Posts Categorized: Small business advice

9 powerful, promising quotes your business will love

Has this ever happened to you?

You’re feeling all ‘should-y’ about your business or beleaguered by trolls or overwhelmed by juggling your day job + side hustle. So you talk (and talk and talk) with your friends and mentors about it and you feel somewhat better.

But not completely.

And then you see an inspirational quote on Twitter or a bumper sticker and allofasudden everything just slides into place and all is right with the world.

Yeah, that’s happened to me, too.

Why do those short, pithy quotes have such power over us? Why are they sometimes more effective than in-depth conversations? And where can I get a print of that quote to hang above my desk?

With that in mind, here are nine clever, succinct quotes that are helping me while I redesign Yes & Yes, plan a six-week road trip, and ghostwrite a book for a major publisher. And try to not lose my mind in the process.

(you can click on each of these and pin them if you have an inspiration board!)






















What are your go-to quotes in times of stress? I’d love to hear them - leave them in the comments!

sources: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 /


3 Things Clients Want In Their Dream VA

Susan Drumm spent over a decade teaching companies like L’Oreal, Viacom and Conde Nast how to lead their teams towards multi-million dollar growth. Now she uses those same skills to help entrepreneurs grow their businesses to seven figure success. Your success as an entrepreneur depends on your ability to hire, inspire and lead team. Get her free ebook on hiring your dream VA here. 

hire right

So you finally (finally!) feel like you’re getting this whole ‘self employment’ thing figured out. You can attend holiday dinners and discuss work with Nosy Aunt Ellen … and she might even understand what you do! You’ve got a nice roster of clients, a healthy profit margin, you’re even booked out a few months into the future. This is me, raising my glass to you.

What you don’t have a lot of?
Breathing space.
Wonderfully unscheduled afternoons for spontaneous coffee dates and reading in the park.

You need a virtual assistant.

I’ve helped hundreds of executives build sales-making, profit-multiplying, freetime-increasing teams, so I know a thing or three about hiring right.

If you’re ready to hire your first assistant - this post is for you.
If you’re interested in becoming a VA - this post is also for you!

Of course, every client and every job is different, but here are three things that will keep just about any client happy and just about any VA steadily booked.

1. Timely and honest communication

For clients
When you send your VA an email filled with instructions and tasks and a huge attachment, you want to make sure they actually, you know, received that email. You also want to know if they understood your request, have any follow up questions, or hit a snag.

When you’re interviewing candidates, rather than asking them how long it usually takes to respond to emails, ask them a more open ended question, like “what do you do when you receive an assignment?” and see what answer they volunteer. Do they mention that they confirm receipt and ask questions within 12 - 24 hours? You’ll get a more honest answer because they don’t know specifically what you are looking for and are more likely to tell you their true process/behavior. Follow up by asking them  what they’d do if a project was taking longer than they expected.

For VAs
Most clients will expect you to respond to their emails on the same day they send them (unless they send it after business hours.) Some clients don’t care - make sure you figure out which type your client is. If nothing else, most clients appreciate a “got it!” email with follow up questions in the next day or two.

Similarly, some clients would prefer that you spend an hour Googling a solution rather than asking them for help. Some want to know the minute you have a question. During your interview, ask your potential client about their communication ‘pet peeves.’

2. A basic grasp of 2-3 social media platforms and scheduling tools

For clients
Unless your business is completely offline, you’re probably on social media and you’re probably sick of spending hours writing tweets. You probably won’t find a VA who’s a bona fide expert in Facebook AND Twitter AND Pinterest AND Instagram AND Youtube (and if you do, they’ll probably be really expensive). It is, however, reasonable to expect your VA to have a good working knowledge of two or three platforms. They should understand how to schedule updates on those platforms and know some best practices associated with them.

For VAs
If you’re only proficient in Facebook, take some time to learn at least one other platform and definitely learn Hootsuite, Buffer, or Tweetdeck. If you’ve done social media work in the past, pull your analytics (average clicks per tweet, how much you grew a client’s profile, etc) and include that information in your resume.

3. A willingness to learn (like, really)

For clients
We all say we want to hire people who express a “willingness to learn” but when you’re working online it’s particularly important. Five years ago, Instagram wasn’t even a thing and seven years ago, blogging was a totally different animal. You’ll probably need your VA to learn new platforms and acquire skills that don’t even exist right now! When you’re interviewing VAs, ask them about the skills that they’ve learned in the last six months and what skills they plan to develop over the next six months? This way you’ll get a specific answer and get a good idea of where they’re all with these newly-acquired skills.

For VAs
Show potential clients that you’re serious about learning and improving; take classes, read trade journals and websites. Find a way to work this information about yourself into your interview!

The right VA (or the right client) can totally change your career. Hopefully, these tips will help you get a bit closer to finding one!

Have your ever hired a VA? Or worked as one? In the comments, I’d love to hear how you found your VA or your client!

Edited to add: this post was originally titled ‘3 things bosses look for in their dream VA’ but as many commenters validly pointed out, the relationship is much more client/vendor than boss/employee. Susan and I apologize for the ruffled feathers!

photo by jeff sheldon // via unsplash // cc

What to do when you feel ‘should-y’ about your business

what should i do with my business

I wish I could begin this post by telling you that I’m a human who is immune to jealousy, self-doubt, or second thoughts.

When I see someone with less experience than me charging twice my rates, I think “Cheers to them for having that much chutzpah!”

When I see someone launch a wildly successful online course in my own area of expertise I meditate on the ‘There’s enough success for everyone’ mantra and send them a congratulatory email.

When I read about creating a scale-able business or leading a mastermind group or creating in-depth, hands-on ecourses, I calmly think “That’s not for me.” AND THEN I NEVER THINK ABOUT IT AGAIN.

Just to be clear, none of the above statements are true.  

Like everyone else ever, I want my business to thrive. I read lots of business and blogging books and do my best to implement the tips that are the right fit for me + my business. I try my hardest to make decisions that will support a day-to-day life that looks and feels the way I want.

And yet.

That doesn’t stop me from struggling with ye olde “I see what they’re doing and it’s bringing them a lot of success and I know I could do it to and be good at it, I totally don’t want to do it but I know I theoretically could do it” neuroses.*

If you’ve never encountered this feeling - you are an amazing human and I’d like to be your friend.

If you have encountered it, you know what it looks like and how it feels.

It’s thinking you should publish new blog posts every day - even if you don’t like writing.

It’s thinking you should attend tons of conferences - even if you’re introverted, hate traveling, and have made tons of friends on Twitter.

It’s thinking you should launch a mastermind group - even if you prefer one-on-one client work and hate managing logistics.

If this sounds familiar, welcome to the club. I brought a cheese plate.

I brought this conundrum to my friend Laura and if it’s possible to cure someone of The Shoulds, I think she did.

Laura wisely pointed out that when we come down with a case of The Shoulds, we’re usually enamored of someone’s end result:  30,000 Instagram followers, a six-figure income, a book deal, a partnership with the big-name brand.

If you’re struggling with Shoulds (particularly Shoulds you know aren’t right for your) simply direct your gaze a few feet to the left, adjust your focus, and imagine the behind-the-scenes and day-to-day that went into creating those end results. Would you want to do the things necessary to get them?

Feel like you should be chasing a book deal? 
Imagine the weeks (or months!) that go into crafting the perfect proposal. Now imagine piles of unanswered queries or template rejection letters. Imagine getting your book deal and realizing that your hourly rate for this book would break down to about $2.

Feel like you should be creating an app like I did? 
Imagine 7 gajillion emails between your developer, you, and your designer and imagine you don’t understand the technical language in most of those emails. Imagine writing hundreds of short, inspiring snippets till your internal well runs so dry you look around your office thinking “Today, say yes to …. potted plants. calendars. lamp.”

