If you’re anything like me, the leap into small business ownership was more like a series of fluttering attempts, a few hiccups and hops, and then a timid jump…when I finally “felt ready.” Truth be told, it took a lot longer than it needed to, in part because of my fear and hesitation, which held me back much longer than it should have. Admittedly, there was also a big gap in my professional presentation as a business owner, which sent mixed messages to my clients, and quite frankly, to me. At some point, I had to face the music, level up as a freelancer and embrace my future as a small business owner. It was time to be the real deal.
What does that mean exactly? Well, first, we’re talking about shift in mindset.
Do you remember when you first stepped out on your own? Maybe you were like me, timidly taking on a private “side job,” which I communicated over email, with no contract or business license. I was just working a quick hustle for some extra cash, which came however they wanted it to, whenever they wanted it to. A check here, cash there, PayPal over here…before the job, during the job, after the job. There was no rhyme or reason, no method to my madness.
Did I make those choices because I was a sloppy copy writer or because I didn’t value my clients or their experience? No. Most of those choices were made because I didn’t value myself. I was “just a freelancer” and didn’t believe that I was capable of wearing the title of “business owner.” So I didn’t take the time or energy to put the systems in place that really allowed me to take ownership of my professional path. Yes, my clients were happy. I was happy. But my growth quickly plateaued. I pigeon holed myself as a side hustle instead of cultivating my reputation as an entrepreneur.
What would I have done differently?
- Take it seriously. I should have immediately applied for a business license, making sure I had all of the proper certifications in place. My next stop should have been a lawyer, where I would have created top notch contracts that set the standard for relationships grounded in excellence and professionalism.
- Get organized. I should have clearly defined my products and services, pricing and payment terms. A well-developed workflow with appropriate systems in place would have set expectations on my time and my daily routine, which would have saved me the stress and chaos of trying to meet unrealistic deadlines while phoning it in as a mom.
- Communicate effectively. Without the appropriate systems in place, my communication with my clients and my team suffered. Projects fell through the cracks, invoices didn’t get paid – in short, I set myself and everyone around me up for failure, because I didn’t have a grasp on the business that was growing with or without my belief in myself as the owner.
How can you avoid making the same mistakes that I did?
Fix it. Today! The buck stops here. The very first thing you need to do is take a good long look at yourself in the mirror and repeat after me. “I am a business owner. This is my business and I am responsible for the decisions that will make or break it. I am capable, talented and driven. It’s time to stop dancing around my fears and make it happen. Go get it done. I can do this.”
Next step is to tackle the three areas I mentioned above. Where? How? Why?
The great news…we have a whole slew of programs available to choose from when it comes to implementing the procedures, reporting metrics and systems that will help us thrive as entrepreneurs.
The bad news…we have a whole slew of programs available to choose from when it comes to implementing the procedures, reporting metrics and systems that will help us thrive as entrepreneurs.
I want to help you drive towards the most powerful tool that can level up your business with ease, efficiency and most importantly, clarity and purpose as THE owner (that’s you!). Say hello to my friends at Spera!
It’s time for a list. These are a few of my favorite things!
- Spera was created by independent contractors for independent contractors. That’s right! They went straight to the source – people just like you! How does it feel when you invest in something only to utilize 10% of it? Bad! Spera took the time to ask the right questions to the right people, and then, they acted on it, developing a platform that has what you need, when you need it, where you need it. How does it feel to invest in something that is 100% designed just for you? It feels pretty darn amazing.
- Spera is an all-in-one virtual office. And that’s what you need as a business owner. An office! Many small business owners fail to implement the proper systems because they are frustrated by having to hop from tool to tool to tool. That’s like setting up your office but then having to go to the kitchen to grab your invoices, to the bathroom to print your contracts and to the garage to meet your clients. Now, you have one place where you can manage your client experience from start to finish.
- Functional Task Management – Communicate with your team and your clients, set expectations on your time and make sure projects never fall through the cracks again.
