Say you have a clear marketing goal defined and a marketing strategy ready to go. Well done! However, if you want to make sure you reach your goal, you need to make sure that your team is all on the same page. If your team members’ individual priorities don’t align with your overall priorities or there are differences in opinion on how things should be done, this can cause conflict and derail your plan.
Here are some best practices for keeping everyone in your team on the same page.
Articulate Your Goals
Make sure that every team member fully understands your goals. Articulate why the goal you’ve chosen is the first priority, as well as the reasons for the way you’ve prioritized your tasks. Seek questions and comments and ask your team members for feedback. They may have valid suggestions on how to do things differently.
Help Team Members Manage Individual Priorities
Meet with your team members one-on-one and help them manage their own individual priorities. They may have trouble doing this by themselves and may need your guidance as a mentor. If a team member is having problems, they may not feel comfortable approaching you about it. But if you have regular coaching sessions, you can make sure they’re on track.
Transparency and Visibility
Make everything completely visible to everyone. In addition to clearly stating goals and priorities at the outset, you should also have reference materials for team members to refer to. Goals, priorities, and progress should be posted in high visibility areas. Create a collaborative environment based around this shared information.
Use Software Tools
Use a team management software program like Asana, GetFlow, or Teamstuff to help organize the project. Your team can communicate through the tool, as well as charting each member’s individual progress and the progress of the team as a whole in a way that’s easily visible to all.
Make every effort to create an environment of open communication where everyone feels comfortable expressing their opinions and asking questions. Create this environment virtually through online communication tools, in meetings, and in one-on-one sessions with individual team members.
Offer Continual Training and Coaching
If a team member feels that a task is not suitable for them or has problems, it may just be a matter of training. Through regular check-ins with your team members, try to find these weak areas and offer whatever training they might need.
Keep Priorities Flexible
Although you need a definitive plan with priorities in place, don’t be afraid to make changes if necessary. The conditions surrounding your progress may make this necessary. For example, you may find that you have a deficit in certain resources which makes a particular task difficult to complete at present. You can then bring another task up in your list of priorities and save this for later for when it’s more feasible.
Keep Long-Term Goals in Mind
Along with the one goal you’re working towards now, keep your long-term goals on the horizon as well. Clearly state to the other members of your organization your five or ten-year plan as well as the goal at hand.
Goal setting is important for any business, but your goals are likely to change as you grow from a small to a mid-sized or large business. If you learn good goal-setting habits early on in the life of your business, this will help you adapt as your organization starts to scale up.
Short-Term and Long-Term Goals
It’s always useful to have a variety of both short-term and long-term goals. Right now, you’re probably thinking mostly in the short-term. You want your business to grow. You need to grow your list or social media following; you have specific sales goals you need to reach; you want to launch your new product.
But what happens once you reach this short-term goal? You may find yourself adrift wondering what to tackle next. This is why it’s important to look to the long-term as well.
Think about where your organization will be in five or ten years. What does success look like years down the road? What will be different then versus now?
Although you should focus on just one short-term goal at a time, keep a list of long-term goals as well to clarify the direction you want your business to go.
When prioritizing goals right now, don’t be afraid to think small. In fact, it’s a good idea to set small, relatively easily attainable goals for the present. Don’t try to take on too much at once.
Small goals are great because:
They’re attainable. Huge, lofty goals are likely to only frustrate and discourage a small business.
The attainment of each goal is a learning process. You can learn from your small successes and failures.
Manageable goals that you can reach keep motivation and morale high.
Tackling small goals builds momentum that you can then put to bigger and better things.
You have many goals, both short-term and long-term, but you need to focus on just one at a time. How do you do this? The best way is to assess impact. Which of your goals will have the greatest impact on your business in the near future? This should be the one that you focus on first.
A few other things to consider are:
Chronology. You may have one particular goal that logically comes ahead of other goals. For example, you want to build your email list before you start boosting sales through it.
Resources. You may have resources at your disposal now that make a specific goal viable; for example, a new software program for social media marketing may motivate you to work on your goal of boosting your social media presence.
Lack of resources. Likewise, a lack of resources may make one particular goal ideal rather than another. You may need tech help for a particular goal but currently you don’t know anyone who can provide it. You can set this goal on the backburner for now while you work on other things.
Always set goals and employ marketing strategies with your larger, long-term goals in mind. This will help to keep your business on track as you tackle various projects.
“She’s a great worker. A real multitasker!”
Have you ever had a boss, manager, or co-worker say this about you? It sounds like a great compliment but it could be a sign that you’ve got a problem. We consider multitasking a virtue in the business world, but we are dead wrong. Multitasking isn’t a virtue; focusing on one thing at a time is. Here are the reasons why multitasking might be killing your productivity.
Our Brains Aren’t Designed to Multitask
You may feel like you’re productive when you’re multitasking, but you’re actually putting a great deal of strain on your brain. The human brain isn’t designed to switch between multiple tasks at once. Although it may seem seamless, you’re actually shifting gears slightly every time you move to another task. This gives your brain more to do, and this is the reason why multitasking burns you out.
Paying Attention Is Productive
We mistakenly think that multitasking is more productive. You’re doing more stuff at once, so you’re getting more done, right? But the truth is that narrowing your focus and zeroing in on one task at a time makes that task go faster and more smoothly. It will take more time to do multiple tasks at once than it would to do them in order.
Multitasking Multiplies Errors
You may not have noticed, but when you multitask, you make small errors you wouldn’t usually make. Go back over your work and check. Chances are you’ll find tiny mistakes which are the result of not giving the work the full attention it deserves. Focus on one task at a time and you’ll see higher quality work without the mistakes.
When you start off with your multiple tasks, you might feel that you’re highly productive and getting things done. But it’s likely that after a while, a feeling of stress and burnout will descend upon you, and you’ll find your nerves frazzled, snapping at your team members, and feeling like your computer could use a sound drop-kick. Multitasking causes stress, and this is why productivity experts and psychologists warn against it.
Prioritizing to the Rescue
There’s never any need to multitask when you know how to prioritize. Let’s say that you have five things to do. Why not do them all at once? Because instead, you can take each task and assign a level of priority to it. Now, you have five items on a list that goes from most important to least important. The truth is, you always have some tasks that are more important than others. If you prioritize, you’ll get the most important things done quickly and right.
Rub Your Tummy and Pat Your Head
Now, rub your stomach while patting your head and, if you really want to see why multitasking doesn’t work, whistle the melody of the last song you heard on the radio. You’ll find these three simple things exceedingly hard to do and this is a clear demonstration of why multitasking isn’t a good way to work.
Sometimes I feel like my relationship with Active Campaign is a bit like an after-school special where the heroine goes looking for an exciting new love interest only to find that the boy next store is the one she wanted all along.
I am always looking for the next, best, great tool. I have App Sumo permanently bookmarked on my browser. I am constantly looking for new tools, and better ways of doing things…
Yet, I have been an Active Campaign user for the past five years (yes, I think I was an early adopter) and I haven’t even been tempted by the ease of ClickFunnels or the ability to transfer campaigns that ConvertKit has. Active Campaign has always just worked for us.
I’ve been an Active Campaign consultant for the past 3 years and the company treats its consultants well. We have made our investment back every year that we’ve been part of the program (that was not the case with us and Infusionsoft).
Recently, we got an inquiry from an agency that helps larger nonprofits with their marketing to help create some sequences to truly automate some business processes with Active Campaign. So, I had a chance to jump under the hood and see what’s new.
I was impressed. Last year, I helped out with some major internet marketing launches using Infusionsoft. Many of the things we really struggled to do well in Infusionsoft turn out to be easy in Active Campaign.
Want to learn more about Active Campaign see if it is a good fit for your business? I would love to chat with you and help you find the right solutions for your coaching business. E-mail and me we’ll get it set up – meredith [at] solobizhacker.com.
There are probably a thousand marketing strategies you could employ at any given time. They come in all shapes and sizes. All you need to do is pick one and get started. But before you do, it’s important to have a strong foundation underlying your marketing. This is the basis on which your ultimate success rests.
Your core values are the principles that underlie everything your organization believes, says, or does. It’s important to define these core values since they have such a huge effect on the direction your business will take. Without clearly defined core values, you’re just wandering around rudderless.
For example, you might choose “innovation” as a core value. This means that everything your business does should be somehow innovative. If your customers know you for this, you’ll know to avoid products, strategies, or methods that are outdated or appear ordinary.
An important part of a business’s foundation is an understanding of its natural strengths. Natural strengths are the things you’re good at without really trying. These are the qualities of your organization’s “personality.”
Your natural strength might be your effortlessly friendly customer service. Knowing that you talk to your customers just like old, close friends, you might choose an email marketing campaign as a marketing strategy, since it’s an intimate and friendly way to market to your audience.
Your organization’s foundation should rest on clear and well-defined long-term goals. Long-term goals should show the direction you’ll take in the next five, ten, or even twenty years.
Long-term goals align with the core values and fundamentals of your business. But they also tell you where to go once you’ve reached a short-term goal. For example, you might grow your social media following to 1,000 people, but what then do you do with them? Look to your long-term goals to guide your next efforts.
Getting Everyone on the Same Page
The foundation of your organization gets its members on the same page. It provides a map of where your company is going. It also defines the culture of your company and makes it clear, so that everyone within it knows where they stand.
Before you get started on any marketing push, start by defining a few key business fundamentals:
1. What are your core values? Core values can be expressed as single words like “diversity,” “results-oriented,” “service,” or “flexibility.”
2. Identify your natural strengths. Try to think of the compliments you get from customers. What do they praise you for that comes naturally to you?
3. Identify a unique value proposition. This is a statement that explains what benefit you bring those who use your product or service, and what separates you from competitors.
4. Create a list of long-term goals that reach beyond the next year or next few years. Imagine where you want your organization to be at specific points in the future such as five years, ten years, and so on.
Once you’ve done this, write it up in a way that’s easy for those in your organization to understand and communicate it clearly to them.
Prioritize Your Goals
A common objection is, “But my business has multiple goals. I can’t just focus on one.”
Focusing on one goal doesn’t mean giving up the rest. What it means is focusing on one for the time being, and putting the others on the backburner for now. “For now” could be just this week or the next few months. The important thing is that you’re focusing.
You can decide which goal is the most important through prioritizing. Take a look at everything you’re working on now. Which of these will have the most positive impact on your business when it’s completed? This is the one you should focus on. You should also keep in mind your resources. You may have an important goal but lack the resources right now to carry it out.
Working Towards Your Goal is a Learning Experience
When you focus fully on one goal, you can learn valuable lessons from it. This is especially important if you’re a small business or solo entrepreneur with little experience marketing your business. As you work towards your goal employing marketing strategies, you’ll learn along the way which work and which don’t, and how to carry them out effectively. You can use this knowledge for future goals.
For example, you may decide to write guest blog posts in order to drive traffic to your site and spread awareness. Once you get started, you realize that you could write an email template for sending inquiries. The template explains who you are, why you’re an expert, and how your content could enrich the person’s blog. This saves a great deal of time and you can send out more inquiries, which leads to more blog posts.
This is the sort of thing you may not have learned if you were bogged down with several goals or strategies at once.
One Goal and One Marketing Strategy
If you want to really focus and get results, try focusing not only on one goal but on one marketing strategy as well. As the guest blogging example above illustrates, choosing just one strategy allows you to learn, streamline, and hone your skills. You can then add this strategy to your arsenal of techniques that you’ve used before.
People in the business world still sing the praises of multitasking, but any time management expert will tell you that, more often than not, it kills productivity and leads to burnout. Instead, the key to success is to narrow down and focus, and then move on to the next.
Guest Post by Kimberly Gypsy LoSavio. Kim is the sassy spark behind Blogging with Gypsy – https://bloggingwithgypsy.com, her blog about blogging – smattering of mentoring, teaching, guidance, sharing, and whatever shenanigans she can think of. She helps her clients create a fabulous space on the interwebz to share their awesomeness with the World! Ms. LoSavio is a full-time momma to her autistic 7-year-old son she lovingly calls Master Beastie. She is seriously addicted to coffee. When she’s not creating websites or helping clients with their blogs, and Master Beastie is having a quiet moment of his own, you may find her crafting, writing, or even reading a trashy novel she found on Kindle unlimited.Click for your Free Blogging Toolkit
Keeping up with your blog can have you feeling frustrated and overwhelmed if you don’t have some sort of plan in place.
And keeping up with your tribe and mastermind groups just adds to the madness, right?
I have found myself not posting to my blog regularly, even though I have a list of topics to write about.
Worse, my workspace gets cluttered with pieces of paper taped to my laptop or wall, post-it notes scattered all over and several different notebooks in different places – with no order or organization going on whatsoever – which also leads to forgetting a LOT of things I want to share.
I know I am NOT the only one this happens to!
I’m not always good about commenting and sharing other bloggers – especially those in my tribe and mastermind groups. And my friends.
It’s horrible! No wonder I’m always so frustrated and overwhelmed.
And did you know this kind of disorganized chaos affects your readership, your list (people start unsubscribing) and can start diminishing your traffic as well? Yeah … that kinda sucks!
Especially when the whole idea of having a website and blog is to build your empire, keep those subscribers and grow that traffic.
So, what can you do, you might wonder? Or you might wonder what I did.
Yeah, I’m still wondering and I’m still doing but I’m going to share with you my not so secret secret! Or rather 5 things that will definitely help you out!
5 Simple Ways to Rid Your Blog of Chaos & Overwhelm So You Can Grow Your Reach and Community
1: Get Yourself Organized
Seriously! GETTING YOURSELF ORGANIZED is the first thing you NEED to do to feel less frustrated and overwhelmed. Even if you are one of those who thrive on “disorganized” chaos (like me), you still need to have some semblance of order.
I have a large white board that I use for a monthly wall calendar to write on next to my desk. I’m learning to make better use of my post-it note addiction. And I now use a combination of my Desire Map Daily Planner and 2 Happy Planners for keeping my soulfull biz & life in a fairly somewhat not-so chaotic mess.
Seriously! I’m lost without my planners!
I also find that I NEED to declutter my desk at least once a month. And I’m a firm believe in smudging! Yes, it’s woo-woo. But it makes me happy!
Figure out whatever works best for YOU! And what helps you stay on top of things!
2: Penning in Time to Plan your Month Ahead
This is so important!!! And what you can do with your PLANNERS!!!!
PENNING in 2 – 3 hours to plan out your month will save you a large chunk of that chaos. I say “penning” because if you “pencil” it in, that just makes it easier to erase. So, use a pen! Better yet, use a permanent marker.
I’ve found penning in planning sessions the last weekend of the month helps me keep on track, but you can choose whenever the best time is for you.
What are you waiting for?
Grab that permanent marker and do it right now! … I’ll wait.
Okay! Ready for #3? Good!
3: Write Your Blog Posts in Clusters and Schedule Them Out
Pick a day during the week to write your post(s) at once for the next week.
You can save them all as drafts and then edit them on the days you want to want to publish them. Or you can choose one day to write and the second day to edit and schedule to publish. This is easier for those that only post 1 -3 times a week on their blog. If you post daily, you can always pick 2 different days.
It’s even easier if you’re an every other week or once a month blogger. Just figure out your perfect schedule and plan ahead the drafting, the editing and then schedule it to publish on the day you want it to go live. I love WordPress!
4: Pick one day a week to Comment on other Blogs
Commenting on others’ blogs helps build community and ultimately brings traffic back to your blog if you are listing your blog URL with your comment. But it can get so overwhelming as you add more people or mastermind groups to your tribe. I bookmark all the blogs in my tribe into one folder in my browser bar, so I have them all in one place; then I PEN in (YES with a permanent marker) the times that I am going to dedicate to just commenting on blogs and sharing them in my planner.
If you do this once a week, you are leaving 4 comments a month on each person’s blog! I call that a win in my book!
5: Being consistent!
Being consistent is really the key here.
If you stick to your plan, I promise that you will feel the frustrated and overwhelmed energies less and less.
Oh sure, the Procrastination Monster will reel its nasty head sometimes, but so long as you face it head on, take a deep breath and move forward – this is called taking action, and continue to be consistent, it will get easier and easier.
It will start to be a habit … like getting out of bed and making coffee every morning. Or breathing! LOLz
These are just a few things that you can do to keep from feeling frustrated and overwhelmed and from stopping cold in your tracks.
These steps also help guide and move you forward, to build your business and grow your community.
And don’t worry if you fall off the wagon! Just get right back up and start where you are!Click for your Free Blogging Toolkit
Q: How do you narrow down and target your ideal client when you love people and can see yourself serving in a lot of niches within your industry? (Holly – ESL Teacher)
From Wally Barr
Niche should be selected based on need and value. It will allow you to realize maximum results. Your service provides a value. That value is different to different people. Where is the most value (monetary) located? A lawyer or a physician that is not getting clients because of a language barrier will out a higher value on your service. The value of a lost client is higher to them. This is just an example. These high-value clients can also be niched with services. For the physician example, writing instructions or follow up care would be much needed. To expand this idea, a class instructing the staff in basic language needs would be a niche.
From Meg Manke, Culture & Leadership Strategist, Senior Partner at Rose Group International
Our second participant in our ESCAPE Plan Web Reality Show is Karen Boise. Karen is a board certified life coach who specializes in helping late bloomers create a new life for themselves.
Karen is in the early stages of her business she calls Compelling Exploration. She has been working full time for the last four years for a community college as an academic coach, working with codering students who are working in intensive, immersive bootcamps.
Even though she loves her job, she realized that she wanted to work with people in all types of transitions, and especially late bloomers. Karen, herself, describes herself as a late bloomer, having found out what she really wanted to do in her late forties. For her, it was at that point where she says the whole world changed for her.
What excites her about starting her own business is that it will give her the opportunity to work with people all over the world, not just in her current town of residence – Albuquerque, New Mexico. She is attracted to the lifestyle of the solopreneur, being able to work anywhere, from her computer, and being able to have destination workshops in different parts of the world.
It will also give her the flexibility to juggle other aspects of her life. She describes herself as a sandwich generation-er, with a husband and 14 year old son at one end of the spectrum it is important for her to be able to spend the time with him during those formative years between 14 and 18 – and being able to care for her mother who has Alzheimers at the other.
In our first session with Karen she outlined where she had got to in her business and that she had talked to everyone she knows about what she was planning, and even had two people who had signed up to try out her coaching so she could hone her processes with them.
The main thing that concerned her was that although she had talked to a lot of people about what she was doing, very few of those conversations had led to people wanting to sign up for coaching. However, where she acknowledged she struggled was in ‘asking’ people to sign up. She worried that asking was an imposition – and that she was uncomfortable ‘asking’ people. However, as any sales trainer will tell you, half the reason why people don’t get sales is because they don’t ask for them.
This is a problem a lot of solopreneurs have. Karen is certainly not alone in that. The trick is to turn that thought process around and rather than seeing ‘asking’ for the sale as imposing on the prospect, instead see it as an offer of help to the prospect. Especially in life coaching. The prospect is seeking help – otherwise they wouldn’t be having the conversation in the first place. The coach can offer them a way that the prospect can get the help they need – that way includes getting paid, of course – and the client needs to pay in order to have ‘skin in the game’ – otherwise they won’t value it, and as soon as the going gets tough they will just stop doing it, because they lose nothing by doing so.
When it comes to finding potential client prospects, the problem with anyone who is looking to change their life, it is all in the timing – they don’t need help until they need it. But talking to people helps in that it puts the idea of getting coaching help into their minds, and if the person Karen is talking to knows someone who is going through a transition, then they will be able to refer that person to Karen as a known source of help.
The big problem solopreneurs face, and coaches especially, when they first start out it having the proof that they can help the person in need. Without a case study or two they are never going to persuade enough people to sign on to make the business viable. It will be a constant struggle to get new clients.
The way we help people in the early stages of their business allows our clients to overcome these problems, get the initial paying clients they need to validate their processes and gain those all important first case studies. Because, without those, reaching out to the wider world will be a waste of time and effort.
Sheila Galligans’s reason for wanting to start her own business is a common story you see with a lot of solopreneurs. Her mom was in hospital and she needed the flexibility to be able to visit her mom on a regular basis – AND earn a living at the same time – a level of flexibility that just wasn’t available as an employee.
When Sheila put together an organizing event and earned $2000, all while sitting with her mother in her hospital room, even her mother thought she might be onto something.
Sheila went on to have a fair bit of success with her business, Go Big Global, where she organized telesummits for people. However, the problem was that the success was not consistent enough to be sustainable and she ended up having to take part-time work again.
One of the main reasons she couldn’t maintain the success she had, as she admitted during her first coaching session with us, was that she got completely caught up with, and overwhelmed by, the nitty gritty of her business. She would obsess over the detail of everything. Nothing could go out until it was perfect. And she felt she should be doing all this “stuff” that eventually just made her grind to a halt.
She has a passion to be successful and now has a new incarnation of her business where she helps people get guest spots on people’s podcasts. It is a great idea and has huge potential, and, because of sheer tenacity, Sheila is the perfect person to run such a business.
BUT – even in our first discussions with her, she was making the same mistakes. She was obsessing about getting a lead page up in her Lead Pages account. She was obsessing over her website and was outlining all these pages and content, articles and who knows what.
Now – don’t read this as a failing on Sheila’s part. This is a problem that many many solopreneurs find themselves in. It is so easy to get attracted – and distracted – by shiny objects we think are vital to our success.
They aren’t. They are success killers – especially at the early stages of a business.
What is vital to your success? Paying clients.
You can have the fanciest website in the whole world, but without a client success story and case study you are never going to build enough trust to a point where people will be confident enough to part with their money.
You start with the people you know – you get one or two clients by going out and physically talking to people – you work out your processes in terms of creating a successful outcome for those clients – you create case studies from those and you get those clients to give you a testimonial. Until that is done, there is no point in funnels, optins, social media, and whatever shiny object you can add to that list. By all means have a website – but make it really basic and simple – have a homepage that outlines who and what you help with, and an ‘about me’ page that sets out why you are the perfect person to help them. That’s it.
In our first coaching session we got Sheila to abandon almost everything she was doing – and getting overwhelmed by – and we got her to start making phone calls to people she knows – and tracking her results. Within two weeks of our coaching call she messaged us to say she had just landed her three clients at $600 a piece, plus another in process.
Not only has she created a whole lot of awareness and interest in her new business, she is now getting paid clients – AND she is no longer obsessing over stuff that, at this stage, really doesn’t matter. Needless to say, she is a happy bunny right now!
Sheila admits herself that she couldn’t do this without coaching. It is an investment – there is no doubt – but that investment will repay you many times over, just from avoiding the wasted time, effort and money that so many solopreneurs experience through years of trial and error. [Here’s Sheila’s simple one page website]
If you have that dream – make the investment – and save yourself a whole load of missteps and heartache.