Times are… well, a bit shitty
How many times this week have you felt a little lost as we all continue to navigate our new normals? What is “normal” nowadays anyway? It’s been a handful for me personally. Trying to stay productive has felt like a whole new ball game in itself. For the first few months of “quarantine”, I felt drawn to do ALL the things and trust me, I had a lot of ideas; but, as I’m sure you might be able to relate, the hard part was figuring out where to begin followed by the momentum to get and stay moving.
So to ease the lift and get you putting that first foot forward while times are slow, I’m sharing 5 productive things you can do in your business starting today. Bonus, more than half can be done whilst you sit on the couch with Netflix running in the background. Can we say win-win?
Send some handwritten notes
Everyone is going through a rough time right now in one way or another. Small businesses are being hit hard and at a time when bank accounts aren’t blooming, it’s important your valued customers and clients feel supported and cared for. If you have the ability to write a handwritten note, do it.
Don’t want to walk to the mailbox or have stationary on hand, record a video using a free recording tool like Loom. Whichever you choose, know even tho this action may seem small, it’s powerful. As their businesses become re-balanced they will be eager to return to “business as usual” and guess what, you’ll be one of the first that comes to mind because trust me, people will always remember relationships over simple transactions.
Try something NEW
Because the best ideas come when you are out playing, exploring, and trying new things! There is a certain satisfaction that comes from dipping your toes into new waters. It’s almost nostalgic, like being a kid again. Just that alone can give ya the spark you’ve been missing to get new ideas flowing. You can also use this time to explore new ways to collaborate.
Whether inside or outside your community walls, now is the perfect time to explore new and creative ways to collaborate with fellow business owners and brands. How can you support a fellow business? How can they support you? The current climate of the world has made us all have to be creative, so why not also use it as a time to either source new partnerships or actively bring people together to fight for a common cause.
Maximize the tools you have…or find a new one
How many tools and platforms are you currently paying for in your business? Now, how many tools or platforms on that list are you underutilizing? Could you eliminate any? Now is the BEST time to pull out a handy dandy Google Sheet if you don’t already have a tool tracker in your business and list out each platform you are currently using, the subscription duration ( monthly vs annual ), the renewal date, and the price point. Trust me, you’ll thank me later.
Now could also be a good time to evaluate that bottom line of third party expenses to evaluate ways to save like, downgrading a plan or subscription while not in use. Revisit current workflows, set up new templates, canned responses, or set up a new integration. I’ve always said, automate before you delegate, so if sourcing virtual support staff is back of the brain, this is the perfect place to start.
Build authority online
Have you ever found yourself in hardcore scroll mode on Facebook or Instagram continuously asking how did that human get featured in that publication or on that Podcast? Well, my friend, there’s a high chance they pitched themselves so they could continue building authority online. This action is fundamental in positioning yourself as an expert within your space. Whether you write or prefer to share your witty candor with the world through Podcasts, this is a powerful way you can amplify your reach, increase curiosity, and build credibility online.
Before we get all aboard the pitch train, I want to break down a few of the brand asset must-haves you’ll need to do this right.
- Create a “Pitch Tracker”: Create in a shared spreadsheet so all communication is organized and can easily be outsourced if needed/wanted. Here is an example to get you started.
- Create a One-Pager: Send this alongside your pitch so it clearly and concisely outlines, who you are, what you specialize in, and the topics you’d love to write/speak on. This is also a great place to link to prior features if applicable. Don’t shy away from adding a headshot to this one-pager too! Personalization is always a plus.
- Write Pitch Email Template: I am not an expert here, but I will tell you that including statistics on your business, audience, and reach such as monthly blog views, social media followers, or podcast downloads are key to sharing your success cliff notes style.
- Write Pitch follow-up Email Template: People are busy and inboxes can be communication wastelands so don’t let a follow-up or two get you down! Use your Pitch Tracker to track touchpoints. I personally appreciate a little persistence and recommend a seven-day window between touches unless advised otherwise by whom you are pitching to.
- Source opportunities: Head to Google and search for relevant keywords that would help you identify potential blog or podcast feature opportunities such as, “guest post”, “write for us”, or “looking for contributors”. Tell your biz besties you are on the hunt and give them a short synopsis to share for you if they happen to come across an opportunity. You can flip the script here and also have a virtual assistant pitch to people who might be a good fit for your communities or platforms.
- Book It: WAHOO! Time to shine baby 😉 Make sure dates and deadlines are locked and loaded on your calendar. Pro-tip, if you don’t have branded thank you cards, get some. Once a feature has been completed, see if you can source an address and send a handwritten thank-you note. It’s a form of gratitude that will speak volumes now and later.
- Share Brand Assets: After landing a feature, most likely you’ll be asked to provide a headshot, bio, and any links you’d like to share that typically can include your website, social spaces you reside on or current offers. If I were you, I’d compile this goodness into a super simple Google Drive or Dropbox folder so you can share all the things with one easy, organized click.
Don’t forget to also ask if the Podcast or Blog will have social media graphics you can swipe to promote this feature on your channels. If not, solidify that you can create your own. At a minimum, you’ll want at least one graphic for your feed and two-three story slides with a call to action on the final slide for platforms like Instagram and Facebook. LinkedIn will soon be testing a “stories” feature as well so stay tuned.
Spruce up or start your Facebook community
Facebook groups can totally feel like the wild wild west. Let them run wild and they can very quickly become just that. If you have a Facebook community that needs a little TLC, now’s the time. If you’ve been marinating on starting a Facebook community, now is also the time. You can start by freshening up your cover or profile image and “about” section. Tighten up or add new community rules and if you aren’t already utilizing the “membership questions” feature to vet incoming peeps and their objectives to joining your community, get on that.
Pro-tip, you can use also use this feature to ask incoming members if they’d like to join your email list. In turn, you’ll be able to build your list while your group grows! It is a manual process to export new subscribers from Facebook to your email service provider, but Chrome does offer a few paid extensions like GroupNinja to help ease the load.
A few other ways to spruce up the good’ole group could be updating old posts with new data, copy or, images. Scheduling new posts to stir up engagement or polling your people to get a pulse on what they want and need right now. Everyone’s yearning for connection and conversation so if you have the opportunity to conduct it within your circles in an intentional way, freaking DO IT! Want even more Facebook group gold? One of my favorite podcast episodes is Jenna Kutcher’s Goal Digger podcast interview with Dana Malstaff on how to optimize your Facebook group strategy.
Thinking about expanding your team with a Virtual Assistant but don’t know where to begin?