Tag Archives: prioritize

How to Take a Vacation From Your Marketing

CHuntly

As a business owner, the most important thing you can do for yourself is take a break. It also happens to be the hardest thing to do if you are trying to run your business because the moment you go silent on the marketing front you will lose audience interest.

With the holidays right around the corner, it is the perfect time to take a breather from 24/7 entrepreneur brain. Taking both a physical and a mental break from your business (even if it’s a staycation) will help you avoid burn out.

If you’re looking to take some time off this holiday season, don’t let your marketing efforts suffer. Here are a few things to consider to keep that momentum going throughout your time away.

  1. Blog early: You should have a regular posting schedule for your blogs so your audience can come to expect content at a certain time. Keep that schedule going while you are away by writing your blogs ahead of time. Most blogging platforms will allow you to schedule each blog to go live at a specific day or time.
  2. Automation is your best friend: This requires a bit of planning, but if you work ahead of time, you can schedule content to go out while you are away. Work with a program like Hootsuite, Buffer, Mailchimp, etc. Try to stay away from the bots that automatically like and comment on posts as those can seem too contrived.
  3. Delegate tasks: If you already have a team in place, make sure you put someone in charge while you are away. Empower them to make decisions without you, but let them know that you are available for emergencies. If you are a solopreneur, hire someone you trust to look after things while you are gone. Start working with them at least a few weeks in advance so they are fully comfortable while you are away.
  4. Prioritize tasks: Not everything has to be done right now. Have a look through your to do list and rank everything by due dates. If there are things that need to get done before you leave, then get them done. If you have tasks with no due date or ones with later due dates, leave those to get done when you get back.

After taking some time for yourself, you will find that you return more refreshed, which usually leads to more energy to put into your business. Taking time away from your business will allow you to approach your business from a new perspective. It will make you a better business owner – and your marketing strategy doesn’t have to suffer.

Candace Huntly is the Founder and Principal at SongBird Marketing Communications, an award-winning agency working to take organizational and individual brands to the next level. With a passion for all things related to creativity and strategy, she specializes in business intelligence, marketing & branding, content strategy & development, media & influencer relations, and social media. Basically, if you need to put your brand, product, or cause in the public eye, she will find a way to do it, while making the approach unique to you.

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When should you say No?

Praveeni

 

“No” is something we may be used to hearing as entrepreneurs, for every yes there are at least five No’s that come before it, but saying it is something that may be unusual. As you become more established and gain more experience people will start to notice you; both for your work and your value. This attention can be a blessing and a curse as your workload and commitments will increase. But just how much work or involvement is too much? When is it time to start saying No? I’ve always had a difficult time declining business offers and saying no to people in general, until one day I realized I was agreeing just to oblige others with no real benefit to myself or my business. Here are a few rules I’ve come up with for instances when it is alright to decline an offer or say No

  1. There’s no benefit to your business
    As an entrepreneur may people will try to sell you products, services, their time etc. to “help” you. It’s important to take a step back and examine each offer to determine whether or not it actually benefits your business. If there is no direct benefit then simply say No.
  1. It doesn’t make you money
    When you run a business it’s easy to get sidetracked and caught up in pointless meetings – basically meetings that have no profit or networking potential. They’re usually the kind of meeting where someone will email or call to “hear more about your business”. Be weary of these kinds of offers, if you don’t believe you can build a mutually beneficial business relationship then decline.
  1. Beyond your expertise
    Sometimes people ask you for your help or advice. Being an entrepreneur doesn’t make you an expert at everything business related so know the limits of knowledge. If something is beyond your expertise explain that it is beyond your scope and recommend someone else who may be of assistance.
  1. Detrimental to your brand
    Being aware of your brand and the message you want to convey is key when running your own business. Thus you must be conscious about how each business decision affects your brand. If allying yourself with a person, group or company compromises your brand or company image decline the meeting or offer.
  1. You’re spread too thin
    Time is something we never have enough of as entrepreneurs. If you find your commitments are taking away from your personal time with family and friends, it’s time to revaluate and prioritize. With all the volunteer and community involvement opportunities out there it’s hard to decline calls to help out, but remember when something is no longer enjoyable it’s time to quit. Volunteering can range from sitting on a board to even helping out at your local hospital. As a rule of thumb try to engage in two volunteer activities maximum, this way you’ll be able to focus more on them and give it your best.

Praveeni Perera is the CEO and co-founder of Professional Edge Consulting a corporate training company based in Ottawa offering training and coaching services to clients around the world.  She can be reached via WebsiteTwitterFacebook or her Blog.

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The Four P’s of Time Management

Praveeni

As entrepreneurs there’s one thing we always wish we had more of – time! Running your own business is a full time 24h/ day job! Finding a way to balance everything we have going on in our lives can be challenging. Time management is a key skill that all entrepreneurs should work to gain and improve. Here are a few things to keep in mind when managing  your time:

  1. Plan
    Before you can manage your time you need to know exactly what you want to get done. It’s always good to have a short term (daily) and long term (weekly) plan for your business and your life in general. Take time to write down what tasks you’d like to have done and completed. It’s important to set daily and weekly goals for yourself.
  1. Prioritize
    Once you have your goals for each day set out you need to figure out which ones are more important. Prioritizing your tasks is a key component of time management. For example if you have a task that requires more time or concentration try to focus on that at the beginning of your day when you’re fresh and ready to work. It’s always better to get the more challenging/less appealing tasks done and out of the way first.
  1. Push
    Once you’ve started your daily tasks, make it a point to push through them and complete them. One of the biggest challenges of being your own boss is not having anyone to report to or watch over you- this can lead to procrastination and a less than stellar work ethic. So once you start on your tasks make sure to stick with it and complete them.
  1. Party
    Remember to set a side a few hours everyday for some unplanned fun. This could be some quiet time for yourself, time used to complete extra tasks or even time to meet with friends. The thought of planning for the unplanned may seem a little redundant it’s always good to have a few extra hours in your schedule. Although we work hard as entrepreneurs we need to be able to take a break and enjoy the perks of being our own boss as well.

Praveeni Perera is the CEO and co-founder of Professional Edge Consulting a corporate training company based in Ottawa offering training and coaching services to clients around the world.  She can be reached via WebsiteTwitterFacebook or her Blog.

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Adding Value

Sheralyn

Growing up my nickname was SherSher.  My younger brother couldn’t quite say my name and “shersher” was the result.  Somehow it stuck and even today, I have a phonetic variation of this moniker as my license plate.  The problem is, often people assume the plates mean “sure, sure” and there’s a reason for that. I tend to say “sure” or “yes” to just about anything.  I am the “go to” person when it comes to volunteering and getting the job done for others but at what cost?

The self-employed face unique challenges when it comes to placing a value on our time. This questioning of our worth comes both from within, (that niggly little devil on the shoulder who voices all our doubts and insecurities) and occasionally from external sources as well – your mother in law perhaps, who thinks you should get a “real” job. Often we feel pushed or pulled in different directions and as a result, may end up directionless. Combined with the dueling forces of the excitement and passion for whatever our small business is vs. the guilt (whether mommy guilt or the good old female guilt we all seem to be born with) it’s a wonder we get anything done! As an entrepreneur you may have a flexible schedule and equate this flexibility with more “free” time to do something that a “9 to 5er” just couldn’t do.  If you’re also a mom this translates into convincing yourself you “should” do more. Organize that fundraiser, bake those peanut free cookies or volunteer for the reading program at school.  Just because you can however, doesn’t always mean you should. When you commit to something other than your business, what you are really doing is undermining its value and robbing your business of its primary investment – you.

Faced with multiple priorities and struggling under the load of guilt we all shoulder, how do you determine your value and how do you measure your success?  When you are self-employed you need to be VERY clear about these questions. First, you must have an overall goal. Corporations call them Mission Statements or Value Statements, even Visions.  Be clear about what your Goal is. Then, you need to determine your monetary desires.  It might help to think of your work as being paid by the hour, even if that is not how you define your contracts with clients. How many hours should a project take? Have you included research time, sourcing, travel expenses to meet with clients or other costs like advertising? When we work from home we don’t tend to think about some of these overhead costs in the same way that “big business” would. Try considering this: treat your business as if you were renting office space and you had to pay for that space by the hour.  Would you still take time away from your “office” if you factored in that cost? Would you volunteer for the cookie baking or take time away from your desk to throw a load of laundry in the machine if you knew the financial implications? If you keep getting bogged down in the “daily details” your business gets bogged down too.

