Serial Entrepreneur: A Case Study in Starting a Second Business
A little over a year ago, at the time of recording this episode, I started my second business – Magical Escape Vacations, and joined the ranks for many other serial entrepreneurs. And in that year, I’ve learned a LOT as a business owner. I’ve had to challenge my own beliefs on some things. I’ve learned some lessons. And I’ve learned some important tips on seeing business growth. All of which, I’m boiling down into this episode to share with you today.
My hope is that you’ll not only enjoy this peak behind the curtains of my business, but that you’ll take away an actionable step (or two!) forward for your own business. I loved learning through hearing others’ stories, and I thought you might too.
Links and Resources Mentioned in This Episode:
- Are you looking to improve your content without spending a ton of time and mental energy doing so? Whether you’re looking for help knowing what to talk about, setting up content systems, or improving your launch strategy, the Chasing Simple Shop has something for you. From A Year of Content Prompts broken up by type of content, to my Launch Strategy Mini-Course – the Chasing Simple Shop is the quick and simple way to take your content to the next level. And you can get 10% off any item by using the code LISTENER at checkout! Just head to amandawarfield.com/shop/ and again, that code for 10% off is LISTENER!
- This week’s action step: Choose one way to lean on your network, and go do it!
- This week’s book recommendation: The Lions of Fifth Avenue by Fiona Davis. Follows Laura Lyons in 1913, and her granddaughter Sadie. Both of whom are connected to the New York Public Library, who are strong independent women, and who are struggling to unravel very similar mysteries surrounding missing books.
- Magical Escape Vacations
- Listen to Episode 80: 5 Factors to Consider When Starting a Business
- ShowIt (get one month free)
- Honeybook (get 50% your first year)
- Find me on Instagram and tell me you completed this week’s action step: @mrsamandawarfield
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Rather Read? – Here’s the Transcript!
*Just a heads up – the provided transcript is likely to not be 100% accurate.
A little over a year ago at the time of recording this episode, I started my second business, magical escape vacations. And in that year I have learned a lot as a business owner. I’ve had to challenge my own beliefs on some things. I’ve learned some hard lessons and I’ve learned some important tips on seeing business growth, all of which I’m boiling down into this episode to share with you today.
My hope is that you’re not only going to enjoy this peak behind the curtains of my business, but that you’ll be able to take away an actionable step or two and take those forward for your own business. I love learning through hearing other stories, and I thought that you might too, you’re listening to Chasing Simple episode 128.
And I’m your host, Amanda Warfield. Let’s dive in.
First a quick introduction to what this business is, if you haven’t heard of it yet. So magical escape vacations is a travel planning, travel agency that specializes in Disney vacation. So the Walt Disney world resort in Orlando, Florida, the Disney land resort over in California Disney cruise line, the Disney ed ventures.
Has different trips over in Europe and things like that. And the Disney Elani resort over in Hawaii, I help plan trips for people through all of those different Disney experiences. And I help plan as much or as little as they’d like, it’s strictly a service based business at this point in time, which we’ll get into more in a moment.
Now, if you haven’t listened to. 80, which is five things I would do differently. If I was restarting my business, I recorded that episode right after I started the magical escape vacations business. Last year, highly recommend you go listen to it. If you enjoy this episode and you wanna hear more, I’ll touch on some of the same topics, but so there’ll be a little bit of overlap, but it’s.
It’s an episode worth listening to, if you enjoy this one and wanna hear more behind the scenes of what I would do differently. If I was restarting this business from the beginning. So first let’s talk about four of the things that I did that really helped set up a strong foundation for the magical escape vacations business.
And that I’m really glad that I did right from the start. So first I made some really strategic investments now. when starting the second business, I was very confident in my ability to run a business, to create a business from scratch. I was very confident in this business itself, and I knew that I could spend years and years and years.
Starting the business, just like I did this one, or I knew that if I made a couple investments to increase my credibility, that it would really help right from the beginning. So the investments that I made right off the bat in all the legal stuff that happened immediately from the beginning, that’s something that I put off for way too long with this business, frankly, because.
I didn’t know if it was going to turn all of these really I put off in this business because I didn’t know if it was gonna turn into anything. And it wasn’t something that I felt like was necessary. Whereas with magical escape vacation, I was very confident if I could go back in time, I would just do all of these from the beginning, with this one as well, just because.
They’re things that help with credibility and they’re things that are not my strong suit, so legal stuff, all of that, right from the beginning, getting the LLC set up, getting the tax stuff, all, all of it, just having all of that legal documentation stuff set up right from the beginning. Super helpful because going back and having to do it for this first business.
A couple years into it was a headache. So it was really nice to have that all set up from the beginning. Now, other investments I made that really helped with my credibility and were things that I knew were not my strong suit. One branding branding from an actual brand designer who is skilled and talented.
And that is. Their thing. I’m so glad I made that decision right off the bat because having a cohesive brand that I could then take to the brand photographer that I hired for brand photos made it so helpful in. Really all the, all the aspects of my business, not only in the website and in my content and in my brand photos, but also it made me really think about what my brand voice was going to be, what my mission and my purpose.
It really forced me to hone into all of those things. And I got a really incredible cohesive brand out of it that I could then use to stamp on everything, to make it more cohesive and credible and official. then of course, the brand photos, which I have gone to Disney so many times in my life, and I have a ton of content from Disney, but one, a lot of that content not taken on great phones.
Now I can go into Disney and get some incredible content with my iPhone and it’s, it’s wonderful. But most of the content I have from previous visits, not the best camera phones. Right? So one the photos and the content I had, weren’t all that great two. They weren’t super cohesive to the branding and the brand that I was trying to cultivate for credibility purposes.
And three, most of it didn’t have me in. Because I was the one taking the content and taking the photos and taking the videos and the content that did have me. And it definitely wasn’t brand worthy wasn’t on brand necessarily. So I really wanted images that were going to feel on brand to speak cohesively with the rest of my website and the rest of my content.
And also that we’re going to show me so that my audience or anyone who visits the website could begin to know like, and trust. and then the fourth investment I made right from the beginning was a strong website. I cannot recommend show it enough. I was with a different host previously for quite a few years, frankly, because it was cheaper and I wasted so much time trying to make my website do what I wanted it to do.
And it never could because the system wasn’t as simple as show it, show. Obviously the back end is not simple, but it’s so simple for the user. The user interface is incredible with show it. It’s so easy. It’s literally drag and drop. You can do anything with it. I have been able to do so much anyways. I’m it’s great.
It’s incredible. I highly recommend it. It has made such a difference in how I work on my website. How often I keep my website updated. if you pay attention and you’ve been around for a little while, you’ll notice that I completely redid my website for this business. This year. Last year, I got my magical escape, vacations website, all set up this year.
I redid this one and I switched it over to show it because it’s so great. And it’s totally worth the investment that I needed to make in order to switch to show it. In the scheme of things, it’s really not that much more expensive and all the time I wasted trying to create workarounds such as didn’t look good anyways, for my website previously, that was definitely costing me money.
I wasted a ton of money, not just moving to show it. So I recommend I also, along with the website, part two of that investment, I invested in a website template from an actual web designer. and while I could have done it on my own, frankly, this just made it a much quicker process to get my website up and running.
It was professionally done. It was intended to move people down the page. It was created by someone who knew what they were doing. I could have created something pretty and show it. But would it have converted as well? Maybe, maybe not, but this also saved me a ton of time. So those are four investments that I made right from the beginning that I cannot recommend enough unless you’re someone who that’s your skillset and you don’t need those.
But for me, that creative side of things, not my skillset, those were not things that I am talented in. So right from beginning, those were things that I invested in and I cannot recommend it enough. It helped me set up credibility, right from the begimmimg. now the next thing that really helped when getting this business off the ground was that I created my client workflow in honey book
right away. Now, if you’re looking for a CRM tool, a client relationship management tool, I have a link in the show note, it is an affiliate link, but it will get you 50% off your first year in honey book cannot recommend honey. Book enough. I absolutely love it. I use it for both businesses. I use it for multiple things within both businesses, not just client workflows.
It’s incredible, but that’s a, that’s an episode for another time, but right from beginning, I set up my client workflow in honey book and. Helped save a ton of time. And it also, again, helped with that credibility because I was able to create really beautiful questionnaires and brochures with my branding that made me look professional.
Not that I’m not, but it helped showcase that credibility in that professionalism to potential clients, but it also made it so. It was a repeatable workflow over and over and over again, instead of having to do every single step completely from scratch with each and every potential client and each and every client, I was able to say, okay, Honey book tells me, okay, this is due today.
