1. Hello! Who are you and what is your business?
My Name is Madeleine Lambert and I am the co-Founder and CEO of Content Refined. I grew up in Ottawa Canada, started my career in Toronto and started my Business in a small ski town called Collingwood Ontario.
I started my business by accident. I was originally hired by my business partner to create a content creation procedure for his portfolio of money websites (mostly affiliate websites). After I was done, we decided to launch that procedure as a service, which is how Content Refined was born. My business partner had a blog (authoritywebsiteincome.com) and a huge list who we launched the business. This helped us beta test the concept and narrow down our ideal client.
Today we are making between 50-60k/month in revenue. We operate on a subscription based model but have a lot of one time bulk clients as well. Getting people to commit to contracts (6 and 12 months) has been really important to us as well. The benefits of Content Marketing is a long term effort and not measurable after only a couple of months, so having people commit to longer contract help us retain customers but also helps us prove our value add.
I currently have 4 in house full-time staffers who are my Project Managers. I have a team of about 60 contractors who are content writers, virtual assistants, editors, and publishers.
2. How do you attract and retain your customers?
First users were from Authority Website Income audience, for probably the first year. Now, we have our own content marketing campaign where we do 2 blog posts per week, we do email marketing campaigns, paid Facebook advertising and a lot of referral work.
Customer retention is tricky especially when written content is just a piece of a marketing campaign. People focus on content for a short time and then move on to link building or social/video activities so it’s hard to position ourselves as a constant need, when realistically, we are not.
3. What were your challenges and obstacles of growing your business?
My biggest challenges with growing my business were the following:
- How to manage people properly
- How to hire the right talent
- How to scale profitably
- How to narrow in on our ideal client
I’d say we’ve improved our original concept of our business a lot. Originally, we didn’t really use many tools to validate the quality of our content. Without tools and data, quality can be so subjective. Now we have a system in place and if we follow all of our procedures during our content creation we get a content “score”. The higher the score, the better quality it is, which is how we prove our product.
The biggest mistake I’ve made have been hiring errors. I’ve learned that there are different mindsets. Entrepreneurial and employee mindsets. It’s a good idea to have a healthy balance of both within your organization. If too many are entrepreneurial, then there are too many ego’s, too many opinions and too many cooks in the kitchen. If there are too many “employee” mindset staff, you get productivity, but not a whole lot of creativity, risk taking or business growth support.
4. What has been helpful to help you to grow your business?
Being part of the Dynamite Circle has been great business for helping me build my business. I’m also incredibly lucky that I have such a great business partner. He has been a fantastic mentor to me and he has taught me so much about business and entrepreneurship!
The following books have been great for business mindset as well:
- Emyth Revisited
- An Entrepreneur’s Guide to keeping your shit together by Sherry Walling
Make lots of lists and use Project Management tools like Trello, Asana etc.. to keep yourself organized!
5. What is your advice for those that are starting productized services?
My biggest advice would be to figure out your ideal clients pain point and do everything in your power to fix it. Use Data analytics for every business decision you make and back up everything you claim to be true with a case study or some sort of proof.
6. What are your plans for the future?
I am launching a SAAS product in 2020. More to come on this soon!
We are also launching two new service offerings at Content Refined. A Briefing Service and a 10x content service, which will provide clients with industry disrupting long form content and link building campaigns.
On a personal level, I am having my second baby in the spring and will be taking some time away from the business to be with my family. I plan to have the business run, grow, and succeed without me.