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

ebook formats – how to choose the right format for your ebook

If you are thinking of creating an ebook, you might be wondering what ebook formats are available to you.

There are really three basic options for formatting an ebook.

  • The first is a PDF document that you sell via your website or other digital download service.
  • The second is a mobi format that you sell via Amazon.com. This format can be read via a Kindle or any device with a Kindle reader.
  • The third is a epub file that sells via most other online retailers.

You don’t have to choose just one format or distribution method. I’ve sold the same exact book via PDF, mobi, and epub. Most professionals who will create a mobi file for you will also create an epub file.

Let’s take a quick look at the pros and cons of choosing a PDF ebook format against choosing mobi/ePub.

Advantages of a PDF ebook format

  • Relatively easy to create. You can easily turn a nicely-formatted Microsoft Word document into a PDF.
  • Allows you to sell through your own website and keep all of the profits and customer information.
  • Allows you the greatest flexibility for a price point. It’s not uncommon to see PDF ebooks priced at $47 or even $97, especially when they are accompanied by extras like templates and checklists. (Packaging your ebooks with extras like this is a great way to sell more ebooks.)

Disadvantages of a PDF ebook format

  • Typically cannot be sold through other online retailers.
  • Not automatically downloaded to the user’s device, meaning you will want to plan to support a customer service process that helps users download and access their files.

Advantages of the mobi/epub ebook format

  • Allows you to access potential customers through online retailers, like Amazon, so your book becomes a profitable lead generation tool.
  • Provides the best possible user experience, especially when it comes to Kindle users downloading ebooks via Amazon – truly one-click ordering.
  • Having your book listed on Amazon and other online retailers tends to establish more credibility for you as an author.

Disadvantages of the mobi/epub format

  • Lacking flexibility in terms of price point. Amazon heavily incentives you to price your Kindle book between $2.99 and $9.99. And people simply do not expect to pay more than $20 for an ebook, and often much, much less. This makes it less than ideal for super-niched markets like the birth photography toolkit we showcased by featured momstyler Jennifer Mason.
  • You do not receive access to customer information. Once someone buys, it’s up to them to visit your website or sign-up for your communications.
  • Is more technically difficult to create. While there are automated tools to create mobi and epub files from a Word document, any reputable book requires at least a little bit of manual work from someone knowledgeable about the format. (This is not me. Mobi and ePub conversions are something I’ve always outsourced.)

How to choose the right ebook formats

What the decision really comes down to is how you desire to price your ebook and whether or not it will be advantageous to you to access potential new customers via outside online retailers. When I’ve chosen to write an ebook, it’s typically with the goal of authority, visibility, and reach, with profit being a secondary motive. So I’ve chosen to leverage online retailers as much as possible.

If you want to, instead, maximize your profit per purchase, you’ll want to sell a higher priced ebook or digital toolkit from your own website.

And if you are just getting started with your writing and planning process, you don’t have to decide now. No matter what format you decide to ultimately deliver your ebook in, you’ll be starting with a Microsoft Word (or other word processing) document and getting it converted into it’s final form.

Learn More About Digital Products

To learn exactly how to find and implement your profitable digital product idea, check out the Digital Product Workshop. It’s self-paced and available for immediate online download. You’ll leave the workshop with an implementation plan for creating your first digital product.

Click here to learn more about the Digital Product Workshop

 

 

 

 

10 tips for self care during the holidays

As busy working moms, often taking care of ourselves is the last thing to get any priority in our busy days and weeks. Self care during the holidays can be particularly challenging, as we want to create special moments for our kids and families.

However, we really can’t be our best for others if we don’t first give to ourselves. And it’s all too easy to lose track of what’s really important as the to dos stack up on your list.

Here are 10 quick and easy ways to make sure you are taking care of yourself over what I’m sure will be a busy, emotional, and fun holiday season.

Self Care Tip #1 – Listen to Music

Whenever the energy fades in my house, I put on some music. Holiday music. Dance music. Classical music.

I will start dancing. Then my 19-month-old starts dancing. And a 19-month-old dancing is a very quick mood booster.

Bringing a little music in can really cheer up a space and shift you into a different place.

Self Care Tip #2 – Watch a Movie

There are so many heart-warming holiday movies. Choose a favorite or experiment with something new. We always find that Christmas Vacation helps us get into the holiday spirit.

You can try this one with the kiddos too, and make time to watch special holiday movies, giving everyone a bit of downtime.

Self Care Tip #3 – Move

Whether it’s a few crunches, a short walk, or dancing around your bedroom, move around. You could also simply do a few shoulder roles or stretches. Choose a movement that feels good inside your body.

A great resource to help you make the most of short windows of time is 10 Minute Mama. Momstyler Katy Moses Huggins has recorded several 10 minute workout videos that help you feel absolutely great!

Self Care Tip #4 – Let a tradition go

I always shudder when I see other moms posting pictures of dozens upon dozens of holiday cookies. If my girls are lucky, we will make a single batch this year!

Of course, if making cookies is fun for you, by all means do it. But sometimes we can get caught up in doing something because we’ve always done it and people count on us to do it.

Whether it’s another few dozen cookies, a dish from the holiday meal you are serving, or a preparation element that has you stressed out, let go of the “shoulds” and focus on the activities that bring you the most joy.

Self Care Tip #5 – Shop online

A certain online retailer can still ship your presents before Christmas Eve. Avoid the crowds and long lines and pick up those last minute gifts online.

Self Care Tip #6 – Buy yourself a gift

Is there something you are really hoping to receive this year? Have you dropped innumerable hints but are still not sure if it’s going to be sitting under the tree? Why not buy it for yourself? If it’s something you really want or need, it will be money well spent.

While I was out shopping this year, I bought myself a picture that says “Live Your Own Truth”. This is a mantra I’m bringing into 2016 and a great investment to brighten up my office.

Self Care Tip #7 – Hire child care

It can be tempting to think that because the kids are off school, the whole two weeks has to be one big family vacation. Getting a day or two of child care can give you the buffer you need to be the best mom you can be.

Whether you invest that time working on your business or taking care of you, you’ll be better off for it.

Self Care Tip #8 – Eat nutritious food

I wouldn’t ask you to say no to all temptations over the holidays, but making a few healthy, nutritious choices can really take the edge off that sugar rush. Look at the meals you can easily control, perhaps that’s breakfast, lunch, or the snacks you take with you out and about. Make choices that taste good and make you feel good.

Self Care Tip #9 – Really, truly enjoy an indulgent food

And when it comes to those cookies, cakes, or other items you really want but feel guilty about enjoying, why not make it a beautiful indulgence instead of a sneaky one?

Take a few moments to really savor the experience. Sit down quietly. Put your treat on a beautiful plate or bowl. Get out the silver if that’s your thing. And then savor each and every bite, focusing on really enjoying the experience and setting aside any guilt that might pop up.

I will be enjoying some homemade chocolate chip ice cream with Baileys on Christmas Eve and perhaps again on Christmas Day. Can’t wait!

Self Care Tip #10 – Work, if you want

There are a lot of expectations about not working during the holiday season, especially for moms. Work can be part of your self care, as long as it’s coming from a place of desire rather than should.

If you can, eliminate all must-do work going into the holiday season, but still set aside time to work if you want. Then select some tasks that you always want to do but never seem to have the time for.

>>Most importantly, take care of you

I’ll say it again, we absolutely cannot be our best for others if we do not take care of ourselves. Select a few items off this list (or think up things that would really fill you up) and carve out the space for them over the next few weeks. You’ll be well on your way to finding even more joy and happiness during the holidays.

How will you be taking care of you this holiday season?

And please join our Momstyle Your Business Facebook group for ongoing support and inspiration as you take care of you and your business!

Find digital product ideas in 3 simple steps

 “I want to create a digital product, but I have no idea what it would be.”

“Everything I would do has already been done before.”

“I don’t believe people would pay for this.”

These are just a few of the many objections I hear from women looking to create a digital product.

Yes, they believe that a digital product would diversify their offerings and lead to more ongoing, passive income. But they get stuck in the “what product / what idea” step of the process.

The purpose of this article is to help you discover digital product ideas.

Step 1 to Finding Digital Product Ideas – Identify Your Target Buyer

In Digital Product Workshop, you walk through a structured brainstorming process to help you find potential ideas.

The first question we ask is: Who are you targeting with this product? This answer grounds you in who we are trying to help and leads us to interesting and tricky problems you might be able to help others solve.

Step 2 to Finding Digital Product Ideas – Identify Problems for Your Buyer

The best selling digital products solve a specific problem for the buyer. As an business owner, we always need to be on the look out for new and interesting problems that are, for whatever reason, not yet addressed by the current set of offerings in the marketplace.

Here are some ways to identify problems your buyer experiences:

  • Look through your email for questions people ask you again and again.
  • Send an email to your community (or post to a social media group) asking them about their biggest challenge. A variation on this question is “What would feel like a miracle to you right now when it comes to _________?” (Fill in the blank with your understanding of a challenge they have.)
  • Read the questions people post to groups and forums for frequently asked questions.
  • Offer 1-1 consulting, mentoring, or coaching to help people that fit your target buyer persona. Often the problem one person has is shared by many, and the tools you build or use to help them can be packaged into a digital product that can help many more people.

In any market, similar problems come up again and again. And it’s because these problems are not being solved, at least for some people. Addressing these concerns with a product is one of the fastest ways to the cash.

Step 3 to Finding Digital Product Ideas – Brainstorm Ideas

OK. Now it’s time to start brainstorming!

Before we dig in, let’s talk about brainstorming for a quick minute. When brainstorming, you’ll get to the best ideas if you adhere to a few principles:

  • Write down every idea, no matter how stupid it seems. Save judgment and critique for later.
  • Let one idea lead to another. Combine ideas. Split ideas. Build on ideas.

As you brainstorm, consider options of varying options and formats:

  • Templates
  • Checklists
  • Workbooks
  • e-Books
  • e-Courses
  • Audio
  • Video
  • Text / PDF
  • Images

Dedicate 20 minutes to this simple brainstorming process and you should have at least a few reasonable ideas on your list. Pick one and get started! Because an idea helps no one, and it definitely doesn’t make you any money, until you launch it.

Create Your First Digital Product

To learn exactly how to find and implement your profitable digital product idea, check out the Digital Product Workshop. It’s self-paced and available for immediate online download. You’ll leave the workshop with an implementation plan for creating your first digital product.

Click here to learn more about the Digital Product Workshop

The pros and cons of owning your own business

On my morning walk, I passed two black cats. I’m not superstitious but I know one of them must have crossed my path!

And given that it’s also coming up on Halloween, this got me to thinking about the tricks and treats (or pros and cons) when it comes to owning your own momstyle business.

For those of you just joining us, a momstyle business is a profitable, flexible, online business that gives you an immense amount of freedom in when and how you work. As good as this scenario sounds, they can still be tricky, especially if you don’t manage some of the treats properly.

Let’s look at a few examples.

Pros and Cons #1 – Time

Last week our nanny was sick. Then I was sick. My 25 hours of work turned into about 15 hours of less-than-productive time. Luckily, I have no boss breathing down my neck. What’s more, my business model is flexible enough that I wasn’t about to lose any clients or see a reduction in my passive income. That’s the treat.

Here’s the trick. I essentially proved I could work 15 hours per week instead of 25. Maybe I should be taking more spa days, longer hikes, or spending even more time with my kids.

Or maybe I just like working. (Yes, I like my work from home time very much. I missed those 10 hours as much as I missed a clear head.) It’s up to me to put boundaries on my work time. No one is going to do it for me. And that can be a trick.

Pros and Cons #2 – The Work Itself

One of the illustrious treats of owning your own momstyle business is that you get to choose your clients. This brings up wonderful dreams of working with perfect people who need exactly what you have to offer and you doing work that feels like swimming in the ocean on an 80 degree day.

The trick is that less-than-ideal clients will offer you money, good money, to do work that may not be your favorite activity. Again, it comes back to saying no. Or, if you need or want the money, to saying yes with a fully informed spirit about what’s happening.

Pros and Cons #3 – All the Other Stuff

This could be a trick or a treat depending on your perspective. When you own your own momstyle business, it’s not just about doing the work of helping clients. It’s about strategy, planning, hiring, product development, and building processes. I happen to love most of this work, so it’s a treat for me to strut my intellectual planning and creative efforts in ways that impact my own bottom line.

However, if this sounds more like a trick, it could be a sign that building your own momstyle business is not a great fit for you.

Trick or Treat, Smell My Feet

Ah, no. I won’t make you do that. I just came back from my morning walk. 🙂 (Deferring showers until the afternoon can be a real treat.)

But I will encourage you to join my new Momstyle Your Business Facebook group, which is a supportive, empowering space for moms who want to build their businesses the momstyle way.