Episode 188: The Recap: September 2019
Here we go! It’s time for the recap and the rundown on what went down in my business in September 2019.
If September had a theme, it would be ‘It’s go time!’ Most of the month was on the intense side, and the work I did in August to get my head back in the game helped make a huge difference.
September was all systems go on new business as we started doing cold outreach again, and I spent a lot of time on proposals and new business development.
As a result, I’m happy to report that we signed three new clients — all of which are starting with a “test” project, and then we’ll go from there. My goal is for all three of these clients to turn into ongoing ones, but first, we’ve got work to do.
But real talk moment: We definitely didn’t see the financial upside of this immediately as we’re dealing with longer timelines to get paid with these corp clients. That means September revenue was great on paper, but not quite where I wanted it to be with money in-hand.
As I’ve said before, cash flow is a thing, so it pays to plan ahead. We’re totally great, and it’s going to be amazing when those invoices get paid.
What was interesting is that two of those clients came from cold outreach, and then one found us online. It shows that our time and efforts on lead gen pay off relatively quickly with cold outreach, and it’s got positive ROI.
New clients aside, we had one of our retainer clients hand over a rush project that was out of scope, and to be honest, typically, I don’t like this type of last-minute projects. But in this case, it was a solid yes. It was an interesting project and one that would be well worth my time. Plus, we had a small project from another current client get added-on, so September definitely was good to us.
I feel like we’re on track heading into Q4 and will hit our monthly revenue goals pretty much spot on. The funny thing is that when I set them last December, I wasn’t sure as to how we’d get there, but we’ve been pretty much on the mark all year long.
One thing I’m definitely going to commit to figuring out in Q4 is how we can better manage the up/down cycle we’re in with monthly revenue. To some degree, it’s just normal cash flow as money comes in when it comes in, but I’d like to see that number be more consistent month-over-month instead of experiencing spikes. I do think a lot of that will be getting some of these project clients on a regular monthly retainer, so our monthly recurring revenue is more predictable.
Are you tired of talking money and new business yet? I’m never going to be because that’s my job as the owner of the agency.
For the coming quarter, we have two main goals. One is a revenue goal, so we close out the year solid, and meet our projections. That means continuing with new business, converting project clients, and delighting all of our clients so they’re happy and want to expand what they do with us in 2020.
The other one is an internal systems goal. We need to revamp our onboarding process while tightening up how we track time, utilization, and capacity as a team. Before we can even think about growth in 2020, we need to understand what’s really happening on a daily or weekly basis.
And that, bosses, is the real work of running an agency. Super glitzy I know, but so worth it!
Small Business Boss
Alright, let’s talk Small Business Boss. Going into the month, we needed to get the Freelancer Proposals site up and out and launch the Stellar Sales bundle. Freelancer Proposals is totally done, and the bundle is nearly there. By the time this airs, it will be rolling out.
And I’m happy to share that the fall run of the Double It Mastermind is going amazingly. I could not be more thrilled with the group we have and how things are happening. This different format was a bit of an experiment, but so far, so good.
Speaking of the mastermind, we hosted a three-day retreat here in Ottawa for the full-year version of the mastermind, and we had such a good time. The last retreat of the year is always the best as everyone knows each other, and we can make magic happen.
Which brings me to the other thing I’ve been working on for Small Business Boss beyond the regular content.
First, I’ve been re-imagining the full-year mastermind for 2020, and it looks like we’ll be going with a focus on serving agency owners or people growing their business by leveraging a team. That specificity will let us build a community of practice with shared experiences and challenges. And, truthfully, that excites me.
From there, I plan on offering a shorter, more compact version of Double It a couple of times in 2020. Like I said earlier, it’s all an experiment, but I want to streamline our offerings and have different price points and levels for agency owners versus for freelancers.
And in the vein of streamlining. I made the decision to close the Small Business Boss Society, our paid community. I’ve come to realize that that membership model just isn’t something I love, and I’d rather support people through Small Business Boss in a way that aligns with how I want to work moving ahead.
Honestly, it wasn’t an easy decision, but it was 100% the right one.
Finally, one thing I will be working on for Small Business Boss is stepping into my role as THE Small Business Boss. That may be obvious to all of you, but I’ve been resisting taking a stand in that way. Sometimes, it takes me a while to realize what’s painfully apparent to everyone else.
Part of that will be sharing more writing on the blog — including in an email every Monday — on my challenges, mindset, garbage I see in my industry, and much more. The podcast is still the place for how-tos and real-life stories, but this will be a way for me to share more, well, me in the process.
I got into this career because I’m first and foremost a writer, so bringing that into what I’m doing and letting those words flow has been personally rewarding and rather freeing. I know some people won’t like it, but I know I’m not for everyone. And that’s okay because trying to conform or shrink just isn’t how I want to be in this world.
And with that, watch for more writing, more sharing, and more Maggie standing on a soapbox, and not because I’m trying to reach something in my kitchen made for tall people. (Seriously, I’m not joking. Whoever designed this kitchen was definitely 6’2 or even taller!)