Your Goals vs Your To Do List…avoid confusing the two

Your Goals vs Your To Do list is something that is often confused.

If you currently have a list handy, I want you to take a moment to go grab it now.

Are there items on there that are actually going to be sucking up your valuable time and diverting you from your actual goals?

It’s so easy to allow the words to-do and goals to become inter-changeable.  Yet, there is a huge difference.

Your goal is something you really want to achieve because it is going to bring you a long term benefit or is something you have been striving to achieve for some time.

Often smaller goals fit into the large goal.

On the other hand, your to-do list is things you feel you need to get done. Some of those items will be essential for you to handle, yet many others are just time-sucks and rabbit holes that are diverting you from your true goals.

Use 100-day goals

I absolutely love those! They are so tangible and…

Achievable!

100 days is just a little over 3 months.

The reason I love working in 100-day blocks is that you can actually see how you are progressing.

There is a finite timeline, and at the end, you’re going to see a result. Or more accurately, if you have actively been working on those goals you will see a result.

Here’s why 100-day goals work

The reason is simply this…because it’s not too far into the future. You do not have the luxury of taking your eye off the ball.

You are under the pump so the focus has to be on pushing to move forward each day.

This means you can actually see your progress – or if you slack off, you’ll have to rush to catch up.

100 days may sound like a good amount of time, but the reality is that it goes whizzing past!

Procrastinating is not an option.

To achieve your 100-day goals means being disciplined.

How you define those goals is what you take from your Strategic Plan. This way you are working with a bigger picture and eating the elephant one bite at a time.

Discipline is the secret

Think about it, it’s really easy to waste a few hours here and there.

For example, spending too much time on social media, allowing your routine to be interrupted without a valid reason, neglecting to switch your email to offline mode, and so the list goes on.

With 100-day goals, you are on a countdown timer. There is a finite amount of time and you have set your goal to achieve.

To get there needs discipline.

No excuses.

No time to go down rabbit holes – and yes, there are a zillion rabbit holes waiting for you to end up down.

There is no time for saying could have, would have, should have.

You just need to get the show on the road by taking the steps to move towards your goals.

Your goal must be measurable, achievable & progressive – MAP

Every action you need to take towards your goal needs to be mapped out.

If you don’t follow your MAP, it is highly likely that you’ll deviate or get totally lost.

The key to succeeding and achieving is by being disciplined and setting smart  goals that you work towards one step at a time.

Need help setting your priorities? Here’s a method that will help you – it’s aptly called How to Set Your Priorities.

Implement this method week by week and you’ll soon see pretty amazing results.

To your success!

Michelle

 

Confused by social media and how it applies to your business?

Confused by social media and how it applies to your business?

You are not alone!

Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest …and the list goes on.

You know you need to be on social media – at least that’s what everyone tells you, but do you need a Facebook page or a group?

Maybe you should get on LinkedIn – or Pinterest?

Too many choices and lots of advice from all sides!

Social media and time investment

I’m not a digital native – that means I did not grow up in the era of computers and smartphones. I was well and truly working before these entered my life…but I’ve been using social media for well over a decade.

There’s been a lot of trial and error including a few rabbit holes I managed to run down – relate to those?

I am not a social media expert by any means but I do understand exactly how it fits into a broader business strategy and that’s what is important.

You have to have a reason for what you are doing on social media – there must be a strategy – otherwise, you’re just off down a rabbit hole and when you emerge many hours have gone by!

My 5 Social Media Top Tips

1) Consistency is key – turning up consistently is essential.

You can’t just pop in and out as the fancy takes you or when you decide you want to “sell” something.

You need to consistently be present to create a relationship with your audience. It is not there to sell from but to get conversations going.

2) Set goals and stick to them – decide what your goals are for social media and make sure that your expectations are realistic.

Is it to create engagement?

To make sales?

To get referrals?

Each of these requires a different approach.

Once you know what your goals are it is much easier to create your social media strategy.

3) You don’t need to be everywhere – being “everywhere” is not necessarily the right thing for your business.

Be strategic.

Identify where your target audience hangs out.

4) Focus on key platforms – once you know where your audience is you need to be active on those platforms.   The focus should be on interacting and gaining their attention by being active, insightful and supportive rather than salesy!

5) Manage your time wisely – plan out what you are going to share, when you are going to be active and how you will keep audiences engaged.

Set aside time to look at insights, and spend time analysing your results for the effort you’ve invested.

Your time is also an investment, not just the $$ you spend.

My Channels

I tend to stick to Facebook for my business running both groups and pages.  I also use LinkedIn.

I do have accounts on Twitter and Instagram but I am not altogether comfortable with them. More importantly, that is not where my audience hangs out so I have not invested time in learning how to effectively “work” them.

LinkedIn keeps me in touch with my professional networks, and Facebook helps maintain a presence that is on a more ‘friendly’ level.

Monitoring

In the online world, algorithms are rapidly changing so the landscape is ever-evolving when it comes down to social media.

This means it’s really imdata is the key to knowledgeportant that you continue to be monitoring what you are doing. Note where you are getting the best results and be on the lookout for trends.

 

It’s not a case of set and forget.

Understanding how it applies to your business means making sure you are abreast of your channels and any changes being rolled out.

It’s a confusing world out there and the more we can help each other the better!

When I learn something new, I share with my audiences via email. Sometimes they are already aware of the changes but other times it’s a new discovery – it’s all about paying it forward and helping each other out. You can sign up as a subscriber here.

How do you handle keeping up to date? Let me know in the comments.

Fly like a dragon!
Michelle

The Key to Achieving Your Goals

The key to achieving your goals is often seen as the holy grail – something that seems to evade many and yet for others appears super simple.

We all know those people who state an intention and actually make it happen.

These are the people who have an idea or a dream and manage to turn it into a reality.

Actually it’s not so easy. It might LOOK easy, but looks are deceptive.

Is it luck?

People often tell me that I’m so lucky to have been able to achieve what I have.

I often hear “Oh, it’s easy for you, Michelle”  or “I wish I could do that”

The truth of the matter is that anyone with the right mindset can do exactly the same.

So what is the secret?

The secret is discipline.

Staying focussed and in your own lane.

It comes down to being an effective goal setter.

You need to know exactly how to construct your goals and understand how to go about achieving them.

The good news is that goal setting and goal getting is something you can learn.

I use the formula constantly and I love teaching others how to use the same formula.

Why we need clear goals

Having goals helps you to work effectively because you set your priorities.

By having clear goals together with a pathway to achievement comes down to :

Progression
Empowerment
Growth

The acronym is PEG.

The dictionary defines a peg (noun) as a pin of wood or other material driven or fitted into something, as to fasten parts together, to fasten parts together, to hang things on, to make fast a rope or string on or to mark some point.

A peg on a clothesline is something we use to hold up our clothes as they dry.

If we choose weak pegs, they will always be snapping and breaking. Our washing will be fluttering off merrily into the breeze or dangling askew on the line. Perhaps only just hanging on.

Conversely, when we are using pegs that are strong and solid, they hold things firmly even if there is a strong breeze.

At worst, in a strong breeze the clothes might get twisted and tangled up, but they do stay on the line.

I always say that achieving your goals comes down to visualising your goals as the items hanging on a clothesline.

They have to be neatly laid out and…

Goals must be firmly pegged

Consider the kind of pegs needed to secure these in place so no matter what comes along, your goals remain firmly on the line, even if they may get blown about.

They may even get a little tangled and twisted. BUT, they will still be there providing the pegs are strong.

Gusty storms are part of life and I’ve experienced a few.

Here’s what I’ve discovered …..

As long as your goals are there in front of you, firmly on your individual line they can be retrieved and straightened out after a gusty storm has passed.

It all comes down to staying in your own lane.

You do this by having a Strategic Plan. 

Not the boring corporate kind that sits in the back of a cupboard.

Achieving Your Goals Requires

A plan that is real.

That is user-friendly.

One that comes with a simple actionable plan that keeps you moving in the direction you want to be going.

Actionable. Trackable. These are the keys to a great strategic plan.

You may like to check out my FREE Introduction to Strategic Planning Workshop which will give you a little more idea around setting out your plan.

Fly like a dragon

Dragon head image

Michelle

Michelle Hanton is a multi-award winning bespoke business strategist, working internationally as a consultant, coach, speaker and writer. She has a keen interest in the not-for-profit sector and is the former CEO of Lifeline Top End, and founder of Dragons Abreast Australia, a national charity dedicated to the promotion of breast cancer awareness.

Referrals are gold!

Referrals are gold and in business, there are generally two types of referrals. One is formal and the other informal.

The informal referral is golden as it is 100% authentic.

    No money changes hand and no coupons are sent out.

The referral comes as a result of good service, quality product, personal experience and a willingness to assist.

