My 2022 business reflections about our first year in business. Including the challenging launches, big mistakes, good results, and my gamechanging business takeaways.
Despite the title looking back on 2022, I’m really freaking proud. There were SO many setbacks (which I will get into) we lived, we learned and we’re continuing to grow Elizabeth Nwansi Co. everyday.
I’ve always loved reading other companies and their reports so here you go…
Let’s start with the bad:
PROFIT WAS MINIMAL
I hired a coach to help me set up the foundations of an evergreen launch. Our courses are marketed through paid ads, to minimize having to work on organic traffic sources as much as possible. I did this because time has always been my priority. I wanted to serve our students while also being able to spend as much time with my family as possible.
The coach wasn’t bad, she was really amazing. However, it did set me back $20k to hire her for 6 months, which ate into a ton of the profit as people were just starting to join Roadmap to Booked.
On top of that, all of the programs I pay for as a photographer were useless in the education space. I ended up spending another $10k+ to get new platforms like Kajabi and Everwebinar to name a few.
Lastly, I decided to hire on early in this business. Having people on a regular payroll is something that is completely new to me as I never did this with our photography business.
MADE A BAD INVESTMENT
After our private coaching was finished, I knew I wanted more mentoring in continuing to set up our business and serve our clients, but I didn’t want the hefty price tag. I decided to join a group coaching program and did so because this is a really well-known educator with tons of amazing reviews for $12k for the entire year. I won’t name the program, however…it was a wash.
OUR ADS GOT SHUT DOWN
After hitting our highest revenue month in evergreen ever, $1k short of my goal – our ad account got shut down completely. I spent a month trying to get the ad account back to no avail. This was 100% of our marketing to our only program at the time. AKA 100% of my income. I spent 6 months building up to running our ads properly. I realized that by putting 100% of our eggs in one basket I was completely shooting myself in the foot. This felt – debilitating.
HIRED & LET GO
I spent a good bulk of time taking a class on how to hire the right person for your business. After graduating I implemented everything and spent a month going through applications and interviews. We ended up hiring someone who was great, but not the perfect fit for our company. I let her go and was back to square one. It felt exhausting after all of the time I had dedicated to the hiring process.
TECH, TECH, TECH
Good lord, there was so much tech. So many new programs to learn, and outside of everything else that was being built learning the ins and outs of ALL of the new programs felt so overwhelming. I remember there were days when I would just stare at my computer completely at a loss for how to move forward. There was a lot of paying in full for something I thought I needed and then ended up not needing – no returns. Money was down the drain and weeks were put into various things that didn’t work out.
Now let’s get to the good:
OUR ADS GETTING SHUT DOWN
This completely stopped my income from coming in but what it forced me to do was to diversify our marketing and start leaning into organic marketing strategies. I decided to lean heavily into blogging and Pinterest and upload videos once a month to YouTube. After only a month we are generating sales from our efforts to Roadmap to Booked and additionally our newer courses and templates.
After our ads were removed, I soon realized that we needed to change course. So we chose to continue forward with the introduction of a new course I had planned for the next year. I decided to do this because this was one of the top things our community was asking for help with. It’s also something I’ve really mastered in our own businesses. I wanted a way to serve new clients and invite them into our world. So they can see how much we really put into getting them the results they want.
I’ve always loved the idea of tiny offers and I wanted to include various options for someone to shop when they need help with their photography business – We are currently working on 12 Months of Content for photographers as well as a Masterclass helping entrepreneurs plan for their best year in business. I know that there are many people who aren’t ready or aren’t able to make a significant investment yet in their business journey, but still want help – our ads getting shut down made me realize this was a great opportunity to provide these types of offers to them.
After tons of money and time spent on things that weren’t working – I decided to start an entirely new website and marketing profile for the education side of my business. We launched a brand spanking new website that is beautiful and makes me so happy every time I see it. It was important to me to separate our courses from our shop, as well as have a resources page for women looking to level up their business.