Need to do this. This is due this week. Need to do this? Oh, here’s this questionnaire that I send at this point in the process. Let me just quick hit, basically copy and send to this client. Okay. Here’s just this email that I send at this point with everything I’m not having to. Reinvent the wheel create new questionnaires, create new emails, create all of this new stuff all the time.
I’m able to just say, okay, here’s this here’s this here’s this here’s this. Okay. This is what’s next in the workflow. Let me check this task off. Let me check this task off. It keeps me on track. It keeps me professional looking and it makes sure that I don’t forget any steps because when it comes to planning someone’s trip, there are a lot of steps involved and it’s spread out over a long period of time, usually.
So. setting up that workflow was super helpful. Now
it also was really helpful because anytime I needed to tweak or change a workflow, I was able to go right on into honey book and. Change what I needed to change. And then it was changed for every client moving forward. So every time a client went through the workflow, I was able to reiterate and improve said workflow.
And I will continue to do that with every client forever and ever. But it’s so simple to improve that workflow in honey book without forgetting, because if I do something with one client and think, oh, I, this would improve it. If I let’s say that, there’s a question that I needed to ask a client . And when I first discovered that I needed that information, I had to go back and forth with a client.
I had to pause what I was working on. Email them, wait for a response, then move forward with what I was doing. So on and so forth in that moment. When I realized this is a question I need, I can then. Hop into honey book while I’m waiting for their response. Add that question to whatever questionnaire I send.
And the next time that I work with a client that question’s already there, we don’t have to do that back and forth on that excess time. So each time I take a client through it, the workflow improves. It saves me time. And I don’t have to think about that again, because if I didn’t have that questionnaire, maybe I thought, oh, I’ll remember this next time I have a client.
that I need to ask this, but then whenever that next client comes, maybe I won’t remember. Maybe I totally forget about that, but having it all in honey book makes it so that I don’t need to try to remember. So having that client workflow set up immediately in honeyBook. Super helpful for just saving time, which was really important with the second business, but also helping a game with that credibility.
Third thing I did right from the beginning was I set up my email list. I kept it so simple. It didn’t need to be complicated, but I set up an opt-in. Created that first optin using the incredible branding and the brand photos. Right. Set up that first. Optin got it put up on that incredible website so that when people went to the website, they were converting hopefully onto the email list.
And then I set up my initial welcome sequence. Am I going to change and reiterate this sequence over time? Absolutely. Just like with the client workflow. But having it set up from the beginning meant that as I started growing my audience, I was able to start growing my list of people who either would one day work with me or one day buy from me.
And I’m building that email list from the start. If you do not have an email list yet, please start one, start simple, start small. You don’t have to have all the sequences figured out, but create that email list and create that initial option so that you can start getting people onto your list because your list is where you’re going to make your money.
And the fourth thing that I did that was really helpful as I started building this business was that I leaned on the network that I already had. Now, when I first started the Amanda Warfield LLC business, I had this chip out my shoulder that I was going to start my own business and I didn’t need anyone’s help.
And I was gonna do it all on my own. And that got me nowhere for a long time. and if you’ve been around for a while, you know that I really speak about the importance of relationship marketing and building relationships with people. Well, you already have a ton of relationships with people in your quote unquote, real life.
All ready. That are a network that even if they may not need your services, they might know someone who does. So don’t be afraid to let them know about it. Whether that’s posting on your personal Facebook page and saying life update, here’s what I’ve been up to. This is the business. These are my services.
Here’s my website. Or it’s individually reaching out to people and saying, Hey, I’m doing this now. If you know of someone who might find that service helpful, I would love an introduction. The reason this is so helpful and what really catapulted the Magical Escape Vacations business is because the network that you already have is full of people who already know like, and trust you.
You know, I’m all about audience building, content marketing, and how important that can be. , but it does take time for those people to start to know, like, and trust you. If you can lean on your network from the very beginning, it’s going to speed up the process of seeing growth in your business so much because the sooner you get clients in the door, the certainly sooner you get testimonials, the sooner you learn what works and what doesn’t you, the sooner you.
Who you wanna work with and who you don’t so on and so forth. The sooner you get clients in the door, the more growth you’re gonna see the best way to get clients in the door quickly is to lean on the network that you already have, whether that’s your Facebook community, whether that’s people. that you are close with, that you can individually call or text, whether that’s people that you used to work with, whatever the case may be.
Maybe there’s a community that you’re a part of inside of your community. Whether it’s a church you go to, or some other group, some group that you’re a part of within your community, don’t be afraid to share about what it is that you’re doing. and ask for introductions. It’s scary. I know. And if it’s too scary for you start small with just posting on your personal Facebook page and saying, Hey, here’s a life update.
Here’s what I’m doing. If you wanna learn more, here’s my website start small, but don’t be afraid to lean on the network. You already have. So those are the four things that really helped making investments, right? From the beginning, setting up my client workflow, right from the beginning, creating that initial email optin and starting to grow my email list right from the beginning.
And then finally leaning on the network that I already had.
All of those really helped set, Magical Escape Vacations on a strong foundation from the start. but nothing’s perfect. And I have certainly learned some lessons this year and some of them, I relearned that I already knew one of which being that you have got to talk about your offers, all of them all the time.
And I struggle with this in both businesses. I think we all struggle with it just yesterday. I got a DM from a client, a client that I’ve already signed for this business who had planned a trip for the next year. And they were kind of going back and forth on it for a variety of personal reasons.
And she DMD me yesterday and said, wait, do you do Disney cruises? and I was like, yeah, absolutely. And she had no idea. They had decided they were going to go in the direction of a Disney cruise because it made more sense for all of the reasons that they had for kind of being hesitant about the Disney world trip.
And they had already started doing the research themselves because they didn’t know that I even did Disney cruises is, and this is a client I already had. Strong lesson that I am constantly relearning probably on a weekly basis. You have to talk about your offers. People don’t know what you do, unless you tell them and saying it once or twice, isn’t cutting it.
You have to talk about them over and over and over and over again because your audience sees a very small fraction of what it is that you do. the content you put out is not going straight into everyone’s inbox for the most part. And even if it does, they’re not always gonna open it. So talk about your offers and then talk about ’em some more and then talk about them.
Some more, another lesson I have learned is that I am not interested in viral content at all. People are mean they are so mean. And to me it doesn’t feel worth it. That is not to say that that is the case for every. if you want to see huge vial growth, go for it. Great. But in my experience, it has not been all that it is cracked up to be.
It hasn’t really moved the needle much. I’ve had a couple videos that have really gone quote unquote viral, nothing super crazy, but enough where it was a huge influx of notifications and that it was ongoing for a while. And it didn’t do a ton for the business. It did grow the audience base, but the mental aspect.
Wasn’t worth that to me, I would much rather grow my audience slowly and really pour into the people that are interested in what I have to say without having to post something controversial. If you wanna go viral, you have to post something controversial. Not always. I posted a video last night on TikTok of.
Jasper. And it was like a funny surprise at the end, which is now going viral, actually viral hundreds of thousands of views, which is kind of blowing my mind. So not always does it need to be controversial, but for the most part, controversial content is going to help you go more viral. I am not interested in the mental fortitude that you need to deal with what that entails because people are mean
and it’s just not worth it. It hasn’t done enough for my businesses to make it worth it. So for me, that’s something that I am not trying to do at any point. Basically, I’m going to continue to pour into relationship marketing and grow my businesses slower, take with that. What you will. I’m not saying that that’s right or wrong for anyone else, , but that’s something that I have learned for me personally.
slower growth, stronger relationships is gonna be the better path forward for business growth. And then the third lesson that I have learned is that time is on one hand, not as necessary, but on the other hand, still super necessary. So I’m probably pouring five to 10 hours a week into more like five, I would say, into the Magical Escape Vacations business.
which is plenty of time to see business growth. I’m able to serve my clients really well. Things are running smoothly. If I wanted to leave things as they were, it’s plenty of time. on the other hand, it’s not enough time. To work on big projects to really move the needle forward. So if I wanna stay right where I am, am, and I’m happy I could do that with that five hours a week, but I don’t have the time to move the needle forward.
I’ve been wanting to create a shop for months for this business. And part of what’s holding me back is deciding what to create, which I’m gonna get to in a moment, but not having the time to do those big projects is. A struggle. And,
and it also partly comes down to the mental ability because I’m working on so many projects in this business that it’s hard to juggle both. It’s just two totally different mindsets, but I’ve got some ideas for how I’m going to structure my time next year. in order to be able to work on some of those projects, but we’ll see.
But that’s something that I’m really, that’s been a struggle quite frankly, is having the time to move the needle for that business. Because as much as I love it, this business, the Amanda Warfield, LLC content marketing strategy. Business is the priority. It’s the one that’s making the most money. It’s the one that is seeing the most growth.
It’s the one. Is the most built out. And so it’s the priority. And the majority of my time goes to this one and it leave me with a struggle for time for the other one. So that’s something that I’m still learning. I wouldn’t say I’m stuck necessarily, but it’s a work in progress. on the other hand, there are three places where I am feeling stuck. So first determining what my niche is going to be. Even as someone who has done this before, who has figured out that sweet spot in a business before I am really struggling to determine what that niche is going to be.
I’ve got some ideas in my head. I’m not totally sure how I wanna execute them. I’m kind of throwing some spaghetti at the wall. , I want to share this because I want you to know that if that’s where you are in your business, and you’re struggling with that niche, and you’re struggling with knowing who you wanna talk to and who you want your audience to be.
And you’re struggling with getting really crystal clear on that. Just know that it’s not you. This is a hard part of business. And honestly, I’ve yet to see anyone explain. A simple way to get to the bottom of it. I think it just takes trial and error over and over and over again, really throwing that spaghetti at the wall and peeling back layer after layer, after layer, it takes time.
So I don’t have that niche figured out yet. Alls I’m doing is reiterating throwing spaghetti at the wall, peeling back those layers. I think that’s all you can do. But if you’re in that same place, I just want you to know that you’re not alone and you’re not doing anything wrong. Another thing that I’m really stuck with is converting cold inquiries.
I get a lot of inquiries from TikTok and someone will apply and then I’ll never hear from them again. And this is happening at least 50% of the time. And I don’t really know what a good rate is for that. Maybe that’s just normal, but for me it feels really frustrating. And so I’m working on a few different strategies to try to improve that rate becuase
it’s great if I’m getting inquiries from TikTok and sometimes they do convert. So I don’t wanna say that they do convert sometimes, which is great, and it is great to bring in some new people, but also I would love to see it convert higher. And so that’s something that I’m kind of stuck on, but I’m working on.
I’m going to try adding some videos into my brochure where people can just see my face and see me talking. I’m going to attempt a couple different things, but basically that’s something that I’m trying to learn more about and I’m really diving into, because I would love to see more of the people that I’m already getting in the door, actually converting into those clients because it it’s simpler
instead of focusing so much on bringing in more inquiries to focus on how I can improve the ones that I’m getting. And then the third thing where I am just currently struggling right now is my vision for the future of this business. Originally, my vision was that I would love to have, you know, the service based side.
Obviously I would like a revenue stream. That’s more digital products based, but the big vision was that I really hoped to maybe do like Airbnbs in Orlando or something and kind of bring that all in under one travel planning business.
Since starting this business, I have begun to feel differently. Well, my husband and I both have begun to feel differently about how we feel personally. about owning rental properties and we have made no firm decisions yet, but it has thrown a wrench in what this future vision for this business is and what scaling could look like.
And that’s really what it comes down to is. I’m not sure how I want to scale this vision, scale this business in the future, because I don’t only want to ever have one to one services. , but I don’t know what that vision for the future is yet. And so those are a couple places where I’m really feeling stuck and I don’t have answers.
I don’t have tips for you. I just want you to know that you’re not alone. If you’re feeling stuck in some things with your business and that it’s normal and that we’re doing it together. So your action step for this week, I want you to choose one way that you can lean on your network and go do it. Reach out to someone, reach out to a friend and see if they know anyone that could use your services post on your Facebook in some way, shape or form lean on your network that you already have, and try to bring those clients in through people that already know like, and trust you.
and this week’s book recommendation is The Lions of Fifth Avenue by Fiona Davis. This is a historical fiction mystery type book, and it follows Laura Lyons who it it’s based in 1913. And then it also follows at the same time, her granddaughter Sadie in like 1993. Yeah, 80 years later, 1993, both of these women are connected to the New York public library.
Laura’s husband works for it. Sadie works for it. They are both very strong, independent women, and they are both struggling to unravel very similar mysteries surrounding missing books. And I don’t wanna give anything else away because obviously it’s one of those mystery interconnected woven stories, but highly recommend if you enjoy historical fiction, it’s a great read.
So I will link to that in the show notes. And until next time, my friend, I hope that you will go out and Uncomplicate your life in biz.