Some of absolute favorite tools to make your business easier

I am so excited to share with you some of my absolute favorite systems + tools that you need for your own business.

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I remember and know how it feels to fly by the seat of my pants in my own life and business. It can feel very overwhelming and exhausting, and like you’re doing all this work but getting absolutely nowhere.

Getting started can be a bit scary. So here are some of my most important processes and tools that can help your business grow and thrive (without you losing your mind in the process!)

Favorite System Tools: (some of these include affiliate links)

CRM (customer relationship manager): Dubsado! It's one of my absolute favorites. It’s a great tool to get started as a solopreneur or a small team. I adore their smooth lead generation forms that allow you to build the lead to customer experience easily.

Email Marketing: Mailerlite! It has a great free option, which is a great place to get started when building your email list. Creating forms and landing pages is a breeze, so you can share opt-ins simply with your clients.

Social Media Management/Marketing: Later! I’m a huge Instagram girl, so I absolutely need a good tool to help me automate my posts. Later is super simple and easy to use, and affordable too! (They have a free option! WOOT!). They just introduced scheduling Instagram story posts, so this is EVERYTHING! It makes posting to Instagram so much easier.

Project Management: Trello! This is an amazing tool that helps you to organize ideas for your own business goals OR to manage a small team. You can create numerous and various types of board, from long-term vision strategy to weekly to-do lists. If you are someone (like me ) who prefers to plan using technology vs. using a paper planner, then Trello is for you.

As you can see, this is a small list that is just a place to get you started. There are numerous tools out there, and it can be overwhelming to know what to choose or where to begin. Do NOT get shiny object syndrome. You do NOT need every.single.thing out there for your business. TRUST ME!

Instead, consider the areas that bring in the most money for your business OR are the biggest pain for you. Then, find a tool that can help make that easier and simpler for you. :)

Do you have a go-to system that you’re loving? I’d love to hear about it. Hit the reply button and share it with me!

Have a great week!

XOXO,

Carrie



The importance of having systems in your business (and life!)

So last week we talked about what systems are. This week I want to share with you why we all need systems in our businesses (and even in our personal lives!)

Many of us KNOW something has got to give in our lives. We are probably feeling somewhat overwhelmed, or like you’re a hamster on a wheel - going a million miles a minute, but you feel like you’re getting absolutely NOWHERE.

This is where systems come in. As I mentioned last week, systems are both tools and workflows/procedures that help you to get things in your life flowing smoothly and automatically, so you are not having to do #allthethings all of the time!

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So, why is it so necessary for someone to implement good systems in their businesses and in their personal lives? Here’s a short list why:

  • Because it can absolutely make you feel better

  • You’ll be more productive

  • It can help with focus

  • You’ll see more growth and success in your business

  • It’ll open up more time for you to take care of yourself (this is SO vital)

At this point, many of you are feeling like you can’t do this. Just thinking about getting started can seem overwhelming and scary (#whereismariekondo?! LOL). I know it can be frustrating! But don’t run out and start outsourcing these things just yet!

Next week, I’ll be sharing some simple ways you can begin implementing systems into your business and your life.

In the meantime, drop me a line via email or on Instagram and let me know the biggest roadblock in getting your business and life organized! I’d love to help support you, friend!

Have a great week!

XOXO,
Carrie

What are systems, anyways?!

One of the most important questions I get as an online business manager is about systems. Is it a thing or a process? Do I need to spend money on investing in these for myself, or hire someone else, or is this a DIY thing?

The honest answer is: it is both/and. (I know that can be annoying sometimes!)

Systems are both processes that make your business run smoothly and automatically AND they involve online software/websites/etc that can make those processes happen.

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Processes are something that is written down - a list of steps that you do for a specific part of your business that happens regularly. For example, you most likely already have a process in your mind for bringing on a new client into your business. It may look something like this:

  • Send invoice and contract to the new client

  • Once the invoice is paid and the contract is signed, send the new client a welcome email with calendar link to schedule first strategy call

  • Add current client tag

  • Add the new client to the mailing list

  • Set up a recurring invoice for the new client

  • Follow up with the new client in three days

That is just a sample of something you can write up/set up for a new client who is coming into your business. Doing something like this can take the guesswork out of completing tasks in your business that happens all the time.

In addition, you will most likely need some software/websites/etc to help you complete these processes. These can include a project management tool (like Trello or Asana) or a Customer Relationship Manager tool (like Dubsado or Freshbooks). I personally love Dubsado because I can capture a lead/potential new client and go through the entire onboarding process automatically without lifting a finger!

Do you already have some ideas in mind for creating a written process to help automate your business? I’d love to hear them! Send me a note to let me know what you’re gonna be working on!

Hope you’re enjoying a happy new year. Blessings to you as you grow your business!

XOXO,

Carrie



How to be a friend to someone who is hurting

As someone who is currently going through a somewhat challenging time, I got to thinking about the ways my friends have helped and hurt me throughout this process. When we are hurting, we need other people to surround us and support us…or we can run the danger of falling away from our true selves for good.

Being a good friend to someone when they are hurting, grieving, or even going through a difficult season can be tough. The ones who have been there for me the best are the ones who were there and simply listened when I needed to vent, and offered encouragement when I need some. I wanted to share some of the things that have tremendously helped me and my family with you all so you can pay it forward to those who are hurting in your own life and community.

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Be present in their lives.

This is so very important. When you’re hurting, you NEED the support of other people, but often you’re unable to ask for help. Don’t wait for your friends to reach out to you. Call them. Check in on them. If you notice them not showing up to church, missing out on work, or other activities, trust your instincts. Reach out and give them a hug when you see them. Go out of your way to talk with them when you’re in a group. The people who have made the most impact on me recently have been those who have stepped out of their comfort zone and spent time with me. And I never asked ANYONE to do that. But I felt tremendously loved and seen because of their actions.

Listen to them.

It can be very tempting to offer lots of advice, prayers, scriptures, quotes, etc. to your friends who are grieving, hurting, or suffering. Please do not lead with this. It can often be taken as disingenuous, even if you do not mean it to do so. Rather, ask them questions and listen to them speak. Sometimes a simple, “I don’t know what to do, but I am here” can be so

Don’t rush them through the healing process.

One of the most frustrating things to manage is the temptation to want to rush your friends through the healing process. This is because sitting with someone who is hurting can be very awkward or even uncomfortable. It is often weighty and not always an enjoyable experience for everyone involved. I can tell you that when I am sharing with a friend what I am going through, the most important thing I need is for someone to listen, to NOT try to fix it or wish it away, but rather to say something like, “how can I help?” or “help me understand” if they still don’t get it.

Communicate + Check In Often

Often people will retreat when they are hurting. Isolating oneself is a very common step hurting people take, but it is often incredibly harmful and can be disastrous if hurting people are left alone all the time. Continuing communication as a friend is so vital. Even if they do not reciprocate right away or seem stand-off-ish, please don’t give on on reaching out to them. Send that text or message online. Give them a call. Send them something or simply show up at their home with coffee.

Don’t offer the often hurtful “words of advice.”

Please resist the urge to offer (often cliche) words of advice. Trust me, you’re gonna want to do this. (Mostly because you will want to fill spaces of silence with noise, because silence can feel super awkward.) But filling the space in a conversation with someone who is hurting is not always what is needed. Your proximity and presence is everything and can mean more than you will ever know. You can simply say, “I am so sorry. I don’t know what to say, but I am here. How can I help?”

So many of us mean well. But knowing better means we can do better in helping our hurting friends and family. May you be a light in the darkness to those in your immediate circles and communities.

The power of visualizing

I’ll admit it…

I have honestly thought that the idea of visualizing things and thinking things into existence was a bunch of hogwash.

I’m a total realist (or pessimist as my husband would say 🤣), so the idea of thinking outside the box is super tough for me.

More likely, you’ll find me thinking about what is going on right now and worrying about how to make things happen. It’s a huge part of my business to help others see and achieve the practical, back-end, detail part of achieving their business goals.

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it wasn’t until I met with my therapist this past week that I started to realize the error of my ways.

You see, we have been working on my issues with focusing on anxiety and negative thinking, and the science behind how it affects your brain and body.

She began asking me what I wanted to see for myself, my business, my family, etc. during the coming year. I explained how I thought it was silly and almost “woo woo” to visualize things for the future.

She explained to me the science behind how focusing and visualizing (even meditating) on our minds and bodies. Ya’ll, I had NO IDEA that there was a positive effect and a changing of our brains when we visualize things. I was only aware of how working on retraining my brain to refocus after getting caught in negative thoughts helps me physiologically,

So, for those of you out there who might be a little skeptical about visualizing, I am encouraging you to consider trying it out.

You don’t have to go all woo-woo if it makes you uncomfortable! You can even write it out on paper, or make a vision board for the year, simply focus in a meditate on it for a few minutes…whatever works for you.

Happy visualizing! Here’s to a new year where you’re not denying yourself, your likes, and your dreams!

Let freedom ring

I met with my therapist again last night.

One of the main topics we discussed as our time was drawing to a close was what I felt like I wanted to see and focus on in the coming year.

The last year (in particular the last few months) have been pretty challenging for me personally, as well as for my husband and family. I’d use the word transformative to describe it, because I am not the same person I was before October 2018 came around.

I hesitated to answer her. I have never been one to really spend time visualizing or thinking about the future, in particular things I’d like to see good happen for me.

I’m the practical one. I focus on what is real and what can actually happen.

And sometimes that can really hold me back from the good things in life.

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You see, I’ve spent the majority of my life conforming. Doing the “right thing,” even at the expense of my own personal happiness or growth.

I’ve denied myself. And I’ve hidden my own thoughts, feelings, ideas, and beliefs about any number of issues - because it is a WHOLE lot easier to go with the flow.

It’s less painful than speaking your mind or doing something outside your comfort zone.

Being a “go with the flow” gal has allowed me to fit in, to be liked by almost everyone, and to someone that is “easy to work with and to be around”

But it has cost me, too. It means I have lived a life of self-imposed suppression for almost 37 years because I was too afraid of what it meant to truly come into my own and be myself.

I'd have rather kept everyone else happy than to finally find out who I am, what I believe/and don’t believe, what I like/and don’t like….you get the idea.

So last night, when my therapist asked me about what I hope and want to see for my coming year….I explained to her that I have kept seeing the word FREEDOM pop up here and there in the last few months.

I’m leaning into a picture where I am no longer hiding under a mask, and no longer living as a person who is suppressed.

I see myself as a woman who is going to be as open and vulnerable about the good and bad times.

I see myself no longer performing out of fear, but rather being honest about what I think, believe, and feel. I make peace that this will mean that some people will not understand me or my choices, and that I may make some people feel uncomfortable or even angry with me.

The person who existed this year a few months ago is no longer her. She is forever changed and is growing into the woman who she was always meant to be.

She is meant to be free. Not afraid of the opinions or thoughts of mankind, but rather living into the truth. Living a life of love. Being who she was intended to be.

And being okay that she doesn’t have all the answer yet…but that she is on the search for them.

I was meant to be free.