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Explore YOUR Business

Do you have a business or a hobby?

Do you have a business or a hobby? You may have turned your hobby into a business, you may make sales, but is it REALLY a business? When people talk to me about this issue, they mention taxes, business names, income… but that's not the answer. You can have a business and not have made a dime yet. And you can have a hobby that makes money. Listen for more details at TaraSwiger.com/podcast150/

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Do you have a business or a hobby? You may have turned your hobby into a business, you may make sales, but is it REALLY a business? When people talk to me about this issue, they mention taxes, business names, income… but that's not the answer. You can have a business and not have made a dime yet. And you can have a hobby that makes money.

So do you have a business or do you have a hobby?

Listen to the episode (or watch in the video player!) to figure it out!

Resources Mentioned

  • If you’ve been doing the work and you feel like you’re still not where you want to be financially, sign up here to learn more about Pay Yourself. I’m re-launching it soon, and it’ll walk you through the calculations and figuring you’ve gotta do to help your business get profitable and start regularly paying yourself.

How to listen

  • You can subscribe to it on iTunes (If you do, leave a review!)
  • You can listen to it using the player above or download it.
  • Subscribe or listen via Stitcher (or subscribe in whatever you use for podcasts – just search “Explore Your Enthusiasm” and it should pop up!).

Find all the podcast episodes here.

You are Good Enough

Today we’re going to talk about the one response I’ve gotten more than any other in the last 2 weeks. In episode 123, I talked about my experience, and that of my friends and students, with anxiety, depression, and suicide. That episode has sparked more conversation, emails, and Instagram comments than any episode I’ve published so far. And 100% of the replies have said “ME TOO” and “Thank you! It’s so good to know I’m not alone.” A good percentage of the conversation has revolved around my claim in that episode that you can have a business or be a maker… ANYHOW. You can be broken, jacked up, down in the dumps… and still work on your dream. Yeah, you’re not going to look like other people doing it, but that’s OK. You don’t have to. So I want to talk more about that today. To listen in, visit TaraSwiger.com/podcast125/

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Get more goodness and support the podcast: http://patreon.com/taraswiger

When I said, in episode 123, that you can build your business, exactly as you are NOW, it struck a chord. That episode has sparked more conversation, emails, and Instagram comments than any episode I’ve published so far, so let's talk about it in depth.

You can be broken, jacked up, down in the dumps… and still work on your dream. Yeah, you’re not going to look like other people doing it, but that’s OK. You don’t have to.

Today we'll talk about:

    • The Comparison Trap
    • How building your business your way is better for your mental health
    • How to move forward with more confidence

Resources + Links Mentioned

How to listen

  • You can subscribe to it on iTunes (If you do, leave a review!)
  • You can listen to it using the player above or download it.
  • Subscribe or listen via Stitcher (or subscribe in whatever you use for podcasts – just search “Explore Your Enthusiasm” and it should pop up!).

Find all the podcast episodes here.

Join the Biz Confidence Challenge!

 

Be the Captain of your ship

When you own a business, it's on you to be the captain of your own ship. But what does that mean? It means you choose the course, you plan the action, you take responsibility. If you'd like to join a community of other biz owners who are captain-ing their own ships, The Starship is now open! Learn more at TaraSwiger.com/starshipbiz.

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The Starship is now boarding!

The Starship is called the Starship because it a space full of people who are interested in being the Captain of their own ship. But what does that mean?

To be the Captain of your business and life: 

  • Take ownership
  • Set a course
  • Choose the tools
  • Sail your own ship

We discuss exactly how to do that in this episode!

Got a question you want to ask me about my business, podcast, life, or do you want to get my answers to your business questions? Call and ask me! Your question may make it into episode 100! Just call  (567) 393-8272 THIS week! 

How to listen

Find all the podcast episodes here.

ThreeBirdNest (the Etsy “success”) has nothing to do with you.

ThreeBirdNest has nothing to do with you

This week I read an interesting article about how one experienced businesswoman made a heck of a lot of money selling products, on both Etsy and her own e-commerce shop. I was thrilled, because women in e-commerce who are making it aren't featured as much in the national press as tech companies are and I think there are some interesting lessons shared.
I never read internet comments, so I had no idea (but I should have guessed) the firestorm happening in the comment section – angry Etsians crying out that this isn't a “real” Etsy seller. I was unaware of this until I read Abby's great article on how this “success story” is an example of how Etsy has redefined its own goals and mission.

