A New Year

2015 has arrived, what are you going to do about it? Here at Simple Group we are doubling down on our efforts, deleting our level 72 Clash of Clans account, focusing on a new year of growth hacking, and figuring out where to replace the 80% of our leads that we lost (thanks Squarespace). 

Things have changed a lot since we were listed as Squarespace Specialists back in March of 2014. We've worked with amazing clients from all over the world (over 100 clients and 6 out of 7 continents covered), produced a lot of high quality sites, and learned a lot of the intricate details, quirks, and secrets of the Squarespace platform, and truly consider ourselves specialists in every sense of the word (even though Squarespace currently doesn't...). 

Squarespace 7 was recently released and we've had a lot of fun getting to know that along with the multitude of new templates released along side it (15 to be exact). We even updated our own site with one of the new templates. One of the many reasons we love Squarespace is the constant flow of new features/templates with the steadiness of their unchanging prices.

Thanks so much to everyone we've worked with throughout this past year! We couldn't have done it without you (really though, someone had to fund us). We are looking forward to another year of working with great clients, building beautiful websites, and mastering the Squarespace platform. 

Squarespace Specialists: Revisted

Earlier this year we started receiving a lot of leads through our website.  After looking into our analytics, we realized the leads were coming directly from Squarespace.  We had previously applied to become Squarespace Specialists, but hadn't been notified that we had made the cut.  Not sure why they didn't notify us, it seemed a little strange, but the amount of work we were doing tripled that next month as a result and we were excited.

It was great being on the list, we worked with over 100 different clients from all over the world, 6 of 7 continents. We are still waiting for that Antarctic customer to come through.  We've learned a lot about Squarespace as a platform, what it's capable of, what it's quirks are, and how to make it do what we want and what our clients want.  We built some beautiful sites throughout that time.

Recently I noticed that our leads had started to drop off, traffic to the site was decreasing, and business was just slowing down.  Originally I attributed the slow down to the holidays, so I really wasn't too worried about it, I thought it would just pick back up in the new year.  I had just had a new baby myself and had been extremely busy.  

As the year was coming to a close though, I started to think about my goals for 2015.  Initially I thought to myself that I wanted to grow the business to $200,000 in sales.  In 2014, we'll have brought in just short of $50,000, which I'm very proud of, seeing as how I knew very little about html, css, and web design when I started this company.  4X growth for me seemed like something very doable, especially with how we had been performing the past few months.

So in thinking about my new goal and what things I could do to grow the businesses I went to the Squarespace Specialist page to check out what some of my competition was doing.  I scrolled through the whole page and to my surprise, I no longer saw Simple Group listed.  I then went to my Google Analytics account and looked at referrals, then drilled into referrals from Squarespace and found that we were removed from the list sometime around December 13th (well, that is when referrals dropped to zero and never when back up).  My goal of $200,000 seemed much more daunting once I discovered this.

Just as when we were added to the list, we received no communication whatsoever from Squarespace.  I've contacted them for more details on why we were removed and if we can get back on and have yet to hear anything back from them.  Hopefully we will soon and be back on the list.  The goal will be much more challenging to meet without those leads.  It offers instant credibility and a smooth flow of extremely qualified leads.

So as we wait to find out our fate with Squarespace, we still want to grow, we still plan to work exclusively on the Squarespace platform, we still want to meet our lofty $200,000 goal.  What do you do when the source of 80% of your businesses leads disappear?

Leave your your recommendations for growth below in the comments.

Working on my first eBook

Photo from http://www.flickr.com/photos/melenita/

Photo from http://www.flickr.com/photos/melenita/

I recently was thinking of ways that I could make some side money (I'm always looking for ways to make more money).  The money itself isn't what is important to me, it's the ability to have enough money to sustain myself and my family, provide for our needs, and give back to society.  When you are self employed, you are always looking for ways to make what you do sustainable.

I've often read about writing eBooks as a way to make some extra money.  Everyone has some information to share that if shared in the correct way, with good pricing strategy, and good marketing, that can provide enough value to someone for them to pay for it.  I don't know if anyone will be willing to pay for mine, but it's all about experimenting and innovating.  If you don't push yourself to try new things, if you are held back by fear or worry, your business is unlikely to be sustainable, at least for very long.

So I'm going to be writing my first informational eBook.  The idea came to me last night while I was laying in bed to share the techniques that I've used to have a continuous flow of people wanting me to apply for their jobs on oDesk.  Currently over 50% of my income comes from oDesk clients and that number is increasing.  You could look at my profile and see the amount of work I've been doing and think, "dang, he doesn't make very much money if that's over 50%" and you'd be right, I don't.  But while it's over 50% of my income, it's only 25% of my time.  

Once I achieved one thing related to my profile, it made a night and day difference for me.  Once I had that on thing, requests for me to apply for jobs came piling in at a rate of 3-5 a day.  I rarely go searching for work anymore as most of it comes to me on it's own.  That is a huge part of building a sustainable business, a constant flow of customers that are wanting you to work for them.  Even after raising my rates, the requests are still coming in.

This is the main topic I'm going to address in my eBook and explain how to get results and start having the clients flowing to you.

Look for it coming out in the next week or two.