My business strategy clients often worry about if social media is right for them, and if a profitable social media presence is even possible. My answer is that if you like spending time on social media, then it’s worth trying it out. Social media is a big part of my business, but I view it as part of a long term PR strategy. It can build your community and profits, but that doesn’t happen by accident. You have to design it to be motivating, profitable and helpful to your community.
That means getting real and specific about what your goals are as a content creator on social media. It means putting your audience’s interests before yours, and measuring your results so you learn how to improve. (This is where hard work & discipline set you apart!)
And it means being honest with yourself that the more time and energy you put into anything that doesn’t lead to revenue, the less you get back from your business. Using social media without a business strategy means you be effectively lower your hourly rate one status update at a time.
But some strategic decisions can make your social media presence work hard for your business.
That said, a manageable profitable social media presence is a great long term strategy for your business. But that means you need to share posts that go beyond inspiring your followers and lead to profit. Sound too good to be true? It’s not!
In my 10+ years as a content creator online, I’ve learned these tips the hard way (and wasted a lot of time using social media in ways that didn’t help my business).
Here’s are five ways to make your social media posts profitable for your business:
#1 Let people know you’re accepting clients
Even though this first point might seem like a super simple thing to do, you would be amazed how many business owners forget to do this. Give a shout out on social media that you’re accepting clients, or add a link to your sales page. Or ask your followers to message you their questions on how you can help them.
This doesn’t mean that your social media presence is all about self-promoting. It just means that it should be part of the mix. Simple, yet super efficient.
#2 Share an actionable tip that creates a small win
Sharing a tip through social media that will help your followers move forward in their business is a huge thing. Remember to ensure the insight is useful to the reader. The tip should tie in directly with the same itch your products or services scratch.
At the end of February, I had the chance to hop down to Mexico with some whip-smart boss friends I’d made through business and blogging over the years. Most of us hadn’t met in real life before the trip, but as soon as we arrived we slipped into a rhythm of sharing stories and ideas alongside with belly laughs and heart-to-heart moments.
We spent the week making meals in our hotel room, lounging in the private pool on our deck (yes please!), staying in our PJ’s all day and otherwise nerding out. We talked about having a long term online presence, personal branding, our dreams for the future, content marketing, online courses, SEO, conversion rate testing, publishing books, storytelling and Facebook ads.
You know. Typical internet girl talk!
These ladies are all exceptional humans and badasses at their work, so enjoy meeting them and a sample of their work to bookmark for later reading:
I learned so much from them. And so much about how writing is such a huge part of all of our lives.
Speaking with them made me realize that while I write here almost every week, I’ve almost entirely stopped telling personal stories.
While I want to share actionable listical posts that help thrive, I don’t want to do that without sharing more of the why.
I want to talk about why it’s worth pouring yourself into your passions.
And what it actually takes and costs to get a project off the ground.
About how the nuts and bolts of making a living from your blog, or from a business that’s tied to a blog truly work.
I want to talk about what it’s like to launch your thing and hope it soars.
Or, more realistically, how to launch your big idea by throwing it in the air as high as you can and then running underneath it, knocking at it with a broomstick to keep it in the air until it finally catches the wind and soars on its own. (Also known as the story of everyone’s first several passive income products.)
So keep an eye out for me. I’ll be in this story and in more to come.
Alright, on to the listical reflections you’re used to.
Here’s some of what the trip taught me:
Break out of your routine to shake up your creativity
There’s nothing like a change of pace to help you see what’s not crucial to your work. Getting a break from my routine (and the Internet, thank you Mexican providers) helped me remember how I can design and decide every aspect of my work experience.
In the past few weeks, I’ve pulled back from blogging to examine my choices, and what gets me results. I’m simplifying and focusing on what moves the needle in my business, and I’m saying no to everything else. I’m calling it an obligation vacation, and it’s been the best!
You can’t find your people without reaching out.
Spending time with people who have shared experiences – even if that experience is navigating online work and life solo for many years – is incredibly life-affirming. I filled pages and pages with notes, wrote down blog names to explore, books to read, and generated more ideas than I have in years.
Keep looking for your people, and to find them, reach out to people you aren’t sure are your people. Be yourself and reach out. Show up with your signature kindness, share your searing sarcasm. Like everything, or like nothing. Just be exactly who you are, but give people an opportunity to sign up for that by connecting with them where you already love to be. And that can be inside Instagram, at your favourite coffee shop or inside a boardroom.
