Systems That Sell: Alexandra Franzen
Natasha: In my experience, creatives and artists resist structuring their workflows, because they don’t want to feel boxed-in. How do you feel about having structures in your business?
Alexandra: Most people — myself included — tend to over-complicate their work.
Too many offerings … too many projects … too many commitments … too many calls + pulls, in too many directions.
Personally, I am happiest — and most productive — when I strip my schedule down to zen simplicity.
1 client per day.
1 blog post per week.
1 workshop per month.
1 mission for the year.
My new mantra is: Start with love. Keep it simple. You are not confused.
Which could also be summarized as: Do less + do it better.
Simplicity doesn’t have to be a rigid structure.
For me, it’s very, very freeing.
Natasha: Is there a structure/routine that you, as an entrepreneur, can’t imagine running your business without?
Alexandra: I have an email routine that I jokingly (and lovingly) call: Suck It Till Sunday.
It’s very simple:
All week long, any emails that aren’t 100% mission-critical get tucked away in a folder called S.I.T.S.
Then, on Sunday evening, I pour myself a glass of wine and fly through allllllll of them, all at once.
I usually light a few candles, turn on some music, and make it feel very luxurious.
I like starting my week with a clean inbox, and I like sending a personal response to (just about) everyone who writes to me — even if it takes a whole week (or more) to write back.
It’s a delightful end-of-the-week ritual, and the silly name reminds me not to take email (or anything!) too seriously.
Natasha: What I love about your teaching style is that, on one hand, it’s very tactical and, on the other, very visual, almost tactile. Can you share with us one of your favorite techniques?
Alexandra: When people read my words — on my site, in a book, in their inbox — I want to evoke a very specific reaction.
I want my reader to feel uplifted, hopeful and inspired to take action.
That’s why I avoid packing too many ideas into a single piece of writing — because verbal clutter makes it harder to evoke the kind of reaction that I want.
The next time you’re sitting down to write a new blog post, email, newsletter (or anything, really) try this:
: Decide how you want your reader to FEEL.
: Decide what you want your reader to KNOW.
: Decide what you want your reader to DO.
Then, write from there.
Focus on expressing just ONE big idea. Then, end your piece with ONE call-to-action — just ONE invitation, question or prompt for your readers to think about. Not seventeen. ONE.
See what happens.
Natasha: In your opinion, what anchors do we need to create in our lives and businesses to operate at the highest levels of our potentials?
Alexandra: In my humble opinion, everyone needs to be able to complete the sentence:
“My work matters because I help people to ____________.”
Your ____________ might be very simple. (“I help people to sweat, get fit + laugh more!”)
Or it might be spiritual + metaphysical. (“I help people to design a fulfilling career, by talking directly to angels.”)
It might change every year, or every season.
Or stay the same for the rest of your career.
But you’ve got to fill in that blank. It’s the ultimate anchor.
It’s how you’ll keep reminding yourself that you matter.
That you are helpful.
And that you are not confused.
Natasha: Do you think having these anchors impact our bottom line?
Alexandra: Absolutely. When you focus on “being helpful,” you’ll never worry if you’re valuable, worthy of attention, or important.
Every helper matters.
It’s that simple.
- From over complication to zen simplicity
- “Do Less and Do it Better”
- Finding your own way to create personalized systems
- An experiment in writing blog posts
- Finding your ultimate anchor
Share the Love
Alexandra’s refreshingly simple communication tips have been featured on Fast Company, Forbes, The Daily Love, The Daily Muse, MediaBistro, MindBodyGreen and The Huffington Post — and on radio programs from coast to coast. Her two books — 50 Ways To Say You’re Awesome (Sourcebooks) and Our Q+A A Day: A 3-Year Journal For 2 People (Potter Style) have inspired thousands of people to say “thank you” and “I love you,” a lot more often. With a sold-out workshop series, a client docket booked up to one year in advance and appreciative fans from Sydney to San Diego, Alexandra is proving that business can be simple, writing can be profitable + any creative dream that you have is absolutely possible.
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