Welcome back for another installment of Entrepreneurial, my monthly journal entry chronicling my experience as an entrepreneur, my victories and failures each month, and the lessons learned along the way.
Half Way There!
It’s official Mid-Year and as an Entrepreneur or fellow business owner, we have a few housekeeping things to get in order! I find that now is the best time to take a moment to reflect on your business, projects and progress so far this year and make any necessary adjustments. In life and in business, I think too few of us try to push on and finish what we have started, even when its not working for us, and it takes a lot of courage to really stop and evaluate your progress to make sure you are still on the right track. For this installment of Entrepreneurial, I want to focus on getting your life and business tidy for the second half of the year!
Take time to Refresh and Review your life as well as your business! I recently announced my July free printable task list which is a Mid-Year Refresh and Review with 31 things to do in July to get your life in order and on track now that we are half way through the year. Go through this list and make sure to get yourself reset for the second half of 2016!
My June Highlight Reel!
If you haven’t heard yet, my husband and I are closing on our first home! It’s a very exciting time for us and I am looking forward to all the changes this summer is going to bring to our life.
I recently announced that I am taking a break from YouTube for the next few weeks to prepare for those major life changes that come with home ownership. If you want to hear more about it- watch this video.
I finally signed up for Edgar! If you haven’t heard about this wonderful content promotion tool, definitely check it out because it’s making my job and my assistant’s job, so much easier!
I’ve changed my planner up a bit and am moving away from my spiral planner that I DIY’d last year and back into a fully discbound system. What can I say? I’m digging the discs. I hope to be able to share the new set up upon my return to YouTube.
Okay, well, that is my update for June! If you are feeling blue about my YouTube break, don’t forget to follow me on SnapChat, my handle there is MissTrenchcoat and I try to snap most days sharing bits of my life and behind the scenes. I’d love for you to follow along with me there for my summer adventures!
Who’s ready for a Mid-Year Refresh & Review? July is right around the corner and with half of the year behind us, it’s the perfect time to take a moment and reflect on everything we have accomplished so far and what we still hope to accomplish before the year ends. So, to help you with this process, my Free monthly task list for July is centered around 31 things you can do to get a fresh start at this mid year mark and get yourself into a positive mindset to tackle everything else left on the to do list for the year! Of course, like always, I also have a new July Dashboard as well, so if you would like to download these freebies for the month of July click here and you can download them from my shop!
Of course, your planner isn’t the only accessory that gets to have all the fun this month, so make sure to check out my new July “Sunnies Out” Tech Wallpapers to give your computer, tablet or smartphone some summer inspired digs for the month! Click here to access my free wallpapers over on my shop as well!
I hope you the first half of 2016 has been good to you, and I wish you the best of luck with your Mid-Year Refresh & Review! If you do download these inserts or wallpapers, make sure to share about them on social media. I love when I see your photos on Instagram sharing how you are using and loving your monthly freebies, so make sure to use #CharmedGTD if you post a picture on Instagram or Twitter, and feel free to tag me @MissTrenchcoat as well so I can see you photos and give them a big heart 😉
If you didn’t make it to my Free Live Webinar yesterday, you might have missed the news that my Empire Building Online Business Program is currently on sale through the end of the month! If you have been interested in the program, now is the perfect time to invest and get started because although Empire Building is available all year round, I rarely drop the price, but with summer break upon us, I thought this was the perfect time to give you all a little entrepreneurial kick in the butt. If you have been waiting to start your #sidehustle or make real progress on creating your own dream job, I’m here to tell you you’ll regret not starting TODAY! With Empire Building, you get a self-paced online business building program that teaches you everything you need to know to market your brand or business online, whether you want to become a professional blogger, start a serviced based business or even run an online shop! Empire Building is all about giving you the strategies and resources that you need to get your business up and running quickly and PROFITABLY! If this interests you, click here to read the details of the program!
How to Find Focus as a Multi-Passionate Entrepreneur
Today I want to talk to you about finding focus as a multi-passionate entrepreneur because this is a topic that is very near and dear to my heart. I do consider myself to be a multi-passionate entrepreneur. I’m someone who enjoys a wide variety of different creative endeavors and strives to fold them all together into my business. Things from writing and blogging to photography or videography and designing. There are so many different things I’m passionate about and I’ve been lucky enough to figure out a way to pull those all together into one business. Now this is also a really important topic to me because within my Empire Building Online Business Program, I work with a lot of business owners who consider themselves to be multi-passionate entrepreneurs as well. They’re either in a stage of business where they’re trying to start their business or they’ve already begun their business and they’re trying to figure out the next step, but because they’re multi-passionate and they have all these great ideas and creative visions, they have a hard time focusing on what they need to work on next. So, this is something that I deal with personally on a day-to-day basis. Not just by myself but with my clients as well. So, today I want to share a strategy that I use and recommend for anyone looking to find focus and who considers themselves to be a creative multi-passionate individual!
The first thing I want you to do if you are someone who has a lot of different ideas and you’re trying to determine what to work on first is to go ahead and write down all those ideas. Once you’ve written them all down I want you to go one step further and I want you to write down all the tasks and actions you currently have that pertain to that idea or to that product/project you want to create. Whatever this new endeavor is, I want you to write everything out that you already have thought about. All the plans don’t have to be solidified, they don’t have to be things you know you want to do, just ideas you’ve had that pertain to this concept. I want you to get it all out of your head and onto paper so we can sort through it.
Now, while you are writing out this list of ideas and putting together supporting ideas that will go with it, I want you to make sure you pay attention to two things. I want you to be able to identify why it is that you are interested in this project or in this concept specifically, and I want you to identify what your goals are for this project. What is it going to bring to your business? What is it going to do for you? Is this a new revenue opportunity? Is this a new promotional opportunity? How does this fit into your business? You need to be able to identify those two things- why is it something that is interesting to you and how does it fit in your business! These are very important questions that you’re going to want to answer because I cannot tell you the amount of times I have had an idea, rushed into working on it, didn’t ask myself the big-picture questions ahead of time, and by the time all the work was done I looked at the project I was working on and said to myself ‘I don’t actually think that this belongs in my business, I don’t really see where this fits.” It was just something that was exciting and I wanted to act on immediately, but I really didn’t think it through. I didn’t think about it’s place in my business and why it was important to me, so you want to make sure you have those two points clearly outlined for each of the projects that are currently vying for your attention.
The next thing I want you to do is take each one of those projects and rank them based on some very specific criteria. Number one, I want you to rank them based on which idea is the most fully formed. So what idea actually seems like you’ve been able to work through a lot of it already- which of these ideas do you think is the most fully formed and seems like a viable option? Number two, I want you to rank each idea based on which will be the easiest to execute on. Which idea has a quick turnaround time or you know needs the least amount of work? What idea can you get up and running quickly? I want you to go and think about that and rank your ideas based on this criteria as well. Now, the third and final criterial I want you to rank each idea for is how profitable or how easy it would be for you to generate income from this idea. Is this idea a new revenue source or just something promotional? The easier it is to make money from your idea, the higher up the rank it should be!
Once you have your ideas ranked by these three criteria, I want you to start identifying which ones seem to be the best ideas based on how you’ve ranked them. You’ll probably have some on your list that float to the top as good ideas, and then you will have some that fall to the bottom as less practical. Once you have eliminated the less practical ideas, and hopefully your list is down to a few solid contenders, do a gut check and determine which idea feels right for you to work on. Remember, you could theoretically have a page full of great ideas, but the point of this exercise isn’t to deter you from good ideas, rather, the point is to help you choose where to focus your time and energy next. You can always come back to this list and work on the next project once your first idea is complete, but the point is to find a single idea to focus on and complete because we can only do one thing at a time!
If running a focused business that draws on your strengths as a multi-passionate entrepreneur is a priority to you, I want to let you know about my upcoming Free Webinar on My 5 Pillar System for Building a Successful Online Business. I’ll be sharing the strategies I personally use as part of my Empire Building Online Business Program and giving you insights you can use immediately to start building your brand online. PLUS, I’ll be sharing a special limited timed offer for those of you interested in joining me in Empire Building, so you won’t want to miss this event!
7 Foolproof Strategies for Growing a Follow on Any Platform
There are a lot of platforms online these days and as much as I know it would be popular to teach in-depth on each one and exploit the secrets to grow a following with it, after evaluating many different platforms, I understand the real secret is that growing a following on any platform involves the exact same strategies. Yep! Sorry to burst your bubble, but there are not specific secrets for each individual platform, if you want to grow a following on Twitter, it’s the same as growing a following on Instagram or YouTube or Tumbler! And the reason is clear, because people are the same no matter which platform they are using. Fundamentally speaking, the same things that draw attention, spark curiosity, and precipitate loyalty on one platform will work for them all, because they draw on human nature. So, today I’m going to share with you the seven foolproof strategies for growing your following on any platform so you can get to work growing a following on the platform of your choosing!
#1. Get clear on your branding and messaging
Whenever you start with an online platform, its important that you have your branding and messaging worked out to inform the types of content you will be sharing or creating on that platform as well as the specific audience you will be trying to attract. If you have a business or personal brand outside of this platform and this is going to be an extension of it, you will use that. If you don’t have anything else going on and this is going to be a fresh start, spend some time understanding what your goals are for the platforms, what you are trying to accomplish, why you want to accomplish it and how you plan to accomplish it. In terms of messaging, keep it simple. Have a clear, easy to understand purpose that you demonstrate through your content.
#2. Learn how to properly use the platform
You can’t expect to grow a following on a platform if you are using it wrong. That is to say, you are using it in a way that’s a departure from what people usually expect of that platform. Do your research, find out how the platform is used and then check out some of your favorite personalities or brands on the platform. Often times big brands or notable personalities are at the forefront of innovation for a platform, so check out what other big timers are doing and learn from their example what works and what doesn’t.
#3. Determine your perfect balance of content curation vs content creation
When it comes to most platforms, the content you share will either be your original work or content you have shared from others, which is commonly known as curated content. On most platforms, users will balance content curation and content creation, but their is no magic formula for a perfect balance. Some users have accounts that are all original, some have all curated and many mix both. Find what you are comfortable with and try to stick to it!
#4. Get on a consistent posting schedule
Speaking of sticking to what you are comfortable with, the same goes for your posting schedule. Unfortunately, there are no foolproof rules for when to post content to a specific platform for significant success. Yes, you can look up popular posting times and stick to those, but it doesn’t seem to make a significant difference for most people. What does make a difference however, is defining your posting schedule, the precise days and times you will be posting, and sticking to that consistently. Consistency breeds loyalty on all platforms, and the more loyal followers you have, the faster you will grow!
#5. Cater to a community on the platform
Although it’s great to be a niche brand, even the most unique are still a subset of some larger community online. Make sure you know what community your brand belongs to, and keep up with that community in terms of the trends in how they use the platform and by following or engaging with people in that community regularly. No need to become a copy or start obsessively following the trends, but understanding where your greater community is headed is a great way to stay on the same page with them, and if you can find a way to work the trends into your content in a way that’s natural to you- the more success you will have!
#6. Interact with others on the platform
On any platform, interaction will garner you respect a favor among your followers. Just like consistency, interaction, by replying to comments and also engaging independently with others in your community, will help to build loyalty. The best way to do this is to have a genuine interest in the platform you are using and to go to it, not just to post content but to also consume the content of others. When you really enjoy a platform and use it regularly, it shows, and your following will grow the more you go out and engage!
#7. Make sure your content is valuable
When it comes down to it, people will follow you on a platform if your content is valuable to them. Meaning that it gives them something they want, like information, inspiration, or entertainment. All valuable content online can be boiled down to one of those three buckets (information, inspiration or entertainment) and as long as you are sharing content that either gives people information they are looking for, makes them feel good or keeps them entertained, your following will grow!
Guess what? If you enjoyed this post, I bet you know someone else who will as well. Go ahead and let’s start acting on these strategies by doing some content curation by sharing this post on one of your platforms like Facebook or Twitter. Also, I’d love to hear your thoughts so leave me a comment down below and let me know which strategy you struggle with the most!
If you don’t subscribe to me on YouTube, you have been missing out on a great planning series I am in the middle of called Functional Planning! It’s all about setting up and using your planner to not only achieve planner peace, but to also maximize productivity and organization in your life. I have the pleasure of hearing from my followers on a daily basis, and when it comes to planners and organization, many of them recount the same old tale of planner peace won and lost. No matter which planner system they are using and no matter what planners they have tried in the past, my advice is always the same… It’s not your planner that is the problem, it’s the way you are using it! So, if you are struggling to find a planner or a system for planning that works for you and your life, if you have too many planners and are going crazy deciding which to use and if you NEED a PLANNER INTERVENTION (or know someone who does), my functional planning series will help you find clarity!
Functional Planning #1: Intro to Functional Planning | 5 Reasons You’re NOT Finding Planner Peace
In this video I cover the 5 most common reasons that people do not find or even loose planner peace. For many of us, it’s not just a single cut and dry reason, and for many of the members of my community that I have counseled through this issue, it’s actually a number of reasons which is why it’s important to know what problems are afflicting you so that you can address them!
Functional Planning #2: The Essentials of Functional Planning | 3 Roles of a Complete Planner System
In this second installment of my functional planning series, I discuss the three roles of a complete planner system. When it comes to choosing the right planner for you, it’s essential that your planner be able to do these three things so that you have confidence in your system. One of the problems I find with some planners is that they lack true functionality for users and although you may be drawn to one or another planner because of a specific size or layout, once you start planning and you find that your choice lacks certain functions, it becomes obsolete and you stop using it.
Functional Planning #3: Plan with Me May | My Monthly Functional Planning Process
In this installment of my functional planning series, you watch as I perform my monthly review process. Although this video takes place before May, it’s not the month that matters, but the process of what I do and how I use my planner to prepare for the upcoming month that will provide insight to you in how I functionally plan!
Functional Planning #4: Plan with Me | My Weekly Functional Planning Process
Finally, in this fourth (but not yet final) installment of my functional planning series, I walk you through how I plan on a weekly basis. My weekly review process is another major part of my functional planning process and in this video I share specific tips and strategies that you can implement in your own planner, plus you get a peek into how I use my functional planning stickers to keep my planner looking inspirational as well as functional!
So, I hope you enjoyed this recap of my still in progress functional planning series. If you have no yet enjoyed these videos, I highly recommend bookmarking this post and coming back to it the next time you are sitting down and working in your planner because you will want to take notes and start evaluating your current planner against my functional planning criteria. Even if you believe you have found planner peace, I think it’s always helpful to see how another person plans, so check out the videos and let me know what you thought in the comments below. Which video was most helpful to you and what tips did you walk away with? I’d love to hear about your functional planning experience!
One of the reasons I absolutely adore WordPress as my blogs content management system is because I get complete control over the way my website looks and functions through the use of plugins! Seriously, nearly every website or blog customization you can think of is most definitely a WordPress plugin. Everything from sidebar widgets to social media integration- WordPress plugins are the single reason that WordPress is the most customizable website building platform online. And guess what? Most WordPress plugins are actually 100% FREE to use, including the five plugins I am sharing with you today that you need to download and start using on your WordPress blog or website immediately!
Spam comments are THE WORST and having to manage them can be filed under the highly annoying part of being a blogger, but thanks to a free plugin called Akismet, I thankfully avoid dealing with the thousands upon thousands of fake and fishing comments my blog receives on a regular basis. If you have comments enabled on your blog or website, make sure to install Akismet to deal with the spam for you, and then all you have to do is regularly take out the digital trash every once in a while.
I’ve expounded on my love for Google Analytics as a platform in the past many times, but it begs repeating that you should really have a great analytics tool installed on your blog to keep track of your key stats. I have used many analytics tools in the past but Google Analytics is by far the best, most reliable and industry recommended tool available. Even if you don’t plan on doing heavy analysis of your site every week or month, its great to have this tool installed collecting data that can be used later on. Trust me, I regretting not downloading this tool sooner, so do yourself a favor and get it installed on your site asap!
One of the essential parts of a great blog is photography and as someone who does tend to use lots of images in there blog posts, I can tell you that the one downside of images is that page load times tend to lag when there are lots of images on a blog. Usually when a blog or any website loads, the website tries to load everything on the page, every word, every image, everything from the top to bottom of the webpage, even if the viewer never scrolls down to the bottom of the page! This ends up taking a long time if you have a lot of images on your site. To combat this, I use the plugin Lazy Load which essentially manages my page load speeds on my blog by loading text first and loading images into the page as the viewer scrolls through it. Thankfully, this plugin has greatly reduced my page load times which helps with the SEO of my blog!
Speaking of SEO, if you are looking for a way to maximize your SEO, Yoast is the plugin for you! Yoast adds a special SEO panel to the bottom of your new blog post window, so that after you write your posts, you can go in and optimize for search! It helps you add meta data, check for keywords and readability- all the essential criteria for SEO ranking is in this one plugin that is constantly being updated along with Google’s ever changing standards for search. It’s very reliable and another industry standard plugin that you should be using if you have WordPress!
Ever notice that at the end of my blog posts there is an option for other related posts you might be interested in? Well, that is a handy little plugin called LinkWithin and not only is it incredibly handy and helpful for readers of my blog who want to find related content to a post they just enjoyed, but the use of a related posts plugin has been proven to increase page views on blogs across the board! Again, this is just another one of those great, best practice plugins you want and NEED to be using as a blogger if you are serious about growing your audience and your influence online!
If you’re using WordPress to run your blog or website, you are well on your way to a gorgeous, fully customized website! Just make sure to add these plugins to your site to optimize everything from loading to SEO to page views! Have any other plugins for WordPress that I MUST know about? Tell me about them in the comments!
Getting started with your online business can be overwhelming to put it mildly. There is so much research that goes into starting a business, plus information you should know, key strategies to execute and a multitude of possible tools you could use to help make your vision a reality. So, to make this process a bit easier for you as a current or aspiring business owner, I have started a very special Online Business Resource Guide! Filled with the best content, advice, strategy and yes, tools upon tools that I personally use in my successful online business- you are going to want to get your hands on this resource and start digging into the material asap!
So, to make this resource guide as tech friendly and shareable as possible, I have gone ahead and turned it into its own Pinterest Board! Click here to access the Online Business Resource Guide Pinterest Board and make sure to follow board so that you can see all the new resources and content I add to it regularly. I want this to be a living, breathing resource guide that is continually updated with new information as I get it, and I thought a Pinterest Board would be the best method of delivery.
I do hope you enjoy the resource guide, and I can’t wait for you to dig into the content I have there for you to explore and learn as much about running a successful online business as possible- no matter what stage your business is currently in!
Attention Multi-Passionate Entrepreneurs: Sign up for my FREE Business Training
Within my business, I work with a lot of people who consider themselves multi-passionate entrepreneurs! I love this because I also identify this way, as a business owner who has many different passions and skills that I can capitalize on and I have done what I believe is an excellent job folding all these interests and skills into one multifaceted business. I write, create beautiful photography, design, film video and much more, all under one roof and because of this, my business is filled with a variety of different revenue streams and my business is unique to me. If you know anything about business, especially online business, you know that standing out online and finding your niche is so important! In my case, I didn’t just find a niche, I carved one out for myself based on my knowledge and talents, and I believe you can and should be doing the same if you want to create a sustainable online business that uses the power of modern social media and online business best practices to grow organically!
To be clear, my online business strategy is not about creating a whiz-bang effect where you create so much buzz around your business that you grow super fast and your business burns out just as quickly as it started. Instead, I believe that in order to have a sustainable business, one that you can rely on to grow and develop over the course of time, that will have legitimate lasting power in the market, you need to focus on steady, organic growth. This is the age of Internet authenticity and if your brand isn’t authentic and organic online, you have little hope of long term success.
So, if you would like to learn more about my online business strategy- the exact strategies I used and continue to use to grow my online business as a multi-passionate entrepreneur, then I welcome you to sign up for a free business training I am hosting later this month on my 5 Pillar System to Building a Successful Online Business!