Posts tagged small business owners
6 Ways to Grow Your Email List

Now that we know that email marketing is ESSENTIAL to your marketing plan (and if you don’t, go back and read my previous post!). Now comes the dilemma that a lot of business owner’s face. How do I grow my email list so I have people to market to?

Today we’re breaking down some of my favorite techniques to get more engaged email subscribers, and we’re going to do it in a way that is authentic and doesn't feel slimy or salesy.

  1. Encourage current subscribers to share - Adding social share or “email to a friend” buttons can be a super simple way to get more subscribers. Giving your current subscribers an easy way to share content means you can get in front of their networks.

  2. Give away something free - This is probably the most effective way to add subscribers quickly. By offering a coupon code, discount, or even a freebie in exchange for someone’s email, you can bolster your list pretty substantially. If coupons aren’t your style, or aren't getting you the traction you’re looking for, think outside the box. Putting together a cool white page, PDF, or instructional/inspirational video series can be a great way add people to your list who are really interested in hearing from you.

  3. Create bonus content - Just because you’ve been writing a blog (as you should per our June discussion…) it doesn’t mean that you have to give away ALL your content on your website. Create bonus content based off of your blog post and encourage readers to subscribe to get it.

  4. Utilize your social media - Create a cool contest or give-a-way that requires contestants to submit their email address to enter and promote it on social. Especially if you already have a following, it’s a great tool to bring those followers over to your list. While you're at it, utilize your social channels to promote some of that gated content (that we talk about in #3), and drive more traffic to them.

  5. Find a partner - Search around for a complimenting business, blogger or influencer to help promote your brand. You can run a joint promotion, contest or give-a-way that can help increase both of your lists. This is also a great way to increase social media following and just general traffic.

  6. Go old school - If you’re a retail business or have a physical location, set up a notebook or pad and pen on your countertop. It's easy to collect email addresses from online sales, but often times we forget to ask in stores. Have a little set up and encourage who ever is working the register at the time to collect the email addresses of everyone as they check out. If you’re a service based business, you can still apply this strategy by collecting emails at networking events and expos.

If you stay consistent with your list growth strategies you will start to see some serious growth over time. The goal of this is also to see an increase in subscribers who are engaged and excited to hear from you each and every time.

And don’t forget, it’s email marketing month inside The Hub - the online marketing membership program geared towards helping you grow your business online! Get instant access to even more trainings and masterclasses to help you up your email marketing game for only $1!

Our Favorite Business Beach Reads 2019

Summer has FINALLY arrived here on the East Coast and the warm weather makes us excited for the beach and a good book. And while love a good romance novel (hey, don’t judge!), sometimes it helps us feel more productive to combine our lounge time with our learning time, and dive into a good business read while sun tanning.

Below we broke down some of our favorite current reads to help you feel inspired, focused, and productive while hanging by the pool. Want even more great reads? Check out one of our older beach reads lists here.

  1. Company of One: Why Staying Small Is the Next Big Thing for Business by Paul Jarvis - A veteran designer boasting large clients like Mercedes, Microsoft and Yahoo, Paul Jarvis breaks down how good things can come in small packages. Solopreneurship is on the rise, as more people strive to make extra income, and technology opens all of us to more freedom. If you’ve ever played around with the idea of starting your own business, or already have and need a little inspiration to keep going, this book blueprints how staying small can mean success.

  2. The 30-Day Money Cleanse: Take control of your finances, manage your spending, and de-stress your money for good by Ashley Feinstein Gerstley - Being in business means money stressors, no doubt. Whether it’s stressing about making money, saving money, or what to spend our money on, we are constantly thinking about money. However, one of the things I’ve learned is that the more you stress about money, the more stressful money becomes. Spend a month this summer giving yourself and your business a money cleanse and reset your money mindset towards the positive.

  3. Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable by Seth Godin - Seth Godin is one of my favorite marketers because he explains things clearly, and with fun examples like how seeing a purple cow in a farmyard would stop you in your tracks. And as marketers and business owners (because yes, all business owners are marketers) that’s our job - to stop our customers in their tracks. Here’s the rub though, the old ways of marketings aren’t working anymore. Get Godin’s advice on how to move beyond the “3 P’s of Marketing” to the things that are going to help you grow your business today.

Ian Manning: How to Stay Healthy & Productive at Work

With the cold weather upon us, we find ourselves spending much more time indoors… sitting. Because of that we’ve brought back one of our favorite blogs which has never been more important than now.

Many of us spend most of our day sitting at our desks. While that may be great for our businesses, it's not necessarily good for the body. While it may not be a marketing tip, today we've brought in Physical Therapist and pain reducing junkie, Ian Manning of Orthocore PT, to give all of us some advice on how to stay healthy, happy, and productive, throughout our work day. And sometimes, this kind of information is just as important!

We all want to be successful in life, and in our jobs. No matter what your measurement of success may be; money, title, Instagram followers, etc…there is one thing that can certainly get in the way of your work goals…PAIN! Pain can distract you when you are working, it can keep you from sleeping, and it can lead to hours of lost time. So how do you make sure you stay pain free, focused at work, and how can you make sure you are moving well and keeping your body healthy? 

Let's start with what you are using to fuel your body. How is your water consumption? Most people who I talk to say,  “yeah, I drink tons of water.” Most people (even those that drink a “ton”) don’t drink enough. A good rule of thumb is to drink half your body weight in ounces of water in a day. Proper hydration keeps you focused throughout the day. Our brain is suspended in fluid. If you are dehydrated you can easily lose focus and make mental mistakes that will affect your job. 

What qualifies as “good movement?” If you can touch your toes (while keeping your knees straight), squat down, go up/down a couple flights of stairs, run a mile, or walk 3, you move fairly well. If any, or all, of those sound like something that would put you in the hospital…it's time to get serious about improving your fitness. Not only will focusing on your strength and flexibility prevent injuries, it will improve your productivity at work. 

So what do you do if you can’t do any, or all, of those things listed above? Let's start with flexibility. Can’t touch your toes? Here is my favorite way to improve your hamstring flexibility. Try doing 10 repetitions of this hamstring exercise, on each leg, once a day. I can guarantee that in a month you will be on your way to touching those little piggies once again!

How about squatting down? Think of how many times you sit and stand in a day. If you can’t do it properly you are just asking for a problem down the road. Let's start with proper form. When you sit down your shoulders should be over the middle of your feet with your trunk upright and your hands out in front of you. Start with performing 10 squats, twice a day, going as low as you can while keeping the proper form. As that gets easier, either add more repetitions or more sets. 

