How to Map Out a Process…so you can delegate or outsource it!

Consistently outsourcing and delegating aspects of my business is how I’ve been able to scale without getting bogged down in the details. A lot of people get stuck, and mapping out your process is a great first step to actually delegating it.

I share some of the updates I am making to up-level my videos in this quick and dirty (and totally not upleveled) video so you can see how this works.

Some key points include:

  • Getting clear on your goal for the process and what the desired outcome is.
  • Making sure you don’t personally have too many touch points and don’t get bogged down in the process.
  • Working through the step-by-step to be sure the desired outcome is created.

What questions do you have about putting together your processes? Feel free to post them below!

Pricing Your Products

When you are running your own business, pricing is one of the most difficult decisions you’ll make. Our decisions not only impact our income, but they also bring up all sorts of fears and doubts and blocks.

I’m raising some of my prices at Bridging the Gap, and in today’s video I share why. I also talk about what’s bubbling up for me mindset-wise so you can get a better view into your own inner dialog around pricing…and how it might be holding you back from making more money in your business.

(Be sure to watch through to the end when I share my top 2 pricing tips that will help ease some of the anxiety around deciding what to charge for your products.)

What really happened during my last launch…

I don’t think entrepreneurs talk nearly enough about what really goes into building a successful online business, particularly their failures along the way. Today I want to share with you what really happened during the last launch and what lessons I learned.

I’d love to hear your take-aways. And as I mentioned in the video, I’m thinking of making this an ongoing series, where I share what’s happening in my business (the ups and the downs). What would you like to learn more about? Please comment below.

I had a goldmine in my hard drive

A few years back, I was at my year-end planning session with my coach. I casually mentioned to him that people were always asking me for templates. In fact, people wanted to buy all of the templates I had used in my career as a business analyst, but I didn’t think they were useful enough to sell on their own. Maybe if I built a whole course around how to use them…

Gary, my coach, stops me what felt like mid-sentence and asks, “So when are you going to sell them the templates?”

Me: “What do you mean?”

Gary: “People are asking you for templates. You have them. And you are refusing to sell them what they want?”

Me (sheepishly): “Well, yes, that’s kind of what’s happening.”

Gary: “How long would it take to pull these together?”

Me: “Well, I would need to edit them, look through my work files…”

Gary: “I challenge you to do it before the end of the year.”

Me: “WHAT?????”

From that point, some dialog ensued, mostly around my discomfort with putting my templates out to the world. They’d be useless. Other industry experts would think I’d sold out. And so on and so on.

Well, I got the offer up and running in less than two weeks. In December of that year, I sold about ten copies with very little marketing. In January, sales continued to roll in. Today, this toolkit continues to be my best-selling product and brings in at least a couple thousand dollars, each and every month.

These templates are what has made it possible to shift my efforts to helping other women build flexible and profitable online businesses, the work I do here at Momstyle Your Business, because I can count on a steady stream of revenue.

Your goldmine could be in your hard drive, your email box, or lurking in the stuff you already know. If you’d like to learn more, and explore your potential digital product ideas, check out the Digital Product Workshop. Better yet, book a 1-1 consulting session with me, where we’ll dig into the possibilities you have to create a profitable digital product.

Powerful women empower women

For the last two years, my word of the year has been “POWER.” Shortly after embarking on this adventure to help mom entrepreneurs find more freedom, flexibility, and financial reward in their businesses, I realized that my real goal was to empower women. And then I realized that if I wanted to do this work, I needed to step into my own power.

I still can’t help but feel the negative connotation of this word…how power is seen as a tool to control other people, rather than a space we step into on our own.  And that’s why it’s still my word. Because in many ways, I’m very much not-there-yet. I’m empowered and, yes, powerful. And I work every day to empower other women.

But this doesn’t feel comfortable. It’s not yet my new normal. I’ve got work to do.

When I shared this message with the Momstyle Your Business community a few weeks ago, it really resonated. And so we asked the women of Momstyle to share what this message means to them. I’m blown away by their answers – YOUR answers. Please take a read and add your thoughts below.

***

Darci Lopez, Life Unplanned

I feel like I am part of something greater than myself, that is a sisterhood of women. In running my business, my focus is always to help other women first…the rest will come. It takes a confidence and a peace and a knowledge that we are in this together to empower each other.

Jennifer Rue McLellan, Plus Size Birth

By supporting other women, I not only help them to grow their business but it feeds my soul and enriches my own business. 

Julie Daigneault

Many of the women I know are business owners. We support and encourage each other without fail. Many other women I know are educators of various kinds and are respected in all that they do every day. Ladies, you are strong, beautiful and capable.

Aparna Parinam

It reinforces the fact that women support and encourage each other. This is very much essential for the success of every woman!

Karin Beery, Write Now Editing

I think one of the reasons I like teaching so much is because I’m not just writing something for someone else – I’m teaching people how to do it for themselves so they don’t have to rely on anyone else. I want to empower them to not only write their own content, but to write killer content that gets noticed.

Robyn Johnson, Baby Kale Health

This strikes me on so many levels…today, especially, as a mom of a hormonal 4th grader who is very nervous about her first b-ball game! Trying to empower her, but still let her feel what she’s feeling!

On another level, my own, stepping into several new roles and changes…trying so hard to transform fears and anxiety into excitement and gratitude for new adventuresThank you, Laura.

Katy Moses Huggins

Starting out in the film photography era, the industry was very male dominated. It was hard to learn from my peers – most learning was done in a more traditional classroom type setting. In the last 13 years, things have changed dramatically with the introduction of the affordable Digital SLR.

Suddenly, pro photography became accessible for women who didn’t know if they wanted a photo career, but they could now afford to play and learn, and with the digital camera, there was an immediate feedback loop, fast learning curve, huge improvement in a short time.

What I’ve seen come out of this, is a constantly growing community of women photogs, who are helping each other learn, both technical as well as the business and creative aspects. They’re cheering each other on, they’re referring clients to each other. It’s amazing.

This community is growing – and thriving – more and more every day. Because of women choosing to help other women.

Rebecca Phoenix, Productive Preschool with Rebecca Phoenix

To me it means you support and celebrate! Call them out when they’ve done well, let the sun shine on them equally (not stay in your shadow).

Kate Ditzler, Practicing Empathy

Empowerment can be really, really abstract. I think of it as a transaction — either from one woman to another, as you framed it, or as an acquisition if you’re empowering yourself.

But what is being transacted or acquired?

It can’t just be the knowledge that things are possible. That leaves people with “should” and “need to” which stresses but doesn’t allow for action and growth. It has to be skills, and strategies, and gentle accountability and coaching. It has to be no judgement, it has to allow people to solve their own problems in a place that’s safe.

Diana Griffin, Diana Griffin Photography

Give what you have so that others might have more to give!

Amelia Warfield

Working together to make something special for ourselves.

Deirdre Eberhart

For me, it means showing women the power of their minds and how to focus their energies on more positive ways of thinking. We have a lot to take on sometimes and so many societal pressures. We need to unite our efforts by banding together.

Monique Alvarez

Powerful women are secure. They own their brilliance and invite other women to do the same.

***

I love the story these words tell. Stories of powerful women who stepped in to share their empowering words with us – with you. Let them seep in. Let them inspire you. Take them with you on your journey to step into your own power. Pass them along to the women in your life.

Because we will all be more powerful together. Powerful women EMPOWER other women.

Have a thought to share? Please leave a comment below.

The truth about online sales

There is something that seems like it should be easy about generating online sales. Like people are just browsing the internet, credit cards in hand, ready to find your product and buy it.

In some ways, this is absolutely true. Online shoppers are absolutely for real. You are probably one of them!

But on the other hand, the process of having the right people find your website, find your product, decide to buy your product, and actually hand over payment information is not exactly an easy one to manifest.

None of us here are exactly running a business like Amazon, right?

There are two primary ways to generate online sales:

  1. Attract extremely interested buyers who have an internal urgency, or reason to buy now, that’s external to you and your website. For example, I sell a lot of business analyst templates to people who aren’t even on our email list yet, primarily because they are browsing the web looking for templates.
  2. Create a reason for the prospects on your email list to buy now, like running a sale, launch, or limited time promotion.

The thing is, that sales of type #1 take a long time to cultivate in your business. I’m able to do this in my first business because I have a ton of organic search traffic and am well-referred in my specific niche of the world.

And #2 type of sales? Well, they can take a fair amount of work and you can’t exactly run a sale or online product launch every month to continue to generate sales.

But what if there was a way to generate type #2 online sales on a consistent, ongoing basis?

And in such a way that required no ongoing work for you?

There totally is! In internet marketing circles it’s called a “funnel” but I prefer “nurture sequence.” Putting a sequence of emails in place that automatically go out to new subscribers to your email list and – here’s the key part – include a time-sensitive offer – is one of the simplest ways to start building up online sales.

I’m putting together a new program that will help you turn opt-ins into digital product sales and I’d love your input. I’ve been resisting this idea for a long time. But frankly, I’m just sick and tired of seeing so many great digital products collecting dust on their virtual shelves instead of making their creators money and helping the people they were designed to help.

If this is something you’d like to learn more about, I’d really appreciate your input.

Click here to answer 2-question survey

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51 Ways to Improve Your Online Business

There are always new ways to improve your online business, always something to do to move your business forward. From tightening up your sales process to generating more website traffic, your online business grows through incremental actions, each layered one on top of the other.

If you are feeling stuck, or not sure what to do this week to move your business forward, browse this list and pick one idea to implement. Because you’ll notice that reading another book, taking another course, or spending weeks on next year’s planning are not on the list.

Results come from action. Be sure your learning supports action.

Without further ado…

  1. Write a blog post and SEO it.
  2. Guest post.
  3. Send an email to your list with an offer.
  4. Send a high-quality, information-rich email to your list.
  5. Set up your business PayPal account.
  6. Get a shopping cart for your digital downloads.
  7. Email past customers with a special, limited time offer.
  8. Offer to be interviewed for a podcast.
  9. Accept a new payment option.
  10. Reach out to a connection to have a coffee date.
  11. Raise your prices. And promote it.
  12. Run a limited time discount.
  13. Set up a speaking engagement…and charge for it.
  14. Put Amazon affiliate links on your website. (Like I did with this post on the books that shaped my 2016.)
  15. Offer a new service.
  16. Create a new digital product.
  17. Add an email to your welcome series of emails that go out to new subscribers.
  18. Wait? Don’t have a welcome series. Write one!
  19. Create an “evergreen launch” for new subscribers on your best-selling offer.
  20. Add an upsell.
  21. Turn your ebook into a course.
  22. Turn your course into an ebook.
  23. Turn your ebook into a print book.
  24. Become an affiliate for a program or product you believe in. Promote it.
  25. Reach out to your affiliates and encourage them to promote.
  26. Create a new ad to run on your website.
  27. Reorganize your online store so it’s easier to use.
  28. Walk through your online buying process. Is it as simple and clear as possible? Update it.
  29. Reach out to customers and ask them to be affiliates.
  30. Adjust your affiliate offers.
  31. Promote your email freebie.
  32. Improve or add to your email freebie. Then send it to your existing list for good will.
  33. Outsource your least favorite task.
  34. Then outsource your second-least-favorite task.
  35. Individually email contacts or connections about an offer.
  36. Launch a big “live” program.
  37. Turn a live offer into an evergreen offer.
  38. Brainstorm – Who could buy 10X your product and why? How could you reach them? Take action.
  39. Ask a client for a testimonial. Add it to your sales page.
  40. Add a VIP or Premium option to your offering.
  41. Strengthen the copy on your sales page.
  42. Retire a product that’s not selling. (But first, be sure you make these tweaks to sell more digital products online.)
  43. Take some time off for self-care. (My best ideas often surface while I’m hiking.)
  44. Sell your swipe files.
  45. Add a limited time bonus to a product or service offering.
  46. Create a template for an activity you do again and again.
  47. Eliminate an activity that is no longer growing your business.
  48. Experiment with a new social media platform.
  49. Get professional headshots – and use them on your website to strongly position your brand.
  50. Optimize your website to build your email list.
  51. Optimize your social media presence to build your email list.

Opportunities? They are everywhere. Use this list of ideas to help you find new opportunities that you might not be seeing inside your business. But don’t get overwhelmed with all 51. Choose the one idea that best aligns with your big picture goals, personal strengths, and strategy and implement.

51-ways-to-improve-your-online-business-pinterest

How to Convert Social Media Followers into Email Subscribers

Again and again, it proves out that email subscribers are much more valuable to your online business than social media followers. Having permission to email someone about your offer is much more likely to convert to a sale, especially during a launch, rather than catching them by chance when they show up on social media (or fighting with whatever algorithms the social media platforms put in place this week).

But many of you who have been blogging or building your business for awhile have a much bigger social media following than an email list, so how do you go about turning social media followers into email subscribers?

Once you have the first 3 email list building essentials in place, start implementing these 6 strategies on social media to turn followers into email subscribers.

1 – Share your opt-in via social media posts

Share your opt-in regularly on social media. Post it to your Facebook page, Twitter feed, LinkedIn profile, or mention it on Instagram.

Yes, even if you did it last week, someone new will see it this week. That’s how social media works. Besides, someone might need to see it several times before they take action and actually join your email list. Share your opt-in regularly and receive new email subscribers.

2 – Make your email subscription very visible on social media profiles

Unless you are running a launch, you’ll want to promote your opt-in via your social media profiles. Consider your header images (like the one inside the Momstyle Your Business Facebook group and on the Momstyle Your Business Facebook page) and pinned posts.

Pay attention to small details. On my Twitter profile, I have a link to “http://www.bridging-the-gap.com/free-resources” which redirects to my opt-in page. This way, the URL is part of positioning that there are free resources on the other side. A similar strategy would work on Instagram.

3 – Post new content to your blog

Consistently creating new content, posting it to your blog, and sharing it to social media, will also expand your email subscriber list. You can increase conversion to your email list by mentioning your opt-in right inside the blog post. For example:

(By the way, if you’d like to learn more about creating a financially-freeing online business, I offer a complimentary guide: 10 Steps to Building Passive Income with Digital Products.)

Yes, just like that. Add that copy after the first couple of sentences and then pick up with your blog post. There doesn’t have to be a logical break for this to work. If you read more articles here, you’ll see me doing this all the time, either to mention our email list or one of the products in our store.

4 – Create videos and live streams

Videos and live streams tend to get more exposure and attention on social media. The important thing is to mention your opt-in whenever you record a video or live stream and then link to directly to it in the comments or introduction.

One easy way to do this is to do a video series specifically about your opt-in. So if your opt-in has 3 parts, record a video about each part and then mention and link to your opt-in from each video.

5 – Share guest posts and podcasts

When you are featured on someone else’s blog or podcast, be sure your bio or show notes contain a link to your opt-in. Additionally, you can suggest links to related articles on your website, so if a reader or listener decides to click, they might also join your newsletter via your sidebar or under-the-post opt-in boxes.

Then, be sure to promote the post or podcast on social media as well. This helps you build stronger relationships, which will help you secure even more guest spots in the future. Besides, when your followers listen in to your interview, they will get to know you better and you’ll increase your chances of converting a social media follower into an email subscriber.

6 – Host a live “event” for email subscribers only

Finally, a great way to convert a social media following into email subscribers is to host a limited time, live event. Common examples include webinars and free challenges. In order to join the webinar or receive the challenge prompts, participants must register – and when they register they join your email list.

One important thing to note about live events is that the promotion during and after the event can be just as effective, if not more so, than the conversions you receive leading up to the event.

During the challenge or after the webinar, encourage participants to share insights or ask you questions via social media. Facebook groups are perfect for this. These posts will tend to be more interactive and get more visibility, so make it easy for new people to opt in to the replay or sign up for the challenge mid-stream.

While We Are Talking About Email Lists…

Be sure to join mine! You’ll receive 10 Steps to Building Passive Income with Digital Products and ongoing updates with new articles and special offers.

6-ways-to-convert-social-media-followers-to-email-subscribers

The books that have shaped me

Laura-with-Kindle-BooksI recently became an Amazon affiliate – for the second time. Amazon discontinued the program in Colorado just as I was about to receive regular payouts back in 2009. I was bitter. And then I decided that any ethical pathway to money was a good one, so I applied again and here I am, writing a post to you about the books that have shaped my year.

(Yes, the images link to Amazon and they are affiliate links. And yes, I totally stand by all of these books and can personally recommend them.)

Because I do not do this alone. Building an online business requires continual growth – personally and professionally. I’m constantly learning new skills and also working on my mindset. And that’s part of what I love about what I do.

So without further ado, here are the books that have shaped my year.

Playing Big by Tara Mohr

I discovered this book in 2015 and it was THE book I had been craving for years. I wanted a feminine approach to growth that my analytical mind could actually hold onto. Playing Big was that book for me. Tara blends intuition with practicality, and I found myself taking big steps forward into my callings. In fact, the first Digital Product Workshop I hosted in 2015 was a direct result of taking what Tara calls a “leap” and was the first step I took to build Momstyle Your Business.

 

 

Bossypants by Tina Fey and Yes Please by Amy Poehler


Even though these are very different books, they fit into the same category for me. These books were fun to read, and about women who own their lives. They set a great example for what it means to write in your own voice, and go after careers, motherhood, and visibility without compromise. They’ve both inspired me to show up more as me.

 

 

 

 

The Big Leap by Gay Hendrickson

There is a fairly steep hill leading up to our house in Colorado. Until I read The Big Leap, I’d never run up the hill. Ever. I always walked up and rather slowly.

After reading the first chapter of this book, I was out on my run. The words “I am strong” pulsed through my entire body. I started running on the downhill and picked up speed. I decided not to stop and the hill steepened upwards. I just kept thinking “I am strong” and I just kept running. All of a sudden I was at the top and I felt wonderful.

I realized I had set my own inner thermostat about what was possible when it came to my body and running. It was one small example of all the upper limits I’ve set for myself – or what I assumed to be unalterable constraints on my life. Ever since reading this book, I’ve been much more conscious about what limits I set upon myself and realizing those limits has led to the following books below. I’m re-reading it now to dig deeper into my own “zone of genius” and find the best possible work to be doing going forward.

Secrets of a Millionaire Mind by T. Harv Eker

I read this book during the summer of 2016, mostly on the beach at our Michigan lake house. What I learned has changed my life: If you believe any negative qualities about rich people (for me, it was that they are stuck up and snobby), then you will probably never be rich yourself. You will literally sabotage yourself from becoming who you think you want to be, because you believe negative things about who you will be when you achieve those goals.

This book opened up my awareness to just how much mindset work I needed to do if I wanted to continue to up-level our financial picture and lifestyle. And it led me to the next book.

 

 

Get Rich, Lucky Bitch by Denise Duffield-Thomas

I read this book in October of this year, mostly on the beach of North Carolina, where we spent 3 wonderful days scoping out possible locations for our future home on the water. In between August and September, we decided to we wanted to live on the water full time, not only during Michigan summers.

Denise’s book sent me on a path of decluttering, forgiveness, tapping, and getting really clear about what I wanted. It also helped me realize that we could actually afford our dream, and that moving to the ocean was more a matter of logistics than finances.

Seriously, if you haven’t analyzed the price tag for what you really want next, I encourage you to do it. A lot of upgrades are much more affordable than we make them out to be. Often there are other blocks in play, which we can only find once we take the money issues out of it.

(As an aside, the book led me to Denise’s Lucky Bitch Bootcamp, which I can’t recommend highly enough. Not even accounting for the personal growth, I experienced a huge month in November after going through the bootcamp, and December is shaping up to be even bigger.)

Here’s my affiliate link to Denise’s Lucky Bitch Bootcamp

So there you have it! These are the books, and one online program, that have shaped me recently. I am grateful to be more self-aware, confident, and rich (in every sense of the word) person because of my time with each of these authors. And I know there are only better things to come.  I know next year will be full of more learning, more growth, and more books. I can’t wait to see what comes next.

What books have shaped you recently?

Featured Momstyler – Karin Beery’s Press Release Toolkit

Today we meet Karin Beery of Write Now Editing & Copywriting Services. At the risk of dating both of us, I’ll share that Karin and I met nearly 20 years ago now in college, where we were fellow English majors and sorority sisters. I’ve known about Karin’s writing and editing work for a long time, and I was excited when she decided to join the Digital Product Challenge to create her first digital product.

When we think about digital products, we often think about passive income, and that’s definitely an important benefit from all the work that goes into the creative process. However, Karin’s story shows what can be an even more important benefit for some entrepreneurs, and that’s how you can receive opportunities to showcase your work that might not have surfaced otherwise.

Let’s hear from Karin Beery about her digital product journey so far.

Laura: Where did the idea for your digital product first come from?

Karin Beery

Karin Beery: The idea for my first digital product, Writing and Distributing an Effective Press Release, was born out of my frustration from being on the receiving end of bad press releases. I knew what people were trying to do, but doing it badly was only wasting their time – the newspaper never called anyone who sent a bad press release.

Unfortunately, none of the small business owners I know can afford to pay for a professional copywriter. I thought a brief how-to might help many of them produce better press releases without having to hire a pro.

Laura: What were some of the more challenging parts of getting from idea to done, and how did you work past them?

Karin Beery: For me, it’s all about motivation. I’m pretty classically ADD – if I don’t have managers, teachers, or deadlines telling me what to do when, it’s easy to get distracted by a thousand different things. That’s why I needed the Digital Product Challenge – to give me a deadline.

Laura: What were some of the opportunities that surfaced as a result of starting to work on your first digital product? And what shifts did these opportunities create in your business?

Karin Beery: The first came from one of my beta readers. She works at the local chamber of commerce, and she wanted to know if I’d be interested in teaching the chamber members how to write press releases.

That inspired me to reach out to the local college – they offer extended education courses (non-credit classes in everything from knitting to Excel to yoga). I pitched the idea of a copy-writing-for-small-businesses class. They loved the idea, and I taught my first class in October.

That inspired me to approach our local SCORE chapter. I set out to tell people about my product and have started teaching all kinds of writing classes.

Laura: What did it feel like to see that first sale come in? And what’s happened since then?

Karin Beery: I was absolutely tickled! Since the first sale … I haven’t actually sold another tool kit. That fault is on me – I finished my digital product and jumped right into an intense four months of nonstop family visits, working two jobs, traveling, etc.

I had to pick and choose where to focus my time and energy, and launching my product didn’t make the list. That’s one of the reasons I signed up to do another digital product challenge – not only will it help me create another product, but I plan to re-launch the press release tool kit when I launch my new product.

Laura: What actions and steps do you feel were most critical in creating the opportunities you’ve experienced? 

Karin Beery's Writing and Distributing an Effective Press ReleaseKarin Beery: It all started with having one digital product – I knew I had to get myself out there to let people know that I had something to offer (besides my services). That inspired me to start teaching the classes, which has produced so many opportunities. Now I’m doubly inspired to create more digital products so I can direct people to them after they take my classes.

Laura: Can you give us a peak into what’s coming next in your online business?

Karin Beery: As far as copywriting, I’ll be teaching my content writing class at the college again in March, and I’m currently working on a digital tool kit to help people write more authentic biographies for their websites.

When I worked up the nerve to pitch the idea for the content writing class, I figured I might as well try to do more teaching (and digital product creation) for my fiction writing, so I pitched a couple of class ideas to the college and a local writing conference. Both were accepted.

Coincidentally, my recent teaching experiences helped me land the job of fiction-editing instructor for a large network of professional editors. I had already been thinking about creating digital products for fiction writing; I will now have to create them for these editing classes, and I’ll be able to sell them on my website (as well as on the organization’s site).

It’s all sort of snowballing, and I can honestly say it started with my desire to put myself out there so I could spread the word about my first digital product.

Laura: What would you recommend to other women who are putting together their first digital product? 

Karin Beery: FINISH IT! Your first draft doesn’t have to be perfect – Anne Lamott famously encourages writers to write a shitty first draft, because you can’t fix what you don’t finish. The same is true for the digital product. Just finish a shitty first draft, then polish it. It’s too easy to start something without finishing it, which is exactly what I would have done without the Digital Product Challenge.

Laura: Thank you so much and congratulations!  

Check out Karin’s first digital product, Writing and Distributing an Effective Press Release. To learn more about Karin, visit KarinBeery.com and her Write Now Editing & Copywriting Services website. You can also connect with Karin on Facebook and Twitter, and be sure to sign up for her newsletter.