Just How Much Of Your Story Should You Share In Biz?

In this blog post, I’m talking about just how much of your story you should share when you’re being visible in your biz, and sharing 3 top tips for you to think about when sharing your personal stories.
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As I work with clients on being visible in business I get asked this question a lot!

There’s a fine balance between sharing insights into you that will help people to get to know you better, and going all out sharing everything. You want to engage with your ideal clients, but you don’t want to scare them off with a War & Peace on your doom and gloom!

So just how much of your story should you share?

Here’s my two pennies worth on it. I’ve got 3 things for you to think about.

1. Is it your story to share?

What I mean here, is if it’s your own story and others aren’t involved, that’s okay, but like my podcast/blog last week I’ve shared some stuff about my hubby, so I asked his permission first. I do the same with my daughter, friends, clients etc.

Poor Natasha (my 16-year-old) is quite often the inspiration for my writing. She’s threatened starting to charge me! Loving that entrepreneurial spirit at such an early stage. Nice try darling!!

2. Will it matter that it’s ‘out there’ further down the line?

We might want to write in the spur of the moment, but you need to consider with that whole internet world out there how you’d feel if someone came across it in six months, one year, five years down the line. You might feel fine writing about your long lasting depression now, but what about when you’re through the other side. Would you still feel the same way about it? Just apply the time test to what you share, it can really help.

3. Share enough, but not too much

This is the conundrum that gets a lot of my clients stuck. You don’t have to share everything about yourself.

The main reason I love story telling type posts is they help you to connect.

Storytelling is powerful. We connect much quicker when we read or listen to a story than when we just read a promotional post

I never really used to share much about me, but I realised that people need to hear it. They want to know that you have challenges as a business owner, that it’s not all a bed of roses. They want to know that you make mistakes. They want to know that you’re juggling all sorts of other things in life, like family, friends and the practical day-to-day things too.

Think of it like a conversation when you meet a friend in town or over a coffee.

Would you spend loads of time bombarding them with your story or would you have a two-way conversation?

Now, of course, it depends on the type of friendship because if it’s your bestie then maybe you would bombard and get it off your chest and they’d be the therapist to help you sort it out, but mostly it would be a two-way conversation, especially if it was someone you’d bumped into while you’re out and about.

3The same applies to when you’re sharing your story. They don’t need to know every single thought you’ve been through, every single challenge, you don’t need to talk them through each step so vividly that they feel like they have been there with you. Don’t drag them down, but what you can do is give the headlines of what’s been going on for you, what you’ve learned from those challenges, what action it made you take, or reframe it helped you with.

Think about how your story can inspire, educate, inform them

So rather than it being all about you, think about how you can relate your story to them all the way through, or at least at the very end. Turn it back to them so that your story can help them see a different perspective, learn something or take some kind of action.

This week’s call to action: Spend some time writing out your story and then pull out headlines that you could share to connect better with your ideal clients.

Are You Kissing Frogs?

Are you kissing frogs? In this blog post, I’m going to share how kissing frogs might be part of the process when building your business and how you need to get super duper clear on who you want to work with.

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So often we settle for our lot in business and life. We think we only deserve a certain amount of happiness and that can really limit us.

I remember back when I was single after going through my divorce, lots of friends kept telling me I should go out with this person and that person, but I told them that I didn’t want to settle. I wanted to find the right person for me.

I had a comprehensive list of what I wanted in a man. Yes, that might sound a bit excessive, but hey I ended up with my soul mate so you can’t argue with that! I think clarity is so important, in all areas of your life, but especially when running your own business. You need to get really specific about what you want.

Back to these friends of mine, they said my list for my ideal man was too limiting and that I should compromise, but I didn’t want to.

They said I’d be missing out on great opportunities, and could be holding out for something that wasn’t right for me. I disagreed.

I knew I’d rather wait for the right person than settle for the wrong person and regret my decision, which wouldn’t be fair on either of us. Trust me, I had to kiss a few frogs along the way! Oh, the stories I could tell about some of those dates – wowzers. The dating world is eye-opening for sure!!!

What’s all this got to do with business? Well, quite a lot actually.

Like my friends telling me who I should go out with, you will get people telling you how to run your business, what clients to work with and what you should be doing/not doing. The thing is, there is no one-size fits all in business. Yes, there are methodologies that are tried and tested, proven to work, so you’d be mad not to incorporate them, but the beauty of running your own business is you get to run it your way.

