You Know it’s Time to Ditch the DIY and Hire a PR Pro When…

outsourcing for your solo business

outsourcing for your solo biz

Much like a homeowner, a solopreneur must be able to rock multiple hats at once. Another similarity? Both homeowners and solopreneurs are often operating on shoestring budgets.

While a homeowner could reduce costs by taking the DIY route for painting, landscaping and wallpapering, we can most likely all agree that it’s best to call in the pros for structural, plumbing or electrical repair.

Similarly, when it comes to getting publicity for your business, you could take a DIY approach to hyper-local and community coverage, but there comes a time when it’s best to call in the pros. This post is designed to help you realize when that time has come.

You know it’s time to hire a PR professional when…

It’s in the budget – even if it’s limited. Every aspect of business ownership is competing for your money, but if people haven’t heard of your product or service, they simply can’t become your customers. Getting the word out is a critical must. Even if dollars are limited, a creative approach can get you a long way from where you started. Can’t afford to hire a big-time PR firm or a boutique agency? No problem. Get in touch with a local college or university with a public relations/communications program – students routinely get practical experience by creating a PR strategy for a local business with a limited budget. Be that business!

You’re ready to graduate from local coverage. If you’ve already nailed getting in the community paper and on a local TV station, congratulations! Great first step. Ready to move up to shows with a higher profile and a bigger viewership? It’s time to consult the experts. Crafting the right message and determining a unique story angle is what’s going to help your media pitch stand out. The pros have a strong network of contacts and are well-versed in how to be noticeable among a flood of emails.

There’s a huge launch coming up. You’ve invested the time, you’ve invested the money and now it’s time to unleash the latest from your business unto the world – congrats! Bill Gates famously said “If I was down to my last dollar, I'd spend it on public relations.” And rightly so. Even Richard Branson noted that a good PR story is infinitely more effective than a front page ad. Make sure that your message gets delivered to -- and resonates with -- your ideal customer, and that it inspires them to take action, ensuring a successful and profitable launch. Keeping in mind that magazines work with a four- to six-month lead time, start investigating PR providers at least eight months in advance of your launch. Even if you don’t sign a contract immediately, through talking with PR professionals, you’ll get a realistic sense of the time needed to create the requisite materials (i.e. a media kit and spec sheet), then plan and execute your campaign.

It’s difficult to see outside your business. You’re in your business all day, every day — often all night, every night too! It can be near impossible to see your business from a removed, third-party perspective. When you think it’s ‘newsworthy’ that you’re offering the same product in a shiny, brand new colour, or offering the same service but at a different time of day, you’re guilty of being too close to your biz to see the bigger picture. Bring in an expert who can see the newsworthy factor of your brand’s story while marrying it with the hottest news topics of the day. For example, maybe your story could fit into a home magazine, a tech site, the lifestyle section of a newspaper and a morning news show! There are more opportunities aside from the obvious ones and a seasoned expert with an outsider’s perspective can help identify all of them.

You’re in crisis mode. When a major event or negative news affects your business, it’s definitely not the time to navigate PR on your own. To come out on top of a bad situation, the right messaging, timing, and image will be crucial – and a communications specialist with the right skill set will be a lifesaver for your brand and its perception.

Once you’re ready to test the waters with a PR pro, here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  • Look for a provider who offers a short-term contract (between three and six months is ideal), rather than a traditional firm that works on a minimum one-year retainer.
  • Negotiate a project fee for a set amount of time and deliverables rather than working with the hourly-rate model where you can be surprised when you get your invoice at the end of the month.
  • Rely on referrals -- similar to contractors, you’ll want to put your faith in someone who has a reputation for doing a good job. Reach out to trusted friends and colleagues for their recommendations.
  • Pick a PR pro’s brain if you’re still on the fence between going pro vs DIY. More and more PR pros are offering “pick their brain” consultations or sessions where you can share your PR challenges and they can share a solution-oriented approach that you’ll be responsible for executing.
  • Stay in the loop with sites like PR Daily that cover the latest industry news and best practices.

When you’re ready for the big leagues, DIY-ing just might not cut it anymore. With the proper “foundation” established by professionals, you’ll be on your way to publicity success!

Why You Need a “Goodbye” Package For Your Clients

Why You Need a Goodbye Package for Your Clients from Leah Kalamakis

If you’re a service-based one woman shop, you likely run into the problem of a project never feeling complete. You’ve been working long and hard, communicating back and forth with your client over days or weeks and then all of a sudden, it’s done.

Just sending your client the final invoice with note that says “Thanks!” feels really abrupt.

You’ve created a relationship (hopefully) with your client, and ending it with an invoice feels icky.
You want them to feel supported, appreciated, and like more than just a paycheck for you. You want them to know that just because the project is complete, you aren’t just taking their money and moving on to the next client on your roster.

To create a smooth project transition between working together and well, no longer working together, (or better, working together again on a NEW project) I recommend providing clients with what I like to call a “Goodbye” Package.

This is so important to a full client process it has it’s own full lesson in my course, Stress Less & Impress.

Now, you don’t need to call it a “Goodbye” Package to your client. Depending on what you include and what service you provide, you can change up the wording as you wish. For my web design clients I like to call it a “Launch Package.” If you’re a copywriter, you could call it “Final Documents” (or something more creative because you’re clearly better than me with words).

This can be a PDF, a Google folder with multiple files, or a video. The options depend only on your imagination.

Here are a few reasons providing a Goodbye Package will help you and your clients:

1. Make it clear the project is over

No matter how much work and revisions you’ve put into a project, and how clear your contract is, there always seems to be one last thing a client needs from you.

A “Goodbye” Package helps make it clear to your client that this project is complete, and that anything further will be considered a separate project.

Not only does the concept of a “Goodbye” Package, in general, make it clear, but you can also mention what that means exactly in the package itself. For example, in my “Goodbye” Package, I tell the client what is included in my 30 days of post-website-launch support and I also clearly state that any additional training, tweaks or work will be billed at my hourly rate, or on a per-project basis depending on the type of work needed.

No more feeling guilty not making one more tweak, or feeling resentful because you accept the additional work and don’t charge for it in order to please your client.

2. Entice them to work with you again

Why put so much effort into bringing in new clients when you can get more business from the ones you’ve already got?

Your current clients have already fallen in love with you. You’ve done great work and they trust that you can give them the results they need. This means you’ve already got them past the hardest part of getting someone to hire you: trusting you can deliver on their needs.

When you’ve wrapped up one project, you can use your “Goodbye” Package to introduce them to other things you can help them with.

For example, when I complete a new website for a client, they are excited about their new brand and online presence. This gives them the inspiration and motivation to go pro in every aspect of their business.

If they create videos for their blog, I’ll tell them about how we can bring their new brand into their videos with a custom video intro. If they have an outdated opt-in lead magnet, I’ll tell share with them my PDF design service so we can make their lead magnets match their new brand. This all goes in my “Goodbye” package PDF, which is a non-salesy way to show them that our work together doesn’t have to end with this one website project.

3. Give them resources that will help them go forward without you

Referral business is the best business. Having great testimonials on your website makes potential new clients much more willing to hire you.

The best way to get referral business and great testimonials is to delight your clients beyond the actual project deliverables.

The “Goodbye” Package is a great place to give your clients extra help and support, even after your work is complete.

A few ideas for resources you can add:

  • Links to past blog posts you’ve published to help your client implement what you’ve created for them
  • Links to other people’s content that will help them improve on your work in a related way
  • A tutorial video on how to use what you’ve created (ex: as a web designer, I provide a custom video tutorial on how to use their website)
  • A list of people you recommend for related services they might need that you don’t provide
  • A bonus worksheet or guide (ex: a sales page copywriter could give a PDF on creating personality-filled social media posts)

Take action

Do you have a “Goodbye” Package? If not, it’s time to get to work! Remember, this can be an ever-changing and evolving document. I have a template I use for my main PDF, that I customize because all my clients are different. If you can use the same one, without customizing for every client, even better. But it can be something you create as a base, and update and change as your business and services evolve.

If you do have a “Goodbye” Package, does it address all the areas I mentioned above? If not, maybe it’s time to revisit and add to it!

And if you're looking for even more guidance, I cover this -- and other ways to streamline your business to make more money in less time -- in my course, Stress Less & Impress.

We are affiliates of and may receive commission from sales of Stress Less & Impress. As always, we only promote products and services that we love and/or think you might benefit from!

