Janine Duff is an uber-talented copywriter and copy coach who works with business owners and thought leaders who are building personal brands with impact. Through her ten years as a business owner, she has crafted services that help her clients build their brand voice and get closer to the clients they love.
Janine talks about her journey from leaving the security of her 9-5 job, going out on her own as a “Jill of all trades” copywriter, and eventually ending up where she is today - totally focused and confident in her offers, doing work she loves and growing sustainably.
Along the way, she’s learned many lessons, and shares them in this episode, namely the critical importance of slowing down and finding her focus so she can love her business and her clients.
Find Janine at www.janineduff.com
Full episode details at: https://realbusiness.stephaniehayes.biz/episode-06
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Welcome to the real people real business show where we are talking with business owners who are in the trenches everyday, people who are working hard and have relevant and inspiring stories that you can relate to. Everyone we speak to is actively building and growing their business and is here to share their experiences, lessons, wisdom and guidance so you can be inspired to take action towards your own goals. Our guests today is no exception. She has been through the trenches and she has some awesome stories to share particularly from this year. So without further ado, I am so excited to welcome Janine Def Jeanine's , a copywriter of BookBub, a proud pizza Tarian . She helps service providers speak their customer's language in a voice that's unmistakably layer theirs so they can bump hearts with their people, sell without sleeves and become more influential and profitable doing what they love. I love this and this is so, so you, so welcome to the show Janine , and thanks so much for taking your time to share your story today. Yeah, I'm excited to be here. Yeah, I'm so excited to have you here. Finally we get Janine on the show. Okay. So let's dive right in. Let's do it. Tell me how you got here, how you got started, kind of where your came from. What was that big trigger for you to start this business?Speaker 2:
Okay. Um, so I guess my story is like a lot of creatives. I always had that writers' DNA. I was writing from when I was a kid in grade five, I won like your provincial writing contest. I got awards in high school for creative writing. But then , um, as I was going through school I decided that I was going to potentially pursue journalism cause I thought that that would be a career in writing and that's what I wanted to do. Didn't work out very well because I did have some experience doing freelance journalism but it wasn't really a paying the bills. So that's when I got into copywriting. I self taught and built my portfolio, working with some local, smaller creative agencies and I realized that I could do this on my own too. So I ended up building my business on the side. I had a full time job for a long time and then I went down to part time hours before I actually went full time into my business. And then I went full time in 2013 and then I've been copywriting ever since.Speaker 1:
So I think that's, that's a bit of a , uh, a common journey for a lot of creatives and copywriters is that they do work with an agency or some bigger organization first. Do you think that that helped you kind of get your feet under you first? Would you have preferred do it in anotherSpeaker 2:
way? I'm actually very grateful for that experience because I got to learn from people who were already in there doing it and I got to see how that agency environment worked. So as far as collaborating with designers and brand strategists and other creatives, it's helped me immensely in the work I do now. And I don't know, I think there's just something to be said for kind of earning your stripes. And I had to take on a lot of projects that weren't fun, but because of that I became more like adaptable and flexible. And , um, just got so much experience under my belt that I feel like it made me more confident for when I went out on my own and it gave me an edge because in the online space there aren't that many copywriters who have that agency experience necessarily. So for me, I think I'm grateful for that. And what was that big trigger that kind of made you take the leap? Well , um, part of it was I was getting laid off , uh, from the , the job I had and I realized that the security I thought I had there at my nine to five wasn't a real. And I knew that I wanted to do this full time, but I never had faith that I could pull it off. So I kind of held onto my part time job for security, but then I was getting so busy that I couldn't do both and I knew something had to give and it was just a matter of creating that exit plan and realizing that I was happier doing this. Um, I just wanted the flexibility and freedom to work for myself and the job that I was at, I wasn't really feeling fulfilled in. So it was, it was partially a matter of needing to do it because of my job situation falling out from under me and that security. But it was also a matter of realizing like, what do I want to do with my life? This is not where I want to be. I want to go after my dreams and I can do it. And , um, once they built up the exit plan, there was kind of like no looking back. Yeah. And what did you, I mean, what, that's an interesting one because I know I've , I've talked to a number of people about how they make that transition out of the nine to five. And so what was the exit plan for you? Like what were, what were the things you needed to have in place to make you feel confident enough to kind of jump ship? So for me, the main thing , um, was the amount of work I had booked out. So I made sure that I had a couple of months of projects booked out that I would be able to, as soon as I left my job, just like, you know, dive right in, hit the pavement and I knew that I wasn't going to be for work, that I had that lined up and then it would just be a matter of hustling my butt off to keep that