Author

Vanita Cyril

Browsing

If you have experience working in a specific industry or with an online business-related platform, you can quickly turn those skills into working remotely as a virtual assistant.

If you look at the world of work, you soon realize that people who specialize make more money than those who don’t. This works in all aspects of our society. If you’re a primary care doctor, you make a lot less money on average than if you specialized in something such as oncology, or even podiatry. This is also very true for virtual assistants.

Marketing yourself as a VA who specializes in a specific industry or skill is always going to help you make more money in less time than if you generalize. You’ll also want to create a package of services instead of offering yourself hourly because it’ll help you control your time better plus help you avoid scope creep.

For each of the ideas below, think about the things that potential clients need completed that they don’t have time to do, and then create a package for the things you are skilled at doing.

Some industry specialties for virtual assistants to consider:

A virtual assistant often performs secretarial work for business owners at a distance using technology. A VA can really work for almost any type of business owner if the tasks they do can be done virtually.

  • Real Estate VA (REVA) – Real estate agents need someone to help them list properties, promote them on social media, and other office-type work such as checking email, writing letters, and so forth. While you don’t need special licensing to become a real estate VA, you might want to consider getting your real estate license in order to be more competitive or investing in a REVA certification.
  • Legal or Paralegal VA – If you have legal secretary or paralegal experience, transitioning to a virtual assistant will not be hard. Most of the work you do here doesn’t need to be in the office or in a location, although you may need access to specific databases and other information via your clients to do this job properly.
  • Research VA – Many people, including scientists, doctors, lawyers, teachers, and others, need people to conduct research for them. If you are good at research, understand how to find scholarly works to back up ideas, this can really be a fun opportunity for you. You’d do it from your computer and just need a good internet connection.
  • Coach and Speaker VA – Many coaches and speakers need an assistant to help find speaking gigs, answer customer service emails, create their marketing materials, and keep them organized and ready for their clients and speaking gigs. Sometimes you might even get to travel if you work with speakers, if that’s something you want to do. It’s not required as you can do it fully, 100 percent, virtually.
  • Author Assistant VA – Many authors who work with publishing houses or on their own need help with all the things authors have to do today, from editing to marketing. If you have experience in publishing, you can help organize your authors with packages from websites, to social media, and more.
  • Local Small Business VA – Many small businesses in your area have plenty of administrative things that need to be done, but often they either don’t do them, or they burn the candle at both ends because they don’t realize they can hire a VA part-time to help them. You can work for daycare centers, restaurants, beauty shops, and more.

Some platforms that are popular right now:

As you think about the platforms and systems that are popular right now, and what you’re good at doing, and who you want to do it for, you should be able to narrow down some very specific services for your customers based on the platform and your experience with it.

  • WordPress VA – You can set up WordPress for your clients and help them add blog posts and other content to their website regularly. You don’t have to build the entire site, but instead, the web designer creates it, and you just update it with the content provided by your clients. You’ll make sure it looks pretty, all the links work, and that the SEO is working.
  • Mailchimp VA – It doesn’t have to be Mailchimp. Of course, it can be any email marketing autoresponder platform. If you know how to use it very well and can help customers get more out of their use of it, then that’s what you should market to them. Most people don’t know how to use any software fully, but if you do, you can really knock it out of the park by helping your clients get the most out of it.
  • Instagram VA – Many popular Instagram stars get busy after they become popular. It makes it hard for them to have time to publish their images, edit them, and promote their work. You can help them with that and help them build an audience from the ground up too. If you know how to do that, market your services to the people you most want to work with.
  • YouTube VA – Many people want to start YouTube channels, or they already have them, you can work with newbies, or you can work with only platforms with 500K subscribers, it’s up to you regarding who you want to work with and the services you put together for them based on their needs as a YouTube Star.
  • Facebook Marketing VA – Do you know something about how to run ads on Facebook to help your clients make more money and sales? If so, you can become a Facebook Marketing VA. Many people who help companies run ads charge a percentage of sales, a percentage of ad spend budget, or a flat rate for each campaign.
  • Pinterest VA – Many businesses like to set up shoppable pins on Pinterest but don’t know how to do it or don’t have time. You do. You can help your clients set up the best pins and get more engagement on their pins.
  • Kindle Publishing VA – Being a self-published author isn’t as hard today as it used to be, but if you know something about publishing on Amazon Kindle, you can help guide your customers through the process. You don’t have to be an editor or anything, you just need to know people that can help your clients, and you’re golden.
  • Marketing Funnel VA – Everyone who has a business needs an online marketing funnel today. It’s a high-level skill set that any business owner needs. All you need to do is set up a package for creating a marketing funnel for your customers, and you can make six figures plus.
  • Project Manager VA – Every business owner who manages contractors and employees needs help doing it. No CEO does everything alone. They always have a smart and organized assistant that does all that for them. That can be you. If you’re good at setting up processes and steps to achieve goals using project management software and working with individuals, you can do this.

