Procrastination the enemy of productivity – are you guilty?

Procrastination. Everyone is guilty of procrastinating once in a while.

You put off doing that one important task in favour of washing the dishes, doing the laundry, or playing a game. We all have some form of procrastination activity, but it’s the enemy of productivity and in business, there’s no time for it.

Encouraging Productivity

I’m a terrible procrastinator, and I hate it. So over time, I’ve tried to find ways to be productive and also to FEEL more productive.

There’s a plethora of books and articles that will tell you how to be more productive but a lot of the time those tips don’t work for me.

And even when I’m being productive I often don’t feel like I am.

Now I’m not saying what works for me will work for you but here’s what I’ve found helps:

Check Lists

When I have a checklist to mark off I’m able to tell if I’ve been productive and that in turn encourages me to be more productive.

It also works as a bit of a pseudo-reward, I love that feeling of accomplishment when I mark off a task.

There’s an App for that

And of course, in this technological age, there’s an array of apps for monitoring productivity and encouraging productivity.

Personal I’ve got two apps on my phone and a separate program on my laptop for this and I find them so helpful in avoiding procrastination.

My favourite is Habitica which a friend recommended as a way of tracking productivity.

It’s super helpful in that it’s designed to be a little like an RPG (Role Playing Game).  You get experience points and coins for completing tasks so you go up in levels and can purchase new equipment for your avatar.

For me, this format is really encouraging.  It feels familiar and even though the rewards are simply virtual I find them a great incentive for upping my productivity.

The other apps I use to keep myself productive are Anti-Social and Cold Turkey.

Forced time offline

Social Media and the Internet, in general, are some of the biggest tools for procrastination.

We’ve all had that moment where we go to check something on Facebook and then, one hour later, we haven’t gotten anything done. That’s why it’s so important to be able to take time off.

To unplug.

Although often times your work may require you to remain a little plugged in – emails need checking, research needs to be done etc.

For that reason, I’ve made blocking apps a part of my work habit. When I really need to buckle down and focus I turn on the apps and block off all access to social media.

Removing the temptation is a great way to push forward. If I slip up (and I do sometimes) I just get a pop-up that says the site is blocked – a great deterrent!

I’d love to hear about your productivity secrets, so leave me a comment.

Sasha Hanton

 

MAXIMISING YOUR LUNCHTIME

Maximising your lunchtime makes great business sense. And, I don’t mean having a sandwich at your desk as you pour over reports or jumping on LinkedIn, Facebook etc.

Making time to have lunch, to step away from your desk/place of business is essential to maintaining a helicopter perspective.

When you’re leading a busy life, especially if you’re running your own business, it can be really tough to squeeze the extra time out of your day.

BUT…here’s the thing…you need to eat! So maximising that time for your own benefit makes good sense – right?

Put down your phone – at least stick it in your pocket or handbag – stand up and walk out of the office.

Walking down the street, stopping to say hello to people and having a quick chat. Sitting quietly in a park/at the beach and absorbing nature, or having lunch with people outside of your normal circle all serve to help either ground or stimulate you.

What you choose to do each lunchtime depends on the outcomes you’d like to achieve.

The key is to make a conscious choice to utilise your lunchtime wisely. After all, it is time. Time is a finite commodity and once passed cannot be recovered.

Alone Time

Choosing to spend time alone, to sit in the park/at the beach will give you silence. In that stillness, you have the chance to reflect quietly. You’ll often get to hear your inner voice that has been drowned out by the chattering monkeys.

Many of our clients who work in front-facing roles that demand they are “on” for most of their business day love these kinds of lunch breaks.

Actively Being Out & About

If you’re working in isolation, then getting out and about helps to switch off that intense focus your work demands.

Walking down the street and stopping to chat with a couple of people can often provide that human connection that is so important to people who work alone all day.

Alternately, if your work causes lots of pent-up frustrations, busts of physical activity like a brisk walk, jogging or working out at a gym full of people can be a great tension reliever.

Group Lunches

Getting together with a group of like-minded individuals, from different industries is another productive way to spend a lunchtime. You gain a different perspective which is so very valuable.

I’m not talking about a boozy lunch at a fancy restaurant. You know, where everyone talks about how great they are and no one remembers anything much afterwards. I’ve been to a few of these over the years. Enjoyable but really very unproductive.

Rather, I mean a quiet place where you actually get to connect with authenticity and help each other out through the sharing of information in a supportive environment.

Lunch & Learn Sessions

Lunch and learn sessions are common in large corporations. Often used as a means to minimise downtime, and maximise employee engagement.

Now, if you’re a small business or solo operator you won’t have this luxury BUT… a group lunch and learn for others in the same boat is not too hard to organise.

We know because we’ve facilitated quite a few over the years.  Topics are always varied so attendees choose which they are interested in.

The objective is always that participants leave having learnt something of value – not just had a great lunch. Details of upcoming sessions are always on our Facebook page.

Scheduling

The key to successfully maximising your lunchtime and being able to get away all comes down to scheduling.

Consider it an important appointment with a very important person. Yes, that’s you!

If you are struggling to get started with this habit, begin with a day a week, and gradually increase it over a period of a month. Once you start to consciously work on maximising your time, you’ll be surprised at how easy it can become. More importantly, the benefits that you gain are invaluable.

Speaking from a personal perspective – my lunchtime habits are one of the ways that I have been able to keep sane during the challenging times. As an added bonus they’ve also brought Dragon Sisters new business connections.

Fly like a dragonFly like a dragon!

Michelle

PS – let me know in the comments how you spend your lunchtimes – I’m always curious 🙂

SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING – UNDERSTANDING THE BASICS

Social media marketing is here to stay.

Yes, it can be a moving feast of pixels, insights, reach, engagement and algorithms.

BUT…before you even start to think about those, there are a few basics to get a handle on.

Talking basics

It is very important to understand that marketing is not the same as sales. It is not about generating sales.

Marketing is a very different beast. Social media marketing is huge. There are so many channels to choose from.

You do not need to be on all channels. Do one and do it right. You can always add others later.

The key is to choose the ones that are right for your business. The one where your audience is likely to be hanging out.

Facebook is the biggest platform and that’s why we always recommend it as the best place to start.

The key focus is on building your audience.

It’s about creating a relationship.

5 Key Steps

Social media marketing is a changing landscape, but there are five key steps you need to take to make sure you are “dressed” for business.

In the online world this means:

1) A good clear profile picture/logo

If using a photo of yourself, remember it does not necessarily have to be studio shot but it does need to be clear and recognisable.

This means no hiding behind sunnies or under a big hat.

If you can afford a professional headshot – get one done!

2) Link your personal page to your business

This is important because if you interact in a group you are interacting as yourself when you make comments.

If folks are curious about you, they click your profile to learn more. Naturally, you want it to lead them to your business page. Check out the video clip on why here.

3) Join groups where your target audience hangs out

These can be really great sources of market research. Watch, listen and get a feel for what is happening.

Be helpful without the expectation of gaining anything.

Be interested in what others have to say – like and comment as appropriate.

Remember, social media marketing is not about what you have to sell.

4) Be consistent

It’s a crowded marketplace so consistency is key.

This means showing up regularly. Not just on your own page but visiting others too – you can use your professional identity when you visit.

5) Interact

When people visit your page, make sure you interact.

If they leave a review make sure you thank them. If they’ve left a comment, at the very least like that comment. Even better respond!

Let me know in the comments if you found these tips helpful.

Fly like a dragon!Fly like a dragon

Michelle

PS – if you’ve got a question – ask away and we’ll do our best to answer.

 

CHANGES = NEW OPPORTUNITIES

Changes are part and parcel of all our lives. From the day we arrive in this world, change is inevitable. We are constantly changing as we grow. Learning. Evolving. This goes on for our entire lives.

Being in business it’s exactly the same. Periods of growth and evolution. Changing is not unusual. Adapting to meet the demands of the marketplace and the needs of clients.

Sometimes changes are planned…other times they are thrust upon us by circumstances.

