Make it Easy

Make it Easy

Here’s a little food for thought from a mindset coach for smart, ambitious women who sabotage their own success but aren’t sure why or how to stop it.

This week, I had a wonderful call with one of my awesome clients. We’ve been working together for a few weeks and have already uncovered so much about her underlying, unconscious fears and the self-sabotage patterns she has been using for decades to avoid the discomfort of those fears.

Our call this week turned up something really powerful, and something that I think will likely resonate with many of you.

My client is a super smart woman who has achieved a lot already in her career and life. But it hasn’t come without a lot of difficulty, particularly a lot of mental anguish. The spinning of her mental wheels was what brought her to me in the first place.

It turns out, she’s been making things unnecessarily difficult as a way to deal with her own limiting beliefs about what is and isn’t allowed (and I’m using big air quotes around the word allowed).

Here’s the thing about smart women: We get messages from our earliest days that it’s not acceptable for us to be smart (pretty, sweet, caring? sure. really smart? ambitious? not so much). Just think of some of the insults we see hurled at smart, ambitious women (you don’t have to look further than the last year of politics with Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris. Heck, the very word “ambitious” has been used a a slur against women. 

And all of this leads to women diminishing ourselves and our accomplishments at every turn.

A sneaky way this plays out is in many of us making things harder than they need to be. After all, we’ve been conditioned to believe that we can’t easily accomplish something just because we’re smart and talented and awesome.

It doesn’t “count” (air quotes again) unless it involves hard work, twisting ourselves into knots, and feeling miserable. Basically, we have to prove that it was hard to “prove” (air quotes) that we earned it. We have to make those who aren’t as smart and accomplished as us feel better. Women are, after all, conditioned to believe our top job is the role of caretaker. We can’t be happy unless everyone else around us is. And we can’t be smart if it makes anyone around us feel bad.

So our brain does all sorts of things to make things hard, even though we generally don’t consciously aware that’s what we’re doing. We procrastinate until the last minute. We do everything without ever asking for help. We expect ourselves to be perfect or get perfect results because that’s obviously an unattainable goal.

And we certainly can’t just say “oh that was easy for me” even if it was.

By the way, this is also why so many of us can’t take a compliment without adding some form of “it was a team effort” or “I got it on sale.” Just another way we diminish ourselves to meet societal, cultural, familial, and other expectations we’ve internalized.

If this is hitting home for you, then I want to challenge you to consider how you might be making things more difficult than they need to be. How are you tarnishing your shine?

For the next few days, bring mindful awareness to this concept. When things are feeling difficult—when you find yourself procrastinating, ruminating, stressing, overanalyzing, etc.—ask yourself, “how can I allow this to be easy?” And then don’t listen to your brain (remember, it’s trying to make things hard). Listen to your body, your gut, your heart. Take a few deep breaths, close your eyes, and sit with the question to see what you FEEL.

How I Pay Myself a Regular Salary

How I Pay Myself a Regular Salary

Until a couple of years ago, I did not pay myself a regular, set salary. Far from it, in fact. For the first decade plus of my business, I commingled my personal and business finances. Everything I earned went into my personal bank account. In a month when I earned more, I would spend more money. In a month when I earned less, I would panic about money.

I was in a feast-famine cycle that I didn’t believe I could stop without earning way more money. That belief existed in years when I made $30k and when I made well over $100,000.

The idea of paying myself a salary seemed ridiculous. How could I pay myself a set amount of money each month when my income vacillated so much? Hell, I never even had enough money to pay my business taxes, which were usually a year behind.

I was deeeeeep into my story and really believed it was the truth.

So, if any of that sounds familiar, I see you. And I know it may be hard to receive what I’m about to tell you, because I certainly had my doubts for years. But the truth is, no matter what you are earning and no matter how much your income varies, you can pay yourself a regular salary.

Not only can you, you should. And I HATE shoulds! But in this case, I’m willing to say it because I feel so strongly that it’s important for every business owner to be in control of their money, and paying yourself is part of that process.

And why am I so passionate about this? Well, my life’s mission is to smash the patriarchy. And the best way to do that is to put wealth and power into the hands of women and other marginalized communities. As Ruth Bader Ginsburg says, women belong in all places decisions are being made—and money, and who has it, drives most decisions. Becoming wealthy starts with understanding your money and being a good steward of it.

The patriarchy conditions marginalized folks to believe they are “bad with money” or “bad with numbers.” This leaves so many of us afraid of money or avoiding our finances, and that keeps us from amassing wealth.

So let’s stop that! Reframe money management as an act of rebellion, and building wealth as part of the revolution to dismantle patriarchy!

And let me be clear: I’m not saying you must be rich or motivated by money. Hell no. If that’s not what you want, then that’s okay. But understanding your finances, knowing where your money is coming from and where it’s going, is really important in no longer allowing money or others to control you. It’s a big piece of living a fully empowered life.

Plus, taking charge of your finances will allow you to pay yourself a salary and get off the exhausting and demoralizing feast-famine cycle.

Hopefully I’ve convinced you that paying yourself a salary is possible (even if you remain a bit skeptical), and that it’s important. So, now let’s talk about HOW.

Note: I’m not an accountant, financial planner, bookkeeper, or any other type of financial professional. It’s always a good idea to hire a pro if you need help, and to do your own research to make sure you choose the money management method that works best for you. What I’m going to share here is not the only way to control your finances, but it is the way I do it.

About 2 years ago, I discovered the Profit First method of accounting, which Mike Michalowicz details in his book of the same name—there’s a link to the book with this video. I’ll give you the very simplified high-level explanation of the method, but please read the book before doing it for yourself.

BUY “PROFIT FIRST” HERE

In short, this system has you put all of your revenue into one account, and then divvy it up into several other accounts based on set percentages. The first bucket is profit (hence the name Profit First), then taxes and owner’s draw (meaning your pay), and what’s left goes to operating expenses.

So, how this looks for my business is this:

All of my revenue goes into one of my business bank accounts. Then every two weeks, I add up the total of money collected in my business over the previous two weeks, and transfer percentages of that into my various accounts.

I transfer 10% of total revenue into my profit account, 20% of the total goes into my taxes account (and I use that to pay my quarterly business taxes), 55% goes into owner’s draw (the account from which I pay myself), and 15% goes into my operating expenses account, which is what I use to pay for all of my business expenses.

These are the percentages I use, but they are not set in stone. The book walks you through how to figure the percentages that are best for your business. And it becomes easier to determine how much you need for each the longer you’re in business and the longer you use the method; I’ve adjusted my numbers already since I started using the system 2 years ago.

After I’ve done all of my transfers, I write myself a check for my salary. I get a set amount every two weeks, regardless of how much I earned in that 2-week period. This works because when I have bigger months, more money goes into owner’s draw and that helps offset the months when I make less.

To make all of this work, you must have budgets—one for your household and for your business. This is the only way to determine exactly how much you must pay yourself every two weeks to cover your responsibility for your household finances, and to make sure you have enough in your operating expenses account to cover your business expenses.

Now, the question I always had, and maybe what you’re thinking, too was this: What if I don’t make enough to cover my expenses and taxes? And here’s the hard but true answer: Then you need to cut expenses and/or make more money. Period.

Avoiding your finances because you don’t like what you see doesn’t change what’s happening. In fact, avoiding it only makes it worse. This was how I got behind on my taxes and always felt stressed and broke.

Nothing changed until I faced the facts, took control, and made responsible changes to my spending and earning. This system helped me do that.

In fact, this accounting method was a complete game changer for me and my business. Once I took control of my money, I had more of it—even before I was actually making more of it. That’s because every penny had a job. I knew where each penny was going and had a process for making sure it went there and not elsewhere.

Also, the system is called Profit First for a reason. You put money toward profit no matter what. I don’t skip that step. My budget must reflect that some portion of my revenue (at first it was 5% and now 10% and I hope to grow it to 20%) goes to a profit account. If I can’t afford that, then I need to change my spending or make more money. I no longer borrow from my future to pay for my present overspending.

I’ve had a couple of bookkeepers and accountants scoff at Profit First. They don’t like the idea of “hiding” money from yourself. And to them I say, I’m glad you don’t need to do that. But I do. This is what works from me. This simple, clear, regimented system is what keeps me from avoiding reality, hiding from my money, and allows me to feel a sense of control over my money.

This system is what took me from being a year behind on my taxes 2 years ago to now having more in the bank than I’ll need to pay this year’s taxes. It’s what’s taken me from always feeling and being broke to having thousands of dollars sitting in a profit account, that I can use to grow my business or go on a damn vacation if I want, and it’s what took me from the scary ups and downs of never knowing how much I would make to having a steady, reliable income.

Whether you choose to use Profit First or find another system that works for you, my hope for you is simply that you take control of your financial destiny. Being a better steward of your dollars is practical, but it’s also a way to step into your power.

How I Made $15k in August

How I Made $15k in August

I earned $15k+ this month. It’s my 2nd 5-figure month this year and the 4th ever.

Most important to me, though, is this is the first time I’ve earned 5 figures in a month only for my coaching work (not my pay-the-bills writing work I’ve been doing as I pivot from freelance writing to coaching).

⁠⁠I’ve taken a little time to reflect, and thought I’d share 5 lessons I’ve learned from reaching this milestone.

Before that, though, I want to say one thing: I didn’t earn this much because I changed my business model, learned some cool new marketing trick, or hired a team​.

I earned more because I believed I could. Period.

Believing I could allowed me to raise my rates, speak more confidently about my work, and close more sales.

(To be clear, this was $15k+ gross revenue collected. My operating expenses are about 17%, so my net income for August was about $12,500. What I actually earned this month is unchanged because I pay myself a set salary, but it means more money in my business profits account!)

Okay, back to the lessons I wanted to share…

⁠⁠1. I’m allowed to be ambitious. I’m allowed to dream big. I’m allowed to want. And I’m allowed to do all that publicly without apology. 💪

⁠⁠2. I’m allowed to charge more. It turns out, I actually sell more when I do (huh whaaaa?!). Best of all, charging more attracts other ambitious women who aren’t afraid to invest in themselves and who are my favorite clients because they do the damn work! 💰

⁠⁠3. I’m allowed to enjoy my work. I don’t have to do what I “should” or what “pays the bills” … I get to be paid for what I *love* to do, what I’m *damn good* at doing, and what I’m truly *called* to do. And I get to be paid WELL. 😍

⁠⁠4. I’m allowed to keep learning. As a mindset coach, I can get reluctant to admit I still need mindset help (that’s a bit scary to admit!). I’m finally allowing it for myself … and, no shock, it’s paying off big time. ✍️

⁠⁠5. I’m allowed to have support. I don’t have to go it alone. I don’t have to know it all, do it all, shoulder all the physical and emotional weight. I can surround myself with smart women who push me, cheer me on, hold my hand—and I can receive without fear of judgment. 👩‍❤️‍👩

⁠⁠I hope everyone else had a profitable August. But more important, I hope everyone else is opening their minds and hearts to possibility.

Dream big, y’all. Your capacity to live a life you love is only limited by your capacity to believe it’s possible.

Oh and if you need to hear it, your dreams don’t have to be the same as anyone else’s. Your measure of success can be anything (not just money).

I don’t care what you earn, I only want you to begin to believe that the life you want (whatever that looks like) is possible.

Planners for 2021: The best options for women

Planners for 2021: The best options for women

Every year, I share a list of my favorite planners for women. I highlight some of the best daily planners to help business owners and moms get organized and be productive. This is my list of best planners for 2021.

This year is different, to say the least. At first, I thought it was odd to share about organization tools amidst a pandemic when our lives are in chaos. Then I realized many of us need a good planner more during COVID. 

I hope these great 2021 planners and organizers will help working moms better manage hectic days of work, parenting, teaching, and keeping the peace with kids at home.

There isn’t one tool that works for everyone. That’s why I’m sharing a bunch of the best productivity planners—cute planners, custom planners, daily and weekly planners, perpetual planners, planners for moms, planners for college—basically, something for everyone!

(This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase via a link here, I may receive a commission. The price is the same for you whether you use my link or buy directly from the vendor.)

Feminist Agenda by Erika Firm for Minted

Feminist Agenda Monthly or Weekly planner (starting at $25) is a 5.5″ by 8.5″ planner that includes perpetual weekly or monthly planner layouts so you can start them on any date. It includes two sheets of colorful stickers to highlight birthdays special events and reminders. You can even customize the front and interior cover with your name and/or photos.

Learn more/order: Minted.com (search for “Feminist Agenda”)

Ashley Shelly 2021 Planner

Ashley Shelly

The Signature and Petite Ashley Shelly planners ($44.95 / $29.95) feature a combination of organization and inspiration. They include a weekly layout on two pages with equal space for all days of the week. Each day has a section for your schedule, to-do list, and notes or meal planning. I love the Creative Spreads, at the start of each month, which help you get inspired and set goals. The Signature planner has 6×9″ wire-o bound pages, a hard, semi-gloss cover. The Petite planner has 5×8″ lay-flat pages and a hard cover wrapped in smooth leatherette.

Learn more/order: AshleyShelly.com

 

Ashley Shelly 2021 Planner

Purple Trail

Throw Kindness Real Foil Daily Planner ($54.95+)  is completely customizable so you can make it fit your exact needs. Choose a hard or flexible cover (I love the smaller 6×8″ size, but 8.5×11″ is available for $10 more), and then make the inside your own. You get to choose from 10 different inside layout styles, colorful or gray pages, the month start date, and from 6 to 18 months. There are also a bunch of fun add-ons for a little more money, including stickers, pockets, and all sorts of extra inside page options. This company also has super specific planners for teachers, real estate agents, hair stylists, and more.

Learn more/order: PurpleTrail.com

 

Classic Panda Planner

The Classic Panda Planner ($24.97) is small but mighty. Inside the 5.25×8.25″ UNDATED planner you’ll find space for daily morning and end-of-day reviews, plus daily schedule, tasks, priorities, and notes. There are also weekly reviews and planning areas, monthly overviews and reviews, and space to work on habits. You also get access to eBooks on topics like “How to Crush Your Goals” and “A Billionaire’s Guide to Productivity”, plus a video mini-course on how to skyrocket your productivity. It comes in 4 colors and is likely to become your favorite planner.

Learn more/order: PandaPlanner.com

Inkwell 2021 planner

InkWELL Press 360º Disc Planners

360º Disc Planners (starting at $65) are full customizable and allow you to create the ideal planner for your lifestyle. No more trying to fit your schedule into someone else’s idea of how it should flow. The 360º Disc system offers multiple covers, page formats, and accessories. You can choose undated daily, horizontal weekly, vertical weekly, monthly, or goal setting spreads. It can take a bit to get the hang of building your own planner, but for control freaks (like me) it may be the best solution and worth the price of admission.

Learn more/order: InkWELLPress.com

The Best Self Planner

Self Planner ($9.99) is the most economical option on this list. It’s a six-month UNDATED planner designed to help you manage your time and plan your life. Use the various templates to get clear on your priorities, mastermind your future, and infuse every day with the things that matter most to you. Available in a black or coral hardcover measuring 7×10”, it includes a back pocket, two ribbon markers, and perforated corners. You can’t really beat the simplicity and price of this planner.

Learn more/order: BestSelf.co

The Day Designer

The Day Designer ($59 for the original size) is the first daily planner I ever used and I still have a special place in my heart for it. It’s a simple and easy system created to help women find balance and productivity. There are yearly and monthly glances, but this one is all about the daily pages. There is a focus on the top three things you need to do each day (my favorite part!). There’s also a ton of space for events, to-dos, notes, meal planning, gratitude, and more. If you prefer a daily planner, I doesn’t get more elegant and practical than this. Original is 9×9.75″ and Mini is 6.6×8.3″; both include hard, coil-bound cover (and there are 12 gorgeous cover designs to choose from!).

Learn more/order: DayDesigner.com

Commit 30 planner

The Commit 30 Planner

The Commit 30 Planner ($34.99) is designed to help you crush your goals and dreams by focusing on 30 Day Challenges every month. I freaking love this sleek little planner, which comes in weekly (Sunday or Monday start) or monthly formats. It includes vision mapping, planning and goal setting pages, life and work to-do lists, blank notes pages, a back pocket, and motivational quotes. Best of all, part of the sales of certain planners go to Ovarian Cancer Research Alliance (Jenny, the creator, is thriving after ovarian cancer in her early 20s). Available in compact (5.75×8.25”) or deluxe (7×10″), and both include faux leather covers with an elastic band enclosure.

