One Woman Shop: Behind-the-Scenes, May Edition

Behind the Scenes at One Woman Shop in May

Behind the Scenes at One Woman Shop in May

Each day, we work with fellow One Woman Shops taking their solo businesses to the next level. (How lucky are we?!) We love getting glimpses into how others run their businesses, so we thought it only fair to show you how we run ours! Without further ado, we present to you: this month’s Behind-the-Scenes at One Woman Shop!

Things that we made happen in May:

  • We’ve been letting new ideas for this year’s Solopreneur Success Bundle marinate throughout the past year, but we did our first official 2016 brainstorming session for the Bundle in May! One big change? We’re crowdsourcing this time around!
  • Preparation for Location Independence Month is underway! (Want to get involved? Find out how here.)
  • Another successful Shut Up and Write session is in the books -- three straight hours of non-stop writing FTW! Stay tuned for several full-length posts, as well as a boatload of Shop Talk (read: short-form) posts.
  • We reached out to 100 Best Sites for Solopreneurs winners who were also active on Instagram and asked them to carry the #OneWomanShopBaton. Follow along with their days using the #100BestSites hashtag. If you love their sites, you’ll love seeing a day in their lives!

Fun additions to the Rainy Day File

  • “THE WOMEN OF OWS ROCK!!!” (Editor’s note: We do not disagree!)
  • “Thanks for letting me hold the baton again. I always love doing it because I feel like I can share more of my day with an audience who really cares about what goes on in the day-to-day of a mini-business owner 🙂 Keep up the good ladies rock!”
  • “I can't believe I can make anything outside of a W2 wage, it really blows my mind. I know I never would have gotten this far if I hadn't invested into this community... seriously! You ladies are awesome :)”
  • Thanks for the opportunity and all of the support you ladies provide. It’s a solo mission but we’re all in this together!!”

Where we struggled:

  • Finding any sort of routine was tough this month, as Sara had a few long weekends traveling (to Buffalo for niece time and Florida for a bachelorette), and Cristina spent a week in Italy. (For the record: We are not complaining!)

What we blabbed about:

Most popular posts:

What we’re most looking forward to in June:

  • Doing an in-depth review of all the submissions we’ve received for the Solopreneur Success Bundle + sending cold emails to other potential contributors (We <3 those cold emails! Weird, we know.)
  • Preparing a re-activation campaign for our email list to clean it up and building our action plan for moving over to ConvertKit (posting here for accountability!)
  • Another month of travel -- see our notes, below!

What we (+ our community!) are pinning:

Song on repeat (via Spotify):

  • Cristina: Duele El Corazon -- Enrique Iglesias
  • Sara: Can’t Stop The Feeling -- Justin Timberlake (It’s a non-stop dance party.)

This time last year:

A quick note from Cristina:

It’s safe to say that my trip to Italy far exceeded my expectations! A week of girl talk and silliness with two of my best friends from college, overindulging in food + wine, trying to speak Italian (with some interesting results), and beautiful beachside views. Back in the US now -- the countdown to my sister’s wedding is on! And I must admit, it’s nice to get back into a routine and eat healthy food (including -- gasp -- vegetables) again 🙂

A quick note from Sara:

I’m not sure I’ve ever been more grateful to be a solopreneur. It allowed me two days off to spend time with my nieces (current count: three), then a long weekend celebrating a friend’s bachelorette in Orlando (and reverting to our 12-year old selves at Disney, minus the drinking around the world). My one full week of work amounted to me being in bed for half of it with a massive sinus infection, but I bounced back in time to complete my second half marathon this past weekend -- a major feat (and such a mental game). The countdown for me: 1.5 weeks until Petey, myself, and two of our best friends head to California for a 12-day baseball vacation, including a drive down Highway 1. 🙂

Your turn: What were amongst your highlights + lessons learned this May?

One Woman Shop: Behind-the-Scenes, April Edition

Behind the Scenes at One Woman Shop

Behind the Scenes at One Woman Shop

Each day, we work with fellow One Woman Shops taking their solo businesses to the next level. (How lucky are we?!) We love getting glimpses into how others run their businesses, so we thought it only fair to show you how we run ours! Without further ado, we present to you: this month’s Behind-the-Scenes at One Woman Shop!

Things that we made happen in April:

  • We created our very own hashtag (+ corresponding desktop wallpaper!) for the One Woman Shop community. Use #OneWomanShopLife on social media to show us how you work + play as a solopreneur!
  • You can now get access all of our freebies in one fell swoop by signing up for mailing list, rather than downloading them individually...we’re calling it the OWS Freebies Vault. (Because we like to feel like Harry Potter sometimes…) Already on our list? You’ll be getting vault access soon!

And, of course, our biggest project of the month: 100 Best Sites for Solopreneurs!

  • We made more of an effort to take into account different forms of content (think: podcasts and Blab videos) outside of just written content -- we figured if we were always praising different forms of content, we should highlight them on the list!
  • We were so surprised by how easy the compilation of this year’s list felt. (Still time intensive, and still involved wine, though!) We credit this to replicating last year’s best practices, having more nominations, and growing into our One Woman Shop voice more.
  • We ended up shifting some of our “repeat offenders” (read: those who were on the list last year, too) into different categories because their focus had changed -- just shows that as business owners, we can evolve but still stay awesome 😀
  • Want more? See us chat on video during a Blab about #100BestSites (link below)

Fun additions to the #100BestSites Rainy Day File:

  • “In the interest of gender equality, men: please feel free to benefit from this, too.”
  • “Thanks so much for having us - and for making sharing the news so easy. We'll make sure to get the word out and check out some of the other amazing resources you have pulled together for us all.”
  • “Thank you so much! I'm flipping out. This is amazing news!”
  • “I came across your awesome (dare I say epic?) post on the 100 Best Sites for Solopreneurs this morning.” (Editor’s note: Yes, you may call it “epic.”)
  • “ goal is to be on this list next year! Thanks for giving me something to work towards -- and GREAT LIST!”

...The list goes on. One of our favorite things? Watching people congratulate each other publicly!

General Rainy Day additions:

  • “THIS IS SO SUPER HELPFUL!! THANK YOU!” (A response to the follow up coaching notes we send each client after each session.)
  • Tweet from OWS member, Sara Lloyd: “Had a great phone call the other day w/ a gal from #OWS community. ANOTHER great reason to be a member.”

Where we struggled:

  • It sounds silly, but we genuinely missed the adrenaline of a chaotic launch. The 100 Best Sites launch went pretty smoothly (minus a technical issue early in the AM that Sara had to deal with because Cristina wasn’t awake #earlybirdproblems #eastcoastproblems).

What we blabbed about:

This month’s Member Spotlights:

Most popular posts:

What we’re most looking forward to in May:

  • The start of a deep dive into the behind-the-scenes nerdery of One Woman Shop’s email marketing funnels, Google Analytics tracking, site changes, and more
  • The start of outreach for the Solopreneur Success Bundle (whatttt?)
  • Travel! Sara is heading to Florida and Cristina is heading to Italy (then to the US!). Oh -- and Sara is pretty psyched to get her 1/2 marathon over with!

This time last year:

Song on repeat (via Spotify):

  • Cristina: Dirt Off Your Shoulders - Jay-Z
  • Sara: I Love Me - Meghan Trainor + Lunchmoney Lewis

A quick note from Cristina:

Nothing too thrilling to report here -- just in the midst of lots of life + business prep before I jet off to Italy to meet up with two of my best friends from college and then fly to North Carolina for my sister’s wedding! One lesson? It’s amazing the amount of stuff you can accumulate in a year! Also, I’m thrilled to be back to writing a personal blog and Instagramming 🙂

A quick note from Sara:

I've been seeing April through new eyes...quite literally. I kicked the month off with LASIK surgery (but still consider myself a four-eyed nerd, no worries!), and couldn't be happier with the results. (I even got my first pair of legit Ray Bans now that I can wear sunglasses every day!) Over at my solo biz, I launched a new opt-in series all about content marketing, and am psyched to be kicking off a #justwrite challenge in May. In personal news: My 1/2 marathon is four weeks away!

Your turn: What were amongst your highlights + lessons learned this April?

One Woman Shop: Behind-the-Scenes, March Edition

One Woman Shop Behind the Scenes March

One Woman Shop Behind the Scenes March

Each day, we work with fellow One Woman Shops taking their solo businesses to the next level. (How lucky are we?!) We love getting glimpses into how others run their businesses, so we thought it only fair to show you how we run ours! Without further ado, we present to you: this month’s Behind-the-Scenes at One Woman Shop!

Things that we made happen in March:

  • Launched The Road to Solopreneur Success ebook -- 47 pages, 18 contributors, countless takeaways!
  • Opened the nomination period for 100 Best Sites for Solopreneurs, 2016 edition (and they came pouring in, much to our delight! We did our best not to get distracted by all the shiny new-to-us sites that popped up on the nomination form)
  • Hosted outsourcing month on the site -- which means some incredibly useful guest posts
  • Implemented a new system for tracking the effectiveness of our Facebook ads -- think marketing terms like A/B testing and controls! #nerdalert

Fun additions to the Rainy Day File:

  • “It was so much fun! You have an awesome community built up and I'm glad to be a part of it. :)” -- an Insta baton carrier
  • “Your resources and the community's support have been instrumental for me so far, and I want to give back and start paying what it's really worth :)” -- a member who wanted to upgrade to Espresso level membership

Where we struggled:

  • We really focused in on our financials (projections + budgeting -- you know, the fun stuff) and were met with some unpleasant realizations -- like the obvious but unfortunate reality that as our revenue grows, so will our expenses. Though we’d love to live by the creed “Ignorance is bliss,” we know that’s not a smart move when it comes to finances
  • We’ve been working with a business coach for several months and this month, we made the tough decision to put that relationship on hold for the time being. We’re so grateful for the systems and processes our coach helped us put in place so far -- and are looking forward to making them work even better for us in the coming months!

What we blabbed about:

Most popular posts:

What we’re most looking forward to in April:

  • The theme of the month: collaborations and partnerships (boy, do we have plenty of lessons to share!)
  • Running our first-ever Bootcamp. The theme? Solopreneur sanity (one of our all-time favorite topics, of course).
  • Releasing the 2016 edition of the 100 Best Sites for Solopreneurs list!

Song on repeat (via Spotify):

  • Cristina: Pitbull + Santana - Oye 2014 (only two years too late!)
  • Sara: The Chainsmokers + Rozes - Roses (that EDM beat, gosh darnit)

This time last year, we were:

  • We were figuring out how to put together a list of 100 amazing sites (Picture proof below. Oh, how cute and naive we were back then!)
  • behind the scenes 100 best sites

  • We divided our membership offerings into two tiers -- Coffee and Espresso. (Yup, we still love these names.)
  • Sara celebrated the arrival of her third niece, Samantha Riley, by gushing to Cristina on video calls all day long
  • Cristina “flew back to Guatemala to settle down in the colonial town of Antigua for a few months” (Ha! Clearly “a few months” means “many, many months” to Cristina since her “3-month backpacking trip” has lasted over 18 months)

A quick note from Sara:

March flew by around here. The highlights outside of One Woman Shop? My nieces’ birthdays (Sammy turned 1; Parker turned 3!) and the subsequent birthday shopping on a Friday morning (books, books, and more books!). I also took a few days off to take a quick trip to Nashville to meet a friend I haven’t seen since my wedding more than two years ago. Oh, the perks of solopreneurship… 🙂


A quick note from Cristina:

Not too much to report here! Semana Santa (aka Holy Week/Easter Week) is a huge deal here in Antigua, which means crazy crowds and parades at the crack of dawn (on the negative side) but beautiful carpets (“alfombras”) made from dyed sand and sawdust (on the positive side).


