How to create a cash flow forecast (and WTF it is)

In our industry, our income or cash flow is not always consistent. One month you may bring in $10,000, and the next month it could be $1,000. Do you know where your money is coming in and out of your business? More importantly, do you have a way to know WHEN you’ll have low-income months so you can prepare?

Prior to starting a business, our brains are trained to think of money from a consumer perspective, not a business-minded perspective. This is great when you’re trying to be frugal from a personal standpoint, but it doesn’t necessarily work when you’re growing your biz. An entirely different skill is needed when it comes to planning your business cash flow, and the first step is establishing a weekly or monthly forecast.

So.. what the fuck is a Cash Flow Forecast?

Don’t panic. You don’t need to download or pay for software for this, because it’s as simple as developing a spreadsheet.

Your cash flow forecast should highlight the following

  1. A breakdown of expenses you have to pay
  2. How much is coming in every week/month
  3. Where it’s going

By looking at your cash flow, you should be able to determine how much money is coming in, how much is going out, and if you’re using your revenue wisely. At the end of each month (or week if you choose), your bank account balance should match up exactly with your cash flow. If it doesn’t, it’s time to revamp your system! That’s a very good indicator that your expenses are higher than you think, or you simply aren’t making as much as you think.

But Halley… my bank account is at $0/-$250/I can’t even look

First off, ignoring your bank account doesn’t make your financial problems go away. Handle it like the fucking champ you are right now.

Secondly, it’s totally normal to have $0 in your business account at the end of the month! You’re running a business, and that takes a lot of money. As much as we all hate it, the saying is true – you need money to make money. Running a business on the cheap is only going to provide you with the same outcome – a cheap business. That’s not what you started your biz baby for.

It doesn’t necessarily mean you’re SOL and should shut down right now if you have nothing to spend. It just means you need to have a plan in place, and sometimes that means finding funding. Debt is not always a bad thing, and if used wisely, it can help you in the future. Scheduling an appointment with a professional accountant is the best way to determine your next steps.

Usually what follows is alerting everyone you’re scheduled to pay that they might be receiving their money late (don’t leave them in the dark!). Give the same respect you would want if you were expecting cash to come in.

Get comfortable with your money and plan ahead.

You’re going to be short on cash when you’re starting a business. That’s just the way it is. There’s a certain amount of money you need to spend in order to have money coming in. Making sure you saw your broke month coming is essential! Get a plan set in place now so it doesn’t bite you in the ass later.


Why Calling Yourself a Mompreneur is Losing You Clients

You’re calling yourself a “mompreneur” because you hope it’ll get you clients. Here’s the truth

I get it. You saw the word “mompreneur” on your mentor’s site or Instagram/Pinterest/Tumblr feed and thought “YES! This is how I’ll connect with my clients and communicate that my family comes first.” That’s cute.

Here’s the deal (trigger alert)

No one is taking you seriously. You’re only targeting 1 out of 100 potential clients. You’re copy-and-pasting a failed marketing plan. Fix your shit.

Women struggle enough to be taken seriously in the business world as is. Being a mom and a business owner is hard and rewarding on both ends, but don’t combine your worlds. Using a bunch of denial band-aids is only going to make you fail.

I know… I’m the worst. But I would much rather you be upset with me and be successful, than you love me and fail.

Nobody cares that you’re a parent (except maybe your friends and family), especially your potential clientele. They’re not hiring you to be a mom. The only people who are hired to be moms are surrogates.

Stop calling yourself a mompreneur today.

It’s overused, unoriginal, and it doesn’t work. I’ve lurked plenty of service-based business owners out there to see if this strategy helps them at all, and it doesn’t. In fact, it’s driving your clients away from you beacause it has zero meaning.

Here are the three ways to fix it today. 

1. Give an idea of what your value is.

Being a mompreneur is a value proposition, not a business idea. A value proposition is something you have in common with your ideal client, it’s the reason why they like you. That’s not enough to base your business on.

When it comes to your business, you need a value ad. This is how you improve lives and use your brain as a commodity. Momifying this aspect means you care (great!), but also means you take control and hold authority (not for everyone).

