These are the words I will pass on to my daughter or son (if I have a child in the future) should they ask me about how to be successful, or start a meaningful business, or build a purposeful life.

I have actual tears in my eyes as I begin to write these words. Partially because I was humbled and unable to speak after reading your comments on yesterday’s post (thank you, forever), and partially because I am overwhelmed with the simple, powerful truth I’m about to share.

These words probably won’t be new to you. No words really can be. But it’s the decision to embrace and apply them that matters.

Raise your hand if you are like I am when it comes to ideas—you have 1.3 million of them . . . every single time you blink or inhale.

They crowd your mind, excite you, drive you, wake you up, prevent you from sleeping, and honestly . . . eventually overwhelm you.

Your ideas are great. And any one of them CAN work. Any one of them CAN be the thing that helps you create a lifestyle where you’re able to breathe, take breaks, provide for your family in new ways, actually go on a vacation, etc. ANY single one of your ideas can do that.

But they’re likely all missing the thing that all of my ideas were missing a few years ago before I started this brand.

Consistency and smallness.

“Mom, what can I do to be great? Even when all the odds are against me?” asks my fictional child. Let’s name him Emmanuel—obviously we can all refer to him as Manny. Or, “The Man.”

“Son,” I reply slowly. “Be consistent, and be small. Every single day.”


Be consistent.

Show up. Consistently.
Keep creating content.
Speak passionately to a crowd of 0.
Until you’re speaking passionately to a crowd of 3. That’s 3 whole people, with whole lifetimes of experience and memories, who have chosen to tune into your words. That’s an honor.

Create. Consistently.
When everyone else has gone to bed.
When everyone else has stopped paying attention to your dreams.
When absolutely no one seems to care.
When someone has recommended to you that you stop or that you move onto something more logical (to them—major eyeroll emoji).

Love. Consistently.
Until your love finds the community of people it’s most needed by.
Until people can’t help but take your concern for them seriously.
Until someone, somewhere believes in themselves again.

Listen. Consistently.
Not just until you hear the one thing you choose to respond to.
Not just until it gets uncomfortable.
Not only for the sake of appearances.
Not only to focus on how someone else’s words make you feel. But also to focus on how they feel.
But also to understand what people need from you.
But also to know what to create consistently, where to show up consistently, and how to love consistently.

Be small, son.

In the way you approach an important goal.
Because if you focus only on the grand dream . . .
And if you focus only on the one outcome you’re hoping for . . .
And if you care most about the final destination . . .
Then you miss the opportunity to take the steps to get there.
Then you miss the stops along the way that were meaningful and beautiful for you and for others.
Then you miss the signs that were pointing another direction—where more purpose and greatness were hiding.
Continue “Be consistent and small. That’s how you win at business.”

Today, I will endeavor to explain something that I hope truly, truly, truly helps you. Something that will likely provide some clarity and much needed truth about the sometimes confusing blogging and online marketing world.

It’s all about how not to get sucked in by this six-figure blogger “trend” going around.

And yes, I’m gonna lose some friends (correction: “friends”), upset some people, and remove the chance to ever collaborate with certain people after this . . . but zero flips are given about that because I’m not here for them, I’m here for you and this post may help someone, hopefully, avoid a business-draining, fund-draining, attitude-deflating decision in the future.

To be clear before we begin, not all bloggers who make 6-figures fit the things I’m about to say. Some of us have brands, and friends, and audiences, and content that are really important to us and the income was a natural progression of that plus a lot of hard work.

The “6-figure suck-in” really refers to the super annoying trend to publish income reports that are misleading, to title your courses and resources in a way that implies an unrealistic promise, and the wave of people caught feeling like they NEED to make 6-figures or NEED to reach a certain income amount in a certain time or else they’re failures.

I’ll illustrate.

Here are 7 characteristics of brand owners to keep in mind as you make purchasing decisions and as you process how you’re feeling about your own business.

Again, not all 6- or 7- or 8-figure bloggers are bad and out to get you, but the bloggers who want to suck you in share a few things in common . . .

1. They put VERY misleading numbers + words in the titles of their courses, workshops, and other resources.


How to Go from Zero to $10K in 30 Days
Create 6-Figure Webinars
How to Build Your 6-Figure Coaching Business


It’s all a sneaky/chill form of an implied promise. It is my #1 pet peeve and I get so many emails from others who hate it too.

Can the average motivated person really go from $0 to $10K in the 30 days they take your course? How many people have created 6-figure webinars after implementing the tips in your class? Are people truly going to learn all they need to in your “6-figure” coaching business webinar that lasts 45 minutes and is just a sales attempt for your $2,200 offering?

Like. Really. I’m truly asking you this question dear brand owner.

How about telling us how YOU created $100K in income from a webinar after 10 years in business and 55 other webinars? That’s a course I might take.

Or how about “How 5 Years and a $20K Investment Helped Me Make 6-Figures” . . .? That sounds more believable.

When you read these titles and tweets, try not to get sucked in or feel a certain way about your business. Honestly, there are so many other factors that play into people’s success than the facts and figures they fit onto their sales pages and opt-in advertisements.

Were you urgently searching for a resource on creating 6-figure webinars before you found that one guy’s course? If not, keep moving . . . don’t make a purchasing decision in that moment. Sign up for some of his free stuff . . . stuff where he doesn’t try to sell you a $1,000 offering.


2. They seemingly ignore the fact that they do not blog about anything close to what you do . . . all while making implied promises about your results.

And now, let’s talk about how even if they titled their course “How I Made 7-Figures from a Blog” . . . they blog about marketing through webinars, not the power of a whole food lifestyle, or parenting twins, or getting in shape, or whatever it is you care about and blog about.

I have had three blogs in my time on the Internet that I’ve monetized successfully . . . a writing blog, a design blog, and this creative business and infopreneurship blog. I do believe that I can help people with other interests than these, but I’m not going to title my course $0 to $100K Blogging.

Check out the outline and modules of the courses you are considering . . . are they unintentionally teaching things that only make sense for their industry and not yours? Try to judge their ability to truly help you before being caught up in the magic of the statistics they publish.


3. They don’t accurately represent how much work is required.

Just to make sure I’m not crazy, I’ve had a secret project going on. I’ve been establishing another, separate, secret blog based on all the principles I learned after building hundreds of sites for customers, running 10+ blogs of my own, and monetizing 3 of my blogs.

It’s STILLLLLLLL hard work. It is STILL hard to write the number of posts I wanted to before launching. It’s still a lot of work to create custom images for every resource. It still takes energy to write good stuff. And you know what? It’s still fun.

I don’t want to trade in the hard work for some super magical unreal formula for success. Hahahahahaha. The concept of a formula for success is ridiculous. Maybe math works the same way every time, maybe a science experiment always has the same results, but a life, content that comes from your heart, the Internet, they don’t play out the same way for everyone. They just don’t.


4. They don’t accurately report their income.

Y’all. It’s most likely because they really don’t know any better, so I don’t say this to be rude, but . . .

Some people are literally using made up accounting methods in their income reports. There are two generally accepted accounting methods: cash-based accounting and accrual-based accounting (a.k.a. the cash method and the accrual method). I’ll explain them briefly.
Continue “How NOT to Get Caught in the 6-Figure Blogger Suck-In”

We’ve done it all, my friend. Not long ago I was coaching business owners on how to build their businesses while still doing a few remaining freelance projects for a full-time income. While I was coaching, I unintentionally (at first) and then intentionally diversified my income by adding teaching products into my offerings. I was part coach, part infopreneur, part freelancer–which really helped me discover my strengths and find the place I could be most effective and offer the most impact.

Diversity. Great for communities and great for income.

But even as I was learning and going along and making many (many) mistakes, I experienced the snowballing benefits of monetizing my coaching brand in multiple ways. If you are looking to get into info products or to expand your existing coaching or consulting business through live workshops, live events, courses, books, or passive income products, this post is for you.

17 ways to monetize your brand as a coach or consultant 

a.k.a. 10 Services and 7 Products that are Super Epic for Coaches

Let’s look at this in terms of events and services that you can monetize as well as digital and physical products you can monetize.


1. Custom 1-on-1 Coaching Calls w/ Friendly Recaps

When you are first getting started in coaching, this will likely be one of the services that is simplest to offer. I think you need to plan what it entails along with what you will and won’t do, and I do still think it needs a signed client agreement. But, it’s a great place to begin because you can figure out what people really want and need, what really troubles your audience, and where you truly fit as a coach and teacher. What you learn in these sessions can be used to create scalable content to deliver in your online events to many people at once.

