Easy tools to run an online business: Acuity

Easy tools to run an online business: Acuity

If you are new in online business, it can be helpful to know which steps in which order. 

As long as you have an ABN you are ready to roll and start making money in your business.

In my other blog “Do You Need a Website” I mentioned having made 10k in my business before I even had a website. I said that if you just have a booking tool like Acuity and a social media account you can definitely make money and start your business online without a website. That’s how I did it. 

So today I’d like to go into a bit more detail about Acuity and help you get started making money in your business. 

Acuity has lots of competitors that do a very similar service like Calendly. I am not against Calendly, or any other tool. All you really need is a place where people can book and pay. So it doesn’t have to be Acuity. The basic principles of this article are the same no matter which service you decide to use. 

Acuity is an online scheduling tool. It allows you to create different types of appointments.

You can then share the link to those different types of appointments with clients and they can book themselves into your calendar.

You can also have one page where people can see all your different kinds of appointments if you like to let them choose from different lengths or style of meeting. 

The main things I love about Acuity are:

  • It saves you loads of time
  • Let’s you have a page where people can go without a website
  • You can collect payment
  • You can synchronise it with your Google calendar
  • You can send email reminders and follow ups

Some of these are free features and some are paid so let’s run through in a bit more detail.

It can save you loads of time

Setting up appointments can take 2-10 back and forth emails or messages. I have heard that some people enjoy this back and forth but for me, sometimes it can seem like a waste of time. It is so easy to send a past or potential customer a link to book in with your availability all marked out and ready to go. 

If you are getting started with Acuity, you might like to watch this video set up tutorial I did on YouTube

Basically, I would encourage you to follow along with the setup wizard for the first couple of steps. Once you’ve read the rest of this article, you will know whether you need the free or paid version but you should get a free trial so just go with that before you pay anything. 

It creates a page where people can go and book in without you having to set up a whole website

When you’ve created your availability and a couple of appointment types, click on “Scheduling Page Link” and click the link there. You should see a page with all of your appointment types listed.  

You can check out my scheduling page for Bush Flower Essence sessions as an example here: https://australianplantsforhealing.as.me/schedule.php 

If you like, you can edit what words appear on this page to give an overall description of your services, as well as the description for each appointment type. 

You can give people a good idea of what they will receive, what you are about AND let them book in for a session. All without a website and even for free if you don’t want the following 3 features.

You can collect payment

This is only available on the paid plan. You can take payment when people book in! 

This is not essential. You can get around it by using an invoice instead of Acuity for payment, or use PayPal buttons. 

If you do want to take payments through Acuity, you will need a Stripe or Paypal account. 

Yes: they both charge fees but you are going to need to  pay if you are in business. There is no way to collect money on the internet without fees. Direct bank transfer is the way around this which is fine for Australian customers.

Of course there are more options than this but I am thinking about keeping it simple for Australian biz babes. Plus, I’m just sharing tools with you that I am familiar with so I could help you if you needed help.

You can synchronise it with your Google or Apple calendar

If you have other appointments or commitments you might like to synchronise Acuity with your calendar. This is another paid feature but it does save a lot of rescheduling and apologising when you double book.

You can get around it on the free plan by blocking in your regular commitments when you set up your availability, but if you have commitments that don’t happen at the same time every week, you might like this feature.

You can send email reminders and follow ups

On the free plan you get an immediate email confirmation sent out. This is customisable and is a great way to share the link to a Zoom meeting and other appointment instructions. 

However, on the paid plan, you can also create hour-before reminders and post-meeting emails. 

If you have loads of time because you’re not fully booked, you can send out emails manually. Or if you are just busy or forgetful like me, you can pay and use this feature. 

I hope this article saves you thousands of dollars on a website and a whole lot of headache from creating a website too early. You can spend at least a year in business without a website and have a beautiful online business using a few simple tools. 

If you found this helpful and you like, you can make a small donation.

“I pay my respects and acknowledge the people of the Yuin Nation, traditional custodians of the land on which I live and work. I also pay respect to all Elders — past, present and future.”

Video content

Video content

Video is a great way for people to get to know you while you do other things like laze on the beach or make dinner for your kids or even sleep.

But maybe you don’t feel like getting dressed up, doing your face and getting yourself onto video. Can you still use video for your business? 

I don’t want to spend ages convincing you a video is a good idea. 

If you are here you clearly want to start making videos for the marketing of your business. 

If you do not want to show your face don’t stop reading now because it is entirely possible for you to create videos in lots of different ways.

There is no denying how good it is if you can bring yourself to do videos of your own face especially if you are service-based. But if you can’t do that for whatever reason I do not want you to navigate away and not make a video for your business because it seems too hard.

There are loads of ways to get around not showing your face and all the ways of creating video give you some benefits.

I know that people always like to hear what I do personally so I will start with that and then I will also share a couple of other ways that I think you can create video if you want.

My current 2 favourite video processes are:

60-second (or less)

10-minute or so videos

I like to create short videos and publish them on Instagram. I try to make these 60 seconds long or less.

I create these on my phone and record them directly so they go onto my camera roll. Then I pop onto Instagram and share them in my feed with a small caption.

I love this method because I can experiment with ideas without investing too much energy in the process. I also find that people like to see me and they like to hear from me. These feel light yet intimate.

They are the quickest and easiest way for me to create video and they also feed into my entire content creation strategy. I have another blog post about that which you can check out over here.

Basically I test the water with new ideas in my 60 second videos so if they are well received they may get turned into a longer blog or video. I usually don’t overthink these and I get important feedback from my people when they do well.

The other way I love to make videos is using Zoom. I begin a Zoom meeting with myself, click record then I just chat away to the screen in my own meeting with myself.

When I click “end meeting”, the recording gets downloaded onto my computer. I am then able to share it directly to YouTube which I also embed onto my blog.

The fun thing about these Zoom videos is that I can often use the audio download to create a podcast as well. I just love it when one piece of content can be used in lots of different places.

I also like to use this video on IGTV (if it is not a how-to demonstration style vid).

One other cool thing about these podcast episodes is that I can create a video from the episode using Headliner App really easily. I have another post about how to use Headliner App over here.

If you don’t want your face in the video.

If you don’t want your face to be in the video for whatever reason you can still use the Zoom methods and just don’t worry about how you look on video.

You can then use the audio component of the zoom recording and turn it into a podcast.

The podcast episode can be turned into a video using Headliner app. This means that people can experience your energy through your voice without you having to even get out of bed.

Literally some of my podcast episodes I made late at night in bed or early in the morning in bed. That’s how easy it is to use Anchor. I then turn those podcasts  into a video without having to show my face at all.

If you don’t want to deal with a podcast and Headliner App you can also use Canva to create videos with an audio recording you have created.

These audio recordings can be created on the voice memo app on an iPhone or a similar voice recording app on an Android phone. You can then upload those to canva and add a couple of little animations and a nice stock image and then you have basically the same thing as the Headliner app video without having to create a podcast and without having to show your face.

There is a part of me that does want to kick in and start telling you how important video including your face is so I do just want to touch on that lightly.

A lot of people who come to me for a free 30 minute chat have already ”met me”  through watching my videos.

People often tell me how nice it is to finally meet me in person and that I am exactly like my videos and how comforting that is for them. Usually they watch my videos while I am on the beach, making dinner, sleeping or doing other things in my business.

I find this duplication of myself really great.

It means that people who are referring their clients or friends to work with me have somewhere they can send those people to figure out whether they want to work with me or not.

The other thing that is good about video is: if you’re posting them on social media the algorithm which decides who sees what content will slightly favour a video over other kinds of posts.

That is the end of my convincing you about why video is good.

There are just so many places and ways you can share video.

Here’s a hard and fast list:

    • YouTube video
    • YouTube short
    • YouTube live
    • Instagram Reel
    • Instagram feed video (60s max)
    • IGTV (15 minute max)
    • Instagram Story
    • Instagram live
    • Facebook live
    • Facebook feed Facebook Story
    • LinkedIn
    • On your blog
    • Twitter
    • Tik Tok
    • Slideshow with you talking over the top
    • Plus all the ways I mentioned in this blog

    I think if you are not doing video you are missing a really potent opportunity so if you’re not ready to get your face on I would recommend trying one of these other methods for creating video content for your business.

    If you found this helpful and you like, you can make a small donation.

    “I pay my respects and acknowledge the people of the Yuin Nation, traditional custodians of the land on which I live and work. I also pay respect to all Elders — past, present and future.”

    “Why” to create content

    “Why” to create content

    Yesterday in the “Sharing your Brilliance: loving content” course and the “Grow an aligned Audience group program we talked about Content creation and the “Why” that sits behined it.

    Creating content can be hard if:

    you aren’t clear on your why

    or

    your motivators are extrinsic

    First up – before you read this, I would encourage you to set a 5 minute timer and do some journalling about your own why.

    If you are coming up question marks you might be interested in these 4 “Why”s…

    And here’s a video to tease it all out. :

    Here are 4 “Why”s you might like to experiment with:

    1. Curiosity

    2. Generosity/service

    3. Develop a body of work

    4. Share your energy signature with those you need to journey with

    I acknowledge the Djiringanj people of the Yuin Nation, the custodians of this beautiful land on which I live and work.

    I also pays respect to all Elders past & present.

    Thank you for taking such good care of the wild, beautiful places of Araganu, the coastline and forests where I get nurtured.

    1. Curiosity

    Some ways that I stay curious are to ask questions. Like: 

    I wonder how I can share this in a 60 second video?

    I wonder how my audience feels about this topic? 

    Do people agree with this or not? 

    Am I the only one who thinks this? 

    How could you be curious in creating content?

    2. Generosity/be of service

    If you are like me them you just love to be helpful, and you have a value to be of service to others. 

    It’s tempting to work for nothing, or to under-charge. 

    Creating content is another way to be generous and be of service. Let your loving heart shine and share those goodies inside you!

    3. Develop a body of work 

    I really never thought it would be me, but it is actually possible to start now and develop a body of work. Your contribution to humanity. 

    Creating content happens one post and one blog at a time. And so your body of work can grow, post by post, video by video. 

    This is YOUR light and y our perspective. Let it rip. 

    4. Share your energy signature with those you need to journey with

    You are emanating a unique energy. Your vibration is a conduit to the transformation of others and vice versa. 

    But how can those people find you if you are hiding out, or too busy or too whatever to share your goodness??

    And you know, it’s not just for their benefit; you have so much to learn through journeying with your clients. 

    Goodness knows how much I have learned about boundaries by working with some challenging clients over time!

    So, what’s your why?

    Got thoughts and questions about this? Hit me up in the comments. I can’t wait to see your work in the world. 

    If you found this helpful and you like, you can make a small donation.

    “I pay my respects and acknowledge the people of the Yuin Nation, traditional custodians of the land on which I live and work. I also pay respect to all Elders — past, present and future.”

    Websites need terms and conditions and privacy policies don’t they?

    Websites need terms and conditions and privacy policies don’t they?

    Part of having a website built is considering whether or not to include Terms and Conditions. And what should they say?

    I can help you to create a Terms and Conditions page and get your privacy policy onto your website if you need it.

    Do you?

    If you advertise goods or services through a website you MUST have T&Cs under Australian Consumer Law.

    Michelle Marie Whitehead

    As long as I’ve been in business, I’ve been refering my clients to Michelle Marie Whitehead for all legal concerns. 

    We were both in a business building online course back in 2015/6 and I was lucky enough to connect with Michelle’s unique and loving approach to legals as I got to know her. 

    I actually used Michelle’s Do it Yourself Terms and Conditions package to craft my own Terms and Conditions. 

    Michelle is also a complete ninja at Intellectual Property and Trademark law if you want to get legal advice around your unique services.

    Read her latest blog all about T&C’s here

    Ok ok back to Privacy Policy and Terms and Conditions.

    Let’s look at one at a time.

    Privacy Policy

    You need a privacy policy if your business generates $3million a year or more.

    If you don’t have a revenue that high there are a few situations where you still need one, like if you offer private health such as naturopathy or support people with weight loss.

