How to become a more organised entrepreneur

Do you ever feel that you are overloaded with work, and don’t know how to go about reducing that big pile of stuff; which has been building up for days, weeks, or even months?

Maybe its about time that you conquered that Mount Everest of tasks and paperwork!

Here are my top 10 tips on how to become a more organised (and hopefully a less stressed) entrepreneur…
  1. Create a mind-map of all the ideas that are crowding your head space. Use this to clear your mind and focus on each task in hand
  2. Write a to-do list. Use headings and subheadings to narrow down exactly what needs to be achieved within each task
  3. Use a scheduling or diary system to organise your time. Plan tasks ahead of schedule to allow you to dedicate suitable time for each one
  4. Outsource anything you can to free up your time to run and grow your business E.g. by using Virtual Assistants, Marketing Experts, Accountants, etc
  5. Set aside designated planning time and spend one evening (usually a Sunday works best) to plan and prepare your week ahead
  6. Check emails at the end of every day rather than at the beginning. Use a small amount of time at the end of the day to plan and prepare for the next day
  7. Turn off your phone and stay logged out of your email while competing each task. Less distractions mean you will complete tasks quicker, and you can reply to urgent calls and emails during coffee breaks in between tasks.
  8. Schedule email mail-outs and social media posts in advance so they happen automatically. Set aside time to schedule as this will save you time in the long-run (you can also use a social media management tool to be even more efficient at this!)
  9. Clear your work space so it is free from loose papers and clutter. After all, an organised space creates an organised mind!
  10. Constantly review your progress. Assess what is working well for you at keeping you organised, and focus on doing these things (and remember that what might be working for another person wont necessarily work for you – and vice versa).

These are all good and well, but are you still wondering where on earth to start with becoming more organisedand tackling that mammoth of a mountain?

Here are some useful tangible items you might want to use to help you get started:

  • Mind-mapping software, such as MindGenius or imindmap (or just an old-fashioned pen and paper – and one or two highlighters)
  • A paper diary – electronic ones are great but sometimes its good to have everything there in front of you in black and white!
  • A list of useful contacts to lend a hand with your outsourceable tasks when needed.
  • Social media management programmes (e.g. Hootsuite, Buffer, etc)
  • Email scheduling software (e.g. Mailchimp, CRM database, etc)
  • A quiet and clutter free space to work and focus (even a desk in a library might be suitable!)

Basically, all of the above boils down to the fact that: to fail to prepare, is preparing to fail.

Failing to prepare, is preparing to fail Click To Tweet

 

This mantra is very true both in life and business. Setting aside a little time to prepare your diary, and plan your time in advance, will be extremely worthwhile in helping to organise your life, work, and most importantly your mind.

So, dont wait until tomorrow to start planning your strategy to become more organised. Give yourself that phew’ feeling, and start taking action now! (You might even get a better nights sleep, and thank yourself for it!)

Email Marketing: How to create a Mailchimp Campaign if you are stuck at square one

Are you stuck at square one when it comes to email marketing?

Don’t even have an email marketing account set up, let alone a list to send your e-shots to?

From my workshop session last month at Her Business Brew central meeting, it became evident that many seem to be stuck at square one when it comes to email marketing.

There seems so much information about what to write in your email marketing, or how to build your mailing list, however this can put many people off who don’t even know where to start!

So, if you are stuck at the starting blocks when it comes to email marketing, this blog will give you the basics to creating a campaign in the mostly used email marketing programme Mailchimp!

How to simply create a mailout campaign on Mailchimp

Once you have set up a Mailchimp account and imported your mailing list (which is very easy by using my MailChimp Masterclass – How to Guide) you can create a campaign using the following steps:

  1. Navigate to the campaigns page and click Create Campaign in the upper-right corner of the screen to create a Regular Campaign.  To create a Plain-Text Campaign, A/B Testing Campaign, or RSS campaign, click the drop-down menu and select that option.
  2. On the Recipients step, choose a list from the drop-down menu, and click Entire list, or pick a segmentation option. Click Next or Setup in the progress bar.
  3. On the Setup step, input your Email subject, From name, and From email address and click Next in the progress bar.
  4. On the Template step, the easiest option is to click on Themes to select from Mailchimp’s predesigned layouts.
  5. In the Design step, you then input and customize your campaign content.
  6. Once you’re satisfied with your design, click Next or Confirm in the progress bar.
  7. Review the Pre-Delivery Checklist on the Confirm step. Click Resolve to navigate directly to the step to fix any errors that may appear.  To make other changes, click the Edit button to return to a step.
  8. When you’ve finished testing your campaign, you can either send the campaign immediately, or schedule it to go out at another time.
  9. If you’re ready to send the campaign to your subscribers, click the Send button. The Prepare for launch modal will appear, and when you confirm your send by clicking Send Now your campaign will be on its way to your mailing list!
Things to consider

When using Mailchimp to send your Campaign it is important to consider the following:

  • Each recipient on your MailChimp list is hidden from all the other recipients.
  • Test your campaign before you send to your entire list. You can use the preview and test function in Mailchimp to do this.
  • MailChimp automatically includes both an HTML version and a plain-text alternative version for each of your subscribers. This ensures your subscribers view your content as expected, regardless of the email client or program they use.
  • MailChimp is designed to send email campaigns that contain HTML code and plain-text content. Due to this Mailchimp advises against using other code to create campaigns.
Your campaign content

Once you have mastered ‘how to’ send a Mailchimp campaign, then it is then important to write your campaigns in a way that appeals to your audience and ensures that they actually open and read your email once it hits their inbox!

Some advice and guidance on creating amazing email campaign content can be found at…

What to put in an email newsletter when you don’t know what to write

 

Serena Fordham is known as “Norfolk’s Admin Super Woman”, and owns and manages Serena Fordham’s PA Services.  They assist clients across Norfolk and the surrounding areas with administration, bookkeeping, event management, project management, and writing tasks.

Serena is also a published author, founder and host of a women’s networking group called ‘Her Business Brew’, and founder and coordinator of the ‘An Hour or So’ initiative; which brings together businesses to raise funds for charitable causes. 

If you have enjoyed reading about how to create a Mailchimp campaign, sign up for her blog here.

Top Tips for Juggling Motherhood and Self-Employment

Being a self-employed mum of a toddler and a baby can be very challenging at times! If you are a mum who works for yourself, then I am sure you can relate to the conflict your brain has between spending time with your children and working on your business.

I know I constantly feel guilty that one of these is suffering, as I haven’t got enough time in the day to do everything! ……and as for household chores, I sometimes just give up, now have a cleaner!

So, here are my top ten tips for juggling motherhood and self-employment:

Make lists and prioritise

I like to have one list for both business and mum stuff as to not confuse myself by using separate ones.  I also put everything in my diary so nothing is missed!

Find amazing childcare

I am lucky to have my parents and in-laws to look after the children whenever I need to.  Although I still feel guilty when leaving them for a business-related appointment!

Prepare

Get bags, clothes, lunches, etc ready the evening before. Mornings are the most crazy for us!

Work when the kids sleep

Schedule in work time when the kids are in bed. A few hours every evening can clear my work to-do list as well as a full working day will!

Outsource work and ask for help

I have 3 amazing ladies who help in my business, and they make me feel like all is not just on my shoulders.  Plus, self-employment can be pretty lonely at times, so having a team to support me is lovely!

Find others in the same boat as you

Connecting with other self-employed mums who are in the same boat as you can help. Try joining us at a Her Business Brew meeting for support.

Get a box of tricks up your sleeve

Have a box of crafts or games that the kids can do themselves.  This will keep them entertained if you have to make a business call or complete work when they are around! Even short bursts on a tablet, or half an hour in front of CBeebies isn’t going to do any harm either!

Schedule quality time with the family

Time with your family is very important as your kids grow up so fast.  Even a quick trip to the park, or reading them a story makes all the difference!

Make time to read stories to your children Click To Tweet
Don’t beat yourself up

Don’t worry if everything isn’t done that day. No woman is superwoman (even though we like to think we are!) just move stuff to next weeks to do list. Its not the end of the world!

Make time for yourself

All this juggling can leave you shattered, so make time for yourself.  I like to get my nails/hair done, visit the spa, or have the occasional afternoon tea!  Although a long soak in the bath (with no kids) is even a nice treat!