So let’s have a look at the good, the bad and the ugly of 2012 and where I hope Socialable will be in 2013.
I’ll start with the lows (and somehow attempt to turn them into a positive! I’m a great believer in “every cloud has a silver lining”!)
I guess it goes without saying that Network Waves has been a major low. And that’s putting it mildly! I wish I could say otherwise but that’s just not the case. I can’t divulge too much (for legal reasons) but suffice to say it’s “parked”. Before writing this blog post I re-read last year’s post and it was really kind of sad reading it as I mentioned Network Waves there and how it had been a nightmare but I had managed (yet again) to raise more investment and we were back again and were planning on launching it in September. Well September has been and gone.
So what went wrong? I ticked a lot of the boxes in terms of creating the right business model. I came up with an idea and concept four years ago (scary, it was so ahead of its time lol) that solved the pain that people had. I created a solid team behind me that bought experience and skills that I didn’t have. And I raised substantial investment – 3 times!!! I had a launch party that was a huge success (although no product was ready and I had to give people their money back – but hey we had a fabulous party! – I clearly know how to throw a good party at least:). And to this day I receive emails from people asking me when it will be ready and signing up for more information.
There is nothing more frustrating in business than creating something that you have limited control over and creating a software tool, particularly on a scale as large as Network Waves. I don’t think it helped that I’m not that technical (I don’t count being able to set up a WordPress blog as being technical). We were badly (in fact that’s me being incredibly polite) let down on a number of occasions by both sets of developers, both over promising and under delivering, not meeting milestones or the RFP. But also the truth is that I wasn’t aware that it’s actually very common for software developers to not meet timescales, in fact it’s quite rare when they do!
So apart from having a nightmare with developers and myself not being technical what else caused it to be a major flop? (before it had even launched!) Well honestly I think the development side was a major factor but also because of the continual delays it meant we were eating through our investment which was slowly disappearing. Of course it’s worth mentioning that whilst this was happening social media was evolving so quickly and a lot of the features we had built in were being created and launched by other people (including Hootsuite, Buffer and many others). So whilst on one hand I was incredibly proud of myself for coming up with these ideas way before anyone else had I was struggling to keep up and needed to come up with some fresh new awesome features but couldn’t because all the money was tied up in the existing framework.
Anyway, I could go on, I’m presuming you’re starting to get the picture. The truth is I’m gutted it didn’t work. For me it wasn’t just about the money that I and my investors have lost but the time and energy as well. Also its heart wrenching coming up with a product that genuinely has huge potential but that just doesn’t get off the ground which you can’t control.
But and as I said earlier “every cloud has a silver lining” although this one has been a VERY expensive one it has taught me so much. I’ve learnt a lot about investments (raising capital), software tools. I’ve met some amazing people along the way that I wouldn’t have connected with otherwise. But more importantly in a roundabout way it gave me Socialable.
I’m often asked how I’ve achieved so much success with Socialable, particularly in such a short time-frame. And the truth is that when I set up Socialable it was mainly due to frustration of “waiting” for Network Waves to launch and the plan at the time was to leverage the traffic etc. to market NW. I never set out to monetise Socialable and only wanted to provide content that got shared. I think that this business model which I’m now seeing a lot of people following – i.e. create a content website in the hope of ultimately selling it once you’ve generated a ton of traffic and subscribers is becoming more and more popular.
I’m not sure what it is about us English folk but we don’t like to big up our achievements. I find it quite sad and think that we should be doing the opposite and shouting about them! As you know I don’t like to follow the pack so with that in mind, here are some pretty awesome stats for how Socialable is doing:
Traffic – currently each month I get around 250,000 page views, with some months hitting 300,000. My goal for 2013 is to hit the million mark. I’m looking forward to seeing if (*when*) I achieve that goal! (this time last year my traffic was around 90,000 page views a month)
Shares – I’m truly grateful for everyone who shares my content. Some of my most popular blog posts have achieve a record 90,000 shares.
Comments – I love it when you leave a comment and join in the debate or just give feedback and am so thankful for you taking the time to do so. Some of my blog posts have achieved nearly 300 comments.
As I said earlier 2012 has certainly been an exciting and interesting year for me! Below I’ve listed some of the highlights (in no particular order):
- Achieving No 1 on Amazon (Sales & Marketing and Small Business & Entrepreneurship) for my book “Using Images that Influence” co-authored with Sarah Arrow
- Appearing on BBC Radio 5, Mercury FM, The Sunday Times, Social Media Today, Look Magazine, Newspapermilano, The Foreigner , Evan Carmichael
- Speaking at several events, one of the highlights was being asked to speak at the Institute of Aviation in Poland last month.
- My 8 year old daughter getting the lead role for her school play and delivering a fantastic performance not to mention having to learn 105 lines (I certainly couldn’t have done that at that age!)
- Being asked to contribute for several books including Zero to Social Media, Dear Entrepreneur
- Regular contributor for Birds on the Blog, Windmill Networking
- Mentoring some amazing entrepreneurs and helping them on their journey
- Being able to run 10 miles (when at the beginning of the year I couldn’t even run a mile lol)
- Achieving two partners for Socialable (Outbrain and Phinkit)
I can’t believe it’s now 2013. I’m not a huge fan of setting New Year resolutions as often the pressure makes me break them! But I do have a vision and goals of where I want to be and what I want to achieve in 2013. Namely (in no particular order):
- Working with Sarah Arrow on several books – Zero to Targeted Marketing is now available!
- I’ve been wanting to create a multi author blog for a while and am looking forward to working with some awesome bloggers this year
- I love speaking at events and am excited to be doing more of that this year. The first one of which is at Birmingham University later this month
- I genuinely love mentoring and working with entrepreneurs who are passionate about what they do and am hoping to be doing a lot more of that
- Launching more social media tool kits and a social media training membership site with Sarah Arrow
- Increasing my traffic, subscribers and partners
- Running a marathon
I’m acutely aware that I wouldn’t be anywhere without you guys and am so grateful for your support. Thank you so much:).
Wishing you all a fabulous, fun, productive and hugely successful 2013.
What are your goals for 2013? Please do leave a comment and share.
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