5 Life-Saving Professional Services for Stay-at-Home Moms Starting a Business

Guest post by Leslie Campos of Well Parents

Staying at home and taking care of your children is a challenge enough of its own, but simultaneously taking on the role of an entrepreneur can make your day-to-day schedule even more difficult to handle. The launch of your company is a vital and time-consuming period as a business owner, but you don’t have to do it alone. By hiring the right team of experts to stand by your side and assist with the details, you can set your business and family life up for success. Here’s a list of services that can help you with your business.

Business Consulting

While you may have expertise in a particular product or service you can sell, this doesn’t mean you’re fluent when it comes to the specifics of starting and running a business. This is where a business consultant comes in. Professionals in this field often have a business degree and several certifications, as well as experience, under their belt. They can help you focus on the most profitable business model, whether you are planning to make income through an e-commerce, affiliate, freemium, or subscription-based model.

Business Formation Services

Forming your business structure, whether that be a corporation or LLC, can be complicated and time-consuming. But you don’t have to take it on yourself, nor do you have to pay a pricey attorney to do the work. Online formation services like Zenbusiness are a convenient and affordable resource, walking you through and completing the process quickly. An LLC is a popular choice for startups, as it offers liability protection to your assets and avoids the double taxation of a corporation. LLCs also have tax advantages, and less paperwork is required during formation and later for filing (which an online service also takes care of). States have different regulations around forming an LLC, so check the rules in your state before moving ahead.

Website Development and Design

Having a space to call your own on the internet is an exciting step in becoming a business owner. A website allows potential customers to find your business, and it gives you a spot to write blogs, build out a shop, include a contact form, or display an impressive resume.

While there are several easy-to-navigate website building programs available online, a website development and design company like Steady Radiance Design can help bring your vision to life and make sure your site boasts fast load speeds and SEO. Additionally, you should take time to choose a professional you’re comfortable working with for a while since your developer may take care of hosting your website after it’s launched for a monthly fee.

Public Relations and Marketing

As soon as your business is ready to be released to the world, you need a way to announce your launch. Studies show you only have one chance to make a good first impression, so it helps to hire a public relations professional who can write great copy and start building a positive reputation for your brand. You’ll want to continue building your online presence and attract the right people to your company with the help of a digital marketing company.

Babysitting or Nanny Services

While you settle into your new role, you may want to consider hiring a babysitter or nanny to help care for your kids while you navigate the specifics of starting a new business. You may have chosen the work-at-home route so you can spend more time with your kids, but having help available when work gets stressful can help you focus on one task at a time, allowing you to dedicate your full attention to your family when the workday is over.

Even for the mom who can do it all, there’s no shame in enlisting the help of other professionals as you set your business up for success. By establishing a good foundation, you’ll be able to fulfill all your responsibilities more effectively in the long run and watch your startup grow. Let Steady Radiance Design help you in your journey — but don’t take our word for it!

Image via Unsplash

3 Tips for Better Live Videos

Live videos are everywhere – Periscope, YouTube, Facebook, and who knows how many more in the future.

Live video is clearly the hottest thing since Facebook, and marketers in every niche are taking advantage by hosting their own events.

Some of them are good. They’re well attended, fun to watch, and you feel like you benefitted from attending. But some of them feel like they’re an afterthought, put together at the last minute, and don’t really bring out the best in the host.

If you’re thinking of hosting a live video event, you don’t want to fall into that latter group! Here’s how to avoid it.

Promote, Promote, Promote

On many platforms, a live video event is just a few clicks away. You can literally plan and host a video in just a few minutes, and an impromptu event can be fun.

But with a little planning, you’ll have a much better turnout. And that planning must include promotion.

Let your private groups know about upcoming events. Email your list. Post a blog. Even consider running paid ads for your upcoming video event if there’s the potential to grow your list or increase your sales.

In short, don’t throw a party without extending invitations to your friends!

Interact with Your Audience

One of the biggest draws of a live video event is the opportunity to interact with the host. Your viewers want to get to know you better. They want to chat with the other participants. They may have questions to ask.

Don’t make the mistake of ignoring them. To do so is to say, “You’re not important to me.”

Instead, take the time to chat up the audience, acknowledge their presence, and answer their questions. Even if it takes you out of the flow and you lose your place momentarily, it’s worth it to make viewers feel respected and as if they’re a part of the event rather than just a passive viewer.

Remember to check the comments later, too. If your video is available for viewing after the live event is over, encourage the conversation in the comments.

Repeat What Works

You have a lot of options when it comes to live video. Periscope, YouTube, Facebook, and others all have their place, and I encourage you to try them all. But in the end, you’ll want to concentrate on what’s working.

If your audience loves Facebook but can’t figure out Periscope, it makes no sense to broadcast there. The same goes for length, topic choices, and day and time of broadcast. You’ll want to test all the variables, track your results, and do more of what’s working.

Here’s what you don’t need to worry about when it comes to live video: Perfection.

No one expects you to look like a cover model or to speak like a news anchor. In fact, if you do look that perfect, it might actually negatively impact your results, simply because your audience loves to feel connected to you. They know they aren’t perfect, and if you can show off your imperfections, it will help create a stronger connection.

BONUS TIP – Topic Ideas for Live Videos:

If you’re struggling to think of topics for your live videos, here are some great options to get the juices flowing!

  • Behind the scenes for your business (what goes into making your business run, how you make the things you sell, etc.)
  • How-to videos for something you’re great at
  • On-location at conferences, conventions, festivals, or fairs that relate to your business
  • Interviews with staff, other business owners in your industries, past clients, etc.
  • How your product or service solves problems (read this to learn how to identify your potential client’s problems a.k.a. pain points)

No matter if your video is impromptu or planned and no matter the topic, the one thing you absolutely must remember is to be yourself. It’s usually quite obvious when someone is pretending or trying hard to be something they’re not, and you are amazing and have so much to offer the world. So just be you and you’ll already be ahead of the game.

Outlandish Stunts: How to Drive a Ton of Traffic with Crazy Claims (and Have Fun Doing It!)

Here’s one sure way to build up a great following fast: do something just a little crazy.

If you’ve ever watched a reality TV show such as Married at First Sight or Survivor, then you know what a draw it can be to attempt something just a little crazy. Millions of people tune in each and every week to see what new catastrophes would befall the cast of Survivor, or what new battle would break out on someone’s wedding day on Married at First Sight.

Now imagine if you could generate that kind of traffic to your blog or website, just by attempting something off the wall.

The fact is, this is a tried and true marketing plan that companies have been doing for more than a century and you can easily do something similar in your business.

Write a Book…Or 20

When Kristen Joy of TheBookNinja.com needed a boost in traffic, she turned to the medium she knows best: Kindle publishing. Accepting a challenge from her business coach, she agreed to write and publish a new Kindle book each week for 20 weeks.

As the word spread about Kristen’s plan, her traffic grew (and grew, and grew). Why? Some people no doubt wanted to see her fail—after all, that’s really why we watched Survivor, isn’t it? But most people rightly thought that Kristen must have something important to say if she had committed to such a large project.

Nicole Dean pulled off a similar plan with her Blog World Tour. During the summer of 2009, she visited 15 blogs in 15 weeks, guest posting on the target blog for 5 straight days before moving on to the next. Did it work? Absolutely! Just like Kristen’s crazy book-writing spree, Nicole’s blog world tour gained her lots of traffic and thousands of new fans.

Stretch Yourself A Little

Now, you don’t have to write a book a week for 20 weeks or even spend the summer guest blogging. But there are plenty of things you can do to build some buzz and drive some traffic to your site. The key is to find something that would make most people say “I could never do that.” And then do it.

  • Post to your blog every day for a year
  • Post a new video to your YouTube channel every day for 90 days (check out these tips for live videos)
  • Speak at or attend one conference each month for a year

Whatever “stunt” you decide to pull off, it must have two components to be successful:

  1. It must be outside what most people would consider their comfort zone
  2. You must commit to it publicly and often—tell your list, your social media followers, your blog readers, your clients, everyone.

A challenge of this sort must have one other component as well—your absolute conviction to finish. The last thing you want is to publicly declare your intention then quietly fade out mid-way to your goal.

If you’re looking for a fun, innovative way to drive a lot of traffic to your website, and to get more eyes on your content, consider setting a big, outrageous goal for yourself. You’ll be surprised how many people turn up to watch and cheer you on, and you’ll have fun along the way. Not only that, but at the end, you’ll have lots of content you can repurpose again and again, and you will have learned a thing or two about your audience and yourself, too.

Get Seen, Get Traffic: Three Ways to Borrow Someone Else’s Audience

Ask nearly anyone who runs an online business what their biggest struggle is, and chances are they’ll say “more traffic.”
You need traffic to build an email list.
You need traffic to make sales.
You need traffic to fill your coaching programs.
So the big question is, where do you get all that traffic?
Sure, you could buy ads, but if you aren’t careful, you might just fill your list with less-than-ideal audience members and that will do nothing for your sales. You could focus your time and energy on search engine optimization but unless you have years to build your business (and who does?) then SEO should not be your top choice.
Good thing you have other options.

Be a Guest

Everyone needs content. It’s the one thing that remains consistent among all content creators—there is never enough. That’s where you can help.
By guest posting on other coaches’ blogs, you can “borrow” some of their traffic.
You can’t simply regurgitate old content and send it out in a dozen directions though. To get the best results, you’ll want to:

  • Create custom content designed with your host’s unique audience in mind.
  • Provide stellar value with actionable ideas and strategies not found everywhere else.
  • Inject your personality so those new to you will instantly connect with you.
  • Offer a compelling reason to click through to your website or blog for more information.

Partner Up

No list? Here’s a quick way to “borrow” someone else’s list to kickstart your own: Schedule a free event with a partner.
Here’s how it works.

  1. You (as the one with the small list) create a compelling, free training which leads naturally to a low-cost, no-brainer product.
  2. Install an affiliate tracking system such as aMember, Infusionsoft or 1Shopping Cart.
  3. Offer your best affiliates a higher percentage of profits in exchange for co-hosting your webinar and bringing their traffic along for the ride. (Don’t have affiliates yet? Check out this article for how to find affiliate partners!)

This is a win/win for both of you, as you gain the traffic while your affiliate gets a bigger payday. Just be sure you have a good funnel in place so that your new list members can benefit from all that you have to offer.

Get Interviewed

Want to really show off your expert status and bring traffic back to your site, too? The easiest way is to get on the interview circuit. Just like authors with new books and actors with new movies, coaches and service providers can get in front of new audiences simply by answering questions about what they know.
Of course, you’re probably not going to appear on the Today Show or Oprah (although that’s not impossible), but there are still plenty of opportunities out there for coaches and consultants in every niche.
Look for interview and speaking opportunities on:

  • Podcasts
  • Other blogs
  • YouTube
  • Periscope and Blab
  • Local events
  • Industry conferences
  • Telesummits

Start by reaching out to your colleagues and to podcast and blog hosts you most admire. Get the word out with your friends and your list that you’re looking for opportunities.
Even if you don’t yet have a list of your own, it’s easy (and fun) to kickstart your audience growth simply by making yourself available for these and other opportunities. Each guest post, podcast interview and webinar is another chance to get in front of a whole new market, so take advantage of it!

Email Subject Lines That Increase Your Open Rates

It’s one metric we consistently watch and try to improve: email open rates. There’s a good reason for it, too. If your subscribers aren’t opening your email, then they can’t read about:

  • Your newest coaching program
  • Your latest must-have tool discovery
  • That epic blog post you just wrote

The trouble is, you only have about two seconds to entice a reader to open your email. Even worse, you have to do it in ten words or less.
Yikes! That’s a pretty tall order, even for seasoned copywriters. But there are some simple tricks you can use with your email subject lines.