momentum going. So I waited until like I was getting steady projects and I had two months of clients booked out and I had a little bit of savings. I didn't have a lot of savings though, but I had enough that I just felt like I could do it. The other thing I did was I cut down from full time to part time hours before I made the leap. So I was able to spend a few months working part time in my job while still building my business on the side. So it just gave me a bit more security that way. Right. And when you were first starting out in the business, what kind of work were you doing for your clients? I made the big mistake of doing everything. So I basically, I remember my first website, I just had like a laundry list of services, everything I was writing, speeches, blogs, like a web copy was definitely my bread and butter, but I was just trying to do everything social media. And then I realized that was very soon that that was a bad idea. Well, I don't think it's unusual though, right? We start out and we're like, okay, all the things. And then slowly we start to knock off all the ones that don't feel all that good . And so, you know, that , how many years has it been now? Five, six years that you've been on your own? Well, I started in 2019 or 2009 but it was just like very sporadic. I was still working a job. I didn't go full time copywriting until 2013 right. So yeah, roughly six years. And I think this is a really important point to make. So over six years, how has your, how have your services changed? Like you've, you have gotten to the point where you're quite specific. Yeah . Yeah. So for a while I did kind of just do everything that came my way, said yes , um, just to build the business and build up my portfolio. But I was also charging an hourly rate instead of by project, which was also a big mistake I learned for me at least, it wasn't , um, wasn't good the way I was charging. But I started with that and I think it was just an evolution of realizing what I liked and what I didn't like. And I realized very quickly that I was not a fan of writing the social media or blog stuff and that web copy and brand voice where I could really put my creative skills to work was what lit me up. And so I decided that I wanted to focus on that as much as possible and I really honed in on brand voice and that's something naturally over time that people started to get to know me for . And so now that's basically my services are just copy and that includes brand voice development. And I literally have one package on my website and I do custom work for clients if they request it. But the only thing I advertise on my site is that, and then I have like my day rates. SoSpeaker 1:
how did it feel to , to pair down all of those services? I mean a lot of people feel fear about doing that, right?Speaker 2:
Oh yeah. I think I was really scared at first because I thought that by doing that , um, I would be cutting off all this potential business. But for me I have found that focusing on one thing or simplifying and getting known for that, it's one of the biggest factors. I think in my earlier growth, even before this year when I noticed like the first stage of growth I experienced, it was when I got really clear on my packages and I started just getting known for like that one thing. Um , I don't know , like I think simplification has been one of my best friends in business. I think we tend to overcomplicate things and the more I simplify and get clear and specific, the more I grow and see progress. So that has been my experience.Speaker 1:
And that that gets reflected in how you feel about your business too , right ? And and about delivering the work.Speaker 2:
Oh yeah. Yeah, for sure. Like, I mean when we, when we've been working together, even this year, there have been so many times where I've kind of had that moment of shiny object syndrome and you've pulled me back to focus on what is my strength and what I need to double down on. But when you see other people and everything they are doing, sometimes there's this tendency to feel like, well I should be doing that too, or I need to be doing all these things. And when you just put a stake in the ground, that's powerful and it just releases so much overwhelm and stress knowing that you don't have to cover all those bases that you can actually just own what is your strength and what people know you for. And it makes, for me, it brought me a lot of clarity too around what kind of offers I was putting out, what I'm posting or what content I'm sharing. It just, yeah, it , it totally eliminated so much overwhelming anxiety I was feeling.Speaker 1:
And so this signature offer that you have right now, tell us a little bit about it.Speaker 2:
Yeah, so it's basically a web copy package but includes brand voice development. So I interview clients that um, my, my actual clients have like their clients to get more information and research. We have some strategy calls to go over their branding, their business goals, their PR, like if we get into some interesting creative things that helped me formulate their brand voice, we got really clear on their core messaging. And then once we have that, I build out like the, the brand voice for them and we apply that to their web copies. So my signature package includes your core, your core pages, like your home about services, contact, that kind of stuff. And then they actually get a brand voice guide at the end, which I really like because it goes over kind of their positioning, their core messaging, their core brand stories and their brand voice guidelines so that when they go to write on their own, like for social media or if they hire somebody else in the future, like a VA or something like that, they have somebody who [inaudible] they'll have that information and they can keep it consistent and cohesive and on-brand. Okay .Speaker 1:
So there are a lot of copywriters out there as both you and I know and , and, and in my experience everyone is actually quite different, right? Everybody has their own little sort of specific focus and specific way of doing things. So what is that for you? Like what sets you apart from all of the others?Speaker 2:
I think what I have heard and what I feel too is [inaudible] I have a unique blend of experience. So when I was doing freelance journalism, I was interviewing people and writing human interest pieces for like local newspapers. And I also wrote magazine articles that were kind of interviewing people and sharing their stories. And I got this really unique experience of storytelling through that and interviewing through that. And then I also had like a creative writing background through education, like taking those courses in school. But then I had an experience like I self taught myself copywriting, but then I also had the experience with ad agencies. So being able to bring those pieces together I think is really unique in this space because a lot of people don't have that diversity behind them. And because of that I think it's really helped me , um, connect with the storytelling piece and be very creative but also being mindful of, you know, like persuasion techniques and what people are going to resonate with through web copies. So I think that's really unique and that's sort of what people CME and when they hire me and that's something that stands out for them.Speaker 1:
And I think that type of work that you're doing is really about kind of nurturing the audience as opposed to you know, conversion or you know , a hard and fast sales numbers, which makes your style need to be a little bit different. Right.Speaker 2:
[inaudible] for sure. Yeah. I think with [inaudible] launch copy and traditional sales pages, you're looking more at an immediate action needs to happen from that was a lot of the writing do for my clients with brand voice and web copy. It is really just building that relationship and nurturing that and [inaudible] there are, for me, what I get the most joy out of is a lot of my clients come to me and they don't feel confident putting their voice out there yet. And because of that they hold themselves back so much. And when you're really close to your business and yourself, it's really hard to kind of see what you're good at. Like see your strengths, recognize what your talents are and what makes you unique. And so it's kind of fun going through the process with them because I pull all those little threads out of them and they see themselves reflected in the copy. And a lot of times they say to me like, who is that woman? I want to hire that woman. Or like I want to be her best friend. And that kind of thing, which is really, really fun to see because the confidence they have, once they see themselves truly reflected and represented , um, it just makes them feel seen and then they feel more heard when they're copies out there in the world and they're more confident to like stand behind it. So for me, that's kind of , um, my, my passion around it. And so your big hope is not to be delivering words for clients, but really to be changing their experience of themselves. Yes. And giving them the confidence to share their message and use their voice and to share their story. Because there is, there's a lot of competition online in not just, you know, business coaches or copywriters or designers. It's just like there's tons of competition out there. But your unique experiences and values and stories are, and opinions and perspectives are what to me sets you apart. And so being able to pull those words together for them because often they, they have it, it's just they don't know how to put it together. Right. So just bringing that out of them and putting it together for them and then having them be able to own it , um , the confidence is seeing their confidence grow is amazing. Awesome. And it's, from what I understand, a lot of your clients are having that experience and they are, they are walking away and transforming their own businesses, right? Oh yeah. Yeah. The, a lot of my clients have said , um , once they're copied their new copies out there, they're getting more inquiries. One of my favorite things is they say people will actually write to them to like book a call or ask about hiring them and they'll, they'll quote like lines. They'll be like, I really love this line you had or I really resonated with this. And so hearing that like specific words that really touch them or made them reach out or inspired them or motivated to take that next step and build that relationship is it's, it's really fun. That's amazing. And, and I thinkSpeaker 1:
one of the things that I know about you too is that , um , over time you've become someone who has , um , become quite, quite focused on how you want your business to look. And so what are some of the things that you're just, you just won't compromise in your business now?Speaker 2:
Ooh , I would say that I've gotten clear on the type of work I want to do. Um, I want to work with people who have something meaningful to share and like a story they're willing to put their personality into it , uh , have like a bigger purpose or mission behind their business. I have sort of gotten out of more of the corporate clientele because I just felt like I didn't have that personal connection to that one person who is the face of their business. So the personal branding piece is big for me. I really love working with service providers who, who are the face of their business and the personality that's driving it. Um, and just getting clear on web copy and brand voice is really my jam and that's where my heart's at and when we work together, I , when I worked with a client on a huge like launch type of project, I wasn't feeling filled up by that and it didn't feel like in alignment with the kind of work I wanted it to be doing. So I think that that's become sort of more of a nonnegotiable to where I'm really focused on the work that I'm passionate about, that the creative work I want to deliver and I'm not trying to put the blinders on and not focus on what else is going on or getting worried that I should be doing things a different way or being more like this copywriter or something like that.Speaker 1:
There's an element of trusting yourself right in , in all of this and getting to the point where where you, you know, you can kind of jump in with both feet and have faith that this is going to work for you.Speaker 2:
Hmm . Yeah. I would say that's one of the biggest things I've learned this year as far as my growth has just been trusting myself, not looking outside myself for the answers all the time and tapping into what actually feels good instead of focusing on like, I should be doing this or it should be doing that because I see it other people doing it and being like, does that actually feel good though? And there were so many times to us working together that I would have an idea because of something I saw. Um, or I was thinking about going down a different route and you would kind of pause and ask me like, why do you want to do that and why do you think this will be good for you or your business? And when I started looking at things that way and if it would actually be in alignment with my values and the kind of lifestyle I wanted and the kind of business model I wanted and I was like, Oh, I'm getting distracted. So , um, that, yeah, that's a huge factor for me in my growth I would say this year. And just getting, just getting that trust in myself, I think trust and also confidenceSpeaker 1:
and confidence sometimes just comes from doing the thing and realizing that you can write . Yeah. I think we, we have a , a , an example that I always quote with a lot of my other clients. Um, and where you were, you were considering raising your prices and um, but you know, in , in my opinion, they needed to go up a lot and you had this, this term for flexing , right? Why don't you talk a little bit about how that worked out for you? Like that was such a leap thing for you, but you did it in a really smart way where you , you did it in increments, right?Speaker 2:
Yeah. So when we started working together you, I think you were talking about basically tripling my prices and I was like that's Bobbitt pricing . I felt like sick, just thinking about say that to somebody or putting on my website. So I kind of negotiated it with you where we did it in increments and we had kind of not like a contest going but it was sorta like, okay you're going to put your prices up this budge and then if you book three clients at that price then you have to raise it to the next school increments. So we did it that way. And I actually, that worked really well for me because each time I thought the world was going to like end and it didn't. And clients still came. And because I was building that confidence incrementally, it get, it gave me the confidence to keep raising my prices slowly without, you know, doing this sudden jump that I called my vomit praising. And it's one of my favorite terms still like a lot of people.Speaker 1:
But , but your experience is actually really relevant to a lot of business owners because you, I mean not, I don't, wouldn't usually recommend that people go and triple their prices, but you're in you at a place where you really could justify it. But more to the point when we talk about pricing, it's pricing is there too , um, to support your brand, right? It's not how high can I go? It's more like what weird, where do I go to where it actually fits with what my customers are expecting , the , the customers that I want to attract? What are they expecting and what does this signal to the wrong customers? So they do nothing.Speaker 2:
Right? Oh yeah. And I think too, what was interesting for me during that process was at the time I had another smaller offer that I had, like not on my website, but that I would give people the option of when I was on a call with them. And I remember it was during the time we work together and it was really early on when I had first did a significant raise in my package and there was a girl who reached out to me about having her copy done by me and she said she had been waiting for a while to work with me and uh , she had been saving up and all this, which was really amazing. And I felt honored and then I felt worried about, cause I had just raised my prices. So I offered her the other package. I was like, well I have this as my signature package, but if you don't have a budget for that, I have this. Angie's like, no, no, no. I just want the full thing. I've been saving up. And, and she just brushed it off so quickly that I was like, Oh, it's not as big a deal as I was making it out to me. Yeah. Right. Yeah. You know, it's, it also requires you to have that leap of faith. Right. Like that very first time that you quoted your new price to a client. I'm sure it was Nailbiter right? Oh yeah. Yeah, I was, it was like that awkward pause after just waiting. And the funny part is though, hardly anybody ever, nobody asked . There was the, he's the odd person who said it was out of their budget. But early on I remember I booked a couple clients right away with my new price and I was shocked and then I felt like I should have done this sooner because I was holding back a lot. What do you think that came from? What, where was that holding back coming from? I think I was just worried about [inaudible] Hmm . Making sure that they felt like they got this value out of it and over-delivering . And it was funny because I have raised my prices over the years, like before I worked with you every year I'd raise it like a tiny bit, like maybe a hundred or $200 for the package, but when I did it, I had this really horrible habit of adding something else in and I was like, well, I'm raising my price so I'll add some bonus. They honor role adds some extra thing into it, which totally eliminated the purpose of it. But I think there was just a lot of fear and insecurity around feeling like I had to be over-delivering and I, I was worried about making sure that they saw the value in what they were getting, but then I had a lot of clients who were starting to say like, you need to raise your prices, like what they're telling you. And then I was like, yeah, I guess I should. Yeah. Well I'm really, you know, I'm really pleased that you have been able to recognize that you are delivering far more than enough value to be at the price rate that you're at now. And who knows? Maybe that'll go up as you get more and more demand, but what kind of impact has that had on your business? Like what has growth meant to you this year? Oh, well that's been huge. Um, the, yeah, the, the price increase has been huge because I was actually at the, the point I started working with you. I was getting really burnt out. Um, I just felt like I was, I was over-delivering like crazy with my clients. I was doing so much work for very little. I was often doing stuff for free. Like when they would add something on or ask to add something on, I'd be like, Oh , I'll just do that for you. And it got to this point where I was starting to resent the work. I was starting to not feel excited about showing up for my clients because I felt through all fault of my own and nothing to do with them that I was just being almost taken advantage of. But I was doing it to myself and I wasn't, I would say every year I'm going to take , um, time off around Christmas or take a week vacation. And then I would still be working. And it just got to a point where I was like, I can't grow. Like I couldn't, I had this ceiling and I was hitting it every year as far as my revenue because I couldn't, I couldn't do more work. I got to this point where I was just at my max and the only way to do more would be to burn myself out more and make myself sick essentially. So that's been huge because now I can take on like half the clients and reach my goals. And also because I've created that space for myself, I'm able to deliver better work because I'm not burnt out. I have more creative space. So it's not like back to back to back projects. I actually have time to recuperate, which is huge if you are creative. I think that's something that people don't talk about that much. But when you're a creative and you are constantly using your brain for that, you need to build in time to actually like just reflect and not be working actively on a creative project because otherwise you literally just tap out. And , um, so now I , I mean, that's been huge for me and I think the other thing for growth for me this year was focusing on what's moving the needle in my business instead of just, you know, dividing my attention everywhere. We got really clear on, you know, where I want to show up as far as marketing, like how I want to engage on social media and what that looks like. I got rid of a lot of pressure to show up everywhere all the time. And like we started talking about what, what showing up even looks like. And it doesn't have to be as perfect as I thought it did. Like, you know, it can be a little bit more spontaneous and I can share stuff that's just not always business-related. Um, and so doing that and then also focusing on partnerships a lot because when we looked at where I was getting all my clients from, while I do get some from marketing, a lot of my clients come from business partnerships I have with like brand strategists, designers, those people. So just getting more intentional about building those relationships and nourishing them instead of focusing on like, I just need to grow a big audience because I realized I didn't have to do that for my, my business model.Speaker 1:
No. And this is, this is a point that I love that you made because I have a number of clients, I'd , I, I meet a whole bunch of business owners that are a lot like you, right? They're creatives and they are, you know, even writers or artists or, or whatever. And they worry so much about building this huge audience and you know, what if you're going to be a thought leader or you're going to be, Oh, you know, some public figure or you're selling commodity products or you know, DIY products or digital products, something like that. Yeah. That, that, that helps you a lot. But you know, business owners like you are, you're driving business through relationships and through, and if you start looking at your capacity plan and you start looking at , um, how much you need to book in order to sort of reach your financial goals, oftentimes it's like one more client. Yeah. So what help is it going to be to go and build some massive audience that are like remotely engaged when you can go deep and just dig into those networks and those relationships that you've created. And I also wanted to call out one of the things that you said too , that I think is, is also pervasive with the creative community especially is that I like how Baca said it in our last interview, she said [inaudible] , I finally realized that in order to be consistent I needed to relax on things being totally perfect. And now it's B minus work. And I'm totally cool with that. Right? Yeah. And usually I would probably argue that it's probably not B minus work is probably more like an a a minus, but it doesn't , you know, it's, it's, it's not about, there's nobody, there's no like jury standing there waiting to, to judge every thing that you put out and say, Oh, Oh, the academics give this a C a C minus.Speaker 2:
It's true. And I thought for a long time too that when I was sharing it had to be some Epic educational how to, and it was funny because I would, for social media, if I posted just a picture that wasn't even like a professional pick one of my professional branded pictures and I just had an opinion or a perspective to share and I would get so much more engagement from that stuff. And it was surprising cause I had totally misjudged what people were looking for from me.Speaker 1:
Yeah. I think we hide behind this , um, this image that we think we have to create, but really what people, what people want is for us to be us. Right? Yeah. Whatever that is and whatever that means. You become more human to people and people want to hire people are human to them. [inaudible] right. 100% . So what, so what has, what has marketing kind of become for you? Like what do you focus on? Okay .Speaker 2:
Um , I would say that I'm in a stage of kind of like experimentation. I think experimentation has become something for me that I am embracing more. So I'm testing out what feels good. I've been posting a lot more personal stuff. Um, personal opinion stuff on business and branding in general, not necessarily copywriting specific, which it was funny because for a long time I thought I was in this box of I could only talk about copywriting and then I learned that people are actually interested in hearing my other stories too or stuff that's just about branding or business. Um , just things about my unique experiences. So I've been sharing more stories and experiences that don't necessarily directly relate to education. And I think just experimenting in general with what I'm doing because a lot of usSpeaker 1:
and research and procrastinate a long time trying to figure it out if something is going to work for us. And I think until you actually try it, you're never going to know if you're [inaudible] you would enjoy it if it's the right path for you. I think just starting small and simple and then testing it and improving it or building it out. Cause for example, before I worked with you, I had been talking about hosting a workshop or writing workshop for probably three years and I thought it had to be this big beautiful like branded experience or you know, something that was really flashy. And because of that I just stayed overwhelmed and stuck and I didn't know how to pursue my ideas for that. And then when you just simplified it and you simplified the tech, I just did it like on zoom and I did a beta test with like, I think it was five people and I finally just did it and figured it out and it didn't have to be big or fancy. And I felt like I had actually accomplished something and made progress and I was like, now I did the hard part. Now I can build it out if I want to and change what I want. But I've never, I would if I didn't have that experience of just testing it small and simple, I wouldn't know how to make it better.Speaker 1:
Yeah. If we can, if we can do one public offering for the world, it's to help them understand that just going out and making that kind of necessary mess is your fastest route too , a good product. And the other really valuable thing that could have happened is you could have done that and gone, nah , this isn't for me. [inaudible] and then, and then what? Great. So you learned something, right? I'm an activator in StrengthsFinder and activator is like the person who likes to just start things. So I have learned that the sooner I can just jump into something, the sooner I'm going to have the information that I need and the longer I sit in just kind of twiddle my thumbs and clutch my pearls around what I'm planning on doing. The longer it I get in my own head. I and I, I I'm guessing at things and you know the, if we can, if we can encourage people to just kind of jump in there, do something simple, small and quick, a, that initiation anxiety goes away and B, we learn a whole lot of really good information really quickly. And then you can start to build from there. You don't have to always launch something that's a final product.Speaker 2:
Yes. And that just takes all of the overwhelm and pressure off too for me, which is what was, I can be perfectionistic and you realize that was what was holding me back. And so that was a huge lesson I had to learn this year about just like experiment because a lot of people are out there and they're saying, you should do this or you should do that. Or here's my formula, or you know, my system and it's gonna work for you, cause it works for me. But you're never going to know unless you test it out. Because even if it worked for them, maybe it's not going to work for your business. Maybe it's not going to work for your audience or maybe you're gonna just hate it. So, yeah.Speaker 1:
Yeah, totally. I, you know, I'm not a fan of the cookie cutter approach, so, and I'm glad, I'm glad to hear you say that. Um, so let's talk about like , what's the most pivotal moment you've had in your business so far?Speaker 2:
I think it was this year as a whole, it wasn't like a specific moment as much as this year as a whole. I got to a point where I was actually feeling like I wanted to quit my business. I was just done. I was tired, I was burned out, I wasn't growing and not that I wanted to be like huge or anything, but I just felt like I can't [inaudible] meet my personal goals with this income and working this way. Like I might as well just go back to work, like have a job. And it just got to the point where all the joy was sucked out of it and I was like, I need some perspective and they need to figure out what my next step is. And I, so three things happened this year that I think were like huge and one of them of course was I just realized I can't do this alone. That was the, I just realized as a whole, I couldn't do it alone. I reached out to you and invested in coaching with you because I needed someone who had an outside perspective. I just been, I've been doing this since 2009 and I mean 2013 full time. But still, I've just been doing it for so long. I didn't know what to do anymore and I just needed somebody else to kind of point out my, my blind spots or what was working or not working and figure out where I was stuck and what I needed to do to change my situation . So having you come in as like a second set of eyes and having your brain on my end eyes on my business was huge. And then having like you as a support system and boosting my confidence and like seeing me through with accountability was huge. Um, I also decided to get , um , involved in masterminds , so zero cost , whatever, just with some close business friends. But I did that because a lot of people kind of post a question on a Facebook group that has five, a thousand plus people and you're asking strangers for advice. And so I realized I wanted informed trustworthy people who, who knew me, who knew my business and could give me a informed feedback and quality feedback on things. And then I also started hiring for more of my weak spots. So just getting a lot of the admin, bookkeeping, project management and all that stuff that I'm not good at and don't like off my plate so I could focus more on their creative work. So then that was good because it didn't mean I had to fill up my time with more work, but it meant now that