5 Suggestions for Achieving Effective Email Management

Do you dread opening your email inbox? Are the emails piling up to the point that you avoid opening your email because you don’t want to deal with the mess?

If you, you are not alone. Most entrepreneurs struggle with keeping up with their email. The elusive dream to inbox zero? It’s probably not going to happen. In fact, your goal shouldn’t be getting your inbox to zero (as nice as that would be). Your goal should be to put a system in place that allows you to control your email, rather than let it control you. Then, when/if you get to inbox zero, it’s a plus. 🙂

5 Suggestions for Email Management

To nudge you along, here are some simple and easy to implement suggestions for getting control of your inbox:

1. Check Emails Once or Twice a Day – No More

Anymore than twice a day is overkill. If you get into the habit of checking your email once every morning and/or once before ending your workday, you will become more productive, and set a more reasonable expectation for clients, vendors or others.

If you have to, turn off all email notifications and remove the email app(s) from your cell phone. Just because you receive an email doesn’t mean you have to open it that second.

2. Folders and Filters are Your Friend

Set up folders in a way that makes sense for you and create filters so that emails automatically get delivered into the appropriate folders. It will clear your inbox and take the pressure off you to answer every email that comes through.

Then, during your scheduled time, you can quickly glance through the folders and deal with those that need to be handled right away. Schedule time once a week to go through the less important emails.

3. Use a Timer.

When you do sit down to check your emails, use a timer. Set it for 30 to 45 minutes – NO MORE. Work through the emails that can be responded to the quickest and then focus on the more time-consuming ones. When the timer goes off, you are done. Shut down the email client and move on to the next thing on your agendas.

4. Create Email Templates.

As a successful coach, you get a lot of the same questions, inquiries, and/or requests. Instead of re-writing the same email every time. Create a series of templates that you can copy/paste into your emails when applicable. You can also set up an automatic email response for things like vacation, etc.

(This Friday’s Freebie is going to be a swipe file of sample email templates you can use.)

5. Delegate Your Email to Your Online Business Manager (OBM) or Virtual Assistant (VA)

Who says you have to respond to every email yourself? In fact, email delegation would be a great starter project when bringing on your first OBM / VA. She can create and set up the folders / filters for you, she unsubscribe to newsletters/emails (with your permission) for you, she can create email templates for you and copy and paste them into emails for you. As you get to know each other, she can even respond to emails for you and pass on only those emails that you need to handle.

You know the time-consuming burden email management can be. But, it doesn’t have to be. If you delegate this project, it will free you up to focus on those things that need your attention more.***

6 BONUS: Unsubscribe from Outdated / Unread Emails

If you are like me, you probably sign up for a lot newsletters and email lists, and then hardly (if ever) read them. It is possible that you are still subscribed to lists that you joined several years ago, and they are no longer applicable or relevant to you. If that’s the case, it is time to start subscribing.

Seriously, if you haven’t read an email from a particular list in six months or more, it is time to think about letting go. If you haven’t looked at it by now, you won’t in the future. You can always re-subscribe if you want in the future. For now, unsubscribe. Or, at the very least, create a filter so it doesn’t clog your inbox.

***By the way, did you know that I offer an email management service? Well, I do. 😉 You can check it out here (will have to scroll down a bit). This is what one of my clients, Jeni, has to say about my email service:

I used to dread checking email, but now I can pop into my inbox without overwhelm, see at a glance what needs my attention, and sift through subscriptions when time permits. Delegating email management to Carol’s capable oversight gives me more time and energy to devote directly to my clients.”

Let me ask you, How would it feel if your inbox was under control? How would it feel if you didn’t dread your email or if you could jump in, do your thing, and get out in  no time? I’m guessing it would feel like a burden has been lifted off your shoulders, right?! It would feel freeing to know that your clients, potential partners, vendors, and other important emails are being responded to in a timely manner, right? And, just think how much more time you can spend on revenue-generating activities, instead of wasting it on weeding through tons of emails.

If you want that freedom, I encourage you to sign up for my email management service as soon as possible. Right now, the service is offered at $199 per month; however, come January, the price is going up to $297.

So, if you are ready to get your email under control, free up your time to spend with clients and money-making activities, and start 2019 with momentum, don’t put it off.

Monday Marketing Moment: Maximize Your Client Onboarding Process

Happy Monday. In today’s Monday Marketing Moment, I want to encourage you to maximize your client on-boarding process. If used appropriately, it can be a valuable marketing tool.

Monday Marketing Moment: Maximize Your Onboarding Process

(If you missed my previous Monday Marketing Moments, you can watch them here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC6L7QwTH8By1T1fgCpLl_ZA)

************
P.S. When you are ready, here are four ways I can support you in your business:

1.  Snag a copy of the free report, “5 Ways an Online Business Manager can Impact Your Business and Increase Your Profits.“

In this report you will discover just how much freedom and success you can have in your business if you stop doing everything alone.

2. “Like” my Facebook page.

It is the place to be to get free weekly training, support, and encouragement in growing and automating your business.

3. Sign up for a Business Audit Mini-VIP Session.

During this session, you will discover the gaps and holes in your business processes, where in  your business you can delegate and automate, and get a strategy to help you make more money, take better care of your clients, and create a better work/life balance.

4. Work with me and my team privately.

I have several packages and programs to help you run a successful, profitable, and enjoyable business. I can help you see the big picture of your business and then create a strategy to move your business forward. Then, I can help you implement that strategy. Take a moment to learn more and get on my calendar today.

5 Signs You Will Never Live a Life of Freedom as a Coach

Ah, the beautiful sound of freedom! One of the main reasons people start their own business is for freedom. In fact, according to a survey done by businessjournals.com, the second most popular reasons people start businesses is, naturally, freedom! It is certainly one of the reasons I started my business, and I am guess it is one of yours. (Do I get an amen?!)

5 Signs You Will Never Live a Life of Freedom as a Coach

Image by Jill111 (2014) via Pixabay, CCO Public Domain

But, here’s the thing, rather than gaining freedom when they start their businesses, many business owners (including business and life coaches), find themselves stuck in business “jail.” Sometimes, they don’t even know why they don’t have the freedom they want. Well, I know and I am going to tell you. 🙂

I have seen many business and life coaches (and other entrepreneurs) fall into the same traps that keep them (YOU) from the freedom they (YOU) desire. The business simply cannot run without them. Can your business run without you? Here are the five signs you will not have freedom in your business:

1. You Have No Plan.

If you don’t have a plan, and try to fly by the seat of your pants, you are never going to have freedom in your business. You will be too busy putting out fires, running your business in constant reactive mode, and letting the business control you instead of you controlling it.

However, if you take the time to plan, you can outline what needs to be done in order for the business to run without you. You can take the time to set your goals, create actionable, deliberate steps, schedule those action steps into your calendar, and implement that plan (or better yet, delegate those steps).

2. You Fail to Delegate.

You cannot, I repeat, you CANNOT have a business that can run smoothly without you unless you are willing to delegate. You absolutely cannot do everything yourself and expect to have the life and work balance you so desperately desire.

However, if you let go of the reins of your business and delegate (even just a few things) you will begin feel relief and joy and freedom! Just knowing that you have someone, or even better more than one, to help you with the everyday running of your business will make a huge difference.

Who should you bring on as team members? It will take a separate article to fully answer this question; nevertheless, I will start by saying that you should start small and bring on only one person at a time. The first person you bring on should be the one who can help you with the tasks that you like the least or are the least good at. This may be a Virtual Assistant to help with basic administrative tasks or customer service. It may mean bringing on an Online Business Manager to help you with the big picture of your business and who can help you manage YOU. It may mean a social media specialist or bookkeeper.

3. You Fail to Trust Your Team.

It is not enough to have a team (be it one person or 10). You have to trust them and allow them to do their jobs. If you constantly feel the need to micromanage, then there is a problem. Either you need to get new team members or you have to look to yourself.

However, if you have hired the right team, and they are experts in their particular fields, you should not have to worry about them doing a good job. In fact, giving them the freedom to step fully into their roles will allow you to concentrate on the things you need/want to do and the freedom to take time off!

***A little note here*** Yes, your team members will make mistakes. It is not a matter of if, it is a matter of when. You aren’t perfect and they aren’t perfect. When those mistakes happen, deal with them and move on. Don’t let the fear of mistakes keep you from trusting and relying on your team!

4. You Don’t Have Systems and Processes in Place.

Having the right systems and processes in place is a magical thing! On the flip side, if you don’t have the right systems and processes in place, you will find yourself wasting time, energy, and resources that could be used elsewhere in your business.

However, if you take the time to put systems in place that can automate your business as much as possible, you can create a business that runs like a well-oiled machine (with or without you)! Additionally, if you create processes for different areas of your business, you will save a lot of time and energy – especially when it comes to things in your business that are repeated, such as welcoming new coaching clients.

5. You Fail to Create (and Update) a Staffing Handbook or Standard Operating Procedures Manual.

If you are serious about creating a business that can function with or without you, it is essential that you have an SOP. Without a staffing handbook or SOP, you will most likely have to be the one to step in every time a team member is unavailable or every time a new member comes aboard or every time a team member leaves your company!

What is an SOP manual or staffing handbook, you ask? It is a document that lists everything (and I mean everything) that is needed to complete a particular task. For example: an SOP for on-boarding a new coaching client would include every single thing needed to do so correctly. It would include what forms would need to be filled out by the new client, a template for the welcome email that needs to go out, the information needed to add the new client to your CRM system, etc. Everything and anything that needs to be done (including WHO does what) would be included that SOP. (I will do an article soon about the whys, hows, and whats of doing SOPs soon.)

If you always have an updated standard operating procedures manual or staffing handbook, anyone will be able to take over just about any task when necessary. The person stepping in will know exactly what needs to be done and how to do it, probably without even having to ask you! It will allow your business to run more smoothly when there are bumps or emergencies and allows you to focus on those things that need your attention more.

BONUS

6. You are too Busy Being “Busy!”

Don’t worry you aren’t alone. It happens to all of us. You sit down at your computer and instead of getting right to work on revenue generating activities or client care or following up with potential clients, you decide that your website needs tweaking or you “need” to read that blog post or watch that training from your favorite expert. OR the dishes need to be washed and the dog has to be walked. OR, you really do have to do some internet research only to find yourself mindlessly surfing the net for an hour.

The thing is, you will have to learn to reign yourself in if you truly want to have the freedom you desire. This is where having a plan and inserting the steps of that plan into your computer will help. If you build a habit of opening your calendar each morning and working on at least one or two things that will help you achieve your goal, you will achieve that goal in no time! Better yet, check the calendar at the end of your day for tomorrow’s tasks, along with everything you will need to complete those tasks, and you will be able to hit the road running every morning.

It also helps to have someone, like an Online Business Manager, help you stay accountable. If you haven’t had an accountability partner before, you’ll be surprised how much more you will get done knowing you have to fill that person in!

By the way, I’m not saying you shouldn’t tweak your website or mindlessly surf the internet. What I do say, however, is that you should schedule those tasks on your calendar. You absolutely should make the time to do the things you enjoy, including non-revenue generating activities, as long as you don’t let them suck the life and freedom out of your business! Be intentional about how you manage your time or your time (and business) will manage you!

The Big Questions

Do you see any of the above signs in yourself? It is time for you to go deeper. You may want to journal your answers or talk them over with someone. Ask yourself: In what ways am I in business “jail?” How is my business running me instead of me running my business? What steps am I going to take so that I can begin the process to gain (or regain) freedom in my business?

Psst….

If you recognize yourself in any of the signs you read today, and are truly ready to get out of “business jail,” I would love to have a conversation with you to see if I can help. I invite you to get on my calendar for a free, no obligation consultation to see if partnering together would make sense.