Positive Mindset Moves Businesses Forward. Are You In?

 

Has your business ever struggled to have consistent income?

Have you ever struggled climbing out of bed in the morning and going to work?

Have you struggled finding the right “audience” to connect with and build relationships?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, I’m going to open your mind to positive actions steps so you stop holding yourself back. . .

Deep down we all know what to do, but more than likely we don’t take the necessary steps to move our businesses forward. We tell ourselves we will do it tomorrow, but tomorrow never comes. When asked, the number one reason people don’t change or take the steps to move forward is because of their mindset; they’re confused, they’re afraid of failure, they’ve been there before, and the list goes on and on. Guess what? It’s part of being an entrepreneur. You can stay in the rut or carry out the steps to move your business forward from five to six, or six to seven figures. The choice is yours.

Lily Tomlin said, “The road to success is always under construction.”

When you are in business the “under construction” signs are always posted…or should be. If the signs aren’t posted, more than likely your business is stagnant with little to no new activity, it’s dull… If you aren’t changing things up or learning new skills what happens when technology changes, or your current clients go elsewhere due to circumstances beyond their control…

It happens! After 18 years in business and building a 1/4 million dollar business going through every emotion, using blood, sweat, and tears to build my business which I loved and had such a passion for, it was changing. The industry was making changes and it was out of my control. I saw the writing on the wall and I started preparing, but I was mentally exhausted. I felt defeated. I was anxious.

My year-out plan was in place; I only had two years left and I was going to spend more time gardening, traveling, doing more of the things I wanted and not being tied down. I did not want to start my business over. I repeat I did not want to start over. Have you heard the quote, “If Plan A doesn’t work, the alphabet has 25 more letters. Stay cool?” Well, I was on to Plan B. My business was certainly under construction.

What did all of this teach me? If you choose to do it, whether it’s rebuilding your business, starting out, or whatever your circumstance, business takes a lot of work, personal time, tears, laughter, and plain not giving up, but it’s up to you. After looking back over the past 21 years, I’ve sat down and developed five steps to take my and your business to the next level. These steps are the basis of any business which sounds simple, but many people don’t carry them out and that’s why they don’t succeed. For example, with music, first you learn the basics of the scales and the notes and rhythms or you can’t make music. These five steps are the basis of any business and if they aren’t implemented more than likely people have a difficult time succeeding in business or it’ll take a heck of a lot longer to reach their goals. We all love to skip the “basics” and move on to the other stuff, but it’s the basics that are the foundation.

What do our five steps help you do? We start at the basics so you are ready and can. . .

Position Yourself to:

Craft Your Message
Write Your Book
Live the Life You Deserve

Once your are clear on your message, you know who you want to serve, who your ideal audience is and where to find them. When you have grown your business and have your audience and you are comfortable as the expert in your field you can write your book and share your knowledge with the world – your clients, potential clients, at speaking engagements, and more. But, you have to position yourself to write your book. After you’ve crafted your message, built your list and clients, and decided to write your book (or not) you are on your way to living the life you deserve because you’ll be on your way to moving your business from five to six or six to seven figures.

Are you ready to schedule a complimentary strategy session to see how we can help you start your journey? We’d love to have a chat with you. Sign up today!

Until next time,

Colleen

P.S. My coach asked me where I would feel most comfortable coaching people. I said I’d love doing a retreat with six people for four days at a condo or house at the beach. That’s my goal within the next year. What’s your goal to move your business forward?

Our new site is scheduled to launch

October 17, 2017

YourLiteraryProse.com

Try These Writing and Editing Processes… Your Time Is Money

duck-distractions-2016

 

In the long run, separating the writing and editing process, setting a timer just to write, and avoiding distractions can end up saving you time and money.  We’re all busy and try to multitask everything we do, but sometimes it just doesn’t pay to try to combine doing everything at one time because we end up going back and starting over again. When I write, I find I need my brain’s undivided attention!

Write First; Edit Second.

One common trait many writers and authors wrestle with is disconnecting the writing and editing process.  I struggled with this for years; if I knew something was not correct while writing or typing, I immediately went back and corrected it so I wouldn’t forget to change it later, but realized at some point that I was losing time, and let’s face it, time is money. After years of doing this, I finally started writing the article or blog, etc. and then editing. “Letting go” of this was excruciating for me, to say the least! My advice: Put all your thoughts down on paper or type them on the computer and then revise the grammar, duplication of word usage, incorrect spelling, etc.

Wait to Write Your Introduction.

Introductions are hard to write so if you struggle with your introduction just start writing your first key point from your outline and then after you write your chapter, article, blog, etc. go back and compose your introduction.

Set a Timer.

I’ve mentioned this before in different “writings” but it’s a great habit to start no matter what type of business you are working with; i.e., coaches, speakers, lawyers, Fortune 500, etc. When you determine the length of time you want to write, set a timer and write. You decide the amount of time – 30 minutes, 45 minutes, 60 minutes – it’s up to you, but during this time, until the buzzer sounds – write. Focus on writing; no checking email, making phone calls, checking Twitter or Facebook, cleaning off your desk, etc. Write.

Keep Moving.

What? I mean keep writing even if you want to edit as you are writing. This is one habit I have really worked on; however, it’s a struggle, but I have found that if I keep writing and edit later, I do save time. I have a system for notes or information I don’t want to forget about; I highlight the area and mark it with bold letters. You could try this or write a note to yourself or use {brackets} to record your notes and come back later and edit the material.

DD – Duck Distractions!

It’s difficult enough to write when you aren’t interrupted, but constant interference can play havoc with your writing progress. Some helpful hints to DD:

  • Tell people you are writing and need to concentrate; give them the hours you are not available.
  • Turn off Skype, Twitter updates, your cell phone, office phone ringer, etc.
  • Find a quiet place – a place you can close the door, or perhaps a go to a quiet park or the beach.
  • Put on a pair of headphones – people will think you are listening to something (even if you aren’t) and less likely to disturb you.

I post tips and suggestions on Facebook and received the following comments from two people:

Introductions: Michelle Campbell from Forte Virtual Support Solutions:

“This is a great tip, Colleen. I always do this. I rarely start from the beginning and finish at the end. I jump around from section to section and point to point, especially when I get inspired to discuss a particular point. It’s much more difficult to write if you force yourself to stick to an outline you create.”

DD – Duck Distractions: Patti Cooper from Big Sky Social Media Management:

“I find it very difficult to concentrate when working from home, there’s always someone around. I usually just go in the bedroom and close the door. But the headphone idea is a great one. I’ll be trying that now, thanks for sharing!”

What steps do you take to Duck Distractions?

My tip for you – keep moving along when you write, and edit when you have finished your article, blog, chapter, etc. See what happens. You might find you are more productive and the system works better than editing as you write.  What are some of your tips and tricks? I’d love to hear from you!

Until next time,

Colleen

Organizing Your Social Media Content

Hi there readers!

I guess this is the first post on our newly named blog “On Record!” Thanks for reading, and we hope to see you back! Like I said in the last post, I am focusing a little more on the business side of the blog and today’s topic sticks to that.

Social Media Is Crazy!

So much to do, so very little time to do it…

If you are not on social media, you are one of the few. In the world today, almost everyone engages on one of the social media platforms; from the “old” Facebook to Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest to the “newer” sites like Tumblr, Reddit, Peach, etc. Honestly, I am willing to bet most of you are reading this blog because you saw the link on one of our social media platforms. This is just the way business is running in this day and age.

Now whether you are already an established user or are still just finding your footing, social media can take a large chunk of your time away from more productive aspects of your business.

I’m not going to take credit for this solution because it has been around for ages, but I would like to give you some insight into how we use the following to organize our social media at The Literary Prose.

Content Is Key

A calendar to keep your content straight

The best way I have found to relieve the stress of posting content on social media is by using a content calendar. What is a content calendar? Well, we use a Google Sheets document to organize all of the social media copy we have posted and will post. We organize the sheet by day and further break it down between all our platforms, currently Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Google+.

For each post we have columns set up for the most pertinent information such as the time posted, the type of post (link, a sale, a photo, etc.), the topic of the post (the name of the campaign you’re running, the name of the blog you are linking to, etc.), the actual copy of the post, and the link you may post within that content post.

Here’s a blank day for you to take a look at:

Content CalendarOrganizing Your Content

Effectively using your content calendar

Now what I love about our content calendar is it provides us with an organized place to view all of our content for one day. We take it even farther and color code our text by the type of content we are posting. For example, content going out for The Literary Prose Presents: It’s More Than Just Words teleseminar series is a dark blue and posts about our blog are in a light purple. This way we can easily tell if we are over posting, under posting, or even completely forgetting to post about a topic for the day.

One way I like to use our content calendar is to work ahead on copy for a campaign I know about already. For example, if you have a free course you are offering in two months you can write all the posts for the campaign in this calendar. You can write the posts for days, weeks, and months into the future.

Another great feature is I can write posts for special holidays and events throughout the year. You can have posts ready for Easter or Independence Day all ready to go.

More Than Just Content

Some other tools to combine with a content calendar

While this will not single-handedly take the stress away from social media, it will if you combine this with a few other tools. Many of you out there probably use either Hootsuite or Buffer. These tools will help because you can write all of your posts in the content calendar and then upload in bulk, if you want, all of your posts for the day, week, or month to be scheduled for release.

Another great tool I enjoy using with our content calendar is IFTTT. Through IFTTT I send all of our new bitly links to a spreadsheet so I can easily access them when writing social media copy. This way I have all the links for our blogs right in the same document so I don’t have to search and search for what I need.

Synopsis

A quick review of what we’ve learned

Content for social media platforms can be tricky but if you use a content calendar your can take you social media presence beyond where you are currently. Also, by using other tools with the content calendar you can become even more effective.

At this time, do you use a content calendar? If so, do you use any of the 3rd party tools? Let us know what you think; we always welcome a good discussion!

Thanks for the read,

Peter Wietmarschen

Find Ways to Relieve Your Stress – Whatever Works for You!

Colleen end of Pig 2015

Stress: a constraining force or influence; a physical, chemical, or emotional factor that causes bodily or mental tension and may be a factor in disease causation.

This is an update to a blog I wrote several years ago. With the New Year underway, I trust it is a great reminder for everyone!

Whether you are an entrepreneur, an employee, a stay-at-home parent, or a student, you have stressors in your life and you need to schedule time to relieve the tension or your health will suffer. Our society has reached the point where only the best and the fastest is acceptable; how can we take time off and “unplug” from our technology?  We might miss a client’s text, an important email, or what about a phone call? It’s maddening. Years ago, I swore I would not let work or clients become a deterrent from my exercise, my health, or my family. Guess what? I did. In rebuilding/rebranding my business after 19 years, I have found myself involved in this “insanity” again. Last year I fell back into the craziness of it all. There were days I spent 10-12 hours a day at the computer, hunched over the keyboard, taking every class known to man, doing everything I could to “land” new clients and all for what? Sore shoulders, tingling down my arms, irritability, and weight gain (after losing 12 pounds last spring).

In the middle of all this, deep down I knew it couldn’t go on; I’ve always worked on keeping my health in check. I wanted time for me and my family first (after God) but what I’m trying to say is while my business is important, in the long run, clients will come and clients will go, but if I don’t take care of myself, I’ll miss out being around for my family and enjoying life, and we all only have one life to live! So, I joined a walking club. I’ve always loved walking and my goal is to walk a full marathon in 2016 (and several half) and lower my per-mile walk time to a sub-12-minute mile. I also started violin lessons last year and yes, it does relieve stress! Here are some thoughts for you to relieve stress and live your life to the fullest:

  • Unplug for a few days – Your clients will be there when you return. I did this last year for four days. I emailed all of my clients to let them know I would be out of the office for four days and if they needed anything urgent to please have that work to me by a certain time or else they would have to wait until Monday to have something returned. I really did unplug for the most part. I was proud of myself and I did relax.
  • Exercise at least four times a week – I’ve personally committed to walking three days a week and I’m going back to Zumba one night a week. During the day I’ll take my pooch out for a stroll for 15 minutes or so and guess what? The work is still there when I return and I feel 100% refreshed for the afternoon’s work list. Peter and I were brainstorming the other day and I wanted to move so I stood up and started walking in place. Was it aerobic? No, but the point is I was moving. You can do this type of thing too. Exercise lowers your blood pressure, over time will lower your cholesterol and help you lose weight, or help you maintain your weight. If you aren’t able to exercise 30 minutes at one time during the day, do 10 minutes three times a day. This is known as a metabolism booster and it works. I did this a few years ago when my schedule didn’t allow me to take time off for 30 minutes at one time (I don’t recommend this every day but once in a while do it if it’s all that works!).  Walk in front of the TV for 10 minutes, run in place for 10 minutes, or walk up and down the steps for 10 minutes (contact me for more suggestions if you want). The important point here is to move! Don’t be a couch potato!
  • Laugh – Laughter gives us an instant happy perspective. Watch a funny TV show or movie.
  • Sing out loud/listen to music – Listen to your favorite music and sing! If you don’t want to sing then listen to music and dance like no one is watching and just enjoy it. My favorite quote is “Music Makes Us Human.” I don’t know who quoted it, but it’s true. If you don’t feel less stress after listening to music and your heart doesn’t feel happier then my heart feels sorry for you…
  • Meditate – If you meditate correctly, you feel in touch with yourself, will relax and feel confident. It only takes 10 minutes to breathe, relate to yourself, and clear your mind (and yes, I need to start doing this:)).
  • Make a list – I started making a list at the end of my day for the next day so I know where I need to start the next morning. It helps me take my mind off of work for the evening and I can clear my head for at least 12 hours or so.

How do you destress? Do you schedule it on a regular basis? Have any of the above suggestions worked for you?

Relax and take care of you,

Colleen

Find Info Quickly: My Top Five RSS Feeds to Follow

feedly

One of the best ways to grow as a business person, a writer, and a person is to read. Now there are many things out there to read but where do you start – books, newspapers, magazines, blogs, or other great reads? What can provide you with the most information in the most time-effective manner?

One way to save some time is to read RSS feeds. These are feeds that gather all of the updates, particularly blogs, that a website posts. These can be good tools for a busy person because the feeds automatically update so that you do not have to keep checking the website everyday for a new blog. RSS feeds are great because they can save you time and we all know that means you can get back to work and be more productive.

Everyday I like to start my day with a visit to feedly. What exactly is feedly? Feedly is a time-saving tool that gathers all of your favorite RSS feeds into one easy-to-read feed. You can organize all of your feeds into categories as well. For example, I have a social media category, one for marketing, analytics, entrepreneurs, and I even have a feed for some of the podcast feeds I follow for fun.

Here are the top five RSS feeds I follow:

  1. Buffer Social Blog. Buffer is my go-to read every morning. They approach their blog with an open manner by letting the reader know what they are doing in their own social campaigns.
  2. Hootsuite Social Blog. Hootsuite is a social media scheduling app and their blog focuses on anything and everything social media. I love this blog because while it is similar to the Buffer blog it offers a different perspective on the topics. This provides us with a couple of ways to approach and solve any social media problems or questions we face.
  3. Social Media Examiner. The Social Media Examiner is another good read for all things social media. Again, it provides a different perspective on the social media side and I really enjoy their infographics.
  4. Copyblogger. Copyblogger is a great place to receive all of your marketing information. Not only do they have written blogs but they also have a podcast series, Hack the Entrepreneur. I like this because sometimes reading articles can become monotonous and listening to a podcast can liven up the way you consume your media.
  5. Google Analytics Blog. I like the Google Analytics blog because we use Google Analytics to track our website stats. What better way to learn how to effectively use a tool than by reading a blog written for and dedicated to that tool. Be warned the blog can be a little dry but it does provide good information for you to learn about using analytics.

So those are the top five RSS feeds I follow on feedly. There are several others I follow and many, many more you can follow. What are some of the best RSS feeds you follow and why?

Five Tips for Organizing Electronic Writing Files

It’s “National Love Your Files” week so I’m putting together some videos and other tidbits of information to help you come up with your own system or use some of my hints. Love your files – organize them and you’ll love yourself when you’re searching for important client work or a draft of an article you want to publish, etc.

Life and business really is more relaxing when we’re organized so I’ve put together a video for organizing your electronic writing files. I know, I know, after a long day who wants to organize files, but if you have the folders in place and make a habit of putting the files in the correct folder as you save them you are way ahead of the game.

Here are my folder suggestions but feel free to name yours for whatever works for you:

Writing Folder

  1. Notes & Ideas
  2. Progress
  3. Completed
  4. Feedback
  5. Research

What’s your process for organizing your writing or other electronic files? Pete and I look forward to hearing from you.

Launching Your Products and Services – Part 3

plane soaring

Organizing Your Business for Future Success!

Every day is a day for growth and in the past few days we’ve completed lots of tasks to ensure our company’s successful development! After a few days’ work and meetings, we finalized the Organization Chart for M. Colleen Wietmarschen Co.

One of the biggest mistakes that small businesses make is they do not have a clear sense of responsibilities for each person in their company. By creating an Organization Chart you can avoid confusion and miscommunication moving forward.

To start, I thought about all the services we provide to our customers and the daily tasks of running the company so we stay organized, such as payroll and marketing. From there, I established branches of our company that deal with each area. For example, I set up a finance branch, a project branch, a marketing branch, and a human relations branch.

All the branches have different roles so it only made sense to have a President. The President deals with the day-to-day operations of the business and keeps the company on the correct path. Next, I added an Owner role above the President. The Owner works closely with the President but not necessarily in the daily operations; however, the Owner guides the company through other processes such as directing the company towards its vision and mission.

Under each branch there are different roles that need to be filled. You can’t just have a payroll department if you don’t have an accounts receivable department. So then I filled in each department with roles that need to be met in order to make each department function as a complete unit. For example, under the Vice President of Operations I listed that there needs to be a Project Manager. The Project Manager cannot complete all the tasks by themselves so underneath them I listed Team Member, i.e., writer, graphic designer, web designer, etc. I followed suit with the other branches as well.

By setting up these branches I clearly delineated where responsibilities fell. Now you may be telling yourself that you are too small of a company and you don’t need this. I will tell you that every company needs this. It clearly defines what each person needs to do and it allows your company to grow within a clearly defined structure. It is true that in the beginning you might have one person filling two or three roles, maybe even more, but as you grow, duties are in place so others can easily step into a predefined role.

After the chart was created, I saw what jobs were within the structure and needed to be filled. We had a meeting to discuss the job description for each position. This further clarified the responsibilities each person is required to complete. Again, in the beginning you might have to fill multiple roles with the same person but as your company grows and you add employees (or subcontractors) their duties are easily identified.

Do you have an organizational chart in place? If not, can you see how this tool can be a great asset for your company’s success!

Peter M. Wietmarschen

[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]http://mcolleenwietmarschen.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/Pete-sax-2014-4-use.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Peter, a 2014 graduate of Morehead State University’s Caudill College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences, earned a Bachelor of Arts in Music. He strives to express his thoughts and ideas in a creative and professional manner. Peter is our Vice President of Operations and Marketing and a contributing writer on our site. He enjoys writing blogs which provide helpful information to readers as well as general business practices and more! [/author_info] [/author]