I’m currently finding myself in one of those “thrust upon you” changes. Not planned but something that has to be dealt with.

My ageing parents (almost 80 and 90) mean that I now need to be physically close to them. I have a lead role to play in helping care for them in their own home.

And you know what? I welcome the role.

They have taken care of me for my entire life, stood by me and seen me through ups, downs and bumps in the journey of life.

It is my turn to give back. To be close by. At hand to help as needed without being asked. It’s what our family does.

But of course this does have a massive impact on my business; big changes need to happen.

Changes needing to be managed

I’ve travelled my entire life. It’s never been a big deal for me to hop on a plane to meet clients, or to take Skype calls across time zones at weird hours.

BUT…that cannot continue…at least not for the immediate future.

So what does it mean for my business?

It means lots of juggling and in a nutshell, a bit of a restructuring.

I’ve spent many hours mulling everything over and thinking about what is possible in these new circumstances.

Challenges are actually opportunities…to explore other ways of doing things.

Opportunities

Opportunities come in many guises if we are open and receptive.

No point in looking at a door that is closed. Instead, it’s important to search for openings that lie ahead.

The result for me is:

1) Moving further into the online market.

What I have done for the last 10 years is help businesses move ahead by helping them to learn HOW to tackle challenges that prevent them from moving forward.

This can be done online; it actually works out a lot cheaper than having me on the spot. It makes my services more affordable and is actually a win/win.

Below are some of the things now available via online teaching:

  • Identifying your Unique Selling Point
  • Creating a Strategic Plan for your business
  • Elevating your brand profile without being ‘salesy’
  • Building a marketing/sales funnel
  • Understanding the power of social media and harnessing it to help your business
  • The key steps to take to CLOSE a sale without coming across as pushy

I am still here to answer the questions, but there is a component delivered via the modules.

Benefits

Way cheaper for a start!

Access to the modules at a time.

Queries are answered through weekly online sessions and via a private Facebook group. It’s not quite as instantaneous as one on one but the cost benefits make our services more affordable to many.

2) Less Travel

I can’t just hop on a plane to fly overseas or around Australia. Bookings for my in-person presence need to be scheduled well in advance.

Thankfully the Refresh, Reframe & Relax trips to Bali is still going ahead – next one in November – I am looking forward to it on so many levels!

3) Increasing the Writing Bureau output

Ghostwriting, grant writing, sponsorship proposals and of course our favourite area…

…supporting authors taking them from the idea stages to the finished and marketed product.

Never widely promoted previously, this is an area that has been steadily growing since Sasha joined the team; we’ll be ramping it up further.

Coping with changes

Coping capacities are determined by mindset and attitude. Being individuals means we each react in different ways, but being in business means it’s important to be proactive.

I’m getting feedback that I must be Wonder Woman, being able to put together business proposals, deliver workshops and also deal with current family circumstances. I’m no such thing – although it is flattering 🙂

The reality is simply this – learning to be resilient and excellent time management. It’s a skill I’ve picked up over many years.

I’ve also learnt that when you are open and using a smarketing mindset, there is always an opportunity.

The opportunity often means adapting to what circumstances present themselves. Looking forward…not backward. Being grateful for what you have.

I’m extremely grateful to still have my parents.

If you’d like to help me with this next phase of my business I would you to get in touch or recommend me to anyone who’d benefit from my new model of service.

Fly like a dragonFly like a dragon

Michelle

SOCIAL MEDIA – IS IT CONFUSING YOU?

If you’re confused by social media and how it applies to your business you are not alone.

Yes, it’s been around for over 10 years but that does not mean it’s gotten any easier to understand. In fact, it’s got more complex and confusing.

There are so many different channels to choose from – Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter,  Instagram to name just a few.

If you did not grow up in the digital world with a smartphone attached to your fingertips, it can get a tad hard to understand at times.

It can also be a massive time-waster as you dash down the rabbit hole trying to figure it all out and listen to every expert that there is all telling you different things.

I’m not a digital native but I’ve been using social media for just over 10 years now. I’ve learnt a few things along the way.

