Time Management Tips | Everything Sucks The First Time You Do It!

Time Management Tips - Everything Sucks The First Time

Here are my top 7 Time Management Tips for getting yourself over a starting hurdle!

Doing marketing means that you will always have to try new things. Technologies change, the tools you use change and each and every time you feel like this is just going to be too hard to understand…ever.

Just recently I have been doing a bunch of new stuff technology wise. I am building a new website for my marketing mini courses (it is still Frankensteiny at this point but feel free to take a peek), setting up sales pages (I HATE writing sales copy), integrating a membership component (I swore I would never do that again) and about a gagillion other things that are making me blue.

BUT, and here comes the big pep talk that I had with myself yesterday, “just because you don’t know how to do something doesn’t mean that you should give up or get discouraged!”

That’s right, EVERYONE gets funky when they have to learn a bunch of new stuff all at once. Here are some tips to overcoming that feeling that you will never “get this”:

1. Learn What You Need & Nothing More

I love learning. I am more than happy to watch videos about technical bits and strategies for setting things up the “right way”. I like to understand what I am setting out to do before I start and always wish that there was more documentation or training available.

But don’t get caught is “analysis paralysis” like I see so many business people doing. They spend hours or days (weeks?) researching and planning, brainstorming and asking everyone they know what to do. Make sure you aren’t spinning your wheels like this!

Talk to a trusted advisor, read 5-6 reviews and then pick a product, service or training solution. Don’t get bogged down in the decision making process.

2. Chunk It Down

I have about 4 moving parts to my current project. I have to get LeadPages set up for my sales pages, get my website set up on WordPress, integrate Infusionsoft into the mix and then developing the actual courses. Whew!

I think that the hardest part when you are doing a new something is figuring out what goes first, second and third. It is frustrating to start on something then realize you need a graphic to complete it, or to start a campaign in your email, only to realize you need to know the sales page first.

Don’t let this bother you! Just start a list of things to do as you find them and then start crossing them off as you get them done!

3. Just That One Time

It is REALLY hard to remember that some of it only matters when you are setting it up the first time. It is easy to lump all the setup time in with the doing time. For example, it feels like this whole process is taking FOREVER (actually I am on Day 3). So then I start thinking that doing courses will be too time consuming because they take DAYS TO DO…drama only in my head.

Honestly, the course took maybe 3 hours to make, I can sell it over and over and once the framework is in place I have an easily replicable model to use for the next 20 courses.

4. Write It Down

Which leads me to the process for making a system. Every time I do anything that I will have to do again I write it down in Evernote.

The first time is just a mass of mess and not something that I could use for a checklist, BUT it does put all the moving parts in one place. Then the second time I do it, I really try to figure out the best way to get it done. This is now a system that I can use and refine to get even faster the next time!

5. Use Tools To Help

I have mentioned a couple of the tools that I am using to make my training empire already, but I can’t stress enough that having the right tools makes all the difference in the world! If you are on a shoestring, use MailChimp.com instead of Infusionsoft and and the free version of Evernote instead of the deluxe version. But if you have a little capital and are truly in business, spring for the tools that make you money.

My budget for tools to run my business monthly is about $500. Some are monthly subscriptions and some (like Zippy Courses) are a one time fee. While it is tempting to try to cobble something together from free products, often the time you waste trying to jury-rig something is worth far more than what you would pay for tools.

6. Play To Your Strengths

There are times you are just not good at something. Say you have dyslexia and writing is hard or impossible. Then you are going to have to farm that portion out. Or if you can’t even take the first step with a tool because you don’t know where to start, maybe pay for a little training to get you going.

That said, everything that you farm out to someone else increases your timeline. Because I do all the setup and work, the only one I can blame if it is slow going is me and my many distractions. Putting your head down and just working until you are finished is a great way to keep the ball rolling.

That said, ask for help if something really has you stumped!

7. Good Enough Is Good Enough

Last but not least is that good enough is good enough. Second only to analysis paralysis is the “I’ll launch when it is perfect” mentality. You can dink around forever with trying to get everything just right or you can launch with a “Minimum Viable Product” which is the least you can do and still provide a quality experience. In my example, I would love to have at least 4-5 courses done and ready to go, but I don’t. I have that one course and now I just have to build some more.

BUT nothing would be served by waiting to market that one course. It is really easy to think, “well I will start when I get the next thing done”. Don’t do that! Start as soon as you can!

The Rah Rah Bit

So I feel like this is a rah rah time management post for me that I just shared out loud with you! I have had times over the last few days where I despaired of ever getting any traction.

I have thought that this is impossible and I won’t ever be able to understand all of it. But just putting one thing after another and making lists of things that still needed doing have gotten me 90% of the way there. Hopefully this post will serve as the last little bit of inspiration I need to cross the finish line.

And hopefully it helps you when you are sure that you will never get done!

Watch Out Great Marketing Tools and Resources Ahead

Business Strategy, Motivation and Everything Falling Apart

Business Strategy, Motivation and Everything Falling ApartToday’s post is a little different… instead of talking about what we could do as marketers, I wanted to share a little bit about what I am doing and how it is making me a better business person, Mom and money maker.

The Back Story

So I have been in business for myself for a long time. About 15 years ago my dream job with the perfect boss got sold to another company and I was on the streets. My future husband at the time was okay with me starting my own business and so I set out to do SEO and make websites. That was mildly successful, then I contracted to a manufacturing company, had a couple of jobs over the years when times were tight and we needed stupid things like insurance and say a steady income.

A dip into real estate told me that I was good at it but definitely did not love the day-to-day problems that come with being a Realtor so I went back to my first love, marketing and we have been together ever since.

Now, over the years I have tried lots of different business models, services, products and other things to make money and have been 6 figures successful, but with a lot of work and lots of expenses. But that was okay. It was just Johnny and I and I could spend a weekend working if I wanted to!

