11. October 2012
In this video I’m sharing my tips on how to plan what you need to consider technology wise when you’re planning a launch.
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27. September 2012
Instead of my regular post today I decided to share yesterday’s newsletter instead because I got such an amazing response. Each week I share fresh content, action steps designed to help you implement systems in your business.
This has probably been one of the hardest newsletters to write for you, in part because I’ve spent so much time this week off work with my family.
On September 22nd my cousin died in his sleep and our family is still in shock. Justin was just 26 and leaves behind a 2 year old daughter and we’re staying pretty close as a family to share memories, talk, cry and grieve.
In today’s articles I want to share some examples of how my business has changed and supported me during this difficult time, to hopefully inspire you in your business.
Three and a half years ago I was working a corporate job when my Grandma passed away from Alzheimer’s Disease. It was quite rough for me, her caregiver, but dealing with a difficult employer made it worse.
I needed time off to be with the family and my Grandpa as well as complete the service folder and slideshow. Not to mention the actual funeral. Instead of understanding, my employer refused to let me take my vacation time (which was illegal) and expected me to come to work the afternoon after the funeral.
You may think that the solution was starting my business…
Two years ago when my Grandpa passed away I was in a much different business model serving just two clients exclusively. Their businesses took up a lot of my time and I once again ran into trouble when needing time off.
I gave so much of my time to these clients that I actually felt guilty that I took the day off for the funeral service (and it was a Saturday!).
And while I hate that once again we’re dealing with a death in the family, I am so grateful that things are so different in my business.
I’ll give some specific examples below but I’ll just say that because I have systems in my business that work for me, I don’t need to exhaust myself putting in overtime just so I can attend a funeral. I don’t feel guilty about the time I spent with my cousin’s daughter or helping prepare for his service. I am so thankful for the support I have in my business which allows me this flexibility.
Most of all I am grateful that even taking this time off to be with my family, my business keeps going and serving all of you. That the resources and systems I’ve spent hours setting up are continuing to work this week and next and the one after that.
I hope that your own business is set up in a way that enables you to have the freedom you want and need. If you need support continue reading below for 3 Action Steps you can implement today which will give you more flexibility and freedom.
I love these three systems because they don’t just work in an emergency – they serve my business every day!
System #1 Scheduling Calls
With new clients coming on weekly, existing client calls, networking with colleagues and managing a lot of content and teaching time, my calendar is pretty full and it can be hard to find time to talk with everyone!
So I fully transferred control of my calendar to my talented VA knowing that scheduling calls was not only a huge time suck but really difficult when rescheduling came up. Not having to dread 10 conversations about why I needed to cancel in order to attend a funeral was additionally helpful.
Action Step: Continue to watch, or re-watch, the 5 days to Finding Fabulous Help video series and write down how an assistant can manage your calendar and scheduling. It will change your business!
System #2 Regular Marketing
Monday I sat down to reply to new subscribers (something I do regularly because I honestly appreciate when someone opts in to learn more about systems!) and realized that I had lots of “action” in my marketing despite not being focused on it. Regular postings like my Facebook Tips, twitter and guest posts all went out automatically.
Once you build up the momentum, like pumping your legs on a swing, if you stop for a little bit the momentum will continue to carry you for awhile.
Action Step: Add one time block on your calendar right now to create tweets or pre-schedule a blog post for the week ahead. Getting a little ahead like this is a great practice.
System #3 Sales
Although I’ve had a big change in my life there are so many clients and leads who still need support in their businesses this week. By having Sales Systems in place I can easily send out proposals, contracts and invoices to my new clients in much less time.
While this helps me to keep the business going, much more importantly it allows my clients to get support uninterrupted.
Action Step: If you don’t yet have a template proposal and contract create one today. You can re-save an older one and take out the client specific information. This will save you so much time!
13. September 2012
Whenever I hear conversations about automation it always conjures up images of robots taking over the world. And while I would love to have Rosey (the maid robot from the Jetsons), the idea of turning my business over to machines just feels wrong. Out of touch. Cold.
What if I told you that marketing and business automation is all around you and, in many cases, free?
First, let’s talk about why you should even care. There are times when we are out of the office and no matter how good our intentions we’re just not going to do any work. And that’s good, even healthy!
But there are also times when we know things are going to get hectic with conferences, speaking, client projects and by planning ahead and automating we can relieve some of that stress!
The best new is that automation doesn’t have to be cold and impersonal. Personally, I love automated services like Aweber because I’d never have the time to reach out to hundreds of you each week. With newsletters, blog posts and social media you can reach far more people than manually doing it all yourself.
Easy marketing automation includes tools such as Facebook pages, which now allow admins to pre-schedule posts like my popular 5 min or less System Tip of the Day, and Hootsuite for Twitter which has recently introduced posting for LinkedIn, Google+ and of course Facebook.
What about business automation for everyday business tasks? My biggest challenge for me has been email! So I spent six months handling the chaos and finding systems for email including filtering, automatic responses and forwarding. Now I don’t dread being out of the office for a week!
As much as possible I look for software and tools that helps me manage and maximize my time. When something absolutely needs hand on attention I work with my virtual team to support me. The tasks may not be automated but we do use Asana to assign regular tasks and check in each week. If you don’t yet have my free 5 part video series “5 Days to Finding Fabulous Help for Your Online Business” then you can request it here and start working with a team who can “automate” many business admin tasks and free up your time for more content, conferences or clients.
If you’ve been in business for any length of time you’ve probably seen and heard about Infusionsoft. To help you get started I talked to marketing automation expert Patrick Conley about his recommendations:
Patrick, what makes Infusionsoft different?
Infusionsoft is an amazing program that helps you automate your marketing all-in-one great software package. It handles basic needs of email marketing like Aweber or Mailchimp, but allows you to apply some really fantastic control over who gets your emails based on their actions.
How do clients use Infusionsoft?
For clients selling products, you wouldn’t want to re-sell them on the same product that they already bought. Instead, you can “tag” your recent buyers so that you only follow up for another sales attempt for customers that haven’t bought on the first push. The best part of Infusionsoft is that it really covers all of the bases when it comes to your business in a super automated way. You can handle emails, CRM, product sales, and an affiliate program all within one bundle.
Infusionsoft sounds really comprehensive, should everyone have it?
That’s a great question, and one that comes up with a ton of entrepreneurs that I work with. For the typical business just getting started with online marketing, Infusionsoft might be overkill. Especially since there are some other really important aspects of business to work on.
How do you help business owners decide if Infusionsoft is right for them?
The software is an investment and it’s important to be able to see some ROI soon after investing so that it doesn’t stress you out too much. However, if you’re running a business that is really looking to launch in a big way and you don’t want to mess with switching software systems, it might be smart to start off with Infusionsoft right off the bat.
I’ve prepared a free report which will help you decide if Infusionsoft is a good investment for your business right now. Like most software and investments, Infusionsoft is not right for every business right now. If you’re curious about more get Patrick’s free guide 5 Indicators You’re Ready for Infusionsoft (And What to Do If You’re Not) free from his site.Continue reading...
10. September 2012
One of my favorite systems to set up for private clients is a marketing and editorial calendar. If you don’t yet have one here’s 4 great reasons to start one today and an bonus tip to take action.
1. Eliminate blank page syndrome
Every writer knows this pain! The blank page is hard to overcome so by tapping into your creativity when you’re full of ideas it’s much easier to pick one up later. I also believe that when you know you’re writing on something next week you’ll begin to unconsciously think and reflect on what you want to say, allowing the words to flow out easier when you sit down to write.
Especially if writing is difficult for you, having a plan is very helpful to getting your ideas flowing.
2. Cultivate lots of ideas, keep the best
I keep a running list of blog topic ideas online which is continually getting refreshed. Sometimes, however, I look back and think “why would I want to write about that?” By continually throwing ideas out you’re able to zero in and isolate the ones that are most compelling and exciting to share. No more forcing yourself to write about something boring or off topic because you have no other ideas.
3. Plan ahead
One of the biggest frustrations in business is not knowing your next step. Often times a marketing and editorial calendar will change but simply having a starting point is comforting. And when someone (like your coach) asks how you’re marketing your business you don’t have to sweat it. Simply consult your calendar and say “blog post on Tuesday and my regular ezine Thursday. Twitter and LinkedIn posts twice a day and I’m launching a new teleclass at the end of next week with email and blog announcements.”
This week I’m in Florida for a conference. But weeks ahead of time I knew that I’d want a blog post to share today and, thanks to my editorial calendar, I was able to plan, write and queue it before leaving. Why not just take the week off? Well keep reading to find out.
4. Consistency is key
I’m sure you know websites that have great content but 9 times out of 10 when you check them it’s the same old post that’s been up for months now. No matter how genius the content is, if it’s not consistent than you’ll continue to learn elsewhere, maybe checking back occasionally for nostalgia.
Having a consistent presence is not only important for trust but also reliability. No one wants to invest in a business that’s here today, gone for six months. While I do believe in providing consistent value, I’m also a fan of transparency. It would be out of my personal integrity to post as if I were home in California this week but despite my travel schedule consistent content and value is important to exhibit.
6. September 2012
In this video I give you my “Cheap n’ Easy 4 Week Plan to Promote Your Launch” and explain how you don’t need to spend a ton of money or get overwhelmed to get out there bigger than what you’re doing now.
If you attended my free launch teleclass (get the recording here!) you know that McDonalds has spent upwards of $100 Million in some of their launches! You don’t have to spend that kind of cash or have a commercial during the Superbowl to promote your business.
Watch and jot down your next step to get your product, program or service launched!
If you want more support on launching your next project don’t forget to grab the recording from my free teleclass and learn tips and tactics to launching!
1. September 2012
If you haven’t yet read, the New York Times recently ran a feature titled When Life-Work Scales are Unequal for which I was both interviewed and photographed. This is my behind the scenes story of the opportunity, interview and photo shoot as well as a chance to give more context to my comments. Space is limited in the NYT but not here!
(If you want to check out the article you can read it here)
I would like to thank Hannah Seligson who I believe did a suburb job with a delicate subject and amazing NYT photographer Jim Wilson who was so fun to work with and had the idea to bring my dog Wilson into the shoot!
While I do believe in life work balance I know it’s different for every person so it’s not the job of the boss or owner to ensure that you achieve the right balance. Every time we assume that we choose to give our power to someone else and make them the keeper of our time, happiness and life. No matter what kind of imbalance you think exists in your company, I firmly believe that we must stand up for ourselves.
As such I chose to take 100% responsibility for my lack of life and work balance earlier in my career. It’s true that I used to have zero boundaries on my time, giving so much of myself to work that I didn’t see the doctor when I was sick, I didn’t heal well after my car accident and I certainly didn’t have time to develop myself instead of giving so much to a business that wasn’t even mine.
I wanted to share this because I see so many talented people making my mistakes and it’s time we take speak up.
In an effort to avoid finger pointing, I decided not to share names or time frames for the businesses I’ve worked at beyond general descriptions. Part of the relief of moving past such imbalanced relationships is that I am no longer (overly) emotionally invested in their success. While I wish these former companies well it’s not my place to call attention to problems which existed in the past. Instead I choose to focus on my own business and helping my clients find their own balance.
I think one of the many problems with achieving life and work balance for all people is that we’re not honest about the unspoken messages that are shared within our businesses.
Which brings me to the “after” part of this story – while acknowledging there’s a problem is incredibly important, I know you also have to move beyond that to healing it. Now, as owner of my own business, I am wholly responsible for finding and maintaining the balance in my life. Sometimes it’s much harder than it used to be, my office is just across the hallway and being online means work is always there, ready to creep in.
The proper life/work balance is something that no one else can decide for you. While I understand the article was the beginning of the discussion, I want to provide my own tips list on creating solutions.
Are you interested in how this all came about?
It all started in July, ironically through Facebook in the middle of my “no social media challenge.” So yeah, I was cheating on the challenge when I saw a post from my colleague and the YEC co-founder Ryan Paugh about sharing work/life balance stories.
While I have no problem talking on the record, I was also aware that the last thing I wanted was to begin mud slinging with the former companies I’d worked for and – this was important – I wanted to share how things had changed me for the better in my own business.
So I sent off a quick email to Ryan and was soon introduced to Hannah, a wonderful reporter who was both friendly and exacting in her interview. At this time I had no idea who the article was for but I was happy to discuss because I know this is a big issue.
Additionally, I introduced Hannah to my colleague Lily Starling, with whom I’d discussed this subject many times. It wasn’t until Lily had her own interview on the subject that we learned the story was for the NYT.
Several weeks later a final round of clarification happened via email, at which time Hannah noted that the photographer would be contacting me for the shoot. Knowing that I wanted to have an outdoor shoot and glad to have a deadline, I revamped my outdoor patio (which I’d been using for work now for several years during good weather).
On Monday, July 30th I met Jim Wilson and we completed the shoot at my house including my docile dachshund, Wilson, in the photos. It was nerve wracking and fun all at once. Over the last week I spoke with Hannah for final fact checking and quotation confirmations for the edited article.
Many of my colleagues have asked how I came about this opportunity and I hope this answers some of those questions. I wanted to highlight a few things I learned:
If you’re curious about the work I do I encourage you to check out my Programs or get a taste of systems for your online business with free Tools and Classes. Because I love sharing my experience, mistakes and ideas I participate frequently in Media and if you’d like to connect personally just Contact my Team for details.