When was the last time you REALLY took a look at how you’re spending your time in your business?

Do you have clarity on exactly WHERE your income is coming from?

Do you know what tasks are actually growing your audience and bringing in leads?

And once you have those leads, how are you effectively converting them into customers?

I am 100% guilty of doing WAY TOO MUCH, thinking that I had to keep creating and producing new trainings and new offers to keep the excitement going in my business and earn consistent revenue. 

But the reality couldn’t be further from the truth.

Tune in to learn how I started working LESS hours and making MORE money in the process.

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Episode Transcript

When was the last time you REALLY took a look at how you’re spending your time in your business?

Do you have clarity on exactly WHERE your income is coming from?

Do you know what tasks are actually growing your audience and bringing in leads?

And once you have those leads, how are you effectively converting them into customers?

And taking things a step further…. 

Did you intentionally plan these revenue streams?

Do they logically build off one another in a cohesive way?

Or did you mostly just throw spaghetti on the wall and run with whatever stuck?

I’ll be the first to say that I fell ass backward into this business, The Unconventional RD brand. 

I did NOT originally intend for this platform to be a business, let alone the main thing I’m focused on, so the way that I ended up monetizing was totally half-hazard. 

I am 100% guilty of doing WAY TOO MUCH, thinking that I had to keep creating and producing new trainings and new offers to keep the excitement going in my business and earn consistent revenue. 

But the reality couldn’t be further from the truth. 

By constantly coming out with new content and products, I was never able to hone my expertise in any one thing, let alone keep the content updated and optimized year after year. 

By 2019, I found myself trying to run a huge FB group, 3 online courses, a nutrition membership site, a nutrition blog, and freelance write for Healthline.

To say I was burnt out is BEYOND an understatement. 

Over the following 3 years, I worked really hard at intentionally streamlining my business and fixing up the bit of a mess I had made. 

Instead of a clear, focused business, I had way too many offerings, no reliable marketing systems, and was essentially running two whole separate businesses between the TURD brand and the FNL. 

To remedy the situation, I gradually cut back on the different types of work I was doing and tried to hone in on ONE signature product I wanted to be known for. 

First, I stopped freelance writing, freeing up that space and mental energy to focus on my own business.

Next, I gave 1 year notice that I was shutting down my functional nutrition library blog and membership site. 

And finally, I temporarily closed enrollment for all of my courses for over 6 months, with the intention of revamping and going all-in on my SEO Made Simple course. 

So now, at the end of 2022, there is one signature thing you can buy from me – my SEO Made Simple course. 

It’s priced at a one-time fee of  $997 and with just that ONE core offer, I am on track to earn over $250,000 in my business this year. 

Now this isn’t to say that I won’t expand my offerings again in the future, because I’m sure I will, and I do think that in the long run, diversification is a good idea…. 

… but the problem was that I had tried to do way too much all at once, right out of the gate, and because of that, NONE of my monetization streams were optimized or automated and they ALL took constant, real-time work and attention from me in order to keep them afloat.

And while that business model was profitable, it was NOT sustainable.

And THAT is the biggest lesson I’ve learned over the last few years and something I try to remind people of when they’re first starting out.

It’s really freaking EXCITING to start seeing success online and it’s so so easy to get sucked into doing way too many things. Especially if each thing you try sees moderate success. 

But in the long run, it may not be sustainable to continue to try and do 50 million things. 

For example, with my 3 business courses, each one was an incredible amount of work to create, launch, and maintain. 

And because the tech space changes so frequently, I found that the content needed updating a lot, and I simply didn’t have the time in my schedule to do it or the funds left over in my business to hire out that task at a fair wage. 

So I really felt stuck and headed STRAIGHT into burnout territory. 

It was like with each new thing I created, it was another plate I had to keep spinning, and at some point, it became unmanageable. 

And I don’t know about you, but it’s really really important to me that all the content that I put out is the most helpful it can be and kept up to date. And it really bothered me that I wasn’t able to do that while trying to maintain so many businesses and products as a solopreneur. 

(And yes, I’m still struggling with this today with the free start a website tutorial that I put out in 2020 during the pandemic – life hit me hard in 2021 and I was not able to finish that free tutorial, and that is something that is still bugging me to do this day!)

So really, it felt like there were 2 options to remedy my overwhelm – outsource or simplify. 

But since I didn’t really have any systematized marketing methods at the time, my income tended to vary widely throughout the year. On months where I wasn’t launching anything, I could make as little as $4k in a month, but on months when I launched a course, I could make $50k!

It was wild, and really hard to forecast and plan around, especially since I was not running any ads. Everything was organic marketing via my FB group and email list and I was only formally launching two or three times per year. 

During the rest of the year, I had a very simplistic discount-based, limited-time email offer for new subscriber to join my SEO Made Simple course, but it only went out to new subscribers on my email list (which was only a small portion of my list) and the only real lead magnet I had to get new people on my list was my free FB group. 

