Are you scared?

There are a lot of things that we all think we should do in our businesses but that we hold back from doing because of fear.  Maybe it’s fear that we aren’t good enough, that people won’t like what we have to say or what we do, or maybe we don’t even understand exactly what it is that we’re afraid of at all.

If you’re one of those people who keeps holding back from standing up in front of a crowd and sharing your knowledge, writing a blog post or article sharing some of your genius or sitting down in front of a video camera and recording some nuggets for your audience I’ve got a couple of videos that I happen to have come across recently that I think could help.

Chris Cummins reminds us why we need to push ourselves out of our comfort zone

In this TEDx talk, Chris Cummins shares a personal story about being told to always push himself out of his comfort zone, how scary that was, and how it turned out.

It’s important to remember that to grow, we need to challenge ourselves and not stay in our safe zone.  To get the things we want out of life, we need to do things that are scary.

Chris Hadfield shares tips on overcoming fear

I think Chris Hadfield is an amazing communicator.  I’m sure he’s a fabulous astronaut too, but when I think of him I think about how well he tells a story and makes people care about the things he cares about.  In this 20 minute TED talk he shares a story about going blind in space and how he dealt with that.  He also talks about walking into spiderwebs a lot which sounds like a horrible idea - but I get his point.

I think this is a great motivational talk to get us in the right frame of mind to get ready to do what Chris asks us to do, and step outside our comfort zones.

I’m going to challenge you again

In late December I made a video challenging people to do something that scares them. I’m sharing it again here and challenging you to do it.  “It” being the thing you know you want to do to grow your business but that scares you.  Maybe it’s writing a blog post or committing to sending a weekly newsletter, or maybe it’s getting up and talking in front of a crowd, recording your first video or going to a networking event and talking to five new people.

Once you’ve watched the videos, leave me a comment and let me know what it is you’re taking on and how it goes!  Just remember, it’s ok to be scared, it’s actually what we’re looking for!

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Spending time online is good for you

This post isn’t about using social media for your small business but instead about the overall attitude people have about technology and the amount of time we all spend online.

One of the things that I hear a LOT doing what I do is that people don’t want to use social media because they “prefer to spend time talking with people face to face” or that they don’t want to “waste their time online.”  It’s the kind of response that, while I do understand, makes me slightly crazy. 

I have never felt more genuinely connected to people and happy with the relationships in my life as I have since social media exploded.  While I completely agree that people need to put down their devices more, those who don’t want to use social media because they feel it isn’t as real as what they’re used to are missing out on amazing opportunities.

There are so many things that social media and new technology have done but here are a few things that I think are particularly incredible:

We can find people to “be with” when we’re lonely

I first really connected with people online as a new mom, a time that can be very lonely and isolating.  People who are stuck in their houses due to illness can find people to talk to.  People who are feeling suicidal can find a lifeline day or night.  The internet gives people access to others in times of need that simply wasn’t possible before.

I know there are also MANY issues with online bullying and people being meaner than ever online.  I just don’t want to overlook the fact that SO much good is also happening too.

We can work from home and still feel connected to a community

Every time I walk into a packed coffee shop full of people on laptops or clearly in the middle of meetings I think about how things have changed.  What we do wasn’t possible 10 years ago.  Now we can stay connected through our technology.  We can work anywhere.  We can have meetings and service clients from our living rooms through our computers. 

We can have a voice

We all have the power to get our content into a space that can be shared with the public.  We no longer have to hope to be picked up by media, we can become our own media.  It’s more work in many ways, but at the same time, it’s opportunity.  

We all have the opportunity to create a reputation and brand online - how awesome is that?

I watched this TED talk today and while it is more specifically about gaming, I think a lot of it really carried over to social media and the time people spend online.  I think in many many ways people’s lives are better for the changes.  Take 20 minutes and listen to what Jane McGonigal has to say about how games saved her life and then leave me a comment and tell me what you think.  

Buzz and Brilliance: Week ending March 2

Over the week we go through a lot of content - news and blog posts, how tos and conceptual posts on the state of the internet.  Every Sunday we share some of our favourites with you.

Check out the links and let us know in the comments if you have any questions or if you read any great posts this week!

For this week and next, I’m on my own since Lara decided to take a much-deserved vacation.


Today, you’re going on a content adventure. We’re going to learn so much, from keeping content fresh (Spin Sucks), to finding content ideas when they seem to have dried up (SmartBlog on Social Media), to the art of repurposing content (Duct Tape Marketing) and beyond content marketing (Grow Blog) to the next steps.

Do you need a break now? That’s a lot, but I’m not done.

Related to content, it’s important to know when to stop using a social network (Hubspot). Joining or continuing with a social network for the sake of having a presence alone isn’t reason enough to keep going.

Your website is your business’ hub on the Internet. It’s your virtual front door and the place that will often give prospects their first impression of your business and you as a business owner. That’s why it’s important to make a really good first impression and avoid these web design mistakes (HubSpot).

Every now and then, I go to the TED website and just start browsing. I love watching TED talks. I’ve learned so much and been so inspired by the eloquent words of the speakers. Mitch Joel compiled a list of TED talks to help you re-imagine your business (Six Pixels of Separation) and I have seen a few, but I need to go through and watch them all again.

It came out this week that Facebook had a bug with insights and got our reach wrong for months and months. They fixed the bug and reach dramatically improved (Marketing Land). In other Facebook news, apparently all those text and photo updates may not benefit you the way you think they do (Jon Loomer Digital). Take the data with a grain of salt. Jon’s audience isn’t your audience. Also, I feel vindicated in my stance on the text updates.

We’ve all seen the Harlem Shake videos. It’s the meme of the moment. Personally, it’s run it’s course for me. One video was plenty. But this? This is brilliant. (Marketing Land). YouTube took something that was becoming very run-of-the-mill and made it interesting again.

The Media Mesh

If you missed reading the blog this week, you didn’t miss much. I’ve been very busy working on Social Capital Conference - oh, did you know our tickets went on sale this week? - but there is this one post about how I gained my Twitter following - I even included homework!

App of the Week

You’ll likely notice that our apps will have a business focus and not necessarily a social media focus. These apps help us stay organized so we have time to do social media. We’ve recently begun using a tool called Asana, which has become our task/project manager. It’s a lifesaver for us because all those tasks that used to go into emails and texts now get slotted into Asana. We can get reminders and set deadlines, which I happen to find valuable.

That’s it for this week. I hope you had a good one! Let us know what you’ve been reading in the comments.