3 Quick Ways to Stay Visible During School Holidays

It’s school holiday time (in Vic anyway)…and you know what that means?

It’s the juggle struggle of running a business whilst running the social lives of your children at the same time!

Being visible in school holidays comes down to planning

And even if you don’t have kids, you’ll probably experience that deafening silence when you email one of your clients or that cagey low-talking when they answer the phone. Because chances are they’re dealing with a child tugging at their attention, wanting to be fed, wanting a cure for boredom, wanting to make noise the minute they get on the phone. It happens to the best of us, even with the most well-intentioned children and the most carefully organised activities – they just NEED you when you are the phone.

So, how do you deal with this predicament? How do you manage to do all the things you have to to keep your business ticking whilst you have the kids home from school? You can’t always take weeks off every time the school holidays roll around, nor can you palm your kids off the entire time (or can you???) Continue reading

Perfect content? Are you kidding?

Do you get nervous whenever you have to send something out, worrying that it won’t be exactly right?

Do you cringe every time you’re about to press publish on Facebook?

Do you muck around with your sales pages, your marketing materials, your emails to the point of spinning in circles? Or even worse, to the point of not sending them out at all?

It’s time for a perfection intervention!

You know that there is no such thing as perfection when it comes to creating content for your business, right? It is simply impossible to get to this mythical point called ‘perfection’ because the truth is that you can continue to make changes and improvements for ever! Creative work will never be perfect, but at a certain point, you must just decide that it is done.

An old CEO of mine once said: “Don’t let perfection get in the way of progress.” I didn’t realise how true that was until I started my own business.  You see, it’s always easier to let go of the content when it’s not your baby that it relates to. Not that I was ever sloppy or slapdash with my content previously, but when I was writing for other brands, the attachment simply wasn’t as high as it is with my own; it was easier to let it go at ‘really good’ versus ‘outstanding’.

It’s perfectly normal and understandable for any business owner who has vested endless energy and effort into getting every little detail of their business just right, to want to get every single word perfect. What I’m going to suggest however, is that you may need to lower your standards a bit. Now, I’m not saying to put out low-quality content by any means, but if your standards are so high that you never actually reach them, you are in fact inhibiting your own growth. How will anyone get to know, like and trust you if they never hear from you? How will prospects understand where you position your services if you don’t talk about them?  It is important to strike a balance and have standards that are achievable.

Perfection paralysis is a real thing. But it’s not a good thing if you want your business to expand.

Here are 4 considerations that may help you to embrace imperfection.

Just start creating

Author, Brene Brown, summed up this irony beautifully in her book Daring Greatly: “Perfectionism crushes creativity – which is why one of the most effective ways to start recovering from perfectionism is to start creating.” Perfectionism can cause us to stop creating before we even get started simply due to fear that we won’t live up to our own standards. Ridiculous but true! And the more we do this, the more it continues to occur.  The reality is that self expression and creativity are inherently messy and imperfect.

Take the example of painting. In our culture, most adults refuse to pick up a brush and paint a picture because they think they can’t create something worthwhile.  Head to any kindergarten or preschool however, and the room will be filled with enthusiastic painters, all creating their own masterpieces freely and excitedly.  They have not yet learnt the meaning of perfectionism.  Their messy, imperfect paintings are beautiful!

Conversation and connection

Building relationships with people is the primary purpose of business content, therefore, when creating content it may help to think about it like a conversation. When you talk to someone you don’t plan every word you are going to say ahead of time. You may hesitate or struggle for words but that doesn’t reduce your ability to connect with that person. In fact, showing some ‘humanness’ and imperfection often makes you more relatable.  Remember the old saying ‘nobody is perfect’? Well it’s true! So stop trying to be. If you’re aiming to provide a flawless image in your business comms you may actually be doing damage to your brand. Why? Because you raise questions and concerns amongst your readers about the possibility of perfection.  You alienate them by making them feel less than worthy, which is the opposite of what you want to do with your content.

