I used to feel very frustrated with all the advice on the Internet. That might be why I'm telling you to basically ignore it now. It's not that the advice out there is bad, but it's so scattered and unfocused and overwhelming that you end up suffering from the paradox of choice - the more choices you have, the more confused you become.
Thing is, my frustration evaporated when I finally realized the point wasn't to try everything or to listen to everyone or to try to be everything at once. The point was to choose what worked for me and to discard everything else that was inessential.
Focusing on the essential not only brought me peace of mind, but also scaled up my business. Scaling up is not about getting more of everything, but about focusing your efforts to get meaningful results instead of scattered ones.
Ready to take your creative business to the next level? Let's do it.
1. Step up your game on social.
I recorded a podcast episode about this, but I'm going to give you the gist here, too. When people want to step up their game on social, they usually look for more social channels to leverage, but what's the point in investing your time and energy into a channel that you don't enjoy using? You picked your main one or two social media platforms because you enjoy using them. You get how they work. Why would you take away from that to feed some other channel when you can go all in on your chosen channel/s?
To grow your influence and reach, all you need to do is take the next step on your chosen channels. Don't believe me? I mostly use twitter for my business! Everything else I just upkeep. I haven't learned to be a pro on facebook or Pinterest because I don't need to. Truth is, you don't need a TON of traffic, even though the Internet says you do.
So what is the next step on my chosen channel? You ask.
If you're sharing stuff on facebook, but you're not using facebook groups or facebook ads, those could be the next steps for you. If you're tweeting a lot, but you're not using buffer to automate your tweets so they reach more people in more timezones, then you're missing out on engaging more people. And if you're using Pinterest, but seeing no results from it, your next step could be taking Summer's free Pinterest course.
There's a next step on every social channel. You only need to find it.
2. Repurpose your best content.
This may not be something you want to do. After all, I rarely do it because I'm more of a spontaneous writer. However, if you're struggling with time and looking for more ways to give value to people, you can take advantage of this smart strategy.
Repurposing content is using the same content in different ways. For example, when you write a series of blog posts, you can repurpose them as a free opt-in book or an ecourse. You can even expand it into a full course or use it as an email welcome sequence.
The sky is the limit. I mostly write my emails without borrowing from old blog posts, but I tend to reuse some of my podcast material and expand it into articles. Obviously, as a creative rebel, you don't want to use the same old tired content everywhere, but you could reuse the best of it to save yourself some time and energy to come up with new one. Not to mention, your best content should be shared in more than one way! If it's that valuable, maybe having it on the bottom of your blog is not the best idea after all.
Most importantly, you need to ask strategic questions - Can I turn this series into something I can sell? Can I use this important piece of content in my welcome emails? How can I use this curation to attract more people to my message? And so on.
The right questions always bring a sh*tload of opportunities.
3. Package and launch your services.
If you run a client-based business, you know how hard it is to get clients and bring in sustainable income. Luckily, there are ways to turn the famine into feast.
A couple of days ago I talked with a lovely girl who runs a copywriting business. She's a creative rebel, but she doesn't get much business and she was talking about scaling up. The obvious answer to her predicament was to package her services, meaning don't just give your hourly rate and the services you provide, but offer your services in "bundles" at competitive prices and throw in some bonuses while you're at it.
The goal is to have 3 packages - from cheap to extensive - and figure out how many you need to sell each month to stay in business. The next step after that would be getting booked out in advance, which Jen Carrington and Halley Gray can tell you lots about. While Jen has a more content-centered strategy, Halley is more launch-oriented.
I recently listened to one of Halley's webinars where she said you shouldn't just put your services on your site and hope people will find them. That's not very strategic or realistic. A better approach, she suggested, would be to launch your services like you would launch a product. You can do a free webinar, a series of blog posts and emails, and anything else you normally do to launch your products. Remember, you're a creative rebel, so these are just general suggestions, which you can then tweak to fit your business.
4. Streamline your processes.
A while ago I promised to write about this because it is VITAL in business. It's something pros do to keep sane and bring in more sales on a regular basis. It's like passive income - you're sleeping, but the processes you've set up are still working for you.
That's what streamlining means - setting up efficient and smooth processes that work for you. (As opposed to hustling for every sale or client all day every day.)
Sounds great, right? So what can you streamline? You can streamline your social media strategy, your sales funnels, your list-building, and so on. I'll tell you how I streamlined my list-building process so it gets me a dozen new subscribers every day.
It's like drawing a map of your people's journey. My map:
Most people find me on twitter, where I have a link to my website. I've also pinned my opt-in offer because I don't want them to miss out. Once they're on my website, the homepage sends them to 3 places - The Blueprint, my blog, and the free guide. If they go to The Blueprint, they'll go onto my coaching page. If they read my blog posts, there will be a link to my other opt-in offer (free goodies for creative rebels) at the end, and if they go to the free guide, they'll probably sign up because that sales page is irresistible. Lol.
You see how every step of the process has a next step? You do that by planning their journey and adding a sufficient amount of calls to action, buttons, etc., which I call "crumbs" because it's like Hansel leaving crumbs in the forest to find his way back. In this case, you're anticipating what they might need or want next.
That's not all! Once they're signed up, they get a page that asks them to join The Creative Rebels on facebook, and then they go on to the promised free goodies. Afterwards, I send out a friendly welcome sequence and weekly emails with tons of value and resources.
Just don't be overbearing with the emails you send. We all hate spam.
Now, here are some visuals from my map:
Finally, most of your peeps are going to visit your About page first because they need to know you before they commit to an opinion. Make sure you give them options and introduce yourself in a way that makes them want to know more.
It took some time for this process to work, but it's a machine now! Obviously, your processes won't be the same as mine, but I wanted to give you an example of how you can map out your people's journey so it works for them and you.
5. Invest in your business.
You've heard this before, haven't you?
If you don't reinvest some of the money you make from your business, it's unlikely that it will grow or that you'll stay in business for a long time. The times we live in are very competitive, and even though you're a creative rebel running a unique business, you still need to think about staying on top of your game, regardless of what the world does.
I personally reinvest 50% of what I make. I spend it on outsourcing tasks I can't do or improving something in my business that is lacking or, as I said, taking the next step in a particular area of my marketing that may be lacking as well. For example, you can spend it on tools that will help you step up your game on social (buffer, Edgar, Tailwind), sending email (Mailchimp or Convertkit), making your website look beautiful and professional (Squarespace), building your mailing list (LeadPages), podcasting and webinars (microphone, webcam, and webinar software). Or you can hire a virtual assistant.
And be strategic with your investments. No need to buy yet another course!
I used to be all about DYI'ing things and bootstrapping, but those only work at the very beginning - when you're making no money. Once you start bringing in money, you'll need to start reinvesting them strategically to grow your business.
As online entrepreneurs, we can't just be creative and rebellious. We also have to be savvy, smart, and strategic. This is why I published this post, to help you out in case you're feeling the frustration that comes with too much advice on the Internet. (Ash Ambirge even wrote an Ode to Internet Advice that is so hilarious, you're going to love it.)
Remember, you're doing great! You just need to step up your game a little.
And you'll know that it's time when things start going slow, and I don't mean the acceptable kind of slow you can be comfortable with, but the kind of slow that is so excruciating and annoying that it makes you rethink your entire chosen career. No need for that! Just try these steps, see if they fit, and remember that being a creative rebel is about keeping a healthy balance between rebellion and following best practices.