Business

  • How to Break Your Business Out of a Funk

    It happens to us all. You’re cruising along happily in your business and then you hit a wall.

    Your productivity and motivation disappear.

    Your income slows down. Or, even worse, comes to a complete standstill.

    Things just don’t feel like they’re working any more. It’s a horrible feeling as a business owner – you’re not sure whether it’s time to throw the towel in or it’s just a bit of a business funk.

    I’ll tell you now, that more often than not, you’re just in a bit of a business funk and it will pass. Your funk might just last for a couple of hours but it might last weeks or even months.

    So, you know you need to break your business out of a funk but how? Don’t worry, this post is going to outline all of the ways you can tackle that business funk and your biz moving forwards again.

    Break Your Business Out of a Funk

    ** This blog post contains affiliate links. I may earn a small commission to fund my latte drinking habit if you use these links. You will not be charged extra, and you’ll keep me supplied in caffeine which enables me to keep creating awesome new content for you. It’s a win for everyone, really. For full details, please click here**

    Review Your Goals and Your “Why”

    A great place to start when you’re trying to break your business out of a funk is to go back to the roots. Think about why you started your biz in the first place.

    Taking a step away from the day-to-day tasks and the immediate hurdles that you might be facing in your business at the moment and looking at the bigger picture can be really helpful.

    If you don’t have a “why” or any big-picture goals, then now is the time to get them in place. Chances are that you do actually have them, but you’ve never sat down and thought about them as your official business goals! Whether you’re starting out from scratch, or just feel like revisiting and updating your goals, check out this post all about how to set business goals the right way.

    By going back to the “why”, you’re refocusing your mind on the end goal which should give you a new lease of business life and a renewed sense of determination.

    Take Some Time Off

    I don’t know about you, but some of my best ideas come to me when I’m not working. Whether it’s in the shower or when you’re stuck in traffic on the way home from Ikea, inspiration strikes us when we’re least expecting it.

    Not only is taking time off from your business good for new ideas but actually taking a step away from your business and switching off from it completely is great for your mental health. We spend far too long staring at screens or pouring over our latest creations.

    We rarely take time off.

    I know for a fact that I never, ever switch off from work. Even if I’ve turned my laptop off for the day and we’ve put a film on, I’m still checking emails on my phone or scrolling through social media and “networking” with other business owners. I just don’t stop!

    And I know it’s really bad for me – it’s often the cause of my business slumps.

    If you work too hard, you will get burnt out. So taking some time off from work completely will help you get some well-deserved rest. Try and leave the stresses of work behind; even if it’s only for a couple of hours. You can always build up to eventually taking a full day or even a week off!

    Have a Business Retreat

    Working “in” your business is very different to working “on” your business. And, if you’re trying to break your business out of a funk, there’s nothing better than taking some time to work “on” your business.

    Working in your business is all about doing the tasks that make the business function and bring in money. Working on your business is all about strategising and putting in systems that help you work in your business efficiently.

    But it’s hard to work on your business when all of your time is spent working in it – completing client work, creating new products…basically doing the things that make you money. And then of course, once that’s all done, you want to take some “time off”. Time to keep your house clean, time to eat and time to watch Netflix.

    That’s why a retreat is great. It can be as simple as setting aside a day to work in your home office or local cafe and focusing on those systems and cleaning up your business functions (like finally getting round to organising your inboxes!) If you’re looking for something a little more heavy-duty, why not book yourself an AirBnB for the weekend (or week), pop your out of office on and really get into things.

    If a retreat is out of the question for you or you want to find more time to work on your business and not just in it on a regular basis, check out this awesome post from Nesha Woolery.

    Chat to Other Business Owners

    I will bet all of the hazelnut lattes in the world that you are not the only business owner who’s trying to break your business out of funk right now.

    Every single day there will be thousands of entrepreneurs and business mums just sitting there at a complete standstill in their business wondering what the hell to do!

    So why not reach out to them and chat about what’s holding you back at the moment. It doesn’t matter if they’re in a slump at the moment or not, chatting with other business owners is always inspiring and might be just what you need to get back on the horse and get your business out of a funk!

    Facebook groups are a great place to meet other business owners. There are groups for business mums, businesses in your local area or businesses in the same niche as you – whatever your criteria, there will be a group for it. Why not check out the Flourishing Business Mum’s Facebook Group and grab a copy of my list of 201 Facebook Groups for Bloggers and Entrepreneurs to get you started?

    Learn Something New

    Depending on what kind of funk you’re in, you might want to learn something new that’s biz related – or maybe not!

    I often find that when I need to get my biz out of a funk, I focus on one area of it that I know I need to improve and set about teaching myself how to do that. For example, I know that my email funnels could be much, much better which, in turn, would help boost my revenue. So, if I’m feeling stuck in my biz, I look for blog posts or courses etc. to help me build better funnels.

    This links back to working on your biz rather than in it because you’re still doing something to build and improve your business but you’re not getting bogged down in the things that are frustrating you at the moment.

    Alternatively, why not take a complete break from your business and learn something new that you’ve always fancied but never tried. It might sound weird but when you need to break your business out of a funk, focusing your mind on something completely different and entirely capativating can help massively.

