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107: 2023 Unwrapped: Insights and Lessons Learned for 2024's Success

See the show notes for this Episode here.

This transcript has been automatically generated.

Bonnie Christine [00:00:00]:
Now we are winding down for 2023. But before I close out the year, I wanted to pause and just really reflect on 2023 and also think ahead for 2024. If you haven't made this a practice, I can't recommend it enough because when we look back, we know better how to move forward. And so in today's episode, I wanna cover some things that worked really well for us in 2023, some things that didn't work really well for us in 2023 and then some ideas that I have that I've been thinking about for 2024. That will apply to you as well. So kind of industry shifts and trends that we're seeing and playing with on our perspective. So I wanna dive right on in. I'm Bonnie Christine, and this is where all things creativity, design, business, and marketing and unite.

Bonnie Christine [00:01:02]:
I'm a mama living in a tiny town tucked right inside the Smoky Mountains running a multi seven figure business doing the most creative and impactful work of my life. When I first set out to become an entrepreneur, I was struggling to make ends meet and wrestling with how to accomplish my biggest dream of becoming a fabric designer. Fast forward to today, I'm not only licensing my artwork all over the world, but also teaching others how to design your creative life and experience the same success. I'm here to help you spend your life doing something that lights you up. I'll help you build a creative business that also creates an impact, changes people's lives, gives you all of the freedom you want, and is wildly profitable. Welcome to the Professional Creative Podcast. We really did so much this year. You know, sometimes I'm in the throes of the day to day, and When I take a moment to just step back and look at everything that we've done, it's actually just tremendous.

Bonnie Christine [00:02:17]:
We taught the biggest immersion course that we've ever taught. We have been pouring into our members inside the Flourish membership. Every week, we did the biggest online conference that we've done to date back in October. I launched a new coaching program for creative entrepreneurs. Of course, we've had the podcast, and the team has been doing so many incredible things behind the scenes. And so it's almost hard to really wrap my mind around all of that, but but I did. And so there are 3 things that have really just worked super well for the team that I wanna cover. The first one is our attention to SOPs.

Bonnie Christine [00:03:02]:
You've probably heard me say this before, but as we do more and more and more in our businesses even if you are a business of 1. It's so important to document how you do things. And so In order to do that, we create standard operating procedures, and they're really simple. They're just hit record the next time you do a repetitive task and make a little training on it. Doesn't have to be super polished or professional. It only has to be captured. So just capturing things as you do them and then keeping them in a library of sorts. So you could build out a little course, or you could build out a Dropbox folder or a Google Drive.

Bonnie Christine [00:03:47]:
Doesn't really matter as long as you're keeping them. That way, If you have to step away or if you get ready to hire someone or if someone who's doing things on your team has to leave working for you, or they, you know, transition to another position, or they go on vacation. You've got this library of standard grading procedures of what they did so it can easily be passed from 1 person to the next, and no 1 person is holding, you know, knowledge that's really important to how you run your business, including you. So SOPs are are really our favorite thing, and we create them as often as we can, and update them as often as we can as well. The next thing that worked really well for me Personally, is that I built out a recording studio. Now please tell me how I have been creating content since 2009 without a proper recording studio. I don't know. But, you know, when I step back and look at things, I always try to I always try to see the bottlenecks.

Bonnie Christine [00:04:57]:
Right? Like, where is their friction? And so a really simple example of this is sometimes I do this in my kitchen, And so I love to cook. I cook every night. And it's like, well, for some reason, I was keeping something that I needed at the stove, like, 6 pieces away across the kitchen, and that was just where I kept it. So I always walked over there to get it. I think I can't even remember what it was. Like, a spatula or something. And so I just kind of took a step back. This was really a couple of years ago and thought about the flow of the entire kitchen.

Bonnie Christine [00:05:33]:
What do I need where, and what makes the most sense as I'm moving and working in the kitchen? And I do the same thing with my business. And so when I was coming to record or create content, There was all this friction because I needed to clean my studio. I needed to move my desk. I needed to set up the, you know, camera. I needed to pull out the teleprompter if I was using a teleprompter, and then all of these steps. I know you know exactly what I'm talking about. And so about 4 months ago, I had someone come in to My Stu, who's a professional, and he helped me build out the entire recording Stu. And I cannot tell you how incredible it is.

Bonnie Christine [00:06:21]:
This is a dedicated room, and so it's always set up, and I timed it. I can walk in and, push a couple of buttons and be literally recording in less than 10 seconds. In less than 10 seconds, I can walk in this room and be recording. And so I know you probably have a lot of questions. It was Definitely an investment and one that has been my absolute favorite investment of the entire year. And so Will from the studio that helped me put together a list of all of the, all of the supplies and tools and tech that we used in the room, and so I've got that for you. And I will put it in today's show notes. You can get those over at professional creative.com.

Bonnie Christine [00:07:13]:
So you can replicate it exactly if you want or you can just dive in to see a couple of different things that we have going on in that room, but it has been my favorite thing. And kind of attached to that is a similar notion that I've been focused on this year, which has been to kind of take the pressure off of creating and rather than constantly feel like I have to create content, document what I'm already doing instead. And That seems so obvious and yet it it wasn't something that I was doing. So trying to document, not create. In other words, document what I'm already doing. That way, people can really place me and where I'm at in my life, in my business, in my Stu, and then I don't have to spend so much time actually trying to create new content. Now the next thing that just worked really well for us this year Was expanding the team, specifically the marketing arm of my business. Now I love marketing, and I have always done it all by myself.

Bonnie Christine [00:08:20]:
I love emails and nurture sequences and, developing content and all of the strategies that go into it. It's one of my favorite aspects of the business, and so I've held Bonnie to it for a really long time. Until this year, I really realized that I was letting parts of my business kind of fall to the wayside. A lot of them were in the marketing department because of other priorities that were pulling Amy. And I thought, okay. It's it's time to get help. And so we hired a marketing director a couple of months ago. But, really, what happened during that was that I realized it was more than 1 person.

Bonnie Christine [00:08:58]:
It had to be more than 1 person. And and so we ended up hiring 3 people to make really a marketing team. So you've already met most of them if you've been listening to the show, but Lisa Weaver is my marketing director, and then Bea is my brand and content strategist, and Jody is my digital marketing manager. And they have just come together so beautifully, created this really rock solid team. They love working with each other, and I love working with them, and it's been one of the best decisions I made all year. Now let's talk about some things that didn't really work that well in 2023 because there are always some things that just didn't really work that well. One of them is something that we're changing right now, changing as we go into 2024. So we are really focused on our upcoming course launch for Searchie design immersion, and Part of that is inviting people to come join us for a couple of different things.

Bonnie Christine [00:10:00]:
1 of them is a 5 day challenge, and the other 1 is a free mini class. Now the free mini class is available. You can go jump into it right now. It's called start simple and surface design. So you can go Experience that Bonnie. But the other one is a 5 day challenge, and I've Historically, always done this 5 day challenge at the beginning of December. We typically call it something like how to design gift wrap or challenge to design gift wrap as we go into Christmas, but It really just wasn't working that well. It's like, you know, everyone's focus is not on learning a new skill at at the beginning of December, like, we're very much in the winding down and getting ready and prepared for all of the holidays coming up.

Bonnie Christine [00:10:53]:
And the other thing from the back end perspective is that ads, like, putting any kind of paid traffic to this free challenge. So boosting an Instagram post or running a Facebook ad It's so incredibly competitive because you are, you know, competing with Black Friday and all of the products that are getting pushed during the season as well, and so it's just a really noisy time. Ad spend is really expensive, plus it's just so distracting. And so what we decided to do this year was move the 5 day challenge to the beginning of January. And so I'm So excited. That's something that we're doing, and it's already working way better than it has in years past because We've been able to just kind of more slowly test some things, and then I think I predict that the challenge in early January is going to meet everyone exactly where they're at, and I'd also love to invite you to join us as well. I'll be sure to share more about it and link it up in the show notes today as well. But you can, join us and come through this challenge where I'll teach you how to, start with really no no prior skills and leave with your art on a product.

Bonnie Christine [00:12:12]:
So it's super fun, and we'll learn how to design fabric and wallpaper and gift wrap, but it's really easy. So in under 20 minutes every day. So it's just an hour total over the course of 5 days. Anyways, very excited to move that to January and see if we get more people and, you know, more engaged people and also when we boost our traffic that it will be more reasonable. Now the next thing that just isn't really working is my batch working. I live and breathe and believe so to my core about the importance of working in batches, and I'm finding that I have too many things pulling on my attention on any given day, and I'm finding it really hard to block off big days for batch work. The podcast is a great example. So I want to and be batching maybe 4, 6, or 8 episodes at a time, and I'm still very much kind of doing 1 at a time.

Bonnie Christine [00:13:19]:
And so this just kind of means that I'm always doing the urgent work, and I've got to make time for the most important work and utilize that batch work. So, it's my number one focus as I move into 2024 to really figure out, what I need to take off of my plate so that I can really focus on getting back to my big batch days because the work is Too important to let it go under prioritized. And so, stay tuned. Hopefully, I will have a really great update for you soon on that. And the next one is a little bit like it did work well, but also I have some ideas on how to improve it, and that is the creation of my own artwork. You know, I did have a really great year. I created a new fabric collection that's Bonnie be coming out soon that I'm so excited about, and I had so much fun as always really doing a deep dive in, like, a huge creative output. But I do have some ideas on how I could just be a little bit more consistent with it.

