• Accounting Made EASY with FreshBooks

    Running a virtual business requires a lot of business tools. One type of business tool that is important is accounting software, so you can invoice clients, track hours worked, record income and expenses, etc. The best accounting software I have come across is Freshbooks cloud Accounting.

    Read now or pin for later!

    The burning question is-what can FreshBooks do for you. There are MANY choices out there when it comes to client invoicing, accounting, and keeping track of finances, but this one is a personal favorite of mine. And no, it’s not because I’m an affiliate for them. I loved them before I even got into their affiliate program!

    accounting made easy with FreshBooks cloud accounting software

    While there are invoicing programs and tools like QuickBooks and Paypal, FreshBooks is the one program I have grown to love and keep coming back to. They have a user-friendly interface and I love how EASY it is to set up a client and auto-bill them every month! Another plus is that it keeps track of my finances and categorizes my expenses, as well as charges late fees automatically. It has truly proven to be a lifesaver for my business (and sanity!) and I’m so in love with the program. 

    ** This post contains affiliate links. While it doesn’t cost you anything extra, if you purchase through my link I may receive a modest commission. Read my disclosure here

    The best thing about FreshBooks is that they offer a free trial before you buy, and there’s no pressure or obligation to continue after your trial is up. The features they offer with each plan is amazing and have really helped me with my business.  Here is a breakdown of their plans (from their website):

    -Lite @ $15/month: 
     5 clients= unlimited invoices and estimates; Track time and expenses; support

    -Plus @ $25/month: 
    50 clients= all Lite features; automatic payment reminders; charge late fees; schedule recurring invoices; send proposals; request e-signature on proposals; accounting reports

    -Premium @ $50/month: 
    500 clients, plus all Lite and Plus features. 

    FreshBooks is an online accounting software for small business owners. Invoice your clients with ease!

        

    As you can see, FreshBooks does it all and then some! Sign up through my affiliate link today and put your mind and books at ease. With a free trial before you buy, I’m sure you’ll fall in love with the program before it’s up!

    If you use FreshBooks yourself, drop a comment below and tell me your favorite feature!

  • Bullet Journal for Productivity in my business

    There are many tools that people use for various purposes. As a Social Media Manager, tools that aid me in my daily tasks are extremely important to me. Enter the bullet journal.

    (This post may contain affiliate links. While it doesn’t cost you extra to make a purchase through my link, I may make a modest commission for referring you. Check out my full disclaimer here. Thank you in advance!)

    MailerLite Email Marketing for Small Business
    productivity and bullet journaling

    What is a bullet journal?

    One of the most important things about my job is the fact that I need to stay organized so that I am as efficient as possible. While I use a few automated and online programs, I still rely on one analog tool-my bullet journal. 

    What is a bullet journal? The official definition can be found at bulletjournal.com, but my definition is simple-a bullet journal is a planner that I create from scratch to function how I need it to. I can add certain pages each month (by creating them) or delete pages for a month or two (by not creating them). That way I didn’t purchase a pre-made planner of which I only use about half the pages included. 

    https://www.instagram.com/p/Boe2qzhnEb7/?utm_source=ig_web_button_share_sheet

    https://www.instagram.com/p/Bk8IjQEHONW/?utm_source=ig_web_button_share_sheet

    “BuJo” for Productivity

    My bullet journal (“BuJo”) has a monthly calendar, weekly and daily sections (spreads), a rough draft of my content calendar for the month, an area to jot down random thoughts (brain dump), a future log, and more. 

    In a world where digital tools have taken over, I feel refreshed by using my analog tool and still staying organized and efficient. A BuJo can literally be anything you want it to be. 

    A Functional vs Decorative bullet journal

    Each person bullet journals differently, but the most popular way is to use a dot grid notebook (my favorite is Scrivwell brand on Amazon) and they decorate using fancy pens or charms. While it still functions as a calendar/productivity tool, it also can reflect your personality with stickers, stencils, charms.

    Are you going to BuJo?

    So if you are in the market to try something new with your planning and staying organized, I highly suggest trying out a bullet journal!

    If you want to learn more about bullet journaling, and would like to participate in an informative, step-by-step course, I highly recommend the Journal You course by Life by Whitney. I adore her work and her spreads, and you also get a bunch of freebie printables to aid in your productivity! Check the course out here

    bullet journaling for productivity
  • My 3 favorite Social Media Schedulers

    Social media automation schedulers. The time-saving feature of marketing your business (even while you sleep!).

    In a world where just about everything has gone digital, you can count on the fact that there will be some kind of program or app that will take care of the “work” for you. Something to free up some of the time you spend doing something manually. This world has evolved so much that there are now machines to take your order at McDonald’s, and cashiers are being replaced by self-checkout machines.

    When you go into business for yourself, you usually don’t have an army behind you picking up the slack. This is where automation or schedulers come in to help. With programs, apps, and tools, you can create scheduled posts and have a robot do the nitty-gritty for you. By using these programs (most of them with free options!) you can free up some time in your day that you’ve spent posting on social media and use it for more productive things. 

    Disclaimer: this post may contain affiliate links. While it doesn’t cost you anything extra, I may make a small commission if you purchase through my link. Read my full disclaimer here

    Read now or pin for later!

    automation tools and schedulers plannerwishesbylori.com/automation-tools

    What types of social media schedulers are there?

    In the business world, automation tools and schedulers have become an integral part of everyday work habits. The way I utilize them is to pick certain days to do certain tasks and “batch” them for a period of time. (Usually a week but sometimes for a month.) This way I won’t forget to post something or I can post something at a time where my audience may be active, but I may be sleeping. (Helloooo Hawai’i time zone). 

    Stylish stock photography stock photos

    Tailwind

    My number one (and most favorite!) scheduler is Tailwind. Tailwind is partnered with Pinterest and Instagram (although I only use it for Pinterest), and it uses a “smart schedule” to create time slots that maximize the potential reach of your content. This is great for all businesses (bloggers, small shops, etc.) and it can assist you in gaining organic traffic to your site and business.

    There is also something called Tribes, (which is similar to Pinterest group boards), which allow you to post pins collectively to reach bigger audiences. They also recently rolled out a Smart Loop program, which recycles your evergreen content and posts it at the intervals you set it to. Tailwind is a game changer and well worth the $15 a month (per social media account) in my opinion. They offer a free trial for your first 100 pins and give you the option for a plus plan, which you can pay monthly or annually. Use my link to get a free month (for you AND me!) after your trial is over.

    SmarterQueue

    SmarterQueue is an excellent scheduler that I use to automate my Twitter posts. They have a scheduling system that recycles your evergreen content. (Which is definitely my favorite feature!) I can basically add everything I want to add, set it and forget it! (Well, until I need to add new content each week.) SmarterQueue can be used to schedule Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, and LinkedIn posts. After your free trial, it is only $19.99 per month. Get your free trial here. 

    Planoly

    I use Planoly to schedule my Instagram posts and create a cohesive feed. The drag and drop feature allows me to design a feed the way I want it to look. Another plus that Planoly offers is that you can use the desktop version AND the app! I am OBSESSED with this scheduler. It also gives you the option to auto-publish, (as long as the photo you schedule is square), with a caption and hashtag sets (created beforehand and saved). You can even schedule an INSTAGRAM STORY (paid version). This is the best app I have ever come across for Instagram. Planoly offers a paid and free (limited) version. Try Planoly for free here.

    Social media schedulers and automation tools

    In summary

    These are my top 3 FAVORITE scheduling tools for the social media channels that I use in my business. (I also use the scheduler they have within Facebook, for my groups and pages.) I know it may seem excessive to use 3 different programs, but I don’t mind as they suit my social media needs nicely and get the job done. To make it easier on me (and my client’s work) I batch schedule my posts so that I am only scheduling content (and using these tools) once per week. 

    What do you use for social media, and why? Comment below to share your thoughts!

  • S.M.A.R.T. (Smart) goal setting for your business

    Goal setting is not just taking a wish and saying, “this is what I want to do”. It’s so much more. With a goal you want to have something that you strive for; your end result (or target checkpoint). This is where SMART goals come in.

    In a nutshell, SMART goals are goals you set with clear and reachable outcomes.

    Read now or pin for later!

    This post may contain affiliate links, and while it may not cost you anything extra, if you make a purchase through any of my links, I may make a small commission. All opinions are my own. Thank you in advance for trusting me! Read more here.

    How to set goals you want to accomplish

    Ready to tackle SMART goal setting? Take my FREE 6-part workshop on setting goals that you will actually want to accomplish! Each part of the workshop breaks down the letters in the SMART acronym, provides simple examples, (with worksheets to follow), and allows you to thoroughly set your goals.

    Sign up for the FREE SMART goal setting workshop here.

    SMART goals email workshop

    Final thoughts

    Leave me a comment and let me know what your biggest challenge is in setting goals (whether business or personal). And let me know if you’ve signed up for the workshop!

  • What I learned from my 4 week Instagram hiatus

    Mid-May I had a lot of things going on in my personal life. (An unexpected move, packing, lack of motivation..) So many things that I had to put some of my business tasks on hold for a bit. Enter my Instagram hiatus.

    I knew I had to put some of my business on the back-burner because it became necessary to do so. And I had to choose carefully which parts were [temporarily] going.

    I decided that, after scheduling my posts for the rest of the month, I would be putting Instagram aside.

    Read about my experience in putting my Instagram aside for a month (and counting).

    This post may contain affiliate links, and while it may not cost you anything extra, if you make a purchase through any of my links, I may make a small commission. All opinions are my own. Thank you in advance for trusting me! Read more here.

    What I learned from my [4 week] Instagram hiatus

    How does Instagram work?

    Instagram, like any other social media channel, works best when you engage with your followers daily. If you just drop a post, add a couple of hashtags and run, you will not get the full potential of the platform back in return.

    It is my understanding of the algorithm that, to gain the maximum effects of Instagram, you should be doing (at minimum):

    • engaging with those who follow you (comment/like their posts) before AND after you post
    • utilize the ‘explore’ page and find new accounts to follow (that fit your interests/niche)
    • research and use the correct hashtags for your post/business/niche

    The BEST advice I found and follow for this is Gary Vee’s $1.80 method.

    Why did I choose Instagram?

    I ultimately decided to go on an Instagram hiatus because out of all the platforms I frequent for my business, IG took the most work (for me).

    Yes I had my graphics created, my captions planned, and my hashtags researched; unfortunately, it was the engagement that killed me and that’s why I decided to take a much-needed break.

    I honestly felt like I wasn’t using the platform to its full potential anyway, and the events going on in my personal life gave me the perfect excuse to take the break I’ve been debating on taking with IG. (This has actually been floating around in my mind for about a month or so, to either close my IG or start a brand new account.)

    So what happened to my IG?

    *As of this post, I have been on my IG hiatus for about 4 weeks.*

    I still have my Instagram up, I just don’t post daily as I have been before. Once my scheduled posts ran out, I slowed to almost a stop on the platform. (I did post a few stories here and there, informing my followers of sales or discounts on my services.)

    On my last post, I let my followers know that I was taking an Instagram break for an undisclosed amount of time (because I didn’t really know how long myself), and reminded them that they can still find and follow me on my other platforms (Facebook & Pinterest) or join my newsletter list. I also reminded them of my Pinterest course that was still available.

    Of course, I also made it apparent that I was still in business! (Just not frequenting IG.)

    I felt that even though I only had a handful of followers that actually engaged with my posts (no more than 30 accounts, with 1500+ followers) I needed to be honest with them and to not just up and ghost.

    My Followers

    My follower count did go down some (as expected) but not as much as I thought it would. I know that Instagram has been cracking down on fake accounts so I expected to continue losing the 3-5 “followers” a day. I also expected to lose some accounts that I no longer served a purpose for (since I wasn’t sharing anything new).

    All in all, for the 4 weeks I have been off of IG, I’ve lost less than 100 followers. I’m totally okay with that!

    I have also been receiving quite a bit of new followers each day as well, which is a total surprise for me! (And something I’m totally grateful for.)

    SMART goals email workshop

    Posts/Posting

    About a week ago, I did add a new post stating that I would be back soon, and in my caption explained my situation and asked if they benefitted from my IG at all. (Because if no one really cared, wanted it, or seen it, it would make my decision to close my account an easier one.)

