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Have you ever wondered how multi-online business owners seem to have it all together? In today’s episode, we have a special guest, Heather Ritchie, a blogger and freelance writer amongst other things who is revealing her biz organization secrets.
She spills the tea on her experience inside of Level Up Your Biz with Trello and how it’s supported her planning-style as someone who struggles to follow through with plans.
And by the end of the conversation, we get into the famous niching down topic. This was such a fun conversation and you’re definitely going to want to tune in to get all the scoop.
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About Our Guest
Heather Ritchie is a Certified Content Marketing Strategist, coach, and the blogger behind Writer’s Life for You. It’s her mission to help women leave their 9-5s for good so they can work from home as bloggers or writers. Heather has been writing SEO-optimized content for businesses for over five years and has written and created several eBooks and courses.
Heather is ready to help you start a money-making blog or writing business that lets you earn money doing something you love. She is an eternal optimist and avid learner who loves reading, writing, and meeting new people.
Find Heather here:
(Note: This is a formatted AI-generated transcript to make it easier for you to read through, but is not an optimized blog post. Please excuse any spelling or grammar errors and filler words – it’s just how I speak LOL)
Have you ever seen someone who’s running multiple online businesses and you wonder how they seem to be able to do it all? And especially if you yourself are barely trying to survive with your one online business. Well, today in episode 12, I have brought on a very, very special guest who has two separate businesses.
She’s a freelance writer, a blogger, a coach, a course creator, and a loving cat mom. She is definitely wearing multiple hats and she’s going to be revealing how she stays organized with running all of the different things in her life.
And by the end of this conversation, we even started getting into a mini session on niching down. It was honestly such a fun conversation so without further ado, let’s get started.
Hey, I’m Lucy Reyes, your host of the Cheerful Productive Chats Podcast, where I’m on a mission to help online entrepreneurs like you focus on all the right things and kiss overwhelm goodbye. Here, you’re going to learn strategies that will boost your productivity so that you can scale your online biz and impact lives sooner. It’s your time to shine! So let’s get started.
Guest Welcome + Intro
Lucy Reyes: Okay. I am so super excited because on the podcast today, I have an incredible special guest. She is one of my very first, very dear besties that I am so excited to just bring onto this podcast.
Her name is Heather Richie with Writer’s Life For You. She is a certified Content Marketing Strategist, a coach, and the blogger behind Writer’s Life For You. And it’s her mission to help women leave their nine to fives for good so that way, they can work from home as bloggers or writers.
And she has been writing SEO-optimized content for businesses for over five years and has written and created several, and I’m talking about several eBooks and courses. So, Heather, I am so excited to have you on the podcast!
Heather Ritchie: Thank you Lucy so much. I am so happy to be here because you are one of my first nearest and dearest blogging buddies. And yeah, I started out, quick fact, used to be a police officer, had to go out on disability, needed to find a way to supplement my income.
So I ended up finding freelance writing and I love it. It’s amazing. I can’t believe every day that I get to sit at home and write articles for people and yeah.
I definitely do love, love learning. Lucy knows I’m a serial course hoarder. It’s definite and yeah, I’m the blogger over at Writer’s Life For You. So I do help women ditch their nine to fives to work from home.
Transition From Cop to Online Business Owner
Lucy Reyes: Okay, so let’s back up because you went from being a cop and then you were forced out because of your disability, and now you are living a dream working from home, working with clients, and you don’t even have to go back to a nine to five or your cop or any of those things.
So tell us a little bit about that transition and how you even ended up in this online space where you’re like, okay, well I wanna start writing blog posts. Like how did that even get started?
Heather Ritchie: So it’s actually another fun fact. I used to wanna be a writer when I was younger. That was my dream, to be like the next Stephen King.
However, we all know that, of course, and I’m gonna date myself here, back in 1996 when I graduated high school, that really wasn’t a realistic career choice. And so I went to college and I’m like, hey, I’m gonna be a cop. People need cops. Loved the job.
Started when I was 19, but then when I was forced out in my early thirties with health issues and I did work for a little bit as an administrative assistant at a police department, I just, I was sick all the time. I hated it.
I needed to work from home and I just started trying several different online jobs and believe me, I sucked at a couple of them. But I fell into a job I found on Upwork that was writing blog articles and it flowed from there. I do not recommend people get on Upwork just for the another fun fact there. Don’t start your career on Upwork.
Making Time to Get Organized
Lucy Reyes: Yeah, I would have absolutely no idea about writing blog posts for others. In fact, I know I have hired you to write blog posts for me too, because that is a lot of work. So you’re in a unique position also where you’re speaking at my summit later on this year, and you’re also one of my students inside of Level Up Your Biz with Trello.
So where were you at in your business when you realized that it was time for you to get organized and what led you to make the decision to finally make time for it?
Heather Ritchie: So the funny thing is I was semi-organized, but I have a lot of memory issues. So I would download a file and completely like, try to find it like five minutes later and have lost it already.
And so I started setting up Google drive. But, you know, when you’re a solopreneur, you just don’t have a lot of time on your hands. And so I remember talking to you, I’m like, where am I supposed to fit in getting organized?
And you were like well, you really can’t afford not to get organized which is very true. It’s very true. It was profound cause I was sitting there going, how much time can I save by getting organized, like with my digital files, cuz as you know, being bloggers and my freelance writing, it’s a lot to organize.
Lucy Reyes: Yeah. So you mentioned that you tried using Google Drive. Is there anything else that you tried doing to get organized before you even jumped into the program?
Heather Ritchie: So I love Evernote and I actually did take a course on Evernote, but it is limited. And like one of the things I like about Trello, and you and I were both people that tried Trello, mm-hmm, and didn’t really like it in the beginning. And then we went back to it and I did a launch for my big course, and it was just amazing.
It just had so many functionalities that Evernote did not. Evernote is also not a good task manager, like it’s good to like project management kind of, but it’s very limited compared to Trello. So yeah, I was kind of a mess. I was in between a whole bunch of different project management systems.
Lucy Reyes: Yeah. It’s funny you say that because yeah, I remember not liking Trello. I tried it. Then I went to Asana and to Click Up and then I was like, even a bigger nope and I was like, okay, well out of these, I need something more visual. Something pretty, something else. And so I had to go back and make Trello work for me, like I had to make it work. And I’m so glad I did, because it’s literally how I house my entire business.
Heather Ritchie: Yes.
Lucy Reyes: So now that you have been through the program, how do you feel about your organization and productivity? Like, where are you at now? How is everything going for you right now?
Heather Ritchie: So there’s one thing with you, of course you know, I call you the queen of productivity. So you always give me different ways, you know, sometimes we can get stuck in our own heads and it takes an outside perspective and I loved your Trello templates.
And I could never, I just can’t, I could never make those as good on my own. And I know that I’m a template girl. That’s how I run my business, but it’s amazing from like your Business Hub to your Social Media Content to, love the Courses and Downloads Trello board too.
And you can all have all that in one space and then link your boards together and then link all the stuff that you need in Trello. And so now it’s taken me a lot less time to find files. It’s taken me a lot less time to just get started on some of my projects or find that link or find that course that I wanna take, because it’s all at my fingertips and Trello and on the go. I’ve used that too.
Following Through with Plans
Lucy Reyes: Oh yeah. On the go. I’m on my app all the time. So you said it helps you get started with all of these things and finding all of the links that you need. What about actually following through with what you have planned for yourself?
Heather Ritchie: Well, that’s another thing because I’m somebody that loves plans, but I’m not a good person with following through them.
But with Trello, I like the Kanban board style, because I like that you can drag things across, or with automations which I’m so glad you put automations in that course, because now if I click a card, you know, complete or finished and tag it with a certain label, then you can move that card to the bottom of your task list.
The Task List is the board that I’m in all the time, every day, by the way that the Task List board. But then, or you can move it to another column. I love being able to see it, like you said, it’s a visual thing that I love being able to see, and as I complete things.
Lucy Reyes: Yeah, no, that’s good that you point that out because that is what I like about Trello the most is the fact that it lets you be flexible with your planning. Cuz I know you have, you know, your own stuff going on that doesn’t let you truly follow through all the time. And like what I say, like that’s okay. Like you just have to accept the fact that your plans will likely change.
I mean, I’m a mom of two. I have a nine year old who is in soccer practice. He’s in school. So I have to balance my time around his schedule. And I also have a toddler who only takes one nap a day and she likes to throw all these curve balls at me and wants my attention all the time. So I have to balance between that too.
And they’re kids, so they’re always getting sick and it’s just so much. So as much as I love to plan, and I do recommend planning, I recommend that you add flexibility into your plan, so that way you can allow for life to happen and then still follow through when the time is right and still have, you know, be able to go back in there and pick right back up where you left off.
Heather Ritchie: Yeah. I feel like with, especially the way you set up your templates, which is very good. See, I don’t have kids, I have a cat. You know, he doesn’t give you, he doesn’t mess up my planning, but my health does. So it’s a different type of mess up and the way you have your board set up, it’s easy to do that.
It’s easy to be flexible. You can see everything you need to do at a glance. And maybe you can’t, you know, film a video today on something. Maybe, you know, you just have to do, like, I’m trying to think of like a menial task, like maybe some of the text in my courses or something. If I’m creating a course, maybe I can’t film videos today, but I can do the writing part.
So yeah, it just makes it so that you can see everything at a glance and know, okay, well, I can’t do this today like I planned, but I can do this.
Lucy Reyes: No. Yeah. I mean, like, even today, like, just like you said, I had myself to plan out what I’m working on, which is a launch. I’m working on my challenge launch right now, and that is what I had myself planned to do today, but I’m not feeling it. And so I’m just switching that around. I’m like, you know what, if I don’t wanna do this today, I’m just gonna move it over to tomorrow and I’m gonna work on what I can, what I want to work on now.
And it’s an easy switch. I don’t have to erase or cross out or try to rework my plans because it’s just super easy to just move things around and tomorrow I’ll know exactly what to work on still.
Heather Ritchie: Right? Yeah. And of course, you and I aren’t procrastinators by nature. So people do have to be careful with like not doing something because they could set it off for like a week and you can’t do that. But like, but you can see, okay, I have to get this done.
I don’t wanna get this done, but maybe sandwich it in between two funner activities. So that it’s a little bit better.
Lucy Reyes: And that’s where your priorities kick in. That’s where knowing what is actually a priority and when that deadline is for certain tasks.
Heather Ritchie: Yeah, I think that’s something else that Trello can really help you with too, because you can see, literally see in front of you and you can, one of the best things to do with the big goals that can be overwhelming is when you break them down into the smaller pieces, you can add that into your workflow. And Trello just makes it really easy to do that.
Organizing Two Online Businesses Using Trello
Lucy Reyes: Yeah. And I’m actually curious because you have multiple businesses, so you are a blogger and then you also have a service based business, And I have noticed that there are students inside that are service based businesses and have been able to make it work.
So do you use it more so for your blogging business or do you use it for both? So I’m curious on how you have taken what’s inside the program and really turned it into your own to help you with your business or businesses.
Heather Ritchie: I don’t actually do as much with my writing business in Trello. But the administrative parts of both of those businesses are in Trello. Like my client work, I do on Google Drive and just have folders where I have the different articles that go back and forth between my editor and I. But like all the business stuff is at my fingertips.
And, I could have one Trello board for Writer’s Life For You and then one Trello board for Richie Writing, which is my service based business, and that’s easy to do.
Lucy Reyes: So what advice would you have for anyone who is still hesitant on making time to organize their business? Because I know this is something that me and you had talked about for quite some time before I, you finally saw the light and got started with organizing your business.
So what advice would you have for anyone who’s still in those shoes where they don’t think it’s a priority?
Heather Ritchie: I’ll say what you said to me is you don’t have time not to organize because think of all the time that you waste looking for that contract for your client or looking for that article that you just wrote.
Social media files, social media graphics. I mean, when you are basically a business, a solo entrepreneur of one, you have to be organized. And even if you have multiple people working with you, that you’re outsourcing to, that’s even more reason to be organized because it’s one place for everybody to collaborate in.
And you’ll just save so much time, cuz eventually you will wanna outsource and you want to be able to find the documents and files that you need and you wanna be able to do that stuff quickly.
Lucy Reyes: Yeah, no, I definitely think that even if you can’t outsource right now, getting the systems in place basically turns this system into like your own little administrative VA.
Heather Ritchie: And you can use it. I mean, you really need to set up systems and processes in your business. And I told you, you know, not too long ago, one of the things I had trouble with was like, I didn’t even understand what those were in the beginning.
I was a cop, I didn’t know anything about running an online business. But now that I’m five and a half years into this, and I, I’ve been doing this for a while, those systems and processes are what are gonna be able to help you outsource later down the road. Cause you’re gonna eventually be able to do that and you’ll have everything in one place.
How Level Up Your Biz with Trello Has Helped
Lucy Reyes: Yes exactly. I started using it when I was a solopreneur and then now with a little team, then it’s been so easy to just have everything in one centralized place.
So what would you say has been your biggest win? I know we’ve talked about this a lot already, but what would you say has been your biggest win as a Level Up Your Biz with Trello student?
Heather Ritchie: So my biggest win and you and I talked about this too. Our task lists were impossible to manage, and I’m a sticky note girl, cuz there’s a lot of times when I’m in the middle of something and my memory will not allow me to remember it. So I have to stop and write it down.
And I love that task board. It makes me happy. That’s probably my biggest win. And you could join the course alone just for it, because you can manage it in like little columns and you have everything set up and I’m not kidding you.
I use it multiple times a day, every day. Like, I do my client work first and I start work on my stuff after that and I can go exactly and see like, what is urgent? What needs to be done now. Yeah. It’s amazing. It’s my happy place. It’s the simple things.
Lucy Reyes: That’s so funny. Yeah, because like digital sticky notes, but that’s funny because I haven’t used my task list in a while. The one that I’m in all the time is the Weekly Planning, the Business Hub and then whatever other board I’m using. Just anything planning wise is what I’m in almost every day.
Heather Ritchie: Which is something nice too, that brings up another thing. We’re two different people. So we have two different organization styles, and that means with Trello and your course, and these boards, you can pick the ones that work for you. I don’t use the weekly one a lot. I am just in that master task one.
So that’s another thing. It’s that flexibility to make it work for you. But your course also teaches that, which is very helpful.
I feel like you go into a lot of things that the general person doesn’t quite understand about,organizing your digital files and all that stuff. So, I feel like that’s something else your course attacks.
So if you’re chronically unorganized or you just wanna get more stuff together and not be late turning things in and missing things and losing things, having your systems in place like with Trello also helps relieve some of that feeling of being overwhelmed.
Because I write my emails ahead of time now. I just, I don’t have as many days where I feel like I’m completely drowning in everything that I do. I have to say that getting organized has completely been a game changer for me. It really has.
Lucy Reyes: Yeah, it definitely . It definitely has done that for me as well.
Heather Ritchie: It’s a good course. Definitely.
Lucy Reyes: Thank you.
Heather Ritchie: Definitely.
Importance of Niching Down to Grow Your Business
Lucy Reyes: Is there anything else that you would like to share?
Heather Ritchie: Well, I do have a freebie for you guys. So one of the hardest things for me when I first started was choosing a niche. Of course, you know, this too. We both talked about this and, and how you have to do it.
So I have my number one freebie, which is my Niche Challenge that everybody really likes that walks you through the process of choosing and validating a profitable niche. So that will be available to everyone.
Lucy Reyes: Awesome. And we will link to that in the show notes. It is a great challenge. I have recommended it to my audience as well, because it’s so good. All right. So that actually leads me into the question that I have for you, which is what is a tip that you have for business owners who are looking to grow their business and income online?
Heather Ritchie: Choose a niche. You probably thought I was gonna lead that way because I’m telling you, I waited a year to start my blog because I couldn’t decide on a niche. I did freelance writing. I wanted to teach freelance writers, but I wrote for businesses in the security industry. And that has nothing to do with teaching freelance writers or new freelance writers how to start their business.
So it’s something I struggled with. I couldn’t really get a lot of help with. And I was finally, once I got it down pat, I’m like, I’m gonna make the ultimate resource that I wish I had. And that would be choosing a niche. It allows you to showcase your expertise and grow faster. If you’re writing blog articles, it’ll help Google better understand what your content is about.
It’s just, you need to niche down. That, that’s all there is to it because, I think it’s Meredith Hill that says when you speak to everyone, you speak to no one. Like, if you’re speaking to too many people, there’s too much competition and you’re not gonna grow fast at all.
Lucy Reyes: Yeah, no. And I will add on to that because I completely agree. I mean, you know me. I started as a lifestyle blogger. I was writing about mom life and weddings and travel and random stuff. And it wasn’t until I truly niched down. And even then, it just made it easier that first round. And I feel like it’s something that some people, something that holds people up to is okay, I gotta get the perfect niche, which isn’t necessarily the case.
Like you can niche down. And then you can kind of get a feel for it, test the waters and see, and then you can choose whether you want to niche down even further. So that is kind of what my process was in every step. It was still a whole lot easier. It became a whole lot easier every time I niched down to see who I am talking to.
So with the mom blog, it was, you know, it was a lifestyle blog. It then became a mom blog. And then I niched down to working moms. And then even within that, it was more like time management for working moms. So it was a process and it didn’t all happen overnight, but even those steps just made it so much easier to know who I was talking to.
And then again, on this business, which is the blogging, the business online business, which is, you know, helping all bloggers with all the blogging things, all the online business things and zoning into my zone of genius, which is productivity, organization, planning. And that has been so refreshing and so much easier to be able to talk to one person and help you with one thing.
And that doesn’t mean that, you know, we can’t talk about other things. We can still teach on these other facts, but I think that is something that holds people up a lot to is trying to figure out that perfect niche from the beginning.
Heather Ritchie: You know, and nothing is forever. If you don’t like the niche you choose, you can just change it.
Lucy Reyes: Yeah. And that’s something that I think your free resource can definitely help them through. Awesome.
Lucy Reyes: Well, it was so nice talking to you, Heather. I’m so happy to have you on the podcast. Is there anything besides your freebie, where else can people find you on social media?
What else do you offer?
Heather Ritchie: I offer courses. Um, I have some LinkedIn marketing courses. I have a very large, my signature course is basically taking you through the process of starting a freelance blogging business. And you can find me over at writerslifeforyou.com.
Lucy Reyes: Awesome, we will link to all of that in the show notes. Thank you so much, Heather.
Heather Ritchie: Thanks for having me.
Lucy Reyes: Thank you so much for listening to the Cheerful Productive Chats Podcast. To see the complete show notes and all the links mentioned in today’s episode, visit, www.cheerstoproductivity.com/12. And before you go, make sure you subscribe wherever you’re listening so you know, once the next productive chat is released. Talk soon and cheers to your productivity and success.
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