Shop Talk: If One Person…

solopreneur

solopreneur

Welcome to Shop Talk! While we love providing you with jam-packed, actionable posts, we also wanted to share quick, thought-provoking snippets here and there — from our brains to yours.

Today we’re coming at you with a reminder that we always tell ourselves. (Pretty much all of our Shop Talk posts could also be filed under “Notes To Self.”)

If one person is vocalizing something, there are probably other people out there thinking it.

How can this reminder help you in your solo business?

If someone emails you a question about how to set up ConvertKit, there are probably others wishing they had a useful tutorial to refer to. Consider writing a step-by-step blog post with instructions.

If you offer an e-course that’s normally delivered week-by-week and one of your community members asks if it’s possible to access it all at once, there are probably other people out there who are afraid to look demanding or hadn’t even thought to make such a straightforward request. Consider offering the e-course both week-by-week (for those who want to take bite-sized steps so they don’t feel overwhelmed) and all at once (for those who like to batch their tasks and/or want to do it in one fell swoop while they’re energized).

If one person emails you telling you that they’re having trouble downloading their brand new Solopreneur Success Bundle because of tech issues, there are probably at least two (okay, ten) others who are also having trouble. Consider double-checking the delivery process, changing the number of downloads each person can have, and having a backup method for delivering the Bundle if all else fails.

And after you’ve taken action steps, take a minute to thank the people who are taking time out of their days to articulate what others in your community might very well be thinking.

P.S. Because every post we write and video that we record must have at least one caveat, here it is: If someone is expressing a completely outlandish or irrational opinion, feel free to let it silently disappear into the black hole of “What in the actual…..??”

Shop Talk: Find the Wiggle Room

find wiggle room

find wiggle room

Welcome to Shop Talk! While we love providing you with jam-packed, actionable posts, we also wanted to share quick, thought-provoking snippets here and there — from our brains to yours.

Often, our coaching clients and community members come to us feeling overwhelmed and like they have no space or time to breathe, let alone create. They’re stuck in firefighting mode and their wheels are turning…but the car ain’t moving. If you’re in this mode often or always, that’s part of a larger problem (a time scarcity mindset, a lack of prioritization, or an inability to say no, perhaps?).

But, inevitably, there will be times over the course of your solo biz when you will feel like you can barely keep the biz going because of a lack of time — self-care seems laughable and focusing on growth? Impossible.

Two common times for these feelings? During the holidays and during a product launch.

During these periods, we urge you to find the wiggle room. What do we mean by that? Find the moments here and there where you can make adjustments — i.e. wiggle free a bit more time.

Does your at-home workout need to be 1 hour or would 30 minutes of HIIT accomplish just as much today?

Do you need to make a gourmet meal or would a Crockpot meal — or even a microwavable meal — suffice just for tonight?

Do you need to walk to your coworking space or would it be okay to pay for an Uber (or tuk tuk, if you’re Cristina) this afternoon?

Do you need to post 25 pins on Pinterest per day or would 15 be enough this week?

Do you need to stick to your 4 times per week blog post schedule or will your readers understand if you cut it back to 3 times per week just this month?

You get the gist. Where can you find a bit of wiggle room today?

P.S. If you find yourself in this mode often, it might be time to reclaim your time. We can help…for free. Grab our free, 5-day email course below.

Your days, back in your hands.

Get instant access to 5 Days to Reclaiming Your Time, a free email course with the mindset shifts + action steps you need to get started in reframing your relationship with time. Sign up below!

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Shop Talk: It Doesn’t Have to Feel Special

solopreneur

solopreneur

Welcome to Shop Talk! While we love providing you with jam-packed, actionable posts, we also wanted to share quick, thought-provoking snippets here and there — from our brains to yours.

One of our biggest takeaways from reading The E-Myth Revisited was how often business owners are focused on their own interests, wants, and whims instead of those of their customers and clients.

We want our businesses to be so fulfilling for us that we often overlook an extremely important end goal of any business: to generate profit by satisfying customers.

We’ve, of course, experienced this at OWS HQ. For example, around this time last year, we wanted to provide a content upgrade (read: bonus) on our 100 Best Sites for Solopreneurs list. We wanted to add value to the already jam-packed list. Something new and exciting and special.

In the midst of the brainstorming process of what that upgrade should be, Sara had a simple idea: Why not use something valuable that we had already created that we thought would perfectly fit those who landed on #100BestSites? (That thing = The Road to Solopreneur Success ebook.)

We wouldn’t be creating something just to create it. We wouldn’t be pouring hours of work into something new.

But? It wouldn’t feel special. We wouldn’t be lit up by watching something we had created be put out into the world for the first time. (Because, as any solopreneur knows, you can’t beat the rush of launch day.)

But we quickly realized that we weren’t taking the easy or lazy way out. We were taking the most effective and efficient route — the one that made the most sense for us, yes, but also, for our audience. And there’s something to be said for that.

How can you put aside your own need for “specialness” and instead choose efficiency and effectiveness for your audience today?

Shop Talk: Looking Past Your Own Biases

d: biases

d: biases

Welcome to Shop Talk! While we love providing you with jam-packed, actionable posts, we also wanted to share quick, thought-provoking snippets here and there — from our brains to yours.

Here’s an important lesson that we seem to learn and relearn here at One Woman Shop: Just because we don’t behave in a certain way doesn’t mean others don’t.

(Did that sentence confuse you? Us too. Keep reading, it gets better.)

We’ve been working hard to run Facebook Ads more strategically lately — which means running multiple versions of each ad to see which performs best. (This could mean mixing up the graphic, the copy, or the audience — but only one at a time in order to have a control. Hello, #highschoolscience.)

We started by testing three different graphics for our Road to Solopreneur Success ebook. One explained what the ebook is, one used the term “free ebook,” and one said “free download.”

biases

biases

biases

 

This test stood out to us for a reason: We were both hesitant to include the word “free” on the graphics, because those aren’t the kinds of ads we tend to click on ourselves.

Of course, that’s why we experiment: The two ads with “free” on them far outperformed the other one.

Lightbulb moment: We never would have known this if we had only acted in accordance with our own biases. The lesson here? Just because you behave one way as a consumer doesn’t mean all other consumers behave the same way.

Case in point:

  • Just because we might not use the “Pin it” buttons on websites we hang out on doesn’t mean we shouldn’t install a Pinterest plugin and then optimize our images for maximum pinning — because other people do use these buttons.
  • Just because we might not follow brands on Instagram doesn’t mean others don’t — so we should consider actively updating our Instagram account and mentioning our latest product and service launches.
  • Just because we might not watch videos doesn’t mean others don’t love them. So we might host regular shows for those in our community who do love video.

We have found that this trap is especially tricky when you’re in the target market that you’re serving — it’s easy to feel like you speak for your whole audience, but often you don’t.

As usual, a caveat: We’re not encouraging you to do anything that you feel uneasy or icky about. If you have a strong opposition to something, go with your gut. But if you have a sneaking suspicion that your personal preferences may be hindering your potential reach, it might be time to think outside of that box.

Do some market research. Ask your solopreneur friends about their experiences. Heck, ask your community what they like and dislike. Go forth, friend, and get creative.

Shop Talk: It Doesn’t Matter if You Don’t Deserve It

solopreneur sanity

solopreneur sanity

Welcome to Shop Talk! While we love providing you with jam-packed, actionable posts, we also wanted to share quick, thought-provoking snippets here and there — from our brains to yours.

We once had a coaching client blurt out “I want to run away” mid-session. We could have laughed and kept pressing her about her to-do list, but we paused and asked her…“Do you need to run away?”

If you find yourself thinking or saying “I need a break,” consider it. Maybe it’s an hour-long nap, maybe it’s a day of playing hooky and laying in bed with mint chocolate chip ice cream and How I Met Your Mother, or maybe it’s a week-long beach vacation with no wifi.

Here’s what our client’s — and so many others’ — first reaction was when we brought up the idea of actually stepping away: “But I don’t deserve it!”

We know that feeling, because we feel it often. You just got back from vacation, so you don’t deserve a day off. You didn’t work enough yesterday, so you don’t deserve to take a few hours off today. Heck, you don’t even deserve a 10-minute break to go on a walk or meditate, let alone a 20-minute break to take a power nap.

But can we tell you a little secret? It really doesn’t matter if you “deserve” it or not. We won’t get too philosophical, but what does “deserving” mean anyway? Who determines what you and we deserve?

When you find yourself with that thought, ask yourself this instead: “Will taking a break allow me to do better work in a more joyful way?” If the answer is yes, to hell with what you deserve or don’t — time to plan a break, either immediately or in the near future, and remember this: Rest does not equal rust.

P.S. We know running away isn’t always the answer, and what works today might not work tomorrow. That’s why we wrote The Solopreneur Sanity Handbook, with 27 tried-and-true solutions to the inevitable sanity-threatening scenarios we find ourselves in as solopreneurs. You can get a taste of the Handbook with instant access to our free email course, 5 Days to Reclaiming Your Time, below.

Shop Talk: Focus on Your Strengths, Not Your Weaknesses

d: strengthsfinder

d: strengthsfinder

Welcome to Shop Talk! While we love providing you with jam-packed, actionable posts, we also wanted to share quick, thought-provoking snippets here and there — from our brains to yours.

