Blog - Kara Lambert

Growing your business

So often I speak to business owners about their ideal business, their dream business. They know exactly where they want to be but they’re stuck. They think it’s an all or nothing thing. Life isn’t black and white nor is it all or nothing. So what is the most common issue I see with this thinking and how do you get around it?

More often than not, business owners want to grow their business, put on new staff, open a new premises, but they’re worried that they won’t have the continuing income to achieve it.

Many businesses think that they need to save up or otherwise have the money/work behind them before they can expand. That’s just not the case.

Outsourcing

This is probably the easiest one to do.

Looking to put a staff member on? Try outsourcing various jobs rather than putting one person on. This way you will also learn what you are prepared to have someone else do and it will teach you, incrementally, what it’s like to have someone else do the work for you.

The most common barrier put up to outsourcing is the cost. I encourage business owners to focus more on what they can get done with that time they’ve ‘bought’ for themselves by outsourcing rather than the cost of the job itself. Look at what you will earn in that time. Think about how long a task would have taken and look at what you could earn in that time. Now how does outsourcing feel?

Contracting

Similar to outsourcing, is using a contracting company to ‘outsource’ the work.

Many business owners I know are looking to put on another staffer and so using a contractor can be a great way to increase staff on an ad-hoc basis until your business grows to the point where you can put someone on more permanently.

Using a contracting company can mean that you’re not responsible for a person’s entitlements, like you would staff, but you generally pay a higher rate in lieu.

Part-time/temporary work

The next stage up from a contractor would be to put someone on temporarily or part-time. Using a temporary position can mean getting you through the busy periods without worrying about what you’re going to do when things slow down. Using part-time staff means that you have more flexibility of knowing that they’re staff but that they will work for a minimum number of hours in a period, which can be increased under negotiation.

The great thing is that this incremental upgrading approach can also be used for expanding premises.

You might look at hiring a room on an ad-hoc basis, then move to a set time/day each week/month/quarter, and then expand that time. You can then consider a more permanent or larger lease as your business grows.

The thing to remember is that this is all incremental, can be expanded, and there’s no cut or dry approach to expansion. Every business is different, you have different circumstances, what worked for your competitor may not work for you (may not have worked for them either and they could be hiding it).

In the end, look at your numbers, consider these options, and realise that even these decisions aren’t set in concrete and you can change them. As awful as it sounds you can let staff go or break a lease, there are always ways to change.

Why I track my finances and you should too

So you may or may not know that when I was certain that consulting & coaching was the way I was headed, I projected my income out 10 years. Bit of a pipe dream? Maybe but that wasn’t my intention.

I looked at my numbers over a six month period and saw that I had almost doubled my business in that period, so I took the number and multiplied it out – year on year.

So yes, I know it’s ambitious but hey there’s nothing wrong with ambition!

So why did I do it?

Where am I headed financially?

As a new business owner I had no idea where I was headed financially. I knew I needed to bring in more money. I knew that I wanted sustainable growth. But I had no idea what that looked like for my business. So I went back to the numbers I had and used those. Let’s face it, the past is a good indicator for the future.

By projecting my income out 10 years I also knew that there were going to be points where I was going to have to change and perhaps bring new offers into the business – just to achieve the desired growth.  It gives me time to train and develop, things which take time.

To acclimatise to the financial position

Ever think of a dollar figure and get a little scared by the enormity of the number? What if you looked at it every day and you could see how you were progressing towards it and how far you’d come?

So you dream of hitting 5-figures, 6-figures, or 7-figures with your income, right? Because I’ve projected out my income (and I track my progress against it), I can see exactly when I’m set to achieve that figure. I look at my chart most days and I can see those multiple figure incomes coming. I can also see that I’m set to achieve some earlier than anticipate and that is an incredible feeling. I remember when a number seemed unachievable and now I’m shooting past it.

Repeated exposure to your goals creates a more concrete imprint in your mind making it more likely to be achieved.

To keep myself on track

Yep, there are times where I get in a rut. Bills are coming in or forecasted and the income is just not going to cut it. Tracking my income I can see where these things are and I can see with relative certainty where the horizon is for a surplus. It’s nice to see a way out knowing the money is coming.

The other way it keeps me on track is that it pushes me to achieve more, to reach next year’s goal this year, to innovate and grow my business sooner, to stop procrastinating on an idea, to try. Seeing my goals and watching them draw near motivates me to achieve more.

To anticipate business changes.

Projecting and tracking my finances means that I can see where I am likely to need to bring in an accountant or to outsource other functions of my business. By having a financial plan, I can see where I need to make business changes in the future  or if I need to make them sooner.

To celebrate

This is my favourite thing. I am keen to celebrate success. I enjoy knowing that my hard work has paid off and I recognise that. Let’s face it, not many of us are in the business of making money for money’s sake. So having and tracking my finances means that I can also see that I am achieving and therefore I can celebrate. How I celebrate differs, but it’s never extravagant. And don’t worry, sometimes celebrations are put off on account of a lack of finances that month, but because I track and project, I know when I will be able to celebrate and with what.

So I encourage all business owners to project and track their income. Project out a number of years and track at least weekly. ”Keep an eye on the pennies and the pounds will follow.”

If you’d like a copy of the financial tracker I use, you can

So you may or may not know that when I was certain that consulting & coaching was the way I was headed, I projected my income out 10 years. Bit of a pipe dream? Maybe but that wasn’t my intention.

I looked at my numbers over a six month period and saw that I had almost doubled my business in that period, so I took the number and multiplied it out – year on year.

So yes, I know it’s ambitious but hey there’s nothing wrong with ambition!

So why did I do it?

Where am I headed financially?

As a new business owner I had no idea where I was headed financially. I knew I needed to bring in more money. I knew that I wanted sustainable growth. But I had no idea what that looked like for my business. So I went back to the numbers I had and used those. Let’s face it, the past is a good indicator for the future.

By projecting my income out 10 years I also knew that there were going to be points where I was going to have to change and perhaps bring new offers into the business – just to achieve the desired growth.  It gives me time to train and develop, things which take time.

To acclimatise to the financial position

Ever think of a dollar figure and get a little scared by the enormity of the number? What if you looked at it every day and you could see how you were progressing towards it and how far you’d come?

So you dream of hitting 5-figures, 6-figures, or 7-figures with your income, right? Because I’ve projected out my income (and I track my progress against it), I can see exactly when I’m set to achieve that figure. I look at my chart most days and I can see those multiple figure incomes coming. I can also see that I’m set to achieve some earlier than anticipate and that is an incredible feeling. I remember when a number seemed unachievable and now I’m shooting past it.

Repeated exposure to your goals creates a more concrete imprint in your mind making it more likely to be achieved.

To keep myself on track

Yep, there are times where I get in a rut. Bills are coming in or forecasted and the income is just not going to cut it. Tracking my income I can see where these things are and I can see with relative certainty where the horizon is for a surplus. It’s nice to see a way out knowing the money is coming.

The other way it keeps me on track is that it pushes me to achieve more, to reach next year’s goal this year, to innovate and grow my business sooner, to stop procrastinating on an idea, to try. Seeing my goals and watching them draw near motivates me to achieve more.

To anticipate business changes.

Projecting and tracking my finances means that I can see where I am likely to need to bring in an accountant or to outsource other functions of my business. By having a financial plan, I can see where I need to make business changes in the future  or if I need to make them sooner.

To celebrate

This is my favourite thing. I am keen to celebrate success. I enjoy knowing that my hard work has paid off and I recognise that. Let’s face it, not many of us are in the business of making money for money’s sake. So having and tracking my finances means that I can also see that I am achieving and therefore I can celebrate. How I celebrate differs, but it’s never extravagant. And don’t worry, sometimes celebrations are put off on account of a lack of finances that month, but because I track and project, I know when I will be able to celebrate and with what.

So I encourage all business owners to project and track their income. Project out a number of years and track at least weekly. ”Keep an eye on the pennies and the pounds will follow.”

If you’d like a copy of the financial tracker I use, you can download it here.

Lies we’re told about running a Facebook Page

So often I hear business owners, especially women, saying that they feel lost marketing their business online. They feel overwhelmed by all of the information out there, especially if they have a Facebook presence for their business (and this is where I will focus).

Perhaps it’s the benefit of having had some time off over Christmas/New Year and that they have had time away from social media and realised that there’s more to life out there. Perhaps they’ve made a resolution to spend less time online, or to model the behaviour for their children. Perhaps they feel like it doesn’t work. Perhaps they feel like it’s always changing. Perhaps it’s none of these. Perhaps it’s something else. Perhaps it’s all of these and then some. Regardless, people are realising that something is wrong with how they manage their social media for their business and it’s not working for them.

In the main, the biggest complaint I hear is not wanting to be online 24/7 and not knowing how to market to their clients without feeling salesy & ‘slimey’. I seriously believe that this is a sad gap in the messaging that’s out there about social media. So much information is out there about the options. There’s also the overt hustle mentality along with how the vast majority of successful business owners portray their laptop lifestyle. It’s hurting small business.

Here’s the thing about social media. We show people what we want them to see. We curate our lives for online. While FOMO might be real, what is driving it generally isn’t. I admit, I curate what people see of my life & that’s because I don’t want to show my family to the world, but I also want to ensure that those who see behind the scenes are in the trenches working with me. But my methods are left of centre and I’m not afraid to show how hard things are, this blog is testament to that.

There’s a sentence in the last paragraph that stands out and it’s for a reason other than what it actually means, a deeper insight.

We show people what we want them to see.

But what I want to point out isn’t the message on curating what we post, it’s about ‘we’ and ‘people’. Instinctively we post on social media, particularly on Facebook knowing that a person will see it and they might even react to it. And that, although intuitive can seem at odds with all the other information out there.

That’s where there’s tension in their minds, especially with women who are more likely to want connection to their clients. Most of the information out there is about the technology and sizes and buttons and video and platforms and websites. It’s all depersonalised and so far away from what they crave instinctively.

Then when I tell them that they actually need to focus on their customers and people it seems too easy. Especially when terms like algorithm and engagement are bandied around. The thing is that these exact terms actually rely on people to make them happen.

Think back to the corner store of your childhood or the local baker/butcher/grocery store. What do you remember most? It’s probably more about the person and how they made you feel than the store itself. In our rush to curate our lives, we’ve removed our personability or even our personality. We crave connection as humans, it’s necessary. It’s why premmie babies thrive when touched. We need connection and business success is just as needy of this.

So lately I’ve spent a lot of time with business page owners who are feeling overwhelmed and disconnected teaching them how to reconnect with their client on Facebook. It saddens me that the marketing industry and marketers have swung the pendulum so far that businesses feel out of touch. The other thing this does is that they are given too many options and feel lost about not only who to connect with but how.

The thing is that if you put the right thing in front of the right person at the right time, you will win. So how do you do it? It’s a matter of knowing where they hang out (Facebook in this instance), when they hang out, how you fix their problem and selling your solution.

Some will call this whole-hearted or heart-centered selling. I call it smart marketing and understanding your target market.

If you understand these things you can then target (schedule) your efforts and forget about feeling utterly overwhelmed.

I’ve created a little book that outlines the keys to how to kick some of this overwhelm & I invite you to download it over here (in exchange for an email address).

The courage and power of the ask

So over the Christmas New Year break I’ve had some time to do some searching and learning. It was a time where everyone was setting their intentions and words for 2018, read my response here, and I was busy learning about one word – Ask.

Growing up I was told to help, make myself useful, don’t be a burden. So that’s what I did. The thing is that that doesn’t completely line up with running or growing a business. So I had to make a change.

It was while I was reading the book Brave: 50 Everyday Acts of Courage to Thrive in Work, Love and Life* by Margie Warrell that I came across her chapter on Asking. I’d just finished Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone* by Brené Brown  and so it was a good transition. But geez Louise did that chapter shake me. I was afraid to ask for what I wanted in business and as such I was playing safe and small. Sound familiar?

The chapter (14 if you’re wondering) Margie’s book talks about asking for what you want and Brené writes about being vulnerable. And that’s the hang up. Other than the years of programming. That’s the issue, to ask we must be vulnerable.

So often we don’t ask for fear of rejection. So instead we say no for the person. But it’s not just asking for the sale that I’ve being working on. Here’s the thing.

Ask for what you want for your customer

The first instance where I used this, I put out a post asking for people to opt in to my freebie. But I did it differently, I told them the things I wanted for them. I asked if that is what they wanted. I asked them to join me to receive it.

That was a powerful post. In fact, in the week that it remained active, meaning it was still getting responses, I had 120 people sign up in under 24 hours and this was in a busy Facebook group of 26 000 members. This was without any paid traffic. I was blown away. In fact I went on to gain 170 sign ups, just because I told them what I wanted for them and I asked them to join me.

I learnt that by asking for what I wanted for them, I showed them that I had listened, I cared, and I was not afraid to say it.

Ask as a follow up

I admit, this one was harder. I don’t follow up. I find it icky. If I don’t hear from someone, I assume that they didn’t like my offer and so I don’t follow up. I don’t ask.

So this is slightly different from asking for the sale, you’ve already done that. This is a check in after. I used to feel that I was being a pest or a bother, I mean let’s face it if they’d liked my offer they would have taken me up there and then. Right? Wrong! Why do you think that their a programs and businesses that follow you up when you click away from a website when you’re checking out. It’s not always that you got cold feet or a change of heart. Sometimes you just get distracted, life happens, and you never get back to it. Sometimes, you need that ‘remember me’ poke to get you back on track.

So I’ve been asking. I’ve been listening. I’ve been using my courage. I’ve been quietening the voice in my head that says, “they didn’t really want you”. But more importantly, I’ve been realising how pointless not asking has been, because more often than not that fear was wrong and all I had to was ask because the people were waiting.

Note: '*' denotes affiliate links to Amazon where a tiny portion of your purchase is returned to me. And by tiny I mean not enough for a coffee. But I thank you all the same. x

Why I don’t do New Year’s Resolutions or Word of the Year

So it’s coming to the end of 2017 and people are looking towards 2018. New Year’s Resolutions are sooo 2010 and over the past 3 years I have been setting a word for the year.

Guess what!

They’re about as useful as Resolutions.

I totally understand the appeal of the word. Resolutions take a lot of thought and they’ve gotten a bad wrap over how they don’t work unless you continuously reinforce them through repetition and inspired action.

So this is where the word of the year comes in.

The idea is that it’s an overarching theme for your year. A theme to inspire action, to drive activity, and to move you through 2018.

Yup.

Not enough for me.

I need something a little more tangible.

I need to see facts and figures.

I need concrete milestones to drive concrete action.

Sound familiar to you?

When I spot and think about it. I spent 5 years working in Quality Assurance. Essentially looking backwards and reviewing action. We had concrete targets to achieve, but our main function was to learn in retrospect and to use that to improve the business going forward.

And here was I wondering why Resolutions and Annual Theme Words weren’t working. It’s no wonder when I have been programmed to look retrospectively and use concrete data to drive progress.

And I know that I can change behaviour. But humour me for a moment as I explain why and how this approach may suit some more than the 100% forwards projecting approach of Resolution and Theme word setting.

In my business, I project my income. I have a projection out for 10 years (now down to 7 as I haven’t made it rolling). It’s based on the first 18 months of growth in my business and now 3 years in, it’s still working. It’s planning for forward growth based on past performance.

I track my income against these projections. I know how much my expected income will be for the remainder of the current year & I know that I will exceed my growth target for this current financial year. You see, I’m a big believer in the saying, “What gets measured gets managed”.

This is planning based on concrete evidenced performance.

In fact, I’m now planning out my income for the following financial year, taking into consideration my expected growth.

So how does this impact on my ability to set a Resolution or Theme Word? Surely I seem strategic enough that I can find a suitable one.

Seems not!

Looking back, as you can see I do, I’ve found that they’ve not been effective. I’ve achieved, I’ve grown, I’ve evolved but not because of a Word or Resolution, but because of activity.

So what am I doing in 2018 and forward instead of yearly Resolutions & Theme Words?

I’m planning more. Through my coaching, I am conducting quarterly planning and projecting and part of that is a word that summarises the activity for that quarter.

So for the first quarter of 2018, I am launching the online version of my Organic Facebook Course. Something I’ve wanted to do for 2 years now; taking my successful face-to-face course and making it available for people outside of where I live. I’m also headed to a Social Media Conference in San Diego, another thing I’ve wanted to do for 2 years.

So my first quarter 2018 is about ‘Action’. Moving on things that I have wanted to do and for various reasons, I haven’t.

Now some will say that this is just the same as setting a Yearly Theme Word or New Year’s Resolution. I would say that it’s retrospective. I’m looking at what I will be doing first to achieve my financial goals and then considering a word which fits that activity. Not a guiding principle to drive my activity.

I think this is key.

For these to work you need a key motivator first. Personally, it’s my financial goals. (Don’t worry, money is not my only motivator, it is a tool to achieve my life I am setting for myself.) For me to achieve the flexibility and family balance, increasing my income is key as it reduces the pressure on my husband and gives our family the flexibility we desire.

So I hope this has helped some of you who may not resonate with New Year’s Resolutions or Yearly Theme Words.

If this is you & you have no idea how to get to this place, then I’d like to suggest the following:
1. If you don’t know what your dream business looks like, read the following blog and download the free workbook for it; then
2. If you don’t forecast & track your financial position, read the following blog post and download the Excel sheet I use; then
3. Grab a sheet of paper and write the months for the quarter you are about to head in to (at writing that would be Jan-Mar 2018) & then write what your top 3 business activities are for the period, what your financial goal is for the period, and the one word that represents those activities. Stick it where you can see it while you work.

I have to be honest, popping this up in my line of sight helps. It helps keep me accountable. However, the main thing that helps is having someone to be accountable to – for me that’s my coach. If this sounds like your missing link, then please book a complimentary discovery session with me where we can chat about how I can help you achieve more in 2018.