To Be or Not To Be… Your Own Brand

Personal + Professional Branding

Whether you are establishing your first brand or are thinking it might be time to reposition your brand, we, as solopreneurs, have a choice of using our own name and being our brand, or creating a unique name. Both have strong upsides – you just need to discover which positives you can make the most of in your business. Let’s lay them out.

Upsides to being your own brand

1. Natural passion with unlimited growth

You already live what you’re passionate about. If you started your business out of your own interests, using your name brings authentic personality. You don’t have to try to be consistent or on point when you are your brand. You already know, in your gut, if it’s you. In addition, as your offerings (products/services) expand in subject matter, you aren’t limited by a creative name that’s descriptive of a certain expertise. Using your own name allows you to share what you love and be what you love.

2. Instant branding

Only you can be you. You don’t have to worry about trying to create a brand that stands out or differentiates enough from the competition. You won’t have to try to tweak one thing here or there to be “just different enough.” There is only one you. You are already unique. As you are creating your brand under your name, you can be proud of the individuality and distinctiveness built in.

3. Easy communication

This is such a pragmatic reason to be your own brand, but it’s a reality and something to consider. If you are your brand, it’s very easy for people to confidently contact you by name. However, if you are functioning under a creative name, your first name might not be immediately obvious. This is especially true if your brand name happens to sound like or play off another person’s name. If you are using a creative, unique name, make sure your real, personal name is used often throughout your brand content and readily available.

Upsides to not being your own brand

1. Provide context

While your name is specific to you, it doesn’t shed light on exactly what you offer or sell. Your unique brand name can allude to, or fully describe, what your brand is about. There is so much competition and noise out there –- a brand that can tell its own story in a name can sometimes gain the upper hand.

2. Common vs. original

In a world of domain names and social media accounts, we can’t all be “JohnDoe” or “MarySmith.” And some of us just have those names. (My maiden name ensured that there was always a name twin in any large group I was in.) By creating a unique name for your brand (so long as you’ve researched to make sure it’s not already taken), you get around all of that and are able to nab the domain and social media names you want.

3. Ready for (team) expansion

When your name is your brand and your brand is you, it can potentially be limiting in the future. As you expand your services or seek to bring on new employees, you may start to feel like your brand name is limiting. Of course, plenty of big name brands and celebrities have done it with ease (cough, Marie Forleo, cough) – but if you anticipate wanting to distance yourself from your brand and let your brand be emblematic of your employees, you may want to think today about choosing a creative name that allows for expansion.

“This above all, to thine ownself be true…”

Whichever direction you choose, make sure it feels natural and comfortable to you. Whether it’s your own name or a creative one, it’s a name you will be using often –- to represent you and your business. If it feels forced or just isn’t working, keep looking. Naming isn’t easy, but when you find the right name, all the authentic pieces of your brand will come together. And after all, “a rose by any other name is just as sweet,” but that’s a different play.

What road did you take for your brand -- and what have you found to be the pros + cons?

3 Forgotten Aspects of Your Solo Biz Brand That Make a Difference

Personal + Professional Branding

What’s your “thing?”

Your little quirks. The little things that make you, you.

Everybody has one. Or two, or a dozen. (Some people are pretty quirky.)

But those quirks? They’re one of the most important parts of your brand. Someone else may choose similar brand colors. Or work in the same niche. But no one else has the same combination of quirks.

They’re the one true part of your brand that’s unlike any other, and also happen to be the most humanizing aspect. So why are they thrown onto the back burner so quickly when it comes to strategy?

These three brand components may not be immediately noticeable on someone’s first visit to your site, much like your tagline or logo is, but they’re the real way to stand out. So start paying attention.

1. Your history

Your experiences made you who you are today. Yeah, the future’s what matters, but that’s shaped by the past. All those contemplative voiceovers at the end of teen movies about not being defined by the past are wrong… kind of.

The past does matter, but you can control how it defines you when it comes to your brand.

How do you describe your history? On your about page, when you’re pitching new clients or partners -- what do you say?

Why’s your story unique? Maybe your most successful business tactic is something the rest of your industry considers a joke (AltaVista SEO?). Maybe you have a unique hobby or anecdote you can talk about.

Work it into your elevator pitch. It doesn’t even necessarily need to be related to business. Wouldn’t you remember if someone you met in a Twitter chat is currently sailing around the world? The goal here is to be recognized and remembered.

2. Your words

Everyone has their favorite words. I went through such an ‘awesomesauce’ phase a year ago. It was all over my content without me even realizing it. It seeped into my brand.

My brand copy is also super conversational, sarcastic, and riddled with pop culture references and “dad jokes”, because that’s just how I talk. And I’m myself in my copy, so those quirks show up to the party.

Maybe it’s a stylistic thing: asking rhetorical questions; using in-depth descriptions; or Joanna Wiebe and her stance on cursing (which I love).

Or perhaps it’s specific words. Think Joey Tribbiani and “how you doin?” Or having a phrase you end every post and email with. (Like Elizabeth Gilbert and “Onward”.)

It’s not an official tagline. Think of it as your brand vocabulary: it’s something people can expect to come out of your mouth (or keyboard).

Once you’ve identified it, run with it. Make sure to include the words, phrase, or style all over, especially where it’ll get noticed most: your homepage, email opt-ins, and slogans.

3. Your interests

One Woman Shop member Jessica Lawlor recently asked “what makes your eyes light up?”

Think about your biggest passions, where you’re excited and happy and ambitious. That stuff needs to be part of your brand. Seriously, good luck finding staying power without it.

“Think about your passions - that stuff needs to be incorporated into your brand.”

Why? Because when you’re running your own business, it’s so important that it’s filled with as much excitement, happiness, and ambition as possible, so that you can sustain the hard work.

So take what you love outside your biz and learn how to incorporate it. For Jess, that’s yoga. It’s part of her brand. For me, it’s comedy and television. Countless references are in the copy I use to represent my business. Sometimes, entire posts are dedicated to it.

It may seem frivolous, but it builds a connection between you and your audience. Just last week, a blog reader sent me a message asking for book and movie recommendations for her weekend. That’s one touchpoint I wouldn’t have had with her if I’d kept things strictly business.

You want to present yourself authentically, and that means getting personal and sharing non-business parts of your life.

Brand yourself

What’s one thing all of the above opportunities have in common? They’re not traditional things you think of when it comes to branding your website, or your business cards, or your products.

That’s because they’re ways to brand yourself. Because your business is more than your marketing assets. For a solo biz, your business is literally you.

Tell me: what’s a quirk, a word, or a passion you can incorporate into your brand to connect with your audience?

Solopreneurs Need Vacation, Too! Here’s How to Prepare

Setting Up Shop

I don’t know about you, but when I took the leap to full-time freelance, one thing I was most looking forward to was having a flexible schedule and unlimited vacation. No more needing to count my vacation days or compromise my time off to “save” some more of those days for later in the year.

(In fact, even now, I’m cringing just thinking about all of that…)

Now, as a full-time solopreneur, I have the freedom to be a digital nomad and work from wherever I am. That said, it’s both a blessing and a curse when all you need is a laptop and reliable wifi to work. Because sometimes, even when we love our work, we still want to disconnect and take an honest vacation.

The key to being able to fully disconnect when you’re a one woman shop? Preparation. In this post, I’m going to share the steps I took to prepare my business for my absence as I embarked upon my first vacation as a full-time freelancer this summer.

1. Clients & Projects

I had many ongoing projects on deck, and communicated with each of my clients about my vacation and the fact that I would be entirely unreachable. I started doing this about two weeks ahead of time, but especially the week before. I told them we could finish beforehand if they didn’t want to wait, but many opted to just pause the project while I was gone. This worked better for both of us, because it didn’t cause us to rush their project.

On one larger project that started a month before, I made sure to tell them in our initial conversation that we would need to wrap up by a certain date.

I have just a few clients that I do monthly projects for -- blog post images, social media scheduling, etc. Knowing that they usually send me content during the time of the month that I would be on vacation, I contacted them ahead of time and informed them. Where I could, I worked ahead.

Pro tip: I use Wave for invoicing, which allows for recurring invoices. I don’t have to remember to send those monthly clients an invoice, which saved me a task before vacation!

2. Don’t Go Completely Dark

Although you will be disconnected, you don’t have to go dark online. Set up a simple auto responder in your inbox, so that those who email you won’t think you’re just ignoring them. If you plan to check in while you’re away, note the terms of that. (Ex: If you’re available for emergency situations, tell clients to put “Urgent” in the subject line.) For leads that might not visit your inbox and will only see your website, consider editing your contact page with a note that you’re out of town.

Your social channels don’t need to be neglected, either. Schedule out some social media posts, even if it’s less often than usual. Of course, a big part of social media is actually being social, and interacting with your audience. So, how do you handle that, if you’re disconnected? Well, that leads to me to Step 3…  

Pro tip: I use Edgar to schedule most of my social media posts, so it constantly recycles evergreen content. Saved me another task before vacation, because it’s always running!

3. Work with a VA

When I think about virtual assistants, I think about long-term projects, like scheduling social media every week. But, just like people can hire me (a designer) for one-off projects, you can hire a VA to monitor your inbox while you’re away. That’s exactly what I did. I prepped a VA (in my case, Jordan of Practically Magic VA) to “watch” my inbox for any critical emails.

You could also have your VA watch your social media channels. I didn’t do that this time around, but I most certainly will next time. I had scheduled social media posts for the few days I was going to be gone. What I didn’t realize is that one link I tweeted was broken (the person’s site was 100% down), and someone replied to my tweet to tell me it wasn’t going anywhere. The tweet went unanswered for two days -- not good!

Pro tip: I didn’t just tell my VA to copy and paste my auto responder message to any new contact form submissions. I drafted a more detailed response, and sent her my welcome package that she could send along with it to new inquiries.

Now… take that vacation!

It takes a little prep work, and a lot of communication with your clients, to get your biz in a good place while the CEO takes some vacation -- but when you can fully disconnect without worrying about what’s going on in your biz, it’s entirely worth it.

Tell me, One Woman Shops, what else do you do to prepare for vacation?

Debunking SEO Myths for Solopreneurs

There have been so many changes to search engine algorithms over the years that many businesses aren’t able to keep up. For some, what was once a proven keyword strategy becomes a recipe for disaster after stricter SEO codes are put into place. For instance, websites could once get links using techniques such as directory submissions and comments, among other, spammy (read: sneaky and not well-intentioned) techniques that are now frowned upon by Google. Some of these “black-hat” techniques can now even get you penalized.

If there is some confusion about which search metrics are actually important and which can safely be ignored, it’s not just you. The landscape is constantly changing, and those running the show have control -- we’re looking at you, Google.

Having said that, it’s clear entrepreneurs who understand the role of SEO and how to use it stand to benefit from higher customer loyalty and increased brand recognition. Here’s what you should and shouldn’t be spending your time on.

1. Take click-through rates (CTR) with a grain of salt

Click-through rates refer to the frequency at which users actually click on a given link compared to how often it is viewed.

The goal is to get people to click because they’re having a positive experience on the site. While actual clicks are harder to generate than views, the figures are measurable. Experts agree that views or impressions are virtually impossible to track and monitor; however, there is mounting evidence that the metric is being used as a ranking factor in natural search engine results pages (SERPs). This effectively pushes popular content toward the top of Google.

What this means for you: While click-through rates might mean more to conversion for a solo business owner (encouraging your visitors to take action), they aren’t as important as views when it comes to search ranking. This means you should be trying to get your content in front of as many eyes as possible and should optimize your content to be easily read by visitors. Keep a clean design and be sure your site is mobile friendly.

2. Broad match terms aren’t worth your time

Over the years, keywords have become the focus of best practices in SEO, and business owners are using them to target their online audiences. However, the nature of keywords continues to evolve.

In an article from WebpageFX,  broad match keywords (think: “coffee” instead of “where to find coffee with wifi”) were listed as the first of four SEO metrics that will waste your time, and for good reason.

It’s no longer enough to create broad match keywords for use in pay-per-click ad campaigns or for insertion into blog posts. With the increasing sophistication of search engines and their ability to process queries in ways that a human might, specifics are key.

What this means for you: Make sure the keywords you choose relate to your target audience, are associated with your visitor’s purchase intent (what are they there to do or buy?) and closely resemble what people are typing into search. For example, use detailed keywords like “order running shoes online” or “how to make a green tea smoothie” as opposed to simply “running shoes” or “green tea.”

3. Forget about bounce rates

What is bounce rate, exactly? This is a figure that represents the percentage of single-page sessions on your site (they enter and leave on the same page) and tracks the average time users navigate your pages, factoring in refreshes to avoid a skewed estimate.

In many ways this metric can be said to mirror that of click-through rates, but the most important thing to note is that bounce rates are not considered by search engines in any way, shape or form.