Consider the stats

Short-term content pieces, such as emails and blogs, unfortunately don’t get read all the way through by up to 70% of viewers. Sad but true! Most readers skim read these pieces of content.  So, as far as perfection goes, it may help to realise that your audience is NOT nit-picking your content nearly as much as you are!

Everything is a test

As business owners we should always be trying and testing and measuring new things.  As entrepreneurs and innovators – that’s what we do! Inevitably, it won’t all land perfectly. Viewing this as ‘failure’ however, is not useful to anyone.  Rather think of it as R&D – research and development.  The more you try things out, the more information you uncover, which helps you to do it better or differently next time. And since nothing is ever perfect, everything is a test!

Stop aiming for perfection, and start seeking out the beautifully imperfect. It is there that you learn and grow.

Let me know if you struggle with perfection….I can help.

Are measurable results the only ones that matter?

Did you know there’s a new version of the ‘star chart’ in schools? The digital-age version called Dojos. You do a good deed you get a Dojo, you do something dodgy, one could be taken away. Standard action-reward stuff, just now in an app for all to see.
We’ve all come across these before. Perhaps you rememebr the chart that had your name on it, either on the fridge, comparing you with your siblings, or on the school wall, highlighting your actions compared with your school mates’.  There was your name, in neat handwriting down the left with a hopeful blank column, waiting to be filled with stars.

In the class Dojo system, there is currently a predictable distribution of ‘points’ — nothing unusual amongst an average population of 9 year-olds. Most have earned two or three Dojos. One girl is streaking ahead with six. Then there is Tom without a single star to his name. There’s always a Tom.
Everybody, including Tom, knows he’s at the bottom of the Dojo pile. And nobody, including Tom, really knows why. Dojo-less, Tom now bears the label of ‘the naughty one’ because he can’t seem to get to grips with performing at a Dojo-worthy level, of doing the measurable Dojo-worthy things.

And so it is in business, where most success is defined by what it’s easy to put a number on.

Revenue, sales, profits, visitors, growth, impressions, likes, database size, event numbers, open rates, page views etc. All the things that fit neatly on a spreadsheet.  And yes, they’re important, and the truth is spreadsheets – like Dojo apps – don’t lie.

The problem is, they don’t tell the whole story. There’s no measurement for the intentions we have, the effort we made, the impact of our work and the difference we will make over time—not just this term or this quarter.

Interestingly the people with the most Dojos, or gold stars, or numbers on their spreadsheets, don’t always win.

In fact, sometimes they lose. They’re often so busy reaching for the stars to stick on the chart, doing the Dojo-worthy deed, that they forget to really see the brightest stars or the daring deeds outside the Dojo.

I hope you’re spending some time NOT measuring your success on an app or a star chart.

You ARE creative: find out how then use it

Creativity and self-expression are transformative – both in business and in daily life.  And I believe everyone has the capacity to be creative.

But don’t go getting all uncomfortable and start backing away….I can hear you now saying “but I’m NOT creative. I can’t do that!”

The truth is, you can, and hopefully you’ll see that too, when I let you in on what I believe is ‘creativity’.

Creativity according to Jo Johnson

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There’s nothing wrong with being an ostrich

There’s absolute validity in knowing what your competition is doing. And there are very good reasons to study those in your field, particularly if they are ahead of you in skill or experience.  HOWEVER, there is also real danger in obsessing about who’s doing what, when and why, and how much more they’re earning/doing than you are.

Think for a minute about how many days and how many brain cells you’ve wasted this year worrying about her over there….or him down the road.  Think about how many grey hairs you could have saved yourself by not stressing about the fact that so-and-so seems to be everywhere doing everything, whilst you’re stuck behind a computer trying to make ends meet.

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The moments in between

A friend of mine was once upgraded to First Class when flying for work.  She was stoked! To be fair, her company had paid for all the flights that gave her the status credits to be chosen for the upgrade, but that’s cool – she was the one actually travelling!

The cabin crew, of which there were four, only had eight passengers to look after – how’s that for a ratio! There’d be no “umm, excuse me…excuse me….excuse me….can I please have a glass of water? Oh ok, when you’re ready….”

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