Seven Things That Will Help You Take Your Biz Full-Time

It was only a few years ago that I was working a day job, and running Jess Creatives on the side. I often tell people that I kind of "fell" into freelancing – it wasn't a dream of mine to work for myself! But, as I began to get more and more of my own clients, running Jess Creatives full-time became my goal.

It took me about two and a half years to get enough clients to be able to quit my day job. I've talked on the blog before about things that I did during that time to help me – like personal design projects! But, I know there are still so many that are working towards that ultimate goal, so I wanted to get input from other entrepreneurs on what they felt helped them the most! 

It took me about two and a half years to get enough clients to be able to quit my day job. I've talked on the blog before about things that I did during that time to help me – like personal design projects! But, I know there are still so many that are working towards that ultimate goal, so I wanted to get input from other entrepreneurs on what they felt helped them the most! 

Taking online courses

If I had to pick the ONE thing that I think helped me make the switch from working for someone else to working for myself, it would be taking a free online course in digital marketing for small businesses. Not only did this enable me to study in the evenings/at weekends, but it helped me learn and develop digital marketing and promotional skills that have become invaluable when running my own company. – Hannah, HGR Jewelry  

Learn how to scale

The advice I would give to new sellers is that the key to a successful business is learning how to scale your business. In our case, we would buy library books for under a dollar and sell them for more than 20 times the amount. We started to teach ourselves about the wholesale process, and now we are an e-commerce company that sells on Amazon, Jet, and Wal-Mart. – Philippe, Savage Sellers 

Diversify your offerings

I was working in writing and television production for Procter & Gamble's soap-operas when I started offering NYC school admission counseling on the side. In April 2015, I wrote "Getting Into NYC Kindergarten," and started giving workshops on the subject. In September 2015, I turned my writing and production skills to doing a "NYC School Secrets" podcast. I was not the only one doing school consulting, but I was the only one with a book AND podcasts. The main difference was differentiating myself via the multi-media offerings. – Alina Adams, NYC School Secrets  

Be patient and consistent

What made the difference was deciding to achieve patience and consistency. Funny enough, when I wanted it to happen overnight, the results came slower. But, I laid the foundation of daily wins – new blog posts, review guides, new content, etc., and before I knew it, my base had grown huge and the income started coming in. – Remy, Miss Mamie's Cupcakes  

Accountability

I went from a full time role at LinkedIn to running my coaching practice full time in a span of 18 months. I worked with my life coach and business coach to set really clear goals and support structures to create clear accountability. When I doubted myself, they were there to remind me of my larger commitment and the "what for" in my business. For me, accountability in all forms across my life is what made the difference! – Cailin McDuff  

building relationships

For me it was networking! Building relationships to get referrals. For a good four months I went to so many networking events and just passed out my card.  I got involved with women business organization and the hispanic chamber, and then online I did Twitter chats and virtual coffee chats! – Christina Ochoa, Social Butterfly Gal

generosity

Delivering quality work, and being honest – the whole "under promise, over deliver" thing. If I messed up, I'd tell a client before they had a chance to notice. I think those things went into the relational side. I truly believe in the give, give, get mentality. – AllieDanae Walker, The Social Walker Agency

 

If you're currently working towards making the leap to full-time, be sure to check out the Goal Getter Group! In Jereshia's words, "The Goal Getter Group is a place for you to discover yourself, define your goals, gain clarity, set intentions, build healthy boundaries, and establish habits that will help you reach success on your own terms."

Do you have something to add to the list? Let me know in the comments!

{Video} How to Make a Wordpress Website with Divi Theme 3.0

You need a new website. Or, maybe you need a new Wordpress theme. 

As I said in my last blog, Divi is one of my favorite themes! I shared in my blog post, my favorite features, so now I'm showing you how to start building your Wordpress website with Flywheel and Divi. 

What I use for building websites (affiliate links):

Five Reasons I Like the Divi Theme For Wordpress Websites

The number one question I hear people ask when they’re getting started with a Wordpress site, “What theme should I pick if I want…[insert desired features here]?”

