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Chloe Thomas_From Passions to Profit_Shaping eCommerce Success

From Passions to Profit: Shaping eCommerce Success with Chloë Thomas of eCommerce MasterPlan

February 14, 2024

The secret to a successful business isn’t always about going viral or having the flashiest product. Knowing your why is one of the most influential factors. Chloë Thomas of eCommerce MasterPlan joins A.J. to discuss the importance of building a strong foundation, understanding your purpose as you scale your business, how to avoid getting swept up by short-term trends, and staying focused on your long-term goals and vision.

About Chloë Thomas:

Chloë Thomas is an e-commerce expert and the voice behind the award-winning eCommerce MasterPlan Podcast, as well as the newly launched Keep Optimising marketing podcast. With over 400 episodes under her belt, Chloe brings invaluable experience from her entrepreneurial journey, combined with a knack for storytelling that intrigues and inspires. 

She believes that becoming an entrepreneur is not always about inventing the next big thing; sometimes, it’s about making what you love your next big thing. Chloë’s passion lies in helping businesses grow by solving their unique problems and ensuring they make the most of available growth opportunities.

Ask yourself these questions to find your why in business

There’s a reason everybody talks about the importance of knowing your why in business. It’s not just another trend you hear about on social media that then slowly fades away. Knowing your why actually carries a timeless significance, particularly when it comes to businesses that want to stay in the game for the long haul.

The why is not about what you sell or how you sell it – it’s about the purpose and passion that drive your ventures. But how do you discern your business why? Here are some questions to ask yourself.

  • Vision: What change do you want to bring about with your business?
  • Values: What principles guide your business actions?
  • Passion: What aspect of your business sparks joy and energizes you?
  • Niche: What unique value do you bring to your customers?
  • Growth: Where do you see your business in 5 years?

Reflecting on these questions can help crystallize your purpose and understand what your business breathes, lives, and thrives on. You can use it to navigate the uncertainties of entrepreneurship, stay connected to your inner purpose, and secure a lasting legacy in your niche.

Key Insights:

  • Define your ‘why’. Knowing why you do what you do is crucial for building a purpose-driven business. This understanding inspires and motivates both you and your team and effectively communicates your brand’s essence to your audience. (04:25)
  • Align your business with your passions. Doing what you love can lead not only to personal satisfaction but also to business success. When passion drives your projects, it creates a genuine connection with your team and customers. You get the best of both worlds – personal fulfillment and professional growth. (08:32)
  • Play to your strengths. The better you understand yourself, the better equipped you’ll be to bring the best out of you in your business. Focus on skills that come naturally to you, and strategically delegate roles and responsibilities in a way that supports your strengths. This will help you maximize efficacy, generate innovative solutions, and advance your business. (15:20)
  • Consistency is crucial. Whether it’s the release date of your podcast or the topics you cover, maintaining regularity is key. Consistency builds trust with your audience, resulting in strong relationships and a stronger brand presence. It’s the best way to establish your brand as a reliable thought leader in the industry. (19:47)
  • Stay focused on your core purpose. With so many different marketing hacks and new trends coming up every day, it can be easy to get caught up in them and lose sight of the bigger picture. However, it’s essential to remember and stay connected to your core purpose. This will create a stable foundation that will keep your business grounded and consistent, ultimately helping you achieve your goals. (20:27)

Chloë’s best advice for entrepreneurs:

“The more you can understand about you and how you function and how you can bring out the best in yourself and the people around you, the better the impact you can have.” (15:48)

Connect with Chloë:

Resources Mentioned:

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Affiliate Disclaimer: Some links in this episode are affiliate links. If you make a purchase through these links, we may earn a commission at no extra cost to you. Rest assured, we only promote products/services we believe will benefit your entrepreneurial journey.

Transcript

She has her own agency, she’s bought a firm. She’s been living the life of the entrepreneur and her advice on her podcast and the work she does is really great for those of us who are building our businesses. When we’ve gotten past rubbing the sticks together really fast ,and now we’re dealing with complexity and trying to figure out how to scale along our growth.

So everyone, I would like to invite Chloë Thomas. Thank you so much for coming on the show.

Chloë Thomas: Brilliant to be here, A.J. Thank you for inviting me onto your show.

A.J. Lawrence: Well, I’ve been diving into eCommerce Masterplan and the Keep Optimising Marketing. Now, I’m gonna gush a little bit, but it’s how you have these two podcasts.

I kind of talk very, very similar, but in different perspectives. How did that kind of come about for having these two podcasts?

Chloë Thomas: Sure. So the first podcast, eCommerce Masterplan, started in 2015 and was part of my escape strategy from leaving running a marketing agency. ‘Cause I’d realized I was the wrong person to be doing it, I was trying to find a way out.

And a friend of mine, we were on on a conference circuit in the UK run by the government about making people export. And he was doing the social media bit, kept talking about podcasting and I was like, what’s this podcasting thing? And he got me hooked on Entrepreneur On Fire and I got a bit obsessed with their bank updates. You know, their finance updates episodes that they did?

I like the idea of this. So that’s where eCommerce Masterplan came from. Was kind of inspired by all of that. And also at the time, as I’m sure you experienced, you have these amazing conversations with people but they’re all off the books. And by recording it on the podcast, everything was on the books.

So that’s kind of where the first one came from. So it’s kind of like your bog standard, straightforward, very appreciated by the audience model of interviewing interesting entrepreneur in the eCommerce space. And then, and this still annoys me, in 2019, the year before the pandemic, I had the idea for Keep Optimising as a second podcast.

So summer 2019 we started working on Keep Optimising, which was to interview supplier-side guests ’cause I knew loads of great supplier-side people but I couldn’t have them on my other podcast. I had run out of space for my podcast sponsors, which is always a good reason to create something new when you need more things to sell.

A.J. Lawrence: That’s a horrible problem to have.

Chloë Thomas: Yeah, horrible problem. I wish I had it now. The market’s changed a little bit. But so I was like, right, we need space for another podcast. I’ve got this great idea, which is each month we focus on a different marketing method then we interview four or five, depending on the length of the month, experts on it.

And so I launched that in the middle of the pandemic, but I had the idea before the pandemic, which I still really hold on to. So yeah, that’s how I ended up with the two shows.

A.J. Lawrence: When I was going through your background, one, you made me laugh on your LinkedIn profile, which is always great. I always love when I find that. You were talking about how you are with your agency, but you are running it for nearly 10 years.

And the little thing that made me laugh, and maybe I should have kept it for 10, but now the team is ongoing running. What was that process like in your head? You built something, 10 years is, nearly 10 years is a really good run. Just a little bit more. But what was that thought process for you and how did you build or how did you transition in such a way for the team to then continue on without you?

Chloë Thomas: Yeah, it was an interesting one and I suspect many of your listeners will think, and many people would think that I should have left earlier than I did and exited it earlier than I did. Essentially, it was my third job out of uni. It was running a marketing agency which evolved out of a previous role that I’d had and we turned it into a marketing agency and two years in, I essentially bought out the other or my partner in the business and was completely running it solo.

And then about three years after that, so about five years in, I discovered that people were different. So you had introverts and you had extroverts. And realized I was quite a long way down the introvert scale. And for anyone like yourself who’s run a marketing agency, being in charge of team and clients and sales is not a good place to put an introvert.

A.J. Lawrence: No. As an introvert, I agree.

Chloë Thomas: It leads to a fair amount of burnout. And so I kind of had this like Red Susan Cain’s Quiet, which thankfully came out at the same time, learned a lot more about myself. I was like, right, this isn’t a good place for me to be. I’m never gonna get this where I want to get it because I’m not the right person to do it.

So explored all kinds of ways to try and make it work, to try and exit successfully. And after kind of five years of building the escape route as well as trying to work out how to leave and kind of making the business essentially run without me anyway, by the end I was only doing one day a week in the business, but it still took up a lot of head space.

I managed to sell it to one of my team who took it over completely, 100% out. She was like, do you want an earn out? Do you want this? I know I just need to be free of it, which I’m sure many people would say was completely the wrong way to do it. But because of that energy mismatch, I just needed a clean break.

And the reason I didn’t go, Oh my God, I’m an introvert. End it now, let’s save ourself or whatever, what you wanna talk about it as, was because I really cared about my team and I really cared about my clients and I didn’t wanna leave them all in the lurch, which maybe was a stupid thing to do.

I suspect I’d be richer right now if I had given up in year six, rather than holding on until almost year 10. But I don’t regret holding on and trying to find the right route out.

A.J. Lawrence: Okay, so you sold. You already, as you were saying, you had the podcasts going. Once you were free, one, what did that feel like first? Because I sold on the way down. I had hit some high and I had turned away some really high valuation offers, but they weren’t quite my exit number and all that stuff. Got hit,

lost a whale, and restructured a bit and kind of was coming back up but way below where I had been before. And I got the offer and I was just like, you know what? Thank you very much. But I did spend the next year or so, like I was so stupid but I get to play. I sold an agency in the mid sevens.

Yes, it wasn’t what I wanted. How was that feeling for you? And did eCommerce Masterplan kind of become the new baby, or was that still just sort of to the side? What was that experience for you?

Chloë Thomas: So I was pretty, I guess, cognizant in advance of the fact that I wasn’t quite sure what this was gonna do to me, and I wanted to give myself some space to breathe and see. I don’t think I’m gonna sign the paperwork.

A.J. Lawrence: Very, very mature of you.

Chloë Thomas: Well, lucky I think. I think I’d seen a few friends go through it and talk to a few people. And I was like, all right, it’s not gonna be 6th of January, sign 7th of January. Way, away we go.

So I would describe the first three months in retrospect as being like, I was wrapped in a duvet experiencing the world through. Does duvet translate into the US? You know, like a big eye to down basically.

A.J. Lawrence: I am an expat. I used to live in Spain, so duvets, and I think were pretty common now. We have IKEA. So yeah, I think we get it from IKEA.

Chloë Thomas: So it’s kind of like being cushioned from the world as I wandered around. The first three months, I was definitely internally adjusting in the subconscious and a bit on powered down, I suppose. Quite happy, still doing stuff but powered down.

And then after that, it started to kind of like the positive side of it really started to come out in terms of what I was actually doing. I went full time on eCommerce Masterplan and put all my effort into it. And until that point I’d been trying to build it as a coaching business and I had been investing everything back into it because I had the agency money keeping me afloat.

So year one post agency was, can this make money? And can this be fun? And I think you often talk about the definition of success on this show, and I was very clear after the misery of running an agency- I mean the people were lovely, the clients were lovely, the work we did was lovely, but it was not a good place for me- that whatever came next had to be financially advantageous as well as being fun.

And this is probably heresy to say on your show, but I knew I was building something that probably wasn’t saleable. There probably wasn’t an exit route to it.

And now, several years on, I can’t remember how many years it is now. It’s like seven or eight years on or something. I am finally starting to go, oh no. I probably need to care about money, fun and exit at this point. But maybe that’s ’cause I’m now my mid-forties. So that’s what I was was doing was like, what can I make money on that’s fun for me to do? And then since then I’ve just been evolving it.

A.J. Lawrence: No, it is that transition and then sort of like, okay, lemme just do this for myself. Oh, okay, some people actually care. That’s good. Hey, there’s a little more. And like you said, as long as a few coins are coming through enough to kind of keep things moving forward, it feels really good.

Okay, so let’s jump into that then. As you’re thinking about this, are you putting in effort or are you still just saying, maybe it’s something I need to figure out how to make this sellable? Is this something you’re starting to put effort into?

Chloë Thomas: I’m starting to. I think more at the moment it’s a kinda like a growing realization. How do we go about doing it over the next 10 years?

I’m the host of the podcast, probably 10, 15% of our income comes from me chairing things, speaking at things, now doing influencer posts on LinkedIn about things, which I still find slightly weird.

A.J. Lawrence: Sell out, sell out. No, I mean, I would sell out in a second. Sorry. I’m sorry.

Chloë Thomas: No, no, but I know exactly what you mean. It’s like, oh, it still feels a bit weird even when I’m writing a post about something I probably would’ve written a post about anyway. I haven’t written about anything I wouldn’t have written about. But there is still, in brand Chloë̈ Thomas, there is still a fair amount of income and profit to be gained.

So how you weigh that? Because in a sales scenario that’s awful. But in a profitability standpoint it’s lovely and I enjoy doing all those things. So they fit there, but they don’t fit with ten-year exit, I guess medium-term exit. So that’s one I’m mulling over and kind of passively learning about. Haven’t yet really started to get into grips with it.

But the purchase of eCommerce Tech last year, which is a website business that I’ve now bought, that I am consciously not putting my, actually I am on the homepage, but it’s not gonna be the Chloë Thomas show again. It’s a much lower level of me, so I haven’t got the answers on that one yet.

How do you pivot a founder or a host-led podcast into a saleable item? It’s tricky.

A.J. Lawrence: Part of it is though, from looking at it, it’s just the interest you have around that subject matter. So eCommerce text does sound like a great way to kind of continue building, Hey, you have a traffic source. Even though it does seem our Apple overlords in the podcast space seem to be taking away a lot of our fun stuff or a lot of our love. Alright, we won’t go into inside game here.

But it is looking at that and trying to talk about things that move people to other aspects of your life is that kind of ongoing piece. ‘Cause you don’t want to be like, Hey, well I guess there’s enough people to do that.

But for me it’s like, I wanna find interesting people like you, who are doing really cool, interesting things and have interesting entrepreneurial stories. Because I know when I started off, all the entrepreneurial stories were about VC-backed, huge, conglomerate style companies when the reality is most entrepreneurs are what would be considered small medium businesses are doing cool little things. They have five to 10 employees if they have anyone.

It’s these really cool things. And those story, I mean it’s more common now, but definitely even a few years ago, the prevailing wisdom. When you ask most people what an entrepreneur is, it’s sort of like Elon, Musk, ugh, or bust. And I may have autism like Elon, but I’m definitely not going to do any other aspect of that man’s life.

Chloë Thomas: A.J., can I add something in there? Because I said introvert extrovert earlier and you just used the A word, the autism word, and this time last year I was going through my diagnosis and I’ve been diagnosed autistic. So hello. Great to meet a fellow awesome autistic person. Yay!

A.J. Lawrence: Yay! You’re one of us.

Chloë Thomas: But I figured it’s worth mentioning that actually. Because that clearly in retrospect was a big reason why I needed to not be running an agency.

A.J. Lawrence: It is really funny ’cause I got diagnosed when I was in grad school. I grew up in the seventies and eighties where you were just a weird kid if you didn’t fit in. And then all of a sudden the nineties hit and was like, oh, feelings and testing and scoring of everything. And I’m like, oh, well that explains so much. You know, high functioning, yes, but like weird. And weird is the wrong way. I mean, and I say this as someone who kind of was raised to think of it that way.

But entrepreneurism, I think people who are on the spectrum, I do think there is something about it because the choose your own adventure style of creating something out of entrepreneurism. So being on the spectrum, while may be a little bit harder on the tactical executions of, especially of getting people to understand what you want and to consistently deliver a message in a way other people understand, it is that kind of opportunity to create it.

It’s just extra work.

Chloë Thomas: Yeah, I think for me it’s always been, the better I’ve understood myself, the better a business I can build. Because I’m not looking at what someone or how someone else is doing it and going, I should be able to do it like they do it. I’m going, hold on. No. I know what I’m capable of, I know where my strengths are, let’s find a way to do this that enables me to be the best I can be, rather than going, here’s someone else’s cookie cutter model, and I will follow that.

And I think that’s whether you are autistic or introvert or extrovert, the more you can understand about you and how you function and how you can bring out the best in yourself and the people around you, the better impact you can have and therefore the business you can build and all the rest of it.

A.J. Lawrence: I like that because it is. It’s hard sometimes because this is the other thing where I like these conversation podcasts like yours where you get a little bit deeper than, oh, this is cool, or Hey, this technique and I generated a gazillion dollars. Is the idea of like, the better you can understand your own environment, the more it makes sense to then listen to what other people are doing because you can bring it into your own framework.

Like if there are so many cool things out there, and every time you turn around someone’s gonna tell you, you need to use this thing or do this, or Hey, if you need to grow, do this, this and this, or just do X, Y and Z. And almost everyone who says they had success in some way is either completely lucky or more likely lying or B, it’s just great.

The people who are the loudest now weren’t around a year or two ago. And the people who were loud as then are no longer around now. It’s a constant wave of just noisy people out there telling people this is what works. And it’s like, the funny part is all the people who know what works don’t seem to last that long. They just seem to be there for a little bit and then disappear.

Chloë Thomas: It’s one of the things that’s amused me a lot in recent years in the eCommerce space. I started off working in catalog mailings. That was my first eCommerce experience. So proper sending big old books through the mail.

So that was like 2004 kind of time. Clients are doing a lot. We’re like, we were talking customer lifetime value. We were talking the problems of Omni-channel. We were talking RFM. And now have at least kind of like once every couple of months I’ll come across and it was more kind of tail end of ’22 going into ’23, there’ll be someone to go, have you heard about the the latest, greatest tool for improving your eCommerce marketing? It’s called RFM segmentation.

I’m like, they’ve been doing that for a hundred years. It’s not new, it is not exciting or it’s exciting, but I mean, it’s not new. And then suddenly there’s a renewed interest in customer lifetime value, and it’s like that should always have been part of the plan.

So I must admit, I’m amusingly cynical. I hope I’m not a depressing cynic, but I’m amusingly cynical about some of these things these days.

A.J. Lawrence: Only someone from the UK could say, because an American would be like, I’m cynical Canadian would apologize completely. I have said cynical things once upon a time and I am really sorry about that.

It’s hard not to be cynical, but there is so much cool and this is then the flip side. People who are doing that really. There is an advantage to paying attention to some of that as long as you have your own, in my mind, your own thing, because they are highlighting changes in the marketplace around what is gaining traction versus it?

I got into SEO back in 2001 because someone was like, you won’t believe it. A friend of mine, I got a page, I mean literally this is gazillion years and a lot of work. He put a bunch of keywords and it was literally just putting it on the bottom of the page. The words. Then putting the font color to the same as the background.

Chloë Thomas: Oh yeah, I remember that one. Yeah.

A.J. Lawrence: And it ranked first in Google. Yeah, back in the day. Or putting the font to like to 0.001 size, all the stupid things. And it was just like, that works and that gains traffic. So for a while it was like if you had a decent link, they would send traffic to you. Now all of a sudden they want people staying on the platform, so that kills.

It’s like these are fun to pay attention to, but not to follow. I’m rambling around.

Chloë Thomas: No, it’s like they’re not your long-term banker of success. I’m sure you, like me, read an awful lot of articles about how to grow your podcast, how to grow your podcast. I’m always looking for the sneaky thing that I’m as bad as anyone else and I tell the eCommerce industry to stop looking for the bright, bright, shiny objects all the time. I’m always looking for them myself.

But time after time, the articles, the podcasts, the YouTubes come back, key thing you can do: consistency of release date, consistency of topic, remember who your audience is, ask your audience what they want. It’s like what works in all content marketing on all platforms.

But it’s like, but still, we look for the cheeky little, what if I put the word podcast in my title? It’ll get more listens. I think we’re all guilty of that endlessly. And I think you can play around with those little tactics, but you’ve gotta not ignore the trunk of the tree.

Disappear up the branches, the twigs, and the leaves as much as you like, but never ignore the trunk. ‘Cause that’s where the real solid growth is gonna come from.

A.J. Lawrence: Completely. It is that like, who are you talking to? Why are you talking to him? But it’s any business. Recently, I must have shown my personal, my private company. I have like a holding company email, that’s my real main one. My podcast email. I get tons of like, You wanna have this amazing person on your show. They have walked on water. They have fed fish and or whatever, but it’s like it’s really frustrating. Or then the ones, oh you, sir, you have a podcast that has not optimized your keywords. Would you like to have my help for? I am a guru. I have been working on this for one year. I’m like, thank you. But they finally found my regular email address and it’s like, God.

Chloë Thomas: What’s mad? And kind of just going off on one with the emails is, so I bought eCommerce Tech in July, created the Chloë app email address over there, and have not listed that email address anywhere. So it’s really fascinating to see what stuff ends up in that inbox.

And I had someone last week email me to say, we’re looking to buy podcasts. And I’m like, eCommerce Tech doesn’t really have a pod or he’s got a podcast that’s put nothing live in since 2021. So I replied and went, which of my podcasts do you wanna buy?

And he came out with eCommerce Masterplan. I’m like, why didn’t you email me there? You’re emailing me here? And I think there’s some new zhuzhu, maybe some AI zhuzhu going on that’s enabling people to find these really surprising email addresses. Quite fascinating.

A.J. Lawrence: I think it’s something, since I have LinkedIn open, it would not be surprising if it is a form of scraping database connection off of LinkedIn. But instead I think this really does come up, this need to have the right type of foundation to what we’re doing. So when you talk a lot about your guests, you kind of bring in this like, what is this that’s going. What do you kind of talk about looking at taking information out of your guests for your listeners?

Chloë Thomas: I’m never quite sure how deep to go. Did an interview today with someone, so we talked both about eCommerce and about sustainability a lot on the show. And I had someone on who’s just been certified B Corp, who does amazing things in the sustainability space, great voice in it, all that, I was recording with earlier, who spends most of the year in Australia and some of the rest of the year in the UK.

And I’m someone who’s taken the pledge to not fly anymore for ecological reasons. And on my notes I’d got ask how she justifies flying between Australia and England on a regular basis. And then, I mean, I’m interested but I’m not sure it’s relevant to the podcast audience so I didn’t ask it.

And then other times, on Keep Optimising with the supplier side guests, are drilling far more on the how. So how do you do that on Facebook ads? How do you do this on Google Ads? Take us to the nitty gritty of that email piece. But when I’m interviewing the brands, so the people running the eCommerce stores, I do that far less on the eCommerce Masterplan podcast because to be honest, I’m forever thankful that they’re willing to come on the show.

Because they’re coming on, they’re a business that sells fashion to teenagers, and we’re a podcast broadcasting to a fairly mixed gender across the twenties, thirties, forties, and fifties who are tuning in not to buy fashion, but they’re tuning in to get eCommerce advice. So I’m forever grateful for everyone who comes on the show, so I feel like I can’t go as deep as some podcasters go in terms of, but tell us exactly what percentages and all the rest of it.

And I think it’s what feels comfortable. And if I think I’m gonna be asking anything close to the line, I flag it beforehand and go, are you happy talking about this or not? And I guess it’s one of the reasons I don’t think I’ll ever do my podcast live stream.

It’ll always be pre-recorded so they can go Chloë, I’m not answering that. And I can just cut the question and come up with something different.

A.J. Lawrence: I think for me, the reason I’ll never do a live cast is I don’t think anyone really cares if it’s live or not.

Chloë Thomas: I think there’s a way of doing different channels well, and I think if I’m recording a great podcast interview, I wanna be focused on that. And that’s not necessarily something I want people commenting on or asking questions on, because it’s kind of like a standalone. Whereas we do about one live stream a month, but that’s a panel webinar on a different topic that I’ve put under another brand name. And that we get a couple hundred people signing up and we’ll get up to 50 turning up live depending on what topic it is, and how much they’re interested.

We get quite a bit of interaction, but it’s me plus three or four experts. They’re always pretty high energy and we’re using a platform that’s right for it. We sell it as a webinar but it’s also kind of a live stream and it’s right content, right format, right medium, right guest roster. Whereas I think just to go, oh yeah, let’s just do the podcast as a live stream. I think is not necessarily setting anybody up for success or bringing anything else to the audience really.

A.J. Lawrence: Yeah, I could see with a panel where there is the built-in ability to ask specific questions, have multiple viewpoints. I mean, I would like to know that there is some value in doing that, so very cool.

Well, alright. You transitioned into your focus. You sold your agency, you transitioned into eCommerce. You have the eCommerce tech. You have the Keep Optimising, you’re experimenting. What does that mean for your personal brand long term as you build this smaller, new brand from your acquisition? How are you going about defining your own success here? Because you’re doing some really cool things here. How do you go about your own personal success?

Chloë Thomas: I think it still comes back to what it was when I left the agency which is, can I have fun and make money doing this? And if it’s not fun and I’m not making money, then I am not gonna do it anymore. But you have to keep testing things and trying things and sometimes you have to go through the weirds to get to get to the good and and try those things out. So I try and keep testing things. I think success definitely is still the fun and the money.

I think increasingly I’m trying to look at the opportunity cost as well. Because I’ve got to a point now where I know, well that’s fun and money, that’s fun and money, that’s fun and money. This is fun and money, this is fun and money. But what’s the right balance between these different things? So I love attending the big events, speaking at the big events, and they’re kind of rainmaking things for me.

So, you know, like the stuff that happens in massive exhibition halls and thousands of attendees. Those kind of things, great rainmaking. If I’m lucky, I’ll get a paid speaking gig at one and I’ll network my arse off and then I’ll collapse in a small heap in the train on the way home in recovery.

But I know I can’t do one of those a week. But how many of those a year do I need to do? Bespoke, speaking at, or hosting panels on people’s webinars, how many of those can I do a month that continues to pay off when I’m doing my own as well?

And it’s trying to get these balances between these things of what is the right capacity? What’s the wrong capacity? How much is this? Is this functioning well? And that’s what I’m increasingly looking at and increasingly looking at after the acquisition of eCommerce Tech.

‘Cause pre-buying eCommerce Tech, I thought I was pretty well maxed out and pretty happy. And then I bought it and I really enjoyed that new challenge. I’ve realized that there was a lot more to be done and you know, so a bit renewed with the enthusiasm. But that means given I didn’t really work that many more hours, clearly I was doing things I should have outsourced, so how do you then start building the team right to outsource these things?

And with the acquisition of that, I’ve realized I really am in the mini-media empire, I guess is how I describe my current business. So if I’m gonna be in a mini-media empire, what skills do I need in the team? What do I need to be focusing on? So I’m almost back to doing a Michael Gerber style ganizational chart and working out which boxes I should be in and not be in.

And this of course also comes in. I now have a website so I’ve gotta care a lot more about SEO than I have done with the podcast. But as you kind of alluded to, the podcast space is changing and I think we had that tipping point where Google went from organic, gave you great traffic, to then the pays took cover. Facebook, the same thing happened. TikTok, the same thing will happen in the podcasting space.

We’re reaching a point where it’s gonna be pay to get audience. So there’s a whole load to learn there as well. So that’s all the stuff I’m trying to work out at the moment, which is what does the team look like? Where should I be focusing my time? Which I guess is the same stuff any entrepreneur is looking at all the time. It’s just in a bit more sharp focus for me as I hit 2024 because of what went on in 2023.

A.J. Lawrence: I mean the challenges are so much, challenges and opportunities, are becoming so much more fun. So keeping it fun and making money.

All right. This is such a great time right now because there is so many opportunities, so many toys out there that you can kind of bring together to create really great experiences online and that online media company, I’d love to learn more. I would like to see how you’re doing it because I think I’m looking to get more value from entrepreneurs like yourself for our audience to learn like, oh, how did you deal with X to do that more?

So I would love to bug you down the road.

Chloë Thomas: Happy to be bugged.

A.J. Lawrence: That would be wonderful. What’s the best way, I mean, because you have some podcasts, you have great LinkedIn, what’s the best way for people to learn more about the different podcasts and also about what you’re doing?

Chloë Thomas: Probably the number one way would be to come and find me on LinkedIn. I’ve got an open profile. You can DM me, you can follow me. Just search Chloë Thomas and whichever side of the Atlantic you should find me hopefully. I’m pretty easy to find on LinkedIn. And if you want to go and listen to one of my shows, I’d say start with eCommerce Masterplan. It’s the OG, the big one. I challenge you not to find an episode you would be interested in. There are over 400 of them now and there’s some really fascinating ones.

And if you can’t find one you’re interested in, drop me a message on LinkedIn about what you’re interested in and I’ll tell you what to listen to. So yeah, LinkedIn for me or eCommerce Masterplan podcast to to hear what I’m up to.

A.J. Lawrence: We will have all those plus your other shows and businesses all on the show notes, in the email when this episode comes out, and of course on our socials.

Chloë, thank you so much for coming on the show. I really appreciate that today.

Chloë Thomas: It’s been a pleasure chatting with you and yeah, I hope it’s helped your audience.

A.J. Lawrence: Well, everyone, thank you so much for listening today. I really appreciate it. If you found this useful, please share it with someone you think could also learn from what Chloë talked about today.

Yes. We were getting a little bit into the inside game of podcasts, but really about defining your why and defining sort of your foundation, your framework that you want to build upon what you’re doing and why before you bring in other things. I think a lot of entrepreneurs, it’s not fun work in any shape or form, but it’s worthwhile. And the more you do it and the more consistently you work on it, I believe the more value we’ll get long term.

And I think Chloë had some great examples about the value of doing so. So please share with your friends. Tell them to subscribe because Apple’s taking away all of our- no, they changed some of their processes of tracking things so I’m just joking on that.

But please suggest that people subscribe if you think they’re gonna find value from the show. All right, everyone, thank you so much for listening and I’ll talk again with you soon. Bye-Bye.

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