The Top 10 Things I Did This Year that Grew My Blog + Online Biz the Most

how to start and grow a profitable online business

Holy crapola, I can’t believe that 2016 is already almost over. I mean … did the earth get sucked into some giant black hole which caused some weird time warp or something?!

Surely there has to be a perfectly reasonable explanation, right?

(Yes, the probability that the earth got sucked into a giant black hole which caused a mega time warp is definitely a perfectly reasonable explanation!)

Ehem. Anyway. This past year has not only been a busy one, but also a really freak’in good one too filled with lots of growth in my online business! 

Some notable growth benchmarks from this past year include:

  • Going full-time; Transitioning from my photography business into making 100% of my income from my online business (which has been amazing.)
  • Going from 0 dollar months to $9,000+ months.
  • Growing my email list from around 2,000 people to over 17,000 people.
  • Going from around 3 - 4,000 Pinterest followers to now over 37,000 Pinterest followers (which has grown my traffic = grown my email list = grown my income!)
  • Starting a Facebook group from 1 person to now over 6,000 people.
  • Going from webinar virgin to “holy cow webinars are my new favorite!”
  • Being featured on several awesome podcasts, like this episode right here from Convertkit's 'Reach' podcast!

And lots more.

Like … it’s been a really busy year and I’ve worked my booty off, but it’s all been completely worth it.

I did a lot of things over the past year to grow my business, but I thought it would be both fun AND helpful to narrow it down to the top 10 things that had the biggest impact. (Sounds super exciting right?!

So in no particular order, here’s the top 10 things I did this year that grew my online business the most!

1. I switched to Convertkit for my email marketing.

I started off with using Mailchimp because that was the cheapest option, and while it was all fine and dandy it was a total pain in the you-know-what to try and do anything other than send a basic email to my subscribers!

Trying to do anything even remotely complicated like setting up email courses, funnels, automation rules, etc. had my very NOT tech savvy head spinning in circles as tears of frustration welled up on a constant basis. (Isn’t that a rather sad mental picture?)

Enter: Convertkit.

I love using Convertkit for emailing marketing about as much as I love petting cats with fluffy tails and binge watching zombie television shows on Netflix!

(And that’s A LOT, incase you were wondering.)

It makes everything that I had tears of frustration over in Mailchimp super easy.

And as a result of it’s easy-to-use-ed-ness (is that even a word?) I’ve been able to set up things like email courses, sales funnels, keep track of email subscribers based on interest, etc. with no problems. (Can I get an allelujah?!)

And the result of using Convertkit? Much better email marketing.

More effective sales funnels (which leads to more sales, which leads to more income), and the ability to much better serve the audience I have on my email list!

Speaking of email marketing, want step-by-step help for creating the perfect freebie to grow your email list (and business) with for free?

Perrrrrfect. :-) Because I created the free Ignite Your List challenge just for you that's got a 4 part video masterclass series, specific action steps and extra bonus content all delivered straight to your inbox, baby! It'll walk you through how to do things like ...

  • How to create the perfect freebie to provide value and attract the RIGHT people to your business (and straight onto your email list!) ;-)
  • The fastest ways to drive traffic to your freebie (without using paid ads. BOOM!)
  • What to actually send your subscribers to build relationships and make sales

Awesomely enough, tons of people who have taken the challenge have started seeing real growth + results in a matter of days! (Which is pretty dang exciting, if you ask me.)

So definitely check it out right here and be sure to sign up! Imagine having a shiny new freebie created to grow your list and business with in a matter of days. :D

2. I entered the wonderful world of Webinars.

Ah yes … there was once a time when I swore that I’d NEVER do a webinar. Like … ever.

I was terrified at the idea of live broadcasting (and all of the horrible mishaps that could happen live!), dumbfounded by the tech and scared crapless at the idea of trying to sell anything. ESPECIALLY selling live.

But then I forced myself to try doing one at the beginning of 2016 and, not to sound dramatic but … total effing game changer!!!

