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JennElwell

Business

Free Educational Content: Is it worth the time investment?

As a female entrepreneur, you’re always on the lookout for free educational content that will help you in your business. But do you ever consider that not all educational content that’s free is right for you?

Jenn Elwell Business Strategist - Free Educational Content for Female Entrepreneurs

What type of free educational content is out there?

  1. Free downloads – typically 5 page or fewer downloads that will give you a solution in text form
  2. Free recorded webinar(s) – usually 30 minutes to 1-hour videos that are recorded giving you a solution
  3. Free email challenges – emails (sometimes with a pre-recorded video) that come to your email box over a specific length of time such as weekly to guide you through making a change in your business
  4. Free group coaching programs – usually utilize a Facebook group to offer you access to a coach or expert; tend to be limited in time
  5. Free live video/webinar programs – live webinar/video presentation that is around 1 hour long and allows you to interact with the host via question and answer time

Which type of free educational content is right for you?

First, think about how much time you want to invest in education right now. Do you have the time only to read a one or two-page download or do you have time to invest in a group training program with an involved Facebook group? You may think you only have time for a quick download but if the content is something that will be dripped to you (sent at a set pace like once a week) or will involve something that is unique and not available all the time you may want to consider opting in and making time for it.

Second, ask yourself whether this is information that you NEED right now in your business. Are you struggling with your social media images? Then definitely download the guide on 5 things that make an Instagram image great. If you’re struggling with knowing what to do next to fill your client roster, make sure you don’t miss an opportunity to learn in real-time for a quality coach. But if you aren’t struggling with creating images then don’t sign up for an image creation download just because it might be something you may want to look at in the future. Trust me, it will get buried on your computer and you will never remember to go find it when you actually need it!

Third, consider whether the free educational content is time-sensitive or not? Some entrepreneurs run free content promotions just like they would a paid program and only offer it once a year or once a quarter. If that content is applicable to you in the next period of time before the content will be offered again then don’t delay and miss your chance to expand your knowledge.

Fourth, always take into consideration which way you learn best. You know whether you learn better by having someone speak to you live or in a video or whether just reading a document or email series impacts you the most. Even though you’re not investing your money in this free educational content you are investing your time in it so make sure you’re getting a return on the time you invest.

Jenn Elwell Business Strategist - Free Educational Content for Female Entrepreneurs

Free educational content for you to check out

If you’re struggling with:

What free content do you offer or have you found helpful on the web?

Leave it in the comments for all of us to check out!

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Business

Business Lessons for the Female Entrepreneur

Being a female entrepreneur is full of many different emotions like empowerment, anxiety, excitement, uncertainty, perseverance, and stress. You’ve got to be not only the boss but the worker bee, customer service rep, financial advisor, and more to succeed when you’re a one-woman shop. Being a female entrepreneur in business is not for the faint of heart!

Business Lessons for the Female Entrepreneur - Jenn Elwell - Business Strategist

In 2017 I went through two amazing training programs, Make It Work Online and Sales School. Those along with staying current with online mentors helped me learn three business lessons that you and I can take into 2018 to maximize our businesses this year.

Only spend time on services, platforms, products, and programs that serve my client

You should spend your time focusing on client getting activities that will most benefit your business and your client (Jenny Shih taught me that). If your client is using Instagram for their business but doesn’t have the time or the energy to regularly look through their newsfeed then the time you’re spending creating content for the platform is a waste of your time and doesn’t serve your client. Female entrepreneurs are busy y’all!

You might have a great idea for a product or program that you think your client wants, but unless your client actually knows that they need it you’ll be hard pressed to sell it to them. Instead of creating content about what you need, create content around what your client needs and wants to achieve their goals and dreams.

Apply this to your business by asking yourself the following questions: Where is my client spending her time? What does my client really need to realize their dreams? How can I meet a need that my client has?

If you’re stuck wondering where your female entrepreneur clients hang out, what her dreams are, or what needs she has, put together a simple survey or poll to find out!

It’s all about my client, not me

You have to dedicate all of your energy to showing your client the benefits of what you are providing them. This means you need to use their words to describe their hangups and pitfalls and paint a picture for them about how working with you or using your product will create the business they want to have.

Instead of writing your “Services” page focused on what you’re selling, write it focused on how your client feels now and how they’ll feel after completing the program.

