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Learn more about freelancing and owning your business and your time from six-figure freelancer Laura Pennington.
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Now displaying: May, 2017
May 30, 2017

As online business owners, we are all searching for the freedom and flexibility this kind of work affords. But some of us choose this option of a ‘portable business’ not just because we want to, but because we have to. Today’s guest, Rae Walaska, is a military wife and stay-at-home mom who developed an incredibly unique niche that leverages her love of event planning – and allows her to work from just about anywhere her husband might be deployed.

 

Rae is the owner of Murder n’ Mayhem, a company offering murder mystery parties and kids’ adventure hunts. It began in Port Orchard, Washington, where Rae worked in partnership with a local restaurant to host monthly murder mystery dinners. The business then grew to include home parties, corporate events, and even a Murder Mystery Weekend Festival on the waterfront. With each move, Rae builds a local network, and now the company hosts events all over the country, including a mystery scavenger hunt inside Las Vegas’ Excalibur Hotel.

 

Rae is also the co-founder of She Sells Studios, a joint venture that seeks to build a community of female entrepreneurs. She Sells is on a mission to empower and inspire, providing resources that allow other women to benefit from the lessons Rae and her partner, Jenny, have learned as solopreneurs. Today she empowers us, sharing how she developed such a unique business model, how she builds a network in each new city, and how she leverages goal-setting to facilitate growth.  

 

Key Takeaways

What inspired Rae to choose such a unique niche business

  • Experience working hospitality in college
  • Event planning was something she enjoyed
  • Provided the flexibility and portability she needed as military wife/mother

 

How Rae partners with vendors

  • Pitch in person to restaurants, bed and breakfasts, etc.
  • Explain benefits (exposure, new customers)
  • Build package that will cover fees for both
  • Partner to market the event

 

How Rae’s business grew organically

  • Attendees asked her to host personal events (i.e.: anniversary party)
  • Businesses hired for team-building workshops

 

The greatest challenge of setting up shop again after a move

  • Building a new network

 

Why Rae began a new venture with She Sells Studios

  • Craved the opportunity to collaborate
  • Desire to leave a legacy and give back

 

The aim of She Sells Studios

  • Empower entrepreneurs
  • Provide resources/referrals (e.g.: tips, information, services)

 

The obstacles Rae has faced as a military spouse and solopreneur

  • Difficulty building a tribe
  • Juggling the roles of mother and business owner

 

Connect with Rae Walaska

Murder n’ Mayhem

Email rae@murdernmayhem.com

Twitter

Facebook

Pinterest

She Sells Studios

She Sells Blog

She Sells Facebook Group

May 25, 2017

As online business owners, we realize the value in having a website that’s easy to navigate and filled with content that provides value to our potential clients. But how do you know which blog posts are the most popular, or when people are leaving your page? Today’s guest unlocks the mystery of Google Analytics, explaining how to use the information it provides to upgrade your marketing strategy!

 

Katie Williamsen is the founder of Katie Williamsen Web and Social Media Consulting, LLC. She is on a mission to empower female entrepreneurs, making sure their online tools are working and converting better than ever before. She spent eight years working traditional jobs in the non-profit world and education before being diagnosed with narcolepsy. Katie needed a flexible schedule, and she had always dreamed of being an entrepreneur, so she launched her business in early 2016.

 

Katie has a master’s degree in interactive media, and she is prepared to share her expertise as a web strategist with you! Listen in as she explains how a novice can use Google Analytics to adjust her marketing strategy and her best advice for boosting your conversion numbers.

 

Key Takeaways

How Katie’s business grew and evolved

  • Identified ideal client (service-based female business owners)
  • Recognized market needs that aligned with skill set

 

The value of Google Analytics

  • Provides info re: how people navigate your site and when they leave

 

How a novice can use Google Analytics

  • Ensure it’s working, installed correctly (compare numbers with Squarespace or WordPress)
  • Enable demographic information to learn about the people on your site
  • Find out which websites are referring the most traffic to your site
  • Uncover the social media platforms generating the most referral traffic
  • Take a day and explore – you can’t break it!

