This week, we take a close look at a Digital Dining Room member and learn what’s possible when you focus like a laser on “one thing.”
Meet Colleen Conger of Think.Web.Go.
In June 2012, she was a struggling freelance graphic designer who’d never even heard of a thing called “the blogosphere.”
Now she’s making 300-400% more revenue than she was just a year ago.
How’d she make that happen? Let’s take a look…
Four months ago, she knocked at the door of my Digital Dining Room program. At that point, she had at least two different projects going and wanted to start a third. Before I accepted her application, I told her:
I can only help you build one thing here, Colleen. There’s not enough time built into this program (or your life) for me to help you build three businesses. You’ll need to choose a focus before we begin working together.
I asked her to consider these questions:
- Where are your skills and experience strongest?
- What do you enjoy doing most?
- Where do you see the biggest opportunity for generating revenue?
It didn’t take her long to pick a path: WordPress websites.
Once she had her focus, she put all her time and energy into crafting and polishing her marketing messages and sales conversations.
Sounds easy, but she’s been participating in my programs for awhile.
She stumbled onto TheWordChef.com in 2012 after taking a guest blogging course on another site, and “fell in love with the fabulous (and free!) information” she found there. She was also delighted and impressed by the friendliness of several bloggers she encountered.
Slowly but surely, she began to engage and participate with various Word Chef programs.
When the opportunity arose to join my pre-Prosperity’s Kitchen beta group, she jumped at the chance. There, she found a seasoned group of peers and colleagues, willing to pitch in and freely share advice that would help her run her business better.
When the beta group was over, she applied to and was accepted as a public contestant on Prosperity’s Kitchen (the first ever web-based reality show). And while she didn’t win the game, she wholeheartedly felt like she came out much richer for the experience: “I feel like I learned two years’ worth of information in just four months!”
Now, as a member of the DDR, she and I meet monthly (1-on-1 as well as groups) to craft a marketing plan (biz story outline) that works for her and her business. Each month, we focus as a group on one aspect of that plan and she’s held accountable to her own business goals and action items.
In her own words, here’s what she’s learned and implemented:
- Don’t be afraid to put something out there that isn’t absolutely perfect. You’ll never meet your own standards, and if you wait for perfection to happen, you’ll never accomplish anything. You (and the other folks in the DDR) gave me permission to show up and look funny, if need be.
- Put your own oxygen mask on first. Being helpful is a great trait, but if you don’t take care of your own house, set clear boundaries and be confident about who you are and what you can do, you’ll just end up being taken advantage of.
- Focus on one thing. I’d been a Jill-of-All-Trades for so long that I didn’t really have a clear message about what I did. Even though I didn’t want to believe that focusing on one thing would make a difference, it’s proven to be true. Put all your energy into one thing and you’ll get traction so much faster.
- Learn to delegate/outsource. You can’t do everything yourself. Nor do you want to. I’ve found fabulous business partners and referrals in the DDR and can now hand off bits and pieces of a project that I don’t want (or feel qualified) to do.
- It’s okay to say no to someone if they’re not the right client. I’ve gained so much confidence around my pricing and how to answer requests for proposals and estimates.
- Find a community of peers to help you. I didn’t realize how lonely I had become working from home until I found Tea’s tribe and started interacting with folks online. Now I’ve got worldwide friends and clients who run businesses now only in the United States, but in Canada, England and Australia. I feel like I’m part of a solid support foundation and have even branched out to a local Business Networking International (BNI) group and put into practice all the valuable information I’ve learned.
- Learn to give and accept constructive criticism. The advice and feedback I get from Tea and the rest of the group has been invaluable. Yes, a lot of times it’s hard to hear that you’re not hitting the mark with something – especially a project that you’ve put your heart and soul into. But on the flip side, I also get plenty of cheers and pats on the back, so I know that the critiques are honest and true. There’s no “handing out a compliment just to blow my skirt up” moments going on here.
Colleen’s favorite DDR lesson* (so far):
The Social media challenge (1 channel, 10 min/day for 10 days). She chose to work on LinkedIn and was surprised at how far just 10 minutes a day got her. She’s also leveraged what she’s learned about social media into her current product offerings and has gained new clients because of her skills. Find out more about Colleen and how she helps her clients at ThinkWebGo.com.
*Each month, we work on a different marketing/storytelling lesson together as a group. Those lessons come with actionable homework that’s meant to help you flesh out the details of your marketing plan (what we call the Biz Story Outline).
Wonderful piece, Tea and Colleen! I truly appreciate that you’re telling REAL stories about real business and real people, instead of the BS “make 6 figures with my exclusive mastermind system!” “stories.” (i.e., FICTION.)
So happy to hear that, Annie. We do our absolute best to combat that nonsense, right?!
Wonderful to hear a success story from someone I know – great piece, Tea and Colleen. 🙂
Glad you liked it, Sharon! Thanks for chiming in.
I’m one of those fortunate ones who’s reaping the benefits of Colleen’s new focus. She and I are partnering on a lot of great projects. She’s a real pro, a technical wiz and fun to work with. Thank you so much, Tea, for bringing us all together in your Digital Dining Room!!
I’m so happy to hear that you two are working together. It couldn’t happen to two nicer (and more experienced and professional) people!
Funny how narrowing your offerings results in a bunch more money coming in.
Laser focus can be a great thing (especially when it comes to who is in your “ideal client group” and who is not. That little bit of focus is a wonderful thing and cutting out the folks who are abusers, vampires, etc, etc… can really help you specialize.
I do this often; and most recently (today) turned down a $6K website contract because I knew there were just too many cooks in the kitchen. They weren’t my ideal client and while I thought their idea was awesome, I was going to be drowning in bug fix requests before the end of the week. Not an ideal way to spend my time!
Glad Colleen is on the right track and kicking butt!
Wow, Nick! I know that must’ve been a hard decision. Or maybe not so hard now that you’ve been at this awhile? So happy to hear you’re sticking to clear boundaries.
Not hard – super easy decision. Mental health for the win, man! 😀
What Annie said!
I’m fed up with all the crappy stuff out there and the alleged experts who are laser focused … laser focused on taking your money and selling you a pig in a poke.
Many congrats to Colleen for her success! Her case study was really fun to read and it holds a lot of keys to opening the right doors. 🙂
So glad you enjoyed it, Melanie. Thanks for chiming in!
Such a beautiful thing to read about one’s success and growth when we take the time to find those that help us grow and most importantly listen to them. We have to choose wisely and she definitely picked the right one! So happy for both of you!
Thank you, Michelle! It’s always such a thrill to see a client succeed. Even months or years later.