Apply this to your business by making note of the following: What words do my clients use to describe their problems right now? What does my client want their life and business to look like after working with me?

You can use the information you got in the survey I mentioned before to gather all of this information. Or scroll through your Facebook page, group, or other groups that you’re in to find the language that your ideal client uses.

Set your own pace, but plan it out

Your business isn’t going to look like anyone else’s. You are a female entrepreneur with a unique set of circumstances, strengths, and traits that influence what your business looks like and how fast or slow it grows.

This year I found freedom in recognizing and accepting that I can set the pace that my business grows. You can do that too.

Business Growth for the Female Entrepreneur - Jenn Elwell - Business Strategist

Jenny Shih taught me that in order to grow at the pace you want, you have to plan your growth. This means setting goals that are realistic and creating a routine that will help you achieve them. If you simply sit down at your computer whenever you have a free moment and tackle any tasks that have come up since you last sat down you’ll never move your business forward. By creating a plan for your time that includes time devoted to client getting activities, business maintenance, as well as the daily tasks that arise you’ll be able to actually move forward at the steady pace that you’ve determined instead of ending up at the end of 2018 at the same place you are currently.

Apply this to your business by: Identifying the time that you have available to devote to your business. Specify how much time on how many days you’ll work on business growth activities versus business reaction/upkeep activities. Set realistic goals and track them monthly to hold yourself accountable and recognize what needs to change in order to grow your business at the rate you want.

If you don’t know what all you have to do so don’t know how much time you need to allocate for each type of activity, keep a blank piece of paper next to your computer for a week or two and write down everything that you do. That will tell you how much time you’re spending on each type of task and you can plan your time according to that.

Want to learn more business lessons for the female entrepreneur for FREE?

My coach Jenny Shih is hosting a free online workshop in January as part of the leadup to her Make It Work Online program. She’ll give you a step-by-step plan to fill your roster with perfect clients and earn a full-time income from your online business.

Some of what you’ll learn:

  • Get booked solid in just a few months (even if you have no paying clients right now)
  • End your battle with overwhelm once and for all
  • Package your skills, create “can’t resist” offers, and sell your services at premium prices
  • Earn a full-time income from your online business (multiple streams of income NOT required!)

Register now for this FREE workshop!

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Business

How To Create Images For Social Media Quickly & With A Consistent Brand Style

You know you need to be consistent on social media but finding the time to create beautiful images that attract your ideal client and are consistent with your brand can seem impossible. You also “lose” images that you’ve created in the past on your computer and have to recreate them which takes up more time. And remembering the hex codes for your brand colors so you can make sure your images are consistent is infuriating. Is is #ABDAD7 or #F7B5C7?!? You can never remember! How To Create Social Media Images Quickly - Jenn Elwell - The InDesign Field Guide

The Secret To Quick & Consistent Social Media Images

I used to create images for my social media profiles in a variety of ways. I would use apps on my phone to create something that would work or I would search my computer for a file that ended with “insta” or “facebook” and modify an existing image. Doing it this way was neither efficient or quick. It never failed that I would have to open up my brand board to remember the color codes for my brand colors or I would spend time searching through the files on my computer looking for an image I remembered creating only to give up and recreate it.

I found the secret to quickly creating social media images with easily recognizable, consistent branding in InDesign. 

Why InDesign?

InDesign has long been used by graphic designers who are working professionally but it can be overwhelming for someone to learn how to use it by themselves. It’s full of tools that can make life easy for designers and business owners alike but figuring out how to use all of those tools can be a challenge.

The beauty of InDesign is that you can set up a project once and keep all of your images in one place. You can add your brand colors to the project and have them on-hand whenever you need to use them in future images. And you can have alternate layouts set up so that you already have your images sized perfectly for all of the different social media channels.

Learning InDesign from an expert allows you to maximize its effectiveness so you can create images quickly. Click To Tweet

How Can You Get Started?

Getting started with InDesign doesn’t have to be overwhelming. After opening up the program the first time and being totally overwhelmed, I took a course, The InDesign Field Guide by my friend, Kelsey Baldwin. Within a few weeks, I was comfortable in InDesign and using it in a variety of ways in my business. Kelsey explains in her course the basics of InDesign and walks you through more advanced topics like master pages and multiple layouts.

