The Importance Of Branding For Your Business

Guest post by the amazing graphic designer and branding queen Gillian Sarah, scroll to the bottom to hear more about Gillian.
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One of the most common misconceptions people have is that a brand is simply your logo, tagline, or website in general. However, a brand is much more than this. Branding involves your logo, your website, every aspect of a customer’s experience, staff uniforms, social media posts, and marketing. Ultimately, it refers to the perception that people have about you.

Despite the fact that having a great logo design can catch your visitor’s attention, a brand is not just your logo.

A good brand isn’t defined overnight. It takes time to build it since it involves a lot of planning and development.

Here are the top 8 reasons why you should consider developing your brand:

#1: Recognition:

People are emotional. So, they are more likely to do business with a company that they are familiar with than with one they never even heard about. If you manage to make your brand easy to recognize and consistent, it will help people feel more comfortable doing business with you.

#2: Setting You Apart From Competition:

The business world is more competitive than ever. So, in order for your business to succeed, you need to have an edge that will make people buy from you and not from the local store next to you or from the big worldwide company.

#3: Generating Referrals:

One of the things people like to do is to tell others about the brands they like. So, you really need to create a strong brand or most probably people won’t even remember you.

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#4: Helping Customers Know What To Expect:

When you have a consistent brand, your customers know exactly what they are getting. And this is why they keep coming back.

#5: Representing You And Your Promise To Your Customers:

When we are talking about creating and developing your brand, you need to be aware that the brand is also you, it’s also your staff, or your materials, or your uniforms. The most important thing is that they are all tied in with the brand itself.

#6: Creating Clarity And Staying Focused:

One of the benefits of having a consistent brand is that your staff always know what they need to do, how to do it, and how to make sure the company reaches its goals. So, having a clear brand allows everyone involved in the company to be aware of its mission and vision, and comply with them.

#7: Connecting Emotionally With Your Customers:

When someone decides they want to do business with you, it means that they are trusting you. Ultimately, purchasing is an emotional experience. And when you have a strong and consistent brand, people will stay emotionally attached to you.

brands, branding, business, katie colella social, virtual assistant, social media assistant, social media, goals, uk business, branded business

#8: Providing Your Business Value:

Just think for a second about the brands that you like and purchase. Some might include Coca-Cola, Apple, MacDonald’s, among others). Do you really think these companies are only worth their factories, their equipment, their products, their warehouses? No, they are worth a lot more than just their physical assets. They managed to create a brand whose value exceeds all their physical assets.

Big thank you to Gillian Sarah.

About Gillian:

My job is to work alongside you to create mind-blowing logos, brandings, booklets and website designs. I live, breathe and do all things graphic design and branding. I am driven by the aim to help clients create messages that bring unique visibility and distinction to their brands and companies. Find out more here

I have a FREE Instagram branding worksheet available here if you’d like to work on your IG account.

If you have any further points, please comment below!

Using FB ads for your business

Why you need to be using Facebook Ads to reach your Ideal client.

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If you haven’t tried Facebook ads before, and don’t really know much about them, then here’s an intro to using Facebook ads for your business, to attract your ideal client.

When I owned and run my last business- an eCommerce business selling homeware and gifts, Facebook ads were a huge part of my strategy for reaching more customers and sales- I spent a fortune on them!

 

When I started I could organically reach a good percentage of my followers, but as time has gone on, Facebook has changed so much and the organic reach is now extremely low compared to what it used to be. But we all have to spend money on marketing our business in one form or another and FB ads are a great way to start to reach our ideal clients.

 

You have the ability to reach your ideal client, using specifics like demographics such as gender, age and location as well as targeting fans of specific pages, people with various hobbies, interests and habits. The more you start to look into FB ads the more you’ll realize how amazingly powerful they can be. I know many entrepreneurs that use them as a main part of growing their business.

 

The stats: Let’s look at Facebook.

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There are various different types of Facebook ads depending on what your goal is. You may wish to increase your likes on your page, you may want to push people to your website or opt-in. or you may wish to try and get customers to sign up for your service or course.

Whatever your goal is, there is a FB ad for you.

When you look to set up FB ads, don’t be scared away by all the options.

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Yes- please send me the FB ads worksheet!



The most common types of ads are

Conversions, and Traffic.

You are basically telling Facebook that you would like your ad optimized for the purpose of your ad.

 

Here are a few of the most popular ways to use FB ads.

 

 

  1. Increasing Your Facebook Likes.

Page like ads can be a great way to start growing your following and likes to your page and can be set up from as little as £1 or a $ a day.

If you are struggling to build your following and want an easy way to try and grow your following and improve the credibility of your Facebook page, these are a great way to start.

 

  1. List Building.

If you don’t have a big list and believe that increasing your list is your goal, then we can use Facebook’s list to encourage people to visit your opt-in or freebie so they are on your list. Once they are signed up, you can then send your list content that you’d like them to see. If you are selling a product, then these are great for offering a discount or free gift when a customer purchases. These are probably the most common, that I’m sure you have seen in your newsfeed.

 

  1. Sending customers/clients to your website

If you don’t want to offer a freebie or opt-in page straight off, but would like to increase the traffic to your website- such as a blog post, then make sure you choose something that offers amazing value content. If you have a video or blog post that is rich in content on your website or offers the reader the option to learn something, they’ll want to find out more, so make sure you offer an opt –in at this stage, encouraging them to sign up to our lost, so they can learn more value from you. When you next set up a FB ad, you can also re-target those people that have visited previously.

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The perception for many small business owners is that

  1. Facebook ads don’t work
  2. Facebook ads are expensive

 

They do work, especially when used correctly and aimed at targeting the correct people. I’ve had first hand experience of using them and seeing how they work for me.

 

You can actually get started for as little as £/$1 a day, to see what result you get. When I run ads for clients, I’d recommend setting up at least 4 different ads to test out what works best for you, at approx. £5/$5 per ad/per day. A Facebook pixel can be installed in your website to track the conversions that your FB ad has generated.

Don’t forget to download your free 2 page Facebook Ads worksheet to help you plan your next ad.

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I’d love to hear your thoughts on FB ads. Have you used them and have you had success from them?

Let me know below!

 

 

 

 

 

Top 10 Ways To Save Time As A Lady Boss

How to save time as a female entrepreneur

I’ve collated a few tips to try and give you a helping hand to save time as a busy female entrepreneur!

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  1. Organise your desk, environment & life!

When we are surrounded by clutter (even an organised mess) it can clutter our brain. In order to be more efficient and save time, give your work space a once-over, clear the things you don’t need around you, put up a great quote or affirmation and save time!

 

Looking for affirmations? Get a set of 12 free affirmation cards here.

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  1. Focus on one task at a time.

When we have a lot going on, It’s tempting to flit from one task to another, never actually completing one, before moving to something else. This can be extremely inefficient, as it takes time for our brains to re-program to each task, so we are way better off concentrating on one task at a time.

 

  1. Create a schedule.

I find sticking to a schedule makes me more focused and allows me to stay o target. If I don’t have a schedule that I have taken the time to write down the day’s tasks, I know I can get distracted and waste time doing unimportant tasks.

 

  1. Self Care

More important than we realise.

Drink water- keep hydrated and your energy levels will stay up.

Take breaks- I know we all like to work our socks off, and often don’t want to stop the task in hand, but taking a short break will help your energy levels.

Exercise- especially in the morning can help with our productivity levels and give us a boost to get through the day, work efficiently and save time.

 

  1. Organise in advance

Take the time the night before to think about the following day and write down your to-do list and what you want to achieve. Some people prefer to take the first 30mins of each day to do this, but whenever it suits you- this is so important.

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  1. Outsource

Spend your time on the tasks that you do best, and save time by outsourcing tasks that others can do. Help decide what tasks are best outsourced by writing a list of tasks that you don’t enjoy, can’t do, or nee help with, or that take too much of your valuable time.

 

Yes, I need help!

 

  1. Switch it off!

Every now and again we all need to take a break from our mobiles and time consuming social media.

Allow yourself a set time to go and check on your social, rather than feeling the need to respond to everything immediately.

 

  1. Is it urgent?

We need to work out the difference between what is urgent and important. If things aren’t urgent, such as emails, don’t feel the need to respond immediately. This can stop you mid-flow on a task in hand, and when you come back to that task, it takes time to get your brain engaged again!

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  1. Schedule interruptions

Unfortunately, it’s a fact of life that interruptions and the unexpected can and will pop up, so always allow time to schedule in these last minute tasks. For instance, I can schedule in client work and my own work for each working hour Mon-Fri, but when I get a new client reach out asking for an appointment, then I’ll need to make time for that.

 

  1. Stay positive.

This may sound strange but think about it. When you are at the top of your game and you are feeling amazing, you have loads of clients or customers, you feel great and you are positive, you’ll get so much more done and be more efficient.

When you are feeling a little low, or have lost a client, or sales are slow, you won’t feel so great and you’ll start getting those niggling thoughts in your brain, ‘am I good enough?’ ‘I can’t do this’ ‘I can’t be successful’. This will do nothing but make you feel negative, with a mindset that won’t achieve and you’ll waste far too much time on these negative what-if thoughts!

 

Print off these FREE affirmation cards to keep you positive.

  Remove term: be bold be boldRemove term: be brave be braveRemove term: being yourself being yourselfRemove term: bosslady bossladyRemove term: consistency consistencyRemove term: digital marketing digital marketingRemove term: focus focusRemove term: girlboss girlbossRemove term: goals goalsRemove term: good stuff good stuffRemove term: IG IGRemove term: inspirational inspirationalRemove term: inspired inspiredRemove term: katie colella social katie colella socialRemove term: motivated motivatedRemove term: positivity positivityRemove term: self motivated self motivatedRemove term: slay slayRemove term: social media social mediaRemove term: uk business uk businessRemove term: virtual assistant virtual assistantRemove term: work hard work hardRemove term: work hard comfort zone work hard comfort zoneRemove term: save time save timeRemove term: time saving time savingRemove term: female entrepreneur female entrepreneurRemove term: lady boss lady bossRemove term: efficient efficientRemove term: top 10 tips top 10 tips

Purchase a set of 12 financial affirmation cards here 

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Instagram Introduce: Save Live Videos

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Instagram Update!

 

Instagram announced yesterday that they now offer the option to save your live broadcasts.

This is an amazing new feature that many people will be thrilled with.

 

Until now one of the biggest issues with IG live video was that it appears in your IG stories and the video would disappear after 24hours. If you have created an amazing live video with great content, it always felt a huge waste that it would be gone and you couldn’t re-use it.

 

 

How to make a live video:

In Instagram, go to your home feed by clicking the house shape icon at the bottom left of the screen.

From here click the camera icon in the top left-hand corner of the screen. Scroll left at the bottom to LIVE. Your connection will be checked and you’ll be given a countdown of 3 when you will be live.

This will go out to all your followers and will stay on your IG stories for 24 hours.

 

How to save a live video:

When you are done. Click end video. You’ll then be taken to another screen. Click save in the top right-hand corner of the screen. The video will now be saved to your camera roll as well as added to your IG stories. Then click done!

Unfortunately, you can’t save the comments, likes or the number of viewers, but at least we can save the video, which is a definite step in the right direction.

 

According to the Instagram blog, we can expect many more features and Instagram updates this year, especially surrounding video! With so many great new features already released recently- I can’t wait to see more!

Have you used any of the new IG features? Do you use live video? Let us know in the comments below.

Know you need to be using Instagram for your business, but don’t have the time?

I can manage it for you!

Yes! I need help with IG

 

 

Happy International Women’s Day- Set Of 12 Affirmation Cards FREE

Happy International Women’s Day to all you fabulous women out there.

The wonderful mums, the workers, the wives, the entrepreneurs, the jugglers that do most of these things each and every day of their lives, let’s take a moment to celebrate how wonderful we all are- and why not, we are pretty amazing!

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What is International Women’s Day?

International Women’s Day, originally called International Working Women’s Day, is celebrated on March 8 every year. It commemorates the struggle for women’s rights.

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Today people all over the World are focusing on what they can do to encourage a fairer and more gender-equal culture by celebrating International Women’s day.

#BeBoldForChange is the 2017 campaign theme. Find out more here 

If you’d like to see more Google have put together this slideshow of some female pioneers who have paved the way to where we are today.

Google say- Our slideshow Doodle features a little girl whose grandmother tells her the best bedtime story ever: the tale of her favourite historical heroine. The little girl then visits 13 remarkable women in her imagination, taking us along on a journey that spans centuries and circles the globe.

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Take a look here

 

 

So, on today’s blog, instead, of a long post, I thought I’d pay tribute to all of us fantastic women and create some gorgeous affirmation or quote cards for all you amazing ladies out there. They contain great quotes that inspire and motivate you. Subscribe below and I’ll send you the download file, then print them off and scatter them around your office, home, on your goals or vision board, in your planner or anywhere you’ll get a little lift from them!

Want a set of your own cards?

Subscribe below now and we’ll get them straight across

 

I’d love to see your cards being used in your home or office. Please tag me in.

I’m @katiecolellasocial on IG 

 

If you have a favourite quote or affirmation, let me know below and I may use them in my next set. I’d love to hear your thoughts too!

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Top 8 Inspiring Books For Female Entrepreneurs

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So who doesn’t love an inspirational read or two? The more I read, the more I want to read, so I end up devouring everything I can.

As a business owner and someone who has been self-employed for most of my adult life, I am always trying to better myself, always trying to improve and learn and love to hear what others are doing and have done. In short, I love an inspirational success story.

So I’ve compiled a list of the top 8 books that I think are great for female entrepreneurs, such as yourselves to have a read of.

Some I’ve read, some I have in my office ready to read and some are on my to-read list, that I haven’t bought as yet, but have heard amazing reviews about, so the list is a mix up of fact and opinion! I’d love to hear your thoughts and any good books you’d like to recommend!

 

  1. She Means Business by Carrie Green

This was an obvious choice for me to add to my list.

I’ve followed Carrie’s journey for a few years now and love how she has built her online membership site – Female Entrepreneur Association – over those years to be hugely successful, and now launched her own book. I’m a member of Carrie’s ‘She Means Business’ Facebook group, where you find an invaluable amount of support from ladies from all over the world. I’ve made lots of connections, had chats with a few women to help support one another and even signed a few clients that have reached out to me directly through the group. I received this book on the day of release and have very nearly finished it. It’s a very inspirational book full of tips and advice and stories that get your heart pumping with excitement and a feeling of ‘I can do this’. I’d very much recommend, not just for the book, but for all the bonuses that come with it too!

What the book says – ‘Are you ready to turn your ideas into reality and build a wildly successful business?’

 

 

  1. #Girlboss by Sophia Amoruso

Sophia is the founder and one-time CEO of Nasty Girl. I had known about this book for a long time, but only recently gotten around to actually buying and reading this book. It’s a real easy read, written In a clear and easy to understand format- aimed at anyone who dreams big. Sophia isn’t your typical business woman and went from being a high-school droupout to founder and CEO of one of the fastest-growing retailers in the world.

What the book says- ‘Inspiring, motivating and empowering, #GIRLBOSS will give you the kick up the ass you need to reach your potential’

 

 

 

  1. The Universe Has Your Back by Gabrielle Bernstein

I came across Gabby, through an online extravaganza event hosted by Carrie Green recently, and just thought she was fab! I ordered the book from Amazon and it arrived the very next day, It’s next in my list to read!

Gabby is a New York Times best selling author and international speaker.

 

Gabrielle says, “My commitment with this book is to wake up as many people as possible to their connection to faith and joy. In that connection, we can be guided to our true purpose: to be love and spread love. These words can no longer be cute buzz phrases that we merely post on social media. Rather, these words must be our mission. The happiness, safety, and security we long for lies in our commitment to love.”

 

I’ll update this blog post when I have finished reading- and I’m super excited to get started!

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  1. Life Leverage by Rob Moore

I found this to be a really interesting read. ‘How to get more done in less time, outsource everything and create your ideal mobile lifestyle’

As a Social Media Assistant and VA, I’m that person (or one of those people), that many entrepreneurs would be looking to outsource their work to. But this book made me realise that I too, can outsource some of my work to other freelancers to continue to grow my business. Rob is a self-made property investor, businessman, entrepreneur, best-selling author, world record holder & speaker. I found the book full of great ideas and definitely worth a read. I’m not sure how much of the book I will be putting into practice fully- but I will certainly be taking away bits of it. If you are starting or building a business- then give this one a shot!

What the book says ‘A great book that will change your life’ Brian Tracy (best-selling author of Eat That Frog)

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  1. Girl Code: Unlocking Secrets to Success, Sanity, and Happiness for the Female Entrepreneur by Cara Alwill Leyba

This one is ready for me to read! It receives fantastic reviews and the author- Cara, has written many books that may be worth adding to your list!

As a bestselling and award-winning authoress, radio host, and master life coach, Cara Alwill Leyba empowers women to live their most effervescent lives.

Here is what the book says-

I am witnessing a phenomenon. It seems as though a growing group women entrepreneurs all around the world has discovered the secret to success and happiness in both their lives and careers. It’s almost as though there is a hidden, underground world of power playing females who have all cracked a magical code: they think positively, they support one another, and they truly believe they can have it all —and you can, too. There is something dynamic that happens when women genuinely show up for each other. When we lose the facades, when we cut the bullsh*t, and when we truly have each others backs. When we stop pretending everything is perfect, and we show the messy, beautiful parts of ourselves and our work that all look awfully similar. When we talk about our fears, our missteps, and our breakdowns. And most importantly, when we share our celebrations, our breakthroughs, and dish on what works.

 

  1. Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg

Thirty years after women became 50 percent of the college graduates in the United States, men still hold the vast majority of leadership positions in government and industry. This means that women’s voices are still not heard equally in the decisions that most affect our lives. In Lean In, Sheryl Sandberg examines why women’s progress in achieving leadership roles has stalled, explains the root causes, and offers compelling, commonsense solutions that can empower women to achieve their full potential.

Sandberg is the chief operating officer of Facebook and is ranked on Fortune’s list of the 50 Most Powerful Women in Business and as one of Time’s 100 Most Influential People in the World. In 2010, she gave an electrifying TEDTalk in which she described how women unintentionally hold themselves back in their careers. Her talk, which became a phenomenon and has been viewed more than two million times, encouraged women to “sit at the table,” seek challenges, take risks, and pursue their goals with gusto.

 

7. The Confidence Code: The Science and Art of Self-Assurance—What Women Should Know by Katty Kay

 

I’m yet to read this one, but it gets rave reviews constantly!

Following the success of Lean In and Why Women Should Rule the World, the authors of the bestsellingWomenomics provide an informative and practical guide to understanding the importance of confidence—and learning how to achieve it—for women of all ages and at all stages of their career.

Working women today are better educated and more well qualified than ever before. Yet men still predominate in the corporate world. In The Confidence Code, Claire Shipman and Katty Kay argue that the key reason is confidence.

Combining cutting-edge research in genetics, gender, behavior, and cognition—with examples from their own lives and those of other successful women in politics, media, and business—Kay and Shipman go beyond admonishing women to “lean in.”Instead, they offer the inspiration and practical advice women need to close the gap and achieve the careers they want and deserve.

 

  1. Shark Tales: How I Turned $1,000 into a Billion Dollar Business by Barbara Corcoran

Another on the to-read list!

The inspiring true story of Shark Tank star Barbara Corcoran–and her best advice for anyone starting a business. After failing at twenty-two jobs, Barbara Corcoran borrowed $1,000 from a boyfriend, quit her job as a diner waitress, and started a tiny real estate office in New York City. Using the unconventional lessons she learned from her homemaker mom, she gradually built it into a $6 billion dollar business. Now Barbara’s even more famous for the no-nonsense wisdom she offers to entrepreneurs on Shark Tank, ABC’s hit reality TV show.
Shark Tales is down-to-earth, frank, and as heartwarming as it is smart. After reading it don’t be surprised if you find yourself thinking, “If she can do it, so can I.” Nothing would make Barbara happier.

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8.Drop The Ball by Tiffany Dufu 

This is new out- just released this Feb and is already at no 3, 7 and 8 (hardcover, kindle & audio) of the Amazon best sellers list in Women & Business. It’s definitely an addition to my must-read list.

A bold and inspiring memoir and manifesto from a renowned voice in the women’s leadership movement who shows women how to cultivate the single skill they really need in order to thrive: the ability to let go.

Once the poster girl for doing it all, after she had her first child, Tiffany Dufu struggled to accomplish everything she thought she needed to in order to succeed. Like so many driven and talented women who have been brought up to believe that to have it all, they must do it all, Dufu began to feel that achieving her career and personal goals was an impossibility. Eventually, she discovered the solution: letting go. InDrop the Ball, Dufu recounts how she learned to reevaluate expectations, shrink her to-do list, and meaningfully engage the assistance of others―freeing the space she needed to flourish at work and to develop deeper, more meaningful relationships at home.

 

 

And a few extras that I have read recently

 

10 Pillars Of Wealth by Alex Becker –

Mind-sets of the World’s richest People. I have been reading this recently- and have found it very interesting, straight talking and to the point with lessons telling you how to discover the mind sets required to make it big!

 

The 4-hour work week by Timothy Ferriss.

The No1. New York Times Bestseller. Escape the 9-5, live anywhere and join the new rich. It teaches you to forget the old concept of retirement and saving for the future -instead concentrating on earning a monthly five-figure income with no management.

 

 

The Success Principles- How to get from where you are to where you want to be by Jack Canfield.

Jack is another New York Times Bestseller and co-creator of Chicken soup for the soul. This was published over a decade ago, but has been updated and is still going strong. Jack is America’s #1 Success Coach- great read!

 

 

I’m sure there are 100’s more that need to be on this list, and I’ll continue to add or write blog posts, as I read more. If you have read a fantastic inspirational book recently, please share the name of it in the comments below. I also listen to podcasts, which can be a fantastic resource- but that’s another blog post!

Buy:

 

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Step outside your comfort zone- it’s where the good stuff happens!

 

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There are always things that we know we could try or should be doing for our business, but it’s scary. The making videos, the Facebook Live or Instagram Live, the Vlogging, the blogging, the social media. We all have different things that make us tremble in our boots, things that we know could be huge, but are petrified to take the leap of faith!

As humans we are wired to look for comfort and doing things that come easy to us, hence why stepping outside this is so hard!

We all know that feeling of dread. The what if I’m rubbish, the what if I fail, the what if I am so bad my whole business explodes in a flash!

 

But, we also know that some of these things could be good, and I mean really good.

Here are a few of the reasons that we should try to step outside of our comfort zone (taken from this Huffington Post article if you’d like to read it all)

 

Challenging yourself can help you perform at your peak.

Taking risks is what helps us grow.

Trying new things can make you more creative.

Embracing new challenges can help you age better.

 

This scary as can be moment happened to me recently. I was asked by the lovely Jackie that runs the South Wales BizMums to be a guest speaker. It was marketing month, so this was right up my street. BUT the thought of speaking absolutely terrified me, the thought alone, filled me with an anxiety, my chest gets blotchy, I feel like I’m trembling from within and my voice should I actually speak, I just know will be 5 octaves higher and I speak so fast generally, let alone when I’m in this scary situation, will anybody even be able to understand me?

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So I did what any sane person coward would do and said no.

This was really bugging me. This was speaking about something I’m passionate about, to a room full of pretty much ideal clients- I knew I was foolish for saying no, but I couldn’t bring myself around to say yes. The 2nd time Jackie asked a couple of days later, I said I’d think about it.

 

Had this been someone else saying to me about this fantastic opportunity, believe me, I’d be telling them they absolutely had to do this and they’d be silly not to. I was just struggling with accepting my own advice!

 

The turning point!

 

I spoke to a lovely lady called Emily, who I met in a Facebook group recently. She helps businesses find their ideal client for social media. I told her about the opportunity and she said ‘You really need to do this’ or words to that effect. I so knew she was right, but having someone tell me, someone who understood, just tipped me over the edge just enough…. As soon as we finished on Skype, I quickly emailed Jackie and told her that I would do it. And believe me when I say it was a case of, email before I change my mind!

 

The run-up

 

After I had agreed, every time I thought about it, the familiar anxiety crept in and I felt so so nervous. I kept trying to write prompt notes and I went round in circles, I knew I couldn’t wing it, I’m the type of person who needs a little bit of structure and in this instance I really needed to knuckle down and find a way to write notes to be able to talk about whatever it was I wanted to talk about- but I also needed to be myself!

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So, the day before I was due to speak, I scheduled in 2 hours to really focus on what I wanted to talk about. I settled on giving the ladies some tips for using social media for business and the benefits of using social media.

Something that I’m comfortable talking about and could hopefully be myself with!

 

The big V-day

 

So, the event itself was Valentines Day! I woke up feeling not as bad as I thought I would, but as the time got closer, I could feel the feeling of anxiety filling my every cell and the usual shakiness was uncontrollable. When the time came to start, I could feel the shakiness in my voice, my hands were trembling- I stayed seated, so my knees wouldn’t buckle but speaking to those 15 ish ladies honestly terrified me. They were supportive, friendly and I couldn’t have asked for a nicer environment and group of ladies, but still!

I felt it went awful. I spoke far too fast- to the extent, I shaved about 4-5 minutes off my practice run! I spoke really high pitched, so I bet people actually failed to understand me. I shook uncontrollably the whole way through and didn’t stop until I had a glass of pink bubbly in the night- it was Valentines Day!

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BUT, but, but. Despite all of this, and I wanted to try and explain how utterly terrified I felt, I did it! I really pushed myself out of my comfort zone- like really far outside of my comfort zone. As much as I didn’t enjoy it, I feel a sense of achievement. A sense of pride and I know that I could (at a push) do it again. In actual fact Jackie asked me if I’d like to do it again at the end of the month for another group and I said no (I know, I know, but I’d literally just finished and I was still almost hyperventilating!) I’ve promised myself next time I’m asked (that’s more of an if, than a when!) I’ll graciously accept.

 

 

So, my take-home from this was to be brave, step outside your comfort zone and push your boundaries. It’s petrifying, but good things can come of it.

I’d love to know what scary things you have done recently that has made you proud?  Or what good has come from something that really scared you? Please share!

 

 

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How to stay focused with tips

 

Many entrepreneurs and small business owners will tell you that staying focused is one of the biggest hurdles they face. Many will also tell you that focus is the key to success.

 

Working on your own or as part of a small team, which many entrepreneurs do, especially when starting out, takes a real dedication, self-motivation and steely focus. We all have so much to do, so many tasks to juggle that it’s difficult at times to remain focused on the job in hand.

 

Do you flit from job to job, never really focusing on one thing at a time?

If I allow myself, I will easily take another look at my emails, or quickly check social media (this is a little bit more allowed for me, as it is my business to keep an eye on social media) and get distracted by what’s going on around you?

Yet, when I make a conscious effort with a clear focus, I make more progress and feel better about the list of tasks I have set.

We can get caught in the trap of wanting to do too much, and if you are anything like me, your head is full of new ideas and things that you want to do. The problem is when you try to do everything, you put less focus into any one task, and your brain is always thinking back to what else you have to do. You often move from one task to another without finishing the first task. Achieving less than you’d like and taking longer.

 

Here are some tips to help you stay as focused as you can, and helping you achieve more!

 

  1. One task at a time.

Concentrate and focus on one task or project at a time. Allow yourself time to finish this task, but don’t move on to something else until this is completed. This way you are focused on one task and will progress a lot faster. Don’t get distracted by emails or social media and be firm with yourself.

