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

Habits Are Hard to Come By

Over the past couple of weeks I have been thinking about habits, what they are, how they are formed, and how we can use them to our advantage. This is important for writers because writers have to make a habit of writing every day. I know I have not been able to build the habit of writing every day, and I can see an impact not just in the quantity of writing I turn out, but also in the quality of writing. Today I want to take a few minutes to write about how and why the habit of writing is important for all of us, whether you are a writer or a business owner. 

What is a habit? 

If you search habit on Google you will find Merriam-Webster’s definition: “a behavior pattern acquired by frequent repetition or physiological exposure that shows itself in regularity or increase facility of performance.” The Encyclopedia Britannica says “a habit – which can be part of any activity, ranging from eating and sleeping to thinking and reacting – is developed through reinforcement and repetition. These two words, reinforcement and repetition, are key to how habits form and why they stick around.

Reinforcement 

I do not want to dive deep into what psychologists define what reinforcement is but I do want to touch the higher level meaning of the word. Psychologists define reinforcement as a consequence to strengthen (or weaken) a future behavior when the behavior is followed by a specific stimulus.  There are two types of reinforcement – positive and negative. To put it in layman’s term, positive reinforcement is something received when an action is completed and negative reinforcement is something taken away when an action is completed. By recognizing the types of reinforcement we can help ourselves better form our habits.

To help you establish the habit of writing there are some ways you can reinforce your actions. For example, you can use positive reinforcement by allowing yourself to watch an episode of your favorite show on Netflix after you write for 30 minutes. This is something I used in college when practicing for my senior recital. I would walk down the street, practice for a straight hour and when I was finished I watched an episode of New Girl. 

You can see the use of negative reinforcement in action whenever you climb into your car. The little beeping you hear when put your key into the ignition? It turns off (removed) when you click in your seat belt. I’m not suggesting you have a big bell that keeps ringing until you finish your writing but there are things you can do to negatively reinforce your writing habit. Having a deadline to meet can help you negatively reinforce your writing habit. In practice, you can use this to help avoid the unpleasant feeling (or worse yet, loss of revenue) of missing your deadline. The act of finishing your project on time is negatively reinforced because you are removing the negative feeling of missing the deadline because your task was completed early.

It is important to stay consistent with your reinforcement. There is something called a schedule or reinforcement which is how frequently you reinforce your behavior. If you want to learn more about these there are many sites on the internet you can search. Also, you want to be sure you are reinforcing your behavior (writing) within an appropriate time. The reinforcement will have a higher chance of being tied to an action if the reinforcement is seen as close to the action as possible. So if your positive reinforcement for writing an hour is to watch an episode on Netflix be sure to watch that episode as close to the completion of your writing time as possible or you risk having the reinforcement lose its effect.

Repetition

Repetition is the act of repeatedly doing something over and over. Repetition means you spend time writing each and everyday. When you try to create a habit of writing it is important you always write daily, no matter how long it might be. John Grisham, New York Times Best-selling author, recently released eight tips for writers. In the article he says writers should write one page a day, in the same place and at the same time each day. This simple act of repetition will have you form your habit of writing. 

If you struggle with finding a constant time and place to write, schedule out your writing time in advance. Maybe you spend thirty minutes a day writing after you watch the morning news, or maybe you write as you ride the bus into work each day. Look at your calendar and find a time that works best for you and be sure to stick to it. That’s what repetition is all about. 

When you are trying to build your habit of writing make sure you use both reinforcement and repetition. If you are looking for inspiration check out our Facebook Page, M Colleen Wietmarschen, LLC, for a daily writing prompt. 

It’s November. Time for NaNoWriMo – What’s That?

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NaNoWriMo – have you heard of it? National Novel Writer’s Month. Honestly, I never heard of it until six months ago. NaNoWriMo is the month (November) writers and anyone who wants to enhance their writing skills commit to their goals for writing. People dream about writing a novel or book or becoming a better writer, but we all know dreams don’t mean anything unless you set a goal because goals have a deadline. NaNoWriMo is the month people commit to write 50,000 words for their novel or other writing project during November. Fifty thousand words divided by 30 days is 1,666 words/day. What activities can you shave out of your day to make time for writing? Less TV, less time on social media, less time sleeping? Maybe you’ll have more time one day than another. That’s okay. The idea is to set your goal and stick to it.

We’re all busy, but if we’re serious about writing, let’s take the challenge. When I plan things or carve out time for tasks I’m able to hit my goals. If exercise, violin lessons, meetings, etc. are on my calendar, I’m more organized and my brain doesn’t have to “remember” things. Therefore, I’m less stressed and have a clearer head to finish things faster and easier.

At this time in my business and life, if I aimed for 50,000 words this month, I’d fail. Wow, did I say that? Yep, but I’d rather say it up front than to say I’ll write 50,000 words this month, not do it and then criticize myself for the next five years! So, my goal for November is writing 25,000 words. That’s 833 words a day which is doable. We’re creating new programs, writing more blogs, and writing a book for 2017 so 833 words on average a day for the month of November is my goal. I can commit to that. How about you? What’s a goal you can stick to and not blast yourself for the next six months if you don’t reach your target?

It’s about having fun, setting a goal, managing your time, and finishing or moving closer to completing your novel or writing project. If you want support during this month, follow us in our Facebook Group, Your Literary Prose Writing Circle. It’s an interactive group where you ask questions, find support, and more. We’re announcing new things to come and provide daily tips and more! We hope to see you there!

We look forward to hearing your goals for NaNoWriMo this month. Comment here and in our FB Group. Peter and I will post our updates daily in the FB Group too.

Here’s to NaNoWriMo and making it work for you – no matter what your goal is for writing this month!

Until next time,

Colleen and Peter

Your Literary Prose

Here’s more information on NaNoWriMo.

 

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

The Three Best Places to Learn Online

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What does your daily schedule look like? I know I have talked about reading, particularly books, but have you set aside time to read other professionals’ blogs, peer-reviewed articles, magazines, or listen to the newest craze – podcasts?  As an avid learner, I love to scope other places so I continue developing personally and professionally.

This week I want to write a quick blog about some of my favorite places to find, read, or listen to articles, podcasts, and more.

My top three places to read/listen:

  1. Medium
  2. Feedly
  3. Stitcher

Medium

Medium is a place writers can publish their blogs. On Medium you can search articles through tags like you would find in blogs published on individual’s personal or business websites.

Why I like Medium

As a reader, you can find articles from multiple authors about one topic. This is great because you can go to one place and learn from multiple people about a particular topic of interest.

What Medium could improve

The articles are not always current as some bloggers use Medium to republish their own blogs after they have already been on their own website. Also, there are an increasingly higher number of clickbait articles coming to the site. It’s more than just a title but also the content in the article is not always the best. So like other websites you need to learn what authors to trust.

Feedly

I’ve written a great blog on feedly before.  Feedly is a place where you can read all of your favorite RSS feeds in one place.

Why I like Feedly

You have probably found a few great websites or authors who you love to read. An RSS feed is a tool that automatically updates with the feed’s newest articles. Here you can gather all of you favorite authors in one place and even organize the feeds into tags.

What could be better?

There are many websites, businesses, or authors that keep an RSS feed. However, not every place has one. Also, there are many RSS feeds  so again finding the ones you gain the most from takes a bit of time.

Stitcher

Stitcher is a site, well technically an app, that plays podcasts.

Why I like Stitcher

There are many podcasts you can listen to. There are some wonderful podcasts that are both professionally created and filled with great information on any and all topics. Also, you can listen to podcasts on your computer or your phone.

What could be better?

The biggest problem I see is sometimes it is hard to find older podcasts as they do not seem to load.

Conclusion

What are some of your favorite places to read or listen? There are plenty out there so let’s hear ’em!

Peter

Who needs processes?

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A process for you and a process for me.

Have you ever done the same task over and over again? As humans, we are creatures of habit so most of what we do each day is routine; same old, same old. We don’t like to do things differently and it makes sense to do every task the easiest way possible, right?

It makes sense then that what we do in business should be completed in a similar fashion each time and the easiest way possible. This is where processes come into play.

Process? What process?

Merriam-Webster defines process as, “a series of actions that produce something or that lead to a particular result.” For example, you follow a process when you send a newsletter, write a blog, post on social media, call a client, etc. There are many actions business owners take on a daily basis that need to be written into processes. 

Creating processes may not sound like a great use of time, but trust me, it is! Imagine for a second currently you send two newsletter campaigns out each month. Do you put the same content in each newsletter? I bet you don’t, but where does the content come from? Probably your blog or a personal update or curated content from industry leaders.

As entrepreneurs, the goal is to grow your business and as it grows, taking time to do all the things you do now like write your newsletter isn’t the best use of your money or time. So you hire a social media expert or a Virtual Assistant to compile your newsletter. How will they know what to put in your newsletter? Do you expect them to know exactly what you want with zero help? If so, you’re asking for trouble.

Here is where a process comes into play. There are many things to include in a process – what tasks you are going to complete, what tools do you need to complete those tasks, a specific order of events, and a time frame for how long the tasks should take.

Every business has clients, but what do you do when you first start working with a client? Here’s our process for what we do when we talk with a potential client:

  1. Email client a client intake form which includes the following:
    1. Name
    2. Email
    3. Phone number
    4. Business name
    5. Email newsletter subscriber info
  2. Put info into CRM
  3. Add intake form into client folder in Google Drive/computer

Client intake information is a basic process, but processes can (and should) be developed for many tasks, both simple and more complex. I even have a process for when I write blogs!

What processes do you have in place as your business grows and it’s time to bring on a Virtual Assistant, if you have a sudden illness, or accident? Processes can make or break your business. Colleen and I look forward to hearing from you.

Peter Wietmarschen

Five Crucial Points to Consider When Identifying Your Target Market

target market

Whatever business you offer – coaching, writing, accounting… defining your target audience is the ultimate goal and it does not mean you are limiting yourself; it means you are choosing where to spend your money and time to reach those groups or a certain group on a deeper level. Keep in mind these important factors when identifying your target market:

Develop relationships with potential customers.

Attend live networking events and learn about the people there, follow-up with them after the events, ask them for coffee, chat, and you’ll find out if they are a fit for you or maybe they’ll know someone who needs your service. It takes time, but if you don’t go out there and meet people you’ll never build any type of relationship to find out… If you have a virtual business, interact with people online via social media – Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, etc. Interact conversationally with people, find out what they do, what they like, who they are; it is not always about selling. Build the relationships; in the long run trust wins out.

What problems do you solve and how do you stand out from other services?


What pain point do you solve for clients? Are you a fitness trainer who helps someone live a healthier lifestyle? Are you a bookkeeper who assists people with the day-to-day accounting issues with their business? As a content writer, do you help improve business’ messages so potential clients understand what services they offer, products they sell, etc.?

If you are a fitness trainer, why would someone choose you over another trainer? Do you make it fun instead of dreadful to workout? Do people smile when they walk into the gym and see you, or are you the type of trainer when your client sees you their muscles tense if they can’t keep up and they feel like a loser? What type of trainer are you? Different people need different types of trainers, but which type of person do you want to target? As a bookkeeper, do you want to work with small or large businesses? Do you work with one system only, i.e. QuickBooks or are you open to others?

Whatever service you offer or problem you solve, be clear and dig deep to figure out what it is you excel at and how you want to work with clients when they contact you and make sure it’s a fit on both sides, but when you know what problems you solve and who your ideal client is, your marketing efforts are much easier.

Determine where to find your audience.


You’ve decided who you want to serve and have compiled your client profile, so now where do you find them? What websites do they frequent, what social media platforms are they using, are there certain apps they prefer to play with? Research, research.
 

Speaking of research… Market research is critical.


If you don’t know what your potential clients want or need, no amount of advertising will prompt them to buy from you. There are several types of market research to find out what they’re looking for from you:

  • Demographics: age, gender, income, education, mobility, environment, and technical savvy are types of demographics and their goal in research is to better understand your audience. Demographics can potentially reveal who your customers are or aren’t and this type of research should be conducted .
  • Publications: many publications track industry trends, sales information, and believe it or not, a lot of consumer information is gathered from people browsing the internet!
  • Surveys or polls: conduct informal surveys or polls to people you have identified as your target audience and ask what service you can give that other companies aren’t, how can you make a difference from how they worked with other companies, what you can do better…
  • “Niche” isn’t a four-letter word.


    Obviously, it’s a five-letter word, but you know what I’m saying. When you target market, in a way, deciding to niche, it’s not all bad. “Inc.” magazine wrote an article, In Praise of Niche Marketing, and states that niche marketing can be very attractive and self-limiting; however, today entrepreneurial companies realize the importance of making the person happy and as Amazon has filled the void of many small niches to satisfy individuals and having many small successes leads to much success over time!

    Finding your target market takes time, doesn’t happen once and you’re finished, and is challenging, but the work is worth it in the long run and so is the success of your business. Don’t waste your time working on products or programs to sell if there isn’t a market to purchase them.

    What type of target marketing do you use for your business? Do you enjoy it or find it a challenge? Pete and I look forward to hearing from you.

    Until next time,

    Colleen

What I’ve Learned Working At The Literary Prose

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Photo via Visualhunt

Since joining The Literary Prose last summer, I have learned much about myself, the business world, and what being an entrepreneur truly means. I wanted to gather my thoughts, information, ideas, etc. I have found most useful for me over these past months and share them.

Each and every day is a challenge

What challenges do you face?

There are many challenges when starting your small business. Some challenges are small and in the end inconsequential like what brand of printer paper you use or what type of desk works best for you. Some challenges have huge impacts; what services or products do we have that customers will buy, what team members you need to hire, what color should your logo be? Some challenges could affect your company but you have no idea what that effect will be until later; Apple or PC, Facebook or Twitter or both? Each and every day you and your company will face these challenges and it is how you face them that truly matters.

While I will not say that we here at The Literary Prose are perfect, each day we strive to better ourselves and the company. What I do to overcome our daily challenges, and what I’ve challenged myself to do is to read more every day. When faced with specific questions on marketing, branding, social media, writing, and any other daily challenges, you can learn all you want, and much more, by reading on those subjects.

Each day you learn something about yourself

Little changes add up to big differences

I don’t know if this is you, but when I first started I thought I either knew everything or Colleen, who had been in business for nearly 20 years, knew everything. That might seem irrational but that very reason was what made me so eager to start. I thought we’d be this huge company, earning six figures, in a matter of months. Was I being naive? Maybe, but being a small business, I learned real quick what I did not know.

Knowing what you know and what you don’t know, and the difference between the two can lead to greater insights into yourself and your company. Each one of us is proficient in many areas of life and business. For example, I went to college and earned a degree in music while playing saxophone. Focusing four years of my life on music provided me a unique insight into what I know and don’t know about music. I feel comfortable with much of the history of music but when it comes to composition, I am about as clueless as the average Joe.

This knowledge of knowing what I know and don’t know developed over time. I remember loving my theory and history classes. I remember my Music History professor saying one of my research papers were written at a graduate level. I remember reading about the composers of the pieces I played. This all culminates into me knowing what I know. If you know what you don’t know, for me composition, you can take what you’ve learned from other areas and apply them to what you don’t know. I know, just by looking at how I learned music history some ways to improve on my composition. I can read about the craft, I can practice composing, I can study other compositions, and I can look at the composer, not in a historical sense but in a more analytical sense.

Each day I learn more about what I know, what I do not know, and how I can apply my learning to other aspects of life.

Information Overload

Do you really know what you’re doing?

This happened to me over the past week. As you might know, we are in the middle of our teleseminar series “The Literary Prose Presents: It’s More Than Just Words.” Last week we wanted to write and publish an ad on Facebook and I took the task upon myself. I went to Facebook, started the process and was almost immediately stumped. What do most of us do when we are hit with a roadblock? We go to Google, and that is what I did, I went to Google and searched Facebook ads. What I found was astonishing. I was immediately overcome with billions; (I’m not exaggerating, when I checked there were about 1.7 billion web pages that matched that query) of possible solutions.

What I learned is there is so much information out there, as I was reading about the process I felt more and more lost. Each article solved one question I had but opened up two, three, or more paths of questioning. So what do you do in this situation? The hardest part of this is discovering what information is helpful and what is not.

Trial and error

Take the plunge

From those 1.7 billion web pages there are bound to be both relevant and irrelevant information on Facebook ads. What makes it more confusing is that some people swear by one method while others scold you for doing those same steps. What I have found is that trial and error is sometimes the best way to forge ahead. If you take into account two different methods you will probably see you are more knowledgeable on some of the steps than others. This is where knowing what you don’t know is important; if you don’t know how to code, don’t use the process that requires you to code.

Once you pick your process stick with it, learn what you did right and what you did wrong, and improve on it the next time. What I have found is that one method doesn’t work for everyone. I like to take many different thoughts on a subject and pick and choose what I like from each resource. I use Buffer blog to show me what size my Facebook picture should be, but I use Hubspot to choose what color I should use for text on that image. What I am trying to say is don’t be afraid to take the step off the cliff and see where it takes you. You will never know what works best for you until you try it.

Conclusion

What I’ve learned and what you should take away

The point I’m trying to make is that knowledge of yourself, your company, and other companies is important. There is no be all, end-all solution to any one problem. You must take your knowledge and apply it to each problem. If you do this and are conscious of what you are doing, you will evolve to better adapt to the challenges you and your company face every day.

Now on to you, the reader. What are some important lessons you’ve learned in business or life that you want to pass along to others?

Thanks for reading,

Peter

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