If you’ve been in a sales or service based industry before, you know what I’m talking about…
You hustle your ass off looking for new business, then get busy servicing the business so you stop hustling for new business and then once all of that business is taken care of, you’re back to square one and have to start hustling for new business again.
Instead, get off of the income roller coaster by making sure you always stay top of mind… and the best way to do that is to create and schedule all of your marketing up front so that you can set it and forget and don’t have to worry about it again.
That’s exactly what we’re doing today.
Oh, and don’t worry… I know this can seem overwhelming so I created a whole workbook to help you put it into action.
1. Choose Your Format and Delivery Platform
Before you start planning your content, you need to figure out how you’re going to send it to your audience.
The format that you use is going to determine how detailed you get, how you present the information and how you’ll create the content.
Last week, I wrote a whole blog post with a free workbook that will walk you through each of the methods you can use to stay top of mind so if you haven’t checked that one out yet, start there.
2. Choose Your Frequency
You can create your marketing to go out on whatever frequency you want to but as you’re getting started, I encourage you to stick to a monthly schedule.
It’s way easier to create 12 pieces of content than it is to create biweekly (24) pieces of content or weekly (52) pieces.
By deciding your frequency, you can decide how specific and detailed you want to get with each piece of content.
If you decide to market to them more often, your pieces will probably be a little shorter to generate enough content and because if they’re too long, too often, your audience will start getting overwhelmed with the sheer amount of content while if you’ve decided to go monthly, you might want to get a little more detailed since the pieces come less often.
For mailings, video emails, emails or blog posts, I recommend starting with once a month.
That’s totally manageable and easy to create a year’s worth in one week.
If you’re going with social media, you’ll want to start with at least weekly.
As mentioned, in last week’s post, we talked about choosing ONE marketing method… I don’t like to do more than one piece of content per month for each method to get started.
3. Outline Your Content
There is NOTHING more obnoxious than when someone’s marketing sounds like this…
“Call me if you need a ___”
“50% off sale, stop by!”
Logic makes us think, emotion makes us act.
The average person receives about 5,000 sales messages per day and we’ve gotten REALLY good at ignoring them.
The easiest way to start outlining your content is to think of the 5-10 most common questions that people ask or objections they have about your product or service and then answer them in long form.
For example, when I’m selling real estate, a lot of buyers think that the best way to decide what to offer is to just to take the listing price, knock a few thousand off and then that’s what they’re going to offer….
Instead, I wrote a whole blog post on my real estate site about the 8 mistakes buyers make when deciding what to offer on a house and it’s actually the most popular post on my real estate blog… If you’re curious to see how
I put this into action, you can check out the post right here.
If you’re having trouble coming up with ideas, start thinking about other areas of interest that your target audience might want to know.
The more that you can answer their questions before they ask them, the more credibility you’ll gain with them and the more they’ll anticipate your connections.
I know this can seem a little overwhelming so I created a totally free workbook that will help you brainstorm ideas and outline your talking points for each idea and you can download it right here:
4. Create and Schedule Your Content
When we do our workshop series here in South Florida, we plan the entire series up front, pick the speakers and confirm the venues before the series even starts. Even though it’s a lot of work up front, it makes the implementation of it INSANELY easy throughout the series.
I take the same approach with marketing, blogging and everything else… I like to work based off of my energy so the mood hits to start doing videos, I do enough of them at once to schedule them all out for an extended period of time.
By working this way, it allows you to do it once and not worry about it again, it creates consistency for you and once you set it up, it just works in the background for you.
Because we’re creating and scheduling a year’s worth of content, you’ll want to make sure that all of your content is ‘evergreen’.
In other words, the content should be relevant no matter when it goes out.
For example, if you’re a financial planner, you might not want to talk about today’s stock prices when the email won’t go out for another six months.
Here’s a quick guideline for the length, my recommendation for platforms and pro tips for each of the methods I mentioned in last week’s post:
Email Newsletters: 500-750 words, don’t use a bunch of graphics or you might be flagged as spam and I highly recommend ConvertKit* as a platform over any other. I talk about what to send your audience and how to grow your email list here and here if you want to know more. Don’t use blocky text! Use one or two sentences and then hit enter (like this post) so it’s easier on the eyes.
Blog Posts: 1200+ words. I use both emails and blog posts and they’re both uniquely valuable. You can recycle blog posts so whenever I have a client who’s asking about a topic, I can just send them to the link whereas with email newsletters, you can’t really recycle them in the same way. Making sure that you’re not using blocky text is super important here and be sure to use lots of headers and images throughout your posts. When you’re writing, act like you’re answering the question to your friend because there’s nothing more unengaging then feeling like you have to read a college essay. Have some personality in your writing! I recommend WordPress.com for creating your blog and one of these days I’ll write a whole post about how to start a blog.
Video Emails: 1-3 minutes. You know as well as I do that anytime a video pops up, you go right to see how long the video is. 1-3 minutes is ideal because it’s short enough that they’ll sit and watch the whole video and keeps you from rambling. My favorite platform for video emails is BombBomb.
Snail Mail: I loveeee snail mail. There are a whole bunch of ways to do snail mail and it just depends on which suits you best. I’ve seen people mail a monthly testimonial from their clients, monthly newsletters, market statistics, and worksheets or cheat sheets. It totally depends on the type of value that you want to create for your clients and we’ll break that down in the free workbook for this post.
Social Media: Social media is probably the easiest, so long as you do it the right way. I know there are a bunch of social media scheduling platforms out there but SmarterQueue* is my favorite because you can recycle posts. For example, if you find 25 articles, 25 videos and 25 quotes to schedule, SmarterQueue will go through them all and when it gets to the bottom, recycle them again. Because social media algorithms only show your posts to 2-5% of your audience, there’s no reason that you can’t recycle your posts because most people didn’t see them the first time.
If you need help creating your content, this free workbook will break it down for you and give you a guide for what to do each day of the week to get a year’s worth of content created and scheduled:
5. Have A Follow-Up Plan For When People Respond
I’m addicted to systems… I like to blow people’s mind without having to put a whole lot of effort into it.
That’s sort of what my follow-up systems are like.
When someone tells me they want to buy or sell a house, they’re added to the appropriate follow-up plan and then get 32 touches over 90 days.
Yup, I know that sounds crazy and I didn’t intend for it to end up like that but it did… and because I wanted to blow their mind, stay top of mind and not have to do a whole lot of work, that’s sort of how it worked out.
Those 32 follow-ups include 12 emails (it’s one email a day for 12 days that breaks down one step in the home buying/selling process), 13 texts over 13 weeks, 4 mailings and 3 phone calls. If they’re a seller, they also get added to my system for a monthly email valuation of their home and if they’re a buyer, they get added to an automated property search.
With that in mind, it actually ends up being more than 32 touches, but believe it or not, they don’t complain.
They don’t complain because I’m following up in a bunch of different ways and none of it is spammy… Every single piece of content is something useful that they often go “wow, your emails are amazing” or “I thought I knew real estate and I’ve learned so much.”
To be clear… You do not have to do that much or anywhere close.
I’m a huge advocate of the 8×8 follow-up and I just so happen to have a whole blog post about that.
However you decide to do it, making sure that every single piece of content is useful is the difference between them being like “LEAVE ME ALONE!” and “holy crap, I can’t wait to work with you.”
If you’re ready to put this into action, make sure you get your free workbook right here:
There are sooooooooooo many ways that you can share your message with your audience.
When you’re starting out, choose ONE format you want to use to communicate… and once you’ve systemized it so that it runs on it’s own, then and only then, should you add another format.
The biggest mistake that I see people making when they start trying to form their marketing plan for their network is they bite off more than they can chew.
(and I’ve been here more than once)
Seriously though, start with one.
I know I know, you have a huge master plan that you want to put together… but do yourself a favor and start with one.
While you’re selecting your format, think about what you LIKE to do and can realistically do it consistently.
I love love love going live on Facebook and doing little chats in my Instastories but I don’t do more video stuff because I freakin’ hate editing videos…
I’ve also found that my community appreciates the raw realness of unedited videos, so I’ve been doing more of it.
In next week’s blog post, I’m going to teach you how to create a year’s worth of marketing in one week but for this week, I want you to think about the method you want to focus on.
Method #1: Email Newsletters
There’s no place more sacred in internet marketing than someone’s inbox.
Social media algorithms will change, they always do… So if you have a direct line to their inbox and you create engaging content that gets them to WANT to open and click in your emails, you can monetize your email list.
Whether you’re a blogger, you’re trying to build your credibility with your network or you’re trying to convert a lead into a client, email works.
Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
Don’t believe me?
Just got this text last night:
… and it just so happens that I have a wholeeee article about what to send to your email list:
Method #2: Blog Posts
I freakin’ love blogs (if you couldn’t tell)…
Specifically because when someone comes to me asking for advice on something, I’ll give them a quick little answer and then direct them to a blog post that I’ve written that will answer the rest of their questions.
It allows me to blow people’s minds without taking up a ton of my time.
Plus, it doesn’t hurt that I regularly get emails or messages from people like “I read your ___ article and I had to bookmark it because it was so good!”
It’s good for the ego, builds brand loyalty andddd it reinforces my blogging philosophy: I only publish if it’s epic.
So sure, I don’t publish every week like some bloggers do… but when I do, you know that I’ve poured my heart and soul into it and you know that you’re going to get something out of it.
The key to blogging and monetizing it is getting them to take action… and specifically, get their email address (which brings us back to email newsletters).
Method #3: Video Emails
I’ve dabbled in video and totally see the value of it, I just don’t do more of it because I hateeeeeee editing videos and I haven’t found someone yet to do it for me who’s style I like, turn around is fast enough and is affordable (if that’s you, hit me up!).
You know how they say that a picture is worth a thousand words?
I just saw a statistic somewhere that said one minute of video is worth 1.8 million words.
If that doesn’t tell you the value of video, I don’t know what does.
I actually did a poll on my Instagram about whether my audience preferred super scripted and edited videos or if they preferred the raw, real life videos that I normally do in my Instachats.
Believe it or not, they preferred the rawness of the unedited videos which motivated me to start doing a monthly video email to my real estate list about the things going on in the community. I’ve already recorded and scheduled emails for an entire year and they’re LOVIN’ it.
In addition, video consumption goes up every single year so I anticipate that in the future, video will be our main form of communication.
I also do tonssss of videos on my Instastories… Sometimes they’re chats related to MEB topics and sometimes they’re property videos. Those stories have increased our memberships, attendance and gotten me wayyyy more real estate referrals so yes, video totally works.
Method #4: Social Media
Firstly, I know I just clumped all of the social media platforms into one category when they all deserve their own sections but for the sake of the length of this post, we’re not going to get into detail here about how to build a following on social media.
If you’re going to choose this route, choose one platform and master it first. You don’t need to be on every platform.
That’s how you burn out.
Here’s what you need to know: hangout where your target audience does.
If it’s Instagram, become a boss on Instagram. If it’s Facebook, master that shit. If you’re a blogger, you probably already know about the impact Pinterest can have on your list building and traffic… or maybe it’s Snapchat.
Whatever the platform is, master it before you go to the next platform.
By focusing on one platform, you can GREATLY increase your impact on your audience because of how much content you can create for that one platform.
The more they see you contributing value, the more they’re willing to do business with you.
Oh, and for the love of God… Do yourself a favor and systemize it.
My absolute favorite social media scheduling platform is SmarterQueue because they recycle the posts so it’s ACTUALLY set it and forget it.
Social media can be done a few different ways…
You can use social media as a mini-blog itself and focus your content on educating, informing and inspiring your audience or you can use it to promote your other avenues.
Either way, your content should be useful.
… If your content is not educational, inspiring or useful, you shouldn’t be posting it.
The content that you share doesn’t have to be alllll yours.
You can share other people’s content that’s related to your topic, but PLEASEEEEE do not continue to post “50% off! Call me now!”
That just makes you look spammy.
Method #5: Mailings (And yes, I mean snail mail)
I know this is a millennial blog so you’re probably like, “um, excuse me, what?”
Hear me out…
If your mail pieces are valuable, they will get opened and they won’t get thrown out.
In fact, when someone tells me they want to buy or sell a house, they get four mailings from me.
The first mailing is a handwritten note and the other three are worksheets or cheat sheets to help them get ready for their move.
I cannot even tell you how many thank you’s I’ve gotten for them.
Specifically, they’ve LOVED them because it gave them actionable content to implement right away.
We’re not talking about junk mail here…
We’re talking about hardcore, useful content.
And ‘why mail’, you ask?
Not everyone is going to open your emails… but when is the last time you got something USEFUL in the mail that wasn’t a bill or junk mail?
It’s the something-something to make you stand out.
Over the long-term, think about sending them something once a month that might be useful for them.
Sure, mail is more expensive than some of the others but it works so incredibly well because you’re getting to them in a way that most other people have forgotten.
Ready to put this into action?
I’ve got a totally free workbook for you to help you decide which method to use and how to figure out how much money you’ll make per method.
My Secret Weapons
I don’t include these secret weapons as actual “methods” because they are part of the bigger picture of marketing. You’re probably not going to do a one on one with every person in your network every month and you could either email or mail your checklists and worksheets.
So with that in mind, these two little things upgrade your marketing a million times over:
Weapon #1: One On Ones
Do not underestimate the power of the one-to-one connection.
Whether that’s phone calls, one on one meetings or personal emails, the one-to-one connection is the single most powerful connection you can possibly have.
So long as you focus on the right people, this is hands down the most powerful form of building credibility with your community.
I’m going to write an entire post about how to organize and maintain relationships with your community, just haven’t had a chance to do so yet but when I do, I’ll make sure I add it right here.
Don’t try to do everything… Pick one or two ways to create value for your audience and do them at a high level.
… and whatever you do, do it consistently.
Weapon #2: Checklists and Workbooks
I’m obsessed with checklists, worksheets and cheat sheets… I have checklists for everything that I do and I created checklists for everythingggg that our MEB team needs to do on a regular basis. I have open house checklists, client intake checklists, and worksheets for pretty much everything that happens in my businesses.
They help us stay consistent, systemized and it makes it incredibly easy to track our results (since what you don’t track, you can’t improve).
These are SUPER popular with bloggers and infopreneurs but ANYONE can implement this into their business.
People will LOVE you for them because you’re giving hem clarity… and clarity is power.
Here’s a sneak peak of some of my worksheets and checklists:
Most people get overwhelmed by things they don’t understand, so if you can simplify it for your ideal client, remove the fog and help them see the process from beginning to end, you’re the person that made them feel like they can conquer it… and you’ll get the business.
For example, for my real estate business, I have a checklist for my sellers of everything that they’ll need to do to prep the house before we go up for sale… I have a worksheet for buyers to use to keep notes of the houses they’ve seen. I have a flow chart that walks them through the whole closing process.
Not only do they love it, but it saves me tonsssssssssssssss of phone calls of “what did you say about ___ again?”… because they know they can go back to the worksheets and checklists I gave them.
I’m all about giving someone a “wow” experience and blowing their mind but I FIERCELY protect my time and by creating alllll this content up front, I can do all of that simultaneously.
All of which leads me to…
Repurpose, repurpose, repurpose
I. Cannot. Stress. This. Enough.
If you answered a question in a video, make a quick little meme about it and share it on whatever social media platform you love.
Then turn it into an infographic….
Add the video to a blog post and then detail the answer in writing too (that way people who prefer to read it can and the people who prefer to watch it can too).
Tell a story about it on your Instastory or Snapchat.
Create a worksheet, checklist or cheatsheet about it.
Turn it into a tutorial.
You work hard to create your content so if you use it in a bunch of different ways, you’ll make sure that you get enough eyeballs on it for it to make a difference.
I don’t care how epic your video, blog or meme was… People are busy and social media algorithms aren’t your friend.
It doesn’t matter how many different ways you create the same content, most people won’t see it in one way and everyone digests information differently so even if they DID see it, it doesn’t mean they actually remember it.
Just because you post about it once on social media, doesn’t mean everyone saw it (in fact, less than 5% of your friends and followers will see your posts on social media so you HAVE to repurpose for it to be seen).
Just because you sent out an email, doesn’t mean they read the whole thing (or even opened it).
Next week, we’re going to talk about how to create a year’s worth of marketing for your network in just one week, but for this week, I really want you to focus on the ONE (not three or five) method you want to implement in your business. Start there… and once you’ve decided, creating a year’s worth of content will be easy peasy.
In the meantime, I created a totally free workbook to help you brainstorm which method you want to use and how to figure out how much money you’ll make per method.
One on one meetings are the very foundation of our in-person chapters.
When we established our leadership committees, I created worksheets and cheat sheets for pretty much every single thing they need to do… but I didn’t include the one on ones so I was going to make a quick cheat sheet for them.
Instead, I decided this was too valuable to only keep to our leadership, so here’s a wholeeeeee post for you!
Of any form of marketing, networking, advertising or otherwise, the one on one meeting consistently has the HIGHEST conversion rate from turning potentially interested people into actual members for our in-person chapters.
Here’s the kicker… During my one on ones, I only spend about two minutes telling them about MEB and the rest of the time I focus on them.
There are a million different ways to approach a one on one meeting but I’ve found that this method reallyyyyyy gets them engaged and helps me figure out the best way(s) to help them.
Before we get started, if the thought of asking for the one on one makes you nervous, I’ve got a wholeeeee blog post for you right here:
… And if you’re the person who treats your business cards like frisbees instead of having a genuine conversation when you meet them, this one is especially for you:
Now let’s get to work.
Write this down…
Everyone wants to buy but no one wants to be sold.
With that in mind, most salespeople spend like nine million years talking about how great their product or service is and the listener might nod along politely… and you may or may not be getting through to them but without asking great questions and understanding what they actually need, you literally have no idea.
Instead of talking their ear off about stuff that may or may not be important to them, listen more… Ask more questions.
You’ll be amazeddddd at what people will tell you if you just ask the right questions and make them feel like they’re being heard without being judged.
With this approach, they’ll usually tell you exactly how to win them over and you can finesse your way through that conversation without actually trying to sell them at all.
Your goal is to be a solution to their challenges, not to try to force a sale.
Social media and Google are goldmines of information on people.
See what mutual friends you have, check out their interests, take note of any awards they’ve received and anything you have in common.
A quick 3 minute search on someone will give you TONS to talk about.
Keep in mind, when you go into your one on one, you’re not going with the “I stalked you and know everything about you” mentality…
You’re just looking for something to help relate to them and guide your conversation and it will help you seem genuinely interested in them.
A few quick little icebreakers that you might use are things like…
“When I added you on [insert social media site], I noticed you’re connected to ___. So funny! [insert how you know them]. How do you know them?” (PLEASE NOTE: Never ever ever speak lowly of anyone with this approach)
“I saw you recently went to ___. I’ve been meaning to go there! How was it?”
Figuring out what you have in common means you can build rapport with them quickly.
The research part of networking is so important that I created a quick little worksheet to help you flesh out the important information before you meet with someone and you can download it totally free right here:
Be Human + Ask Great Questions
For the people who don’t think small talk matters, I hope I can give you a quick mindset shift…
I want you to write this down…
People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.
Instead of spending all of your time talking about how great your product, service or opportunity is, you can literally just focus on what they’re looking for… and then customize your “pitch” (and I use that word lightly) to them.
Make no mistake though, if you are going for an “ask”, you are selling.
We are ALL salespeople, but instead of a hardcore sales approach, we’re taking a consultative approach.
The amount of effort you put into helping them will be reflected in the amount of effort they put into helping you.
My absolute favoriteeee way to add value to people is to introduce them to someone else in my network…
Think about it… Introducing two people can literally change the course of both of their lives.
… and by doing that, I keep the attention on them, am contributing value, I get to reconnect with two people at the same time (aka killing two birds with one stone) and I know that once they connect, they’re going to brag about how awesome I am since the first thing they have in common to talk about is me.
Talk about getting your audience to brag about you!
Among other ways to add value, you can tell them about a book, podcast or other resource that you came across that can help them reach their goals.
… but I like making introductions the best.
Go For Your Ask
After you’ve gotten to know them, learned about their goals, challenges, successes and so on… At some point, they’re going to ask about you.
It’s human nature…
We don’t like to feel vulnerable if the other people in our space aren’t also vulnerable.
So by focusing on connecting with them and showing them that you care, they’re going to CARE about what you have to say.
After you’ve asked them how you can help them, they’ll usually finish it off with, “so how can I help you?”
So when they do ask about you, tell them about your goals… and more specifically, make your “goal” your “ask” clear.
During my usual one on ones, there’s a point where they go (literally almost verbatim at every single one on one), “so what about you?”
I’ll usually laugh and talk about why I do what I do.
They almost always comment on my passion for helping people reach their goals…
At this point, my “asks” vary based on what context I’m meeting the person.
Some people I’d like to have sponsor MEB events, some are for real estate clients, some are for specific introductions and some are for members.
Whatever you do, make your ask easy to say yes to.
Instead of, “become a client” or “buy my product”, give them a baby step to say yes to…
Ask for an introduction, share a resource with them that they might find valuable or ask them to come to a free event.
When you’re first getting started, keep your ask consistent.
With one specific ask, whenever the people in your network talk about you, they’ll start to mastermind about how to help you.
Seriously, I’m not kidding.
I’m a huge fan of earning the business in the follow-up so my first ask isn’t usually hardcore. It’s more of like a temperature test… and as I go through the follow-up process after our meeting, they warm up to the idea.
If the idea of following up seems overwhelming, I’ve got justttttt the post for you.
As for going for the ask, it’s probably going to feel clumsy and weird to ask at first, but it gets easier.
… but have an ask and ask it often.
Action Items and Recap
My goal is to blow people’s mind… but I don’t want to have to kill myself to do it.
Every. single. conversation. should have an action item at the end.
It’s how you keep things moving forward.
Thennnn, do the action item right after.
I like to do them sitting in my car before I drive off or if I get to my next destination with a few minutes to spare, I’ll do it while waiting.
Keep in mind, my absolute favorite way to add value is to make introductions.
It’s the easiest way to have a hugeeeee impact on someone’s life that takes you literally no effort.
For the sake of length of this post, I’m not going to get into alllll the details of following up after a meeting because I’ve written an entireeeee post about how to turn your new connections into real relationships that you can monetize.
Don’t forget, you can download the free meeting prep workbook right here:
Most amateur networkers ask for a meeting like this, “Hey ____, my name is ___. I just started ____ and I’d really like to network with you to see how we can be mutually beneficial.”
There are a few issues with that…
Firstly, you have no credibility… so what you want is irrelevant (sorry).
Secondly, if you’re brand new, the exchange of value isn’t going to be equal… So what you’re really asking for is their time to get something out of them but probably won’t be able to contribute anything.
Thirdly, you haven’t given any context to HOW you can help each other.
Instead, I want you to focus on connecting, relating, offering value and going for an assumptive close.
Asking for a meeting after someone introduced you
Here’s an example of the introduction email that I got from someone…
Alexa, meet Maria. Maria, meet Alexa. Alexa is easily the most entrepreneurial and enterprising leader of her generation. In addition to her work as a realtor with Keller Williams she has founded Millennium Empire Builders, a leadership cultivation organization dedicated to helping Millenials achieve their full potential in their private and work lives. She’s done amazing work in the Broward area and is now moving into Miami-Dade with her work. Maria is a financial advisor at Morgan Stanley. I met her through the New Leaders Task Force for the Beacon Council and can attest to her energy and drive. She’s already made some inroads in our firm and has impressed a number of our associates with her skills and presentations. Maria lives in Miami-Dade but she works in North Dade/South Broward so it occurred to me that there would be significant synergies between the work you are both doing. That and suspect you will simply enjoying developing a relationship with each other. You’re both conquering the world in your own spheres. Go forth and be successful. Best, Jaret
[In this scenario, someone has made the introduction for you and probably already given you some context about each other. In this case, lean on the credibility of the person making the introduction and being that you don’t have a whole lot of context yet, you don’t need to try to sell the person since the introducer has already recommended that you guys meet and has given you a framework to build off of]
Here was my response:
Hi Jaret! Thank you so much for the intro and the kind words! Always love meeting other Empire builders 🙂 Hi Maria! Sounds like we have some chatting to do 🙂 I’d love to grab lunch or coffee to learn more about what you do and how I can be of service. Afternoons and evenings are usually best for me so shoot me over a few dates that work for you and we’ll coordinate from there!
To which Maria responded…
Good evening Jaret, Thank you for that wonderful introduction. I really appreciate it! Alexa, I would love to hear more about your accomplishments and get to know more of what you do. It all sounds very interesting! I’m free to do either lunch or drinks/coffee later in the afternoon on March 13th or March 15th. If those don’t work, I’m also available for dinner on March 21st or lunch April 4th. Let me know where your office is located. I work right on Las Olas but I’m flexible and we could pick a spot that is in between us. Look forward to hearing back from you and setting a meeting to meet in person.
Example 1. Asking A Potential Mentor and Sponsor For A Meeting
Luis came to speak at one of our workshops before and now that we just launched our Miami chapter, I wanted to reconnect with him but since I don’t have a whole bunch to offer him, I offered to make an introduction before I asked for the meeting. Here’s the email chain for you (prepare for a bunch of “he said” and then “I said” lol):
Hi Luis! Hope all is well 🙂 Not sure if you remember me but you came to speak for my young professionals last year about how local politics works. I met a gentleman who’s heavily involved in the Government Contractor’s Association recently and instantly thought of you!… His organization teaches small businesses how to secure government contracts and being that you work in the lobbying field, I figured you might be interested in speaking for them and could possibly get a few clients out of it since that’s right up your alley. Let me know if you’d like me to make the connection 🙂
I never want to come across as a taker, so I always like to open a cold follow-up with some sort of value first… and 9 times out of 10, that’s an introduction (more on that in another post). Literally five minutes later, I got this response…
Alexa, So good to hear from you. Thank you for thinking of me. Please make the connection.
Which lead to…
Hi Again! Awesome… Will do right now! Also, would love to grab a quick lunch or coffee with you… We also just started our Miami chapter and would love to pick your brain about connecting with the Miami community since it’s a wholeeee different beast than Broward! I’m sure you have a TON going on so just let me know what your schedule is like for the next week or so and I’d be happy to accommodate… If Wednesday works, I’ll already be in the area. Otherwise, I’ll work around your schedule 🙂
Hello back! I’m unavailable next Wednesday. How about Monday or Tuesday next week? I’m available from 1:30-2:30pm on both days. Cheers.
Easy as that.
A few key takeaways here…
If it’s a cold person, offer value first. That value can come in the form of an introduction, book recommendation, article, check-in, whatever. I don’t usually just go for the cold close because even if they agree, they’ll question your motives.
Once you’ve offered value, don’t be afraid to go for the ask. In Luis’ case, I know that he knows his shit and he likes to do workshops. He’s a lobbyist so I knew that the connection would be valuable for both Tony (the guy from GCA) and Luis. I also know that he likes to mentor, so “picking his brain” is a hugeee compliment to him.
Give them an option to say no while still going for an assumptive close. Yup, that sounds counter productive but I promise it works. By acknowledging that he’s super busy and that I would work around him, I’m showing how much I respect his time and that I’m not going to waste it. At the same time, I’m already assuming he’ll say yes so I gave him a few options.
Example 2. Following Up With A Potential MEB Member
Oscar came to one of our social events…
Hi Oscar! Just wanted to reach out and thank you for coming to our mixer at the Wilder! It was so much fun meeting you and I’m curious to hear more about what your working on and how I might be able to help so I’d love to grab lunch or coffee sometime next week! Afternoons and evenings generally work best for me, so let me know what works for you!
In talking to tonssss of young professionals, I know that they are alwayssss open to a great, intellectually stimulating conversation. Seriously, ask a group of young professionals if they’d like to hang around more “like-minded” people and almost every one of them will raise their hands. With that in mind, I always focus on THEIR goals and how I can help THEM. I don’t even mention MEB or trying to get them to join.
Hi Alexa, Thank you for following up. I can do lunch on Tuesday if you are available. I will be in the Cooper City area in the morning and can possible meet you Broward Mall area after. Let me know!
There you go.
Asking for a meeting isn’t difficult… Focus on how you can help and get out of the mindset that you’re “bothering” them.
11/26/2017(updated 10/25/2018) Published by Alexa Rosario | Comments: 9
Once you meet someone new, your goal is to establish and KEEP mindshare.
Our brains can only carry 1-2 brands in our minds at a time to a specific thing.
In real estate, 88% of people say that they’ll do business with their previous realtor again but don’t because the realtor doesn’t keep in touch.
If I asked you to name a brand of potato chips, a car, a sports team, or pretty much anything else, you’ll find the first two (or maybeeee three) come at the snap of a finger… Beyond that, your answer will probably start with
After you meet someone, your goal is to steal that top spot in their mind for whatever your brand does.
Now if you only follow-up once, we have their attention for all of 0.00002 seconds. It takes us about 7 times of seeing something or someone before we recognize it and are ready to take action.
With that in mind, we’re going to follow-up eight times over eight weeks (or what we call an 8×8).
Before you freak out about overwhelming people, those follow-ups (touches) are going to be diversified so you’re not calling them eight times and they won’t feel like you’re harassing them.
I know this can seem overwhelming, so I created a FREE workbook to help you put it into action:
Touch 1: Send a Handwritten Note
I know I know, this might sound a little “extra”, but that’s the point.
How often do you get mail that’s not a bill?
Unless you shop like a crazy person online, you probably don’t.
Our goal is to make them feel important.
The more people you can make feel important and help reach their goals, the more people who will help you and the faster you’ll get to yours.
With a handwritten note, you’re showing them that they’re important enough for you to take the time out of your day to write the note.
The note doesn’t have to be anything fancy….
It can be something as simple as, “Hi Erica! It was so nice to meet you at the event at American Social. It was so fun chatting with you about our workout routines. I’m looking forward to connecting with you again and learning more about your goals. In the meantime, should you ever have any questions regarding real estate or otherwise, please feel comfortable enough to reach out. I’m always here to help!”
Again, the goal is to blow. their. mind.
No one else does this.
They won’t forget you.
Just a few pro tips:
Write in blue ink instead of black. There’s something psychological about blue ink that brings happy feelings.
My favorite notecards are from Notecard Cafe because they’re cheap, beautiful and you can customize the color of the envelope. My branding is teal, so my envelopes are teal. With that in mind, my goal is to make sure that when someone sees a teal envelope, they know it’s from me. Pick a color that represents your brand and stick with it.
Buy stamps by the roll. If you have the envelopes and stamps on hand, you’re a million times more likely to do it. When I first started doing this, I’d write the notes and they’d sit in my car until I had to throw them away or re-write them because they’d been bent, stepped on or had fingerprints all over them. Keep the stamps on hand. You can thank me later.
Make a habit of ALWAYS doing it the day after a networking event. If you wait two days or longer, you’re more likely to forget or start coming up with reasons not to sit down to write them.
Touch 2: Send a Follow-Up Email or Text
Have email, notecard and text templates ready for your follow-ups.
If you have to think, you’re wayyyyy less likely to do the follow-ups so templates make it insanely easy to plug it in, customize it for the person and do the follow-up.
I prefer to connect with people in person, so I usually invite people to lunch, brunch, happy hour or some other event… So you’ll want to have a follow-up template so you don have to figure out how to word it every time.
I use Calendly to integrate with my calendar so they can pick whatever time works best for them to connect.
I use Contactually CRM because the system is built to help you follow-up with your existing network in a beautiful, easy to use way and it gives you the ability to easily use templates. I also have text templates with my social media info so that I don’t have to go digging for it.
The more templates you use, the easier your follow-ups will be.
Oh, and a quick pro tip: just because you use templates doesn’t mean you can’t make your follow-ups personal. Use the template and jazz it up for each person with a little p.s. at the end.
Touches 3, 5 and 7: Send An Item of Value
Touches 3, 5 and 7 should be items of value related to whatever you’re trying to gain mindshare for…
So as a realtor, I have an 8×8 for future buyers, an 8×8 for future sellers and an 8×8 for regular “newly mets”.
For buyers and sellers, those 3 items of value are mailed to a physical address and they’re quick cheat sheets that answer the questions most buyers will usually ask. For the regular newly mets, the touches are simply connecting them with someone, inviting them to an event and asking how I can help them.
Touches 4, 6 and 8: Call Them
For touches 4, 6 and 8, you’re going to call them to check up on them… Here’s my favorite script:
“Hey Sam, this is Alexa, your favorite realtor. Just checking in to make sure you got the __ that I sent you? [Yes, I got it.] Great! Did you have any questions that I can answer for you? [If they’ve said I’m thinking about buying or selling in the next year or so, I ask a third question] Have you given anymore thought to your purchase/sale OR is that home purchase/sale still in the plans for you?”
By keeping it super simple and only having two or three questions for them, you get to learn about their motivation and what they need… and you’re WAY better positioned to give them exactly what they need, rather than spending all your time and energy trying to sell them on something they don’t even really want or need.
The more you have to think, the less likely you are to do all of this, so you should have some sort of system to remind you when to follow-up with people. I love Contactually but there are also SUPER low-tech ways to do this too.
Staying In Touch Beyond the 8×8
Beyond the 8×8, you’ll want to continue to keep in touch with them. Just because you currently have mindshare, doesn’t automatically mean that you’ll be able to keep it. You’ll need to continue staying in touch so that you’re always their go to resource.
Business cards are meant to be like a key to unlock a relationship. It’s the beginning of a relationship, not the end.
If you don’t follow-up and keep in touch, all of your efforts into networking will have been wasted.
… and truthfully, following-up is the hardest part of networking.
09/09/2017(updated 05/15/2019) Published by Alexa Rosario | Comments: 3
Look at your to-do list… How does it make you feel?
The idea of productivity is addicting.
I don’t mean the actual act of getting stuff done (because we would never procrastinate if that were the case), but looking at Pinterest for productivity ideas, googling and reading about HOW to actually get more stuff done…
At some point though, we have to put on our grown up panties, roll up our sleeves and actually get to work.
But sometimes, it’s impossible to figure out where to start because EVERYTHING feels important and instead of doing SOMETHING, you decide to do absolutely. nothing.
… and then you end up on YouTube watching random videos about aliens (or maybe that’s just me).
In the past few weeks we’ve been talking a whole lot about productivity. The post about prioritizing did so well that I wanted to expand on it and get into the nitty gritty details about how to execute on the things you’ve prioritized so that you’re actually putting all of this into action and not just learning for the sake of learning
What Is Sprint Planning
If you think of a marathon, it’s pacing yourself to go a long distance.
In terms of getting stuff done, being able to go the long run is definitely helpful but looking at it as a marathon makes it infinitely more difficult to get focused.
When you sprint, you’re focused on going a short distance, as quickly as you can.
In terms of productivity, we break our goals into two-week mini projects and focus on getting those done. We don’t worry about the two weeks after the sprint that we’re in, we are solely focused on our current sprint.
Update June 2018: I now only do one week sprints and it actually helps even more.
After all, distraction is the enemy of productivity.
Through my journey of trying to figure out how to get through this monster of a to-do list, I’ve learned a few things about myself:
If my to-do list gets above 7ish tasks for the day, I get overwhelmed.
I like to work based on my level of energy at the moment.
I can’t function unless my workspace is organized.
Don’t even talk to me about relationship building until my admin stuff is done.
The higher the priority, the more I find myself NOT wanting to do it.
Why is all of this important?
If you don’t know what works for you, you’ll never find a system that works… and truthfully, it’s an ongoing journey of polishing and refining so you can ACTUALLY get stuff done.
What works for me may be the complete opposite of what works for you, but you’ll only know that if you are constantly analyzing your systems and tweaking them to make sure they are working for you.
Find Your Tools
I’m obsessed with powerful platforms that are INCREDIBLY easy to use and have a beautiful interface so I use ToDoist to organize my tasks.
In fact, a lot of people complain that there’s TOO MUCH white space in the app.
I like it.
Truthfully, you can do most of the features I’m going to mention here on a few other apps, but ToDoist has become part of my workflow and I’m just totally obsessed because of some of their smaller features that I didn’t even know I needed until I had them (more on that later).
The only caveat is that to get access to all of the features, you’ll need to upgrade to premium which is $30/year.
Honestly, this is my fourth year upgrading and I continue to upgrade because I love ToDoist… I’ll happily pay the $30 if it’s going to save me HOURS of stress and frustration.
In addition to having a to-do list app, you’ll also need to use a calendar.
They don’t work independently of each other, they work in unison like the right and left hand to your productivity machine.
If you need help getting your calendar in order, this post will be helpful for you:
Organizing Your To-Do List
I’m going to get into the nitty gritty detail of how I plan my to-do list and I don’t want you to get overwhelmed… At the end, I’m going to walk you through a few really simple steps that I’ve figured out to maintain this and how to categorize your tasks so your brain always stays organized.
At it’s very core, you need to group tasks together based on the goal they’re working towards… That, my friend, is a project.
I’m almost embarrassed to tell you how many times I’ve restructured my projects and how I organize them, but I’ve been using this system for awhile and it REALLY seems to be working for me…
My first group of projects is called “Grind”.
These are repetitive tasks that you have to consistently keep doing to grow and sustain your business… They’re annoying but they have to get done. These are things like lead generation, marketing, checking in with the virtual assistants that make this organization run, existing business and networking action items.
Grind projects are important because they keep the wheels of your life and business spinning and are often the first ones you’ll delegate when you’re able to hire help.
The next category I call “growth”. These are mini projects that are going to take a week or two to complete.
I only work on one at a time and I recommend that you do the same — it’ll give you a greater sense of completion once you’ve finished the project.
psst. Remember when I said before that this post gets super detailed and technical?
Don’t scroll along without implementing as you learn or you’re just going to get more overwhelmed.
Brain Dumping and Prioritizing Your Projects
You know when you commit to a new project and you get super excited about it so you start obsessing over it and thinking about all of the possibilities?
Start by making a list of all of those projects that you want to work on and get excited about.
Make sure that each project is small enough that you can complete it within one to two weeks.
If there’s a big project that you want to work on, break it down into smaller steps that can be completed within that one to two week timeframe.
I find that being able to complete something every week or two really does WONDERS for your sense of accomplishment and your motivation.
When you create the project, dump all of the action items into the project. Don’t worry about giving them dates or anything, just make a list of everything you’ll need to do to make it happen. This serves two purposes:
It gets it out of your head so that you’re not obsessing over it.
It gets you into the mindset for action and possibility rather than thinking about all the reasons why it won’t work or can’t be done.
As an added benefit, all that insomnia you’re feeling because your brain won’t stop?
That’ll start to go away too because it’s all out of your head!
Our brains are thinking machines, not memory machines… and when you force your brain to be a memory machine, it gets overwhelmed and stressed.
Just get it out of your head and you’ll feel like you just went through a mental cleanse.
After you’ve made your list, pick the top 3-5 projects you want to focus on and put them in your growth section while the rest can go in the “mid-term growth” section (more on that in a few).
Here is where I highly recommend you go check out our guest post about prioritizing because as you’re going through this activity, you’ll likely face a point where you start feeling like multiple projects are equally important.
Remember you can get everything done, just not all at the same time.
Ask yourself the focusing question, “what is the one thing that I can do right now that will make everything else easier or unnecessary?”
Your highest priority and most urgent 3-5 projects are your growth projects.
I like calling them “growth projects” because they are the things that will keep you out of a rut, keep you learning and implementing new things in your life and business.
These are the things that should be top of mind.
Within each project, start listing off all of the things you’d need to do to make it happen… It doesn’t have to be perfect, you’re sort of just brain dumping at this point.
Once you’ve picked the first project you’re going to focus on, give those tasks dates that you’ll do them. Remember, this project should be able to be completed within 2 weeks. If it’ll take longer than that, find a way to break it into two separate projects.
Just to be super, insanely clear… You are ONLY assigning dates for the project that you’re currently working on.
Forget about the other projects right now… Your only focus is to get that one done.
While you’re assigning dates, make sure that it’s in alignment with your calendar. If you know that you’re going to be going to an event or have a big meeting on a specific day, you’ll probably want to lighten your workload for that day.
One of the single best things I’ve implemented into my life is to HALF my workload.
That means if you think a project is going to take a week, give yourself two weeks to complete it. By doing this, you allow yourself “white space” to be creative, regain energy and deal with fires as they come up.
That means if you gave yourself 3 tasks for that day, put the most important one for that date and leave the rest for another day.
Will you get less done?
I know, that sounds counterintuitive but I promise it’s changed my life.
Now, I find myself going ahead of schedule because once I finish that one task, I’m already on a roll and am ready to knock out a few other quick ones.
Whereas before, I always felt like I was behind and was putting so much pressure on myself that I was getting way less done because I was overwhelmed.
Here’s an example of one of my Growth Projects:
In this project, I’m planning a workshop series for our Miami chapter.
Because this will take me two weeks to complete, most of the days only have one task from my growth project assigned to it and the days that have two tasks are because the other task will take less than 10 minutes.
Since I started implementing this, I’ve actually been able to gain some work life balance back and really start enjoying my life again instead of slaving away working 24/7.
Before you raise your pitchforks and start fighting for your right to multitask, think about something for a second…
Let’s say you have a 1 gallon jug to pour from into 10 cups.
If you distribute it evenly, none of the cups will fill. If you’re lucky, each cup will end up 1/2 full.
However, if you fill one to the rim, then go to the next, you probably won’t get to all of them, but you will have successfully filled a few of the cups.
This same concept applies to productivity.
When you’re filling 10 different cups (projects) halfway, you’re never actually finishing anything. Your mind is constantly scattered between each of the projects so your brain has no white space, is constantly fighting to figure out what the priority needs to be, you stop being creative because your brain goes into overload and you’re constantly working but feeling like you’re never actually getting anything done.
On the opposite hand, if you focus on one project at a time, you get into flow and are making significant progress on that one project. Since you’re finishing it before moving onto the next project, your sense of completion is high and you’re constantly experiencing little wins.
Success breeds success, so if you can create more opportunities to be successful, you’re building a habit of being successful.
Because after all, success is a journey, not a destination.
So seriously, raise your right hand and repeat after me…
“I, ___, solemnly swear, affirm and pinky promise that I will focus on ONE growth project at a time and will not move on until it’s done.”
Which now leads me to my next point…
Because you have two weeks to finish each project, it doesn’t give you time to be a perfectionist.
You’ll notice some of the projects have a bunch of tasks while some of them don’t have any.
Once I finish my current growth projects, these mid-term projects will then start to take the place of those growth projects.
By separating the two (immediate growth vs. mid-term gorwth), it’s made it INCREDIBLY clear what my priorities are and I’m not distracted by every other shiny idea that I might have at the moment.
The key takeaway here is to get it out of your head and into ToDoist so that you can focus on actually being productive instead of all of the things that you want to do.
All of the projects under the self category have to do with my personal life.
For some people, they don’t like to keep their personal and professional lives together… I personally believe it’s impossible to balance your life if you don’t have them together.
The tasks that go into my self project are everything from having a recurring reminder to get my car washed, checking credit karma, picking up my dry cleaning or other things of that nature. We’ll talk more about this in a minute, but I also have a reminder to do my “Sunday ritual” so that I can keep everything together and keep all of the plates spinning without burning out.
One of the most important projects is the one where you focus on self-development.
In fact, studies show that 90% of people lose their growth mindset once they’ve settled into their careers… and yet 10% of the population maintains 90% of the wealth.
That cannot be a coincidence.
At the end of the day, if you’re not growing, you’re dying.
This should include courses you want to take, things you want to learn and books you want to read.
We talked about our growth projects (top 3-5 mini projects) and our mid-term growth projects (mini projects within the next 3-6 months), so what do you do with all of the projects that you want to do but just don’t know when you’ll get around to?
Drum roll pleaseeeee….
This category of projects will keep you away from shiny object syndrome.
Come on, you know exactly what I’m talking about…
You’re sitting at a restaurant and you get this incredible million-dollar idea and your mind goes off on a tangent about all of the possibilities.
If you know that it’s not realistic for you to do it right now but you don’t want to forget about it, put it in your someday projects.
You’d be surprised how quickly you’ll get around to it when you’re crushing your priorities one step at a time.
If you noticed in the “growth project” section with our Miami workshop series, there’s little tags under each task like “relationship building” or “content creation”.
Most apps have some sort of ability to do this, they just might call it something different.
As much as I’ve played around with my projects, I think I’ve played around with labels even more.
I find that using them as “contexts” it allows me to batch my tasks so that I’m doing all of the admin work at the same time, all of the phone calls and so on.
Each of these tasks are aligned with how I time block my day.
Projects because projects are a group of tasks that are meant to achieve a specific goal while labels clarify where and when you’ll do that task.
These are your ritual tasks that you do first thing in the morning and might include reading or checking your calendar.
Admin tasks are pretty much any task that doesn’t require you to talk to another human.
These are your empire supporting tasks that keep the whole machine running… They’re generally the redundant, annoying tasks but they have to get done.
It’s also good to be clear on these because they’re generally the first ones that you’ll delegate when you’re ready to hire help.
These are things like responding to emails, prepping for appointments, wishing people a happy birthday on Facebook, scheduling social media posts, planning which networking events you want to go to for the week or cleaning up your desktop.
Relationship Building tasks
I’ve changed the name of this label a bunch of times but I find that I stick with relationship building because that’s the end goal and it keep me motivated to continue building connections.
These could be following up with someone you just met, touching base with a client lead, checking in a specific person, lead generating or in my case, reaching out to people who join our Meetup group.
Content Creation is exactly what it sounds like — creating content.
For me, that means writing these blog posts and the weekly newsletter, putting together the social media promotions for all of this and our events, or recording videos for our diamond experience and online courses.
I don’t always have tasks in the lunch tasks section but I keep it as a reminder that if there’s something quick to do, I can just do it over my lunch.
For example, my printer has been acting weird lately so calling HP has been on my to-do list for MONTHS because it was in my admin section and I kept putting it off. I moved it to my lunch section and got it done the next day.
Sometimes we avoid tasks because we don’t know where to start or they don’t fit into our current workflow so just changing how you approach that task will change your entire mindset and actually get it done.
I know these labels are super creative and out of the box, so can you guess what “errands” is?
Yup, you guessed it. Running errands.
This filter gets used more directly than the others. If I’m out and have some time to kill, I’ll check my errands filter to see if there’s anything I need to do while I’m out because I know once I’m home, there’s no way in hell that I’m going to go back out.
Night tasks are those that I do when I finish up for the day. I had to add this in because I work from home and if I don’t put them at night, I’ll end up doing them during my working hours.
These are things like checking my mail, ordering stuff off of Amazon (because who doesn’t love Amazon) and resetting my space so that I can work functionally.
Next Closing Tasks
Next Closing is one of my favorites because whenever there’s something that I’ve been looking forward to buying but can’t convince myself to actually purchase yet, I put it into this label.
Most of these tasks don’t have due dates, they’re just there so when I feel like splurging on myself or my business, I’m spending money on stuff that I’ve wanted for awhile, not just impulse buys.
If you want to have something like this, you could also do “next paycheck” or something along those lines.
Waiting On Tasks
Waiting On tasks are for things like waiting on a package to deliver or waiting on a response from someone.
The waiting on tasks are for you to remember that you need to follow-up on something you’re waiting on.
Labels (as mentioned above) are the “where” you’ll do the task. Regardless of the due date, ToDoist will show you every task that’s within that specific context.
Filters on the opposite hand balance the where, what and when of the task.
There are literally dozens of ways you can use filters.
To give you an idea of how they work, here’s Todoist’s walkthrough of how to use them:
I use my filters VERY similarly to labels.
Again, labels aren’t associated with a date — If I select the “admin” label, it’s going to show me EVERY admin task, regardless of when it’s due.
Filters can be associated with a level of priority, due date or pretty much any other thing you want to.
I like to keep it simple by associating my labels for just that day.
My filters are exactly the same as my labels, except they’re only today’s tasks within that label.
By breaking up my to-do list into time blocks (or chunks), I can batch my tasks and do all of the similar tasks at the same time.
It makes it easier to stay focused, get more done and actually feel a consistent sense of accomplishment.
What does your typical day look like?
Is it different every day or do you have a routine?
What time do you check your email?
What time do you make your follow-up calls?
What time do you go to lunch?
If your days are scattered, you’re KILLING your productivity.
Focus on doing your similar tasks together and schedule them on your calendar.
I know what you’re thinking…
“I can’t do that, I need to ____ ASAP.”
If you communicate with those you work with and let them know what to expect when they work with you, I guarantee you that they will be totally fine with it.
The problem is that most of us never actually communicate what someone can expect when someone they work with us, so we are at the mercy of their whims.
Give yourself a daily schedule with time blocks and then match your filters to those time blocks.
Planning to make phone calls between 9-11? Awesome. Make a filter.
Planning to write between 1-3? You know what to do.
Filters work well with time blocking because they give you focus.
This slimmed down approach to having mini task lists for your day will make you fall in love with your life again because you’ll work more efficiently, have more balance and be able to switch between tasks faster.
Finding The Time To Complete Your To-Do List
One of the biggest challenges for most people is staying focused enough to actually get the tasks done and not getting overwhelmed by the sheer number of tasks on their to-do lists.
This system, like any system, will definitely require some maintenance to make sure that it KEEPS working for you.
I don’t like when my to-do list gets above 7ish tasks (that’s not a random number, that’s usually how many tasks can fit on my ToDoist dashboard without me scrolling) so I’ve had to edit my system to make sure that my regular day doesn’t get above that.
Pay attention to how you feel about your systems and you’ll figure out where the little tweaks that need to be made are.
You’ll also find that as you grow in your career and as your roles and responsibilities change, so will your approach to productivity.
As I mentioned before, your “grind” tasks are those that are generally repetitive while your “growth” projects are those mini sprints.
Every Sunday evening, I’ll look at the next 7 days of tasks alongside my calendar to make sure that I don’t have any days that are going to be crazy overwhelming and I’ll assign dates to my growth project for that week.
I cannot stress enough how important it is to NOT assign dates to every single project, no matter how tempting it is…
Because if you fall behind a day or two, you’re going to be stressing out like a crazy person to catch back up.
Self care is INCREDIBLY important and making sure that you take time to get your ACTUAL house in order will save you an insane amount of stress throughout the week.
You know what I’m talking about… Throw a load in the laundry, “reset” your home (clean up so you can actually find stuff in the morning), give yourself a manicure and a face mask.
I know what you’re thinking, “really?”
Maybe manicures and face masks aren’t your thing, but commit to at least an hour or so of pampering on Sunday evenings…
That little bit of “me time” will recharge you enough to deal with all of the stresses that the week will bring.
Make a commitment that you’re going to give yourself 2-3 hours on Sundays to get your life back in order, which leads me to…
The Compound Effect
If you’ve been following the blog for awhile, you’re VERY familiar with my obsession of human behavior, habit formation and personality styles.
I’m also naturally an “all or nothing” type of person, which means that I burn hot for a little while and then burn out.
Instead, I’ve really embraced the compound effect… Doing the small, seemingly insignificant tasks over and over and over and over and over and over again, even when you don’t think it matters and even when you don’t want to for the pursuit of teeny tiny incremental improvements.
Since adopting that philosophy, I’ve worked out 5x per week for the past six months, had my best year of real estate and have completely changed MEB.
There’s nothing sexy about doing the little things consistently, but it’s the only way to continuously grow without burning out.
If you struggle with this, I highly recommend you read the Compound Effect, the Slight Edge, the Power of Habit, Grit, the Miracle Morning and the 12 Week Year.
I know that sounds like a lot, but if you read those six books back to back, you will come out a different person on the other side.
I’ve written EXTENSIVELY about how important reading five books within a topic is and you can check that out right here:
Tasks Without Dates
Don’t be afraid to leave tasks without a specific due date.
If it’s something that isn’t urgent, create the task and add it to a project with a filter but it doesn’t need to have a date.
That way, you’re not overloading yourself with tasks that aren’t necessarily time sensitive and when you get around to them, you get around to them.
This works especially well for errands that you need to get around to but don’t have a specific deadline, like getting alterations done.
Remember, life happens so you don’t want to book yourself solid with tasks and then you don’t have any room for life to show up.
ToDoist Quick Add
As a quick last note, this feature alone is why I’m in love with ToDoist.
When I’m on my computer and I need to add a new task, I simply hit CMD+Shift+A and a bar pops up so I can quickly add a task.
From there, it reads natural language and I can file it away to it’s rightful place in literally five seconds flat using their “cheat codes”
Date: the date accepts natural language so you can type things like “in 2 days”, “every first Monday” or “next week.”
Project: as you’re typing, hit the pound key and then start typing the project, so for example #self would file it away in the self project.
Filter: what kind of task is it? Admin? Relationship Building? When you start typing, use @ to add it to a filter. It would look like this, “@admin”
Priority: I don’t use these often but if something is super important, you can type p1 and it sets it as priority one. There are four priority levels and the fourth is the default so really there are three.
When you’re done typing, here’s what it’ll look like:
Your productivity system will be a never ending work in progress, but you can get it done.
… But when it comes to doing things like unsubscribing from HUNDREDS of annoying emails or having to log into a bunch of different accounts to pay bills every month, the idea of being trapped in a small box actually doesn’t sound that bad.
Maybe that’s a slight exaggeration, but you get the point.
I’m all about getting a TON of stuff done the easy way…. The secret to that?
Systemizing and automating like a boss.
There’s a huge difference between the two, so let’s chat about that before we get started with HOW to do it.
Systemizing is making things easier by going through a pre-designated process… but the process doesn’t actually do the task for you.
For example, let’s say you use a spreadsheet to make sure that all of your bills are paid. Maybe you like to log into each account, pay the bill and mark it off of your spreadsheet.
Automation is totally set it and forget it.
Using the example above, having autopay set up so that the money comes out of your account every month is automation.
There’s a time and place for both automation and systemization, and it totally depends on the situation and we’re going to get super into how to do both.
You can easily set up and track budgets, see where you’re spending your money, track your credit, get an overview of your finances (and keep track of where you’re spending your money — I spend wayyyyyyyyy too much money on food), you can keep track of your net worth (which factors in everthing from student loans to your home), and even pay your bills quickly in. one. place.
Oh, and did I mention that it’s free?
(If you pay your bills using one of your connected bank accounts, it’s free but if you pay using a credit card, it’s like $5 per bill).
A picture speaks a thousand words and a video speaks a million, so here’s a million words for you:
Get Cash Back While Shopping Online
If you struggle to save money, say I.
Good, let me make this easy for you.
First things first, do you like shopping online?
Of course you do.
Now what if I told you that you could get cash back everywhere you shopped online?
The Apple Store? Yup.
All of your favorite stores? Yup.
Oh, and every so often they’ll have extra bonuses… Like right now, Samsung is 8% cash back.
I’m more of an Apple girl, but whatttttt.
I recently bought stuff from one of my favorite stores that was 75% off for a holiday sale PLUS they had double cash back which got me an additional 8% back. I basically paid 17% of actual retail price.
With their browser extensions, every time you go to a site, they’ll tell you how much cash back you’re going to get:
Ready to start saving online? eBates is your new bestie.
Automatically Invest Money
There’s so much love AND hate for investing online, but whatever your opinion, I figured I would include the best ones here.
Acorns is awesome because you can set up automatic withdrawals from your accounts to invest OR you can set it up so that your spare change gets invested. For example, let’s say you go grab a drink with a friend and it costs you $10.21, Acorns will round up your purchase and invest the remaining $0.79…. They call it “micro investing” and it’s a super easy way to start being smarter with your money.
When you first register, their super friendly user interface makes it insanely easy to get started:
Invoicing + Accounting
If you’re a small business, solopreneur, creativepreneur, infopreneur, mompreneur or whatever other kind of -preneur, Freshbooks is your new best friend.
Accounting software is notorious for being hard to use, confusing and overwhelming… Freshbooks takes a totally different approach to accounting by simplifying the user interface and making sure the stuff you actually need to know is top of mind.
You can handle everything including invoicing, expenses, time tracking, projects, estimates, payments, reports and yes, there’s an app.
2. Meal Planning + Meal Prep
We all know that we need to eat better (and more consistently)…
That’s like the worst kept secret in the whole wide world.
What works for me might not work for you so I’ve included a few different ways to simplify your eating…
Done For You Prepared Meals
These are the most expensive option but will also save you the most time and money. You won’t need to go to the grocery store, cook or anything else… You just need to reheat and eat.
This is awesome for someone who’s on (or transitioning to) a strict diet or someone who doesn’t have the time to cook or eat, so they’re used to snacking rather than eating actual meals.
Just a tip, they don’t heavily season the food due to taste preference so they advise you to season it on your own. With each of these, you can purchase a meal plan or you can purchase a la carte.
LeanMeals: LeanMeals is the most popular of the group I’ve found. They make it super easy to decide how many portions you want with how many calories and how many days per week. They’re one of the cheaper ones, however they don’t have organic ingredients and they don’t have vegan or vegetarian options.
Fresh n’ Lean: They are known for their high quality ingredients that are natural and organic. They have a regular plant-based menu, a low carb plant-based menu, high protein and paleo menus. You can choose easily choose how many days per week and how many meals per day you want.
You’ve probably heard all of the rage about the companies who send you a box with all of the ingredients and then you follow the instructions to cook.
These are awesome if you actually like to cook but hate shopping and prepping or I’d imagine if you’re a couple who’s looking to eat out less but don’t want to have to shop, cook and everything else. There are literally dozens of companies that do this and even Amazon is looking to get into this field, so some of the most popular are HomeChef, Blue Apron and Hello Fresh. They all have their little perks, like SunBasket and Green Chef are organic.
Most of them offer a super discounted deal for the first week, so I highly recommend you try a few to see which one you like the most before committing to one.
In The Power of Habit (one of my all time favorite books), they did a study on Amazon and found that Prime subscribers spent almost $1500 more PER YEAR than non-Prime subscribers.
Obviously Prime does wonders for Amazon’s bank account. Between that and one-click checkout, Amazon is dangerous.
Butttt that doesn’t make it any less amazing.
If you don’t know about Amazon Fresh and Amazon Subscribe, it’s about to get THAT much better for you…
You know when you’re running low and deodorant and you’re like “I need to get more”, then you forget to stop at the store and then you wake up one day and your deodorant is gone?
Has that happened to you too or is it just me?
(Please don’t leave me hanging here).
Amazon Subscribe & Save makes it super easy to set up your deliveries so that you get your deodorant, conditioner, paper towels, whatever you need on whatever interval you want it.
Here’s an example:
On a different note, depending on where you live, Amazon Fresh and Instacart can make sure you NEVER have to go grocery shopping again because they’ll have groceries delivered right to your door.
4. Make Your Apps Play Nicely Together
I’m probably going to write an entire post about how to make your apps work nicely together, but here’s a quick summary for you.
You know when you have one app that does something REALLY well, but it doesn’t have another feature?
If they integrate, it’s not a big deal… But what happens when they don’t?
For example, my CRM is Contactually (which I’m absolutely in love with).
… But when I’m doing open houses for my real estate business, there isn’t an easy way to have people sign in.
I use an app called Spacio for my open houses and I use Zapier to get them to integrate.
On this site, when someone subscribes to my email list, it adds them to Thrive leads which integrates with ConvertKit but ConvertKit and Contactually don’t integrate, so I use Zapier to get them to integrate.
Zapier integrates over 750 apps that wouldn’t normally integrate… There’s a free plan that allows you to create 5 zaps and you can upgrade to have more if you need it. Here’s a quick snapshot of their most popular zaps.
IFTTT is awesome for setting up automations on your phone… It works with iOS, Android and yes, even Microsoft.
Along the same lines, Apple just bought the Workflow app. My guess is that Apple is going to integrate Workflow into it’s backend operating system, making it easier to get your apps to work together more easily. IFTTT is limited for iOS because Apple is way more strict than Google on what they allow apps to do, so I think Workflow will do a lot of what IFTTT does for Android.
5. Posting To Social Media
My absolute favorite social media scheduling tool is SmarterQueue.
I’ve tried Buffer, HootSuite, MeetEdgar and pretty much every other social media scheduling tool and keep coming back to SmarterQueue.
I really don’t like the user interface of HootSuite because it feels like it was made in the 90’s. I love the simplicity of buffer but it doesn’t recycle posts automatically for you. MeetEdgar got me hooked on post recycling, but I
would’ve had to sell my future first child to afford it…
So meet SmarterQueue.
I LOVEEEE SmarterQueue because it’s affordable and since I’m constantly promoting blogs and interaction threads in our Facebook group, I schedule posts once, it goes through the list and once it gets to the end, it starts over and posts them again.
A lot of people get nervous about having their communities seeing the same posts over and over again but with social media algorithms, only about 2-5% of your community is actually seeing your posts. It takes a lot of time up front to set up the posts so that you have enough to keep your feeds interesting, but once it’s set up, you don’t have to touch it again if you don’t want to… THAT is automation.
If you don’t need post recycling and are fine with regularly creating your posts, Buffer is the way to go.
6. Handling Your Emails
If you’re ANYTHING like me, email is the BANE of your existence.
Unfortunately though, it’s a necessary evil… So you can’t exactly refuse to participate, but you CAN manage it better.
First things first, to get to inbox zero, you need to unsubscribe from all of those annoying email lists. If you’re on one of the major email service providers like Google, Yahoo, Outlook or AOL, Unroll.Me is about to be your new best friend.
This is going to take FOREVER to do at first, but I promise it’s SO worth it.
When you register, it’s going to load Unroll.Me with all of your email subscriptions….
You are going to be BLOWN AWAY by how many subscriptions you’re actually on.
They have three different options: keep in inbox, add to rollup or unsubscribe.
If you keep it in your inbox, that means emails from that service is going to continue going to your inbox. If you add it to the rollup, it’ll be sent as a daily digest with all of the other “rolled up” emails. If you unsubscribe, it’ll miss your inbox completely and go straight to junk.
When I started using Unroll.Me, I was getting a few hundred emails a day… Now, I only get the emails that I actually want. It makes email WAY less overwhelming.
For perspective, I’ve used Unroll.Me to unsubscribe from over 2000 email subscriptions. TWO-FREAKING-THOUSAND. I think it took me about an hour or two to sit there and unsubscribe from all of them but you know what? That hour or two it took me to unsubscribe has literally saved me probably 100x that amount of time and frustration.
Following-Up and Keeping In Touch
As mentioned earlier, my all time favorite CRM is Contactually.
It’s easy to use, pretty and INSANELY powerful.
Like many of the other apps, it’s going to take you awhile to set up, but once you’re up and running, it makes handling your people a breeze.
Contactually has “buckets” which are groups of contacts that you can decide how frequently you want to follow-up with. Once you’ve set up your buckets, you’ll start to get reminders of who to follow-up with so that you can stay in touch with your people.
Taking that a step further, you can set up templated follow-ups and follow-up programs so that you don’t have to think about what you’ll say to them.
Thinking is the enemy of action, so systems like this make it INFINITELY easier to keep in touch.
Even if you don’t use the same follow-up email every time, having a starting point will make your life easier.
Their follow-up reminders are my favorite part of the system, but they have a bunch of other features that I really like too. For example, they have pipelines that help you visualize your upcoming business, they automatically pull your email history so you can see when you last emailed someone (or they emailed you) and a bunch of other stuff.
On the dashboard, your scheduled tasks will also show up, but I’ve narrowed down based on JUST follow-up reminders so you can see what they look like. I love Contactually because of how simple AND powerful it is:
Send and Receive Email On Your Schedule
You know when you send an email and expect a response, but like two weeks later, you’re like “oh crap, I forgot to follow-up about that?”
This little beast is awesome because you can schedule when to send an email, clean up your inbox by removing an email until you need it and even set a reminder to follow-up on a specific email.
The only drawback is that it only works in gmail.
The same company came out with Inbox Pause and Respondable which are also incredible tools to keep you in control of your inbox.
Here’s a sample of how it works:
7. Proofreading + Editing
Of every part of leading MEB, my absolute LEAST favorite is proofreading and editing.
I’d rather listen to a thousand nails on chalkboards than have to sit here and reread every email newsletter or blog post that I write or to have to edit every video for the Empire Builder Academy… and that’s not the slightest exaggeration.
Now, I’m fortunate enough to have someone to edit for me so I don’t have to do it anymore, but when I was still doing it, Grammarly was the only way I could possibly manage it.
Grammarly is awesome because it’s like spellcheck on steroids.
It doesn’t just check spelling, it also checks grammar and makes sure that your text is actually readable.
It’s a free extension for Safari or Chrome.
8. Scheduling Appointments
You know when you’re going back and forth with someone in email or text trying to figure out a time to meet?
What if you NEVER had to do that again?
Well, my friend, today is that day.
Calendly is awesome because you literally send the person a link, it syncs with your calendar and they can pick whatever time works for them.
You can even set it up so that it sends them reminders before the event so they don’t end up cancelling or forgetting.
It’s literally the only way that I can network as much as I do.
The interface is super simple… When you send them the link, they get to pick what day and time works best for them, plus you can ask questions or remind them of other stuff to bring to your meeting.
9. House Cleaning + Errands
Even if every other area of your life is in order, if your house is still a disaster, you’re not going to feel like your life is in order.
Sometimes, you just need help.
Apps like HANDY and TaskRabbit will make cleaning your house and running errands a total breeze.
They both do a lot of the same things, but their list of services is comprehensive.
They cover everything from organizing your closet to mounting a TV, cleaning your house or picking up your dry cleaning.
Even superheroes have help (if you’ve seen the Flash or Arrow on Netflix, you know exactly what I’m talking about)… Take the help when you need it.
Even if it’s going to cost you, the question is how much is your time worth?
Chances are, it’s cheaper to hire someone to do it for you than to do it for yourself.
In closing, most of these will help you get your life in order, but you’re still going to have to do some maintenance to keep all of your systems running. I highly recommend that you set some time on Sunday evenings (or
whatever evening of the week you prefer) to go through and handle all of this. If you’re still overwhelmed by this concept of keeping everything together, this article might help you:
Oftentimes when I work with blossoming and passionate entrepreneurs, they have no idea where to start with their identity and branding.
They may not even bother with it and just jump to a random logo a cousin or friend designed on word or buy a cheap-o at some online marketplace because they feel the urgency to have some sort of design to claim that empty default avatar on their social media profiles.
They want their brand to have a face.
My goal is to educate entrepreneurs about the importance of branding, identity, and logo design and show you where to find a designer.
Start With Your Mission Statement
If you are truly passionate about your business you need to do the work and dig deep to find the core message to develop a strong mission statement that will establish your identity and brand.
Good designers like to work with stories and convey that story through design.
Your story as a business owner revolves around your identity and to narrow it down even further, your mission statement.
From my experience at the Disney College Program while studying Corporate Analysis I learned that there is a reason behind everything that a company does.
It’s not just to look pretty or please the CEO.
The most successful businesses develop strong and specific mission statements and visions to create a purpose behind everything they do.
Here are some questions I ask my clients to get a better idea of their mission and branding identity:
What is your mission statement? “If you don’t have one, GET ONE.” -Woody (Toy Story)
What products do you offer?
How and why do you offer those products?
Are you passionate about your business?
If you answered yes, Why are you passionate about your business?
What three words best describe your business?
Who is your audience (be specific: gender, age, what are their occupations, hobbies, likes & dislikes?)
What do you want your audience to feel when they see your brand?
Who are your competitors?
Why is your business unique? What sets you apart from your competitors?
What are the symbols you want to incorporate in your brand?
How did your business get started? What’s the story behind what you do?
If you can cruise through these and feel that your answers are timeless (they won’t change in the next 20 years), then you have a pretty solid brand and I give you the nod of respect.
What does this have to do with logos?
Having the mission and answers to the identity questions will help your designer immensely when it comes to everything they do to develop your brand.
Conducting research, developing the right shape form, picking out the best symbols, and pulling up a color scheme, and creating any other designs are some of the things good designers will do to help you develop your brand.
The less information you provide for your designer the harder the process will be to create a logo that is just right for you.
It may take longer, as well — When you don’t know the answers to the identity questions, your designer has to make an effort to pull them out of you and do additional research to find the style you like.
Not only will it help your designer, knowing the answers to your identity questions will help you make decisions in the future.
If you have one focus it will be easy to say no to appealing offers and opportunities that have nothing to do you with your brand.
It’s a trade-off, but it’s a good thing. You will be respected for it.
How do know the best kind of logo?
You know it’s the best logo when…
Research has been conducted to pick out the best symbols to match your mission.
Your audience can connect the logo to your business, guess the mission, or get an idea of it, just by looking at the logo.
It is used in solid colors and can easily be converted to just black and white (no grayscale, gradients, or shadows).
It combines one or two concepts into a seamless and beautiful design using form and negative (or white) space.
To the maker, Etsy shop owner, photographer, and others with a minimal budget or income may use this type of logo. In thislink, you’ll see a variety of logos that use hand lettering, watercolor, metallic or glitter foiled looks, and cute complex doodles and drawings.
These may seem fun a playful, but the problem with them is that they aren’t timeless.
This style comes and goes. They require minimal work and minimal or no research at all which translates to a lack of story, brand, identity, and or mission statement.
Most of them also can not converted to a solid black and white logo because they have multipel gradients, watercolor or foiled looks, meaning they can’t convert to a just white-colored design on a black background (which is useful if someone wants to use your logo in a simple way for marketing or partnerships).
Better Logos are something along the lines of just text.
These logos are better because they convert to black and white, they are far more simplified than a Minimal Logo and illustrate the core message quicker through the name.
The best Monograms and Logotypes don’t use a font and it’s not just a design that is typed up. It is created from scratch and each letter is its own unique glyph, that is unified and similar to its counterparts. The downside: If you pay attention to these brands, they change or slightly alter them every 2 to 5 years, which means they are following trends like Minimal Logo users, but just not as frequently.
Because these business are very well established, they end up spending billions of dollars to make those changes to not only to pay a designer to make changes, but also to swap out on everything that their name is plastered on to show off the new and improved logo.
These are some of the most constant shapes we see in the market.
They hardly ever change… Maybe once every 10 to 20 years.
Apple hasn’t changed their logo shape for 50 years!
They may have added colors, or a shine and bevel to it, but the shape has been constant.
If you want a good read, look up the story of how Paul Rand came up with Apple’s logo.
The best logos are refined and are what the best designers strive to develop.
How do I find a GOOD logo designer?
Plenty of business owners find some random online venue that was recommended by a distant friend or that aunt who started a business way-back-when.
There are many traditional and cheaper options for logo design:
And many, many, many more.
If you had to choose from these I suggest Upwork or Fiverr.
The website layout is a little more intuitive and you get to know your designer in advance before committing.
You may have great success with these sites, however, from my experience and shopping around, most of these designers use pre-existing templates, tweak from a previous client’s template or rip off other ideas.
They most likely will not be creating a unique form or shape that depicts a clear concept that is specific to you and your mission.
It will be a minimal logo at best.
There are also a handful of places that I think business owners are missing out on and you can very easily find them by hanging out where the designers hang out:
Online Business Facecbook Groups (search words: Creatives, Creativepreneur, Designer, Logo Designer, Branding, Adobe, Graphic Design, Entrepreneur)
ASK OTHER DESIGNERS, not other non-designers
These resources can be very helpful with not only finding a logo, but discovering great aesthetics for design.
Behance and Dribbble are a hang out for designers to share their portfolios and projects and you can create free accounts to contact them.
Instagram is a great resource because designers are more likely to have a business or portfolio account there because it is a visual/photo-based form of social media.
Asking designer friends who have been in the field for some time and have experience can give you a good lead to additional resources or other designers.
Overall, creating a solid mission statement will establish the foundation for everything you do in a business including the creation of a brand and logo.
Do that and you will lay a foundation for an incredibly powerful brand.
Last week, I wrote an entire post about why you need an email list, regardless of your industry and what to send them.
Whether you’re a nonprofit, entrepreneur, independent contractor, freelancer, in a service-based industry, product-based industry, or in B2B, you need to have an email list.
It’s the quickest and most scalable way to establish yourself as an expert, build a relationship with your community and the ROI on email marketing is about $38 for every $1 spent… So yea, it’s worth it.
In this post, we’re talking about how to grow your email list quickly so that you can start seeing some really awesome results.
Personally, I’m not a fan of adding anyone I meet to my email list because it kills my engagement rates, puts a strain on our relationship and may or may not be of value to them.
For example, I interviewed someone about their business and he added me to his email list…
While that wouldn’t normally bother me, his emails are all about things to do in Long Island, NY.
… and I’m sure that’s awesome for people who live in Long Island, I’m in South Florida.
In the last article, I talk a whole lot more about permission-based marketing and how your definition of spam is likely very different from your community’s definition.
So, now that you know what to send them, you’re probably wondering…
How the heck do I grow my email list?
Method 1. Lead Magnet
Who It Works For: Anyone who wants to grow their email list and is willing to spend time promoting the lead magnet. This is one of the best ways to build your list because it doesn’t require you to create other content (blogs or podcasts) like many of the other methods.
When I write these posts, I usually try to avoid as much jargon and “blog speak” as I can, so let me break down a lead magnet…
Lead = someone who may want to do business with you
Magnet = a force that attracts an object or person to you
So a lead magnet is something that makes someone raise their hand and say “I’m in your target client audience and I’m interested in this topic so I’m letting you know that I’m interested and if you can give me value, I may become your customer.”
The simplest process for doing this is to create a piece of insanely valuable content that people are willing to give their email address for, create a landing page for it and start promoting the crap out of it to get people to sign up for it.
Note: the MOST important part of this is to promote the crap out of it… After all, if you have a great piece of content that no one knows about, it’s not going to help you grow your business.
You don’t need to create a blog or any other content to do this, you just need to have something that’s so irresistable to your audience that they JUST. HAVE. TO. HAVE. IT.
Your lead magnet should be something related to the product or service that you’re selling or planning to sell.
Also, ConvertKit* makes it really, ridiculously simple to deliver all of these so you don’t have to go and personally email each of these people with the lead magnet. You set it up once and completely forget about it… It works like a well-oiled machine.
Here are a bunch of different types of lead magnets that you can use with examples from all different types of niches so that you can see how this works for you.
Start with one and make it successful before you go crazy adding the rest:
Video Series and Webinars
Who It Works For: Video is insanely versatile and it works ESPECIALLY well if you have something ridiculously actionable that you can walk your audience through. People tend to fast forward through the intros, chit chat and theory stuff.
I LOVE doing video series because they’re such easy ways to establish credibility, share massive content and video has a higher percieved value than text.
You can offer a 3-5 part video series that teaches your community about a specific topic or a masterclass that gives them actionable content during the video or a webinar.
Our ability to connect with people is directly tied to our senses and text only allows us to see the words. Video allows you to make your audience see the message (AND YOU) and hear you.
When someone is skimming through an email or blog post, it’s a whole lot harder to get them excited, make them feel struggle or snap them back to reality…
Your voice inflections, passion and emotion can get them to feel you… and when you can make them feel, you can make them act.
The fact that it’s live will get people there because they know they can’t watch it any other time and you’ll generally have a much higher conversion rate if you do offer them something to purchase than you would with just emails, newsletters or other forms of advertising.
Alex Tooby has grown her Instagram following to over 390k+ (@menandcoffee) and now she teaches other people how to grow their Instagram accounts, too.
To get people interested in her course, she offers a free course that’s full of AWESOME, USEFUL content that’s a quick teaser of what her actual course is about.
She’s the queen of webinars and will get you up and running in no time!
Free Course or Challenge
Who It Works For: Pretty much anyone (I know that’s a cheap answer, but it’s so true). Courses and challenges are great because they give your audience a little teaser of whatever product or service you have to offer.
My search engine of choice is Pinterest.
… Not Google.
… Not YouTube.
Mostly because I’ve discovered a ton of INCREDIBLE bloggers in all different niches who blog about their own personal experiences, challenges and what they’ve learned rather than finding the same listcle articles regurgitated all over the internet like you find on Google.
I’ve talked about how when I need to learn something new, I become obsessed with learning about a new topic… and most of that time is spent on Pinterest.
What I’ve discovered more than anything else is how incredibly valuable free courses are.
Rather than finding one-off articles that only talk about a specific area, I like to immerse myself into that new topic with a free course or challenge… That way I get a deeper experience and learn about the entire topic, not just a specific part of it.
From an entrepreneur’s perspective, it’s super useful because it’s the quickest way to establish yourself as an expert, give them a taste of what you know and build a relationship with them so that when you do present an offer for a product or service, you’ve already warmed them up.
Free courses and challenges can have a conversion rate as high as 30-40%… So heck yea, they’re crazy useful.
Recently, I’ve been toying with the idea of going to a plant-based diet…
… But I’m also into working out.
Last night, I spent a few hours on Instagram and Pinterest researching about vegan diets for body builders, vegan diets for fitness, vegan diets for fitness because I was concerned about getting enough protein to sustain my workouts and still gain muscle without consuming too many carbs that I won’t be able to burn off.
I’ve always eaten pretty healthy, but doing this alone is going to be CRAZY difficult, so I went looking for a free course or challenge to help me get started.
I discovered this (on Pinterest might I add)… JUST what I was looking for.
No one likes to give out their email addresses, but for this?
Heck yea… Take my email address.
It’s exactly what I’m looking for.
… Are they going to give me an offer to buy something at the end of the free course?
Will I buy it?
Maybe… But I’ll be a heck of a lot more likely to buy it than if I just read one of their posts and went off to another blog.
The key here is to make sure that your free course or challenge offers information that’s like a teaser for your paid services or products.
CoSchedule has a free course that helps marketers plan out their content, set goals for their content marketing and execute on their plan.
I also have a free growth plan course that helps young professionals build a plan to identify the areas of their lives that they need to focus on, build new habits to improve those areas and find balance in their lives again.
One of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever received was, “if you tell them before, it’s an explanation. If you tell them after, it’s an excuse.”
Everyone likes to buy, but no one likes to be sold…
So when you educate and then make an offer, rather than giving them a hard sell, you warm up those cold leads.
A free course or challenge, my friend, takes care of exactly that.
Who It Works For: Similarly to the video series/webinars and free course, ebooks are highly flexible. If you prefer to write instead of be on video, an ebook will likely work best for you.
Most of my articles are between 2500-3500 words… but I could easily write way more. In fact, I wrote a post that was 6,000 words about how to plan + host a networking event…. and while most people won’t sit there and read the whole post, if I were to convert that into an ebook, people would definitely download it.
The average page in a book has about 250-300 words on it, so turning that blog post into a 20-page ebook would be immensely helpful for some people and they’d be willing to give their email address for that.
These lead magnets are all about providing crazy value and an ebook will do JUST that.
If you’re worried about giving away too much information for free, stick to this model…
Teach them the why and the what in your free content with only about 10% of the how and then save the other 90% of the how for your paid services, courses, or whatever else you’re selling.
Cheat Sheet or Checklist
Quite honestly, this is the easiest lead magnet to create because it’s just a one or two page document and is often a complement to another piece of content like a video or blog post.
While cheat sheets are actually some of my highest converting opt-ins, I like to offer more value than that.
In fact, my most popular opt-in is the one page cheat sheet that walks you through the process of creating a capsule wardrobe from this post, so cheat sheets and check lists absolutely work.
These are great if you just need to get started with growing your list but I challenge you to offer them way more.
Cheat sheets and checklists are going to be most successful if you’re super clear on what your audience needs and is something they can’t find on google.
For example, let’s say you’re a financial planner whose target audience is young professionals…
Sending them a cheat sheet that gives them two or three tasks to do each year to make sure they stay on track for financial success will be immensely helpful… But sending them a cheat sheet with a bunch of finance definitions probably won’t be as successful.
Cheat sheets also work well for waiting lists… If you’re waiting to launch a product or service, having a quick cheat sheet that people can opt-into while waiting for the release will get way more people primed and ready for your launch.
Method 2. Content Upgrades
Who It Works For: People who are already creating content or plan to start creating content in the form of videos, podcasts or blogs.
A lead magnet is it’s own thing on it’s own landing page while a content upgrade is a piece of content that adds onto (or upgades) whatever content you’ve already created.
There are content upgrades on almost every blog post on this blog so you can get an idea of what those are like.
Content upgrades can be anything from a video tutorial, cheat sheet, checklist, workbook or any other piece of content that will help them put what you’ve shared into action.
Workbooks are by far my favorite because they are the most actionable and I’m all about learning for the sake of doing, not for the sake of learning.
Speaking of content upgrades, here’s a free cheat sheet to help you build your list building strategy for you to download. It’ll give you some of my best practices for each of the strategies in this post:
Method 3. Free Resource Library
Who It Works For: If you have a bunch of free resources (like videos, worksheets, cheat sheets, etc.) that have a high perceived value.
When someone falls in love with your content, they’re likely to go through a bunch of your posts and giving their email fifty times gets annoying…
Instead, give them access to ALL of your downloads in one place and you’ll be their hero.
If you’re on wordpress, the really simple way to do this is to create a page that has all of your downloads and then change the page from public to password protected. When you send out you’re emals and newsletters, include a quick ‘ps’ that reminds them how to get into your resource library.
Want access to mine? Go ahead and check it out right here.
Method 4. Starting A Meetup Group
Who It Works For: If you’re looking to build your email list with local people, have high organizational skills and can lead a group.
I started accidentally building my list with Meetup.
I would have people register and before I approved their request to join, I made sure that they also filled out a form that got their email address and phone number, too.
I started doing it because Meetup’s email communication system is absolutely terrible and I needed a way to reach our Meetup members directly.
I’m not in love with Meetup because their interface isn’t as pretty as I’d like and their organizer-member communication method isn’t all that great, so you need to make sure that you are collecting emails on an outside form.
This is ESPECIALLY true because when people get on Meetup, they join a bunch of groups at once and then they start getting dozens of emails every day about different Meetup groups so they end up unsubscribing and never come out to your events, so take it from me (I learned the hard way)…
Make. Sure. You. Get. Their. Email. Addresses.
Running a Meetup group is NOT for the faint of heart and takes a whole bunch of extra work, but if you are building a business that’s local to your area and you can put together regular events, a Meetup group is an awesome way to build your list and to help you get discovered.
Setting It All Up
In this video, I’m walking you through how to set up a content upgrade and a sequence so that you can create your video series.
I LOVE ConvertKit* because of how easy they make it to set up a content upgrade. Even though it’s designed for bloggers, I find it INCREDIBLY useful for my real estate business as well. With this link*, you’ll get a 30-day trial, so it doesn’t hurt to check it out.
Ready to start putting this all into action?
I created a quick cheat sheet for you that will walk you through all of the best practices for each of the 7 ways to get people to opt-into your email list…
After all, we don’t learn for the sake of learning around here… We learn for the sake of doing. Get instant access to the cheat sheet right here:
Let me know which method you’re going to start using in the comments below!
Over 75% of email revenue is generated by triggered campaigns, rather than one-size-fits-all campaigns. Automated email campaigns account for 21% of email marketing revenue.
English translation: You can’t just send a “buy now, 50% off” email and expect people to jump on it. You need to segment your list based on their interests. You can do this with ConvertKit* (which I talk more about below).
B2C marketers who leverage automation have seen conversion rates as high as 50%.
English transation: if you market to people, use automated email campaigns that are customized to the actions they take. It’ll increase your conversions to as high as 50%. Again, you can do this with ConvertKit* VERY easily.
If you’re starting a nonprofit, you need to lead generate for volunteers, sponsors and people to help.
If you’re starting an online business, you need to lead generate for prospective clients to buy your product or service.
If you’re a virtual assistant, you need to lead generate for clients.
If you’re an etsypreneur, you need to lead generate for potential customers.
If you’re a doctor, you need to lead generate for patients.
Think of all of those products that you see on late night infomercials, these new age rappers with crappy music and even this new fidget spinner trend… Some of them don’t even deserve to be successful, but they are because they know how to lead generate.
… and if you’re not the one lead generating for yourself, your success will always be at the mercy of an employer to supply you with leads to work with.
It’s INFINITELY easier to sell to a warm lead than a cold lead, so when someone comes into your world and raises their hand to say “I’m interested in the topic that you so happen to have a product or service in”, make sure you wrap your arms around them and keep them nice and warm.
Please note: That doesn’t mean that you are constantly selling them, you are keeping them warm by providing them with constant value so that when they ARE ready, you’re right there for them.
Guess what the easiest way to do this is?
Yup, you guessed it…
Email Marketing Helps You Stay Top Of Mind
One of the biggest mistakes that most people make when they’re networking is treating their business cards, social media and email marketing like frisbees and then saying something like, “when you need a ___, give me a call.”
The problem with that is that is a SUPER passive way to gain and maintain mindshare.
If you’ve been following me for any amount of time, you’ve probably heard me use the following example before, but it’s SO damn effective, why fix what isn’t broken?
Entertain me for a second…
Say the name of a brand of potato chips (yes, outloud… and don’t read past here before you do).
Now give me another.
(Same thing, out loud).
… and one more.
Thanks for playing along… I just wanted to make you look like a fool in case you’re around people right now.
I’m totally kidding.
Every time that I’ve done this in my workshops, almost everyone can come up with the first one in like 0.0001 seconds…
Then, when I ask for a second, they have to think about it for a second…
By the time we get to the third, they almost always start with, “uhhhh…”
Did you do the same?
If not, maybe you’re a potato chip connoisseur, so do the same thing with cars, professional athletes, shoe brands or whatever else and you’ll find that the first brand is easy, the second one makes you think and you’re usually at a loss for the third.
That’s not because you’re not smart or because you have bad memory…
It’s because our brains don’t have enough space to associate a bunch of brands, products or people to one thing at a time.
So when you treat your network like a billboard with a “call me when you need a ___”, they’ve already forgotten you.
You need to steal mindshare by building a relationship so that when they need a [insert your career, product or service here], you’re the first person they think of… and then you have to maintain it so no one else can ever steal that mindshare it from you.
This is what we refer to as staying top of mind.
While email isn’t the only way to do it, it will help give you a solid strategy for following up with people and it’s INCREDIBLY scalable.
Make no mistake… Even if your business is solely online and relies completely on email marketing, following-up is ABSOLUTELY necessary (unless you like throwing away free business of course).
Email Marketing Helps You Establish Credibility
I know you’ve heard it before… People do business with people they know, like and trust.
Having a great personality means that it’s easy for people to get to know you and like you, but that doesn’t mean that they’ll trust you to get the job done. The trust has to be earned… and even if someone trusts you on a personal level, it doesn’t mean they’ll trust you enough to give you their money.
No, they shouldn’t just “trust you” because you’ve known them for __ amount of time.
… and this is exactly why most people with great personalities fail at sales and service-based businesses. They rely wayyyy too much on their winning personalities and forget to establish their authority.
Having an email list that you’re constantly providing crazy value to will quickly help you establish credibility with your community so that they recognize you as the expert.
Email Marketing Helps You Build Relationships
If you’ve tried email marketing before and failed, I can almost guarantee that it’s because you were too busy selling them instead of building a relationship.
I used to use Mailchimp for my email list, but I switched over to ConvertKit*.
ConvertKit* is a platform that was designed for professional bloggers, but I’ve found that it’s actually just as effective for my real estate business as well. That’s because it’s simple to use but incredibly flexible and powerful.
So now you’re probably like “ok ok, Alexa. Shut up, I get it… But what the heck do I send them?”
I’m so glad you asked…
*Insert my Vanna White strut while showcasing the next heading*
What To Send Them
Value, Value, Value, Offer
First things first, your emails shouldn’t be all about selling.
You could literally give away your products or services for free, but if you don’t have a relationship with your audience, they’re probably not opening your emails and they’d assume that your product or service is crap if it’s free, rather than being inspired to take action.
Your goal should be to give value three or four times to every one (sales) offer.
That means giving them quality content where you teach, inspire or help them before you offer them anything.
That also means that you need to be super, ridiculously, extra sure that you’re not spamming them.
I know what you’re thinking…
“Everything I send is valuable”
… and you’re probably right… But is it valuable to THEM?
As a realtor, let’s say my audience is mostly renters…. If I were sending them information about selling a house, that’s not relevant to them… so it’s spam TO THEM.
It would absolutely be valuable to someone who was a homeowner, but sending valuable content to the wrong person (or audience) is still spam… and THIS my friends is why being able to segment your email list is so important.
Sure, one of those renters MIGHT, POSSIBLY know someone who knows someone who wants to sell a home… but they’re wayyyy more likely to unsubscribe instead and I’ll lose them completely becuase I’m not “for them”.
Your emails should speak DIRECTLY to your target audience (discovering your target audience is a whole different conversation for a whole other day).
So once you’ve discovered who your target audience is, it’s time to start delivering the massive value to them.
The most common form of emails to send your audience are email newsletters.
There are a million different types of info you can send to your audience, so you’ll need to do some recon to figure out what your audience needs.
The single, most effective thing I’ve done for my businesses has been sharing personal stories with teachable lessons.
My most popular blog posts are also the ones that talk about a struggle I was going through, how I overcame it and what I learned from it.
ConvertKit* makes it super easy to set and schedule email newsletters.
Before I started my newsletter, I was banging my head against the wall trying to figure out what to send them and it dawned on me…
I always sign my email newsletters with “Xo, Alexa” and then include a PS. with all of the new content that I’ve published that week to keep them coming back to my site.
Your emails should be somewhere between 500-750 words (which actually gets used up REALLLYYYYY quickly) and pretty please make sure you proofread.
Personal Stories + Experiences
Our world has wayyyy too many people who are trying to turn off their emotions, so if you can cut through that facade and make them feel, you can make them take action.
Logic makes you think, emotion makes you act.
Rather than sending emails like “5 tips to…”, I started sending emails like “Why I decided to start waking up at 4am” that has a ridiculously conversational tone and talks about my own personal life and then gives tips for how they can use that in their own lives.
It changed my engagement completely.
They don’t want you to email them stuff they can google… They want to hear from you, your stories and what they can teach them.
Let your clients brag about you and share a success story about something you helped them do. Celebrate successes with them and include them in your future plans.
Did you just get funded for your start up? Tell them about it and what that means for them.
Did you just get awarded for something? Tell them about it and recommit to doing whatever got you there.
BTS: Behind the Scenes
Speaking of including them in your successes, include them in your culture.
… and unfortunately, you’re probably not a mindreader.
(But how cool would it be to be able to read minds… Or would that be a burden? I guess I’ll never know).
Since you’re not a mind reader, go and do something super crazy… ASK them what they want.
Ask them what their struggles are, what you can do for them and what they need.
You’d be surprised how much they’re willing to help you help them… So long as you present it to them that way.
Special Offers, Giveaways + Promotions
If you notice, I gave you this one last..
… That’s because it SHOULD be the most infrequent and done with extreme care.
The goal of email marketing is to make sure that your audience takes action without them feeling like you’re alienating them.
No one likes commission-breath (that’s what we call someone who is desperate for a sale in real estate), so don’t do it that way.
Share a story, personal anecdote or something valuable and then plug your offer.
You should also do this by segmenting your list based on their tags and ConvertKit* makes it super simple to do that with their link triggers (I mention it in the video below)
Everyone wants to buy but no one wants to be sold…
… and most purchases are done on inspiration, so inspire them. Make them feel.
(Noticing a trend?)
Thennnn offer them.
How To Set It All Up
Now you know that I like to create EPIC content and this wouldn’t be EPIC if I didn’t walk you through how to set all of this up.
So firstly, my absolute favorite email service provider is ConvertKit*.
I started with Mailchimp but their open rates are lower than ConvertKit*, they make it way harder to grow your list (I’m going to write a post about how to grow your email list next week and will talk more about this) and if you add someone onto two lists, that counts as two people instead of one (which means that you pay for more people than you actually have on your list).
There are a million reasons why I love ConvertKit* and to put it simply, it gives you the power to do things like tag people based on their interests, integrates with pretty much everything, works flawlessly andddd gives you the ability to send out email sequences, lead magnets and content upgrades (again, more on that in next week’s post).
Here’s a super quick walkthrough of how to set up a newsletter that goes out to your email list:
Next week’s post will walk you through more advanced stuff including how to set up an email sequence, how to tag people based on their interests and how to grow your list.
When you register with ConvertKit*, you’ll get 30-days free so you can test it out and make sure that you like it before committing to it.
To help give you a kick in the butt to get started, I put together a free 15-page workbook to help you put this into action. With the workbook, you’ll plan out 13 emails and build a strategy to build a relationship with your community.