How To Automate Your Client Onboarding Process

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

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

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

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

Sound good to be true?

Hah, I wish.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It’s totally up to you.

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

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

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

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

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

No BS, all implementation.

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

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

You with me?

Download the free workbook right here:


Automating Your Client Onboarding Process

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

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

We’re killing two birds with one stone.

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

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

 

If you’re anti-technology…

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

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

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

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

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

Here’s a little quote for you…

Innovate or die.

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

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

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

Before you bring out the pitchforks, please note…

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

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

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

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

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

 

If you think automation kills the personal touch…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

You’ll Need To Make An Investment In Your System

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

Before you scroll right past this, think about this…

How much is your time and sanity worth?

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

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

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

Your average hourly rate is $50/hour.

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

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

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

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

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

Now, let’s dive in.

 


Simplify The Appointment Process

[SET IT AND FORGET IT]

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

This was mine.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

They LOVE it.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SO, here’s what happens:

 

Landing Page 1: They express interest in moving

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

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

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

 

Landing Page 2: They Clarify Their Timeframe

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

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

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

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

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

 

Landing Page 3: Book An Appointment Page

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

 

Landing Page 4: They Schedule An Appointment In Calendly

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 


Automatically Create A Task In Contactually With Zapier

[SET IT AND FORGET IT]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

9-11. Don’t worry about them!

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

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

Thank me later, seriously.

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

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

 

 


Create Your Pipelines In Contactually

[SET IT AND FORGET IT]

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

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

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

You’ll notice the different steps of the pipeline…

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

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

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

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

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

Just start with what you can think of now.

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

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

 


Create Programs With Email Templates For Each Step Of Your Pipelines

[SET IT AND FORGET IT]

Feeling overwhelmed yet?

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

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

It’s all yours, right here:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 


Create A Deal In Contactually’s Pipelines

[MANUAL STEP — Estimated Time: 15 Seconds]

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

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

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

 


Move Them Through The Pipeline On A Daily Basis

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here’s my daily practice for Contactually:

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

 


Before I lose you…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

No, the answer is NOT burn the whole office.

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

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

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

 


Recap…

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

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

Instead, here’s what we basically just did:

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

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

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

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

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

Learning for the sake of doing is where breakthroughs happen.

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

 

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

3 Ways To Generate New Business

In the spirit of every post on the blog being about networking lately, I wanted to focus for a second on monetizing allll of your marketing efforts.

I don’t know that I’ve actually laid this out so I want to be crystal clear…

The Millionaire Real Estate Agent talks about how every salesperson, regardless of what industry we are in, has two jobs — whatever your chosen profession is and lead generating.

The product or service might be different and the scripts might be vary by industry, but every form of lead generation falls under one of three categories.

 

Buy The Business

You can buy the business by paying for leads, marketing, Facebook ads, advertising or cutting your fees.

Yes, cutting your fees is buying the business.

Don’t get me wrong, buying the business isn’t a bad thing…

If you have the budget for it, it’s scalable and you can track your results, buying it can be an incredibly effective way to grow your business.

However…

Yes, there’s a but…

It puts a cap on your ability to be profitable because you have to continue to spend more money to get more business and will eventually end up with diminishing returns. To top it off, your business and market share will

likely shrink when the market shifts because you won’t have the capital to spend anymore — and every industry goes through market shifts.

By all means, spend the money generating business if you have it, but that should be in addition to the third method of generating business, not in place of it.

 

Wait For The Business

So many salespeople send out a mailer, post something on social media, create an ad and then sit by the phone waiting for it to ring.

Again, there’s nothing wrong with any of these activities individually but if you build a business based on waiting for the business, you are going to lead a very unpredictable business.

An unpredictable business is one that you can’t track and what you can’t track, you can’t improve.

 

Go Get The Business

With networking, you are building a farm where you will nurture those relationships, just as you would with any other form of lead generation.

With networking, you are building a farm where you will nurture those relationships, just as you would with any other form of lead generation. Click To Tweet

We’re not talking about a farm in the sense of going out into the field to plant seeds, tend to your plants and harvest them in the literal sense, but you are going to plant seeds (meet people), tend to your plants (manage your relationships) and harvest your crops (handle the business).

This is not going to happen in one day, it will take time.

You will have to commit to doing this for 3-6 months before you really start to see the results.

Before you start groaning, remember that those 3-6 months are going to go by either way, so you might as well make them productive.

The problem is that most people go to a networking event or two, don’t get any business out of it, say it’s not working and write off networking all together.

In order to get business out of networking, people need to trust you.

To gain their trust, they have to see you AND hear from you consistently OUTSIDE of the networking events.

Too often, we take a passive approach to networking where we will go to events and take the attitude of “when you need me call me” because we don’t want to seem pushy and then we end up frustrated because we don’t get any business from it.

Let’s just be clear: pushy is not the same as being aggressive.

Pushy is trying to sell someone something that they don’t want to buy.

Aggressive is making sure that you do whatever it takes to get people what they want.

Aggressive is good.

Pushy is trying to sell someone something that they don’t want to buy. Aggressive is making sure that you do whatever it takes to get people what they want. Click To Tweet

In real estate, if you ask any seller what they want in an agent, they’ll tell you that they’re looking for an aggressive agent.

If you or I were to hire a defense attorney, wouldn’t you want them to be aggressive?

After all, your freedom would likely depend on it.

So why are we terrified of being aggressive?

The most aggressive approach is going to get the business.

That means going out and talking to people about your business, staying in consistent contact with them and servicing the business when they are ready to work with you and you’re going to have to do it consistently.

The reason that so few people are willing to go get the business is because it requires the most rejection but it is how almost every single successful salesperson has built their business… and I really don’t think there’s a better way to get business than going to get it.

Here’s what you have to remember: people like to have their business earned.

That doesn’t mean they will always make it easy for you but they will always respect your commitment.

When you earn their respect, you will get their business.

When you earn their respect, you will get their business. Click To Tweet

Consistently communicating with them about about your business in a way that you are always providing value, you are demonstrating that you will show them that you are reliable and are willing to work for them.

Just for the record, if you throw someone on your email list without making sure that the information you are sending them is valuable and relevant to them, your “valuable information” is spam.

You can tell someone a million times that you will do a great job for them but telling them isn’t the same as showing them.

That good old adage “actions speak louder than words” applies here.

If you tell them that you are going to follow-up with them on Tuesday and you do it, you are demonstrating your reliability and your work ethic.

Let’s face it — who DOESN’T like to have someone who is reliable and working for them?

When you provide value, you will stay top of mind so that when they do need your service, you are the only person they think to use — and being top of mind is a very profitable place to be.

Staying top of mind doesn’t have to be confusing, difficult, scary or spammy.

With a solid approach, turning new connections into income-generating opportunities will be as much of a habit and routine as brushing your teeth.

If you’re looking for somewhere to get started, it just so happens that I’m giving you my eight week follow-up plan totally free right here so you can implement it and start gaining mindshare with your network:


No matter how perfect your product, service or offering is, without clients, you'll be out of business. Here are three strategies to find new clients!

Plan and Schedule A Year’s Worth of Marketing In One Week

No matter how good business is right now, if you’re not constantly looking for new opportunities, at some point you’re going to hit the income roller coaster…

No matter how good business is right now, if you're not constantly looking for new opportunities, at some point you're going to hit the income roller coaster. Click To Tweet

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.

Before you start planning your content, you need to figure out how you're going to send it to your audience. Click To Tweet

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 average person receives about 5,000 sales messages per day and we've gotten REALLY good at ignoring them. Click To Tweet

With that in mind, using traditional sales messages aren’t going to get you the result that you want.

We have to create VALUE.

In fact, here’s a whole post about becoming your network’s “Google”.

Being a resource is going to be the single fastest way that you can build credibility quickly.

Being a resource is going to be the single fastest way that you can build credibility quickly. Click To Tweet

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.

I'm addicted to systems... I like to blow people's mind without having to put a whole lot of effort into it. Click To Tweet

Think “set it and forget it”.

Set it and forget it Click To Tweet

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:


In order to get more business from your network, you'll need to stay top of mind and establish your expertise. In this post, you'll learn how to plan a year's worth of marketing for your network in one week so you can focus on what's really important.
Marketing your brand or business shouldn't feel like a full time job. In this post, you'll plan an entire year's worth of marketing for your network in just one week so that you can get back to the important stuff. Click through to learn how to make it happen and to download the free workbook.
Tired of feeling like marketing your business is taking over your life? Here's a quick guide to planning and scheduling a year's worth of marketing in one week so you can focus on what's really important instead of trying to find and convert new business. Click through to learn more and get the free workbook.

Effortlessly Conquer Your To-Do List Using Two-Week Sprints

Look at your to-do list… How does it make you feel?

Overwhelmed?

Excited?

Exhausted?

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.

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. Click To Tweet

… 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.

Distraction is the enemy of productivity. Click To Tweet

Know Yourself

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.

Projects

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?

Awesome.

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:

  1. It gets it out of your head so that you’re not obsessing over it.
  2. 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?”

You can get it all done, just not at the same time. Click To Tweet

Start there.

Growth Projects

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.

Cut your workload in half if you want to double your productivity. Click To Tweet

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?

Actually, no.

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.

Multitasking

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.

Perfection is the enemy of done.

Perfection is the enemy of done. Click To Tweet

Finish your mini project for the two weeks and then move on to the next.

Mid-Term Growth Projects

Your Mid-Term Projects are all of the projects within the next 3-6 months that you want to work on, just don’t have a clear cut plan for yet.

You’ll want to create individual projects for each of these so when ideas pop into your head, you can add the task to that project.

Our brains are thinking machines, NOT memory machines so if you make a habit of getting stuff out of your head, your level of stress and anxiety will go down DRASTICALLY.

My mid-term projects for the next 3-6 months are all focused on getting our Empire Builder Academy launched.

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.

Self

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.

Self-Development

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.

Someday Projects

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….

Someday projects.

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.

Labels

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.

Morning tasks

These are your ritual tasks that you do first thing in the morning and might include reading or checking your calendar.

Admin tasks

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

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.

Lunch Tasks

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.

Errands

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

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.

Filters

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.

Time Blocking

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.”

Listen up.

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

Sunday Ritual

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 you grow in your career and your responsibilities change, so will your approach to productivity. Click To Tweet

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…

Me time will recharge you enough to deal with all of the stresses that the week will bring. Click To Tweet

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.

Consistency is the only way to grow without burning out. Click To Tweet

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.

How many times have you looked at your to-do list and instantly felt a little depressed, overwhelmed or frustrated? It's not you, it's your approach. By implementing a little to-do list organization, you can feel empowered to get things done without feeling like your selling your soul just to reach your goals. Click through to learn how to use sprint planning to MASTER your to do list and to download the free 10-page workbook to help you put it into action.

Why You’re Not Reaching Your Goals + What You Need To Do Instead

Have you ever been SUPER excited about something to the point where you’re like “omg yes! I’m doing that!”

… So you go and set some ridiculous goals.

… Then like 2 weeks later, all of your inspiration dies off and you’re back to your regular self.

HOW FRUSTRATING IS THAT?!

Now here’s the thing…

There are literally THOUSANDS of things that you can do with your day.

You are constantly making hundreds of decisions at any given time… Some of them are on autopilot and some are conscious, like…

What should you wear today?

Will you go to happy hour?

What should you do this weekend?

…. and then some of our decision should are subconscious habits like…

Are you going to start brushing your teeth on the right or left side first?

Do you tie your left or right shoe?

Do you workout in the morning, night or not at all?

Our habits define us.

Our habits define us. Click To Tweet

If you have a habit of smoking, you’re a smoker.

If you have a habit of drinking, you’re a drinker.

If you have a habit of running, you’re a runner.

If you have a habit of procrastinating, you’re a procrastinator.

We ARE our habits.

… and sometimes we don’t even realize how our habits affect us because it’s all we know.

… but if you don’t even recognize your habits, how do you know which ones are sabotaging your success?

You don’t.

… and THAT is why you’re not reaching your goals.

You don’t need to reset your goals or give yourself a crazy pep talk.

You need a growth plan.

You’ve probably heard about having a “why” to keep you motivated, but no matter how much you want it, that doesn’t fix the issue of MAINTAINING your mindset and gaining the new skills and habits to execute on your goals.

 

So, What The Heck Is A Growth Plan?

You have financial plans, fitness plans, health plans, goal plans and business plans… But what about a YOU plan?

You have plans for your finances, fitness, goals and business... What about a YOU plan? Click To Tweet

A MINDSET plan?

A growth plan is designed to help you find the areas of your life that you’re slacking, figure out the habits that you need to create, change to strengthen, and then execute them.

It’s sort of like a doctor’s check-up, except for your mindset and habits.

A growth plan will keep you from “my life is a hot mess” breakdowns or “I need to get my shit together” self-talks because you’ll actively be working on you so that those areas of growth are corrected in small increments,

rather than waiting until your life details before trying to get it back on track.

After all, you can’t pour from an empty cup.

You can't pour from an empty cup. Click To Tweet

… and if you’re not working on you, your cup is definitely going to empty quickly.

 

How To Make A Growth Plan

Step 1. Audit Your Mindset

We always talk about the things we want to do and if you’re anything like me, you fantasize about what it will feel like when you’re massively successful in every area of your life…

… but putting it into action is a whole different story.

So the first thing you need to do is to do an audit on your mindset:

What are your strengths?

How about those weaknesses?

What do you need to work on?

What’s holding you back from reaching your full potential?

How are you currently spending your time?

How SHOULD you be spending your time?

What limiting beliefs do you still carry?

Where do those limiting beliefs come from?

Digging really deep, especially on the questions you’d prefer not to answer is the only way to begin your breakthrough.

 

Step 2. Audit Your Goals

Going through life without a goal is sort of like getting in the car and driving without a destination, while blindfolded.

Going through life without a goal is like driving a car blindfolded without a destination. Click To Tweet

When you lack a destination, it’s way too easy to have ‘squirrel syndrome’ and to get distracted by every, single, teeny-tiny, itty-bity shiny object that may or may not yield a potential opportunity to possibly succeed.

Creating your growth plan will help you set a direction for each of the 7 ‘S’ words* so that you can start setting yourself on a path to have more balance, be more fulfilled and reach your full potential.

The 7 S words represent the various areas of your life…

They are self, self-development, spirituality, security, service, spouse and security.

 

Step 3. Audit Your Habits

Point A is where you are.

Point Z is where’s you want to go.

(I don’t like using point B as the destination because that insinuates that the journey is just one step and that’s almost never the case.)

Your habits represent every step towards point Z.

If you take a teeny step to the left or right, you won’t detour too much, but if you keep taking detours, you’ll end up wayyyyy off of your goal.

It’s the compound effect at it’s finest.

Identifying the habits that are holding you back is one part of it and the other half is identifying the keystone habits that you can start implementing, which will give you the max return on your effort.

 

Step 4. Audit Your Skills

Most people never reach their goals because they completely skip steps four, five and six.

If you plan to set massive, crazy goals, it only makes sense that you’d have to grow to reach them… THIS is where the growth plan REALLY shines.

You’ll identify the areas that you need to grow, analyze your learning style and decide how you want to immerse yourself into the new habits so that you can start executing and making CRAZY progress on your goals.

That level of immersion will start changing your mindset and get you to start taking action.

Immersion will start changing your mindset and get you to start taking action. Click To Tweet

 

Step 5. Audit Your Schedule

If it’s not in your schedule, it doesn’t exist… It’s as simple as that.

If it's not in your schedule, it doesn't exist... It's as simple as that. Click To Tweet

Once you’ve gotten your mindset in the right place, set some clear goals, worked on your habits and decided what skills you need to work on, it’s time to figure out how to actually implement it all by creating a powerful schedule.

You’ll want to look at what your schedule is like now, prioritize the 7 S words and make sure that your priorities align with your new schedule.

 

Step 6. Actually Do It

Creating a growth plan is one of the most important things you can possibly do for yourself because it covers every area of your life… but because it’s soooo comprehensive, it can be easier to get overwhelmed and decide to do nothing at all.

… However, if you’re absolutely committed to reaching your full potential and being your best self, decide, right now, that you’re not going to be like, “oh this post is awesome, let me bookmark it (or pin it) to come back to”…

Then never come back to it.

Let’s put it into action, together, so you don’t have to do this by yourself.

I have a totally free growth plan course that will walk you through the entire process from beginning to end so that you can start living up to your full potential and stop setting goals that you’re not going to hit.

In the growth plan course, you’ll get 12 videos, a 45-page workbook and a 10 day email challenge to make sure you are executing on your goals… and you can register fo’ free right here:

How frustrating is it when you set all of these goals.... but you never hit them? The problem isn't your goals. The execution part of goals is where most people trip up, and in this article I'm walking you through exactly how to execute them like a ninja. Click through to read the whole article and to take the free growth plan course.
How frustrating is it when you set all of these goals.... but you never hit them? The problem isn't your goals. The execution part of goals is where most people trip up, and in this article I'm walking you through exactly how to execute them like a ninja. Click through to read the whole article and to take the free growth plan course.