Everything I Use to Run My Business
When I talk to my clients, they are amazed I do most of my “business stuff” by myself. They ask me if I write my articles, make my Pinterest pins, and meet with all of my clients. Yes, I do. It’s usually followed up with “I thought you had a bigger team” or “how do you get it all done?” Well, the answer is simple. I manage other systems that do the brunt of the work. I outsource, but I’m still in control. If you want to start a consulting business or if you’re curious about how I run mine, here are my secrets and systems:
I am nothing without my schedule and my content calendar. My content calendar drives what I write about when I write about it and at what time it needs published. Do I always stick to it? No! Sometimes I feel divine inspiration to discuss a different topic that day. But for the most part, I write about topics that I know are going to be an issue for you because they are an issue for most of my clients. So, what do I do?
If you look below at the screenshot, I spend a set amount of time at the beginning (or end) of every month and come up with topics that I think are most pressing financially for all of you. Then, I record the day an article needs to be written, with time, and the topic. I try to have the article written a few days before it is to be published so that I can edit it, add pictures, and think about how I will market it. The tabs below refer to the month so I can see where I am slacking and where I am doing well. I try for at least one article a week. Where do I do all of this? This leads to my next tool:
2. The G Suite
When it comes to Google, I’m loyal. My google drive essentially runs my business. I have everything I need from encrypted docs of clients’ information to spreadsheets for budgeting and investing, to keeping logos and other picture files. The G suite is an incredible value for $0!
Google Docs is the real bread & butter of my system because it is the primary communication tool with clients. I open one document which is my main point of contact for a client, and all they have to do is sign on and see my notes. This way, if we’re both busy (which is always the case), both individuals can mark their updates with their finances and their feedback without actually being there. It keeps us both accountable and updated without the tedious email “where did we leave off?”
Squarespace is a godsend. It is more than just a website builder; it is a timesaver. I’ve built a website from scratch, and I’ve used Squarespace. If you can swing it with your business model, I would pick Squarespace 100 times over. Why? Squarespace is not only beautiful, but useful. It has google analytics built in so I don’t have to guess who is viewing my content, it is mobile responsive, so I know you are getting a good experience whether you are on your phone or computer, and it now has email campaigns! So, instead of hopping over to MailChimp to send an email, I can do it all through Squarespace.
However, Squarespace has its downfalls, and I am seriously considering switching to WordPress. Squarespace has slow loading times and can be difficult to manipulate outside of their template. For now, their pros outweigh their cons.
Talk about something I need..it is THIS tool. There is nothing more embarrassing than lousy grammar in a blog or a business especially if you are trying to show you are an expert in an area. It can discredit you in a second if you write poorly. Lucky for me, I found grammar.ly. I love public speaking, and in turn, it has made my writing sound more like my speeches. I write like I talk and that is not a good thing when it comes to writing.
For me, it is hard to relay my point without being able to do it in person. Grammar.ly helps me not look like an idiot. There are free or paid versions depending on what your needs are but before I publish anything I copy and paste it into grammar.ly and let their wizards fix it.
Planoly is the Instagram whisperer. Planoly is an Instagram planning tool that allows you to plan multiple days. It allows you to write a caption, research hashtags, and pick an ideal publishing time. It alerts you when it is time to publish the article, and all you have to do is copy and paste it into Instagram. Easy peasy.
Instagram is one thing I majorly slack on but it isn’t because Planoly is the problem. The beautiful part is you can do all your research on the upfront and get your Instagram scheduled days before you need to. Planoly saves tons of time and stops the dreaded “scroll” through Instagram for hours. Here is a snapshot of what my dashboard looks like:
I just discovered Tailwind about four months ago and it is now my favorite tool. Tailwind took my Pinterest from 100k views a month to over 2 million! Seriously, unreal. Tailwind is an application that allows you to schedule pins and put them on a loop, so they repin on their own without having to go back into the site and repin. Due to this, I now pay for tailwind. It used to be a free service, but I spent the $119 a year because it is worth it! I have gained five more clients this month alone because they saw my information from tailwind.
Tailwind has been my best find this year and is my #1 recommendation.
I no longer go back and forth for hours trying to lock down a time to meet with clients! Calend.ly ended that for me. On my site, there is an area where you can sign up for a 15-minute free consultation. It takes you over to calend.ly’s plugin which allows you to book time with me without the back and forth. I get a notification on my email, and voila, I've got a new booking.
Phew! We are finally at the last one. So, how do I get paid? Square. Now, let me be the first to say that square is not the perfect solution. In fact, there are some significant cons to using square such as their processing fee that I consider a bit too high. However, I can write this off at the end of the year as a business expense. The pros are that I can send an invoice directly to my clients’ email when I am done and can send them reminders if I have not received payment.
Square is exceptionally user-friendly, and I can see all my sales in one dashboard. I can see how I’m doing month-to-month and can infer trends about what months are more popular than others and what services are working. Square also sends a card processor to attach to your phone which I have found extremely helpful for my in-person meetings.
Am I missing something? Oh well - time for final thoughts. 😜
My business still takes up a ton of time. I still have to write articles, meet with clients, and market my business appropriately. What I don’t have to do is worry about WHEN things are happening. Deleting this worry and allowing services like tailwind, planoly, square, and grammar.ly allows for exponential growth without physically being there. The more things I can automate the better. Knowing I can rely on my website to work has saved me tons of time and headache. Knowing my information with clients is usable and reliable for them gives me peace of mind. Knowing that my invoices are being tracked allows me to sleep a little better at night.
I only automate these items so that I can make more time for what I enjoy most; meeting with clients and public speaking.
My last piece of advice: Find out what your bread and butter is with your business and what you want to be doing day-to-day. Try to outsource or automate the rest so that your business can work for you instead of you working for your business. You want to be the CEO, not the admin. Best of luck! Shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to tell me if this was helpful for you.