Strategies, Entrepreneur

2017 Review: How Much We Made and Where the $ Came From

Episode 168: Show Notes

Today’s episode is all about the 2017 Review – where we share our triumphs and milestones, the bumps on the road, numbers, sexy data and everything in between! 2017 was a big year for us; Penelope was born, we took off all of January and we launched our signature program, The Strategy Academy, twice! We also hosted a ton of webinars and we ran Facebook Ads strategically well for the first time.

Today’s episode is all about the 2017 Review – where we share our triumphs and milestones, the bumps on the road, numbers, sexy data and everything in between! 2017 was a big year for us; Penelope was born, we took off all of January and we launched our signature program, The Strategy Academy, twice! We also hosted a ton of webinars and we ran Facebook Ads strategically well for the first time.  |  The Strategy Hour Podcast  |  Think Creative Collective

We took a total of 12 weeks off, launched the podcast, launched a website and ended up in the Top 15 Business Podcasts on iTunes... And to think that all of that happened in one year is pretty crazy! In this episode, we’ll be giving you an overview of our year, diving into our four main income generators, two biggest costs, two biggest myths and sharing a stat that might just blow your mind! We hope you will extract some of these strategies and use them to analyze your own business year and make empowered decisions as we dance into 2018.

What Happened in 2017? An Overview of the Year

We’re going to just fly through the year so you guys can get a quick overview: In January 2017, Penelope was born. We took off all of January and eased into February. We launched our signature program, The Strategy Academy, twice. We hosted a crap ton of webinars and we ran Facebook Ads strategically well for the first time in 2017. We took a total of 12 weeks off. We launched the podcast, we recorded podcasts, we launched a website and ended up in the Top 15 Business Podcasts on iTunes. You can catch up on our Facebook Review and our Launch episodes to hear a bit more about those strategies. But these are the things that really helped us to achieve our revenue goals this year.

The Big Moves of 2017: The Podcast, The Facebook Group, The Email List

Specifically, we’d like to talk about the podcast and reminisce in a moment of glory. We hit 425,000 downloads in 2017. That is bananas. The funny thing is, we only started the podcast because everyone already assumed we had a podcast! So, to go from that to almost half a million downloads is nuts. Also, our Facebook group has exploded. It grew so fast we had to hire people to manage it. Right now we’re at 17,000 members (with 13,000 who Facebook considers active), and in between that, we declined 2400 requests and only 10 people have been blocked. On top of that, our email list has been blowing up. We thought we were stuck at 10,000 subscribers forever. But what really propelled us forward was our challenges, which were our biggest email growers. Right now we’re around 19,000 email list subscribers.

A Look at Sales, Growth and the Catalysts

Sales are a multi-faceted thing for us. There is no one main cause for our sales growth. It’s a combination of things and how they work together. Generally, we have the highest conversion rates on emails but what gets people to the email list is other things, like the Facebook Group and the Podcast. So, our quarter three goal for email list subscribers was to have 37,240 subscribers and to convert 8.5% of those to students. We had nowhere near 37,000. But our conversion rate for September 2017 was 15.5%. That’s bananas. We had the most students in Trello and once they’re in Trello, they’re infinitely more likely to convert to our other programs. We also upped our prices for our product because we realized we wouldn’t be able to grow unless we did. We introduced a $2k product and it worked.Our student numbers went up and we ended, in 2017, with $420,000 in cash. In 2016, we had $190,000 in cash. We more than doubled. If we look at our sales number, we’re at $585,000. This number included affiliates so we’re somewhere in the middle of that amount. And we are ecstatic with that.

The Four Main Income Generators

Our signature program, The Strategy Academy, was at the top of our money makers. It gave us 34% of our overall revenue and we want to bump that up to a 50-70% in 2018. Then we had Rock Your Biz, which was a bundle of three programs. It got a bit confusing, so we will be phasing that course out and breaking it back down into its parts. But in total, that brought in 23% of our revenue. Then, a shocking third-placer was affiliate income. We never really knew the power of affiliate relationships and how greatly they can affect your money. We had affiliates bringing in close to 21% of our revenue for 2017. We launched four times in 2017 and we generated $139,810 just from one affiliate, which was Courtney Foster-Donahue. Affiliates served our business greatly outside of the sales. Courtney, for example, added value to our audience and put us in front of a new audience. It was an amazing give-take relationship. Our cut from that affiliate is more than we have ever made, ever! So, let that sink in for a second. The fourth main player was Trello. Trello brought in 11% of our total revenue and considering it is a $29 program, that is massive. But do not hear that as “I should just sell my product for just $29 then.” No. That’s not it! 19% of the people who buy Trello will go on to buy something else.

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A Stat That Might Just Blow Your Mind

Taking the above all into account, this means only 516 people make up the rest of our revenue. Let’s say that again... In the last two years, since Trello started, we’ve made $70,499. In 2017, we have made $45,878. Of the $420,000, you subtract  $45,000 and the rest of that revenue comes from only 516 people. And that is insane. This show you beautifully the power of charging for an opt-in and the power of having a high-price signature program. Emylee believes you can’t have a highly profitable business without both. So of those 516 people, to make up the difference, those people are spending an average of $725 with us. Those 516 people are actually really important. We have never delved into this stat before and we’ve got some serious investigating to do!

Our Two Main Costs and the Surprising Two Non-costs

In the past, we’ve talked about how it’s expensive to scale. For now, we have remained the only two full-time employees of our business. Everyone else is paid on contract, while we are paid on a payroll paycheck. So, how much of our income is spent on people? It’s 16%. Which is a lot. Our money husband has advised us if you’re exceeding 20% for people, then this is too high. So, 16% might be a healthy number but to us, it felt like we were bleeding money everywhere. We felt like we were bleeding money because we didn’t always have the right people on our team. What we’ve learned is you need to assess a situation faster and get people out quicker if we do not see it working. We’re happy to spend 20% if it’s working.

The next one might not surprise you but… Facebook ads. We spent a lot on Facebook Ads. We spent more on FB ads than our salary! We spent $52,500 or 12.5% on FB ads. And we learned some lessons. We spent a chunk to get to where we are today on advertising. But prior to that, we had spent close to zero. So now here are the things people put on a pedestal – software and hardware. We hear so often, “If I just get a good camera or upgrade my laptop, or get this fancy microphone… then I’ll make money.” But the truth is, that’s not true! We spent 6x more on ads and 8x more on people than we did on hardware and software. 2% of our total revenue was spent on software and hardware. That’s tiny. The second thing is courses. People think if they just do one more course, it’s going to make all the difference. But we only spent 1% on continuing our education in 2017.

Lessons For 2018 and Did We Say Thank You?

So there it is, you have a lot of useful data from our 2017 and we want you to break away some of that data for yourself. Write down all of this stuff so you can start to see trends and make more empowered decisions moving forward. Lastly, we want to say a big thank you. It’s because of you listening, downloading, subscribing, commenting, reviewing, signing up, opting in and being a part of the community that enables us to have this amazing job, this company, our families and other people’s families. We can’t want to embark on this 2018 journey with!

Highlights

  • What Happened in 2017? An Overview of the Year. [0:03:35.1]
  • The Big Moves of 2017: The Podcast, The Facebook Group, The Email List. [0:06:30.1]
  • A Look at Sales, Growth and the Catalysts. [0:15:32.1]
  • The Four Main Income Generators. [0:21:15.1]
  • A Stat That Might Just Blow Your Mind. [0:36:40.1]
  • Our Two Main Costs and the Surprising Two Non-costs. [0:39:05.1]
  • Lessons For 2018 and Did We Say Thank You? [0:46:00.1]

Today’sGuest

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ABAGAIL & EMYLEE

The Strategy Hour Podcast

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We help overwhelmed and creative entrepreneurs break down their Oprah-sized dreams to create a functioning command center to tame the chaos of their business. Basically, we think you’re totally bomb diggity, we’re about to uplevel the shiz out of your business.

KeyTopics

  • 2017 review.

  • Facebook ads.

  • Trello.

  • Email list.

  • Conversions.

  • Total revenue.

  • Trends.

  • Affiliates.

  • Podcast.

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