Q2 Review: From Beach Bum Blogger to Surfing Entrepreneur
If you’re a new reader to the Skool Life as of this quarter, then you might not be familiar with my quarterly reviews. It’s actually something I recommend every blogger does so they can measure the progress towards all of the goals they set. Even though you are hacking at it every day, grinding out, you’ll be amazed at how much you’ve actually accomplished over the last 3 months. Below you’ll find links to all of of my previous quarterly reviews which go into detail about exactly what I’ve done to grow my blog and business:
- Q1 2010 Review and Q2 Marketing Plan
- Q2 2010 Review and Q3 Marketing Plan
- Q3 2010 Review and Q4 Marketing Plan
- Q1 2011 Marketing Plan and Review
In many ways I’d say this quarter was really an evolution from a beach bum blogger to a surfing entrepreneur. I’ve been thinking about things on a much bigger level, considering what it’s going to take to go the whole nine yards, and always looking at every situation with the mindset of what’s possible. With that being said let’s take a look back at the last quarter.
Traffic and Subscriber Growth
As strange as it may seem, this has become less and less of a priority every single quarter. I actually think metrics and measurements can limit your potential. It’s odd, but I think after a certain point small adjustments make a big difference and traffic growth starts to take care of itself. If you really want to grow you traffic and subscribers my recommendation is to read Social Triggers and implement all of Derek’s advice. It’s simple and straight forward. But, just in case you’re curious and enjoy graphs, charts, and all that jazz I’ve included some of the stats below.
A Developing Voice
A while back I wrote about the evolution of skill, specifically focused on writing. One of the things that’s been interesting for me is to go back and compare what I was writing a year ago with what I’ve been writing lately. If you look at your own writing and compare it to your past writing you’ll start to notice that you undergo an evolution of sorts. Even as I’ve started to work on taking old content and repurposing for the publication of my book, I’m actually rewriting it based on my current writing style.
Q2 Highlights and Accomplishments
Blogworld Speech: I think it’s safe to say that my biggest highlight of the of the quarter was the opportunity to speak at Blogworld. If you had told me when I started this blog that I’d be speaking at Blogworld some day, I’d probably say you were out of your mind. This was definitely one of the higlights of my blogging journey. For those of you who didn’t catch the speech when we posted it on BlogcastFM, I’ve embedded it below. I also need to give a shoutout to my friend Marcus Sheridan who edited this and put it together for me.
The Relationship Marketing E-Book Launch
- The Writing Process: Launching an e-book was a goal I had set last quarter and I’m happy to say that I actually managed to get this launched before the end of the quarter. While writing your first e-book might seem like a daunting task, it’s actually not. I basically did the equivalent of writing one or two pages per day. One of the things I did during the writing process was ask people for feedback long before the book was completed. The good thing about this was that it allowed me to fill in the blanks and give people what they needed. While it may not be considered a best practice or even a good practice, I didn’t survey my audience on any of my sites. Instead I thought about a subject that I knew really well, building relationships online, and that’s how I determined the subject matter.
- The Design Process: By now you’ve probably seen my rave more than a handful of times about the work that Lauren Rains has done on this e-book. But I think the fact that anybody who has seen a copy of this e-book and is considering their own launch asks for her services speaks for itself. One of the things that I loved about working with Lauren is that I was able to give her two or three examples of things I really loved, and give her complete creative freedom from there. The lesson here is work with people you trust and set them free. Don’t micromanage the process. Lauren would send me an update every week or so an we’d chat casually whenever we needed to. Make it easy for people to work with you and they’ll go above and beyond.
Marketing the E-Book
As you may or may not know I actually delayed this launch quite a bit, almost by 3 weeks thanks to a conversation with Nick Reese. If I hadn’t listened to him I probably would not have been able to purchase my new surfboard. The day before Blogworld I realized I had no launch plan at all. I was just about to put the e-book up for sale and see what happened. That would have been really stupid. Fortunately I decided to take a look back at some launches and I developed a full blown launch plan that looked something like this
3 Prelaunch BlogcastFM Episodes
- In the very first episode Sid Savara and I talked about the current state of BlogcastFM, Blogworld and announced the launch of the book. We got people thinking about it without trying to sell them anything.
- For the second episode I interviewed my good friend Farnoosh Brock about the role that relationship marketing has played in her own journey as a blogger. The key to the pre-launch content for the e-book was to provide something useful to the audience regardless of whether they bought it or not. It wasn’t a hard sell. I only mentioned it at the very end of the episode.
- On the day of the launch, rather than publish a sales page, I recorded an interview with John Falchetto, and linked the sales page to the interview. As a result the promotion of the product was built in and I didn’t have to ask anybody to tweet the interview or share it.
I would say this was the weakest point in my entire launch because I didn’t plan it very well. Like many other things I think when it comes to your affiliates you really want quality over quantity.
- Multiple Free Copies: I probably sent out about 20 free copies to different bloggers who have been big supporters of The Skool of Life and BlogcastFM. The key to getting value out of the free copies you send is not necessarily getting the people with the biggest list, but the the people who respond the product with the most enthusiasm. Fortunately I’ve got three affiliates who have been big believers in this product:
- Francisco Rosales at Social Mouths actually was a big supporter and allowed me to write about how relationship marketing helped me to land a dream client.
- Jessika Hepburn who was a recent guest on BlogcastfM is actually going to be interviewing me for the OhMyhandmade community and promoting relationship marketing through her network which is quite substantial.
- John Falchetto: John actually wrote an entire post on relationship marketing and at the end linked my book without even asking for an affiliate commission which was really generous him.
- Benny Hsu took one of the ideas in my ebook and wrote a post about 40 bloggers who are heating up this summer and leveraged it as an opportunity to talk about my ebook. It was actually a brilliant promotional strategy because the post itself was naturally the kind of the thing that generated lots of traffic.
Total Revenue: $509.00
At this point, I think it’s safe to say that I don’t really have a day job. I do freelance work and the company that was my full time employer is one of a portfolio of clients that I’m doing work for. Oddly enough, moving to Costa Rica and taking a crazy leap of faith has opened up more opportunities than I had anticipated.
- Flightster/Cheapair: At this point, this is not so much a job as it as a client given that I’m only working 10 hours a week on it. While it has been a substantial source of income up until this point, I will need to replace it given that the social media efforts are going to be tabled quite soon.
- Witch’s Rock Surf Camp: I suppose it was only a matter of time before my passion for blogging, social media, and surfing merged. I was really stoked to get the opportunity to work with an entrepreneur like Joe Walsh since he’s built such a thriving community here at the surf camp. One of the things that never ceases to amaze is the experience that he creates for the guests who come here and it’s evident in the fact that they return multiple times. Stay tuned for the details of the contest that I’m putting together for an all expense paid trip to surf camp here in Costa Rica.
Consulting Revenue: $5800
The final thing I do with each one of these quarterly reports is share my goals for the upcoming quarter. I didn’t actually accomplish everything that I set out to do which is why I try to only set 3 really big goals every quarter and work only on those. One thing I’ve realized is the reason that people get nothing done is they try to get everything done. This is a recipe for failure if you ask me.
BlogcastFM Product Launch
We’ve had some pretty big failures from the product launch standpoint. The revenue generated hasn’t justified the amount of effort that’s put into our product work. Fortunately we’re going back to the drawing board with this and we’ve got some really exciting stuff in store. I’ll more than likely be making a trip to Hawaii to spend a few days with Sid and do some strategic planning for Q4 along with mapping out an overall vision for the future of BlogcastFM. After reading through Richard Branson’s book Business Stripped Bare, I’ve made a point to start thinking like a CEO instead of a blogger. I send a weekly update to the team and I’m also in the process of setting up strategic partnerships that allow us to expand our revenue potential and offerings. We’ll be announcing some of those in the next few weeks.
By the end of the summer our goal is to drive BlogcastFM to over 50,000 downloads per month. How we’ll accomplish that is by bringing in guests from several other subject areas and hitting communities that would get great value from BlogcastFM, but don’t know about us yet. What’s even more interesting to note is that our entire following has been built organically through word of mouth. I’m really grateful for the community that we have at our disposal.
First Draft of the Skool of Life
As most of you know I made a decision to stop waiting for a big break and I’m heading dow the path to self publish my book. My goal is to finish the first draft by the end of this quarter and begin working with David Crandall’s new publishing company Fuulcrum to get the book edited, marketed and distributed. While I do intent to repurpose some of the content I’ve previously written, I’ll actually be rewriting a good amount of it and expanding on it.
Replace All Income from my Day Job and Triple It
If there’s one thing that has become really apparent to me in the last quarter is that it’s going to be time to step up my game. If I really intend to go from being location independent digital nomad to a jetsetter who chases swells then I’m going to have to start playing a much bigger game. While there is part of me that is giving some consideration to the idea of a day job (I submitted an application for the Blogworld Community Manager Position), I am still willing to do whatever it takes to live life on my own terms. That might mean some sacrifices that I haven’t planned on.
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