The Journey to Six Figures

I am so excited to share my journey to a six-figure blog and business here with you all today. Before this year, an annual 6-figure salary was an ever-elusive goal I’ve had wide-eyed dreams about since I opened shop. From 2010-2014, I didn’t even come close.

This year, I’m happy to report that I’ve finally shattered the 6-figure ceiling. In fact, I’ve already reached that glorious goal, and it’s only April.

Journey to a six figure blog plus six steps to get you closer to the goal

So, what changed?

The short answer is this: I did. I changed. My results were created through a culmination of well-showcased experience, the right projects coming to a head, having the correct systems in place, and buying the necessary business training.

There are lies we tell ourselves about our businesses …

  • I need to have everything perfect before I start
  • I need more experience/research before it will take off
  • I need to sacrifice too much time to make it work
  • My brand’s not perfect yet, so the rest is all for naught
  • My item’s are one-of-a-kind; nothing is easy for me
  • My pictures need improving before anything will sell
  • I just need a little more proof it will actually work before I go all in
  • I’m just not ready yet, maybe next year
  • My work will get copied / my ideas will be stolen
  • As soon as I get to [X] sales or [X] subscribers, I’ll take the next step!

If any of these points ring true, I feel you. Trust me, you are not alone. I still find fear blocking my business’ growth in the form of “reasons” or “justifications” or “logic”.

But the reality is, these are just lies you use to keep yourself feeling safe and comfortable when what this business really wants from you is an open-minded willingness to reach your potential of unlimited EXPANSION.

It’s always a mistake to think you can limit yourself and expand at the same time.

About six months ago, I made the decision to change. This part is so simple, that it’s both scary and heartbreaking because we limit ourselves every day.

What did I do to shatter the 6-figure ceiling? The short answer is: I moved toward it. I made decisions as though I were already running a 6-figure business … because I had to think like that successful business owner before I could become her.

If you want to earn upwards of 100K, you need a 100K plan combined with a 100K mindset. You need to make 100K decisions. It’ll require a 100K work ethic. And most of all, you need to believe you’re worth every single dollar!

Six steps to a six figure blog

Step 1: Identify what’s important. Forget the rest.

I find creatives chasing advice all over the map until they’re utterly lost in logistics. I mean, I want that to be my new tagline. It’s an epidemic. I’m going to say it again:

Creatives chase advice all over the map until they’re utterly lost in logistics.

This is a rookie mistake and not a 100K mindset. You’ll know you’re lost in logistics if your browser history looks like it belongs to a teenager (i.e., recently visited: Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram) and nobody in your family can tell whether you’re “working” or just hanging out on the internet.

By the way, creatives hate to admit that they do this. They’d much rather reason,

I only have [X] hours to work on my business, and I can’t get anything done!

I know that you’re an earnest, hard-worker, and being lost in logistics is simply a symptom of not knowing what to do next. Here’s a reader example:

“I feel like I’m just not making the most of my time right now. I’m thinking the best bet is to focus our efforts on repeat business, and the best way to do that is blogs and emails to our clients, but I have the hardest time coming up with a system that allows me to write, and get the [product] to my clients.”

This is a clip of an email I got, and I loved it. There was something very vulnerable and real about her words, but most of all, there was a willingness to learn.

Deep down, she knew there must be a better way. And of course, she came to the right woman! (If you’re the reader who asked this Q, stay with me – this post is full of answers.)

Your business plan should always focus on either …

  1. Growth (in the form of more subscribers), or
  2. Profit (in the form of more sales and/or business revenue)

I spent the first few years of my career focused on growth. I knew I wanted this business more than I wanted a quick profit. My marketing plan was less about the money I made and more about building a loyal and well-cared for client base.

My early focus on growth (>> click here to read how I tripled my blog traffic << in 2014) has created substantial momentum for my business. I average 2,000 new email subscribers per month! My previous focus on growth now allows me to create a more profit-based marketing plan.

Step 2: Limit your working hours.

