Picture the scene, you are standing backstage, the lights are on, the excitement is building, you are going over your opening line, knowing you need to nail it.
You have been working up to this opportunity for months and it means so much. You got out of your own way to say yes to it in the first place, you worked on overcoming your fear, prioritising this over other things in your life.
This could lead to great things….
And then you walk on to the stage, into the spotlight, look up….
Imagine being a rock star walking onto a huge stage to give the concert of your life, and when you walk on to the stage all pumped you find literally nobody in the stadium….or maybe just a few stewards thinking “Where are all the fans”
Or maybe it’s like footballers who play to an empty stadium (yeah well thats kind of a thing now in 2020 right?)
But you get my drift.
In business…especially online business, that feeling of excitement and anticipation followed by disappointment, that feeling of “this is not what I imagined” can kind of be the same.
You have all of these wonderful skills and qualities, expertise that could really help people, and yet too often you create something cool, or come up with a great idea, and rather than it being met with rapturous applause, instead you get nothing.
It’s soul destroying.
And thats why if you keep mucking about on social media trying to pick up clients, in a scattergun approach instead of actually understanding how to do community building and community engagement well…you are going to burn out, or find yourself doing things in your business that are not aligned to your values OR that you are good at but you don’t enjoy.
And thats not what we went into business to do.
When you nail your niche, get clear on your mission, understand who you are as a leader, and then put in place the mechanics required to build an engaged tribe, you give yourself the best chance of stepping things up and never having to shout out into the void anymore.
The first cohort of Tribe Builder my 3 month incubator closes on Thursday 21st January. Register before midnight Friday to secure the earlybird price and your space in the programme.
Since February 2019 more than 130 small business owners have been through this specific programme. Transforming their businesses, creating movements with global impact, and truly leaning into who they want to be as an online leader.
My goal for 2021 is to support 300 solopreneurs on a mission, to transform their businesses, and step into the spotlight so that their audiences can be transformed by their work….are you one of those?
If you want to learn more about the kind of leader you are, and the most appropriate style of tribe for you to create, why not take my tribe leader quiz. It takes around 3 minutes and you get immediate results.
Julie Creffield is a serial entrepreneur, community enagagement strategist and creative business mentor, with more than 20 years experience of building profitable and engaged communitties, online and off.
Her latest book, Leading from the back, helps you to understand that there isn’t just one way to do business, but there is just one of you, so start there when looking for the answers.
And I got a message on Instagram from someone who said,
“How can you teach people how to get followers if you have only got 950 followers yourself”
Here’s the thing.
THATS VANITY METRICS!!!!
That person wasn’t taking into consideration my background, where my expertise is, what I do for my clients, she was only taking things on face value…and that sadly is the world we live in.
So yes Follower numbers do matter….because many people do want to see that you do what you say you do…and people are impressed with audience figures.
BUT….and as always its a BIG BUT
Follower numbers should never take priority over good quality, deeper relationships…because thats where business is done.
I am passionate about showing people how to grow engaged tribes, buyers and action takers, not just passive followers and browsers. So community building isn’t just about numbers.
You can have a small but mighty tribe.
I’d rather have 100 engaged clients on my email list who love what I do, who buy from me, cheer me on, refer me to their peoples, than 1000 people who never open my emails.
So go grow your audience…
Come find me on Clubhouse, I am hosting a range of rooms this week including a session on Wednesday at 9am on optimising your bio…you can get a notification for it here
Julie Creffield is a community engagement strategist with 20+ years experience of building engaged and impactful tribes, online and offline. She helps purpose driven solopreneurs to build movements that matter to scale their business.
She is the author of Leading from the Back, a book about how to grow a profitable online business without selling out, burning out, or behaving like a dick!!!!
Its the first proper day of 2021 and I know millions of solopreneurs around the world will be sitting at their desk feeling all manner of emotions about what 2021 holds for them.
This time of year (even at the best of times) is a frenzy of planning days, the setting of intentions, planners, new marketing tactics, new years resolutions…and don’t get me started on the diet ads.
But what if I told you there was one simple, but fundamental thing you could do in your business in the next 10 days that could transform the trajectory of your potential this year…would you commit to it, would you find the courage to priorotise it, over and above all the noise.
NAIL YOUR NICHE.
Now you may think you have a niche, you may think you are clear on what you do and who you do it for, but unless you are literally turning away work, I bet you there is more work to be done.
I used to resist doing this work.
I’d struggle to coheirently explain what I did to people, because I thought I was just unique and couldn’t be put in a box. I wore multiple hats, and did multiple things…I made it the job of other people to work out if my stuff was a good fit for them.
And you know where that left me?
Suffering from imposter syndrome
Looked over for work
Nailing my Niche in 2021 was the bravest thing I did.
This involved getting super clear on who I was and my mission, and then it involved creating a brand identity, and communicating this relentlessly throughout the year.
And it resulted in my increasing my turnover by 150%
I want you to have a good year this year, I want you to see 2021 as the year things started to get easier, I want clients to literally fall out of the sky for you, I want you to be doing your best work, inspired each day to crack on.
What I don’t want to see is you going round and round in circles, trying to stand out online, second guessing yourself about how to use all of the tactics out there, leaving money on the table…or literally throwing it at your competitors…or random “gurus” on the internet that promise their $17 product will transform your business.
Give me 7 days of your life, and I will show you how easy it can be.
My name is Julie Creffield and I am a community engagement strategist and creative business mentor with more than 20 years entrepreneurial experience under my belt.
I help small business owners to build profitable and impactful tribes around their business, communities of buyers not just browsers, creating movements that really matter in this world.
Nail Your Niche to Attract Your Tribe is the first step in attracting your tribe, and this 7 days training is 100% FREE…and a lot of fun, so what have you got to lose?
Get this right at the start of the year and so much can slot into place for you over the coming months.
If you know this is something that needs addressing, ignoring it is a form of self-sabotage. Holding onto the idea that it needs to be hard, that you have to narrow down what you do and miss out on opportunities, that you have to be put in a box devoid of creativity somehow is just bullshit…and it is preventing you from accessing the success you deserve.
There are people in the world that need the products and services that you provide, but they can’t access them because they don’t know about you yet, or maybe they know you but are not yet convinced that what you do can help them.
It gets to be easier…it really does.
Register now for Nail Your Niche, doors open this Friday (8th January) but the real fun starts on Monday 11th…and go tell your friends. Share this blog post, send them the list.
We all have friends who are brilliant human beings but their businesses are making them unwell. We kind of know what they do, but are not 100% sure…and if those closest to them don’t get it, how will other people.
So if you had asked me “What is Clubhouse” around 6 weeks ago I would have answered “Oh that’s the name of my membership for plus size runners” but asking me today my answer is this…
Clubhouse is a relatively new social media platform which uses solely audio to build relationships….and in my view I think it’s going to be the BIG thing for 2021.
And heres why…
You have to get invited
I was invited by a client about 2 weeks ago. I’d already started to hear a buzz and I decided to jump in.
This is brilliant scarcity marketing, creating FOMO and a buzz without advertising spend.
It’s only available on iphone
This probably pisses all of the Android users of the world off…but they have picked a lane. The lesson here is you don’t have to be accessible to everyone.
It’s kinda addictive
You can jump into rooms to hear live moderated conversations on a range of topics. Unlike podcasts, youtube videos or even live stage talks these conversations feel fresh, authentic and in the moment.
I’ve been jumping into rooms every day since joining…often while doing other boring tasks like washing up, or sorting paperwork.
Anyone can host a room
To have a Club that folks can follow, you have to meet certain criteria and apply, but anyone can host a room.
You can host a public or a private room.
This can feel scary because when public ANYONE can join, and when Private people might not want to join…eeeek!!!
I’m hosting my first room on Friday to continue the conversation about how Clubhouse can help with audience building for small business owners in 2021…come and join me.
You have access to some of the biggest personalities online
This is not just about business gurus but also sports people, actors, musicians etc its exciting!!!
On New Years Eve I spent about an hour in a room with some major Hip Hop artists from the states…it was exhilarating.
You don’t have to get dressed or do your hair
This is a GAMECHANGER. In this COVID affected world I don’t know about you, but I don’t always want to do hair and make up or put on proper clothes (just me???) and so an audio-only platform is perfect…in fact its a real leveler…you are judged purely on what you say and how you say it, rather than what you or your office space look like.
It also means you can take part from anywhere you have your phone, so in those dead times while waiting for a train, or even while out running.
Should you jump in now?
Being an early adopter means you can claim your username…which can give you an advantage if you do want to use it in your business to build your brand.
Plus…you don’t have to do anything straight away, you can see how it evolves.
I haven’t really been an early adopter when it comes to social media channels in the past.
I didn’t start my Facebook page for my plus size fitness business until around 3 years into doing business…it now has 26K fans.
Nor instagram, nor YouTube, nor Tic Toc…my daughter uses my account because I can’t even cope with another platform to keep on top of, but this feels different.
I have no intention of going for the vanity metrics of numbers of followers, and instead use it to build proper relationships.
So come find me @juliecreffield
And for anyone wanting to know how to get their first 1000 followers and why that is kind of important on this app, check out this mini resource I created.
I ummed and ahhed about doing one of these posts this year…I mean I think I’ve been documenting my progress throughout the year, but I find the process of typing it all out quite cathartic and I know my clients and wider tribe enjoy reading them.
But this is all about 2020….the year that nobody saw coming.
So here goes.
This year was supposed to be the year that my business saw real growth. It was my intention right from the off. 2019 had been a year of repositioning and the testing of new programmes and services, but this year was the year I was going to stop mucking about and scale my business properly.
A big driver for this was wanting to move out of my small apartment in East London, years of under-earning after being made redundant 4 times in 10 years the final time pregnant with my daughter Rose, had me fully aware that I was playing catch up.
I made a commitment in January that I would double my income in 2020.
I didn’t know how on earth I was going to do this.
I started the year strong with 600 women joining my 5 weeks to 5K online group programme (running, not £5K…although not a bad name for a business growth programme ha ha), followed by filling the first round of Tribe Builder of the year…but there was an idea for a new programme brewing, and little did I know I would be ahead of the curve.
In February while on the tube into Central London to spend a day with my newly appointed business coach, I scribbled out the bare bones of a new programme…One to Many, a fully facilitated group programme for experts who want to move from 121or in person delivery, to an online group programme format.
By the time I had created it a huge market had appeared. Why?
COVID Bloody 19 thats why.
I had taken the February half term off to take Rose to Butlins, and while she climbed on the soft play and danced to Little Mix in the club of an evening, I was keeping abreast of the news reports that said a virus had made its way from China to the UK.
A few weeks later I was giving my last in person talk, doing that crazy elbow fist bump with none other than Olympian Chris Akabusi who was also on the line up…strange times indeed.
The first UK lockdown was a blur, homeschooling and running two online businesses (both that boomed in the crisis), while also struggling with anxiety and panic attacks was no easy feat…
It feels that time was a lifetime ago…but in the same breath I know it could come back at any time, and that makes me fearful.
I created and launched lots of new things this year
One to Many 10 Week Programme
Thrive Inside Fitness & Wellbeing Service
Kickstart Your Tribe Building Mini Programme
Do More Bits Productivity Programme
The Fellowship Membership
There were probably more things, but they escape me right now.
I ran a new FREE 5 day challenge called Nail Your Niche in June and in September, bringing 600 new people into my world. I worked with a Facebook ads expert for the first time ever, to explore how this could help me scale.
Organic tribe building has been my thing up until this point.
I developed lots of free resources and opportunities to work with me live free of charge too, I think I ran a total of 12 free masterclasses, and I wrote two free ebooks
Originally it was going to be a 10 year anniversary book about my plus size fitness business, but with the running world (and my running) ground to a halt, it didn’t feel right to publish that book.
So in September I made the bold decision to fly to Greece for 3 weeks to write a book about being a leader in the online context.
I run a plus size fitness retreat on the Greek island of Rhodes, and have a dear friend there. I wanted to go somewhere I knew, somewhere I wouldn’t have too many distractions, but somewhere if shit hit the fan I’d have some support.
It was a perfect choice.
Rose had moved in with her Dad for a while. We had agreed this was a good move for us all, and that I really needed a break. What none of us saw coming is that I would stay for a total of 8 weeks as the UK went back into lockdown.
It was a massive sacrifice being away from my daughter for such a long time, but it also gave me time to recover and to take stock, and to get clarity over what I wanted to do next.
I also developed a “find your authentic tribe leadership style” quiz to accompany it (you can check that out here), and even a little self study programme which folks had been asking me for ages to create.
I launched the Activate Your Tribe Toolkit yesterday and I am super excited by how many folks have snapped it up at its introductory price of just £47 in just 24 hours.
Thats the thing I have learned most this year, is to listen to what folks want and to take action before you can talk yourself out of it.
Not all of my programmes have made it to the end of the year, I am retiring One to Many, the small cohort sizes and level of support needed to help folks launch their profitable group programmes wasn’t sustainable over the longer term…but I am super proud of the 30+ business owners that I helped to…here it comes….PIVOT…their services into the online world ha ha.
And some are up in the air…
The 10 year anniversary of Too Fat to Run came and went without much fanfair…it was dissapointing for sure. Do you know throughout the whole of the pandemic, not one brand, not one government agency, not one running organisation got in touch to discuss partnerships, collaborations or sponsorship…which is evident to me that not only did they have other things on their mind, but they don’t really give a shit about plus size women in the sport.
Not sure if that will ever change…
I am committing to writing a final book on running, Pass me the Lube is due out on February 14th, and will be a book about my 10 years as a plus size athlete…and I guess we will have to see what transpires in terms of that business, I just know I can’t run it by myself anymore.
So what else happened over the year?
What did I invest in?
New Mac for the office
Apple Airpod Pros (which I have misplaced urgh)
New brand photos
A year long business mastermind with Suzy Ashworth
Humour coaching with Jeremy Nicholas (probably my fav online thing I did all year)
Coaching with Anna Parker Naples for support around launching a podcast (Due out in 2021)
A VA to help with social media, repurposing and admin
The development of the Quiz
A nutritionist (this was a must after the first lockdown where I lived on pasta, red wine, and adrenalin)
Facebook Adverts (Around £1000 of them so nothing too dramatic)
I bought a new car
And my numbers?
I welcomed around 3000 new clients into my world
I wrote around 40 blogs…far less than normal
I did one live in person speaking gig
I took around 30 days of leave
I did around £250K in sales…around
My non-negotiable was having £10K months…I hit that every month, exceeding it often. In November I had my most successful month in business in June when I did more than £30K in sales overall, but November was a particularly good month too, bringing in £21K in cash…while spending most of the month on the beach, or head in my book.
I don’t share these numbers to brag, but instead to show what is possible, and to be as transparent as possible….and also to illustrate the power of having a small but mighty tribe.
Cos interestingly my social media numbers haven’t increased by much, nor my email list, as many people join my list as leave, I’m not everyone’s cup of tea…nobody is, cos then you are just a mug!!
And so what’s next?
I think this year I have proved that I am an expert in this organic tribe building malarki. I don’t feel like I need to create a whole heap of new things (although I know what I’m like), I really would like to just leverage what I already have and get to a bigger audience.
My goal for 2021?
Double my income and double my impact again, and build my team so it doesn’t feel like I am doing most things myself.
I want to live by the sea, I want to live in nature, I want to not work so hard.
I want to find romantic love again (oh COVID you fucker!!!)
But anythings possible I guess.
And next year, how can folks get involved?
Dates for your diary
4th January – Dare to Dream – Vision Board Challenge (Register here)
I will be sharing the 3 biggest things which led to my best ever business year, with a quarter of a million pounds in sales, but more importantly the absolute privilege of helping so many small business owners to create momentum in their businesses.
If you are winding down and getting ready for the festive period, have a well deserved break, thank you for reading my blogs, watching my videos and talking part in my programmes.
And I will see you in 2021…ready to do great things
Julie Creffield is a community engagement strategist, business mentor and speaker. She helps small business owners to grow profitable tribes of buyers not browsers.