Leads Aren’t The Most Important Number In Your Business – What To Focus On Instead

In the days leading up to the New Year this year, how were you feeling about your business?

Were you proud of yourself for the last year and optimistic for this year?

Or did you write off the year completely and just start looking towards this year?

… and if it was the second, was that preceded by a little disappointment in yourself for not doing everything you set out to do?

It happens…

But that doesn’t mean it has to.

Too often, we’re so optimistic at the beginning of the year and little by little, we settle back into our comfortable ways and forget all about the goals we set for ourselves at the beginning of the year.

Even though you might’ve grown a little last year, it doesn’t live up to our actual goals.

And as an empire builder, chances are, a HUGE part of the goals you fell short on were your business.

So what if it didn’t have to be like that?

What if your goals became a standard that you knew you’d hit rather than a target that you wish, hope and pray to hit?

I’m curious…

Is your business like a toddler that is erratic and unpredictable or is it like a soldier who is routine and scheduled?

Chances are, if you’re not reaching your goals, it’s because your business is more like the toddler than it is the soldier.

When your business becomes like a soldier that follows systems and routines, that’s when you get to step out of the every day grind of your business and start working on the high-level strategy, growth and the fun stuff.

Here’s the thing though…

No one ever wants to hear that because it’s boring.

You started a business because you wanted freedom and you wanted to work for yourself, not because you wanted to be a slave to your business.

There are two types of freedom.

There’s immediate freedom that allows you to skip work tomorrow if you want to and that lets you design your branding the way you want to.

Delayed freedom is the freedom that you’re actually seeking.

It’s the freedom that allows you to actually make money in your sleep, to go on vacation for a month if you want and to know that your business is still working without you.

Howeverrrr, you have to put in the work up front for that to be your reality in the future.

Like I said, boring, right?

I’m not saying it’s always boring… but it’s definitely more mundane than when you get to work solely on impulse and on what you feel like working on.

Unfortunately, the thing we WANT to work on isn’t always the thing we SHOULD be working on.

I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know though.

However, once you start systemizing your business, you discover time and mental white space to work on the fun stuff and systemizing your business becomes SUPER addicting once you start seeing the effects of it.

Ready to take this to another level?

If you’re sporadic in your business, your income probably looks a liiiiitle like this…

And your time is the complete opposite of that like the blue line…

And as a result, you only spend time looking for new business when you have time, even though you have no income, like the orange line…

Sound familiar?

Orrrr, even if you do have a business that generates consistent revenue, it’s probably because you’re the main hustler that’s looks for new business AND you’re also servicing that business… So if you took a vacation (or worse, something happened to you), your whole business would come to a screeching halt.

Here’s the perfect example of exactly that…

My dad passed away a few months ago.

I’m not telling you that for your sympathy or anything… It’s actually relevant to where we’re going with this.

He owned one of the largest granite fabrication companies in South Florida and he was super proud of it.

My dad was a marine and was super old-school (he still used hanging envelopes for his customer files, preferred cash over card and built all of his relationships on the honor system).

It worked for him.

He made about $500k a year…

Then he died.

He didn’t plan for succession and even though he had a team of people doing administrative stuff for him, he never built systems into his business that could run without him because he was stubborn and set in his ways so his business died with him.

… and what makes it worse is that I’m pretty confident that the stress of running his business is what caused the heart attack that killed him at 51.

So, if you’re working like an animal, systemizing your business isn’t just something that’ll be nice to do.

Your life could literally depend on it.

Now before you go run out like a crazy person and buying a whole bunch of tools that are supposed to make a certain part of your business easier, I need you to read, eat, memorize and write down this next statement…

Before we can start systemizing your business, we need to know what’s going on in the business currently and where the holes are.

Too often, we’re like “I need more business” so the seemingly logical answer is to get more leads… So we go spend a whole bunch of money on new leads.

But we don’t have systems in place to handle all of those new leads so then we can’t convert those leads and instead of realizing that there’s a hole in our business, we just write them off as “bad leads”.

… Or you hear that someone in your industry is KILLIN it with a specific system, so you go run and dump a whole bunch of money into it, only to find that you didn’t get the same results.

That’s because there’s a hole in your business.

So let’s break that cycle.

Tracking the numbers in your business is one of the most boring parts of running a business and it’s so easy to dismiss because on a daily basis, it doesn’t seem like it’s that important when you have 100 bajillion other things to do.

Soooo when you get busy, tracking your numbers is the first thing to fall by the wayside.

But let me ask you a question…

How many clients do you need this year to reach your income goal?

… and how many leads do you need to get that many clients?

If you don’t know the answer to both of those without batting an eye, that’s the very first problem… and having a general idea of what those numbers are in your business isn’t good enough.

On a different (but related) note, I’m a little extra by nature.

So because I like to be extra, my ideas are always extra and I always design my systems to be extra… and over time, the fluff falls away to leave the gold.

Leaving me with the cold, hard, results-getting stuff… The 20% that gets the most results without any of the fluff.

So lucky for you, I’ve already TRIED to make this complicated so you don’t have to.

We’re going to make this super simple.

Your business comes down to four numbers… and basically everything else just comes down to vanity metrics or numbers that are taken care of by the four that we’re tracking.

(Vanity metrics are those numbers that make us feel good (like hitting 10k followers) but don’t actually mean anything on it’s own.)

The Four Numbers To Track In Your Business

Ok, so now that we know what your business model is, here are the four numbers…

  • Engagements
  • Leads
  • Presentations
  • Commitments

They all go by different names, but that’s basically what it comes down to.

Depending on your business model, engagements can count as contacts, pageviews or subscribers. These are the interactions people with you, your business and your brand.

Next, you have leads. These are people who raise their hand and say, “yes, I have a problem I want to fix or a desire I want to fulfill and I’d like to do it sooner than later.”

They might not be ready to commit to working with you yet, but they’re someone who you know that you can help.

Your funnel is basically the process that someone goes through from the time they come in contact with your brand all the way to the time they decide to hire you, buy from you or work with you.

After someone enters your funnel, at some point they’re going to realize that you can help them with their problem or fulfill their desire.

Those people will raise their hand to learn more about your product or service.

That’s where you book an appointment.

Of the people who book an appointment with you, some of them will commit to hiring, buying from or working with you.

That’s where the commitment comes in.

Their commitment is a genuine decision to buy from you and can come in the form of a signed agreement, hitting the “buy” button and getting to the checkout page.

That’s it.

Those are the four numbers.

The little voice in your brain is probably like, “but what about ___?”

There are SO many numbers in your business that you could track that trying to track them all makes it too complicated.

What you focus on, expands.

For now, let’s break down these numbers for you.

Breaking The Numbers Down

Based on your income goal, you can set goals that you KNOW you’ll reach and systematically scale your business.

Here’s how you should start looking at your business:

Let’s say you have an income goal of $100k for the year and your average revenue per client is $1,000.

In order to reach your goal, you need 100 clients for the year.

(These are totally hypothetical numbers, I’m just using an example).

Let’s say 90% of the people who commit to you (whether that’s by landing on the checkout page or signing an agreement), end up as a closed sale.

That means you’d need 111 commitments for the year.

In our hypothetical business, 75% of people who we present to make a commitment to buy from us

In order to get those 111 commitments, you need to go on 150 appointments for the year.

Working our way backwards again, 10% of the people who enter our sales funnel (more on that in the next post) decide to learn more about our business.

That means we’d need 1500 leads for the year.

In this pretend business, we decide to do Facebook ads that lead to a landing page with a free download and that landing page converts at 60%.

That means 2500 would have to see our landing page for the year for us to get 100 clients for the year.

Breaking that down even further…

On a weekly basis, here’s what this looks like:

  • 48 people see your ad
  • 29 people opt-in to your lead magnet
  • 3 of them click through to the landing page or schedule an appointment
  • 2.5 of them commit (this week you need 2 but next week you need 3)
  • 2 closed sales

So if you were this business owner, you know that your job is to get 2 sales every week and you know exactly what you need to do to make that happen.

All of these numbers are totally made up in this example, but do you see how your business becomes more predictable in this way and how your goals become way more achievable?

Reaching your goals isn’t magic.

It’s strategy.

At the end of the day, it’s not about leads.

It’s about appointments… and that’s what you should be spending your time on.

If you want to learn how to make your business this predictable, we’re hosting a totally free online conference that will help you turn Facebook into an appointment-generating machine.

Check it out right here:

Turn Facebook Ads Into An Appointment-Generating Machine

  • You won't have to go broke on ads that aren't converting - use formulas that work instead.
  • You don't need to know what to put on your ad - we'll help you create your offer.
  • You don't need to know how to create an ad - we'll walk you through it, click-by-click.

The Simple 3-Layer Ad Strategy To Turn Facebook Into An Appointment-Generating Machine

How awesome would it be to literally wake up in the morning to a day full of qualified appointments with people who can’t wait to give you money?

Here’s the thing – when you’re meeting with QUALIFIED people, you don’t need to get in front of everyone, just the people that need your help.

Facebook ads are super sexy for that exact reason – you can get your message in front of the exact people who need your help and get them to click, book or buy.

Whether you’ve dabbled in Facebook ads or have just been thinking about trying them, the ultimate goal is to book your calendar solid with qualified appointments, right?

Sooo, since that’s the goal, here’s what that would probably look like if you’re new to Facebook ads:

  • You’d head on over to the Facebook Business Manager
  • Struggle for a bit to figure it all out (maybe even head over to YouTube to watch tutorials)
  • Look for ANY creative bone in your body to write something compelling that asks them to book an appointment, a discovery call or some other form of meeting
  • Find a picture for the ad
  • Sit there contemplating what the “action” should be and decide on “book an appointment” because that obviously seems logical
  • Nervously hit submit
  • The ad gets approved by Facebook… Yay!
  • Have a little dance party because it’s about to start raining money up in here when these appointments to come flying in.

But instead, you get… crickets.

WHY AREN’T PEOPLE BOOKING!?

Facebook ads are supposed to work!

My friend, what you just did is the equivalent of walking up to a random person in a random place and being like, “wanna have sex?”

If walking up to random people and soliciting sex is your jam, more power to you.

If not, you might get one or two yeses – but we’re not going for one or two.

We’re going for MASSIVE growth.

The Reason “Book An Appointment” Ads Aren’t Working

The reason it didn’t work is because they don’t know who you are.

They don’t trust you yet.

Instead, you’ve got to warm them up and show them that you understand them and are qualified to help them BEFORE you get them to say yes.

With the amount of sales messages we see every day, it’s impossible for them not to be skeptical.

Yes, YOU know that you’re qualified and can help them, but you’re still a stranger to them.

Now let me ask you – when something is wrong with your body, do you call the doctor first or do you go to Google first?

I don’t know about you, but I go to WebMD (even if they tell me I have a brain tumor and have 24 hours to live) because I hate going to doctors and given the fact that sites like WebMD are so popular, no one else likes them either.

We like convenience, low commitment and easy.

“Discovery call”, “consultation” or whatever other fancy word that you want to slap on there is just a renamed version of a sales pitch.

… At least that’s what your leads think.

They don’t want to talk to you, nor do they need YOU to be on demand…

They want information on demand.

They want a solution on demand.

By having a three layer approach to Facebook ads, you position yourself as an expert, someone helpful and trustworthy AND someone that can help them with their problem…

NOT as someone who is trying to sell them something.

The 3-layer Facebook ad strategy works because it’s how we build relationships in real life.

Top-Layer Ads

Here’s a different way to think about it…

Have you ever gone on YouTube looking for a tutorial about something?

When you get to the last 10-20 seconds of the video, they always throw in the “like or subscribe” or “click below to ___”, right?

As soon as they get to that, you probably click over to the next video or close out of the tab because you don’t need to subscribe… You just needed help with your problem.

Your top layer ads are like YouTube videos… You should focus on the problem that they’re experiencing and where they’re getting hung up.

You’re giving away just enough to grab their attention and getting them to go, “man, they get me!”

Let’s say for example, you’re a chiropractor who wants to focus on helping gym rats fix and prevent injuries.

A great top-layer ad would be a video about 3 common squatting mistakes that lifters make that cause knee pain.

Ok, so you with me so far?

I’m about to say something that you might actually lose your mind over…

You should NOT have a call to action on this ad.

That is NOT a typo.

I repeat, that is not a typo.

Before you shoot my head off, hear me out…

Opt-ins have been made so popular that people have started guarding their email addresses and phone numbers tighter than their credit cards and social security numbers (and while I mean that jokingly, that’s actually not that far of a stretch).

This audience is ice cold and they don’t know who you are or what you offer – they just have a problem they need to fix.

They don’t want to be sold.

With that in mind, the goal of this Facebook ad is to get engagement – you want them to watch the video and THAT’S IT.

*I know that your brain is like, “but, but, but what about getting appointments?!”*

The magic happens AFTER they watch the video…

Mid-Layer Ad

Facebook allows you to target people who’ve engaged with your posts or watched your videos.

… And don’t you think that if someone spent a few minutes watching a very specific video about mistakes that people make that cause squatters knee pain, they’re probably someone who is a lifter that HAS knee pain when squatting?

This audience is aware of their problem and they KNOW they have a problem, so now they’re primed to hear to solutions.

You’ve shown them that you “get” them and can help them, so you’re going to show them another ad that offers a solution – your opt-in or low-priced offer.

This should be an easy, low commitment way to say “yes” – it should offer a TON of value and doesn’t have to be super complicated to create.

Going back to the chiropractor example, they’re still not warm enough to book an appointment at this point because in their minds, they don’t need you yet.

So maybe, you offer them a 5-day printable plan to stretch, strengthen and warmup their knees BEFORE they start squatting… And you give it to them in exchange for an email and phone number.

You see how we’re building on this?

One of the biggest mistakes that I made for a longgggg time that costed me wayyyyyy too much money is that I would create content, collect the lead andddd they’d sit there…

I’d either get to busy to follow-up, just didn’t have time or it had been so long, I didn’t even know what to say.

Let’s not make that same mistake, Empire Builder.

That’s where the next layer comes in – and this is where we get to turn Facebook ads into appointments on our calendar.

Bottom-Layer Ads

This is where the moolah is made…

Butttt you can’t get here without doing all of the work beforehand.

Immediately after they opt-in, you want your thank you page to give them the option to book an appointment with you.

Not all of them will book, but some will at this point… and that’s ok.

At this point, we’re actually going to put two different types of ads in front of them with the mission to CONVERT this lead into an actual appointment.

Those two types of ads are going to offer social proof and they’re going to handle objections.

And, we’re also going to have an email sequence that is focused on converting them – so you’re hitting them in three ways.

Everybody smile and say ‘omnipresence‘!

Let’s go back to the chiropractor example again…

At this point, you’re going to get one or two of your past clients to record a case study for you about how they had crazy knee pain and by following your program, they were able to start squatting heavier WITHOUT knee pain.

Then you’re going to sit down and brainstorm the most common reasons why gym rats won’t go to a chiropractor.

Maybe you come up with a list like…

  • Chiropractors only focus on the spine
  • It’s too expensive and I’m not sure if my insurance covers it
  • What if I don’t have insurance?
  • How does it actually help? Is it just in your head?
  • The popping and cracking makes me nervous…
  • I only go when I’m in pain
  • It’s not that bad – I’ll just take Advil and ice it

So then, you come up with videos to address each of those alongside your social proof videos – and in the call to action on your ad, is a link to a page with the ability to book an appointment on your calendar.

THESE videos are shown to the people who have opted in to your 5-day workout plan because they’re now primed to be sold.

Are you seeing the magic and how layering ads together turns someone who was ice cold into someone who can’t wait to meet you?

Putting It All Together

While this is a high-level overview of the 3-layer ad strategy, you might find yourself getting stuck trying to figure out who to target in your ads, what videos to record or how to write the ad copy so that people actually stop scrolling to watch the video and that’s more than I could possibly include in a single blog post.

So, what if instead of just giving you blog posts, I could…

  • Help you identify and target your perfect client
  • Create an offer (both front-end and one that forces them to book because your bonuses are so badass)
  • Create the retargeting video ads that get non-bookers to come back after you’ve built more trust with them
  • Create the actual page where they’ll book the appointment
  • Help you set up the ads, click-by-click, from beginning to end

… and what if I could do all of that FOR FREE?

It just so happens that we’re hosting a free, one-day summit with four different speakers to help you implement this entire strategy from beginning to end in your business so that you can create an appointment generating MACHINE.

Oh, and did I mention that it’s free?

Click here to register:

Turn Facebook Ads Into An Appointment-Generating Machine

  • You won't have to go broke on ads that aren't converting - use formulas that work instead.
  • You don't need to know what to put on your ad - we'll help you create your offer.
  • You don't need to know how to create an ad - we'll walk you through it, click-by-click.

How I Get 20-30 New Instagram Followers Every Day

Let’s just start by saying I hate taking pictures.

I’ve never been the person who is like, “wait, we have to take a picture” during every occasion.

I also don’t think I’m photogenic.

Andddd, I like to keep my private life private.

Even though I’m crazy active on Instagram, you’ll never see me post the intimate parts of my life.

Howeverrrr… I LOVE me some Instagram.

Compared to any other platform, Instagram is simple, focused and created to connect people.

Now before you skip past all of this to the tips, I want you to remember something super important…

Your following doesn’t matter if your audience isn’t engaged.

That means they should look forward to hearing from you, respond to your posts and be excited to see what you’re up to.

You should become their new addiction.

Just remember, this isn’t a magic pill where you’re going to scroll through this blog post and your following is going to magically start skyrocketing.

Consistency is a big part of it so if you hate Instagram, don’t use it…

Pick the platform you actually like and spend your time there.

Edit Your Profile

First things first, no matter what you do, if your profile and feed are a hot mess, people will click away faster than you can say ‘selfie’.

When someone taps on over to your page, they should be able to tell within 3 seconds what you’re about.

Here’s a quick breakdown of what my Instagram looks like:
All of these little hacks make the difference between someone scrolling past my name and someone going, “oh, who’s she?”

Oh, and I feel like this should go without saying but I’m going to say it anyways…

If you’re planning to use your Instagram for business and to grow your account, your account needs to be public.

Let’s break these down:

Photo

Use a photo of yourself, not your logo.

Think about it this way… We get 5,000 sales messages a day so why would someone want to sign up to get more commercials? They don’t.

That’s why people want to connect with people, not businesses.

Ahem, even if your target audience is businesses,

BUSINESSES DON’T SCROLL THROUGH INSTAGRAM… PEOPLE DO!

(I didn’t mean to yell at you but I had to make my point!)

They want to know you, so use your own photo.

Make sure your picture is a headshot instead of a full body shot.

Headshots are easier to recognize while full body shots are hard to see your face so you’re losing the connection right away.

Name

This my friend, is valuable real estate (no pun intended).

If you use Instagram stories and have looked at who’s watched your stories, I’m willing to bet you’re most drawn to the people whose names have context attached to it.

Mine is “Alexa | Real Estate + Goals” so they automatically know what I talk about when they see my name come up.

Just a tip, be specific.

Don’t just say “Empowerment” or “Growth”, say “Business Coach”.

Don’t say “I lift heavy shit”, say “Vegan Fitness”.

Attach it to something concrete so they know what to expect and are compelled to click over to your account.

Plus, you’re more likely to show up in search results.

If you don’t know what to use, use the search feature in Instagram to see what tags are the most popular and start there and then narrow down to your own little niche.

Bio

Here’s where MOST people go wrong.

Your bio should reinforce your name descriptor by telling them why THEY should follow you.

The key to getting social media to work for you is to focus on how you make people feel.

If you control their feelings, you can control their actions.

It sounds manipulative but it’s not… It’s just leveraging psychology by focusing on what THEY want.

What should they expect to see or learn by hitting the follow button on your page?

Focus on being clear over being clever and stay away from distractions.

If your bio talks about EVERYTHING that you’re into, you’ll lose them.

Your bio, name and the captions on your posts should all serve the same purpose with zero distractions.

Instead of “doggy mom, married to @hubbysname and super into fitness. Oh, and I do ___ for a living”, your bio should be focused on the type of people you want to attract.

A quick way to do this is, “I help ____ by ___”.

As an extra bonus, tell them where you’re from because the people who are from near you will automatically feel more connected to you because of the commonality and you’ll give more context to your posts.

Link

You might see linktr.ee links everywhere and there’s a good reason for it…

If you have a few action items you want them to do, use it.

HOWEVER, do not just send them to your home page and social media accounts because that’s a waste of a link.

Every link should give them an action item like downloading a freebie in exchange for their email, searching properties, booking an appointment, etc.

If you only have ONE page that’s an action item, even better… Use that one link.

If you have two or more that are ACTIONABLE, that’s when you use linktr.ee.

Whatever you do, don’t just add a bunch of crap in there because you want them to click or you’ll lose them.

This is the only link you can have on Instagram, so be strategic and make sure that you take away every possible distraction.

Highlights

I loveeeeee me some Instagram highlights.

Story highlights are the best way to showcase your “evergreen” content (the content that never goes out of style).

Let’s say for example, you’re a professional organizer…

You might have a story highlight called “DIY” which is a bunch of little blurbs about how they can organize their own space.

Then, you might have other highlights called “Before and After”, “Kitchens”, “Offices”, “Kids Rooms”, etc.

Taking it a step further, you can do “FAQ” highlights, one about how you got into the business and another about your favorite type of organizing bins and containers.

By showing off content like this, you’re further solidifying your expertise in your new followers mind.

Remember, you want to become their new addiction, so give ’em something to binge on.

When they follow you, they’re looking to get to know you better, so take advantage of it.

Use Beautiful Imagery That Matches A Theme

Play along with me for a second…

When you see the room on the left, what do you think of it?

Feels like something you’d probably see at your grandparents house, right?

What about the room on the right?

It feels different, doesn’t it?

It’s the same room but you get a totally different vibe.

That, my friend, is exactly why your Instagram has to have a theme.

A theme will catch their attention and get them to click follow… The actual content and captions will get them to like and respond.

Here’s what my Instagram looked like before I implemented a theme:

You can probably tell that I sell real estate, but you’ll probably go “meh, she’s just another annoying realtor” and this is just her personal page.

Here’s my Instagram now:

You can still tell that I sell real estate, but there’s a different “mood” to it.

It’s strategic even though it’s not just real estate… There’s some stuff about our local area and you get to know me a little too.

It looks more refined.

It took me a longggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggg time to figure out how to pull a theme together (and if you scroll back through my feed, you’ll see the evolution). By no means am I an expert at this but I’ve

gotten wayyyy better.

So, I’m going to give you a couple of quick tips that have made it a million times easier for me:

Choose your colors

The first step to having an Instagram theme is to start off by choosing your colors.

Pick two colors and a base like black or white.

I chose neutrals (browns) with turquoise and I use black as a base color.

You might choose to do the complete opposite and go for something super, crazy bright.

Here’s a perfect example of that:

This is Latasha Peterson whose an entrepreneur and blog coach whose branding is all super bright colors:

The colors and vibe of the pictures should match your branding.

Get in the habit of taking more, better pictures

I told you in the beginning that I’m not naturally a picture-y person.

I don’t like taking pictures but I was committed to having a good looking Instagram because I knew how much income potential there was here.

Every picture doesn’t need to be a selfie or of just you.

Take detail shots up close and take full picture scenery shots.

Whatever you do, take lots of pictures… and for the love of God, please wipe off your camera before you take the picture and tap the screen so it focuses on the thing you’re trying to focus on.

As you’re taking pictures, keep lighting in mind.

Don’t take pictures with your back to the sun (or better lighting than the lighting you’re standing in) or the picture will wash out… Face the lighting and you’ll be amazed how quickly the picture quality changes.

Focus on one thing in the picture.

Your feed will look way less cluttered with the less stuff you have in your pictures, so choose a focus element in the picture and leave space around the image to give your pictures a buffer in Instagram.

If you need “filler” content (stock images that don’t suck), my favorite free sites are Unsplash and Pexels.

As a general rule of thumb, try to limit it to 20% or less of stock photos and 80% original content.

At this point, I don’t really use stock images anymore because I’m so picky about the pictures I post.

Editing and Planning

Lastly, this is the hard part when you first start out but I PROMISE it does get easier.

I used to get SO frustrated while I was trying to put my feed together that I’d literally walk away from my computer and never get back to it.

Just keep in mind that you WILL get better and any effort you put into it now will look better than what you’re probably already doing.

It’s a process.

To edit and plan your images, go download my two favorite Instagram apps…

VSCO

VSCO is what I use to edit my pictures by cropping them the way I want to and then adding a filter to it.

I use the A4 filter to give it that warm, moody, brown vibe.

Don’t just copy mine because that’s too easy.

If you head over to this link on Pinterest, you can get a really good idea of what filter you want to use to match the vibe you’re trying to set.

There are a lot of instagram accounts that are full of white and bright colors.

Part of my personal identity is that I thrive on being the oddball, so I wanted to do the opposite of white and bright.

I went for dark, neutral and moody.

When you focus on specific colors and use the same filter for every picture, you’ll start to see it all come together.

Planoly

Once you’ve edited the picture, add it to Planoly so that you can see what the feed will look like before you actually hit share, prep your hashtags and captions and boom, you’re good to go.

I used to try to do it all at once, but now as I take the pictures, I edit my favorites, add them to Planoly and let them sit.

On Mondays, I sit down for 20-30 minutes to write the captions and arrange them so they look good together for the week.

There’s probably a better way to do it, but that works for me.

Here’s my top secret trick to get your feed to flow together…

Make sure the picture you post looks good with the one below it (and that’s where Planoly comes in handy).

Boom, that simple.

Whatever you do, don’t just post stock images or quotes (or if you’re a realtor and reading this, stop posting a million properties).

Post content that’s going to get them to ask you questions, engage with you and let them get to know YOU.

The whole “keep business and personal separate” thing doesn’t apply on Instagram.

YOU are your business, so be human too.

Whatever you do, DO NOT POST UGLY PICTURES.

Moving on…

Take Advantage Of Captions

People who don’t use Instagram for business always roll their eyes at overly deep captions but you need to ignore them.

People who don’t use Instagram for business are only connected to their friends on Instagram… They’re not trying to use the platform to grow their business.

Your followers want to feel connected to you and even though pictures can say 1,000 words, they won’t always say the 1,000 words you want them to.

That’s why captions are crazy important.

Don’t be afraid to use emojis, tell stories and be human in your captions.

Believe it or not, people do read them.

The more connected your followers feel to you, the more willing they’ll be to work with and buy from you.

Your captions should have a goal but you don’t just want to be like “hey look, it’s a pretty tree. Book an appointment with me”.

Tell a story about the scenery and what you learned from it or how it related to one of your clients, and then close out with something like “want me to do the same for you? Book a free discovery call with the link in my bio.”

If you’re struggling to figure out what to write, use this quick tip…

Tell the story behind the picture.

Write like you’re talking to your best friend.

Forget all of the college papers you wrote.

Forget the business emails.

Write like you talk.

Then, go back and put the most captivating sentence first.

Add a few emojis.

Close out with an action item for the reader to do.

Proofread (believe it or not, this is my least favorite part of writing captions, blogging and adding my little blurbs in Instagram stories. If you follow me, you probably already know this).

If your captions aren’t authentic, you’ll meet your followers in person and they’ll be like “you’re WAY different than I expected” and now you’ve lost them.

Instead, you want them to be like, “I feel like I know you” and after meeting you, when they go back to read your content, they read it in your voice… That’s how you create brand loyalty.

Branding isn’t about putting up a facade.

Quite the opposite actually, it’s about being authentic so that your people feel connected to you and want to work with you.

Use Hashtags

Instagram allows you to use up to 30 hashtags per post, so use ’em!

Hashtags allow you to get discovered by people who are searching for the thing you can help them with.

So here’s the rule I follow…

Pick 10 hashtags that describe you, pick 10 that describe your target audience and pick 10 hashtags that describe what they want.

For example, let’s say you’re a web designer that works with small businesses.

Obviously you’re going to find hashtags like #webdesign #websitedesign #webdesigner #seo #wordpressdesign and so on.

Who’s your target audience?

Small business owners who want to grow their business.

Sooo, how would they describe themselves?

They might use hashtags like…

#entrepreneurlife #bossstatus #grindhard #beaboss

Andddd what do they want?

They want to grow their business.

What about #10xgrowth #businesstips #startuptips #smallbusinesstips

You still with me?

Good because we’re not done yet…

Having any ol’ hashtags isn’t good enough.

You’ve got to make sure they’re the right hashtags.

So, click through each one to make sure the content is relevant to the type of content you plan to share to the hashtag.

For example, I used to use #bossbaby because it was so close to #bossbabe excepttttt #bossbaby is all babies. That’s a waste of a hashtag.

As you’re going through and finding your hashtags, scroll through the related hashtags to discover more.

Thennn, make sure you’re not using saturated hashtags because you’ll NEVER rank if you have a small account.

If you choose a hashtag like #businesstips which has 838k posts or #entrepreneur the has 38M posts, the feed updates so fast that your post will get buried.

I like to stick to hashtags with less than 200k posts… and that means that when your engagement tapers off, you’ll probably need to update your hashtags because they’ve gotten too big or are no longer relevant.

Take Advantage Of Stories and IGTV

I loveeeeeee Instagram stories (and if you already follow me on Instagram, this isn’t new to you).

Since Snapchat days (are we at that point already where Snapchat is a thing of the past?), I’ve fallen in love with the ‘realness’ of it.

Like I said before, I’m not photogenic and I hate the stress of putting my feed together.

Stories allow you to bring a realness and one to one connection into your Instagram strategy.

When Instagram stories came out, I did a two week test where I posted on both Instagram and Snapchat and what I found was that even though I was getting less viewers on Instagram at the time, I saw the potential for

growth (I think I was at like 1,000 followers on IG at the time).

Snapchat is a closed platform so it’s harder to get new followers.

With Instagram, you can grow your following way faster and reach a whole lot more people andddd Instagram users are a little older and more likely to spend money.

Ahem, can you say ‘incomeeee‘?

In my stories, I regularly do mini chats about my life as a realtor, showing properties like HGTV, talk about how I’ve grown my business and tell client stories.

To make it fun and interactive, I regularly do polls and questions to keep people on their toes.

It’s fun and it’s a great way to build a community… Plus, you’re constantly testing your market.

The goal though, isn’t to boost your ego by having a bunch of people watching your stories… It’s to create enough value that they WANT to watch your stories and to talk to you about your products or services.

I’ve just started tapping into IGTV and honestly, I don’t know if I love it yet.

However, what I do know is that Instagram regularly refines and edits the app so once they figure out how to crack the code of engagement on IGTV, I will have enough content in there that it’ll be a vault of my best tips for business and real estate.

The people who regularly watch my stories are the first ones to like and comment on my posts, ask questions about real estate and to click on links when I tell them to.

Stories are your best friend so use them, love them and embrace them.

Most Importantly: Engage

Last and MOST importantly, make sure you’re engaging with Instagram.

No matter how gorgeous your feed is, if no one knows it exists, it won’t matter.

This is the part where some people might take out their pitchforks but they’ll get over it.

If you know anythingggg about me, you know I’m OBSESSED with systems and automation.

With that in mind, you already know that I found a tool to help with all of this.

I use PopSocial which is a service that likes and follows people for you based on the hashtags and other similar accounts you tell it to use.

Their plans start at $50 per month.

Since using it, I’ve gone from 1500 followers to 5200 in about a year.

They’re real, engaged followers.

So technically, since I’m using a service to engage for me, you might call them “bought” followers, but they’re not fake followers.

They’re real people who need the services I can help them with and they are engaging with me and buying from me.

I get that that’s a lot of money for Instagram but here’s what you have to remember…

Price vs. Value.

If I get one real estate client referral as a result of my Instagram strategy, my average commission is $9k.

That means the $600/year actually gave me a 15x return on investment.

Instead of one referral, I’ve closed at least 4 this year that were directly from Instagram.

Not to mention, it’s a great way to stay top of mind with my existing network in a relevant, engaging way.

We also launched our online academy and Instagram was a huge key to our initial membership.

My new followers regularly engage with me in comments and because I’m MOST active in stories, we have full on conversations in my DMs.

In addition to using PopSocial, I regularly comment on posts in the hashtags that I like to up my engagement even more.

They Work Together

Make no mistake…

Having a beautiful feed without engagement is like the pretty girl who never leaves the house.

Having an ugly feed with tons of engagement is like the creepy guy at the bar who forcibly hits on every single woman at the bar and they can’t get away from him fast enough.

The point is, you need to have BOTH a beautiful feed AND engagement.

It’s a lot of fun building a community, you just have to be willing to lead it and engage with the people in it.

Where I Still Need To Improve My Instagram Strategy

The point of sharing this post isn’t to say I’ve mastered Instagram… I definitely haven’t and I still have a lot to learn but I figured this might be useful for some people to share what I’ve learned so far.

The platform changes all of the time and there’s constantly new updates.

There are definitely some things I need to work on still, so I wanted to share those here too:

Updating Hashtags

I haven’t updated my hashtags since I started this whole strategy about a year ago, so I need to go back and redo my hashtag research to uncover new hashtags and get rid of the saturated ones.

There are definitely some hashtags that I’m using that are well over 200k now which weren’t when I first started using them.

Plus, I already know that since you’re reading this here, you’ll probably head over to my page to see what I’m using and don’t want you to be like “wow, she doesn’t even follow her own advice” lmao.

So, I need to fix that.

Balancing Brands + Sales Funnel

I’m in this unique place where I have two businesses.

I lead MEB (where you are now) and aside from our blog, we also have 3 local chapters that host monthly workshops.

Andddd I sell real estate.

My audience for both are the same, but the content is totally different.

I’m constantly trying to find the balance of promoting our blog, events and online academy for MEB and still using it to grow my real estate business.

The approach I’ve been taking is “learn how I grew my real estate business through MEB” but it’s an ongoing process and I’m still learning.

So, I guess you’ll just have to keep an eye on my Instagram to see how it progresses.

If Instagram is frustrating you, there are a few small tweaks that will make a huge difference in your ability to grow an engaged audience that looks forward to buying what you have to sell. Click through to learn how to grow your instagram following authentically.

The Epic Guide To Starting A Business

Everywhere you look, there are thousandsssss of articles about people making money on the side and dozens of stories about successful side hustlers who got to quit their real job and pursue their side hustle as a career.

I know what you’re thinking… “how do I get my share of that?”

(Don’t worry, I’m not a mind reader or anything, but the fact that you’re here tells me exactly that).

… But how do I start a business in the first place?

Do I have to quit my comfy job or can I do it on the side?

… And does moonlighting or having a second job count as having a business?

First things first, if you plan to do it on the side, a side hustle is your own business that you work “on the side” of your full-time or regular job.

A side hustle is your own business that you work “on the side” of your full-time or regular job. Click To Tweet

So let’s be clear… Starting a side hustle or business is NOT you working for someone else, unless that person is a customer or client of your business.

When you’re working for someone else, it’s considered a part-time or second job.

Sorry Charlie, that’s not what we’re talking about here.

We’re talking about how to create your OWN hustle to generate income for yourself.

Before we get started, this baby is almost 6000 words and goes into CRAZY, insane detail so before you find yourself getting overwhelmed, I created a TOTALLY free blueprint workbook to help you break it down and finallyyyy start your business.

You can get it right here:

Let’s dive in.

 


Identify the opportunity

Starting a business is not a prison sentence and doesn’t have to be for life but you need to remember that this is a commitment which can last at LEAST 5-10 years.

Plus, if you go into it with the intentions of treating it like a business instead of a hobby, you’ll monetize it faster.

When you think about what to focus your business on, start with your passions.

If you’re like most entrepreneurs, you’ll spend endlesssss hours on your business, so it’s important that you are passionate about what you’re trying to monetize.

… Yes, I know.

There are a bunch of people who talk about “making money in your sleep” and “making money in 7 days with zero time or effort”.

Let’s be real… 99.99999999% of the time, you’re going to have to put in work AT LEAST in the beginning.

In fact, you’ll have to put in A LOT of work.

As your business grows, you’ll be able to streamline and find leverage so you don’t have to be involved in every part of the business, but in the beginning, EVERYONE puts in work.

Do yourself a favor and make sure you pick a business you actually enjoy.

This can be anything.

That’s right…

ANYTHING.

From skydiving to painting water colours, there is a business waiting to happen.

… but there’s a catch.

In order to get people to spend their money with you, you have to offer something they want.

Your business isn’t ALL about you if you want to make money.

Here’s how to balance the two:

Figure out what you’re passionate about and then find a problem that you can solve with your passion… and voila.

You, my friend, have found your niche.

Then, start asking yourself what problems you can solve in that niche.

At one of our most recent workshops, one of the attendees was telling us how ridesharing drivers leave a ton of money on the table and his business will focus on educating them about how to grow their income.

Boom. That’s an opportunity.


Choose your business model

By now, you have an idea of what type of business you want to do… but how will you solve the problem?

It comes down to two decisions:

  • Online or In Person
  • Products or Services

I know, I know, you want to do it alllll.

Stop. Right. There.

You CAN do anything but you can’t do everything.

If you want to monetize quickly, you’ve got to focus and simplify… and that starts with your business model.

Here at Millennial Empire Builders, we’ve got some leverage in the form of powerful systems and incredible talent so we have multiple streams of income, but it didn’t start that way.

As you grow and gain leverage in the form of systems, automation and incredible talent, you can add more streams of income to continue to grow your business… but don’t go adding twenty different streams of income until

you’ve monetized the first, automated it and established your foundation.

Chasing multiple streams of income will distract you in the beginning and might even leave you overwhelmed to the point of inaction.

Keep it simple.

Let’s break it down…

 

Online + Products

If you’re planning to sell products online, start by deciding if you want to sell an info product or a physical product:

Selling Info Products

If you have skills that other people want to learn how to do, you can package it as a training and sell it online with a site like Teachable or Podia.

That model is incredibly effective if you already have an audience, have the time to build an audience or have money to spend on generating traffic to your sales page.

Kristen over at Hello Nutritarian does an INCREDIBLE job of helping people elevate their lifestyle by adopting the Nutritarian diet.

Basically, it’s a variation of the vegan diet that really puts a heavy focus on eating tons of fruits and veggies.

She sells an ebook that gives people a step-by-step walkthrough for adopting the lifestyle change… and I even bought her ebook because her site was so informative and well-organized.

 

Selling Physical Products

If you have products that you want to sell, you can create your store through a platform like Shopify, Etsy or Amazon and get to selling.

Sites like Printful make it easy to sell print-on-demand products like shirts, mugs and a million other things.

What’s cool about them is that you don’t have to carry any inventory — you simply upload your design and start marketing your product.

As people order your product, Printful prints the design, ships it and you get paid. Easy peasy.

Similarly, you can also go the dropshipping route with Shopify + Oberlo.

Alex Tooby started an Instagram account called Men & Coffee which was just that… beautiful men drinking coffee.

She grew the account to 350k+ followers in about a year and now has an online shop with coffee related gear.

Either way, whatever you decide to do, start simple and focus on solving the pre-defined problem in your niche or opportunity while you’re starting out.

You can always grow later.

Starting simple will get you to actually start.

 

Online + Service

Maybe products just aren’t your thing and you’re looking to market yourself instead.

Here are a few different options that are considered online services:

 

Membership Sites

If you have an audience already, building a membership site is an incredibly powerful way to create brand loyalty, drive engagement with your audience and scale your business faster.

Our Empire Builder Academy is the central hub for our members and has been essential to helping us grow our organization.

We help millennials grow their businesses and create extraordinary lives.

We built the membership site on Podia in the name of starting simple and we’re getting ready to completely rebuild the academy from the ground up on our own self-hosted site.

 

Freelancing

If you have a marketable skill that you can offer as a service, freelancing is the way to go.

Sites like Freelancer.com, UpWork and Fiverr are an incredible place to start advertising your services and growing your client base.

Using their brand DNA method, Julie and Samantha from Ideal Marketing create a 90 day done-for-you calendar of instagram posts to help you grow your business.

Samantha’s specialty is the visual imagery while Julie’s specialty is the copywriting… and they are genius at what they do.

 

SaaS (Software As A Service) and Apps

I’m not going to dig really deep into this because building software or an app either requires lots of skill or lots of money.

If you do have one of those things however, building that out and offering it as a service can be EXTREMELY lucrative.

I was recently introduced to MassCast, an app for people to compete for personal records in the gym.

The app is still being developed, but I love the concept so I wanted to share it here… Basically, you record yourself doing a specific type of lift and you compete against other people in the same weight range and the same gender as you and you can win prizes.

 

Coaching and Consulting

After you’ve started seeing some success, it’s only a matter of time before people start asking you to help them do the same.

Seneca Williams, one of our members and one of my clients is a mental health counselor for women.

Her entire practice is done online where her clients can book their appointments, pay her and everything else through her online portal.

 

In Person + Products

You can literally sell anything from lemonade to private jets and if you have to actually talk to the person, it falls under this category.

By day, I sell real estate over at Happy Homes.

Most of my nurturing and follow up happens online but when it comes down to it, I still meet them in person to help them buy and sell their homes.

 

In Person + Service

Have a skill that you want to work with people in person?

Maybe you’re a personal trainer, tutor or massage therapist… All of these can be turned into a business.

Here’s a good friend of mine, Ben Azadi from ShredFat who is a personal trainer and former owner of LiveFree Crossfit.

 

If you’re stuck…

Talk to people who are already running a similar business to what you want your business to be.

You’ll be AMAZED by how open other entrepreneurs and business owners are when you start asking about their business and you’ll find ways to collaborate together.

Believe it or not, collaboration will make you infinitely more money than competition.

Surround yourself with other like-minded entrepreneurs for brainstorming and support for one another. 

In fact, even if you AREN’T stuck, I HIGHLY recommend you start making friends with other influencers in your niche.

Don’t forget to download the free workbook to put allll of this into action:


Create Your Offering

Once you’ve decided HOW you want to offer your product or service, you’ve got to package it and wrap it in a pretty bow.

When you’re starting out, you want to launch with a minimum viable product (or MVP for short).

Yes, you read that right… Minimum.

Since you’re an empire builder, you’re used to being an overachiever so this is going to be a tough pill for you to swallow.

You are going to launch with the absolutely bare minimum product or service.

Why?

Because you’ll actually start.

… and as you grow, get clients and learn new skills, you’ll refine and pivot.

No one ever wants to hear that because they see these influencers who are killin’ it in their niche and they want to be just like them… but they forget that they started out like everyone else.

In fact, my favorite beauty influencer is Desi Perkins (sorry guys, stick with me for a second because I do have a point!)… I love love love the fact that she almost always goes for the “natural glam” look AND we wear the same foundation shade so whatever looks good on her will probably look good on me too.

For the sake of this post, I actually scrolled down to the bottom of her instagram to see how much she’s grown and changed in the past few years and it’s mindblowing.

Here’s how her Instagram started way back in January 2012…

… and this is how her Instagram looks now:

She now has 3.7M followers and basically jet sets around going to events… all because she started.

While Instagram definitely isn’t a reflection of how well someone is doing in their business, I figured her Instagram was a super easy way to visually demonstrate progress and the power of JUST starting and how much her style has changed over the last six years.

It doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to be good to start out.

Let’s find your MVP to start with…

 

If you’re offering services…

One of the biggest mistakes that I see new entrepreneurs make is they call themselves a coach, consultant or freelancer and when people ask about their services their answer is, “it’s different for all of my clients’.

I don’t care if you specialize in one thing or are good at 20 things…

You have someone’s attention for 0.0000002 seconds, so make the best use of it and get crystal clear with what you are offering and how you price it.

I truly believe that when you’re starting out, your ability to articulately talk about your products and services is the difference between gaining someone as a customer or client and getting lost in the back of their mind.

There are mixed reviews about whether or not you should include pricing on your marketing materials and I truly believe that it depends.

Since we’re specifically talking about getting clarity on your offering, I just want to bring your attention to Ali the Happy VA and Caressa Lenae because of how crystal clear their offerings are.

I’m using both examples because one includes pricing, the other doesn’t and either way, their offerings are crystal clear and beautifully presented.


Whether you decide to include pricing or not, be crystal clear with what you offer.

Both of these women are virtual assistants and are clear about what they do, what they offer and how they can help you.

Don’t make people think harder than they need to in order to work with you!

Don't make people think harder than they need to in order to work with you! Click To Tweet

 

If you’re offering products…

You’ll need to know where you’re sourcing your products, how you’ll package and deliver your product.

Whether it’s a digital or physical product, the delivery method totally matters… because there’s nothing that will kill your reputation faster than when people are spending money with you and you drop the ball… You’ll have scammer written all over you in a hot second.

Most eCommerce platforms offer the ability to deliver digital products automatically and GumRoad is by far the most popular or you can tap into the power of Amazon and sell ebooks through their platform.

Dessary, one of my friends from college has an incredible Etsy shop called Paint Me Peculiar where she leverages her passion and talent for art to generate her income.

If you’re drop shipping or taking the print-on-demand approach, all of that will be taken care of for you… but if you’re custom creating them, you might have to manually package and ship them. Either way, you’ll want to figure out the logistics of delivering your products before the orders start rolling in.

It doesn’t have to be perfect while you’re starting… Just start.

Don’t get stuck here.

Start… You can keep refining as you go.


Cover Your Ass

I’ve ALWAYS been interested in entrepreneurship, even before I knew what the word actually meant.