After the initial employee didn’t work out, I was really keen to give up and do everything myself. I spent so much time hiring the perfect fit that it felt really overwhelming to do it again. I’m glad I pushed through – I learned a ton from the first round and in the second round I decided to hire 4 people for a training period of one week at which point there was an obvious standout. If I didn’t go through everything I went through the first time around – I don’t believe I would have found who is still working with me to this day. She’s amazing, her work ethic is exactly like mine and I’m excited to have her on board with me Monday-Friday.
In Roadmap to Booked students will check in regularly either via our live monthly coaching or weekly wins and I can’t begin to explain how happy it makes me see the photography business growing, new bookings, new higher pricing, and new mindsets. A HUGE win is seeing all of the students inside our programs absolutely killing it.
With all of this being said – 2022 has been a huge year of growth and transformation.
My game-changing takeaways for my first year in business:
#1. Nothing happens to you, everything happens for you
When my Facebook Ads shut down stopping 100% of my income and traffic (with an employee on my payroll) it felt stifling. For an entire week, I couldn’t do anything but sit there and feel sorry for myself. After a week I told myself – “What if this is happening to me?” And then answers started to come – if this was happening FOR me…what is it I need to be learning from this? Because of this, we did our first live launch ever which was successful, we diversified our marketing efforts and I’m able to serve so many more people in our community through our newer lower ticket programs. I learned that I will never rely on one source of marketing for my business again and how valuable it is to have a content strategy for our business.
#2. You’re going to hit your upper limits and the successful ones push through
Your upper limits are literally your conscience trying to block you from reaching new heights in your life. As I introduced new tech, new employees, and new everything into my life this year…my upper limits showed up HARD. My kids all got sick during the busiest weeks of work for me, a ton of tech literally just stopped working, I had health scares and our fine-tuned marketing wheelhouse got shut down overnight with no reason as to why. Because of all my research into upper limits, I’m happy I knew what these were and pushed through – the hard bits are the easiest time to give up – but it’s the fire that makes the diamond.
#3. It’s worth it to spend the money
I wasted a ton of this money this year by thinking I could get the same quality of things for cheaper – whether it was on that group coaching course, or various templates rather than just paying for the good design I really wanted. There’s something to be said about operating your business with as few expenses as possible – but on the things that REALLY matter…it’s worth it to pay for the good stuff.
#4. Learn what you really need to operate
This year I learned what I do and don’t need moving forward into 2023. We’ve already started the process of streamlining our programs and completely getting rid of some things that aren’t necessary. As a newbie in the education space I was purchasing everything I thought we needed and while it definitely got us to where we are today, I’ve learned that many aren’t necessary to continue to put out quality work. The assets I am leaning into investing heavily in are hiring new employees continued coaching support and the pivotal platforms to ensure a really quality experience for our students new and old.
#5. I’m in it for the long game
I made VERY stretchy income goals for our launch and first year in business. I didn’t hit any of those goals and that’s ok. As much as I would have liked to, I also know how much gold comes from what I’ve learned from each failure and hardship. More than the income it can feel crappy to feel like you failed at anything but what I realized this year is – I’m in it for the long game. Anything that didn’t go as planned is OK….and to remember it’s happening so that I can learn something valuable from it.
#6. I’m a big people-pleaser
Hiring my first employee actually made me realize how much of a people pleaser I am. Looking back – it was pretty obvious they weren’t the best fit, but I didn’t want to make anyone uncomfortable. In addition – they ended up staying much longer because I kept making excuses for mistakes to avoid making people uncomfortable. I’ve learned that:
- the best thing I can do for my employees now is to give them feedback bluntly and right away.
- to say no more and to say yes to things that I really want.
- saying what I want isn’t mean…it’s simply letting someone know what I want to happen.
WOOO…what a year!! As I said, I always love reading these breakdowns from others in the industry. Did anything stick out to you that was helpful? I hope so.