And here's the thing – Etsy has changed how they define “handmade” businesses. They have changed who's allowed to sell. And this is going to change the way the rest of the world defines handmade. (Also, the journalists got it wrong – this woman isn't “knitting socks, scarves, and headbands” – she clearly states she's importing them.)

But as I think about you and I think about this story, I keep coming back to one thing: Etsy is not you. Your business is NOT Etsy. Your business is its own entity. Your business is based on your products and your customers and your work. If you're hoping Etsy is the solution to all of your problems, you're going to be disappointed. It was never going to be. (It is a great solution for setting up a shop quickly. It is not a great way to find new customers.)

The many many commenters that say “I have very few Etsy sales! Etsy is ruining my business!“…well, they are missing it. Etsy is not your business.

Women have been building businesses for all of time without Etsy. If you have not built a business that you want, it has nothing to do with Etsy. You could have used Shopify or WooCommerce or the local farmer's market. Of my many clients + students who are self-employed (ie, the business is paying their bills), 100% don't rely on Etsy exclusively.

You should take the ThreeBirdNest story neither as a measuring stick (I know your inner voice is shouting: “Why haven't YOU done better?”) or as an outrage (“How could she?!”). It is not an example of what's possible in a truly-made-by-hand business. Instead, take it for what it is – the story of how one woman choose to build a business selling + marketing a product. It is an example of what's possible with this particular business model. It is an example of what anyone could do, if this is the kind of business they chose to build. This story in particular tells you what you need to do in order to build that kind of business (professional photographer, model, importing wholesale goods, etc).

But honey, if this is not the business you are trying to build? Forget about it. It has nothing to do with you.

Remember the great Amy Poehler quote: “Good for her! Not for me.”

The trouble comes when you take the results of someone else's business model and you try to compare it to the outcomes of your (very different) business model. An importing business is going to have different results than a handmade jewelry business, which is going to have different results than a pattern-selling business. Different business model = different outcomes. This is why we use three different equations for pricing – you have different costs, time, and expectations.

I agree with the larger point in Abby's post: Etsy is changing its definition of success. The question is: Have you? How do you define success?

Be sure that what you read on the internet, the examples of success, doesn't deter you from your own definition of success. Build the business you want.

Value: How to get what you’re worth

Value Get what you're worth

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Not sure how to charge the price you need and still get customers to buy it? Worried your pricing is too low or too high? Today we're talking about how to get the fair price of your work by communicating its value to potential customers. You see, there is a big difference between the price of something, and the value of that thing. It is your responsibility to communicate that value and today's episode will teach you how.

Links mentioned:

How to listen

Find all the podcast episodes here.

 

 

What it takes to go on vacation

What it takes to go on vacation

Last month, I took off a whole week off from work to visit my family, celebrate my brother's graduation, and enjoy my husband's only vacation all year.

But I gotta be honest: even writing that sentence makes me nervous. I want to give you a zillion excuses, reasons, and explanations. I want to point all the times I traveled and didn't take time off. I want to tell you how crazy I worked before we left. I want to tell you that I still answered work emails while I was gone.

I want to do all this because, for many of us, we feel weird, guilty, or unworthy of taking time off. It's a combination of our emotional attachment to work and producing AND the realities of what it means for our business.

Tomorrow in the podcast we're going to talk about the emotional stuff and how to give yourself permission to take time off, but today I want to talk about the practical side of it. HOW do you actually take time off? How do you step away from your business without it all falling apart?

The answer is: Systems.

Now, “systems” might sound serious, but they can be simple. Think of it like this: in order to take time off, you need to know what gets done in a normal week in your business, and either get it done ahead of time, or create a plan for catching up when you return.

For me, this meant that I wrote blog posts and emails and recorded podcast episodes ahead of time. I got all caught up on Starship posts and let them know that I wouldn't be in the forums for a week. I let all my collaborators know I wouldn't be working on our projects or replying to my emails while I was gone. I got all the recently ordered books out the door and created an email draft I could send to any new orders, to let them know their book would ship in a week. (Most items in the shop are digital products which are delivered automatically, which means I don't have to be online to make it happen.)

I knew what to do because I know what I have to do in a normal week. I have a content calendar that I plan about a month in advance and I have a marketing calendar (in the same doc) with important dates noted. I know the time I spend writing, emailing, answering Starship posts, and all the other tiny things that happen in a week.

But you can see how taking time off becomes completely impossible if you don't know what you need to do in a week to keep your business moving. If you've never looked at the underlying structure of your days and your business, you won't know what's important (and what can wait). If you just handle the urgent stuff that comes at you, not only can you not take time off, but you also can't grow or change or shift your business around.

