CREATING BUSINESS GROWTH

Creating business growth is essential to the survival and success of your business.

If you’re one of those lucky ones who always has more than enough – well done! You don’t need to read any further…unless you’re just curious.

Creating business growth is something that has to be something you consciously work on. Not an afterthought. A regular part of your business life.

It all starts with developing a specific mindset. A smarketing mindset.

The smarketing mindset encompasses sales, strategy and marketing rolled into a system that becomes a part of how you work, and everything that you do.

Smarketing = Business Growth

Smarketing is all about knowing how to recognise, create and maximise opportunities that present themselves to you each and every day.

Problem is, more often than not, you may not recognise the opportunity.

You are not alone!

Smarketing is a mindset that is all about creating business growth.

The good news is that developing a smarketing mindset is not hard…if you really want to learn. And if you need help – consider this online 8-week course.

The starting point

It all starts with knowing exactly WHO your audience is.

If you want to grow your business you need to know who you are serving.

Ask yourself these three questions:

1. “Who is my message important to?”
2. “How will it add value to their lives?”
3. “Will it help solve a problem they are facing?

Once you know the answer to these questions, you’ll be able to more effectively communicate to the right audience for your business.

A targetted approach is far more effective than a random splatter of information.

Why? Because it is deliberately aimed at a particular group.

Ongoing learning

Smarketers are always open to feedback, have a willingness to keep digging deep, to tweaking and measuring results. When you’re smarketing you are always learning.

This can be challenging but it’s also very rewarding because once you nail it, the results speak volumes.

Measuring ROI, lead generation, industry, countries, client feedback, sources and a whole bunch more is all a part of smarketing.

Not only is gaining feedback an interesting exercise from an information perspective, but it’s essential to the survival and growth of your business.

Smarketing, is a combination of strategy, sales and marketing – it is part of the formula to famine proofing your business.

Not sure where to start?

It can be daunting when there are so many balls to juggle. The list of things to do is never ending but…STOP.

MAKE time…take time out and INVEST in learning how to move forward and grow your business with purpose.

Fly like a dragon

Michelle




Strategic Planning = Achieving Your Goals

Strategic Planning is most often associated with a business.

Yet, if you stop and think about it… when you need to reach personal goals, it becomes so much easier with planning.

Strategic (adjective) as identified by the Oxford dictionary is defined as – Relating to the identification of long-term or overall aims and interests and the means of achieving them.

Putting time and thought into how we go about achieving both business and personal goals is equally important. Yet this is not something very many of us tend to do. At least not consciously.

For the most part, we often don’t think of our personal lives in terms of strategic planning. Yet strategy really does play a huge part in each of our lives.

Achieving Outcomes

If you want to achieve a certain outcome then you need to have a very measured approach.

A pathway. A series of stepping stones that take you forward towards your goals.

Without that pathway. The map. The strategy. Life tends to just wander along in a leisurely (or perhaps chaotic) fashion.

There is no firm direction.

Without strategic direction, there is less chance of achievement and satisfaction.

Strategic planning is all about aiming for what is right for YOU and for your business.

You are unique and your plans will be different to mine – but there is a commonality to all plans…

Strategic Direction

As we move along with our business/life/career we each NEED to know the direction we are heading in and WHERE we want to end up.

Why? Because without clear goals it is impossible to tell if we have actually achieved our goals and arrived where we want to be.

Naturally, goals can and often do change as we move through life. That’s part and parcel of business growth and life in general.

So many times I speak to women who have achieved an enormous amount in their lives and yet still feel a sense of lacking.

A sense of lacking

The sense of lacking can often be as a result of lack of clarity. The clarity is missing because there is no clearly defined goal.

Goals are not set and so there is the constant sense of needing to strive for more because it’s never clear that the destination has been reached.

Think about it… we experience the truest sense of achievement when we know we have actually got something we were aiming for.

In my own life, I have received lots of accolades, but these did not really provide that sense of achievement. Other people may have defined these as achievements, and yes, in a way they are right.

BUT …because these were never my goals I did not gain the sense of having “arrived” anywhere. It was a bonus to be recognised for a job well done. It was never a goal to achieve personal recognition.

Personal achievement

For me – one of my most recent biggest senses of achievement came when I was able to spend a year living and working in Europe.

It had been a goal I had for many years.

Planning out how this could be possible without enough language skills to operate at a corporate or community business level and still earn enough money to live on was a challenge. A big challenge!

I made it a reality by putting together a 4-year strategic plan that would get me there. The plan involved ticking off each of the steps one at a time.

Small goals. Bit by bit.

The result was achieving my “sabbatical” year in Spain.

Fly like a Dragon Fly like a dragon

Michelle

PS – need help with your own Strategic Planning? Get in touch and I’ll guide your through creating your plan.

 

 

 

Changing things up…for business growth

Business growth means changing things up.

But change is not a natural state. It’s something that often brings resistance.

Our natural state is to want to stay within our comfort zones. It’s what we know, it’s usually predictable. We’re not taking any risks and it’s…

Boring!

Comfortable

There is comfort in waking up each day knowing exactly what you are going to do.

It’s nice knowing what’s going to unfold. How the day will play out. No hidden surprises.

You know what you’re going to be facing when you step into your office/business. You can handle whatever the day is going to be throwing your way. Sure there may be a few little waves of disruption, but that’s okay…you can handle it.

This kind of comfort comes from the familiarity of a set routine.

It’s mundane and certainly not a challenge. It is not an atmosphere for growth!

Challenge

Facing challenges makes you grow, develop new skills and expand your horizons.

I know from personal experience that it is during the times when I’ve been facing the biggest challenges that I’ve really grown.

One of the biggest challenges I ever faced and that had a huge impact on my future business pathway was…speaking in public.

I was always the one in the background. I was happy doing research, speaking to people one on one, writing speeches etc.

I had the wordsmith gift but I was missing an essential ingredient… the confidence to stand up in front of a live crowd. TV and radio were okay because the audience was not actually right there. Not sitting right where I could see them.

For many years I was able to coast along and avoid public speaking.

However, this all changed in 2004. I won the Telstra Business Woman of the Year (NT) Award. Part of the expectation was that I would be willing to speak in public.

It frightened the daylights out of me…

Embracing the Challenge

I listened to experts on how best to tackle the problem of overcoming nerves and what a good speaker needed to do. Tell a joke, warm the crowd up etc and so on went the advice.

I am not a natural at telling a joke. I’m hopeless and forget the punch lines every time, so no way was that going to work for me. I also tried (in the privacy of my home) practising a bunch of other techniques.

The very best advice I got was from a very unlikely quarter.

It came from Veronica Macauley Cross. She was the Queensland representative for BCNA at the same time as myself. Her advice was simply this…be yourself, and don’t ever let anyone try to tell you that catch in your voice needs to go. It’s the emotion that you convey that makes you such a powerful speaker.

It was also empowering to know that people genuinely wanted to hear what I had to share. Veronica passed away in 2007 (she was living with advanced breast cancer from the first day I met her) but I vividly remember Veronica and the very solid advice she gave me.

I changed things up by becoming a (reluctant) speaker because the business needed me to do so. The message needed sharing and there was an eager audience spanning the globe who were all waiting to hear what I had to share.

Business Growth

My work as a breast cancer advocate and founder of Dragons Abreast Australia was definitely business. The business was promoting awareness of breast cancer.

A business can only grow when you are willing to embrace change. You also need to have systems in place. Without systems, it’s a struggle to keep the performance level high – it’s also impossible to effectively grow.

No matter what kind of business you have – regardless of whether it is for or not for profit it is absolutely essential that you are willing and able to embrace change.

Change = Opportunity. Opportunity = growth.

It often means stepping right outside your comfort zone.

The challenge is being willing to step out, to step up and to make changes. To learn. To adapt. To release a little control through automating, delegating and outsourcing… so you can achieve your business goals.

It’s often just a few small tweaks to the way you’re doing business that can make a huge difference in your results.

It can be tough to work out what you need. But it’s definitely worth spending time on.

If you are not sure where to start and need some help figuring it out…reach out to us...you’ll soon be creating and maximising opportunities to take you to the next level. Promise! Don’t take our word for it…check out what others have to say.

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.

 

The 5 Types of Goal Setters & Goal Getters

Everyone has goals. Fitness goals, diet goals, past-time based goals, and career goals. These are just a few types of goals you might have.

At Dragon Sisters, we have our own special set of business goals and each member of our team has their own personal goals. My goal is to become a published author.

Of course, I’ve had other goals, and I’ve had to make changes to my life accordingly as certain things changed. Which got me thinking about some of my old school mates, from high school and from university. Amongst them are some truly inspirational people and looking at all of them, I’d have to say there’s at least 5 types of goal setters & goal getters.

The Unwavering

This type sets themselves a goal and pursues it till accomplished; nothing seems able to deter them.

My friend Dayna is one of these types. I’ve known her since primary school and she’s always been super artistic. When we were in high school she decided she wanted to work in graphic design, and pushed herself above and beyond. She set her heart on RMIT University in Melbourne and poured everything she had into her grades.

I remember watching her work endlessly on her final assessments for year 12, and you know what? She did it, she got into RMIT and got her degree in graphic design, now she’s working in the industry and putting her skills to use.

The Realistic Dreamer

You probably know one of these yourself. They’ve got ambitions, but they’ve also got grounding.

These are the people who plot out a course and consider what’s happening in their life before shooting off after the impossible. Instead they pursue the possible knowing that it is the first stepping stone to the impossible.

Michelle Gately is one of these types, she’s a reporter for the Rockhampton Morning Bulletin at the moment and she’s also a book blogger, but one day who knows she might be working at Dolly or Bride to Be (she’s definitely got the writing chops for it).

I met Michelle when studying at Bond University. We were both journalism students, and we each wanted to focus towards magazines. As avid book lovers and writers, we bonded. Back then I still felt pretty confident in pursuing journalism, but unlike Michelle, that didn’t really pan out for me.

Michelle had wanted to work at her hometown’s paper straight from the get go so that she could help out her Dad. Yes, she wanted to eventually work at the magazines she adores, but no she was going to do things in a realistic fashion and start at home.

The Achiever

Some people seem to effortlessly achieve their goals. They set them and then next thing you know they’re achieving them. Of course, they do put in the effort, you can’t reach your goals without a little hard work, but it’s not always something we see.

My good friend Geordi Avila is one of these achievers, she works hard, but it also just seems like her goals fall into her palm (I know it isn’t so). I think the big reason for this is her amazingly positive attitude.

She’s always got a smile ready and a can do spirit. Geordi lived in the same campus dormitory as me when I was studying at Bond University. We lived in the same hall with just a few rooms between us, she became one of my closest friends at university, and I’m so happy to see her working at SKY News. Though I’m a little jealous how smoothly she transitioned from studying to real life (I’m still getting the hang of it all).

I fit Geordi in this category because even when we were at Bond she was an achiever, and yet she always seemed to have time for friends and social activities. I know she puts in the hours and the hard work, but it just looks easy for her.

The Procrastinator

A few of my closest friends fall into this category, they’ve got goals and they’ve got talent, but they just don’t seem to be getting there.

The people in this type can set goals anywhere from realistic to ambitious, but they always seem to still be reaching when you next check up on them.

Sometimes there are hurdles that seem to put kinks in their plans.  A friend of mine wants to be an actress but after just barely missing out with her first National Institute of Dramatic Art audition and then being looked over the next two times she’s spiralled off the path. Her goal is still the same, but she hasn’t made any strong efforts to try and reach it lately.

Another friend wants to work in graphic design (yes, I have multiple friends that are the artistic creative types). This particular friend took a hit to her goal as even though she was pouring everything she had into course work, failed one of her university classes, so she put her degree on hold and spent some time (a year or two) trying to figure things out. Now she’s finally getting back to her degree. Here’s hoping she gets to the finish line this time around.

The Ever Changing

Here is the category that I fall into. I’ve had a lot of goals and not all of them reached fruition.

Don’t get me wrong my life goal has been to be a published author since I was just a little girl having her Daddy read her books, but my career goals now, they are ever changing.

I’m the type that thinks they know exactly what they want and then later realises that isn’t quite right. I originally wanted to study teaching but was told by my high school teachers to study something else first, so I switched goals to journalism.

In university during my second year of study, it suddenly came to me, I wasn’t doing something that I wanted to do… of course, I was halfway through and could still use everything I was learning, so I persevered and got my degree.

After university, I really wasn’t sure where I was going in life. I did a stint as a tutor at my former high school (one of the most rewarding jobs I’ve ever done) and tried my hand doing some filler writing for a local magazine before deciding to go back to university and study teaching. That didn’t pan out as I quickly realised I’d finally reached my school quota, I couldn’t bear to read any more textbooks or do any more assignments.

That’s when I decided I wanted to really get into editing. I had all the necessary skills from my journalism degree, and I enjoyed going through other people’s work and correcting it. So finally, by joining the Dragon Sisters team, I was able to achieve one of my career goals. Now I just need to conquer my life goal.

What type of goal setter & goal getter are you?

Sasha

PS If you enjoy reading fiction, check out my short stories to feed the mind.

Happiness – what makes you happy?

20th March (yesterday) was International Day of Happiness. Today, we are celebrating Harmony Day in Australia. It’s a day where we celebrate cultural diversity and the wonderful multiculturalism that makes up Australia.

I thought this would be a great day to give a big shout out to all my wonderful friends, family, clients and colleagues that I’ve worked with from all corners of the globe. You have contributed to my happiness metre. Knowing you has helped me develop, grow and become the person I am today.

What does happiness mean?

Happiness, in my book, is being contented with living in the moment. It’s all about embracing what you have and being grateful for each and every opportunity that comes your way.

Yes, I have experienced some tough times in both my personal life and business life. But each moment that I’ve been through has grown me as a person. It has made me who I am today.

If you are one of my clients or students, you’ll know I often refer to FAIL as First Attempt In Learning. If we do not fail, then we often miss out on extremely valuable lessons.

The biggest happiness lesson

Happiness is not measured by how much you have or by where you are. Rather it comes from within.

You and I are each responsible for our own happiness. We cannot blame others if we are unhappy, nor can we expect them to fix things for us.

I’ve met so many people with so very little in their lives, yet they are happy. In contrast I also know people surrounded by abundance, with not a monetary care in the world, yet they are desperately unhappy.

Of course our happiness metre can increase when in the company of certain people or doing certain activities, but that is just a short-term boost.

If you constantly feel unhappy, you may be suffering from depression, and there is no shame in that. There is help available and I would encourage anyone who has been feeling low for more than a couple of weeks to seek out professional support. You do not have to travel this road alone.

Happiness and business

Being in business is tough. Being in business for yourself is even tougher. It can be stressful. Heck, it is stressful.

BUT, it does come down to your attitude and outlook. Being willing to reach out, by maintaining a positive outlook and being prepared to adapt and change to suit circumstances all contribute to your internal happiness with your business.

Setting achievable goals, working with a business plan, utilising expertise and mapping out time for yourself to refresh, reframe and relax away from your business are all contributing to your happiness equation.

I’ve had my back to the wall, struggled to pay bills and had to negotiate payment plans. What I teach and espouse is all based on personal experience.

My personal experience is what has added to my knowledge base. It has actually been of benefit because I have gained capacity to truly understand the needs of my SME clients. I did not learn just via a course or text-book, but in the school of life, and this is what now affords me testimonials like these:

I have found working with Michelle to be very valuable. She provides clear, easy guidance with keen insight to your particular business needs.

Linda Emslie

Helping others

You may feel that in tough times you need to tighten your belt. Yes, you do.

But that does not mean you cannot afford to help others. Donating your time is one of the most valuable gifts of all.

As a business, at Dragon Sisters, we have always offered pro-bono support rather than cash. Our inkind services are far more valuable than any cash contribution we can afford to make, and as a result of the pro-bono support we get a nice warm and fuzzy feeling inside. It makes us feel happy to have helped someone else.

You can help out in so many different ways, a few hours a week, a month or a year. It’s all valuable and valued.

Your happiness metre

It’s a little place inside you.  A place where you store up all the wonderful feelings and experiences.

Each good thing you do, each experience and each achievement, all feed your happiness metre. The more you feed the metre, the more reserve you have to tap into when there are tough moments to encounter.

Wishing you happiness today and everyday.

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.

 

How trust builds business and why the obvious isn’t so obvious!

It’s obvious that to build any relationship we need a bedrock of trust. Trust builds business.

Who doesn’t know that?!

We all know it and that it makes perfect sense.

No one is going to build a lasting and meaningful relationship with someone they trust about as far as they can throw them. That would be like cosying up to a mamba and expecting nothing more harmful than a hug – just a teeny bit unrealistic – said the mistress of understatement.

Yet that is exactly what some of us do and then we wonder why we got bitten.

That was pretty much the premise of last week’s blog about poor old Bob coming unstuck with a new LinkedIn connection.

The big question is – who can you trust and how do you know you can trust them?

More importantly, if you’re interested in networking to advance your business ethically, how do new contacts and connections know they can trust you?

With digital networking and global reach, it’s not uncommon to have people in your network that you have never actually met. Nor will you, except with the acquisition of a Lear Jet.

I don’t know about you, but at Dragon Sisters we run to the cost of a couple of company cars and that’s about it. Except for a bunch of air miles. Cattle class. Not that I’m whinging.

One of the fail-safe ways to start out on a platform of reasonable mutual trust, is to do a lot of business through referrals. Michelle and I do the majority of our Dragon Sisters’ business through word-of-mouth referrals.

Our approach

As a couple of old dragons we pre-date social media and had to rely on strong in-person networking and referrals back in the day. As a sales person, I hated cold calling and being a pest, so I learnt fast that there was a far easier and more pleasant way to meet new prospects and great like-minded people, who were immediately interested in talking to me, because they knew someone who trusted me enough to refer a friend or an associate to me.

We use exactly the same approach now that we have access to all the marvellous one-click-away contact of social media. And it is marvellous making instant connections provided you don’t lose sight of the fact that any new connection is just going to be one more digit on your vanity metric, until, or unless, you’ve forged an initial element of trust.

That’s what doesn’t seem so obvious now to many digital networkers and marketers.

Michelle wrote a while back explaining how networking and referrals can drive any business’ growth far faster and far smoother once you get the hang of it. Like driving a Ferrari! Yes, I have hankerings for speedy, expensive, transportation toys.

Right, I’m off to polish my Nissan now.

Warm Wishes,

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 Value Of Using A Journal

Are you one of those people who uses a journal?  Or do you hear the word journal and immediately thinks diary?

Sure, a diary is a daily record of your life, thoughts, hopes and wishes or, in the business sense it can be a record of your appointments and movements.

A journal, whilst similar to a diary, does not need to be written in each day, although you can if you want to.

A journal is your personal record of the journey that we are taking in our life. Each of us is at a different point in our life journey, so we will each have varying needs at different times. With a journal, there is no wrong or right way.

It is entirely up to you as to the type of journal you keep. There could be aspects of your life that you want to change, explore or expand upon. Once you have begun identifying the area, then you’re ready to begin your journal journey.

Download my tip sheet to get started with your own Journal Journey 

So what kind of journal should you keep?

This really depends on which areas you feel the need to work on and is very much a personal choice.

For instance, if you are feeling stressed and overwhelmed, a “Me Time” journal could be in order. Consider a “Relationship” journal if you need to work on your relationships, or perhaps a “Memories” journal to help keep a record of special people and special moments.

If you are unwell or facing a difficult illness, then a “Healing” journal can offer immense value.

When I was diagnosed with breast cancer, I started to maintain a wellness journal which was so valuable in the sense that I was able to reflect back at the end of each week and month to see how far I had progressed.

I was able to visibly notice how much better I was coping with each dose of chemotherapy. Yes, it was making me sick, but with each dose, my recovery time was shorter rather than longer. As I reflected and read back over the entries in the journal, I felt more empowered. More in control over my own health. I was also able to pinpoint the activities that had taken place to make me feel better or worse.

In the workplace

If you’re self-employed, or a first time manager a business journal is also another great way of holding yourself accountable and debriefing.

Your business plan is the official roadmap, but your journal is the place where you have the luxury of exploring how you are travelling in terms of personal feelings, experiences and fears.

Writing a journal is a wonderful way to slow down and take the time to analyse situations and our reactions to them. The mere act of sitting quietly and handwriting helps to still chattering monkeys of our minds.

Thoughts should be allowed to flow unbidden onto the paper in front of you. They do not need to be in a specific order.

Once the mind has emptied itself, you can go back and read over what has been written.

It’s quite incredible what insight you will often gain by re-reading your own words.

Discipline

It’s not always easy to get into a new habit and finding time to journal can often be a challenge.

The secret lies in being disciplined.

Set yourself up for success by allocating a set time to journal.

First thing in the morning, last thing at night or during a lunch break are times that seem to work well for many. Allocate the time in your calendar and stick it.

Taking Control

A journal is a great way of taking control, being empowered and keeping track of where you are heading in your life, your business, and even your relationships or finances.

The way you chose to use a journal is very much a personal choice.

There are many products on the market that provide visual prompts for your journal. They come at various price points, and it is very much a personal choice how you choose to journal.

Often simple is best. A blank notebook and a quality pen are all that you need to start your journal journey.

There’s also a great article here on the 10 Surprise Benefits you’ll get from keeping a journal.

Do you currently keep a journal? I’d love you share your experiences of the benefits you’ve discovered in the comments below.

Michelle

Download my tip sheet to get started with your own Journal Journey

How to effectively toot your own horn

How to effectively toot your own horn, and promote yourself and your business without looking like a complete self promoter is something that so many of us grapple with.

Do you find it easy to toot your own horn?

If you’re like a zillion other business people I know, then your most likely answer is going to be no. And that’s a perfectly normal answer.

Learning how to promote yourself without sounding like you’re bragging is not always the easiest thing to do. If you feel uncomfortable you are not alone.

It seems a bit braggish to be boasting about how wonderful you are. Braggish – is that even a word?

Nothing more annoying that those people who pop up all over the place telling you how wonderful they are, full of their own importance and it’s all about them. You know the kind I mean. Very rarely share anything about anyone else, just tell you all about themselves. They kind of tend to be the same in real life too – never stop to take breath or ask anyone else about how they are doing.

On the other hand, you kind of have to admire the size of their ego and the fact that they are totally oblivious to anything but themselves, their own needs and wants.

SO – how do you tell people how wonderful you and your business are without coming across as being full of ego?

Well, here’s the thing.

I have spent a great many years working in the not for profit sector. Most people in this sector are amazingly giving and generous with their time and knowledge. They do what they do for others, rather than themselves. Sure, they may get paid, but the wages are paltry compared with the corporate world.

I crossed from corporate to not for profit and now into the world of self employment.

I always found it very easy (and I still do) to promote a charity or a cause that I am working for. That’s because I only work with nice people and causes I believe in.

It’s very easy to ask for money for others. It’s easy to ask for support for a charity.

When it came down to promoting myself, that was a whole diferent kettle of fish. I had one major stumbling block.

The difficulty was…..

Making the ask for myself. When I first returned to Australia, I needed to let people know that I was looking for business locally.

It was not easy.

Up until that point, I had never needed to ask for myself.

I felt uncomfortable actively telling people about my own credentials and successes. It felt like I was bragging. I’ve never been particularly good at the me, me, me thing.  In my business successes I’ve always put my achievements down to whole teams efforts, crediting those working me for their contributions.

Then I realised that all these people I have helped, people who said they admired my work, were actually very willing to help me move ahead in my business.

The problem was…..

They did not know I needed help.

What I had to do was ask. They were not mind readers.

Ok, I had to do a little bit more than ask.  I needed to be clear about HOW they could help me and be specific about WHAT I wanted them to do.

I found LinkedIn a truly valuable tool for helping promote my business skills.  It was a place people could look me up, and the recommendations, honours and awards on my profile did the horn tooting for me.

Click here to grab a copy of our 8 Top Tips for using LinkedIn

I also honed my  pitch, so that I could quickly explain

“Dragons Sisters can help you to connect, convert and sell. We do this through strategic communication and a proven formula of Smarketing – strategy, sales and marketing.”

The team at Dragon Sisters has many talents, but it all boils down to helping clients with connecting, converting and selling.

To understand more about what it takes to connect, convert and sell  Click here to grab your copy of our FREE e-book on How to Create Engagement with Strategic Communication. It’s packed with engagement tips and information to help you succeed.

Once I started to express exactly what we do, the business stared to flow and we’ve not looked back. In fact, it’s rather nice to be in the position that we have many repeat clients and lots of word of mouth referrals.

To  each and every one of the businesses we’ve worked with – THANK YOU! It’s been a great pleasure to help you move your businesses forward.

Michelle

 

 

 

Isn’t hindsight a fabulous and frustrating thing?

It’s fabulous when you can look back, satisfied with the choices you made, and frustrating when dissatisfied enough to think, ‘If I knew then what I know now … I wouldn’t have done that/I would have done this’, or whatever it is that you would change if you could.

Which you can’t unless you have a Tardis. And you don’t. See, a bit frustrating sometimes!

The biggest frustration is when there was a great opportunity – there for the taking – had you only known …

Which usually only becomes apparent when someone, other than you, beats you to the punch. In the words of Homer Simpson, this can be a ‘Doh!’ moment.

Yet there are those people in life, and in business, who never seem to slip up in this way. Not that we’re jealous (no green-eyed monsters here), but have thoughts like these ever bounced across your brain? ‘I should be so lucky!’ or ‘That guy has all the luck!’ or ‘How does she do it?!’

Is it luck, or do they know something you don’t?

What’s noticeable about these types of people is that they’re consistent. They rarely bobble up and down like a ping pong ball in a wave machine. There’s something that anchors them, keeps them on course, on point.

They have a specific mindset. We call it a Smarketing Mindset.

The will to win, the desire to succeed, the urge to reach your full potential... these are the keys that will unlock the door to personal excellence.ConfuciusWe coined the term ‘smarketing’, because, in business, you have to have a consistent approach to everything, a specific mindset. If you don’t, you’ll find that the results you get peak and trough (like the ping pong ball), and your performance averages out at, well – average.

By your approach to everything, we mean just that: Everything you do and say. Every decision you make. Everything you think.

And before you think, ‘this Dragon Sisters lot sound like a brain-washing cult,’ one of the key things in developing a Smarketing Mindset, is honing your own, unique voice, to cut through the white noise of sameness.

Smarketing is simply a mindset that you can develop to constantly and consistently create and maximise opportunities – even the ones you may not have noticed (remember those are the ones we lost to that person with a charmed life?)

Some people are born Smarketers (OK there was an element of luck with them there). Most people become Smarketers by learning a system which gives them the same advantages: being one of those sorts who rarely miss an opportunity and, importantly, know how to create opportunity.

Smarketing is about strategy – not the sort you write down for your boss or your bank manager – the sort you live by until it becomes second nature.

It’s your personal formula of communication and promotion. It personalizes your sales, your marketing, your business. It sets you, and your business, apart from the rest.

If you want to make your own luck – it’s time to get smarketing!

Michelle & Yvonne

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.

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.