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Checklists

Don't forget to grab the checklists I use in my own business and tweak them to your needs!

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Unconventional Business Uses for Trello

Are you making the most of Trello? If you’ve been using it to manage your daily to-do list, great! While it’s an effective tool for organizing tasks, it can be used for so much more than that – which could help you be a more strategic, organized, and productive business owner. Curious? Here are four unconventional ways to use Trello for your business. Four Unconventional Ways to Use Trello for Your Business 1.  Keep track of important numbers Imagine being able to see all of your most important metrics from a bird’s-eye view. How might that point of view impact your overall strategy for selling more spots in your flagship course or planning your content? In Trello, you can keep lists of your current and past metrics so you can see how each area of your business is operating at a glance. You can make lists to track metrics like: Website analytics Engagement in your membership site Weekly product sales Customer happiness Opens & clicks within email campaigns Number of referrals Once you have your lists in place, each new metric can be a card that serves as a foundation for new ideas, reflections and opportunities for improvement. By choosing to keep track of relevant data in Trello, you gift yourself with a ten-thousand feet perspective that offers you the clarity to make strategic next steps. 2.  Plan your events Since Trello is focused on process instead of due dates, it’s a handy tool when planning webinars, digital retreats, or in-person workshops. You can create lists for each planning area, like: General information Researching Speaker Outreach Booked Speakers Daily...

Avoid These 5 Task Management Practices

So much to do, so little time. Who hasn’t experienced that? Sure, you could continue to follow the classic time management approach of trying to squeeze your to-do list into your schedule, or you could switch gears and do what your schedule allows. When you make the mindset shift from time management to task management, you’ll find that you could potentially fit twenty hours of work into an eight-hour work day. How can you know if you’ve been focusing on time management instead of task management? Here are five actions to avoid if you want to feel more productive and in control of your day. 5 Task Management Practices to Stop Doing 1.  Stop treating all your to-do items as equally important. While it can be tempting to justify how answering all of your emails right this moment is just as important as creating content for your membership site, I encourage you to pause, take a breath, and ask yourself which tasks really deserve your attention right now. DO THIS INSTEAD: Instead, look at your current task list and choose the top three priorities for that day. I know that number might make you panic as your to-do list could have ten times as many as that, but this clarity  will help you make meaningful progress on the projects that accelerate your business’s growth. Once you’re finished with those three tasks, you can absolutely add more tasks to your list, but start with three at first. By giving a small number of tasks priority, you can end your days knowing that you completed your most important work. 2.  Stop...

5 Things Only Online Business Owners Get

As an online entrepreneur, you know that running an online business comes with unique challenges and specific knowledge that people with a 9-5 or even a brick-and-mortar business simply won’t understand. While working from home is often marketed to the masses as living a glamorous lifestyle, you’re well aware of the reality, and sometimes you wish that your loved ones understood the truth, too. 5 Dilemmas that Only Online Business Owners Get 1. You can’t stop using words like conversion rate, opt-in form, autoresponder sequence, and freebie. When my husband asked me the other day what I was working on, I was tempted to give him a short answer: “Creating a landing page for my freebie and split testing two opt-in forms to see which one converts better.” But of course I knew better.    The jargon in the online business world can sound strange to the passerby, but they are words that are completely familiar to online entrepreneurs that are building their businesses. When you stop and think about it, it’s highly unlikely that you would be able to pepper these words into a conversation with your non-online entrepreneur neighbor and have them follow along. You might  find yourself explaining what an autoresponder sequence is and why it matters for thirty minutes and risk them avoiding you in the future! 2. You never stop tweaking your homepage. You may spend thousands of dollars on a redesign of your website, but you just can’t stop tweaking your homepage so it converts higher, is easier to navigate, and 100% represents your brand.  I am doing it exactly as we speak...

Creativity Running Low? Change Things Around By Doing This

Twyla Tharp, renowned choreographer of over 160 works and winner of two Emmy awards, does not wake up every day hoping that inspiration knocks on her door. How does she consistently create art that resonates? She wakes up at 5 AM, goes to the gym, and then to her studio as if on autopilot. Twyla, like many people who have become experts in their chosen fields, follows a routine and has reframed creativity from being an ethereal entity into a habit. As an entrepreneur, it’s rare that your days ever look the same. You’re constantly navigating incoming email, making decisions, and helping your clients create results. So how you can possibly have the bandwidth to be creative without running off to a cabin in the woods? The secret is in intentional(!) systems. When you create structure for yourself through repetition and habits, you create shortcuts that gift you the space you were looking for all along. Four Habits to Help You Create More Space = Be More Creative Habit 1: Stick to the guidelines you created for your clients Instead of having to constantly make exceptions for clients and end up providing services that weren’t originally agreed upon, create guidelines so they understand from the start what working with you looks like and what they can expect. Once you have guidelines, like a welcome packet that clearly lays out all of the necessary information, get into the habit of sticking to them. By giving your clients a structure to work within and showing that you’re serious about your boundaries, you save yourself headache and energy, which can be used...

10 Ways to Make Your Business Stand Out from the Crowd

Did you know that in 2013 there were an estimated 152 million blogs? Or that WordPress estimates that around 2.7 million blog posts are written every day? While all of those blogs and blog posts may not be used as marketing for small businesses, that’s still a lot of people attempting to get their ideas out into the world and be heard. No matter what industry you’re in, you know that it only takes a quick Google search to see that you’re not the only one teaching what you teach. However, you also know that you don’t run your business to serve every single person, and that in this new online era personality is just as important as the solutions you provide. So what can you do to be a “purple cow” in your industry, as Seth Godin recommends? Here are ten areas that you can emphasize to show your potential clients and readers how you’re different while still staying authentic to who you are. 10 Elements That Make Your Business Unique 1.  Your Journey and Your Story Depending on the space that you’re in, you may hear similar origin stories for business coaches or freelancers, so you may be wondering how the story of being unhappy at a job and then starting a business is unique. The truth is that your journey is so much more than a simple origin story. Your culture, your family, your beliefs and even your accent inform how you deliver information and helps your ideal client connect with you. When you intentionally weave your story into your marketing and your services, you create...

Create Systems That Reflect Your Personality and Business Needs

If you want to have a business that you love running, creating systems is a must.  Systems help you do less busy work and more of the work that matters to you. However, no two businesses are alike when it comes to which systems to create. This is great news because it means you don’t have to force your business into systems that don’t work for your personality or your business’s demands. What’s more, when done right, they can help your business stand out from the rest of your industry. (Want to know what else makes your business unique?  Get the free mini-guide “10 Ways to Make Your Business Stand Out from the Crowd” when you register for Your Business Blueprint training). So how do you decide which systems are best for your business? Three Areas to Evaluate When Creating Systems 1.  Your “Quiet Power” Business strategist, Tara Gentile, has a concept called “quiet power,” which is essentially what makes you unique. When you use that power to organically create your systems, they become more in line with your personality and more effective for your clients. Let’s take client intake (onboarding) system, for example. Victoria Prozan, a creativity coach, understands her creative process and is conscious of how to produce results that brand courses, offerings, or services. She takes advantage of her quiet power in this area by modeling her client-intake process in a way similar  to what she would do when attempting to find a creative solution. This has opened up new possibilities and solutions that her clients would have never achieved on their own, and it’s an...

Willpower Is Overrated

You have big, audacious goals, and you know what you *could* and *should* be doing to reach them. Despite having both the motivation and the know-how to get things done, you’re confused as to why you can’t seem to accomplish your goals. At the end of each week, each month, or each year you look back and feel guilty about all that you didn’t check off your to-do list, and you wonder if it’s because something is wrong with you, or that maybe you don’t have enough willpower to reach the huge goals you set for yourself. I’m here to tell you that nothing is wrong with you, and that willpower is overrated. Why You Can’t Rely on Willpower I’m not saying that willpower is obsolete, but like Kelly McGonigal, author of The Willpower Instinct says, “You will have to choose your willpower battles wisely.” Studies have shown that we do have a type of reserve for willpower, a fuel tank, if you will, that can run low and cause us to avoid accomplishing tasks, going to the gym, or even yelling at someone in traffic on the freeway. Since you run your business 24/7/365, you have to know which tasks are worthy of using your willpower and which can be made automatic so you can save that precious resource. The truth is that you have more control over the situation than you think. Concentrate on What You CAN Change Instead of feeling bad about how much willpower you don’t have, concentrate on what you can change. While you don’t always have control over your mood or your son...

Want to Feel Productive at the End of Your Day?

Do you consistently check off all the items on your to-do list? Or do you find yourself reaching the end of each day and feeling overwhelmed with all that you didn’t finish? You still need to get each item done, but the amount of time and energy you have in one day is limited. So how can you stop feeling overwhelmed and conquer your to-do list once and for all? How can you end each day feeling satisfied with the work that you did and feel on track for tomorrow? Besides choosing one place to keep your to-do list, like Asana or Evernote, there are a handful of actions that many entrepreneurs forget to take that lead them to feeling constantly at the mercy of their to-do lists.   5 Practical Steps to Finally Conquer Your To-Do List  1. Choose the ONE thing that is going to move your business forward It is my experience that many entrepreneurs feel overwhelmed simply because they feel like they have to do everything themselves while also experimenting with new tactics. Getting caught up in busy work is often more comfortable than identifying priorities and implementing the tasks that will make the most impact. So, here’s the question you want to ask yourself: Are the tasks on my to-do list moving my business forward, or are they keeping me in the same place? If it’s the latter, those tasks should be systematized or delegated to a team member. When you choose one thing each day that is going to move your business forward, you can stop the feeling of never accomplishing enough and...

I Don’t Wish I Had More Time

Knowing what markers to look out for in order to reach your ultimate goal is imperative, but what about day-to-day?  How do you organize your daily workload so that you hit the milestones you’ve set for yourself? Certainly not by working harder.   As cliché as it sounds, it’s true. Working longer hours is not the way to get more stuff done. Isn’t this ironic? We live in an age of countless communication possibilities, yet we’ve never felt so trapped by the range of choices. This might sound unthinkable, but when I was growing up, I didn’t have a cell phone.  In fact, we didn’t even have a landline.  In the USSR in the 80s, if you wanted to find out if someone was home, the only way to know was if you stopped by.  Phones back then were a luxury. Shocking, isn’t it? I had seen cell phones only in American movies and didn’t aspire to have one—the bulky contraptions didn’t look lady-like at all! I also didn’t care about ever owning a computer.  All I knew was that the stacks of perforated cards my mom would bring home from work, after they were spit out by huge mainframe computers, were great to play with, draw images on and use as bookmarks. Oh, careless childhood! Fast forward 3 short decades and I can’t imagine my life without Apple products.   Each one of them is eager to deliver to me my new communications.  For every commitment scheduled in my calendar I receive 4 notifications, 1 on each device conveniently synced with each other.    How ridiculous is that? But...

Do You Need A Map?

You have a grand vision for your business. That vision gives you the drive and motivation to push forward and not to give up when things get unbearable. But the same guiding light can as easily become the source of anxiety if you can’t figure out to how to actually reach it. The Conversation This is why you might find yourself having a conversation like I had with a friend the other day, who said: “I’m confident that I’m on the right track.  I can figure out my next actions.  I’m good at next actions!  I know what I need to do tomorrow, next week, even February.   But what about February 2017?  How do I conceptually fit together what I spend my time on today, so that it brings me closer to my big audacious goal several months from now? How can I balance making money to make a living now with ensuring that I’m headed in the right direction long-term?  For example, I can create a bunch of products, but is it really the best use of my time?? The thing is, I’m pretty good at figuring out what to put on my immediate to-do list.  I’m also clear what I’m working towards.  But the path to get there, that’s where it gets foggy.” The Tour de Mont Blanc Her words took me back to 2008 when I decided to go on the Tour de Mont Blanc to explore the tucked away paths of French, Italian, and Swiss Alps. …It was misty gloomy September morning.  I forced my feet into still damp hiking shoes fighting the feeling...