You get the idea. It’s a good idea to specialize so that you can command higher rates. Plus, when you specialize in what you do, you set the tasks that you will do for them, as well as the rates, so you automatically know what you’ll be doing for them each day throughout the year instead of waiting for them to tell you what to do.

Remember to create an entire package instead of just charging hourly for the services. Packages ensure that you have time for more than one customer and that you produce consistent results.

Starting a business from home is easier than many realize. You may think you need to invest thousands of dollars, but you really don’t. I started my business from home 12 years ago as a side hustle to my regular 9 to 5. I didn’t have a website or an office. I was 6 months pregnant and working a couple of hours per night and on the weekends from a little table in the nursery. Being the most technical among my friends and working in an advertising-related industry, a friend asked me to build a website for his new company. I did take HTML classes some ten years prior so I figured why not? I would learn as I go. He had no budget so there was no deadline. I did some online research, bought some books and TAADAA! the website was up before the baby was born! 😛 A handful of referrals came from building the site but most importantly I gained skills that complemented my education and career experience. Two years (and another child) later I started my own fulltime business from home via a mom blog. Today I own two web-based businesses and co-own a local business. You can use your skills, experience, and talents to start your own business too!

Owning your own business is a great way to take control of your life. You are 100 percent in control of when you work, how you work, and who you work with. Some who own their own business may disagree with that but IT IS absolutely up to you how much of that control you want to give away to clients. You can have 3 day weekends. You can schedule to have an online class in the middle of the day to learn that new skill that can help you earn more money. You are in command of how much you get paid. You choose the rate, not the customer. Also, since you’re just you, you can often end up charging less than a huge corporation and still end up more profitable as your expenses are lower. You are in control of your choices and your destiny.

Owning your own business does not require you to work from home. You can literally work from anywhere. For the purpose of today’s article, we’ll discuss 25 businesses you can start from home.

1. Mobile Hairdresser

I’m listing this one first for two reasons.

1. During the current Covid19 pandemic there is not one hair salon open in my neighborhood here in NYC. Forced me to give myself a dye job. It did not go well.

2. Fifteen years ago when I was a single working mom of a 6 and 8-year-old, (I am happily remarried and have 4 kids now) I had no time to sit in a salon. A local woman would come by my apartment twice per week to blow dry my hair straight. She charged the same as the salon but she came to my home which saved me 3 hours a week. I could check homework or watch TV with my girls while she attended to my hair. Whenever my daughters and I had an event to attend, I’d book a few extra hours that week so they could get something special done with their hair too.

How did she get started? She just introduced herself to harried-looking moms that she met at the supermarket, in the playground, at the laundromat. She kept a list of references and photos of the work she’s done in her flip phone to show people. Eventually, she made 5×7 postcards depicting some of her work and handed those out. A social media account and a listing on Google Maps would have done wonders for her business. Gosh, Google Maps didn’t even exist then!

2. Mobile Make-up Artists and 3. Mobile Pet Groomers

Similar to Mobile Hairdressers. All you need is talent, skills, experience, the applicable tools, and the confidence to start up conversations with strangers. An active social media account and a Google Map listing is a must these days.