I remember sitting in my mom’s office while she was working and I’m pretty sure my first professional lesson came before I was allowed to say bad words and she taught me ‘CYA’.

Don’t underestimate it because it’s one of those things where you may get away with it but if and when it catches up with you, you’ll be wishing you had.

Here’s my disclaimer: I’m not an attorney or an accountant, so I highly recommend you go do your own research and find one to help you set all of this up but I’ll give you the basics:

 

Register Your Business

Do you need to register your business to start making money? No.

… but you should.

Among the many reasons, in step 8, we’re going to talk about building your business with scale in mind.

If you plan to build a business beyond you, you might as well do it right the first time.

There are various ways that you can incorporate your company…

Again, if you’re not sure what type to use, talk to an attorney or do your research.

The most popular are: limited liability company (LLC), corporation, nonprofit or a sole proprietorship.

This article from the Small Business Administration will direct you to the right place to register your business with your state.

 

Get Your Tax ID Number

Your tax ID number (or employer identification number, or EIN for short) is like a social security number for your business.

It’s what you’ll use to file taxes, open your bank account and some of the companies you decide to work with will ask for it.

Getting your EIN takes all of 0.02 seconds and you can do that with Uncle Sam right here.

 

Open Your Bank Account

Uncle Sam doesn’t like when you mix business and pleasure so you’ll want to open a bank account.

You’l want to talk to your bank about the best option for your business.

… buttttt if you’re like most millennials and don’t feel like going through that whole process, Novo is a digital bank for businesses that uses AI to help you make better business decisions.

 

Protect Your Assets

After allll the hard work you’ve done, make sure that you protect your assets, ideas and everything else:

 

Get Insured

We live in a sue-friendly country where people are regularly looking for a way to make a quick buck… and often times at the expense of someone else.

Because I’m not licensed to talk about business insurance, you should talk to someone that does know what the best policy for your business is.

If you’re looking for an online option, you can check out CoverWallet.

Protect Your Intellectual Property

Basically, if you come up with an idea or design that you don’t want someone else to use, you should protect it.

It’s a little more intensive than that but that’s the basic idea.

There are four types of protections for your intellectual property (all of these summarized descriptions are from this article on UpCounsel who also has a ton of other useful links and articles in the post):

Patents: A patent gives you the right to make exclusions on other people to make, sell or use your invention. There are a bunch of different kinds of patents including utility, software, design and plant patents. You get a patent by filing a patent application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and if you want to check to see if there’s already a patent similar to yours, you can check Google for patents here: www.google.com/patents

Trademarks: A trademark is a word, phrase, symbol, or design that distinguishes the source of products (trademarks) or services (service marks) of one business from its competitors. In order to qualify for patent protection, the mark must be distinctive. For example, the Nike “swoosh” design identifies athletic footware made by Nike. Before receiving approval from the USPTO, companies and people can use the TM symbol to indicate ownership of the mark. Upon approval, you can legally add the registered trademark symbol (®) to your mark. The TM symbol doesn’t hold any legal weight, but it can indicate to other businesses or people in your industry that you intend to claim the mark.

Trade Secrets: A trade secret is a formula, process, device, or other business information that companies keep private to give them a business advantage over their competitors. Unlike the other types of intellectual property, you can’t obtain protection by registering your trade secret. Instead, protection lasts only as long as you take the necessary steps to control disclosure and use of the information. Businesses use nondisclosure agreements, restricted access to confidential information, post-employment restrictive covenants, and other security practices to maintain trade secrets.

Copyrights: Copyrights protect original works of authorship, such as literary works, music, dramatic works, pantomimes and choreographic works, sculptural, pictorial, and graphic works, sound recordings, artistic works, architectural works, and computer software. With copyright protection, the holder has the exclusive rights to modify, distribute, perform, create, display, and copy the work. In order to qualify under copyright laws, the work must be fixed in a tangible medium of expression, such as words on a piece of paper or music notes written on a sheet. A copyright exists from the moment the work gets created, so registration is voluntary.


Launch Your Business

I don’t have kids yet but if bringing a tiny human into this world is anything like I expect it to be, launching your business feels the same way.

It’s equally terrifying and exciting… at the same time.

… and wayyyyyy too often, would-be entrepreneurs keep pushing off their launch until it’s perfect because they’re afraid to fail.

Here’s what I’m here to tell you:

The only person that will actually REALLY care about your launch is you.

I know, that’s tough, but it’s the truth.

One day your product or service isn’t there and the next day it is.

Until you start getting in front of potential clients and converting them, you’ll never know if everything is perfect.

That means the 2920830394 hours you spent on designing the perfect logo and flyer aren’t as important as you think.

Making your blog beautiful before you hit launch isn’t helping you.

Sure, all of that will help with conversions, but in order to test that, you have to actually, y’know, test it with real live people (ahem, that means you have to launch).

So, let’s talk about how to get attention for your new business and how to convert your prospects into actual paying clients.

 

Messaging

Notice I said messaging, not marketing.

Marketing is “look why I’m awesome”.

Messaging is “you have a problem that I can help fix”.

It doesn’t sound like a huge difference but when you tap into psychology, our brains hear them TOTALLY differently.

Human nature makes us inner-focused so we worry about our own problems and the thoughts that are going on in our own mind… Even when we’re helping, we’re helping because we WANT to, not because someone else wants us to.

You can cry and stomp your feet about how selfish and unfair that is all you want, but until you accept it, you’ll always be frustrated with messaging.

I feel like I’ve probably beat a dead horse on this subject, so I’m just going to refer you to the other posts I’ve written about creating your messaging:

We also have a workshop in our Empire Builder Academy about how to write copy that sells, if you’re interested:

 

Sales Page

Next up, as you start getting people curious about this new thing you’re doing, you’ll need to have somewhere to send them.

You don’t necessarily need to have an actual sales page on a website, but you’ll need to have a way for them to get more information and pull the trigger to work with you.

Your sales page needs to be more than “my product is awesome so you should buy it”.

The sales page should tap into your ideal audience’s pains and then show them you can overcome those with your product or solutions, and be sure to offer tons of social proof about how your product or service has made a difference in people’s lives.

If you don’t have (or want) a full website, I highly recommend using a platform like LeadPages to build your new sales page.

 

Driving Traffic (or Attention)

I have a question for you…

If you launch your business and no one knows about it, did the launch really happen?

Instead of worrying so much about making everything perfect, focus on how you’re going to get your new business in front of people.

(and you already know what I’m going to say… You’re going to say something stupid, stumble over your words at the beginning and mess up… but it’s part of the process).

Lack of credibility is only temporary so your goal isn’t to avoid that awkward phase… Your goal needs to be to get through it as quickly as possible.

Whether you’re promoting your business online, by word of mouth or otherwise, you’ll need to have a lead generation strategy.

I could probably write an entire article about each of these strategies, but for the sake of the length of this post, we’ll just list them out…

You can generate leads with social media, networking, ads, door knocking, blogging and a million other ways.

The key point to remember is this:

If you want to sell more, talk to (or interact with) more people.

If you want to sell more, talk to (or interact with) more people. Click To Tweet

 

Checkout/Onboarding Experience

Once they hit that buy now button or submit that intake form, what happens next?

Your process should be as streamlined as possible so that it’s easy to work with you.

Want better reviews, higher paying clients and more referrals? Help them reach their goal and be easy to work with.

 

If you’re offering services…

Once they hit that submit button on your intake form, streamline your process as much as you can.

If your service is something like a membership site or the interaction is in a group setting, a welcome email sequence will suffice.

However, if your service is more of a one-on-one experience, things can get a little deeper.

At the risk of overwhelming you, I wrote an entire post about how to automate your onboarding process…

If this is your first rodeo, I highly recommend that you keep it as simple as you need to so that you can keep moving forward without getting overwhelmed.

True story: I recently started taking on consulting clients to help them streamline their businesses.

I’m like the queen of systems and I literally have a system for ev-er-y-thing.

Soooo, when the first person said, “I want to hire you as a consultant”, we were emailing back and forth and pretty much everything took a million times longer than I expected because I didn’t have systems in place.

Since then, I’ve streamlined the whole process using the outline I mentioned above and everything works more smoothly now.

 

If you’re offering products…

The biggest mistake that you can make when someone purchases from you is that you never connect with them again.

Do they get a thank you email after they purchase?

Maybe a discount offer?

Ensuring that you KEEP their energy high after they purchase your product will make it a million times easier to secure them as a repeat client.

 

Ready to get to work?

Make sure you download your free 30-page business planning blueprint workbook right here:

 


Start Generating Revenue

Until you start generating revenue, you have an idea or a hobby, NOT a business.

Until you start generating revenue, you have an idea or a hobby, NOT a business. Click To Tweet

 

Invoicing for Your Services…

Knowing exactly what tools you’ll use to process payment when you’re working with clients will make your life infinitely easier.

I’ve seen a lot of freelancers work with platforms like Dubsado because you can work your whole business out of that platform.

Because most of MEB’s revenue comes from memberships, we currently use Invoiced for recurring memberships which I’ve been pretty happy with for the last two years because it’s affordable and easy to work with for recurring memberships… or if you decide to do a membership site, you can use a platform like Podia.

There are also a bunch of industry specific platforms that you can use to collect payment for your services… For example, one of our members is an attorney who uses LawPay to collect payment from her clients and another is a therapist who uses SimplePractice.

As I mentioned earlier, we’re in the process of totally revamping our entire academy experience, so we’ll be self-hosting our payments through WooCommerce.

 

Collecting Payment For Your Products…

The easier it is for people to pay you, the more money you’ll make.

If you’re planning to use a platform like GumRoad for digital products or Shopify for physical products, they have built in functionality for people to pay you. In addition, if you decide to sell on a platform like Amazon or Etsy, they also make it super easy for you to get paid.

 

Measuring Your Business’ Growth

Just because you start making money doesn’t mean your business is profitable or growing.

You don’t need to go back to business school to get a degree in accounting to know where your business is heading… That’s what we have technology for.

Basically, you’ll want to have a place to keep track of your revenue, expenses and tax responsibilities.

Platforms like Freshbooks makes it super easy to keep track of all of it, generate reports like a profit and loss statement, cash flow and income statements and they integrate with basically every platform that you can collect income.

Before you choose an accounting platform, start by deciding how you’ll invoice your clients and then pick the accounting platform that integrates with it’s all automatically tracked without you lifting a finger.

 


Grow With Scale In Mind

Since you’re an empire builder, you’re not just looking to make a buck.

You’re looking to make a buck at least a million times… amirite?

In order to build a business that can sustain that type of growth, you need to build your business so that it can handle growth.

I know, that sounds so vague, so let me explain…

 

Automate Your Processes

If you’ve been around here before, you’ve heard me say this, but I’m going to keep saying it until it’s so engrained in your brain that every single decision you make is based on this quote:

Your brain is a processing machine, not a memory machine.

Your brain is also not a double-data-entry machine or a do-the-same-thing-over-and-over-again machine.

The fastest way to burn out in your business is to have to manually do mundane tasks over and over and over again.

You’re starting a business to have freedom, be challenged and to grow…

Too often, entrepreneurs get stuck in the task trap and get stuck working in their businesses rather than working ON their business.

Your focus needs to be on systemizing and streamlining as much of your business as you possibly can through tools, systems and people.

Technology will be your best friend… and if you find yourself working with multiple platforms, you can integrate them all with Zapier.

 

Outsourcing

The more you automate, streamline and systemize, the faster you’ll be able to start hiring.

Most people wait wayyyy longer than they should to hire because they don’t have time to train their new hires.

Here’s the key: every time you start working on a new project, systemize it right away and make a list of all of the step-by-step procedures so when you’re ready to hire, you already have most of the training materials in place.

Your first hire should be administrative support to help you handle the redundant parts of running your business so that you never have to take your eye off of finding new business.

You can hire a virtual assistant through platforms like UpWork and Freelance.com.

 


Day To Day Operations

Mindset

You will make mistakes… It’s part of the journey.

#ProgressOverPerfection

Andddd, if the sales don’t come rolling in the second you hit launch, don’t be disappointed.

If it were easy, everyone would be doing it.

Launch. Test, refine, pivot. Test, refine, pivot. Test, refine, pivot. You get the point.

Just don’t expect it the millions to start rolling in tomorrow.

 

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

What you track, you can improve…

The key is knowing what numbers you need to track.

These are called Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).

Generally, there are just a few numbers you need to keep in mind to know where your business stands… and like everything else, the less numbers you have to remember, the more likely you are to keep track of them.

In real estate, here are the numbers I track the number of people I talk to about real estate, how many appointments I go on, how many signed listings I take, how many properties I put under contract and how many closings we have. For MEB, I track our email subscribers, RSVPs to events, first timers at events and new members.

We set goals for each of those metrics so we always know where we need to focus on upgarding our skills and processes.

For example, if I’m making contacts but not getting appointments, that means I need to work on handling objections to get the appointment. If my email subscribers are down, that means I need to increase our page views and refine the wording on our opt-ins to increase conversion rates.

Reaching your KPIs on a daily, weekly and monthly basis will ensure that you reach your goals.

Not to mention, when you’re crystal clear on your KPIs, leading a team is infinitely easier because they know exactly what standard they’re being held to.

 

Your Schedule

Building a business is all about the habits you build to grow your business.

Whether you plan to spend an hour a day or 60 hours a week to grow your business, you’ll have a million times more peace of mind when you have order in your business.

Instead of spinning your wheels and trying to figure out what to do today, ask yourself this question:

“What is the one thing that you can do, such that by doing it, everything else becomes easier or unnecessary?”

That’s called the focusing question from the book The One Thing by Gary Keller.

Once you have your minimum viable product (or MVP) and at least half-decent systems in place to handle the customer service and delivery process, that one thing will most likely be promoting your business or talking to potential clients.

Focus 80% of your time on meeting, interacting and promoting your business and you’ll watch it grow.

 

Putting It Into Action

After reading this, one of two things will happen…

You’ll either go back to wherever you found this article and read through 900 other blog posts and articles about starting your business and you’ll keep looking for the perfect idea, the perfect timing and wait until everything is perfect… and you’ll never start.

… orrrrr you’ll read this, accept the fact that you’re GOING to fail, mess up and have to keep refining as you go.

You’ll put this into action and you realize that even though you might not be MASSIVELY successful at first, you’ll stick to it.

You know that starting is the key and you’ll refine, tweak and grow as you go.

If you REALLY want to put this into action, I have a whole blueprint workbook for you to download and finally get started with planning your business.

Let’s get to work:


Starting a business can seem super overwhelming and daunting so this epic guide breaks it down into a step by step process with EVERYTHING you need to know to plan your business, launch it and start making money. You'll also get a free 30 page workbook to help you put it into action. Click through to get yours!
Starting your business doesn't have to be overwhelming or scary. This epic guide walks you through ev-er-y-thing you need to know to start, launch and scale your business.

How To Automate Your Client Onboarding Process

When someone raises their hand and says, “hey, I want to work with you!”… What happens next?

Do you randomly scribble stuff down on a piece of scratch paper, sporadically follow-up when you think of them and throw it all together to hopefully secure the client?

You might be like, “yea but hey, I’m doing the best that I can!”

… but what if I told you that you could spend less time on admin work and more time on finding new business and doing the other things you actually like to do JUST by having a systematic client onboarding process?

Sound good to be true?

Hah, I wish.

It’s totally possible but there’s a huge caveat to that….

You’re actually going to have to set up the system before you get to use it.

The experience that your clients have is customized to YOU, so if there was an “out of the box, done for you” version of this, everyone would be doing it and there’d be absolutely nothing special about you.

By having you create this onboarding experience for your clients, you are literally creating your unique value proposition.

Yes, you’ll need to take the time to do it.

Yes, you’ll need to slow down for a little while so you can speed up down the line.

Yes, you’ll need to write the email templates (ahem, you probably already do this, you just freestyle it every time but you’re probably saying the same stuff over and over again).

The alternative is you can keep going the way you’re going, burnt out, overworked and your business will continue at the plateau it’s at.

It’s totally up to you.

… but you don’t have to do it completely by yourself.

I’m literally walking you through every. single. step. of the process so you can implement this as you go.

While I’ve customized this system for my real estate business and Millennial Empire Builders, this system can work for any industry, so long as you deal with people on a 1:1 basis.

In a few weeks, I’ll write a post about how to use sales funnels for to convert email subscribers to clients, but if you’re in sales, this right here is the system for you.

While you’re at it, you might as well download the free 13-page workbook that goes along with this post… and if you’ve been around here before, you know my posts are notoriously detailed and the workbooks are specifically designed to help you put it into action.

No BS, all implementation.

Otherwise, you know how it goes… Tomorrow turns into later, and later turns into never and in another year, you might find an extra hour or two to work ON your business instead of IN your business… Or you might be so burnt out that you think about throwing in the towel all together.

So let’s do a little work up front to grow faster without burning out.

You with me?

Download the free workbook right here:


Automating Your Client Onboarding Process

This post is called “How To AUTOMATE Your Client Onboarding Process”, not just “How To Give A Great Customer Experience” for a reason…

We’re focused on automating the process in a way that’s personalized to them AND saves you time.

We’re killing two birds with one stone.

Blow their minds and save you time… at the same damn time.

Before I walk you through this process, there are a few things we need to talk about…

If you’re anti-technology…

I think I probably say this in almost every post, but here’s what you have to remember: your brain is a processing machine, NOT a memory machine.

Your brain is a processing machine, NOT a memory machine. Click To Tweet

In other words, your brain should focus on solving problems, not on remembering stuff.

So stop trying to remember stuff and leverage technology to make your life easier.

To make all of the automation magic happen, you’re going to need technology.

Here’s a little quote for you…

Innovate or die.

The world isn’t going to slow down for you.

You don’t need to be a tech genius by any means, but you do need to have a willingness to learn and/or hire someone who can.

If the latter isn’t an option, you better get to learning… because technology is only going to keep advancing and by fighting it, you’re only making yourself more and more obsolete.

Before you bring out the pitchforks, please note…

The personal touch is DEFINITELY still valuable and think about how much MORE you could magnify that personal touch WITH technology.

The personal touch is DEFINITELY still valuable and think about how much MORE you could magnify that personal touch WITH technology. Click To Tweet

With the exception of writing the email templates, setting up the automations only takes a few, annoying minutes so I promise I’m making it easy for you.

It’s annoying to set up because there’s a bunch of little things that go into it but remember, it’s an automation… Once it’s set up, you don’t have to worry about it again.

I even included whether or not it’s ‘set it and forget it’ under each step so you’ll see how much you’re actually automating once you’ve done this.

If you think automation kills the personal touch…

There’s this huge misconception that “automation” means you’re going to lose the personal touch… It’s like people’s brains shut down as soon as you mention systems or automation because they feel like they’re not going to be close to their clients anymore.

First of all, you would’ve been right 10 years ago… but technology has evolved and so have people’s expectations.

If you’re thinking this takes away the personal touch, let me be the one to tell you that making your clients wait while you “check your schedule” or “finish an appointment” to even decide when you can meet is not personal.

They want to connect with you when they want to and that’s what this little system does.

You’re holding their digital hand through the entire client onboarding process… You’re giving them an even DEEPER personal touch because you can build rapport on their time and you’re satisfying their instant gratification.

Plus, once they schedule the appointment, they automatically get confirmation emails and since I add my client onboarding packages (we call them prelisting packages in real estate), I’m giving them a WAY more personal touch.

Simultaneously, the contact is added to my Customer Relationship Manager (CRM), Contactually which leads me to…

You’ll Need To Make An Investment In Your System

The other thing to note is that in order to make this system work, you’re also going to need to invest some money because I’ve yet to find a CRM (customer relationship manager) that offers free automations so if you find one, let me know!

Before you scroll right past this, think about this…

How much is your time and sanity worth?

When you use technology, tools, systems and leverage people to gain time back, you are BUYING your time back… Which is going to require an investment of some sort.

Before you go moaning and groaning, think of it this way…

If you make $100k/year at 50 weeks per year and 40 hours a week (yes, I know, you probably work more than 40, but for the sake of the example, play along!)

Your average hourly rate is $50/hour.

If your CRM saves you an hour a day, that’s 5 hours per week or 20 hours per month.

Contactually, the CRM that I use, love and recommend is $59/month for the level that includes programs (aka automations) and Zapier is the tool that makes all of the automation magic happen is $15/month for their lowest plan. Those are the only two things you’ll HAVE to pay for, so at $74/month, that literally costs 1.5 hours of time compared to the 20 hours per month it saves.

Even if your income is $50k, it is costing you 3 hours of your time in exchange for getting 20 back… and with those 20 new free hours, I ASSURE you that you’ll find enough time to get enough business to cover the cost.

This little client onboarding process system DEFINITELY saves me more than 20 hours per month, so you see why I HAPPILY pay it every month.

You have to decide if the same is important to you.

Now, let’s dive in.


Simplify The Appointment Process

[SET IT AND FORGET IT]

I’ve got to say… you know when you have a stroke of genius and you KNOW that it’s genius?

This was mine.

I realized that my client onboarding process began BEFORE they even agree to start working with me… It started with their first interaction so I systemized and packaged it.

Since my follow-up plan basically teaches them everything they need to know about the home buying and selling process, I could package it as a “home buying/selling guide” that’s delivered in bite sized pieces and literally promote that as an opt-in.

Major Key: That means that your follow-up plan HAS to be systematic and it MUST add value or this won’t work.

My follow-up plans are 10 emails over 10 days, 13 texts over 13 weeks, 4 mailings and 4 phone calls. They’re also added to a property search update or home valuation, too.

It didn’t start that way… I started with just the mailings and phone calls. I was already texting but it wasn’t systematic and then I added in the emails… So this was a process that layered in each of these.

Yes, that sounds like a lot… and it is.

… but when it’s all value, they EAT. IT. UP.

They LOVE it.

However, I repeat… This. Only. Works. If. Your. Content. Is. Original. AND. Valuable.

Don’t try to get it all perfect before you ever start doing it or you’ll always be getting ready to get ready.

Here’s a wholeeee article to walk you through a super simple process to systemize your follow-ups.

… and if you’re ready to take it to the next level and want an insanely detailed breakdown of exactly how I put my whole follow-up system together, there will be an entire bonus workshop in the Empire Builder Academy by the end of the week:

With this little system in place, you’ll get to spend more time talking to “ready” clients and less time talking to “I’m just gathering information” prospects.

Plusssss, I don’t know about you, but even when people do refer me, they’d rather give the person my number than giving me theirs.

I HATE that because I know for cetain that the average person knows 6 realtors, and if they got my name, they’re probably getting other realtor’s names too… and I know that I should be the realtor they should be talking to.

With that in mind, this little system makes me stand out COMPLETELY.

SO, here’s what happens:

Landing Page 1: They express interest in moving

The link for this page is part of a text template for when people ask to refer me and it’s in all of my email marketing. It’s where the automation of my client onboarding process begins.

All of these are built in LeadPages which is awesome because you can build beautiful landing pages with their templates in just a few minutes and it integrates with almost every social media platform. It starts at $25/month if you pay annually and $37/month if you pay monthly and you can get a free trial right here.

If you already have a website or don’t need to use LeadPages, you could send them directly to Calendly instead… I just like having the landing page because it makes it look prettier and makes the process way simpler because there’s no distractions.

Landing Page 2: They Clarify Their Timeframe

Next up, they’re asked how soon they’re looking to move so that we can best serve them.

If they choose “I’m ready to buy now”, they’re taken to the landing page I showed below that directs them to book an appointment.

If they choose “I’m not ready yet”, they’re taken to a landing page that looks almost identical to the “book an appointment” page, except it’s a breakdown of my follow-up campaign and packaged as a home buying guide.

This little system works wonders because it allows you to customize your experience for every single client… I’ve been told that they feel like I’m holding their hand every step of the way.

To all of my “automation kills the personal touch”, that right there is my response.

Landing Page 3: Book An Appointment Page

Here’s what the seller appointment page looks like (excuse my lovely face in the screenshot!) and this is where the magic of the client onboarding process really starts:

Landing Page 4: They Schedule An Appointment In Calendly

When they click the “book an appointment” link on the above page, they’re taken to Calendly which checks availability in my calendar.

I use, love and swear by Calendly because it’s so beautiful and easy to use (this screenshot is the actual Calendly landing page)…

Almost every time I use it, I get compliments from the people who schedule with it.

You don’t actually need the upgraded version, but I use it for the advanced reminders and multiple event types so I have it. If that’s not important to you, the free version will work just fine.

Once they book an appointment, they receive an email confirmation that tells them what to do next.

For my buyers, those next steps are making sure they’re prequalified before we meet and reviewing my prebuying package.

For my sellers, I let them know I’m going to be sending a prelisting package about their home within 48 hours.


Automatically Create A Task In Contactually With Zapier

[SET IT AND FORGET IT]

Contactually and Calendly don’t have a natural integration so to make this work, you’ll need to make a new friend… It’s name is Zapier.

Zapier basically makes you look like a ninja and eliminates 99.9999% of the annoying data entry stuff that you hate to do by integrating your apps for you.

It should be a law that in order to create an app, you need to integrate with Zapier.

I’m totally kidding, but that’s how much I love it.

Contactually and Calendly don’t have a natural integration so to make this work, you’ll need multi-step zaps on their upgraded plan and pricing starts at $15/month for 20 zaps (once you start using Zapier, you magically start finding new zaps to create).

I currently have the $50/month plan and am using 37 zaps because I’m all about working smarter, not harder.

You’re going to use Zapier to remind you to add the person who created the appointment to your pipeline by creating a deal.

Before I show you the screenshot of how to set this up in Zapier, there’s a caveat…

Because I lead both Millennial Empire Builders and sell real estate, AND have about 10 different types of appointments in Calendly, there are a bunch of other steps in here that most people who only have one or two types of clients won’t need to do and I mention below what you’ll need to do and which parts you can skip:

Here’s the breakdown of what you’re seeing above, which parts you’ll need to do and which parts you can skip:

1. Must Have: The trigger event that causes the zap to run is a meeting being scheduled in Calendly (Calendly Invitee Created)

2-3. Must Have: Use Zapier’s text functionality to split text (this is to separate first and last name). Zapier will walk you through how to do it right here. You’ll need to do this for two steps because the first one will pull the first name, the second one will pull the last name.

4. Must Have: Create/Update contact in Contactually for the person who just booked on Calendly.

5. ONLY IF YOU HAVE MULTIPLE EVENT TYPES IN CALENDLY: if you have multiple event types and only want this to continue if it matches a specific event type, use this. If you only have one event type, you can skip it completely.

6-8. Must Have: ‘Create Task’ in Contactually. When you go to add the contact, it will tell you to add a ‘Find Contact’ function. Do not do the ‘Find Contact’ filter first, use the button in the ‘Create Task’ button.

9-11. Don’t worry about them!

I know I know, this all sounds confusing but Zapier makes it super simple and allows you to test it every step of the way to make sure it’s functioning properly.

Try it out… It might take you 5-10 minutes to set up, but I promise once it’s set up, you NEVER have to do it again.

Thank me later, seriously.

If this overwhelms you, go on YouTube or find someone who can help you.

So nowwww, let’s talk about what happens after you add them to your pipeline…


Create Your Pipelines In Contactually

[SET IT AND FORGET IT]

Since we’re in the business of AUTOMATING your client onboarding process, you’re going to track every part of the transaction and have a visual overview of what your business looks like.

Even though Contactually has email templates for almost every industry that you can use, I recommend writing your own so that it works the way you want it to and the emails sound like you.

Here’s what one of my pipelines looks like (I hid most of the deals to protect their privacy and left a few just so you can get an idea of what it looks like):

You’ll notice the different steps of the pipeline…

  • Appointment Scheduled
  • Appointment Rescheduled
  • Need Signatures
  • Listing Signed
  • Copy Approval
  • Live
  • Open House
  • Open House Complete
  • Receiving Offers
  • Under Contract
  • Inspection Passed
  • Clear To Close
  • Closed

Customize those steps to your business or if you’re in real estate, feel free to copy mine.

… or maybe you’re a coach, consultant or freelancer and your pipeline steps are something like: book a call/appointment, they fill out the questionnaire or intake form, complete the call, send agreement and request signature, prepare and send the invoice, book a kickoff call, and so on.

Yours might only be 2-3 steps or it might be 20.

Either way, no matter how you set it up today, I will put money on the fact that you will change, edit and refine at least a few times as you’re implementing this strategy into your business.

Just start with what you can think of now.

Don’t wait until it’s perfect because you will NEVER know if it’s perfect until you start using it.

When you find a hole in your client onboarding process, don’t go “this whole thing doesn’t work!”… That just means you have to upgrade your system and refine it to fill the hole.


Create Programs With Email Templates For Each Step Of Your Pipelines

[SET IT AND FORGET IT]

Feeling overwhelmed yet?

I know it’s a lot to process and set up, but once you do, your business will completely change.

That’s why I created this free workbook for you to download which walks you through this entireeeee client onboarding process from beginning to end, helps you draft your email templates and basically everything else you could possibly want to know.

It’s all yours, right here:

Now, if you just leave the pipeline the way it is, you’ll never use it, forget about it and it’ll just be another annoying task for you to do.

Instead, assign programs to each step of the pipeline in Contactually and your pipelines come to life.

Every single thing that you want your clients to experience should be an action item in one of your programs.

If there are forms you want to send or things they should know, include ALL of it in the email templates you create. You’ll repeat yourself wayyyyy less and you’ll have to think way less.

As people move through the steps in your pipeline, the tasks will show up on your Contactually dashboard on the day they are due.

[NOTE: If you have multiple tasks for one person due on the same day, they won’t all show up on your dashboard at the same time. Once you clear your dashboard, refresh your page and the tasks will come up. I clear my dashboard and refresh until nothing else pops up. It’s kind of annoying that way, but you get used to it.]

The fact that all of your clients are in one place and you no longer have to write reminders to yourself because everything is systemized and you know that you’re giving your clients the BEST experience ever is peace of mind!

Some of the steps in your pipeline might only have one or two actions to complete, some of them might have more… There’s no right answer, just do what works for your business and again, if you find a hole, fill it.

[As a side note: in addition to this whole client onboarding process, I also use a transaction coordinator who stays on top of my dates and deadlines for the inspection, financing, appraisal and so on. Since my client is also getting emails from her, my pipeline is way heavier on the front-end because I still do the marketing of my listings and the showings of my buyers (but not for long muahahahah) and she does most of the follow-ups once we’re under contract.]

