As we’re heading towards the end of the year, we thought we’d take you behind the scenes of The Two Laura’s HQ and share some of the biggest lessons we’ve learned in 2022 (and what we’ll be taking into 2023).
Keep reading (or tune into the podcast episode) to find out:
→ The most significant change we made in 2022, and why it was the best decision ever.
→ The tool that made us more organised and productive.
→ The huge mindset realisation that has given us a bit of a boost – and might help you too!
→ How we made the podcast even better in 2022.
Lesson #1: Don’t let big things put you off. There are plenty of people available to help & support you.
There was one major change in our business this year, which has proved to be one of the best decisions we've made: Bringing on our first permanent team member, Carrie, to help us with the administrative side of the membership and the business as a whole.
In hindsight, this was one of the best things we’ve ever done for our business. But initially, we did have a massive mindset block around this decision.
When we first started thinking about this, we were worried about the amount of responsibility it would be to take on an employee, and we put a huge amount of pressure on ourselves.
But at the end of the day, we knew that we had to hire a team member. It was the right time for the business, and it was time to put our big girl pants on and face that fear.
How we got over the fear of hiring our first team member
The one thing that helped us overcome this mindset block was actually getting advice and support on the matter.
Before we hired Carrie, we got legal advice to check that we were going about it the right way, it was aboveboard and that everyone involved was protected. Getting that solid advice from the properly qualified people made the whole process much easier (and it wasn’t as expensive as you might think).
Hiring our first team member has given us so much reassurance and support within our business. We know that when we need help, Carrie’s there to support us, and that has been a massive weight lifted off our shoulders and has made working so much easier and so much more enjoyable.
If hiring your first employee is on your to-do list, take it from us: Yes, it's scary. But once you do it, it will be so worth it.
Lesson #2: Using a project management software makes your life so much easier.
Regardless of whether you’re doing things solo or you have team members, it’s really important that you have a system in place.
Having a system in place makes the organisation side of your business a lot easier and ensures that everyone on your team knows what’s happening and what tasks need to be done.
We realised the importance of this over this past year, and that’s why we started using Asana.
Before we started using Asana, we would always say to each other “we need to do this” and “we need to do that” and the response from the other would always be, “okay, put it on the list”. But the (not) funny thing was that this was actually a fictional list (and an occasional post-it note if it made it that far).
Because of this, neither of us were ever completely on the same page about what needed to be done because we each had slightly different interpretations of what that list looked like in our heads.
Whereas now that we’re using Asana, when we say “put it on the list” it goes on a real list. Then, that list does get actioned because we’re able to assign a person to that task (whether it’s one of us or someone on our team) and they take ownership of it and can either make sure it’s completed or can make the decision to get rid of it.
If you’re not already using a project management software in your business, start using one now – even if you’re just a team of one! It will make you so much more organised. We wish we’d done this years ago!
Other project management tools to try
We’ve spoken about Asana because that’s what we found works for us, but there are plenty of other productivity tools out there that you can use, such as ClickUp, Trello, Monday & others you’ll be able to find from a quick Google search.
Pick one and try it out, not just for a week, but for long enough that you can determine whether you like it or not.
You are never going to find a project management software that’s absolutely perfect. They’re all missing features… if they could merge together and have the perfect productivity tool baby, that would be brilliant, but they don’t so pick one and try it out because using a tool like this will make a huge difference within your business!
Lesson #3: There’s so much you can learn from the data
If you know us, you’ll know that we strongly believe in the need for ongoing learning. Especially when it comes to marketing, specifically with social media. How drastically and how quickly things change is no joke, which is why continuing to learn needs to be a priority.
And that doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to keep investing in courses. It can also look like just investing time into pressing buttons and figuring out how things work for yourself.
A few things we’ve invested a lot of time into learning this year are Google Analytics, advanced funnel marketing and SEO (Search Engine Optimisation).
Taking the time to learn about these things has really paid off, which we can see from the results in Google Analytics. And one of the most mindblowing realisations, particularly with SEO, was that it’s actually not as complicated as we all think!
Our biggest learning curve
There’s one big takeaway we got from learning about our data and SEO – and this isn’t something that we set out to learn.
We realised that we have all of these amazing resources that we’ve created to help you (our audience) grow your freelance business, but it’s not obvious that these things are available.
By looking at the data, and understanding how we use SEO and funnels, it’s made us realise that there are so many simple changes we can make to help people find these resources easier. So that’s something we’re now able to work on improving, and that was a massive learning that we weren’t expecting!
When you start learning new things, sometimes, what you expect to learn isn’t what you take away.
A lot of people may be disappointed by this, especially if you come out of a course thinking “well, that didn’t deliver on what I thought it would”, but if you remember that, actually, it gave you something completely different and that learning in itself was brilliant, then it’s a great lesson.
How Google Analytics has helped us inform our content strategy
We've also realised how much the data we’re getting back from Google Analytics is helping us inform and improve our content strategy going forward.
Previously, we would come up with content ideas from what people were asking about inside our free Facebook Group, The Social Media Managers Hub. We were always able to see what people were asking for help and advice on and notice the patterns that were coming up, and then we would create content that responded to that.
And this isn’t a bad thing at all – it’s something we’ll continue to do. But going forward, we’ll be focusing a lot more on what content is needed from what we can learn based on the data.
Within Google Analytics, we’re able to see how people are interacting with the content on our website, what they’re searching for, where they’re going on our website, and then we can identify whether there’s a next step that they need to go to. And if so, what that next step might be?
We can also clearly visualise where people are dropping off on our sales pages and see the percentage of people who aren’t converting and then do some tech work on the back end to improve that.
So we will be much more data-driven moving forward, and we’ll be focusing on the things we already have in place and how we can make them better.
How to get started with data analysis:
If we had focused on this from day one, our whole business would look very different.
Don’t think that you have to wait until you have all these resources within your business and all these things set up to start looking at that data. Ideally, if you have a business, you should be looking at this data from day one.
Regardless of where you’re at with your business, if you are not looking at the data, we can only encourage you to start now! And if the thought of looking at that data feels a little intimidating, there are so many people out there who can help you with it.
Here are 3 steps you can take to get started:
- Get the tracking set up on your website so you can start to collect that data
- Figure out what answers you want/need to know
- Start looking at the data that answers those questions
If you do this from day one, you will be lightyears ahead!
Want to learn more about SEO? We’re hosting a class in The Inner Hub® to help you improve your discoverability! Click here to join the waiting list.
RELATED BLOG POSTS ???? What Social Media Managers Need to Know About SEO
Lesson #4: It doesn’t matter what your competitors are doing
A realisation that we had this year was that we don’t let our competitors dictate our business.
That might not be mindblowing to you, but realising that gave us the boost in confidence we needed because we realised that we focus a lot more on our audience and our people than we do on our competition. Just realising that felt like a weight lifted.
At the end of the day, our competition can never be us. They can never be The Two Lauras. As much as they can try to replicate us, they will never be us. And vice versa.
The realisation that we’ve reached that point in our business and are at peace with the fact that people may try to copy us has brought us so much peace.
We know our competitors follow us. We know they listen to the podcast. We know they’re in our membership. We know they’ve bought our products.
We know that these things happen and at first, the thought that they were going to steal our stuff and market it as their own really bothered us. But they will never be us. Their stuff will never be as good as what we produce because they’re not us, and we’re okay with that.
Right now, we’re focused on what works for us and, as we mentioned above, the data that tells us that.
Creating your business based on what the competition is doing is a fast way to failure.
It’s so important for you, as a freelancer, to not let what the competition is doing drive decisions within your business. This is the fastest way to failure.
You need to be creating your business based on your goals, your situation, and the data and what’s happening within your business. Because no one else has that. No one else can build a business the way YOU build your business, because no one else is you.
The more you can block out and just stop thinking about the competition, the more you can focus on building the business you truly want. And it’s not a bad thing to have a slight awareness of what’s happening within your industry, but you shouldn’t be focusing on it or making decisions based on what you see your competitors doing.
And this is especially true when it comes to money. We see so many freelancers thinking that they need to drop their rates because they’ve seen someone else charging less than them. But what if we focused on the people who are charging more than us? When you start being motivated by the success of other people rather than being threatened by what they’re doing, it makes you feel so much better in yourself and much happier in your work.
So the next time you find yourself comparing, flip what it is you’re focusing on and try to find the motivational side.
Lesson #5: Outsource anything outside of your zone of genius
Another big thing that we did this year was we brought back the podcast!
We had quite a big break from the podcast – we took a break for Christmas and then never came back (FYI: Not gonna happen this year).
When we started thinking about bringing the podcast back, we had a bit of a block. We knew that we wanted to be even better, we wanted to be more aware of what we were doing, and we knew that we needed help.
So this year, we’ve been working with some amazing people (shoutout to Lizzie, Ben and Rory at The Podcast Coach), and they’ve been amazing at coaching us and helping us make the podcast even better.
Having that support has made it so much easier for us. Recording podcasts was a huge part of our week and it did become quite overwhelming at some points. Whereas now, thanks to their help, it’s become so much easier to plan the episodes, they help with the editing and the whole process is much quicker and much more streamlined. And we’ve been getting great feedback from our listeners and doing well in the charts!
The lesson from this? We identified that we needed help and we got it. Because we can’t all be experts in everything and that’s okay!
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