- Customizable Invoices – Professional invoices that present your expertise and your brand with excellence, letting your clients know that you mean business!
- Secure Payment Portals – Track incoming payments, pay invoices, send/receive money and give your clients a simple one-click option directly in their invoice. No more chasing checks.
- Spera offers a FREE complete 30 day trial. That’s right…an all access pass for an entire month. If you’re still hesitant about claiming your power and position as a small business owner, that’s ok. You can ease your way into it and give it a try! Once you access the possibility of life as an organized, professional business owner, you’ll crash through the door of opportunity and wonder…why in the world didn’t I do this sooner?
Social Media Scheduling 101: The Basics
Why is social media scheduling important?
Today’s culture, both personally and professionally, is driven by real time transparency. There are any of a million ways that we can interact with the world and share our life journeys, which has been the doorway to maintaining friendships, keeping family from afar close and celebrating life with like-minded individuals. But on the other hand, every time that phone blips that a new message has popped up, we’re driven by madness to look. It’s exhausting!!!! And ultimately incredibly time consuming. As a small business owner, the drive to build a following can be intoxicating and the pressure to be available to your clients 24/7 is crippling. How do you actually “do” your business if you’re always distracted by social media? Social media scheduling is the very best way to continue to curate and share content with your audience, while allowing yourself to focus on higher priorities in your personal and professional life.
If I schedule social media am I lying to my followers by “pretending” to be online when I’m not?
Any way that you can automate your workflow to save time and develop a routine, you are being true to yourself, your clients and most importantly, your family. The key is to appear to be accessible during high traffic times, but not actually be sitting there glued to your phone or computer hanging on every word uttered to the social media gods. Social media scheduling allows us to cater to multiple audiences at their individual peek times, gives us the opportunity to stay active and engaged while on the go and makes sure we have time to focus on what really counts.
Where do I start?
I have two go-to programs that can work for even the most basic new learners (and have lots of advanced features for those in the know). And bonus…they’re FREE! What we’re moving towards is organized strategy. Social media scheduling allows you to develop a marketing strategy for your business and then execute it. You simple couldn’t do that properly on the fly and would get lost in the weeds. These next two tools can help put you on the path to a social media presence that translates to growth and long-term sustainability.
If you’re just digging into the social media behemoth, let’s put a simple tool to work for you while you get your bearings. Similar to how Instagram can cross post to Twitter and Facebook, Friends + Me can take your Google Plus posts and push them to several other platforms. I personally post to Google + and it carries over to Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. One action = 4 social media networks.
I’ll admit, this tool can be visually tricky and take a little getting used to if you’re heavy handed with links and tags. Once you get comfortable with how your posts will appear in the different feeds, you’ll tailor your original content to work across the board. It’s a fantastic way to save time by not having to manually cross-pollinate your content to each and every platform individually. It’s a great way for new learners to “phone it in” while you up your social media knowledge and a stellar way for a seasoned social media vet to knock out a task list for simple content shares.
Hootsuite is the other tool I rely heavily on. In short, it’s a one-stop shop for me to manage all of my profiles on the various platforms that I use. In its most basic form, I schedule all Twitter activity (content sharing) in here or via their Hootlet (content curating). I can tell you it’s really the Hootlet that is life changing. This little plugin is ridiculously awesome. It allows me to wrap up items of interest in a nice little box with a beautiful little bow instantly and schedule directly from my point of interest. I can open it up from any source and schedule a tweet/share from any of my accounts instantaneously without having to copy/paste links or images into Hootsuite itself. That save of a few clicks is amazing!!!
– Google Plus (2 business profiles)
So. How does this ultimately save time? Have I just traded time spent manually posting for time spent scheduling automation? The key here is to carve out time and stick to it. Don’t be scheduling all day! It defeats the purpose. Here are some quick rules to keep in mind:
- Set a specific day each week (or even an hour each morning/night if that’s better for you) that is devoted to scheduling the next weeks’/days’ tweets/posts/etc. Make that a calendar time in your routine. Stick to it! I do all of my scheduling first thing in the morning. That way my social media profiles are working in the background while I am completing my normal business day and any activity can just be responsive.
