6 Steps to Managing Your Social Media

You can love it or hate it, but the bottom line is, on a business level, we need to engage in some way or other with social media.

If you’re lucky enough to have a dedicated social media manager, you won’t need to worry, but for smaller businesses and solopreneurs it’s all too easy to become overwhelmed.

A common dilemma

What to post?

How often?

These are questions so many people ask themselves.

You can end up wasting heaps of time on a daily basis flicking through social media looking for inspiration.

Precious time that you could be dedicating to building your business and serving clients.

Social Media Connections(1)Our latest tip sheet 6 Steps to Strategic Social Media Posting will save you heaps of time. It’s totally FREE as are most of our resources.

Process = progress. Nail down the process (as outlined on the tip sheet) and you’ll find yourself making much more progress, plus saving heaps of time!

Michelle

PS – as always, love your feedback

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.

 

 

Memory Monday #2 – In the Air

We’ve dug through our archives to bring you this article for Memory Monday – something light and uplifting.

When a Dragon Sister mentioned going on holiday to Venice and a luxury cruise, I thought, ‘Well that’s OK for some. Some of us have a job to hold down, a family to hold together and myriad obstacles to abandoning all responsibility in favour of racking off on some self-indulgent girls-only jolly!!’

However, where there’s a will, there’s a way; and the more I thought about it, the more I thought: “I will!!”  Mindful of the fact that it may well be a very long time before I ever make a dash for Dragon Sisterly debauchery on this scale again, I kept a little travelogue of all the happy happenings along the way.

‘Jetting off’ to Europe has a connotation of speed, glamour, pizzazz about it, which in the interests of honesty, I have to say is a far cry from reality. The trip from here to there in cattle class is more akin to a slow boat to China but is it ever worth it!!

Oz – Dubai:   A 14 hour flight with Emirates Air manned (bizarrely) by an entirely Spanish cabin crew. I discover early on that my movie gubbins are not working and I finally give up the ghost after being pinged back to the beginning of Benjamin Button for the 3rd time.

The steward who promised to check it out vanishes without a trace. Which doesn’t matter since it is obviously a technical problem only fixable by NASA and handsome as this Spaniard is, he seems more at home with the coffee pot than mission control.

Speaking of which, the coffee is curiously scarce, being served a la Manuel chez Fawlty Towers in the middle of the meal. The options are (especially if you’re slow with your nose bag) to drink coffee before your main course, cold at end of your meal, or do without. I ask one trolley dolly “will you be back with coffee?” She says “No!!” but smiles prettily before whipping away the precious pot. And, obviously, don’t hold your breath for a refill – because you’ll need an oxygen mask before that happens!

Happily, all drinks are free except champers ($8 a glass). Sadly, I choose the white wine which is barely chilled (tepid) and if you want more than one drink you have to go on a “seek and detain” drinks trolley mission.  In short, beverage hospitality is not at all forthcoming!! Otherwise, the cabin crew are very nice in an overall charmingly inattentive way!

I have a long chat with a lovely elderly Rhodesian (now Zimbabwean) chap most of the flight. We amuse ourselves with quips about the Latin lack of alcohol and whether Basil Fawlty is in fact the captain. Total sleep managed: 2 hours.

Transit c.4 hrs Dubai, United Arab Emirates:   I find I am disappointed in the airport, having heard of it being lavish, luxurious, spacious and everything you’d expect from one of the world’s oil sheik capitals. No doubt it normally is but as luck would have it, a new airport is under construction, consequently the current terminal has us jammed in like so many sardines in transit. The only seating available is in eateries or lined up at the departure gates. Duty free shopping, taking up all available space, which is quite understandable. So, with nothing better to do, I go shopping. Alcohol is delightfully cheap and smarting from my recent in-flight depredations I purchase 1L each of Gordon’s gin and Bailey’s liqueur for a paltry AUS $46.00.  Ah, things are looking up!

Final leg Dubai-Venice 6 hrs.:   The closer I get to Venice the better everything becomes: I find myself seated next to a Brad Pitt lookalike and the movie thingo is working perfectly. I am however, too knackered to enjoy either.

I really should have slept when in the company of the aged Boer and the defunct movie, then I could have had lovely eye candy and in-flight entertainment for this leg (both featuring Brad Pitt!). How daft am I?! Instead, I move to get an extra spare seat, stretch out and manage 2 hours zeds. (Dreaming of Brad punting me down the Grand Canal, singing something soppily romantic in Italian).

Touch down!!   I arrive at Venice airport where I am met by a Dragon Sister. We jump on a bus for the 20 minute ride (which costs E3) to Piazza le Roma, Venice’s bus station. This is the end of the line for all motor vehicles. From here on you have to get about on leg power or on various modes of canal craft.

