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This blog post contains referral links. I don’t recommend stuff that my clients and I haven’t loved on our creative biz adventure. I will receive a modest credit to my account should you love these tools and apps as much as I do!
Spring Has Sprung!
Spring is officially here, and so begins the flurry of “Spring Cleaning” articles with ample instructions on how to purge the contents of your closet, reclaim your home office, and use sage and stones to restore good vibes to your living quarters.
While I can appreciate the need to part ways with my questionable club wear from the Aughts, my laptop is pretty much the home in which I live for most of my waking hours. I make cleaning out my Dropbox, combing through my Facebook Newsfeed, and wrangling my e-mail list a part of my regular work week for the sake of my productivity and my wallet.
Here are just a few of the benefits of tidying up your digital space:
- Save Money: We’re all guilty of signing up for tools and apps that go by the wayside, or forgetting to cancel a trial. Also, some tools will increase your monthly bill if you go over the basic plan, such as Dropbox or Mailchimp. Holding on to more stuff = Paying more money.
- Less Distraction: Making sure you’re following the right accounts or topics on your social channels means less dilly-dallying and more creative productivity.
- More Room For Growth: If you’re holding on to files and folders from the past, it can have a subconscious effect on your future work. Organizing your cloud storage to have your most current work and clients on the forefront will lend itself to a feeling of growth and abundance.
If you haven’t embarked on a creative biz cleaning blitz in some time (or ever), don’t fret. Take it one step at a time, and slowly integrate this into your daily and weekly routines so you don’t have to do a massive clean-up yearly.
Tidy Up Your Social Media Feeds
Facebook has a number of ways to improve what you see in your Newsfeed, including:
- See First: Here’s where you can get strategic with your Newsfeed. I use the “See First” feature to follow, like, and comment on posts from business pages and individuals that I want to get Creative Enabler in front of. You can do this for up to 30 people or pages at a time.
- Hide Post/See Fewer Posts Like This: If you are getting a barrage of spamtastic posts from fellow Biz Pages, this is a good option to reclaim your Feed without unliking the Biz Page.
- Snooze for 30 Days: This relatively new features allows you to mute friends in your Newsfeed for 30 solid days. This is a great option if you just need a little break from whatever is going on your Feed, or if there is a particularly triggering topic that distracts you from your work.
- Unfollow: We’ve all got that one person in our Newsfeed that needs a virtual muzzle that goes beyond a one-month snooze. If you want to maintain the digital friendship without the unceremonious unfriending, give that “Unfollow” option a whirl.
As for Instagram, you can use a number of apps to see who you follow that does not follow you make and purge out unreciprocated follows as needed. Please note that this advice is completely dependent on what your individual Instagram growth strategy is, and you certainly shouldn’t eliminate folks who you genuinely enjoy seeing posts from even if they don’t follow back.
Clean Up Your E-mail List
If you’ve attended any of my Creative Enabler E-Mail Marketing Workshops, you know I am a stickler for removing inactive subscribers who haven’t opened up your lovingly prepared newsletters since “Arrested Development” got rebooted.
I, for one, don’t care about vanity numbers; I’d rather have 50 people on a list that actually care about what I have to say than 5,000 people that never engage with my e-mails.
Having dead weight on my list means I am footing the bill with Mailchimp monthly, as my plan is based on subscriber amount. Additionally, disinterested subscribers mean that major e-mail service providers like Gmail can penalize me by sticking me in the Spam folder and not delivering my e-mails to people who do actually want to read my content.
Dead Weight = Higher bounce rates, spam folder purgatory and spam complaints. No bueno!
A good rule of thumb is to clean your e-mail list every six months or so. I try to do this quarterly with Creative Enabler, and it’s not as harrowing as it sounds.
- Send a Reintroduction E-mail: Remind the fine folks that fell into the “Not Active” category of who you are, what you do, and what you bring to the proverbial party. I consider “Not Active” subscribers those who have not opened up my last three e-mails. You can send a targeted e-mail blasts to these folks by creating a new audience segment focused on subscribers who subscribed in the six months but who have not opened any e-mails in the last three. Give them an incentive to stay on, such as an exclusive discount. Or have a big,bold button where they can unsubscribe themselves.
- Create a Reintroduction Bliz: You can set up a system of e-mail automation targeting your least active subscribers to move more interested folks back into your main list before you give the dead weight the boot. Okdork.com has a great tutorial on this, if you are so inclined.
Cleaning up your list can save you money, make your e-mails more visible with Gmail, and focus your energies on a higher converting audience.
Like this post? You’re gonna love the discussion that follows!
Break-Up With Apps You’re Not Using
I test on average about 30-40 apps and tools a month so that I can find the very best solutions for my clients and students. This often means keeping track of when subscription trials are ending and being diligent about not being charged or overcharged for usage.
Truebill is an awesome solution for keeping up with your automatic subscriptions. I have my business PayPal and linked PayPal Mastercard tied to Truebill, where I can get a panoramic view of what I’m subscribed to and billing cycles for upcoming automatic payments.
Comb Through Your Cloud
I am a religious Dropbox user, and make it a point to carefully catalog and tag images, videos, files, and folders to ensure that my content is available to me quickly and easily. I let my cloud go for well over three years before doing a massive week-long organization expeditation in 2017.
I’m going to let you guess how much I enjoyed that process.
Here are a few examples of how I keep my cloud in check:
Star your most used folders: It should come as no surprise that my “Creative Enabler” folder comes first in Dropbox, followed by “Clients”.
Create a folder hierarchy: My CE folder then has my top 5 “go-to” folders:
- CHH: Creative collateral and live spreadsheet of collected member data for Creativepreneur Happy Hour, my Facebook group
- Luca: Images and gifs of myself, organized by year and tagged by topic
- Workshops: Organized by year then month with creative assets, presentation, and promotional material
- Alchemy: Folders are organized by member for my monthly mentoring subscription program
- Instagram: I usually create my IG content on my phone, then save to my Dropbox app, then schedule through Buffer on my laptop.
Additionally, I have my phone back up images and video into my Dropbox daily. I go in every week and organize images and videos by tag, location, and subject. Most just end up in a 2019 catch-all folder where I can save my memories that never make it to my social accounts.
Archive Past Accounts
I use Dubsado as my customer relationship manager, and make it a point to categorize and archive past, present, and no status Projects to keep a tidy digital desk.
There are occasions that folks request a proposal for my services, but then need to back-burner it until they have the availability to move forward; The archive feature allows me to move it out of my daily view but have the availability to resurrect it when they’re ready to move forward.
Conversely, some projects are dead in the water. The DELETE feature completely removes it from the system, but I use this very sparingly as all e-mails, signatures, and invoices go into the virtual landfill at that point.
Archiving accounts and cleaning up my digital space allows me to focus on what’s ahead and feel energized about new growth. There is certainly a psychological element to feeling open and receptive for new clients and projects to enter my digital space when things are organized.
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