I didn’t have to make a resolution to determine that I want to learn something new every single day. Being a lifelong learner is simply part of my lifestyle. And that got me to thinking about a major ah-ha moment I had this week while listening to my friends and colleagues Jim Edwards and Jeff Herring.
You can watch this webinar on demand (that means right NOW!) and I promise you’ll pick up something new – I did! – (You can hear about my major ah-ha at about the 16:30 mark).
During the webinar, Jim was talking about the importance of CONSISTENCY and something I hadn’t considered before hit me. If you think of marketing your business in terms of how you live your LIFE – anything you’re NOT consistent with isn’t going to work for you.
Think of diet and exercise.
- If you workout sporadically or just once a week, is that going to get you the amazing body you know is under there somewhere?
- If you only eat healthy foods when you feel inspired to, are you going to be in optimal health?
- NO! You HAVE to make exercise and healthy eating part of your lifestyle to get the best possible results.
The same is true with content marketing. You need to make it part of your business lifestyle. That means every day you want to create SOMETHING that can help DRIVE MORE TRAFFIC. It can be:
- An email article you send your subscribers
- A blog post on your own blog (like this!)
- A guest post on someone else’s blog
- A video doing a demo, telling a story, clarifying a point, explaining a detail… whatever
- A webinar – either that you teach or you present
- A speech – that you deliver live or show a video of
- A podcast – either that you run or that you’re a guest on
- A live stream event – either that you run or that you’re a guest on
- Slides that you post online for people to learn from
The list goes on.
But golly that can get time consuming. Even if you’re repurposing your content, which smart marketers do, you still have to create it in the first place.
Enter the CUSTOM CONTENT WIZARD. This tool Jeff and Jim talked about makes creating that content you need to be consistently sharing very EASY. And FAST!
The fact is, your business DOES have a lifestyle of it’s own. But YOU are the one who drives that. Isn’t it time to get your business lifestyle in the BEST possible shape it can be in? Of course it is! Go see what it’s all about at:
BTW There is a special deal going on right now that expires in a couple days, so go see it this weekend while you’re thinking of it.
It’s the time of year when people begin to evaluate their systems and services to determine if they want to make any changes, improvements, or upgrades. Last year around this time, I did my own exhaustive search for a scheduling and calendar service.
Since I made that change, rarely a week goes by that someone doesn’t mention how “slick” or “awesome” they think my system is. So I thought I’d share what I’m using and the process by which I determined what is right for me. Maybe it’ll save you hours of research.
The reason I made a switch was because the service I’d used for several years, Time Trade, changed their interface at some point in the previous year. That change made it difficult for my clients and colleagues to actually complete their chosen appointment because it looked to the person that they had selected a time, but on the last page, there was a “confirm” button that often appeared “below the fold” of the website (meaning appointment-makers would have to scroll down the page to see it). That led to people calling me when I didn’t know there was an appointment – because the automation only happened if they completed the process by clicking the confirmation button. That happened enough times I couldn’t risk it any more.
Then when people DID make their appointment, it only sent one confirmation but had no option for reminders. I also did not like that.
So I did the same thing you may have done, asked my smart friends on social media what they use. I gathered all the suggestions and spent many hours checking into every one of them. Then I narrowed it down and spent a couple days looking closely at each, asking questions to people in the know, even calling the sales offices of several.
Here were my requirements:
- Had to sync automatically with my Google calendar
- Had to have the ability to send multiple reminders
- Had to be able to have multiple meeting types (for example I have 4-hour Virtual VIP Days, 1-hour client sessions, 30-minute meetings with potential clients, affiliates and JV partners, etc.)
- Had to be EASY to use on my end in setting it up and on my clients’ end to set up an appointment
- Cost has to be $100 or less per year
The Contenders (And Losers)
Every single one of the services I checked came from the recommendation of people I trust (that was the first hurdle). Based on the above criteria, following are the options I looked into, in alphabetical order, with the price I would pay for my business’ needs (the service may have other rates higher and lower, but I was only comparing pricing on what I would need, not the company’s pricing strategy overall!) and the reasons why I didn’t select them. Here’s the breakdown for you:
Acuity Scheduling: ($10/month = $120/year) This was a close second because it met most of my criteria, but in the end, there was just too much “stuff” to contend with and it didn’t meet the “easy” factor.
Appointment.com: ($8.25/ month = $99/ year) I couldn’t even find the information on their website that I needed to determine if this was going to be a good fit. Obviously that couldn’t be the winner.
Genbook: ($20/month = $240/year) FAR too confusing with nowhere near enough information offered to help me make a decision. Plus the price was more than double my budget.
Hitappoint: ($89/year) Not easy and there was no information on if it would sync with my Google calendar.
Schedule Once: ($49/month = $588/year) Even though it ticked most of the boxes I needed (except the easy one again), at $49/month for the package that met my purposes, there’s no way I was going there.
Schedulicity: ($20/month = $240/year) double the budget and still couldn’t tell if it’d sync with my Google calendar made this one easy to pass by.
Setmore: ($25/month = $300/year) this ticked every box except the price. I loved how easy it was to use and it did everything I wanted (and more), but I found another option for a third of the cost. Mind you, I have no problem paying for business services I need and like, but if I can get a similar service that meets my needs and I also like that can save me money, I’d be foolhardy not to.
TimeTrade: ($49/year) This is the system I had been using and wasn’t happy with, but because so many people recommended it and I already knew the interface, I checked to see if there was an upgrade available or if there was another option that met my needs. There wasn’t.
The Winner: Calendly – Weird Name. Great service.
In the end I chose Calendly which has a weird name, but the service is excellent. I can login with my Google credentials and it easily syncs everything up nicely. I have about 8 different types of meetings with various lengths of time and follow-up/reminder messages and can keep on going. They also automatically create a custom URL for my meetings, which is a nice feature you might be interested in, but I make all mine into redirects that I can more easily remember, because I’ve been using many for years. And the price at $8/month can’t be beat with all the bells and whistles. I love it.
Are you searching for a new appointment scheduler online? Give Calendly a try. Go ahead and set an appointment with me if you want to see how it looks (and if you actually want to talk to me!) Go to http://FeliciaSlattery.com/meeting to choose your time now and check out how cool Calendly is to use!
I’m tired of it!
You know that crazy roller coaster of entrepreneurial income? The one where you feel like a millionaire rock star one month and a pauper the next? The one when you work like a wild person and make a ton of cash (hopefully) but then when you don’t (or can’t) work you have to start scraping for coins in the couch cushions, at the bottom of your purse, and in the seats of the car? Roller coasters I LOVE, but THAT one, well it’s long time to get off.
The thing is it doesn’t matter how long or short of a time you’ve been in business. It doesn’t matter at what point of income you feel like a prince(ss) or a pauper. We all know the feeling. And if we’re being honest, it happens far too often.
So OK, for a minute, let’s say you’re a smarty pants and you’re thinking, “I make more than enough money speaking/coaching/consulting/serving clients. I have no idea what you’re talking about Felicia.” Good for you. And here’s the thing — ask yourself:
What happens in your business on the days you don’t work?
Or if you’re in a day job, and you take off? Maybe the kids are sick, or you’re feeling under the weather yourself (you knew you shouldn’t have gone to that hole-in-the-wall restaurant!), or maybe you get diagnosed with something serious and have to take off for more than just a couple days. What happens with your business then?
You likely don’t make money, that’s what.
If you’ve ever struggled through that, you’ll certainly agree that feeling like you *have* to work with clients, be on stage, or show up “or else” is not a fun way to live.
I learned that hard lesson last year when I had to take almost 6 months off work throughout the year because of serious health challenges. And I found out the hard way I still had some work to do.
Well, I’ve found the answer.
Actually, I’ve found 21 powerful yet simple ways to create passive income streams so on those days when you can’t (or don’t want to!) show up to work, you can still bring in cash! AND the great thing is because of my relationship I’ve built with David Perdew, the founder of NAMS where he’s had me keynote speak twice and teach on his faculty time and again, he’s given me a “super secret I’m the only one doing this right now” coupon code so you can get access to it all – valued at almost $200 – for FREE! Just use coupon code: FSPassive.
I’ve worked hard this year to develop more passive income streams, but after diving deep into the content David Perdew and my friend Nicole Dean, another faculty member at NAMS, have created and that you can get for FREE but only through tomorrow, is that I still have a long way to go and much more passive income to gain!
Today, right now: I’m throwing it down. Let’s build our passive income streams together!
Yes I know it’s the holidays. Yes I know it’s a busy time. And that’s exactly WHY you should seriously consider joining me in this challenge. When you’re busy and want to be doing fun things away from your business or want to put your head down and write your next book or create your next speech, you still want (and need) money coming in. That’s what passive income will do for you.
So together – let’s get it going. I’ll be posting my progress here on my blog and I’ve even made a dedicated Facebook group to support anyone who wants to join in the challenge with me.
Be sure to pick up the Found Money passive income workshop to get some ideas and get started. The original price of $197 is a great investment into your business but as I said, I managed to clinch a great deal for you as my valued customer.
For a limited time, you can have it at zero cost but hurry.
Go to this link then download and devour everything!
This offer goes away for good on December 8th.
If you miss this one, you are likely to find yourself in exactly the same position as you are now. Let’s change that and make money while we don’t work!
Add your comment below to let me know you’re in and join me on the Passive Income Challenge for Speakers, Authors, Consultants & Entrepreneurs Facebook group to keep accountable and bring in more passive income!
I am embarrassed.
When I started my business and learned about the concept of blogging, I used to blog every single day of the week. Of course back then, I didn’t have any clients — well I had one. A pro bono client. And that was about the size of it.
Fast forward almost 4 years and my blogging habits have, well, um, become spotty at best. And as I look at the last date I actually posted here… my face turns a bright shade of red.
Unfortunately that’s “leaked” into other areas of my business as well. Although my income from my part-time home business is going amazingly well (like making more than I ever did while working full time plus in an office or college classroom), my systems and processes are all over the place.
Just like with this blog. In all honest transparency, for many things I’ve been flying by the seat of my pants. Sure, I have deadlines I create for myself that I *mostly* meet. And I have a few things that are working amazingly well. But I think a lot of work-at-home people can relate — there’s a lot of reacting going on.
Oops an email just came in. Let me respond to that.
There’s a direct message on Twitter from someone who wants to chat. Better find time.
Just got a phone call about a speaking engagement. I need to get them what they need right this second.
And so on.
What happens is that without any real systems and processes in place, some important tasks, as well as those “that’d be nice to do someday” things tend to fall by the wayside. Not because I don’t want to do them. Or not because I’m not getting other things done. It’s just I haven’t had a solid system for everything that has to happen.
Lucky for me I have My Fabulous VA, Rebekah Jones. (Whew– breathing a big sigh of relief!)
Rebekah is an amazing virtual assistant — someone who handles lots of my “should be systematized” tasks. She makes running my business easy and fun.
Since the beginning of my business I’ve always worked with a VA (used to be My Lisa was my go-to woman for just about everything until she decided to get out of the VA biz onto bigger exciting things for herself!). Whether I had the income or not. Why? Because I *knew* that having a fabulous VA would be necessary to get me to the place I wanted to be in my business. And I was right! Working with my VAs has allowed me to do what I am best at, which has allowed me to bring in plenty of income to pay them and myself.
One of the most frequently asked questions I get is, “How do you work with a VA?” And importantly, “How do you work it so you are extra profitable with a VA?” Well, I talked my own VA, Rebekah, into teaching a class with me tomorrow night to tell you.
We’re both excited because this class is specifically designed for coaches, consultants, speakers, and other heart-centered service-based entrepreneurs. And it’s also for other VAs who want to know the magic formula to find your most fabulous clients.
As for me, much to Rebekah’s relief, this year I am developing systems, process and Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for my business. I’ve made it my theme for the year. That means writing down schedules for everything and sticking to them. Like when I’ll be blogging.
SO now, I invite you to do a couple of things:
1. Visit http://WinningBusinessRelationships.com now to see the invitation video we created for you.
2. Comment below about what areas you need better systems in and what systems you have in place that are working for you. (I need all the help & suggestions I can get!)
Wow! The response I’ve been getting to my 4th quarter challenge has been amazing! Yay for you if you’re joining me by publicly announcing that “you’re in” on my previous blog post or if you’re silently following along. Whatever you do… just take some action and git ‘er done!!
Today I’m sharing with you a strategy I want us to use to help keep focus and get more done — possibly in less time. I call it my 15 Minute Sprint.
Now I will share with you, this idea is not mine entirely, although I did grab the hashtag for Twitter :-). If you’re following me on Twitter you’ll see where I announce I’m getting ready for a #15MinSprint. And then when to begin.
Here are the simple rules:
- Grab a timer. I use my iPhone because I always have it with me. You can use a kitchen timer, your cell phone, whatever is handy — set it for 15 minutes.
- Turn off ALL distractions. During this 15 minutes you are to focus on 1 TASK ONLY!! That’s it. Just the one. That means no email, no Tweetdeck (I know who you are!), no phone calls. FOCUS on your 1 project. I mean, really, it’s only 15 minutes. The world can wait.
- Be accountable. Share with us here on the blog that you’re doing your #15MinSprint. Or share with your Twitter followers. I’ll be creating a special column for #15MinSprint-ers so I can track for you and cheer you on!
- Plan only 3 #15MinSprint sessions per hour. Why? Because you need to take a break occasionally. We work at home for goodness sakes! Get a cuppa tea or coffee, read your email, tweet, chit chat with a girlfriend, throw in a load of laundry… whatever you want to do. But don’t plan more than 3 #15MinSprint sessions per hour. Trust me. With those 3 — in 2 hours you’ll get done more than you have in a day other times!
- Organize Your Day. As you look at your list of to-dos prioritize what you need to get done and then make sure you do those things. Have no more than 3-5 “need to dos” for the day. Then add an extra “would be nice to do” — something like cleaning out your inbox, filing, sorting thru a pile on your desk, etc. Even if you don’t get the full task done, you’ll be amazed what can happen with just 15 minutes!
Ok– so those are the rules. Simple, right? I wrote this post in during a #15MinSprint. What will you do with yours? Comment below & go go go!!!
Here in the Chicago area the sun is shining and it’s a cool brisk Monday morning. October has arrived in full gorgeous soon to be multi-colored force!
For business owners that means it’s the final quarter of 2009.
As I look at my never-ending to-do list and all the things that need my attention I found myself wondering where to start. Do you ever get that same feeling?
If you’re like me, you have a to-do list a mile long— but there are other thing mental to-dos that somehow keep getting passed up day after day.
So during this final quarter of 2009 I decided — I’m not waiting until 2010 to make some positive changes in my life that will affect my productivity and move my business forward.
I decided to act now. And I thought I’d invite you to join me. Then as January 1, 2010, arrives we’ll be set to hit the proverbial ground running!
We’ll be working on things like basic organization, getting a handle on finances, laser-focusing on our messages, and finding ways to repurpose what we may already have to better serve those in our professional communities. I’ll be sharing the same resources and tips I’ll be using all along the way.
What does this have to do with communication or public speaking? Simple. When you focus on improving yourself and moving your business and life forward, you send the message to yourself and those around you that you are serious about your success. You clear the space — both mental and physical — to allow other possibilities and beneficial relationships to develop that will propel you toward your goals.
What’s my motivation? Easy. I need some accountibility. If I tell you I’m going to do something, you may know me well enough by now to know if I promise you something I’m gonna make it happen.
Plus, sometimes working on your own can be a lonely enterprise. It’s awesome when you can create a connection with someone or a community and move forward together.
I’ll be posting here regularly about my progress and looking to hear how you’re doing as well. There is no charge to follow along… I’m doing this for me as well as for you to motivate and inspire us both to further greatness.
If you’d like more direct help from me, I invite you to consider joining my Communication Success Network just for the next 3 months. Then each week during our group chats we can support each other more directly — along with everyone in the group. Plus you’ll get direct coaching from me, as well as all kinds of other cool bonuses.
So tell me now… are you up for the challenge and serious about your success? Comment below & throw your hat into the success ring with me!!
As I write this I am in the process of multiple projects.
Now I know, you may be thinking, “But Felicia, I heard you’re supposed to focus on 1 thing at a time to be the most successful?”
That advice is only partially correct.
You see, just because I have several major projects happening at once doesn’t mean my focus is split. In fact, I’m able to focus even more clearly on on task at a time, allowing me to get the projects done. How? Read on.
I know as a small business owner or micro business if it’s just you, there are A LOT of tasks to keep up with. So how do you stay productive and focused with so much on your plate at one time? And how in the world can you get it all done?
With a little help.
Right now as I write this, my ezine is being prepared to go out this morning and I’m in the process of a major re-launch of a program I created from scratch. Yet, I’m writing this blog post confidently knowing the other work is getting done. Because I have help from 2 fabulous Virtual Assistants, Lisa Wells and Rebekah Zobel Jones. Both are members of an organization calledInternational Virtual Assistants Association, a group of dedicated administrative professionals whose sole task in their business is to help you with yours.
Pretty cool, right?
You can have the same secret weapon I do — and find your own highly qualified VA to help you with your specific needs by simply going to www.IVAA.org and completing a Request for Proposal (RFP). Likely within minutes you’ll have emails from VAs ready and able to do the tasks you need them to do.
Here are some of the tasks I have my VAs do for me, either regularly or as special projects both now and in the past:
- format & send my bi-weekly ezine Creating Connections
- manage my calendar and appointments
- send email reminders of appointments and events to my clients and group coaching members
- upload new files to my website
- format & upload sales pages to my website
- manage my shopping carts
- manage my affiliate programs
- deal with website tech issues such as hosting and URL management
- respond to email inquiries for affiliate promotion requests, appointment requests, etc.
- send me regular reports and updates on my various projects and provide me with a to-do list based on those projects
- handle customer service and technical issues
- maintain my website to keep it current
- manage my books
- handle all my travel details & create itineraries for when I travel
- format and create pdf files for various teleseminars
- format & create order forms for speaking events
- create and revise powerpoint presentations
- I could go on & on!
What that all means is in the middle of a super busy week I can take the time to write on my blog, Tweet, talk to clients, or any other number of tasks I’d rather be doing. Talk about a win-win situation!
IVAA.org is THE place to find someone to help you. Oh– and my budget for my VAs? One works 5 hours per month and the other is 10 hours per month. As you can see, because they are experts in what they do, it doesn’t take them long to do what needs to get done.
So now you know… my “secret weapon” isn’t a secret at all. It’s getting help from experts who can get the job done!