Planner Manners – How To Color Code Your Time and Your Life!

Planner Manners - How To Color Code Your Time and Your Life!

Alrighty then, for those of you who have been stalking me for YEARS to make this video about calendaring and planner manners…this one is for you! Now, this system is not my own, I heard about it from my besty, Deb Ward, The Irish Realtor, and she heard about it from someone else. If you are a visual person like I am, this will probably work great for you! It also works great for people with OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder), ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) and basically anyone who wants to take their time back and get some real balance in their lives.

A Little History

I started doing Planner Manners years ago when I worked with Deb at Keller Williams. Over the years since I opened a marketing company, began speaking nationally, took on coaching clients and adopted three kids, and the system still works.

When I started doing planner manners I just had a hard copy planner and if someone needed to see it I would scan a copy to them (Deb still uses a hard copy planner exclusively and her assistant just grabs it every now and then to coordinate their schedules). For years I only used an online version (I have iCloud with Apple but Google Calendar lets you color code too). It worked great for my business but when we threw the kids into the mix it was not as functional for me day-to-day.

Now I use a mix of my online calendar and an Erin Condren planner (I LOVE IT!)

The Overview

The Colors

The key to this kind of system is that it is visually based. I am not the kind of gal who can just have an appointment tucked away on a computer and actually remember it. I have to be able at a glance to see that I have a meeting out of my office, two client coaching calls and some strategy work to do. This can happen at a glance because each type of thing I do has its own color.

Let’s run through those now…

Pink is personal

If you are thinking about going to this kind of calendaring system, please also consider focusing on family, friends, pets or other “real” things in your life. As entrepreneurs it can be very easy to ignore your loved ones for day (weeks) at a time when you are in “in the groove” working. Well that is okay sometimes, but in general, they like to see and hear from us way more than that!

Go ahead and start planning your time with the pink bits first. These can be school days off, holidays, vacations, lunch with friends, concerts…functionally anything that is fun and has nothing to do with work.

Orange is for strategy

My next most important color is orange. This is the color of planning for the future and how I am going to make more money going forward. If have weeks without any orange I can rest assured that I am mired down in working my business and not doing any strategy at all.

Orange can be writing blog posts, meeting with JV partners on a new project, prospecting for speaking events, scheduling open houses to increase your relationships…functionally anything that has long term implications for increasing your business or reach.

Green is for money

In my world, green comes from doing client work. In your world it could come from going to an appointment, writing a contract on a house, booking a speaking gig, sales of your books, and product sales. I don’t write down what I make daily (although that might not be a bad idea), instead I color the work I do that is a direct result of my client payments.

Functionally for me this is planning client’s marketing, scheduling blog posts, fixing graphics, basically anything that I do for them.

Blue is for networking or speaking

I use vibrant blue as a way to show that I going to be leaving my office and heading out into the real world. This can be to speak, for a networking event or even just to meet someone for lunch. The reason this is important for my life is that my assistant and family needs to know if I will be at my home office or offsite.

Please don’t forget to include travel time in your calendaring. My assistant and I used to have all kinds of crossed wires before I put how long it would take me to get from Point A to Point B!

Yellow is for admin or production

We all have things in our business we have to do like pay bills or file papers. These tasks are the horrible ones that no one would choose to do, but which we as entrepreneurs cannot ignore. I make these hightlighter yellow.

Purple is for training

I like to learn thing and so I do a lot of training both online and in person. This is colored purple and is definitely an important part of my business. I think we are too willing to let learning take a back seat to “real work” and feel like it is something that best left for later. I almost put this one as #2, just because I think that if you are not growing as a person consistently, you are going to stagnate and wilt!

I also make when I teach purple, I know, that seems confusing, but you would be surprised how easy it is for me to figure out!

Why They Work

If you are not a visual person, you might not completely understand how important being able to “see” what is going on is. I swear that if I put something in a folder, it disappears forever, never to be seen again!

The beauty of the colors is two-fold. First off, you can tell at a glance what you have on deck for the day. Whether it will be a fun and festive day or a nose to the grindstone, get stuff done kind of day.

The other half is seeing if you are all out of whack. If your planner is covered in yellow, it is time to get an assistant turn over some of those admin tasks to him. If it is all green with no pink, you can bet that somewhere is someone or something that misses you and wishes you had more personal time in your life!

Avoiding Fruit Stripe Gum

Fruit stripe gumThe last thing is to avoid having your calendar looking like the fruit-striped gum zebra. Remember him? It was super cool that he had all the different colors of the rainbow all mixed up together. But if you are a business person, that is less cute. If you are jumping from admin to client work to training and back again, you are not going to be able to get much done effectively.

Instead you need to time block your months, weeks and days so you know what you are doing. If you are going to be making videos all day on Friday, it doesn’t make sense to try and set up a complex new sales funnel on the same day. Now, it might make sense to fill in with some training while your videos render, making the most of your time without setting up competing tasks.

Watch Out Great Marketing Tools and Resources Ahead

Goal Setting, Marketing Strategy and When To Quit

Goal Setting, Strategy and When To  QuitToday starts the holiday season for most people, a time of joy and love when they spend time with family and friends. My December is a little different…still friends, family and holidays, but honestly, this is bust my ass month. The month where everyone else kinda peters out and I can make huge strides in my business. With that in mind, I am starting out on my first goal, writing a blog post a day for a month.

A Blog Post A Day For A Month

For the last three or four years I have written a blog post a day for the month of December and it has REALLY helped my business and my website traffic. Some of them have become huge players on my site (one of my customer demographics posts gets over 1,000 hits a month and it is now 2 years old). Others just add a couple of hits a month but lots of posts with a few hits really start to add up. Let’s say that they only get 5 hits each…3 years X 30 posts X 5 hits = 450 hits on the lowest common denominator.

But it isn’t just the hits I get, it is the completion of a mass of work, one post at a time. The rest of the year I do about 2 posts a week which is still great, but not going to rake in those kinds of numbers.

Setting Goals

So now let’s look at you and your goals. There is a definite way to make sure that your goals are going to work.

1. Make sure your goals are finite

If I said I was going to write a blog post a day for the rest of my life the pressure would get to me. I would crack and the first time I failed I would be off the wagon and ready with an excuse right away the next time. Having done this for a while now, I KNOW I can write a post a day for a month. I have written the most awful garbage at 10pm at night in the past, but it was a published post.

So one, make your timeline a month or three months, not the rest of your life. Do like the AA people and get through this one day at a time, doing your one goal until it is finished.

2. F-O-C-U-S

The next tip is to focus. John Lee Dumas of Entrepreneur On Fire says this all the time and it is attributed to Robert Kiyosaki, FOCUS means “Follow One Course Until Successful”. I don’t try to do much else in December besides being out there and writing posts. I don’t start a huge project to run concurrently with my writing. Basically, I am the little turtle, plodding along and writing posts.

But something weird happens when I do this. Because all my focus is on writing and sharing my blog posts, I get more connections. I also have to do more research and learn more about other people. My reticular activator turns on and I start noticing things about writing that I never did before and come up with some amazing topics and posts that wouldn’t happen if I was just plodding along like I do the rest of the year.

3. Strategy

Doing something like this seems to be random, but in my world it is very specific. I am good at writing, enjoy it and almost push it to the back of the line because “getting” to write seems like a bonus instead of a real job. I was working with a coaching client the other day and we decided that her one goal would be to network 5 times a week for the month. This could mean real networking groups or parties or even having coffee with a friend. The point is for her to be really open to every opportunity that comes along this month and then go seek out other ones that will help “fill in” to get her to 5 a week.

Think about that. If she goes to that many events she will meet a ton of new people who she can put into her database. She will find out about even more events that might be more appropriate for lead generating, or even make some new business friends. It is not a stupid idea, just a deliberate play to make this month a standout networking month.

4. Quitting

This year I had a plan to write a book a week for a year with my writing partner. Unfortunately, we only go half way before circumstances dictated that I had to jump back into my real business and couldn’t keep using up that much time a week to publish those books. Quitting that was devastating to me, but not quitting it would have really hurt me and my family financially in a way that would have been hard to recover from.

It is rare that you will have to quit a month long goal, but doing something like this may expose other pieces of your business that you do without thinking and which might not serve you as well as they did in the past. Maybe you belong to a service club and all your best buds have left, but you still do it because it is expected. Or you so trade shows every year to sell for Christmas, even though you could reach more buyers by having an online strategy next year. Whatever it is, make sure you are mindful of what you do this month so that you can make sure you are using your time wisely.

5. Being Realistic

Back in the day when I started doing this I did 7 days a week for a month. But last year we adopted 3 kids and now I can’t do that. What I can do is weekdays because I have a job even though I “just” work for myself. That means that I will be writing 23 posts instead of 31. Now, I am sad that I can’t do the 31 posts, but at the end of the day, I also want to be there for my kids and husband at least on the weekends so weekday posts it is.

There is no shame in creating a tiny bit of balance in your life. If you are like most entrepreneurs, your balance is probably way over on the work side anyways so squeaking out a bit of realistic family or friend time is probably a good thing.

Well there you have it, a rah-rah, “get off your butt and make a plan” post to get the month started right. Wonder what tomorrow’s post will bring?

Watch Out Great Marketing Tools and Resources Ahead

Goal Setting: Quit Trying To Find A Big Why and Start Working On Your Big What!

Goal Setting: Quit Trying To Find A Big Why and Start Working On Your Big What!I had epiphany this week! I have spent years at different events and trainings hearing people ask me to come up with a Big “Why”. Come to find out what I really needed was a Big WHAT!

A Big Why

Choosing a “Big Why” is supposed to be motivating. In theory, you pick something like a new car or your kids or some other carrot to hang out in front of yourself that will motivate you to do better work.

Well, I am not motivated by increasing my income. I would like to of course, but when distractions come up, just thinking that I could make more money by ignoring them does not give me any special motivation to stay on track.

Additionally, while I love my kids, just thinking of them is not a great predictor that I will be doing what is the highest and best use of my time for my business at any given moment.

There are just way too many interesting things to read about and learn. There are emails and Facebooks and problems that come up during the week that need to be addressed. Having a Big Why never put a real dent in any of this. I just worked longer and harder on the hampster wheel, trying to get everything done.

A Big What

Like most entrepreneurs, I have spent years having lots on my plates, juggling them and trying to keep them in the air all at the same time. I have tried and succeed at a lot, but spent most of my time feeling like whatever I was working on at any given moment was probably not what I should be doing right then.

Until this January when, wah wah, I found my Big What! This January I decided to write an Ebook a week for a year with my Marketing and Media Monsters partner, Rebekah Welch.

The best thing about having a Big What is the clarity it gives your life. Should we keep doing every other week networking sessions? Nope, not helping to write a book a week. Should we move that to bi-monthly because we can sell some books at them…sure!

Just that decision freed up at least 15 hours a month that can be used for writing and publishing books! YAY!

So does that mean that all we are doing is writing books? Heck no! Just all the things that are put on a priority list have to be a benefit to that…here is what my week looks like with that as my top priority:

Monday – write main content of the book of the week and send to Rebekah to proof and add content. This schedule just got finalized, so this week we have a consult on Monday and a talky-talk thing after the kids get home. My assistant now knows that Mondays are for book writing exclusively. SOOO not the end of the world, but it does mean I have to write on Sunday instead of being able to keep on schedule.

Tuesday – social media and blogging, obsessing over book sales from the weekend and some research into paid marketing opportunities. Meet with Rebekah to go over the content and outline for the following week’s book.

Wednesday – work on client work, make graphics for this week’s book and promote last week’s book. There are very few writers who have the luxury of working on their books full time and I am in that category right now. Also, because we write about marketing, it is good to keep working on client work so I stay up on what is going on in the marketing world by helping them.

Thursday – publish last week’s book, more client work, more blogging to keep our numbers strong and think about next week’s content.

Friday – send Non Fiction Marketing Newsletter (new), client work and more blogging. Scheduling the following week and doing some research to see if there are any specific book titles we should be considering writing.

Weekends - should be off but since we are effectively a startup right now, blogging and writing next week’s book.

Pooh Bear and Why This Works

thinking pooh bearMost of how I live my life has been formed by reading Pooh during my childhood. This is a great quote to describe my life before a Big Why….

“When you are a Bear of Very Little Brain, and you Think of Things, you find sometimes that a Thing which seemed very Thingish inside you is quite different when it gets out into the open and has other people looking at it.”
― A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

My problem with work has never been a lack of effort. My problem with work centered exclusively on knowing what the highest and best use of my time was at any given moment. By having our big Book Writing Why, I can effectively ignore anything that is not book writing or sales related. I don’t care how cool your WordPress plugin is, I need to get this blog post done so I can keep my stats up and sell books in the sidebar.

Want to have a one-on-one with me? Unless you are a book seller or publisher, hanging out with you is a luxury that I cannot afford at this time. Now, that doesn’t mean that I won’t be doing some really neat consults with coaching clients, but just “getting together for coffee” or “hanging with the girls” is over for a while at least.

Note: if your Big What is to meet 1,000 new people this year then one-on-ones and fun lunches ARE on the table for you…it is all about knowing what matters to you!