That’s probably not a surprise since everyone wants their website to look and function in a way that’s right for their business. And for most creative entrepreneurs or freelance business owners, they want the easy and simplicity of working with a theme.

Looking for a Wordpress theme? My favorite Wordpress theme to use is Divi because it's so customizable and easy to update!

That’s why I love working with the Divi theme.

In fact, I pretty much only use Divi when designing Wordpress websites.

That’s because, when I hear someone ask the question I mentioned above, 99% of the time I respond by letting them know, “Divi can do that!”

Divi is one of the most versatile WordPress themes out there -- and it even comes with a drag & drop page builder that makes it super easy to customize your Wordpress website in a few clicks.

If you’ve been searching for the perfect theme for your Wordpress website, I highly recommend considering Divi as an option. Here’s why:

select specific content to display only on certain devices

These days, the experience people have when viewing your site from their mobile device matters more than ever.

That’s why I like that Divi allows you to customize the content that shows up on certain devices.

A few ways you could use this Divi feature include:

  • Showing more or less text on a landing page so that there’s a CTA “above the fold”

  • Adding or removing banners on certain pages so people can immediately see the most important content on the page right away on any given device

  • Hiding pinnable blog images on mobile since the image alone will take up almost the whole screen when people first click to the blog (and most won’t pin it from their phones)

This feature is one of my favorites because it gives you the flexibility to optimize the look and feel of your site, so that people have a great experience no matter which device they're using.

easily make specific content on your site stand out

You’ve probably seen this on long-form sales pages before -- sections of content (like bullet points of features, bonuses, testimonials, etc.) have different background colors or images. This tells your brain where to focus as you scroll down the page.

Since most of us have short attention spans these days, switching up background colors for different sections of content is great way to hold people’s attention and direct it in the right place.

Divi allows you to do this for any/all sections of content on your site without any extra effort.

It makes building sales pages so much easier. Plus, it’s a fun way to work more of your brand colors into your normal site layout, while keeping a clean look.

Example from a client's website

Example from a client's website

save custom layouts and download free page templates

Like I said, Divi is completely customizable. So you can create page layouts for any type of page you want to have on your site.

From portfolio pages, to sales and landing pages, you can create a layout (or download a premade page layout from their library of ready-to-use templates) to fit your specific needs and save it to use again and again.

If you add new content to your site on a regular basis, being able to select a layout and simply plug in the content is a big time saver.

add visual interest with free icons

Icons are a quick and easy way to add visual interest to your site and “polish” it up a bit. Many of us are visual learners, so icons can also be a key tool for communicating certain information on your site.

Problem is, icons can be expensive. And a lot of times you have hunt for the right one.

Divi comes with a range of 300+ high-quality icons you can use on your site for free -- score for saving money and time, while building an awesome-looking site!

Example from a client's website

Example from a client's website

You can customize Divi to do almost anything

Of course, there are some instances when a custom-coded site is the only solution if you’re looking to create a specific type of site and/or add a specific type of functionality to your site.

But it many situations, Divi can get the job done.

I’ve met and worked with people who have paid designers hundreds of dollars to custom-code websites and site features that could’ve easily been done using Divi.

Using Divi is a far more affordable option in most cases.

Even if you already love your theme, you may want to check out the Divi Page Builder plugin. You can use it with any theme and it’s especially useful if you’re not as comfortable adding content to your site on Wordpress.

The Divi Page Builder plugin turns adding content to your site into a drag-and-drop process that’s visual and more intuitive than just using the typical Wordpress back end.

Those are just a few reasons why I think Divi is the way to go when you want a customizable, well-designed Wordpress site. But don’t take my word for it, learn more for yourself here.

What questions do you have about using Divi?

Feel free to ask in the comments or join my online community where I’m around to answer all your questions about websites and branding!

*There are affiliate links used within this post, but I only recommend things I truly love!

{Video} How to Design a Book Cover

Keeping up with Jodi's guest post theme from Monday, I thought I'd stay on the topic of books and do a quick video on book cover design!

Book cover design is so crucial for getting your books picked off the shelves! Especially with the rise of Amazon shoppers (Prime shipping, anyone?!), your book needs to stand out as readers scroll through. 

Connecting In-Person vs. Online (...or why not both?)

Guest post by Jodi Brandon

“Mastermind” is a buzzword in the creative community these days. I have regular virtual writing dates on Zoom with my friend Abby Herman, during which we each declare our intentions for the 60 or 90 minutes, write (whether it’s blog posts, newsletters, or something else), and then report on what we completed.

There’s just something about the accountability factor that makes me super-productive during these sprints. And since accountability often plays a HUGE part when it comes to book writing, I wondered if a larger writing mastermind could work.

I came up with a combination virtual retreat kickoff event (to give people everything they need to start writing: think research plan and writing schedule), followed by an eight-week writing mastermind (with guest experts as well as writing studio time), and culminating in a live writing retreat.  The mastermind will allow for measurable writing progress, week-to-week, so that these books can be published in 2017. The guest experts will cover topics that the authors will need to think about before completing a manuscript, such as their book cover, their ISBN, and permissions.

Back it Up

Let me back up a bit. Last fall, I’d been tossing around the idea of hosting a writing retreat, mainly because I looked for one earlier in 2016 when I was planning to write my book, but I couldn’t find one that was the right fit for me. I wanted to test the idea before doing too much planning (or putting out any money), so I called three of my business friends who I knew had a book in their 2017 plans.

All three of them said that, while a writing retreat sounded cool, what they really needed (and would be interested in) was book planning help. That way, each explained, the retreat itself would feel successful; they’d already have been writing regularly. It was so strange that these three women had almost the exact same thoughts and even used the same phrasing! (I did confirm that they had not talked to each other. Paranoia was getting the best of me.)

Back to the Drawing Board

I started brainstorming again, wondering if it would be possible to serve these (and other) women without losing the live retreat element.

I came up with a combination virtual retreat kickoff event (to give people everything they need to start writing: think research plan and writing schedule), followed by an eight-week writing mastermind (with guest experts as well as writing studio time), and culminating in a live writing retreat.

The mastermind will allow for measurable writing progress, week-to-week, so that these books can be published in 2017. The guest experts will cover topics that the authors will need to think about before completing a manuscript, such as their book cover, their ISBN, and permissions.

Then at the live retreat, content will cover what comes next:

  • finding an editor and designer
  • deciding on a self-publishing company
  • setting the price
  • creating a launch/marketing plan
  • and more!

In short, this program ALMOST makes me want to write another book just so I can participate and not just follow along and provide feedback. I am so excited to see how it goes and watch more entrepreneurs’ books come to life in 2017!

Live Events: You’ve Gotta Be There

I didn’t want to sacrifice the live aspect of the program, because I have loved the conferences and events I’ve attended (most notably for the creative community, Inspired Retreat and the Savvy Experience). The in-person connection with those who “get” you and what you do cannot be overstated. Every time I attend such an event, I come home with a notebook filled with ideas that I couldn’t wait to implement.

Writing and publishing a book can do so much for your business in a short time frame (grow your platform, provide instant credibility, increase your know-like-trust factor, open the door to media and speaking opportunities), and networking and idea-sharing for a couple days with others who are writing, who have published, and who work in the publishing industry will be like Christmas morning!

The best live events, in my mind, are those that inspire me to dream and grow in my business but that also provide actionable business knowledge that I can apply, like, yesterday.

Have you ever been in a mastermind or attended a conference? What was your biggest takeaway?

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Jodi Brandon has more than 20 years' experience in book publishing. Jodi's passion these days is working as a book editor and writing/publishing coach for creative entrepreneurs and solopreneurs who want to level up their business with a book. She just launched The Write Life, a book writing mastermind culminating in a live writing retreat in Philadelphia this June.