If you are, you're definitely not alone. I think tech overwhelm is one of the biggest problems we have in business. By nature, we creatives are "ooh, shiny object!" people because we're easily fascinated and our minds are so open to new ideas.
But when it comes to running an online business, those traits can also be our downfall. It can be difficult to zero in on just a few solutions that will actually meet all of our business needs. Ummm, we're not so good at saying "NO" to possibilities, are we?
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Tech Overwhelm is a Real Problem for Creative Solopreneurs
- It distracts from your real goals
- It stalls your progress
- It takes you away from your creative work
- It takes you away from serving your people
- It costs too much
- It destroys your confidence
... and it can even make you give up :(
I've seen it over and over again, and I experienced it myself for a long time ... actual years.
The progression of Tech Overwhelm usually goes something like this:
Step 1: I need to start a website
1a. You hear that the free solutions are easy so you set up your first site on SquareSpace, Wix, or Weebly. Then you realize these sites don't integrate well with other software you use, you can't make them look the way you want, your site looks like everyone else's, etc.
1b. You hear that self-hosted WordPress is really the way to go if you're serious about your business. So you research domain hosting, website hosting, and WordPress free and paid themes. You spend a few weeks moving your "free and easy" site over to self-hosted WordPress ... using countless YouTube tutorials, a paid course, or even paid tech help to complete the process.
Step 2: I need to grow an email list
2a. Again, you hear that the free solutions are all you need: MailChimp or MailerLite. You create opt-in forms and place them around your site, build your first freebie, and set up an email sequence. You learn how to do broadcasts and things are cooking along - until MailChimp completely revamps their business model or MailerLite doesn't integrate well with something you want to use, and you decide to switch.
2b. You hear ConvertKit, ActiveCampaign, Drip, AWeber, or Constant Contact is the way to go. You spend months comparing their features, finally decide on ConvertKit, move all your MailChimp stuff over to CK, spending hours upon hours figuring out how to make CK work the way MailChimp did. It never really does but you're staying with ConvertKit since you went to the trouble to move. You find out, after going to all that trouble, that your setup in CK costs almost as much as Mailchimp would've cost you had you stayed.
Step 3: I need to sell my services and/or digital products
You research all the options and look into things like: PayPal, SendOwl, WooCommerce, EasyDigitalDownloads, Shopify, etc. You consider using a WordPress plugin vs. an off-site solution like Acuity. You end up needing to choose 2 options because one will only handle services and the other is needed for products. You spend days doing the research, installing the programs, and learning how to use them. This ends up not being a very elegant solution but, hey, at least you can sell now.
Step 4: I want to start offering courses or even a membership
4a. As most online business owners eventually face, you can only make so much money selling 1:1 services and low-dollar digital downloads. You hear that offering online courses and memberships is the way to go, so you start looking into options. The ones really good at marketing to you are Teachable and Thinkific but there must be other options, right? Right. You also look into other off-site solutions like Kartra, ClickFunnels, and OntraPort. You've almost decided to pick Thinkific but you realize the "free" plan won't really work for you; you can't even email your own students unless you pay $49/mo, and can't offer a membership unless you pay $99/mo. (So much for "free").
4b. As another week goes by and you contemplate what to do, you hear that a course and membership plugin on WordPress is the way to go. So you spend 2 more weeks researching MemberPress, Paid Memberships Pro, MemberMouse, and more. It's all pretty confusing because they seem like the same thing and really, you won't know if you like a particular plugin until you download, install, and try it. Four more weeks go by as you decide, try to set it up, have plugin conflicts with all the others you have (and need!), ask for help in Facebook groups, and finally have to hire someone. So then it's installed and set up but every time you need something done, you have to hire your person again. So, cool, now you're selling courses and building your membership but it's slow-going and you don't love the look of things but you're bleeding money and lost time.
Step 5: I need to market my offerings
5a. You hear that video is the way to go so you start making awesome videos to help sell your services, products, courses, and membership. YouTube is great for free hosting but you're profesh now and need a video hosting solution. You look at Vimeo and Wistia, and take on another monthly charge.
5b. Everyone is saying that webinars are the key to selling your stuff so you start looking into webinar hosting solutions: EverWebinar, WebinarJam, GoToWebinar, WebinarNinja, and more. Each one has features and costs that are slightly different so you spend a week deciding and 2 more weeks learning how to use the webinar software and setting up your first webbie.
