Improving productivity is a necessity for a contractor who services multiple clients. Without a system in place that establishes good workflow, it can be really difficult to keep up momentum and take on enough clients to earn a good living. But, if you can establish a good workflow for the type of work you perform you will be able to take on more clients, work faster, smarter, and make more money.
Develop Package Rates
One of the best things you can do for your business is to try to develop, as much as possible, package rates for your work. Then, you will avoid, most of the time, having to track your time. Time tracking for multiple clients can be a big interruption that you don’t want to have to do if you can avoid it.
Create Checklists for Each Project
When you do the same types of project over and over again, creating a checklist to help guide you and others who work with you through each project will help keep you on task and avoid forgetting aspects of the project. Remember, pilots use checklists every single time to avoid forgetting something. You should too.
Before crafting your workflow, focus on your deliverables first and then work your way backwards to today to figure out what needs to be done first. Then start with first things first, using your checklist to ensure you don’t forget something adding what you need to do to the calendar.
Draw Your Workflow
Seeing a workflow visually can help you identify areas that you left out or forgot. You can actually use the checklist for a generic project to create a workflow. For instance, the workflow for publishing an eBook might look like this: Research the niche > Develop a topic > Craft a title > Outline the book > Write the front matter > Write the end matter > Design a book cover > And so forth. When you draw it instead of write it, you can more easily see the things that can be done simultaneously and what has to be done in order.
Use a Project Management System
Using a project management system like Basecamp.com, Asana.com, or Teamwork.com is a good way to get yourself and your clients organized from day one. The system already has some ways to organize the work so that you don’t have to actually create everything from scratch.
Use Other Peoples Workflows
Do a quick Google search for workflows and then fill in the topic such as self-publishing, writing an eBook or writing and publishing, and you can find workflows that are already written. While you cannot sell those, you can use them and modify the ideas for your own use privately.
Try Out Your Workflow
Before considering a workflow set in stone, try it out from step one with a real project of your own to ensure that you didn’t leave something out. This is your chance to improve it before asking someone else to try it.
Ask Others to Try Out Your Workflows
Send the workflow to someone else that you know also works on the same type of projects that you do, whether it’s someone on your team or a colleague, asking them for feedback.
Refine and Improve
A workflow is actually never set in stone. As technology improves, and clients’ needs change, your workflows will evolve. That’s what’s great about drawing them out and creating them in the first place. Your workflows, over time, can only get better.
Workflow design is essential to your success as a contractor who takes on the projects of multiple clients. Ensure that you develop your workflows based on the services that you offer so that your project management practically runs itself over time.
The myth that women can not work together is just not true. As an entrepreneur for more than 20 years I can truly say that I have had the pleasure of working with some influential women who were committed to the rise of female entrepreneurship. The challenge is that most entrepreneurs or solopreneurs work alone with now real resources to help them advance. Even with that, women are launching businesses at a rate the U.S. has never seen before. Creating commerce and jobs, becoming Moguls and CEOs of their own companies. Women are doing what was once considered the impossible. However, there is still a lot of work left to do. Women are still not receiving funding from Venture Capitalists for their businesses at the rate of their counterparts mostly due to lack of relationships and knowledge. In order to level the playing field, women need platforms that promote innovation and economic opportunity. Organizations like The PINKpreneur Network help women in business by connecting them with people and resources needed to be successful in a fast paced society. Collaboration and relationships are key to any entrepreneurs true victory.
Here are a few things to consider when collaborating:
There are great benefits to creating collaborations
When searching for an ideal partnership consider the following:
As founder of The PINKpreneur Network (TPN), I am elated to lead the charge in empowering women to be 21st Century leaders. The PINKpreneur Network understands the challenges women face globally in business and in the workplace. Our organization is positioned to provide a safe place for women to stretch, grow and become all they envision themselves to be. Our mission is to help our members use the undeniable power of collaborative thinking to grow personally and professionally by providing the resources they need to achieve their vision and their destiny. Through our resources they will find mentors, sponsors and coaches to help them along the way. The key to collaboration is to first understand that more can be accomplished with the hands of many.
