Starting a business of any kind needs some elemental resources to help you streamline your business pretty much from the beginning.
It really isn’t enough to say “I want to start a business” and there are a lot of moving parts.
I compiled a list of resources that I use or have used to help me in the early stages of my business and continue to be a part of the journey!
Content is definitely what helps a business grow that brings not only value but information to your people. Being able to manage your content for your different platforms like your blog, newsletter and social media is often comes with an overwhelming feeling.
- Google Drive – all of your content in one place without having to use Microsoft Office. Not that I am against them because I do use them but I am able to access the content just about anywhere. This is a free version that comes with your Gmail account.
- Evernote – also a good platform to organize your content within folders and notes. There is a free element to this but the more storage you will need, you are going to need to upgrade.
- Excel – Spreadsheets can really help you decide your content in terms of what you are writing and when you are posting it. I created my editorial calendar for the year and it’s been amazing because now all I have to do is show up and write.
List building and your newsletter are really an important part of your business journey. In your newsletter, you are connecting more closely with your people by offering them additional information as well as making various offers you have going on. But how does one start a newsletter?
To begin you will need a platform that has the ability to collect the e-mails.
- MailChimp – It’s a free service to start but the bigger you get you will need to pay for the using it as well as that some features are only for paid upgrades.
- Mailerlite – Also free for up to a certain amount of people on your list before it switches into a paid service. It comes with a lot of added features to get you started similar to MailChimp. It’s the one I am currently using and I am liking it so far.
- ConvertKit – I just switched to convertkit, so I am still in the learning curve BUT I am already in love with its features and ease of creating forms, sequences, and automation!
Other’s that I know little about but have heard of them:
These all require a monthly fee which in the scheme of things is part of the business and a necessity, but if you are just starting out, the above-mentioned may be more suitable.
You want to connect with people, share your message and tell them that you exist! But it can be incredibly time-consuming to sit down and post several times a day. That’s why planning your content ahead of time is a good idea, and in addition, you want to automate some of your social media. I say some because if you automate everything, people don’t think they are connecting with a real person.
Some tools that are helpful:
- PostPlanner – this is a good resource to schedule your posts as well as come up with content if you are struggling. They have trivia questions, quotes, images etc to help you create engagement. You can post to Facebook pages, groups, and Twitter.
- Hootsuite – Here you can manage your social media also on various platforms and schedule your content ahead of time. It’s has a free trial for you to check out and explore.
- dlvrit – I am currently exploring with this one and so far I am able to find relatable content for my social media posts as well as schedule my own. It’s great if you want to repost your blog posts at a later date again but this is a paid feature.
It’s really valuable to do some research and spend time learning about the various ways to curate your content and then share it with the world.
Confession: I am a journal junkie, and I like it!
I have tried a lot different to map out my content for the month ahead from Evernote to online editorial calendars but none of them really seem to help me manage my batching of time and connect all the dots until I decided to give the Bullet Journal another try.
I did a quick FB Live on Batching in my Group, you can check out here
I have attempted to use the Bullet Journal for monthly planning before but didn’t stick with it as something was still amiss for me. There is an aspect that is pretty time to consume and in a world where I am trying to manage my time effectively and efficiently, it didn’t help me, though I am inclined to try it again sometimes for my daily planning. In the meantime, I have found a way to develop my blog, email and social media content.
The first pages are for the index. This will help you find your content. The journal I am using has 300 pages and graphite paper.
Knowing how many pages it has can help you determine how many pages you need once you decided on a layout for your editorial calendar.
On the left-hand column, I have room for the page numbers and on the right, will be the content such as year overview, stat tracker, Blog Post titles. Email Love Notes, Social Media Schedule.
The Year Overview is a 12-months spread to help me determine the theme for each month, what offers, freebies and products I am creating for each month.
My stat tracker collects information on subscribers in my list, followers on social media and income from various sources. What you track growth!
The blog titles pages are decided on how many times I want to blog each month, usually twice a week and then I date them with the days I want to publish them. I follow the same layout for my email content,
Now that I have all that set up it’s time to create the pages for my monthly content development. Here I am working in March. And as you can see, it’s brief to just help me organize my thoughts and focus for when I am batching i.e. writing my blog posts for the week or the month, pending my schedule.
I start with the Title, have space for keywords and the three main points for my post, followed by a call to action. Because I have already developed my monthly content all I need to do is outline them, sit down and write them.
Once the blog content is ready to roll, I look at what I want to share with my e-mail list. Now, I don’t stick too rigidly to this and here’s why. Sometimes I receive messages or have thoughts that may be more pertinent to my list than what I have already outlined. But there is a way to squeeze in a section in my newsletter that says something like “Why don’t you check out the blog this week” and then link an article or two.
Alright, social media time. I use this format for my weekly social media content on my Facebook page. I include the scenes, quotes, photos, articles from others that I think my followers/likers will appreciate. I include questions for engagement and promos such as offers, courses, and blog content.
Creating my content in this way allows me to keep track of what I already posted in the previous weeks. I can go to my FB Page insights and see what kind of content had the most engagement, so I can include more of the same.
And since Facebook Groups are part of the game this is my layout for this. I don’t like to post the same content at the same time in different groups and this helps me track what I already posted, what I will post in the future and so I don’t post the same thing twice in the same group.
My grid includes the groups I hang out in and my key for small notes is E = Engagement, F = Freebie Offer, P= Post, and PR = Promo.
This gives me a nice balance of not being too spammy in any of the groups and creates engagement without being at a loss for words.
What I really love about the process is that you can create this to what works for you. There isn’t a right or wrong way to create an editorial bullet journal.
- Decide on your needs to help you have some structure.
- Play around with a scrap piece of paper to see what feels good to you.
- Get yourself a journal if you don’t have one already.
- Start mapping out your content for the year and/or the month.