Should I Quit My Business? 3 Questions To Ask Yourself Before Committing To Entrepreneurship For Life

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1. Are you the kind of person who does what you say you're going to do?

I think most people assume that their creativity makes them a great entrepreneur, but the ability to produce new ideas can often times hinder your ability to run a successful business. If every time follow ups, sales calls, and financial decisions need to be made, you're drafting up plans for a brand new program that you think will change the world, you're going to be hit with hard realities and struggle to keep your business alive (always). 

Although creativity helps when you're stuck between a rock and a hard place in your biz, it's self accountability that really determines your success as a business owner. 

If you're the kind of person who says you're going to start a hard core workout routine tomorrow, and you half ass it for 3 days before giving up and eating brownies while watching Netflix for ten hours, entrepreneurship is not the right move for you. 

As an entrepreneur, you're going to have to wake yourself up every day (there's no schedule laid out by your manager that you have to get into work for), do the tasks that are 20% what you want to do and 80% the least fun things on the planet (there's no routine set in stone by previous employees and no other staff members to support the forward movement of a project), and say no to more things than you had to when you had a "real job" (there's no set schedule and it's tempting to let that mean I'll just sleep in until 9am, drink coffee nice and slow, and do the things that call out to me today).  

As appealing as all those perks sound, they also affect how much your business grows and whether or not you make it past the struggle bus stage of owning your own business. 

Notes: You can cultivate the skill of self accountability, but the time to do it is now (right where you are, with what you're currently doing), so that you have the skills you need to do what needs to be done, no matter how much you want to sleep in until 9am or just go on another vacation. 

2. Are you good with money?

I cannot stress the importance of good financial management enough. 

If you're a spender, and it's infrequent for you to sit down and budget out your savings and expenses, please, for the love of god (or aliens... whatever the eff is out there), don't be an entrepreneur (or at least spend a boat load of energy learning to manage money well). 

I cannot tell you the number of people who manage their business finances like a personal bank account - when they receive a client payment, they spend it on groceries, pay their rent, get their nails done, and buy plane tickets. And guess what? 14 days later, they're broke again and need to sign another client. 

Your business income is not your personal income. 

Until your business can afford to pay you a salary, it's important to have another source of cash to lean on - maybe it's the money you've saved so you can spend two years growing your business, maybe it's a spouse who is on board with you focusing on the business for a while, or maybe it's a side job that helps you pay the bills while you get some financial consistency in your business. 

If you're relying on your client payments to pay your rent in 3 days, it's time to reevaluate whether or not this is the route for you. 

Look at business financial management as a skill, and start cultivating your ability to manage money like a true boss.

Good financial management (having a budget, paying yourself a salary or hourly wage, keeping business and personal expenses separate, knowing what you need to do to bring in additional income, saving for hard times, preparing to hire staff, etc.) will float or sink your business, and most entrepreneurs I know are in the middle of a lake floundering for their lives. 

If this is a skill you know you need to cultivate in order to keep your business moving forward, I recommend Wealth Coaches such as Liza Witonis, Financial Planners such as Brittney Castro, and books such as Young, Fabulous & Broke by Suze Orman and The E Myth by Michael Gerber. 

3. Are you ready to make this your life or just a hobby?

I think back to when I first started my business, and I remember getting excited about the ability to make my own schedule, have my opinions valued, create income that didn't have a limit, travel whenever I wanted to... there were so many things I thought that entrepreneurship would bring to me. Has it?

Hells-to-the-yeah. Entrepreneurship has given me the freedoms mentioned above - I've traveled the world, if an opportunity pops up, I can almost always say yes and take part in it, I can build something that has only my name on it, I've made a lot of money... There are so many things entrepreneurship has given to me. BUT...

All perks have come with a price. 

Not always a financial price (though, I've definitely done my fair share of financial struggles), but I have found it difficult to manage being a business owner with all the other things life has to offer. It's tempting to want to be outside on beautiful, sunshiny days and think, "I'll just do that project later tonight!" But, the reality is...

Making your own schedule can often mean mismanaging time and losing track of what you started. 

There's no 5pm stop time when you own your own business. 

So for all the jobs that end at 5pm and you have 5:30-10pm all to yourself, hours can often be filled with making up for lost time, putting finishing touches on a project you thought would be done six hours ago, and tweeking your website for easier use and higher conversion rates. 

It's not uncommon for me to jump out of bed at 11pm, open my computer, and act on an idea that pieces all the projects I'm working on together (creativity does not obey work hours, I find). 

So, as a final question, it's important to ask yourself if you really want your work to be your life (although it may not always be that way, the truth is, the first handful of years require a lot more attention than a regular 9-5 job), or if you'd rather allow this skill (maybe you're a photographer, a writer, a coach, a graphic designer, a healer) to stay contained within the spare hours you have, after your other job ends. 

This article, after reflecting back on it, may sound like I'm being a total Debbie Downer and don't think entrepreneurship is the way to go... and, in many ways, I do think 80% of the people who currently run their business or are about to quit their job and start something should seriously reconsider whether this is the life for them or not. However...

I also want to give you all the truths so you can get honest about whether or not running a business is the move that will truly provide the life you want. 

All decisions come with benefits and downfalls, so it's not about picking the one with the fewest crappy aspects, but it is about choosing the route where you'll face benefits you enjoy so thoroughly that you're willing to face the downfalls too. 

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PS - Are you an entrepreneur? I would love to hear what question you think people need to ask when they're on the fence about entrepreneurship - so please comment below!

How To Be Productive As An Entrepreneur

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Setting goals (and reaching them) as an entrepreneur is very different from working in Corporate America... 

We're not only responsible for setting big goals, but we also have to figure out how to reach them while simultaneously handling all the others things we have on our plate. 

From newsletters, to blogs, to networking, to writing the web copy, to developing the workshops, to taking the sales calls, and on and on and on (can I get an amen from my people on this one... oui!), we handle it all

Today, I want to share the productivity system that I use to make sure I'm heading towards my goals (in my personal & business life).

I've created a video which walks you through every step I take to set big goals & then figure out, "What the eff do I need to do today in order to accomplish that?"

I've also created a document where you can walk through the whole process with me. 

Download the doc (free) right HERE

Did you enjoy the video? 

You might also like the freebie you can find HERE (it teaches you How To Build A Sales Page That Actually Sells). 

Thanks so much for reading :) 

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How To Request A Strong Testimonial

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Testimonials allow potential clients and customers to relate more specifically to how you can serve them with your offering/s. 

Below you will find four keys to collecting a strong testimonial, as well as a copy & paste ready email for you to send out for collecting great testimonials that prompt potential clients and customers to invest in what you're offering. 

FOUR KEYS TO A STRONG TESTIMONIAL

#1. identify tangible evidence of change. 

It's not enough to just say, "Amanda changed my life!" Stating lofty outcomes (such as she changed my life, everything is different, I wouldn't be where I am without her, or I'm a completely different person), while flattering, don't provide specific enough detail about what they came into the service or product wanting and what they actually got.

Ask the client or customer to provide specific details, such as I had a migraine at least three times a week when I met Amanda, but after just three months of working together I haven't had a single one!

Or, I was so overwhelmed with all of the content needs for my business - blogs, newsletters, sales pages - it's just not my strong suit. Since hiring Amanda, she has created an opt-in that has grown my list by 100 in the first month AND she created a content calendar that makes my weekly time writing so much easier and more creative.

The testimonials listed on your website allow the potential client or customer to see themselves working with you - it's like trying on your service or product before they buy. 

#2. Allow for praise towards your skill-set. 

A great way to learn about yourself as a business owner is to ask your clients or customers what your strengths are (you can do this using the sample email below). 

When a testimonial mentions what you're great at - such as being motivating & inspiring (as a personal trainer), making a course out of a braindump (a copywriter... cough, cough, that's me), changing perspective (a life coach), capturing an emotional moment (a photographer), etc. - it helps you to best understand your skill-set AND allows the potential client or customer to pick out whether or not what you can do matches what they're looking for. 

#3. Ask for a recommendation to others. 

Ask your clients or customers whether or not they would recommend your service or product to others, and ask why!

I fear that the old rule, "the customer is always right," has gone by the wayside.

I've noticed quite a number of people starting a business because they wanted to have more fun, be the controller of their time, and have no restriction on their income. Are those benefits of entrepreneurship? Hecks yes... sommmmmetimes. HOWEVER, entrepreneurship also means that you're responsible for every little thing that needs to get done on the daily.

Between sales calls, social posting, website revamps, networking events, and bookkeeping, it can often feel like we never get to spend time doing what we actually LOVE in our business.

So when a client or customer is no longer satisfied with what we're offering (or is simply overstepping a boundary they didn't realize was there), it can be easy to lose our shiz and get irritated with the very people we made promises to.

Requesting a testimonial is a great opportunity to gauge whether or not your offering/s live up to what you promised.

And, if it is what they promised, knowing who they would recommend invest in what you're offering is a great way to understand your market capacity. 

#4. A photo & name (first name only is ok). 

I'm a fan of the photo, name & copy style testimonial. I think there's a certain level of personality that your business takes on when potential clients and customers reflect on who you've served and what you've helped them do. It's as if they can see themselves as a part of your tribe before they've even made an investment. 

Make sure you have written confirmation (via photo release or email confirmation) that you can utilize what they have written, their photo, and at least their first name. 

In order to support you in collecting stronger testimonials for your website, sales pages, launches, and social profiles, I've pre-written an email for you to send out to past clients or customers. 

Feel free to copy and paste the email below - just make sure you change the bolded terms like "(NAME)" and "(DATE)."

EMAIL EXAMPLE

(*Yes, you can copy and past the below email example.)

Hey (NAME) - I am curious if you would be willing to write a testimonial regarding the work we have been doing together? 

Here is the link which shows examples of testimonials I've received in the past: (LINK)

If you're feeling uncertain what to say, below are some questions to help prompt your thoughts - just select the questions you feel compelled to answer.(Please write in complete sentences, since these questions will not be shown with the testimonial.)

Question 1. What are 1-2 tangible outcomes you have experienced because of our work together? 

Question 2. What is the biggest benefit you've experienced from our work together (tangible or intangible)?

Question 3. What were you experiencing before we started our work together that led you to hire me - and how is that different now?

Question 4. What are my greatest strengths as a service provider and how has that served your needs?

Question 5. Who would you recommend my work to and why?

If this is something you're comfortable doing, please email the testimonial to me by (DATE). And please know that I'm super grateful - it's a generous gift and one you're definitely not required to do. I'll love working with you regardless :) 

If you'd like me to use a specific photo, please send that along with the response. 

Thank you, (NAME). I'm really grateful :) xo

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5 tips for writing a strong blog post

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Below you'll find five tips for writing a strong blog post, which will:

  • Serve your readers with high value content

  • Simplify your blog writing process

  • AND increase the amount of time someone spends on your website or blog

 

Every writer is different, so rather than looking for the perfect guidelines to follow, start with recommendations (like the five tips below), and then make adjustments according to feedback from followers and friends.

 

Let's get starting, eh?

 

Tip #1: Make the blog scrollable

There are a gazillion blogs, social posts, and books to read that might give the reader what they're looking for.

By making your paragraphs short (1-3 sentences max), you offer an easy to read blog style where the reader can pick out key words and stop once you catch their attention. 

 

Tip #2: Bold important points

Assume that someone is only going to read what you put in bold.

This is a great way to catch the attention of the reader and get them to stop and spend more time on your blog page. And, even if they only read what you've put in bold, you've done them a great service and taught something they came to learn!

Look through your blog and ask yourself which points are the most important for the reader to see, and bold those. 

 

Tip #3: Keep it short

Blogs around 500 words are best.

I like to do 2-3 rewrites, always asking myself, “what HAS to be said in order to make the main point?” I pick the strongest sentences and paragraphs, and remove everything that is unnecessary to get my point across.

We all have stuff to do, ya know?

 

Tip #4: Use a story (when necessary)

People like to get to know you, so it’s ok to share stories about your life to support your blog’s purpose.

However, don't get so deep into your story that you lose track of the point. I like to open a blog with the main point, share a story of how that point is relevant to my life, and then get on with the teaching points. 

 

Tip #5. Link to another blog

Mention another blog the reader might enjoy somewhere in your article.

This keeps them on your website for a longer period of time, therefore improving your relationship with the reader (and increasing chances they'll buy from you, instead of someone else, in the future). 

If you sell a service or product, you could also mention those if it's appropriate for the blog you're writing. 

 

If you're looking for a blog that incorporates these tips for a preview, well... you're reading one! Take a scroll back through and see how I'm using four out of the five tips to put strong content in an easy to read format.

 

If you're feeling uncertain what to write about, I wrote a blog called 6 Blog Ideas to Serve Your Tribe that might be helpful to you. 

 

I would love to hear from you… are there any blog writing tips you have found the most useful? Comment below and help a sister out :) 

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6 blog ideas for serving your tribe

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It's easy to get writer's block when you're trying to pump out content on a regular basis. Below you'll find six types of blogs you can create for your tribe that will:

  • Serve them with valuable content
  • Prompt blogs when you're feeling stuck on what to write
  • AND open opportunities to sell products or services, or just get an opt-in

I recommend trying a little of everything, and not focusing in on just one type of blog until you know for sure what works best for your people (and even then, it's good to mix it up sometimes!). 

 

Type #1: the 'How To'

This blog teaches your reader how to accomplish something in their life.

Although I wouldn't give away key strategies that you're giving paid clients, you can take small bits of information from your paid-for content and create a 'How-To' blog for your readers. Some examples of this might be:

How to generate $10k (this month!)

5 steps I took to start living the #vanlife full time

The most delicious peanut butter smoothie you’ll ever make

Titles such as “3 step to…” and “how to…” tend to create higher click rates than a broader title (for example, “Improve your mood” versus “3 simple ways to improve your mood”).

A good question to ask yourself in order to get the title just right is, “What will the reader know after reading this blog?”  

 

Type #2: The Lesson learned

This blog tells a story about an experience you are having (or recently had) and what you learned from it.

I would use the story to support the content, rather than writing a whole story and ending with one sentence teaching a big lesson (maybe it's just a person preference, but I read blogs for me, not for the writer!). These might include:

The biggest mistake I made when I started my business

What I’ve learned from sleeping 4 hours (or less) a night

How Walmart taught me to be healthy

This kind of blog’s title should make the reader curious, causing them to open the blog because they’d like to know the whole story.

 

Type #3: The step-by-step

This blog walks your reader through the process of completing a project, setting up a system, using an app, or initiating a new routine in their life.

If you're wondering what kind of step-by-step you could write, consider what your reader is trying to learn in their daily life, or what they could learn that would make a world of difference. This might include:

How to set up a quiz for your opt-in

4 steps to making my favorite green smoothie

A step-by-step guide for building a squarespace website

It’s a good idea to include images of each step of the process in this type of blog.

 

Type #4: The answered question

I recommend answering questions that you’re frequently asked right on your blog. This way, as people continue to ask you the same question, you can quickly send them a link to the blog instead of writing up a full response each time. Examples of this include:

My favorite face care products for oily skin

3 tools I use to actually get to the gym every day

What my daily calendar looks like

Whenever a friend texts you a question or you receive an email from a follower asking about a specific situation they’re in, ask if you can answer this question on via blog, and utilize those questions to spark your writing ideas.

 

Type #5: the expert interview

This blog gives your readers access to someone besides you!

This can be an email interview between you and someone you think might serve your people, or a phone interview that you drop as an mp3 onto your blog. Always make sure to give the other person credit by linking their information.

This might look like:

Creating the perfect morning routine with Sammy Brown

How Rebecca Forth paid off $100k in debt (in 4 years)

How to start living the #vanlife with Fred Grey

Create a title for the interview just like you would if the person was speaking on stage to your crowd.

 

Type #6. Recommendations

This blog allows you to make recommendations on products, services, or any of your favorite things to your readers. This can be as simple as music to investments.

Some examples might include:

Songs that always lift my mood

The best personal development investment I've ever made

3 inspiring people to follow on social

 

The above six blog ideas are what I personally learn on when I'm feeling low on ideas. You can throw out all of my ideas and change the game completely by starting up a novel style blog… get it, girl!

 

If you have ideas for what to write, but you're not sure how to format your post so it's easy to read, head on over to the blog titled 5 tips for writing a strong blog post

 

I would love to hear from you… what types of blogs do you write that your followers tend to eat right up? Comment below :)