    If you’re a creative like me, it’s no use trying to switch off from work by watching a film or going to dinner. Your brain will still be running a million miles an hour, thinking about your biz. BUT, if you’re learning something new, that big ‘ol brain is so focused on absorbing that new information that you forget about those business frustrations. When you do eventually go back to working in or on your business, your mind will have had a well-earned break and your focused and clarity should be much better!

    Try Something New

    If you really, really, really feel stuck and can’t possibly see a way to break your business out of a funk, maybe it’s time to mix things up a little.

    In my mind, being in a funk and quitting are a long way apart and there are a lot of steps and possibilities in between.

    So, before you give up, take a look at those goals and your overall “why” and rethink things. Are there things in your business that just aren’t working? Are there parts of your business that just aren’t bringing an ROI (return on investment)? Or are there things that you’ve wanted to try for a long time but never had the chance to?

    Sometimes, trying something new in your business gives you a new sense of purpose, determination and enthusiasm for what you do.

    The only thing I will add to this one is a word of warning – think carefully about any big changes you might want to make. Whilst adding a couple of new products to your line is a fairly minor adjustment, having a total rebrand and targeting an entirely new market is likely to slow business way down in the short term.

    Believe in Yourself

    One of the biggest walls I hit with my businesses comes down to self-doubt and the downward spiral that ensues!

    Sometimes I find myself doubting my products and services so much that I don’t promote them. I think I’ll improve them (and myself) before I start promoting and showcasing what I have to offer again. Then, because I’m not promoting, business slows down a little which only makes me doubt myself more. And so on.

    I know I’m not alone in this and that means neither are you!

    Getting out of this mindset can often help you break your business out of a funk but the big question here is how to break yourself out of that mindset and break free from the cycle. For me, the answer is to keep pushing through regardless – that’s just the best method I have found to work for me personally.

    For other people, it’s about looking back at what has worked well and really celebrating those achievements. Other people invest in a coach to help them through. It all comes down to trying different tactics and finding what works for you.

    So there you have seven ways to break your business out of a funk.

    Is there anything I missed off the list? Let me know what works for you when you need to get out of a business funk. 

  • How to Set Up a Stunning Virtual Assistant Website

    Over the months and years, I’ve seen a lot of Virtual Assistant Websites. And I’ll tell you now that not all websites are created equal.

    So, today’s post is going to be all about how to create a stunning Virtual Assistant website that not only looks amazing but one that also converts. After all, the aim of the game is to book those dream clients, isn’t it?

    In this post you’ll learn:

    • Why you need a website as a VA
    • The basics of setting up a website
    • What essential information you need to include
    • How to use your website to advertise your services
    How to Set Up a Stunning Virtual Assistant Website
    ** This blog post contains affiliate links. I may earn a small commission to fund my latte drinking habit if you use these links. You will not be charged extra, and you’ll keep me supplied in caffeine which enables me to keep creating awesome new content for you. It’s a win for everyone, really. For full details, please click here**

    Do you really need a Virtual Assistant website?

    If you’re thinking about becoming a VA, or you’ve already set the wheels in motion, you’re probably wondering whether or not you need a website.

    The simple answer is “yes”.

    There are a lot of different opinions out there, with some people saying that you don’t need a website if, for example, you have a great business page on Facebook or strong presence on LinkedIn.

    Having said that, there are a number of reasons why having a website for your VA business will help you not only stand out from the crowd but also secure more clients.

    • It’s a great place to showcase your skills, talents and previous work.
    • It allows potential clients to find you, check out your packages and decide whether you are a good fit (aking some of the work off your hands)
    • Your website is a great place to list your packages and prices – no more time wasted on discovery calls with people asking you to work for £2 per hour!
    • You can let your personality shine through. People like to work with people, not just a faceless business.
    • It will help you stand out from your competition.

    So, now you know why you need a website for your VA business, let’s move on to the how. 

    1. Choose and Purchase a Domain Name

    The first step in setting up your Virtual Assistant website is to choose and purchase your domain name.

    When it comes to choosing your domain name, choose something that is the same as your VA Service business name. I know that might sound pretty obvious, but you’d be surprised! Ideally, you want your domain name to end in .com or .co.uk.

    As I would recommend using Siteground for your hosting, I would recommend purchasing your domain name from them too so I’m going to include how to purchase your domain name in the next step.

    2. Select a Host and Purchase a Hosting Plan

    There are a number of website hosts out there but Siteground is my absolute favourite. I currently host all five of my own sites, plus two client sites there and I cannot fault them.

    They’re excellent value for money and their customer support is second to none – in fact, their live online chat staff have always gone above and beyond to help me!

    Simply head over to Siteground, and select “Sign Up”

    Next, select the plan that is best suited to you. There are three available on SiteGround. I have the “Grow Big” plan as it allows me to host multiple sites at no extra costs.

    Learn how to set up your very own stunning Virtual Assistant website to boost your business and attract new clients #VA #VirtualAssistant #WebsiteSetup #WebsiteDesign #BusinessTips

    The next step is where you can purchase your new domain. On the next screen, you will see two options; “Register a new domain” or “I already have a domain”. Select “Register a new domain” and type in the domain name that you want to purchase. Then follow the instructions on screen to complete your purchase.

    Learn how to set up your very own stunning Virtual Assistant website to boost your business and attract new clients #VA #VirtualAssistant #WebsiteSetup #WebsiteDesign #BusinessTips

    Congratulations! You’re now the proud owner of a domain and your hosting plan!

    3. Install and Set Up WordPress

    One of the great things about using SiteGround as your hosting provider is that they offer 1-click install for WordPress.

    Once you have completed your purchases in step two, log into your SiteGround account and head to the C-Panel. Here you will find an option for WordPress 1-click install.

    Simply follow the instructions on screen and you’ll have your WordPress site within 5 minutes!

    Now it’s time to actually build your site and get it looking exactly how you want.

    4. Start Creating Your Virtual Assistant Website

    Okay, so we have a domain name and you’ve got WordPress set up but now what? How do you actually create a beautiful, functioning website?

    Choose a Theme

    Before you start adding any content to your site, choose a theme. The reason I say to do this before you add anything else to your site is that changing the theme can change the layout of things so it’s best to have your chosen theme in place first.

    I will always, always, ALWAYS recommend buying a premium theme over using the free WordPress themes that are available. Put simply, you have much more control with a premium theme. Not only can you control elements like your site layout but also finer details like the fonts and colours used. You can read all of the reasons that premium themes are the best in this post.

    My go-to place for WordPress themes for all of my websites is Bluchic. Run by husband and wife duo – Andrew and Kathie – Bluchic builds and sells STUNNING Premium WordPress themes for female entrepreneurs, bloggers, and virtual assistants.

    Two of my absolute favourite features of Bluchic themes are that they are responsive (so look great on mobile and tablets too) AND the support and how-to guides provided by Bluchic. The support area for all of the themes guides you through absolutely everything you need to know to get your new theme installed and set up.

    If you’re wondering, I use the Victoria theme on this site –> Get yours here.

    Install Relevant Plugins

    Plugins are to your website, what apps are to your smartphone.

    They expand the basic functionality of your site and allow you to do much more without you needing to learn how to code (because let’s face it, we don’t want to do that!)

    If there’s something you want your site to do, you can almost guarantee that there’s a plugin for it! And, a lot of them come free on WordPress. You will find that some Plugins have “Pro” versions which offer more tools and functions but, for the most part, the free plugins will do exactly what you need them to do.

    Even better than being free, they are easy to find, install and use!

    There are literally thousands of plugins available but these are the key plugins that I install on all of my sites from day one:

    Akismet – This is a great spam filter for your blog comments.

    Broken Link Checker – This plugin checks your blog for broken links and notifies you on the dashboard if any are found. This is really helpful for external links in particular. 

    Elementor – A drag and drop page builder which is especially useful for creating beautiful sales pages and landing pages. This is the plugin I use to create all of my pages. Google Analytics Dashboard for WP (GADWP) – This plugin makes setting up Google Analytics an absolute breeze. Check out my post here on getting Google Analytics set up for your website. Insert Headers and Footers – Allows you to add code to your header and footer areas with the click of a button without needing to know how to code. Sumo – The tool that creates the awesome floating share bar that you can see on the left-hand side of my posts (or at the bottom if you’re viewing on a mobile).

    W3 Total Cache – This is a performance plugin and helps to improve the speed and user experience of your site. You don’t need to do anything with it, just install and activate and it will just do its thing.

    WPtouch Mobile Plugin – Makes a beautiful mobile-friendly version of your website.

    Yoast SEO – All-in-one SEO solution for WordPress, including on-page content analysis, XML sitemaps and much more.

    Create Key Pages

    Let’s just take a moment to pause and celebrate the fact that you now have a fully-functioning Virtual Assistant website!

    Woop woop!

    Now it’s time to actually get some content on there so that when people visit, there’s something for them to read!

    Services Page

    This is probably the most important page on your site. This is where you will let your potential clients know exactly what you do, who you do it for and how much it costs.

    • Your services page is the perfect place to:
    • Outline who your ideal client is
    • Explain why hiring a VA (specifcally, you) is a great idea and how it can help your clients.
    • Detail what services you offer
    • Showcase your skills and talents
    • Display a few testimonials
    • List your packages and prices

    There are differing opinions on whether or not you should have your prices on your website but I say you should! If I visit someone else’s site and there are no prices anywhere, I immediately click away. I want to know how much something is going to cost me before I waste my time (and their time) discussing the product or service only to realise it’s waaaay outside my budget. This will save you time as a VA and hopefully, reduce the number of enquiries you get from people who simply cannot afford your rates.

    Testimonials

    I just mentioned testimonials briefly above but they are really important.

    Testimonials are essentially proof that you do what you say you do and that you do it well!

    I don’t know about you but before I purchase anything on Amazon, I read the reviews first. Your testimonials are kind of like your Amazon reviews. You want to let potential clients that they can trust you and that you can deliver outstanding services should they choose to work with you.

    People are much more likely to invest in your services if they can see what amazing results you have helped previous clients achieve.

    If you don’t have any testimonials yet, or you haven’t had any clients to obtain testimonials from, ask old colleagues (and possibly friends) to give feedback on work that you have completed with/for them. What is essential here is that you don’t lie! They can, however, comment on things such as your work ethic. For example, “Dani is extremely hard working and has an excellent eye for detail.” could go a long way when you’re just starting out.

    Contact Info and Call to Action

    Once someone has decided that they want to work with you, make it super easy for them to know what to do next. Add CTAs throughout your site, like this:

    Learn how to set up your very own stunning Virtual Assistant website to boost your business and attract new clients #VA #VirtualAssistant #WebsiteSetup #WebsiteDesign #BusinessTips

    By including a contact form, you can make it even easier for new clients to get in touch. They can contact you with the click of a button and forget about having to copy and paste your email address and draft up an email to you.

    You could use a simple form builder plugin on WordPress but I use forms I create in Dubsado to streamline the whole client onboarding process and to ensure that I get all of the information I need from new clients. Here’s a sneak peek at my VA contact form:

    Learn how to set up your very own stunning Virtual Assistant website to boost your business and attract new clients #VA #VirtualAssistant #WebsiteSetup #WebsiteDesign #BusinessTips

    About Page

    I won’t go into too much detail here, as I have a whole blog post dedicated to creating the perfect About Page (check it out here).

    Your About Page is really important BUT it’s also a page that often gets overlooked when people are building their websites. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – people like people. And it follows from that, that people want to work with people, not just a faceless business.

    Take the time to tell your visitors and potential clients, a bit about yourself. Show your personality (and your face with a professional photo) and let your clients know what kind of person they are going to be working with.

    Blog

    This is another one of those elements that often gets overlooked. Having a blog on your website isn’t essential but it is a great way to showcase your knowledge. If, for example, one of the services you offer as a VA is setting up email funnels, having several blog posts about email funnels will show potential clients that you really know what you’re talking about. Blog posts are also a great way to get people onto your website in the first place.

    You can read more about why your business needs a blog, in this post here.

    And that, my friends, is how you can create your own stunning website.

    But, if the idea of building your own website still scares the living daylights out of you, I have a special offer just for you!

  • 5 Things to do For Your Blog When You Don’t Want to Write

     We all have days when we don’t want to write.

    In fact, today is one of those days for me but this post was already a draft – about nine-tenths complete – so I’ve pushed through, edited it and hit publish!

    But, that’s not what I’m here to suggest.

    Blogging isn’t all about writing. If you speak to any blogger they will probably tell you that writing is only a tiny bit of the whole blogging process.

    Despite this being true, I often feel guilty about sitting in front of a blank screen. That flashing cursor mocking me. I feel like I’m letting my blog and business down if I’m not creating new content. Especially if that time is pencilled into my schedule as “post writing time”.

    So, how do we overcome that guilt of “not being able to do anything”? Well, like I just said, there’s plenty of other elements to blogging than simply writing. But don’t get drawn into doing meaningless tasks that don’t actually progress your blog just because you feel that you need to be doing something.

    Here are 5 things that you can work on to improve your blog even when writing new posts isn’t an option!

    5 Things to do For Your Blog When You Don't Want to Write

     

    **This post may contain affiliate links for products I love. If you make a purchase through one of these links, I will earn a commission at no extra cost to you. For my full disclaimer, please click here**

    1. Refresh Old Posts

    Refreshing and reusing old content is a great way to work on your blog without having to write anything new. It can also be a fantastic way to drive traffic to your site with very little extra work.

    You like the sound of that don’t you? Who wouldn’t!

    There are hundreds of ways you can refresh and reuse old content. Well…maybe not hundreds but there are a lot! Actually, thinking about it, I might do a full post on all the different ways to refresh your old content. But, for now, I’ll give you a few ideas to get started with for those odd days when you don’t want to write:

    Update Old Posts

    Have a read through your oldest posts. First of all, you’ll probably spend a lot of time cringing at how you used to write. I know I do every time I go back and ready my early stuff.

    Secondly, you’ll probably see a few ways to update your posts straight off the bat. There are things like spelling and grammatical errors that you will have missed no matter how many time you read those posts before publishing first time round.

    You might also be able to link some of your newer content into those older posts. We’re all great at linking back to older posts when we’re writing new content but how often do you do it the other way round? Do it now!

    Also, depending on how old your posts are, you might have actually changed your opinion or learnt something new that you’d now like to add into the post. Tweak and update as much or as little as you want.

    Ths is a great task to do when you don’t mind working on blog posts but don’t want to write a new one from scratch.

    Recycle Old Content

    Why not use something that you’ve already created to make something new? Use a blog post that you’ve already written to create an email course or webinar. Or, work the other way round and take part of one of your online courses or a section of your ebook and create a shorter blog post or email to your list of adoring fans.

    You’ll be surprised how much “new” content you’ll be able to generate just be rehashing what you have already created.

    Before long you’ll go from “I don’t want to write” to “Wow! Look how much I’ve written” without having had to think about generating new ideas or writing anything new. Minimum input, maximum output!

    Include Some Content Upgrades

    Ok, I know you don’t want to write so creating new content upgrades is probably a no-go right now. But, bear with me.

    Chances are that you have a content upgrade that is suitable for more than one of your blog posts. You may have several posts that are about creating new content. Whilst all of those posts might be very different, all of your readers who are drawn to those posts will probably be interested in a list of 50+ blog post ideas.

    So, have a read through your posts and see if you can add in some opt-in forms on posts that don’t already have any. If you’re unsure about where to place those opt-in forms for maximum conversions, check out this post – “Creating Sign-Up Forms and Where to Place them to Increase Subscribers.

    If you’re a Convertkit user (like myself), you can grab the CSS coding cheat sheet below which contains lots of simple coding for you to copy and past to customise your opt-in forms and make them look beautiful!

    See what I did there?

    Add Affiliate Links

    When you first started out blogging you might not have thought about monetising it. Or maybe you just hadn’t signed up to many affiliate programmes?

    Either way, days when you don’t feel like writing, are the perfect time to go through your older posts and make sure that you’ve included affiliate links in all the right places.

    It’s important not to go completely overboard with affiliate links as it can make you seem salesy and pushy.

    Having said that, you may have written some posts where you have recommended a product or service but not included an affiliate link. If you’re already signed up to the relevant affiliate programme, simply pop in your custom affiliate link. If not, do some digging and see if there is an affiliate programme available that you can sign up to.

    Not sure about affiliate marketing, what it entails or how to boost your affiliate sales, check out “How to Make Your First Affiliate Sale in Less than 24 hours”

    5 Things to do For Your Blog When You Don't Want to Write

    2. Read other People’s Blogs (and Leave Comments)

    Okay, okay, this does involve a little bit of writing in terms of typing comments. But it’s not like real writing!

    Reading other people’s blogs when you don’t want to write can have two major benefits.

    Firstly, reading content from other bloggers can help your writing. Not only can you gain some inspiration, but it’s also common knowledge that reading helps writers in terms of their writing style and ability.

    The second benefit comes from leaving comments. If you read a post that you really enjoy, leave a meaningful comment. This is a great way of showing support to other bloggers but also a fantastic way of networking and getting your name and brand out there.

    3. Enrol in a Course

    I’m a huge fan of continually learning new things and improving my knowledge on all things blogging.

    If you don’t want to write and fancy a complete break from your blog or business, why not sign up for a course and spend some time studying?

    It can be something that you’ve wanted to learn how to do for ages or something that you’re heard a lot about from others in your niche.

    Perhaps you want to learn more about using Pinterest to drive more traffic to your site, or maybe how to become a successful freelance writer?

    You can check out my favourite free courses in this post here. If you’re looking to invest a little more time and money into learning new skills, here are my three favourite paid courses/eBooks at the moment:

    Pinterest Unpuzzled

    Pinterest Unpuzzled was an absolute life-saver for me when it came to my Pinterest strategy. I really had no idea what I was doing before this course. I was just randomly pinning and hoping for the best! This course is for you if:

    This course is for you if:

    • You’re struggling with Pinterest
    • You want to grow your following
    • You want to boost traffic to your blog
    • You want to stop wasting time on Pinterest
    • You want to strategically configure your account to flourish on auto-pilot

    5 Things to do For Your Blog When You Don't Want to Write

    Boost Your Blog Traffic

    If you’re looking for ways to increase your traffic, then this eBook is for you! I wish I had had this level of information and guidance from the very start of my blogging journey. It would have made a huge difference and saved me a lot of time!

    Here’s what to expect when you purchase the eBook:

    • A target audience audit and how to track them
    • A complex, but easy to grasp SEO tutorial
    • A Social Media Strategy Breakdown
    • An in-depth Pinterest tutorial and resources
    • 100 pages worth of PRO blog traffic tips
    • EXCLUSIVE BONUS: 2 Free Months With Tailwind
    • BONUS 1: +100 Places to promote your blog Checklist
    • BONUS 2: +100 Facebook Promo Groups for bloggers
    • BONUS 3: Access to my resource library for bloggers

    5 Things to do For Your Blog When You Don't Want to Write

    Blogging to Win

    This is one of THE most detailed and comprehensive courses I’ve enrolled in. Even though I “completed” it some time ago now, I am constantly referring back to it for more advice.

    Here’s what’s covered in this amazing course:

    • Module #1: Creating your profitable blogging business
    • Module #2: Launching your blog
    • Module #3: Establishing your online presence
    • Module #4: Creating your email marketing strategy
    • Module #5: Validate your entrepreneurial idea
    • Module #6: Growing your audience
    • Module #7: Launching your entrepreneurial idea
    • Module #8: Other forms of monetisation

    5 Things to do For Your Blog When You Don't Want to Write

    And, of course, “How to Make Your First Affiliate Sale in Less than 24 hours” that I mentioned earlier.

    4. Check Broken Links

    Seems like a little task but it’s often overlooked. And we all know how annoying it is when you click on a link in someone’s blog post and it takes you nowhere.

    Not only is it annoying but it looks unprofessional too.

    It’s easy to loose track of what links do and don’t work. If, for example, you delete one of your posts, it’s hard to remember every other post that you included a link in. It’s even more difficult to keep track of external links. Maybe you’ve linked to another blogger’s post and they’ve recently deleted or moved that post.

    The most simple way of keeping on top of broken links is to install a plugin like Broken Link CheckerFor starters, it does what it says on the tin – it checks for broken links! I’ve used this plugin for a while now and highly recommend it. It checks all of your links; internal and external, on all of your posts and pages.

    The plugin simply sits under “Tools” on your WordPress dashboard and highlights how many broken links your site has. Once you click onto the plugin itself, it presents you with a simple, easily actionable list of broken links. From here you can simply remove the link or click on each individual one and update it within the relevant post.

    5. Plan Ahead

    This is my favourite thing to do when I don’t want to write anything new for my blog.

    I absolutely love planning – from a personal point of view. Yes, I’m a massive planning geek!

    But it’s more than that. It’s also an essential part of running your blog or biz. Every element of Flourishing Freelancer gets planned out ahead of time from blog posts to social media updates and newsletters. This leaves me plenty of time to genuinely engage with my audience.

    If planning isn’t your strong point then I would highly recommend making a small investment in a planner like the Ultimate Blog Planner Bundle to help you out.

    Whether you’re working on improving your traffic or increasing your income, having a plan in place is the best way to make things happen.

    So, next time you don’t want to write, when not take some time to set out a plan for your blog or biz. This could be for a week, month or even a year. Whatever feels right to you!

    5 Things to do For Your Blog When You Don't Want to Write

    So, next time you find yourself wanting to work on your blog but you don’t want to write, why not try one of these ideas?

  • February Guest Post – Here I Share the Beginning of My Journey (by Sushmita Thakare Jain)

    February Guest Post

    This month I’m introducing a new feature to the Flourishing Freelancer blog – a monthly guest post spot.

    The first guest post spot goes to the wonderful Sushmita from EFR International.

    Guest Post

    Sushmita is a work enthusiast and blogger, looking and searching for what life has to offer! She helps business owners build their brands and make them irresistible, profitable and to simple run them. She also helps build their social media, marketing and digital strategy with confidence, so they’re not just successful, but authentic as well as reliable.

    Other than work, Sushmita is someone who loves to enjoy life and keep things sweet n simple just like she is!!!

    So, without further ado, over to Sushmita!


    Here I share the beginning of my journey!

    Each day we come across numerous quotes related to life’s journeys, one of my favourites is:

    “Life is a journey with problems to be solved, lessons to learn, but most of all experiences to enjoy”

    Today I share my journey as a blogger with you all.

    A journey of a thousand miles which began with a simple step!

    Until March last year, I had never even considered or thought of becoming a Blogger. I loved reading blogs as well as books but never thought I would go ahead with it or had it within me.

    But just like it is said about life’s uncertainty, there can be blessings in disguise.

    When the previous year had begun, it was not on a good note since other than my solo ownership companies my only partnership project had dissolved which I was excited about, P.S. I am excited about every positive development.

    But that setback turned out to be a boon, which provided me the needed time for growing my company EFR International. 8 months before expanding my work and going from being local to going global, I rebranded my Business.

    At the time when I was working on our rebranding and marketing my husband suggested me that I share my experiences via blogs with my audience rather than hiring a freelancer and that’s when my life changed.

    I was stunned, then he told me he had read my personal journal and could see it in me.

    At first, I laughed at it, but in the back of my head, I knew it was the fear of rejection which was holding me back. I had always been writing but never had an audience so when I began I thought of it as writing my thoughts or opinions on the web.

    In fact, to be honest, I started with a free website rather than a hosted one even though we offer such services.

    But when I started receiving comments on my blogs and having a stable audience, was when I moved my website to a self-hosted site.

    The positive responses & comments are one of my favourite things about it. Simply because they help me to grow as well as improve.

    I believe it’s simply our audience which makes us who we are.

    Do you agree?

    Like Lailah Gifty Akita, Pearls of Wisdom from Great Mind says:

    “We will always cherish the people who extended great love to us.”

    In these 7 months, I have developed a strange love for blogging, in such a short amount of time, it seems to have become a part of me; it seems like an eternity!

    I can’t say about others, but when it comes to me writing brings me the peace of mind.

    Is it the same with you?

    When I write the world full of distractions seems to disappear, I tend to momentarily focus my mind on one stream of conscious thought. Sometimes it even feels like meditation, providing a state of deep peace that occurs when the mind is calm and silent.

    As a Blogger, I feel it’s easy to fall in love with the art of writing.

    Have you found yourself going off track? My journey has taught me that’s it’s your own expectations and criticism which sometimes takes you off track.

    Like in my early days, instead of working on my style of writing I started comparing my work with others and it lead to distracting me further. It was like my expectations were ruling my life, I had set myself up for disappointment.

    This is not the first time I have had expectations for myself yet this time it caught the hold of me.

    After I completed my engineering degree, as per the world’s standards i.e. those close to me and my family, I was bound to be successful, get a great job, and make money. But I had a dream and expected from myself to take steps towards its accomplishment. In the past 6 years, I moved ahead step by step and fingers crossed each day reaching closer to my dream. They may be small wins but when accumulated have helped me become who I am today.

    So when I realised I needed to gather myself and refocus I started expressing myself and my opinions just like I wanted to do when I started. I also added my favourite things, i.e. organisation and preplanning, to my writing.

    So remember a lesson I learned and Kemi Sogunle shared:

    “The tests we face in life’s journey are not to reveal our weaknesses but to help us discover our inner strengths. We can only know how strong we are when we strive and thrive beyond the challenges we face.”

    The beginning of my journey was sudden and random. But before I dived in I tried to learn or rather understand the basics of the blogging world. Then I made my debut. I had known freelance bloggers for some time, but when you enter the arena you must be thorough with your basics at least.

    Today 7 months down the line, I am grateful everyone associated with me as this love of mine is growing day by day.

    Currently, I have few major developments coming up and hope to receive better responses for the upcoming developments as well.

    Counting on my Blogging business, has not only led primarily to expanding my company’s online presence, helping me connect with potential customers and looking forward to growing more. Blogging has also helped me promote myself as a brand and helped me promote and exhibit my work.

    Blogging opens you up to a world of opportunities, including speaking engagements, consulting deals and freelance writing gigs. Believe me, they have helped me grow my business from the shadows of being a local small business.

    Yes, my friends, that’s true!

    If you want it to go for it, Martin Luther King, Jr says

    ” You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.”

    I have taken mine.

    It may take time but you need to be consistent as well as persistent. You cannot and should never expect miracles to happen.

    Right?

    Blogging has not only increased my love for writing but also for reading.

    Before I was a reader more interested in Books rather than blogs now my interests have expanded. I love both equally now, it inspires me to be better and more creative and improvise.

    “You can get everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want.”

    So, for me it’s all about working on businesses to help them achieve the heights they expect and dream of!


    I’d like to say a huge “Thank you” to Sushmita for sharing her story. And for taking the step of grabbing the first guest post spot on the blog!

    If you’d like to hear more from Sushmita, you can follow her here:

    Website

    Twitter

    Facebook

    If you’re interested in submitting a guest post to Flourishing Freelancer, please get in touch with me. I’m always open to collaborating with other bloggers and writers!

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  • 5 Tips for Starting a Profitable Blog

    Starting a blog is exciting but what about starting a profitable blog? Where do you even begin? What steps do you need to take to make money?

    Don’t panic I’ve been there!  When I started my first blog it was purely a hobby. But I started this blog in a way that I could make money off it from day one. I did loads of research before I began and there’s just so much information out there that I was completely overwhelmed by it all. I ended up switching my laptop off for a while and putting off the launch of my blog because I didn’t know where to start. But I eventually got round to taking some email courses and reading lots of really helpful articles and here I am now!

    Here are some of my blogging tips for beginners.

    Profitable Blog

    1. Choose Your Niche

    Okay, I’ll start off with something that every single blogging advice post will tell you – you need to choose a niche for your blog. Whilst this isn’t essential if you’re just blogging as a hobby, you’ll need a niche if you want to make money. You will need to narrow down your niche in order to build a solid, loyal following.

    If you’re planning to make money through selling products, whether online or physical, your potential customers will need to trust in your expertise. Think of it this way. Would you buy a blogging course off someone who can’t run a blog? No. Choose your niche based on your knowledge and experiences that you can turn into great blog posts.

    2. Create Great Content

    Seems like an obvious one but in order to make money off your blog you need to have something that someone will pay for. Draw from your experience and knowledge to write informative posts about your chosen niche. To be able to make money, you need to have visitors to your site so people need to have a reason to visit your blog – make that reason great content.

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    3. Build Relationships and Engage with Your Audience

    Whether you plan to make money through affiliate links, ads or selling products your readers will need to trust you as an expert in your niche. The best way to establish this, other than by creating great content, is to build relationships with your readers. In order to build those relationships, you should be engaging with your audience outside of your actual blog posts. What do I mean by this? I mean connecting with people on Twitter, in Facebook Groups, replying to comments on your blog and commenting on other blogs.

    Web Hosting

    4. Think of Your Blog as Business, not a Hobby

    If you want to make money off your blog, you need to start thinking of it as a business and lose the hobby blogger mindset. As with any business, you’ll need to set yourself specific goals, targets and deadlines. If you want to build a profitable blog then you need to have a business blogger mindset.

    One of my top tips for treating your blog like a business is to plan and schedule to ensure that you stay on target. You can read about how to stay on track and to motivate yourself when you’re your own boss here.

    5. Income Strategy

    There’s very little point in saying “I want to make money from my blog” and then just hoping for the best. Most people don’t make money from blogging directly. Your blog is just a platform and you’ll probably use a combination of income streams. The biggest and most popular streams of blogging income are advertising, affiliate marketing, digital products, physical products and services.

    In order to have a successful, profitable blog, you will need to plan out which income streams you want to use and create a strategy on how to implement those streams.

    Over the next few weeks, I’ll be writing posts on different income methods so keep your eyes peeled for those.

    Making money from your blog is hard work and it’s best left to happen organically. But, if you follow the above 5 tips from the start, you’ll be well on your way.

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  • Sending Your First Newsletter – How to Prep Like a Pro

    Today’s post is the last one in my series on email lists and marketing – sending your first newsletter. So now you’re all set up on MailChimp and you’ve got your awesome lead magnet that’s getting people to sign up to your email list left, right and centre, it’s time to send out your first newsletter.

    Newsletter

    Setting Up Your Newsletter

    Like the rest of this mini-series, I’m working with MailChimp. This is purely because it’s what I use so I know how to explain it to you!

    From your MailChimp dashboard, you need to click on “Campaigns” and then “Create Campaigns” in the top right. From the list you then want to select “Regular Campaign”, choose the list you want to send your campaign to and then click “next” at the bottom of the screen.

    Like I mentioned before, one of the reasons I love MailChimp is because it’s super easy to use with its drag and drop options.

    Newsletter

    Firstly, you’ll want to name your campaign and add an interesting subject line – you want people to actually open and read the email once it lands in their inbox after all. Then you can get cracking on designing the newsletter itself. You can edit the colour scheme, add images, text, links…pretty much anything you want here so go crazy! Play around with the different options and layouts until you’ve created something that you’re happy with.

    Then you can get cracking on designing the newsletter itself. You can edit the colour scheme, add images, text, links…pretty much anything you want here so go crazy! Play around with the different options and layouts until you’ve created something that you’re happy with.

    Top Tip Once you’ve created a layout that you love, click “Save as Template” so that you can work from that every time you send a newsletter.

    Use Your Branding

    One key thing to consider when you’re creating your first newsletter is that it needs to be on brand and relevant. Make sure that you use the same colour scheme, logo and image style as your site and social media accounts. You want your readers to be able to instantly recognise that the email has come from you. They need to be able to make the connection between the email and the blog or site that they love so much. If they can’t, there’s a risk they might just delete the email before they’ve even read it.

    Make your newsletter look attractive and interesting too. All too often I open an email and delete it without even reading it because it looks boring. Either it has too much text or it’s too long and in all honesty, I just think “I can’t be bothered to read that”. One way to avoid this is to include “read more” links so that readers can click through to the full blog posts that they’re interested in without being over faced in the email itself.

    Finally, you want the content to be relevant, so…

    Newsletter

    What Should You Say to Your Readers?

    Ever receive a newsletter that’s just random ramblings? No. It just doesn’t seem to happen. All of the newsletters I receive seem to be jam packed full of super useful stuff that I need in my life. So now it’s your turn to create something equally as helpful for your readers. But where the heck do you start?

    Personally, I like to start off with a little bit of chit chat. I only send one newsletter a month so I usually have a mini paragraph at the start of the email just letting my readers know what’s been happening – both on the blog and in my personal life. It’s important to remember that your readers like to know that you’re a real personal that they can relate to.

    I’ll do a little update on the blog; you know, major milestones that I’ve hit, exciting new things that I’m planning etc. I like to keep this fairly brief too, I don’t want my readers to get bored halfway through the email.

    I also like to include links to a couple of my most popular blog posts just to keep the traffic flowing back to my blog. Those posts were popular for a reason…people wanted to read them so why not flag them up in your newsletter just in case your readers missed them first time round?

    If you have a product or service to sell, your newsletter is a great way to advertise. Remember that you have total control over the contents of your newsletter so put whatever you want in there! Adding a reminder about the products and services you sell is a great way to attract new customers. You can even offer your newsletter subscribers a discount if you’re feeling super generous!

    Newsletter

    Add Some Exclusive Content

    Finally, if you can, attach some free stuff. People love free stuff! Like your lead magnet, your readers want to feel like they’re getting something extra special by being signed up to your email list. Send them free downloads and workbooks etc. every so often that can’t be accessed on your site. Give them something exclusive and exciting (this should help reduce the amount of unsubscribers).

    Another way to make your subscribers feel special is to include a blog post that hasn’t been published on your site yet. Whether you decide to keep that post exclusively for your newsletter subscribers or add it to your site at a later point is up to you. The important thing is that, at the time you send your newsletter, the content is exclusively for them.

    Hitting Send

    So now you’ve decided on your content and played around with the layout what happens next? You hit send of course! But first of all, you’re hitting send to yourself and no one else. Send a test version of your newsletter to your personal email address and read it. Make sure it looks like you want it to in the reading pane of your inbox. Check for mistakes and ensure that all of the links you’ve included actually take you through to the pages you want them too. It sounds really simple and almost silly for me to suggest this but it’s so important. Readers will be hitting that “unsubscribe” button quicker than you can send out an apology email!

    What are you waiting for? Start getting creative with your newsletter and get that first one sent out. If you need any help sending your first one or want a second pair of eyes to glance over it before you hit send, get in touch with me. Good luck!

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