    Check out the details from the Privacy Act here to clarify whether you need a Privacy Policy or not:

    According to the Australian Government your privacy policy should include:

    • your name and contact details
    • what kinds of personal information you collect and store
    • how you collect personal information and where it is stored
    • the reasons why you need to collect personal information
    • how you’ll use and disclose personal information
    • how users can access their personal information, or ask for a correction
    • how they can lodge a complaint if they think their information has (been) mishandled, and how you’ll handle their complaint
    • if you are likely to disclose their information outside Australia and, if practical, which countries you are likely to disclose the information to

    I highly recommend using Michelle’s DIY product for the human face of your legals. She really does make it a loving process rather than all this blah blah.

    Terms and Conditions

    I am not a lawyer so I am not happy giving advice about this topic in depth. Iinstead, I’m going to let Michelle explain her approach to T&C’s which I love. 

    “If you advertise goods or services through a website you MUST have T&Cs under Australian Consumer Law. Even more importantly, well-written Website Terms and Conditions can create a connection between you and those thinking about buying from you, increasing trust, reducing anxiety, letting people know that they are in the right place, and educating them about what it is like to work with you so they can give informed consent.”
    “When you have T&Cs that are not a good fit – that have been found on the internet or drafted by someone who didn’t truly understand and adore your business – there is an energetic dissonance.
    They feel out of tune and unreliable, like an uncomfortable alien appendage hanging off your website because “should” have it, not because you want it to be there.
    This is even worse if you have “borrowed” your T&Cs from someone else, because this is a breach of their intellectual property.
    Trusting your safety to something stolen is never going to feel wonderful.
    Do you really want to build a sense of wrongness into your business foundations?”
    “Imagine how it would feel to have legals that were working with you to draw in your ideal clients and manifest the working relationships you desire?
    This can happen when you have poured your own heart and soul into their creation, when you feel like they empower you rather than weighing you down.
    When you write your legal documents in the same language you use for your marketing, when you understand every word of them and when they are in complete alignment with your values and vision, your T&Cs become an essential tool that supports you in doing business YOUR WAY and saves you a huge amount of ENERGY & EFFORT.”
    Above in quotes by Michelle Marie Whitehead.
    I hope this blog has been helpful and I wonder if you have figured out whether you need T&C’s + a Privacy Policy? 

    “I pay my respects and acknowledge the people of the Yuin Nation, custodians of the land on which I live and work. I also pay respect to all Elders — past, present and future.”

    Case Study: Tamara Protassow’s website

    Case Study: Tamara Protassow’s website

    Tamara Protassow is a writing coach, editor and more. Her main ninja skill is helping you get your book out of you and into the world. She does this by helping you understand your writing style and giving you tailor made recommendations in her free quiz. Or, if you are ready to birth that thing, you can use her Quick and Easy Book done for you templates so you can write straight away.
    She came to me for help with her website. Any time Tamara was asked for her website she would shrink, cringe and hope like hell that they didn’t find it. A major case of website shame.

    “I had a website that I’d made myself, which I was ashamed of. I’m not a designer, not a web tech person, but I can google stuff and work things out just fine. I’d gone from one that looked fine about 6 years ago to absolutely hideous because I tried to change it in a hurry and then got busy with actual work with clients and then left it as is. I was definitely hoping no-one was going to see it!! (Also, I’d not really needed a website because I was fully booked by word of mouth, however I decided to change the way I do business and suddenly needed a website I could send people to without wishing the floor would eat me).”

    We all know how it goes…she had help to create a WordPress site that she was pretty happy with but things changed over time. So Tamara tried to do some new things on the website herself. She is smart and could figure out how to create pages and edit them. 

    But pretty pictures are not her thing. She just couldn’t get it to look good and was sick of trying to do it herself.

    Plus, she was missing opportunities because she didn’t want to share her existing website. 

    Tamara and I went through my usual website building process:

    • Initial 1hour call to map out the project and set timelines
    • I ruffle off and create some draft pages to find the right look and feel
    • A second meeting, 30-minutes this time, to review the draft pages on a Zoom call and finalise the look and feel for the site
    • I ruffle off and build out the pages of the website which I then email over for review and refinement before our:
    • Final 30-minute Zoom call to wrap up the project

    “Natasha made building my website with her easy. From the intake questionnaire to the meetings and set actions, it was smooth sailing. I really enjoyed my calls with Natasha – seeing her cheery face made me feel really at ease, and her use of systems to keep track of all the moving parts was reassuring. She really listened to feedback, and was perfectly fine with the opinions I had about the aesthetics for my website. 

    Whenever I got a little bit lost, I just emailed and asked the questions, and got set straight. 

    Communication was terrific – we emailed and had zoom calls, which were quick, happy and fun. 

    I loved how having the agreed website deadline/timeline, which included deliverables I had to provide, kept me on track. That was stellar.”

    I set up WooCommerce and 3 products for Tamara, we created a great “Freebies” page and we developed a super simple website logo and colours. She had some new photos taken which really gave the site a lift and now Tamara is happy to report – no more website shame. 

    But further to that – Tamara emailed me and said she is feeling a profound sense of confidence in her business now. She is so excited to share the website and feels more open to new opportunities.

    I absolutely love my website now. I feel super proud of it, and one massive perk is that it didn’t cost me my sanity or 2am Googling sessions. I am so happy with it, and with Natasha’s service!

    Outsource your website build to Natasha. She’ll get it done, it’ll look fab, and you’ll have your time and sanity to enjoy!”

    I am so humbled by Tamara’s kind words and I really do love the creative process of building websites or refurbishing them. I would say that Tamara’s site was more of a refurbish that a new build, because she already had all of her hosting and domain set up. But I am happy to start from scratch too. 

    Generally websites cost about $222 per page including mobile optimisation and then all the calls are billed at my hourly Face to Face rate of $166/h. Other little tricks like WooCommerce set up ($200) or products (around $50 each) bundle up for a project a bit over $1000. Book a free chat if you’d like to chat about your website project.

    “I pay my respects and acknowledge the people of the Yuin Nation, custodians of the land on which I live and work. I also pay respect to all Elders — past, present and future.”

    Written content and how long should my blog be?

    Written content and how long should my blog be?

    When you think about creating written content, are you like me? Do you feel like writing is a major challenge? Or are you a natural writer?

    If you aren’t clear on “what is content”, you can read my other blog about that here.

    Today I want to help set you free in regards to sharing your brilliance through written content.

    Many clients ask me “how long should my blog be?” and I get the feeling that they don’t really like my answer.

    I get the feeling that people need a container or they want to be told or they are just awesome and they want to do the best thing. They want to be wise and take advice from someone who really knows what they’re talking about to make the most of their time and energy and get it right. 

    The thing is: this is your creative expression. 

    Sharing content is part of your expansive, human, creative expression and what I would really like to offer you is to experience freedom of creative expression in your written content and marketing. 

    I would also like to offer you a couple of concrete ideas and suggestions, practical ideas that I have used to help me with my writing. 

    I have not spent much time practicing writing. 

    When I was younger I was really great at maths so I didn’t really Focus much on my writing because I found it challenging whereas maths was naturally easy. I’m a bit lazy sometimes so I would just naturally gravitate to what was easy and shy away from what was hard. 

    Now that I’m a big grown-up girl, I am up for the challenge of writing and I’m almost enjoying the practice haha.  

    A few things have been very helpful for me in creating written content. 

    Don’t get me wrong, I can write. 

    I did a commerce degree and I wrote long essays and reports in the academic style of writing. Learning how to write for my own marketing and business has taken me a long time. It hasn’t felt natural. It hasn’t felt easy. I have actually shied away from writing & found that I can create video fairly easily. So my content has rested heavily on video until last year or so. 

    Even now when I sit down to write and I look at a blank piece of paper I semi seize-up and freak out. 

    So: how to write content and how long should your blog be.

    Let’s do it the other way.

    First of all let’s look at some super famous, semi famous and not so famous (although they should be) bloggers. Sometimes looking at other people’s writing can be inspiring and sometimes it can be intimidating. So in this process let’s try not to get bogged down in comparison or worry about your own style. 

    What I’m hoping to share here is really just freedom. I’m hoping that you will see that the written word in marketing land has a great deal of variation, personal freedom of expression and options.

