Transcript: The FIRST Action You Should Take Before Starting a New Project

August 27, 2015

AMY PORTERFIELD: Hey there, Amy Porterfield here. Welcome to another episode of The Online Marketing Made Easy Podcast. I know you have a lot of choices when it comes to choosing your podcast episodes and I really want you to know that I truly appreciate you being here today. 

So whether you are in your commute today or are on the subway, in the car, maybe in the gym (I wish through osmosis your gym workout could make its way through my mike and benefit me as well…that would be so amazing), or maybe you’re just at home or running errands, whatever it is you are doing, thanks, so much, for tuning in. 

Today’s episode is an Ask Amy episode but it has a theme. It’s all about building your business and looking into my business to find some tips and tricks and strategies that can benefit yours as well. 

I’ve got five questions that I will run through really quickly and then we will get into each of them in detail. 

  1. Amy, what is the first thing you do before you start a brand new project? I think the answer is going to surprise you. 
  2. What is the biggest struggle in your business right now? That is one I have been dealing with for a while. 
  3. Amy, what’s one challenge you have overcome this year? I am really proud of the answer to that one. It might actually involve you so stay tuned to that. 
  4. We have noticed you haven’t been traveling much lately. What’s that about and why the change? I’ll give you the details there. 
  5. One listener wanted to know when I was just starting out whether I struggled with feeling very alone in my business. If you are feeling a little bit alone or isolated in your business, especially if you’ve quit your 9-5 and are building your own business I think you will find great value as I answer that question and I will give you some solutions to help you out. 

Now, we are going to dive into those five business-building-themed questions. Let’s do it! 

Question #1: What is the first thing I do before I start a brand new project? 

If you were in my Profit Lab in 2014 or any years before that, or if you were a part of my B-School experience this year then you already know the answer to this one. I am going to give you a second to guess that one thing I am really a stickler about and am obsessed about? 

Can you guess? 

It’s Dropbox. The first thing I do before I dive into a brand new project is set up my Dropbox folders. Some of you might be thinking that is not very interesting. It is a little step and I may have lost you. 

Come back to me because this is actually a bigger step than you even know. Inside some of my paid programs last year and for B-School this year I created a video of how I organize Dropbox. It was literally a 30-minute video. I’m not joking, I’ve heard so many times that I have changed people’s lives with my Dropbox folder. 

I know it sounds dramatic but I swear I have heard it. People love, love, love what I do with Dropbox because when you have a really well organized Dropbox you have a clearer head and you have a totally empty desktop; you shouldn’t have a million files and folders all over your desktop when you do Dropbox right. 

That might seem kind of silly or not important, but how many times have you wasted time going down a rabbit hole looking for folders or files? And how many times have you looked at your desktop and felt completely overwhelmed? Or, maybe you don’t even know this, but if your desktop was totally cleaned of random images, files, folders I will promise you that you will feel a little bit of ease instantly. 

The stress of your day can actually start to melt away a little bit when you come to your computer in the morning and it’s totally clean on the desktop. Believe me, if you haven’t ever tried it you’ve got to try this. 

Dropbox is my answer to keeping a really clean desktop. And it’s not just that I clean my desktop by throwing everything in one file and them moving it over to Dropbox. I am fully organized there and I want to help you do the same, especially for your next big project. 

Let me briefly walk you through what one of my main folders in Dropbox would look like. 

I don’t have a lot of main folders, but if you went to my computer right now my main folders (core folders) would be Programs, like my online training programs; Affiliate Relationships; Back Office, which includes all of my tax stuff and different things for my team and hiring; Free Content, which is really my podcast and everything related to my podcasts would be in that core folder. 

I try to keep the higher-level core folders to a minimum. One of the main ones is my Programs. If you go into the Program folder (I am literally looking at my computer right now so I am going to click into it) there are only three because I only have three core programs right now. I have the Profit Lab. I have my Facebook 101 Jumpstart program and then I have my Webinars that Convert program that just came out in September. 

If you go into the Profit Lab I am going to walk you through how I organize before I even get started. There are a few things you need to know. If you do this like I suggest, you want to make sure your team has access to these folders and you need to tell them it is extremely important that they use them. 

I have had to train my team to understand that I never want to go to a folder and look for something and it’s not there. Everything has its place. There is a reason for that. In the past I spent too much time searching for files I couldn’t find. It not only takes tons of time but it frustrates me and ruins my mojo in terms of how I am working on a project. If you can’t find anything you almost feel stopped in your tracks. You never want that when you are creating. 

Back to the folders. If I am in the Profit Lab folder and you are looking at my computer right now you would only see this year. Right now you will see Launch #1 – May (which already happened) and the other folder is Launch #2 – October. 

Let’s just go into Launch #2 – October because I haven’t even really started even though I have done Profit Lab so many times I know what will happen. Let’s just say this is a brand new project. When I go in there I have already created all of the folders. Of course we will fill them up with files as we get going. 

The folders look like this: Folder #1 says Promo, Folder #2 says Members. I break up my Dropbox organization into the entire promo I am creating and then the whole membership site and all of the content. Those, right off the bat, are two different folders. 

Let’s go into the Promo folder and you will see that I usually number my folders by importance. Number 1 would be Sales Webinar. As you know, I create a big webinar for the Profit Lab. It takes me a long time. It is really important that I get it right. The Sales Webinar folder is where all of the keynote go and all of the images and everything I collect to make it a great webinar. I then make subfolders, of course. 

The next one is Emails. The Email Marketing component of this launch is a big deal. Everything related to emails will go in there. I sometimes use Google.Docs so I might have a folder with a link inside that folder to a Google.Doc but I still make sure it is all organized. 

If you went into the emails you would actually find Cart Close Emails or Promo Emails or Replay Emails or Invite Emails. I actually break up the emails by the category. I just did a Periscope the other day (I know it won’t be there by the time you listen to this) where I explained exactly how I do my emails for a promo. There are different categories so that’s what the folders are, the different categories. 

Another subfolder you would find in my Promo folder is Affiliates. Anything that deals with me working with affiliates for Profit Lab has its own folder. Another one would be Facebook Ads, Sales Page, PDF Giveaway (I have started to create a PDF giveaway before I invite people to a webinar). That is all inside the Promo folder. 

Again, it is normal to have subfolder after subfolder after subfolder. It might seem like a lot of clicking but it’s five clicks versus 20 minutes of looking for something. That’s what you’ve got to remember. 

You should see me on my computer when people on my team ask me to  find something and they are sitting right next to me. Sometimes they are amazed at how quickly I can get to things. You just click through the subfolders. I know exactly where it’s at. 

That would be the Promo folder. There are more but I just wanted to give you a cursory view of that. 

Remember I said the launch is broken up into Promo and Members. So if I go into Members you would find Modules; Mastery, which includes all of the information for my Mastery program; FAQ, with any questions I randomly answer inside the program as an FAQ goes into that folder. I also have Onboarding Emails. When you join my program you get a series of mails over the first 30 days. All of those emails can be found here. 

If you go into the Modules folder you will find that each module is broken down into a folder. You click on a folder and (this is where the magic happens) I have subfolders. The subfolders will be each of the training videos inside the module. If you click there then you will find the slide deck, the cheat sheets, the audio, the transcript each in their own folders. 

Am I blowing your mind yet? I’ve got some great news in terms of Dropbox and how to use it. The freebie for today is a sneak peek behind the scenes of my computer (what I am looking at right now) and I am going to show you exactly how to set up your Dropbox for your next project. 

It’s a mini video training where you actually see my screen. You will see it in action and I am going to show you how I keep my desktop totally clean and in addition to that I am going to show you exactly the folders I use like I have explained here. But I want to walk you through it. 

I am going to give you some pointers to stay totally organized and to get your team organized with Dropbox as well. I’m telling you this could change your life. Dramatic, I know, but it’s true. Go to  and sign up for this free mini training and you will never, ever do anything different than use Dropbox to be totally organized. You can also text the phrase 72download to 33444 and you can get it instantly as well. I can’t wait for you to get your hands on that freebie. You are going to love it. 

The big lesson here, and I promise you this is a good one, if you start a project by first organizing your Dropbox folders you will know where everything is and you will start to think what needs to go into a launch. From there you can create a backlog. 

A backlog is like a project plan. If you want to see an example of my project plan all you need to do is go to The free giveaway in that episode is an entire project plan or what I call a backlog. You can actually get my launch project plan freebie download at 62download. 

I keep talking about the backlog. That is something I learned through a project planning process called SCRUM. You might have heard of it and you might even have the book. But I recently taught SCRUM at one of my bonus live events. I thought I would do a whole podcast about it. 

SCRUM is great but if you have a small business you really have to adapt it to the fact that you might have two people on your team and nobody full time. We have way smaller teams than I think SCRUM was created for so I adapt the whole thing. But it still works like gangbusters inside my business. 

I am going to teach you how I use SCRUM and how I have adapted it and it will be Episode #75. It is not out yet if you are just listening when this episode first aired. But Episode #75 is all about how I use the SCRUM process to plan all of my projects and how I adapt it for a really small business with a small team on a small budget. 

Question #2: What is the biggest struggle in your business right now? 

The biggest struggle I’m facing right now is I feel that there is a hole in my team. I feel as if someone is missing. But I am struggling to figure out whom that person might be. I tell you this because many times I feel like a chokehold in my business. 

I create all of the content. In some way or another I have my hands in every piece of content that goes out there. By saying I have my hands in it, I am pretty much doing all of it. There are some random exceptions but I always have something to do with the content that goes out. 

When I talk about content, of course, I am talking about the podcast and the podcast freebies. In addition to that I am also talking about all of my paid program content. I do all of that from start to finish. 

That is really overwhelming, of course, but I become a chokehold because it takes me longer than I think it will. Right? Doesn’t everything you do in your business usually take longer than we think it’s going to take or is that just me? Gosh, I wish you could answer back so that I don’t think I am the only one right now. 

I’m going to guess some of you are saying, “Preach it, girl” because you know we think it is going to take a day or so to finish something and we are still not done with it a week later. That happens a lot. 

Because I create all of the content I become a chokehold for my business in terms of the other team members moving things forward after the content is created. Once it is created there are a lot of things that need to happen. 

I feel the stress of being a chokehold. I know there is someone on my team that is missing that can help me with it. But here’s the problem, it’s really important to me that I am the content creator in my business. I actually never want to create a huge business where other people are creating all of my content. 

For me, I went into business because I wanted to have that creative outlet and I really enjoy creating the content. I feel that is my zone of genius, the area I do really well on…creating all of the content you might have seen in a webinar; or, if you have joined any of my programs you have seen how much detail and support I give inside those programs. That’s important to me. 

Getting back to the problem, here’s the deal: I do think I have some limiting beliefs and I want you to ask yourself where you might have limiting beliefs in your business where you think you need to do it all but in reality we all know we can get extra support. That’s one thing I am starting to work on with my business coach, Todd Herman. 

We literally had a phone call yesterday. It was me, Todd, and Trivinia, my assistant. I do a coaching call each week and I had Trivinia sit in on my call because I wanted her to be the voice of reason. She knows how I work. She knows where I get stuck and she is going to see things about me that I might not want to admit or don’t see. She has a different view so she can kind of tell on me to Todd, “Well, really Amy thinks she needs to have her hands on everything, Todd. How do you feel about that?” 

That was one of my favorite things she said yesterday. It kind of stung a little but she is totally right. It’s not truly that I’m a perfectionist or control freak and I would tell you if I was. It is that I really want to make sure that I’m doing the job of making sure I’m putting the right messaging out and my branding is on point and it is a full value and you are really going to get something out of it. 

I feel I need to make sure I’m part of that because I have this vision. So, Todd is making me realize (and this is for all of you) if you feel there is a hole in your business and you feel something is missing or you are just starting out with no help (believe me you need help) everybody should at least have a part-time or a few-hours-a-week VA to start with. 

The first question Todd asked was to have me back up and instead of telling him who I thought should fill that hole I should think about where I want my business to go. The way I saw it, one year from now (we’re not talking five to 20 years from now) what do I want my business to look like. 

For me, there are just a few small tweaks for me to get to where I want my business to be. I feel it is almost there. I am 95% there. I have a business that is running exactly how I want it to run but that 5% is a big 5% for me because I want it to be more streamlined. I want to take myself out of some things and rely on my team enough and know that they have this and I don’t have to have my hands in everything. 

In addition to that, I need a sidekick that will help me with my content and really know you as my audience, know what you need, know what I teach, and can offer value and also really get in there and suggest different ways that I create content, offer more stories and metaphors, and examples to compliment the vision I already have. That’s what I really want, a sidekick. 

But Todd says I’m not ready to decide what I really want yet because I first have to get really clear on what I want my business to look like. I want you to do that as well. Maybe even take just 20 minutes and if you feel like something is missing on your team or you are struggling in a way, what exactly do you want your business to look like. 

If we could snap our fingers and tomorrow your business was working properly what would that look like? Then go back and say, “Okay, how are we going to get there? Who needs to help us make that happen?” 

That part was really, really big for me. It is something I am working on right now because I don’t want to be a chokehold and I feel we are a little bit light in terms of full support for the team, especially with things I want to create in the future. 

That’s kind of what I am working on and what I am struggling with right now. 

Question #3: What is one challenge you have overcome this year? 

I am really proud of this one. This actually came from help from my coach, Todd, as well. I have always had private Facebook groups for my paid programs. I create two tiers when you join Profit Lab. You either get independent study or you get mastery. Mastery comes with a private Facebook group and for the first 90 days in that group I am going to jump in daily, Monday through Friday, and answer questions. 

That is important to me because most people that have private Facebook groups have a leader that is not the main person. Most people running businesses don’t have time to jump in the group every single day to answer questions. I know there are people out there that have private Facebook groups that do that and I really give you credit because I know how hard it is now that I do it. But as your business grows that becomes more and more difficult. 

As a Mastery member I say that you get to join my private Facebook group for a full year and we limit it to 100 or 200 people only. But then I say for the first 90 days of the program I am in the group daily, Monday through Friday, and I answer every single question. That is crazy town, right? 

I have to admit I have not enjoyed it in the past. It has been extremely overwhelming. I would miss a day because I was traveling and then I would jump back in and there would be hundreds of questions. It caused me a lot of anxiety. I have probably said this before, but I am truly an introvert. I enjoy being behind the computer and working alone and creating and all that good stuff. 

Of course, I’m social but I have to stretch myself a little bit when I get into a situation where there are a lot of questions coming my way and I need to be “on” a lot. That is what it started to feel inside my Facebook groups. I worked with Todd and told him about this challenge. Nothing was really changed. Still, when I jump in the groups there are tons of questions coming my way. I need to be on and need to think fast. I need to really be present. But Todd really made me understand that this was a huge opportunity for two things:

  1.  For me to serve and really be a support to these people that are working so hard to build their businesses. When you put it that way I thought, gosh, I am being a little bit selfish by making it all about me and my struggle with the group where, really truly, I get to serve.
  2.  He asked if I knew how much intel I would receive and how much I would learn about my target market if I am fully present and stay up on it and really pay attention to the questions that are being asked. 

That’s the one that really trigger me to say, “Okay, I’ve got to go into this differently.” 

So if you’re having a struggle in your business and you really want to overcome something it might not be that you have to change how you are doing it, it might not be that you have to throw out one process and add a new one or hire someone to take care of it for you. It might just be that you’ve got to look at it differently. 

I don’t think that’s the truth for everything, but for me in this situation, that was very much the truth. I had to approach this group differently. I go in everyday with this being an opportunity for me to serve. I promised I would do this so, of course, I need to be true to my word. And I get to learn a lot from them! 

We are in 2015 right now and I’ve already launched Profit Lab. I totally redid it for this year and it has launched once. When I launch it again in October, first of all the people that joined in May get all of the changes I make for October, but in addition I am thinking that I want to do this a little bit differently. 

I want to add a few things based on what I have learned. I have seen where the Number One struggle is coming through. I want to redo that  video.  And,  for  the record, it’s pixels. People get really confused with custom audience pixels and conversion-tracking pixels and people want to pull their hair out because it’s a big part of my program because I teach Facebook advertising inside the Profit Lab. 

I am going to redo that video, I’m going to add some videos to help people that aren’t yet seeing sales in their sales funnel. And I would have never had any of these ideas of how to make my program better for October if it weren’t for me really listening inside this Facebook group to my May group. 

So, I want to thank you guys if you are a part of my Profit Lab Mastery member group from May 2015. You have definitely given me a gift as well and hopefully you felt supported in the meantime. But I know these people really well. And that’s awesome! 

It gives me a lot of confidence to keep creating and adding and tweaking my programs. I was a mindset shift but my biggest challenge that I have overcome is being fully present in Facebook groups everyday. It has been a huge gift for me and hopefully for those in the groups as well. 

Question #4: I have noticed you haven’t been traveling a lot this year. Why the change? 

I thought this was a great question because I think this can help you decide on where you want to spend your time in your business. To be totally honest, I don’t necessarily love traveling for business. 

I do love to meet people when I get out and about. I love to go to different trainings and sometimes I enjoy speaking on stage, it depends on the circumstances. I love that stuff. However, the whole travel part of it, getting ready for it, changing my schedule around for it, putting things on the back burner because I’m going to be on a plane or traveling. When I’m on the road the quality of my work on other projects really goes down. 

I noticed that about me and I just didn’t feel good about it. I also had plans this year. I am creating this big webinar course and that took a huge chunk of the team’s time and my time. In addition to that I wanted to focus more on my strengths. 

My strengths are all about content creation and dialing in the systems in my business so that I can create content on a consistent basis. That’s been huge for me. If I were on the road this year a lot that would have never happened. 

I am doing my podcast weekly now. For most podcast episodes we add a PDF or freebie. That takes a lot of work. All of that wouldn’t have happened if I were running around on the road a lot. 

So for me to not travel means I get to spend more quality time on the areas that I am best in my business. I don’t typically love to be on the road a lot because I miss my family like crazy. Back in my corporate days that was all I did. I was probably on the road three weeks out of each month sometimes. So I’ve been there and done that and just don’t love it anymore. 

I tell you this because it wasn’t a huge big deal that I’m not traveling because I’m doing XYZ and this is a must for my business. It was important but it was really about deciding what I wanted to do and where I want to spend my time. 

I had to get on the NO train and I had to say no to things that came by way even though they looked really enticing. If someone came to me and asked me to speak on their stage for X amount of money (and the money was good) I still had to say no because I knew that wasn’t my focus for the year. 

I made a conscious decision in January that I wouldn’t be speaking on stage a lot. I wouldn’t be going to a lot of training events. I would put my head down, get my work done, and focus on the things I really wanted to spend time on. That’s exactly what I did. It hasn’t always been easy to say no but I am really happy I have done it. Sure, I have been on a few trips. I didn’t say no to all travel but I did for the majority of it. 

In addition to that I know that webinars are my thing. I love doing webinars. Of course you do them virtually so being at home and being able to reach people all across the country with a webinar means I don’t need to get on a plane and be away from my family. 

I love that opportunity and that’s probably a big reason I decided to create the webinar program. I want to give that gift to other people that if they want to stop traveling a little bit or if you don’t have the budget to travel yet or if it is just not part of your YES train and you just don’t want to travel a lot, webinars are a great way to make sure you are still connecting with your audience, you are getting out great valuable content, and you are generating revenue. 

To me, webinars were my answer to not having to travel so much. Again, I want to be clear that it’s important to get yourself out there, especially in those early days. Go to those networking events, meet people, go to trainings, speak on stage. All of that is important but only if you truly want to do it and you are genuinely going to be present. 

I noticed myself not being fully present last year when I was traveling and I thought I should reevaluate. So, for me it was just a personal decision and I wanted to focus on things at home, in my business, with more clarity and more conviction in terms of this being exactly what I want to get done this year. That meant traveling less. 

Question #5: When you were first starting out did you feel a bit alone in your business? 

I never felt lonely in those first few years. But there is a reason for that. I left corporate. I left traveling all the time. I left being in an office with a lot of chatter where you could bounce ideas off people and go visit them. You are never alone in corporate, when you are actually working in an office. 

But when I quit corporate and had my home office it could have gotten really quiet and really lonely quickly, especially because I was so used to all that chatter and energy at the office. 

But for me I needed a break. The quiet time was a really nice change that I got. In addition to that, before I left corporate I had signed up for Marie Forleo’s Rich, Happy, and Hot live mastermind. Four times a year I would go on the road (I was traveling more then) and we would mastermind. 

It might be New York or Mexico or Northern California. Those were some of the places we went. I would actually travel and meet with a group of about 20 women entrepreneurs. The leader was Marie and we would mastermind. That was my way of connecting with other people that were building their businesses. Once a month we would get on the phone. 

So I had people to bounce ideas off of and I had a support system. I actually did that for the first two years of my business. From there I started to create smaller masterminds with my peers. I didn’t pay for it after those first two years but I would help friends of mine create our own little mastermind. 

I have never felt alone and I have never felt I had to do it all because I have always had support. I could get on the phone with these people. I could travel and see them and all that good stuff. 

Why do I tell you this and why did I choose this one? If you missed it, in Episode #71 I interviewed Jaime Tardy. Jaime is a master at helping you create your own mastermind. If you want to create your own mastermind and you want to learn a little bit more about my story with masterminding and what did and didn’t work and if you want the steps to actually create your own mastermind then you have to check out Episode #71 with Jaime Tardy where we went into full detail about how to create your own mastermind. 

It is fantastic because there is no reason you should feel alone in all of this. You never want to go down there because it will squash your creativity. So surround yourself with people that will build you up and help move you forward. To me, any kind of mastermind, whether it is paid or free or local or virtual, is so very valuable and that was my saving grace in those first few years. 

There you have it! Hopefully you found this episode valuable. Don’t forget to grab the freebie. I’m telling you it will change your life. I just know it. 

If you want to see exactly how I use Dropbox, how I keep a clean desktop and you want to literally go behind the scenes with me and see what I do to set up my projects inside Dropbox all you need to do is go to 72download and you can get it instantly. Or, you can text the phrase 72download to 33444 and you can get it instantly that way as well. 

Once again, thank you so very much for being with me here today. Next week’s episode is about webinars. I already did one episode about webinars but we are getting into more detail. I am going to give you all my webinar secrets so you really understand not only the power of webinars but how to do them so you feel really confident in terms of creating the content, going from free content to selling, what to do after the webinar. We are going to get into all of it in detail. 

So, I’ll see you next week and thank you so much for being here. Bye for now. 

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