How To Plan For Success

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BFFs, meet Jenn. Since I met her virtually in January, I’ve decided that we are sisters from another mister. She holds very special place in WP*BFF history – she is my very first email subscriber, and you always remember your first!

I had decided that I wanted to give teaching WordPress a shot, and I outlined the 5 Day Challenge and starting recording the training before I even had an idea of how to create an email list. One day I finally googled “how to build an email list”, found Nathalie Lussier’s 30 Day List Building Challenge, signed up, joined the Facebook group and when provided an opportunity to post a link to the 5 Day Website Challenge, Jenn was the first to sign up.

Here’s what I screamed in my living room when I got that new subscriber email from MailChimp: “OMG someone signed up for my freebie!!! YAY!!! OMG, I can’t believe this is actually happening *squealing and clapping*!!”

My husband thought we won the lottery or something I was acting like such a crazy person. But the validation that came from that very first subscriber and our subsequent interactions gave me more momentum than any stupid winning lottery ticket. Well, I think so, I’m sure I’ll never know…

Jenn is an amazing coach who will help you work wonders in your business. She can spot exactly where you’re feeling stuck or unsure, she asks you pointed questions that will step you through making a decision on what actions are best for you to take, and she’ll encourage you the whole way.

She’s like a mind-reader, therapist and BFF all wrapped up into one awesome package.

Read on to learn more about Jenn, her experience building her WordPress site as my very first 5 Day Challenger, and learn all about her coaching business, Works Wonders Coaching.

When did you start your business and why?

In May of 2014, I started working towards my coaching certification and launched my first site. I started working one on one with people pretty quickly after that.

Everywhere I looked, I saw really smart and ambitious people who really put a lot of effort and money into their education and career. And these people didn’t feel happy, fulfilled, or valued at work- and worse, they didn’t feel like they were having the impact on the world that they were hoping to have. On top of that, they were usually so exhausted from their job and commute that their personal life was suffering too.

I knew all along that these were the people that I wanted to work with, to help them reconnect with their passion and support them as they worked to reclaim their careers and lives.

What do you feel makes your audience/readers special?

I really feel that my readers and clients are super special!

I know every coach and blogger probably feels that way but my clients are smart, ambitious and committed to social justice and change. They’re very connected to having a larger purpose and have a bigger, better vision for the world and for themselves.

They’re students, non-profit executives, volunteers, activists, and professionals, business owners and corporate professionals and honestly, they’re often more than one of these at the same time. I love the professional breadth and motivation of the the people that I work with.

Did anything surprise you about creating your website?

My first website was a Wix site and I realized right away how limited that was. It was very hard to implement any serious list building strategy with that functionality. So my first surprise was that I invested time and money in something that wasn’t going to be able to grow with me.

Then I found your Five Day Website Challenge and it was a game-changer! Not only did it make the WordPress piece *super* easy, it required that I really think about branding. It took me more than five days because I was super indecisive about branding. Making those decisions are really challenging and really require a sense of clarity and commitment about your business.

I was also surprised how comfortable I felt with WordPress, after the Five Day Challenge was over. I was able to make changes and continue to build my page without any major issues. So, thanks, Shannon! (editor's note – you're welcome BFF!)

What advice would you give to someone who is thinking about starting their own business online?

Plan for success.

It’s so easy to operate from a place of fear that I’ve been unprepared when things were actually successful!

I offered free sessions I worried nobody would want and they filled up. I had paying clients almost right away and I never thought that would happen. I had workshops that I wasn’t sure anyone would sign up for and they ended up nearly full. I’ve sent emails that I wasn’t sure anyone would read and they were my most popular newsletters.

Set yourself up like you’re going to have clients or work right away. Have contracts or agreements prepared and make time in your schedule. At one point, I had clients but not enough time to fit them into my schedule!

If you’re going to launch a business, plan for success. Create the space, take small steps if you have to, let go of what you need to and be ready for when people want to work with you.

If you could go back in time and do something differently, what would you do and why?

I would skip with Wix site. Also I would spend more time thinking about branding and quality images for my site and blog. These elements alone can really elevate your brand. Your site might as well be your store or your home so you want it to serve your customers and be something that you’re excited to share!

I would also skip the two years I spent wondering whether or not I could actually start a business! I really could have used that time to start a business!

How long did it take you to launch your website once you decided to start a business?

My Wix site took me a month. This WordPress site took probably a week to set up but if you don’t have some images, content, or branding already figured out, it can definitely take longer.

Your site is always going to be a work in progress. Your ideal audience is going to get that. I spend so much time helping clients who are dealing with perfectionism that I felt that it was really important for me to hit publish and show them that the world doesn’t end when you have typo or only have a welcome page.

How did you promote your site when you first started out? Has anything changed between then and how?

I’m still working on this but I do have a Facebook page and a FB group. My mailing list sends a lot of people to my site. I also use Buffer to automate posts. Since I’ve improved my graphics, I’ve also gotten more traffic through Pinterest. I’ve also posted or shared workshops on sites for non-profit professionals and that’s helped a lot too!

Do you have an email list, and if so, what is the most effective way you have grown your email list?

I do have a list! I hold online workshops using Google Hangout and they’ve helped me grow my list of subscribers.

Do you earn money from your site, and if so, how? Affiliate marketing, ads, products, etc.?

I don’t earn money from my site other than my services. I am in the process of creating products and that will be happening soon!

Who are your favorite bloggers or podcasts?

I really love Maria Coz at Femtrepreneur. I think she’s been able to create an authentic, quirky and creative brand online. I was relieved to find her site because I think she shows how to make online marketing work without creating a site with all of these cookie cutter elements. Her blog is really honest and she talks about what she feels comfortable with and what she doesn’t. She doesn’t just employ marketing strategies that work, she employs ones that work for her and her brand and that’s made me feel like “Ok, I don’t have to do this because everyone does it and says it works” and now I ask “Does this work for me and what I represent?”

I’m also a fan of Natalie MacNeil and Denise Duffield-Thomas. I’m a sociologist by training, so if you had told me a year ago, that I would be a huge fan of someone who believes in manifesting money, I would never have believed you but Denise gives really great, actionable steps about money that have helped me to feel confident about investing in my business. Natalie’s “She Takes on the World TV” is awesome too.

Check out Work Wonders Coaching here and get some amazing free resources, and be sure to sign up for the Work Wonder VIP list – you'll get some fantastic tips and great motivation. You can also find Jenn on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.