For last month’s review, you can check it out here.
December capped off quite an interesting 2014 for me.
It was a year in which I feel my foundation has been made for everything I do going forward. I was able to step away from my digital marketing agency and focus on other endeavors.
Primarily, I finally stepped into the SaaS game with Workado which took 10 months of development.
I also started a productized service business called LeadFuze in 24 hours.
I started and nearly completed my book, Self Made Marketer, which is catered to digital marketers who are interested in growing a 7 figure consultancy.
My focus for 2015 will be on those three things while continuing to establish myself in the entrepreneurial world with this blog.
I met Tim Conley, who I originally learned about through his Marketing for Founders podcast and later through his new podcast Consulting Fuse. I found out he lives in Cave Creek (20 minutes from me) and he was nice enough to meet with me for lunch. Cool experience!
I went to a NetworkingPhoenix.com networking event in Scottsdale and got to see some old friends in the local business scene. One of them was Chris Gruler from PublikImage, who is working on some really cool stuff for public figures and atheletes!
That’s my wife on the left, Gelie Akhenblit (founder of NetworkingPhoenix.com) in the middle, and of course myself on the right.
Asked to be a guest on a podcast for the first time. It was fun and a little nerve racking at the same time. Here’s a link to the podcast episode.
Had a gender reveal party and found out my new baby is going to be a girl. I was pulling for a boy. I have no idea what I’m in for now!
Here’s a screenshot of RescueTime which shows how my time was spent last month:
My goal is to keep my productivity score over 80 which is actually hard to do unless you are pretty focused. Things like Facebook and other social media sites hurt your score tremendously so my time there has been a minimum.
I wrote 4 blogs last month for this blog and prepared a few guest blogs as well (one of which has been published). Here they are:
My November Month in Review
My Home Office Setup
24 Hour Product Challenge
My Entrepreneur Goals for 2015
How to Prepare Your Digital Marketing Strategy in 2015 – This is my second guest post for Search Engine Journal (SEJ).
I am happy to report that my first guest post for SEJ on growth hacking was the third most shared blog on the site for the month of November. It has 1,424 social shares. My second post already has 1,467 shares!
In addition, I finished up two blog posts for HubSpot. One is going to be going live today on their main marketing blog! This is pretty amazing and something I’ve wanted to do for quite awhile.
HubSpot gets hundreds of thousands of visitors per month and they have 300,000 email subscribers. Workado is actually featured within the post itself (it was relevant to the topic) and Self Made Marketer also got a plug in my bio.
I also got approval to write a first draft for Buffer which is read by hundreds of thousands of people as well. I am hopeful that this content turns out great and will get featured. You have to have some amazing content in order for it to be published on either of these two sites.
If the Buffer post makes it though, I feel strongly that I’ll be able to secure guest post spots on almost any marketing blog I want which would be huge for Workado going forward. The Buffer piece won’t be published until February at the earliest.
I am planning to write quite a bit in 2015. Primarily for Workado and LeadFuze, as well as several guest blogs. Not to mention the posts I’ll continue to do for this blog. I’m not quite sure how I’m going to pull it all off yet, but I know that when I do it will be highly rewarding.
One other thing to note, I was featured in this slideshare by SEMrush on how to prepare an awesome deck/presentation.
I started reading Getting Everything You Can Out of Everything You’ve Got by Jay Abraham. I have several more books on my kindle that I have yet to start.
Blog Posts for Founders:
I decided to save the super awesome articles I read throughout the month and share them here as a roundup. These will be the absolute best of the best and typically very actionable!
Our Startup Pre-Launch Strategy – The post documents how they’re planning to get 1,000 subscribers.
How I Grew My Email List From Zero to 1,634 Subscribers in 5 Months – A really detailed breakdown of the exact tactics he used. I’ll be implementing a few of the things he mentioned that I don’t already have in place.
Lessons Learned Growing a Startup From Zero to $100k/mo in 2 Years – Been following this blog since November of last year and it has been a cool journey to see unfold.
The trademark I filed through trademarkia.com has moved to the next phase. I guess now I need to wait 2 to 3 months to hear back whether it was accepted or not.
