{3 Things} Every Entrepreneur Can Do Right Now To Avoid Feeling Lonely

Happiness is only real when shared.

When I sat down to write this blog, I immediately thought of Christopher McCandless. He was a real person, but you might know him best from the novel and movie, Into The Wild.

Sometimes I think I’m the only person who didn’t know what happened to him before seeing the movie…

I remember watching in disbelief at the end as Christopher finally realized he didn’t need to suffer in isolation to lead a good life. But when he tried to leave the wild he couldn’t get past the raging river. I was horrified! Tears streaming. And I remember thinking… where’s your freaking map! And GPS!! And satellite phone!!!

I can’t say that Chris selflessly sacrificed his life to teach the rest of us an important lesson…

But there is a lesson…

Isolation is not a recipe for success (and don’t venture into the wilderness unprepared)!

Life is meant to be shared.

evidence has been growing that when our need for social relationships is not met, we fall apart mentally and even physically. There are effects on the brain and on the body. Some effects work subtly, through the exposure of multiple body systems to excess amounts of stress hormones. Yet the effects are distinct enough to be measured over time, so that unmet social needs take a serious toll on health, eroding our arteries, creating high blood pressure, and even undermining learning and memory.

And as entrepreneurs… solopreneurs… freelancers… it’s easy to feel isolated. While we sit in our home offices pecking away at our computers–alone–there’s a whole parallel universe filled with office water cooler chat, social lunch breaks and co-worker inside jokes…

That we aren’t part of.

Before you think I’m complaining that I don’t have to answer to a boss, can choose my own schedule and wear my pj’s to work… I’m not.

But as someone who not only works alone and has lived remotely, I can tell you the adverse effects of isolation are real. 

And while solitude isn’t always a bad thing — it can offer you time to reconnect with yourself and the space to appreciate your life and the people in it… among other things — too much of it has serious repercussions. 

Seeking out social interactions is essential. Aside from keeping you sane, it can help energize you and keep the creative juices flowing…

So before you spend too much time alone and go all Jack in The Shining… let’s explore what you can do as ‘preneur to avoid freezing to death in a snowstorm. Alone. Outside an empty mansion in the mountains.

3 THINGS YOU CAN DO RIGHT NOW TO AVOID LONELINESS…

1. Join a group on Facebook

It might sound and feel counterintuitive to hop on social media for companionship, but it’s the reality of working from home.

You don’t have office buddies so your online cohorts can substitute as coworkers.

I get that the grass is often greener on the other side and coworkers can be a pain sometimes, too… but for the most part, an online group can offer:

People to bounce ideas off of…

Verbalizing your ideas (or in this case, typing them) can help you sort through your thoughts. And sometimes it’s just useful/helpful to get validation on an idea… or not.

The beautiful thing about the online world is typers tend to speak their mind more frankly. Which can be a good thing as you’ll receive honest feedback. Let’s just hope the people in your group are kind when they tell you they think your idea stinks. And are equally enthusiastic with their encouragement.

A quick and painless vent session

‘Cuz sometimes you have a pain-in-the-ass client, and rather than fire off a snarky email, your online friends can empathize and talk you off the ledge. It’s better to get it out before you implode… and your homies online will get you because they’ve all been there.

Your closed group is closed for a reason (no clients allowed!).

Help you come up with solutions…

If you have a tech issue, a client problem or just need help organizing your office furniture… your online friends will be more than delighted to offer advice. Most of them enjoy the breaks in their day, and people really do love to help.

Learn new skills…

I can’t tell you how much I’ve learned from my online comrades. Sometimes I think I’d be lost without them! I use writing software that was recommended to me in a group, I now have a massive list of educational podcasts I can throw on anytime, my list of interesting blogs is endless, and I’ve read some life-changing books because of my online peeps.

I mean, wow! It’s like a live Wikipedia… people full of knowledge and experience just waiting for a chance to share it.

Offer emotional support if you’re having a rough day…

Yep. If you’re having a crap-hole of a day, your online friends care. You may not ever meet in real life, but it’s easy to create some meaningful relationship with people in your groups. I find it helps to stick to groups that don’t have thousands of members, but it’s still easy to get to know people if you put in a bit of effort.

