How to Manage Your Passwords

How to Manage Your Passwords

Let’s talk about how to manage your passwords. It won’t be long until the next big data security incident hits the headlines, where personal information including usernames and passwords are hacked. Leaving cyber criminals to their own devices to do as they please with this highly sensitive information.

Never has protecting your personal information online been so important. The best way to do that is by using a password manager. LastPass is one of the best and most secure ways to manage your passwords.

Are You Making These Password Mistakes?

You probably think have a pretty good system in place currently, right? If you do you do any of the following, you might want to rethink:

  • save your usernames and passwords in your search engine, (e.g. Chrome, Safari, Firefox or Internet Explorer)
  • use your contacts or notes on your iPhone or Android to store usernames and passwords (including pin numbers)
  • keep a record of all your usernames and passwords in Excel or Word
  • use the same username and password for EVERYTHING

If you do any of these please stop. RIGHT. NOW.

It’s time to manage your passwords, the right way. Safely and securely.

Let’s take a look at what a password manager is, how you use it and why you should be using it.

What is a Password Manager?

Let’s have a look at what Wikipedia has to say on the matter:

“A password manager is a software application that helps a user store and organize passwords. Password managers usually store passwords encrypted, requiring the user to create a master password; a single, ideally very strong password which grants the user access to their entire password database.”

And this is exactly what LastPass is.

I was first introduced to LastPass back in 2015 when I was looking at setting up my VA business and its one of the tools that I could not run my business without. In fact it is the one tool I use EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. I would be completely and utterly lost without it as I use it for my business.

I actually insist that all my clients create an account and then install the add-on to their Web Browsers. There is no need for me to see all their passwords, I just need them to share them with me securely enabling me to login, so I can help them run their business.

Did I mention that I don’t just use it for work, I use it to manage all of my personal logins as well?

4 Reason to manage your passwords with a Password Manager?

Here are my own top 4 reasons to use a password manager:

Increase your brain power

We live in a world of tech overwhelm. At times, it really is too much. Using a password manager is the fastest and most efficient way to log in to any website. You just click a button. We use so many tools to run our businesses today, using a password manager leaves you with the additional brain capacity to be creative, not having to remember a bazillion passwords (or worse, using the same one over and over again…).

Improved security

If you use a spreadsheet or write them all down in a notebook, imagine if both of those were compromised? What is you were hacked? Or worse, a client was hacked? Is it really worth it.

Life is too short to waste time on trying 5 different passwords to login, only to get really frustrated because you can’t remember exactly which one it is. You only need to remember the master password to login and access your vault. Doesn’t that sound amazing?

Sharing passwords is safe and a breeze

Most of the top password managers will encrypt your data in a way that keeps you safe. The thing I love about LastPass is that they data you store in your vault is kept secret. Even LastPass don’t have access.

As I have already mentioned I get my clients to use it to share their passwords with me and then I can share those with any team members that may also need access. I have folders within my vault for each client so I can find them easily. I can’t see the passwords or edit them, keeping the clients login details safe and secure.

Affordable

The best part is the free version is perfect, you can do all the things you need to with the free version. The pro version only costs just £31 for the year and means you can use it on your Tablet and Phone too, great if you happen to be travelling. Winner.

Choosing a password manager

If you happen to be like me and work with multiple clients with multiple logins to hundreds of different systems, a password manager makes it fast and simple. Personally I love LastPass and like I said before I recommend it to all my clients. LastPass is the dogs bollocks in my personal opinion, but you really need to do your own research and find one that works for you and meets your needs. Just make sure you choose one with a good reputation, otherwise you could be unwillingly putting your data into the hands of cyber criminals.

Hey, don’t just take my word for it, PC Mag literally just wrote a blog post outlining their favourite password managers for 2021, you can read more here.

And if you are looking for other tech recommendations, check out our resources page here.

Do you use a password manager? If you do, let us know your favourite in the comments below?

P I N L A T E R

How To Get Your Systems Setup in a Weekend

How To Get Your Systems Setup in a Weekend

Today I am sharing how to get your systems setup in a weekend. This is pretty much the exact process I follow when it comes to setting up the basic systems for my clients.

If you are just starting out, or have perhaps been in business a while, I’m guessing that you probably have signed up for every software programme out there. Asana, Trello, Planoly, ClickUp, Later, Buffer, Dubsado, etc……the list goes on. But the fundamental problem you have it that so far nothing has worked. You’ve flip flopped from one system to another hoping something will work and wondering how the hell you actually create this time freedom every ‘guru’ keeps telling you about. The problem is you have no idea where to even start to maximise your productivity, simplify your business or make the tech work for you. That is because you are knee deep doing all the things, stuck in the day to day operations. Fear not, I’m here to help you get clarity on your processes.

By following these simple steps, you can get your systems set up with ease and get back to being the soul-led CEO.

Step 1: Define your Customer Journey

Your customer journey is quite possibly the most crucial step in your systems setup. Your whole business hinges on this, nail this process and the rest of the systems in your business will slot into place. Grab a piece of paper and a pain and write down every single touch point your customer goes through on their journey from cold lead to hot client.

Here is what it may look like:

Lead Capture: How do people find out more? Is it a form on your website? Your Sales page? Link from IG? Facebook? Download your freebie?

Discovery call: How do they book a call? Where do they schedule it? What does this look like? Do they need to fill out an application form? 

Proposal, Contract, Invoice: Do you offer a standard package, could you can turn it into a standardised proposal? What about a contract? Do you have standard terms or different terms for your services? How do you invoice them?

Onboarding – What happens after a lead becomes a hot client? Do you have an initial client kick off call? This includes things like new client forms, welcome pack, welcome email, next steps.

Working with you/Setting boundaries: What is working with you like? Do they need to schedule calls? Fill out forms or questionnaires? How do they reach you, if they need you? Is this covered in your welcome pack?

Offboarding: archiving files, reviews, testimonial, deleting from any systems, goodbye/closing email

Step 2: Choosing your Tech and Tools

You’ve probably already got all the tech and all the tools (hello shiny object syndrome), but what do you really need? Let’s take a look at the 3 main functions you need to consider in your systems setup, in order to create a seamless, stress free experience for you, your team and most importantly your customer

  1. Scheduling – This is going to save you a shit load of time because this is where your propects, team and clients have direct access to your calendar. No more going back and forth over emails trying to find a date and time that works for everyone. You get the appointments booked straight into your calendar, easy peasy lemon squeezy.

Ones to consider: Calendly, Acuity, Dubsado Scheduler (although this is still in Beta and can be a bit sketchy)

2. Client Management – Forms, emails, proposals, contracts, invoices.

For this I would consider 17 Hats, Dubsado, Honeybook (You can absolutely build a custom set up with a little bit of work and the help of Zapier)

3. Project Management – the last piece in the puzzle. The number one place to keep ALL your tasks, process, projects and SOPs in one place. Perfect for managing your clients and your team, so you can stay on track and super organised.

For this consider: Asana, ClickUp, Trello or Monday (my personal favs are Asana and ClickUp)

Step 3: Setup your Client Management System

Now you’ve take the time to think about your customer journey, you need to grab that piece of paper again and get to work creating the various elements. Here’s what you need to consider creating if you don’t already have it in place:

  • Contact Form
  • Initial contact email
  • Application Form
  • Scheduling email to book a discovery call
  • Proposals
  • Contracts 
  • Invoices
  • Welcome Email
  • Welcome Pack
  • Offboarding Emails
  • Feedback Forms
  • Client Testimonial/Case Study Email + Form

Do this once and you won’t need to do it again. It will not only save you time, but by using a tool like Dubsado you can automate a large part of the process, which will give your new and existing clients an amazing customer experience they’ll want to shout about from the roof tops.

Once you are happy with your customer journey, you can turn it into a process. List out all the steps as individual tasks and add it to your project management system, so that every time you onboard a new client, you know with certainty that every single step has been completed.

Step 4: Setup your Project Management System

A project management systems is the key to running a successful uncomplicated business. It’s a good exercise to sit down and draw an organisational chart, with all the different departments of your business and then set your project management tool up like this.

For Example: Marketing (department/team), Editorial Calendar (project) in Asana

There is no one size fits all up set up, you need to find what works best for you. Start simple, play around with your set up and then you can continually add to it.

Here are a few ideas for departments to get your started:

  • Vision + Planning
  • Team Management
  • Operations
  • SOPs
  • Sales + Marketing
  • Launches + Funnels
  • Products/Programmes
  • 1:1 Clients

Step 5:  Get More Strategic

Now you have found a set up that works for you, it’s time to build it out. Start adding all your projects to your project management tool of choice. Here are a few ideas to get you started and how I have mine set up.

Vision + Planning – great place to map out your goals for the year and the next 3,5,10 years. Also the perfect place to record your values, mission statement and anything else that is essential to building and growing your business. You could even put your vision board here, so you see it daily if a digital rather than a paper version works best for you.

Team – use this to create a list of all the roles within your business, who does what, their responsibilities, who you have already hired, what positions are still open, even the recruitment process with possible candidates could be included here.

Marketing – editorial calendar, instagram plan/schedule, FB Group, Pinterest, Ad campaigns, basically any marketing activities you do that will be useful to keep track of.

SOPs – this is your business bible, the guide to running your business should an emergency arise and you can’t be in your business running the day to day. Every task you perform is a process, whether you realise it or not. So next time you are undertaking a task, note down the steps, use Loom to create a video and add it in this section. You can either add all your project templates here or create a separate ‘team’ to put them in.

Step 6: Reflect, Review and Refine

Follow these simple steps and I guarantee you will be able to get your systems setup in a weekend. Remember, no process is perfect. As you grow and evolve, systems and processes change, and that’s ok.

It is important to regularly review processes, to reflect on what is working, review it in action and then refine it to make it better and more efficient. Don’t forget that some of the tools mentioned about enable you to automate some of these tasks, e.g. Dubsado. It is fantastic for this, it enables you to create workflows that just happen in the background, removing you from parts of the process completely. 

Never forget that this is your business, so you get to run it in a way that feels good for you. No one person’s processes are the same. We all do things differently, that is what makes us all unique. It is also the reason why it is important to create SOPs for every part of your business, it creates consistency and efficiency. We only want to do the hard work once, not continually recreate the wheel.

Building your business systems takes time. It doesn’t have to be perfect, you just have to make a start.

If you still feel overwhelmed or feel like you don’t have the time for this, get in touch. Tech and systems are my jam and I’d love to help. Shoot me a DM on Insta or find out how to work with me here.

How to Conduct a Business Systems Audit for Growth

How to Conduct a Business Systems Audit for Growth

How to Conduct a Business Systems Audit for Growth

Emma O'Connell

4th July 2020

You might not even be aware, but running an online business involves a lot of processes and systems. Every task you perform is linked to a process and a bigger system.

Systems don’t last forever, sadly. They are in fact an ever evolving part of your business that change as you build, grow and scale. With that in mind, it is a good idea to audit your business systems every quarter to six months by blocking out time in your calendar to take stock.

Time to step into your CEO shoes.

WHY YOU NEED TO AUDIT YOUR SYSTEMS

The whole concept of systems might seem overwhelming, but our everyday life is full of them. The way you clean your bathroom, do your washing, even putting your children to bed at night, is your own little process or system. But systems don’t last forever. Your children grow up and things need to change.

Sometimes systems just stop working.  It isn’t because they weren’t good systems in the first place, but rather our needs shift and our systems need to adjust in line with those changes.

Before the whole world was thrown into a pandemic and covid-19 created a new normal, my grocery shopping was disorganised. I didn’t meal plan. I frequently dragged my two children to the supermarket in search of food and inspiration. When the government told us that we were to “Stay home. Save lives. Protect the NHS”, suddenly things needed to change. So we actually started meal planning, making a list of the things are needed for those meals and then going shopping once a week, our one essential trip. I’ll be honest, it has been a complete game changer. The stress of looking at the fridge and wondering what the hell I am going to cook, and then making a desperate trip to the supermarket has stopped and with a new process in place it has suddenly become so much easier, even more joyful. And it is a process that is here to stay.

At times it can be very obvious that things aren’t working out and something needs to change. Other times you might not be fully aware that things are broken. This is why taking the time to check-in and review is so important, so you can actually ask yourself – is this really working? Or could this be done better?

Whilst conducting a business systems audit in itself isn’t really rocket science, blocking out time to go through every process with a fine tooth comb, is pretty dull and boring. But it is essential. Take the time to ask yourself whether the systems and tools that you DO have in place are being used and leveraged to the best of their ability or if there are further systems and tools you need to look at implementing. Doing this will save you time (and subsequently more energy) and will help you move your business forwards.

Having clear systems and processes in place will remove the overwhelm each time you have to tackle something you dread, such as client on-boarding or writing a blog post. It might not be the most fun or sexy task (like creating graphics in Canva), but trust me, taking the time to go through this will be worth it in the end because you will be able to remove yourself from a lot of the ‘busy’ work and that is the end goal we are all working towards.

Whilst conducting a business systems audit might not be rocket science, it is pretty dull and boring. But oh so worth it to see your business grow the right way, without the stress and overwhelm.

HOW TO AUDIT YOUR SYSTEMS 

The best way to approach a systems audit is to break it down into three parts: Reflect, Review and Refresh. 

STEP ONE: REFLECT

Make some time to sit down and reflect on the past 6 months. Ask yourself these questions:

 

  • How do you feel about the past 6 months?
  • What has worked well? What hasn’t worked so well? 
  • How do you feel about your business over the past 6 months? What are you happy with? What needs to be improved?
  • How was your work/life balance?
  • How did you spend your time over the past 6 months? How do you feel about that?
  • What did you prioritise over the past 6 months? How do you feel about that
  • Have the past 6 months bought you closer to your big goals, your big picture vision or taken you further away?

STEP TWO: REVIEW

Time to walk through and review all of the systems in your business and ask yourself these questions:

 

  • How do you feel about the systems you have in place? Are they working for you?
  • What systems and tools are working well? What aren’t working?
  • Do you have recorded processes and systems for ALL parts of your business?
  • Do you feel like something can be improved?
  • Are there people or automations that can replace some parts or even some steps?
  • Is there a step that doesn’t make sense?
  • Is there a step that is missing?
  • Has something shifted or changed in your business that now renders a particular step obsolete?

STEP THREE: REFRESH

Now you have identified what is and isn’t working and the areas for improvement or change. It’s time to implement. Re-record any videos you have created, rewrite the checklists, update the documentation, tell all team members about the changes and run through them. Either test them yourself if you don’t have a team or get your team to run through them and check they are working.

Now the only other thing left to do is to schedule in another business systems audit for the next quarter or for six months time.

 

I’ve created a Business Systems Audit Worksheet for you, that you can print off and reuse every 3-6 months. Click here to download it now.

If you want to join other like-minded female entrepreneurs who want to create a simplified and streamlined business that enables them to focus on maximising you impact, income and influence come and join the Facebook Group.

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How to Boost Passive Income with Automated Follow Ups

How to Boost Passive Income with Automated Follow Ups

How to Boost Passive Income with Automated Follow Ups

Emma O'Connell

9th June 2020

As any smart business owner knows, the key to passive income is a well-established (and full) funnel.  

So of course you’ve optimised your opt-in pages and monetised your download pages and encouraged more buyers through well-placed upsells and downsells 

But what about the follow-up? Do you contact customers about the products or services they didn’t buy? Do you encourage them to use the products they have purchased? Are you making sure they know about all your other wonderful programs?  

If not, you’re missing the boat. But the good news is, this can be easily managed with just a bit of simple automation, and when done right, it will smoothly lead your customers from one purchase to the next, at the exact right time for them to take advantage of your best offers.  

Know your audience and your products exceptionally well. Study your stats. Know your open and click rates. Pay attention to the promotions that work, as well as those that fall flat. With information in hand, you’ll be better able to effectively segment your lists and make the most of all the parts of your funnel. 

Segment Your Audience 

Many autoresponder services allow you to target emails based on reader action. Want to send a follow up email to those who clicked a specific link? Create a segment and mail away. Want to re-engage with those who haven’t opened your emails in a while? Easy to do, and you can potentially recover subscribers who have gone missing.  

In more sophisticated systems, such Converkit (which is the Email Marketing System I use and LOVE), you can dig even deeper, and move people from one series to another based on their buying habits. That way you’ll never promote a product that a reader already owns. Not only that, but you’ll always be able to offer the best next thing, no matter where a subscriber is in your funnel.  

Still another way to segment your list is according to what they do not buy. If a subscriber has been on a list where you’re promoting your top-level coaching program, and she has not yet purchased, it may simply be too expensive for her at this time. Consider moving these readers to an autoresponder series promoting a lower cost option instead.  

All of these tactics require that you know your audience and your products exceptionally well. Study your stats. Know your open and click rates. Pay attention to the promotions that work, as well as those that fall flat. With information in hand, you’ll be better able to effectively segment your lists and make the most of all the parts of your funnel. 

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