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Survive, experiment, evolve and refine
How I'm setting up for year three in business
Each year that I’ve been in business has a theme.
Year one was survival and year two was experimenting.
Survival and experimenting involved saying “yes” all the time. When I launched Into The Woods Marketing in the summer of 2020, having quit my full-time job just before the pandemic, I just wanted to get started. My pricing wasn’t right, and the clients were not always my ideal clients, but I had to work to do and I made sure my bills were paid. A year later, I had plenty of work on my plate, and I knew the business was going to work and I wanted to try everything. I took on branding projects, did work for an agency, got a coaching and mentoring qualification, started a Medium publication and hired a VA. I tried different pricing structures and made enough money to finally go on holiday after two years.
After two years of saying yes, I had built a business, generated income for myself and my contractors, and did work that I loved and work that I hated.
And I’d recommend this journey to anyone else starting out. Just start and experiment along the way.
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This year, I’ve been feeling as though things are still not quite right. I’d found myself without any project work, just retainers. And without a mentoring client, just doing tactical marketing. Some clients who were meant to be short-term had drifted into being long-term.
I need to start saying “no” more often, and this year is shaping up to be about evolving and refining.
How I’m evolving and refining
Fab Giovanetti’s first Substack post landed in my inbox and it was all about how to get unstuck. This prompted me to take my niggles and write down what I loved doing and what I want to move away from. This led to two outcomes:
1. I want to separate “me” as a brand from my business
This is for a number of reasons. The main reason is audience; my Medium blog, my teaching and some of my mentoring work are aimed at other marketers. My client work has a completely different audience.
I wish I didn’t need external validation to develop a personal brand, but that’s where it has come from. Feedback from my LinkedIn content, teaching and conversations has inspired me to do this.
2. I want to help brands build a marketing function
Defined projects, developing a brand and mentoring are my favourite types of client work, and they make the best of my skillset. I want to help businesses to create brands, develop marketing programmes and then recruit and mentor a person or a team to run the programme. And this is the thing that I want to offer going forwards.
What’s next? Well, after years of growing audiences and writing newsletters for others, I’ve set up this Substack as a marketing channel for my personal brand and I’ll be sharing what I’m up to and what I learn along the way.
This process of survive, experiment, evolve and refine reminds me of so many other parts of my life; the house renovation, the garden, the circus. Next time I am doing something new and feel out of my depth, I will remember that it’s all part of the journey.
Fab Giovanetti for helping me get unstuck and prompting me to start posting on Substack. She just started posting on a Substack too - give her a follow :-)
Sue Moore for giving me the name of this newsletter. Sue provides psychology-led marketing for marketers and writers at Virtual Golddust.
Alanna Oakes who also helped me with names and setting this up. If you need a virtual assistant, check out Ask Alanna.
And Farrah Storr for running an intro to Substack workshop - thank Farrah!