I just returned from Ignite, an incredible 3-day event in Park City, Utah. I attended this event with a client to get a little behind the scenes know-how for her upcoming event. That I definitely got, but I also had a ton of ah-ha moments; a few that I want to share. Some are new things, some are reminders of things forgotten, but all have had an impact on my work since I returned.
My Biggest Take-Aways From Ignite
1. I am forever curious and learning new things. Over the last 10+ years, I’ve learned that in everything there are gold nuggets for me. I don’t need to implement 100% of a training or webinar, or think that it’s the only way. This event was no different. The first few days there was a ton of content that I wasn’t familiar with, and honestly, some of it didn’t naturally fall in my comfort zone. I was reminded to look for the bits and pieces of new knowledge that I can implement into my business. I now have new tools to expand myself and my business, and I’m excited about that.
2. I work at home. It is very easy to get in a rut or let the work and life lines blur together. I was reminded that I need to step away more often and enjoy the company of other people — in person. Spending a few days out from behind my laptop was energizing.
3. A topic that came back to me day after day was trusting myself. I was reminded that I need to trust myself in all areas of my business and life. Period.
4. While it was affirmed that I need to get out more, I was also reminded that I’m a social introvert. I loved the energy in the room but still needed time to myself to decompress.
5. I was reminded that the space I choose to work in truly affects my work.
6. I learned that I don’t dislike flying as much as I thought I did, but it can be exhausting. Side note — I am a confirmed East Coast girl.
7. I learned that after busting my butt all day, a hot tub, shower, and bed feel amazing.
I pushed myself way outside my comfort zone to attend this event and I am so, so thankful that I did. Whether it came through gentle reminders or new lessons, I came back to my office knowing that I have everything I need to blow the doors off this business. And I intend to do just that.
A few months ago we talked about how much your business is worth to you. I’m going to ask you again…no, beg you…please stop thinking about the dollar signs in areas of your business where critical thinking skills matter. Over the last few days, I’ve gotten a few emails from a friend and colleague who works on a team. Her client is switching to Ontraport. That makes me so freakin’ happy. Ontraport is amazing to work in. But, the email said she was having her “$15 an hour VA” enter her contacts without tags, and she was wondering if this was going to create a problem? Hell yeah, it’s going to be a problem. It’s not going to be a critical problem, but as far as time management and efficiency, yes, it is a problem.
Here’s the thing, big picture thinking is critical to your business. I was away this past weekend with a client and her team. She also happens to be my coach and asked us to write down 20 things that we do really well. One item on my list was that I’m a big picture thinker. I love planning and then doing the detail work to connect the dots. That’s why I love Ontraport so much.
Critical Thinking Skills Matter
You can always find someone to enter contacts, but if you’re using a high-end system like Ontraport, I can guarantee you that if you haven’t thought through the process of tagging to segment that list, and are having the tagging done when those contacts are entered, you are going to pay more money in the end having someone else fix it. The person doing that work needs to be a critical thinker. Where did those contacts come from? Have they made past purchases? What are they interested in that you offer? Have they attended an event you held or sponsored? Without considering at least some of these factors, your only options are to send everyone your emails and put sequencing in place for click-throughs — basically, you’re still doing the spray and pray method of marketing — or you are going to end up paying someone to go back through your list and manually tag people.
Ontraport is designed to make your business automation as easy as possible. And they do a damn good job of it. You, or someone on your team, needs to know the programs you’re using or have time to really dig in and learn them. Your business needs someone who thinks through the process from a customer perspective, considers what they need, and can implement your systems with the big picture in mind.
If you know me, you know that I am a Google fan. I run my business with Google for Work and I love the way everything works so well together. Now, if you have multiple Gmail accounts you need to toggle between them. Not difficult, but not super-efficient either.
Enter Shift. I put myself on the waiting list a while ago and checked back every now and then. Yesterday I got the email. It was time! I was so excited. I added all three of my Gmail accounts, and I had high hopes that this would solve a big Gmail problem. The interface is fabulous for switching between accounts. Everything is right there; mail, calendars, documents. I read the mail in all three of my accounts without ever leaving the application. It was awesome!
Then…I composed a new email and my hope vanished. That’s when I realized that all of my chrome extensions wouldn’t play into this application. No Wisestamp email signature, no Todoist or Asana extensions. All of that seamless productivity not available. I have to admit, I was a little disappointed. I can’t sacrifice the productivity I get with the Chrome extensions for the ease of switching email accounts.
Will I delete Shift? Not yet. There may be times when it’s more convenient to just check my email all in one place without worrying about “doing” something with it. We’ll see.
If you haven’t checked out Shift yet, definitely do. It might be great for your situation. If you have tried it, what did you think?
If you have a home on the web, one of your goals is to drive traffic to it and keep your readers there. When you embed a YouTube video on your website, you may inadvertently be driving traffic away. YouTube by default shows suggested videos at the end of your video. That’s great for YouTube, but not so great for you. Your readers will click those suggestions and head to YouTube, possibly never to be seen again. Fortunately, there’s an easy way to fix the leak. You can stop YouTube suggested videos and keep more traffic on your site.
Normally, you head to your YouTube video page, click share, click embed, and grab the code. Instead, when you get to the point where you grab the embed code, click the “show more” feature just below that code. You then have a few options for your video. You can adjust the size and choose whether to show the title or video controls, but the most important feature there is the checkbox that lets you choose whether YouTube shows suggested videos when your video is done playing.
Super-simple, super-quick — uncheck that box and keep more of your traffic on your site.
By removing that one distraction you increase the likelihood that your readers will stay on your website, and stay engaged with your brand.
I am all about finding low cost and free services to run my business, but not at the expense of my business. One area I feel very strongly about spending money on is support. I see a lot of articles about hiring support teams. I always hesitate to read the articles because it can be frustrating, but I usually break down to see what the writer’s perspective is. Many times, I’m met with how to protect your business and where to find low-cost support. What!? Isn’t that a contradiction? Protect your business, but don’t spend too much.
Is that what your business is worth to you?
I started my business almost 10 years, and I am not a cheap option when it comes to support. I know the value that I bring to a business owner who wants to move forward, a business owner who wants a strategic partner, a business owner who has goals they know they can’t accomplish alone. Your business is probably a significant part of your life, and I’m sure you’re not a cheap option in your field either. Why then would you expect someone else to run their business that way?
I saw this quote a few days ago (and loved it!).
“I know what I bring to the table. So trust me when I say I’m not afraid to eat alone.” ~unknown author
What do I bring to the table?
- I bring a vested interest in my client’s business.
- I bring all of my knowledge, ability, and skill to help them succeed.
- I bring initiative.
- I bring resources; services and networks, gathered and tested over the past decade.
- I bring big picture thinking and planning.
You can always work with cheap, task-based support. You can work with a cheap coach, a cheap copywriter, a cheap VA, but these are core services to your business growth and success. I value my business too much to do that on the cheap, and so should you.
As business owners, we would be better off sitting at the table alone than compromise our worth.
I have run my business for nine years and just before the Christmas break I had a fantastic opportunity to have a client face-to-face strategy session. My client, Shannon, is one of a few long-term clients that I support in her digital marketing and web maintenance. We worked in person for some serious business building and strategizing, and I am here to tell you, if you have the opportunity, do it!
Shannon is in NYC and I’m in Maryland so we met halfway, in Philadelphia. Our intention was to stay at an Airbnb she had set up but that didn’t work out. We ended up at the Sonesta Hotel in downtown Philly. Beautiful space and functional for what we had planned. I tell you that so you know that because flexibility was a big part of the weekend.
Going into this, we knew we wanted to work on both of our businesses. Our respective areas of expertise complement each other really well. I am a structure builder and digital strategist, and she is a kick-ass content strategy coach. We’ve worked together for three years now. We each had a list of things we needed to get done so we jumped right into our Friday work session alternating between the two of us. We worked. We had dinner. We worked some more.
Saturday was pretty similar except we decided to play for the first part of the day, have lunch, and then work until dinner. We set out to see what we could get into on Saturday morning. We didn’t have a plan. We walked down to Dilworth Park and watched the ice skaters, found the Liberty Bell and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. I was introduced to “real” Ramen for lunch at Nom Nom Ramen. The Ramen was great but the vegan “pork” buns were out of this world fabulous. I need to find some of those in Maryland.
Instead of working in the room on Saturday we went down to the restaurant in the hotel. The large tables in the center were perfect for plugging in and spreading out. We spent hours there working through our lists, alternating between her list and mine. By creating that focused time to work, we got a ton accomplished.
One of the main things on Shannon’s list was her re-brand. We’ve been talking about it virtually but to sit together and go over all of the pieces, to show her how I work and the tools I use, to really hear what she was thinking and how she envisioned this re-brand was priceless.
One of the main things I hoped to gain from the weekend was to have a solid content strategy in place. I have ideas written down on sticky notes, in Google Keep, in Google Drive, all over the place. And to be honest, there are so many ideas that writing my blog posts was starting to feel a bit overwhelming. I walked away with so much more than I had hoped for. I finally got super-clear on my writing process.
So, if it is ever an option to have a face-to-face, big ideas session with a client, DO IT! It is fun and rewarding all the way around.