Get up, get dressed and get over the guilt. I know people who say they love the flexibility of working from home because they can stay in their pajamas if they want to.  This too undervalues the importance of what you do and your commitment to yourself and your business.  Have a scheduled start time.  Don’t deviate from your plan, no matter who calls you or asks could you “do me a quick favour.” Schedule your calls, emails and client meetings just as you would in the “real world” and then the world (perhaps even your mother in law!) will come to respect that what you are doing is of real value.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t ever want to be the “sorry I’m too busy to help” person.  Everyone is busy and it’s important to me to make time for others and to volunteer where I can. But I don’t have to do it all and neither do you. After all, “many hand make light work” as the saying goes. Just be “sure-sure.” That is, be sure to prioritize your schedule, attaching an appropriate value to ALL that you do.  Respect your time commitment to yourself and your business and others will come to respect it as well.

WRiting Right For You
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Sheralyn Roman B.A., B.Ed.

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Is It Worth Your Time?

time

They say ‘time is money’, but is it really? Another school of thought says it is what you do with your time that translates to money or wealth. I prefer to lean towards the later. We can definitely value our time in terms of what we are worth, but if we are not doing anything worthwhile with that time, then it is definitely worthless.

The question then is, ‘what are you doing with your time to make it worthwhile?’ Making your time worthwhile does not begin and end with money, how worthwhile your time is also depends on what values you hold closely to your heart. These then determines what you should be doing with your time. Saying that, we can still place a financial value on time to determine what it is worth. In doing this, you are able to plan your time better and prioritize tasks.

Say for instance you are paid by the hour for the services you provide, you immediately know how much each hour is worth to you, and also know that for every available hour you are not productive, you may be losing money. Let us say you earned $100 per hour, then imagine that you had house chores to do that would take 2 hours of your time daily, 7 days a week, that would mean you were investing $1,400 worth of your time in house chores, how much would it cost you in a month to have a cleaner these house chores.

However, on the other hand if you were spending that time – quality time – with your family, you might place a higher value on the time, and $1,400 would mean nothing in comparison to what you may have gained from spending time with them.

You could also easily have spent that time doing some reading, writing, networking or other personal development activity that would in the long run, result in an increase in your earning capacity or income; this then could be considered as time well spent.

We are familiar with statements such as ‘I’d give anything to have one hour of peace and quiet’, so if you spend a couple of hours relaxing, you know no matter what the time may have cost you in money, it is either well deserved or worth it as a treat to yourself.

If time is worth money, what could you be doing in your spare time to bring you in money? Perhaps you sometimes spend your spare time twiddling yours thumbs wondering what to do, and bemoaning your state of boredom; or maybe you are currently out of a job. Now is the time to think of something worthwhile you could be doing with that time to add value to both your income and life.

Spare time activities include; learning a new skill or language; utilizing an existing skill of yours to make money i.e. baking, sewing, proofreading, designing clothes or homes, teaching; writing your business plan for that multi-million idea you have; or that writing that blockbuster book. The list is exhaustive

Another perspective of looking at time is to consider how much time (money) you could be wasting. Take for instance if you have been putting off investing or starting a pension plan. For every minute, hour or day you put it on hold, consider the money in interest payments you may be losing. What about those premiums we pay for not being able to make up our mind quickly, such as advanced booking discounts on travel/show tickets, or even late fines?

Also, there is what is considered the moral outrage factor, whereby for the sake of moral or principles, you end of up spending money fighting an issue that may end up costing you more money than the sum you are in dispute over i.e. you spend 15mins ($25 of your time) on the phone disputing a $5 overcharge on a bill.

The important thing is to know what your time is worth, what values you hold dearly, and then prioritizing how you spend that time. This will put you in a better position to maximize and use your time wisely.

Yvonne loves and enjoys working with working with Individuals, Entrepreneurs, and Organizations to achieve desired results. She is a results driven High Performance Consultant & Coach, and straight shooting Speaker whose first objective is her client’s success.  She can be reached at:  www.facebook.com/oliveblueinc,www.twitter.com/oliveblueinc

 

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