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3 Time-Saving WordPress Plugins

WordPress has always been my top choice when it comes to blogging. I love to be able to customize my blog to look however I want and have complete control over everything. I also love the variety of features and options that WordPress has, especially with their vast amount of plugins.

Some of my favorite plugins are ones that make my blogging life easier and even increase my productivity. So today, I thought I'd share my top three plugins that save me quite a bit of time and help me get more done!

Broken Link Checker

No one has time to go through every post and page on their blog to verify that all of the links are still accurate. In addition, no one wants a reader to come across a post from a few years ago, try to click through the various links or videos within the post, and find out that none of them exist anymore- not to mention that these missing links are bad for SEO. Broken Link Checker solves both problems! Once the plugin is installed, it searches for missing images and broken links on a regular basis. Once it finds them, it notifies you that there's an issue in the dashboard and you're able to edit it. Really easy, really valuable.

Editorial Calendar

Unfortunately, WordPress doesn't provide an easy-to-use overview of your posts that allows you to see what's coming up in the next few weeks or months. But the Editorial Calendar plugin does! Not only can you see when posts are scheduled to post (along with drafts and pending posts) within a monthly calendar overview, but you can also drag and drop posts if you'd like to change their posting date. Want to change the time, title, or tags? You can do that right in the calendar grid with the Quick Edit feature. Whether you have a co-authored blog or a single author blog, this simple plugin is a must for anyone who posts regularly.

Duplicate Post

If you post regular features (think: link roundupsinterviews, or a blog series), Duplicate Post is a must-have plugin. It allows you to clone a post or a page and keeps all of the information within it, including tags and categories. You can also set the options to copy only certain aspects of the post or page, too. It's a huge time-saver if you have regular features on your blog.

What plugins would you recommend for increasing productivity?

5 Plugins to Boost Your WordPress Comment Section

You're blogging for your business, just like everyone says you should.  You're putting out this great content, but somehow you feel like it's not drumming up the kind of connection that you hoped it would.  What's missing?

If you're leaving your comment section totally unattended, you might be missing out on valuable community building through discussions on your site. Being active in your own comment section usually helps, but there are also a few plugins that can help grow your community and help things run smoothly once those comments start rolling in.

1. Comment Reply Notification: If you're going to take the time to respond to comments in your comment section, you want people to be able to see it!  This plugin automatically emails commenters to tell them when their comment is replied to.  This is much better than a system where you have to opt in to get emails for all comments.

2. Add New Default Avatar: This is just a fun little thing to make your comment section prettier.  Ideally, all commenters would have their avatar set up with Gravatar (and if you don't, DO IT! I wrote about why it's important here) but for those that don't, it's nice to have something branded to match your site as opposed to that boring mystery man.

3. CommentLuv: I don't use this personally, but this shows a link to a commenter's latest blog post underneath their comment, which encourages your community to check out other readers' sites- and encourages them to comment, because they know their own blog will get some publicity. Pretty cool!

4. Akismet: Nobody likes spam.  Akismet is the most popular spam plugin, and I've had good luck with it. Some bloggers use and like FV Antispam if Akismet isn't cutting it for some reason.

5. Recent Comments widget: Okay, this isn't a plugin.  But by using this simple built-in widget in your sidebar, you can help generate discussion by drawing readers' attention to the posts that are currently attracting the most comments on your site.

Last but not least, my favorite tip for generating comments on your posts is to directly ask your readers a question at the end of your post.  A lot of times readers want to give you feedback and connect, and by asking a question you're giving them something specific to talk about.

What is your favorite plugin for managing your comments section? (See what I did there?)

100 Best Sites for Solopreneurs

The 100 Best Sites for Solopreneurs from One Woman Shop

Welcome to the fourth edition of the 100 Best Sites for Solopreneurs from One Woman Shop!

Welcome to the fourth edition of 100 Best Sites for Solopreneurs.

As a solopreneur, it’s not tough to find solo business resources -- but it’s a true challenge to find the very best resources that provide the insight, advice, and tips you need to build the business that makes you want to shout from the rooftops: “I’m a solopreneur!!!”

That’s what #100BestSites is all about -- and because we love making The List better and better each and every year, we can pretty much guarantee that this year’s has more than a few new-to-you resources -- that continue to be fun, comprehensive, and oh-so-helpful. The third time might’ve been the charm, but we’re not slowing down with the fourth edition!

For one month, we gave you, our community, the chance to vote for your top resource across each of our seven categories. You'll notice each winner highlighted at the top of each category below. 

Like last year, we’re marking repeat offenders appearances on The List. ** means this is the second time the site has been featured, *** means the site is on The List for the third time, and **** is a 100 Best Sites stronghold, appearing on all four editions. No asterisks? We’re proud to feature the site for the first time this year!

Dig in…and be endlessly inspired to better your biz.


Digital Marketing

The sites to visit for all things marketing: blogging, social media, SEO, building your list, and developing a website that works. community of solopreneurs

Category winner: Kate Doster

We laughed out loud when we read one nominator’s comment about Kate: “I love how she use[s] the word homeslice all the time.” It’s true -- she does. Nominator Rita added, “Kate had me hooked from her very first email.” A darn good thing, we say, considering her area of expertise is all things email marketing!

Must-read post: How I Increased My Blog Traffic To Get More In 3 Months Than I Did All Last Year Combined

community of solopreneursAeolidia with Arianne Foulks

If you’re a creative online shop owner looking for resources on increasing website conversions, setting up your online shop, or selling to wholesalers...look no further. Arianne and the team at Aeolidia are Shopify experts with in-depth knowledge in online retail -- that they graciously share regularly on their blog.

Must-read post: 7 Mistakes to Avoid in Your Wholesale Line Sheet

Amy Porterfield

When she’s not teaching the how-to’s behind webinars and email marketing through her courses, Amy’s covering the digital marketing gamut on her popular podcast, Online Marketing Made Easy -- where you can grab “Audio Inspir-action” for your own marketing plan. New to the show? She groups episodes into “collections” based on your goals to help you get the most out of your listening time. (Our Type A hearts love that.)

Must-listen collection: Sell More: How to Master Webinars, Funnels & Facebook Ads to Grow & Automate Your Business

And Possibly Dinosaurs with Caitlin Cheevers

Want to start a blog that doesn’t require your full-time attention? That’s what Caitlin will help you do. In her words: “At And Possibly Dinosaurs, I embrace the fact that you can love your job and love your blog; you don’t have to choose one over the other.” Side note: We love her “Sunday Scratches” -- the casual breakdown of things that happened throughout the week that just don’t warrant a whole blog post.

Must-read post: The Ultimate Spreadsheet to Keep Your Blog Organized

The Blogsmith with Maddy Osman

“I consider ‘nerd’ to be a compliment.” ← Us too, Maddy...us too. And when that nerdy stuff propels our businesses forward? Even better. Fortunately, Maddy is yo’ girl for all things content marketing. In nominator Ana’s words, “I love that [The Blogsmith] serves both her clients and fellow solopreneurs who want to do what she's doing.” One last thing we love? That she’s not afraid to call B.S. on sketchy online business practices.

Must-read post: Lead Marketing: 67 Ways I’ve Generated Business Leads Online (& Off)

Clapping Dog Media with Meg Clarke**

Meg is a self-proclaimed “expert at connecting the dots of data to get your business found.” How? Through the thing we all love to hate: SEO. If you want break-it-down-for-me tutorials and insights into what SEO really is (and how it can benefit your biz), the Clapping Dog blog is your next best bookmark.

Must-read post: How Does Content Clustering Get You Found by Google?

Danielle Zeigler***

Whether you’re looking to master SEO, social media, blogging, or your introversion (yes, it fits in) as you grow your online business, Danielle’s blog is a treasure trove for bite-sized, yet incredibly thorough resources on all of the above -- best served with a side of coffee.

Must-read post: 7 Best Locations to Find + Convert More Subscribers on Your Blog

Define Your Hustle with Rachel Moffett

“Build a successful business on your own terms and do work that’s fulfilling.” Did you catch that? On your own terms. We often say that business isn’t one-size-fits-all, so it’s no wonder that Rachel’s message resonates with us. Rachel supports your business growth by focusing on all things related to creating a digital presence, especially blogging.

Must-read post: 7 Blogger Collaborations to Get You Noticed

JAM Marketing Group with Brit Kolo

JAM’s nominator said it best: “Brit makes marketing approachable so it feels good for you and your personality...so you can enjoy making genuine connections and not be left feeling sleazy!” Our addition: We can’t help but grab a cuppa and join her as she rocks the full-time coffee + comfort lifestyle while interviewing fellow boss ladies over on the Marketing in Yoga Pants podcast.

Must-read post: How to Get More Engagement On Your Social Media Posts (and Everywhere Else in Life)

Jess Creatives with Jessica Freeman***

We’re sorry for what we’re about to do: “Who’s that girl? Who’s that girl? It’s Jess!” (Apologies if you have the New Girl theme stuck in your head all day now.) This girl, Jess, lands back here on The List because her tried-and-true material (design and digital marketing) is still great, but her slight pivot into video marketing is fantastic -- and timely, since video ain’t going anywhere.

Must-read post: 7 Steps to Get YouTube Sponsors

Kate Doster

We laughed out loud when we read one nominator’s comment about Kate: “I love how she use[s] the word homeslice all the time.” It’s true -- she does. Nominator Rita added, “Kate had me hooked from her very first email.” A darn good thing, we say, considering her area of expertise is all things email marketing!

Must-read post: How I Increased My Blog Traffic To Get More In 3 Months Than I Did All Last Year Combined

Mariah Magazine with Mariah Liszewski

While we were slightly disappointed to find out “Magazine” isn’t her real last name, that didn’t take away from the fact that Mariah is a whiz on all things websites + SEO. She’ll make you one, too, with her dumb-it-down-for-me blog tutorials and in-depth (not to mention entertaining) YouTube videos.

Must-read post: How Much SEO Authority Does Your Website Have?

Meera Kothand**

If we had to describe Meera’s content area in two words, it would be “digital products.” (And if we were allowed a few more? We’d add in “last year’s digital marketing category winner.”) Nominator Marianne adds, “Every single one of Meera's posts is pure gold for any blogger or content marketer. It's straight to the point and actionable. She really knows her stuff!”

Must-read post: How to Write Emails People Want to Open: 20 Hacks to Stand Out in the Inbox

Megabolt Digital with Meg Casebolt

If we’re going to talk SEO (not-so-fun), we might as well bring superheroes into the mix (super fun). That’s exactly what Meg does at Megabolt Digital -- she answers the question we’re all perpetually asking (“WTF is SEO?”), then makes it a topic you’ll not only love learning about, but you’ll love seeing the results of, as well.

Must-read post: Elevate Your Posts: A Comprehensive SEO Checklist

Monica Louie

Facebook Ads -- you either love ‘em, or you hate ‘em. It’s safe to say Monica loves them, and after learning from and implementing her expert tips for your campaigns -- and seeing the results -- you just might, too. As she says: “If it has to do with Facebook Ads and conversions, [she] can help.”

Must-read post: 7 Free Facebook Tools to Get Massive Results with Ads

Nathalie Lussier***

With eight years of blog archives under her belt, Nathalie is a staple for digital marketing genius. Once you dig in, you’ll be wanting her to “popup” in your inbox and feed reader every day. (That’s a dad joke, since Nathalie and her husband are the creators of PopupAlly, a free popup WP plugin we love.)

Must-listen episode: Should You Use Popups?

Redefining Mom with Monica Froese

While higher ed isn’t essential for solopreneur success, one nominator points out that Monica “has an MBA degree in finance and uses her knowledge and experience to teach moms how to run a business from home.” Not too shabby, we say. Nominator Heather adds, “She provides the best tactical information for business owners minus the fluff!”

Must-read post: 7 Clever ConvertKit Automation Hacks

RKA Ink with Rachael Kay Albers

Web designer, business builder, and self-proclaimed “awkward marketer,” Rachael is full of digital marketing smarts -- and delivers them with a whole lot of personality. Get the insights on her blog or her weekly show, the aptly-named Awkward Marketing, where she offers fun-size small business advice with storytelling and comedy for entrepreneurs who want to create a meaningful presence online.

Must-watch episode: How to Scale Your Business Without Creating a Zillion Offerings

The Stacey Harris***

She’s not “a” Stacey Harris, she’s “The Stacey Harris” -- and don’t ya forget it! Stacey’s claim-to-fame is her Hit the Mic podcast, where she rocks almost 400 bite-sized episodes. In a world of hour-long podcast episodes, Hit the Mic is usually under 20 minutes, which means you’ll be walking away with digestible, actionable social media marketing tips that you can easily and painlessly implement.

Must-listen episode: 3 Things I Love About LinkedIn

Sweaty Wisdom with Chris Emmer

What started as a blog documenting her wellness journey (hence the “sweaty”) has turned into a resource for solopreneurs with a mission we can all get behind: “Do what lights you up and pass the spark.” Through her branding, social media, and digital tips, Chris helps you “ditch brand shame and social media overwhelm” so you can “stop hiding and step into the light.”

Must-read post: Why You're Losing Instagram Followers (And Why It's A Good Thing)

tiny blue orange with Alison Monday****

If claiming that you’re not tech-savvy is your way out of any website or security jam, Alison’s your girl. Her tutorials and tips on WordPress development, site security, analytics, and more will have you suddenly fluent in tech-speak -- and proud of it.

Must-read series: Nerd Alert

Women Winning Online with Jen Snyder

As one of 2018’s most nominated sites, Women Winning Online has obviously captured the hearts of solopreneurs around the world. What really caught our eye on all of those nominations? Almost every single one pointed out how much Jen genuinely cares and wants to see her community succeed. In the words of Stacey: “Jen has a gift for connecting with her followers and offers valuable content.”

Must-read post: 3 Surprising Reasons Bloggers Get More Subscribers with Landing Pages

WP+BFF with Shannon Mattern****

Guess who’s back, back again? Shannon’s back, tell a friend. We love Shannon and WP+BFF for many reasons: her killer tech advice, her famous, Free 5 Day Website Challenge, her rallying of her supporters every year to crush 100 Best Sites nominations, and now, her pep talks for side hustlers.

Must-read post: The Truth About My First 3 Months of Self-Employment

XO Sarah with Sarah Morgan****

When she’s not practicing swoon-worthy aerial arts (so cool), Sarah’s embracing her (self-appointed) job of helping “more of your people find you online.” Her tips on intentional digital growth -- from blogging to email marketing to social media -- will take the overwhelm out of growing and put the excitement back in.

