running more than one business

Thoughts On Running More Than One Business

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Morning all,

Mon 29 Mar

A later start to my morning.

It’s been a full-on couple of days.

In the last week, there’s already been lots of turbulence when it comes to trying to become more effective at the day-to-day running of Pearl Lemon.

I’m definitely not where I ‘want to be’ in terms of it being completely autonomous

However, at the same time, there’s been some unexpected movement in other areas of my life.

Let’s go through them one by one:

Pearl Lemon – Current challenges / opportunities

Pearl Lemon Challenges

On the SEO side of the business – we simply need to close more clients. The clients we do have are generally happy – and so this is a work in progress.

Lydia is stepping up into the role of client relationship management – and her time this week is dedicated to learning as much as she can within that role.

This will involve taking multiple courses, doing some training with Federica and Semil, and us reviewing things come Friday this week.

In the background, we continue the slow progress of building PR landing pages, aiming to rank them on Google and seeing what return that brings us.

Notwithstanding the current PPC landing pages which we’re working on to improve – hopefully, we should see the results of all of this activity over the coming three months.

Pearl Lemon Leads – Current challenges / opportunities

Pearl Lemon Challenges

Operationally we still have multiple improvements to make – which is a significant struggle at the moment.

Right now, we’re working hard to improve operationally which is the main focus of our work.

We’re also building out timelines of our work so it’s clearer for the sales team as well as our clients.

The main thing is improving delivery and therefore retention – if these two work out then we can do very very well.

Serpwizz – Current challenges / opportunities

Serpwizz Challenges

There’s a lot of bug fixing and content fixing right now that’s happening. Improving the product from this standpoint is a focus of ours – and this is happening via the Pitchground launch.

That’s a lifetime deal site where we’ve made 38 sales and are working through all of the feedback we’re receiving in order to improve our tool.

In parallel, we’re working upon the SEO and getting more and more interview answers from respondents and have plans to build a directory for SEO experts to list their skills on our site as it could mean direct business for them.

I’ll stop here as we could continue on with:

These are all spaces where there’s ALOT of activity that’s happening – all being supported by the agency side of the business.

So in total, that’s 9 things being worked upon in parallel.

That’s a CRAZY amount of stuff right?

So here are my insights on how you can effectively run more than one thing at the same time.

First of all, it’s important to add some disclaimers:

This approach might be f*cking terrible. This does mean my focus is split, this does mean that I have to spread my resources across each of these niches…

It means a lot of ‘negative’ things….

But fuck’em.

I enjoy it, I’m making enough money to really get after it in each of these spaces…

And all I need is ONE of them to really take off…

And ALL of them are making progress…

So some insights:

You need to have a very strong team

Strong Team

So your ability to make such a setup work really depends upon the ability of your team to get things done and to work on things in parallel.

One of the things that have been powerful for me is having Friday training.

Every Friday I’ll get onto a call with my entire team and talk to them about something that will hopefully further them as they grow in their journey with Pearl Lemon.

I also document (in the form of video recordings) – anytime I’m teaching anyone anything.

This is then uploaded into a shared playlist (61 videos in this list now) – and everyone needs to aim to watch 1-3 videos per week.

Putting together this process has meant that there’s an ever-improving standard of work and ability to multi-task within the team

You need to have repeatability in terms of work

Repeatability

So whilst on the surface, it seems like I’m doing ‘lots of different things’ at once – there are a couple of things that give me a unique competitive advantage –

  1. Being an agency owner means I’m used to running multiple campaigns in parallel
  2. The work that I’m doing across all of these 9 entities has some huge commonalities
  3. I’m trying to learn more about course launches through the Russel Brunson method (I’ve got his course and a coach) so that I can apply this method to every business I’m involved in – a WIP at the moment

These two things are huge – as a digital marketing agency owner, I’m running SEO and Lead Generation for between 10-40 clients at any one time.

As you can imagine – I’m ultimately doing these same things for the companies we’re launching.

The parts where we’re inefficient is anything that’s fundamentally a new process.

You need to be able to build a new team quickly

Team Quickly

Let me give you an example.

I’m currently looking at building out Pearl Lemon Properties as a business.

I built out the website as the first port of action before involving anyone other than my SEO team (9 people) and my content writing team (6 people).

From their perspective nothing much changes because it’s another website, and writing another set of content.

Everyone is trained to a broadly similar standard because of the onboarding process they all go through.

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Once the website is set up, content is written, and the website is beginning to rank well on Google – it was then that I decided to involve further people.

At this stage – it became a strong proposition – so then I had Matthew, and my sister and brother-in-law come in to discuss getting involved.

Matthew is the head of business development, and my sister being the head of client project management, and my brother in law project management.

This is, of course, means the part where I’m weak (operationally) with any new business – I’m bringing in people who can take the time needed to work effectively in these spaces.

You need to set an extremely high tempo

High Tempo

So when you are managing multiple projects – there is literally no point in doing this if you’re unable to push these projects forward at a steady and consistent pace.

To this regard, leaving a project to wither on the side is an absolute waste of time – then there’s no real point in engaging in such a project

To give you an example –

I met Matthew on Friday to discuss (for the first time) Pearl Lemon Properties and Kemisti.

It’s now Monday and he’s got the NDA, a contract is being written up, the data-mining team has commenced preparing an email outreach list, Matthew is eying up the competition and we’re moving forward.

This is the kind of speed that is needed I believe for all projects.

The only inhibitor is when there are partners involved that work on stuff you have no direct control over.

Then you’ll need to wait – but push them, and doing supporting work outside of that will become important.

You need to be clear in your communication and expectation

Communication and Expectation

The more projects you have to work upon – the firmer you need to be with your communication and exactly what your expectations are.

This should be made clear right from the beginning.

I’ve made several mistakes by not thinking clearly enough about each of these things and as a consequence I’ve suffered when it comes to getting things done.

In the latest agreement I’m drafting up for a new team I’ll potentially be working with – Im writing out expected hours, response times, expectations of each other, and the like.

I don’t know whether this will result in a better experience for both sides – but nonetheless, it is certainly an attempted step in that direction.

Can the businesses help each other?

Business Help

Practically what I mean is that it is ideal if the projects you work upon have a manner of cross-over.

So for example – the growth of Pearl Lemon (an SEO agency) and Pearl Lemon Leads (a lead generation agency)…

Should support the growth of SERPWIZZ (a white-label SEO audit tool), Omnireach (a LinkedIn automation tool), and SENDKoala (an email outreach tool).

Furthermore, in building out my blog (this site) I hope to over time be able to drive traffic to all of these sites.

So try and build vertical integration in the businesses that you run. This is by ensuring we capture people at an earlier stage of the lifecycle by offering them software products that they might use or try before hiring an agency.

Furthermore, there’s a degree of horizontal integration because the two agency websites are going after a similar market of businesses in need of lead generation of different kinds.

Deal With Continued Failure And SetBacks

Setbacks

Lots of stuff is going to go wrong in this scenario. And there will be many challenges. Ensuring that you are emotionally prepared to weather this storm is important then.

This is about the suspension of emotion, and dealing with all of the challenges as calmly as you can.

In some respects – being an agency owner is excellent training for this as we have multiple clients with varying needs, complaints, and problems that shift on a day-to-day basis.

Working to keep them happy is a significant part of the job – and therefore working on 9 projects is no different either then. There are constant challenges each day, and working through them is critical to the project’s success.

Patience Is Critical

Patience

Naturally, it’s going to be a slower journey when you focus on 9 things instead of 1 thing.

With this in mind, it’s important to be patient with your approach, as all of these things are going to take time.

So giving them all the time (2 years each) they need in order to be successful is going to be critical.

2 years is the timeline I keep in mind for anything that I commit to, and this helps me to be patient.

I expect nothing to happen with a business for the first 2 years in terms of being able to generate any substantial income.

I focus upon the value being entirely in the backend when it comes to the company making money.

With the front-end being entirely hard work.

Final Thoughts

Conclusion

I guess being in the digital marketing services space means it’s literally my job to help businesses grow end-to-end.

We get involved (increasingly) in their website development, their SEO, their outbound marketing, their ads…and so running multiple projects for yourself doesn’t become that different.

The logic simply is – is that finding the potential customer, prospect, and all is the most challenging part of the growth process – and if you can manage this section then the rest is very achievable.

We shall see 🙂

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