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 work on your social media.

If you’re not sure how you may like to check out my Understanding Facebook for Your Business self-paced course where I’ll teach you.

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 pursue them.

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. Once you know which platforms they are on, you need to get on the same ones.

4) Focus on 2-3 key platforms – once you know where your audience is you are better able to focus on interacting and gaining their attention.

5) Make sure you are offering quality content – this keeps your readers and fans engaged.

My Channels

I tend to stick to Facebook for my business and personal connections and I also use LinkedIn. The bulk of my posting is done on Facebook.

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

The landscape is ever changing when it comes down to social media. This means it’s really important that you continue to be monitoring what you are doing and where you are getting the best results.

It’s not a case of set and forget it.

Algorithms are rapidly changing and I make sure I keep abreast on my channels and I usually share my discoveries with my subscribers. 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.

Together we learn and discover what is trending and working.

Need help managing and Understanding Facebook for Your Business? My self-paced course where you practice as you learn will soon get you on track.  Click here to find out more.

What channels are you using? Let me know in the comments below.

Fly like a dragon!Fly like a dragon

Michelle

 

 

Success…being successful – what does it take?

Success and being successful, whether it is in life or in business, means having a mindset that enables you to move ahead towards your goals.

A bunch of obstacles will always put themselves in your way. That’s life. What separates those who achieve success from those who don’t is how obstacles are handled.

In my experience, one of the biggest obstacles is often of our own making.

It’s called procrastination.

Procrastination presents itself in many different guises. The secret to avoiding being caught by this sneaky little disease is…

Being organised and….being disciplined!

This applies to both your personal and professional life.

Controls need to be in place to help maximise your time. This way you’re moving forward toward the results you want.

By being 100% honest you can easily pinpoint where you can cut down, chop out or build up your schedule.

When you truly want something you make time for it.

How much time do you spend on social media or watching TV, YouTube clips etc?

Ask yourself these two questions and be HONEST with your answers:

1)   Is it really necessary?

2)   Is my business really benefitting from this?

Sure we all need to have time out to refresh, reframe and relax BUT…

Spending a bunch of time watching and reading about what others are doing to move their businesses forward is not really helping you.

Think of it like this…they are telling you what they have achieved, persuading you to buy from them…their business is moving forward, but is yours?

Taking Action

Unless you are actively taking ACTION, rather than just consuming content, you are wasting your precious time.

When I started my career, many moons ago, there were no social media channels online.

Yep, I’m a dinosaur.

Instead, there were hard copy newsletters, conferences and key business events where there would be some top quality speakers. They were expensive – very expensive – so it was important to choose wisely.

BUT…here’s the thing…

Once the event was over, there was no Googling more information, listening to more Podcasts, watching more YouTube clips and more experts.

The conference, the piece you read in the newsletter or the event you attended would inspire you to take ACTION.

And that my friend, is the secret of success…taking momentum building steps each and every day that moves you forward towards your goals. Watching and listening is not ACTION!

This is why being organised and disciplined is so very crucial.

Getting organised

This means knowing what you need to do and when you need to do it.

In the early days of my career, I had a young family at home. Today I have adults in my life that I am caring for. My schedule needs to accommodate the time to go shopping for them, to spent time engaging in meaningful conversation and to take care of my own health.

Unless I am able to organise my work time, family time and “Me Time” there is no chance of everything getting done.

My secret weapon? It’s not exactly a secret…

Creating a plan and then using a MAP – measurable, achievable and progressive steps.

Having a MAP helps you keep on track.

It’s easy to meander – and hey, we all do this from time to time. That’s where the power of the MAP lies – getting you back on track after a meandering moment.

Just like all journeys, you need to plan your route. You need to know how you will get to your destination. By mapping out the key milestones, rest points, the quick look around and linger longer stays on your personal MAP you’ll be able to achieve your goals.

It doesn’t need to be highly complicated. Simple is best. The key is following that MAP once you have laid it out.

