Business hacks for part time humans or beginning entrepreneurs
Kia ora (hello) ,
Last week I wrote about some of my hacks for those days when everything seems in the too hard basket, or you want to have more freedom to dash out on the deck on the rare days Seattle is sunny in winter.
This week, here's a few of my business hacks if you're just starting out as a solopreneur, or if you'd like to. If you have been in business for a while, I'd love to hear you solutions, let me know and I'll add them to an upcoming resources page.
Templates (also good for your day-to-day life)
I have created "signatures" in my Outlook which means not only that every email goes out with my contact info, but I can choose from a variety of templates, like my reminder I send to guests that they are about to be on my podcast. Basically, if you type or say the same thing over and over, find a way to save it or create a shortcut or or clone it or film it or record it so you aren't repeating work over and over. Also, repurpose. Can whatever you have just done be used elsewhere? It's a great way to duplicate yourself.
Dictation & transcribe
Pre-foot surgery when I could walk the dog, I'd dictate blogs to Otter.ai which then exports them as text or audio. I much prefer editing to typing from scratch. Also great for client notes and writing books. I've used Dragon which types as you talk, and was excellent, but I don't like being tied to a computer. I've also used Microsoft dictation for emails, but hey, you might be a faster typist than me.
A calendar booking system.
I use Acuity, and only the basic features. Calendly is also popular. Having this means I send a link to anyone who wants to spend time with me and they can choose a spot which works for them. I use it to schedule my podcast guests, and you can also ask for more information. In this case, I can ask for a bio and headshot for promotion and show notes, without having to email. All the info about appointments are stored in one spot and it also populates my Google phone calendar. Also great for coffee chats with people you want to get to know better, AND you can block out when you're not available.
A way to send an invoice.
I have an all in one software system called Simplero, ask me about it and I'll walk you through what it does. Some friends who sell online products use Kajabi. I create templates, which turn into order forms, and all I have to do is send a link. Remember to add Terms & Conditions. Google invoicing systems. I just did, and found Waveapps.com, which I haven't tried.
A way to get paid.
You can use PayPal, or Venmo or Zelle and there are more out there - I use Stripe, which takes a cut, but processes it all for me and is easy to track at tax time, plus works with credit cards.
A way to talk with clients
I use Zoom for virtual meetings because I can record, it has a transcription option as well as captions. I use Voxer, What's app and messenger to keep in touch, along with email. I also leave voice messages via phone text and Marco Polo is a great way to send short videos back and forth.
Social Media scheduler
If you promote on social media, it's much easier to make content in a batch and then schedule it to be posted. Later and Buffer have free versions which work fine for me, I use them both as neither of them covers every platform. Canva also has a scheduling option and there are others. Speaking of content...
I adore Canva. They have a free version, but for @$7 a month you get a ton of extra features, like scheduling. What I like best is I can make a graphic with no design skills whatsoever in a few mins and then resize it to fit any social media platform. The have templates for almost everything from tee shirts to Christmas Cards
An easy way to send multiple emails at once, keep track of them and see who reads them.
Again, I can do this through Simplero, which is what I am using now. I will schedule this to go out tomorrow, and I'll also repurpose it as a blog, using the same platform, which also has my website on it. You can just email people, and keep contact information in your Outlook or Gmail or whatever you use, but using a software like MailChimp or others makes life easier.
A landing page & a domain name
You don't need a whole site to start with, just a place for interested people to find out more about you. Friends have used WordPress, Squarespace, Wix. I buy domains from Porkbun, as I find GoDaddy expensive. Buying a .com can be pricey, .co works just as well and there are tons of other cool suffixes. Remember you will need somewhere to host it once it's built. I'm annoyed with my current host, so I won't mention them, but I did find this article. Make sure you get one with good customer support.
Talk to me about the one-page-website using The Hero's Journey. One of the best websites I ever saw simply said, "Cool! If you found this site, you must already know about us, so book a call here." Then add a way for people to get in touch with you. Hint - a link to that useful calendar. If you want to talk to more people, offer an awesome freebie in return for their email address (they must be able to unsubscribe). And thank them a LOT for reading your emails. Thank you!!
This could be Post-its covering your wall in different colors for different projects or more sophisticated software, a wall planner or a diary. For me, it's Trello. It is like digital Post-it notes, I can move them around as much as I like and have different "board" for all my projects. I share access with my VA and I use the free version. Great if you're visual and hate clutter.
A Virtual Assistant...even for just a couple of hours a week.
This may seem out of reach, but if you are just starting out there are women overseas who are working to support their families or their schooling and are keen to make some extra money. They are talented, much smarter and hardworking than me, and the exchange rate means I can pay them well without too much overhead, necessary when you are starting out. My friend Riah Gonzalez can tell you more. If you want to hire someone in your time zone, or from your own community, head to an online FB group for women entrepreneurs and ask for referrals, I have some I can give you, message me. Ask me about how to make the most of your VA, including training and assigning tasks.
What else? Hmmm.... I think that's plenty for now! Besides, the dog wants to be fed.
Thank you for being in my life,
ps. If you're interested in finding out more about any of these or want to explore starting your own business, give me a call