Systems & How-Tos

Do you work on the weekends? (poll)

By | General Biz, Success Mindset, Systems & How-Tos | 9 Comments

As per my Take Back Your Weekends Manifesto – there are too many people are working way to hard imo and it’s becoming a bit of an epidemic in our entreprenerial society.

So i’m curious – do you work on the weekends? How many hours a week do you work on average?

Take our polls

(Note – after you vote you will see the results from everyone who has voted, so you can see what others are doing as well.)

Infusionsoft – what is your biggest frustration or annoyance?

By | Systems & How-Tos | 28 Comments

I love Infusionsoft* – and consider it to be one of the two key tools that all growing businesses need. However I also know that it can cause alot of annoyance or frustration for some… myself included. Here’s my #1 frustration with Infusionsoft.

And be sure to share you biggest frustrations, questions or challenges re: Infusionsoft.

A “Double Check the Details Before you Send that Broadcast” Checklist

By | Systems & How-Tos | 8 Comments

I don’t expect perfection from my team – but I do get annoyed when stuff gets sent out incorrectly in a broadcast. Especially if it happens more often than it should and could have been prevented.

I was just talking to a client of mine re: how to prevent mistakes in the work we are doing – ie: when sending a broadcast – and especially when we are moving at such a fast pace and getting stuff done quickly.

Like anything, the key is to have a system in place – in this case a pre-broadcast checklist. With a good checklist you don’t have to “guess” if something is correct, and it gives a simple process for you and/or your team so they are able to double check everything and hopefully prevent errors.

Here are the 3 things that you want to do before you send a broadcast:

  1. Check the Template (Branding) – all of us have a certain way that we want our broadcasts to look. Do we want text or html? Do we have banners to include or not? What kind of font do we like? What colors? Line breaks? There are all sorts of things that come into play, and it’s important that you (a) establish a brand template and then (b) make sure all broadcasts follow that template.
  2. Do a Date/Time/Title/Bridgeline/Link Check – when sending out information specific to a class or program, PLEASE make sure you double check these details. There is nothing worse than sending out a broadcast with something like the wrong bridgeline in it or a broken link… arg!
  3. Send Yourself a Test Message – it is ALWAYS a good idea to send yourself a test message, even when you’ve sent the same message a hundred times before. You need to see what the email will look like in your inbox so you can check the details from Step #2 again and especially make sure the links are working. Don’t get lazy on this – the 3 minutes you save by not doing it are not worth it imo.

See, one of the things I love most about working online is that all things are fixable – we can always send out a follow-up “ooops!” email if need be. But I prefer to set a standard that we don’t have to – if you are sending out an “oooops” email more than once every few months then something is broken. (Usually the system isn’t clear or the person is not following it.)

Let’s take a stand for accuracy! 🙂

Setting Up Your ‘I’m Away’ Email

By | Systems & How-Tos | 3 Comments

This is a slight pet peeve of mine, so forgive me if I come across a bit ranty.

I get so annoyed when I continue to receive the same ‘I’m out of the office’ or ‘I’m checking email twice a day’ email every time I send a message to certain people. It becomes just one more thing filling up my inbox, and we all know that we don’t need that!

Don’t get me wrong, I know these emails are important. I do want to know if you are out of the office on vacation or if you only check email at certain times. Then of course I know when to expect a reply.

What annoys me is the fact that I’m getting this same email over and over again, especially when it’s someone I email multiple times a day. To protect the not-so-innocent, notice how I’m refraining from naming names. 😉

So here’s the tech tip. Most of us set up an autoresponder in our email hosting plan. This sends out an email in response to every new email – indiscriminately. The autoresponder isn’t smart enough to know if the same person has sent 10 emails or even 20.

The alternative – much friendlier – is one you can set up using a Gmail account.

Guess what? Gmail is much smarter than your average ordinary email autoresponder. It knows to send out your automated message just once every 4 days to each individual that emails you. Translation? It doesn’t matter how many emails a particular individual sends you in a short space of time, your ‘I’m away’ reply will be sent just once every 4 days. Love it!

How to set this up for yourself?

If you already use Gmail as your main email service, you simply need to turn on the Vacation responder setting. To do this:

  • Click ‘Settings’ at top of page. You will be on the ‘General’ tab.
  • Page down a bit and you will see the Vacation Responder section
  • Put in the message you want to send out and set the Vacation Responder to on

If you don’t use Gmail as your main email service
, for example, you collect your email in Outlook, or in webmail or something else, there are a couple of extra steps.

(This is what I do as I’m an Outlook fan, which may make some of you cringe, but hey, it works.)

  • Setup a Gmail account for yourself, or if you have one already dust it off.
  • Set your regular email account to forward to the Gmail account.
  • Repeat the steps above. Forwarding your email on to Gmail causes Gmail to do its job with your ‘I’m away’ message.

Done! Just that easy…and don’t forget to send an email to yourself to test it and make sure it works.

Who is Tracking Declined Payments?

By | Systems & How-Tos | 3 Comments

Do you have a system in place to track and follow up on declined payments from your customers? If not, I insist that you set one up today.

I’ve heard too many horror stories of a business owner who sold X only to find out months down the road that the person didn’t pay because of a declined credit card (or some other payment issue). This has resulted in thousands of dollars of lost income in some cases, yipes!

It is simply bad business, not to mention heartbreaking… especially if the timing is such that it’s too late to appropriately collect the money.

Put simply, what you need is:

  • To put someone in charge of declines – make it their responsibility to follow up on overdue payments (and bring to your attention if need be).
  • A spreadsheet to keep track of all declines or overdue payments so you can see at a glance what is going on (ours lives in Central Desktop*).
  • Have that person run a “declines report” at least once a week from your shopping cart system (we do this on Fridays) and record any declines in the spreadsheet.
  • They can then follow up with that person to arrange for payment – we start with an email (using our template), then follow up a few days later with another email if need be, and then a phone call if still no response. Then it is escalated to me as the business owner.

You will also want to consider what your standards are around this process. For example, if someone owes a payment of $50 or less and doesn’t respond after 2 emails and a phone call – is it worth it to keep chasing them down? Probably not as you could spend more money for the person chasing them down than their payment is worth.

The good news is that 9 times out of 10 people are willing to pay – it’s simply a matter of following up with them. Easy peasy.

What is the biggest leak in your business?

By | General Biz, Systems & How-Tos, Team & Outsourcing | 2 Comments

It’s the weekend so I’ll keep it short. I’m on my way home today from attending the Shine Conference in Dallas. While there I couldn’t help but “pick the brains” of my fellow entrepreneurs around the biggest challenges in running their business… which lead to some pretty cool (and enlightening) conversations.

And so I wanted to ask you the same thing:

What is your biggest headache or challenge when it comes to running your business?

You know, all that “behind the scenes” stuff that goes on… what is causing you the most pain or frustration? What do you consider to be the biggest leak in your business?

>> Go ahead and post your answers here on the blog as a comment below

I’m doing a very special live video training session on November 17th and I want to make sure that I’m targeting some of your biggest headaches. (consider me your business Tylenol, LOL)

So please do share below – and if you haven’t done so already be sure to grab a copy of the Leaky Bucket Manifesto & register for the training call by clicking here.

Might sound funny to say, but I look forward to seeing what is causing you frustration. 😉

PS – If your headaches are sensitive in nature – for example, they have to do with a team member and you don’t want to name names – go ahead and post anonymously. We aren’t trying to “out” anyone here, we just want to know what’s really going on for you so we can help.

Leaky Bucket Syndrome – Part 1

By | Systems & How-Tos | One Comment

This simply makes me so sad.

We work so hard to build our list of leads and get new clients – which is of course important – but we don’t focus enough on what happens once we connect with these people. The stuff that goes on “behind the scenes” in the business.

Leaky Bucket SyndromeThis is what I call the Leaky Bucket Syndrome – when we focus so much on getting more “into the bucket” but neglect to make sure that that bucket itself is whole.

You can get all the clients in the world, but if your systems aren’t set up properly to engage and serve those clients, they will end up leaking right on out over time. A highly frustrating, painful and ultimately avoidable scenario.

It all comes down to systems… I just heard some eyeballs roll. Yes I know, the word “system” may make your eyes glaze over. Systems are so boring right? I disagree, not when you understand what a system actually is.

You can essentially break down a system into 3 parts:

  • The process – documented steps to accomplish X
  • The technology – what tools can be used to automate parts (or all) of the process?
  • The people – who does what can’t be done by technology?

In other words:

Systems allow you to create a business that functions smoothly, effectively and freely – so that you (and your team) don’t have to spend all of your time putting out fires and trying to keep up.

Here are some examples of what happens to you and your team when you are suffering from Leaky Bucket Syndrome – perhaps you can relate?

  • You have those middle of the night moments, waking up in a cold sweat thinking “omg, did X get done? yikes! I don’t think it did…”
  • A client emails your team saying “hey, I just bought X but didn’t recieve it… what’s up with that? I think I might want a refund…
  • You realize that a team member didn’t do something that you emailed them about a few days ago – and now YOU have to scramble to get it done on time.
  • There is simply so much work to be done – little things like booking clients for coaching calls – that the important stuff falls to the bottom of the list.
  • You feel like you don’t know what everyone on your team is working on, and wonder if stuff is getting done at all?
  • You have a certain way that you want things to be done – but it seems like everytime someone else works on it that they do it wrong.
  • There are things that you do on a regular basis, but it feels like every time they come up again you have to reinvent the wheel and figure it out from scratch.
  • So many to-dos keep coming up at the last minute in projects, and your team is starting to get seriously frustrated with a seemingly constant flow of “urgent, need this now!” requests.

These are all examples of holes in your bucket – and they are truly draining. Mentally, emotionally and financially.

The thing is you guys – ALL of these things can be solved with the right systems in place. And let me say up front, this isn’t about fixing people – 9 times out of 10 something can be fixed by tweaking the system vs. blaming a person.

So what to do about Leaky Bucket Syndrome? Never fear, in Part 2 of this article series I’m going to give you some concrete solutions you can implement to start plugging up those holes.

Creating your own Certification Program… would you be interested in this?

By | General Biz, Systems & How-Tos | No Comments

A quick question for you… I’ve had a number of people approach me recently about helping them to create their own certification programs. People have seen what I’ve done with the OBM Certification and Training Program and would love to do something similar in their own business – leverage their own expertise in training other people to “do what they do” and create an additional revenue stream.

This has popped up enough that I’m looking at putting together a workshop re: Creating Your Own Certification Program – and was wondering if this is something that you would be interested in?

If yes, just pop your name and email in the form below (and if not, no need to do anything). No commitment in doing so, I’m just gauging interest at this stage… if there are enough folks interested we’ll get the ball rolling here in the near future.

First Name *
Last Name *
Primary Email *

A day in the life…

By | General Biz, Systems & How-Tos | 7 Comments

Do you ever wonder what other business owners are actually doing all day?

Maybe it’s my nosy nature, but I am curious about how other people spend their time… what are they actually doing all day in their business?

And so I thought hey, i’ll share my working day with you… in case you are nosy like me. 😉

Here is a play-by-play of my day this past Tuesday January 18th, for those of you who like to sneak a peek behind the scenes and see what a typical day looks like for me in my biz.

8:50 AM – drive daughter to preschool and listen to some of my biz building CDs – today’s CD was from Fabienne Fredrickson’s Marketing Mindset event (I love listening to stuff in the car – what do you use your driving time for?)

9:05 AM – driving home and remember an old product of mine that I haven’t promoted in a while – Escape from Email Hell. Hey, could be time to get a promo going there! Hmmm…

9:20 AM – home now and checking email. First is an email my OBM re: doing a promo for the Escape from Email Hell product

9:32AM – posted this tweet from my daily email, it made me go “hmmm….
Insist on the destination, Tina, not on how you’ll get there.

9:42 AM – posted new RFP to hire an OBM via, great biz owner who is so ready to find the right support… so glad to help her find her match!

9:58 AM – dialing into call with @brynjohnson, she is interviewing me for her Ideas and Inspiration Series at

11:02 AM – call is done, super fun! Always love talking to Bryn, she is a kindred spirit. Off to pick up my daughter from preschool.

11:55 AM – back from getting Sam, she’s off to her dayhome. Now it’s time to hop on a call with my OBM Mentees – it’s our monthly Q&A “anything goes” coaching call

1:30 PM – just wrapped up mentee call and now have a call with a lady from Germany who is interested in bringing the OBM model into her biz and for her market, very cool stuff! Would love to get more active in the European market

2:00 PM – chat with one of the gals who has done our OBM Certification re: having her teach a class with us in the future

2:30 PM – chatted with Mark Silver re: creating a cool new mini-product… Mark is simply awesome, love that we get to do something together. 🙂

3:00 PM – email checkin, reply to a few things

3:05 PM – quick call with one of my OBM Mentees re: an opp that has crossed her desk

3:20 PM – call with my new coach re: getting started and next steps. SUPER jazzed and excited (and a bit nervous too, eek moment!)

3:50 PM – signing off now to go pick up the girls from their dayhome, family time!

9:35 PM – quick check-in before bed, did a few projects and prepped myself for what is coming up tomorrow.

10:06 PM – off to bed!

10:15 PM – k, I squeezed in one last email… now i’m officially off to bed! 😉

And so you have it… a day in the life of Tina Forsyth. It may not be glamorous but I tell ya, I wouldn’t want to spend my days any other way.

How about you? What does your day look like?

What are you doing to plan for 2011?

By | General Biz, Systems & How-Tos | 8 Comments

Here’s my “plan to plan” for next year, care to join me? (Click video to play)

We get started on December 13th – just click the button below to join us and you are set!

Here’s to planning for (and getting) everything you want in 2011 🙂

~ Tina