The good, the bad and the ugly... THAT'S what I want to share with you this month. Why do I want to divulge my business 'secrets'? Well, because I don't want secrets. I want open conversations between women that are conducive to levelling the business playing field for us all.
What follows is neither bragging or self-deprecating - it's a straight-forward, honest share from my monthly business review in April.
Before I dive in, here's a little foreword on transparency in business...
Transparency in business
A struggle I see come up time and time again with my clients confusion around whether or not what they're doing, creating and achieving is in-line with the rest of their industry. Is their pricing competitive without selling themselves short ? Are their aspirations realistic and reflective of the market? Are their achievements and progress putting them ahead of the curve or are they falling behind without even realising?
It's pretty damn hard to navigate when internal business data isn't freely available and people still flinch at the thought of sharing for fearing of giving away some kind of advantage.
Benchmarking really helps to guide your own analysis and business development.
In order to do right by yourself + your business, your clients and your industry, I truly believe we need to open up the conversation and push for more transparency.
Building a better business environment for women
If you, like me, are a female business owner, a woman in business or a female freelancer - it's in all of our interests to create a better business environment for women.
If we can be transparent with each other, here's what I believe we could be a part of...
Being part of the solution to a bigger problem for women in business - equality
Allowing your fellow businesswomen and clients the visibility and opportunity to make a informed financial decisions
Preventing them from feeling negative and self-doubting feelings towards their own business
Creating a synergy across the industry based on camaraderie, trust and open conversation
Improving our relationships with money, judgement free
Nurturing an environment of collaboration and community
Plus, why do we have to be secretive? There’s no need for the smoke and mirrors and bad business form. The bigger picture is that when one of us wins, we all win.
How is business for Chelsea Cox Limited?
This month, I wanted to share the following with you:
My Q1 (Jan, Feb, Mar) finances - how it compares year-on-year
My client conversion rate for the month gone (April 2022)
My time log for the month gone (April 2022)
New launch -Divine Development
Quarter one year-on-year finances
This is what Q1 2022 financials looked like, based on Q1 2021 and Q1 2020 financials
Based on 2021
+29% in total - meaning I took 29% more money over the first 3 months of this year (2022) versus the same 3 months last year (2022).
Q1 2021 was a good quarter for me due to the creation and management of a couple of one-off brand-focussed virtual events and launches. To me, being 29% up on last year shows huge promise for the start of the year as well as being well ahead on the rate of inflation.
Based on 2020
-48% in total - meaning that, in Q1 2022, I took nearly half less than what I took in Q1 2020.
This is obviously a significant difference and, honestly, it's still little heartbreaking. BUT, I've done work to accept that this was largely out of my control. You see, January to March in 2020 was pre-pandemic and the last business quarter where my business remained unaffected. The months and year that followed devastated my business that I worked so hard to build up, as I know is the same for so many other small businesses.
The positive that I take from looking at these figures is that whilst I'm not quite back to where I was before Covid-19, I’m certainly on the road to recovery and building well.
Client conversion rate for April
Discovery Calls are one of my key focus points. They are free 20-min slots where we can have a call to chat about your business and really understand the issues and how we can move forward with a solution. They are important because they allow me to work out straight away whether the person or project is in alignment.
In April, I had 7x discovery calls booked:
4x converted into business
1x wasn't quite the right fit
1x was a fabulous chat but ultimately decided to hold off on activity until later
So my conversion rate for April was 58%.
In January and February, I was averaging on 11 discovery calls per month so 7 is lower than usual. BUT April was my start period for my Q2 clients, I will not be taking on new clients for 1:1 ongoing work until Q3 (July) so it actually worked out well for me in that sense.
My time log for April
You know what is hard? Finding the right balance between working in your business and working on your business. To ensure long-term sustainability, you need to spend time doing both each month. Even those months when you are doing well - ever heard the expression that you should 'dig your well before you're thirsty?'
Too often, we business owners prioritise our client work over our own. Even with the best intentions, dropping YOUR work to the bottom of the to-do list doesn't help anyone.
This month I managed a fairly equal split (it doesn't always work out like that!) and it feels good to know that I invested the time to nurture my business. Here's the split:
55% of my time on client work
45% of my time working on Chelsea Cox Ltd
Time spent on client work:
20% - client sessions, prep + follow up
35% - working on project work
Time spent on Chelsea Cox Ltd:
20% - business development
15% - marketing
5% - finances
5% - self development
Here you can see, visually, what this looked like:
New launch - Divine Development
Months of hard work finally came into fruition as April was the month I launched Divine Development. This is a group container which will run for 8 weeks, twice a year with a cap of 10 members each time round.
My whole business focus is on my 1:1 bespoke support - this is how I get the results for my clients - so whilst I don't currently offer something for ‘the masses’, Divine Development nicely marries the benefits of group collaboration and 1:1 bespoke support.
There's a whole blog devoted the details of this, so please check it put here: Divine Development - Something for Female Business Owners Who Want To Make Moves
If you're keen for an opportunity to try out my approach, the Divine Development concept and the container content, I'm offering the first module to you for FREE if you sign up before the 16th, 17th and 18th May 2022 on my community platform. It's up to you whether you'd like to continue after that - no tie in!
Get your free access to module 1 of Divine Development here
A final thought
My business growth plan is slightly different to that of a traditional service provider one, I'm looking for a sustained, gradual and timely growth over rapid expansion.... basically growth that works for me and my life.
What I do not want is for you to make the unhealthy kinds of comparison, the ones that eat away at your self-confidence. If you feel you had a better month than me on paper - AMAZING!! I'm genuinely thrilled for you, I hope you celebrate!
If your month was a bit slower than mine on paper - keep going babe, it doesn't mean you're doing anything wrong! Honestly, I don't even know whether the industry would call this a 'good month' or not but I do know how this month performed against my own business data and how I feel about it.
Notice that I said 'on paper'. The story that facts + figures ON PAPER do not tell is your emotional journey and the goings-on in your everyday life. Don't ever give yourself a hard time x
Follow me on Instagram where I regularly share what's going on with my business on IG stories!