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

The Top 10 Things that Grew My Business the Most This Year | 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 14,000 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 hallelujah?!)

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

I’ve got 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!

Moving onto thing number 2 that grew my business the most …

2. I SET THE RIGHT GOALS FOR MY BUSINESS (AND PLANNED OUT MY YEAR ACCORDINGLY!)

Oh man … this made SUCH A BIG DIFFERENCE.

No joke, before I started doing this in 2015 I spent nearly FIVE YEARS working on my online business and I never made a single penny.

Like … legit NOTHING. 😂

This step was one of the biggest things that allowed me to finally go from five years of ZERO income to my first $8,000+ month within a few months.

Why?

Because up until I started doing this, I was a frazzled hot mess that was spending all of my time working on the WRONG things with no real plan for how I was going to consistently bring in revenue!

I was working my booty off but I WASN’T getting any meaningful results.

… I basically had an expensive hobby for a looooong time.

This might sound obvious but … you’ve gotta have 100% CRYSTAL CLARITY on what you want for yourself and your business if you ever want to get there- INCLUDING a plan for how you’ll bring in revenue.

(And yet 90% of online business owners lack clarity around their business vision and goals and DON’T have a clear plan for generating revenue, and then they wonder why they have such a hard time prioritizing their work tasks and making money!)

So.

If you reeeeeally want to see more growth in your business too, then you’ve gotta get clarity around the specific vision and goals that you have for your business (including how specifically you’ll generate revenue!), and then you must plan out your year accordingly.

This will ensure that the tasks you’re doing on a daily basis are actually moving you towards where you want to go! 😊

And I’ve got a free masterclass to help you do it.

(Just be sure to have your favorite beverage in hand when you watch!)

Wondering what else I did to grow my business?!

Allow me to share …

3. 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 have to sell anything in order to use them for growing your business!

You can just do a webinar to be awesome, connect with your audience and provide crap tons of value while rapidly growing your email list. 😊

4. 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 ...

5. 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!)

6. 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 Tailwind 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 40,000 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!”)

7. I STARTED A FREE 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 online business and it allows me to make sales with the offerings that I have!

(ALL good things, I tell ya.)

8. I USED LEADPAGES + TONS OF CONTENT UPGRADES TO GROW MY EMAIL LIST LIKE BONKERS.

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!

Want more on how to actually GROW your email list?

Don't panic, I've got you covered. 😜

Check out this blog post to see how I get 3,000+ new subscribers every month!

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 Smarter Queue which grows my business 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 SALES FUNNELS IN 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.

Because creating sales funnels that actually work is an essential part of building a business that gives you a whole lot more time and financial freedom.

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

And there you have it, those are the top 10 things that have grown my online business the most this year! I hope you found’em helpful. 😊

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, THEN SPREAD THE KNOWLEDGE BY SHARING IT ON PINTEREST!

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!" 

The Top 10 Things that Grew My Business the Most This Year | how to start and grow a profitable online business

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