- Commit to a time each evening that the phone/computer gets put away. For example, clients at The Studio now know that our business booking hours are Monday – Friday from 8AM – 5PM. If they email us during that time, they expect a response. But if they email outside of that time, they know they’ll hear from us during the next business day. We’ve educated them and we’re training ourselves. Now, when that email dings with a new inquiry, I don’t look at it if it’s after hours. They know, and I know it will be there tomorrow.
- Give yourself a break! Cut yourself some slack! It’s ok to take a break from time to time on social media. It’s ok to not post every meal, every night out, every stylish outfit. Let go of the pressure to perform. Focus on enjoying the interactions with people and sharing your heart. You’ll find it not only comes more naturally, but more purposefully. Be IN your life.
Pin this to your Small Business Tips & Tricks Board or your Blogging Resources Board! Don’t have one? Follow me!
Did you like this post? Check out How to Create Hyper-Linked Email Signatures in Gmail!
IBA Blog Conference – October 12-17, 2015
Mark your calendars!!! I have some very exciting news to share!!! The International Bloggers Association is hosting their very first IBA blog conference! The IBA Network-a-thon will be hosted online October 12th – 15th. Yup, that’s right! A virtual conference! You don’t have to worry about travel expenses, child care, vacation time or anything! Just you, me, the IBA, our computers and some amazingly awesome Google Plus Hangouts.
Want to hear the very best news? The IBA blog conference is SUPER affordable. Only $10 for your ticket! Even more exciting? Use the code KATY to receive a special Chaos & Kiddos discount! You’ll get $5 off. 50% off! At that price, there’s no reason to miss out on what will be a fun week of networking, learning and blog sharing. The IBA blog conference will be a great opportunity to discover your tribe of blog supporters, learn new tips and tricks, and dig into blogging professionally. Don’t miss out! $5 is less than a cup of Starbucks coffee! Woot! Click on the big IBA right below or click on “Buy this on Selz” to grab your 50% off discount ticket now! Don’t forget to use the code KATY! See you in October!
24 Super Awesome Articles for Busy Working Moms
You may have noticed a bit of feast or famine over here at Chaos & Kiddos. Why? Because we’ve been sharing the love all over! Yup, that’s right. When we’re not here actively posting, it’s usually because we have the great honor to share our voice on other platforms. We thought you might like to keep up with where we’ve been! So…check out these 24 super awesome articles for busy working moms. Enjoy!
Need a little parenting pick me up? Look no further! Grab a cup of coffee and kick back for a good read. Pick up a few tips and tricks, and give yourself a pat on the back, because you’re doing an AWESOME job.
Tell the truth…We bet you’re working too hard! It’s ok. We all do. Let’s band together and give ourselves permission for a little TLC, a whole lot more community and the opportunity to thrive professionally and personally, being our best selves for those we love most.
Tips for the Working Mom: How to Excel in Both Worlds
Our very favorite!! Sharing the tips and tricks to help your business grow, the creative ideas that are making big waves in the entrepreneurial and those little reminders that get you back on track as a motivated, focused small business owner.
Get More Instagram Followers and Grow Your Business
Health and Wellness
Last, but certainly not least, the most important part. Staying healthy and being well. The journey towards balance is just that…a journey. Join us as we walk together towards a more meaningful, enriched life.
Do you have any super awesome articles for busy working moms? Share them below in the comments! Let’s face it, time is a hot commodity around here, and most of us don’t have time to blog hop! So…if you’ve done us the great honor by taking time out of your busy day to stop here, then THANK YOU! From the bottom of our hearts. And if you have a resource to share, please do so! Any opportunity we have to connect a resource with a need, whether it’s our information or not, is a big win for us, and for YOU!
And that’s why we’re here. For you. XOXO