2020 Business Planner for Empath Entrepreneurs

Attention all Empath Entrepreneurs!

This planner will help you set your goals, intentions and targets for the year, and stick to them so that your business built on kindness can grow.

Do you work for yourself? Or are you planning to next year?
Do you need help battling the sense of overwhelm?
Do you want your business to be based on kindness and compassion?

This 200 page planner will help you:
*Streamline your business to reduce the amount of squirrelling;
*Increase your productivity by establishing a to-do list system that actually works;
*Make sure you are looking after your mind, body and soul while you smash your business goals, avoiding entrepreneur burnout altogether;
*Set actionable goals and intentions for the year, with clear steps to achieving them for each month;
*Build your own self-care toolkit;
*Select essential oil and/or crystal based on your intention for each month;
*Schedule weekly and monthly tasks;
*Plan interesting and engaging social media content for every day of each month;
*Select essential oils for each mood and season;
*Conduct a full life audit to help you figure out where to place focus in your life;
*Select a crystal for each month;
*space to review each month so you know when you are on track and when and what you might need to pivot.

ONLY £35 plus p&p.

View sample pages below. 

S01 E12 The Art of Breaking Even

S01 E12 The Art of Breaking Even

Register below to download the FREE worksheets

Let’s look at breaking even and how it will influence how you decide your pricing. If you haven’t already, go back and listen to the Money Money Money episode, which will help you start to understand your figures. 

And don’t forget to download the free worksheet for this episode. 

Many people skip the very, very important step of thinking about how much you actually need to earn to survive, how much you need to earn to live well, and what you’re actually charging. Those are obviously connected. It doesn’t matter if you’ve got a business that doesn’t bring in enough to pay your mortgage. If it’s going to give you more stress and anxiety than having a paid job with a regular income, then you might as well stay employed and working for someone else, right? To have that guaranteed security? 

I want to talk to you about how these all are linked and how you can start working them out and thinking about them. 

Come join me on my Facebook page www.facebook.com/thebeautyofourdreams

First of all, I want you to spend some time working on your budget. So whether you have already started your business or whether you’re thinking about it, sit down and do a budget, a personal budget, and a work budget. 

How much do you need to earn to survive?

And how much do you need to bring in to cover your business overheads? 

What is that minimum number that you absolutely need to come in? 

Also bear in mind how much you would like to earn, right? 

How much do you need to bring in to be able to afford all those nice little things that you like doing, getting your nails done every few weeks, or going for brunches with your friends.

Maybe have a third budget, which includes a lot more luxuries. What is the ideal budget? What would you like to bring in? What are you aiming for is the next big step in terms of your income. 

So once you’ve got all of those figures, have a little look at the worksheet and what I want you to do is complete the following different boxes based on those figures you’ve just worked out.

There’s a space for you to fill in your total amount of monthly bills and your total predicted business expenses. Or they might be your actual business expenses if you’ve already set up. 

Include in there the amount of desired spending money per month and amount for additional foreseen monthly costs, anything else that might come up. 

Now you’ve got a subtotal. 

And what I would do is add to that about 20% on top of that for tax and light contingencies. I call them light contingencies because that will not be enough to ringfence some money for, for big expenses like a new kitchen or luxury holiday. And also when I say 20% have a chat with your bookkeeper who you’ve now obviously hired, because I’ve talked about it so much about what is a sensible amount to start putting aside for taxes.

It might be in your first year that you actually don’t need to save that much for taxes because maybe your startup expenses have been quite high. So chances are you don’t have to pay as much tax this year. But maybe you want to start saving for something else, a big holiday, a wedding. So have a chat with your bookkeeper. Have a little think about what your upcoming expenses are and how much this additional amount should be that you were saving. 

Now you’ve worked out your total, put this into Box A. This is your ideal or your break even point, depending on what you have put in your budget. This is how much you would like to earn to cover all your bills and your lifestyle costs, and obviously your business costs. Please note though, these figures may not be exact. They’re just here to start you thinking about how much you need.

How much do you need to earn and therefore, how much do you need to charge? Are you starting to see how it’s all linked together?

Next we’re going to work out how many hours you can work per month or you want to work per month. This is a combination of how many hours you have available and how many hours realistically you want to work or you can work. 

Have a little think on your average week, how many hours you would be available to work. Now times that by 4.5 to work out an average amount of hours you are available to work per month. And put this into Box B.

Now take the figure from Box A, which is the amount of money you would like to be able to bring in, and divide it by the figure in Box B, which is the total amount of hours that you are available to work a month and what you have now is what you are aiming to earn per hour. 

To be clear, if you’re offering a one-to-one service or some kind of service where you’re charging an hourly rate, this is not how much you’re charging per hour. If the answer to the question above is £20 an hour, you will need to be charging more than that to cover the hours that you are working, but not actually billing a client. For example, your marketing days, your money days when you’re preparing invoices and so forth. 

If you’re selling products and maybe more difficult to calculate how much you are earning per hour, again, this is something your bookkeeper can help you with. But knowing these figures will help you decide if your business idea in your model are financially viable and will help you understand what to do with your pricing.

For example, I really like cross stitching, but imagine I need to make £2,000 a month to be able to pay all my bills, but it takes me 20 hours to make one cross-stitch and I plan on working for a hundred hours a week. I would have to charge approximately £400 per cross-stitch to break even. Is this realistic or do you think perhaps I would need to look at another business model? 

Well this has been the last episode of season one. Thanks so much for joining.

I will be back soon for Season 2 with more tips and tricks and advice on setting up and running your business. 

In the meantime come join us on our facebook page  www.facebook.com/thebeautyofourdreams

S01 E11 Steps to Setting Up Your Business

S01 E11 Steps to Setting Up Your Business

It’s important to note that this isn’t an exhaustive list and it’s also a no particular order. Not all of the things might be necessary for your business. It will really depend industry to industry, country to country. 

What I want it to do here was start to give you a list of things that you might have to consider doing or thinking about if you want to set up a self-employed because I know a lot of you are dreaming of the day of working for yourself and not really sure about what it involves.

TIPS SUMMARY

  1. Go through all these steps and see if they apply to you.
  2. Brainstorm to see if you can think of any others .
  3. Listen to episode to about putting all this in a constructive to-do list.
  4. Research which of these freelancers you might want to hire sooner rather than later.

Come join me on my Facebook page www.facebook.com/thebeautyofourdreams

Let me start first off with registering as a company or registering as self-employed. Now I’m based in the UK, so this is what you have to do in this country. Please do research what you might have to do yourself. It might be worth getting in touch with an accountant or someone who would know about this in your country.

The next thing that you might want to consider again based in the UK is registering with the ICO if necessary. That’s the Information Commissioner’s Office. They say that this isn’t necessary for everyone, but you might fall into the category of people that are obliged to or that it is recommended that you do it. Now, if you Google Information Commissioner’s Office, you can actually find a quiz that you can take to see whether you are obliged to register for the ICO. Obviously there’s a small fee attached as well.

The next thing is to register for a Public Liability Insurance or whatever it might be called in your own country. 

Another step that you would want to think about is to set up a business bank account. You really want to have a way of being able to keep track of all of your business accounts, your finances, and what are your expenses and your incomes. So it’s definitely recommended that you keep this separate to your personal bank account because otherwise it will get very, very confusing very quickly. 

There’s loads of business bank accounts obviously that you could choose from. There’s also this new breed of account that isn’t technically not a bank account, but companies like Starling or Revolut. They also have the advantage of being able to give you quite decent rates on a different currencies. So if you have, for example, an online business where you get paid in euros and pounds and dollars, this might be quite an interesting thing for you to look at.

I would recommend you find a bookkeeper and set up your money system with them early on. Now you might think that this is something you want to do further down the line, once you start bringing in more money or once your finances gets too complicated for you to handle yourself. But I really recommend just having someone do this right from the start. Why would you spend all that time doing the bookkeeping and preparing financial monthly reports when you could be focusing on the part of your business that’s actually bringing you money? Why not leave it to the experts? 

Now, as I say, a lot of times people are put off hiring someone like a bookkeeper because they’re convinced that it is going to be out of their budget. A bookkeeper will cost you about £15 an hour, and especially in the beginning of your business, they probably won’t need that many hours a month. So think about it and compare it to how many hours you would have to spend doing something similar.

Find a graphic designer. You’re going to want to have a logo, banners for Facebook and your website, business cards, signs, a bunch of other different graphics depending on what your industry is. Again, maybe packaging, if you’re producing a product, and maybe you can do this stuff. Like with a bookkeeping, maybe you have the skills and the knowledge to do it yourself, but unless this is going to actually bring you money in directly, I would recommend hiring someone on Upwork.

Another thing that you definitely want to be thinking about is which social media you want to be involved in. The last episode was about what social media platforms you should be on and what you should be doing on them. So if you missed that and you’re interested, then go back and have a listen. Remember, it’s better to be on fewer of them effectively than be on all of them under the sun and not really doing much with them or just pissing in the wind and not really getting any results.

Similarly, you want to build a website and tied into that, you want to choose an email platform. So with that as well, you obviously want to have incentives for people to join your email list, like an email list opt-in. You might create a few free bits of content that people will receive if they register to join your mailing list. I love love love Convertkit.

What you’ll also want to have is an email nurture sequence. A previous episode is about email automations. So when someone registered to your mailing list, what do they get? Do they ideally you want them to get a chain of emails over the next few days, nurturing them and keeping them warm because they were warm when they joined your list. And the last thing you want to do is for them to cool up because they join your list and then they don’t receive anything. 

An email nurture sequence will include things like pointing them in the direction of some of your free content and offering them an introductory offer normally with an expiration so that it creates a bit of urgency for them to become customers. 

Think about taking professional pictures of yourself and your products. It’s really important to have a nice variation of photos that you can pull out to add to bios, to put on your website. You know, people want to connect with you.

The next thing I’m going to talk about is very adult but important. So now that you’re working for yourself, you might want to think about what your pension scheme is going to be, whether you are obliged to by law. You probably want to have some kind of pension plan, right? 

One thing I definitely recommend long before you even start setting up your own company is working out a personal budget. How much do you need to survive and how much would you like to have and what is the ideal amount? Now, those might be different amounts, right? 

Then calculate your business budget. What are your startup costs, and then what would your monthly overheads be? Now you will probably have to add to this budget as time goes on and you start learning about more and more expenses, but start having as much of an idea as possible before you even leave your job because you want to be prepared and while you’re still getting a salary, it can be really helpful to know what you’re saving up for and what your expenses are going to be in the future.

Decide on your event strategy. Are you going to be holding in-person events? Are you going to be holding free events like meetups? Are you going to be holding charged events? Are they going to be group events? Are they going to be one-to-one? Are they going to be small groups? Are they going to be large conferences? So start thinking about this and how it will feed into your sales funnels and getting people to actually buy your products. 

At the same time you want to be thinking what your products or services are actually going to be. 

On top of that, how are you going to price your products and services up? Go back to your personal budget and your work budget to help you decide on your pricing strategy and whether your business model is viable. The next episode is actually going to go into more details about that.

Your free content. So for example, we talked a bit about opt-ins. Are you going to have free worksheets or something that people can register for? Are you also going to make a podcast? 

And if you are going to make a podcast, then I would recommend dividing up the steps into these following ones. First of all, do an outline of different topics that you can talk on for 20 minutes, half an hour, however long you want your podcast to be. Then write the different episodes, or write a more detailed outline, if you don’t want to actually write a script word for word. Then record them, then make an intro and an outro, or hire someone on Upwork to do it. Then edit the podcasts altogether. Again, you can either do this yourself or you can do this on Upwork. And find a platform to host them. For example, I use Pippa.

You might want to also think about whether you need some sort of system for international payments. We talked already about bank accounts and how some of the new accounts, online accounts and so forth allow you to receive and send payments in different currencies. But perhaps you also want to register for PayPal or Stripe or one of the other systems for receiving international payments. 

Another thing I talk about in a previous episode, but again you want to think about here is scheduling your different days. So for example, scheduling a monthly social media day where you will schedule all of your posts for the following month, scheduling a monthly money day. I’m scheduling a monthly promo day. 

Now, getting a privacy policy and making sure you’re compliant with GDPR. We talked a bit about this earlier, when we talked about registering with the ICO, but definitely have a little think about who you might wanna speak to to make sure you’re legally compliant with all of those laws in your country.

You need to look at buying your domain name and sorting out your website. Again, if you can’t do this on WordPress or whatever, then find someone to do it for you. I recommend finding someone to do it for you anyways because while they are making your website, you can be focusing on your sales strategy or your products or whatever is going to be directly bringing money into your business.

Next though, you would want to start collecting images for your website. I already mentioned that you would want to consider having a professional photo shoot, but have a little look if you’ve got any other images, whether of yourself or just inspirational images or images of your products or any past events or anything that’s related to what you’re going to be selling and collect them to have as additional images on your website

Once you’ve made a plan for your website, a site map, start writing the different content for the different pages. Keep it skimmable, keep it short, keep it punchy, keep it to the point. 

I would recommend also thinking of making a basic branding guide. Pick out a few colors, and a few fonts, and a few comments on language or how you want your logo to look or where you would want it placed and start putting together a basic branding guide, so that you can have some kind of consistency in your styling.

Next, I would start running market research. As soon as you start having any ideas about what your business would be, go and join a bunch of different Facebook groups for entrepreneurs or people in the business or groups for people who will be your potential ideal clients and start just asking questions. We’ve all seen this on Facebook, right? When people just asking random questions, they get loads of replies. So get involved. Start finding out what people’s pressure points are, whether you can actually help them with a problem and how you could do that.

Next have little think about whether you need an online booking system like Acuity. I’ve talked about these before, in the episode about Tech I Love, but how annoying is it when you have to send about 800 emails back and forth with someone to try to arrange an appointment? This is really time-saving if your business involves people booking appointments with you.

Have a little think about Facebook again. Do you want to do Facebook Lives? Do you want to host watch parties

Also what you would need to consider is your online storage; G Drive or Dropbox or whatever you choose. They’re super useful because they obviously act as a backup. You don’t have to worry anymore about your laptop falling in the pool because all of your information is stored in the cloud. And it’s also super useful for being able to share certain documents or folders or files with your contractors. 

Do you need to register with Zoom or Skype for example, are you going to be doing consultation video calls? Are you going to be doing a group video calls? Are you going to be hosting live calls with multiple people? 

How are you going to launch your business. Is it going to be a soft launch? Are you going to just start sharing things on Facebook? Are you going to start putting things out there, here and there? Or are you going to have like a big launch event? Is that event going to be an in-person event so you can have a launch party? Are you going to have an online launch? Is there going to be an introductory, like a launch promo?

Who will be in your audience fairly early on in your business? Realistically, is it going to be friends and family? How will you get them to invite people along who would be more likely to actually buy stuff for you? 

How about doing some network mapping. You can do this in many different formats, it depends how your mind works. You can write lists or you can do it visually. But just start getting it on paper. All of the people that you know that might be useful to you in some way. It sounds really Machiavellian, I know, but who will be useful in some way to your business, either as a customer or as a collaborator or as a guest on your podcast or someone to do an event with. Who are all the different people that you might be interested in working with in some way or selling to and how warm are they? 

You might do this in like concentric circles if you want to do it visually or you might make a list and give them a score. Are they like really warm? Are they medium warm? Are they just cold? 

Have you heard about them and you’ve never spoken to them, but you really want to do something with them? Think about each of these people and how you can make them that little bit warmer. What is the next step to bring them closer to you and warmer to you and do an action plan based on all of this.

The first step might be to reach out, send them an email. Have a think about how you can get on their radar. Once you’re on their radar, what’s the next step? Is it to try to meet them, like going to one of their events where you might actually be able to talk to them in person. 

So for each of these useful people, have a little think about how you can bring them closer to you and make them warmer to you in order to get what you want from them.

One of the really important things, once you’ve done all these different steps and put yourself on these different social platforms, is to have a strategy for each platform on how to build your audience. Again, if this isn’t your strong point, then have a look on Upwork and see if you can find someone to help you with this kind of strategy or someone who’s really good at this and see about hiring them. Again, it’s probably not as expensive as you think. And obviously getting a relevant audience is super important because then you have people that you can actually sell to. 

And that brings me on to my final point for now and that is building sales funnels. First of all you have to think in your mind, what would be the customer journey? How will I get them to be from a complete stranger to someone in my audience, to someone who buys maybe a novelty product to then someone who buys a more expensive product to eventually someone who buys a premium product or a subscription or membership? What does that journey look like? Do you provide everything needed for every step of that journey? 

You also need to look at the technical side of the sales funnel. What you want to do is set that up automatically, right? So you want someone to join your mailing list, for example, and then they get nurtured with your automatic nurture sequence to to buy maybe your novelty product or one of your cheaper products or one of your introductory products or services. And then once they’ve done that, you ideally want to have another email automation or system that then pitches to them the next product, right? And then the next one, and eventually you would want them on some sort of membership or subscription where you’re just getting monthly income from them. If this makes you nervous, go on Upwork, go on Fiverr and see if you can find someone to do it for you and how much that would be realistically, because I say this time and time again, I bet it’s much cheaper than you think and it will be done by someone who’s got loads of experience doing it and it will save you time and therefore money.

TIPS SUMMARY

  1. Go through all these steps and see if they apply to you.
  2. Brainstorm to see if you can think of any others .
  3. Listen to episode to about putting all this in a constructive to-do list.
  4. Research which of these freelancers you might want to hire sooner rather than later.

Next time we will be discussing how to work out your break even point and how this will influence your business model and pricing. 

In the meantime come join us on our facebook page  www.facebook.com/thebeautyofourdreams

S01 E10 Social Media: Tell Me More

S01 E10 Social Media: Tell Me More

In preparation, why don’t you go ahead and download this worksheet

And check out these Small Business Boosters that we will be talking about in more detail. 

Dee:

I am joined by Jane Harrell of ‘Cause Digital Marketing to discuss what social media platforms you should be on and what you should be doing on them.

We’re so lucky to have Jane with us. She’s my social media guru, and she can be yours too. She has over 17 years experience in the field. She works in the pet industry a lot, and she works with social causes, so she’s a really good egg and a wonderful human, as well as being the boss at all this content stuff. She’s worked with Animal Planet, Victoria Stillwell, and she’s even been featured in Time Magazine.

So Time Magazine, that’s quite an achievement.

Jane:

Oh, thank you. Thank you. That was one of my very first kind of big wins in my career. And I personally project managed and led the creation of the very first iPhone app for Petfinder.com back in 2010. It was scary as all get out because I was still pretty junior in my career at that time. And it ended up becoming one of the top 10 apps of 2010 according to Time Magazine, which was just amazing. And to clarify, it wasn’t me that was featured, it was the app that was featured.

Dee:

That’s amazing. And tell us about some of your other recent projects.

Jane:

Oh my goodness. So, last year we had the honour of being interviewed by inc.com, that was all about the top mistakes that we see brands make on social media.

And we have had the honor of working with some just amazing brands since I jumped off the corporate ladder and started because digital marketing, including Animal Planet, Victoria Stilwell, and I have written a bunch for a number of different pet industry related publications like Pets Plus Magazine, American Animal Hospital Associations, Trends Magazine, and some others all talking about how to better promote, and better market your business, and better position your business strategically.

Dee:

And one thing that you and I were involved with together was a planning retreat in January this year, where you really help the attendees schedule out what they should be doing on social media for the upcoming year. That was really fascinating listening to, talking about timed content and so forth. 

Jane:

Thank you. A lot of that comes from being editor-in-chief of websites like Petfinder.com which at the time was the world’s second or first largest pet website, with millions and millions of views every single month. I’ve also been editor-in-chief of a startup called Pet Health Network and that editorial background has helped me immensely in helping other people. 

Dee: 

Social media is definitely a topic that gets a lot of people confused, especially when they’re starting out their business and they’re feeling overwhelmed about all the other stuff they have to do. There’s so many different social media platforms. People get confused about whether they should register for all of them. Maybe they do, and then they end up doing nothing on any of them. So what would you advise people who are starting out?

Jane:

Yeah, I love this question. So, I’ve been teaching social media for a long time now and running social media for a number of different brands. And there’s a personal mantra that I developed to help keep myself sane. But when I’m teaching social media, this is usually where I start because people go in and they feel like, ‘Oh my God, there’s so many different channels, so many different places that you can be active as your brand to get the word out there.’ And the biggest struggle that we see is that people try to be everywhere. So when I’m teaching this, I always have people repeat my mantra and kind of get it into their head to start. 

I don’t need to be everywhere. 

I don’t need to do everything. 

I don’t need to be everything to everyone.

Everything works better when I’m not.

And that’s it. When you’re thinking about content marketing, when you’re thinking about social media marketing or even digital marketing in general, getting to the core of understanding which channels you’re gonna select. Really getting clear on just a couple, just trying a few out, getting very clear on why you’re there and what you are doing there and what you expect that ROI to be. 

And making sure that it’s tailored to the channel so that you’re most likely to get those results. Like we see a lot of the time people going out on one channel like Instagram and thinking, ‘Oh yeah, this is going to drive so many sales for my online product.’ But the truth is that Instagram sucks as a sales channel. So, getting very clear on one or two channels, getting really clear on what you’re doing there, what you’re trying to do, is probably the biggest way that you can make it an impact for you.

Dee:

Something you and I are really big fans of is looking at the figures. You have to start looking at those insights. And knowing what numbers to be looking at because otherwise you’re kind of just pissing in the wind. And know how, how else do you know what’s sticking and what’s working and what’s getting to people. Right?

Jane:

Absolutely. Looking at the insights as kind of a next step after you launch your channel, looking at what posts are performing well, what’s actually driving growth of the channel, what’s driving clicks back to your website. That’s going to be very, very telling and important to keeping you on track.

Dee:

And you’ve got a really handy chart that I absolutely love and I use it as my kind of social media Bible, which I would love to go through in a minute. But first of all, I just wanted to have a chat with you about getting a social media manager or contributor on board. I feel like it’s kind of a little bit of a chicken and the egg thing. Do you hire someone first of all to  manage your social media for you if it’s not your area of expertise or if it’s taking you too long and taking you away from your area of genius? And if you do hire someone, do you do it right off the bat? Or do you wait til you start having an income into your business, knowing that hiring someone could actually lead to those sales? So what would you advise to someone who’s feeling like that? At what point should I consider hiring someone to start helping me with my social media?

Jane:

That’s a really great important question, especially since it’s not uncommon to have someone come in and quote like $3,000 a month on some of these channels. With prices like that, it’s really important to understand what are your goals, where are you in your business and what is your social likely to achieve for you? 

What do you want to achieve for your organization if you’re a brand new startup? If this is being able to make sure that you have cash in the bank for the slow trickle of clients that will come in, then hiring a social media manager at that price point could potentially put you out of business and is unlikely to actually get you the sales that you need in the first six months. 

I do want to note that ‘cause Digital Marketing, we do full service social media, but it’s actually very rare that we will offer to do so for small because more often than not, small businesses and startups are set up better to be able to manage some of that on their own. And we actually have a product caller called our Small Business Boosters where we just take the hardest thing off of the businesses plate for a specific channel. 

So for example, on Instagram there’s a content strategy and then there’s like actually getting the eyeballs that you need. The actually getting the eyeballs is really work intensive and you really have to understand the platform, versus the content is fairly easy because it’s a picture and a couple sentences about what’s going on in your company. 

So what we do for our booster is we provide the audience growth and then suggestions and guidance on what content you should post, but then the business actually does the posting themselves and that in itself allows us to bring that price point from like $3,000 a month to $299 a month.

Dee:

Which is spectacular considering I know how much effort you put into that and how and the impact that it has.

Jane:

I’ve not seen any other digital marketing firms that do this. The reason why we created these Small Business Boosters is because I’m co-owner in workingwithdog.com which works specifically with solopreneurs. And I just kept kind of seeing this challenge of small business owners going out trying to do it all. And it’s stuff that we can take off their plate very easily. And then what we’ve found is when we do that, they actually excel and exceed and then they don’t have the fear of that high price tag or the commitment to that high price tag that really is unaffordable for them at that point.

Dee

And just to have someone who understands all the algorithms that keep on changing on Facebook, and hashtags, if you haven’t sort of grown up with hashtags. I’m thinking of me. They can be super confused and unless you’re doing them well, there’s almost little point in doing them at all.

Jane:

Ah, yeah. So hashtags, that depends on what channel that you’re talking about. Hashtags can actually be quite helpful on LinkedIn. But understanding which hashtags work best for you, which hashtags to use. That’s the kind of guidance that we provide. And that is not always easily apparent to someone who maybe their area of genius is going out and creating amazing community events or maybe their area of genus geniuses running a dog walking business. These are things that you need to be an expert at social media to be able to do and do well. So we just back up companies and backup change makers so that they can focus on kind of the change that they’re meant to make in the world. And, I know that I’ve found that personally very empowering to be able to work with businesses that way and the team loves it.

Dee:

And I’ve worked with some other entrepreneurs that have used your boosters and worked with you and they have just been super impressed. It’s really helped them take their business to the next level. I can definitely vouch for your awesome. So let’s have a look at your chart that you are notorious for nowadays. 

Jane:

I’ll note that I have a toolkit that I created for small businesses. It’s a little more comprehensive than just the six square. It leads you through some of the strategic questions that I was talking about and then actually helps you start to think about what’s that output output on each social channel going to be. 

Here is the link, this is my gift to you. 

I want to see you succeed in this and that’s going to be super, super helpful. I created this toolkit because I get this question all the time and it’s not necessarily cost or time effective for you to go out and, and have to go through all this on your own. So here, this is our gift.

Go download it right now and then follow along. 

In the handout you’ll see that there are some strategic deep thinking questions that we ask and I definitely want you to go through those, but I’ll talk through the six square. The way that we designed this toolkit is it’s literally going around and circling things in the six square to decide which social channel you should start with. So,print it out, pause this, come back and then do this exercise with us.

Jane:

Once you have your business goals aligned, you need to ask yourself five core questions as as far as which social media channels should you start with. Those five core questions are;

Who am I trying to reach? 

How do I want to reach them? 

What am I trying to do? 

What’s most important to me? 

And then I need a social media channel that makes blank easy. 

And what I’ve done is gone through the six big social channels and answered what each of these makes easy. 

So for example, for Facebook, who does Facebook reach? Here we have some stats on it shows that Facebook skews really female, meaning that the largest group of users on the platform are female. Its largest age demographic is 25 to 34 year olds, but with over a billion daily active users and a whopping 79% of internet users across the world who are logging into this platform. This is where you go to reach everyone. Anyone and everyone, basically everyone has a Facebook at this point. 

One caveat there is that younger users have really started abandoning this platform and moving more toward Instagram. And one of the biggest ways that we suggest using Facebook right now is social proof and social validation.

If you’re not paying to reach people on Facebook, really they’re not gonna come and find you or see you unless they already know about you and already are thinking about whether to hire you or buy from you. 

But if they come and they see a Facebook page that’s essentially deserted or they don’t see any Facebook page at all, that puts a big question mark in their minds. 

Dee:

I feel like this has replaced websites in that sense. There used to be a time where you would be a little bit reluctant to hire anyone if they didn’t have a website. And now it’s the same with Facebook. If someone’s not on Facebook, do they even exist?

Jane:

Exactly. Really making sure that your Facebook page offers some value for these people who are coming over and considering your services or your products. Making sure that it looks alive, making sure that there’s good reviews there if you can. And, otherwise, unless you’re doing paid advertising, probably not investing too much more time and Facebook because this can be a real time suck for brands. As I explained, you’re not going out and reaching new people so much with this unless you’re doing ads. 

That brings us to the second question. How do I want to reach people? We outlined that Facebook is mostly paid these days. Facebook is great at driving integrated campaigns that are coordinated with email or that are reaching people who have specific interests.

This really comes into play in a beautiful way when you’re using Facebook advertising. If you’re not using Facebook advertising, it’s less likely that your posts are going to be seen. If you’re not doing it into integrated campaign, just as I said, make the page look alive, look compelling, look valid to anyone who’s considering your services.

Being certain that you’re reaching the right people in the most cost effective way is really easy on Facebook because you can target down to such detail. I can go in and I can say I want people from this zip code who have bought dog food in the last X amount of time, who make over a hundred thousand a year.

I’m able to target to that level of detail. That’s not really an option for the other social channels. 

It also make it very easy to share other people’s content if you are a nonprofit or if you are asking for donations, it has a beautifully robust donation platform and certainly email us at ‘cause Digital Marketing. If you’re interested in our one-on-one on how to set up donations for your nonprofit through Facebook. Those are all really easy on Facebook. And I’d say that there’s no other social channel that’s quite as robust that way other than LinkedIn. So if you’re looking for those functionalities, I would really consider perhaps putting a few dollars into advertising and making Facebook work for you. But if those aren’t as important, then there are certainly other social channels that you can still get the organic kind of juice going that you can’t do on Facebook anymore. 

Dee:

So, LinkedIn for example. I know that that’s something I need to be more active on. I just go on there and just don’t even really know how, so you might be hearing from me soon about your Boosters! 

Jane:

I will shout out because LinkedIn is probably my favorite social channel right now. If you are doing B2C, so if your business is completely consumer facing, LinkedIn’s a lot less important to you. But if you have any B2B component, if you are selling to other businesses, partnering with other businesses, looking to create co-campaigns with other businesses, LinkedIn is the place to be. There is no other social channel that really allows the kind of organic growth that LinkedIn does right now. 

It is just such a rich place. We get so many referrals and so much of our own business through LinkedIn. LinkedIn is really the social media channel for professionals, roughly about one in 10 of LinkedIn’s 500 million monthly users are high level executives and decision makers in their business. So you’re not just reaching the admin or the assistant, which is great, but not always who you want to talk to. You’re actually reaching the decision makers in these businesses.

You’re reaching the business owners and it is a very simple platform for you to go out and actually develop and start meaningful conversations with these guys. While one in 10 or 500 million is certainly a lot lower than what Facebook’s numbers are, it is the best place. And gives you the best chance of reaching those professional decision makers of any other social channel out there right now. 

While it does have a paid component, you can run ads on the platform, I’m gonna make a lot of you smile right now by saying that it is not worth it as a moment. It is actually way more cost effective to go in organically and to really boost organically through a content marketing strategy than trying to put paid anything into their ads platform. It’s just very costly. We’ve run a bunch of tests on it. 

Dee:

So the money you’d save on the ads you could put towards a company like yours to get a really good strategy in place.

Jane:

Absolutely. And like a Small Business Booster for LinkedIn is$299 a month. That’s $10 a day.

Dee:

Do you recommend the people getting the premium version of LinkedIn? It’s something I’m always on the fence about. I unsubscribed and then I resubscribed.

Jane:

LinkedIn premium is a beautiful platform. I will say that it gives you access to more people and gives you access to reach out to more people cold without having huge networks in your in your pocket right away. That said, it’s not cheap. If you personally aren’t going to be that active on it, we don’t always recommend it.

Dee:

It’s a relief to know that at least you don’t need to start out with it. So you can see in time whether you think you’ll benefit from it rather than having to buy all of the things right away.

Jane:

Absolutely. If you’re just starting on LinkedIn, I wouldn’t dive in with premium right away. 

Dee:

And so Twitter, can we talk about Twitter? Twitter is one that’s just always personally and professionally, confused me because it just seems to go so fast. I feel like, if I had a Twitter account for my business, I would have to post a hundred times a day for anyone to see it because you blink and it’s gone. 

Jane:

You summed it up perfectly. With Twitter, if you are trying to reach media professionals or if you are trying to be like say active in the US political sphere (unfortunately we have some politicians who love Twitter). Unless you’re trying to do those two things, Twitter’s probably not for you. As simple as that. 

Twitter’s main user base is 18 to 29 year olds. That’s their largest demographic and the gender differential is split pretty evenly. It is very unlikely that you as a small business will ever actually see the investment in Twitter returned in your business and you described why perfectly. 

Twitter doesn’t really have the ability to target on an interest basis other than hashtags. And because it’s moving so fast with all these different hashtags, unless you’re going to invest significant amount of time, unless you’re essentially going to hire someone to manage this for you full time, you’re not really going to get any traction. And the truth is that most businesses will never see the return on investment. So it’s something that we very, very rarely use and very, very rarely recommend.

Dee:

At least we can eliminate one, that makes it less confusing. One that I hear is getting bigger in terms of directing traffic to sort of business websites is Pinterest.

Jane:

Pinterest is a really fun one. Pinterest is a couple things. One, women dominate the platform. It is significantly skewed towards suburban households with higher income and more education. Age 18 to 29 year olds are the biggest age demographic currently on the platform, but 30 to 49 is a pretty close second. So really women age 18 to 49 are readily available on this platform. 

It launched a number of years ago. And what a lot of brands did was they jumped in early, often they jumped in a big way, and then they didn’t see immediate results. So they petered off. 

And what’s been funny is that Pinterest, unlike all the other social platforms, acts a lot more like a search engine than it does a social media platform. And by that I mean content that doesn’t age out, which is really important.

You know, Twitter content ages out in a minute, on Facebook content ages out in a day or maybe max a week. Pinterest content will be resurfaced and reshown for years. And if you are interested in something and it is getting read and pinned by other people, then you’re more likely to see it even years, years and years later. So what has surprised a lot of businesses is that that initial investment that they put in a few years ago, now they’re opening their Google analytics, which is like my happy place. And they’re looking at traffic, they’re looking at their referral traffic from social media. And number one is usually Facebook as far as how people get from social media channels to your website. But a pretty close second is Pinterest even without them using Pinterest. 

A lot of brands have turned around and decided to re-examine Pinterest. And we actually have one client who gets significant number of sales off of Pinterest every single month, just by posting like one piece of content a month, which is not best practice by the way. That’s not what we recommend. And that’s not what we do for our booster. But, it is an example of how powerful that platform can be.

Something to also to kind of keep in mind and compare to the other super visual platform, which is an Instagram. On Instagram you can’t link your posts unless you’re either paying or you reach a certain follower threshold, which I think is 10,000 right now. But on Pinterest, every single post you do can link back to your website. So that helps you. That also really prompts buying behaviour. If someone sees something that they like, they can click and go buy on your website right then and there. So that’s where so much of the power of Pinterest comes in.  

Dee:

And it’s not just products that you could have on Pinterest as pins. It’s any blog posts you do, any podcast episodes, each one could be a series of pins on Pinterest that you can make, that people would then share, hopefully and find and then come back to your website through. 

Jane:

Absolutely. So some of the most popular, content on Pinterest is like how-tos. So if you’re giving, top 10 tips for how to do this in your blog and you just want to create a little bit of a nice photo, a tall, long photo, unlike any other social channel for Pinterest, and link that back to your blog, it’s a great way to drive traffic. 

Dee:

So the other visual social media channel that you mentioned, Instagram, why don’t you tell us about that? Who’s on Instagram? 

Jane:

Young folks. So all the people who are leaving Facebook are generally moving toward Instagram and it’s become so popular that it’s actually the second most popular social network.

It does skew a little bit more toward kind of female users than male users. 38% of female internet users and only 26% of male internet users are on the platform. The main age demographic is 18 to 29 year olds, but that has been kind of increasing in some of the older age demographics. Its users are usually more likely to be urban and have college experience. So if that describes your audience, if you have a young audience, a young customer who is urban and has college experience, maybe a young professional, Instagram could be a great platform for you. The caveat I will put there is that if you are trying to drive sales through Instagram, whether it’s a service or a product, it’s really hard on Instagram.

Dee:

So Instagram would be more for brand awareness. Is that it? 

Jane:

Yeah, exactly. Instagram is the place where people can find you and fall in love with you. But then to actually get them to act, if you want them to take any kind of action toward buying your stuff, usually you need to drive them towards your email list and that’s where they’ll buy. 

Dee:

So YouTube, maybe I’m guilty of this and no one else is, but I always forget about this as a social media channel. Maybe I’m the only one. 

Jane:

No, you’re not the only one. The irony of YouTube is that it is the second largest search engine. So there’s Google, Google owns YouTube, but there are millions of users every single day going into YouTube looking for stuff. And this is the one other social channel other than Pinterest where the age of your content doesn’t matter so much.

So if you’re focusing on just creating like one great video a month, it could play pretty well on YouTube. It’s not like you have to go out there and do selfie videos every single day. 

The thing to keep in mind with YouTube is that it is very skewed towards men. Age 25 to 34 year old men are the largest YouTube demographic and they tend to spend far more time on the platform, upwards of like 45% more time on the platform than women each month. But most of that actually comes down to guys watching gaming videos on. So when you take out that big chunk, and for example look at the pet and animal videos, the gap closes a lot. 

YouTube is also increasingly popular with older demographics and a big reason why is YouTube is just a great platform for teaching people. If someone doesn’t know how to do something, they will Google it and then the search results will actually bring them to a YouTube video that shows them how. So if you have a brand where you’re teaching people how to do something or giving some kind of demo, then YouTube can be so, so powerful for driving value. 

Dee:

So I am one thing I am absolutely a massive fan of is not reinventing the wheel and making a bit of content and hopefully being able to put it on different platforms. Is that something that you also like? Please say yes and tell me I’m not doing it all wrong. Like for example, you could make a video and put it on YouTube and get it transcribed and use quotes to make really pretty graphics for Instagram and then link to it on Pinterest.

Jane:

Yes. I teach all my junior staffers ‘create once, publish everywhere.’ Alot of people feel like, ‘if I develop this great piece of content on my blog and I share it via Facebook, that’s enough.’ And as we already talked about, Facebook is actually not being seen a lot of the time.

If you’re taking the time to develop a great piece of content and you’re not using that to distribute and get people aware about it on every single channel you’re on, then you’re throwing money away. You really should consider doing exactly what you were talking about, create the YouTube video, have it transcribed, turn that into a blog have the video embedded within the blog so that that gets views as well. Then, take a few like pull quotes of that for Instagram to create some pretty graphics. Upload a snippet of the YouTube video to Facebook. Don’t just share a link from YouTube to Facebook because they’re competitors and Facebook buries YouTube links. Put like five seconds of that video and say, ‘Hey, go watch the rest on our blog’ because then Facebook doesn’t think you’re linking to YouTube, and then share that, via Pinterest with a nice pretty image. And then on LinkedIn, talk about how awesome the process of being a professional who just went through this is and share that link as well, was such a handy tip. 

So that’s five, six bits of content just from one action, one activity. And then I’d actually say get in there and schedule resharing at least monthly for the next three months and make sure that each year, if you’re creating new content, you’re going back and looking at what would still be relevant? What can I reshare again? 

There’s a funny story and I can’t remember which editorial outlet this was from, but it was for a big women’s magazine and I saw the editor in chief speak and she was talking about their Pinterest strategy. She said the thing that went crazy on Pinterest was this super complex, crazy cookie recipe. It’s like a layered cookie recipe with like 10 different layers and exact in-cuts and everything. But that the magazine would basically take the one piece of content, which is this recipe and the photos for this recipe, and then recreate the social media posts every single year. And every single year it would go viral and they just knew that that was gold. Don’t feel like you’re boring people or oversharing on social. 

And again, look at the stats. Which posts from your past have done really well? Is that one that you want to consider resharing or has something happened that has made it relevant all over again, or was it always relevant? 

One thing with social to keep in mind is thinking about what are people talking about right now. One of the ways that you can get the most exposure on social is by talking about something that’s timely, talking about something that’s happening and top of mind for your audience right now. 

That can be really hard to do. That can be really time consuming, which is why we created those Boosters. Because for a lot of channels we just take that off your plate and we do that. But if you’re able to go in and talk about something that’s timely or even anticipate that something’s going to be timely soon and create something worthwhile, that’s when you really see things go viral. 

So I’ll give you an example of that. I’ve been writing in the pet health space for over a decade. I know that in the pet health space, anytime there is a human health threat, anytime there’s big news about some kind of disease or issue with human health, before long someone will ask, ‘can my dog get it?’ 

Remember Ebola, when everyone was worried about Ebola going everywhere all over the globe. My team and I, we saw that and I was like, you know what, someone’s going to ask can dogs get it. So we went out to veterinarians, we created a story and we actually held on to it until we saw people starting to ask. And in that way we were able to scoop CNN.

Dee:

That’s amazing insight there. So let me ask you, I’m going to put out some hypothetical people, and why don’t you tell me what you would suggest for them? A couple of tips for them in terms of what they should do on social media. How do you feel about this little game?

Jane:

I love it.

Dee:

Okay, cool. So how about someone hypothetically, who’s exactly like me, who sells online courses, one-to-one consulting, and maybe some live events. What would be the top platforms you would recommend for them? And what kind of things do you think they should be putting on them?

Jane:

LinkedIn for sure. If you’re not on LinkedIn, then you’re missing the boat and you and I need to talk about LinkedIn for you because LinkedIn is, if you’re selling business courses, if you’re selling any kind of course, then developing thought leadership and developing your network on LinkedIn is going to be the biggest bang for your buck. 

I would really consider Instagram or YouTube for this hypothetical person. Instagram can be tough. YouTube can be tough. Those certainly have kind of higher barriers to entry and harder to get ROI. I would encourage this person to look through the six square, do the circling of their goals and their channels and see which one of those others come up. 

But LinkedIn, really juicing up their personal profile too. We haven’t talked much about the difference between a personal or corporate profile on it, but where you see all the goodness is in the personal profile these days. 

Dee:

What about someone who’s got a more of a service, a local service provider. Say a dog walker?

Jane:

I love Instagram for local service providers. And the reason is that it’s actually easy for you to go in and start to connect and have genuine conversations with people in your local area. And some of the ways that you can do that are by using local hashtags, certainly, but then also looking at other local businesses and who follows them and then going and liking those posts. So those people saying, ‘Oh my God, that’s the cutest fluffernutter dog I’ve ever seen.’ Having those conversations, um, can be really a great way to impress and also establish yourself as a doggie expert or local expert on Instagram and local personality.

Dee:

If you’re in the pet industry, then Instagram seems like an obvious choice because if you’re working with animals, you’ve got an endless supply of cute little things to take pictures of. You won’t struggle for content there, will you? 

Jane: 

Yeah, you’ll do pretty well. Instagram can be a little bit tough, as I mentioned, to get the ROI though. If you’re trying to go out and raise awareness of your business, then Instagram is a fantastic platform. If you are trying to go out and get sales tomorrow, Instagram’s not going to be it.

Dee:

Gotcha. So what about someone who’s got a local store, they’re not online or anything? What would you recommend for them?

Jane:

So I really want to talk to that person about their goals. What are they trying to achieve? Are they trying to provide a safe space for people who are considering them but maybe a little afraid to walk in their doors? Are people checking them out online but not necessarily finding what will bring them in the doors? Are they potentially open to the idea of hosting local events in their stores to get more people in? If so, Facebook might actually be a great platform for them. 

I work with and speak with a lot of independent retailers and they still say by hosting local events on Facebook by maybe creating a local group on Facebook that’s not even business-related, but maybe about the history of your town. Facebook still packs a lot of fun there, especially if you have a little bit of money for an ad spend to make sure that it gets seen.

Dee:

That’s amazing. Thank you so much Jane. I mean, it’s just fascinating. I really feel like I’ve got a better handle of what should happen on each platform and definitely much more open to the idea of getting someone on board to help out. Because it sounds like you could very easily just get bogged down into all of them. And probably waste a lot of money on different ads if you don’t know what you’re doing with them. 

Jane:

I can’t recommend the toolkit enough for getting really clear on what does your business need to achieve now and in the next six months. And then how can your social media channel of choice help you do that? 

Dee:

Thank you again for joining us.
In the meantime come join us on our Facebook page.

S01 E09 Tech I Love

S01 E09 Tech I Love

Download all the links mentioned in the show here

I am going to go through this list of tech and what you can do with them and why they’re awesome.

Keep this list handy and whenever you need to perform a new task, have a look and see if there is a bit of tech that might be able to help you do it better or faster. 

And if you don’t know how to do it, go on Upwork and get someone else to

Come join me on my Facebook page www.facebook.com/thebeautyofourdreams

I tried batching the list of tech that I’m going to talk through into different segments like websites or content or social media, but I really struggled to because a lot of these bits of tech straddle a bunch of different categories and you might find different uses for them than I have found for myself. 

So the first bit of tech is ToDoist. I love this so much. I have a whole episode on it. The one about setting up a to-do list to beat that overwhelmed.

That episode has a worksheet for you to go through to effectively set up ToDoist in the first place and to get into the habit of actually using it every day. So I won’t go into too much too much detail here, but just know that this app is amazing. You can have it on your phone, you can have it on your computer. So no matter where you get a thought of something that you need to do for your business or your personal life, you can chuck it into ToDoist and then just drop it from your mind because you know that it is being held accountable somewhere. 

I will mention that there are other to-do list apps. There’s Trello, Asana, some of them are more visual, some of them you can make boards and so forth. So have a little play around. But I really recommend ToDoist, it’s free for the most part. You can pay for the premium version, which is only something like $28 for a whole year, but to be honest, the free version is so amazing that you probably won’t even need to upgrade to the premium one. 

The next bit of text that I absolutely love is Acuity. Now, if you have a business where you have to make appointments with anyone, then I really recommend having a look at Acuity. There’s also obviously other apps out there, Calendly and so forth, but I really recommend Acuity.

Now tell me if this sounds familiar. You have to make an appointment and you send an email saying, are you free on Thursday? And then you get an email back saying, no, I’m not free on Thursday. What about Friday, three o’clock. Then you have to reply saying, no, I’m not free on Friday. What about next week? And before you know it, you sent about 10 emails just to make one simple appointment. Have you been on the receiving end of that? Have you been the one who is providing the appointments? 

This takes a lot of time and effort and can be quite frustrating for everyone involved and just plain annoying really isn’t it? Whereas with Acuity you can send someone your Acuity link, you can do this for a specific type of appointment or just a genera appointment and they can just book an appointment with you from preselected times and dates that you are available.

And it just saves that back and forth, back and forth, millions of emails back and forth. So it’s super helpful. It makes the customer journey so much easier. You can sync it to your calendar as well. So mine is synced to my Google calendar. So if I put anything in my Google calendar like lunch with a friend or whatever, it automatically blocks that off in Acuity so people can’t make appointments during that time anymore. So it’s just phenomenal.

The next bit of tech that I love and I am using right now is a website, online-voice-recorder.com and it’s what I use to record my podcast. So we’ve all heard the expression keep it simple, stupid. Well I am a big fan of that because I think that it can be quite easy to just over-complicate everything. And so I always have to constantly remind myself what would be easy, how is the easiest way I can do this? So I was looking around for all this fancy audio equipment and so forth and I realized I am not that way inclined. I will not know how to use this to its full capacity. I don’t want to waste money on some kind of software or recording equipment that I will not be able to use to the best ability. So this website I just click record and then I click save when I’m done. So try it. It’s amazing.

The next thing I want to talk to you about is online storage. I really recommend having a lot of your stuff saved in some sort of online storage because it means you can flip between laptops and desktops and so forth and not have to worry about your laptop breaking or whatever because all of your important stuff is saved in the cloud somewhere. So I use G Drive, I also use Dropbox.

It has the added benefit obviously of being able to share documents and folders very easily with other people. So my accounts folder is shared with my accountant and my bookkeeper. My podcast folder is shared with people that need to see my podcast folder. My branding folder is shared with my designer, et cetera. So, um, if you haven’t already got some systems set up like this, then I really recommend it. Even if you just use it as a backup because you don’t want to work really hard on some product or service or all your branding, and then have it just be lost because you’ve dropped your laptop.

The next thing I want to talk to you about is transcription. There is a website called Temi, and you basically upload anything into it and it will transcribe it for you. Now, the quality of the transcription really varies from person to person. I’m lucky in that it seems to be able to understand me quite clearly. I’ve had to use it for recordings of other people and it has been less good transcribing if someone’s got a strong accent or if someone speaks really quietly. So try to make sure that the quality of the recording is top notch before you send it to Temi. But it’s absolutely found fantastic for transcription. 

I use it for transcribing my podcasts and interviews and so forth. But the other thing I’ve used it quite a lot for is when I feel more comfortable speaking something rather than writing it. For example, my origin story, I just kind of told it, I recorded myself telling it and then I transcribed it and tweaked the notes from Temi into something much clearer. So you can also use it for yourself to transcribe your notes. It’s super cheap. 

I remember back to when I was at uni and I had to transcribe all of the interviews I did for my dissertation and how long it took and how I did it all myself because I just thought it’s taking so long that paying someone must cost a lot. And then later on I worked as a medical secretary where I was typing up medical notes and I was earning a decent money then.

So I just reconfirmed the feeling that if you are transcribing anything, you’re paying out a lot of money. Temi charges you 10 cents per minute, so even an hour is only $6. How amazing is that really compared to how long it would take you to transcribe something?! It takes between two to five times the length of a recording to transcribe it. So to transcribe one hour will take up to five hours. I know I would much rather pay the $6 and just have it done for me. And then just have to spend a little bit of time reading over it and making sure it’s all okay. 

The next thing I want to recommend is a place where you can get free fonts, 1001 Free Fonts. Not much to say about this, it’s free fonts. What I really recommend when you’re setting up your brand is to pick a few different fonts to use on all your branding. So maybe you pick one for the main headings and then subheadings. And then for the paragraph text and that will be just the fonts that you use for everything throughout. 

Following on from that, if you want to sort of get into doing more content yourself, have a look at Canva and Creative Market. They’re amazing sites for templates to make social media content. You know, all those lovely like motivational quotes that are on lovely backgrounds or these people that really seem to have it in order where everything just is so matchy and lovely. Chances are they’re probably using something like Canva too as a template and then tweaking each one so that they’ve got themes and everything kind of looks in sync.

If you need a place to find photos, you can get free stock photos from Unsplash or Canva, but you might also want to have a little look at paid stock photography because you know, chances are the quality will be a bit better, it’ll be less likely that other people have used it. Again, you can have a look at Creative Market for this. 

I would like to give a special shout out to Animalhaus Media. It’s a special site for pet stock photography. And as you know, animals are good for advertising absolutely anything because animals are super cute. So have a look at that site. I go to it regularly when I just need a bit of cheering up because you can look at things like lifestyle dogs and see dogs lounging around and so forth.

Paid stock photography might not be as expensive as you imagine. For example, on Animalhaus Media, you can get pictures for $19 royalty-free and then you can use them for pretty much whatever you want. Prices go up obviously depending on the quality or the size of the photo. So have a look at those things because it’s definitely that’s much cheaper than having a professional photo shoot done. 

Another site I would really recommend you have a look at is called PlaceIt. It’s a mock site. So for example, you have a podcast like I do and you’ve got some lovely imagery for your podcast. You know, a lovely little cover photo. Now you can superimpose that image on some of their photos. So they might have photos, for example of a woman holding her phone and she’s listening to a podcast and you can superimpose your podcast cover onto her phone. So it looks like she’s listening to your podcast.

Or say you’ve published a book and you’ve got the design of the front cover. PlaceIt might have pictures of people reading books on the tube. And you can superimpose your book cover onto one of those books. So it looks like there’s someone on the tube reading your book. All of this is much cheaper than having a professional photo shoot. 

Similarly, have a look at Shakr, which is a site for making really cool videos. So maybe you’ve got a retreat coming up or a course or so something. If you’ve got some nice images or some videos you’ve taken yourself, you can make a really cool production that looks like it was super expensive. 

If you’re looking for an email platform, I personally use ConvertKit because I like how I can segment it a lot. Maybe MailChimp is more your bag or if you need something more advanced than have a look at Ontraport. So ConvertKit and MailChimp are mainly email platforms, right? So someone signs up to your mailing list, their email goes in there, you can set up automations. If you check out my previous podcast episode about email automations, you can do all of that in ConvertKit and MailChimp. Ontraport is a bit more of a database rather than just email. You can do a lot more stuff in it. It’s therefore obviously a lot more expensive, but you can process payments in there. You can set up subscriptions, you can have it all in one place, which is quite useful. 

If you have multiple inboxes and you get a bit fed up of having to sort of jump between a bunch of tabs to check all of them, then have a look at Helpscout. Helpscout is an inbox management system. You can also pay extra to have additional users, so you can assign different emails to different people. So for example, maybe I have all of my emails coming into Helpscout and I have an additional user registered who is my tech person. And if there’s any tech queries, I can assign the email direct to her, she’ll get a notification, she’ll be able to reply within her own email and it will go straight back to that person. So you’ll be able to assign emails to different people. 

You can save templates for emails in there. Say you’re typing a response to someone and you think, actually I’ll probably have to answer this question again at some point to someone else, you can save your reply. So next time someone asks a similar question, you can just find that reply that you saved, and you’ll have the chance to tweak it, but it just saves you a lot of extra work.

The next website I really recommend is Upwork. You’ve heard me talk about it 800 million times already by now, so have a little look on there and just just go on there and browse. Have a little look and, and see how much does it cost to actually have someone manage your inbox. Maybe it’s not as expensive as you thought. Maybe it’s worth that cost because you hate doing it and it takes half your day up and it means you can’t actually do the thing that you need to do to bring in the money. 

And maybe it doesn’t cost that much to have someone edit your podcast so it doesn’t sound like it was recorded in a bunker or maybe it doesn’t cost that much to have someone do some really fancy graphics for you. So have a little look and see what’s possible on there because chances are it doesn’t cost half as much as you think, and it could really take your business to the next level.

If you are like everyone in the whole world and you spend some time on Facebook, you’ll notice that there are lots of quizzes on there and quizzes are a really, really good way of getting higher engagement because who doesn’t love a good quiz? I mean, I am only mildly embarrassed to tell you that I have taken quizzes on what kind of bread I would be, or what TV show I should be on, et cetera. So we’ve all been there, we’ve all done it, and we all will probably do it again. So have a little look at whether you might want to incorporate quizzes in your social media plan. If you do, then I really like Outgrow.

So my last episode was about email automations and scheduling your email in advance. So some of you might know that you can also do this with your social media content. Some of the platforms have got better at being able to do that actually within the platform itself. So for example, I schedule all my Facebook posts from within Facebook, but others are less good or less intuitive or you might decide that you want to actually be able to see all of them in the same place, in which case I recommend Hootsuite.

For analyzing web data, obviously there’s nothing better than Google Analytics, so make sure you can get that linked up to your website so you can have a little look at what’s happening when people are coming into your website. 

If you are thinking of hosting a podcast, it might be no surprise that I’m going to recommend Pippa. It’s what I use, and I absolutely love it. So it’s just really easy, clean, beautiful to use. And you can very easily add your podcast onto other players like Spotify or iTunes or Stitcher.

If you’re thinking of hosting events and you want to be able to sell tickets to that event, then I really recommend Billetto. I have done a lot of research on which are the best in terms of transaction costs and fees and so forth. And I really liked Belletto. I think it’s really nice to use. The customer cares really good as well.

In terms of receiving payments, I prefer bank transfers  wherever possible because there are less fees. I am lucky in that I’ve got a Revolut account. It’s not technically a bank account, but you can set up different sub-accounts in different currencies. So if like me, you live in the UK but you get a lot of payments in euros and dollars, then people can also make bank transfers from countries that use those currencies. If you don’t have this facility or if you have to accept payment from other countries with currencies that you can’t accept easily, then I really recommend Stripe or of course PayPal. The problem with PayPal is obviously you have to pay transaction fees and so forth, but in terms of something simple and easy that everyone knows how to use, you can’t really beat it. Both Stripe and PayPal also allow you to send invoices so that’s quite handy as well.

Carrying on in the money theme let’s talk about the financial software, Xero. I don’t know if you’ve ever had a chance to have a look at it but it is fairly easy to use. Again, you can set up quotes and invoices through it. My partner is using it now. He’s a handyman and he is the first to admit that he is terrible with tech and he’s been able to use it really, really well and he loves that he can see everything really easily. The money that’s come in and come out again, you can set up quotes and then convert them into invoices and see whether they’ve been paid, chase them up and so forth. It’s also really handy if you’ve got a bookkeeper or accountant because you can both have access to your Xero accounts and so they can be doing their side of things and you can be doing your side of things and everything comes together and it looks wonderful and is compliant with whatever tax laws in your countries. 

If you have a team say of staff or contractors or your staff are not all in the same place and you want to kind of reduce the amount of emails going back and forth because you find that annoying, then have a look at Slack. You can either use it online or you can download the app onto your phone or your computer. Basically you can set up like team chat rooms or you can just talk individually to different team members, but it really helps if you want to cut down on emails. 

If you are a freelancer or contractor who has to be able to keep track of how long you’re spending on any particular task, either because you need to charge different clients for it or you need to give them a breakdown, then have a look at Toggl. It’s just a really, really simple way to just like a timer for specific projects.

One of the last things I’m going to talk to you about is independent reviews. You’re gonna want to have reviews.Something too that you can share with people to kind of confirm to them that you are awesome. If you want a really well recognized third party review system, then have a look at Feefo. It’s a third party system where you can’t tamper with their reviews, but you can receive them and you can share them. And it’s just a really, really nice way of giving yourself credibility and collecting testimonials.

So my last little thing that I want to share with you is Zapier. Now if you’re not really a tech person, then you just ignore everything I say about this because it’s just going to make you want to cry. But if you do have a tech person, then this is awesome. Basically you will find that you want to integrate lots of these different bits of software and tech with each other. You want your website to speak to your mailing list and you want to know who’s going on what pages. If you’re hosting a webinar, you’re going to want people to be able to register to your mailing list and then tag your mailing list with whether they attended the webinar or not, whether they listened the whole way through, whether they went onto your website after, et cetera.

Where you can’t get the two bits of software or tech to speak to each other, that’s where Zapier comes in. You get a free amount of zaps. And then if you need any more, you have to start paying. But it’s not that expensive. And basically what it does is integrate almost any two softwares or websites to each other. 

In summary, keep this list handy and whenever you need to perform a new task, have a look and see if there is a bit of tech that might be able to help you do it better or faster. 

And if you don’t know how to do it, go on Upwork and get someone else to.

Please note I am an affiliate partner of some of these but I genuinely use and love every bit of tech I recommended here. 

Next time we will be discussing social media platforms, which ones should you be on and what should you be doing on them.

In the meantime come join us on our facebook page  www.facebook.com/thebeautyofourdreams