You need to be clear on what you want for your business

I had a full list of what I did and didn’t want in a man. If you were to apply that to your ideal clients, would you know who you do and don’t want to work with?

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You need a vision, a bit like my list. I was able to visualise the kind of relationship I wanted to be in, as I’d written out all of the qualities of the man I wanted and how life would be when I met him. I knew that when I found the right person everything would fall into place like a jigsaw puzzle. The same applies to your ideal clients, when you are really clear on the type of people you want to work with, you’ll find the same thing happens.

You might find yourself wavering when the right people don’t come along (enter the frogs!) but maybe it’s because you’re not being clear enough. Maybe your messages aren’t talking to your ideal clients.

So you may be wondering how we met. We met online, he was working in Iraq doing close protection work when I first started chatting to him. It was back in the day when online dating was more taboo than it is now – it was one of those things you didn’t really share with many people for fear of being judged. I had to pull together an online profile that summed up me and what I was looking for.  I was very specific (my list came to my rescue again!) Trust me it seemed a tall order, but specificity works!

Have you ever felt like that in business? When you don’t want to share your business for fear of being judged for saying/doing the wrong thing, being ‘too big for your boots’ and thinking that people will question your reasoning.

Don't Settle For Wrong Clients #Niching

I felt like that when sharing the whole online dating thing with people. It all started off as a dare for me (I’m a sucker for a mini dare!) when my friend challenged me to go speed dating. I said it wasn’t for me, and the next best thing was online dating. Nothing like pushing your comfort zones!

So, my ideal husband list was too limiting apparently, I should compromise. No, thank you. Compromise is not in my dictionary, I like clarity, specificity and don’t think you need to settle. You can dream big and make it happen.

We can often get in our own way – we get really clear on who our ideal clients are and then worry that we will limit clients coming our way

A bit like the ‘fear strategy’ my friends were doing with me.

You think when you get clear on who you really want to work with that it’s going to stop you from connecting with the right clients. It’s funny because it actually strengthens your position, you don’t waste time with people that aren’t your ideal clients (timewasters – in my case back then my non-ideal partner). It sets you apart as the one to work with, because you’re so clear, or the one to fall in love with in my case.

If you believe in the Law of Attraction, like I do, then you’ll know that you can make anything happen. When my now hubby and I used to chat over MSN (the Skype of its day) his soldier friends would ask him who I was. His reply was, ‘She’s my future wife, she just doesn’t know it yet’.

When you settle and work with the wrong clients it’s hard work. Working with clients should feel easy and fun, something you love, not something you dread because they aren’t a good fit for you and it’s all super awkward, or you dread working with them. The clearer you are on who your ideal clients are, the easier you will find it to attract them, just like my lovely man.

So if you’re settling I want you to think about what you really do want for your business. Who are your ideal clients? Draw up a list and then speak to them, make all of your messages about them. Okay so you might kiss a few frogs along the way as you figure it all out, but you might also find your prince/princess along the way!

Fear Will Keep You Invisible In Business and Stop You Earning Money

In this blog post, I’m going to share how you need to step up and be brave, or it could be losing you money and other opportunities in your business

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As business owners, well let’s be honest, as people, we can so easily get caught up in the ‘What If I’m not good enough’ trap. We might be fine for a few days and then BAM, something gets us into the wrong mindset and off we go spiralling into this whole inner critic stuff.

Fear will keep you invisible in your business

I see it time and time again with my clients, and I’ve had it happen time and time again with me.

You have to step up and be brave, push through your comfort zones and allow things to happen in their own sweet time. If you don’t shout out about your business, then who will?

When talking with my clients they say they’re feeling uncomfortable about stepping into new territory. What if people don’t like what they put out there? What if their latest offering doesn’t sell? Just this past week, I’ve spoken with four clients who are worrying about things that they can’t possibly know the answers to right now, and they’ve written off programmes and offerings before they’ve even started.

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It’s one of those dichotomies of being a business owner, on the one hand, you get to create lots of amazing things and get them out into the world when you want. No red tape. No meetings. No boss to answer to.

On the other hand, you don’t have that validation. There isn’t someone checking what you’re doing to make sure it’s ok and it’s all a lot of guesswork. In some ways, that’s the fun of being a business owner. Tweaking, testing, adapting, trying out new things, playing with lots of different ideas. It can also be our ruination because we play out lots of ‘what if’ scenarios that terrify the life out of us and then we do absolutely nothing.

So how do you clear the fear? Well, you don’t really, BUT by taking small action steps you will find that things become easier.

I very recently got invited to send some information to a publisher. I sat with the email for a whole day, thinking about what to write. I wanted it to be perfect. I wanted to know that what I would email would send the publisher dancing around the office with the printout saying, “I’ve been waiting for this kind of writing for my whole life.” Oh okay then, that was a very big stretch, but I did want it to be received really well so that they’d be interested in finding out more, so what did I do.

Nothing. Zip. Diddly Squat. Nada.

I let it sit in my inbox and worry about it. I’d say I ignored it, but I didn’t really. It was on my mind all day. I knew that it wouldn’t look professional if I didn’t reply quickly. It then became a much bigger thing that it needed to be. Ever done that?

Worry is a really useful strategy, isn’t it? Well, it’s one that’s worked for me – and a lot of my clients. Well, we think it’s what works, except it doesn’t. All it does is push us into perfectionist and procrastination mode. We’ll do anything but send that document, or do what it takes to make something happen. What is that all about?!

We sit and worry, stewing over every single word that floats out onto the page, wondering if that paragraph or bullet point will be the one that ruins it for us.

Often we consider that there’s a lot at stake so reframe it, explore other perspectives.

Let’s say ‘it’ doesn’t get received well, whatever ‘it’ means for you;

* You could view it that there are opportunities out there that are a better fit for you.

* It’s a reminder that you have been brave and stepped up, even if things don’t quite turn out how you’d hoped.

* It also helps you get much clearer on what you do want and your preparation might be better next time, maybe you’d ask for feedback from others before sending it for example.

This was just about my book, but what if it was the video that one of your ideal clients really needed to watch, or a LinkedIn blog post your ideal client really needed to read?

What if that ideal client really connected with you that day and then wanted to pay for your services? Who knows where that might lead after that too. It could result in referrals, where people shout out about your amazing service and offers. It could then lead to being asked to write guest articles, do a talk for an event and more.9

Missed opportunities. Tangible and indirect. Possible income, relationship building and more.

So I’m guessing you might want to know what did I do about my email in the end.

Well, I did send it. There were a lot of rewrites, loads of intakes of breaths, a butterfly tummy and a few eeks but it’s gone.

What worked?

Telling someone that I was going to send it that day, and they also helped with a coaching strategy so that I didn’t die in the process. Did I tell you I was worried about it?!

I also got someone to check it for me and give me feedback, particularly to make sure it was Ruby-fied as my friend calls it (what I have to do when I get too serious and forget to just be me!)

Don’t let fear stop you from being visible in business.

Prepare, breathe in and be brave!

Sometimes you have to think about what you want MORE than the fear. Try it on something you’re putting off. It really does work!

Your Call To Action This Week: Think about something you’re putting off and just do it already. Want some accountability. Come over into my Facebook group, Rock Your Fabulous Biz, tell me what it is and let me hold you accountable.

Are You The Same As Everybody Else?

In this blog post, I’m going to get you to think about how you’re going to be visible and stand out from the crowd.

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I was reading People Management the other day and came across an article by author Sally Bibb, who said ‘We’re fed up with candidates who look and sound the same’.

She then went on to say that, ‘hiring managers are jaded by traditional interviewing because all of the candidates look the same and they can all learn how to pass a cognitive ability test’.

Being visible isn’t about being visible just for the sake of it, it’s about being visible with the right message, in front of the right people AND attracting people that want to take the next step with you

But here’s the thing…

Everyone looks and sounds the same.

Whatever business you’re in, you need to differentiate yourself from the competition. As service-based business owners, the best way you can do this is through your personality.

I see so many business owners making this mistake – being afraid to show who they really are, for fear of judgement and comparison. They are trying to fit into a mould.

Visible With Right Msg #Mktg

I remember my HR days, I was oh SO serious. Wow, thinking back I’ve lightened up so much since then! The problem was that my seriousness started to drip into my business. I was scared to show people my real side, my mess ups, vulnerabilities and my quirkiness.

When I made the decision to just show up as me (yes, still a professional in all that I do, but a lightened up version of professional!) I found I started to attract more of my ideal clients.

It wasn’t such hard work either. All I have to do is show up as me, I like that. A lot.

Now I’m not saying don’t be professional. Just because you can work in your PJ’s or wear what you like doesn’t mean you should lose that professionalism. Don’t overdo it.

It’s about showing up authentically. That can be quite challenging, but when you do you will find your confidence increases and you’ll be empowered to be more visible in your business.

It can feel really scary.

It takes courage, bravery, and vulnerability to show up as just you.

The truth is though that if you’re pretending to be something you’re not people will see through you. You’re effectively lying to yourself and others.

Speaking from experience in my HR days, I used to be two different people. One very serious person at work, and then much more laid back outside of work, I know it takes a lot of energy to be a different person; it’s so much easier just showing up as you.

Did you know, that according to research 12%[1]  of the things we worry about are needless worry such as what people think of us. We think that if someone looks us up and down they are being judgmental. They might just think we look good!

Here’s a little extract from my co-authored chapters of the Dial A Guru book, Awaken Your True Potential;

“Let’s imagine you’re at a social event, what version of you are you putting across to the other person?

Are you trying to speak differently, act differently?

What do you choose to share / hold back? Why?

What are the benefits?

In what way do you find yourself suppressing your opinions with the fear that you will be judged or perceived differently by your views?

What’s the worst that could happen if you showed up 100%?

Accept that you’re different, that you have lots of skills, strengths and things to bring others don’t have. Stop comparing bananas to socks! [2] What I mean is that when you compare you aren’t necessarily comparing like for like. Just because you see someone more successful than you doesn’t mean they’re at the same place, and remember we’re talking about your perception of their success here. We so often see other people’s successes and think that they got from A to B overnight. That is highly unlikely. They went through their own journey to get to this point.

It’s quite likely that they’ve wondered to themselves at some point in time whether they will be able to actually pull off this business/life thing. We wouldn’t be human if we didn’t experience doubt. They will more than likely have gone through the ‘I feel like I’m a failure’, or ‘I will fail at this’ thought processes. Just because you don’t witness it doesn’t mean it hasn’t happened.”

Your call to action this week is to check in on how you’re showing up both on and offline. Are people getting to know the real you, or the version you think they want?

It takes guts to show up as yourself, but it’s totally worth it, and you’ll build your business much quicker too.

The number one secret to building a fabulous business is just being the fabulous you. Are you up for being visible by standing out from the crowd? Or are you going to be joining the gang of everyone looking and sounding the same? I know which one I’m choosing.

Hope to see you on the quirky side!

[1] National Institute of Mental Health, America 2001

[2] You will probably be familiar with the term, ‘comparing apples with pears’. Bananas and socks is my quirky version!

Rocking Your Visibility Interview – Jo Bendle

In today’s post, I’m sharing a ‘Rock Your Visibility Interview’ with Jo Bendle, Productivity Coach, who shares a 3 step model to achieve effortless productivity plus some great hints and tips on being visible and productive too.

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I hope you enjoyed today’s interview and have some great ideas to get you moving forward on your visibility.

The call to action for the interview (in case you thought I’d forgotten) is to choose one action point that you’ve written down and do it. When you take the action to get more visible that’s when the magic happens, so go and do it now, or make a note in your diary to do it this coming week. No excuses!

Number One Thing You Need To Focus On If You Want Business Growth

I want to get you thinking about the number one thing you need to focus on if you want business growth.

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Do you read a lot? I read LOADS and I love to collect articles and snippets from things I’ve read. I have a ‘Data Bank’ of info that I use when I need inspiration.

Last week, I came across a snippet from an old Psychologies magazine. Yes, I’m sad, I scan some of the articles because I love them. I can’t help myself. It’s going back to February 2013, and it got me thinking about mindset. Let me share it with you;

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Think about what you’re telling yourself on a daily basis

Are your thoughts positive or negative?

When I first started out in business I needed to learn everything from scratch. Yes, I’d worked as Head of HR and I was on the Strategic Team in my company, but business in the corporate world is a million miles away from running your own business.

I’d run my own HR consultancy for a while, but a lot of my clients came from referrals, so I really did need to start learning business all over again.

What I didn’t learn properly until about 2.5 years into my business, was that it’s not just about working on your business, you HAVE to work on your mindset

Figure What's Wkg #Mindset

I made all of the mistakes I see my clients make now, where they say;

_”I can’t get clients”_

_”Nothing is working for me”_

_”I’m doing all of the right things, but I can’t get the clients”_

You need to take a look at what you’re telling yourself. Instead of thinking, “I can’t get clients”, you need to think about what changes you could make to get clients, why your strategies aren’t working

Sometimes it can be a simple fix, one little thing needs a change. Other times there’s a lot of different elements that just aren’t working together as they need to be. Telling yourself what you don’t want though certainly isn’t helping you to get into a place of how to fix the problem.

There are so many components to running your own business

made up of things like; how clear you are on your ideal clients, what you’re offering in terms of pricing and packages. Then there’s the messages you’re putting out there with your marketing, the conversations you’re having with your potential clients that will lead to them becoming paying clients. The way you nurture the people once they are on your list.

Since working on my mindset, I’ve discovered lots of ways that I was holding myself back. It wasn’t necessarily about the nuts and bolts of the business, but with things I was doing. I didn’t have enough clients because I wasn’t confident enough to ask for sales, I wasn’t clear on my niche, so I didn’t explain myself very well or what I was offering. I had few clients because I was afraid to be visible, I was scared to have conversations. I used the label ‘introvert’ in my head as an excuse not to go out there and shout out about my business.

Working on your mindset is MASSIVE. That’s why, in my Rock Your Visibility Bootcamp, we have 6 modules dedicated to that alone, and then another 6 on the business side of things.

Number 1 Biz #Mindset

So, here comes the tough love, please take this in the right way! Stop complaining about what’s not working, and start to work on your mindset. Get that right first, and then you’ll find everything so much easier. So because I wasn’t clear on my niche I was doubting myself. I was putting out a message of ‘Why would you work with me, I don’t know what I’m doing?!’ I’d be too afraid to go out there and be visible and so of course people didn’t even know I existed. I just used that label of introvert all the time. Not great.

You’ll be able to see the wood for the trees, you’ll start to understand what’s working and what’s not.

Your call to action this week: Start to notice your negative thinking, and find a better way that empowers you to move forward. Check the business elements to see if there’s something that’s not working, the many components I’ve talked about, and so many more besides those. Check the ones that are working, and for the ones that aren’t – start to think about how you can do them differently.

Maybe it’s worth trying out the Psychologies magazine tip so that you can start to clear any negative thoughts.

Remember;

The number one thing you need to focus on for business growth is your mindset

I remember speaking to people in a group asking what was the biggest difference, the biggest breakthrough they’d had in their business. About 95% of them said the biggest difference was changing their mindset.

Negative thinking won’t inspire you to take action. I love this quote, by Abraham Hicks I think it is, ‘When focusing on solutions I feel good’. What do you need to be focusing on?

If you can’t seem to get on because your mindset is holding you back from being visible, then get someone to help you. (I’m standing here waving at you, ready to help if that’s you!)

Rocking Your Visibility Interview – Kirsty Major

Today, I’m sharing a Rock Your Visibility Interview with you where I chat with Kirsty Major, of English With Kirsty,  all about how to be visible in your business. Kirsty’s got some great gems to share.

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I hope you enjoyed today’s interview and have some great ideas to get you moving forward on your visibility The call to action for the interview (in case you thought I’d forgotten) is to choose one action point that you’ve written down and do it. When you take the action to get more visible that’s when the magic happens, so go and do it now, or make a note in your diary to do it this coming week. No excuses!

If you’re ready to rock your visibility then grab my free Visibility Quiz.

What To Do When Someone Copies You In Your Biz

As you get more successful you might find people start copying you. In this episode, Ruby talks about what to do when someone copies you in your biz.

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I wasn’t sure whether to share this post or not, it might get copied, tee hee! OK, so I’ll be serious. One of the things that pushes my buttons is when people copy me in my business. I work super hard to come up with new and creative ideas to make my offerings more fun and relevant to service-based business owners, and copying isn’t what I’m about.

I don’t like taking credit for anything that isn’t mine, and go over the top not to copy. It smacks my authenticity value FULL.ON.18

Did you know I pulled a complete programme because I realised someone was doing something very similar, despite me not having read a single word about theirs before I’d created it? True story. It just wouldn’t have been right for me. We think in a very similar way, so I had to completely come away from her circles so that I now know, hand on heart, that I am not copying anything that she has on offer.

So copying… Now, I work with my clients on mindset and you don’t need me to tell you that logically it can be taken as a compliment, it shows that you’re being successful and others are inspired by you and want to emulate what you’re doing. Yada, yada, yada, but that doesn’t stop the feelings of meh, does it? Yes, we know the logical side of all of the reframing, but what if that just isn’t enough?

I get copied quite a lot now in my business, as do some of my business friends. Now I think a big part of the problem is that we are constantly bombarded with information in this information age and as such any ideas we come up with might not even come from us, they are often a great big puddle of stuff that then comes out from blog posts, books we read, conversations we have, social media and more. We might think we’re having a eureka moment when actually it wasn’t even our breakthrough, it was someone else’s.

I think there are people out there that blatantly copy you, maybe they are being inspired to use an element of what you do (I’m ok with that) and then there are some that just do full on copying, repurposing what you do as their own. That’s just plain mean and uncreative.1 (1)

There are people that love what you do and want to create the same or similar in their own businesses, especially if they consider you successful, but there might be those out there that don’t even realise they are doing it. They might be going about their own business and think that ideas have been generated from them when actually it’s a combo of ideas from everywhere.

Marianne Cantwell, who wrote Free Range Human, says that when someone copies you it will only be a 2d version of your stuff anyway. Good point. People do buy from people they know, like and trust so they might be using your material / ideas but they just aren’t you, no matter how hard they try.

Just because someone puts something out there that’s similar to you doesn’t mean that they will steal all of your clients. That’s the bigger thing here really, isn’t it? The fear – that we will lose our own clients to someone else. Well if that’s the case they aren’t our ideal clients, are they?

I take the view that there is no competition in this world, everyone has the right ideal client for them, and they will attract them at the right time. It removes all of that fear. Maybe they will go over to that other person because that other person is the right fit for them and that’s OK.

But what if this copying scenario stops you from being visible in your business? You’re worried that if you put something out there you will be copied. It could potentially cost you new business.

I know for me, when it happens, it can bring up lots of emotion at the time such as annoyance (like ‘Really, they’re copying me again’) to not wanting to share at all, but that’s just my little child throwing a tantrum. Once I’ve taken a moment to get over my nonsense I spend time reflecting on it, with curiosity as to why it triggers me – what’s really going on? I sleep on it (and check in with a friend). It saves me hitting the equivalent of a Ben and Jerry’s tub of ice-cream (in my case Deliciously Ella’s quinoa chocolate crispies)

Whatever the reason for copying you is, it really doesn’t matter. It doesn’t serve you to hold onto it. Here’s a few strategies I’ve tested, and still test, that work for me.

  1. Unfollow everything they do. If you are being triggered by them, why keep reading their stuff? You choose to stay on their mailing list, you choose to follow them on social media platforms, you choose to read their latest posts, their website, etc. You can also choose to unfollow all of that. If you don’t see it, then it won’t trigger you in the same way.
  1. If you’re brave enough, and I have done this a couple of times in the past, call the person out on it. You don’t have to do it in an unkind way. Often the person is as shocked as you were when you first read about something they’d copied of yours (it goes back to that big puddle of information they are absorbing again.)
  1. Work on your own mindset. Question what’s really going on. If it keeps showing up then you’ve got something to work on honey. That’s how this whole thing goes. So what are you doing to do about it?
  1. Don’t hide away, go bigger and better with your stuff, keep coming up with lots more fabulous ideas. Use it as a trigger for you to raise your game and be more visible. Remember, there’s only one of you. Go out there and share your fabulousness with the world.

 Your call to action this week: Notice where you might be triggered by someone, and work out what it really means for you. What can you put into place to take the sting out of it?

 I’d love to hear about your strategies for when someone copies your work. What do you do?

 

Bite The Bullet and Outsource a Piece of Work – I Dare You!

In this blog post, I’m going to be talking about how you can get started with outsourcing and one thing you need to consider.

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When you run your own business it can be a rollercoaster of ups and downs. You have to wear so many hats. When you’re working in a company you have a marketing department, sales department, customer services, finance, reception and more.

As solopreneurs we have SO many things to think about – we are the marketing department, the sales department, customer services, finance, and that’s on top of providing our actual service to our clients

I want to talk to you about outsourcing. It can be one of those things that’s really scary to do in your business, but it really can make a huge difference to reducing some of that overwhelm you might be facing.

I remember when I started out people would tell me to outsource what I can’t do, and while I thought that was a great idea I didn’t always have the budget to do so. They would tell you to think about the time invested in the smaller stuff where you could be bringing in clients. They are right, but it’s a big step to start with, especially when you’re working with low or non-existent budgets.

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What has this got to do with visibility? Well actually quite a lot. Firstly, when you’re overwhelmed with a million and one things on your mind it’s very difficult to know where to start so you end up doing all of the things you probably shouldn’t be doing, and none of the things that you should. Also, when you’re doing everything yourself you’re so busy doing things behind the scenes that there isn’t time to engage. It’s a bit like throwing a party for your favourite friends and spending all night in the kitchen slaving over the hob.

To build a successful business you need to build relationships, and they happen over time. If you’re spending time on the minute detail you could be missing out on lots of opportunities, and end up not being visible at all

I wanted to outsource but I didn’t have the funds, and I didn’t want to borrow money. Plus I was in the early days of learning and wanted to figure out everything for myself before getting someone else to do it. Now while this is a good idea, you don’t need to know everything about it, you just need to know enough to be able to explain what you need, and to manage the process.

I started outsourcing when I spent 5 days trying to figure out something techie for my first membership club. I am fairly techie minded so dug my heels in and wanted to figure it out for myself. I thought if it was taking me 5 days it might take someone 2 days or more, so didn’t outsource it. In the end it was the difference to my club launching and not launching. I asked for some techie VA help and my VA got me up and running in 2 hours. TWO.HOURS. £50 and I’d spent FIVE DAYS trying to do it on my own. Seriously!

If I’d have spent that five days working on bringing in new clients, or working with paying clients how much would that have brought me in?5

I learned a very big lesson and from there I slowly tested the waters. For me it was those initial 2 hours, then slowly over time I added more and more support. I currently work with a Techie VA for my website, another Techie VA who pulls together my podcasts, my social media right-hand girl and occasionally another VA on admin tasks. Each of them working on a specific area for a few hours at a time.

So what do you do when you know outsourcing makes sense, but a) it feels scary delegating work to someone else and b) you don’t have much money to throw at it?

Start on a micro level

Choose an area that would be easy to test out. Hire someone for 1 hour and trial how it works. Now you will find that you can get some good people that you’ll work with and some not so good. This is why testing things first can help you not feel so scared to part with your money! As you start to experience the freedom of releasing some of those mundane jobs you don’t enjoy, or those that you find challenging, you will start to build your confidence and trust that it’s ok to get support.

Your call to action this week:  Think about an area where you could outsource a piece of work. Check out someone on Fiverr.com* to do it for you and make the best use of your time when they do. Once you start outsourcing and using your time to bring in new clients you’ll know it makes sense too. Not heard of Fiverr? It’s an online marketplace where you can hire people to do what they call gigs for $5 a shot).

So go on, outsource a piece of work. I dare you. Remember: 5 DAYS – 2 HOURS – Just sayin’…

Are You Being Wishy Washy With Your Boundaries?

In this blog post, I’m going to be talking about how boundaries are vital when running your own business, for your sanity, and often for the sanity of people around you too.

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Click the play button below to listen, or scroll down and click ‘Read full transcript’ if you prefer to read the post.

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Are you being wishy-washy with your boundaries?

Boundaries are something I have to personally work on all of the time. I have people in my life that push them and I’m probably my worst enemy as I also push my own, all to the neglect of my health.

When we are in a job there are set times for when we should work, we can’t burn the midnight oil in the office as the caretaker will kick us out, that or the alarms will go off when we sneak down to make yet another coffee to get through the work we’re doing.

Yet, it’s ok for us to do that to ourselves when we work from home, isn’t it? No, it’s not. It can be very challenging finding the cut off point for when not to work when you’re a business owner. The paperwork sits there looking at you, or you hear the ping of your email account and have the urge to check ‘just this one message’. It’s so tough knowing how to stop sometimes.

How Know When To Set A BoundaryIf you’re not careful you can end up with yet another job, rather than that business where you get to be your own boss, set your own hours and come and go as you please. You know, that one you dreamed of when you started out?! How’s that working out for you?

It can be all you want it to be but you have to stop people pleasing, or feeling the need to be at everyone’s beck and call 24/7. You wouldn’t be able to speak to someone in your local department store in the middle of the night, so why would little old you running your business need to be there all day and all night working?

You need to set very clear boundaries in place so that people will know when you are/aren’t working, and if you’re like me, sometimes that other person is actually you! You’re the one pushing and pushing and not taking a break.

You have to in effect retrain people (including you) to respect your new boundaries once you set them too, because whether you want to admit it or not, if your clients are messaging you early morning or late into the evening (and you’re replying) and/or you’re thinking it’s ok to work all day and all night, then guess what, you’ve set that expectation.

The good news though is it’s such a very simple thing to change. Yes, it does feel uncomfortable to begin with, but over time it becomes your new norm. You become a much less tired, and let’s be honest, nicer business owner (and partner, friend, parent too).

So let’s do a mini audit.

  1. Are you answering emails at the crack of dawn or well into the evenings?
  2. Are you constantly checking your email notifications throughout the day?
  3. Do you see the Facebook Messenger little red icon pop up to tell you someone’s chatting with you and feel restless until you go in and find out who it is, and reply?
  4. Do you work with clients at times when you really don’t want to?
  5. Do you have set time off, whether it’s regular days each week or one particular day, but you cancel it anyway to help someone out?
  6. Do you avoid your self-care, putting everyone else first?
  7. Do you think that if you don’t work super hard you’ll have no business?

Recognise yourself in any of these? Yes? Then we need to talk boundaries! Obviously there are loads more things that will meanSay 'No' you’re not being clear with your time, these are just some of the common ones I get from my clients. Oh ok, and ones that I’m guilty of too!

What impact does all of this ‘jumping to the needs of others’ have on you – mentally, physically, emotionally? Maybe your family is starting to complain about the time you spend not being present? Maybe you know your work and personal life are constantly bleeding into each other, but you’re not sure how to fix it.

So let’s keep this really simple and start some boundary work, with these 3 steps;

  1. Notice where your time is going. You might want to keep a mental log or perhaps you will keep a journal/time log for a week so that you can be really clear on what’s working / what’s not
  1. Decide how you want things to be different and set clear boundaries. Think about how you want your working/personal life to be and then set that as your new norm. So for example, I don’t work Fridays or weekends. I also don’t answer emails after 6pm or before 10am and I let my clients know this. I rarely work evenings, unless I choose to. At first it felt awkward, but it doesn’t have to be. More importantly I thought I’d lose clients, but that didn’t happen either. Just say that you’re gifting yourself a day off, that you have set strong boundaries because you’re a workaholic. People do understand. I even encourage my clients to do the same.
  1. Stick to the boundaries you set – they are non-negotiable. Here’s a mini extract from my co-authored chapters of the book, Awaken Your True Potential;

“Now the number one problem with boundary setting is if you default back to your old ways. It’s completely normal but also frustrating. This makes it incredibly confusing for the other person as they are receiving mixed messages. You need to stand by your boundaries even if your brain is saying, ‘eek this feels really awkward’ or your stomach has butterflies as if you’re on the world’s most terrifying rollercoaster.

Once you’ve decided on your boundary you have to stick to it. No watering it down, no bending the rules, no giving in. If you’ve stated something and someone is challenging you, simply repeat the same sentence again if you need to, so that you don’t cave in. You will think you sound like a broken record but it’s an assertiveness trick that really works! Remember it’s about being assertive, not aggressive.”

There’s no room for buckling. Share your boundaries (with a smile) and stick to them!

Finally here’s a couple of tools to help you get refocused on your priorities;

  1. Close down all screens other than what you’re working on
  2. Log out of your email accounts (I know, I know – it’s like coming off drugs, but you will be thankful you did in the end)
  3. Set a ‘Do Not Disturb’ time on your phone, i.e. no notifications between 6pm and 10am
  4. Use an app to literally lock you out of programmes you don’t want to waste time on
  5. Get a Boundary Buddy, so that when you’re about to say yes to something you know you should be saying no on, they will remind you of why it’s important for you to respect your boundaries

Your call to action this week: Follow the 3 step process for boundaries and check in with me.

  1. Notice where your time is going
  2. Decide how you want things to be instead and set the boundaries
  3. Stick to your boundaries, using tools or perhaps bringing on a Boundaries Buddy to keep you in check.

I’d love to hear about your boundary setting, email me at ruby@rubymcguire.com to let me know what you’re going to do differently as a result of listening to this podcast. I reply personally to every email.

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