I've been thinking a lot about processes.
My new-found love of the daily email practice (even when my emails aren't daily), has ignited a small fondness for discipline.
I say small because the thought of structuring and scheduling my life to the point where everything requires a discipline makes my head hurt (and makes me go into immediate resistance.... don't MAKE me do anything). I'm finding little ways that I can apply this in all areas of my life. For the sake of the podcast though we'll stick with business.
Like most entrepreneurs, I enjoy the process of planning and getting excited about the possibilities of what I can do with my business. Taking the time away from the daily tasks often gives us the perspective we need get re-inspired or even clarity on something we've felt stuck on. There's something about changing the routine that feels better (even when we feel like we 'should' be at our desks taking care of the tasks).
As much as I like my time to myself, this can be most helpful when doing it with other people (mentor, peers, parters... your dog. Whatever works for you). The extra energy of someone else's excitement and enthusiasm is contagious. They see things you might have missed or can point something out from a totally different perspective that makes you take a second look at something.
Then of course there's all the 'stuff' that goes along with planning... pens, calendars, markers (or is that just me), white boards, ideas... lunch with a friend.
Kind of like the whipped cream on the sundae, right? Not necessary, but makes it that much sweeter.
Here's the problem with planning...
You can get STUCK there!
(I wish I had some southern phrase or saying about being stuck... somehow it seems like it would just 'fit' here).
I've been here myself.
Many, many times.
I've mapped everything out (I love me some outlines and Gliffy diagrams. I'm not really a mind mapper), created the first few steps then get caught back up in the tasks. Or better yet... I don't get past the first step and get caught back up in the tasks.
I'm actually way better at following through on things than I used to be (not a lot of people who know me would say I don't 'get things done', but I make it way more of a chore than it needs to be), but at the end of the day what should get the most attention are the things that can make me MONEY.
I'm running a BUSINESS.
This isn't a hobby. As much as I love creating content, there needs to be an endpoint, right? (don't go all sideways on me with an altruistic opinion on this... you know what I'm talking about here).
I'm going to give you two very specific examples so you can feel like you're getting something tangible and not just joining me for a self-help session (although that could be fun too).
Let's look at The WP Chick first.
When I decided to change my theme I knew without a shadow of a doubt that my messaging needed to be CLEAR (notice I didn't say clearer, because I can honestly say it wasn't clear at all before). I wanted people to know that when they got to my site they could learn about WordPress and Marketing. I have some re-structuring to do of my content model, but that's more of a 'moving forward' as opposed to going backwards. Meaning, new content that I create should support this model. There are some content pieces I am creating that will be more like cornerstone content (full post on getting started with WordPress, installation, theme, etc. ... because 'duh'... I should have done this years ago) as well as some really in-depth tutorials on certain products (ex: CoSchedule).
Then it's a matter of the navigation supporting that direction and having a very detailed 'Start Here' page, clear paths for my visitors and products and services that support that.
Oh. And a new, well thought out plan for lead generation (and execution of that plan).
Here are the ways I'll be monetizing my brand: