Habits can be broken!

Habits can be broken!

 

Happy New Year to you all

I was going to start 2018 with a blog about being kind to yourself and going easy through the month of January, but I have done that in December, and reiterated it on my Facebook page, so I thought this week I would focus on shifting those habits, you know the ones that are keeping you stuck!

We all have them, and research shows we can break habits within 28 days, so if you are thinking of putting any resolutions in place remember to be patient as behavioural and habit changes take time.

Let’s look at those things that can stop you in your tracks and keep you stuck:

Procrastination

This is a biggie and one that hits everyone at some point in the day, yes, I said day, I would be very surprised and would want to work with the person who never gets hit by this.  But instead of beating yourself up over getting hit by procrastination, embrace it and look at it with a different view, look at what you are doing that is blocking you, is the task you are doing too big for the time you have? Is the task too complicated and you just haven’t a clue on how to progress or even start it?

Once you have figured out the why, the how is so much easier, its like drilling down when you search the Internet, can’t, won’t and don’t, won’t give you the answers, you have to be more specific and it’s the same when looking at the tasks that are keeping you stuck.

Tools

You can spend an age searching for the right tools for the job, keep this simple! Pick the tools you need to get by on a day to day basis, aim for the free versions, you’ll find most free versions will be enough to get you started, to be honest, 90% of my daily tools are on the free version and have been using them for the best part of 4 years.  Trello, Canva, Dropbox, most scheduling tools have decent free versions.

Distractions

There are 100s of distractions during your working day, most invade your space without you paying any attention, email, social media, phone, visitors, chores, you name it they are there in abundance, and they may not take up tons of your time, but together they can really eat into your productivity and time.

A couple of tips to get past those distractions:

  • Check your personal social media before you sit at your desk, maybe over breakfast or your morning coffee, this eliminates the need to check it when you log on
  • Log straight onto your business page, and turn off notifications
  • Only check your email twice a day and keep the actual program closed, this avoids over checking
  • If you get notifications on your phone put your phone out of sight or even on Do Not Disturb. If you can turn the notifications off.
  • Be firm with visitors, this took a long time for me as people would see my car on my drive and POP in for a coffee and a natter as I was home, of course, I’m home, my business is home-based, but nearly 4yrs into my business and I have this one under control, that is mainly due to having my office at the end of my garden, I don’t hear my doorbell
  • Chores! Now this one I did struggle with and sometimes still do, before heading out to my office I tend to fly around my house and do a quick tidy up after my children set the clothes bomb off, but I limit that to a certain amount of time then off to work I go, it’s finding that balance to make you feel like you have done some bits but also taking your business seriously.

Changeable

The things I have mentioned are the common ones that I have heard from my clients, these are the things that suck up their time, and make them feel stuck, but these are the things they can change. The small tweaks can make the biggest differences.

This Year 

If this year is the year for you to change what you do with your time, and try to gain control of hours, and outsourcing is on your list, then do get in touch, I am so excited to be able to carry on supporting my current clients and taking on new clients, supporting them and their amazing businesses.

 

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My last for 2017

My last for 2017

Well, we have made it to the last working week of 2017! And what a hectic one it was, I had visions of taking it easy this week, kicking back, doing a spot of office house cleaning, tidying up my downloads folder, clearing my inbox, scheduling in posts for the festive period, tieing up loose ends…………How many did it get done! Well as I sit and write this now, precisely none haha

 

I find myself in a bit of a reflecting mood as I pen my last blog of the year, I must say this year has probably been my best year since starting Remote Admin Services back in January 2014, a lot has changed in those few years.  I am rounding this year off totally different to how 2016 was finishing, this year I am finishing with a stack of work, and more happy clients than ever before.

 

What happened?

I think it is important to be flexible with your business, and not keep yourself stuck, we as people evolve and change this is the same with our businesses, we need to embrace how our business changes and go with the flow, so for me when I first started out I was Remote Admin Services, this year saw a change to my brand, it was given a massive overhaul by the ever so talented and gorgeous Vicki Nicholson of Branding Therapy, we gave my brand the personal touch and tweaked my name to Remote Admin Services with Claire, this gave it a more personal touch. Vicki is the lady you should speak to if you are looking on refreshing your brand, she even has amazing programmes that guide you to building a better brand, check it out HERE

I had the social media genius that is Beckie Coupe of Infinity with Beckie Coupe run through my social media, giving me every hint, tip, trick and advice she could. Beckie is the go-to lady when it comes to anything social media, she really knows a lot and has the ability to stop you from running around in a frenzy every time Facebook changes something.  Beckie also has the best monthly email services, its called The Social Media Accelerator, this is an email sent to you once a month with so many content ideas to see you through the month.