 

How to adjust your marketing strategy based on Google Analytics

  • Create content upgrades
  • Leverage popular content with blog post updates and correlated posts

 

Katie’s tips for designing content upgrades

  • Choose something that complements your blog post (e.g.: video series, checklist)
  • Make it easily digestible

 

How to upsell your current clients with Google Analytics

  • Offer Google Analytics audit, content upgrade suggestions
  • Client can add you to account as viewer
  • Google Analytics Academy offers certification

 

Katie’s best advice for boosting conversion numbers

  • Simple, organized navigation with fewer than seven items
  • Clear description of who you are and what you do
  • Photo of yourself
  • Call to action

 

Katie’s keys to success

  • Respond to feedback, analytics
  • Be flexible and adapt to the market
  • Shift quickly when something isn’t working

 

Resources

Amy Porterfield

Google Analytics Academy

Rework by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson

 

Connect with Katie Williamsen

Website

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

Pinterest

May 23, 2017

The Catch 22 of business growth stems from the fact that you need exposure to make it happen, yet it’s tough to afford a PR professional until your business has grown to a certain level. Is there a way to do it yourself? What is the best approach for pitching yourself to local or even national media outlets?

 

Christina Nicholson spent ten years as a news anchor and reporter, and in that time she received an overwhelming number of pitches from publicists looking to earn exposure for their clients – who were approaching it the wrong way. She transitioned to the field of media relations in 2015, hoping that a traditional work schedule would be more family-friendly, but she quickly grew weary of the pressure to be in the office late and answer email at all hours.

 

Christina created her own public relations firm in 2015. Media Maven seeks to help small business owners gain exposure via media relations, video production, writing, and blogging. She employs the lessons she learned in broadcasting to land her clients coverage on The Rachel Ray Show as well as local TV in a variety of top ten markets, and in print and digital publications including Newborn Magazine and countless websites and blogs. Today she shares her strategies for selecting clients and developing customized PR packages. Listen to understand the right way to pitch yourself to the media and establish your expertise in a particular market!

 

Key Takeaways

How Christina landed her first few clients

  • ‘Beggars can’t be choosers’
  • Utilized job boards like Upwork
  • Said ‘yes’ to everything
  • Worked for less and over delivered

 

The PR services Christina offers her clients

  • Customized packages to achieve specific goals
  • Media relations, video production, blogging and social media

 

How Christina selects her clients

  • Works with any business owner she can help with a great story/content
  • Likes the restaurant, health niches
  • Less inclined to take clients in fields she doesn’t enjoy (i.e.: finance)

 

Christina’s process for developing a client package

  • Establish client goals and develop customized plan
  • Determine how the client’s product/service can solve problems
  • Tie client expertise into newsworthy local/national story

 

When small business owners should outsource their PR

  • Money to invest (minimum of $2,000/month retainer, six-month contract)
  • No time to do on their own

 

The importance of patience and realistic expectations

  • Traction takes time
  • National outlets receive thousands of pitches
  • Keep pitching from different angles
  • Local/small opportunities can lead to national coverage

 

Resources

Master Your PR Online Course

 

Connect with Christina Nicholson

Media Maven Website

Lifestyle Blog

Facebook

YouTube Channel

LinkedIn

May 18, 2017

$5 for a 500-word article!? How’s a freelancer supposed to eat?

 

If you’ve ever sifted through the writing opportunities on platforms like Craigslist, Upwork or Indeed, you know it’s a painstaking process – rife with listings that just don’t cut it when it comes to compensation. Today’s guest offers an alternative that will save you a significant amount of time and provide support as you hone your skills.