It makes me nervous when creatives say, “I have 40+ hours per week to work on my business!” I don’t know about you, but I didn’t start my own business to work a 9-5+! I’m writing to tell you I’ve made six figures (and counting) this year, and I don’t have anywhere near 40 hours’ worth of work to do each week.

When I find my clients with all the time in the world to work on their businesses, it means they’re not doing the work that’s important. Instead, they fuss over details and allow themselves to become plagued with perfectionism.

If you only had four hours to work on your business this week, what must you get done in order to grow and/or profit?

THAT is the work that really matters. The rest is fluff.

Step 3: Believe in your ability to earn good money right now.

There is definitely a pay gap between newbie pricing and veteran pricing. However, the majority of us wait entirely too long to upgrade to veteran pricing.

I started this post by sharing some of the lies we tell ourselves in business, and they’re excuses we make to avoid taking risks …

  • I need more experience/research before it will take off
  • I need to sacrifice more time to make it work
  • My brand’s not perfect yet, so the rest is all for naught
  • As soon as I get to [X] sales or [X] subscribers, I’ll take the next step!

These are all stalls. The longer I made these same excuses, the longer I kept earning the same exact income for myself. Business growth involves risk; there’s no question. The good news is, there are ways to calculate those risks and reduce stress and anxiety as you take them.

Step 4: Stop jerry-rigging your business.

The tendency to “make do” with what I have or what I can jerry-rig has been my biggest pet peeve for the last five years. I insisted on jerry-rigging my business while waiting for it to make larger amounts of money, so I could afford to stop jerry-rigging my business!

I finally realized I needed to cut that shit out.

Instead, I made decisions as though I were already running a 6-figure business … because I had to think like that successful business owner before I could become her.

I bought the training I needed, upgraded to the software I wanted, and I hired help. The business wasn’t earning 6-figures yet, but I stopped looking at investments as losses and started trusting their return.

That part’s important: I trusted my business to provide, and so it finally did. I know how stressful business expenses can be. I never mean to make the leap look easy, but … it was.

In fact, leaping is a lot easier than standing on the edge thinking about the leap.

Step 5: Be decisive.

To make six figures a year, you need to earn at least $8,400 per month. My personal goal is to earn an average $12,500 every month. That’s big money, and I needed to decide how I was going to create it.

As of this writing, my top-earning month to beat is $44,373.25. 

I spent years desperately grappling to make that amount as an annual salary, and here in 2016, that glorious figure spilled into my life in a single month. It was all so surreal, and the money suddenly started coming so fast, that I found myself frantically taking notes to make sense of it all.

Because my favorite thing in business is to figure something out and then teach how I did it.

journey to a six figure blog

So once I decided how much money I wanted to earn every month, there wasn’t time leftover to do anything else … but earn it!

Seemingly overnight, my to-do list went from this …

  • Write a new blog post
  • Post it on Facebook
  • Promote in Facebook group
  • Share on Instagram
  • Pin to Pinterest
  • Email my list the link to that blog post
  • Tomorrow: repeat

To this …

  • Build that 30K project
  • Promote the opt-in for that 30K project to attract ideal clients
  • Sell that 30K project

Yeah, I still mess around on Instagram. For one thing, Instagram is where it’s at right now. For another thing, I do take a lunch hour and breaks during my work day! But Instagram is not what got me to 100K. Products and programs that are worth 100K is what got me to 100K!

This goes hand-in-hand with the jerry-rigging. I decided it was time to stop him-hawing about upgrades, important training, and next-level leaps. I tackled every obstacle with precision and purpose so that I could eliminate the stalls in my business once and for all.

Being decisive helps free up more creative, income-generating energy. Chasing problems (as creatives have a tendency to do for weeks, months, or years) burns expensive fuel and gets you nowhere.

So that upgrade you’ve been thinking of making? Stop wasting time and creative fuel thinking about it, and just go do it.