Feel like you should be curating a beautiful, branded Instagram feed?
Imagine having a heart-to-heart conversation with a friend and stopping her mid-sentence so you can take a photo of your steaming soup. Imagine taking a sweet, meaningful photo of your travels but feeling like you can’t post it because the colors clash with your branding. Imagine strangers making snide comments about your hair/dog/choice of bedding.

I would never, ever dissuade you from going after something you truly want, something you know - in the marrow of your bones - is right for you. And the day-to-day reality of chasing any goal - even those we’re really excited about - is rarely glamorous.

But if you’re struggling to get past those should-y suggestions that leave you cold, take a minute to consider all the hard work you’d have to put into pursuing something you don’t even want.

Cured? Me, too.

Do you struggle with The Shoulds? I really feel like I ‘should’ be creating a course or a group offering, that I’m losing money by only offering one-on-one work. But I like one-on-one work! I don’t want to lead group calls or manage a Facebook group. What ‘shoulds’ are wrong for you? 

* Catchy name for a neuroses, right?

photo by Mike Lewinski // cc

How To Host Your First Workshop

This post comes to us via Lauren Caselli,  a retreat and conference planner who works with creative entrepreneurs that want to get out from behind their computer screen and in front of their dream clients LIVE. If you want to host an event in 2015, she can help kickstart your planning process. Looking for some event-spiration? Follow along on Twitter and Instagram.

Hosting a workshop is a lot like hosting a well-planned dinner party. You want to get together with a heap of your best client pals, talk about The Things That You’re All Really Good At and Love to Do, and encourage each other on ways to become even better at your business and life.

But it all seems so overwhelming. Where do I start? Do I pick a date and then a space? How to I set up my agenda?

First things first.

Decide on your ‘Take Home’ idea

This is the most important step, and it’s the one that will set the tone for the rest of your event as well as the agenda.

Wanting your attendees to go home having set up their online mailing lists and gained each other as subscribers? You’ll probably want a creative studio with ample projection solutions, and WiFi to keep everyone working all day long.

Teaching a photography + styling workshop to brand-new photographers? You’ll want an open airy loft with lots of light, and lots of space to set different styling scenarios.

Hosting a mastermind style workshop where everyone gets to know each other’s businesses intimately? Think about a cozy hotel space or an inviting yoga studio during off hours.

Search for a venue

This is my super secret trick for finding unique, budget-friendly venues:

Google ‘Event Space + (your city)’. Google ‘Coworking Space + (your city)’ and see if they offer event rentals on weekends. Google ‘Best wedding venues + (your city)’.

(That last one is actually so I can get a list of hotels or unexpected venues that have ballrooms that might also have small, funky conference-style spaces).

I also always check out Evenues or Air BnB to see if those spaces are cheaper (and if your event isn’t going to be huge).

Once you get the venue sussed, you can set a date and start selling tickets!

Sort your budget

Once you’ve got your venue picked, you can suss your pricing structure. If the venue includes tables, chairs, and audio visual, I’d say that should be about 50% - 60% of your budget. Other things to make decisions on are:

Food: If people are there for longer than 2 hours, give ‘em a snack and some coffee. Longer than 4? Lunch would be so nice!

Swag: Treat your guests like gold with a little goody bag! Either use it as a way to brand yourself with pens, mugs (especially if you’re serving coffee at your event), a journal, and something pretty like a motivational art print or your favorite industry magazine.

(PRO TIP: You can also reach out to your community to see if they’d contribute swag as a form of sponsorship!)

Decor: If budget allows (and you’re up for it), a few fresh blooms in some mason jars are an instant space spiffer-upper. If the tables you’re using need a covering, consider renting or buying white table linens to make the space look clean and neat.

Host your event

Pretend you’re in school (but way more fun!). Take breaks often (every 60 minutes - 1.5 hours), leave plenty of space for chit chat, and don’t get too overwhelmed if people are asking more questions than you anticipated. It’s all a part of the process!

I highly recommend bringing a Hype Girl, aka a trusted friend who is a tiny bit Type A to help check people in when they arrive, call the space manager if the projector blows a bulb, and set out lunch for your guests while you’re wrapping up the morning session.

Have you ever hosted an event or workshop? I’d love to hear your tips in the comments!

P.S. How to blend the personal with the professional and How to get your customers to gossip about you.

photo by Juhan Sonin // cc

13 Ways To Grow Your List You (Maybe) Haven’t Thought Of

Of course, of course, of course by now you know that 

1. You need an email list or newsletter (it’s where most of your sales come from!)
2. It benefits you to have as many people as possible on that list

And you also probably know all the best, biggest ways to get people on that list. Yes? Yes.
You’ve got a clever opt in. (Mine’s two free ebooks and a free once-over of your site)
You guest post on big-deal site (like this)
And you regularly remind people about said list (LIKE THIS VERY POST THAT I AM RIGHT NOW WRITING)

But over the years I’ve discovered lots of little tweaks and tricks that slowly add up to more subscribers. None of these tips are going to net you 700 new subscribers in one day and I suggest you spread them out over the course of the year so you don’t annoy your readers. But added up? They’ll bring you more subscribers and more sales.

1. Post your signup in multiple places.
I’ve got mine in three places: below my header, in the footer, and on my About page; I noticed a huuuuuge difference when I did added the signup to more places. Most of my opt-ins come from the signup box that’s below my header.

2. Add the image of a book cover next to your signup box.
It’s a lot more engaging than a string of text; I noticed I started getting a lot more signups when Kim added the image.

3. Create pretty images related to the opt-in and use those on social media.
Use tall, long images for Google+ or Pinterest, 440×220 images for Twitter. You can see how I did this here.

4. Create images with pull-quotes from your opt-in and @mention the people who gave you those quotes.
They might re-tweet you! Also: we all love sweet photos with clever quotes. You can see how I did that here.

5. Periodically remind people about your opt-in on social media.
If you’re not doing it already, you can add a widget to your Facebook page so fans can sign up right there. Use Mailchimp’s lead generation cards so followers can sign up right on Twitter.

6. Write blog posts that relate to your opt-in and link to your signup form in those posts.
Is your opt-in a collection of gluten-free recipes? Link to it every time you post a gluten-free recipe. Is your opt-in about building a following on Instagram? Link to it whenever you include a lot of your Instagram photos in a blog post. You can see how wrote content that matches my opt ins  here and here.

7. Allow for the possibility of a popup.
Are popups annoying? Yes. Do they work? Super yes. I’m using an IP-sensitive popup right now. That means once you close my popup, you won’t see it again until you empty your cache or use a different IP.  I like to believe it’s not tooootally annoying ;)

8. When you write a guest post for someone or buy ad space, rather than just linking back to your homepage, link to your newsletter signup page.

9. “P.S. sign up for my newsletter!”
As you’ve probably noticed, I love a good P.S. It’s an old copywriting trick and it works like a charm! Occasionally, at the bottom of posts, do something like ‘P.S. Don’t want to miss the good stuff? Join my list and I’ll send you my best writing once a week!’

10. When people say nice things about your newsletter, be sure to retweet them or post about it on social media - and include a link to the signup page.

11.  If you haven’t already done it, customize your opt-in page, thank you page, and confirmation email.
They should all feel unique, personal, and on-brand. I regularly get compliments on mine!

12. Link to the opt-in in your email signature

13. Link to the signup page in your Twitter bio
Hilary Rushford does a good job with this!

That’s it! Those are all my slowly-but-surely, no-longer-secret tips!

Now tell me, have you done anything special or surprising to grow your list? I’d love to hear your tips in the comments!

P.S. If you’d like more awesome insights like this - but customized for you and your business - you might like my Secret Weapon. I tripled a client’s signups in two months!

photo by Hannah // cc

5 Ways To Really, Actually Enjoy Networking (Or At Least Hate It Less)

This guest post comes to us via
Alexa Fischer, a communication coach who helps her clients feel confident and comfortable speaking anywhere – in presentations, at networking events, on video. You can get free admittance to her Public Speaking 101 course here or follow along on Twitter and Facebook.


Did you put ‘Attend more networking events‘ at the top of this year’s list of resolutions?
Make awkward small talk with strangers while shoving my business card in their direction‘?
Wander around hotel ballrooms while avoiding eye contact‘?

No? Now I find that surprising. ;)

Most of us think we hate networking. We think it’s a necessary evil and if we do it at all, we probably do it with a healthy dose of grumbling and side eye. Regardless of your industry - coaching, photography, copywriting, or a brick and mortar business - your business will benefit from networking.

And it’s really, actually possible to do without dying inside. Here’s how.

  1. Stop telling yourself (and anyone who will listen) how much you hate networking events

If you spend 20 minutes complaining about networking for every 10 minutes you spend actually networking you’re not going to get any closer to liking it. We all do things we don’t like that are good for us in the long run (I’m looking at you, 6 am spin class). It’s part of being a successful adult. It’s okay if networking isn’t your new hobby, but commit to stopping the complaints.

  1. View networking as an opportunity to help + connect people (rather than just promote yourself)

This is the biggest, best thing you can do for yourself and your business. Can’t you just feel your shoulders relaxing at the thought of it?

Instead of feverishly prowling the room looking for people to pitch, what if you just approached someone with a friendly face and talked to them like a human being? And then when they mention that they’re struggling with social media, you can tell them about your beloved Twitter guru. Or when they say they need a virtual assistant for 10 hours a week, tell them about yours.

If they’re buying something you’re selling or need help with something you know about, by all means tell them about it! But don’t worry or rush or force yourself to ‘always be closing,’ just be the kind, helpful human that you usually are.

  1. Don’t limit the conversation to business stuff

You’re more than a web developer or a wedding photographer - and so is everyone else at this networking event. Go ahead and ask people what they did last weekend, if they’re doing anything fun this winter, what they’re reading. Their answers will give you insight into their personalities that a job title won’t and you’ll be a lot more likely to connect when you discover you both love winter vacations to Utah.

  1. Invite people to join your conversation

Don’t you hate hovering at the outside of a conversation circle, doing that thing where you nod and make eye contact and devotedly hope that someone will include you? Be the person who invites others in.

Include them by telling them what you’re talking about and inviting them to contribute. “We were just talking about our post-holiday plans and our obsessions with Park City, Utah. Are you doing anything fun to get through the rest of the winter?”

  1. If you’re really, truly shy, don’t force yourself to stay for three hours

If you’re introverted or really uncomfortable in groups don’t force yourself to network for a million hours. Give yourself a goal (talk to three new people, stay for 45 minutes) and when you’ve met that goal, head home to your Netflix. Maintaining your sanity is a lot more important than exchanging one more set of business cards.

How do you feel about networking? Share your best tips in the comments!

P.S. How to befriend bloggers

photo by Rex Roof // cc

5 ways to get the internet excited about your products


So you’ve create The Most Amazing product.
Maybe it’s a literary-themed cat calendar.
Or a line of sweet little leather clutches.
Or an espresso rind-ed hard cheese (!!!)

And (of course) you want everyone and their cat to know about it. But how do you create buzz around your products without annoying everyone? How do you engage your customers and invite them along for the ride?

Here are five things you can do to get people excited about your stuff.
These tips are most applicable to physical products but with a few tweaks coaches and marketers could use them, too! I’d also suggest spreading this business out gradually and gently over the course of months and guest posts - it will be a lot less likely to annoy/overwhelm your readers.

With that said, let’s dive in!

1. Post photos of your products in the sidebar of your blog or website
So many of us hide our products on a separate Etsy site or under a ‘shop’ tab. People can’t buy your stuff if they don’t know you’re selling it! Install the Etsy Mini app on your WordPress site or just add images of products to your sidebar and embed links to their sales pages.

2. Share behind-the-scenes photos of your work space and creative process
People love seeing works in progress and before-and-afters. Oooooh! A ball of yarn becoming a cowl! A half-dressed mannequin! When you post these photos, link to the sales page of similar products or tell your followers when they can expect to see these products for sale. Elise does a great job with this as do my friends at Frostbeard studio.

3. Share photos of your happy customers using your products
People love using your stuff because it’s awesome and more people will want to buy your stuff when they see tangible evidence of how awesome it is. When I sold my cat calendars, I asked pet owners to send me photos of their pets with the calendars and then I assembled an adorable Facebook album of the results.

Ask customers to submit photos of your products in action; you can even sweeten the deal by offering them a discount on their next purchase!

4. Create content about different ways to use your products
You sell cold-pressed olive oil? Do a round up of olive oil cake recipes. Share DIY olive oil beauty treatments. Share seasonally appropriate recipes that use olive oil. You get the idea.

And every time you publish a post like this you (obviously) link to your sales page.

5.  Share sweet testimonials or reviews on social media
Since your stuff is fantastic, I’m sure people are saying lovely things about it. Right? Right. Don’t keep that information to yourself! Share it on Facebook; Danielle does it with class here.

If you get positive feedback in the form of a tweet, retweet it! If the review is longer than 140 characters turn it into a 440 x 200 image and embed it directly into your Twitter stream - like I did here. Of course, you’ll cleverly wrap up these testimonials with a link to your sales page.

How do you build buzz for your products? I’d love to hear your best stuff!

P.S. How to take gorgeous, sales-making product photos

photo by Eric Danley // cc

How To (Nicely) Set Boundaries With Your Clients + My ‘Collaboration Guidelines’

A friend once described me as ‘the one with boundaries.’

Now, I’m not entirely sure it was meant as a compliment but I chose to interpret it as one.

When you’re newly self-employed it is so incredibly easy (and even advisable!) to say yes to every client and every project that comes your way. And we’re often so hungry for business we allow our clients to walk all over our deadlines, expectations, and tip toe over our boundaries.

But what if we never made those boundaries particularly clear?

In a perfect world, that client would apply a bit of Golden Rule logic when calling you on Saturday afternoon or dawdling on their invoice, but we teach people how to treat us and people frequently need to be taught in a rather blunt-if-loving way.

I do two things to establish (what I hope are) loving, mutually beneficial boundaries with clients: 

1. I work on one small project with them before we commit to an on-going, on-retainer relationship
One of my secrets to a sane, sustainable, not-freaking-out-about-rent-this-month freelance life is having several clients on retainer - that way I know even if I sell zero ebooks and no ad space, my rent and bills are always covered.

But you wouldn’t jump into a Serious Business Relationship without a few dates. My clients and I might work through a few blog posts or a ghost written ebook before we dive into something big and committed. If they need more than three rounds of edits or want daily check-in phone calls, it’s probably not meant to be - for either of us.

2. I have a set of ‘collaboration guidelines’ (which you can totally copy)
A happy, healthy relationship - romantic, platonic, professional - requires open communication, knowing how your partner works best and what annoys the sweet bejesus out of them.

Enter my ‘collaboration guidelines.’ Once my client and I decide that we’re in it for the (relative) long-haul, I try to initiate a conversation about how each of us do our best work.

Verbatim, here’s the email I send them:

These will probably strike you as ‘holy crap obvious’ but they are all things that have (sadly) actually come up with previous clients.  And I always feel that putting all our cards on the proverbial table from the get-go is the best policy.

So!  Here are my ‘collaboration guidelines’!

* After being shorted by a client who’s a pastor (!) I ask that first time clients pay for 100% of their package up front.  After we’ve worked together for three months, we can create a different payment arrangement if you’d like.

* In an attempt to have an actual life outside of work, I try not to respond to emails or phone calls after 6:00 pm CST on weekdays or on at all on weekends.  And I don’t expect you to, either.  If I email you on a weekend or at night, please feel free to ignore it till the morning or Monday. ;)

* Whenever possible, I prefer email over phone calls.  I work in coffee shops a lot and we all hate that person who talks loudly on their phone in coffee shops.

* I won’t call you unexpectedly if you won’t call me unexpectedly.

* My usual turn around time for writing is 2-3 business days.  It’s unlikely that I can write or edit something for a client that day or the next.

* In an effort to keep my email inbox under control, I like to limit communication to one or two long, information-filled emails each day.  I promise I won’t email you one-liner emails if you won’t do that to me. ;)

* I will usually write your piece and share it with you in Google docs. You can add comments or suggest edits by clicking ‘insert’ and ‘comment.’

* I ask that all clients who have purchased a 10 hour package with me use those ten hours within three months of purchasing it.

Tell me how you work best and if these make sense!


The amazing thing? Every.single.time I’ve shared these with my clients they’ve been appreciative of  my transparency and given incredibly valuable insights into how they work best.

One client likes confirmation that I received each email she sends me. Another has a list of words she doesn’t want included in the posts I ghost-write for her. A third prefers Trello comments over emails.  And I’m totally happy to accommodate all of those needs now that I know!

Do you struggle establishing boundaries with clients? If you have any good tips, please share them in the comments!  

P.S. How to deal with people unsubscribe/unfollow/troll your blog

photo by 
 // cc

9 Things You Should Read If You Take Your Blog/Business Seriously

hilarious shirt via Wild Republic Designs.

SUCH A GOOD IDEA! (all caps necessary) Tackle your passion project with the 90-90-1 rule:
For the next 90 days, devote the first 90 minutes of your work day to the one best opportunity in your life. Nothing else. Zero distractions. Just get that project done. Period.

I’ve pretty much given up on Facebook now, but if you haven’t, here’s how to see what is and isn’t working.

A checklist of 40 (!) things to consider before publishing a blog post.

How many of these do you do? 12 weekend habits of highly successful people.
Timothy Ferris: Don’t multi-task
Multi-tasking is so 2005. It may be tempting to maximize your weekend productivity by running on the treadmill while calling your mother and trolling your newsfeed, but successful people know that this just reduces efficiency and effectiveness. Instead, be present for each single activity. Ferris recommends a maximum of two goals or tasks per day to ensure productivity and accomplishments align.

Ever get a little annoyed when people want to ‘pick your brain’ (re: get free consulting from you)?
Now you can say no, gracefully.

Loved these five tips for new business 
Attract now, repel later.
As a new business, in the beginning it’s a good idea to stay open to different kinds of clients. Learn from each and build a solid financial cushion before specializing. Once you’ve passed the year mark, step back, reevaluate and decide who you’d like to attract more of. Focusing in on a particular niche will help you to position yourself as an expert and when you specialize, you’ll be able to charge more for your services.

Five really easy ways to make sure people open + read your email newsletter.

A good reminder when it comes to creativity: you’re a river, not a reservoir.
Be the river. Allow life, and people, and the universe to pour into you. And instead of worrying if you’ll ever get anything more, let it go, pay it forward, release it on into someone else’s life. Create the space for more to be poured into you!

If you’re a beauty, fashion, or design blogger you should really know about these 12 blogger blogger outreach programs.

And a few posts I wrote that you might have missed: How to blog if you don’t like writing and 6 oddly obvious mistakes you might be making online.

P.S. If you don’t want to miss any posts, jump on my list! I’ll give you two free ebooks as a thank you!

5 Questions To Ask Yourself Before Crowdfunding Your Business


This guest post comes to us via Brenda Bazan and Nancy Hayes who co-founded MoolaHoop. It’s a rewards-based crowdfunding platform created by women to help women leverage the “power of the crowd” to grow their businesses. MoolaHoop enables female entrepreneurs, business owners and managers to garner financial support for their projects by reaching out to their customers, offering Rewards in the form of special pricing on their products and services and unique experiences. Follow along on Facebook and Twitter

So, you’ve heard the impressive crowdfunding success stories and are looking to launch your own campaign for your business. Great! Crowdfunding can be an excellent debt and equity-free way to raise funds to grow your company.

However, a crowdfunding campaign is a full-time marketing campaign. It involves a lot of preparation and hard work. Before you start your project, you should assess whether it is the right funding tool for you. Here are five questions to ask yourself to determine if your business is right for crowdfunding:

  1. What kind of business do I have?

Crowdfunding works best if you have a consumer product or service.  If your business serves other businesses, this may not be the method for you.

Rewards-based crowdfunding is essentially a pre-sale of products that your customers want right away. So the most successful campaigns offer early availability of new products or exclusive deals on things your customers love.

  1. Do I have a “crowd”?

Before you take on a crowdfunding campaign, you need to have a concrete list of who your customers are.

Collect their e-mails, invite them to like you on Facebook and have them follow you on Twitter. Once you have your followers, you’ll be able to start a conversation and engage real people in your business.

You can do things like provide special discounts, event invitations or access to behind-the-scenes content. Offer them something exclusive that is only available to people who join the community

Before you start a campaign, you need to determine how big your social network really is. How many people follow you on Twitter? How many receive your e-mail newsletter? These are the people you will be inviting to support your campaign, so the bigger your crowd, the wider your reach.

40-50% of your pledges will come from your direct social network and the remaining 50-60% will come from their networks. This means you have to have a big crowd and a story that people are compelled to share with their friends and family.

  1. How do I tell my story to best engage my supporters?

People always want to be part of a success story. They want to be able to say that they “knew you when.” They like the idea of supporting you in building your dream.

So, you have to tell your story in a way that lets your supporters be a part of an exciting narrative. Rather than saying “I can’t make my rent payments for the next three months, please donate to my campaign,” instead tell people that there’s enormous demand for your product or service but that you need their help to raise the funds to bring your product to market or move your business to a larger space. Always frame your story in a positive light to get people excited about your next step.

  1. Can I offer appealing rewards?

A crowdfunding campaign runs for a limited period of time so your rewards have to invite people to act now. That means either they get the product before anybody else, or they get a deal or experience that will never be offered again.

Get creative. For consumer products, considering offering a limited edition color or style. For services, a special event or a behind-the-scenes experience can be very enticing.

Offering things that are currently available on your website or at your place of business is unlikely to elicit enthusiastic support.

  1. Am I that person?

A crowdfunding campaign is a 24/7, nonstop marketing push. It requires you to ask and ask and ask for support. That will mean personal calls and e-mails as well as face-to-face meetings. This is definitely not for everyone. You have to be willing to really sell your business (and yourself) to be successful. You can’t just sit back after you’ve launched your campaign and hope for the pledges to roll in.

In addition to your supporters, you’ll need to get writers, bloggers and press interested in your story to give your campaign some extra PR fuel. It’s best if you’ve built some of these relationships prior to starting your campaign. In other words, you have to be constantly getting the word out.

This checklist should help you determine if crowdfunding is going to be the right method to help you to obtain the capital you need to expand your business. We look forward to seeing you grow!

Have you ever crowdfunded a project? How did it go? Share your stories and tips in the comments!

photo by david marcu // cc