Everyone wants a speedy website. A fast website means happy customers and happy customers mean repeat customers. Even Google pays attention to your site’s speed and has even started penalizing slow sites in their search results and no one wants that.
To test the speed of your website you can use tools such as Google Page Speed Test, Pingdom, and GTMetrix. Perform a speed test before taking any actions to increase the page speed. Once you have taken steps to increase the speed of your website, perform the test once more to see the difference. These sites will also give you suggestions on how to improve your site’s speed and if you use WordPress to run your website a plugin like W3 Total Cache can fix most of them.
What is W3 Total Cache?
W3 Total Cache is a web performance optimization WordPress plugin. It has been around for a long time and has a 4.5 star rating in the WordPress plugin repository. While W3 Total Cache boasts numerous benefits, it’s biggest benefit is the decreased load time of a WordPress website.
The biggest features of W3 Total Cache include:
● SSL Support
● Content Management Delivery Support
Installing W3 Total Cache
Installing W3 Total Cache works just like any other WordPress plugin. In the administration area under the New Plugin option simply search for W3 Total Cache and click on the install and activate buttons. Setting the plugin up does take a little thought but it is not hard or complicated to do. There are just a lot of options. I promise it’s not as intimidating as it looks.
The first task to take, under the general settings tab for the plugin, is to make sure Page Cache is enabled so W3 Total Cache can do its job. Cache is a collection of your website pages that is saved and then shown to visitors as they visit the page reducing download speeds. This will allow W3 Total Cache to create the static pages needed to reduce the load time of your website. For a beginner or website with low traffic this is probably all you need to do in order to speed up your website and all the configuration needed.
According to CloudFlare a CDN “refers to a geographically distributed group of servers which work together to provide fast delivery of Internet content.” There are numerous CDNs available so do you homework and research before choosing one.
Other items to consider when troubleshooting a slow site is the size of images being used and the WordPress database itself. Both can be optimized. Also check to make sure your site is secure and hasn’t been compromised.
Overall W3 Total Cache is an excellent WordPress plugin to help enhance your website’s speed.
When deciding on the best project management tool to use in your small business you have a lot of choices. I have used a ton myself looking for the perfect fit as my business grows. That’s when I ran across Nozbe a couple of years back. Since stumbling across Nozbe, I haven’t looked back.
Nozbe is a project management application available for use on a web browser, Mac, Windows, Linux, Android, iPad and iPhone.
Nozbe has been a around since 2007 and isn’t
going anywhere but forward. It was initially inspired by David Allen’s book:
“Getting Things Done (GTD) – The Art of Stress Free Productivity” and you can
see the inspiration throughout the app.
It has since evolved into it’s own thing with
the creator showing how he runs his entire company with only an iPad and Nozbe.
They don’t even have an office (learn more about that by clicking here)! But enough
about the background let’s jump into the reasons why you should be using it too
in your business.
Below are 8 reasons why Nozbe just might be
right tool for your small business:
Time Estimations – While Nozbe does not offer time tracking it does allow you to enter the estimated time it takes to complete a task. This helps to schedule the right amount of time to get the task completed. It is also a great way to let a team member, such as a virtual assistant, know how long they should expect to work on a task.
Recurring Tasks – Recurring tasks are a must in project management. It’s time consuming and frustrating to have to copy the same task over and over again. If you need your virtual assistant to accomplish a certain task every week just set it up as a recurring task and they will be assigned that task every week without you having to lift a finger. I personally use recurring tasks for office admin tasks like writing my newsletter and blogging because I do it the same day every week.
Templates – Templates are great for product creation and business processes. Create a template with all the tasks and details needed for the project. The next time you have a similar project just use the template to save time and have your project tasks ready for you to start taking action on.
Listed Based – Some people are visual people and some are list people. Nozbe is for list people. There are no distractions of graphics or visual pieces. Just the tasks you need to focus on to help move your business forward.
Third Party Apps – Nozbe plays nicely with numerous third party apps such as Evernote, Google, Microsoft Office, Box, and Dropbox. I love that I can sink my tasks into my Google Calendar.
Desktop and Mobile Apps – While Nozbe is available to use over the internet in a web browser you can also download a desktop and mobile app. The mobile app is great to add items as inspiration strikes while you are out and about. The desktop app is for those who don’t like to have too many browser windows or tabs open at once. The desktop app is a stand alone software application that works the same way as the Nozbe does in a web browser. Keep in mind you will need to be on a paid plan for your information to sink across all of the platforms. Very worth it for me.
Categories – One of Nozbe’s most popular feature is categories. Each task within a project can be assigned a category. Tasks in this category can come from multiple projects. For example, you may have a task to make a phone call in project 1 and project 2. If you categorize those tasks as ‘phone calls’, when you view the category you will see all the phone calls you need to make regardless of the project. This allows you to knock out the same type of tasks for multiple projects at the same time. This saves tons of time and a great way to use “batching”.
Priority Tasks – Nozbe is unique in that it has a priority tasks tab. If you added a due date to tasks when the tasks is nearing the due date Nozbe will automatically put it in the priority list for task to do. You can also add any tasks you want to this list. This is a great a way to stay on schedule and not to let anything fall through the cracks. I put things that I absolutely must do in the priority tasks list. My brain dumps can be put in the regular list. Only clicking the star will cause it to be priority. You can also turn tasks by clicking the star on any tasks.
Everyone works in different ways and Nozbe
works great for those who love the “Get It Done” system and checking off
lists. It offers the most important
features needed for a project management app while still keeping it cost
effective for small businesses.
Want to check out Nozbe for yourself? Click the image below and check it out.
So you’re using
WordPress and you want to keep your site safe from hackers, malware, spam and
other threats… where do you begin?
While WordPress does have some security risks, most of these are relatively simple to plug as long as you know where to look. This post will provide some easy and straightforward tips to help you fortify your site and to avoid common mistakes.
Tip #1 – Consider Your Host
WordPress security isn’t all about WordPress! Another weakness can often lie in your hosting account, so make sure you research the security of your hosting provider thoroughly before choosing one. Look for hosts that are willing to discuss security concerns and offer the most recent stable updates to server software. My host of choice is WPX Hosting.
Tip #2 – And Your Computer!
alternative ‘way in’ for hackers is through your computer. If you have malware
on your system, this can do things like record your keystrokes in order to
isolate passwords. Make sure your security software is up-to-date and that you
do regular scans.
Tip #3 – Keep Updated
Many vulnerabilities exist in WordPress itself and the plugins that you install, but as long as no one finds them, you’re safe. The problem is, people do find them and when that happens you can briefly be vulnerable.
In the vast majority of cases, the developers of WordPress or the plugins will identify the flaws in their security very shortly after they come to light. They will then issue an update to fix them. This is why it’s so important that you update not only WordPress but also all of your plugins every time a new update is issued. I can’t stress this enough! If you don’t, then you might be leaving well-publicized flaws in your security for hackers to take advantage of!
Tip #4 – Avoid Unnecessary Plugins
Every plugin you
add to your site presents new potential security flaws in your code. Having too
many then will unnecessarily leave you susceptible to a number of possible
attacks and can also slow down your site. Don’t use more plugins than you need
and make sure you research the quality of any that you do decide to use.
Tip #5 – Install Security Plugins
Some plugins that are useful are those specifically designed to provide additional security to your WordPress site. This is a very easy way to upgrade your sites fortifications that takes minutes – so do it! My security plugin of choice is Wordfence.
Tip #6 – Choose a Smart Password
This is a simple and easy one but it’s too often ignored. Make sure that you use a strong password and username combo for your admin login. And for the love of God please don’t use ‘Admin’ for your username. My password manager of choice is LastPass.
Having a WordPress site is the best choice in my opinion for your website needs, but don’t neglect keeping it safe. With these steps you will have a safe and sound website.
The UpdraftPlus plugin is exactly as it sounds, a plugin to backup your WordPress website. A backup plugin should be one of the first plugins you ever install on your WordPress site. Along with a security plugin, but that is another post.
You can’t depend on your webhost to backup your site (although my webhost WPX Hosting does for free), it is your responsibility. Luckily the UpdraftPlus backup plugin makes this a simple job.
Some key features include:
Restore backups directly from
Send your site’s backups to the
cloud for safe keeping
Migration – move your site from
one place to another easily
Supports backing up multiple and
UpdraftPlus is easy to install and setup. Just
install UpdraftPlus like you would any another WordPress plugin. Once the
plugin is installed and activated you will notice a new menu option in your
WordPress admin area named UpdraftPlus Backups.
If you just want to do a quick backup and
download it to your computer then when you navigate to the UpdraftPlus settings
page, simply click on the blue Backup Now button. This will start a new backup
of your WordPress site. Once it is finished you will be able to download it
under the Existing Backups tab. The amount time for the backup to finish will
depend on the size of your WordPress site.
Of course, it is best practice to schedule
your site’s backup so that you always have a good recent working backup. To
setup a backup schedule simply click on the Settings tab and choose how often
you would like the backup to run. I personally recommend that you backup your
database daily if you publish a lot of content. The files backup includes
uploads to the media library, plugin files, and theme files. Unless you are
constantly altering your theme a weekly or bi-weekly backup schedule will work
When scheduling your site’s backups don’t forget
to set a destination for the backup. You don’t want to save your backups on
your web host. The backups will take up a lot of space and if something happens
to your web host you may not have access to the backups. With UpdraftPlus you
can send your backups to Dropbox, Google Drive, Amazon S3, or you can even have
it emailed to you.
You set up the destination for your backups on
the same page you schedule backups. Just scroll down a little bit and you will
see your options. Choose the destination of your choice and the plugin will
walk you through the rest.
Unlike some other WordPress backup plugins, you can restore any backup created by UpdraftPlus directly from WordPress. There is no separate script or file you have to copy over and install to perform a restore. This also makes it simple to move or copy a WordPress site to another location.
Installing a backup plugin should be one of the first tasks taken when creating a WordPress site. UpdraftPlus makes it very easy to schedule your backups so you don’t have to worry about it and can spend more time completing money making tasks in your business.
In today’s training, let’s see how you can back up your WordPress site for free and do it quickly.
If you don’t want to read you can always watch the video below.
The first thing you need to do is log in to your WordPress administration area. Be sure you’re logging in as a user who has administrative privileges. Once you’re logged in from the left menu, we’re going to click on the plugin option. This will give you a list of all the plugins installed on your website. You may have just a couple. You may have a lot. Every WordPress site is different.
We’re going to add a new plugin, so at the top click the add new button. This will show you all the available plugins on the WordPress repository. We’re going to do a search. In the top right hand corner is a search box. Type in backup and hit enter. You will get a lot of results. The only one we are interested in is the UpDraftPlus WordPress Backup plugin. It should be the first result.
We want to install this plugin, so we’re going to hit the install now button. This will download it to your WordPress site, and once it is downloaded, you will be shown a blue activate button. Go ahead and click the activate button and this will turn on that plugin on your wordpress site. Once that is completed, you’ll be taken back to your plugins page and you will now see you have the UpDraftPlus Backup/Restore plugin listed. From here, we’re going to click on the settings button just under the UpDraftPlus plugin title.
You may also get to the settings page by the left menu under settings and UpDraftPlus Backups. Now, to do a single backup, all you have to do is click the backup now blue button, you will be shown a pop up, which gives you a couple options.
The first option says to include the database in the backup. You almost always want this checked. The database includes all your content, your posts, your pages, your comments, your categories, or tags, all that kind of stuff. The next option is to include any files in the backup. Again, this is another one you’ll probably check. This one include your plugin files, your theme files, your Media Library, such as images you use in your blog posts, all that kind of stuff. So next all you have to do is click the backup now button.
The amount of time it takes depends on the size of your site. It may go through pretty quickly and it may take a little while to do a backup. To view backups that have been completed, all we have to do is click on this existing backup tab and you will now see the backup that you just completed.
Under backup data, you will have five different options. The database, plugins, themes, uploads, which is your media library, and others. These are all the backup files and database that the plugin backed up. To download these, you just click on the one you want to download. For instance, the database, and once it is ready for download, all you have to do is click the download to your computer button and it will download the backup to your computer, and once that is successfully downloaded, you can delete it from your web hosts to save space.
Something else you can do with UpDraft is you can set it up to automatically trigger backups, so you don’t have to do it manually. Just click on the settings tab. You can set up schedules like a schedule for the files backup. So where it says files backup schedule, it currently says manual. You can click on that drop down box and choose how often you want the files to be backed up. Again, this is your plugin files. Your theme files, graphics that are in your media library or anything you’ve uploaded to WordPress.
A lot of people just choose weekly, but you need to assess the needs of your website and your blog. So for this example I will choose weekly and then you need to also choose how often you’d want to backup the database. Again, this is all your content, your recent posts, your pages, your comments.
So next to database backup schedule. Again, it says manual right now, let’s change that to daily. Again, based on the needs of your personal website and your needs, you can change this to whatever option is right for you.
Now the next option is where you want this backup to go. You have an option to save it to a third party site such as Dropbox or Google Drive. You can have it go to Amazon S3 and of course you can also have it emailed to you. So in this example let’s choose email. When you email it to you it will automatically go to the admin account on your website, so whoever’s the administrator, it will go to that email account.
You now have a scheduled back up, and that’s how quickly and easily you can backup your wordpress site for free.
Having a website is like having a 24 hour sales assistant. Your ideal client can go there anytime of day that is convenient to them and inquire about your services and even buy products. No need to hop on a phone call with you. They can either setup an appointment via your scheduler that should also be accessible on your website or buy your services directly.
Now you can rely on just a Facebook or Instagram presence, but eyeballs being on your posts are not guaranteed even if you pay for the privilege.
I always say you want to have a homebase. Something you own. No matter what the economy is doing or whatever the circumstance you can revamp the space you own. You own your own leads.
If someone inquired about what you do and how you can help them you can quickly send them over to your website.
Now let’s talk about email marketing. To grow your business you have to communicate with your tribe. Preferably on a regular basis.
By setting up email autoresponders, you can still communicate with your audience or tribe via your email list. This is great if you are going to be away for an extended amount of time. Set it and it keeps running without you having to get it started.
I just completed a training on setting up your own email autoresponder in MailChimp. Just click here to check it out.
Most people don’t realize the asset they have right in their hands. The phone is the most underused business accessory. You can literally run your business from it with automated systems in place.
Some of the apps I use on my phone help me to create graphics, memes, videos and short tutorials. I can also access client files on the go and work on documents/projects on the go. Another great benefit is being able to create content on the go as inspiration strikes. This is great for when you have downtime while traveling.
Make sure you have the apps loaded on your phone so you can still conduct business.
By using a Social Media Dashboard, you will be able to schedule your social media postings ahead of time and still be engaged with your audience. Even while vacationing! Having your cellphone makes it easier to post lifestyle photos in real time and answer in real time.
Also using a dashboard can help you schedule out your marketing pieces so you can be selling daily and making money daily. Get more tips at bit.ly/3systemautomation
My Social Media Dashboard of choice is CoSchedule. You can learn more about CoSchedule by clicking here. If you are a beginner on a budget and just starting out you can’t go wrong with Hootsuite.
This is part one in my series on utilizing automation in your business. In this video I talk about using a scheduler.
By using a scheduler I was able to take appointments from prospective clients while I was out of the country. I was also able to block off when I was not going to be available. The great thing was that I had future appointments already lined up when I got back.
In this video, I talk about a aha moment I had at a business conference I attended. As I was listening to the speakers of this panel, one of them talked about being the lid on your own business growth.
Whether that is from not doing the things you need to do or getting the help you need. If you are procrastinating on getting help or doing certain things you could be capping your business growth.
Most businesses don’t get automated or start the process because they feel it is too much to do or don’t really know what to do first. In this video I share with you how easy it is to get started automating your business.
The big take away from this video: Start Small. Focus on 1 business function when it comes to automation.
The 3 systems I recommend everyone should have when getting started is:
If you want to have a
successful business a website is essential. You can’t rely on Facebook,
Twitter, or any other social media sites to run your business. You need what I
like to call a home base. A place to send people who are interested in what you
have to say and sell.
The first step in
starting a website is to choose a web host and then the type of website you
want to have. Web hosts are computer
servers that act as a storage center for your website. It stores your website
files (HTML, PHP, etc.), video files, audio files, images, databases, etc. It
is where your website lives on the internet.
A web hosting
provider is the company that supplies the server that acts as your web host and
connects that server to the internet.
If you do a simple search for web hosting you will be instantly inundated with thousands of results that will just add to the noise and confusion surrounding web hosts. There are thousands and thousands of web hosting provider and each web hosting provider offers different types of web hosting plans.
There are 4 main types of web hosts, Shared, VPS, Dedicated, and Cloud. They all vary in type, features, and prices. Every business has different website needs and those needs will determine the type of web hosting you need.
Shared Hosting is probably the most common and most talked about type of web hosting. It is widely accepted as a great beginner option. Shared hosting is exactly what is sounds like, you share a physical web server with hundreds, and often thousands of other users and businesses. It is normally the cheapest hosting option but it does come with some drawbacks and concerns.
It’s affordable. Since shared web hosts can
host thousands of users on one web server they are able to offer their services
at a cheaper more affordable rate; a lot of times as little as $3.95 a month.
It is very cost effective.
It’s beginner-friendly. It is very easy to get
started with shared web hosting. It is very beginner-friendly and you can
usually install programs such as WordPress with just one click.
No real technical knowledge of web servers is
It’s maintenance free. You are not required to
do any maintenance on the web server.
Security, upgrades, and maintenance of the server are managed for you. (This does not include any updates to
installed software such as WordPress.)
Security Concerns. Because your website sits on a web server
with hundreds or thousands of other sites, another site’s activities can affect
your site. Another person’s hacked site
can easily become your hacked site.
Shared Resources. Shared space means shared
resources such as CPU time, memory, and disk space. If someone else’s site is hogging CPU time
and memory it is going to affect the speed and load time of your site.
No Control of Server. With shared web hosting you have no control over the server or it’s
performance. Your site will not be able
to use resources beyond the maximum your web hosting package allows.
While on shared hosting you will be limited to the amount of CPU usage
and bandwidth your website can use.
VPS stands for virtual private server and it
is similar and yet very different from shared web hosting. It’s similar in that
you are physically share a web server with other users, but, different in that
you are not sharing resources.
A VPS is a physical computer that is divided
into several virtual sections with a web server setup on each section. This separates users’ accounts and allows
each section to function independently as if it was on its own physical
Security. Security concerns are less with a
VPS than with shared web hosting since each user is compartmentalized into
their own section.
Limited Shared Resources. With a VPS server
you have your own space on the web server and you don’t have to share with
anyone else. This allows you to have more access to resources such as CPU usage
Greater Control of Web Server. VPS servers allows you to have root server
access. This allows you to have greater
control of your web environment.
VPS is great if your site is growing rapidly. It allows you to grow as
your business grows. Web host providers can easier allocate more space and
resources to your VPS as business and traffic to your site increase.
Maintenance. Unless you choose a managed VPS
plan, which usually cost a little more, you are responsible for managing
everything on your VPS server including the web server software, updates,
security, and more.
More Expensive. While A VPS web host is more expensive than
shared hosting, it is not super expensive and can be pretty affordable
depending on the web hosting provider you go with.
Technical Knowledge. Some technical knowledge is required with a
VPS. You need to know the basics of web
hosting and how a website works.
Using a dedicated server means you have a web
server all to yourself. You are
basically renting a whole computer server to use for your website and your
Security. Security is usually best on a
dedicated server because you are the only one using it. If you practice safe
security policies you shouldn’t have any problems.
All the Resources. Since you are the only user
on the web server you get full access to all the resources. No waiting for CPU
time or bandwidth.
Control of Server. With a dedicated server you
maintain control of the server and performance. You can configure the web
environment to the exact specifications you want.
Most Expensive. Using a dedicated server is
the most expensive option since web hosts cannot offset that cost with other
Technical Knowledge. Technical knowledge is a
must have with a dedicated server. Unless you have a managed account it is
completely up to you to fix anything that goes wrong.
Cloud hosting is relatively new. Clouding is a
team of servers, which is called the cloud, that work together to host
websites. It allows multiple computers to work together to handle the needs of
Very Scalable. It has the unlimited ability to
handle high traffic or spikes in traffic without slowing your website.
More Resources. While you technically have to
share resources with others like in a VPS, there are so many more servers
involved and that means more resources are available.
Extremely Reliable. Because the cloud has a
team of servers working for you, if one server goes down another one is waiting
there is to pick up the slack.
Cost Efficient. You only pay for the resources
you actually use.
Advanced Technical Knowledge is a must have.
Cloud hosting is not easy to setup and you must have knowledge of the resources
you have and know when you will need more.
Once you have decided which type of web
hosting you need, next is to decide which web host provider to go with.
There are thousands of web host providers in
the world today. Some of these are really big companies, others are owned and
operated by two or three individuals, and some are even resellers of of the bigger hosting companies.
Some web host providers will even give you a free domain with your hosting
account, so be sure to check that out as well. One of the important things to
consider is your skill level and how much customer service and hand holding you
You will also need to decide what type of
website you want to have, such HTML or WordPress. I highly recommend using
WordPress for your website. It’s easy to use, secure, and is highly
customizable. WordPress can also be installed on almost any web host. When
shopping for a web host provider just make sure they offer the minimum
requirements for WordPress (most do!).
If most of this is Greek (or Geek) to you, the
thing to do is ask the web hosting company if they support WordPress and if
they have access to Cpanel.
One way to find good WordPress host is to ask
your friends who have WordPress websites. Ask them to tell you about the
uptime, the customer service, and other factors that you care about so that you
can make a good choice about WordPress hosting. With so many choices it won’t
be long until you find the WordPress hosting account that works for you.
My favorite WordPress web host provider is WPX Hosting. They are affordable and the support is amazing. They have helped me out several snafus quickly.
When making a choice about web hosting do your research, ask your friends and colleagues who they use, and remember, while it may take some work, you can always change your web host if you are not satisfied.
Below is a list of Web Hosting Terminology to help you with your search. Make sure you bookmark this page so you have a reference when on the hunt.
Apache Web Server – This is server software that delivers your content to your readers via web browsers.
Bandwidth – Bandwidth is the rate of data transfer, or how fast your data is moving. It is usually expressed as the amount of data transferred in a second, such as kilobits per second or gigabits per second.
Cloud Hosting – Cloud hosting allows multiple computers to work together to handle the hosting needs of any website.
CMS – CMS which stands for content management system is an interface that allows you to manage your website content, for example add and edit pages, such as WordPress.
Cookie – A cookie is Information a web server gives a browser and used to save information about web usage.
cPanel – cPanel is a web hosting control panel that enables you to quickly and easily configure many account settings.
CSS – CSS stands for cascading style sheets and is programming code that adds additional detail and functionality HTML-based web pages, usually styling functionalities.
DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) – DDoS is an attack on your web server when multiple computers flood a server with network traffic hoping to bring down the server.
Dedicated Server – Type of web hosting server where the hosting company gives you your own server.
Disk Space – Disk space is how most space your website will how on the web server for storing files, such as HTML, images, videos, etc.
DNS – DNS stands for domain name services and translates human-readable domain names, such as yourwebsitenme.com, into numerical IP addresses that computers can understand, such as 126.96.36.199.
Domain Name – This is the uniform resource locator (url) where your blog can be found. This is what your readers will type in their browser to find your site. Ex: www.yourwebsitename.com
FTP – FTP stands for file transfer protocol and is a service for transferring files over the internet.
HTML – HTML stands for Hypertext Markup Language and is the standard programming language used to create web pages.
HTTP – HTTP stands for hypertext transfer protocol) is the protocol used to transfer media across the internet.
MySQL – MySQL is a popular database system used to store data for content management systems such as WordPress.
Nameserver – A server that translates domain names into IP addresses using the DNS record.
PHP – PHP is a programming language that allow you to generate dynamic content by embedding code directly into the HTML of a web page.
Platform – The platform is the software that runs your website. Some examples are WordPress.org, WordPress.com, SquareSpace, and Wix. This is where you write your content and set up the look and feel of your website.
SEO – SEO stand for search engine optimization and is the process that helps raise the ranking of your website in search engine results listings.
Shared Hosting – Shared web hosting is when you share a web server with other users.
Server – Servers that act as a storage center for your website. It stores your website files.
VPS – VPS stands for virtual private server and allows a user to share a web server with other users but not share resources.
Web Host – The web host is where your website lives online.
Uptime – The amount of time a website is fully functional.
I am often asked “How much should I budget for automation?” by potential clients. So I decided to do a video to answer this question. It is the start of a New Year and you should be thinking about what to plan for.
In this video I break down a few of the tools I use and how much to expect at the time of this recording to pay monthly. Getting automated isn’t as expensive as you may be thinking.
Every year I come up with 3 words to guide my next year. Well this year is no different. I got word number 1 a couple of months ago, but I patiently waited until the Lord told me what my other words would be. I finally got them on Christmas Eve. So I wanted to share with you what mine are and I want to hear from you what are your word(s) for 2019 that you will use as a guide for what you want to see happen.
A little background on where I got my 3 word concept
I originally use to do just one word but a couple of years ago I stumbled across a blog post by Chris Brogan about his 3 words and I liked the concept. So I immediately put it into practice.Here is a linkto his post so you can get a great explanation of the practice.
So that is why and how I started this practice. But let’s get to my words and what they mean to me.
The first word I got for 2019 isPartnerships. This has really been strong in me and I have already taken steps in that direction before the year has even ended. I want to focus on partnering with other businesses to help them grow and to help me grow. I want to partner on events and workshops next year. I want to partner on products and ideas. All of these things and more is what I mean by partnership. I’m already excited about a couple of new partnerships that will kick off this coming year and look forward to more opportunities moving forward.
The second word isRest. I spent a lot of 2018 running from pillar to post. I felt I pushed hard in some areas and burnt myself out in others. And more importantly I felt I wasn’t doing what the Bible says by resting in the Lord. So in 2019 I will be resting in the Lord more because He got me and He’s the expert in what I can’t do myself or by myself.
The third word isTrust. These last few months have been a little tough and has really reiterated the fact that I need to Trust in the Lord. WithEVERYTHING! I’m casting my cares and trusting that He has me. I know He does, but when faced with everyday life you can get caught up with what you see and not with what we as believer’s know to be true. So 2019 I will be fully trusting and walking by faith more.
So that’s my 3 words for 2019. I would love to hear what your 1 or 3 words are for 2019. Drop them in the comments below. Let’s do great things in 2019!
Just one more thing or two 😉…
When I get my 3 words I like to create a graphic that I then put on my phone and wallpaper of my iPad and laptop so I can always be reminded of what I am focusing on. You can also use a reminder app on your phone and set it to pop up daily for the year (I do this too). Try it yourself to see if it helps you too.
I really loved speaking at Dr. Finch’s Social Power Summit 2018 on the Content Panel. I had a great time and can’t wait to be apart of it next year so keep an eye out for the announcement when tickets go on sale for that. But in the meantime you can check out an interview that was done by Dr. Finch where she interviewed me and we talked about all things website and automation. Listen in!
Needing help getting your business automated? If so check out my Tech Academy where you can join the membership and get access to all of the information you will need to grow and scale your business. Click the link below.
Let me ask you a question. Are you managing your time effectively?
As business owners we’re bad about falling in the trap of counting every hour at the computer as “work time”. But if we were honest with ourselves we would see a different picture. Ask yourself – How much of that time is spent browsing through Facebook, checking the latest Instagram posts or going down the rabbit hole of “research”. 🙋🏾♀️I’ll raise my hand here, because I am a “fact finder” and I’m constantly looking for everything I can find on a given subject.
So you can see that we’re all guilty of it, but to be more profitable and productive we have to manage our time effectively. While the ideas below will take some work, the end result will be to spend less time at your desk and more time away from your computer doing the things you love to do and focusing on your talent.
Make A Plan And Break It Down
Start by figuring out what you want to get accomplished. What’s your next big project and what ongoing tasks need to be taken care of on a daily or weekly basis. Don’t skip this step. They say “Those that don’t plan, plan to fail.” Don’t let that be you.
If you’re working on a new coaching program, that could involve outlining what you want to teach, writing the training course, editing and formatting, creating worksheets and slides and figuring out how you’ll sell and deliver the program.
You may have daily or weekly tasks that you need to account for. These can be blogging, social media posting or interacting in groups online. Figure out what you need to get done over the next few weeks and write it down. Knowing what you should be working on to be more profitable is half the battle.
Write Out Daily and Weekly To-Do Lists
Next it’s time to write out your to-do lists. Start with everything you’ve written down in the last step and break it down into daily or weekly tasks. Use whatever method works best for you. I make a schedule in Google Docs and share with my accountability partner. I get what needs to be on this schedule from my Nozbe tasks and my Google Calendar. But again, use whatever method works for you. Don’t get hung up here.
Use a weekly list if you prefer working on larger tasks or projects all day long, or try daily lists and break larger projects up into manageable chunks that you can accomplish quickly. I also use Time Blocking or “Chunking” to further help me get things done. You do this by grouping like tasks or projects together. Either in blocks of time or on specific days. So you may do all of your blog posts and writing on one day, and your video recording on another.
Set A Time And Get Working!
The tasks on your to-do list will take as long as you allow them to take. To stay productive use a timer and get them done. Pick an item on your list, estimate how long it should ideally take you to get it done and then set that timer. I’m a big fan of the Pomodoro Technique. I use it to get things done in 25 minutes blocks. I even have expanded it to 90 minute blocks I call Power 90.
Don’t forget to schedule in breaks after each block of time so you don’t burn out. Do anywhere from 5 to 10 minute breaks after each session and then a hour break after your 3rd session. Do something different like go for a walk or
Continue to evaluate what’s working and what isn’t. Do more of what’s profitable and less of what you don’t need to be doing. That is the key to getting back to loving what you do and doing it well.
Do you want to learn more things that will help your business? If so check out Sam’s Tech Academy ALL ACCESS Monthly Membership. This membership is for the entrepreneur who needs to get up to speed with technology in order to run their business.
It’s not enough to get your client to buy. You need to keep them buying by building a long-term relationship with them. The key to doing this effectively is to offer follow-up customer service. Through follow-up customer service you continue offering valuable content, keeping lines of communication open, communicating your appreciation to the customer, and offering more deals.
A great deal of time, work and effort goes into effective customer follow-up, and this is why automation can help. Automation takes over routine tasks and does them for you so that you can focus on more important things. So what are some of the automated tasks we can do? I’m glad you asked. Listen in to this week’s #TechChat to find out.
CoSchedule is my new best friend for marketing automation planning. Yes you read that right. I am so glad that I took a second look at this awesome program that just keeps getting better.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let me explain…
What Is CoSchedule:
CoSchedule is an all in one marketing calendar for your business. You can use it to schedule blog posts, social media posts and to keep up with your team and what they are working on content wise for your business. It truly is an all in one marketing planning system.
I remember when I first tried it out some years back and it was overwhelming at first. Especially if you are not familiar with marketing plans and what all that entails. But just in the last year I decided to take another look. And boy am I glad I did. It seems every month they are making it better and better.
But I will let them explain in this introduction video what CoSchedule is and then keep reading as I let you know my favorite features and how I use it in my business.
How It Works:
3 of my favorite features are ReQueue, Social Sync and the WordPress Integration. Let’s take a look at each one to see what it is.
ReQueue is the best feature of all to me. It automatically lets you re-use your best social messages without the manual work.You know how I feel about doing things manually 😂. Now a few other applications have this feature, but CoSchedule really makes an art of it.
One app in particular I was using for this would reuse my posts that I told it, but it would do it immediately so that I had the same content coming out several times a week. CRAZY! With CoSchedule it intelligently finds the best time to repost your best posts AND it let’s you choose the frequency of how often to repost that content in a given time frame. So no more inputting the same content that did well over and over.
Social Sync is the newest feature to be rolled out. With Social Sync you now get a true complete picture of your social media posting strategy. CoSchedule can pull in your posts from various social networks that weren’t published with CoSchedule. This is a game changer for me because I use another tool to schedule my blog post for up to a year in different forms. Well now I can see those posts right inside of CoSchedule so it won’t schedule content on top of that. Check out the video below of me setting up this feature.
With the WordPress Integration, I can work on my blog posts within CoSchedule. I can also pull blog posts that I have done and schedule them within CoSchedule or when I am in WordPress create my whole social media campaign for that blog post right then and there. Easy peasy.
What I love about CoSchedule & How I Use It:
Ease of Scheduling – I am able to not only schedule content from my browser but I can also use my phone, tablet or Chrome browser extension to capture articles and content to post. Just the other day I scheduled a few images I had created on my phone to all of my social media.
Best Time Feature – This is really my favorite feature. I can’t tell you how hard it is manually trying to figure out the best times to post and then choosing those times only to forget that you scheduled something else in the timeslot in another app. I love that I can press best time on the post and it will pick the best times for each social network. What is so great about that is your content doesn’t all hit your social media sites at the same time.
Reports – I really love the reports feature in CoSchedule. Because if you never look at the data and analytics you won’t know what’s working and what is not. By looking at the different reports for each platform I have connected in CoSchedule I know the times of day to send out things, what people liked, what people didn’t like and so much more. This is valuable information for any business owner to have in order to really grow your business online.
Email Integration – with this feature I am able to connect my ActiveCampaign account and plan out my messages right from CoSchedule!
In closing, here are some key reasons why I think you need to make CoSchedule a part of your automation tool box.
Eliminate the guesswork In scheduling your social media. With so much competition, it’s tough to get through the noise. Best Time Scheduling spaces out your messages for maximum coverage, getting your the most social engagement every time.
Schedule dozens of social media messages in bulk. Create a predefined social sharing plan to reuse again and again, so you can focus on creating exceptional content, not manually filling in your social queue.
Instantly share content from anywhere on the web. Curate and share content with followers without ever leaving the browser. No more copy/paste commands or switching from one tab to the next! And with the CoSchedule App you are truly free to schedule content on the fly.
Stop guessing at what will (or will not) resonate with your followers. Utilize your social network reports to identify top messages AND create content you know your audience will love.
Organize All Your Blog + Social + Email Promotion in ONE Place. Eliminate the endless email threads, piles of sticky notes, and the dozen and half moving pieces. Focus on the real work of writing top-notch content AND growing your audience.
So that’s it. If you are ready to UP-LEVEL your marketing calendar for your business use my affiliate link for a free trial and see what it can do for you. You won’t be disappointed.
Do you find yourself overthinking technology? Are you asking yourself these questions : 1) Cost Too Much, 2) Too Hard To Learn, 3) Have To Do It All Yourself. A lot of people don’t move on getting automated in their business because they are overthinking the technology.
In this live I break down each of these barriers. Watch the video below.
Cost Too Much – Don’t have a clue of what you need so you assume that it will cost a lot. Quit assuming and go see what you need and how much it will cost. This goes back to keeping your eye on your finances.
Too Hard to Learn – Don’t know what it’s for and what your needs are. Plus it looks like Greek to you because your not techy. You need to assess, document and audit your processes.
Have To Do It All Yourself – You think you have to set it all up yourself with no help. You really don’t have to. That’s what I help you do. I setup systems and automation for you. And I can also train your VA.
If you are ready to get help with your systems, then check out my 3-System Setup. Click the image to learn more.
When making a decision regarding the automation tools you’ll be using for your coaching and consulting business, much thought must go into it. There are dozens of factors to consider based on what the tool is, what you need it to do, and what features it has to offer.
Let’s take a look at a few of the things you’ll want to research before you make a choice.
Functionality and Features
What the software actually accomplishes for your coaching and consulting business is the most important thing to consider. Being cost-conscious means that you don’t want to pay for features that you don’t need. You may not need all the bells and whistles that most platforms offer. At the very least, make sure the automation tool does what you need it to do for your business at the stage you are in. Don’t get side-tracked with functionalities you don’t need and end up spending more than you’ve budgeted for.
Ease of Use
Consider who will be using the automation tool and whether or not they are tech savvy. If you will be the main user keep that in mind. Will you have time to learn the functions? If not will you hire a virtual assistant or VA. Will they be able to be trained quickly? The user interface of the automation tool you choose will need to match the users’ abilities, so a tech-challenging tool will be more difficult to utilize for the non tech savvy without proper training. While a learning curve is to be expected with any new automation tool or program, a too-difficult-to-absorb choice will cause problems in the end.
This is a big one. We all have seen where companies are here today and gone tomorrow. (Katch, Blab come to mind) So that’s why you need to consider has the company you’re looking at been around for years, or are they brand new? Choosing automation tools built and supported by a company with years of experience will ensure you receive the attention you need when it comes to support and training. Now there are exceptions to every rule, but in general look for longevity.
At the very least, your new automation tool of choice should come with integrated training materials such as video tutorials and/or a PDF guide. Depending on the size of your company and the complexity of the tool, you may be offered on-site training for a price. This can be a wonderful investment insuring that all users completely understand how to utilize the automation tool.
Support is something you hope you won’t need, but probably will. Because we all know technology is a fickle mistress. So with that being said, find out where the parent company is located and what time zone they’re in. Does that match the typical timeframe that you or your team member will be utilizing the tool and may need assistance? How do you contact the company for support – online chat, email, or telephone? And is support included in the price that you paid, or is it an upcharge? Personally I love automation tools that offer online support. That way I can get help quickly and without wasting time waiting on the phone. But always make sure there is a phone number or address just in case.
Making automation tools choices can seem like a daunting task, but with these guidelines, you’re sure to make a choice that is right for your coaching and consulting business, and your budget.
Need help with choosing the right tool for your business? Let me help!
Start with the Quick Start Tech Session. The PowerUp Your Biz Tech Evaluation is included when you purchase this package. Click the image below to get started!
I see a lot of businesses struggle when it comes to automation and technology. This leads me to ask the question “Why are you still struggling with your systems?” Watch the video below to see what I am talking about and how you can finally stop struggling.
Don’t know where to start. In organizing I use to tell my clients to start small and where it irritates you the most. And when it comes to systems and automation it’s kind of the same. Start where it’s easiest and where you have the most need.
No money. You can’t afford not to. You may have to sacrifice. You may have to sell something. You may have to figure out how many clients you need to serve in order to invest in system setup and help.
I’m doing ok for now. I always say stay ready so you don’t have to get ready. You don’t want to get to the point where you have a influx of clients and work but you don’t have the systems setup to support. You may experience your PayPal poppin in reverse. And no one wants that.
So now you have no excuse to get your systems setup and your automation working. I’m here to help. Right now you can get either a 1 Systems setup or 3 system setup with me. If you are ready to get this off your plate click the link below to grab either your 1 system or 3 system setup.
Whether creating new business processes or fine-tuning existing ones, you need to make sure your documentation is effective. You’ll take each task involved in your business and break it down into steps that are easy for anyone to understand.
So how do you know if you have efficient business processes? Watch the video below as I break down each one.
Your business process description should be detailed, but also as short and concise as possible. All wording should be essential and directed at the goal of getting the task done.
A single business process should have no more than ten steps. If you outline all the steps and find that there are more than ten, split the task into two related tasks. Each step is essential, but if you have a task with more than ten, it can get too complicated to execute properly.
Talk the Talk
The wording of business process documentation is critical. The way you write it can have a powerful impact on how your team members and support staff understand and perceive it. Also, if it’s worded in an awkward or difficult way, it will be hard to edit and improve.
Use everyday language that’s easy for anyone to understand. The tone should be informal and conversational. Write for clarity. Avoid using industry jargon or technical terms, and check to make sure the wording isn’t vague.
Show the Big Picture
The focus of your business process documentation should be the task at-hand. All the wording and every step should be directly related to getting the job done. However, wherever it would help, try to tie the task in to the big picture. Show where it fits into your overall business or what the intended result will be.
By showing the big picture, you put the task into context. This helps your team members understand how to most efficiently accomplish the work. When they have to make a decision, they’ll make the right decision if they understand where it fits in and what it’s supposed to accomplish.
Little or No Supervision
Create each business process so that it can be accomplished with little or no help from others. Your team members shouldn’t have to go through a chain of command to get their designated task done. Each task should be designed for one person to do themselves.
Make It Teachable
Each task should be understandable, but also teachable. You’ll need to teach it to new team members. The best-case scenario is that you can teach one person and have them train others on the task. Especially as your business grows. Think of your processes as a “how to” or guide to accomplishing the task.
This is my favorite one. I love love love using videos and visuals to help make things clear.
Wherever it makes the process easier, add images, videos, and other multimedia for reference. You can create a video to show the task step-by-step (screencasts) or use visuals to make it easier to understand.
The key is clarity. Write your business processes so that they’re lean with no extra, unnecessary information, but provide enough information to effectively communicate how it’s done.
If you need help with documenting your processes check out my PoweredUp Biz Tech Evaluation. You can purchase it here.
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Businesses should analyze their processes from time to time in order to simplify. They look at their regular operations for fat they can trim. By doing this, the result is greater efficiency for all the actions they take and it helps them get closer to achieving their business goals.
This is an essential process for businesses no matter your size. Even if you’re just a one-person business, you should find areas to tighten up.
In this #TechChat I list 7 reasons why. They are as follows:
Improved Efficiency – when you get rid of excess work you increase your efficiency.
Less Mundane Work – by cutting out things that can be automated or delegated you get back to doing the things that only YOU can do.
Boost Your Bottom Line – the more efficient you run the more money goes into your bank account.
Stress Reduction – there is a structure in place.
Improved Customer Service – faster response and happier clients.
Scaling Up – we all must grow and having your processes mapped out will make scaling a breeze.
One Task at a Time – You don’t have to do everything all at once. Go process by process and get them down.
Listen in to the video below to learn more as I go in depth.
If you know that your coaching or consulting business needs processes and systems in place and you just don’t know where to start, I invite you to grab my PowerUp Your Biz Tech Evaluation. This workbook will help you get all of your processes documented and tools documented. Plus you get a 1 hour consult with me to help you find the gaps and come up with a strategic plan to implement a new system. Click the graphic below to get your copy today!
You can eliminate chaos by using the right tool in the right situation. At conferences and workshops you have a heck of a lot more people than you would normally have. That’s why it is so important that you put the right payment automation tools in place at your live events. Check out the video below and scroll down for further information on how I can help your business get the right systems in place.
Security – Taking sensitive info by paper can put you and your customer at risk for data breach. Only if you are entering the form in right away should you use this method. Paper can be misplaced and walked away with.
Human Error – If you can’t read my handwriting or you mix up some numbers on the form. Guess what? I just walked away with your product without paying. Especially if you can’t read my phone number to call and get the right info. That’s why having an electronic way to capture information cuts down on the human error factor and makes getting people through a line very fast and efficient.
Avoid Chaos – this is the biggest one for me. You have tons of people at a conference and usually not long enough breaks to go purchase and get back in your seat. So why not make it easier with an electronic automated system so people can get their product and back to their seat without having long lines or confusion on who just purchased what and who has been helped.
Follow-Up – This is the most important. When I buy something I want a immediate receipt. I also want some type of acknowledgement of what is to come. Like a welcome or thanks. Especially if it is a big ticket item. Just saying.
But you can’t do this if you don’t have a system in place to capture emails or to automate when orders come in. This leaves the customer feeling some type of way because they might go home and have buyers remorse and ask for a refund especially if it takes you days to reach out.
“So what should you put in place?” – I’m glad you asked. You should have some way to take payments and physical and email address. You should have your email system set up where it automatically triggers an email sequence once an order has been received. You should have a a system that automatically kicks a receipt to said email also.
If you need help putting these systems in place I invite you to a strategy call at organizingguru.com/15 and let’s discuss what type of system your business needs at this point and how I can help make that happen.