Must-read post: 10 Digital Products You Can Make in a Weekend


Publicity, Launching and Sales

The sites to visit when it’s time to garner attention, build your launch strategy, and make more money, honey.

community of solopreneursCategory winner: The Persuasion Revolution with Bushra Azhar

We knew Bushra was a woman after our own heart when we read this copy on her site: “What? You expect regular from me? WTF is wrong with you?” A self-proclaimed persuasion strategist (not to mention a spicy food connoisseur and a social psychology aficionado), Bushra is your go-to for using psychology to grow your business. Once you’ve soaked in all of her knowledge, head to her How They Persuade interview series to hear from other wise business owners.

Must-read post: The Mere Exposure Effect: How to Use Psychology to Remain Top of Mind All Day, Every Day

community of solopreneursB. with Brigitte Lyons

“What do you want to be known for? Whoa...big opener, I know.” That’s the message that greets you on Brigitte’s Start Here page -- and it’s an important question for any solopreneur. Getting known (for all your right reasons) is Brigitte’s jam and she’ll help get you there through content on refining your message and getting media coverage.

Must-read post: 3 Reasons Your Business Benefits When You Make Social Impact a Priority (And One Risk)

CourseCrafting

CourseCraft is one of our favorite platforms for building your course online (they just make it so easy!, but what we love about it even more is the CourseCrafting blog: a go-to resource for tips on course creation, e-course marketing, and building a business on purpose. In their words: “Bring your brilliance. We'll handle the rest.”

Must-read post: It’s Not the Size of Your List that Matters, It’s How You Use It

Femtrepreneur with Mariah Coz***

If you’ve created a course? Mariah will help you promote it. If you haven’t created a course? She’ll help you create it. Mariah’s your A-Z resource for course creation, passive income, blogging, and more. Catch her solo blog posts or her joint podcast with previous #100BestSites winner, Megan Minns, over on her site.

Must-read post: How to Host a Webinar: The Four “P’s” of Webinars

Hey Shenee with Shenee Howard***

Shenee is very vocal about her love of Keanu Reeves, ramen noodles and using GIFs to express herself. (Hey, at least we agree on two out of three! Keanu? Nooo...) Here’s one thing we can definitely agree on: Shenee’s motto and strategy -- Name It, Explain It, And Profit -- helps solopreneurs give their product a great name, explain it with a great message, and profit accordingly.

Must-read post: 35 Reasons Why People Didn’t Buy Your Last Offer

Kathryn Hocking**

At first glance, Kathryn’s content seems to fit squarely here in the Publicity, Launching, and Sales category. But admittedly, we struggled with putting her in the Mindset and Solopreneur Lifestyle category instead, because she does a stellar job of weaving mindset management into your launch strategy. (Think: chakras, energy management, natural cycles, and money blocks.) Cheers to her for that!

Must-read post: What Do the Chakras Have to Do with Launching?

Lauren Caselli

“Ready to transform your business with live events?” That’s Lauren’s rallying cry. Just because we have a special place in our heart for all things digital doesn’t mean we don’t appreciate the value of often-overlooked alternatives, like IRL gatherings. Lauren is your go-to for capturing the “unparalleled power” of said events.

Must-read post: Is Your Business Ready to Host an Event?

The Persuasion Revolution with Bushra Azhar

We knew Bushra was a woman after our own heart when we read this copy on her site: “What? You expect regular from me? WTF is wrong with you?” A self-proclaimed persuasion strategist (not to mention a spicy food connoisseur and a social psychology aficionado), Bushra is your go-to for using psychology to grow your business. Once you’ve soaked in all of her knowledge, head to her How They Persuade interview series to hear from other wise business owners.

Must-read post: The Mere Exposure Effect: How to Use Psychology to Remain Top of Mind All Day, Every Day

The Rule Breaker’s Club with Courtney Johnston****

“The Rule Breaker’s Club is a high octane, full-on passion-fueled bundle of joy with a strong side dish of sarcasm.” Given that powerful copy, you likely won’t be too shocked to find out that Courtney, the “Chief Rebel” of The Rule Breaker’s Club, is a copywriter by trade. She’s here to help infuse personality, strategy, and fun into your copy and client relationships, too, all in the name of making sales.

Must-read post: How to Host a Potential Client Call

Selena Soo

Selena has one question for you: “Are you a hidden gem who dreams of being a household name?” Whether you’re looking to gain more authority in your online space or land a dream business interview on TV, Selena is a publicity and PR powerhouse who understands what it’s like to be a highly-sensitive online business owner who’s comfortable stepping into the spotlight, regardless.

Must-read post: How to Grab a TV Producer’s Attention

Wholesale for Creatives with Carolyn Keating

Product makers, this one’s for you! You might call Carolyn wholesale-obsessed (it’s okay, she says it herself), but she’s also the first to acknowledge how “scary it can be to invest your time and money into a segment of your business that isn't a guaranteed success.” Luckily, she’s there to provide strategy, systems, and support for makers and product-based business owners.

Must-read series: Selling Wholesale


Branding, Copy, and Content Strategy

The sites to visit for tips on designing and wordsmithing the brand and content that tells your biz story.community of solopreneurs

Category winner (tie): Copy Hackers**

If you’re looking for resources that’ll help you DIY your copywriting, look no further. The original home of “conversion copywriting” (founder Joanna literally coined the term), the Copy Hackers team and killer lineup of guest posters provide endless content on the best ways to use copy to boost your conversions. You don’t have to be a copywriter to love Copy Hackers -- but you just might want to be after visiting here.

Must-read post: Could These 3 Little-Known Conversion Triggers Jack up Sales in Your Email Campaign?

Category winner (tie): Your Content Empire with Hailey Dale

We couldn’t have said it better than nominator Rebecca: “Hailey is an absolute genius. The way she explains how to create and manage content is like nothing I’ve ever seen. She is super generous with what she gives away and is very engaging with her followers. Call me a super fan!” All we wanna know is: Can we join your fan club, Rebecca?

Must-read post: Epic Guide to Creating Your 2018 Content Strategy

community of solopreneursAnn Handley

You might know Ann from her uber-popular book, Everybody Writes, or through her leadership at MarketingProfs -- so, needless to say, this writer’s crushing it. But maybe you didn’t know that you could head right on over to her site’s blog, where she practices what she preaches, serving up writing and marketing lessons with real-life stories baked in.

Must-read post: Why Marketers are Embracing Long-Form Storytelling

The Branded Solopreneur with Dre Beltrami**

We might be partial to wine-guzzling Italians, but we think you’ll love this site because of the crazy detailed resources on branding, design, and visual strategies Dre provides -- in her sincere, straight-shooting way. “Visual revolution?” Yes, please!

Must-read series: The Color Series

Brittany Berger**

Unicorns. The praise hands emoji. Endless pop culture references. Oh, and incredibly in-depth articles on content creation and promotion. (Very meta.) In the words of one nominator, Brittany “helps you actually use the content you create, whether that's finding the right places to promote it or learning how to repurpose so you can be everywhere online.” Our advice? Dig deep into her archives for some stellar automation advice, too. She is, after all, fondly called the “automation queen” by nominator Jess.

Must-read post: How to Write a Welcome Email Series That Turns Subscribers Into BFFs

Copy Hackers**

If you’re looking for resources that’ll help you DIY your copywriting, look no further. The original home of “conversion copywriting” (founder Joanna literally coined the term), the Copy Hackers team and killer lineup of guest posters provide endless content on the best ways to use copy to boost your conversions. You don’t have to be a copywriter to love Copy Hackers -- but you just might want to be after visiting here.

Must-read post: Could These 3 Little-Known Conversion Triggers Jack up Sales in Your Email Campaign?

Kaleigh Moore

If writing is any part of your business (hint: we bet it is), you’ll love Kaleigh’s straight-up advice on self-editing, gaining more confidence in your writing, and overcoming that intimidating blank page in front of you. When she’s not writing or passing on her wisdom to all of us, she says she’s “usually speaking in strange voices to [her] dog.” We love that.

Must-read post: The 6 Best Pieces of Writing Advice

Kayla Hollatz****

“All impactful copy, content, and strategies are created in my cozy studio (aka my three season porch overlooking the lake) in Minneapolis, Minnesota, don'tcha know.” First of all: Can we come visit?! Second of all: Kayla is absolutely right when she uses the word “impactful” to describe her work. Come to Kayla for her copy and content advice...but stay for her thought-provoking posts on business ownership.

Must-read post: 10 Questions to Spark Your Year in Review

Magnoliahouse Creative with Irene Hardy

Irene is all about “more conversion, more cocktails,” creating “websites and brands to help you hit your numbers in time for happy hour.” We’ll cheers to that...but what you might love even more are her tangible tips for increasing conversions with your website, your client experience, and your overall digital presence.

Must-read post: 3 Tiny Ways to Increase Conversions on Your Website

Val Geisler**

Last year, Val was hanging out in the Mindset and Solopreneur Lifestyle category on The List -- but this year, the email marketing queen has made the hop to Branding, Copy, and Content Strategy as she coaches fellow small businesses on the do’s and don’ts of writing emails that actually work. You’re guaranteed to learn a thing (or 10) from the tear downs she does on her blog.

Must-read post: Email Onboarding Tear Down, Webinar Edition: CoSchedule

Your Content Empire with Hailey Dale

We couldn’t have said it better than nominator Rebecca: “Hailey is an absolute genius. The way she explains how to create and manage content is like nothing I’ve ever seen. She is super generous with what she gives away and is very engaging with her followers. Call me a super fan!” All we wanna know is: Can we join your fan club, Rebecca?

Must-read post: Epic Guide to Creating Your 2018 Content Strategy


Biz Growth, Systems, and Productivity

The sites to visit when it’s time to hunker down and grow your biz — and the systems and productivity tips that’ll get you there.

community of solopreneursCategory winner: Tara Gentile****

There’s a reason Tara’s been a staple on The List since its beginning: She continually produces epic content geared toward helping entrepreneurs build healthy, sustainable businesses that blend profit and purpose. Whether you read her articles or listen to her podcast, What Works, you can’t go wrong.

Must-read post: The 12-Month Evolution Of A Digital Product Pricing Strategy: The Good, The Bad, And The Uglycommunity of solopreneurs

Amy Lynn Andrews*

You’d think after getting the same newsletter each and every week for over several years, you’d be slightly over it. Not the case with Amy’s The Useletter®, the Saturday morning email you won’t be able to ignore with its to-the-point, helpful tips, resources, and experiments for solopreneurs and small businesses looking to sharpen their systems and focus on what matters.

Must-read series: The Useletter®

Devon Smiley****

In her words, Devon teaches “essential skills for solopreneurs -- because they work way too hard to be stuck earning peanuts.” Preach, sister. We’re full-time devotees to Devon’s consistently deep dive into the know-how us solopreneurs need to negotiate for what we want -- and deserve. And her French flair est très amical.

Must-read post: 5 Habits of Highly Successful Negotiators

Kyla Roma****

There’s a reason Kyla’s been a staple on The List since year one -- and we have a feeling it has something to do with her focus on “profitable monthly, weekly, and daily routines that get reliable results.” If you believe different > better, want to prioritize profit, and break the cycle of busy, K-Y-L-A is your girl. (The chant never gets old.)

Must-read post: How to Elevate Your Team’s Marketing Skills Before You Launch

Megan Flatt**

Megan’s tagline continues to make us smile: “Run your business like a mother.” As a business growth strategist, Megan is out to help “women have the confidence and clarity to see motherhood as an advantage in everything they do.” Follow along as she spreads her mission -- and her mama wisdom -- on her blog and via her show, The Mama CEO.

Must-watch episode: Defy the 9-5

Miss GSD with Lanie Lamarre

Getting shit done...pretty essential for any business owner, wouldn’t ya say? With Lanie (aka Miss GSD) as your partner in crime, you’ll GSD till the day is done. (Or until naptime/happy hour, at least.) Nominator Meghan says, “As a one-woman show with a side-hustle, I need my systems to be on point to keep my sanity. Lanie always hooks me up with the best systems advice and workflows to make #allthethings seem less overwhelming.”

Must-read post: 5 Big Myths About Using Automations to Sell Services

Nesha Woolery**

“You don't need to hustle like a madwoman to build a profitable business. You need to work smarter, not harder.” Amen, Nesha! Project management. Client intake processes. Pricing your services. Nesha tackles all of these areas with grace -- and an amazing British accent, to boot.

Must-read post: 3 Income Plan Mistakes To Avoid

Small Business Boss Co.

From the ladies behind Scoop Studios, Small Business Boss Co. is the place to go as a service-based business owner who wants to ditch the “shoulds” and start owning the business side of being a...well, business owner. Between the blog and the podcast, you can’t go wrong if you’re looking to better manage your time, land more clients, create a signature process, and more.

Must-listen episode: Investments with Impact – Where to Spend Money in Your Business

sproutHR with Ashley Cox**

Be honest -- when you think “human resources,” you probably don’t think, “yes please!” That’s why we love Ashley’s blog over at sproutHR, where she helps entrepreneurs like yourself build people and hiring skills that will extend the impact your business can have even further.

Must-read post: 10 Simple (and Free!) Ways to Show Your Team You Appreciate Them

Tara Gentile****

There’s a reason Tara’s been a staple on The List since its beginning: She continually produces epic content geared toward helping entrepreneurs build healthy, sustainable businesses that blend profit and purpose. Whether you read her articles or listen to her podcast, What Works, you can’t go wrong.

Must-read post: The 12-Month Evolution Of A Digital Product Pricing Strategy: The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly

The Uncaged Life with Rebecca Tracey****

Every once in awhile, we think about the sites we’re obsessed with and ask ourselves, “Is this site really as good as we think it is?!” Spoiler alert: The Uncaged Life is. Nominator Jess agrees: “[Becca] cuts through all the BS out there about starting a biz and gives straight forward, actionable advice!” Becca’s embracing a new favorite F-word (focus) to help you cut out confusion and overwhelm and get on your way to what really matters in business.

Must-read post: 3 Sneaky (But Legit!) Ways to Make More Sales


Finance, Law, and Other Things We Might Not Like to Think About

The sites to turn to for the “logistics”: what to do with that money you’ve made, and how to protect your business (and yourself).

community of solopreneursCategory winner: I Will Teach You to Be Rich with Ramit Sethi**

At first glance, Ramit’s content might seem like spammy clickbait -- “I Will Teach You to Be Rich”? Insert eye roll emoji. (We’re sorry, Ramit, we love ya.) But what lies beneath is some of the most easy-to-follow, actionable, foolproof financial advice we’ve ever read. And for that reason, Ramit reappears back here on The List in 2018.

Must-read post: Financial Independence: 4 Steps to Save $1,500,000community of solopreneurs

Amy Northard CPA**

When it comes to finances, accounting, and taxes, we have one wish: Please dumb it down for us. That’s what Amy does not just through her services, but over on her blog, where she offers digestible tips you can actually take action on when it comes to estimated taxes, 1099s, checking refund statuses, and much more. Accounting stress, be gone.

Must-read post: Everything You Need to Know About 1099s

Annette Stepanian**

Meet your legal BFF. That’s Annette -- and while “legal BFF” might be a self-proclaimed title, after you’ve gotten “the legal lowdown” on her Office Talk podcast, you’ll likely be using the term, too. We love what this reviewer has to say about Annette’s show: "It's like having a real-life Elle Woods in your ears each and every week helping creative biz owners through the legal stuff..."

Must-listen episode: Legal Quickie: 4 Essential Things the FTC Wants You to Know Before Endorsing a Company's Products

the artist’s J.D. with Kiffanie Stahle**

Kiffanie is back on The List this year because she has a section on her blog called “Don’t Be a Jerk.” We’re kidding, though making us laugh while discussing legal issues definitely gets you brownie points. Kiffanie is there when you need specific legal questions answered, but she’s also there to give you answers to questions you didn’t even know you should be asking.

Must-read post: How to Increase Sales by Including These 7 Legal Details

Autumn Witt Boyd**

It’s not every day that you want to spend time on a lawyer’s website. Autumn’s is different. Though her services are designed for “seven-figure+ creative and online business owners” (she’s got some big names on her client roster), you can still benefit from her expertise if you’re not quite at the seven- (or six-) figure mark. As Autumn points out, “you don’t know what you don’t know” when it comes to law, so study up on her site!

Must-listen episode: The Steps to Take Before You Start a Licensing Program

Britt and the Benjamins with Brittney Knies

Anyone who uses gym analogies in her work (and loves strength training, to boot) is a a friend of ours. Britt talks about confidence, motivation, and discipline in relation to money management and we can’t get enough. We’ll leave you with this reminder from Britt (and her Benjamins): “Managing your money is more emotional than mathematical, meaning your Psychology 101 class may have been more beneficial for you than you thought.”

Must-read post: The #1 Reasons Your Money is a Mess (& How to Change That)

Careful Cents with Carrie Smith****

If “careful” is a word you’ve never used to describe your financial decisions, that’s even more reason to check out Careful Cents. Business bank accounts, money management app reviews, and long-term systems for financial stability -- those are just a few of Carrie’s favorite things. And they might become yours soon, too. We promise, it’s not just wishful thinking with Carrie on your side.

Must-read post: How to Budget With Irregular Income to Avoid Going Broke

Ellevest**

It’s no surprise that we believe in investing in women. So, needless to say, Ellevest and their tagline, “Invest in Women. Starting with Yourself.” satisfies our love of investing, our love of self-care, and our love of supporting other women. Come for the platform that actually invests your money, stay for the sage investing advice that sets you up for long-term success. (Their resource center is good, but their emails are great.)

Must-read post: The Go-Getter’s Guide to Investing

Financial Best Life with Lauren Bowling

Financial Best Life -- which you may know previously as L Bee and the Money Tree -- is run by Lauren Bowling. While the older site was all about LB’s success and failures with money, the new version focuses on “brainstorm[ing] ways to be strategic so we never have to let money problems hold us back from the things we want to do, the places we want to go, or the things we want to create.” (Insert praise hands emoji.)

Must-read post: The 6 Biggest Credit Score Mistakes (+ How You’re Making Them)

The Holistic Wallet with Michelle Bobrow

Michelle’s about page had us fist-pumping in agreement: “We believe that your net worth doesn’t change who you are or measure your success. Actually, it doesn’t mean a damn thing about you! The only thing that matters with your money is that you use it to live a life that makes you feel proud.” Ain’t that the truth. Enter: Her rock-solid and easy-to-follow advice on money management, so that you can “turn your money mayhem into money magic!”

Must-read post: Money Moves to Make Every Month

I Will Teach You to Be Rich with Ramit Sethi**

At first glance, Ramit’s content might seem like spammy clickbait -- “I Will Teach You to Be Rich”? Insert eye roll emoji. (We’re sorry, Ramit, we love ya.) But what lies beneath is some of the most easy-to-follow, actionable, foolproof financial advice we’ve ever read. And for that reason, Ramit reappears back here on The List in 2018.

Must-read post: Financial Independence: 4 Steps to Save $1,500,000

Sam Vander Wielen

Sam -- a lawyer-turned-entrepreneur -- doesn’t just want you to create a service-based business that “gives you the freedom you’ve been searching for”... she wants you to do in a “fearlessly, Legally Legit” way. (Yep, she owns #legallylegit as a killer hashtag, too.)

Must-read post: The Online Entrepreneur’s Legally Legit Guide to Email Marketing


Mindset and Solopreneur Lifestyle

The sites to visit when you need a fresh start, a different take, or a reminder to love the life you’ve built as a solopreneur.

community of solopreneursCategory winner: Danielle LaPorte***

The Desire Map. Fire Starter Sessions. White Hot Truth. Is there anything Danielle LaPorte does that isn’t spot on when it comes to reframing our mindset, bringing in new perspectives, and finding alignment? Add a new podcast to the line up: Light Work, “girlfriend-style sermons on serving the world while staying sane, cosmic connectedness over tech addiction, self compassion and more fulfilling friendships.”

Must-read post: Good Manners and Some Wuv. We Could All Use More of Them.

community of solopreneursAlexandra Franzen****

While Alex has been a staple on The List from the very beginning, 2018 marks the year she makes the move to the mindset category. Why? It’s simple: Her thought-provoking articles on business, on kindness, and on writing will make you reconsider how you prioritize, how you communicate, and how you live.

Must-read post: Get Out of the Cart

The Balanced Mamas with Heather Farris

Hey there, mama: On top of client work, product management, bookkeeping, and all that comes with being a one woman shop, you’re also running a household, shuttling kids back-and-forth to school, and, oh yeah, trying to keep your relationship alive. That’s where Heather at The Balanced Mamas comes in: her “real life solutions for stressed out moms” will help you bring more intentionality into your day, even with everything on your plate.

Must-read post: The One Thing You Need To Tackle Paper Clutter

Be More With Less with Courtney Carver**

You might not be looking to pare your closet down to 33 items, but Courtney’s take on minimalism and being more with less will undoubtedly shift your mindset on the things you say yes -- and no -- to in both life and business. (But really...she can help you with that closet, too.)

Must-read post: A Toast to the Tiny Steps (Every Big Change is the Result of 100 Tiny Steps)

Clarity on Fire***

It’s not revolutionary, but it’s not simplistic -- it’s clear, concise doses of clarity. That’s what lands Clarity on Fire on our list for the third time. Somehow Rachel and Kristen have us nodding along vigorously with every post -- from convincing us that it’s time to stop putting our lives on hold, to enjoying your free time again, to how to get your groove back.

Must-read post: 7 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Saying Yes to Anything

Danielle LaPorte***

The Desire Map. Fire Starter Sessions. White Hot Truth. Is there anything Danielle LaPorte does that isn’t spot on when it comes to reframing our mindset, bringing in new perspectives, and finding alignment? Add a new podcast to the line up: Light Work, “girlfriend-style sermons on serving the world while staying sane, cosmic connectedness over tech addiction, self compassion and more fulfilling friendships.”

Must-read post: Good Manners and Some Wuv. We Could All Use More of Them.

Hello 7 with Rachel Rodgers

You might know Rachel as the legal pro behind Small Business Bodyguard. These days, she’s lending her expertise to the same entrepreneur crowd, but with a different tilt: She wants to “help women hit seven figures without sacrificing their families and sanity.” We can certainly get behind that -- especially with this straight-talking, sassy mama’s style.

Must-read post: No More Business Booty Calls

Hey Katie Lee

With a motto of “how you live your everyday life is how you live your whole life,” Katie is on a mission to help “busy, over-achieving women” (sound like anyone you know?) be more intentional with their time in order to ditch the overwhelm and find more joy in each moment.

Must-read post: Have You Tried Reverse Pinteresting?

Impact Theory with Tom Bilyeu

As Tom says, “After the success of Quest Nutrition, I could have bought an island and retired, but that’s not the game I want to play. I believe that life is about the acquisition of skills and putting those skills to the test in service of something bigger than oneself.” Follow along as he interviews business owners, professional athletes, musicians, and more on the how and why behind the impact they’re creating.

Must-listen episode: Mel Robbins on Why Motivation is Garbage

Katherine Mackenzie Smith**

Introverts, time to come out of hiding (that’s an introvert joke) to celebrate Katherine and the online home she’s created for introverts. We absolutely loved reading all of Katherine’s about page -- that girl’s got a way with words and knows how to tell a story that connects with her readers. If you’re constantly thinking that the online business world is set up for extroverts, look no further than Katherine’s site for introvert inspiration.

Must-listen episode: League of Extraordinary Introverts: Being a Quiet Girl In a Noisy World

Kris Carr

Kris kickstarted a “Crazy Sexy wellness revolution” upon her own diagnosis with stage IV cancer in 2003, but she didn’t keep that revolution to herself. Today, she helps women (and men!) live healthier through her killer green recipes, her meditations and manifestation tips, and -- what we love most -- her insights on abundance and rest that all solopreneurs can take a cue from.

Must-read post: What To Do When Rest Isn’t Restful

Laura Simms***

“I call it a ‘career homecoming,’ because finding the right career feels like coming home.” Can we get a collective sigh of relief? With sections on changing careers, quitting your job, managing your mindset, you can think of Laura’s site as the “pre-work” for business ownership. But once you’re in business? You’ll love her “work for yourself” section.

Must-read post: A Simple Way to Feel More Powerful

MotherHustle

We’ve all seen the spammy “mom blogs” out there -- MotherHustle isn’t one of them. With themes like guilt, motivation, and self-care, MotherHustle feels authentic, through and through. One nominator says, “I love the monthly themes, which the panelists and various contributors use as a starting point for their own unique essays -- the various viewpoints on the same topic are so great to read. They always make me think.”

Must-read post: The Ripple Effect of Self-Care

Puttylike with Emilie Wapnick**

If the term “multi-passionate” strikes a chord with you, Emilie’s your girl. She’s branded you (and us, and herself) as “multipotentialites” -- and wants you to fully embrace your “dynamic, multifaceted lives, in practical and sustainable ways.”

Must-read post: Why You Should Stop Freaking Out About Wasting Your Time

Seth Godin***

Seth’s blog could truly fit under any category on this list -- which would make him an obvious choice for All Around, right? But here’s the thing: Whether he’s talking about marketing and sales; productivity and metrics; or legacy and leadership, one thing’s true of all of his writing -- his bite-sized insights continually shift the way we think about things. For a guy who’s written over 7,000 blog posts (and hosts a new podcast), that’s saying something.

Must-read post: Ignore Sunk Clowns

Tanya Geisler

“Impostor syndrome,” “impostor complex,” “lizard brain”...call it what you want. Whatever you choose, it’s no match for Tanya -- and after visiting her site, it won’t be for you, either. Tanya helps business owners everywhere break through impostor complex to “use your life and your gifts to instigate change and instill joy...for yourself and the world.”

Must-read post: Down With Diminishment

Thrive Global**

Around these parts, Arianna Huffington is like a fairy godmother, bestowing serenity, calm, and restfulness upon us. (If we sound like total fangirls, it’s because we are.) So it’s no surprise that she and her team at Thrive Global tackle issues of well-being, wisdom, and wonder with engaging, research-backed studies that we actually want to read.

Must-use resource: What’s Your Thrive Pulse?

Thriving Adventure with Christine Barnes

We’re suckers for sites that invite us to make ourselves at home. (What does this say about our lifestyle?) But when we’re not lounging at home, we’re all about sucking the marrow out of life. That’s where Christine comes in. In Christine’s words, “My goal with my work (both as a coach & a writer) is to help people reignite their courage so they can move forward with their lives once and for all.” You’ll find topics like resilience, redemption, and resignation on her blog, so get ready for her to spark some serious introspection and reflection within you.

Must-read series: Pivot

Yes and Yes with Sarah Von Bargen

Sarah is like that friend that gives you tough love when you need it most. Though not all of her content relates to solopreneurship, we’d be remiss not to include her on this list. Come for her mindset content -- habit building, getting what you want without following “the rules,” and self-care vs. self-sabotage -- and stay for her mind-expanding interviews, which will give you a regular dose of perspective shifts.

Must-read post: Why You Need an “Every Damn Day” List + How to Create One


All Around

For the sites we can’t pin down to just one topic, try as we might. We admit: It’s hard to excel at everything, but these sites succeed.

community of solopreneursCategory winner: Marie Forleo****

You may know her from her beautiful brunette locks, her silly dance moves, her MarieTV episodes with the A-list guest line-up, or her signature catchphrase: “The world needs that special gift that only you have.” Incredibly valuable takeaways, wrapped up in a pretty bow -- that’s Ms. Forleo.

Must-watch episode: 3 Steps to Turn Envy into Your Superpower

community of solopreneursAll Up In Your Lady Business

Combine co-hosts Jaclyn and Jessica and you get an opposites-attract kinda situation -- sassy southern girl meets bubbly New Yorker. What results is two successful, wisecracking business owners gently ribbing each other, chit-chatting with guests, and spilling their business secrets. So grab a coffee or a sweet tea and get ready for some peppy, uplifting conversations.

Must-listen episode: The Uncomfortable Parts of Pivoting or Changing Directions

Being Boss***

Kathleen and Emily define “Being Boss” as “...owning who you are, knowing what you want, and actually making it happen.” You know it ain’t easy, but Kathleen and Emily make it approachable through their podcasts (yes, there are two now!), the aptly-named Being Boss and the newly-released Making a Business.

Must-listen episode: Are You Obsessed With Your Hustle?

byRegina with Regina Anaejionu****

She came, she wrote, she conquered -- and by conquered, we mean she’s been on our list of 100 Best Sites all four years and swept up in voting for the Branding, Copy, and Content Strategy category last year. It’s seriously tough to name all of the reasons we love engaging with Regina’s content, so we’ll leave it at this: She is the absolute queen of creating listicles that are actually valuable for your solo biz.

Must-read post: 16 Things You Can Do This Weekend to Streamline and Scale Your Business

Creative Empire Podcast

A creative biz attorney meets a life and business coach and an empire is formed. So goes the story of Christina and Reina, co-hosts of the Creative Empire Podcast. The most-used description of their podcast in iTunes reviews? Energy -- followed closely by humor, passion, intimacy, and honesty.

Must-listen episode: Becoming Obsessed with Your Business, with Melissa Cassera

The Entrepreneur Mastermind Show from Kickass Masterminds

Still relatively new on the scene but already kicking ass (see what we did there?), the Entrepreneur Mastermind Show is brought to you by Kickass Masterminds, a matchmaking site that curates + facilitates mastermind groups for entrepreneurs. We fully agree with nominator Devon that the podcast “is a great concept,” putting a different entrepreneur in the hot seat and bringing in an expert panel to help them through their issue, from selling to speaking and much, much more.

Must-listen episode: How Do I Create More Leveraged, Digital Products?

ittybiz with Naomi Dunford****

We’ll tell you this much: Naomi’s potential influence on your business ain’t itty. Naomi is a “triple Pisces, occasional redhead, and coach to small business owners ready for significant growth in the next 12 months” and though she prides herself on helping you “make confident marketing decisions,” she’s in the All Around category because she is so much more than just marketing.

Must-read post: The Benefits Of Writing A Book For Business: 7 Things You’ll Get, And 3 You Almost Definitely Won’t

Jenna Kutcher

If you’re on Instagram, it’s highly likely you know Jenna. If you’re into podcasts, it’s highly likely you know Jenna. If you’re a photographer...well, you get it. Jenna’s a household name these days as she brings her signature midwest charm to her beloved Instagram following, popular (and relatable) Goal Digger Podcast, and six-figure, multi-passionate empire.

Must-listen episode: How To Balance Being Multi-Passionate

Marie Forleo****

You may know her from her beautiful brunette locks, her silly dance moves, her MarieTV episodes with the A-list guest line-up, or her signature catchphrase: “The world needs that special gift that only you have.” Incredibly valuable takeaways, wrapped up in a pretty bow -- that’s Ms. Forleo.

Must-watch episode: 3 Steps to Turn Envy into Your Superpower

The Middle Finger Project with Ash Ambirge****

One word comes to mind when it comes to Ash: Unapologetic. And we love every bit of it. Whether she’s whipping your freelancer mindset into shape, shoving your solopreneur self to price appropriately, or hell, telling Barnes & Noble what’s wrong with their business model, Ash takes a no-holds barred approach to business and life, and will show you how to become unapologetically you in the process, too.

Must-read post: Fundamental Truth: You Can’t Make Money Unless You’re Making Offers

Paul Jarvis***

While often signing his Sunday Dispatches newsletter, “Your Internet Boyfriend” might seem a little presumptuous, Paul can call himself anything he wants while he continues providing invaluable content for freelancers through his blog, podcasts, and plethora of other free resources. What we love most? He turns the idea of success requiring exponential growth on its head and helps you build your business how you want.

Must-read post: Capitalism is a Snowball Rolling Down a Steep Hill

Pursuit with Purpose with Melyssa Griffin

You might recognize Melyssa as the artist formerly known as The Nectar Collective, but after making a million dollars in 2016 and finding herself absolutely miserable, she switched gears and is now the host of Pursuit with Purpose, an interview-based podcast where she chats with entrepreneurs about the impact they’re bringing to the world. No doubt listening to these interviews will inspire your legacy, as well.

Must-listen episode: Real Talk: Body Image, Self Love, Marriage, and Business with Jenna Kutcher

She's Building an Empire with Stacy Tuschl

When you land on Stacy’s website, it’s easy to feel intimidated by her -- picture-perfect design, great fashion sense, and a chill 11k followers on Instagram. But once you start listening to the podcast, we bet you’ll feel immediately at ease. Stacy is laid-back but excitable as she chats with her guests about all things entrepreneurship.

Must-listen episode: Releasing Blocks That Are Holding Your Business Back with Emily Aarons

Think Creative Collective**

Trello queens. Podcast hosts. Course creators. In the words of Emylee and Abagail themselves: “We help overwhelmed creative entrepreneurs create a functioning command center to tame the chaos of their business.” A word of warning before heading over to TCC: Prepare to be stunned by the sheer volume of incredibly valuable content you’ll find there.

Must-listen episode: Adding a Product Shop to Your Service-Based Business with Katie Hunt of Tradeshow Bootcamp

Wit + Wisdom

Wit + Wisdom is run by the dynamic duo Erin and Kirsten, who nominator Madeline says are “like the big sisters I never had -- with just the right balance of no-nonsense business insights and side-splitting approachable humor -- and I want to be them when I grow up.” Other words used to describe them? Real, honest, down-to-earth, thoughtful, cheerful, and “sometimes snarky.” (Sounds like our cup of tea.)

Must-read post: What It Means to "Treat It Like A Business"


A Little Something Extra

Running a solopreneur biz is about more than accounting, marketing, and branding -- you know this. These sites and apps provide just a little something more for the solopreneur who wants to develop personally, give back, and decompress.

Calm***

Calm is like our steadfast friend who will never leave our side, even when we’re not contributing to the friendship. As on-again-off-again meditators, we appreciate that. Whether you’re new to meditation, begrudgingly getting back into it, or practically a professional, we recommend turning to Calm for a daily (or, ahem, weekly) pick-me-up. Hat tip to the Daily Calm for managing to provide us with insights every.single.day.

Must-read section: Daily Calm

The Imperfect Boss with Ashley Beaudin

While Ash Beaudin is far from a newbie to the online scene, her most recent venture is one we’d be remiss not to feature here. A few times a year, Ash leads #theimperfectboss campaign on Instagram -- and dozens (heck, maybe even hundreds) of solopreneurs jump in to share the vulnerable side of running their businesses. Transparency + connection? Yes, please.

Must-follow campaign: #theimperfectboss campaign on Instagram

Kiva***

A common question amongst solopreneurs: How can I fit giving back into my business model? While we have a myriad of ideas, Kiva is always top of mind. The micro-lending platform makes it incredibly easy to invest in fellow women-run entrepreneurial ventures around the world, and to keep reinvesting as that money is paid back. Choose your passion, and start lending.

Must-join Lending Team: The One Woman Shop team 🙂

POPSUGAR Fitness***

We constantly swear up and down about the impact that a healthy lifestyle (with wine and chocolate, too) has on our well-being as solopreneurs. So, while we have a variety of go-to resources for healthy eating and fitness, none are quite as comprehensive as POPSUGAR Fitness. If you’re in an exercise rut, need meal prep ideas, or are on the hunt for workout gear, this might just become your new go-to.

Must-read post: 21 Simple Meal-Prep Combinations Anyone Can Do

theSkimm**

Let’s face it -- reading the news isn’t always a whole lot of fun. Rather than crawl into a cave (though tempting some days), we love getting our daily dose of worldly news from the to-the-point, sometimes-sarcastic (okay, always) voices behind theSkimm. Stay informed -- and maybe even get a laugh in -- each morning without losing time or sanity.

Must-subscribe email list: The Daily Skimm

And with that, there you have it: 100 amazing resources to make your solo biz incredible. Don’t forget to cast your vote for the #1 winner in each category before 5/18!

[Tweet “A must-read list for solo business owners everywhere: the #100BestSites for Solopreneurs”]

7 Steps to Create The Perfect Pin

7 Tips to Create the Perfect (Attention-Grabbing) Pin

You’ve likely heard this shouted from fellow business owners everywhere: Pinterest drives more traffic to my website than any other social media platform!

Well, it happens to be true for me. I see growth in my email list daily, and I get consistent sales for my ebook, pretty much all thanks to Pinterest. But, of course, it wasn’t always that way. It wasn’t until I studied the ins and outs of Pinterest strategy -- and made some strategic moves -- that my website traffic, email list, and sales increased.

Today, I’m going to share one (very important) secret to getting loads of traffic to your site from Pinterest: How to create the perfect Pin.

It probably goes without saying, but Pinterest relies on visuals, so it’s extremely important that the Pins you upload look attractive and, well...pinnable.

Here are a few tips on creating beautiful, attention-grabbing Pins for your blog:

1. Get clear on your brand

First and foremost, get clear on your brand’s colors, fonts, and tone or “mood.” It’s extremely important that your Pins be consistent and look on-brand.

Example: If your brand is punk rock, then something light and airy with pastel colors wouldn’t be on-brand, but something edgy and bold with bright colors would be. Colors and fonts are a great way to express your brand so be sure to choose wisely!

Below are two Pins that are different, yet similar. The trick is to use the same colors and fonts, and use photos that have a similar mood.

2. Create a template (or two)

The easiest way to maintain consistency (see above) is by creating templates for your Pins. That way, you can simply plug in different titles and images while keeping the overall look the same. (Bonus: This also saves you time!)

I shudder thinking about the awful blog graphics I had on my first website. They were all over the place, with no consistency in font, color, or size. Now I create all my Pins using Canva, a free online graphic design tool. You can create your own templates in Canva or use the templates that Canva provides that already have the ideal size and proportions for an attractive pin.

3. Stick to vertical pins only (No landscape, please!)

Vertical images (tall, not horizontal or square -- see One Woman Shop’s example below!) tend to get more clicks and repins. One main reason is because they’re easier to see. Most Pinterest users are on their mobile devices, so it’s important to make your Pins easy on the eyes.

Images that use the ratio of 2:3 or 4:5 are best. I make my Pins 600px by 900px and it works perfectly. When I upload the Pin to my blog it doesn’t look overly huge, yet it looks clear when viewed on Pinterest.

Again, Canva’s Pinterest templates already have the perfect ratio so there’s no stress about getting the correct ratio. #loveyoucanva

4. Make it easy to read

This tip is short, but not always easy: Make sure you use an easy-to-read text overlay. Remember, most people are on their tiny phones looking at these pins. If pins are difficult to read, it’s unlikely they’ll inspire people to click or repin.

5. Choose eye-catching photos

Beautiful images are key. If you’re using your own images, make sure they look professional (even if they’re shot from your iPhone). You want to avoid anything dark, out of focus, or messy-looking.

If you’re using stock photos, be sure to steer clear of anything cheesy. (You know what I mean. We’ve all seen those goofy photos with fake smiles and garish colors. Leave the cheesiness for the infomercials!) You want something on-brand and inspiring that your ideal client will love.

Some of my favorite stock photo sites are Haute Chocolate, SC Stockshop, and Bloguettes. They’re not free, but their photos are worth it. Instead of wading through pages and pages of questionable stock photography to find one beautiful, on-brand photo, you’ll have lots of gorgeous photos to choose from.

Remember to always keep your target audience in mind and choose photos that both showcase your brand and appeal to your peeps.

6. Get strategic with your blog titles

Creating a snappy title is just as important as creating consistent-looking Pins.

Your title needs to be specific and communicate exactly what your audience is going to get out of the article. You want to stir up an emotion in them and make them curious enough to click through to read your article or repin it to their board to read later.

For example, if you’re a health coach creating a Pin about what you eat in a day, the title “What I Ate Today” isn’t going to get many click throughs or repins. It’s too general.

Instead, try a title like “What a Health Coach Eats.” That’s much more intriguing, because your reader probably assumes that a health coach is more knowledgeable on healthy eats than the general public.

For extra credit, include a tantalizing subtitle. For our health coach example, you can try “What a Health Coach Eats (It Might Not Be What You Think!)” That title suggests that perhaps the health coach doesn’t eat healthy all the time, piquing your curiosity even more as to what exactly they eat. Makes you want to click through and see for yourself, doesn’t it?

Still need help finding a catchy title? Here’s a great article to get you started.

7. Add keyword-rich Pin descriptions

The Pin description is the text that shows up under the Pin.

Your description should include keywords and phrases relevant to your blog post and brand to help people find your Pin when searching Pinterest. Explain the purpose of the article without giving too much away and perhaps even invite the pinner to click through to read more.

For instance, if someone was looking for a yellow chair on Pinterest, they would search “yellow chair.” If your pin is a picture of a yellow chair but doesn’t have the words “yellow chair” in the description, it’s going to be very difficult, if not impossible, to find.

How exactly do you add descriptions to your Pins? When you upload your Pin to your blog post you’ll want to add the description to the Alt Text of the image. And if you’re using an SEO plugin like Yoast SEO you’ll want to write a description for the meta description, because sometimes this shows up on Pinterest too.

Once the Pin is uploaded to your site you can use your Pin It button to save to your Pinterest boards.

Make the most of your Pinterest presence

In addition to creating pinnable Pins, you’ll want to repin fresh content to your boards daily or almost daily (a mixture of your content and others’). Consistency is key! Pinterest rewards those who pin great content and often.

Pinterest is an amazing platform with tons of potential for driving high-quality traffic to your site. (And it’s so much fun!) Use these tips on how to create the perfect Pin and you’ll be on your way to growing your business using Pinterest!

P.S. Get 7 steps to creating a consistent overall brand here.

100 Best Sites for Solopreneurs

The 100 Best Sites for Solopreneurs from One Woman Shop

Welcome to the third edition of the 100 Best Sites for Solopreneurs from One Woman Shop!

Welcome to the third edition of 100 Best Sites for Solopreneurs.

As a solopreneur, it’s not tough to find solo business resources -- but it’s a true challenge to find the very best resources that provide the insight, advice, and tips you need to build the business that makes you want to shout from the rooftops: “I’m a solopreneur!!!

That’s what #100BestSites is all about -- and because we’re so committed to you, the OWS community, we promise that it’s better than ever. (Read: more fun, more comprehensive, and more engaging. After all, the third time’s the charm, right?)

The biggest change? For one month, we gave you, our community, the chance to vote for your top resource across each of our seven categories. You'll notice each winner highlighted at the top of each category below. 

Another addition: This year, we’re marking repeat offenders appearances on The List. ** means this is the second time the site has been featured, while *** means the site is a 100 Best Sites stronghold, appearing on all three editions.

Dig in…and be endlessly inspired to better your biz.


Digital Marketing

The sites to visit for all things marketing: blogging, social media, SEO, building your list, and developing a website that works.

The top picks for the 100 Best Sites for Solopreneurs are in!

Category winner: Meera Kothand

As one nominator put it, Meera “goes out of her way to help readers with exceptional content” -- and we certainly don’t disagree. Her in-depth and actionable advice on both blogging and email marketing will have all solopreneurs feeling like digital marketing champs by the time they’re done here.

Must-read post: How to Survive, Seduce and Sell With Your First Email Sequence

The top picks for the 100 Best Sites for Solopreneurs are in!

Alex Tooby

Alex is all about the ‘gram, coaching you through why you’re losing followers to how to make the most of Instagram Stories to how to monetize your Instagram account. And she speaks from experience: She created and monetized the @MenandCoffee Instagram account, generating over $100,000 in revenue in just 12 months. (We’ll wait here while you go check out that account. You know, for “research”...)

Must-read post: Instagram Shadowban -- What It Means, Why You Got One, How to Get Rid of It

A Prettier Web with Mel Karlik

While we’re definitely fans of the ‘90s, that fandom stops when it comes to landing on sites that look like they’re stuck there. It’s why we love Mel’s mission to help others create “a prettier web” -- and turn to her for all things WordPress via her free resources and the themes she creates for fellow boss and blog ladies.

Must-read post: 4 WordPress Membership Plugins to Build a Kick-Ass Membership Site

Bailey Richert

If we had to succinctly summarize Bailey’s work, it would be teaching the ins and outs of virtual summits for “beginning and budding infopreneurs.” And she doesn’t just teach about virtual summits, she hosts them. Marianne, another #100BestSites winner, can vouch for them, saying Bailey provides “fantastic information on making money online, plus her virtual summits rock!”

Must-read post: 14 Tips for Launching a Virtual Summit

Caitlin Bacher

Should I start a Facebook Group? Ah, the question that’ll likely come up for any solopreneur as they build their community. When it does, look no further than Caitlin’s site, where she shares roadmaps, tips, and stories on running Groups. As nominator Leslie said, “She’s an expert in growing your online presence and teaches it in a way that makes sense.”

Must-read post: How to Avoid Burnout as a Facebook Group Host

Claire Pelletreau

Two words: Facebook Ads. It’s a love/hate relationship. #ThanksZucky Of course, the love is there because they work -- when they’re used right. Thankfully, there are experts like Claire sharing all they know about how to use Facebook Ads, whether you’re an excited first-timer or a frustrated veteran.

Must-read post: Facebook Ads Not Working? This Is the One Tweak to Try First

Clapping Dog Media with Meg Clarke

If search engine optimization feels overwhelming (at best) or like a scammy marketing tactic (at worst), allow Meg to change your mind once and for all. In her words: “SEO amplifies your voice. Together we will build a megaphone for your business.” Bonus points to Meg for the "Give back" section on her website, where she outlines how she gives back through her biz. A girl after our own heart!  

Must-read post: Top 5 Reasons to Invest in SEO (Even When You Get a Lot of Referrals)

Crafting Creative with Meghan Hartman

We’re all about aesthetically pleasing things (read: prettyyyy) here at OWS HQ. But we know that’s not enough; functionality matters too. Crafting Creative is about “content-first, goal-driven design.” In other words? Through implementing user experience best practices, she helps readers create websites that actually convert.

Must-read post: The 7 UX Practices That Will Improve Your Business (and Life)

Danielle Zeigler**

When it comes to finding “tools to help you stand out without selling out,” we’re all about it -- and fortunately, Danielle is, too. When we’re not turning to her for expert (yet simple) SEO advice, we’re definitely referring to her as an example for content curation done right, given her epic Sunday Link Love roundups.

Must-read post: SEO Basics: How Much Do URLs Matter for SEO?

Design Your Own Lovely Blog with Marianne Manthey**

Marianne isn’t on this list just because we want to keep tabs on her enviable ex-pat life in tropical Costa Rica. (Though that doesn’t hurt.) Her design and branding tutorials over on DYOB are geared to those crafty DIY types out there who want to take charge of their branding, but need a little support along the way.

Must-read post: Create Unique Graphics from Stock Photos for Your Blog and Social Media

Hey Jessica with Jessica Stansberry

“Lord have mercy, I'm a little bit of a nerd.” ← When an about page kicks off with that, it’s likely we’re going to have fun poking around the site. In the words of nominator Ginny, “Jessica's content is always spot on, and so helpful for entrepreneurs at any level.” Her positive vibes, southern charm, and in-depth tech tutorials make learning the tech of marketing fun -- and if that’s not enough, she’s co-host of the All Up In Your Lady Business podcast, to boot.

Must-read post: How to Create an Interactive Gmail Signature

Jess Creatives with Jessica Freeman**

Jess isn’t shy about her loves: sweatpants, Diet Dr. Pepper, and her pup, Morgan. What else isn’t she shy about? Helping entrepreneurs build better websites, create better systems, and attract better clients. From one nominator -- fellow #100BestSites winner and OWS member Jessica -- “Jess Creatives is a must-read for me! Her advice on design, productivity and business has proven invaluable.”

Must-read post: How To Stay Organized While Juggling Multiple Client Projects

Lara Eastburn

Mixology isn’t just for drinks anymore. Lara -- a self-described Social Media Mixologist and cut-up (not to mention “badass digital marketer,” according to nominator Lee) -- lands on this list partially because she shares our love for adult beverages and partially because she reels us in with blog post titles and GIFs that make us have to click. In all seriousness, she dishes up funny but insightful social media lessons and strategy over on her eponymous site.

Must-read post: 8 New Podcasts That Will Make You a Better Human (And Business Owner)

Learn to Love Email with Nicole Murphy

Ask Nicole why she started her site and she’ll say, “Because nowadays, email marketing is everything.” Pretty much. Not only is Nicole “insanely passionate about creating email communications that can influence someone's behaviour,” she’s also insanely qualified, given her experience as an Email Marketing Manager for Freshbooks. Isn’t it time you let Nicole help you learn to love email?

Must-read post: The Best & Worst Emails in My Inbox - Volume 3

Miranda Nahmias

We love words, but we have a special place in our hearts for visual representations of information: flow charts, screenshots, Venn diagrams -- you name it. Lucky for us, Miranda has mastered the art of presenting her incredibly thorough business tutorials alongside helpful graphics to make them even easier to digest and implement.

Must-read post: How to Automate Your Client Onboarding System for Free

Paige Media with Paige Wilhide

What do you get when you combine “video” and “marketing”? Video marketing, obviously. Jokes aside, you get Paige Media. With a promise that video content can be “FUN, engaging, and will increase your bottom line,” Paige Media helps you to stop hiding behind your computer screen and start showing your shining mug to the world.

Must-watch video: Why Scripting Sucks

PinkPot Studio with Chaitra Radhakrishna

A university-trained computer scientist, Chaitra started PinkPot Studio as a lifestyle blog when she moved away from her family and had some time on her hands. Fast forward a few years, and PinkPot is now a full-fledged photography and design studio, where Chaitra teaches solopreneurs everywhere how to shoot beautiful, Insta-worthy photos with their iPhones, curate beautiful feeds, and appreciate design in marketing.

Must-read post: How to Repurpose and Customize Stock Photos for Your Business

Skillcrush***

Must learn to code. Must learn to code. Must learn to code. ← If you’ve been repeating this to yourself nonstop and hoping those coding skills just show up, then it’s time you head over to Skillcrush. Not only does this small but mighty company create epic Blueprints for learning to code, but they’re leading the way in content creation for freelancers and women in tech. #love

Must-read post: How to Build an Impressive Portfolio When You’re New to Tech

Smart Passive Income with Pat Flynn**

We’ll start by saying that the term “passive income” is a bit of a misnomer in the online biz world. But we’ll also admit that earning money while sitting by a pool, hiking a mountain, or taking a nap is pretty darn cool. Pat is one of the most popular passive income bloggers, and for good reason. Warning: Your jaw might hit the floor when you see his monthly earnings. Just promise us you’ll use it as inspiration, not a measuring stick.

Must-listen episode: Pivoting: How, When, & Why to Do It

tiny blue orange with Alison Monday***

What do blue and orange make? In this case, a stellar resource for all things WordPress. Alison and her team -- that’d be her pups, Brutus and Pixel -- are pros at WordPress development and security, and love sharing everything they know, with a dash of sass and sweetness.

Must-read series: Nerd Alert

WP+BFF with Shannon Mattern***

With a killer track record of being the most nominated site two years in a row, you know WP+BFF has to be the crème de la crème. In the words of WP+BFF fan Jane, “It turned me from a dreamer to someone with her own functioning website.” Don’t love the tech side of running an online biz? All the more reason you need a new tech-savvy BFF. Meet Shannon.

Must-read post: The Ultimate Guide to SSL for WordPress

XO Sarah with Sarah Morgan***

Pinterest. Email marketing. Blogging. When it comes to crucial parts of a solopreneur’s marketing strategy, Sarah Morgan’s a pro at sharing both the high-level why and the uber-tactical what. She’ll dare you to blog; we’ll dare you not to get lost in her site.

Must-read post: Why Blogging Is a Non-Negotiable If You Run a Service-Based Business


Publicity, Launching and Sales

The sites to visit when it’s time to garner attention, build your launch strategy, and make more money, honey.

The top picks for the 100 Best Sites for Solopreneurs are in!

Category winner: Femtrepreneur with Mariah Coz**

Mariah’s been helping solopreneurs turn their blogs into “badass, profitable businesses” for years, and her suite of resources for building and launching online courses is key to helping them get there. From your first online course creation to your 15th, Femtrepreneur is the place to go.

Must-listen episode: How to Break Down Creating a Course into Small “Sprints”

The top picks for the 100 Best Sites for Solopreneurs are in!

Alexia Vernon**

Named the “Moxie Maven” by the White House Office of Public Engagement, Alexia’s the lady behind many-a-spotlight talk everywhere. She’s back on the list this year as she continues to reign supreme when it comes to helping women “step into their moxie” and establish their influence through speaking.

Must-read post: My Least Favorite Question As a Speaker -- And How I Respond To It

Evolve + Succeed with Halley Gray**

Halley isn’t for the faint of heart, but she is for those who want to do business while braless on the couch. (So it’s no coincidence that her podcast is called Braless on Couch.) If references to cockblocking don’t phase you, hop over to Evolve + Succeed for wisdom on being booked out, writing effective sales pages, and mastering the art of free consulting sales calls.  

Must-read post: Drop “Imagine” and Say This Instead on Your Sales Page

Farideh Ceasar***

Launching. Facebook Ads. Songs. Wait, what? Yeah, those are the three things we turn to Farideh for. If she’s not helping solopreneurs avoid “launch surprises” or showing them how to use Facebook Ads in said launches, she’s likely jamming on her ukelele or recording songs with her band, Rosie & the Riveters. (We might just be her online groupies.)

Must-read post: Should You Launch or Evergreen Your Online Course?

Justine Grey

Justine has carved out a valuable niche for herself: Providing guidance on launching and scaling your own affiliate program. Her content helps you increase revenue in order to get your products into the hands of customers through engaging loyal ambassadors of your business. In her words, “I take this unique approach to customer acquisition because it works well with companies of any size, in virtually any industry.”

Must-read post: The Crucial Exercise You Must Do When Launching an Affiliate Program

Kathryn Hocking

Kathryn Hocking is your “eCourse secret weapon,” coming at you with everything from e-course idea generation to design to organization. Lest you be fooled into thinking e-course creation is all facts and evidence, Kathryn’s tongue-in-cheek “woo-woo” category name on her blog will change your mind. Bring on the woo!

Must-read post: Why Value Doesn’t Equal Lots of Content

Kyla Roma***

We love Kyla for sharing our philosophy that launching (and running a business) isn't one-size-fits-all. She’s here to combat the idea that there's magical formulas for anything in business and to encourage you to fit your launching strategy to you. (That’s right -- no more falling into a launching comparison trap.)

Must-read post: There’s No Magical Formula That Guarantees Results

The Rule Breaker’s Club with Courtney Johnston***

Take note, fellow rule breakers. Built to serve “rebels with a cause,” the top rebel herself (Courtney) is a consistent source of fantastic content and advice on everything from writing the launch copy that’s going to sell out your next course to quick website tweaks you can make to land your next batch of clients.

Must-watch video: How to Add Scarcity to an Evergreen Product

Sabina Knows with Sabina Hitchen

If there’s one thing Sabina Knows (we’re sorry, we couldn’t help ourselves), it’s how to make quite the grand entrance onto the 100 Best Sites for Solopreneurs list. With the second highest number of nominations, this new-to-us PR site was a no-brainer to include. Her many nominators describe her as fresh, gregarious, fun, positive, and supportive, just to name a few.

Must-read post: How to Get TV Publicity for Your Business


Branding, Copy, and Content Strategy

The sites to visit for tips on designing and wordsmithing the brand and content that tells your biz story.

The top picks for the 100 Best Sites for Solopreneurs are in!

Category winner: byRegina with Regina Anaejionu***

One look at Regina’s website will leave you wondering “How does she do it all?” And she doesn’t just do it -- she does it with humor and grace. With a biz school called “Business School for Humans” and a Twitter bio claiming that she’s a “Stage 5 clinger to #business and healthy living,” Regina is the natural pick for fun-loving infopreneurs in need of resources.

Must-read post: Think Twice about Your Online Course’s Refund Policy

The top picks for the 100 Best Sites for Solopreneurs are in!

Alexandra Franzen***

If there’s a place to turn for storytelling that tugs at your heartstrings, it’s the articles written by Alex Franzen. Her personal stories and anecdotes drive lessons in writing, business, life, and love. (As she channels her spirit animal, Mr. Rogers.) Her nominator and fellow #100BestSites winner, Veronika, declares Alex “the most authentic voice on the Internet,” and we won’t disagree.

Must-read post: You Can Make Excuses or You Can Make Progress

BraidCreative**

You’ll recognize Kathleen from the duo behind Being Boss, but here she teams up with her sister, Tara, to throw down insightful advice on brand and business design for “entrepreneurs and purposeful businesses.” As nominator Hillary put it, “This is a site you can lose yourself in for days and come out feeling like you’ve been to Boss University with actionable, unconventional, and wholly fresh insights & guidance!”

Must-read post: Here’s Why You Can’t Afford To Be Vague

Brooks Editorial with Ashley Brooks***

From how to create a consistent blogging schedule to what to blog about as a VA, freelance writer, or (insert profession here), Ashley tops the list of go-to resources on blogging and content strategy how-tos. We can’t help but want to “cozy up on the front porch” and cheers our iced mochas as we learn from this content pro.

Must-read post: 5 Steps to Planning Profitable Pillar Content

The Content Direction Agency with Lacy Boggs**

While the world is focused on content marketing, Lacy’s focused on the strategy behind it -- and the results it can garner. If you like a touch of mystery and a solid reminder of Carmen San Diego, The Content Direction Agency is the place to go to unlock secrets to effective content marketing.

Must-read post: KPI For Content Marketing and the Allure of Vanity Metrics

Do You Speak Freedom with Veronika Palovska

Veronika’s many nominators call her site creative, unusual, sensible, direct, authentic, savvy, and fresh. An anonymous nominator said “When Veronika's emails come into my inbox, I know I have to drop everything and read her blog post because I will come away with inspiration, knowledge or advice” and nominator Luciana adds, “It shows you it's possible to have your own voice on the internet.”

Must-read post: How to Blog Like a Designer (Even If You Aren’t One)

Elena Mutonono

When it comes to working smarter, not harder, Elena’s your girl -- especially if you’re ready to take your teaching online. While we appreciate that this “mother of two precious trilingual kids” is a “kids-nap-time-teacherpreneur”, the site’s nominator, Luciana, calls out Elena’s ability to “teach others how to focus and think strategically” in online teaching.

Must-read post: How to Engage With Your Audience After the Launch

Kayla Hollatz***

We couldn’t say it better than nominator L’Oreal: “Kayla is #BloggerGoals.” She adds, “She's down-to-earth, personable, and kind. When you interact with Kayla, you know it's a real person behind the screen, not automated emails.” (We’re going to give partial credit to Kayla’s Midwestern roots for that.) Whether you’re looking for visibility, connection, or expansion (the three paths you can take once you land on Kayla’s site), she’s got you covered.

Must-read post: 6 Things I Learned from Relaunching My Brand

Maya Elious

When someone gets their start designing Myspace pages in college, you can’t help but appreciate how far they’ve come. That’s Maya, now a coach, speaker, and content strategist helping business owners get more clarity and earn more money through content marketing, product creation, and more.

Must-read post: How Much Content Should Go Inside Of A Webinar?

The Savvy Copywriter with Kimberly Crossland

We couldn’t help but laugh when we read Kimberly’s clever mission: “Opening hearts, minds, and wallets with writing.” Ultimately, isn’t that what every solopreneurs seeks to do? If you’re open to getting “real, vulnerable, and sometimes a little edgy” in your copywriting, Kimberly is your girl.

Must-read post: Taking a Page From Television Advertisers Playbook About the Buyer’s Journey

The Write Life***

From marketing to blogging and freelancing to publishing, The Write Life is a one-stop shop for all the things that make word nerds swoon. Whether you’re looking for tips on how to improve your freelance writing business or publish your first novel, we’ll warn you now: It’s tough not to fall down the rabbit hole.

Must-read post: How to Work With a Beta Reader: 5 Tips for Success

Writing Revolt with Jorden Roper

We’ll let Jorden intro herself: “Black-clad Writer. Musician. Chihuahua enthusiast. Gamer. Leading the Writing Revolt against low pay and content mills.” Her nominators say “Jorden has on-point, no-BS advice for freelance writers” and her site is “jam-packed with useful, on-target information.” The thing nominator Kat likes best? “She gives it to us straight.”

Must-read post: How I Used Cold Emailing to Make $800 In My First Month as a Freelance Writer

Unthinkable.fm with Jay Acunzo

When a podcast earns itself a review calling it “The ‘This American Life’ of Marketing Podcasts,” you can’t help but want to listen. Then, you dive into Jay Acunzo’s episodes, where he is all about exploring intuition -- you know, the unthinkable -- to create better work and exceptional content, and you can’t stop listening.

Must-listen episode: The Muse Is an Excuse


Biz Growth, Systems, and Productivity

The sites to visit when it’s time to hunker down and grow your biz — and the systems and productivity tips that’ll get you there.

The top picks for the 100 Best Sites for Solopreneurs are in!

Category winner: Tara Gentile***

When she’s not devising her own business strategies for challenging the status quo and stepping outside of cookie-cutter approaches, Tara’s interviewing others doing the same on her podcast, Profit. Power. Pursuit. From marketing to business models, she’s a go-to on all things “running and growing a company in the New Economy.”

Must-listen episode: Discovering a Need And Filling It–Twice–with Marie Poulin

The top picks for the 100 Best Sites for Solopreneurs are in!

Amy Lynn Andrews

Declaring her mission to “teach people how to start blogging, in plain English, no technical experience required,” Amy provides that and so much more in her weekly email, The Useletter®, packed with tips on all things systems, productivity, and more. (Okay, so this isn’t a site per se, but this one’s worth breaking the “rules” for!)

Must-read series: The Useletter®

Arianna Taboada

Arianna’s site welcomes mompreneurs everywhere with open arms -- as she puts it: “Consider this your official welcome to the world where business and babies collide.” When you’re done picturing businesses and babies colliding (sorry, had to), get ready to learn how to plan for maternity leave and take care of yourself postpartum -- without letting your business fall by the wayside.

Must-read post: 3 Business Systems You Should Set Up While You’re Still Pregnant

Devon Smiley***

We may as well call her Devon “Negotiation” Smiley, since successful negotiating is at the core of all of Devon’s offerings and resources for entrepreneurs. The goal? Helping business owners develop the skills they need to get what they want, need, and deserve in business. And we say you deserve to know about Devon’s site.

Must-read post: 4 Tips for Negotiating with a Friend

Jessica Lawlor***

It’s not very often that you get a true, behind-the-scenes look at someone’s solo business. (We’re not talking about trumped up, out-of-reach income reports here.) From detailed posts on how exactly Jess scored each of her current clients to the “brutally honest truth” about trying to combine your passions into one business, you get it here. More reason to check out her site? Brittany, another #100BestSites winner, says “Jess' blog is the one that originally got me interested in starting a side hustle.”

Must-read post: Here’s Exactly How Much it Costs to Run an Online Business

Mallie Rydzik

While we celebrate solopreneurship daily here at OWS HQ, we love that Mallie Rydzik encourages you to “go from solopreneur to CEO.” Her reasoning? “We should be approaching our businesses like CEOs. CEOs think big picture, take big risks, and work strategically.” OWS member Danielle praises this CEO mindset, calling it “something that makes her content feel really unique and speaks directly to me...as opposed to broader business advice.”

Must-read post: How to Fight the Online Business Echo Chamber

Megan Flatt

Megan’s tagline, “Run your business like a mother” isn’t just a funny call-to-action. (But it is that, too.) Megan is a consultant for Mama CEOs, helping them recognize and embrace what she calls the “Mama Advantage” -- the idea that motherhood and business ownership can feed each other, not detract from each other.  

Must-read post: The #1 Thing Video Games Taught Me about Business

Megan Minns

Mission: “Turn your business into a well-oiled machine.” Result: With Megan’s help, your biz will be humming along gracefully. The systems pro and half of the duo behind the #Femtrepreneur podcast (with fellow #100BestSites winner Mariah Coz) is the lady to turn to for help setting up systems, tracking the data in your business, and building a website that works.

Must-read post: How to Track and Analyze Your Business Statistics

Nesha Woolery

Designed for designers; applicable to the general solopreneur population -- that’s Nesha’s site in a nutshell. An anonymous admirer of Nesha calls every one of her posts “gold” and nominator Chrys praises her “design process and organisation” resources. Project management tips, marketing advice for freelance design businesses, and portfolio building strategies? She’s got it all.

Must-read post: Why Generalists are the Most Successful Freelancers

SproutHR with Ashley Cox

Just because we’re solopreneurs doesn’t mean we can’t benefit immensely from corporate best practices. Ashley gets that. She delivers her corporate HR knowledge to creative entrepreneurs to help them “hire, train, and lead a thriving team.” (Red tape and business suits, not included.)

Must-read post: 3 Ways Diversity Makes Your Business More Awesome

Work Brighter with Brittany Berger

Brittany might as well go by the “Queen Bey” of automation, as she serves up epic advice on streamlining, automating, and -- as one nominator put it -- “how to do the biz things, better.” But don’t for a minute think that all this talk of robots is boring...Brittany’s a pop-culture guru whose personality never stays hidden. Visit her blog to work brighter -- and grab some solid advice on content creation, to boot.

Must-read post: Scheduling vs. Automation: Comparing the Best Ways to Streamline Your Systems


Finance, Law, and Other Things We Might Not Like to Think About

The sites to turn to for the “logistics”: what to do with that money you’ve made, and how to protect your business (and yourself).

The top picks for the 100 Best Sites for Solopreneurs are in!

Category winner: Making Sense of Cents with Michelle Schroeder-Gardner**

You might initially visit Michelle’s blog to grab some free advice on budgeting and paying off debt -- but with nearly 300 pages of archives, you’ll walk away with so (so) much more. With endless ideas for bringing in extra income to an inside look at how she runs her blog and business, we love the mix of aspirational income reports that help us dream and solid financial advice that helps us make it happen.

Must-read post: Great Financial Lessons My Dad Taught Me

The top picks for the 100 Best Sites for Solopreneurs are in!

Amy Northard CPA

Amy’s goal is to “take the accounting stress out of your business” -- and if you didn’t think that was possible, we suggest you head over to her site, first. Whether you’re wondering how, exactly, to track your mileage or if you can deduct Starbucks as a business expense (aren’t we all?), Amy’s short video tutorials and blog posts have the answers.

Must-read post: 5 Things to Know About Estimated Taxes

Annette Stepanian

Annette’s site promises “Easy legal solutions for entrepreneurs.” Easy and legal in the same sentence? Sold. Since we’re all about quickies (mind out of the gutter), we especially love her Legal Quickie podcast episodes, with topics like website privacy policies, having multiple companies under one LLC, and filing trademarks.

Must-listen resource: Office Talk Podcast

Autumn Witt Boyd

We never thought we’d be intrigued enough by a lawyer’s site to consider diverting our precious podcast listening time to a legal show. Autumn changed all that with her site and her Legal Road Map™ Podcast. As OWS member Danielle says, “She provides so much great content around the legal side of online business (that I know I can trust!)... [it’s] well-explained and fun to consume.”

Must-listen episode: Make More Money for Your Business by Licensing Your Content and Brand

the artist’s J.D. with Kiffanie Stahle

Legalese is so fun...said no one, ever. Which makes us ever grateful for the resources Kiff, “the friendly legal eagle behind the artist’s J.D,” provides. Whether you’re just getting your biz started and need to know what to have in place or you’re looking to prioritize the legalities as you level up, Kiff’s got your back.

Must-read post: Why You Need to Create an Affiliate Manual

Businessese

“The business world has a language of its own. We translate the legalese and handle the fine print.” (Cue big sigh of relief from solopreneurs everywhere.) Jamie and Danielle -- the duo behind Businessese -- are here to help you protect #1: you, and #2: your business. (Both pretty important assets, if you ask us.) Nominator Jenny says, “Businessese takes the essential but often tedious aspects of business and makes them simple and approachable.”

Must-read post: Five Must-Have Terms for Your Independent Contractor Agreement

Careful Cents with Carrie Smith***

Carrie took a life-changing success story (paying off $14,000 of debt in two years) and turned that experience into a resource business owners everywhere can learn from. From streamlining your business finances to budgeting, and day-to-day bookkeeping to annual taxes, Carrie’s one of the few people who can distill finances down and make us feel like we aren’t alone.

Must-read post: 5 Ways to Actually Look Forward to Filing Your Taxes Every Year

Ellevest

With a bold call to action like “Invest Like a Woman,” Ellevest had us hooked. While we love other sites on this list for their practical tax time advice for now, Ellevest is the shove we need to remind us that we also need to financially prepare for later. (Even if it means one less latte.)

Must-read post: What’s Goal-Based Investing, Anyway?

Stride Health

“I love figuring out health insurance and I especially love paying for it” said no solopreneur, ever. Luckily, Stride Health is here to make the decision and buying process slightly less painless for independent business owners. Think of it as the intersection of taxes and health insurance.

Must-read post: Health Coverage in the Gig Economy


Mindset and Solopreneur Lifestyle

The sites to visit when you need a fresh start, a different take, or a reminder to love the life you’ve built as a solopreneur.

The top picks for the 100 Best Sites for Solopreneurs are in!

Lucky Bitch with Denise Duffield-Thomas

Denise — a.k.a. DDT — is our go-to Money Mindset Mentor. She provides high-level, mindset-shifting advice to help you remove your money blocks and stop your self-sabotaging money habits. She says, “I’m like a gateway drug to a life-long love affair with money.” We say, “Bring on the drugs.”

The top picks for the 100 Best Sites for Solopreneurs are in!

Be More With Less with Courtney Carver

Perhaps best known for Project 333, a minimalist fashion challenge Courtney first wrote about in 2010 that invites you to dress with 33 items or less for 3 months, Courtney’s a minimalist go-to for all things clutter, work, health, lifestyle, and more.  

Must-read post: How to End the Endless Game of Catching Up

Best Kept Self***

What do mason jar salads, luxury vacations, and intentional posture have in common? They all contribute to solopreneur sanity -- and are recent Best Kept Self post topics. Here’s to “self-help for the self-employed,” one mason jar salad at a time!

Must-read post: How to Have a Luxury Working Vacation and Not Feel Guilty About It

Cerries Mooney**

Everything on Cerries’ site makes us nod along vigorously. Like this declaration: "I believe solopreneurs should come in all shapes and sizes." Us, too. And this question: "Can’t seem to commit to anything?" Guilty. But most of all? Everything on her manifesto page, which will make you want to print it out and hang it in your home office. (Lucky for you, that’s an actual option.)

Must-read post: The Problem with Being an “Expert”

Clarity on Fire**

Sometimes, we praise sites for delivering bite-sized insights and mindset shifts. (See: Seth Godin.) But if you’re looking for in-depth, thought-provoking blog posts that provide you with concrete action steps to shift your behavior once and for all, look no further than Clarity on Fire. Brownie points to Rachel and Kristen for including audio versions of their blog posts for those who do best with auditory learning.

Must-read post: How to Feel More Energized at Work (+ Generally in Life)

Danielle Dowling**

In the words of one of Danielle’s nominators, “Mixing psychology with coaching gives her a unique edge to helping business owners.” We can only add that we love how Danielle tackles issues that are important to solopreneurs but aren’t often talked about in the context of business. (Think: creating healthy relationships, romantic and otherwise, that don’t drain you.)

Must-read post: Why We Stay In a Relationship (Way) Too Long

Design*Sponge***

Design*Sponge isn’t just an epic resource for designing a home you love; it’s a celebration of women entrepreneurs who are designing lives they love. Once you make it past the articles showing off inviting interiors (save those for later), you’ll discover a robust Life & Business section highlighting business tips and the ladies doing it right. (Fun Q&As with people like Nick Offerman don’t hurt, either.)

Must-read category: Life & Business

James Clear

If you’ve ever tried to adopt a new habit, you know it takes more than 21 days of wishful thinking. Enter: James Clear, the prolific writer who believes that you can change your habits to change your life. Through research-backed and psychology-based writing, he demonstrates how often we stand in our own way, and what we can do to get out of it.

Must-read post: The Akrasia Effect: Why We Don’t Follow Through on What We Set Out to Do and What to Do About It

Katherine Mackenzie-Smith

The overwhelm of the online business world is real for introverts, everywhere. That’s why we love the resources created by Katherine, who dedicates her work “to all the introverts, wall flowers, quiet achievers, and sensitive souls,” and believes that “everyone shines given the right lighting.” #preach

Must-read post: Creating Your Own Success As A Quiet Achiever

Made Vibrant with Caroline Kelso Zook

From the minute you land on Caroline’s site, there’s a 99.9% chance that your day will get better. After all, her content lives up to her brand, delivering thoughtful letters to shift creatives’ mindsets with bright, vibrant personality. Whether you’re looking for a pick-me-up or a thought-provoking question, you’re sure to find it here (and it’ll look pretty darn nice, too).

Must-read post: Re-defining What It Means To Be Selfish

Melody Wilding

“Your success doesn’t have to be a source of suffering.“ (Amen.) If it is currently, hop over to Melody’s site for her advice on coping with the “unique set of emotional challenges” that top performers encounter. We’re looking at you, you “haven’t-taken-an-actual-vacation-in-years” solopreneur, you.  

Must-read post: Come From a “Dysfunctional” Family? You’d Make a Great Entrepreneur

The Mogul Mom with Melissa Bolton**

Much-loved by the mompreneur community (and therefore heavily nominated!), The Mogul Mom is dedicated to the women building businesses as they raise their babies. Covering the gamut from branding to marketing and money to blogging -- with a side of family, always -- expect a plethora of advice from moms everywhere on this multi-author site.

Must-read post: 39 Proven Ways To Get New Clients, Fast

Puttylike with Emilie Wapnick

You can think of Puttylike as the “Home for Multipotentialites” and Emilie as the OG Multipotentialite. Emilie is here to show current and future Puttypeeps that building “dynamic, multifaceted lives, in practical and sustainable ways” as multi-passionates really is possible. Bonus points for her tongue-in-cheek book title, How to Be Everything.  

Must-read post: The Surprising Challenge of Having Fun for Fun’s Sake

Science of People with Vanessa Van Edwards

Get your magnifying glass ready and join Vanessa, “behavioral investigator” and “recovering awkward person,” as she shares insights into human behavior that just might have a positive impact on your solo business. Be prepared for “funny, science-based, sometimes life-changing articles about the science of people.” (Beaker and lab coat sold separately.)

Must-read post: 10 Successful Phone Strategies

Seth Godin**

Once again (like last year), you might wonder how Seth — a kingpin of digital marketing — ends up under Mindset + Solopreneur Lifestyle on this list. And once again, we go back to this: Seth’s daily posts continue to completely shift our mindset — often in 200 words or less. The brain behind the man with the yellow glasses is extraordinary, and he often makes us think twice about commonly-held beliefs in business and life.

Must-read post: Who Are We Seeking to Become?

Susan Hyatt

With her motto “If you crave it, you can create it,” Susan has helped ”women who crave ‘more’ out of life” both visualize and reach their goals for a decade. Don’t let her bold approach to business and life fool you, though -- this is one woman who knows what fun is all about. Grab a serious dose of mindset reframing right alongside “fun Friday” content.

Must-read post: Momentum, Not Perfection

Tara Mohr

If you want to play small, Tara’s not your gal -- but if you’re looking to change the world, this might just be your new home. Tara claims her work was born out of both frustration and hope, and we’re betting One Woman Shops like you are where that hope comes in. Start with her manifesto, 10 Rules for Brilliant Women, then dig into her archives for the shoves you need to push beyond your self-imposed limits.

Must-read post: Can You Have Both?

Thrive Global

It should come as no surprise that we have a serious girl crush on Arianna Huffington. (We love anyone who tells us that midday naps are not only acceptable, but healthy.) So it’s also no surprise that we love her new online home, Thrive Global. The tagline? “More than living. Thriving.” We’re onboard.

Must-read post: How I Became Exhausted by Self-Care

Val Geisler

On the list of reasons we love Val, her ability to appeal to our “inner Humanpreneur” might just be at the very top. Providing “simple solutions for overwhelmed business owners” -- from her Gmail School to her “Dinner Party Strategy," Val shines a light on introversion and helps entrepreneurs everywhere feel more sane in business.

Must-read post: 11 Perfectly Introverted Ways To Make Friends As An Adult

Women Digital Nomads

The site name says it all...Women Digital Nomads is for our wanderlust-filled solopreneur friends who crave location independence. Complete with city guides, resources and tools for working while traveling, and inspirational interviews, Women Digital Nomads is a site after our own heart. After all, celebrating location independence has been part of OWS’ mission since the beginning.   

Must-read post: The Digital Nomad Packing List Guide


All Around

Presenting: 2017’s new category, All Around. For the sites we can’t pin down to just one topic, try as we might. We admit: It’s hard to excel at everything, but these sites succeed.

The top picks for the 100 Best Sites for Solopreneurs are in!

Category winner: Think Creative Collective

Not to toot our own horn, but we know the work that goes into running a high-quality, consistent, multi-author online platform. (We never said modesty was our best trait…) Which is why we know how to spot ‘em. Props to Think Creative Collective, which, in the words of OWS member Danielle “always approach[es] digital strategy and business growth from a fresh and fun perspective.”

Must-read post:  4 New Ways You Can Get in Front of a New Audience on YouTube

The top picks for the 100 Best Sites for Solopreneurs are in!

Being Boss**

“Do the work. Be boss.” Kathleen and Emily -- the team behind the Being Boss blog and podcast for creative entrepreneurs -- bring both “‘you got this’ confidence, and ‘let’s get real’ advice” on the regular, between their own stories and the guests (fellow bosses, of course) they chat with. Ladies after our own hearts.

Must-read post: How To Be a Great Podcast Guest

Blacksburg Belle with April Bowles-Olin***

We’d like to say she had us at the mention of “a Ross and Rachel kinda love” on her home page, but the truth is, we’ve been referring to this Blacksburg Belle for years for reliable advice on digital strategy, creativity, and now, the inside scoop on running a membership site. It’s what’s made April a shoe-in as a 3x winner and a must-have in our All Around category.

Must-read post: The Pros and Cons of Running a Membership Program or Monthly Subscription

Freelance to Freedom Project with Leah Kalamakis***

While “freelance” and “freedom” sound great together, to achieve them together is easier said than done -- which makes the Freelance to Freedom Project ever more necessary. Leah’s multi-author blog and plethora of resources provide a well-rounded look into the freelancing life -- and its ups and downs -- for the newbie and veteran freelancer.

Must-read post: The Freelancer’s Guide to Handling Clients Who Haggle

ittybiz with Naomi Dunford***

If you think ittybiz is about playing small, think again. Naomi’s been helping “turn smart, quirky people into smart, quirky entrepreneurs” since 2006. Her blog is a treasure trove of honest advice and actionable tips for battling “normal, human things like self-doubt, second-guessing, resistance and procrastination on the inside – and information overload on the outside.”

Must-read post: How To Stay Amazingly Productive On Low Energy Days

Marie Forleo***

The All Around category was created with Ms. Forleo in mind. Just when you think she’s all about productivity and mindset, she throws sales advice at you. When you think she’s all about launching and publicity, she hits you with biz growth and digital marketing wisdom. And just when you think she’s all about business, she breaks out in a hip hop dance. No surprise that she’s our woman crush, shiny hair inspiration, and a stronghold on this list for the third year running.

Must-watch video: How to Be Multipassionate Without Looking Flaky

The Middle Finger Project with Ash Ambirge***

It doesn’t matter if she’s riffing on business, on travel, or heck, on the wine she drank last night -- Ash Ambirge is all about the truth, and nothing but the truth. (Even when it hurts. Or makes you pee your pants, laughing.) This girlboss defines unf*ckwithable, and leaves no topic unturned -- making her the perfect fit in the All Around category.

Must-read post: Women Don’t Learn How to Be Strong & Confident & Brave in Home-Fucking-Ec.

Paul Jarvis**

Paul sums up what he does best: “I help nice folks build resilient & sustainable companies of one.” That’s you, One Woman Shop. Paul’s been around for a while, and his knowledge of freelancing, serving clients, and creating products runs deep. Between his Sunday Dispatches articles and podcast, there’s no shortage of things to learn -- and ways to do it -- from the leader of what he deems his “rat people.”

Must-read post: See One, Do One, Teach One

Psychology for Photographers with Jenika McDavitt

Don’t let the name fool ya -- the insights found on Psychology for Photographers can be put to use by just about any solo biz owner. (Hence Jenika’s subtitle: “And other creative professionals.”) With a tagline of "Understand people, be a more successful creative professional," suffice it to say this is a more fun and relevant version of your college psych class.

Must-read post: Get People To Actually Read Your Website (With A Filmmaking Trick)

The Uncaged Life with Rebecca Tracey***

If one-night stands are your thing, no judgment. But Rebecca’s here to fight against them -- in business, that is. Her goal is “Mixing business and pleasure into more than a one-night stand.” If you’re ready to run a business chockful of pleasure, head to her site. (But be prepared for some hefty doses of no-BS reality checks coming at you, too.)

Must-read post: 5 Mistakes to Avoid When Running Your First Retreat

She Did It Her Way with Amanda Boleyn

Hop on to the landing page for the She Did It Her Way podcast interviews and you’re sure to recognize a familiar face -- or ten. Tune in as new episodes are released or spend some time digging through the vault of interviews to hear a diverse cast of online biz’s leading ladies talk about how they’re doing business their way. (Cue Frank Sinatra’s My Way.)

Must-listen episodes: The Top 10 Podcasts


A Little Something Extra

Running a solopreneur biz is about more than accounting, marketing, and branding -- you know this. These sites and apps provide just a little something more for the solopreneur who wants to develop personally, give back, and decompress.

Calm**

Our eternal thanks to Team Calm for providing us a free meditation app and corresponding mindfulness wisdom that gets us through launches (ahem, #100BestSites), stressful client projects, and day-to-day life as as solopreneur. And also? For making us feel okay about uber-short meditations. (We’re looking at you, 2-minute meditation.)

Must-read section: Mindfulness Tips

Kiva**

Earning a profit in your solo biz is great, but reinvesting some of that profit back into your community is even more rewarding. Our giving platform of choice? Kiva. Not quite charity, not quite investing, Kiva is the perfect blend of both, making it the gift that keeps on giving. Like we said last year, “You lend; you get repaid; you re-lend. It’s that easy.”

Must-join Lending Team: The One Woman Shop Team 🙂

NPR Podcasts

NPR lands on this list because their podcasts consistently make us just a little bit smarter, a little bit more empathetic, and/or a little bit happier -- traits that serve us not only in business, but in life. From enhancing our storytelling abilities to providing us with fascinating psychological insights to helping us understand economics (in a fun way, no less), NPR is the home of a large percentage of our favorite podcasts.

Must-listen podcasts: How I Built This and Planet Money

POPSUGAR Fitness**

It’s tough to find a site that tackles physical wellness quite as thoroughly as POPSUGAR Fitness. Whether your exercise drug of choice is yoga, HIIT, weight lifting, running, or Pilates, you’ll find research-based articles, quick tips, helpful instructional videos, and upbeat playlists to keep you motivated and remind you that physical activity is essential for your body and your mind as a solopreneur.

Must-read post: How Do Exercise and Diet Mess With My Period?

theSkimm

If you’re a solopreneur who wants to stay informed about the world -- without cutting too far into your most productive morning work hours -- theSkimm is your new daily read. Combining millennial humor, a daily subject line that references a famous movie quote, and easy-to-digest world news, theSkimm will make you the girl sharing the news, not the one pretending to know the news.

Must-subscribe email list: The Daily Skimm

And with that, there you have it: 100 amazing resources to make your solo biz incredible. Check back soon to see voting results for each category!

4 Simple SEO Tips to Optimize Your Content and Attract Your Ideal Client

Using SEO effectively can seem like a headache. Keywords? Links? Content marketing? I’ve been there. If you’re a small business owner, you have enough on your plate, and learning about SEO can seem like more trouble than it’s worth.

But SEO is so much more than a marketing strategy. SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is simply helping Google understand your site so that you can easily connect with people who are already seeking the solutions you offer. It’s a necessary foundation for your brand or business, not an online “trick” that requires endless research.

In fact, according to Search Engine Land, SEO is considered one of the most cost-effective digital marketing practices to grow your business. And, let’s face it -- you've likely invested hundreds to thousands of dollars on designing your brand and developing your website, but is it worth the investment if no one can find it?

Here are four quick ways you can utilize SEO to find your dream clients and elevate your business in an authentic, non-salesy way.

1. Keep a list of Frequently Asked Questions from your target audience.

Keep an ongoing list of questions that continuously pop up among your target audience. You could find these questions in Facebook Groups, past client consultations, in replies to your email newsletter, or even while taking a class at the gym.

Use these questions for content inspiration. Answer them on an easy-to-access landing page or turn them into blog posts. Pay attention to the specific language your potential clients use and the way the questions are asked. Word questions and your answers in a way that you could see your clients Googling them. If you have Google Analytics set up on your website, you can see which Google searches have led people to your website, and form questions out of those phrases.

2. Take time to use categories and tags effectively.

When it comes to that "tags" box you see when creating a blog post in WordPress, do you fill it with related terms you think of on the fly? Don't worry; you're not alone. But it's time to get organized! Think of categories as the top level, main topics of your blog. Then think of tags as supporting keywords. Choose 5-6 main categories and only a handful of tags for each category. For example, a main category could be "Fitness" and supporting tags could be "muscle recovery," "at home workout," and "activewear."

3. Use Yoast and fill in your metadata.

Metadata is mostly behind-the-scenes data that helps a search engine understand and rank your site. The preview text that appears in search engine results when someone sees your site link is comprised of metadata. Take a few extra minutes to fill in the title tag, meta description and alt tags of your posts. The Yoast SEO plugin makes these updates, and therefore upping your SEO game, much easier.

4. Audit and update your old content.

If you’ve had a blog for more than a few months, chances are you already have a ton of content. In order to make sure your website is working for you, and not the other way around, go through your old content and see which posts and pages could be improved.

Find which posts are your best and make sure they’re properly tagged and categorized. Edit any content that is outdated or no longer relevant. Auditing your content will make sure your site is full of high-quality, valuable content for your readers. For more ideas, check out my post on 50 ways to give an old post new life.

SEO doesn’t have to be so hard

For many solopreneurs, SEO remains an elusive concept that’s just out of reach. But it doesn’t have to be. The four quick tips above are just a few examples of how you can optimize your site for search engines and make it easier for more of your ideal clients to find you.

Content might be king...

but it doesn't have to rule your world. Drop your email below to get even more great tips on content as a solo business owner!

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How to Write the Perfect Guest Post Pitch

Guest posting is one of those things that everybody thinks they probably should be doing more of…but the whole process of putting a guest post pitch together can seem daunting. And the truth is, you can spend a lot of time and energy pitching guest posts that never pan out if you don’t know what you’re doing.

Good news: You can make the process much, much easier if you know how to write a decent cold pitch -- and once you do start landing those posts, you can leverage those posts into a serious asset for your business.

It starts with knowing whether you should be pitching at all.

As you may have noticed, the Internet has become a much busier place these past couple of years. Which means that people don’t have a whole hell of a lot of mental bandwidth to spare.

You need to get a really good sense of whether a blog is even accepting pitches and guest posts before you take the time to write your pitch. There’s no particular secret to know here; most places that are accepting posts will have a page explicitly stating that.

If you can’t find it on their site, do a quick Google search along the lines of “[Site you want to guest post for] guest posting” and see if something comes up. Otherwise, check out their archives and social media feeds to see if they have any guest posts featured. If there’s nothing to let you know either way, then go ahead and pitch, if you really think that your idea is a fit. Just go into the process knowing that it’s a toss up.

OK, so you’ve decided it’s a go. Now what?

Now you write an email that gives them just enough information about you to know whether you’re a fit for their audience, piques their interest and shows off your expertise in the topic, and tells them that you’re not going to be a pain to work with.

Start out with a very clear subject line — something along the lines of “Guest post proposal — [your specific topic]”

Then (after you double extra check that you’ve spelled the person’s name right in your greeting), write a short intro paragraph where you talk about who you are and what your business is, as well as your particular reasons for being attracted to their business/blog/this chance to guest post.

Now that you’ve got their attention, add in a very short paragraph about why you’re a good fit for their audience. Here’s where you get to show off how great you are, plus how well you know their business and their audience.

Then introduce your idea. While it’s fine to pitch with just one idea, I usually like to include two or more and let them choose. This ups your chances of getting a yes and lets you highlight a couple different areas of expertise.

End by offering to provide alternative ideas just in case those don’t work, and give them clear next steps.

It’s all about making it as easy as possible for them to say yes.

You’ve got the pieces -- now what does that look like, all put together?

Here’s an anonymized example of an email I pitched a while back that landed me a guest post within a few hours:

Subject: Guest post proposal -- copy and content

Email:

Hi NAME,

I’m Rachel Allen, and I run the creative agency Bolt from the Blue Copywriting. I’ve had the biggest business crush on BIZ NAME ever since the first round of COOL THING YOU DID -- the mix of lifting people up to be their best + the firmly grounded anti-bullshit stance really does it for me.

I write about voice, branding, copy, and content from a similar stance, and was wondering if you’re currently accepting guest posts? If so, I’d love to do one for you.

Here’s what I’m thinking:

A rallying cry for being a better human as you write (that also skewers the whole cottage industry that’s developed around quickie, template-based content).

or

A post about how access to other people’s brainspace is a privilege, with the main focus being on how you’re spam until you prove otherwise.

If neither of those ring your bell, I’m happy to come up with alternative ideas. If one or both does sound good to you, I can also send over outlines (or a completed article) if you want to move forward. I could have the article to you next week or an outline tomorrow.

Let me know what you think, and of course, if you have any questions don’t hesitate to ask.

Thanks!
Rachel

So…what do you do if you don’t hear back?

Give it a little time. Like I said, people are busy. If it’s been a week and you haven’t heard a word, then it’s time to follow up. Keep it short and low pressure, just checking in like the responsible guest poster you are. Something along the lines of,

Hi [Name],

Hope you’ve had a great start to your week! I wanted to follow up on my guest post proposal from last week. Did you have any questions or need any more information from me?

Thanks!
[Your Name]

What do you do if you do hear back and it’s a no?

It’s always disappointing, but it’s not the end of the world. If you do hear back and it’s a no, it’s totally fine to email back thanking them for their time and either giving a short alternative pitch or asking them if there’s a similar idea they’d like you to post on.

This does not mean that you ask them for feedback on your pitch, get upset and say weird things to them, or badger them to reconsider. Remember, people are busy, and nothing will get you mentally blacklisted faster than coming into this process with a sense of entitlement.

A few final do’s and don’ts:

  • Do triple check that you’re sending it to the right person and you’ve spelled their name right. If they have pitching guidelines posted somewhere, follow them. You’d be amazed at how many people ignore them entirely, so if you can get this simple thing right, you’ll have already made yourself stand out.
  • Don’t use hesitant language — anything along the lines of “just”, “I think”, “sorry”, etc. If you struggle with this, this is the plugin for you. And it goes without saying, but don’t have typos in your pitch, don’t pitch something you can’t follow through on, and don’t be a jerk if the answer is no.

So remember:

When hoping to land a guest post on a dream site, start off by figuring out whether you should be pitching at all. Follow any and all guidelines they give you to the letter. Write a concise, convincing email that makes it as easy as possible for them to say yes. Check in if you need to, and don’t take it personally if the answer’s a no — because it might not be a no forever.

P.S. Did you know that One Woman Shop accepts guest posts? It’s just one of the ways you can be featured on the site.

5 Ways to Make More Money Using On-Brand Affiliate Marketing

You have a creative business, which means, most days, you feel like you’re on top of the world. You can work when you want to, with whom you choose, and take vacations on a whim because hey, you are boss like that, right?

Unless, of course, you’re not feeling confident with your income. That changes things a bit.

As glamorous as being a solopreneur seems, we all know that working with clients can often times be unpredictable and stressful.

The feast-or-famine mindset is real, and can leave you convinced that searching job boards may be a better choice than trying to keep at this ‘“own-my-own-business” thing. We get these feelings in months where we have way less clients, our course sales dip or our Creative Market income has been dryer than Schweppes ginger ale.

Yet many service-based businesses are leaving a ton of money on the table, solely focusing on services, courses and product creation that they ignore affiliate marketing and how it can complement their small biz income.

But wait, affiliate marketing is dead...right?

You probably already know what affiliate marketing is (if you’re shaking your head no, start here), and may have even explored it a bit and earned a couple of bucks.

But, I’m seeing two things:

1 - Some solopreneurs I’ve spoke with tell me the earnings don’t amount to enough to spend their time on it.

2 - Other say that affiliate marketing is dead.

Oh contraire!

Neither of these could be further from the truth. Think about all of the products and services you use every single day while running your business. Now, consider all of the frequent purchases and investments (the online courses, ebooks, business tools). And how about that one “thing” you always recommend for every single one of your clients to help them get from ABC to XYZ?

If you do the math, you’ll probably feel a bit queasy at how much money you could have been making, just by simply adding an affiliate link to the products and services you love and trust to people who already love and trust you.

#facepalm

Where to start with affiliate marketing

The next greatest hesitation I hear is that people simply don’t know where to start without feeling like a car salesman. Fret not; there are so many great ways to not be cheesy OR greasy.

Without further ado, here are five authentic ways to add a bit of padding to your service-based business by using on-brand affiliate marketing...minus the ick factor.

1. Create a resources page

A resources, or tools, page is an effective way to help your visitors help themselves to the tools, courses and services you rely on to run your business. Get creative by adding images and banners, or simply use shortcodes and columns to create categories and embed your affiliate link into each resource.

Link to your resources page from your blog posts, include it in your email footers, and write social posts highlighting each resource on the page.

2. Make recommendations to your clients

You may be a web designer, virtual assistant or accountant who’s always getting asked what you recommend for solving your clients’ problems. You may also have certain things your client must purchase before you can start working with them (such as a theme or hosting, if you are a web designer).

When you onboard your clients, include a list of your favorite tools with your affiliate links in your welcome packet. Alternatively, if you send your clients a goodbye package, include a list of resources that will be helpful on an ongoing basis.

More than anything, they will appreciate that they can trust your recommendations and that they aren’t stuck having to Google for answers.

3. Build affiliate mentions into your editorial calendar

If you have a blog that complements your business, I imagine you are already sharing high-quality posts that position you as an expert in your niche, so why not turn these posts into money-generating machines?

Some of my best performing blog posts that have affiliate links are resource roundups and tutorials on how to do something that others often struggle with. Review posts of products you have tried and compared are also a good way to introduce your audience to amazing assets while helping you earn more money.

Pro tip: Content is key, but don’t ignore your images. Include high quality, pinnable images for people to share. Add keyword-rich descriptions in your images’ alt text if you want to tap into Pinterest for referral traffic.

4. Complement your newsletters

Dedicated emails about products you love can make you feel like you’re always trying to sell your audience something.

To avoid that, try sharing your experience with them. For example, if you took a totally ah-mazing course that skyrocketed your website traffic and you’re now an affiliate of, share the story of how your stats increased.

You can also write your newsletter content as usual and include links to some of your most recent affiliate-rich posts. Likewise, if you know your affiliates are having a sale and you genuinely don’t want your peeps to miss out, use a PS note at the bottom of the newsletter or within the content itself if it’s relevant.

An example: If you’re writing to your audience about how they can choose the best theme for their business and you happen to know that Bluchic* is having a sale, share it. Don’t be random. Weave it naturally into what your readers know you for.

5. Enhance your infoproducts

You may already have some great infoproducts (ebooks; worksheets; email courses) in place that help you grow your list or populate your shop. What if I told you that there is a way to monetize your free goodies and help you earn more with your paid offerings? Hold the phone, sista!

With on-brand affiliate marketing, it’s totally possible. When crafting your offering, you’re likely linking to tools and resources that are helpful for those who are downloading or signing up for your product.

By using affiliate links, you can make more money while continuing to deliver your high-quality content for free or increase your earnings with your paid products. For example, I have an email course that helps new bloggers or businesses set up their very first blog on WordPress. Even though it took a ton of hours and energy, I was able to justify giving it away for free because there were so many opportunities to earn money from the free course by mentioning amazing affiliates for WordPress hosting, themes, styled-stock memberships, and more.

But FIRST, here’s what else you need to know about doing affiliate marketing right

When adding a slew of affiliate links to your site, you can consider adding “no follow” links in place so that you aren’t oops-ed by Google (though there is a debate on whether it’s necessary or not). You also want to make your links cleaner with a plugin like Pretty Link Lite, or bit.ly.

Most importantly, and I can’t stress this enough: DO IT LEGALLY. (Caps + bold, necessary.)

You have to have disclaimers on your site that let your visitors know that they may be clicking on affiliate links. You have to share in your newsletter that links are indeed, affiliate links. You have to give a heads up about affiliate links even if you are just recommending a product to someone in a Facebook Group. Recommending something to a client? Gently let them know that they are clicking on an affiliate link.

When in doubt, remember this: Any time you drop a link, drop a hint!

Your turn

Evaluate your current affiliate strategy and choose one of these methods to start or improve upon today. Need more of a nudge? Sign up for Affiliate Crush, my free, 5-day email course that helps you get started in choosing the right affiliates and helps you create a strategy, track your earnings and lots more.

*Some of the links contained in this post are affiliate links. (See what we did there?) As always, we only promote products and services we trust and believe in.

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.

Your Editorial Calendar on Display: 5 Ways to Visualize Your Content

editorial calendar

editorial calendar

It happens to the best of us. We’re going through our day, when a great idea for a blog post pops into our head. And that’s when we tell ourselves the biggest fib of our blogging careers…“I’ll remember that later.”

Ladies, don’t do it.

Write down all of your magical ideas in a notebook as soon as you think of them, whether it’s a physical notebook, a bullet journal, or something digital like Evernote.

Even better than getting them in a notebook? Putting them down directly in your editorial calendar. When you assign a date for your idea (even if you change it later), it suddenly takes on a whole new level of importance. It becomes less of a scrawled thought, and more like you’re writing an article for your very own magazine.

But what to use for an editorial calendar? Like anything else in life, this is a super personal decision. Ask a dozen bloggers, and you could get a dozen answers…it’ll vary by personality, work style, and a million other variables. But just to kickstart your thoughts, I’ll go over some of the ones I’ve tried:

1. Simple notebook

I’ve done this by just assigning a notebook page for each month, and writing 1, 2, 3, 4…or however many posts I wanted to do that month. You can use fun notebooks from makers like Erin Condren and May Designs, or hit up the $1 section at your local office supply store to get a basic pad.

2. Post-It calendar

You can buy this from several places, but I picked mine up at Target. There are a few limitations: each page is only for a week, and there are less than 52 pages, but it’ll get you a decent way. And because each page is for a week, the squares are a great size for writing in. Plus, you can easily rearrange the Post-It notes.

3. Door full of Post-Its

Speaking of easy rearranging, in the early brainstorming phases, I have been known to paper the back of my door with all of my ideas on Post-Its. I’m a visual person, so it makes it easy to look at all of my ideas in just a few moments, and figure out which one is really grabbing me.

4. Year-at-a-glance calendar

I know I’m on a Post-It kick, but really this works quite well with the smaller Post-Its. You can scribble down an idea, slap it on the calendar and rearrange it to suit your needs. It makes it easy to to figure out where your posts need to fit in coordination with holidays, launches, and other major events in your business.

5. WordPress plugin

Tada! This one has nothing to do with Post-Its at all. And, it’s digital! There’s a WordPress plugin that’s simply called “Editorial Calendar.” It lets you create draft posts and schedule them out, so you can see what you’ve got coming up that you’ve finished writing, or still need to work on. They even set it up to enable you to drag and drop the posts, so if you realize that something is trending, or you accept an interview, you can easily reschedule one of your upcoming posts by scooting it to a different date. Cool, huh?

Of course these aren’t the only options, and some people use a combination of these and/or other methods. But with a plethora of easy options, there’s no excuse for not getting started.

Tell us: What’s your favorite way of organizing your editorial calendar?