30 reasons to fire – or not hire – a client

Does the idea of working with a particular person keep you awake at night, tossing and turning as you sweat it out, hating on yourself for ever letting them into your world but unsure about what to do about it? You know you can help them but every interaction is killing your soul.

Well, it’s time to put your own needs first and say enough is enough: “I don’t love working with this client so I won’t do it anymore!”

Here’s the news flash – it’s YOUR business and you deserve to only work with people who serve you as much as you serve them. And guess what? When you release them out into the world to find another solution, you’ll actually be doing them a favour too – they’ll find someone more suited to their needs/personality/temperament/demands!

It’s a natural normal inclination at the start of your business journey to want to work with anyone who is keen to work with you…  because money is money right? And a client is a client, right? WRONG! I used to tell this story a lot to my coaching clients, particularly those who were new in business… Continue reading

My husband left me

…6weeks ago to live in the Philippines, and it’s taken this long to write about it.

In fact, it’s been a long time since I wrote at all! Yes, I’ve been crazy busy with all the things that happen and need to be done before and after your partner relocates overseas (and leaves you behind with two kids, 6 animals and a big ole property to sort out!), but in truth I’ve also just been resisting it.

And I’m only just beginning to understand why.

I checked out a few months back…drastically reduced my social media interaction, stopped marketing myself, stopped networking, stopped creating, and just did the small jobs for existing clients that trickled in. Then it dawned on me that I was ‘taking a break from my business’. January is always an intentional break, but this year, the break simply continued… almost without noticing it. You’d have thought that after last year I’d be chomping at the bit to get back in a room with people and talk shop and create and do, but in fact, my reaction was just the opposite. It wasn’t until recently when I started getting concerned messages as to my whereabouts online did it dawn on me that people come to rely on you to show up in a certain way and to be a certain presence in their life. I don’t say this to big note myself, or suggest that people ‘need’ me in their life, but it’s curious how many gorgeous souls checked in on me to see if I was alive!

As a fiercely independent gal, who likes to rely on noone, it really made me sit up and think: “why on earth are people worried?”  And yet, as someone who teaches everyday storytelling and online presence it should have been bloody obvious! I help people build and lead communities through the power of words, and insist that they then have a duty to do the right thing by those communities to maintain trust, add value and strengthen relationships, BUT I didn’t do that for my own. I let my own community down. I just disappeared. Said nothing. Added nothing.

At the time I honestly didn’t think much about it. I did what I needed to simply get through the days and weeks, with huge To-Do lists and deadlines. In reality…

I’m pretty sure it’s because I didn’t want to admit that life was overwhelming.
I’m pretty sure it’s because I felt responsible for the huge reactions and big emotions going on around me.
I’m pretty sure it’s because I always feel obliged to find the perfect words, and this time I had none.

As the weeks have passed, I’ve had to let go of what’s expected of me and, importantly, what I expect of myself. I had to take a breather from being the The Content Coach and be simply (and complexly) Daughter, Wife, Sister and Mum. Then I had to look at what I was creating, what was important, what mattered to me and anyone else; what I was doing simply because I could or because it made money, and what I was doing that was exciting or dullsville. I had to decide, with my new and impending lifestyle (did I tell you I’m moving to Manila too? Yep, in July), what I really want to be when I grow up. I know for sure it’s not a homeschooling Mum (!), so please pray that’s not my reality come August when the kids start at the International School in Manila! But I also know for sure that I love helping people tell better stories about themselves and to themselves.

A long time ago I knew the internet would be a ‘thing’. I made very strategic and bold moves to position myself professionally to take advantage of the early online business space so that I could capitalise on what I knew would be the way of the world moving forward. I was determined, though not a techo, to be part of the digital revolution. To anyone who’d listen I’d say “I’m going to be able to work from a mountain top or a beach, anywhere in the world”. That personal prophecy has come true. And in so many ways over the past decade since I opened my own business I’ve been ‘safe’ from negative outside influences because I stuck to this position.  Now, once again, this dogged determination means I can continue to work and do what I love whilst our family embraces this new adventure.

What the details of my work looks like from July onwards however, I don’t 100% know just yet. I’m excited to do more of what I love,  but also keen to explore new tricks. New places and new people offer so much promise and excitement and I’m keen to take full advantage of that.

I tell you all this to be honest with where I’m at because so many of you have asked. I also want to reassure you that I’m not going anywhere…well I am…but my business isn’t….you know what I mean! My content marketing and book coaching services are all still on offer but will no doubt morph as I grow and continue to learn.  I’m blessed to be part of an awesome community of business owners all doing their own great things in the world and I want to continue to swirl in that space.

Sometimes we have our moment in the sun and sometimes we need the comfort of the shadows.  What I know is that there is no shadow without light.

Covid musings: December already?

Can you believe it’s December? What craziness is this that has warped the time paradigm this year? Seriously, I swear the clock has actually sped up. I don’t know about you but I’m equally excited and terrified that Santa will arrive in just 24 days and that 2020 is nearly over.

I had such BIG plans for this year. Two overseas writing retreats for my clients were booked and planned, a small Aussie workshop tour was ready to roll out, my next book was going to be published, and my decision to become a mother was never going to be questioned !!!!

But alas. The world had other ideas.

Covid musings

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The key to effective social marketing during Covid (and other uncertain times)

Effective social marketing during Covid requires you to listen, be human and stay connected. Baseline? You need to know your customers inside and out.

Overwhelmingly, the most popular question I’ve received lately is: “what should I be posting on social media right now?”  And it’s a fair enough question too, because there is so much uncertainty around what’s right, what’s wrong, what’s perceived as politically astute and what’s not, what’s appropriate and by whose standards, and what sounds just downright delusional.  So I want to talk you through what I believe is the key to effective social marketing during Covid – and by the way, this works in any uncertain times.

Tough as it may be, as a small business owner you can’t afford to stop marketing or selling right now, and that therefore includes posting (strategically) on social media. Why? Because your followers are spending more time online than they ever have before, which presents you with a unique opportunity to deepen your relationship with them and increase brand affinity.  The challenge however, is that you can’t just pretend that it’s business-as-usual either, or you risk coming across as tone-deaf to an audience who potentially have heightened anxiety and sensitivities. Continue reading

What do I know

As we come to the end of another week of lockdown in Melbourne, and the dust settles on my cabin-fever-homeschool-Mum nerves, I realise it’s been a while since I asked myself a really important question.  I wonder whether it’s also been a while for you too? That question is this:

What do I know?

The reason it’s so important is because unless we know what we know…like, really know, it’s almost impossible to help others learn what we know and grow with what we know.

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It’s my business birthday

5 years ago TODAY my business changed direction. The Content Coach was born! It’s my business birthday (of sorts!)

My biz had been running as a copywriting and content strategy business for almost 5 years already, under the name of How You Say It. But I had a sore neck…a sore back… and I was done. Done sitting at a desk into the wee hours of the night writing for other people. Exhausted trying to sound like other people all the time.  I wanted – needed – to do something different.

I also wanted to leverage my experience more widely, globally. I wanted to use my time better – stop trading each individual hour for $$.  I wanted to teach the man to fish (metaphorically!) – I was done fishing for him.

It was a crisis point for me.

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Focus: answer this one question

I was talking with a client during a session yesterday about how it feels kind of like that period between Christmas and New Year when you have no idea what day it is and no inclination to find out! I honestly feel like I’m in a bit of a time warp, weirdo bubble space which is kind of nice but kind of not. I feel full of contradictions.  I’m in this place where I’m still working, but not as much as I’d like… but then I remember that it’s officially school holidays now which is when I reduce my work hours anyway… but that’s usually because I want to spend much needed time with the kids and get out and about and catch up with friends we haven’t seen all term, which we obviously can’t do now, and I’ve already spent 2 weeks at home with the kids so, well…..y’know….and then I’m relishing the time to renovate the house and garden, so I’m actually really busy and not at all bored… but then we all wish we could go somewhere else and see other people and do different things…. it’s just so darn WEIRD!

How about you?? Continue reading

UGWA Fiji Retreat – a reflection

I wanted to write a blow by blow wrap up of everything I experienced at the Ultimate Girls Week Away (UGWA) Retreat. The workshop learnings, the people I met, the wicked inspiration from Liz Gilbert. But I can’t. It’s really hard to explain it all in words adequately. So instead, I want to share this very honest personal experience with you: my UGWA Fiji Retreat – a reflection.

I love retreats. I love to plan them, host them, attend them. I love the experience of being away from home, of being away from my children (bless them!), of being away from the supermarket, the running around to activities and the myriad responsibilities. I love the deep work and productivity that happens when you remove all other distractions, when you focus, when there is accountability, and when you only have yourself to worry about. I love the incredible results I’ve been able to elicit from my participants and the exciting energy those results inject back in me. Continue reading

Business writing tips for more effective comms

The advent and uptake of the world wide web has shifted how we do business.  The world has shrunk overnight, meaning we can do business with whomever, whenever, we please.  We chat with strangers, we use words that didn’t exist a decade ago, and we expect responses at warp speed.  However some things haven’t changed – namely the need to communicate with others effectively in writing. In fact, the need for succinct, successful communication has stepped up! The problem is that business writing isn’t everyone’s natural forte.

When you run a small business you not only need to deliver your service to customers, you need to know how to deliver your ideas, requests, opportunities and information more broadly and in the most striking way possible.  Not only are there emails to write, but there are training documents, presentations, proposals, promotional copy, grants requests, advertising, and more to construct. The ability to deliver the right information at the right time and strike a chord with the reader is paramount. But even though writing is a huge component of our business lives,  so many people are really bad at it! Learning to write well is not, after all, why most people go into business. Continue reading

Content Planning – a party or a pain?

Tis the season for planning!

Every online coach/ marketer/ consultant/strategist worth their salt is hosting a planning event of some kind. Have you noticed that??? Hard not to, right! If you hang in the same circles as me, then right about now your inbox is being hit hard with programs and online parties and webinars or planathons.

It makes sense, given we’re about ready to roll into a new year, (and new decade, btw!), but just how much planning is too much, and what actually is effective?

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