When you find someone you click with? Make face time a priority, hop on Skype with each other, take a road trip and soak them up. They’ll light the best kind of fires in you.
Do what you love with tenacity, while checking what works.
One of the things that kept coming up was that everyone is figuring this out as they go along. We’re all learning about new ideas and tactics, and trying them out as best we can. We’re all following our interests and passions, and seeing where they lead.
Content creation is always on my mind. If you write online or communicate for a living, it’s probably always on your mind too. Especially if you’re a blogger, and most especially if you’re a new blogger.
I’m not a new blogger. I started my first blog in 1998, writing personal stories several times a week. Other blogs came and went before I started KylaRoma.com, but I’ve never stopped writing somewhere for more than a few weeks since.
For many bloggers & small business owners, the question “What will I post next?” is a constant, gentle hum in the back of their minds.
Over time, my relationship with that question has changed, and now it feels like a wise friend, gently checking in on me.
But for many of the business owners and bloggers (and for me in the past!) the question “What will I post next?” feels more like a threat. Or if not a threat then like a question asked by an insistent, judgemental distant relative.
As a blogger and business owner, the best way I’ve found to change my relationship with content creation is through planning.
One of the hidden downsides of being passionate about what you do is that you live in the details. If you’re anything like me, that means that you see an enormous list of improvements, ideas and new possibilities to explore in any project you take on.
When you want to grow your small business or blog, it sounds like a dream problem – but endless possibilities are overwhelming.
That’s where many thoughtful business owners, creatives and bloggers get stuck.
If you don’t know what actions drive results for your business or blog, you’re stuck.
Stuck looks different for different people. For some brainy babes it means months (or years) of research, or taking class after class. For you it might mean pursuing many ideas at once, steadily drifting into social media, being chronically overbooked or not raising your prices.
I never expected to become a small business owner, but I’ve been full-time self-employed since 2009. (I know, it’s a million years in internet time!) Still, how my work looks day-to-day has changed a lot over time. I’ve gone from having a studio, being a web designer and working with a big team of freelancers to now working from a cozy home office, just me and my clients. While most of those changes happened slowly, this year has been particularly big, stressful and exciting in my life and business. How much happened?
Just to name a few milestones, I…
Ended my longtime business partnership
Wrapped up work with my final web design clients
Took a month off to explore Europe with my husband
Apprenticed as a strategist under my mentor, Tara Gentile
Published as much useful, actionable content as I could muster while figuring everything out on the fly!
And no, I’m not super human. There were also many late nights, tears to dry and walks around the block to try and clear my head.
This is my last post for 2015 this year before taking a break until January. With that in mind, I want to share a few lessons I learned this year and the biggest takeaways that might help you learn from my experience, wins and missteps.
1. I don’t say yes to anything I’m not willing to do today.
What do you imagine when you think about what your life will be like in the years to come in the future? On some level, I bet that part of you imagines a life when you’ll have more free time, more hobbies and less stress. (I know that’s what I do!)
Since that time hasn’t arrived yet in my life, this year I tested a thought experiment that “tricks” me into making decisions that are a better fit for me.
Here’s the shortcut: When I make decisions about what I’ll do in my work or what goals I set, I ask myself if I’m willing to do that today. If it is, I move forward. If it’s not, I decline.
It’s helped me get really clear on my priorities, and on what commitments sound good in the moment, but aren’t really a fit for my life. I’m focusing on what I can do now, instead of what I might do later, and I’m adding daily habits into my life that reflect that.
Takeaway: Your success is directly tied to how willing you are to take action, even if you don’t feel like it. Taking action in a small way today, even with 15 minutes of your time, is a bigger accomplishment than the big dreams you never put into action.
2. Ending a business partnership with a friend is hard – but it doesn’t have to be as hard as you think.
At the end of 2014, I ended a 5+ year business partnership with my best friend, Leigh-Ann Keffer. After running day-to-day operations of web design business I’d fallen in love with running the business, teaching online. I also fell out of love with design, and of being a small business owner with another person, no matter how much I like that person.
The initial conversation was hard, but we soon realized that it didn’t have to end our friendship. We resolved to make sure that we ended our work together in a way that honoured the spirit of our friendship. We ended the business by announcing it online with a joint podcast expressing our respect for each other and a mini-website to explain the split. Of everything we did together, I’m most proud of how we stuck the landing on ending the business.
It wasn’t easy, but going back to being a one woman shop has been wonderful. I love the independence, rediscovering how I work best and the glorious lack of meetings! Now when I see my former business partner we get all the great parts of our friendship without the stress, and that’s been a gift too.
Takeaway: Working with caring people is good for business, especially when the going gets tough, or things come to an end. Successful relationships can end without having a winner and a loser. Everyone can win if you pick the right people for your team.
3. You don’t have to wait for the right time, and you’re capable of more than you know.
If you’re a high achiever like me, you might fall into the pattern of wanting to do things right… so you decide to wait for the right time. Which may or may not never arrive. This year, it surprised me to find that “the right time” doesn’t matter as much as I thought. In fact, and there’s huge power in taking action now.
If there was ever a year that my business should have faltered in, 2015 was it. I took a month-long holiday in Europe, left an established business and spent most of my year training to become a strategist. I also wrote more than I had in years, launched an online course and mastermind program.
In the end, I exceeded my goals and had my strongest year in business yet. Now, I’m going to be real with your: I’m not super human, there were many naps and tears too! But it was a year of amazing change and growth.
The crucial change was that instead of trying to do more in my business, I focused on doing things that were more meaningful. I looked for what would make getting other things done easier (aka. Force multipliers) and focused on the big, meaningful goals in my calendar instead of dozens of tiny tasks. I often get overwhelmed by lots of little details, so the big picture inspiration helped me do more with a lot less stress.
Takeaway: Instead of trying to do more every day, try focusing on the big, meaningful things that you can work toward every week. As you break out the main events into tasks to work on each week, the smaller pieces along the way will take care of themselves.
4. Getting a mentor is much less expensive than being a part-time small business owner & part-time economist/mad scientist/marketing psychic/crying and stressed out person.
Becoming a licensed business strategist was wonderful and intense. It meant that every week I was working on my business live with my mentor and other savvy business owners. It was an exhilarating and eye-opening experience, and it was also the best money that I’ve ever spent as a small business owner.
It also helped me realize that reinvent the wheel is about as effective as having money bonfire.
A lot of the work that freelancers and small business owners attempt to take on, and often get stuck on, is incredibly specialized and really slippery!
Working in isolation and inventing solutions on your own takes dozens upon dozens upon dozens of hours. I used to do this too. I’d design my own systems and hope my business would change. What I didn’t add into the equation is that this approach was costing me a huge amount in lost income, year over year.
Taking courses and getting one-on-one support in my business this year has transformed my confidence and profitability. Putting someone’s experience to work for you lets you fast forward through a huge part of the learning curve. If you’re considering going full-time or trying to earn money from your project, a mentor is a fast way to make sure you’re on the right track.
Even better? When you find the right person, it makes work get really fun.
Takeaway: If you invest a lot of time in any area of your life – including business – consider investing some money. By learning from someone with a proven track record, you can fast forward your journey and shake off what’s holding you back.
5. Habits make worry obsolete.
The most helpful book I read this year was Better Than Before, by Gretchen Ruben. It explores how different people have respond to inner and outer obligations, and how to work with that through a personal approach. (Have you taken the official quiz to find out your habit tendency? I’m a questioner – share your tendency in the comments below!)
It’s fascinating, and has helped me start working out every day and start writing every day for the first time ever. Highly recommended holiday reading, if you need something to geek out over.
One of her points is that if you set and commit to the right habits, great outcomes take care of themselves. You can stop worrying about big areas of your life when you have positive habits that govern them.
This was a huge lightbulb moment for me. I’m an idea generator, and that can mean that I endlessly run through possibilities in my mind – including worries. (I’ve got an anxiety disorder, after all!) To change that I’ve shifted my mindset to stop looking at habits as obligations. Now I see them as a way to eliminate worry and automate my goals.
A small example is that I now write every day. It means I never have to worry about getting blog posts and content upgrades done, because they happen automatically.
As a business & marketing strategist, one of my favourite parts of meeting clients who are ready to make big things happen is that they’re ready for a plan. If that’s you, then keep reading! This post is going to give you a road map for creating a simple plan that draws on your strengths for the coming year.
I love it when clients are ready for a new normal, because making step-by-step plans is something I’ve done for years. Plus, it’s easy to get clients excited about plans to get more customers, higher sales or more free time. Who’s in, right? (If we should talk, let me know!)
One thing I notice is that my clients who feel most stuck are working hard. They’re working so hard that they know they can’t just work harder next year, because they won’t have anything left to give. And if that sounds like your life, it really can be different – that used to be my life too.
As I become more curious about business, and met more business owners from all over the world, I noticed that the most successful business owners I knew had something in common.
The most successful business owners have a clear vision and daily habits that kept them out of reaction mode and focused on their goals.
Here’s what I mean:
The most successful business owners I knew all had non-negotiable items that always got done every week.
They knew exactly what got them results, and doubled down where it mattered.
They had time to play, run out for coffee with friends and make their daily life flexible and casual.
They didn’t spend all day responding to email and social media, but were still engaged in their communities.
They had strong boundaries that protected their down time.
They were plugged into their numbers, from sales to pageviews and subscribers, but didn’t pin their self worth to them.
A few years ago, this all seemed very luxurious (make that borderline magical) to me. If “They can breathe underwater” and “They wake up with perfect hair and makeup.” were added to this list, they wouldn’t have seemed out of place.
Want to know their secret?
What sets top performing business owners and bloggers apart? They focus on doing jobs that make other things easier, and they act like bosses.
Bosses don’t try to do everything – they focus on the 20% of their actions that get results, not the 80% that take up most of our days. This is also known as the Pareto Principle, and you can leverage it to make more of an impact and get the right things done.
No matter how rewarding or busy your work is, being a full or part-time stay-at-home entrepreneur gets lonely. And lonely is bad for business! It’s important to make community a priority, and not just because you can check “networking like a boss!” off your To Do list when it’s a priority.
Community is crucial to your growth as a business owner. Without it, you’re missing out on referrals, collaboration opportunities and informal learning and development. And that means you’re missing out on income you could gain from referrals and honing your expertise.
Even better? Feeling supported and valued can make a huge positive impact on your state of mind, which makes you better prepared to take on new challenges and risks.
What are Facebook groups, exactly?
If you’ve taken an online course in the past several years, you may be part of a Facebook group with other students. Those groups are great, but they’re just the tip of the iceberg. There are many that are completely free and open for you to join – even if they don’t look like that at first.
To help you uncover more free Facebook groups, I’ve made you a quick video tutorial on how to search for them and how to apply to join them:
17 Facebook groups for entrepreneurs, freelancers and bloggers ready to step up their networking:
Being Boss – Originally formed around my friend Kathleen Shannon’s wonderful Being Boss podcast, the Facebook group has grown to provide community, support and networking opportunities to a wider community.
Blogging On Your Own Terms – Blog expert Daniela Uslan runs a large, vibrant community for bloggers. This group is especially helpful for building shares and comments of your work, and for new bloggers looking for help.
Babes Making Things – Easily one of my favourite group on Facebook, Babes Making Things is full of smart women from all walks of life. It’s full of top bloggers, artists and newbies alike and has an inclusive, encouraging tone. If you feel like blogging is exclusive and crave some real talk, join up.
The Rebel Speaker – If you speak as part of your work, or are exploring teaching and speaking as a career, The Rebel Speaker is the place for you to connect, gain confidence and own the stage.
Marvelous Brand Builders – Need to workshop your branding? Suzi Istvan’s got you covered. Share what you’re working on in your business, get feedback on what’s not quite working, and grow an even stronger version of your business.
Blog + Biz BFFs – Run by Melyssa Griffon of the popular blog, The Nectar Collective, Blog & Biz BFFs is the community side of her site that’s full of bloggers and business owners. This is a great place to add value by helping others and sharing advice.
Unstoppable Design & Dev Crew – Erin Flynn is our to make designers and developers unstoppable! And she’s just the lady for the job. This group is all about advice, input and professional networking for designers and developers of all stripes.
Blogging Boost – Ready to grow your blog and have almost 10k new friends to bounce ideas off of? Blogging Boost is a large, active group, that can get you answers, input and feedback – fast.
Creative’s Corner – Looking for creative support and to nurture your entrepreneurial spirit? Creative’s Corner is all about empowering, inspiring and engagement in its community.
The Blog Loft – For bloggers who want to grow their blog, The Blog Loft is a great place to start. Aside from weekly participation threads, it also encourages sharing giveaways and discounts, along with guest posting opportunities.
Freelance to Freedom – Leah Kalamakis’ community is all about freelancers (and freelance hopefuls) supporting other freelancers. This is a place for helpful resources, referral opportunities, being of service and helping new friends.
