In April 2020, I was let go from my job at Consensys, a blockchain company focused on accelerating the adoption of Ethereum’s blockchain technology. Working at ConsenSys was an incredible opportunity for me to learn about myself, travel and make lifelong friends. At ConsenSys, we functioned as a holocracy, meaning that we didn’t have any “bosses”, major decisions didn’t reside with one person and the power was decentralized. This also means that once the company set its OKR (Objective/Key Results), I was able to determine what I worked on and how I would contribute to the OKRs.
It felt like being my own entrepreneur with a paycheck…until the pandemic came and BOOM, just like that, I was let go. Ok, well it didn’t go boom since I knew it was coming but as a new mom, being laid off was a setback.
When I was laid off, my son was about six months old and I wanted to remain working remotely so that I could be available to him as much as possible. I was living with my mother at the time and thankfully had family (Paula you are my angel) helping me take care of him. This was a very fortunate situation for me. I could never thank my mom enough for extending her household to me and my son. Living with my mom relieved the pressure of bills and let me focus on being a mom, breastfeeding and loving my child.
My business started with marketing consulting for political campaigns, which was my background before I started in tech. I quickly decided that I was completely over working in politics and I began to focus on email marketing, which eventually led to funnels.
I loved the idea of working a funnel because it was a holistic approach to providing a solution to someone looking to market and scale their business. For me, building a funnel was the backend of the customer journey. A sales funnel is the process in which a customer is aware of the product, considers, the product, decides to use the product and experiences the product.
Email marketing was only a portion of an effective sales funnel and many clients I encountered needed the other slices to truly be successful.
Before starting my business, I never intended to run an agency, however, that’s honestly what it takes to build an entire funnel. Before I continue, let’s break down what goes into a funnel:
- Landing page
- Sales page
- Check out page
- Project managing
- Driving Traffic
Long story short, it can be overwhelming to build and manage a funnel.
When shifting from email marketing to sales funnels, I started off with offering VIP days where I would map out the strategy and project plan for a funnel build. VIP days were enjoyable and overtime I found myself gravitating towards offering implementation services. My current client base didn’t have a plan for implementation or a team to make sure it was executed (a major red flag). I gradually began offering services and almost functioning like an agency. I would create the project plan and provide strategy, while hiring the necessary people to fulfill the work.
If I knew what I knew now, I would only take on funnel builds for clients that have already scaled their business to six figures (at least $100k in revenue) because a funnel is an investment. Why?
- Teams. Teamwork makes the dreamwork. The business owner should be focusing on their business. In order to do that, they need a team of at least a tech Virtual Assistant (VA), copywriter, designer, social media manager, etc. When I was running my hybrid agency, I got tired of providing the teams, real quick.
- Validation. In order to build a good funnel you need data & validation. Validation of a product will vary. Sometimes it’s contingent on hitting a certain amount of sales or accumulating a certain type of audience. One thing I really failed to do was making sure that the products I built funnels for were completely validated as this was an important factor for creating funnels.
- Data. Data is the backbone of a good funnel strategy. Data will let you know where a funnel needs strength, how to budget for paid traffic and will help you understand what needs to be improved upon.
- Time. Building funnels take time, at the bare minimum at least three months. The worst thing you can think of as a customer who feels like they need an immediate ROI.
- Testing. Marketing is all about experimentation and sometimes the experiments don’t pan out the way we want them to. Testing is so important to validate assumptions we have about our audiences. There were a lot of times where I didn’t account for testing in the building and launching phase.
- Traffic. There is absolutely NO POINT in building a funnel if you’re not having traffic sent to your funnel. You are basically building a customer experience for imaginary customers or better yet an imaginary audience. There has to be a strategy in place to generate a certain amount of traffic and there has to be calculations done to understand how much traffic is needed to begin producing sales. If you want $100,000 for a $1,000 product, you need to be able to reverse engineer how you are going to get 100 customers. Creating traffic requires you to understand what your conversion rate is, how many conversions do you receive based on these factors and how you can scale your results to achieve your goal.
My Biz Profits
In my first 8 months of business, I generated $50k in revenue, gross. Before generating that amount, I would have thought it was a large sum but after expenses and factoring in the time spent, it felt like almost nothing.
I learned that how I personally manage my money would fall into how I manage my money as a business owner. To solve this issue, I went on to hire a CPA and she did an amazing job, but I still didn’t give myself a chance to understand how to become a revenue generating machine.
Building as I went along was a blocker for me and I always felt constrained on time. I was learning, implementing, testing, managing and breast-feeding an infant all at the same time. There were days where I would want to put in more hours, but my son needed me. There were times that I wanted to take my time with developing marketing campaigns to generate leads for my business, but I never gave myself enough time. I was even busy promising my clients a brand new ready-made home, but only charging for the foundation.
I had this underlying idea of what I should be able to give to customers and it wasn’t focused on securing six-month marketing retainers, which led to being positioned not as a funnel builder but as a sales marketer. Charging for longer-term retainers would have helped relieve a lot more stress with generating income. My business was based mostly on referrals and when it felt like referrals were starting to dry up I became extremely stressed out about generating leads on my own.
In the world we live in, the most beneficial way to build a business is through social media. Unfortunately, I absolutely hated showing up on Instagram. I liked going live on Twitter, but I knew that Instagram had more of my client base. As I explained, an important factor of a business succeeding is through bringing in people to alleviate the stress of doing everything yourself. I attempted to hire a social media manager but that process is also trial and error and something where you cannot expect results. Social media marketing is a marathon, not a sprint.
I know for sure, if I had to, I would have made it happen. There is nothing that I can’t do once I decide it’s going to get done. Nothing. Just when I was on the brink of trying to figure out who would be my next client, I was referred for a job in the crypto industry. I was on the fence about having a job at first but after learning about the company, I was sold. It was remote, a holocracy and the best part was the mission, “to build a financial system that creates the conditions for prosperity—for everyone”.
After the interview process, I absolutely knew that this was where I was supposed to be. In the transitioning period, I still fulfilled lingering client work and took on one final project, where I provided strategy and project management.
As ofApril 29, 2021, I no longer have clients. My funnel building days are over. I cried as I shut down my click funnels account and mourned the business I built with an infant in tow, but also realized that my accomplishments would have a resounding effect on the rest of my career.
I’ve been at my new job for almost 6 months. I’ve been challenged, inspired and I’ve learned so much. I plan to stay here for a while, as I still have a lot of developing to do. However, I know I’ve planted my seed at the right place to grow.
From here on, I’ll be focusing on marketing, mobile app engagement and retention and of course, cryptocurrency. Slowly but surely, I’ll transfer my blog to reflect the shift and display to everyone the lessons I’ve learned along the way.
4 thoughts on “Bye Bye Funnels”
Thanks for the transparency and vulnerability. I’m an entrepreneur in a similar situation with my small agency. It takes so much out of us to get up and try to be all things to all people in business while maintaining a family. I wish you well in your endeavors and look forward to seeing where you go from here.
Congratulations on your pivot, Karima! I’m glad to have learned from you.
I have fear of the unknown around all things crypto, but I trust your knowledge.
Saw your recent tweets about crypto, came to check out the website and stumbled onto this post. First, thank you for being absolutely honest about your journey and your why. Second, congratulations on landing a new job that’s working for you! As a mom, it’s encouraging to see another mom do this. Keep sharing!
Wow! This is an inspiring story, excited for your future!