Why Setting Boundaries is Important in Your Business (And How to Do It)

Solopreneur Sanity

Solopreneur Sanity

How confident are you saying no to business opportunities that aren’t quite aligned with your current priorities? How comfortable are you addressing client requests that go above and beyond the scope of your work?

While saying yes (or, in other words, not saying no) to an individual request might not hurt your business, in the long run, always saying yes -- whether out of FOMO or fear or being disliked -- runs a large chance of negatively impacting the health of your business in the long run.

When you work for yourself, you’re responsible for what gets done and what doesn’t. This includes what you say “yes” to and what you say “no” to. What you choose to do always comes at the expense of something else. (See: opportunity cost.)

That’s why setting boundaries is so important to managing a successful business. When you know what’s most important, set boundaries accordingly, and take the necessary actions to enforce those boundaries, you set your business up for success.

Signs that you don’t have strong enough business boundaries

Do any of the following scenarios sound familiar?

  • You feel pulled in a million different directions and overwhelmed with everything on your list
  • Your clients constantly ping you outside of work hours or request work above and beyond your capacity
  • You spend so much time fielding client requests that you don’t have time to work on your big projects
  • You say yes to requests and invitations because it feels easier to do them than to say no
  • You feel increasingly resentful of others for their demands on your time
  • You feel run ragged, tired, and exhausted and never have any time for yourself

If you answered yes to any of these statements, it’s safe to say you could benefit from establishing stronger boundaries in your business.

Why business boundaries are important

Boundaries aren’t something that only affect your personal relationships. They come into play in all relationships, including those with your clients.

The better you are at setting guidelines and communicating them, the more you will find yourself running the business you want to run. Another benefit is that by directly and openly communicating these guidelines your clients, you establish a deeper sense of trust and connection.

When you have strong business boundaries, you…

  • Feel empowered and in charge of your day, your business, and your life
  • Create the freedom to do more of what you love and less of what you don’t
  • Strengthen your relationships because you clearly establish the guidelines
  • Know your priorities and you don’t feel guilty about saying no to anything that isn’t in alignment with them
  • Confidently make decisions in the best interest of your business (and yourself!)
  • Avoid entrepreneurial burnout by proactively finding time for yourself

In short, business boundaries help you stay aligned with your vision for your business and ensure you spend your time on your most important priorities.

How to set more effective boundaries with clients

Setting boundaries with clients can cause a lot of angst, especially if you’re not clear where your boundaries lie.

As a business owner, it’s up to you to protect your time and energy. And you need that time and energy to do your best work and to serve others using your zone of genius.

Here are five tactics to establish better boundaries with your clients:

  1. First, think about what you want. In order to communicate your guidelines to others, you first need to know what they are. Take the time to decide on your working hours, when and how (and how often) clients can contact you, what is included in your work with clients and what falls outside of the scope. Don’t think about what you can do, but what you really want to do in your work. This is your business and you get to decide how you spend your time.
  2. Set up consequences if client agreements are breached. It happens: A client doesn’t show up for a call, doesn’t pay the invoice, or requests work above and beyond what you do. Establish ahead of time how you will handle each of these scenarios. Write it down. Now you have a policy in place, so you don’t have to stress every time something like this happens. You’ll simply follow your established protocol.
  3. Communicate your guidelines to clients, and make sure they sign off on them. Yes, you need a contract. Yes, it needs to detail what’s included in your work, what’s expected from your client, and what happens if the contract is not followed or if the scope of work changes. Make sure you get a signed copy back from your client and offer to go over any questions before starting your work together.
  4. Commit to clear, open, direct conversations with clients and ask them to do the same. It’s amazing how much stress can be caused by a simple misunderstanding or miscommunication. Agree with your client that you’ll both address any issues or concerns up front. When you start the client relationship by honoring your own boundaries, showing up on time, and doing what you agreed to do, you model for your client what is expected.
  5. Say no to anyone or anything that doesn’t fall into your current priorities. On a weekly and daily basis, get clear on your top three priorities and turn down any requests that are not in alignment with those priorities. Get comfortable saying no and “Not at this time.” One way to soften the blow and keep the relationship alive is to give people a reference -- either a tool or another person -- who may be able to help them.
  6. Ultimately, it’s your business and you get to decide how you run it. When you decide what’s important, clearly communicate your business boundaries to clients, and hold yourself in integrity with those boundaries, you set up the conditions for success -- for you and for your clients.

What is one step you can take today to set or enforce your business boundaries?

In Mint Condition: Celebrating Mint’s Birthday

Here at One Woman Shop, we're all about repurposing content and sharing excellent resources. So what better way to honor Sara's birthday than by doing both? Here are 31 things that give us all the feels when we think of Sara (aka Mint -- you'll see why):

  1. A birthday post for Sara from 2015 (aka year #1!)
  2. A birthday post for Sara from 2016 (including a "Shut Up and Dance" playlist)
  3. A birthday post for Sara from 2017 (including OWS members joining in the fun!)
  4. A video of the first time we met in person (and Sara freaked out a bit)
  5. A photo of the author of one of Sara's favorite books (she's an avid reader...we bet the "stack of books" emoji is in her most recently used list at all times)
  6. An adorable picture of Sara reading with her beloved dog Scoop
  7. A reminder that Sara has a heart of gold
  8. An inspirational Insta post from Sara about staying inspired
  9. Sara's recent baby announcement (!!!!)
  10. An ode to Sara's obsession with planners and paper products
  11. A great Shop Talk blog post from Sara about getting shit done (with a shout-out to another favorite author of hers!)
  12. Sara saying #nerdalert on her business website
  13. One of Sara's (many) favorite ways to pay it forward
  14. Sara's real-talk meditation post
  15. A podcast episode with one of Sara's business inspirations
  16. That time when Sara got angry at her FitBit
  17. An article on how Galentine's Day, one of Sara's favorite holidays, became a real thing
  18. A bracelet company that Sara has purchased gifts from (she's an excellent gift giver)
  19. A graphic about the creative process that makes Sara laugh
  20. Songs by one of Sara's favorite artists
  21. A catchphrase that Sara embraces
  22. An awesome workbook created by Sara
  23. Sara's favorite meditation app
  24. A picture of Sara in a laundry basket
  25. A clever little dill-flavored popcorn label Sara created
  26. A promotional trailer for a recent concert Sara attended
  27. Sara's valuable reminder that rest does not equal rust
  28. Where Sara tracks all of the many books she's reading
  29. Some of Sara's favorite podcasts
  30. And another of Sara's favorite podcasts
  31. One way that Sara likes to spend her time

And there you have it -- may all those reading learn a thing or two, and laugh a little bit.

Sara: HAPPY BIRTHDAY from all of us at OWS. This community wouldn't be what it is if it weren't for you. Thanks for your wisdom, your wit, your transparency, and your silliness!

And The Winners Are… (The Top Picks From the 2018 100 Best Sites for Solopreneurs Are In!)

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!

Just under a month ago, the fourth edition of our 100 Best Sites for Solopreneurs list went live -- we're not saying it broke the internet, but we're not not saying it.

For one month, we gave you the chance to vote for your top resource across each of our seven categories. Without further ado, your winners:

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

Digital Marketing

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

(Shout-out to runner-up Redefining Mom with Monica Froese)

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

Publicity, Launching and Sales

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

(Shout-out to runner-up The Rule Breaker’s Club with Courtney Johnston)

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

Branding, Copy, and Content Strategy

Copy Hackers (tie for first!) 

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?

Your Content Empire with Hailey Dale (tie for first!) 

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

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

Biz Growth, Systems, and Productivity

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

(Shout-out to runner-up The Uncaged Life with Rebecca Tracey)

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

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

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

(Shout-out to runner-up Careful Cents with Carrie Smith)

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

Mindset and Solopreneur Lifestyle

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.

(Shout-out to runner-up The Balanced Mamas with Heather Farris)

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

All Around

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

(Shout-out to runner-up The Middle Finger Project with Ash Ambirge)

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

...And now, enjoy falling back down the rabbit hole that is #100BestSites. It's the list that keeps on giving as you seek out the best resources to help you navigate your solopreneur journey. Thanks to all who cast their ballots and supported their fellow business owners!

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”]

100 Best Sites for Solopreneurs, 2018 Edition: Nominations Now Open!

100 Best Sites for Solopreneurs

100 Best Sites for Solopreneurs 2016 nominations now open

Some things get better with time -- like a fine wine, a delicious cheese, a solid friendship, and a meditation practice. One more thing? Our 100 Best Sites for Solopreneurs. The fourth edition of "The List" drops this April and with your help, it'll be better than ever.

New here and don't know what The List is? Here's how it works:

You nominate your go-to website for all things solopreneurship; we spend hours on video chat drinking wine, eating chocolate, and cracking ourselves up over our slap-happy descriptions of said sites; you wait in anticipation for The List to be published; we hit publish; you vote for your favorite site in each of seven categories; we crown the winners. (Lifetime bragging rights and shiny beautiful badge, included.)

What are you waiting for? Fill out the form below to nominate before Friday, 4/6. (Need some ideas on who to nominate? Just keep scrolling!)

Editor's note, 4/7/18: Nominations for the 2018 edition closed on Friday, April 6th. Now, we're behind the scenes compiling your top 100 picks (there were more than we can count!) into a mega list of resources. Stay tuned!

Not quite sure who to nominate? Here are some ideas:

  • The site with the posts that you share every.single.time -- not because they ask you to, but because it's too good not to.
  • The site where the owner is like a celebrity to you, turning you into the ultimate fangirl, even though your friends and family have never heard of them.
  • The site where your reaction every time is "Dang, they said it so much better than I would have."
  • The site that you want to say is overrated but it really is that good.
  • The tiny site that you kind of don't want to share, because you feel pride for discovering it and don't want it to lose its magic. (The solopreneur equivalent of a hipster discovering a new band.)
  • Your own site -- because you're putting your all into your mission of serving solo business owners, wherever they are on this crazy solopreneurship journey.

Editor's note, 4/7/18: Nominations for the 2018 edition closed on Friday, April 6th. Now, we're behind the scenes compiling your top 100 picks (there were more than we can count!) into a mega list of resources. Stay tuned!

To another year of celebrating a fantastic solopreneur community!

Clarity in Decision Making: Using Ranking Systems in Your Solopreneur Biz

We do our best to avoid business buzzwords (you know, like “authentic” or “attract”), but one that we feel still carries meaning is “clarity.” When you don’t have clarity, it’s easy to feel like you’re running around like a chicken with its head cut off.

For us, clarity often comes from putting systems in place -- and one place we love having systems and clarity is in evaluating opportunities that come across our plates. It’s important, as we blend work and life (while maintaining our sanity), that we look at each opportunity as part of an overall strategic business, not as one-off, snap decisions.

Let’s say that you’re lucky enough you’ve worked hard to have client inquiries pop up in your inbox every day. It might be tempting to say yes to every potential project -- after all, you’re “lucky” enough to be inundated with amazing opportunities, so you should take advantage of all of them, right? Not so quick, friend. Not every opportunity is created equally.

Or let’s say that you publish guest posts or take sponsorships on your blog and aren’t sure which ones to accept and which ones to politely decline. (Because hey, they all mean more money that you can invest back in your beloved blog.)

Or you’re looking to boost your income from affiliate marketing but, as you dig in, you discover just how many programs are out there, and aren’t sure how to discern the good from the not-so-good.

The miracle ranking system

Enter: The ranking system. Consider it your new filter to run every decision through.

We like to use a simple 1-4 ranking based on our unique criteria for each situation. Here’s what each number means:

  • 1 - There’s no chance this will be a fit, no matter what you do
  • 2 - With some specific work and/or changes, this might be right for your business
  • 3 - You only need minor changes or thinking to make this a great fit
  • 4 - Hell yes, good to go!

A case study

Let’s use the example of sponsorship/affiliate opportunities. You run an incredible resource hub and community for female solo business owners called, hypothetically, One Woman Shop. Someone emails you (well, actually they email “Dear Sir/Madam”) and asks if you’d like to promote their men’s protein supplement.

Um...huh? The ranking for this one’s pretty obvious: 1.

Soon after, a woman who seems awesome emails you and asks if she can buy a sponsorship package to promote her new membership community for freelancers. While you would love to support her (#collaborationovercompetition), your (legitimate) fear is that accepting this sponsorship will take people away from your membership community and will cannibalize, rather than help, your biz.

We’d give that baby a 2. (As a reminder, 2 is “with some specific work and/or changes, this might be right for your business.”) If the woman pitching, for example, decides to take away paid membership and offer a paid course, instead, it could be a fit down the road. Consider it tabled.

Next: You recently found out that Fitbit has an affiliate program. At first glance, it doesn’t have a perfectly clear connection to women business owners -- but you do often talk about fitness as part of overall solopreneur sanity. And, you’re a diehard Fitbit user. (We’re with you.) With some gentle finessing, Fitbit references can be perfectly natural, without distracting from any of your offerings.

Sounds like a 3 to us.

Finally, you see that some of the online business owners you respect and admire have affiliate programs for their products -- like Stress Less & Impress or BluChic’s beautiful website templates (Yep -- those are our affiliate links. #shameless.) These products address specific needs of those within your community that you don’t serve, they’re created by business owners whose work you proudly promote, and they offer you a chance to grow your revenue streams without feeling sleazy.

Say it with us: 4! 4! 4! (Anyone else think of Monica on Friends saying “7! 7! 7! 7…”?)

Let’s get back to those client inquiries flooding your inbox

Back to receiving a high volume of client inquiries: You might decide that the top three criteria that matter to you when taking on new work include whether the work pushes you forward as a professional, the rate the potential client is willing to pay, and the number of hours they expect.

Time to apply your newfound ranking system to make a decision that fits your overall business strategy, so you don’t say yes to everything and later regret it when you’re working away at midnight for a PITA client.

Being flexible within the system

Depending on the ebbs and flows of your business, you might find yourself in periods where you have the freedom to be extremely picky, so you can’t or won’t take on any project or opportunity that’s not a 4.

However, during a slow period, you might find that you’re willing to accept projects that are a 2. A client that’s not “perfect”; a website project that’s not your #1 area of interest; a sponsorship that isn’t a complete slam dunk.

As long as you aren’t compromising your ethics or alienating your community, we advocate maintaining flexibility as your needs change within your solo biz.

Your turn: Where in your business can you implement a ranking system to make more effective decisions, save yourself time, and maintain your sanity?

Here’s to clarity!

12 Days of Solopreneur Sanity

A free email course with bite-sized practices for when you’re feeling overwhelmed, overworked, and underappreciated .

Powered by ConvertKit

3 Ways to Make Facebook Work for Your Business in 2018

Consider this: Facebook is the largest interconnected group of people that has ever existed in all of history. Without leaving your living room (a solopreneur’s dream come true), you’re able to reach a couple billion consumers. What an amazing opportunity for your business!

After all, your business runs on connections, right? Regardless of what type of business you run or what your primary form of advertising is, ultimately your sales are dependent on how many people you can effectively reach with your marketing messages. If you’re looking to make connections, then Facebook might just be the place to be!

Facebook’s algorithm and business

Now you might be thinking, “That’s great, except I can’t reach any of those people because of Facebook’s darn algorithm!”

If you’ve spent any time on Facebook in the past couple of years, you’re probably aware that their constant algorithm adjustments have consistently given business Pages less and less reach. In fact, at this point, posts from most business Pages reach only about 5% of that Page’s audience.

Understandably, this is extremely frustrating to many businesses who spent a lot of time attracting those Page fans. Many people feel that their effort to grow an audience on Facebook was wasted.

Also, many who haven’t already put in the work to grow their Facebook Page are now wondering if there’s even any point to doing so. If that’s the camp you’re in, then you’ll find the three ways to use Facebook for business below to be very interesting. (They show that Page likes aren’t necessarily required for you to get tangible results from FB...really!)

What Facebook really wants

Why is Facebook constantly changing? Why didn’t they just leave good enough alone and preserve the old, chronological feed that gave every post equal treatment?

Well, that’s effectively what Myspace did, and look where they are now. :/

In short, Facebook’s primary focus is to keep their customers happy and interested. The more time that people spend on Facebook (and the more they enjoy their time there), the more money Facebook makes.

It’s in Facebook’s best interest to keep their customers happy and interested, and they will always make the choices that support that.

The whole point of Facebook’s algorithm is to figure out what each user is most interested in seeing and serve them that content. This is determined through a variety of methods, primarily:

  1. Keywords: Has the user responded well to posts with similar keywords in the past?
  2. Broad categories: In general, FB users are most interested in the recent life events of their friends. Everything else (including promotional business posts) takes the back burner.
  3. Engagement: Facebook serves each post to small segments of users at a time to be able to gauge their reaction and decide how many more people to show it to. Facebook knows that the more likes, comments and shares a post gets, the more interested people are in the content -- and the more time they’re spending on FB as a result.

While the FB algorithm is incredibly advanced, it still takes shortcuts whenever it can -- after all, there are billions and billions of posts for it to sort through, so it (they) want to give preference to posts that are more likely to do well.

At the end of the day, that means your business posts get mostly booted off the feed. Facebook knows that their users are generally more interested in the lives of their friends than they are in promotional posts, so they’ve made it a default for business posts to get very little reach.

How to make Facebook WORK for your business

All this makes it sound rather discouraging, doesn’t it? Facebook doesn’t want your posts and Facebook is in charge! Should we just abandon the platform altogether?

Fortunately, that is not called for. There are actually several ways that we can harness the power of Facebook and use it to drive sales in our businesses. Keep reading to find out how.

1. Start or participate in Facebook Groups

Facebook Groups are the equivalent of networking events, but so much more specific -- plus, you can participate from the comfort of your own living room! (Again, living the solopreneur dream.)

There is power in being able to connect with your target audience and actually talk to them. Companies have spent millions and millions of dollars on A/B testing advertising campaigns because they don’t know exactly what resonates with their audience. The fact that you can just chat with your target customers is an amazing innovation of Facebook.

Facebook Groups are also the only way to connect with people on Facebook who aren’t already your friends. If you look at your News Feed, you only see the posts of those who you’re already connected to, but when you join a Group, you instantly get access to hundreds, even thousands, of new people who are all interested in the same, relevant topic.

Another advantage that FB groups have over traditional networking is the ease with which you can further connect with people on a more personal level. If you want to follow up with someone you met at a traditional networking event then you’d better bet that you managed to get one of their business cards. Totally not necessary on Facebook!

2. Develop desired content

Really, you and Facebook kind of want the same thing -- you both want to promote content that generates interest. You can work with Facebook (it helps to have the big guys on your team) by intentionally creating and promoting content that is more likely to spread virally.

Many marketing studies have been done to determine exactly what causes some content to perform so much better than other content. In short, people are more interested (and more likely to share) content that they emotionally respond to. There are actually 10 different characteristics that viral content tends to have.

When you share content that has these characteristics, several key things happen. First of all, your posts will get more engagement. People will like, comment and share things that they feel passionate or intrigued by.

Second, every time your post is shared it will get exposed to that user’s friends -- giving it even more opportunities to be shared further.

Third, when Facebook sees all that engagement, they will identify your post as one that their users (at least certain sectors of them) are finding interesting and give it additional reach.

Finally, all those likes, comments and shares will give your post a lot more social credibility. When additional users see your post and see that other people reacted to it, they will be influenced to believe that your post is, in fact, interesting. That makes it significantly more likely that they will also engage with your content.

And then the cycle repeats!

Bonus tip: Facebook really likes when you use its live features when developing content. If that sends chills down your spine, start here.

3. Understand when to invest in ads

Many people seem to have the idea that Facebook Ads are expensive or that they’re not sure if they can afford them. Really though, Facebook Ads are an investment, not an expense, and when done right, they will earn you far more money than they will cost.

What’s not to love about FB Ads? If you strategically use them to enter customers into your business’s sales funnel then you’ll be making money while you grow your brand. So long as they are earning you more than you’re spending, you have a perpetual machine to drive list growth, brand exposure, and future sales.

Not sure if your business is ready for this more powerful tactic? Check out this article: Are Facebook Ads for me?

Don’t feel like FB Ads aren’t for you just because you have a small budget. Really. Even with just $5 a day you can start to scale. As sales come in, you can reinvest your profits into progressively larger campaigns.

Facebook Ads are the silver bullet of advertising, allowing you to drive traffic and close sales for pennies. You can get started by talking to an FB ads expert who can help you figure out the best strategy for your campaign.

The right Facebook strategy for your business in 2018

Any of these strategies has the potential to uplevel your social media marketing strategy, but probably one or two of them will give you the very best results.

If you’re still in the research phase or you sell big-ticket services (such as advanced consulting, web design, or large branding packages) then FB Groups are an excellent place for you to start. Connecting with customers one-on-one can allow you to develop mutually beneficial relationships that result in qualified referrals.

Viral content can be a powerful tool for any business, but generally works the best for content or service-based businesses that can teach something impactful to generate leads.

Facebook Ads can be effectively used for many different types of businesses, but create particularly amazing returns for product-based businesses. Whether you sell physical products (clothes, decor, etc) or digital products (especially courses), FB ads can double your sales overnight, exponentially growing your brand.

Considering these three powerful ways you can use Facebook to promote your business, I think you’ll agree that Facebook marketing is alive and well. Don’t miss out on this amazing opportunity!

Over to you: What’s your Facebook marketing strategy? Which of these three ideas would have the greatest impact on your business?

A 12-Step Recovery Program For the Fully-Booked Online Service Provider

Jean’s coaching business is small but successful. She works with 5-7 clients every day, then spends time catching up on social media, emailing, blogging, invoicing and other business matters.

Her to-do list is never-ending, but she has what everyone in the online teaching industry desires -- the state of being “fully booked.”

There was a time when “fully booked” was a phrase every online business owner coveted. Whether you’re a coach, an online teacher or a service provider, at some point Michael Port’s book was on your desk, and you wanted to “book yourself solid” for months on end.

And then, because (if you’re like me) you followed Michael’s every word, you indeed experienced what the “fully booked” means: several clients a day, follow up calls, invoices, social media and email marketing (no time to train anyone to outsource those), new clients, new projects (maybe), blogging or vlogging -- all in that disrupted order, running the cycle without breaks.

Let’s pause. When we look up the term “fully booked” the first illustration comes from the hotel and restaurant industry to mean “no rooms or tables available at a particular time or date.”

One thing that our “fully-booked” heros forget to tell us is that we’re human beings, not restaurants and hotels and we cannot book all available hours we have in the day and give them to clients.

I find it ironic that the technology that “frees us” from the daily drudgery of business matters doesn’t help with the “fully booked” dream with to-do lists that don’t end.

I believe there’s a better way to work, make a living, and best serve the people with whom you work -- without “fully-booking” your human capacity.

In order for this to happen though we need to start with some fundamental, mindset-shifting exercises.

In this post, I offer my 12-step recovery program for the fully-booked online coach, teacher, and other service-based business owner who finds themselves in the trap of no more time available.

Step 1: Acknowledge that you’re a business owner first.

“Oh, I’m not a business owner. I’m just a teacher.” If this is you, don’t run a business -- go work for a school. But if you want to work for yourself, call yourself what you are.

The difference between a hired employee and a business owner?

A business owner focuses on the system, realizing that providing the service is only a part of the entire puzzle whereas a “just an XYZ” tries to ignore the entire system, thinking that the service alone is going to be enough to make the business sustainable.

Step 2: Identify your main strength and develop it into your superpower.

We’ve all thought at some point that we can do everything. We’ve exhausted ourselves working on projects we didn’t like and we’ve wasted our creative energy without making an impact.

Niching down isn’t some basic, feel-good advice designed to make us miserable. It’s our thriving code.

In Opted Out of the *Real Job* we write, “...focusing on a real problem puts you in a position where you can solve the problem -- and that’s how you opt out of the illusion of helping people and move into the reality of helping people. Which one do you prefer?”

We begin impacting clients only when we use our superpower, not our average skillset.

Step 3: Identify your dream client and connect with her only.

When I started working online in 2009 I used to think that I was skilled enough to work with anyone. I believed that if a client didn’t like me, I could change that. I believed “the client was always right.”

That mindset brought nothing but turmoil and disappointment. We’re not a “Walmart-type” business. Hence we can only work with specific clients to ensure transformative results.

Step 4: Focus your content to help your dream client solve a specific problem.

“Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.” - Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

It’s easier to add to what we already have than to focus on what works, dig deeper into it, and eliminate all the confusing noise. Eliminating the noise and focusing in on what matter takes courage and security in our brand, but it allows us to offer services that make a greater impact.

Step 5: Use automated software for client work.

Some of us resist setting up automated booking buddies because we want to provide the “special human touch.” So we dig ourselves into a hole of being overwhelmed with email and client onboarding process.

I use Acuity Scheduling and highly recommend it as a one-stop solution that allows clients to book, pay, fill out a questionnaire, and get automatic reminders. The opportunities for automation are endless, really.

Step 6: Delegate before you’re ready.

We’re afraid to delegate. It’s our baby, and people can mess things up. We think it’s not a big deal. We never have enough money to delegate.

But when you do have *enough* money you won’t be able to afford to train someone and wait until she learns your process. Waiting will cost too much. So rethink your budget now. Delegate draining tasks.

Step 7: Recruit your fans.

The best people to work for you are your fans. You can find some hired workers on crowded marketplaces, but it’s likely not the best long-term strategy. The people who comment on your posts, engage in discussions, or respond to your emails -- start there when looking for someone to work for you.

“When people realize that they are not a cog in a machine, an easily replaceable commodity, they take the challenge and grow. They produce more than you pay them to, because you are paying them with something worth more than money.” - Seth Godin

Step 8: Identify the 1:1 people and everyone else.

As coaches/online service providers, we think everyone needs the 1:1 format of what we offer, but it’s not true. Some may not be in a position to hire us, but finding a way to engage with and transform them in a one-to-many format is something your business can benefit from.

Step 9: Create one product/program to help your audience members achieve their goals independently.

In the spirit of the one-to-many formula, create one product to offer to people who aren’t ready to invest into working with you. Can you offer a book? A series of videos? A short online course? A program?

I love Breanne Dyck’s post on how to (finally) create a product. (It made me realize writing a book isn’t as scary as you may think, especially if you have a blog.)

Step 10: Set up boundaries to your “fully-booked” schedule.

Even though there’s no assigned rule that helps us figure out when we reach our “fully-booked” mark, I believe each one of us knows when we stop giving our best to our clients.

When you turn from a human coach into a coaching machine, or a human (insert-expertise-here) into a (insert-expertise-here) machine, you know you’ve reached your limit. Set up your boundaries that will keep you from getting there.

Remember what Greg McKeown reminded us of in Essentialism: Set your priorities, or someone else will.

Step 11: Build your referral network.

Join professional forums (editor’s note: like One Woman Shop!) to build the network you need to create partnerships and refer work to your partners. New brands will thank you for the referral, and you will minimize your overload.

Step 12: Take breaks to foster your creativity on a regular basis.

Somewhere along the way we got busy and stopped being creative. We told ourselves “we’re not the creative type,” and it became our comforting story. And yet it’s creativity that helps us find the most unique solutions to solve our clients’ problems.

So find the time to be creative. If you’re too busy to do that, it’s hard to create anything customized because customized takes creativity.

My advice to you: Become available

We don’t have to be busy all the time to feel like “we’re working hard.” We don’t have to fill someone else’s work quota to validate ourselves. We don’t need to be fully-booked on someone else’s terms to prove that our work is valuable.

I propose that we strive to become available. It’s an oxymoron for someone who has chosen to opt out of the standard, 9-5 job and its demands, but it doesn’t take us long to realize that the same standards we ran away from still rule our days.

To paraphrase Brené Brown, let’s not wear our busyness as a badge of honor. Try being available for a change. It’s the key to recovering from the fully-booked syndrome that’s stifling the sanity of coaches and other online service providers, everywhere.

Spotlight On: Gratitude

One Woman Shop Membership doors now open

As the craziness that is the holidays goes from 0 to 100 over the next few days (with the barrage of Black Friday and Cyber Monday deal emails to prove it), we wanted to drop in with what we hope is a breath of fresh air.

We want to show our gratitude for you.

For being a community of solo business owners who just gets it. Who can happily chat about outsourcing, email sequences, and live-stream video in one stream of consciousness. Who has no shame in taking an afternoon nap or waking up to work at 2am because an idea struck. Who gleefully celebrates being able to try out all her local coffee shops (as long as there's good wifi, of course), and who also considers putting jeans on as "dressing up." (Because, hey, they're not yoga pants.)

We say it all the time: Solopreneurship is a misleading term -- because even as a company of one, we need to know there are other people out there who get it. Who can help us through it. Who have the expertise, insight, and honesty we might not at that moment.

We count our gratitude each and every time we receive a reply to our emails, when we read through the comments on our Instagram posts, and as we witness the collaboration and sharing that takes place in our private OWS members Facebook Group (lovingly referred to as The FaceGroup).