Some Other Big Whats

I just spent the other day talking to a gal who is going to be putting 500 people a month into her database. WHOO WHOO..that is a big what. Because she knows that is important, she can safely assume that these activities would be beneficial:

  • Blogging (to get more traffic for her email signup form)
  • Making her newsletter AMAZING
  • Attending events where she can meet more people who might like her newsletter
  • Developing white papers and courses to use as free give-aways
  • Going to industry events where she can meet more people who might like her

Now, all those sound nice, but how does she make money?

  • First off, she does consults so some of the people on that list will want to hire her
  • Secondly, when she has a big list people will want her to promote their products
  • Lastly there is a huge swell of momentum that comes with having a Big Why, there are definitely things that are going to happen which we can’t even conceive of right now!

Having Faith

Picking a Big Why feels like jumping off of a cliff. We don’t know if we will make more than a couple of bucks from our books, but we think we can.

Taking time away from “real work” feels like a luxury we can’t afford right now. But, based on just the things we have been able to eliminate, that time is just being used more specifically now.

Plus we have already gotten some amazing opportunities that would not have come to pass without having published our books!

As entrepreneurs, it can sometimes feel like everything you do is a failure. You have tried a million things half way and nothing has worked. If you are this far down and still reading, PLEASE, you are looking for a goal, a plan or a reason for being. Pick a Big What and start today!

Persistence, The Rah Rah Post

Persistance..the rah rah postPersistence is a funny concept. On one hand, it is a glorious, motivating being who propels you forward into previously unimagined consequences. On the other hand, it sometimes drags you down in the bowels of despair thinking, “is this all that will ever be?”

This is year is a pivotal year for me. I have been plugging along, building bits of my business up and letting some other bits fall by the wayside. I have had brainstorms that amounted to less than a shower and crackpot ideas that blossomed into full downpours. What I can say is that through it all, the main reason I am so excited for the year is that I have never stopped. Losing momentum is the biggest dream killer there is…keep going forward whether you know where you are going or not, at least along the way you will have produced something.

My Top 10 Thoughts About Persistence (in a somewhat top to bottom order)

1. No excuses

Okay, this is not my thought, it is Chris Brogan’s thought. He has dubbed this the year of #noexcuses. Check out his post My Goals Don’t Care

2. Alchemy and getting to do what you love

This next one is probably one of the coolest things I have ever heard. If you are not a writer, substitute your industry for writing. Pressed for time, start at minute 22 (the link for the podcast is at the bottom of the page). The Rocking Self Publishing Podcast

3. BHAGs

Big hairy audacious goals. This one is a tripper-upper. You need to have specific tasks that break down your goals and make sure that you have enough bandwidth to accomplish them. Our BHAG this year is to publish a book a week. I just did my calendar and accomplishing that means that some other things that I have had as pet projects have to go away (for now).

4. Scheduling

You cannot be successful if you are flopping all around, doing what feels right at any given moment. We are planners starting at monthly (what our monthly theme is to accomplish) then moving down to daily. If you have BHAGs but have not put time into your calendar, they will not magically get accomplished. Figure out what you want to accomplish this year or month or even week and set up your calendar making that a priority.

5. What You Like To Do

I KNOW, there are bits of your business you HAVE to do (banking is one of those for me). That said, you need to whittle the things that you hate to do out of your life. I am not talking about “outsourcing everything” as that rarely works (except for Tim Ferris). Get the horrible things contained in one day a month or do 5 minutes of them every day, whichever you work best at. Find a partner or team member that is good at what you are not and share. When you dread doing something it takes on HUGE proportions that are way out of sink with reality.

Then you will free up time to do what you love. If you are a small business owner, you should be spending most of your time loving life!

6. Make A Plan

Now that you have freed up time for your favorite bits, make a rock solid plan for what you are trying to accomplish. Put EVERYTHING you would like to do on a big giant list, brainstorm with your friends and business contacts to get a REALLY BIG LIST. Now, figure out what your major goal is…could be to make money, could be a building year, could be anything, depends on you! Now, figure out which of those things fit into your major goal. Do those things until you are done and don’t do anything else that is not vital in the meantime. Crap will always try to creep in…to succeed you HAVE to put on your crap deflectors.

7. Stop Yelling At Yourself

That voice in your head will be FREAKING out right now. She will tell you that you are dumb for thinking that this can work. She will tell you how you have failed in the past and that you are currently the biggest loser on the planet. She will run through a list of your failures, starting with the fact that you quit band in 10th grade and move forward with a highlight reel of all your shortcomings. The cool thing about having a major plan and LOTS to do is that she doesn’t get to talk all that much because you are busy. When she does pipe up, tell her to shut up and review what you have to do today to accomplish your BHAGs!

