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Did you recently take a long break from your business or are you thinking of taking one in the future?
Let’s be real – life sometimes gets in the way. What happens when you need to go on maternity leave or you just need a mental health getaway or you just want to hit the pause button for a while on your business?
In this episode of the Rebel Boss Ladies Podcast, we’re going to talk about how you should plan to go on a long break and how to come back from that break with ease.
I don't think that many people really think about how to go about taking a break, much less cover it in their content. What actually happens when you need to take a break, and how can you go about making sure you and your business are ready for it?
Today, we have Krista Dickson on the show and she's here to chat about her personal story of hitting that pause button on one of her businesses and then coming back months later to pick it up again.
She’s been on the show before talking about money mindset, but today Krista is going to talk about why she put her business on hold and everything she learned when she decided to go back to it.
At the time Krista took a step back from her business, she wasn't sure if she'd ever come back to it and she didn't necessarily do everything to prepare for her getaway as if she would potentially return.
She’s going to share what she did to transition back into her business, what she would have done differently and some of the things that she struggled with after her return.
Krista started her business, which was then called Blog Beautifully, and is today called The Content Boss, in 2016. Much like the name implies, it focused on blog and business strategy.
“I really started to lose the passion and the drive and excitement that I had for that business.”
She felt inspired to shift in a new direction and decided to start a second business in 2018 that ended up being about manifestation, weight loss and money mindset. She loved this new direction that her business was heading in, but also discovered that running two separate and completely different businesses was hard.
“I quickly came to realize that it was not only very time consuming, but also pretty expensive to try and keep two separate websites and businesses up and running at the same time.”
She was paying for website hosting and email lists, keeping up the maintenance on both of her products and spreading herself pretty thin, time- and money-wise. She decided it was in her best interest to just focus on one of her businesses.
Around October 2018, Krista emailed everyone on her email list to let them know she was closing down her first business, ran a final closing down sale for all of her courses and shut down the Blogging Beautifully page.
After she closed Blogging Beautifully, Krista spent about six months completely focused on her new business. And then around March or April of 2019, she suddenly had a change of heart.
She was receiving a lot of emails and messages from the people who had followed her old website and social accounts, asking where her business went and saying they really missed it.
“I just felt really drawn back to that original business, which might sound crazy… it just felt like a really strong sign that this is not only something people needed and people wanted, but something that I meant to do here in the world.”
The more she thought about bringing back her old business, the more excited she got.
“I'm sure you've experienced this, when you just have this like influx of ideas, like all this creativity comes to you and you're like, I could write this blog post and this and I can make this program and like I could send these e-mails. And I just had so many ideas.”
This was a little scary for her, but Krista trusted her intuition and was ready to jump right in and go with what her heart wanted. She’s learned from past experiences that usually her intuition is usually right.
“I think that over the last few years, as I have been able to better listen to and follow through on the guidance that I get from my gut and from my intuition, it gets a little bit less scary each time because I can see the results.”
Her gut was telling her to go for it, even though she knew running both businesses at once would be a challenge. So earlier this year, Krista finally committed to reopening Blog Beautifully. Since then she’s rebranded, and you can find her online and still going strong over at the Content Boss.
One of the main reasons that Krista closed down Blog Beautifully was because of the expense and challenge of running two businesses at once. Since she decided to reopen Blog Beautifully, she’s learned a lot about how to balance both at the same time.
When she initially reopened her first business, she admits that she didn’t have much of a game plan. “I was just kind of winging it a little bit and following my intuition and trusting that things would work out.”
Now she has a much better idea about how to make juggling both of these businesses work moving forward.
Her first strategy, and a huge piece of advice she has for anyone that is considering something similar, is recognizing that she can’t always be 100% focused and attentive in both of her businesses all the time.
“My game plan is instead of trying to be 100% on in both businesses at once, I'm going to kind of shift my focus back and forth.”
Krista says that she now works much more on a project-based approach. If she’s launching a course in one business, she’ll put the majority of her time and effort into building up that project. The next month she may switch and focus on a different project in the other business.
“It's not saying that I'm not continuing to show up in both businesses, I'm just showing up less in one, if that makes sense. So I'm still doing basically like the minimum amount of work and effort that I need to do to keep the other business running, to keep people engaged. Like I'm still sending a weekly email in both businesses, I'm still on social media in both businesses. But I'm not, say, launching two courses at the same time, one in each business.”
The second strategy she’s planning to use to balance her two businesses is work on automating much of her sales processes. She’s currently setting up a sales funnel for a course in one of her businesses, with the help of a copywriter and a good freebie.
“We're going to get that set up and then hopefully use some paid advertising to drive traffic to it so that a lot of the revenue in that business can be automated. And then I can focus more time in creating new courses and new programs for my other business.”
At the time of this interview, Krista was still in the “first project phase” for the Content Boss after she relaunching it four or six weeks previously. She had to lay a lot of groundwork to come back into that business strong by re-forging connections, reconnecting with people and building back up her online presence.
She had to restart everything before she could move into any new big projects. However she wasn’t totally starting from scratch, and was actually really excited to reconnect with her old audience.
“I was honestly really excited to come back because I've always had a bigger following and like a bigger email list and more traffic on my older business, the first business I started. So I was really excited to reconnect with those people.”
Krista knew she wouldn’t be able to just jump into her business right where she left off. She also knew she’d need to take some time to rebuild up trust and remind people who she was again before she could move forward.
“Some of the people on my email list, some of my followers have been around for years and then some of them had just joined my community right before I closed it down. So there was definitely like going to need to be some groundwork put in in terms of filling people in on who I am, what I do, how I can help them, all that kind of stuff.”
Krista definitely believes in the power of email lists, and says that they’re an important element to her strategy. She knew that when and how she re-introduced herself to her email list would be super important.
She set a few main priorities for her initial introduction, because she knew that she needed to build back a lot of trust with her audience before she could ever come back and sell anything to her list.
“I had to also explain, you know, where I went, why I went there, why I close the business down. I was getting tons of questions about it and then why I came back. People were curious, which is obviously a natural thing. So there definitely had to be a lot of that.”
She recommends that anyone who is planning on coming back to their business after a long break think carefully about how they go back into using their email list and focus on building trust and connection.
Actually making that introduction was not quite what Krista expected. A lot had changed since she had decided to take a break 6 months previously and she says, “I didn't quite expect the levels, the statistics analytics of what's going on with my email list to have changed so much just with a six-month break.”
Her open rate definitely went down, and so did her unsubscribe rate. She knew that she’d probably have to deal with it when she started sending emails to her list again, but didn’t realize how it would feel actually looking at the numbers.
“It's tough to like spend all this time crafting an email, sending it out, I obviously restarted this business because I feel like I have a lot of value to share and to see people unsubscribe, it does hurt. But at the same time, you kind of have to push past that.”
Krista says that these tips are also really important for anyone who hasn’t emailed their list in a long time and is trying to make a comeback in their business. Even if you haven’t taken a break but just haven’t connected with your audience in a while, you still should think through your re-engagement strategy before you try to re-connect with them.
So how do you start rebuilding that trust with your audience?
Krista recommends using the same strategy that she did, which was sending out specific “re-engagement” emails over the span of a week to a full month. She sent four emails out over the course of two weeks to reintroduce herself and build up trust with her list.
Her first email was pretty basic. She focused on introducing herself, explaining why she came back and why she left, and explained how she could help.
“I think that's the big thing, really focusing on the value you can give your subscribers versus like, ‘hey, I'm back. Go and buy my stuff.’ Like no, you won't do that. So really focusing on value you can share and how you're here to help people.”
Krista sent out one or two more emails within the next week that focused on driving traffic to her newly relaunched and redone website. Not only did she want to show it off, but she also wanted to show people the value of the content she was posting on her site.
“I love creating content. I have some amazing, in-depth, really foundational content on my blog. And I wanted to remind people of that. I wanted to show them that I'm here to serve them. I'm here to teach them. I have a lot to offer.”
Those emails had a really strong call to action to go check out her content, with a reminder to her audience of what they stand to gain if they go to her site, and what they stand to lose if they don’t go check out the content.
Those first few emails were about old content, and once Krista started driving traffic to her site she also started posting new content.
