Hockey Stick Growth Moments in My Business
There is no greater excitement in business than a hockey stick growth moment. If you are new to the term, hockey stick growth is a growth pattern shaped like a hockey stick. It has a steady, stable base before rocketing up into the sky. It isn’t always easy to create hockey stick moments, but looking back at some key moments in my path to a six-figure online income, we can glean some key lessons anyone can apply to their own business endeavors.
Joining the Yakezie
The first major growth moment for my blog and online income came when I joined a community of online bloggers known as the Yakezie. In this community, I learned about growing my site’s search presence, how to earn from sponsored posts, and joined in group negotiated advertising campaigns. This skyrocketed my site’s traffic and revenue from the point where I could buy a few beers every month with what I made online to paying my rent.
I made some longtime friends from the Yakezie as well, but I know I wouldn’t be where I am today if it were not for my participation in this cutting-edge community of personal finance bloggers, which I joined in early 2010.
Lesson: Participating in a relevant community can help your business.
Going to FinCon
In 2011, I took the next major step in my online income journey. A large group of my “internet friends” was going to a new Financial Blogger’s Conference in Chicago. I made a deal with myself that I would go if my blog earned enough to pay for the trip. It did. I went. It was amazing.
I’ve since been to every single FinCon, and it was another revolutionary moment for me. At FinCon, I learned how to turn my online hobby into an online business. I turned that little trickle of income into a serious side hustle cash flow. I took what I learned there and put it to work building my blog and improving my business. And I never slowed down. I now to go a few conferences each year, but FinCon is always my favorite.
Lesson: Participating in industry conferences can help your business.
The combined audience of a blogging and media conference is incredible. While on their own each community member might only have a few hundred up to thousands of followers, combined we have millions. That gives conference attendees an incredible opportunity. And if you can get a lot of those influential eyeballs on you, even for just five minutes, you may have an opportunity to reach new heights.
Before the second FinCon, I reached out to organizer Phillip “PT” Taylor to offer to bring the Ignite speaking event to FinCon. He said yes, and will have been lucky enough to run Ignite at nine conferences by the end of the year. The average Ignite I run has 10 speakers, and I host the event and give myself a slot to speak at the end. One talk focused on freelancing and I landed a client before I left the room!
Lesson: Put yourself out there and get on stage.
Speaking of freelancing… I never set out to be a freelance writer. I don’t have a journalism degree. I have to finance degrees. The freelance writing thing came out of paying attention to what worked best in my business. I expected my blog to take off and make me millions, but I saw my income from freelance writing growing much faster than income from my own site. With that, I started to focus on freelancing.
This new focus took my online income from paying my rent to paying for everything. When I quit my day job in 2016, my income grew to five-figures per month and has never turned back. Things are good, and I have my hockey stick growth moments to thank for it!
Lesson: Focus on what works in your business, even if it isn’t what you expected to work.