business growth

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!

 

5 things business women need to stop doing ASAP

5 things business women need to stop doing ASAP

As a business coach, I spend many hours with entrepreneurs and there are big themes that come up on a regular basis. Today I'm sharing five themes that stop business owners from truly enjoying their businesses and living the life they want to have.

1) Doing things because they can

"Just because you CAN do a thing doesn’t mean you have to do a thing."

What?!

I’ll say it again.

Just because you CAN do a thing doesn’t mean you have to do a thing.

Have you ever taken on a contract or task you really didn't want to do? Something that you were not only perfectly able to do, but that you could probably do really well, but just don’t really like doing?

Why did you take the job if you don’t really like doing it?

Because you’re building a business... and you need to make money... and you want people to be happy with you and… and… and…

Start thinking about what you WANT to do. Make a list and keep it at hand, you need to be doing more of that.

Start thinking about what you don’t actually like doing. Make a list and start saying no to those tasks. The more intentional you are about getting the work you DO WANT, that’s what you’ll start to get. You’ll be happier doing it, and probably make more money doing it because you won’t be wasting your time, procrastinating and being bitter that you’re working on a project that you hate.

2) Doing things because they should

The amount of times people tell me what they should be doing when I ask them what they could be doing to make their business more successful or to make them happier in their life or their business might really surprise you.

We get stuck in our 'shoulds' ... 

We should be eating healthy

We should be out networking

We should be on Twitter

We should be trying to make 6 figures

You CAN do all of those things, but don’t do them because that’s what you SHOULD do, do it because that’s what you want to do. Don't let someone else decide how you should be living your life and running your business.

3) Doing things because that’s what "one does”

What does success look like to you? Have you really thought about it? How much money do you want to earn? Why?

I see business owners all the time who are caught up in the quest for “more.”

More is better. More is success. More money. More business. More sales. More things.

I’m not going to lie, I like more too. :)  What I think is key is to decide what you actually want. What do you want your life to look like and why? What does success actually look like to you?

You can have it look like anything you want--but you need to take the time to decide what you want and not just let your next steps be dictated by what you think other people would do. I have a worksheet to help you do that and you can grab it for free here.

4) Doing things without a baseline measure

Do you suffer from shiny object syndrome? I do. 

I love new ideas, projects and heading in new directions at the drop of the hat. It’s a big reason I’m an entrepreneur--so I can do that!

But not every good idea should be implemented (bummer, right?).

Not every idea makes sense for you. For your family. For what you want in the long run. For what you want your business to look like in the long run.

That life plan I mentioned in point three gives you something to hold up next to your new idea and to help you decide one of three things:

* This fits perfectly. I’m doing it!

* This doesn’t really fit with my life plan and that life plan is actually more important. I choose that plan and will let this idea go for now.

* This doesn’t really fit with the plan, but it’s a REALLY good idea, and I think it’s worth sacrificing some of the things that I thought I wanted to make this happen.

Any of those decisions are great, but if you didn’t have the plan to hold up next to the new idea, you wouldn’t have anything to measure the new idea by to make sure it’s a good fit. Trust me… this is how you end up running a store in a mall, working crazy long hours into the nights and weekends when you meant to be quitting your corporate job to be spending MORE time with your kids. I really wish I'd gone through this exercise back then.

5) Doing things without a destination

Are you doing what you thought you were going to be doing when you started your business? Have you veered left or right at some point and you're not sure how you got to be doing what you’re doing now?

If you are, trust me - you're not alone. So many business owners start a business to do a thing - “graphic design,” “sleep consulting,” “lawyer,” “coach," and don’t think through the plan. They don't know what kind of work they want to be doing, who they want to be doing it with, how they want to deliver their services, what kind of hours they want to be working, etc That’s like saying you know you want to go to the United States from Canada (or vice versa) and not knowing where in the United States you want to go. You can start heading south, but where you end up is a pretty big gamble.

If you pick a specific state or a specific city, you can pick your route - then there's a lot more certainty you'll end up in the right place.

Instead (my car analogy goes on a while here, stay with me) most of the entrepreneurs I talk to are driving down the highway with the pedal to the floor going as fast as they can. When I ask them where they’re going they yell, “I don’t know!” and when I suggest they stop and figure it out they yell “I can’t! There’s nowhere to stop!”

You need to stop the car and pick a destination and a route. It’s going to make it so much easier to know if you’re heading in the right direction if you have a destination. And if 100 miles down the road you decide you want to stop and stay right where you are, or you decide you want to go west instead, you totally can, but at least you’ll know you’re making that decision intentionally and not just letting it happen by accident. 

You may have noticed a theme here - it’s all about thinking about what you want. You CAN be choosy. You CAN be specific. You CAN decide what you want your fate to be.

Not only CAN you, but making all those intentional choices has a magical effect. It has you loving what you do more. And when you love what you’re doing, you attract more of what you want.

The first step is choosing - what do YOU want?

 

 

 

PIVOT

Last spring I paid two great people to spend the day with me planning out the next few months of my business. We spent a day in a room mapping out sequences of emails and sales funnels that lead people from freebies to great content to paid courses. It was a great plan - I was really excited. We not only mapped out the sequences, but also the topics and brainstormed all of the pieces that had to be written and by whom.

I never took action. I had all of the plans up on my wall so I could see them on a daily basis and every day I would look at them and then focus on something else.

Finally, I realized that I didn't really want to do it. I realized that it wasn't actually the right plan for me. It was a great plan for someone who wanted to focus on moving lots of people through a variety of free content into paid online programs, but that wasn't what I really wanted to be doing.

Now, don't get me wrong. I have a bunch of online courses I'm really proud of and I'm going to continue to sell them whenever appropriate because I believe there is value in the course material and it's all still valid. But the reason that I'm telling you this story is because I know I'm not alone. I know that many entrepreneurs spend hours upon hours planning something in their business, and then they realize they don't actually want what they have. And they feel badly about it. And they think maybe they should do that thing even though they don't love the idea. Even though they are resisting it.

Why does this happen and what should you do about it?

Remember your WHY

I'm a huge fan of the book It Starts With Why by Simon Sinek. The book is about knowing what your core values are and how they play out in your business. When you have a solid grasp on your why and you use that to create a strong vision for your business, it's easier to decide what IS a fit and what isn't for your business, and if you're on the right track or if you need to make some shifts.

Step back and evaluate

So many business owners get busy working in their business that they don't have time to work on their business. And when they ARE working on their business, they're doing the day-to-day things to keep going. Sometimes you need to take a full step back and evaluate where you're at. Is it where you meant to be or did you end up there accidentally following the currents driving your business forward?

Ask yourself if you're doing the thing you meant to be doing when you started your business. Are you enjoying what you're doing? Can you see where you're headed in the next year, two years and five years? If that feels difficult on your own, consider getting someone (like a business coach) to help you figure it out.

Know that it's OK to change your mind

Sometimes we simply decide we want to head in a different direction. I've heard the word "pivot" a lot in the business world lately and I have to say, I love it. You can change the direction of your business - pivot the sail - 5 degrees or 180 degrees. It's a word that allows you to realize that change of direction, big or small, may be the right choice for you. You aren't necessarily turning back, you're just changing course, and any good business owner needs to know that that's part of business, and that it's OK.

Welcome the changes and the shifts, even if it means you're going somewhere you never expected to be. Life, and business are like that.

If you're looking for help figuring any of this out, book a free consultation with me to see if any of my Mastermind or one-on-one programs are a good fit for you.

 

5 Ways to Build Your Community Online

5 ways to build your community online

Whether you're trying to build engagement in a Facebook Group or on a Facebook page or just on Twitter or Instagram, there are a few things that are important to keep in mind to build community: 

1. Set the tone

Lead by example! You are the leader of your community. The way that you behave in that community, from the kind of support you give, to the language you use, to the amount that you're present in the group, is key. If you're not willing to demonstrate through your own behaviour how you want the group to look and feel, you can't be surprised if things go off course. 

In my group there is always a distinct drop in participation if I'm away too much. I need to participate a lot if I want others to participate a lot. Also I find that people are really helpful, respectful and follow the "rules" without having to be policed because they see what the group is meant to be like. 

2. Ask simple questions

People have short attention spans, you need to ask questions (at least some of the time) that are so easy to answer people don't even have to think.

Where are you from?

How many kids do you have?

What's your favourite colour? 

Questions like that seem like fluff but what you need to remember is that your goal is to get people to participate, even just once. Once they've commented on something, they'll be more likely to comment again another time. They'll also be more likely to see your content if you're building your community on a tool that operates with an algorithm.  

Even if you're going for something more complex than the questions above, keep the questions pretty simple so they don't have to think too long. If a person is required to think too long they often decide it's not worth the effort and move on. 

3. Always go first

People hate going first. If you ask them a question they worry that what they want to say might not be what you're actually asking for or they don't know how to share the information they want to share. 

When you ask a question or if someone in your community asks a question, do your best to answer it. You're taking away a lot of the anxiety of being the first to post and you're essentially providing them with a template for their own answer.

4. Be relatable

Share you. Share your realness. Let people see that you're human and not that different from them.

The more you can do that, the less intimidated they feel, and people don't engage in places they feel intimidated. It's why the idea of sharing messy realities works so well.  

The time I accidentally uploaded a draft version of my podcast to iTunes I was horrified. I shared that in my community and it was one of the most popular posts I've ever shared. Why? Because people like to know everyone makes mistakes sometimes. Because they like to know that I'm not that different than them. 

5. Make people feel important


When someone posts anything, like it. Even better comment on it. It's a lot of work but you're rewarding people for their participation. When you give them answers and make them feel like they are truly in a place that is there to support them, they will keep posting and commenting, and that's what you want.  

Creating an active online community is a lot of work, but it also can be really rewarding, fun and help you reach your sales and business goals. 

I hope these 5 tips were useful - and that you'll join me in the Biz Studio if you haven't already! 

Small business resources: Marketing blogs

Small business owners have a lot on their plate: from day-to-day operations of their business to the marketing and promotion to administrative duties. The list could go on and on. There are two priorities for every business owner - to increase revenue or decrease costs. The only way to increase revenue is by getting your name out there effectively and efficiently, but not every business owner is an expert marketer. 

However, these expert marketers have blogs that are tailored to the small business owner. The wisdom, insights, and practical advice they provide can absolutely help you grow your business.

Duct Tape Marketing

I started following John Jantsch (Duct Tape Marketing) when I found his Duct Tape Marketing podcast about 7 years ago. One of the things I really enjoy about John’s content is that he has a good mix of marketing wisdom, practical tips, and innovative tools - all tailored to small business. Every now and then he tries out certain tools and his overviews have convinced me to try a few myself. Busy small business owners need content that is quick to read, easy to absorb, and painless to action - you’ll get all three from John consistently. The resource page alone contains enough value to make it worth your time to check out what he’s recommending. Besides, don’t you just love the name!?

The Marketing Spot

The Marketing Spot blog is a recent discovery of mine, but after browsing through some of the content, I quickly realized that I really enjoy Jay Ehrat’s style. In amongst solid advice is a lot of education about marketing principles that can help guide decisions - particularly when the answer may not be clear right away. For business owners that want to dig deeper into the critical role that marketing plays in growing your business, this blog is one you’ll want to follow closely.

SmartBlogs (by SmartBrief)

SmartBlogs is not necessarily specifically focused on small business, but I think a lot of the content is definitely userful for small business owners. There are a variety of topics covered - my personal favourites are social media (of course), leadership and I also like to watch the finance blog. I’m not a huge fan of email newsletters (they’re an awesome tool, but it’s not my preferred method of getting news most of the time), HOWEVER, this is one of a few blogs that I invite into my inbox. The emails are easily skimmed for quick tidbits I want to read further or I move on quickly. You can also subscribe to the feeds via RSS. For small businesses using social media to market their products and services, I think the social media feed is definitely worth subscribing to.

I’ve given a few recommendations here, but I’d love to hear what blogs you like to follow for marketing advice. Tell me in the comments some of the sources you find helpful!