Have you noticed a huge trend to use video as a way to engage with your audience?
Of course you have! Okay, maybe you haven’t, but take a moment to check and you’ll soon spot a trend.
As an oldie and as an avid reader, I have to say that, as a rule, I much prefer to read rather than watch something on video. Okay, there are a few exceptions and Game of Thrones is one of them!
Whilst I’m always game to try something new, I guess one thing that has been holding me back is the poor quality of many of the videos I’ve seen. By this, I mean the dreadful lighting, sound and even the speaker’s mannerisms or voice.
However, with the advent of Facebook Live, I decided that I need to get with the times because as a smarketer how could I be advising people to use all these wonderful new tools when I did not practice what I was preaching?
I always like to walk the walk before I presume to talk the talk. Bearing in mind that we always need to start somewhere and that nothing is ever perfect, I jumped on Facebook Live.
If you visit our Facebook page,you’ll see my very first effort – complete with glitches.
I was also recently interviewed by a client, Dee Waterson from Ignite Yourself, who was starting a feature spot on Women in Business. Dee asked me to be her first interviewee. Up until this point, all public video I have been involved with has been with professionals behind the camera. Clearly, this was a sign for me to start understanding what it takes to make a half decent video clip all by myself.
You don’t have to be an expert at everything, but you do need to find your own expert. If you aim to offer a reasonable quality product that you expect people to pay attention to, as opposed to being distracted by minor annoyances that are actually quite fixable, you definitely need some expert advice.
As is often the way, life puts the right person in your path at just the right moment.
Ludwig Linnekogel is a cinematographer with a very generous spirit. He shares my philosophy of paying it forward and has some great tips and advice to share that will help you master the task of making your own video clips.
Ludwig has kindly agreed to create a selection of tips and ideas for me to share. They are designed to be consumed in small chunks, and readily actionable. Before long we’ll all be experts!
As Ludwig says “Everyone started somewhere with their first video. None were great from the get go. The more you practice the more “you” using video will become.”
PS Make sure you check back regularly so you never miss a tip.
When you contract a service, it’s usually in exchange for a fee. This kind of makes a thank you unnecessary and it is not usually expected. Of course, it is good manners to say a verbal thank you and that’s pretty standard.
But some take it a step further. They make it more personal.
They send a card, (or sometimes a gift). It’s always a double delight and a surprise to receive personal thank you notes.
Think about this…..it’s a rarity these days to receive snail or hand delivered mail. Even on our birthdays we tend to get good wishes via Facebook – not that I’m knocking it. It’s nice to be remembered by friends far and wide, but it’s just not the same as receiving a card in the mail.
I recently received two beautiful notes. Both very different to each other, but each precious and special.
There’s a lovely little frisson of anticipation in slitting open the envelope. Bubbles of anticipation are floating to the surface as the card/note slides out, rounded off with a little heart skip and a smile while reading the notes.
Both these clients (who remain unnamed for the sake of confidentiality) are winners, but have been struggling with their businesses recently.
It’s been an absolute pleasure to work with them. Working in business for yourself can be lonely. It can become quite overwhelming trying to gain crystal clear clarity on how and where your business needs to be adjusted for success. Providing support, teaching the skills needed and then seeing things start to turn around is something that both Yvonne and I love doing.
We’re paid, and we’re also getting a thank you card – how fabulous is that?
It makes the world of difference. It inspires us to take things a step further and always strive to be improving our services; this includes the bonuses and adding to our Resources4Results so we can share more to pay it forward which is my Dragon Discipline #5.
SO here’s my hot tip – saying thank you, either with a personal note or in some other unique way helps your business to stand out from the crowd. Try it.
PS Love you to share how you choose to say thank you, feel free to post a comment below. Always great to share ideas.
Maybe you already knew this, but just in case….did you know that there are two versions of WordPress?
I’ve been merrily blogging on WordPress for quite a number of years. I’ve blogged, mainly on a personal level as a way to keep my wide network of friends, that are not on Facebook, updated on what’s happening in my life.
I love using WordPress, it’s easy to use and pretty intuitive. I never realised there was another side to this great platform.
I’ve recently started to blog as a way to share information,tips and ideas that are more connected to my business. As a result, I started to interact with business blogging communities and hear mentioned a bunch of fancy little features. Plugins that can be used for tracking, measuring, making online sales and more.
It all sounded fascinating. I was worried it would be complex, but was assured it was really simple. Of course, I wanted in on this!
Go to the dashboard they said and just click the little button. So I did.
I look and I look. Nope, no little button thingy there.
Yes, there is comes the response from several quarters.
I must be blind or stupid!
I slink back to my dashboard and look again. Still, I cannot see the elusive button!
Finally, someone pipes up and says you need to be using WordPress.org. “Ooooh,” says me “I never knew there were two!”
So what’s the difference?
That’s the best question you can ever ask if you’re new to or considering using WordPress!
Choosing one or the other really does depend on what your needs are, your skill level, and what you aim to accomplish.
No one told me this at the beginning, and I’m not alone in the dilemma as many folk report similar confusion and I still see others make the same mistakes I did. It’s a really easy mistake to make.
So which WordPress should you choose?
There’s loads of literature on this, but here’s my take of the two options and this linkwill take you to the official WordPress comparative chart
This is the perfect choice for small-to-medium business owners and DIY’ers, as it is cost-efficient, fully customizable, and there are loads of options.
The myriad of customization options is limited only by your skill level and imagination. The software itself is free, including thousands of plugins you can use for your website. There is also a raft of additional plugins that you can buy separately to suit your needs/wants and budget!
The WordPress site itself will provide you with lots of advice, including handy walk-throughs on how to install the WordPress software and guide you through your initial posts. Considering it is a free service, the guide is very helpful and the instructions are really easy to understand.
Support forums abound all over the net, and you’ll easily find answers to “how to” questions about customizing your site. There are no restrictions to what you can do with the site, especially if you have coding experience in PHP or HTML, just to name a few. I’ve got no experience but the site works well for me – so I’m pretty convinced anyone can make this work!
One of my VA’s came up with what I consider a great analogy to define WordPress.com. He referred me to this article – they describe it as being like when you rent a flat. You pay a certain amount to be able to occupy the space. There’s no need for you to maintain the flat because the landlord has that covered. You’re usually unable to make any significant structural changes to your flat or even bang a few nails into the wall – after all it’s rented. It does not belong to you.
That’s how WordPress.com essentially works. Web hosting is free and WordPress.com takes care of everything for you including fantastic spam protection, automatic backups and updates.
WordPress.com’s security is also dependable. Plugins are available, but you don’t get to upload your own. There are heaps of themes to choose from (around 200) and some can be tweaked and customised in terms of colour choices, but you can’t really make significant changes. Kind of like in a flat where you choose your own furniture, but the basic layout remains the same in the whole complex.
As far as adverts go, your hands are tied because WordPress decides who gets to advertise.
In terms of a domain name you can only go as far as adding your preferred name to the WordPress domain – e.g. yourpreferredname.wordpress.com
You can unlock some further options if you are willing to pay a small fee e.g
● Remove ads to use your own (WordPress adverts not included)
● Make basic changes to the themes
● Extra storage space
● Upload your videos (VideoPress)
● Premium themes
If you want a full blown site sporting your own domain name, unlimited file storage, and no adverts, WordPress.com can work out to be expensive.
My personal choices
For my personal blog, I choose to pay to upgrade my WordPress.com to michellehanton.com and for everything else I use there is the free version.
I have grappled with the idea of combining the two blogs, and the jury is still out on that one. I’m torn between separating my personal and professional life, but then, on the other hand, they are so closely intertwined, many of the people I’ve met professionally have become friends and similarly, those who I have been friends with have become clients.
These days business is a lot less formal than when I first started my career and as I always tells everyone, it’s all about people connecting with people. I guess I just might combine the two into one blog, but on the other hand, maybe my friends don’t want to read about the business stuff.
I’m in a bit of a dilemma!
Love to have your feedback in helping me make this decision. Leave me a comment below or send me an email with your thoughts.
Pricing your services. One of the most important items you’ll ever need to consider as a service provider that’s self-employed
Getting your price point right is crucial to your business success.
It’s also the area that can give you the biggest headache…believe me, I know this from personal experience.
The million dollar question!
What price should you charge?
Depending on your industry and qualifications there are some standard rates….but, the real dilemma is this…
Making sure you are charging what is right for you. For your business. Not just going with what is considered standard or the going rate.
Working in the corporate world, there are things like awards, employment contracts, and benchmarks against which salaries are set. So as an employee you don’t really need to think about this stuff too much.
But, once you step out on your own, it’s a lot different.
It can be a minefield…lots of traps to fall into and mistakes to make.
One of the most common ways is by comparing what everyone else in the marketplace is charging. But let’s be real….in the service industry, it’s really quite hard to compare.
You’re not here to be a copycat.
Being in business for yourself means doing things your way. Doing what’s right for you…after all, isn’t that why you’re working for yourself?
This may not be what you want to hear…but if you’re just starting out unless you already have a stellar reputation and following, you’ll probably need to start off at a lower price.
This does not mean undervaluing yourself.
A far better way of figuring out how to set your fees and charges is beginning with a basic price point and buildingfrom there.
1) Your selling sequence (how to position services; how to position pricing)
2) Your target market (who you sell to now and who you want to sell to in the future)
3) Your competitors (making yourself competitive other than through pricing)
4) What the market will bear (this is the exciting bit that moves you into the premium price point!).
But it all starts with the basic fees.
No matter what line of business you’re in how you work out your service fees are exactly the same.
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.