Gearing Up to a Better 2018!

I used to hate writing on a blank white screen - I thought the lack of a toolbar or little writing nuances took away from it feeling like I am writing a blog post, but as I am writing this, I realize that I am wrong. Writing on a blank page feels more authentic. It feels like a blank space. 

Anyway, I wanted to write one last post in 2017 because I am thoroughly done with this year. As opposed to years in the past, I truly feel this year was a "sideline year". A year in which I did hardly anything and just watched everyone do the things I want to do on the sideline. I cheered people on this year - strangers all over the internet building and creating and doing the things I wanted to do this year. Course I planned to launch, podcast episodes I wanted to publish, or even that book I wanted to write. None of it happened for me. 

It was my fault. 

I was in my head. I was too comfortable at my day job. It was too easy to collect a pay check, grab a couple of clients, and let everything else go. 

I worried about things like dinner and what I was going to wear and who I was going to meet and what I was going to watch on Netflix or Hulu next. 

I remember a time when I was a teenager and I told my classmates that I never watched TV and it was true. At the very most, I watched an hour or two of TV on Sundays after I had accomplished what I wanted for the week and my family decided to play a movie or some random reality TV show. Other than that, my sole enjoyment used to be surfing the inter webs and doing research to make my websites look the best. 

I spent 10+ hours on the computer each day and even when I accomplished small things - this is when I felt the most productive growing up. 

Now I barely want to look at my own laptop's screen when I get home from my job after sitting in a cubicle with my two screens staring back at me. 

This was a problem. 

But next year, oh boy. Next year, I'm going to do it. I'm going to do everything I've wanted to do and even if it doesn't work out - it still beats having a repeat of 2017. 

2018 - I'm coming for ya and its going to be great!

2017,  I've already said goodbye to you and reviewed my year on this post. 

See y'all on the other side!

Zobia & Fluffy

 

How to Stop Procrastinating

Want to know how to stop procrastinating?

I'll let you in my secret.

But before I do, I have to explain to you how at some point in my entrepreneurial career I thought that being a procrastinator was my secret weapon to getting things done. 

When I first started building my business as my part-time side hustle, I put things off until the VERY last minute. I believed that knowing the deadline is approaching lit a fire under my ass that only a procrastinator would enjoy and pushed me forward to getting the task done. I would put it off until the day the project was due and started and finished the project the same day. 

As I progressed in my business, starting working with more clients, and juggling more than one business venture - I realized my secret weapon to getting things done was an illusion. It was no longer going to work towards my advantage and in fact it would slow me down. I realized that procrastinating would overwhelm me with a constant fire under my ass that left me feeling drained and unproductive.

Think about it, if you leave everything to do for the last minute and you have something due on a Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday and you're constantly working from completing one task right after the other instead of making steps towards all your tasks, by Friday you're going to be exhausted. 

It was hard for me to change my habits, but I discovered something. 

If every time I feel like procrastinating over a task I need to accomplish I take the smallest step possible towards the task, I find myself taking the next smallest step and then another one after that and before I know it, I am working on accomplishing my tasks slowly, but surely. 

Sometimes what makes us procrastinators is the daunting idea of completing a huge task or project, but what we don't realize is the longer we put it off the bigger and more daunting it seems. And, when you finally get to doing the task (which is usually last minute) the harder it feels to finish. 

Whereas if you take small steps and continue to take small steps, you'll be tricking yourself into finishing the task in less time and less frustration!

Another thing you can do is when you feel like procrastinating and not working on the task at hand, instead of reaching for social media and distracting yourself with other forms of entertainment, work on a different task! For example, when I was building my course, the DIY Business Plan, there were days where I did not want to work on anything that had to do with the course so instead I decided to write a blog post or write my weekly Sunday e-mail to you guys! I distracted myself by using my energy towards a different task and it fueled me to keep being productive and eventually work my way into working on my course. 

I'll leave you guys with this. If you can do one thing today that will make you feel productive, go take your first step and DO IT

YOU FOUND IT! You found a bonus gem!

Get 20% OFF the DIY Business Plan with code "GEM" at checkout and start building an intentional business!

Take me to the DIY Business Plan program!

Obsessed with helping you build a successful business,

Zobia Alvi

 

Quitting your day job is a by-product of starting a business

I am so excited to talk to you about something that has been boggling my mind since I quit my day job back in March of 2016 to take my business on full-time.

It seems as if many people out there have this misconception that the goal to create a business is to be able to quit your day job and work for yourself full-time. It sounds like the ideal situation most aspiring business owners want to be in. They want to do what they love, make enough or more than enough money to fund their ideal lifestyle, and work on their own schedule while ditching the 9 to 5.

YES, quitting your job to pursue your business is a goal and maybe even a reason why you want to succeed in business so badly, but its not the only goal you should have when you start a business.

You should start your business because you want to offer a product or service that is better than anything you have seen.

You should start your business because you want to put something out into the world that has not been done yet.

You should start your business because you want to solve a problem.

You should start your business because you KNOW it is something people will want to pay for.

You should start your business because you will enjoy and appreciate the journey of starting your business regardless of the outcome.

A by-product of starting your business could be that you quit your day job because your business is becoming where you allocate the most time, the most energy, and all your resources.

A by-product of starting your business should be that it fulfills you more than your day job, gives you the financial stability you need, and a time schedule that works for you.

Do not romanticize the idea of quitting your day job and make that the reason why you want to start a business. To be honest, even when I had a business, actually two businesses, I still had two part-time jobs for 2 straight years. With four different streams of income, I knew I had so much more to learn before taking on my business full-time.

Tweet: Do not romanticize the idea of quitting your day job and make that the reason why you want to start a business. #buildyourservice

I was not running businesses because I was waiting around until my businesses replaced my part-time job income. I ran my businesses on the side because I wanted to solve problems, service my own clients, and feel fulfilled in my own work. I wanted to make my businesses the very best they can be without worrying about where my next paycheck was coming from. 

If you have an idea for a business or already have a business, I want you to brainstorm the idea and explore it. What makes you want to run your business? What market do you want to serve? What types of customers and clients do you want to have? What will your idea do? And how will your idea become a business you are truly proud of leaving your day job for?

Obsessed with helping you build a better business,

Zobia Alvi


P.S Do you love podcasts? or audio content? or awesome podcasts with exclusive audio content? Then take a listen to my podcast all about building a better business, finding your work and life balance, and where I share tools and tactics to building a business you love, Business by Design!

Will you regret this 5 years from now?

Have you ever been asked the question "Where do you see yourself in 5 years?" Whether you were approached with the question at a job interview, at school, or from a friend or colleague - the question always has a heavy undertone. It's as if someone is forcing you to determine how your life will pan out in a one or two sentence answer. Sometimes the answer is easy if things are going well. Other times the answer isn't. 

The question is a tricky one. For entrepreneurs and those making a living in the internet space, the answer is not easy to determine. 

Sidenote: This newsletter went on a short hiatus for the last few weeks, but I wanted to take some time to transition into doing these weekly emails from every Sunday to every Monday. 

Why the transition? I love the idea of starting my week and your week with some inspiration, action steps, and upcoming news and events that will help you grow and better your businesses!

Besides, Sundays are for brunching, self-care, and family time. Mondays are for hustling and setting the tone for a productive week ahead. ;) 

So again, "Where do you see yourself in 5 years?"

How is your business doing?

How much revenue are you making in 5 years?

What products or services might you be offering?

Will you be pursuing other projects?

For us entrepreneurs, aspiring entrepreneurs, and online business owners - the question should read differently. 

The question should not be "Where do you see yourself in 5 years?", but should be "Will you regret NOT doing this 5 years from now?"

The question now is no longer an assumption where 5 years from now you assume you will be doing xyz and instead becomes a question of what you are doing now to achieve the goals you want to achieve so that 5 years from now you can see what you have accomplished and can move forward to bigger and better things. 

Rephrasing the question to "Will you regret NOT doing this 5 years from now?" allows you think about what you are doing now and where you would like to see yourself 5 years from now. 

It forces you to evaluate where you are in your life right now and where you truly want to be. 

Think about it. 

Will you regret NOT making that business decision 5 years from now?

Will you regret NOT taking the leap into your business full-time?

Will you regret NOT working toward making your ideas a reality 5 years from now?

Will you regret NOT making the efforts you want to make in your life and your work 5 years from now?

Reevaluate. Plan. Execute. So that 5 years from now you look back without any regrets.

Speaking of reevaluating, I decided not to wait any longer to work on publishing my book, Find Your Wavelength. The book is scheduled to launch April 30th and will be a practical guide to finding the courage to live your ideas out loud. 

You can pre-order Find Your Wavelength right now and claim some awesome bonuses as well! If you're interested, check out FindYourWavelength.com!

Obsessed with helping you build a better business,

Zobia Alvi

Get out of your head + keep moving

Today I wanted to talk to you about something I have seen many people who want to start businesses or grow their businesses do. They get stuck in their own heads. 

Maybe you are listening to too many voices telling you what the next best thing is, maybe you feel your ideas will not work or are not good enough, or maybe the thought of putting your ideas out there just scares you a little. 

That's okay. It happens to everyone. But, there is a problem when that happens often.

When you are stuck in your own head you build negativity around your goals, you fear putting your ideas out there, and you procrastinate and put off the date you want to build upon your idea further and further along.

If it happens often then you become stagnant. You do not grow any further towards your goals as you did when you first started. You lose sight of why you wanted to do it in the first place. It slowly, but surely becomes less important to you and it always sits in the backseat of your brain because you are not ready to act upon it.

If its important to you - If the end goal (whether that is to make extra money, achieve a level of financial freedom, doing what you love; etc) is important to you then STOP pushing it aside, do not let it stay stuck in your head, and do not fear failure. 

Break your goal into manageable steps and get to work. 

Get out of your head + keep moving!

Obsessed with helping you build a better business,

Zobia Alvi

How Content Creation Has Changed Since the Blogger Days

When ever you own an online business of any sort, all the "experts" will tell you that content creation is key. They will tell you that content creation is key to getting more clients, the key to gaining more customers, the key to becoming more visible online, and of course the key to a successful online business. 

As I navigate myself through my website design business, I am figuring out more and more how important content creation really is. 

Just a few weeks ago, on January 10th to be exact, I had my first speaking gig at the high school I graduated from. I was invited to speak about my business and provide insights to a class of web design students on how to work with clients and build a profitable business. 

I cannot tell you how fulfilling the day really was. I enjoyed speaking with the students and helping them see how there are no rules in business that one must follow to be successful and that although there are case studies and theories and fundamentals of business - there really is no wrong or right way to build and grow a business. 

The look on these high school students faces when the idea clicked in their minds was priceless. I could see their wheels turning and it made me so excited to be invited back to speak again! 

Back to the content - content creation is important and like I said to all the student in this class. There is no limit to how you can create this content and what kind of content to create. 

LIVE video is so big at the moment. Facebook LIVE, Instagram Stories LIVE, and Periscope are such great channels to create content that doesn't take too much effort, is a lot of fun, and also increases engagement. 

Beyond that, blog posts and amazing articles written by creatives from all different industries are such valuable pieces of content. I feel this type content hasn't died out at all as many might say. From my perspective, this type of content has gotten better. We now enjoy reading longer articles with useful information. We now love to hear expert advice and don't mind having to spend a good 15-20 minutes consuming the information. And what's even more awesome is how we have moved away from blogging about our lives with pictures of our food and our outfits and into blogging about what we have learned or experimented with. 

These are the types of content you may already create:

  • Photos
  • Short Videos 
  • Tweets

And these are the types of content people love to consume:

  • Photos 
  • Short Videos
  • Tweets

PLUS, if you create LIVE short videos and expand your tweets into thoughtful content for your own blog, you've got SOME kickass content to back your awesome business. 

Fundamentally, blogging has changed. Many of us no longer indulge ourselves with fashion and beauty blogs as much as we used too. That doesn't mean that these blogs don't and can't exist. What this means is that the medium of blogging has finally channeled itself from pictures and short adages to long and thoughtful pieces of writing on various topics. Fashion and beauty bloggers still exist, but have seen more potential on other platforms such as Instagram and Facebook. 

Content Creation is no longer clickbait and random tidbits. Content creation is the action of creating valuable content on more extensive mediums such as podcasts and blogs. It has become a better way to share knowledge and express ideas. A way for you to truly show your audience what your business does and who it serves. It has also become a way for creatives to document their work as they launch their creations out in the world and spread the word at the same time. 

Create good content, spread the word, and stay authentic. Those are 3 things you need for your brand or business to be valuable, consistent, and seen! 

Obsessed with helping you build a better business,

Zobia 

Last post of 2016!

2016 is coming to an end and I don't know about you, but I am so excited to begin a new year and start working my way towards goals I was not able to accomplish this year. I can't wait to see what 2017 holds for me and my business and kiss 2016 goodbye! 

WARNING: There is lots of excitement in this post! 

Since this is the last post that I will be publishing until 2017, I decided to curate some awesome tools and resources from the year (from myself and other business owners alike) so that you can catch up and get ready to take 2017 head on as well! 

I will also be sharing all the new projects I hope to launch and update next year and how you can come along for the ride! 

Let's begin!

Free Podcasts:

Free Tools & Resources:

New & Upcoming

In 2017...

BOOK - I will be publishing my book which will essentially be a guide to honing in on your skills and talents, repurposing your professional and personal experiences, and putting it all together to pursue and launch your ideas - Click here to get notified of the book launch and enter to win a free copy!

COURSES - Despite all the delays and road bumps, I will finally be launching the DIY Business Plan and theKickstart Your Badass Online Business Program! Plus, I will be reworking the "How to Host Your Own Instagram Loop Giveaways Course" and might even create a couple new courses... ;)

PODCAST - Get ready for the remaining 9 episodes of season one of the Business by Design Podcast to be launched as well as season 2! I'll be taking questions from you guys and featuring you and your businesses in season 2. 

You can submit and voice record your questions by dialing 1-201-293-0138 and leaving me a voicemail with your name, business, and question! Or alternatively, respond to this e-mail. I'll be choosing questions and answering them on the podcast!

WEBINARS & WORKSHOPS - Throughout the year, I will be hosting several free webinars and workshops. All different, but focused around helping you build a better business! I'll be updating you guys when these happen!

LIVE EVENTS - Yes, live events all over the country will be taking place in 2017! I'll be hosting events in NYC with the Blog Guid crew where we'll do blog and business brunches and some fun meetups. There will also be live workshops and meetups throughout the U.S. in different cities that will be chosen at a later date. Want me to host a meetup in your city? Tweet me @ZobiaAlvi. 

PRODUCTS - Two new shops are opening up soon. By this time, you may have already heard about my pet bunny named Fluffy. He means the absolute world to me and his cute little face will be on t-shirts, phone cases, and other items pretty soon! Already bought fluffythebunny.co and can't wait to a build a small side business celebrating him! 

BEYOND THAT, I will be launching The Altitude Box, a subscription series to teach kids about entrepreneurship and helping them build real products and businesses from start to finish. 

OTHER PROJECTS - We Are Olympus, a project helping creatives find clients. Check it out here!

SOCIAL MEEDS (MEDIA) GOALS - This year I will be super active on Periscope, SnapChat, and Instagram Stories! Planning to do live stories on Instagram and expand to doing video on SnapChat along with regular Periscope videos. 

P.P.S Looking for some kickass freebies? Download the Kickstart Your Badass Online Business 90-Day Checklist here or Brainstorm Your Business Idea with this brainstorm and refine workbook!

And of course, Happy Holidays and a cheers to Happy New Year!

Hugs!

Obsessed with helping you build a successful business,

content_sig2016.png
 
The ULTIMATE list of tools and resources for creative entrepreneurs

With so much awesome content out there in various formats, whose to say which podcasts, courses, tools, and software works the best? No one. That's why I compiled a list of my absolute favorites! 

These tools and resources have been extremely helpful in my own business and some of these tools I use every single day so let's get to it! 

Podcasts WORTH Listening To

The Action Army Podcast (link) - I absolutely love this podcast! Jason Zook, the host of the podcast provides immense value and interesting perspectives on managing money, setting goals, and on helping you take action in your life and biz. 

Being Boss (link) - This is a quite popular podcast all about cultivating community and being boss at life and business. The two co-hosts in this podcast discuss topics ranging from working with clients to figuring out your systems and processes. They also have super cool guest hosts from time to time!

This is Your Life by Michael Hyatt (link) - Michael Hyatt has been such an inspiration to me and has really helped me define and create a life well-suited for me. Not only is this guy super wise in all things life and business, but he's super relatable! His podcast is also one of my favorites!

Online Marketing Made Easy by Amy Porterfield (link) - Amy Porterfield is also popular in the podcast and online business world, but you can definitely tell why from just one listen to her podcast. Amy provides SO MUCH value and delivers her ideas and creativity in all types of formats! Subscribe to this podcast for sure!

Business Boutique Podcast (link) - Although this podcast only has a handful of episodes, I love listening to Christy Wright's voice and hearing amazing entrepreneurial stories from business owners of all industries. 

ACTUAL Productivity Apps

Canary (link) - Beautiful and easy e-mail sorting for all your e-mail accounts. Take back control of your e-mail with Canary. Available for iOS and Mac (FREE) 

Slack (link) - Over the past year, I have joined so many incredible communities that utilize Slack as a way of constant communication and its awesome. Available for most devices, PC, and Mac (FREE) 

Wunderlist (link) - Most people use CMS and project management tools such as Trello and Asana, but neither of tools really worked well for me. Behold Wunderlist, the best to-do list/note taking and project management tool yet! Available for all devices, PC, and Mac (FREE) 

Boomerang for Gmail (link) - This is technically not an app, but its the most important productivity tool for me. Its the secret to how I create customer relationships. This plugin for gmail helps me keep in contact with my clients, keep track of conversations, and send follow-ups with ease! (FREE) 

Software THAT Helps Me Do What I Do

FreshBooks* (link) - I used to be a mess with my business' finances until I discovered FreshBooks. This software has saved me SO much time and money! I cannot recommend it enough! FreshBooks is a cloud accounting software that helps you keep track of revenue and expenses, send out branded invoices, and has been proven to help you get paid faster. (Starting at $9.95/month - Get a FREE month with this link ) 

ConvertKit* (link) - MailChimp is great for automation, but ConvertKit is the best e-mail marketing service by far! Why?! Because the software was built for sending e-mails that convert into paying customers and awesome client relationships. You're reading this e-mail through ConvertKit right now! Industry leaders such as Mariah Coz, Emily Thompson, Kathleen Shannon, Pat Flynn, and Jason Zook use the same service as well! (Starting at $29.95/month)

HelloBonsai (link) - I sincerely could not do what I do without Bonsai. Bonsai takes care of all the contracts for my clients, my project proposals, and even becomes a portal for my clients and I to work together in. It has saved me so much time and effort drafting contracts, proposals, and commuting with my client. (Starting for FREE)

Acuity Scheduling* (link) - Syncing all your calendars and scheduling clients is a breeze with Acuity. Allow clients to schedule themselves, get reminders for all your appointments, and take back your free time with Acuity! (Starting at $10/month)

FlyWheel* (link) - If you're on the WordPress platform, FlyWheel is the most convenient hosting platform I have come across. They do free backups, data migration, and security monitoring! Plus, their customer service team is so friendly and hands on whenever you have a WordPress issue! The value and price is so affordable too! ($15/month)

Super AWESOME VALUABLE Online Courses

F*ck Yeah Funnels (link) - People ask me about sales funnels all the time. How do they work? How can I make money from them? The answer to all your sales funnel questions are answered in Mariah Coz's course all about funnels! 

ChimpEssentials* (link) - Setting up MailChimp can be challenging. There's so many things to set up like on boarding and segmenting subscribers, automation, and of course campaigns and reports! When I first started using MailChimp, all the bells and whistles made it harder for me to figure out what features to set up now and later. This easy to follow course helps you set up all things MailChimp. I highly recommend it! 

Courses that Convert (link) - Learn how to create awesome courses with an awesome course creator! Amy Porterfield does a great job showing you step by step how to launch courses that convert!

B - School (link) - Marie Forleo wants to show you how to make money and change the world! This 8-week program is for serious business owners who not only want to create stellar businesses, but also give back! 

I hope you enjoyed learning about the tools and resources that continue to help me conquer on the online space of business! If you have any suggestions of your own favorite resources, feel free to share!