Be Ambiguous

If you’ve been on Facebook lately you’ve no doubt seen those “clickbait” headlines that say things like, “She adds this to a box of Wheat Thins and I’m drooling!” The reason headlines like that work is because we can’t help but want to know what “this” is that she’s adding to her Wheat Thins. Is it sugar? Salt? Peanut butter? We imagine the possibilities, but in the end, we have to find out, so we click.
You can employ the same technique in your email subject lines. Just substitute the word “this” for the actual thing you’re writing about, and you’ve got instant enticement.

Use Numbers

Here’s another strategy for creating must-read content: numbers.
“7 Hidden Benefits of Waking Up at 5am”
“3 Unlikely Ways to Close the Sale”
“5 Social Media Platforms You Shouldn’t Be Ignoring”
The reason numbers work so well in subject lines is because we are ego-centric and curious. We simply must know if we already use those three ways to close the sale. We will either walk away feeling good for being a marketing maven, or we will have learned something. Both are compelling reasons to open an email.

Use Power Words

Just as with all writing, choosing power words is far more effective than settling for their weaker counterparts. Imagine these two subject lines appear in your inbox. Which are you more likely to open:
“WordPress Makes Better Looking Websites for Non-Designers”
or
“Create a Gorgeous Website—Even if You’re Not a Designer”
While both subjects offer the same information, the first is weak, while the second is far more compelling.

When it comes to email subjects, there are a few more tips to keep in mind if you want to up your open rates:

  • Keep it short – no more than 10 words at the very most, and fewer if you can.
  • Test everything. Use your autoresponder’s split-testing functionality to see which subject line styles perform best in your market.
  • Use personalization, but sparingly. Occasional use of your reader’s first name can be a powerful technique.

Here’s the bottom line: If your subscribers aren’t opening your email, they’re not buying. Paying closer attention to your email subject lines is the single most important thing you can do for your email marketing campaigns.

Generate More Sales and Repeat Customers With Automation

As any smart business owner knows, the key to passive income is a well-established (and full) funnel.
So of course you’ve optimized your opt-in pages and monetized your download pages and encourage more buyers through well-placed upsells and downsells.

Well done! But what about the follow-up?

Do you contact customers about the products or services they didn’t buy? Do you encourage them to use the products they have purchased? Are you making sure they know about all your other wonderful programs?
If not, you’re missing the boat. But the good news is, this can be easily managed with just a bit of simple automation, and when done right, it will smoothly lead your customers from one purchase to the next, at the exact right time for them to take advantage of your best offers.

Segment Your Audience

Many autoresponder services allow you to target emails based on reader action. Want to send a follow-up email to those who clicked a specific link? Create a segment and mail away. Want to re-engage with those who haven’t opened your emails in a while? Easy to do, and you can potentially recover subscribers who have gone missing.
In more sophisticated systems you can dig even deeper, and move people from one series to another based on their buying habits. That way you’ll never promote a product a reader already owns. Not only that, but you’ll always be able to offer the very best next thing, no matter where a subscriber is in your funnel.

Still another way to segment your list is according to what they do not buy. If a subscriber has been on a list where you’re promoting your top-level coaching program, and she has not yet purchased, it may simply be too expensive for her at this time. Consider moving these readers to an autoresponder series promoting a lower cost option instead.

All of these tactics require that you know your audience and your products exceptionally well. Study your stats. Know your open and click rates. Pay attention to the promotions that work, as well as those that fall flat. With that information in hand, you’ll be better able to effectively segment your lists and make the most of all the parts of your funnel.

