2016 Suitcase Entrepreneur Annual Survey Results

Posted on / by Natalie Sisson / in Entrepreneurs / 25 comments

Each year I survey my awesome Freedomist community and ask them to “Tell me what you want, what you really want?”.

This year I had close to 500 people take part in the 2016 Suitcase Entrepreneur Annual Survey (same as last year) which means my team and I get such rich golden nuggets of insight from your responses.

The great news is I now have a very clear focus on how I can continue to help you create freedom in business and adventure in life.

Below I share the results of the 2016 Suitcase Entrepreneur Annual Survey (which I promised to do), the key takeaways and more importantly what you can expect as a result of better understanding what you need, want and desire.

To make it easy for you, simply click on the links below depending on what you want to dive into, or just read from the top to the bottom!

 

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Overall findings of the 2016 Suitcase Entrepreneur Annual Survey (some real surprises)

Last year there were surprises, and you’ve gone and surprised me again. I guess I always have a view of who you are through interactions with people in my community at events, in my group coaching in the Freedom Plan, via emails, social media etc.

I view you as a fellow Freedomist – working towards or having a wonderful business you love, while enjoying more free time at home by yourself, with your partner or family, or while galavanting off around the world.

And I sometimes assume you are right there alongside me on your journey – even though I know we are all unique at and different stages.

Perhaps the biggest learning for me, is that many of you are where I was 5-6 years ago and I need to get back into the heart of what challenges you face.

I need to cast my mind back to how I felt when I in those first 1-2 pivotal years where everything feels like it’s coming at you thick and fast, you feel like you’re failing more often than you’re succeeding, and doubts and fears are your constant friend.

So let’s dive in shall we. Here are the questions asked and answer you gave me.

Q1: What’s your #1 single biggest challenge you’re struggling with right now?

There were some very revealing answers to this question, and a wide variety of them too. For starters, I did not realize that 62% of you are struggling with getting started. That’s huge!  

See this graph below for the results:

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The major struggles you’re facing include not having an idea or business plan, not feeling like you have enough time, and the all important mindset – fear of success and failure, a lack of confidence, or trouble with motivation.

9% of you are facing challenges related to outsourcing & putting systems and processes in place.

28% of you could use more help with getting more leads and sales, this includes people who have picked an idea for a business, but have not found that first client/customer yet. Another subset is people who have a few clients/customers, but not enough to transition into it full time.

Here are a few interesting responses received:

  • I’m bored & need a new challenge
  • I know I’m making slow progress, but I can’t wait to get to the fun part
  • Already in my business full time, trying to break the six-figure mark, and having to manage the emotional shifts
  • I have everything I need, and every reason to launch, but I find myself hesitating and not taking action at that last step

 Quick Win Solutions for you:

Q2: What is your #1 goal you’d like to achieve in the next 3 months?

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15%
of you are looking for clarity, whether in terms of your vision, or business plan, or revenue model. You feel stuck and would like to get momentum on your side.

51% of you want to launch something. Whether it’s just launching a website, or getting those first customers/clients. You know what you want to do and just need to get the work out there to get those leads/sales.

17% of you have very clear revenue/sales goals which is fabulous. But I’d love to see this number higher.

10% of you have personal goals that they want to achieve. It ranges all the way from managing your time, relocating to a new place, fitness goals, taking/completing a qualification or course you’ve enrolled for, and even lifestyle goals.

Some or you are also dealing with debt and want to become financially stable, while some of you are dealing with family & health issues.

6% of you want to become more systematic in their business efforts, whether to have a better work-life balance, or even just avoid getting overwhelmed with work

Quick Win Solutions for you:

Q3: Which of the following best describes you?

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My community really is quite diverse, and more of you are getting started or in transition then I realized.

23% of you who don’t know where you’re at. Mostly because you’re in transition or starting afresh. Although, some of you have so many things going on that you can’t define yourselves as doing one thing.

15% of you have a job AND a side hustle/freelance

30% of you have a job but want to work for themselves – heck yes I fully support you!

33% of you run a business which is your full-time income

Quick Win Solutions for those of you starting out or in transition:

Q4: Which of the following best describes your business model?

Wowee this one really surprised me.

Turns out a staggering 70.3% of you do not have a clear idea of your business model.

 

23% of you sell services (consulting, coaching, web design, freelancing)

6%  sell your own products (digital/physical)

1%  sell other people’s products (affiliate)

So this tells me many of you are still trading time for dollars through service based businesses. This is totally fine if it suits you and you love but the next step is to have a residual stream of revenue through products or programs so you can scale and reach more people, without losing your freedom.

More to come on that here on the blog and in my upcoming podcasts.

Q5: What’s your primary niche/market?


67%
 did not answer, probably because you are not clear on your niche or have multiple niches?

I’m surely hoping this is the answer as if you don’t have a niche you are REALLY going to struggle in business.

Those who answered had a wide array of responses, including:

  • Performing artists
  • Asthma patients
  • People interested in fossicking maps….oh my!
  • Aviation
  • Copywriting & content strategy
  • B2B promotions
  • Beauty & fashion
  • Book-keeping & taxes
  • Web design & development

Quick Win Solutions:

Q6: Approximately how many hours do you work per week?

6-1
67%
 of you did not answer the question (which is the exact number of people who did not answer the niche question… I see a correlation here…..).

1 person answered as ZERO – they clearly have their freedom plan rocking!

1.5% of you work less than 10 hours a week

8%  work for 10 – 30 hours per week

16% work for 30 – 60 hours per week – not loving this stat.

2% work for more than 60 hours a week, and even going as high as 100+ hours

5% did not answer in exact numbers or said it depends

Quick Win Solutions:

 

Q7: Approximately what percentage of your business is automated?

Being a sexy systems nerd and knowing how much systems give you more freedom I was especially intrigued by this question’s responses. So you can imagine my surprise when….

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82% of you did not answer or said 0%!!

11% have businesses with less than 25% automation

5% have businesses with 25 – 50% automation

2% have businesses with more than 50% automation (1 person even said 100%)

Quick-ish Win Solutions – as systems do take time but work so well

Q8: Roughly, what monthly gross revenue/ income do you earn per month?

Ok this one literally rocked me out of my boat (had I actually been sailing it would have been a ‘woman overboard’ moment!).

I have some serious work to help the 70% of you earning less than $5,000 per month!

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It’s great to see that 20% of you are earning between  $5,000-20,000 per month

4% said $20,000-50,000 – so impressive.

3% said $50,000-100,000 – heck yeah rocking it!

<1% said they make $100,000+ …hey I want to learn from you. Seriously.

2% did not answer – hey I get that. Thanks to the rest of you for your honesty and transparency.

Q9: Which of the following is most important for you to have more of?

The responses to this question was like music to my ears. You are freedomists at heart!

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50% of you stated you want more Freedom! 

38% said Money

10% said Time

2% did not answer – maybe because you want all of them 😉 – and you all deserve to have all 3.

I think, deep down, you know that all 3 are linked to each other and that I’m on a mission to ensure you get to experience more of these daily.

So based off these illuminating responses, here’s what is going to happen.

10 actions I’m going to take to deliver to you!

There is a LOT that I’m going to deliver on over the next 3-6 months.

I too am going through a number of changes and upgrades that you’ll benefit from. So in no particular order here’s what you can expect:

#1. Redesign of this website

Due on or before January 1st I can’t wait to release a fresher, hip new design that makes it easier to find exactly what you need – content, podcasts, products that are right for where YOU are currently at.

#2. Overhaul of my existing sales funnels

To make No. 1 above that much clearer. This includes switching over systems to Click Funnels (affiliate link)– I’ll be sharing more on that in the podcast and in a video here on the blog.

#3. New email provider

After a nightmare time with InfusionSoft, that meant a huge percentage of you have not been getting my emails and I’ve been losing tens of thousands of dollars, I’m making a change to ConvertKit. So you might actually receive my emails from now on.

#4. Kick ass editorial content calendar for 2017

To speak to what you’re needing most -thanks to the answers you provided here, my team and I are working on this now. Expect great in-depth blog posts, trainings, free resources and checklists and more.

#5. Weekly Facebook LIVE Q+As 

I basically want to get on Facebook LIVE more often to answer your questions, be on location and engage with my awesome freedomists. The last one I ran had over 700 people turn up during it and went on for 90 minutes with over 30 questions answered! Make sure you get updates from my face book page by liking it here

#6. A new co-created course Rock Your Systems – Now

Thanks to Amy Mitchell, my chief Systems Chick, this awesome course will focus on how to use our fave 3 tools we run our business and team with, so that you can overhaul your own systems and feel more in control and get more time, money and …yep freedom!

Launching end of this month  based on going over these survey results and seeing this as a key area you need help on.

Get onboard for a special launch price here!

#7. Helping you and me write a book in 3 months or less – November

In the interests for the 62% of you struggling to get started and the well known fact that 90% of people want to write a book, and the fact that I need to write my Freedom Plan book since it already has 562 preorders from my Publishizer campaign earlier this year, I’m going to be running the next Freedom Lab to help you and I write our books NOW, not next century.

Get on the VIP early interest list for Write the Damn Book Freedom Lab here.

#8. How to Create Your Ideal Year in 2017 – November 26th

I’m going to be running my super popular paid workshop on November 26th on How to Create Your Ideal Year in 2017. This is going to be awesome because I held this workshop at Problogger and made it even more useful and they loved it.

You can book in your spot now at 50% off before November 1st!

#9. Bringing back the BYOB books in a course! – January

Ever since I stopped selling my highly popular and ridiculously practical Proven 8 Step Method To a Lucrative Sales Funnel and Am I Your Ideal Customer books (making them only available to my Freedom Plan members) I’ve had lots of requests to see them again and have more training.

So I’m going to be bringing them out in a course format in the New Year instead, so stay tuned for that given that this seems to be the bottleneck for so many of you knowing who your targeting, what niche you’re in and growing your online businesses and earning more than $5K a month!

#10. Switching over to Teachable – Now

In the theme of a system overhaul, I’m going to be switching over my current and future courses and programs to Teachable, because their team, interface and online course platform is just hot. Plus they’re going to give you guys an amazing deal too – so stay tuned for that. And check them out here (affiliate link).

Phew!

I know that sounds like a lot, because it is but even writing it out has given me soooo much clarity as to the future efforts here at the Suitcase Entrepreneur.

I hope it also gives you much more clarity as to what’s coming up and in store for you. Oh and I have another BIG piece of news but I’ll be revealing that in a few weeks.

In the comments below share your ONE takeaway you learned from these results?

  • Mary-Ellen Quintana

    As having just started the Freedom Plan, I am so relieved to see that I fit in so well with everyone else! Thank you Natalie for all the tips for overcoming ourselves.

    • Ha ha you definitely do Mary-Ellen – you’re in the right place surrounded by your people. Welcome!

  • Mary-Ellen Quintana

    As having just started the Freedom Plan, I am so relieved to see that I fit in so well with everyone else! Thank you Natalie for all the tips for overcoming ourselves.

    • Ha ha you definitely do Mary-Ellen – you’re in the right place surrounded by your people. Welcome!

  • Rose

    Wonderful insights…thanks for sharing, Natalie! I’m also surprised at how many people are just getting started in their journeys. I’m sure its helpful for those that are to know they’re not alone. I’m continually impressed with the care and valuable support you give to your community. Super excited for Rock Your Systems course : )

    • Thanks so much Rose. I know it really blew me away. I’m looking forward to helping them take action. And that comment means the world to me – I appreciate you saying so and noticing!
      PS I’m excited for Rock Your Systems too!

  • Rose

    Wonderful insights…thanks for sharing, Natalie! I’m also surprised at how many people are just getting started in their journeys. I’m sure its helpful for those that are to know they’re not alone. I’m continually impressed with the care and valuable support you give to your community. Super excited for Rock Your Systems course : )

    • Thanks so much Rose. I know it really blew me away. I’m looking forward to helping them take action. And that comment means the world to me – I appreciate you saying so and noticing!
      PS I’m excited for Rock Your Systems too!

  • Kim Scott

    This was so interesting! I always feel like I’m so far behind where I “should be” and this shows me that I am right there with a whole lot of other people. lol Not a good place to be, but a good place to move on from! I don’t remember for sure if I took your survey, but I think I probably did. Thank you for sharing!

  • Kim Scott

    This was so interesting! I always feel like I’m so far behind where I “should be” and this shows me that I am right there with a whole lot of other people. lol Not a good place to be, but a good place to move on from! I don’t remember for sure if I took your survey, but I think I probably did. Thank you for sharing!

  • Terriane Palmer-Peacock

    My biggest takeaway is how in touch you are with your audience and how open you are …mostly by being you. I feel like I’m a girlfriend having coffee with you when read your posts – and to me that’s a unique art and skill that few people have mastered well. There’s a humbleness and realness about you which I love. Lots of learn from you x

    • Awwww I love that. Thank you. I could even visualize us having coffee

      • Terriane Palmer-Peacock

        Yip – done! (Cuppa tea for me) ?

  • Terriane Palmer-Peacock

    My biggest takeaway is how in touch you are with your audience and how open you are …mostly by being you. I feel like I’m a girlfriend having coffee with you when read your posts – and to me that’s a unique art and skill that few people have mastered well. There’s a humbleness and realness about you which I love. Lots of learn from you x

    • Awwww I love that. Thank you. I could even visualize us having coffee

      • Terriane Palmer-Peacock

        Yip – done! (Cuppa tea for me) ?

  • Wow! Just, wow! You always go the extra mile Natalie to support and nurture your tribe. We are so blessed ? My takeaway? That I’m not the only one struggling. Let’s crack this thing together Freedom Fighters ?

  • Wow! Just, wow! You always go the extra mile Natalie to support and nurture your tribe. We are so blessed ? My takeaway? That I’m not the only one struggling. Let’s crack this thing together Freedom Fighters ?

  • Lisa @ The Drifting Desk

    I’m so excited I just found this post! So much of what I read makes me feel so much better about where I’m at on my journey. I was so surprised to see how many people don’t have any automated systems! Oh my goodness!!

    But my main takeaway is that like me, people are more concerned about freedom than money, just buy a little bit 😉 thank you Natalie for all the work you put into surveying people and presenting these results.

    • So glad you’re excited Lisa and thank you for kind words. I always want to share as I know that we are not alone in this journey of entrepreneurship, growth and expansion. We all go through the same doubts and struggles. I’m just here to make those easier to get past and help people where they need it most

  • Lisa @ The Drifting Desk

    I’m so excited I just found this post! So much of what I read makes me feel so much better about where I’m at on my journey. I was so surprised to see how many people don’t have any automated systems! Oh my goodness!!

    But my main takeaway is that like me, people are more concerned about freedom than money, just buy a little bit 😉 thank you Natalie for all the work you put into surveying people and presenting these results.

    • So glad you’re excited Lisa and thank you for kind words. I always want to share as I know that we are not alone in this journey of entrepreneurship, growth and expansion. We all go through the same doubts and struggles. I’m just here to make those easier to get past and help people where they need it most

  • Interesting results! Thanks for Sharing, as always. (0;
    My only regret is, somehow I didn’t t get to participate in this year’s survey. How I was missed is a mystery… I’m sure I have not removed myself from the funnels.
    Oh well… looking forward to a new year and more Suitcase Entrepreneur Goodness!!

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