Emma and I are in the middle of our semi-annual executive retreats. We rented a luxe place (hello, Viking range!) in the Tucson foothills. It’s February, which is officially GTFO New Hampshire weather (where she lives).
We get together twice a year to talk about big picture planning and sort through things that would normally take twice as long when we’re virtual. We hosted a webinar (the replay is up, check it out here) while in the same room, which felt like a novelty.
But the biggest thing we did was sit out on the sun-soaked patio and plan.
“Can we grow The Vault to 1000 people this year?” I wondered.
She nodded. “We can.”
The rest of the conversation was all about how we were planning on growing it.
Number of members as of this writing:
9 11! (Thanks, Giselle and Dan, for signing up before we finished writing this piece!)
Some brain retraining is necessary here. You could, like I’m tempted to do, say, “pssch, only nine? Well it is going to be H-A-R-D!” and you’d go get your popcorn and read on, to find out how spectacularly we’ll fail at this endeavor.
And that’s fine. It’s part of the price we pay for building in public.
But by reframing it, and asking instead, “how can we get there?” is much more fun. At least for me.
Knowledge: This kind of growth is not linear
Getting the next 92 members to join us is almost certainly going to be the hardest part of this challenge.
But then, they’ll see what’s inside, tell their friends, their friends tell their friends… and all of a sudden, we have ourselves a party!
But if we were trying to grow, let’s say, to 100 members this year, we’d have a different and less aggressive strategy to get there, and we could fail anyway.
So we’re going big.
As an aside, let me describe The Vault
The amplifiedNOW membership is a couple of things.
It’s a collection of every swipe file and template we’ve collected over the years to help us scale our business and the businesses of dozens of clients (things like sales page templates, ad generators, webinar slide deck templates, etc.).
It’s every digital course we’ve created (copy blocks, webinar blocks, email blocks, and content blocks).
It’s a new step-by-step playbook taking an idea on how to grow your business and breaking it down into manageable chunks. We’ve already published one about how to reconfigure your existing paid digital content and double, triple, or even quadruple your revenue without creating anything new.
We put together one about how to create a ton of content in a condensed time frame so you can get the benefits of content marketing without spending the majority of your time on it.
It’s monthly chats on Zoom where members submit their questions, or simply hang out and work or chat.
The idea is to help other solopreneurs and digital business owners learn from our mistakes, scale their businesses using our proven frameworks, and earn enough revenue to make their business sustainable.
And, this goes without saying, but we’d love to have you. We have different options: lifetime, annual, and even quarterly, for whatever you may need.
Check us out here: Become a member of The Vault
Here are the actions we’re planning to take in order to grow our membership to 1000 this year.
Learn and deploy TikTok ads
I keep hearing, and seeing, that TikTok ads convert better and cheaper than Facebook and Instagram. And as you’ll see in another point below, we’re all in on TikTok anyway, so Emma is going to figure out TikTok advertising for our brand, and we’ll create some ads. Here’s to hoping they don’t require dancing on my part. Because there’s no way that would convert.
Learn and deploy YouTube ads
We’re on YouTube as well, and since YouTube is owned by Google, their ad platform is apparently easier to learn. Google has a learning center where people can get certified in this. Again, this will fall into Emma’s realm, but with ads, unlike our organic content, we’ll be much more focused on production quality as well as targeting.
My instinct for both TikTok and YouTube ads is that we’ll send people to an opt-in or the general subscription for the free version, and encourage them to sign up for The Vault once they’ve seen a few of these in the wild. But who knows? Maybe there’s evidence that a direct pitch to a quarterly subscription will convert?
Doubling down on blog content
This to-do list item is twofold and falls primarily on my shoulders. We’re going through a big audit of our past content, and when we republish older posts, sometimes the only thing that remains consistent is the URL itself.
We’re writing bigger, more impactful content, and we’re committed to doing that twice a week.
Over the course of our retreat, we conducted a content strategy for our own company, which, like many consultants, we’ve done a hundred times for other people, but rarely for ourselves.
Now we have a list of potential posts, which will help with my writing process (which is sporadic: I have anywhere from 5-15 blog posts in various states of finished-ness at any given time).
If you want to do a bit of content strategy on your own, use this format:
- Who am I serving?
- What do they want/care about?
And that second question doesn’t have to be exactly related to what you do, but it should be adjacent. So if your audience cares about snow tires in the winter, and you provide a digital service that has nothing to do with snow, stay away from that topic. But it’s a great starting point, and you can use Google to find those topics by typing in your audience and seeing what autocomplete suggests.
Doubling down on micro content (TikTok, Instagram Reels, and YouTube shorts)
“Sorry this video is so long, I didn’t have time to make it any shorter,” my husband said to me when I told him how difficult it was to be succinct on camera.
And it’s true. Microcontent is absolutely a commercial, albeit one that isn’t nearly as interesting as some of the ones that get shown during the Super Bowl.
I record a batch of videos on Mondays, and Jessie on our team does all the editing and uploading and hashtagging, and engaging required to amplify my message.
Emma and I recorded a handful of videos while we were together, which was fun, and will be used in the weeks ahead.
But there’s no such thing as “too much micro-content” and the truth is, the more we do them, the better they become.
If you want to do more micro content yourself, try this tip: Record yourself saying the thing you want to say. Assume you’ll use it. Then, record it again. The second time will be more succinct, which in this case means better.
But you have to tell yourself — and believe — that you’re going to keep the first take.
Otherwise, your second take will feel like the first one.
Use other people’s platforms to talk about this
I have a big goal of talking on 100 podcasts this year. Do you have a podcast? Do you speak to people who are growing online businesses? Let me know, and I’d love to chat with you.
We’re using matchmaker.fm to schedule talks for now, and reaching out to our network of people who have podcasts. It’s really fun, and it’s a great way for us to grow our platform, simply by standing on one someone else built.
Create a new opt-in to drive more subscriptions
This is again the curse of the consultant. Anne calls it “shoeless cobbling” where the cobbler’s children go out shoeless because the cobbler is so busy making shoes for everyone else.
I know quizzes convert like nothing else.
I’ve seen it a thousand times. I myself have built quizzes that have generated boatloads of income (one was, essentially, “which of my affiliate links should you click on first?”) and increased email subscriptions (one quiz drove 5,000 conversions in the first six months).
But did I have a quiz until recently?
Of course not.
But I finally put one together (on a day where I really should have been writing), and over the course of our retreat, we put the finishing touches on it.
Introducing the solopreneur scorecard, a self-assessment tool where you can see how strong your efforts rank in messaging, lead generation, and content/emails.
Take the quiz here, it’s fun, and filled with GIFs: Take the solopreneur scorecard
Will these efforts succeed? Stay tuned to find out!
The Vault is a supplement to the free content people are consuming, which is how it should be, and since there’s a flow between the scorecard, the newsletter, and the paid membership, there’s a good chance that growing the newsletter will grow the membership.
Here’s what that flow looks like:
So, with the renewed enthusiasm that comes from attending a work retreat, I’m confident that we can get there.
Especially since two people signed up for The Vault in the two days it took me to write this!
Later in the year, we’ll experiment with some sort of ambassadorship, giving people on our list the incentives they need to share the newsletter.
For now, we’re relying on people to share it if they find it useful.
So if you can think of one or two other solopreneurs who might be interested, send them to the scorecard!