How to Grow Your Business When Even the “Big Players” Are Crying Their Way to the Bank


Things are really shifting in our space. It used to be easy to get results online, but now many entrepreneurs are noticing a drop. Online conversions are declining even for “big players” and everyone is looking for answers.

In the last few weeks I spent a lot of time talking to coaches, speakers, and entrepreneurs in our industry, and many of the trends we discussed confirmed what I had experienced in my own business last year.

So what will the next phase look like for online/coaching industry?

How can we regain the trust of the very people we want to serve?

I’ll share each trend below and how I plan to shift my own business around it:

Trend #1: Connection/Customization. Our industry has become too much about numbers, massive results, the transaction. People want to be seen as individual human beings, with their own unique challenges and dreams. They want to feel heard and understood.

My shift around this trend is moving away from doing big training calls with hundreds of people and creating small-group programs, where I can give focus, care, and attention to clients. This will allow me to truly connect with the people who invest in working with me, which creates more results, fewer refunds, and deeper conversations.

Trend #2: Experiences/Engagement. Information is free. Books are cheap. Info-products cause a crippling sense of overwhelm. What’s the alternative? Creating experiences that lead to real transformation. These could be retreats or workshops, virtual or live, programs with a hands-on component, a contest, a game, or anything else that will elevate your material above just information and create higher engagement.

My shift around this trend is focused on reducing the amount of information in my programs and creating space for coaching, conversations, and transformation. Adding a live retreat to my online program to increase engagement and connection and create an awesome experience for my clients. Sharing less information and asking more questions that lead to a more powerful learning and results.

Trend #3: Simplification. Desire to grow a business coupled with lack of trust is creating an unprecedented overwhelm in our industry. So much is being thrown at us all the time – who do we trust? Who do we follow? Which strategies will work for us?

I saw this trend about six months ago, which resulted in me creating a new company, Simplicity Circle. To some, simplicity comes from having a simple business model that doesn’t require a big team. To others, simplicity is a mindset, which allows them to let go of 90% of advice they receive. To me simplicity comes from creating a business based on your biggest “superskills” so that results come with ease. And ditching everything else.

By the way, not everyone is “complaining” about low sales or conversions. People with strong connections and relationships with their community are seeing results.  And those with deeper marketing “pockets” who can spend more money on trying to find out what works eventually figure out the best way to get people to respond.

But the majority of people are definitely experiencing a shift – what used to work is no longer working. Now questions for you…

What are you seeing in our space right now?

What are you experiencing both, as a customer and as a business owner?

I’d love to hear your thoughts – just post a comment below this article.

19 thoughts on “How to Grow Your Business When Even the “Big Players” Are Crying Their Way to the Bank

  1. Alan D Campbell

    I am about to retire from my job as an accounting professor and start a continuing professional education (CPE) business to provide CPE to CPAs. There are over 600,000 CPAs in the United States. Each one generally needs an average of 40 CPE credits to keep his or her CPA license. I need only a small slice of that market to make a very good income.

    Some CPAs just want the cheapest. Others want to learn things that they can apply in their jobs or practice. I am targeting the latter market. I had planned to do live seminars at hotel rooms. I may still do some of those.

    However, the market has shifted. Many CPAs prefer to take more courses that are shorter online that take a few longer live seminars. Most of the people who go to live seminars are Baby Boomers and older. The younger CPAs strongly prefer Webinars to live seminars. So, I am gearing up to do Webinars.

    I also plan to do tax research projects for tax professionals and management accounting consulting for business.

    In addition, I need to complete a book I am writing on tax planning. I plan to develop related information products to sell to anyone who wants to reduce taxes–mostly the mass affluent and wealthy. I will have to keep in mind the changes in the marketplace that you have discussed.

  2. JoAnn Saccato

    I am seeing and feeling the same thing you are, Milana, as both a solopreneur and a customer! It’s like the model is run its cycle just as I was about to enter into using it for my business. But, it felt so cheap and salesy I decided not to pursue it.

    I unsubscribe regularly from the big players and their JV partners because I get not only overwhelmed by all the emails the content offerer sends, but all the ones from their partners, too. The saturation is overwhelming and a HUGE turn off to me! I do not want to become this annoyance to my clients!

    I’m focusing on small niche services and building my list organically through deepening connections. I think live virtual offerings are a way to keep things connected and real.

    Thanks for your post. I’m glad for the shift! As you said, you are wanting to create situations, “where I can give focus, care, and attention to clients”. Connection is so important these days.

