In my October 2018 update, I’ll tell you why I’m doubling down on podcast promotion and letting it lead all of my content efforts. Plus I talk about an event I attended, my vacation, and my newfound running addiction.
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Full Episode Transcription:
Welcome to the Liston.io Show. Hello and welcome to the Liston.io Show. My name is Liston and I want to help you build a better consulting business. Now first of all sometimes I just go straight into the go subscribe, download my thing, book a strategy call. Don’t worry, I’m going to get to all of that. However I want to thank you for being here, this podcast as I will talk about today is just instrumental in my business and I am so so excited that you are here, that you are listening. that you’re allowing me to help you in your journey in building a business that’s going to give you the life that you want. So thank you. I mean just thank you for being here. I’m so grateful, so humbled that you’re here.
Now onto all the promotional stuff. Now if you haven’t done it yet I’m not going to ask you to subscribe to this podcast. There’s lots of great reasons to do that, of course do it if you haven’t but I would ask you if you’re getting something out of this podcast and there’s someone in your life who you think would also get something out of this podcast, tell them about it. That’s it. That’s my whole call to action. So in today’s episode if you’re new this is the first Monday of the month. Today is the first Monday of October 2018. And on the first Monday of each month I give an update about my business.
And so in today’s episode I’ll be talking to you about all order of things including what’s going on with me personally. There was a lot of time off this month and kind of time away. What I’ve done with my Web site and my online marketing. How the podcast is growing. Short answer is it’s mixed but I’m pretty happy with it. And a few other things that I want to talk about and then I’ll look forward into what October holds and how I will plan this month and essentially like what kind of progress I intend to make this month. That is the episode today. I do want to let that if you think that there’s something that’s holding you back in your business, you’re not really clear on who you’re serving, about how you’re marketing yourself, about how you’re developing more awareness and booking enough prospects so that you can grow the business that you want. If you’re looking to land people online through online sales and marketing, any of those kinds of things, I would love to help you with it.
Now I have allocated sometime this month to have strategy calls. If you’re interested in having a strategy call with me. Super easy. All you have to do is go to Liston.io/strategy. You can book a call with me and then I’m going to ask you a few questions so you can fill me in on your situation and we can have a productive call. So again that’s Liston.io/strategy. I do have a present for you and it’s called the five essential email templates that every consultant needs in their business in order to win $10,000 clients. All you have to do to get that free PDF, super simple, you can copy and paste the email templates and use them in your emails immediately, there’s no delay there. All you have to do is go to Liston.io/emailtemplates.
OK Monthly Monday, October, what is my October update? And of course this is going to be looking back into September. So what I did in September can really be broken into a few categories. Number one, I worked a lot on my online marketing and I have lots of updates for you there. Number two, I continued to work on growing this podcast. Actually I guess it’s three. Did I say there were two categories? Number three, maybe you can consider the podcast as part of the first bucket of online marketing. But the next thing I did was I took some personal time and I’m going to start there and then dig into kind of the business.
In September I went on vacation with my wife. We went to Nashville Tennessee, shout out if you’re in Nashville, amazing town, great music, lots of great food, just a beautiful place. There are some things about it that remind me of where I live which is Portland Oregon. I really loved my time in Nashville. If you are in Nashville I do recommend a wonderful restaurant called City House in Germantown. It was amazing. But we did lots of touristy things there and originally we were planning to go east to Asheville North Carolina, not to be confused with Nashville Tennessee, but we were going to Asheville North Carolina and then Raleigh and you may remember that there was a giant hurricane there so we decided not to do that and reroute our trip, unpaid plug for Air B and B for giving me a complete refund on my Asheville stay, they didn’t have to do that. The owner of the place didn’t want to give me a refund but they did give me a full refund. So that was amazing.
And lucky enough for us we have some friends in Chicago, Lainie and Peter, and they were amazing, they let us stay with them for a week. So that was awesome. We spent a week in Chicago. I wanted to give a shout out to a former client of mine, Charlie. We met up in Chicago and had shared a basket of chips and some Mexican beer at a place called Big Star in Chicago and also shout out to my good friend Raj ,a.k.a. Raj nation, a.k.a. the startup hype man, a.k.a. the rapping startup hype man, a.k.a. the guy with a lot of a.k.a.s. Raj was awesome, bought my wife and I drinks and we got to see him in person. And so I met Raj on LinkedIn and it’s like really nice to actually meet people so that was amazing.
So I did that and we were gone for like two weeks and this I have to tell you was scary for me. Now I knew that I was having some burnout in my business. This year has been like an absolute whirlwind and I’ve sort of felt like a lightning rod all year. However even knowing that I needed the vacation it felt disruptive to my business to be gone for that long amidst a time and I’ll be honest with you, this summer was kind of a slow time. I had many many leads coming in. Some of them just didn’t work out for various reasons. I’ll update you on my own sales which I learned something over the weekend about which I’ll be happy to share with you. But the bottom line is things have been a little bit slower for me lately. Even though this year has absolutely been fantastic way more than I ever could have imagined. But if you’re self-employed you know especially if you’re a solo business, you know that there are ups and there are downs and the last couple months were more of a down or slower time for me even though I did a lot of productive things. But being away on vacation made that a little bit scary.
One thing that I would do differently next time is plan my vacation more in advance and my feeling is August and December are the slowest times by far for consulting. So I really should have planned my vacation better to coincide with those times. But a couple of things happened earlier in the year that screwed things up for me. I didn’t plan properly, the way I structured some of my engagements were not conducive to me taking a vacation when I wanted and that is my lesson learned. But overall had a great time on vacation.
Another thing I wanted to update you on is I’ve taken up running. So of course this is a business podcast, this is targeted at helping you build your own better consulting company. However I do want to emphasize the need for exercise and health. So on the one hand all exercise gives you the benefit of stress release. There’s all kinds of health benefits as well. And on the other hand exercise also gives you more energy. We have to show up. We have to be our best selves. We have to be energetic for our clients. We have to be in some ways inspiring people. And I find that exercise helps me do that.
And so I started running about six weeks ago. I really had no plans when I started other than to improve my fitness, my cardio fitness. I’ve been lifting weights for a long time and I knew that my cardio fitness was not where I wanted it to be so I figured I’ll start running three days a week, not a big deal, maybe three miles every day. Of course I couldn’t stick to that because I’m so competitive with myself so I went from 3 miles to 4 miles to 5 and then I started doing a long run once a week and last week I ran 9 and a half miles on Tuesday and then 7 miles on Thursday and then I went for a run while I was in D.C. this last weekend. And this coming Sunday as of publishing this episode, this coming Sunday October 7th, I’ll be running a half marathon. So it didn’t take me long to go from “Oh this is just something I’m going to do to get a little more healthy” to like “I have to now conquer running in some way.” Whatever that means for me.
But anyway what I would encourage you to do is have something that challenges you physically because I think it also prepares you mentally for growing your business. Of course I’m not saying that only athletes or only people who challenge themselves physically will grow a business successfully. Obviously that’s not true. However I do find that it helps me so take it for what it’s worth.
You may have noticed also that given all of my distractions, my vacation, working on my new funnel which I’m going to get to in a second, getting feedback on improving Consulting Sales Bootcamp, various other things that I’ve been working on. All of those distractions have meant that I have done a really really terrible job on social media lately. So if you are in my Facebook Group, Consulting Power Up, if you’re connected with me on LinkedIn you may have noticed that I fell off of social media. I even missed my newsletter for two or three weeks in a row, I can’t remember. So that is not something that I do very often and I’m gonna get to that in a second because having that happen was a really big deal. And so anyway I don’t want to belabor the point.
So what did I do? I’ve been talking about my vacation, I’ve been talking about running and then I talked about what I didn’t do in my business now I might as well tell you what I did do. So first of all big shout out to Ashley of New Coast Media. Big shout out to my good friend Rob Williams at Folyo, F-O-L-Y-O, for their help in putting together a new home page for me. So Ashley mostly worked on the copy. She did a lot of the kind of layout and structure of the page. And Rob did design and font choices and he and I worked together and we’re still working together on improving the overall look and feel of the page and the brand. So thank you to them. So I did launch a new home page for my Web site. There are all kinds of things I need to do to the Web site at this point but I feel really good about that. That’s been nagging me for a while. And the real reason I felt it necessary to update the home page was I created my Web site in January and I think it was good enough for a long time but now I’m starting to reach more and more people and I want to leave a really strong impression.
So if you’re a listener to this podcast you may have heard my episode on the purpose of your Web site. One of the purposes is to leave a great impression immediately and I didn’t really feel that my Web site was doing that. Having it updated is just something that needs to happen. So I’m really glad that that’s done. And I thank them for their help with that. The copy is also better. Ashley helped with the copy and the structure of the page. Think I’m gonna go out and do some revisions but as I invest particularly in paid traffic particularly in this podcast I also have my assistant doing all order of things on social media and I’m going to embark on some syndication very shortly. All of these investments require me putting my best foot forward on my Web site and so I really wanted to get that done. I’m glad it is not quite done, let’s say 70-80 percent of the way there. And so that’s all in order.
Bigger than that though, I updated the strategy call offer that I have on my Web site. So maybe you want a strategy call with me, again all you have to do is go to liston.io/strategy. But I added a booking widget. I added a forum. I made it look a lot better. It’s really well laid out. It connects to lots of other things that are going on in the background. And so once I did that I immediately got something like I don’t know seven or eight calls booked over the course of two weeks which is great because I want more people coming to me on the phone in order to A) help them and B) see if my coaching engagements are a fit for them. So that was great. And I would really recommend you do that if you want. Feel free to go toListon.io/strategy if you want to steal anything I’ve done there. If you have any questions for me of course just go to Liston.io/podcast. You can leave a voicemail for me there and I’d be happy to answer you right here on the air in one of the subsequent podcasts.
One of the biggest endeavors I took on, actually I think the biggest endeavor that I did in building my business in September is putting together a brand new funnel and I’m testing Facebook acquisition. So let me translate that for you in case you don’t know what that means. Basically I am paying for advertising on Facebook and I’m targeting people who are most likely to be a perfect fit for me in my business. I’m gonna share some numbers with you in a second but when I said new funnel that meant I shot I think it was something like seven or eight videos in a single day of varying lengths from like 60 seconds all the way up to 30 minutes. I created 8 to 10 landing pages. I wrote while I was on the plane actually for vacation, I wrote something like 19 emails on the flight. They weren’t perfect. They needed some updating but I knocked those out.
And so I put all of this together in order to get people to A) download something which is the 5 sales email templates, gonna start testing out something new pretty soon. Once they download that they get to see a thank you page that asks if they want to schedule a call with me. After they do that they get a series of emails. There’s also a webinar in there and so if they take the webinar then it offers them a strategy call. So that’s kind of how the funnel works. I know I just flew through it.
If you want to acquire business online I think you need something like this, definitely not something as complicated as I’ve put together. There’s a simpler version of it and it actually doesn’t need to be that complicated. It doesn’t require that many tools and you can execute on something like that for total amount of tools let’s say one to $200 a month, something like that. So it’s not a huge expense. But if you have any questions about how to do that again and you think that would be a good thing for your business feel free to book a call with me, I’d be happy to chat about it.
Now the big question was would I be able to advertise to net new people. This is called “cold traffic”, quote unquote, in online marketing speak. Would I be able to advertise to them and get them to download something that I’m offering them. The short answer is yes but it was pretty expensive at first. So in the first week of the ads, we’re only two weeks into it, in the first week of ads we were paying, I say we because my very good friend Dylan Hay is helping me with this and he’s doing most of the heavy lifting on the campaign. So he and I are working together, he’s basically telling me what we need to do and how it’s going to work and we’re trying a bunch of stuff. So the first week we acquired leads at $25 per lead so that’s really expensive, by lead I mean an email address.
The second week was $10 a lead. And at this point I still don’t have anyone who’s booked a strategy call with me which tells me there’s something seriously wrong here. So there needs to be some tweaks because my goal is to have more strategy calls with qualified people of course. However going from 25 to 10 feels like a small win. Ultimately all I care about is how much do I pay for a new client. But that is something to think about. One thing I would convey to you is that this is a long process. I’m looking at this as a three month experiment which is how long Dylan and I are going to be engaged on this. And then after three months only then will I be able to make a decision about what I want to do next and I’ll have learned a lot of things and so I’m taking notes and kind of documenting things as I go. But that was a big big part of the work time that I did have this month.
The last update I wanted to give you is about a in-person workshop that I attended called Foster Your Roster. It was put on by I think I can call him my friend, Craig Faxon, F-A-X-O-N, I’ll link to his Web site in the show notes. And what he does is he helps coaches fill their roster with clients. And so the promise of the event was to teach coaches how to accelerate and build up the business side of their business, not the coaching part but the business. I learned a lot and I’d say most of the learning that I had was in interacting with other people there. So met some wonderful people there. It was an awesome experience and I think one of the things that I learned is I need to get out of my comfort zone more in my business. I spend way too much time at home. I love working from home and I would recommend it to you if you don’t need constant face to face interaction with other people. However there’s something about being in person obviously that’s wonderful and amazing and I really had a great time there.
I also learned that I need to focus on my marketing and really put the podcast at the top of the list. One of the exercises we did with Greg was to document all of the different ways that you can acquire clients through marketing channels or acquire awareness and attention through marketing channels. I’d been feeling this for a while and I just felt that I’ve been doing too much. As I look at all of the things that I’ve done that have worked this year, yes LinkedIn has been enormously important. I’m not going to give that up. But of all of the things that I do the one that I enjoy the most by far is the podcast and also the best feedback I’ve gotten is on this podcast. And so I really want to let the podcast lead every other type of content that I create.
And so last night on the plane in this new commitment to focusing on the podcast I’ve decided to double down my efforts on the podcast and let the podcast be the generator of basically my entire content program. And so maybe this is something I can cover in a later episode about how to leverage each piece of content that you create. But basically what I’ll be doing is recording this podcast, creating social posts out of it, creating articles, creating videos and then promoting all of those and then syndicating all of the derivative content that I create from each podcast episode. So I know that’s a lot. Maybe I can cover it in another episode, if you’re interested just ping me in my Facebook group or on LinkedIn. I’d love to hear from you if that’s something that would be interesting to you.
So that was one of the big takeaways is I need to focus more on the podcast and I’m absolutely spread way too thin in the things I’m doing. And I’m doing lots of good stuff but right now I’m not doing any of it well. So let’s change that. So I’m really going to focus on this podcast so you can expect a higher frequency of publishing on the podcast. You can also expect more quality, more promotion here, more and better guests, on and on and on. So I have lots of plans for it but that’s basically what I wanted to convey. That was the first thing that I learned is I’m just spread too thin.
Two things I learned about how I’m selling my coaching services at Foster Your Roster. Number one is I’ve gotten extremely lazy and I’ll tell you what that means in a second. And number two, I’ve become very close minded. The laziness really comes from having lots of strategy conversations over the year. And where I’m doing really well is I’m helping the people I talked to clarify their issues. They’re talking to me about what’s going on in their business, why they’re stuck, where they really want to be, what the implications of being stuck are, where I’ve become lazy is I’m not connecting back the things that I can offer them to the outcomes that they want, to the future that they want. I’ve gotten lazy and I’ve just become like the sales robot where I’m going through the motions, I’m telling them about my coaching program and I’m just kind of like “Well take it or leave it, I’d love to work with you but if you don’t want to work with me no big deal.”
I think there’s an emotional investment that I’m often not making where I should be telling people “I think you’d be making a mistake by not doing this.” I know that that may sound pushy however I also legitimately believe that if I work with people I can give them a transformation, it will be transformative and that they will be stuck if they don’t take any action whether it’s with me or someone else. And so I think that that’s something that I need to overcome. When I say I’ve gotten close minded what I mean is oftentimes I’m talking to people about in the frame, they’re coming to me in the frame of my positioning which is I help consultants sell their expertise with confidence. But a lot of times people have other issues either downstream or upstream from that. So they have delivery problems or more likely they’re not attracting enough leads into their business.
One thing that I’ve done exceptionally well this year and I’m not bragging about that I just know I have is I’m attracting tons and tons of people to my business, having calls with them, building my email list, doing all of these things that generate leads for me. And yet I’ve become so closed minded and so bought into my own positioning that I’m refusing to help people with other things in a coaching setting. Now of course if they just wanted to take a group coaching program or training program that specifically targeted in one way then it may not be a fit for them if what their problem is isn’t covered. However in a one on one setting there’s lots of different ways that I can help people and I’ve become a little bit closed off to helping them in other ways even though I know rationally I can provide tons of help for them.
So those things were a huge win for me and a huge benefit to going to Foster Your Roster. So just wanted to give a shout out to Greg, wanted to thank Greg. Maybe I can get him on this podcast eventually to talk about how he’s grown his business. I think a lot of you who are thinking maybe about transitioning from consulting to selling advice and/or coaching, that would be beneficial. I know it’s something that I’ve spent a lot of time on this year and I have a lot to share there too but maybe I can get Greg on the podcast.
Speaking of which, quick update on the podcast. There’s not a lot to say about the growth of the podcast, month over month the growth is flat for downloads. I have the same number of downloads in September but I only published four episodes in September as opposed to August where again I had the same number of downloads between August and September but in August I published seven episodes. So four episodes compared to seven episodes, same number of overall downloads for the month. So I’m getting more downloads per episode but I’m not publishing enough so that’s something I’m going to change very quickly and hopefully you will be ecstatic about all the new content that I’m bringing you here on this podcast.
So what October holds for me. Number one obviously, I am going to get ahead of the podcasting schedule that I set forth and I’ve spent a lot of time documenting my process, what needs to be done and then outsourcing a lot of different activities to my virtual assistant Tiffany who’s been a huge help. But she’s going to be kind of running the back end of this podcast and she’ll also be running my LinkedIn so maybe if you’re interested in that I can do an episode on automating your LinkedIn or getting a V.A. to help out with your LinkedIn.
In October I also need to dial up acquisition. So I want to get to a point where I’m booking at least four strategy calls every single week and having four strategy calls every single week. So I’m really close to that now but dialing that up slowly every month is something that’s very much at the top of my radar.
I’m really going to outsource more of my social media. I think one thing that I’ve seen is social media is important to me. I love interacting with people. I don’t love the act of going in and checking stuff all the time. And so what I really want to do is outsource as I mentioned part of my LinkedIn which I actually did for the first time today. And so we’re working on that. I want to outsource part of my Facebook. You will be hearing from me on social media still. But there are lots of background things that can be done.
And then the last thing I want to do this month is I have not sold enough over email. So sometimes I get aggressive in my emails and really promote whatever thing de jure I’m working on. However, I’m not on a regular basis telling people “Hey book a strategy call with me.” Even though I do it here on the podcast, even though I sometimes do it on social. But again I could probably be better about it on social. I am going to start at least once a month sending an email to my list, inviting them to take me up on a strategy call offer. So that’s what October has in store for me. I want to book more calls ,that’s primarily the number one thing that I want to focus on. So four per week, four weeks in October, that’s a minimum of 16 calls. Going to make a note of that right here and I can report back to you. There are some other ways that I can tweak that. I also want to get ahead of this podcasting schedule, outsource some of my social media and then sell more via email.
The last thing that I want to mention is when I was at Foster Your Roster I started thinking really deeply about my business and it shook me up a little bit. I really enjoyed my time at Foster Your Roster however I’d say I definitely walked out of there in some ways with more clarity but in other ways with less clarity about what I should be doing and who I should be doing it for and how I can leverage the things I’ve built already for whatever slight pivot or tweaks I make to my business. So that’s something that I’ll continue to think about, not ready to make any announcements about that quite yet.
Again, I wanted to thank you, you dear listener, you, you yes you, for being here, for listening to this, for inviting me along to share my experience, share some of the things I’ve learned along the way with you and hopefully I’m helping you grow your business. Again, if anybody who would benefit from this it would first of all be extremely flattering to me but it may actually help them too. If you just suggested to them to listen to the Liston.io Show. Obviously it’s free to listen. Free to subscribe. Whether or not you do that I do hope you have a fantastic day. Bye.