4 Genius Ways to Start 2021 on the Right Foot
That’s why I’m so excited to introduce you to Kathryn Worsham Humphries and Carla M. Nikitaidis. This dynamic duo used their 15+ years of experience in communications, marketing, and brand strategy to launch All You Need Method, a service that gives solopreneurs and founders the tools to help their businesses thrive. So, they’re breaking down what self-starers can do now to ensure 2021 is their best year yet.
Commit to Growth
Be honest: You spend so much time hustling that you rarely think about growing your business. (It’s okay, I’m right there with you.) Whether you own an e-commerce store or are a budding journalist, it’s important to actively think about ways to build your business — not just ticking tasks off of your to-do list. Sure, you might know how to do your job, but do you have a plan for getting new clients? Have you established your rate? Is your website up to date?
“Start by creating a schedule so you work on your business every day, even if it’s only for an hour,” Kathryn says. “Block it off on your calendar and stick to it.”
Another tip? Get an accountability buddy who you knows your business goals and can…well, hold you accountable.
Have a Plan
I’m a big believer in manifesting. It’s amazing what ambition and a plan can do for your business. That said, success doesn’t happen overnight. If you want 2021 to be the best year for you and your company, you’ve got to plan for it!
“Write down where you want to be in six months, and work backwards by outlining the specific action items that are needed to reach your goals,” Carla says. “Create a six-month timeline and slot in your action items under each month so that you can keep track of how you are progressing.”
To make a big task feel more manageable, she recommends breaking one project down into a bunch of smaller tasks. For example, creating a website consists of buying a domain, writing copy, having a photoshoot, and having your trusted circle peer-edit each page to make sure there are no glaring mistakes. (Hey, it happens!)
Build Your Brand
Repeat after me: You are a brand. It doesn’t matter if you run your own mini-empire or work behind the scenes, there’s a reason clients and customers keep coming back for more. So, if you’re looking to grow your business — or score some new clients — now’s the time to think about your personal brand.
“Remember, there is only one you,” Kathryn says. “Even if there are multiple companies like
yours, you have a unique perspective that no one else has.”
When developing your brand, think about your origin story. Why did you want to take the leap of faith to become your own boss? What’s your goal for your business? Why do you do what you do? Once you answer those questions, research your competitors (or brands you admire!) to figure out what makes your business different.
“If your ideal customer were to visit your website, what are the three most important things you would want them to walk away with?” Kathryn asks. “These should reflect your differentiators and your core values. Spend time crafting your brand messaging and make sure this messaging is clearly visible.”
Allocate Your Budget
As the old saying goes, you have to spend money to make money. But, Carla emphasizes you shouldn’t spend beyond your means.
“You might not be ready to hire an agency or consultant and that’s okay,” she says. “We believe that small business owners and solopreneurs can get pretty far on their own when it comes to telling their own story and building a foundation.”
Thanks to a new assortment of platforms and services, it’s possible to build your brand without spending a small fortune. (I’m personally a big fan of Canva, Wix, and Flodesk!) Before you shell out the big bucks for a fancy service, do your research to see if you can accomplish the same goal for less. That said, some investments are worth it. (The lovely Emma McGoldrick designed my Office Hours logo, and it was worth every penny!) Ultimately, it all comes down to your priorities.
“Take advantage of the technology and tools at your disposal and be mindful with how you allocate your budget, so you can set yourself up for success in the long run,” Carla says.
A huge thank you to Kathryn and Carla for such an insightful and informative conversation. You can support the All You Need Method duo by following them on Instagram, subscribing to their newsletter, and enrolling in their PR Starter Kit course.
Hustler of the Week: Flora Tsapovsky
You wear so many hats throughout the day! What’s your secret for juggling it all?
Thank you! It sounds boring, but time management is number one. My daughter is at daycare during the day, which is when I get most of my work done. It helps that teaching often has set hours to frame the day. I work on Parlar Series stuff after my daughter goes to bed. I’m also very much about being my own (tough) boss: I set myself a weekly agenda with goals and to-dos, keep close track of emerging ideas and pitches, follow up on things, and push myself to place my pitches in my favorite publications.
Getting help and prioritizing breaks is important! I can always rely on my partner if I need extra time to work, I have a regular sitter I rely on (and cherish), and my parents help whenever they visit from Israel. Taking time for yourself to get inspired and clear your head is not an option when you’re a creative freelancer; it’s a necessity. I see it that way and I make sure to make room for quiet time (alone time, inspo time, whatever you want to call it) with the help of people I love and trust.
What’s your favorite thing about being your own boss? Least favorite?
I absolutely love the fact I actively choose to do what I do, happily, every day. I’ve had some day jobs in my lifetime and it’s just not the same feeling. It’s a privilege to do what you love, and I feel grateful. My least favorite parts are probably the instability and having to restart every month and literally work hard for your income every month. If you don’t hustle, you just won’t get paid! Oh, and dealing with health insurance. In Israel, where I’m from, universal healthcare is a given. Having to navigate the complex US healthcare system entirely on my own, mostly out of pocket, is somewhat frustrating. I wish healthcare benefits weren’t so strongly attached to having a ‘good, stable job’ in this country.
What is the best lesson you’ve learned since becoming your own boss?
Just one?! I think a valuable lesson would be diversifying; I adore writing, but if I’d rely on this skill alone — taking on corporate copywriting gigs, for example — I’d probably come to tire of it. Early on, I decided to ‘save’ the skill I value deeply for journalism alone, and pushed myself to find ways to make additional money in different routes. This is how I discovered that I also enjoy teaching.
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