For as many different types of industries + niches there are, another tool is there to help that specific market segment.

On the surface, having this many options can seem like a good thing… until you actually have to choose one! Then, all of these options turn into a major headache with a generous side serving of time-suckage + overwhelm.
What’s worse is that the source of all this confusion isn’t even the thing you started out doing. You were just researching which tools were available to you to make that end result easier to come by. Instead, a serious case of WTFs is boggling you down. (We won’t even mention that while you’re wasting all this time researching tools, you’re getting exactly zero work done towards that reason why you started researching them in the first place.) *le sigh*

Buckle up, boss, because I’m going to let you in on some #realtalk :: Miss #GSD is about helping service providers like you make room for more projects, better clients + bigger pay-days.
Keep that in mind when I geek out about this. The nerdy girl is saying not to get caught up in choosing the perfect tools + platforms for you. At least, not now. The best solution for you is the one that will get you started + making bank! Plus, it is important to understand the strategies behind using those tools before you move onto more robust options.

The tools never matter half as much as understanding the underlying strategy they exist to support.

The single easiest way to procrastinate your own success + set yourself back is in trying to learn the ins-and-outs of a platform… only to find one you believe may be better suited to you + switching to that one. (P.S. There will always be another one to choose from, I promise!).
Whatever you set out to learn in the first place? Whatever you need that tool for?… the REAL benefit comes from understanding THAT strategy + that’s what you should be investing your limited time, energy + focus towards!

👉 Are you learning about social media management? Good! Absorb those principles + strategies like a sponge.
👉 Out to make sense of sales funnels? Perfect! Immerse yourself into understanding how you can make them work for you + why they turn fans into customers.
👉 Fresh to the wonderful world of email marketing? Sweet!
There’s enough uber-important list-building tactics to fill your brain to the brim that you shouldn’t have to spare a single cell on wondering what the perfect service provider for you would be or have to learn HTML + CSS just to create a template for your first newsletter.

The truth is that until you’ve been “doing the thing” for a while, you won’t really know what you want or need from your software. Once you’ve been around the block a few times with some experience as to what works for you + what doesn’t, THEN it’s time for you to spend some quality time analyzing your tools. Until then?
Get STARTED already using the tools readily available to you NOW! Public service message – out!

Because even though I just told you that understanding the strategy matters more than the tools you choose to use to implement that strategy?… you WILL need to use some of those tools, technology + systems to help you get stuff done. The trick is in knowing which ones will give you that in a way that you can hit the ground running.
This post is designed to do exactly that – no researching, no huge learning curves, no self-imposed road blocks. Let’s start getting you RESULTS!

YOUR MONEY IS IN YOUR LIST

Ask anyone who has been selling online for a minute + they’ll tell you, in unison :: the #1 thing every freelancer + service provider needs to do is to start collecting email addresses + contact information.
Why? Because having a way to KEEP IN TOUCH, PROVIDE VALUE + ENGAGE with your future clients + fans is your bread + butter.

The fastest way to be seen as a spammer (ew!) is by sending mass emails through your Gmail account. Instead, use what is called an Email Marketing Service (or, EMS). This is arguably the single most important account a freelancer should register for. Think of your EMS as the email for your audience.

I’m going to make this easy for you + tell you that the best decision any new email marketer can make is MailerLite.
Wanna understand why? Keep reading. Don’t care? Scroll down to the next header.

First reason? It’s FREE for your first 1,000 email addresses.
Are there other free services? Yes, MailChimp will allow you to collect 2,000 subscribers for free.

The difference :: If you have one email address signed up to 2 different lists on MailChimp, it will count as 2 subscribers even though it is the same email address (which not only makes this a little bit of a vanity metric, but it has the potential to cap out your free account prematurely as well). MailerLite will count 1 email address as 1 contact, no matter how many lists that contact signs up or opts-in to.
In the end, the cost-per-contact is comparable but when it comes to the free features offered, MailerLite is light years ahead of everyone else.

For starters, MailerLite has an insanely USER-FRIENDLY set-up. You have enough to learn when you join the wonderful world of email marketing that the hurdle of also having to learn the basics of coding HTML + CSS is a buzzkill when you’re simply trying to send your first newsletter or create your first list. You can get started with the super-simple easy drag-and-drop functionality – PRONTO!
{Wanna know more about how to set-up your MailerLite account? Check out this video series.}

These two factors alone – free + user-friendly – are enough to validate why MailerLite should be THE starting point for new freelancers. And yet, the game-changing features it offers are all the more reason this is a no-brainer.  Especially when you consider that every other service will likely charge you for these features.

AUTOMATIONS :: (AKA :: Email sequences or sales funnels) Regardless of what you call them, one of the most coveted features that bosses look for are automations. This feature allows you to build up your know-like-trust factor (<- the thing that makes people buy from you) + make sales… on auto-pilot!

#PROTIP about automations :: When you’re learning about anything new, focus on the HOW + WHY these processes work the way they do. It is impossible to overstate the importance of understanding what makes these strategies effective because the set-up matters so much less than the results!
Expect the software that uses automations to be more complex. As a more intermediate- to advanced-level strategy, EMS providers will assume you are at that level + create their software accordingly. Meanwhile, you can learn Mailerlite quickly + easily. Instead of focusing a steep learning curve, you can really focus on learning HOW + WHY automation strategies work since they’re so simple to use.

LANDING PAGES + OPT-IN FORMS :: While Email Marketing Services store your contacts + send your email campaigns, you generally need to use an outside service like LeadPages or Opt-In Monkey to create attractive landing pages that will allow you to collect those emails. Even the services that feature integrated landing pages will require you to have some coding knowledge to customize + brand them.

MailerLite allows you to skip that learning curve entirely with that same easy drag-and-drop functionality I mentioned earlier. You can therefore quickly + easily get a gorgeous landing page published like SNAP! Plus, you can customize these landing pages to your with a branded subdomain (i.e. free.mydomainname.com) usually reserved to paid-for services.
The fact that you don’t have to sign up + integrate an outside service to do this for you means that you can waste less time in the “setting up” + invest more time in the “getting started”. As you gain experience, you can get the job done – and done well! – from the jump within MailerLite.

TAGGING :: Among the most lusted-after features in email marketing is tagging + with good reason. It allows you to categorize your subscribers in a way that you can get super-specific about the content you send + the audience it reaches.
For instance, a nutritionist may want to tag the vegan subscribers from the meat-eating subscribers to make sure that the emails about dairy-free substitutes + whey proteins reaches the audience who actually cares about that sort of thing. Tagging is like a secret weapon for making your subscribers feel like you get them + you’re in their head… which is exactly the kind of person that other people buy from!

ESTABLISHING A SYSTEM

Systems + technology are a lot like cooking :: before you turn on a single burner, it’s a good idea to read through the instructions + make sure you have all the necessary ingredients you need to make that dish happen.
The systems + processes you use in your business are like your cooking instructions. Meanwhile the tools + technology are the ingredients. What you use + how you use it will depend on what you’re cooking.

I’m a super-fan of examples so let’s use one. Let’s say you wanted to host a webinar.
Your “recipe” would look a little bit like this ::

This is the journey your webinar subscribers sign up for. Translation :: this is the SYSTEM you will be putting into place.
Then, the platforms you will use for to make this system happen are your TOOLS.
If you’re using MailerLite, creating the following is a breeze ::

  • Your event landing pages + opt-in forms;
  • Your list of webinar subscribers;
  • An automated email sequence that provides webinar details upon sign-up;
  • Schedule a campaign to remind your webinar subscribers of the event one hour prior;
  • Draft your post-event replay email.

This means you still need a WEBINAR HOSTING PLATFORM. Depending on what your goal is with this event, you may also need a PAYMENT PROCESSOR.
…so how do you make a decision about those platforms?

IDENTIFYING THE TOOLS

I’ve said it before + I’ll say it again :: you only really know what you need to get the job done – your way! – after you’ve done something a few times.
Sure, right off the bat, specific features will be of interest to you. However, when you begin using a platform you thought you’d love… it shouldn’t come as a surprise when you find that there’s something missing or there’s a deal-breaker element you never thought of before.
So what’s a boss to do? Keep it simple + stick to the basics.

BOOM! No more spinning your wheels. You can quit asking Facebook Groups what you should do. Knock off switching to a new trial every time the last one runs out. It’s all just forward momentum!

#PROTIP about new tools + tech :: I know it’s tempting to just delete that welcome email your new account set-up send to you (yeah, I saw that!) but you’ll likely save yourself hours of DIY if you just read the email + go through the suggested tutorials. Spare the half hour it takes to go through their welcome sequence. It will likely introduce you to all kinds of uses + features you would otherwise overlook, not know about or not be using as you should. That initial investment will pay you dividends to your learning curve.

Remember :: when you are trying to accomplish something for your business, the HOW + WHY of what you are doing matters more than WHAT tools you use to go from “to do” to “done”.

Obsess over getting results instead of obsessing over how to get started.

Start simple. You can find the perfect technology to support what you’re doing after you’ve figured out what to do that will work for you. The efficiency of any platform you choose to use will depend 100% on the knowledge + experience you bring to them so use what you have, get that momentum going + don’t let decision fatigue or overwhelm get in the way of your success.

Need help figuring out how to hit the ground running? I’ve got you!