We all want to see more abundance in our lives and now is an excellent time to prepare your garden and plant your seeds so you can bring more money, creativity, and opportunity into your business. The first step is to create a space for more clients, ideas, and time to live your life. Nobody gets into this crazy entrepreneur life to be chained to their desk, but we all find ourselves in that situation at some point in our journey. It can be overwhelming to know where to start, but doing a few things a day can clear the way for a surge of good things in your business while leaving your mind feeling clear and focused.
These are some ways to get started.
Clean your workspace
Junk blocks creativity. Even if you don’t have a designated room for your office make your space a place that is clean and organized. Get rid of things you don’t need and make cleaning your desk and office part of your regular routine. Even if you don’t have a designated room that is just for your office make your point of vision just about work. Clear out your yoga ball, ironing board, mail, and laundry. Those are all distractions reminding you of things you could be doing.
Clean your mind
Facing your inner critic – We all have an inner critic. I am definitely the meanest girl I know to myself. You can’t ignore the voice because it just get’s louder, but you can deal with. Write down your ugly reel of all of the things your inner critic says. Realize that those words are a projection of your fears and your way of protecting yourself. “You can’t do this” really means you could get hurt so just don’t try. Read each one aloud and say “thank you, but I got this.”
Do nothing – Take a break from launching, comparing yourself to others, and generally beating yourself up. Instead, think about what you really want. What is important to you and what is your ideal day? Rather than take another course, do some of the things that make you feel good and take advantage of having a flexible schedule. It doesn’t have to be elaborate. It can be simple like going for a walk. Sitting on your deck and eating lunch, or meeting up with a friend for coffee. The idea is to create white space in your day because this is when the ideas will flow and come with ease. Don’t believe me? How many great ideas have you come up with in the shower?!
Clean your business
Start with your desktop – I am the worst about just saving stuff to my desktop and coming back to it later. It can add up to a huge mess and something you avoid dealing with. Organize these files and then take one folder from your organizational system each day and clean it out. If you don’t really have a system. I recommend not using your computer, but setting up folders to save work on Dropbox or Google Drive. Not only is this very convenient for backing up your work and sharing with clients, but it will keep your computer performing faster by not taking up your memory.
Dig into your systems – Everything you do from sending invoices to onboarding clients should be a system that is so clear you could write it down and hand it to someone else to execute. Start a Google doc or Evernote note and start doing this. If you spend one week writing this down as you go through your day it really is doable. The reason you want to do this is that when you actually write down the process you can then see how you can make your systems work better, faster and with more ease. A side bonus of this exercise is that it will help you build confidence that you know what you are doing!
Finish with an assessment– There are so many things you can do here, but start by identifying what is holding you back. Write down a list of what is not working in your businesses. This could be your VA, a tactic for getting new business, your work hours, or a part of your business that you hate doing. Number them from 1 to 5, with 5 being the most troublesome. Pick one of your fives and tackle it. It’s amazing how just letting go of one thing will give you the energy to start knocking out your list.
I want to challenge you to prepare your business this month!
If you would like to dive deeper into how to spring clean your business and recharge your space to attract abundance jump into this 4-week challenge. Each week I will send you prompts and worksheets via email to guide you through the process of making room for an amazing season in your business.
SEO is something that as entrepreneurs we are all interested in because we need people to find us so we can serve them with our amazing services and products. You don’t have to spend hours at the computer, become an SEO expert, or pay lots of money to have better SEO. You can implement these three things today to increase the traffic to your site. I am going to toot my own horn. Are you ready? I last month I used these simple tactics in a website redesign to double a clients web traffic in just three weeks!
Create New Content
The easiest way to have your site index better is to update your content. Think about when you are Googling for information and you see an article from the current year, versus an article from a couple of years ago. You are going to pick the newest information because you assume it’s the most relevant. This is the same way Google views sites. Having a blog and writing at least one post a month is a great way to do this because you are building up your credibility in your field while keeping your site content fresh.
If you don’t have a blog check your site quarterly to make sure your information is current. If you do a guest post, collect testimonials, or have an online portfolio don’t forget to update your website with this content to keep your site current and index better with Google or other search engines.
Think about Google like a big filing cabinet that categorizes information for easy retrieval. Google scans through your site with a big highlighter(easier to think about than a complex algorithm) and marks key words to file your site in the right folder. It’s important to use the right keywords and use them often. What words describe what you do? How can you be more specific? For example, if you were to search online for a photographer you would get a ton of results. What if you added a location, and then a detail like wedding? What combination of words would people use to search just for you? A short keyword for a photographer would be photographer, and not very efficient as far a keywords and search results go. A long tail keyword like destination wedding photographer Hawaii is more specific and will give a better result when searched. Think about the filing cabinet. Google will search through all of the photographers, then the wedding photographers, then destinations, followed by Hawaii. What other keywords could you use to define your business? What makes you different? Who is your ideal client?
Tips for finding the right keywords.
Type in some words in the google search box. See what predictive words they insert for you. You can do the same thing with Pinterest. When you type in a word in the search box you can see what other words come up so you can see what topics are popular. This not only tells you what keywords to use but also what kind of topics you should write about.
Now that you have your keywords you are probably wondering what to do with them! Three places you should use your keywords is in your post title, your image titles and descriptions, and in your content. If you are using WordPress I really like the Yoast SEO plugin. With this plugin, you can add all of the meta information and keywords for that page without accessing the HTML for your page. This is especially nice when you are sharing your blog post or website pages. You will have a full summary of what the content is about instead of just the first few lines of the first paragraph which may not lure people in.
Write Clear headlines
Headlines throughout your site are surrounded in HTML by h1 tags. This stands for headline 1. Any type editor you have used will give you a list that says headline 1, headline 2, headline 3 and so on. Headline one has your largest typeface and the type gets smaller as you go from headline 1 to headline 4. When Google sees this the bots get their highlighter out because they know this is important information. The bots consider the first use of a headline tag and all headlines and content on your first page to be the most important when categorizing your site for search results.
What this means for you is using those keywords in your headlines, site title, and positioning statement are powerful in improving your ranking and getting in from of your ideal customers. Instead of just saying words like services or using fun or vague titles use the words that clearly say who you are, what you do and who you do it for.
Who you are, what you do, and who you do it for, is known as your positioning statement. It should be clear and to the point. You can be creative with your tagline but your positioning statement should be clear and to the point. You can download a worksheet to help you write yours here.
Putting It All Together
Now that you know how to use updated content, keywords, and headlines to increase your SEO you can apply these practices by creating an SEO roadmap of your site. An SEO roadmap is how you are communicating with search engines. It’s your SEO strategy. The first step is to take a thorough look at the current content on your website. You can copy and paste all of your content into a Google doc and highlight the information in the following steps or look at your website and write the information down.
Step 1. Write down your positioning statement.
Step 2. Write down your headline one and headline two words.
Step 3. Write down any words on your first page that repeat any words or correspond to what you wrote down for steps 1 and two.
Step 4. Look at the images on your site. Do the titles for these also correspond to the words you wrote down for steps 1 and two?
Step 5. Look at your last 10 posts. Write down your headlines and look through the content of the post. Write down the words that repeat the headline or correspond to the headline subject.
This should give you a different view of where you stand with your SEO and how to make it better. These are all things that you can do FOR FREE to get results. Creating fresh content using clear headlines and keywords will increase your visibility and grow your business.
Taking a day to be CEO and plan out your business for the year can seem very overwhelming. You start off excited and daydream about where your business could be this time next year. Then you fall into panic somewhere along the way thinking about how to make it happen. I have a 5 step strategy for you to take big goals and break them down into easy actionable steps
Taking a day to be CEO and plan out your business for the year can seem very overwhelming. You start off excited and daydream about where your business could be this time next year. Then, you fall into panic somewhere along the way thinking about how to make it happen. I have a 5 step strategy for you to take big goals and break them down into easy actionable steps.
Your brand story is your why. It’s the thing that motivates you to get up every morning and be an entrepreneur, even when it’s really hard. It’s also the heart of how to grow your brand. Your story is what connects you with people who will love and support you, not just your products and services. We have so many choices when it comes to the purchases we make. Those choices are made easier when we support the who and the what behind the product or service. We want to feel good about what we are supporting with our dollars. Think about a time when you bought a product because you loved the person who made it. What was it about their why, their mission, or personality that made you a fan?
First of all, what is the spaghetti phase? If you have a business trust me, you do know what it is. It’s that feeling of floating in the ocean at the mercy of the tide. It’s that portfolio of work that says you will do any kind of project for anyone. It’s the mixed message from a last minute Instagram feed I just need to post something images. You are at the phase in your business where you are just throwing spaghetti at the wall to see what sticks.
The whole process of picking a platform, hiring a designer, and setting up hosting for your website can be really exhausting. For most people, it’s like trying to communicate when you don’t speak the language. You can be totally spent before you ever even get to the design process. Lots of people want to DIY their site. Maybe, you feel really comfortable with tech, want to have control of the process, or maybe you just need a site on a budget. I am going to break down the process, translate the web speak, and give you tips on building a great site, DIY style.
I have a confession to make. Anything to do with cars makes me want to hide. If my car has mechanical issues, you may find me curled up in a ball. It really stresses me out, because I don’t understand anything about cars. My fear is that because I don’t even understand the language, I will get taken advantage of. They could totally make something up and give me a huge bill. Of course, I would pay it because all I really know is that I need a car that works.
I started thinking that’s probably how people feel about web design. Designers and developers are as foreign to some people as alternators and engines are to me. If the thought of hiring a web designer or choosing a platform makes you want to curl up in a ball, read on as I break it down for you.
Branding is so much more than your colors or your logo. If you haven’t heard me say this before you have probably heard it somewhere. Color and design are so much fun to talk about though! It’s like when you want to paint a room. You move all of the furniture and cover it, you clean and tape the baseboards, then finally you get to paint. I love that first roll of color! That’s how it is with branding. You do all of the prep work with your brand foundations, your mission, vision, and values. Then, you get to paint your brand identity.
In breakups, it’s a common exit line to say, “it’s not you, it’s me”. This train of thought is that it’s kinder to the other person’s feelings or ego to shift the blame to oneself. It’s just not a good fit. There is no blame. One person is not wrong, while one person is right. The two individuals are just at different points in their journey to make a connection.
Are there times when business is slow or you just need some extra cash? Maybe, life is too busy to take on another big project, but you need to keep the profits flowing. Ask yourself, how can I make $100 today? There can be a quick fix. It can also give you some insight about how to up your monthly cash flow.
There are so many different ways to build a website! You can do all of the coding, just the design part, or a mixture of design and code. New options are coming out all of the time. All of the options can be like a shiny object, diverting your attention as you try to find the best choice for your business.
I recently rebuilt my site using a WYSIWYG plugin for WordPress. I was skeptical that this would make my site slow or not perform in the way it was promised. Fortunately, I have to say, I love it. In addition to my original site built with WordPress and Foundation, I used Elementor to update. As a developer, I am used to having a lot of control. Although the platform isn’t perfect, it made web design fun, while allowing me to maintain command of the site. Are you intrigued?
What store do you LOVE to buy clothes from? The place where if you need an amazing new outfit last minute for a date or a function, you go there first.
Lot’s of places sell clothes. That’s their business, but consumers BUY from brands. The brands you love sell goods or services that align with your expectations of quality, value, style, and service. In exchange, you become repeat customers who support them with your money and your praise. As a fan, you don’t just continue to buy, but you share your love through social media and recommending that brand to your friends. You can even be a walking billboard by wearing your new dress and having people ask where you got it.
Back in the day, people used to read these things called newspapers. They were paper rectangles folded in half and sold flat so that the most important stories were at the top of the paper or, above the fold. Above the fold now applies to web design. It is the portion of the site that can be seen on your screen without scrolling. This is the most important part of your website.
I love Seth Godin’s definition of branding, “A brand is the set of expectations, memories, stories, and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another.”
What this means is people ( you, me, your bff) buy from companies we become loyal to because they meet our expectations for customer service and product value (think Target). We become fans of businesses that we identify with because of their company values (think TOMS) or personality (think of your favorite maker on Instagram)
It’s officially summer and for many of us, it’s a slow time in our business. I love snow cones, pool days, and road trips, but I also really love to work (and have money in my bank account!). If you are feeling a little freaked out and maybe underprepared I feel ya! The good news is you can actually use this time while you are not working in your business, to work on your business and make more money when business picks up again.
This is the perfect time to work on your business!
I was at my local Tuesday’s Together meeting and a photographer was talking about how she struggles with pricing because when people say they can’t afford her she feels bad for them and drops her prices. Do you feel the heaviness of this? She feels bad for them because she is compassionate, but then she devalues her work and takes money from her own family by dropping her prices. That doesn’t feel good either.
As creatives, we are never good at just one thing. You have probably also heard this referred to as multi-passionate. The great thing about having so many interests is that creativity feeds creativity even when they are different disciplines. I love switching from the structure of web design to the freedom of abstract painting. I love painting and I always get ideas for colors and patterns that I can use in my print and web work.
The only hiccup is that this can make it hard to choose which direction to go in when starting a business. When you are good at web design, illustrations, and sewing, how do you pick? Most people can’t choose and try each one or all at once.
Having an email list is one of the best tools you can have to grow your business. This list gives you a direct link to speak to customers with whom you have built a relationship, based on their interest in your products or services. You can collect an email list through a variety of providers. In essence, they are all very similar. Knowing how you want to use your list will make a difference when you go to choose a platform that is right for you. Two providers that I have used are Mailchimp and Convert Kit. So, I will use those as examples of what to look for.