When running a business, whether online or in person, organization is central in how successful you are. A business is like a machine, and it needs to run smoothly. There are so many things to learn when starting a business like marketing, copywriting, finance, technology, and more. Honestly, it’s endless, and without some sort of organization, you will fall behind and lose the motivation because you won’t even know where you left off.
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How do I run Millennial Mrs. and Mom? Simple, I use a lot of technology and tools and a lot of sticky notes, notebooks, planners, and of course, coffee! As I have said in many articles on Millennial, “Communication is key.”
When you run a business, especially when you have other people working for you, communicating effectively is essential to keep things running and on schedule. But more importantly, don’t forget communication with your readers, customers, and potential readers and customers! Making sure that you are effective in communicating is extremely important.
Some Tools We Use
- Planners + Calendars
- Mint by Intuit
Communication in Business
Communication With Your Team
Communicating with your team is essential! If you don’t know how to lead your business and communicate in a professional and timely manner, things will start to slip, you might lose respect from your team, and they might lose their faith in you leading your own business.
At Millennial Mrs. and Mom we use a lot of ways to stay in contact. I use email, Skype, texting and calling to keep up with everyone. Honestly, I love this app called Glide, it’s a simple text and video app and super easy to use. I keep in touch with some of my team through that and email and skype for others. I use all platforms and know which platforms my team members use most in their lives, so if it’s an urgent message I know the best way to connect and communicate with them.
Another way to communicate it to make sure the team can communicate with one another. Aside from email, we use Trello. Trello is where the schedule of content is, what everyone is writing and working on, what is being scheduled, and so forth.
Communication With Your Readers/Customers/Clients
Keeping up with your readers/customers/clients/followers is also extremely important. These are the people who are going to your site/company and investing in you by giving you their time and possibly money. For Millennial, we use ConvertKit for our mailing system to subscribers, and for anyone interested in guest posts or advertising posts, they email me directly and I respond within 48 hours. Making sure you are staying in contact with your subscribers, and even guest posters that really stood out to you, is important. Networking is a part of the business world. And if the word, “Networking” scares you, just replace it with “Relationship.” You are building a relationship with your readers, clients, and project partners.
Now, sometimes people email you, interested in guest posting for your site/company and then they end up “ghosting” you when you follow up. That can be extremely frustrating, but what I do, is I send three follow up emails, and if they don’t respond then I take it that they don’t want to guest post. They can always email back in the future, but I take their name off the schedule for guest posters.
Another problem I’ve heard about is when people don’t want to pay for anything and expect everything to be free. In these cases, being professional and making sure everything is clear at the beginning is very important. That can save you the hassle of wasting both you and the potential clients time. If you have a clear message on your site about advertising, or sponsored posts, and products and the person says they don’t want to pay you, then that’s fine. You can say that you’re sorry that they don’t have the money at the time and that the door is always open for the future.
When it comes to communicating with readers, if they comment on an article, do respond! And don’t wait weeks to respond, respond that day or the next day. Building trust and a real relationship with your readers is important. Remember, you are there to cater to them and what they need help with. If a reader leaves a comment contrasting what you wrote, that is great to know. It’s not bad when readers disagree with your articles, it’s actually beneficial. It gets conversations started, and you and your reader can gain respect for each other if you both respect the difference of opinions.
If your readers have questions, have the answers! If they want to know if there is a refund policy, answer that question quickly. If they want to know when the next posting date is, respond accordingly. Usually, readers are asking questions that you know the answers to (or should!). So make sure you take that time to respond. Every day I check my Millennial email in the morning, at midday, and in the evening. I want to make sure that if I am waiting for an important email from someone I don’t miss it.
Being organized can make your life a million times easier. Take it from someone who fell behind in the organization and had to take an entire day to get reorganized. To me, that was a day wasted because I should have been organized in the first place. Personally, I like color coding things, sticky notes, and notebooks and a calendar.
If you’re an online business, like a website, magazine, blog, etc. having a calendar is a must. Whether that is a calendar on your computer, on Trello, or a paper calendar, having one is essential. At Millennial, I calendar everything out. I know the due dates for articles, I know when to expect articles coming in, and then I know the publishing dates, and that enables me to plan time to edit the articles. Another reason calendars are important is for launch dates. For company’s who are launching products or a new project, making sure that each step is meeting the deadline is important. And sometimes timelines change and being able to see the calendar and how the changes affect things is important.
If you’re running an online magazine or a blog having a content calendar and an article notebook can really help with your organization. For instance, fall is coming up and if you’re planning content for fall, then you are probably wanting to make sure all your articles will go up in time and know what ideas you want to write. Like “Back to School” articles are coming out right now, and once October hits, Halloween articles will come out. In February Valentine’s and Dating articles will be popular, so planning your articles around seasons can be very important depending on your niche. Write out every month down in your notebook and write out all the articles you want to publish in those months, that way when that month comes you have a plan.
Another important book to have is a book for guest posters, anyone you collaborate or have a project with. I use a Follow-Up Voice Mail Log to keep track of everyone who requests a guest post on Millennial Mrs. and Mom. I know everyone who has guest posted, the date they emailed me, the title of their submission, and their email. With that information I can easily contact them, I can know when the last time I contacted them was by writing down the last follow up email I sent, and I can reach out to them in the future if an opportunity presents itself that would be beneficial to both of us to work together. Seriously this log book has saved me countless hours of going back through old emails to figure out who I had emailed, who hadn’t responded yet, and so forth.
Along with this log book post-its are my best friend! I have Post-it Flags for the log book and have color coded it: Yellow for those who haven’t replied, Purple for people I am guest posting for, Pink for articles that are scheduled, and Blue for those I am waiting on a draft from. I also have normal Sticky Notes as well, in different colors. Pink is everything article/idea oriented, Blue is side notes, and Yellow are future goals for Millennial. Color coding truly makes things much easier to find, and figure out where the focus needs to be.
Inspiration is another part of business. I get PsychologyToday and some parenting magazines and look for inspiration there, as well as other amazing bloggers like James Michael Sama and Real Time Love. Those two bloggers have great voices and messages, and we all write about similar things in life, so I love seeing how others approach the same topic. I not only write down my own ideas but look to others to make sure I am not missing any aspects of a topic. I want to make sure that Millennial is covering what it should be covering. Inspiration can even come from your team members when you bounce ideas off of each other. Taking an “Inspiration Day” can really help with your organization in terms of having content/ideas for the future months to come.
Inspiration is great, because then you are inspired to action. Once you have published or created a product, that means finances enter the picture. Excel, Paypal, and Mint by Intuit are the three financial tools we use. When finances enter the picture, your business is a business! Congrats! But once you are a business and have money coming in, that means that you need to keep track, create invoices, and have a way for payments to go through. Figuring out what is best for you is important. Which payment providers work for you and your business? For Millennial, PayPal works for us, it’s simple, and its beginner friendly. Excel has been great because we can easily keep track of products, costs, clients, etc. My husband, Jak, is the one who creates the excel sheets that we use, and it’s truly been a live saver.
This is just the beginning of what you can do to get organized, motivated, and have better communication. Running a business takes courage, time, organization, communication, passion, and the ability to learn new skills. You must find what works for you and then run with it! Whatever makes your life easier as you venture into your business is great, because running a business is not for the faint of heart.