Time Management

Unless time is used wisely it slips away unnoticed – just like when you’re driving along and not paying attention. It’s so easy to miss a turn-off, especially if you’re on a busy highway with all the hustle and bustle of traffic flying past. You get in the zone and before you know it…

Darn! Missed your turn-off. You end up travelling further down the wrong road before you can come back in the right direction.

There’s a myriad of different tools and methods to choose from depending on what aspects of your time you are needing to manage. Different systems work for different people.

100-day blocks

One of my favourite methods is working in 100-day blocks.

Why?

Because it is enough to make sure things get done, and not too long that I am able to procrastinate – at least not for too long!

It means deciding in which blocks of time I’ll be implementing ideas and actions identified in my business journal.

It’s quite amazing what pops out of that journal. It’s my incubation spot.  Ideas pop into our heads very regularly.  If you’re like me, then you may not always have the time to implement them, but when you’ve  written them down, they are never lost.

Writing them down gets them out of your mind. It leaves you free to concentrate on tasks at hand. Writing your ideas in a business journal keeps them all in one place. Saves you losing them or having to hunt through a bunch of sticky notes or notebooks.

Concentrating in the present moment not only affords great productivity but allows you to fully focus on what you’re working on at any given moment.

When you focus on one particular aspect it’s very rewarding to see exactly how much you start achieving in a very short space of time.

What Success Looks Like

It’s really important to identify what success looks like to you. The reason being is that unless you know what it is that you want to achieve you will never be able to tell if you have got there.

You need to be able to measure and to identify when you have reached the goals you set for yourself.

And yes, goals can and do change over time.

It’s perfectly okay to set new goals but you must keep track of the ones you have already set, rather than dash off on another tangent. One step at a time is the key.

Life is very frustrating if you keep chasing something that always lies over the rainbow. You must enjoy the moment you are in. By embracing small successes along your journey you’ll start feeling so much more fulfilled, motivated and inspired.

A 360-degree successful life, to me, means being able to have the time to enjoy precious moments.

Moments to spend time with my elderly parents discussing garden plans and reminiscing. Time spent in conversation with my adult son. Girls sessions with my daughter. Going paddling, walking the dog and short sojourns devoted exclusively to me – that’s 360-degree success.

Having happy clients and feeling fulfilled by my work is integral to that life.  The fact I’ve received great testimonials, awards and recognition for my work is just the icing on the cake.

What does success look like to you? Let me know in the comments.

Fly like a dragon!

Michelle

PS You may like to join my private Facebook group The SMART Circle – a place dedicated to helping each other by sharing our knowledge and experiences. It is not a place where there are things for sale or a course to push. It’s simply about authentic connections.

 

You need to KISS to unlock your opportunities

KISS is my favourite acronym.

You probably know that it stands for Keep. It. Simple. Stupid.

Now you think I’m being insulting.

I’m not.

It’s my favourite reminder to myself. Because I can tend to over think, over complicate, over analyse, and generally get over myself being over the top.

Keep It Simple Stupid

The only other person I voice KISS to is Michelle. This is because there aren’t many people who wouldn’t take this as gratuitous rudeness.

At least ones that won’t bop me upside the head for it.

Michelle’s too short to reach. Though I suppose she could bite my ankles like an enraged chihuahua. But she doesn’t. She uses KISS too. It’s become a bit of an ace acronym for us.

There’s nothing like a say-it-how-it-is sibling to bring you down to earth.

We may like to soar like dragons, shoot for the moon, blah blah blah, and we love all that. Love doing that.

But sometimes you’ve just got to get grounded. Get back to basics, if you like.

It’s a bit politer than telling Stupid to keep things simple. Or Simple not to be so stupid. Before I get into a rude roll, here’s the polite version:

Back to Basics

*An adjective – definitions:

1) Stressing simplicity and adherence to fundamental principles:

The movement suggests a back-to-basics approach to living for those whose lives have become complicated.

2) Emphasizing or based upon the teaching of such basic subjects as reading, arithmetic, grammar, or history in a traditional way.

Stressing simplicity and adherence to fundamental principles is essentially KISS.

Point 2 emphasizing or based upon the teaching of such basic subjects … I reckon, applies to any subject. We share and coach a lot on sales and marketing subjects.

The fundamentals never change. It’s not rocket science.

Putting the cart before the horse

We do many different things at Dragon Sisters.

Sometimes it can seem that we spear off on radical tangents from our core business.

People hire us for varied projects and for a variety of reasons.

Yet essentially, we’re contracted to do one thing for them: to communicate.

This might come with bolt-on requirements like research, analysis, strategy, coaching, consulting, content creation, whatever. Often, these sorts of requirements come first as the request for help.

Kind of like putting the cart before the horse.

The cart being what needs rolling out for their business or project, and the horse being the conveyance to get it to where they want it to be.

That conveyance boils down to communication.

Every time. It comes first.

Otherwise, nothing gets moved forward.

Some of the most talented people get nowhere near their potential, simply because they lack the expertise or experience to communicate effectively enough (even to themselves) to get results.

So, guess what – we use the KISS test on just about everything.

Especially when we get caught up in the enthusiasm of new concepts and are bursting with ideas. Or when we get stumped by something. Or when we get too fancy pants about something.

If you find yourself in any of those situations – stumped, wearing your fancy pants; carried away with your cart – or whatever, give it a try. Go back to basics. Get KISSing!

Then, you can

Fly like a dragon!

Yvonne

*Source: Dictionary.com Unabridged           Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.

Why you need to be ACTIVE on social media.

Being active on social media offers a great business advantage which is still overlooked by many small business owners.

It’s a cheap and effective way to keep in touch on a personal and business level. Yet it is often misunderstood and I regularly get this question….

Why am I missing posts? 

You’ve liked a page, but you’ve not seen anything from them for a while.

So you hop on over to pay a visit and guess what? There’s a heap of posts you have not seen!

You’ve liked the page, you clicked follow, you’ve set your settings up correctly and yet, you’re still missing out!

How is that possible?

The most likely cause is that you’ve not been engaging.

Think of it like this…

You know what’s happening in the lives of the friends that you see often. You share news, celebrations and commiserations together. You are interested and active in one another’s lives so are front of mind with each other.

When it comes to friends who you rarely see the situation is different.

You’re not up to date on their news. Sure social media is a way to connect, BUT….

Here’s the biggie…..

UNLESS you are actively interacting, you may not be fully in the picture.

You will miss things ….sometimes important stuff!

On a personal level, I missed out on news that someone I knew had a baby and that another had passed away.  I had not been active on their particular page for a while – even though we were Facebook friends.

At the business level, a few people have been telling me they missed out on the Dragon Sisters birthday promo. They had not seen it in their Facebook feed because even though they liked our page, they had not been interacting.

The key is to take an ACTIVE interest.

We all have a group of people we reach out to and make time for. As a result, we’re up to date on what’s happening in their lives.

On social media, it’s pretty much the same.  You can’t just pop up once in a while and expect magic to happen. Life doesn’t work like that and neither does social media.

The key word here is SOCIAL.

When you are social, you have a business advantage over those who are not actively harnessing the free tools readily available.

In a nutshell – if you’re not active, if you don’t interact then you’re likely to miss out on news.

When it comes down to Facebook, their algorithms are going to think you’re not interested and will stop showing you posts from those you do not interact with.

That’s what happened with the two friends I mentioned above….so

How to fix this?

By showing interest. You do this by liking and commenting on a regular basis.  Do this with your friends and with your business.

It’s like your real-time friendships…the more you look after them, the more you know what’s happening in their lives. It’s the same on social media.

Don’t have time?

Think of it like this….keeping up on social media needs a disciplined approach. For a couple of reasons, namely that it can become a big time waster… you can disappear down a rabbit hole and emerge to find 2 or 3 hours have gone past!

The second reason is if you’re posting without a strategy, you’re wasting your time.

Not what you want to happen!

Set aside a fixed time each day to work your channels.  Remember, you do not have to cover all the channels. Choose the ones that work best for you.

You only need 30 minutes per day to do a quick flick through, drop a few comments and likes.

When you are doing this as a business, or in business, it serves a two-fold purpose…

1) It signals to Facebook that you are interested so you’re more likely to be fed the posts.

2) YOU remain front of mind with those you are interacting with…so when they are looking for a service, you are more likely to pop into their heads as someone to contact.

Posting or Interacting?

Both!

It’s important to post on your business page so your fans know you are there, and it’s equally important (and sometimes more important) to interact.

Think of this time spent as an investment in your business…take it from me, the returns are definitely there.

If you are not interacting your name is not staying front of mind.

When you are in business – you need to interact!

Don’t think it would suit your business?

In this day and age, you have to really keep your finger on the pulse. Things move so fast and attention spans are short.

Fortunately,  technology makes it easy to do so. You may not like it much, but it’s the reality and it’s not going away.

More and more businesses are branching out to social media and you should too.  It can really raise your business profile.

Note I said raise your profile. This is very different from making sales.

Key Benefits

It’s cheap – in fact, it’s FREE unless you want to use advertising.

You get real-time feedback – if someone is unhappy, you know about it straight away.

Any reviews are there for the whole world to see and, as the page owner, you cannot delete them unless you delete ALL your reviews.

Similarly, if they are thrilled with a service their reviews are gold!

It’s authentic because you can click on the profiles and see who is commenting/interacting.

Bottom line….if you’re not maximising the free parts of social media, then you’re missing out on opportunities.

Fly like a dragon

Michelle

PS We do offer a short course on Understanding Facebook for Your Business – get in touch if you’d like to know more about it.

Why Reviewing Is Essential For Your Confidence

Does the word reviewing send you into a spin? Do visions of being hauled over the coals or worse…being let go, dance before your eyes?

Hang on a sec. Let me explain.

The word review is defined in the Oxford Dictionary as meaning a formal assessment of something with the intention of instituting change if necessary, a critical appraisal of a book, play, film.

When you look at something in a formal way, it means you take the time to really LOOK.

To be considered and measured.

You are focussed.

This means you can often see something that is in plain sight but has been missed in your day to day routine.

Taking time out to review where you’re heading and how you’re tracking tends to be something that is not always given the priority treatment it should be.

Let’s be honest, life gets pretty hectic – both in the personal and professional sense. We’re living in a fast-paced world.

I’ll fess up and say that reviewing my progress is not my favourite activity. BUT…I mean, how do you know where you are going if you are not measuring and reviewing?

I manage a pretty packed schedule; juggling business commitments, taking my turn looking after my Dad (he’s got Alzheimer’s so we can’t leave him alone for long), and making sure to spend quality time with the rest of my family, as well as plugging in some “Me Time.”

It’s one big juggle, BUT….the way business works has changed heaps since I started my career, so it’s actually easier to keep all the balls in the air.

Note I said easier, not easy!

Approaching our 10th Birthday (27th October) means time to do a deep review of Dragon Sisters. We’re looking at how we are working, who we work with, what tools we use and most important of all what results we are getting.

We began with looking at where we came from – I’ll be talking about that in another post.

When Yvonne (the other Dragon Sister) and I first started working…..

Telex machines – Shock! Horror!

Yes, we are “that” era! – ran hot, zapping messages to offices on the other side of the globe. If we needed to speak to someone, the phone costs were horrendous, but, hey, we worked for big corporates so finances were never an issue.

Tea ladies, doormen, receptionists, secretaries and typists (woe betide those who confuse the two!) were a part of our daily working environment.

Fast forward to 2017

Things we never even dreamed of …smart phones, tablets, laptops, Skype, WhatsApp, Trello, Dropbox, LinkedIn and…

…the Nespresso machine is part of our daily toolkit.

No doorman, no secretary anywhere in sight. Instead, we have virtual assistants and independent freelance experts.

One thing jumps out at me …

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

One thing that never changes

The need for strong communication skills remains as vital today as it ever was BECAUSE this is the way to connect.

If you cannot make the connection then you cannot move forward, in life and in business.

As an example, you want something done – perhaps you want your kids to clean their room, or staff members to adopt new initiatives. How you connect them with your message, how you present the instruction is going to shape the results you get.

As I think back, I now realise all my successes were achieved because of my ability to connect. In other words, to communicate with my team, donors, my board, managers, and clients.

Communication methods have changed

Most things are electronic; hard copy letters or invitations are pretty rare.

The way we write has also changed.

Let me ask you…how many times do you just skim through correspondence?

I’m a fast reader. I need to be because of the nature of my work. When it comes to unsolicited mail, I am a skimmer, and so are most people I know.

There is just so much that makes it way into our inboxes that unless we skim, we’ll never get to the end.

The new way of writing means lots of white space replaces block paragraphs. It makes things easier to skim and scan through to pick out key parts of the content that are of interest to you.

I have had to learn how to write for this new era.

Everyone types these days, and not because of typing class. Technology has made us all typists – even if you are of the two finger or flying thumb variety!

And that has made me realise that although almost everyone can use electronic communication tools, not everyone has the ability to communicate well. And some are really uncomfortable with the new mediums.

So as the 10th Birthday review for Dragon Sisters is underway, we’ve come across some very interesting data. It’s informing the direction the business will head… and no one is being let go.

Phew!

Services will be changing slightly, but the one thing that is standing out loud and clear is the need to once again be adding to the Wordsmith Wonders team, which has tripled in the last 12 months.

The first surprise for us is that our biggest client base is the young male, senior-level executives/entrepreneurs who are absolute stars when it comes to heading up their teams. Being thought leaders that are so self-aware, they recognise a little confidential support on the communications front goes a long way.

So how does a review boost your confidence?

In its very simplest form, a review gives you confidence by either demonstrating you are on track or off-roading!

Regardless of what the outcome is, you can then be confident that you are either on the right path for your career/business or you know 100% that you are not.

Knowledge is power. You have the information in your hands and this provides the confidence to make the decision on what your next steps will be.

A review gives me the confidence to keep going in the same direction or to cut my losses and change direction.

What do you think? Let me know your thoughts in the comments.

Fly like a dragon,

Michelle

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Nothing is all Lattes and Laughs …

The Truth About Being Your Own Boss

On Wednesday Michelle and I sat down together for the first time in over three weeks. Being your own boss is awesome when you can kick back over an excellent fresh ground coffee to shoot the breeze. But we were working. Honest!

Shooting the breeze is a weekly event, even if only via Skype sometimes (which I love because Michelle can’t see my fluffy Pokémon slippers).

It’s when we check out what’s going well, what’s to be improved (for Dragon Sisters as well as for our clients), what’s to be ditched or tweaked. And, best of all, it’s a big fat brainstorm on what we want to do next.

Read: what the business needs next. Or sometimes, right this minute!

One massive advantage of being a small business is that you can make fast decisions and get them happening quicker than Superman can put his tights on.

Being small means being agile is a breeze.

I like to think that whilst we’re Mini in size, boy are we Ferrari fast! By lunchtime, we were ready to launch a new product. For a new market.

Exciting!! Had this been Skype my Pokémon’s would have been doing their Happy Pokémon Prance.

This evening, as I was pondering the subject for this week’s blog, it occurred to me that many of our readers are just like us. Some, are making their first foray into being an SME (small to medium enterprise). And I thought, this really hasn’t been a breeze. Ten years on, it’s easier, but let’s be honest, nothing is all Lattes and Laughs.

The difference between working ON your business and working IN your business

Michelle wrote a very real view on The Truth About Being Your Own Boss last year.

It has some insightful tips, like the difference between working on your business and working in your business.

Plus, 5 Tips for Working ON Your Business. Super easy, super do-able tips you can use now – cos you too are Ferrari Fast.

She also mentions one of our private Facebook groups, which you can check out, and join us there if you like the idea of an authentic Q&A platform with folk just like you and us. You can also promo your business, share and get ideas, and even on occasion, Opportunities ?. You know how I love the O word!

Fly Like A Dragon

Yvonne