Small Biz Smarts: Passion, Smassion! Smashing!

Small Biz Smarts: Passion, Smassion! Smashing!

I hope you see what I’m doing with the title. A little play on words when it comes to passion and small business. LOL.

Before the negative commenting commences, I’m ABSOLUTELY not smashing passion as an important part of your business success. It IS important. But I would love to smash the myth that love for what you do is all you need to make a successful go of your product, service or other offering.

Follow Your Passion …

but put in the EFFORT!

I have a passion for tennis, but that alone hasn’t helped me rise to the challenge of playing against more skilled opponents. What has? I’m so glad you asked!

Drills

Practice might not make perfect, but it can certainly make you feel more powerful. The more you engage in an activity, the easier it becomes. I didn’t immediately have a strong overhead (although my backhand slice did come quite naturally, LOL). I put in the time and effort to build technique, racket speed and consistency.

I’m not talking about just hitting the courts and goofing off. I go to dedicated drills where I know I’m going to be put through my paces.

You have to do the business drills, too. Come up with systems, test them out, and tweak them until they work almost by rote. Habits, both good and bad, take a while to develop.

Practice really does make possible, if not perfect. Sure, you’ll swing and miss sometimes. But it’s practice that makes it possible for you to hit the sweet spot more often than not!

You’ve Gotta IGNITE and IMPLEMENT!

Passion can certainly warm up prospects, show your dedication to your craft, but it’s not enough to spark a sale. What have you got to light a match under anyone currently sitting on the fence?

How are you passing along or paying forward that passion? What makes you stand out within the crowd of loved up on their business solopreneurs?

The feels are great, but prospects and peers looking to collaborate want you to share the “reals,” the realities of what will happen if they choose to work with you.

Love for business and awesome ideas aren’t going to get you anywhere without implementation. And that means putting in the work, dealing with the breaks and bust-ups (because no launch is hitch free), and delivering on what it is you love.

Reality Rocks When It Comes To Small Business!

[clickToTweet tweet=”Isn’t it time we stopped pandering to the pinkly perfect notion of the solopreneur gig?” quote=”Isn’t it about time we stopped pandering to the pinkly perfect notion of the solopreneur or small business gig?”]

The fabrication that it’s all superstar red carpet premiers, gold thumbtacks and glitter strewn artfully across our desks, unicorn kisses and pots of gold at the end of a rainbow?

You bet your sweet bippy it’s THAT time!

How about we share the joys of coffee spilled across keyboards, the frantic blotting with paper towels followed by blasts from our hair dryer?

Isn’t it time to share the fact that we often stare at the window beside our desks and ponder the resounding crash of glass as our computer sails to the ground below?

Glamourous? Right! Did you get in the shower today? Comb your hair? Brush your teeth?

Running your business isn’t a ride on a soft, puffy cloud dancing across endlessly sunny skies. It’s more like a ride on a careening roller coaster, sans safety harness, hanging on tight as you never know which way it’s going to twist, turn and toss you about at any given moment.

And, really, that roller coaster ride, while often unnerving, is what makes it all worthwhile in the end!

Embrace The Idea Of “I Can’t”

If I see one more passionista posit that we need to remove can’t from our vocabulary, I’m going to punch her passionately in her perky little nose!

Guess what? You can’t do everything. And guess again! If you pretend you can you’re going to let a client down when you fail to deliver.

The necessary no is part of doing business. Nodding your head and numbly agreeing to take on tasks you have no time and/or talent for is a surefire way to set your small business on the road to crash and burn.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Isn’t it better to delegate than to disillusion your client? #realyourealbiz” quote=”Isn’t it better to delegate than to disillusion your client?”]

Passion, Smassion …

Yeah, loving what you do can certainly make the solopreneur gig great.  But the skills that pay the bills have little to do with love, and a whole lot to do with education, practice, willingness to work hard and the perseverance to push through the rough patches.

Small Business Smarts: Make Time For Your MOST Important Client!

Small Business Smarts: Make Time For Your MOST Important Client!

Paying the bills means getting the client work done! There’s no getting around it.

But, consider this … what happens if you get the client work done and the pipeline is empty?

Maintaining a steady stream of new and repeat business depends on you making some quality time for your V.I.P. client.

Your MOST Important Client Is Y-O-U!

This can be a bit hard to grasp, because when you work on your own site, your own content, your own visuals, you don’t see the immediate return on the time invested. You can’t invoice yourself.

[clickToTweet tweet=”It’s important to remember that #ROI is rarely immediate. #brandbuilding” quote=”It’s important to remember that ROI is rarely immediate.”]

The effort you put in, the creativity you share, over time, builds presence, trust and expertise. All of this, and so much more, come together to create your brand.

You + Your Business = Your Brand!

Many a small business owner puts hours into creating a mood board, color scheme, logo and tagline. And then call it done when it comes to branding.

[clickToTweet tweet=”When it comes to #brand messaging, a tagline is merely the tip of the iceberg.” quote=”When it comes to brand messaging, a tagline is merely the tip of the iceberg.”]

How are you sharing your message with others? Are you actively bolstering your brand across social media channels? Are you creating content worthy of reading, bookmarking and sharing?

Are you responding to queries and client ideas, on message and on brand, in a timely fashion?

I don’t know about you, but I’m not impressed when replies to my emails, tweets and private messages are answered in a rush well after business hours. I don’t care that you deem yourself a night owl, I’m not getting the best you have to offer when I’m your last task of the long night.

Your brand is the trust you build amongst your clients, prospects and peers. Doesn’t that deserve your best time and energy, your mind fresh and brimming with ideas?

Create The Right Time For YOUR Small Business Success

You should be blocking out time, EVERY DAY, that benefits your business. Time when your mind is fresh, not tired and ready to clock out.

If the hours required to build your business are tedious, you just might be in the wrong business. Your brand and its management, maintenance and continued build should be as exciting as every project you take on for a client.

Your brand and its messaging should not regularly fall to the bottom of your priority or to-do list.

Of course you have to meet and exceed the expectations of your paying clients. You certainly can’t let deadlines slide, nor can you fail to deliver. But doesn’t your own brand, your own business, deserve the same effort, energy, expertise and excitement?

Of course it does!

Sales Seldom Surge Sans Effort …

Selling your small business, your products and services, requires your best efforts. Not the final few minutes before your brain completely ceases proper function.

If you’re sandwiching the social media and other marketing of your small business between loads of laundry, how can you expect it to impress others?

Sales must be consistent to successfully run a business. Your marketing, your branded messages shared, are part of your sales process. They’re the backbone of the trust building necessary to take a lead from prospect to contracted client. They must be consistent, timely, creative, and on message bits of your brand.

That requires a sound, smart and savvy mind. That requires you setting aside the right time, the proper amount of time, the time your V.I.P client deserves.

Your Business Is Your V.I.P. Client!

Are you treating it that way?

Multi-Platform Brand Marketing CAN Maintain Focus And Energy!

Multi-Platform Brand Marketing CAN Maintain Focus And Energy!

There’s been a lot of discussion across my peer group, of late, about what it takes to build and bolster a bangin’ brand. There’s a lot of advice being shared, some good, some bad, some stellar, some scandalous and some that’s just downright confusing.

There’s a movement to “own one platform” that  seems to be on the top of the galpreneur tip list. The basic premise goes a little something like this:

If you’re trying to market your business across multiple platforms you’re, in essence, spreading yourself too thin, and you won’t be able to make a significant impact with your brand and business sharing.

While I ABSOLUTELY agree you don’t have to be everywhere online, I do think you can balance a multi-platform brand building campaign without brain drain and fatigue.

Multi-Platform Marketing Needn’t Be Multi-Headache Marketing!

A failure to plan is a plan to fail. We’ve all heard that one, right?

While I’m not generally a fan of cliches or blanket statements, this is a truth I stand firmly behind.

[clickToTweet tweet=”With a sound plan, multi-platform #marketing need not be migraine-inducing marketing! #SMMsmarts” quote=”With a sound plan, multi-platform marketing need not be migraine-inducing marketing!”]

A plan doesn’t have to be iron-clad, nor does it have to take hours to complete. A plan can be as simple as necessary in order to remain effective. I’ll be sharing how I plan my various platform campaigns and strategies in future reads.

No, You Can’t Market Everywhere …

A brand stretched too far is rarely able to showcase its expertise.

You cannot possibly manage the day-to-day running of your business, keep your clients happy AND maintain a strong and consistent presence on EVERY SINGLE social media platform. It’s just not possible.

That being said, you can and probably should maintain a presence on more than one social media platform.

WHY?

Because even though you’ve dialed in your target audience and your prime prospect, they’re human beings, with nuance, ever changing interests and they’re often restless.

Yes, you’ve done your research and realized that a significant and sizable number of your prime audience spend A LOT of time on Instagram. But just like you can’t spend your entire day on Instagram, neither can they.

And let’s be honest, most of us have target audiences, plural.

Your target audiences have their own target audiences, and that means considering that they spend some of their social media time on platforms that might not be your number one.

No, You Can’t Be Online ALL The Time …

And this is why successful multi-platform marketers have plans that include scheduling.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Smart #scheduling is the savior of multi-platform marketing! #socialmedia” quote=”Smart scheduling is the savior of multi-platform marketing!”]

So, What’s Smart Scheduling?

You can and should schedule the sharing of your own content and the content you’ve curated with your audience and top prospects in mind.

And when I say you can schedule your own content, I don’t just mean your published articles. This includes graphics and images, as well as any ideas that come to your mind.

I actually schedule what might appear to be my random musings. Why schedule them? They’re still my musings, even if I schedule them. Unless the musing or bit of snark is especially time sensitive, there’s no need for me to post it in real time.

What you absolutely CANNOT schedule, though, is interaction and the conversation you hope to cultivate with your carefully crafted and curated shares. Your real time brand marketing focuses on these conversations, when you reply and advance your scheduled thoughts.

Scheduling those shares opens up the time for you to interact and engage in conversations in real time, on more than one channel!

Your Brand Can’t Bang In A Vacuum!

If you narrow your field and focus too much you force your brand into a vacuum of sorts.

This is not to say that you should set up social media accounts for multi-channel brand marketing in a willy-nilly fashion. That’s not smart or savvy.

Balance, Intent & Purpose Make Multi-Platform Brand Marketing Possible & Powerful!

I’ve used those three words a gazillion times and I expect they’ll be parceled out in future blog posts at least a squijillion times more!

[clickToTweet tweet=”Balance, intent and purpose make up the backbone of many a multi-platform marketer’s success.” quote=”No matter how often they’re used – balance, intent and purpose make up the backbone of many a multi-platform marketer’s success.”]

You must balance frequency of posts so that you don’t feel overwhelmed and stretched thin.

The articles, images and ideas you choose to share must be chosen with the proper intent. Will they provide value or entertainment to your prospects, peers and clients?

There must be a purpose to every single ding-danged item you share, no matter the platform. Sharing simply for the sake of sharing, in an attempt to keep a feed full, provides no value to your brand or your audience.

A smart combination of the three is imperative to keeping the interest in your brand alive, no matter your chosen social media marketing platform.

Your Turn!

Can a brand effective balance presence across multiple social media marketing platforms? If so, how best to do so? If not, why not?

I’m looking forward to some great discussion in the comments!

Ready to read up and take your brand to bang-a-langin’ levels?

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So, Solopreneur … Sadly, Sometimes Nice Sucks!

So, Solopreneur ... Sadly, Sometimes Nice Sucks!

Just be nice. It’s a phrase that regularly graces many a social media article, Facebook wall and Twitter stream. There’s a movement, if you will, backed by many a pretty big name in the digital marketing biz, including a man I admire and infrequently engage with in short bursts of sock strewn banter.

That’s right, I’m talking about the terrific Ted Rubin and his take on “just be nice.”

I’m about to share something that might not be common knowledge!

SHOCKER: I’m actually a pretty ding-danged nice person.

I know, I know. I’ll probably have to prove it to you, over time, but you could ask most of my circle of social peers, and they’d tell you I’m a pretty stand-up gal who’s always willing to tackle a dilemma.

That being said …

Nice Isn’t My First Choice When It Comes To Business!

While nice is, well … nice enough when used to describe a guy or gal – it’s not how I strive to be seen by my peer group or my client base.

Instead of nice, I prefer to be seen as:

  • creative
  • professional
  • fair
  • real
  • funny
  • honest
  • timely
  • aware
  • direct
  • and a slew of other words … all more important to me than “nice.”

Being Good To People Goes Beyond Nice!

Though I don’t embrace “nice” as the end all, be all attribute that many in my social circles, do, it doesn’t mean I fail to see the importance of being good to others. To my husband, my family, my friends, as well as my peers and clients.

Sometimes a little constructive criticism is necessary in order to be good to those with whom you work.

We don’t generally think of the word “NO” as nice. But what I call the “necessary N-O” is often required when it comes to project management and actually meeting the needs of your clients.

Here’s a simple example. It’s certainly NOT nice to turn down a slice of pie when you’re at a family or business dinner. But, say you’ve been working hard to embrace a healthier lifestyle and you’ve chosen to indulge on the entree rather than dessert. Do you HAVE TO be nice and take the slice of pie?

Sometimes being good to people means telling them something they might not want to hear at the moment.

If successful relationships are built on trust, then nice needs to be taken out of the equation.

[clickToTweet tweet=”How much can you really trust someone who sugarcoats every response in a bid to be nice?” quote=”How much can you really trust someone who sugarcoats every response in a bid to be nice?”]

When Nice Simply Sucks!

Let’s be honest. Our attempts to be nice often land us in some serious deep doodoo!

Have you decided to be nice to the client who keeps making change requests and pushing back delivery dates? Guess what? Doing so means the project won’t be completed on time as you slide ever deeper into scope creep.

Have you decided to be nice and not raise your prices for long-term, grandfathered-in, clients? Only to have them nitpick and question everything you’re doing, even though they’re paying almost half the fees you’re charging your newer clients?

Ever thought it would be nice to trade your services for complimentary services? Barter isn’t a bad thing. Until that complimentary service provider disappears without a trace, having taken delivery on your end of the arrangement, while sending you absolutely nothing in return!

I could go on and on with the “be nice” moments that leave you looking and feeling like a sap. But I think I’ve made my point.

Just Be Professional!

Instead of nice, I prefer to make professionalism my intent and purpose.

Professional is often equated with polite, but there’s nuance to the idea of professionalism, just as their is nuance and shades of gray when it comes to being nice.

There’s no single, one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to being good to your brand, your business and your clients. You have to find the level of “being good” that best fits. I deliver my good with a more firm hand than you might. Does that mean I’m not a nice person? Maybe. Maybe not.

But, my bills get paid on time, my clients respect me, and my word of mouth referrals keep going strong. So, I’m pretty happy with the good I’m delivering.

Has Being Nice Ever Bitten You In The Butt?

I’d love to hear about your experiences with being nice, the good, the bad, and the indifferent. Drop me a note in the comments section or chat me up on one of the social channels where I share this publish!

When Limits Are Freeing, Rather Than Limiting!

When Limits Are Freeing, Rather Than Limiting!

If you spend time in Facebook groups as you go about your digital marketing day, you probably see various variations on this idea:

Never set limits, go after your dreams, don’t be afraid to push the boundaries. And laugh a lot – it’s good for you!
Paula Radcliffe

or …

In our society, the women who break down barriers are those who ignore limits.
Arnold Schwarzenegger

But I have a different view of limits. I see them as a powerful part of making the most of what you do, especially what you do well! I side strongly with these two quotes from an individual most would deem an expert in his field.

Once we accept our limits, we go beyond them.
Albert Einstein

The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits.
Albert Einstein

Limits Are Legitimate!

Have you seen any of the Holiday Inn Express ads? They’ve been running for years now, so I’m guessing you’ve seen one at some point. This is one of my favorites …

Why am I sharing this? Because, as ridiculous as the concept is, if you stop and think about it, you know you’ve come across brands and individuals offering products or services and wondered if they really had the expertise and experience to back their claims.

Would you accept any schmuck off the street as your helicopter pilot? Your surgeon? Your mechanic? Hell no!

So, why do we allow social marketing schmucks and big-talking braggarts into our small business circles? Why do we consort with gurus, ninjas, evangelists and mavens?

ENOUGH!

Limits Don’t Losers Make!

We all must set limits in order to manage, maintain and grow our businesses. We must also set limits which allow us to step away from our business in order to maintain other aspects of our life, including relationships with family members and creating time for hobbies and activities outside of our business scope.

If we don’t set limits when we’re managing a project, we’re likely to fall prey to scope creep.

If we aren’t deliberate and honest about what we can actually accomplish, we may find ourselves accomplishing little, or worse – nothing.

If we don’t set limits on the length and breadth of our to-do lists, we can become a slave to the list and lose out on anything we haven’t written down.

Limits let us get back to doing what we do well. That’s a good thing, right?

Limits Can Actually Lift Your Business!

When we set smart limits we allow ourselves the room to seek out and seize opportunity.

When I hired a virtual assistant to help with some of the daily tasks that were taking up too much of my time, I then had the time to explore new service offerings and a side project that I quietly “whisper-launched” last week.

Can you do your own taxes? More than likely you could muddle through them on your own. But is it worth it? Is it worth the worry, the time invested and the time taken away from something that actually showcases your expertise? Probably not.

[clickToTweet tweet=”There’s something fabulously freeing about honestly admitting we cannot do something! ” quote=”There’s something fabulously freeing about honestly admitting we cannot do something! “]

Limit Smarter!

We are constantly seeing/hearing that we need to work smarter, not harder.

Legitimate limits are a smart part of working smarter. Limits, boundaries, realism … they’ve all been given a bad name by those I call the positivity pushers.

You can absolutely set smart and valuable limits while still remaining positive about your business and the solopreneur lifestyle. And those limits will let loose the time and opportunity to expand your expertise and increase your reach amidst the types of clients and peers with whom you REALLY want to do business!

Solopreneur Smarts: Find Someone Who Will Dish It Out!

Solopreneur Smarts: Find Someone Who Will Dish It Out!

Anyone who has spent even minimal time on this blog knows that I believe in the balance of reality and positivity.

That’s not to say that I’m not a positive person. I betcha bunches of bucks that if you ask almost anyone I’ve ever worked with, you’ll be told that I’m actually quite nice, upbeat, perky and, GACK, positive!

I just prefer to pepper my positivity with a heaping tablespoon of reality.

The Solopreneur Gig? It Ain’t All That Glamorous!

Part of being real with myself, my clients and my peers means I’ve got to admit that there’s no easy button when it comes to branding, digital marketing or digital design.

Sure, there are tools and systems, templates and tutorials, available to make much of your day to day doings a little less fraught with frustration and freelancer foibles.

But that giant red easy button, unlike the R.O.U.S. in the fire swamp, just doesn’t exist.

And much like Westley needed to get the shit kicked out of him by that lumbering rodent, sometimes we, too, need more than a pat on the back and a gentle reminder to remain positive.

Sometimes You Need A Kick In The Ass …

Not A Consoling Pat On The Back!

The best coaches I’ve ever had were those who had no problem blowing the whistle on me if I was lazy, failed to use proper form, or simply didn’t have my head in the game.

We all need that same honesty and willingness to “tell it like it is” when it comes to our business mentors and accountability partners.

As busy solopreneurs we need more than sugar-coated, syrupy kudos and lackluster laments when things aren’t going so well.

[clickToTweet tweet=”#Solopreneurs often need a healthy dose of no-nonsense reality! #realyourealbiz” quote=”Sometimes what we need most is a healthy dose of reality, delivered in a no-nonsense fashion.”]

Sometimes we all need to be asked one, or more, of the following questions:

  • Who told you it would all be easy?
  • Is the hustle worth it?
  • Do you still love what you’re doing?
  • Have you thought about taking a break?
  • Where’s your plan?

Passion & Positivity Aren’t Enough

Here’s the savvy skinny. No matter how much you love your products or services, no matter how passionate you are about the hustle, you’re going to find some days more difficult than others. You can’t wing it with passion and a positive outlook.

The hard work and the hustle never go away. The early mornings and late nights don’t disappear either. Sure, you can plan a bit better and you can certainly learn to better manage your time. But when a big gig is on the calendar, and you’re going it solo, the work has to get done.

That means sometimes you have to skip a family dinner. Sometimes you have to get up before the crack of dawn on, GASP, a Sunday!

Sometimes The Solopreneur Gig Sucks!

And we really need to be reminded of that suckitude from time to time.

You’ll sometimes fight through lowest of lows on your journey to the highest of highs, including your first sale, your first speaking gig, your first rate increase, etc.

You want your clients and prospects to be open and honest about their needs, their expectations, right? Why wouldn’t you want the same from your peer group, your business partners, your mastermind group, your coach or mentor?

Sometimes you’ll have to take off the rose-colored glasses and view your solopreneur gig through the reality lens. It won’t be perfect. It won’t always be pink and pretty. But it will always be pretty ding-danged sweet when you remember you’re the boss!

You’re A Business Owner AND A Human Being …

You're A Business Owner AND A Human Being ...

The last time I checked, running a business didn’t come with a certain tool allowing us to switch off every bit of human feeling and emotion.

While, on occasion, that might be a nice thing, it would make us robots. We’re told pretty often, by experts in marketing and customer experience fields, that consumers don’t want to do business with robots.

So, suffice to say, I think we have to allow ourselves to be human, along with all of our human failings, when we’re building, managing and maintaining our business.

You’re Going To Feel The Real!

Guess what? Real people feel real emotions. We don’t live on fluffy pink positivity clouds that allow us to ignore the fact that bad shizz happens to good business owners.

Bad shizz is relative, depending on the day and the state of your business. The bad juju can come from things big or small. But it’s ridiculous to pretend that we can ignore the fact that there are times when doing business just ain’t fun.

I don’t know about you, but I find it hard to ride the solopreneur unicorn when I’m dealing with:

  • late payments
  • scope creep
  • disappearing clients
  • plagiarism
  • the continued attempts at “democratization” of my skill set and expertise

Guess what party peeps? We’re all going to face one of these battles at some point during our career.

Guess what else? That means it’s absolutely A-OK hunky dory to exhibit some real and human emotion from time to time, even when you’re doing business.

It’s Okay To Exhibit Underwhelm

You do not to have jet out of your chair and do a jig every time you client comes up with another “super” idea. Chances are the idea isn’t all that super, has been tried by others to little success, and just won’t be worth the time and effort you’d have to put into launching it.

[clickToTweet tweet=”You do yourself and your client a disservice if you sugarcoat bad ideas …” quote=”You do yourself and your client a disservice if you sugarcoat bad ideas with, ‘that’s a great idea, but …'” theme=”style4″]

Because it’s NOT a great idea. You’re giving them false hope that they can get around the “but” in order to implement the idea you acknowledged as great with a small glitch.

You don’t have to get excited and pass out pink positivity parfaits every time your client opens his/her mouth. While you shouldn’t dismiss or disdain their ideas, thus making your clients feel small or insignificant, it’s absolutely allowed to exhibit a little underwhelm. Especially if you explain the why of that lack of whelm.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Expertise doesn’t mean you’re always ecstatic about client’s big ideas …” quote=”You were hired for your expertise. Expertise doesn’t mean you’re always ecstatic about the ‘big idea’ you’re asked to implement.” theme=”style4″]

It’s Okay To Feel Sad

There will come a time, especially if you’re a creative entrepreneur, when your client takes all that’s lovely about your creation and somehow manages to turn it into an absolute mess.

You’ve designed a glorious website. It’s got form and function in perfect balance. It’s as easy to navigate as it’s easy on the eye. You know that there’s no such thing as a fully completed website, but you’ve come pretty ding-danged close. You’re proud to have this site link back to your own.

And then it happens. The client decides you’re too expensive to maintain the site, which is fairly common. They decide they’ll hire someone cheaper or maintain it themselves. And you notice that the glorious is now looking pretty god-awful.

It’s okay to feel a sad, even to despair a bit, over the destruction of your good work. When your carefully crafted copy is edited to the point that carefully crafted becomes craptastic. When your lovely social media image template is savaged with a terrible typeface change. When your website wonderful becomes website woe is me.

Feel sad, disappointed, even a little dejected. Then immediately remove any links to/from that now craptastic creation so that no one thinks it’s your work!

It’s Okay To Get Angry And Engage In Stern Discussion

The other day there was a discussion about copy theft in a Facebook group to which I belong. The gist of the article generating the discussion was this: don’t get upset when someone steals your content, as it will mess with your mojo going forward.

What a pile of crap!!!

I’ve had my content stolen, on more than one occasion. I’ve had my graphics lifted, altered and re-posted without a single nod of acknowledgement and absolutely no permission. I’ve had clients decide I was too expensive to maintain their site, so they turned it over to another “designer,” who then promptly added their company name and site link to the footer taking credit for the design.

Guess what happened in each instance. I got mad. Not pinkly, prettily peeved. Flat out pissed off. And while I certainly tempered my anger a bit, I didn’t take it easy on the thieves.

I didn’t tell the thieving asshats that I was disappointed by their actions in a bid to “guilt them” gently into doing what was right. I flat out told them they’d better make it right, RIGHT NOW!

Guess what? They all made it right, RIGHT then!

Be Human!

If you don’t stand up for yourself as you engage in the running of your business, you’re eventually going to get stepped on. Standing strong and holding tight to our convictions is part of who we are as human beings.

Part of doing business is knowing when to allow your emotions to express themselves. You’re not a robot. Logic and programming aren’t going to see you through times good or bad. Emotions are part of what makes your brand unique. So, while you sometimes need to suppress those emotions, or let them simmer down a bit before your strike back, there’s no need to void them in their entirety from your business persona.

Solopreneur Struggles: Sharing & Support Require Honesty

Solopreneur Struggles: Sharing & Support Require Honesty

I don’t care what the passion and positivity princesses are pandering! Running a business is hard. And it’s about time we admitted it openly and honestly.

When we sugarcoat and try to simplify the running of a business (how many marketing and entrepreneurial articles have you seen this week stating that something is easy, simple, quick, painless?) we do a disservice to those budding entrepreneurs and new business owners looking for real and valuable advice.

I applaud the savvy solopreneur who is willing to share the hardships that go with the hustle. Who isn’t looking through rose-colored entrepreneurial glasses. Who’s willing to admit some things are a struggle.

It’s not easy. It’s not simple. It’s certainly not always fun. And it’s time we admit that.

I’m Often Tired

I have never been a great sleeper. I am one of those people who honestly can’t nap. I feel physically ill unless I can sleep soundly for hours. And sleeping soundly for hours during the day would mean even less sleep at night.

Whether your struggling or succeeding as a solopreneur, sometimes we just can’t sleep. We could be working on a tight deadline, getting up earlier and staying up later in order to meet project and client needs.

When you’re juggling a lot of projects it’s hard to shut down at “end of day.” With smart phones permanently attached to our hands, it’s too easy to check Twitter mentions or email one last time. The very connectivity that can propel our business also ramps up our brains to the point that we can’t shut down. Even when we do power down our computers, tablets and phone, our minds keep whirring.

There are differing opinions on whether or not you can catch up on sleep. Whether you can catch up or not, is largely irrelevant in the now. I think we can all agree that when we’re feeling fatigued, we find it harder to do our best work. Especially, at least for me, when working in a creative field.

My Social Is Sapped By The End Of The Day

I spend all day creating, building, and maintaining relationships. With peers, influencers, prospects and clients.

When it comes time to step away from the work I’m decidedly disinclined to do anything social. I find myself wanting to curl up under a blanket on the couch watching mindless TV re-runs so that I don’t have to think about anything.

Needless to say, this can put a strain on your relationship with your spouse (or other type of significant other), friends, family and even you peers who are more inclined to shake off the day with a social activity.

Delegating Isn’t Always A Slam Dunk

We’re often told that we can make our solopreneur success a given by smartly delegating the tasks we don’t want to do or aren’t capable of doing. Sounds easy-peezy-lemon-squeezy, right?

It’s NOT!

First of all, you can’t just dump work on a new delegate. You’ve got to train him/her on the process, the procedure, the best practices. Depending on what you’re delegating this can be a pretty colossal undertaking. In fact, the early stages of delegating don’t save you time, instead it eats up time in huge gulps.

AND, if you’re delegating client work to a VA or intern, you’ve got to educate your client on the arrangement. You can’t just pass them off to a newbie with no notice. Not if you want to keep them!

The Free Fallacy

We’ve all fallen prey to the allure of the freebie that can do the job without impacting our bank account. We decide that our bottom line depends on never letting loose with a dollar. And that sets many of us up to fail.

It’s imperative to wisely invest in your business. Expenses matter. You’ve got to carefully control them in order to keep your business running in the black.

It’s important to remember though, the free solutions might save dollars, but they often cause solopreneurs to spend more time. For many of us, time is money. So, shelling out smart dough to save time often saves more money than the freebie.

Systems Don’t Set-Up Themselves

Smartly set-up systems, protocols and procedures can absolutely save you time and speed you toward success … in the long run. Notice that ellipse. I placed it there purposefully for the pause. Systems set-up helps you in the long-run, but the set-up takes time, tweaking and testing. Which adds to your already full plate.

Consider one relatively simple system, setting up your email to auto-sort and occasionally auto-respond. The key word her is set-up. You have to set up this seemingly simple system. And the system has to work for you.

Setting up folders for client emails only works if you actually notice that there’s a NEW message. If it’s not going to your inbox, you’ve got to set up a schedule and train yourself to check more than your inbox.

Don’t get me wrong. Systems can seriously save a solopreneur. But they don’t come out of a pretty package ready to go, customized for your clients and your projects. They require set-up. Then the set-up has to be tested. And often tweaked.

Solopreneurs Struggle

We all have talents upon which we are trying to capitalize. We’ve started our business in order to do something we love, something that adds value, something that sustains both us and our clients.

But the solopreneur gig just ain’t all that glamorous all the time! It’s often exhausting and stressful. It’s often a struggle. It brings with it the ups and downs, the joys and woes of any complicated endeavor.

I hope that in sharing our struggles we can bolster our solopreneur brethren, giving them the boost we’ve often needed when the day to day becomes daunting.

Please share some of your solopreneur struggles. Through honest sharing and support we can build a community of successful, well-sorted and seriously kick ass solo biz owners!

Better Blogging: Fluffy And Fine With It!

Better Blogging: Fluffy And Fine With It!

Writing and style. Much like social media marketing successfully, there’s no single, correct, way to get your point across with the written word.

There’s a reason you often see discussions about writing and blogging style. Compare it to fashion, hair or make-up, and you’ll find that the idea of writing style is vast, varied and versatile.

If you follow even one content marketing blog or Twitter feed, I dare say you’ve seen at least one call for tightening up your writing. I thought I’d share why I don’t have any imminent intent to change the way I write.

Here it is, the reasons why I’m not going to embrace the short, sparse, terse writing style embodied by Hemingway and many a blogging expert.

Tighten Up? I Leave That For The Gym!

I write the way I speak. I love words, and use them in even the most casual of conversations. Why shouldn’t I embrace that same style in my writing?

I alliterate and rhyme when I speak, in public or with friends. Why would I stop doing that when I put fingers to keys?

Some might say I ramble. Some might think my intros are a little too long. Some might think I too often resort to eye candy with my use of alliteration, simile and metaphor. And that’s fine! My writing style just doesn’t suit their specific taste.

Yet, I’m still not going to change my writing style or vocal delivery!

Tightening up my blogging style would mean losing the very style that my audience has come to expect.

Staying Loose And Embracing My Unique Voice

If you’ve read any of my Music & Marketing posts, I’m willing to bet you didn’t necessarily enjoy every piece of music I shared. Some songs might have made you want to thrust your fingers in your ears rather than tap your toes.

I’ve often said that if we all loved the exact same things, the world would be a very boring place.

Variety rocks! There’s something out there for all of us.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Embrace #content variety. We all need to sing our story using our own unique voice!” quote=”The content we create is full of variety. We all need to sing our story using our own unique voice!” theme=”style4″]

My social sharing counts and the comments about my writing via my Twitter feed, lead me to believe that I’ve got an audience that appreciates my specific blogging style.

Short & Succinct Sometimes Lacks Story

We read to learn, to stay on top of the latest industry news, tech and more.

But we also read to be entertained. We read to feel an allegiance with an idea or a writer. We read because we seek stories.

If you mess too much with your blogging style, cull and cut out all that makes it colorful, you’re often left with just the bits and pieces, words, paragraphs, punctuation, sans story. And there’s little sharing when you snuff out the story, at least in my experience.

My Blogging Is Fluffy AND I Feel Fine!

You can ignore the advice of experts, real and faux, if it doesn’t suit your audience. You ABSOLUTELY SHOULD ignore the advice of experts if it doesn’t suit your audience.

Maybe you’re a little wordy. But if your words have the fun, flair, feistiness and/or fluffiness that your audience adores, there’s no flipping reason to make a single change to your writing style.

Yes, you need to spell check, you need to consider, carefully, the placement of commas and other punctuation. But when your style is genuine and inherent to your business and brand, you need not shorten, tighten or edit harshly.

I’m not a fan of hairless dogs or cats. I like ’em fluffy, despite the mess and the need for more frequent vacuuming. My writing style is much the same. Fluffy, a little messy, even a little fly-away. But, you know what? I like it. And so do my readers. So? Fluffy it shall stay!