Lastly, let's talk about cardiovascular health. This is one of the easiest things to improve. You just need to commit to making it a part of your day. Simple solutions include going for a walk at lunch. Or, if you have a set of stairs in your house, every time you use them go up/down one more time than you need to. The best thing to do is get a buddy to help keep you accountable. Pick someone who will keep you honest and motivate you when you don’t want to do anything. Once you make it a part of your routine it will be easy. Your brain and your heart will thank you. 

Improving your health and fitness is guaranteed to increase your energy levels, make you more alert, and increase your focus. So put down that 4th cup of coffee, work on your body, and enjoy the new found success that follows!

Ian Manning graduated with his Masters degree in Physical Therapy from Northeastern University in 2004. Ian has always worked with orthopedic based injuries, starting in school with his co-op/clinical rotations then leading into his professional career as a PT. He is constantly working to continue his education through course work and staying current with research. Ian is certified through the Titleist Performance Institute (TPI) to treat golf related injuries and to improve golf performance. Please visit our Golf Performance and Rehabilitation section for more information.


At OrthoCore Physical Therapy we will provide you with quality rehabilitation that focuses on your personal goals. We use a mixture of research supported techniques to decrease your pain, increase your strength/flexibility, and restore your functional movement. Our staff strives to educate our patients about their rehabilitation process and help them get back to their target goals and objectives.

Though we are based out of North Kingstown, although we treat patients from the greater Providence area including East Greenwich, South Kingstown, Warwick, Narragansett, Newport, Jamestown, Cranston, Westerly, and other surrounding towns.

Taking Advantage of the Audio Craze

Audio is EVERYTHING now-a-days. Yes, video is still massive (and will continue to grow in 2019), but with our increasingly busy lives, we’re constantly searching for a way to do more things all at the same time.

Audio content allows us to consume information or entertainment while on the go, while working, or while wrangling a family who is ready to eat dinner.

So, how can we, as business owners, take advantage of this new interest in the auditory arena? There’s of course podcasts, which are a super fun format, but also really time consuming and require a lot of effort on the part of the host. What I’ve got for you today is a tip all about how you can easily, and cost effectively, translate the written content you’re already creating, in a way for customers to consume audibly.

How to Survive the Holiday Season as a Business Owner

If you can believe it, the holiday season is pretty much upon us. Before you know it, you'll be trying to balance your normal workload with holiday parties, present shopping, wrapping, and family in town.

And while it's so tempting to just take a break from all the social posting, and blogging and marketing work (I mean... let's be honest.. you're audience is busy too), where does that leave you in the New Year?

After working so hard all year, taking a break for the next few months leave you scrambling to bring you audience back up in 2019. So, how can we stay productive and focused, yet still manage to make time for all those fun holiday activities?

Check out the October inside The Hub for these answers and more. It's chock full of:

✔️content ideas centered around the season,
✔️inspiration to keep you focused,
✔️and a rock solid plan so you can stay connected and engaged with your audience throughout "the most wonderful time of the year".

All of this is inside The Digital Marketing Hub just waiting for you! If you're not a member of The Hub now's your chance to get 40% off your membership. Just click this link to get instant access to this, and all our previous trainings at an insane sale price! But hurry - this price expires on Tuesday!

How to Show Up When You Just Don't Want To

Hello there! While I know I promised a blog idea series (and don't worry - part 2 IS coming soon) I took a little detour today. Why? Because I just didn't feel like doing the other blog post. Plain and simple! 😂

I figured a lot of other business owners go through something similar from time-to-time. It can be hard just showing up sometimes. So, here's my thoughts on showing up for yourself and your business when you just don't feel like it. Drop me a comment below or on my FB page and tell me your story.

How to Make More Passive(ish) Income in Your Business

What!? 2 Guest Experts in June!

That's right, starting this month we're bringing you 2 Guest Expert Trainings each month!

So, who did we bring in as our super special 2nd guest expert in June? 

We brought in Affiliate Marketing genius April Lewis, and we're talking all about using your audience to make passive(ish) income each and every month. 

Now, I can see you giving me the side eye. I get that is sounds a little bit sketchy. We've all seen those ads on Facebook promising things that end up not panning out. They end up costing you money (instead of making you money) and leaving you feeling kinda of... yucky...

But, I promise you, this is NOT that! (would I ever do that to you?). April is getting real and sharing every detail of her own journey in Affiliate Marketing (including LEGIT income numbers), and shedding some light on things she's learned along the way. 

To April, affiliate marketing isn't about just selling people things (although the money is a great bi product!), but rather sharing your passion for different products or services. It's about teaching people tools to help make their business, or life, better.

She's telling her own growth story, giving us the 411 on how to find programs that make sense for you, and sharing some of her best tips on how to build upon your success to make more money each month. (And who doesn't want that!?)

If' you've ever considered Affiliate Marketing, or have looked into ways to make more (or even some at all) passive revenue each and every month then this training is for you!

Get her training (PLUS even more amazing content from other guest experts, and your's truly) this month inside The Digital Marketing Hub!

Are you ready for all this?

Oooohhh I'm SUPER excited about some of the AMAZING content I just launched for June!

What's got me so pumped? Let me break it down for you...

The June Masterclass is all about the #1 way to reach your target market.

With all this  noise around GDPR, it has people wondering. Is email marketing even worth it? Spoiler alert: YES! Check out the latest Masterclass to learn my best practices, favorite email platforms (some are FREE), and best ways to grow your email list with engaged followers

This Month's "Ask Hubble" Podcast is all about some social media hacks.

Hacks you say? That's right, I've got a guest on with me and we're diving into how you can still get around the new Facebook algorithm to get some real organic views (YUP! It's still possible!), AND talk about how you can use Google+ to get some real website traffic.

Oh, and our Guest Expert Training is giving you the exact steps she used to go from $0 to $10K months in less than half a year.

Oh yeah... We've got online growth expert Melodi Maxton spilling some MAJOR secrets on how she organically grew her business WITHOUT a following, social media presence or website. Interested to find out how she did it?  

All of this content (PLUS one more Guest Expert training on how you can make passive revenue WITHOUT creating your own online course or product)  is brand new this month inside The Digital Marketing Hub!

So head on over and get instant access to all of this PLUS some amazing past trainings inside The Hub!

How To Sell Without Being "Salesy"

There's something crazy I've learned in all my years of working with Small Business Owners and Entrepreneurs. And that's that many of them, are afraid to "sell" their products or services. Here's the deal - you are the #1 sales person for your business. You are the prime champion and advocate for how amazing your products or services are. Don't be afraid to share them with the world!

In this video I dive into:

  1. How you can connect with your customers/clients in an authentic way so they won't mind when you do mention how they can take the next steps in your business.
  2. Why it's SO important to always have an "ask" with every piece of value you offer.
  3. When and how long you should run promotions for to your email lists so they don't get overwhelemed.

Oh! And here's a bonus 4th tip for you that I completely forgot to mention in this video, but one lovely Facebook commenter reminded me off (sometimes I get a little nervous with video, I'm working on it!).

4. Always bring products or services to the table in a way that helps you potential customer or client. Talk about the benefits and how it can solve a problem they have, or fill a need they may have. If you truly believe in what you have to offer and how it can help your customers, than this should be the easiest step for you!

Looking for even more digital marketing tips and tricks? Join our exclusive membership program, The Digital Marketing Hub! 

Quit Hiding & Get Visible

It's time to get real - one of the things I've always struggled with when it comes to running my own business, is confidence. I am constantly second guessing myself, rarely post videos or pictures of myself (because my hair or makeup wasn't quite right that day), and sometimes even wonder if I'm "good enough" at my job.

Cue Tanya Conner-Green of Whole Hearted Business Coach. When picking guest experts for my new membership program, The Digital Marketing Hub, I KNEW that I wanted Tanya to be the very first one. Not only because I feel her message is so important to all the business owners in the group, but because I (selfishly) wanted to hear what she had to say myself.

So, today on the blog, I'm spilling a few pearls of wisdom from her March Guest Expert Training, "Quit Hiding & Get Visible". While you can view the entire training inside The Hub (and trust me, you're going to want to, it's AMAZING), I wanted to give everybody a little taste to help you gain more confidence and get yourself and your business seen online (especially with video).

1. Insight #1 - What makes you want to work with one person over another? For many of us it's because we get a chance to see that real person. We can see their vulnerabilities and authenticity, see the value they've provided us, and can see they actually care about you (and not just selling you a product). If you choose to buy that way, chances are your audience does too. Stop hiding all of that from them!

2. Insight #2 - Stop running from your doubts and fears. Most of us feel like in order to overcome our fears, we have to push aside those pesky little doubts that pop up in our brains and pretend they don't exists. But let's get real for a minute, we ALL have them! We all question ourselves sometimes, and pretending that we don't won't help us move past them. Acknowledging what your fears & doubts are, and then choosing to flip those into positive beliefs is a much more effective use of time, and will actually help you start to believe in how amazing you really are.

3. Insight #3 - What would your 80 year old self tell you? Fear or doubt stopping you from taking the next step in your business? Think ahead to what you would tell yourself if you had the chance to go back in time. Hindsight is always 20/20, so instead of looking back and wishing you had made moves sooner, force yourself to take that big step today. Chances are you won't regret it and you'll make your 80 year old self proud!

Pretty legit right? I know, she's kind of amazing. But this is literally just the tip of the iceberg (seriously, all these insights come from the first 5 minutes of her almost 40 minute training). There is so much more inside and watching it has me just busting at the seams, ready to start doing more video and creating even more free content for you guys (so make sure to keep an eye on your inbox!)

So, if you're not a member of The Digital Marketing Hub, click here to join so you can hear all that Tanya (and our other amazing guest experts coming up in the next few months), have to say!

Oh, and don't forget to check out Tanya's website to learn more about her, and how she's inspiring entrepreneurs and business owners everyday.

UPDATE - The 7 Deadly Sins of Marketing

Since it is #ThrowbackThursday, we're bringing back one of our VERY first blogs we every wrote here at Hub Digital. Back in April of 2014, we wrote about the "7 Deadly Sins of Marketing" and gave some very pointed advice on what you shouldn't be doing when it comes to marketing. Since that way basically a lifetime ago in the digital marketing world, we decided to bring it back today and see if these "7 Deadly Sins" still hold true in today's environment.

2014 advice - 1. Setting your expectations too high - Many businesses and products fail before they even get started. You can't win a marathon by taking one step; it takes leaps and bounds to cross the finish line. Don't expect one ad or post to complete the job. Digital marketing takes creativity, dedication, and patience to build a following.

2018 edit - This one still absolutely holds true today! One of the things we work with our clients on is a reasonable timeline and expectations on how their business can grow online. We've all heard those stories about businesses that went from 0 to 6 figures in 1 month. And while that's great for them, it's important to recognize that these are the exception, not the rule. Marketing yourself online DOES work, but it does take time to see significant results.

2014 advice - 2. Being uninformed about your audience - Know your target audience, tone and message. The best message can be wasted on the wrong audience.  Determine what they will and will not respond to. Throwing darts at a wall may make them stick, but you'll never get the bullseye you're looking for that way!

2018 edit - Were we genius or what!? But in all seriousness, I don't think anyone can argue that it makes sense to just market to everybody all at once. Not only is it cost prohibitive, but it can make it seem like your business doesn't have a good handle on things, and can be a turn off to potential customers.

2014  advice - 3. Trying to use every available outlet for recognition - Though you may have a million ideas running around, sometimes focusing on a few is the key. Out of the large number of possibilities, choose a few that coordinate the best with your product or business. Posts that need more context could be shared on Facebook, for example, rather than Twitter, which has a character limit of 140.

2018 edit - This one is still absolutely true, but I think for different reasons. While restrictions in each outlet have loosened, it's still important to let yourself off the hook when it comes to posting on every outlet, all the time. Think about which ones your customers use the most (hence how point #2 is so important!) and what you enjoy doing. Combine the 2 to create a social strategy that works for you.

2014 advice - 4. Inconsistent timeline of posting - In an age of instant gratification, the audience no longer wants to wait. Posting consistently with updates reminds the audience so they don't forget about you. DO NOT give them a chance to become impatient. This is where choosing a few valuable outlets (#3) comes in handy. Pick ones that you know you can easily update on a consistent basis. 

2018 edit - This is still partially true. You must stay consistent with your social postings, blogging and email blasts, but there really isn't a a set time or day that's better for posting. With mobile becoming the medium of choice to access online, we are able to view content throughout the day, whenever we wish. This means that you can loosen the reins and vary posting times, and still see good reach from them.

2014 advice - 5. Overwhelming your audience - On the flip side, don't suffocate the audience with updates. Posting too much or sending too many emails can feel like spam which leads most to block or ignore future information. Everybody has that one friend that talks your ear off over lunch, and no one likes them. Finding the happy median between lack of posts and constant information is paramount for successful digital marketing. People will also enjoy two thorough and entertaining posts rather than five poor attempts. Rely on quality over quantity.

2018 edit - Hmmmmm.... Maybe? For a while social media sites, like Facebook, were all about quantity. The more you posted, the more you were seen. But now, with the recent algorithm changes, we're headed back into the world of quality over quantity. Facebook is pushing for well thought out, engaging content from businesses, not just random musings. We'll see this continue to evolve as these changes play out over the next few months.

2014 advice - 6. Neglecting mobile users - Many users access social media and sites on their phones, iPad, or tablet. Everyone is on-the-go and wants their entertainment/information to follow suit. Don't starve certain sections of your audience. Make navigating your business convenient with a mobile site that caters to mobile users' needs. 

Quick Tip: Also eliminate unnecessary images and videos to minimize loading times.

2018 edit - This has never been more wrong or more right! First of all, mobile is EVERYTHING now. Almost all your websites, content and efforts online should be focused towards mobile. Mobile searches, social media views and website traffic has officially surpassed desktop. Not optimizing your stuff for mobile is probably the #1 mistake a business can make. So, what's so wrong about this piece of advice? The elimination of images/video! Video has never been more important than it is right now. By not utilizing images and video on your website or in your marketing strategy, you're not only going to take a HUGE hit on SEO, but you're going to alienate a giant portion of your audience that will only watch video content over ready blog content.

2014 advice - 7. Biting off more than you can chew - After all of the other advice, sometimes you just need help. Recognizing that you cannot handle everything is important and there are people ready to assist at a moment's notice. Don't be hesitant to ask for help.


2018 edit - DUH! That's what we're here for! ;)

Elizabeth Stone: Finding work life balance as an entrepreneur or small business owner
Hub Digital and Elizabeth Stone talk life as an entrepreneur or small business owner.
Elizabeth Stone talks about how to find work/live balance as an entrepreneur.

Elizabeth Stone is an entrepreneur and business woman passionate about making a positive impact by pointing her businesses towards social enterprising. She is a Rhode Island native with about ten years of experience working with small businesses and people to help them grow and flourish. She is deeply involved in the Rhode Island community and regularly volunteers her time to nonprofits around the region. This year she won the overall award for the Rhode Island Business Plan competition with BI Medical. She has also started BioSci Labs, an incubator, and coworking space. BioSci Labs helps to develop innovative technologies into commercially recognizable products ready to be brought to market. She has started Pepper's Closet, a social enterprise committed to spreading ocean literacy and cleanup effort through custom crafted apparel. Pepper's Closet donates 10 percent of all profits to conservation and cleanup efforts. 

As an entrepreneur and small business owner I understand just how hard it can be to find a reasonable work-life balance. Between meetings, actually doing work, networking, teaching classes and all the administrative tasks associated with running a business, how can there be time for our family and ourselves. 

First off, to be an entrepreneur, you need to love what you do because it certainly won't be easy. I really put my heart and soul into the projects that I start and if I weren’t passionate about them, I would get burned out really fast. Right now my main projects are BioSci Labs  and Pepper’s Closet. Bringing innovative products to market to improve healthcare and helping to improve the ocean - what’s not to love? As much as I do love my job, finding a work-life balance is paramount. I am a better and more creative worker and a more patient and supportive wife/momma when I can find the right balance. I am far from perfect but here are a few tips and tricks that have helped me balance business and pleasure.

Here are five things that help me:

  1. Time Management - Set attainable goals. In a world were productivity is so often defined as multitasking, sometimes you have to focus on a single task and complete one action item. I like to start out my day with a fast item that I can complete to get myself on a role. As much as I like to answer emails while on conference calls, sometimes its better to shut my phone off, minimize the emails, and get just one thing all the way done.
  2. Scheduling – This goes hand I hand with time management. My Google calendar is my BEST FRIEND! I schedule everything - work outs, play dates, dates with my husband, work meetings, swim lesson, music class, etc. Planning my week ahead allows me to find help on the days I need it whether it’s from my brother, husband, mom or friends. Owning my own business gives me the freedom and flexibility to take my daughter to swim and music class during the day, but in return I am usually working nights after she goes to bed. Like the old saying goes, 'owning your own business means you get to pick which 80 hours a week you work.' 
  3. Communication - Being honest with yourself and others about what you can and can’t do. Do not be afraid to say no or ask for help. It is far better to be honest and say no instead of making commitments you end up shirking… or handing in projects way past the deadline. This one is especially difficult for me because I am always trying to please everyone.
  4. Outsourcing & Delegating - I outsource and delegate as many tasks as I reasonably can, both at home and work. As a small business owner this is sometimes very hard to do. It is important to let go of complete control of doing it yourself and trust others with tasks. I use Sunbasket and Amazon in lieu of grocery store and Target runs (though somehow I still find myself wandering around target). I share household tasks with my husband and daughter. Lately, I’ve been thinking about strapping Swiffer pads to Pepper’s feet while she runs around the house! Go, Pepper, Go!
  5. Self care- There will always be more work to do. It is important to take time for yourself every day, even if its only 30 min a day. My outlet is exercise.  A walk during lunch (leave your phone off), yoga in the morning, a run after work. We all have 30 min a day we can dedicate to ourselves. 

No matter how hard I try and schedule and plan sometimes things don’t go the way I want (especially with a toddler), so my advice to myself and everyone else is LET IT GO and go with the flow.

If you’d like to learn more about our friend and mompreneur, check out some of her other guest blogs: 

The Mompreneur Guide to Globetrotting With a Toddler

The Mompreneur Guide to Eating Healthy on the Go

The Mompreneur Guide to End of Summer Fun and Getting Back to School Ready

Keeping Your Marketing Running While Squeezing Out Every Last Drop of Summer
Digital and online marketing tips from Hub Digital, Rhode Island.

Here in New England it took a while for summer to arrive. The cold and the rain hung around for a while, so we’ve spent every sunny day of August soaking up what we could. If you’re anything like us, you’re probably spending the last few weeks of summer trying to squeeze in as many final beach trips, ice cream sundaes, frozen margaritas, and lazy mornings with the kids as possible. 

While we all like to hit the pause button and head out on vacation these last few weeks before school starts, we also all understand that not all of our business can wait for the cooler weather.  Sometimes we’re off having a little too much of a good time, only to return in September to a backlog of emails, a giant To-Do list, and a book of business that could use a little kick in the pants to get going again. And to us, most importantly, a marketing plan that was pretty much ignored all summer long.

So this week, we’ve compiled a few simple tips to help you stay on top and keep your book of business organized and your marketing strategy optimized. Taking some time before heading out on the boat (lucky you!), or off to the zoo for the day, will ensure that your business is still working for you and ready for you to return after soaking up some rays.

1. Take a day to dive a little deeper and evaluate your current direction and growth strategy. While you don’t have to tackle everything on here (yet), it helps just to ask yourself some of these questions. Knowing where you stand will help you begin to formulate a plan, so when you return rested, and tanned, from your vacation you’re ready to address any issues, or dive right into any new projects or plans.

  1. What is working well?
  2. What needs to be tweaked? 
  3. What do your numbers look like up to now?
  4. Have you hit your growth goals?
  5. Where are new clients/business coming from?
  6. Are your current clients/book of business your ideal?
  7. Are you investing enough here, or too much there? 

2. Pick one day a week to schedule out all your content. If you’re usually someone who waits until the ‘day of’ to write that blog or Facebook post (and there’s nothing wrong with that… usually…) try switching it up during this time of year. Getting a few days ahead of the curve will help you ensure new content is constantly being updated in your absence and you won’t feel resentful about having to hit your computer to write a blog (or even worse, forget it all together) while everyone else is out having fun.

3. Commit to (limited) customer service 2x per day. We all know connecting with your potential clients or customers is important and so is answering their questions or getting them to engage on your social platforms. Commit 30 minutes, twice per day, to answering emails, liking/commenting on social posts, joining groups, etc. Do what you can, but make sure when that 30 minutes is up you shut your computer (or crash your Facebook app) and get back to enjoying your vacation!

4. Plan something big for the fall, and give yourself deadlines. There’s nothing worse than seeing time slip by and feeling like you could have done so much more. The fall and 4th quarter is a huge time for many businesses, and we don’t want you to feel like it passed you by. Commit to tackling a new project, marketing strategy, or big launch in the fall and put all the dates in the calendar NOW. 

Always wanted to run a lead generation campaign to really boost your email list? Give yourself deadlines for when you will have your lead magnet ready, your automated email sequence up and running and your Facebook ads live. 

Thinking about doing a big pre-holiday, in-store sale? Mark the dates off on your calendar now and work backwards to plan when your email campaign will start, your creative will be designed and ads will go live. By putting these dates in your calendar, you’ll be able to enjoy your time off while still feeling excited about the months to come. Plus it will give you target dates for when the party must stop (or at least calm down a little) and the productivity must start. 

So, whether you’re taking some well deserved time for R & R or whether you’re still hustling (or hopefully a combination of both), we hope some of these tips might help you get the most out of these dog days of summer, without leaving your business, or your marketing plan, high and dry.

Gary Kullberg: What to Look For in a Marketing Consultant
Online and digital marketing consultants rhode island, Hub Digital

Sometimes, at Hub Digital we like to connect with other marketing professionals to get their take on how they help small businesses grow. We believe that by sharing our ideas and strategies we can all help businesses better. Today, we've brought in Gary Kullberg of The Kullberg Consulting Group who breaks down why hiring a marketing consultant is important, and what you should be looking for in one.

If you’re an early stage or established small company seeking to profitably grow, you’re probably wondering whether you need a marketing consultant, much less how to select one.  Relax, you’re not alone!

Having spent many years working with small B2B, B2C, and nonprofit organizations on their marketing and marketing communications strategies and plans, I believe I’ve got a good sense of the issues facing them. Generally, at the top of the list, is the lack of a real marketing plan.  I’ve found that, despite possessing the skill sets that drive their organization’s success, founders and/or management simply do not have:

  • Time to think about marketing at all, because there is always something “more important” or urgent that needs their attention;
  • A real understanding of the power of marketing and how it can significantly improve profits and return on investment (ROI);
  • The resources, budgets and people available – marketing and marketing communications is “unfamiliar and scary,” and there are always other areas that need support first;
  • The knowledge of how to seek out and evaluate professional marketing help.

Yet, without real professional marketing planning, many brands are operating with a “Ready, Fire, Aim” reaction to the marketplace.   

So, what can a marketing or marketing communications professional do for you? In order to accomplish short and long-term objectives, you need to develop a meaningful marketing strategy and an integrated marketing communications plan and tactics. At its core, having a professional marketing program will improve your profitability and ROI. This task is often outsourced, frequently with a part-time Chief Marketing Officer.

The process starts with the outside consultant learning about your brand – its strengths and weaknesses, competition, distribution, business plan objectives, existing communication materials, employee involvement.  During this learning period, the consultant also avails himself of any pertinent primary or secondary research.  Most important, this period is also the time for establishing trust between the organization and the consultant.  You both must trust one another.

While some tasks may be completed directly during this learning period, an outside professional would use this knowledge to prepare:

  1. A marketing and marketing communications strategy, along with a positioning statement.  The positioning statement is a succinct description of the core target audience to whom the brand is directed, and a compelling picture of how the marketer wants the audience to view the brand.

Sound simple?  Take a minute and try to answer these four questions about your brand:

  • The target audience, in very specific detail
  • The category in which the brand competes, and its relevance to customers
  • The brand’s benefit and point of difference
  • A reason for the customer to believe – the most compelling proof

The positioning statement should be the credo for your brand to live by.  All marketing and marketing communications should flow from this positioning and be understood by all employees, agents, partners and management.

  1. An integrated and holistic plan with tactical expressions – media programs; creative executions, including new and/or traditional advertising; public relations; content marketing (social media, articles, blogs, white papers, video); packaging; point of purchase; employee engagement; and, events. The use of internal or external staff to create the above will be directed and evaluated by the consultant or, if necessary, specialists may be recommended to create various aspects of the plan.
  2. Recommendations for primary or secondary research when clear cut answers don’t exist on specific subjects.  Marketing depends on a complete understanding of the customers’ “wants and needs” as well as how they relate to your brand and competition.  Not just what your staff thinks; rather, information.  Facts beat opinion every time.  Look before you leap.
  3. A procedure of measurement and evaluation of the objectives of the agreed upon plan, as well as the established objectives to be accomplished with each target audience and marketing communication task.  Benchmarking and on-going analysis is key to successful marketing programs, allowing for change or refinement as you continue to improve operating efficiency.
  4. A format for informing and discussing the reasoning behind the marketing planning, so that everyone in the organization understands why the specific strategies, plans and tactics were developed and implemented.  The consultant should be a “teacher” to you and the entire organization becomes brand advocates.

If this makes sense to you, the next logical question is what talents should a marketing consultant have?  I believe you should look for a consultant, full or part-time, who is:

  1. Willing to learn your business from the ground up and doesn’t have a “one size fits all” mentality;
  2. An established professional, with extensive experience across industries and brands in B2B, B2C and nonprofit organizations, large and small.  Expand your horizons and don’t settle for experience in only your niche or industry;
  3. Media neutral and willing to embrace analytics to develop a variety of programs as well as to measure them.  In today’s complicated marketplace, a consultant must understand new and traditional media, the difference between efficiency and effectiveness, “likes” vs. “sales”, the dangers of digital ad fraud, etc., etc.;
  4. Apolitical and willing to tell it like it is, so candor will flourish in your relationship.  Having your consultant free to demonstrate the discipline of marketing and marketing communications will build trust and a meaningful partnership;
  5. Has an established network of marketing communications specialists who can be called in to provide solutions when necessary.

The marketing and marketing communications strategic and tactical challenges of today are growing exponentially.  But, as with our uncertain economic and political environment, putting your head in the sand isn’t a viable response.  As Will Rogers said, “Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.” 

Gary Kullberg founded The Kullberg Consulting Group in 1994 to provide companies and nonprofits with impactful and cost-efficient methods for improving their marketing and marketing communications.  I enjoy analyzing and developing strategies, tactics, executions and measurements for small and midsized organizations.  My experience working with a variety of organizations in the B2B, B2C and nonprofit arenas has given me a deep understanding of branding and marketing ROI. Further, knowing when and how to employ traditional and new media is an outgrowth of my passion for being media neutral. I can be reached at

Our Favorite Business Beach Reads (That Aren't Lame)

A couple times per year we get an inkling for a good book. Especially when the warm weather rolls around, we start looking for something to give us a break from the day to day drudge. Something to inspire us. And something that makes us want to push a little bit harder, or work just a little bit more. But, also, not too lame and "self helpy", as nothing is sure to turn us off faster than "Chicken Soup for the Business Owner's Soul"...

As the summer weather is around the corner, today we’re bringing you some of our favorite business beach reads. Because while we all love to zone out with a trashy magazine, sometimes even down time has to be productive. And as a small business owner or entrepreneur, you know that just because the weather warms up, that doesn't mean your free time magically expands (does this mean we don't get summer Fridays?!). But while they may still be business focused, we may have forgotten to mention, that everything on this list will not only inspire you, but entertain you as well. No guilty "down time" here!

So whether you’ve grabbed a day by the beach, or have a couple of minutes before hopping into bed, check out our list of our current favorite reads, sure to get you excited to work the summer away. Ok, maybe “excited” was a little too much…

1. "The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living the Good Life" by Mark Manson. Inspired by a blog post that went viral, this read is not for those easily offended by the f-word. If you’re like us, and this word is a part of your daily vocabulary, then we urge you to dive head first into it. Hysterically funny, while offering up some sage advice, this book isn’t afraid to tell it like it is. Despite the dismissive title, the focus of the book centers around the idea of learning what is really worth focusing on (and what isn’t worth giving a f*ck about). By letting go of things that aren’t worth your time and energy (like adversity, people who suck your energy, or what other people think about you) you open up the space to actually be productive and happy. Oh, and keep an eye out for everybody’s least favorite superhero, Disappointment Panda, who tells you the cold hard truths about yourself, whether or not you want to hear it.

Oh, and bonus with this one? Subscribe to Mark's blog for monthly inspiration told in his own, unique style.

2. "Get Over Your Damn Self: The No-BS Blueprint to Building a Life-Changing Business" by Romi Neustadt. Are you catching a theme here? Romi, like our previous author, uses humor and a no-BS style to bring you a full start to finish blueprint to rocking your business. While you don't have to be a network marketer to enjoy the tips, it does focus mainly to how to build a team and push your way to the top (without feeling sorry about it). If you're ready to stop making excuses and start moving forward in your business, Romi gives you a literal step-by-step guide on what changes you need make, and how you can make them. If you have any fears or anxiety keeping you from moving forward in your business, this book is sure to kick them in and give you the pep talk you need to "get over your damn self".

3. "#GIRLBOSS" by Sophia Amoruso.  #GIRLBOSS is written by one of our most favorite "girl bosses", Sophia Amoruso, who is the former Founder and CEO for "Nasty Gal", a $100+ Million dollar fashion retailer. By telling her own journey from dumpster diver to corporate butt kicker, this book is less "self help" and more subtle inspiration. Sometimes hearing about someone else's windy and long journey to the top is just what we need to refocus our own perspective on what amazing things we've accomplished already. While Sophis isn't your traditional "superhero", she offers a fresh perspective on succeeding, failing, and continuing to pick yourself up again until you've reached where you want to be.

Making The Most of Your "Downtime"

We've all had those days. In fact, we're having one of those days today. There's about 12 inches of snow making it's way down all day, client meetings are cancelled, and we're pretty much caught up on work. It's a wonderful feeling to have things crossed off your To-Do List. Wonderful that is, until the guilt starts creeping in. If you're anything like us, you don't do "downtime" well. While you may be dreaming of cuddling under a blanket and mindlessly binging on Netflix, when it comes to actually doing it, you find it hard to shut your working brain off. And now it's a snowy Tuesday, and while you probably deserve a day off, you're finding it hard to get past that "I should be doing something" feeling.

Well, we're here to tell you it's ok. It's ok to take a little downtime every once and while, and it's also ok to want to make the most of it. We've got a list here for you of some of our favorite ways to take it easy, all while keeping your brain churning and your business growing.

1. Review relevant publications. Take some time to review the newest trends that are happening in your business, or better yet how to market your business. You may learn a new way to advertise, how to better optimize your current outlets, how markets are shifting, or how other businesses, like yours, are succeeding. Some of our favorites (for our industry of course)? SmartBrief - An awesome collection of business, marketing and advertising news focusing on newest and upcoming trends. Advertising Age - Check out what some of the largest companies and agencies are doing and brainstorm about how you can use similar strategies in your own business. Business Insider - After checking out a few of the entertaining op ed's, we head on over to the Advertising and Media sections to get some of the insider information on what's happening in the industry.

2. Get your learn on. Have you jumped onto the online class trend yet? If not, you're missing out on one of the best ways to learn some best practices, new marketing techniques, insider secrets and ways to inspire growth. Learn from some of the best in their business and learn the same tips and tricks they've used to grow their businesses to become major players in the market. Amy Porterfield - A former business consultant, she's completely transitioned her business into online training ranging from webinars to social media marketing. Melanie Duncan - The Pinterest queen, Melanie Duncan teaches you how to kick butt in one of the fastest revenue driving platforms on the market. Marie Forleo - The founder of B-School, Marie Forleo can help you get past any negativity or doubt that can come creeping in when you're not looking. Courtney Foster-Donahue - A little quirky, Courtney breaks down the always illusive Facebook, and how to actually create Facebook ads that work. Hub Digital - Who can forget your favorite crew from Hub Digital? With classes ranging from prepping your digital content, to blogging, to getting your website to the first page in search (that's right! Exciting stuff coming soon!) we're sharing all our best secrets that we use to propel our small business clients.

3. Plug into a Podcast. Grab your headphones and listen to some of your fav's without having to read through lengthy blogs. Better yet? Jump on a treadmill, pick up your duster, or apply a your favorite face mask, and you can now multitask growing your business while getting a little quality "you" time. Amy Porterfield - She's back, and bringing in some of her favorite friends sharing their top insider secrets. Gary Vaynerchuk - If you're not offended by swearing, Gary Vee gets real about all things social media, entrepreneurship and business best practices. The Fizzle Show - who says growing your business has to be so serious? The Fizzle Show hilariously takes on entrepreneurship and focuses on how to stay creative.

Kristin MacRae: 8 Tips to Organize Your Business
8 tips to organizing your small business in Rhode Island.

Whether you’re starting a home based business, a start-up, or you’re already established, you need to read this article.  If you’re disorganized, you’re going to create more work for yourself and you aren’t going to work at your fullest potential.  In order to maintain organization in your office, you’ll need to have systems in place for processing day to day functions.  

Here are 8 systems you’ll need:  

Process your mail. Many people have difficulty with paper management. Most have difficulty setting up and following through with a system.  I can’t stress this enough: Process your mail every day.  As soon as you touch it, either file it, attach to your to- do list to take care of during the week, shred it or handle it right away. It will be easier to take 5 minutes and tackle it when it arrives than to spend hours on it at the end of the month.

Process your email.  Create categorized folders. Have a process to handle an email as soon as you open it. Treat it just as you would treat your physical mail. Decide whether to send it to a folder, trash it, act on it, or print it and attach it to your to-do list. 

Work with a to-do list. Keep a daily to-do list. Make a to-do list every night before you leave work. You’ll know exactly what you need to do when you arrive to work the next day. This process will keep you on track with your day. Clear the mental clutter by getting things out of your head and onto paper. The less clutter you’re carrying around in your mind, the better. 

Filing systems.  Without filings systems, piles will form and chaos will ensue. If you need to locate an important paper, you should be able to locate it in less than 10 seconds. Keep files that you utilize on a daily basis close to you. Files that you use less frequently, you can keep in another area of the office. I’ve seen many important business deals that fell through, found significant sums of money and very important documents in piles of papers on desks because business owners didn’t have filing systems in place. 

Keep track of your bills. If you’re receiving bills through the mail, create a system where the bills aren’t lying around on your desk buried under papers. Incorporate due dates into your calendar to remind you to pay and file immediately after you pay them. 

Business cards. Every business owner I work with has issues with business cards.  You must develop a system to file your business cards. Whether it is through electronics or good old rolodex, or a binder with clear card inserts, you must have a system. Be realistic, how often do you refer to them? 

Workspace.  Have a place for everything at your desk. Only keep items you use on a daily basis on your desk top.  Have an organized pile that you need to work on the next day with your to-do list on top of the pile. Try to avoid having a corkboard at your desk with too much information pinned to it. Less is more. Utilize drawer organizers and organizing supplies to keep you organized. 

Time management.  Be as efficient and productive as you can be. If you’re a disorganized person, you have to get organized in order to have great time management skills. Take a look at your physical space, get organized and then you’ll realize that your time management skills may fall into place. Look at the way you function. I’m always trying to find an easier way to do something. How long does it take you to complete a task? Can you take it from 8 steps to 4?

Just because your fellow business owners have a smooth system that works for them, doesn’t mean it will work for you. Evaluate how you function and create a system that works for you. The more complicated the system, the more likely it is to failure. Keep the system simple and streamlined. Many offices I work with have made attempts at getting organized, but the systems have failed and a new attempt at another system was never made. Once you create a system, re-visit the system in a couple of months and tweak what isn’t working to make it work better for you.

Kristin M. MacRae, Organizing & Efficiency Expert, Owner, Organizing In RI, LLC

How to Respond to "That" Client
Don't get mad, get smart. How to respond to that annoying client.

We've all been there. You've kicked butt through another day of work and are feeling pretty good about your progress. It's just about 6pm and you're finishing up a few last emails before logging off and heading to the fridge to figure out what you want to make for dinner. You've just hit "send" on the last of them, when you see that one more came through while you were writing. And it's a doozy. One of your clients just fired off an accusatory, argumentative or just plain rude email that has your blood boiling and you're seeing red. Your dinner plans have officially blown up in your face as you struggle to keep from responding with a few choice 4 letter words.

No matter what line of business you're in, you're going to run into this kind of situation eventually. Whether it be from "that" client, boss, or co-worker, someone is going to step over that boundary and express some kind of anger, disappointment or frustration towards you whether it is warranted or not. They may be disappointed in the outcome of a project, failed to appreciate your work efforts, or unfairly blamed you for something that went wrong. Your first instinct is to fire back and defend yourself from the onslaught. But you know that if you do, you're going to fall down the rabbit hole of those endless back-and-forth email chains that will leave both of you even more frustrated. So, before you type your first word, take a second to run through some of our tips on how you can better handle the situation so you can come out with your head held high.

1. Take a deep breath and count to 10. This may seem obvious and cliche, but it's one of the most important first steps. Taking a deep breath before responding to any kind of confrontation can give you just enough time to talk yourself out of that knee jerk response. Take it from me, your first gut reply most likely isn't going to be your most articulate or professional.

2. Let them know that you've received their message and will get back to them later. Instead of leaving everything out there (or even worse, responding right away), respectfully let them know that you received their email and are going to take a day, or even a few days, to work on a response. It will keep them from sending you more emails while you're working on it (which will just fan the flames) and will show you're reasonable and giving it the time it deserves.

3. Let it out. Before letting your frustration out on your client/boss/co-worker, take it out elsewhere. Go for a walk, exercise or vent to a friend or family member (someone you can trust not to repeat your conversation). Getting that jittery energy out will help you think clearer and better evaluate your next steps.

4. Get everything in perspective. Sometimes in the moment that email can seem absolutely momentous. The problem can seem so huge it feels like it's just sucking up all your energy and completely taking over your time. Here's where you have to give yourself a little tough love and shift your thinking to something a little bit more realistic. Is this the end of the world? Probably not. In 6 months, is this situation still going to be going on, or even matter? In most cases, no. Talk yourself off the ledge and give yourself an accurate view of what is really happening and how much weight it really should carry.

5. Start collecting evidence. Break down the email and begin collecting evidence to back up your viewpoint. Find old emails, reference old conversations or collect some statistics and data. Write down a couple bullet points with your perspective under each point to being to organize your thoughts. 

6. Be clear, concise and let down your defenses. It may be tempting to go on the defense, but if you do, you're going to come across as immature and irrational. Use clear language, and make your points in calm, factual ways. Don't exaggerate or embellish, but don't back down when you truly have a point to make either. And here's an important thing to remember - be willing to admit to situations where they may be right and the evidence points in their favor. Be honest with yourself, and them, even in situations where you have to swallow your pride and concede. 

7. Hit save, before sending. Don't send right after you finish. Instead, hit the save button and walk away, to re-evaluate again later. If the situation allows you to, give it a good 12-24 hours. When you look at it again, more time will have passed and your head will be even cooler. You'll be able to more accurately reflect on your language and phrasing to ensure you're 100% happy with everything you're about to say.

8. Fire and forget. As soon as you hit that send button, move on to another task. It's tempting to obsess over your email while you constantly hit refresh to see if you've gotten a response. Busying yourself with other activities will help keep your mind off of it while you await a response and keep you from wasting valuable time running through made up scenarios in your head. 

By the time the other party reads your well crafted email, chances are they will have had enough time to calm down as well and their response may be surprisingly rational. However, if they don't reply in a way that you would like them to, head on back to Step 1 and repeat the process all over again until they do.

I'm Sick... Now What?

So, I woke up this morning with a fever, sore throat, head congestion and with just an overall crappiness feeling. Great. I was sick... now what?

As an entrepreneur, my gut instinct is to power through. Who has time to be sick? I have meetings to attend, emails to get out, and a general business to run. I pulled myself out of bed and prepared to hit-the-ground running. However, very quickly into brushing my teeth I realized it just wasn't going to happen today. I felt dizzy, run down and completely exhausted. On top of that, I realized that no one wants to be around someone who was sick. Rolling up to a meeting blowing your nose is no way to make friends. I wasn't going to the office today.

But here's the issue - As a solo-entrepreneur, if I'm not there things don't get done, and I know a lot of other business owners are in the same boat. It can be tempting to down some Dayquil and head out the door (and sometimes you have to do just that), but sometimes you HAVE to pay attention to what your body is telling you. If you're sick, take some to let your body heal  (and please, spare the general public exposure to your germs). Below I'm breaking down some of my tips to give yourself a sick day, without feeling like you're falling behind.

1. Cancel your meetings ASAP - Listen, no one wants to be around someone with a cold. Don't worry about having to cancel a meeting at the last minute. I've found most people will actually thank you for sparing them from having to be around a walking sneeze ball. As soon as you decide you're staying home, reach out to all your meetings and ask to reschedule them. If you absolutely MUST talk with them that day, see if you can change your in-person meeting to a conference call from home. 

2. Tackle your admin work - I know, I know. We're supposed to be resting. But if you're anything like me, there's no way you can put the computer down for a day without getting stressed out about falling behind. Spend the time knocking things off your admin list like writing your blogs, cleaning up your quickbooks or responding to lingering emails. These are things that are easily done from the couch while sipping some tea. You'll feel accomplished, yet won't over exert yourself.

3. Load up on those essential vitamins - My first priority when I start to feel sick is to figure out how to get better quickly to keep my days out of work down to a minimum. The second I start to feel a little icky I load up on Vitamin C and Zinc (my favorite is Emergen-C Immune+). These power houses kick germs butts and help you get over colds faster so you can get back to the grind.

4. Take lots of breaths (and breaks) - For me, a sick day requires constant reminders that sometimes even business owners need a day to rest. It can be hard to let go of the guilt for wanting to take a nap in the afternoon. But I'm learning to take a deep breath and let go, when I feel that stress and anxiety start to rise. While I will never be able to step away from the computer for a full day, I've learned to take breaks when needed. As soon as I'm starting to feel a little run down or tired, I put the computer to the side and give myself 45 minutes to an hour to rest. By setting a time to get back to work, it eases that no-work guilt, and allows me to fully enjoy my breaks, helping me to get back in fighting shape quickly.


Can I Ever Take a Break?

As I'm writing this I'm prepping for my upcoming 2 week delayed Honeymoon to Antiqua. Almost every fiber of my being is looking forward to this trip. And when I say "almost" it's because there's a little tiny part of me that is scared to shut off my phone and close my computer for 10 whole days. How will people remember I exist if I'm not showing up in their newsfeed or popping up in their inbox for almost 2 weeks!? I'm nervous that by stepping away from my computer, the world will continue to go on without me. I'll be missing out on major potential clients and taking a huge step back on any progress I've made. 

I'm sure many small business owners feel the way I do before leaving for a trip. You're so ingrained in your day-to-day activities that are keeping your business alive and thriving, that the idea of putting them on hold for a little while seems terrifying. Here's the secret I learned though: The world will continue to go on without you, and that's ok!

Listen, I always teach the importance of consistency. You have to stay on top of new content to stay relevant. But I also understand that we all need a break sometimes. We all need a few moments to rest and recharge. Countless studies have shown the benefits of vacations that range from physical health to mental health to creative capabilities. The statistics are there. Taking a vacation is necessary to keep us sane and excited about running our business. The question now becomes: How can you, as a business owner, take those much needed days off without sabotaging your whole digital strategy?

1. Schedule, schedule, schedule. This day in age you can schedule everything from your blog posts, to your Facebook posts, to your email campaigns. Utilize any in-platform options you can or look into a program like Hootesuite that can schedule out your posts on multiple platforms all at once. The bonus? Hootesuite offers FREE 30 day trials. Sign up and schedule posts before you leave and then cancel when you get back (unless you want to keep it of course!) for no additional marketing costs. Writing blogs and content all at once for a couple of weeks can be time consuming (trust me, I'm knee deep in it right now) but the payoff will come when you're not trying to find WiFi at your resort to get that Facebook post up. 

2. Find something fun to write about. Not every social media post has to be about something serious and educational or completely related to your business. When trying to schedule 2 weeks worth of posts, you're brain is quickly going to become overwhelmed trying to think up topics. Not to mention, chances are the content scheduled at the end of your vacation is going to be old news by the time it goes out to your audience. And that's OK! For the time you're away mix in some informative articles with something fun, lighthearted or inspirational. Search around for funny memes or quotes that can add a little levity to your page and save the timely stuff for when you get back.

3. Find a moderator. Once our posts are up and scheduled, we often forget about the moderation that goes into social media. Your pages will be working while you're away collecting likes, comments and questions. It's important not leave your audience hanging. Find a trusted co-worker, employee or even friend that owes you a favor. Either give them your logins or their own access to your accounts and ask them to check in on them once per day. Give them specific instructions on how you would like them to reply to different types of comments and let them know it's OK if they don't know the answer to someone's questions. Have them reply or private message the individual that you are out of the office but will respond promptly when you return.

4. Allow yourself time to check in. We all know completely unplugging is not going to happen. You wouldn't be a successful entrepreneur if you were fine with just walking away from your business for an extended period of time. Allow yourself some time to check in to make sure everything is running smoothly. Schedule in 30 minutes every other day (or every day if you need more reassurance) where you can check your social media and email. I find early morning before heading to breakfast works for me. I pull up my alarm on my phone and schedule it ring at a set time. I then use this time to put out any small fires, respond to emails and check my voicemails. I try to keep that time short (30 minutes is usually good) and let people know that I received their questions or inquiry and will respond in full when I return. This allows me to more successfully enjoy the rest of my day knowing everything is good on the home front.