8. Stop Reliving Past Failures

This is a big one for me! We are getting ready to launch another pretty big project and it is something that I semi, sorta, kinda, tried before. I got dragged there kicking and screaming and it failed (go figure). So this time, that stupid voice is jingling back there, you aren’t good at this, you tried this already and it didn’t work. Well, to be honest, I didn’t actually try. I did the limp handshake thing and did the absolute minimum required. If you have something on your goals that you did try before, be honest with yourself…if you tried your hardest and it failed, maybe you need to pivot and do something similar but not exactly the same, if you didn’t try and failed, imagine what would happen if you gave it your all!

9. Learn Something

You can’t do amazing things alone. You need a team to help like coaches, mastermind partners, brainstorm friends AND people who know what to do! I spend all my time not working listening to smart people. I have books on tape and podcasts downloaded. I read articles and watch YouTube videos that fill me with hope and help explain things. The people I see who are stuck, honestly believe that there is no time to educate themselves. They are in a rut and just churning down there, never looking up to see the light at the top. If you are “too busy” to learn things, you are probably busy at the wrong bits.

10. Living The Dream

Every one of us who owns our own business needs to take a moment and consider what that means. Want a raise, work harder. Want a bigger raise, work smarter. Want to take a day off? Take it, just work harder the next day. If you are self employed, get down on your knees right now and thank goodness you are not working for the man, that you are master of your own destiny and that this year is going to be the best one ever!

Goal Setting – Figuring Out Your Fabulous Life

Goal Setting - Figuring Out Your Fabulous LifeOkay, you guys know I am HUGE on goal setting, having written goals with you right now! But what if you don’t know what your goals should be? Today’s post is all about finding your passion and living your Fabulous Life!!!

The now

  • You are sitting at your desk, thinking, “if I have to do this one more time I am going to scream”. Whatever “this” is is OBVIOUSLY not a part of your fabulous life. OR
  • You are doing EXACTLY what you LOVE to do and feeling horrendously guilty that you are not doing “real work” because something that feels this good can NOT be what you should be doing in the moment!

Sometimes we can get all caught up in needing to change EVERYTHING to live our fabulous lives when all that is needed is a little pivot to get there.

What is a fabulous life

This post is a read and then write post so go fetch a tablet…I will wait for you!

A fabulous life is where your work life is filled with amazing opportunities, wonderful people you enjoy working with and you hop out of bed on Monday thinking, “thank god the weekend is over and I can get back to work!” I have to say that the number of people I see singing praises to the weekend is staggering (and sad). Obviously they are NOT living their fabulous life at work.

Now it is time to figure out your fabulous life bits. Draw three squares on your tablet and in those you are going to do put three things that you would enjoy doing. Now, this is not to combine work and play so no knitting (unless you own a yarn shop)…these should all be things that you would be happy to do, all day, everyday for the rest of your life.

Example…my three things are speaking, writing and consulting. I LOVE to have the opportunity to talk with people and help them improve their lives in big groups. I also am a prolific writer who HAS to put words on the page and tell you things that matter, like this post. Lastly, I love consulting because it is a quick hit…I can swoop in, help and leave without enduring a years long commitment like coaching has!

Another example is my Besty, a realtor. She LOVES to help teach new agents, speaking and problem solving. Her team is being built on a training philosophy, she has gotten better at not throwing up before speeches and her whole job is how to solve problems (with agents AND homeowners).

TODO: Write down three things you would do work-wise, all day, everyday, for the rest of your life if you had the chance.

How to figure out WHAT to do in your fabulous life

By now you are probably all fired up thinking, “damn, doing just that would be AWE-SOME!!!” But how do you get from where you are now to your fabulous life? Let’s start small (and you probably don’t want to censor yourself at this point), just put 10 things on the page that could help you get to your fabulous life and you can figure them out later.

Example…I want to be a writer. I could

1) have a blog
2) write ebooks
3) guest post on other blogs
4) write articles for money
5) partner with someone who is selling something but who is not a writer themselves
6) take writing courses
7) teach writing for the internet at a local college
8) write for a local offline paper
9) offer writing on
10) write courses for online offers
11) write great sales copy
12) take a copywriting course to get even better at writing sales copy
13) interview people who are successful writers now and find out what they do
14) watch videos on youtube about successful writers

As you can see, once I got going I had way more than 10 things that I could do and you might too!

TODO: Make a list of (at least) 10 things that you could do to make your fabulous life a reality.

Cutting the BS and getting something done!

Okay, now you are rock-solid sure that this is the direction that you want to go (if you came up with 10 things, you are probably pretty passionate about what you are wanting to do!). Now is where the rubber hits the road. You need to DO SOMETHING on that list…and not just something, ACTIVITIES that will make those things happen.

Example…Because I want to be a writer I need to do things that are, well, writer-y. Here are my activities for the next three months (three months is great because it is not so long that you can’t stand it and not so short that you get nothing accomplished!!!)

1) Write and publish one ebook on the Kindle per week…I will try and do a good job but will NOT worry about writing a masterpiece, they sell for $.99-$2.99 for heavens sake

2) Write on each of the blogs that we deem important at least one time per week…this will get us blog traffic AND will help spark creative juices that I can use in upcoming books

3) Make a point of having great sales copy on each book page…I will NOT just slap something together as this is important for my future

As you can see, I have SPECIFIC goals. One ebook a week is going to be glorious sometimes (I have some already written so they should go fast-ish) and heinous sometimes BUT the whole point is to not cut myself any slack. I WILL have an ebook posted by Midnight every Monday night for the next three months. As Chris Brogan says, #noexcuses.

How can I guarantee that? Simple, I will NOT wait until the 11th hour when everything can get screwed up. From Wednesday (my writing and book doing day) on, the ONLY thing I am going to work on is getting my book published. Everything else will have to wait until I am done. If this is my fabulous life then I am only hurting myself by doing client work or playing on social media instead of doing what I said I was going to do.

TODO: Pick three of your “could dos and make activities for them”.

Shooting yourself in the foot

So I will guarantee that you will not be comfortable with this.

If you are doing ANYTHING right now but what moves you toward your FABULOUS LIFE you are just burning time!It will feel like doing what you love cannot possibly fit into your schedule. You will tell yourself that this is just another case of try and fail miserably. You will have a million excuses…just tell yourself to shut up and do it. I know, that is really harsh but “yourself” has a vested interest in keeping everything exactly the way it is. Humans hate change and you are going to make things change.

Just remember that you did this “for” yourself (not “to” yourself). If you can catch a grip and simply do the activities that you figured out for the next 90 days I guarantee that your life WILL change in ways that you never imagined.

Need help figuring out your Fabulous Life? I would love to consult with you about how to get there…give me a call today to find out more 727-415-9165

(see how I slipped that in, one of my consulting activities is to actively mention that I have this service!)

Goal Setting – Good Marketing Done Imperfectly Still Counts

Doing the day-to-day stuff is hard and where most people fail. So it is the time of the year that I do some serious goal setting. During December I generally try to post a blog post each and every day of the month (generally missing the first day…it has become a tradition around my house!)

So today I got all fired up to write an AMAZING blog post but then figured out that I had a speaking event, two client meetings and about 1,000 emails. Sigh.

What to do, what to do. Well people in person trump blog posts. Clients have paid for their time and that trumps blog posts. But still, it is important to do what I say I am going to do…so here are my deepest feelings about marketing:

Good marketing done imperfectly still counts

So I am signed up for a website called which tells you how to keep a house well (I am organizationally challenged which is why I have such stringent systems for my business). While I do like some of the tips, mostly I like her motto which is “housework done incorrectly still blesses your family”.

Those of us who are frustrated perfectionists can understand this immediately. It can seem like doing a post that is not a great seo post, that is published at 6:09 Mountain time is a waste. But it is not really. I truly believe that doing what you say, no matter if it is perfect is important.

Doing LOTS of stuff sometimes trumps doing perfect stuff

During my speaking event, a lady asked about social media and if she should do one really well or all of them (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google Plus and Pinterest) a little bit. I think she wanted to hear that doing one perfectly was the best bet.

Of course I said, do all of them! It is tempting to do the one that you like the best, but your potential customers are actually on all of them and you are leaving a lot of opportunity on the table if you only do the one you favor.

Doing LOTS of stuff sometimes trumps doing perfect stuff – part two

Another thing for this topic is that A LOT of my traffic in the coming year will come from the posts that I write this month. Every day when I try to shoehorn a blog post in around presents for the kids, decorating, oh and work, I think about that.

Doing the day-to-day stuff is hard and where most people fail. If you can just show up everyday you will beat out 98% of the people out there!

Small Business Marketing – How To Win…Analyze, Plan, Measure, Repeat

Marketing Pictures WIth Quotes - Analyze, Plan, Measure, RepeatSmall business marketing is fun for those of us who are of sound hunter stock…we head on out there into the fray with our clubs and bring back a new client. Hmmmm, works good, but what about tomorrow? Head on out there and doink another customer?

Sound small business marketing (the kind that has a steady stream of new prospects, suspects and customers streaming through your door) requires that you have something in place to help you get more focused and know what a win looks like! Now, for all you marketing farmers out there (you know who you are, you are doing your calls, making your contacts and growing your lists), this may seem simple, but for us hunters…we need a GOAL, a CHALLENGE and a reason to be less reactive and more proactive about our marketing!

I was listening to a real estate coaching video yesterday by a good friend, John Dietz, about goal setting. LOVE his, “how can you hit a goal that you don’t have?” AND his track activities ideas! Thought it would be GREAT for you to hear this from someone besides me…:) Go ahead, watch, I will be here when you get back!

So now you know that smart, successful, impatient, aggressive people like John and I have learned that even though you are a hunter, you can have big wins with specific goals! Long story short, let’s get to the meat…too late I know…:)

How To Win At Small Business Marketing

To win at small business marketing is easy. Figure out your target customer, find some of them, let them know about your company, your products, your services, get them to buy and provide an AMAZING experience. YAY! We are done here and making gagillions of dollars.

Oh, not making the big money yet? OR were making the big coin but now that train is left the station and you are not sure quite what to do? Let’s look at how get started with a PLAN! I KNOW, we entrepreneurial types like to keep it loose and fly by the seats of our pants, BUT seriously, if we want to make the BIG (consistent) bucks, we need to get something together to let us win.


This is harder if you are brand new, but if you are an old dog like me, you can take a peek at what you already have that you can work with. You can see what is working now (even if only a little bit) and what you can work with in the future. My besty the Colorado Connector and I coined a phrase, KISS (keep it strategically simple). I am NOT talking here about finding something new, doing a new website, finding a new product. This is all about looking at what you have and seeing if there is anything there to work with.

For me, I like to see the low hanging fruit like the fact that I rank well on the Google for certain keywords like Realtor and Entrepreneur Marketing, Customer Demographics, etc. One of my goals is to keep those little suckers churning out website hits so I can get people in my database and sell them something down the line!

Another thing I have is a great Twitter following….I just started using a premium plugin (Social Metrics Pro) to track my twitter, facebook, pinterest and stumble upon links. The funny thing is that just analyzing how I am doing is making my numbers go up, even before having a plan!

Look at what you have now and start thinking about whether there is any low hanging fruit you can use. Do you have a YouTube channel, an email list, a radio show? DO NOT at this point start anything new, just look at what you have now and see if you think it can work better.


Small Business Marketing – How To Win…Analyze, Plan, Measure, RepeatOkay, now we need to plan our marketing strategy. Like John said, we are going to look at activities we can do rather than setting giant, unrealistic sales goals with no basis in fact.

Some of the activities that I put numbers to are below. The way I do this is to make a little form, starting with writing it down on a piece of paper and then figure out what I am going to do each and every month for the next three months. For me, I am going to focus on growing my social media marketing company leads and doing more affiliate sales of products that I believe in.

These are all in NUMBER OF….

  • Social media postings
  • Blog comments
  • Blog posts
  • Emails
  • Adds to the database
  • Speaking events
  • Phone calls
  • Mail pieces
  • Webinars
  • Videos

These are in no particular order of importance, just some of the things that I do and track on a monthly basis.


Your first measurement of how well it worked is did you do what you said you would, every thing, every week. I think that there is a lot of talk out there about how you can’t get everything done, how you have to make choices, etc. For me, the choice is clear, I do what I say I am going to do. Whether I tell you something or whether it is for me and my business, if I write it down, it gets done. Do not fall into the trap of taking the easy way out and and whining about how you just couldn’t do it. If it takes until midnight, working weekends and evenings to succeed, do this for three months and know that for the rest of your time in business you will have the benefit of this surge.

just as a heads up, I am being this harsh because if you do it for a week or two, it gets easier, takes less time and becomes a habit that will make you more money, BUT for the first little bit it will suck bad and you need to be committed to the crappy times so you can get better!

