2018 is right around the corner and we've compiled this nice huge list of AWESOME resources that you can use to start implementing now before 2018 hits. The more you plan your 2018 now (I recommend breaking it into four quarters in terms of your larger goals), the better your strategy will flow once it's time to hit the ground running.
- Listen to Amy Porterfield's Online Marketing Made Easy episode 183 then download her roadmap.
- Learn how to build a great brand on autopilot by listening to this podcast episode from Skill Space's own podcast Build Your Biz.
- Block scheduling really is the way to go. Multi-tasking is the enemy of productivity and learning how to block schedule and eliminate unnecessary distractions is key.
- Watch Marie Forleo's 4-minute trick for massive productivity.
- Do you have your business plan? Have you done a market analysis? What is your advantage? Trying answering these questions in our foolproof business plan download.
- Skill Space <3s Brittney Rossie like no other in terms of building up female entrepreneurs in their own strengths-based niches. She has a program called Map Your Content: Map Your Success that is very well worth it for getting you on the right track in your business planning. (I have personally taken the course myself or else I wouldn't be willy-nilly recommending something that cost money.)
- Automate your workflow a little bit more by setting up an email template system or canned email responses. Having email templates save yourself time from re-typing the same thing over and over again. If you use a project management system like Honeybook, 17Hats, Dubsado, etc, then you can easily do this within your system using email templates.
- If you don't have a paid project management system, there are way to do this for free within your email client using canned responses. Read this tutorial for creating canned responses within Gmail.
- If you are wanting to stick with a free project management system, try Asana. The Skill Space team swears by Asana ourselves and you can read this great mega post about the awesomeness of Asana or take Nesha Woolery's free course on using Asana as a freelancer.
- Asana alternative's include Freedcamp and Trello.
- Use Zapier to integrate apps together to instantly automate processes you didn't know possible:
- Create an Asana task from a calendar event (here's a full list of Asana zaps)
- Pin your new Instagram posts onto Pinterest (here's a full list of Instagram zaps)
- Share your new WordPress posts onto Facebook (here's a full list of Facebook zaps)
- Add MailChimp subscribers to ConvertKit if you, like me, make the leap from one to the other and don't always know where all your old MailChimp email signups are located (MailChimp list, ConvertKit list) -- this was my very first zap!
- Brittany Berger has a Zapier cheat sheet for solopreneurs you can download.
- If Zapier doesn't tickle your fancy (the free version could be quite limiting), don't forget the tried and true originator of workflow automation: If This, Then That (IFTTT). Though Zapier is geared more toward "business" apps, IFTTT absolutely has many of the same automations, like posting a native picture to Twitter each time you post on Instagram (one @Skill_Space uses ourselves).
- Then, at the end of the day, sometimes you just need to delegate, delegate, delegate! Hiring a VA and a team has been so helpful for me through the years. And there are so many I would love to recommend to each of you. But if you're trying to still get a grasp on the ideal of hiring help, check out this blog series on finding and hiring VAs or OBMs.
- Then, go browse the Skill Space directory to find one that we recommend or you can find some by asking for help in any major Facebook group like Grow Your Biz Lik Woah! or Creative Superheroes.
- Read this post about tasks you should be outsourcing in your (design) business by Krista Rae.
- It may be a wee late for 2017, but go ahead and print out 12 copies of the Schedule C tax form*. Whenever you do your monthly bookkeeping review, go ahead and transfer numbers into the Schedule C tax form like your filing taxes that frequently. It will make it so much easier at year-end to then just tally up for filing taxes. Of course, if you're making profits, you really should be filing taxes quarterly. You can learn more about this in our very own tax guide.
- *The Schedule C tax form 1040 only applies to sole proprietorships and LLCs filing as sole proprietorships. Learn more about business structures from this podcast episode from Build Your Biz.
- Download your Biz Finance Survival Cheatsheet from Andi Smiles. It's a super awesome recap of what you need to be doing daily, weekly, and monthly for bookkeeping.