Ultimately, bounce rate is more concerned with the ingrained behaviors of search engine users – such as pogo-sticking -- jumping from listing to listing because the first page doesn’t fit your needs. As such, bounce rates rarely have anything to do with your site’s optimization levels.

What this means for you: All that said, your content should still pass the five-second test. In five seconds, visitors will be able to judge your website and determine whether or not they would like to stick around. In those five seconds, they should be able to effectively determine who you are, what products or services you provide, and what value you can offer them. These things are conveyed through your site’s design and copy. If you can communicate these three elements in five seconds or less, you’re on your way to better conversion and ROI.

4. Always question your conversion rates

Conversion rates are the rate at which users convert, or take the action that you’d like them to take -- whether that be a newsletter signup, a purchase, a download, or something else entirely. Conversion rates are arguably the most important metric you need to consider, as the more people you can get to spend money through your site’s checkout process, the better. The thing is, there are a number of A/B testing success stories that are reinforcing outdated best practices. What’s best for one company may not be best for you, so you shouldn’t always mimic their success stories and hope for the same results.

It’s important to remember that business isn’t one-size-fits-all, especially when they are operating in different industries or provide different products and/or services. To that end, keep conversion rates in mind, but don’t go overboard in pursuit of them.

What this means for you: Depending on what your goal is, you will need to take action to get your visitors to convert more easily. If your goal is to build your online community through newsletter signups, your focus should be on sharing quality content and making sure your readers have an easy way to sign up. Try having a call-to-action (CTA) at the end of each post, directing your readers to a sign-up form. It’s also a good idea to have one, non-intrusive pop-up for a newsletter sign-up, and to only require the essentials. Rather than requiring them to fill out multiple fields, have the form only include name and email address -- or even just the email address. The easier the process is, the more likely they’ll be to convert.

5. Share counts don’t count for much

We all know that social media is the hot topic of the day and there’s a lot of buzz around social sharing. Yet the truth is, it holds very little significance in the grand scheme of your SEO.

There are correlations between the number of shares a website receives and how well it performs, but these figures are too easily inflated, according to McGill University researchers. Their impact is also short-lived, and can’t really influence your ranking for the long-term.

What this means for you: Don’t focus entirely on share counts as a measure of success. Before you can take this metric seriously, you should think about installing powerful analytics tools, provided they’re able to identify and filter out any bots that may be distorting a significant portion of your share counts. (Google Analytics does the majority of this automatically.) Check out the link above to find the tool that’s best suited to you and can help you best track your statistics and use the data to make good choices.

What you can do to improve your business’ SEO

Now that you’re more aware of the pitfalls surrounding some superfluous metrics surrounding SEO practices, you’ll be in a better position to take the necessary steps in growing your business through web traffic and conversions. It takes time to figure out what works for your business and is sustainable for you, solopreneur, but it is certainly worth it.

How to Create an Opt-In Offer Your Audience Can’t Resist

Create an irresistible opt-in offer

If you’re focused on building your email list, you probably have at least one opt-in offer already. But how well is your offer converting? If the results haven’t been quite as good as you imagined they might be, it could be time to look at your opt-in with fresh eyes.

The mistakes we make with our opt-in offers range far and wide, from offering something your audience doesn’t want or need to being a ‘nice-to-have’ rather than a ‘must-have.’ And in truth, given the sheer number of people offering an opt-in gift in exchange for an email address these days, there’s a lot of clutter to cut through to convince your target audience that what you’re offering is worth their time.

Luckily, there’s a few simple guidelines you can follow to make sure the next opt-in offer you create is one that your audience can’t resist.

1. It solves a problem they’re experiencing right now.

A good opt-in offer identifies an existing problem and offers to (at least partially) solve it right now. The key is to make sure the problem you’re solving is specific and something that requires a solution. This is ultimately what makes your offer valuable.

Once you’ve created an offer that solves a real problem, you need to convince people that your opt-in offer is the real deal (aka it works!). In other words, even though your offer is free, you still need to sell it to your audience. Your audience isn’t giving you money for your opt-in offer but they are giving you perhaps the next best things – their time and space in their inbox. Write your squeeze page copy to position your opt-in offer as the solution to their biggest problem and you’ll be absolutely irresistible.

