May marks 3 years of Juniper Abbey Marketing + Design!
And what a difference 3 years makes! All the tough lessons learned along the way has truly helped me build my dream life and a business that supports it- which is exactly the way it should be!
Here is the biggest lesson I've learned over the past three years:
Your business absolutely shouldn't look like anyone else's because your goals, dreams, and daily life are different than theirs. Find out what you want your life to be like and build your business to support that.
I know this has been said a million times before, but I always thought of it as one of those pieces of advice you hear and never really know what it means and no one ever explains it.
ie: In spirituality: "release and let go". Does anyone know what that means? If so, call in.
3 years ago when I first started, I spent my time studying each and every step successful business owners took to get where they are (or what they said they did to get there) without even asking myself if I wanted a business or a life like theirs. I just saw the 100K followers and their "$10K months" in their bio (and every single one of their stories and posts) and thought- "$10K months would be nice. They must know what they're doing!" I saw similarities in steps people took to get to that place and thought that must be the only way to get there.
After spending thousands of dollars on cookie cutter coaches (because they said I needed one to be successful), straying away from my personal values of authenticity and sincerity to land clients and make more money, and completely burning out from working 14 hour days and being a complete slave to my clients, I realized I hated my business.
I resented it every day when I woke up.
I was so unhappy with what I created and had no one to blame but myself.
I felt guilty because I quit my job to do this and I was still unhappy.
I took a step back and looked at my options:
Close my business and go back to a desk job that sucked the life out of me.
Keep trying to make other people's business practices work for me.
Flip my business on it's head and start fresh on my own path.
I had a year or two under my belt at this point and I finally realized I didn't want other people's businesses or lives because frankly, it looked f**king miserable to me. I didn't want to spend my entire life on my phone or laptop like them (even though they say they don't but you can't convince me otherwise with their 45 Instagram stories every day, 100 forms of content, and 500 business ventures.)
I laugh at the "coaches" who's advice was to engage* on Instagram while I'm on the toilet.
* "liking 6 posts, leaving 3 comments, and replying to a story" as "genuine engagement" or as a way to start to prey on people to sell your services is not genuine engagement, no matter what way you twist it.
To push and mentally manipulate leads who say they can't afford to work with me.
(Literally received a Google Doc of "what to say when the lead says they can't afford it", guilt tripping them into "not investing in themselves or their business" or asking them to explain exactly why they can't afford it 10 times to break them down and have them talk themselves into it. I realized she used this "technique" on me and it felt like absolute garbage.)
and to just "price your packages at $1,000 and sell 5 to hit your $5K months".
This shouldn't even be considered coaching. Manipulating customers into thinking they're getting more than they are is not ethical.
I don't want to "show up on stories" every second of the day.
I don't want to brag about how much money I make as a way to look credible.
I don't want a podcast.
I don't want to be making a million Reels or TikToks every week.
I don't want a business where I don't even get to be a part of the creative work anymore.
I don't want 10K followers of other business owners and bots leaving me fake comments just so I follow them back.
I don't want to manipulate people into working with me.
I don't want to be "building my business" during every moment of downtime in my life for the sake of money and followers.
I don't want to work- and no, that's not taboo to say.
(You deserve to go to the bathroom, take a walk, or ride an elevator without "building your business")
I want the freedom to travel. This is what it's always been about for me and the way other people run their businesses does not support this. That's the "selling point" of this career, right? So many coaches' main "thing" is to teach you how to "travel all the time and have financial freedom", but you never actually see them living this practice that they preach so much.
I attempted to travel with the way my business was before and it was miserable. I was constantly on my phone or laptop trying to check all the boxes to keep growing my business.
Here's some of the changes I made to make my business work for my goals and dream life:
I switched from social media management (specifically for realtors and business coaches) to focusing on web design and branding. This allowed my design work (and precious time spent doing said design work) to have a longer life span than a social media post or Instagram story. It also decreased my design work load giving me back more time into my day and week. I kept two of my nonprofit social media management clients since their content was much more suited to be scheduled out a few weeks at a time, rather than the daily (hourly) turn around time for real estate and the amount of content that comes with business coaching.
Web design and branding packages have more flexibility in their deadlines, too. For my business, the projects are usually spaced out over the course of a month or so, giving me more time and flexibility to complete the deliverables instead of the daily windows of time where content does well on Instagram/Facebook/Linkedin and needing that content completed by then and posted within that time.
I simply don't post very frequently on social media for my business and I've still had referrals and clients come in consistently. Clearly, I don't like creating content or the pressure to constantly be doing so. I can't be the only one who knows that 99% of their followers are other business owners, typically ones in the same niche/space, who are never going to buy any of my services. They follow to grow their followers to look more credible and leave weird, non-genuine comments in hopes I'll comment back on their posts. So frankly, I don't care about posting on my social media because none of my followers are my customers. I post my work when I feel like it and use my social media as a portfolio of sorts so if a potential client does come across my page, they don't have to sift through hundreds of posts about my life to see my work and what I stand for.
I got really clear and firm in what my business (and personal) values are and refuse to stray away from them ever again. I've seen behind the curtain of this booming digital marketing business space and it's...gnarly, dude. The non-ethical practices "coaches" are pushing out to thousands of impressionable people is disgusting to me. Honesty and ethics have gone out the window since people found out they can charge $8,000 for a coaching package with no real credibility or accountability to their promises. Charging $5,000 a month then outsourcing the work to people in India for $3 an hour is despicable. Having your selling point of your coaching service be, "learn how to make $5K months" just for your advice to be to manipulate 5 people into buying your $1,000 package is a scam. Over-charging just because "they can't do it themselves" is gross and manipulative.
It took me three years of life lessons to come to the point where I can say that my business is working for me and giving me the opportunity to live my dream life. I have a business built on authenticity, connection, and sincerity. My work speaks for itself and brings genuine customers to me without having to sacrifice my entire day on Instagram and thank God for that!
P.S. This was posted on a sunny afternoon on a Greek Island that I've been living on for 3 months now :)