When you are a small business and a one woman show your funds are limited. As you are trying to grow your customer base and stabilize your monthly income the thought of spending money can be scary.
How do you know how and when to invest in yourself? It’s helpful to know three things. When you buy tools to run your business you will see a return on your investment. The investment of those tools can scale as your business grows. These are a tax write off, yay!
If you are getting started or ready to get serious about your business you need the following tools. You need the right materials to do your work like a computer, or design software, e-mail system. You a system for managing the way you work with clients. You need a money management system.
These are some of my suggested resources.
Many people have a hard time with social media, newsletters and blog post because they can’t define their voice. I have found some similar causes for what’s holding them back. Because really, you use your voice everyday and if that was the problem you would be weird hermit person right?
Authenticity: Are you really passionate about your topic? Do you really believe in, or love the topic you are speaking about? If you don’t it’s really hard to be consistent because you don’t feel like doing the work, and it just doesn’t feel right. What can you share that shows your expertise and passions?
Are you trying to use someone else’s voice? You don’t have to share your deepest secrets and pains to be relatable. People bond over passions from tv shows to food all of the time. Share what feels comfortable for you. If it’s your healthy lunches, love of art, or loosing a loved one. Just do what’s right for you.
You don’t have a plan: If I had to just sit down at the computer and write a post everyday I wouldn’t do it. It’s too overwhelming! Strategy sounds like a big scary word, but it’s just deciding what you are going to say and when. After you have your content defined use tools like Hootsuite or Buffer to automate your social media. Try writing several blog post and newsletters at one time and schedule them out.
How nice would it be to NOT write a post for a month?! I spend two days a month writing content and scheduling post, then I can move on the all of the other things that I have to do to run my business. I keep a running list of content ideas that I get from questions and concerns of my clients in my phone. I get really organized by keeping a Google Form where I have all of my content outlined per month. Essentially, this is a content calendar. You can use an app for this or make your own like me.
Download this worksheet to help you make a social media strategy, or let me do the work for you with my $400 social media package. I develop your strategy plus give you a month of images to get you started.
Designer or Devloper
Websites use languages like html, PHP, and CSS to form the look and function of a site. Platforms like WordPress, Squarespace, and Shopify have their own language on top of this to manipulate the base PHP Html and CSS.
If you think about it like making a beef stew from a recipe you have the main ingredients the beef and vegetable (base code), but you can put the ingredients together in different ways. You can choose buy your meat and vegetables and cut them yourself, or you can buy pre cut frozen vegetables, add canned tomatoes, and stew meat.
Before I decided to work for myself full time, I was an Art Director at a Fortune 100 company. We were an umbrella company for 25 smaller ones around the world. There were a lot of meetings, presentations, and pitches. It was a male dominated industry and company, with only 10% of our company being women. I have to say, it could be really intimidating sometimes. While being friendly and building relationships with co workers and clients, I was very concerned about being taken seriously and seen as a professional. As a result, I formed a mask that I wore to do my job. I prepared for those board rooms in the clothes that I chose, my posture, and my speech.
It can be really confusing to know what you need when it comes to picking a platform for your website. There are so many options now, even for developers and designers, it can be overwhelming.
What a platform is….
Websites use languages like html, PHP, and CSS to form the look and function of a site. Platforms like WordPress, Squarespace, and Shopify have their own language on top of this to manipulate the base PHP, html, and CSS.
It’s like baking a cake with a box of Duncan Hines cake mix. The ingredients to make a cake are all the same, but Duncan Hines has packed them so you can just add your eggs and oil, instead of making it from scratch.
A website can be beautiful but if your message isn’t clear in telling people what you do and how to hire you, then it isn’t working for you. That’s what a website should do. It’s an employee that works to clients get on board for you 24/7.
There are 4 major sections of content you need to have on your website. Positioning statement – Your positioning statement says who you are, what you do, and who you do it for. You want to be very specific here. An example would be, “I am a virtual assistant who supports photographers through scheduling, photo editing, and customer service”.
You can add a tagline to this statement to add some personality or speak to the emotions of your ideal client. For example, Giving Creatives More Time to do What They Love. This appeals to a need and desire photographers have to spend more time shooting and less time doing the day to day business task.
One of the best parts about being your own boss is that you get to choose your clients. I know we have all had clients in our careers that we couldn’t wait to move past. Part of attracting our ideal client is using our voice: our real voice, the one we use when we talk to friends, because people want to buy from friends.
Using your real voice is important in building your brand, because you use it to attract clients, get them on board ,and keep them. Maintaining constant expectations through your voice is key in doing this. I think about it like online dating. Even if these are unchartered waters for you, the fear of having the prospective date not be like their profile in person probably came up. When people view our websites and social media, they are checking our profile. They let us know they are interested by reaching out through email, and the relationship grows with a phone call or meeting. Your customer can date anyone so imagine their fears about working with you if you are really bubbly and outgoing online, but your emails are very stark and you take forever to respond.
It’s the dream to ditch the commute and work in yoga pants, but many people find the transition harder than they thought. Making it work is all about setting boundaries and testing what works best for your life.
Developing a work space
There are so many distractions at home that you don’t have in your office; those dishes in the sink from breakfast or that load of laundry waiting to be folded. You don’t have your regular co workers, but you do have family at home that don’t understand just because you are home, doesn’t mean you are not working. You may also find that friends and family now think you are available for anything and everything.
Your niche is that place where you can focus in on a service or product that allows you to rise to the top as an expert and become the go to person in your field. It’s a way for you to be really specific about who you are and what you do. The results of finding your niche are standing out from your competition, working with ideal clients, and being able to charge well for your expertise.
I hear from so many people that they struggle with finding the perfect color pallet! How can something so fun, be so hard right? If you are stuck choosing your colors, what’s holding you back is probably a disconnect between your brand message and images or a flat color palette. Let’s talk about what that means, and then I made a worksheet (at the bottom if you want to skip down) that you can download to get your color palette together.
Brand Message – Color evokes emotions from people based on their association between the color and context they attach to it. Some people love nature and may associate rich greens with adventure and national parks. Other people hate camping so this evokes a context of being uncomfortable (bugs, weather, tent sleeping). So what we want to do is make sure their is cohesion in our brand by being clear about our message and using our colors, logo and photo styles to support that.