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What a difference four months can bring.
But before we jump into EVERYTHING that has happened during this time, I have an apology to make.
I have not been keeping you guys up to date on everything that has been happening in my/Virtual Valley’s world.
And I hate it when people say:
“I’ve just been SO busy”
I am tempted to say this, but we all know that there is no such thing as being “too busy” and only such thing as being “too busy for a specific thing“.
I this case I was “too busy” to continue with our daily podcast and monthly blog post.
Though the radio silence did not actually occur becuase I didn’t have the time… it happened because so much has changed in the Virtual Valley world that I wanted to wait until we had some clarity around the situation before sharing it with the world.
By the end of this post, you will be aware of EXACTLY what has changed and what this means for the future of Virtual Valley… and let’s just say…
We are very excited for what is to come.
Table Of Contents
Back in with the Goal Pyramid:
As you can see, we didn’t make a huge amount of progress with some goals, though did make steady progress with others:
MRR/Hours Charged – Both of these have been either maintaining month on month or have decreased slightly, with the reason for this being that I have been tied up in the negotiation of the partnership that I believe will see the platform growth significantly over the next year.
More on this later in the post…
Blog Subscribers – Again, slow growth over the past few month due to a lack of focus from my part, though leveraging the marketing prowess of Virtual Valley’s new partner, this metric should also experience further growth over the next 12 months.
Guest Content Spots – Interestingly this figure still continued to grow regardless of the lack of focus… partly due to the fact that there is a lag time between creating the content and it being posted but also due to the fact that once you have “influencer” status, you get invited on a weekly basis to contribute to roundup posts… that do provide some traffic and quality links.
To summarise ALL of those numbers and to give a clear picture of the core metric movement over the past few months, this is the graph you need:
Now you are clear about the numbers, let me communicate to you EXACTLY what has happened over the past 4 months…
After spending 10 months of my life building, organising and marketing the Virtual Valley platform, I decided that if we were to hit our ambitious goal of selling the platform for $4 Million in 2 years… we were going to need some help.
More specifically, help to scale my marketing efforts, which would bring in the much needed cash in the short term to allow us to improve the experience for our Entrepreneurs & VA’s, which would in turn bring more revenue.
Now, I think I’m pretty sweet at marketing… but only a specific field…
Bootstrapping growth through content and social media (as I documented in this post).
I’ve done this for many businesses…
What I have not mastered is SEO and paid traffic.
What if I could somehow incentivise a parter that has massive experience in these areas, which would then allow me to continue my bootstrapping methods and also manage the development of the platform?
Well this is exactly what has happened.
And this is the reason why you have heard radio silence until now.
Our partnership has been formed, the legals are in place… and we are now ready to blast off.
More details on this partnership, how to build such partnerships yourself and most importantly HOW to find the right partners coming up on this blog and the podcast over the coming months.
Let’s just say that the pro’s have arrived… and that things are going to change around here going forward 😉
And of course, don’t worry, everything that we are about to do to explode Virtual Valley is going to be documented right here, so you can do the same… if you wish.
Three Key Learnings
1. You Must Find The Right People
I used to think that I could do it all alone.
And then I started to look back at off of humanities achievements that I admire:
- The light bulb
Each of these were not created by a GROUP of people, NOT by a semi talented individual.
This was the driving factor behind Virtual Valley’s new partnership… and how that pans out, remains to be seen 😉
2. Empower Management
You can see from the figures above the Virtual Valley’s metric progression has been slow over the recent months.
And the reason why becomes clear when you understand that the total amount of time that I have invested IN the business (there is a difference between working in the business as opposed to on the business as we know from this post) has been close to 0 hours over the past 4 months.
Now if I had been spending the majority of my time as a manager or a technician during the period between Virtual Valley’s launch and June, then the platform surely would have collapsed.
I had trained AND empowered a responsible and competent leader to manage the day to day running of the business to allow me to work on the business (developing our new partnership).
3. Be More Than Just A Business
When you form a greater purpose around your business… you will find it much easier to attract equally passionate customers and partners.
Without our purpose and personality that we inject into the Virtual Valley platform, do you think we would have been able to do so much with our limited resources?
Or managed to secure a partnership with a group of highly talented marketers?
I am not sure.
If you are struggling to get the word out or to get replies to your partnership outreach mails… then maybe it’s time to start thinking about why you exist.
Two Key People
As mentioned above, I have been pretty much non-existent WITHIN the Virtual Valley business for the past 4 months, though our numbers remain solid and we are still helping tens of VA’s and Entrepreneurs each day.
How did we manage this?
We have a solid and consistent manager/leader that is completely competent at running the Virtual Valley platform without my direct input.
Thank you Zandro 😉
2. Tom Rankin
If you have been following our journey for any period of time, you have probably experienced my incessant outreach attempts in order to build early traffic and links to this very blog, in fact most of them are listed here.
It’s been a hard and transformation journey.
And just 10 days ago, something incredible happened.
For the first time ever…
Virtual Valley was linked to and included on a HIGH PR blog… with NO outreach!
Yes, thanks to our man Tom, GoDaddy dropped a VERY valuable link to our homepage in their recent post on how to hire your first virtual assistant.
One Key Tool
I used to think viral giveaways were cheesy and that the lack of list quality built through this method was not worth the hassle…
And then I spoke with my good friend Kieran at Maitre and he persuaded me to roll out a giveaway for another project.
And we smashed it.
100’s of emails addresses for a minimal investment… and guess what? The leads generated from the contest CONVERTED.
Now my viewpoint has changed considerably.
So, if you want to double/triple or even quadruple your list for a minimal investment, I highly suggest you click this link and take advantage of Maitre’s outrageously simple to use software.
Three Key Focus Areas
1. Initial Paid Growth
Taking advantage of the marketing prowess of our new partners, we will commence to drive paid traffic (primarily through Facebook) to Virtual Valley, which will drive an increase in revenue AND actionable data to determine how the platform can be improved.
That said, we are still aware that previous feedback has suggested that the two areas need to be worked upon: VA Quality and Ease Of Use.
This is where this fresh burst of cash will be invested.
2. One Single New Metric
To take a leaf out of Y Combinator’s book, going forward Virtual Valley will be tracking JUST 1 single metric that the whole team agree on and will review each and everyday.
Early discussions show that this metric will be: Total Hours Charged.
As this reflects both new business AND engagement (so we don’t just focus on driving new growth without understanding how “leaky our bucket is”).
I would strongly recommend that your business does the same (if you are not doing so already).
3. The Complete Funnel
It seems likely that the current product/service that you are working on is simply your core product.
And that there are offers that could be made both prior to AND after a core product purchase that increase the ability of your customer to reach the end goal that they are striving for.
With this in mind, we will commence to built out other offerings to support out perfect customer, these could be “done for you” packages OR even information products focussed on the Virtual Assistant niche.
Keep your eyes peeled…
Another host of unforeseen events have been and gone over the past 4 months…
Much has changed, people have been and gone and clients have been won and lost.
But what remains?
We still have 1 hungry entrepreneur, 1 awesomely consistent virtual assistant manager and one new extremely competent marketing partner…
All striving towards that same goal:
To give Entrepreneurs back 1 million hours of their time by January 2018.
Will we do it?
Only time will tell, so you better keep watching 😉
(If you have any friends that are potentially interested in starting their own online business, whether that be an eCommerce store, information business or even a 2 sided marketplace… feel free to do us both a favour and use the social icons below to send this post over to them… who knows what effect it could have ;))