4. Blogging

Blogging is a competitive industry but you CAN make money. When I started blogging over a decade ago, all I needed was a website and a computer. Now? All you need is a website and a smartphone! As a blogger, you can earn money from online ads, by being an affiliate, selling merchandise, selling digital downloads and by charging for premium content. It’s true, you do need a lot of traffic, so understanding SEO and social media is crucial. You also need a super-fast website with an SSL certificate (I am an affiliate of WP Engine because they rock for startups who don’t have a webmaster on payroll). Successfully creating an income via blogging is not easy and requires dedication and some investment, but that’s how we get started with any business, right?

5. Caterer 6. Baker 7. Mixologist

Caterers and Bakers are lifesavers. Forget fancy events. Think family reunions and birthday parties. These can be stressful for any host. Having someone show up with pans of chicken and ribs, side dishes and fancy cupcakes and layered cakes is just amazing when you have a full-time job, a full-time family and have to host a party. As for Mixologists, they’re the life of the party! An experienced Mixologist will create drinks to align with the dishes and desserts being served. But how do you get started? I would recommend a Facebook Business Page with lots of photos of your dishes/desserts/drinks and a Google Maps listing. I would have friends and family who’ve had my incredible offerings leave reviews and post photos. I would host a tasting party for people I know where they can try some of my dishes and we can take lots of photos for promotion. Be sure to ask your guests to refer you to friends, neighbors, and co-workers!

8. Copywriter

One of the 2 most impressive writers I’ve ever met is Vidya Sury. She has an MBA in Human Resources and Marketing and a Diploma in Training and Development. She also graduated with a B.Sc. in Zoology, Chemistry, and Botany. WOW, right? She currently, and for as long as I’ve known her, works from home as a Writer, Editor and Business Blogger. Clients find her through her LinkedIn Profile and hire her for copywriting, blogging, and manuscript editing. Want to start a business as a copywriter? Build your LinkedIn profile and an Upwork profile. You can search Upwork for openings and bid on paying projects.

9. Social Media Manager 10. Virtual Assistant 11. Virtual Bookkeeping 12. IT 13. Marketing Campaign Manager 14. Software/Platform Specialist

The other most impressive writer I’ve ever met is Angel Austin. She is also a fabulous singer, the owner of a media marketing business and of a mobile concierge business, and a heart-centered activist. Angel has a BA in Public Relations and Mass Communications and currently provides Social Media Management and Consumer Engagement services to a multi-million dollar company, from home. Angel left the corporate grind years ago so she could pursue her dream of a work/life balance where she calls the shots!

How did she get started? Through personal recommendations in her community working with local businesses. Executive assistants, ITs, software/platform specialists, marketing campaign managers, and bookkeeping administrators can also start their own business by offering their services. Reaching out to your network and local businesses is a good way to start. You can also offer your services on upwork.com.

15. Mobile Masseuse 16. Reiki Practitioner 17. Massage Therapist

If you’re trained and certified as a masseuse, a massage therapist, or a reiki practitioner, you can build your own mobile business where you travel to your clients. Groupon is a good platform to offer deals on your services when first starting out. You will definitely need somewhere online to direct people to read reviews and learn about you. That could be a website, a social media business page or a free About.me page.

18. Custom Art Commissions

My very talented artistic daughter, pictured in #1 above, is now a 21 year old Art Major in college, who started her own business painting on sneakers and clothing. How does she gain business? She wears her personal projects! People stop her in the train and on the street to ask about her boots and jacket. Friends and past clients recommend her too! And of course… Instagram, cause what 21 year old isn’t on Instagrram?

19. Launderer

No, you don’t need your own laundromat to make this one work. Have a car? Know how to separate whites from colors and fold clothing? I’d pay good money to have someone pick up my laundry, wash it, dry it, fold it and bring it back to me all within a day. Take in several orders a day. No website needed. Hit the pavement and use social media.

20. Photographer

This is one of my favorites. I’ve come across women with an amazing eye for photography. Some who trained professionally, some who it comes to naturally and grew up with a camera in their hands. AMAZING photographers, i should know, I worked in the imaging industry for 12 years with photographers. Guys who make big bucks from name brands. I know when a shot is breathtaking. When the lighting is right. When the picture is retouched or the real deal. Take that camera, build your portfolio, build a search engine optimized website offering your niche of photography (family photographers are the best way to start) to local customers and go for it!

Design the Life You Really Want to Live

The truth is working too much is not suitable for your life. If you really want to have a happier and fulfilled life, you need to build balance into it. You need to be able to schedule family time, friend time, work time and YOU time. As a business owner, you are in control of that schedule and can live a more fulfilled and happy life by managing your time to include all parts of your life.

Owning your own business also provides you more security, more options, and generally more money than working hourly jobs. You can stop trading hours for dollars and work with the people you want to work with, in a way that enables you to have more flexibility with your family and your life. There really is unlimited opportunity out there if you’re willing to invest in yourself. You can start small with a side hustle and seriously plan to scale to your own business.

Does the thought of blogging leave you cold? You’re not alone. In fact, if you ask most any online business owner what their most dreaded task is, blogging will likely rank right up there with bookkeeping and cold calling. With few exceptions, most people simply do not like to write, so they find any excuse not to do it.
And as you can imagine, their traffic suffers for it.
The good news is, if you hate to write or feel you’re just not good at it, there are plenty of other ways to create shareable content on a regular basis without ever putting your fingers to a keyboard (much).

Crowdsource

Despite Google’s apparent dislike for it, guest blogging is still a fantastic way to both generate content and get in front of a whole new audience. Other bloggers, marketers, coaches and service providers are looking for ways to grow their audiences, and many of them would jump at the chance to appear as a guest on your blog. It’s a win/win for both of you.
Not into guest blogging? What about a text interview or cross-blog conversation? Simply supply a list of questions to your interviewee, and post her responses. The interview format is perfect for introducing your audience to someone they might want to get to know better.
A cross-blog conversation requires a little more work on your part but it can be a fun way for your readers to get to know you a bit better. A cross-blog conversation is exactly what it sounds like: a discussion that takes place on two different blogs, with you and your blogging partner both offering opinions about a topic, just as if you were having a chat over coffee.

Audio and Video

Podcasting and video blogs are more popular than ever and they’re perfect for those who don’t care for writing. With either type of content, all that’s required is you, sharing your thoughts. You don’t have to do anything as involved or complex as interviews, and you certainly don’t have to hire a studio for a day to record a series of “professional” videos.
You can create podcasts and video blogs with nothing more than your laptop with its built-in camera or a headset and an audio recorder. Just fire up your computer and share your thoughts. Don’t worry about perfection, your visitors will love a chance to see the real you!

Curate

If you’re like most people, you very likely share a variety of content on your social media accounts. You point out articles you’ve read, videos you’ve enjoyed, infographics that explain a complex idea in a simple way. It’s part of what makes social media fun and informational.
But what if you took your sharing one step further, and posted your thoughts on your blog first, before linking on social media?
The result of this curation technique, where you add your opinion with a link to the original article or video, is that you drive traffic to your site rather than someone else’s. Not only that, but it gives you more opportunity to start a conversation with your readers about the content you’re sharing.

Relying on Google or the other search engines to send you traffic can be an exercise in frustration. A better method is to encourage sharing on social media. But if you’re not a wordsmith, creating content can seem an overwhelming task. Rather than giving up and letting your blog languish, explore some other ways to create content your readers will enjoy and share.

We’ve been told (and told and told) for years that “the money is in the list” and that “your mailing list is your biggest business asset.” But if your list numbers are hovering in the low four-figures—or fewer—with no sign of growth on the horizon, such advice can seem a bit unhelpful.

The fact is, building a list is a catch 22: You can’t get sign ups without traffic and it’s difficult to find traffic when you have no list. What’s a busy coach to do?

Paid Ads Make List-Building Easy

By strategically placing ads in front of your target audience, you can drive tons of traffic to your opt-in offers and enjoy conversion rates of two or three percent or more. Even better, with some tweaking and split testing of your offers, you can carefully refine your ads and copy so that you’re attracting your exact ideal client and filling your list with buyers who are ready to take action, rather than freebie seekers.