4 Reasons Why Referrals are Gold

  1. Customer acquisition costs are a bare minimum.

Your happy customers are doing your marketing for you.

Of course, this only happens if you give good service, and are attentive to your customers’ needs.

  1. Customer retention rate is higher.

Think about what it costs to gain a customer and it immediately makes great business sense to do everything possible to retain them.

When people are happy with your services, they are most likely to keep doing business with you.

  1. The market place is generally crowded so it’s hard to be noticed.

This makes getting your message to stand out from the crowd difficult. Investing in advertising is one way to get noticed, another way is to build a referral network.

We listen to people who we know and trust, hence word of mouth referral is so valuable.

  1. Conversion rates are higher.

A prospect introduced to your business by someone they trust is far more likely to convert into a new client/customer.

Making the Ask

Knowing when and how to spot a potential referral opportunity is a good way to kick-start your referral system into gear.

However, unless you specifically ASK for a referral, it may not be made. People are happy to help when asked, and if you don’t make the ask, they simply may not think about sending more business your way.

When a happy, satisfied customer comes along and gives good feedback, grab the opportunity to ask them to spread the good about your business.

Are you harnessing the power of referrals? It’s never too late to start and if you need some help framing the ask reach out to us in the comments.

Fly like a dragon!

Dragon head image

Michelle

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Michelle Hanton is a multi-award winning bespoke business strategist working internationally as a consultant, coach, speaker and writer. She has a keen interest in the not-for-profit sector, is the former CEO of Lifeline Top End, and founder of Dragons Abreast Australia, a national charity dedicated to the promotion of breast cancer awareness.

Does technology solve your communication problems?

Does technology solve your communication problems? Clever advertising and marketing might have you think so.

The temptation to grab a new app, invest in a new piece of software or hardware can be all very tempting…BUT it is not a magic wand.

Let’s be honest, life gets pretty hectic – both in the personal and professional sense.

Managing a pretty packed schedule; juggling business commitments, making sure to spend quality time with the family, as well as plugging in some “Me Time” is pretty much part and parcel of daily living these days.

It’s one big juggle.

By strategically embracing a few key pieces of tech it can be easier to keep all the balls in the air.

Note I said easier, not easy!

But it can also be a burden around your neck as you wrestle to get your head around how it operates and the intrusion it can often make into your life.

Technology makes it easier

Smartphones, tablets, laptops, Skype, WhatsApp, Trello, Dropbox, LinkedIn and…

…the Nespresso machine is part of our daily toolkit.

In a world where you have virtual assistants,  independent freelance experts, speech recognition and a myriad more timesaving options to choose from there is one thing that jumps out at me…

Despite all the changes and the new technologies at our fingertips, there is one thing that never changes.

That is the need to master the simple art of communication.

Communication

The need for strong communication skills remains as vital today as ever. In fact, you could say that this is even more important today.

And here’s why…

BECAUSE despite all the time-saving devices, fancy ways to send and receive messages,  the impactful way to connect comes down to genuine, authentic, respectful communication.

Communication is a two-way street

The need to feel connected is a strong human emotion.

We communicate with words and the words we choose can make or break a connection.

Choosing the right words can only be done when we understand our audiences, their perspective, their needs and the nuances of different demographics.

When we listen, we start to understand and that’s when the magic starts to happen – real communication that runs two ways.

Technology is wonderful, but nothing beats a face to face conversation, picking up the phone or doing a live interactive video call.

Being able to relate

If you stop to think about it, the need to connect on a relatable level is why things like Facebook live and video communication is so popular.

The audience gets to see you which helps them relate. As they hear you speak your words they feel directly connected provided you are using words that resonate with them.

Communication styles can be developed and honed with practice, but they always need to sound natural.  Building a relationship is something that needs a human touch no matter what kind of technology is being used to deliver your message.

If you’re struggling with making connections you may like to grab my FREE e-guide The Five Essential Steps to Networking & Creating Connections .

Fly like a dragon,

Michelle

 

366 Days of Opportunities

366 days of opportunities – yep, 2020 is a leap year.

Each day is a new dawn and a new opportunity.

What has past is gone and whilst you should learn lessons from the roads travelled and experiences gained it’s also important not to spend too much time looking at the doors that have closed.

As we were closing our December, I took my Mastermind members through a 2020 Self Accountability Workbook.

Opportunities

Opportunities need to be identified.

It then comes down to time management and accountability.

