ENTERPRISE + INITIATIVE Page 2 of 33

What to do if you’re facing redundancy {+ new podcast episode with Kerry Roy)

What to do if you’re facing redundancy {+ new podcast episode with Kerry Roy) Kempton Shaw Shoot 04 DSC 0363

I’ll never forget the day one of my closest friends phoned me at 9am on a Friday, and I knew something was amiss. She worked for an investment bank, NEVER phoned during office hours. It turned out that she had been made redundant with immediate effect, the last of her team to go. She had known it might be coming, but had buried her head in the sand and hoped for the best.

The funny thing is, the best did happen in the end, only not quite in the way she had hoped.

For someone who had been terrified of redundancy, I remember so clearly the lightness in her voice, the sense of relief and the excitement at the prospect of a new kind of freedom. No more commute. No more 6am starts. No more office politics. And so much opportunity. My friend is the first to admit she hates making decisions, so redundancy actually turned out to be a blessing because it made someone else make a massive decision for her. Now, four years on, she runs her own flourishing business, sets her own hours and gets paid twice as much to do the same kind of work she did before. And she loves it.

Sometimes the very things we are afraid of turn out to be the best kind of adventures. So if you are facing redundancy, ask yourself this:

“What if this were to turn out as a great blessing? What would that look like?”

And while you are thinking about it, I encourage you to spend 30 minutes listening to my latest podcast episode with free-spirited Yorkshire lass, Kerry Roy, who lost her job but found her calling.

Kerry used her redundancy notice to hatch her escape plan, combining running a successful glamping, wedding and events business with feeding her addiction for travel and adventure. Always determined to fulfill her dreams, seek new opportunities, travel often and be forever grateful for the wonderful journey of life, in listening to Kerry’s story you will be filled with motivation to bring your dream to life whatever may be thrown at you along the way.

Enjoy the show!

BethXx

What to do if you’re facing redundancy {+ new podcast episode with Kerry Roy) FSC KERRY ROY

Key moments:

[1m 0s] How Kerry dealt with the disappointment of her redundancy notice and instead made it a positive thing

[5m 0s] How Kerry juggled finances when she began the road to opening her own business

[7m 0s] Kerry discovered her calling, hear how

[8m 0s] How the support of Kerry’s partner, Dave, helped her make breakthroughs

[9m 0s] Building a power team of friends and family who helped start Kerry’s business

[10m 30s] Kerry’s attitude to ‘risk’ when curveballs are thrown her way

[11m 30s] The story behind Kerry’s business name, Camp Katur

[13m 0s] Kerry’s mission for Camp Katur, how she looks after her customers and ensures their escape from routine

[16m 0s] Key ways Kerry makes time and space for herself while juggling business efforts day to day

[20m 0s] How she balances work, life and travel – some great tips here

[22m 0s] What’s next for Kerry and Dave, their exciting plans to move to the mountains

[25m 0s] How Kerry and Dave work as a couple in aligning each other’s dreams

[27m 30s] Kerry’s amazing visualization for her future

[29m 30s] The challenges and fears Kerry faces on her next chapter…

 

On making a living from the things you create {New podcast episode with Jess Van Den}

On making a living from the things you create {New podcast episode with Jess Van Den} FSC 07 Jess Van Den

Many creatives dream of turning the items they make into a profitable business that can support their lifestyles so they are free to do work they love from wherever they desire. For one lady, this dream is an ongoing reality and she strives to help other makers profit from their talents and live a life that’s true to them too.

Jess Van Den, my latest guest on The Freedom Seeker Chronicles Podcast, is a silversmith from Australia who makes beautiful jewellery from her solar powered studio north of Brisbane. She’s the founder and editor of Create & Thrive & the Thriver Circle, supporting creatives turning their handmade hobby into a full-time business and together with her husband Nick, she has built a life for themselves centred around freedom and flexibility.

On making a living from the things you create {New podcast episode with Jess Van Den} FS PODCAST LISTEN BUTTON

Key Moments:

[3m 15s] How Jess came to discover the heart and soul behind her business and understand her ‘why’ in business

[6m 0s] The moment Jess decided to make her hobby her business

[10m 30s] What Jess’s day to day life looks like, her creative routine and how she balances business + life commitments

[13m 40s] Why Jess lets go of business priorities at weekends to create headspace

[15m 20s] Jess + Beth’s thoughts on managing social media as a small business owner – and the importance of showing up as your whole self [not to fill gaps in your social schedule]

[17m 0s] How Jess balances time, finances and energy for 2 businesses

[21m 0s] Jess explains the different revenue streams that come from her businesses and how they support her

[23m 05s] The challenges Jess is currently facing and how she differentiates urgent vs. important tasks

[26m 15s] Jess highlights the common challenges creative business owners face and how to overcome them

[29m 30s] Overcoming confidence issues and fear when you’re starting a creative business

[31m 0s] The power of finding a community to support you

[32m 20s] What Jess has learned in interviewing lots of entrepreneurs and changemakers for her podcast

[35m 10s] Jess explains her very own definition of Freedom

Listen and subscribe here

Got an idea for a business? Got too many ideas? This conversation is for you

Got an idea for a business? Got too many ideas? This conversation is for you FSC 06 Ben Keene

There are three questions I get asked often by people wanting to create a business around doing what they love:

  • It’s all so overwhelming. Where should I begin?
  • How do I choose which thing to focus on?
  • Is it really possible with a family to support?

Rather than just share my own views on this, I thought I’d invite the thoughts of someone who is at the coal face, working with start ups day-in-day-out.

Ben Keene is Head of The Escape School and founder of Rebel Book Club, and with a family of five to support, he is perfectly placed to share entrepreneurial wisdom with those who are juggling business needs and family demands. In this episode of my new podcast The Freedom Seeker Chronicles (which is totally free), Ben shares how to deal with risk when you’re starting a business for the first time, how to balance family and work commitments and the desire for travel. You can listen to it here. I hope this will give you some food for thought, and inspire you to go for it!

From zero to one: How 3 founders went from idea to business

From zero to one: How 3 founders went from idea to business DWYL BLOG EXPERT COLUMNISTS LAPTOP 550X200PX LR1

This is a guest post by Ben Keene. You can find out more about Ben here.

1 in 3 people want to start a business, but only 1 in 10 take the leap.

Turning an exciting idea into a real world business isn’t easy.

But with an array of cheap online tools and a growing community in cities like London, it is increasingly possible to at least test whether your idea has potential without risking it all.

We spoke to 3 startup founders we admire about how they turned an idea in their heads into an actual business.

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Your invitation to join the new sisterhood for soul-driven entrepreneurs

Your invitation to join the new sisterhood for soul-driven entrepreneurs HSHB

Friends, I have something to share with you. This has been a long time in the making, and if you are a woman with a business, it might be just what you have been longing for….

I am so thrilled to announce the launch of Hello Soul Hello Business: A Sisterhood For Soul-driven Entrepreneurs.

Running a business is an experience of a lifetime. It’s a creative experience. It’s an intellectual experience. It’s an exhilarating endurance experience. And sometimes, it’s a profound spiritual experience. But often what’s missing – especially for women in business – is the community experience.

That’s why we (myself and my incredibly talented and successful friend Kelly Rae Roberts) have created Hello Soul Hello Business: a monthly membership for soul-driven women entrepreneurs. It all starts July 3rd, and registration is open now.

When women with passion and ideas and open hearts come together, magic happens. And we want YOU to be a part of the magic. Your community, your sisters, are waiting.

Over the past few years we have come to realise that many women in business don’t have a truly supportive community of other women in business who are really out there in the world, doing the work, often juggling family and business, who are willing to share about the mistakes and the lessons and the struggles and the fear and the risks and the blessing, all of it. So we want to extend the support we have given each other to a new Sisterhood for Soul-Driven Entrepreneurs – people like you who want to make a difference with their work, support their families and experience the preciousness of life along the way.

The Sisterhood is offered on a monthly subscription basis, and if you register you will get a 400+ page business growth e-book called The Business Soul Sessions (plus companion audiobook read by us) as soon as it launches, along with access to your new community of female entrepreneurs building soulful businesses. You will also get a host of deep and inspiring monthly content including:

  • Behind-the-scenes videos with me and Kelly Rae sharing what’s really going on in our businesses – what we are working on, what mistakes we have made, what we have learnt recently, seeing inside new launches and more.
  • In-depth raw and real interviews with inspiring women in business
  • Live Q&A with me and Kelly Rae to ask us anything about business and life
  • Curated resources to help grow your business and keep you motivated

I am so thrilled to be able to work alongside Kelly Rae to bring this desperately needed Sisterhood into the world. It’s practical and soulful, challenging and supportive, a place for magic to happen. I hope you will join us, and call this your new home.

If you are a woman and you have a business, however large or small, this is for you. If you know a woman with a business who needs support, guidance and encouragement, this is for her. Please spread the word and forward this on to anyone who needs it. Let’s be in this together as we are not meant to do this alone.

Come join us. Your sisters are waiting at www.hellosoulhellobusiness.com

Beth Xx

 

Issue 10 of MOYO magazine is out now!

Spring is a time of growth and new beginnings and if you’re thinking of making positive changes to improve your life look no further than the latest issue of MOYO magazine.

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Issue 10 of MOYO – the Independence Issue – is all about making a living doing what you love. We have dedicated a whole issue to this concept, because we believe life is what you make it – that you have the power to create exactly the life you want. All you need is inspiration, vision, passion, dedication and commitment. There has never been a better time for creatives to build a flourishing business with their talents, and we have put together our best issue yet, to inspire that in you.

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How I’m turning my hobby into a lifestyle (and you can too!)

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“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” — Howard Thurman

Today we share Rebecca Temsen’s story. Rebecca is a writer, entrepreneur, wife and a mother of two who is passionate about helping people to reach their potential and not just settle for the norm. Here she explains how her hobby has become a way of life. 

There is no telling how much you’ll grow or how strong your energy will become once you are truly dedicated to a personal ‘cause’ or ‘purpose’. This ‘cause’ or ‘purpose’ is also called happiness and it is well worth chasing.

This is my story in pursuit of happiness…

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How I stopped “living for the weekend” and started doing what I love for a living

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Today we share an insightful post from digital nomad Mike McLeish. A keen cycler Mike has found his true calling in life as a bicycle blogger, Pinch-Flat

 

 

 

The original name for this site was “Mike The Bike” but I had to change it after people were getting the wrong impression.

So with that, Pinch-Flat was born.

 

and he is currently taking full advantage of the of the warm weather in SE Asia. You can find him cycling through traffic in Kuala Lumpur, attempting to drink coffee from a plastic bag, or eating Nasi Lemak at a local corner shop.

I have enjoyed every second of my journey, but to get to where I am now has been harder than I ever imagined it would be,” he says.“If you have more motivation than ability (like me!) and are looking for inspiration on how to take action, then read on…!”

Mike - working in hammock

Smug laptop hammock shot taken especially for this post. If I’m honest hammocks are uncomfortable, and I’m way too pale to be out in the sun!

Why did I decide to make a change?

To quickly summarize a cliched story – I had a job with potential, but I knew I’d never be happy working for someone else’s company and living someone else’s dream all my life.

It’s not that I disliked my job. It’s just that I got to the point where I found myself dramatically asking “is this it?” on more than just a Monday, and I found myself complaining about the little things more than enjoying the good things.

I first came across the term digital nomad on a typically hungover Sunday while feeling sorry for myself.

Live anywhere while working from your laptop.

I’d be lying if I didn’t immediately have a Dan Bilzerian style daydream as I lay weakly on my sofa in rainy Southern England.

A big dream was of being a “location independent entrepreneur.” was born. The more I thought about it, the more I wanted it. So I began to plan.

My plan of attack

With my idea set, I visualised the steps need to get there and listed them out. All I needed to do was:

  • Save some money
  • Tell friends and family
  • Quit my job
  • Buy a plane ticket
  • Learn a skill
  • Sell my skill

The first step to reach my goal was to save some money…

How much money I needed to achieve my goal

Before I left, I was living with my mum and working as a returns administer. Not quite a rock star lifestyle but living at home meant I had very few outgoings.

I never bought anything I didn’t need, and I cycled 10 miles to and from work each day. This lifestyle was super boring, but I didn’t care, I was on a mission!

My frugal ways enabled me to save £5000 ($6200) in eight months.

With the money in the back pocket, I moved onto the next step. Telling my friends and family.

How people around me reacted to my decision

Not surprisingly my plans were met much like people’s opinion to marmite.

Reactions varied from being slapped on the back and bought a drink, to people seriously questioning my sanity.

While I think it’s important to listen to what people say, it’s also important to stay true to your original reasonings for wanting to do something like this in the first place.

Be honest with yourself and be very careful who’s advice you take. Sometimes people with the best intentions will negatively impact your decisions. Ultimately the choice is yours, and only you know what’s best for you.

The double-edged sword that is my immense stubbornness enabled me to stick to the plan. With telling friends and family out the way, the next step was the big one for me. Quitting my job.

How I felt when quitting my job

I’d recently finished a degree in public health, and the job I had was one the first that I could find. I started out stacking boxes on the factory floor and then moved into the offices. I was a returns administer but I was being considered for higher paying roles.

I felt I had an opportunity to climb the corporate ranks and quitting was like slamming this door shut for good. It was a big deal for me at the time and one that caused me question myself.

In reality, I’d only just started out, so I had nothing to lose.

After realising this, I was able to stop being a wimp and hand in my notice. I still remember the shocked look on my manager’s face and choking up when handing it over.

If I’d been further along in my career this step would have definitely been harder. I have great admiration for anyone who decides to do something like this who is further along their career path.

At the time I was on a temporary contract which meant I only had to give two weeks’ notice.

Handing in my resignation made it official that I was leaving. Up until that point, it didn’t feel like I was going anywhere, so there was no real sense of urgency to plan anything.

Getting everything ready to leave

Not planning anything meant that the two weeks after handing my notice in were rushed. It fact, they resembled someone who had overslept their alarm and was already 30 minutes late for work.

In those two weeks, I did everything from booking my flight, renewing my passport, and buying sun cream. It was all a bit of a blur, but I think that was good for me, as I didn’t have time to question my decision.

How I eased the transition

Something I did that helped to ease me in to my new life in SE Asia was volunteering for two months at a community bicycle project in Kuala Lumpur. I did this through WorkAway, which I’d used numerous times before in Europe.

Bike Shop Kuala LumpurBike Shop, Kuala Lumpur

Using WorkAway felt familiar and it was a good way to let anyone who was finding it difficult to understand my plans that I was doing something useful and meaningful with my time. Spending a few months volunteering  and then coming home to a proper job is a slightly easier pill to swallow for many.

biking malaysia As well as working in the bike shop I helped to launch it’s brand new cafe –  Makan at The Basikal 

The basikalMe (back) with staff at The Basikal 

Whilst I was here, I learned basic web design and started to build a site for my bicycle project, Pinch Flat.

New skills I picked up and how I learned them

Once I’d successfully broken free of my old life and completed two months’ volunteering it was time to learn some more.

There are many remote working jobs out there, and I enjoy Search Engine Optimisation [SEO]. Luckily there are sites out there that give excellent advice on where to start. Some, like Niche Pursuits, have huge free case studies that you can follow. Using them, together with a few other resources gave me all the knowledge I needed to get going.

The skills I learned enabled me to get a job which involves Youtube SEO for an infographic company. Working for around one-and-half hours a day earns me enough to support my modest life.

My goal right now is to expand my cycling blog so that it can support me financially. I hope to do this through articles like this for affiliate earnings and this for Google Adsense earnings. Once I’ve done this, I’d love to move into developing products, but this is a little way off yet.

The biggest challenges that I faced while learning

After I’d finished volunteering and looking for places to stay in Kuala Lumpur, I checked into a Sleeping Pod hostel. I had a bizarre case of self-doubt and decided to spend almost 24hrs in my pod eating peanut butter from the jar….

Luckily for my sanity (and waistline) I snapped out of this mindset and was able to carry on.

I’ve found that while learning, I’ve had feelings of elation combined with feelings of utter despair – often in the same day! The biggest challenge for me is what goes on in my head!

The truth is that I’ve worked more recently than I ever have. For the first two months after leaving the voluntary project, I worked at a co-working space from 9am-10pm seven days a week. I lived in a $3 a night, 10-bed dorm room with a fan to keep cool. I only really spoke to other guests when they asked me to turn off the light, and I was woken most nights by either mosquitos or bed bug bites on my hands.

It would have been much easier to check into a nice hotel, but I was conscious that I was living on my savings, and they wouldn’t last forever. I was tired, dirty, and loving every second! I knew it wouldn’t be for long and living in a hostel motivated me to work hard so I could get out of there!

What a typical day in my life looks like

Five months down the line things are easier; I’ve left hostel life behind and I now rent my own room.

If I wanted to, I could live on the money I earn from freelancing and work around one-and-a-half hours per day, but I want more than this, so I put lots of time into my own projects.

I’m currently living on an island called Langkawi in Malaysia. I’ll be finished with this post at around 2pm, and I think that’ll be enough for today.

I’m going to walk 10 minutes to the beach and spend the rest of the day playing football with some other remote workers I’ve met.

My life is unrecognisable to what it was just half a year a go. This is the first time I’ve really reflected on what I’ve done and I’m so happy I made this change.

Ultimately, my dream is to grow Pinch Flat so I can continue to offer my readers the best news, tips, and travel recommendations for bicycle-related business.

Advice to others

Sensible advice to others considering this way of life is to: learn a skill that you could do remotely while you’re at home; get some online clients; and save enough money to live comfortably while you make the transition into the life of work and travel.

Of course I did absolutely none of that rubbish and went in all guns blazing like a scene from Die Hard.

Doing it the way I did meant I was fully committed and my motivation was sky high. The only other piece of advice I’d give  is to make sure you find a place where you can work effectively, be persistent, and believe in yourself.

***

For more information about Mike visit his website.

How to make your BIG writing dream a reality

Do you dream of being a writer? Well, now’s the time to turn that dream into reality.

To help get you started, our expert columnist and leading expert in digital distraction and digital detox, Frances Booth shares an extract from her inspirational new book A Writer for All Seasons: Beat Blocks, Face Your Fears and Keep Writing 

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Turn up

The most important rule is to turn up.

Turning up means turning up to write when you’re:

Tired
Really tired
Uninspired
Inspired
Sad
Bored
Anxious
Happy
Scared
Depressed
Excited
Motivated
Not motivated
Lost
Unsure
Sure
Full of energy
Have no energy
Too busy
In the mood to write
Not in the mood to write

Some days you’ll feel like writing; other days you won’t.

You need to turn up through all of it.

On the days that you feel great, well, that’s great. Write for as long as you can and enjoy it.

But what about all the other days?

If you wait for perfect conditions, you’ll waste most of your time waiting. Instead, you need to write when the conditions are not perfect (most of the time) as well as when the mood strikes you.

Turn up anyway. Cast your net. See if you can catch a few words.

You need to be able to turn up whatever, because the only certainty is that, during your time as a writer, things will change.

Your mood will change. Conditions will change. The weather will change. How much time you have for writing will change. How you feel will change. What your writing needs today will change.

Some days there’ll be the unrelenting glare of the sun. On other days there’ll be wispy clouds and life will seem easy.

You’ll need to keep writing through all of it.

Don’t wait for inspiration or the right mood before you turn up. Do it the other way round. Turn up and start writing, and words and ideas will arrive.

When you feel tired, for example, turn up, but alter your expectations. Give yourself some leeway. Do the easy bit. Be kind.

What will you find?

You might dig all day and find nothing. But when you come back the next day, you realise that you’ve prepared the ground for ideas to grow.

Another day, you might write, uninspired, for an hour. Then … 63 minutes in … there it is … the glint of something promising.

Scatter words. Plant ideas. Give it time.

Cross the start line

What if we thought of writing in a different way?

What if we thought about writing a book like we think about running a half marathon?

They’re both huge challenges. They take training, practice, stamina and time to achieve. In each case, you have to deal with psychological barriers, and they’re daunting prospects.

But our attitude and approach to them – in general – couldn’t be more different.

I fancy running a half marathon. I think I’ll give it a go. I’m not an elite runner, but it’ll be a good challenge. It might even be fun. I’ll have to train, but I’m prepared to put in the hours. I’m under no illusion that it will be easy. It will be great to say I’ve done it.

I’d love to write a book. Maybe one day. I couldn’t, though … not right now.

There’ll be crowds along the route – they’ll cheer me on – even the people who don’t know me. They’ll help me cross the finish line. The atmosphere will be great. I’ll tell everyone I know and raise money for charity.

I won’t tell anyone. They’ll laugh. They’ll think I’m ridiculous for trying this. Who do I think I am? I’d love to write a book, but … I can’t give up my job. I’ll wait for retirement. I haven’t got time anyway.

Wait for retirement? Are you kidding me? I’m fit and healthy now. I’ll dig out my trainers. I’ll run before work on Monday. I’ll run at lunchtime on Tuesday. We get an early finish every other Friday and I’ll run then. I’ll run one day at the weekend. I’ll be tired, but it’s only for four months. I know I won’t regret it. I’ll set myself a time target. I’m going to go for it …

Who am I kidding that I could write a bestseller? The critics are really cruel – they’d tear me apart. I couldn’t take it. What if it was no good? I’ve just taken on that new project at work, anyway. I think I’ll leave it for now. I enjoy reading. I’ll just read.

One day …

Win? Are you joking? Don’t you know that everyone gets a medal?

I suppose I could do it for the challenge. I guess if I practise I’ll get better. Maybe I could write on a Wednesday evening. I could do this Saturday morning. Maybe I will write a book …

Write. Jog. Build up the miles.

Go at your own pace. Do it for the challenge. Cross the starting line.

Make it fun

We get it as kids – the wonder of being able – suddenly! – to craft letters, tell a story, write a message in a magical script.

We can’t understand why everyone isn’t running around with crayons writing their names again and again.

We fill piece of paper after piece of paper with our marks.

Then our marks get marked. Our writing gets judged. And that wild adventure ends all too soon.

Writing is meant to be fun. But it’s easy to forget that.

You can tell when you’re taking writing too seriously. It gets heavy. You start being hard on yourself, demanding more while giving your writer less. Far from it being fun, you have no sense of humour left at all.

Sometimes all it takes to get back on track with your writing is to recapture the fun.

A test of fun

What if, instead of a test of whether your writing was good enough (or whether it was a bestseller, or what the critics said), writing was a test of fun?

Do you play with words?

Do you enjoy writing? 

Does it feel like an adventure?

Often, the point at which you need to make it fun again is exactly when you feel too pressured to do so. You’re simply too busy or overwhelmed to do something “silly” or “childish” or “frivolous”. But if you get used to weaving fun in to your writing all the time, when you need it, it will be there.

Try these tips:

20 ways to keep writing fun

  1. Don’t rush it; don’t push it.
  2. Write a story with someone else. You write the first bit, then pass it to them. They write the next bit, and pass it back. No discussing it!
  3. What are you tired of writing about? Sticking with writing what you know is safe, but once your enthusiasm for it has gone, it will take more and more effort, and it will drain you. Let yourself write about something different (even though that’s scary).
  4. Start with an ending.
  5. Pass on a message in an unusual form.
  6. Scribble. Doodle.
  7. Test how excited you are about your writing project. Talk about it to someone supportive. Can you hear the excitement in your voice? Can they? If not, what are you really excited about writing? This method is useful if you’ve got so many ideas you don’t know which to choose.
  8. Write something in the middle of the night.
  9. Write nonsense. Robert Louis Stevenson carried what he called his “Book of Original Nonsense” to make notes in. You don’t have to be serious to be successful.
  10. Go to a new place.
  11. Write on an old typewriter.
  12. Go for a walk and look for words on signs, pieces of paper or shop fronts. What are these messages signalling to you?
  13. Do something you enjoyed as a child that you never do any more – for example, trampolining or singing.
  14. Use playfulness in an ordinary piece of writing. For example: in an email, note or list. In a letter Charles Dickens wrote in 1863 to the clockmaker, Sir John Bennett, about a broken clock, he writes that since the clock was cleaned it has gone “perfectly well, but has struck the hours with great reluctance, and after enduring internal agonies of a most distressing nature it has now ceased striking altogether”. Every piece of writing – however mundane – holds an opportunity to play with words.
  15. Borrow a writing style. For example: a train announcement, diary entries, a shopping list.
  16. Don’t think about how little you can get away with giving your writer, think about how much you can do to support them.
  17. Make up a word.
  18. Learn how to write your name in hieroglyphics.
  19. Start an inspiration box. Write down things you’d like to do, cut sections out from magazines, pick up flyers for events. Put them in your inspiration box. Include anything that you’re curious about or want to try. When you’re in need of inspiration, choose something from your box.
  20. Imagine you owned an ideas bank that you make ideas withdrawals from and deposit fun in to. Do you need to add more fun before you withdraw more ideas?

***

This is an edited extract from A Writer for All Seasons: Beat Blocks, Face Your Fears and Keep Writing by Frances Booth. 

For more motivational advice on writing, A Writer for All Seasons is widely available online including at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and iBooks.

How to make it in the world of… online marketing

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Drive traffic with these five killer social media hacks

As entrepreneurs we can often feel like the deck is stacked against us when it comes to the digital world. We don’t have the same budgets as our massive competitors, nor do we have the army of marketers that they can employ. So how can a small, or medium-sized business, drive traffic to its website or blog and carve out its piece of the market?

According to Payman Taei, an avid technologist and the founder of Visme and HindSite, the answer lies with social media. Here he shares a whole host of straight-to-the-point, actionable social media tips for marketers and business owners. While some of these strategies won’t be a quick fix, you may be surprised how quickly many of them start to generate results…

20150317200604-five-easy-tools-build-website-computer-keyboard-mac-appleImage credit: Wilfred Iven | StockSnap.io

We use social media all the time; on our way to work, in our downtime, even early mornings. Naturally, businesses can take advantage of this; having your own Facebook page or Twitter feed can increase interest in your company and boost user interaction but as with all things, it’s not that simple. With all the different pages out there, it can be quite difficult to make yours stand out. These easy-to-follow social media hacks can help you gain — and keep — new followers, as well as spreading word about your product around the web.

 

Consistent Updates

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Having high-quality updates is obviously a priority for any business. However, if those updates are few and far between, people will likely lose interest in the product.

Updating often is obviously a great way to generate interest and make sure your name and product is remembered, but you can easily go further than that.

Having specific days or times that you post content can help drive traffic, as well as giving potential customers something to look forward to. If posts are always made on a certain day or at a certain time, then followers will get into the habit of checking your social media to see if anything new has appeared, creating a more dedicated base.

What days and times you chose depends on your audience. If your audience is mostly made of standard shift workers, then try updating in the afternoon on weekdays, when they’ll just be getting home and wanting to spend more time on social media. Want to appeal to teenagers and young adults?  Try mornings on the weekends, where they won’t have classes and will have more time to look at their feed upon waking up.

Scheduling when to post doesn’t have to be particularly rigid, either, as you can post a few random updates between the normal to surprise and delight your watchers.

Take it one step further: Using missinglettr

Ian Anderson Gray — as shared by Lisa D. Jenkins — provides a helpful tip for those who have trouble finding the time to schedule posts.  “I used to create a series of tweets for each of my articles and schedule them in a scheduling tool,” he states. “This took a huge amount of time and to be honest, I rarely managed to get around to it.”

With the help of missingletr, Gray’s work is significantly decreased, while he still gets the benefits of consistent Twitter posts. Missinglettr creates several posts based on the content in an article connected to it. You can use the application to your advantage by allowing it to make several posts for you while you focus on other aspects of your work.

2. Maximize Your Use of Visual Content

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It’s no secret that visual content attracts a potential follower’s attention quicker than text.  While scrolling on Facebook, which are you more likely to scroll back to: a block of words, or a vibrant image?

Mastering visual content on social media can greatly increase traffic to your page, especially since users are significantly more likely to share pictures or videos.

A great way to use visuals in social media is to take a picture. Jay Baer points out that the use of photographs as visuals has greatly increased, and it provides a wonderful opportunity to show your product in action. Images of people using your product in real-life can increase viewers’ interest in the item. You can also create your own graphic for social media using an online visual tool such as Visme.

Take it Further: Link to Your Site

Since one of the purposes of adding images is to generate traffic, it’d be remiss not to leave a link with the image—or, if possible, make the image itself into a link.

Donna Moritz, in an article by Cindy King, points out how useful visual content can be as a “gateway” to the rest of your business world.  Let the visual content catch interest, and leave longer posts to the site they lead to.

3. Master Hashtags

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Hashtags first started with Twitter, and have quickly become one of the best ways to locate a specific sort of information. Businesses can benefit from this across social media by using them to their fullest extent.

Jumping on popular subjects to tag is a great way to attract outside attention. All the same, Peg Fitzpatrick warns that having a variety of random hashtags isn’t advisable, even if those tags are trending. “Use a good hashtag to tie all of the pieces of your campaign together,” she informs readers.

Using hashtags strategically — by tagging relevant popular items without random extraneous bits — can not only attract attention, but keep it.

Take it Further: Make Your Own

Having a unique hashtag can distinguish you from others who might have a similar product. Your audience will quickly be able to identify your brand from your tag, and will be able to tag experiences related to your company in turn.

One of the best ways to go about this is to create a short, easy-to-remember tag that sticks in people’s minds long after they log off. Clever use of alliteration or wordplay are great ways to go about this.

5. Engage Your Followers

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Actively encouraging your audience to participate can not only help generate traffic, but can also be a way to endear you audience to you.

Showcasing the work of fans or followers automatically makes them more invested in talking about your product.  For example, you might want to share posts you see when someone talks positively about your product.

Promoting contests is a great way to go about this. Offering a reward means that more individuals will be talking about your product and generally vying to get the prize. At visme we created a socially engaging contest called “Visualize Me” which was a perfect example of social engagement driven by an incentive.

Of course, taking the time to personally respond to those subscribed to your page can increase engagement, as well.

Take it one step further: Offer Private Streams

Many individuals would like to have personal relationships with the companies that provide for them. Having private boards or groups where you can converse with your customers is one way to provide that relationship.

Many Patreon users have taken this into account. The site has different reward tiers based on how much a patron pledges users each month. In turn, the owner of the individual campaign can offer specific incentives, one of which can be private streams where patrons can watch them work, or Q&As only available for pledges.

Of course, you don’t have to use Patreon to provide the same feature. Martin Shervington talks about having private hangouts on Google+, where you can talk individually to those invited to join.  If you’re a Pinterest user, you can also use group boards to your advantage.

You can even combine private conversations with contests. Whoever wins for the company will get a private audience with different members.

5. Make a Safe Space

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If followers appreciate having their work and words shown off, then they’ll be equally appreciative of having a space where they don’t have to worry about being looked down on for their opinions. Keeping watch over your social media to make sure everyone’s getting along can not only foster trust and appreciation for your company, but also make others more likely to visit your page and be honest with you. With how aggressive parts of the internet can be, it can be an immense relief to find anywhere that’s decidedly not.

Speaking to individual on a personal basis — as mentioned above — and answering them politely and with general concern is one way to help users feel more welcome.

Another great way — for Facebook, at least — is to ban inflammatory words. Holly Homer describes how to do this: simply go to Page Settings, Page Moderation, and type in any words that could be used to insult or attack another user.  Any comments with those words will be hidden, preventing arguments before they happen.

This can also work for provocative comments towards your product or service, as well, if you’re worried about the words blowing up into a full-blown fight.

Take it one step further: Hide the Trolls

Guy Kawasaki explains his trouble with trolls on his Facebook feed — deleting the comment simply resulted in the trolls commenting again to complain about it, while banning the user resulted in angry emails about being banned.

The solution to the problem was actually relatively simple: hide the comment.

When comments are hidden, the posting individual can still see their comment, but no other fans can. Kawasaki explains how this works to his favor; not only has he not received any more angry emails, but the comments, even though they’re hidden, actually help to boost his post, meaning the trolls actually end up helping.

While using the word ban hack (mentioned above) can help for specific words, it also helps to search through comments and check for any other sort of inflammatory remark.

You can take this ‘safe space’ even further by talking to the individual’s specifically and trying to allay any complaints or concerns, but simply moving the conversation to a more private medium. Of course, with spam comments, you’re probably better off just hiding the comment and leaving the conversation.

To Recap

There are many, many different tips and tricks you can use to help boost your social media success.  Some of the best include:

  • Consistent Updates
  • Mastering Visual Content
  • Mastering Hashtags
  • Engaging Users
  • Making a Safe Space

Here’s a challenge: take these hacks (or others) and try and twist them into something unique. Then, post the results in our comments section, to let us (and others!) know how you’ve put these tricks into action.

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About Payman Taei 
Payman is an avid technologist and the Founder of Visme, a Do It Yourself platform allowing everyone to easily create, manage professional presentations & infographics right in their browser. He’s also the Founder of HindSite Interactive an award winning web design and web development company.