The other night, I finally gathered my lazy butt off my desk chair and cleaned my room. It was probably at least three months ago when I properly dumped everything off my desk and wiped it down. But you see, I have a good excuse. It’s not like my work desk is a kitchen table where I need to wipe it down after dinner everyday right? These days, I have piles and piles of papers and client work on my desk. And when I love doing what I do, I have the tendency to push everything else to the side. That’s why we’re going to do a online business cleanse before spring launches.
Truth is, beneath those piles and piles of papers were also piles and piles of dust. Eek, I’m sure the dust fairy was here multiple times in the last few months. But seriously, it was kinda gross. Naturally, when spring arrives, I have the tendency to “start anew.” I threw out a ton of stuff, including older plans for Talence and such. They were no longer relevant and when my desk is cluttered, my mind tends to follow as well.
So I thought what would be better than to talk about a spring cleanse for your blog and online biz this week. March has had it’s ups and downs so far, but also a few frustrations here and there. So I’m also taking this digital cleanse as a way to start anew — and so should you!
Imagine… when there’s so many things that are dragging you down how can you grow?
#1 Clean up your physical desk.
So original right? But seriously, do it. I’m sure you have old plans that you will never implement. Throw them out. When I look back at some of mine, I’m like, “Wait, was I really going to do this? No, no, no!”
#2 Set up internal systems and streamline processes for your client business.
I use to just use Paypal for all my payments and invoices, but recently I switched to Wave because the system is more robust, extensive, but still very intuitive to use I love their user experience and their forms allow you to add more information. From the client’s perspective, they will also see you as more legitimate.
#3 Streamline your inbox with canned responses.
I’ve used canned responses for a few months now and they’re honestly good for many types of emails you send for your business. This is especially true if you’re a solopreneur or freelancer. Canned responses is something you can install within your Gmail by going to “Settings” and then “Labs.” By creating a canned response, you can use the same content template email over and over again. The only thing I usually change is the name. I still want the receiver to feel special.
You can use canned responses in these scenarios:
- Reaching out to join Pinterest group boards (resulting in almost a 70% success rate!)
- Guest postings (replace relevant keywords in your email)
- When a prospective client is inquiring about your services
- To onboard a new client with welcome gifts + PDFs
I know this sounds a little like cheating, but once you see good results from it, you’ll realize it’s not. As long as you still personalize your emails by using their first names (We all like hearing our names!), people won’t know and probably don’t care. Also, stay conversational and vibrant in your emails, even if they’re business emails.
#4 Start taking action on the biggest project you want to do.
You’re on the brink of wanting to do something because everyone else before you have had great success with it, but you always question your own ability to replicate that level of success. This can be starting your email marketing strategy or launching your own services. You question if all this time and investment is worth it.
Instead of sitting, thinking and questioning things, why not just do it? What’s holding you back? Is it the time it takes to set it up and start? Well, do you think your time is better spent sitting and thinking or actually doing?
Is it the money it takes to implement it? Are there free or cheaper alternatives? Chances are, I’m sure there are. The question now is, are you going to research it (really, by that you can just ask Google or reach out to a virtual friend) or wait until someone comes and tell you?
#5 Show gratitude to your clients and let them know you’re invested in their biz too.
Spring is one of my favorite seasons. Because I live in LA, it’s not as sweaty as the summer and not cold as the winters. I can wear T-shirts and feel carefree again. All these feelings give me hope. When I tend to be in a better mood, I want to do more for my clients. Teehee!
Send them a free PDF or cheatsheet after they are complete with their project. For example, as a copywriter, I only work on the copy for the client and usually not the design unless they request or need it. Still, for example, if they want me to write compelling copy for them on a landing page, I take care of the copy, but there’s still so many factors that goes into a converting landing page. I give them a PDF checklist to remind them to add these finishing touches. That shows that I’m invested in their business as a whole and not just the copywriting aspect.
#6 You just niched down. Un-publish old blog posts that are no longer in line with your current niche brand.
I know it hurts to do this, especially when those posts are bringing in loads of page views and perhaps leads. But if you have niched down and don’t plan on talking about these topics again, you’ll be giving your new subscribers false hope. Eventually, they might unsubscribe out of frustration because none of your emails ever talks about what they opted-in for.
As a brand, it makes you look more professional and cohesive. You’re no longer scattered around and about.
#7 Set up screening process for clients even when you’re a solopreneur.
Screening people has been a vital part of recruiting and sales for me in the past. It really helps you screen out prospects who either don’t need or don’t fit in with the services you offer. If you ever have had bad experiences with clients and never want that to happen to you again, make sure you include your dealbreakers into your screening processes.
For example, let’s say you had a client who made you turn in rush work the next day. In the past, you didn’t want to let her down so you went along with it. But really, you hated the experience of all nighters and rushing forced you to turn in average work even if she didn’t catch it. The bottom line is, you don’t want to do it again. Your screening question would be, “When do you expect this project to be completed by?”
You can set up survey questions via Typeform or just canned responses to screen out clients who aren’t qualified.
#8 Clean up the homepage of your website. Make sure that whatever is on your front page is representative of your current offerings.
A few weeks ago, someone in a Facebook group asked how long it takes to build a website. I know she was asking specifically how long it takes for designers to build one for a client, but the first answer that popped into my mind was, “Honestly, it’s a work in progress for me.” Now I know this isn’t an answer a client wants to hear, but I’m also not a designer so my answer can be a little more creative. What I mean is that your home page (or landing page) should be updated to reflect your offering. I have three most visited pages on my site and my homepage is definitely one of them.
You can be offering a new service, launching a new product, or performing a new challenge, and your website’s home page needs to reflect that. Do you have old client testimonials that are too wordy and look more like clutter than persuasion? Replace it with new ones.
