I wanted to close out this Work & Workmanship section with something a bit more pragmatic– less “self-reflective journal entry” and more “practical thoughts on getting ideas launched and work accomplished.”
As mentioned previously, I work with a ton of solopreneurs–people who set up and run businesses on their own. Perhaps they eventually scale to include new employees, or maybe theirs is a model that allows for an ongoing “one-man-show.” Either way, most of these creative/business types are full of so many ideas that the limitless possibilities before them usually aren’t as freeing as they are paralyzing.
Here, I find myself in a bit of a conundrum. I honestly believe that anything is possible, and I love it when I have the opportunity to instill that belief in others. On the same token, though, I have to acknowledge that the “American Dream” narrative has left a huge number of people disillusioned by the letdown that life can be when reality seems intent on pummeling dreams into submission.
“Anything is possible” isn’t the same as saying that all of our wildest dreams will come true, but I do think that–in our attempts to go for gold–there is more help afforded all of us than any of us realize, especially at this point in history.
I can’t help but laugh-that whole buildup just makes me think of LaFawnduh’s Song in the movie Napoleon Dynamite:
We met in a chat room
Now our love can fully bloom
Sure, the World Wide Web is great
But you, you make me ‘salivate’
Yes, I love technology
But not as much as you, you see
But I still love technology
Always and forever
The moral of the story is this: if technology can help Kip find true love, maybe it can help us out in our business endeavors, too. (I consider this one of my stronger analogies to date.)
In today’s world, a person’s barrier to entry–for doing anything–is tech. Unless you own a cash-only storefront and have zero interest in advertising (which, in that case, might I suggest you close up shop now?), you need tech.
Too many people consider tech a problem in the way of their dreams as opposed to an opportunity to make them possible.
Too many people are held back by technology when it should be a tool used to propel them forward.
I don’t consider myself a tech-savvy person, but I’ve had to figure enough of it out throughout my career to know that none of what I’ve accomplished in business or ministry would have been possible without it. Our ideas only extend so far as people can engage with them, and tech provides the visibility necessary for that engagement.
Most people don’t know how to free up storage on or locate their phone, declutter their cloud, or back up their contacts. How, then, are we to set up a functional business whereby technology is capable of accomplishing the heavy lifting that would otherwise stop us dead in our tracks before we even have the chance to begin?
Last year, I launched betterandbetter.co — a “One-stop-shop for every resource to build, scale, and grow any online product or internet-based idea you have.” The premise — as inspired by marketing guru Seth Godin’s challenge — is this: your idea “doesn’t count ‘till it ships.”
Better&Better isn’t an agency so much as it is a team of experts versed in all of the tech necessary to get people’s ideas off of the ground. To get them shipped. To make them count. We have designers, illustrators, photographers, videographers, editors, copywriters, web programmers, app developers, site builders, engineers, project directors, ad buyers, account managers, marketing professionals, content creators…you name it.
This isn’t a pitch (although, obviously, we’d welcome your inquiries) as much as it is an example of all the things necessary to successfully launch an idea into the world. It takes quite a bit more to assemble than most people realize when they consider “making a Squarespace landing page” as though that alone will be enough to garner visibility.
So, yes, the above list of fifteen different areas of expertise necessary for launch is daunting. Overwhelming. And it’s not even comprehensive. The point, though — whether one uses our services or goes searching through UpWork or Fiverr or whatever — is that help exists, and that’s enough to gift oneself with a bit of fresh air when otherwise suffocating beneath the ever-increasing to-do list.
I’ve talked quite a bit about masterminds lately. I hope I’m not beating a dead horse, but much of my learning has come through my involvement in them — like a postgraduate course, or some form of ongoing education. One of these groups is almost entirely dedicated to scaling your business through tech, and I walked away from our last meeting astounded by the number of people in the room with little to no idea about what tech to use, let alone how to use it. And I’ll be honest, it’s not a cheap room to sit in, especially if you’re not going to learn how to wield the tools you’re paying for (or, at the very least, build connections and hire the work out to a third party).
People come with ideas and never launch them. They don’t understand how. They’re overwhelmed by or ignorant of the tech needed to bring their goals into fruition. They’re a one-man or one-woman show with little-to-no budget for outsourcing work, and they’re too overwhelmed by the learning curve to get it done themselves. They think that boosting Facebook posts is the same thing as running Facebook ads. They don’t understand automation, or the way that tech might allow them to work smarter (or, even, entirely on their behalf). Little by little, they overload their job description until they’ve forgotten what their vision was in the first place, or why they ever thought that pursuing their dreams once held such a sense of enticement.
To help, then, I simply wanted to write a bit about a few of the tools that I/we use regularly. If this section ends up being nothing more than a list of suggestions that you overlook, so be it–but that’s a lot of what the folks who have yet to ship their ideas are doing, as well…
Reading about is a far cry from implementing, and I know that sometimes putting one’s education into action feels (or legitimately is) risky. The unknown is always scary. It sounds too…what? Daunting? Expensive? New and fandangled? I get that, but I also know from experience that you won’t get far without it.
Perhaps it’s reductionistic to suggest that any of us can ever get down to wearing just one hat, but I do know that ample opportunity exists to offload many of them in exchange for the tech at our disposal. That said, whether what I suggest below suits your needs, or simply sparks the inspiration to seek out whatever might, here are some of my favorite tech tools–a combination of my own creations and those of the folks we’ve used–including the what and why of each.
Basecamp. Basecamp combines all the tools teams need to get work done in a single, streamlined package. With everything in one place, your team will know what to do, where things stand, and where to find things they need.
I use Basecamp for everything that I do. I know that Slack seems to get all of the popularity as the new “collaboration hub,” and that’s totally fine. Use Slack if it suits you, but Basecamps suits me, and the platform there keeps all of our tasks–personal, business, and ministry-related, in order.
Kajabi. Kajabi is an all-in-one platform that makes it easy to create online courses, launch marketing campaigns, build landing pages, and design the perfect website.
I’ve used Kajabi for everything we’ve launched throughout the past five years–particularly when it comes to video resources, which we’ve developed for ourselves and others. Stronger Marriages, XXXchurch, My Pilgrimage, Recover.org, and more all use Kajabi as the host for our E-course products.
Wishlist. WishList Member is the premier solution for delivering digital content on a WordPress site.
Wishlist–like Kajabi–is another option for membership-based hosting/solutions. As WordPress continues to be the primary go-to for website-building, this is an excellent solution if you want to integrate a new membership idea into what you might already have on their platform (as opposed to sending them to a separate URL).
Sit On My Gift. Do you wonder if you have a special gift, talent, or superpower that no one else has? Not sure what that is? Let us help you.
This is an idea that my friend Matt and I developed. Most people who venture out on their own end up playing the roles of CEO, manager, content creator, bookkeeper, blog- writer, marketing director, and a thousand other titles. One day, Matt called and asked, “Craig, what is the one thing you do better than anyone else?” I answered him, then paid the question forward to some of the people who know me best, and they confirmed my conclusion. I then asked them to do the same. We used that experiment as a basis to develop a free tool whereby friends and family can help provide you with extreme clarity and confidence about what it is that you should be spending your time on, and what you should leave behind. I’ve used and encouraged the process ever since, and you can read all about it, in detail, in Chapter 14: Don’t Sit On Your Gift (My One Thing).
Dropbox. Dropbox is a modern workspace designed to reduce busy work so you can focus on the things that matter.
Dropbox has been a lifesaver for my team and me when it comes to cloud-based storage. I’ve even linked my computer screenshots to autosave to my account so that I never lose a thought. Think of it as an online hard drive where you can both store and share what is valuable to you, as well as create documents and collaborate with others whose eyes you need on a project.
Facebook Agencies. We have strong relationships with three different Facebook Paid Ad Agencies, and if you want to know who might be an excellent fit for you, please email me.
Facebook–like it or not–dominates the market, and remains the best bang for your buck when it comes to paid advertising that actually converts. As previously mentioned, though, “boosting” a comment isn’t the same thing as running Facebook Ads. The real deal is a more intricate process, but nothing we’ve done would have been possible without diving into it with the help of our expert friends who know the game.
Better&Better. Better&Better is your one-stop-shop for every resource to build, scale, and grow any online product or internet-based idea you have.
We are a team of experts, professionally versed in every possible skill that you and your organization requires to support your online efforts, and get your ideas off the ground. Put simply: If you’re online, we can help you.
Creating Fun. Fast is fun when it comes to product launches, getting your dreams shipped, and creating a conversation.
If you want to bring your product to market or if you have an internet-idea, we can get it out to the world. If you are paralyzed by the possibilities, we can identify which option to pursue. If you are two days or two years out we can help, but we work best launching projects to the world in 30 days or less.
As you might imagine, there are thousands more to choose from, and the tech you need will vary according to the projects you’re undertaking, and the ideas you’re attempting to bring to life.
Maybe you need to email marketing. MailChimp is a great platform for it, especially if you’re just getting started.
Or perhaps you need a more comprehensive and customizable way to send your audiences along various sales paths according to their interactions with the content you’re sending them. Infusionsoft is literally the number one software for it.
I’ve written a good amount about membership sites, and perhaps you’re interested in how to build that kind of business out. Stu McLaren’s Tribe workshop is a great place to start learning.
There are countless suggestions that I could give you, and they’re all at your fingertips. This is the stuff that fires me up, so if you need any help in the process, feel free to drop me a line, as well.
At the end of the day, my main goal in concluding the Work & Workmanship section of Craig Brain this way is to encourage you that the resources you need exist. Throughout the past three months, I’ve shared so much about my processes, changes, failures, successes, and all of the ups and downs that coincide with a life lived the way my family and I have chosen to. None of it would have been possible without utilizing the tools at my/our disposal.
It won’t all come together perfectly. You can expect to fail, but that means you can expect to learn from your failures. There will be plenty of trial by error, but don’t get so overwhelmed by what you don’t know or can’t handle that it keeps you taking that first step.
In the end, I suppose my final encouragement is, simply, this: