[This was originally an email to my list (Subject: About that 1M…). Shrimpers get my best stuff. Are you one of them yet? C’mon, get on the list!]
At dinner the other night, my friend Avo told my husband, Steven, “You better install Ring [security system] on your door and put cameras everywhere, because this one”—pointing to me with his pizza slice—”is putting her income all over the internet.”
I shrugged. Yeah. And?
I’m not entirely comfortable sharing the numbers. I know it freaks Steven out, not so much because it’s tacky (well, that too) but because he thinks I’ll jinx us.
I don’t have to do it, but I find it inspiring when other people do. Especially if they’re people like me, who didn’t nail it out of the gate but are more in the #latebloomer category.
Since I have been flaunting lately, think it’s only fair to share how I did it.
Many Shrimpers have been witness to my career and my wishing and wanting and griping (mostly about my own laziness) for years and years, and would love to know what changed.
I’d be a jerk to say, “I just got aligned and started visualizing what I wanted, and then The Universe delivered everything from the Vortex.”
I love a little positive thinking, and secretly even dig Abraham Hicks videos. But don’t listen to anyone who tells you “All I did was get in alignment and everything lined up.” Yeahhno.
Or, yes and.
OK, wanna know what changed in my business?
How did I break out of that box—where, to make more money, I had to take more clients and work harder, and where I was never consistent with my marketing or creative output because I didn’t really see the point? And because lazy?
Since I’m writing this on a Friday and can’t bear to go too deep, I’ll give you the very broad strokes. I’ll start with what I think was the turning point.
– In a productivity workshop on January 6th, 2017, I did a future-pacing writing exercise and got clear on what I wanted: to get paid for being me. Specifically, paid for writing emails and telling personal stories. I realized, if I want to get paid for that, I’d better do it with a little more consistency and conviction. I also knew that I had to finally write my book (instead of just talking about it).
– I started emailing my list regularly, and made it a weekly non-negotiable.
– Started a business Instagram account. As usual, right at the forefront! Yeah, it was years past the point of getting in early, but there weren’t many copywriters using the platform yet, so I was able to dominate the #copywriting hashtags with just about every tip post I put up. My friend/developer/digital guru Michelle Martello showed me how to make my own quote graphics. I got into it. This became a pretty good source of leads, I mean new Shrimpers.
– I put an email welcome sequence in place. This helped build audience engagement and, as a result, my email obsession. Obsession is my fuel. I’m not so much “all or nothing” as I am “lazy or obsessed.”
– Made a point of selling my mini-products in my emails, which gave my emails a new raison d’etre (that’s fancy talk for “why’m I writing this” )
– Saw results from my geeking out on email marketing—like sales of my mini-products—and wrote an epic post on emails that got a lot of traction and helped build my list.
– Hired a VA (Virtual Assistant)! I’d been hearing for years, “Once you hire an assistant, you’ll wonder what you ever did without one.” Fine. It’s true. The amazing Sandra Booker turned out to be way more than a VA. I quickly began calling her “my manager,” or, alternatively, “my miracle worker.” I became way more prolific in my writing and creating.
– Focused on visibility: pushed to publish articles, get on podcasts, speak on stages. I wanted to become a name in my own right. Not so-and-so’s copywriter, or anybody’s anything, but “Laura F*cking Belgray.” I also knew this authority would help build my list.
– Began putting my all into affiliate launches, and discovered that because I wrote great emails, I out-sold way bigger affiliate partners. In one launch alone, I made 6 figures in commissions from my 6k list!
– Focused even more on building my list, because if you can make big money with a small list, imagine what you can do with a bigger one. (Need help list-building? I made you a post on it.)
– With my partner Marie Forleo, launched a new, beefed-up version of The Copy Cure. As a bonus for the program, I did a series of “Live with Laura” live q&a sessions and discovered I loved answering questions on the spot, off the cuff. No homework. No prep. I now wanted my job to be doing just that. My coach Ron Reich said, “You should start a group program.” I’d always dismissed the idea. The seed for Shrimp Club was planted.
– Created Shrimp Club, my first group program. A revelation. I didn’t know I was built to lead a group and create a community, but that’s what happened!
– Retired my $1450/hour copywriting services, income I was determined to replace with other offers, like Shrimp Club and a new digital course. I did.
– Rebranded my website. It’s the anniversary of the ribbon-cutting on that baby! I wrote a big behind-the-scenes post all about the rebrand here.
– Created Inbox Hero and ran my first-ever launch (with a limited open-cart period) for my own product. I call it a “lazy launch” because it was all emails. No ads, no webinars, no affiliates, none a that. It made over $170k.
– Published a piece in Business Insider about making $1M in a year at 50, and why being a late bloomer is the way to go. It got a lot of traction, which…you guessed it…helped add subscribers to my list.
– Soldiered on through the Pandemic. Was lucky, to put it mildly, to have an online-based business.
– Added Story Hero to Inbox Hero and crushed the first launch.
– Hit that big cumulative number for courses and mini-courses sold since Jan 2019, shared it, probably tempted burglars.
– Created and launched Launch Hero, an all-launch-emails spinoff of Inbox Hero. It takes some of my most successful email launches, including affiliate launches, and splits them open down the middle to show you exactly what I’m doing in each email: the psychological and storytelling principles that make hitting that “buy” button a no-brainer.
And that’s it! In an e-nutshell. Not so much evolution has happened this year. I’m cruising on the power of last year’s big transformations. But it’s only August! So who knows what’ll happen next.
K, that’s all. I’m sure this isn’t complete. It’s off the top, what I’d say if someone asked me, “How’d you get out of “stuck mode” with your business? Did they invent a laziness vaccine or something?”
Not yet. Still waiting, Big Pharma!
PS – We do have cameras installed. The system alerts my husband’s phone every time there’s a bunny out front.
Thank you for sharing your journey with us Laura! I, too, have heard hiring a VA can be a game changer, but now you’ve really piqued my interest in these “miracle workers”!
I guess I’m hesitant because I’m not sure how to define their scope of work in a way that’s reasonable and expected for a VA without leaving them with too little to do, know what I mean?
How did you work out a schedule and scope of work for your VA?