This is a follow up story for Leader Connecting Leaders. If you're interested in reading how they got started, published over 4 years ago, check it out here.
Hello again! Remind us who you are and what business you started.
Hi, my name is Jodi Carlson I am the owner and writer for Leader Connecting Leaders which is a website that provides helpful resources to Girl Scout Leaders. These resources help them plan their troop meetings with ease.
I was featured back in 2019 here on this site here.
A lot has stayed the same since my last report. The big difference is I am going back to the roots of what has always worked for my business which is providing helpful tips to earn Girl Scout badges and making printables to help earn those badges. The blog posts I write connect to the products and because it helps my readers it brings new and interested customers to my blog.
This year, 2023 my goal is to release 20 new programs to my readers and consistently provide new resources for free on blog. I also sending out a monthly email with ideas to make planning for the upcoming month easy for leaders.
This has been my page views so far this year and it has been growing continuously again since covid has gone away.
My revenue has not changed much since the last time I was featured on this website. Because of the Covid hit I am just working to get back to where I was before it happened. I would suggest anyone who has felt the pain of Covid doesn’t give up if there is a chance you can recover from the loss of sales go back to their roots and start building it again.
Tell us about what you’ve been up to. Has the business been growing?
My company did suffer a bit with the onset of Covid, however, I found ways to customize programs and provide a LOT of virtual resources for troops. And even provided virtual lessons for troops.
I was continuing to grow every year from 2014 to 2019, but then in 2020 when the world shut down my business is very social and requires people to get together. So my sales and usage went way down. Because Girl Scouts is a volunteer type of organization many troops disbanded during Covid years, which means building back up my followers has been a slow go.
I am now progressively growing again but I have not gotten back to my 2019 profit I was seeing before Covid. This has raught me to diversify my income.
Find other ways to make money because there could be one thing that takes it all down. There are a lot of programs that Girl Scouts offer that leaders struggle to find ideas for.
My goal is to continue to grow my followers and inspire leaders to continue running troops as girls get older using my programs to make planning easy.
So my goal is to provide an easy path to earning those badges. Printables and free ideas that will take the stress out of being a Girl Scout leader.
Few things I started last year:
- Created a private Facebook groupmaking it easier for leaders to communicate and collaborate
- Created a camping program for scout leaders to use during summer camps. Summer is my slowest time and wanted to provide something that will be useful during the summer months when most troops take breaks
- Started adding my resources to an Etsy shop and a Teachsimple shop which provide more ways to get my materials out to potential customers.
What have been your biggest challenges in the last year?
Coming back from Covid has been quite difficult - many of my readers are volunteers for Girl Scouts and because of Covid many troops quit.
Honestly, the challenge of rebuilding my business, having the motivation to do so, and questioning if it is worth it since I lost half my readers. I have passion for this and continue to push forward and hope to get back to where I Was post Covid and continue growing again like I was before.
What have been your biggest lessons learned in the last year?
I tried a marketing firm to write my blog posts, thought it would save me time but it ended up just costing me more money than I should have spent and most of the blog posts didn’t fit my voice so I had to update and change.
I eventually ended that and realized saving time is one thing but if the quality in providing isn't getting me traffic or sales it doesn’t matter.
Some niches are easy to get someone to write for you, but if it's a very specific niche like mine you will need people with the experience or can write in a way that it feels like the experience is there. I have struggled many times to find someone that fits what I want. I would recommend having them write sample posts, or social media posts and share them with you before posting live. Make sure you don’t make your readers feel like you are changing or no longer the same person.
What’s in the plans for the upcoming year, and the next 5 years?
For next year I plan to release 20 new printable programs and add them to my shop plus my extended shops on Etsy, TeacherPaysTeachers, and Teachsimple. Beyond that each year I will assess what programs make the most sense and add them to the website. My goal is to continue to grow my followers and inspire leaders to continue running troops as girls get older using my programs to make planning easy.
What’s the best thing you read in the last year?
Honestly, I hate reading, I rather listen to things to gain inspiration. My focus when I am learning things is to listen to people like Sidehustle Nation or Sidehustle School where I hear about other people's successes and issues
Advice for other entrepreneurs who might be struggling to grow their businesses?
Don’t give up - try something and if it doesn’t work then try something else. Not everything that works for one company will not work for another company.
Where can we go to learn more?
If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!
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