See Your Value- Even in Slow Periods

It strikes us that when your solo business is chugging along- your email list is growing, people at chomping at the bit to work with you 1:1, your latest product launch sold out, your feed of Twitter mentions is constantly filled with new names and faces- it's pretty easy to see your worth as a business owner. You have constant reinforcement that people see value in your work and are willing to hand over their hard-earned cash to get a piece of it.

But during slow periods in your business, it can be a bit harder to value yourself. We asked members of the One Woman Shop community to weigh in on what they do to remember their value during slow times. Here's what they said:

When times are tough, I remember my value by reflecting on my relationships with friends and family. It helps to remind myself that business isn't everything!

-Susan Shain, Travel Junkette

I think my blog really helps with this. Even if I don’t have a wait list of clients at the moment, I usually still get engagement via Twitter and blog comments. It’s encouraging to hear that what I write for the blog is connecting with other creatives, even if the money isn’t exactly rolling in at the moment.

-Ashley Brooks, Brooks Editorial

I actually have all of my students in my Copywriting Course create an "I'm Awesome" list before the course starts. It's 100 reasons why you kick ass and deserve to earn bundles of cash for doing what you do. You can refer to this list whenever you feel doubtful!

-Courtney Johnston, Rule Breakers Club

I keep a Google Doc of testimonials, emails, tweets, etc. from clients and colleagues. When I'm having a tough day or going through a dry spell, that file reminds me how much I have to offer. It's very motivating!

-Amy Chick

The interesting thing is that I discovered by value in the slow times. In the booming times, I was still very much on the same hamster wheel as when I was a 9-to-5-er. But it was in the slow times that I actually got to think about what I really wanted to be doing and how that would align with what people need. So now my focus is on creating value first. And I've found that the money is never too far behind.

-RM Harrison

-Farideh Ceaser

Here at One Woman Shop, we're big fans of keeping a Rainy Day File (like Amy Chick mentioned!) and an Adding Value File.

How do you remember your value during slow business periods?

Focus Your Message in 5 Easy Steps (Google Hangout with Copywriter Amy Chick)

Our One Woman Shop pay-what-it's-worth members receive access to a monthly Google Hangout with an expert. Not a member yet? Apply here!

google hangout on copywriting

What: How to focus your message in 5 easy steps, a Google Hangout with copywriter Amy Chick

Details: Everyone knows writing great copy takes some planning and hard work. Amy will teach you a fun, repeatable process to get clear on your message so you can write copy that makes your clients fall in love. You'll even get to see a few case studies from real projects!

Date and time: Wednesday, July 30 at 12pm EST

RSVP: Become a One Woman Shop member and you'll receive the login information 🙂

Weekly Finds

Welcome to One Woman Shop Weekly Finds - where we members of the community scour the web to bring you a curated list of posts, links, and resources that we they think will help your business—and maybe even your life! This week’s curator: copywriter + editor Sara Frandina.

I'm a sucker for productivity tips. In a recent post, Nathalie Lussier offers seven of her tricks to get more done in a day. One I consistently need to remind myself of: "a little R&R goes a long way toward helping you achieve your goals and stay productive."

I can't stress this enough to my copywriting clients: use every opportunity you can to infuse your personality into your communications. So naturally, I loved this post from PR rockstar Melissa Cassera on crafting email signatures that will leave people begging for more.

There are so many great reminders in here on life, in general. Never hurts to revisit a list like this once in a while: Thirty Things I've Learned. My favorite for solopreneurs: "#10. The greatest reflection of your priorities is your time."

There's a fantastic discussion going on in the One Woman Shop forum right now about integrating yoga into your daily routine. One member pointed me to start with free videos from Tara Stiles -- and now there's no turning back. Enjoy this goldmine! (Oh, and wondering how you can become a member? Check this out.)

Travel bug ever creep up on you? If it hasn't, this series of TED Talks will inspire it to the max. These 11 talks are billed as "Talks to give you wanderlust". Dream on, friends. (And make it happen!)

Love this business advice from my fellow copywriter over at The Writing Whisperer. Approach your days and your work opportunities with "intention over investment". Read more in "The Other ROI."

