The Design Business Show 173: Experimenting with Business Models with Hunter Niland Welling

Director : Melissa Burkheimer | January 26, 2022
Check out episode 173 of The Design Business Show with Hunter Niland Welling to learn all about experimenting with business models to fit your needs!

Hunter Niland Welling is a professional organizer turned luxury marketing expert and the founder of The AgenShe. For the past 6 years, she’s created exceptional marketing strategies for high-end service providers who want to scale without losing their “special touch.” Her private coaching and membership community help you turn the business you have into the business you want. A cat mom + plant mom + dog mom + human mom, she lives in a tiny bungalow in Fort Worth, Texas.

Here’s what we covered on the episode:

Hunter’s Background in Marketing

  • How Hunter and I first connected in Erika Lyremark’s Mark’d Women  Mastermind, now called Marketing Crush, when I posted in our Facebook group that I was looking for some accountability partners
  • Hunter shares that she worked for a trend forecasting firm in high school, where she got to do a lot of marketing and copywriting, and says she leveraged that job into other marketing positions
  • After graduating college, Hunter was offered a lot of head of communication or marketing positions but felt burnt out from college due to personal circumstances and needed a breather
  • To reset, Hunter decided she needed to do something with her hands and body instead of sitting in front of a computer screen, so she started a professional organizing business that she loved
  • Hunter decided to go back to her zone of genius – she started making connections and started mentoring and doing marketing for luxury home organizers, which has expanded to other industries over the years
  • How Hunter got her job at the trend forecasting firm and how saying yes to that opportunity gave her the confidence she needed to leverage that job at college, where she started freelancing, blogging for the university career services, and started figuring out the online world
  • Working at the trend forecasting firm gave Hunter hands-on business experience and says she was teaching herself how to run QuickBooks, what tax filings were due, and what you had to do to stay in compliance, all of which made ownership seem less scary and like something she could do for herself
  • After graduating in 2010, Hunter started joining some online Facebook groups, which are where she found this whole world of people who were building online businesses
  • The first thing Hunter did when she started her marketing business was manage social media because she realized a lot of her business owner friends would ask her advice about social media, and she was giving that information away for free
  • The first social media management job Hunter had was for a friend who was a fine art photographer – her job was to help sell his fine art book through social media, and she ended up helping him build a thriving online community of tens of thousands of people
  • Hunter gained confidence after successfully helping her friend, so she reached out to a high-end professional organizer and said she wanted to get to know them and collaborate, and that relationship led to Hunter mentoring hundreds of professional organizers

 Changing Business Models + Personal Needs in Business

  • For the last two years, Hunter shares that she’s been primarily working with her clients through recurring intensives
  • In 2019 Hunter burnt out again after running her business for 3 years and shares she was doing traditional marketing on retainers where she felt that she was on call for clients all the time – after being put on bedrest, Hunter knew she couldn’t keep running her business the same way
  • Hunter shares she was selling strategy and consulting sessions, but when she started offering VIP days, her clients loved it, and it helped Hunter feel like she wasn’t on call so much
  • Hunter realized the sales cycle for selling VIP days to earn the revenue she needed was as exhausting as the retainers, so she talked to our mutual friend, Erika, who suggested keeping VIP days but signing clients up to come back every month
  • Next, Hunter created her service, The Exceptionelle CMO, where she would meet with clients once a month to work on their marketing strategy, map out their plan, and then spend the rest of the day working in an intensive format, building out their social media or copywriting, whatever they needed to move the strategy forward
  • How Hunter got her first round of clients by sending an invitation to her top 5 favorite clients, most of which took her up on it
  • Each month, Hunter works with anywhere from 3 – 6 clients but says right now, she’s setting herself up to take a sabbatical in her business to refresh herself but will pick back up in 2022
  • How Hunter has had to learn to work with her own energy needs and chronic illness because she knows she is susceptible to burnout and speaks about ways to avoid it for people on their journeys
  • When it comes to planning her sabbatical, Hunter says she’s been able to save up the cash reserve she needs, hire another team member, and has planned for the upcoming year and plans to take about a month off
  • Women tend to think they need to do it all, but Hunter shares that she has always leaned on teams for support, a housekeeper, and a stay at home partner to help her as well because she knows she can’t do it all
  • By implementing recurring intensive, Hunter was able to focus on her business with the extra time she had instead of solely focusing on her clients business
  • The most important thing business owners can do is ask themselves how they want to do work, what they want it to feel like, what they want to be doing with their time, and then get creative and experiment with business models to fit that
  • We talk about how it can be good to expand where you’re getting your information and inspiration from

 Adapting Your Business for Your Future

  • Hunter shares that she has had a hunger for creativity and mentions that she loves Martha Stewart and the lifestyle magazine style, so she and her team are working on ways to prioritize that
  • The magazine has been brought to life through Hunter’s membership called, The AgenShe Club, and it includes weekly emails, best practices, strategies, ideas, and questions you can use to make your business a little kinder to your body and turn the business you have into the business you want
  • I discuss how and why I will be shutting down my sales page service – no one will be able to hire me for a sales page project alone, but there will be other services that could be bundled into the new offer that I’m working on
  • How it’s scary to be getting rid of my sales page offer, but it makes sense with the direction I want to go
  • I share that some of my dream jobs include creative directing photoshoots for SNL or working with The Kardashians on a photoshoot, along with so many other things
  • Hunter shares that they’ve been reimagining what it will look like and the way she will work with clients when she comes back from her sabbatical
  • How you can go on over to the AgenShe on Instagram, where you will find a link to join The AgenShe Club, and if you use the code: design, you can join for your first year for free
  • Hunter talks about her workshop called the Recurring Intensive Workshop, where she teaches you everything she knows about running a business and selling
  • Connect with Hunter on Instagram or check out her website


Links mentioned:

The AgenShe

The AgenShe Club

Connect with Hunter on Instagram

Recurring Intensive Workshop


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