Online Business Tips + Tricks
So often, I feel the first thing people pass off to VAs or others is their marketing content. While I believe that many aspects of marketing should be handed off, the actual or original marketing content may need to come from you! This is the case if haven’t really found anyone who “gets it” when it comes to your tone or you’re building your brand and the ideas really need to come from your brain. But Oh my gah, it can be hard to get the space to write your own marketing content! (If this is the case, we should talk because you can get that space by tightening up other things in your biz and I love cracking the code). Anyway, here are my tips on how to get yourself into the flow of marketing yourself, specifically with blogging and instagram!
I’m writing my own content right now from the 5th floor of Soho house Chicago– on a Sunday. Normally I’m all for the boundaries and not working on the weekend– but I love writing my stuff when I don’t feel like I’m drowning! And, I’m heading out of town this week so shifting some of the fun stuff for today! While I write my original copy, I do hand off some aspects of the marketing process (might be for another blog post more in depth- but essentially I pass off the editing, uploading, some photo curating, posting, scheduling to my team 🙂 )
Yep. This. Go ahead and get your B work out there– don’t wait for A plus. You have so much to offer the world and perfectionism can hinder so many of us (raising my hand as I’m a recovering perfectionist myself!) If you have a typo? Big effing deal. Once you find it, you fix it. (I write about my favorite resources for beating perfectionism here!)
If you blog or write newsletters, take snippets of those and use them for your captions/editorial calendar on Instagram! It makes it SO.MUCH.EASIER than just trying to write captions in a vacuum. Of course, you can align your content with your sales goals and your offerings, but so much of the great content is giving value and advice to your audience– and that, my friend, can come from your blog posts and newsletters! You can make up to 10 (or whatever number) short form instagram posts from that! You bet your butt that’s what I’m doing on my Instagram feed!
It took me forever to take this advice because I was drowning in client work and didn’t even have the space in my brain to create my marketing content. After my business matured a bit and I got clearer about my brand, who I support, and how I show up, I am blowin’ up with the content ideas. And now that my business has solid systems and processes and I have team supporting me, I have the space to get inspired, outline, and write my content! I do have help with editing and uploading and such, but it feels so good to create the shit out of my blog posts when I’m feeling “in flow”. And when I’m there, I write and write and write using outlines that I’ve drafted, new ideas, and ideas I’ve been sitting on for a minute. I especially love writing and brainstorming at the airport for whatever reason. So instead of trying to blog once a week or whatever, I blog as much as I can or feel like when I have the time and space! And then my team can batch upload and I’m not the bottleneck– they have plenty o’ content to work with! (And often times when I write one blog post, I end up having enough content for multiple! This post has spawned at least 2 other blog posts!)
If you’re not so comfortable writing, get your ideas out, outline as much as you can, and get help either with editing or even doing the writing. If you’re comfortable enough writing and you love it, just do it! And when I say “get in flow” when you’re batching, remember that you don’t have to feel perfect about it. If you are the least bit inspired or feel like it, just do it!
I know this is easier for some than others, but Stories is such a great and easy way to get your stuff out there! Show people your BTS (behind the scenes)! Tell your babes about what you’re offering and how you are transforming your clients! If lifestyle stuff is in alignment with your brand, show your people what you’re up to– be it traveling, going on your walks, whatever!
Again, done is better than perfect here, people. If you’re hair is curled and your makeup is on point, do a story. If you are in your leggings and no makeup but you feel compelled to do a baby sales pitch on insta stories, do it! Stories are the most efficient way for me to share with my audience what I’m up to and what I’m offering. My sales copy on my website takes a little longer as I am a bit meticulous with that! So stories is how I’m booking those introduction calls! Worst case scenario, your story is up for 24 hours. Want to follow some kick ass stories for inspiration? Get the 411 on my fave insta stories accounts here!
This is a little more about engagement, but I love following certain hashtags on instagram and liking those photos and following some of those accounts. But mostly, I love following hashtags because instagram recommends other hashtags when you do that! Ones that can still be in alignment with your target audience! So if you’re feeling stuck on the hashtags, follow some of your favorites and see what happens!
If you’re in a weird or transitional feeling place and not feeling super inspired to write marketing content, evergreen the shit out of your old content! Meaning, do instagram posts about older blogs, or idk, you can even re-write other posts and recycle other prompts! Everyone loves a #FridayIntroduction every so often! And make some #tipTuesday posts from your blog posts or random tip ideas in your brain hole. Did you appear on someone’s podcast– write about it on an insta post– here’s an example of when I did that! And this is EASY to hand off if you’re in the thick of other stuff. No matter what, you gotta show up for your audience and keep them warm! Consistency over everything, baby. Want more ideas? I have a whole ‘nother post about it!
Wow. That was a long one! I outlined this when I was in flow flow fire after a retreat in Boulder and I’m loving writing it all out. So in summary, friends, write when you feel like it, your shit doesn’t need to be perfect but you need to be present and consistent for your community. And when you have space in your life, the marketing content will flow!
If you’re like “what does space even look or feel like!?”, we should talk! You can get to that spaciousness in your business! Click here to schedule a chat!
Online Business Tips + Tricks
There are practically a billion amazing marketing tools out there– many that I don’t even know about. And I could go on forever about all the social media schedulers and such– instead of doing that, here are my top top favorite softwares for mostly the instagram realm. If your target audience is on Instagram or you just love it like I do, read on! My favorites include ones that help you do outreach, facilitate an impeccable visual feed, and can help increase your web traffic.
What it is: A tool for Authentic Community Growth on Instagram + more
Who it’s for: You know your target audience and you want to find them and engage with them on instagram. I’ve hopped into a training with Puno, the founder of people map, and it’s amazing how you can target new leads, AND keep track of who you have reached out to when you integrate with CRMs like Streak! If you’re an influencer or a kick ass biz owner ready for new connections and leads, People Map is a must! This is a non sketchy and still organic way to build community and engagement!
What it is: An Instagram scheduler for the serious blogger babes + influencers
Who it’s for: If you are a blogger and want to link your posts to your external URLS, it works so nicely with Linkin (like Link Tree, but Linkin shows your feed and the pictures are links to the External URLS!) If you are looking for an easy way to get people to your blog or other sites, I LOVE the feature of linking a URL to the post and how it just populates on Linkin! This is also a great tool for brands with multiple accounts!
What it is: An Instagram scheduler like none other
Who it’s for: You are obsessed with how your feed appears on the grid and love to play around with it. It’s so fun and easy to upload your pictures, plan out how you want the grid to look, and plug in your content from there! I love a good editorial calendar when you plan out what to post on which day, and I love being flexible with my editorial content based on how it looks with my precisely curated and arranged photos! I myself use planoly exclusively as my scheduler (most of my content is just my blog and instagram) and I haven’t found another platform that does the grid like this!
What it is: A Pinterest (and instagram) Scheduling App and more!
Who it’s for: You want to rock pinterest! You have content on your site and want to drive traffic over there! Maybe you were a BoardBooster person (which sadly, no longer exists) and you want an easy way to schedule your pins! While I love Pinterest, I am not the authority on Pinterest. But I can point you to someone who is– my biz bae Kelsey at Pinegateroad. She educates on how to seriously increase your traction on Pinterest and her agency implements this for business owners and influencers who have amazing content and need that traffic, honey.
What are your absolute favorites for instagram marketing and engagement?!? Things are changing so quickly and I wanna know what you think! I feel like there is more magic out there that I just don’t even know about yet!
Online Business Tips + Tricks
What you put out on your instagram posts totally depends on your brand, audience, and your sales goals. That being said, there are still some post ideas that work pretty universally if you are just feeling stuck and need to post something!
Here are some easy posts you can use when you are just out of ideas (some of these may seem pretty basic, but they are worth noting!)
#tiptuesday is a great day to add some value and make a baby insta post with a solid piece of advice! Whether it’s from a newsletter, blog, or lurking on your evernote or i phone notes, use it! These can range from “batch your content!” or “use a solid accounting software and not spreadsheets for your finances” or whatever expertise!
Have you blogged ever? Great! Have you posted a few times referring back to that blog? No? Do that! Already posted about it but it was forever ago? You can totally post about it again! Change up the copy and the image!
#Fridayintroduction who doesn’t love one of these? They are good to throw in every so often as your audience grows and changes! If you’re an agency owner, you can do a series of these for your team, too! Heck, I even love a good #flashbackFriday or #ThrowBackThursday #tbt! Omg or #wcw (Woman Crush Wednesday)!
Some people love them and some people hate them, but you can consider doing a post on one of the national hashtag holidays! Sprout Social has a great one for 2018– you can get their download here. Marque Media creates awesome hashtag holiday guides monthly that you can get if you’re on their mailing list! And google searches can work too, but these aforementioned guides are more curated. I have a running google doc of hashtag holidays that make sense for my brand and audience– I suggest you do the same! Oh yes, I did do a #nationalcoffeeday post <3
Sometimes, a good old fashioned quote can work great, too! If the quote is “public domain” or you have permission, go for it! You can whip up a cute branded graphic on Illustrator, Canva, or even just use the quote with a photo! As you may or may not know, I’m obsessed with RuPaul’s drag race and felt very called to share this little diddy from Mother Rupaul herself– a little out there perhaps but still in alignment with my brand!
Even more basic than a fancy quote, ask yourself what messages or mantras have come to you lately? Be it something you heard in yoga class or any other self-care practice! The words “Keep Going” came to me during a breathwork session with Amy Kuretsky (you can read more about her in my self care blog post). I needed to keep posting and engaging, so I posted those two words and kept the caption simple, it was still impactful!
Do you host a podcast? Or were you on someone’s podcast? Post about it! Here’s an example of how I did it from when I was on @pinegateroad’s Podcast!
Hell, have you even just listened to a podcast that resonated with you? Share it out! I was listening to the What the Eff podcast and decided to post about it. People are ALWAYS looking for good podcast recommendations!
Highlight another business owner or influencer you love! It doesn’t even have to be too fancy! I love how my friends at Redstart Creative do this about Women Owned Businesses!
If you have permission (just a little DM will usually do it), repost something cute from someone you like (#rePlanoly). I did a few from an account that I like, @shopirisandpoppy and they graciously gave me permission to do so as long as I give the proper artist credits!
Did you go to a cool conference or trip? Use some photos and a few snippets about it- you can make several posts about that! Here’s one from my retreat from my CEO Roundtable Mastermind!
Look at your pictures and see if anything flows! I love how Kelsey at Pinegateroad did this cute post totally using her sun-shiney photo as inspiration!
Remember, your content doesn’t have to feel A plus plus perfect– but as long as you are showing up consistently and more or less staying true to your brand and serving your audience, you are doing great!
Need help around your content creating systems? Or need help carving space so that you can focus on your content? Book an intro call with me! I would love to help you!
Online Business Tips + Tricks
In my past life as a teacher, this whole self-care piece was practically nonexistent. I was so exhausted always and wasn’t feeling myself. Without feeling whole and happy, was I able to show up as my best and most effective self for my students? Probably not.
Fast forward to being a business owner, and while I had more time for self-care for sure, but I didn’t make it a priority. That is until I did a Tarot and Breathwork session with Amy Kurtesky, an amazing woman who works with other near burn out (or not) creative entrepreneurs. As we were doing my tarot reading (my first one ever), we talked about a lot of things (I was on my couch and Amy’s beautiful face was on the other end of the computer screen via zoom). After pulling some cards, she told me that my business could not survive if I didn’t care for myself. Thus, I realized that self-care wasn’t just for me to feel good, but my business literally depended on it.
Fast forward to my time at Camp Climb, a wonderful weekend getaway for women entrepreneurs. On our last night, in beautiful Iowa, my cohort of my new business best friends joined around in our cabin for our own roundtable mastermind. We were tasked with giving our own little speech as if we were to give a keynote (we were all on fire and hearts ablazin from Jenna Kutcher’s keynote!) So around the circle we went, a group of 20 badass women instilling their wisdom. When it came to me, my take-away from my time in business and being a person was as such:
Your business depends on it. You may feel compelled to constantly care for others or work inside of your business, but you can’t fully show up for people until you show up for yourself. Point blank. And I swear I didn’t even cry as I delivered my mini-keynote, in my target one-piece, after our 90s summer camp-esque pool party. I looked ridiculous but I was so serious. I see so many amazing women prioritizing business or anyone else and it pains me. I’ve been there. Big time. And of course, we need to show up for our loved ones and our businesses. And we need to show up for ourselves, in a big way. Like in a #radicalselflove kind of way.
Mentioning the wonderful Amy Kuretsky again! I won’t go into the details of breathwork as I’m not a breathwork practitioner but doing this practice has healed me in a big way and I continue to practice in Amy Kuretsky’s breathwork subscription on Patreon (it is the MOST accessible way to access this and I HIGHLY recommend it!) Amy also offers 1:1 zoom sessions– I recommend doing one of these with Tarot! Otherwise, check out her breathwork subscription! It’s a sliding scale and can pay what is in alignment with you!
Here’s a little more about breathwork if you’re not familiar with the practice. It’s broken up into three easy patterns. You start by laying down on your couch, bed, or yoga mat with no pillows in order to keep the throat chakra open. Once you start this breath pattern, all the oxygen goes to your head. By doing this, you’re able to release the mind and get into your body. With all the energy swirling around, you end up tingling and crying in the best way. I’ve been able to release A LOT of trauma through this practice and was able to clear my head which was such a powerful feeling. There’s a lot more to it, but that’s the beauty of breathwork in a nutshell. I urge you to give it a try!
Duh. I know you’ve heard it before. Also, meditation is such a grounding exercise, such a great activity to do before sales calls or just to reset and realign.
You don’t have to do some crazy practice. Even 5 minutes a day. There are a gazillion apps, and my favorite recommended by my bff Kelsey is actually an app that sells makeup but has the best and easiest meditations. It’s called Rituals– you can choose 5,10,15 etc minute meditations which mainly focus on breath. I just find so much comfort in these meditations. And even just 5 minutes a day can make a huge different. Give daily, simple meditation a try with the free app Rituals, or whatever else app you may like!
Double duh. I know. I feel so often I disengaged from exercise because I felt like it had to be a certain way, and I wasn’t prepared to do it imperfectly. What I mean by that is instead of doing a little mile jog, I felt like in order for it to count or be worth it, I would need to do at least 40 minutes. Eff that. Even walking is great! Just move your bod in a way that feels great!
I used to do rowing (in college for a hot second and again in Chicago when I moved here), and I hate it. So I don’t do it anymore. I realized I love being on the water though, so I now love to do Stand Up Paddle boarding. I used to think it was a silly thing to love, but I don’t care. I also love kayaking and canoeing and biking, my Dad raised me on these activities and they feel so great as an adult! Do I do them all the time? Well, no. But I’ve been lucky to paddle board a few times recently and do the other activities whenever I can!
Other easy and fun ways to move your bod:
She has a paid membership, but I use her free content on Youtube and it’s the best!! Again, I used to think that it wasn’t worth doing if I wasn’t doing a 60 minute sweat your butt off vinyasa class. Now I aim to do yoga every day– even if it’s a quick 5-10 minute practice. It’s so much better than nothing!
Think Zumba ish but not. This guy, Caleb, and his “back up booty” have such fun dances to fun songs on their youtube channel! They also have a paid membership but I use their free content to move my body and have the most fun!
There are so many other amazing ways to do the self-care and it’s different for everyone. It doesn’t have to be a fancy massage (though I do them every month lol), it’s more about doing what fills you up and makes you happy and healthy and optimal.
I’m not an expert healer by any means, but I know what it feels like to be burnt the eff out and I know what practices that others told me about that help me feel so much better and in more of a place to lead and care for my loved ones.
What are your favorite ways to engage in self-care? I have a feeling I may blog more about this 😉
PS are you a CEO and feel like you don’t have the space to practice self-care? I help business owners like you create fun systems and create action plans to bust through your “sticky spots”. Ready to find some space and have the action steps to get closer to where you want to be? We should chat! Click here to book a call with me!
Whether you’re flying for your biz or as a personal perk/ for fun, I’ve jotted down a few of my favorite business travel hacks. Some of these I’ve learned from my husband who has traveled a lot for work. I’ve always been pretty savvy, and being out of my 9 to 5 grind, I’m finding myself traveling more. As I’m drafting this post on the airplane right now, here are the game-changers for me in both business travel and for fun travel.
Everyone in this woo, manifestation, law of attraction world has taught me that life can be easy. And sometimes let things be way harder than they need to be. If you’re a US citizen and have a clean record, it’s super easy. I decided before I went to Alt Summit in 2018, made an appointment for the next day, went in with my documents, did some fingerprints, and there we go. I don’t have to take out my liquids, I usually keep my shoes on, don’t take out my laptop, and typically just do the metal detector. And I just get my butt to the airport 1.5 to 1 hour before boarding and I’m good.
Download the airline app before you’re in the air for that online, free entertainment. United and American have primo free movies and such. But if you don’t have the app when you’re in the air, you’re SOL to watch on your phone.
Unless there’s a starbucks with the exact egg bites you want, bring food/snacks à la Ashley Pardo, private chef and nutritional therapist extraordinaire! She gives her tips on travel eating and dishes all about her hacks on her blog and frequently on Instagram! I even bought my own baby French Press per her advice and bring it with me if I’m going somewhere where the morning coffee isn’t easy accessible.
I packed mango and salad with a tsa approved size cold pack in my suitcase, I got extra search but in TSA pre, it wasn’t a big deal. Anyway, definitely follow Ashley for amazing tips and inspiration around food and life.
Work on the plane if you want, but the internet is slow. I prefer to watch the free entertainment and play my sudoku puzzles on the plane. And my philosophy goes back to the whole “whatever amount of time you have for work, that’s how long it will take you to do the work you need to do” (which I’ve learned from Mike, the Profit First guy referenced in his book, Clockwork, and my coach, Eryn), sometimes you get to relax. You need to chill and relax sometimes!. And if the internet is slow, it’s kind of a useless time to work anyway. Of course, if you feel like pulling up a word document to write a blog post, that’s cool too! Just wait to put it up when you’re internet is optimal. (BTW wrote the first draft of this in a word doc on the plane after some restful sudoku puzzle solving on the airplane just because I felt like it– it was a 2.5 hour flight afterall)
If you’re looking for a credit card, there are some credit cards (my husband just got one with United) with the airlines that give great perks, like access to their special rooms at the airport, like the fancy “Admiral clubs” and what not. Also, if you travel a lot, this is a nice perk. (Mind you, I’ve never been in one of these rooms and don’t hold the special credit card myself, but bae told me it was magical).
I’m obsessed with my away bag. The little carry on suitcase roller board and I love it. I’m typically a pretty light packer but the way I can shove my clothes in and pull on the straps, I usually have ample room for my things! And I feel cute AF with it. Not to mention, there’s the battery you can charge in advance to plug your phone into! (just be sure to remove it if you have to check your bag!)
Are you going anywhere fun soon? For work or for travel? Let me know!
Online Business Tips + Tricks
There are so many business tools out on the world wide web for us online entrepreneurs. It’s amazing. And overwhelming. Here are some of my favorites after a lot of trial and error, scrolling through facebook groups, and asking my biz besties.
And a little disclaimer: some of these links may be affiliate links, meaning that I get compensated if you use my link to buy a service. (#Ad #TryingToStayCompliantWithThePowersThatBe!)