Because we are all unique, we each have different working habits but the key formula is the same regardless of what industry you are in. Download a copy of

The Self Accountability Workbook that members complete individually is a valuable exercise.

The best thing about this method is that by taking the time to think, and by writing it all down, you come to a position where you have much greater clarity.

That clarity allows you to step forward with confidence.

To make the most of those 366 days of opportunity  – even if you do drop a few balls along the way.

And with the workbook completed, it becomes your guide, one that you have written for yourself, that goes alongside your strategic plan.

When you get the wobbles, it’s there to look at.

You can see in black and white exactly what the problem is.

You see at a glance if you’ve been going down rabbit holes. Not been keeping your promise to yourself to prioritise your time. not taking enough time out for your own self-care and so on goes the list.

Most importantly of all, you can see the planned solution and that is what will get you back on track.

It’s what will keep you on track for 2020.

Making the most of opportunities

Making the most of opportunities is what makes the difference.

Yet it can be so hard…where to start.

Sometimes you just need to get out from under the pile of stuff on top of you, or climb out from the hole you seem to be sinking deeper and deeper into.

This is what I hear over and over.

I know first hand what that feels like (see my personal blog here) and I am the proof that the strategies I teach for overcoming this work.

Are you on track?

Are you confident that you’re on track for your 366 days of opportunity?

Or would you like a little bit of support and guidance – a dragon in your pocket kind of thing?

Check out the Mastermind Membership where I help confused and overwhelmed folks get clear on the steps to take to achieve their goals through group strategic guidance to a crystal clear pathway.

Want to have some fun?

Tell me in the comments what you are saying YES to in 2020.

Fly like a Dragon!

Dragon head image

Michelle

12 years old today & lessons learnt

12 years old today means lots of lessons have been learnt along the way.

To clarify – it is the 12th birthday of the day that the business name Dragon Sisters was first registered. It’s been quite a journey with lots of ups and downs.

 

Projects big and small. Short and long term contracts. Very public and behind the scenes. Each of these experiences has been part and parcel of our business evolution.

Along the way, we’ve been fortunate to meet some fabulous people who have so willingly shared advice, guidance and provided mentorship.

Learning is a life-long process

When you run your own business you are constantly learning and from some of the most unexpected and unlikely sources – which is what makes it all the more fun.

There is never a dull moment. Adventure. Drama. Action. Anguish. Satisfaction. These are all part of the journey as a small business owner.

12 Lessons Learnt

  1. Never underestimate the value you bring to the table
  2. Whatever is really easy for you is not for others
  3. You need to be constantly testing, measuring and tweaking
  4. Done is better than perfect – relates to point 3
  5. Never become complacent
  6. Creating connections is essential for your growth
  7. Word of mouth is the most powerful tool you can harness
  8. Be very clear on who your audience is
  9. Small, easy to digest chunks of information work best
  10. Ask for help when you need it
  11. Don’t be afraid to pivot
  12. Discipline and consistency are the keys to achieving goals
Having a great coach or mentor is invaluable! We’ve been blessed to have a few of those come into our lives.

Fly like a dragonFly like a dragon!

Michelle

COMPARISON – THE THIEF OF JOY

“Comparison is the thief of joy” Theodore Roosevelt

And the new trial by Facebook in Australia to reduce comparisons by removing the visibility of LIKES on a post is music to my ears.

With social media being such a dominant part of our daily lives, it is all too easy to get suckered into the vanity metrics.

Thanks to this move by Facebook content that is being posted should be a lot better quality and more authentic rather than a contest to get the most LIKES.

What you should be comparing

From a business perspective, it is important to measure your own progress and run your own race.

When you focus on comparison to others on a regular basis, you’re on a sure-fire track to go right off course.

My dragon boat coach used to say “momentum goes where attention flows” and he is right!

If you’re so busy looking around at what everyone else is doing, it’s impossible to concentrate on running your own race.

Your efforts become sloppy because your focus is elsewhere – I’ve seen this happen a zillion times in a dragon boat. Especially with excited new teams who feel they have to “watch” the competition to beat them!

Where to Focus

It’s your own race/business. Unique.

Once you’ve got your race/business plan bedded down, the focus should be on how you/your business is progressing against your plan.

Compare where you are today to where you were 6 months ago, a year ago, 5 or even 10 years ago.

These are the statistics that are meaningful as they are very specific to your own journey/business development.

At the end of each dragon boat race, the coach would review what went well, where we could tweak and improve. That would then be written into the race plan.

It’s the exact same with your business – move towards those goals/milestones. As you reach each goal, stop. Check how you are tracking. Decide where you may want to tweak a strategy but first run your race.

Engagement not comparison

Engagement means paying attention. In the dragon boat, we paid attention to each team member, to what each was bringing to the team in terms of commitment and effort in order to win the race.

In the business realm, this translates into a focus on what you are offering your audience – whether it is on social media, a blog, via email or in person.

The quality of your content and your service delivery is what leads to success.

Fly like a dragonFly like a dragon!

Michelle

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Here’s why you need a strategic plan – or an action plan!

Here’s why you need a strategic plan – or an action plan.

Whilst the words might make your eyes glaze over and conjure up images of boring boardrooms stick with me here….promise, you’ll gain an insight that will be super valuable.

A good strategic plan is not a large and boring document. It’s user-friendly and simple to read.

It lays out your pathway. A pathway that should be measurable, achievable and progressive.

It’s a tool that you should be regularly referring to because it shows you WHERE you are going.

Check out this FREE introduction to strategic planning.

Unless you have your directions clearly written down it is pretty much impossible to tell if things are on track and when you have arrived at a goal.

This is extremely valuable when you are tempted to go after a shiny object. You know something new comes onto the market, you hear a great pitch and decide immediately it might be perfect?

This is the time to look at your plan and check if it aligns with your goals.

If it does great!

If not, then move on and keep your eyes firmly on the goals you have set.

Being strategic means being specific

It is important to be very specific about your goals. As an example, writing down “gain new business” is not clear. It is not strategic in the least. It’s a general statement.

Why do you want new business? Is it because you want more $$ in the coffers?

If it is just $$ ask yourself this question – could you gain these from existing clients/customers? Be clear on the $$ amount that would equate achieving that goal.

For instance, having 10 new customers at say $5000 each is not the same as having a goal of $50,000.

Which is it the 10 customers or the $50K?

The 50K could potentially be reached with just 5 solid contracts.

Here’s another example from my own life. To be able to live in Europe for a year.

Without being retired or having the capacity to afford a year without income, this was not an easy task to achieve. But I did!

How? By using my own personal strategic plan that involved an end goal and many mini-milestones to get there.

Want to learn how to formulate your own strategic plan?

Reach out to me as I’d love to help you just as I’ve helped so many others. Promise! Don’t take my word for it…check out what others have to say.

Fly like a dragon!

Michelle

Michelle Hanton is a multi-award winning bespoke business strategist, working internationally as a consultant, coach, speaker and writer. She has a keen interest in the not-for-profit sector and is the former CEO of Lifeline Top End, and founder of Dragons Abreast Australia, a national charity dedicated to the promotion of breast cancer awareness.

 

Getting Results from your social media

Getting results from your social media is crucial when you’re in business and if you are bootstrapping, it is even more important to harness what is available at no cost.

In addition to the 5 key steps outlined in my article on understanding the basics, it is really important to understand just how busy social media is.

When you realise that Facebook now has more active users than China’s entire population you start to get an idea of how vast it is. More precisely how much traffic is out there!

It’s hard to be heard and seen. BUT… it is still a massive tool for FREE exposure if you are using the right strategies.

Getting Results

Three simple steps to implement to help you get results from your social media

1) Be authentic

Do not imitate.

By all means like and share, but…

Do not try to copy the style and tone of someone else.

Allowing your own brand personality to shine through is what helps build relationships.

Here’s the thing…

Buying a high ticket course or paying a “guru” lots of money does not mean you are going to achieve amazing results…

At least, not overnight.

More than likely you’ll need to do a whole load of hard work behind the scenes.

Remember, the results touted in case studies and testimonials to get you to buy are not typical. If you look carefully, you’ll see there are disclaimers saying exactly that.

2) Have a Plan

Getting results from anything comes down to having a strategy.

This means spending time thinking about the direction that you are taking and whether it is aligning with where you want to take your business.

Write down what it is you are aiming to achieve and then work out the strategy to get you there.

3) Build your mailing list

This is crucial because if Facebook shuts you down you will have lost that audience.

It is not as frightening or as complex as it sounds.

You can bootstrap by using MailChimp which is free up to 2000 subscribers.

Next Step

Try out the three simple tips above and you’ll soon be seeing a difference. Make sure you track what’s happening so you can really measure your results.

Leave me a comment and let me know if you have a plan, or if you need help formulating one.

Fly like a dragon!Fly like a dragon

Michelle