A few months ago I decided to stop all my content creating efforts. This included writing new content for this blog, publishing YouTube videos, sending out my newsletter and working on new online courses.

I was unhappy with my work in general and needed to take a big step back and reassess. I realized that I had been grinding hard with the wrong plan and expectations in mind.

I decided to go nuclear and stop everything except certain consulting work. I fired clients I didn't enjoy working with and for a short time (about two weeks) I decided I would take a mini-retirement.

The plan was to take six months for myself and limit the time I spent doing business-related work. I got bored quickly and decided this wasn't the right time for a mini-retirement. Instead I spent my afternoons drinking coffee, reflecting and planning where to put my focus.

Moving from a one-man show to a scalable agency

After a few weeks I worked it out.

Over the last three years I've worked as an independent analytics and business operations consultant. Except for two short periods during this time I've always be solo.

Working as a freelancer is an interesting way to make a living but one aspect of this type of business which is really negative is the difficulty in scaling.

Freelancers for the most part are selling their time for money. This model is fine for when you're just getting started but not one you want to adopt for the long-term.

I realized I wasn't happy doing consulting work and needed to move to the next level as an entrepreneur. The last three years have been great but it was time for a switch.

After a lot of thinking and time spent in spreadsheets running different scenarios, I settled on an idea on how to go from a one-man show to a scalable business.

I took a huge amount of inspiration from the video below.


The eCommerce analytics agency

I've had a question bouncing around in my head for over a year which came back to me during this time of reflection and planning.

The question was:

"Can I help eCommerce businesses become data driven the same way I've helped online companies?"

After 3 months of planning, interviewing store owners, and bouncing ideas with business-minded friends I came up with the following business.

The mission: Become the world's best business intelligence agency for growing eCommerce businesses.

The target market: Initially Shopify store owners with sales north of 1 million dollars a year. Later, all eCommerce businesses with sales north of 1 million dollars.

The solution: Advanced Cloud-based reporting + professional services.

The business model: Subscription-based.

Pricing: TBD (starting at $1,000 per month. I'm leaning towards a sliding scale approach)

The brand: TBD. As it will become clearer later in this post, I will need to create a new brand for the ecom reporting agency and keep it separate from the ProjectBI brand.

Where things currently stand and initial goals for the business

At this stage I'm about 2 weeks away from wrapping up the development of version 2 of the dashboard. Once Black Friday Cyber Monday are over I'll start promoting the solution to potential agencies and store owners.

Below are some screenshots showing some of the reports included in this version.

ecommerce metrics master dashboard
The war room is where store owners will start their day. This dashboard provides a high-level view of all the key metrics of the business.
analyze traffic data for ecommerce
The traffic reports section has a number of visualizations which make it easy to slice and dice your traffic data.
compare ecommerce metrics
Each data source (Shopify, Google Analytics, Facebook ads etc) will have summary views like the one shown above. This makes it easy to compare metrics side-by-side for different time periods.

My main goal is to close the first paying customer before the end of this year. If I can achieve that it will be a huge win. If you think this solution can benefit your business then schedule a time for a demo via my Calendly - https://calendly.com/justin-butlion-projectbi/360-dashboard-demo.

The goal for next year is to scale to 20 concurrent customers and a small team of one or two senior business analysts.

I'm really excited to see how this business takes shape and where I can take it next year.

I'll be publishing occasional updates on this blog and on the ProjectBI YouTube channel.

A new content strategy

I still see huge potential in the ProjectBI blog but have really struggled over the last 12 months with the position of the site.

When I started this blog 3 years ago the plan was to use it to drive leads for my consulting business. Now that I'm shutting that business down it means the main purchase of this blog needs to change.

For a time I positioned the ProjectBI to focus primary on helping analysts and biz ops specialists provide more value to their companies. I've decided to cement this positioning for ProjectBI and make it exclusively an educational brand.

Long-term, the plan is to offer high quality, premium content in the form of online courses, and ebooks.

The next steps for ProjectBI are:

  • Redesign the site.
  • Build out the first premium online course.
  • Become consistent with publishing content on the blog and YouTube channel, and in sending out my newsletter. I need to work out the best way for me to do this since I've never managed to maintain consistency.

The future is bright and I'm excited for these changes.

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