Bonnie Christine [00:14:26]:
And so, my studio has a few separate rooms, and the one that I'm in now is my proper office. It's where, You know, my computer is and my printer and my label printer, and it's where I do all my work. And then I had so I have 3 rooms total, And the next Stu is the recording studio. I'm only in there when I'm recording video. And then the next one is really beautiful, and I've decided to keep no technology in it and use it for artwork creation only. And so I've got all my art supplies in this room. No computers are allowed, and the sun the way the sun pours into the room in the morning is specifically, like, the just the best part of the day in there. So my idea is to leave everything out so that I can just come to the table, and make art.

Bonnie Christine [00:15:23]:
And I would love to do this every single morning even if it's It's just 15 or 20 minutes. Right? Like, just get into the habit of consistently making art every single day with no pressure. So no pressure to show it. No pressure to post it. No pressure to try to sell it. Just to really tap into the thing that I love most, which is creating art. So that's my goal, and I'm really excited about it. And I'm hoping that it will help me just balance out a little bit whether it's like all business and no art or all art and no business, where I can just do a little bit of both on a more regular basis.

Bonnie Christine [00:16:04]:
Now the next thing I wanna talk about are some ideas that I have for 20 24. And, specifically, this idea came to me based on a event that I was just a part of called Ideas for 2024. So many of you might have watched. I was invited to partake in this incredible event this year. It was Truly amazing. Like, I feel a little bit speechless about it. It was one of the most incredible experiences of my life. So it was a two 2 day mastermind.

Bonnie Christine [00:16:40]:
And at the end of the mastermind, we did an event for Stu McLaren's charity called Village Impact. And so Village Impact is where they build schools in Kenya to help children get an education. And I just I love this charity so much, and Stu is my mentor. I I'm so happy to support him as well. But the event in itself was really incredible. So he brought together entrepreneurs from all over the world. I was there, Michael Hyatt, Amy Porterfield, Christine Carr, Jeff Walker, Brandon Turner, Jenna Kutcher, Susie Moore, Ryan Levesque, my goodness. Cody Sanchez, Dan Martell, doctor Ben Hardy, Nathan Barry who owns ConvertKit, Jay Papazan, who wrote the one thing, like, just an incredible lineup, and I got to spend 2 days talking about the thing that we love so much.

Bonnie Christine [00:17:41]:
This, you know, business and creativity and also how to make a bigger impact. And so we all came together to learn from each other, and then everyone shared their ideas for 2024 at this event. And so I was on a panel with Amy Porterfield and Jeff Walker, Ryan Levesque, and Barry Baumgartner. And so I'm gonna tell you what my ideas for 2024 r, but I also wanna let you know that if you wanna go watch the replay, you can. So it is, Let's see. Let me just confirm. It is $97 and 100% of proceeds go to Village Impact. So the goal was to, sell tickets to raise specifically for Village Impact, and we were able to raise over $400,000 to build schools.

Bonnie Christine [00:18:32]:
And I'm so excited about that. But you can still get it, and still all of 100% of that ticket price goes directly to Village Impact. So if you want to watch everyone's ideas for 2024, it was jam packed of golden nuggets from these incredible humans. You can do that at ideas for 2024.com. But I'm gonna share with you mine. So there were, 3 questions since that we were supposed to be prepared to answer. And the first one was what worked well for us in 2023. And for me, it was specific to the idea of launching.

Bonnie Christine [00:19:11]:
So I was on a panel all around launching. So what worked well for us? One thing that we added to our launch, the our biggest course launch this past year was something that we called clarity calls, and I loved this so much. So it's a big decision to take this course. It's a nearly $2,000 investment, and it's really a lot of learning. And so we always have a lot of questions, and we have live chat going, and we've got, you know, live q and a calls and and tons of inbox support, but we wanted to add 1 more option. And so we added the ability for anyone who had questions to book just a 15 minute call with someone on my team who is an alumni, who has been through the course, and who could just help them make a decision. So they were not sales calls. They were, like, make a decision calls or we called them clarity calls, and we really, really loved being able to connect with people and just heart to heart answer their questions, and truly tell them whether we thought it was a good fit for them or not.

Bonnie Christine [00:20:25]:
And so, you know, the team was not compensated based on whether they Purchased or not, they was just truly to talk and see if we could be of any assistance and help them through it. And, you know, you think you're gonna have questions about, you know, when are the modules released, and what time are the q and a's, and can I do a payment plan? But, actually, it's really none of that. It's way more like, I don't it's way more, like, heartfelt stuff. It's like I'm terrified that I won't be successful or I'm worried that I can't learn this program or, you know, it's like bigger, deeper stuff. And so these conversations ended up being just a really beautiful way to connect with our audience, and they did also help tremendously. So 91% of people who booked a call did end up going on to register for the experience, and so that was really incredible as well. Now the next question was, what do we see changing or shifting in terms of launching in 2024? And so I loved this question, and it's been something that I've been thinking about quite a lot. And specifically because the Merriam Webster's Dictionary just announced that their word for the year in 2024 is authenticity.

Bonnie Christine [00:21:50]:
Now I think they come up with this word based on a couple of different attributes like how many times it was searched for, but also other trending words. And other trending words were things like deep fake and how do you know if something is real or not, and all of that combined has made authenticity the word of the year for 2024. And I think that because We're now living in a world where we're not sure if the person we're seeing or talking to really is them with artificial intelligence and and so many kind of, like, I don't know, hacks to making things quicker and easier. I think that now more than ever, it's more important to be truly authentic, truly you, vulnerable, and transparent and willing to just show up. I think it's more important now than it ever has been. And something that I read, it was when I was researching this was that authenticity is never more valuable than when it's questioned. And so I hope that you can take that and use it in your own business, being willing to show up, be vulnerable, be transparent, and be authentic, and know that as everyone's authenticity is getting questioned, it's an easy way for you to go deep with your audience when it's It is very clearly you, and you're showing up with your whole heart. So that's what I see shifting in 2024.

Bonnie Christine [00:23:26]:
And then the last question is what opportunities do we see emerging in the next 6 months as it comes to launching? And so what came to mind for me on this is some tests that we've been doing based on some, paid traffic, so some ads. You know, when we talk about what I teach, surface pattern design, I really teach it from the highest level, meaning you can come in and walk away with everything that you need to know in order to create an entire career. So I consider it university level, come in and walk away with everything you need in order to transform your life and build a career out of it. But knowing that, I also know that I've got a lot of people who aren't interested in a career. They may be there just for the enjoyment of it. They may be there to learn a new skill Stu apply to something that they're already doing. They might be there just, for a hobby. Right? And they might be there to create income on the side, but continue working in maybe their regular job.

Bonnie Christine [00:24:37]:
And so I always struggle a little bit with how to, talk about it. Because if you talk about a hobby, then people who are serious, right, like, may not, feel like your teaching on a deep enough level. But if I really talk about a career all the time, then it it's potentially gonna scare some people away when truly, It works for all of the above. And so we were testing some different copy for our ads, and one of them was really career focused, one of them was super, like, hobby and fun focused, and one of them was side hustle focused. Like, you can add this as a side hustle, and then also do it for fun or do it as a career, but we really kind of honed in on this hide side hustle facet. And it, like, far and away outperformed all of the others. And so that got us kind of scratching our head and doing some research and come to find out that it's not just us. There is a huge percentage of.

Bonnie Christine [00:25:41]:
So studies are showing that over 50% of Americans have a side hustle. And the interesting part to me is that 62% of those are already pulling in a 6 figure income with their regular salaried positions. Let me say that again. 50% of Americans have a side hustle of some kind. And of those 50%, That's roughly, you know, 3,600,000 people. 62% of them are already pulling in 6 figure incomes, which leads me to question like why? Why a side gig? And so there's some research that has shared more about why people even have a side gig. And so nearly 40% of people do it for more freedom, and they want the stability of working different hours. 27% want extra income to save or invest.

Bonnie Christine [00:26:39]:
11% need the extra money just to make ends meet. 6% of people want to pay off debt faster. Another 6% want a creative outlet and 5% felt like it was a calling. I think it's just incredibly interesting. So another interesting data point is that 80% of the people who are side hustlers want or need need or want the extra income, and only 20% are actually looking to leave their current jobs. So I found this really fascinating and telling as to why when we talk about a side hustle, it seems to way outperform, the other kind of copy that we were testing. And so I think we're gonna lean into this, you know, develop a new skill, have more flexibility, have additional income, and find purpose and joy in what you're doing. And, yes, Go make an entire career from it if you want, but you don't have to if you don't want to.

Bonnie Christine [00:27:42]:
So those are some ideas that I have as we move into 2024. And if you wanna hear some of the people I mentioned earlier share their answers to the same questions, then you can go grab this replay from the ideas for 2024 that just happened a couple of weeks ago and, dive into all of the wisdom that was shared. So I'd love to invite you to do the same now. Really sit to think. What are 3 things that worked really well for you in 2023? What are 3 things that didn't work well for you in 2023? And Try to think about those things without emotion and without judgment, but just as a data point, just as good intel for you as you move into 2024. And then what ideas do you have around the next upcoming year? So, my friends, that is a wrap on 2023. We are going to take a break for the rest of the year, and I will see you back here in the 1st week of January 2024, my friends. I can't wait to see you there.

Bonnie Christine [00:28:54]:
Create the beauty that you want to see come alive in the world, and remember, there's room for you.



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