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Business bucket list

What’s On Your Business Bucket List?

We’ve all been asked the question—probably at a dinner party, “What’s on your bucket list?” Even the most introverted of people usually have some BIG, HUGE item on their bucket list. Risky, against the norm, and FUN!  Why not give your business the same big, lofty goal with a business bucket list?

It’s easy to slip into the day-to-day activities of running a business. It’s also easy to avoid doing anything “risky”. Remember, with risk can come reward.

Things to add to your business bucket list:

What BIG idea do you have – written down somewhere, maybe on a Post-it note?

Is it:

  • an idea for an online course?
  • writing a book?
  • speaking?
  • taking a class or going to a conference?
  • doing a video?
  • getting a new website?
  • starting a blog?
  • hiring an assistant?

It’s time to dust off that “someday” note and figure out how to achieve this goal. You’ve written it down for a reason. Map it out.

Often, our big ideas don’t come to fruition because they get stuck somewhere right after, “Wow, what if I (fill in amazing idea)?  Oh, that’s going to be hard to do…”  As soon as you realize the scope of the project, procrastination and doubt kick in.

Here’s a tip:  Work backwards!

Fast forward to the end result and write that down. Here’s an example:

“Standing on stage presenting a Ted Talk”
What has to happen just before that to make it happen?

“Write an amazing Ted Talk Presentation”
Go back one more step…

“Apply to be a TED Talk speaker”
Keep going until you get to the very first step. You have mapped out the high-level to-do’s that will get you on stage giving the biggest presentation of your career!  It’s not so scary when you have it laid out!

Put yourself out there

At the top of many people’s business bucket list is figuring out how to get out, connect, and tell their story. What’s the best way for you to personally get in front of your audience? How can you create that human-to-human connection?

People follow and buy from someone they trust. How can you step out of the automated, bot-world and build trust and make a difference in your customers’ lives?

It’s time to shine

Live streaming video has become the fastest way to connect with an audience, share wisdom, and give the world a better idea of who you are.

It can be uncomfortable to think about being live on camera for everyone to see. Do it.  Put yourself out there and try it. There is nothing to lose! You can always delete it.

It’s not easy at first, but over time, it will not feel as difficult. Chances are, your peers or competitors are doing it, so if anything, use that as motivator!

What to talk about on video (or podcast, if you are really camera shy):

  1. What questions does your ideal client ask you all the time?
  2. What’s trending in your industry that your audience would want to know about? Is there a new app that’s hot? An exciting update to a program? A delicious new recipe that they must try?
  3. People LOVE rants: Is there something in your industry that bothers you? Can you offer your own viewpoints on the topic? Example: “Everyone says eating fats is bad, but there are good fats your body needs.”
  4. Lessons learned: Did you experience something in business that taught you a valuable lesson? Share it.
  5. Latest book you’ve read.
  6. Anything that lights you up that you feel you need to share.

TIPS When Starting:

  • Put on the DND (do not disturb!) when recording.
  • Write up some bullet points to talk about and stick in a place you can see it. You’ll much more at ease if you have those reminders there.
  • Internet connection matters. If you are in a low cell area, the connection will probably cut in and out. Test if first.
  • Use a tripod if you can, to keep the camera/phone stable, and consider a good quality mic.
  • Don’t stress too much about hair and make-up.

Is it time for a break?

When was the last time you took a day off? I mean, a REAL day off. Running a business can take over your life. There is no 9-5 when it’s your own business… it’s constant: days, late nights, weekends, holidays.

It feels constant because we are managing everything alone. It’s hard to take time for ourselves when the whole business relies on us. Why not put some more “you” time on your business bucket list?

Take a look at your systems and operations. List answers to the following:

  1. Things I LOVE doing
  2. Things I HATE doing
  3. Things that ONLY I can do (this is your special magic)

Look at the list. The goal is to have “things you love doing” and “things only you can do” overlap. The things you hate doing should be hired out, to get those energy drains off of your to-do list. You will be far more successful (and happy) if you can focus on just what you love and are amazing at. Tasks you dread doing will only drag you down and suck up valuable time.

Change feels uncomfortable

Just like skydiving, change and stepping out of our comfort zones sounds great at first, but stepping to the edge of the plane is terrifying.

Pick one of the list items above or something from the top of your “business bucket list” and start there. First, become the master of delegating, then go out and get that book deal. Or hire that VA so you can take the vacation you’ve dreamed of.

Whatever it may be, reach for those goals. Dream a little bit bigger. Share some ideas/items from your business bucket list in the comments below. You got this—and your life and work will be all the better for it!

Stuck on how to move forward and take your next big step? Let’s schedule a clarity call, and maybe I can help you cross an item off your business bucket list!.

image credit Samantha Sophia

How a Business Clean-Up Can Bring Marketing Success

You know that feeling when warm weather comes and you want to open all the windows and doors and air the house out? Clean out closets and throw out the collected winter clutter?

It happens to most of us. A new season comes and we have the urge to purge (and clean).

But what about our business? Shouldn’t it get a renewed look and de-cluttering too?

When was the last time you took a day off? Yes… a whole day off *gasp* to do a little clean up on your business.

What Kind Of Cleaning?

There are two clean-up projects you should do once or twice a year.

The first one is more of a clutter buster.

Get rid of old files bogging down your computer.

Move your images and big files off your main computer and put them on an external storage drive. Look at your credit card statement and note any recurring business expenses that you don’t need. Those little $9.99 monthly programs and subscriptions add up.

Open up the virtual windows of your business

The second clean up project is a mental cleanup

A mental cleanup?

There is a tendency with entrepreneurs to forget why we are running a business.  By now you may have realized that running your own business is not easy. As a matter of fact is can be downright hard some days. Like – “I’m done with this” hard.

There’s a reason you keep going.  Why? Do you know the answer?

To (re)find it. It would be beneficial to take another day off! *gasp* TWO days off?!?

Yes! Another day off. To reconnect with your goals and vision. To remind yourself why you’re doing what you do.

Grab a fresh notebook and a brand new pen. Go somewhere that you can think and get away from the hustle and bustle for a few hours.

Ask yourself the following:

  1. What do you want to achieve, in business and in life?

Take a moment to think about what it is you want.  If you want to have a business that allows you to travel, are you structuring it to allow that? If you want to only work 30 hours a week, are the plans in place to do so? Do you have an income goal? Write down what you want your life (and business) to look like.

  1. What’s your secret sauce? What makes you stand out from your competition? What is something you do, that your customers or clients LOVE?

This is the magic of your business.  I’m guessing you have competition.  What do you do to make your business the best choice?

  1. What do they need to learn from you? What can your unique specialties do for them?

Once you get clear on your secret sauce, think about what your ideal customers want from you. When can you deliver this information to them? How do you think they want to get it?

  1. How are you reaching your existing clients? How are you reaching new clients?

What’s working? What’s not?

  1. Where does my best business come from?

If Facebook brings you the most business, focus most of your online marketing efforts there.

What Does This Have to Do With Marketing?

Everything.

It all flows together.

See you do have a vision of what you want your life to look like, but we get caught up in our day-to-day activities. We tell ourselves, “tomorrow, I’ll really hire that VA”,  “Next week, I’ll get started on social media”,  “Hopefully, by next year I’ll be able to work less hours if I can hustle now”.

Start to structure your business around the life you want now, then decide where you need to be productive. What needs to be more efficient? What type of support do you need?

Make your business work for you.

Focusing on what your secret sauce is, changes everything you do. This is how you stand out with your unique voice, perspective, and services. This is how your ideal client will find you. They’ll be drawn to you because you resonate with them.

Knowing what your magic is, allows you to write more freely, and promote your services with the right marketing copy and connect with your audience they way they need you to connect.

Once you start thinking about your marketing with your customer or client in mind, it doesn’t feel so hard. And you’ll have a clearer sense about where best to reach them.

You’ll notice that your blogs are getting read.  Your emails are getting opened. Your social media posts are getting likes and comments.  Why? Because you have cleaned out the stale marketing efforts that are no longer serving you. You have reminded yourself why you’re doing what you’re doing, and you’ll remember what makes you stand out.

Now, open up your calendar and pick your two clean-up days, to.

  1. Clear out the clutter
  2. Set your one-on-one day with your business.

You’ve got this!

Having trouble with your clean up? Let’s schedule a “clarity call” so I can help you make way for marketing success!

How to be social in an unsocial world

Connecting with an audience that is avoiding social media.

If there is anything we’ve learned in the past few months, it’s that the online world seems a little less friendly.

Our social platforms are a firestorm of politics and fake news.

Are you stressed about connecting with an audience that is either:

  1. Busy debating politics, or 2. Avoiding social media?

I know a handful of people who have removed the FB app from their phones.  *gasp*

So now what?

As entrepreneurs, what are we supposed to do?  We’ve come to rely on social media to connect with our clients and fans.

Hope is not lost.

First, it’s important to remember a few things.

  1. You must think about who your audience is.  Are they even bothered by the current state of affairs? Are they still happily scrolling their Facebook or Twitter feed.
  1. Have you considered the social media platform you are on? Is your audience even on Facebook?  If you are in the B2B space, you may be better suited to focusing your marketing energy on LinkedIn.
  1. The volatile discussions taking place on social media are a clue into what people are thinking and feeling.  Rule #1 of talking to your ideal client is to know what keeps them up at night.  What are they worrying about and can you solve that problem? It may feel painful to read the discussions, but, it could be very beneficial to your business IF you can help or offer your expertise. Note:  I’m not saying to private message them and say “Hey, I saw you arguing with so and so; I’m a coach and can help you”.  I’m suggesting that you use the information as a way to tap into your audience’s minds. Then, blog, do a FB live, send an email blast sharing your valuable wisdom.


Here are some great ways to connect with your audience even if they are avoiding social media.

 

  1. Can you do a few live in-person lectures?

Before social media came along, this was one of the tried and true ways of reaching your audience.  It still is.  People more than ever would love to connect.

  • Reach out to a local co-working space.
  • Find out if they are looking for speakers.
  • Or rent one of their conference rooms.  Ask if they would promote your event to their list if you split the ticket sales.
  • Call you local library.  See how to get on their monthly events list.
  • Research local business groups that are a match to your products or services.

 

  1.  Do you have an email list that you aren’t leveraging?

If you have a list of subscribers that you haven’t emailed in a while, see if you can re-energize the relationship.

Warm up the list before selling or promoting to your subscribers. Otherwise,  you will see rapid “unsubscribes” if you start selling before saying hello.

Start by being honest with them.  “It’s been awhile since you’ve heard from me.  I’m sorry about that.  I’ve been busy working on, (fill in the blank).  I’d love to hear how you are doing.  Yes, I read my emails, so if you respond I’ll get it”

Here are some other suggestions from Infusionsoft (an email marketing program) on warming up a cold list:

  • Make it personal
  • Remind them of how they opted in and why they should stay
  • Provide value
  • Follow general email best practices
  • Include a CTA (call-to-action)

Once you start to warm up the list again, make sure to stay consistent in engaging with them.  You may get some unsubscribes anyway, don’t worry.  Think of it as a way of cleaning house.  You only want subscribers that are aligned with what you do.

 

  1.  Blog

Blogging is a great way to showcase your expertise and engage with new customers or clients.  When you blog you can offer a ton of value.  Not sure where to start? Blogging When You Hate Writing (or You LOVE to Write But Don’t Have Time)

TIP:  Always have a CTA (call to action) in your blogs. Have the reader sign up for a resource guide that will go deeper than your blog content.  Ask them to join your Facebook group. Set-up a free consult call.  You get the idea.

Where to blog:

You can post a blog on your own website, but you’ll have to put some marketing efforts into promoting it.

You can also submit or post a blog to online sites:

Also, look at sites that your audience may be interested in.  See if those sites are looking for guest bloggers.

 

  1.  Dust off the rolodex (a rolo-what?)

Yes, remember those things that had everyone’s contact info, written down on paper cards?  Send your contacts a note.

Everyone loves getting a genuine and thoughtful card in the mail. It’s actually very rare these days to get something other than an email.

Let’s say you are a business coach and you’d like to add a few more clients.  Reach out to some past clients and see how they are doing.  Send them a card to let them know you are thinking about them.  Offer them a free check-in call.  No obligation, a quick hello.  Tell them you’d love to hear what they are up to.  Tell them how to connect with you—email or cell.

You may not want to do this for a lot of people but if you are willing to invest a little time and money this could make a big impact.

Try a service to do this: Send Out Cards – or Ink Cards (Ink Cards is an app, you can do it from your phone). Either one of these will handle the entire process for you.

 

  1.  Don’t give up on social media completely.  

Your customers and clients are still out there. They still need your help. They are a little overwhelmed right now. Put your thinking cap on and think about creative ways you can help them (free of charge). What can you offer to them that shows them that you care about them and you’re ready to step up?

Be a human talking to other humans.  Be genuine, be yourself and put out the best work possible.

Your true fans will really appreciate you re-connecting!

If you are feeling stalled and don’t know how best to get re-connected, let’s set up a clarity call and we’ll figure it out together.

Nancy

 

3 Super-Simple Marketing Planning Steps (and free templates)

 

Embrace simple and get it done. That’s the best advice I have when it comes to creating and executing your plan for marketing your business. While there are tons of ways to complicate this, there are a few easy steps to follow when “simple and done” are the goal. If you’ve been overwhelmed (and who hasn’t?) by all the options and to-do lists, you’re going to love this approach.

I promise.

Disclaimer: This process is super simple. That doesn’t mean it won’t take some focus and time. Put 30 minutes on your calendar at least once a week and make this a priority. Simple? Yes. Magic? No. At least, not yet.

Super-simple step one: Get your ideas out of your head. Many of us are idea machines. We think of so many things that we don’t know what to do first. If that’s you, then the first step is getting the ideas for your marketing out of your head and into a format you can refer to later and add to often.

Use the “Your Ideas” template if you’re a pen and paper person, or use your favorite app. The technology doesn’t matter.

If you fall into the “I have no ideas” category, then use your first 30 minutes to brainstorm.  Start here:

  • What would you love to tell people about your industry?
  • What are common myths or misconceptions that need busting or correcting?
  • The last time you were inspired—what did you do, and what happened next?
  • What have your learned from your clients/customers?
  • Where is the best way to meet/reach your ideal clients?
  • What events are strategic for you this year?
  • What trends are you loving/sick of?  

Super-simple step two: Create a plan. Since we’re not going to complicate this, I’ve made a “Your Year” template you can download and keep handy. Start filling in the months with events, promotions, and campaigns. Don’t forget any seasonal times that occur in your business.

Some of you may be thinking…

“That’s all fine and dandy, but I don’t have campaigns; I’m not sure what to promote, and don’t even get me started when it comes to events!”

I hear you. Since we’re all about simple, just start with the next month or quarter. Is it back-to-school time, or the snowy days of winter? What events are happening that drive activity? If you’re still stuck, just look at the next month and start there. Review your idea list and find something that resonates with you. Use that as your focus for the month. (If you are feeling extra organized, then you can go a step further by mapping out your weeks in detail using the “Your Month” template here.)

Super-simple step three: Now that you’ve got a focus, it’s time to execute. How do you reach your audience? By sharing information where they are. Showing up in their email, their Facebook feed, at events they attend, etc. Write a blog post, tape a video, record a podcast, attend an event, or even better, be the speaker at the event.

Hint: It’s not necessary to do everything. It is necessary to do one or two things really well – and BE CONSISTENT!

Do what’s natural and easy for you. Not a writer? Then use voice-to-text. Don’t let technology (or lack thereof) keep you from sharing the information with your audience. I know someone who launched an entire business writing advice in Facebook posts. It’s not my go-to recommendation, but if that’s all you’ve got right now, then use it!

Rinse and repeat. It really is that simple.

Like most things in life, it gets easier when you know how. It also becomes part of your daily flow if you schedule the time to get it done. If you need more customers, you can’t NOT do this. If you’ve got more clients than you can handle, then hire someone to do it for you.

Ready? Let’s go!

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How To Write a Blog Quickly

How To Write a Blog Quickly

Here’s some great advice from my friend Kate at Digital Marketing Momma...

Do you want to blog for your business, but can’t find the time to sit down and write?

Almost everyone I know who runs their own business struggles with the same thing. Writing content.

Challenges: 

  1. What to write about
  2. Finding time to write it
  3. Getting people to read it and share it

We all face this.  Even if you love to write, it can difficult!

I came across this post the other day from Huffington Post and I wanted to share why this type of content and blog strategy is brilliant and a great way to get content out there quickly.

This was posted on August 24, 2016.

Stephen Colbert Has Finally Figured Out Hillary Clinton’s Illness

Screenshot 2016-08-28 11.21.10

To date this post has been shared, 2.8k times and the actual youtube video that was posted by The Late Show With Stephen Colbert was viewed 1,232,310 times.   WOW!

Here’s what I love about this post. 

  1.  The author focused on a very trending, hot topic at the moment.  Hillary Clinton’s health during this wacky election.  This has been all over the news lately and all the media outlets are obsessing over it.  So, his choice of topic was spot on for what’s happening now.
  2. The content is obviously of interest since it’s being shared and “liked”.
  3. It probably didn’t take him that long to write it up.

Here’s how you can do this in your own business to post great content at lightening speed.  Hate to write? There are ways to make it not so awful!

First you need some inspiration to write about.

Step 1: Start by asking yourself these questions: 

  • Is there anything trending online that’s relevant to your audience? I use an amazing online tool to help me with this.  It’s called BuzzSumo.  Totally worth my monthly investment.  I use it every day!
  • Is there an upcoming event that your audience needs to know about?
  • Is there a product launch that could enhance your products or services that you offer?
  • Did a celebrity jump on board with an endorsement or cause that’s relevant to your business?

Step 2:  Go on YouTube and do a search for videos that will help/educate/anger/empower/ease/bring laughter to your audience.  

Do a search for your topic/industry/idea and see what shows up first.  Find a video that’s from a credible source.  TIP:  Don’t post a video by someone that could be considered your competitor… Just sayin’

Step 3:  Write a short, easy blog about the video.  

Tell your audience your thoughts on the video.  Give them your opinion.  It doesn’t have to be a novel.  Just tell them what you are thinking.  Add in your expertise and wisdom.  Tell them what to do with the content.  Share how it can benefit them.

Step 4:  Embed the Video on Your Blog Post.

Make sure to cite the source of the video and relevant content.  You can see I’ve done it in this post. Give credit where credit is due!  You could even go a step further and tag the author and media outlet in your own social media.

Now your turn . . . What’s the hardest part writing blog posts for you? Please share in the comments below. Also, if you need help with content creation or strategy, reach out.  We LOVE to come up with plans!