Challenge FAQs

Won’t a challenge take a lot of time and effort?

Yes they are hard work, but if they are done right can generate lots of new leads for your business, as well as grow awareness of your brand

How do I make money from my challenge?

Add lots of value, but don’t overwhelm them

Make sure you have something to offer at the end, if they had a good experience, they’ll understand how much more you have to offer

Will a challenge really help me grow my business?

Absolutely. They can help generate leads, build brand awareness, and get your name out there as someone who knows their subject matter

What should I have in place before starting my challenge?
  • Materials for each day of the challenge
  • A way of signing people up to your challenge
  • And a way to deliver your daily challenge
What should I include in my challenge?

Each day you should ‘teach’ them something new and give out ‘homework’ so they can practice what they’ve learned and ask questions about anything they don’t understand

How long should my challenge be?

It depends on the subject of your challenge. What you will be including. The depth and/or breadth of information you’re delivering. The most successful challenges are relatively short. Between 5 & 10 days. This has the highest likelihood of people completing the challenge. I wouldn’t suggest that your challenge is longer than 30 days

How often should I run my challenge?

There is no definitive answer on the number of times you should run your challenge. They are hard work so you probably won’t want to be doing them every week, or even every month. Plus if you run them too often, then people won’t have the fear of missing out, because they’ll know that they can sign up next time, if they miss one. Maybe once a quarter would be a good schedule to trial

How important is it for people to complete the challenge?

People who see real value in what you are offering and don’t find it too difficult to complete the challenge are more likely to buy from you in the future. If they don’t finish the challenge they may not realise how much you have to offer them

What do I need in place before my challenge starts?

At minimum, you will need the materials you are going to deliver each day, or at least day 1, if you are designing it on the fly. You will need somewhere to deliver the materials and a way of promoting the challenge, so you get people to take part

What technical knowledge do I need to have to run a challenge?

Of course, it will be easier if you know how to create a sign-up page and autoresponder, as this would allow you to collect contacts to email special offers in the future. But actually as long as you know how to use social media and in particular how to set up a Facebook group, then you can host everything from there

How do I get people to take part in my challenge?

Make sure you are running a challenge that helps your ideal client with a particular problem and that you promote how it helps them. This won’t guarantee you lots of sign-ups, but does increase the likelihood that they’ll see it and want to take part

Planning a challenge

Planning a challenge

When thinking about doing a challenge to help grow your business, it is important that you set out your plan and then work to your plan.

I suppose you could just wing it…. Let it develop organically as participants go through the challenge, but this could look unprofessional, not joined up, not logical…

The thing about having a plan is that it enables you to think about what you need. It allows you to look further into the future and identify what you need to do and allows you to understand how much work each bit is going to take.

Creating a challenge is hard work. They can be really valuable, but they’re not easy!  If you’re just winging it, then you’ll probably find that you spending all your time answering questions, creating lots of materials, rambling and generally regretting you’ve even started the challenge..

The first thing you need to start with when planning your challenge is understanding what you want to achieve. Be really clear about your goal, what is the purpose of the challenge? Why have you decided to undertake this piece of work.

If you don’t know this fundamental step then it’s going to be a waste of your time. There’s a number of different reasons for producing a challenge. You might want to build your list, bring customers deeper into your sales funnel, increase brand awareness, Sell your signature programme etc.

By doing a challenge, people will understand what you offer, and it can help generate more interest. If they find the challenge valuable they will recommend you and that will help position you as an expert in your field. In that way, it will help you build credibility. So that’s the most important thing we need to do before anything else.

Next you need to look at who your challenge will be developed for. Are they beginners, intermediates or advanced?

Once you know who your ideal client is and what your goals are you can then look at the topic of your challenge and set out exactly what it is going to cover.

Knowing the topic of your challenges means that you understand the scope of the challenge and from there you can work out the sequence of information that you’re going to provide to your audience.

Once you have your main subject areas, you can then create the materials that will support your challenge. Make sure these are limited to the problem you have identified. You might think more is better, but you don’t want to confuse your audience and overwhelm them with resources that aren’t relevant.

Once you’ve chosen your topic, and created the materials around that topic, You will know how long needs the challenge today. It might be that actually, you cut down the amount of materials so that it fits with shorter time period. You can always use the additional materials as paid offerings, or bonus materials for those who complete challenge. Then you need to plan how you’re going to promote it. Are you going to have paid ads, affiliates, just organic growth. Do you have the necessary expertise, or do you need to get some help?

And then you need to plan the delivery. When are you go to give information around the daily topic, are you going to ask them to do homework, will you monitor whether they complete them?

How often are you going to be available for them? 24/7 is not realistic so are you going to be available at certain periods of the day? How are you going to engage with them? What platforms are you going to use? Do you know how to use them, or do you need to learn?

All those things that you need to plan before you even before you start?

I would use a mind map, brainstorm everything you might need to do to create challenge And then plan it all out. You can create themes of work from your map and even develop a detailed project plan of everything you need to do to make sure you cover everything off.

This way, once your challenge is actually in full flow, you can relax a little in the knowledge that you have everything in place. This will give you the time you need to be fully present during your challenge and be able to add as much value as possible

To know more about running a successful challenge, buy my challenge toolkit. It contains everything you need to know.

A handbook, which guides you through everything you need to prepare and plan your challenge.

A playbook, to help you develop all the materials you need.

A planner will help you make sure you are prepared for each stage of your challenge,

A checklist will give you a quick confirmation that you have everything you need before you start.

A guide to the tech you will need to promote and deliver the challenge

Prepare, plan and perform; creating a profitable challenge

Prepare, plan and perform; creating a profitable challenge

How many of you have ran a challenge?

Was it successful? Did it achieve what you wanted it to achieve?

For a lot of people the answer is no.. They may have started a challenge, but hardly anyone joined up, no-one engaged during the challenge, and it certainly didn’t make any more sales for them.

Sound familiar? For me it does. A couple of years into my new business, I decided to run a Trello challenge, so I set up the videos, created a facebook group and email list, did some promotions, had a landing page etc, all the things I thought I should have..

But I was new to the idea of challenges, and didn’t actually research what made a good challenge. I was quite naive.. In the words of Kevin Costner in the movie Field of Dreams (I know, showing my age now!)… I thought that ‘If I build it, they will come’…

Guess what, they never!

It was a failure! 3 people signed up. I think only 1 of those finished… I was gutted. I knew that Trello was a good tool, and that using it helps small businesses better plan the day to day activities, as well as manage new projects. So, felt really deflated

It totally put me off of doing any more challenges, even though I knew the benefits of doing them.

But then I started being on the receiving end of challenges. One of the participants

And through that, learnt what worked and what didn’t. The things that made me complete the challenge, and those challenges that didn’t actually meet my expectations, and therefore I gave up half way through.

So back to basics, what is a challenge?

According to the Collins dictionary, it’s something new and difficult, which requires great effort and determination.

So why would you want to develop a challenge, well, there are a number of reasons:

A challenge is way of getting your current clients, or potential clients interested in what you have to offer.

It can be used to raise awareness of your expertise, of your brand, or it can help you promote a particular product that you want to sell. It can also help you to try out a little section of your new offering to see if people are interested in what you’re going to be putting out.

It can be an integral part of your sales pipeline, but they aren’t the silver bullet, the magic wand. To get anything from them, you need to be prepared to put in a lot of effort, a lot of hard work.

This is where I went wrong. I didn’t fully scope out my reason for running the challenge. I didn’t have a goal or target in mind. I just thought it was a good idea, so spent some time pulling it together.

There are a number of stages that you need to go through and consider before the challenge starts.

As in most things, you need to know why, what, when, where and the how.

What are the main steps that you need to go through to make sure that challenge is both valuable to your audience, but also helps develop your business?

The first thing you need to do is to look at your goals. What is the actual purpose of creating the challenge?

Then you need to identify who the challenge is for? What do they want? What are their problems? What is the one big action you could help them develop?

My challenge was very generic. It didn’t specify who it was aimed at, so when I promoted it, I didn’t actually attract those that it would have helped the most. Thats the problem when you try to attract everyone, you end up attracting no one.

Once you know your goals and who the challenge is aimed at, it’s a lot easier to think about what the topic of the challenge should be. And then you need to think creating something they want to sign up to.

Now you’ve got your topic, you need to create materials that go along with it, any resources you’re going to provide and understand how you are going to deliver the challenge.

I find that mind maps are great for helping me get things down on paper, to be able to brainstorm everything that I might want and need to do. To give me more ideas and steps to develop into a challenge

You can then put them into themes and look at the scope and sequence of the materials. This will give you the length of your challenge. Shorter challenges tend to be more successful than longer ones..

Another element to consider if how you are going to promote your challenge. Will you be posting on social media, creating blogs, using paid ads, etc. Have you got any raving fans that could become affiliates that could help you promote it?

What and how do you need to promote the challenge to get your audience to make the decision to take part. Throughout the customer journey, make it as easy as possible, so that participants are more likely to stay and complete the challenge. If it’s too difficult they may drop out, and all that effort will be for nothing.

Once you once challenge is completed you will have a list of people who completed it. They will now be on an email list. You may want to offer a special offer to those who did. Though don’t forget about GDPR.. there needs to be transparency and data processed in accordance with expectations, legitimate interest counts!

Lastly, you need to really think about how you are going to monetise the challenge. Obviously you want to provide value, to increase brand awareness and demonstrate your knowledge, but at the end of the day your business needs to make money, otherwise it’s not sustainable.

After you finish the challenge, as part of continuously improving your business and your offerings, you should always carry out a review and analyse what went well, and what you would do differently next time.

The feedback I got after mine, was that it didn’t go into enough depth. The challenge was aimed at introducing Trello to new users, but actually managed to sign up someone who wanted to know more about the power-ups, teams, tags, checklists, etc.

So even though it didn’t go that well, at least I had feedback and even though I haven’t ran another Trello challenge (yet!), it did drive me to be more specific about my niche and how I could help prospective clients.

In summary (TDLR), if you are thinking of creating a challenge, firstly make sure you know your goal, your reason for doing the challenge. Then identify who you will be aiming the challenge at, and understand exactly what they need.

Once you have these things in place, you can move onto creating the content, promoting your challenge and making sure you have the technology in place that will allow you to deliver your challenge effectively

You need to know what paid product/service you will be offering at the end of the challenge and understand whether you are going to offer special discounts and then you need to enjoy delivering the challenge to all your sign-ups!

Don’t forget to do a review at the end, and take on board any feedback, so that you can make your challenge the very best for future participants.

To know more about running a successful challenge, buy my challenge toolkit. It contains everything you need to know.

A handbook, which guides you through everything you need to prepare and plan your challenge.

A playbook, to help you develop all the materials you need.

A planner will help you make sure you are prepared for each stage of your challenge,

A checklist will give you a quick confirmation that you have everything you need before you start.

A guide to the tech you will need to promote and deliver the challenge

Using Trello to organise your business

Using Trello to organise your business

When I first started blogging I would sit down at my computer and try to think of a subject to write about. Then I would sit at my desk for ages just looking at blank screen not knowing what to write, finding it really difficult, thinking how I had to research everything and it would take the best part of a day to actually write 1000 words.. !!

It became a real pain, and I really didn’t like blogging. It was just too much like hard work. But I knew how important it was to help people get to know me and what a great tool it was to demonstrate my knowledge and expertise

And then of course, after writing the blog, I would then need to write my social media posts. After all, if people didn’t see my blog, at least they might see my articles on social media right? So I would write those but they not necessarily have anything to do with my expertise, my subjects, I was writing without a plan. What I was currently doing just wasn’t working for me and so I knew I needed to take a step back and review what I was doing.

Then I found Trello. I loved the way that it’s kanban style, it shows everything very visually.

I could see lots of ways I could use it, so started experimenting.

First of all, I started using it just to create blog ideas so that when I went to my laptop, I had some ideas to write about, I had subjects that I could draw from.

I then realised that if I make myself a template, then I could use that to create a process for blogging, making sure I stayed on subject and making sure that I didn’t just write about anything and everything just because it interested me. That’s the problem with someone who loves systems and processes is that everything interests you, you want to know how it works and what you can do with it. Then you end up going down a rabbit hole.

So, I tried a few different ways of using Trello to plan out my content. At first I used it to just try to plan Facebook, blogs, Twitter, etc. But that didn’t really work for me. I was getting confused about which platform I was writing for and it was still taking quite a lot of time and energy to keep up to date,

But using a template in Trello was working for me. It was allowing me keep on point with my posts and also helped me repurpose posts for different platforms. So I used that as the basis and then created a number of templates to help me plan my content.

The first is a high level content calendar. It’s a plan of the subjects I’m going to cover in April, May June July, etc.

Then I have another one for each month, with a list for week one, week two etc. Under each list is a set of cards. One is for Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday.

And I have different areas to write about. So for instance, Monday is a blog post,Tuesday is how I gained knowledge of the subject area, Wednesday is a personal story of how the tool or system has helped me become better, more efficient, make my life easier, or how I used it in my corporate life.

So now I have a nice content calendar so I can plan ahead. I don’t always plan a whole 12 months in front. But I have the capacity to do so, and if I’m sat there and suddenly get an idea of a subject I’d like to write about I can put onto the board and I plan it out.

And then I have the monthly one, which is less strategic, more operational. And that gives me the areas that I’m going to cover on a weekly basis on that broader subject area. So for me Trello has been a godsend.

It’s allowed me to write things in advance. It’s allowed me to batch write, so that I can be more productive. It also allows me to plan ahead, so if I have a busy period coming up, I can still have some content that I can deliver to my community.

This allows me to be more consistent.

If your audience is expecting something weekly, and you don’t deliver, then you disappoint your audience. And that’s not something I want to do. For me, my blogs and posts are because I want to add value and give them what they want and need. Trello allows me to do that consistently.

Other ways in which I use Trello for planning include creating my strategy for the year. Again, I have 2 boards. One that is quite high level. These are things I want to achieve by the end of this year. And then I have another that is more operational has, these are the things that I must achieve to this quarter in order to achieve my goals for for the year.

When I have a new project, the first thing I do, after mind mapping everything I can think of, is to open a new Trello board. This means that I can share the board with the client, and they can see instantly how the project is progressing.

I add the cards to the board, which allow me to plan what I need to do and when I need to do it. Then I can easily see when I’ve got things that need doing, what tasks I’ve got in progress and what I’ve already completed.

Trello gives you notifications. So you can set your due dates and then it will show me if I’m behind with things.

Trello is also great to plan out your schedule. I have a board that shows all the work that I have for clients and all the work I have for my own business.

I can then put it into the calendar view to make sure that I don’t over commit myself. Because if I do the first thing that’s going to happen is I’ve either work longer hours or I stop doing something that is building my business!

And the last way I use it is for business ideas. So things that I would like to do like to get involved in, but they’re not actually part of this year’s plan. Perhaps they’re things that I want to do in the next three to five years, or things that just come into my head that I think might help me in my business but I’ve not really fully developed it yet.

Ideas I can park, so I don’t keep mulling them over in my head, letting them take my focus away from this years activities.

So as you can see Trello is a fantastic tool, which you can use in a variety of ways to help you build your business

If you’ve never used Trello

You want to know how it will help you improve your business

You want to organise your activities and

You want to become much more productive

Then sign up to this introductory course in Trello, that takes you right from beginner to practitioner

Sign up here.

Improve your planning by implementing systems

Improve your planning by implementing systems

When I first started my online business I knew I needed a way of being able to demonstrate my knowledge and experience of business management. I wanted a way of attracting my ideal client.

So, I started a blog. I decided that I would write on a weekly basis about all the things I knew business management, systems development and process improvement. This would demonstrate to potential clients that I had the capabilities to be able to solve their problems.

These were things I had been doing for years and so I was confident that I would have plenty of materials to draw from. I got off to a good start and for the first 6 months wrote abut things I knew about. But my website didn’t really get much traffic, so I lost heart and motivation wavered.

I had also been getting busier through referrals and client work gave me the excuse I needed to stop writing as often as I had been. I just didn’t have as much time to allocate as I had when I was first starting out.

But I knew that I couldn’t just rely on referrals, I needed a way of generating interest in my offerings, so I re-looked at my blog and analysed the results. Although I had been writing consistently, I hadn’t actually marketed my blog, so no-one knew it was there! Surprise surprise, that I wasn’t getting any ‘hit’s’!

I sat back and reviewed where I was. There’s no point in spending time doing stuff, if its not actually helping grow your business. I may as well have been watching day time TV!

Then I took a bit of my own advice. I set up a Trello board and created a plan. I brainstormed everything I would need to do to market my business. I then planned out what materials I already had, where I needed to put additional focus and understood what I needed to do to create more awareness of ‘my brand’

I decided to batch my content, so that I would spend a day writing a set of weekly posts, rather than keep putting it off, until the last minute. I felt this would help with quality as well. Plus its a proven fact that task switching isn’t effective, so I wanted to focus in order to write more consistently.

Doing this also gave me more time to focus on marketing my posts. To let people know that I had written a new post and to help drive traffic to people who would be interested in the subject matter.

I set up a content calendar and created a list of topics and ideas that I could draw from, rather than having to start from a blank piece of paper.

I then systemised it all, to give me the best possible chance of success. I created Trello templates for monthly content calendar, so I could store social media posts and a link to the blog post, so everything was easily accessible and available for repurposing. I also created a blog template so that I didn’t have to redraft it every week and I designed a system for marketing the posts on social media at time intervals based on best practice.

This has helped me be much more consistent, even when I’m busy with client work.

Don’t get me wrong, I still have work to do. Sometimes client does need to take precedence, if I have an urgent project that needs completing.  I do need to restart my email marketing and do more topical posts, but having a system and a plan in place helps keep me on the straight and narrow

If you’d like help in creating systems to help you be more consistent, click below and we can discuss how I can support you in setting you up for success