This month marks the one year anniversary of Lumen. And over the past 12 months, Brandon and I have learned a wealth of information about running a business, so I wanted to share a few of those insights today.

1. Working with clients & efficiency

In the beginning, we started with a very concentrated base of clients, but then grew to working with over a dozen different businesses at various times this past year. As the workload and variety of tasks expanded, we realized efficiency was a top priority.

To streamline our processes while ensuring a high level of quality, we implemented a few different tactics:

  • Using more software and apps to help track, monitor, and stay on top of tasks & accounting

  • Improved on defining each project's scope and timeline for completion

  • Incorporating scheduling tools to have content published at the optimal times

As a team of two, these tactics helped us make sure we had ample time for project completion, that we weren't tied to manually publishing every piece of content, and that we were automating our processes as much as possible to cut down on unnecessary man hours.

2. Valuing time

Another insight we learned quite a bit about was in the value of time.

I think that in the beginning, I personally felt like I had ample time to dedicate to assignments and there was little pressure to get things done quickly. But as our client base grew, time became a very precious resource.

So, we made a change. We experimented with pricing changes. I boosted my hourly rate for copywriting. Due to the results that our work was producing for our clients,  this change was met with little opposition.  We also began to take on less work. Thankfully, that reduced workload meant we had more time to dedicate to quality work for those who saw value in our product.

3. Speaking

Becoming known as a trusted expert in our field was one of our goals when we first started out. And one of the best ways to do that was to get some public speaking engagements. Over the first year, we represented Lumen at:

  • Benedictine University

  • The Illinois Women in Leadership Symposium

  • @Midwest Social Media Conference

  • Central Illinois Volunteerism Conference

We plan to continue expanding our reach through these public speaking opportunities and already have some new, exciting events for the next year.

4. Achievements

We weren't sure what to expect going into this business, but were delighted to see some goals achieved this year. And no, we aren't too humble to share a few examples of how exactly we helped some of our clients.

  • One of our articles was featured by LinkedIn Pulse and resulted in 200% more leads for our client as a result.

  • Another article earned the #1 spot in Google search and has dramatically impacted that business's website visits.

  • A Facebook ad campaign (with a small budget) we oversaw garnered 3,200 new unique visitors to a client's website.

  • Our social media management helped a non-profit sell out several events, gather invaluable partner feedback, and enlist new volunteers throughout the year.

  • Helped grow a client's Facebook page by an additional 15,000 likes through a targeted campaign.

Through advanced tools and tracking, we're able to see how those increased website visits translate into sales and increased brand awareness.

This first year in business has been exciting, challenging, and a fantastic learning experience. This jump into small business ownership was scary at first, but has been more rewarding than we ever expected. 2015 will be even better.