One of the many way coaches can increase their income is via membership sites. This can be very profitable and can used as your signature program or just as an add-on.

Here are a few items to consider before you create your next membership site.

  • Platform: There are many plug-ins that allow you to create a membership site. One of the most common one is Wishlist. This has been trusted for years by many coaches and is one of the first ones that was created. Another great plug in is WP e-Member. If you are already an Infusionsoft user, you may want to consider using their add-on iMember360.
  • Levels: Make sure you pre-plan how many membership levels you want as well as what each level will have access to. This will making the set up a lot quicker.
  • Free vs Paid: A good way to entice people to your membership site is to either offer a limited time discount. Another idea is to offer a few pages to “free” members. This will allow them to savor what you have to offer and want to upgrade.
  • Content type: It will be important to know what content you will be sharing. Are you allowing them to view the content or download the content? Are you adding videos or PDFs? If so, make sure that they are the right size and formats. Also consider if you want to “host” the items on your website server or if you are going to use outside hosting options (You Tube, AWS, Vimeo)
  • Payment: Next you need to decide on how you are going to accept payment for your membership if you are charging. Also you will need to decide if this will be an on-going monthly price or a X-time payment.
  • Timing: Another item you will need to consider is if you want all of the access available at one time or if you want to “drip” the content. Another variation is that it is you want to move the members from one page to another. This is common for “classroom” formats. Many will have the next class “open” once the member has completed all of the steps from the previous class.
  • Branding: Most coaches will have new colors, new logos and banners for their membership site. If you are thinking about this, make sure you ask your website designer what dimensions you need to give to your graphic designer
  • Domain: Here you have the option to make a sub-domain to your main domain. This is a free option and would look like (members.yourdomainname.com). You may also want to consider purchasing a separate domain for your membership site. If you plan on buying a domain, make sure you send all the log in info to your web designer.
  • Security: This will be important now days with all of the hackers. Make sure that you have one of the many free security plug in installed or consider purchasing our favorite- iThemes Security.
  • Expiration: Lastly, you will need to consider is whether or not the content or access to the site will have an expiration date. Many programs are 3, 6 or 12 month programs allowing people to log in only during these times. Others will create a lifetime site. If do a lifetime site, you need to also decide if you are going to continually add new stuff or will it be a one-time set up and members can access the material forever.

With the proper plan and guide, you can have a membership site up and running in a few hours. The key is to have all you need in advance before you send off to your web designer. Also we would suggest talking over all of the above with them beforehand and make sure that they are needing anything else before you begin to start your site.  If you are thinking about doing a membership site, we would love to assist you. Schedule your call today and let’s talk.

Today with so much emphasis with automation and making a business run at its maximum efficiency, many people are fearing the technological changes needed for their coaching practice.

Today there are several programs that are NOT complicated but can be extremely useful in your coaching practice.

Today we are going to cover some of the technologies you can start to use that are for the person who has the only the basic understanding of computers and programs.

CRM– one of the best ways to keep track of your clients, vendors, and even birthdays is through a CRM. These programs can sound a lot scarier than they are. The fact is that many coaches are not using this fantastic tool. Many either have no idea how much time it can save or many are just not sure what a CRM does.

Most CRM shas a group calendar as well as syncing capability to Google and many other calendars. This allows everyone to be able to see what is on the calendar and what is coming up next. This is great for recording launch calendars and other events.

The Customer panel of the CRM is easy to view and understand. Here is where you can enter all of the customer’s information as well as notes, tasks, emails sent and also what products they purchased.

Most CRMs also allow you to set up email campaigns, web forms and also includes a space for document sharing.

A few suggestions for the beginner would be:
• FreeCrm.com is one example. Best of all- it is Free like the name implies, for up to 1 year. After that there is a fee of 24.95 to 35.95.
• Zoho CRM is another good option. This one costs $12-35 a month. Most coaches    would be fine with the $20 a month option.

Online Calendar– this is one of the best tools that a coach can have. The ability for your clients to schedule a time to speak with you via the web can make your job much easier. Many of these will also send out reminders to both you and the client as well as thank you reminder emails.

A few that we suggest for ease of use and pricing are:
• Vcita.com- there is a free version as well as a paid version (pricing starts at 12.45 a month) We currently use the free version and have for years and it has been perfect for our needs.
• simplifythis.com is another option. For $18 a month they offer a calendar software that not only allows booking bit also allows invoicing, reminders, reoccurring billing, and class/group scheduling.

Project Manager– the software can place all of your to dos as well as everyone else’s in 1 place. This is perfect also for tracking and assigning tasks to your Virtual Assistants and other support staff you have.

Some of the easier ones to use that are affordable are:
• Asana- This is a great and powerful project manager. There are also a lot of free “templates” as well that you can use. There is a free version if you are only planning you own to dos. Pricing is based on the number of team members and starts at $21 a month. The interface is simple to use and team members are sent reminders of their tasks daily when projects are assigned to them.
• Zoho also has a project manager. There is a free version if you only have 1 project, otherwise pricing starts at $20 a month. This is also a very easy to use PM and also, like Asana, has good reporting features as well. If you are using the Zoho CRM, Zoho will give you a discount for the multiple purchase.
• trello.com is perfect for the “visual” person. This allows you to visually create boards as projects. There is a free version to try this one out and see how it feels. The paid version starts at $8.33 per month per user.

These are just some of the basic tools we would recommend to start to automate your business. We will be continuing this discussion in the following post. Here we will look at more advance tools that can help automate your business.

Today, social media is prevalent. It’s the preferred communication among the younger set and studies have shown that a considerable amount of hours are spent on social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram during work hours. Most companies would respond by banning social media site access in offices as it is believed to take away from the productivity of workers. But this strategy simply boomerangs negatively, with employees instead opting to resign and move where rules are not as strict or resort to checking their sites on their own devices with data plans anyway.

In a nutshell, this is the best way for companies to deal with it: lose in the battle but win the war. Accept that social media is not entirely good or bad in itself, it is just a matter of having the right perspective and providing the right controls – the kind that respects the employee and at the same time, benefits the organization. Here are some ways to accomplish this in the long term:

1. Have a social media policy.

Most strict rules come from a place of fear. For companies, they are usually afraid of what the employee will share and the amount of hours they will spend online. First of all, owners should work with HR in accomplishing a holistic rule list when it comes to content. What’s deemed as confidential? What can help the marketing team? Be specific and if needed, list down the documents which can harm the company if shared. The last thing the company wants is to have an open ended memo which can be interpreted in many ways. Having so also protects the employees from other colleagues who may want to malign them online.

Instead of coming from a place of fear, come from a place of opportunity. Word the policies in such a way that they benefit the employee instead of seeming to stifle them. The goal is not to censor them but to ensure their safety and privacy as well.

2. Set smart limits.

The amount of bandwidth that is used for watching movies on YouTube for example can be detrimental for the company. So instead of banning the sites altogether, opt to have a social media hour for example so that these sites are not on round the clock. Rules such as not allowing downloading of movies or music are understandable. If the company security is compromised, invest in tablets which anyone can use for socials instead of individual PCs logging in.

This way, employees shift their mindset from something negative to positive. They are seen as the responsible adults that they are who plays a big role in maintaining the professional integrity of their workplace.

3. Provide the content.

When it comes to marketing, employees are the best brand ambassadors. It’s literally a gold mine usually untapped by most organizations. Since people are inclined to use social media, why not make them talk about the efforts of the company as well?

Nothing beats a company’s employee when it comes to announcing all its messages. And with the right guidance, it just might be the secret sauce to the company’s sustainable success, one post at a time.

Outsourcing to virtual assistants or VAs has becomes popular among business owners in the recent years. This is because many businesses in various industries have experienced the benefits of hiring a virtual assistant, including saving time and cost and generating more income for the company. If you haven’t tried working with a virtual assistant and you are considering hiring one to help you with your day-to-day operations, it would help to know the types of tasks you can outsource to a VA.
Tasks that You Can Outsource to Virtual Assistants

Michael Hyatt, virtual mentor and one of the leading business bloggers in the world, says that a virtual assistant can do anything for you, as long as it does not require physical presence. If you think of jobs that don’t require a person to be physically present, you’ll realize that there’s a lot that you can outsource—from accounting to marketing, to recruitment.

You can outsource almost any kind of task to a virtual assistant. Gregg Landers, CBIZ MHM director of growth management says in an article published in Entrepreneur that there are three categories of tasks that are best outsourced. These are: specialized knowledge, expertise, and highly repetitive tasks.

Expertise tasks are those tasks that require a high level of skills such as management of legal matters, analysis of your sales and financial performance, and other tasks that require executive-level expertise. Highly repetitive tasks are those that include data entry and general administrative work like responding to emails or organizing your inventory. Commonly outsourced tasks like blogging, graphic design, and web development all fall under specialized knowledge, or those tasks that require a specific set of skills.
Here is a list of tasks that are commonly outsourced or assigned to VAs:

1. Blogging and Blog Management – Writing blogs and ensuring that your blog is regularly updated can be done by a VA who has the writing skills and a working knowledge of blogging platforms.

2. Graphic Design – Tasks that involve designing corporate identity materials, marketing collaterals, product packaging and the like can be performed by VAs with graphic design skills.

3. Website Design and Management – VAs can also design and manage your website, as long as they have designing and programming skills.

4. Video Creation and Editing – Another technical and creative task that you can outsource to VAs is creating and editing videos. This can be done by VAs with the creativity and knowledge of video editing software and media production programs.

5. Social Media Management and Marketing – A social media-savvy VA can help you set up and update your social media pages. VAs can also create a social media plan for your business.

6. Email Management – You can ask your VAs to respond to incoming messages and filter your emails on your behalf.

7. Transcription – A VA with excellent typing, listening and transcription skills will be able to accurately transcribe audio and video files like interviews, podcasts, etc.

8. General administrative work – General administrative work that are usually done by executive assistants like scheduling, answering phone calls, taking down notes during meetings, and even doing personal errands for you online can also be done by a VA.

9. Research – Work that requires research like reports, product development, and strategies can be done by a VA.

10. Marketing – All marketing tasks, as long as they can be done online, can be performed by VAs with sales, marketing, or advertising background.

Defining Your Scope of Work
Before hiring a VA, the first thing you should do is to determine what you need to outsource. What will be your goal for hiring a VA? After determining your needs, define your scope of work. Specify your job requirements, including the skills you are looking for. Doing these will help you attract the right candidates for the job.