2. It is highly actionable.

Your opt-in offer should be something your audience can act on. Many people make the mistake of offering something like the first chapter of an eBook without realising it contains little actionable content. Don’t just give your audience something to think about, give them something to do. Great opt-in offers inspire and educate your audience to take action in their life or business. Think about what you could offer that would have your audience scrambling for a pen and paper to take notes and write a to do list! Can’t think of anything actionable you could offer? Try a simple one-page checklist or a two-page workbook to guide them through a difficult task within your expertise.

3. It is consumable within 15 minutes or less.

A short opt-in offer is a good opt-in offer! Most people are time poor and have a relatively short attention span, particularly when they’re online. Make your offer consumable within 15 minutes to ensure it is completed and used. Opt-in offers that are used are going to produce much bigger results for your audience than those that sit unread in an inbox. And results mean they’re much more likely to come back to you for more. Good examples are a five-page eBook or a 10-minute video workshop.

4. It aligns closely with the products and services you offer.

Though it might seem obvious that your opt-in offer should align closely with your product and service offering, this is one that many new business owners get wrong. Your free offer should align closely with your paid offerings, meaning it appeals to the same target market and falls into the same broad topic area. This will ensure that the people you are attracting to your email list are the kind of people who will move on to buy your paid products. (Once you’ve impressed them with what you’re giving away, that is!)

Your next step

By following these four guidelines, you’ll ensure you create an opt-in offer that is enticing, actionable, highly valuable and leads people to your paid products. If you have an opt-in offer already, consider whether it meets these four criteria. If you don’t have one yet, it’s time to get to work.

Need a nudge to get your opt-in going and strengthen your community? The One Woman Shop Building Your Online Community e-course is here! Click on the image below to learn more.

Building Your Online Community

The Challenges of Being a One Woman Revolution

We all know it can be tough being a One Woman Shop, but from my experience working with the do-gooders, change-makers, and ruckus-starters of the world... it's even harder being a one woman revolution.

Now, I work with a plethora of driven, passionate, and mission-driven solopreneurs. They're out to make a difference in the world and just happen to use their businesses to do that. They have more than just something to sell; they have something to SAY. And they're some of the fiercest, most committed humans I've had the pleasure of knowing. Sound like you?

If it does, then you know that it's not all rainbows and sunshine, this mission-driven entrepreneurship thing - especially when you're riding solo.

Of course, we struggle with product development, service creation, marketing strategies, time management, and a whole slew of other biz obstacles. But beyond the challenges of the average solopreneuring superstar lies a set of unique issues I hear all too often from my do-gooding, change-making, ruckus-starting clients.

1. PRESSURE: Carrying the Weight of the World on Your Shoulders

There's a level of personal responsibility we place on ourselves when our businesses are built upon the bedrock of impact. Because our missions to make a difference are so deeply ingrained in our businesses (and in the very fabric of who are) we start believing that if we miss the mark, the greater good we're trying to achieve is going to suffer.

Stop Thinking: "If I don’t launch this product/service/program right and it flops, I'll not only being failing myself... I'm failing my cause."

Start Believing: This "epic failure" mindset is probably the biggest contributor to stunted biz growth among mission-driven entrepreneurs because the pressure becomes so big and so gnarly that it stops you in your tracks. It makes you so afraid of failure that it only results in failure to try risky things, push the envelope, and shake shoulders. And that, my friend, is failure to affect change.

2. NEGLECT: Putting Yourself Dead Last on Your List of Biz Priorities

I'm not talking about self-care here. I'm talking about being so committed to making a difference and helping others that we build an encyclopedia of excuses why everyone and everything comes before yourself. If someone needs your help and can't afford your products or services, you're inclined to help because you started your business to HELP - even if helping means you add to your already too-heavy workload or that you'll have to sacrifice something important to you to make time.

Stop Thinking: "I don't have the time or energy to work for free... but this person REALLY needs my help and I'm in the business of helping people."

Start Believing: Neglecting to put yourself first when taking on the task of saving the world or starting a movement means neglecting to put your mission first. That sounds contradictory, but it's not. If you spend all your time doing work for free in the name of helping others, you're not spending your time doing what you need to do to be your best. When you sacrifice sleep in the name of helping others, you're sacrificing performance the next day. When you sacrifice family time, you sacrifice moments and memories that feed your soul. When you sacrifice time and energy spent working on your next big thing, you sacrifice the potential of that project making its maximum impact. When you sacrifice YOU, you sacrifice the mission.

3. ENOUGHNESS: Feeling Like You're Never Doing Enough, Shouting Enough, Being Enough

Let’s be totally honest. There’s always more good to be done, more change to be made, more shoulders to be shaken in the world than any one woman revolution can tackle herself. And because of that fact, you probably tend to reside in the “Never Enough” camp when it comes to your confidence level. This doesn’t show up to outsiders, though - it nestles deep inside your brain where only you can hear it and you can hardly ever shut it off.

Stop Thinking: “I’m not doing enough/saying enough/being enough to really make an impact in the world. I should be doing/saying/being MORE.”

Start Believing: First and foremost, what you’re doing/saying/being is MORE than enough. Most people don’t give a damn to make an impact but you DO. The fact that you’re doing/saying/being anything at all means your level of enoughness is far above and beyond the average joe. And secondly, you’re a human. You can only do/say/be so much. If you’re working your tail off to make an impact and it’s slow-going or barely working - it’s not due to your lack of commitment or your lack of effort. Creating a movement takes time and it often feels like damn-near rocket science. Keep trying. Keep experimenting. Keep innovating. Keep doing and saying and being. You’ll figure it out as you go so long as you don’t guilt yourself down burn-out alley.

4. ISOLATION: Being an Outsider Even in the Presence of Peers

Doing good, making change, and starting a ruckus is not easy work despite what some may think. Those of us in the business of impact are often misunderstood. People think it’s all rainbows and sparkles and unicorns because it’s meaningful work that gives us warm fuzzies and a sense of purpose in life. But it’s quite the opposite. And even fellow members of entrepreneurial cool kids club don’t seem to get that. Being mission-driven in a world of fortune-, fame-, and freedom-driven business owners can feel lonely and alienating at times.

Stop Thinking: “These people just don’t get me. I don’t have people to turn to when it comes to needing help with spreading my message.”

Start Believing: It’s true. For every mission-driven entrepreneur out there, there’s at least 10 other entrepreneurs driven by something else (based on entirely unscientific research, that is). But there are like-minded revolutionaries out there. We just don’t always wear our do-gooder, change-maker, ruckus-starter name badges, so it’s sometimes hard to find us. To initiate your “Impact Radar” (that’s the part of your brain that recognizes fellow impact junkies - more unscientific research for ya), you’ve got to listen carefully. Find people talking about social entrepreneurship, changemaking, philanthropy, purpose, and “heart-centered” business. That’s normally where you’ll find us lurking.

5. OBSCURITY: Swimming in a Sea of Rules Written for Everyone Else

You take the classes. You attend the webinars. You buy all of the eBooks and read at least half of them. You go to the conferences. You hire the coaches. You scour the internet for anything you can consume that will help you become card-carrying, cape-clad SUPERpreneur. But it all feels... ill-fitting. The definitive guides are about building traffic, the roadmaps and blueprints are for making six figures in six months. And the courses push smarmy marketing and sales copy tactics that make you feel sick to your stomach. But you implement everything you can and you still feel like your all-important, game-changing message is merely a whisper in the midst of a hurricane.

Stop Thinking: “I’ve done everything the gurus tell me to and it’s not working. Is the mission-driven business model just not viable? Am I struggling because this just can’t be done?”

Start Believing: The answer, quite simply, is NO. You’re not struggling because you can’t make a buck while making an impact. You’re struggling because we’re being taught the rules of the entrepreneurial game that have been written by people with other priorities. There’s a plethora of resources for those looking to make oodles of money, get famous overnight, or work as little possible - but there’s not much out there for those driven to make a difference through their businesses. You’re struggling because you are a rare breed. You’re struggling because the current culture of entrepreneurship hasn’t yet made room for us - and we haven’t yet decided to demand it. And it’s about time that changed, wouldn’t ya say?

I say it’s time to demand that the One Woman (okay, and Man) Revolutions of the entrepreneurial world stand up, raise their hands high, and let each other know we’re here. I say it’s time to start the conversations mission-driven entrepreneurs need to be having and provide each other with the support we all need. I say it’s time we join forces with another as we plow forward in our endeavors to leave a dent in this world.

Step 1? Sound off in the comments about your biggest challenge as a One Woman Revolution.

Step 2? Engage your fellow revolutionaries in some conversation about how they best overcome what you struggle with most. We’re in this together, changemakers.