I believe that the best way to build and grow a business is slowly, organically, from the ground up, debt free. With that being said, it can be incredibly difficult to gain traction and furthermore, take your business to the next level.
What do I mean by the next level? Well, for me my next level is connecting more creative women in business to the right virtual assistant for them. My next level is creating opportunities for single moms and military wives around the country. But we aren’t here to talk about me. We are here to talk about you and your next level. Your next level might be creating a social media presence. That could be creating a Facebook page or it could be growing your existing platforms from hundreds to thousands.
Everyone’s next level is different. In fact, one of the most important steps of taking yourself and your business to the next level is to stop looking at where everyone else is. Focus in on your mission, your goal, your current state. Comparing yourself to other entrepreneurs won’t do you any good unless you can get a little sprinkle of inspiration from their jet-setting infused Instagram. Even then, what they are doing, where they are at in their career isn’t going to help you organize and empty your insane email inbox. Their feed is not going to book more clients for your photography business. The people I look up to while inspiring and while they have incredible advice within their carefully curated content, will not, at the end of the day, get this blog written for me.
So, before you read any further into this I want you to understand what exactly it is you’re reaching for and where exactly you want to be. If you don’t know then you probably won’t get there no matter how many creative and cheap solutions I list out for you.
To make this even more fun, I’m going to list these resources in order of how I have used them to create How She Helps. Because, why not?
Google and The Library
Guys, books are expensive am I right? And I love me some nonfiction so for me to buy every great personal development and business book would be extremely costly.
Instead, I resort to google searches and library books. I first discovered the art of virtual assistance was even a thing through the black hole that is Pinterest. Then I researched everything I could on getting started and on business in general. When Google led me to books and podcasts that could help me even more, you better believe I got myself a library card (okay, nobody’s fooled. I already had one) and checked out Christy Wright’s Business Boutique.
The free information on the wondrous internet can seriously teach you just about anything you need to know and it has led me to some helpful communities and courses.
TAKE ACTION: Check out and read a book from your local library on a topic that you don’t understand yet but that you need to in order to hit your goal.
Through my Pinterest and Google deep-dive, I discovered some outstanding communities on Facebook that have helped me to get more leads and understand which paths to take in this business and what “opportunities” to avoid.
It can be so helpful to be part of a community of like-minded people. Want to take your business to the next level but no one in your immediate social circle knows anything about what you’re doing and what you’re building? Go run to your Facebook group and ask how in the world are your fellow wedding photographers getting collaborations with stylists and florists. Seriously, these people will gladly offer up their experiences and advice.
TAKE ACTION: Find a few communities that surround you with people who are not only like you but are doing better than you TODAY. It makes a world of difference.
Webinars, Courses, and YouTube
Okay, so you’ve found a community and you’ve researched the heck out of the things that would be instrumental to your growth like I don’t know, how to hire people. Well, through that research you’ve probably come across AT LEAST one free course or webinar offered by some amazingly successful human who has done EXACTLY what you want or need to do. If you haven’t, I have no idea what dark, sad corner of the internet you’re existing in because these free webinars are EVERYWHERE.
Disclaimer: not all webinars are created equal. Read the reviews first and don’t waste your time.
But, please do set aside time for the really helpful webinars and affordable courses that you know would absolutely teach you the things you need to know. I have a whole list of courses I would love to take. One I have taken is Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing by Michelle Schroeder Gardner and it was worth every penny because it was full of actionable things to do that will make it so your blog will actually earn you some money. I promise you there is a YouTube video or course that will teach you what you need to know for free or for a couple of hundred bucks.
TAKE ACTION: Search YouTube for helpful videos by experts in your community. Consider purchasing a course that you can afford that will without a doubt be helpful to growing your business.
At this point, you’ve done all the research, more than enough I’m sure. The next step is the hardest - taking action. Implement all the things you believe will really create movement in your business.
Remember how I said that not all webinars are created equal? Not every single piece of advice, strategy, and plan will be appropriate for your industry, your business, the season you’re in, and for who are as a business owner. Pick and choose what you decide to test out. What will get you to your goal the fastest? I don’t know what that is for you but I do know that you will have a very hard time working on these new strategies for growth if you’re falling behind on the day to day operations.
You have got to organize and delegate some of these standard operational procedures you do for your business on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. Don’t worry thanks to technology you don’t have to actually delegate to a living breathing person who expects a paycheck.
Instead, turn to free project management programs and social media schedulers.
These will help save you time while you’re trying to reach these big goals.
TAKE ACTION: Identify where you’re struggling and find an app to help manage those tasks.
Bartering and Collaborations
Maybe you’re trying to build on your portfolio to attract more clients or your very first clients. I’ve seen this in the wedding industry quite a bit. Photographers collaborate with florists, stylists, venues, models, and caterers to create something beautiful for everyone’s portfolio.
But what else do you need in your business that you can’t afford? Maybe it’s professional head shots? Maybe it’s web design? Consider bartering. What can you offer in exchange for a service or product you need for your business?
TAKE ACTION: Make a list of the products and services you want or need for your business. Now think of what you could offer in exchange for those things. Start reaching out and proposing collaborations!
Want to take it to the next level but the real obstacle for you is time? Explore your options working with a Virtual Assistant. Book a discovery call today!