Then I had the super productive Sarah Cornforth of The Productivity Princess run through some of my processes to see where I could tweak my personal business time, I found that I was super productive with my client work, but my business was suffering, but Sarah helped me put that right. Sarah also has a fab monthly club that helps you move from stuck to productive, Her Zen Productivity club is fab and worth checking out.

Then there is what I can only describe as the female version of the Tasmanian devil, the little whirlwind of ‘getting sh!t done’ the one that knows what to say at the right time, the one that just knows what you are thinking and gives you the self-belief that you really can do this and that you really are awesome, or if that doesn’t work a swift kick up the backside! she really is the cream of the crop Emma Holmes of Rebels and Rockstars, she really has been the catalyst to my year being the success that it has been, I have several times contacted Emma having a wobble and she has put me right. I would love to set you a challenge to find someone as open, passionate, genuine, to the point, empathetic and knowledgeable as Emma. She is by far my biggest reason for doing so well this year.

I have also found massive support this year in my VA groups, I have found a great foundation of support and gives me ideas for further changes and tweaks to my business.  This is what I mean about being open and willing to give your business a helping had to evolve and change.

 

Upcoming in 2018

I don’t like to plan much before the year is out, and to be honest, I don’t plan much in January full stop, I find it a busy month and one that a lot of people struggle with, so adding goals and must do’s to an already depressing month doesn’t sit well with me.

So, it is a case of sit and watch this space, I know that I will be kicking as much backside as I have done this year if not more, I will continue to grow my confidence, my services and my client base, and more importantly enjoy what I do.

 

Log off and kick back

As I mentioned in my last blog Take having a break seriously you need this break, you need to step away from your business even if it is just for a few days, you need to unplug and recharge your batteries, we have all been working like lunatics this year, burnout isn’t an option, so make sure you take time off.  As much as we all love what we do, it can soon become a chore!

 

At the start of this blog, I had said I hadn’t done half the things I was planning to do this week, even schedule in posts for the festive season, and you know what! I may just go a little rogue not schedule and just play it by ear, I would normally have things planned in for this time of year, but I think this year, I will see what mood I am in on a particular day and post something relevant! Let’s see how that one works out, if it doesn’t work I will be crying to Beckie 🙂

 

So, for now, I want to thank you all for reading and engaging with me this year, it has been a full on year, I would like to wish all of you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, I hope 2018 brings you health, wealth and happiness.

 

All my love xx

 

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Take having a break seriously!

Take having a break seriously!

This is a pretty short but sweet blog post this week. Business owners are a rare and strange breed of people, in our employed days I am sure we would have been incredibly vocal on our rights and working hours etc, but as soon as we run our own business all normal services flies out the window.

I’m here to say…………

YOU NEED TIME OFF! You need to take a break from what you do, but saying it isn’t enough, making yourself accountable is what is needed!

So grab your diary and put in there your last working day and when you plan to return to work and put it out there on your social media, trust me you will not implode, your business will not collapse.  But you could come January.

We all need a break, its simple! Don’t get me wrong I never used to take time off, in fact this year was the first year I actually took 2 whole weeks off during the summer holidays and funny enough my business was still there when I returned, in fact, I came back full of steam and raring to go and I have had one of the best quarters.

And this year I will be taking time off over Christmas, I have 2 young children (9&5) and they rightly so want as much mummy and daddy time as possible, and I have many many dates with my hubby, chocolate and Jack Daniels 🙂

What’s stopping you?

I can see you are still hesitating! Why? Are you worried you going to fall off the social media earth? If you are worried about that here are some tips:

  1. Look at your social media now, and what your current strategy is, then think how many times over the festive break do you want to post? I would suggest from 23rd December onwards once a day would be enough to engage with your crowd, as most will be off enjoying their break.
  2. Schedule in those posts over the next few weeks.
  3. Don’t post anything that is too heavy, traction maybe less over the holiday period, most of your crowd will see your posts, but they may not be in the headspace to take in too much heavy content, so keep it light and bitesize
  4. If you are posting over the festive break try not to load your posts with questions, as you will have to be there to reply to everyone, I am sure your family will not thank you for this!
  5. One tip I heard from the lovely Beckie Coupe from Infinity with Beckie Couple, was to schedule in some extra posts so it’s not the first thing you have to deal with on your return to work, as I am sure there will be other things that need your attention when you go back in January.

My dates

So this year my last day in the office will be Thursday 21st December and aiming to be back in the office Monday 8th January, now this has changed since I was held accountable to take time off, I originally said I would be back on the 4th as that is the day my children go back to school, but I am actually going to treat myself to an extra few day, why not?

So what days are you going to take off?

Is it time?

Busy business owners can get so stressed, feeling like they are between a rock and a hard place, never knowing where to turn, or how they are going to get out of the backlog that is building up, but because we are often a one-woman ship we feel we should be able to do everything on our own.  Which is often not the case at all, so if you are thinking that your workload in 2017 was too much then chances are 2018 it will only grow.

Don’t let your pride or worry stop you from looking at outsourcing, f you are already thinking your workload this year was tough there is a high chance you have left asking for help for far too long, don’t leave it another year, start looking for outsourcing help sooner rather than later.  With a VA we don’t tie you into a large hourly package, most if not all like myself offer hourly rates, most and again myself are very flexible, our aim is to help support business
owners, not make your life more stressful.

Why not put on your list for January to book a FREE 30 minute discovery call with myself and lets see if we can get you back from your admin breaking point.

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Review of your year!

Review your yearSo every year I tend to do a quick review on where I am, what I currently do for my clients, what more I can do to support them, as well as looking at where I want my business to go next year.

This week for me is my review week, I don’t tend to do it in December and I find it too much of a stress month to add another fairly big task to run with.  Not sure about you by December is filled with finding hiding places for all those parcels that have been delivered, explaining why there are several Santa’s around town, remembering to move the elf before I go to bed, school plays, pantos, Christmas dinners, social media, client work etc, so throwing in several client reviews wouldn’t be the best use of productivity in what already is a hectic time of year.

I started this week with a quick look at where my business has gone this year, and I must say this year is probably my best yet, I have continued to support my long-term clients, I have gained some truly awesome new clients who are doing amazing things in their businesses, I am so fortunate to be able to support them. I have to say business wise 2017 has rocked for me here at RAS.

So, how can I improve on my progress from this year?


Small targets! 

Like with 2017, I will be setting small realistic targets for next year, it can be so easy to add in so many HUGE and unachievable targets at the beginning of each year, which will only deflate you if you start missing those goals, so instead of giving yourself one massive target break it down into several smaller ones, a bit like your to-do list, this way your confidence in what you do will grow as you hit your goals each month.  This year I set myself 4-5 small goals a month, 1 slightly larger one for 6 months and a 1 largish goal for the end of the year, and some of the smaller monthly tasks were heading to my ultimate goal for the end of the year, so I was always seeing my progress as the months ticked on.

Be realistic 

First day back in the office refreshed and pleased you don’t have to commute hours by train to your office because you run your own business, you sit down to start jotting your goals on paper, as we all know writing them down makes you accountable (yeah righty ho!) but we still do it, we are super pumped and off we go:

2015 list

  1. Earn enough to go to Florida (deadline March!)
  2. Earn enough to only work (deadline Easter)
  3. Earn enough to book a regular spa (deadline before summer holidays I need to be prepared)
  4. Gain more clients (deadline February)

(this is a real-life goals list from a close business buddy of mine) she set it 2yrs ago, and when I asked her the other week how many she ticked off, she said none! She told me she became disheartened and deflated when the first goal was missed.

She has since redone her list, in fact we both sat down at the start of this year and made our goals together, she is a bit of an accountability buddy for me.  On her list for 2017 she had:

  1. Offer more hours to her current client base (deadline March)
  2. Take on 3 more 1-2-1 clients (deadline July)
  3. Earn £150 extra each month (ongoing)
  4. Continued from 2016 earn deposit for 2018 family holiday (deadline December)

These were just a couple of hers that she was happy for me to share with you all, you can see the clear difference between the 2 years, she told me that 2015 was negative for her due to the constant missing goals, she quickly realised they were too big and the deadlines were unrealistic. She refused to set goals in 2016!

I was talking to her over the weekend and said that this week I was doing my review, she said she would let me know how hers had gone, so yesterday we had a quick live chat, out of the 4 listed above she has completed all of them, she is going into the travel agents on Saturday and laying the deposit for her family holiday next year.  She said that her goals were more achievable and realistic deadlines, and with each one she crossed off the more confidence it had given her.

Moral of this! 

Set yourself goals, I actually think they are a healthy thing to have in your business, but don’t expect to move the moon closer to the earth, we already have more pressure on us as it is by running our business, why put more on our shoulders but adding unrealistic goals! Start small and few at a time.

Outsourcing 

Is 2018 the year for you to offload some of those tasks that are weighing you down? Don’t let it become an issue or too late and your stress levels hit the roof. If you are already working late nights and odd days over the weekend or struggling to knock things of your ever growing to do list, then maybe having a VA on hand maybe the right option for you!

Check out this blog about working with me

Let’s make sure 2018 rocks for us all, with no added pressures made by ourselves 😊

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Are you being Swept away?

Are you being Swept away?

If you were to look in your inbox now how many emails do you have that will end up straight in the bin? If you were to look on your Facebook page (don’t check unless it’s a scheduled slot lol) how many groups are you part of that you check regularly? If you are on a podcasting stream how many have you got on there that have loads of un-listened podcasts on there?

I only ask as I am terrible! I sign up for so many things, I may get caught on Facebook but a paid advertisement and think ‘I need this’ and off I go and sign up, then I start getting their newsletters and I never read them, or I join a group of the Book of Faces and before I know it I have a ton of groups with loads of little notifications, telling me I have posts to read.  It is endless. I do get swept away with some signups!

Is it just me?

Please tell me it’s not just me and my terrible ability to move past an offer! I don’t think I could cope if you don’t do the same!

There is a solution

I am part of The Productivity Princess’ monthly group, and ‘Declutter’ is the order of the month, which has been about things like our download folders (HOLY MOLY!) but previous months have been on your inbox and what can we get rid of.  As much as it was a monster task for me, I did complete it, and I felt amazing for it, my inbox is a lot less cluttered.

How do you decide?

So, this one wasn’t too much of a difficult process, to be honest, I basically went through my deleted items, and all those that were deleted without being opened was my first port of call, every one of them I unsubscribed from them, then I headed into my inbox and went through those I knew were going to be heading in the same direction and followed the same process.  Now there were a few that I know would still be of benefit to me, so I have kept them in my action folder, but will keep a close eye on it, If I don’t visit that folder in a month then I really don’t need them.

What about groups!

Ok so this one is a little trickier, see I join groups as I feel they could be beneficial to me and my business but where does it stop being beneficial and become more detrimental to business, because you are spending far too much time reading through all the groups before you can get any work done!

I may have over thought this one a little too much, but I found that I revisited my ideal crowd and looked at the groups to see how well they matched, when I was last active in the group, was I imputing any value into the group, depending on those factors was the outcome as to whether I removed the group or not, this has been a fab exercise for me, as I have found there are a lot of groups I joined at the start of my business that really does not suit where I am now.  I have my VA groups that I am part of and will never leave them, they are my support line, my soundboards and fellow chit chatters when the days are tough, I also have a few business groups that to me are vital and worth their weight in gold so won’t leave them. So don’t remove yourself for the sake of it, but be honest with yourself as to whether they are actually a benefit to you anymore.

Don’t be the bull!

Don’t run through your inbox or anywhere that you are part of groups, and being that bull in a china shop clicking delete, unsubscribe to everything, that is not what I’m saying, just be honest with yourself, if you are not reading something regularly or visiting that group then maybe now isn’t the right time to be part of that group or mailing list, nothing is permanent, if you really miss that group or weekly email you can always re-subscribe cant you!

Go on give it a go

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What’s on your investment list

What's on your investment list

Yep Investment List!

If you are anything like me your life is probably built on lists, shopping, kids, business, bucket, you name it everything goes onto one, whether we follow it and tick things off is another thing (there is a list on my fridge, paint kitchen, new shower screen, paint hallway! This has been there since the beginning of the year!)

But my investment list I take incredibly seriously, because I am so passionate about what I do for work, and have the thirst to better myself for my clients, this list is so important to me.

For me, this isn’t solely about money, this can be things that are free but beneficial (yes that does exist!)

When I started my Virtual Assistant business I knew I had the knowledge of being a PA/Admin support as I had been working in that field since I left school, but what knowledge I had on running a business I could have written on the back of a stamp, so I spent equal time working and growing my business with researching how to run a successful virtual/online business, and before I knew it I found a list of things that I wanted to invest my time and money in to make my business thrive.

So what was on this investment list of mine?

1. Training – this is no different from my corporate days, except I pick and choose the training I want and what is going to benefit my business and help me move forward. Being an online/virtual business there are a wealth of programs/systems out there and always new fancy ones being released regularly. So, it is a case of staying on top of new systems and keep my knowledge levels replenished.  Also doing research to see if any new systems that come out could benefit my clients in their business.

2. Software – this ranges from upgrades to new software, we always need to be up to date with our software, and making sure the one we are using now is still the right one for your business, if not sourcing a new piece of software to fit in your business now.

3. Hardware – when I started I had an old laptop and that was it, but over time I have upgraded my hardware to suit my business, I have a new laptop better running system, separate keyboard, bigger screen, this all makes my working day run more smoothly and easier for me to work throughout the day, but have added to my arsenal of hardware, printers, office phone, equipment for recording videos.

4. Support network – this is one that does NOT need to cost you any money at all, every social media platform has groups of small businesses, there are even business groups for specific
industries, I am in a few dedicated to Virtual Assistants, but am in a few that are for small businesses, and some that are dedicated to either women in business or mums in business, bizarrely not just for support but those categories are my ideal clients too.

5. Dedicated space – when I first started out I was working out of my kitchen, then a small area in my bedroom, but it became obvious in the early days of running my business that I could benefit from that space, as a VA I don’t really need a dedicated space as everything is predominantly online, but I felt I needed that place where I was undisturbed, not just from people but household chores that were staring me in the face all the time, I was lucky to have a Summerhouse at the end of my garden that we could convert, and that is now my office or ‘The Cabin’ as its affectionately known as.

What’s on my list going forward:

My list is always evolving like my business, so my list changes over a course of time, what may be on my list now, may not be there if I decide a different direction.

1. Audio equipment, even though I do video’s I want to move into podcasting and webinar support, so on my list for future investments is a new external microphone, podcasting/webinar software and a better camera.

2. Courses – I can’t get enough of information, there are a few courses that have a monthly cost that I want to start being part of probably from the new year.

3. Accreditation – As a VA I want to be seen as the professional that I am, so I am working towards and getting the things in place to become fully accredited with VIPVA association, this is more something for me and my peace of mind, gives me that little bit of security and back up from an association.

4. Accountant! Yep, I want to be able to outsource my accounts, now don’t get me wrong my accounts aren’t huge at the moment, but it’s a job I dislike, so being a person that people
outsource too I see those benefits of not having a job you procrastinate over sitting in your trays!  I would like to outsource my accounts, I would like to start as I mean to go on with my accounts, as my business grows it would be nice to have that person working with me on my accounts and making sure all is in place and correct. Yes even a VA outsources.

So what is on your investment list? I certainly cannot tell you what you should have yours, as everyone’s list is going to be different. You may have all the equipment you need to run a successful business, but may not have that support network around you, so that could go on there. As I said it’s not necessarily all about monetary investment, it about making your business work with you and becoming fruitful in all ways.

Your list isn’t set in stone either if you have things that were on your list they can be tweaked, our businesses change on a regular basis, mine has changed a lot over the years, even though the function is the same, other aspects have changed.

Don’t keep yourself trap, adapt to your business. Sit down and create your very own investment list, you do not need to put deadlines on them, sometimes they are helpful, but not always necessary. For an example, I want to be fully accredited by the start of the new tax year 2018, so this gives me plenty of time to get all those bits in place.

You may want to put a Virtual Assistant on your list for when you get super busy 🙂

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Monkey Around with Memes

Monkey around with Memes

 

So memes! Most people love a good meme, and frankly, anything visual on the social networks works wonders for your reach.  But surprisingly it’s a task that can suck up so much vital time in your working day, you start with all good intentions but before you know it 2 hrs later and you are still no further forward! Yet I was able to create these easily for clients, yet my own was like pulling teeth.

I found that when I started doing these, I felt like I was bobbing up and down in a sea of quotes and images, I would spend a few hours on this task, and by the time my eyes were watering and frankly bored to death of them, I hadn’t really made a dent.  It became frustrating and an annoyance, which then made the task a less important one, and one that I did as and when a meme was required.

So, what changed? I re-visited my process (which was non-existent) and pinpointed my stumbling blocks, and believe it or not there were a few.  So I went through what frustrates me, what was the need for them, why it wasn’t working and so on.

And now I have a whole new process that seems to be working, remember like with any process, it’s a work in progress, if you need to tweak then do so, don’t wait for it to stop working again, if you find one thing isn’t working then change that one thing, instead of letting it manifest into a bigger problem.

So what did I change?

Themes

I found giving myself themes for each day of the week has given me some clarity, I use these themes to create memes and posts with ease, some days I will use them for motivation other days maybe things that can make your business work better for you. 

If you want to work with themes write down the days of the week, and pick a subject that you want to talk about for each day, so for example only, you could say Motivation Monday, Top tips Tuesday and so on, a fantastic way to find ideas is via Twitter, you will find under trending theme days. 

Imagery

Ok, so this one is quite possibly my biggest time sucker, I am slightly partial to a good business image, now for me I work alongside my branding, I had my branding done this year by the ever so talented Vicki Nicholson of Branding Therapy, once she completed it all she gave me my guidelines, which consists of my brand colours, fonts etc, I also know that my business, in general, is designed to support mums in business, so that helps me narrow my images, so based on branding, colour and ideal customer it makes that a little quicker, my problem is there are so many lovely images, and at the moment I am still only on the free stock option! 

My tips for imagery sourcing 

  • Colours, go with your branding colours, if you have not had your brand done, then go with logo colours, and what you feel makes your business stand out
  • Go for images that reflect your ideal customer
  • You don’t have to go with people in images all the time, backdrops, scenery are also very good, and could work better if you chose certain themes
  • Choose 5-10 at any one time, more than that and you are not really picking because you like them, it’s because you have gone into click overdrive!

Block time

Set yourself 30 minutes a week, I know that doesn’t sound much but It’s enough once you are all set up, now when you first start a new process you might find that you will be spending a few hours a week on this, to perfect your process it will take time.  But once it’s how you want it, try to only do 30 mins a week sourcing images and thinking of content.

Concentrate on 4 

Ok so my biggest problem when I first started doing these was working on the basis that I had to have one for each day of the month, so was sat down trying to create 30 of these things and was meant to still be in love with them when I finished, when in reality by the 15th I was sick of them.

So now, I’ve simplified it more, as an example, in October there were 5 Mondays, so at the end of September I created in Canva 5 of my Monday themed memes, transferred them to my other system Trello where I create the content and they were done, so within less than 15 mins all my Monday memes were ready for October, the following day 15 mins set aside and I done 5 Tuesday memes, and so on.  I have managed to drop the length of time now as I am into the process, but at the start, I had to set a timer, and this will be the same for you.

Schedule 

So once I have done my creating, I start to schedule my memes, I currently only schedule on Facebook, Pinterest and LinkedIn as I feel these are my most relevant platforms, I schedule direct on Facebook by use ContentCal for the rest of my scheduling (love it, it’s so visual), again because you have batched them into themes, you could on a Friday at the end of each month schedule in all Monday and Tuesday posts in one sitting, and so on.

These are some of the slight changes I have made to my meme and general posts to my social media, each of these small changes has given me back more time, and frankly, I find the whole
process less stressful, boring or monotonous.

Give is a go and let me know. Have you got any processes that save you time that you want to share with us?

Don’t forget I can help you with creating these, if you just find that this is something you desperately want to do, but no matter what process you have you just don’t have the time, then get in contact, I am happy to have a chat with you to see if I can I help you move forward from being stuck!

 

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Engaging Newsletters – what the heck to write about

Engaging Newsletters

E-Marketing is a big part of my job, I have a few clients that have outsourced their regular newsletters to me, purely because they can be time-consuming.  Sometimes writing the content isn’t the problem, it’s the editing, making it look nice, making sure it’s readable and not too heavy on the information.

Avoid your crowd feeling they are being spoken at

You can run the risk of sending out a newsletter too light on information, but equally, you can overload your audience, there is a fine line when it comes to content overload.

I have found that if you have one long page of content it feels like you are being spoken at, and you really do not want your crowd to think you are just blurting information at them for the sake of it, so make your page visually pleasing too, this gives the illusion of being easier to read and your crowd will take in more of what you are offering.

What can I put in my newsletter?


Links

These little gems can help you with growing your audience on your social media pages.  Linking back to high engagement posts or a previous blog post is a great way to drive traffic from your newsletter to your other platforms.

Offers

If you have any special offers, freebies or vouchers this is a great way of getting them in front of your crowd, these are easy to embed in your template, you can create amazing images for your freebie in Canva

Video

We are not just limited to images on your newsletter, you can add videos too, what a great way to get something important over to your crowd, whether it’s a new offer, new freebie, new class etc why not create a fab video shouting about it from the rooftops to your crowd.

I have some clients that send me copy and ask me to jazz it up, others send me the whole thing in our share folders and leave it with me to add in the links, images etc and off it goes.

Get in touch

If you are wanting to start communicating to you crowd via a regular newsletter but haven’t a clue where to start, then why not get in touch, I will be happy to go through some options with you to get started.

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How to work from home productively

How to work from home productively

I know when I was in my old employed job, working from home was a breeze, I would often long for a ‘WFH’ day just to catch up on housework and have an easy day, but those days are well and truly gone.

 

Ever since I started my business it has been a steep learning curve on how to be as productive with my hours during the day, I have set hours due to having primary school age children, so I need to make sure I am as focused as I can be.  Running your own business throws up a lot of tasks that you wouldn’t have thought of when you were in your employed role.  So now you wear all the hats, you need to be able to juggle your time in the best way possible.

 

Granted, it this took me a really REALLY long time to get into the swing of, first my office setup wasn’t ideal at all, it was in a place in the house that was constantly busy, I moved around the house for a good year before I realised that this was a big problem to my productivity as I wasn’t able to close a door from the distractions, so for me I was lucky enough to have a wooden cabin at the end of my garden, and a lot of time and work (hubby’s blood and sweat) I finally got my office space!

But you do not need to have a cabin at the end of your garden, a space in your bedroom, a spare room or a space that isn’t in the thick of it will help, I have on occasions, when I must work when my children are home, I work from the kitchen! Thankfully that does not happen often as that is an even bigger distraction, I can see breakfast bowls in the sink and washing needs doing etc etc.

 

So, my tips for being as productive with your working day as possible are:

Suitable space 

As mentioned above having the right space is key, working from your kitchen may not be the best solution long term, look at trying to find a place in your house that you can close a door too.  Failing that maybe trying to rent a desk at an office block (like Regus) for a morning a week, to give you that away time.

Having that space will really help your productivity.


Plan

Before you log off the night before, grab your diary and plan for the following day. I use both a paper diary and my diary on my email system.  I make sure that whatever I have planned for my day is electronically logged with an alarm or timer.

I am slightly crazy with colour coding, so I have colours for each of my clients, colours for my personal work like content creation morning, or source images for memes etc, I make sure that
before I switch off my day is as planned as I possibly, now I know the unexpected can happen at any time, so I factor some time in just in case.  Always best to be on the safe side.

Timer

Now, I mentioned timers in my last point, this is quite important, and its one that I am getting used to as well, I actually log my hours now, as I found there were times where I would sit there and think ‘blinking heck where did today go’ and have that feeling of not achieving much.  So, I use a timer for my client work and have been using it for my business time too (timer is on now as I write this blog!) this gives me a clear indication of how much time I am spending on client work vs my business time.

If you do not want to use a timer on your PC then you can always do the visual aid of a timesheet and block out time physically, it is what works for you.  But you will start to see a pattern and you will see that you faff a lot too (I have a faff category on my timer!)

Set a duration

This may sound weird but give it a go.  So, I know that I can lose HOURS yes HOURS sourcing images for my blogs or my memes, so I now set myself a duration, 30 mins a day or 2hrs a month etc to do that task, and set an alarm, it’s as plain as its simple, some tasks can literality suck up crazy amounts of time (social media being a biggie).

It is all about making sure you have the right balance of time on your tasks that need to get done to the ones that would be nice to do, we can’t run our businesses on doing the tasks we love, sadly that doesn’t work, we all must do those we dislike (or outsource them) both tasks go hand in hand. You will find if you spend too much time on those tasks you dislike you will start to procrastinate and put it off which is when things get out of hand.


Regular breaks

This is so important to your day, sitting at your desk FORCING yourself to do things for hours, is going to only put a negative spin on your day and you will become disheartened, it is impossible to stay focused on any tasks loved or loathed for hours on end, we all need breaks, not just for our mind but for our body too. We need to get up and walk or stretch and clear your mind. So, schedule in short breaks every 1hr -1.5hrs your mind and body will thank you for it, trust me!


Be forgiving

We are our worst critics, we are honestly the worst, we almost bully ourselves, if we don’t get something done on time, or we haven’t pulled 4 blogs out of thin air in an hour we chastise ourselves
and make ourselves feel incompetent! And why? Could you imagine your old boss doing this to you? You would be in HR filing a complaint, so why do we do it to ourselves? Be forgiving to yourself, you may not have done everything you wanted to for that day, if you haven’t managed to get something done that day when you go to plan for tomorrow and add that task onto your plan, schedule it in and give it a duration.

When being creative, you can’t force those creative juices, and sometimes in small batches, you get more done, instead of forcing hours of paper staring do lots of small blocks of 20 mins! Mornings are also better for me to create my content.

Don’t bully yourself! You are only human after all 💕

If there are tasks that you are constantly struggling with, instead of suffering why not think about outsourcing them, I am always happy to have a chat with you and see if I can help you moving forwards, book a discovery call with me and lets see if I can take some or even one of those dreaded tasks from you.

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5 Ways to start your day right

5 Ways to start your day right

Now you are either a morning lover or not, you can’t be both.  And it’s the same if I was to ask if you are a night owl?

Me, personally am a night owl, always have been, but I know that I need to start going to bed earlier, as I have a 9 and 5-year-old which at times wake up early, and even though they have tiny feet, the noise they create would be similar if bigfoot lived in my house!

Anyway, I digress…….If you are already a morning person you will probably already have a decent routine to kick-start your day, if you are trying to become a morning person and want to get the most out of your day, then starting on the right foot is a must.  Here are 5 tips that can help you to get your day started to give you the best day possible: –

1. Wake up earlier

If you have children this may be a tad difficult, as I know it is my house, but try and get up 30-60mins before they rise, if you are unable to wake before them, then set your alarm for half hour earlier, this will give you that time to get up and jump in the shower and wake up.

2. Social Media!

Ok so I have found this one to be invaluable, I have found that checking my own personal social media before work has helped me start my working day with a clear focus.  I found that prior to this new addition to my routine I would sit down at my desk and logged on I was side-tracked with my personal newsfeed, now I have found time to squeeze in my personal newsfeed I am able to crack on with my work

3. Breakfast!

Ok this is a contentious one for me, I have always struggled to eat early in the morning, I’ve never been a breakfast fan during the week, probably due to the fact I was always out the door early, off to meetings or travelling that there was no time to eat, but I have found that now I have the time to eat, I am making more effort to grab something filling and healthy, stay away from sugar-laden cereals, these are great to start with that sugar boost by half hour later and your flagging again.  I have started to make these little egg muffins things that I can make at the weekend, freeze then throw in the microwave in the mornings for a few minutes!

4. Hydrate……

This one is key, I can’t tell you how important this one is, keeps you in tip-top form and your brain on fire (technical I know!) – its a little harder this time of year, as you find you are not trying to quench your thirst as much as you do in the summer months but to make water have more appeal in the winter months, maybe look at adding a little barely squash to a few glasses, or have hot water and lemon?

5. Fresh air,

I am lucky enough to do the school run daily, so I get a good half hour fresh air before I sit at my desk for the morning, but I do feel ready for my day once I have had that walk and fresh air, it just kind of blows those cobwebs away. Remember those days of commuting to the office either by public transport or driving, it’s that being out and about in the hustle that wakes you up and feel ready for the day.

Now, I am not saying these will work for you, I am not an expert in this field,  but I know I have put them in my morning routine over the last few months and I feel personally it has made a difference to me. I wished I had the time to get to the swimming pool in the mornings but now logistically it’s just not possible.

What is your current routine? Do you feel your routine needs to be revitalised?

 

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