  1. Energy times

Get familiar with when you have the most energy during the day. If you are full of energy first thing after your morning coffee, then now is the time to tackle those large, difficult tasks that need the most effort. The thing you are dreading or putting off- this is the time to get your teeth into it. You can deal with smaller, less taxing tasks like emails or admin at times when you may have an energy slump, so for me, early afternoon. Find what works best for you.

 

  1. Chunk your tasks

If you have a really big project or task that you are finding daunting, then break it down into more manageable chunks. So for me, I spend a lot of my days creating content, posting in Facebook groups, scheduling on social media tools, interacting with people on social media. This could all come under the same area, but instead of looking at this as one big task to get done, break it down. So allow an hour for creation, an hour for scheduling and so on. Don’t forget to write it down.

  1. Schedule

Scheduling your tasks or mini tasks makes you more focused on that particular item, it makes you more accountable if you have written it down somewhere or added it to your planner. If I have scheduled in tasks or even written down what I want to get done today, I am much more likely to get them all done, than if I don’t write them down. With my client work, I have to schedule my diary, to ensure I have left enough time for all my clients. So I work in chunks of time. I know for the week ahead, which client I’ll be working with for each chunk of each day. And when I’ll be working on my own business.

 

  1. Accountability Partner

I’m hearing lots about getting an accountability partner lately, and it works really well for so many people. Lots of groups that I’m part of on FB tend to do this too. It works by telling your accountability partner (or group if you prefer), often on a Monday, what you want to achieve for that week, what your goals are and how you plan on achieving them. You then check back in later in the week, to see if you have each reached your goals. You then look at why you have reached them, or why you haven’t. Making yourself more accountable and having to think about your plan, helps keep you focused on what you need to do to get there.

 

  1. Go gadget free!

So for many of us, this is impossible. I know I can’t be without my phone, laptop, iMac etc, but again, these are tools for my business, so I’m using them all constantly. If however, you are doing something offline, give yourself some gadget-free time- allowing yourself to concentrate on that task alone, without emails popping up, or your phone going off. You’ll be surprised how much more you can actually fit in and how much more focused you are when you aren’t getting distracted every few minutes!

 

  1. Close extra tabs & windows

This one really helps me stay focused on the tasks at hand. I often use the same programs each day, but if I’m not using them for the task at hand, I can be tempted to quickly take a look at my web traffic today or how many new opt-in’s I’ve had in my MailChimp account etc. Just leave the tabs or windows open that you need open for your task or project and close the rest!

 

  1. Exercise or get outside

A lot can be said for a brisk walk outside to clear your mind and get you in the right frame of mind for focusing back down on your task in hand. Take some deep breaths, take a few minutes and come back refreshed, ready to get started on the task!

 

 

  1. Stay motivated & inspired

Again this one really helps me stay focused. When I am feeling inspired and motivated, I feel like I can do anything. I know what I need to do, like write a blog post, and if I am feeling motivated, then I’m more likely to start, stay focused and finish the blog post. In turn, this makes me feel more motivated as I’m pleased I’ve achieved what I said I would. What makes you feel motivated & inspired? Reading inspirational books or blogs? Keeping Inspirational quotes and affirmations around you? Remembering your why? Whatever works for you!

  1. Keep two to-do lists

This is something I am definitely going to try.

You know when you are busy working away and something pops into your head….

’I must pick up something for dinner’,

‘don’t forget to pack the kids football stuff’,

‘did I wash that dress I need for the weekend, oh and I need to book the restaurant’.

 

Write them down on one big to-do list. Your actual work related tasks can go on the list too- but instead of trying to do all these things at the same time, stay focused on the one task you are doing now- or keep a second list- with just the next 3 tasks you are going to achieve written on them. Keep the first, full list out of sight, so you don’t get distracted by it. When you have completed your big task or the 3 mini-tasks that you have added to your 2nd list, now you can add something else. This will help keep you focused, without you forgetting all the other little things that as a busy person (and often parent!) we need to do too!

 

I hope you like these tips to help keep you focused. Let me know what your favourite tips are to keep you focused.