2. Stop copy/pasting your marketing.

Simple as that. It’s not working or else you wouldn’t be reading this. You’re basing marketing off failed ideas. You need to have your own specific marketing. Use your own, be original.

3. Get a full marketing plan.

Being a mompreneur is a marketing campaign/value proposition, not a full marketing plan or business idea. When you’re choosing your title, you need to be specific.

“I’m a Business Coach who specializes in teaching you how to make the most out of the 4 hours a day you have (because you have kids)”

That is an actual value ad. They understand what you do and what kind of result you’re going to get them.

No one’s succeeding with the “mom boss” title as their main selling point. When it comes down to it, there are a lot of people out there, messing around and pretending they have a business. Unfortunately you’re now grouped in with those people because you’ve self-proclaimed yourself a mompreneur.

I’m glad your family comes first and you’re doing this for your kids, but it’s not enough for your business to succeed. Don’t tangle the two up, enjoy them seperately.

Change your title to something specific and create a new marketing campaign/launch/email funnel. Use it wisely. You can’t base your whole business around one aspect of your life. Create a more complex marketing method and share your title changes in the comments below. Can’t wait to see what you can come up with!

Want more blunt business truth? Sign up for the free 5 day challenge here
->bebookedout.com/challenge


How to Politics-Proof Your Freelancing Business

There’s a huge issue out there that’s impacting just about every business on the market, especially online business owners. No one’s talking about it, but it’s such a crucial thing to address.

It’s how to politics proof your biz.

How is your business surviving the political turmoil these days?

At the end of the day, the environment and the situations around your business are going to impact your marketing. Not only that, but it will also affect your revenue, profit levels, and risks. It’s better to address these issues now than to fizzle out in your everyday marketing routine.

First off, as a service-based business, you’re practically golden. Services are like tanks- they can last through shitty times. You’ve got a sustainable business model that luckily your clients will need even more during the distractions of political chaos. Even big businesses are pushing services right now! With all of these really important issues coming up, it gets harder to grab people’s attention.

Unfortunately politics are something you can’t compete against when it comes to selling courses to the people you know need it. Your target customer is really only going to invest if your process is proven to work. Otherwise, people are going to be consumed with all of these other issues that need to be addressed. It might be time to offer a service instead.

To politics-proof your business, you need to have something that is in high demand that your clients can’t get anywhere else. Your services and your brain are a high-priced commodity that nobody else can get right, because your brain is golden.

Secondly, and this is totally an opinion, but I have an obligation to stand up for my digital family and choose what I stand for. I know where I stand and like to make my opinion known, which can be attractive to some people and a repellent for others.

At the end of the day when it comes to political-proofing your business, there will come a time where you have to stand up for what you believe in or don’t. It doesn’t have to be on every pressing issue, but it may be a key issue that your audience needs to know so they know if they feel safe and included or not. You’ll notice big brands doing the same, and that’s because it’s important to show the people following you that you have their backs so you can gain their trust.

Lastly, when it comes to you getting people’s attention, your marketing has to address what is going on right now. A lot of time when I’m teaching marketing, I’ll ask “Where are your customers hanging out online right now? What are they doing?” Right now, the answer to that is Facebook and Twitter, where they are all checking in to see what chaos is happening in the world.

You need to find ways to stand out and adapt to the political times – aka Evolve and Succeed (get it?). Unfortunately this political turmoil is not new and your business has to evolve in order to move along with the times. Better to address it now than to let it affect your revenue in the future.

So a quick recap:

  1. Services are the small ship, ride the wave, you’re always needed.
    Courses are a bigger ship, always having to change direction and work a little harder.
    Remain flexible and adapt to the time!
  2. Speak up about what’s important and keep addressing the issues.
  3. When it comes to making your business survive, you need to have a marketing plan in place to adapt to societal changes. Your message needs to be clear and relevant.

Get out there. Take a stand. Make your presence known. See you next week!


How This One Page Generates Thousands by Itself

I’ve got one key page when it comes to selling your services online. You don’t even need to break your business apart and start from scratch to do it. Instead, you’ll be simplifying your biz and making your life a hell of a lot easier.

