entrepreneurs

#49 - Why business Owners should be using Facebook Live

Are you a small business owner looking to build your audience and increase your know, like and trust factor with potential clients? Live video is the latest marketing technique used to educate audiences on what it is you have to offer, and social channels, such as Facebook are rewarding those who have ventured in to live video.

Facebook Live for the business owner

Allison Hardy is a Business Strategist for mompreneurs who focuses on the importance of Facebook Live. I first saw Allison in a Facebook Live in a popular group I'm a member of and knew I needed to talk to her—so she is joining me on the podcast today.

Allison uses Facebook Live because she believes live video builds your know, like and trust factor. When we buy something, it is because we have developed a relationship of knowing and trust with a business or person.

Why choose Facebook Live?

Facebook Live is real time– you cannot hide or edit. Viewers can ask questions live and you can answer in real-time creating a genuine connection.

Periscope started the live video trend in 2015 and business owners were quick to start building big empires by connecting with people via live video. Because of this Facebook created Facebook Live and reward those who use it.


How does Facebook favour Facebook Live?

Facebook Live videos will show up in newsfeeds more than other text-based posts. They want people watching Facebook live videos so when people do them they show up in newsfeeds more. A lot of pages and groups also will send you a notification when someone you know is on live, which means even more viewers. Facebook Live will get you in front of your people more often.

In addition to favouring people using it, Facebook also favours engagement. If you are offering really valuable comment, people are going to share, react and give you comments. The more people engage with your Facebook Live, the more it will continue to be seen long after the live is over.

Another thing to note is that Facebook likes it when people stay on Facebook. Creating native content (uploading a video directly to Facebook or a Facebook Live) is a way to keep people where Facebook wants them and can get you better reach than when you direct them to another website.

One way to get more bang from your live is to broadcast your Facebook Live video from your Business Page and then share it into other groups. This helps more people see it and shares are popular with the algorithm.

The value to broadcasting Facebook Lives directly within a group is that you are providing added value for being a member of that group. 

What if I make a mistake?

People make mistakes and that’s okay! The more you do Facebook Live the more confident you will be. Find a safe place and just do it. More often than not people are supportive when mistakes happen. You just have to muster up the guts and confidence to do it. People realize you are putting yourself out there—not everyone does live video so it is something that people will tune into and want to watch. They want to learn from you. They want to see how you relate and what you have to offer.

What should I talk about?

What are you working on right now? What mistakes have you made and how are you going to fix them? Talk about the things you are working on in your business or a mistake that you made or how you are setting yourself up for success. People want to hear about what you are working on, so talk about that. Even if you don’t find a certain topic interesting, someone else out there does. There is always someone out there looking to learn from you.

Final tip

When you are doing Facebook Live always ask for engagement. Invite followers to engage from the very beginning. Ask them to say “hello,” then, when you launch into your content, ask them pointed questions. Asking questions builds engagement and increases your know, like and trust factor and means more and more people will keep seeing the content you've taken the time to create.

Will you be using Facebook Live? Leave a comment with a link to one so we can come and check it out, or come on over to the Biz Studio Community and try Facebook Live out with us!

#48 - Moving your business beyond the startup stage

In the first couple of years, business owners often struggle with understanding how much work running a business is and how long it can take to have a profitable business.

Angela Sutcliffe is a business consultant (and Smart Old Broad) who draws on 30 years of knowledge  and experience to move her clients beyond the start up phase. Angela works with business owners to  design and implement strategies that are relevant to their business and their industry to make them consistently profitable. Over the years, she has won many awards for her business acumen, as have her clients, but the one thing she is most proud of is being selected by Kevin O'Leary's production company to work with the winner and runner up of his reality TV show, Redemption Inc. as they rolled out their new businesses.

Angela Sutcliffe

I spoke with Angela about what she believes every business owner needs to know before taking his or her business to the next level.

Know your numbers

According to Angela, 90% of businesses are gone within two years. Business owners don’t understand what profitable means because they don’t pay attention to their numbers—instead they work to build a business that makes their clients happy, but does not make money. If you’re not bringing home a pay cheque then your business is not going to work.

If a business owner does not know how much money they are making or if they don’t know if they are making enough to support the lifestyle surrounding it (their bottom line) then they are working to please their customers while simultaneously going broke. If you start your business with a number in mind then you can work from there.

You can’t make up numbers based on what you think people will pay instead of what you need to earn. Money is the one thing people avoid, but once you understand that a number is just a number you can work towards earning that number.

How much it costs to run her businesses and how big her pay cheque needs to be – those are the two numbers that, added together, make up her sales target.

Freedom and comfort comes from knowing your numbers. If you know your numbers and see that you're not hitting them, then you can look and see if you are trying to sell high price items to a market that cannot afford it, etc. so you can determine what exactly is not working.

Know your sales cycles

Have you heard about the hundred percent solution? It goes like this: in your first two years of business you sell to your friends and family and their friends, and then at the end of those two years, your sales stop.  That’s because you made the easiest sales possible—you sold to the 20% of the market that will buy from you now.

In order to succeed, within 1.5 years of selling you have to learn about how the sales cycle and process works, and how to sell to the other 80% of the marketplace. If you don’t, you will fail.

So, what is a sales cycle? Well, think about how many business owners believe a customer when they say they have to 'think it over'? Most think that means they'll never buy, but believe it or not, most customers really do need to think about it. Did you know that 24-36 months after an initial interaction is when 80% of your sales will happen? When you think about the number of people who come back to you a year or so after they are first introduced to your business or product, that's a good demonstration of you sales cycle.

There are generally three steps to a sales process – meet a potential client and follow up with card, go out for coffee, and have a closing conversation. However, people may surprise you and want to meet for coffee and say they are following you online, or met you at a networking event a year or so ago and now they're ready to work with you even though you've never met them—it’s happened to Angela! But to get there you need to do the work because the sales cycle was happening behind the scenes.

It can be discouraging and you may not think anyone is listening to you, but remember the 20% and 80%! Think long term and in two years you will be closing the 80%. Sales isn’t anyone’s job, activity is the job—sales is the result. If you have good marketing activity and get yourself out there then you will make the sale. Just keep in mind that you won’t be a millionaire by midnight.

Keep in touch with past clients

Your next best sale can come from your past clients – they know you and love you and have had a great experience with you, so you should always keep in touch with them—and not in a salesy way. There are all kinds of ways to keep in touch with people, including inviting them to attend events, or just catching up on social media. Make them feel important.

While they may not work with you now, past clients may know someone who would be perfect for you, so keeping those relationships healthy is in your best interest.

Stop doing, start planning

One of the hardest things for business owners, at any level, is the drive to keep doing things. Before you exhaust yourself by doing things that may be futile, remember that the best thing anyone can do is to stop and plan.

Plan your finances – for marketing and your business.

Stop and get advice, so that you’re optimizing your products and business. Business can get expensive, so it’s important to stop running your business and plan what comes next.

 The keys to the kingdom are in planning.

All business owners stumble. Even Angela had to get help with her business; she had almost bankrupted her cleaning business and it took two hard years to turn it around. You have to swallow your pride and ask for help, plan and work. Seek help from the right people – it’s the behind the scenes that can make or break your business.

Leave a comment and tell us what your sales cycle is, or let us know if you have any questions!

#47 – Where to start before starting a business

Are you thinking about starting a business, but have no idea what that really means when it comes to time commitment or how it will fit into your current lifestyle? Pamela Eastwood, owner of By The Horns, a business that helps new business owners get their business off the ground, joins me on the podcast today to discuss what it really means when you say you’re going to start a business. With over eighteen years experience in SME development and franchise ownership, Pamela has a reputation for working with her mind, heart and her gut and has a talent for relating with others. Together we get under the hood to help aspiring business owners figure out as much as they can before launching their business.

Pamela Eastwood

Are you prepared for time management changes?

When you first start out as a business owner you must start with a conversation with your family. A business starts at home. You need to speak with your immediate family to ensure they fully understand your endeavour—they need to understand what they are signing up for, including you working longer hours, adjusting your level of home commitments, and any changing roles within the family. You need to look at your current schedule and then look to see if your tasks can be delegated or if you need to change your schedule around in order to make your business work with your family life.

There is a preconceived notion that being an entrepreneur means you will have more time on your hands, and while this is sometimes the case and it can mean more flexible hours, it also means you may be working more evenings and weekends than you ever did before.

And while you must be aware of the changes in hours and potentially longer hours, you should also keep in mind and discuss the benefits, such as the freedom to accompany your kids on school field trips.

You need to ask yourself and your family: what matters to you as an entrepreneur that will make the not-so good parts worth it?

Are you ready for any financial changes?

In addition to time management and schedules, starting a business impacts a family’s money. Finances is another deciding factor for any big business decision-can you invest in your business financially? Consider everything that you will need to spend money on: marketing, business cards, etc.—can you afford these? If there is a physical product, do you need to spend money on product development, etc.?

For some business owners this means looking into a small business loan, while for others it may mean changing their personal spending habits in order to invest in their business. Are you (and your family) ready for these financial changes?

Do you have any transferable skills?

How do you have to think as an entrepreneur? Pamela runs an assessment with clients to determine their strengths and weaknesses. Everyone has transferable skills that will benefit their business.

For example, are you genuinely the kind of person who can just walk into a room and talk to someone? This is a transferable skill that works well when running a business because it transfers well into sales and marketing, which are essential in running a business.

This also refers to typing, social media, customer services and technological skills. As a business owner you are probably doing a lot of this stuff yourself, unless you have a lot of capital.  So, if you want to sell jewelry you probably don’t have a lot of capital starting out, therefore you have to be honest with yourself and see if you can do it all yourself.

You also need to be honest about your personal assets—are you organized, driven, is your office cluttered? Will this impact the success of your business?

Having a basic understanding of your skill levels from the very start will let you know where you will have to really work at certain areas more than others. If you wait until you are already in business and you have your hands in 10 different pots and are trying to learn these things while running your business, you may be setting yourself up for failure. Try to get enough of a foundation prior to starting your business.

How much money do you need to start?

How much money you need to start a business depends on the type of business you are starting. For example, if you are looking to start a lawn maintenance company, but already have most of the equipment needed then you only need to spend money on registering your business, for office supplies, and perhaps on local marketing and networking. So, this would be about $250 to start to get the word out about your business.

But if you are a baker baking cupcakes then you need money for inventory, inspections, permits, ingredients, a commercial kitchen, etc. There is a longer process to starting and setting up a bakery so you will need more money for that as well as money for office supplies, marketing and advertising.

You need to ask yourself what you need to start your business. If you’re not sure then you can research this through free business resources at the public library, innovation centres and community programs. There are also a lot of social groups that offer free tips and resources.

You can also barter for services—if someone needs a website and you have that skill, offer your skills in exchange for a website. Don’t be afraid to ask! You may be surprised at what you get. Just make sure it is for something you actually want and need—you need to make sure it makes sense for both parties. You want to treat a barter transaction as you would any business transaction.

Are you committed?

Commitment means asking yourself if this is the right time for you and your family—Do you have the flexibility required to make it work? Do you have the money needed to start?

Sometimes you may have the flexibility, but not the money and that means you may need to get a part time job to support your business. This the means you have to commit to setting aside certain days and time to work in and on your business.

Your commitment can vary depending on your situation—if you’re unsure you can commit to a certain period of time, such as three months. Just be sure to discuss this with your family and make sure it works for everyone.

When starting any business, it is important to know your skill sets and assets and then seek out help for the rest. You may want to look at hiring a consultant, such as Pamela, who can help you define the services and customers that are unique to your business.

Then establish early foundations in operations management. This means keeping receipts and invoices organized, get the appropriate processes, etc. Having these in place means you will spend the time working on making your business a success instead of spinning your wheels.

In essence, starting a business takes more than just loving what you do. You need to have make sure everyone close to you is on board, and have the foundation needed to ensure you have everything you need to give your business the best shot.

#46 - Managing your social media while on vacation

How do you manage your social media when you’re on vacation? Blogger and content curator, Rebecca Stanisic, joins me to discuss how you can create a viable social media plan to keep you covered while you are disconnected and away from the office.

rebecca stanisic

Many business owners intend to have a plan for their social media while they are away, but don’t follow through and instead let their social media channels go dark. This is not always ideal.

While vacations are important—disconnecting can be rejuvenating!—it does not have to be detrimental to your business. Think of a vacation as a chance to recharge your batteries, and when you plan ahead it can be stress-free.

So, how can you prevent your social channels from going dark while you're away?

Use a calendar

The first place to start is with a calendar. Have and use an editorial calendar of some sort—it does not have to be day-to-day, but you should still have a calendar you can refer to on a daily basis, even though it may be a calendar that breaks down your content schedule monthly.

Use this calendar to plan out what content you want to post and when you want to post it. When you use and consistently refer to this calendar you get a bigger picture and can see the blocks of time you have devoted to vacation. This will help you plan in advance and work with the goal of meeting deadlines way before your vacation as opposed to last minute. This will reduce stress and allow you to focus.

You need to plan and prepare yourself for the transitional time following a vacation as well—allow time to check email, prepare for meetings, etc. This should all be incorporated into your planning in the weeks (and months) leading up to a vacation.

What this means is that you should prepare and schedule your social media content for before, during and after your vacation to allow for some much needed buffer time.

Schedule Content

While some business owners do not schedule content and prefer to post live, if you know you are going to be unplugged while away then you need to create quality content and schedule it to publish while you are on vacation. 

This could be a timely evergreen piece that relates to the time of year, i.e. if it is over March break, do you have something that relates to this?  The same goes for Christmas and other holidays.

If you are planning on running a special event or sale sometime after you get back from vacation, then you need to think ahead about this as well; and create and schedule content that will build up to this so you are not frantically promoting last minute upon returning from vacation.

Plan your blog posts

If you have a small business blog then you might not need to publish a new blog post on your week away, however if you do need new content or if you owe someone a new post(s) then you need to plan ahead and make sure it is edited and ready to publish while you are away.

When it comes to all online content, the important thing is to be consistent—if your audience expects a blog post or newsletter while you are away then you need to stay consistent. Your content schedule depends on your business as well as your audience.

If you do not want to have your own material publish while you are away, then you can ask guest bloggers to guest post on your blog. Again you will need to plan this in advance and reach out and let them know your expectations, deadlines, etc. 

Let your clients know you will be away

If you regularly take appointments then you need to let your audience know that you will not be taking appointments the week you are away. The sooner you let our audience know, the better. You can do this via your email signature, out of office as well as Facebook messenger and on your website. You do not necessarily have to let your audience know that you are leaving town, just let them know you are unavailable, and if you will or will not be responding to emails.

Get help and set expectations

If you work with a social media manager or virtual assistant then you need to work with them and make sure they are aware of whether or not you are still responding to email or if you are completely off the grid while you are on vacation.

You should also let them know clear deadlines and have clear communication regarding expectations on them while you are away as well as leading up to your vacation.

You should always have someone available to put out your fires while you are away. For example, if you cannot get on your Facebook Page while away, then you should have someone who has the role of Page Admin to access your Page to answer queries, etc. The same applies to your website—have someone who can log in and address any malware issues or other problems.

Logging off and stepping away from your computer is healthy—allow yourself the time to enjoy it! With the proper amount of planning and preparation a week away is not only possible, it can easily become a regular part of your business planning.

How will you get ready for your next time away from your business? Leave a comment and let me know!

#45 - Why you need to build your audience with intention

Before you start asking how to run Facebook ads or a webinar or podcast—you need to ask yourself WHY you are doing these things? More often than not the answer is to generate more sales, but the answer should be more in depth than that.

Yes, you want to make more money, but WHOM do you want to make money from? Who is your target audience? Who are you trying to reach through your podcast, online advertising, etc.?

Build your audience with intention

Once you have narrowed this down then you can work on a plan on how to reach them.

Erin Marshall, of Chameleon Online Business Management, spoke with me about why you need to be intentional when it comes to your audience as well as how to find that audience. Many people start marketing without a plan and this ultimately results in poor sales and frustration.

Why is having an intentional audience important?

Not every marketing tactic works for every audience. Not every audience is keen to sign up and watch a webinar, and not everyone’s audience will respond to Facebook ads.

You need to have a solid idea on how you want your marketing tactics to work. There are many important marketing tools, but just because they work for someone else, does not mean they will work well for your business. When listening to someone else’s podcast, webinar, etc. remember that they created that message for their audience and it may not work as well for yours.

When a business sets up a webinar, it is through careful consideration and work to find out what motivates you—and you are their audience. They worked hard to figure out whom it was they wanted to speak to, how to find you, how to speak to you and how to motivate you to sign up and move forward with them. You need to figure out how you can get your audience just as excited to listen and respond to your messages.

Can you have success with a small mailing list?

You can be successful with a small mailing list or audience, providing those on your list are the right matches for you. You need to narrow down who your ideal client is and build your relationship with them based on what makes them ideal.

When you market to the right people you will see a better return on investment.

The more people who are on your list who are truly not interested may be marking your emails as spam and therefore not even seeing your messages. Wouldn’t you rather be taking the time to create messages for people who are actually interested in what you have to say?

How to have an intentional audience

Create a description about your “Who?”. Make it as in depth as possible. Then write out who you are and what you do. Once you have this you should then work on creating a free value-add, for example a free opt-in that offers a solution of some kind that clearly demonstrates how you can be of help to them. This opt in will encourage people to give you their email address in exchange for something that can help them. You can then nurture these contacts through a sales funnel that will inevitably show potential clients what else you can offer them through more value-added content.

You want to use your sales funnel to build a relationship with your contacts and show them what you have to offer. This sales funnel should lead to your end goal, i.e. a coaching program, an online program, product, etc.

Think of your sales funnel like dating: When you first meet and go out on a date with someone new you are more than likely not going to immediately ask them to marry you—you are going to take the time to get to know them and vice versa. No one likes to commit unless they are sure—this includes investing in a new business or product.

So, how can you get to know your potential clients better and how can you provide potential clients the information they need to get to know you better?

Leave a comment and let me know if you have any other questions and how you're going to be more intentional when it comes to your audience. 

#44 - Entrepreneurs and Confidence

entrepreneurship

Do you feel nervous or uncomfortable about putting yourself out there on social media or at a networking event? How does it make you feel when someone refers to you as an expert or guru? If either of these scenarios makes you want to pull back or hide then it may be time to look at your mindset to see why you are struggling with these.

When we talk about mindset in this context, we are talking about something that you may not be conscious of that is impacting how you behave in your business.  What are your beliefs around visibility, i.e. what makes you afraid to put yourself out there? How are your beliefs impacting your inability to be confident?

Lack of confidence can affect an entrepreneur’s ability to put themselves out there and be visible. Many entrepreneurs hesitate to put themselves out there in video, public speaking or at a networking event because they lack the confidence.

My friend Megan O’Neill is a Core Belief Engineering Practitioner, who has many clients who are entrepreneurs and small business owners—some of whom struggle with confidence. Megan helps them determine why they struggle and what beliefs may be holding them back.

Lack of Confidence and Fearing Judgment

Megan recently spoke with a colleague who hesitates to do any public speaking because she feels she isn’t good enough and needs more training. In Megan’s eye, her colleague was already quite a good public speaker. Her colleague lacks the confidence to do public speaking and that is actually what is holding her back.

Similarly, Megan held back from doing videos for her business because she lacked confidence. She did not want people from her past, i.e. high school classmates to see and potentially judge these videos. Once she overcame this fear, she was able to create regular videos that allow people the opportunity to get to know her thereby helping grow her business.

People hold back because they fear judgment.

Imposter Syndrome

If you are afraid of looking like a fake or a phoney, you believe you are presenting yourself in a certain way that is not true. A lot of people who are extremely talented are, are actually some of the most likely to suffer from imposter syndrome.

You need to ask yourself how many years of experience or education do you need before you allow yourself to be qualified for what it is you do. Once you ask yourself this question you may start to realize there is no magic number, or magic certification... not really. (Though sometimes you really will want to get a piece of paper, that's ok too)

The same falls true for people who come from highly educated parents, they may feel they are not qualified enough because they are not at the same level of education, even though this is simply not true.

People will find ways to justify their fears. They don’t want to use the word expert or guru—but why? What are the beliefs behind not wanting to use these words?

There are old beliefs that you shouldn’t “toot your own horn.” Women in particular hesitate to do this because they fear they will not be liked and will look conceited, which is wrong because you are telling yourself to not be confident.

Imposter syndrome is really common - start to pinpoint where you're feeling stuck so you can start to move past the blocks in your thinking.

Measuring Up to Other People

Have you ever thought, “Who am I to believe I can do this?” This is one way we measure ourselves. We also tend to compare ourselves to other entrepreneurs who may be offering similar services or products. If you suffer from comparing yourself to other people it’s counterproductive. It does not motivate you and in fact, often causes people to pull back.

It is important to remember that the picture you hold of what someone else is doing, i.e. comparing your pricing, is done without knowing the other entrepreneur’s full picture. Maybe their prices do not reflect their reality. Maybe they are not making enough to support their lifestyle. Maybe they want to raise their prices, but are afraid to!

If you look at someone else, it is easy to fall into the trap of comparing.

Take Facebook for example, if you look at someone’s Facebook page you will think they are living the picture perfect life, and this can make you feel bad about your own life, even though it may not be that person’s true reality. People get caught up in artificial perceptions.

How Beliefs Affect Us

It comes down to how people value themselves—their self-worth. We are culturally taught to not value ourselves. Once you start to value yourself and look at what you bring to the table it can be a game-changer.

When you are a business owner or a solopreneur, you are IT! Go big or go home! Value your talents, your time and how you look and present yourself. You need to put yourself out there, so why not have the confidence to do so?

Become aware of your beliefs. Awareness is the first step to changing your negative beliefs. Notice and become aware of where your blocks are—write them down. If you are not taking action on something ask yourself why that is? What is holding you back? What part of you doesn’t want to do it?

Once you figure out these blocks ask yourself how you can change your mindset around these blocks. Can you talk it out with a friend or someone who is supportive of you and your entrepreneurial journey?

How can you change your change your mindset and be confident? And if that isn't working, book a call with Megan because she can help you dig down into the unconscious beliefs that can be hard to target on our own.

#43 Planning for 2017

Can you believe it's almost 2017? Tomorrow is December 1st and I'll admit that yet again, another year has flown by faster than I could have imagined!

Today on the podcast I'm sharing tips on how to start planning for 2017. I think planning is SO important - I run a planning day every year for other business owners and I also make sure I plan out my own year.  In addition to sharing my own tips, I also asked some fellow female entrepreneurs how they prepare for the new year.

Susan Murphy, Jester Creative

planning for 2017

Susan Murphy has co-run a digital media production company, Jester Creative, for many years. She believes wrapping up the previous year is just as important as preparing for the new year; including getting caught up on expenses, closing your books and cleaning up your electronic files. She believes making sure things are organized and cleaned up make it easier to start with a clean slate in the new year.

The other thing Susan does to plan for the new year is to think about her three words for the next year. Chris Brogan started the idea of coming up with three defining words for the new year. Susan believes this is important because it helps you align yourself and your goals for the next year.

Gini Dietrich, Arment Dietrich

Gini Dietrich is founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, a digital marketing communications firm based in Chicago. She plans ahead for her business by reserving one day a week to work on her business rather than in it. People wonder how she is able to accomplish so much – and setting aside a day a week is how she does it. When she tells people this they often wonder how she is able to do that and come up with excuses as to why they could never take a day off to work on their business! Gini believes, "either you can make excuses or you can move your business forward quickly."

Her company also use the EOS model outlined in the book Traction. This plan makes it easy for businesses to set for their big plan and then break it down to smaller rocks for easier execution. Gini started this in 2014 and continues to out sell and out profit the previous year. For Gini, "planning success for the following year is ridiculously fun!"

Maggie Patterson, Scoop Industries

Maggie Patterson is the Chief Marketing Officer at Scoop Industries and she believes on getting clear on what your goals are before planning anything. Maggie believes if you work on a business where you are getting external inputs all the time it can be easy to lose sight of your own goals, so getting clear on your personal and professional goals and what is important to you and your business is necessary.

Maggie's second tip is to not feel pressured to do everything right away. Remember it is a whole year process, so break it down into 12 week chunks. Why? Because things change and this adds a more dynamic and flexible way of reaching your goals and also helps with procrastination. Maggie also thinks business owners need to write it down and make it real – and not just in a Google Doc. Write it down where you can see it and track it.

Lara Wellman

I believe it is really important for you to know what you want your life to look like. What kind of hours do you want to work and not work? How much time do you want to take off for vacations, etc.? How much money do you want to make? Once you are clear on these questions you can then plan your business goals around them. What is it you value? How can you can incorporate those into your business?

And finally, make sure to do regular brain dumps! Every time you have an idea write it down – in a journal or on a Post-It note! This will help you to sort your ideas and prioritize them where you're doing the detailed planning and putting things into your calendar.

How do you plan for the new year? Have you considered participating in a planning day with other determined entrepreneurs and business owners?

#32 Getting visible with media, traditional and new

Christy Laverty joined me last fall on one of my first podcasts and I invited her back to discuss how to get in front of traditional media using new media. Christy has worked in the media and knows how it works. She offers some great media insights and tips to help business owners make the right moves to get media attention. So, how can you get the attention of traditional media?

Be visible

Christy Laverty Media Attention for Your Biz

Getting in front of the media ups your visibility, but in order for the media to find you, you must be visible. How can you be visible? Get online. For example, a social space like Twitter is a great place to build your know, like and trust factor – especially with reporters and journalists who are also on spaces like Twitter. Journalists and editors are online and they are reading and following. So, the more online you are, the more visible you are, and the more likely you are to be featured in traditional media.

Engage and ask

Have you ever wondered why one person always gets featured in the media? That person is always on TV or the radio talking about something you could easily talk about too? That person is probably more visible online and they probably asked to be there. You have to build relationships with traditional media through new media by engaging with them and making your message clear. Producers and editors are constantly looking for ideas and want people to purpose ideas, so get out there and don’t hesitate to present your ideas to traditional media. Newsrooms are doing more with less and appreciate help creating content - just ask!

Branch out

Don’t stick with just one online space – guest blog or be a guest on podcasts. Know the content, know the audience and see where you can branch out. The more out there you are, the more you prove yourself as an expert in what it is you do. Then, build your list of traditional media using social networks. Twitter is a great place to build your list. Create a spreadsheet or list of media you would like to be featured on then listen and watch their content and find the right fit for you.

Can it be done alone?

If you are a solopreneur or small business a PR agency can cost a lot of money, which can be hard on your budget. Yes, a PR company can do the work for you, but you also have to take the time to teach them about your business and what it is you want to say through the media. Also, the contacts belong to the PR company, not you… so, by doing it yourself you are building valuable relationships you can call your own. It will take time and work, but the key is to use social media and focus on media relations. Make contacts, add journalists, editors, etc. and focus on them – listen, retweet and share their content. This is making effective use of your time online. If you don’t have time, consider hiring a virtual assistant to help build your media contacts and relationships. These relationships will be yours and yours alone to do with as you will.

You know what message you want to put out there, so start by taking the time to build your media relationships online and work your way into their content. That way when you are ready to pitch them they will know who you are and are more likely to feature you and your business.

 

If you struggle with finding the right media contacts or can’t seem to focus on the right media strategy or plan, Christy has a great Facebook Group that helps entrepreneurs approach the media. She discusses how to contact them (remember, they are people too!) and what to say to convince them that your message should be in front of their audience.

#17 The Importance of Creativity and Play in Your Business

Why is creativity important for your business?

In episode 17, Joanne Lauzon joins me as we talk about the importance of creativity and play - a topic that is near and dear to me after discovering just how impactful it has been for me in the last year.

Joanne regularly inspires me to be creative and that helps me to be a better entrepreneur and more creative in the work that I do and the information that I share online.

What is Play?

Play reminds us to be imaginative, which everyone thinks is amazing in children, but has a reputation in adults for being about daydreaming and distraction. What science has shown us is that it is important for adults to do things that are just for fun.

Definition of play by Stuart Brown:

  • Play is something that is voluntary and not a chore
  • Play is flexible and can change during the experience
  • Play is enjoyable and fun

Why are Play and Creativity Important for Adults?

Among many other benefits, play's effect on our brains has been proven to decrease stress, improve brain function, helps with problem solving, and improves relationships.

Why are Play and Creativity Important for Entrepreneurs?

Entrepreneurs get stuck IN their businesses. If you get stuck in a rut, how will you get out? Play and creativity can help and they don't need to take a lot of time to have impact in your life and business.

When you are finding yourself spinning your wheels or feeling like your self talk is negatively effecting you, spend 10 minutes stepping away from your work and draw something or go outside for a few minutes of joy.

Reasons to prioritize finding time for play and creativity:

  • Offers new ideas and perspectives on problems
  • Triggers innovation
  • Increases physical energy
  • Minimizes burnout

Ten-minute solo play idea

  • Lego: 15 or 20 pieces to see what you can build
  • Adult colouring books (they're creative and meditative)
  • Play dough
  • Sketch books
  • Pipe cleaners
  • Juggling balls or bean bags - practise for a few minutes to improve your skills

Resources & Links

Joanne's website (sign up for her newsletter for updates and ideas on creativity and play for entrepreneurs)

Events Joanne is hosting (use code SMSPLAY for $10 off!)

Find Joanne on Facebook

Social Media Simplified on iTunes

Subscribe on Stitcher

#11 Getting Media Attention for your Business

Getting media attention for your business is an incredible way to get great content that you can share with your audience, increase your credibility (if the media thinks you're an expert, so will other people!), and widen your reach and get more people knowing who you are.

This week's podcast is all about how to do that. I had the pleasure of not only interviewing Media and Communications consultant, Christy Laverty when we were both at the Blissdom Canada conference last week, but also rooming with her for a night and getting to know her in person!

We had a chance to record a chat about how you can get media attention for your business. During our chat she shared many great actionable tips that we can all take and use to get more media attention.

Here are some of the key take away points from this week's episode with Christy Laverty:

gettingmediaattention
  • You don't need a PR company to be able to get media attention. In fact, many reporters and producers WANT to talk to the person the story is about and not a "professional".

  • Media is looking for story ideas so they welcome you sending ideas to them.
  • Make sure that you figure out what angle to pitch your story. You want to fit in with something that makes sense for the producer. They have no interest in running a story that turns out to be a commercial for your business - make it interesting for listeners first.
  • Add a different opinion or voice to an existing story. Media will talk about a topic a lot over the course of a couple of days, but they don't want it to always sound the same. Help them make it interesting.
  • Tell them how you want to be described when you're being introduced. This is your opportunity to include your website or a title you want to be known by.
  • Media relations is free, you probably couldn't afford to advertise to an audience of that size. 

How do you find out what stories to talk about?

Set up Google Alerts or Check Yahoo News. Sign up for The Skimm, an email service that curates news headlines for you. Follow the headlines and then figure out how you can make yourself useful within those topics.

How to pitch?

No need for a news release. Send a personalized email. Propose a story idea and then ask when they have time to talk about it further. Know that a lot of producers and reporters have funny hours so you need to make yourself available to them based on their timelines.

Follow them on Twitter. Look and see who reporters and producers are following because they often follow each other. 

Remember the value of relationships. By being helpful and available when needed, they will remember you when you ask them for something.

Go on a media binge/diet. Spend time listening, reading and watching the kinds of shows your audience would listen to, read and watch. Make sure you understand the kinds of stories they run and how your story fits with that before you make a pitch.

Links & additional resources

Follow Christy online for more great information on building relationships with the media and getting media attention:

Christy A. Laverty's website

Christy on Facebook

Christy on Twitter

The Skimm

Google Alerts

Yahoo News

Subscribe on iTunes

Subscribe on Stitcher

 

#10 You need to be on LinkedIn

There's a definite trend with people I've been talking to lately (and apparently the people THEY have been talking to) about LinkedIn. More and more of my clients are telling me that someone told them they absolutely need to be on LinkedIn and focus all of their attention there.

I don't necessarily agree. Facebook can also be a really important tool for business owners because it's where the most people spend their time, but having said that, I also think everyone needs to be paying attention to LinkedIn.

If you have a business and people might have a reason to look you up online at all, you want to have a solid LinkedIn presence.

What does that mean?

Have a well filled out profile.

Make sure that your headline describes what you do - it's the thing that people see first other than your photo and your name.

Make sure that the summary section is complete with detailed information about what you do, how people can work with you and is full of keywords you want to be found for.

Use recommendations and endorsements 

Endorse people as a way to connect with them in a simple way.

Use other people's endorsements as a way to know if what you're putting out into the world correctly describes what you do.

Ask for and give recommendations. These testimonials are great ways to connect with people and the more recommendations you have the more social proof there is that you're great at what you do.

Publish content to the network

Use the publishing tool to publish existing content to your profile. It's an opportunity to get more exposure for your content and they get prominently listed on your profile. It's a great way to showcase your expertise. 

Links & additional resources

The value of recommendations and endorsements on LinkedIn (blog post)

Connect with me on LinkedIn

The podcast can now also be found on Stitcher

Social Media Simplified on iTunes

Come and join my Biz community on Facebook: The Biz Studio Facebook Group

#9 Community will help you grow your biz

I have no idea how anyone can grow a successful business without surrounding themselves with other entrepreneurs. It can be lonely and isolating and there is so much you just don't know until you've tried this entrepreneurial thing.

In this week's episode I talk about some of the ways that I think people should look for community based on my own personal experiences. 

1) Masterminds

I love my Mastermind group. I've been a part of a few over the years and I plan to help people set up their own groups in the future (stay tuned for more information on that). 

A Mastermind is a safe place to talk about all things business with people who not only are sympathetic and supportive, but who are also ready to tell you when you're wrong and send you truths you may not always be ready to hear. I think every business owner should be a member of one, whether they pay for it or create one themselves.

2) Follow people with knowledge

There are so many great and knowledgeable professionals out there. They're out there trying to create community - on Twitter, on Instagram, and on their Facebook pages. Be a part of their communities by taking part in conversations, by soaking up their knowledge and by asking questions. It's the best way to find the people you'll trust and be ready to pay to help you in the future too.

3) Online communities

There are so many great communities online. Some are a part of existing programs (all my Simple Start programs come with a private Facebook Group for example) and some are open to the world to join and take part in.

I've started my own group call the Biz Studio and I'd love for you to come over and check it out and join!

Links & additional resources

Mastermind Blog Post

Magical Business Academy

Freedomhackers Facebook Group

The Biz Studio Facebook Group

Social Media Simplified on iTunes


#6 What I learned at summer camp

This past week I went to summer camp for grownups - more specifically for, "Makers, Entrepreneurs and World Shakers."

It was held at a kids' summer camp with all the summer camp experiences - arts and crafts, cabins (there were 12 lovely women in mine) without heat, cafeteria meals, bonfires and talent shows. 

It was amazing. I had such a wonderful time. I met incredible people and I came home feeling changed, for the better.

In this week's podcast I highlight some of the things that really struck me at camp. Things that aren't directly related to social media, but that apply to how we need to think about our businesses as a whole and how we deal with our communities and messages.

Find your community

 Marsha Shandur of Yes Yes Marsha and I

Marsha Shandur of Yes Yes Marsha and I

I've talked about the importance of figuring out who your audience is and the need to be willing to niche yourself, but more than ever camp reminded me just how amazing it can be when you really and truly find a community that is tied together by joint values.

When you let yourself create a space that is not for everyone, then the people it IS for feel even more comfortable and connected to you. 

Create experience

 While most campers started their day with Yoga and meditation I stuck to my coffee but sat reflecting on all that I was learning.

While most campers started their day with Yoga and meditation I stuck to my coffee but sat reflecting on all that I was learning.

Knowing what you want people to feel and experience when it comes to you, your business, and the content you share is an important part of marketing and creating a great business.

Every moment that I was at camp I felt fully immersed in the experience they created for me. It was impressive and delightful. Speaking of which...

Delight

Jonathan Fields, who started the Good Life Project and spoke several times during camp inspired me more than I ever could have imagined. He endeavours to create delight and is entirely successful at it. 

It is my goal over the next year to create more delight in and with my business.

 

Harness your fear

Point 3 of Jonathan's 10 commandments is around fear and he said something that I will never forget. He asked people to think of what it feels like to have butterflies in your stomach when something scares you and then to imagine all that you could do if you could harness those butterflies.

That statement might have been the most impactful statement of the entire weekend. (I'm harnessing them right now as I share a drawing of the statement I made post camp.)

Going to sleep away camp for entrepreneurs was an epic experience for me. I learned a lot and I hope some of the thoughts I've shared from my trip help you too.

Links & additional resources

Camp GLP

Yes Yes Marsha - who I adore and you should follow her. Her claim to fame is that I was the first subscriber on her mailing list (no wait, I think that's my claim to fame, but yanno, I'm spinning it here)

Jonathan Fields talking about turning Fear Into Fuel in a Tedx talk

Social Media Simplified on iTunes