The Second Annual #SolopreneurSanity Instagram Challenge is Here!

Sanity.

What do you think, when you think of that word?

“I wish.”

“If only.”

“Yeah, right.”

As a solopreneur, stress is just a natural part of our day-to-day. That’s what makes this topic — solopreneur sanity — so very important. Because we all need a little help managing that stress and getting closer to more and more days filled with moments of solopreneur sanity.

Especially when the coming weeks often bring the highest stress in both your work and personal lives (which, we know, are pretty much one and the same).

So, starting on Tuesday, November 1st, we’re going to be challenging you to seven days of #SolopreneurSanity prompts on Instagram: from sharing wise words to showing us how you move your body, and giving your brain a break to being picky about the food on your plate. As you take an inward look and experiment with new things, snap a pic and share with us during the challenge!

Here’s what’s included over the next seven days:

One Woman Shop's Solopreneur Sanity Instagram Challenge

Tuesday, November 1stWords of wisdom: Share your favorite sanity-focused quote, advice, or book — something that changed your perspective or has stuck with you over time.
Wednesday, November 2ndGet shit done: Show us your favorite procrastination-busting, get-shit-done strategy.
Thursday, November 3rdBrain breaks: Choose the best way for you to unplug and enjoy some time digitally detoxing.
Friday, November 4thYour body is a wonderland: Focus on your body by exercising, eating something that makes you feel great, or committing to adding some extra zzz’s to your schedule.
Saturday, November 5thLet it go: Tell us one thing you’re going to stop doing or let go of in order to introduce more sanity into your days.
Sunday, November 6thPay it forward: Give in some way — your time, money, services, or gratitude.
Monday, November 7thHappy endings (+ beginnings): Set your priorities and schedule for tomorrow.

Here’s how to participate:

1. Upload a photo to your Instagram account that corresponds to the day’s theme. So, on Tuesday, November 1st, post a photo of your favorite self-care quote, on Thursday, November 3rd, snap a pic of what you did during your time disconnected (oh, the irony — we know), on Monday, November 7th, share a photo of how you’re paying it forward, and so on! Miss a day? Jump right back in when you can!

2. Include the hashtag #SolopreneurSanity when you upload your photo for the day. It’s the only way we’ll be able to follow along — and we’ll be re-gramming a few each day from the @OneWomanShop account! (Bonus points for fun captions!)

3. Remember, Instagram is a social network. Be sure to explore the #SolopreneurSanity hashtag and interact with others participating in the challenge. (You might even grow your following in the process!)

Let’s have fun interacting on Instagram while working to improve our #SolopreneurSanity (something we most likely all need).

As we enter the last weeks of the year (eeeks!), we want to band together to stress less and appreciate our #SolopreneurSanity more. Who’s with us?

#OWSchat is back! Let’s Talk Location Independence, Shall We?

#OWSchat from One Woman Shop

You may have noticed a theme this month here at OWS — in fact, we sure hope you’ve noticed a theme, because we’ve been all about location independence and living the digital nomad lifestyle since July kicked off.

So what better way to bring it to a close than an hour-long Twitter chat about the challenges, the fears, the must-dos, and more? Join us Wednesday, July 27 at 9pm EST over on Twitter with the hashtag #OWSchat to do just that!

Whether you’re fully immersed in the digital nomad lifestyle, you’re thinking about it, or you simply love taking advantage of your location independence close to home, this chat’s for you.

Looking forward to chatting Wednesday, 7/27 at 9pm EST!

PS – First ever Twitter chat? We highly recommend using a platform like TweetChat to keep things organized.

Get More Attention to Your Social Media Posts With These 3 Copywriting Hacks

Remember when Facebook decided to update its newsfeed algorithm so you pretty much had to pay any time you wanted to show up in your fans’ newsfeeds?

Sucked, didn’t it?

So now you’re faced with keeping a social media advertising budget, but making sure you get the absolute most out of the money you spend can be hard.

A major way to stand out, though, is to tweak the copywriting you’re using in your posts to say something different than what every other one of your competitors is saying.

It’s a lot easier than it sounds, and no intensive copywriting tutorials will be involved, I promise. In fact, I’ve got three copywriting hacks for your social media posts that you can test today. Let me show you how.

1. Say what your competitors aren’t (and maybe even what they’re afraid to)

It might sound a bit mystical at first, to figure out the things your competitors aren’t saying… but it’s actually pretty easy to figure this one out.

The thing is, as business owners (and especially as women, if I can say that), we tend to under-value what we do and the products and services we have for sale.

Denise Duffield-Thomas illustrates it perfectly in this video:

But the thing is, men and women both have the tendency to do this from time to time, which likely means that your competition probably isn’t tooting their own horn as loudly as they (or you) should be.

Because within every single industry, the vast majority of business owners and marketers unknowingly fall into saying exactly what everyone else is saying. They sell the same products, offer the same services, and say the same things about them.

This might make it “easy” when deciding what to write in your social media posts, because you can just check out what everyone else is writing. But when you sound no different from your competition, your prospective fans and customers aren’t going to notice or appreciate your differences, and it’s those differences that make you and your business worth their time and attention.

“Forge your own path and leave your own mark,” said Drew Eric Whitman in Cashvertising. “You don’t need permission from anybody to do things your way. You be the leader. You be the one people copy because what you’re doing is so unique. Shake people up in your industry. Why be just another person in your industry who does nothing new, nothing worth noting, nothing that gets people talking and buying?” (emphasis mine)

Copywriting Hacks for Social Media posts

This guy, for example. Not to hate on him, but he’s trying to use every emotional-ridden jargon word for his industry, and it’s killing him. Not to mention that pose. So cliche. And the screaming caps. Just no.

Copywriting Hacks for Social Media Posts

Or this post. It’s way less painful to read and doesn’t make you cringe, but he could definitely be getting more (& better) attention, increasing his click throughs and leads.

But by breaking out of the industry norms and saying things in a way that shamelessly help the people behind these ads toot their own horns (in a non-douchey way, of course), we can really help these ads stand out.

Copywriting Hacks for Social Media Posts

I can’t edit the bottom half, but look at the new top half I’ve written. I’ve taken out most of the jargon, spoken to pain points without using all caps, and make a promise I can deliver on if you click through.

Copywriting Hacks for Social Media Posts

I open this ad with a hook that’s focused on a pain point so many aspiring travel writers feel threatened by. Then I “buddy up” to the reader to show that I share in their annoyance. Finally, I make a promise to let them see how people who have their dream job did it, so they can do it to. And suddenly, you’re clicking on it, aren’t you?

2. Ask only for the next step – not the main goal

Social media is social media.

It’s not a product shopping cart.

It can be tempting, though, to use the time and effort you spend on social media to go ahead and ask for the sale. After all, you don’t want to waste your time pansy-footing around when you’ve got a business to run and money to make, do you?

But that’s not what social media is for.

Getting people to click through to your site from social media is much less about getting the sale right away and much more about building up their momentum to keep clicking and subconsciously saying “Yes!” to you.

“You’re helping them focus on the benefit they want from the product rather than their hesitation to make the investment to own it,” said Tom Hopkins on Entrepreneur.

So by only asking for the next step (which might be to read a blog post or get a free ebook), you’ll generate more clicks and get more traffic to the pages you want people on.

Copywriting Hacks for Social Media

Become an owner of an Allstate agency before I’m ever even a customer or in their professional HR pipeline in any way? Don’t think this ad is going to work on me, sorry.

Copywriting Hacks for Social Media

On the flip side, though, even though I am in this guy’s ad network because I’ve visited his site, he isn’t asking me for much—just for an email subscription in exchange for his advice (which he knows I’ve already seen). It’s a much more likely step, isn’t it?

What’s more, when you do get people to your site, you’ll be able to pixel more visitors for your custom advertising audience even if you don’t ask for any kind of conversion or sale the first time they’re on your site, so you can continue to reach out to them via retargeting. (More on that from Facebook, here.)

This is particularly helpful for those of us who sell higher-priced items that usually aren’t purchased in a split decision after clicking through on an ad.

By exposing people to who you are, your expertise, and your offering over time, you build their trust instead of putting them off by asking for hundreds (or thousands) of dollars right away.

Max Chierruzi, CEO of AdEspresso, a Facebook advertising agency, said that when they started focusing on the next step instead of the major goal, their cost per click went down from $0.10 to $0.03 or $0.05.

They did this by targeting ads towards people who hadn’t visited their site to simply visit and receive value. Then, after they visited and were pixeled, they ran ads to get them to sign up for a lead magnet.

3. Use testimonials & customer photos as your ad content

Now this is something which is very much worth testing.

Social media is one of the best ways to advertise to your target demographics, especially when Facebook has so many pieces of demographic information you can sort through and target based on.

By using a testimonial from a person that most closely matches the target demographic you’re going after for a particular campaign, you immediately increase your relevance and credibility with those who see the ad.

“We’re comfortable with what we know, and what we know best is our own face,” said Kate Hakala.

Extending beyond just our face though, we also know our life situation, job, industry, and region better than others, so we tend to have higher trust towards things that seem to be affiliated with those things.

If you’re showing an ad on LinkedIn, for example, you can focus the testimonial text you use around the numbers you know your target audience there would be most concerned about during the workday, when they’re most likely to be on the site.

Copywriting Hacks for Social Media

In an article about how to hire more women, LinkedIn suggests placing images of women in the recruitment ads.

It’s time to start hacking your social media posts

So now you’ve got three things to try to get more attention to your brand’s social media posts:

  • Use different language than your competitors.
  • Ask for only the next step, not the sale.
  • Use testimonials and ideal customer’s faces in your ads.

All three of these copywriting hacks for social media posts are fairly easy updates, and worth testing to improve your attention and ROI. Then, you can sit back and let those social media platforms work their magic.

How (And Why) To Outsource Your Instagram Marketing

outsourcing for your solo business

outsourcing for your solo biz

I love being on Instagram. I love sharing my tips and ideas. I love interacting with people. I love searching through hashtags and finding awesome new people to follow.

(I also love shopping via Instagram — which isn’t so great for my bank balance.)

What I don’t love is taking photos or creating graphics.

As a copywriter, I’m happy to admit photography and graphic design are not my strengths. Needless to say, I was wasting a lot of time trying to do it myself and still not getting the look and feel that I really wanted for my feed.

As soon as I could afford it, I outsourced my image creation and curation on Instagram. And it’s been an awesome decision.

In this post I’m going to share with you how I went about outsourcing my Instagram images and why I’m more in love with Instagram than ever.

How I went about outsourcing

As luck would have it, a client I was working with brought on a junior graphic designer to help me manage their Instagram feed. She’d curate images in line with the strategy and I would write the captions. It worked really well and their feed started exploding (in the good way).

I realised that I could do the same thing with my own feed, so I asked that graphic designer, Angelina, to work with me.

The first thing we did was sit down and discuss my Instagram strategy and branding. We then arranged a photoshoot to capture a bunch of images for my feed.

Now, at the start of each month, I send Angelina a list of tips, quotes, and brands I want to mention on my feed. She then curates images and creates graphics and puts the whole lot in a shared Google Drive folder.

All I need to do is grab the images, add captions and schedule them with ScheduGram.

The results of outsourcing

Now that I don’t have to worry about the visual stuff, I have more time to actually engage with my followers and create new content I think they’d love.

Of course, paying for something like this only makes sense if there’s a return on that investment.

And I have to admit, I was slow to see results at first.

But recently the engagement on my feed has taken off — my email subscribers have grown, I’m getting copywriting enquiries directly via Instagram, and I’m even getting comments IRL from people about how helpful my feed is.

The big thing for me was ensuring that I maintained control over the content of my Instagram feed (I am a copywriter, after all). So I didn’t want to outsource the entire management of my Instagram feed. Every caption and comment is me.

How to outsource your Instagram marketing

Now, you might love creating images for Instagram, but maybe there’s another business task you’re doing that would make much more sense to outsource. If you’re thinking of outsourcing, here are my tips for making it work based off of my Insta experience:

Know what your objectives are

Make sure you know why you’re outsourcing a part of your business. For me, it was because I wanted to have an Instagram feed that felt branded and cohesive to help me find new clients.

For you, it might be to grow your engagement, give your brand a clearer “voice” or simply save time on something you don’t enjoy doing.

Figure out how much control you want to maintain

You might be happy to outsource all of your marketing, a part of it (the visuals or captions) or maybe only the stuff that followers wouldn’t notice (like ‘liking’ certain hashtags or finding new people to follow).

I would never get someone else to write my captions because I want my voice to come through, but you might be happy to let a copywriter who gets your brand to do it, while you take your own photos because maintaining control of your visual look is more important.

Do your research

When it comes to finding someone to outsource a part of your business to, spend some time looking for the right person. I was lucky that I’d previously worked with Angelina and already knew how well we worked together.

Seek out recommendations (Editor’s note: We highly recommend the ladies in the OWS Directory!) and take a look at what that person is doing on their own feed or for their clients. Ask them about their collaborative process and what they’d need from you to make it work.

The truth about outsourcing

A tip: As soon as you start investing in a part of your business, you start to take it a lot more seriously. Putting money into my Instagram has made me treat it as a key pillar of my marketing funnel, rather than just a fun place to hang out. And it’s definitely paid off for my business.

Would you ever outsource all or part of your Instagram marketing? If not, what would you outsource? Let me know in the comments below.

PS — Not sure where to start in evaluating potential pros? Our Prior to the Hire ebook has you covered.

Prior to the Hire ebook from One Woman Shop

#OWSchat Recap: Solopreneur Sanity with Nicole Liloia

#OWSchat from One Woman ShopMissed our December Twitter chat with Nicole Liloia? We talked all things Solopreneur Sanity — what stresses you out in your solo biz and how to best minimize it. (Hint: a lot of the tips and tactics are covered in our Solopreneur Sanity Handbook!)

Catch up below!

Note: Our monthly #OWSchat will be going on hiatus for at least the beginning of 2016 while we prioritize some other great products and services for our community!

One Woman Shop Instagram Challenge: #SolopreneurSanity

This challenge has come and gone

Hop on our email list below to be notified about our next Instagram challenge!

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It’s here: our second Instagram challenge!

And we couldn’t be more excited about the topic. After all, the coming weeks often bring the highest stress for solopreneurs in both their work and personal lives (which, we know, are pretty much one and the same). So this time around, we’re celebrating #SolopreneurSanity.

Over the course of 18 days, starting on Tuesday, December 1st, we’re going to be challenging you to both share a bit of your routine as a solopreneur, while also encouraging you to try potentially new things that’ll put you on the (inevitably windy) course to sanity. As you take an inward look and experiment with new things, snap a pic and share with us during the challenge!

Here’s what we love to see from you + challenge you to try:

Solopreneur Sanity Instagram challenge

Tuesday, December 1st – Words of wisdom: share your favorite self-care quote or advice
Wednesday, December 2nd – Non-negotiables: share one of the things that is a must-have in your day to maintain your sanity
Thursday, December 3rd – Walk it out: take a walk with no destination
Friday, December 4th – Get physical: show us how you’re moving your body
Saturday, December 5th – Meditation station: meditate for 1-5 minutes (or more!) and show us your set up
Sunday, December 6th – Book nerd: show us a book (or two!) that changed your perspective in some way
Monday, December 7th – Pull the plug: fully disconnect for at least 30 minutes
Tuesday, December 8th – Hit the breaks: yep, that’s a play on words; take a 15 minute break every 90 minutes today
Wednesday, December 9th – Track that time: for a few hours today, track your time (down to the minute)
Thursday, December 10th – Prioritize that shit: pardon our French; prioritize your to dos based on importance + urgency
Friday, December 11th – Get on it: choose at least one task that lets you work on your biz, rather than just in it
Saturday, December 12th – Eat it: show us the foods that make you feel best
Sunday, December 13th – State of the union: check-in day; share a pic of the song title/lyric that depicts your current state of solopreneur sanity
Monday, December 14th – Focus, focus, focus: plan your day the night before; show us and we’ll hold you accountable
Tuesday, December 15th – Bribe yourself: pick a lingering task, get it done, reward yourself
Wednesday, December 16th – Drop it: say no to or break up with something that’s not serving you anymore
Thursday, December 17th – Sleep it off: prioritize sleep today (and every day after!)
Friday, December 18th – Pay it forward: volunteer, donate, or give back in some way today

What better way to end? Of course, first we need to begin.

Here’s how to participate:

1. Upload a photo to your Instagram account that corresponds to the day’s theme. So, on Tuesday, December 1st, post a photo of your favorite self-care quote, on Monday, December 7th, snap a pic of what you did during your time disconnected (yes, we see the irony on that one), on Tuesday, December 15th, share a photo of how you rewarded yourself, and so on! Miss a day? Don’t worry about it. Jump back in when you can!

2. Include the hashtag #SolopreneurSanity when you upload your photo for the day. It’s the only way we’ll be able to follow along — and we’ll be re-gramming a few each day from the @OneWomanShop account! (Bonus points for fun captions!)

3. Remember, Instagram is a social network. Be sure to explore the #SolopreneurSanity hashtag and interact with others participating in the challenge. (You might even grow your following in the process!)

Let’s have fun interacting on Instagram while working to improve our #SolopreneurSanity (something we most likely all need) — what do you say?

This season, it’s all about stressing less and appreciating our #SolopreneurSanity more. We can’t wait to join you in doing just that!

November #OWSchat: Solopreneur Websites (DIY or Don’t Even Try?)

#OWSchat from One Woman Shop

Mark your calendars! Today at 9pm EST, we’re hosting our monthly #OWSchat where we’re chatting about how your website can best serve your solopreneur business and whether you should do it yourself or hire it out.

We’re super psyched to have One Woman Shop member and WordPress expert Shannon Mattern of WP+BFF and creator of the WP+BFF Academy joining us for the chat. She’ll be answering questions and sharing her advice as we navigate what it takes to get a site created.

See you TONIGHT, Wednesday, 11/4 at 9pm EST in the Twitterverse!

PS – First ever Twitter chat? We highly recommend using a platform like TweetChat to keep things organized.

Affiliate disclaimer: this post contains an affiliate link. As always, we only promote products and services we truly believe can benefit your solopreneur business.

October #OWSchat: Diminishing Distractions

#OWSchat from One Woman Shop

We’re a little nervous to admit this, but here it is: we’re sick of talking about productivity. (A bit strange coming from the creators of an e-course about productivity, huh?)

Here’s the thing: while we love making the most of productivity hacks as much as the next person, sometimes we want to stop talking about the benefits of this project management software or that social media management tool and just get shit done. But it’s not always that simple. There are distractions — both in your business and outside of your business — that keep you from being the engaged, efficient, kick-ass business owners you are (or want to be). Let’s talk about those.

That’s precisely what we’re doing. Mark your calendars! Today at 9pm EST, we’re hosting our monthly #OWSchat — and it’s all about identifying + combatting the distractions that hold us back.

The comparison trap. Family. Social media. We’re talking about these and the other (inevitable) distractions that come up, and sharing strategies for making distractions less of a burden on your day, so you can fully own your freedom.

See you TONIGHT, Wednesday, 10/7 at 9pm EST in the Twitterverse!

PS – First ever Twitter chat? We highly recommend using a platform like TweetChat to keep things organized.

August #OWSchat: Creating Systems with Heather Crabtree

#OWSchat from One Woman Shop

Mark your calendars: this Wednesday, August 5, at 9pm EST, we’re hosting our monthly #OWSchat — and it’s all about a topic that can seriously change the way you do business: creating systems + streamlining.

Whether you’re just starting out as a solopreneur or you’ve been in the game for years, there’s always room for improvement when it comes to efficiency.

Even better? We’re bringing in a pro to help: Heather Crabtree. Heather helps creative entrepreneurs create strategies + implement systems. During the chat, we’ll be riffing on Heather’s “Keys to Streamlining” — from your inbox to editorial calendar, your bookkeeping to projects, and more.

Want more freedom in your biz and less stress in your life? (Yes, please!) Join us as we talk systems, and kick off August right!

Looking forward to chatting Wednesday, 8/5 at 9pm EST!

PS – First ever Twitter chat? We highly recommend using a platform like TweetChat to keep things organized.

Tools We Love: Edgar

Tools We Love: Edgar social media scheduling

Welcome to Tools We Love, where we highlight some of the tools that make us more efficient, productive, and effective in our businesses. Have a tool that you want to share with the community? Email us!

Meet Edgar. He’s an octopus who just so happens to be a social media wizard. (Really, it’s a social media curation + scheduling app that allows you to automate your social updates like no other third party app out there.) It currently supports Twitter, Facebook personal profiles, Groups, and Page, and LinkedIn. And it just so happens it’s branded with an octopus full of personality.

Edgar seems to come up in any and every conversation I have about digital marketing — because he’s just that good.

What Edgar is

Created by the LKR team, Edgar is, in their words, “the only app that stops social media updates from going to waste.” Tall task, wouldn’t you say? Well, he lives up to it.

Here’s how it (he) works: you create content and add it into your back end library in Edgar, organizing it by category. Once you’ve built a library of updates, you create posting schedules on a nifty calendar for each account you’ve set up. At the times you’ve specified, Edgar will choose an update from the designated category and post it to your account(s).

Here’s how that looks:

1. I have several categories set up in my library.

Meet Edgar - categories

2. I create a schedule for each account I’ve linked up with Edgar.

Meet Edgar: schedule

3. Edgar pulls the needed updates from your library and creates a queue.

Meet Edgar: queue

It’s genius, yeah? Edgar effectively automates your social media — but leaves you in control. You create the categories, determine the schedule, and have the ability to view the queue days in advance and swap updates as needed.

That’s the basic gist of Edgar’s functionality. Here are some nitty gritty details that make him even more awesome:

Take advantage of the ‘Use Once’ category. Sure, most of the content you’ll load into Edgar will be evergreen content or content that has a decent lifespan (since that is the point of revolving it, after all). But not everything you want to post should be repeated. No worries — just choose the default “Use Once” category, and Edgar will know not to go back to that particular update once it’s been used.

Batch upload with import functionality. If you’re a Google Doc addict like some of us (ahem, Cristina and I here at OWS), you like to collaborate via shared documents before finalizing anything. Fret not: you can draft those social media updates in a spreadsheet and use the Import button to bring them all in at once.

Take a break. Let’s say you’re going on vacation or just want to go dark for a while. Or perhaps you want all of your social content to point to something like a launch (like we did for Building Your Online Community!). There’s a handy “Pause Queue” button that freezes Edgar and his revolving content and makes it ridiculously easy to pick up right where you left off when you’re ready.

Add photos. Edgar doesn’t just support plain text updates. With a handy “Add Image” button for each new update you add, you have the ability to easily enhance your post.

See how you’re doing. Edgar’s got a built-in statistics dashboard that’ll give you a quick glimpse at how each of your posts are performing. After all, social media requires strategy — and strategy requires metrics to benchmark yourself on.

Those are just some of the features — the fun doesn’t stop there.

The most grateful octopus you ever did meet

There are different perceptions on what good customer service is, but I think every user of Edgar can agree: Team Edgar nails it. Beyond easy email access to the Edgar pros, the team also runs an “Edgar HQ” Facebook Group where there’s a fair share of learning and celebrating going on. The best part of all this access? The team is incredibly receptive to requests for upgrades to their own application. In less than a year since launch (I’ve been a user since day 1!), I’ve seen countless changes made based directly on user requests — a true testament to caring about your customers.

Okay, okay. I’ve got one last thing to gush about. You see, Edgar is just downright grateful to have you as a user — and it shows. I was glowing a bit the day this came in the mail: his response to my Facebook post about him. What a guy! (The back had my post printed out with hearts surrounding it, and a note that “Edgar loves you, too!”)

Meet Edgar: love note

Things to keep in mind

Naturally, nobody’s perfect — even this little guy. A few things to keep in mind as you consider the use of Edgar:

1. He’s not exactly a cheap date. It’s up to you to weigh both the time he’ll save you in streamlining your social media as well as the benefit of having a consistent presence with the price tag. There are two account levels: $49/month for up to 10 accounts and 1,000 stored updates, and $99 for up to 25 accounts and 5,000 stored updates. On the fence? Request an invitation (average wait time is 24 hours or less!) and give a 30-day trial period a go.

2. He’s not the be-all, end-all. Like most things, you don’t want to put all your eggs in one basket. When it comes to social media monitoring and engagement, automation is fantastic to keep things consistent, but checking in live on a regular basis to respond to and interact with others is paramount to an honest, successful social strategy. For that, we layer on Hootsuite and the native Twitter app, as needed. (And TweetChat for our monthly #OWSchat, of course!)

What Edgar means for social media

For a solopreneur running the rat race of serving clients, creating new revenue streams, and handling all the day-to-day happenings of running a One Woman Shop, Edgar means a stress-free approach to social media management and consistency in your social media marketing.

Oh — and it means for the first time ever, you can call an octopus your friend.

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