Your systems might be:

  • What and how much product you make each week
  • How you handle incoming orders (labeling, printing, shipping)
  • When you do your numbers
  • How you connect with potential buyers (marketing)
  • Scheduling social media

If you're hoping to take time off for the holidays (which I heartily recommend!), start with this: list what you do in a normal week. Star the things that you want to be consistent with while you're away (like your communication with your customers: blogging, social media, email list) and the things you can get “ahead” on (production and working on projects). Note the things that can wait a week.

Now, make a plan with what you're going to add to THIS week, so you can take time off for the holidays.

A system can be that simple, and the more you pay attention to them and improve them, the easier it becomes to take time off, whether it's for fun or an emergency. Learn how to build these systems (and get time off) in Lift Off. It closes on December 31st, so if you're going to take the holidays off, sign up now.

Want to take a vacation from your biz? Check out my course with Stacey Trock of FreshStitches: Take a Break (without breaking your biz!)

Your Family + Your Business {PODCAST}

Your family and your business

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Does your family support you in your  business? Or distract you from it? Are you frustrated about finding the time and energy to get your work done?
In this episode we're talking about your family + your business and how to get them on your side, so that they will support, encourage, and provide the help you might need to pursue your dream. We'll cover how to figure out what you want, how to ask for it, and what to do when you're just not getting it.

Links:

 

How to listen

  • You can subscribe to it on iTunes (If you do, leave a review!)
  • You can listen to it using the player above or download it.
  • Subscribe or listen via Stitcher (or subscribe in whatever you use for podcasts – just search “Explore Your Enthusiasm” and it should pop up!).

Find all the podcast episodes here.

 

 

Why your business needs community

Community
Ever since I started my business, I've struggled with this dichotomy: I'm an introvert that spends (and prefers to spend!) 8-10 hours a day alone, making or writing, working in my own head and hands… AND I know that community and connection is absolutely the most powerful tool for business growth.
Luckily, I live in an age where I can connect to millions, while still working physically alone everyday. I've been blessed to be part of supportive communities, from the first time I wandered into the then-brand-new Etsy in 2005, all the way to building my own community aboard the Starship. (I'll be sharing more about my personal history with communities and how they've changed my business in tomorrow's podcast.)
But as easy as the internet makes “connecting” –  I know I'm not alone in having a hard time finding real friends and connections, both online and off. For starters, it's easy to think of connecting as just wasting time (even when studies prove that the more we maintain connections, the more successful we'll be.) Or to actually waste time and title it “connecting”. (Refreshing Twitter does NOT equal building relationships.)

On top of the whole time issue, it's really hard to find people who get it, who are not just creative and dedicated to building a business, in the same way we are (with gentleness, curiosity, and sustainability.)

But no matter how hard it is, you DO need community.

Even the most driven among us (and I was raised by two Marines, so yeah, I’m pretty internally-motivated), can’t keep up the sustained, long-term work that a business takes, in a vacuum.
When you don't have support, it often presents as laziness – a lack of focus, or lack of commitment – but beating yourself up is NOT the answer.
The saner (and more sustainable!) solution is to find a support network, to “outsource” some of the accountability to your community.

People to who will check in (kindly!) with you.
People who will give you honest (gentle) feedback.
People who will remind you to celebrate your success!

Whether you find these people on Twitter, Facebook, in a forum or even at your local coffeeshop – knowing that you're not the only one that cares about your business, is mightily powerful. It will motivate you to stay focused, to keep working (even when you want to quit), and to try just a little harder. When you spend time with other businesses, you'll begin to believe that more is possible, and you'll get more and more clear on what the path to your success is.

If you're having a hard time finding a community that will keep you accountable (gently!) and spark your motivation, check out the Starship. It was built for crafters, makers, artists, and writers, who need a bit of support, as they work hard on their own business + dreams (and it closes this Friday!) 

Adventures in Business, with Vanessa Laven

Vanessa Laven

Today I'm sharing an adventure with Starship Captain Vanessa Laven. Vanessa writes at Mixed Martial Arts and Craft about kicking cancer's butt with grace and flair + makes  plushie body parts over at Survival Organs

People have this fantasy of what it's like to be a full-time entrepreneur. But what's a normal day for you really like?

A normal day starts on my house chores as I figure out what needs to be blogged about and what items need to be made for my shop. This is assuming I'm also not working through a headache or migraine. I get them so frequently that I only let myself sleep them off if they're at a pain level of 8 or 9 out of 10. Anything less than that and I have to suck it up and push through. If I wasn't that hard on myself, nothing would get done – either biz wise or in my personal life. Oh and as a cancer survivor, I also have doctor's appointments and support group meetings to juggle and I have to see if I'm physically feeling up for a martial arts class. While my doctor's appointments aren't every week any more, they do take up most of my day so I need to account for that. Often I end up working after dinner or on the weekends.

There are so many ways to make a living as a biz owner – how are you doing it? What have you combined and how has that changed?

I'm doing it by taking my time! One step at a time and I keep track of what's working and what isn't. Since this is a new path that I'm finally strong enough to go down, I'm writing down where I want to be, what that looks like and how I can get it. I do this by keeping track of my expenses, making notes on what my customers respond to (or don't) and generally what does success look like, feel like, act like? Trying to capture what my dreams are, using all of my senses, has helped make them more concrete and achievable.

wbc_large_1

What new thing are you exploring now?

I'm currently exploring new organs for my shop, new expressions for their faces and writing more about how to take life one stitch at a time! I'm also exploring how to teach people that they are their own guru.

What's your definition of success in your business?

For me, success is more about how many people reach out and let me know how I've helped them. During chemotherapy, there were almost no personal blogs that I could find talking about the day to day aspects of cancer. I found lots of clinical websites but I wanted to hear from a cancer survivor's mouth directly. I've taken it upon myself to do just that. But it's more than just about reaching cancer survivors. I want to help people who feel ready to make a lasting change in their life. With Survival Organs, I'm reaching out to people who need a good laugh or a reason to find something humorous in their life.

What's the next destination you're working towards?

My next major project is to finish the first round of edits to my surviving cancer and chemo guide! It's huge, it's a scary task but it's something that needs to get done. When I really think about doing it, I get really scared and I want to avoid it but then I remember how lost I felt when I was sick. I've held on to that feeling as a reason to conquer my fear and give birth to this book because there's another person just like me who needs this. I've never written a book before, much less published one, so it's a whole new set of skills for me to explore. I love that I'm now charting unknown personal territory!
Vanessa's little thyroid soft toy

Thanks so much for sharing your workday and adventure with us, Vanessa!

 

Vanessa's a Captain in the Starship. You can meet more Captains + learn if it’s right for your adventure when you sign up for the free mini-course here. 

 

 

The business tools I use

Writing about the tools I use in my business for tomorrow's post. What do you use?

As you know, my mission  is to help  you build the business that best suits YOU. All of my classes, books and adventures are built to help you discover what's true in your business and what will work for you

This means that although I write about the journey of my own business exploration, I don't do a lot of recommending, or telling you specifics of what I do. It's not that I don't want to share, it's that I don't want you to get distracted by what I use instead of figuring out what works for you.

That said…I love reading these kinds of posts. And there are a few questions that I end up answering via email and Sessions, so I'd like to put all the answers in one place. (This was inspired by Elise's Baby FAQs. If you have a new baby, you should read this).

Keep in mindthis is what works for me, with my specific business. I work with many creatives who use an entirely different set of tools.
(You can ask them directly, inside the Starship – which opens tomorrow. Sign up here if you're curious.)

My website.

My domains are registered with NameCheap. Nathan does my hosting + WordPress pampering. My entire website is built on WordPress. I love it and tell everyone to use it. (Even my mom can use it easily for her site.)

Design

I built my first few websites on my own, with a combination of free WP themes + a couple of edited images (BCB is all me, baby). If you can add some text to an image with Gimp or Photoshop, I highly recommend DIY-ing it until your business can afford to hire a designer. Why? Because you'll want to know how to do absolutely everything in your business.

Even so, there are many  things to keep in mind to make your site as effective as possible. Be ready to tweak it endlessly and make it better and better. I go over the necessary parts in detail in Market Yourself, so if you want more, check out Chapter 4.

That said, at some point, you are going to want your site to match the awesomeness of what you sell. And unless you sell website design, you probably can't do it on your own. Once your business has started to make a profit and pay you, then think about hiring a designer.

The one thing I wish I would have understood earlier?
There's a vast difference between a “website” and a “visual brand”. Getting a website designed does not mean that your company has a visual brand. So if you're totally graphically-thinking-impaired (as I am) – you probably want someone to create a visual brand for you, before you worry about website design (you can always implement their branding into your existing website.)

Right now I'm working with Jessika to create a visual brand and I love her. The main thing is to find someone who's aesthetic truly matches your own and who gets you AND your community. Jessika totally nailed my visual branding in the very first try.
(You're going to see it soon!)

Shopping carts and buy buttons

For the past 3 years I've used a combination of PayPal buttons + E-junkie buttons (with my own button images.) Paypal is quick and easy. E-Junkie is also super-quick and has the added benefit of sending an automatic email with the info you need when you join a class or buy a download. (But it does cost at least $5/mo.)

Next month I've moving everything to WooCommerce, which will also let me send you an automatic download and will have the added benefit of everything being in one place. (This has been the biggest failing of this website so far – there's not a very clear “this is what I sell” space. You can find it all linked here, but that hasn't been effective at communicating it. How do I know? I answer the question “How can I work with you?” weekly.)

However, if you have a product-based business, I suggest you go with something that “manages” your shop for you and is super-easy to add items to. I recommend most brand-new-to-online-selling folks use Etsy. After you get the hang of that and you build up your own audience (through your own site and newsletter), then move over to your own shop, with Big Cartel or one of the other options. There are many, and I haven't tried any of them, so I recommend asking other makers. (We have a thread on this in the Starship.)

Newsletter software.

You know I heartily believe everyone should be communicating with their biggest fans via email (I talk a bit more about it in this podcast). And that autoresponders are the easiest way to get everyone on the same (ready-to-buy) page. I love Mailchimp for managing all of this. I've been with them for 5 (!) years and couldn't be happier. A few of my students found it overwhelming, so they went with TinyLetter which is much simpler.

 

Social media management.

Even though I have a Number One (a virtual assistant), I do ALL of my own writing. That includes the blog, newsletter, and everything I post on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Everything you see online is actually me.

I think it's important to get that out of the way, because there seems to be an assumption that people get assistants to deal with social media. And to me, this makes no sense. Social media might be the first place you meet me (either because someone you follow retweets me or tweets directly to something I made), so why would I want that first impression to be anything but personal?

That said, it makes sense to make sure that what I write actually gets seen by my followers, so I use Hootsuite to schedule some Twitter + Facebook posts. It's very simple (and free) and I like that it allows me to share a zillion things as soon as I find them (which is often all at once), without overwhelming you, the reader. It also allows me to share a new blog post a few times a day, whether I'm online right then or not.

Even when I'm posting in “real time”, I don't hang out afterwards to have conversations. Instead, I log on to reply and have conversations when I have the time throughout the day (taking a break from other work, standing in line, etc). This time-shifted conversation is exaclty why I like Twitter! Although some conversations do happen in real time, I don't think anything's lost by time-shifting it.
What is gained is a lot more productive time and keeping my focus. While I love having conversations and connecting (love it!), I can't let it take over the equally-important creation time. To keep it reasonable, I often work with a Pomodoro timer (and go to social media on 5 minute “breaks”) and I have Nanny for Chrome installed. (But I very rarely trigger it.)

E-courses

There is SO much software out there for e-course development…and I actually use a lot of it!
The easiest way to hold an e-course is to load your content into an autoresponder in Mailchimp and when the person buys, send them an email with the sign-up page for the email list. I've used E-junkie to automatically send this email immediately. This is how my Automagical Emails class works.
That'll work for an independent study class, but what if you're holding the class “live” and you want everyone to discuss things? For a fixed-time class with automatic course delivery (you load it in and it goes out on your schedule), I really like Ruzuku. I used it for the last live Pay Yourself and for Explore You and the students really seemed to like it.
Now, that works for a specific timeline of the class, but for an ongoing community (like the Starship), I use Ning – which provides both the forum we use for conversation + a live chat space. You can also use a private Facebook group for this, but I find it a little more difficult to track the conversations and I don't like that things aren't archived and easy to search for. There are multiple WP plugins you can use to create a forum + community on your own site, but I haven't found one that works as intuitively (for the user) as Ning.

 I'd love to hear if you have a favorite?

 

Planning.

Here's the system I use to plan everything from my big years-long goals to my daily to-dos:

At the beginning of each year (and again at my birthday in June), I think through all the high-level stuff, using the Chart Your Stars Guide (available only in the Solo Mission or Starship). I set big goals and try to list all the little things I wanna do.

Each quarter, I use the Star Chart to pick a Destination. This is my Big Focus for the next three months. I use the Map Making Guide to break it down into all the Mile Markers and tiny To Dos. (I also review the last quarter so that I can learn from what did and didn't go well.)
(This is also when I create a content calendar and start filling it in.)

Each month I review where I am and what I need to do to get to my Destination (I send these reassessment questions out to the Solo Mission Starship). I use it to figure out what I need to get done this month. (Often I've already set deadlines while Map Making, so this is already mainly figured out for me.)

Each week, I make a Master List of everything I wanna get done this week. I double-check to make sure there are actions moving me towards my Destination + all the little stuff that has to be done week in and week out. (Blog posts, email ketchup, shipping books)

Each day, I check my weekly list and pick things from it to do today. I write a new To Do list everyday. I try to keep it reasonable (what I could really get done that day), but I find I actually get more done when I have more listed. (When I have few things listed, my brain thinks: Oh, you have 8 hours to do 3 tasks! You should read quilting blogs for a while!) I do star the things that HAVE to be done today and there's NO guilt if other things don't get done.

The actual TOOLS I use to do all of the above:

 

Writing.

 Every (workday) morning, I write, at least 750 words, using 750words.com and a Pomodor timer, while listening to Spotify (usually this playlist). Sometimes I use this time to write blog posts (like this) or email lessons, it's often on a bigger, less immediate project. Sometimes I just write out any problem-solving/thinking I need to do. (But I wouldn't call this a journal or free-writing, as I almost always write with an audience in mind, even if the audience is myself.) If I want to keep what I wrote, I copy it into an Evernote note.

Two to three days a week I have a second writing time, after my Morning Writing. While Morning Writing is dedicated to the writing I might skip once the day gets started (writing for the new book, thinking through a deeper subject, anything that doesn't feel immediate), the second writing chunk is usually devoted to my current projects – my “work” (blog posts, email lessons, class material.) I make the distinction in order to not let the everyday writing edge writing about whatever I'm enthusiastic about, whether it fits into my content calendar or not.

 

Email

I use Gmail for everything. When I have a pile of emails that I don't need to deal with right now (but I will need them in the future) or when my inbox just gets overwhelming, I use the Email Game to sort through them and boomerang messages back to me in the future.

That's basically it, I have no special email skillz. I try to close my inbox when I'm not directly writing or replying, and I set aside time once or twice a day to check it (I get no pings or alerts when an email arrives) for questions from customers. Twice a week I go through and answer everything (or delete it, or boomerang it). I spend a long time crafting useful answers to everyone who writes, so it's important that this both gets my attention and that it doesn't take over my life.

Jess, my Number One.

You already know that I do all my own writing and “showing up” in the online world, so what does Jess do? She makes everything better and she makes sure everything works right.

  • Every week she loads the Explore Notes I write (and the weekly Starship Lesson) into Mailchimp, editing it as she lays it out.
  • When I'm creating a new class, she edits (for clarity and grammar) my written lessons, she turns my questions into a pretty worksheet, she takes notes on the video lessons for a transcript, she uploads PDFs and text to the class space.
  • When I sell anything, she double checks that the buyer signs up for what they need to sign up for (especially important if it's an email-delivered product, like Solo Mission + Starship).
  • She updates autoresponders (like this) with updated info.
  • She notes absolutely all of our systems, so that I don't reinvent it every time (which has made me a zillion times more efficient).
  • When I write a really hard or important post (like this) or guest posts (like this), she'll edit it and give me feedback on where I'm overexplaining or glossing over something important.

(I wrote a bit about this when I hired her.)

In other words, whenever you interact with me, via reading my writing or emailing me your question or taking a class, you're interacting with me. And I have time to write long, thorough (free) answers to 5-10 non-clients every week, while writing 2 email lessons (one for free here, one for Starship members) and 2-3 blog posts each week, creating a new class every quarter, traveling + teaching around the country every few months – because Jess is doing all of the other not-writing stuff. Since hiring her, every area of my business has increased: my own output, my reader stats, and my sales.

How? I'm now focused 100% on doing what only I can do, and she makes sure my work looks (and reads) its best*. (I don't actually work any less hours now than I did before, I just spend my hours on more effective work.)

*She didn't edit this blog post, so all typos are my own fault.

 

Hardware

I recently got a Chromebook and I LOVE it for writing + traveling. It's super-light and I can fit it in my purse. I do 90% of my work on it. When I want to edit docs or videos, I use my very 4 year old Toshiba laptop. I take all photos with my iPhone 4s.

 

 Phew! That's a lot of tools + systems! 

Now it's your turn – what business tools and systems do you use?

If you write about them on your blog, leave the link in the comments!

 

 

The usual disclaimer applies! 

 

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