How to Spring Clean Your Website

Spring cleaning your business website is definitely NOT the FUN part of what needs to get done in your business. However, it’s important.

Why it is important to keep your website clean (or updated):

  1. You don’t want to leave your website open to hackers and viruses
  2. Your audience depends on your content to help them in their business/life/etc.
  3. You could lose your website if you fail to keep your hosting contact details updated.
  4. You’re a professional and you see your website as an important extension of your business.

** Disclaimer: This post will contain affiliate links. If you click on the links and make a purchase, I will receive a commission at no extra cost to you.

How to Spring Clean Your Website

Here are a few ways to keep your website cleaned:

Update your website software. For example, if you are using the self-hosted CMS WordPress, be sure to only use the updated version of WordPress. The latest version as of this post was March 31, 2020.

Enable Firewall protection – It’s like an online shield for your website. Companies like Sucuri.net provides firewall protection for your website.

 

Change your passwords on a regular basis. – Stop using your birthday and anniversary for your password. You might as well leave your home door unlocked when you go to work.

*Password Tip: Start using a password manager like: Peguta or LastPass. They’re online and free.

Run a virus scan on your computer. – In many of cases, websites are compromised due to desktop malware that steals credentials.

Back up your website. If your website is compromised, you can always reinstall your website from an older (cleaned copy). You can use free backup plugins such as Updraft Plus or your hosting company make daily backups of your website.

And at the end of day, we all need a little peace of mind, right?

(Reference: Sucuri Blog)

Additional website and website hosting housekeeping

Every business needs to have a “digital platform management procedure” in place in order to keep their website running consistently.

1. Keep your website domain and hosting contact details updated.

Even if someone set it up for you, it’s always good to go in periodically and update any email and mailing addresses that might have changed. Your website hosting company will send you periodic emails about your account, when it’s due or expired. You can update your contact details in your host provider.

For example:  If you purchased your domain and hosting through Godaddy, they have a helpful guide on how and where to change your domain.

If you’re not sure where your host company is, you can check thru the WhoIS directory.

2. Be sure your information is updated in the WhoIS directory > https://whois.icann.org/en/using-whois>>>

What is the Whois Directory? The Whois database is an online repository of information associated with registered domain names. It stores and publicly displays domain name information, such creation and expiration dates, the registrar of record, and its various contacts (registrant, billing, administrative, and technical). This information is generally controlled where you purchased the domain. If you forgot where you purchased your domain, you can go to whois.icann.org to find out.

3. Keep your payment details updated with your website domain and website hosting provider.

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This ensures that your website hosting doesn’t get interrupted with your host provider. Sometimes host companies will charge a fee to re-install any deleted hosting information. However, some may not keep your website files after your hosting is discontinued.

4. Review your current hosting plan each year to see if you need to upgrade or downgrade.

As your business grows, so will your website hosting space needs. Think of your website like a house, as you add more stuff to it (posts, photos, videos, etc), you are taking up more digital space.

Also most hosting companies also come with email. The more emails you send and receive, the more digital space you will need. Of course you can clean up (or delete the emails or data that you don’t need).

5. Back up all your website information at least once a month or weekly (depending on how often you update your website)

WordPress users have options for website backup plugins. Choose the one that works best for you.

Check with your host company or webmaster to see what their policy is for auto backups of your website data.

In conclusion

Digital spring cleaning isn’t always fun, however, it must be done to ensure that the digital side of your business doesn’t fall apart.

If you don’t have the time or energy to work on it yourself, consider outsourcing it to a local tech person or someone you trust.

And you can do it all with ease and grace.

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How to Set Up a Video Studio in Your Home

You don’t need a fancy studio to create videos for your business.

In this post, I’ll share with you a simple way to set up your home.

I recorded a Facebook live recently showing how I turned my apartment porch into a studio.

(Disclaimer: If the noise outside gets too loud or the weather is bad, you can easily take this indoors.)

The supplies you will need for your home studio:

A good background. You could use fabric (bed sheet or 3 yards of fabric) or poster board wide enough to cover the background behind you. If you decide to use your home as your background, make sure it’s not cluttered because this could distract your audience. Be sure your background (whether it’s natural or not) reflects your brand and the mood you want to set.

 

Something to pin the fabric to or drape it over. In the video I’m using a garment rack. However  you can easily pin this to your wall. Use pins or nails that can hold the weight of the fabric or poster board.

 

Good lighting. The light should always be in the front of your face so that you are easily seen on camera. In this video I used the light on the wall and a lamp in front of me. Remember to make sure that all the bulbs are the same wattage and type. If you prefer to bypass this and buy a professional lighting kit, that works, too.

 

Something to hold the device you are filming from. Because your arms will get tired trying to be your own cameraman. In this video I use a desk for my laptop. For my phone I will often use a tripod. (Here’s a link to a fancy one on Amazon.com)

 

Another device for your notes. You can turn your iPad into a teleprompter or a notepad that has your show notes on it. I like to have it handy with the outline for my video.

how to set up your video studio in your home pin

In Conclusion:

You can set up a professional-looking video studio from the comfort of your home. The investment is minimal and many of the supplies you might have around your home.

Adding videos to your website and recording videos for your clients can help you in building your brand.

Supercharge Your Business Growth – 5 Ways to Get Organized

It’s a new year and we all know what that means. Resolutions, good intentions, and hopefully a ton of growth in 2020!

If you’re planning on growing your business, though, you need to have a solid plan of organization.

I’m not going to lie. It’s tough to stay organized and on task, all the while looking at your bottom line. Over the years, though, I’ve learned that cutting corners to “save time,” in the end only causes more stress, and eventually the loss of revenue.

You know what I’m talking about.

It’s when you decide that you’ll move that client file to right digital spot when you have time. Or, that you’ll sit down and make your weekly to-do list later, but right now you have to get to work because someone has to pay the bills!

Ultimately, you just end up spending more time (hence, money) later on when you’re trying to find that missing file or when you have that sneaking suspicion you’ve forgotten to do something (like a client project).

Let’s let this year be the year we all kick the bad habit of organization neglect. Here are a few of my tried and true tips and tools for easing the overwhelm and getting organized.

Pin - five ways to get organized in your business

5 Ways to Beat Organization Neglect

Take a few minutes each morning to plan. It can be tempting to roll with the punches and tackle every project or issue that happens to confront you during the day. It’s also exhausting! So take a few minutes each morning to think about what you want to accomplish this week. Then think about what you want or need to accomplish that day. Tie up any loose ends from the day before and then work methodically through your task list.

Use project management apps. A few of my favorites include ToDoist and Trello. I’ve used ToDoist when working with clients and I use Trello as a tool to plan my blog posts, content, and my goals. It integrates with many other apps, and it’s free!

Set a timer. How many times have you thought to yourself,“Oh that takes about five minutes to do,” and an hour and a half later, you’re still at it. Setting a timer helps to keep you aware of how you spend your time. Also, if you have clients that you bill by the project, it will help you to provide a more accurate estimate as well as keep you on task so you don’t lose money. Toggl is a great tool for keeping track of your time — both for solopreneurs and for teams.

Don’t let your inbox get overwhelmed. Alright, this is definitely easier said than done. However, it’s totally possible to get to inbox zero (I admit I’m still working on this!). Make it your goal to address your email every day at a fixed time. Reply to any emails that warrant a response, and if they involve a to-do item, put it on your Trello list. Delete any emails that you don’t need. Email extensions like Sortd can help you to organize your emails and even integrate tasks, put snooze timers on emails, and sort them into lists that you’ve created.

Name your files and/or label them. If you’ve noticed that “wheel of death” (for Mac users) or the timer that just won’t go away (for PC lovers), it’s probably time to do some digital cleanup. However, when looking at your thousands of files, it can be overwhelming to try and sort through them all. So, this year, make it your resolve to clearly label all of your files. For instance, if you have client image files, name them all something consistent, like “[Client Name] — [Images] — [Image Name].” When you have to delete old files, it will be so much easier to do so!

I hope these simple tips help you to get ready for an amazing new year with lots of growth, and of course, an incredibly organized business!

How to Create Your Youtube Channel

Having a Youtube channel is a great way to show off your skills (like hair styling, tech consulting, health coaching, etc.)

I started my channel in 2008 as a way to share tips on hair care, makeup applications tips and style ideas. I’ve since used my channel to include branding, business and tech tips for others looking to grow their side hustle into a business.

Screenshot of my youtube channel makemeovereb2008

Screenshot of my youtube channel youtube.com/makemeovereb2008 – and how it looks as of January 2020

I’ve learned a lot since creating my YouTube channel back in 2008.

  • Always be willing to learn from experts in your field
  • Understanding why you’re using your channel. I like to call this an overall brand strategy. (Download my Free Brand Blueprint guide)
  • Review your analytics each month to see which videos connects with your audience. Use this information to create useful content

One of my favorite YouTube experts is James Wedmore. Using his tips on how to get more traction to my videos have boosted my videos views over 100%, help me grow channel subscribers, help me build my email list for my website and lead to new business.

So yeah, having a YouTube channel is a great (and fun) way to build your personal/professional brand. But how do you get started?

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Of course there is a video (from Youtube) on how to create your Youtube Channel. 

How To Make A YouTube Channel! (2016 Beginners Guide)


Or if you prefer the written step-by-step. Here are a few steps to get you started via the Google support site.

Create a new channel

With a Google Account, you can watch, like, and subscribe. Google Accounts don’t come with a YouTube channel by default; without a channel, you have no public presence on YouTube.

To upload, comment, or make playlists, create a public YouTube channel. Currently this can’t be done in the Android or iOS YouTube apps, but you can use the mobile site or a computer:

Create a personal channel with your name

  1. Make sure you’re signed in to YouTube.
  2. Try any action that requires a channel: e.g. upload, post a comment, or create a playlist.
  3. If you don’t yet have a channel, you’ll see a prompt to create a channel.
  4. Check the details (with your Google account name and photo) and confirm to create your new channel.

Create a channel with a business or other name

  1. On a computer or in a mobile browser, make sure you’re signed in to YouTube.
  2. Go to All my channels.
  3. If you want to make a YouTube channel for a Google+ page that you manage, you can choose it here. Otherwise, choose Create a new channel to set up a channel with a different name than your Google account name.
  4. Fill out the details to create your new channel.

Learn more about using a channel with a business or other name on YouTube.

Now how to create a video via James Wedmore (the video expert).

How to Create a VIDEO

(Length 5:23)

Resources every Youtuber needs to know

In conclusion:

Having a Youtube channel can be a beneficial part of your overall branding strategy for your business. Or if you want to create one for personal branding, that’s cool, too! Remember to enjoy the process, learn from your mistakes and update where needed.

Book Review: Zoey’s First Plane Ride by Kaela Harmon

Experience what air travel is like through the eyes of a 5 year old child in Kaela Harmon’s first book, “Zoey’s First Plane Ride”. This is my MMOE chat with Kaela about her first book.

Available on Amazon: http://a.co/6wCOaP5

6 Simple Ways to Make Tax Season Easier

Tax season might be one of the most stressful times of the year. However, there is a way to make it less stressful.

With a little bit of planning and having the right tools, you can get thru another tax season. Here are a few steps I like to take to ease the overwhelm of tax season.

In full disclosure, this post will include some affiliate links, which means that, in no extra cost to you, I will will earn a compensation if you click through and make a purchase.

1. Use an accounting program

I like using Freshbooks, an online small business accounting software program. The program is easy to use, is fast and secure and my accountant loves it, too. With Freshbooks, you can record expenses, link to your preferred bank account, create invoices and estimates for clients, run profit and loss reports and provide access for your accountant… All from the app, desktop or tablet.

2. Keep your previous year’s return in an easily accessible file cabinet.

You will most likely need your previous year’s Adjusted Gross Income to include on the current tax year form. Unless you save it digitally, it helps to have the previous year’s return handy.

3. Create a tax return file folder clearly labeled

Whether you’re filing single, joint or married, having all your paperwork in one place will be a time saver. If some of your documents are sent digitally, I recommend creating a folder on your computer or in a file sharing dropbox labeled something like “20xx Tax Documents”.

4. Create a checklist

I like to print the list from IRS.gov (for US residents) and tap it on the front of my tax file return folder. As I add items to the folder, I check off the list. This helps me stay organized.

5. Save a little money just in case you need to pay.

We all would like a tax refund, however, there are times when you might have to pay. So to prepare for this, put a little money away in an interest-bearing savings account. I recommend talking to a professional certified public accountant to get advice on what amount is good to save.

6. Get an accountant

Unless you were a math whiz in school or understand all the new tax laws, I recommend working with a certified public accountant. I used to do our family taxes for years, but I realized that paying someone else gave me peace of mind. Accounting wasn’t my favorite subject in school, and it isn’t now. Having a professional on my team helps ease the pressure of feeling like I need to do it all.

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In conclusion.

Being able to plan ahead and use an easy accounting program has helped me not dread tax season (as much as I used to). I hope you use these tips and breeze thru this tax season, too.

5 Easy Ways to Ease Your Nerves Before a Presentation

Eb teaching blogging for City of Columbia-Sept2014

True story. I get nervous before a presentation. While teaching a workshop on blogging and creating websites (circa 2014), I felt like cotton was being formed in my mouth as I talked. ?

But as the session moved along, and I had a nice sip of water, my nerves were eased.

Truth be told, it was more than the sip of water that helped me during the presentation.

Here are several tips, that I’ve learned, to use that can help calm your nerves before and during your presentation.

1. Arrive Early. When I arrive early, I am able to get used to my surroundings, ‘freshen up’, get a cup of water and lay out my documents if need be. Arriving early helps me not feel rushed. I may not always get it right, but my best presentations have happened when I arrived early to an event.

2. Meet and greet as many as you can before your presentation begins. This will help you feel like you are talking to people you’ve already met. You can even reference them during the presentation perhaps with questions or make eye contact with them.

3. Start off slow and pause during your presentation. Speaking slowly in the beginning leaves room for you to build momentum during your presentation. Pausing during moments allows for emphasis of various points, and is a great way to allow what you say to ‘sink in’ to your audience. Also, it allows you time to catch your breath if you feel hurried.

4. Take deep breaths. “The many benefits of deep breathing include a reduction in stress and blood pressure, strengthening of abdominal and intestinal muscles and relief of general body aches and pains. Deep breathing also promotes better blood flow, releases toxins from the body and aids in healthy sleep.” (Livestrong.com)

4. Drink water.  Even the best speakers and performers can get dry mouth while talking. Keep a water bottle handy so you can take a sip, especially during your dramatic pauses.

In Conclusion

It’s normal to get nervous before a presentation, especially if it’s your first time presenting on a topic or speaking to a new audience. However, applying these few tips will help you deliver your presentation with ease and delight your audience.

By, the way, in the follow-up survey, the participants said they enjoyed the class, but they said they wanted to learn more on the subject.  This was a reminder that there is always room for improvement, but I was happy that they wanted me to teach them again.

It’s always a good sign when you are requested to return to speak/train again at an organization.

Creating a Social Media Content Plan and Schedule

What can you do to ease the overwhelm of creating content for your social media sites?  Managing multiple social media accounts for yourself can get a little be overwhelming, however, breathe easy because there is a better way.  In today’s post, I’ll share my tips on how you can  ease the overwhelm in creating your content and scheduling it.

Clarify your “why”. Write it down. What is the reason you are doing all of this anyway. What will working on your business or posting to your Facebook page mean for you?

Clarify who you are selling to? Write it down. Knowing who you are wanting to reach will help you define your message. The needs of teens are different from the needs of mothers, fathers and grandparents.

Clarify how your services are helping to solve a problem for others? Write it down. Getting clarity on how your services help solve a problem, will help you promote it better.

Clarify your message. Write it down. What are you really trying to say? If someone asked you today, what would you say? Is it clear? Does it make sense to you? Don’t be afraid to get help putting your message into words that appeals to those you are trying to serve.

On paper create a schedule for the next week that speaks to your audience, inspires them and helps them using your services. Your posts can be photos, text or both.

Use Canva.com to create your graphics. (How to Create Flyers and Graphics Using Canva.com– Instead of recreating the wheel, use templates that work.

Use a scheduler tool like the Buffer app to schedule your posts. Batching your posts for the week can save you hours of time. Having your core posts scheduled will give you time to work on other areas of your business. If you want to jump in “live” on certain days, schedule that time, too.

As you create a system for marketing your business online, you will start to feel more productive. Being productive helps you stay organized and focused on what’s important. Good systems in your business will come in handy when you need to bring on additional help.

So, what systems do you have in place for your online marketing?

Five Questions to Ask Yourself Before Starting Your Business

I’ve always had the desire to start a business. At 15 years old, I was inspired by the literary series “The Baby-sitters’ Club to start my own business.  So I called my friends together. We decided who was going to be president, secretary and treasurer then we got started on our ideas about our little business. Although, our little venture didn’t last long, I remember the process as being fun.

Truth be told, when I decided to turn Make Me Over, Eb from just a blog into a REAL business, I honestly just jumped right in without really knowing what I was doing. I just knew I needed to make some money and I needed to do it FAST. Well, I’ve definitely made some money and many mistakes along the way, but I’ve learned from these mistakes that there is always time to refresh, revive and renew your approach to your business. I’ve also come to appreciate that you must be willing to always be open to training in your field of expertise. This is how you grow.

Over the years, I’ve learned that you need to do more than know who’s the president, secretary and treasurer of a business in order for it to work. There are some important factors (in addition to getting appropriate legal licensing) to consider before starting a business. In this post, I will outline five questions you should ask yourself BEFORE you start your business.

5 questions before business start

1. Who will I sell to?  Understanding who your ideal client is will help you SPEAK directly to them when you are marketing your services to them. For example, is your client female or male? Does she have kids? Is she married. How old is she? How will your service help solve her problem with X. (More on that later.)

2. What will I sell? Create a signature program/service/product that you can start promoting immediately to your ideal client. The program would be the solution to a ‘problem’ your ideal client is having. For example, acne cream helps people with acne problems. Price the program at a rate that is takes into account your time, expertise and VALUE you are giving the client.

3. How much money (or revenue) do I want to bring in monthly? Revenue is the amount of money you need to bring in to operate your business and pay yourself. Learning to create  a revenue and profit goal will help you with knowing what goal that you need to reach this month. When you reach your goal each month, this will motivate you to keep going. Also from this, you will decide how much you want to pay yourself (per hour).

4. How much am I willing to invest in marketing and advertising? Whether you purchase ads or not or use someone to make calls for you, you will need a budget to make this happen. Decide up front what you are able to spend on marketing and advertising your services. Did you know that for as low as $5/day you can purchase targeted ads on Facebook for your products and services. BTW, you will need to create a Facebook page for your business in order to advertise. (Click here to create your Facebook page.) You can target the ad to your ideal client for maximum results.

5. Do I have an internet presence? When you need to find a product where do you search first? The phone book or Google? Yeah, your clients will be searching Google, too. Wouldn’t be nice if your services came up in a nice attractive website? Create a simple one-page website with a list of your services and contact information so people can contact you. Setting up a simple one-page website can be done in a few hours. Many hosting companies such as Godaddy.com will walk you thru the website set-up process. If you don’t want to be bothered with that, hire a professional to get it up for you. Use the money from your marketing budget for your website. You can always grow your website as you get established.

Many things have changed since I was 15, however, what hasn’t changed is the need to PLAN before you get started on a new venture. I’m sure there are more questions you will answer as you get the ball rolling with your business. However, for now we’ll tackle these five. It’s best to take a little at a time. You can always improve on the process.

What do you think? Did you find this information helpful?