Episode 54. How Karen Grew Her Business to $10k Months in Less Than a Year

Karen and I talked at the very beginning of 2020, and she shared how she reached $3k months in her first year as a side hustler. I don’t want to spoil it all, but she has significantly grown since then! She has also become one of our member mentors inside Advisori Insiders Pro!

I’m so excited for you to hear more of her story, learn how she’s exponentially grown her business over the last year, and why so many of the other Advisori Insiders Pro members say they want to be Karen when they grow up!

 

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If you haven’t listened to Karen’s first episode, head over to Episode Five.

 

Here’s a sneak peek inside my interview with Karen:

 

About Karen

I went through the Advisori Insiders Pro program in December of 2018. I had a little bit of a background in marketing, and I do have an MBA, but as Anna and I have mentioned several times, they don’t teach you anything about Facebook and Instagram ads in business school.

Everything I’ve learned to be able to build and grow my business, I’ve learned by going through the Advisori Insiders Pro program and Successful Solopreneur School.

When I started my side hustle, I had no idea how to run my own business. So it’s been an amazing two years!

 

Where were you at in your business at the beginning of this year? How have things changed since then?

Year one was really a big year of learning for me. It involved learning how to put together a business, how to conduct a discovery call, how to send an invoice…so that first year was really good for laying down a foundation.

Then in year two, I felt much more comfortable. I had laid the foundation, I had something solid that I could now build on, and so year two has really been about honing in on what I want to offer to clients, who I want to work with, and what I need to be able to serve my ideal client to the best of my abilities.

I think really focusing on that and always maintaining a mindset of being of service, is what has helped me grow from the beginning of the year to consistent $10k months. That was an exponential growth I honestly didn’t see coming in January. I was just telling someone the other day that I think December might be a slow month, and we might only be bringing in $7-$8k. After hearing that sentence come out of my mouth, I was like whoa! THAT’S now a slow month for me!? That’s crazy!

 

What’s changed since January that has allowed you to go from $3k months to consistent $10k months in your business?

One of the first things I focused on was diversifying where I was looking for leads. When I first started out, I did a lot of outreach in Facebook groups. That’s where I got my first five or six clients. It was a great way for me to meet people, learn more about the entrepreneurial world, and get some clients along the way.

Once that happened, I started thinking about how else I could connect with business owners and find people who were actively looking for freelancers. So this year I did two things: I joined my local Chamber of Commerce and Upwork.

In the last four months, Upwork has become my main source of leads. In just this past week, I’ve gotten eight invites to jobs, and I’ve gotten one client from there already. So Upwork has really proven to be a great platform for me.

I also joined a mastermind this year and have gotten some clients from there. So again, it’s just a combination of always trying to find ways to connect with people.

I’ve been able to really hone in on working with coaches and a lot of health and wellness professionals, which are things that I’m really passionate about. I love working with those types of clients. Now I have packages where clients are paying us as much as $2500 per month. It was expanding my prospecting, honing in on my ideal client, increasing prices, and outsourcing that has helped me get to where I am now. 

*For more tips on using Upwork to land clients, be sure to tune in to the full episode!

 

Now that we’re making a certain amount of money as a company, we are now a corporate partner for She’s The First, which creates access to education for girls in countries like El Salvador, Guatemala, India, and other places where women are treated as second class citizens. That is probably one of the proudest things that I’ve done this year in my business.

 

How has outsourcing helped you grow your business?

I was spending way too much time in Canva, so one of my first hires was a part-time graphic designer. It’s still is one of the most amazing investments I’ve made in my business because clients love it so much. Not only has that helped solidify their decision to work with us, but it’s also elevated our brand. I think it really helps to differentiate us from other people who may be offering similar services.

I also brought on a virtual assistant, who is my sister Gabby. That’s been really great for me, and it’s really helped us to exponentially grow the results we get for clients.

All of these things have been able to really make this a better agency and make us a better business. I now have a team, and even though yes, I’m spending more money, we’re bringing in more money so that I’m actually paying myself more than I was back in January.

I know outsourcing can be scary…before I hired support, I was used to doing everything. I didn’t know what to delegate, but I knew I had so many things that I didn’t need to be doing.

I really just had to trust myself that I made the right decision in who I hired, and to trust the person that I hired to do the job. It was a really big area of growth — shifting that mindset from freelancer to CEO has been huge for me!

My next hire that I have projected is actually a family member of mine that lives in El Salvador. In El Salvador, it’s really hard to just have a job and to be able to find a job, let alone have a job that pays you enough to be able to afford the things that you need.

Right now, my cousin gets on a bus at four in the morning so she can be at work by seven. She gets paid $3 an hour.

I told her I could pay her $5 an hour, and she said that was like $25 an hour there. She also said it would allow her to sleep in until 7 am which was her dream. To know that my business is helping to create this better life for her is amazing. It’s unbelievable.

Now that we’re making more money, one of my causes is access to education for girls because, in El Salvador, a lot of girls don’t get access to education. It’s the number one country in the world for femicide, which is homicides against women. Education is a pathway to be able to improve those lives. So now that we’re making a certain amount of money as a company, we are now a corporate partner for She’s The First, which creates access to education for girls in countries like El Salvador, Guatemala, India, all of these places, where women are treated as second class citizens. That is probably one of the proudest things that I’ve done this year in my business. I love getting that email every month from them saying thanks for your donation.

 

What are some of the other investments you’ve made in your business that have helped you grow?

I invested in a six-month mastermind and Successful Solopreneur School.  I love that in Successful Solopreneur School, we’re really learning how to build things out in our businesses. The mastermind is a lot of mindset work, which again, you need both of those to have a successful business.

In the mastermind that I joined, I love that I’m surrounding myself with women who have similar goals. It’s really pushed me to level up and has allowed me to connect with people who have helped me grow.

 

How were you able to increase your prices and hone in on who you wanted to work with?

I got a couple of clients under my belt, which was really great for my confidence. It helped me confirm that I was actually good at what I was doing. Then once my clients were getting great results, I started to feel like I could increase my prices.

When I started to think about everything I was offering, I realized it was worth a lot of money. I was doing creative work, ad copy, managing ads…and that also led me to my own market research of how much things cost. That really helped me answer the question for clients when they asked what’s included in their package and being able to tell them, you’re not only working with an expert, but you’re getting your ad copy, we’re doing creative for you, we’re doing audience testing.

My proposals are now more detailed because they really lay out everything they get;  I make sure they know they’re not just hiring someone to set up an ad and run it for them, but that they’re really hiring a strategic partner for their marketing.

It still happens where I may send a proposal to someone who says they don’t want to spend that amount of money. Before I would have maybe tried to make it work, but now I’m so clear on what my goals are, that I will politely let them know we can’t work together right now, but they are welcome to reach out if anything changes in the future. The first couple of times that happened it was really scary, but now I realize there are so many people out there looking for experts, I can fill their spot.

I had two high ticket clients leave in October, but I was able to replenish them within like 30 days.

 

If 2020 has been a crazy year for you, I just really want to encourage you that you have control over so many things. It may not feel like it, but I promise that if you just take a step back, there are so many ways that you can control your destiny and I really now believe that more than ever.

 

This year has been a huge year for you. You put in your two weeks notice at your full-time job — what happened when you did that?

I went in to give my two weeks notice at my job, and because of everything that’s happening with the pandemic, I honestly figured they’d be like, cool! We’re gonna save on the salary!

Instead, they said they would give me whatever salary I wanted if I didn’t leave them.

They asked me what I wanted and when I wanted to work. I thought to myself, I have all of this flexibility to work on my business, I still have this full-time income, but now I’m able to determine when I want to work and what I want to work on.

I think it almost lifted some pressure off me because I think sometimes when we start these side hustles, we don’t want to tell anyone at the office because we think we’re going to get in trouble, and even having that transparency has strengthened some of the relationships at my job.

Now, my boss is aware that this is what we’re doing, and now we’re even in talks of them hiring my business to run ads for my 9-5!

I’ve made so much money this year, I’ve paid off all my credit card debt, I’m looking to buy a house now, it’s just insane!

I really hope that anyone listening to this podcast, if 2020 has been a crazy year for you, I just really want to encourage you that you have control over so many things. It may not feel like it, but I promise that if you just take a step back, there are so many ways that you can control your destiny and I really now believe that more than ever.

 

There are days now when at 7AM, I’m awake and I want to get to my computer to just see what today is going to bring. I’m not a morning person, so the fact that this is happening is how I know I’m in the right place!

 

What are your goals for 2021?

My goals for 2021 are to scale my business to $20k months, finish paying off student loans, and to be able to buy a house where I will have my own office.

I’m so excited, it just keeps getting better and better. I think something too, that we were able to do this year, for the first time ever, I was able to go on vacation, pay it completely in full and I still had money left over for my travel, it’s just crazy!

It really is just so much more freedom. It creates this ripple effect. Earlier this year, I was able to buy a fridge for my grandma when her’s broke. She’s on a fixed income, she couldn’t afford a new one, but I can, and just all of these little things are so motivating.

If I was just hitting $20k months, and it was just sitting in the bank, it would be like, okay, cool! But all of these different ways that I’m impacting people’s lives, I’m helping these business owners that are trying to change the world, seeing all of that ripple effect, it’s so motivating.

I have my alarm set for 7:30 and there are days now when at 7AM, I’m just awake and I want to get to my computer to just see what today is going to bring. I’m not a morning person, so the fact that this is happening is how I know I’m in the right place!

 

Have people around you noticed that your energy is different since you started your business?

I think it’s really changed, especially my family dynamic. The first time I told my mom I wanted to eventually quit my job, she thought I was crazy and my dad said the same thing. Whereas now, we talk about my business and my goals. My dad also has his own business, and even just the other day he was asking me for advice! It’s real for them now.

I think at first they thought this was just something I was doing to entertain myself, and now they’re seeing I have money coming in for this and it’s a real business.

For the people around me, I think it’s opened their minds to seeing what’s possible for them — like, “If Karen can do it, maybe I can too,” and that’s amazing to be able to show people that there’s more than this little box they put themselves in!

 

Connect with Karen

 


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