Are Your Money Beliefs Hurting Your Business?

Are Your Money Beliefs Hurting Your Business?

I was teaching a class about Super Customers recently in my Brilliant Business Academy and a lady asked a really good question at the end.

She said something along the lines of “I make keepsake bears. I couldn’t afford one of my bears. I don’t think people will pay my prices”

Woah! That is a biggie. We had a talk about it on the call. Let me tell you how that went.

There was a whole lot going on here, as you can tell.

This lady – we’ll call her Pam – creates amazing keepsake items and focuses on teddy bears made from items of clothing.

Some of her customers want their child’s baby clothes made into keepsake bears.

Some customers though, have lost loved ones, from babies and children to parents and siblings and want a keepsake bear to hold, to remember their loved one by.

Pam doesn’t just whiz them together. She has special touches she incorporates into her keepsakes, things that make them unique and even more valuable to her customers. The quality is amazing. Her service is amazing. The feedback she gets is amazing.

Some people think she is too expensive, but they are not her Super Customers. Other people think she is worth her weight in gold because she creates something precious to keep when they are going through a sad and tough time – the cost isn’t vaguely an issue.

So why does she think her customers won’t pay her prices?

Maybe because Pam’s confidence in herself isn’t great? Maybe a few of those ‘too expensive’ comments from people hit home even though they weren’t her Super Customers? Or maybe because at the moment money is a bit tight for Pam and luxuries like keepsake bears would be out of her budget for now.

Any of these would give you pricing wobbles. Combined, they are enough to make anyone doubt themselves.

And Pam could be any of us.
Depending on how we feel on a given day, our confidence in our pricing goes up, down and all around. If we’re feeling a bit broke and sales are thin on the ground, then we might assume everyone else is a bit broke too – our mind does that to us. It projects OUR money beliefs onto other people.

In other words ‘If I can’t afford it, then others probably can’t’ or ‘If I wouldn’t pay that, nobody else would’.

But you know that’s not true, don’t you?

People value different things for different reasons, depending on what is happening in their life.

If I’m not into cycling then a bicycle has no value to me. If my doctor told me to lose weight and get fit quickly, I would probably see the value in that bicycle and even think about upgrading it, because it’s something I need now.

If I haven’t lost a loved one then a keepsake bear might not even enter my thoughts. When I do lose someone dear to me, all of a sudden a keepsake bear seems like a wonderful idea and a way to keep a loved one close, even after they have gone.

And when I look for keepsake bears, I will have a choice. I might only be able to afford a ‘budget’ bear or I might decide to buy a really special one, like the ones Pam makes, even if I have to forgo other expenses or save up.

The thing is, you don’t know what I would pay more for.

You don’t know what I’d save up for.

You don’t know what I value or what is happening in my life.

You are not a mind reader.

All you can do is figure out your Super Customer and speak to them in your marketing.

In Pam’s case, her Super Customer is the bereaved person who is looking for a beautiful, special keepsake created with love and care by someone who knows how hard this is for them.

  • Someone who can guide them through the process of selecting the best fabrics and the best types of clothing to choose.
  • Someone who understands how precious these clothes now are
  • Someone who will handle these precious clothes with love and compassion

Pam does that and her Super Customers don’t care that she is more than twice the price of some other makers.

It’s irrelevant to them. What matters is the experience and how it makes them feel.

So, Pam realised her fear that people wouldn’t pay her prices was unfounded. Actually, for her Super Customers the price is secondary.

All she has to do is speak to them in her marketing. 

  • She needs to tell them what she does, and why.
  • She needs to show them how she creates beautiful keepsakes with care and compassion and tell them she will help them with the really tough bits.
  • She needs to involve them in the journey. Tell them how it will work and how long it will take. Explain how they can add personal, special features if they want.
  • She needs to show off her beautiful makes and her testimonials from happy customers.
  • She needs to be proud of the difference she makes and the joy she brings at a difficult time.
  • The LAST thing she needs to do is assume what they would pay, based on how she is feeling about money at the moment.

And even better, once she changes her marketing to speak to these Super Customers, who will be so happy they found her, she will sell more keepsakes and her money situation will improve. Win win.

And Pam’s question made me think of you.

  • How often have you projected your money beliefs onto your customers?
  • How often have you assumed people won’t pay *that much* because cash is a bit tight in your house at the moment?
  • How often have you thought it’s not worth marketing your products or services because it’s too far from pay day?
  • How often have you caved in and given discounts without thinking about how valuable your products and service really are, to the RIGHT people?
  • Every time you do this, you are devaluing what you sell. Every time you do this you are letting your money beliefs hurt your business.

To the right people – your Super Customers – the price is secondary, because they VALUE what you sell. They might even forgo other expenses or save up for it. Imagine that. Best get stuck into Super Customer marketing, eh?

You are awesome.

Love, Claire xx

PS: That class about Super Customers I mentioned? It’s in my Brilliant Business Academy now and you can get a week’s trial for just £1 HERE. Hope to see you in there, I think you’ll love it!

I Should Have Waited For The Bus!

I Should Have Waited For The Bus!

Oh my goodness, what a morning!

Chloe, my 11 year old, went back to school a couple of weeks ago after 3 years of being home-educated. Her decision and she absolutely loves it. Rather than put her into the big town school near where we live, she chose to go to my old school, a little rural Academy in a village about 6 miles away.

It means she needs to get the local bus service which goes past our lane end and yesterday she finally got her bus pass, which was the cause of much excitement.

This morning was going to be her first morning going on THE BUS.

I was going with her as it’s her first time and it’s not a school bus, so I wanted to make sure she knew the route and where to get off. We planned things meticulously. The bus is scheduled to arrive at 7.55 so I got up extra early, ran down to feed and muck out the horses, then ran home and got a shower and grabbed some porridge.

Chloe, in the meantime, got up, got a shower, got dressed, made a pancake (Happy Pancake Day by the way) and was waiting, hair brushed and ready to go at 7.30. All was going to plan.

We wandered happily up to the bus stop and waited.

And waited.

And waited.

7.55 no bus. 8.00 no bus. 8.05, 8.10, 8.12 no bus.

I started to panic as it’s a good 20 minutes in the car to her school. Finally, I bottled it and said, quick, let’s run home and get the car and I’ll drive you to school.

So, off we ran.

I’m not a big runner and I’d already run TO and FROM the stables that morning, so I arrived home slightly frazzled.

I looked for my car keys. Nowhere to be found. A couple of minutes of turning the house upside down and then I remembered I had worn another coat yesterday and they were in the pocket. Gah!

So now it was 20 past and I was stressed out. Chloe didn’t need to be there until 7.45 but it’s a busy road full of tractors and pickups and you can’t go fast, which is probably a good thing.

We finally got into the car, took a deep breath and set off, grumbling at the blummin’ bus and how annoying it was that it hadn’t come. Grr.

We got 2 miles down the road and found ourselves behind THE BUS!

It must have come just after we ran home. When I was panicking about losing my car keys, it was already on the way to school, 15 minutes late but still ahead of frazzled me.

It detoured around one of the villages while we carried on. I got to school, dropped Chloe off and passed the bus coming into the village where the school is, just as I was leaving and only about 5 minutes behind me.

It would have got us there at 8.40 in plenty of time for Chloe to walk over the road and get to registration.

Why am I telling you this? Well, as I was driving home I had a realisation and it made me think of you.

This morning could have been so different.

Until 8.00 all was going so well.

Then I got impatient, thought the system was broken, started to panic and ended up stressed and wasting almost an hour of my morning in the car only to find myself a mere 5 minutes ahead of the bus.

If I had trusted the system (the bus always comes) and been patient, I would have had a calm 20-minute bus ride with Chloe to school. We wouldn’t have had to worry about traffic. We would have got to school in good time and it would have saved me lots of time, worry and energy.

And it made me think of you.

Because this situation is very similar to marketing.

We have an expectation that things will go a certain way, don’t we?

We set up a business, start marketing it and sales will come quickly, right? That’s how it’s supposed to work? We set up a website, write a blog or two, get active on social media and wait for buyers. Except they don’t come, at least not as soon as we would like.

So we panic, think the system is broken and get stressed. Then we waste loads of energy and money trying to rush things through, only to find ourselves where we would have been if we had just trusted the system and been patient.

The ‘system’ in this case is marketing.

It always takes longer than you think. Things rarely go as expected. But the surest way to get your marketing working is to figure out who you should be targeting (your Super Customers) and market to them, day by day, little by little, consistently.

Even if it feels like nothing is working. Even if it feels like you’re talking to nobody. Even if it feels like you’ve been doing this way longer than you’re supposed to and the buyers just aren’t coming.

Here’s the thing. If you’re targeting the right people and putting a consistent stream of marketing out there, talking to your Super Customers, showing your value and reminding them why they need you, it’s got to work.

Like my bus, it might not work when it’s supposed to. It might not be as quick as other ways but your marketing system will get you where you need to be if you’re patient, keep doing what you need to do and trust the system.

Now, I’m off for a big cup of tea and we’ll be trying the bus again tomorrow. Wish me luck!

Love, Claire xx

Is Your Motivation In Hibernation?

Is Your Motivation In Hibernation?

Remember all those New Year’s resolutions? You had plans to take on the world and make this year a year to remember. You were going to get tons of new customers, make a load of money (and lose a few pounds at the same time)?

But, now it’s time to actually make it happen, the resolutions have gone by out the window, reality has set in and you’ve gone a bit flat. A lot flat. In fact you just can’t be bothered.

You’re feeling like you just want to curl up in a ball rather than face another pile of paperwork or come up with a miraculous marketing plan. Right?

Motivation? You might as well be speaking Klingon!

I know, it’s tricky to keep motivated when you’re running a business, seeing to the kids, working other jobs, trying to keep on top of housework and keep everyone fed and watered. It’s even worse when the weather is rubbish,  and the New Year festivities feel like a distant memory.

Add in those jobs you really don’t want to do in the business, like writing that blog, doing tax returns, chasing payments, filing all that paperwork or coming up with some bright ideas to drum up more business and it’s no wonder you feel flat as a pancake.

But these things still need doing.

Without them the house would turn into something you see on the reality TV shows, where they have to send in a cleaning team to dig out the kitchen. They would find you in the corner of the dining room trapped under a pile of invoices, business at a standstill, in your pyjamas watching box sets and drinking coffee. However appealing that might sound right now, it’s not going to grow your business.

And you DO want to grow your business, otherwise you wouldn’t be reading business blogs, right? You WANT to snap out of perpetual PJ mode and back into business mode, so you can get the cash flowing and make your dreams come true? 

So what’s a girl to do?

Well, first of all know you are not alone. I go through this a few times a year – mainly after Christmas and after holidays or long weekends. It seems to take me forever to wind down but once I’m wound down, I take a lot of getting going again, no matter much I love my business. I have to drag myself to my desk and try to snap my brain back into work mode, even though it feels like a giant, sluggish marshmallow.

There are a few ways to tackle motivation hibernation. Different options work for me at different times so take a look and see if any of these feel appealing or even vaguely doable. I’ve used them all at different points and although it might take me a bit longer than I’d like to ‘snap’ back into work mode, I get there eventually and so will you.

1. Be kind to yourself

If your number one motivational tactic is beating yourself up because you’re not doing what you’re supposed to, maybe stop that? 

You know what it’s like when you have deadlines and you just aren’t feeling it – the more pressure you put yourself under, the less you feel like doing it and the less creative you are. Adding pressure makes it worse.

Take a step back, understand your body and brain have just had a well-earned and much-needed break and it’s going to take time to get back into the swing of things. Think of it like this – you’re restarting a cold business engine and it’s going to take time to get it warmed up again and working as well as it was before your break. So, stop being so mean to yourself and give yourself a couple of weeks to reacclimatise and fall back in love with your business. You’ll still get stuff done, probably more than you think but you’ll do it without that horrible, counterproductive stress.

2. Do the worst job first

I’m going to suggest two completely contradictory tactics now – I have used both at different times and they both work, it just depends on which feels most appealing at the time. The first is to do the worst job first.

Often the reason we can’t get back into work mode is that we have a horrible or tricky job to tackle once we get started and that immediately puts a dampener on any enthusiasm you managed to muster. It could be a tax return, stock take, filing, invoice chasing or some other job that makes you want to run away and hide in the biscuit tin.

If that feels like a huge black cloud over your business then tackle it. Now. No procrastinating, no excuses, just grab a cuppa, gather whatever tools and energy you need and do it. Once it’s done you will feel AMAZING and it’s a huge block out of the way, leaving you to do the nicer jobs you enjoy without the horrible one looming over you.

3. Do the nicest job first

If you just can’t face doing the horrible jobs first, pick something you enjoy doing in your business and do it, guilt-free. Give yourself a couple of hours or even a couple of days to do what you love (which is probably the reason you set up your business in the first place) without any of the less enjoyable stuff clouding your day.

Don’t let the mind monkeys stop you enjoying it – you will get the ‘horrible’ jobs done soon but for now, it’s time to fall back in love with your business and reconnect with the feelings you had when you started it.

Often this feels like a real treat because our time is usually taken up with business stuff we can’t avoid and don’t necessarily like. Simply spending a little time doing what we love can reinvigorate us, remind us why we do this every day and get us back into work mode in the nicest possible way.

4. Do a brain dump

Sometimes all it takes for us to unlock ‘work mode’ in our brain is to bring a bit of clarity to the situation.

Often after a break (and actually at regular intervals throughout the year) I feel that my head is full of ‘things I must do’.

It’s like when your computer gives you a ‘memory full’ message and refuses to do any more work until you have cleared things out. My brain is stuffed to bursting and I can’t see what I need to do first, or even what I need to do at all because my brain has crammed it all into one big ball of ‘THINGS YOU SHOULD BE DOING NOW, WHY ARE YOU SO RUBBISH?’.

Before I can even begin to do anything productive I need to see what I am dealing with, so I do a brain dump. That involves taking a big sheet of paper or a notebook and writing down everything that is taking up space in my brain. All the tasks. All the ideas. All the nagging doubts. All the appointments you must not forget. Everything. Keep writing until you can’t think of anything else and don’t be surprised if some weird stuff comes out too! My brain dumps include things like:

  • Must set reminder on phone for dentist appointment on Monday
  • I never have parking money. Why do I never have change in the car? I need to sort this.
  • When did I book Chloe in for a dance lesson? Need to find out
  • I must get some bulbs for the living room light, it’s doing my head in
  • Phone mum
  • Phone British Heart Foundation to get those boxes of charity stuff in dining room
  • Buy spinach
  • Get Chloe to do Latin homework

I can keep writing for ages. Those were just the little non-work bits swirling around at the top of my brain, I haven’t even started on the chunky business stuff.

Brain dumps are really useful because they achieve several things at once:

  • They help to free up your brain’s processing power so you can get past the feeling of ‘brain overload’ and see what you are dealing with.
  • They help you to feel more in control of what’s going on.
  • They help you to see what is taking up space in your brain and deal with it.

When I do a brain dump I use my 3DS system – Do, Ditch, Delegate or Schedule. You’ll often find that several things on your list can be done right now, in 2 minutes.  Others can be scheduled into your diary because they need doing, but not now and if you schedule them, you know they are dealt with for now so they don’t need to take up space in your brain. Some can be delegated, some can be crossed off altogether (I actually bought the light bulbs yesterday but for some reason they are still taking up space in my brain). If you’re struggling to get motivated, try doing a brain dump and see if it helps – it usually does for me.

5. Pick a Sticky Note

Another technique to help you break that productivity block and kick-start your motivation is the Pick a Sticky Note method – it’s great if you’re prone to procrastinating and overthinking.

Get a pad of sticky notes and write each task on your to-do list on a different sticky note (if you use erasable pens you can reuse your sticky notes many times). Then stick them all on a wall, then pick one. Don’t look at it, just close your eyes and pick one THEN DO IT. When you’ve done it, if you feel up to it, pick another one and do it. That way there is no room for overthinking, you just take pot luck and let fate decide. No swapping them out either, if this method is going to work you have to take what you get and crack on. It’s very effective and when you run out of work time, gather up those that are left until next time you have a spare hour.

6. Work on your business vision

If you can’t face ‘work’ work, then why not do some dreaming? All in the name of building your business, too! I’m talking about working on your business vision. Your business vision is where you think about where you want your business to be in 12 month, or 5 years or further into the future. It’s all about getting very clear on what success looks like to you and how you want your business and life to look in the future – if you are clear on that then you can create plans and targets to help you achieve it.

To create a business vision you can use a notebook, a sheet of paper or a Pinterest secret board. It’s even better if you can get loved ones involved in this process because what you’re going to do is dream big.

Think about what your business could help you achieve, if you really focused. Holidays? A new home? A new car? What would your family love to be able to have or experience in the next few years? There is no need to worry about the ‘how’ for now – the first step is to get those dreams down where you can see them.

Try to be really specific too – rather than saying ‘holiday’ say ‘A holiday at Disneyland, in the hotel where giraffes look through the windows and where we can afford to get those VIP queue-jump tickets’ When you think of what you want, imagine how it would be and include all the details in words or pictures that will really bring the dream to life.

Finally, and this makes it real, put a price to it. How much do you need to save for a holiday like that? How much of a deposit would you need for your dream house? By adding money/costs into the mix you can turn those into specific, meaningful targets to work towards in your business.

If that doesn’t get you motivated into work mode again, I don’t know what will!

7. Do some preparation and planning

If you’re not ready to tackle your to-do list, can you do some preparation?

  • If you can’t face writing a blog or a newsletter, can you come up with the rough topics for the next few? Can you maybe come up with titles? Even scope them out? 
  • If you can’t face your tax return, can you stick on the radio and at least get all your receipts together and sort them into date order?
  • If you can’t face a stock check, can you set up the spreadsheet on your computer or print off your check list?

Don’t underestimate the power of preparation – when it comes to doing ‘the actual job’ you will be happy you took time to prepare as it will save you time later. 

8. Go for a walk and listen to a podcast

There are some days I just can’t be bothered with work but I also don’t want to waste my precious work time (these days are usually when I’m tired or getting over a bug) so I stick on my wellies, grab my phone and headphones and take the dog out for a walk. I’ve always got a couple of podcasts downloaded and in my case I usually choose not to listen to business coaching podcasts. I prefer things like The Infinite Monkey Cage with Professor Brian Cox, or BBC Business podcasts where they tell stories of different businesses or industries around the world, or History Hit podcasts with Dan Snow.

I immerse myself for a while in something totally unrelated to my business, something I can learn from and enjoy with no pressure and get some fresh air and exercise at the same time.

If I do nothing else productive all day, I have still managed to keep my brain active and more often than not, it will spark an idea or a thought that will help my business later. That’s where the Notes app on my phone comes in handy!

If I get REALLY inspired then I stop and let Meg the dog have a run around while I use my Otter app to dictate my idea. That’s how some pages in my Awesome Marketing Planner were born.

9. Watch a motivational video

If it’s horrible weather or you can’t (or don’t want to) leave the house, get onto YouTube and look for TED talks, or whatever motivational speaker you prefer. Watch some feel-good videos, raise your mood and know you are doing a great thing for your business. Creating a positive mindset is a wonderful investment that will reap rewards far into the future.

The best thing is, you don’t have to take any action. You can watch motivational videos for the sake of it, as many as you like. No pressure, just enjoy them for what they are. If you do get inspired, you can scribble a note or two to look at later but just raising your mood is enough when you’re feeling flat and demotivated. A few days of that and you’ll be making your own motivational videos as you power through your marketing.

10. Look at your Book of Awesome

If you haven’t got a Book of Awesome, read this blog I wrote about it. In short, it’s a book where you collect all the lovely, positive, complimentary things people have said about you and your business. Your Book of Awesome is something to dig out and dip into when you’re feeling flat or sad – and especially if you’ve just had a ‘bad customer’ experience that has left you wondering why you bother and doubting your ability. Reading about the joy you have brought, the difference your business has made, the lives you have improved even in just a tiny way – it makes your heart sing and it’s good for the soul.

If you don’t have one, create one now. Treat yourself to the prettiest notebook you can find or decorate a boring one so just looking at it makes you happy. Print off lovely reviews and feedback. Write down things people have said to you.

Make it a book about all the amazing things your business has done and why you matter (you definitely, absolutely matter). And when you need to, when times are tough and you’re feeling flat, demotivated or defeated, dig out your Book of Awesome and read it. Properly read it. Think about how those people were feeling when they said or wrote those words. You’re awesome.

 

If all else fails, come into my This Girl Means Business free Facebook group and join in. Help other people if you can. Ask for help if you want. Do what makes you happy, knowing you’re among likeminded awesome business owners who totally get how you feel. You can do this.

 

Facebook Video – Getting Over Your Fears

Facebook Video – Getting Over Your Fears

If you’ve been putting off doing Facebook video because it’s way too scary, this is for you.

In my last blog I shared Facebook expert Mari Smith’s excellent blog post about the changes going on at Facebook and the top things we can do to get Facebook working for us. She was very clear it was all about video and I shared her top 10 tips along with my own input and explanations on using video in your Facebook marketing and business.

I’m going to take those Facebook video tips one by one and show you how you could use them in your business. So, in this blog we’re going to tackle number 1 – focus on video but this is a HUGE topic in itself, so I’ll cover some today and the rest over the next couple of weeks. This is going to be a mammoth FACEBOOK VIDEO MASTERY series, I think you’re going to love it!

Video already takes priority in Facebook’s newsfeed. It’s only going to get bigger.

If you have tried putting videos on your Facebook page you’ll hopefully have found they get much better engagement than other posts? Obviously it depends on what’s IN the video, but if you can crack this, you will get lots of video views, which improves your Facebook page engagement, which in turn helps your page get seen by more people. At a time when it’s harder than ever to get seen on Facebook, it’s definitely worth grabbing video with both hands while its working well.