What I learnt from hiring a coach

At the start of 2017 I knew there were a number of things I ‘had to do’. One of them was to go on a business retreat and get some focus and direction on my business. So I did. I took myself to Sydney for 3 days and I retreated. At the end, the organiser mentioned their coaching program. I didn’t have the money for group coaching, but I knew that I had to have it. I had invested time in my business and I wanted to get things going. So I signed up, this is what I got…

So each fortnight I jump on a group call with my coach, and 3 other women, we listen to the coach’s wisdom and we support & solve the issues we each have faced and plan for the coming week. But that’s what we do, you want to know what I got out of it.

The big one…

I doubled my income the month I decided to start working with my coach. Remember how I said that I didn’t have the money when I made the decision. Well it appeared, and then some! And it kept coming. I’ve gained and lost clients but I haven’t lost income. It keeps coming. I learnt that if I made a commitment to my business, then I would be provided for.

I was held accountable

I do this with my clients but I’m not good with myself. Well guess what, when you’re paying someone and every 2 weeks you have to front them and tell them what you’ve been up to and why you didn’t achieve that really important thing from last week… you better have a really good reason behind it.

I was called on my BS

Now I need this. And it was done with all love and care. But the first few sessions I went into them unprepared. I didn’t know what I wanted help with for the coming fortnight and I rattled off a grocery list, and then some, of my achievements. But I actually wasn’t progressing with my business. I was called out! I then realised that if I was to make the most of the investment, as I had intended, I needed to get real and get honest. You know what happened? The next session I cracked, I cried, I exposed my fears to the group, and from there I grew.  At the end of our sessions for the year, I was thanked for opening up a space where we could be honest and vulnerable. I had lead the way.

I got my shit together

I used to think I had time under control. I was kidding, and let’s face it I still have work to do. My coach told me that ‘my brain isn’t a filing cabinet’ and that I needed to work out a better way to organise my time than my ever growing job list. It was true. Things were slipping by and I was missing client tasks. It wasn’t good. So I found my weekly planner pad and I used the jar/rocks/pebble/sand/water philosophy for my time. Guess what? I had more time than before! I could achieve more.

I could help my clients more

My coach gave us carte blanche to use what we learnt in the sessions with our clients. So I did. What it meant was that I had clients who were able to grow their businesses and secure their family’s financial freedom within a short period of time. Clients went from juggling debt on credit cards and debtors to having all the bills paid, closing off credit card accounts, and having money in the bank.

I learnt about me

I learnt that it was ok to have a niche where no one else was, that was emerging, that being different was ok. Seems odd, but I was always looking to fit into the industry but I wanted to do it differently. I was confounded. That day I was in tears, I learnt that I really only needed 2-3 people who I knew were in the trenches with me and had my back no matter what. I used that, I drew on that. When I went to the US, I discovered just how different I was but how I wasn’t actually alone. There were 3 of us I found, amongst the 21000 people there, who spoke the same language (1 was a keynote & 1 I met in the audience). The more people I spoke to, the more I realised that not only was it ok to be different – I was actually of interest to others in my industry and that being different was my strength.

Good things come

I learnt that with time and space, what I need will come.  I ‘needed’ to move to more coaching and less managing. I was scared. I liked the security of the consistent income. I learnt that I didn’t have to give that away to move to where I was drawn. I could do it incrementally, but I had to let go of it. I had to show up the way I wanted to be seen and offer myself as that. So that is where I’m headed. It has only been since October that I have decided, it’s slow, but the shift is happening. I have been tested by the draw back, but I’m serious in pursuing this passion and I seriously adore what I get out of coaching. So good things are here and more is to come.

Did I expect this outcome? Well I hoped for it. I know that I had seen it in my own clients, but that was ‘different’ in my eyes. I had hoped for the accountability, I had dreamed about the income growth, it was the personal growth that came in 6 short months which has me excited. I’m excited for the year to come, I’m excited for my clients, and I’m excited for me.

Outsourcing and goals

Do you have a Procrastination Pixie? What about a Nearly Done Nymph? Or a Get To It Gnome? In my Facebook Group we’ve been discussing outsourcing and I thought I chat a little more about it over here on the blog.

So what is outsourcing? It can be anything from getting a book-keeper or VA or social media manager to run a business function for you, through to getting someone to do some one off task.

Most business owners think that outsourcing is an all or nothing affair and that it’s going to be costly. Outsourcing is only expensive if you don’t use the time you gain to generate income - then it costs you money!

I’m a late comer to outsourcing, even when I worked a 9-5 desk job I didn’t outsource, not even a cleaner. The change came when I realised I would get 80-90% of the work done and I wouldn’t do the last bit to get it out there.

I sat and thought on it for a while. I couldn’t work out what it was. I wasn’t afraid of putting myself out there. I did know that I had a thing where if I was learning a new ‘thing’ that once I realised I knew enough, I would leave it. That was my issue, I was a ‘near enough is good enough’ but that issue included the execution. So I outsourced the execution of things. The big block was my website.

I’ve been building & maintaining websites since 2000. It’s something I know how to do but don’t always enjoy it, I’d rather be coaching in all honesty. So when I realised that making some small changes to my site was taking hours when it should be taking minutes, thanks Procrastination Pixie, I outsourced.

When I decided that I needed to develop a waitlist page for my Organic Facebook Course and that the Nearly Done Nymph would likely halt me pressing publish on the page, I outsourced the whole damn page.

What I discovered was that while I can build my own website, I don’t always love it and I drag my heels on it. It’s a necessary evil for my business but my Pixies & Nymphs often hold me back from achieving my goal. That had to stop! I need my site to help run my business. The outsourcing didn’t stop there, there was the Grand-Daddy of all outsources!

The biggest outsource I’ve committed to is accountability. I’ve hired a business coach and I have to report in every 2 weeks against my goals for the fortnight. And believe me I get called on my BS if I don’t. So outsourcing this has kept my Get To It Gnome at bay. Boy have I stepped up too! In fact, from the month I decided to start with my coach, my income sky rocketed, I exceeded my financial goal for the 16/17 financial year and I’m set to exceed my goal for the 17/18 financial year. This happened because I outsourced my accountability and I’m being held to a higher standard.

Here’s the other reason why I’m writing about outsourcing now. I’ve been talking about goal setting for 2018 in my group and I have been chatting about not just setting the goal itself but ensuring that you work out the steps you need to do to get there. There’s one thing saying your goal is to have a 7-figure business, but it’s another thing to know what steps you have to take to get those 7-figures. It’s taking a pie-in-the-sky goal and turning it into a realistic and achievable milestone.

So how does outsourcing fit in achieving your goals?

Outsourcing tasks does a number of things.

For me it gives me space to do the things I prefer to do but doesn’t stop me from achieving what I want to achieve.
It doubles my time because the time from the task I outsource is then given back to me to work on other things, thanks Procrastination Pixie.
It makes me work harder on achieving the goal because I have to generate the money to pay for the tasks I outsource.

I openly admit that the control freak in me had trust issues to outsource. Perhaps it was the Pixie, the Nymph, and the Gnome hoping for one last ditch attempt to derail me. Little did they realise that I’m dogged in achieving my goals and I worked out how to get the better of them.

If you’d like to learn how I set my goals, I’ve reopened access to my goal setting work. It’s now available for immediate download and is a workbook and 30 minute training video. You can access it now over HERE.

Hints for responding to a Facebook Group Post

I’m in a number of Facebook Groups & I’m in there solely to bring in new business. (Look, I’m a Facebook & Business coach, where else would I hang out??) Yes they work, I’ve generated thousands in income over the past years of active use.

Over this time I’ve seen good responses to Recommendation Requests and I’ve seen some doozies and I’ve even been on the receiving end of them. It has become clear that some people are still unsure as to how to make the most use of these posts, so I’m here to help.  Here are some hints if you’re going to follow suit and use Facebook Groups to increase your customers.

Read the post CAREFULLY

The number of times I have seen people comment when they’re asked to email or message. Asked for clarification on things that were mentioned in the post. Or that when told that they do NOT want a particular thing, still try and recommend it.

There really is no excuse for not reading the post. I find it annoying and downright rude, with one exception… If you are going to recommend something I’ve mentioned NOT to recommend, you better have a compelling reason.

Not reading the post wastes your time as much as it wastes the poster’s time. What’s worse is that not only does the poster think you don’t follow simple instructions, there’s a fair chance other people reading the post will think the same. It’s not a good look!

Don’t dump and run

Do not drop a link and then leave. Not even on those posts where you leave a link to your page etc and like other people’s.

Other than some pleasantries, let us know why we should like your page, what we would get out of it, what you’re passionate about, or if you have a special offer. Personalise the link.

Here’s the benefit of that, you educate us on your brand & better still, you stand out from all the other businesses that have ‘dumped and ran’.

 

 

Ask to take it offline

Do not assume that you can message the person. Ask if you can send them a message with some additional information. There are a number of benefits to this:
- it removes competitors coming in and intervening in the conversation
- you can develop a better rapport
- it respects the original poster, especially if you’re chatting with someone who has a similar issue
- it creates intrigue and you’re likely to have other people asking you to message them.

Tips for responding in Facebook Groups

Develop a set of standard responses. There is a good chance that you will come across the same issue more than once. Use it as a template & refine the responses based on the comments in the tread.

Use a calendar. Have a calendar listing of the business/promotional days for groups and post on those days. When you have a history of being seen as being helpful, more people will pay attention to everything you say.

Be helpful without expectation. Don’t expect financial reward from helping in groups. Know that people will watch you and they will search you out and hire you, even if you have never helped them directly. (There are always group stalkers)

 

Facebook Groups are incredible resources and should be treated as such.  You will get out more than what you put in, if done the right way.

3 tips before running a Facebook Ad

I’ve seen a number of posts in Facebook Groups by business owners needing help with their Facebook Ads.

There is a lot of information out there about which buttons to click and how to run the ad, but they miss the things businesses need to have set straight before they even open up the Ads platform.

What is the aim of your ad?

It seems strange to even have to write this, but a number of business owners run ads – because they want more business.

Ok so what does more business look like? Is it more bookings right now, is it more likes, is it getting people on your list to market to in the future?

Having a clear intention for the ad will help you decide what type of ad to run, where to run it to, what language to use, and what image to use.

Have this set and you’re off to a good start.

Who is the ad for?

Who is the target for the ad? What will they get out of the ad? What do they need to do? What problem do you solve for them?

Too often, businesses get caught up in running the ad to grow their business that they overlook that they need to attract a person to fulfil the aim of the ad (like, enter a competition, attend an event, buy a product).

The things you need to consider are:
- what is their gender
- how old are they
- what kind of things do they do
- what problem are you solving
- how will they feel after it’s solved.

You need to answer each of these things and address them in the image and text of the ad. There’s  not much point putting up a photo of a Mum & child if you’re trying to reach a single 20-year old male. The audience needs to be able to identify with the person or scene of the picture and with the problem and feelings the solution gives. While the physical targeting of the ad helps, it’s the image and/or the text which will stop them scrolling and have them clicking.

Speaking of clicking, the more you make them do and the further you remove them from Facebook, the more people you will use. This is why the vast majority of my client ads are to Facebook Messenger. We are comfortable with Messenger and it keeps us within the Facebook App. If you redirect someone to a website, then you need to make sure that your website continues to build on the points above and makes it clear, right up front, what they have to do.

When you decide what they have to do. TELL THEM. While it might be glaringly obvious to you, we are busy and generally distracted as we scroll through Facebook, so making it clear that they need to ‘click here to download’, ‘message us to book’ means that you’re more likely to get someone doing them what you tell them to do, rather than them wondering what the point of the whole thing is. Yes you have to spell it out like they’re 5. (but don’t be condescending).

So you know why you’re running the ad & who it’s for, why they want it and how to get it… now what?

The secret to targeting a Facebook Ad.

I have heard and read so many people wasting so much money on split testing age & gender on an ad when they don’t need to.

You know you’re target audience? No? Here’s a tip then on who is likely to want your product… head over to this tab on your Facebook Page.

Your Facebook Page insights tells you the people who are attracted to your page. Providing you haven’t bought likes and your page isn’t just full of sympathy likes from friends and family, it will tell you who is likely to want your stuff.

So this picture is taken from my page and if I’m running an ad, I target women aged 30-50. Most of my fans are female and most sit in this age range. Your business is no different and has these statistics. So use them. So you know, I’ve run ads to men & women in that age range & it’s still women who respond. Oddly enough, I have a number of male business owners that I work with. I just don’t attract them as clients through my ads.

Now, you can go deeper into targeting your ads, but this one tip saves you a lot of time in testing your ad. Use it as a starting point and start with fewer test groups, if you still want to split test, but you’ll be ahead from the get go.

Theirs is a lot to understanding the person you’re targeting with Facebook Ads. The great thing is that once you learn it, you can apply it to your page too. For more information, head over and download my ebook of tips to running a Facebook Page.

Time poor Facebook Page!

The vast majority of Facebook Page owners say that the number one reason they don’t post on their page is: they don’t have time. Let’s face it, that’s not a massive surprise as we a generally time poor. The thing is, at the same time I’m being told that you’re time poor, you’re also telling me that you know that your customers are on Facebook & that your products/services sell there. What to do?

More time for Facebook?

I would love to say that I can magically add hours to your day. Thing is, even if I could would you really use them for putting content on your Facebook Page?

I’ve spoken previously about the mindset shift I made about time & how I have benefited from it. I’ve also mentioned in a number of places that I have recently started using a weekly planner and again reaped the rewards.

So while I haven’t actually added hours to my day, I’m making better use of my time.

Oh and I forgot to say that one of the benefits of these two things has been actually working fewer hours. Yes, I’m one of those people who have increased their client base while working fewer hours. It’s ok, I’m not living the laptop lifestyle of a multi-millionaire and I won’t sell you my $19 book on how to do it. (Hats off to you if you are/do, keep it up!)

But back to getting more time for Facebook…

There are two parts to this problem:

Not having time to post on Facebook when you want to
Not having the time to think about what to post on Facebook

These are two separate issues and generally we think that time is the root cause.

It’s not! The thing is that you know that it works when you do it, you just need to find a different way. A better way!

Not having time to post on Facebook when you want to.

Ok, so I admit that I used to do a lot of my social media scheduling late at night after the family went to bed. It wasn’t good & I was exhausted. In fact, I was wiped by the time I got to the weekend. So burning the candle at both ends is not an option.

You now know about my mindset work and the weekly planner, so you can give that a go. It’s funny once we become more accountable of and for our time, the more we respect it and are more mindful we are with its use. It’s the same way as when we are watching our pennies.

What else is there?

I actually encourage people to make a date in their diary for scheduling social media. It has to be non-negotiable. Promoting what you do is part of what you do. You are the best source of information out there about your product or service & that makes you best placed to promote it. It has to become a habit, just like brushing your teeth and over time it will become second nature.

Mine is a whole day of working on my business rather than in it. (Except invoicing, that’s daily) You don’t have to dedicate a whole day, most businesses will get it done in an hour or two. (With these tips)

Use the Facebook Scheduling Tools available

If you are always doing your social media on the hop, you will always feel as though you are caught on the hop. Scheduling social media during these set times has a number of benefits:

  • You know that you will be putting something out there
  • You will be regularly showing up
  • You will be able to develop a social media campaign or strategy for growth

Ad-hoc posting is the enemy of organised Facebook strategy. It’s hard to be strategic when you have to have something delivered “right now or else”.

The best way to schedule posts on Facebook is using their scheduler. They like to keep stuff in house and do give you preference in the Facebook Algorithm for it. (Sad but true, sometimes you just have to play their games).

You can choose to use one of the many social media scheduling tools on the market. The advantage these have over the Facebook Scheduler is: ability to post the same thing to multiple profiles from one spot, RSS feeds, automated rescheduling of posts…

It’s going to be a personal choice which way you go. Some of the scheduling tools are free & others aren’t. Regardless, the Facebook scheduler gives the best results as you can leverage any shared content from within Facebook, thanks Algorithm, or a third-party scheduler has some additional benefits for your content that you might prefer.

Not having time to think about the content to post to Facebook

Each quarter I have an aim/goal for the coming months. I ensure that the work that I do aligns with these goals.

For example, I ran a Facebook Live Challenge and in the lead up to that, I wrote and promoted content around video & live streaming as well as Facebook. A consistent message helps reinforce your message and assists in establishing your position as a leader on the topic.

Speaking of Facebook, I save A LOT of articles. There are a number of pages that I like which are relevant to my audience, so if I see a post I think my audience will like it then I save them.

Watch this video on how I repurpose them.

When I get stuck, I use my scheduling tool (Buffer) and the RSS feed I’ve set up with relevant websites. I will periodically go through that and schedule relevant content from there.  The issue with this is unless you have an RSS for your site, you will be promoting other sites.  Not a bad thing to mix it up but worth considering.

Some scheduling software integrate with content finding software. For example, Buffer can import posts (automatically) from Quuu and Upflow where I’ve told them a list of suitable topics and they find them and post them for me through my Buffer schedule.

I admit, I syndicate a lot of my posts. What do I mean? I will post on Instagram and it will go from there to Facebook, everything I post on Facebook goes to Twitter. I do this through Zaps in Zapier. It’s cloud-based software that you tell to repost from one profile to another. Another similar service is IFTTT. Using these services means that I get ‘many birds with one stone’. That saves me A LOT of time.

The other tool I use is Missinglettr. This is what is called splintering software. What it does is take little snippets of my blog posts, turns them into quotes & images, & shares these over a 12 month period. Each blog post is split into 9 posts, I get to review all of the posts, make any changes, and then approve them for publication over the next 12 months. It is very set and forget and I love that.

So how do you get time to post on Facebook?

Be accountable for your time. Treat it like the precious resource it is. It is finite remember!

Make the most of your time. If I have a few minutes, I will scroll through my Facebook Feed and save posts to share later, or I will share posts as I see them. I also have my scheduler app on my phone, so I can schedule posts while I do school pick up, waiting at sport, or any random 5 spare minutes.

Schedule your time. Make the use of schedulers, Facebook or otherwise. These tools will save you time as you can schedule a bulk load of posts in one sitting. (Chunking like work is a known time saver) That means that you no longer have that constant harping feeling of WHAT DO I POST TODAY???

Be consistent. Be consistent in centring your content around a goal. Be consistent with your posting to maximise the Facebook Algorithm. Be consistent in dedicating some regular time to finding and scheduling your content.

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