November 2017 Intentions

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It's been a while since I wrote my last Intentions post. *sigh*

Even though I don't always complete my monthly goals, I will say writing these posts does give me a sense of accountability. 

Also, I want to be more transparent about my business experiences to track my growth and inspire others to chase their dreams.

Reflections:

*A Major Shift In Our Family -- If you don't already know, I have three sons - 16, 14 & 12. Being a mom of teenagers has been the hardest thing I've ever had to do. The level of stress over the last 1 1/2 has been unreal. One of the reasons life has been all over the place for me is because my older sons recently moved to Texas to live with their dad. This situation has been a hard transition for my family, but I know this change is best for the boys.

*I Still Don't Know What the Hell I'm Doing -- After all these years, I still haven't figured out what I can do to really serve people and make a consistent monthly income from my businesses. 

I'm actually quite embarrassed to admit this out loud, but hey, the first step is admitting there's a problem, right?

Intentions for November 2017:

*Set an income goal for the month -- I started tracking my income back in July and being intentional did allow me to make more money. I got off track last month and saw that my income was the lowest that it has been in a while -- there's def a correlation, so I will start tracking again. 

*Finalize My "Word/Theme" for 2018 -- My word for 2017 is Execution. Even though there's so much more I want to do, I feel as though I took way more action this year. I released two products on Brown Vegan, two products on Biz Life, did a few speaking engagements, cooking demos (my first was this year!) and went on TV. 

*Continue to work on my weight loss journey -- One of my 2017 goals was to lose 20 lbs. Guess what happened tho? I gained ten mo' pounds! I'm now a whopping 172.4 lbs. 

I started over again and feel positive that I will reach this goal in 2018 -- What I plan to do more of? Manage stress, cut down on processed foods, work as an accountable partner with Eric (he wants to lose 20 lbs too). 

*Leave the damn house -- As someone who works from home, it's very easy for me not to leave the house very often. I will make sure to get out as least once a week -- even if it's just for a 30-minute walk or a dinner date with Eric.  I know leaving the house more will help with my anxiety and depression too. 

Consistency Goals for February:

I'm pretty nervous to set consistency goals, because I don't usually follow through on everything I write.

So I will keep it short and sweet...

*Upload at least ONE video on my main YouTube channel - I can't believe it has been three months since my last video! I just decided to record and upload a BBQ tofu video. Wish me luck! 

*Upload a weekly podcast episode (five for the month) -- there's no excuse for not finishing this because I have all the interviews recorded!

Check out previous Intentions posts here 

What are your goals for the new month? Let me know :-)

STOP Doing This If You Want to Get Paid

Want to increase your income? Stop doing these things...

*Stop making your social media accounts PRIVATE...

^^ I couldn't stop laughing when I saw this on Instagram.

Why are you private, boo? I can understand if you want to keep your personal pages private, but there's no excuse to have your business social media profiles hidden.

Social media is a way for potential clients and customers to get a taste of what it's like to work with you, so unlock those accounts and get to that coin!

*Stop telling folks to email you to find out more about a product or service - Instead of doing this, you should set up a basic sales page to give folks details about how to work with you or more information about your product. You can use Squarespace, Samcart, Shopify, Sendowl, Leadpages, etc. to set up this up.

Also, add a FAQ section to your sales page to cut down the volumes of inquiries you receive about your products and services. 

*Stop giving folks only one payment option - If you only accept payments using Paypal, consider adding Stripe for those who don't like using Paypal. Give people more options, so there's no excuse for them not to give you their coins. 

*Stop making it hard for people to contact you for offline opportunities -- Make sure you have your business email address on your social media profiles and on your website's contact page to "secure the bag" for speaking events, etc.

Are any of these things holding you from from making...

Let me know in the comments what you will stop doing in the next 24 hours.

7 Tools I Use to Run My Business

I remember when I was afraid to spend more than $20 to build and grow my business.

For the first couple of years, my only business expense was Squarespace -- my website and hosting.

That was it. No fancy software. Nada.

Then I went from one extreme to another...from being afraid to spend any money to spending way too much.

There was a time (like a couple of months ago lol) where my business expenses were well over $600.

This was madness because most months I wasn't bringing in enough money to justify it. 

Even though I don't believe in spending thousands of dollars to start your business, I do feel you need certain pieces of software to save you money and time.

These days, I try to minimize my business expenses and have figured out a way to use one piece of software for multiple functions.

For example, I use Leadpages to collect emails, host webinars, make sales pages, collect payments, and deliver products. 

I'm all about making life easier, so here are the seven tools I use to run this biz and Brown Vegan

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Seven tools...

1. Squarespace - I've been using Squarespace for years. I started off with a free site on Wordpress, but Squarespace is more of my speed. It's easy to use (I'm not tech savvy), affordable, and their tech support is top notch. They used to make mini tutorials back in the day. I told you I'm not tech savvy. lol 

2. Teachable - I use Teachable to host my course. I love how user-friendly the software is, and how it organizes content in a way that is easy for customers to consume. 

3. Acuity Scheduling & Calendly - I use free accounts (Acuity came free with my Squarespace account) for both of these businesses to schedule consults and podcast interviews. There's no need to go back and forth with guests or potential clients when all you have to do is link them to your calendar to schedule appointment. The more hands off the better!

4. Leadpages - I use this software to set up opt-in pages (to get folks to join my email list -- like this page), host webinars, make sales pages (like this one), collect payments, and deliver products. 

5. Libsyn - I use this software to host my Brown Vegan and This Biz Life podcast episodes.

6. Convertkit - I started off with Mailchimp, but Convertkit is amazing for building my email list and automation. For example, when someone signs up for a course on Teachable, I set up automation to send them a welcome email. Like I said above, the less hands off I can make my businesses the better. Plus, you can't beat giving your customers a better experience.

7. Wavve - You already know how much I believe video is important for building and growing an online business.  I love using this software to share snippets of my podcast episodes on social media to get listeners to click over to iTunes or my website to listen to the full episode. 

Let me know in the comments what tools you use to run your biz.

3 Tasks Working Well in My Business Right Now

When I started my Brown Vegan business in 2013 (I use that year because it was the first time I made money), I was doing a little bit of everything...

  • Blogging
  • YouTube
  • Social Media
  • Newsletters
  • Podcast
  • Meeting folks in my industry by going to events
  • Etc. Etc. Etc.

I know a lot of people say you shouldn't focus on more than 1 or 2 main "things" in your business but, hey, I bore easily. lol

Out of this list, the areas working the most in my business right now are weekly newsletters, my podcast & YouTube channel.

 

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Newsletter: I send out a weekly newsletter because it's an opportunity to connect with my audience on a deeper level. I actually prefer my email list over social media these days, because social can feel very noisy in comparison. Not everyone is checking social media each day (believe it or not lol) but most people are checking their email.

I use Convertkit to collect email addresses and send out emails with tips, special promos, videos, podcast episodes, and updates to my audience. 

 

Podcast: I love doing Brown Vegan podcast and get such incredible feedback from the listeners. On the show, I share tips from my experiences with being vegan and also bring on guests to share their stories.

The show has been a great way to sell my products and grow my email list too because I often mention my Vegan Starter Kit opt-in and products that I have to offer.

 

Video: Video is soooo powerful! On my Brown Vegan channel, I post recipes, grocery haul, vegan tips, etc. to help families transition to a vegan lifestyle. Not only do I help my viewers see how simple, delicious and affordable vegan life can be, but I also grow my email list with new subscribers and sell my products.

Another form of video that has worked well is doing weekly live streams on Instagram. I promote special offers, answer questions, come up with new content (based on questions and feedback), let my audience know about new content (on my YouTube channel or podcast) and connect with my audience on a deeper level than just posting pictures.

I highly recoommed you incoporate video into your brand ASAP!

What tasks are working well in your business? Leave me a comment!

How to Host A Webinar Using Squarespace and Free Tools

Webinars are a great way to build your email list, connect with your audience, and sell your products and services.

The tools you need to start can feel overwhelming!

The good news is, you don't need fancy software like Webinar Jam and Leadpages to host your first webinar.

Check out the video below to get the steps on how to use Squarespace, YouTube Live and Chatango to host your free webinar.

Resources mentioned:

Chatango -- free chatbox 

Questions? Leave me a comment below.

What Equipment Do You Need to Start A Podcast? | Q&A

Here are some questions I received in my Instagram DM the other day...

The good news is, you don't need a lot of fancy equipment to start your podcast. In fact, when I started my podcast, I used the voice memo on my iPod to record episode and free software to edit (I still use free lol).

I suggest you start and make improvements as you move forward.

Here's what I use right now to get the job done....

What do you use to record episodes?

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I use Skype and ecamm (to record interviews), Audacity (to record solo episodes), a Blue Yeti microphone, ZRAMO pop filter, and Sennheiser headphones. 

What do you use to edit the podcast content?

I use Audacity to edit my episodes. It's a free software that you can download here.

What do you use to upload your content?

I use Libsyn to upload and host all my podcast episodes. 

 

Don't think about it too much! Just start! :-)

Leave your podcast questions in the comments below.