Just last week, I was at an event talking to a woman I’ll call Rita, who’s been running a blogging business for the past 2 years. Over food and drink, we enjoyed good conversation and I quickly learned that she was struggling to keep afloat. As a food and lifestyle blogger, she was always going out to many different events so she could grow her content and give publicity to new restaurants. I was happy to see she was doing a good job of this, and had even begun getting some (random) paid work along with a steady stream of requests from venues to feature them in her blog.
The problem was that Rita was exhausted, over-worked AND severely underpaid. She’d begun to lose faith and confidence in herself, ironically just as her Instagram followers tipped over the 10K mark. Despite all the wonderful milestones she’d hit over the past 2 years, I could see that was already going downhill, FAST.
Someone clever once told me, “you either have a revenue-generating business or a very expensive hobby.” In Rita’s case, she wasn’t generating enough to compensate for her time and energy. Even if you absolutely LOVE your business, lack of cashflow over time can kill any dream you have of really being a successful entrepreneur.
SO WHAT SHOULD RITA DO?
Rita’s husband had already been complaining about her increasing exhaustion and lack of progress. This started to eat away at her confidence and she felt like she didn’t know whether to call it quits or keep plugging away, hoping and praying for something to change. She still loved her biz and couldn’t see herself quitting after putting in so much work to grow her audience.
Rita’s core problem was that she really didn’t know HOW to create streams of revenue from her blogging activities and she was uncertain about when to start selling to potential customers. While she was doing a fabulous job of growing her followers/audience and giving restaurants and venues publicity, she didn’t know how to leverage these to create positive cashflow. She worried that she still didn’t have enough followers to qualify her to ask for payment when venues requested that she feature them.
When I met with Rita for coffee later on, we identified her struggles and what she could do to start turning things around quickly. It was clear she needed a finely-tuned strategy but first she had to back-track a little to understand…
- WHAT it was that she was actually offering and to who! For example, what were the “packages” she was selling and WHO wanted them?
- WHERE had her previous sources of revenue already come from (and could these continue to be an ongoing revenue stream in the future)?
- HOW and WHEN should she go about “selling” her packages to her customers?
- HOW could she reduce her workload but still gain the traction she wanted?
As women, we really have a tendency to be hard on ourselves and this can overshadow all of our achievements, no matter how big they are. Rita was no different. While she’d clearly established that she was “good enough” to grow followers and get paid for her work, she constantly worried that she wasn’t going to be “as good” as her competitors. This became her Achille’s Heel and prevented her from getting the confidence to sell. Also, because she didn’t know how to create services she could properly “package” up and sell, she was always feeling stuck. Rita’s vision was too broad and she was trying to feature everyone she possibly could in her blog. This was eating up all her spare time and had her running around like a chicken with her head cut-off!
In the end, I helped Rita see that several previous sources of revenue had primarily come from new, smaller-sized hotels in the region. She’d never thought to focus solely on smaller hotels before, simply because she felt there was more money to be made from large hotels and restaurants with (perceived) bigger advertising budgets. We talked about how valuable it is to “niche down” in a very specific segment of her market, not only to differentiate herself from others doing a similar business, but to FOCUS and DIRECT all her EFFORTS to that niche without getting pulled in all kinds of different directions.
Once she understood EXACTLY who her ideal clients were, we then worked on some small and medium-sized packages she could sell to these types of hotels. We didn’t include any higher-priced packages at this point because Rita simply didn’t feel like she had the confidence yet to sell at higher price points. Plus, the advantage of offering smaller packages is that they’ll likely be easier for Rita to sell to her hotels, since there’s a smaller price point. And offering packages that span over 2-3 months, she’s building more consistent revenue and getting money in ADVANCE! She was loving the idea and couldn’t believe how even offering her services at lower prices could actually generate her a steady stream of revenue. Then as the business relationship between Rita and these small hotels continue to develop, she can start offering them her medium-sized packages (and…once she’s much more confident… maybe even large-sized ones in the future!). Rita was filled with creativity when she sat down to think about all the new and interesting ways she could start showcasing these small hotels features so they could show off their venues, services and events! Since she now had a very clear vision about who and how she could serve, this helped Rita focus on “working smarter,” conserving her valuable time and marketing efforts (and reducing her constant overwhelm). We also discussed other potential streams of revenue for Rita’s business but for now we felt it was important for her to get started with her small hotel packages.
Many of us can relate to Rita’s situation because most new entrepreneurs have struggled with similar issues. Sadly, many people have given up on their entrepreneurial dreams because they didn’t see a way out of the constant cloud of overwhelm and so they came to believe they just didn’t have what it takes to reach their goals. This is why we created Entrepreneur in a Weekend for Women–to help new and aspiring entrepreneurs build a business that they love and that loves them (e.g. generates consistent revenue for them)! As entrepreneurs who’ve started from ground zero, we know how to help you develop your idea, pinpoint your niche, find your audience, package your products/services attractively and start bringing in revenue QUICKLY with our top 5 high-impact marketing strategies. Our next Entrepreneur in a Weekend is happening on November 17 & 18. You can learn more about our event by coming to our free information session this Tuesday, Oct. 17 from 7:00 – 8:15 at Little More Cafe in Dubai Marina Mall. RSVP here.