There are people out there right now that need your skills and your advice. They want to learn from you and they’d be happy to join your community, if only it existed. Don’t let your fears keep you from creating a community.
When I first came online, I was overwhelmed by all of the “experts” I saw. Perhaps it was because the first summit I attended was an extensive weeks-long training from the leading experts in Social Media.
It was as if I had been thrown into an advanced calculus class before I had learned how to multiply!
So much new jargon! I didn’t know the difference between SEO and a CTA. These elite professionals would throw out jargon which the moderators understood perfectly. I had no idea what they were talking about.
Surprisingly, I learned a lot during that training.
Yet unsurprisingly, I established myself in my own mind as an outsider in this complicated world. From then on, when I went to conferences or engaged in online chats, I always felt that everyone knew so much more than I did. And that they were more successful.
I have been blogging – and learning – for several years now, and I have a clearer understanding of what was happening.
Slowly my eyes were opened to the fact that many of those people didn’t know as much as I did. And I began to realize that i could do this. I could be successful online.
So if you are one of those who feels like an outsider looking in, I have some great news for you.
You have unique gifts which will benefit others. You also have a personal mission which may be similar, but it won’t be just like anyone else’s. Have faith in who you are – and know that there are many others who need what you have to offer.
They also need your encouragement.
That’s why we need community.
Your community may be those who listen to your podcast, or read your blog, or those who read your emails. Or you could want to start a membership community. Or a Facebook Group.
With any of these communities, you will have more impact if you consider a few things.
Decide on the goal of your community.
The first thing you want to do when building your community is deciding what the goal will be. It’s a good idea to look at the end result your ideal client wants. For example, if your ideal client wants to start a blog, then creating great blogs can be the goal for your community. Other communities could focus on speaking or podcasting. Some could focus on all of these things.
Interestingly, within your community, there will be smaller topics of interest. Best tools for the job. Best practices. Creativity. Mindset.
You can see that the list could be endless.
Who are your people?
Every community has its own culture that’s shaped by the creator and members. When you’re thinking about culture, you might want to consider your personal values. For example, if you’re building a Christian community then you may stress the importance of Biblical principles while on the job. Obviously in this case, good character would be important to implement in your group.
Walk alongside your members.
The most effective teaching is walking alongside your members or friends.
What do I mean by that? Let people learn from your mistakes as well as their own. When people see you as authentic, they can relate – and they can learn better. Let them see your journey, and let them see where you are at the moment.
When their guard is down, people learn a lot more from a peer than they do from a school marm. So be real and be honest.
Your community will be delighted to find someone who understands their struggles.
Find a partner
If you’re nervous about building a community, look for a partner. This is someone that runs a business or brand that complements your skills. For example, if you’re an excellent writer, team up with someone who is a great internet marketer.
This set up benefits you by cutting your responsibilities in half and it benefits your group by allowing them to receive support from two people, instead of one. Keep in mind that you’ll want to build your community with a partner that you already know and like. You should also have a plan in place for what happens if one of you becomes too busy to participate or if one of you wants out of the community.
The bottom line is this. We need each other, and if you can answer that need in your business or blog, your effectiveness will increase many times over.
Many people start their home based businesses with tremendous excitement and delight. Yet after some time on the job, they may start experiencing second thoughts and discouragement.
They find themselves tired of the business and burned out.
Being burned out is no fun. It’s especially no fun if you are a self-employed solopreneur! You need to stay on-the-ball in order to run your business successfully.
The best way to overcome this energy and productivity sapper, is to take steps to overcome it before it happens. So let’s look at some ways to do that.
Okay, let’s be honest. You love your work. You know that your mission is important, and you are thrilled to be helping people as you move ahead. (And, of course, you celebrate as the money begins to flow in).
Yet anything which we do day in and day out – with no breaks – will get tiresome from time to time. That’s why we need to focus on avoiding this before it happens.
So here are a few things to avoid.
- Taking on Too Much Work –
When you are just starting out, you are so happy to get any work at all that you can’t imagine too much ever coming your way.
Yet after you’ve been in business for awhile, this can happen. And it’s a trap for countless solopreneurs. Often this is driven by the fear that at some point, they won’t have orders coming in. So they take on a huge amount of work whenever it’s available
The irony is that this tends to result in poor quality work, which actually means they’re more likely to lose clients!
2. Oversleeping –
What’s that? Sleeping too much can cause burnout?
It might sound surprising, but if you start work late then you will quickly enter into a vicious cycle. You will start late – and end late – thus having your work go into the night and onto your days off.
This is a hazard especially if you are single and don’t have the family time table to help you stay on a more regular routine.
Be strict with yourself, ask others to help, and make sure you get an early night.
Find ways to help yourself maintain regular hours. A cup of Camomile Tea to help you get to sleep. And leaving the curtains open lightly when you go to sleep. Thus when you wake up in the morning. the natural sunlight will prompt you to get up and not go back to sleep.
Even little habits can make a routine more doable – and life lots easier.
3. Others’ Disrespect for Your Work
It’s interesting that if you work in an office, others don’t think that you are available at all times. They respect your office commitment. However, if you are working from home, many think that you are available at all times.
This is a common problem solopreneurs have to address.
People don’t mean this in a condescending way. Yet many people will think that being your own boss means you can be at their beck and call at any time of day.
Let’s go shopping. Let’s go to lunch. Let me tell you the latest gossip.
Or if you have children at home, it’s even more difficult.
It takes willpower to have a schedule which works – and one which avoids this random free time mentality.
Having a schedule of certain times for concentrated work and other times for taking calls helps you stay on track.
Eventually others will recognize your routine and will be more likely to honor it.
4. Not switching off
This is a huge risk you face as a solopreneur.
When you work from home, your work can become your life to the point where you can’t seem to switch it off. It’s always there. Always in your mind. Always demanding concentration.
It’s quite common for anyone to finish work and then realize that there was something they forgot to do, But for most people, they will plan to do it first thing the next morning. The difference for you is that you can go and rectify that mistake right away.
That can be a hazard. You need time off. You need to forget about your work and enjoy other aspects of your life.
It takes discipline to put your work aside – and enjoy your leisure time. But your spiritual time, your family time, and your leisure time are significant to a healthy life.
It might make it easier when you realize that playing is a responsibility!
So there you have a few things which can cause burnout. They basically come down to scheduling times for work and times for play. They also involve knowing your limitations and not overloading yourself with too much work.
Through prayer and planning, you can find a plan and a schedule which works for you and allows you to maximize your impact while enjoying your work.
Avoiding burnout can lead to many years of enjoyable productivity.
List building can be frustrating. You’ve probably heard the expression, “the money is in the list.” That’s partially true, but not completely.
What do I mean? Well, let’s take a look at two scenarios.
Elizabeth runs an online business designing WordPress themes. She has a mailing list of over nine thousand people and she emails them regularly.
But she complains that she gets no feedback from her list and they rarely message her looking for tips on how to create and manage WordPress websites. So the money she’s making is not enough for a full time job.
Needless to say, she’s frustrated and stressed about this.
April also runs an online business designing WordPress themes. She has a mailing list of just over a thousand subscribers. Like Elizabeth, she emails her list regularly.
But the different outcome might be surprising.
April gets plenty of feedback from her list and she’s always answering emails and messages about WordPress.
More importantly, April is making money and next year she’ll be able to turn her side hustle into a full time business.
You may be wondering what the difference is between Elizabeth and April. Why is one solopreneur seeing so much success that she can afford to quit her job while the other continues to struggle with her profits?
Are Your Subscribers Engaging with Your Content?
The answer is simple Elizabeth focused on getting lots of people on her list. April took a different approach. She looked for subscribers that matched her ideal client profile. She carefully monitored the health of her list and removed subscribers that weren’t engaging with her content. The result is that she has a much smaller list than Elizabeth, but that list is far more engaged.
If you only measure the size of your email list and you’re not taking the engagement of your reach into account, then you’re making a big mistake. Low engagement can be a sign that you’re not connecting with your community.
Are Your Subscribers Buying Your Products?
After looking at your engagement level, you want to start looking at what types of content your list is taking action on. Of the subscribers who are opening your email messages and reading them, how many are taking action? How often do they go on to purchase your product or a product your promoted? If you offer a service like coaching or content creation, are they hiring you?
If you have a new list or a tiny list, then you may not see a lot of activity at first. But as your list grows into the hundreds, you should start seeing some of your subscribers taking action. If you don’t, it might be a sign that you’re promoting the wrong products or that your community isn’t connecting with your messages.
Are You Asking for Engagement?
It takes courage to include a Call to Action. A Call to Action (I capitalize this because it’s important) is the point in your content where you ask your reader to do something. For example, if you run a blog on home schooling, then email your list with a review of your favorite workbooks and ask them to try out the workbooks, too.
Remember that if you want engagement, you have to ask for it. It doesn’t always have to be in the form of asking subscribers to buy something. You might ask them to fill out a survey that will help you create your next blog challenge or you could ask them to leave a comment on your latest blog post.
When it comes to building your email list, make sure you’re filling it with subscribers that are genuinely interested in your content. This helps you grow a thriving community that loves your brand and engages with it regularly.
Keep on Soaring…
Oh, by the way, remember to check out the Christian Cache Bundle Sale. if you want to be a part of this, hurry. The deadline is soon!
Are you in a dip? And if so, what are you going to do about it?
“The Dip” became famous with Seth Godin’s book by that name. (I just love all of those Ah-ha moments he has brought us, don’t you)?
The dip is after you have launched your project and spent some time enjoying the challenge of the dream. You continue with enthusiasm and excitement
Then you hit a time when the newness wears off and the dream becomes dim. Suddenly the work seems hard. Monotonous. The dream seems dim and you feel that you are just slogging along.
So what do you do? You either slow down and quit – or you push through.
Think of it as running a marathon. You plan to run 26 miles and you are pumped to do it. You begin with zeal and determination. But after 13 hot and thirsty miles, your zeal starts to wain, and you begin to question the decision. Is it worth it? Why did you make the commitment? And every step starts to seem like an impossible goal.
Our online businesses, our books, and really any worthwhile project has a similar pattern. There’s the middle we have to conquer. After the starting pistol and before the prize at the end, there is a middle. And that middle often includes a dip.
Well, back to Seth Godin’s book, the dip is what separates the true winners – champions – the overall best in any niche. Most people quit during the dip. or at least they become very mediochre.
Winners do something different.
Winners are determined to win. They dig in deeper during that long middle. They learn more, fine tune their methods, and tweak their objectives. And, most importantly, they keep going.
In the end, they push through the dip and wind up stronger and more productive than ever.
In the process, they even manage to shorten the dip.
These are the ones who finish strong – and on top.
So what does that mean for us?
The last year has put lots of people in the dip. The routine changes demanded by Covid-19 -as well as the pervasive anxiety – were enough to cause anyone to have a dip. Normal practices just seemed so hard. It was tough.
Well now let’s take a deep breath.
First of all, do we really want to accomplish this project? Are we satisfied that this is God’s will for us?
Try to find some time to get alone. Pray and listen. Is this really what we are supposed to do? Is it really what we want to do?
If so, let’s stand up, shake off the lethargy, and begin again.
With all of this settled, we become determined to get through that dip.
Let’s increase our skill in the areas that are giving us trouble. That might mean taking some courses, talking with a coach. or networking with others in our niche.
Let’s assess our plans and our procedures. We can fine tune any methods which seem unsuccessful, and discontinue practices which no longer work.
Then, with head high let’s press forward with renewed determination.
We can do this.
In fact, we are going to do this.
Many of us have lofty goals of becoming solopreneurs. We might dream of starting a side-hustle and growing it into a business. Or maybe we’re already working solo, but dreaming of going bigger. Of scaling our business to heights that allow us to earn a fully passive income. So that we make money while we sleep!
Sounds terrific, doesn’t it?
Often though, these aspirations fall through and we don’t achieve quite the goals we set for ourselves. We start with good intentions, but eventually end up getting over tired or frustrated to the point of wanting to quit.
So what do we do?
The problem is often very simple. When challenges come, we often just try to work harder. Or purchase one more bit of software. As a result, we might be adding hours of work to our already busy schedule when other factors need to be considered.
If we are trying to build this productive business while we are generally unhappy, overworked, or not eating correctly, we are wasting our time. If we really want to improve our productivity we need to be healthy, energetic and well organized – it’s all connected.
So let’s take a look at our lives as a whole. Every part of our daily routine influences other parts. Only a holistic approach to our lives and our work can bring the results we are looking for.
You know what I am going to say is first, don’t you?
Start your day with prayer and Bible study.
Even a few minutes of focused time with God can set you on the right path. There have been times when I have done this, and times when I haven’t. Believe me. I have learned how significant this is. Often while praying, new ideas will pop up. New contacts will emerge. And every time you follow this bit of advice, your confidence will increase.
If God is for you, who can be against you?
Early Morning is also a good time to exercise.
When you increase your circulation through your choice of activity, you increase your energy and your clarity. Whatever your goals, you need energy to accomplish them.
De-clutter. Clear the Space Around You.
All of those scraps of paper with insignificant notes need to be thrown away. Certainly yesterday’s coffee cup needs to be taken to the kitchen. Throw anything out that you don’t use regularly and that isn’t sentimental.
Likewise generally minimize your clutter by putting things in organized boxes and creating good systems to help you stay tidy. You’ll find you end up with a lot more mental space, a lot more time on your hands, and a lot more physical space for your productivity.
While de-cluttering, take a look at your computer. Your email account, your download files, and more. if you can manage to set up a plan for de-cluttering your computer, you will find more time and focus for your work.
Regulate Your Sleep/Wake Cycles
If you are currently all over the place in terms of your body clock then you should change that so that you have a stricter schedule on week days. Wake up early so you have time to work and come round in the morning and go to sleep with enough time to get a full eight hours so you’re refreshed tomorrow.
I realize that some people are more “hard-wired” in their sleep habits. If that’s you, try avoiding caffeine late in the day and drink some “sleepy tea” instead. Also, gear your end-of-day routine toward peaceful, calming endeavors.
As you take these steps, you can increase your chances of a good night’s sleep and an earlier bedtime.
Have Some ‘You’ Time: Schedule yourself in some time that is going to be ‘your’ time. This is important because otherwise you will end up distracted and wanting to do other things.
Develop Healthy Eating Habits
Healthy eating will give you more energy and help you stay fresher during the day.
Even a few changes , like removing the sugar from your tea and coffee, cutting down on salt in your cooking, drinking fewer fizzy drinks, and taking the butter off your toast.
Easy right? Now make sure you drink five pints of water a day, and eat lots of fiber.
Have Some ‘You’ Time:
Schedule yourself in some time that is going to be ‘your’ time. This is important because otherwise you will end up distracted and wanting to do other things.
One of the ‘You’ Time items could be to adopt an awards system for yourself. Any activity that isn’t work is a ‘reward’ and you’re only allowed one at the time. So after a particularly difficult task, reward yourself. You’ll look forward to the intermittent moments – and be motivated to do the hard tasks.
Small Changes can make a Big difference
These are all small changes to make but they address elements of your life across the board. You’ll find very soon that this starts to give you more energy and focus in every area of your life and that you start seeing returns which snowball over time.