And it’s important to remember to not just take from the groups you’re in. They aren’t meant to be your personal support group. You have to contribute as well, or you’ll quickly see your posts get less and less engagement.

Instead of running into the copy room to avoid you, they’ll pretend not to see your tenth post in a row that’s all about you.

2. Plan social time in your calendar

When you work in your pj’s all day, sometimes it just doesn’t feel worth the effort to get dressed and go out… especially in the winter (if you live in a cold climate like I do). Pj’s are just sooooo comfy!

But if you don’t specifically plan social time, two whole weeks can pass before you realize the only ‘real’ person you’ve hung out with is your dog or cat.

Guilty!! LOL

*And clients don’t count… they’re paying you.*

If you put it in your calendar, you’re more likely to commit and stick to the plan because you know it’s coming and people are counting on you.

But if you leave social time to chance, you’ll make excuses not to go out (because you procrastinated all day on getting that one thing done you really needed to finish and now you need to stay home and finish it). Or you’ll regret having too much flexibility in your schedule if you say yes everytime someone asks (this is a whole other blog post on keeping a schedule for maximum productivity).

Call your friends. Make a plan. Schedule it. And go.

3. Go work in a coffee shop or coworking space

Try this at least once a week if you usually work from your home office.

It’s not as much of a pain as you might think. And it’s actually invigorating to be around other people. If you’re in a slump, hanging around a space filled with people can help get the juices flowing again.

Observing people and being around the hum of chatter and background music is often the perfect remedy to get me feeling inspired!

And who knows… you might run into someone you know, and haven’t seen in a while, and have an unexpected and rewarding conversation.

And… I even surprise myself periodically and bang off a considerable amount of work in a solid two or three hour bout!!

It can be lonely at times being your own boss. And you’ll most likely go through some very uncomfortable personal growth… I think it’s inevitable and unavoidable as an entrepreneur.

So to avoid having too many existential crises and romanticise living like a hermit in the Alaskan Panhandle, reach out to… real people. Online and offline.

Your life kind of depends on it.

Have something to add to this? Please share your tips and experiences in the comments!!

Amy xo

{Your Guide} To Writing An Effective Welcome Email Series

I don’t know about you, but I don’t often make instant friends.

Sure, I can experience a sparky connection with someone the first time I meet them and have dynamic, flowy conversation, but it takes time before I truly let someone into my inner circle…

And if friendship in real life takes time and effort, imagine what’s it like in the online world…

…it’s busy space and often difficult to know who to trust — it’s why online relationships require extra nurturing. You miss out on the nuances of body language and facial expressions…plus, it’s typically a one-way conversation.

Unlike dogs who do the sniff and judge — “yep, you’re cool, we can hang” or “naw, sorry buds, you’re not my type”, humans need more time to develop relationships that can mature into lasting friendships.

My point is, even if you make an instant connection with someone in real life, it takes time to get to know each other and build a foundation of trust, respect and expectations.

So when someone downloads your intriguing (and valuable) lead magnet, they are essentially saying, “hey…let’s court. I’m letting you into my inbox, let’s see where this goes”.

They trusted you enough to hand over their email address…

… don’t leave them hanging.

You put time and effort into attracting them to your email list, now it’s time to engage and start the relationship with an effective welcome email series.

What is a welcome email series?

A welcome email series is a set of automated emails that go out to each person who downloads your lead magnet — the freebie you give them in exchange for their email.

If you don’t have a lead magnet, I suggest creating one. You’ll be hard-pressed to grow your list without offering something of value in exchange for their precious email address. 

And your welcome emails are an opportunity for you to highlight your brand and for your new subscribers to get to know you and eventually buy from you.

I recommend sending out a series five emails — there’s no magic number, but five is a manageable and attractive number to introduce people to your business and move them through to a sale.

You can go up to seven, but if seven or even five feels intimidating, start with three.

But whether you’re a seasoned business owner or a newly minted solopreneur, a welcome email series is essential to start the conversation…

Tips Before You Start Writing

1. Make your emails personal

The person reading your emails should feel like you’re writing directly to them — like how I’m writing this blog directly to you… ya, you reading this blog right now.

Use their first name when addressing them and replace they or them or people with you.

Pretend you’re writing an email to a friend and they’re the only person reading it.

2. Make your emails conversational

Writing conversational emails is just as important as making them personal.

Like I mentioned in tip one…pretend you’re writing to a friend.

Would you say, “I hope you are having a nice day” or “I hope you’re having a nice day”?

If you’re a super formal person and you’d actually say *you are*, then, by all means, write that. But more than likely, you’re casual with friends and even non-friends and would say *you’re*.

So write like that! Write like you talk — within reason, of course. It still needs to make sense to the person reading it and to your audience.

3. Tell Stories

You probably hear this all the time….stories sell. Stories Sell. STORIES SELL!

This might freak you out a bit if your automatic reaction is, but I’m not good at telling stories! My best advice here is: don’t overthink it. You’re not writing a best-selling novel…simply recount a personal experience, or share how your product or service helped someone else.

This approach humanizes your copy and creates connection. 

Sharing the features and benefits of your product is important. But the truth is, stories are more memorable and they appeal to your reader’s emotional senses — and humans respond to emotion more than logic.

So now that you’ve conquered personal, conversational story-telling, you’re ready to dive into your email sequence…

What should your emails include?

Your emails should always, without a doubt, create value for your new subscribers. Yes, the end goal is to gain a new paying customer, but your messaging should covertly lead to the (non-salesy) sales pitch.

In a weird psychological twist, people who want or need your solution want it without being explicitly sold to.

Keep in mind, the point of these emails is to understand your readers and know what they need from you.

Email #1

This is the most crucial and often overlooked email in your series.

The moment someone joins your list, they should immediately receive a welcome email. This is your chance to thank them for downloading your lead mag and confirm what a smart decision they made to opt into your list.

According to this site, as of January 2017, there were 1,310,780,385 active websites1 on the internet. And out of all those choices, someone chose to join your list — kind of a big deal.

But don’t stop there…

Use this email to also:

1.Introduce yourself — let them know who you are. Say hi and give a quick intro.

2. Let them know what they can expect from you — what value will they gain from being on your list.  And how often will you email them?

3. Include the link to the offer again — just in case they missed the download, include it again in this email to make sure they get it.

4. Include one major and one minor CTA — in the body of the email direct them to some of your best content. Ask a question and encourage them to reply. Or direct them to your social media or an applicable blog post.

5. Ask them to self-segment if it makes sense for your biz — if you have a big list or offer distinct products or service for different audiences, this is your chance to make sure they only get emails that are relevant to them. For example, if you’re a dog trainer and you train trainers as well, you can ask people to segment themselves as a trainer or a dog owner. This way they only get what they need.

Here’s an awesome example of a welcome email from Digital Marketer that uses the principles above:

 

Email #2

In your second email, you can start to get a bit more personal. Share a little of your backstory and how you hit a wall…

Were you tired of working a job that was sucking your soul? Done with never having a decent income? Have a near death experience? Or couldn’t ignore the burning desire to build a cult brand?

Build tension in this email by getting a bit vulnerable, but leave the big reveal of how you transcended your roadblock to get to your big epiphany for the next email.

Open a new loop at the end of the email letting your readers know your next email will cover how you overcame your hurdle and finally experienced success; thanks to your awesome product or service.

But leave them with a beneficial takeaway.

Email #3

This email contains the ONE thing your product or service will do for your reader — the pain it will solve…the coolness factor of being associated with you…or the skills you will help them build.

Share the epiphany you had, how you overcame it and how your product or service is related to the struggle you experienced.

If you can do it, anyone can.

Email #4

Share some of the hidden benefits of your product or service in email #4.

What are some things your reader didn’t know about what you offer? And how will what you offer improve their life?

Your reader is ultimately in search of a better version of themselves.

In this email, you can point them to a relevant blog post or give them something of value for free.

You are building trust and in the end, you want them to buy from you or refer you to others.

Email #5

In your last email, it’s time to create some urgency with a compelling call to action.

Let them somehow now — without using scare tactics or gross manipulation — that time isn’t a commodity and they need your service or product now.

In this email, you can add a few testimonials or case studies to highlight just how effective your product is. It gives your readers a taste or mini-preview of what you offer.

Now that you’ve written a killer welcome email series, it’s time to schedule it.

There are various email marketing platforms you can choose from. Some of the more popular software are:

These platforms are designed to make your life easier…some are paid and some are free. Take the time to read through them and choose the one that works best for you and your business goals.

But automate these emails so you can focus on other important areas of your business!

And don’t try to do it all at once or you’ll lose your mind! Write one or two emails a day until you have your series complete. And set a time limit on how much research you allot to finding the right platform.

You could end up spending WAY more time than necessary on this. And always remember, that your emails don’t need to be perfect. The beauty is that nothing is set in stone and you can update them any time…. especially as your business evolves and you grow.

Does the idea of writing a welcome email series still seem daunting? Comment below or email me with any questions you have about getting started on welcoming subscribers to the fam!

Know The Basics Of Copywriting And How It Converts

Let’s start with the basics of copywriting for those still a bit in the dark.

There’s copyright and there’s copywriting.

Here’s what wikipedia says about copyright:

Copyright is a legal right created by the law of a country that grants the creator of an original work exclusive rights for its use and distribution. This is usually only for a limited time. The exclusive rights are not absolute but limited by limitations and exceptions to copyright law, including fair use.

Boring, but necessary.

And here’s what I do:

Copywriting is writing for conversion. It is the art and science of crafting psychologically persuasive ads, landing pages and other content that inspires action.

Yes! Exciting and necessary. And, when done right, it literally turns into money.

If you believe putting words on your website, in your email sequences, in your social media ads, landing pages and so on is no biggie, pleeeeease keep reading because I have a great example for you below.

I present to you a before and after sales page. Paragraph one was written by who knows – most likely a NON-copywriting…or at least I HOPE so!

Our 1 on 1 business coaching has helped thousands of business owners achieve amazing results in their businesses.

Our 1 on 1 business coaching programs force business owners to focus and devote the time necessary to achieve measurable results (in the right areas).

Working with Name Removed, your Business Coach, will make a real difference to your lifestyle, the value and the position of your business in the marketplace. (This may be your exit strategy!)

Introducing systems and performance standards are the key to achieving what you want from your business in the future in all areas of your business.

Our 1 on 1 business coaching programs are customized for you and your business. We will provide you with a free consultation and evaluation of your business.

The program should, in the end cost you nothing, with extra profits covering the cost.

To get an idea of what sort of issues we cover in our 1 on 1 business coaching program – Have a look through the topics that we cover in our Workshops and Seminars.

Paragraph two is how this page could be written to convert more prospects into paying customers.

Is your business taking up all of your time and, in some ways, taking away from the lifestyle you had envisioned? You may have had dreams of building a business with a grand exit strategy and now that seems like a distant fantasy.

It’s easy to lose focus when you’re not achieving what you set out to achieve. Perhaps your systems are not in place and you’re so busy being reactive that your performance standards are now declining. This is when burnout sets in, profits plummet and the value you had hoped to create in the business marketplace just isn’t there.

I have helped thousands of business owners just like you achieve amazing results through my one on one coaching programs. I’ll help you develop the necessary systems and engage the proper business tools to help you regain your focus and get your business back on track. You can and will achieve what you envisioned when you first started.

My programs are customized specifically to you and your needs. Together we’ll evaluate your current situation and develop a plan to get you earning more money, enjoying more free time and being proactive rather than reactive.

You can have the profitable business AND the life of freedom you set out to achieve!

Book your free consultation and let’s get you on the right path!

Words are powerful and putting them in the right order on the page can mean the difference between attracting or repelling prospects.

I want you to attract customers and make money…don’t you?

Conversion Copywriting = Money

This means money spent on a hiring a pro is money well spent. Invest in yourself! Attract the right people to your business and you will succeed.

Being stubborn and need more proof? Check this out.