“I published my first blog post in a while. I put a lot of time and effort into that one and I sent an e-mail about that.”
After this re-engagement campaign, Krista said she was ready to start picking things back up where she left off, promoting again and launching new products.
Krista says that her business strategy changed a lot when she decided to reopen her first business. This is mainly because she says she learned a lot while she wasn’t running that business and wanted to incorporate everything she had learned.
“It was really, really fascinating for me specifically because I had always had a B2B business. So I was a blog coach and a business coach helping other bloggers and entrepreneurs.
“Then I started a new business that was much more B2C…. And so I learned so much over those six months about business by running a different type of business, if that makes sense. It really gave me so much insight into how to run and grow a B2C business versus B2B, which not only is just invaluable knowledge, but it's going to make me a better business coach and a better blog coach moving forward.”
Not only did she feel like a better business coach, she also felt a lot more organized and able to think more about the big picture and the long term for her business overall.
When she had started her first business back in 2016, she was completely brand new to running a business. “I really didn't have a clue what I was doing, as most people don't. So I was winging it… Relaunching Blog Beautifully, coming back to it the second time, I not only know so much more, but I was able to think about where I want the business to be a year from now, three years from now, even five years from now, and plan out how I'm going to get there.”
Krista has big ambitious goals for both of her businesses and knows that it’s essential for her to focus on the right things. She’s got her hands full, so she has to make sure she’s working strategically and not wasting her time on unimportant things.
The way she handles this is by being really intentional with her time. To keep track of the important things if she ever feels like her to do list is getting crazy overwhelming, she breaks down all of her tasks into different categories to figure out which ones are the most productive and money-making.
The first category is for all the tasks that are going to directly or indirectly make money, like creating a product to sell or creating a webinar to sell her product.
The second category is for tasks that are completely unrelated to growing her business, making money or growing her audience. Things like checking email, or reading other people’s blog posts, often fall into this category.
The third category is for anything that falls in the middle, like planning social media posts. These are tasks that don’t lead directly to sales, but are still important for growing your audience and things like that.
Once you’ve created your categories and sorted your tasks, set your priorities. For Krista, these are usually the tasks that are directly related to money-making.
“I always have to focus on things that are either making money or going to make me money or directly growing my business. So those get priority and then I kind of just work my way down the list… Whatever time is left over gets spent on the tasks in that middle category and usually the things that are in that category of not related to business growth at all, those just get completely crossed off the list.”
One thing that Krista wants to emphasize is that it is 100% okay for people to take breaks from their businesses if they need to.
“You're not weak or there's nothing wrong with you or it's not like you're not going to make it one day just because you need a break. Everybody needs a break sometimes.”
The best thing you can do if you need to take a break is go into it with a plan. Krista didn’t, because she didn’t actually realize that she’d be coming back to her business, but now she knows better.
“If I had known I was just taking a break and was coming back, I probably would've gone about it differently… I would have had more of a plan in terms of how to temporarily close down things, how to say goodbye to people, how to let them know I was going to be back.”
Even though she would have done things differently, Krista doesn’t regret taking that time off. She still takes breaks regularly in December to give herself some time to recharge her batteries at the end of the year.
“Business can be really stressful and it can be really overwhelming. And there's a lot that you're doing all the time. You're constantly balancing a million different things, juggling a million different things, and you can get worn out.
“So I guess my takeaway here is that there's nothing wrong with taking a break if you make it: A) really beneficial and really recharging for you and then B) you go into it with a plan of how you're going to kind of exit gracefully as you take this break and then how you're going to come back.”
Since reopening her business Blog Beautifully, Krista has rebranded it as the Content Boss. She goes really hard with her blog, and has a ton of great content coming out all the time (including some awesome freebies!)
Don’t forget to follow her on social, especially as she rebuilds her account. Her Instagram was the one account she couldn’t recover after shutting it down, so she’d love for you to come and follow her there.
//LINKS IN THE SHOW//
Find Krista’s relaunched and reopen site (previously Blog Beautifully) at https://thecontentboss.com/
Check out Krista’s Second Business at https://www.kristadickson.com/
Follow Krista at The Content Boss on Instagram
Listen to previous episodes of the Rebel Boss Ladies Podcast with Krista: