Motivation Monday: Reach Out to a Fellow Solo Business

Join us every most Monday mornings for Motivation Monday, where we share a helpful “homework” assignment that gives your business a creative boost and gets you thinking (and moving) outside the box each week.

We recently got an email from Katja Hunter, who is an awesome, engaged member of our community and one of the women we've spotlighted in our Multipassionate Muse interview series.

She told us that she had met a fellow multipassionate because of her interview on this here site and just wanted to take a minute to thank us for helping her make that connection.

She added, "I don't know if you ever feel this way, but I think it's difficult trying to build something and I sometimes wonder if anyone is out there. You know? Whether you feel the same or not, I want you to know that you matter and that you have made a difference to my life. Thank you for that :-)"

We were SO appreciative that she took the time to reach out and we totally know what she means. We figured you all do too, so today- even if especially if you're feeling tired, uncaffeinated, and not ready to jump into the week- we wanted to encourage you to take a minute to give another solo business owner something to file away in their Rainy Day File.

And we don't mean repinning their pin, commenting on their Instagram, or liking their status on Facebook- we mean a good, old-fashioned personalized email. But public recognition ain't bad either!

We would love to hear your stories if you make a cool new connection! Leave it in the comments or email us!

Motivation Monday: Keep An “Adding Value” File

Join us every most Monday mornings for Motivation Monday, where we share a helpful “homework” assignment that gives your business a creative boost and gets you thinking (and moving) outside the box each week.

You probably know by now that we're big fans of tracking things like positive feedback (we call that a rainy day file) within your business. But unfortunately, sometimes you won't be externally recognized for the good things you do, which is why we recommend also keeping an "adding value" list.

The benefits of this list? It boosts your confidence, it encourages you to seek out new ways to add value- in business and in the rest of life- to others, and it's a living document that you can refer to if you're doubting the value that you provide through your business and your actions. Cool, right?

Examples of things to include:

  • Any time you teach someone something that will benefit them 
  • When you give others positive feedback (for their rainy day file)
  • Every time you introduce two people you think will benefit from knowing each other
  • When you hook a client up with a tremendous opportunity
  • When you take the time to give a LinkedIn recommendation- with no strings attached

What will you include in your "adding value" file?

Motivation Monday: Hang Flyers

Join us every most Monday mornings for Motivation Monday, where we share a helpful “homework” assignment that gives your business a creative boost and gets you thinking (and moving) outside the box each week.

Chances are, you're onboard the social media train- or at least understand the value and are working on it. We love Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest as much as the next solopreneur, but we find that people often forget about good old-fashioned marketing when getting their businesses off the ground. This week, hang flyers or business cards advertising your business in 10 different spots around your city. You never know who might see them and reach out!

A few good places to hang flyers are local coffee shops, gyms and yoga studios, coworking spaces, laundromats, community colleges, Whole Foods and other grocery stores, and libraries.

Tips:

    • Be sure to put pull tabs on your flyer so that people don't have to scramble for a pen and piece of paper
    • Starbucks and Panera usually only allow non-profits to hang flyers, so save these spots for advertising an event you're partnering with a non-profit on
    • Carry a stack of flyers with you in case you come across a place that allows flyering
    • Use bold colors and photos to stand out from the other flyers
    • Be sure that your flyers reflect your business branding so that people have a sense of who you are right away
    • Consider outsourcing flyer hanging to a local student or TaskRabbit so that you can focus on higher-level tasks

What other "old school" methods do you use to promote your business?

Motivation Monday: Check Off a “Forever Task”

Join us every most Monday mornings for Motivation Monday, where we share a helpful “homework” assignment that gives your business a creative boost and gets you thinking (and moving) outside the box each week.

Unfortunately, we can't take credit for the phrase "forever task" (props to Craig of Time Management Ninja for coming up with the clever term!) but we do love the concept.

Forever task: a duty or assignment that has been sitting on your to do list forever (tweet this idea). It routinely gets pushed from each day's to do list to the next day's- and so on and so forth.

Today, make it a priority to check it off your list once and for all (just imagine how free you'll feel when it's no longer staring you in the face day in and day out).

Not sure how to accomplish it? Adhere to the Do, Dump, Delegate, Delay principle- this time, we're eliminating the fourth option since that's what got you here in the first place 😉

Do: If it's easy enough, make like Nike and just do it. Pay that bill (and set up automatic payments!), send that apology email, write an outline for that ebook.

Dump: If you know deep down that you're never going to write that guest post or send that thank you card, come to terms with it, make it right by communicating with anyone else who might be involved, and take it off your to do list.

Delegate: If something isn't going to get done without some serious investment of time from you, weigh the option of hiring someone (or asking super nicely!) to do it for you. Get a temporary Virtual Assistant, hire someone on TaskRabbit or Fiverr, find a designer, or reach out to us for suggestions (we happen to know some great One Woman Shops of all kinds).

What "forever task" are you checking off today?

Motivation Monday: Make an Editorial Calendar

Join us every most Monday mornings for Motivation Monday, where we share a helpful “homework” assignment that gives your business a creative boost and gets you thinking (and moving) outside the box each week. 

Ever feeling like you're flying by the seat of your pants when it comes to publishing blog posts, sending emails to your list, or managing your social media? We've found having an editorial calendar- albeit one that we can change around if need be- to be tremendously helpful in maintaining our sanity and helping us provide a clear, cohesive message to our audiences (tweet this).

Remember, there are no hard and fast rules for making and managing an editorial calendar. If you don't want to post every day, don't! If your interests and content changes from month to month, go with it!

Some tips from us:

  • We love to download and print month-by-month calendars- we find it more effective than using Google Calendars (shocking, we know)
  • Use the Editorial Calendar plugin- it enables you to drop your blog drafts into a calendar grid instead of seeing them in the default list format the WordPress uses (which we find more difficult to use!)
  • Consider leaving a few days empty so that you can slot in exciting news or time-sensitive posts if need be
  • Before announcing a new series, be sure that you have 3-4 posts in the pipeline so that you have ample time to start collecting or writing new ones as the others go out
  • If your inspiration comes in wave (like ours) don't hit publish every day- space out posts over the course of several weeks or months so that your blog won't go dark during your uninspired periods
  • Keep a running note in Evernote of blog posts ideas that you can schedule in as you make your editorial calendar

Questions to ask yourself:

  • Are you doing a product or service launch? Schedule in some posts both before and after the launch to address FAQs, explain your offerings, and showcase testimonials
  • Do you have a few posts based around the same topic? Consider doing a theme week, like our recent accountability week
  • Do you want to be known for at least one consistent post, a la Marie Forleo's Q&A Tuesday, Katelyn Brooke's Starred This Week, or Jessica Lawlor's Start Your Week Right Sunday links? Schedule it in and plan ahead so you don't run out of content!
  • Will you write content that correlates with special occasions or holidays? For example, you could put together a holiday gift guide, run a pay what it's worth sale with the money going to one of your charities during their commemorative month (Etsy for Animals, anyone?), or donate your birthday to charity:water
  • Are there things happening in pop culture that you can capitalize on for content? For example, anticipate the end of a popular TV show or a big awards show and prepare an outline for a post- like these 5 Traits Businesswomen Can Learn from Scandal's Olivia Pope

Do you use an editorial calendar? Any tips for managing it?

P.S. We love these other printable editorial calendar templates too: Blog & Social Media Planner from Laura Winslow Photography, Blog School: Printable Editorial Calendar, and a a simple editorial calendar from Create like Crazy.

Motivation Monday: Find Your Ideal Work Day

Join us every Monday morning for Motivation Monday, where we share a helpful “homework” assignment that gives your business a creative boost and gets you thinking (and moving) outside the box each week.

Work days not panning out exactly how you'd like them or feel like you're just racing through the day without purpose or direction? Take time this morning to sketch out what an ideal day would look like for you.

Things to consider:

    • What are all of the workday components that are important to you?
    • When you engage in marketing, like managing your social media and sending out PR pitches to get you and your business publicity?
    • Will you take time to participate in communities like One Woman Shop?
    • Will you handle things like blog posts day-by-day or in chunks?
    • Is involving yourself in your local community through activism or volunteerism important to you?
    • Will you divide your days by "communication days" and "execution days"?

We love this My Ideal Work Day printable from Lazy Owl Boutique- normally, we're 99% digital, but this is one area where we benefit from using a pen and paper. Jump over to the site to download it- consider printing multiple copies if you like your days varied- and get to work scribbling your ideal work day- morning reading time? Mid-afternoon yoga session? A late afternoon Candy Crush session? An evening spent watching Friends? Whatever it may be, make it yours.

Motivation Monday Roundup

If you've been following One Woman Shop awhile, you'll know that Motivation Monday is one of our weekly columns- and it's one of our favorites! Every Monday morning, we give you a creative idea for thinking outside the box, getting your creative juices flowing, and jump-starting your week with a bang.

We'd wager a bet that you probably haven't implemented every single last one of our ideas (and if you have, we want to hear from you!). So today, instead of giving you a new idea, we're encouraging you to revisit the old ones and get crackin' on them.

  • Come up with 10 alternate ways of describing your business- this can help you reach new clients or customers and increase your SEO!
  • Start keeping a Do Less List- a simple way of tracking those little distracting things you do throughout the day, like checking your site stats or checking your email over and over, so that you can cut down on them
  • Create a Board of Directors for your business that you can rely on to help you establish new connections, provide feedback to you, and keep you in check
  • Go to your local library or bookstore, make a stack of book covers that inspire you, and use them to guide your business or personal branding
  • Update your bio so that it actually showcases your personality, expertise, and offerings (and we tell you the three versions of your bio that you should have on hand at all times)
  • Create a Rainy Day File- a compilation of nice things that your colleagues, clients, and customers say about you that you can refer to on rough work days
  • Get outside your business area by watching, listening to, and reading resources that are just outside your industry

P.S. Worked your way through all of the Motivation Monday ideas and still searching for things to do? Skim our list of things to do when there's nothing to do.

Motivation Monday: Get Outside Your Business Area

Join us every Monday morning for Motivation Monday, where we share a helpful “homework” assignment that gives your business a creative boost and gets you thinking (and moving) outside the box each week.

We've said it before, but we'll say it again: spending time away from our direct work can have incredible benefits- it helps us keep our sanity, but it can also spark new ideas. We like to dabble in areas that are on the "fringe" of our own- so, if you're digital marketing, social psychology might be a fun and relevant area to explore. If you're looking to be more efficient, reading recruiting blogs like Boolean Black Belt could be beneficial.

Here are some ideas for getting your creative juices flowing. We hope at the very least that it gives your constantly-whirring mind a little break but you never know- something cool might come of it!

  • Skim the documentary section of Netflix- Freakanomics, Craigslist Joe, and Happy are all our on list!
  • Listen to a new podcast- we recommend Wait Wait Don't Tell MeRadioLab, Planet Money, and Side Hustle Nation
  • Grab a book about social psychology from the library- Sparring Mind has a great list of 50 social psych books
  • Spend some time jumping from one YouTube video to another- LifeHacker and TED are great places to start
  • Find new blogs to read- Feedly allows you to add content by topic but you also ask your Facebook friends and Twitter followers if they have suggestions

As you're absorbing your new resources, see if the business-related ideas start to flow naturally. If not, ask yourself the following: what is the lesson here and how can I apply it to my business or others' businesses?

Use your new inspiration to brainstorm blog post topics, come up with topics for speaking engagements, or just inform your thinking about a certain topic.

Motivation Monday: Rainy Day File

You know those crappy work days where you feel tired, unproductive, in need of more caffeine, full of doubt, and ready to run back to a cubicle? Where all you want to do is pull the covers over your eyes, curl up with a cup of coffee, turn on Friends, or take a road trip to get away? Yeah, we've had them too -- the days where it might be sunny outside, but it sure feels like a rainy day. On those days, it can be tough to remember why you usually love your job and the many successes you’ve had. The awesome client response to a project; the great feedback from a customer; the sweet thank you note from a blogger you worked with -- they all seem to be instantly banished from your memory.

Which is why we keep a Rainy Day folder (or a 'Keepers File', as Jenny Blake says!) to keep track of the nice things people say about our work or metrics that prove that we are, in fact, on the right track.

Where to create your Rainy Day collage:

  • Email (add a "Rainy Day" label to all nice incoming emails)
  • Pinterest board (keep it secret if you want)
  • PicMonkey (though you won’t be able to edit it)
  • Polyvore (you could save it as a draft so that it’s not publicly visible)
  • Evernote (better for words than photos)
  • A bulletin board (yes, a real one!)

What to include:

  • Thank you notes (or photos of them)
  • Text from positive emails, tweets, or Facebook messages sent by your contractor, your client, or your customer
  • An article with your byline and headshot
  • Screen shots of your successes (like that graph showing a 500% increase in your site stats for your blog!)
  • An autograph of a famous-in-your-industry individual that you were able to meet
  • An image of a graphic you designed

We're all about internal self-assurance and intrinsic drive, but sometimes, you just need that little bit of external reassurance. Undoubtedly, these things won't complete you, but they can provide a quick pick-me-up on a rough day.

Motivation Monday: Update Your Bio

Join us every Monday morning for Motivation Monday, where we share a helpful “homework” assignment that gives your business a creative boost and gets you thinking (and moving) outside the box each week.

"Can you send over a bio?" Ah, sounds so simple, huh? But if you're paralyzed by the idea of writing about yourself in a pithy way that actually showcases your personality- and in third person, to boot- it can be an awkward process.

All business owners and freelancers should always have a bio on hand to send to potential clients, to include on their "About" page, to send off for speaking engagements, and to include at the bottom of guest blog posts.

Already have a bio? We encourage you to take a few minutes to ensure that it does the following:

  • Answers who, what, why: Who do you work with? What do you do for them? What is the ultimate goal for your clients or customers? Be sure that your bio captures the various aspects of your business if applicable- we're talking to you, multipassionates! Highlight the common thread that connects all of your various projects and offerings together, but feel free to toss one or two unrelated things in to spice things up.
  • Showcases your personality: If you're a silly person, don't be afraid to let that come through in your bio (you may want to have a less goofy version on hand just in case though). We like using a slightly embarrassing but relatable hobby or quirk to break the ice- like mentioning how we play Candy Crush in our free time (anyone else?). If you're feeling particularly daring, try something like Stephanie Cleary does (there are mentions of f bombs and sexual innuendoes- not for the faint of heart!).
  • Shows authority: Have you been featured on top websites? Spoken at prestigious conferences? Received an awesome award? Been told you were incredible by someone famous? Highlight these in your bio to establish social proof.
  • Tells people where to find you: Tell people your favorite place to connect- there's no need to include every single social media channel ever. For example, we don't use Pinterest much for business, so we can leave this one off and really focus on our favorites (hello, Twitter!).
  • Provides a call to action: What do you want people who read your bio to do? Visit your website? Join your email list? Buy your latest product? Be sure to highlight this effectively.

Also important? Keep three versions of your bio on hand: a micro one (1 sentence), a short one (3-4 sentences), and a long one (several paragraphs).

And we have another quick tip for you: if you've been on a guest posting rampage in the past, but have a new product, service, or website, we recommend reaching out to anyone and everyone who has profiled you and ask them to update your bio. A few minutes of time in for a lot of benefit out!

Need more guidance? We love Alexandra Frazen's Mad Libs bio template and these 8 tips from Undercover Recruiter.