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!

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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

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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

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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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11 Life lessons I re-learnt from running a retreat in Bali

I’ve been back for 10 days from running my retreat in Bali and it feels like a lifetime.  All the build up, the planning, the anticipation, then the warmth, the joy, the learning, the teaching, the uncovering, the clarity, and then BOOM!

It’s finished.

It’s over.

A bit like Christmas when you’re a kid. Or even when you’re an adult. You have a month or more of excitement, events, preparation, then you gorge yourself, your adrenalin flies and then crash. It’s done.

Why do really great, momentous events have to feel like this?

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Take a bite out of these ideas: BITE conference wrapup

Who doesn’t love a day out of the office, learning, being inspired, catching up with business besties and networking with newbies?

Most small business owners relish the chance to connect with other likeminded souls, as many of us spend our days solo, toiling away in silence, forgetting that there is a brave new world out there that is stretching and changing, (and also often forgetting to eat!).  We can get so consumed by our own thing that we forget to come up for air.

So a business conference, with the promise of great speakers, new ideas (and awesome food), right on our doorstep, is a highly attractive opportunity to break the routine and stretch our pegs.

One such fantastic conference is the BITE Conference – this year held at the Frankston Arts centre.  In its third instalment, BITE Con (Business, Innovation, Technology, Entrepreneurial) has become the ‘go to’ event on the Mornington Peninsula for discovering what trends are changing the small business landscape. The promise is that participants will not only hear about these trends but that they will uncover the latest tactics that will help us compete.  And I reckon it delivered.

This year’s B.I.T.E. Con had an all-star cast of speakers that worked the stage and crowd to share their best ideas.

Here’s a BITE Con wrapup  from each of the speakers:

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Not another goal setting post

This is not another goal setting post. In fact it’s kinda the opposite.

As it’s almost time to pop the corks, wave the sparklers and kiss random people, I thought I’d nudge you for a moment.

As the year comes to a close and we herald in a new one, it’s exciting to pack up the old memories, the highs and lows, the lessons the achievements, and look forward to the shiny possibilities of a brand new chapter in our lives.

Some people I know spend big chunks of time in solitude jotting down all the moments, learning from the stuff-ups, from each hard conversation, each A-ha moment, and patting themselves on the back for the glorious times.  They then plug these learnings into their elaborate goal setting process, their personal and professional development plans, and they continue to mull over them to ensure they don’t repeat the crap.

I’m not one those people.

Never have been.

And have finally stopped beating myself up about not being one of those people!

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Go beyond satisfaction

As the year draws to a close, I’m reflecting on what impact I had this year. On my husband, my kids, my clients, my suppliers and my prospects.
I wonder …did I do everything I possibly could during those interactions to add value, to be kind, to be generous, to add positive pages to the story they will tell about me..?

Once upon a time, meeting expectations was enough for a business to be considered ‘doing well’. If every meal was served piping hot, served in a timely fashion, with a smile—the restaurant owner won. If the stylist was on time, didn’t pull or burn your hair and said ‘thank you’ as you left it was a ‘good experience’.

Now, efficiency is expected. It’s the minimum requirement for operating any business.

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Voting Day…and beyond.

As the paper plate came home from school for the 412th time this year, requesting my baking prowess, I was forced to consider how we all turn up on voting day….and beyond.

The fundraising committee at school certainly takes advantage of an election, by offering a cake stall and sausage sizzle.  Because, lord knows, writing ‘1, 2 & 3’ is hunger-inducing work…

The postal voters, who surreptitiously lock in their vote, out of earshot and sight, who shy away from the queues, the candidates and most likely, the neighbours….

And the candidates and their reps, who each thrust a marketing leaflet at the voters as they dash into the polls, in a last-ditch attempt to get a vote. With the only thing differentiating one from the other being the colour of their shirt or the arrangement of the words ‘people’ and ‘power’ on their brochures.

It is true that some people don’t decide who to vote for until the last minute, and last minute votes can count. However, few voters arrive on the day, accept all the marketing leaflets, read them cover to cover, weigh up the pros and cons and then make a considered decision before casting their vote.  This last desperate attempt to secure a vote shows no evidence of a persistent effort to build a sustainable advantage and a loyal following over time.

Whether we are in politics or business, the real work we do is to show up for the right people CONSISTENTLY, so they know what we stand for every day — not just on voting day or launch day.

Your goal isn’t to be chosen at random because of the colour of your shirt or a single snappy slogan. It’s to be deliberately sought out again and again for your service, your values and the way you empower and impact the people you serve.

How do you turn up on ‘voting day’ – and beyond?

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