Establish Your Online Headquarters (a.k.a. What Spies Can Teach Us About Business)

It's important to set up and understand your online headquarters. Check out these spy lessons for tips on how to do it.
My friend. The world of online business is not so very different from being a spy. So today, I have some spy lessons for you. These come from my extensive experience in spycraft—watching shows and movies such as Alias, Mission Impossible, James Bond, The Blacklist, etc. And what have I learned in all my years of experience?

Spy Lesson #1: Establish a solid headquarters.
Spy Lesson #2: Create and maintain some secure outposts.
Spy Lesson #3: Always have more than one safe house.

And as you can clearly see, this is just like having an online business.

You need an online headquarters for your content.
A place where you can do your coolest, most meaningful stuff.

Then you need some secure outposts.
These are your non-headquarters locations to do cool stuff from.

And then you need some safe houses.
A safe house = surprise coolness that no one but you knows about until you need it.

Today I want to help you figure out where you should set up your headquarters (because it’s not always necessarily a blog), and in an upcoming post, I want to help you discover which outposts might be a good fit, and what the heck you should be keeping at your safe houses.

Intense right? Well you can thank the relaunch of EpicBlogBrew.com for all this intensity. I’ve been in content creation mode for a while now, and I just had to share this spy analogy and create some worksheets to help. Let’s do it.

Spy/Business Lesson #1: Establish a solid headquarters.

In spycraft, headquarters is the place everyone goes to figure out what’s going on, to get new assignments, to converse with coworkers, and to center themselves. In online business, your headquarters is the place your audience can figure out what’s going on, get new content + products, and possibly even converse with or meet others.

From your headquarters comes your best work, your true brand identity, and paths to your products (whether physical, digital, or service-based).

So which platforms make for great headquarters?
From what I’ve seen and done, I’d suggest that the following are epic platforms to consider:

  • A blog
  • Your email list
  • Instagram
  • YouTube (or other video services)
  • A podcast
  • Periscope (or other live streaming services)
  • Online workshops (webinars, bootcamps, live trainings, etc.)

Since I haven’t podcasted extensively enough (though I’ve loved the experience of the episodes I’ve done), I can’t authentically develop a checklist to help you decide if it’s right for you. But the other platforms listed above definitely feel more like home to me, and I want to explore them further with you.

To me, the important thing is not to let someone tell you exactly which platforms you need to be on without fully researching it yourself.

Oh, and another important thing to acknowledge is that your headquarters may eventually change.

For the first 1.5 years of this brand, the byRegina.com blog was the indisputable headquarters. Then, a shift happened. I didn’t do it on purpose, and honestly didn’t even notice it until it had fully occurred and existed for a few months.

My email list became my headquarters. I develop so much never-before-seen content, so many worksheets, so many #TooReal stories for my emails. It’s honestly the content that I pour the most time into other than my courses. And. P.S. You can sign up for my Ninja Notes at the top of my website.

Even though I don’t plan to fight the fact that my email list has become my headquarters, I do plan to re-energize my blog, because the fact that it was HQ for so long is the only reason I have my email list.

But, enough of story time. It’s time to analyze which of the many headquarters options you want to use in general, and in using them consistently, you’ll be able to figure out what the best HQ for your brand is.


Is blogging right for you?

Is blogging right for you? Does it fit your brand needs and the way you want to serve your audience?
You can download the worksheet above or check out the checklist items below. Blogging may be right for you if:

14 Drake Lyrics to Help You Kill It in Business (and Life)

14 Drake lyrics that will help you kill it in business and in life. Seriously. These are good AND humorous.
I’m a woman of (what some would call) many “contradictions.” I love Drake, but I also love Frank Sinatra. I listen to Louis Armstrong, but I also need Snow Patrol some days. I watch all the action movies. Ever. But 80% of my movies are pre-1950s. I’d love to spend a Sunday completely immersed in NFL games, but I also cry at cheesy rom coms (or “chick flicks” if you must). I’m weird to say the least.

BUT. When an artist comes along and speaks my business language and drops hidden gems of clarity for us to learn from, I feel it as my duty to share. So without further examples of how weird I am, let’s get into these 14 Drake lyrics that will help you kill it in business and in life.

Oh, and if you don’t know who Drake is. THIS.


Let’s start with 5 quotes to get your mindset right.


1. It ain’t about who did it first, it’s ’bout who did it right.

Lyric: Wu-Tang Forever (song), Nothing Was the Same (album)

So your market is “saturated” and you don’t see where you can possibly fit in. You see someone doing what you want to do and they’re already doing a really good job of it. Uh huh. I feel you.

But I guess Drake never should have started rapping then. I mean. Jay Z. Diddy (Does he rap still? I don’t even know which name we’re supposed to be calling him this year, so I definitely don’t know if he still makes music.). Etc.

I shouldn’t have started blogging either, by this logic. Neither should my favorite blogger, Erika Madden, I guess. But here’s the thing about that.

It really is not about who did it first, it’s about who does it right.