 

Amanda Scheibner is a success coach with Contena, a valuable service that delivers quality job opportunities to freelance writers. She has a background in education, having taught English composition and worked in a university writing center. As a Contena coach, she is prepared to push you in terms of organization and examples, helping you refine your pitch and fine-tune your writing. Amanda enjoys traveling, watching baseball, and relaxing with her pups. And she’s always looking for a good book recommendation! Today she explains how the Contena platform functions to provide quality leads to its freelance members, how the site sorts opportunities based on your preferences, and how Contena is different from the other job boards out there!

 

Key Takeaways

Who can take advantage of Contena as a platform

  • Anyone interested in writing – even if they haven’t written in a long time
  • Stay-at-home parents in search of flexibility
  • Retired people seeking additional income
  • Freelance writers with experience looking to find better jobs, resources

 

Why Contena was created

  • Writers spending more time searching for leads than writing
  • Provides a space where all high-quality writing jobs live

 

How Contena is different from other platforms

  • The platform does the searching for quality jobs
  • Freelancers set up alerts based on their skill set/interests
  • Contena saves the freelancer time looking for leads

 

How Contena communicates potential leads to freelancers

  • Delivered via email or text message
  • Tailored to fit the freelancer’s specified preferences

 

The Contena team’s parameters for posting a job opportunity

  • Must be well-paid, quality position
  • All opportunities are remote
  • Variety of full-time, part-time and contract work

 

The value Contena provides for freelancers

  • Only forwards jobs aligned to your preferences
  • Opportunities provide appropriate compensation
  • Offers specific information regarding client expectations

 

What makes a great pitch

  • Tailored intro explaining why you’re a great fit
  • Two or three relevant writing samples
  • Testimonials to bolster your credibility
  • Call-to-action (i.e.: question or trial period offer)

 

The subscription plans Contena offers

  • Gold Plan – portfolio and pitch review plus feedback on three writing samples
  • Platinum Plan – unlimited, dedicated coaching
  • Both offer access to Contena Academy

 

The most popular niches on the platform

  • Lifestyle (travel, parenting, beauty, fitness/sports)
  • Education

 

Qualities necessary for a freelancer to have success with Contena

  • Flexibility
  • Willingness to research

 

Amanda’s best advice for aspiring freelance writers

  • Don’t put it off, especially if you’re stuck in a job you don’t love
  • Jump in the deep end, knowing there is support available
  • Don’t get discouraged – you’re not alone!

 

Resources

Laura’s Contena Tips

 

Connect with Amanda Scheibner

Contena

Email: amanda@contena.co

May 16, 2017

Let’s say you have wisdom to share and a tribe that follows your work. How do you turn that into a thriving business? Today’s guest found a way to monetize her blog and ultimately walk away from her job in higher education to grow an online business and to spend more time with her family.

 

Amber Temerity is a work-from-home mom with two toddlers who has been blogging for nearly 20 years. In November of 2014, she hit a wall. Her job at a local college kept her away from her young children twelve hours a day and some weekends. Daycare was expensive, and Amber knew that her life needed to change. She launched the frugal living blog, Thrifty Guardian, and within five months she was earning enough to make the online business her full-time gig.

 

In July of 2016, Amber launched a second website, Embracing Temerity, which utilizes her skills as an efficiency strategist and social media marketing consultant to help business owners develop systems and generate revenue. Today she shares her best tips for budgeting, managing your time, and alleviating ‘mom guilt.’ Listen and learn how to ‘embrace temerity’ and monetize your online business!

 

Key Takeaways

How Amber monetized her blog

  • Affiliate marketing
  • eCourse: Life on a Budget
  • One-on-one coaching
  • Masterminds

 

Amber’s top budgeting tips

  • Respect your time over money
  • Track every debt and source of income
  • Map out a plan to move from where you are now to financial freedom

 

Amber’s time management advice for parents

  • Don’t be too hard on yourself if you don’t get everything done in a day
  • Ask, “What’s going to make me a better person tomorrow?”
  • Focus on short-term goals by planning what you need to get done this week

 

Why Amber made the decision to send her kids to daycare twice a week

  • Realized she had been ‘delusional’ with regard to how much she could accomplish with kids at home
  • No family support nearby
  • Daycare provides social outlet for children
  • Amber can knock out content and plan social media those two days
  • She can offer kids her full attention when they’re home with her

 

Amber’s guidance for parents considering a side hustle

  • Keep the WHY in front of you with a vision board or post-it note
  • When you doubt yourself, look back at the WHY
  • Maintain focus by relishing in what you could accomplish in six months

 

The ideal design of a webinar

  • Educational platform rather than a sales pitch
  • Demonstrates instructor’s trustworthiness and expertise
  • Provides a foundation of knowledge to build on
  • Students walk away with value, wanting to learn more

 

 

Connect with Amber Temerity

Thrifty Guardian

Embracing Temerity

May 11, 2017

“Wisdom is sometimes wrapped in an ugly experience.”

 

Despite knowing what to do, a great many would-be entrepreneurs never take the steps to get started because they are afraid of failure. But what if you could reframe the way you think about failure, and see it not just as an opportunity, but maybe even a necessity?

 

Today’s guest takes grit to another level, and if setbacks in your business have tempted you to quit, his story will inspire you to play the long game and view mistakes as opportunities for growth. Damion Lupo is a serial entrepreneur, having started 30-plus businesses. His latest venture is Total Control Financial, an Austin-based FinTech that seeks to disrupt Wall Street and empower individuals to take control of their own financial future. He is also the author of five books on finance, investments, and personal growth.

 

Damion has a history of bold moves, getting his start in real estate by purchasing a rental house with his VISA. Over the next five years, he grew the business to include 150 houses in seven states. He took a $20M hit in 2008, but used the lessons from that epic failure to reinvent himself – and write a book about the road back, Reinvented Life. Today, Damion is a consultant and coach who appears regularly on podcasts and radio shows centered around finances and personal development. Listen in as he shares his personal philosophy of 10X thinking, advice regarding retirement planning, and strategies to help you view setbacks with gratitude.

 

Key Takeaways

Damion’s advice about going all-in

  • Stay in motion and you won’t have time for the fear
  • Quit you ‘day job’ when you realize you’re stretched too thin
  • Trust that the universe will give you signs when it’s time

 

Why it’s important to play the ‘long game’

  • A business takes time to grow
  • Plant the seeds by sharing who you are
  • Then adopt a willingness to let things germinate

 

Damion’s 10X thinking

  • Say no to being satisfied with 10% growth
  • Ask yourself, ‘How can I make this year 10 times bigger?’
  • Surround yourself with people who will help catapult you into a bigger space
  • Remember that exponential growth makes you 10 times more impactful

 

The significance of reviewing big picture goals quarterly

  • Understand the numbers and assess your progress regularly
  • Don’t waste nine months going the wrong way
  • ‘Go where the puck is going’ by anticipating changes

 

How Damion frames failure

  • Our mistakes are not us
  • Wisdom is sometimes wrapped in an ugly experience
  • View mistakes with gratitude (that’s how you grow)
  • Failure allows you to reinvent yourself

 

Damion’s advice on writing books

  • Open up a channel by committing to write 20 words
  • Allot a specific amount of dedicated time
  • Consider hiring someone to hold you accountable

 

Damion’s tips for retirement planning

  • Do something today
  • Build the confidence to make your own decisions

 

How to identify a professional financial advisor

  • Weed out the ‘salespeople’
  • Find out if they have created wealth themselves via what they’re selling

 

The benefits of the eQRP as a retirement vehicle

  • Gives you control of your investments
  • Allows you to contribute $50,000/year
  • Empowers consumers

 

Damion’s first steps to retirement savings

  • Educate yourself
  • Play Cashflow to understand how you interact with money, finance, and investments

 

Resources

Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth

The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results by Gary Keller with Jay Papasan

CASHFLOW Board Game

CASHFLOW App

 

Connect with Damion Lupo

Total Control Financial Website

Facebook

Twitter

LinkedIn

Damion’s Books

May 9, 2017

There is much societal pressure on women to be everything to everyone – the perfect mother, the perfect wife, and the perfect business owner. And many female entrepreneurs profess to have struck that perfect balance between self-care and running a business. But today’s guest is here to share her struggle with the chaos that is her life and assure you that it’s okay not to be perfect.

 

Krystina Dubrule is the CEO and Founder of Du North Designs, Ltd., a family-oriented fashion and apparel business based in McLennan, Alberta. A social worker by trade, Krystina was laid off just before returning from maternity leave after having her third child. Inspired to start her own business, she began crafting hand-sewn clothing and tutus at her kitchen table and then offering her designs at a local market, but quickly realized that this wasn’t a feasible business plan with three small children in the house. Plan B was to place a wholesale order and host home parties with friends and family, and soon she was getting requests from people she didn’t know – as far as 300km away!

 

Under Krystina’s guidance, Du North has grown into a network of 3,000-plus distributors in the US and Canada, and the company garners over $1M in sales annually. Balancing the needs of her family with the demands of an online business is a test of her abilities, but Krystina has learned to embrace the chaos and incorporate laughter and fun into the life she has built. Listen in as she shares her strategy for picking the right battles, the truth about work-life balance, and how to make hiring decisions when it’s time to reach out for help.

 

Key Takeaways

Krystina’s keys to juggling family and business

  • Let some things go
  • Think long-term by asking, “What are my kids going to remember?”
  • Be okay with having a happy family
  • Don’t ask too much of yourself

 

Why it’s important to be honest about the challenge of balancing self-care and business

  • Demonstrates that it’s okay not to be perfect
  • People won’t like your brand any less
  • Painting an unrealistic picture may discourage others

 

Krystina’s tip for staying organized

  • Reach out for help on tasks that are not your strength
  • Hire staff to share the journey with you

 

Krystina’s hiring guidelines

  • Hire for personality rather than skill
  • Hire slowly, but fire quickly
  • It’s easier to teach tasks than culture
  • Consider whether employee aligns with your mission

 

Connect with Krystina Dubrule

Du North Designs Website

Facebook

 Twitter

Instagram

May 4, 2017

Entrepreneurship is a roller coaster ride, with extreme highs and lows. So how do you keep yourself motivated during the rough times? Today’s guests are honest in sharing the despair they have faced as well as the successes – and that was just this week! They are prepared to teach you how to be a creative hustler – embracing the process, increasing your bounce back rate, and living at the intersection of creativity and business.

 

Steven Picanza and Melissa Rautenberg are the husband-wife team behind The Creative Hustler, a lifestyle brand for creative entrepreneurs, as well as the brand strategy firm Latin & Code. Steven brings his talents as a brand architect, business strategist and creative entrepreneur to these endeavors, as he works to connect people, products, and organizations with their core audience.

 

The yin to his yang, Melissa has the tactical skills to bring Steven’s vision to life. With an expertise in inbound marketing, SEO, and PPC, her no bullshit approach has built meaningful campaigns across a variety of industries. Today they explain the unifying principles of creative hustlers and how they create balance in their lives. Listen and learn how to shift your mindset to accept that ‘the obstacle is the way.’