And please keep in mind that at the end of the day, your needs and preferences may be different from mine but reading what other people have found is a great place to start! Whether you’re just starting out or have been in the biz for a while, here are some options for you! And honestly, I could write about these for forever, so I’m just going to start with few…
This is a no brainer for me.
Acuity Scheduling makes my life so easy with all of the different appointment types I can create, I can charge up front for certain offerings, I can sync it with my google calendar, and I can set it up with the reminders! And instead of going back on forth on when to meet with people, I just send them my link and it’s sooo easy!
I’ve tried a different service and Zoom is hands down my favorite. It’s a reliable video conferencing tool and it’s easy to integrate with acuity (just put your zoom link in your acuity invites and done!) The free version is great but you can only talk for up to 40 minutes at a time. I have the paid version and it’s a bill I’m happy to pay! If you’re new to it, it can take a little bit of time to download the software needed but once you get the hang of it, it’s great!
I recommend Dubsado for sure. It’s a great client management tool (much more than just contract signing). Everyone I know who has flawless onboarding systems use Dubsado. Though it takes a bit of setting up, it can do your contracts, invoices, reminder emails, so many things!
Wanting help setting up your dubsado?? I can help you with that! Set up a call with me to get your dubsado working for you!
Dubsado definitely takes front loading and a lot of thinking about how exactly you want your processes to look like. Engineering the backend of Dubsado reminds me so much of my teaching days and setting up processes and procedures in the classroom so that the rest of the school year could run smoothly. It pays off! It’s work and a lot of thinking up front, AND you will thank yourself later on for getting it all set up!
Otherwise, if you’re looking for something simple, Hello Sign is another Fan Favorite! I have also used Adobe Sign but if you aren’t using Adobe tools, Hello Sign or Dubsado are prime!
This is a WHOLE big discussion. And I have tried so many things as far as accounting software and merchant services (how to capture that cash money via credit card). I’m on my third, yes third, accounting software and third, (again), merchant service. Furthermore, I’m not a bookkeeping or accounting pro, (I have an Aimee to help me out with that), but here’s what I use now. Xero is my accounting software of choice (I know that a lot of creatives love Freshbooks, and Dubsado is cool too, but they just do invoicing, not the accounting piece) and it’s way easier for me to understand. Quickbooks Online seems to integrate the best with Dubsado and QBO is fine, I just prefer Xero now. And Stripe is the best way that I know to take credit cards. I tried doing merchant services through my former bank and it was a nightmare. The pros use Stripe (and so do I)! It’s just so easy to take credit card info that way and Stripe integrates really well with a ton of other softwares! Paypal is okay in the beginning but I recommend using Stripe.
Asana is still one of my favorites, especially their free version. There are others out there like Trello and I’m looking into using Flow for some web development projects. And Basecamp is super robust and great, but at a price! Asana however is a great (free-unless you upgrade) way to communicate with team, assign tasks, and create and replicate processes. The free version is great! I personally don’t use Asana to manage my daily tasks (I use white boards, paper, journals, google docs, etcetera). This tool is really great if you have a project broken down into tasks that you need team to do or that you want to be client facing. A lot of the pros that I know do great with the free version! I also love Flow for web and designed based projects– super easy to replicate templates and makes project managing fun for me!
I also love Google Docs/Drive to write out processes and collaborate on projects. However, once you have a lot of moving pieces (several client timelines, your own calendar, etc) to toggle with, Project Management Software can really help out with that!
If you’re on any virtual teams now a days, it’s all about Slack! You can have a million different channels and it makes it easier to keep tabs on different subjects, conversations etcetera. I recommend this for teams and if you haven’t seen Slack yet, you will if you’re a service provider looking to help small businesses! If you use Slack in your business, I recommend it for internal communication and keep other ways, like Email (or Asana) for client communication.
What are your favorites!? Comment below!
If you’re looking to get any of these products set-up, my team and I can help you and love collaborating on projects that will make your life easier in the long run!! Schedule a call with me here and let’s chat more!