If only I had done a backup before hitting that damn update button!
You see I’m usually pretty tech savvy but this past week my blind trust in Apple has betrayed me! It was Sunday, I was on the bed pretending to work when the little “Would you like to update to the most recent version of OS?” question showed up on my MacBook’s screen. And I thought: “Why the hell not! I have nothing better to do”. I clicked the magical update button and that’s when it all when to hell in a handbasket.
The update stalled due to missing drivers and after reformatting the disk the online update also stalled. Result: my MacBook is currently as useful as a paperweight!
If only I had backed it up… if only… So lesson one girl:
Always have a backup!
Seriously, never skip this step! Whenever you’re updating any of your computers DO A BACKUP!
Actually, this is the only lesson in this post! Hear me out:
With my computer offline I could easily have been prevented to work until we find an apple store. Not the best situation when you’re travelling. But I’m still here working and writing this blog post. Why? Because I have other tools where I can do my work.
Namely my iPad Pro, that has saved my behind! And my hubby’s computer that I can steal when I need to do something that I just can’t do on the iPad.
All these technical problems got me thinking:
What do you do when plan A doesn’t work?
Do you have a plan B for the important things in your life? What if that new dream home you’ve been waiting to buy falls through? What if your car breaks down? What if… god forbid… your computer stops working?
Having a backup isn’t only important for your computer, it’s important for your life.
In my life having a backup means:
Having a tent with us so we can camp out if no homes are available for us during our trip.
Bringing my iPad on the trip so I can still work when the inevitable tech problem happens.
Knowing that if all else fails we can: get work washing dishes or stocking shelves somewhere or even sell the car and catch a plane back home.
What’s important for you? What’s worth having a plan B for?
The actual place where I work can vary greatly depending on whether I’m traveling, at home or working from a coworking space. But no matter where I am there are certain staples of my workstation that stay the same.
My workstation – what it looks like:
When I think about my workstation there are 2 levels to the way I work. There’s the bare minimal, what I absolutely must have to be able to work, and then there’s my perfect setup, the way I work when I’m home or at a more stable office.
Here’s what that looks like:
The Bare Minimal
There are 3 things I absolutely must have to be able to do my work. Without these it’s just not happening!
I have a 12’’ MacBook and this is where I do all my work.
There are many great options of computers out there but here’s why I chose the MacBook:
Mac over PC because of system stability: I’ve used PC’s for years but when I started doing freelancing I knew a Mac was the way to go. As an entrepreneur you have a million things to get done. What you don’t need is to spend 5 hours reformatting, updating or cleaning your computer. I’m not willing to waste that much time so I knew I needed a Mac.
Why I didn’t go Pro: The MacBook Pro is an amazing machine, and I’ve had one before, but when it was time to get a new computer I choose a lighter, even if less powerful option. The MacBook is slightly less powerful than it’s Pro cousin but the difference in power comes with a heavy weight, quite literally! I needed a computer that could travel with me, so I ended up with the lighter version, and I don’t regret it for a second!
A Strong Internet Connection
This is a must! I have many friends that can work both online and offline, but the nature of my work means I always need internet.
I’ve become an expert at finding Café’s with great internet and I always have my data package for emergencies.
If you’re traveling I’d suggest also looking into a mobile modem. You’ll need to get a data card from the country where you are currently staying, but it’s a nice to have in case of emergencies.
Usually while I’m working I’m listening to a podcast, a youtube video or just some great music, but that’s not why headphones are a must for me. I can still work even if I’m not listening to something, but interruptions are deadly.
So whether I’m listening to something or not you’ll always find me with my headphones tucked into my ears. If nothing else they serve to tell people that I’m busy and not to willing to be interrupted.
My Perfect Setup
Get ready cause this is where it gets really weird! When I’m staying for a while in the same place and I can set up a desk either at home or at the local coworking space my setup becomes a whole other thing.
On the left I’ll have my iPad Pro with my podcasts playing. In front of me my MacBook set up on it’s Stand so that I’m not bending my back or neck to work (just writing this makes me stand up straight). And on the right a notebook and pen to be able to write down any quick notes.
What’s also never too far away is my mug with either coffee or tea and a snack to munch on while the occasional page loads.
I know it’s too many screens (my boyfriend keeps telling me so…) but the truth is that I love it! Whenever I get to use this setup I feel so much more in control of everything around me.
Your setup will probably look different from mine. It will depend not only on the tools you have but also on your specific nature. It all depends on what makes YOU work better. I’d love to see what your setup looks like!
What’s the one thing in your workstation that makes you more productive and you couldn’t live without?
One of my favorite ways of learning new skills and hearing about what’s going on in the world of entrepreneurship are podcasts. With the travels ahead of me I’ve been stocking up on great podcasts to listen to and wanted to share some of my favorites with you. Enjoy!
My Absolute Favourite Podcasts on my List:
The Marketing in Yoga Pants Podcast
Brit Kolo brings us weekly interviews with Entrepreneurs and Business owners that are heartfelt and inspiring. If you’re looking to feel connected with other entrepreneurs and business owners this is the podcast for you!
Website | iTunes
Goal Digger – The Podcast
Jenna Kutcher is the kind of girl that will fill up your heart. In her podcasts, she shares heartfelt stories of both her life and her guests while still packing every episode with advice made just for you, the entrepreneur looking to reach your goals!
Website | iTunes
Online Marketing Made Easy
Whenever I need highly actionable marketing advice I turn to Amy. Amy Porterfield delivers every time, with expert interviews, actionable step by steps and a behind the scenes view of her business.
Website | iTunes
I’ll listen to these podcasts basically anywhere and anytime. Either while I’m working on repetitive tasks or when I’m doing housework like cleaning, ironing or cooking.
Tell me what are some of your favorites?
I often get asked how I stay productive. As a VA I need to jump between tasks rapidly, all while keeping an eye on my email. So today I wanted to let you in and show you what my day-to-day looks like.
First thing is first: Mental and Physical Wellbeing
This is probably the part of my routine that I need to work on the most as I don’t always do it. But when I do I always feel energized and centered throughout the day.
On an ideal day, I get up, drink a full glass of water and sit down to meditate for 10 min. I use the headspace app, they have some great meditation packs and you can use the apps free meditations.
Meditation is hard for me. Staying still for 10 min not thinking is one of the hardest things that I do every day, but even when I’m restless and not really focussed I feel that for the rest of the day my mind is focussed and calm on a level I just don’t reach when I don’t meditate.
I’m not a big fan of running or gyms, so instead of torturing myself I tune in to Yoga with Adrienne and do a 30 min yoga session. Of all the yoga teachers out there I really resonate with Adrienne’s style of fun and mindful yoga.
And if you think yoga isn’t exercise, think again. I’m always surprised the day after on how much my muscles feel sore from this seemingly easy and light exercise form. If you’re an introvert like me and being surrounded by sweaty humans is not your thing, then yoga might just be the right form of exercise for you.
Once the exercise is done I prepare my coffee and turn on the computer to start my day’s work.
Starting my workday on the right foot
Every day I start my workday exactly the same way. I turn on my computer and start by looking at:
- The news – Although not strictly necessary for my job I enjoy staying up to date on the news of the day and knowing what’s happening in the world.
- My Finances – Knowing what your money is doing for you on a daily basis is really important, after all, you’re only running a business if it’s making money.
- My Inbox – My inbox is pretty clean, I have a half a dozen newsletters that I subscribe to and read, most of my other emails are from clients, so I start my day by going over them and making sure that my inbox is clean and all client emails have been replied to.
Now that these items are out of the way it’s time to dive headfirst into my to-do list.
Staying productive through the day
Every Sunday (or if I’m honest Monday morning) I organize my tasks for the week on Trello so I know exactly what I need to do each day.
If you’re curious about Trello but haven’t been able to make it work for you then I highly recommend you check out the Trello for Business course by Think Creative Collective, this has changed the way I run my business and now Trello is where I keep everything in my life and business.
I use the Pomodoro technique to go through my daily to-do list. Splitting the day into 25min chunks has allowed me to move forward on big tasks without being crippled by the fear of having them take up the whole day.
At the end of the day, I go over my emails once more. Reply to all my client emails, and prepare the upcoming day. And then I breathe and relax, the day is done, tomorrow will be a new one!