All you need to run paid ads to your opt-in pages is:

A compelling offer, such as a video training series or live webinar
Copy to grab the attention of your target audience

Best Ad Placements

Once you have your components in place, the only question remaining is where to run your ads. You have dozens of choices, from Twitter to Google to YouTube to solo email spots.
The key is to first determine where your market is most likely to be hanging out. If they’re on LinkedIn, then running ads on Twitter will be a waste of time. Keep in mind the cost as well. Ads on Facebook are generally less expensive and less competitive than a Google Adwords placement.

Start Small, Then Refine

Once you’ve decided where to place your ads, it’s time to set your budget and begin running a small set of ads. Consider setting a small daily budget, such as $10 or $20 at the beginning, so you can get a feel for how your ads will perform. Watch the traffic, track your conversions, and create split tests of your landing page and ad sets to determine which performs the best. You can also refine the audience you’re targeting based on the stats you receive. For example, if you find that men between the ages of 20 and 30 are clicking but not opting in, you might want to remove them from your audience.
At least at first, it’s best to avoid running ads for paid products. Conversions for a free offer will far outshine those to a paid product—especially if your program is expensive. After all, those who are clicking on an ad most likely do not know you at all, so it takes a much bigger leap of faith to offer up a credit card number than it will to provide an email address.

Ad Copy Blunders to Avoid

Have you ever clicked on an ad because you saw an adorable pair of sandals that you just had to have, only to land on a page full of sneakers, with not a sandal in sight? It’s frustrating, to say the least, and that kind of ad to landing page mismatch will kill your conversions.

Your ad copy is making a promise to the reader. If your landing page doesn’t fulfill that promise, your readers will click away, and you’ll have wasted the money you spent to get them there. Before running any ads, be sure your ad headline, image, and copy all match the message on the landing page.

Paid advertising was once a tool used only by big companies or marketers with a lot of money to spare, but today they’re more cost-effective than ever, and the technology makes them easy to create and monitor. If you haven’t yet tried your hand at this useful traffic generation method, it’s time to do some experimenting. You might just find your list numbers—and sales—growing.

Ever wonder what makes some Facebook posts, videos, or blogs “go viral,” while yours are lucky to have 7 shares and two comments? While it might seem like some well-kept secret, the truth is it’s easy enough to create shareable content, if you put some thought and creativity into your efforts.

Everyone Loves Infographics

Whether you want to know more about how coffee is grown, or you’re looking for ways to boost your blog traffic, you’ll find a variety of infographics to fill you in.
These colorful, easy-to-read graphics share vast amounts of data while still entertaining an audience. By condensing numbers and stats down to easily digestible bite-sized pieces, you can make valuable information highly understandable for any audience. Even better, your market will be happy to share (and share and share).
If you’re not artistic, or don’t have the skills required to create your own, you can hire designers from Fiverr and other job sites, or use a tool such as Piktochart to quickly make infographics your audience will love.
**Pro tip: create an embeddable link for your infographic and encourage other blog owners to share it on their sites. You’ll automatically drive traffic from every site that posts your content.

Create Valuable Posts

Writing a blog post? Don’t just skim the surface of a topic. Dig deep. Provide as much information as you can on the topic.
While some bloggers will tell you that shorter is better, the truth is, posts of 3,000 words are more likely to be shared than their shorter cousins. So don’t worry about attention spans. Readers have proven they want good info and they don’t mind digging into a long post to find it.

Let Your Personality Shine

No one wants to read or share another “me too” post. Not you and not your audience.
What they do want—and what they’ll happily share with their friends and fans—is personality-driven pieces that aren’t afraid to take a stand.
That’s why coaches such as Kimra Luna and Marie Forleo are so popular. You know, simply by reading their content and watching their videos, that what you see is exactly what you get. Nothing is hidden; there’s no “corporate speak” to be found.
It’s easy to form a connection with someone like that because you feel like you know them personally. And what do you do with your friend’s content? You share it, of course!
It doesn’t take much to be shareable. Just be yourself, be transparent, and be valuable. In short, just do what you’re already doing, only with a little bit more oomph!

Here’s one sure way to build up a great following fast: do something just a little crazy.
If you’ve ever watched a reality TV show such as Married at First Sight or Survivor, then you know what a draw it can be to attempt something just a little crazy. Millions of people tune in each and every week to see what new catastrophes would befall the cast of Survivor, or what new battle would break out on someone’s wedding day on Married at First Sight.
Now imagine if you could generate that kind of traffic to your blog or website, just by attempting something off the wall.
The fact is, this is a tried and true marketing plan that companies have been doing for more than a century and you can easily do something similar in your business.

Write a Book…Or 20

When Kristen Joy of TheBookNinja.com needed a boost in traffic, she turned to the medium she knows best: Kindle publishing. Accepting a challenge from her business coach, she agreed to write and publish a new Kindle book each week for 20 weeks.
As the word spread about Kristen’s plan, her traffic grew (and grew, and grew). Why? Some people no doubt wanted to see her fail—after all, that’s really why we watched Survivor, isn’t it? But most people rightly thought that Kristen must have something important to say if she had committed to such a large project.
Nicole Dean pulled off a similar plan with her Blog World Tour. During the summer of 2009, she visited 15 blogs in 15 weeks, guest posting on the target blog for 5 straight days before moving on to the next. Did it work? Absolutely! Just like Kristen’s crazy book-writing spree, Nicole’s blog world tour gained her lots of traffic and thousands of new fans.

Stretch Yourself A Little

Now, you don’t have to write a book a week for 20 weeks, or even spend the summer guest blogging. But there are plenty of things you can do to build some buzz and drive some traffic to your site. The key is to find something that would make most people say “I could never do that.” And then do it.

Post to your blog every day for a year.

Post a new video to your YouTube channel every day for 90 days.

Speak at or attend one conference each month for a year.

Whatever “stunt” you decide to pull off, it must have two components to be successful:
It must be outside what most people would consider their comfort zone
You must commit to it publicly and often—tell your list, your social media followers, your blog readers, your clients, everyone.
A challenge of this sort must have one other component as well—your absolute conviction to finish. The last thing you want is to publicly declare your intention then quietly fade out mid-way to your goal.
If you’re looking for a fun, innovative way to drive a lot of traffic to your website, and to get more eyes on your content, consider setting a big, outrageous goal for yourself. You’ll be surprised how many people turn up to watch and cheer you on, and you’ll have fun along the way. Not only that, but at the end, you’ll have lots of content you can repurpose again and again, and you will have learned a thing or two about your audience and yourself, too.

Ask nearly anyone who runs an online business what their biggest struggle is, and chances are they’ll say “more traffic.”
You need traffic to build an email list.
You need traffic to make sales.
You need traffic to fill your coaching programs.
So the big question is, where do you get all that traffic?
Sure, you could buy ads, but if you aren’t careful, you might just fill your list with less-than-ideal audience members and that will do nothing for your sales. You could focus your time and energy on search engine optimization but unless you have years to build your business (and who does?) then SEO should not be your top choice.
Good thing you have other options.

Be a Guest

Everyone needs content. It’s the one thing that remains consistent among all content creators—there is never enough. That’s where you can help.
By guest posting on other coaches’ blogs, you can “borrow” some of their traffic.
You can’t simply regurgitate old content and send it out in a dozen directions though. To get the best results, you’ll want to:
Create custom content designed with your host’s unique audience in mind.
Provide stellar value with actionable ideas and strategies not found everywhere else.
Inject your personality so those new to you will instantly connect with you.
Offer a compelling reason to click through to your website or blog for more information.

Partner Up

No list? Here’s a quick way to “borrow” someone else’s list to kickstart your own: Schedule a free event with a partner.
Here’s how it works.
You (as the one with the small list) create a compelling, free training which leads naturally to a low-cost, no-brainer product.
Install an affiliate tracking system such as aMember, Infusionsoft or 1Shopping Cart.
Offer your best affiliates a higher percentage of profits in exchange for co-hosting your webinar and bringing their traffic along for the ride.
This is a win/win for both of you, as you gain the traffic while your affiliate gets a bigger payday. Just be sure you have a good funnel in place so that your new list members can benefit from all that you have to offer.

Get Interviewed

Want to really show off your expert status and bring traffic back to your site, too? The easiest way is to get on the interview circuit. Just like authors with new books and actors with new movies, coaches and service providers can get in front of new audiences simply by answering questions about what they know.
Of course, you’re probably not going to appear on the Today Show or Oprah (although that’s not impossible), but there are still plenty of opportunities out there for coaches and consultants in every niche.

Look for interview and speaking opportunities on:

Podcasts
Other blogs
YouTube
Periscope and Blab
Local events
Industry conferences
Telesummits

Start by reaching out to your colleagues and to podcast and blog hosts you most admire. Get the word out with your friends and your list that you’re looking for opportunities.
Even if you don’t yet have a list of your own, it’s easy (and fun) to kickstart your audience growth simply by making yourself available for these and other opportunities. Each guest post, podcast interview, and webinars are another chance to get in front of a whole new market, so take advantage of it!

As a coach, it can be difficult to watch the lack of progress of so many promising entrepreneurs and coaches. They’ve dreamed for so long about creating a solid, sustainable business, and yet, all they do is dream.
You know the people I’m talking about. They attend conferences, sign up for free webinars, buy paid training, and sometimes even work with a coach or two. And yet week after week, month after month, year after year, they fail to make any progress toward their dreams.
Are they just lazy? No. It’s something worse. They don’t know how to move from a dream to a plan and they’re stuck.

Start With the Long-Term

If you’ve ever been on a job interview and were asked, “Where do you want to be five years from now,” you might have thought it an odd question. But as a business owner, that might just be the most important consideration you can have.
Without knowing where you’re headed in the long term, it’s impossible to create a map to get there. You need to know what your destination is, so that every day, week, month, and year you can check your progress to be sure you’re still headed in the right direction.

Create Milestones

Once you know your ultimate destination, you can draft a plan for getting there, and create the interim goals that will help you stay on track.
For example, if in five years you want to be free to travel for 8 weeks every year, then you need to have a few pieces in place before that can happen:
• Enough income to cover travel costs
• Passive income to sustain your business while you’re not working
• A staff who can manage the business while you’re away
With this list, you can then work backwards from your five-year goal, and create milestones along the way. If you know you’ll need to earn $150,000 annually in order to fund your travel plans, and right now you’re earning $60,000, then reasonable milestones might look like this:
• Year 1: $70,000
• Year 2: $85,000
• Year 3: $105,000
• Year 4: $125,000
• Year 5: $150,000
With these milestones in place, it’s much easier to figure out exactly what you need to do to achieve them, by setting monthly, weekly, and daily goals.

Create Small Goals

If you say to someone, you need to move from $60,000 to $150,000 in five years, that’s a pretty overwhelming task. After all, it’s a $90,000 increase and most people will look at that and immediately dismiss it as impossible.
But when you break it down as we have above, and then again into smaller steps, it suddenly doesn’t look so daunting.
In the first year of the plan we have outlined here, your income needs to increase only by $10,000. That’s less than $1000 per month! Surely that’s easy enough to accomplish! You can further break that down by week: $1000 per month is just $250 per week. If you sell just one more group coaching package, or five more of a $50 training program, you’ve already reached your milestone.

That might mean sending one more email to your list, or investing an additional $20 per month in Facebook ads, or perhaps reaching out to one more JV partner. The point is, reaching this much smaller goal is far easier than thinking about that five-year plan.

So what’s your big dream? How can you deconstruct it into achievable milestones, workable goals, and finally, daily and weekly tasks? If you can do this (and you definitely can) then you can achieve anything in business and in life.

It’s not enough to dream of success. It’s not even enough to set goals.
The only way to truly achieve your dreams and build the business you’re meant to build is to sit down and just do it.
And that’s where many of us…well, fail is a strong word. But it’s the doing that trips us up more times than not.
We overbook our calendars until today’s to-dos become next week’s past dues. We procrastinate on the things that are important while attending to things that are merely “nice to do.” And sometimes we simply take on too much—even when we know better.

The answer? Embrace these five productivity hacks that top coaches use to get more done in less time.

• Rituals and Habits: Simply put, a ritual or habit is a consistent way of doing something. You have a morning ritual (wake up, brush your teeth, work out, shower, and head to your office), evening ritual (check homework, tuck the kids in, watch the evening news, and hit the sack), weekend ritual (sleep late, mow the lawn, catch a movie, visit your mom), and many others. 

The trouble is, if you’re not careful with your rituals, they can turn into productivity killers. Is checking Facebook or email a part of your morning ritual? Is turning on Skype a part of your at work ritual? Distractions such as these can turn even your best intentions into hours of wasted time. 

Take a good look at your rituals. What are you doing that you should not be—or that should be moved to another part of your day? Make your rituals more efficient and you’ll automatically get more done.

• Calendar Management: Want to know how much time you really have available for that new project? Try blocking off time in your calendar for all your existing projects. Fill in all your client calls, your business administrative tasks, time for meals and breaks, outside appointments, and everything else you’re committed to. What’s left might just shock you. 

Make it a habit to block time in your calendar for every commitment, and you’ll never again over-promise or over-commit.
• Learn to Let Go: Here’s a news flash. You do not have to do everything in your business. You can (and should) hand off those low-level tasks to someone else. Hire a VA to create your documents and manage your calendar. Let your tech support person manage your blog and email. Turn over your bookkeeping to an accountant. The time you free up will allow you to work on what’s truly important—and that only you can do.
• Work Hard, Play Harder: You are not a machine. You cannot work all day every day and hope to be at your best all the time. 

Take a day off. Get some rest, or relax on a long, slow hike. Take a friend out to lunch. Go shopping with your kids. See a movie or a play. Do something—anything—other than work. 

Not only will you return to the office feeling much more refreshed, but you’ll find yourself more creative and productive than before as well.
• Focus: Multi-tasking is impossible. You cannot efficiently create a new coaching program while you’re simultaneously surfing Facebook, keeping an eye on the kids, and answering the phone every time it rings. 

Instead, use your calendar to block time off for important tasks, then turn everything else off so you can focus. No phone, no Facebook, no kids or husbands or neighbors or pets demanding “just a minute” of your time. Tune everything out, and you’ll find your work getting done much faster.

Managing your time and turning up your productivity is not something that comes naturally to most people but when you learn to master this skill, you’ll find your business grows right along with you.

Imagine you had a coaching client who consistently failed to complete her tasks for the week.
She couldn’t find the time to get her email opt-in page completed.
She was too busy to write the next chapter of her book.
She was working too hard and completely forgot to put together her webinar presentation.
It wouldn’t take long before you sat her down for a serious talk about the future of your coaching relationship—and her business. A coaching client such as that is a frustrating waste of time.
Why, then, do you continue to accept these and other excuses from yourself? Why is your lack of business development allowed to continue, even when you know how important those tasks are to your future growth?
Now, before you go thinking I’m being way too hard on you, know this: we all struggle with this very issue. We all put our clients, our family, our friends, and even the neighbor we barely know before ourselves.
But I’m giving you permission right now to stop doing that, and start treating yourself as the VIP you really are.
It’s time to put your business growth ahead of that of your clients. Only by doing that will you be able to reach a larger audience, help more people, and achieve the goals you’ve set for yourself.
The simplest way to do this is to just make appointments with yourself. That hour or two you have free on Thursday afternoon? Don’t book a client call in that spot. Book yourself. Mark it on your calendar, and treat it as an unbreakable appointment, just as you would an appointment with a client or your doctor or your accountant.
Spend the time working on the things that are important to the continued growth of your business.
• Develop a new group coaching program
• Write a chapter of your upcoming book
• Write emails for your autoresponder
• Reach out to JV partners
In short, do those things you tell your clients to do—the things your own coach is likely advising. Don’t push them aside for “later” or “after your client work is done.” Elevate yourself to VIP client status and start putting yourself first. Your business will thank you for it.