Pain Points: What You Must Know About Your Potential Clients

How well do you know your potential clients?
Chances are you’ve developed at least a simple client avatar. You know their business, their age, their income, and education levels. You know where they live and how many kids they have and what their biggest dreams are.
But do you really know what drives them?
We’re not talking about just what they want (we all want more money and free time) but more importantly, you need to know what their biggest pain points are. Figure this out, and you’ll not only be able to better create programs to help them, but your sales copy will dramatically improve as well.

What are Pain Points?

Think about it—if you’re uncomfortable with technology, and once in a DIY mood you destroyed your website during a simple update, then website management becomes a huge pain point for you. Now imagine you find a VA who not only works with WordPress but who calmly shares examples of how they’ve rescued client websites after such disasters.
They’ve clearly addressed your biggest pain point, and you’re sold!
The same is true for your potential clients. Show them you can help them avoid those pain points—or better yet, eliminate them completely—and you’ll forge an instant bond.

How to Identify Pain Points

Now you may already have a good idea of what causes your clients pain, but if not, you have plenty of ways to find out.

  • Talk to them. What do they most often ask or complain about?
  • Listen in on forums, on social media, and other places your audience hangs out. What are they struggling with?
  • Reader surveys. These can be a rich source of information in any market. Pay special attention to the words and phrases your readers use to describe their troubles.
  • Keep an eye on your competition. What pain points are they addressing?

Once you’ve uncovered your ideal client’s biggest pain points, you’ll have a powerful tool that you can use not only in your sales copy, but to also help define your programs and service offerings. If you can help your clients overcome the most painful issues they face—whether it’s a lack of self-confidence or a fear of public speaking—you’ll instantly become a more valuable resource in your niche.
And when you incorporate those same pain points in your sales copy, your conversions will dramatically increase as well.

Copywriting 101: Features vs. Benefits in Sales Copy (And How to Know the Difference)

If there’s one thing that confuses and frustrates new (and even seasoned) copywriters when writing sales copy it’s the not-always-obvious features and benefits. (Are you thinking “I’m not a copywriter, so why should I care?” Trust me, if you’re an entrepreneur, you’re probably a copywriter.)
We want to share all the great things about our new coaching program, so we say things like:

  • 6-week self-study course
  • Includes workbooks and live training
  • Members’ only discounts

While these are all good points, they’re pretty bland. That’s because they’re features, not benefits. They tell us about the program but not why we should buy it.
Benefits, on the other hand, tell us the “so what” of features.
“6-week self-study course.” So what? Why should your reader care?

  • Because they’re busy and need to work on their own schedule, not yours.
  • Because they’ve already studied shorter, less comprehensive courses and need more in-depth information.
  • Because they prefer to learn on their own, not in a group.
    “Includes workbooks and live training.” So what? What are the benefits of workbooks and live training?

  • Your student can put what they learn into action with workbooks.
  • They can get their specific questions answered during live training.
  • They can work through complex issues with the help of the group.

As you can see, benefits go much further than simple attributes, such as length and format. They show your prospective client not only what’s in the program, but why the product is exactly right for them, at this specific moment in their life and career.

Use Features and Benefits to Compliment Each Other

Features and benefits work together in sales copy as two halves of a statement, like this:
“6-week self-study course so you can learn at your own pace when it’s convenient for you.”
In fact, this powerful feature/benefit combo is often the basis for the bullet points you see in sales copy, and the format of them makes them easy to write, too.

How to Write the Feature/Benefit Combo

Simply list all the features of your product, then for each one, ask yourself “Why?” Why should the reader care? But don’t stop there. Dig deeper to uncover “the why behind the why” and you’ll soon be crafting truly irresistible sales pages that convert far better than you expect. In the above example, the why behind the why might be, “so you don’t have to spend family time on webinars that have been scheduled to benefit someone else.”
Now not only is your prospective client working at their own pace but they’re also freeing up time to spend with her family. That’s a great benefit they won’t find with most courses.

It’s easy to list all the features of your product or coaching program, but far more difficult to uncover the benefits that will drive sales. When you truly understand the difference though, it will become easier, and your sales will reflect the change in your copy.

Common Mistakes That Send Affiliate Partners Running

Affiliate Partners are a huge asset for any coach or product seller. They’re the ones who are out there singing your praises, spreading the word about your services, and helping you reach a larger audience than you could on your own. Not only that, but they generously lend their good name and reputation to your business, so it makes sense that you want to treat them as well as possible.
But there are some mistakes that product sellers make over and over again that will frustrate and even turn your potential affiliates away. Here’s how to fix them.

No Promotional Calendar

Busy entrepreneurs are obsessive planners. They know they need to produce content, mail their lists, create products, speak at events, and all the other marketing tasks that go with owning a business. They very likely maintain a calendar that helps them stay focused and on track. If you want them to promote you, it’s a good idea to publish your own promotional calendar so they know what’s coming up.
This doesn’t have to be anything fancy, and it doesn’t have to stretch for weeks or months ahead, but it should give them a bit of notice about upcoming launches so they can work your products into their schedule.

Launching Without Them

Got a big product launch coming up? Excellent! But don’t even think about launching without your affiliates on board. Your lists most likely have some overlap, and promoting to your list before you allow affiliates to mail will result in lost sales for them—and angry affiliates who won’t be anxious to promote you again.

Stealing Their Sales

This should go without saying, but if you’re considering creating your own affiliate link for your products, stop. Mailing your list or posting on Facebook with your own affiliate link will—in most systems—result in your promotions overriding those of your affiliates. In short, you’ll be stealing their sales, and no affiliate partner will want to promote you after that.
If you need a tracking link, there are far better ways to go about it than to create an affiliate link in your own system.

Slow Pay

No excuse is ever good enough for failing to pay your affiliates on time. If you promise to pay monthly, then you must make that a priority. It’s never okay to “borrow” from your affiliate payments to cover an unexpected bill or take advantage of an opportunity. To do so is bad form, bad karma, and will give you a reputation for unreliability.

Your affiliate partners are some of your most precious assets. Treat them as such, and they will return the favor with increased sales, more leads, and plenty of social love.

3 Proven Ways to Market Your Business (Marketing Made Easy)

The world is filled with great ideas and broke business owners with fabulous products but no sales.
The fact is, ideas are not what drives most businesses success. Marketing does. So before you quit your day job to branch out on your own, it pays to have a solid marketing plan in place. Start with these 5 ideas to get your creative juices flowing.

Free Webinars

For information product sellers, coaches, and service providers, one of the best sources of new clients is in free training webinars. No matter what your niche, the promise of in-depth training at no cost is enough to entice potential clients to part with an email address (which you’ll be able to market to later) and an hour of their time.
Not only that, but webinars are a fantastic way for those potential customers to get to know you better. And the better they know you, the more likely they are to buy.

Content Marketing

Not comfortable hosting a webinar? Hit the keyboard and start sharing your thoughts and ideas via your blog, ebooks, guest articles, and other written content. For internet marketers, this gives readers a taste of what they can expect from your product. If you sell physical products, it provides the perfect opportunity to share useful tips and other important information with your buyers.
Of course, there’s another important benefit to content marketing, too: search engine optimization. Google and other search engines index the words on your website and use the information to present search results to their users. Content marketing is a tool you can use to make the most of these results and to bring more potential buyers to your website.

Paid Advertising

Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Google, and plenty of other sites all offer paid placement, and with today’s powerful analytics tools, it’s easy to create ads and drive traffic inexpensively. Consider starting with Facebook, since the cost is low and it’s easy to target your ads to your ideal client. Once you’ve perfected your funnel, you can branch out into more costly ads with a larger reach, such as Google AdWords or another ad network.

Don’t limit yourself to these three marketing methods though. There are dozens of others you can try, including affiliate programs, automated funnels, direct mail campaigns, and even television advertising. The key is to keep testing and tweaking to make the most of every marketing effort so that your business continues to grow.