    Inquiries

    On the first week of my hiatus, I received a DM asking if I was still in business and taking new clients! It felt awesome and was a great opportunity for me. It also told me that my IG was well laid-out and easy to understand.

    Support

    After posting about my break, I received tons of support from my followers who are local to me! They understood that sometimes a break is necessary, and really affirmed that I was taking the right step for myself (and my business.)

    Recycle, recycle, recycle!

    While I was fully on pause on IG, I still had my Facebook business page and Pinterest account to keep up with. However, because I put so much work into my IG posts and captions, I was able to supplement my Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn posts with one click of a button!

    I recycled my IG posts by sharing them to my other platforms! I shared directly to Facebook and Twitter and shared my Facebook and blog posts directly to LinkedIn. Pinterest was taken care of by Tailwind! (I’m telling you, Tailwind is a GODSEND when it comes to scheduling pins.)

    I always heard of recycling posts or rewriting them to fit other platforms, but never got around to “trying” it. However, I saw my opportunity to do it, and it worked so WELL for me and the situation I was in!

    I took a break from Instagram.. find out what happened!

    What I learned

    Because I had been debating between closing my account, starting a new one, or just keeping this one, I had a hard time just leaving my account to the wolves (lol). I’m extremely glad that I was able to schedule out some posts, as well as leave a post announcing my departure and alternative methods of contact instead of just ghosting my [few] loyal followers.

    After being away from Instagram and focusing on other areas of my business, I felt strangely.. free in a sense. It was nice to not be constantly on IG, posting stories, finding ideas, researching the best hashtags of the week..

    To be honest, I’m not even sure that my business was/is benefitting from Instagram, and I am still wondering if I actually need the platform or not.

    The verdict

    4 weeks later and I am still on the fence about starting up my Instagram again. I am really enjoying the break, and I am also enjoying that I don’t have to come up with new content at the moment.

    Howeverrrr, I am fighting with myself because I am now coming up with all these new ideas for my IG. (Yes, I am soooo horrible at making decisions, ugh.)

    So now I am back in my dilemma.

    I have been thinking of doing another trial run (for about a month) and utilizing the evergreen function on SmarterQueue. Basically, I’d enter all my posts and it can be recycled every so often. And, I can also add to my queue and still be on track!

    Share your thoughts!

    So, what do you think about Instagram in general? Does it benefit you, business-wise? Leave me a comment letting me know your opinion of IG! Don’t forget to include your niche/business too so I can gauge correctly.

    I’d LOVE to hear other’s opinions, and what works (or what doesn’t!) for them!

  • How to keep up with your virtual business when “life” happens!

    It’s one of those things that happen. Especially if you work your virtual business from home. And have children.

    It’s called Life.

    There may be times where you have to put your business on the back burner. Not intentionally, but because important things happen in your life.

    As of this post, I just signed a lease for my new house. It was a VERY UNEXPECTED life event, even though it was something I had been planning for months.

    You see, we were house hunting, but having a hard time finding something that fit all of our criteria. Then one day (a Saturday)  we saw a sign on the side of the road for a house for rent. We got in touch with the Landlord the next day (Sunday) and after gathering our paperwork and documents, the day after (Monday) we received our keys!

    Yes, my story seems like something that isn’t real (it’s true, I promise!), and as unexpected as it was, I needed to start packing up and transferring everything. While STILL running and keeping up with my business (and client work!).

    Luckily, even though I had to pack up my home office, I was still able to maintain my virtual business like I still had one! Keep reading to know how I did it.

    This post may contain affiliate links, and while it may not cost you anything extra, if you make a purchase through any of my links, I may make a small commission. All opinions are my own. Thank you in advance for trusting me! Read more here.

    how to keep up with your virtual business when "life" happens

    Top 10 Apps I use for my virtual business

    One way I kept up with my virtual business (Pinterest Strategist/Manager and VA) is by downloading all the app versions of the programs I use on my computer onto my phone and iPad.

    By downloading the apps, I can still keep up with certain aspects of my job and not slow down! Some of the apps I use daily are:

    • Gmail

    Email is one of my most important forms of communication with current and potential clients, my subscribers, and more. I have the app on both my phone and iPad. This is an essential part of my business and I was so glad I was able to keep up with anything that came through.

    • Pinterest

    Since my business revolves around Pinterest, it’s only natural that I’d have the app downloaded everywhere! The app doesn’t include all the features that the website has, but it has enough of them that I could still do the work I needed to do. I love that I can be signed into multiple accounts at the same time!

    • Canva

    Being a Social Media Manager means I’m always creating some type of graphic, either for myself or clients. By downloading it on my phone and iPad, I was still able to create graphics on the go!

    pinterest for the people course
    • Google Analytics

    An important aspect of my business is monitoring and analying data for mu clients. This helps with building their Pinterest profiles and ensuring that my strategies are working. If not, I can tweak them at moment’s notice!

    • Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn

    These apps are downloaded not only for personal use, but to keep up with my clients, too! FB, IG, TW, and LI are great places for me to find clients or to answer questions that others have in regards to management.

    • WordPress

    I downloaded the WordPress app so that I could monitor my daily traffic and ensure that my website is performing the way it should be.

    I use Tailwind to help with my client’s and my Pinterest traffic. From the app I can schedule pins, create drafts, and find other’s pins to post! One downide for me is that I can only be signed into one account at a time, and I can’t access board lists from the app.

    • Trello

    Trello is an awesome organizational tool! I use it as my blog editorial calendar, affiliate links home, and more. It automatically syncs from my computer to my phone and back. I love that I can keep up with it on the go; it’s been a lifesaver for me!

    • Dropbox

    I use Dropbox to save all my client’s work and more. By having on my computer and apps, I can access the files I need at any time I need them.

    I use Planoly to schedule my Instagram posts. Scheduling posts help me to save and manage my time wisely.

    35 content prompts

    Working my virtual business on the Go

    By having these apps downloaded on my phone and iPad, I was able to keep working while preparing for my move (and actually moving) – without slowing down!

    Working my virtual business from home means I don’t have the traditional “sick” or “vacation” days, so even though I don’t have a “boss” to answer to, I was not able to take “time off”. I did think about pausing my business for the two weeks that I needed, however, I realized that I didn’t have to!

    Even with staying connected to my virtual business through my phone and iPad, I was glad that I was able to take a “break” from the work I was doing for my business (not client work, but other work in general). I was close to a burnout, and knew I should slow down – but I didn’t really want to. This move seemed to be a blessing in disguise, by allowing me to slow down when I really needed to.

    Summary

    Even though life happens, you don’t need to quit doing what you love! There are always ways you can stay connected. Owning a virtual business doesn’t mean it has to stop when life gets in the way. If you want to continue working, you will find a way!

    Let me know in the comments below how you run your business on the go!

    how to keep up with your virtual business when life throws you curveballs
  • 23 Ways to Stay Motivated & Productive when Business is Slow.

    There will come a time where you just don’t have clients or client work at the moment, and your business is slow.

    And while it’ll feel AMAZING to not have any “work” to do, there are still some things you can “work on” in the meantime.

    If you don’t have clients or assignments, don’t get discouraged! This is the PERFECT time to get some things out of the way and to build your business.

    Listed below are productive things you can do for your business while you’re waiting for clients or assignments.

    23 ways to stay motivated and productive when business is slow

    This post may contain affiliate links, and while it may not cost you anything extra, if you make a purchase through any of my links, I may make a small commission. All opinions are my own. Thank you in advance for trusting me! Read more here.

    How to stay motivated & productive when business is slow

    Having slow periods or no clients doesn’t have to be something negative. Instead of feeling down that you don’t have money flowing in, take this time to work on making your business the way you want it to be.

    Learn new systems, map out routines, take courses, etc. Listed below are some things you can do when you have downtime (in no particular order).

    1. Create content

    Get ahead of the game and create content for next week, month, or next few months! This can include bulk creating your graphics as well. This would be a great time to research what problems people have and ways you (or your business) can solve them!

    Where can you find what problems people have? Check out this blog post I wrote on planning content. If you need help with some content ideas, grab my free prompts calendar and worksheets.

    Bonus step: batch schedule all the content you just created! (Try Planoly, SmarterQueue, Later) Oh, and don’t forget to refill your Tailwind queue! (No Tailwind? Get a free trial plus your first month free here.)

    2. Browse Facebook groups

    Think of what Facebook groups you’re in. Browse them to see if there is someone looking for a service/product you provide, what problems they’re having (and how you can solve them), etc. You can also see if you can answer questions on the threads (which shows your expertise in an area they’re inquiring about!). Some of these groups will even let you advertise your business! Be sure to check with group owners, or watch for promo days.

    If you’re a Virtual Assistant, some great groups are:

    Virtual Assistant Jobs

    Virtual Assistant Tribe job Board

    The Virtual Assistant Finishing School Group

    If you’re a small eCommerce business:

    Small Shop Bosses

    Hustlin Boss Babes

    Build Her Up – Shop Boss

    3. Revamp your social media

    If you’ve been meaning to re-do your social media sites (create cohesion, change up your about me/business hours, add services, change your cover photo, etc.) now is the best time to do it! Creating graphics that pop can call people to your page(s).

    Another great thing you can do for your social media is to learn more about it! Research new information, look up hashtags, check for graphic sizes, etc. You can also research new strategies to build up your following and keep them.

    After you have redone your profiles, find places and ways to share them and get more followers!

    Bonus: Learn about performing a Pinterest audit from this post.

    4. Revamp your website

    If you’re like me, you’ve been meaning to change things up on your website. Some things you can do include:

    -add SEO to your pages and blog posts

    -add ALT text to all pictures

    -switch out graphics for newer ones

    -switch out the ads on your site

    -change your theme

    -add/change Hello bar

    5. Create new pins for older blog posts

    Pinterest loves fresh content!  Even if it’s just a new pin to an older blog post, they’ll take it. Create at least one new pin for each blog post you have. Keep similar wording or write new ones, changes colors, pictures, etc.

    Check your analytics to see what pins are working for your audience and you’ll know how to create your new pins. You can also see what people in your niche are creating and draw inspiration from them.

    Check out this blog post for ways to SEO your Pinterest and to set it up for organic traffic!

    Bonus step: pin 2-3 of those new pins, or batch schedule in Tailwind. (Don’t schedule or add all new pins at once; instead, add 1-2 every day.)

    6. Create a new freebie/email series

    First and foremost, you should be creating a nurtured email list for your business. An email list can truly help you grow and prosper. (If you don’t have one, start one NOW! I highly recommend MailerLite as a beginner email provider.)

    One way to draw people onto your list is to offer a freebie they can get once they sign up. That freebie is usually connected to an email series.

    The freebie can offer a solution to a problem that they have. Having an irresistible freebie allows you to draw people onto your email series, which acts as your funnel.

    Some freebies you can offer are:

    -calendars

    -lists

    -webinars

    -workshop

    -swipe file

    -template

    -resource library

    -email challenge

    -cheatsheet

    -workbook/worksheet

    -video course

    -checklist

    -Ebook

    -resource guide

    -how-to

    -style guide

    -discount/coupon

    -graphics/stock photos

    -podcast

    -free trial

    -spreadsheet

    7. Business courses

    I feel that we never stop learning (and shouldn’t!). A great way to fill your time is to brush up your knowledge or learn a new skill! Some great courses to look up are:

    Pinterest for the People (my course! Everything about Pinterest)

    Start a Blog

    Blog Income Bootcamp

    Social Media courses

    Productivity

    Start your own Virtual Assistant Business

    Start a Freelance business

    8. Clean out your inbox

    I know that I get upwards of 30-100 emails a day. (Yes, I’m subscribed to a lot of things!) So you can imagine that my inbox fills up rather quickly.

    I usually take one day a week to clear it out, however, when I have free time here and there, I’ll go through as many as I can.

    Of course, I scan my email senders and headlines every 2 hours or so to see if something urgent comes in. Otherwise, everything can wait.

    If you find yourself with some free time, clear out your inbox, move emails you want to keep to a ‘“saved” folder, and unsubscribe to emails you are no longer interested in.

    9. Rebrand

    If you’ve been thinking of changing up your logo, colors, slogan, NICHE, now is the time to do it!

    Not having clients at the moment can be a godsend and a great way to take your business to the level you want it to be.

    That way when you do gain clients, you’re ready and fresh, and “new”!

    Tip: be sure to make all your changes across the board, and inform your followers/send an email blast.

    23 ways to stay motivated and productive when business is slow

    10. Reach out to previous clients

    If you’ve had great relationships with clients you’ve worked with before, reach out to them and see if they need help with a current project or two!

    You never know what someone may be struggling with. And you just might be their saving grace out of nowhere.

    Shoot them an email or a quick message, asking how they’re doing, or an update on what you provided them with in the first place, and offer more services. A great way to reel them in is to offer some type of dicount or freebie, too!

    11. Approach local businesses

    Use this free time to up your game! Reach out to local businesses and see how you can help! If you are a service provider, show them samples of your work and let them know what you can do for them.

    If you are a product maker, see about getting your product in the local stores! The worse thing they can do is say no. Otherwise, how would you know?

    12. Draft future blog posts/Guest post

    Downtime is a great time to prepare! Sit and write down a few topics you’d like to write about, and start drafting the outline of them.

    By having an outline ready, you can crank out quite a few posts and get them ready to publish. That way you’ll never be without an idea to post and you’ll have a lot of content to promote. Grab my blog post outline worksheets to help you out.

    A great way to establish authority within your blog is to write guest posts on other blogs! You can find blogs that are looking for guest posts on various blogging Facebook groups. Be sure to get the requirements for their blog, and get your backlinks in order as well.

    13. Apply for affiliate programs

    One way bloggers monetize their blogs is to apply and promote affiliate programs. There are quite a few programs out there, and it can be hard to go through them and weed out the ones that are in your niche.

    The way an affiliate program works is that you promote any of their products, and if people buy through you, you can receive a percentage of that sale. (It can range from 5%-50%+) Almost everything we use has an affiliate program.

    One thing about certain programs is that they sometimes require you to have a certain amount of pageviews each month.

    A great place for beginners to start are with SendOwl and ShareASale. They have lots of different programs to apply to, all in one place.

    14. Go through your social media analytics

    When you sign up for business accounts on the major social media platforms (Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook , Twitter, etc.) you gain access to analytics.

    Your analytics show you how your account performs within any given time period. These stats can show you the optimal times your audience is on, what types of posts perform well, what your audience resonates with, etc.

    It can also show you trends of your audience as well. If you are on Tailwind, it shows you AWESOME analytics for your Pinterest profile! It’ll show you which of your boards are performing well, and which ones that may be hurting you. This is great information to have on hand.

    I suggest you familiarize yourself with the analytics of the social media platforms you are on, and really see what goes on with your accounts. This will greatly benefit you in the long run, and can bring more engagement as well as, more sales!

    Analytics can seem to be confusing and hard to interpret sometimes. This can definitely be a task you outsource. (If you’re looking for someone, send me a message and let’s chat!)

    15. Learn a new social media platform

    When you first start marketing on social media, it is suggested that you learn/use 1-2 platforms in the beginning, get to know those platforms inside and out, and when you are ready, branch out to other platforms.

    Having downtime in your business is an excellent time to get to know another platform and extend your marketing to a different audience!

    Side note: you don’t HAVE to be on multiple platforms! If a certain platform doesn’t fit your business, don’t force your business to be on it.

    16. Create a webinar/course

    Webinars can be a little nerve-wracking, but some people enjoying learning that way. You can create a webinar as a freebie opt-in, or as part of a paid program.

    There are many programs out there to record and edit your webinar, as well as platforms to host them.

    Another great thing to create is an ecourse. An ecourse is a course you can create for others to learn on their own time.

    Great hosting platforms are Teachable, Kajabi, and Thinkiffic. I have only used Teachable, so do your research before deciding which one to host your course on.

    17. Review/revise your business plan (or create one!)

    Even though it makes one uneasy to not have clients (I bet you’re thinking about not being able to pay a certain bill, or have extra funds for the month) it is a great opportunity to make sure you are on the the right track with your business.

    When you first started your business venture, you should have created a business plan, so that you had an idea of what you were going to do, how your were goings to do it, and what goals you are going to put in place to get there.

    If you don’t have a business plan in place, I highly suggest you take this time to create one! This is the perfect opportunity to get your affairs in order and to bring some organization to your business.

    You can find great business plan templates online. Just search for one within your niche. (A great place to start is Google and Pinterest!).

    Other planners that can help you are Classy Career Girl’s 90-day planner and It’s All You Boo’s Slay your Goals planner. Both are printable and easy to follow! I use both within my business.

    stylish stock photos for female entrepreneurs

    18. Create a task schedule

    One of the things that keep me incredibly organized in my business is to create a task schedule.

    To do this I create a list of tasks I need to be done during the week (batch graphics, batch scheduling, draft blog posts, publish blog posts, etc.) and also list the days I am in service during the week (Sunday-Wednesday and Friday).

    Next, I write in what I want to be done on each day. So, I have assigned a task to each day of the week I am working. For example, Mondays I batch graphics and draft blog posts; Tuesdays are editing, publishing, and sharing posts; Wednesdays I draft my weekly newsletter and work on clietns work; Thursday off; Friday I schedule posts and client work; Saturday I’m off; Sunday I check emails and run analytics reports.

    This is a great way for me to stay organized and productive in my week and allows me to get quite a few things done. And if I complete my task for the day, I can always work ahead, or have time to do other things on my list (like most of the things on THIS list!). Or, I can “reward” myself by having the rest of the day to do my mommy/wife duties.

    19. Find and join NEW Facebook groups, Tribes, or Group Boards

    There seems to be a Facebook group for just about everything nowadays. A few of the popular ones I’m in touch on the topic of blogging, Pinterest, virtual assisting, online/small businesses, etc.

    These groups are great ways to network and advertise your business or blog (only when allowed of course!). Utilize the search bar and find groups in your niche.

    As for group boards, if you are on Pinterest, these boards are a great way to share your pins and get them out to a good amount of people. Of course, group boards only work if everyone who is a part of the board pitches in-and not just uses the board as a dumping ground. Usually the “rules” of the board are to share X amount of pins for every X amount YOU share. If you keep up this type of mentality, group boards are VERY BENEFICIAL to all who are a part of them.

    Tribes are similar to group boards, but can only be found on Tailwind. Tailwind is a Pinterest and Instagram scheduler that can help you increase your reach and gain more followers and pageviews (and hopefully more business!). In my opinion, Tribes are better than group boards in that Tribe owners can actually see who isn’t pulling their weight and who isn’t can get booted from the group. That way you can see which Tribes are performing well and which aren’t.

    If you are in the Social Media Management/Virtual Assistant niche, or the Pinterest niche, I have 2 Tribes that you are welcome to join! And if you aren’t part of Tailwind yet, by joining the Tribe you will receive a free month of Tailwind on me!

    20. Leave Facebook groups, Tribes, or group boards

    Another thing you can do is go through your FB groups and see if the information included in them is something that you are still interested in. Maybe you haven’t visited the group for a while or forgot it was even there. (Facebook limits the reach of the groups that you don’t interact with so that may be why it stops showing up in your feed.) If you are no longer interested in the group, you can leave it. Also, if you aren’t active, the group owner may purge you from the group as well.

    Same applies to Tribes and Group Boards. You can see which ones are performing well by checking your analytics on Tailwind. If these boards/Tribes are not benefitting you, then it is time to leave them and join new ones.

    21. Research business tools and programs

    Downtime is the best time to research business tools and programs that may help you with time management or productivity.

    There are so many tools out there, and you may want to try them all but don’t have the time. Take the time to research what’s out there, compare services, prices, and features.

    Read about the business tools I use for my business in this post and this post.

    22. Check finances/create a budget

    A lot of the things that get overlooked in a business is the finances. If you’re anything like how I used to be, you ‘guess’ how much money you have and go from there. You sometimes forget to record incoming payments, or even forget that an outgoing payment automatically comes out and may leave you in an unfortunate situation.

    I knew that I really needed to get my finances in order; after all, this is a business! I’m in the business to make money, not ignore it.

    The best thing I did was enroll in FreshBooks Cloud Accounting. By connecting my accounts FreshBooks automatically collected information for me and made it easy when it came to tax time.

    By knowing all of this information first hand, I was able to create a budget for my business and stick to it! Pinterest has great budgeting worksheets; I recommend you find one that fits your style or create your own.

    Another way that helped me get my finances in order was to create income reports to share with everyone! You can check out my income reports here:

    April 2019

    March 2019

    Jan/Feb 2019

    Pay off debt. Budget like a boss. Reach your financial goals.

    23. Look into hiring help

    If you are at a point in your business where you need help running certain areas, you can look into hiring help!

    Not many people have this luxury, but if you do, there are many people who can help you achieve success in your business.

    Great places to start are virtual assistants or social media managers. These people can take a lot of the marketing and day to day work off your plate, so you have more time to create and run your business.

    You can find people for hire on various Facebook groups, or even by putting out an ad! Virtual jobs are very “in” right now and you will have no problem finding someone. Be sure to do your research ensure they’re qualified to do the job.

    Learn more about social media managers on this post.

    Summary

    There you have it! 23 ways to stay motivated and productive when business is slow.

    Building a business is a lot more than just doing work for other people. You actually have to build it, nurture it, and make improvements where needed. If you have “free time” in your business then you can always fill it with a task to add to your features.

    Of course, if you have built a business that runs on auto-pilot, then hey you deserve to have that free time!

    I suggest that you create a running to-do list and add to it what you really want to get done for your business. Then, when you find that you have extra time to fill, you can work on ticking those items off one by one!

    I am 8 months into my business and still have a running to-do list of things I want to be working on. This is a great way for me to remember what I want to build upon and how I want to make it great!

    Drop a comment below and let me know what’s on YOUR to-do list!

  • Income Report – January & February 2019

    I am extremely new to blogging. Like, 5 months new. I’m not new to the concept, though. I started this journey as a virtual assistant, and slowly added blogging into the mix (amongst other things!). Later, I evolved into a Pinterest strategist and manager. And I am enjoying every single bit of this “job”! Working for myself has been so rewarding, and makes me value my skills and entrepreneurial mindset even more.

    blog income boot camp

    I have always seen people post their income reports, and I used to think, “why would they share that information with others?” Like, why would you want people to know what you make (or don’t)? Even so, I couldn’t stop reading those reports for various bloggers. Then I realized-this report was written for me. Or, more specifically, someone who is interested in blogging (for profit) and know that they can make money from blogging, if done the right way. These reports became motivation for me to start my own business and contribute to my household.

    I currently create a blog post every 2 weeks, on top of my social media management business. I think that would be considered blogging part-time? Sometimes I release blog posts more frequently, if I have something I’d like to share right away, or there’s a special occasion (new release, flash sales, etc.). This is my only form of income, and I work from home, with two toddlers (2 ½ & 3) running around me all day. I work from a desktop (working on getting an iPad pro!) and also my phone.

    This is the first time I am creating (or wanting to create) an income report to share with others. I haven’t made millions, (or even thousands) but I still think it would be fun to share my journey (and look back on these later!). This report will contain my income from January and February 2019. It will be combined with my social media management projects as well.

    Let’s get started!

    my first blogging & VA income report

    *This post may contain affiliate links, and while it doesn’t cost you anything extra, if you use my link to make a purchase I may make a small commission. All opinions are my own, whether I am an affiliate or not. Thank you in advance for trusting my opinions and wanting to check them out yourself!*

    What is an income report?

    An income report contains the income you made each month, by way of blogging, affiliate sales, any type of product sales (like if you are selling an eBook or course). It can also show your stats and expenses as well. I am hoping that there is no right or wrong way to break down a report, however, I am still learning and I intend to create better reports as I go along.

    January 2019 Income report details

    Note: I wanted to voice from the beginning that all incoming money (“income”) is made from blogging, one way or another. I blog about my Pinterest services, which is what brings me clients. I blog about affiliate resources, which is what brings me affiliate sales. In case you were wondering why I included what I included in my summaries.

    Pageviews: 1,227 (up 814 from previous month – December)

    Total Income: $229.20

    Expenses: $46.11

    Total profit for January: $183.09

    VA business in 30 days or less

    February 2019 Income report details

    Pageviews: 906 (down 321 from previous month)

    Income: $368.77

    Expenses: $11.27

    • Paypal fees: $9.30
    • Etsy fees: $1.97

    Total profit for February: $357.50

    As you can see, even though my pageviews dropped in February, I still made more than I did in January. This is largely due to my Pinterest business (which is advertised and blogged about through my website).

    how i make money working from home full-time with a special needs daughter

    Current stats (as of production of this post)

    My goals for March are to increase my pageviews to at least 2,500 and email subscribers to 150. I also want to raise my affiliate sales, and work on launching my eBook so I can bring in more passive income. Not too bad for a newbie, right?