With your custom 1-on-1 calls (Skype or Zoom sessions, telephone calls, or even in-person meetings), you’ll typically:

  • send your client a questionnaire (we love Typeform or Dubsado for this) and/or meet with them to discover their specific needs and where you fit in
  • decide on a timeframe that y’all will work together or set up a rate per meeting or per month
  • send out an agenda before each call (if you have some general talking points for the meeting–and hopefully you do)
  • send out client notes sheets or a link to a shared doc where you client can take notes digitally (optional, but cool and a great way to add value)
  • conduct your session (usually 30 – 90 minutes depending on the type of call–this should be clear and communicated ahead of time so that all expectations are met or exceeded)
  • (with permission) record your session so that you can take a deep dive on problems/solutions
  • recap your session via email (or send the recording/replay to your client – the rules of recording are to make sure you have permission and to make sure to hit record, if it’s not automatic! Also, in your contract, specify how long you’ll be hosting the call and by what date your client needs to download it.)

2. 1-on-1 Coaching Program w/ Calls, Check-ins, and Homework

Once you’ve done custom 1-on-1 coaching for a while, or once you have an understanding of the general steps that your audience needs to go through to reach their goals, you can develop your custom coaching into an online program. In a formal coaching program, you guide multiple clients through a framework (the same general steps + processes) on an individual basis.

You still check in with your clients, have calls, and provide customized recaps and help to them, but it’s all based off of one formalized system.

In a coaching program, you’ll usually:

  • give your potential client an overview doc/email that outlines the programs, timeline, and steps, to help them decide whether or not it’s a good fit (again, Dubsado is a great tool for this)
  • have a call/questionnaire that helps you determine if the client is a good fit
  • send a welcome kit (optional, but wonderful) with your client’s first homework assignment and an invitation to schedule their first call after the homework is completed (we love Acuity Scheduling and Calendly for scheduling calls)
  • conduct your first call (via phone or video conference such as Zoom or Skype)
  • send the next pre-developed homework assignment (w/ a recap of your call)
  • repeat this process for as long as your program lasts

Note: To fully protect yourself and your client, your signed agreement with them should outline your refund policy, and the point at which the client is forfeiting the rest of their package (ex: you haven’t heard from them in 45 days and you’ve emailed them at their provided email address at least three times).

I once had a web project that lasted over a year because my client would never get back to me but I didn’t have a helpful “forfeiture clause” in my agreement–and P.S. I had spent every dime they’d paid me, so I wasn’t to keen on refunding them. Side note: The project ended up being super attractive and the client loved their site but a lot of angst and stress could have been avoided with a clear policy.


3. Custom 1-on-1 Email Coaching w/ Guaranteed Responses

Imagine this: either one of the options above (1 or 2), but instead of doing calls, you do emails. Or Voxer or WhatsApp.

You can tailor the process to each client (and just agree on a certain timeframe or a certain number of email “meetings”), or you can take your email coaching clients through a specific program (with homework and pre-set steps) and provide customized responses and email support. Bam. Magic. Great for introverts.


4. Group Coaching Program w/ Calls and Homework

Remember that one time, long ago, when we were talking about 1-on-1 coaching programs (#2 above)? Okay, now imagine that, but with more than one person. This is where the magic happens, my friend. Group online events that are well thought out (even in beta form) can add massive value to you and your clients. The client homework would go out to a group of people to complete individually or with accountability partners, and you would also:

  • conduct group calls or video conferencing via Zoom
  • provide recordings to clients who missed (optional, but super kind and especially thoughtful if you have clients in different time zones)
  • choose to focus on one or two people per call after the meat of the call has been presented (this “hot seat” can rotate each week), or choose to address everyone’s needs in each call
  • provide recaps, updates, and more homework via email or in the group coaching platform/community

5. Masterminds

Imagine that epic group coaching program that you created in #4 above, except that you added a supportive private community for your members. Things to think about — will you need to enlist help for moderation? Will the community extend beyond the end of your group program or will they have temporary access?

  • provide a community or means for people to connect outside of your group calls – options include a Slack group, a private Facebook group, or a dashboard on your website. We frequently hear from our group members that the community is one of their favorite and safest spaces for online growth and development. Community works.
  • provide Live Q&As or video recordings in the group as well as pinned posts of key information.
  • provide guided threads for each day of the week (or once a week) to encourage discussion among members so that they can help each other.
  • fostering a true community within your group can create IRL friendships that last for years. We’ve seen it time and time again! Digital communities create real communities.

 


6. Masterminds

Imagine everything we said above, but instead imagine that each week/month has a specific focus (growth, strategy, etc.) or that you are more of a facilitator and cheerleader than you are a direct coach.

You can provide a mastermind group that allows people to benefit mainly from others’ ideas and knowledge, but also from the regular accountability, and your presence.


7. In-Person Trainings or Workshops

Think of all the things you coach online 1-on-1 or in groups/masterminds—can it be applied or shared in real life as well?

You can create small workshops, pop-up events, and live trainings to help people with the goals you coach on. This is also a great way to collaborate with others in your community to help market and spread the word about your workshop. Think local coffee shops, co-working spaces and small businesses that might want the exposure from your event.


8. Speaking Engagements

This one’s pretty self-explanatory, eh? You can definitely decide to speak on the topics you coach on at different events, organizations, and conferences. It’s a great way to start to be seen as more of a teacher or “thought leader” (as they say), and it’s a great way to meet new people—some of them might even become your coaching clients. (p.s. Providing regular online events can boost your visibility as a speaker and expert.)


9. Online Office Hours

Perhaps people aren’t ready to commit to an online program, or perhaps someone really needs some targeted help with this one particular thing that you happen to be epic at, or maybe one of your audience members really wants the opportunity to “pick your brain.” Well, that’s where office hours come in. You can offer your time and expertise at a rate that’s comfortable to you, per hour or per day.

Office hours allow you to help people, make income, address audience pain points directly and swiftly, and keep your ear to the ground about people’s current needs and frustrations—which helps you know what packages and products you should offer.


10. Custom Audits or Reports

Often times, your potential clients will be in such a state of overwhelm/confusion, or in such a new place that they feel lost as to how to begin to get out of where they are to move to where they want to be. Also, you may have clients who just feel a slight bit off or frustrated with the current state of things and in need of some direction.

Doing a custom life audit, brand audit, situation report, or other type of organized document/delivery that outlines current areas that need improvement as well as current areas that are doing well, can be a rewarding, simple, and fun type of coaching that gives your client a strategic action plan that they can follow through with.

Custom audits and reports are also often a way for you to provide services to people who can’t afford your 1-on-1 rates yet or are looking to test you out before committing to your rates. You can also add this service as an add-on when people sign up for your online program. It provides additional income for you and gets them started in your program with one on one attention and laser focus.


11. Communities

An online (or IRL) community can be an add-on to any of your other products or services (as we discussed above), but an online community can also easily be its own standalone product. Providing partners, support, a venue, structure, and built-in friends and accountability partners for curated group of people who are all at a similar place in life/business is a seriously valuable thing that many people would be happy to pay for.

What is something you’ve had to struggle through on your own? Learn on your own? Do without support? Would you have enjoyed a community of people in the same position? Would you have paid for it? This has become one of the options that provides the most value for our audience – a place to connect in an online world.

Think of a community structure and virtual/physical meeting place you can provide for people. Is it something you’d be willing to add to your offerings?


12. Online Workshops w/ Live Q+As

These are so much more than your typical webinar. Think of classes that last 2+ hours and come with worksheets, videos, or some type of additional resources. Workshops have focused topics and may include guest speakers.


13. Pre-Recorded Workshops, Bootcamps, or Conferences

Packaging previously-recorded workshops or bootcamps together as paid products is genius. When you’re a coach, an online trainer or content creator, repurposing your best content is a strategic (and really really smart) way of doing business.


14. Courses

Seriously. Online courses (along with online events) are some of our favorite things in the world. Learning that can happen from your couch, or your cubicle on your lunch break, or during your commute, etc. #Epic.

And think about it. You’ll be able to package your knowledge, coaching skills, and experience together in a neat way that allows you to help more people at once.

You can also structure many of your courses to be forms of almost entirely passive (little to no maintenance) income once you create them. BUT…as you may know by now, we have found that the live component of online events and programs is what gives massive value to students since they’re able to get feedback in real-time.


15. Email Coaching Program (w/out Custom Support)

So, instead of framing your materials as a course and delivering it on some epic, 3rd-party system such as Teachable, Podia or Thinkific, you could also frame them as email coaching (without the custom replies).

“A new coaching session in your inbox each Monday for 8 weeks!” sounds pretty epic. And, it’s scalable, because those same sessions can be sent out to 10 people at a time or 10,000 people. #SuperEpic.


16. eBooks and Digital Workbooks

A digital file that can be automatically delivered to your customers as soon as they purchase it? Yes, my friend, that’s about as close to passive income as it gets in this coaching world—and it’s an epic way to make additional income while helping your ideal audience who needs items at different price points than your higher-priced coaching programs, online events and courses.


17. Printed Books and Workbooks

Yessssss. You can use printed books or workbooks with your clients as you take them through your coaching program, you can sell them separately on your site, or you can sell them through Amazon.com and get them fulfilled for you, so that you don’t have to ship off each order or accept + process returns. That’s brilliant, my friend.


So, if I’m not being too nosy, may I inquire how you currently monetize your online event hosting business or coaching business? And how you plan to monetize in the future? I hope this post helped, and I’d love to hear what you’ve got poppin’ in the comments below.

Photo (c): Branislav Jovanović via Stocksy.com

Let’s discuss time. You probably don’t feel like you have enough of it, what with running an online business and all. Specifically, let’s talk about ways to invest your time that will have epic effects on your online events, your brand as a whole and the way you do business.

Over the years, we’ve invested in seven areas that have paid off big time. We hope you’ll stick with us as we explain the multiple benefits and applications of each area.

Making these time investments can help any online coach or trainer, freelancer, infopreneur, blogger, or solopreneur . . .


1. Making videos. Even though we all hated being in front of the camera when we first started.

As an introvert with unruly hair, I (Regina) thought it wise to stay off-screen for most of my life. But, with the way the Internet evolves and explodes every single day, I thought it unwise to not try multiple forms of media. Periscope is the video of the day! No wait, it’s now Snapchat. Um…it’s Instagram Stories! Whoa…now it’s Instagram TV!

Whatever the platform du jour is, if you learn to create video, you’ll be able to pivot with the platform. If you run Internet businesses like we do, then the #1 rule for us is:

Once you arrive, don’t stay at your destination too long; you have to set a new course.

In other words, get ready to pivot.

Whatever goal you’re setting right now, once you hit it, celebrate, have a Martin Scorsese marathon, play some Scrabble and drop Z’s and X’s and J’s on your opponent, then set a new course. Even if your new course is taking your current project to the next level. Trying to apply IRL (in real life) speed to an online business is like trying to apply tortoise speed to the hare. Wait. Bad example. The tortoise beat the hare . . . but you get what I mean.

Area #1: Make some videos, yo. All the videos.

Benefits:

  • Videos increase the chances of people on the Internet finding you.
  • They take your brand to the next level of helpfulness.
  • They attract people who are prone to get a little lost in too much text.
  • They allow you to communicate certain things (tutorials, deep thoughts, etc.) more effectively than screenshots or words that don’t come with tones or facial expressions.
  • You can get out your thoughts faster when you speak (on video) than you can in text.
  • Videos allow you to express your personality (and personality quirks…) that help create authentic connections between you and your audience. That’s important in an impersonal world, yo.

Try: Facebook Live, Instagram Stories/Instagram Live/Instagram TV, Zoom recordings, G+ Hangouts On Air, YouTube tutorials, screencasts of your computer screen, recorded presentations, or any other type of video that helps you communicate with your ideal audience.

P.S. >> Tools: I use Camtasia or QuickTime for screen recordings, a DSLR and a lavalier mic for recording myself, and I upload most of my content to YouTube + Vimeo. Don’t underestimate the power of inexpensive (and free!) tools available to you. With just a $25 mobile phone tripod and your camera, you can build your audience and provide epic video content for them.


2. Writing a book.

Wait, writing a book is a time investment? Now you’re just talkin’ crazy…Let me tell you about the hardest thing I’ve ever done professionally. And the second hardest thing I’ve ever done professionally. It’s the same darn thing. Writing a book.

One was a physical 200-page manual and the next one was a 200+ page digital book. I just want to be honest with you here. THEY WERE NOT EASY TO CREATE. At all. But, I don’t want that to scare you off from it. Writing that first book is probably the best thing I’ve ever done for my business.

Do tell us why, Regina.

I will, my friend. I will.

Even though I feel my writing has changed + grown so much since my first book (so yeah, it’s a little painful when I read it), I’ve been able to use that book for IRL classes and its organization and information truly make a difference for people who are just getting started in business. I’ve been able to take some of the book’s content and make long format blog posts out of it; I’ve been able to modify some of the book’s sections and make them more specific for certain industries . . . then include them as content in my online classes and products.

Oh, and it’s made a little money over the last year or so.

Area #2: Invest some (serious) time in writing a book.

Benefits:

  • Writing a book will force you to create lots of content. Whether you give it away for free or charge for it, the amount of content you have to work with and form into different things will be worth it. You feel me? I know you feel me.
  • Your book makes you look legit. Straight up. It just looks sooooo legit that you have a book in your niche/genre/area.
  • Your book can help you make income. You can sell it solo, or bundled with other materials, or as a part of your workshop, or packaged with a baby sloth that you ship to my house. Seriously. I want a baby sloth even more than Kristen Bell. Please say I’m not the only one. And yes, I realize it’s probably not 100% legal or whatever. (note: the lawyer on our team just told me to stop suggesting that anyone ships baby sloths as a book bonus.)
  • Writing a book is just such a milestone that I truly believe you will experience a mindset shift after you’ve completed it. You’ll see your business and yourself differently. You’ll be someone who is a Published Author.

3. Learning doc layout + design.

If information is your game (I’m looking right at you coaches, infopreneurs, bloggers, authors, and online bootcamp instructors) or if you’ll be sending your clients documents (freelancers), then learning how to lay out and design attractive documents is vital. I invested time into learning Adobe InDesign at first. I could tell that it was going to take a bit more time to master than I had to spare in the moment, so I instead invested time in learning Apple Pages. Best decision ever.

The Free Create a Course Workbook The #LoveMyBrandKit, for you, for free

Now I’m able to create workbooks, slides, and downloadable PDFs that don’t take forever to prepare and publish or require me to hire a contractor to do for me.

eBooks and digital workbooks

Area #3: Learn how to lay out documents in the program of your choice.

Benefits:

  • You’ll be able to quickly create documents to add value to your content (checklists, media kits, guides, etc.).
  • You’ll be able to dream up digital products you can create and then actually execute them.

Try: Checklists, individual worksheets, adult homework, workbooks, products, eBooks, media kits, and other guides with your word processing or layout software.

 


4. Learning graphic design software.

I have invested many hours into learning Photoshop (as well as Pixlr and Canva), and it is so useful. Even if you just edit templates or designs you have made for you, knowing a bit about graphic design software will help you create the promotional materials you need much sooner than hiring someone every single time.

I honestly believe that graphics are what will initially help you stand out. Whether it be your Facebook cover photo (that you update with each event launch), your blog post images, or flyers + business cards to promote your brand, knowing how to “whip something up” can be crucial in this fast-paced business world.

Area #4: Find graphic design software that has the functions you need and doesn’t seem to have the largest learning curve ever (unless the software is going to be a key part of your day-to-day operations).

Benefits:

  • You won’t have to constantly wait for your designer to complete things if you’re able to do them yourself.
  • You’ll be able to quickly take advantage of any opportunities you see to promote your brand or products with graphics.
  • You’ll be able to add more to your emails, blog posts, social media accounts, and website when you know how to create or modify graphics.

5. Learning to take + edit photos.

Photography makes a huge difference on social media channels (like the vegan chef’s Instagram feed @fitmencook), your blog, in products, and anywhere else you need on-brand images.

Learn photography and editing with your device.

Area #5: Put an emphasis on learning the basics of photography and lighting, whether you use a mobile phone, or a point-and-shoot camera, or a DSLR.

Benefits:

  • You won’t have to always use stock photography to get your point across in your posts and products.
  • You’ll be able to catch more moments as they happen instead of needing to hire a pro just to get great images.
  • Custom photos will help you stand out, especially if you develop a style of your own.

Try: Learning the settings of your device and taking multiple pictures to get the hang of what makes something awesome vs. ordinary vs. poor quality.

P.S. >> Tools: Most of the photos on my Instagram feed are taken with a Canon T5i and a 50mm lens. But, some are taken with my phone. Almost all of them are edited with VSCO Cam or Snapseed.


6. Creating templates for blog posts, visual collateral, and resources.

This has straight saved me from going insane. All the content you create and clients you serve can be a lot to manage, there’s no need to add blog post graphics to your list for every single post.

Now that I’ve created templates (but you can always purchase one created for you if you don’t like design or purchase a pre-made set on Creative Market), I literally have a 3-step process to get a new image going for my newest post: (1) I open up my template, and (2) bring in the new photo I want to use, then (3) change the text.

How I use and modify my blog post templates.

Area #6: Develop templates (or hire someone to develop them for you) for any items you’ll be repeating somewhat frequently–blog posts, Pinterest, resources, etc.

Benefits:

  • All your images on the various social media channels will have the same feel to them and help your brand become more recognizable.
  • You will save a lot of time by using templates as opposed to creating something from scratch each time you want to publish a new resource/article.

Try: Multiple software platforms that are affordable and have support videos or free tutorials for you to refer to.


7. Creating a challenge (or even an email course).

We love challenges!

I’ve said it quite a few times before, but I’m saying it again because I really, truly believe it works. Host some challenges. This is one of the main ways my blog traffic grew when I was first starting out with this brand. I created a challenge years ago that I thought might be fun to do with a few people, but it started sending my site more traffic than any of my other articles. People like to be challenged because they love to reach milestones.

Check out this 30-day challenge by Jen Carrington as an example.

Area #7: Create a challenge your ideal audience would consider extremely important or engaging. Consider surveying some of your audience, family, or friends to see what they think a good challenge might be.

Benefits:

  • Challenges can be great for spreading your brand name.
  • Challenges can drum up excitement about your new online program or can be used as an ice-breaker in the beginning of your challenge.

  • Challenges are awesome for engaging and connecting with other people who have similar goals.
  • Challenges are typically pretty share-worthy.
  • Challenges usually only last a certain amount of time, which creates a sense of urgency for participants.

So, what do you think? What are some epic time investments you have made or want to soon make in your business?

Graphic design and article: Regina Anaejionu

If there’s one thing you and I know, with our extensive legal training (from watching All Rise and other legal dramas. . . and if you haven’t seen All Rise yet, check it out), it’s that when you cross-examine a witness, you need to lead them carefully with pointed questions that require specific, short answers.

We want yes/no, or we want very brief sentences that confirm what we already know. It’s almost like we train witnesses to fall into our mastermind ploy. They can’t help but answer us exactly how we want them to, which is amazing, because when witnesses drop those courtroom shock bombs on you, it’s no bueno . . . at least, not for your side of the case.

And that, my friends, is all related to brand statements. Obviously.

So much so that I bothered our legal team (okay…so it’s my brother) for several minutes trying to figure out if what I was saying was at least a smidgen factual.

Brand statements and courtroom strategy? We’d love to hear the connection, Regina.

So happy that you want to hear it, because I was going to tell you anyway.

Say you’re at a networking event, and you get asked: “So, what do you do?” If you answer with a trained, short, unengaging response, it might be time for a (new) brand statement—or even a new brand (but that’s a story for another post …).

In fact, answering this question like you’re being cross-examined is a clear, undeniable sign you need a new brand statement.

I wrote this post and developed a brand statement formula out of necessity really. I was so tired of answering, “I teach blogging and business?” with my head down, like it was something to be ashamed of or something that I just made up.

When we become embarrassed by, complacent with, or even unsure of what we do, or when we find it hard to proudly present our brand to the world, conversations go something like this:

Random person at a “networking” event: “So, what do you do?”

You: “Oh, I’m a vegan chef.”

Rando McLinkedIn: “Wow. Cool.”

The end. 

Mr. McLinkedIn will barely remember this chef in five minutes, and tomorrow, no chance.

Why didn’t you give more detail? 

“I design droolworthy vegan keto meal plans for bodybuilders who want train hard and eat clean. I also host a monthly weekend intensive online where I actually teach them how to cook – all on video! I’m Luna Reddington, TheVeganSuperChef.com. You might be shocked at how fantastic vegan food can be.”

“I work as a graphic design coach for female business owners who want to learn how to create shareworthy social media graphics by themselves. I run group online workshops and it’s the most fun ever. I’m actually finishing up work on The Viral Media Design Planner, which is a 200-page digital workbook. So excited.”

“I teach recent college grads about creating a personal brand for themselves and building a solid platform that can grow with their career. The market is not what it once was, and it seems more and more like people need something beyond, or something other than, a degree to find meaningful work.”

Sure, you have to judge the situation. Not everyone asking should get your full life story, but if someone answered you with one of the answers above when you asked the “What do you do?” question, would you be more likely to remember them? Or check out their website or Instagram later? Or remember to mention them to a friend/colleague in need of services such as theirs?

Brand statements, yo. 

Which are, statements that define a brand. Kinda like mission statements. Brand statements are bite-sized collections of information that help people decide how serious you are about your brand, what your brand even stands for, why what you do matters, and how what you do is different from the 107 people they met (yesterday) who claim to do the same thing.

And. It’s not that the crafting of a brand statement is difficult (I’m gonna show you a formula below), it’s that we forget or neglect to do it. It’s that we don’t realize how necessary it is sometimes.

Today is your day. The day you build a brand statement. The day you stand up and stand out with your words—in a sea of people walking around with “I’m a graphic designer” and “I kinda sorta teach graphic design” responses.

What I’m about to share is neither rocket science nor Elon Musk-style business genius (which technically would also be rocket science). It’s a simple exercise we can all do to make sure we have a solid brand statement on deck. To make sure we’re answering people as completely as possible when they ask us about our work. To make sure we give our brand a chance to form a strong, memorable impression.

And now, it’s time to put on our bossy pants. Here’s how to write a brand statement. Follow these directions, now.

Get out four note cards. Or sticky notes. Or any moveable paper product. Write down the following things, one on each card.

1. Who do you serve?

Hint: After you write it down, cross it out and write it again. Be more specific the second time around.

2. Why do you care?

3. What service/benefit do you actually provide?

4. What do you offer that’s different from everyone else?

Once you have these items on notecards, all we have to do is move them around to the correct order, abridge some stuff, and make it work. I’ll show you what I mean. Let’s use our crazy vegan chef as an example.

Who do you serve? Bodybuilders who want effective vegan ketogenic diet plans to cut weight and preserve muscle.

Why do you care? Because when I transitioned to a vegan diet, I lost my muscle mass because I didn’t know how to eat properly. I either ate too much soy or too many carbs. It was hard to add muscle while reducing body fat. I want to help make it easier (and tastier) for others so they don’t feel they have to rely on protein powders and supplements.

What do you actually provide? An intensive online workshop with an option to upgrade to supportive weekly check-ins + meal planning.

What do you offer that’s different? Step-by-step guidance in a small group via DIY materials, a supportive Facebook group and video content to teach meal prep. Having pre-packaged materials helps me keep costs low and the community allows the group to help each other even when I’m not actually in the group.

Now, let’s try a brand statement in a few different orders:

I help bodybuilders and fitness competitors who want to achieve their fitness goals while following a vegan diet, since I had to learn how to eat for muscle mass when I became a vegan. I want others to have a simpler, guided process, so I offer DIY online group coaching, meal planning materials and tailored check-ins to help people through their fitness competitions. [who you help >> why you care >> what’s different + what you provide]

I’m a vegan ketogenic chef. As in, I help people, particularly bodybuilders and fitness competitors, plan delicious keto vegan meals, but I also do it non-traditionally through online workshops and DIY materials to keep costs low. It’s the service I needed but didn’t have when I became a vegan. [what you provide/do >> who you help >> what’s different >> why you care]

I use DIY vegan keto meal planning materials, online group coaching and tailored check-in meetings to co-plan meals and teach food prep to bodybuilders and fitness competitors.  It’s the guidance I wish I’d had when I transitioned to a vegan diet. It was crazypants trying to figure out what to eat to cut body fat while building muscle, and I don’t want anyone else to have to go through it. [why it’s different + what you do >> who you help >> why you care]

In 2 – 3 sentences you can stand out, be firm about why you do what you do, show some personality, and clearly define your brand and who you serve. 

I’m listening. Leave me your brand statement in the comments of this post, or come talk to me on social media. I want to hear.

Do it now. Okay—ending my bossy moment. For all the coders out there: </bossy>

 

Photo: Franz Navarrete