Business and blog growth, goals, and exciting personal updates! - October 2015

Hey guys! Remember when I told you I quit my job? It feels like I wrote that post ages ago, but it was only 5 weeks ago. In the name of sharing everything that goes on here behind the scenes at Hello Brio, I'm committing to sharing business, blog, and personal updates twice a month.

October 2015 business and blog updates plus goals for next month

Granted, all of these things sound scary to me. In fact, skimming over my “I quit my job” post gave me some pangs of anxiety—but really, sharing these details is going to keep me accountable, too!

There are a few things I want to cover in this post. But first, the survey results!

Reader Survey Results

Thanks so much to you awesome folks who took the time to take my first ever reader survey this past week. I got 61 responses, and I found your feedback to be incredibly helpful.

When I first started reading over your responses, I was so surprised by how diverse your answers were. But after more responses came in, and after Chrystina helped me analyze data, I've come to a few conclusions and have a good feeling about the direction I've been taking Hello Brio in.

First, here are some quick stats.

For the “What would you like to see more of” question:

  • 38% of you said more hand lettering tutorials
  • 19% said more illustration tutorials
  • 19% said more design tutorials
  • a low 14% said more blogging tips
  • and 10% said a combination of all of the above

For the “How do you learn best” question:

  • 39% said watching
  • 30% said reading
  • 26% doing
  • 5% said a combination of the above

To distill the open-ended questions, I lumped your responses into categories. The overwhelming response? You guys want to learn more about Photoshop, Illustrator, digitizing your artwork, and creating a unique blogging presence through personalized branding.

This is great news. My spidey sense was right. I've come up with an awesome way to help you guys learn more, in a better format than a blog post here and another blog post there. That said, onto updates about e-courses.

Course Updates

In my I quit my job post, I talked about my plan for passive income. My main focus was clear to me 5 weeks ago: it's all about e-courses. However, my fear and uncertainty caused me to question this goal over the past few weeks.

14 days to better blog graphics in Photoshop - course on

Right out of the gate, I had a great idea for a Photoshop for bloggers course. I fired off the outline of the product and had it ready to go. But then, I started to question myself. I really wished I could be above that inevitable sense of self-doubt—but it got to me, and it got to me HARD.

What pulled me back up to the challenge? Your survey results! Heck yeah guys—you rock.

So, I'm happy to announce the Better Blog Graphics course is up and on-schedule for a mid-November launch. It's about how to make the must-have blog graphics in Photoshop in 14 lessons, whether you know Photoshop or not!

The course will launch at $97. But guys—I've packed so much awesome stuff into this course, and soon after launch the price will jump to $147. If you want to lock in the pre-launch price, check out the course today and sign up.

Updates on Selling Products on Creative Market

Crickets are chirping over at my Creative Market store, but it's not for lack of trying. I started working on a brand new font late last week, temporarily named Landslide.

Progress is going well, but it's just a little slower than I expected. I suspect that's because earlier this week I treated myself to a Skillshare course, and I got a little sidetracked in the best way possible (more on that in the personal updates section).

Email List Growth

Yeah, there's been some crazy stuff going on with my email list. I've talked about this a bit. More intentional content upgrades are blowing my prior numbers out of the water, and I'm seeing my email newsletter list grow like I never thought it would!

Ok, so to give you a frame of reference: when I published the post about growing my email list 6x, my Hello Brio newsletter list was at just about 1,900 subscribers.

Today, exactly one month later, my list is at exactly 2,700 subscribers. Uh, excuse me? This means my list grew by almost 150% in the past month. Awesome.

Let's talk about how I did this. 

First, we all know content upgrades are the shiz. But LeadPages is also pretty amazing.

The combination of switching my email newsletter signups to LeadPages, PLUS offering really sweet content upgrades, has really boosted my list growth. But the highest-converting new feature this past month? My free email course!

Seriously guys. I've been reading, hearing, and watching people tell me, “Create a valuable lead magnet” for more than a year. I finally did it with the free email course. So what happened? As of today, 347 people have shown interest in the course (by clicking to sign up). Of those 347 people, 275 folks signed up for the free course. That's a 79% conversion rate! (Most conversion rates are about 2 to 3%.)

Let me be clear. Providing cool stuff for free isn't just my way of growing my list. I LOVE being able to see my tutorials reach a wide audience, because I truly love to teach and I believe I do it well!

So back on the stats… you can see in this screenshot that October boomed even more than the previous months where growth was steady. Those 547 imported? They're from LeadPages. The darker blue bar on top are 248 people who subscribed the old-fashioned way.

Want to learn more about content upgrades so you can grow your email list, too? Here are 15 content upgrade ideas.

Some Personal Updates

You guys, there's been a lot going on. As you know, I left my job exactly 3 weeks ago on a Thursday. The next day and over that weekend, Adams and I moved into our new house. The following Monday, I began working for myself full-time.

What sparked all of this sudden change? If you follow me on Twitter or my personal Instagram, I bet you already know….

Well, back when Adams and I first met (and had an epic-ly long first date), we were head over heels. So much so, that a few months into our relationship we already had baby names picked out. We decided to be responsible and start trying to have kids after we'd been together for a year.

I'm sure you know where I'm going with this!! :)

Taken at 17 weeks. I'm making a face that says “This is as big as I'm going to get, period. Right?!”

Taken at 17 weeks. I'm making a face that says “This is as big as I'm going to get, period. Right?!”

I am just a few days shy of being 4 and a half months pregnant, and we are SO SO excited!

I'm due April 2. I feel amazing. The first trimester was a breeze for me, despite the fact that I was simply exhausted all the time. (I am ashamed/proud to say I watched the entire series of How I Met Your Mother, plus countless movies on Netflix, during my first trimester.)

I can already feel the baby moving around, and it's a joy! We call the baby Beanie.

Gah, it feels so weird to share personal stuff on my blog. But let me tell you—a couple of survey responses said they wanted to see more personal posts.

Other personal updates

I had a birthday a couple of days ago. I'm weird—I'm not big on birthdays. I forgot my birthday was even coming up. But Adams surprised me the morning of my birthday with a fully planned adventure day. We had a BLAST—went to 3 amazing meals, strolled around Longwood Gardens, and went to the movies. It was such a perfect day!

My other exciting thing? As I mentioned somewhere above, I treated myself to a Skillshare class this week. I've been trying to learn more in Illustrator, specifically around my Wacom tablet (because most of the time it just sits there!). I took a surface pattern design course, and made my first-ever repeating pattern! Then I had some fun mocking up some potential products.

Since then, I've made a few more repeating patterns. I honestly haven't felt this creatively inspired in a while, and I'm loving the new energy I found while learning how to do this! You can follow my surface pattern design exploration on Instagram :)

Goals for November

My biggest goal for November is to launch the Better Blog Graphics course.

Second to that? I want to publish two new products in my Creative Market shop.

Also, I want to create more repeating patterns and continue learning more about Illustrator. Because it's so darn fun.

Personally, I'd like to run 3 miles in one session. I started a C25KWP (while pregnant) a couple of weeks ago. Right now I'm back up to 1.5 miles. (I was running 4 miles consistently a few times a week until pregnancy fatigue set in.)

Phew, what a mammoth of an updates post. Tell me—what have you been up to this past month? What are your goals for November?