    In conclusion…

    Creating this income report has made me see exactly what I am doing, and what I need to work on. Imagine the profits I would have made in February if I had received more pageviews. I have only really started profiting from my blog in January. Before that, the most I received was the credit from my Tailwind affiliate link, and my Etsy shop. I have since put Etsy on the back burner, but it is still active and provides some passive income every once in a while (as seen in February’s income statement). I can’t wait to see my report for March, and even more so after I release my eBook! Think positive thoughts for me.

    I decided to share my income report with you all as a way to show that, no matter how new you are to the world of blogging, there are many ways you can profit from it. Do your research and you’ll be just fine.

    If you want more information about blogging, check out this blog post:

    If you want more information about being a social media manager, or Pinterest in general, check out these blog posts:

    how I made $597.97 as a newbie blogger
  • How I manage multiple social media accounts for clients

    Not many people know (or understand) how to manage social media accounts, especially managing multiple social media account for clients. Sure, you can post a picture or witty caption and hope for a few likes, but there is so much more to it than that. Especially if you are using social media as a marketing tool for business.

    I recently was blessed with an opportunity to do social media for a local company. I was so excited to do some work for someone in my area, because it would be a great way to showcase my home.

    During negotiations the company expressed that they didn’t know anything about social media (I would be building accounts from scratch) which lead to discussions on pricing.

    After explaining what it takes to manage various social media profiles in the unique way each platform requires, I realized that not many people knew (or understood) exactly what goes into a project like this.

    The result-this post.

    I will be sharing with you the steps I take to manage [several] social media accounts on a daily basis. This may no means be a full list (I still have a lot to learn) however, this is the best way I have found to keep me productive and organized.

    Read now or pin for later!

    This post may contain affiliate links, and while it doesn’t cost you anything extra, if you make a purchase through my link I may make a commission. All opinions are my own whether I am paid or not. Thank you advance for trusting me!

    social media prompts and templates for posts

    First things first – what is social media?

    Social media is websites and apps that you use to engage and network with others socially.

    Some that you may be familiar with are Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, SnapChat, etc.

    And while you may use those platforms for fun on a daily basis, you can also use them for business, too. Since there are people on it daily, that makes it one of THE BEST ways to get some FREE advertising. (Of course some of the paid features are beneficial too, like promoting/boosting posts or running ads.)

    So, how DO I manage social media accounts for business purposes? Read on!

    pinterest for the people pinterest course

    How I manage social media accounts for clients

    1. Set up the account

    If you don’t already have an account for your business, you can set one up quickly and easily. If you have a personal one, then you already know how to create a new one. Except this time, it will be for business purposes. (And yes, you want to keep your personal and business accounts separate.) Some benefits of a business account are:

    • Analytics – see how your account performs, if you are getting traffic, etc.
    • Ads and promotions
    • Keeping business and personal separate (while it’s cute to show your friends and family that your infant poo’d all up its back, it’s not as cute to show your potential clients/buyers that. Even if it IS #reallife)
    • Sometimes you can only connect different platforms to each other if they’re business accounts (for example, you can’t connect a Facebook and Instagram account unless you’re connecting two business pages. It can’t be one personal and one business.)
    • Look professional and legitimate

    This can take roughly 20-30 minutes. (Most likely less!)

    Related posts: What is a Social Media Manager?

    2. Optimize the account

    Add a profile picture, bio, links, etc.

    Not sure whether your profile picture should be your face or your logo? I use this tip:

    • If you are selling a product, use your logo. You will be most known for your brand or most popular selling item, but rarely by the person who creates it (not in every case, though).
    • If you are selling a service, use a [professional or really nice] headshot. People want to see that they are paying a real person (not a robot) to provide the service to them.

    What does it mean to “optimize”? Basically you want to prime your profile for SEO, or Search Engine Optimization. In lay terms it’s just taking keywords (words people use to search for your specific item/service) and add them wherever you can. This allows you an opportunity to appear in searches. (Read more about SEO in this post.)

    Add keywords to your name/title, to your bio, wherever you can.

    As for links, be sure to include where you can be found and contacted- a website, another social media channel, email, an online store, etc.

    This can take anywhere from 30 minutes to two+ hours, depending if you already know what you’re going to say, know what picture to use, if your links are set up, etc.

    rose gold social media graphic pack

    3. Create content for the account

    Next step it takes to manage social media accounts is to create content! You need something to post to those platforms. An easy way to do this is to create a content calendar first. Get a calendar template (or planner, scrap paper, whatever you prefer), write out the next 30 days (depending on when you start this, it may not be within a “calendar” month. Your “month” might be March 20th-April 19th. Know what I mean?) Fill in anything that is happening in those thirty days (a holiday, event, special day), etc.

    Next, plan what you’d like to share. Common posts are intros (especially if you’re just launching a new social media account), about me/my business, what you do/specialize in, where you can be found/reached, behind the scenes, service(s) your provide, product you create, etc. etc. (download mine here.)

    After you figure out what you want to say, you’ll have to figure out if you need a picture or graphic to go with it. (Hint: if it’s an Instagram post or Pinterest pin, you’ll definitely need a graphic.) You can use a program like Canva or Over to create these. Best thing about these programs are that they have templates sized for various social media platforms, and they’re premade! Just add your info, personalize, and download.

    This can be a full day’s work (batching), or broken down into a couple of days (one task each day, i.e. mapping graphics, creating them, proofreading, etc). This doesn’t include the time it’ll take for creating various graphics in different sizes, different styles, wording, etc.

    Optional: Research hashtags (optional step that can be done at a later time)

    Hashtags are one of things that help your posts get seen in searches for Instagram and Twitter (and now Pinterest!). It is a great way to see everything related to that long keyword all in one place. One of the key aspects in managing social media accounts properly is the ability to get seen and gain followers.

    What I mean about hashtag research is that:

    1. You need to know how to use hashtags on each platform (they aren’t used the same way on all of them)
    2. For Instagram, you want to use hashtags that have certain amount of posts attached to them, so that it gives you an opportunity to be seen. A saturated hashtag (500k+ posts) might not help you show up at the top of searches, because there will always be a new post popping up with the same tag that pushes yours down. (That’s the way it goes in IG hashtag land. I’m just studying this.) IG allows you 30 tags per post, so you want a mixture of tags, which includes broad tags, niched tags… I can go on and on. You also want to use different hashtags each day, so that IG doesn’t mark your account as spam.
    3. For Twitter a hashtag can be used to participate in “chats”. You follow the hashtag and use it to “chat” with others about a certain topic. I haven’t quite figured out Twitter chats yet, but it’s on my to-do list. It is recommended you use no more than 2 hashtags per tweet, however you are welcome to use as many as you like (characters permit).
    4. For Pinterest, hashtags help you discover related pins (same as with IG and Twitter), however, Pinterest shows the most recent pins that uses that hashtag at the top of the search result. So, you have a great chance in being seen if someone searches a hashtag that you’ve used recently. It is recommended that you use between 2-4 hashtags per pin.

    This in itself can be a day’s work, if you sit and research your tags for each different platform. (Tip: create some type of spreadsheet to keep track of them!)

    how i manage social media accounts for clients

    4. Post!

    After figuring what to post and when to post it, you should, well, post it! If you’re starting a brand spanking new account, I recommend having at least one post up before you start following people or trying to get followers. (People like to see what profiles are about, what value they can get from it, and if you have nothing to see they may not want to follow you.)

    Now, there are two ways to go about this-manually and automatically. I’ll explain.

    If you choose to post manually (and there is DEFINITELY nothing wrong with that) it just means that you will take your content and add it to the platform(s) each day yourself. In the beginning you can post at different times during the day and see what works for the audience you have (once you have an audience). As time goes on (at least a month), your analytics will tell you the times that are best for you to post because those are the times that your followers are active (and are most likely to see your content!). Posting when your followers are active allow you to get the most interactions out of your post. After all, why craft an awesome post if no one is going to see it?

    Also, if you’re busy (or forgetful like me) you might have to set an alarm to remember to post something each day (and in the beginning, for at least a month you should post at least once a day so you can get the momentum going). That requires you stop what you’re doing and post! (Ok it may not be THAT dire of a need.) Don’t forget the hashtags!

    This can take about 10-15 minutes, give or take. Depends on your set up, what you’re posting, where you’re posting it, how many platforms you’re posting to, and if you’re prepared.

    Automatic posting refers to using a tool to schedule your posts. Some popular social media schedulers that I use and are affiliates for are SmarterQueue, Planoly, Later, Tailwind, Hootsuite, etc. Each one has its advantages and I encourage you to review them (or others). You can read my review of a few of those apps here and here.

    First things first, you would need to create an account with whatever scheduler you go with. Then you have to set up your content, and schedule. It’s not quite that easy, but you get the picture. This is great for setting up content to post for you, to save you time.

    The scheduling can take anywhere from 30 minutes to a few hours. It depends on if you’re batch scheduling, if your content is ready, hashtags are chosen, account is set up, etc.

    start your own VA business with the Horkey Handbook

    5. Engaging with your audience

    When you are trying to build a following, keep those followers, and also build trust, you absolutely NEED to interact with those who comment, post, or message you. People want to feel/see that there is a real person behind the scenes, and not some bot or fake. This allows you to establish authority in your profiles, shows you genuinely care, and allows you to answer questions (which can lead to prospective clients/sales!). This is the number one task (I feel) that makes your a great social media manager. To manage social media doesn’t only mean posting!

    This should be done – AT MINIMUM – once per day. Ideally it should be done twice per day (morning/evening) for comments, or each time a message comes in (because it could be a lead). This does take time out of your day, so you can be the judge of when you do this. (For Instagram, it is suggested that you interact for at least 30 min before and 30 min after you post. This tells IG that you are an active user, and they decide that they’ll show it to users.)

    You should spend at least 30 min – one hour doing this, each time you decide to do it. Interaction is key, and remember-the more interaction the post gets, the more it can be “bumped” or perceived as “popular” (which means more people will see it!)

    6. Account Analytics

    One of the final steps is review the analytics of each platform to see if your strategies are working. You can also check what posts are popular, so you can create similar ones (to get that engagement). You can check analytics weekly, biweekly, or monthly, it all depends on what you need to know. If you are doing management for clients, you will also have to craft analytics reports.

    Analytics in itself takes a bit to learn how to interpret, and a little more to be able to explain to your client(s) what they mean. They also allow you to craft strategies for each account. (Each social media channel will need a different strategy.)

    This can take an hour or more, depending on how well-versed you are in interpreting analytics. It can also take longer, depending on how many accounts you are analyzing.

    6 important steps social media managers must take in managing social media

    Summary

    These are just SOME of the things I do to manage social media accounts. (I know I’m probably forgetting something.) Along with doing all of the steps above, I also create worksheets and logs tailored to each client and their business, so that I have records of everything I do to manage their accounts. (This keeps me accountable and organized.)

    It isn’t an easy job, but once you establish a routine, it becomes manageable. If you have multiple clients, this is where routines and time blocking should come in play, so you can be sure you are giving equal time between all accounts. The best way I have done this is to create files, both physical and digital, for each client; utilize my planner and business tools; and create task and to-do lists.

    Social media is a fickle thing-one day your followers and viewers are the highest they’ve ever been. 24 hours later, you are missing 400 followers and not getting any like on your new post (which you’ve worked hard on, and we’re quite proud of). What gives right? It takes a lot to stay on top of the changes with each platform, and to manage accounts you need to be sure you know them. Social media management is a little more than just posting a pretty picture and hoping people like it and comment on it.

    If you are overwhelmed at everything it takes to run your social media smoothly, I suggest outsourcing! There are many people who specialize and dedicate their businesses to doing so, and that allows you more time to dedicate to other areas in your business.

    Feel free to check out the services I offer. If you don’t see something that you like, send me an email at hello@plannerwishesbylori.com and I’ll see if I can set something up for you. I am always looking for a new platform to “practice” on, at a discounted rate.