Enter the kids! We were fortunate to adopt three kids and boy did everything get turned upside down! Instead of all the time in the world, now I had to guard every second religiously. I started some amazing and fun things that I couldn’t keep up because they took time away from what I had to focus on right now, family and getting it all together.

Flailing Around

So I coach a lot of entrepreneurs and none of them will be surprised to learn that from time it is easy to get off track, running down too many roads or not being crystal clear about what will work so you are doing a bunch of “stuff” and getting nowhere.

That is how I have felt for a little while. I have been doing four or five different things okay-ish but with no real strong center and goal. I have “tried” some things and seen some results but have definitely dabbled around without a clear goal.

Then I had a opportunity present itself. I could spend some time with a person who would be able to really help move my business forward, but what the hell would I tell him I do? Would I sit there with the list of all my little bits and be just frozen? Hell no! I needed to get a business strategy in place…:)

Time Management - What I Could Do

So I drank my own Koolaid. I had an offsite meeting with myself and sat down to write all the things that I could or was currently doing. I measured 4 metrics…

Smiley, straight or sad. Did doing that work make me happy (smiley face), not bother me or neutral (straight face) or sad (frowny face). Now I had done this with tasks before and I am pretty good with what I like to do and what I am good at, but this was deeper. It went more to the heart of what I wanted to do with my next five years or so.

Stars. The next thing I did was to assign stars to the tasks and see which things I felt innately good at doing. This was between no stars (meaning I suck at it), one half a star (meaning I can do it but it is not an innate skill) and a whole star (I am great at it!).

Money. Next came whether doing something would cost money or make money. Now some of the things will cost money to ultimately make money like doing Pinterest marketing, but for this little bit I just wanted to know if it was a good money maker or not.

Time. Last, and maybe most important to me, was time. Would it take a lot of time or a little to time to implement the idea, product or sales channel.

Now doing this process was not fun. I had to take my own personal biases for what I thought I liked to do and set them aside and try to be sure to focus only on my actual feelings and interest in things. Seeing them all together helped too. If something was not a happy face, made little money and took time to figure out, well that got put WAY back on the list of things that I had to worry about.

Based on this list and the things that I like to do, I have come up with my Three Squares of focus (that is from my coaching program, it just means the three business things that I am going to focus on)…

  • Social Media Clients – I have clients currently and love them, but I will not be prospecting for any new ones.
  • Selling Affiliate Products – I have done this in the past in dribs and drabs but will now have it as a focus.
  • One-On-One Coaching – Now this isn’t the most money around, but it is good for me time-wise and it is a total “I like it” and “I am good at it” kind of thing.

Bah ha! I am good right? I can just head off into the sunset and start working…..NOPE!

Now I have to break down the things that I will do to support that in another round of happy, sad, etc. These would include things like making videos, writing blog posts, etc. that I can do to support my two main areas of focus.

Once I have that done, I can schedule my time to make those things a priority and jettison all the rest.

Why This Makes Me So Happy

So as we draw to a close, I just want to let you know why this warms the cockles of my heart. First off, I have the ability to control my work time. The things I chose can be scheduled around when I CAN work rather than when I have to work. I can do a blog post at 5AM if the house is quiet and do posting for my clients mid-morning when I am not as on it.

I can also control my income more because instead of gathering up all the little crumbs and bits, I can focus on doing things that feed into the sales funnels for just those two areas of my business.

I can plan tasks. The one thing that scares us entrepreneurs more than anything else is boredom, so fortunately I am not going to be bored. I can create a hierarchy of things to do easily based on how well or how poorly they support my efforts in just those two areas.

Some of the famLast but not least, I feel like I can go talk to the knowledgable person without looking like an insane disorganized mess. Honestly, my business wasn’t such a mess, it was how I FELT about what I was doing that was the problem. I mostly work with super successful people like myself who are great at doing things and less good at understanding why we do them or channeling energy into the right places to maximize success!

I hope a peek into my world helps you to get a grip on your business strategy! That process of sitting down and taking an inventory is super effective and helpful. Please let me know if you need help, I have a great small business coaching program that will help walk you through some these kinds of focusing exercises.

Watch Out Great Marketing Tools and Resources Ahead

Small Business Coaching and Motivation

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

Renaissance Entrepreneurs – Multi Channel Marketing

Renaissance Entrepreneurs - Multi Channel Marketing

Today we are going to be taking about multi channel marketing, renaissance entrepreneurs. What I mean when I say this is that there is a portion of the business population who are multi-faceted and multi-talented and who don’t want to get smushed down into a box. They want to be able to pursue their passions across multiple channels and learn about all different kinds of things that interest them.

Definition of a Renaissance Man

Miriam Webster defines a “Renaissance Man” as “a cultured man of the Renaissance who was knowledgeable, educated, or proficient in a wide range of fields.”

Definition of a Renaissance Entrepreneur

Since Miriam was sorely lacking in a definition for Renaissance Entrepreneurs, let’s get this out there so we can move on!

Renaissance Entrepreneurs are smart, passionate business people who are knowledgable, educated and proficient in a wide range of fields AND who share that knowledge with the world through building brands and companies that change the world.

I think that last part is super important to me because in this article we are talking about men and women who don’t just have these kinds of interests and passions, but they are compelled to go out, learn about a genre and then turn and around and share it with the world via media properties like YouTube, podcasting, websites, books, movies and the like.

History of Renaissance Entrepreneurs

While there are hundreds of entrepreneurs from history that we could talk about, let’s just look at a couple that fit in super nicely with this theme and who will give you a great overview of what Renaissance Men looked like while it was still socially acceptable to be brilliant at lots of things!

