Halfway Highlights: Wins, Lessons, & the Inside Scoop on the Rest of 2024

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Halfway Highlights: Wins, Lessons, & the Inside Scoop on the Rest of 2024

I love nothing more than getting a peek behind the scenes, and I know many of you are the same. In today’s episode, I’m taking you behind the scenes of my businesses and sharing my halfway highlights now that we’re halfway through the year.

2024 has been a weird year for most of us. It’s been unpredictable in terms of the economy and buyer behavior. So if you’re experiencing fewer client inquiries or finding it’s taking longer for them to say yes, you’re not alone.

The latest economic data in the United States as of June 2024 shows that inflation is steady, but household income and spending have fallen. This tells us that consumers are being much more cautious, which makes sense as the cost of living is so much higher than it was a couple years ago. That said, the world economic outlook shows growth through 2024 and 2025, and inflation will likely drop.

I’m not an economist or an expert on this topic, but I’ve been watching closely, and I guess we’re experiencing a bit of a lag with our clients. As the economy slowly improves, our clients will be more willing to open their wallets.

Remember, this is a season, and people can’t avoid investing in services forever, so hang in there.

Now, onwards to the behind-the-scenes and what’s coming up for the rest of 2024.

Scoop Studios: Slow and Steady as Planned

Scoop is my content production agency; we work with tech and professional services companies. The name of the game for Scoop this year has been slow and steady.

We work mainly with clients on a retainer basis, and going into the year we had a solid client roster. I didn’t have any big plans for growth as we’re very much in maintenance mode with the agency, but a big win was that we picked up a case study project with the perfect client for us. They’re a big-name brand and found us through SEO, which was a win for our revenue and marketing.

The best part is that I’ve let the team run with that new client with great confidence while working with our biggest client and on BS-Free Business.

A final win for the agency has been holding the line on expenses and maximizing our existing resources. One of my favorite things about the agency is that our expenses are minimal and we don’t need anything fancy to do our work.

Now, on to the lessons. The biggest one is that despite my full-on hate for AI last year, we’ve embraced it differently, making things much more efficient. We’re not using it for writing per se, but things like competitive analysis, identifying content gaps, and more. 

I’m absolutely noticing corporate clients seeing how AI will change marketing more and more, and I’m curious to see where it takes us. I predict that over time, there’s an expectation that we’re using AI and that our role becomes strategy and editorial direction. We’ll see, but it’s a lesson, as I wish I weren’t as resistant to it right out of the gate.

The other lesson is more of a reminder. As always, marketing, content, and business are changing thanks to AI. I feel like I’ve lived through several of these big shakeups in my career, and the one thing that’s not changed has been the need for strategic thinking.

Otherwise, I don’t really have any profound lessons from the agency, which is good. I like it to be simple and not stressful. I’m invested in ensuring both me and the team have a life while providing our clients with an excellent client experience.

BS-Free Business: A Big Marketing Focus

Now, on to the business, you know way more about: BS-Free Business. I’m excited to share two big wins for the year so far.

The first one is that we ran our first cohort of the Staying Solo Squad. And truth? I loved everything about it, but most of all the people in the group. They are amazing humans and really show up for each other in ways I couldn’t have ever expected. (If you want to join the next cohort, we’re open to new members now.)

The Squad was created after I couldn’t stop thinking about ways to provide support at a lower price point in a community-based model. I’m glad I didn’t let that idea go, even though it took me a while to figure out how. And a big thanks to all of you who joined us for that first cohort and trusted us with this new community!

The next win has been marketing. 2024 has been a BIG year marketing-wise for us as we decided to have a monthly project plan for marketing. We’ve probably got more done this year in a super intentional way than in past years, including SEO updates, podcast pitching (I’ve done about 10 interviews so far this year), email marketing, and more.

I’m most proud of the strides we’ve made with email marketing. As a confession, this marketer has been really complacent about the email list and not doing much to grow it actively. We’re seeing growth daily now, and seeing the needle move is lovely, I’m hopeful we’ll continue to build on that momentum.

That’s also a lesson. In a shocking turn of events, it turns out that you can grow your community when you focus on email marketing and have a plan. What a concept!

The email focus has been really important to me as Instagram is all over the place. As much as I love it, I hate it at times. It’s so up and down that I’m mostly focused on having fun with it.

Another lesson is that Threads has been the social media platform I’ve wanted for years. It’s just words—perfect for a writer like me. That said, I have zero plan for it, and maybe I should consider that at some point.

Goes to show that even marketers need a plan for their own marketing.

Another lesson has been about this podcast. The online business market is becoming increasingly disgruntled with online business, and the content I’ve been known for is being spouted out of the mouths of people new to the game. No shade to them and I’m not going to gatekeep, but the louder it gets, the more I need to keep my edge.

So, it’s time for this show to shake things up and reinvent itself. We’ve been hard at work behind the scenes, and I’ll have more to share with you when we return from the annual summer content hiatus in mid-August.

For solo business owners, I think you’ll LOVE what we have in store for this show’s format moving forward. Agency owners, watch for an announcement in August as we work to serve you with content specifically for you.

Consider that your official teaser. I need to finalize a few things, but we’ll return before you know it. Have the best summer, and I’ll be back soon to share my adventures and all things BS-Free Business for the rest of 2024.

In the meantime, make sure you’re on my email list.

And as a reminder, the Staying Solo Squad is waiting for you if you’re a solo business owner. Join us for nine months of support, with Sara, me, and the entire crew backing you up. You can check out the details below and hit me up on Instagram @bsfreebusiness if you have questions.

join the staying solo squad
Maggie Patterson Abou the Author

I’m Maggie Patterson (she/her), and services businesses are my business.

I have 20+ years of experience with client services, am a consultant for agency owners, creatives, and consultants, and vocal advocate for humane business practices rooted in empathy, respect, and trust.

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