 

Key Takeaways

How ‘The Creative Hustler’ originated

  • Steven coined the phrase at a talk in 2011
  • Debuted ‘manifesto’ at conference in London last summer
  • Brainstormed expansion of idea on plane ride home
  • Focus on living at the intersection of creativity and business

 

The unifying principles of creative hustlers

  • There is opportunity everywhere
  • We can use each other’s strengths in an ecosystem rather than an ‘egosystem’

 

Why entrepreneurs have a social responsibility to share the possibilities available in gig economy

 

The greatest challenges faced by creative hustlers

  • Motivation to continue after failure
  • Determination to bounce back

 

How to avoid highlight reel syndrome

  • Don’t compare yourself to another’s perfect post
  • Remember that everyone is presenting their best selves on social

 

The importance of mindset

  • Necessary component of long-term strategy
  • Helps you learn to love the process and see the bad as opportunity

 

How Melissa and Steven decide if a client is a good fit

  • Look for people who ‘get it’
  • Core values must match
  • Client believes in their own product
  • Wants to better themselves and their brand

 

How Melissa and Steven work together

  • Steven plays part of orchestrator
  • Melissa’s role is tactical, realizing the vision
  • Together, their strengths offer clients a 360° view

 

How Melissa and Steven stay driven

  • ‘Success is the only option’
  • Surround selves with inspiring people

 

How Melissa and Steven create balance

  • There is no personal and business life, there’s just life
  • Stop and go on a hike or cook dinner
  • Enjoy what’s around you in order to recharge

 

Melissa and Steven’s advice for aspiring entrepreneurs

  • Conquer your tiny corner of the internet
  • No one will do it for you, but others will want to help once you start
  • Serve others and be of value, without expecting something in return
  • Fall in love with the process

  

Resources

The Obstacle is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumph by Ryan Holiday

 

Connect with Melissa & Steven

Creative Hustler Website

Facebook

Instagram

Steven on Twitter

Melissa on Twitter

May 2, 2017

If you’re an aspiring entrepreneur who juggles multiple responsibilities, you know how difficult it can be to carve out the time each day to work on your business. And if your other responsibilities include being a mom, the struggle is even more real. With all the advice out there urging you to schedule the same time each day to move your business forward, what do you do when your days are too unpredictable to create a consistent timetable?

 

Jewel Eliese is a self-taught creative fiction writer and the mother of two ‘perfect little goofballs.’ She began Write Away, Mommy as a personal blog, a space where she could share her life as well as her fiction. But it didn’t take her long to realize that she wasn’t really a fan of writing about herself. Over time, the blog evolved into a community where women can get inspired to be better writers and mothers.

 

Beyond the blog, Jewel serves as the first reader for Grimdark Magazine, and she is currently working on a collaboration with Haley Darling to self-publish a collection of short stories. Today Jewel shares her struggle to gain traffic on her site, how she made use of Google to learn the craft, and how she finds the time to write with two kids at home. Listen in and learn how to deal with ‘mom guilt’ and make writing a part of family time!

 

Key Takeaways

Jewel’s secrets to becoming a better writer

  • Just sit down and write
  • Allow others to read your work and offer feedback
  • Keep learning
  • Employ Google

 

How to overcome the fear of critique

  • Remember that it’s more fun to work with others
  • View feedback as a way to make your work better

 

Jewel’s advice for shifting from writing practice to publishing your work

  • It will never be perfect, but you have to get it out there
  • Submit and forget

 

Jewel’s tips for time management as a mom

  • Work during naps, scheduled activities, and after your kids go to bed
  • Give yourself a daily word count to realize (e.g.: 500 words)

 

How Jewel incorporates writing into her family life

  • Getting her kids involved in the process
  • Encouraging her son to contribute a story to the blog each month

 

Jewel’s suggestions for alleviating ‘mom guilt’

  • Live in the moment
  • Accept that life is messy and imperfect

 

Jewel’s ‘ninja’ writing guidelines

  • Write by hand in pen to avoid editing
  • Don’t take yourself too seriously
  • Embrace the fact that first drafts will be terrible

 

 

Resources

The Write Practice

Jon Morrow on SmartBlogger

Jeff Goins’ Website

Grimdark Magazine

 

Connect with Jewel Eliese

Website

Facebook Group

Twitter

Pinterest

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