So, here’s a fun fact: The Google Doc for this Shop Talk idea was started in February — and all it had in it was the main idea (focus on your strengths, not your weaknesses), and the words “yogi tea” — Sara’s grocery list?

That’s fun, but here’s the ironic part: This idea was already in place before we read StrengthsFinder 2.0 (affiliate link) as part of #OWSBookClub. Clear proof that sometimes we subconsciously know things before we ever have a chance to put them in context.

Fun facts and ironies aside, one thing is very true of solopreneurs, and society in general, really: We focus on our weaknesses way more often than our strengths.

We buy courses to improve areas of our life/business that need honing. We join masterminds filled with people who know things we don’t. We read books on topics we think we should know more about.

Now, learning is all well and good (okay — it’s more than that — we love learning), but it’s the attitude we take toward learning that is a bit of a concern.

Tom Rath, author of StrengthsFinder 2.0, would argue that instead of attempting to better our weaknesses, we should capitalize on our strengths.

Said another way: Instead of targeting our learning toward the things we feel we should be better at, why not target our learning at the skills we already have?

For me, Sara, that might mean setting aside more time to focus on really diving into what I’m reading. (First strength from the StrengthsFinder 2.0 assessment: Achiever, with a description that includes really taking time to absorb and process what’s being read.)

For Cristina, that might mean finding resources that help her hone her analytical thinking. (Her first strength: Strategic.)

The point is this: We all have innate strengths that stand out. How would this world be different if we all focused on improving our strengths, and spent our time learning things we were genuinely interested in?

If it sounds like capitalizing on those strengths is really just taking the easy way out, it usually isn’t — because sometimes, despite being our strengths, they still might not necessarily be in our comfort zone.

There’s always room for improvement when it comes to our strengths. Start there. Your “weaknesses” can wait for another day.

PS: We had a lot of fun sharing our results on The Hot Seat. An interesting revelation: We could each have the same strength (i.e. Learner), but it manifests in very different ways from person-to-person.

Shop Talk: Keep Your Eyes on Your Own Paper

Comparison Trap

Welcome to Shop Talk! While we love providing you with jam-packed, actionable posts, we also wanted to share quick, thought-provoking snippets here and there — from our brains to yours.

The comparison trap is more than real as a solopreneur.

We spend a lot of time in our own heads, after all, and when that’s no longer enough, we start to look around.

We start to see other people’s “success” — and at first, it’s incredibly inspiring.

“If she can do it, I can do it!”

“Oh, that gives me a great idea for a blog post!”

“Ah, I never thought of it that way!”

Then, it starts to wear on us. Suddenly, we feel that our work isn’t looking so great. We’re doubting our ability to find our place in our niche. We find it hard to make progress on what we’re working on because we’re so busy taking a look at others’.

Now, of course, a healthy awareness of the industry is a good thing, solopreneur. Nothing productive happens in a 24/7 silo.

But there’s a big difference between competitive research and comparison. So, when you feel yourself falling down the endless spiral that is the comparison trap, it’s time to go back into your own little bubble and keep your eyes on your own paper.

Chris Brogan said it this way: “You can’t run a race looking sideways.”

Brené Brown made this eye-opening point in The Gifts of Imperfection: “It’s easy to see how difficult it is to make time for the important things such as creativity, gratitude, joy, and authenticity when we’re spending enormous amounts of energy conforming and competing.”

Need a shorter mantra to repeat next time you feel yourself slipping? Say this: Compare = despair. (h/t Coach Jennie)

There are a million more things we could say about this, but we’ll leave it here: Keep your eyes on your own paper, fellow solopreneur. That’s where the magic happens.

P.S. — The comparison trap is just one of the things that threatens your sanity as a solopreneur. We wrote the book on how to maintain that sanity. Just click the beautiful banner below to find out more.

Solopreneur Sanity Handbook

The post above contains affiliate links. As always, we only promote products and services that we love and/or think you might benefit from!

Shop Talk: Different Tastes Make the World Go Round

Shop Talk snippets from One Woman Shop

Shop Talk snippets from One Woman Shop

Welcome to Shop Talk! While we love providing you with jam-packed, actionable posts, we also wanted to share quick, thought-provoking snippets here and there — from our brains to yours.

Back when I (Sara) was a starving grad student (okay, I wasn’t starving — but I was pretty broke), I took on a gig pouring wine for a Finger Lakes winery, bringing a selection of their wines to stores in my local area to taste. I would often share the feedback I got from customers with the winemaker, and was always hesitant to tell him when a wine didn’t go over well — though he could always tell by the amount that came back.

One day, he said this: “Different tastes make the world go round.” He went on to explain: “If everyone had the same palette, I wouldn’t be able to experiment with different grapes. If everyone liked the same wine, I wouldn’t have a place in this industry.”

Mind = blown. Here was a winemaker in what has quickly become a near-saturated industry in the Finger Lakes, welcoming competition and feeling entirely confident in his ability to find his place because he knew the one secret that we often forget: Different tastes make the world go round.

So, solopreneur, next time you’re wondering if you’re really the best person to be recording a podcast/writing that ebook/hosting that webinar, or when you’re entirely doubting your ability to stand out and are concerned with adding to “the noise,” remember this: Different tastes make the world go round.

Yes, there are thousands of copywriters in the world. Web designers? Yup. Business coaches? Better believe it. But whether you realize it or not, there are certain things about the way you do what you do that make you unique. Maybe it’s your snark, or lack thereof. Maybe it’s your straight-talk, or maybe it’s your woo.

Focus on what makes you different — because there’s someone out there whose palette is waiting for it. Cheers.

Shop Talk: A Technique to Get You Started in Pricing Products + Services

Shop Talk at One Woman Shop

One Woman Shop Shop Talk

Welcome to Shop Talk! While we love providing you with jam-packed, actionable posts, we also wanted to share quick, thought-provoking snippets here and there — from our brains to yours.

Figuring out how to price products and services comes up time and again within our community and with our coaching clients. There are a bunch of great strategies out there that take into account market demand, competitors’ prices, and more. But today, we’re talking about a strategy that takes into account your mindset — we call it “High/Low.”

Let’s say that you’re launching a 20-page workbook. If you were our coaching client, here’s what we would ask you:

“If we told you to charge $1 for your workbook, would you?” (Most of the time, they’ll say, “No way! It’s worth way more than that.”)

So we ask: “Okay, if we told you to charge $300 for your workbook, would you?” (Normally we’ll get an, “Um, no. I wouldn’t feel comfortable with that amount.”)

You now know that your workbook will be between $2 and $300. This doesn’t sound super helpful until you slowly hone in on both sides (hence the “high/low” moniker) to whittle down your ideal price to a realistic range.

The high/low exercise is meant to get you started. Now, let’s take it one step further. Perhaps you’ve gotten to a point where you know you will not charge less than $25, but you’re not comfortable charging more than $49. You can then use this range to conduct beta testing and surveying within your target market.

As you test it, you might get feedback that none of the prices in your range will work. In that case, it might be time to reassess — perhaps you need to reevaluate your target market, cut down what you’re offering (so you can lower your price without feeling like you’re giving away the farm), add more (so your potential purchasers see more value and are willing to pay more), or even rewrite your copy.

Pricing isn’t easy — but remember this: It doesn’t have to be set in stone. The high/low technique can get you started with a range you’re comfortable with, then we highly suggest you test and iterate from there.

Shop Talk: Build It and They Will Come (Or Will They?)

Shop Talk snippets from One Woman Shop

Shop Talk snippets from One Woman Shop

Welcome to Shop Talk! While we love providing you with jam-packed, actionable posts, we also wanted to share quick, thought-provoking snippets here and there — from our brains to yours.

We were recently chatting with a friend, discussing her new business website and how she would get people there. (Because that’s what solopreneurs love to chat about, of course.)

Naturally, the phrase “build it and they will come” popped up, so we got to talking about that myth. We talked about how many people still hold on to the idea that if they pop up a site, thousands of eager individuals will be knocking down their metaphorical door, wanting to come inside. As most of us have experienced, this just doesn’t happen.

We joked that, as a business owner, you’ve got to get out there, grab their hand, and invite them in. Bring them a cup of coffee, show them around, and make them feel comfortable.

But all jokes aside, it’s up to you to do just that. To continue the metaphor, think of it like this: You just moved into a new house but none of your neighbors saw you move in. So, they don’t know that you’re in there, waiting for them. What’s a savvy solopreneur to do? Make some delicious baked goods and go door-to-door introducing yourself!

How can you do this in your business?

  • Guest post on other sites — share your expertise or even mention a freebie that you offer through your site
  • Pitch yourself for podcasts or interview series
  • Email people you keep bumping into on Twitter chats or in comment threads

Make the end goal inviting them back to your place — your website, that is — so that they can get to know you even more. Share a freebie, mention a specific post you think they’d love, introduce them to your new product or service.

Or, as Carrie Smith of Careful Cents says: “Build it and they will come…if you promote, promote, promote.”

PS — We talk about all of these concepts (and more!) in the Building Your Online Community e-course.

Building Your Online Community

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