    1. Milana Post author

      Thanks JoAnn! Yes, i love how you said “It’s like the model is run its cycle” – I am not sure it’ll go away any time soon because there will always be people wanting to cross-promote each other, and people entering the market who’ll find the JV model fascinating, and people who will continue to buy 🙂 But it no longer feels good or in integrity, and I’ve done this model for 16 years!

  3. Les Deck

    I find less and less room for “process” and more need to listen and coach directly to the needs of the client. As change accelerates opportunities and challenges are hitting them seriously and frequently. Patterns become visible in the kind of concerns that they surface and the pattern becomes the guide for the coach to bring value.

  4. Rennie

    Hi Milana, I was raised in business to focus on each and every customer or client. When I moved to the online space I kept that same focus. Each person who opts into my list gets an individual personalized email from me. And to many people it is a shock when it is not coming from an auto-responder. And I have no plans to change.

    1. Milana Post author

      It’s a mindset. I came into online world without ever owning an offline business, as many online entrepreneurs. We were immediately dazzled by massive response we could create by simply sending out an email. This created expectations of massive response every time, which later translated into sales, launches, JVs, etc. As I am starting a new business right now, I am finding the need to adjust my expectations if I want to create a deeper connection with a smaller group of clients.

  5. Joanna Krawczyk

    in my opinion your BEST qualities you have no idea about are not recognized in this post and will not be utilized. As education business does EVERYTHING to kill efficiency. Sharing IS NOT carying. Caring is delivering results according to the global possibilities. Because for the first time in human history it is not only possible to be both: simple and global ( in totally different than traditional way ) but in order to be global the customer value NEEDS to be simple. There’s one piece of puzzle missing in your puzzle. You have our e:mail address. Write an e:mail , please an let us explain what needs to be fixed.

    1. Milana Post author

      Simple to you, complex to me and vice versa. That’s what I believe simplicity is about. Simplicity comes with an exciting energy that moves your vision forward. Thank you so much for your comment, just my 2 cents.

  6. Jill Jorgensrn

    Hi, I completely agree with you. I am just turned off by the hard sale and information without support. I can buy a book for that. This is the best advice I have read in a long time. It also comes at the very best time for me. Thank you

  7. Julie Martin

    Milana, I was attracted to your new phase when you launched it this year. You keep it real!
    We are in changing times, where being “at the top” is going to look differently and have new meaning. The patriarchal model, (authoritarian or Hollywood personality at the top) needs the balance of true connection. This is true in government, corporations, and for online entrepreneurs. This is the world that is unfolding in front of us in every arena.
    Essentially the old world models are dissolving. Now it is up to us to make an authentic connection with our audience, followers, customers. Let us go bravely into the new world unfolding because I believe the changes have just started. Let’s keep the conversation going as we navigate the new waters! In Gratitude…..

    1. Milana Post author

      Wow this is really interesting, Julie. “Being “at the top” is going to look differently and have new meaning.” I think we’ll always need leaders, but perhaps those who lead by connection, not by separation?

  8. Aamer Iqbal

    I am experiencing what you have pointed out here, Milana. After long years in medical practice, I am working on prevention and management of what are called lifestyle diseases. For example surviving a heart attack or having a coronary intervention needs significant lifestyle changes including new diet, exercise, relaxation techniques and stopping smoking. Making these changes is a challenge for many. There is much information out there, but navigating the evidence based scientific approaches and passion packed anecdotal narrative can be daunting. This is what I want to address, and no cookie cutter technique is going to work with everyone.

  9. Cloris Kylie

    Great article, Milana. Completely agree! And so interesting to read all the comments. One of my most rewarding experiences in my online business right now is my new group coaching program–I’m limiting its size so I can create deep connections with the participants and so that all of them can get tangible, long-lasting results out of the program. The shift is happening–has been happening for a while…Thank you!

  10. Tandy Elisala

    Milana, I love this article so much! I agree with everything you said here. More and more, people are realizing that it IS about connecting with people. I spent 25 years in corporate America in leadership roles before going FT in my business and I was the kind of leader that connected with people. I truly cared about every single person and they knew it. This strategy served me well and continues serving me as a coach.
    Thanks for the great insights.

  11. Karen McMillan

    Milana, Thank you for this post. Simple articulating what is “trending”. For me, it is affirming because my whole business is based on intimate connection (leading retreats and teaching women to lead Virtual Retreats and an online Village) Nice to know the industry has caught up with my vision. <3 Gratitude hugs for sharing this.

  12. Evelyn

    Lets add inclusiveness to connections. In my classroom teaching years I had the experience of global diversity among the student population. The sense of belonging increased learning.


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