#9 Eliminate and narrow down your service offerings.
What service of yours are you known for? Are 80% of your sales coming from a certain service? Do you find that by offering tiers, you’re spreading yourself too thin?
Tiers can work for some people and it can serve as an effective pricing strategy, but are you beginning to be known for just one signature service? If you took off the other tiers, will your sales decrease? And will your income be affected by the elimination? If not, just offering one service just might help you regain some sanity.
When I first started offering my copywriting services, I asked if they needed help with the design and formatting of the page as well. Quite frankly, I wasn’t sure if just offering the copy was enough, but most people just need help with what they need help with. That’s awesome because it makes my life easier anyway as I can focus more on the writing aspect and not the design aspect.
#10 Learn to walk away and say ‘no’ to drama-driven clients.
People usually come to you for a service because they have a problem they need to be solved. They either don’t have time or don’t know how to do it. But from years of working with clients and just people, there are always going to be clients who are flakey, wishy-washy, or don’t know what they want. It’s okay if they want to change something before you two signed a contract or before you started working on the project.
People with a problem-oriented and drama-driven mindset isn’t something you should have to deal with constantly. It’s also something that have followed them for most of their lives and they have done nothing to change it. They are probably not even aware of it. Of course, unless you happen to be a mindset shift coach, you are probably better without them.
#11 Organize and categorize your digital files.
As biz owners and pro bloggers you probably have a zillion digital assets floating around your desktop. From content upgrades to social media graphics you have thousands of digital files that needs to be organized. If you think you can just upload your files once and expect your peeps to find them on your website, it’s not always going to happen. Keep your files handy and organized by uploading them to Dropbox (You can get started with a free account).
You never know when you might want to re-use a content upgrade or PDF you’ve created. You might end up repurposing content or turning a paid product into a free product. I know infopreneurs promise you that with digital products, there are no inventory, but you’ll see that’s not exactly the truth. Ha!
Before you upload your digital content, go through each and every folder and delete all the materials you no longer use or need anymore. I know I deleted a bunch of pins that I didn’t need anymore because I created new on-brand pins.
#12 Consciously step out of your digital zone so you can focus on your brainstorming and ideation sessions.
I’ll be the first to admit that I haven’t been doing this one consistently. For most of winter, I did all my work in my room because it’s the only room that has a mini heater. But lately, I switched between the dining room and my own room. My biggest fallback is that when I’m around my laptop, I have the tendency to gravitate towards opening a million tabs that I never end up finish reading.
So when I have to brainstorm ideas or write notes in a paper notebook, I consciously step to another room. This way I can do all my planning at another place and do the actual digital implementation once I’m all set with my ideas. For this purpose, I find that printing out worksheets and PDFs are very productive. Don’t type them on your laptop!
#13 Avoid drama or negativity in Facebook groups.
Facebook groups is a vital channel to meet new clients, ask for help, and help others. But in the last month and a half, I’ve also realized that it has the potential for some negativity. Now most large Facebook groups have admins who are actively monitoring new posts and deleting ones that don’t meet the requirements of that FB groups’s rules. Still, there are members who speak without a filter. I can’t help but know that there is a more productive way of addressing their current dilemma than to give an emotional brain dump of it.
In these cases, I quickly scroll past these comments to maintain my sanity. I don’t try to add to these conversations.
#14 Check your Google Analytics and see which aspects of your social media you can automate.
I have random spurts of engagement from Twitter, but it doesn’t consistently bring in traffic the way I hope it does. Still my followers respond to some of my questions and we exchange conversations every so often. But my content marketing goals is to drive traffic that doubles as clients and Twitter wasn’t as effective in accomplishing that for me. But at the same time, I didn’t want to shut down the channel just because it wasn’t giving me what I wanted exactly.
I find that having a social presence is important because it shows others that you are open to communication. When your followers ask you a question, you answer it. It’s one to show off your expertise. When a follower pays you a compliment, re-tweet it. It’s social proof. “Oh hey, look at me, this is what my people said about me. I just thought you might want to know.”
Sure, it’s not really worth your time to be sitting there and writing 10 tweets every day. I don’t do that and you shouldn’t either. But I use a tool called Post Planner to recycle my tweets on autopilot. It’s one-fifth the cost of Meet Edgar, which I’m secretly obsessed with, but sadly can’t afford yet. And in case, you’re wondering I continue to get engagement on those same tweets that most people haven’t seen the first, second, or third time I’ve tweeted them out.
The reason I say it’s important to have some kind of social presence even if you’re not camping out on Twitter 24/7 is that your clients might ask you. This didn’t come to my awareness until a client asked me for my Instagram account. I was a little embarrassed to admit that I didn’t have one for Talence. I definitely have a personal one, but I wasn’t going to send her there.
For this type of cleanse, send as much as you can to automation. Pre-writing, scheduling, and recycling your posts can be automated, but the conversations you have with your audience can’t be.
#15 Moving forward, make a list of all the everyday things you do that are an expense as well as all the things that are revenue-generating for your business.
Once you start treating your blog like business, you’ll realize you need to sort out which things are contributing to your expenses and time and which aspects are contributing to your revenue. Are your monthly recurring expenses higher than your monthly revenues? If so, you’ll really want to do an expense cleanse and see where you can find cheaper alternatives.
For example, I’m all for building my email list and connecting with my audience. However, before I’m using that list to make any real sales, I’m hesitant on paying for an email service provider. I love Meet Edgar as social media automation and engagement tool, but Post Planner is a cheaper alternative that does what I need it to do.
The everyday hustling life can make us feel like we have to keep moving forward without stopping to rethink a few things. So what will you be doing this spring to cleanse and streamline your online biz?
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