Bet On Yourself Toolkit

When you start a new job, the company provides you with the best tools and information to get your work done. When you work for yourself, you need to create that all on your own. After more than 10 years of self-employment, I've gathered tools and resources that will help you run your business more smoothly. Come back to your Bet On Yourself toolkit anytime you need it.

 

Mindset

We often think working for ourselves is only about the tangible things like getting the business, building a website and counting up the dollars. They're important but getting your thinking straight is essential and actually comes first. Here's a handful of places to start. You can find plenty of others on the articles page.

Difficult conversations: As a business owner, you'll have to get good at setting boundaries which can also lead to conflict or at least difficult conversations. Here are some practical tips from professional who know how to have the hard talks, and come out with relationships intact.

What to call yourself: The name of your business is key, but not the only thing that matters. How you position your work and the words you use to describe it are essential. Naming actually starts with how you think about yourself, and what you telegraph to prospects and clients.

Concerns about self-promotion: Going independent means you have to bring in all the sales yourself. For most of us, it's unfamiliar territory and can plunge us into doubt if we're not careful. Here's how to not to let that one person on the internet hold you back.

How to making your talk more sharable: Having easily digestible bits in your talks can make it easy for others to share. Packaging up your insights into pithy tidbits makes you more quotable and is also good for blog posts and other types of writing. Some solid tips in here.

Marketing

You have to do some sort of promotion to get the word out there that you're open for business. While these tools won't solve all your marketing dilemmas, they'll sure make it a bunch easier.

Mailchimp: Email is one of the best ways to stay in touch with your audience. This email marketing tool is super easy to use and is free for your first 2,000 subscribers. You can set up lists, schedule campaigns and view reports.

SumoMe: From popups to heat maps, SumoMe offers plenty of tools to grow that email list you've started using just a bit of code. Also works with Mailchimp and other marketing tools.

Buffer: For most of us, spending all day on social media will severely cut into our work. This tool makes it easy to schedule your posts in advance on channels like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Pinterest. Buffer also provides a metrics dashboard and helpful articles to help you optimize your activity.

Tryca.st: If you love talking about your industry or interviewing people, podcasting is a great way to market yourself. This tools allows you to record, edit, publish and host your own podcast.

Anatomy of a landing page: This marketing staple is critical to understand, especially if you're going to sell products. This gives a high level overview of what to consider.

Landing page checklist: Creating a landing page that converts takes a whole bunch of detailed effort. This checklist helps make sure you remember all the details.

Hack the Bird: If Twitter is one of your main marketing channels or you'd like it to be, this book offers solid strategies and advice for building an engaged audience on this platform.

 

Money

Getting a handle on the money stuff is one of the toughest things for business owners. While you can do the bookkeeping on your own, it's a pain. Accounting requires a bunch of effort and you need to have an in-depth understanding of the laws surrounding taxes. Using software in addition to a hiring an expert will be the best money you've ever spent on your business. Trust me.

Nusii: Proposal software for creative professionals with a free 15 day trial. Nusii allows you to create templates you can reuse and provides a dashboard which tracks your proposal acceptance rate and financial goals. You can also integrate Nusii with Highrise and sync all your contacts, proposals and deals.

AND CO: Bookkeeping, accounting and tax advice all in one place.

Harvest: Invoice and time tracking. I don't need to do to the minute time tracking but if you do, there's plenty of software that offers that capability.

Transferwise: The internet allows you to easily work with people from all over the world but the banks haven't caught up yet. Transferwise makes it easy to send and receive money abroad at an affordable rate.

What freelancers should know before filing their taxes this year: A good high level overview of what you need to consider when filing your taxes, especially great the first time you file a Schedule C.

20 legal basics you need to know: When you work for yourself there are plenty of legal issues you'll encounter and hiring a lawyer is costly. Here are 20 things you need to know when you get started.