Once we go under contract, my focus is on making sure we pass inspection and that my client always knows what happens next so those last few steps in the pipeline are literally just one email with the exception of the “Closed” step because Faith (my transaction coordinator) does everything else.

This is what happens when one of my buyers signs a VIP agreement and I move them to the “Buyer Listing Taken” step in my pipeline:

The program automatically adds them to my “Current Clients” bucket and then it reminds to update their property search. Then it prompts me to send them a “welcome” email with their homework, send an email to the referrer to thank them, mail a handwritten note and then schedule showings.

Those are all the things I always intend to do but used to forget to do when I have a new client, so by having Contactually remind me, I can do them really quickly and not have to worry about it again until one of their tasks comes up on my dashboard again.

You’re probably going to ask if the emails are sent automatically and the answer is you CAN (in my pipelines, some of them are automatic, but most are not).

For example, in the referral email, the template says “Woohoo! Just wanted to let you know that [PERSON] hired me and I’m so excited to get to work for them.”

When I log into my Contactually dashboard in the mornings, there are “approvals” that are the emails with templates, and I just change the bracketed text and hit send… It takes like 30 seconds to approve all of the emails.

Here’s another program that’s attached to my seller closings

After we close, Contactually drafts an email to thank them, an email to send to the referrer, reminds me to update their new mailing address, switches the buckets they belong to, reminds me to tag them and then waits a week to remind me to ask them for a referral. Another week later, I call to check in again and lastly, I remove them from the pipeline all together.

I literally never have to think about giving my clients an incredible experience because it’s all systemized and automated… and I can blow their mind without overwhelming them or myself.

The 13-page workbook that I created for you will help you break down each of the steps in your pipeline and assign action items to it.

It’s totally free and you can get it right here:


Create A Deal In Contactually’s Pipelines

[MANUAL STEP — Estimated Time: 15 Seconds]

Since Zapier is going to create a task for you to remind you to create a deal, you don’t have to think about this until it actually happens as long as you make a habit of clearing your Contactually dashboard on a daily basis, you’ll never forget to do this… and luckily, it takes literally 2 seconds to do.

To create a deal in pipelines, you’ll go into the person’s contact profile in the bottom right corner and create a deal like this:

Deals are how you add people to pipelines and once you add them to your “Appointment Scheduled” step in the pipeline, the programs begin triggering.


Move Them Through The Pipeline On A Daily Basis

[MANUAL STEP — Estimated Time: Depends On # Of Tasks In Your Programs]

I REPEAT: There’s a caveat to making this whole client onboarding process work…

You actually have to do the work. every. single. day.

That means you’ll need to log in each day to update your pipelines (create deals and move people from one step to the next) and make a habit of clearing your dashboard.

My commitment to myself is to clear my Contactually dashboard every. single. day. NO EXCUSES.

That means when I don’t feel like it, I still clear my dashboard and update my pipelines.

When I get busy, I still clear my dashboard and update my pipelines.

Contactually (or whatever other CRM you might decide to use) should be the main course of your business, not a side piece.

The more pieces of your business you can do directly IN the system, the more likely you are to use the system and do it every day.

Whatever you do, log in every day to clear your dashboard and make a habit of updating your pipelines.

The initial setup can be overwhelming, but once you set it up and start making it a habit, you’ll have a new found peace of mind.

If you noticed, under each of the steps here, I mentioned whether it was set it and forget it or if you actually needed to do the steps…

Most of it was set it and forget it… There were only two that required you to actually do the work and this is one of them.

Here’s my daily practice for Contactually:

And here’s how I organize the system to work for both of my businesses:


Before I lose you…

Technology should empower you, not replace you… and that’s exactly what this client onboarding process does.

Technology should empower you, not replace you. Click To Tweet

Whenever I talk about this to people who’ve never dealt with automation before, they’re like “well why doesn’t it make the phone calls for you? Why doesn’t it ___?”

You still have to actually do work or else your clients wouldn’t need you.

The point here is to simplify, systemize and automate as much of your client onboarding process as you can so you can grow without you getting overwhelmed and without sacrificing quality.

In addition, you keep your database organized and updated almost effortlessly because you’re doing it in bite-sized amounts on a daily basis.

You might also be thinking you don’t need to set all of this up because none of these small tasks take that long.

With that in mind, I want to ask you something…

What made you decide to read this post in the first place?

Probably because you’re bogged down in administrative tasks that “don’t take that long” but are still overwhelming you and stressing you out… and most of those annoying tasks probably fall under this client onboarding process.

Think of every admin task that you have to remember to do as a mosquito in your office.

One mosquito is annoying but if you can kill it, you’ll be good… but what do you do when you can’t leave the office and there are a whole bunch of mosquitos?

No, the answer is NOT burn the whole office.

Find a way to catch them and kill them the most efficient way possible.

Automation and systemization is the bug zapper to your administrative mosquitos.

No matter how simple the task might be, if you don’t have to think about it, that’s more stress OFF of your plate that you don’t have to worry about and your clients feel like you’re giving them a rockstar experience.


Recap…

If you’re like “oh man, that’s a lot of work… I don’t see the point of all of that”, here’s what your workflow would like if you decided NOT to automate:

  • Client reaches out to you
  • You go back and forth to coordinate a time that works for both of you (probably 3-5 texts or emails and wasted time)
  • You create the event in your calendar and invite them if you remember
  • If you remember, you send them an email before you meet with any relevant info and onboarding packages
  • You confirm the meeting the morning of
  • If they reschedule, start over
  • If they don’t reschedule, you go on the appointment or have the call
  • They decide to work with you so you have them sign your new client agreement
  • They leave, all excited to get started… and there’s no system in place to KEEP their engagement high
  • You manually follow-up when you can but you feel like you’re drowning because you have soooo much stuff to do. You just touched base with them a few days ago… It’s totally fine if you skip this follow up, right?
  • Your follow-up is sporadic throughout your time together and there’s no real structure to it but you still get to closing of the deal or completion of the project
  • Even if you close the deal, you’re probably not going to get the referrals that you deserve and you go on your merry way to start all over again

Instead, here’s what we basically just did:

  • Automated: Your prospect ended up at your landing page either because of your marketing, because of a referral or because you sent them there
  • Automated: They booked an appointment and received a confirmation with any other instructions you want them to complete before your meeting
  • Automated: Zapier added them to Contactually and bucketed them so you have a “confirm appointment” reminder set for the morning of the meeting
  • Automated: Since your “Appointment” bucket (category) is attached to the “Appointment Created” program (plan), Contactually automatically adds your person to the Appointment program
  • Manual: You add them to your pipeline (which takes precisely 5 seconds) and completed any client specific prep work for your appointment from your follow-up plan, but since you have templates for everything, this is quick too
  • Manual: You go on the appointment and they decide to work with you beause of your professionalism
  • Both: In the mornings, you log into Contactually to update your pipelines and then go to your dashboard to complete any tasks that show up for ALL of your clients, which includes this client
  • Once you close or finish the project, they’ve had such a great experience AND you remember to ask for referrals, so they GLADLY send them and your business continues to grow, almost on autopilot
  • Oh, and because you have a reminder set, you remember to add them to your long term nurture campaign, so you continue your messaging in a systematic way so you’re ALWAYS top of mind and when they’re ready to become a repeat client, they wouldn’t DREAM of working with anyone else because you’re their go-to person.

The second client onboarding process is less stressful, done mostly on autopilot and you really only have to update your pipelines, clear your dashboard and go on your appointments.

Your brain will be so much less cluttered when you eliminate the small stupid stuff that you shouldn’t have to do anyways.

You didn’t get this far in the post to click away and totally forget what you just read.

Learning for the sake of learning will NEVER get you results.

Learning for the sake of doing is where breakthroughs happen.

So if you’re ready to put all of this to work, go ahead and download the free workbook right here:

Grow your business faster by automating and streamlining your client onboarding process and spend less time on customer service and more time on the things you actually like to do.
How much time do you spend on stuff like booking appointments, customer service and onboarding clients? If the answer is "too much", it's time to automate your business so that you can elevate your client's experience AND do it without burning out.

How To Nurture + Grow Your Network With Social Media

At it’s core, networking is simply building relationships and seeking opportunities from those relationships.

At it's core, networking is simply building relationships and seeking opportunities from those relationships. Click To Tweet

With that in mind, networking doesn’t have to mean attending events and slinging business cards if that’s not your style… You can totally do it online.

You’re still going to have to reach out and connect with people, you’re still going to have to nurture those relationships and you’re still going to have to be consistent.

You know the saying, “the harder I work, the luckier I get”?

Since you’re an empire builder, you’re here to create our own luck… and with a rock solid strategy and consistency, you’re going to be as lucky as a happy little leprechaun at the end of a rainbow by following this strategy.

So just to reiterate and be crazy clear, if you decide to focus your networking on social media, you’re still going to have to actually talk to people with intention and consistency.

I know, shocker.

Let’s get started…

 

Stating The Obvious: Clean Up Your Image

Ok, you’re a young professional so you know this already.

… but do you?

If you’re going to use social media for business, your profile should make you seem like a person who loves their life and what they do for a living.

No, you don’t need to be perfect, but you should be a human with good vibes…

Not a brand that’s force feeding a product.

Be someone who people want to engage with, go back through that profile picture album and delete the old pictures from back in ’08 where you were partying a littleeee too hard and those ’03 MySpace pictures of your mirror selfies.

Make your default picture YOU, not your brand and be sure that if someone scrolls through your feed, they’ll see a real, live person, not a brand force feeding their spammy product.

People like connecting with PEOPLE.

… And don’t forget to update your about section!

Make sure what you do is updated, your bio, relationship status, the whole nine.

By all means, show yourself having fun, just make sure that every part of your image is curated to the message you’re trying to deliver to your audience.

 

Decide Who To Connect With

Whether you decide to focus on networking using social media or in person, you need to figure out why you’re networking.

Whether you decide to focus on networking using social media or in person, you need to figure out why you're networking. Click To Tweet

Without a solid why, you’re going to be bouncing person to person, wondering why opportunities aren’t just falling into your lap.

Here’s a hint: knowing your ask means you are keenly aware of parallel opportunities that might not directly tie in with your goal but will get you a step closer… and that’s what often happens with networking.

 

What’s Your Goal?

When I go to a networking event, I have a very specific goal in mind…

That’s to have three great conversations where it ends with a follow-up and their full contact information… and if we’re taking that a step further, I go to two events per week which totals six new contacts to my database every week.

One of the laws of networking is to feed your database every day, so this is one of the ways I do that.

Over a span of a year, I’ll add 300 people to my network that I’ve built solid relationships with.

In real estate, for every 6 people who you communicate with in a systematic, consistent way, you should get 1 deal out of it.

So every week, I’m adding a future deal to my pipeline.

You can have a similar goal with social media and focus on turning a specific number of “friends” into actual connections where you take the conversation offline and bring it to real life…. but you have to know why you’re doing it before you can figure out “the who”.

 

Who Can Help You Get There?

Listen, this question comes with a grain of salt.

Building your network is going to be like a spiderweb… You never know who you’re going to meet.

That’s part of the fun.

HOWEVER…

Understanding the type of people you want to meet will help you strategically place yourself in the right rooms at the right time to have the right conversations.

Understanding the type of people you want to meet will help you strategically place yourself in the right rooms at the right time to have the right conversations. Click To Tweet

For me, my target real estate client AND target member for MEB is a young professional, usually between 27-35, who makes $75k+ per year.

My average sales price for real estate is about $300k, so young professionals who make about $75k will generally be somewhere in that range or higher (if they have a partner they’re buying with) AND they’ll generally have friends and family that are in a similar financial situation.

In addition, that audience is also pretty similar for our MEB members so my focus is ALWAYS on finding and building relationships with my target audience, but that doesn’t mean that I ignore or brush off the other people, I just spend time in the places that I know they hang out.

Your action item here is to figure out WHO you need to meet and then start figuring out how to meet them.

If you’re really serious about staying online, Facebook groups and LinkedIn groups are INCREDIBLE for finding your target audience.

 

Create Your Lists

Facebook has a thing called “lists”, that gives you the ability to group people by however you want to.

It’s SUPER convenient because you never have to go looking for someone to connect with… You can literally log in and go directly to that list and start engaging.

Taking that a step further, social media algorithms only show you the content that they think is relevant to you while lists show you everything in chronological order.

That means without using lists, you’re missing great opportunities to connect with your weak ties that you didn’t even know you were missing.

That means without using lists, you're missing great opportunities to connect with your weak ties that you didn’t even know you were missing. Click To Tweet

This might take you an hour or so at first, but once it’s done, you don’t have to worry about doing it again and it’s super easy to keep up with.

 

Ways To Engage With Them

You know that list that you made above?

Let’s put that to work.

The idea here is to create a conversation, not just get noticed.

Ahem, all of this can actually apply to dating too, just throwing that out there.

Liking every post or picture might boost the ego of the person who’s posts you’re liking but they’re only going to see you as a fan.

If you make a habit of connecting with 3-5 people per day on the social media sites that you consistently use and interact with those people in a way that is genuine and authentic, your own engagement will grow and you’ll start to build your online community.

Comment on 5 posts, like 5 posts and send 5 messages.

It takes about ten minutes to do but over the long term, will really start to build relationships and will get you shown higher in people’s newsfeeds because you’re actually interacting.

You’re not going to actually sell them through social media.

Instead, your goal is to take the conversation OFF of social media and bring the relationship to life on the phone or in person.

You're not going to actually sell them through social media. Instead, your goal is to take the conversation OFF of social media and bring the relationship to life on the phone or in person. Click To Tweet

The key here is to make sure that you’re only interacting on posts that you want to be associated with — this is important because your friends can see what you’re liking and commenting on — plus, the more you interact with these people, the more you’re going to see of that type of stuff.

My rule of thumb is I only engage if it’s uplifting, inspiring, educational or funny.

 

Life Changes + Special Dates

Instead of just replying to someone’s post about their engagement, new baby, birthday or whatever other life event, send them a message.

Yup, it takes two extra seconds but increases your likelihood of getting a response by about a billion percent.

Ok, maybe it’s not THAT much higher but you get the point.

Connect with them or celebrate with them from the most genuine place of your heart and they’ll feel that.

You can do this for birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, engagements, new babies, job anniversaries, new jobs and the list goes on forever.

A simple congratulations isn’t going to cut it though — give them a reason to continue the conversation.

Oh, and guess what you’re going to do?

Ask a question!

Instead of just “happy birthday!”, how about, “happy birthday! Hope you have an incredible day. How are you celebrating?”

Easy peasy.

 

Friend Requests

Friend requests are the single most untapped way of building relationships quickly.

Friend requests are the single most untapped way of building relationships quickly. Click To Tweet

After you’ve cleaned up your profile and written your content to cater directly to your target audience, you’ll find that you start getting more and more connections from the right type of people.

When you get those connections, reach out, thank them for the add and ask how you’re connected.

Sometimes they’ll say, “we met at ___” or sometimes they might say something like, “I saw your post/comment/etc. on ___ and I wanted to connect with you because of ____”.

Boom.

Conversation starter.

Plus, people who are adding you are like warm leads… They want to know you, so initiate the interaction.

 

Green Light

Facebook tells you who’s currently online like back in the AIM days.

Bet you didn’t know that, did ya?

When you go to your friends list under “chat” (or in the messenger app), you’ll see little green dots next to the people who are online.

Green means go, so GO MESSAGE THEM!

Reaching out to people who are currently online means you’re more likely to have quicker response times and engage in more actual conversations instead of having to wait til they’re back online.

Think of the little green light like knocking on their door when you know they’re home vs. when you message people randomly, it’s like leaving a voicemail.

Here’s what it looks like:

 

A Word of Caution

As you’re reaching out, ESPECIALLY online, keep your questions and engagement friendly without being flirtatious or too deep.

As you're reaching out, ESPECIALLY online, keep your questions and engagement friendly without being flirtatious or too deep. Click To Tweet

Your introductions should stay semi-professional until you have some rapport.

I mean, you definitely don’t have to refer to everyone as Mr. or Mrs., but at least call them by name.

True story…

I’ve gotten a few messages on LinkedIn like “hey beautiful, how was your weekend?” ON LINKEDIN!

Say whaaaaa?!? Do they even know how LinkedIn is supposed to work or what it’s for?!?!?!

Definitely didn’t respond to that and if you make people feel like you want something or are trying to hit on them, you’re going to turn. them off.

 

Ending The Conversation

One of the hardest parts of networking for most people is to end the conversation.

One of the hardest parts of networking for most people is to end the conversation. Click To Tweet

Sounds so simple, but can be so awkward to actually do.

… and networking online is absolutely no different.

I’ve taken this “ending conversations” concept SUPER seriously because otherwise, you end up with a bunch of open conversations that sort of trail off without any specific action plan.

When you’re finishing up your interaction, it can be as simple as, “I have to run but it was so nice chatting with you”… but it doesn’t end there.

Do not end any conversation without an action item… Regardless of if it’s online or in person.

Do not end any conversation without an action item... Regardless of if it's online or in person. Click To Tweet

Being that clear on you intention AND having an action item for every conversation will change your relationships and peace of mind completely.

Your action item could be, reach out to them again in 3 months or it could be, “introduce them to ___”.

If I interact with someone who I think I can help or who I would have synergy with, my goal is to get them off of Facebook and on the phone.

My signature line is “I’d love to hear more about you and your goals and see what I can do to help so let’s hop on a quick call. Just to save all of the back and forth, here’s my calendar: [link to calendar].”

I’ve mentioned before that I use Contactually heavily and I use Calendly for my calendar.

Zapier is like the little messenger between apps to get them to work together, so whenever someone creates an appointment in my calendar, they’re automatically added to Contactually so that I can add them to my follow-up plan.

Because they’re automatically added, you’ll never worry about whether or not you’re following up enough and you’ll stop treating your mind like a memory machine instead of a processing machine so you can free up white space for other stuff that you actually LIKE to do.

In my world, there’s no better, faster or more efficient way to build rapport and learn about their goals quickly…

I just so happen to have my whole eight-week follow-up system for after people book a time with you and you can download it totally free right here:

Lastly, before you put your phone down or let go of that mouse, log that interaction in your CRM (like I said, I use Contactually.

This serves a few purposes…

Firstly, you can easily keep track of when the last time you talked to someone was, you’re keeping record of every interaction and you can set up a task for your next action item or follow-up.

Logging the interaction takes all of 15 seconds, but when you go to reach out to them again, you look like you have the best memory ever because you remembered their kid’s birthday or the big anniversary trip they took.
Growing your network using social media requires a strategy that will help you build relationships. It's not just about posting a bunch of spammy "call me" posts. Click through to learn how to start building relationships on social media.
Growing your network using social media requires a strategy that will help you build relationships. It's not just about posting a bunch of spammy "call me" posts. Click through to learn how to start building relationships on social media.

6 Reasons Your Networking Isn’t Working

Networking works… If you work it.

It’s a skill that most people never really learn and are sort of just thrown into the world to figure it out.

… and because they don’t know what they don’t know, they go to a networking event, don’t get results and write off networking all together.

If that’s you, hold up.

At it’s very core, networking is connecting with people and being a resource for them which ends up leading to income.

That little mindset shift from “I’m networking for a sale” will change your whole strategy.

So let’s break down the six most common mistakes people make when they’re networking:

 

1. You’re Terrified Of People

Meeting new people is uncomfortable.

I get it.

Seriously, I do.

It feels like you have to force yourself to open up to a complete stranger when you have no clue what their intentions are.

You’re making yourself vulnerable with the risk of being taken advantage of… and that’s terrifying.

If you’re like most people, that’s the deep-seeded mindset about networking.

Your thoughts influence your feelings, your feelings influence your action and your actions influence your results.

That means if you’re already opposed to meeting new people, you’ll have negative feelings towards building relationships, which means that you won’t do it and as a result, your network will be smaller and you won’t have the powerful connections you need to reach your goals.

… You get the point.

 

How To Fix It

Start by changing your mindset about meeting new people.

Yes, you’re going to have to let your guard down to have genuine conversations… There’s no way around it.

For the sake of the length of this post, I’m not going to get crazy into detail here because I wrote an entire post about how to do that:

 

2. You Have a ‘Small Circle’ Mindset

Our culture encourages us to restrict our feelings, act like we don’t care, keep our friends close and forget about everyone else.

The people closest to us are what we call strong ties — these are our friends, family and coworkers.

They likely do the same things that we do, have similar networks to us, talk the way that we do and think the same way that we do.

That’s what it’s all about, right?

Wrong.

No New Friends = No New Money

By keeping your “small circle”, you’re adopting the mindset of the poor.

While I was doing research for this, I came across an article that says…

“Economic uncertainty also leads to the search for contingencies and poorer people invest far more in building multiple strong ties who will directly help them if they are in difficulty. However this may serve to anchor their status further and reduce the chance of upward social mobility. Upper class people are more relaxed about weak ties and so tend to have more. However, they have to resort to expensive clubs and other filtering mechanisms to find ‘people like them’ with whom they can build stronger ties. The modern approach to business networking is based on the principle of weak ties: having a wide range of acquaintances can be far more helpful than having just a few good friends.”

In other words, if you want to make more money, you need to have more connections.

 

How To Fix It

They say that you’ll be the same person five years from now that you are today except for the books that you read and the people you meet — your acquaintances (also known as weak ties) encourage you to meet new people who you wouldn’t have met otherwise and they share stories and perspectives that push you to think bigger and they create opportunities for you to think differently.

With this new perspective, you’ll start to see yourself become more dynamic and innovative.

Now you’re probably like ok, ok… I get it! I need to build relationships with more than just my friends… But where do I start?

With your weak ties!

You know… Those acquaintances who you might connect with on social media and like their posts but probably don’t speak to in person because you don’t know if they’ll actually recognize you?

Yea, them.

Just so happens, I have a blog post for that too!

 

3. You only reach out when you need something

There’s a girl who hits me up everyyyy time she has something to sell or every time she needs something…

Pretty please with a cherry on top don’t do that.

I stopped answering her messages because it’s draining.

“Hey, I just created a YouTube channel — can you go subscribe for me?”

My thoughts: how about no? I’ve talked to you once in my life.

“Hey, I’m having an event for ___ and I see what you’re doing with MEB so I wanted to invite you”

My thoughts: Ok, so why have I never seen or heard from you in my life ever? If you love what we’re doing, why haven’t you been to an event?

If I had a dollar for every time someone did this, I would be rich.

They’re asking before they’ve ever built rapport or given anything first — they haven’t earned the right to ask for anything in return.

 

How To Fix It

You may have heard of the golden rule (treat others the way you want to be treated) or even the platinum rule (treat others the way they want to be treated)…

Let me introduce you to the diamond rule — give 10x more than you’ll ever need to ask for.

When you focus on giving more, people will jump at the opportunity to help you… and believe it or not, that’s also where introverts shine over extroverts.

When you focus on giving more, people will jump at the opportunity to help you. Click To Tweet

That’s not to say that extroverts aren’t givers, however, introverts are wired to build deep and meaningful relationships whereas extroverts are perfectly content talking to anyone.

The people in my network who ask for favors will get whatever they ask for from me plus some.

… Not only do I subscribe to their channel, I’ll share it, talk about it and give feedback.


The more you give, the more you get.

Oh, and did I mention I have another post for this too?

Maintaining your network doesn’t have to be crazy complicated or difficult… You can do it in about an hour a day (and if you’re looking to make networking as part of your strategy to grow your business, don’t tell me you don’t have enough time!)

 

4. You Have Commission Breath

I don’t think this is so much an issue with the millennial generation as it is with the generations before but we still have to mention it…

If you sound desperate for the sale orrrr you can’t stop talking about the features and benefits of your product or service, your ideal client might be nodding politely but they checked out the second they sensed your desperation.

If you sound desperate for the sale orrrr you can't stop talking about the features and benefits of your product or service, your ideal client might be nodding politely but they checked out the second they sensed your desperation. Click To Tweet

If this is you, I hate to break it to you but you, my friend, are the used car salesman that everyone avoids.

Don’t get me wrong…

Sales is sales.

You DO have to sell.

… but if you’re not hitting your goals and are pushing hard, it’s because you’re turning people off by your approach.

 

How To Fix It

Instead of trying to force a sale, spend more time identifying the need… Focus on learning what they need instead of what you can sell.

Instead of trying to force a sale, spend more time identifying the need... Focus on learning what they need instead of what you can sell. Click To Tweet

What I’m about to tell you is going to change your whole life, you ready?

People will tell you exactly how to sell them if you just ask the right questions.

Instead of focusing on you and your product, learn to ask better questions and you’ll quickly find that people let their guard down way faster.

It feels less salesy and comes from a place of “I can help” rather than “I can sell”.

I talk a wholeeee bunch more about meeting people and how to initiate that conversation in this post:

 

5. You’re Not Following-Up

Here’s how most people network…

… They go to an event

… Talk to a bunch of people (with shallow conversations because they’re trying to be polite and follow the rules)

… Collect a bunch of business cards

… Throw the business cards in the trash (or stash them somewhere which is basically the same thing)

… Decide networking doesn’t work and dread when they have to go to events

Is that you?

(Just for the record, attending events isn’t the only way to grow your network!)

99.999999999% of business that comes from networking does NOT come from the first meeting.

That means you have to follow-up.

 

How To Fix It

Start by using a CRM or some sort of system to organize your people.

I’ve written at length about why I love Contactually but use whatever works for you.

From there, make sure you have a way to categorize people that AUTOMATICALLY adds them to a follow-up plan.

And no, I don’t mean your company’s email drip system that will spam them to death.

Add them to a follow-up plan that actually fosters a relationship.

I’ve written a whole blog post for you about how to do it right here:

If that’s not enough, here’s the follow-up plan I use with the new people in my network:

Following up with a system is GAME CHANGING.

 

6. Your networking is All About You

Continuing from #2, even if you are following up, your follow-ups are more irritating than they are anticipated.

They probably sound something like this…

“Hey, did you check out my company yet?”

“Hey, are you gonna buy it?”

Stop doing that.

Oh, and just to clarify…

If your marketing and messaging isn’t relevant and useful to THEM, it’s spam.

If your marketing and messaging isn't relevant and useful to THEM, it's spam. Click To Tweet

Let me say that again… If your marketing and messaging isn’t relevant and useful to THEM, it’s spam.

The example I always use here is if I were sending information about selling a home to someone who just rented a property, it’s spam.

If I sent info about selling a home to a homeowner who’s recently gone through a life change, THAT is valuable.

That’s a HUGE distinction.

Just because you worked hard on your marketing doesn’t automatically mean they’re going to find it useful.

 

How To Fix It

Make the people you meet look forward to hearing from you again by learning what THEY need and giving them what they want.

It’s as simple as that.

I’m a hugeeee advocate of five minute favors…

Quick favors that will make an impact for them are easy to do but deepen your relationship.

If you’ve read basically any of my other posts about networking, you already know that I’m in love with making introductions because it’s so powerful and so simple.

Yup, you guessed it… I have a blog post for that too!


Networking does work but you have to approach it the right way. Here are the six most common mistakes that most people make when it comes to networking and how to fix each of them. Click through to learn more.
Networking works if you do it right. Here are the six most common mistakes that most people make when they're building their network. Click through to learn more.Networking works if you do it right. Here are the six most common mistakes that most people make when they're building their network. Click through to learn more.
Networking isn't supposed to be hard. At it's core, it's simply building relationships that lead to opportunities. Here are the six most common mistakes people make and how to fix them. Click through to learn more.

How to Be A People Connecting Ninja

The easiest way and my absolute favorite way to create MASSIVE value for your network is by connecting people to each other.

Yup, sounds soooo basic.

So basic in fact, you’re probably like “duh“.

… but like with anything else, building the mindset of being someone whose focused on connecting people is a habit and skill to develop.

It’s super easy to connect people and the benefits are insane.

First and foremost, when you connect people your network learns to help each other and you look like a rockstar because you’re at the center of it all.

By becoming a connector, your network learns to help each other and you look like a rockstar because you're at the center of it all. Click To Tweet

You probably hang around the same type of people as yourself, so by connecting people in your community to each other, you’re infinitely magnifying your own impact.

Not to mention, it trains your network to give referrals.

Connecting people trains your network to give referrals. Click To Tweet

When you go to ask for a referral, they realize it’s the norm of the relationship and are way more likely to give it.

In the name of efficiency, you connect with two people at the same time so you’re doubling the number of people you can keep in touch with while using half the effort.

When they do connect, the first thing they have in common is you… So what do you think they’re going to talk about first?

Yup.

They’re going to talk about you AND how awesome you are.

Andddd can we talk about the fact that people will actually open and answer your emails because you’re CONSTANTLY creating value for them.

Think about it this way…

One connection can literally change someone’s life AND it takes you less than 5 minutes to make the connection.

One connection can literally change someone's life AND it takes you less than 5 minutes to make the connection. Click To Tweet

I don’t think there’s a better way to create such a massive impact while still being efficient with your time and energy.

People like to associate with movers and shakers, so the more connecting you do, the more credibility you gain.

Plus, connecting people shows people that you actually care… and when you care, they care too.

That teeny tiny introduction can literally change your entire experience with your community.

Now that you’re sold on the concept of connecting, how do you actually do it?

Great question.

 

Finding The Opportunity

First things first, before you even think about connecting people, you have to have an intimate understanding of their goals.

One on ones are INCREDIBLE for doing that… and it just so happens that I have a wholeeee post about how to do a one on one:

As you're chatting with people, make sure that you're asking about their goals AND their challenges. In fact, I would argue that understanding their challenges is MORE important than understanding their goals. Click To Tweet

As you’re chatting with people, make sure that you’re asking about their goals AND their challenges.

In fact, I would argue that understanding their challenges is MORE important than understanding their goals…

By understanding what their challenges are, you can present someone in your network as a potential solution and THAT will generally help get them to their goal.

The more you get intimate with their goals, the faster you’ll identify opportunities to help them and the best way to do that is to ask great questions and to make them feel comfortable enough to share.

As a side note, keep in mind that to continue connecting people, your network has to be constantly growing otherwise you’ll run out of people to introduce to each other.

 

Reasons To Connect People

More specifically, here’s how to identify opportunities to connect people:

SOLVE THEIR PROBLEM: I feel like you’re probably rolling your eyes right now by how obvious this one is but we miss the opportunity all the time. Most people think in challenges, not solutions. With that in mind, as a connector, it’s your job to hear their challenge and connect them with the person that can be their solution. For example, one of my girlfriends was complaining about having to get waxed and shaving all the time, so I told her about laser hair removal and connected her with my girl. If I wasn’t focused on making connections, I’d just go along and agree about how much waxing and shaving sucks.

GET THEM AROUND THEIR TARGET CLIENT: this won’t apply for everyone, but in a lot of industries, sharing resources actually helps them. For example, being that I sell real estate, introducing me to another realtor is of ABSOLUTELY no value to me. I also have a lender that I love, so introducing me to them isn’t of value to me either. However, given the fact that my ideal client is a young professional who makes $75k+ per year and wants to stay in South Florida for BOTH my real estate business and for Millennial Empire Builders, inviting me to happy hour where you’re meeting your friends who fit my target audience would be CRAZY valuable. Any quality professional is going to know who their target audience is and will be able to tell you. As a side note, you should also learn about their approach with their ideal audience or else you might find that you bring your new contact around your people and they’re on them like vultures.

SHARE RESOURCES: This exact reason is why mastermind groups are so powerful. By introducing people who can share resources, ideas, tools, systems or manpower, you’re helping them leverage and elevate their business. Maybe you have a friend who’s KILLIN it with Facebook ads and another who is doing amazing with blogging… Those two should meet as they can teach each other and share best practices.

MAKE THEM FEEL LIKE THEY BELONG: you know how we all have that one weird thing that we’re into that we feel like no one else is into, too? We’re constantly DYING to feel like we belong somewhere, so by introducing them to people who share their passions and interests, you can give them that sense of belonging that they’re looking for. This ESPECIALLY goes for nonprofits! If you know that one of your contacts is really passionate about a specific cause and you have a contact at a nonprofit whose focus is that cause, get them involved. The nonprofit wins because they get another volunteer or donor while the individual wins because they’re fulfilling their passion.

Ready to put this into action?

I’ve got a free worksheet that you can use to identify the opportunity and make the connection every. single. time.

 

How To Make The Connection

Seriously, connecting people is way easier than you think.

When you make the connection, tell them why you think they should chat and make sure you brag about them to each other. A quick little intro about how you met them is helpful too.

Here’s an example:

 

Subject Title: Intro 🙂
Hi [FIRST NAME]!
As mentioned, I wanted to introduce you to ___. They are [why they’re awesome] and I thought you guys would make great connections because [how the person can help them]. Here’s their bio to learn more about them: link to bio or LinkedIn profile

Hi [FIRST NAME]!
Hope all is well! I met ___ the other day at __ and they were telling me about __. I was so impressed by __ and you instantly came to mind because [make sure you mention how it’s a win for both sides].

You guys should grab lunch or coffee! Happy connecting 🙂

Kindest Regards,
[Your Signature]

This little script works like crazyyyyyy.

Firstly, the title alone gets people to open the email.

Next up, make sure that you’re bragging about them to each other equally and you’re reminding them why they’re valuable to each other.

As a little disclaimer, I ALWAYS let them know how I met the other person because if for some reason, the person ends up being a dud, they’re not going to be mad at me since I just met them too.

Oh, and you see the little suggestion at the end telling them to grab lunch or coffee?

Yea, don’t leave that out.

By you setting the stage for how they should connect, they will follow instructions.

Remember, when there’s rapport, the person who’s most certain will influence the other.

You have rapport with both of these people so they’re going to look to you for proper etiquette for handling each other.

I’ve made no secret about how passionate I am about one on ones, so by encouraging them to do the same, you’re making it easy for them to start building a relationship.

 

Pro Tip: Follow-Up After Connecting People

About two weeks after you’ve made the connection, follow-up with both of them to make sure they connected and got value out of it.

If you’ve been reading my blogs for awhile, you already know that I’m going to tell you that you need to have great systems in place to do this without burning out and this little follow-up is part of my eight week follow-up plan for new connections that you can get right here.

You know they say, “it’s the thought that counts”?

That doesn’t apply here.

If the people in your network aren’t connecting, it WILL hurt your credibility.

Checking in to make sure they’ve actually connected ensures that you’re keeping tabs on whether or not they actually connected… and if they can’t even bother to connect, you don’t need to be investing your time in them anyways.

Yes, I’m fully aware of how harsh that sounds.

In fact, I said that during a workshop I did recently and one of the women raised her hand and said, “I’m the person that probably won’t connect… Not because I don’t want to but because I don’t have time”.

I get that.

I know that people get busy and there’s nothing wrong with that… but it’s not worth it to invest time in them if they don’t have time to invest in you, your network or any other opportunities.

That’s just a fast road to burn out mode.

Once they get things settled, you can always reconnect and make those introductions later.

It’s not harsh, it’s protecting your time, reputation and energy… and no one is going to do that except for you.

 

Putting It To Work

To help you put this into action, I went ahead and created a totally free worksheet for you to follow-up after you meet people.

It’ll help you breakdown the person’s goals, identify the other people who can help them and then outline the introduction.

Go ahead and download it right here:


The fastest way to gain credibility, become a mover and shaker and offer MASSIVE value to your network is to focus on connecting people. In this article, you'll learn exactly how to do it and get a free worksheet to help you put it into action.
The fastest way to gain credibility, become a mover and shaker and offer MASSIVE value to your network is to focus on connecting people. In this article, you'll learn exactly how to do it and get a free worksheet to help you put it into action.

4 Laws Of Networking You Should NEVER Break

I feel like I’d be doing you a disservice if I kept talking about networking on the blog but never really talked about the four laws at a high level.

A law is a rule that you shouldn’t break and if you do, you suffer from the consequences.

If you’re going to commit to building your brand or business with networking, you need to internalize these four laws and make it part of your daily, weekly and monthly routine.

If you're going to commit to building your brand or business with networking, you need to internalize these four laws and make it part of your daily, weekly and monthly routine. Click To Tweet

Most of my posts are usually 2000+ word monsters, but this one is going to be shorter than usual because I’ve already laid out the details in some of the related posts.

This is just a high level overview to help you understand the strategy of networking.

As a disclaimer, I can’t take credit for these four laws…

They come from the Millionaire Real Estate Agent by Gary Keller, which is basically like a textbook for how to build a million dollar real estate business.

The more I’ve learned and internalized this concept, the more I realized these four laws can apply to any industry, whether online or offline.

Let’s get started.

 

Law #1. Build A Database

If you’re going to start building your network, you’ll need to have a place to keep all of your people.

If you’re going to start building your network, you’ll need to have a place to keep all of your people. Click To Tweet

… and no, keeping your contacts in your phone isn’t going to be enough.

I mean sure, if you like feeling overwhelmed and stressed out, do that.

However, if you want to make it easy, you’re going to need to have a place to keep your contacts and keep your records of your contacts.

I know this part isn’t sexy but it’s INCREDIBLY important that you set it up right from the beginning.

Contactually is the “google” of my contacts where if I run into someone I haven’t seen in awhile, I can pull up their contact and recall every single conversation we’ve ever had.

Oh, and it just so happens that I’m walking you through that right here:

If you’re an online entrepreneur or blogger, your “database building” is going to probably look different than mine and will probably look more like segmenting, tagging and automations in your email service provider like ConvertKit*

 

Law #2. Feed It Everyday

Listen up.

If you’re in a business that you’re trying to grow, you need to focus on finding more leads.

You can absolutely generate more business from your existing clients but at some point, you’re going to burn them out and you’re either going to need to find new leads or get referrals from your old clients.

You can absolutely generate more business from your existing clients but at some point, you're going to burn them out and you're either going to need to find new leads or get referrals from your old clients. Click To Tweet

Whichever route you decide to go, your business will not succeed if you don’t have enough leads.

This law should never, ever be broken.

That means, if you go to work one day and don’t feed your database, you didn’t do your job that day.

That means, if you go to work one day and don't feed your database, you didn't do your job that day. Click To Tweet

I grow my network with events (MEB’s workshops and open houses), attending events and social media (soon to be adding Facebook ads).

Whichever way you decide to grow your network, you should definitely plan to feed it into an email list where #3 becomes way easier:

Also, this seems overwhelming to some people, so I wanted to make sure I touched on how I maintain my own network on a daily basis:

 

Law #3. Communicate With It Systematically

My whole approach to networking is totally focused on building genuine relationships.

However, I don’t want to make my brain work too hard and I don’t want to burn out.

My whole approach to networking is totally focused on building genuine relationships. However, I don’t want to make my brain work too hard and I don’t want to burn out. Click To Tweet

With that in mind, the key is systematic communications.

I could go on for CENTURIES about systematic communications and luckily, I already have in GREAT detail in these posts:

 

Law #4. Service The Business That Comes Your Way

While this might sound obvious, it’s essential that we talk about it.

My first broker was spending soooo much money on marketing and leads and he was getting the business, but his reviews were GOD AWFUL because he’d basically forget about his clients once he got them.

He was like “hit it and quit it”, except with clients.

You know I’m alllll about systems so this should be done in a systematic way as well.

My follow-up systems were created to make sure that my clients are educated about every step of the process so once they are ready to make a move, the process is super simple.

They’re stress free because they know what to expect and when they’re stress free, my life is easier too.

Once we go under contract, I have a transaction coordinator to make sure our dates and deadlines stay on track so that nothing falls through the cracks.

You don’t necessarily need to hire help to deal with your clients, but you should have some sort of system in place to make sure that every client gets the same experience.

You don't necessarily need to hire help to deal with your clients, but you should have some sort of system in place to make sure that every client gets the same experience. Click To Tweet
Networking isn't just about luck or being in the right place at the right time. It requires skill, follow-up and the right approach. To make it super simple, here are the four laws to help you start seeing results from your network.
Networking isn't just about luck or being in the right place at the right time. It requires skill, follow-up and the right approach. To make it super simple, here are the four laws to help you start seeing results from your network.
Networking isn't just about luck or being in the right place at the right time. It requires skill, follow-up and the right approach. To make it super simple, here are the four laws to help you start seeing results from your network.

7 Must Have Networking Email Follow-Up Templates

I was listening to a podcast recently that started with, “what is the one thing that no one is asking you that you feel like they should.”

As I thought about it, I realized that no one ever asks how I consistently build my network without burning out.

My answer would be systems and templates.

Burnout usually happens when you’re doing unfulfilling work without the prospect of growth or the attachment of a big why.

You might not realize it, but if you’re in the service-based industry, you repeat yourself WAY more than you think… and that’s a super easy cause for burnout that you can totally get rid of in just a few minutes.

You might not realize it, but if you're in the service-based industry, you repeat yourself WAY more than you think. Click To Tweet

Even though writing an email doesn’t take that long, it’s still using brain power that you don’t need to be using and when you have to think about it, you risk falling victim to the “I don’t feel like it syndrome”.

… and the less you have to think, the more likely you are to do it.

Perfect example….

I went to an event where I met five new contacts.

The next morning, I wasn’t in the mood to follow-up but I added them to Contactually and the email I use to invite people to a one on one popped up and I just had to confirm and send.

Templates bulletproof your networking strategy so you beat the “I don’t feel like it”.

So, here are the must have text and email templates for following up and building your network:

 

1. Following Up After Meeting Someone New

First things first, the most important follow-up you can have is the one you use right after you meet someone new.

First things first, the most important follow-up you can have is the one you use right after you meet someone new.First things first, the most important follow-up you can have is the one you use right after you meet someone new. Click To Tweet

No one gets excited about following up, so making it systematic will make it easier.

The follow-up email that I use has an 85.71% response rate (yes, you read that right — response rate, not just open rate).

If you want access to all eight of my follow-up templates and how to put it into action, you can get them right here:

 

2. Here’s what happens Next…

You can just thank me now for the amount of time I’m about to save you AND for the level of customer service you’re about to give your people.

If you adopt one thing, let it be this…

Whenever you end a conversation, end it with, “here’s what’s going to happen next….”

In the name of efficiency, do this in email form.

Lay out your entire process in email form with each email representing a different step.

As your leads, clients and prospects move through your process, being able to walk them through the process easily will make your life easier too.

An educated consumer means you have to answer less questions, they’re happier and it’s stress free for both of you.

 

3. Confirming Appointments

I cannot stress enough how important this template is.

Do you even realize how annoying it is when you show up somewhere and the person forgets?

Here’s a bonus tip: when you schedule an appointment, schedule the confirmation email for the night before or the morning of at the same time so you don’t have to think about it later.

I used to do this regularly but I’m allllll about automating my life so I started using Calendly to eliminate a bunch of the back and forth emails and to automate my meeting confirmations.

At this point in my life, I just follow my calendar and show up where it tells me to.

I highly recommend Calendly for coordinating your appointments or bookings — it’ll simplify your life a million times over.

 

4. Making Introductions

You guys know I’m like a psycho about making introductions and in the next few weeks, I’m going to be publishing a post allllll about the art of making introductions.

Seriously, it’s an art and if you master it, it’s the fastest way to gain credibility, get more referrals and gain tonssss of social proof with basically no effort.

Being that I make so many introductions, having a template is essential.

The template I use for this is part of my eight week follow-up plan that you can download right here:

 

5. Referral Instructions

You ever have someone go, “hey! I gave such-and-such your number because they’re looking to [insert your service here].”

It’s awesome that they’re thinking of you and referring you, howeverrrrr….

I treat referrals the same way that I treat my new contacts.

If I give them my card, I’ll probably never hear from them again because the average person sucks at follow-up.

If I give them my card, I’ll probably never hear from them again because the average person sucks at follow-up. Click To Tweet

If I get their card, we’re a bajillion times more likely to reconnect because I have systems in place that make certain we reconnect.

With referrals, I don’t want them to “give them my number” because they might never call.

I have a text template that thanks them for thinking of me and then tells them exactly what to text their friend which directs them to a lead capture page so they’re automatically added into my follow-up system… and a second template that asks them for their info so I can make sure we actually connect.

Your instructions don’t have to be that complex but you should have a standard system for how you handle incoming referrals.

 

6. Referral Thank You

Want to get more referrals?

When people refer you, make sure you thank them.

Simple, right?

I know…. but it makes a huge difference.

Have a thank you template that you send when someone refers you.

This applies to bloggers selling ecourses and thanking affiliates, SAAS companies or apps thanking their users for introducing the product to their friends and service-based people thanking their network for referring them.

Thank you goes a long way, so make sure you do it.

 

7. New Lead

Lastly, you should have a template and system for when you get new leads.

If you’re a blogger, this might look like your new email Subscriber indoctrination sequence.

If you’re a service based professional, what do you send them when they call and say, “hey! I’m ready to work with you”?

Templates will streamline and simplify your entire business, so I HIGHLY recommend you start implementing them.

If you want the email templates I use for my first 8 follow-ups, you can get them right here:

Networking follow-up email templates make it a million times easier to grow your network without burning out. Click through to learn the 7 templates that you absolutely have to have in order to reach your goals.
The easiest way to grow your network is to use follow up email templates so you never have to think about what to say to your new connections. In this post, you'll learn about the 7 must have email templates you need to grow your network and you'll get my free 8-week follow-up plan for new contacts. Click through to learn more.