Next check and see if you accomplished anything specific. Did you add people to your database? This is now a true basis for setting goals for the NEXT three months! If you added 100 people to your database with a surge, add ten percent and make your next goal to add 110 to your database (you didn’t think that we were going to let these numbers go DOWN did you..:) Got 100 video views, figure out how to get 110 next quarter. Sell a product, plan to sell two the next time!


If you are down here, you are at least buying into this enough to take a flyer with me. Spend three months doing this and then come back and tell me how it goes. I PROMISE that it feels GREAT when you accomplish what you said you would do. I PROMISE it feels great when you add more customers to your life. I PROMISE that if you do this in a committed way, it will become old hat and not hard anymore.

The next time you will have the ability to track your goals against what happened this time. You will be able to see progress. If you are a chart kind of kid, you will see lines heading up instead of down! All things that us hunter types thrive on…WINNING!!! Now get out there and do some marketing!!!

PS – It was funny in my first list of todos, I did not have social media. That is because I have elves at my company that help with that for my company (not my Tara stuff) and my clients. If you would like to find out how to hand some of this off to an AMAZING social media marketing company, click the link to find out more!

Time Management and Goal Setting – 4th Quarter of 2012

Time management and goal setting time is here again! We are coming into the 4th quarter of the year and with just three months to go, we need to all be looking at our calendars and planning out what we hope to accomplish over the rest of 2012!

My future is so bright I gotta wear shades picture quoteWhat Are You Selling?

First off, let’s talk about what you are selling, is it a product or a service?

It is so funny to think that if you are selling a product, the rest of the year HAS to be about putting money in your pocket. Black Friday (the day after Thanksgiving) is typically the time that the big retailers “go into the black” sales-wise and the rest of their profits come from the end of the year. If you are a product kind of kid, make sure that your ONLY goal is to sell, sell, sell. Some things to consider….networking and in-person events will tail off after Thanksgiving…heck, who are we kidding, they will probably peter out right after Halloween so get out there for the next six weeks and show your stuff in person!!!

If you are a service seller, make sure you have sales goals early in this quarter and then a solid plan as to what you are going to produce and have in place so that you can hit the ground running January 2 when everyone else is just thinking about getting back on the treadmill.

The Holidays

Okay, let’s call a spade a spade, we all look forward to the holidays as a time to spend with our friends and families. The lure of shopping and decorating and parties is siren song that is hard to resist. If you have ever been to my house, you know it takes about 4 days to get all the decorating in place and to have everything ready to go for when my Daddy comes to visit.

I tell you this not because I want to brag about my FABULOUS decor (okay, just a little), but to show you that I am not all nose to the grindstone ALL the time. That having been said, I cannot afford to take off two months. Not only would my pocketbook suffer, but the three months that it would take to get going again would be practically un-overcomable!

One of my coaching clients said it perfectly yesterday, “It’s a tossup, but I am trying to juggle husband, work, my family etc. The calendaring is really helping me to see how little time I do have to work. So I must really make that time pay off.”

WOW! So proud that I am getting tingles!!!! You CAN have a fabulous life and a fabulous time, BUT if you are in business you MUST also make time to make money or you will soon be out of business.

Time Management and Sales GoalsSetting Some Goals

So here are some concrete things to do TODAY to get your business in order for the rest of the year…

  • Sit down with a calendar and mark all the things you have until the end of the year. Put your personal stuff in first. Have to pick up your Daddy at the airport, mark the rest of the day OFF. Setting up the tree the day after Thanksgiving, give yourself a break and mark the day OFF.
  • Now that you have all that filled in, go back and figure out what you need to do to make that time off available! I do blog posts for our clients on Mondays. The Monday before Christmas is Christmas Eve and I guarantee you I will NOT be sitting doing blog Monday. That having been said, I had to put 4 hours in on the Thursday BEFORE to schedule them out. There will be NO wiggle room. I will have to sit my butt down in the chair and crank them out. Get an invite to a party that day, NOPE, can’t come because I don’t want to mess up Christmas Eve with my family! It’s all about choices!!!
  • Next put in all your obligations that you have. I have speaking events and networking that I have to attend. I have classes that I teach in person and online. Those all have to go in there.
  • Now I need to see what I have identified as items I want to have done before the end of the year. For my business it is a robust Hospitality Marketing program, my book finished and some info products done. Because I will have free time when everyone else is flitting around, I am going to crank these out and win the day BUT I have to have them in my calendar or they will be wishes, not goals!

So hopefully that helps light a fire under your ass and gets you thinking about what you need to do to finish the year strong. If you need some help getting this in order, I have a one hour marketing consult that REALLY does help!