Episode 50 | Avoid Automation Messes


Episode 50 | Avoid Automation Messes

On our expert segment today we are going to be talking to Austin Openshaw. Austin has devoted the last seven years to helping small businesses grow. He believes that taking any business and making it run smoother and more efficient brings the most satisfaction.

“Efficiency is a great secret that can drop us right into our ideal life path, but it is a hard one to practice and something that takes constant maintenance and work.”
-Tara Stiles

AUSTIN openshaw

Small Business Strategist

What systems do you know and love to help your business run smoother?

Tools of the business can get really overwhelming really quickly.

There are some key buckets you really need to tackle.

Let’s start with the basics (e-mail, calendar, file storing). The perfect solution is G Suite including Google, Gmail, Google calendar, and Google Drive. The G Suite can be very beneficial to a small business because you only have to pay for what you need. Often we only have to pay for file storing and is usually the most cost-efficient option. As you grow you can add additional e-mails, users, and more.

Next, you need a system to track the work you need to do for your business. There are many great project management tools to help with this. When you just starting out Trello may be a good option. As you begin adding more clients and team members you can upgrade to a more professional project management tool such as Asana or Teamwork.

Quickbooks, Zero, and Freshbooks help you to track your income, expenses, and taxes. Quickbooks Online is the go-to for many people.

There are also great tools for Team Communication like Slack which is a free tool. You can also communicate with your team within Asana and Teamwork.

Zoom, Skype and Google Hangouts are all great tools for online meetings.

Last you are going to want a CRM (Contact Relationship Management) to store all the details you know about your clients. Austin has personal experience and highly suggests using Keep by Infusionsoft. It is very streamlined and easy, so it helps it not to be too overwhelming.

He highly suggests focusing on those 6 categories. You can start off for free with many of these tools and then upgrade as your income and needs grow.

All of this becomes really powerful when you have these tools working together and communicating together.

Check out Zapier and that can help you implement this.

Start small. Pick out only what you need to get started. You can add more as you start growing.

Making sure all your systems are communicating is most important, so you are not duplicating work.

Just because the tool is working for someone else doesn’t mean it will work for you. Figure out what works best for you and stick with it. Find tools that are cheap and easy.

Systems and tools are the way to keep your business rolling and save you time and money.

Episode 49 | Video Isn’t Always Messy


Episode 49 | Video Isn’t Always Messy

On our expert segment today we are going to be talking to Sheryl Plouffe. Sheryl has been seen by millions of people as a national TV broadcaster. She’s now turned that experience into her own business helping business owners transform their online presence and profitability with social media video.

“The road to success is always under construction.”
-Steve Harvey


As promised, below is the video of the podcast so you can see the equipment that we were discussing.

SHERYL plouffe

Video Strategist l Producer l Director l Speaker

What tools do I need to create higher quality videos for myself and my clients?

We often get caught up in the gear, tools, equipment, and resources when the message is the most important.

All those things are important, but the number one way to make higher quality videos is to have a higher quality message.

We are going to talk about equipment because it definitely helps create high-quality productions.

The core essence of what you need is something you already have – your smartphone. You have the ability to create high-quality videos wherever you go.

If you have a modern smartphone you are good to go!

  • A smartphone is technically ALL you need, but there are some accessories that can be useful.
  • If we want to make a business video and you want to keep the phone stable you may need a tripod. Sheryl recommends a basic tripod from Amazon. You will need to get a Smartphone bracket or mount for the tripod. Make sure you have the right bracket to fit your phone. Make sure it is high enough if you plan on standing.
  • Another great tool Sheryl recommends if you are on location is the DJI Osmo Mobile great for high quality on location videos. They even offer an entire kit for shooting video on location. If you can’t buy it all at once, you can buy one thing at a time until you have everything you need.
  • Grab Sheryl’s Video Creation Toolkit at www.sherylfreegift.com. This amazing resource includes suggestions for on-location, Smartphone and laptop video recording.

Remember it doesn’t need to be fancy and don’t overcomplicate it. Use your smartphone and just get started.

Sheryl’s offer: If people want to download my Video Creation Toolkit I’ve just updated it for 2020 and it includes a link to my Amazon storefront link which I talk about extensively in the interview. Free download here: www.sherylfreegift.com

Episode 48 | Don’t Mess Up the Website


Episode 48 | Don’t Mess Up the Website

In this episode of the Messy Back-End of Entrepreneurship, our expert, Lori Lyons shares how to make building a website simple and easy to figure out.

“Websites promote you 24/7: No employee will do that.”
-Paul Cookson

I’m creating a website. I’m scared I am going to leave something out. What things do you suggest I might need to get mine going, to add to it, what would help me? How can I make sure that I’m answering the questions that my potential customers are asking?

Relax! It is the internet and things can always be changed.

The things that most websites need are:

  • A header – In your header, you need to talk to what your clients’ problem is.
  • A services section explaining your services and how you are going to help them solve their problems.
  • An about me section that is going to give them a little bit more about how you are credible and what you do to solve their problem.
  • A call to action so that you are telling your potential client what the next step is to work with you.
  • A contact form or bot so you can communicate with your potential client.

Done is better than perfect! Get it out there!

Once you use the website, find out where your clients are coming and use your analytics you will naturally want to make tweaks along the way.

Sheila mentions the Hot Jar app. Hot Jar is a plug-in for your website where you can actually see where a visitors’ mouse is going when they visit your website. It tracks everything that happens. That helps you to see what is working and what is not working. You can also see the parts of your website that they never click on.

What do you recommend for the length of the initial landing page?

  • A landing page is something that you drive someone to from an outside source.
  • Make it so that the content is related to them and what solves their problems.
  • Talk in our clients’ language and a language they understand.
  • Only make it as long as needed.

How important are keywords for websites?

If you are talking to your clients’ problems you quite often are using important keywords from the beginning. She also goes back and fills in the keywords after doing high-level keyword research.

A simple way to figure out keywords is to type your keywords or questions into Google. When it populates all those questions and keywords – those are your keywords. That will get most small businesses started and going.

How many pages are necessary for a website?

Backlinks are still important. Make it as long as you need to, but keep it short and concise and make sure you are getting your point across with very simple language. The other key thing is to make sure it is mobile-friendly. 86% of people use their phones to look at websites.

You can always add to your website as you go.

Lori’s Offer: www.ignitingyourbusiness.com/success
3 Simple Shift to Clarity, Specificity and Momentum for Your Business

Episode 47 | Messy Schedules and How to Deal With Them


Episode 47 | Tackling the Messy with a Plan

On our expert segment today we are going to be talking to Heather Dumas. Heather is the owner of HD Transformations, a personal training and coaching company. She motivates others to change their lives and control their mindset, by getting rid of the barriers that prevent health and happiness. She gives her clients individualized coaching on fitness, nutrition, positive self-talk, and overall health and wellness.

“My favorite things in life don’t cost any money. It’s really clear that the most precious resource we all have is time.”
-Steve Jobs


Coach l Personal Trainer

I’m a single mom with 2 businesses and 2 side hustles. My schedule changes every single day. How can I create a fake feeling of structure in an unstructured world?

Put your health and wellness at the very top of the list regardless of how hard it is.

If you get injured who is going to run your businesses and family?

Put your self-care on the calendar. Schedule your time just as you would schedule a doctor or dentist appointment.

If you don’t have your health, you don’t have anything. Think about the air mask on the airplane. You have to put your mask on before you can help those around you.

Instead of saying I can’t say I can because.

Heather’s free Power Hour planner is a great tool for the last hour before you unplug to help you figure out and plan the next day.
Heather also uses her 30 Day Healthy Lifestyle planner in the morning. For example, if you know you’re going to be spending much of the day in the car you can bring healthy snacks or a change of clothes to be prepared.

Ben Franklin – If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.

If you have things planned out and your more relaxed and things don’t go as planned you much more likely to be able to adjust on the fly and roll with it.

When we don’t plan we often skip out on exercise because we are exhausted or resort to eating out. Plus we don’t get anything done on our to-do list.

Planning helps us to get what we need done and not miss out on taking care of ourselves.

  • Heather recommends 5 minutes of mental work each morning. You could meditate or just spend 5 minutes relaxing in your own thoughts and thinking about what you need for the day. It helps you to go into the day ready to tackle the day and anything that comes your way.
  • Take a look at your day and schedule and figure out what is missing. Are you not working out, getting tasks done, having quiet time, etc?
  • Use the planners and focus on one of those areas for 30 days.
  • Once you see the desired improvement you can add another area to focus on.

We often find pockets of time we didn’t even know we were wasting.

It will help us live a healthier version of ourselves.

Little things can help make a big impact over time.

Moving into the day with a plan will help remove the stress from the get-go.

Heather’s Offer: I offer 2 different downloadable planners to help you organize and plan your healthy lifestyle changes. One for planning your next day and one for organizing your thoughts first thing in the morning. Both are free, the links are available on my website.

Episode 46 | Prevent the Mess… Be Healthy


Episode 46 | Prevent the Mess… Be Healthy

On our expert segment today we are going to be talking to Cristina Alciati. Join us as we talk about how to prevent our health from messing up our back-ends.

“To keep the body in good health is a duty… otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear.”

CRISTINA alciati

Personal Trainer l Thai Yoga Massage Therapist

How can being healthy and active affect my business? How do you find time as a parent and business owner?

You have to have a good plan in place.

If your not fit and healthy your business will suffer, because you are inevitably heading for burn-out. Take your calendar and plan your self-care first and everything else second.

Start with what do I need to be fit and healthy and have my brain sharp at all times and be in an emotional state that allows me to make winning decisions. Humans need to eat, drink, rest and be active.

It is not just about being physically healthy. It is important to have enough to eat, drink and rest too.

There are so many benefits to gain in your personal life and business when you actually schedule this first.

Plan out each week. Start by scheduling 8 hours to sleep each night. Then find an hour to do something for yourself that is not family or work-related. It could be reading a book or watching a TV show. Schedule your work.

Once your body gets used to you looking after it, then it demands you look after it all the time.

You learn better if you are moving. If you are busy with a big creative project it is beneficial to take a walk in the woods. The scientific evidence proves that being surrounded by all the greenery actual helps you relax a bit more and sharpen your thinking. It can often help us to become unstuck.
Being strong, fit, healthy and looking after yourself is a tool you have to grow your business.

Cristina’s’ Offer: 81% discount on my online program “A strong and healthy body makes good business sense” by using discount code MESSY19 at the checkout. https://smartfitnessmakeover.com/mind-body-spirit

Episode 45 | Digital Team Messes


Episode 45 | Digital Team Messes

In this episode of the Messy Back-End of Entrepreneurship, our Expert, Jason Swenk, Agency Advisor, shares his advice on how to build a team successfully.

“Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence win championships.”
-Michael Jordan

How do you hire the right people?

Before you get to a hiring point you have to know where the company is going and you have to have the right foundation in place. If you don’t have that clarity you then they can’t figure out how do we evaluate who is the best person for my company that can actually make decisions without me.

Let’s say we are on a boat going from New York to London, but you don’t tell anyone where you are going and your driving. After 10 hours you are going to need to take a nap. Every time the boat changes course your team keeps waking you up. You keep coming to the wheel and adjusting it. Finally, if you just telling where you are going they can just make the decision and fix it.

Hire someone that is better than you in the areas that you are struggling with.

Make sure they have the same core values as you.
You should be hiring for your weaknesses. It is a mistake to work on your weaknesses. You should be working on your strengths.

The best businesses in the world treat their employees first and go to bat for them over any client. If you have clients that are affecting your business they will affect your business for a long time and change the value of your business.

Always trust your gut!

If you find some prospects with your vision and core values, how do you then get them onboard?

Even before they are hired, you should record the jobs and processes you always do. Before their first day, you can share the library of videos of all the things they will be doing. On Day one they can be efficient and ready to go. It helps them to understand the long term goal and why.

They come up with quarterly goals for the company and break them down in a number of different ways. The team members also come up with their goals for the quarter. It gives them purpose and interest in the company.

His job as a leader and to have them achieve their goals and provide resources and things they need and make them better.

If you help them achieve their goals they are going to take care of you.

Building this relationship of trust between you and your team helps to open and keep open the door of communication as well.

If the team members have worth in their job, it is no longer a job.

Episode 44 | Don’t Start with a Mess


Episode 44 | Don’t Start with a Mess

In this episode of the Messy Back-End of Entrepreneurship, our Expert, Ella Glasgow, Creative Entrepreneur Coach, shares advice for getting started from scratch.

To be successful, you have to have your heart in your business, and your business in your heart.”
– Thomas Watson Sr.

ELLA glasgow

Creative Entrepreneur Coach l Business Strategist l Dream Ignitor

I am interested in starting my own business. How can I get off to a great start?

Start by deciding and understanding your Real Success Number.

Your success number is the amount of money you need to make to feel successful. That can be a trick question because you can feel successful without the money. However, you can’t pay the bills without the money.

Dreaming is very important, but this needs to be a realistic number. The best way to sort out what your success number, is to get in the numbers of your life. You need to gather information to figure this out:

  • Total debt (credit card debt, school loans) not including your house
  • Monthly expenses (mortgage, rent, food)
  • Miscellaneous expenses (good out with family, movies with friends,etc.)
  • Things you want to do this year (go to conference, hire a coach, etc.)

Be real with yourself and your numbers.

First, add your monthly expenses and monthly miscellaneous expenses and times them by twelve. Then add your total debt and the things you want to do this year. That final number is your success number.

You have to know where you are starting. Write down what you made last year and subtract your yearly income from your success number and that shows you the gap. Then finally you can take action!

It is hard to put a number on your packages if you don’t know what your goal is. If you know your success number and your gap, you can formulate your packages around that. The success number gives you a starting point.

You can not serve others unless you first serve yourself.

You can have your cake and eat it too! Get out of that mindset where you feel like you need to do your stuff for free or ridiculously cheap and start charging the value that you know that you provide. It has to be valuable to the person you are selling to.

Coming up with monthly goals is easier and more achievable than yearly goals.

We all want to be millionaires, but we all have to begin where we are. You can have your sights on a million, but you need to work on your current gap right now.

Ella’s Offer: Visit www.thedreamignitor.com to claim your free Dream Ignition Call to discover how you truly can make your dream your reality

Episode 43 | Survey the Mess for Success


Episode 43

Survey the Mess for Success

In this episode of the Messy Back-End of Entrepreneurship, our Expert, Tom Sylvester, Business Strategist, shares his advice on how to increase sales to our idea clients by surveying the ones we have already had.

“Make improvements, not excuses. Seek respect, not attention.” – Roy T. Bennett

TOM sylvester

Entrepreneur l Business Strategist

How can I know what my customers want so I can prove my products and services?

This is definitely a common challenge.

First, if you have a list of customers reach out and connect with them. Having 1 on 1 conversations whether it is through an e-mail, phone call or in-person meeting can be very beneficial in understanding where your customers are, how they are liking the product or service, and what you can improve on that.

If you are thinking about the customers’ journey and how long they are going to be interacting with you put an automated survey in partway through the journey. You can check in with them and see how things are going and ask them if you can improve on anything. Then you can look for trends to focus on when improving your products.

Keep surveys short and to the point.

Once you solve one problem for them think about what the next problem is that they are now facing. Every problem we solve ends up exposing another problem for someone. This is a great way to increase the lifetime value of your customers. You can even ask them what their next step or problem is that they are facing.

If you are starting your business and you can hit the middle of the customer journey usually they are willing to pay more because you are solving a bigger problem for them. As you expand your business you can build out on both sides by looking at what they need before and after.
We generally have some biases, so take a look at your questions and make sure you are not leading them a certain way. Ask the question, but then also ask if they can elaborate and tell you more. It encourages them to go deeper and explain exactly what they mean. The follow-up and probing questions get past the surface level and really expose any problems.

How do you track all that data?

If you do an online survey all that data will be collected and stored in one place. If we are doing a call or an interview right after the call take 5-10 minutes and just make notes about the call including some of the key call outs or highlights.

Whenever we are having a sales conversation, our goal is to give them clarity and help them make a decision.

A key part is looking at why we think we are the best choice in our industry? One of the most useful things you can do is take a look at the top 3 existing alternatives in your industry. Figure out why you are better than those top 3 existing alternatives because someone is going to ask that and for you to be able to call out the differences and why it is better for them is very powerful.

Consistency makes successful businesses, so automate some of these things and make sure doing these activities is part of your daily and weekly schedule.

Make sure your connected and always evolving as your customers are evolving as well.

Be sure you are in the minds of your customers not just listening but understanding their feelings so you can make that difference for them.

