Sun, 28 June 2015
I started out this year with a fully fleshed-out calendar. I knew exactly what I was going to do, when we were going to promote, when we were not going to promote, when I was going to take vacations, etc. Everything was planned.
Well, as you probably know, things change as the year gets going. As entrepreneurs, the challenge is to be flexible enough to seize good opportunities, but not so flexible that we lose all our momentum.
Now that it's July--where did the time go?--I decided to hit "pause" in the calendar flow and regroup.
I'm going to walk you through a simple, powerful exercise to evaluate where you are right now in your business, what’s working, what’s not working, and what needs to change.
I've also created a downloadable template that helps you chart your progress in this exercise. You can get it by clicking here.
Get the "Back On Track" Action Assessment
Ready? Let's get started.
Step #1 - Review Your Week
Write down every single thing you can remember you’ve done in the last seven days. I mean everything--creating content, training, phone calls, reading emails, writing emails. It's crucial to know how you've been spending your time.
Step #2 - Perform a Brain Dump
Think ahead to the next six months, and write down all of the things you need to get done. People to contact, products to create, events to attend, blog posts to write . . . I mean everything. (Warning--don't use this as an opportunity to come up with new ideas! This is just for what you've got in the works right now.)
Step #3 - Identify the Revenue
Now that you've got your list of six months into the future, take a highlighter pen and highlight every item on that list that will produce revenue for you, either directly or indirectly.
Learn more about how you can successfully "regroup." Click here to listen to the full episode.
Step #4 - Identify Misspent Time
Now take another highlighter pen in a different color, go back to the list you made in Step #1, and highlight the tasks that were either a big waste of your time or that you could have delegated but didn't.
Now go back to the Six Month list, take a third highlighter pen, and highlight all of the things that you could either do farther into the future, or that can be leveraged or delegated.
Lots of highlighter action, I know. But this is all about identifying where you should and shouldn't be spending your time.
Step #5 - Color Code Your Calendar
I use Google calendar, which makes it very easy to highlight each entry in a certain color. The point is that to have different colors for different categories--planning a project, upcoming deadlines, content creation, podcasting, being interviewed with someone else, even time off or personal errands (like getting my hair cut).
Once you do this, you can step back and see the big picture of your schedule. Where are your biggest blocks of time being spent? Is that enough, given what you know about your work flow? Are you spending enough of your week doing the things you really love?
After all, isn't that a big part of why we start our own business?
Don't forget to download Amy's template that walks you through this whole exercise, step by step. Click here to get it.
Get the "Back On Track" Action Assessment
At this point, it's time to pat yourself on the back, take a walk, breathe deeply.
That's the whole point of this exercise--giving yourself more room to breathe. You now have a bird's-eye view of what your schedule really looks like. You know where you need to focus your time. You know what things you can quit doing or delegate.
Without these moments to regroup, the day-to-day hustle can start to consume you. These regular check-ins with your schedule will put you back in charge of your business.
Sun, 28 June 2015
For busy entrepreneurs, the About page of a website is one of the easiest to put off. You might throw a few vital details up there, like your name (always a good place to start) and your credentials, and promise yourself to fill it out later. Maybe you even go back and try adding some details that paint a fuller picture of you as a person.
But for many, no matter how hard they work on it, their About page just falls flat. It feels fake, like you’re pretending to be someone you’re not. And that makes sense—we’re all taught never to brag about ourselves…so it feels pretty strange to suddenly write a whole page about why your customers should think you’re so great!
That’s why I’m so happy to introduce you to Melissa Cassera. She’s a publicity expert (as well as a screenwriter and an actress), and if you read her own About page, you can see that she is an expert on how to write about yourself in a way that comes out warm, genuine and authentically irresistible.
Why Is An About Page Important?
Melissa compares the About page to the gown a Hollywood actress wears on the “red carpet.” It’s the way to show off both your importance and your individuality at once, impressing people and engaging them at the same time. The About page is where you give people just enough information about you to want to know more.
In other words, you don’t want to give away the whole story on your About page—it’s their intro to all the excitement that awaits if they choose to work with you. For the reader, it should feel like they’ve met you in person, looked you in the eye and shaken your hand.
So how do you convey that feeling in words?
Think About How You Serve the World
Rather than begin by talking about what you do, begin your About page with a line or two about why you do it. This should be the element that guides you through the writing process for your About page. If you get stuck or are wondering if you are including the right kinds of details, ask yourself if what you’ve written paints a picture of the world/society/lifestyle/change that you are trying to build with what you do.
Hear more of Melissa's tips on how to make your About page shine. Listen to the full interview here.
Make Your Credentials Fun
It’s important to list the things that give your business credibility—an advanced degree, an impressive title or certification, a number of years in your field or successful working relationships with noteworthy people. But rather than just list them, Melissa advises having fun with them! Try translating your credentials into an analogy that helps your audience understand what that kind of cred means in your industry. (“I attended the Harvard of health coaching schools” is a good example.)
By listing your credentials this way, you can use your bragging rights to gain your readers’ trust and build engagement.
Get Melissa's Guide: "Craft A Crazy-Impressive About Page"
Show Your Non-Professional Side
Would it surprise you to learn that the part of your About page that really sells you is the part where you talk about something besides work? This, Melissa says, is what really seals the emotional connection with people and allows them to get to know you on a more personal level. Not only that, but this section is what sets you apart from your competition. Nobody else has the same story, the same style, the same lovable quirks and personal motivations that you have.
As Melissa says in her "Better Bio Challenge" blog post,
Counterbalance Your Accomplishments
If your About page starts feeling a little self-indulgent, Melissa says an easy way to lighten it up is to “show your brushstrokes.” After mentioning the glowing review of your program on the Today Show, drop in a reference to that one time you tried to teach a college class and sat on a whoopee cushion. Details like this help keep you human to your readers, and show them that you’re the same as them—just a little farther along in the journey toward success.
Get Melissa's Mad Libs-style template for creating an irresistible About page. Click here to download it instantly!
Offer Fun Facts
Like the “non-professional life” part of your About page, this part is meant to connect with your ideal audience in a way that nothing else can. Tell a few “secrets” about yourself—that you cover your eyes during the scary parts of movies, that puppy videos make you cry, that your favorite place to work is in your kids’ treehouse.
Be forewarned—this will turn off some people. But they are the right people for you to turn off. At the end of the day, Melissa says, your About page is not meant to engage every single person out there.
Create an “Action Step”
By now, your audience has fallen head over heels in love with you…so what’s the next step? Where does the relationship go from here? Melissa says this is the moment to offer them a concrete action step. Offer a free opt-in gift, list links to your five most popular blog posts, tell them to contact you to set up a consultation. Whatever your specific action step is, make it simple and immediate for them to make the next move.
Get more of Melissa's suggestions for making your About page actionable. Click here to hear the full interview.
The Bottom Line: What Is Fame For?
Melissa has a stellar blog post called “Four Questions to Help You Identify What's Not Working in Your Biz...And Make It Better.” In it, she offers this really thought-provoking quotation:
It’s not enough to have people think you’re “fabulous.” Better sales come from a real relationship with your clients, and the About page is all about relationship building. So while a clear action step is a great way to end your About page, leave the sales messages to your sales page and emails. Focus your About page on building trust and rapport with your target audience, and they will search for ways to work with you.