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How to Prioritize Your Time

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One of the many questions or challenges I hear from clients and the women in my Facebook Group is that there is an endless list of things to do. The problem is – it’s hard to decide which things are mission critical and which things aren’t, especially when it feels like EVERYTHING is important.

The first exercise I have my clients do is write down ALL of the things they feel like they need to do. From content creation, to videos, to website updates, to email, to landing pages, to social media and beyond. Literally write down every single thing that needs to be done.

One, you should feel better just having it all out on paper. My coach tells me that the reason I get overwhelmed when I have a lot to do is because my brain is trying to remember what all needs to be done, which creates this crazy “OMG, how am I going to get it all done?” loop in my brain. Sound familiar?

First things first

After you have it all on paper – tackle the things that will take 5 minutes or less. My guess is you have sat down, set a timer for 30 mins, and focused on those tasks – you’d easily knock out 5-7 things. While none of these things have been prioritized they are now DONE and there is nothing more satisfying than checking stuff off of the list.

Now, with your new found sense of accomplishment – you get to start prioritizing.

If you’re in a position to hire a Virtual Assistant, even if it’s just for a few hours each week, you should start there. What 5-7 items on your to-do list do NOT need you or your expertise to get done? Outsource those thing. Not only will it save you time, that person will likely be able to get stuff done in half the time you can.

Now, my guess is there are somewhere between 8-12 things left on your list for you to do. While that’s better than 20+ – it can still feel like A LOT to get done. Especially if you’re juggling a full time job while launching your business.

What do I do first?

This is where the rubber hits the road, my burned out and overwhelmed entrepreneur. You have to start by prioritizing the money making activities.

Tweaking your website for the 4 million-th time – not making you any money.

Editing your email sequence – not making you any money.

Making pretty images in Canva – NOT making you any money.

Taking 3 hours to write your blog – NOT making your any money.

So what IS making you money?

This is likely to be different for everyone, in some capacity. But, at its core, money making activities are:

  • Connecting with your audience
  • Growing your audience
  • Selling to your audience
  • Nurturing your audience
  • Live streams
  • Training webinars
  • Consult Calls
  • Challenges
  • Prospecting
  • Inviting people to your FB group or email list.

When you look at the remaining items on your list – do they match up with the above?! If the above items AREN’T on your list – we likely have an even bigger problem.

Before you freak out…

This is a GOOD thing. We’ve now identified that you are spending an abundance of time on activities that aren’t making you any money. Which means we can now actually start prioritizing your time and planning your days.

Calendar Blocking

Whether you use an electronic or a paper calendar – blocking off time on your calendar to get things done is MISSION CRITICAL. If you need to spend 30 minutes responding to posts in your Facebook group each day – that needs to be on your calendar.

If you want to make sure you’re inviting 15 new people to your email list each day – that time should be on your calendar.

If you need to plan your social media for the week – that needs to be on your calendar.

I wish I could remember who told me “what doesn’t get put on your calendar, doesn’t get done” – but it is 100% true. If you do not have time earmarked for certain MONEY MAKING activities you will find yourself chasing the bottom of you to-do list and totally broke.

Sad, but true.

Tips and Ideas

What I do – might not work for you, but it’s the best experience I can speak from.

I have tried to create a system for myself as it relates to weekly and daily activities in my business. On the weekends, I focus on content generation. Blog content. Social content. Outlines for lives throughout the week. Landing page edits, email sequence edits, etc.

The more I can get done Friday – Sunday – the more time I have to connect with and nurture my audience throughout the week. I know a lot of entrepreneurs earmark Mondays for content. Doesn’t matter when you do it – just make sure it gets scheduled and done.

I have a daily to-do list. It’s a list of activity I do every single day in my business. It includes activities from posting new stories to connecting with new people on LinkedIn, to welcoming people to my Facebook group. Every. Single. Day.

Because I juggle my full time job with my business, I don’t do these things at the exact same time every day, I fit them into lunch breaks, after hours, etc. If I had a choice though – these activities would be the FIRST thing I get done each day (with the exception of Insta stories).

Primarily because there are often the “less fun” activities than things like live training inside my group or answering questions inside other Facebook groups.

Also, once it’s done – it’s done. My prospecting activities for the day are DONE – which is important, because those are the things that usually get “skipped” most often.

Block off Time for Client Work

This one I almost forgot to do, and it’s caught up with me a few times. If you wear ALL the the hate (sales, marketing, content generation, etc.) – it’s often hard to balance ALL of the things we should be doing with client work. Make sure you factor this into your day and your week.

The good news is – client work should be your zone of genius – and be the easiest thing to  get done. But, nonetheless, if it’s not on your calendar, you’re likely to find yourself scrambling to get things done (speaking from experience).

Guidelines

I just gave you a lot of advice on how to manage your calendar. That likely feels overwhelming and very limiting – like I’ve asked you to plan every minute of every day. That is NOT what I am asking you to do.

It’s likely you become an entrepreneur because you were looking for time freedom and a calendar with every single minute planned is NOT freedom. I know that.

However, without boundaries and without a plan, we’re likely to spend an ENTIRE day writing a blog post instead of the 20 minutes it should take. Also, the bigger your business gets – the more you will get to out source, which will give you the time freedom you’re looking for.

The whole point of this entire blog wasn’t to make you feel restricted but rather to give you some insight into planning out your time and making sure that the MONEY MAKING ACTIVITIES get calendar-ed and get done FIRST. Then, you squeeze in the rest.

Take these tips as a guideline and find the system that works best for you. As long as your money making activities make it on your calendar first – you’re doing it right!

 

Welcome to the Podcast

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Welcome to my new podcast.  I’m Ryann Dowdy.  I’m a sales coach and revenue mentor that helps business owners overcome their negative mindset around sales and increase revenue. I support ambitious, smart, motivated, female entrepreneurs as they work towards their business goals. I believe that mastering basic influence skills (or sales skills) is the key to greatly increasing the number of clients you work with, reaching your income goals, and living the life you imagined when you started your business.

In this first episode, you’ll get to know a little more about me and how I hope to help you take your skills up a notch? Do you want to work with more clients? Do you want to have better sales conversations with your clients and work with more people?  If your answer is yes, then you’ve come to the right podcast.

Discovery Call vs Coaching Call

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When you’re really good at what you do and when it comes easily to you – it’s hard to listen to someone spill their guts about a problem that they’re having that you know you can fix and not FIX it! Right?!

While we always want to provide value in our Discovery Calls – we want to make sure we leave our prospects an opportunity to BUY from us.

I’m not saying that you can solve someone’s MAJOR business problem in a 30 minute call, but if the prospect has enough information that they feel like they can do it on their own, then they have no reason to pay you. They can continue to make excuses as to why they shouldn’t pay for it (as we know we often do when we’re making decisions).

Free Coaching Calls?

Have you ever heard that you should offer free coaching calls when you’re first starting your business? Or maybe you just want to get people used to scheduling calls with you.

In fact, for Valentine’s Day I offered free 15 minute coaching calls to my community. I did this to connect. I did this because I want to help. I did this as a gift and way to provide value to YOU – my audience.

On these calls – there will be NO pitch. There will be NO ask. It will be a quick 15 minute Q&A.

This is intentional. I will NOT betray my audience by ASKING for anything.

I sincerely 110% hope that I help each woman I get to talk to (I am SO excited).

THIS is an instance where you COACH without SELLING. Without asking. And without expecting anything in return.

Spoiler alert…

The reason you provide value to your audience is because you want them thinking “OMG – if I can learn THIS much from this person for free in 15 minutes – imagine if I actually joined their coaching program or hired them for 1:1 coaching?”

That’s why you offer free coaching calls. To solve a small part of what we all know is typically a larger problem.

Discovery Call

A discovery call is a SALES call. It shouldn’t be a secret to the prospect that it’s a SALES call. Whether you call it a consult, a strategy session, a discovery call, a breakthrough call. It does not matter. At all.

It’s a sales call. And no one should ever, ever be surprised when they get on a sales call that they are going to be asked to buy something (if it’s a good fit).


I teach to the “non-negotiables” of the Discovery Call often – but here is my framework.

What is their current situation?

What is their desired situation?

What happens if they get there?

What happens if they don’t?

How have they tried to solve the problem before?

The Discovery call is an 80/20 conversation. Your prospect should talk 80% of the time – you should talk 20%.

You know what the means?!

There is NOOOOOO coaching on the Discovery Call. You are looking to find out what the prospect’s problem is and if your program can solve it. If the answer is yes (and ONLY if the answer is yes) should you share your program, solution, opportunity, etc. with the prospect.

You are NOT there to solve their problem on the call. You’re there to learn what their problem is and tell them how your program can fix it.

That’s it.

Here’s the deal. You are likely to get asked questions during the Discovery Call. I am not saying you shouldn’t answer those questions or provide any value – you 100% should. I always coach to the idea of – “would you answer this for free on social media or if asked at a networking event?” If the answer is YES – then answer is the question.

If the answer is a much longer conversation that you would cover in a 1:1 coaching call – then the answer is “Sarah – that’s a great question. And one we’d absolutely get answered inside my (insert the name of your program).” Then transition back to the conversation or better yet ask a question.

On the Discovery Call, you’re promising that you can and will solve their problem when they work with you. That’s it.

What do I do if someone doesn’t get it?

We’ve all been on that Discovery Call where the prospect gets frustrated that you aren’t solving all of their problems. The best way to avoid that is to set the expectations on the front end.

As soon as you get on the call you can set an agenda, some like this:

Sarah, I’m so excited to talk with you today. I’ve checked out your social media and your website, but I want to hear it from you. My goal today is to learn more about you and your business and your biggest challenges around (insert what you do here). If we’re both in agreement that it makes sense, I will share with you how I support business owners like you. Sound good?

Now, you set the expectation that you aren’t coaching them today – they’re doing the talking. And only if you both agree it makes sense, you will recommend which program they should participate in.

Setting expectations early on is important. And, if they still just don’t get it, they weren’t your person anyway.

If I don’t Coach on my consult calls – how do I provide value?

Girlfriend, you are providing value EVERYWHERE.

Your freebies. Your blog posts. Your website. Your FB lives. Your social media content. Your FB group.

By the time someone says YES – I’m ready to jump on a call with you, it’s likely they’ve assumed a fair amount of your (really amazing) free content.

You have provided value – the Discovery Call is the opportunity to learn about one another, see if there’s a fit to work together, and invite your prospect to one of your programs (if you can solve their problem). That’s it.

Remember – you’re amazing as what you do. You have an incredible gift to share with the world that have VALUE and shouldn’t be given away for free!

What To Do When It Feels Like Nothing Is Working

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I’ve tried it all. I post to Facebook all the time. I use Instagram stories. I interact with people on LinkedIn. I go live ALL the time. Nothing is working….

Any of that sound familiar?

I’ve not only heard it all before – I’ve personally experienced it, too. You feel as if you’re doing ALL the things and NOTHING is working. It’s frustrating. It’s lonely. If you’re a high achiever, it’s almost embarrassing. I know.

You have two choices here.

Give Up.

Or…

Figure. It. Out.

My business coach gave me the amazing advice to think “I will figure this out, no matter what” every time I get frustrated. It’s unbelievable how different you look at things through that lense.

But, today’s blog is not about mindset. It’s about what do actually DO when you feel like nothing is working. I’m going to tell you what I did and what actually happened ….after months and months of feeling frustrated and helpless.

Show up.

My first step towards taking control of my business was to start Showing Up. Every Day. Even when you don’t feel like. Even when it feels like noone is listening. Even when you don’t feel good, you’re exhausted, you have sick kids, etc. Show up.

Why is this so important? Because your followers will notice your inconsistency. Not in an obvious way, but in a subtle way. There’s a lot of noise out there, my friend. If you’re not talking to them – someone else is. You want your ideal client to feel like you are EVERYWHERE. And that only happens when you show up.

How do you do it?! Map out a plan. Come up with different themes for different days. Create social media templates. Write out your content ahead of time. Do everything you need to do to make it as simple as possible to show up every day.

Answer every question you get. Use live video. Don’t just post your own content, interact with other people’s content.

Just show up. Your business will improve.

Start Inviting People Into Your World

Whether it’s your Facebook group, email list, or whatever – you have to invite people in.

Believe it or not, people aren’t just going to raise their hands and buy stuff from you. Eventually, yes, it will feel like that. But not without doing the leg work ahead of time. You have to TELL people what you want them to do. You have to invite them into a conversation.

You might have heard, but social media has a mind of it’s own. Posting once or twice about your amazing Facebook group or incredible free resource ….isn’t going to get you anywhere. Marketing is a reach and frequency game.

Which is why you have to reach out to people and ASK them to be part of your world. Notice, I didn’t say you have to cold pitch really salesy, spammy messages to strangers. I said connect with and invite new people into your world.

Then, nurture. Serve. Nurture. Serve.

Ask. Ask. Ask.

You want to book more Discovery Calls? You have to ASK more people to jump on discovery calls with you. You want to launch a group program – you have to ASK people to be in the group.

We assume that because we have a business and because we’re showing up every day and because we’ve invited people in that people KNOW how to buy from us. Shocklingly, they don’t. You have to ASK people to buy from you.

Again, at some point, your business will be a well oiled marketing machine and your visibility will be through the roof and you’ll be making money while you sleep. BUT – in the meantime, you have to ask people to buy from you. You have to tell them what problem you solve, how you solve it, and why you’re the person to solve it for them specifically. Then – ASK for the sale.

While all of this MAY seem like an oversimplification, I think if you’re really really honest with yourself about what’s going on in your business – you aren’t doing these things every single day.

I know that I wasn’t.

I had a small FB group that was growing by 3-4 people a week. I wasn’t reaching out and inviting new people to be part of my world, my email list was stagnant at best. And I certainly wasn’t asking for business often enough – and I was rarely jumping on Discovery Calls.

What happened when that changed?

I grew my Facebook group by 200 people in January.

The group is active and engaged.

People now show up to my Monday night live trainings.

I grew my email list by about 150 people in January.

I made more money in January than I did all of Q4.

By taking the steps I mentioned above.

Show up.

Invite People In.

Ask.

I always see posts in Facebook groups asking “what would you go back and tell yourself at the beginning of your entrepreneurial journey?” My answer is always the same. Focus on revenue generating tasks first. The rest is secondary.

To be clear, what is considered a revenue generating activity?

Show up.

Invite People In.

Ask.

Got it?! Good.

 

How much follow up is too much?

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I do a lot of networking inside Facebook Groups. I consistently see women asking questions about how to follow up. How much follow up is too much follow up? When should I follow up? What should I say?

The first thing I always coach my clients to is to put themselves in their prospects shoes. How do you feel about follow up? Do you answer every email that you get? How about your texts, Insta DMs, FB PMs, LinkedIn messages and so on. My guess is that you don’t – even when you mean to.

This is why follow up is so important. It’s loud out there. There are so many competing priorities in our lives and we need a reminder (or 5) to do something.

Get Permission

The first step to follow up is to get permission. If you’ve chatted with a prospect about a specific program or opportunity to work together and you don’t get an answer right away – schedule your next follow up touch points on that call.

If you put proposals together for your clients – figure out a follow up time to go over the proposal with your client.

If your prospect won’t commit to the follow up call – you’re not done selling and your likelihood of closing the business is pretty small. If you offer a follow up call and get the standard “don’t call me, I’ll call you” – then you need to go back and find out where you lost your prospect and why they won’t just say no.

Think You’re Being Annoying – Try Again

Confession – I was voxering back and forth with my coach and about the Uncensored Sales Mastermind program that I am launching right now. I literally told her that I was worried about wearing out my list.

MY LIST. Of prospects. That had opted-in to get my content. I was worried about “annoying” them.

See, it happens to all of us.

I’ve maybe sent 3-4 emails in the past 10 days about the program. I sent maybe 2-3 before the doors open. Definitely sent a few more emails to the people who opted into the free challenge.

THEY ASKED FOR IT! I’ve given them (you) tons and tons of value. I do free training every week. I did a two part weekend training for FREE. I answer questions. I support my audience every.single.day.

And I’m worried about annoying them. C’mon.

So – my word of advice here is – when you think you’re being annoying… Send it anyway. Follow up anyway. And remember that you are cutting through so much noise to be heard.

And, if they don’t like it – they can unsubscribe. They weren’t your people anyway.

Value. Value. Value.

Here is the real key to follow up. You can’t just follow up and ask people if they’re ready to get started, if they’re ready to sign up, if they wanna buy something, etc.

You have to continue to provide value. Share a blog you’ve written. A live training you did. A fun or different idea.

Ask questions. Tell stories. Share testimonials. Do stuff for free.

Your follow up has to provide value to be seen and heard.

Keep Showing Up

You have to keep showing up. It might be the 103rd email or the 34th live that someone sees and finally raises their hand.

It can be exhausting to keep putting out content, sending emails, sending messages, connecting with your audience, going live, etc with what feels like NO response.

The timing might not be right for someone – but it might be in 6 weeks. Keep showing up.

Consistency is key to follow up and communication.

You have to keep inviting people in. You have to keep telling them what you want or need them do. You have to keep telling them how to work with you.

Not because people are stupid, but because if it’s too hard – people just won’t do it.

My husband and I were looking at car prices over the weekend (we are NOT in the market for a car) but I was super curious about the price of the new Hyundai SUV coming out this year. We both probably visited 3-6 websites and couldn’t find a price point. We were also looking at comparable SUVs on car dealer websites and couldn’t find pricing, mileage, etc.

Thank goodness we aren’t actually in the market for a car – because this weekend we couldn’t find a website that made it easy for us to buy one.

Think about when that when you’re thinking about your business. Is it easy to do business with you? Can people find the information that they need to?

The Fortune is in the Follow Up

It’s that simple. Mix up your touch points. Use all of the tools available to you – written messages, voice messages, video messages.

If you bother someone or annoy someone – they aren’t your person. As long as you are providing value, asking for permission, and being genuine – your business will sky rocket.

It’s infinitely easier to convert your current warm audience than continue to add new people to it (you definitely need to be doing both).

And the fortune is in the follow up.

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