Tom’s Offer: Grab a copy of our new book Lifestyle Builders: Build Your Business, Quit Your Job – AND – Live Your Ideal Lifestyle. http://lifestylebuildersbook.com

Episode 42 | Hiring Speakers Can Be a Mess


Episode 42 | Hiring Speakers Can Be a Mess

In this episode of the Messy Back-End of Entrepreneurship, our Expert, Dolores Hirschmann, Coach, shares her advice on how to find speakers and find the very best of the best without all the work.

“Gaining knowledge is the first step to wisdom. Sharing it is the first step to humanity.” – Anonymous

DOLORES hirschmann

Coach | Strategist

Where do I start looking for speakers for my next upcoming event?

There are a lot of people out there with great content ready to rock your event.

There are a couple of ways to find speakers:

  • Create a Google form with questions to qualify your speaker. If someone takes the time to fill out your form, they are more likely to actually show up at your event.
  • Go to social media first. Post your form on your social media. Dolores recommends LinkedIn, but you can do Facebook as well.
  • Look for speaking or speaker groups on Facebook to find groups that gather speakers. Make sure you have prequalifying information on your post and be specific.
  • Make them work for it! Everyone wants everything, but very few are willing to actually work for it.
  • You have the upper hand, so don’t compromise quality and be clear in your intention.
  • Speaker Hub has a database of speakers.
  • Create a running dream list of speakers. When you are looking for speakers reach out to them on LinkedIn. The answer is always no if you don’t ask.

Dolores’ Offer: “Stand Out the TED Way: Be Seen & Grow Your Business” eBook Download


Episode 41 | Authoring a Mess


Episode 41 | Authoring a Mess

In this episode of the Messy Back-End of Entrepreneurship, our Expert, James Ranson, Master Wordsmith, teaches what to do after your book is published and what is the real value of a book for entrepreneurs.

“A wise person should have money in their head, but not in their heart.” – Jonathan Swift

JAMES ranson

Master Wordsmith | Author | Coach | Editor

I have written and published my book. The hard work is now starting. How do I market and make money from my book?

Congratulations on writing your book, but you are correct the hard work is starting now.

A book can help you grow your business and speak on stages, but it doesn’t just happen once you publish.

We don’t often make a ton of money by selling our book. We often make more money by giving our book away.

You are going to give the book to the people who need to see it and need to have that message in front of them, so they can work with you or put you in front of their audiences.

We are able to make a profit and return on the investment if the book helps us to get more clients for our business. The first part of how you are going to make money from your book is going to have to be a mindset shift from I have to make money by selling the book to I don’t care about selling the book. My goal is to give it away to the right people.

A book can give you a great combination of authority and personal connection with your audience.

When you give somebody this book, give it to somebody and sign it at an event, and look at your prospects and mail them a copy of the book saying I was thinking about you when I wrote this, those people are going to respond really positively and may end up working with you now or in the future or referring you.

Sheila recommends the book High Performance Habits by Brendon Burchard. He sells his books for the cost of shipping and publishing which often gets massive returns, because people are willing to share with their audience and even purchase as gifts. The marketing that authors receive is way more valuable than the money for that one book.

What should you do and not do to market your book?

  • You should not just rely on sales and making yourself an Amazon bestseller. It doesn’t help as much as you think it does. Hope is not a strategy. Putting My Foot Down by Brent Underwood
  • Make sure your book is good! Check out James’ book linked below. If you are using your book to grow your business that becomes your first impression to anyone that has never met you and your customer communication to anyone that already knows who you are. Those two things are absolutely paramount to having a good business. We want our book to guide the right people to us.
  • Instead of focusing on trying to get your book in front of thousands of people that may or may not know you or care about who you are, focus on getting it in front of hundreds of people who absolutely need what you have. They are looking for what you are offering. If you have that match you can grow a 6 figure business.
  • Figure out who that audience is. Write the book for them, use the book to reach out to them, and cultivate them as people that will benefit from being in your space.

The book isn’t going to make money for you unless you make your book make you money.

Use the book as a marketing tool for the services and products you provide that are at a much higher value and give much more benefit than simply having a book would.

Quote your book to get the word out.

James’ Offer: Visit jamesranson.com for a free digital copy of Don’t Write A Crappy Book!