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

Shop Talk: Why Asking “Why” is Important

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.

CR here. Often when I’m working in and on One Woman Shop, common threads and themes pop up repeatedly. One that’s come up in a few different ways lately has been the value of asking yourself and others “Why?”

I talked about it in this post on how to get back into action. Essentially, I explained how I use one question to get myself sorted out when I’m staring mindlessly at my to-do list. That question? “Why am I stalling?” Once I’ve figured out why I’m stalling, I can create action steps that address my reasons head-on.

Another time that asking “Why?” is valuable is when working with clients who are dragging their feet. Often, figuring out the reasons for the delay can enable you to creatively problem solve. For example, if you find out that a client is stalling because of your price tag, you can decide whether to offer a discount or just let it go. Likewise, if a client isn’t getting back to you because they’re waiting for deliverables from other people, you can help put together an action plan and timeline to help them get what they need.

Asking “Why?” isn’t just helpful in your business, you solopreneur you. You can use this strategy in your personal life as well. Let’s say that you feel resentful toward a friend and find yourself lashing out. Asking “Why?” can get you to the root of the issue — maybe you’ll realize that you’re acting out of jealousy, so you decide exactly what you’re jealous of, if you can achieve it, and if you even really want it.

In case you missed it, there’s three important elements of each example above. The first is to ask “Why?” (I think we’ve got that part down, right?). The second is to detail the answer, whether it be out loud or in your head. The third is to take action — we <3 taking action.

TL;DR: Asking “Why?” Is key to solving pretty much any problem. Really.

PS — Another question we (Sara + I) love to ask ourselves: “Is this helpful?”

Shop Talk: Just Start (Even If It’s Just for a Few Minutes)

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.

Often in life and in business, we’re so intimidated and overwhelmed by something that, instead of breaking it into actionable chunks, we give up altogether.

Learning a language? You’ll never be completely fluent, so why start?

Learning to code? There are too many programming languages out there and you’ll never be an “expert,” so why even bother?

Becoming a champion meditator? An hour, let alone a week, of silence sounds like hell, so why waste your time?

Feeling fit and comfortable in your body? You have too much weight to lose, so what difference will a few pounds make?

What if you were to start with a few minutes per day of French on Duolingo? Or one module from CodeAcademy each morning? Or the shortest Calm meditation each evening? (Hint: It’s two minutes.) Or an intense 15-minute HIIT workout from YouTube in the middle of your day to wake you up and burn some calories?

This isn’t all hypothetical — I (Cristina) have committed to doing about 10 minutes per day of French on Duolingo. I’ve gone from knowing about two phrases (like “J’aime Paris,” because of those shirts that everyone used to wear all of the time in middle school or “C’est la vie” because…B*Witched) to writing and speaking complete sentences and even having mini-epiphanies. (Pret a Manger, the restaurant chain? That means “ready to eat.” I know, my mind was blown too.) Meanwhile, Sara put off meditating for over a year because 20 minutes was way too scary. Committing to five minutes per day in the month of December has made it a regular part of her routine now.

The point? You can see very obvious improvements with a daily habit of just a few minutes.

Choose your “time of least resistance,” and get started. We cover this in The Solopreneur Sanity Handbook: It’s the amount of time that you feel able to commit to following through on without much resistance. It’s not a shortcut; it’s a firestarter. Think to yourself: Am I willing to work on this blog post for 15 minutes? If that feels like too much but 10 minutes seems doable, you’ve got your time of least resistance. If 45 minutes at the gym feels completely overwhelming, ask yourself if 35 minutes seems more manageable. Yes? Do that.

And if your time of least resistance is 30 seconds (say, enough for one new word per day)? Bam — start there.

Shop Talk: Job Titles

Welcome to Shop Talk, where we chat about everything from the business processes and procedures you swear by to how you handle tough situations (like letting go of a client) to what gets you up on Monday morning. Give us a sneak peek into your business and let yourself inspire (and be inspired by!) our community.

When going into business for yourself, one of the challenges is determining your job title. How do you sound authoritative without coming across as pretentious? Will it be Managing Director? Principal? Founder? Owner? Or maybe something less traditional- Head Social Ninja, The Big Cheese, or La Jefe? Or maybe it doesn’t even matter at all (as Courtney points out below).

We asked members of the One Woman Shop community to weigh in on what they call themselves in their solo business. Here’s what they said:

As a solopreneur, it is critical for you to change your LinkedIn headline! Many people don’t realize that LinkedIn automatically populates your headline with your current title. Go in and edit that to make you stand out! For example, if you are an owner of an SEO company and use “Owner / SEO Consultant” as your title when filling out your LinkedIn profile, LinkedIn will automatically populate “Owner / SEO Consultant” in your headline. Go in and edit it to something like “Small Business SEO Expert”. That makes you stand out!

-Amy Schofield, Schofield Strategies

Mine says: The Jaclyn Of All Trades.

Jaclyn Mullen

I refer to myself as a Copywriter & Brand Strategist. In conversation, I usually follow that up with ‘That means I help businesses understand what their brand is all about, and turn it into messaging that attracts their favorite clients.’

Amy Chick

As a copywriter, almost every client of mine is perplexed over finding the perfect job title. My advice? No one cares.I don’t have business cards (I strictly refer people to my Facebook page) and I call myself whatever makes sense to the audience I’m speaking to. For example, when talking to online entrepreneurs, I call myself a copywriter. When talking to “normal” people, I say I’m in Marketing and Communications for small businesses because very few people outside of Mad Men fans and online entrepreneurs know what a copywriter is. What you call yourself simply isn’t as important as everyone makes it out to be (which is the same way I feel about logos). The important thing is that your title gets the point across. I prefer people pick clear titles instead of trying to be too creative or clever!

-Courtney Johnston, The Rule Breakers Club

My title has changed a few times over the last 3 years. First it was Owner/Principal, then it was Founder + Principal Strategist … but those seemed a little too stuffy for for my personality and style. So now it’s Brand Strategist + Storyteller. Still a little conservative but also a bit whimsical.

RM Harrison

I have it easy with job titles since what I do is pretty straightforward. I used to just stick with “editor,” but now I’m starting to add “writing coach” to the list, too.

-Ashley Brooks, Brooks Editorial

Several others responded to our question and said that they called themselves Chairman, President, and Proprietor, respectively.

What job title have you given yourself?

Shop Talk: The Comparison Trap

Welcome to Shop Talk, where we chat about everything from the business processes and procedures you swear by to how you handle tough situations (like letting go of a client) to what gets you up on Monday morning. Give us a sneak peek into your business and let yourself inspire (and be inspired by!) our community.

The other day, we were browsing through Feedly and ended up spending some time on one site in particular. We started out feeling inspired by the content and the community, but it quickly spiraled into a full-blown case of the comparison trap. Why is their design so sleek? Why is their community more active? Why is their writing so perfect? Why is everyone raving about their e-course more than ours? 

Our sad episode of jealousy led us to wonder how others deal with feelings of comparison in business. We shot out a tweet and got some interesting responses:

Now, don’t get us wrong: we actually think there are some very valuable things we can get out of our jealous tendencies- such as figuring out what we want in life and in business and providing us with motivation to move forward- but we want to know:

How do you handle jealousy when it starts to affect you negatively?

Shop Talk: Productivity

Welcome to Shop Talk, where we chat about everything from the business processes and procedures you swear by to how you handle tough situations (like letting go of a client) to what gets you up on Monday morning. Give us a sneak peek into your business and let yourself inspire (and be inspired by!) our community.

We’ve all had those days- you wake up, grab your morning coffee, open your computer…and just can’t seem to be productive, no matter how hard you try. We want to know- do you push through and force yourself to work or shut down your laptop and take the day off?

Shop Talk: Expansion

Welcome to Shop Talk, where we chat about everything from the business processes and procedures you swear by to how you handle tough situations (like letting go of a client) to what gets you up on Monday morning. Give us a sneak peek into your business and let yourself inspire (and be inspired by!) our community.

Some freelancers and solopreneurs start their businesses with the end goal of expanding and managing a team. Others thrive on their own and plan to keep it that way. So, are you happy on your own or are you headed toward expansion? Do you aspire to manage contractors and employees or are you content to be a one woman shop forever?

Shop Talk: Favorite Work Spot

Welcome to Shop Talk, where we chat about everything from the business processes and procedures you swear by to how you handle tough situations (like letting go of a client) to what gets you up on Monday morning. Give us a sneak peek into your business and let yourself inspire (and be inspired by!) our community.

We all know that your working environment has to be conducive to productivity in order to….well, be productive. One size doesn’t fit all in business- which includes the best spot to get work done. We want to know your favorite work spot- is it a coffee shop, your local coworking space, an office suite, a home office, or maybe even your bed? Do you switch up your location throughout the day and week or stick to the same tried-and-true spot all the time?

Shop Talk: Outsourcing

Welcome to Shop Talk, where we chat about everything from the business processes and procedures you swear by to how you handle tough situations (like letting go of a client) to what gets you up on Monday morning. Give us a sneak peek into your business and let yourself inspire (and be inspired by!) our community.

You consider yourself a resourceful, intelligent business woman. You know that all answers are just a Google search away. So, do you spend your time finding the answers to your questions (like how to code in CSS or how to use Quickbooks) or do you outsource these parts of your business, knowing that someone else can do it more efficiently?

Shop Talk: Your Mantra

Welcome to Shop Talk, where we chat about everything from the business processes and procedures you swear by to how you handle tough situations (like letting go of a client) to what gets you up on Monday morning. Give us a sneak peek into your business and let yourself inspire (and be inspired by!) our community.

We all love pinning inspirational quotes on Pinterest, right? You may have a quote board with hundreds of inspirational pins, but we want to know: which business mantra do you read when you’re feeling unproductive, full of self-doubt, or tired of being a solopreneur?

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