My Pregnancy Forced a Pivot to My Business That Could Actually Spur Growth
As with so many other lightning bolt ideas that have propelled our young business, the news that everything was about to change (again) came to me in the bathroom.
That second faint line confirmed my week-long intuition that my husband Pat and I had finally nailed the timing and hit the baby jackpot.
As Pat and I looked each other in the eye, we both could hear the distant sound of a proverbial door swinging shut. Our challenge would now be to find a window or two to crank open so the light can keep shining on Baby Got Booked.
Like so many women, I’d launched my company after having a child. As much as I adored my job as a TV and radio personality, I knew I didn’t want to spend long hours away from my infant son. So I turned my 22-plus years of journalism experience into Baby Got Booked, an online course that teaches entrepreneurs how to do their own PR in a way that makes them every journalist’s go-to expert.
The idea caught on pretty much from the beginning.
Within the first five months, we’d hit six figures and I was able to “retire” Pat from his corporate job as a TV director (which basically means he works with me full time). Two things helped fuel our growth:
1. Media exposure: I tend to be my own best customer and field test all the advice I give my students and clients. I’m happy to report it actually works!
2. Professional speaking: Although I’ve technically only been a “professional speaker” since October 2014, I’ve been honing my stage presence since I was 3 and have performed in theater, dance and, of course, the media pretty much my whole life.
We tend to make most of our money when I travel to speak. Some of that income is from paid speaking gigs such as keynotes and breakout sessions, and some comes from people purchasing my DIY PR course after they watch me speak.
All of it requires me to get on a plane and be far from my midwife and birthing-sized bathtub.
I’m due mid-July 2016. So we’re planning on me being grounded starting May. Frankly, I’m already being extra picky about the gigs I accept, because, as many women know, the first trimester can be an exhausting, nauseating time. And it’s harder to predict energy levels even if you’re super fit when you’ve got someone sucking up your nutrients.
After the initial panic, both Pat and I realized that this pregnancy is actually forcing us to return to my initial plan for Baby Got Booked: building a robust online business that can be run from anywhere in the world.
Speaking worked so well for us and generated so much cash flow (plus I adore it!) that we were seduced into making it our primary driver of revenue.
But taking my talks online via video, building our email list and partnering with other Internet entrepreneurs provides a possibility of growth that actually far outstrips anything I could make as a speaker. In many ways, this pivot is exactly what we need to scale our growth.
We’re still figuring things out, but so far we’ve identified four potential pathways to help us not just replace income lost from cutting back on speaking, but potentially double our revenues in 2016:
1. Webinars: Reworking my talks to make them web-friendly and then presenting them to an almost limitless audience online serves both my love of speaking as well as our desire to increase the size of our audience. We already use GoToWebinar that integrates with Clickfunnels and Infusionsoft, so we have all the tech we need, and webinars allow us to scale our revenue without me ever having to put on shoes. I loved this piece by Brandon Turner on webinars that work.
2. Joint venture partnerships and affiliates: Basically, the way this works is that I create a series of emails and videos that provide valuable free content. Other online marketers send these out to their email lists (which acts as an endorsement), we build up to an offer (and perhaps a webinar) and share any revenue generated. Once we build a good sequence, we can reuse it and then shift our focus to growing our affiliate network.
3. Licensing: Given how well our students do with our course and templates, several mentors and coaches have suggested that I look into licensing Baby Got Booked. Licensing would also allow me to service a whole other level of clients who fall somewhere between the DIY PR the course offers and a full-service PR agency (a model that doesn’t interest me). Custom coaching with trainers I’ve trained and vetted would be a win for all involved. I have zero clue how to go about this, so there will be some learning involved, but I do love the idea of sharing the opportunities I’ve created for myself with a bunch of talented content creators who don’t necessarily want to take on all the mad risk I did to get a full-fledged business off the ground.
4. Bigger team: In order to create aggressive growth without putting too much stress on me, I am hiring more teammates to take on certain pieces. Pat currently is the equivalent of a COO (his official title is "Maker of Miracles"). He manages project, helps me think through developing ideas and uses his extensive experience as a producer, cameraman and director to be our our video guy (something he loves). We have a graphic designer and someone who books and edits the Baby Got Booked podcast, and I have an assistant who also helps me with my schedule as well as content (she’s just starting).
I have to admit that I love a good challenge and this pivot certainly feels like one. It’s messy, slightly terrifying and wildly ambitious. My favorite.
I’m looking forward to all the stuff I’m going to learn in 2016 and I’m really excited about sharing it with you going forward. I would LOVE for you to reach out to me via social media or email and share any insights that may help. If you know a coach I should interview for this column for insight or a software platform I need to look into or if I’m leaving money on the table in a glaringly obvious way, shoot me a line! I’m learning as fast as I can and nothing helps like insight from someone who gets it.