EP24 – State of the Union

To watch the video recording of this episode, click here

Greetings, coders! Today, Carter and I bring you a State of the Union address. In this episode, we’ll discuss what’s going on in our own personal businesses. We’ll talk about what’s working, what’s not, and the new apps and software we’ve been using. Here we go…

My Update

As you likely know if you’ve been following the podcast, the business I  run teaches people to code using Java language. I started it in 2012, and I’m pretty happy with it’s growth three years later.

After working lately to build up my blog, I average about 47,000 unique visitors per month (that averages out to about 2,000 per day through the week, and 1,500 over the weekend). While these high-traffic numbers are great, they do nothing if they don’t convert. By setting up an automated email sales funnel, I’ve seen a major increase in revenue this year.

Despite this success, I recently ran into a hiccup with LeadPages, my landing page software. Last month, LeadPages got blacklisted by AdBlocker for about a two-week period. This meant that anyone visiting my page who had AdBlocker installed in their browser, basically arrived at a blank page. As you can imagine, this really hurt my sales, and had me scrambling for a solution.

The good news is, it’s all sorted out now. LeadPages is back on AdBlocker’s whitelist. And the end result of this issue was not nearly as detrimental to by business as I imagined.

Last month, despite the setbacks, I was still able to set a The Coders Startupsales record for the most sales ever for my business. And the even better news, is that on April 1, I broke that record again, and set the bar even higher.

Despite the success in revenue last month, I learned my lesson. That is — always have a backup plan. The lost time with AdBlocker probably cost my business around $4,000 or $5,000 in those two weeks. So even though, I managed to exceed my sales goal for the month, I would have exceeded it even more had I had a backup static page in place.

A few other exciting updates on my end — I’ve recently implemented a new sales funnel software called InfusionSoft (link below) into my business model. While the software was an expensive decision to make, thus far, I feel that the benefits outweigh the cost.

My favorite aspect of InfusionSoft is its ability to handle contingencies. For example, if one of my email subscribers doesn’t open the first email I send to their inbox, InfusionSoft will send them a reminder. I’ve set up a system to send up to four email reminders if someone doesn’t open my email. If after four times they still don’t engage, I have InfusionSoft automated to move this customer into a new sales funnel — one that hopefully, is more interesting to them.

Another thing I’ve done recently, that Carter also has experience with, is setting up a merchant account. While payment products like PayPal and Stripe are convenient, setting up a merchant account is saving me about $1,200 annually. There are certainly pros and cons with going this route. And it might not make sense for your business, depending on your sales, so do your research. But, if a few extra phone calls towards setting up a merchant account is going to save you money in the long run, I say go for it.

Carter’s Update

Carter’s business is chugging along at a nice trajectory as well. He and his team are doing a great job bringing in new mid-market clients for their SEO, content creation and strategy solutions. Carter has also been working on creating and implementing a sales funnel, using videos. He’s run into some snags here, and is realizing that as the head of his team, it might be wearing on him to be running both logistics and the creative strategy of The Coders Startuphis business.

Also, for the sake of transparency, Carter has run into a little snag with Pinterest. While it’s driving traffic to their content, it’s not converting. So he’ll be testing out new platforms to see if he can get more traction there.

About a month and a half ago, Carter and his virtual team started meeting regularly with a weekly conference call. His advice — if you’re managing a team, make this a standard. You can get everything you need to get accomplished in about 20 minutes. Just go through the touch-points of your week — successes, obstacles, and the like — and you’ll feel like everyone is moving at the same tempo.

Another communication update from Carter, and one that I’m very curious about, is that he and his team have been using Slack. This app has been gaining a lot of popularity recently, and is definitely worth looking into if you need to communicate with team members.

The benefit of Slack, in Carter’s mind, is that it can be used to replace those quick, pointless emails that ultimately end up distracting you and wrecking your focus. Slack is also extremely user-friendly and organized. You can create different channels to keep your messages organized (Carter’s team has one for resources, time-hacks, specific clients, and small group chats), and also chat privately with team members, which might serve as a great replacement for something like Google Chat. Oh, and it’s totally free!

No matter where you are in your entrepreneurial journey, we hope you can benefit from hearing our updates and learning from both our successes and mistakes.

Bottom line — stay light on your feet, roll with the punches, and always have a backup plan.

P.S. If you’re interested in some one-on-one coaching with yours truly, follow this link to fill out a form and I’ll be in touch with you soon!

https://codersstartup.com/coaching/

 

LINKS:

http://www.startupsfortherestofus.com/

http://www.downcastapp.com/

https://slack.com/

http://www.infusionsoft.com/

Carter’s Blog Post — http://www.mcarterjohnson.com/30-blogs-you-should-read-as-an-entrepreneur-or-business-owner/

 

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