Leonardo da Vinci

Leonardo da Vinci is one of my all time favorite old time content creators. Leonardo lived from April of 1452 to May of 1519, making him an old man for his time at 67 years when he passed. He was one of the first people who came to mind when I thought about “Big Content” which we will discuss later. He was a painter, sculptor, architect, musician, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, geologist, cartographer, botanist, and writer. According to art historian. Helen Gardner, he was “a man of “unquenchable curiosity” and “feverishly inventive imagination”. Hmmm sound like anyone you know?

Leonardo produced great works of art like the Mona Lisa and The Last Supper, but he also delved into anatomy with with the Vitruvian Man, and came up with ideas for flying machines and manufacturing techniques.

facts about Leonardo from Wikipedia

Benjamin Franklin

Renaissance Men In BusinessBenjamin lived from January of 1706 to April of 1790, making him 84 when he passed (authors note: I have found that many of the true entrepreneurs and Renaissance men lived longer than the general population!) Ben was a leading author, printer, political theorist, politician, postmaster, scientist, inventor, civic activist, statesman, and diplomat. How neat is it that he was an actual media publisher, having owned the Pennsylvania Chronicle with two partners where he served as an editor and printer. “He became wealthy publishing Poor Richard’s Almanack and The Pennsylvania Gazette. Franklin was also the printer of books for the Moravians of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania (1742 on)”

Along with his media activities and political affiliations, Ben played a major role in establishing the University of Pennsylvania.

facts about Benjamin from Wikipedia

Who Are Multi Channel Entrepreneurs

Now that we have seen some of our brethren from the past, let’s talk about who Multi Channel Entrepreneurs are. Specifically they are entrepreneurs who don’t just have a lot of different interests that the float around to and from. Instead these are the rock stars who are not afraid to take risks and make something happen even though it can sometimes feel like they are jumping all over the place.

Here are some of my favorites from the current world of Renaissance Entrepreneurs:

Umbrella or Theme

I am feeling like there are are definitely two different kinds of Renaissance Entrepreneurs, those that have overlapping interests on a venn diagram and those that have all kinds of different interests that don’t necessarily make sense to anyone but them.

Venn Diagram of Entrepreneurs

While the overlapping circles are my recommendation, people like Marie Forleo definitely show that having totally diverse interests is possible.

That said, there is a one thing that IS an umbrella for all Marie’s diverse bits, Marie herself. So even in the most extreme case I can find, there is still some kind of umbrella that covers all of her interests.

The Internet and Big Content

As you can see from the video above, Renaissance Entrepreneurs not only have diverse interests but, to be successful, they have to also show an outward manifestation of their work by producing BIG Content. This is where the Multi Channel marketing piece comes in. It is not just enough to have interests, but the turning point comes when they start producing content across a wide variety of channels. These can include:

  • Blogging
  • Books
  • Podcasting
  • Videos
  • Social media
  • Graphics
  • Quotes
  • Tshirts
  • Stickers

Entrepreneurs and like snowflakesFunctionally any sort of media that teaches, provides beauty or even just adds to the common good of humanity. It has been so interesting to me over the years, having spoken to almost 1,000 entrepreneurs that no two were going about their business in the same manner and that none shared exactly the same traits.

Renaissance Entrepreneurs are like snowflakes, no two are exactly the same!

Pitfalls To Being A Multi Channel Entrepreneur

The thing about being multi-faceted that is nice is all the rabbit holes you can chase down during a day, finding new things to learn about and being curious. The un-nice thing about being a Renaissance Entrepreneur is you can totally be so scattered and disorganized that nothing ever comes to fruition and you spend years working in circles with nothing to show for it.

There is a reason that the “squirrel” thing is so funny (that entrepreneurs see new shiney objects and yell squirrel, heading off in a new direction), it is because it is based in truth.

Have To Have Focus (Three Things)

While you can have multiple interests and goals, humans really cannot multi-task (Forbes says so, Why Multitasking Doesn’t Work).

With that in mind, I (and all my coaching clients) focus on three things for three months. This makes us more structured and helps achieve more that we could if were all over the place doing a million things all at once.

After doing this for years, I have found that doing one or two things only bores entrepreneurs and that doing more than three becomes a juggling act that can’t be sustained effectively. Three is the perfect number! Additionally, putting a three month timeline on it make it much more likely that the entrepreneur will stick with it. Having to commit for a year is sometimes too long to sustain and committing for only a few weeks or a month doesn’t give anything time to work. Definitely three months is the magic number.

Old Dead Stuff Lying Around

If you are a true entrepreneur you probably have a bunch of “stuff” lying around. One time I had to delete over 10 websites that no longer served my purposes, totally built out, I paid for them for years, websites. There are two things to consider as a Renaissance Entrepreneur:

1. You might well be able to recycle something. One of my old sites was just hanging around and I considered letting her go, but instead I re-branded her with a realtor focus theme. While there was not a great benefit to having that site used, there were backlinks and other bits that made using it worthwhile.

2. Letting go of old bits feels SO good. If you have old ideas, plans and concepts lying around it can feel like you failed at a bunch of stuff. That you have tried and not completed many different things. Of course that is not true (as we will talk about in the next section) but stumbling upon some old videos or a blog that you abandoned can feel like unearthing a true dinosaur (and not the fun Barney type, the Jurassic Park, eat you type). If there really is a section of your business that is not serving you now, let it go! Take it down, delete the files, and truly let it go so that you won’t keep “tripping” over it in the future.

NOT Failure

I belong to Chris Brogan’s daily-ish email group and one day he sent out a message that really hit a nerve with me about blowing everything up and starting over. I emailed back revealing that I had just had to shut down part of my business and take a step back and that it felt like a failure. This is what he said that helped so much…

“Failure’s just an outcome you didn’t expect. Remove some of the emotion from it and you’ll see that it’s all about learning and growing. If I were still sad that Grasshopper New Media wasn’t what I wanted it to be back in 2006, you and I wouldn’t be here.” Chris Brogan

I can’t say it any better than that. Having to shift or reverse to get going again or any other “setback” can feel like failure, but thinking that it was just an outcome you didn’t expect feels SO much better!

Changing the World

When I doing a video or writing a post or making a picture, I just hope it will help one person. Now some of my posts, books or pictures have achieved some level of success, but at the core all my goal is to make sure that I am doing my best to produce great content that will help someone be a better entrepreneur, business owner or person.

I love the Startfish Story that talks about a young boy throwing starfish back into the sea and the idea that while he can’t save them all, the ones that he saves are helped immeasurably by his actions. Your content going out into the world is like that. It is helping people and making them better at something. Keep doing it…you are changing the world.

Watch Out Great Marketing Tools and Resources Ahead

The Starfish Story

Once upon a time, there was an old man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach every morning before he began his work. Early one morning, he was walking along the shore after a big storm had passed and found the vast beach littered with starfish as far as the eye could see, stretching in both directions.

Off in the distance, the old man noticed a small boy approaching. As the boy walked, he paused every so often and as he grew closer, the man could see that he was occasionally bending down to pick up an object and throw it into the sea. The boy came closer still and the man called out, “Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?”

The young boy paused, looked up, and replied “Throwing starfish into the ocean. The tide has washed them up onto the beach and they can’t return to the sea by themselves,” the youth replied. “When the sun gets high, they will die, unless I throw them back into the water.”

The old man replied, “But there must be tens of thousands of starfish on this beach. I’m afraid you won’t really be able to make much of a difference.”

The boy bent down, picked up yet another starfish and threw it as far as he could into the ocean. Then he turned, smiled and said, “It made a difference to that one!”

adapted from The Star Thrower, by Loren Eiseley (1907 – 1977)

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

Time Management Tips – How To Manage When You Have Too Much To Do

time-management-tips-too-muchIf there is one thing I am good at it is time management, goal setting and task management, with a huge BUT. But when I get to feeling overwhelmed, and there seem to be too many things to do in a short amount of time, I fall apart like everyone else and start scrabbling.

Well today that ends! I know how to get back on track, I have only been off for two days, for some of you I know this plan may be ending a lifetime of feeling like you are doing everything from behind.

The Promise and Premise of Entrepreneurship

There is a funny thing about being an entrepreneur. You are supposed to be all loosey-goosey with your days wide open and a choice for every task you have. You should be sitting around, picking and choosing the tasks that you like to do. Or your days should be filled with interesting meetings that lead to amazing opportunities. But wait, each of those opportunities probably has some kind of deliverable! Rats!

Being organized time-wise can feel to some people like they are being bound up, but to me it is freedom. Freedom from constantly worrying that I am not doing what is most important, or that I am forgetting something, or that I will miss an opportunity. It also means that when I do have the chance to get out, I know that there is nothing vital being left behind or having to race back to finish something.

For me, the last two days might feel like your everyday. Flailing around from one unfinished project to the next, scribbling to dos on sticky notes, enjoying the fact that a scheduled call canceled so I would have an extra couple of minutes to squeeze in something. If that sounds like you, just know that it can end today. I have lived a scheduled life and will just get right back on the wagon. If you have never felt the joy of scheduling, today may be the day that you change your world.

Here is what I am going to do today to get right (pretty much in order)

Make Money

The first job of an entrepreneur is to make money. Look at everything you are doing now and find the one or two things that are on your to-do list that will be responsible for making you the most money. For me today it is writing two sales pages, one for an upcoming event in October and one for our social media marketing packages.

Now there are probably 5 million other things I COULD do to make money but those are the two that will be directly money making activities so I should do them sooner rather than later.

Note: These have to be finite tasks. We also need a website for the October event, and that is more fun than writing sales copy, BUT it is not the very next thing that I have to do. PLUS it is a group of to-dos (write sales copy, add data to the directory, write 5 blog posts, etc.) It is a sub-task that is vital to the overall success of the October event and is probably my least favorite part so getting it out of the way will make the rest much easier.

Fulfill Promises To Yourself

I have “my” promises and “my company’s” promises and these are the next most important things. I promised myself years ago I would write at least one blog post a week for the Marketing Artfully blog and I am doing it now. I will not throw some crap together and call it a day because this site has actually been one of the main driver of sales. I also have to publish our book today. Now that can be this afternoon because I already have the cover done and publishing is actually only about a half an hour (my biz partner did the final edits yesterday). We made a vow that the biggest thing on either of our lists this year was to publish a book a week and barring death, we will do it!

Some other things I could/should do are 1) send out the newsletters and 2) do to-dos that Rebekah needs to move forward. Probably the to-dos will make the list, maybe the newsletters will get done tomorrow. It would be best if they were done today since tomorrow is a holiday, but no one will die if they go tomorrow so that may be answer…got to keep plodding along and see what else should get done today.

Note: It is easiest to not do these things. There isn’t a boss anywhere who will say “you didn’t write a blog post this week, so you are fired”. But to me, these “steady” things are the backbone of my success. They are the tiny building blocks that make up my whole factory and by letting them slide, I would be starting the decay of the whole building.

Fulfill Promises To Your Clients / Customers

Next are promises to our customers. I need to get article titles to our copywriter for one blog and some pretty graphics up for another one. Both of those together should take less than an hour. I will put an hour time in for those (see more about time later). Also I need to send a logo out, which will take 15 minutes and make a huge difference to our customer, this is a sure thing.

Note: After stuff I “have to do” for our comes the promises that we made to our customers which are sacred to me. That said, doing them crappy just to get them off my plate is not okay and they need to be given the gravity that they deserve. Also, poor planning on their part doesn’t mean I have to jump on my end. I have in my head that I need to save time for one of my customers who wants a pretty big job done, but they haven’t sent over all the pieces yet. I can safely move any time I had planned for that over to next week. Sometimes we are so pro-active about doing right by our customers that we wrap ourselves into knots. They would expect to send it over today and have it done, so why would I make myself crazy trying to do it?

Little Tasks

I have a few little things that need to be done like sending a link to a client (that one took less than a minute, I just popped over and did right now!) That said, most of these “little tasks” will take about 5 minutes or so. With that in mind you really have to give them a block of time on their own. Because I have a few that have backed up over the last couple of days, I am going to schedule half an hour today to clean them up. This will make me feel better, so many less things on my to dos!

Note: Because they are tiny, some experts suggest that you do anything that is two minutes or shorter immediately. That doesn’t really work for me since it means popping open my email or going on social or doing something else that will knock me off my game. I give them their own block of time, knowing that I can’t go down a rabbit hole and get them all done if I don’t stay on track.

Written Down

Ahhhh this is the key for me. I have a to-do laminated sheet that I use to write down what my three top to-dos are and then it has 10 more lines. There is no way that I can get 13 things done in a day generally, so having a longer “to-do” list would be silly and demoralizing. I have things that need to get done on the top three lines and do those immediately. The rest I cross off as I get done.

Note: I also have a Wish List. There are probably a couple of hundred things that I would like to do. Things that would be interesting, could make a difference or even might be way more fun than what I really have to do today. But they are not actually important. It is fine to have a wish list, but if your to-do list is 50 items long, you are just setting yourself up to fail every day.

There Is No Extra Time

This one is the most important to success by far. I have a day planned. I have about an hour this morning before my kids get up and it takes an hour and a half to write a blog post, so they get a pop tart and the TV (not optimal parenting, but great entrepreneurship!). Then the sitter comes and I am FREE to work! So I have from 7-10:30 today, before I go to a mastermind meeting. That is 3 1/2 hours max of steady work time. We have already determined I am going to do an hour of client work, I do have half an hour of tiny todos and I might just be able to carve out 45 minutes to send the newsletter out. One hour can go towards company work and there all my time is allocated.

The biggest mistake I see people make is to act like there is a time stretcher. While I would love to have more time, there is no magic that will make this part of my day grow so I have to be careful that I have a realistic goal of what I can really do. Luckily my mastermind is with one of the world’s best sales people, so I am going to take my “writing sales copy” out of this morning and do it when I meet with her. I have an owl timer that sits next to me so I set it and know when “times up”. Get a timer.

Note: I ALWAYS underestimate how long something I like to do will take and over estimate something that seems hard. If you like to do research online and give yourself an hour, is that a real estimate or will you stretch it out, messing up the timing of the rest of your day. Does that task you dread REALLY take an hour or are you being histrionic because you hate it? Once you get into the groove, you will see how easy it is to get things done and moved off your plate when you aren’t messing around with yourself.

Get Some Help

So I threw in there that I have a copywriter, I also have an assistant and some “elves”, workers who are doing things right now that I would have to have on my list if they weren’t there. You cannot do this all yourself, nor are your skillsets going to match every task you have to do. Before you think you are ready, you need to get some help. My elves are not full time, 40 hour a week, salaried employees. They are amazing women who need to make some extra cash and who work a few hours a week for me. But that is like getting 10 hours because they do things I am not good at.

Note: As a lone wolf, this process would become overwhelming. There is no way to run a business and not have any outside support. You don’t have to have a lot, but somewhere, somehow, there has to be some way to get things off your plate and onto someone else’s.

Ignore Email

I also talked before about not wanting to do “quicky” things that required I see my email. This is because my email is full of other people’s problems. It has people who want to partner, write blog posts and even my clients who have needs. I have done my scheduling for the day so you know I don’t magically have more time to do everything in there (or even to delete them all) so why look. My clients have my cell phone and will text me if there is a marketing emergency (there has only been one if 12 years of doing this) and my staff knows to text too if they have a problem.

Note: I generally try to make email the last thing I do in a day. Today that means after my mastermind. I don’t want to have all those other problems swirling around in my brain while I am trying to be powerful and creative about writing our sales copy. If you really can’t survive without knowing that your email is being monitored, make that your assistants job twice a day. She or he can check it and then send you only the things that really need your attention.

Work Really Hard For 6 Hours

I am a hard worker. I am from Pennsylvania and the work ethic runs deep there. That said, I can only really work hard like a maniac 6 hours a day. The rest of the time I am okay with doing “stuff”. So today my “work hard” time is a little shorter, but still doable. On normal days I put in time from 5:00AM to 11:00AM, knowing that after rocking the hard work, I can add things like scheduling social postings, training, webinars and other fluffy, non essential work.

Well that is it, hopefully you got the gist of my time management system and goal setting tasks and I am so much more settled now that I am back on track. I know exactly what I need to do today and can “win” because it is all possible. Now, if you want to learn more about why you might be off track in the first place, check out our book:

Get The Book!

Marketing ADHD: A Entrepreneur Marketing Self Help Book for…Squirrel! [Kindle Edition]

Marketing ADHD BookAs an Entrepreneur in today’s fast paced marketing world, it can be a challenge to keep your eyes on the goal and not be distracted and tempted by the endless supply of shiny new objects. With everything relatively easy to obtain and access, it’s not difficult to become lost in a sea of great offers, quick fixes, and cutting edge trainings. It doesn’t take long before business comes to screeching halt while the average, over-stimulated entrepreneur tries every “magic pill” to make their presence bigger, better, and faster.

It is time to stop the merry-go-round and regain control! This book will help you identify how “shiny object syndrome” is taking over your business life and help you stop being seduced by magic marketing messages that keep you from focusing on and growing your company in to the success you know it is meant to be.

Get it on Amazon!

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!

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 fiverr.com
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!)

Inspirational, Goal Setting and Resolution Quotes | New Years Quotes With Pictures

Looking for great inspirations, goal setting and resolution quotes? Good for New Years, team building or making your resolutions stick!

Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other.  Abraham LincolnAlways bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other.
Abraham Lincoln

Character is the ability to carry out a good resolution long after the excitement of the moment has passed.
Cavett Robert

Keep your fears to yourself, but share your inspiration with others.
Robert Louis Stevenson

If you don't know where you want to go - Alice In WonderlandIf you don’t know where you want to go, then it doesn’t matter which path you take.
Alice in Wonderland

Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment.
Jim Rohn

Set your goals high, and don’t stop till you get there.
Bo Jackson

Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.
Tony Robbins

Concentrate all your thoughts upon the work at hand. The sun's rays do not burn until brought to a focus.  Alexander Graham Bell  Concentrate all your thoughts upon the work at hand. The sun’s rays do not burn until brought to a focus.
Alexander Graham Bell

People with goals succeed because they know where they’re going.
Earl Nightingale

Small opportunities are often the beginning of great enterprises.
Demosthenes, statesman

Do more than is required. What is the distance between someone who achieves their goals consistently and those who spend their lives and careers merely following? The extra mile.
Do more than is required. What is the distance between someone who achieves their goals consistently and those who spend their lives and careers merely following? The extra mile.
Gary Ryan Blair

Only a man who knows what it is like to be defeated can reach down to the bottom of his soul and come up with the extra ounce of power it takes to win when the match is even.
Muhammad Ali, boxer

You should set goals beyond your reach so you always have something to live for.
Ted Turner

The two most powerful warriors are patience and time.
Leo Tolstoy, Author

Inspirational, resolution and goal setting quotesPlease feel free to use the graphics in the post at will, leaving the MarketingArtfully.com attribution in tact. If you have any favorite quotes that I missed or that you would a picture quote for, let me know in the comments and I might add it!

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!

Mindset – How You Do Something Is How You Do Everything

So today’s post – how you do something is how you do everything – is more mindsetty and less marketingy, we will be back to our regularly scheduled programming tomorrow!

So what does that mean? To me, it means that if I have integrity in my business and my home, then I will have it across the board and not have to worry that I am falling out of being in alignment with what I feel inside, what I talk about when I speak and how I coach my coaching clients. Soooo…here are the ways that I do everything (would love if you think about how you do things to try and make sure your business is in alignment – it could also be a great exercise for creating a mission statement for your business).

Everyone Matters

Just the other day a dear friend told me that someone said her business was not a valid model and that she should not dream of charging anyone for her services. OHHHH that made me mad! Especially because they had not paid her for work performed.

I figured out a long time ago that it is important to listen to people and what their thoughts, goals and likes are. When I do a one hour marketing call, I spend the majority of time listening to what they like to do, what they have done in the past that works and figuring out based on those criteria what they should do going forward. As a young buck marketing “expert” I didn’t do that. I would come in like a bull in a china shop and tell them what they should do based on what my world view was…not good!

First off, I DO think her business model is valid and secondly, be careful about what you say about someone else’s dreams. My respect for the person who said that decreased greatly and I will not be recommending them or working with them in the future.

Everything Matters

Brian Tracy talks about this A LOT. I have a recording of his that I listen to frequently that speaks to this over and over, everything matters, everything matters. This is another way of saying, how you do anything is how you do everything.

This one speaks to the way that you conduct your business and your life. If you have a high work ethic and get a lot done, you probably have a high work ethic with your home and your family too (if you don’t, then look at your priorities and make sure you are consistent with everyone, especially the people who matter!). If you have trouble getting things done or finished, then that is probably systemic and something you should work on with a coach or trainer to make it a habit in your business.

As adults, no one is really watching your every move and it is easy to let things slip or to tell little white lies (oh I didn’t get that email or yep that got done on time). If you decide to do everything with integrity, it does make everything easier (I really didn’t see that email or I saw it but it slipped my mind, SORRY). Saying your sorry for making a mistake is SO much easier than trying to justify your wrong actions. Always try to do your best and that is all anyone can ask of you (including yourself)!

Stay Organized

This is one I struggle with! I have tons of worksheets and charts to keep me in line. While I sometimes bristle with having these limitations, I try to look at them more as helpful boundaries that keep me on track. I also calendar my work life to the nth degree. Everything goes on there and I stick to it. Here is a great post about how to set goals and manage them effectively.

That having been said, I slip in this area as much as anyone else. I HATE when I see myself procrastinating about something and TRY to “just do it” to get it out of the way. The one way I have found works well is to organize your environment to make things easier. For instance, I HATE when I get a bunch of receipts in my purse and can’t find my money. One way to avoid this is to bring receipts up to my “receipt box” every time I come home from an event. Takes 3 seconds, I have to climb the stairs so I get a little exercise and it makes my days better (the fact that I have a “receipt box” is a post for another day!)

When you notice that you don’t want to do something, try and figure out if you can make a path of least resistance to getting there for yourself. Put your checkbook in the drawer right below your desk so that you can pay bills or deposit checks easily, set up a “one touch” system for emails, to dos or bills. Seriously, I am not the gal to tell you how to do this, if you have these issues, get an organizer in who works with people like you (I am SO visual) to help.

Have Grace

One of the main things I have as a lifelong, ongoing goal is to have grace (I even have a stamp that I use to remind myself). To me, having grace means respecting other people and their opinions. Listening and really paying attention instead of running people over. Doing what is required with a smile instead of crying about what I “have” to do.

Because I am clear on the front end what my goals are (to be a great marketing company owner, speaker and coach), I have something I can hold each of my icky things up to an say, “do I need to do this to further my business” or “can someone else do this better than I can”. There are many things that only I can do which I would not do given the choice BUT because I want specific things, those numbers are limited and manageable!

So I hope you can get a little bit out of this, I basically wrote it to remind me that I am a work in progress BUT that I am trying and succeeding in many different areas! If you do decide to set some of these up for yourself, BURN THE BOATS! Start today and don’t look back worrying about what WAS, go forward and change what IS!

Setting Goals for 2012 | Small Business Marketing

Setting Goals for 2012 | Small Business Marketing – As a small business marketing expert, I am asked all the time about what to do and THEN am asked how the heck they are going to find the time to accomplish all of those goals. I find that having written goals and calendaring them is the only way to win!

So we are going to talk about how to find and focus on your goals, then how to implement them day to day on a consistent basis!

Small Business Marketing Goal SettingI LOVE the picture in this post because it is EXACTLY how you should start.

Think of everything you have to do, all your todo lists and everything else and put them in a drawer. I do not have hard numbers to throw around, but I know at least 50% of my HUGE tasks lists never get implemented. Either I do the item and forget that it is done, it expires a sad death because it wasn’t done in time to be effective or other things are more important. So I recommend turning everything upside down and figuring out what you like to do and what makes you money FIRST!

Here is a Small Business Marketing Productivity Form 3 Squares I send out to people who are members of my community (you can sign up on the home page if you are not already getting great stuff like this in your inbox!) Basically, you need to put your three main business focuses in the three squares and the figure out your tasks based on what you have said are your goals, instead of using the “what fire should I put out today” approach.

Picking the top three things that matter most to your business each day makes sure you stay on track! I consider and then write down what I have to do today and then make sure they get done. Sounds easy but I am busy like everyone else and things pop up which try to distract me. Having those in front of me makes a HUGE difference!

One thing for my long term goals. I follow that nice Brian Tracy and he says that if you do not have written goals, you just have dreams. It is great to write down your long term goals, but if you do not do something EVERY DAY (big or tiny) to move towards them, then you are never going to get there. Seriously, there are ALWAYS things that pop up which will see more important than something that is 3 years away. Stop putting your important things last and work on them daily.

Okay, so now I know what is important to my business and what my long term and short term goals are. So how do I get there from here? GRIND IT OUT!

If you are looking for some magic bullet that will make work less, well worky, this is not the place for you. I get a lot done because I am willing to plan and then execute against that plan, grinding away every day. So here are my daily tasks for Marketing Artfully for the first 3 months of 2012! Feel free to add them to your todos or make up your own BUT you have to have specific numbers attached or life will get in the way!

Daily Goals

  • facebook, comment or post
  • twitter, comment or post
  • linkedin, comment or post
  • google+, comment or post
  • haro.com email to see if someone needs an expert or speaker
  • answer all emails twice a day (no rollovers, schedule, answer or evernote!)
  • schedule speaking events or client meetings
  • print all materials needed
  • do one thing for social media marketing
  • do one thing for small business marketing coaching
  • do one thing for speaking

note: the checking social media takes about 15 minutes (I set a 20 minute timer and that is all I get), the bottom three are my three squares so I have to do something every day, emails overwhelm me so I am going to have a policy of one-touching them!

Weekly Goals

  • write three blog posts a week for Marketing Artfully
  • client blog posts
  • back up the spreadsheet
  • comment on 10 blog posts (for backlinks)
  • 2 in person events (speaking, networking, classes)

Monthly Goals

  • client marketing plans
  • videos for clients
  • check bank account

So how does this work in the “real world”? I calendar EVERYTHING! I have a wonderful assistant who schedules things for me BUT she can’t if I don’t have things in there so I am super vigilant.

Small Business Marketing - CalendaringI will tell you now, once you put all your “must dos” on your calendar, it starts to look like there won’t be time for anything else. Here is where you have to GET REAL! If you have things that have to get done, and having them on your calendar makes you overwhelmed, maybe you have too many must dos!

Seriously, whether or not you acknowledge them, these things still take time up from your week, whether you calendar them or NOT. This is how we get so overwhelmed. So you have a couple of choices:

  • Tighten up your goals even more so there is time to accomplish at least most of your tasks or…
  • Magically add more time to the day (okay, this one is a little snarky but true!)

What I tend to do is put time in the calendar for things I have to do and then move it around if my assistant needs to schedule something else (like a client call or appointment with a human). It is important to note that you cannot just delete the time (you still had it as important to your business, remember?). You just need to move it around to fit your actual schedule that week!

So, does this seem a little overwhelming? I have been finessing this plan over the course of about 5 years so starting today it WILL be overwhelming. That having been said, it is SO PRODUCTIVE and vital to your success that it is worthwhile taking the time TODAY to implement it!

If you would like to have some help with your goal setting for your small business, I have a special, one hour marketing consult where we will sit down with YOUR business and discuss EXACTLY what you should do. I have done HUNDREDS of these and have a model for what works and you WILL walk away with concrete goals for what to do! Check out the link or give me a call today (727-415-9165) to sign up or find out more!

Finally, I want to wish you all a happy and prosperous 2012, here’s hoping that you get going goal setting for 2012 and that you small business marketing makes you many sales in the coming year!

Crazy Goal Setting and Lead Generating Ideas

If you are a bit of a procrastinator, like me, fooling yourself with crazy goal setting and lead generating ideas can get you motivated and keep the drive to grow your business going!

Lead generating and goal settingEveryone thinks that I am a go-getter with unlimited enthusiasm for my work. They say things like “I see you all over the internet” and “I could never do as much as you do”. Well, I am here to tell you, NO ONE likes doing most of the things that I have to do to grow my business, INCLUDING ME! I read the best quote the other day, “It’s not enough that we do our best; sometimes we have to do what’s required.” Sir Winston Churchill. Most of what you have to do to grow your business is NOT what you love, it is doing what is required to succeed.

I have friends who are great at lead generating and who spend two hours every morning, EVERY day, calling prospects. If they miss their time slot, they do their calling later in the day. I know people who attend 15-20 networking events A WEEK. However you decide to focus on lead generating, you must do it A LOT and with uncompromising focus!

Here are some crazy Goal Setting and Lead Generating Ideas to get you started

  • Make a grand pronouncement – This December I stated that I will write a blog post EVERY day for the entire month. This accomplishes two things, I will rank better for my target keywords which will bring me more blog traffic, BUT more importantly, it will set the habit of writing more frequently in stone. They say it takes 21 days to form a habit and I will definitely have gotten in the swing by the end of the year! Notice I did not say I will “try” to do 31 blog posts in a month. REALLY, there is NO reason that I have to try and do it, I am just GOING to do it. No excuses, just action. Like Yoda says, “Do or do not, there is no try”.
  • Make goals not wishes – I have already decreed that I will get 20 new clients in 90 days. That is an attainable goal with a set number of clients I have to add. Basically if I focus on my activities I will get more leads and if I follow up on leads religiously I will get more clients. Saying that I want more clients would be a cop out. Two more could be more clients. I tend to be on the side of setting attainable goals rather than huge ones I cannot achieve but some people like to have huge goals and are still happy if they miss them, your choice, just do SOMETHING.
  • Have a contest with your friends – When I was trying to grow my facebook fan page I got in a stupid contest with a friend. She got more fans and I cheated by buying Facebook ads to try and get more fans BUT the whole way through we had fun and picked at each other unmercifully. If you are competitive, this one works great!
  • Get an accountability partner – I do not need someone to hold me accountable every day, BUT you might! An accountability partner is someone you call every day at a set time and report that you have accomplished your tasks for the day. The best suggestion for this that I ever heard was to give your accountability partner a check made out to an enemy for $500. If you fail to do what you are supposed to or fail to call, the accountability partner sends your check to your enemy. Now that would motivate me!
  • Set up a mastermind – I am not talking about a sit around and chat mastermind. I am talking about a mastermind where you have goals, accountability and FEAR. Fear that if you do not do what you promised to do the other people in the group will lose respect for you. Once or twice a month is good for this kind of thing. ALSO, make sure you ask your mastermind group for suggestions about what they think you should do and take the ones that make you the most uncomfortable – suggestions you like will not move your business forward.
  • Enlist your friends – I set up a facebook group called 31 Days of Business because I was going to be working the entire month of December and wanted company. If you can sucker your friends into doing what you are doing, the momentum of the entire group can get you going, even when you are not excited about working.
  • Death March It – When I have something that I hate to do, I Death March it. I sit on a chair, curled into a little ball and do nothing but that until it is done. If it takes 16 hours, I sit for 16 hours (potty breaks and beverages are fine). No email, no chatting, no fun until it is done. This is ABSOLUTELY the best way to get something off your plate but it will make you grouchy and your family nuts so use it sparingly!

I KNOW, all of these lead generating ideas sound hard, well sorry to tell you, that is why they call it work BUT I am here to tell you that the results will be GREAT and you WILL get more business. If you are doing one or two of these things consistently, your business will increase!

Some things that motivate me:

Brian Tracy’s Blog
Gary Vaynerchuk’s Keynote Speeches

Attention – Are you paying attention to what matters?

Someone wise told me a couple of years ago that I should pay attention to what matters. As small business owners and entrepreneurs that is REALLY important on SO many levels! If you work from home, like I do, that line can blur and you may work too much or too little. You can jump around from project to project, never settling on one thing and finishing it. You can be hyper focused and neglect your family and friends or can “take time off” while still working in reality.

Well this week I focused – I took 5 days off! Sort of, well mostly, just popped in to check a few emails and did some keyword research but mostly spent time with my Dad in New York. It was great to be in the now and clear my head so that I can come back stronger than ever! It is really true that if you are never off you can never be on.

What are you going to focus on this week?

  • Are you going to make a concrete business plan to guide the second half of this year?
  • Are you going to make a budget for your business, setting revenue goals and making every expense accountable?
  • Are you going to pick one project and follow it from start to finish?
  • OR are you going to take a whole day off? No cheating, spend it with family, friends, or yourself doing exactly what you want. Do not answer your phone. Do not check your emails. I can guarantee that your business will not crumble, nor will the world come crashing to the ground!

This week I am going to be hyper focused on getting a niche started for small business owners AND finishing tasks that need to be done for our new bloggers. I am going to schedule time to work and time to play. I am going to make a budget (I hate that one) and I am going to have a GREAT week.

Disclosure: I wound up taking out doggies, chatting up my husband and got a cup of coffee while writing this…:) Don’t forget, you can get off track, just make sure to put it right back on the the rails when you do!

Goal Setting – Where is the finish line?

I have found out lately that not having goals means you never get to win! Imagine if 100 people started a foot race and there was no finish line. Somewhere along the way the people who were not dedicated or who hadn’t trained well would stop. Then the people without the right equipment would start to fall apart. Finally you would have the two people who were willing to sacrifice almost everything to win and one of those would eventually take one more step than the other and “win”. No crowds cheering (no one knew where the end would come) , maybe a feeling of beating that one other runner, but no true victory. Someone else collapsed before you did – not a glorious testament to your capabilities.

Now imagine that same race, 26 miles long, thousands of trained runners competing to see who is the best. Same start…Somewhere along the way the people who were not dedicated or who hadn’t trained well would stop. Then the people without the right equipment would start to fall apart. Then there would be FANTASTIC finish where the people who had trained the best and set the goal of winning would all compete for the coveted prize of “winner of the nyc marathon”.

Be one of those winners! Set some goals. If you need to work up to it, set little goals for just this week. Get your sales presentation memorized. Make a fantastic postcard you can use on your toughest customers. Figure out what your niche should be. Finish reading the E Myth Revisited. THEN set a longer goal for the month. Develop your marketing plan. Get two new customers. Send your postcards out or take them door to door. Here it comes…THEN set a goal for the year! Break it down into 12 parts so that you can manage each piece. Review it monthly to make sure you are on track and don’t need to tweak it a bit. 

This week I am going to……..still thinking…….write down my lifetime goals, work with clients and revise my sales presentation. Baby steps!