7 years ago I went to a local business advisor to get advice about turning my popular blog into a business.
I’d recently been made redundant and had a small baby at home.
His advice wasn’t very helpful.
He didn’t think it was possible to monetise a blog like mine, he told me it was too much of a gimmick…and it would never make me any money.
It was like a red flag to a bull…and I left the building thinking, “I’ll show you”
I got a loan from my job centre and launched a range of motivational tshirts for my blog followers, wrote a simple ebook, and started doing in person running workshops in East London.
I realised very soon, that business model was flawed.
It would be too difficult to find enough people in my local area AND pay for childcare. It would take too long and was too hard while my little one was, well little.
I neededed growth and I needed it quick.
So I took my services online.
Not in a wizzy sophisticated manor…but I created enormous transformation in my clients and grew my client base exponentially…AND fast…using free technology and my boundless energy for people.
I’ve been running group programmes ever since, with upgrades and improvements in the tech and delivery with each one, I’ve probably created and launched more than 25 of my own group programmes, and helped around 500 small business to create and launch theirs.
The one to many model is a wonderful model…and so late last year I started thinking about creating a programme that used my 20+ years experience of devising group programmes (I used to do it with real places with real people before moving online)
And so One to Many was born.
One to Many is an 8 week programme to help you design, create and launch a profitable group programme…without all of the unnecessary faff and confusion of doing it all by yourself.
A major focus of this is making it profitable (first time round) and getting it out into the world FAST…trust me it doesn’t need to be perfect, or slick, or any of those things you use as an excuse to not move ahead with your idea.
So the best time to launch an online group programme was years ago…I’m kidding…ha ha…the best time is NOW…like seriously. The longer you wait the longer your potential clients have to work with someone else…or stay stuck.
Lockdown or no lockdown the one to many model is so flexible…and no matter your niche, your expertise, your level of experience…there are people out there that need what you offer.
Now more than ever people are looking for affordable, accessible and unique ways of learning, experiencing and sharing online….people are relying more than ever on feeling connected, seen and heard online while the world sorts itself out.
In normal times September and October are brilliant times to launch. The summer is over, the end of the year is approaching. People are aware of where there skills gaps are and what they need….they are getting ready for the following year and looking for ways to finish the year strong.
So what you waiting for?
Imagine heading into the Autumn with your group programme up and running? Bums on virtual seats, money in the bank, and the skills and understanding to become a brilliant facilitator who helps their clients make the changes they need to make?
Julie Creffield is a community engagement specialist and business mentor with an obssession for group programmes. With 20+ years experience of facilitating groups, and a decade of running profitable online programmes, she knows her stuff.
Her One to Many Programme starts on the 10th August with the view to having filled your group programme in just 8 weeks. You can find out more here do get in touch if you’d like details of the 5 month payment plan or have any questions firstname.lastname@example.org
I like to think of myself as pretty resilient…able to adapt to most things, flexible, positive, and able to spot opportunities even in the most challenging of times.
I was made redundant 4 times in 10 years from the public and voluntary sectors in my twenties and early 30s (the final time pregnant with my daughter) so unexpected change was not new to me.
After that time though I actively chose full-time self-employment as a way of minimising risk…the risk, that is of men in suits dictating my future and my capacity to earn.
HOLY FUCK if only I knew then what I know now.
2020 was going to be the year that I took my online business to whole new levels, it would mark a decade of running my plus-size fitness blog www.thefatgirlsguidetorunning.com which was planning international events and even had a couple of major sports brands interested in sponsoring us as we scaled up.
And my work as an engagement strategist and business mentor helping small business owners to grow profitable tribes was picking up too…2020 was going to be my year.
I had a corker of a January…a 5 figure month, over 800 new clients, a day trip to Paris to celebrate my 7-year-olds birthday, and I even booked off the February half term…a whole week off work to go to Butlins (oh the glamour)
I can remember though a slight unease as I saw my little one living her best life clambering around on the soft play with a billion other kids, while I read updates on my phone about this virus that had now reached the UK and was starting to create concern.
It will be alright I told myself
I kept telling myself that, “keep calm, and crack on” was my motto…right up to the moment the schools closed their doors, and reality hit home.
How the hell was I going to homeschool a lively 7-year-old, manage my existing client load, and find ongoing work to prevent the business from going under?
I’d just registered for VAT in my business AND taken out a loan to buy new equipment, and invest in a few other upgrades for my business. I didn’t qualify for any of the governments support loans on offer, have no family to bail me out and no stash of cash saved for a rainy day…well not an indefinite number of months worth of rainy days that’s for sure.
I literally would need to keep calm and crack on.
I kept reminding myself, “You can do this Julie, you have dealt with worse, you are resourceful, resilient…and you have a loyal tribe of clients, peers, and friends to support you.”
The first few weeks were a blur…managing a tight ship of homeschooling work, crafting activities, and screen time to allow me to do calls with my clients. Everyone was very understanding.
I literally packed a week’s worth of work into a day…often working first thing in the morning and last thing at night while she slept…but her sleeping patterns changed as her activity levels dipped in tandem with mine.
I dealt with panic attacks going to the supermarket, we had melt downs attempting bike rides or walks (not quite the same when you live in the middle of one of the busiest cities in Europe) oh and ethical dilemmas about access with my daughter’s dad, leading to calls from her school and social services (hey there is no shame lurking around over here on that count)
It was tough.
And yet most days I would show up on social media with messages of positivity, and updates from our new life, I’d run free masterclasses for business owners struggling to take their offline businesses online…while also helping my clients to stay focussed on their goals.
My days become all about negotiation, bribery, snatching short moments for a loo break and a cup of tea between zoom calls…me and my daughter Rose would sometimes eat lunch out on the balcony together, or play Guess Who between client calls…and then she’d retreat into my room to watch something else on Disney Plus.
OMG the guilt.
We’d have conversations about Covid, and the things we were missing, Rose learned about profit and loss, as we bagged up merchandise and shipped it to my clients….we clapped for the NHS, we made window displays, we did jigsaw puzzles…and we got used to our new cat (a panic purchase the evening of lockdown).
Why do I share this? In part its to ensure there is a record…because at times I feel like I’ve made the whole thing up…like its one big montage from a movie.
But also because I think the single working mother has been somewhat lost in the media.
There has been a lot written about the impact of women during this pandemic, in particular, working mums…the unfair balance of caring and household responsibilities where there are actually two parents living under the same roof.
I would nod along with those articles, but also find myself thinking “you don’t know the half of it” and “What about us??”
Part of the difficulty of going through this thing on your own…is, well…you are on your own…I couldn’t ask a partner to pop to the shops this time or to do the bedtime routine or help me decide upon a fair policy for my daughter’s YouTube viewing…or TicToc video uploading…it was all on me.
The fact nobody seemed to be talking about this in the media almost felt like a “well thats what you get” fingers up for not towing the line and leading a more conventional life.
And there were moments when I questioned a lot of my life choices too…it would have been nice to have had another adult to experience this with, to share a bottle of wine in the evenings with…to make plans for the future with based on our new view of the world.
That was the most challenging bit of all…not having another adult in the house. Nobody to help make some of those smaller decisions….or to be there to give hugs to a frustrated little girl who screams “You care more about your calls than you do me” because I can’t leave a call halfway through to make noodles or to smell the cats breath or to help her make slime….or a million other interuptions?
The highlight being her crashing through the front room in just her knickers, tripping over her own feet and almost smashing through the patio doors, all while my clients watched on.
There were of course moments of joy too…getting the sewing machine out to make masks, and then barbie costumes. I hooked up a hammock on our balcony (our only outdoor space) and served her cocktails (non-alcoholick FYI) in the sun. We played scrabble, and monopoly, and the colour game…which goes choose a colour and wear and eat only that colour all day…she lucked out with yellow…me not so much with orange.
AND my business thrived…new clients, new opportunities, new programmes…I have had 5 of the most profitable months in business EVER.
But still looking back at the last 4 months, even I don’t know how I did it…nor if I could do it again. (please don’t make me do it again). How women with multiple kids did it I do not know…I can’t believe it would even be possible to run a business with multiple kids and no childcare….I bet some women did though.
As dramatic as it seems…it feels like trauma…like I may never truly recover…like perhaps she may not either….and of course, we will, we all will, somehow.
So many people had it worse, losing loved ones, being a keyworker working double shifts, people losing their livelihoods, losing their businesses altogether…but comparing your pain, your discomfort with that of others…well it doesn’t really change much…I guess it just adds to the guilt.
How dare I complain?
So this article just serves as a reminder that we did endure, that we did make it through to this point. And despite having no idea if things will get worse before it gets better…that we will (or at least I will)…survive.
Single Mums (and dads) out there I salute you.
Julie Creffield is a serial entrepreneur, community engagement strategist and business mentor from East London, where she shares a 2 bed apartment with her fashion-conscious, tictoc obsessed 7-year-old Rose, and her ginger kitten turned cat Tom.
The world has gone online.
People have created income streams out of nowhere overnight, and all around you people are sharing their success stories of how easy it was to monetise their expertise.
A lot of that will be bullshit.
Creating an online programme can be a ballache.
Even if you are an expert in your thing, even if you are 100% confident that people need it, and that it will sell.
The process of getting the stuff from your head into a deliverable programme takes time, resources and expertise.
All of which can feel like is in short supply at times right now.
But September is looming…you know that magical time where the world thinks the world will be back to normal…I reckon the world won’t, but I do think September/October is a good time to be launching your thing into the world.
And the good news is…a lot of folks won’t even be thinking about knuckling down and cracking on with it until after the summer.
So what makes me such an expert on all this stuff?
I have been creating, launching and delivering online programmes for a decade…and devising group programmes and experiences in the real world for more than 20 years.
And let me tell you the 3 most common reasons people don’t get round to creating profitable online programmes,
Designing, launching and delivering online programmes does take a consertive effort…it is never passive (those internet marketerrs are lying), but 90% of the work is done upfront…and then it is easier.
But as humans we are not wired like that are we…we want quick wins, with stuff we already know how to do.
And this leads me nicely into overwhelm. There are so many ways to do it. I created a little resource earlier in the year sharing my fav 9 ways of monetising expertise (you can download it here)…but deciding on the format is only part of the issue.
There is the content, the tech, the timings, the ideal client, the price point, the marketing strategy…not to mention the sales EEEEEEEKKKK
Yeah…we’ll get round to it one day right?
But it’s annoying because we see other people in our space making money online and that can trigger all kinds of emotions…jealousy, rage, contempt.
You start to see what a crowded market it is, and you wonder if anyone will ever buy your thing…I mean less than 10% of people who buy an online programme complete it…whats the point hey?
The point is, if you do it properly online programmes can be hugely profitable, and more importantly to me (hugely impactful). I know a lot of shit…and I can help a lot of people, but not if I have to work with them one to one.
I am running a new cohort of my popular programme One to Many. This is not a mass…get everyone in a Facebook group and let them fend for themselves type of programme, this is a fully facilitated bespoke programme of learning, support and accountability.
I teach you everything you need to know to design, launch, sell and deliver a profitable group programme…and I do it in 8 weeks….yes your programme will have people on it, in less than 2 months.
Check out more about how the programme works here
FYI – I have put a prize freeze on this until the end of 2020
There are just 10 spots on the programme though, so if you want in…then you’d better act quickly.
We start on the 10th August.
On Thursday this week I am running a FREE webinar all about how to make your programmes profitable, where I will be sharing behind the scenes info on two of my 6 figure group programmes.
You can sign up for that here
Look…there are a lot of business coaches teaching this stuff, and you have to feel like working with a coach makes sense right now, so here are the questions you really should be asking yourself
- Will you do this by yourself
- Do you have all of the know how to do it and not mess it up
- Do you enjoy working in a small group with others on the same path (This is a massive benefit of my One to Many Programme compared to many others on the market)
- Are you serious about creating a new income stream
- Are group programmes part of a strategy for growth beyond these crazy times?
If you want a quick chat about any of this drop me a text 07961 374 772
Good luck…and don’t keep your genius locked inside of you head
I am a massive believer in setting goals and of course reviewing them on a regular basis. My clients can testify to this. At the start of each of my group programmes we do my 12 in 12 desire process…and I do it along with them each time.
It’s simple really. Set a timer on your phone for 2 minutes, and write 12 things you want to attract into your life in the next 12 weeks. There are a few rules though…it musn’t read like a to do list, it doesn’t just have to be about your business…oh and it doesn’t have to be remotely realistic.
This is simply about tuning into your desires.
I find that in a 3 month window, I tend to achieve between 5 and 7 of them each time, and then over the subsequent months the others often come in when they are good and ready too.
It is a technique I have been doing religiously for the past 3 years, and I can’t see me stopping anytime soon. Whether you are a believer in the law of attraction, or just like to write out your goals and tick them off…the process of admitting what you want, and committing those desires to paper can be super powerful…and admitting them to other people increases the power of the process ten fold, as does taking the time to celebrate when you have achieved them.
And thats what todays blog post is about.
Me celebrating the last 6 months….you might want to grab a cuppa and get comfy…this might take a while….oh and FYI I am super nervous about sharing some of this.
I started the year off with massive goals.
Everything I had worked towards in 2019 I was going to ramp up. January was a cracking month welcoming 600 new clients into my world in the first 10 days of the year….making a bumper £12K…not a bad way to kick of the month hey?
February was a brilliant month too…I invested in a kick-arse coach, got a business loan to buy new computers and to invest in a complete business rebrand, and then BOOM…a global pandemic hit!!!!
I mean you can’t make this stuff up.
I had just created a new programme called One to Many, which I had been working on since the start of the year…and in the panic I filled the first cohort with ease.
But I am not going to lie, the pressure was building.
How would I continue to grow my business while homeschooling a 7 year old and looking after my sister who had broken her ankle a couple of weeks before the big lockdown.
It seemed an impossible task? But of course we manage right? Its not always easy but whats the alternative?
I was in a very fortunate position that I had done a lot of positioning and proving myself in the years leading up to 2020…I had a loyal tribe of clients and a supportive network of peers and business buddies.
See I really was on to something with this tribe building thing.
So at a time where I was feeling pretty alone….I never really was, my customer base has been incredible, not only in continuing to buy from me, but checking in on my mental well being too.
Juggling parenting, and the fear of Corona virus, while in a major growth period in my business was a challenge to say the least.
My daughter has been back at school for the last few weeks (she needed to be in school for both of our sanity), but she breaks for the summer in a couple of days and so it does feel a bit like my own second wave is on its way…it has been a real luxury to have time for myself and my business again.
Those first 11 weeks of no childcare taught me some very valuable lessons, namely that a lot can be done in a short period of time when you set your mind to it….plus how resilient kids can be.
And also that most of the crap we do in our businesses, really doesn’t have to be done.
We are firmly in July now, so more than half way through the year…and so on Friday after a pretty busy week I sat down and made a list of all the things I’ve achieved this year.
I didn’t have any intention of sharing it, beyond my mastermind group…but I am always reminding my clients to celebrate and share their wins…and so here are mine.
My mid year wins.
- I’ve welcomed more than 1000 new clients into my world
- I took my 7-year-old to Paris for a daytrip…part birthday treat and part just because we could.
- I’ve secured more than £30K of investment into my business (loans to help with cash flow and investing in infrastructure…£11K of which has already been paid off)
- I’ve made £100K in sales
- I’ve worked with a branding expert to rebrand my business
- I’ve designed and created 4 new online group programmes
- I’ve worked with 4 VIP clients
- I launched Too Fat to Run TV…a weekly online TV show for my running clients
- I launched a programme called Thrive Inside for my running community, employing a personal trainer and inviting other experts into my group…and commissioned a new Tshirt design
- I’ve run a 5 day Nail your Niche challenge, with almost 300 participants and 12,000 comments
- I’ve hosted 5 free webinars, given 6 virtual talks/masterclasses for other organisations or business owners
- I’ve been listed as an East London Innovator
- I’ve taken part in 4 online group programmes (led by other coaches and experts), and finished my transformational coaching qualification modules.
- I’ve built a support team…a VA and various freelancers to help out as and when.
- I’ve taken on a new family member….Tom the cat…this has been a massive undertaking ha ha
- I’ve refurbished parts of my home…including my only outside space my tiny little balcony
- And I’ve kept safe and well…reaching out for support when things got tough…and trust me tough they did get
When I wrote this list out, at first I thought it was a bit braggy.
Especially the money stuff.
We have been taught to believe that speaking about money is crass, but to speak about having my best months in business during a global pandemic surely that puts me in the “cringey internet marketer camp”
But also I hate that this list plays into the narrative that during lockdown we all had to be super productive….trust me there were days where I did sweet FA, and literally just cried on the sofa while my child ran amock
But back to the business.
My goal this year was to triple my income and my impact…and I am on track for that. Aside from that, I am incredibly proud of the support I’ve been able to give to both my running clients and my business coaching clients during what has been some of the toughest times in our lives…I have learned more about what leadership really looks like in the past 100 days than in my whole working history.
And so in summary…
I’ve had 6 cracking months not necessarily because of the pandemic, but despite it, maybe even co-creating alongside it….and I guess we will never know if I would have had that success anyway.
Sometimes we do our best work under pressure, sometimes we are pushed before we are 100% ready, we take action because the consequences of not taking action are too scary to think about.
And so what next?
I will take a bit of a break over the summer…I am easing back on new things and focussing on serving my existing clients. I will do one more round of One to Many…as I know people are keen to get their online offerings up in time for the Autumn….which is traditionally a popular time for signing up to new online programmes.
And then I have BIG plans for October
A completely new programme that is going to be my most transformational EVER, another cohort of Tribe Builder my signature programme…and who knows what else.
Next Thursday I am going to be running a FREE masterclass all about how to design profitable group programmes, dissecting two of my most popular programmes.
You can register here
It is really important that we don’t shrink away as small business owners, overwhelmed with what else is going on in the world. There is a heap of fear knocking around right now when it comes to the notion of a global recession, a second wave of Covid19, travel restrictions, political uncertainty.
When we decide to focus on what we can control…ie our attitude and our habits and behaviours, it gives us more energy to cope with the other shit that comes our way.
Grow your tribe, leverage your expertise, and don’t think you have to do it on your own.
Wishing you every success for the 2nd half of 2020
Julie Creffield is a community engagement strategist and business mentor from Stratford East London. She has spent more than 20 years bringing communities together, online and off.
This morning I did my normal thing of waking up before the kid did and having a cheeky browse on social media to see what had gone down over night.
Many of my clients are on different time zones, so this has nothing to do with my addiction to my phone, and more to do with looking after my overseas clients…honest.
Some people think I must be on social media all day every day.
But I am not…REALLY
For me, it’s less about the amount of time spent online, and much more to do with the quality of what I post and when.
Social media can feel really overwhelming when you are trying to build a business.
What are the rules?
- Am I doing it right?
- Why is nobody engaging with my posts
- AND WHY OH WHY IS EVERYONE TRYING TO SELL ME SOMETHING?????
Can you see the irony though?
You are on social media because you want to grow your business, and yet other people see you as a hot lead too.
All that “Come join my group”
All that “Sign up to my FREE masterclass”
All that “Look what my client just said about me”
It can be triggering as hell.
And yet without social media it really is quite difficult to grow a business without cracking social media….well at least it is these days.
When I first started out in business more than 25 years ago, I got my freelance and consultancy gigs mainly through word of mouth, or by seeing jobs posted in real newspapers…or on an online arts based jobs listing created by the Arts Council…which at the time felt quite cutting edge.
And the great thing about that is you very rarely knew who else was going up for the same jobs, there was very little comparisonitus, and I never really felt the fear and anxiety of “not being enough”
Those were the days ha ha
Getting on top of social media, learning how to stand out online, finding ways to be consistent, its critical…it can be difference between you having a profitable business or not.
I learned that while growing my plus size fitness business.
And once you have cracked it and can see the direct correlation between time spent doing good social media marketing and money in the bank…the motivation to show up increase 10 fold.
You just have to find your way of doing it.
Because there really isn’t a one size fits all way of doing social media, and that is where a lot of business owners get stuck. They follow someone else’s way of doing things and then get frustrated when it doesn’t work.
Having a good social media plan that works…is about creating one that works for you…one that feels easier and fun, one which positions you as someone who knows what they are talking about…one that drives sales.
We are looking for buyers not browsers
Fans that engage, instead of followers who just passively…well follow ha ha
This is not a numbers game.
- Imagine what it would feel like to not actually be glued to your phone? Imagine being able to build your customer pipeline with ease?
- Imagine not being trigered 24/7 by what other people are doing online?
Join me this Thursday for a FREE masterclass called “It’s a Circus Out There” at 11.30am. Find out more and sign up here
Julie Creffield is a community engagement specialist and business mentor with 25 years of experience bringing people together around an idea.
In 2010 she set up a plus-size fitness blog which she turned into a global movement inspiring millions of women around the globe.
She now teaches small business owners how to get traction online by building engaged audiences of buyers and not browsers.