Luggage with wheels and travelling light suddenly become a crucial for the jet-lagged traveller. I’m relieved that Dragon Sisters have factored this in and it is only a 2 minute walk over only one bridge (ponte) to get to our destination, the Sofitel Venezia.

This is radically different from the tower block Sofitel Hotels I’m familiar with in Oz. It’s a lot smaller with lots of marble, chandeliers, a curving marble staircase and other-worldly bijoux charm about it. My room is decked out in antique-style decor with an en-suite bathroom and two balconies (admittedly they are the size of airline loos) overlooking the canal and the Papadopoli Gardens and pontes.

Amazingly, all vestiges of fatigue disappear. Having briefly appreciated the merits of my new home, I dump my bags and hare out the door to explore. Ciao Venezia! Here I come!!

Nowette Awl

This article originally appeared in our Dragons Sisters Newletter 2010. The Sofitel is now Hotel Papadopoli Venezia – MGallery Collection. Nowette Awl is a fairly regular participant on our trips and a closet scribbler who keeps us entertained with her takes on the trip!

If you are interested in participating on our Jollydays, drop us an email and we’ll keep you posted of the next adventures.

Taking Time Out For Yourself

Time Out….are you one of the lucky ones who will manage 4 days off over this Easter break? Completely away from work. If you are, then it’s YEAH for you!

For me, it’s a combo of family time, gardening, a little bit of work and watching a TV series on Netflix, Call the Midwife, set back in the early 50’s in the East End of London. Life was definitely hard back in those days.

This morning, as I was pushing the lawnmower around, in the sweltering Darwin heat, I thought, briefly, that I should maybe consider paying someone to do my lawns.

But hey, doing the lawns is great exercise plus it’s prime thinking time for me. I like going up and down in rows, I enjoy the smell of the freshly cut grass (except if I accidentally run over a dog poo!) and it’s also great exercise. As is bending down to pull out the weeds – great workout!20160326_164842

When you’re your own boss or working in senior management, it’s often really hard to get time away to exercise – unless it’s carefully planned.

When the buck stops with you – for generating your own income, or answering to boards, it’s hard.

I know, it’s the life I have lived for many years (and I still work for myself), so I hear you!

Doing my own lawn keeps me fit. It also gives me a great sense of achievement when I look out on my garden. A totally different sense of achievement to when I complete a project, but it’s just as good a feeling.

It’s really important to make time for what is truly important in your life. In my book that is looking after yourself first and foremost.

Unless you are at optimum level, then you can’t give your family or your business the attention they both need.

Through my lawn mowing efforts, I’m combing a chore, exercise and free thinking time.

Inspiration comes in many forms and when you’re open to looking at things differently, this is when the best ideas and solutions often pop out. I get all kinds of bright ideas when I’m not actively looking for them.

How about you?  When do you do your best thinking?

Michelle

The number one barrier to your business growth

I’m an ‘80s YUPI throwback – and it shows.

Like when I was asked what Michelle and I do, and gave the flippant reply, ‘We’re business barrier busters’.   My equally long-in-the-tooth friend said, ‘What – like Ghost Busters?’, and he began to laugh and sing the movie theme song, ‘Who ya gonna call? Ghost Busters!’

Anyhow, it stuck.   I liked it, more than the dry corporate speak, ‘We’re business strategy consultants who blablabla …’   We even named one of our programs Barrier Busters.   Because it exactly describes what we do.   We help mostly small business and charities identify the barriers which are holding them back.   Then we help them bust down those barriers.

Notice the word ‘help’?   That’s because we show them how to do it for themselves. Like ‘Sisters Are Doin’ It For Themselves’ by Eurythmics – another 80s icon (now I can’t get that tune out of my head) – is a song all about empowerment.   We’re a bit empowerment mad (better than being power mad, right?).   That’s how we get testimonials like this:

“Prior to working with Dragon Sisters, I went to a lot of expense and effort to strategize the marketing for my business development – with no real results. I had folders full of information, but not the detail of how to translate this for my own business.

Now, I am able to get the strategic positioning, content creation, marketing and business development support, for the specific outcomes and results I want and need for my business. Within 7 weeks I could see measurable, significant improvement. Finally, someone understands me and my business!   Michelle has been the angel on my shoulder.”  Dee Waterson, Ignite Yourself

Did you notice that Michelle has achieved angel status?!Image courtesy of Prawny at FreeDIgitalPhoto.com

Funnily enough no one ever calls me an angel …

The Rolling Stones ‘Sympathy For The Devil’ pops into my head (now that’s even older than me).

If you’re having the devil of a time working out the number 1 business barrier – not getting enough customers – here’s a FREE little ebook to help you out.   It’s called The number one barrier to your business growth.

I’m off to listen to Annie Lennox singing ‘There Must Be An Angel’, while I watch Michelle polish her halo …

Yvonne

Yvonne Toering is a business development consultant who has worked with leading organisations and brands including Securicor Group, Vodafone Group, ASDA as well as most of the UK’s major high street retail chains including Marks and Spencer Plc, the National Health Service, Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Mars UK, and the Grand Metropolitan Group, owners of Burger King, Smirnoff, Samuel Webster Brewers, Haagen Daas, Cinzano and other iconic brands.

The changing workplace…working remotely

Each place you work leaves its mark and shapes you in some way. Over the course of my career, I’ve worked in many different environments ranging from luxurious, top flight corporate offices in the City of London, through to run down one room dog boxes, complete with a leaky roof!

Nice offices are a bonus, but as a rule, you really don’t worry too much about the trappings of your surroundings as long as you enjoy the work. The exceptions being when it is stinking hot, freezing cold or the water is dripping from the leaky roof onto your desk!

You remember different things about each place. For instance, at Lombard Odier, I learnt the meaning of absolute confidentiality. Working at St John Ambulance I discovered how to overcome my own personal feelings and just get on with the job at hand because people needed me.

In between places there have been other lessons learnt. You continue to learn each and every day of your life when you are open to what is happening around you. Some things are easier to learn than others.

Certainly, keeping up with all the latest technology presents challenges to folks like me, but it also presents amazing opportunities. BeforePCsThe workplace has changed enormously since the early day of my career. But the biggest change I’ve seen is in working remotely.

I remember when people had the odd day of working from home, but working remotely is a different kettle of fish. It’s definitely changed the workplace environment.

Working from remote and distant locations that are outside your traditional office such as home, local coffee shop or even a hotel room is continuing to gain more and more traction thanks to the ever expanding information technology capabilities. Don’t you just love wi-fi and smart phones? I do!

I love working remotely – so much so that it’s become the bulk of my business – and I really strive to master the technology that makes this possible for me.

There are heaps of benefits, but there’s also a downside. The pros and cons from my perspective are:

Benefits
1. There is increased independence. If you’re working from remote and distant locations—away from the traditional office—you won’t be distracted by others and there is less chance of becoming involved in the usual office politics.

Lack of distractions should mean an increase in your productivity, but it’s easy to get sidetracked.

2. Increased flexibility. If you are a working-from-home parent, or a caregiver to someone ill or an aged parent, you can organize and schedule your commitments around family obligations.

I’m not saying it’s easy. It does require discipline, but it can definitely be achieved.

3. As an employer, you can have a pool of workforce talents from diverse geographical locations as opposed to conventional working.

I love working with my remote team of VA’s! With the time zone differences it means pretty much round the clock productivity and fast turnaround times for clients.

4. There is a massive increase in savings on several fronts.

– Travel costs, travel time, vehicle running costs and parking fees.
– Clothing and dry cleaning bills as you have a more informal dress code.

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Image courtesy of Marin at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

BTW – adopt a routine of getting dressed rather than sitting at your desk in your PJ’s all day! Make a point of getting up, showered and dressed every day that you are ‘working’. You don’t want to get caught short, if you have to dash out or someone drops by!

– If you have a Virtual Assistant (VA), you only pay for the hours they actually worked. No issues with leave, superannuation, workers compensation and so on.

Disadvantages

1. It’s not easy to develop a relationship with other team members. Not everyone thrives on working alone and some people actually need personal interaction with colleagues.

2. The technology may fail. A backup plan is essential! That means using regular, automated backup for all your work, and having a second device to access Skype, internet etc.

3. It can be challenging to provide oversight and give clear instructions to remote workers as there is no direct supervision. I use a handy little tool called “Snag It” when I need to send visual illustrations of what I need – it’s magic!

4. Family and friends need to be educated that you are ”at work” and cannot be disturbed just because you are at home.

My Conclusion
The bottom line is that it very much depends on the individual, the business and the personalities involved.

Some of us thrive on remote work whilst others really struggle.

On a personal level I thoroughly enjoy working remotely with my global team and the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages.

Strong self discipline is an absolute must!

Of course, nothing can beat face to face contact. It’s important to make sure to schedule a regular get together with your team, and that you get out and about to network.

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.

A version of this article was originally published on Simple Team Meeting as Pros and Cons of Working Remotely