Journaling for Success: The Ultimate Guide for Small Business Owners

Journaling for Success: The Ultimate Guide for Small Business Owners

Productivity experts, business gurus, mindset teachers…it seems like everyone says journaling can change your life. You want to learn how to journal for success, but aren’t sure where to start.

You’ve tried to journal, but usually the blank page stares you into submission. After one or two entries, you quit. Or, it’s like you’ve been transported back to your teenage years and you can’t shake the silly “Dear Diary” feeling.

Don’t worry! This guide will teach you how to journal in a way that works for you

This guide is packed with journaling methods and resources to help you get started—and stick with it. It’s specifically for small business owners who want to harness the power of journaling to grow personally and professionally.

 

 

General Benefits of Journaling

Life can get hectic, and it can be easy to get consumed by all we have going on. Journaling is a way to slow down and take time for reflection.

Journaling is more than a feel-good, sound-good activity. There is plenty of scientific evidence to support that it actually delivers real and important results.

What’s more, writing accesses the left hemisphere of the brain, which is analytical and rational. This frees the right hemisphere to create, intuit and feel. That means writing harnesses all of your brainpower to find better solutions to problems.

 

Benefits of Journaling for Business Owners

Journaling is clearly useful for self-growth, which is useful for business owners. Additionally, there are other business-specific reasons that journaling can help create success. 

Whether you are hoping to launch a new business or wanting to grow an existing one, journaling can help.

1. Journaling sets ideas free.
The brain only has room for so many thoughts and feelings at once. Keep too many ideas locked up in your mind, and you’ll lose some as your brain makes room for others. Getting your brilliant business ideas out of your mind and onto paper captures them forever.

2. It increases productivity.
By releasing your brain from the responsibility of holding onto #AllTheIdeas, you free up space for others to take root and expand. That’s effectively doubling the number of ideas you can generate at any given time.

3. Journaling fills in the blanks.
Seeing all your seemingly disparate ideas on paper can help you (quite literally) draw connections among them. Finding those creative relationships can be difficult or darn near impossible when they’re trapped in your mind.

4. It weeds out bad ideas.
Journaling allows you to look at your business musings in black and white. This judgement-free space can help you more accurately evaluate which truly have legs—and those that sounded better in theory. Letting go of bad ideas quickly will keep you from wasting time and money on them. Even better, it can help you learn from them and perhaps reshape them into good ideas.

5. Journaling creates a record.
Tracking your ideas from fruition beyond implementation creates a record that can later be quite useful. When an idea comes to life and is successful, you can accurately reflect on how it all happened. This can help you re-create what led to your best ideas, and help lightning strike again.

Small business owners can use journaling to capture and track ideas for new businesses or offers. It can also help with brainstorming content ideas, planning social media, or mapping out sales funnels.

To get even more ideas for how journaling can help you and your business, check out How 14 Business Owners Use Journaling to Grow Their Businesses.

 

How to Journal for Success

There are as many ways to journal as there are people. Your journal is your own, and you can create it and use it however best suits you.

Not sure where to start? Here are a few ideas to help.

Journaling for success
As a business owner, a journal can be incredibly helpful in going from probable hunch to profitable reality (see above). You can use a journal to do biz-y things like hone your elevator pitch, brainstorm solutions to your customer’s problems, keep track of competitors and how you can separate from the herd, reflect on your values or your “why,” brainstorm ideas for scaling, dream about the future, and more.

No subject is off limits
Using a journal for business is great, but you don’t have to stop there. You can capture ideas of all sorts. Record your nightly dreams, write out a bucket list, jot down favorite mantras, or just jot down any random thing that pops into your head. If you do this all in one journal, you can later look for connections between seemingly random ideas. Or, you can use separate journals for different concepts.

Put pen to paper
Many studies have shown the benefits of handwriting vs. typing. Not only does it help you better retain information, it activates more areas of the brain to better unlock memories and trigger creativity. If you’re physically able, put pen to paper when you journal instead of typing or dictating.

Let it flow
Freewriting is a powerful journaling method. You write without stopping for a set length of time or until you fill a certain number of pages. Even if you only write, “I don’t know what to write,” you just keep going until time is up or the pages are full.​ The purpose is to free your brain from editing (or censoring) in real time. This allows our deepest feelings and ideas to flow. 

Too much can be too much
For journaling to have the greatest affect on your life and business, it helps to do it consistently over months and years. That said, too much of a good thing can actually be too much. Research suggests that doing it every day can be overwhelming, and that three to four days a week for 15 to 30 minutes at a time is ideal.

Shake things up
It can be easy to get stuck in a rut with anything, including journaling. If you’ve been doing it for a while and are feeling creatively stunted, do something unexpected. Write with your nondominant hand, try audio entries rather than handwritten, head outdoors or somewhere new to journal, use crayons, etc. Experiment from time to time to keep the creative juices flowing.

Let go of perfection
Nothing is a bigger killer of journaling (or any creative outlet) than perfectionism. Remind yourself that your journal is a private space only for you. Write quickly to help free your brain from worries about spelling, punctuation, and grammar. The more you can learn to accept and embrace bad writing, the freer you’ll be and the more rewarding journaling will become.

Try using prompts
There’s nothing worse than staring at a blank page. When you encounter writer’s block (and even the best writers do from time to time), journaling prompts can be a useful tool to help the words flow. More on that next.

The only rule with journaling is there are no rules! Treat your journal like an accepting, loving confidant, or like a free therapist. The more you open up to it, the more it will reveal to you.

Journaling can be messy, and that’s okay. In fact, in journaling and in life, in the mess is often where we find the magic.

 

Best Journals to Buy

If possible, use old-fashioned pen and paper to journal. Research has shown that people learn better and retain more information when they write things down instead of type. Even so, journaling in any form can be incredibly beneficial, so don’t let this be the thing that keeps you from starting!

Most stationery designers offer blank journals that are beautiful and may help inspire you to start writing! If you’re like some people and don’t want to “ruin” a pretty journal by actually writing in it, then consider using a basic notebook.

 

Read This: The Best Journals to Buy

 

You can also maximize productivity (and ensure you don’t forget to do your journaling) by having your planner double as a journal. Most daily, weekly, and even monthly planners have space for taking notes.

Prefer digital journaling? You can use the notes section in your phone or computer, or choose among the many online options for capturing your thoughts. Penzu is a private, totally customizable online journal (also available as an app) and Evernote has a very robust notekeeping desktop and mobile app that can be used for journaling (along with any business/personal notekeeping). Both programs have free versions.

 

Journaling Exercises

Still unsure how to get started? The easiest journaling practice is to simply take a few minutes and reflect on your day or dream about the future.

Each day, take out a sheet of paper (or your journal or planner) and answer one or several of these questions:

  • What made yesterday great?
  • What could have made yesterday better?
  • For what are you grateful?
  • What do you want to accomplish in the coming years?
  • How could you push closer to those dreams today?

Some other journaling exercises include things like writing out a simple pro/con list for a challenge you’re facing, doing a brain dump to get all of the thoughts in your head onto paper, a to-do list or a list of big-picture goals, or just writing uninterrupted for 10-15 minutes about a thematic word of the day (family, community, mindset, change, hope, etc.).

If facing a blank page feels overwhelming, but you want more variety than what I’ve already suggested above, then you may love using journaling prompts. These are questions or other starters to unlock your brain.

A few examples of prompts include:

  • Words to live by…
  • What I wish others knew about me…
  • I’m most content when…
  • What I’ve learned from mistakes/failure

If you love journaling prompts, check out these posts: Morning Journaling Prompts, Creative Journaling Prompts, and Journaling Prompts for Self-Discovery.

The ultimate guide to journaling for success for business owners, plus prompts to get started

Planners for 2020: The best options for women

Planners for 2020: The best options for women

It’s my favorite time of year—time to order fresh new planners for the new year! This popular post highlights more than a dozen of the best planners made for creative women business owners by creative women business owners.

I’m an old pro at this by now. I’ve been using paper organizers forever (seriously, I’ve tried and failed digital options many times), and this is the fourth year that I’ve put together this roundup. 

What I’ve learned is this: There isn’t one option that suits everyone. That said, I’m hopeful that among this great collection of planners you can find the right one for your organizational and inspirational needs.

(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.)

The Ashley Shelly Planner

Ashley ShellyAshley Shelly Planner Roundup has a passion for planning and organization—on paper and in her environment. Her brand’s tagline is “Create Your Best Days” because she knows planning is such a huge part of a woman’s day (and life!). She created a planner that combines scheduling, to-do lists, and inspirational planning. “I believe function and inspiration are the key ingredients in a perfect planner,” she says

The Ashley Shelly Planner ($44.95) features a combination of organization and inspiration. It includes 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, which are positioned at the start of each month, to help you get inspired and set goals. It has a hard, semi-gloss cover, and measures 7.25 x 9.25 inches including binding.

Learn more/order: AshleyShelly.com

 

The Day Designer

Whitney EnglishWhitney English Day Designer planner faced an overflowing email inbox, a hand-scribbled to-do list, a pile of meeting notes, and felt overwhelmed and disorganized back in November 2011. She needed a solution—quickly. That’s when she came up with the Day Designer™. It was my first “real” (non-drugstore) planner, and I remain totally smitten with it.

The Day Designer ($59) is the original daily planner. 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.

Learn more/order: DayDesigner.com

InkWELL Press 360º Disc Planners

Tonya DaltonTonya Dalton, creator of Inkwell Press planners started InkWELL Press in 2014 to pursue her passion of providing productivity tools, training and education. She believes “in ending the glorification of busy. No one can do it all, but we can take what we’re given and develop a system that allows us to manage our days in a way that leaves us feeling happy and fulfilled.”

360º Disc Planners (starting at $52) 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

Ponderlily Planner

Carina Lawson, creator of Ponderlily plannerCarina Lawson is a Brazilian-born, Arabian Gulf-raised, Brit-wed, higher-ed executive, and twin mum. Like most of the creators on this list, Lawson created her planner for herself to solve her problem of overwhelm. “I’d internalized the message that making time for myself was less important than my to-do list,” she says. “But I wanted space to grow, learn, laugh, and to be honest, sleep, too!”

The Ponderlily 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 and a cleaner conscience!

Learn more/order: Ponderlily.com

Life Planners

Erin Condren Planner RoundupErin Condren left 12-hour days in the apparel industry to become a stay-at-home mom of two. She developed a case of cabin fever, and searched online for career opportunities she could do from home. She began making cards for friends, and a friend encouraged her to sell her designs in June 2004. The rest is history.

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!

Learn more/order: ErinCondren.com

Hope Planner

Heather Vreelandheather vreeland, creator of hopefuel christian planner for women is a wife, mother, founder of Occasions Media Group, and the creator of The Celebration Society, St. Augustine Social and Littleature Children’s Books. In 2016, she was inspired to design her own daily agenda that helped reorganize her priorities and make room in her schedule to read God’s word every day. That simple goal sparked new life and greater perspective in her normally stressed out days and became an agent of change in her life.

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.

Learn more/order: Hopefuel.co

The Refresh Weekly Planner

Jenna Murillo Planner RoundupJenna Murillo has felt a sense of magic with paper since childhood. She’s energized by turning a blank canvas into something beautiful. That’s what led her to planner design. “Designing a product that’s a stunning and functional tool for others was always a dream,” she says. “In 2015, fueled by the encouragement of friends and family and a fire inside of me to create, I fulfilled that dream.”

The Refresh Weekly Planner ($39.95) is back for 2020 with three fun new cover design options (they are all great, but the Kennedy, below, is my fave). The Refresh Planner includes a pocket design, goal-planning pages, monthly and weekly spreads, intentional space for weekly action steps and gratitude notes, and a notes section. It’s all beautifully bound with hard covers, so it won’t fall apart by April. This one always makes my list because it’s so pretty and practical.

Also, don’t miss the Enneagram Planners if you love that personality test. They are so cool for helping each type actually plan in a way that makes the most sense to their unique needs!

Learn more/order: WorkSpacery.com 

The Commit 30 Planner

jenny newcomer commit 30 plannerJenny Newcomer searched for years for the perfect planner that would help keep her busy work and home life in order. Eventually, she decided to create our own and manufacture it in the USA. A successful Kickstarter campaign funded the initial 2016 production run, and now this planner is a popular choice among entrepreneurs, moms, and busy people of all types.

The Commit 30 Planner ($29-36) 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, note 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).

Learn more/order: Commit30.com

Dailygreatness Planner

dailygreatness planner founderLyndelle Palmer-Clarke os a recovering self-help junkie who’s read all the books, been to all the seminars, listened to all the DVD’s and followed all the gurus only to realize that something was seriously missing from the picture—applied knowledgeShe made it her life mission to empower others to apply self-help ideas into their lives so they can start seeing results, and created the Dailygreatness planner to help.

The Dailygreatness Original Yearly Planner ($49.95) combines a yearly diary, goal and appointment planner, and daily tools for self-mastery. It includes space for appointments, reminders, gratitude, intentions, and evening reflections. This beautifully designed undated journal, with 488 full-color pages, will inspire you to upgrade your life and achieve your goals. Why wait for January 1st to start achieving your goals, when you can start today. 

Learn more/order: Dailygreatness.com

Cultivate What Matters PowerSheets

Lara Casey is passionate about helping women get unstuck, unrushed, and living on purpose instead of by accident. Because that was her story, too. She created PowerSheets to help women make what matters happen, right where they are. She wants to get women asking themselves what makes them tick, what do they most want to cultivate in their lives, and what are the things they’ve always wanted to do. I love that!

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.

*Note: The 2020 PowerSheets launch on Oct. 16th at 10 am ET

Learn more/order: CultivateWhatMatters.com

Perfect Project (digital download)

Eve Tokens, creator of the Perfect Project PlannerEve Tokens created a planner to help her manage multiple small businesses. “I was using a bullet journal, Trello, and my phone calendar. It was too much, and I found I was getting less done than ever before,” she says. The planner has evolved over three years into a strategic tool used to help her stay on track with both business and personal goals.

The Perfect Project Planner ($30) is designed to help bloggers, small business owners, and entrepreneurs take control of their lives and business plans. With dedicated space for planning out and prioritizing goals, the planner helps you schedule your business tasks and your personal life in a way that doesn’t make you feel like a planning failure. With a year-end review, weekly income tracking, monthly Google Analytics tracking, 90-day sprint pages, and monthly + weekly planner pages, this printable planner is perfect for any small business owner or blogger who has struggled to stay on top of things.

Learn more/order: PerfectProjectPlanner.com

Inspired Year

Kathy Pine Planner RoundupKathy Pine started her first company at age 25. After navigating the challenges of balancing entrepreneurship and early motherhood, Kathy realized she had a passion for helping women pursue their dreams and she began making inspirational and practical paper products. She created her first planner with a successful Kickstarter campaign in 2017. Now the Inspired Year is the flagship product of her One Love Paper Co.

The 2020 Inspired Year Planner ($49) is the ultimate goal-setting calendar for busy creatives who are juggling it all. Its no-nonsense approach, functional design, and roomy pages provide everything you need to stay organized and inspired. It’s designed with goal-setting and work-life balance in mind. My favorite part is all the incredibly helpful and inspiring annual, quarterly, and monthly goal-setting exercises. The “wheel” activity really opened my eyes!

Learn more/order: 1LovePaper.com

Passion Planner

Angelia TrinidadAngelia Trinidad wanted to create a planner that helped people break down their short- and long-term goals into actionable steps that they could complete over time. From her parents’ garage, she launched Passion on Kickstarter, and to her surprise raised, $48,000 in 30 days with the help of 2,000 strangers and friends.

The Passion Planner ($30-35) is designed to encourage you to plan for the future, reflect on the past, but most importantly, act on the present. It includes a step-by-step guide for mapping out goals, mind mapping for achieving them, monthly and weekly calendars, and space for monthly reflections. It’s available dated and undated and comes in three sizes. Best of all: $1 from each one sold benefits Malala Fund, a non-profit working for a world where all girls can learn and lead.

Learn more/order: PassionPlanner.com

Bulletproof Planner

Yvonne HeimannYvonne Heimann thought about all the things going on in an entrepreneur’s life when she created the Bulletproof Planner. “It helps you to map out the incredible dreams you have for your life, and break them down into checkpoints along a logical roadmap,” she says. 

The Bulletproof Planner ($59) is a roadmap for entrepreneurs. It puts everything you need in one place, so you can stay on top of looming deadlines and major goals. This undated planner includes monthly/weekly/daily layouts, yearly/quarterly goal tracking, financial planning and tracking formats, a workout tracker and gratitude journal, affirmations, and more. With a durable and beautiful leather-look cover (and pen and business card holders), it’s perfect for people who want to look professional at networking events or meetings.

Learn more/order: Shop.AskYvi.com

The Happiness Planner

Mo Seetubtim always dreamed of having an inspirational brand that people love. Her dream finally came true in March of 2015 with the launch of The Happiness Planner. It’s a beautiful journal designed to help people become happier and more fulfilled by embracing positive thinking, mindfulness, gratitude, and self-development.

The Happiness Planner® ($59) is one of my favorites as a mindset coach because it puts a strong emphasis on being in alignment with your core values. The Happiness Roadmap takes you through exercises to help you better understand your needs. And the planning pages help you take a more holistic look at your life than simply providing space for a to-do list. This is one of the best for people who want a planner that allows for deeper introspection.

Learn more/order: TheHappinessPlanner.com

Rule The World

Ilana Griffo Planner RoundupIlana Griffo decided to make a planner when she couldn’t find one that fit her needs. “As a design student, I wanted a place I could doodle, take notes, and stay on track of my classwork,” she says. In the last five years, Griffo’s planner has evolved to reflect her creative journey and her customers’ needs. 

The Rule The World Planner ($35) is full of goal-setting tools bound to help you crush your goals. From budget-planning worksheets to inspirational quotes, it’s bound to make this year your best yet.

Learn more/order: Amazon.com

There you have it! My roundup of the best planners for 2020. 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 women who are making beautiful products to help all of us get more organized. Thanks!

The best 2020 planners for women from BeckyMollenkamp.comThe best 2020 planners for women from BeckyMollenkamp.comThe best 2020 planners for women from BeckyMollenkamp.comThe best 2020 planners for women from BeckyMollenkamp.com
Podia: 10 Features You Will Love

Podia: 10 Features You Will Love

I’m not one for hyperbole, so it means something when I say Podia is the best thing to happen to my business.

I switched to Podia in early 2018, and have not once regretted that decision (find out why I dumped Thinkific for Podia). It’s a one-stop shop for my offerings and makes my life so much easier. My favorite part, though, is that I’m PAYING LESS and getting so much more. How often can you say that?

In this post, I’m sharing the 10 features that I love most about Podia. If you run an online business or just want to make extra money from online offerings, Podia could be the best platform for your selling needs.

CHECK OUT PODIA FOR YOURSELF!

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. Create Online Courses

Creating an online course is a great way to showcase your authority and earn money. With so many hosting platforms out there, why choose Podia? For me, it’s simple—because you can sell courses but also make extra dollars by also selling digital downloads and memberships. Oh, and Podia is REALLY easy to use … their new, more robust editor is pretty intuitive and customizable.

There’s no limit to how many courses you can sell, and you can easily include video, audio, downloads, quizzes, and more in your courses. You can also deliver the content all at once or drip it out over time.

CHECK OUT PODIA FOR YOURSELF!

2. Sell Digital Downloads

One of the best ways to showcase your style and expertise is with a digital download. It’s also one of the easiest ways to start earning money online. It’s so simple to put together a PDF, eBook, guide, or workbook using Canva, or to create a template or audio file that you can sell.

Also, if you’re not yet ready to invest in an email marketing platform like ConvertKit, you can use the digital download option as a free way to deliver your opt-in (also called a lead magnet or freebie).

 

3. Host a Membership

The reason I switched to Podia was because I wanted to create a membership and my previous course-hosting platform didn’t provide that service. Now, I can sell everything in one place rather than having to pay separate providers for each thing (ie, Thinkific for courses, Gumroad for downloads, and Kajabi for memberships).

Memberships are an awesome way to earn recurring income from your audience. It allows you to build a community of fans who love your content, engage with you, and support your work. You can even set them up “Patreon” style but without all the extra fees!

 

4. Make More with Bundles

Combine two or more products together and sell them as a package to generate additional revenue. Offer multiple products for a single price (that’s lower than the sum of the original prices), incentivize prospects to purchase a new product (by including another product with their purchase), or 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.

CHECK OUT PODIA FOR YOURSELF!

5. Use Upsell Offers

Upsells are a great way to increase the size of your orders by giving your customer a great deal on adding additional products to their purchase. 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.

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.

 

6. Basic Email System

Podia has a very basic email marketing system actually built into it. This is really great for anyone who is newer to online selling and doesn’t yet want to invest in a more robust and pricey platform like ConvertKit (what I use and love).

While not comprehensive, the internal email system does allow you to create drip campaigns that are triggered with a purchase (perhaps a series of emails to sell a buyer of a digital download on a more expensive course), or one-time campaigns that can be used for weekly newsletters or to update students/members about changes to your courses/memberships.

You get basic analytics (how many people received the email and when, plus open and click rates). You can’t yet schedule emails, but it is a feature that is likely to be added soon (I’ve requested it, and Podia is usually good about getting to customer requests pretty quickly).

 

7. Create Quizzes for Courses

A pretty snazzy (and newer) feature on Podia? 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.

Just 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.

CHECK OUT PODIA FOR YOURSELF!

8. Embed the Buy Button

These features aren’t necessarily listed in order of preference because the embedded checkout is probably my very favorite feature. It allows you to turn any web page into a sales page, meaning visitors can buy your Podia products without ever leaving that page.

Seriously, this was a game changer for me. Now I can create my own landing pages on my WordPress site and allow people to buy my course or digital download (or enroll in my membership) without having to navigate away from my website. Remember, the more steps someone has to take to purchase, the more likely they are to change their mind.

You can see how the buy buttons work on this page where I sell low-cost masterclasses. There are also options to create product cards (with an image, product title, and description along with the buy button) or text links that embed the checkout trigger directly into a text hyperlink.

 

9. Set Start Dates

If you don’t have evergreen courses (those that are available for purchase and automatic start at any point), don’t worry. You set a course to start at a future date, so you can pre-sell your courses and get paid while you create!

This can be helpful in a few different scenarios:

  1. You’d like to pre-sell your course and allow students to pay for it before the launch date.
  2. You’d like to have all of your students start your course at exactly the same time.
  3. You’d like to run your course multiple times per year (and have everyone start at the same time).

With this feature, your students will be charged immediately after they purchase. This is different from Podia’s pre-launch feature, which simply collects email addresses of people interested in buying your course when it launches. You can also remove a start date (and give everyone access immediately) anytime before the start date passes.

 

10. Integrations Make Life Easier

Podia integrates seamlessly with most major email marketing platforms, including ConvertKit, Mailchimp, AWeber, Drip, MailerLite, and ActiveCampaign. There is also an integration that allows you to connect your shop with ThriveCart for affiliate marketing (although I just use Podia’s built-in affiliate system because it works for my needs at this point).

Also, you can use Zapier to automatically do a ton of super specific tasks. You can create a Zap to add a new member to a Google Sheet or to receive a Slack message for every new purchase, as examples.

CHECK OUT PODIA FOR YOURSELF!



How to Handle a Jerk Client

How to Handle a Jerk Client

Here’s an axiom that drives me nuts: The customer is always right.

Sometimes customers are not only wrong, but they’re also total jerks about it.

If it hasn’t happened to you yet, it will. Stay in business long enough, and you’ll have to deal with at least a few lemon clients.

Here are a few things I’ve learned about no-good-pain-in-the-behind clients…

1. You teach people how to treat you. If you allow a jerk client to treat you poorly once, there’s a decent chance they’ll do it again (and again and again). Setting boundaries, speaking up for yourself, and demanding respect can be difficult, but they’re essential skills that every business owner must develop.

2. Up your screening game. The best way to not work with jerks is to not take them on as clients in the first place. Although not foolproof, a thorough and thoughtful screening system (discovery calls, applications, screening questions, etc.) can help weed out bad fits before they sign your contract.

3. Charge more. One axiom I do tend to believe is this: You get what you pay for (or what you charge). Bargain hunters can sometimes be the most difficult of all customers. They want everything, but expect to pay next to nothing. There are jerks with deep pockets, too, but competing only on price can meaning setting yourself up to deal with one jerk after another.

4. It’s not you, it’s them. Name calling, blaming, belittling… when jerk clients do these things, it’s easy to allow your self-esteem take a hit. If you did good work and were professional, then their behaviors are a reflection on them, not you. They are just trying to make themselves feel big by making you feel small. Don’t let them!

5. Be thankful. When a customer reveals themselves as a jerk, be grateful. Now you can end the relationship and free up that space for good clients. Yes, losing a customer (even a jerky one) can mean a painful financial hit. Nonetheless, I’d rather take that hit than endure an abusive client relationship. I love myself too much to suffer fools, no matter the price.

Not sure how to fire those jerk clients? Here are my best tips for firing a client without burning bridges.

How to handle a jerk client with video
How to handle a jerk client without losing your small business
Do As I Say, Not As I Do

Do As I Say, Not As I Do

Many people have told me they’d never hire a coach who wasn’t “successful.” Their definitions vary wildly, anywhere from making a certain dollar amount (usually six figures) to having no credit card debt.

Almost universally, people think a coach must be doing much better than them.

I’ve given that a lot of thought in the last few months. Part of me gets, and somewhat agrees, with what they’re saying.

Another part of me, a much bigger part at this point, thinks it totally misses the mark. Here’s why.

I’m really, really, really good at helping other people with things like clearing mental blocks, figuring out their message, getting clarity about their offering, and coming up with strategic action plans.

For myself? Not nearly as good.

I regularly encounter my own mental hurdles, still struggle with pinpointing my message, keep massaging my offer, and sometimes veer off my plan. Also, I was a bit shy of hitting six figures in 2018 and I have a healthy amount of credit card debt.

[I could go into this last bit a lot more — like how arbitrary “six figures” is (gross or profit? $100k or $999k?), or that debt is an incredibly common byproduct of divorce (not to mention childbirth in a broken healthcare system) — but that’s not the point.]

The Truth About Business Coaches

All of this used to make my inner critic pipe up and say, “How can you help others when you’re not yet a millionaire?” And the very fact that I had those imposter syndrome moments seemed like evidence that I had no business calling myself a mindset coach.

Then, I started talking about this with other coaches. Turns out, I’m not alone. Not even close.

Here’s the truth about business coaches: Almost all of us operate with some degree of “do as I say, not as I do.”

That’s why so many coaches hire coaches themselves. We need outside perspective as much as anyone. We need advice, support, and (sometimes) a swift kick in the pants, too.

Does having faults, struggles, or credit-card debt make someone a bad coach? No. It makes them human.

I help my clients. I’ve seen them make giant mindset shifts, get incredible clarity, go from stuck to inspired, get clients, make more money. But I’m not leaps and bounds ahead of my clients. Usually, I’m only a few steps ahead (and, in some cases, I’m still working on some of same issues as them).

While my inner critic still has plenty to say, she’s no longer telling me I’m not successful enough to coach.

I realized I wouldn’t want a coach who claims to know it all (have they stopped learning?), or who is miles ahead of me (can they remember what it’s like to be where I am?). I want someone who is always growing and who really gets my struggles. And I know I can be that person for others.

The takeaway? There will always be someone in your field who knows more than you or earns more than you. Also, you may be an awful lot better at helping others with whatever you do than doing it for yourself. That doesn’t mean you don’t have something incredible to offer. You do, and there are plenty of people out there who will want to work with you (faults and all).

Ready to invest in coaching? My program includes a monthly face-to-face call, plus unlimited virtual access to me without a long-term commitment. I’d love to help you clear limiting beliefs, get clear about your values and message, define meaningful goals, and map out how to reach them in 2019. Learn more or apply here.

The Truth About Business CoachesThe Truth About Business Coaches

Undeniable and Relentless

Undeniable and Relentless

There was an interesting conversation this week inside my membership community, and I’m sharing because I think it’s a great lesson about how to become an industry expert and business leader.

A member shared this TED talk from a stylist who talks about dressing for confidence. Another member saw it and was upset for a reason I wouldn’t have expected.

Her response: “It bothers me that I frequently see articles go viral that are the things I talk about on an everyday basis. …. Seeing other people succeed at being so much like me is a little depressing at the moment. I feel like Monica in that episode of Friends where that girl steals her identity and lives her life better than she does.”

She went on to ask how someone does such a thing, identifying a topic, embracing it, marketing it, becoming known for it.

First, I am so honored that members of my community feel safe enough to express such real, raw, vulnerable feelings. I love that they know they won’t be judged and instead will be embraced and given positive feedback. That’s magical.

Second, this person’s experience is so incredibly common. So many of us are sitting on life’s sidelines and (with bitterness, anger, resentment, disappointment, sadness) saying, “How do I get in the game?” I’ve been there, too.

My response is equally simple and difficult: Just do it.

What I said to that member of my community: “You can’t think something or wish something but not do something and then be surprised when no one knows you can do that thing. If you have something to say, then say it.”

The woman in this TED talk probably started talking about this topic among friends or on her Facebook page, then turned it into a blog, then shared it on podcasts and local media, then turned it into a signature speech that she gave at local and then larger events, and finally applied to TED.

The takeaway? She honed the message until it was undeniable and then shared it relentlessly. That is how you become an industry expert. It’s also how you grow a successful business.

Success = Being Undeniable + Being Relentless

Of course, I recognize that’s easier to say than do. It takes clarity and confidence. It means honing your craft or message over time, making hard cuts and tweaking over and over until it’s undeniable. It means being persistent even when times get hard and you feel like giving up. This is the hard part.

So, the woman in the TED talk was successful because she did it. More importantly, she was successful because she believed in herself and believed she could be successful.

My member went on to ask about the mechanics of the process (ie, how doing a TED talk equals money and how to go from idea to undeniable). First, this woman is a stylist so that’s how she makes money; the talking, I’m sure, serves to increase her following and potential client base (or, maybe, to lead into something like selling a book). Second, it’s not just “build it and they will come.” More than just writing a blog post, you have to share it everywhere, ask others to share it, pitch yourself to podcasts and media and for speaking opportunities. You have to work hard for a long time.

Again, it’s like running a business. You can just put up a website and wait for clients to find you. You have to network, share content (provide value), do discovery calls or pitch yourself, ask for referrals, and never give up. Over and over and over again. Undeniable + relentless…

If you’re still stuck on the sidelines and not sure how to move from wishing to doing, let me offer a few resources to help you get going.

First, that’s what I do for my clients so hiring a coach is a great idea if you’re ready to really invest in yourself. If you can’t yet pay hundreds of dollars for help and want to DIY your mindset makeover, here are a few books I recommend*:

  • “Mindset” by Carol Dweck … Learn the difference between a fixed mindset and a growth mindset, and why the latter is so darn important. This may be an eye-opening book that helps you begin to see why your upbringing and life experiences are making it difficult for you to dream and do bigger.
  • “The Big Leap” by Gay Hendricks … Want to dig even deeper into why you’re stuck? This book will help you clearly make the association between your past and where you are today. And once you can recognize those patterns, you can begin to change them. I can’t stress enough how transformative this book can be and has been for so many of my clients (and for myself).
  • “Braving the Wilderness” by Brené Brown … I adore every word Brené has ever written. I think this book is especially helpful for people who feel like they are too “different” or aren’t “enough” to ever be wildly successful. I don’t know how anyone can read the included story about Viola Davis and not be forever changed.
  • “Expectation Hangover” by Christine Hassler … If you tend to get caught up in a cycle of big hopes and giant disappointments, then do yourself the favor of reading this book. It has lots of great exercises to help you understand the roots of your wish-defeat cycle and how to begin to dismantle it so you can let go of outcomes and finally feel joy in the moment.
  • “Building a StoryBrand” by Donald Miller … If your problem isn’t so much mindset but just figuring out how to craft an undeniable message, then this is the book for you. The step-by-step guide for making your story compelling has been revolutionary for my business.

I hope this inspires you to be undeniable and relentless so you can become an industry expert and business leader. I know you can do it!

 

* This post contains affiliate links. If you use them, I’ll receive a small reward but the cost is the same to you either way.

How to become an industry expert

How to become an industry expert and business leader