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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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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8 things to outsource to a VA

8 things to outsource to your VAHaving been speaking to my clients over the years of running my VA business, the one common thing I am hearing is ‘I thought I would have more time!’ or ‘getting stressed with running out of time’ – this runs through not only my clients but most other VAs that I know all say the same.

And if you are reading this as a business owner I would imagine you can resonate with this, and once again its ok to feel like this, what you need to do is not stress about it as it is not going to make it go away.

Time Consuming Tasks

There are so many time sucking tasks that land on our desks whilst running our businesses, to the point of not knowing where to turn. I thought today I could share with you tasks you can outsource to a VA:

Social Media Support

This is one of those tasks that you could easily spend all day and all week on, it seems to be one of those that has no end, and one that always throws up more issues and things to add to your list. You need to have a presence on social media nowadays, it’s your key marketing tool. If you outsource this to your VA, you can have them partially helping you with the small things like sourcing industry specific images, to the more in-depth tasks like scheduling, creation and comment moderation.

E-Marketing

Another big one for small business owners, we need to stay in touch with our crowd and hitting their inbox or RSS blog feeds will make all the difference. Having a VA help you with such a task can free up a stupid amount of time. Again, you can go with handing over the small tasks of scheduling the e-newsletter to go out and cleaning your list of bounce backs, to scheduling in blog posts, con-tent and image sourcing. The level of what you want to hand over is up to you, but let’s face it, even if you get your VA to send out your newsletters its freeing up valuable time.

Research

Yep that dreaded task, how much time does it take you to research things? And it is one of those easy to hand over tasks.

Invoicing 

If you are running a business and have clients you have to invoice them on a regular basis, and can be time consuming especially if you have a few tricky clients that don’t exactly play by your pay-ment terms. Having to continuously chase overdue payments is demoralising for you and sucks up that valuable time!

Events

If you hold events then you will know how much time these take, it really isn’t a 5 min job and not one you can cross off your to do list in a hurry. Having a VA assisting you on an event will free up so much of your time, from pulling in venue ideas, gift ideas, drawing up guest lists, sending out save the date emails, the list is endless on what a VA can do for you on this task.

Data Entry

Whether this is CRM data entry, or a stack of business cards from an event you of if it is specific in-formation for your business, it’s a job that will suck time like no other, and you will quickly find oth-er things that need doing before data entry, why not find a VA that can take this extremely time-consuming task off your hands.

Travel Arrangements & Diary Management

If you are a regular traveller then you’ll know what must go into your itinerary, from flights to transfers, hotels, train, hotel or venue bookings, as well as the meetings that work around the itin-erary. There are a lot of things to remember, I had to do in my employed days a lot of travel ar-rangements, I had one sales guy visiting several countries in the ASPAC region so tying them all up was tricky to say the least!

Having a VA you can delegate these tasks to them, they should have an extensive knowledge of where to go and how to find the best deals etc
Whilst you are away your diary still needs to be looked after, as you will probably have a fair amount of catch up meetings on your return, having a VA to make sure you are on track will be a godsend. You do not need to have a full time PA to hand when that could be a waste of money for you

Email Management

Sometimes our email can be a huge distraction, and in this day and age it’s hard to ignore as its eve-rywhere, laptop, tablets, smart phones, you will always know when you have an email, and you feel compelled to reply straight away. Having a good VA they will be able to tidy up your inbox, create folders, unsubscribe from lists you don’t require anymore, create templates and signatures.

These are just some of the things a decent VA can do for you as a business owner. If any of these shout out to you then please do get in touch, I would love to be able to help you in your business. I have some availability through August and I am booking into September, so do get in touch if you feel this would benefit you.  And check out my latest freebie HERE

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5 things to expect from outsourcing

5 things to expect from outsourcing

Previously I have spoken about the things you should expect when working with a virtual assistant.

But what can you expect when you outsource? So you have spoken to a VA, you and told them what your pain points are, and the possible tasks you want to outsource.

5. Offload THOSE tasks! – we all have those tasks that take an age to do, or forever to get off your to do list, these could be the type of tasks that you can outsource to your new VA, it could be that type of task that would take them half an hour, where it would take you hours or days.

4. Reduced stress – Knowing that you could be working into the dead of night on the endless tasks you have, can be a real stress inducer, so knowing that you have that extra pair of hands at the ready will reduce the stress, knowing that those tasks that have taken you forever to get done are being done by your VA will reduce those stress levels.

3. Having an expert on hand – Now I am not saying your VA is the all seeing all singing superstar, but she/he will undoubtedly have a vast knowledge on may things that will help you move forward in business, and most VAs have a wide support network that they can call upon should the task or problem become troublesome.

2. More time in business – You will find that you will be gaining back more time to spend ‘IN’ your business not ‘ON’ your business, there is an enormous difference with this one. We all know that working ‘in’ your business you are working with clients, selling, making, planning whichever it is you do, basically making money, the ‘on’ the business is the amount of time you are having to spend doing the background work, emails, invoicing, marketing, advertising, social media, overdue payments, the list is endless, but these are the tasks your VA can do, which then turns your ‘on’ to ‘in’ time.

1. Happier you! – This one speaks for itself really, but yes after your initial settling in with your new VA, and things start to tick over and your business relationship grows, the less stress you will have and the happier you will be knowing that they are being taken care off, giving you that time you need to grow your dream.

If you are looking to outsource or you think you could benefit from this, then get in touch, will be more than happy to have a chat with you.  Check out my latest freebie HERE

11 Things to ask your Virtual Assistant

 

 

 

 

 

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