Marketing your business with online content is the ultimate way to bring traffic to your website. You can use articles, newsletters, blog posts, social media updates, FAQs and more to help bring traffic, but there are ways to do it so that you can grow your business the right way. Having a lot of followers isn’t indicative of success. Earning money is. So, if you want to grow your business you have to know which resources to leverage.
Content Is Still King & Queen
Everything revolves around content. Content is needed for every aspect of your business. If you create information products you need even more content. However, even if you sell other types of product or service you still need a lot of content in order to educate, engage, and encourage your connections to buy from you.
Forms of Content
There are many different forms of content that you can use, such as blog posts on your website, guest posts and articles on other websites, inside print publications and online newsletters. Content can be text, audio or visual in nature. Having a combination of different forms of content will ensure that you reach more of your audience.
Have a Plan of Action
The other key to ensuring that you are leveraging the right resources is to have a plan of action. Don’t just create or have content created without a point of view, voice, and the goals for the content in mind.
Create a Publication Calendar
When you know what content you want to create, it’s important to spell it out in a calendar so that you will do first things first. For instance, if you are launching a new product in three months, you can start whetting the appetite of your list now.
The Email List Is the Most Important
They say the money is in the list, and that’s as true today as it was five years ago. Social media marketing hasn’t replaced email marketing; it has created another way to lead people to your email lists. Leverage your social media to build your list.
Develop Incentives to Collect More Email Addresses
The point of your blog posts, social media updates, and even webinars is to collect information from your target audience so that you can market to them within your email lists. Host webinars, ask for sign-ups on social media, and incentivize lists with free give-aways or low-cost entry products and services.
All Content Should Work Together
Starting with the product, service or event that you want to promote, work your way back to today to decide the different types of content that you will use to get more email subscribers to whom you can market and promote your wares. Decide what type of content they need to become educated and informed about your products and services so that they will purchase.
Consider Drawing a Workflow
Looking at how all your content works together to bring in buyers as well as encourage the purchase, may help you identify gaps in your content needs. Your content workflow might look like this: Email Subscription Bait > 7-Day ECourse > Webinar > Short Report > Long Report > EBook > Coaching > etc… Seeing it written out should help you decide what you need.
By knowing what your goals are for the content that you create, you’ll be able to use it more efficiently to grow your business far beyond what you thought possible.
If you want to create awesome email marketing campaigns that set your business apart from the rest, it's important to take some time to learn what makes the content and design of your email marketing campaigns stand out.
Your email campaigns should seek to:
Your audience cares about what's in it for them. When you send them any information, it's important that it provides solutions to problems that you know your audience has. Remember the "pain points" you discovered for your audience during your initial niche research? Use that information to give your customers and potential customers answers and solutions.
Inform, Educate and Entertain
Each email you send out should seek to inform, educate and entertain. You don't want to be boring because people will quit opening your emails if they're falling asleep trying to read them. Keeping your email marketing campaigns short and to the point will help. You want to link them to your website to drive traffic there for more information. Ask yourself if your email has a point, and then stick to that point.
Tell a Compelling Story
People love a good story about how the products or services that you offer helped other people. If you place your focus on people and the story, you'll get a lot more responses and send your marketing campaign into new territory - truly setting yourself apart from the others. Ask for feedback from your customers by having a contest. Let them tell their story, which you will share, then give the most read and liked story a prize.
Never forget your call to action because you want your readers to do something after reading your email newsletter. If you don't remember to ask your audience to do something (click through, buy now, respond, comment, etc.), they probably won't do it. If you ask, those who wanted to will be more likely to do it. Ask for feedback, ask for stories, ask for opinions about new products or services, and your audience will feel more connected to you than ever before.
Just like you can build relationships in social media and on your blog, you can also build relationships with the members of your email list. In fact, these are the people you want to truly focus a lot of attention on since they've already demonstrated trust in you by letting you into their email inbox. People like buying from those whom the know, like and trust; the better relationship you build with your customers, the more they'll trust you and the more they'll buy from you.
Finally, your email marketing campaigns should look good. Whether you choose to send a text email or an HTML email will depend on your audience. But, if you do choose HTML, you need to send out both HTML and text versions. Some markets do better with only text, and some audiences such as artistic and visually motivated audiences do better with an HTML version with graphics and images.
For more information on email marketing strategies check out Cracking The Code: Email Marketing Strategies That Win