Essentially, I had the bare bones of something great, but I was so overwhelmed by all the tasks required to keep so many offers up and running, that I was never able to slow down and create systems and automations in my business that would allow me to actually scale. 

So today I thought I’d share how I got myself out of this mess and what I would do differently if I were starting from scratch today. 

Let’s start by how I got out of it and go over some questions you might want to ask yourself if you’re feeling similarly overwhelmed or unorganized in your business.

Step #1: Take stock of your current situation.

Where is your income coming from? 

Which offers are most successful in your business?

Which offers are making the biggest positive impact on your customers?

  • Is there one income stream that brings in the lion’s share of your revenue? 
  • If so, what’s stopping you from leaning into that channel? 
  • Are your other offers really worth continuing? 
  • Or are you holding onto them because you think it’s something you should do or something you’ve put a lot of time into and don’t want to “give up” on?
  • And beyond just money, is there one offer that REALLY makes a difference in people’s lives? 
  • Even if it’s not the most financially successful, is there something that lights you up because you know it makes a difference?

The next set of questions is about marketing.

How are you growing your audience?

Where are your customers coming from?

What is your conversion method and conversion rate?

  • It’s important to identify which platforms you’re successfully connecting with your audience on so you can double down on it.
  • For The Unconventional RD, I was pretty much exclusively growing my audience via my free FB group, which was actually grown largely by word of mouth.
  • I was (and still am) pretty absent on other platforms. You can set goals to eventually be present and growing on many social channels, but I highly recommend choosing ONE to focus on to start. Otherwise, you might end up totally overwhelmed and performing poorly on all platforms. 
  • Once people were in my free FB group, I was offering free live webinars a few times per year, which helped grow my email list, and then converting them to customers via email marketing. 
  • However, before I simplified my business, I only had very basic email automations. My content emails were sent out 100% live, week to week, which meant that each week, I had to spend time writing them and they were never repurposed.
  • I had a solid welcome sequence for new subscribers that dovetailed into a limited time discount for my SEO course, but that was it. I never sold to my email list outside of that initial funnel and my live launches.
  • Again, I had the right ideas, but they were not optimized. I was working hard instead of working smart.

And the final set of questions is about work satisfaction:

How are you spending your time in your business? 

Is it on things that really matter for growing your bottom line? 

Are they tasks that only YOU can do?

And also – what tasks do you genuinely enjoy doing?

Which tasks do you hate?

  • I don’t know about you, but it’s very very easy for me to slip into filling my time with easy work that doesn’t really build my business. 
  • For example, if I’m not careful, I could easily spend hours chatting in my free FB group instead of writing a new set of sales emails that really need to get done. But hands down, those sales emails will help grow my business a lot more than basic social media interactions. If I’m not intentional about setting aside time to work on my marketing, I just don’t do it, and if I’m not actively pitching my offerings to my audience on a regular basis, then how do I expect to make sales, right??
  • I’m also guilty of spending my time doing easy tasks that I probably should outsource – for example, prior to this year, I would spend hours every week doing admin-related tasks for my podcast that I didn’t TRULY need to be doing, which has probably prevented me from growing my business even more. 
  • And of course, always keep your unique personality in mind when doing these things. DON’T pressure yourself to do a certain type of content creation or marketing just because everyone says it’s the hot thing to do right now. 
  • If you don’t like something or it doesn’t align with your values, then you do not have to do it! Point blank period. It’s important to stay true to you to build a business that you actually enjoy. 
  • For example – can you see a common thread amongst all the business ventures that have actually been successful for me? They all center around teaching and education – either in the form of online courses or written nutrition notes. 
  • That’s because I am a teacher at heart and especially love writing. So those activities are where I shine. If I shied away from that and instead tried to force myself to do, say, TikTok videos, because they’re all the rage right now, I probably would NOT have had the same success because that is not the type of content where I shine. So always be mindful of your unique strengths and think about how you can weave them into your business. 

But the point I’m trying to get at with giving you these questions to think about is that you’ll only be able to plot your path to simplification and automation if you truly understand where you’re starting from and where you’re trying to go. 

After taking stock of these factors in my business in 2019 – looking at what was working, what wasn’t, and what I actually enjoyed – I decided to do the following:

#1) Completely shut down the Functional Nutrition Library and go all-in on The Unconventional RD brand.

#2) Stop launching anything new and focus on what I had already created within The Unconventional RD.

#3) Hone those offerings even more and focus on just one signature offer. (I chose my SEO Made Simple course because I felt that growing an audience was one of the biggest things I saw people struggling with in my audience and I knew I could help with that.)

#4) Learn how to successfully automate the marketing for that course so that my income wasn’t fluctuating so wildly and it would become easier to confidently hire help or invest in things like paid advertising. 

So that’s what I did. 

By 2021 I had shut down 75% of the offerings in my business. 

Yep. 75%. 

My nutrition membership site and blog? Gone. 

My blog monetization and email marketing courses? Gone.

I was 100% focused on honing my expertise as an SEO professional and helping others with that specific aspect of their business. 

Was that scary? HELL TO THE YES!!

I mean, my husband was probably like UMMMM are you SURE it’s a good idea to chop off 75% of your revenue streams in one big swoop?? Does that mean that our income will be going down by 75% too??

But I just knew in my gut that I HAD to focus. I HAD to automate. I HAD to systematize, or else it would all fall apart anyway if I just completely burned out. 

My goal with sharing my story today is to help you understand that the secret to earning more is NOT by doing more. 

After shutting down 3 out of 4 of my income streams and only having my newly revamped SEO course open for 6 months of 2021, I was able to earn $200k in revenue that year, with a 75% profit margin. 

In comparison, after running myself absolutely RAGGED in 2020, running a membership site, 2 blogs, a podcast, and 3 courses, I only brought in $35k more than that, ending the year with $235k in revenue. But I had higher expenses as well, so my overall profit was roughly the same!

So by paring it ALL down to just ONE signature offer and only selling it for 6 months out of the year, I earned practically the same amount of money as I did working my absolute butt off in 2020.

And this year, in 2022, I’m on track to have my highest earning year ever at over $250k in sales, only selling ONE course and working just 2 full days per week + sporadic nap times. 


Talk about a MAJOR lifestyle improvement. 

Setting up systems and funnels in my business has allowed me to continue to grow while also being a present parent to my one year old. 

It’s been the absolute best decision I’ve ever made. It allowed my work to fit into my life, rather than my life to fit in around my work. 

To be honest, my course right now sort of runs on autopilot.

The bulk of my work each week is on creating this podcast. For my course, I just have to answer people’s questions in the students-only FB group and run a one hour-long zoom call for my students once a month. It’s pretty amazing. 

So now I’m feeling the itch to apply this same systemization and optimization process to additional avenues in my business. I think I could definitely work on optimizing and systematizing my content production and social media strategies a little more and then perhaps start dipping my toes into diversifying my offerings again. 

I’d absolutely love to help other people learn how to set up sales systems in their businesses, so perhaps I will create something along those lines in the future after I do a bit more hands on learning and experimenting in my own business. We’ll see!

So to sum all this up –  if I had to start all over again today… here’s what I would do differently to achieve this type of success WITHOUT having to suffer through years of extreme overworking and burnout. 

#1) Get crystal clear on ONE outcome I’d like to help my audience achieve. 

#2) Create ONE signature offer that promises that outcome.

#3) Choose one channel for growing my audience. 

#4) Pick a realistic content creation frequency I can stick with. 

#5) Set up a no-brainer way for people in my audience to join my email list

#6) Create a series of evergreen emails that get sent out automatically that educates and inspires my audience around the topic of my course. (Hint: you can repurpose old content for this!)

#7) Craft a really high-quality webinar or other high-value freebie that educates and explains the transformation my course can provide and sync it up to an automated deadline system. 

#8) Automate everything within your email system so that people on your email list are continually being sent helpful content, interspersed with opportunities to watch your webinar and/or purchase your offering every few months. 

Rinse and repeat.

This is NOT the only way to succeed or the only way to set up a sales funnel, but it was a highly successful move for me and my business. 

It allowed me to step back from the frenzied pace I was running at and really fine-tune ONE sales mechanism. 

It STILL boggles my mind when I wake up and see new sales notifications in my inbox. I typically make at least a sale every other day and I have not had to go through the stress of a live launch in over 2 years. And each sale is worth $1,000 at this point. Can you imagine? It’s so so so incredible. 

NOW that this automated system has been up and running for over a year now, I feel ready to figure out what’s next. But I only feel that way BECAUSE I had the space to breathe thanks to the systems and automations I put into place. 

So I hope that this episode inspired you to critically think about how you are running your business at the current moment. Is there also room for you to simplify and automate? 

Have you been a little blind to the power of simplification and optimization? Have you been putting it off cause it seems like you’re getting along just fine, so why rock the boat?

Of course, you should always do what’s best for you, but just wanted to hop on today and chat a little more about how big of a difference setting up a sales funnel has made in my life and business and hopefully spark some interest in the topic for you as well. 

And if you’d like to see how all of this works in real-life, I highly recommend adding yourself to my email list if you’re not already on it! 

You’ll get a first hand look at the type of weekly emails I’m sending, what my webinar is like, what my sales page looks like, and what my sales pitch actually looks like. If nothing else, it’s a great example you can use to wrap your head around what an automated sales system looks like. 

If you’d like to join, I have something special to sweeten the pot for you as well. You can grab my free SEO Roadmap as a thank you for joining my list. I walk you through the 6 essential steps of an effective SEO strategy and how you can use SEO to grow your business and your income online. 

Just head to seofreebie.com and add your name to the list. Catch you next week with more online business and SEO tips. 


Erica Julson is a registered dietitian turned digital marketing pro. She has over 12 years of experience blogging and building online businesses and has taught over 900 wellness professionals inside her signature program, SEO Made Simple.