The Many Uses Of InDesign

After taking The InDesign Field Guide course I now use InDesign almost daily in my business. I have a blog images project where I create all the images that I need for my blog posts including for promotion of them. I have a social media project with templates for each of the social media platforms where I can create images just for social media easily. I use InDesign to layout and design invitations, advertising materials, and stationery products like business cards and letterhead for my business as well as corporate clients that I work with. And I’ve even put out multiple catalogs and a magazine that I designed in InDesign!

InDesign (along with Creative Cloud libraries to store my brand colors, character styles, and graphics) allows me to create graphics for social media and more quickly and easily. The images that I create have consistent branding to allow them to be easily recognizable as coming from me.

It’s easy to learn InDesign!

Thanks for Kelsey’s course, *The InDesign Field Guide, that is open for enrollment now through October 17th. Her course, of which I am an affiliate, will teach you everything you need to know about InDesign including lessons, design demonstration videos, private discussion forum, Instagram group, as well as lifetime access! I literally could not run my business as efficiently as I do without having taken Kelsey’s course. As a bonus, if you sign up through my affiliate link for The InDesign Field Guide I’ll give you a 45-minute long coaching call free of charge!

If you have questions about The InDesign Field Guide leave a comment here or send me an email and I’ll be happy to tell you more. Believe me, you don’t want to miss this course and how it can change your business. So go purchase it right now!The InDesign Field Guide - Jenn Elwell

Business

3 Tasks You Shouldn’t Outsource As A Mamapreneur

Delegation (via outsourcing or automation) is an important part of being a mamapreneur. While we’d like to do everything by ourselves, we know that it’s impossible. So we outsource and automate the tasks that we don’t like, don’t do well, or take up too much time. While almost anything can be outsourced, there are three types of tasks that you should never outsource as a mamapreneur.

3 Tasks You Shouldn't Outsource As A Mamapreneur Pinterest - Jenn Elwell

Tasks that set the mission and values for your brand

As a small business, you should take control of the direction of your company which is set by your mission and values. Determining what your mission and values are is not something that you can outsource since it will be extremely personal to you and your business. Mamapreneurs are often the face of their company which means that their business mission and values will directly align with their personal mission and values. Because of this, having someone else decide what direction your business will go, what values you will prioritize, and what your mission will be could mean your business is headed in a direction other than the one you desire.

3 Tasks You Shouldn't Outsource As A Mamapreneur - Jenn Elwell

Tasks that you do exceptionally well and bring you joy

Being a mamapreneur is stressful. You’re balancing not only taking care of your family but you’re working hard to grow your business. Because of this, you shouldn’t outsource tasks that you do exceptionally well and that you enjoy. Being directly responsible for the execution or creation of something that you enjoy doing will help you counterbalance the more stressful tasks associated with creating and running your own business.

Tasks for which you don’t have a clear system in place

Starting a new project, developing a product, or beginning to use a new application means that you don’t have a clear system in place for that task. You may spend a few weeks or months trying different methods of execution until you achieve an end result that you are happy with. Until you are clear on the steps a task needs to be accomplished efficiently and accurately, you shouldn’t try to outsource the task. Outsourcing something for which you don’t have a clear system in place could result in unsatisfactory outcomes and frustration as you try to explain what needs to be done to another person or set up an automation for the task.

 

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Business

Growth Mindset and Your Business

Today I’m sharing a post by the talented Abbi Perets. She has wonderful insight on how to change your mindset so that you can succeed in business.

Growth Mindset - Abbi Perets - Jenn Elwell

You’ve got this awesome business idea. You’ve been thinking about it for a couple of weeks, turning it over and over in your head, but every time you sit down to work on it, you hear this voice:

You can’t do this. You don’t have what it takes. You’re going to fail, and everyone is going to laugh at you.

This voice? Well, this is the voice of a fixed mindset speaking to you, and you’re going to learn how to banish it from your life and do all the things you’ve ever dreamed of doing — without fear of failing.

If you have a fixed mindset, then one of your core beliefs is that people have a set amount of intelligence and ability, and that’s it. Either you’re good at something, or you’re not, and nothing you do will ever make a significant difference.

People with fixed mindsets tend to avoid taking risks for fear of looking foolish or failing. Best not to try, they tell themselves. That way, no one will figure out that I’m not really very talented.

You may have a fixed mindset because of things your parents told you as a child — but not necessarily in the way you think. When you brought home an art project, did your parents declare you a genius? An artist? Amazingly talented? That A+ on the math test prompted everyone to comment on how smart you were, right?