3 Steps To Starting A New Business

Starting a new business is tough. It takes guts to quit the security of a steady paycheque for the uncertainty of starting something new.

And not everyone is cut out to be an entrepreneur. You have to be comfortable with taking risks, working long hours (in the beginning, anyway), asking for help and paying for expert advice.

The early stages of running a business can feel daunting and there will be many times when you’ll wonder what the hell you did, and want to quit. It’s the best and most efficient way to learn your strengths and weaknesses and begin your long journey with personal growth and development.

But, all that aside, if you’ve managed to decide WHAT kind of business to start, congratulations……that’s the hardest part.

Some come to it honestly…..

For example, if you’re an electrician, you’ll probably roll with that or if you’re a hair stylist, opening your own salon makes sense.

However, for those with a general entrepreneurial spirit, and no clearly defined skill set, it can be tough to narrow down a niche. It’s easier if there is an obvious absence of a service or product in the local market – but that’s not always the case.

More often than not, those chasing the freedom of working for themselves begin with an existing passion.

You may find yourself entering a market that seems saturated and wonder how you’ll stand out from the crowd and grow your business anyway.

This is where it’s important to get super clear on what your services are, who you will serve, and how.

Sure it’s more fun developing a logo, setting up your office and getting a new website, but these are all meaningless if you don’t know who your audience is or how to reach them.

The first step to starting a new business is:

FINDING YOUR NICHE

Picking a niche doesn’t mean you need to pigeon-hole yourself with a specific type of client — many people starting out in business assume this means they need to narrow down their clients to a certain classification of business.

For example: in copywriting, some writers only work with SAAS companies. And while it’s good to know who you’re willing to work with, I don’t think it’s necessary to have such a narrow focus.

For example, I enjoy working with heart-centered entrepreneurs. My clients serve in a variety of industries and as long as they have good intentions and are conscientious, they’re my ideal client.

This shows that choosing a niche can look different than what you may have thought.

BUT, if you’re having trouble choosing the type of business you want to start, I recommend reaching out to a life coach. They can help you narrow down your passion, strengths, lifestyle, earning potential and interests.

A life coach can also help you to navigate uncertainties and identify gaps between where you are and where you want to be.

Once you’ve got this part figured out, you can begin to define…

WHO YOU WILL SERVE

Let’s assume you’re starting a consulting business…

Before you can even begin to write content for your new website, you must learn who the people are that you will serve.

Who are they? How old are they? What are their pains, and what problem are you going to solve for them?

What will make them seek you out and hire you versus someone else, and how will they value your service enough to pay you what you want to get paid?

One thing I’ve learned from owning a business is that it’s less about me and more about what I can offer.

Yes, yes, boundaries are important and you’ll learn quickly (hopefully) that not everyone is your ideal client, but think about what YOU can do to serve others.

How are you lessening their burden?  If you’re cleaning their house, how does that affect their life? If you are cutting their grass, providing bookkeeping or managing their SEO…it’s important to consider how you are changing their life for the better.

You are here to serve — consider what you can give rather than what you can get.

And lastly…

BE SINCERE

Of course, we all want to make money or we’d start a charity or offer our services for free, which is basically the same thing!

As an entrepreneur, you need to value your time just as much — if not more — than when you were an employee.

And it’s acceptable to value your time at whatever price you value your time — within reason, of course.

But I think many people going into business are focused on what they can get rather than what they can give.

……your clients will feel this.

People can sense sincerity or lack thereof.

Whatever business you choose, hats off to you, because owning and running a business is rewarding in and of itself.

But it’s HARD work. Don’t expect it to be breezy.

Oh, and you will get to know yourself in a way you never thought possible — you’ll be introduced to parts of yourself you didn’t know existed — but you’ll learn to love all of these parts for the experience of being an entrepreneur.

There are many other working parts to starting a business, but this is a good place to begin before you quit your day job and freak out because you feel aimless.

If you’ve recently started a business and need help getting your message right, finding your ideal client or need to throw around some ideas, reach out for a 20 min consult. And if you have a business, but your message is falling flat, book a strategy session and we’ll discuss an upgrade.

Until then…

Amy xo

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