[Case Study] How Mikel Found the Focus and Framework to Grow His Business

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By Mikel Martinez, Mikel Media
Marketing Mentor Resources

I discovered Ilise Benun on the Unemployable podcast’s How to Earn More on Every Project with Tiered Pricing episode. I immediately felt a connection to Ilise — her message, her tone and calming voice on the podcast. There’s value in this, I remember thinking, and I’ve really got to listen to her! And I liked the way Ilise didn’t portray herself as a guru, like so many marketing experts I come across.

I started watching Ilise’s YouTube videos and signed up for her Quick Tips emails so I could learn even more.

I first learned about Ilise’s Simplest Marketing Planner when I saw her Black Friday 2018 promotion email. I purchased the planner and started using it in 2019, but I have to admit it wasn’t until later in the year that I started taking the document seriously.

I realized I needed to get different results for my business, and that meant doing things differently. Diligent use of the planner gave me a structured process to follow which began paying off right away.

In April 2019, I reached out to Ilise to learn more about her one-on-one mentoring service and was planning on moving forward with coaching, but then life happened — and my wife lost her job. I kept my focus on my business while my wife looked for new employment, continued to read Ilise’s periodic emails, picking up tips and advice along the way, and following the powerful framework of the marketing planner.

If you’re considering Ilise’s marketing planner or one of her other tools, here’s my advice on how to make the most from a self-directed resource like this:

  • Carve out time from your busy week for focused planning. When I first started using Ilise’s planner, I would go to a coffee house with printed copies and notes I’d been taking about my business goals. (I actually had three copies of the planner: one for my first draft, one for a more polished second draft and the third being my final plan!) I found that having this time away from my home office made the planning process more meaningful each month and something I looked forward to.
  • Don’t just take some advice, take all of it. The Simplest Marketing Planner includes a section for strategic networking — something I’d been avoiding — with a suggested goal of attending at least one event per month. Seeing this section motivated me to begin taking networking seriously. I visited many groups, found some I didn’t like and some that fit me perfectly. Marketing’s a popular topic at networking groups, so I tuned in to the pain points people shared. (This is something Ilise preaches in her marketing emails.) Thanks to my newfound interest in networking, I’ve been featured on one of the group’s websites, spoke on the topic of digital marketing, and — even better — I gained eight new clients in just four months of networking.
  • Keep the tool visible, not tucked away in a drawer or buried in email. Each month, I tack my marketing plan to my whiteboard, so I see it when I’m in my office. It reminds me of focus areas that are important to my business — my target market and income goals, my plan for the content marketing I need to do — and more.

Now that I’ve been working with Ilise’s marketing planner for all these months now, I’ve changed it up to make it my own, customizing it and incorporating it with one of my favorite tools, Plutio. (That’s where I also track projects and generate client invoices.)

I also take advantage of Ilise’s “Office Hours,” a monthly Zoom video call she hosts for people who purchase her marketing resources and those she coaches. I’ve met great people on these calls and connected with several on social media. It’s been a fun side benefit from buying the planner.

To say that my business benefited greatly from Ilise’s simple but powerful planner is an understatement. It helped me face the reality of my business (I needed more clients!) and shifted my mindset and actions to better power my business.

Today, I have a growing list of clients, a steady stream of income, meaningful work I can do safely from my home (I’m writing this in April 2020), and I hired interns who now work with me. I’m excited about the future and building on all I’ve learned from meeting Ilise.

If you want to see if she can help you too, take advantage of the free 30-minute mentoring session she offers.


Mikel Martinez is the owner of Puerto Rico-based Mikel Media. His company provides project management, logistics, digital marketing and business coaching services. Mikel calls himself a professional chameleon (and that’s the title of a book he’s authoring, too!), because he enjoys doing a little bit of everything.

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