As entrepreneurs, we love to try out new things. It’s in our nature. I’m a squirrel myself – I want to try one thing and then the next new thing and then that other thing. Some call this the shiny object syndrome. Yet it’s better to do one thing really well than to do many things poorly.
Denise Duffield-Thomas has made this her business philosophy. She’s a business coach and money mentor who helps women get over their money mindset issues with her program Money Bootcamp. Here, she talks about how she nearly broke her business and how simplifying and focusing on one thing kept her going.
Already as a child, Denise was an entrepreneur. “I always had so many ideas, but I wasn’t necessarily good at following them through. I remember convincing my friends to do a yard sale and give me all their old stuff. I stored everything at our house and my mom kept asking me when we were actually going to have this yard sale.”
Denise launched her first online product in 2003. “It was called ‘Internet Dating Tips for Men’ and was an eBook about how to do internet dating better. Throughout my twenties, I kept doing this: I saw a problem, learned something about it and then immediately wanted to teach others or share it with people.”
She started a blog called ‘Green Detox Queen’ and founded a business called ‘Raw Brides’ helping women who were about to get married with a diet that would get them in shape for their wedding day. Looking back, Denise calls these businesses ‘practice businesses’. “They really helped me get over the learning curve because I had to do a sales page, I had to learn how to format an eBook, how to write a book. Nobody can take those things away from you and you will retain that knowledge for your next business. Most importantly, it helps you overcome the part of you that thinks: Who am I to teach anything?”
Denise became a business coach and found her niche in money mindset. “I felt comfortable with this direction and started my full time business in 2012.” She launched her very first Money Bootcamp. “It’s still going today, eight years later. But it started out very differently. I didn’t even have a proper membership portal. It was a password protected page on a type form blog. Everyone had the same password. I’ve upgraded my system many times since then. The core materials are still the same, but I added a few nuances to make it richer.”
The first time Denise launched Money Bootcamp, about 20 people signed up. “Today, we’ve had about 6000 people go through that program.”
Being Decisive About Stopping Things
Denise used to do a lot of launches and had many affiliates promoting her program. “I’m always looking for simplicity. How can I get the same or better results with less stress? When I had my first baby, I made my program evergreen. When I had another baby, I knew I didn’t have the time to launch as much and brought in affiliates. It was the perfect time to have other people come in and help promote my program.”
However, at one point Denise felt she had too many affiliates. “We would have had to put a full time person on affiliates. I loved working with affiliates, but the reality of it was to either hire a full time person, or choose the simpler and probably less stressful option and put that money in ad spend.”“Be very decisive about your decisions - and unapologetic about it.” - Denise Duffield-Thomas
When Denise stops doing something, she is very decisive about it. “If I had been wishy washy, I think there would have been a lot more negative feedback. I had to make it a really black and white thing.” The same applied when she let go of two of her programs. “It felt weird because they made money, so why let it go? But I just felt it in my gut. I wanted to simplify my offer. I wanted to see if it helps people make the decision to join Money Bootcamp instead of having two other distractions that they could join instead.”
Avoiding Shiny Objects
Denise has run Money Bootcamp for eight years now. “Running one program for so long isn’t necessarily for everybody, but I believe it can be. My philosophy is that all roads lead to Money Bootcamp and it has served me really well. It’s been great for my brand and money because it’s very simple.”
That doesn’t mean that Denise can’t get creative. “I can do interesting social media, I can write blog posts about whatever I want. As long as there’s some tenuous link to Bootcamp or to my book which will lead people to Bootcamp, I can tell any random story about any part of my business.”
She remains focused and isn’t breaking her business by letting herself get distracted by shiny objects. “I can come up with any project, like writing a money mindset eBook for gardeners, and that will keep me distracted from running after other things that have nothing to do with my business. I just tell myself: I can do it, as long as it benefits me in some way.”
A year ago, Denise experienced signs of burnout. “I was thinking that I can’t run Money Bootcamp anymore. I was reading every single post in the group, responded to every question and started feeling burned out. I got resentful about people tagging me and asking me questions in the group. Sometimes, we think people need us and they need our personal attention, rather than the material we created for them. ”
Denise decided to introduce new rules in the group. “Before, everyone could talk about everything. I started adding a lot of rules, and then realized that I actually needed to not be in the group so much myself. I needed to get support and decided to hire a community manager. The crazy thing is that I was going to shut down the group rather than bringing in someone to help me. I thought: What if they like this person more than me?”
Instead, Denise decided to trust the energy of the materials she created for her clients. “I trusted that my videos, my courses and my book were useful and magical for them. They don’t need you calling them up and reading the book to them over the phone for them to have a transformation.”
Denise also decided to simplify and narrow down what she offers people on her website. “I used to have 30, 40 things people could do. Now, there are three or four different options, like doing a quiz or listening to something. A lot of people read my book and then buy my program, so that’s a good way of reaching them too.”
Denise’s advice is to keep it simple and easy. “Don’t complicate things. Don’t create a lot of products or offer too many choices.”
With this philosophy, Denise ended up moving into a beautiful house near the beach in Newcastle, Australia. “I’m so grateful to myself for backing myself up all those years and instead of thinking ‘who am I to do this?’, I decided to do it anyways and see what comes from it.”
Speaker at the Selfmade Summit in Iceland 2020
Denise’s honesty and approach to her business make her an inspiring woman and entrepreneur, and that’s why I invited her to speak at the Selfmade Summit in Iceland in June 2020. Denise doesn’t like to travel and speak on stage, yet she is coming all the way from Australia to join me and other inspiring women at the Selfmade Summit in Reykjavik. Don’t miss out on this rare chance to see her live in Europe! Get your ticket here.
Connect with Denise Duffield-Thomas:
- Denise Duffield-Thomas on Twitter
- Denise Duffield-Thomas on Instagram
- Denise Duffield-Thomas on Facebook
- Denise Duffield-Thomas on YouTube
- Denise Duffield-Thomas on Link In Profile
- Denise Duffield-Thomas on LinkedIn
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