I spent several hours moving all of the tickets out of Codebase and into Sprint.ly. This was a chore, but I think we will be much better off because of it.
I began evaluating how to setup a QA process. I was originally going to hire someone for this, however, I think I have it to where it is more manageable for me to review things. Once something is marked Complete by the developer in Sprint.ly, it goes into a queue for me to “Accept” it, which I can do after reviewing that particular update on our test server. Things are pretty manageable at this point so going to stick with that for now.
Tried out yet another developer that didn’t work out. Losing my lead developer any day now. My second developer has stepped up though which has really helped.
I spent considerable time overhauling the front end website which will be going live today (in time for the HubSpot article). I overhauled the front end website to make it more scalable into the future and to better portray the value. The previous site was a one pager and I didn’t like the blog functionality. This one lets me expand on the site with additional pages/resources/etc.
I sent out Christmas cards to paying customers and a few new trial users of Workado. In the cards I put in the stickers I purchased a couple of months ago. I am thinking of doing this more frequently just with “Thank You” type cards once they signup for a free trial. I’d be interested in seeing what impact this had on conversions, though you can’t track it unfortunately and it certainly isn’t scalable.
My latest startup effort, which I documented on this blog, has gotten enough early interest for me to continue pursuing this.
I am going to be spending quite a bit of time in January getting things more organized with marketing and sales processes.
I did some outreach to some bigger names/brands to offer my services for free in exchange for a testimonial. Surprisingly, only a couple of the big names responded. I imagine they don’t need much help with leads, but disappointing nonetheless. Having the social proof from big name companies would be helpful, but not necessarily a make or break deal.
I partnered with NetworkingPhoenix.com to get them some more networkers in their community in exchange for a “blurb” in an upcoming email list that goes out to 25,000 local networkers. There is one promising lead from this that has a marketing agency where we could potentially be introduced to their clients.
I’m considering other joint venture type deals, but not sure yet that the profit margins are in place for such a thing. I’ll most likely pursue the JV route once I bump prices up to $500/mo on the initial package, which I won’t do until I start getting some traction.
I managed a rather large ecommerce web build project for an Upswing client as my previous employee left and the new person in the roll is trying to get up to speed.
Self Made Marketer
Getting closer to the finish line. A few different days I blocked out three to four hour chunks where I did nothing, but work on the book.
I probably have about 5,000 more words to write. The book is probably going to end up around 30 to 32,000 words.
Then a serious round of formatting and editing to go through. Luckily, I’ve had some offers from people on the waiting list to help with the editing.
I also spent time mapping out the marketing strategy, though I still need to decide what my price point is going to be.
Nothing too crazy with the purchases this month.
Dynamite Circle – I joined this group of entrepreneurs which is how I met Tim Conley. My first LeadFuze customer also came from this membership so it is already paying for itself. The group costs $147 every 3 months, but there are some real players in this group.
LandX – Website themes for LeadFuze.
Sprint.ly – moved everything over from Codebase. I liked Codebase, but I really like the interface and process with Sprintly. In particular the way tickets are entered into the system (madlib style) which keeps developers in the loop with expected functionality.
The break for the holidays was fun spending time with friends and family. I enjoyed the time away, but it took me a few days to get back into a work zone after the new year!
On December 6th my brother and his girlfriend’s family came over to the house to play some poker. We played a friendly cash game with a $20 buy in (yes, big stakes). The wifey and I were the winners cashing out $125 in profit after about 6 hours. No casino trip for me in December.
The Cardinals season came crashing to a close. A disappointing finish for such a promising season. Looking forward to free agency in March and the draft in April.
On my immediate radar is hiring a VA/content marketer. Between Workado and LeadFuze, I’m looking at needing 12 to 15 pieces of content produced per month.
My lead developer for Workado will be leaving, so I’m once again on the lookout for help in this area. I have another developer who has been trained and has helped out tremendously, but his availability is limited. May end up going an agency route to work on getting it to a particular point where we have the main features complete for this stage of the project.
Other than that, I’m hoping to line up several more guest blog opportunities this month. I’ll let you know how it goes next month!