Step 6: I need better landing pages and opt-in forms
You've been getting by making landing pages with WordPress and opt-in forms with ConvertKit but you're not a designer by trade so neither are very awesome looking and you know they could be converting better. You hear that LeadPages, OptinMonster, or ThriveThemes is the way to go. You're so exhausted at this point, you just choose LeadPages because it's the name you hear the most plus it costs a lot so it must be good. You spend a few days learning how to use LeadPages, design new forms and pages, and have a lot of techie fun (ha!) figuring out how to replace your existing CK pages/forms with these new ones and still get all of your funnels to work.
I could probably go on but I'll stop there ...
Creative Solopreneur, How Could You NOT Be Overwhelmed with All the Tech?
I'm exhausted just reading what I wrote! :D And I don't have to imagine how tired you are now that you've gone through that whole process ... because I went through it, too.
Like you, I spent aka wasted SO MUCH TIME and SO MUCH MONEY trying to figure all of this out. Even after all my due diligence and research and trying to take the best care of my business, this is the iffy tech stack that I ended up with:
Paid WordPress theme
Domain and Hosting
MailChimp (which no matter what I did, opted everyone in TWICE ... urgh!)
22 plugins (I kid you not)
And I hadn't even approached doing webinars or video hosting yet. If you're already there, your list is even longer than mine.
Here's the Down and Dirty of the Problem
All of the companies I mention above have one goal: They want you to buy THEIR product. They have little to no concern about the overall picture of your business and whether you succeed or not, whether you are stressed out or not, or whether their solution "plays nice" and works well with all your other solutions.
And I'm not saying that I blame them. Hey, we're all out here just tryna' make a living, right? They're doing their jobs, selling you on their solution, and taking your money every month, whether YOU are happy overall or not.
So Where IS the Happy Solution?
I used to honestly think there wasn't one. I was convinced that all of the above craziness was the only way to run my business. I looked around at all my friends, colleagues, and clients (as a VA to creative entrepreneurs, I got to see the back end of a LOT of online businesses) and EVERYONE was doing it the same way I was.
On the one hand, that kept me readily employed as a virtual assistant!! On the other, it really saddened me for US, you know? Why was this such a struggle? Why were we so tied to our laptops when one of the main reasons we started our online businesses was to spend more time with our families, on traveling, on freedom? It just wasn't making sense.
Then Like a Bright and Shining Light ... (ha!)
For me, it was serendipity, I guess. One day, I was hanging out in the B-School Facebook group and someone asked about Kajabi (Kuh-who now?). By then, I'd become pretty familiar with all of the online course platforms from my own research and from working in them with clients.
I'd chosen my solution (Thinkific) and was forcing myself not to go after any more "shiny objects" and just try to be satisfied with my toppling tech stack. But that time, I figured, "Well, I'll look into Kajabi so I can answer her question and be helpful."
Something like 8 hours later, I had been down the Kajabi rabbit hole and back. I was in shock. "You mean there's an all-in-one platform that will do ALLLLL of this same stuff for me? For one price and one login? And I only have to learn one software? Where everything works seamlessly because it's all one program?!"
Um, SOLD!! I couldn't sign up fast enough. Well, okay, let's be honest. I choked a little on the pricing. But I got over that pretty quickly and here's how.
Tech Overwhelm is Real But It Doesn't Have to Affect You
I share this rundown of how tech overwhelm happens because I know it's probably affecting you and I hate that for you. I want to spread the word to all my fellow creative solopreneurs - because it's even harder when we're trying to do most of this ourselves, right? - that it doesn't have to be that way.
Obviously, I believe in Kajabi super much! I ended up changing my entire VA business to only work with Kajabi clients, and now I've decided to discontinue my VA career because - with Kajabi - I can have a whole new course business of my own instead!
- design and run my website and blog
- set up and automate my email marketing
- sell my services, products, courses, and someday a membership
- design beautiful landing pages, sales pages, and opt-in forms
- run an automated webinar to consistently bring in sales
I don't need to hire anyone or ask in groups "what's the best way to do this?" I don't waste time comparing programs because Kajabi already does everything. I save money because one Kajabi payment is WAY less than all those other payments I had when you added them up.
No Turning Back?
Maybe after reading this post, you'll feel the excitement that I did and you'll give Kajabi a try, give it a chance to impress you. The only thing you have to lose is some time - I have a 30-day trial link that's free and there's a money-back guarantee. After all the time you've already wasted, I could understand you not wanting to try it .... but I hope you do it anyway. In the long run, the time saved will be well worth it.
I know the consideration you put into your business and the careful moves you make so I'm happy to chat about Kajabi any time you like. Email me: [email protected] or DM me on Facebook. I'll get back to you quickly. We're in this together and it's important to you so it's important to me.
*All stock photos by Ivory Mix, my favorite feminine stock photo membership site. Check out their free stock photos!