People said, “Wow, you did that so fast! You’re so smart!” or “Whoa, your drawing is AMAZING, you’re such an artist,” or “You’re like a prodigy on the piano!”

But what you heard — what you internalized — was, “If it takes me a long time to learn something, that would mean I’m not so smart.” or “I better only draw pictures of horses, because I won’t look like an artist if I try to draw anything else,” or “I should only play the easy piano pieces, because otherwise, they’ll figure out I’m not that great.”

Your brain linked your intelligence with your results — rather than with your effort. If you got that A+ because you’re smart, what does it mean when you pull a 72 on the next test?

Your brain tells you that you’re not so smart after all.

But it’s more likely that you got a lower grade because you didn’t bother to study. You figured that you were smart, and you didn’t need to study. Unfortunately, when you were 8 or 12 or 18 or even 27, you didn’t know what was going on, so you believed that voice in your head.

So you shoved that test in your backpack and never showed it to anyone — they might find out the truth. They might discover that you weren’t so smart after all.

That fixed mindset voice sticks around, and it stops you from doing anything that might call your intelligence into question. Instead of trying to get into medical school — way too competitive — you set your sights on a liberal arts degree. Instead of aiming for the high-powered executive position, you settle for the cubicle and the work you know you can do.

And when that business idea starts to tickle at your brain, you shove it back down, just like that old math test.

When you believe that your ability is set in stone, that you can’t change anything about yourself, you are setting yourself up for a lifetime of disappointment. You’ll never try new things because you might not be good at them, so why bother?

Why launch that business? You don’t have the skills. You’ll never get the clients. You don’t have what it takes.

That ends today. That ends right now, because YOU are AMAZING, and you absolutely have the skills to do this. Heck, you are a superhero! You totally have what it takes.

Growth Mindset - Abbi Perets - Jenn Elwell insta

Today, this minute, you start to cultivate a growth mindset. Today, you begin to believe that you can do just about anything if you put in the effort and hard work. You know that your ability isn’t fixed. That you can improve and get better and recover from mistakes, day after day, by showing up and doing the work.

Here is a simple, 3-step process you can use to overcome your fixed mindset and cultivate a growth mindset that will allow you to succeed and live the life you want.

  1. Hear the way you talk to yourself. “I can’t balance the checkbook because I’m lousy at math.”
  2. Change the message. “Balancing the checkbook is hard for me, so I have to put in extra effort to get it right.”
  3. Add a positive message. “I’m putting in the extra effort and I’m improving daily.”

When that voice in your head tells you,  “You can’t do this. You’re not talented enough,” change that message to, “I can do this. I’m working at it every day. I’m putting in the work, and I’m going to be successful.”

It doesn’t matter if you’re talking about your ability to communicate with your teenager (which, in fairness, is pretty much impossible for everyone), your ability to make fluffy white rice (my personal nemesis), or your ability to write a killer sales page. Just SHUT DOWN that fixed mindset voice and stop it from taking control.

Because you are amazing, and the world is waiting for you to share your talent.

Want to learn more about mindset? Download the mindset quiz and worksheets right here!

Abbi Perets is passionate about teaching moms how to have it all. She teaches mothers how to break into freelance writing and land high-paying jobs while they’re at home with kids. As a mom to five kids, including one with special needs, Abbi knows the unique challenges moms face every day, and she works to empower them to pursue their dreams and live a life they love. Learn more at http://www.SuccessfulFreelanceMom.com.

 

Business

How to spend less time in your inbox

Jenn Elwell - Canned Responses - Spend Less Time In Your InboxEmail. We all have a ton of it. And it never quits growing.
Like laundry that multiples, as soon as you get your inbox cleaned out all of a sudden you have new emails requiring a response.

While you can reduce the time suck that email can be by setting up an autoresponder, only checking it periodically throughout the day, and using filtering, eventually those emails will have to be handled. And the majority are likely to require a response from you.

But do most of them require a unique response from you?

Just like there’s nothing new under the sun, unique responses to email are less frequent than responses that can be only slightly modified to apply to the email.

To make responding to those emails that are asking the same thing over and over again, I utilize canned responses in Gmail (and on Etsy!). Here’s how you can implement them in your inbox as well.

Enter your email and name below to receive written instructions for implementing canned responses as well as get my actual snippets that you can swipe for your own business.