Do you have perspective to add? Do you have voice to add? Do you have lives to change? Can you put in the work? Are you willing to do it right?

Then do it.


2. She look like a star, but only on camera. Only on camera.

Lyrics: Cameras (song), Take Care (album)

I know. I know. He/she looks like they know EVERYTHING. Their Instagram is a collection of the most perfect images ever made. They publish income reports with income of $50K per month and only $323.47 in expenses. And then you figure you must be doing everything wrong. Clearly it’s easy and you’re just not able to get it. What’s wrong with you, eh?

NO.

NO.

Incorrect. It takes her 1 hour and 52 minutes to set up each of those IG photos, 25 minutes to shoot, and 17.4 minutes to edit each one. And by the way. Her desk never actually looks that clean. And by the by, she fell on her face millions of times before she made $50K per month. That, and, can you actually verify these stories?

There’s no benefit in comparing your status to what other people look like on camera. To what other people carefully select to show you. No benefit.

She look like a star, but only on camera . . . only on camera.


3. You should just be yourself. Right now, you’re someone else.

Lyrics: Hotline Bling (song), Views From the 6 (album)

Seriously. If you want to build a sustainable business that brings you joy for the long run, you should build something based on who you are. I even did a whole scope about this. Because, you know those times when you make money doing something that’s not true to you? Remember how fun that is?

Not at all. Not at all fun is the answer.

When you build a business based on who you think people want you to be, or who you’re peeping online right now and unintentionally copying . . . it’s just not real. And it’s just not fun.

And if it’s not you, you’ll eventually run out of content.

How to Monetize Your Brand as a Coach (without putting all your eggs in one basket)

How to monetize your brand as a coach (without putting all your eggs in one basket). Hint: This is all about incorporating courses, books, passive income, workbooks, group coaching and more.
Dear ninja friend, not long ago I was coaching business owners and doing a few remaining freelance projects for a full-time income. While I was coaching, I unintentionally (at first) then intentionally diversified my income and added teaching products into the mix. I was part coach, part infopreneur, part freelancer–which really helped me find the place I could be most effective.

But as I was learning and going and making many mistakes, I did definitely see and experience the benefits of monetizing my coaching brand in multiple ways. If you are looking to get into coaching, or if you want to expand your coaching business through workshops, courses, books, and other passive income, this post is for you. Also, this intense, action-packed, 2-day workshop on creating courses might be for you too, but let’s get into the main course of the day: how to monetize your brand as a coach without putting all your eggs in one basket.

Let’s look at this in terms of services that you can monetize as well as digital and physical products you can monetize. And don’t worry, there is definitely a handy checklist to go with this post, that you obvi get for free, because we’re ninja friends and all.

The Monetize Your Coaching Business Worksheet


16 Ways to Monetize Your Coaching Brand

a.k.a. 9 Services and 7 Products that are Super Epic for Coaches


1. Custom 1-on-1 Coaching Calls w/ Friendly Recaps

When you are first getting started in coaching, this will likely be one of the services that is simplest to offer. Now, don’t get me wrong. I think you need to plan what it entails along with what you will and won’t do, and I do still think it needs a signed client agreement. But, it’s a great place to begin because you can figure out what people really want and need, what really troubles people, and where you truly fit as a coach and teacher.

With your custom 1-on-1 calls (Skype sessions, telephone calls, or even in-person meetings), you’ll typically:

  • send your client a questionnaire and/or meet with them to discover their specific needs and where you fit in
  • decide on a timeframe that y’all will work together or set up a rate per meeting or per month
  • send out an agenda before each call (if you have some general talking points for the meeting–and hopefully you do)
  • send out client notes sheets or a link to a shared doc where you client can take notes digitally (optional, but cool)
  • conduct your session (usually 30 – 90 minutes depending on the type of call–this should be clear and communicated ahead of time)
  • (with permission) record your session
  • recap your session via email (or send the recording/replay to your client)

2. 1-on-1 Coaching Program w/ Calls, Check-ins, and Homework

Once you’ve done custom 1-on-1 coaching for a while, or once you have an understanding of the general steps your audience needs to go through to reach the goals you help them with, you can develop your custom coaching into a program. A coaching program is a setup in which you have the same general steps + processes that you’re taking multiple people through individually.

You still check in with your clients, have calls, and provide customized recaps and help to them, but it’s all based off of one system.

In a coaching program, you’ll usually:

  • give your potential client an overview doc/email that outlines the programs, timeline, and steps, to help them decide whether or not it’s a good fit
  • have a call/questionnaire that helps you determine if the client is a good fit
  • send a welcome kit (optional, but wonderful) with your client’s first homework assignment and an invitation to schedule their first call after the homework is completed
  • conduct your first call
  • send the next pre-developed homework assignment (w/ a recap of your call)
  • repeat this process for as long as your program lasts

Note: To fully protect yourself and your client, your signed agreement with them should outline your refund policy, and the point at which the client is forfeiting the rest of their package (ex: you haven’t heard from them in 45 days and you’ve emailed them at their provided email address at least three times).

I once had a web project that lasted over a year because my client would never get back to me but I didn’t have a helpful “forfeiture clause” in my agreement–and P.S. I had spent every dime they’d paid me, so I wasn’t to keen on refunding them. Side note: The project ended up being super attractive and the client loved their site.

If you only have $X to invest in your business, what should you spend it on?

What to spend your money on each month as you invest in your business.
We’re going to play a game I’m sure you’re more than familiar with . . . I’m talking about none other than the $10 • $20 • $30 • $40 • $50 to $60 • $75 • $100 Game of course.

Not only is the name of this game super short and easy to say, the game is also pretty simple. Basically, we answer the question >> if I only have $10 or $20 or $30 (and so on) to invest in my business each month, what are the best places to invest it?

Some friends and I played this game on Periscope the other day, and a super smart lady named Donna suggested that I put this material on the web elsewhere so that more of us creatives could benefit from our discussion. So, let’s get to the $10 • $20 • $30 • $40 • $50 to $60 • $75 • $100 Game. And don’t you dare go thinking up a more clever name for this thing. That took me like 7.5 hours to come up with.


If you have $10 to invest in your business each month, try:


Hosting ($5 – $8)

At $10/month, it’s time to own a custom domain name and have professional hosting. You can opt for Bluehost (if you’re going with WordPress) or the basic Squarespace plan. If you decide on WordPress, you can definitely upgrade to different hosting later, as your traffic grows, but I love what Bluehost offers for the price, and I still use them for many projects even today.

Google Apps Email ($4 – $5)

Oh, and to round out your move to a more professional online presence, not only can you own your own domain name and hosting account, but you can also get a nice, custom email address such as you@yourcoolnewdomain.com. And there’s no need to use something horribly unfunctional for your email platform if you’re used to using the highly awesome Gmail app. Just grab Google Apps for Work for $4 to $5 per month.

Your business email client will look and function just like Gmail, so you’ll have access to extra “Labs” that allow you to enable things like “Canned Responses” (so you can easily insert a pre-written script to people when you find yourself needing to respond with the same information to multiple people).

To enable Canned Responses or any other Labs, head to your settings in the top-right portion of your Gmail app when logged in, then head to Labs and scroll through the available options.

Enable Canned Responses in Gmail

Enable Canned Responses or other Labs in Gmail

Free Stuff You Can Try Out

There’s a lot you can do for free while your $10/month goes to the items above. You can be on the free MailChimp plan, the free Calendly plan (if you need to schedule calls/appointments with clients), the free Buffer plan (so you can schedule and queue social media posts), and you can also use Wave Accounting for free.

Psst. There’s something else super cool you can do for free >> join Jen Carrington and myself for our fortnightly (every two weeks) FREE online workshops meant to help you humanize and monetize your brand. We have one coming up soon–so, you know, check it out.

ScrappyHour with Jen Carrington and Regina Anaejionu

How to Write a Creative Action Plan You’ll Actually Follow

Let's make a creative action plan you'll actually follow
By no means am I all “death to the business plan!” or anything dramatic like that; I just realize that many of us feel overwhelmed by blog business plans and freelance business plans. Sometimes, we just want an action plan that tells us what to do and when to do it in the simplest format possible.

I get that. I love business plans, but I also love action and simplicity. So today, as a part of my blog series on going independent and transitioning to working for yourself full time, I’m bringing you action and simplicity. We’re going to make your Creative Action Plan by asking 10 simple questions and discussing lots of fun options/answers you can go with. Can I get a “Wooo hooo, planning is the best, and I really love Regina today for making me plan” . . . ? Huh? Can I get that one more time with a little more feeling? Thank you. Oh, and if you want to check out the first post in the series, that covers freeing up more time + money for your creative business, then yo, I support that idea.

What is a Creative Action Plan again?

I’m glad you asked. A Creative Action Plan (CAP) is a document that you add to and access regularly that contains action items in 10 key areas of your business so that you always have steps you can take to move forward.

Have you ever been sitting around and found yourself wondering what you should be doing to grow your business, or how to get more of your audience to buy from you, or how to streamline your processes? I think that most of us can come up with awesome ideas in these areas, we just need a little nudge, inspiration, and jostling of the creativity.

So, let’s get started. And yes, I have some worksheets for you. I’ve made this into a multi-sheet series if you choose to download it and follow along. You don’t have to hand over your email address or pay for it. And no, I know what you’re thinking to yourself right now, but please allow to me correct that thought . . . you don’t have to name your second-born child after me to get the download for free. Though if you choose to do the right thing, I want you to know that I’m open to her middle name being Regina; it doesn’t have to be her first name. I’m cool like that. You’re welcome.

Also, to be honest, I do recommend eventually making your CAP into a digital document (maybe Google Docs?) that you can access and change at any time. I know some of us creative types like pen and paper, or like to brainstorm first, so please feel free to use the worksheets below with the questions and ideas below below.

Creative Action Plan Worksheets: Develop a strong "business plan" that you can actually follow

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