First off, if your marketing isn’t getting you the clients you need – you need to take a step back and see where it’s going wrong. It could be something as simple as this ONE page, and I’m here to help you with that buddy.

As long as you have your basics in place – social media is running, you have even a minor following, your website is up, etc., then you can do this. You CAN sell all of your packages.

There was a hint there.. did you catch it? We’re talking about your WORK WITH ME PAGE!

You need to be able to have your bottom level, mid-level, and top-level packages sell and upsell themselves. Your services should get value by being compared against each other.

Think about when you go shoe shopping. You come across a wide range of prices and quality, and for the most part you know you’re going to get what you pay for.

A $10 pair of shoes are going to be the lowest quality, but hey, they keep those feetsies warm.
A $50 pair of shoes will give you mid-level quality and a longer amount of shoe-life.
Those top shelf, $100 shoes should basically sell themselves. They’re top-quality, will last for years, and will certainly give you your money’s worth.

You WANT your services to give off that same structure. People should know what level of work they’re going to get out of each package you offer.

Your clients want a clear message of what you’re going to offer. They want to know what you’re good at. They want to know what you want to stay away from.

Here’s a quick structure of what your Work with Me page should look like:

  • First part = A quick blurb about yourself/your work
  • Second part = A handful of testimonials
  • Then your packages:
    • Top level package
    • Mid-level package
    • Entry level package

By doing that, it’ll allow people to see what you’re good at and compare everything at once. Separating this information or creating custom packages might confuse your clients and steer them away from what you can offer.

There should be a link for each of your packages leading to an individual sales page. Your sales page is where you lock in that sale, that client, your income for the next few months.

I have a specialized sales page course that you can go and grab right now called Written Gold. It’s my strategy I use to generate hundreds of thousands of dollars in sales every year. My Be Booked Out students have been KILLING it using this strategy, and I want you to have the same success.

When you have a Work with Me page that works, as well as three sales pages that work off each other, you’re going to have a much, much easier time bringing in a consistent income.

Click here to enroll now!


Preselling Your Course Idea (and Get Paid to Make it)

Psst, the Internet is keeping a massive secret and it’s all about preselling.

You can have a five-figure launch with nothing to sell.

As a one person money-maker focused on making bank with the costs possible, you don’t have time to waste on creating a course that no one buys. That sorta strategy will kill your business like a poorly made shuffle.

I’ve made over 20k in pre-sales alone and saved myself thousands of dollars by using Darwin’s theory of selling – only the profitable survive.

Here’s the trick – your ideas can be sold before they’ve even been created. That’s the beauty of preselling, and I’m going to take you through how you can do it for your next or first course using webinars.


What is ‘preselling’?

It’s the private launching of your course idea.

The strategy? To make sure it’s profitable by getting hard cash in your hands before you make it.

Basics of marketing – WANT vs. NEED (Course idea)

First, you need to have an idea that your peeps want not need. Crucial difference there is that most people create a course that THEY want to make, not that their peeps wanna buy. Skip that hard learnt lesson and make things that are easy to sell.

How do you find that idea? Well, you ask questions and listen. Read between the lines of what people want – they wanna learn SEO? Why? Because it means free new buyers coming to their digital doorstep.

Take that data and turn it into your course idea – teach bloggers how to get more fans by making a few changes to how they use their WP blog.

Call it ‘BlogZilla – the course that teaches you how to get more fans shouting about your blog’.

Side-note: Making courses based on surveys is a waste of your time because no one knows what they want till they see it. Surveys will lead you astray for creating profitable products.

For my 28k launch, I did three webinars educating, exciting, and pitching people who were interested in the topic my course solved (getting 6 months of clients).Preselling your online course or information product with Halley Gray of Evolve + Succeed

In my first webinar, I had 91 people sign-up and 31 live attendees. (Ignore how WebinarJam decided this was two different days – Oct 1st/7th. It was a date change that confused it.) The live attendees are the crucial part of this process, they’re the ones who are truly interested and are the best test for your course idea.

Preselling your online course or information product with Halley Gray of Evolve + Succeed

On this webinar, we made approx $14k worth of sales! The majority paid with payment plans (which help decrease friction of buying the program) so it reflected differently in our payments dashboard.

Preselling your online course or information product with Halley Gray of Evolve + Succeed

Based on the first webinar alone I knew my program idea was a solid money-maker. It had already made 5 figures!

(Head’s up: everything time related with these screenshots is wonky. I was in New Zealand and half our apps are USA time based so the dates never line up right.)

Why? Preselling is the only way to tell if you have a money-maker in your head. You create the marketing (and a freebie), then sell it till you know it’s a winner or wannabe.


Here’s the equation to a profitable pre-sale:

A course you’re PRETTY sure your ideal client WANTS + private funnels/webinars to sell it = solid pre-sale.


If people want something they’ll put money down for it.

No money = no desire for it = don’t make it.

At the end of the day, what you WANT to create plays no part in profit-making, you need to kill your (brain) babies to move forward in your business.

Between your pre-sale and delivering your course you could have a couple months maximum to get the sales in and start writing the content. That might mean that you’re wrapping up your launch and also writing content for your course which is Mad Max levels of crazy but so so worth it.

For our launch, we started preselling October 7th and then started the program on November 8th 2015. The total sales generated by using pre-sales techniques and launching was  approx 28k.

Let’s get you preselling!


Here’s my 7 Step Process to Preselling With Webinars

1. Pick an income goal for your pre-sale

Take a look at your audience size and aim for about 2% of them buying your course. Multiply that number by your course price, how much would you make?

Is that enough for you to create this course?

If yes, then time to get selling it. If no, then it’s time to focus on list-building first.

For Evolve and Succeed, our numbers were (late in 2015, before we switched to ConvertKit): 919 subscribers x .02 = approx 18 buyers. Our program is $997 so $997 x 18 = $17,946.

Preselling your online course or information product with Halley Gray of Evolve + Succeed

Well worth my time to create the intense program.

Per our first webinar, we hit 14 out of the 18 needed buyers.

We were on our way!

2. Pick your pre-sale strategy

The fun part – selling! You can sell something without it ever having to be on your website. Which means that if your course is not in line with your audience you can still make money from it.

Por ejemplo: you only have zebras on your list, but you wanna start targeting lions, but that would confuse (and terrify) your zebras – BOOM! Private pre-sale.

How do you sell it privately? Preselling is perfect with webinar funnels! The supreme funnel of all funnels! Funnels are a set of emails that educate, excite and inspire the reader to become a buyer. A webinar funnel uses a webinar to help fast-track the relationship between the reader and you. It burns down hesitation, opens up trust, and speeds up the buying process.

This is what the webinar funnel looks like:

Social media promos > opt-in/webinar sign-up > pre-webinar emails (educates them around your course’s main pain point) > live webinar (either solo or with another person)> post-webinar emails (pushing them to buy before the private sale closes) > send them to a waitlist if they don’t buy.

3. Create a pre-sales page + buy button

Your sales page is a key component of converting your prospects into buyers for a five-figure launch. Your presales page has crucial key elements that get those course sales in. Here are five things you’re probably doing wrong on your sales page right now. 

Here’s where you want to spend your time:

Hook, line, sinker: you need to start with a one or two sentence description of what your ideal client is struggling with.

“You spend Friday night crying into Merlot because your business isn’t getting enough clients in the door to make it profitable (and that’s why it’s a $5 bottle of Merlot).”

This works perfectly as your course subtitle.

A clear description of life after they purchase your product or service. At Evolve and Succeed, we like using bullet points so it’s fast and easy for customers to read.

Image_4.jpg

This fits in the course description section.

Testimonials: These should be short and reinforce the end goal you’re selling.

For example: if your promise is that they’ll become a zebra after taking your course, the testimonials should say “I’m a zebra now! All thanks to ZebraQueen!” Since you’re preselling and you don’t have the product, you can pull testimonials from other services or products you’ve offered and tailor them as best as possible to this new course.

Learn how to presell your online course or information product with Halley Gray of Evolve + Succeed

Mock-up versions of your product. You  haven’t created your product yet, I know, but if you’ve decided it’s profitable to go forward and create it, after step one, you need to design at least the logo or top of your sales pages, and you can pop that into a mac screen mockup and boom! Done. People like to “see” the product before they purchase. Make sure to mock up any bonuses that they get as well, so that people who process information visually can get a sense of what they’re getting.

Bonuses: group calls, your other courses, additional PDFs, interviews with experts, physical products, discounts, etc.

Learn how to presell your online course or information product with Halley Gray of Evolve + Succeed

Payment section with the button. Most people hide their prices because they have selling shame. You need your buy now buttons and prices to be loud and proud. You can choose to have them pay in full or via payment plan, depending on the price of your course and what’s best with your individual audience. If you do tiered you want ONE button to be a different color, preferably the one that’s most popular.

Preselling your online course or information product with Halley Gray of Evolve + Succeed

If you do the price by itself you want the price above the button and by itself.

Learn how to presell your online course or information product with Halley Gray of Evolve + Succeed
You want to have the buy buttons/pricing table on your sales page MULTIPLE TIMES, not just once but up to 3 or 4 times. This way you get your reader comfortable with the price and make it as easy as possible for them to buy.

4. Create an opt-in PDF or freebie content (optional, but stupendous)

Okay, but Halley, what’s an opt-in?

Strap in, amigo. An opt-in is basically a free goodie (think: PDF, video, worksheet, cartoon, etc) you give someone in exchange for their email address.  You give them valuable information delivered straight to their inbox, you get 24/7 access to their inbox. The beauty of this is that you use this to strategically pick out people who could be potential buyers for your course, making your life way easier when it comes to preselling.

The opt-in is an first taste of getting success with the process or method you’re going to teach them in your course.

Easy. Actionable. Simple to understand.

Once you’ve created your opt-in freebie, you need people to see it and get excited about it. Ways you can do that: social media, blog posts, webinars, ads, and asking friends to help promote.

The person who signs up to get your freebie is someone who is VERY likely to buy your course so that means that you will send them a series of emails selling them your course after they get the freebie (it’s called a launch sequence, we’ll cover that more later).

5. Create a landing page for opt-in/freebie/webinar

A landing page is a stand-alone page that forces your reader to take action, specifically to get your freebie. You want to give them one clear, concise action forward: click this button and you get a PDF.

Because everyone has the attention span of a cracked out hamster these days, you need to give them only one thing to do on your landing page and that is click the button for your freebie.

For my past product, Five Figure Launch, our sign-up/landing page looked like this:

Preselling your online course or information product with Halley Gray of Evolve + Succeed

It gives anyone who lands on the page a clear understanding of what it is that they’re getting, and they only have one button to click that leads to submitting their e-mail address.

Side-note: notice how the button is that TMNT green vs red like the rest of the page? That’s what you want, you want the buy now/sign-up button to stand out against the rest of the theme.

6. Private launch sequence

The private launch sequence (which we talked about in step four) is 4-10 emails that take the reader from sorta interested to not being able to sleep from wanting your course so bad.

For your best success you should have your webinar in the middle of this set of emails so it looks like:

Signs up for freebie > gets 1-2 emails educating them and inviting them to webinar > signs up to webinar > gets 2-4 emails talking about what the webinar will cover > goes to webinar (either buys on there but if they don’t) > gets 4-6 emails exciting them and urging them to buy.

The crux of this is the webinar and unlike solely email-based sequences, you’re going to get a higher conversion rate (aka more peeps turning from strangers to buyers) because the attendee can ask you questions, learn more about why they need your course, and get incredible value.

Webinars are an art form and when it comes to mastering them you totally want Mariah Coz on your side.

The other half of it are your emails – you need to answer your potential buyer’s hesitations, overcome their obstacles, and paint a picture of the way their life COULD be if they bought your course.

Here’s what our pre and post-webinar sequence looked like:Learn how to presell your online course or information product with Halley Gray of Evolve + Succeed

The pre-webinar emails should cover the following:

  • What the steps are to get them to end goal you’re promising
  • The biggest obstacle stopping them from moving by themselves
  • The first step they can take towards doing it themselves
  • What to expect in the webinar

The post-webinar emails should cover the following:

  • Recap of the webinar highlights and link to watch the replay
  • What success looks like and a case study (case study could be your story)
  • A taste of what your course is like (opt-in/freebie/blog post you’ve done around this)
  • Closing up and why they need to act now/recap of the value they’re getting

Schedule them in ConvertKit or WebinarJam and you’re away laughing!

7. The webinar

Ah, webinars, they even make the pros sweat. A webinar is a live online presentation that you give and attendees can ask you questions, pop on with you to talk to you, and interact with you. They can be formal (with a slide deck) or informal (with a lot of swears) or educational (you give them a workbook to work through), they can be done solo or with a friend.

There’s no limit to what kind of webinars you can put together for your pre-sale! The easiest ones are solo with a workbook I find. It allows you to interact naturally and students stay engaged.

If people can’t make it live, you have the option of offering a replay (recorded video hosted on YouTube or Vimeo or whatever you choose) so that you can accommodate CRAZY time zones or allow them to re-watch later.

A webinar is MOST effective when you give away about 15-20% of your secrets in the webinar, so that even if someone doesn’t buy your product, they don’t feel like it was a waste of time. The best webinar is one that people get enough information from that they can put into place LIVE and also inspires them to take action once they’re going solo.

How do you get people to your webinar? You create tweets, posts, scopes, emails to send out and invite people to sign up. Here’s an example of a tweet I did for my Be Booked Out webinar:

Learn how to presell your online course or information product with Halley Gray of Evolve + Succeed

As you can see, the tweets are consistent with Be Booked Out’s branding and they have a large image so they stand out in your home feed. We schedule about 10 tweets, 1 Instagram post, and 5 Facebook updates per day when promoting a webinar.

The technical setup for webinars is pretty simple. All you need is:

  • A computer with a webcam
  • A Gmail account
  • A page to stick your Google Hangout onto (you can make one on your website and include a chat box, or you can use a service like WebinarJam which takes care of it for you)

Wanna be fancy? Buy a separate microphone to make it sound cleaner and clearer. Otherwise make sure to have a set of earbuds with a microphone for good results.

The thing you need to spend the most time on is your “slide ride” or the Powerpoint/Keynote/Google slides that you’re going to use to present your information to people.

Everything should tie in together visually so pick a couple of fonts and colors and stick with it through your workbooks, slides, and videos (if you end up making your course).

You can buy pre-designed slide decks on places like Creative Market. I did that and found a couple of fonts I liked and updated it accordingly.

Here’s an example of the slides that I used for my Be Booked Out webinars.

Learn how to presell your online course or information product with Halley Gray of Evolve + Succeed

Learn how to presell your online course or information product with Halley Gray of Evolve + Succeed

7. Light a fire in their souls (aka time-sensitive selling)

Part of the burning need for buying is limited time. Think Black Friday… and the sweet, sweet carnage it ensues. People forget they’re going to die and that their time on Earth is limited, so they put off the important things. Your course helps them accomplish massive goals that will help them make the most of these seconds.

When you’re preselling a good way to spark that action is by telling them the price will go up significantly if they don’t buy in the 24-72 hours. That’s usually enough to be taken seriously but if you wanna sprinkle gasoline on that flame you could offer additional bonuses – PDFs, training sessions, other courses – that expire at the end of the email sequence.

Our incentive was: a bonus worth $2,000 (live group calls) and an early-bird price.

The total value was $2,997 for a $699 price tag (and when we re-ran sign ups recently, we were able to increase the price to $997 because the first launch had gone so well).

Five figures of income secured and the course wasn’t even made. You can see the spikes in income from the pre-sales webinars and their post-webinar emails that sold the most spots below.

Learn how to presell your online course or information product with Halley Gray of Evolve + Succeed

Pretty sweet, right?

Don’t waste a minute on creating a course that doesn’t make bank before it exists. Preselling is where the profit is hiding and you can make it happen now. Don’t wait a minute more wondering ‘what if’ find out. By using this preselling method again and again you can generate thousands of dollars more and save yourself months (or years) of debt.

Next round is on you.