Work-Life Balance for the Small Business Owner

Posted by on May 19 2015

Trying to figure out how to juggle the demands of your small business and your personal life?

We hear about “work-life balance” in relation to corporate employees, but small business owners need work-life balance, too!

In this episode of Self Employed Success, my special guest is Julie Cohen. She’s an executive coach, CEO of Work Life Leader, and the author of Your Work, Your Life…Your Way: 7 Keys to Work-Life Balance.

She has great tips to share with us about the journey to creating balance between your role as business owner, and your personal roles and goals as well.

You can get her book at www.7keys.com/book, and join the conversation at her Facebook page.

Listen to the podcast interview here:

 

Download Now

   

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Category: Running a Strong & Efficient Business

Your Voice Tells Your Story – Free Audio with Katherine Scott

Posted by on May 04 2015

Katherine Scott is our guest expert in the Self Employed Success podcast series, sponsored by Passion For Business.

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Your Voice Tells Your Story with guest Katherine Scott

Every person’s life is a rich history of stories and your voice tells your story each time you speak. The sound of your voice is influenced by the perceptions you have about yourself and they, in turn, influence how listeners perceive you. The source of your perceptions comes from all the experiences that make up your life story.

To fully access the authenticity of your voice, the sound by which you communicate your story to the outside world must come from your inner being.

In this seminar we explored your voice on two different levels: the actual sound of your voice, and the compelling story or purpose you express with it. We investigated what you can do to integrate those two levels.

During the teleseminars, we examined the following questions:

  • What is your voice story?
  • What is a voice field and how do you find yours?
  • What’s in the gap between your thoughts and your spoken words?
  • How do you authentically align your voice with your self?
  • How do you achieve both power speaking and power listening?
  • How do you build confidence and deal with performance anxiety?

Listen to the recording of the teleseminar and pick up the notes here

   

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Category: Marketing, Podcasts, Running a Strong & Efficient Business
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How To Defend Yourself When Someone Plagiarizes Your Website Text

Posted by on Apr 22 2015

I hate when people steal text from my website and used it on their own website. Dirty rotten scoundrels!

So what do you do? First, understand that most hosting companies and domain name registrars will take down a site that is fraudulent or that plagiarizes someone else’s site, as long as you can show them proof. Even Google has a process to help you. They’re on your side.

Next, gather as much information about the offending site as you can. Print out all pages from their site where the plagiarized text resides. Go to WhoIs at Internic and get all their registration information. Also, try Alexa and find whatever contact information you can there.

Finally, write to the offending site owner and tell them that you found plagiarized text on their site. List the URLs of the offending pages along with the copyrighted URLs of your own pages. Give them two or three days to either delete the pages, or re-write them so that they no longer include your text. This is not the time to play nice guy! Tell the offending site owner that you are copying their hosting company and domain registrar on the letter, and do so.

Make sure when you write this email or letter, you don’t use any passive language, and do not say “please.” Demand your rights. It is illegal and unethical for them to do what they did and they need to stop doing it immediately.

Always put a copyright statement on your site. If it took you a long time to write your text, you should be the only one benefiting from it, not some unethical person who is looking for a shortcut. Even better, copyright your site with your national government (in the USA, visit the Copyright Office website for instructions on how to copyright your website).

I have written to the four sites that stole my text. Two of them are in Australia. Did they really think because they were on the other side of the world that I couldn’t find them by doing a simple Google search?

And you want to know a real hoot? One of these people actually called me, asking about becoming one of my clients! I went out to her site and saw my text on it. How dumb is that?

Don’t let people make you crazy. Stealing text and images is rampant on the internet, and while there’s no excuse for this bad behavior, you have to decide how far you want to go to get them to remove your text from their website. At some point, it becomes a huge waste of time and energy if you let it consume your day. I’ve found that 85% of people will comply with your request within a week. Then decide if you want to take any further steps against those who continue to misbehave.

   

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Category: Website Planning

5 Smart Tips to Re-engage Inactive Customers

Posted by on Apr 09 2015

Do you have people on your mailing list who don’t open your emails? Do you have connections on social media who don’t respond to your posts?

Consider creating a re-engagement campaign to reconnect with them. First, if you can, segment your list and target your re-engagement campaign only to those who are inactive. That will help you to focus your efforts. Then, create ways to reconnect with them and put the ideas into a campaign.

Here’s some tips:

  1. Ask them a question, especially the most straight-forward one: “Are you still interested in receiving my newsletters/tips?”
  2. Offer them a special discount.
  3. Send out a survey to find out what they’re up to and where they could use some help.
  4. Create a contest and invite them to play along.
  5. Write to them individually with a personalized email, or better yet, a real letter. (I still get excited when I get a letter in the mail with real handwriting!)

The extra effort you make to re-engage with your audience will reap huge rewards. And if they choose to unsubscribe from your list or disconnect from you on social media, be diplomatic and thankful. They might not be a prospective customer any more, but their friends and colleagues might.

Find out why they’re disengaged

Part of this process is to find out why they aren’t connecting with you. There’s two scenarios:

  1. They no longer need your service or product.
  2. They do need your service or product, but there’s something holding them back from connecting with you.

It could be that they’re too busy or distracted to read your marketing materials, or it could be that your marketing materials (including your content marketing) don’t interest them. Maybe they feel you’re emailing them too often (or not often enough!). By opening a dialogue with them, you’ll gain a deeper understanding of your audience, which can trigger a smarter marketing plan.

 

   

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Category: Internet & Social Media Marketing, Marketing

Are You Cut Out To Be Your Own Boss?

Posted by on Mar 16 2015

I had an interesting discussion with one of my clients recently. She’s been in business for six months and is ready to quit. (I have permission to share her story.)

She writes,

“I give up. Starting a business is so much harder than I thought it would be, so much more time-consuming. I was hoping to be making a profit by now! There are so many things to do and I’m totally overwhelmed. People don’t seem to want to buy my products and I feel totally rejected. I don’t think I have the personality to be self-employed.”

Hmmmm…interesting. Are there really personality traits that separate born-entrepreneurs from people who can’t hack it?

I’d say yes, some personality traits do matter.

I’ve been self-employed in one way or another since 1981. I’ve known many self-employed people, and have been coaching and mentoring them for years. And over the past years, I see a pattern in successful entrepreneurs versus those who pack up and exit their business.

Here’s my must-have list of personality traits for the successfully self-employed (in no particular order):

  1. Tenacity.
  2. Self-worth.
  3. A sense of humor about yourself.
  4. Willingness to do the dirty work (the tasks that you hate to do).
  5. Willingness to learn new skills.
  6. A deep desire to be independent.
  7. Willingness to take acceptable and calculated risk.
  8. An ability to deal well with people.
  9. A passion for what you do or sell.
  10. Resourceful and creative.
  11. Willingness to ask for help.
  12. Self-disciplined.
  13. Self-motivating.
  14. Willing to do the personality “foundational work” to help yourself and your business.

Notice that I didn’t list any business skills here. You can always learn the business skills you need, or hire someone to do the work for you who does have the business skills you lack.

This list is about who you are and what habits you have. Changing your basic personality style will take effort. That’s why #14 is so important: are you willing to do the groundwork, the personality foundational work, to set the stage for your success?

Naturally, there are some personality traits that are business killers, but that’s another blog entry! :)

For you, what’s the most important personality trait you have, that helps when you own your own business?

   

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Category: Managing Projects, Tasks & Time, Running a Strong & Efficient Business
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Self Sabotaged by Research

Posted by on Feb 24 2015

A woman in one of my mastermind groups posed a question recently: Why did she spend all her time doing research and never actually get on with doing the thing she was researching?

She loved looking up information, finding resources, interviewing people, gathering facts. But taking these facts and applying them to her business seemed to always be put on the back burner.

It’s called “analysis paralysis.” The idea is this: if I could just gather this information, if I could just find that fact, if I could make this checklist a bit longer — you get the drift. As a small business coach, I see this my clients get caught in this trap all the time.

The cause is simple: It’s easier for many people to research than to do the action work because gathering research is often a successful task, while acting on the research is fraught with the possibility of failure, stress, or pressure. We stay in the research mode because it’s safe and we get a lot of positive feelings about having uncovered the information we need.

Don’t get me wrong, research is vital. I’ve seen many businesses fail to thrive because they haven’t done the marketing research necessary to see if people want to buy the service or product they want to sell.

The key, as always, is balance. When you find yourself doing more and more research, then you can bet you’re procrastinating on the “doing” side of things. You have two choices:

  1. Try to figure out why you’re not doing the work, or
  2. Just do the work.

Either choice is valid, but guess what? Choice 1 is still “research!” :)

   

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Category: Running a Strong & Efficient Business
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