Celebrating Our Achievements

champagne cork

I was reminded that I have been in business for myself for 5 years so I posted the news on social media.

I was in two minds whether to do so or not but I thought lets go for it. It’s something to celebrate and luckily I got a wonderful response.

It’s something we’re not good at, shouting about our achievements in business, whatever they may be. It’s probably because it’s a very British thing to not talk ourselves up too much. Yet potential customers want to hear that you’re good at what you do, that you’re an expert in your field, confident in your advice and have years of experience behind you.

These are all things you can shout about on your website in blogs or as social media posts. Don’t go mad and do it all the time, we are British after all, but drop a bit of self congratulation in every now and again. Customers will feel they’re dealing with a company that knows what it’s doing and that can only be a good thing.

As for me well I’m going to pat myself on the back and say I’m thrilled that By George! has been going for 5 years. I’ve never been as happy doing a job and most days I enjoy it all so much it doesn’t feel like work at all. I feel very fortunate.

Starting your own business can be scary and unfortunately many start ups close in their first year so still going after 5 years is definitely something to shout about.

Here’s to many more years doing what I love for a living.

 

A Summer of Juggling Work and Family

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It’s the age-old question. How do you juggle running a business with family life? Never is that question more pertinent than with the schools about to break up for the summer.

On the whole it’s a balance I can maintain when my boy is at school, but trying to keep things ticking along when you have to effectively have 6 weeks off to look after him is a tricky act to do.

It’s same for anyone who works for themselves either with a small business or as a freelancer. Trying to have any kind of time off and stay at home is almost impossible. The only way to get away from it all is to quite literally get away from it all and go away on holiday – something we plan to do at the end of August. Holidays at home just don’t cut it when you run your own business. Work is always there, calling you to just send that e-mail, post that tweet or finish that blog post.

Don’t get me wrong having to have time off for the school holidays isn’t a chore. I get to spend 6 weeks with my boy going to the beach, the park, and the cinema. We’re already planning story telling days on the lawn at home, playdates with friends from school and lots of trips into to town to hunt for pigs.

Keeping my business working for me over the summer break is about planning, prioritising and very lovely parents who are more than happy to spend time with their grandson while I catch up.

It’s not going to be easy, they’ll be some long evenings ahead after the boy has gone to bed scheduling social media posts and answering e-mails but it’ll be worth it to kick back and enjoy some time off with my family.

Whatever you’re doing this summer enjoy yourselves. I’d love to hear how you continue to work and run your business over the school holidays. Contact me on my Facebook and Twitter pages to let me know and I’ll be back with another blog in September. 

Social Media Makes It A Small World

copyright free image the World

Last week I wished a friend on the other side of the country happy birthday on Twitter, shared pictures of my boy with chums in America on Facebook and chatted to a pal who was working over in Cyprus for a week on WhatsApp.

Thanks to social media the world is a much smaller and inclusive place. If you use it right. Once again the news is full of online abuse and trolls using social media to cause misery and fear in particularly trying times for many. But on the whole it’s a good place to be as long as you’re careful.

My personal experience of social media has always been a good one and I wouldn’t be without it. After all how would I have been able to contact all those people so quickly and effectively last week? A phone call, an e-mail and even a letter (and believe me as social media savvy as I am I wish we wrote more letters – it’s a dying skill) all have their place, but with busy lives it’s sometimes easier to catch people on social media and make that connection than keep meaning to phone someone and never get around to it.

When it comes to social media for business use, making that connection and not putting it off is vital. It’s all about building relationships and seizing the moment to respond to that tweet, post that picture on Instagram, connect with that person on LinkedIn or share that post on Facebook.

Just like keeping in touch with friends and family it’s all about making the effort but of course that takes time.  Making time for social media in your business is something that often gets put off, ironically just like popping that letter or card in the post or picking up the phone to speak to a friend.

If you feel you should be doing more with your social media then contact me here for an informal chat about outsourcing or developing a social media strategy for your business.  

Twitter Tactics – how to avoid abuse online.

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The other day I had a conversation with a friend about social media.  He was complaining about some of the negative feedback his personal account had attracted on Twitter.

He hadn’t courted controversy but because he’d mentioned a controversial figure from public life he’d had some rather unpleasant comments levelled at him and her.  

My advice was to ignore them, block if necessary and not to rise to it. But it’s easier said than done.

Twitter is rarely out of the news now but not always for the right reasons. On the one hand it’s used by some news services as a yard stick to instantly judge public opinion on a breaking story and if you are trending then it must be big news; on the other hand Twitter abuse and trolling make the news also and have the potential to bring this social media platform crashing down around us if we’re not careful.

As the old saying goes there’s always someone who has to spoil it for everybody else.

Keyboard warriors, trolls or cyber bullies, call them what you will, there’s always going to be an element of negatively, unpleasantness and downright abuse on social media – as there can be unfortunately in real life. It’s all about being careful and measured about what you say and more importantly what you say back.

My tips for avoiding and dealing with abuse on line are these:

  1. Never say anything online you wouldn’t say to someone’s face.
  2. If you do receive a nasty tweet or Facebook response ignore it.
  3. If they persist in abusing you still don’t answer just block them.
  4. If the abuse continues via different or pseudo accounts report it to Twitter and if it becomes threatening ultimately to the Police.

99.9% of the time it never comes to that, it’s just ‘Twitter spats’ but these are the most difficult to deal with because it’s these, where no one swears or abuses you they just disagree with your point of view, that are the hardest to deal with. If you’re going to enter into a potentially heated discussion then keep it civil and remember at all times you’re representing your business. Often it’s just best to bow out with a ‘lets agree to disagree shall we’. Although my advice would always be don’t get into an argument in the first place just leave it, these things have a horrible way of escalating. The last thing you want to do is have to lock your account – especially a business one – as there’s little or no point in having it to promote your work if you have to lock it.

By the way this doesn’t cover genuine customer complaints on social media, which I will deal with in another post another time, this is about spats, arguments and abuse on line.

In the end I believe Twitter is great fun socially and an important business tool. As long as you think before you tweet ‘would I say this out loud face to face to a person?’ and carry that rule with you throughout all your social media you should always have a good, safe and friendly relationship with your followers.

If you’d like to know more about social media and develop a social media style or policy for your business then please contact me here for an informal chat.

It Happens To The Best Of Us!

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Happy New Year. Yes I know it’s March but I haven’t blogged since the end of last year. I’ve been very lax with it and haven’t followed my own advice to have posts in readiness for when real life takes over. A combination of illness and family issues has meant that I’ve put all my efforts into my clients and haven’t been working on my business and that means I’ve let my blogging slip.

So you see it can happen to the best of us.

To remedy this I have set up a blogging schedule so I post at least once on the first Friday of each month.

Sticking to a schedule and marking it in your diary, on your phone or your tablet to keep ‘an appointment to blog’ is a very powerful tool to keep you on track with your marketing strategy.

We spend so much time working in our business we have to remember to work on our business too and that means keeping up with those blog posts, social media and newsletters.  I’m just as guilty as the next person when it comes to my own business.

Luckily it’s not the case when it comes to your business. Contact me for an informal chat about how I can take the strain of all this off your hands and do it for you. Blogs, social media, newsletters and much more all done and dusted for you right here.

See you again on 1st April for another blog (if not before). 

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