Business Tools

Are you visible online?

Do people know who are you? What you're selling in your business? Who you work with? Why they should buy from you? 

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Getting visible online is something a lot of business owners really struggle with, but it's also one of the very best ways to be seen. To be known. To get more clients. To make more money.

When you're visible you can share your experience, your expertise, and give your audience the opportunity to get to know you. This is how you build relationships. You're creating the "know, like and trust" factor, which is how many people choose what to buy and who to buy it from.

Here's the good news. You don’t need to be a social media expert to make social media work for your business - you just need to be visible on it!

The bad news? Visibility is often something business owners have a really hard time with.
You may find yourself shying away from posting online too much or not wanting to share too many photos, personal stories or selfies. 

So, how can you get comfortable and start taking action so that people can see you, your business, and all of the value you have to offer? Be visible. And if that feels hard, get more comfortable with being visible in a safe space designed just for that - my visibility challenge.

I want to support business owners as they talk about their mindset. I want them to be more comfortable posting in a variety of places online, dabble with video and even start thinking about getting media attention.

Let's get you in front of more people so more people have the opportunity to start working with you!

Are you ready to attract your ideal clients? Together let's get more active in the online space, share relevant content, and build relationships with the people in your networks. That is how you stay top of mind, which is what visibility is all about. 

So, sign up for my visibility challenge.  It takes about 5-20 minutes per day (some days less!) over 14 days. We'll start getting comfortable, setting up good visibility tactics and building relationships with each other at the same time.

Let's get visible together! See you over there!

Sometimes it's the little things

I was away in Windsor, Ontario enjoying some peace and quiet when I recorded the following video. I often talk to clients about the importance of taking the time to sit, to reflect, to think, to be, and to journal.

These simple things can help you figure out what you really like to do, what's important to you, and what motivates you. This is important to the health of your business because when you're not paying attention to your feelings then you're not taking care of yourself, which in turn makes it hard for you to take care of your business.

Sometimes it's the little things that you do that can make the biggest difference. This could mean taking a few minutes to journal everyday! If you're looking for motivation on what to journal try using prompts i.e., use the prompt, "The thing I love about my business is..." or "If I didn't have to work today, I would love to..." or "I'm scared that I might..."

Take some time to think about the little things in your life and your business. Let the thoughts flow and see if anything interesting comes out of this time well spent. Don't be afraid of what might come up. Let your stream of consciousness flow. You need to think about these things and write about these things in order to move forward in your business.

And if you want some help and guidance in figuring it out, book a call with me and we can figure out if I'm the right person to support you forward on your entrepreneurial journey!

 

3 business lessons from my trip to Antelope Canyon

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This winter I visited Antelope Canyon, Arizona. I’d never even heard of it before we were brought there as part of a tour of the Grand Canyon, but now everyone needs to know about it.

It is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen. My husband, Eric, and I went into this underground cave that you can only visit if you take one of the tours run by the Navajo as it is part of a Navaho Tribal Park.

But that’s not really what this story is about… even though I would love to show you the hundreds of photos that I took there. :)

As we were driving out of the dirt parking lot in our little tour van, one of the van wheels slid into a sandier patch and started to sink. Our tour guide clearly hadn’t driven in anything that you might get stuck in before and so gunned the gas pedal, which spun the wheel and sunk us in further. We were stuck.

Having grown up in Canada, I’ve gotten stuck before – not in sand but in snow – so I knew that things needed to be done slowly and knew what to do to try and get out of the situation.

“Maybe try to rock it?” I suggested.

He nodded and got out of the van and started walking across the parking lot.

Confused, I watched him go and as he leaned down to pick up a few small bowling ball sized rocks I realized that a language barrier (his first language wasn’t English) and a lack of context, had him completely misinterpreting what I meant when I said he should "rock it."

Lesson one: Don’t assume people have the same information and context you do when you’re trying to guide them. Be as clear as possible and make sure they really understand what you mean.

Soon everyone in the van was out and a couple driving an RV stopped and started pulling out supplies and, together as a team, people tried to figure out what to do.

Lesson two: People like and want to help. Don’t assume that you’re being a bother when you need more people to get something done.

The problem was, there were now too many cooks in the kitchen, and nobody really acting as a leader, nobody really running the show. Then we heard someone yelling and I saw an older lady, clearly an elder from the Navaho Tribe, walking over as briskly as she could, with a clear purpose in her eyes, and she brought some of the other women of the tribe with her.

She tells everyone to stop, gets one of the tour guides in the van and tells her what she should do to get the van moving properly, and then tells everyone else to just push the van as hard as possible. Within two minutes the van was out of the sand.

Lesson three: Sometimes we just need to go to the voice of experience and let someone be the clear leader so things get done and move forward.

Soon we were in the van heading back to Las Vegas, and I couldn’t help but think my last experience in the Grand Canyon was a great lesson that I needed to really take note of (and share with you!).

Here’s what I hope you takeaway from this:

·      Definitely add Antelope Canyon to your “bucket list.”
·      Always make sure you’re being clear and people understand what you actually mean when you’re helping them.
·      Know that people want to help you, don’t try to do everything alone (if you’re not in the Biz Studio Community - join us! There are LOTS of people there who want to help)!·      Sometimes you need help from a confident leader with experience.

Systems 101 for your business

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As a business owners, there are certain buzz words you hear over-and-over again, in any industry or on any topic. You hear them so many times you start to think, “I’d better get on that," but then you think... "I don't know what or how to do it?"

When it comes to owning a business, one of those buzz words is 'systems' for your business.

And you think to yourself... "Great. Systems. Ok… I guess I’ll figure that out… later."

I want to share a bit more about what systems are and what they can mean for your business – because systems do not need to be complicated and having them can mean creating consistency in your business. Consistency means less headaches for you, more brand recognition and a great reputation.

SO… what is a system anyways?

It’s pretty simple, a system is when you write down how something in your business should be done – step-by-step.

That’s it.

Think of it as a way to have someone else be able to do what you do in your business should you have to walk away.

“Lara, I’m not going to walk away from my business and if I do, the business isn’t going to exist any more! I don’t exactly have time to write down all the things I already know how to do just so I can do them myself.”

And therein lies the problem with systems – that’s how most of us feel about them and what stops us from getting them down on paper. We don’t see any kind of pressing need and so it gets put off and put off... and put off.

The thing is, until you get them down it can be really hard to grow your business and on top of that, no matter how well we know our own business, we forget steps too, especially when we get really busy. 

Examples of Systems

A system can be as simple as a bulleted list of actions and steps you take in your business. It can also include instructions, templates of content for different things, and more. It’s basically whatever you think you need to run your business efficiently, which means that it’s hard to explain and possibly vague for you to grasp what you could do. So, let’s go through a few examples:

Sales

 The beautiful packaging at  Jolie Folie

The beautiful packaging at Jolie Folie

You probably have a process for your sales.

If you sell a product, this includes creating a receipt, putting the product into a bag, box or envelope (possibly in a very specific way), and maybe writing a nice note to include in the package. That’s a system – if you wanted someone else to deliver your product to a customer exactly the way you would so that it always has a consistent look and feel to it, you've already got a simple system, you just need to write it down.

Onboarding

When you have a new client, what needs to happen? How do you want to welcome them? Right now, are you being as consistent as you want to be and are all the steps happening every time?

There are all kinds of things you could include in a system for a new client:

Do you want to send them a note or a gift?
Do you need to create a paper folder and a digital folder?
Do contracts and non-disclosure agreements need to be signed?
Do they need to be added to any email lists or Facebook Groups or membership sites?

What are all the pieces that need to take place to make sure that your new client has an amazing experience? List them in a document, and you've got your onboarding system.

Invoicing

When you invoice someone, do you always include the same information? Do you have a process if they paid by email money transfer that’s different than if they pay by cheque or by Paypal or credit card? If there are multiple payments do you have to manually input anything?

If you need to track any hours for your invoices, how do you track those, where do you track those, what information do you need to extract for the invoice?

Invoicing is a task that often gets outsourced sooner than later, if you have your process written down, you'll be able to share that with someone else so they can take invoicing off your plate and you'll feel confident they can do it the same way you would.

For all three of these examples, putting every step down for something that you do on a regular basis will help make sure that you maintain regular quality and that you can pull people in to help support you when you’re ready.

How will you start creating systems in your business? Where will you start and what are you going to get on paper first?
 

ACTION STEPS:

1.     Read/listen to the E-myth Revisited.

2.     Make a list of all the things you do regularly. Then, pick the thing you most often miss steps on or that you are most likely to outsource and outline it step-by-step in a Word document.

3.     Leave a comment and let me know what system you’re going to be working on so I can cheer you on!

4.     Check out the Biz Advantage and get feedback on your systems during the weekly coaching calls or in the Facebook Group!

How learning I have ADHD helped my business

This may sound obvious, but if we were all the same, life and the world would be really boring. We NEED people who are different, who think differently, and who don’t fit into the regular mould of things. Yet… when many of us don’t fit into the mould we often feel badly about ourselves. We get stuck thinking we should be able to do things exactly the same way as others. We beat ourselves up about the things we can’t get done without looking for other ways it can be done.

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I’m here to tell you how my brain is different than your brain, and how I’ve learned to embrace what’s awesome about that. My hope is that what I have learned will impact the potential for you to see and do things differently in your life and business.

How learning I have ADHD has helped my business

I have ADHD and I was only diagnosed in the last few years. ADHD causes me to get distracted easily. I don’t complete things once they get boring. I’m often really bad at detail-oriented tasks. I have a hard time gauging how much time something will take, and I tend to feel deadlines are not real until they are in panic/almost due mode.

Before my diagnosis, I felt a lot of shame about those things. They were things that were hard to deal with in my business and often slowed me down. When I realized that a lot of it was because of how my brain works, SO much of the shame disappeared, and I stopped beating myself up (or at least beat myself up less). Embracing ADHD is what made having ADHD fantastic for my business!

ADHD means I am used to trying new ways of doing things, to complete tasks and to finish things without it always being last minute.

Jessica McCabe from How to ADHD recently wrote a song about how people with ADHD think differently and how it means that sometimes we just have to reframe how we’re thinking. It’s simple: when things don’t work out how we want them to “try different, try again,” and that’s been the key to my life and oftentimes how I coach people.

Over and over again, I talk to people who have a plan of action that they're not getting done. Months and months of not doing the task is only met with, “I just have to do it.” But here’s what I ask, “Do you? “Why will that work now?”

When something isn’t working I challenge you to try something different – what could you do instead to get you to the same goal? I bet there’s something really great that could work. You just need to give yourself permission to think that way.

I have Aphantasia

Every time I’m at an event or participating in an activity that starts with, “close your eyes and picture in your mind… a beach, your best life, how it would look, feel, smell, sound...” the room can probably hear my eyes roll back into my head.

Why? Because I am thinking, great… another activity I can’t do because I have aphantasia and can’t picture/hear/smell anything in my mind’s eye.

But here’s the thing – I’m super creative. I have a great memory. There’s a distinct chance I could tell you what you were wearing and where we were the first time we met, especially if you told me a story. Not being able to hear, see and smell things in my mind doesn’t hamper my ability to do most things in life (other than being able to pull things up in my mind, which sounds kind of amazing and I won’t deny being a bit sad I can’t do it).

What it highlights to me is how differently the brain works for different people. We all have different brains… we have different ways of learning, processing, and creating. That means that there can’t ever be one way to teach people, to ask them to do tasks, to motivate them, etc.

We need to find the right way for each individual person! So again, I challenge you not to get discouraged when something isn’t working for you, but instead ask yourself, what DOES work for you?

For example, I need to write things by hand and keep them in paper folders for my clients. It sounds kind of archaic, but if I don’t have the ability to write by hand I don’t remember things as well.

The brain is a fascinating thing and we need to recognize how differently it works for all of us.

Your brain and my brain aren’t the same, but we all have the ability to find the awesome in what makes us uniquely us and what works best for us.

If you want to talk more about the places you struggle with in your business – where you find yourself procrastinating, not getting things done, or beating yourself up, then book a consultation with me. I’d love to chat about how to find the different ways to make things awesome for you, because I 100% believe it’s possible!