My life today looks drastically different than it did just a year ago. At the beginning of 2018, I was working multiple part-time jobs teaching English (the go-to job for native English speakers in Spain), and taking any freelance project that came my way. I was living in a windowless, interior room in a shared apartment in Madrid that served as a bedroom, a classroom for my online English classes, and an office space for this business I was trying to get off the ground. It was less than ideal circumstances to say the least.
Fast forward just 18 months, and my life looks nothing like it did then. I now live in my absolute dream home for this season my life in the mountains outside Madrid, I have a growing business that provides a full-time income, and I know exactly where I’m going with my business and how I’m going to get there.
So how did I make such a major change in my life and business in just over 1 year? Well, it started by getting to a breaking point with my current circumstances and deciding I was determined to change them no matter what. I was already extremely clear on what I didn’t want (I was living it every day), so I decided to stop focusing on everything that was wrong, and start focusing on what I did want. Then I put all my energy into making it happen. Here’s how I did it (and how you can too!):
1. I got clear on what I wanted.
You’ll never get where you want to be if you don’t know where that is. That was my problem for a long time. After graduating with my master’s in digital media and marketing, I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do next. I knew I eventually wanted to start a business, but I didn’t feel like I was ready yet (hint: you will never feel 100% ready, you just have to go for it and figure it out along the way.) I felt like I should be looking for a full-time marketing position, (even though I had no real desire to work in a traditional job.) So I spent the better part of a year without a plan: half-heartedly submitting applications for jobs I didn’t want, and taking on totally unrelated freelance jobs that were not exactly building up a portfolio of relevant experience.
I had no plan for where I wanted to be, so I ended up somewhere pretty random. When I made that realization, that’s when everything changed. I decided to get clear on what I wanted to do, and put all of my energy into making it happen. I stopped submitting applications to jobs I didn’t really want, and I went full force into turning my freelance side hustle into a real business. I looked at my hodgepodge of marketing experience through my masters degree and freelance work, and realized that copywriting was the common thread between the projects I enjoyed the most and my clients that got the best results. And the rest is history.
2. I took imperfect action.
Action creates clarity. This phrase may be overused, but it’s because it’s true. Once I knew where I was headed, I started taking action in that direction even though I didn’t feel like I was ready and definitely didn’t have all the answers. (I still don’t.) I realized that nothing is ever going to be perfect, and keeping my work hidden until I had tweaked and “perfected” it until my eyes bled was not doing anyone any good. It was holding me back from the success I wanted in my business, and it wasn’t serving the potential clients I wanted to help. The thing I attribute most to any success I’ve had in business is my decision to let go of perfectionism and start taking action before I felt ready. Every time I’ve hit publish on something that wasn’t “perfect” I got the feedback I needed to refine it, make it better, and learn what I wanted to do differently next time. Imperfect action creates clarity, which will keep you moving in the right direction. Every single time.
3. I invested in my success.
This is a controversial one, and it’s also the #1 thing I attribute to any success I’ve had in my business. Since day one, (I’m talking before I had a website, a social media account, or a single paying client), I’ve continuously invested in support that helped me get to the next rung on my business ladder. I choose where to invest my money by looking at the next horizon of my business and choosing a program, a coach, or a community that will help me get where I want to be. Then I invest my TIME into getting the results that are possible as a result of that monetary investment. Investing in your business is about so much more than what you get in exchange for a monetary transaction. To me, it’s a symbol of my commitment to making this business work, no matter what. It’s intentionally surrounding myself with people who are equally invested in their businesses. And it’s committing both time and financial resources to the success you want to create.
If you feel like you can’t afford to invest in your business, ask yourself how committed you truly are to the results you want. If you’re committed, you can find the resources. And if money really is tight (believe me, I’ve been there!) there are so many membership communities out there for less than $30/month that will give you resources to help you grow your business and surround you with people working toward similar goals. Where there’s a will, there’s a way.
4. I listened to my ideal clients.
Every iteration of my business has been a result of listening to my ideal clients, and creating offers and messaging directly based on what I learned from them. Market research has been a big part of my business strategy since day one. At least every 6 months, I intentionally survey my audience, get on calls with people in my target market, and learn from them exactly what they need, where they’re struggling, and how I can help them through my business. I’m also constantly paying attention to what my clients and potential clients are telling me.Then, I create offers based on what they tell me they need, and I use their words in my messaging. It’s really that simple.
Listening to your ideal clients can be as easy as posting a poll or questions in your Instagram Stories, adding a few market research questions to your client intake questionnaires, or incorporating some intentional conversations into your discovery or fitting calls with potential clients. The better you know your ideal clients, the easier it is to position your services as something they want and need. Which brings me to…
5. I communicated the value of my services.
Listening to your ideal clients and knowing what they want from you is only half the battle. You also have to show them the value of your services in a way that makes buying a no-brainer. I took what I learned through my market research and I used it every single day in the way I communicate with potential clients. In my marketing messages, in my social media content, in my discovery calls, I was repeating what my clients told me they needed and showing how my services were a clear and simple solution that would bring them a tone of value. I worked intentionally to help potential clients see how working with me would not only take copywriting tasks off their plate, but also help them clear up their messaging and positioning in other areas of their business. I showed them how the money spent on a copywriter not only frees up time to focus on other areas of the business, but it also gives clarity of message that will translate into all of their marketing, which will have even more ROI in the long term. And I helped them see how they could repurpose the copy I wrote for them in future launches or in turning their content evergreen, which would continue to provide an even bigger return on investment in the future. When it’s spelled out like that in plain terms, it makes investing a no-brainer for the right person.
Get to know your ideal clients, and be intentional about showing them how your services can create an outcome they want, and I promise you’ll start to see the results. Not sure where to start? Be sure to grab my Selling with Empathy Roadmap, which lines out my exact process for getting to know your ideal clients and communicating your value in a way that feels good and gets results: