The Formula For An Easy Collaboration You Can Do This Month, Episode 215

The Formula For An Easy Collaboration You Can Do This Month, Episode 215

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Joining Forces: The Magic of Brand Collaboration

If you’ve been around The Social Sales Girls long, you know that we’re all about traffic. Driving new eyeballs to our websites and converting them to customers. In the Inner Circle our students learn all about how to identify their ideal audience and how to leverage social media, SEO strategies, and paid ads to bring those people in.

But what if I told you there’s a SHORTCUT?

A way to reach your perfect audience, without spending a dime? We call it “collaboration” and our Member Success Coach Tina Bar-On is our resident expert on this strategy that will introduce your brand to folks who might never have stumbled upon it otherwise, boost your site traffic and, grow your email list with engaged, potential customers.

Back in episode 120 Tina told us about her year of monthly collaborations. Initially, she wasn’t blown away by the results—some collaborations seemed to fizzle out. But when she looked back and really analyzed the data, the outcome was impressive. From all those collaborations, Tina ended up growing her email list by thousands. What’s more, these weren’t just any subscribers; they had a phenomenal 5% conversion rate, with several making multiple purchases. This was a prime audience that really resonated with the ethos of shopping small and valued her brand’s unique qualities.

The big takeaway from Tina’s experience? Even if in the moment a collaboration doesn’t feel like a win, the cumulative effect can be significant.

How Collaborations Can Multiply Your Sales Opportunities

 

A brand collaboration is basically teaming up with another business to help each other reach more people and grow. It’s about pooling your resources—like your audiences and your marketing platforms—to give each other a boost. You could share each other’s social media posts, promote each other’s products, or even team up for a joint giveaway.

 

The idea is to introduce your brand to folks who trust and buy from your collaboration partner, leveraging their credibility to gain new followers or customers. And here’s why I think every single online store owner should be embracing collaboration: you’re not shelling out big bucks for ads, you’re using what you both already have to reach a wider audience. It’s like getting a friend to vouch for you, making new potential customers feel more at ease checking you out since someone they already trust thinks you’re great.

Blueprint for Success: Crafting Your Collaboration Strategy Step-by-Step

Here’s how Tina likes to roll out a collab. She starts with a couple of teaser posts on Facebook, her go-to platform. She’ll drop hints like, “Hey, something cool’ss on the way!” and maybe show off a pic of a favorite product from her collab partner’s collection, or their logo to stir up some interest.

Next, she dives into a full week of sharing their products and content. She might post their brand video, a cool discount code they’ve given just for her audience, and she’ll send out some emails to spread the word. But she keeps it to a limited time—no more than a week or a week and a half. Then it’s back to business as usual, focusing on her own store.

What Tina loves about this method is that it’s quick and impactful. We know people need to hear a message a few times before they act on it, so packing it into a short burst helps drive that message home. It might seem like a lot to share their content for a whole week, but it’s effective.

Tina doesn’t make any new content; she uses what her partner already has. She’ll browse through their feed, pick things that align with what her audience likes, and share those. She might add a personal touch like, “Check out this amazing behind-the-scenes look at how this jewelry is made—I think you’ll find it as cool as I do!”

Since it’s Tina sharing, people who know and trust her taste get that extra nudge to check out what she’s recommending.

Keep it simple at the start. This makes everything less intimidating, and you’ll feel good knocking out those smaller wins, which amps you up to take on more.

What’s Stopping You? Common Barriers To Collaboration

Each month in the Inner Circle we have focused training in the classroom. And as part of that monthly theme, we host a live call with two of our coaches where students can ask questions, meet other members (and potential partners), and start to plan out their monthly activities. Our focus in April was collaborations, and on the live call, Tina was able to hear firsthand some of the barriers that store owners encounter when trying out this strategy.

Here’s how you can tackle some common hang-ups that make collaborating feel tougher than it is:

Hang-Up 1: Finding the right partner

Issue: Many store owners struggle to identify collaboration partners because they think they need to be selling something similar.

Solution: When you’re on the lookout for a collaboration partner, keep it straightforward and easy. Start by finding common ground. For example, if you’re independent store owners, that’s a great starting point because you’re likely attracting customers who aren’t just hunting for the cheapest deal—they’re not your typical big box store shoppers. They’re looking for something unique, something that big retailers don’t offer.

It’s also smart to partner with someone who serves the same geographic area as you do (i.e. find stores who ship to the same countries as you do). This way, your audiences are more likely to overlap, which can make logistics and marketing smoother.

Sometimes, people worry about potential partners being too similar to their own brand. But remember, each brand has its unique story. Tina sells artisan-made home decor and jewelry, and she’s successfully partnered with other jewelry shops, vintage bookstores, and even food stores. It works because both shops’ offerings connect with different facets of our customers’ interests.

In the end, it’s all about getting your brand in front of new eyes. Focus on shared interests and values rather than worrying too much about product overlap or audience size. Let the audience decide what resonates with them. Keep it simple, and you’ll find the right partners who can help you reach new customers and grow your business.

Hang-Up 2: Feeling Too Small to Play

Issue: If your social media following is small, you might think you’re not a good enough partner for a collab.

Solution: It’s all about quality, not quantity. Even if your follower count isn’t massive, every store owner struggles with what to post that will delight their audience. Can you create a post for them that has great photos? Can you tell a story that will get their customers laughing or excited about what you do? Do you have a stellar brand video they could share? That’s what your partner and their audience will value most, not the size of your audience.

Hang-Up 3: Fair Play Fears

Issue: Worrying about whether it’s a fair trade if your new collab buddy has a smaller list or fewer followers can stall you before you even start.

Solution: Think generosity over reciprocity. It’s not about matching up stats—it’s about mutual growth and reaching new customers. If it really bugs you, the store with the larger list can send only to a segment that’s equal to the size of your list. But remember, this is more about helping each other out than keeping score.

Hang-Up 4: Making Mountains Out of Molehills

Issue: Overthinking every little detail? That’s a surefire way to never get past the planning phase.

Solution: Start with something small and simple. Share each other’s posts, team up for a mini-event, or swap blog features. Get a feel for working together on little things before you dive into anything too deep.

 

When you start out, just get it done, done is better than perfect. And success really just looks like, okay, I did it. My products in front of a whole new engaged audience. Somebody has shared my story on social media.”

 

 


Teamwork Makes The Dream Work: Measuring Success

When your collaboration has ended and you’re evaluating whether it was a hit or miss, here’s what you should consider:

  • Did They Deliver? Check if your partner did everything they promised. It’s all about whether they stuck to the plan.
  • Communication Check: Did you guys manage to have a post-collab chat? It’s good to talk things through—what went well, what didn’t, and learn from each other.
  • Repeat Potential: Is this someone you’d be keen to team up with again? If you’re nodding yes, that’s a pretty good sign it went well.
  • Engagement Metrics: Did your links get clicks? How about the emails they sent out—did those drive traffic your way? These numbers can tell you a lot about the practical impact of the collab.

Before you dive into more complex projects like giveaways, these are the basics to nail down. They give you a solid idea of whether you’re on the right track for future successful collaborations with this partner.

And if a collaboration doesn’t pan out, don’t stress over it. You always end up learning something valuable. Maybe you find out that the product or brand just didn’t click with your audience, or perhaps the strategy you chose wasn’t the best approach. Next time, you might try tossing in an extra email or maybe including a discount to see if that spices things up.

Sometimes, it turns out the person you chose to collaborate with isn’t the right fit, and that’s totally fine. Don’t just throw in the towel and decide collaborations aren’t for you. Keep pushing, keep trying. Here’s the thing: it’s a numbers game. It’s all about taking action and getting your brand in front of new eyes. The more you do, the better your chances of striking gold.

How Often Should You Collaborate?


Tina has a pretty big network, so she collaborates every two or three months. But if you’re just starting out, aiming for at least two collaborations a year is a solid beginning. And if you click with someone awesome, why not suggest another collaboration the following month?

Remember, it’s all about spotting opportunities. Whenever you meet another brand or store owner, think about whether they could be a good fit for a collaboration. Open up that conversation! And if they’re not already in the know—like not part of your usual circle—you might need to spell out what collaborating involves because sometimes people assume it’s going to be a huge deal.

Realistically, you could collaborate as often as once a month if you’re up for it and have partners lined up. It should definitely be part of your content strategy. After all, it’s about getting more eyes on your products without extra costs—purely a numbers game. So, don’t hold back. The more you do, the more your audience and traffic will grow!

How Do You Nurture Collab Leads?

Treat them just like you would any other contact, it’s as simple as that. Sometimes we overthink it and start creating all these complex rules—like if someone came through a popup, they need a certain type of message, or if they came through another route, they need a different approach.

But here’s the thing: these are all warm leads. They’ve shown interest; they’ve opted in. So just loop them into your regular communications. Send them the same engaging content and brand stories you send to everyone else on your list. Keep it straightforward and consistent. Whatever you think they should know about your brand, that’s what you should be sharing right from the start.

Get Over Yourself And Collaborate!

I know I’m a broken record about this strategy, but I really encourage you to just dive in and start. Don’t let anything hold you back. Find a partner without overthinking it. If you’re part of our Inner Circle, you’ve got a pool of potential partners right at your fingertips. Decide what you’re going to swap—maybe a story, a brand video, or something cool like “Tina’s favorites” or your own version of that. Settle on what you’ll exchange and when, and then just give it a shot.

Try it out and stick with it for a while. You’ll see how all those small steps add up over the year. And the best part? It’s not just about business growth. This is also about connection. E-commerce can be a lonely place, but through collaboration, you end up making friends, learning new things, maybe picking up a tip or two.

 

RELATED LINKS:

Organic Results That Will Shock You (Tina’s Year Of Collaboration)

https://thesocialsalesgirls.com/a-year-of-results-that-will-shock-you-episode-120/

The Story of A Profitable Makers Collaboration

https://thesocialsalesgirls.com/the-story-of-a-profitable-makers-collaboration-episode-30/

How To Use Collaborations To Get Traffic And Sales

https://thesocialsalesgirls.com/how-to-use-collaborations-to-get-traffic-and-sales-episode-18/

Think Out Of The Box For Organic Growth

https://thesocialsalesgirls.com/think-out-of-the-box-for-organic-growth-with-suzi-dafnis-episode-101/

Get a Plan to Grow Your Sales Every Month

Stop wondering if you’re “doing it right” and learn how to grow your sales in a consistent, predictable way. Spend 40 minutes with me in this eye opening workshop, and you’ll leave with a few simple steps that will grow your sales next month. Find a time that works for you.

The Real Source of Stress For 6 And 7-Figure Store Owners, Episode 214

The Real Source of Stress For 6 And 7-Figure Store Owners, Episode 214

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The Reality of Reaching Six Figures in Sales: New Levels, New Devils

So, here’s a fun fact that might date me a bit, but here goes: I’ve been an entrepreneur since 1990. Out of those 34 years, the first 20 were spent on just one business. And from the outside it probably looked like I was doing pretty well. The business grew so quickly, I hit a million in sales by the second year.

But what if I told you that for almost that entire time, I felt like I was standing on the edge of a cliff? Just waiting for the other shoe to drop. For the next big disaster to take me out completely, and I’d be left with just the ashes of what I’d built.

At that point the only people I had to talk to about it were my accountant, my bank manager, my lawyer, and my husband—who usually just asked about the sales figures. None of them were deeply invested in the nuances of my day-to-day challenges. My employees were encouraging, but it seemed like each of them only saw a small slice of the whole pie. Plus, I had made the mistake of surrounding myself with yes-men who never challenged any of my ideas.

 

It often left me feeling as though the entire weight of the business rested on my shoulders. I carried not just the operational burdens, but also the emotional weight of potentially jeopardizing my family’s security with a single wrong decision. This fear drove me to keep pushing myself beyond limits, year after year. I thought if I could just get over myself, put my head down and work harder, it would be ok eventually.

 

 

I know that so many entrepreneurs feel this exact same way – terrified, overworked, burned out. But all these years later I realize that while it might be normal, it’s not healthy, for you or your business.

With some time and distance, I came to understand that all of that stress was due to three primary factors, and now I’m determined to help others avoid these same pitfalls.

1) Managing Money

The primary source of my stress was money, of course. Despite everything looking great on paper (after all, the bank kept giving me money) I constantly struggled with cash flow. I’d stay up at night, tallying up expenses in my head against what remained of my credit line.

My default solution was always to aim for higher sales the following month. For example, if sales were averaging $50,000 or $70,000, I’d set a new target of $100,000, believing that just one more bump in sales could right the ship.

I also never saw the value in investing in administrative services that didn’t directly generate sales, which often led to me screaming into my accountant’s office at the last minute with disorganized records stuffed into envelopes and chaotic spreadsheets. He would patiently go through it with me, and while I was sitting there I could grasp the numbers but by the time I got back to my car, my understanding would evaporate.

Since then, I’ve realized two things: first, I was probably afraid of truly understanding the financials of my business, and second, I really needed an accountant who specializes in physical product businesses. Because the “profit” on your P and L sheet is often actually tied up in inventory, an accountant who doesn’t understand product finances won’t be able to solve your cash flow troubles.

2) Managing People

The second major source of stress for me was managing the people in my business. We had some fantastic employees, but it was always something. Someone had found a better job, someone else needed different hours, or was going on maternity leave—which in Canada could last up to four months for key personnel.

 

I often felt vulnerable because I needed these people to operate my business, and the uncertainty turned into a constant source of frustration. It seemed like everyone else’s needs came before my own. And because I wasn’t on the regular payroll, I was always last to get paid too, assuming there was enough left over to pay myself.

 

3) Managing Growth

The third big stressor in my business was achieving sustainable growth. Every year, it felt like I had to dig deeper, come up with more promotions, and find new ways to boost my sales. And it only got tougher and more expensive over time. Why? Because my overhead costs were climbing. Each step I took to grow—hiring more staff, buying more equipment, signing more leases—just piled on more fixed expenses each month.

Chasing after sales became a never ending cycle. It was like constantly trying to outdo myself—last year I hit $1.1 million, so this year I needed to make $1.5 million just to keep up because my daily starting cost was now $4,000.

All of this combined—the money, managing people, and figuring out how to keep the business viable—created a ton of stress. It made me constantly question my end game: How would I sustain this? And what was my exit plan if I decided I couldn’t keep going?

Learning from Mistakes and Finding New Perspectives

The rollercoaster of wins and challenges often left me feeling like a bit of a fraud, or at least like I was only good at certain aspects of my business. I used to brag about my sales skills , but when it came to finances and organization, I’d convinced myself I was terrible.

And that mindset spilled over into how I viewed my role as an entrepreneur: I was the sales driver, nothing more. I’d say things like, “I can only take the business this far and no further,” which really boxed me in. But looking back now, years later, I realize it didn’t have to be that way.

I was largely writing my own narrative. Just working harder and doubling down on effort wasn’t the answer—it only added to the feeling of teetering on the edge of a cliff.

What I needed, and what anyone in a similar position needs, is education. Back then, if you’d told me that my struggles with finances, managing people, or sustaining growth were due to a lack of knowledge, I might have resisted the idea. But now, I clearly see that it’s  not about working harder; it’s about learning the aspects of business management that you don’t know yet. Understanding this can completely change the way you approach challenges and lead your business toward a more controlled and confident future.

Moving Forward with Less Stress and More Knowledge

There are tons of us online, myself included, who can show you how to set up ads or leverage social media. That knowledge will take you a good distance in business. But the real game starts when your sales hit around $100,000, you begin hiring staff, and managing inventory becomes a daily task. That’s when deeper challenges emerge.

Unfortunately, there isn’t much out there about managing the team dynamics or the operational hurdles of a growing business. But I’m fortunate to have figured a lot of this out, and now I’m in a position to pass on that knowledge. I don’t claim to know everything, but I can pinpoint the problems and suggest ways to tackle them—although it takes time to iron these issues out.

In the coming weeks, I’m going to start discussing these critical areas—like understanding finances better and managing people effectively—that aren’t often covered in our industry. I’ll dive into how to foster sustainable growth and set yourself up for success beyond just making do.

 

We often think our options are limited, especially when just starting out. Yes, it’s crucial first to secure consistent sales, but once you hit that $100,000 mark, it’s time to strategize differently. You could work hard and still end up stressed and unprofitable, or you could learn how to work smart and build a valuable asset.

 

If you’re interested, sign up to receive weekly emails where I’ll share more about these solutions—not a course, just sharing what I’ve learned to help others in similar spots.

So, if you’re feeling the pinch or just want to prepare for future challenges, sign up for these emails. Let’s make your business journey less stressful and hopefully, a lot more enjoyable.

 

RELATED LINKS:

How To Do Less And Get Better Results

https://thesocialsalesgirls.com/how-to-do-less-and-get-better-results-episode-210/

How To Create Profit Goals

https://thesocialsalesgirls.com/how-to-create-profit-goals-episode-209/

How To Grow To Multi-6 Figures When You’re Strapped For Time

https://thesocialsalesgirls.com/how-to-grow-to-multi-6-figures-when-youre-strapped-for-time-episode-45/

Behind The Scenes Of A 6-Figure Sales Funnel

https://thesocialsalesgirls.com/dont-risk-making-this-mistake-behind-the-scenes-of-a-6-figure-sales-funnel-episode-176/

Get a Plan to Grow Your Sales Every Month

Stop wondering if you’re “doing it right” and learn how to grow your sales in a consistent, predictable way. Spend 40 minutes with me in this eye opening workshop, and you’ll leave with a few simple steps that will grow your sales next month. Find a time that works for you.

Try This Clever Way To Stay Motivated And On Track, Episode 213

Try This Clever Way To Stay Motivated And On Track, Episode 213

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Stay Motivated And On-Track with This Mindset Trick

Meet Megan Jock-White, a new-ish Inner Circle member and all-around powerhouse of an entrepreneur whose journey through personal challenges led to the creation of Windsor Lane, a thriving handmade sign company.

We talked recently about how Megan transformed her battle with anxiety into a flourishing business by celebrating small victories—a strategy that has been game-changing for her mental health AND for her business success.

From Anxiety to Entrepreneurship

Megan never actually intended to start a business. In fact her venture into the world of e-commerce began unexpectedly in 2016 when she was seeking ways to manage a crippling anxiety disorder. Despite “not having a creative bone in [her] body”, Megan turned to art therapy, a suggestion from her therapist that would kick-start her business journey. Megan’s initial projects, created from pallet wood her husband salvaged and basic art supplies, were intended to bring some peace into her life. But after sharing her creations on Facebook, the overwhelming response from her friends and family opened the door to a new business opportunity, and Windsor Lane was born.

 

“I was flabbergasted because I started getting a whole bunch of people from my local community sending me messages and asking me if I would make them a sign. And it just never stopped.”

 

Once they realized they had a viable sign business that might allow Megan to continue her recovery while staying home with their children, she and her husband Aaron decided to take a chance. They set up a Facebook page and created a group where they could host exclusive sales and dropped 20 to 30 new signs each Friday night. Group members who commented first on a post received a 50% discount, while others could still purchase it for 20% off.

The group quickly gained traction, bringing in up to 100 participants each Friday night. The competitive nature of the sales (hello exclusivity, urgency and scarcity!) Episode 212 here and was fun for everyone and the group became the talk of Megan’s town.

Soon they expanded to Etsy and made their first sale just a week after joining.

From Etsy To E-Commerce Empire

From its humble beginnings, Windsor Lane expanded to various platforms including Faire, Amazon FBA, Amazon Handmade, TikTok, and eventually their own e-commerce site windsorlanedecor.com whose website traffic has recently tripled.

Surprisingly, it’s Megan’s experience managing her anxiety disorder to which she attributes the success. During her recovery, Megan often found herself so overwhelmed by future uncertainties that she developed monophobia, a fear of being alone. It was so severe that her husband Aaron quit his job to provide support.

But Megan refused to let anxiety dominate her life. She devised a personal recovery plan she refers to as “practice,” starting with small goals like spending five minutes alone and gradually increasing this time. Celebrating these small victories was crucial; it reinforced her progress and helped her regain independence. Now, eight years later, she has fully recovered and cherishes her alone time—a complete transformation.

Megan’s method of staying motivated while maintaining a positive headspace has been key to her success in business, as well. Like most e-commerce store owners, Megan’s initial progress was slow. But applying the same principles of small, incremental victories from her personal recovery to her business strategy kept her from getting discouraged. Simple daily achievements, like completing tasks, are celebrated, reinforcing a positive mindset and continuous progress.

 

“If you’re a parent like me, when [your babies are] learning to roll over or crawl or walk, when they roll over just a little bit, you’re not like, oh, well, they didn’t do it…You’re on the phone with grandma and you’re on the phone with your best friend, you’re posting it on Facebook and you’re celebrating that!

So you kind of have to take care of your inner child. You know, like, hey, you know what, you did it. You may not have gotten there overnight, but you’re making improvements little by little.

And that’s how I like to think about it.”

 

 

Megan’s Success Path: Track, Measure, Celebrate

Megan employs her “practice” to her business via a disciplined and systematic approach to her daily operations. This method boosts her bottom line, and creates a positive work culture that keeps her and her team motivated and focused on continued progress. Here’s how she applies the practice to her business:

Setting Consistent Daily Goals: Megan emphasizes the importance of consistency in her daily routine. By committing to specific tasks each day, she ensures steady progress towards her business goals.

Breaking Goals into Manageable Steps: Megan divides larger goals into small, achievable steps. This allows her and her team to experience frequent victories, maintaining motivation and focus.

Tracking and Measuring Progress: By keeping close tabs on her achievements, Megan can see the direct results of her efforts. This tracking helps her understand what strategies work best and how close she is to meeting her goals.

Creating a Culture of Celebration: Within her business, celebrating small wins is part of the company culture. Megan teaches her employees to appreciate their own efforts and the collective progress of the team, reinforcing a positive workplace environment.

Maintaining Non-Negotiable Daily Tasks: Megan has identified three critical tasks that need to be completed every day to ensure the business continues to thrive. These include posting a new listing on Etsy, updating a TikTok listing, and pinning on Pinterest. Consistently performing these tasks keeps her platforms active and engaging for customers.

Incorporating Celebrations into Daily Activities: Megan and her team take a moment to celebrate each sale they make. Whether it’s a simple cheer or a momentary pause to acknowledge the success, these celebrations boost morale and reinforce the significance of every accomplishment.

Megan’s Secret Weapon: Consistency

It’s important to emphasize just how often Megan mentions the role of consistency in her success. Staying consistent has repeatedly proven to be a key predictor of success for her, both personally and professionally.

“The best way to start is to focus on things that are in your control. So that could be as simple as writing out your to-do list for the day…and then when you get to the last thing, celebrate that.

And you’re not going to really be focusing on the bad stuff anymore. You’re going to look at everything in a positive light. The more consistent you are with that every day, you’re going to start seeing more things like wins.”

 

You can check out Megan and Aaron’s work at www.windsorlanedecor.com

Get a Plan to Grow Your Sales Every Month

Stop wondering if you’re “doing it right” and learn how to grow your sales in a consistent, predictable way. Spend 40 minutes with me in this eye opening workshop, and you’ll leave with a few simple steps that will grow your sales next month. Find a time that works for you.

How to Do Less and Get Better Results. Episode 210

How to Do Less and Get Better Results. Episode 210

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What if I could show you how you can slash your giant list of things to do? 

I’m going to give you my process, so you could slash that list today. When you do, I promise, you’ll be more effective, you’ll make measurable progress, and you’ll feel better about how you spend your time.

How do I slash my “To Do List” without creating more stress?

The goal is to reduce the tasks on your list and feel confident that everything won’t fall apart.

You start by realizing that you’ll have a bigger impact on your results if you focus on doing a great job on a few areas of your business, rather than spending your work time rushing through your list and checking off a bunch of tasks.

When you’re in “check off” mode, you’re often not clear on why you’re doing the work, and you’re not asking yourself this one important question:

What does my business need right now?

When we’re in a state of overwhelm, most of us can’t see the answer. We see every task on our list as “important. That creates a sense of urgency, and it’s why we always feel like we’re behind.

A big “To Do List” is the Kiss of Death for people like us.

When you’ve got a big list of important things to do, you’re likely to be in high gear, dipping in and out of projects all the time. You feel like you’re working hard, and you’re doing the things you’re supposed to focus on, but you probably don’t feel confident that you’re on the right track. It feels messy and hard, and you wonder if you’re wasting your time.

Or, you might be the opposite. You might have a huge list of things you know you should do, but you still feel stuck. You know that you don’t have the time and resources to do all the things on your list. You want to work smart, but you can’t get clarity on where to start, and what will have the most impact on your results. You’re experiencing decision overwhelm, and you feel like you’re wasting your time

Wasting time is more expensive than wasting money.

Don’t risk doing a little of a lot of things, but not completing anything. 

Imagine that you have a piece of lumber setup with 10 nails that you need to finish hammering into the lumber. You’re allowed to hit the nails 10 times.

If you hit each nail 1 time, you’ll start 10 nails, but you won’t finish nailing any of them into the lumber. And in fact, you might not even be able to see that you’ve done anything.

But if you choose to focus on just 2 nails, and hit them 5 times each, you’ll finish hammering in 2 nails. You’ll be able to see the impact of your 10 hits. You’ll be clear and confident about the progress you’ve made, and what’s left to do.

Give yourself permission to remove tasks from your plate, so you can focus, and see the impact of your efforts.

3 steps to deciding what your business needs right now

1. You have to start at the end to find where you should begin. 

When we’re prioritizing, it’s too hard to sort through and make assessments about all the things we “could” do. So we don’t make a decision. We default to “doing all the things” or we spin in circles, analyzing our options from all angles, and ending up exhausted.

When I’m working with a client, I always ask them about outcomes, usually in the form of a question like this:

  • If you woke up X months from now, and ONE thing had changed in your business, what would that ONE thing be?
  • In your perfect world, what would have changed in your business in 3 months?
  • When you focus on outcomes, it gives you clarity on the destination. Once you know where you’re headed, you can make a plan to get there.

Here are some examples of an outcome:

  • My sales have grown
  • I’m emailing my list and getting more sales
  • I’ve got more time to do marketing because some tasks are off my plate

2. Make your outcome specific and measurable.

If you’re headed to a vacation rental in a city 500 miles away, would you ask for directions to the city, or would you use the address to get directions that take you all the way to your rental?

You’ll make better decisions when you take the time to get specific about your outcome.

You’ll come closer to achieving your outcome when you find a way to measure your progress.

Here are some examples of how to make outcomes specific and measurable:

From: My sales have grown
To: My sales have grown by 10% each month. I’m tracking my sales in a spreadsheet every week.

From: I’m emailing my list and getting more sales
To: My Welcome, Abandoned Cart, and Browse Abandonment flows are complete, and I have sent a campaign every week. I have a spreadsheet to track my campaign sales and I have identified my 4 best campaigns.

From: I’ve got more time to do marketing because some tasks are off my plate
To: I have freed up 2 hours a day. I have a customer service app and I have trained my new Customer Service VA to manage all  customer service inquiries. I have created canned responses and training videos so that my VA has the information she needs to do the job, and we’ll be covered if we have to train someone else on this job.

3. Work in your zone of genius 

Give yourself permission to stop doing all the things. Even though you think you can’t afford to get the help you need, I’m going to encourage you to change how you think about this.

I see too many store owners bogged down and frustrated by tasks that aren’t in their zone of genius.

If you’re hesitant to hire for tasks, I would encourage you to start with “one time” tasks.

These are often set ups or installations that require a particular set of skills. A few good examples are things like upgrading the theme on your store, or custom coding, or migrating to a new email provider, or setting up the framework for email automation.

Before you hire someone to do a task, you must understand the outcome you want, and have a clear picture of what a good result looks like.

Remind yourself that you don’t have unlimited time or unlimited energy. Like money, time and energy are resources. When you spend them doing work that is not in your zone of genius, or that you’re not even good at, you’re spending your high value resources on work that you’re not qualified to do.

It’s like hiring the CEO of a fortune 500 company to rewire your house.

This Blog Post and Podcast will show you how to budget for this:
https://thesocialsalesgirls.com/how-to-have-more-cash-in-your-business-episode-164/

Remember this when you’re facing overwhelm:

Give yourself permission to slash your to-do list. You’ll be more effective, you’ll make measurable progress, and you’ll feel better about how you spend your time.

When you’re deciding on your priorities, ask yourself “What does my business need right now”.

Focus on specific, measurable outcomes, and use them to decide what your business needs.

Work in your zone of genius as much as you can. Wasting time is more expensive than wasting money.

Get a Plan to Grow Your Sales Every Month

Stop wondering if you’re “doing it right” and learn how to grow your sales in a consistent, predictable way. Spend 40 minutes with me in this eye opening workshop, and you’ll leave with a few simple steps that will grow your sales next month. Find a time that works for you.

How to Create Profit Goals. Episode 209

How to Create Profit Goals. Episode 209

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Get the details on this week’s episode:

The magic of transforming debt into profit with Ciara Stockeland

I’m excited to introduce you to Ciara, a brilliant mind who’s become a superstar for many in our Inner Circle community. She’s a pro at guiding e-commerce store owners out of the murky waters of debt and into the realm of profitability. Many of us struggle silently with financial challenges, but Ciara wants to flip that script. Her insights have transformed so many of our members’ businesses, and her advice might help you redefine your approach to your online store’s finances.

Click HERE to listen to the interview, or keep scrolling to learn how having a profit plan can change everything for your business.

The Debt Dilemma

Does this sound familiar? You’ve built a business and learned how to generate sales, things are humming along, but you still find yourself struggling financially, barely making a living wage, or worse, not paying yourself at all. You’re left feeling like an imposter – successful on the outside, but privately failing, especially when it feels like one misstep could take you out altogether.

But what you might not even know is that this is totally solvable. In fact, the most valuable thing you can do for yourself in this situation is to identify what is causing the breakdown. Recognizing and addressing your financial challenges is a little like finding a missing piece in a puzzle. Once you identify where your bucket is leaking, the complete picture of your business’s health becomes clearer, so you can get closer to stability.

 Why Profit Beats Sales

The first and most important mindset shift Ciara advocates is to shift your focus from sales to profit goals. While setting and meeting high revenue goals may feel good and seem impressive, what truly matters is how much of that revenue you retain as profit. Having a million-dollar business is meaningless if the profit isn’t there.  And no one talks about this. You only ever hear people bragging about their “multi six-figure businesses,” never about their 5% net profit increase. It’s time we celebrate actual financial success, not just the illusion of it!

Scaling Up Your Sales (And Your Problems)

Often, online store owners say they can’t think about profit until they get more sales. But without a profit plan, merely increasing sales won’t resolve underlying issues. Ciara recently encountered a business owner considering expansion to solve her cash flow problem, without recognizing that bigger sales would only make her existing problems bigger.

 

So many store owners end up feeling like the store owns THEM. And then they’re stuck. But having a profit plan can prevent a business from being trapped by its own growth.

 

When you focus on profitability instead of revenue, you find both financial freedom AND peace of mind.

When Should I Focus On Profit?

The best time to prioritize profitability was yesterday. The second best time is now. In the entrepreneurial world we hear so much “wisdom” that just isn’t true. That you won’t be profitable for 5 years, or that you should re-invest your profit instead of paying yourself. Why would you ever assume you’re going to take a loss for 5 years if you didn’t have to? Why not assume both you and the business will do well?

 

It’s never too early, and it’s never too late to focus on making your business financially successful, by analyzing and adjusting your financial strategies NOW.

 

Whether you’re just starting out and wondering where your next sale will come from or have been in business for a while and making hundreds of thousands, it’s critical to aim for profitability starting now.

Profit & Loss, Demystified

A Profit and Loss (P&L) statement can be simplified by viewing it as five main categories or “buckets.” These include:

  • Sales
  • Cost Of Goods Sold
  • Gross Margin (Sales minus COGS)
  • Expenses
  • Profit

It’s really just simple math. For example, Ciara recently met with an ecommerce boutique owner who just started, and she was frustrated because despite consistently having $5k months, she was $1k in the hole every month. When they looked at the buckets, it was the margin that was too low to make the math work. So the next step was to look at the pricing and product mix. Could she raise prices and set slightly higher sales goals? Once she identified the problem, the solution was fairly simple.

By focusing on these 5 buckets and their relationship, you can pinpoint where your store may be underperforming, identify areas for improvement, and make informed decisions to enhance your profit.

Money Mondays

Ciara recommends a “Money Monday” routine, taking just 15 minutes to review last week’s sales and costs of goods, inputting them into a spreadsheet to calculate the gross margin. This practice helps you understand your financial health weekly (instead of however infrequently you actually sit down to look at your numbers), and gives you back control over your finances. By looking straight at your cash flow, the steps you need to take become clear.

 Benchmarking for Success: What’s Your Margin Goal?

When establishing profit goals for e-commerce or brick-and-mortar stores, particularly for those new to this, Ciara says to aim for a 60% gross margin and a 20% net profit. These targets are benchmarks to strive for, understanding that it might take months or years to achieve them, depending on individual business circumstances. If you’re dealing with debt, your net profit might need to exceed 20%. Adjust as necessary, depending on your financial situation, but these figures provide a solid starting point for setting your profit goals.

Finding Your Financial Guru

Ciara didn’t start out a money magician. Once upon a time she was a boutique owner with VERY messy books, and a loose grasp on profit. She found her Financial Guru in the form of Randy, a fractional CFO who helped her most by creating a completely judgment-free zone. And so she knows firsthand that the process of sorting out your finances can be painful. You’ll have to make hard choices.

Ciara says that every single store owner who comes to her is interested in eliminating debt, but they’re not necessarily committed. It’s that commitment to success that earns you the biggest reward of all – financial freedom. No matter what challenges or opportunities arise, you have the freedom to make the best choice for yourself.

This profit-first approach offers a clear, actionable path for e-commerce entrepreneurs looking to secure their financial freedom and peace of mind. Whether you’re struggling with debt or just hoping to earn a bigger paycheck, Ciara’s method can help you get there.

Take your next step toward financial clarity by checking out Ciara’s website HERE.

Get a Plan to Grow Your Sales Every Month

Stop wondering if you’re “doing it right” and learn how to grow your sales in a consistent, predictable way. Spend 40 minutes with me in this eye opening workshop, and you’ll leave with a few simple steps that will grow your sales next month. Find a time that works for you.

How to add recurring revenue to your business. Episode 208

How to add recurring revenue to your business. Episode 208

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No time to listen now? We'll send it to your inbox.

or scroll down to get the highlights

How to add recurring revenue to your business

Way back in late 2016 I thought it would be a great idea to start a membership. I called it the Inner Circle, and it was for people like me. Ecommerce store owners who were trying to grow their sales.

I opened the membership to about 70 people. I did it because I thought it would be the easiest way to offer support and teach them what I had learned the hard way.

I couldn’t have been more wrong. It just about killed me, and 5 months after I started, I was ready to close the doors.

What I know now is that a Membership is a great way to provide ongoing training and support.

The truth is that I was doing it wrong.

In early 2017 a friend recommended I follow Stu McLaren, because he knows how to set up a Membership program that really works for the students, and doesn’t almost kill you, lol.

I followed Stu, joined his program, and learned how to build an amazing Membership program.

That was almost 7 years ago. Since then, we’ve taught thousands of store owners how to grow a profitable eCommerce business, and the Inner Circle has generated millions of dollars in revenue.  We have an amazing team of 20 women. I’m so proud of how they help our members make progress, and I am thrilled to be able to pay them very well, and provide a flexible workplace.

I’m sharing this with you because a few years ago I realized that what I have learned about memberships for services can also be applied to eCommerce stores.

In fact, eCommerce store owners can set up memberships that generate enough revenue to pay their bills every single month.

I’m sure you can imagine what’s possible when you have thousands of dollars of recurring revenue coming into your business every single month.

If you’d like to learn more – watch this conversation I had with Stu McLaren about how eCommerce store owners like you are implementing profitable Memberships right now.

If you prefer to listen, click here.

RELATED LINKS:

Register here to get the free workshop: Turn What You Already Know, Love, And Do Into A Profitable Membership Business
https://membershipworkshop.com?ref=ftlmi

The workshop starts April 4th and runs through April 12th

Get a Plan to Grow Your Sales Every Month

Stop wondering if you’re “doing it right” and learn how to grow your sales in a consistent, predictable way. Spend 40 minutes with me in this eye opening workshop, and you’ll leave with a few simple steps that will grow your sales next month. Find a time that works for you.