How to Free Up More Time and Money for Your Creative Business

Let’s begin a series on transitioning to your creative business full time, eh? And to kick it off, let’s go ahead and get into how you can begin to free up more time and money for your business.

Cutting expenses and creating more time for myself were keys to being able to finish my first book and launch byRegina.com. I won’t lie to you–some of it was painful . . . truly difficult, but I’d absolutely do it again 17 times if I had to. The day I was able to leave my blah/meh/ahhhhh! job so that I could create materials that matter, was pretty much one of the largest turning points in life for me. If you’ve done the same, then you’ve likely felt this for yourself. If you’re working toward making the transition to full time, then I have a little story for you.

The video below is a smidgen of my story and some of the things that made the biggest difference in my transition. At the end of the video, I make a special call for help with a project I’m planning and launching soon, so please share if you know someone it applies to. But P.S. There’s a whole post below as well with some additional resources to help you with Step 1 of transitioning to working for yourself full time: freeing up more time and more funds for yourself and your business.

A story about my transition to full-time creative work


How to Free Up More Money for Your Creative Business

So, the first step of this process is to honestly and accurately assess how much you’re spending each month in life and in business. I want to take you through this process and give you some suggestions on how to cut back.

First: Look up bank statements, credit card statements, your PayPal account, and receipts from the last three months (for both your personal life and business). Use the spreadsheet below to total up all of your expenses.

Note: If a category is missing, add it. Try to remember any cash you spent as well. Only you can see this document, so try to be super duper honest with yourself. Click on the spreadsheet below, then select File –> Make a copy to create a copy in your own Google Sheets.

Life and Business Budgeting

As I said in the video, cutting back on the unnecessary stuff and only spending money where I had to, really helped clear my mind. It also relieved some stress and freed up funds for when I needed them for business expenses.

Second: Figure out areas you can cut back in. With each category (and each expense within each category) ask yourself:

7 Epic Time Investments You Can Make in Your Business

Today, I think we should discuss time. Specifically ways to invest your time that will have epic effects on your brand and the way you do business.

I want to share seven areas that I’ve invested major time in and I hope you’ll stick with me as I explain the multiple benefits and applications of each area. I really think making these time investments can help any freelancer, infopreneur, blogger, or solopreneur . . . but if you disagree with me by the end of the list, just know I was under the influence of a long IKEA trip (by myself) when I thought this up . . . and no one should be held responsible for what they scheme up by the end of a 3-hour IKEA marathon. No one.


1. Making videos. Even though I hated being in front of the camera when I first started.

As an introvert with unruly hair, I thought it wise to stay off-screen for most of my life. But, with the way the Internet evolves and explodes every single day, I thought it unwise to not try multiple forms of media. If you run an Internet business like I do, then my #1 rule for us is:

Once you arrive, don’t stay at your destination too long; you have to set a new course.”

Whatever goal you’re setting right now, once you hit it, celebrate, have a Martin Scorsese marathon, play some Scrabble and drop Z’s and X’s and J’s on your opponent, then set a new course. Even if your new course is taking your current project to the next level. Trying to apply IRL (in real life) speed to an online business is like trying to apply tortoise speed to the hare. Wait. Bad example. The tortoise beat the hare . . . but you get what I mean.

Area #1: Make some videos, yo. All the videos.

Benefits:

  • Videos increase the chances of people on the Internet finding you.
  • They take your brand to the next level of helpfulness.
  • They attract people who are prone to get a little lost in too much text.
  • They allow you to communicate certain things (tutorials, deep thoughts, etc.) more effectively than screenshots or words that don’t come with tones or facial expressions.
  • You can get out your thoughts faster when you speak (on video) than you can in text.

Try: G+ Hangouts On Air, YouTube tutorials, screencasts of your computer screen, recorded presentations, or any other type of video that helps you communicate with your ideal audience.

P.S. >> Tools: I use Camtasia or QuickTime for screen recordings, a DSLR and a lavalier mic for recording myself, and I upload most of my content to YouTube + Vimeo.

10 Tips to Help You Transition from a Blogger to a Creative Coach

Many of the insanely sexy blogger friends I’ve been talking with lately via email and social media (yes, you’re included in the insanely sexy category, if you’re wondering) have been going through the process of realizing they are more than bloggers.

A blog is a form of social media, and whereas it is totally possible to be a blogger (just as it’s possible to be a singer or a runner), it’s also possible that you might feel a bit of disconnect from that term by itself. It may be because you’re an infopreneur—and one of my favorite forms of infopreneurship, especially when you’re first starting to really monetize your brand (and blog), is creative coaching. P.S. There are tons of ways to monetize a coaching business. This post is about making the transition.

Creative coaching is a form of infopreneurship (making money from the knowledge in your head) that involves helping people learn skills + concepts they can put into practice and hopefully repeat. You can be a writing coach, a creative business coach, a coach for women transitioning out of a marriage, a coach for freelancers, a voice coach, or a coach for first-time fathers . . . honestly, you can coach people on almost anything that is important to them as long as you have knowledge, desire, organization, communication skills, and a solid customer experience process.

As I was bringing back my creative coaching class (since some of you wonderful people have been asking about it), I realized I hadn’t posted on creative coaching in quite some time, and I thought that one of the most common questions I get would be a great thing to answer:

“How do I start offering coaching services, but still keep a reader’s trust and attention? P.S. I want to make some decent money doing this, and I really do love it.”

Ah ha, my friend. You’ve asked the right question . . . it’s important to keep people’s trust. So let’s explore 10 quick tips to help you transition people into your new coaching services.

10 Tips to Help You Transition (Gracefully) from Blogger to Coach

1. Don’t “cold tofu” your readers.

I think some people say “cold turkey” but let’s just agree to disagree.
It can really help your brand and your readers if you are NOT a blogger one day and then a coach/consultant the next. But how can you avoid doing that? Well handsome/gorgeous, start to throw some baby hints and new content out before you’re selling any coaching packages–I recommend starting 45 – 60 days out, at a minimum. And I’d also suggest trying the next four tips below in your prep period.

20 Ways to Help Your Brand Stand Out

It’s one of “those” posts where I get straight to the point . . .

1. Create a pretty archive page on your website, or create a “start here” page to direct first-time visitors to your best stuff.

As we get blogging, it’s sometimes easy to forget that new people are probably finding us every day, and that these new people are entering our sites from all sorts of links/pages/posts. Someone may come through a link to a specific post through Pinterest, someone else may have found your bio page through a Google search, and yet another person may have been sent a link to your services page by a friend . . . you never know.

So, having a beautiful archive page (that shows all your posts) or creating a custom “First time here?” or “Start Here” page can be the most welcoming, brilliant thing ever. You’re able to direct people to your best content (or your most recent content) in a super attractive way. I love how Lindsay and Bjork over at Pinch of Yum have fashioned their archives page.

Pinch of Yum Archive Page


2. Boomerang everythang.

It was important to use an “a” there, so it could rhyme. Don’t hate on that. That’s genius level stuff that no one has ever done before.

How to Create a Brand Statement in Only 10 Minutes

If there’s one thing you and I know, with our extensive legal training (from watching The Good Wife and other legal dramas), it’s that when you cross-examine a witness, you need to lead them carefully with pointed questions that require specific, short answers. We want yes/no, or we want very brief sentences that confirm what we already know. It’s almost like we train witnesses to fall into our evil ploy. They can’t help but answer us exactly how we want them to, which is amazing, because when witnesses drop those courtroom shock bombs on you, it’s no bueno . . . at least, not for your side of the case.

And that, my friends, is all related to brand statements. So much so that I bothered my brother (a lawyer) for several minutes trying to figure out if what I was saying was at least a smidgen factual. Actually he was very courteous with my questions; I’ll introduce him to you soon. And just wait, because if you think I’m a crazy person . . . but, moving on.

Brand statements and courtroom strategy. We’d love to hear the connection Regina.

Okay McSpeederton.

Speedsty McGee.

The Speedmeister.

Sir Speeds-a-lot.

I could go all day. But here it is:

If you answer the question, “So, what do you do?” with a trained, short, unengaging response, it might be time for a (new) brand statement—or even a new brand (but that’s a story for another post . . . and speaking of other posts, here’s one where I interviewed my “twin” on her rebrand). In fact, answering this question like you’re being cross-examined is the main, undeniable sign you need a new brand statement.

I wrote this post and developed a brand statement formula out of necessity really. I was so tired of answering, “I’m a blogger” with my head down, like it was something to be ashamed of. Like it would take up SO much of a person’s time to answer in a bit more detail. When we become embarrassed or complacent with what we do, or when we find it hard to proudly present our brand to the world, conversations go something like this: 

Random person at a “networking” event: “So, what do you do?”
You: “Oh, I’m a graphic designer.”
Rando McGruff: “Wow. Cool.”
The end. 

Mr. McGruff will barely remember this graphic designer in five minutes, and tomorrow, no chance.