So, why might you NOT be using videos yet?

Let me take a guess…

Oooh, maybe you feel like you’re not ‘right’ for video. You might think you’d like to lose a bit of weight before going on screen? Maybe you keep telling yourself it would be better if your hair was tidier, or your voice was different or you had a more photogenic ‘look’. Hmm?

Or maybe you’re using the ‘I’m not techie enough’ excuse? I can’t ‘do’ videos! What about the editing? What do I use to record ON? Do I need a tripod? It’s all too scary!

Maybe you’re up for it but you’ve got video block – whenever you think about doing a video, you get stuck on what to make a video about? I mean what could you say that your customers and page fans would want to hear and watch? And what if they don’t like it? Oh heck, what if they laugh at me?

Blimey, what a lot of reasons NOT to do video! If you’ve talked yourself out of it before you recorded a single second  of video I’m not surprised!

But let me share something with you. I’m going to tell you how to work with and around all those reasons and excuses above.

GETTING PAST VIDEO FEARS AND OVERCOMING THE EXCUSES

Creating videos for your business, whether for your website or social media can be a nerve-wracking experience. It triggers all sorts of insecurities within in us about our appearance, our self-worth, our value – so why on EARTH would you want to drag all that up?

What if people laugh at me? What if they think I’m too fat/thin/ugly? What if I sound stupid? What if they think I’m unprofessional? What if my friends / old boss / mother-in-law see it? What will they think? What if people realise I’m just winging it and don’t really know what I’m talking about?

Run away! Run away! Why would you even want to go there? Even I had a wobble with those as I wrote them but do you know what? We all feel like that. Even people who are on TV every day!

But wouldn’t it be great to NOT worry about all those things? I mean, if they are holding you back from doing videos, imagine what else they are stopping you doing?

What if I told you these fears are not important and definitely not worth worrying about? What if I told you nobody really cares what you look like or sound like, as long as there is something for them in the video? What if I told you there are some things you can do to make Facebook video MUCH easier? It’s true!

Remember, it’s not about you

The first thing you have to realise is, it’s not about you.

People don’t watch videos ABOUT YOU unless you are a celebrity (sorry!) unless it’s an ‘about me’ video on your website (which is an awesome idea) but generally in our world, as small business owners (with big ambitions) people watch our videos to get help. They watch our videos to learn something they need to know or to see if they are missing something.

As long as you are sharing something interesting, relevant and of value TO THEM they don’t care what you look like or sound like, as long as they can understand what you’re saying. Occasionally you might get a nasty comment because Facebook does have trolls. I’ll tell you how to deal with them in a mo.

They want to know wiifm

What’s in it for me? Why are you reading this email? To see if I share something that could help you in your business, right? A tip, an idea, a new way of looking at something. Well, that’s the same for your Facebook fans, email subscribers, in fact anyone you come into contact with in your business.

Once you realise that, the whole Facebook video ‘thing’ gets much easier. What do your fans and customers want to know? What could you share that would help them in their life? What would make them take notice? What words or phrases could you use that would grab their attention? What are they thinking about or worrying about that you can help with? What would make them happy? What would they find intriguing?

“Why does my dog eat grass?”
“How long should my baby nap for?”
“Should I send e-newsletters to my customers?”
“How do I deal with email overload?”
“Why aren’t people visiting my website?”
“Why has my silver jewellery gone black?”
“How can cheese help my concentration?”*

*I have no idea how cheese could help your concentration, but if you know the answer then I know a load of people who would love an excuse to eat more cheese!

Think about what your customers and Facebook fans might be putting into Google. Think about what YOU put into Google! I know, right? Weird and random things (if you’re anything like me) but if you can figure out what your fans are bothered about, then YOU can be the person showing up on Facebook videos in their newsfeed with the answers!

What if I get a nasty comment?

It might happen, it might not. Depending on what you’re sharing, you might ‘trigger’ someone who then feels hurt or upset or angry or jealous and makes a nasty comment. The more controversial you are, the more likely this is to happen.

If you’re not controversial and you’re just sharing how you painted your latest picture of a puppy, it probably won’t happen. If you’re talking about vaccinations, politics, parenting, money, anything that people are likely to have strong feelings about, you’re probably going to get all sorts of comments, good and bad.

So what do you do? Well, understand first of all that people are very brave when they are on Facebook and will say things they would NEVER say in real life so they are unlikely to be a real threat. Don’t reply. Don’t bite. Don’t engage. Ban. Delete. Move on. No matter how hurtful a comment might be, don’t let it get to you. Don’t let it hurt you because then they win. Let it slide off and have a way of dealing with it so it doesn’t ruin your day.

As someone who has had ALL sorts of nastiness happen on my Facebook page I can tell you this is easier said than done – but for your own sanity you have to just ban (so they can’t comment any more), THEN delete the comment, then do something that requires you to focus so you can get them out of your head. Whenever you catch yourself dwelling on it, STOP IT. DON’T LET THEM WIN. Focus your precious time and energy on making your business stronger.

If you can’t BEAR the thought (yet) of putting your lovely face on a video, in my next blog (coming soon) I’m going to show you that you don’t have to be ON video to make a video.

And in the following blog  I’m going to give you some great ideas for Facebook videos.

And that’s just part 1! After that we’ll cover video production tips, technology tips, different types and sizes and lengths of video, monetising video, captions, and more! You’ll be a Facebook video pro before you know it.

How To Find Your Missing Mojo After A Break

How To Find Your Missing Mojo After A Break

You know when you’ve got a holiday coming up and you work like CRAZY to get everything prepared for it? You use every available hour and minute to hit those pre-holiday deadlines and then finally, you’re done. All finished. Or as much as you ever will be.

And then you enjoy your holiday break. You wind down. You relax. You leave all thoughts of work and business behind while you take a well-earned rest. You spend time with the family. You catch up on hobbies. You find yourself getting quite used to this ‘doing nothing’ lark.

But then you get a niggling feeling. You know you need to get back into the business. There is marketing to be done. Orders to fulfil. Tax to sort out. Things to make, things to sell.

The only trouble is you feel as FLAT as a pancake.

That rest and relaxation you needed so badly has drained you of all your enthusiasm for your business. Your mojo has vanished and you can’t even vaguely think about doing anything work-related – you simply don’t have the energy for it. Then often you get hit by bugs – cold and flu is my bug of choice each year – because as soon as you relax it’s like your body decides now would be a great time to knock you down, seeing as though you’re having a rest and not so busy. Aaaaaagh!

Then the panic sets in. What if I can’t get rid of this flat feeling? I have so much to do- I need to be DOING but I can’t! I’m wasting so much time doing NOTHING when I’ve got a to-do list as long as my arm. Why did I take that time off? I should have kept going! Guilt! Guilt! Worry! Worry!

STOP! Stop stop stop stop. Wooooah.

There are some things you need to know.

First of all, this is totally normal

I feel like this every Christmas and every summer and every blummin holiday and I LOVE my business, just like you. But having some time off messes with your mind. We are so used to being in a flurry of activity, being crazy busy and playing catch up all the time that once we stop our brain and body let out a sigh of relief (metaphorically speaking).

Second, it doesn’t last forever

It will pass and there are things you can do to help that happen.

Third, this is your body telling you to take it easy

Running on adrenaline shouldn’t be your normal state, and yet for most of us business owners it is. It’s a safety mechanism and a warning.

So what can you do about it?

  1. Well the first thing you can do is shut up those mind monkeys that are telling you you’re ‘wasting’ precious time by having a rest. You’re not. You’re looking after yourself and the business can wait.
  2. Remember why you are doing this. You’re building a business BECAUSE you want that precious time with the family, you want that precious ‘me’ time, you WANT to be able to have time off. And yet when you get it, you can’t enjoy it. So, enjoy it.
  3. Keep a notebook or planner handy so when your brain goes into overdrive or the mind monkeys make you panic, you can write down things you need to remember and you can tackle them when you’re back at work.
  4. Give yourself a specific day to start back in the business – say you’ll start back on THIS date and stick to it. The rest of the time don’t bother with business stuff, just enjoy yourself and stop worrying knowing you can deal with the business on that specific day. It’s about setting boundaries.
  5. Don’t let customers bully or pressure you into going back earlier than planned. Boundaries, remember? You’re off until THIS date and you can help them then. If they are the right sort of customer for you, they will understand. If they don’t understand and start getting nasty, you are well rid!
  6. Start with the fun stuff. Then do something you’re not looking forward to so much. Then another fun thing. That way you can enjoy getting back into work but also don’t store all the horrible jobs up. Mix them up and treat yourself in between.
  7. Treat yourself to a planning day. No pressure. Nothing but big dreams and grand plans. Do some colouring, make a vision board, work out how you would love to spend your time each day. Get yourself reinvigorated and excited about what lies ahead.
  8. Finally, stop comparing yourself. It’s not about what everyone else is doing. It’s about you doing your best with what you have. You’re not ‘falling behind’. You’re not leaving things too late. You’re not wasting time or letting yourself down. You’re having a much needed break that will give you the energy to keep going later.

 

Oh, and you’re a business owner. You are running your own business. That means you are officially awesome.

When you are ready I have a load of blogs and articles and resources to help you get back into the swing of things. I’ve also got my fab 2017 Awesome Marketing Planner System if that’s what you need. But for now go back to having a rest, stop worrying, start having fun and I’ll see you on the other side. Happy zonking!

 

 

How To Deal With Copycats

How To Deal With Copycats

I had a question this week from a lady saying someone had copied her entire business, from her website to her social media posts – there were just enough differences for it not to be a direct duplication (she had used slightly different images) but to the casual observer, they may as well have been the same business.

This was no coincidence. The copycat had been a ‘fan’ of this lady’s business for a while and clearly loved it so much that she decided she’d do exactly the same thing.

Now, I totally understand what this feels like. I’ve had it done to me several times, even by people who should know better, but here’s the thing. It’s complicated.

It can drive you mad or it can drive you on. It’s your choice.

I’ve had weeks where I’ve been CONSUMED by someone copying me. It’s driven me crazy. I’ve deliberated about what to say to them. I’ve thought about how to respond. I’ve grumped and grouched and grumbled about the CHEEK of them. How bloody dare they?

The trouble is, when I’ve done that I’ve been SO consumed by grouching and anger that I didn’t focus on my business. Blogs went unwritten. Plans weren’t actioned. I was too distracted.

Which is interesting.

Because the actual copycat didn’t NEED to have any effect on my business. I could have ignored them. I could have put them out of my mind and let them stew. I could have chosen not to give them any attention or energy.

But by grouching and grumbling, and looking through their social media and website to see exactly HOW much stuff they had copied I gave them LOADS of energy. I also got myself totally wound up. And MY business suffered because of that.

So I actually LET the copycat harm my business when I didn’t need to let it happen.

Now, I understand that sometimes the copycat is someone you know. Sometimes it’s someone in the same town or social circle. Sometimes they are too close for comfort. Which makes it awkward.

I understand that sometimes trademarks or plagiarism are involved and you have to take them seriously and go legal. I understand that people stealing your photos is definitely NOT ON.

But, here’s the thing.

You are the original. You are the one being copied. And it’s up to YOU to rise above it.

You can choose to bicker and grumble and fight, but your business will suffer.

Or you can raise your game. As Michelle Obama said ‘when they go low, we go high’ (my absolutely new favourite quote ever).

So however angry and annoyed and frustrated you feel, you can choose to direct that energy at them or you can choose to use it to fuel your business.

You can choose to GO HIGH.

What does that look like?

It means you don’t get emotional with them. It means you deal with them like a business owner and keep things professional. You can email them and tell them to cease and desist from using your photos and intellectual property – it’s good to get legal advice on this if you can afford it. RocketLawyer sells templates online for all the main legal letter types in the UK.

It means you don’t lower yourself to their level and have a slanging match.

It means you stop looking at their stuff and stop thinking about them. It’s not easy but it’s your choice to do so. Block them on social media and unfollow their accounts. Choose not to look at their website or Etsy shop or whatever. Choose not to have them in your life. If you need to keep an eye on whether they are stealing your images, ask a friend to do it for you so you don’t get consumed, then go back to point one and deal with them professionally and without emotion.

That way you’re not driving yourself mad.

It means raising your game by coming up with new, better, things that are YOU, through and through. Develop your brand so that people know you for it. Put all your energy into making your business strong and well-known. Put your energy and passion into creating something that nobody else can come close to. Be the original.

There will always be copycats. And the better-known you become, the more copycats you will attract. But they don’t have your passion. They don’t have your ideas. They don’t have your experience and knowledge and imagination.

They are not you.

And because they are just copying and not putting their own ideas and imagination and passion into their business, they are setting themselves up to fail. I see it time and time again.

A business like that can only compete on price, which is a bad business model – they can’t compete on being better or different or unusual because they are copying someone else.

So, it’s a tough one but here are my thoughts.

It will HURT when you find someone blatantly copying you.

It can drive you mad or it can drive you on. It’s your choice.

I would choose to put the energy into MY business.

I would choose not to fight, but to HARNESS my anger and frustration and make my business even better.

I would choose to go HIGH.