    Example blogs 

    https://seths.blog/ 

    Seth’s Blog

    this is Seth Godin blog. He is pretty super famous. What I love about his blog is he right every single day. personally I think back to major accomplishment because I don’t find writing everyday easy. The other thing I love about this blog is the variation in length. In my mind this blog is a beautiful example of how free you can be with your writing. You don’t need to fit into any container around how many words you write for your blog. I hope this blog sets you free in terms of length.

    https://corbettbarr.com/whats-wrong-with-social-media/ 

    Corbett Barr’s blog

     What I love about Corbett’s website is the intentional minimalism. it is such a strong contrast to most of current marketing and online media. I have a whole video about his web site which you can view here. I would say that corbett’s blog is an example of a more classic blog style with longer blogs. He has no focus on SEO or images to make it sparkly and spiffy. He is just keeping the focus on what he has written and he obviously likes writing. I hope that this example shows you that you can just focus on your message and don’t worry about lots of bells and whistles if all those things don’t come naturally to you. if you love to write you can just write.

    https://leoniedawson.com/blog/ 

    Leonie Dawson’s blog

     Leonie Dawson is a creative Powerhouse. She does very nicely in her business and doesn’t really care about fitting into any boxes. I find that so inspiring. Leonies blogs very greatly in length and instructure. She doesn’t try to apply any rules to her blogs and she really just creates whatever she wants and publishes it as often as she wants. Unlike set she doesn’t blog every day and unlike Corbett she doesn’t keep it simple and basic. She sprinkles it up with fun images personal anecdotes and other engaging content.  I hope this blog sets you free in terms of how personal you can be in your blog and writing. 

    https://melaniejwhite.com/podcast/ 

    Melanie White’s blog

     This blog is by the brilliance white. My team and I help Melanie to deliver her blog. She creates a podcast and then we transcribe it, lightly edited and turn it into a blog post. this method can also be applied to video content and is perfect for people like me or other people who just aren’t really in love with writing.  I love to use rev for transcription and some people love to use otter for transcription. There are loads of options for transcribing. I actually wrote this blog using a Google doc and the tool called voice typing. There are so many options for getting written content created and they don’t necessarily involve typing on a keyboard or writing on paper. I hope this blog shows you how you can use audio or video content to create writing and skip writing all together. 

    Practical tips

    Whenever I sit down to write, I look at the blank page and I seize up.
    But I have been managing to write blogs, and social media captions and emails and sales pages. Now, I’m going to share my most recent writing success tips. I hope they are helpful. 

    Just write anything.

    I get over perfectionism and worry by just getting started. I don’t have high expectations of anything awesome coming out. I just write anything, without judgement and expectation. I have been doing some free-association writing, like journaling, in my personal life and I think this is helping. 

    Talking it out.

    I sit there and talk it out. Even for parts of this blog, I spoke it out and typed what I was saying. This helps me to write in a way that sounds most naturally like me. Plus, if it doesn’t make sense to say it, just writing it down won’t help. The message needs to be clear enough to be understood as someone reads it and I find that just talking it out helps a lot. 

    Use a transcribing tool. 

    Sometimes I need to just pop an idea out and I can’t wait to get to a keyboard so I create a voice memo in my phone, then send it off to a transcription service. Some people lately have been recommending Otter and in the past I’ve used Rev. I also like to use Tools>Voice typing in a Google doc. However you need to do it is fine! I heard that Brene Brown writes her books by setting aside a weekend and getting some girlfriends over to tease out the ideas. 

    Set a timer.

    I like to allocate a 15 minute slot when I’m writing sales pages. I use George Kao’s copywriting tips in this video and write for 15 minutes per section. Having a time constraint and a specific prompt has been helping me a lot. 

    What do you do to get writing? 

    I hope this has been helpful. I look forward to reading some of your brilliance soon. 

    “I pay my respects and acknowledge the people of the Yuin Nation, traditional custodians of the land on which I live and work. I also pay respect to all Elders — past, present and future.”

    Do you just want to talk to me about your business and website?

    I’d love to chat. You can book a free chat and we can discuss website set up and all of the other things I mentioned here. We can even set it all up of ryou and save you the headace. 

    Go ahead and book a free chat here: