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Pivoting Our Consultancy to Online Learning

Full Disclosure

The part I love most about Marketing Qualified is documenting my journey through sales and marketing.

I will never sit back and say consulting is amazing, but the truth is it’s a revenue stream.

That being said, the things consulting HAS done for me are:

  • It gave me temporary access to other industries, websites, analytics, and people (I saw what spaces I like and don’t like).
  • I grew my network in a professional capacity (so many amazing people and friends I’d recommend you hire).
  • I helped a few businesses make traction and grow online (putting my skills to the test).
  • I earned enough cash to invest in myself (MBA, web development skills, etc.).

But the reality was I was working in my spare hours to make someone else’s dream come true. It was my evenings, my weekends, my nights, and my mornings. And frankly, it never stopped. When you’re sitting on the data and the central nervous system of an organization, you’re the person everyone comes to for reports, findings, and security — you’re on-call 24/7/365.

I remember when I first started into consulting. I had rent due in 10 days and started aggressively hunting for clients. I found beauty in the face of pressure, stress, and the unknown. I closed 3 clients and was officially earning $15,000 per month (when I was doing consulting full-time).

It was good. I paid off my debts, bought a few toys, and traveled. But deeper issues started to rise:

  • I was quick to hit my capacity and couldn’t take on more clients.
  • There’s no such thing as a vacation when always on-call for emergencies.
  • I could deliver great results for some businesses, but mediocre results for others (industries vary).
  • Unless I delivered results that wow’d, clients would be open to exploring other alternatives.
  • Deep down, my passion to help people grow their businesses turned into being told what to do, when to do it.

But this was the sacrifice of consulting (the opportunity cost).

I embraced unpleasant moments so I could obtain a somewhat reliable income. Furthermore, if this was ever about reliable income, I’d wouldn’t be blogging at all! I would quietly accept my place in a large organization, work my way through the motions, get a house, a car, kids, the whole bit. That’s what I’d be doing.

But that’s not what this is. That’s not the reason why I write on Marketing Qualified.

At the onset of operations, I did all of this for the money. But it became a deep passion of mine.

The truth is, I’m not someone who does well with being comfortable. I get anxious, lose sleep, tinker, and build. I like the unknown. I like the mystery. I like not having the answers (but having the tenacity to go find them).

The only thing that really keeps my heart in this business is documenting my journey as an entrepreneur working through the process of sales and marketing. It’s these blog posts, the videos, the ideas, and sharing my feelings towards the industry.

So with that, I’m saying goodbye to my top revenue stream. Goodbye consulting.

The Premise for Online Learning

If not consulting, then what?

We researched a few different entrepreneurs who’ve experienced what we’re going through. Answers varied, but the majority of them pointed to online courses as their primary revenue source.

Online courses fit with what we’re doing at Marketing Qualified and would give us the flexibility to continue learning and documenting our experience with sales and marketing. We know CRMs. We know marketing automation. We know how to market small, under-resourced businesses. This is an area we can be of great value to.

Now with that said, many of these online entrepreneurs have other sources of revenue in addition to selling courses. They do speaking events, private workshops, have affiliate links, and land brand deals.

It’s possible that Marketing Qualified will engage in these kinds of activities, but we’d have to experiment with them first (and when we have the capacity to do so). But for right now, we’re going to place a bet on online learning.

Currently, our vision is to deliver an engaging learning experience that features outdoor lectures, beautiful scenery, detailed explanations, and hands-on screenshare tutorials. You can pre-register for our first online course here: https://marketingqualified.com/#register.

Assessing Current Efforts: Marketing Channels & Assets

Marketing Qualified has multiple social media accounts (including my own personal channels).

The channels we’re most active on are:

  • Blog (WordPress)
  • Weekly Email Send Out (Mailchimp)
  • Snapchat
  • Facebook
  • Increasingly Instagram
  • Recently YouTube
  • Online Forums

These channels are okay, but is ‘okay’ really worth putting in all this time and effort? I’d rather focus on a few key areas where I can obtain significant traction.

As for assets, we’re pretty low-key. I have a home office, some video production equipment, and a 5-year old laptop. Digitally, we have a Canva membership, web server, and domain. Altogether, I’d value our current assets at $3,000.

New Investments for Growth

Assume we’re starting from scratch. Where do we place our bets?

The first real bet I ever placed was on an app company and it didn’t work out. The second time was a paddleboard business and that did work out. The third time was when I left my job and started consulting on tools like Hubspot — again, it worked.

Having blogged for 7 years, 3 of which were on sales and marketing, I feel comfortable with where to place my next series of investments.

And it’s not to say investments can’t move or shift to other places, but I have the data and experience to select ‘warm’ areas.

1. Growing Our Weekly RSS Email

This is our newsletter subscription.

We don’t send people personalized 1-to-1 email every time we press publish on a blog post (and I don’t we should).

A few subscribers have told me they enjoy the experience of me writing and publishing and then having a simple summary email that lists all the new content. From there, they see what’s new and pick from the topics included in the email (instead of getting 3-4 different email on 3-4 different topics).

This format is also very easy to maintain. Mailchimp will automatically pull my website’s most recent content, list it in an email for me, and send it. This becomes a set-it-and-forget tactic I’m okay with doing. If I have announcements to make or new products to sell, I’ll just publish blog posts announcing them and the link will make its way into the newsletter.

2. Writing Regularly on IndieHacker.com

IndieHacker.com is a recent discovery, but wow the engagement is hot.

Indie Hacker is an online forum community for entrepreneurs, developers, marketers, and salespeople. The whole thing is geared towards people starting a business or trying to grow a business — these are our early adopters (re: Crossing the Chasm).

The people who hang out on IndieHacker.com are very vocal people who embrace new ideas, products, and services. They are the people who will try a brand new app with no existing customer base, minimal branding, and poor UI. They will read blog posts from random websites and give a 27-year old kid in Glace Bay, Nova Scotia a chance.

Again, these are my kind of people.

3. Publishing Videos on YouTube & Building Relationships with Viewers

We’ve only recently tried YouTube and it’s been excellent so far. We’re able to rank quickly, steadily increase views and subscribers, and are getting more traffic to our website.

Obviously video is a huge part of modern-day marketing and sales, yet so many businesses don’t do it. We’re going to make the effort to do it right.

We want to combine the outdoors with our humorous go-getter personality and deliver an educational experience on YouTube. The idea is that these videos would segue into our online courses.

But the challenge is (1) being comfortable on camera and (2) creating content people actually find engaging/want to watch.

That’s why we’re brushing up on our videography skills and are treating YouTube as a practice environment. When we launch courses, we’ll really try to amp up the video production to make it a more paid-experience.

4. Publishing Content on Our Blog

Obviously this one makes the list. Our whole business began as a blog.

While many people would argue blogs are dead, we’ve been able to build a very small, mighty following for our blog.

Better yet, some of you out there have actually told me Marketing Qualified is among your top-visited websites and that you even have our website saved in your bookmarks tab on Google Chrome — I have chills of joy here and thank you, thank you, thank you, you’re amazing.

5. Emphasize Our Mantra: Keep Moving Forward

This is a powerful statement.

Life, health, wealth, and mindset. These 4 factors play into each of our own definitions of “success” and we want to instill these values into members of Marketing Qualified.

Sales and marketing is about growth and getting a message out there. It’s about making the climb and reaching new heights for ourselves and our businesses.

It’s in our nature to power forward. It’s in our nature to be open and transparent. We know failure is around the corner, and we’re ready to pick up and start again.

Our haters may whisper, but they’ll never know the mission we’re on (and that’s fine).

Let the energy set in dear followers, for we’re just getting started.

A Very Special Thanks to Ms. Catalina Bela

Catalina is one of our supporters from Colombia and this week she reached out with a massive helping hand for our business.

After an outstanding 7-pages of detailed feedback, questions, and suggestions, we (Marketing Qualified) have a much clearer scope of what our business actually is, where we want it to go, what we need to do, and what activities we should stop doing, etc.

The path is never clear and sometimes it’s hard when the founder or entrepreneur is so close to the action.

Catalina, thank you so very much for giving this website, social accounts, videos, and blog posts a read. I can’t begin to describe how grateful I was to receive your document.

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