Your turn: What were amongst your highlights + lessons learned this March?

One Woman Shop: Behind-the-Scenes, February Edition

One Woman Shop behind the scenes

One Woman Shop Behind the Scenes February

Each day, we work with fellow One Woman Shops taking their solo businesses to the next level. (How lucky are we?!) We love getting glimpses into how others run their businesses, so we thought it only fair to show you how we run ours! Without further ado, we present to you: this month’s Behind-the-Scenes at One Woman Shop!

Things that we made happen in February:

  • Hosted our first-ever OWS member “social” (a virtual hangout not focused on getting shit done!) -- a Galentine’s Dinner Party. There were fun discussions of children’s books, favorite recipes, languages, and other nerd talk. Oh -- and we even allowed a boy to join (member Julienne’s two-month old son, Luke!).
  • Spread the Galentine’s love with these fun freebies -- which you can grab to use all year round here!
  • Had our first post published on The Huffington Post! (Minor typo in there that we're working on getting fixed...)
  • Held a super productive no-ideas-rejected brainstorming session for our next big project (When in doubt, talk it out. More on what the project is below!)
  • Moved our email check-in threads for our accountability groups over to Slack for easier, more streamlined communication (and room for shenanigans, when necessary!)

Where we struggled:

  • Tech snafus are never fun. One had us pulling our hair out for a bit as we transitioned to Google Apps and displaced a good amount of our Drive files. #fail (The silver lining? We’ll have a kickass how-to post coming soon so you can avoid our mistakes!)
  • Sara had a serious bout of winter doldrums, leading to a week of very low energy and rescheduled jam sessions. Luckily, our work on The Solopreneur Sanity Handbook taught us that sometimes resting in the valley is quite alright.
  • We experienced a fair amount of rejection and ignored emails regarding several of the guest post pitches we sent out to major sites. (The takeaways? 1) Rejection can be random and 2) keep putting yourself there.)

What we blabbed about:

Most popular posts:

What we’re most looking forward to in March:

  • Opening nominations from March 14-25 for the 2016 edition of the 100 Best Sites for Solopreneurs. Get those wheels turning about what sites you’d love to see on the list!
  • Building out The Solopreneur Sanity Bootcamp, a live experience where we work through The Handbook together to equip you with the tools and resources you need to enjoy a higher level of sanity in your solo biz. (See: no-ideas-rejected brainstorm session mentioned above.)

Song on repeat (via Spotify):

  • Sara: Who Is Fancy - Boys Like You
  • Cristina: DNCE - Cake by the Ocean

This time last year, we were:

A quick note from Cristina:

I’m so thrilled to be settled back in Guatemala after over a month of travel during the holidays. Settled for me = a ton of cooking (#mealprep), regular workouts, walks up to a beautiful spot overlooking the city, way too much iced soy lattes at my favorite coffeeshop, lots of social outings, and a new makeshift standing desk in my room -- by the window, of course. Oh, and helping my roommate change because she broke her arm. Pobrecita, as we say in Spanish 😉

A quick note from Sara:

As mentioned above, February brought a fun bout of the winter doldrums with it. So, I’m focusing on the awesome events of the month: our Galentine’s dinner, my dad’s 60th birthday dinner, one of my best friends getting engaged, and the fact that I booked upcoming trips to Nashville (March), Orlando (May), and California (June)! Can’t wait to jetset again (and see some much-needed sun!).


One Woman Shop: Behind-the-Scenes, January Edition

behind the scenes of one woman shop

Each day, we work with fellow One Woman Shops taking their solo businesses to the next level. (How lucky are we?!) We love getting glimpses into how others run their businesses, so we thought it only fair to show you how we run ours! Without further ado, we present to you: January's month in review!

Things that we made happen in January:

  • Just under a week ago, we launched a long-awaited guide: The Solopreneur Sanity Handbook. It’s 94-pages chock full of solopreneur philosophies, a guide to evaluating where you are, and the scenarios you’ll encounter and solutions you need to get to where you want to be. (Fun fact: We both encountered nearly every scenario and used every solution as we wrote and polished this beauty. We kind of love it.)
  • With the launch of The Solopreneur Sanity Handbook, we can officially say the One Woman Shop Bundle is complete! So now, not only can you get four individual One Woman Shop products, but you can tie the four together in one easy package (infomercial, anyone?) with the OWS Bundle. (Yet another fun fact: That’s $204 worth of products for just $99. Blamo.)
  • We onboarded new One Woman Shop affiliates and provided them with some fun graphics and pre-written content for promoting said Bundle.

Fun additions to the Rainy Day File:
Initial feedback from The Solopreneur Sanity Handbook has been so fun to read:

  • “LOVE how you have scenarios and solutions set up and cross-referenced! What a fantastic resource!” – Kerstin Auer
  • “I got this and LOVE it! Highly recommend that pretty much every solopreneur get their hands on this. It's full of practical advice for a wide variety of situations. (And it's gorgeous to boot!)” – Ashleigh McGarity

Where we struggled:

  • Let’s just say we were a little slow, getting back into the swing of things as the new year kicked off. We embraced this -- and then refuted those that seem to not be okay with a little rest.
  • It was a true rollercoaster throughout the making of The Solopreneur Sanity Handbook, to say the least. We most definitely experienced all of these stages of creation in the process.
  • Being a bit displaced, both physically and mentally -- Cristina with a lot of travel (leading up to her sis’ bachelorette party in North Carolina) and Sara with a lot of crazy client work at once (leading up to a real fear of burnout).

What we blabbed about:

Most popular posts:

Song on repeat:

  • Sara: Adele - Water Under the Bridge (get it, girl)
  • Cristina: Prince Royce, Jennifer Lopez, + Pitbull - Back It Up (Spanish Version)

This time last year, we were:

  • Celebrating the move from our members-only forum on the website to a private Facebook Group (best.decision.ever)
  • Talking about five ways to create an inspiring home office on the blog
  • Sara was traveling around New Zealand and Australia, checking off bucket list items on the regular (helllllo, Australian Open!)
  • Cristina was somewhere in between Guatemala, Mexico, and the US (hey, just like this year!), deciding where to land a bit more permanently (Guatemala FTW!)  
  • We were both documenting our stories of getting gutsy (Cristina shared about her adventure as a digital nomad and Sara won the whole essay contest!)

What we’re most looking forward to in February:

  • Taking that massive audit we did waaaaay back in December and giving it a strategic plan. We’re working with our business coach to make this happen.
  • Getting back into a more even mix of creation, maintenance, and launch modes after a whirlwind end to January.

A quick note from Cristina: Pretty big fan of 2016 so far (stiff competition with 2015 though…)! So far, this year has involved kicking butt with our launch, tons of travel (full of the most amazing food ever and lots of games of Skip-Bo), time with my hermosa madre (that’s “beautiful mother” -- it’s how she likes to be referred to), and an amazing bachelorette weekend (yoga pants, wine, and silly dancing is a pretty accurate summary). Whatcha got, February?

A quick note from Sara: I can’t help but think that 2016 is going to bring some big changes around these parts, which is making me do a huge evaluation of how I want to work in my solo business, as well. I’m grateful for that. In the meantime, I’ve ended the month on a three-day snowboarding trip back to the mountain where my husband and I were married just over two years ago -- and can’t wait for the fresh, crisp air to hit my face. (Though my fingers are crossed hard that all bones stay in tact; I haven’t been out in far too long.)

One Woman Shop: Behind-the-Scenes, December Edition

Behind The Scenes at One Woman Shop December

Each day, we work with fellow One Woman Shops taking their solo businesses to the next level. (How lucky are we?!) We love getting glimpses into how others run their businesses, so we thought it only fair to show you how we run ours! Without further ado, we present to you: our last behind-the-scenes recap of 2015!

Things that we made happen in December:

  • A full business audit (9 hours on video calls, countless cups of coffees, and only one shared mental breakdown!). Full recap coming soon!
  • An 18-day #SolopreneurSanity Instagram challenge with prompts like “meditation station,” “eat it,” “walk it out,” and “sleep it off” (yeahhh, we had some fun both coming up with those + responding to them)
  • Gave back by buying a bike for a girl in Guatemala (which combined some of our favorite things: helping women, supporting education, biking, and Guatemala) + reinvesting our Kiva loans
  • Hot Seat chats about…
  • Onboarded a virtual assistant and a social media manager and starting work with a coach -- so far, we’re thrilled with all three!
  • Finished our 60-page Solopreneur Sanity draft and sent it off to our designer to be laid out

How we connected with fellow OWS-ers:

  • Chose two Members of the Week at random 
  • Held our December #OWSchat on solopreneur sanity with Nicole Liloia
  • Hosted three members-only virtual coworking sessions on Google Hangout
  • Hosted a Rainy Day Circle amongst our members to spread the holiday cheer

Fun additions to the Rainy Day File:

  • These words from a new Coffee member: “The One Woman Shop community gave me the inspiration and extra confidence I needed to quit my day job to pursue my graphic design side-gig full time. Even more importantly, this community has been an amazing source of information on starting a new business and best practices to keep it running. If you’re launching a business by yourself, the small investment is beyond worth it for the connections and resources you will gain.
  • These words from a new Espresso member (in reference to our monthly accountability group): "Seriously you ladies are the best, I feel like having that accountability was a huge factor in getting it done!"

Where we struggled:

  • Making peace with the fact that Solopreneur Sanity took much longer than we expected to wrap up
  • Reminding ourselves that systems set up for two people don’t necessarily translate to systems for a team

Most popular posts:

Where we’re mentioned -- a huge thanks to:

What we’re most looking forward to in January:

  • The long-awaited (at least for us!) launch of Solopreneur Sanity
  • A brand-spanking new calendar of 2016 monthly themes
  • Getting started on big new ideas (some might call them legendary…)

Song on repeat: 

  • Cristina: Sorry -- Latino Remix (Justin Bieber + J Balvin)
  • Sara: *N Sync - Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays (the whole album, let’s be serious)


  • We have two new wallpaper freebies in honor of Solopreneur Sanity: “get comfortable with the chaos” and “Is this helpful?”

This time last year we were:

Our pins of the month:

A quick note from Sara: This month flew by, to say the least! I'm incredibly excited about all the things happening at OWS, and am happy to say that this is perhaps the most sane I've ever stayed during December/the holidays -- which I fully credit to practicing what we're preaching in Solopreneur Sanity! A few other highlights: I won a standing desk from a fellow solopreneur that I can't wait to use, treated myself to a holiday massage, and got to spend much needed time with all three of my nieces (and my "puppy" who turned 13 this month). So much to be grateful for 🙂

A quick note from Cristina: Work-wise, I’m thrilled about all of the above, especially wrapping up Solopreneur Sanity (I know I’ll be referring to it many times myself!). Outside of work, it was a fun month -- pulled off a surprise party for my roommate, took a weekend trip to Xela (where I enjoyed meeting great people, hiking up to a beautiful laguna, and relaxing in hot springs), and had a fun night out in the city. I just renewed my lease on my house in Antigua, Guatemala, so I’ll be in this beautiful city for at least six more months! For the holidays, I’m heading to Mexico (Mexico City, Puebla, + Oaxaca) with my mom -- excited for lots of mother/daughter bonding over coffee and food 🙂 After that, back to the States for a bit to host a “Weekend in the Woods” bachelorette party for my sister (I’m honored to be her maid of honor -- get it?!).

Behind-The-Scenes of the Solopreneur Success Bundle

Unmatched excitement. Unquestionable doubt. Incredible exhilaration. Extreme exhaustion. Just like the Road to Solopreneur Success is hardly a linear journey, so is the quest of launching a five-day Bundle with the goal of getting in front of as many female solo business owners as possible.

Each day was met with a rush of adrenaline unlike any other -- a clear sign that we would be sad when this was over. And sure enough, we are. (Though we did enjoy having a free weekend...) But we are also overwhelmingly grateful. For the contributors who made the Bundle possible. The affiliates who acted as amazing ambassadors. The solo business owners who stepped up and invested in themselves + their businesses.

Thank YOU for giving us the opportunity to make this happen, and for being able to have so much fun doing it.

In case you missed it:

The Solopreneur Success Bundle was a one-stop shop for the some of the best resources out there to help unlock a solopreneur’s potential and lead them to greater success.

The Bundle included 19 products valued at $1504. It was made available for five days only at just $99, from September 14-18, and included resources on creating passive income, setting up your finances, streamlining your business, pricing your products, writing copy + content, building your online community, and much, much more.

It was an epic deal and an epic week to say the least. Here’s our behind-the-scenes round up:

You know you’re in launch mode when...

  • You’re watching real-time Google Analytics stats at.all.times. (Minimize the screen + move it to the corner so it’s always visible? Check.)
  • You’re monitoring FB and Twitter ads like a hawk.
  • You’re exchanging squeals on GChat with your virtual biz partner or accountability buddy.
  • You go back and forth between overly delighted and incredibly sleep deprived (in a matter of seconds).

Things we tried for the first time:

  • Well, a Bundle, for one!
  • A blog tour (you can read the posts here -- but, spoiler alert! -- look out for an ebook soon!)
  • Blab! It’s a platform that’s being described as Periscope for groups. We’re obsessed and will be hosting many, many more -- like this one.)

Things we wanted to say but couldn’t:

  • This is seriously the best deal we could’ve dreamt up. It’s salesy and could be douchey, but holy shit do we mean it. We believe in this.

Things we didn’t expect + where we went wrong:

  • Going to bed at 2am (after launching at midnight) and waking up at 7am to find the site was down for three hours during that time.
  • Double-checking everyone else’s links in the delivery PDF but forgetting to check our own.
  • Trying to re-upload a new file with the new links only to have it keep failing because of new sales (both a blessing and a curse).
  • Having the site get hacked and spending four hours on Friday just trying to keep it alive. (Lesson: keep your site + plugins updated. Hackers love to see a high traffic week and find the holes! We were SO thankful that it held on until the bitter bittersweet end.)
  • Not clearly outlining the terms of our affiliate commissions in our initial outreach emails. (Lesson: don’t assume everyone will understand how things will work.)

What we did right:

  • Committed to making it extremely easy for our contributors and affiliates to promote the heck out of the Bundle. (Provided copy, graphics, social media updates, and more in one easy-to-update Google Doc.)
  • Added a fun ticker countdown clock to the sales page when we were down to 12 hours to go -- it added some urgency and reminded people that this deal won’t last (said in our best infomercial voice).
  • Offered a cash bonus to contributors and affiliates to encourage them to promote the Bundle more and to say thanks!
  • Made sure our contributors (we had 17 of them) were shown our gratitude afterwards with a thank you email and Starbucks gift card. (Because… coffee.)

What came of the Bundle (besides money to invest back into OWS!):

  • 157 solo business owners who are now in possession of 19 awesome business-building resources.
  • Hundreds of new One Woman Shops as part of our community.
  • Several applications for OWS membership.
  • Great content for an ebook. (Thanks to our blog tour contributors!)
  • Increased backlinks to the site (also thanks to the blog tour -- hello, SEO).
  • $1,570 invested in female micro-entrepreneurs around the world through Kiva!

Transferrable lessons (feel free to shorten your learning curve with these!):

  • Plan to be very available during your launch (we got compliments on our quick turnaround time on customer service issues) but do step away for a work out, nap, or glass of wine (things won’t fall apart in an hour). When you’re running a limited-time sale, it’s tough not to want something to be happening at every minute, but patience + sanity is crucial.
  • Know that not everyone (partners or potential buyers) will see value in your product or service...and that’s okay!
  • Accept that setting launch sales goals can be super tough -- our plan of attack was to do everything we could in preparation and then know we couldn’t control the outcome. As the week progressed, we were able to set more accurate targets and stretch goals. (We did our best to follow our new rule of thumb, “Do what you can without stressing yourself out.”)

Things we’re grateful for (we could probably make a shorter list of things we’re not grateful for…):

  • Our contributors, affiliates, and Bundle buyers. Seriously -- you all made this happen.
  • Our community -- for sharing the Bundle; for alerting us when the site was down in an incredibly understanding way on Monday morning; for simply being there.
  • SendOwl -- for a seamless affiliate experience. It was our first time using the platform, so we learned as we went (allow for two download attempts instead of one, for example), but the platform itself was fantastic (which is why that link is an affiliate one!).
  • Patience. We certainly ran into some snafus, but 90 percent of people were patient with us as we worked behind-the-scenes to keep everything running!

The Bundle expense report:

  • The foremost expense was our time. We began planning for the Bundle and doing initial outreach in May and June, and it became a significant project from the minute it was started. Perhaps next year, we’ll keep track, but it’s safe to say a few hundred hours went into making this happen.
  • Graphics. We built a sub-brand for the Bundle with the help our fantastic designer, Christie Montague. We had her design a comprehensive graphics package that included three variations of social media graphics, blog headers, sales page elements, blog tour graphics, and more so that we could provide contributors, affiliates, and blog tour participants with anything they could possibly need.
  • SendOwl + Paypal fees. SendOwl is a monthly fee of $15, while Paypal charged us a per-transaction fee.
  • Facebook and Twitter ads. Knowing we had an army of affiliates spreading the word was amazing for our word-of-mouth marketing, but we also wanted to invest in some social advertising to expand our reach. Over the course of the pre-launch week and actual Bundle week, we invested ~$250/day in social advertising. (And were super grateful for resources like this to point us in the right direction!)
  • Bonuses. We decided to run two cash bonus contests: one amongst contributors and one amongst affiliates. We paid out $300 in cash bonuses and gave away three Bundles. In addition, we spent just under $100 on fun surprise bonuses for our contributors at the end.

Ideas we’re entertaining for our next go around/what we’d like to try:

  • Contributors were in the Bundle this year on an invite-only basis. Other ideas we might consider: implementing a pitching/review process or a nomination process.
  • Set up Google Analytics to better track our conversion goals -- or potentially hire our analytics out to someone.
  • Tag our URLs in order to track the origin of sales better.
  • Change the text on our pop-up to mention the Bundle.
  • Add a sidebar ad (so people can find out about the Bundle no matter what page they’re on).

Word on the street: what others said + are saying about the Bundle:

  • “I think it’s an awesome idea and have enjoyed watching you put it all together :)” - Kerry Swetmon
  • "...because seriously, what a ridiculously good deal" - Natalie Real
  • “I just wanted to say hey and tell you that I purchased the Solopreneur Success Bundle today and I'm seriously so stoked for it. I can't believe all the goodies you ladies gathered into this bundle and the price was ridiculous! (ridiculously good lol)” - Shay Orlena Brown
  • "I have no idea how you're cramming so much value in for such little investment. Well done girls!" - Naomi Liddell
  • “I'm hoping to soon be a fulltime solopreneur. I have no doubt that these tools will help me towards that goal.” - Krystal Hart
  • “Yet again One Woman Shop delivers!! I've started diving into the Solopreneur Bundle and I am blown away! I've spent months of endlessly googling and trying to figure out what drives and inspires me and the first bundle I've opened has hit the nail on the head in under 10 minutes! If this is the outcome of opening the first package I can only imagine how far the rest of the bundle can take me. Thank you for offering such a wonderful collection, it's fantastic to see such a powerhouse group of female entrepreneurs coming together.” - Emma Winch

One Woman Shop: Behind-The-Scenes, August Edition

Each day, we work with fellow One Woman Shops taking their solo businesses to the next level. (How lucky are we?!) We love getting glimpses into how others run their businesses, so we thought it only fair to show you how we run ours! Without further ado, we present to you: this month’s Behind-the-Scenes at One Woman Shop!

We’re back, we’re back! We didn’t do a behind-the-scenes post for July (well, besides this handy one) because we were off being all location independent and taking a much-needed hiatus. (Need one too? Here’s how to prep for it.)

Without further ado, our August recap...

Things that we made happen in August:

  • Prep for our Solopreneur Success Bundle got seriously underway. While only a brief mention back in June, we now officially have a launch period (September 14-18), a boatload of amazing products from creators that we really admire, and an amazing team of affiliates + blog tour participants. A launch this big with multiple contributors and affiliates is a whole new ballgame for us, so we’re learning… a lot. (We’ll be sure to share our biggest takeaways with you all after we wrap things up!)
  • In keeping with what we teach in Building Your Online Community, this month included a whole lot of direct outreach. One of those “cold emails” went to Arianna Huffington, of the Huffington Post. A day later, we had a response from her Chief of Staff, inviting us to be contributors to HuffPost on the topic of female entrepreneurship. Cue the kitchen dancing!
  • Coaching is on the increase as we add more Espresso members to our roster. This month, we watched one of the amazing ladies we coach launch a brand new business, while another completely revamped her opt-in to lead into a seriously kick ass new product. Others are setting up systems in their businesses, while still others are getting more comfortable with putting themselves out there. Have we mentioned how much we love what we do?

How we connected with fellow OWS-ers:

  • As always, we had a blast during our monthly #OWSchat. Heather Crabtree joined us for an epic chat where we riffed on implementing systems to streamline your One Woman Shop.
  • We recorded a new OWS Chats With… Live with yet another streamlining expert, Leah Kalamakis, of the Freelance to Freedom Project and Stress Less & Impress. We had a blast talking accountability, systems, and what’s holding you back from streamlining your way to success.
  • We branched out of our own Twitter world -- and into others’! We took turns participating in Twitter chats -- like #CreativeCoffeeHour, #MillennialTalk, #FireworkPeople, #CreateLounge, #CreativeBizChat, #NectarChat, #ElleChat, and more. It is incredibly inspiring to see what other One Woman Shops are up to, as well as what they’re struggling with. And now that we’re addicted, we can’t wait to hop into more!

Fun additions to the Rainy Day File:

  • These words from an Espresso Level member who we coach: “I continue to be impressed by your coaching... and I'm picky!”
  • These words from a new member: “I can already tell this membership is beyond worth the price!!”
  • These words from a member of the community: “One Woman Shop is just GREAT. Watching them grow over the last year+ has been amazing.”

Where we struggled:

  • In the spirit of true transparency, there were a few times where we struggled over our perceptions about what the other person was thinking or feeling. Our takeaways: Express your feelings in a non-accusatory way. Communicate “live” (aka in person or on video) whenever possible -- words can be misinterpreted in writing. And, most importantly, try to put aside your feelings of “rightness” -- as they say, you can be right or you can be happy! A final thought: #teamworkmakesthedreamwork.
  • When we were in the process of launching the Building Your Online Community e-course, we chose to deliver it week-by-week instead of all at once. Fast forward two months and one member asked if it would be possible have all of the content at one time, which prompted several other members to chime in with the same request. Our takeaway: people learn in different ways -- and there’s probably a solution to accommodate those different learning styles. (There was, of course -- h/t to Sara Funduk of CourseCraft for helping us out!)

Most popular posts:

Where we’re mentioned -- a huge thanks to:

What we’re most looking forward to in September:

  • Our September theme, OWS Goes Back to School. As two total nerds, this topic is right up our alley!
  • The Solopreneur Success Bundle launch! Look for it from September 14-18. (Sign up here to be alerted as soon as it’s live!)
  • The Road to Solopreneur Success blog tour: as part of our first ever Bundle, we are hosting our first ever blog tour. (Go big, or go home…) From September 14-18, you’ll be seeing posts around the web from our Bundle ambassadors about their road to solopreneur success. We can’t wait to share their stories.

A quick note from Cristina: It’s a really interesting time to be in Guatemala because of the president’s corruption scandal (which is making international headlines). Coincidentally, I’m leaving the country just in time for the elections as well, which might be for the best (protests can turn violent quickly). I’m headed to the Yucatan Peninsula -- Cancun, Playa del Carmen, and Cozumel -- for a 10-day working vacation. I’ll be working hard with Sara on the Solopreneur Success Bundle but also drinking Coronaritas, sun-bathing, and snorkeling 🙂

A quick note from Sara: When I’m not heads down on OWS or my own copywriting work right now, I’m most likely learning a lot as we completely remodel our living room. (Hellllllo, crown moulding. Should’ve borrowed a nail gun.) On breaks from that, I’m busy savoring the last days of summer -- outdoor yoga, kayaking, and baseball games! -- before fall officially kicks in here in New York. (Oh, and also trying to stay away from the urge to go school supply shopping like I’m still in grade school!)

What was the highlight of your August? What did you struggle with? Tell us in the comments below!

Behind-the-Scenes of 100 Best Sites for Solopreneurs

behind the scenes of 100 best sites for solopreneurs

We always appreciate when business owners give us the inside scoop on the behind-the-scenes of their business. Those income reports from big-time bloggers? We eat that stuff up. We admit it: we’re super nosy -- and we love to learn.

Given that we love transparency, we figured you might, too -- which is why we launched our monthly Behind-the-Scenes column. Instead of cramming information on our recent 100 Best Sites for Solopreneurs list into that post, we decided to dedicate a whole post to the secrets behind our recent launch -- so you can learn alongside us (and we can reference it when it comes time next year!).

The end goal was two-fold: first, we wanted to provide an amazing resource for solopreneurs just starting out or looking for sites to help them level up in certain aspects of their biz -- sites complementary to ours, from digital marketing to finance, and more. Second, in the spirit of true transparency, we’ve seen how effective bundled opt-ins and roundup posts can be to engaging others in sharing. By highlighting 100 different sites, we hoped most who were nominated would share the win with their audiences, thereby expanding our reach.

We’ll start off by saying one thing: we had no freaking idea how time-intensive building the list would be! #truth

That being said, we were delighted that we met both goals. Solopreneurs mentioned their excitement over having such a comprehensive resource at their fingertips and most of the people on the list were more than happy to share their accomplishment with their communities. So without further ado, let’s get into the behind-the-scenes.

Here’s how we made it work:

  • We involved our community from the get-go by putting up a nomination form on the site and promoting it through an email to our list and on social media. We asked for their favorite solopreneur resources and why they liked the site.
  • In the 11th hour, we realized that we needed a bit of external help to finish things off, so we turned to our members. For the nominations that were missing the why piece, we asked members to weigh in. It saved us tons of time and ensured a variety of unique insights and perspectives.
  • We set several internal deadlines, but other projects kept taking precedence. We eventually knocked things out with several long, live Google Hangouts sessions (complete with wine, popcorn, and perhaps a few too many Reese’s Cups -- just kidding, never enough).

Here’s what we learned:

  • When in doubt, get on a Hangout. Don’t have a business partner? We host both general and themed coworking sessions for our One Woman Shop members, as well as a monthly accountability group for our Espresso Level members. Live Hangouts helped us to get out of our own heads, talk stuff out, and get back to action.
  • Google Docs = a life savior. Okay, we more re-realized this than learned it, but WOW -- thank you, Google Gods, for all that you do! If you’re not a Google Doc user yet, finish reading this post then make it a priority.
  • Categorization is tough. We felt strongly that The List should be divided into categories, because a list of 100 of anything is overwhelming. But -- we found it tough to create fitting categories and then categorize each site accordingly. We chalk this up to the fact that many solo business owners dabble in a variety of different services and products.
  • Coming up with unique descriptions is tough. While every site is certainly different, our vocabulary only expands so far when we’re time-strapped and tired. In later editing rounds, we had to remove “cute” and “spot-on” from many a-description 🙂

Despite the challenge of compiling The List, the result was well, well worth it. One word to sum up feedback and outcomes? Stellar. Here’s what we saw:

A ton of people mentioning the list, including:

(If you included the 100 Best Sites for Solopreneurs in a post on your site, let us know and we’ll include a link above!)

The most traffic in one day that we’ve ever had on the site:

results of 100 best sites for solopreneurs

These kind words + awesome reactions (and names in our inboxes that made us nerd out):

What surprised us + where we made mistakes (oops):

  • Surprising: Facebook was far and away the biggest driver of traffic for the post. We credit this to the fact that we invited (read: asked) all winners to share our Facebook post about The List.
  • Surprising: There are a TON of sites not on our radar. We were so thankful for the plethora of nominations that alerted us to new sites + resources!
  • Oops: We forgot to include the hashtag #100BestSites, so we had to do some last-minute edits.

What we did right:

  • We made it easy for all of the site winners to share about their wins by providing them with pre-drafted social media content, as well as a handy dandy badge (making things easy for those you collaborate with is something we talk about a lot in our new Building Your Online Community e-course)
  • Instead of sending a mass email to all of the winners, we sent personalized emails (which we think contributed to the fact that the engagement from those on the list was so high)
  • We created individualized recurring tweets in Edgar mentioning the Twitter handles of each winner (so that they can easily retweet and spread the word to their respective audiences)

What we still need to do:

We love the idea of repurposing content into more than one form to make the most of it. And given how much time we put in, we plan to milk this baby for all it’s worth! Here are some ideas we’ve had (more to come, we’re sure):

  • Create a YouTube video announcing the winners
  • Turn the list into a Slideshare

What we’ll do next year:

Our hunch is that next year’s list will be a million times easier to create, given that we have a previous example to refer to, we know how to #getitdone, and people might know the list a bit more and want to be on it. Here’s what we plan to do to ease our workload:

  • Email all previous list winners to ask for their nominations and self-nominations
  • Email all those who commented on the post on our site
  • Email all previous nominators
  • Encourage people to write more unique, specific descriptions, beyond “great tips!” or “fantastic resource!”

Even still, we’re sure there will be surprises in store for us next year, as well! (And we can’t wait.)

One Woman Shop: Behind-The-Scenes, June Edition

Behind the Scenes of One Woman Shop

Each day, we work with fellow One Woman Shops taking their solo businesses to the next level. (How lucky are we?!) We love getting glimpses into how others run their businesses, so we thought it only fair to show you how we run ours! Without further ado, we present to you: this month’s Behind-the-Scenes at One Woman Shop!

Jam sessions are the name of the game at One Woman Shop. We kick off each month with a half-day session where we plan out the month’s goals, so that future jam sessions can be devoted to getting...shit...done. We take it seriously, but always welcome laughing outbursts, nap breaks, and the (occasional) 4pm glass of wine. (After a day of caffeine of course. Stay hydrated, friends.) Without further ado, our June recap...

Things that we made happen in June:

  • Launched (#shipped) our Building Your Online Community (BYOC) e-course, with upgraded coaching options! This baby was months in the making, and it feels SO great to have it out in the digital world.
  • Kick-started our next big project, the Solopreneur Success Bundle. (Stay tuned -- we’re looking at a fall launch, and cannot wait!)
  • Turned 28 (Sara did, that is) and marveled at how amazing my business partner is when I was surprised with this fantastic birthday post!
  • Welcomed an unprecedented amount of members to One Woman Shop. We’re seriously psyched + humbled by the amazing women joining this fantastic community.

How we connected with fellow OWS-ers:

  • An awesome #OWSchat with Alexis Grant about income and revenue generation. We discovered that tons of people within our community are interested in creating + launching e-books, among other forms of “passive” income!
  • A fun, laid-back chat with Rebecca Tracey of The Uncaged Life (a #100BestSites winner!) about packaging, pricing, and the mistakes that solo business owners make. There may have been some cursing, but it was all in the name of making a point. (Want access? Become a member!)

Fun additions to the Rainy Day File:

  • These words from an Espresso Level member who we coach: “Thanks so much for your feedback today - I can already tell this will be one of the best decisions I've made for my business!” (Blushing.)
  • Our first appearance on Mashable, thanks to the awesome team over at Skillcrush!

Where we struggled:

  • Officially shipping an e-course is daunting. Is it too high-level? Too basic? Will people buy? We fought back a lot of doubts, fears, and hesitations in putting the final touches on Building Your Online Community, knowing that you learn by doing. And heck, we did it.
  • It’s summer. It’s sunny. Striking that balance between acting on ALL OF THE IDEAS and taking time to relax and enjoy life can be tough. We’re making it happen with scheduled jam sessions + picking up each other’s slack when necessary. #teamworkmakesthedreamwork

Most popular posts:

What we’re most looking forward to in July:

  • Our “Idea Anniversary.” (That’s right, the idea of One Woman Shop was birthed the day after Cristina’s birthday in July of 2013!) We’ve got fun plans to celebrate by empowering our community (and ourselves) to pay it forward!
  • Our #OWSchat on location independence with Susan Shain is tomorrow -- Wednesday, July 1 at 9pm EST!
  • Our Google Hangout Live chat with the girls of Bucketlist Bombshells about location independence and their new Work Online + Travel the World e-course (again, this is just for members!)
  • Working with members through our Facebook Group and coaching as they go through the Building Your Online Community e-course

A quick note from Cristina: I’m really excited to see everything come full-circle this month! We hosted a similar location independence Twitter chat at this time last year when I was still debating about whether to become a digital nomad. Fast-forward a year and I’ve been traveling and living in Central America for 10 months now! I just moved into a beautiful place in Antigua, Guatemala with my friend from New Zealand, who also works online as a writer and travel blogger. To celebrate my mid-July birthday, we’ll be hosting a housewarming party and I’ll be popping down to Nicaragua to visit my friends there.

Roof top view of the church + volcanoes:

roof top view in antigua guatemala

A quick note from Sara: This past weekend, I pounded the (incredibly wet) pavement in the Ride For Roswell, a bike race in support of Roswell Park Cancer Institute. Severe weather canceled my 65-mile route, but we hit the road anyway. I raised over $1,000 thanks to incredibly generous friends, family, and digital colleagues, and couldn’t be more grateful! In future news, I’m off to World Domination Summit for the first time in just over a week. The introvert in me is scared to death, while the adventurer in me is incredibly excited to explore Portland, meet virtual friends in person, and open myself to endless inspiration! (Will you be there? Drop me a line -- sara [at] onewomanshop [dot] com!

A small portion of the Andrea's Army team at a rest stop -- right before the storm rolled in:

Ride for Roswell

And, finally, a few behind-the-scenes peeks at our daily work:

Testing our [at] email addresses like any normal work buddies would:

behind the scenes of one woman shop

Discussing a wonderful invention called Google (once in a while, we forget it’s there…):

the magic power of google

And sticking with our awesome nicknames (Peach + Mint, aka Pint. As in pint of ice cream or pint of beer):

peach and mint

What was the highlight of your June? What did you struggle with? Tell us in the comments below!