This blog is about how I brought my struggling biz back from the brink.
So if you have been following me for a while you may know that around 4 years ago I ran into some troubles in my business.
To make a long story short my business was doing OK, not at its peak and not at its worst and I made a decision to borrow money from a lending institution for a launch. I borrowed from memory about $30k based on the knowledge that every launch I’d done for the previous 2-3 years had been at least 6-figures and generally multiple 6-figures.
I did it because it seemed like a way to reduce the stress and friction of investing only what I had immediately available and being able to do it the way I wanted to upfront.
It didn’t work.
I had a really bad launch and what’s worse I ended the launch with a bad debt.
I then ran into trouble because I was not putting away enough money for tax and had a big tax debt.
I then borrowed money from my parents but didn’t do it the right way – as in not agreeing upfront exactly how long the loan would be for, when I would be expected to start paying it back and how much over what period of time and what happens if the situation got worse.
After about a year when the business still hadn’t improved and my parents were losing patience with my lack of paying the money back.
This ended up in some pretty horrible events which I won’t go into here but suffice to say it was one of the worst times of my life.
During this time I accepted that I needed to take on a job to get us out of this situation, I made some hard decisions like selling my car (which I loved) to pay back my parents as quickly as possible and I set about getting our personal finances back on track using the barefoot investor model. I managed to pay them back just 4 months later.
A needed transition.
It left me asking myself some really hard questions like
“am I quitting my business?”
“Can I just be an employee?”
“If not, then what would I do even if I am never “successful” in my business again?”
Just before taking this job which I ended up in for 2.5 years I went on a retreat to Bali, a trip that had been long booked in but that I clearly couldn’t really afford…
I honestly thought on this trip that my business was O.V.E.R. I was preparing myself for life after business. But I found myself talking to people about their astrology charts on this retreat and it was actually the start of a whole new business staring me in the face.
But this blog isn’t really about this event in my business.
I’ve had clients who are still in the position of working for someone else or who have similarly had a bad period in their business ask me how I managed to bring my business back from the dead so to speak.
So on this Aries New Moon as I start this new chapter back in my business full-time for the first time in 2.5 years I’d thought I’d tell you how I did it.
How I bought my struggling biz back from the brink
So firstly I had to decide that I wanted to, that I didn’t just want to shut it all down and the answer that I did came pretty quickly.
I also started this job with my manager knowing that I had a business so it’s not like I had to hide it, however, I did need to be careful initially that they didn’t see it as a distraction in the early days when I really needed the income.
What could I do easily?
So firstly I was working full-time so I had to ask myself a couple of questions – what could I do fairly easily and what did I want to do even if it didn’t give me a huge financial pay-back (initially or ever).
I realised that I could do non-leveraged offerings like readings in the evenings or early mornings and that I could write courses and support students in the evenings and weekends.
So clearly the word “easily” is misleading – there was nothing easy about working full-time in a new job in work I had not done in 10 years whilst still trying to build back up a new business on nights, weekends, and lunch breaks. This is not for the lazy or the faint-hearted.
Break it down
I had a vision for a 1-year astrology program right from the start but taking on delivering and supporting students through that initially would have been far too stressful. I also at that time probably would not have earned enough for it to feel good and I would have ended up resenting it for a whole year.
I started with Foundations of Astrology and Your Astrological Signature.
But after these first two courses I realised I was not bringing in enough new leads so I went back and created my free course Astrology Basics.
And then I just kept going creating Your Astrological Style, Your Astrological Substance, Your Astrological Purpose, Astrology Abundance and Your Soulful Year.
You can find out more about these courses over at the Embodied Soul Astrology Academy.
I did this for 2 years and at about the 2-year point my list was big enough and I had enough of the content that it made sense to launch my Level 1 Certification Program.
Package it back up
Once I had written a number of the Astrology courses I was then able to package it back up into the 1-year certification that I had in mind all along and create a higher-end offering that could genuinely create a full-time income for me.
Accept that my launches would be simple
I’ve had multiple six-figure launches that I plan for 6 months in advance.
I couldn’t do this whilst working full-time so I had to do the easiest launches possible which basically meant an email sequence, relevant blogs, and some social media posts.
My early launches were as small as a couple of thousand dollars and up to $10k but they paid for my time creating the content and assets.
A good free offer + Facebook ads
I mentioned earlier that I realised that I needed a good way to attract people to my business and with Astrology the biggest objection is understanding it enough to feel like you could learn it and use it.
Once I had the revenue to support it I then decided to try ads for this free course and we have managed to get pretty good results so each month a certain budget goes towards ads for this free course bringing in constant new leads for the business.
Consistency in engagement
Seriously this is probably the most boring and the most impactful thing I did.
And for the most part I have done this.
Over the last couple of years I have had a couple of blogs that bring in over 5,000 visitors a month. Blogging still really works for my niche. I also always create images to pin to Pinterest and I get 1,000 visitors a month from there.
Sending a newsletter every week with a useful blog keeps my audience engaged and interested in what I have to say and offer.
And my instagram feed builds a closer connection with people by mixing astrology education which posts about my life, my interests, and the things I love.
Organisation & Planning
So you might be wondering how the hell I did the above.
Well I had a sunday planning routine.
On Sunday I grabbed out my diary and wrote in any of business appointments and made sure that I blocked out time to prepare for any clients sessions or write or record content for courses.
I scheduled my instagram feed and decided in-advance what my blog for the week would be about.
I blocked out time to write and set-up the blog and send the newsletter.
So when did I do the work?
Whenever I could! I often wrote blogs in my lunch-break, prepared readings for clients in the evenings and did admin on the weekends.
I honestly think that part of the reason I have been successful is that I have diversified in my business by offering 1:1 astrology readings, astrology courses and eventually a new business offering AstroBranding over at Pisces Creative Co.
Yes it is a bit more complicated to manage and it is not all leveraged but it has allowed me to test different things and see what is most needed and wanted.
I guess I explain this like: “go wide to go narrow” because I now know exactly what people will and will not buy and I can focus in on that.
Niche & look for Market Gaps
I think my success over the last 9 years has ultimately been about niching and finding gaps in the market.
My first multiple six-figure course e-Course Launch Formula was created at a time when people didn’t even really know what an “e-Course” was. I got in at a good time because I saw how amazing this revenue stream was and how many people I could help. I got in early and became one of the first people teaching it.
I did similar things with my current business, I looked for an Astrology niche, I looked at what others were not doing well and I created a new way to look at an existing service i.e. AstroBranding.
I honestly think that if I had implemented profit first in my business 4 years ago I never would have ended up in the situation I did.
We had implemented a similar system for our personal finances so applying Profit First to my business just made sense and things changed very quickly once I did.
It really has enabled me to confidently quit my job and go back full-time in my business.
Patience & Focus
I can’t stress enough how this was not an overnight success story – it took 2.5 years of hard work and focus.
I had to really want it and believe in it before others could see it.
My husband finally believes in my business again but it was a long road to get him back to being my biggest cheerleader and not my biggest doubter.
I think when you have a job it’s really important to try and incrementally shift back into your business. I was lucky enough to have a boss that knew and respected that I had other passions and wanted to support me to slowly transition back.
So I worked full-time for 12 months, then I did 4 days for another 12 months and then went down to three days expecting it to be for another 12 months but my business grew enough in the last 3-4 months that I realised my time was the only thing holding it back from further growth.
It was time to take the leap!
I hope this blog has been helpful and that it gives you some tips and inspiration to keep going in building your dream business!