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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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Evernote or Asana? What Should You Use?

Since I am constantly recommending tools like Evernote (Could You Run A Business Using Only Evernote?) and Asana (Got Asana? Make the Best Use of It) to run small business, I get asked pretty regularly which one would be right for you and your business. Unfortunately, the answer isn’t straightforward. First thing’s first, if you’ve never tried either Evernote or Asana, play with both of them and see which layout feels more intuitive to you and your business. If you’re still on the fence about which one you need after that, here are some of the advantages and disadvantages of each tool. You’ll love using Evernote if… You’re a freelancer and work primarily by yourself. – If you’re the only who is responsible for the work that comes in, Evernote could be a simple solution to keeping track of daily tasks, tracking client progress, and helping you build relationships. You need a digital archive. – The real power of Evernote is that you can basically keep all of the resources you find online and store them neatly organized in one place. This eliminates the need for you to go searching all over your computer for that PDF you stored in some folder that made sense when you first created it. You want a place to store your thoughts and ideas. – Besides being able to store documents and resources, you can also use Evernote to keep your reflections on projects, notes from meetings, and even a daily journal. You need to place to store templates for repeating processes. – When you’re working with a team, it’s essential to keep track of...

Social Media Doesn’t Have to Drive You Crazy!

Social media can be incredibly useful for building your brand and gaining clients, but it’s difficult to use effectively when you have calls to take, content to write, and products to create. How can you possibly find time to post six times a day on Twitter and twice a day on Facebook like experts recommend? Luckily there are tried and true tools that will help you follow through with your social media marketing plans without taking a huge chunk of time from your day. Hootsuite Hootsuite helps you manage all of your social media profiles from one convenient dashboard. Plus, you can track your readers’ engagement with your posts, which will enable you to schedule your posts at the best time and shift your content according to their responses. Pros Contains an easy-to-navigate dashboard Manages multiple social media channels (Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, WordPress, and Foursquare) Offers team collaboration Compiles advanced analytics Can bulk schedule your messages across platforms Has a built-in tool for shortening links Enables easy login through an already existing social media account Offers a mobile app for iPhone and Android Cons More advanced features are only available with the paid Pro or Enterprise plan Only allows up to 3 social media profiles with the free account Individual streams for each social media account may be difficult to read within the dashboard No pop-up notifications Interesting features Auto-schedules messages for you instead of individually choosing times Integrates tools and accounts like Instagram, YouTube, Gmail, Tumblr, Mailchimp, and Flickr Has an app called Hootlet for Chrome for sharing content from your browser as soon as you finish...

Build a Business on Your Terms

My first year in business was chaotic and painful. I used to work round the clock, but my to-do list never got any shorter.  I started to doubt I could ever build a business that would support my family. I spent thousands of dollars on online programs, but there was never enough time to actually immerse myself in them so that I could reap their benefits. Everything seemed urgent.  Everything seemed important. Now I know what would’ve made those days easier, but back then I didn’t know any better. My brain was constantly in overload. It couldn’t absorb any more information, so I’d go do dishes, wash windows, or scrub the bathroom. Our apartment was getting cleaner and cleaner, but my business was making very little progress. TRANSFORMATIONAL CONVERSATION WITH TARA GENTILE Then, one day I told Tara Gentile: “I don’t know what advice to follow anymore.  There are so many brilliant marketers out there, but I resist implementing their tips because everyone is trying to teach me how to build a massive following.  But “massive” is not my thing.  I want small, intimate, collaborative.” Tara’s response: “Then, why don’t you build that?” Wait, say what?  I can create my own rules? I don’t know why I needed someone else’s permission to build a business I really enjoyed running, but breaking the rules became my thing. MY BUSINESS BREAK THROUGH I got rid of the formulas and tried-and-true methods that were supposed to skyrocket my business tomorrow, but didn’t ring true to me. Now I was streamlining what was working and focused the rest of my attention on the customer...

Work From Home = A Happier, Healthier, & More Organized Life

I’m delighted to join the Business That Loves You Back Blog Tour with Racheal Cook! What a wonderful opportunity to share a few lessons I’ve learned as I’m building a business that loves me back! The stories that the ladies participating in this tour have been sharing are amazingly real and inspiring.  Check out the latest post by Heather Chauvin and the upcoming post by Carrie Green. When I first started working from home for a law firm, most of my friends were very jealous. Who wouldn’t be? After all, I would be making excellent money while being in almost total control of my schedule. Plus, I’d get to stay home with my baby son. Unfortunately, euphoria quickly turned into panic as it became apparent that managing my time and work responsibilities at home was far more difficult than I’d imagined. The structure of an office environment and the corporate world began to feel like two things I desperately needed. Eventually, however, I built a routine and systems that worked like a charm, and I want you to be able to enjoy them as well! How to Create a Happier Life When Working From Home 1. Know what works for you There are lots of little decisions to make when it comes to working from home—like what kind of furniture to buy, how to organize your time, whether or not you should dress up, and what hours to keep. Experiment to see what works best for you.  Don’t worry about the “best practices” that you often hear about.  Trust yourself. 2. Get out of the house Keep things exciting...

What Systems Do You REALLY Need?

Ever wonder what systems you absolutely must take care of right now and which ones can wait? Not all systems are as essential as others. And, what’s crucial to one business owner might not be vital to another.     The nature of your business is a determining factor in which systems you really need. Those of you who sell products might not need the same systems as those of you who have service-based businesses. Your business model also factors into the equation. One-on-one services don’t always require the same systems as group programs. Personal strengths and preferences are also important to consider. You might be great on the stage and use public speaking to rally people to your cause or you might use books and blogging as your main marketing tools. These things need to be taken into consideration when it comes to systems. But what’s the most decisive factor when it comes to prioritizing systems? The stage your business is in is the most critical factor. There are many ways to classify the stage of your business, but the one that resonates most with me is the one by Todd Herman.  He defines five stages of a growing a business: Dream Up, Start Up, Ramp Up, Scale Up, and Leader Up. In other words: Vision, Chaos, Clarity, Impact, and Ripple Effect. As your business goes through each stage, it’s critical that you work on the systems pertaining to that specific phase. “Skipping” a set of systems results in a shaky foundation, and you’ll wind up needing to constantly put out fires. Vision In this initial stage, you’re...

Save Massive Amounts of Time with One Simple Tool

Does this kind of situation sound familiar? A client wants to book a session with you, but there’s this frustrating and time-consuming series of email exchanges about possible dates and times.  “Oh, that doesn’t work for me. Can we do 3 pm PST instead?” This happens all the time, and it doesn’t cast you in the most professional light.  You want everything to flow smoothly and quickly. Use an online schedule to put an end to scheduling ping-pong, which can cause you to lose clients and cash. How to Choose an Online Scheduler What does your scheduler absolutely need to do? You want to get clear about your needs right away. Let’s say that you definitely want something that integrates with your Google Calendar so that you never double-book yourself and can keep track of your appointments on the go. Maybe you also typically do 15-minute free calls so clients can get to know you. This means that one necessity is a calendar that allows people to book in 15-minute time increments. You also want your clients to be able to choose a few times that work for them so you can choose what’s most convenient for you. Finally, you would love to not have to deal with the scheduling thing at all. So, ideally, you need something that keeps track of your calendar for you and allows your clients to book themselves. Other must-haves might be: Reminder emails for clients Widget for your website Automatic time zone conversion What other features would you like? These are features that are nice, but not absolutely necessary. For example, maybe you...