Step 6: Sell your products and offers

Because I don’t have to wonder, I know you’re still hesitant to ask for the sale. And I feel your hesitancy and match your fear 100%.  But, here’s the way I see it:

You’re going to ask someone for something. You’re either going to ask your customer to buy your product, or you’re going to ask yourself to justify a very expensive hobby.

It’s not a business if you’re not unapologetically asking for sales!

So just last month, I asked my email list to buy a specific program (The Luminaries Club, before I closed doors for the year) a total of six times in a 10-day period.  Before that campaign, I’ve never asked anyone for anything more than two times: one email to announce, one email to remind. But last month, I unapologetically sold my product for six emails in a row.

Here’s what happened next:

  • I lost an average 60 subscribers per email (normal rate is about 35 unsubscribes/email)
  • I received 3 very angry replies that week
  • I doubled the typical number of SPAM complaints (normal rate is 3-5, this campaign got 9-12 complaints per email)
  • I welcomed hundreds of new clients and earned $28,000 in one week

Read that series of events carefully because this is something every creative needs to see. We’ve all – every single one of us – run up against that mouthy complainer who can’t believe the nerve! How dare you! You used your business email list to try to sell your product <– and “sell” reads like it’s the dirtiest four-letter word in the dictionary.

I need you to know that those mouthy complainers are not your customers.

I know my client’s value, and they know mine. The people who make noise are merely trying to interrupt that gorgeous exchange, and I won’t allow it.

Notice that “they” – the angry people – are only 3 voices in a crowd of thousands of interested customers.

Yet we allow them to influence! They are the reason you hesitate to ask, which is their point. They make noise because they know it puts fear in your heart. In my case, those 3 people were angry before they found me, and they’re still somewhere being angry right now!

I need you to hear that today, so you’ll stop hearing their noise once and for all. 

This blog post only scratches the surface of what I learned in order to shatter the 6-figure ceiling. If you’re ready to take your blog from the middle of the road to the fast lane, stick with me! I’m going to be sharing some private and extremely valuable lessons in the coming months, so if you’re not already, subscribe to the Marketing Creativity email list below.

Until next time and all the best xx

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36 comments

  • Thank you so much! I only just found you yesterday and you’re already giving me the information and inspiration I need to create the business that desire.

    Congrats! 🙂

  • Absolutely awesome post, Lisa. This should be required reading for everyone who is or wants to be an entrepreneur. It’s making me move up the timeline in my overall plan. I need to start working on products and I need to do it now.

    And big congratulations on your $44k month. You rock!

  • I ran across a post about how much you made ages ago. Subscribed, unsubscribed. Found you again through your YBY Planner last fall, and am so glad I did. It was life changing. I, for one, am glad you emailed multiple times about the Luminaries Club. My inbox is chock full of offers & newsletters & promos & advice. I breezily deleted the first couple of emails. With the third, I remembered how much your planner helped me push forward. I thought about joining, but didn’t take action. With the fourth, I joined. I’m so thrilled to see your success, and am even more thrilled that you’re willing to share your knowledge. Thank you.

  • Super awesome post Lisa! You are dead right on every account! I’m currently going through a big mindshift and I’m super excited to read this post because I know you are speaking the truth! Thank you!

  • Ok but I’m not a blogger how do I do this will my product based business? Seriously I don’t have time to blog and marketing is not working so what can I do?

    • You just identified your obstacle, Lynda – your marketing isn’t working. Online businesses are thriving right now; there’s a better way to market and an easier way to sell. Find someone who’s doing it and learn from them.

      Seriously, figure out how to tackle your obstacles in business with precision and purpose. It’s the only way forward.

  • I needed to read this. I’m bookmarking this article to read and read again. Thank you for sharing your journey in real numbers. I remember reading a blog post from you a while ago that talked about your income of around $2500 in one month, and now here you are. I’m just at the beginning of my biz journey, and I’m learning a lot. Thank you for sharing so that us newbies can learn from your experience! I hope to grow my business as much as you have, and I totally agree that a lot of our success as solopreneurs depends on our mindset! Thanks, Lisa!

  • Congratulations to you! You continue to inspire and encourage me to push myself. The energy in this post is off the charts and contagious! Much love to you Lisa!

  • I’m still a scaredy cat, but your blog posts ARE ha ving an effect on me. I decided this week to build my own online store and I finally started building it last night. I already feel a little bit more empowered! Stay tuned!

  • Love this! Fear of those angry voices shows up sometimes and when I refuse to let them distract me from my path, the results are incredible (and empowering!). I joined the Luminaries Club during your March campaign and I’m thrilled to hear that it worked out so well for you too, Lisa! Congrats.

    • Yes, Julie! Your comment reminded me of this quote:

      “The woman who does not require validation from anyone is the most feared individual on the planet.” ― Mohadesa Najumi

  • You hit the nail on the head with this one, Lisa. “Tweak, tweak, tweak till it’s perfect… and THEN I’ll be ready to drive sales.” Nope- that’s just my fear talking. I’ve actually been waking up to my business fears a lot this year. So this post is really speaking to ME! Thanks a bunch for all you do. And congrats on your successful!

  • What a lovely post, thank you for sharing!

    I just wanted to say that those sales emails you sent about The Luminaries Club is THE reason I signed up! I had looked at it before, I really wanted to join, but couldn’t justify the expense for myself. But your sales emails was so well put together and made me want to sign up so bad, and by the fourth email I just couldn’t wait any longer! I was just thinking, ‘If I can learn how to make sales pitches like Lisa, then my busyness will be so much better for it’. and that’s the main reason I signed up: Your sales pitch emails made me want to learn from you. It’s exactly true what you said: The people complaining was not your customers. I have unsubscribed to others sending a lot of sales emails, and it was always because I wasn’t really interested in what they were selling, so they weren’t really talking to me.

    Thank you for sharing your journey!

    • Thank you for sharing, Tale! This is a testament for us all: your ideal customer/clients wants to know MORE about your offer + why they should sign up and NOT miss out.

      I so appreciate the extra backing for step #6 – it’s important for creatives to hear!

  • Such a terrific and inspiring post, Lisa! I happened across your blog a few months ago and it is your work that has inspired me to take the next step in my career. I got your Best Year book and joined The Luminaries. I am a cookbook author, but I am now branching out into selling some of my baked goods and mixes, as well as teaching classes as part of my own business vs. part of someone else’s business. It’s taken me a lot of courage to make the leap (which I haven’t quite done all the way). I love your point that making the leap is much less hard than standing on the edge, contemplating the leap! Thank you again for the work you do!

  • Love this post Lisa! I especially love the end. Isn’t it funny how we strive for acceptance from others when in comes to our business?!? The “pat on the back” syndrome is an epidemic in the creative world. A lot of makers and artist (myself included) hold their business back because of 1) how they will be perceived and 2) feeling like they need to be validated. I speak from experience because I naturally fall into this debilitating trap when I don’t have a lazer-focused goal. When we allow the haters (i.e the 3 in a sea of thousands) to cloud our judgment, we basically create our own corruption. We question everything, including our goals…and then the whole house of cards starts to fall. And the unspeakable happens. We allow those haters to start driving our business. Isn’t it funny?!? We all know there are big bad wolves in the world, yet we STILL don’t build our business houses out of bricks. We pretend the world is only made up of 5-star reviews and forget to plan for the day when they come knocking on our door. And when they do show up on our doorstep, we forget our logical sense and travel deep down the rabbit hole of acceptance. We forget the bell curve entirely. We dround our thoughts and only focus on how cruel those comments made us feel when we should have been anticipating the enevitable…You can’t please everyone, so don’t expect to. And especially don’t let it stand in the way of you reaching your goals AND your potential customers who are begging you for something only you can provide. [insert mic drop. boom]

  • Lisa,

    I just joined your email list 🙂

    I love stories like this. I started my journey as a freelance writer – I’m still one – but I decided to try the whole make money with your blog thing and I’m excited to see how that will turn out.

    Looking forward to learning more about your 6 figure journey.

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