- And while you're over there at Andi Smiles, get access to her free resource library with some pretty awesome financial resources including a pretty wicked formula for how to pay yourself.
- Read this article (Again, from Andi!) about getting your business receipts under control.
- Make sure you have a good bookkeeping system. There are many programs out there like Freshbooks, Quickbooks, Wave, FreeAgent. Find the system that works best for your needs. Not quite sure? Wave Accounting and Bookkeeping is free.
- Amy Northard offers a great course called Be Your Own CFO and it covers a lot of great topics for bookkeeping and running your business financials, instructional videos, and a private Facebook group.
- Get your 59-page guide on Filing Taxes as a Small Business or Blogger
- Watch Nesha Woolery help you with freelancer income financial planning so you can actually achieve those goals you outlined from Amy Porterfield's roadmap (plus learn how to set a freelance income goal)
- Andi Smiles has a really good workbook for setting money goals for yourself in her free resources library.
- Thinking about quitting your day job? Figure out how to make it work with this article.
- Read about how to make sure you stay on track with your income even though you might have irregular months as an entrepreneur or freelancer.
- Try a course on learning strategies as a freelancer or webpreneur to save and sell like Think Creative Collective’s Make Money Course.
Task & Project Management
- Download Asana.
- Take Nesha Woolery's free email course for dominating Asana (if you haven't already done so from above).
- Download Slack if you need to communicate with a team.
- If you do download Slack, check out integrating the following apps to your Slack channels: Asana, MailChimp (if you use, otherwise you need to create a Zapier zap for other email automation programs), and the Growthbot.
- Download Evernote.
- Learn how to use Evernote to keep your business organized.
- Buy a physical planner or download a planning workbook like Uncork Your Dork's 2018 Superboss Planner.
- Get a whiteboard for your wall. You need to layout your most important goals and projects right in your face to serve as visual reminders.
- Just plain have an organized office. Not your kitchen table. Here are some tips for creating an organized office space from The Decor Fix.
- Also, follow our Pinterest board to stay updated on great hacks for business organization.
- Wonderlass has a free course for list building worth checking on because building your email list really is the single best thing you can do for yourself because your email list is 100% yours (not Facebooks, not Instagram, not Google's or Squarespace's).
- While you're at it, Amy Porterfield also has this episode dedicated to list building that's going to give you a few notes as a takeaway.
- It’s important to give TLC to your email list. Check out these strategies for developing your welcome email sequence.
- Sign up for Raelyn Tan's free resource library and get a few of these gems:
- "220 Catchy Headline Templates"
- "The Blogger's Checklist for Before Hitting Publish"
- The Free Webinar: "3 Key Strategies To Rapidly Grow Your Traffic And Email List"
- Need to up your game when it comes to social media marketing? I have personally taken and recommend the following courses:
- Now, I haven't taken the following but they come highly recommended:
- Instagram: Infamous to Influential by Alex Tooby
- Facebook itself has some great free courses on marketing and using Facebook and Later and Planoly have good Instagram resources and free courses.
- Pinterest is a critical search engine most people need to be using in their business growth. And your Pinterest account and profile should be clean and tidy to do so. Simple Pin Media and Miranda Nahmias are excellent resources in addition to Melyssa Griffin's course.
- Don't forget to engage in social media! That's probably the number one tip you can do for yourself is to actually engage with people on social media. Remember, it's about networking.
- So, join some Facebook groups and Pinterest Tailwind tribes:
- Browse this list of 150+ tribes you should join to explode your business
- Take a look at what marketing jargon you should start avoiding and what tactics you need to be implementing.
- This infographic shares ideas for building a visual brand if your target audience engages best visually.
- Watch this video on creating a sales funnel that WORKS.
- Jenn Scalia put together this video on Facebook about what she learned when she masterminded with millionaires. We should all be masterminding and brainstorming with fellow biz owners in our niche. Facebook groups isn't as productive and effective at this as having a dedicated group, but it's a start! Try these lessons Jenn shares, too.