Work at Home

Do You Have Systems for Your Business?

I am in the middle of organizing my home business office, as well as my virtual office (desktop, email, etc.) and realize that even if you organize from time to time, unless you create systems, you’ll soon be back in your old habits and get disorganized.

I am speaking form experience. For example, I started by working on my inbox which had over 1500 unread messages, and managed to get through & remove several hundreds of unread emails. But in the past few days, my unread email is climbing back up. I don’t yet have a good system for my email, and I desperately need one.

As entrepreneurs, our systems are the processes and procedures by which everything in our business runs. When our systems work, everything runs smoothly, or as smoothly as possible when running a business!

Systems are essentially a step-by-step process written out for each aspect of your business. They help you stay on track, they make you more efficient, they streamline your business and they help you see where you can improve and where your business is excelling. When your systems work, everything runs smoothly. When they don’t work, however, all heck can break loose.

Here are some of the systems you could create:

* Customer service
* Marketing
* Sales
* Product creation
* Product development
* Purchasing
* Production
* Producing a newsletter
* Billing
* Invoicing
* Outsourcing

Systems are particularly useful when you’re outsourcing a task or if you’ve hired an intern or an employee. Then, you’ll have everything written down from the very first step to the very last step, and your contractor or employee will know exactly what is expected of them.

Creating your systems

The first step to creating systems is to realize what processes your business uses. Simply make a list of the processes you go through on a daily or weekly basis. Once you have your list, it’s time to actually create your systems. They’re created initially by simply writing down the steps to accomplish a task. As new processes are added to your business, you’ll simply create a new system for that process.

Once your systems are created, the processes can be fine-tuned by using several steps. Firstly, you may want to simply evaluate the process you’ve written to see if it works and if there are any loopholes or steps you’ve missed. Secondly, you may want to include goals and measurements to determine whether the system is a success.

For example, if you have a customer service system and your goal is to have 100% customer satisfaction, and you end up losing 20% of your customers due to an inadequate customer service policy, then you know the system needs to be tweaked.

Storing your systems

Because you’re an internet marketer, you’re probably on your computer at least 50% of the working day, and more than likely you’re on it 100% of the working day. This means it makes sense to organize your systems on your computer. A simple file with the date and the name of the system will make them easy to access. You’ll also want to organize your goals and how you’re going to measure the goals.

Systems are a business owner’s best friend. They’ll help keep you on track and running smoothly today, tomorrow and for years to come.

What has worked for you? And what hasn’t. I’d love to hear your thoughts, while I am working on getting myself better organized.

2009 Report Card – How Did I Do?

This morning I posted about my 2010 goals, but Bob the teacher inspired me to post my accomplishments for 2009 as well. So here are some of the things I did…

• Started this blog on October 27 2009 and already had 1567 unique visitors.

• Built several mini-sites

• Submitted over 125 articles  to EZA

• Sold a few sites I wasn’t interested in anymore, and gave away some, just to free up brain space

• Learned how to do redirects and started implementing that on my blog, so now I can easily change my offers if I need to

• Participated in forums more than ever before, especially at Lynn’s elite forum

Outsourced a lot of my article marketing, and a few other things

• Spent 3 weeks in Romania with the entire family, showing the kids places I enjoyed when I was their age

• Bought a fixer upper house with lots of land, where we’ll be building my dream home in 2010 (I would say this is the biggest/best happening of 2009, and we got it on our 22nd anniversary too)

I am sure tere are many more things I accomplished and  don’t remember now. But I am happy wit my progress this year and I am excited for the upcoming year, when I’ll be a lot more organized and will definitely have more/better results.

I’d like to challenge you to take a look at what your achievements were in 2009, and make a plan to better those in 2010. Here is to a successful 2010 for all my readers!

2009 In Review & 2010 Goals

setting goals

As we say good bye to 2009, and look ahead to 2010, I am looking at what I did right in this past year, what I didn’t accomplish, and what I want to do in the New Year.

One of the best things I did in 2009 was to re-focus: I sold a few sites that no longer fit my long term plans, and finally took action on my desire to blog about my internet journey and started this very blog.

There are places where I took steps in the right direction, but I need to make a better effort to take full advantage, which is what I’ll be doing in 2010: twitter, list building (and nurturing), etc.

Setting goals is easy: working consistently towards achieving them is not. So, my main goal for the New Year is to be more consistent towards achieving these goals…

Blogging Regularly

This is one of my biggest struggles, and not because I don’t know what to write about, but because I panic if someone else posted similar content, and then struggle to make myself post mine anyway. I’ll have to work hard on this one, but I am sure I’ll make it happen.

Building Links

Again, I know exactly how do get links, but it’s a matter of doing it consistently. In the past couple of months I learned to value of guest blogging for link building, as well as concentrated effort to build links to a specific blog post. Seeing those results encourages me to continue even when it feels like a lot of work.

Get Back Into PPC

I used to do very well with PPC a while ago, but some life circumstances made it hard to do it properly for the past 2 years. I am planning to revisit the Campaign Blasts method and get back into it.

Case Studies

2010 will also be the year of doing case studies. After all, my blog is about my online journey, and I’d like to share with you, my readers how I do things and the results I get. That way, we can all learn from my mistakes and victories.

I am very excited about the New Year! I feel good about my plans, and I am encouraged to succeed, especially with the help of my mastermind group.

Have you made plans for the upcoming year? Feel free to share them below.

Is Outsourcing Part of Your Business?

outsourcing help

It’s a fact: outsourcing is the wave of the future.  If you want to be able to grow your business, you need to learn about outsourcing, and give it a try.

What Can You Outsource?

Just about every aspect of your business can be outsourced, but most people will start with those activities they don’t enjoy, or take to much to perform.

Here are some examples of outsourced jobs for internet marketers:

Website Design – when starting out (and even later), you may not know how to create an appealing website. Sure, you can spend hours upon hours and come up with something, but why not let an expert create a professional looking website that will help your business grow?

Sit down and come up with a plan for your site, and then hand it over to a good web designer, and while you are waiting for your site to be created, go on and start working on your content, make marketing plans, etc.

Website Content – if you have a hard time coming up with content for your sites, or, if you get frustrated just thinking about sitting down to write for your sites, don’t waste your energy. Find someone who is good at writing and hire them to create your content.

Great content writers are fairly easy to find these days, but I suggest you start out with a small test just to make sure your writer is a good fit for your business.

Customer service – this would include managing email, sending out quotes, product support, answering the phone, etc. Can you even imagine how much more you can do in your own business if these tasks were handled for you by a professional, and you didn’t have to worry?

Niche Research – Doing proper niche research before starting a new site is the best insurance for a successful business online. Too many newbies get excited and start their business before doing their research, only to find out later, after spending time and money, that they are in the wrong niche or that there is too much competition.

There are many more outsourcing opportunities, but this is a start. When you are ready for more, you can also outsource list building, traffic, product creation and more.

Nicole Dean’s product, Outsource Weekly can help you avoid costly outsourcing mistakes. Learn TODAY how you can build a better, stronger business.

get more time in your day

Selling Website Checklist

selling websites checklist

I’ve been selling off some of the sites that no longer fit into my overall plans, and thought I’d share with you what steps to take before transferring the site to the new owner.

Of course, you need to make sure the funds you get are real. So far, I sold my sites to people I’ve known online for a while, but if you sell on or other similar site, you need to make sure you are not dealing with a fraudster (is that even a word?)

Once you have the funds in your hands, its time to start the transfer process.

1. Initiate domain transfer at your domain registrar. The steps you need to take depend on your registrar: my domains are registered with GoDaddy and I needed the buyer’s customer name or number, and the email associated with their account.

2. Go through the site’s files and delete irrelevant ones. I don’t know about you, but if you owned the site you are selling for any length of time, you’re bound to find things that are not intended for others to see/have: personal pictures, paid plugins or programs, specific landing pages for PPC campaigns you tried, keyword research, and more. I found all of the above on the site I sold today.

3. Download the site to your computer, zip it and send it to your buyer. If it’s a WordPress site, make sure to backup the database, as well as the files.

With the sale of a site, there are other opportunities. For example, if the buyer is a first time website owner, they’ll need a good host, possibly an auto-responder, and sometimes even help getting going.

Make sure to have a list of the services you use, with affiliate links when appropriate, and not only will you help your buyer, buyer you’ll also make a little more money in the process.

If you sold a site, did you do anything different?

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