Why we’re doing this newsletter and how it stands out from the rest - Kathleen Celmins

I just launched a new resource: Digital Marketing Template Library

Why we’re doing this newsletter and how it stands out from the rest

I was asked the other day why we’re doing this newsletter, and it felt like the question I’ve been waiting for my entire life. So I thought I’d share it here, too.

Digital marketing gets a bad rap, and honestly? It deserves to.

There’s a lot of jargon thrown around. A lot of aspirational posts, of dudes in front of mansions or driving sports cars, all with the tagline, “and you can do this too if you just follow my five easy steps.”

So you click. Give over your name, email address, and sometimes even phone number, only to find the steps are something like these:

via GIPHY

Step 1. Inherit money.

Step 2. If you don’t have an inheritance, see if you can liquidate your trust fund early.

Step 3. If you don’t have an inheritance or a trust fund, see if you can just get your parents to flat out give you money.

Step 4. Figure out how far you can make that money go. Buy something that shows your status, be it a watch or a car.

Step 5. Set up dropshipping or invest in crypto.

This is an exaggeration, of course. But it’s representative of what kinds of things you can find when you look for digital marketing.

It’s gross, and we hate it.

So, we’re not doing that. But the truth is, there’s money to be made on the internet. Billions of dollars. Not all for you, of course. But there’s more than enough for everyone.

Emma and I often talk about our ethos, and it’s entirely different from what we see others in our space discuss, so I thought I’d list it out here.

We’re building a lifestyle business, and doing this newsletter helps us build that

A lifestyle business is a term that gets mentioned with the same tone of voice that people use when they say “five-week-old milk.” Their faces scrunch in much the same way, as well.

But when we talk about building a lifestyle business, we mean one that provides for our families and our contractors, but one that isn’t built to sell.

Our faces are on this. Our voices. Our personalities. That’s hard to sell, and would be something that concerned us if we were looking to sell.

We’re not.

We’re looking for revenue between $500,000 and $1,000,000 a year, which, when I write it down, feels like a lot, but in reality, makes us a Very Small Business Indeed.

“Why aim so low?”

If you’re asking that question, I love the way you think. The truth is, we’re not the type of people who watch Succession or Wolf of Wall Street wishing we had their wealth. Neither one of us aspires to have hospital wings named after us.

We both know that there’s no such thing as work/life balance, but we’re both hyper aware that the bigger we grow, the less likely we are to get time with the people we like the most.

We’re really into learning different ways to grow, and by doing this newsletter we can share those ways

Both of us really enjoy hearing about the person who sold seven thousand dollars worth of printables using TikTok. We nerd out over how well quizzes convert for the people we build them for. We love tweaking and finding different opportunities to scale and grow.

But we’d never set you up with the idea that if you don’t do this ONE specific thing then you might as well not do anything.

We prefer to see this as an all-you-can-eat buffet. Some things you’ll try and not like, some things you know you’ll like so you get extra, and there are some things you just won’t touch.

Which is why we are releasing monthly playbooks.

If you don’t want to launch a group cohort, that’s totally fine. Skip it, join us for the next one.

There’s not one single path toward profitability.

We’re hyper focused on working less but not DOING less, which is a distinction that will be made clear

We aren’t members of the Church of Busy, and we don’t believe that hustling will bring you anything but burnout in the long run.

We know we can scale our income without sacrificing our sanity.

Here are some things we’re already doing:

  • We work 25 hours per week, and we keep it to the work week (Monday through Friday)
  • We don’t have social media on our phones
  • We don’t have work email on our phones
  • We don’t even have personal email on our phones
  • I go to yoga every morning for the 5:30 class
  • I nap when it makes sense, and it makes sense at least a couple times a week

I’m not going to lie to you: the list above looks simple, but every single bullet point took a lot of concentrated effort.

What does it look like to work 25 hours a week? It’s glorious, and I hope one day you get to try it. I wasn’t great at shortening all my days, but I’ve found a rhythm that works pretty well for me, and it mostly means I don’t work much on Fridays.

What does it look like to remove all social media from your phone? Well, it’s iterative. First you remove the ones you know you’re addicted to, then you have to keep removing things. LinkedIn and NextDoor were the last to go for me. Now I use my phone a lot less frequently, and much more intentionally. I’m sure I’ve missed out on a bunch of stuff from my extended network, but I’ve been a lot more present for my immediate family. The truth is, my extended network barely even notices my absence and my immediate family is grateful for the increased attention.

What does it look like to remove all email from your phone? I can’t speak for everyone, but for me it means I’m significantly less responsive. Which means if you email me I will email you back tomorrow, probably. It also means when I leave my desk, I leave work at work… something I have not been able to do in a long time, given that I’ve been working from home for nearly a decade.

What does it mean to go to yoga every day? This one is so important to me. I’ve always been bad about prioritizing my own health. It’s not enough to know that taking care of your body is important in the abstract, it needs to be prioritized regularly. Because it’s never the most important thing I could be doing. It’s not work. It’s not parenting. It’s not doing chores around the house. For the longest time, I’d convince myself that I’d get to yoga at some mystical point in time: later. But not anymore. I’m an early riser, so the 5:30 class works well for me. By the time everyone else is ready to get up, I’ve already spent time working on both my mind and body. That’s the other sort-of cheater thing about yoga: it’s not just something I do for my body. It’s something I do for my mental health as well.

If you’re working for yourself and you don’t like the schedule you’ve created, this is your permission slip to change it up. We get stuck in our old ways when someone else was in charge of our time. It can take years… literal years… to step back and say, “this isn’t what I want!”

When you have some quiet, ask yourself what you do want, and … make it happen.

We’re building multiple income streams (this newsletter will show you how to add streams and amplify your existing ones)

And we want you to, as well.

So we’re showing different ways to grow your business. Some months we’ll focus on creating new revenue streams, some months we’ll focus on taking stock of what you have and amplifying that.

Double down on what’s working. Increase your revenue by a factor of at least two while maintaining your schedule that includes time for rest, time for play, and time to be in the world.

The one thing we want to help solo entrepreneurs and micro businesses with is creating multiple revenue streams. When your business relies too heavily on one stream, it can be fine, until it’s not. But when you have multiple streams, one of them drying up is just a problem to be solved.

We’re hosting a 2022 planning session for early adopters

Planning out the new year is something I love doing. In fact, Emma and I have already done our planning for the year. We found a couple of hours in the week before Thanksgiving where neither one of us had meetings on the calendar and we were ready to reflect and project.

Now, it’s not exactly accurate to say, “this is what happened in 2021” in the middle of November, at least from a going through the books situation, because of course the picture wasn’t clear.

But it was clear enough for us to ask ourselves some of the following questions:

  • Is the way we spent this year the way we want to spend next year?
  • What was our favorite project?
  • Where did we go above and beyond?
  • Where did we get stuck?

We also looked at the numbers.

  • Where did we make our money?
  • What percentage of our income was done-for-you client work?
  • What were our profit margins?

Then, with a bigger picture, and with data instead of our gut feelings about things, we were able to plan ahead.

  • Where do we want our income to come from in 2022?
  • How many clients can we effectively serve without having to increase our contractor pool?

And, since I think I’ve mentioned this in literally every email and blog post I’ve written lately, we set the goal to double our income next year.

So the biggest question remaining was, how do we do that?

The MINDSTORMS newsletter (both the free version you’re reading now and the premium upgrade that includes step-by-step playbooks for creating and amplifying your revenue streams) came from that conversation, and because we had that planning session in November, we were able to act on it sooner.

Which is why you’re reading this now instead of in a couple of months.

All that to say, there is value in a structured planning session.

So we’re offering one for people who join at the premium level.

Details of the planning session for premium subscribers to this newsletter

When: Friday, January 14, 2022. 10AM Pacific / 1PM Eastern.

Where: We’ll host this session on Zoom.

Why: So we can take a more strategic approach to growth.

How to sign up

It’s included for our lifetime members:

Join here

We’d love to see you there.

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