Let’s do a little Spring Cleaning! (Wait – what? What does that have to do with growing as an influencer? Maybe I clicked on the wrong post…) Nope, you’re in the right place, SC sister.
There are SO many things to get involved with as a blogger, like dozens of outlets in social media or affiliate programs and apps or brand collabs…you get the idea…and it’s easy to get lost out there and forget your target. Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, Snapchat, Shopstyle, Rewardstyle, brand collabs, blogger events – let’s not forget your ACTUAL blog – and the list goes on and on, because there are new things popping up every day, too! A girl. Could. Go. Cray.
Balancing a full time job, life, family & friends with blogging part time can definitely take its toll on your side hustle, and things get so cluttered that you may need a blog (and life!) Spring Cleaning in order to use your limited time most efficiently.
FOCUS. If you have your hands in a million different things, are you even giving these tools all the attention they need to truly work for you? Remember, your time equals money that you could be making, and if these tools aren’t helping you do that, then it’s time to take a closer look. If you aren’t doing it 100%, and it isn’t getting you anywhere, why are you doing it? These tasks are taking up your valuable time, and you are sacrificing other outlets & priorities that you should be attending to. Keep it simple. Let’s do some spring cleaning to help you refocus your energy on what’s important, and what will get you results.
Growth, growth, growth. It’s all we hear about in the influencer sphere – everyone wants to be BIGGER. But is more more? Or is less more? In this case, it’s both.
More followers does not always equal more influence.
You want more of the right thing (influence) and less time spent on the wrong stuff, like more followers who aren’t engaged. Growing your influence does not always mean you need to grow your follower count at an exponential rate. Providing value to your audience will increase your authority and influence so that you earn the trust of your fans, and can guide them (a.k.a. influence them!!!) to take your advice and buy a product, or even just read your newest blog post. This is how you create your niche and carve out a place for yourself in the blogging universe: show your people that they need your expertise and the value you provide, and others will begin to follow. This is the authentic way – the real way – to grow your influence.
But “HOW??!!” you ask. “I don’t have all day, either!” HEARD.
The 5 Steps to Grow Your Influence with Limited Time & Resources
In order to grow your influence with limited TIME and RESOURCES you need to:
1. Focus & Set Your Goals
“I don’t care how much power, brilliance or energy you have, if you don’t harness it and focus it on a specific target, and hold it there you’re never going to accomplish as much as your ability warrants.” – Zig Ziglar
Understanding the fundamental difference between a prism and a laser can predict success in life and business. Let’s explain what we mean:
A laser takes light and amplifies it, turning it into a powerful, focused force. It creates heat. By contrast, a prism refracts light and disperses it into several different color streams that lack any heat or power. This is an analogy to describe different people’s approaches to life and achievement. A great example of this is the “prism entrepreneur,” who, for conceptual purposes only, we will refer to as @somebloggergirl.
There are a lot of @somebloggergirls out there. After some early success in her business, she gets over-confident and distracted. If we check back with@somebloggergirl 6-12 months later, she’ll most likely have started losing (or lost) focus, her initial business will have hit an “unexpected” rough patch and the new projects/businesses that she started are either in trouble or shuttered. Prism entrepreneurs like @somebloggergirl are often doing a lot, but are not getting a lot done. While it can feel rewarding in the moment, they are riding the hamster wheel.
- Starts a lot of new projects – but doesn’t finish them
- Thinks that by doing several different things, she will be more successful
- Spends a lot of time on email and gets distracted by looking at what others are doing on Instagram
- Responds to brands that reach out to her, and does collaborations based on what is offered
- Believes that more is more: i.e. “More #ootd posts will give me more RewardStyle revenue.”
Better outcomes occur by stepping back, doing less and simplifying your life or business.
On the flip side is the “laser entrepreneur,” who we will call @focusedgirlboss. She is focused, has a plan and, upon seeing early success, she does not deviate course or get distracted. When @focusedgirlboss sees that her plan is working, she doubles down on her current strategy, stays the course and focuses on excellence and being the leader in her market. She eliminates distractions and stops doing things that don’t support her goals or values. Almost always, she achieves success faster than she could have imagined.
- Focuses on only the things that will help her reach her goal(s)
- Only checks email twice a day and doesn’t spend too much time catching up
- Spends minimal time on Instagram & social media unless it is for a direct purpose or for networking
- Reaches out to brands that align with her purpose and aesthetic, and turns down brands that aren’t a fit
- Believes that less is more: i.e. “I am going to focus my energy on crafting one brand collaboration where I will profit $1000.”
We only have so much time and energy to give. As such, applying it in a focused way produces better results. What might confuse us, however, is that there are many people who look like @somebloggergirls, but are really @focusedgirlbosses. They have a carefully selected portfolio of business, interests or activities that support the same long-term goals and values. And not only do they reinforce each other congruously, there’s often a multiplier effect.
Pick a direction or focus, simplify and eliminate distractions. Don’t let everyone else’s priorities or distractions become yours.
- Download our simple #girlboss goal setting template, or our more in-depth newbie blogger goal-setting quiz & worksheet
2. Break It Down with a Plan
A lot of times, we want to do everything at once or feel that we need to do this to be successful. This never works. Before you try to do all you want to do, start with what you NEED to do. Do that for a while until you feel you’ve got a really good flow going, you are consistent, and it’s working in terms of getting what you want to do done. Then – and only then – add something new to the list.
How will you achieve those goals? Depending on your goal, click the links below to visit specific resources from Style Collective. Here, you will to find the steps necessary for each category to reach your goal and grow your influence! Then create your plan and get to work on each step and mini-milestone. Don’t try to accomplish the BIG scary goal from “A” to “B” – you need steps in-between. Think of your main goal as “Z”, and where you are is “A”. You need to go through “B”-“Y” in order to reach the end, right? Break it down with a plan.
3. Analyze & Prioritize (THIS IS SUPER IMPORTANT!)
The goal here is to focus on the activities that drain your energy or take you away from reaching long-term goals and objectives. Then, stop doing those things.
- Tasks & Time Wasters: Take a hard look at specific tasks and activities you regularly engage in. The ones that exhaust you or feel like a chore should go. This may mean finding a grocery delivery service, removing Facebook from your phone or, in my case, finding a service that can take over paying 90% of my bills. You need to be honest with yourself about where your time is going and how it could be better spent so you can use your time and energy in ways that have more value and support your higher goals.
- Commitments: Commitments are a level above tasks. They are the recurring investments of your time. They might include a committee you volunteer on, a class or a regular get-together. Whatever they are, some may have run their course. Moving on from them can refocus and reenergize you, which allows you to allocate time, energy and resources towards something new. For example, you might realize how valuable your morning routine is to your day and life, so you might stop doing breakfast meetings altogether.
- People: To quote Jim Rohn, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” I can’t think of a more powerful statement. One of the most important things you can do in this life is to move away from relationships and people who no longer align with your values and direction. If you feel worse after spending time with someone, chances are they’re an energy vampire. Albeit difficult, it’s likely time to pull away from them, even if they are family. This doesn’t mean burning bridges, it just means that you stop engaging, making plans or giving that relationships as much of your precious time and energy.
Need more productivity tips? Visit our post 15 Tips for Becoming a More Productive Blogger and get ready to take notes!
4. Work With What You’ve Got – Your Time = Money, Right?
Assess your time. Take a look at what your average week looks like. Ask yourself realistically how much time you can devote to your blog. If it is 30 minutes or three hours, don’t get upset. Just be realistic. You can do a lot in a short amount of time if you know in advance how much time you’ve got to work with. So, start by assessing yours. Getting a sense of what is really happening with your time will help you determine realistically what you can give to your blog.
Girlboss and SC sister Christianne of Simply Christianne shared how she manages blogging, working full time, and being a wife and a mom. The major takeaway? Schedule, schedule, schedule! When you have your life prioritized (item number 3) it’s time to fill in your schedule and stick to it.
Don’t just schedule your tasks, errands, and events – schedule your free time and fun things as well. This way, if you have free time penciled into your daily, weekly, and monthly routine, you’re less tempted to ditch an actual task to snag some relaxation. This ensures that everything gets done AND you get your “me” time to prevent burnout.
Things come up, we get it. Be flexible when emergencies arise, or when things take longer than expected. You may run over your time limit when working on something, but you feel so inspired and in-the-zone that you want to keep going – that’s cool! Move some things around in your schedule to make it happen. The one thing you DON’T want to do is remove a task altogether. If it was important enough for you to schedule it in the first place (again, see item number 3 above) then you should pencil it in for another time or day. Even if it was just catching up on the next chapter of your newest read, squeeze in some time! If it’s a priority to you, make it work.
5. Be Relentless.
It doesn’t happen overnight. Just ask these ladies – each of our journeys is unique, and filled with obstacles big and small.
Let’s take a look at one example: Lauren McGoodwin, the Founder and CEO of Career Contessa.
After a quarter-life crisis during which Lauren realized she didn’t really want to be a teacher, she decided to focus on building her experience. After a few unpaid marketing internships and plenty of career fairs, Lauren took an administrative job in the admissions office of a local college. She had the opportunity to work as a recruiter for new students, and from there, applied for a recruiting coordinator position at Hulu.
While working for Hulu, Lauren pursued her Master’s. Career Contessa was originally built as a prototype for her thesis, which was focused on millennial women and career resources. Lauren had planned to use Career Contessa as a side hustle, and eventually leverage it to secure a full-time job. But, a few years down the road, after she was passed up for a promotion in a male-dominated workplace, she decided to pursue Career Contessa full-time, to help other women struggling with similar situations.
Lauren loved her job at Hulu, and was not a natural risk-taker, but knew she needed to take the plunge. For a year, she saved half of her paychecks, created her LLC, and set up the Career Contessa website, all while still working full-time at Hulu.
Lauren worked hard to make her entrepreneurial journey a success, and you can do the same. Entrepreneurship isn’t for every woman, but that woman can be you if you push through the rough patches and downfalls.
“If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” – William Edward Hickson
And again. And again. And as many times as you need to! Chances are, this is going to happen many times throughout your entrepreneurial journey. Revise your strategy or modify your goal if it isn’t working, but never give up.
Need more? Listen to the Becoming Fearless podcast and experience stories from women just like you who overcame countless setbacks or profound experiences in order to rise to success. Find your authentic self and live your values to become the person that you were meant to be – aka become fearless!
Also: a big shout out to our SC Sister, Mary of @yourtrendytherapist, for emailing us and asking us to create this resource. This is what Team SC is here for! Need help with something? Let us know below!