12 Apps Every Ladypreneur Needs to Have

Don't you just wish that you could have a peek at what app's all the cool ladypreneurs are using?

While I don't claim to be very "cool," (I'm so cool, that I still use air quotes...) I do have some really great app's that I use almost every day and I decided that I should share them with you!

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Alright, let's just get right to it, shall we?

Asana: This is an absolute lifesaver! Asana is a project management system. All of my daily tasks are laid out in a calendar format for me to easily check off, which I love doing! I also do a weekly brain dump and organize my thoughts and to-do's here as well. 

Another thing I love to use Asana for is creating business workflows. When I sign on clients, for example, all I need to do is refer to my client onboarding process to make sure that I am being consistent and thorough. I show all of my clients how I use it and how they can make use of it in their business as well. 

I love having this on my desktop as well because it gives me the full picture, which is always nice. I use this app several times a day! (I use the free version). 

Color Story: Ever wonder how you can get that beautiful and colorful photo that everyone seems to be posting on Instagram? Or what about that bright white background? A Beautiful Mess created this amazing app that will help you do just that. This is is a great tool that you can use to edit all of your photos! The filters are incredible and I love to play around with them. I paid to get all the extra filters, because..duh. :)

Setmore: I use this app (also on my desktop) for all of my scheduling. Clients book their discovery calls and power hours with me here. The app will automatically notify me that someone has booked a service and then the workflow continues on from there! It's really easy to create your services and I love how the calendar is laid out as well. I've tried many other scheduling apps and this is by far, my favorite.

Later: I've used this app for years to schedule out and post all of my Instagram content. I plan everything and load up my calendar on my desktop and then the app will send me a push notification when something is ready to post. It won't do it for you (so it's Instagram friendly), but it takes two seconds. I save all of my hashtags in there as well, so I don't have to scramble every time I post something. You can use it for free and plan up to 30 posts per month which is a steal!

Storeo: LOVE THIS! This app makes posting Insta Stories so much easier! You can take a video of yourself in one shot and then it will splice it up for you to post to your story! I don't know about you, but I hate it when I'm talking and the little circle runs out and then I forget what I was saying...and I end up looking silly. This app makes you look like a #instastorypro.

Zoom: I use Zoom for all of my webinars, client calls, and power hours. Most of the time I run it on my desktop, but the app works just the same. I have the paid version because I record all of my calls and give them to my clients to keep.

Wordswag: This is a great tool to use when you want to create a really awesome looking infographic! 

Mailerlite: I use Mailerlite for my email service provider and I love popping into the app to check on my automations and subscribers. It has a very clean layout, which I'm totally into.

Voxer: Who didn't play with walkie-talkies when they were little? This is a great communication tool that I use to keep in contact with clients. I want them to know that while we work together I am at their fingertips. Sometimes it's better and easier to say things rather than text or email.

Google Drive/Sheets/Docs: I put these all together because they belong to the same family. I use Google for everything. It is so nice to use the app and know that all the information is saved automatically and it syncs up to your work that you may be doing on your desktop. I use Google Drive to store all of my work and to share files with clients.

Mirroring: I love using this app when I'm doing a training for a client or a webinar and I need to show them my phone screen, while I'm using it, on the desktop. It will mirror what I'm doing on my phone and push the image to my computer screen, which makes teaching and learning super easy and interactive!

She Reads Truth:  This is not work related, but very important. I try really hard to read a bit from the Bible every day. Sometimes life gets hectic and I'm not able to open it up, so having this app really helps me stay grounded and committed to continuing my spiritual journey with God.

There you have it, my loves! Tell me which apps you're going to download and also tell me which apps you couldn't live without! 

7 Things I Do Daily to Grow My Coaching Business

Do you have those non-negotiable tasks that absolutely have to get done every single day?Or do you just kind of wing it?

I know what it's like to wing it and it sure isn't fun or productive. For me anyways. This is what happened to me when I had zero routine or direction in my coaching business.

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I would sit down to work in the afternoon and I would stare at my screen trying to think of what to do. If I couldn't think of anything then I'd hop on over to Facebook. Once I validated that nothing is really happening over there, I'd open another tab and search something that had been on my mind all day. Then I'd get bored and go grab a snack thinking that that would help me think better.

And of course, I'd have to hop over to my email and see if I had any new subscribers come in recently. Zero. Hmm, must be a slow week/month/year...

After seeing zero dollars come into my business for MONTHS, I finally had to be honest with myself and ask some big questions.

  • What are you doing here?
  • Why do you sit here every day?
  • Why do you feel what you do is important and who do you want to help?

I knew my purpose was important and I knew that I had not lost my passion for what I do, but something was off and I needed to fix it.

I'm a big rule follower and I love a good list, so what I decided to do, was create very specific tasks and block out time for every single important thing that I knew I absolutely had to do in order for my business to move forward. I couldn't stand another day of staring at my computer screen, "working."

I also knew there were some very basic, yet crucial, things that I needed to implement daily that would help me stay focused and in control of my time. Because, let's face it, when you have three kids, time is precious!

7 Things I Do Daily to Grow My Coaching Business:

WAKE UP EARLY: I've always been an early riser. Especially after having kids. On most days, it's the only time that I have to myself to get whatever I need to get done with minimal interruptions. If you're not a morning person and you have no desire to be, then that's okay. Think about YOUR best hours and make them a priority. 

CONNECT WITH CLIENTS: When you start booking clients, make them a priority. I run my business in a way that I am easily accessible to my clients. They can reach me by text, Voxer, or email whenever they need me.

I always take care of them first because they are most important. I know what it's like to start out and feel totally alone. I also know what it's like to hire a coach that over delivers and doesn't follow through on their promise of open communication. When you're working on your business and you have a question, you want an answer! And I believe you deserve one as quickly as possible from someone you chose to hire to help you.

FOLLOW UP ON SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS: Get in and get out! Check your notifications, respond and follow up with what's necessary, and click on that exit button! Do NOT get lost in this time sucking land! Your time is worth so much more than getting caught up in a Facebook feed.

TRANSFER PAPER TO-DO LISTS AND PHONE NOTES TO MY PROJECT MANAGEMENT SYSTEM: As I said before, I'm all about lists. I realized one day that my lists on my phone and pieces of paper were getting out of hand. So, now I make a point to dump all that information into sorted categories and tasks in my project management system.#brainsaver

REVIEW THE UPCOMING DAY: If I get done early with my daily assignments and tasks, I pick something that’s ahead of me to get a head start on, if I feel like it. If I don't feel like it, then I'll call it a day and move on with my life. I also wouldn't know what's happening tomorrow if it wasn't written down, so this is also just an important refresher. Especially for the forgetful ones like me out there :)

JOURNAL: Before I read my books at night I take a few minutes to journal. Some nights I'll write more than others, but I love to write down different moments of the day that stick out in my mind and reflect on them. 

READ: I am constantly trying to better myself. Whether it's a business book or personal development (I usually read two at the same time), I always seek more information and ways I can improve on myself and what I do. My reading time is usually the last thing I do before the day ends, when it's quiet, and I can really focus. I usually only just read 8 or so pages from each book and then call it good.

Some things I would like to add to my list is working out daily (I got off track after this last baby!), add one or two books to my nightly list, and tighten up my office hours.

So, tell me what kinds of things to you do in your day that are non-negotiable? What tasks do you think you could add to your calendar that would push your business forward a little bit every single day? Start implementing and testing what works best for you. And if you're still feeling lost, then ask someone that you trust, for help!