Not only were they a complete blast, but I also sold 12 of my online courses during the live event which lead to over $2,000 worth of sales during my first ever webinar. AND I also discovered that they were growing my email list faster than anything else.

(We’re talking faster than a mint plant on steroids!)

And the best part about them?

You don’t even have to sell anything. You can just do a webinar to be awesome, connect with your audience and provide crap tons of value while growing your list.

If you’d like to step outside your comfort zone and try doing webinars too, I’ve got tons of free webinar resourced to get you started.

3. I started creating online courses.

Oh man … I LOVE creating courses to help bloggers and online entrepreneurs kick major butt!!! In 2016 I created both free courses and paid courses.

The online courses that I’ve created were not only super ridiculously fun to make, but the free ones have grown my email list by literally thousands of people and the paid ones have … well … made me a lot of money. Ha!

And I’d consider both of those to be major wins. Like … the I just killed a hoard of zombies with my machete type of win!

However, online courses are also fantastic for other reasons besides just making moo-lah and growing your email list. They both help people AND they also help establish yourself as an expert in your particular area of expertise, which usually leads to more people reaching out to you regarding your area of expertise, which leads me to ...

4. I appeared on several podcasts.

I had several people reach out to me because they had seen my online courses.

And can I just say that appearing on a podcast is about as fun as jumping into a ball pit full of colorful balls? (Which is super fun, by the way. Was anyone else obsessed with ball pits as a child? … Just me?)

Ehem! But seriously. Being on several podcasts was not only super fun, but I got to meet some really cool people too. OH and they also lead to major boosts in my email subscribers and traffic. OH and they also helped me to further connect with people, stand out and continue to establish myself as an expert in my area of expertise!

(That’s a lot of benefits, people.)

If you’d like to take a listen to a couple of the podcasts that I appeared on, you can listen to the Convertkit 'Reach' podcast right here and the lovely Girl Boss Lounge podcast right here.

(Pssst, that's my colorful + quirky Blog + Life Planner!)

5. I used Pinterest strategically to get more targeted traffic.

Ah yes, Pinterest continued to be a very major source of traffic for me in 2016. In fact, it still remains as my biggest source of traffic!

I pretty much continued to do everything that I mentioned in this blog post right here.

And yo … I cannot sing the praises of using Board Booster enough … like … OMG IT’S AMAZING.

Not only has it saved me SO much time and sanity, (I literally spend 0 - 15 minutes per week on Pinterest), it’s also grown my Pinterest following from around 4,000 people to now over 37,000 people in less than 12 months. And can you guess what that results in?

Yep, crap tons more traffic.

(I sure do say “crap” a lot … I swear I’m not always thinking about poop!”)

If you want to learn exactly how I set up Board Booster and use it to kick Pinterest butt and get tons of traffic, then be sure to check out this course right here.

6. I created a detailed quarterly action plan to grow my business faster.

Yo ... this one is SO important.

I wouldn’t have accomplished even half of what I did had I not created a detailed action plan and shown up every. single. damn. day.

(With the occasional day off to maintain my sanity and non-work life, of course!)

It's really important to take care of your health and to actually schedule rest and relaxation time. Those things are important for happiness which is crucial for success! :-)

I showed up on the days where I felt scared or doubtful, when I felt like a failure, when I was feeling uninspired or unimportant or when I just didn’t feel like working.

Because guess what? Small, focused steps every day towards a goal leads to BIG results, baby! When I want something, I get determined. 

For example, I played Super Mario Bros for nearly ten hours yesterday because I really wanted to make it to the last stage of the game … hahaha!

(Also not gonna lie … I’m now developing a blister on my thumb.)

So yeah, I created a detailed action plan to grow my business so that I knew EXACTLY what I needed to do in order to grow my business and when.  

Doing that gave me tons of focus which allowed me to be way more productive and actually prioritize the things that mattered most! (And waste way less time.) 

Want help creating your action plan so that you can save time and be more productive?

Sweet. 

In that case, you should check out the Productivity Party!

7. I started a Facebook group.

I remember earlier in the year when I was terrified about starting a Facebook group because I was worried that no one would want to join! I was like that poor high school kid whose afraid to throw a party because they’re worried that no one will show up.

But then I got over myself (and those stupid fears) and started one.

And now, less than a year later, there’s almost 6,000 creative women in the group who support and inspire me every single day!

I seriously feel like my Facebook group is my cozy little home online. It’s helped me to serve and connect with my audience better, allows me to provide free value, gives me support and motivation, continues to grow my list, helps me come up with fabulous content ideas for my blog + biz and it allows me to make sales with the offerings that I have! (ALL good things, I tell ya.)

Oh! And if you’re a lady boss, you’re welcome to join said totally awesome Facebook group right here. We’re a pretty cool bunch, and I’ve been completely blown away by the level of support that the group gives each other!

8. I used Leadpages + Tons of content upgrades.

Growing my email list was something that I struggled with for a long time. And when I say “struggle,” I mean that it took me almost TWO YEARS to get 28 email subscribers! So ya know … I was averaging ONE new subscriber per month. And while I was grateful for that ONE new subscriber each month, I knew that I needed to do better.

Signing up for Leadpages was a scary investment for me at first (because let’s face it … I don’t like spending money unless I have to!)

However, it’s made doing things like offering content upgrades to grow my email list and creating registration + thank-you pages super easy.

(Because remember … I am NOT very tech savvy, haha!)

I love Leadpages because it makes creating attractive little pop-up optin boxes like this one right here (isn’t it cute?!) a no brainer and it also provides me with tons of ready made templates for things like registration & thank-you pages, live webinar pages, giveaway pages etc.

For some people Leadpages might not be a necessity, but for me it totally is because of the time and sanity it saves me on a daily basis.

Plus, I love that their pages are actually created and optimized for conversions!

9. I strategically scheduled my social media posts in advance.

Oh my gosh … they day I started pre-scheduling out all of my social media posts in advance is the day that I regained a shiz ton of time and sanity!!!

Like … I don’t even know how the heck I survived before without social media pre-scheduling. I use the free version of Hootesuite which grows my blog + biz by:

  • Saving me a ton of time (which allows me to spend more time growing OTHER aspects of my business)
  • Saving me tons of sanity (which is important if you want to be a semi-sane business owner, haha!)
  • Allowing me to plan out posts in a strategic manner (which is helpful so that I can remember to promote important things like my blog posts, my offerings, any launches etc.)
  • Saving me a ton of sanity (did I already say that one?!)

So if you haven’t tried pre-scheduling your social media yet, doooooo it!!!! Your life will be changed for the better, I promise.

10. I put focused sales funnels into place to sell my offerings on autopilot.

After creating some suh-weet paid offerings, I put a lot of effort into making various types of sales funnels for each of them. And doing THAT grew my business a ton since I was/am then able to make completely passive income while I’m off doing other things.

More time + more money = more growth.

(I took that photo while on a spring walk, isn't it purdy?)

If you want step-by-step help with starting or growing your own online business, then check out a little something I created below.

It is literally a complete roadmap for starting and growing your online business!

And there you have it, the top 10 things that have grown my blog + online business the most this year! It’s been a ridiculously fun / challenging / rewarding / stressful / crazy / busy / amazing year and I can’t wait to see what 2017 holds!

Did you find this post helpful? If so, make my day by sharing it on Pinterest! :D

Like ... I will give you a virtual mountain of donuts if you share this post.

No but really, I'd sincerely appreciate it, haha.

To share on Pinterest, just hover over the photo below and click on the little "P!" 

And now I’m curious … what’s grown YOUR business the most this year? DO share below, I love reading about what is working for others!

It’s super inspiring.

And now … time for some ultra tasty chicken noodle soup!

xoxo
Allison