It's there that we celebrate (yes, celebrate) a Case of the Mondays when the first day of the week rolls around. It's there that members ask for feedback on their latest opt-in, for extra hands when their plates are too full and they need a fellow expert, or for trusted opinions on software choices. It's there that unicorns come out for birthdays and the best gifs, ever, come out for national coffee day. It's there that client communication issues get solved, that mental roadblocks are overcome, and that collaborations naturally and happily form.

This week and always, we're grateful to have you as part of the One Woman Shop community -- and we want to invite you to take that one step further.

The doors to One Woman Shop membership are open for the final time of 2017 right now, but you only have until Friday, 12/1 to get your application in. What it is: Lifetime membership to a tight-knit group of ladies who quickly become friends as they support each other on this winding road of solopreneurship.

Because being a CEO ain't easy -- and we don't pretend that it is. We keep OWS membership simple, but we hit on what's most important:

A closed Facebook Group where you can share openly, ask for feedback, and offer support? Check.

Opportunities to showcase your products and services to your fellow biz owners? Check.

Access to courses and handbooks on solopreneur sanity, building an online community, solo biz finances, and kickstarting your content strategy? Check.

An accountability group who will hold you to your goals and provide a safe place to bounce ideas off? Check.

Grab more info -- and that application -- here.

As you dive into your turkey or tofurkey dinners (or bask in the silence that is your American coworkers being off), we ask you to think of what it might be like to be part of such a community...then we encourage you to actually find out.

In the meantime, we'll be over here celebrating our gratitude for the fact that we get to both lead and participate in such a fantastic community of women doing business -- and living life -- on their own terms.

To gratitude, community, and tofurkey (if that's your thing)!

P.S. We also <3 spotlighting our members. Grab a coffee and hear what One Woman Shops Lauren Pawell of Bixa Media and Lilly Garcia of Wild Olive Branding have learned on their solopreneur journeys so far.

Member Spotlight: Lilly Garcia, Wild Olive Branding

 

Welcome to our One Woman Shop Member Spotlight series, where we highlight what’s going on in the businesses and lives of One Woman Shop members. Interested in joining this ambitious group of go-getters? Apply today!

Today’s Spotlight is on Lilly Garcia, brand strategist and owner of Wild Olive Branding.

Tell us about yourself and your business - what do you do + who do you serve?

I’m a brand strategist and designer who helps heart-centered, conscious business owners get clear about their brand and communicate it visually so they can take bold steps toward their goals.

I believe that brand graphics should be more than just pretty, and so I deep-dive with each of my clients to figure out what makes their business tick and find ways to translate those abstract concepts into visuals that actually work.

Are there any things commonly accepted as truths in the business world that you flat out
disagree with?

Oh, man! Where to start?

I think the biggest myth I disagree with is that we all have to chase the same definition of success. The 6-figure launch and expensive bag + stilettos and fancy home aren’t what success looks like for everyone. And that’s okay.

You have permission to create your own version of success! No matter what anyone says.

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

That I’ve struggled for most of my life with being the weird kid and feeling misunderstood. I suppressed the parts of myself that I thought would offend or be misunderstood for a long time, and I’m just now starting to uncover that part of myself again.

I’ve been working on refining my own definition of success and including a more whole version of myself in that picture.

How has running a business changed you?

It has made me braver about so many things! About communicating openly -- with clients, with colleagues, with collaborators. I’ve learned to ask for what I want and need in business, and that has seeped over into every other area of my life.

And I’ve gotten braver about owning my own stuff -- my version of success, my values, my background, my priorities. I feel like I’ve learned so much more about who I am and how to be fearless about it.

What's your one piece of advice for new solo business owners?

To get clear on what they’re about and what they want. To invest time finding their brand so that they can build their business intentionally.

There is so much advice out there -- not to mention the endless tools and marketing options and systems. It can easily become overwhelming. But if you start from a place of clarity, the path is smoother and everything is just easier.

Give us a shameless plug for your latest project/product/freebie!

I recently launched the Brand Clarity Quiz to help new and seasoned business owners figure out how well they know their brand. It can help you see how much clarity you have right now and what your next step should be!

That’s a wrap on this Member Spotlight -- thanks, Lilly, for sharing so much insight!

solopreneur membership