How to Start Your Coaching Business From Home

I remember the feeling all to well. And it sometimes creeps up on me still. The feeling that is difficult to describe, yet very strong. The phrase that comes to my mind when I put myself back in this place is, "I know I was made to do more."

How to Start Your Coaching Business From Home

I remember feeling guilty for wanting to do more with my life. I almost felt spoiled or ungrateful for wanting something in addition to my perfect little family and my full time job. 

It took me a long time to realize that I was worthy of my dreams. Even if the path to my dreams was a bit foggy, I had to keep telling myself that I was worthy and I could do anything if I really wanted to.

I always knew I wanted to help people in some way and that's why starting my own coaching business was the perfect thing for me to do. 

Creating and operating my business while I can work from home has allowed me to achieve my lifelong dream of teaching. I had always secretly wished I would have gone to school to be a teacher, but I didn't have the confidence to go for it and I switched to a degree that I felt more comfortable with. #everythinghappensforareason

When you Google "how to work from home" a billion search results come up. I remember how frustrating it was to see these gimmicky websites promising women and moms, who ached to contribute more to themselves and to their families, the world. 

Women tend to be really good at this one thing. Not giving themselves enough, if any, credit. They don't realize they have a gift, whether big or small, that they could offer to the world. They think they're too boring and basic and that no one would ever want to take advice from them. 

Women are also really good at writing down a million (brilliant) ideas about what they want to do with their lives and then setting them aside because good ol' doubt kicks in.

I'm here to change that up for you. No more doubt. No more sighing as you crumble up yet another piece of paper. And no more feeling like you're not capable.

Because you are. You so are.

If you're the type of girl who really feels like she's meant to do more and you have a ton of ideas, let's sit down and chat.

I want to ask you some questions:

  1. When you look at your list of ideas, which one jumps out at you and makes your heart pound a bit harder? If you have more than one, that's okay.
  2. This idea you have, is it something that people already recognize you for being really good at? For example, let's say you love planning weddings (you planned yours yourself and some relatives as well)  and now that you think about it, a lot of people come to you for advice...
  3. Why do they come to you for advice?
  4. Are you excited when people ask you about this topic? 
  5. Could you go on and on for hours about it?

Then, my love, I think we have something here! If you're constantly giving out free advice and feel like you're ready to make something of this, then I am begging you to stop running away from the fact that you totally got this! The world needs you!

Let's dig deeper. When I first started my coaching business (7 years ago, I was a personal trainer), I had a gmail address, a dream, and some really cute notebooks. I knew I wanted to work with people and help them reach their goals and when I finally got my website up I had no clue how to build my business for long term growth. 

I was totally lost on:

  • how to get traffic to my site
  • how to book clients
  • how to speak with clients. Should I do video? Should I record it? How do they schedule time?
  • how to sell my programs and packages
  • how to follow up 
  • how to nurture the teeny tiny audience I had
  • how often to post on social media
  • how often to blog

I had no clue! And these were just basic things. I can't even tell you how frustrated and lost I felt the more I learned about launching, advertising, sales funnels, and everything else in between!

I tried so many different software programs and tools until I was happy. I dug deep and sometimes I would come out a complete mess and sometimes I would come out wiping my hands together in satisfaction. 

I got so frustrated constantly searching for answers from various gurus.

Why does it seem like no one ever wants to tell you what they actually use unless they're an affiliate for something?

I want you to succeed and I'm not going to hide anything from you. That's why I'm giving you a list of every single tool that I use in my business right now. No fluff, just a list. 

This is how I treat my one on one clients. I don't hand them a confused map of random steps and suggestions of what they should do and say "good luck!" I tell them what to do, when to do it, and how. 

That's all we really ever want when we're trying something new right? The exact steps from someone who's been there and from someone you can trust is what will get you to where you want and deserve to be!

How to Build a List of Raving Fans

Do you sometimes wonder how in the world you'll come up with another blog post idea? Do you stare at the screen waiting for some inspiration to jump out at you? 

How to Build a List of Raving Fans

You're not the only one struggling to come up with content ideas. Whether it be for a blog post, webinar topic, or course it can sometimes feel like we are constantly trying to come up with something new. Something that will blow peoples minds and create a line of raving virtual fans just dying to know more from you.

How do you get this line of fans to start forming if you're fresh out of ideas or if you're just starting? Let me share with you 4 tips you can use that will create that line of raving fans just waiting to gobble up all of your content!

Know what their problem is: How well do you know your ideal client/customer? Do you know, truly, what they struggle with? What is she thinking about when she's doing the dishes and folding the laundry? What keeps her up at night?

For example, let's say you started a health coaching business and your ideal client is a bride to be in her 30's. You offer one-on-one sessions and customized workout and eating plans with your VIP package. Now think. What's on her mind?

  • She wants to fit in the wedding dress of her dreams.
  • She's on a time crunch
  • She's stressed out

Write down your ideal client and start making a list of what he/she struggles with. Get into their mind and really feel what they are going through.

Do your research. Join Facebook groups that pertain to your ideal client and pay attention to the words they are using. Pay attention to what they care about and what they are looking for. 

This is not your chance to be salesy or to throw up your link in a FB comment. In fact, you're not going to do that at all. Unless you're asked! So, if you see Suzie Q post a question wonder what kind of workouts everyone is doing to slim down their waist, this is your opportunity to be helpful and offer some free suggestions. 

Always be helpful. Your end goal should always be to lessen the burden of the person you're talking to. Make them feel inspired and ready to move forward with confidence.

Create a list of problems. Grab a notebook, your favorite pen, and get into the mind of your ideal client! Write down every single problem they might be facing. Put yourself in their shoes and think about what struggles come up daily in their life. Whether they pertain to you and your business, write them down as this is a great empathy exercise.

Create a list of solutions. Read through the problems you listed and go through each one carefully. Can you provide solutions to any of them? Write down your ideal solutions for the problems you know you can help with. 

All of these exercises will help you get in touch with your ideal person. When people feel like you are directly speaking to them then that's when they feel like they'll be taken care of.  When people feel taken care of, that's when they trust you and probably won't stop talking about you! 

There's no need for you to be spending thousands of dollars on ads when all you have to do is take the time to recognize who you serve, what they need from you, and how you can deliver amazing content that people love.

How to Grow Your List from Scratch

If you have an email list, then we have something in common. We both started from scratch. Zero. All of the bloggers and coaches you look up to right now, that seem like celebrities to you, all started from zero too. 

How to Grow Your List From Scratch

When you're just starting out, it seems like it will take forever for your list to grow. Especially when you constantly refresh your screen to see if anyone new has signed up in the last 45 minutes... 

Gone are the days when you could just put something on your sidebar that said something like, "Sign up for my newsletter!" and hope for the best. 

People see right through this tactic now. They know that being on someone's email list will potentially lead them to being sold to. So, that means we need to up our game. 

The best way to do this, is to give something absolutely amazing for free. I call these freebies. You may have also heard others use similar words like freemium, free offer, etc. 

Don't be nervous about giving something away for free. Studies have shown that offering something for free will lead to potential sales at a faster pace rather than offering discounts because people feel like they have nothing to lose. Instead of spending money on someone they just met, all they have to do is give out their email address. 

Think of your favorite place to shop for makeup. Most of them offer some sort of free sample to their customers. Whether it's them letting you test their products for free or they may have a basket by the cash register full of little goodies you can grab. 

Letting potential consumers sample free product is not just the store's way of being friendly. They want your business and they want you to know how amazing their products are. Letting you test samples and grab freebies by the cash register is how they give you a little taste of what they have to offer.

Think of your home page as your store front. When people walk in, what do they see? Do they have to look around for a minute or two before you they can figure out what you're about? Or is it totally clear on what you do and who you do it for? Where are your free samples located? Are they easy to find? Right now I have 3 chances for website visitors to sign up for freebies when they land on my home page without even scrolling. See here.

Having my website set up the way it is is strategic on my end. (You can watch a blogging workshop here to see why you should have yours set up this way too.) I let people know they're in the right spot not only here, but on all of my social media platforms as well.

Here are some important tips for you to get started:

SOCIAL MEDIA PROFILES: Make sure your social media profiles are working for you. Your profile descriptions should be the same (you may have to edit due to character count limits) or very similar. You should also have the same profile picture so people can easily spot you when they start seeking you out. You don't want to have a group of you and your family for your Pinterest profile and then a single shot of you on Instagram. Keep it consistent and represent your business well.

Here are some examples.

This is my Instagram account. Notice how I am totally clear with who I help and what I have to offer. When people click on my link they are brought to a separate page where they can pick out what they want that fits their business needs.

Lindsay Maloney Instagram

This is my Pinterest account profile. It is very similar to my Instagram. The only difference in my copy is the last sentence because Instagram and Pinterest have different character count limits. You'll also notice my link is a bit.ly link (to save characters) and visitors can easily copy and paste it into a new screen to grab their free workbook. My profile picture is also the same.

Lindsay Maloney Pinterest

THINK OF SOMETHING AMAZING TO MAKE: Are you thinking of a ton of ideas for your first freebie (Learn how to create an amazing freebie here) or are you having a hard time thinking of something?

When I'm having a hard time coming up with something new, I like to picture myself in the past and go back to my Google history. What was I searching for on Google? What was I clicking on that caught my eye?

I also like to think about what I was searching for and pinning on Pinterest too. More than likely your ideal client/customer is you 3-5 years ago. So, all you have to do is go back into that mindset and remember the areas you were struggling with.

For example, if you blog about gardening you could head on over to Pinterest to see what people are searching for. In the example below, all I did was start typing in "gardening" and Pinterest automatically gave me the top 5 keyword searches that are performed as of today. 

Pinterest example

Your freebie could simply be titled "Gardening for Beginners." And then you could also add a catchy tagline like "How to plant your first herb garden."

TELL THE WORLD: Once you have your amazing freebie created, it's time you told the whole world. And guess what? You don't even have to buy ads to get the ball rolling! Here are some ideas for you to get free traffic to your freebie landing page:

  • Create several Instagram images and schedule them out (around 3 a week)
  • Create several Pinterest images, pin to your board, and ask to be a part of similar boards that your blog would fit in well with
  • Write a blog post that promotes your latest freebie
  • Make sure your website is working for you and have several options for readers to sign up
  • Put your latest freebie in your email signature
  • Post the link to your blog post and your freebie on your Facebook business page
  • Tweet out your links

Once people get a taste of what you and your business have to offer and how you can change their lives in a small or big way give them a chance to get to know you. Set up a welcome series in your email service provider and keep that relationship going. Pretty soon they'll start to like you and then eventually trust you enough to do business with you. If you keep this process in mind and never feel tempted to skip over the important parts, your list will grow. And it will be full of people who love what you do and can't wait to see your name pop up in their inbox again. #ultimategoal

21 Opt-In Ideas to Grow Your List

How often do you create freebies? Does it sometimes feel like that's all you do and you're running out of ideas? Or are you on the other end of the spectrum and you've never even made one before. Or maybe it's been a while?

opt-in ideas

It's important to continue to show value to your audience and bring them on over to your side, but sometimes, we run out of ideas on what to send give them. So here's a list of 21 different opt-in ideas you can use to grow your list!

Before you move any further, make sure you download this amazing freebie that will get you some extra help!

21 Opt-In Ideas to Grow Your List

  1. Audio file
  2. Video (you talking to camera)
  3. Video (screen tutorial)
  4. Business Checklist
  5. Cheatsheet
  6. Compilation of your top 4 blog posts in a PDF
  7. E-Book
  8. Templates
  9. Graphic packs
  10. Desktop/Phone wallpaper
  11. Discovery calls
  12. Discount
  13. Giveaway
  14. Systems/Products Checklist
  15. Workbook
  16. Worksheet(s)
  17. Written tutorial
  18. Recycled webinar
  19. Podcast
  20. Calendar
  21. Invitation to Facebook group

Audio file: these are super easy to make. If you want to give a talk, record a meditation, etc. you can just use your phone and save the file in a DropBox folder. Add quality to your recording by using lapel microphone. 

Video (you talking to camera): this is a really great way for you to make a fast and deep connection with your subscribers. If you feel like you can only convey something over video then do it! 

Video (screen tutorial): screen tutorials are super helpful because people love to watch you do the work. It allows them to see exactly what you're doing and then they can pause and play as much as they need to. I use ScreenFlow for my tutorials.

Business Checklist: people love checklists because they're small and easily digestible. You can turn anything into a checklist. You can do a simple Google Doc or be fancy shmancy and use Canva.

Cheatsheet: show your audience an easy way to get around a problem they may have. 

Compilation of your top 4 blog posts in a PDF: take your best blog posts and put them in a Google Doc. or create an e-book in Canva.

E-Book: who doesn't love a good e-book? They don't have to be super long either! You can make an e-book that's 3, 30, or 300 pages! As long as you're being helpful and you're conveying your message well, the length does not matter.

Templates: these are really great when you want to give your audience the exact layout on how to create or write something. 

Graphic packs: if you're a graphic designer or photographer, free graphic packs are a really great way to show off your work and get those raving fans!

Desktop/Phone wallpaper: people love to make their work settings/wallpaper pretty and inspirational. Design something or create graphic quotes for them to download.

Discovery calls: these are a great way to do market research and for you to meet new and potential clients. The most common length for a discovery call is about 20 to 45 minutes. Use scheduling software like SetMore, Calendly, or Acuity. All free.

Discount: offering a limited time discount is a great way to add urgency and bring people onto your list so you can introduce them to your products. However, use discounts wisely. People will forget to use them or they will not value them as much. You are almost better off giving something away for free as they will be able to see your value instantly. This way, you're not waiting for them to use the discount.

Giveaway: or contests are a super way to build your list. Remember to keep your ideal client in mind and only give away products and services that they would love. For example, you wouldn't want to give away and iPad because you would get everyone from 10 year old boys to 75 year old women entering. Give away a session with you, one of your programs, software, books, planners, journals, etc. Think about what they would absolutely love and create an amazing giveaway bundle. I use Gleam.io for my giveaways.

Systems/Products Checklist: One of my most popular opt-ins is an online business checklist. I made a list of all of the tools and software I currently use in my business and people loved it. I didn't create anything fancy for this one, I just put everything in an email that automatically went out to them once they signed up.

Workbook: I absolutely love creating workbooks because I feel this is a great way for a reader to go through a transformation without my individual attention. I've made dozens of workbooks and I know I have a lot of workbook junkies on my list too! I create all of mine in Canva.

Worksheet(s): simple worksheets are perfect for giving clients quick results. If you want to show how many subscribers a client needs in order to launch a program, then show them how with a calculation worksheet. #yayformath

Written tutorial: instead of doing a video tutorial, you could do a written tutorial. Just make sure you write the steps out clearly so they are successful.

Recycled webinar: record your webinars and use them for opt-ins! You can do this for free by going live in YouTube or I also like to use Zoom.us.

 

Podcasting: if you don't have your own podcast then pitch to be on some! Remember to bring something good with you to promote (your latest freebie!) and you'll get in front of an entirely new audience.

Calendar: simple creations like calendars are another strangely popular item. I have a really simple one that I use to create a rough draft of the coming quarter. I share this in my List Building Mania course.

Invitation to Facebook group: last, but not least, is the Facebook group. Do NOT push people into a Facebook group. Write a blog post about how awesome your community is, put a link up in your announcement bar, or in your side bar. Then once they join, make sure they're funneled into your list with a super awesome freebie that only your community can get.

There you have it my loves! Now, start creating and have fun!

 

Brand New Blogger List Building Tips

When you first join the blogging world it can be really exciting. You have so many ideas and dreams for your blog. Your thoughts are completely consumed with amazing blog topics and you feel like you're a walking content machine.

While you're submersed in blog posts, you may be forgetting something SUPER important. Your list. So many new bloggers put this off until they feel like they're more established and I'm here to tell you that that's a huge mistake!

Brand New Blogger List Building Tips

List building gets pushed to the side much too often because brand new bloggers may not be aware that email marketing isn't just for selling. So, when you're just starting out, it can be pretty intimidating to enter this field. But, let me tell you, this thought process could be doing your blog a lot of damage.

So, before you sign up for your ESP (email service provider) let's talk about 4 things you need to be amazingly clear on first.

  • Know exactly who you are serving
  • Know their pains and struggles
  • Feel confident in your solution(s)
  • Adjust as you go (blogger growing pains)

Know exactly who you are serving. As you've been traveling along on your blog journey, you may have heard this phrase (or variations of it) quite a bit. You know it's important, but you may not feel like you have this down yet. On a scale from 1-10, how well do you feel you know your ideal client? Write that number down.

let's do a fun little exercise.

I want you to seriously get a notebook out or bring up your notebook app. on your phone and answer these questions. Close your eyes and write down everything you feel and know about this person you serve. Pretend you're sitting at a park bench with your ideal reader/client/customer and answer the following questions:

  • Male or female?
  • How old?
  • Pets?
  • Family?
  • What does he/she do for a living?
  • Are they happy?
  • What keeps them up at night?
  • What excites them in the morning?
  • What are their goals?
  • What kinds of questions do they ask you?
  • What could you two talk about for hours?

After you've written down your answers to each of these questions (extra credit if you can elaborate and add extra details!) I want you to rate yourself again, from 1-10.

Did your number increase or decrease? Take a step back and ask yourself why? Were you overly confident and your answers didn't come easy to you? Or did you surprise yourself?

Know their pains and struggles. We touched a bit on this topic when you went through the exercise above (what keeps them up at night). Now, I want you to dig even deeper. Think about their biggest pain. What keeps them up at night and what kind of answers are they looking for. I want you to write down their biggest pain. Then ask yourself , "why?" 5 times! This process will get you so crystal clear on their problems you will be amazed! So, here's an example: 

Clients biggest pain: She wants to lose 20 pounds.

WHY? Because she gained a lot of baby weight.

WHY? Because she ate too much ice cream when she was pregnant.

WHY? Because she had huge cravings!

WHY? Because she wasn't eating the right/healthier foods.

WHY? Because she had no guidance when it came to diet during pregnancy.

Wow, do you see how I narrowed that down? Originally you thought you knew your clients biggest problem, lose 20 pounds. But, how generic is that? Pretty much everybody wants to lose 20 pounds, so that doesn't help you create your own market, much less show people that you are the expert. You can't be the expert in helping everyone lose 20 pounds. That's too generic and way too broad. What you can do, is specialize in helping women stay at a healthy weight during pregnancy by providing guidance, education, etc.

Feel confident in your solution(s). Now, let's talk about your solution. You identified with your client's biggest pain, now think about how you can help them. If your client came to you and asked you to help them with their 5th WHY, would you be able to? Think about what kinds of solutions you would have for this problem, topics you could cover, programs you could offer, etc. What kind of transformation are they looking for? Asking yourself the WHY's and brainstorming each of them is an excellent way to create content your readers and clients will adore!

Adjust as you go (blogger growing pains).  If you do your job well, your blog will grow and evolve. You may find that a different group of customers/readers are totally into your blog while the original group you had set it up for went to a different party! And you know what? That's totally ok! The important thing is that you are always in the right mindset to serve and help others and accept the people who show up at your blog door because they're the ones who feel a connection with you and need your help.

When you have all four of these things down, you can then start focusing on building and nurturing your list. Content will come so much easier to you now!

5 Lessons I Learned About Money My First Year of Business

One thing no one talks about when it comes to being a small business owner is how much there is to learn. There are so many aspects of running a business and most of the time you don’t even know that you need to learn something until it’s midnight and you’re like, “Oh and then there’s that thing.”

If you’re lucky, you have a business mentor, but many of us are students of Google - which really means that we’re figuring it out all on our own!

The financial side of running a business is no different. I remember during my first year of business there was SO MUCH to learn about how the money side worked. From creating a budget to saving for taxes it took me a long time to get it all figured out.

There were times I really wished someone would just tell me what I needed to know or, let’s get real, just do it all for me. Which is why I wrote this post. I’m going to tell you everything I learned about money my first year of business so you don’t have to struggle like I did!

Here are my top 5 money lessons:

[LESSON 1]- Don't put off your bookwork. You will regret it. Trust me.

[LESSON 2]- Keep track of all your subscription expenses (Dropbox, Canva, Haute Stock, etc.)

[LESSON 3]- Create a folder in your email account (sub-folders if you're feeling extra organized) for all of your receipts that come in.

[LESSON 4]- Use Google Sheets to set up and keep track of your expenses. Or you can sign up for accounting software like Wave or Every Dollar.

[LESSON 5]- Don't skimp on learning about this aspect of your business. Learn from people who know what they're talking about and make it work for you. 

While I learned a lot about money my first year of business there were so many times that I just wished someone would tell me exactly what to do! Which is why I’m so excited to introduce you to Andi Smiles and her new program Bad Ass Business Finance!

Bad Ass Business Finance is an 8-week program that teaches small business owners how to build healthy financial habits into their business. Andi goes over EVERYTHING you need to know about your money- from income tracking, tax deductions, and annual tax prep to how to save for taxes, pay yourself, and set long-term financial goals that are actionable.

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This course is everything I wish I had when I was first starting off!

Enrollment is open until October 13th. And guess what? If you purchase from my affiliate link  (and then send me your invoice) I will also give you full access to my list building course, List Building Mania for free!

So, that's an $87 gift from me to you :)

If you’ve been waiting for the perfect moment to get control of your business finance- now is the time! Learn more about Bad Ass Business Finance here.

PS: Also, if you want to get to know how great Andi is, you can listen to our conversation earlier this year on my podcast here.

How to Create a Thank You Page in Squarespace

Having good manners with your business is really important. That's why we never want to forget to say, "thank you!" when someone gives us their email address in exchange for information. 

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We always want to go above and beyond here. That's why instead of using the standard thank you message built in your email service provider we are going to create a new page on your Squarespace website that is strictly dedicated to thanking your subscribers AND offering them even more goodies! I'm going to show you exactly how and why I have set up right now. Ready?

So, this is my thank you page. If you want to see it live just click here. I have 4 key elements on it. Let's dig into them further:

1: When your subscribers land on this page, let them know they are all set. Thank them and make them feel good about what's to come. 

2: This is a great place to put an invitation to your Facebook group community. You can also change this page to reflect any upcoming webinars, live events, etc.

3: Add a button for extra emphasis!

4: This is one of my favorite features. I added a summary block to my page that automatically shows my latest blog posts (which all have freebies attached). So, the majority of the time when I see a subscriber come in from one blog post, I'll also see them sign up for the additional posts that pop up on the thank you page. 

Once your thank you page is created you will be able to use that link in your email service provider and any other space when appropriate. It's a lifesaver!

PS: If you you're loving the way this looks and want to set up your own account in MailerLite for free then click here to get started!

How to Send PDF's in MailerLite

One of the best ways to build your email list is by offering freebies. A freebie is something you give away to a potential subscriber in exchange for their email address. The most common form of a freebie is a PDF. They're easy to send and anyone can open and save them.

When I switched from ConvertKit to MailerLite I ran into a bit of a snag when I was setting up my automations and forms. I couldn't attach a PDF! I did some digging and found out a super simple way to get the job done.

How to Send PDF's in MailerLite

So, let's say your latest freebie is a 5 day challenge that's dripped in once a day for 5 days. What you'll do first is create your form:

Click on forms.

  1. Choose which type of form you would like to create. For most of my freebies, as you can see, I use embedded forms.
  2. Click on CREATE EMBEDDED FORM
  3. Name your form. I like to name it the same as my freebie title.
  4. Choose your form type. You can choose from a button or an actual form. We are going to choose the form for this example.
  5. Click CREATE EMBED FORM
  6. Now you need to select your subscriber group. You may not have anything under here, which is totally fine because you can create a new one under this tab. If you need to do that, then just claim ADD NEW GROUP. I like to call my group the same thing as the freebie as well. 
  7. Scroll to the bottom and hit SAVE AND CONTINUE.
  8. We will start from the bottom and work down. You can choose to turn your double opt-in on or off. I'm going to turn it off for this one.
  9. Change the copy in the title, text, and button title. You will see the form on the left will auto-populate your changes.
  10. You can leave the text or edit it in the thank you message box or you can redirect the url. I have a separate thank you page on my site that I like to take subscribers to, so I change it to that. Here's an example.
  11. Change the look of your text box as you fit. I like to center mine and bold the lettering.
  12. Click on DESIGN. This is where you change the colors to match your branding, center the title, and change the form layout.
  13. Click on FIELDS if you would like more information from a subscriber besides their email address.
  14. Click on GROUPS to double-check you have the right group selected. As your groups grow you can click on more than one. For example, I may want to click on one of my course funnels as well. 
  15. Hit SAVE once you're done.
  16. You are automatically brought to your coding. This is where you grab the java script and/or link to embed your form.

Now that you have your form created, we can go ahead and set up the automation portion.

  1. Click on AUTOMATION
  2. Click on CREATE A NEW WORKFLOW
  3. Name your workflow. I use the title of whatever I'm promoting
  4. Choose your trigger. I'm going to pick "When a subscriber joins a group."
  5. Choose your group. Use the same group you used when creating your form.
  6. Hit SAVE

The purpose of choosing a group is you are telling MailerLite "when a subscriber signs up under the 5 day challenge form I then want this email to go out to them automatically."

Now you're brought to your flow screen. This is one of my favorite parts about MailerLite. I'm a visual person and I love to see all the emails literally right in front of me on a piece of paper. This is so helpful when you're creating a drip course or a series of emails for your marketing funnels.

For this challenge, our plan is to send one email each day for five days. We want the first email to go out immediately after they fill out the form. So, we will go ahead set up our flow:

  1. Click on the + sign
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2. Since you want an email to go out immediately, you're going to choose EMAIL.

Now, you'll look over to the right hand side and fill in all your information. The subject line, your name and email, if you want Google Analytics (I always check this box, and your language.

3. Click DESIGN EMAIL.

You have a few choices here. You can use the drag and drop editor (if you're familiar with MailChimp then this is almost exactly the same), rich text editor (what I use 99% of the time, or your own HTML. I'm going to choose rich text editor for this example.

4. Now you can write your email.

This is where we are used to attaching our PDF's. MailerLite is a bit different and since you're reading this blog post this is the moment you've been waiting for!

We are not allowed to attach a PDF in MailerLite. BUT, we can link to one. So, what you're going to do is go into your Google Drive (sign up for one if you don't have one yet) and then drag your PDF into the drive.

5. Click on the share button up on the top right hand corner.

6. Click on the drop down box and pick ANYONE-PUBLIC ON THE WEB

7. Copy the link

8. Click DONE

9. Now go back into MailerLite and hyperlink (clink on the chain link) your copy with the link you just copied.

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10. Click OK.

11. Finish up your email. Make any changes needed.

12. Click DONE EDITING.

13. Your next step (well the next 4 emails will be the same) is to click the + sign again.

14. This time you'll click on delay, because we want these emails spaced out a day for each one.

15. One the right hand side you'll see this is where you can choose your timeframe. Hit SAVE when you're done.

16. Go back to your flow chart and click the + sign and then EMAIL.

You're going to do the exact same thing for any and all emails going forward.

Super simple right!?

Make sure when you are all done setting up your automation that you turn it on! TOP RIGHT HAND CORNER.

There you have it! Email automation made easy!

PS: If you you're loving the way this looks and want to set up your own account in MailerLite for free then click here to get started!

Why I Switched From ConvertKit to MailerLite

As small business owners and bloggers, we all know how important it is to have a list. The confusing part comes when it's time to choose an email service provider. MailChimp and ConvertKit seem to be the most popular right now. I've worked with them both for several months and now I'm not with either of them. I found something so much better. Let me tell you why.

Why I Switched From ConvertKit to MailerLite

I started my business over two years ago. Signing up for MailChimp was one of the first things I did. I saw so many other people use it that I admired and my business coach at the time even used it. So, I figured it was a no brainer. 

As my list grew through my first year I started to get frustrated with all of the duplicate subscribers counting against me. I had multiple freebies and it was doing me a disservice. I started to look into how I can segment my lists and it was terribly confusing. I'm pretty savvy when it comes to this stuff, but MailChimp could seriously make a lot of lives easier by simplifying some processes. 

After a lot of work, research, and frustration I decided to leave my paid MailChimp plan (at that time they were charging for automation) and head over to where it seemed all the cool bloggers were hanging out, ConvertKit.

I was paying triple the amount with ConvertKit than I was with MailChimp, but I kept telling myself it was worth it. ConvertKit is definitely pretty user friendly in general. I know a lot of people who get crazy strategic with tagging etc. but that's just not me. I really liked how I could build my email funnels, implement tagging, and the analytics were really great.

I like to evaluate my systems and processes every 6 months or so and ConvertKit was really sticking out in my mind.

What I didn't like about ConvertKit:

  • I needed more visuals (explained further below)
  • I didn't like the price
  • It didn't integrate with Squarespace
  • No drag and drop templates

What I liked about ConvertKit:

  • Simplicity of creating forms
  • Analytics were easy to understand
  • Tagging was helpful to keep subscribers sorted
  • Building Sequences was pretty simple

 

After looking and comparing several email service providers I finally made a decision. One of my clients mentioned that she was using it and after I looked into it more I could see that this could actually be pretty promising! 

It's pretty simple to sign up for an account, but you know what's not simple? Transferring all of your email funnels, creating new freebie forms, and landing pages. Let me clarify. It's actually really simple to do, but very time consuming for me as I have over 30 freebies alone. Not to mention all of my funnels. It took me a few days to do it all. Keep in mind I have a newborn and two other children to interrupt my work time too!

