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Wow … My business is out of whack

Posted by Deidre Rienzo on

Hi, I'm Deidre. In my posts, I talk about my voyage down the road of self-employment as a website copywriter, my achievements and roadblocks along the way, and what I’m learning as I go (with Marketing Mentor as my guide).

My business is completely out of whack. Know how I know? This worksheet – 2011: How do you want to grow? It took about 20 minutes to complete. (Freshbooks makes the reports really easy.) But the realizations that came from the worksheet – can help me for a lot longer than 20 minutes.

Here is what I discovered:

  1. I had 20 clients this year
  2. 87% of revenue came from 4 clients; 13% came from the other 16 clients! The 4 clients are all people I have ongoing relationships with. The 16 others—were mostly one-offs.
  3. The most lucrative, and most enjoyable projects were working with web designers to create copy for the sites they were designing. This reinforces my target market even more!
  4. I made $1700 less in 2010 than I did in 2009. Ugh.

2011 is going to be my fourth year as a self-employed person, and I’m glad I did this worksheet.

It feels clarifying to get realistic sense of where you are. I’m trying really hard to not let my emotions get involved with my financial data. But it’s difficult. I just need to learn from it, and do better.

For me, this stresses the value of ongoing client relationships. There is a huge difference between the projects that come from relationships I’ve made, and one-off projects. Of course, projects need to be one-offs to start long term relationships, but I need to ask myself: Could this client turn into a long term relationship?

I’m aiming for a 30% increase in business in 2011.

As I was getting frazzled (and emotional), Ilise helped me realize: All I need to do for 2011 is find and develop 3 or 4 strong relationships. Totally doable. And that will help me reach my goal.

Here’s the worksheet. Give it a whirl, and let us know what you learn.

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