’re testing your own skills. You’re testing different audience ideas. You’re testing what resonates with them.
When you look at it this way, you can separate yourself, your own self worth, from the results themselves. You are a tester, an experimenter, you can tweak and make changes… because your strategy is only a hypothesis.
So, there’s a handful of places to look when your strategies aren’t working.
- Start with correcting your expectations because you need to hold yourself to doable commitments.
- Are you “publishing” enough?
- Do you know exactly who you’re talking to?
- Have you found the core issue yet?
- Is your design/message/hook not resonating?
- Is your conversion funnel working?
- Are you working in the wrong medium?
Any others come to mind for you? Share it in the comments. Thanks for reading/listening!
The Top 10 Mistakes in Online Business
Every week we talk with entrepreneurs. We talk about what’s working and what isn’t. We talk about successes and failures. We spend time with complete newbies, seasoned veterans, and everything in between.
One topic that comes up over and over again with both groups is mistakes made in starting businesses. Newbies love to learn about mistakes so they can avoid them. Veterans love to talk about what they wish they had known when starting out.
These conversations have been fascinating, so we compiled a list of the 10 mistakes we hear most often into a nifty lil' guide. Get the 10 Most Common Mistakes in Starting an Online Business here »