I wouldn't have been able to do it so seamlessly if I wasn't such an organization freak from the beginning either. I used my blog planning template and just worked my way down the list. Here's how simple it is:

1. Open up your template or go off of your own list and identify the first blog post you need to change.

2. Go into your blog post that has a freebie where you need to change the form. 

3. Go into MailerLite (sign up for your free account here) and update the necessary business info to get started. 

4. Click on forms.

5. Choose which type of form you would like to create. For most of my freebies, as you can see, I use embedded forms.

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6. Click on CREATE EMBEDDED FORM

7. Name your form. I like to name it the same as my freebie title.

8. Choose your form type. You can choose from a button or an actual form. We are going to choose the form for this example.

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9. Click CREATE EMBED FORM

10. Now you need to select your subscriber group. You may not have anything under here, which is totally fine because you can create a new one under this tab. If you need to do that, then just claim ADD NEW GROUP. I like to call my group the same thing as the freebie as well. 

11. Scroll to the bottom and hit SAVE AND CONTINUE.

12. We will start from the bottom and work down. You can choose to turn your double opt-in on or off. I'm going to turn it off for this one.

13. Change the copy in the title, text, and button title. You will see the form on the left will auto-populate your changes.

14. You can leave the text or edit it in the thank you message box or you can redirect the url. I have a separate thank you page on my site that I like to take subscribers to, so I change it to that. Here's an example.

15. Change the look of your text box as you fit. I like to center mine and bold the lettering.

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16. Click on DESIGN. This is where you change the colors to match your branding, center the title, and change the form layout. 

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17. Click on FIELDS if you would like more information from a subscriber besides their email address.

18. Click on GROUPS to double-check you have the right group selected. As your groups grow you can click on more than one. For example, I may want to click on one of my course funnels as well. 

19. Hit SAVE once you're done.

20. You are automatically brought to your coding. You can either grab the java script or grab the link.

21. I paste my coding into my blog planning spreadsheet so it's easier to grab. Get that template here.

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22. Then I go into my blog post and change the coding/link and ta-da everything is updated!

Now, you may be wondering, "How does my subscriber get her freebie then?" Great question! Here's a tutorial on how to automatically deliver a freebie to your subscribers. I will also show you another really simple way as well. 

In step 14 I had you put a link to your thank you page. So, the process for a subscriber would be:

  1. They'd read your blog post
  2. See your form
  3. Give you their email
  4. Redirected to your thank you page
  5. Freebie delivered to their inbox

But if you don't have a thank you page built yet then you can go another route. Let's say you have a PDF you want to send to your subscriber once they sign up:

  • Open up your Google Drive account (sign up for one if you don't)
  • Find your PDF (or any other kind of document)
  • Drag it into your Google Drive
  • Open up the document
  • Click on SHARE (top right corner)
  • Click on GET SHARABLE LINK
  • Click the drop down box and click on MORE
  • Click on ON-PUBLIC ON THE WEB
  • Copy link provided
  • Change the link in your MailerLite form (where the thank you page link goes) to the sharable link Google gives you.

Now the process is a bit different for your subscriber:

  1. They'd read your blog post
  2. See your form
  3. Give you their email
  4. Redirected to your freebie

I mostly use my thank you page because I want them to come back to my website and see what else they can learn. I don't want them to get side-tracked and move away from me.

Once your form is created and ready to go, you are able to see the analytics laid out very plainly for you. Just click on FORMS to view.

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Like I said, this took time with all of the freebie forms I had to update, but it was completely worth it. I now have an email system that is doing exactly what I want and need for FREE.

What email system do you use? Do you love it?

How to Be the Most Organized Blogger Ever

Don't you hate it when you have nothing planned ahead? It makes me so nervous. The very last thing I want to be doing is staying up too late (past ten for me) or working during my non-work hours on something I really could and should have done a long time ago.

I work best when I'm strict with myself and when I create a system that I can stick to. I've shared this template before, but I want to share it again because it keeps me on track and it helped me plan months ahead for my maternity leave. 

This template helps you go from the ideas in your head to putting down the final blog post link. It also has the reminders that I need to have in order to officially complete a post. So, yours might be a bit different, but you'll get the gist!

I love creating templates like this on Google Sheets because not only can I work on it on my desktop computer, but I can also access it from my phone too, which is super handy!

So go ahead and grab all of your blog post ideas that you have written everywhere, download the template, and make it your own! You will be the most organized blogger ever!

How to Stop Doing Things that Aren't Working

It is so easy to convince yourself to try this and to try that when it comes to new and bright ideas for your online business. We are all so desperately trying to make something stick that we suddenly realize we have about 4,000 irons in the fire.

Now you can go and learn this lesson the hard way (have everything come crashing down on you) or you listen to me and take a look at what you have going on in your business life. 

When I first started my coaching business I was FULL of ideas. I was constantly listening to podcasts, writing down everything that came to my mind. I was so anxious to get out there and stand out I was willing to try a little bit of everything until "my time" came. I was involved in WAY TOO MANY PROJECTS. 

And the worst part of all was I was the creator of them all. So, I felt like I had to keep them going otherwise I'd look like a quitter. 

Are you nodding your head? Do have a feeling in your gut that you're tackling too much?

One of the first things I started to look at when I was feeling a bit overwhelmed was money. I wrote down all of "irons" I had in the fire and then I wrote down if they were passion projects, money makers, time suckers, making me money or costing me money (you get the picture). 

I noticed there were a few things on my list that I spent way too much time on AND that were costing me money. No brainer huh? It took me a little time, but I finally made the decision that I was going to step away from those time and money suckers. These projects didn't relate to my main purpose and goal and the more I thought about it I was totally OK with letting them go. 

I'm a pretty spontaneous person, but I did take my time closing the curtains on the projects I could no longer devote to. I mean I spent a lot of time on these things and it sure wasn't easy to let them go!

One thing you have to remember when you decide not to do something any longer is..sadly...not many people will even notice. And the few that do will just shrug their shoulders and think, "hmm, she must be focusing more on ___." It's really not as big of a deal as you may make it out to be. 

So, what are the projects that you're devoting all of your time and money on that don't bring in any money?

I'm not all about the money here. Don't get the wrong idea. But it's a big priority! However, another really important (actually the most important) thing to me is TIME! I have a full time job, three kids, a husband, and a home to take care of. I literally CANNOT spend all my time doing things that have no promise. 

Once I got that through to myself and scraped some things off my plate I felt like I lost 100 pounds. It was so much easier to schedule my work time, plan ahead, and focus. Now, when I think back to everything else I used to do for pretty much no reason, I just shake my head. I can't get mad at my past because it taught me a lesson and made me who I am today.

How to Host a Webinar for Free

Webinar, live class, workshop, whatever. They're all same. Right? I think I can speak for many of you when I say that I have a love/hate relationship with them.

What I love about webinars is the intimacy and the value that they hold. 

What I don't really love is the mystery behind them. When I first started coming to them a few years back I thought these gurus must be HIGH TECH! They were using expensive software like WebinarJam and they just made me feel like hosting one of my own was completely out of my league. 

After attending so many webinars on various platforms I finally decided to do one on my own. So, I went out on an exploration to find the perfect software. To me, the perfect software was going to be FREE and not buggy at all. 

My first webinar was done on Zoom and it worked really well. Zoom is still one of my favorite platforms to record (that's a paid feature by the way) podcast interviews on, but I don't use it anymore for webinars. 

This is what I've learned in the past couple of years hosting webinars and some of the mistakes I've made.

  • RECORD THEM. Even if you said you aren't recording (to urge attendance). If it turns out flipping amazing then you have a live class to have on your site (hello email list sign ups!) or you could even sell it for a few bucks! RECORD!
  • My first webinar was on Zoom and it went pretty well. BUT,  I was devastated to learn that it didn't record...because I didn't pay to upgrade. Boo. I learned that the hard way. 
  • Make sure your slides are clean and simple. I'd rather you'd have 80 slides than 40 with a bunch of text on them and so would your students.
  • Send out reminder emails (don't go too crazy and annoy people). I like to send two on the day of the class. One three hours before class starts and one 5 minutes before class starts.
  • Give them an incentive to stay until the end.
  • Engage with them and ask them questions. 
  • BREATHE. Don't take yourself so seriously. I fly by they seat of my pants with them. I don't freak out and I don't even practice because that makes me nervous. Do what makes you comfortable and feel prepared. 

The best part about webinars is you don't even have to show that gorgeous face of yours. You can look like a complete mess, sitting on a laptop, hiding in your messy bedroom with the door locked and no one would know the difference!

The steps I go through to host a webinar:

  • Create a registration page. I create a cover page on Squarespace, link a form to Google Docs, and then load my ConvertKit when it's time to send out the first email.
  • Invite and promote on social media. Sometimes I'll buy ad(s) and sometimes I don't. 
  • Write a blog post that goes out the day of that promotes the class.
  • Make sure the reg. page link is on all of my social media accounts
  • Create a stand alone page for the webinar (I, once again, just create a new page on Squarespace)
  • Schedule a Live Event in YouTube
  • Embed on webinar page
  • Add any buttons or calls to action on the live page
  • Create emails that need to go out to students the day of
  • Write "after class" emails and attach recorded video

I created a checklist of everything I am currently using for webinars. I still don't pay for expensive software or anything really fancy. I just make sure to deliver valuable content and I have an end goal in mind every time I decide to host one.

What you Need to Start a Blog

Starting a blog sounds so fun right? Once you finally decide to actually go ahead and start one you then realize that there are a lot of pieces to the puzzle.

The hardest part is trying to figure everything out yourself. You have so many questions like:

  • what should I blog about
  • where should i blog
  • what template should i pick
  • how will I get website traffic
  • how will I monetize
  • and about a million more...

What's really difficult about the whole process is there really isn't one way to do anything. You either have to find someone you trust to do it for you or teach you how or you have to learn it all by yourself. 

I created my first website in an advanced computer summer class 16 years ago. Yes. I was that girl.

I've created a ton of different sites on several platforms for myself since then. The domains are no longer valid and no, I didn't save any screenshots of them. #embarrassing #didtheyevenhavescreenshotsbackthen

Once I learned what the heck I was doing and found my footing I started building sites for clients and businesses (on Squarespace of course). 

And what I've learned by doing all of this work is THEY ALL START OUT THE SAME. 

A blank template with a dream. So many options and so much to think about. And that's where people get completely lost. 

All of the Squarespace templates look amazing right? Of course they do. Why? Because they all have professional photography and are created by designers. The biggest drag is when you finally select your template of choice (expecting it to look just like theirs)  and then you slap up your photos and you wonder what the heck happened? My site looks nothing like the Pacific template example! You throw up your hands and walk away.

So many people get stuck at this step. They don't even move onto something else because they aren't even aware they CAN move onto something else. They just stop. And that's just sad.

I created a checklist that I use personally and that I recommend to all of my Blog Accelerator students to help guide them through the fun and not so fun tasks of creating and launching their blogs. 

How to Get Your Act Together and Get Things Done

When you work from home, the best feeling ever is having a a clean and organized workspace where you feel like you can be creative and work as efficient as possible. It gets a little chaotic work from home though.

Random things end up on your desk. For me it's little toys, snacks, diapers, or sippy cups. When things get cluttered around me that's how my brain feels and that doesn't work to well. Especially when this is a one woman machine. And I know I'm not alone!

I created a challenge to help you GET IT TOGETHER! If you have kiddos at home, they'll be starting school again soon. And how nice would it be to just finally....have it together. 

I like to make lists and work in doable sets. I learned that tactic from my lovely grandma. So, I took that approach when I created this challenge. Each day is a new and totally doable assignment for you to get it together. 

By the time you're done with this challenge you are going to feel so amazing and proud of yourself! And it's only 5 days! I am super excited because this is not just a challenge you can and will do once. It's something you can come back to again and again when you need it. 

So, what are you waiting for? Let's get it together!

How I Prepared My Business for Maternity Leave

As I'm writing this post I am 28 weeks pregnant and it's April 19. When you finally get to read this I will have a newborn hanging out with me and I will NOT be worried about blogging, social media, or building my list. The only things I will be focused on is our new baby and my family. And I'm only allowed to do this because I prepared myself and my business. 

Having a baby is a pretty major life event. Even if you get months to prepare it seems like the last couple sneak up on you. Especially when you have other little ones running around. 

My online business is very important to me. When I found out I was having number 3 I knew right away that I didn't want to hit pause. I went into full blown planning mode for a few reasons:

  • I didn't want to have to worry about blogging for at least a month
  • I didn't want to have to worry about social media for at least a month
  • I didn't want to have to worry that my email list was collecting dust

The thought of nursing a baby and trying to figure out what to blog about just didn't mesh well. I wanted all my focus to be on this new little person (right now I don't know if it's a boy or a girl.) #drivingmycrazy

So, I thought about the next (this was at the beginning of April) 5 months and I started writing ideas on a piece of paper. I ended up with 17 different ideas.

Then I looked at each one and labeled them as to what category/theme they would fall into. Like email marking, personal development, sales, etc. 

I ended up with 5 different themes, which worked out perfectly. I like to plan my months in chunks so I knew this system was working well for me so far. 

Here's an example: for the month of May I blogged about email marketing. I had 5 different ideas/blog posts and they fell under the email marketing theme. So, May's blog schedule looked like this:

How I prepared my business for maternity leave

I did this type of planning all up to the end of August. I assigned myself to get 1 blog post done a day (more on the weekends) and I ended up finishing everything in less then two and half weeks. That's a lot of blog posts for that amount of time! 

It's the best feeling ever to see all of the scheduled posts ready to go in the backend of my site!

I also scheduled all of my Instagram posts, Pinterest pins, and Podcast images (and episodes) in this amount of time as well.

I wouldn't have been able to do all of this so seamlessly if I didn't have a template to guide me right through it all. I got a huge feeling of satisfaction every time I got to check off a new task as complete. 

You don't need some fancy project management system to get things done. All you need is all you need. Make sense?

You can use this template for anything. Being pregnant is not a pre-requisite ;) I highly suggest you take a peak and see it's something you'd use because it saved me!

10 Blogging Tips for Introverts

Blogging is the perfect pastime/profession for introverts. But in order to do it successfully there are a few things to keep in mind.

We talked a bit about how introverts can grow their business here, but today I want to give some advice to my fellow introverts who are trying to do this all alone and have no clue how to handle everything that's thrown at them. Because...we don't really like asking for help...

10 Blogging Tips for Introverts

  • Start slow.
  • Plan ahead.
  • Work ahead of yourself.
  • Follow a schedule you can handle.
  • Keep personal and business accounts separate.
  • Set your hours.
  • Make your contact system seamless.
  • Automate as much as you can.
  • Network on your level.
  • Know your audience.

Let's dig into these.

Start slow. With everything! It takes a while for us to get comfortable with a setting or a process. When you attempt to do anything new with your business it can be tempting to go full speed ahead (because you sort of think that will propel your business forward even faster). Instead of taking off with a sprint and never paying attention to anything around you because you don't want your business to fail try doing the complete opposite.

