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Back to Business Basics: Burning It Down and Starting Again

March 4, 2024

In December last year, I phased out the primary offer in my business in the name of alignment.

In many ways right now, I’m starting again and re-building the foundations from the ground up.

The best businesses are built with rock solid foundations, and I’m in the thick of it:

Creating world-class curriculum, templates and resources and ensuring that the new core offer in my business, Lifestyle Business School, is best in class.

It’s easy to want to “skip” this step, and move to the sexy content creation, marketing and all of the things you see “above” the surface.

But actually, it’s the iceberg underneath where the magic lies.

And so?

I’m in the messy creation phase right now, right in the middle of the hard bit.

It’s not sexy, and it’s not overly fun.

But also? It’s the work.

At the end of February, I was deep in it.

I still am really, but the fact that I am even writing this more lengthy update means that I can see the light!)

At the time, I had just decided that in addition to the TWO courses I still had to build, I ALSO needed another.

​​I could see that my members needed a playbook for driving traffic so that they could move forward, and it’s the course I couldn’t NOT make.

So, just as I was starting to think I would be able to see the light at the end of the tunnel, my to-do list instead GREW by 33%. 

Even though I didn’t necessarily want to spend another four weeks in the messy build phase, I knew that it was required.

I committed to the work, begrudgingly. 

As of yesterday, that course – Traffic Playbook – is DONE and it’s now sitting proudly inside Lifestyle Business School.

But man – the build was a lot.

In the middle of it I felt unable to show up on social media, and considered going “dark” entirely until I had built out the strong, solid foundations of my new core offer.

But then, I thought – NO.

I realised instead that I should be sharing MORE of this type of content, and documenting the work.

That it was powerful to be show up and be transparent about the WORK involved in building something truly great.

Because, many people aren’t.

Some people gloss over the “work” part altogether though, and I didn’t want to be the person who did that.

This business model isn’t “work hard forever”.. but more “work hard and then chill”. And I wanted to showcase the “work” JUST as much as the “chill”.

It seems like others wanted to see this sort of content, too.

I posted on Instagram and asked whether it would be interesting to just document the messy build.

The answer was a resounding YES.

Here’s that post:

“It’s refreshing” – they said, “the real REAL is what we want”.

And so, even with a to do list an arm long, I decided to create daily posts with updates on my progress.

The process was this:

  • Work work work;
  • Get to 4pm;
  • Realise I needed to create post;
  • Open Canva;
  • Stuff around trying to create something;
  • Need to export post;
  • And more

And honestly, it was a lot.

Also, I write FAR too much, and so I needed to spend TOO MUCH TIME making my Instagram captions shorter to fit within the limits.

The whole thing just became a bit of a saga.

So, I stopped.. but I didn’t want to ‘give up’.

And THAT prompted a thought.

Going Back to Basics

Back in 2017 when I was very first starting my business, I used to create epic blog posts.

Basically, I wasn’t an “expert” in anything and so instead I just decided to document the process of going my social media accounts.

They became these epic blog posts, and I started to gain SO MUCH MORE traction just by being real and sharing the process of growth.

I stopped doing them when I started my podcast, and I kind of forgot about them.

But, truth be told, I miss writing.

And they worked.

And I loved doing them.

And actually, I STILL write blog posts before I record my podcasts anyway.

It’s the way I best assemble my thoughts.

At the same time, I was working on launching a newsletter, which I intend to become a cornerstone publication channel in my business.

My thought process?

Email is the HIGHEST ROI channel out there, so.. why not focus on it FIRST rather than making it an afterthought after Instagram and the podcast and all of the other things?

And so, an idea sparked.

Why don’t I just combine it all?

Launch my newsletter (✅ already done, you can subscribe here), but ALSO focus on it as the CORNERSTONE of all of my content.

And instead of making it an afterthought, making it detailed and going deep.

And so, here I am.

Going back to my roots.

Writing epic blog posts.

Sharing them on my newsletter.

And loving life.

Documenting The Build Phase of Business

So, with the newsletter launched I thought:

Well, what should I write about?

And right now, all I can really document is the build phase of business.

Because, like I said, I’m deep in it.

I don’t really have the capacity for DEEP thought leadership (that will come soon).

So, that’s what I’m doing to do for the next little while.

Here goes.

The build phase of any business really has two phases:

a) The Under the Iceberg Phase

This phase is where I am now.

For me, it feels the hardest because you’re usually doing it from your spare room, with a messy bun, and no-one to cheer you on.

You question everything, you don’t have the mental space or time capacity to do much of the “tip of the iceberg” work and it all feels like a lot.

There’s two elements of the under the Iceberg phase that deserve the most focus and make the biggest impact when you later “break water” and start focusing on more “forward facing activities”:

Positioning, and product development.

Positioning: This is all about making sure that you have a clear niche and defined positioning. For me, that is helping expertise-based founders build an online business to the Lifestyle Business Sweet Spot – a simple model with high profit margins, time freedom and a tiny team.

It’s my USP, and it has been since 2022.

This is what I will write about.

This is what I will help people to achieve in Lifestyle Business School.

This is what I will be known for.

Product Development: This is all about making sure that you have a great product. Skipping or half-assing this phase is at your peril – it will mean you “break water” faster, but it will make everything “on top of the iceberg” so much harder.

My goal is to have a product so good, and so valuable, that it sells itself and so I know that spending time here is a temporary “plateau” that will serve me in the months to come.

Honestly, the Product Development side has been a beast for me.

Like, so much work.

Since July last year, I have been building out SEVEN individual and detailed courses with templates and resources all designed to have a FULL SUITE with every step required to build this style of business from scratch ALL the way to your desired endgame covered.

Rather than needing to follow seven different mentors, or buy a heap of different training, this is the end-to-end solution.

It’s a lot, but also I know that doing this work will help the offer “sell itself” with word of mouth later.

I do question whether I am overdelivering and leaving a lot of money on the table by doing so, but for now this is the plan – and of course, I can always change course later.

In terms of where I am currently at, I’m currently about 75% through it, and I can see the “break water” phase coming soon which feels exciting.

b) The Above the Iceberg Phase

Once you’ve done the work on the foundations, you usually have more space, time and capacity to work on the “tip of the iceberg” activities.

For me, this feels like the sexy work (but I appreciate that isn’t the case for everyone).

Funnels: This is about building live and/or automated selling systems to sell your offer.

There’s the initial build, which is really part of the “build” phase but the promotion is very public and so it’s a tip of iceberg activity.

And then, there’s the optimisation. Refining, tweaking, improving.

I truly CANNOT WAIT to get to this phase, but I know the work I am doing now will make the RESULTS of this phase so much greater.

Traffic and Marketing: And finally, there is the VERY PUBLIC tip of iceberg activities.

Marketing. Social media. Content. Contact list growth.

This article is an example of that.

And at the moment, creating this one article (to share in the newsletter and then the podcast to go with it) is really all I have the capacity to do.

Even with this, it feels rushed and not my best work.

For that reason, I am really looking forward to the time when I can make THIS side of what I do a priority.

Ultimately, my goal is to create a body of work I am really proud of and to use it to help more people building their beautiful, sustainable business models.

And, I can’t do my best work when I’m rushed.

Where I’m Heading in 2024

Once the build phase is over and I am able to “break water”, I have big goals.

The biggest, I have decided, is impact.

In recent months and years, my audience growth has stagnated.

I haven’t had the time or capacity to focus on sharing thought leadership and to amplify it with a strong and dedicated audience and contact list growth strategy.

In the second quarter/half of 2024 (depending on how long the build phase takes!), this will shift to my all in focus.

I have two goals:

1) Develop My Thought Leadership: I have so much to share, and I want to build a true body of work by sharing my unique perspective and leading the thought in this industry.

But of course, creativity requires capacity, and that will only be possible when I have more of it once this build phase is over.

I no longer want to create rushed content, or last minute posts on Instagram. I want to make this a key priority, and in many ways have pivoted my entire business model in service of this.

As silly as it sounds, I genuinely want to create a “legacy” with my content rather than churning out content just because I know I should.

I want to be able to look proudly back on a body of work in years to come.

2) Grow My Footprint: I want (and need) to grow my audience. The more people on my contact list, and on my channels, the more I can help inside of Lifestyle Business School. So, the amplification of my thought leadership is the second primary focus.

But! I don’t want to heavily focus on this UNTIL I have the capacity to focus on the thought leadership side. I want to amplify the right message, not simply grow for the sake of it.

The best part about these goals is that they are both in service of growing Lifestyle Business School.

And, by doing the work now to make it truly special I know that it will help so many.

There’s a different energy around “promoting” something you feel truly proud of it, and that you know will help others.

That you would be PROUD to have your best friend join, because you stand behind it 1000%.

And that you feel really passionately about the MISSION behind.

I want to be the person sharing that these small (often, one-person!), mighty and leveraged business models exist, and helping people create them.

And this build phase is really where the magic is.

So, if you would like to follow me on the journey as I do the work, test and experiment and inch forward step by step, definitely subscribe to my newsletter and share it with others too.

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