The other day, I asked my Facebook Group members what they were struggling with. Overwhelmingly the answer was finding clients. So I starting thinking about the tactical advice I could share. Advice about: inbound marketing, client onboarding systems, and client retention strategies. And then I thought, hold on. Let me take a step back and show in real numbers where my clients come from. Here's a quick background on my business...
This is a question I get all the time from clients. "How do I get a cute email signature like yours?" Now I use Wisestamp for my signature, but it has a monthly fee associated with it. Even though I'm a huge fan, the ROI on that just isn't there for some of my clients. So I have 2 free suggestions that I share in the video below. You can either create something simple inside the settings of your Gmail account - or you can use Hubspot's free email signature generator and paste it in. I walk you through all 3 of those options in the video, and share with you why you need to be on AppSumo's email list today!
Are you a DIY-er, but not quite sure how to get started on your first sequence? Don't worry, it's easier than it looks! Sometimes my clients feel a little intimidated when they get into the Sequence screen for the first time. In my experience, folks can feel unsure if they've set up exclusions or their send schedule correctly. And that's totally understandable. Here's a 10 minute video that walks you through a basic tour of the Sequence tab, including: how to send immediately, how to utilize the reporting screen, and how to exclude segments.
If you asked me to describe myself, I'd start with Luke's mom and follow it up quickly with Auntie. Between my siblings and cousins, I have a bunch of little people in my life. And they just make everything better, don’t they? Holidays are way more fun, let’s face it. And a simple walk can turn into apologizing to people walking around you on the sidewalk because your kid found about 100 ants attacking a leftover sandwich. (I speak from experience.) Well, my brother’s 4-year old boy is one of those great, little kids.
When I heard that Seth Godin would be the inaugural speaker for the Made in Buffalo series, I was shocked. How had I missed knowing that he grew up in my hometown? That shock quickly turned to excitement. My husband and I jumped right online to buy tickets, we were surprised at the checkout page. Right before you clicked submit to purchase your tix, you were asked how you're creating change locally and contributing to the new economy (the topic of Seth’s talk).
It's the New Year! I'm ready. I’ve decided on my 2018 goals, and I've been tackling them a bit each day. (Lara Casey says, "Focus on little by little progress, not perfection." I love that.) But first, I want to take a minute and wrap up 2017. I did a wrap up post like this for the first time last year, and I started that post with a brief overview of my biz. In case you're new here (hi!), let’s pause and do that again!
Confession: I used to create PDF invoices in Word and email them to clients. We all have those first pancakes in business. Those things that make us cringe when we look back, but we know the experience makes us who we are today. Invoices were definitely a first pancake for me. Wave was the answer for that. I found Wave about 3 years ago, and I started using the bookkeeping side of things right away.
In the middle of last year, I had the perfect storm. There I was, working away like normal. Until the emails started rolling in...a few clients needed to stop or pause retainers for one reason or another. (Like: they lost a huge client themselves and were forced to decrease expenses. Um...That means me.) Over the course of a few days, I lost about $1000 in monthly recurring income.
It's a problem we all face eventually. It doesn't matter if you're a social media manager, or a solopreneur, we all need to find and share other people's content. And, eventually, we've all experienced having "run out" of things in the queue. (We'll talk about the 80-20 rule another time.) For now, I'll just say - I've been there. I know you've been there at some point or another. If you're like me, you've started scrambling.
Early last year, I made the switch from MailChimp to ConvertKit. And I'm so happy I did. Since switching, my open rate has doubled and I've become a Certified ConvertKit Expert. So it goes without saying that my overall experience with ConvertKit so far has been extremely positive.
Our sweet boy turned one year old. We had a low-key, (Mickey-themed) birthday party with our family. He had a great time seeing all of his favorite people in one room, and playing with all of his cousins! It was a wonderful day, but his birthday also marks something big for my business: I've been balancing motherhood and solopreneurship for 1 year now.
I've accomplished a lot in my life and biz, but by far I'm most proud of being a work-at-home mom.
One of the most common ConvertKit questions I get is actually not even a difficult thing at all. I'm often asked about the difficulty level of integrating ConvertKit with Squarespace. It's completely true that, for Wordpress users, the process of integrating ConvertKit is a little bit more seamless. That's because of the CK plugin available to them. But that doesn't make it impossible for those of us on Squarespace! You can totally master it. Here's how:
Lately, I've surprised a few of my clients by telling them about this lesser-known ConvertKit feature. It's not for everyone, but it's definitely a nice feature that I think is underutilized. You can add your RSS feed to your ConvertKit account, and create broadcasts with the content of your latest blog posts. This would be great for you if: You're struggling to keep up with creating regular content. Sending one of your blog posts from the week might be a really great compromise.
Recently, I shared with you my 3 favorite free tools for getting clients to electronically sign your contacts. But what if you don't already have a contract in place? When I got started, I wasn't sure which sections to include my contract. And I didn't know which templates were "good" for freelancers.
Eventually we all run into a difficult client on this freelance journey. It’s honestly (and thankfully) rare for me, but it still happens.
Recently, I hit a bump in the road when I delivered an eBook file only to have the client disappear. I delivered the file for review before final payment. I did that because it was one of our milestones on the way to completing a larger project.
You just finished your intro call with a new client. They want you to send over an invoice and a contract for a quick esignature. You agree, and once you hang up, the panic sets in. "How do I do that??"
A few years ago, as a new freelancer, I had this exact experience. When I first got started, I made the grave error of working without contracts. (Don't do this.)
I'm always diligent to only grab photos that are copyright-free and available to use on my blog/social media. But when I find some that I love, I tend to download and save. But, over the years, that pile has just kept growing! Before I knew it, I had a library of 2k+ images and absolutely no way to find what I was looking for.
I love talking about my favorites, and I definitely love testing the latest ones to be released. (It's a mild obsession.) Because of that, I'm often asked, by clients and other business owners, which tools I'm really loving right now for my own business. Even though it can be tough to narrow it down, I decided to focus in and share.
Here are the 10 tools that I (literally) use every day in my business:
Recently, I had a post get to page 1 in Google's search results. And because of that post, I've been fielding a lot of questions about Squarespace lately. So I'm tackling another one of those questions today. How to add a related posts field to the end of your blog posts. (At the time I'm writing this post, there are only 5 Squarespace templates that include a related posts section for blogs.)
OK, that post title. Heavy. But we have to talk about this stuff. We prepare for this in our personal lives. We give thought to: life & disability Insurance, wills and Godparents. But what would happen to your biz...if something happened to you?
As difficult a topic as it is, deep down we all know it’s our responsibility as business owners to prep our businesses for disaster or death. We want to make sure our families are protected, and our clients are taken care of.
I run a weekly Twitter Chat with my pal, Jill, from Spark and Influence. We have a ton of fun on the chats, and we've talked about everything from solopreneur finances to dealing with imposter syndrome.
There are 2 questions, though, that we hear a lot: 1. "How do you participate? I'm not sure what to do!" 2. "Do you use any tools to manage it all? The chats go too fast for me! I can't keep up!"
2016 was a really big year for my business. I took a maternity leave, became a Certified ConvertKit Expert and increased my revenue over 2015. I thought I’d tell you what worked last year, and share where I’m headed for 2017.
But first, let me tell you how I got started - in case you’ve never heard my story: I started freelancing in late 2013 with a few, small projects.
A few months ago, I started seeing a lot of activity surrounding one blog post. All of a sudden - tons of blog comments. Emails, every week! And I even booked discovery calls from people who read the post. I found out, eventually, that the post had landed on page 1 search results in Google for search terms like "squarespace templates."
Lately I've been on a productivity purge. I've been getting rid of the tools that weren't serving me as much anymore, and moving to new systems. Systems thoughtfully designed to work with me, not against me.
Spoiler alert: I've finally found the planner I've been looking for.
Over the last few months, I've made a lot of changes. I've switched project management systems (more on that later), and I've overhauled how I keep my to do list going.