For example, let's say you want to get into Pinterest more and you sign up for BoardBooster and Tailwind in the same day with absolutely no clue what your strategy is. What happens? You get completely overwhelmed and both of these incredibly helpful tools start collecting dust and you jump onto the next thing. 

What you should do is research and write down everything you learn. Look on YouTube for tutorials or read blog posts. Soak up everything you can and write down what you took away from your learning experience. Then go back to the software and implement what you know. You're starting slow. As you keep working with something, the more questions you will have, and you will continue to improve your experience.

Plan ahead. I'm a big believer in planning. My favorite planner right now is from here. I love it because it's very basic and doesn't have a lot of random junk in it that I don't need. The minimalist approach will get me every time. Use a physical planner to help retain and record your future events and important dates. I also have a calendar marker board as well. It's duplicate information, but it helps me remember everything that our family and business have going on.

Work ahead of yourself. For your business, I recommend planning and scheduling at least a month ahead of time. Only do this if you want less stress and more time though...

Follow a schedule you can handle. It's so easy to go crazy and fall into the trap of claiming you can be super woman next month when you're planning ahead, but make sure you're being totally realistic with yourself, your business, your family, and your sanity. You can always set the "extra to-do's" aside incase you happen to have the time to do them, but don't overwhelm yourself.

Keep personal and business accounts separate. I remember when I first started I noticed that everyone I followed (bloggers) were very transparent with their family and personal life. For some reason I thought that was something you had to do and I did not feel comfortable with that. I personally, just didn't like the fact of putting my kiddos on social media/on my website or anywhere really. That's completely my choice and I think that so many people feel they have to share or tell their life story if they're a blogger when the truth is...you don't. It's your business. It's all completely up to your discretion and comfort.

Set your hours. I only get "in the zone" a few hours per day and that's between 1 and 5. Winging things gives me major anxiety and I have to have that structure to keep me happy/sane.

Make your contact system seamless. When people email you or set up an appointment with you make sure you have a seamless line of communication. I used to get so nervous when people would set up a call with me and I had no standard email to send them. Again, winging it does not work for me.

Automate as much as you can. This is huge and is a big lifesaver. Invest in the extra $10 a month in your MailChimp account for automated emails or upgrade to ConvertKit when you're ready. I promise you, you will not regret it. When someone signs up for a freebie, you no longer have to wonder and worry how and when they're going to get what they asked for. Automation just makes life easier. Take the time and look at  your systems of communication. What can you automate? Make your email system WORK for you. 

Network on your level. If reaching out to people you think are more advanced in this journey than you, then reach out to people you feel comfortable reaching out to. Just because you're at home, behind your computer does not mean you don't ever have to talk to anyone again. The beauty of it all is that it can be done via text (our favorite way of communication).

Know your audience. If you're a bit clueless in this area then of course you're going to be uncomfortable when you have to "get out there" and talk. When you post on your social media accounts, send out an email, or write copy for your site think about who your audience is, what their problem is, and how you can help them in a way no one else can. 

How to Create a Digital Vision Board

I have always loved the idea of a vision board. I really believe visual inspiration is very effective. I have one problem though. I literally have no where to put one. I've moved my office 3 times in the last six months...

This Spring we made a lot of changes to our home. Our family was growing and we were busy playing switcheroo with rooms trying to find the best spot for this kid and that kid, mom's office, and mom's other office. I finally ended up in a good spot, but there's just no room for a board. I also don't want one hanging up where my office is either. So, I had to get creative. Which means...I went to Pinterest and started pinning away!

I knew this wasn't the way I wanted to visualize my goals because, let's face it, I can't focus on Pinterest. I'm all over the place. One minute I'm looking up hairstyles and the next I'm looking up fun Summer homework for the kid. Then I thought, this was a really great starting point though. So, I just kept on pinning and it finally led to the ideal vision board! Let me show you how I did it.

This vision board is purely business goals. Since I'm going digital, I'm going to categorize my visions. So, I will create a business board, health board, and maybe a home board. That's off the top of my head right now, but you get where I'm going.

Here are the "topics" of my business vision board:

  • Office space inspiration
  • Wall decor
  • Motivational quotes
  • Vacation goals

Creative process:

  • I went and pinned around 5 different pins from each topic to a new board I created in Pinterest.
  • Then I took a screen shot of each pin and saved them to my desktop.
  • I opened up Canva and I chose to create my own design. I used custom dimensions of 800/600 (because I wanted to use this has a screen background.)
  • I drug all of my screenshots that were saved to my desktop over to my Canva photo uploads.
  • I decided against their layouts because it messed with the photos too much. So, I went ahead and grabbed some rectangle frames as most of my photos were that size anyway. 
  • Then I went ahead and started dragging pictures over and rearranging them until I was satisfied with the look.
Vision Board

And that's it! What took the longest was making my template in Canva, but I kept you in mind and I created two templates for you to use! So this will literally take you minutes!

So, now I don't have to have a bulletin board up or random pieces of paper on my wall. I can just save the image on my desktop or print it out on one page and clip it into my planner. Easy peasy.

How Introverts Can Grow Their Business

Our time has finally come fellow introverts. The time for us to shine. From the comfort of our homes. 

I love this quote I found on Pinterest. It reads, "Introverts unite! Separately. In our own homes." I can totally relate. What about you?

I didn't even know about the word introvert until I heard someone talk about it on their podcast a couple of years ago and I thought immediately to myself, that is so me!

I resonate a lot with being an introvert, but I don't like titling myself as that because I don't want to fit into just one space. Does that make me even more of an introvert? 

So, why is it our time to shine? Because we love being in our comfort zone. And for the majority of us, our comfort zone is our own home. How great is it that we can work from our comfort zone yet too? Pretty dang great. 

But, how do you grow your business if you're an introvert?

Never follow one set of rules. Take bits and pieces from different people/areas of expertise and use the ones you like and know you can handle. I like to make things my own so I'm comfortable with the process and the end result.

So, let me tell you what has worked for me.

I found it very helpful to join Facebook groups that I knew I had something in common with. I've said it before and I'll say it again, my favorite Facebook group is Melyssa Griffin's Online Business BFF's group.

I've met so many amazing women here that I've collaborated with on my podcast, guest blog posts, virtual blog summits, and jv webinars. I found it so easy to reach out in a group where I felt comfortable and I love how everyone is or has been in the same boat. 

If this would have been in real life at some kind of networking event... Yeah. None of this magic would have happened. 

This worked and continues to work for me because I was able to test the waters on my own time, reach out when I felt it was right, and know that I was going to be accepted in one way or another. 

The best way to grow your business as an introvert is to develop relationships that you feel comfortable with via your preference. So, you're not a phone person right? Me neither. That God for email and DM's!

Have you downloaded my template for tracking your Connections Catalog? It will help you keep track of all of the relationships you want to build and are building. 

I love this type of relationship building because I feel in control and in my zone. As you start building these relationships your confidence in what you do and who you are is only going to increase and who knows, maybe you'll start doing some Instagram stories or going live in your Facebook group! These are big steps for those of us that prefer to hide behind our screen!

As long as you're willing to grow in some way or another a shift will happen. As you keep taking these new and small steps your business will grow. People will start to take notice in what you do more and more because you are portraying yourself in a new light and you're exposing yourself to new audiences that never even knew you existed all from the comfort of your home office/dining room/bedroom/living room. Now how great is that!?

 

 

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