And, finally -- since I've been running myself a bit ragged lately (as us solopreneurs tend to do from time to time), I've had to check in with this often. Author Farnoosh Brock offers 42 Positive Affirmations Every Successful Entrepreneur Believes (Even If They Never Admit It). Dig in, and get the post-it notes out!

One Woman Shop Chats with…Elizabeth Bradley

Welcome to One Woman Shop Chats, an interview series where we- you guessed it- chat with solo business owners. Want to chat with us? Email us!

elizabeth bradley savouring simplicitiy

Hi Elizabeth! Tell us about yourself and your business.

I'm a writer slash photographer that turned into a social media strategist after diving deep into marketing and online platform building when I started freelancing years ago. As a writer I mainly have written in the travel niche as well as in wellness and gaming. As a consultant I help companies of all sizes expand their online platform and develop social media and content marketing strategies that rock.

What's thing people might not know just from reading your website and following you on social media?

In addition to my writing and consulting endeavours, I'm studying herbalism and working on my yoga teacher training plus I'm certified as a Holistic Life and Wellness Coach. I have waaay to many interests and I try to pursue as many of them as possible, just for the heck of it.

What's your favorite social media platform and why?

INSTAGRAM. I rave about it and tell all my clients to get on there NOW. In fact I was just interviewed on the Lifestyle Architects podcast and waxed enthusiastic about it for most of the show. The reason being is that Instagram is a form of microblogging and the best personal branding tool a company has. People buy from people now, and if someone doesn't feel they connect with a company on an intimate level their is so much competition that they can easily go elsewhere. Showing who you are and your brand's values and USP is integral and Instagram is the best way to do it.

If you could do just one piece of your business forever, what would it be?

Photography. Usually my photos accompany by articles/posts but I would love to have them at the forefront of my career really. I'm a student of photojournalism and it's making my passion for photography grow by the day.

If you had to describe yourself or your business in one word, what would it be?

For my EK Bradley brand, I would say edgy. For Thriving Healer (my division for holistic entrepreneurs such as yoga teachers), it would be holistic.

What's your favorite app?

Dropbox of course 🙂

3 Ways To Make The Most of Google Analytics

If you’ve enabled Google Analytics for your website, congrats! You’re a step ahead most. But are you really taking advantage of the full power of the tool to help your business grow?

Good news: there are just three things everyone must do inside of the Google Analytics platform to get the full capabilities, become a more advanced user, and generate more insightful reports. But, they take a bit of know-how. Even better news: I'm here to share that with you now. Grab a cup of coffee and get ready to implement!

1. Set Up Internal Traffic Filters Properly

You check your own website, don’t you? So do your designers, interns, and your mom. We call that "internal traffic." And it artificially skews your data. The fix? Filter internal traffic out. Basically, anyone who isn’t a customer needs to go!

Just plopping in an exclude IP filter isn’t the best way to do it. Why? Because of this very important tip to remember: when you set up a filter in Google Analytics, you cannot undo the effect it has on your reports.

Let's remedy that. Instead of setting up a permanent filter, it's best to create a new view, and leave one main unfiltered view untouched. This unfiltered view will hang out in the background - don’t use it to run reports, but leave it as a backup in case other filters or reports get messed up. It's a blank slate to return to.

To create a new view:

  • Click on Admin from the Analytics home
  • Select your account + property
  • Use the view drop down menu to create a new view
  • If you're creating a new view for your website, select website, name it and then click save

Then, in the new view, add in any exclusion filters you want to get rid of internal traffic. (Truth be told, this step itself could be its own blog post -- but luckily, Google has a great resource if you're stuck here.)

Don't know what your IP address is? Need to find the IP address of your website team, friends, or parents to filter that "internal traffic" out? Look yours up, and ask your team to do the same, using a super simple IP Address Lookup tool or by Googling “What’s my IP Address?” Then, simply add it to your filter. One stipulation: if you or your team members have a dynamic IP like I do, or use a mobile device to check your website, it gets a bit more tricky but is doable with cookies.

2. Set Up the Right Goals & Tweak Based on Insights

Your website is meant to influence people to do certain things, whether it’s to buy a product, contact you about your services, or even to visit more pages. Goals are the tracking method to determine when people are doing those actions, and can help you figure out what’s preventing people from doing them if they're not.

Here's a great tutorial from Google on how to set up goals.

But the key isn’t setting them up. The real insight comes from knowing which ones to set up and how to interpret the results.

Consider your website and the intentions behind it. What do you want your visitors to do? Is it easy for them to do this? Are you clearly asking them to do what you want?

Once you’ve set up Goals, generate reports to analyze how visitors are navigating through your website. Built-in tools for this include In-Page Analytics and Behavior Flow, both under Behavior in the sidebar. The In-Page Analytics report shows you a screen shot of your website and tells you where people are clicking to navigate through pages, which can help you tell when things aren't eye-grabbing or positioned well. Behavior Flow reports on the series of pages visitors go through on your website, including where they drop off and how they navigate.

What path does a person take to complete a Goal? Is it easy? Who drops off where? These kinds of questions can help you make better choices for your website design and content.

Take my own Behavior Flow report for example. Most of my visitors enter my website through my Homepage, then navigate to my About page. Those that don't exit at that point continue to my main Services page. I could improve my conversions by doing more to keep visitors from dropping off from my About page and use a stronger call to action to make a clearer path to conversion.

What you'll find is that the best websites constantly analyze this data to find better ways to convert visitors into customers instead of watching customers exit at undesired places. A website is a constant work in progress, remember!

3. Enable Demographics & Interest Reports

How well do you really know your audience? Google Analytics can give you all kinds of information about your audience that can help you gain more insight. Enabling Demographics & Interest Reports will provide information about gender, age, and interests. Do what the pros do: use this info to better target your content and advertisements in appropriate places.

To enable your Demographics & Interest Reports, you’ll need to update your Google Analytics code by adding in a single line of code in your back end to increase the amount of information your website gathers and discloses.

Quick tip: while you’re updating your code, confirm that it’s in the <header> of your website. To do this, you'll need to look at the source code between the <header> tags of your website using tools like the Web Inspector in Safari. If the code isn't between the <header> tags, Google Analytics is executing after the page finishes loading instead of immediately. This means if someone visits and your page doesn’t load completely before they navigate away, you’re missing data!

Once you have the reports enabled, you can dig deeper into the data to find out more about your audience. I found that while most of my audience was made up of females between 25-34 as I suspected, my audience was made up of a lot of movie and TV buffs! This insight gave me ideas about content marketing in relation to popular TV shows or movies to attract attention by using relevant examples for them.

What's the most useful feature of the reporting tool for your business?

Weekly Finds

Welcome to One Woman Shop Weekly Finds - where we members of the community scour the web to bring you a curated list of posts, links, and resources that we they think will help your business—and maybe even your life! This week’s curator: virtual assistant Tracey Hamilton.

Does your morning consist of walking around like a zombie as you try to get the ring of the clock alarm out of your head? Take a deep breath and pick up some tips from professional success coach Rosetta Thurman. She lays out how to create an inspiring morning routine that will have you chanting 'namaste' in no time.

Podcast Fuel: As a solo business owner and One Woman Shop, there is typically no one there to get us revved up when we’re feeling energy deficient. Make a fruit smoothie and let John Dumas of Entrepreneur On Fire get your blood pumping and creative juices flowing, seven days a week.

Do you need protection? Legal protection, that is. Well Ash Ambirge and Rachel Rodgers of Small Business Bodyguard can keep you safe and sound by making sure all the things you hold dear in your business are well guarded.

As a newbie blogger, I scour the internet earth to find tips, tools, and info in one place that I can use to improve. My first stop is at the Fizzle, a website designed for you to learn from experts and commiserate on forums with other aspiring minds.

Do you have stickies everywhere in your attempt to be organized? Dump the madness and get advice from The Productivity Experts’ Cathy Sexton on how to get organized so you can regain your sanity.

Ready, set, create! If you are in need of a more creative way to map out your next goal check out Coggle. Coggle is a mind-mapping tool that lets you gather your thoughts in one visual spot and take it with you for easy reference. Best part? It’s free!

Hit a slump and need some motivation in reaching your business goals? Take a listen to Gene Hammett’s weekly podcast Leaders In The Trenches where he highlights Kim Walsh-Phillip’s inspiring journey that led her to make over a million dollars in revenue for her business.

This post contains affiliate links. We only promote products and services that we and our community believe in.

What is “Launching” Anyways?

Launching is a buzzword in entrepreneurial circles. It seems like everyone is launching something these days. Your colleagues are launching a website, a podcast, an online course, or a start-up.

Maybe you’ve even heard they are launching a launch! (Okay, too far?)

But what does it really mean to launch something? And should you buy into the launch mentality?

Launch mechanics

A launch is an “all-hands-on-board-let's-get-this-puppy-off-the-ground” approach to getting something new out of your cradle and into the world. It's about telling the story of a new product or service, then distributing that story in as many ways as possible.

If you've poured time into building something new, ask yourself a few questions before choosing to soft launch (release it into the world without much fanfare) or go big with your launch strategy:

1) Do I have a new product or service I want potential clients to know about?

To launch effectively, you MUST have something worth talking about. There’s a saying in the journalism business: "if it’s not new, it’s not news." The same applies to your launch.
Get creative and find a new story regarding your product or service, a new way of packaging it or a way of enhancing it to freshen it up.

2) Do I have the emotional and financial support to invest in a large undertaking?

Launching involves an emotional and financial investment. If there's already a significant amount of things going on in your business and life, it's smart to wait until you have space to really focus on your launch. Be patient and don’t put pressure on yourself. Financially, if your budget is already stretched, running a large-scale, effective launch will be tough.

Depending on your strategy, you'll want to have the funds to buy more product, hire that extra team member or handle any problems that come up - without going into debt.

3) Do I have systems in place to take advantage of this opportunity?

Every successful launch creates new opportunities for your business. Are you positioned to take advantage of these opportunities?

For example, you'll want to make sure your email client is set up with an opt-in and auto responders for anyone who jumps on board with your launch. In addition, clear your schedule to give yourself time to be available for sales calls, interviews or Q&A's. Have a post-launch plan in place to follow up with new and potential clients and keep the momentum when the official launch is over.

Launching isn’t for everyone.

A big push like this takes a lot out of any entrepreneur. It involves long hours, a few tears and many, many decisions. You need to be organized in advance with a plan. No one can launch alone (even a one-woman shop). You need to mobilize friends, family and your entrepreneurial colleagues to support you in getting the word out about your launch.

Successful launches, though...

...can yield fantastic results. There's a buzz about launches for a reason. With a launch, you have the potential to build your list, generate more sales, and position yourself as an expert. All of which helps you in the short (and long) term for your business.

What's your one piece of wisdom (or question!) when it comes to launching? Comment below!

How to Choose an E-Commerce Platform

You know that e-commerce is growing, but do you have any idea how big the online market really is?

According to the business research firm IBIS World, online sales reached $297.9 billion in 2013. And e-commerce sales are expected to reach 6.5% of total retail sales in 2014!

If you're thinking about running an online business with a product to sell (or already are!), it's time to get a slice of the ever-expanding pie. Beyond deciding and developing what you're going to sell, one of the hardest decisions you'll have to make is which e-commerce platform to use. Luckily, we're here to help.

Start here: Do you already have an existing blog or website?

Don’t have a website? Choose a dedicated online store

Several online e-commerce platforms allow businesses to create their own dedicated online shop. Although going this route can require a significant investment in time and money, it's a great option if you’re just launching an online presence. Here are a few trusty sites where you can set up shop:

Shopify

With Shopify, you can sell either online or in your offline retail shop. There are no limits on the types of products you can sell. It’s easy to get started, and requires zero design or coding skills. With the ability to customize the color, layout, and content of your site, it looks great straight out of the box.

A huge benefit to Shopify is that support is good and fast -- you are not reliant on unresponsive forums for answers. Shopify starts at $29 a month for a basic shop, with a 2% transaction fee up to $179 per month. If based outside of the US, you will also need a credit card payment processor like Stripe, who will charge you an additional 2.7% + 30c for each credit card transaction.

Magento

Magento is an open-source platform that allows users to sell any type of retail product. It's free to download and has a detailed start up guide, yet those who do not have experience with code may find it too complex for their needs. There is no technical support for this plan. However, it does have a very supportive and active community.

The lowest monthly plan is $15/month with a limited number of products and storage. Magento integrates extremely well with Ebay (unsurprising, as it’s actually owned by Ebay!)  However, it doesn't have an integrated blog – a serious drawback when it comes to attracting inbound traffic.

Etsy

Etsy is the most popular e-commerce platform for handmade goods, vintage items, and craft supplies. There is no membership fee, but it costs $0.20 to list an item for 4 months and 3.5% fee on the sale price. Although the type of items is restricted to crafts and vintage, it’s a great option if that’s your niche.

Have an existing website or blog? Monetize it!

If you want to monetize your existing blog, you're in luck -- it's easy to integrate e-commerce into your site. No need to send your audience to an external site to complete the checkout; the following options are easy and affordable ways you can integrate e-commerce into your blog or website to monetize your existing readers.

Selz

Selz caters to both digital and physical products, but also comes with an added bonus - you can sell services through it, as well. It's easy to sign up and navigate, and its clean user design is extremely appealing. Use is free, with a small fee paid when you make a sale. Unlike several of the other e-commerce integration solutions, there are no other credit card processing costs, and no limits on the number of products or bandwidth.

While it is possible to create a dedicated online store with Selz, integrating it into your existing website is simple. With a little technical skill, you can embed a buy button or store into your existing site quickly with a snippet of code. The checkout process offers customers the choice of buying with a credit card or PayPal without them leaving your site -- meaning better conversions and more sales.

E-Junkie

E-Junkie provides a shopping cart and "Buy Now" buttons to sell digital downloads and physical products on your blog or website. The benefit of using E-Junkie is that it has proven its validity - it's been around for a long time. The downside? The user interface is looking tired, you do need a working knowledge of HTML, and it takes some time to set up and customize.

Plans range from $5 to $265 per month, depending on how many products you wish to sell. Most users integrate PayPal with E-Junkie, leading to additional PayPal fees. It also means a clunky checkout, potentially costing you sales.

Grab your piece of the online action!

Building a profitable online retail business takes work, but the potential is undeniable. With sales in the billions, and 5.9% expected growth for the next five years, now's the time to get in on the action.

Already using a great e-commerce platform? Share with us in the comments!

Weekly Finds

Welcome to One Woman Shop Weekly Finds - where we members of the community scour the web to bring you a curated list of posts, links, and resources that we they think will help your business—and maybe even your life! This week’s curator: copywriter + editor Sara Frandina.

Podcast alert: Coach Jennie, the self-proclaimed Audacity Coach, launched her new podcast, Roller Derby for the Soul last month. Each day, Monday-Friday, she serves up a "swift kick in the audacity" in four minutes or less. Perfect motivation for your morning or your midday slump.

Thinking about entrepreneurship? If you find yourself nodding furiously in agreement to any of these "50 Signs You Need to Start Your Own Business", it's time. Heart beating fast? Stomach a-flutter? You know it's right - take action!

Bloggers: struggling to find images to share on your posts? Laura Roeder, of The Dash fame, shares 3 Killer Sources of Copyright-Free Images, and in her typically thorough way, suggests how to legally use them.

If you're unclear on how to practice minimalism in your life, The Minimalists offer an important reminder in this post, The Inherent Irony of Minimalism: "What people don’t understand... is that minimalism is not about deprivation. Rather, minimalists—anyone who’s deliberately seeking a life with less stuff—find more value in the stuff they do own."

For a good mix of motivation + fun: artist Lisa Congdon shares whimsical + inspiring quotes in her blog's "Words for the Day" series. In her designer-ly way, they're not only fun to read, they're pleasantly easy on the eyes.

Need fresh ideas for increasing blog visibility + traffic? Chuck Sambuchino suggests optimizing old posts, inviting quality guest content, and strategic formatting as just three of "7 Easy Things You Can Do Right Now to Get More Blog Traffic" for The Write Life.

Creative slump? Get in the habit of taking a walk to break up your day. Greg Ciotti from Sparring Mind writes this in-depth post proving there's more to benefit from it than you might think: Beethoven’s Surprisingly Simple Habit for Creative Breakthroughs.

One Woman Shop Experiments: Growing Our Email List

Welcome to One Woman Experiments, where daring business women experiment with different parts of their business in order to find best practices. We hope these mini-experiments help improve your business and inspire you to test-drive new strategies. Have an experiment you want to test out and document? Check out our ideas and guidelines!

A few months ago, we decided that we were truly committed to growing our email list. The reasons are many (here are just a few), but essentially, we realized that we were missing out on HUGE opportunities to connect with our target individuals by only engaging with them on social media.

We love social media (especially Twitter!), but we felt that adding subscribers to our email list was the best way to ensure that we have direct access to them.

Think about it: we currently have about a 50% open rate on our email campaigns (which is an awesome percentage!), while only a fraction of the people who follow us on Twitter or like our page on Facebook see each post or tweet we send out.

We were already doing a variety of things to build up our email list: a visible email opt-in on our homepage, occasional posts about our email list on social media, asking anyone who contributed if we could add them to the list, etc.

What we hadn’t done was make a giant list of all of the women we wanted to connect with and actually taken the time to reach out directly.

Sounds simple, right? It is, but how many people do you think are currently doing it? Not many is our guess!

Here’s what we did and how you can do it too:

    • Keep a running list of anyone you think would be a great addition to your community, network, client base, partnership roster, referral roster, etc
    • Consider hiring a VA to do a bit of online stalking research on them to be sure they fit your ideal customer/partner/collaborator avatar. For example, we were only looking for female solo business owners, so businesses run by two women would be out
    • Find the person’s contact information and shoot them a brief but informative email about what you offer. Directly ask them if you can add them to your email list
    • Follow up if need be

Our results after 47 days:

    • We contacted 103 women through email or their website contact form. We followed up two weeks after our first email if we hadn’t heard back
    • 5/103 women responded back letting us know that they would check out the site but were not interested in being on the email list (most cited overcrowded inboxes)
    • 31 women said they would love to be on the email list
    • 67 women did not respond at all

So, 65% of individuals didn’t respond, roughly 5% opted out, and 30% opted in- these might not seem like awesome numbers, but think about it this way: if you add 30 individuals to your email list and just one of them converts into a paying client, you’ve probably more than made up for the time you spent (depending on the cost of your services or your hourly rate).

Also take into consideration that marketing efforts generally amplify naturally. For example, in our email, we asked that the women forward our email to any friends who run solo businesses. In addition, once you bring new people into your community, you'll probably experience more shares of your content, which extends your reach organically.

The bad:

    • It can be demoralizing to not hear back from so many people, but it’s worth when you get a great response (in our opinion!)
    • One woman said anything slightly rude, but hey- it’s only 1/103!
    • It’s very time consuming to do so much research, which is why we recommend enlisting help if you can

The great:

    • It was AWESOME that we added so many relevant women to our community!
    • Numbers aren’t everything! We also found several women to curate our Weekly Finds, got interviewed on multiple blogs, and struck up tons of interesting conversations
    • We got quite the ego boost when we heard back from women who were genuinely pleased that we had taken the time to reach out

A few notes:

    • We starting reaching out to people on March 21 and originally planned to do the experiment for one month. We decided to keep it up because we were excited about the results
    • We actually had quite a few unsubscribes during this experiment. We began sending emails more frequently, which led individuals who were on the fence about our site and offerings to unsubscribe
    • We found that it took about 4 minutes to send each email, including research time

The lesson:

Want to know more, like:

    • Where and how to actually find individuals to add to your list?
    • How you can save time with effective research?
    • What tools you can use to best track your results and stay on top of your outreach efforts?
    • What we said in our emails to get a 30% sign up rate?

Get on our list to get more information about our Building Your Online Community e-course! (You'll also get our 28 Secrets to Growing Your Community with tips from business experts like Sarah Von Bargen, Ashley Wilhite, Amanda Genther, April Bowles-Olin, and Nikki Groom).