What techniques do you use to be more productive during the day-to-day? Leave a comment below and let me know.
I’m a bit of an Instagram groupie, but Instagram isn’t one size fits all. Is it right for your business?
It may be tempting to dive headfirst into the new trends, no matter what they are. But I want to encourage you to take a step back and ask yourself: Is this right for me and my business?
Instagram is one of the fastest growing social platforms. It just reached 2 Million monthly advertisers. This makes it definitely a tempting platform to invest both time and money. But just because something is there doesn’t mean you should be using it.
How to see if Instagram is Right for Your Business
Here are 3 steps to decide whether you should be spending time on Instagram, or for that matter any platform.
1 – Is your client there?
The first thing you need to figure out when deciding whether to join a new platform or not is if your ideal client is even there.
Here’s some info about Instagram, who’s there and why:
People on Instagram are looking to be inspired and discover things that they care about.
There’re also over 15 million business profiles on the platform.
So chances are that your client is in there, but are they looking for your type of content? Are you looking to inspire your audience or offering a product that they care about? (I say product because Instagram is visual and it’s a lot easier to sell a product using images than a service).
2 – Do you have the ability to create the content?
Instagram is all about great images! So if you want to shine on Instagram you need to take a step back and think:
Can I create the content that I need for this platform?
If you want to be on Instagram you’ll need to be able to create or take:
- Engaging photos
- Inspirational images or graphics
And if you honestly don’t have the time or the ability to create this content consistently then maybe this isn’t the right platform for you.
3 – Are you getting clients through it?
When you’re growing your business this might not be a hard no, however, the amazing Brit Kolo from the Marketing in Yoga Pants Podcast made this point recently that hit home for me:
Focus on the places where you are already getting clients!
How do clients find you right now? Are they reaching you via referrals? Facebook groups? Guest posts?
However, you’re finding your clients right now should be your main focus. That doesn’t mean you can’t try new things but make sure you’re not forgetting the tried and true.
New technologies are always showing up. Learning to evaluate them as they come, and figure out if they’re right for your business will allow you to keep your focus where it needs to be.
What platforms have proven the most valuable for you at the moment? Looking for someone to help you show up more consistently? Send me a message.
I’m so excited to tell you about this tool! Automating your business is vital to save time and grow your business to the next level. And this tool is one of the most powerful tools to make it happen. And you know the best part? It’s free!
The name of this tool: Zapier
I know you’ve heard about it a million times. But here’s why I love it:
If you learn how to use Zapier the right way you’ll be automating your business and delighting your clients at the same time!
If you haven’t checked out Zapier, take a look at it. You’ll find most of the tools you already use and see how they can be connected to each other through Zapier!
I’m sure when you look at all the Zaps it all feels a bit overwhelming. So I’m going to show you the 2 Zaps I’m using to help me automate my business.
Automating lead generation
How do you take care of new leads?
My client intake process is a two-part:
- You fill in a form with a few relevant questions
- I send you a link to schedule a discovery call.
I was sending the link to schedule the call by hand. Now I have a zap connects my Typeform submissions and adds them to a MailChimp list which automatically sends out an email with the link to schedule a call.
One less step for me to do and one happy client with all that they need to talk to me and get started. 😀
Now let’s look at your lead generation process. What are you doing that you could automate if your different tools talked to each other?
Automating client intake
This is the second place where I spend the most time so it makes sense to look at where we can save some time here.
So here’s what that looks like for me:
- You purchase your package through my PayPal button.
- You’re redirected to the page to schedule your initial call.
- After that, I email you some housekeeping that needs to happen before the call.
This automation is a bit different. When you purchase a package you’re redirected to the page to schedule your call (you can set this up in your PayPal button). And then I created a zap that adds you to an email list when you pay on PayPal. Once you’re added to the list you’re sent an email with all the housekeeping items you need to get started.
Note: Paypal is a premium feature in Zapier but you can set up Zapier to read your email and recognize a PayPal email when it comes in.
What does your client intake process look like? What’s something you do for every client that you could be automating or creating a zap for?
So tell me what would be the first thing you’d automate in your business?
Not sure where to start? Send me a message and let’s see how you can start automating your business.