I had more breaks for like my brain, cause I do creative work like every day. So it gave me more space to sort of recuperate after big projects cause I wasn't filling all my spare time with admin work. And that's made a huge difference for you. Yeah, I mean this year I'm going to double my business. So which I mean I thought you were almost near tripling. Well not quite tripling, but Oh well more than doubling. And I was hitting, I was at the same revenue area for like three years. I mean before that I was lower, but then I just hit a ceiling for like three years and now this year is kind of like the breakthrough year . So, and it feels like it actually, it didn't take a tremendous effort. It should know some shifts and thinking. Right. Yeah. It took a lot of shifts in um , just like a lot of things we talked about. I mean, of course with my pricing and my packaging and that sort of thing. Also just my trust in myself and my confidence. And I think the other thing was just realizing that there was a way for me to reach my goals and still stay in alignment with the lifestyle I wanted, the hours I wanted to work, the values I had because I was thinking there were only a couple of paths for me. Like I, I was told so many times before working with you that if I wanted to scale or grow, I had to either build an agency model or I had to build a course model. And neither of those like felt totally in alignment with what I wanted cause he knew I didn't want to manage people. And I also knew that I didn't want to get totally out of their creative work. Cause I like that part. The F the idea of just like teaching and totally going that way didn't feel entirely good to me either. So I, I , I kinda had my mind open to the possibilities once we started working together that I could grow and I could still meet my goals and have it all be in alignment when I have a business that feels good and a business model that works for me. You're a case study in alignment 100% and, and you've, you've actually gone from this burnout and this, you know, this frantic overwork to, you know, more than doubling your revenue, doing less projects. [inaudible] totally trimming your offers, having less on your plate. And I mean, you're just, eh , I have to commend you for it . The courage you had this year too too . Look at things that felt scary. [inaudible] just do them anyway. Right. Thank you. And a lot of people have a hard time doing that. So I think you know, to your credit, that's been a huge, a huge impact on your business. [inaudible] okay, so I've got a question that I like to ask everyone. You're like this one. What do you think is the biggest gap between what's real and what we hear out there in the online business world? Oh, I do like this question. I have so many opinions on this, but one of the biggest things that stands out to me is kind of based on what I was just talking about, that your business goal should be to scale or get bigger. Because for me I realized that you can stay small and still have a thriving, profitable business. And for me, like I wanted freedom in my lifestyle. I didn't want to be managing people in an agency type of environment. I want it to be able to stay nimble and I didn't see the value of still being able to grow a service based business. Like I didn't see it even as an option until we work together. And I think there's so much conversation going on out there about like passive income and scaling and you know, growing. And I think that means different things for different people. And when I reevaluated this year what my real values and priorities were, I just realized that I could still grow in a way that felt good and I didn't have to have a course business, I didn't have to have an agency. And I think a lot of growth stories out there are a unrealistic, and it's like six figures overnight, six figure launches all the time. Right? And people aren't seeing the growth part, they're just seeing the results part. And I think things take a lot longer than we like to admit. Like on the Instagram highlight reels and there's this assumption that growth should be fast and should be this ultimate goal [inaudible] that there's like this question of what actually feels good to you. Like what do you actually want? And I dunno like that, that doesn't come up a lot. It's just all about grow, grow and that path has instant gratification. Hustle . Yeah. And there's so many people I talk to and when they actually find out how long I've been doing this, there's like this moment of Oh, and it's like, Oh, these things take time. And if they matter to you and if this is what you want, I think you have to get on board with that and be okay with that. Okay . I'm totally taking that quote and I'm going to plaster it everywhere. Go for it. But it's true. Yeah. It's just, and the worst part about it for me is , um , like I, I've totally come to accept now the slow growth. Uh, I'm a huge fan of that. [inaudible] but the worst part for me is when I didn't feel like it was okay or acceptable. There was almost shame around it. And then you would feel like you were failing or like you were doing something wrong and your business and like if that's where you're at, I just want to tell people if it , this is important to you, don't quit because it's taking a little longer than you thought it was going to take because so many people quit before they get to that point where they see the results pay off. And I've been writing since I was like a little kid. I used to write sucky fan fiction and stuff. I've been writing for years. It took me a long time to even get [inaudible] to the beginning of my copywriting career and then there's years later where I'm here. So I think, I think more people need to be honest about the growth process and the growth journey instead of just showing the end result part.Speaker 1:
Yeah, we don't get the rest of the story right. And I, you know, I've worked at enough businesses and business owners to know that one of the biggest reliefs they get reliefs is that even word it, one of , one of the biggest sources of relief for them is to get permission to just slow down, slow down, let things percolate, let, let the lessons come. You just cannot know if something has been successful until it's been in there for a little while. Right. Giving yourself a little bit of time to kind of, because that's real. Yeah. You know, the things that we hear, the stories that we hear from these celebrities and crazy inaccessible things, we don't hear the rest of what happened behind that story. Right. And it's, it's, it's not of service to all of these business owners who have amazing things to bring to the world who just look at this and go, I just, I'm not cut out for this. Obviously I'm not.Speaker 2:
And they need to hear your story.Speaker 2:
Hmm. Well, I hope it helps them. It will. It will. Okay. So Janine , what's next for you? What's next? Um , I'm, I guess a few things. I do definitely want to do more workshops. I liked doing, so the kind of workshops I do are just really quick actionable ones, like a few hours. And I like offering them, cause I think there's a gap out there with courses now where things are education. It's like eight modules or something like that. And I'm trying to help people get some quick wins by having workshops that get them practicing and get them doing the thing. Not just learning about how to do it, but just actually writing, get opening the blank document I writing so that I'm focusing on day rates a little bit more as well. Um, which I love. And then I've also been working on some bigger projects or partnerships with people. So getting to know people who are doing brand strategy, graphic design, SEO, all those kinds of people who are serving my clients on their journey to launching a website. Um, I love [inaudible] building those great relationships and being able to create an integrated process for my clients. Cause it's kind of the best of both worlds for me. It's not an agency, but I have trusted, reliable people that can take care of my clients before and after my work with them has done. So. That's another thing I'm really focusing on because I'm , I think there's a need for that as well with people in the online business world.Speaker 1:
I think so too. Absolutely. And you know, it's, it's oftentimes where people who are not selling kind of commodity products, they're often getting referrals from people who are either ahead of them in the customer journey process or behind them adjacent in some way and becoming known to the, that kind of, that kind of community of service providers is really, really effective. So if that's your, if that's kind of your goal for, you know , your next stage, what kind of support would this community be able to provide you to help you get there?Speaker 2:
Well, I think if you're one of the type of people allow you just described , um , reaching out and connecting with me because I'm always looking for amazing people who , um, are reliable and who can serve my clients as well and who would fit my clients. I like having different people kind of in my back pocket so that I can refer my clients to people who fit their style and approach and that kind of thing. Um, so if you are one of those people, I would love to connect for mutual collaborations and um , I'm also just always open to anybody who wants to connect for real conversations about business. That just being honest and talking about the ups and downs because , um, I've, I've really gotten into a point in my business where I want to build those relationships and not just have them be on social media. Like I love actually having a zoom coffee chat kind of thing with people about this sort of thing and talking about it. So I'm always open to that too or interested in that.Speaker 1:
Awesome. And you really can't beat it, right? We get to know so much about more about each other. Bye . Bye talking. Right? Oh yeah. AndSpeaker 2:
I feel like it's a safe place for real conversations versus social media. And I agree.Speaker 1:
Um , you have a free Facebook group.Speaker 2:
Do you want me writing squad ? Yeah. So if you go to my site, there's a links there on the homepage and in the kind of banner, the top banner. So yeah, you can ask, requested invite to join.Speaker 1:
Awesome. Yeah, go do that because Janine has some awesome offers as you've heard and she is kind of always innovating and providing new resources for her, for her tribe. So go what ? Go check out that group. There's some really, really great people in there. Yeah. Okay. Thank you so much for your time with us today. It's such an amazing conversation with you all the time. You are like this amazing case study of a , you know, a business that's grown in alignment that has grown , um , sustainably and I have loved to see the progress that you have made. So make sure you go check out Janine and ah , go join her group and we will post all of the links to um, all of Janine's stuff in the show notes. And thank you for tuning in today to hear , um , Jenny's story. The episodes that you're listening to are featuring members of my free private Facebook group called the real deal business coaching group where we have daily prompts to keep you focused on building your business and sharing your everyday challenges, biweekly virtual coffee chats and open coaching and member support from an incredible community. If you'd like to join our community or you would like to be featured on this show, I'd love for you to come and hang out with us in the group links in the show notes or search up real deal business coaching group in Facebook to find us. And finally I would love for you to join us in our next episode where we're gonna speak to one of my favorite people, Lynn summer man. She is a financial coach and mentor for uh , busy entrepreneurs who are growing their businesses and who are looking for support to increase their financial literacy. So tune in to hear from Lynn in our next episode and you are going to love her. So thank you so much for being here. And if you're enjoying today's content, I would love for you to give us a review on whatever platform you're on. This helps us share these stories with an even bigger audience. So until next time, I am cheering you on over here.