NiceOps Planathon – This free planning group is most active between October – January, and is packed with value! Amber McCue hosts the annual Planathon where videos are posted every day during the planathon week, and participants are encouraged to spend a bite sized amount of time on planning to prepare for the new year.
Shelancers – At the time of publishing this group is under 200 members, so if you’re looking for a community where you can make personal connections, this could be just the place for you. Shelancers is for freelancing ladies to get support, community and feedback.
Freedom Hackers Mastermind – Kimra Luna has made a huge splash over the past year with her business success, and her Facebook group is a vibrant, active community for working through your ideas, getting feedback and networking with other engaged entreprenures.
Simplified Systems – Wish running your business was easier? (Who doesn’t?) This group supports business owners in created streamlined systems to run their businesses with more ease and less hassle.
The Marketing Moxie group for Entrepreneurs – Do you need somewhere to talk about promoting yourself without feeling salesy, or making your next big thing even bigger? This group helps you bring more attitude to your work and to your marketing.
Daring Creative Workshop for Business and Blogging – This is the group that I run for business owners and bloggers who are ready to be a little more daring, and get their message out into the world! We have themed sharing days, monthly free skill swaps between members, and twitter chats using the hashtag #daringcreative. We’d love to have you as part of the community!
I have a confession: I’m a tools and services junkie. I love trying out new things, seeing what works for me and what I can add to make my work run smoothly with less effort. When I find see the words “tools for small business”? Generally, I pounce.
For me, the challenge isn’t finding a service or tool that does the job right. It’s picking just one tool and sticking with it!
It’s taken me years to find a suite of products & services that work together beautifully for my blog & business. Since I always have a suggestion for what could help other people, I’m always being asked about my favourite tools and resources.
So I’ve made a resource page where I can share the favourite parts of my blog & business toolkit with you!
It includes some favourites that you’re probably familiar with, but I’m willing to bet that some of them will be new to you too.
The service that recovered my website – and livelihood – within hours when my blog was infected with malware and my hosting company couldn’t help me. (You can use my link to do a free malware scan on your site!)
The bookkeeping program I use that I’m convinced is one of the Internet’s best kept secrets. Not only will it probably be new to you…
Lately my coaching clients and I have kept coming back to two questions:
What do you want your business or blog to look like in a year?
Why do you want that, and how do you need to act now to get there?
I’m all about getting results and making things happen – but with me it always comes back to the long view.
30-Day challenges for your blog or biz are like joining a gym the week before your wedding. There’s a better way to create lasting change. Click to tweet it!
I’m a bridesmaid in one of my best friend’s wedding’s this weekend so I speak from personal experience.
I’m all about a good challenge to kick-start new behavior and fast results, but they tend not to stick unless something in us shifts.
For many of us, in a year we want to have a bigger business or blog. More followers on social media, more subscribers, and more people sharing our work.
I want to have that too – but before we jump into a frenzy of list building, it’s worth asking yourself, what exactly does bigger mean to you?
“Bigger” can mean so many things, including:
More financial stability for yourself and your family
Deepening your understanding of the purpose of your work
Creating a more rewarding, impactful relationship with your customers
Building your own Scrooge McDuck style money room
Committing to more follow through and follow-up in your work
Creating more time for friends and reflection
Being unexpectedly delightful to your readers, customers and clients
Knowing this matters because you need to make different decisions and take different actions to arrive at those different destinations.
Often we chase bigger because we’re trying to stay busy and hustle. If bigger is partly about how other people think of you, proving your worth, or about fear it’s worth asking yourself how that feels to live.
Don’t forget that you get the incredible freedom to choose what you chase every single day!
My anti-30 day challenge to you is to take a moment every day this week to decide to grow your business and your blog based on your definition of success.
Be curious, start testing what gets you results and keep making decisions that reflect what you crave, not what you see other people doing.
This week I’m launching a year-long mastermind group for bloggers and business owners who want growth on their terms. It’s called Captivate & Convert and includes monthly coaching calls and private chat all year. You can think of it like having a highly invested blog and business think tank at your fingertips.
It’s about being incredibly committed to helping others and doing what matters to you.
It’s about creating a business in the size and shape that’s right for you.
Kyla is a Canadian business coach and digital strategist who's worked behind the scenes in hundreds of businesses, from six figure brands to one woman shops.
I help business owners make their brands irresistible, profitable & simple to run. I want to help you build your social media, marketing, business growth and digital strategy with confidence, so they're not just successful, but authentic and measurable.
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