Learn more/order: Commit30.com

Cultivate What Matters PowerSheets

The PowerSheets®  Intentional Goal Planner ($58) is a best-selling goal planning tool for a reason. They help you uncover the right goals for your season of life, have goal coaching on every page to keep you motivated, and include seasonal worksheets to refresh and refocus your goals. Plus, you get access to a free library of downloadable pages (including things like a meal planner, finance tracker, reading list, and budget). I highly recommend this system for anyone looking for a very in-depth, comprehensive approach to setting big goals. 2021 PLANNERS AVAILABLE OCTOBER 14

Learn more/order: CultivateWhatMatters.com

DAILYGREATNESS PLANNER

Dailygreatness Business Planner

The Dailygreatness Business Planner ($49.95) is a must-have tool for entrepreneurs, with an intuitive format that guides you to upgrade your thinking and strategy to reach your business goals. It includes a dated yearly planner, week-to-a-view pages, finance and budget worksheets, goal and appointment planners, and personal development tools in a simple daily, weekly, and quarterly structure. I love the 90-day high-level check-ins to keep you accountable for your goals. It features a lightweight, durable flexibound cover, 464-page full-color design, and is about the size of an iPad. 2021 PLANNERS AVAILABLE FOR ORDER NOW; SHIP IN NOV. 2020.

Learn more/order: Dailygreatness.com

Enneagram planners

Workspacery Enneagram Planner

The Enneagram Planner ($24.95) are designed to help Enneagram type actually plan in a way that makes the most sense to their unique needs. After all, why do we think there should be a one-size-fits-all approach to planning, goal setting, and list making? This collection features nine UNDATED weekly planners, each designed to embrace a distinct planning style, that include lined notes pages, monthly and weekly undated layouts, and more. Each book is 5x25x8″ with gold Wire-o binding, and spill- and tear-proof soft covers.

Learn more/order: WorkSpacery.com 

My PA Planner

My PA Planner ($39) is more than just a planner, it’s a road map for your success with everything you need to turn your vision into a reality. It’s designed for creatives, freelancers, and entrepreneurs who want to make the most of their gifts and lives. Think of it as having your very own 24/7 personal assistant helping you to stay on top of your game, stop you from feeling overwhelmed and help you make every single day count. There is a place for every goal, project, idea, thought or intention. 2021 PLANNERS PRE-ORDERS NOW FOR OCTOBER DELIVERY

Learn more/order: MyPAPlanner.com

Life Planners

The LifePlanner™ ($50+) is the ultimate planning system to get organized, achieve your goals, and preserve memories in one stylish space. This feature-packed design boasts two-page spreads per month, three layouts (vertical, horizontal, or hourly), stylish elements and inspirational quotes, coiled-in stickers, and a two-page goal setting spread. It’s ideal for anyone who loves scrapbooking or is otherwise artistic (and I know teachers love this one!). There are so many accessories you can use to personalize and make yours a true reflection of you! 2021 PLANNERS NOT YET AVAILABLE

Learn more/order: ErinCondren.com

Hope Planner

The Hope Planner ($34) is more than a daily planner with Bible verses—it’s an all-in-one Christian planner that combines a daily planner and prayer journal to help you be organized and put your faith first each day. This is a beautiful option for Christian women who need a daily planner that helps them make time for faith, just as they make time for tasks and appointments. It’s an UNDATED day planner with space for monthly project tracking, goal setting weekly sermon notes, and more. The planner is 9×8” inches with gold wire-o binding and a blue linen-wrapped hard cover.

Learn more/order: Hopefuel.co

Ponderlily 2021 planner

Ponderlily Planner

The Ponderlily Dated Planner (£35 GBP) is made with eco-conscious materials and plastic-free packaging, and is designed to prompt you to dream fearlessly, set meaningful intentions, and take bold actions. It available in either dated or undated weekly layouts, and comes in several beautiful colors. There are gentle prompts, lists, gratitude reflections, habit trackers, and more to hold you accountable and help you celebrate triumphs. This is perfect for my European readers: It won’t fly across the world to get to you, meaning a smaller carbon footprint, a cleaner conscience, and a smaller price tag!

Learn more/order: Ponderlily.com

Bloom daily planner 2021

Bloom Planners

The 2021 Vision Planner & Calendar ($29.95) has everything you could need. There are monthly and weekly views, monthly vision boards, weekly calendar, monthly spending tracking, contact pages, notes pages, monthly challenges, inspirational quotes, and so much more. The 7.5×9″ planner includes lay-flat spiral binding and a hard cover with tropical plam leaves and gold foil accents (there are many other cover options available, too).

Learn more/order: BloomPlanners.com

Bloom daily planner 2021

The Happy Planner

The 2021 Happy Planner x Teresa Collins Deluxe Classic Vertical Planner  ($32.99) is a gorgeous monthly planner filled with inspiring words and beautiful artwork. There are monthly and weekly calendar pages and dividers, space to write notes and reflect, a grid calendar, and individual spreads for every week (that include to-do lists). It’s 7.75 x 9.75″ and I freaking love this cover. But Happy Planner has a ton of other options if you don’t love the look of this one.

Learn more/order: TheHappyPlanner.com

There you have it! The best planners for 2021. I hope you find one you love! If you found this post useful, please share it with your friends and on social media. Help me spread the love for these amazing planners and organizers. Thanks!

Business Success in Recession

Business Success in Recession

As I write this, the world is in the grips of Coronavirus, also called COVID-19. The economy is shaky, and running a business feels scary. Your business can survive recession—or even have success in recession—if you learn how to manage a downturn (and do some recession planning for next time).

I started my own business in 2005 during a strong economy. Then came the Great Recession of 2008. I was completely unprepared. In 2008, I made $110,000. In 2009, I didn’t even clear $14,000.

At the same time, I was dealing with the deaths of my grandmother and brother, a divorce, and losing my home—all in six months. It was A LOT. Not a pandemic, but certainly an upended of my life as I knew it.

I learned a lot about how to run a business during a recession (and what not to do). So, this is my 5-step recession survival guide for other small business owners facing such tough circumstances for the first time.

 

1. Feel your feelings

Whether it’s a global pandemic or a routine economic slump, any major change can be traumatic. It can also trigger unresolved trauma from childhood or adulthood, which only compounds the feelings.

Allow yourself the space to feel what comes up. Don’t beat yourself up or do what you “should.” It’s okay not to push or be super productive or be grateful for this time.

Don’t surround yourself with people who tell you to “get over it” “work harder” or not let your “scarcity mindset” or fears get the best of you. Your feelings are real. Your fears are real. Your situation is real. Honor it and yourself. Do what you need to to protect yourself and your family.

 

2. Ask for help

Asking for help is hard for so many of us, especially for women who tend to be cast int the role of care giver, putting everyone else’s needs ahead of their own. But not asking for help when times are tough is a recipe for disaster. It’s the surest way to burn out and fall farther behind.

Find community wherever you can: Attend networking events, if possible. Have as many virtual coffee chats as you can. Start a mastermind with a trusted group of peers. Talk to other business owners who get what you’re experiencing.

Thanks to this story we tell ourselves, we don’t talk to anyone about our fears because we worry it would be admitting “failure” and looking like a fraud. That’s a lonely and scary place to be. Take a risk and be vulnerable enough to tell others who “get it” about the hard times and your fears. You’ll likely hear a chorus of “me too,” and that support network can also help you devise a plan to turn things around.

If you need help learning how to ask for what you want and need, sign up for my free Gutsy Ask Email Challenge. You’ll get a bunch of mindset and practical tips for confidently making asks that are met with yes.

 

3. Act like a CEO

I went far too long treating my business like a hobby, even though it was my full-time job and I made a full-time living. Recession taught me that it’s vital to act like a CEO, even if you’re a business of one.

If you haven’t already, set up an LLC and get an EIN from the IRS (to use instead of your SSN). Also, separate your business and personal finances with different bank accounts.

Taking those actions can provide legal protection. If ever you’re sued (perhaps you default on a loan, break a contract, etc.), your personal assets are in jeopardy if you’ve not clearly established your business as a separate entity.

Also, getting serious about your business finances is perhaps the most important thing you can do to prepare for bad times. Switching to the Profit First accounting method is keeping my business alive during the current downturn. It allowed me finally clearly see where every dollar I earn goes.

Thanks to Profit First, I have enough money to pay my business expenses for months, to pay my taxes on time, and a rainy-day fund just for my business to continue to pay myself even when revenue is down or dead.

Finally, track your data. No CEO of a big company would be making decisions without hard numbers in front of them—and neither should you.

It’s easy to spiral from “I’m not making enough money right now” to “I’m a loser.” This is particularly true when we rely only on our bank account and our feelings to assess our success.

The cure is to track more metrics in your business so you can use factual data to assess your progress. Sales may be down, but perhaps you’re growing your email list or appearing on more podcasts—or any number of other things that might later result in sales. Revenues may be down, but perhaps your actual profits are up, or you are getting more repeat clients.

Knowing *all* of your numbers will paint a more complete picture of the ways you’re growing and improving, even if actual sales are down.

You can also use this data to help with the feast-famine cycle of business. If year after year, work slows down every holiday or every summer, you can be better prepared for them, financially and emotionally.

 

4. Keep planting seeds

A slow time, especially one we didn’t choose, is very scary. It’s also an ideal time to plant seeds that will later help your business grow.

During an economic downturn, resist the urge to let panic stop you from taking action. Instead, use this time to play the long game with marketing efforts that will pay off in the future, including:

  • Write content that you can bank and use when you are busy again
  • Optimize content that already exists (improve blog post SEO, upgrade your courses or opt ins)
  • Launch a podcast, YouTube channel, or Facebook group
  • Create new pins for existing content, join more group boards, and share like crazy on Pinterest
  • Have as many virtual coffee chats as you can
  • Emails current and past customers, and prospects, to ask for new business, referrals, or just to stay top of mind
  • Learn new skills by attending events, taking courses, and reading books

A slower time is also an opportunity to do big-picture thinking and planning. How might you need to pivot business to respond to the changing economy? What changes to pricing, offers, messaging do you want to make? How can you improve what you do to boost customer loyalty? What could you do to promote referrals?

You should be having a CEO Day at least once a quarter, and a recession is no time to put it on the back burner. Sit down with pen and paper and start dreaming and plotting. You can grab my 20+ page CEO Day workbook for just $10 to guide these efforts.

 

5. Don’t make big decisions

Don’t make big decisions on your worst (or your best) day. Those decisions are based on feelings, not facts. They are rooted in the story you’re telling yourself, and one that will very likely change.

Feelings aren’t facts!

Take a break and, when you feel more even keeled, analyze the facts before doing something rash like changing your business model or quitting.

It’s easy to panic during a recession. But also, there is so much that is outside of our control.

That’s why it’s also really important to develop some healthy mindset practices to help you weather the storm. Here’s a mindset practice that I use (and teach my coaching clients) that has saved me from diving off the deep end many times.

At least once a day, find 5-10 minutes of quiet to ask yourself three questions:

  1. What am I feeling? What issues are coming up for me right now? Where am I feeling resentment, frustration, fear? On what thoughts do I keep spinning?
  2. What are the facts? What do I know to be true? It’s amazing how often when I ask my clients about facts that they start citing feelings and beliefs, not facts. I’ll end up homeless is not a fact. My bank account is at $100 is a fact.
  3. What’s my choice here? Here’s the hard truth: You only have control over your reactions. You can’t control circumstances like coronavirus, and you can’t control others. You can only control how you react to those things. So, what choice are you going to make?

This mindset practice is designed to take you from reactionary to proactive.

If you need more help quieting the mind and avoiding limiting beliefs, you can learn about my mindset coaching practice here.

5 steps to find business success during a recession
Why I host my online courses & membership on Podia

Why I host my online courses & membership on Podia

Why I use Podia to host my online courses and membership, a Podia review

I’m a mindset coach who sells several online courses and, until recently, hosted an online membership for business owners. All are/were hosted on Podia. Why do I use Podia to host my online courses and membership? Read on.

When I first learned about Podia, I was skeptical because it sounded too good to be true. It’s less pricey than other online hosting platforms and does more (you can use Podia to host courses, digital downloads, and run memberships). I was quickly a convert and am now a big fan.

I’ve been using Podia to sell online courses and to host a membership since February of 2018. Below are the 10 reasons why.

 

This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase via a link here, I’ll get a commission. The price is the same for you whether you use my link or buy directly from the vendor.

 

1. Podia has low prices

I’ve used other course-hosting platforms (that didn’t even allow me to run a membership or sell digital downloads) and they costed more than Podia—or, worse, they charged nothing but took a big cut of my sales.

I’m on the $79-a-month Shaker plan (I prepaid for a year to save $158). For that, I can host unlimited courses, sell digital downloads, and have a membership—and Podia doesn’t take a cut of anything I sell. There’s also a plan for just $39 a month if you don’t have a membership, want to do affiliate marketing, and don’t need embedded checkout options (more on that in a bit).

Compare Podia to other online platforms and I’m pretty sure you’ll find it’s the most competitive as far as what you get for the price.

 

2. They make it easy to switch

What really sealed the deal for me was when I learned Podia would migrate all my content at no cost. I hosted my first course on Thinkific, but quickly realized it was not a great option for me (the price was too high and the service was subpar). They offer this service to anyone who switches to Podia, regardless of where your content currently lives.

The tech piece is what typically keeps me from trying something new. They eliminated that issue and made the switch a no-brainer.

 

3. Embedded checkout is the best

Not only does Podia give you a custom domain (mine is shop.beckymollenkamp.com), but you can also use the embedded checkout feature. Now I build sales pages on my WordPress site and people can buy my courses (or enroll in my membership) without navigating away from my site to complete the sale.

The more steps someone has to take to purchase, the more likely they are to change their mind.

Want to see this in action? Check out my Money Mindset Crash Course sales page. When someone clicks the “Buy Now” button, they can enter their payment information and gain access to the classes without leaving my site. You can add a button, a product card (with an image, product title, and description and button), or use a text link to embed the checkout trigger.

Give Podia a try without a commitment: Sign up for their FREE 14-day trial

 

4. It’s easy to use

Podia has an easy-to-use editor that’s fairly intuitive to figure out, even for a tech novice. The simple interface basically walks you through customizing your storefront with brand-specific images, fonts, and colors. You can pick and choose which items are displayed, too.

Setting up your content is also straightforward. You can drag and drop video, audio, or PDF files, add links to videos or articles, write text content, and even create quizzes (more on that later).

The platform isn’t necessarily as clean and beautiful as some others out there, but you can do quite a bit (without a lot of struggle) to make it look nice and branded.

 

5. You can make more with bundles…

A smart feature is the bundling option, which allows you to combine two or more courses (or downloads) together and sell them for a package price. I love that I can offer multiple products at a discount to incentivize prospects to purchase more.

You can also create customized bundles for different customer personas (e.g. “The Course Creator Bundle”, “The Blogger Bundle”, etc…). Bundles are a smart way to make more money per sale, and to help your customers with a more comprehensive offering.

 

6. …and with upsell offers

Like bundling, upselling is a smart way to increase revenue. You can set up an upsell for any course or download so customers who are already buying from you can very easily make an impulse buy of an additional product to increase the overall size of your orders.

Using discounts on the upsells can incentivize someone to make an additional purchase they may not have otherwise, which ups your total earnings without all the extra effort of a lengthy email sales campaign pushing other offers.

 

7. There are now quizzes for courses

A newer and fun feature on Podia is quizzes. You can now add them easily to your courses to help to reinforce what your students learn. They are simple, clean, and easy to use—plus, they work on mobile.

Ask whatever questions you want and then when a student finishes answering all of your questions, they’ll see their final results before moving onto the next lesson in your course.

 

8. There are all these cool extras

There are a few other random things I love about Podia for online courses and online memberships:

  • You can set up your membership “Patreon” style—but without all the extra fees! This means you can have different membership levels, with varying rewards at each level, but you play a flat monthly fee of $79 vs. 5-12% of total sales and 2.96% transaction fee per sale. That can mean HUGE savings.
  • It’s easy to create coupons and discounts for promotions, to give your products away as gifts or to influencers, or as incentives for current clients or members.
  • Podia has a built-in affiliate program for courses, downloads, and memberships. This means your customers or friends can promote your courses and get a cut of sales … but you don’t have to pay a third-party to deal with the logistics!
  • You can deliver course content all at once, or drip it out over time.
  • There’s also a pre-launch option that allows you to start generating interest (and collecting email addresses) before you are actually ready to release and sell a course.

 

9. Podia integrates with email platforms

Podia has a very basic email marketing system built into it, but it’s only useful for those who don’t need or can’t yet afford a more robust platform like ConvertKit.

What I love, though, is that Podia integrates seamlessly with most major email marketing platforms, including ConvertKit, Mailchimp, AWeber, Drip, MailerLite, and ActiveCampaign. You can also use one-click Zapier zaps to automatically do things like add a new member to a Google Sheet, receive a Slack message for every new purchase, or record new Podia sales as FreshBooks paid invoices.

 

10. You get unbelievable service

This is last on the list, but it’s actually the No. 1 reason I love Podia. Their service is amazing. I use their online chat feature all the time. Truly, I’ve probably asked 100+ questions. They always give me a quick response, in minutes during business days and rarely more than a day later. When they don’t know the answer, they quickly find out.

Even more, they have offered to fix problems or make changes on my behalf rather than simply sending me instructions or directing me to the FAQ section.

 

 

 

If you’re preparing to sell your first online course or getting ready to start an online membership, Podia may be the easiest, most affordable option, and most comprehensive option.

Give Podia a try without a commitment: Sign up for their FREE 14-day trial