Category Archives: Self – help

Personal Branding tips for Solopreneur

macbook-apple-imac-computer-39284Solopreneur – you are it! I have so many friend who are solopreneur and I see them day in and day out focused on acquiring the next client so that the money keeps rolling in. As much as bringing in new client is important, it is equally imperative that the brand also gets built so that as a sole entrepreneur you can work your business smartly.s a solopreneur you are as much responsible if not more to build your brand’s image as bringing in the new client. Every author, dentist, real estate agents, accountants, start-ups and other business owners and service providers are solopreneurs in industries where one’s personal brand matters. On one hand, representing your brand by yourself can assure you maintain a consistent voice throughout your social media and content marketing. However, it also means that all of the decisions and work that go into creating a digital presence fall on you.

As a Solo entrepreneur, you have be very cognizant of building your brand and there are plenty of creative ways to create a consistent, marketable brand across multiple platforms without the support of an entire team. I’ve helped and worked with start-up businesses both with co-founders and as a solopreneur, and when you’re on your own you have to make it happen, to use time efficient strategies to build your brand. Here’s some of what I’ve learned.

Communicate Your Unique Value Proposition through your Bio

Most social media platform offers you room to write a bit about yourself. Some, like Twitter and Instagram, will require a bit more creativity, while Facebook and Linkedin will give you all the leeway you need. In this section of your profile, make sure your message is uniform and clear across all your platforms. If you are a solopreneur, you are the company. Your words and style are part of what makes you attractive. Pick certain words that you associate with your brand and stick to them so that customers can easily search and find you when they want to know more.

Be sure to add a personal touch, add a human element to your brand. Be authentic, your customers will choose you because you share their values and have something unique to give them. Let them in on what you believe so they begin to see you as relatable. You have a valuable opportunity to be seen as an ally and a friend when it comes to solving their problems.

Finally, invest in some crisp and pleasant professional headshots to emphasize your ability and unique spin on the industry

Build Authority In Your Industry By Joining Groups

Facebook and LinkedIn have plethora of groups that focus on specific industries or interests. Joining a group is an easy way to keep track of the conversations about your industry and to share your knowledge and experience. Do not just join, participate so that people can notice you and you are looked as a thought leader.

Share as much pertinent information as you can, but stay away from sales pitches in your posts and responses in these groups. You may risk turning off potential clients. Instead, make sure all your information is linked back directly to your profile or your website so that others can find out more information if they’re intrigued.

Use Your Personal Instagram Account

Instagram is a platform meant to show the “real” side of people’s lives and businesses. People follow people who are authentic and genuine. Followers want to get insights into how you live your life, what causes you support, who your customers are and where you are finding success. Instagram is the perfect place to show people a mix of the personal and professional and allows them to think of you as a real person they can trust.

When using Instagram for personal branding, you don’t want to get overly personal though. As a solopreneur, you are your brand and any small error can cause you major damage. Use it to tell the story of your journey of acquiring client, maybe your daily routine, your freedom to work from anywhere etc. Remember to stay away from going on rants about politics, religion or any other hot topics.

Set Up Google Alerts Around Your Name And Keywords Related To Your Brand

If you want to establish yourself as an industry thought leader, jump into pertinent discussions and express your opinion publicly to create a name for yourself. Set up Google Alerts for your name, company name and your target keywords so you can stay on top of the conversation about your industry and observe your own positioning. Google Alerts are free and easy to set up, so you don’t have to constantly monitor the news and all your social media accounts for news or mentions.

Similarly, many social media management tools like HootSuite allow you to create personal social media streams that notify you whenever your name or brand comes up. Take advantage of these new tools to stay on top of industry trends and discussions so you always have your finger on the pulse of your business.

When you’re a solopreneur, you need to pay attention to your personal brand as it is often intertwined with your business. These tactics will help you have more power and control over your online presence and ultimately, establish more valuable relationships with your customers.

 

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How Important Is Personal Branding

Personal branding – is it even relevant? This is a question I often get asked. When mentioned branding – it is by default associated with a product or company, never with an individual. Why is that? Don’t we all have a certain image that is perceived by the outside world? Would you agree that you are known for certain things based on how you interact? If the answers to the questions are “yes” then every individual is a brand on its own. Whether you are a business, a product or an individual we all need our own identity, in other words a brand statement. Whether you chose to consciously work on it to develop it or it gets formed by default is a choice every business and individuals have.

Personal branding has been a topic of discussion for few years now and it has started to gather momentum. This is the time of specialization, gone are the days when you were valued because you could do multiple things. Social media has made things very transparent; at a click of a button people can have even information about you. It is time that we start paying focused attention on our personal brand statement. It is a way to create that trust and dramatically improve conversion rate. Whether you use your personal brand to consult, freelance, or drive more traffic and trust to your company, it’s vitally important to establish one to stay competitive.

Here are some steps that will help you start developing your own personal branding:

Step 1: Know thyself (your expertise)

Before you establish your expertise, you need to decide on what you want to be known for. General statements like “human resources” or “finance” is not enough – you need to figure out what is your niche. There are tons of people competing for the same; hence carving out your niche is the only way you are going to stay ahead of your competition. The potential audience might get smaller with the niche but it will be the relevant people. Specificity is a trade of volume for significance.

Step 2: Let people know

The best way to let people know about your area of expertise is to do it through content marketing. Writing and publishing relevant content will help you build your online reputation and will also come in handy for people to know you. You can do it by starting your own blog, writing as a guest blogger and also publishing in Linkedin. Remember consistency is everything, so make sure you are posting content at least on a weekly basis.

Step 3: Align your social media profiles

Social media is the engine which is fueled by content. Pay attention to the details of your social media profiles, including Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, and make sure they’re consistently in line with your personal brand standards. Make sure to post updates regularly (at least once a day for Facebook and LinkedIn, at least a few times a day for Twitter), and don’t be afraid to re-post your older content for your new followers.

Step 4: Learn to be a story teller

Just being online is not enough to create your brand. People need to hear your stories, gather enough material through case studies that you can share. Stories are a very powerful way of sharing your message, expertise and building the trust. Look for events where you can speak and share. This will help establish you as an expert.

Step 5: Your network is your net worth

Get out of your comfort zone and start putting that hand out to meet more people in your area of expertise. Look for events both offline and online where you can share your knowledge, interact and build your branding. Don’t just join a group, participate. Make those connections with anybody who can be valuable to you. The more opportunities you have to meet people and talk, the better.

As with everything, it takes time and effort to build your brand too. Stay consistent with your efforts, pay attention to how your audience is responding to your content and make changes accordingly. Rome was not built in a day, so be patient but above all be consistent. Get in touch with me to get your 60 min FREE analysis

 

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Discover your brand

We are all familiar with brands and we are always endorsing some brand or another throughout our day.We are extremely loyal to our brands specially that enhances our status symbol. For some of us who work are working to build the brand we work for and as entrepreneur you are working to make your brand more and more visible.

Have you ever stopped to think what about “YOU” as a brand. What does “YOU”stand for ? Better yet what would you want “YOU” to stand for? Have you ever made conscious effort to work on it? Watch the video to get a better clarity.

Discover your brand

 

 

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Business Mindset Tip #1

HAVE IDEAS THAT FEED YOUR MIND

Success needs hard work and comittment. It needs us to dig deeper within and give everything we got. It also needs us to be focused and resilient. Not to mention it needs us to have laser focus and prioritizing.

Everyone wants to make money and be successful, very fewhow to (1) want to work hard. Remember when you are looking for the idea, look for the one that feeds your mind and not your body. The one that feeds your mind will keep the passion ignited.

Case in point, Steve Jobs, Apple was the idea that kept feeding his mind, even when the body was weak and frail. That is the reason he has the legacy he has.

 

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Create the business you want by connecting and collaborating

I was visiting a friend two days back and her 8 year old son asked her innocently – “mom why are you always working”? She just smiled and chose not to answer because it was too hard to explain an 8 year old what it takes to an entrepreneur.  When you are building your own business, there are no perfect times when you need to work; you work every chance you get, at least mentally. Of course it also depends on how badly you want to succeed. In my opinion, if your “WHY”, the reason behind is loud and clear, it does not matter “HOW” much you have to put in.

One of the key traits that every entrepreneur needs is to have the desire to hustle. You need to be able to see things before anyone else sees it and then carve a path for it. Have a clear vision of what you want to accomplish and then go after it. You need to have the ability to be uncomfortable and open yourself to vulnerabilities because through that will come your biggest creativity and success.iStock_000012148264XSmall-300x300

You cannot shy away from hustling and networking. These are very crucial elements of your success as an entrepreneur

Here I would like to share a story of personal experience. I landed in Costa Rica in July 2015, after living in Canada for over 14 years. I knew no one in Costa Rica and did not know Spanish as well, which is the language most commonly used in Costa Rica. I had started writing my book before I left Canada and hence I kept myself busy with the book and finished first draft in 7 months. Most often I would work from home and sometimes go over to a cafe to get a change of place. I had learnt how to say my destination to the taxi driver and order my coffee in Spanish. As my book started to get into editing and publishing, I knew that it was essential for me to work on the next steps, which is promoting the book and get myself established as a speaker. I reached out to people through networking, referrals, referral of referral, any chance I got to create an opportunity, and I did.

I could not afford to give the excuse that I am new so I cannot make it because my dream was way stronger than my excuse.

Today, I have over 10 opportunities that I am working on; all are outside of my book promotion. These are actual paid speaking assignments, teaching in university, marketing consulting work. It is not a rocket science, you can do it too. Just have to stay focused, consistent and persistent. You need to have the right mindset and be result oriented than excuse oriented.

If you are an entrepreneur and are struggling to carve a path for your business and need help, feel free to reach out to me. I will teach you how to network, connect and create the results you are looking for.

 

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Power Of Affiliate Marketing for Entrepreneurs

Are you still thinking of implementing an affiliate marketing program in your marketing mix?  I think it is about time to wake up and smell the coffee. If you are an online retailer, does not matter what size of company you are, it is critical you understand the power of affiliate marketing and grab on to it as soon as you can. There has never been a better time to be an online retailer. Revolutions in data and analytics have brought new insights to online companies, allowing even small online retailers to make a profit on what they sell and on what they don’t sell. Sounds impossible? It isn’t.affiliate-banner

Affiliate marketing is essentially a commission-based online referral system; company uses ads, banners, or links to refer customers to the products and services of another company. In exchange for that virtual reference, the referring website receives a fee or percentage of the sale. This multibillion-dollar industry is expected to grow to $4.5 billion by 2016, and is expanding most rapidly of all in the mobile e-commerce, according to Forrester Research. While affiliate marketing is clearly on the rise and cashing in on the fact that it is estimated global e-commerce sales exceeded 1.2 trillion in 2013, according to a report by eMarketer. All big online retailers offer it right up front on their websites.

To get started in affiliate marketing does not require any special tools or techniques beyond those of a regular e-commerce site, but to do it right and in a way that offers a service above and beyond the competition, affiliate marketing does require a company to know itself. One of an online company’s greatest resources is information on how people arrive at their website. What keywords bring customers to your virtual front door? Google Analytics –the analytics provider of choice for 49% of all the websites in the world– provides this information for free, as well as data on what customers search for on a site, how they navigate through a site, and even how they leave a site. This treasure trove of information tells you what people want but can’t find at your store, what products were close but not quite the right fit, and what things they explored, but didn’t find motivating enough to buy.

It is just a matter of using the analytics to your advantage. Find a way to compile all this information, and you will get a clear idea on how your site and your potential customers interact, and will become the basis of your affiliate marketing choices. This is a great way to acquire new customers at a fraction of cost that you would normally spend on doing marketing. Customer acquisition is evolving; you cannot afford to be left behind. Understand the power of affiliate marketing and get your lead pipelines flowing.

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Building Your Business Under Pressure

Only an entrepreneur knows what it is like to be an entrepreneur. There are more challenging days than happy days, there are more lonely days than not. There are times when the day does not seem to get over, and then there are days you wish you had more than 24 hours. Some days you surely feel like throwing in the towel and go back to the ordinary way of living and some days you question yourself – are you really on the right track? Do you really want to do this? How long before some door cracks open? I know the pressure is enormous – some days it feels like your head will burst. So how do you keep your sanity and still carry on?

I am sure there are a lot of you who feel the same way but have no way of expressing your feeling to anyone as people who work a regular job do not get it, because they think you have the best life, you get to work your own hours and still complaining. I am no different than you, I feel and go through the same way and have figured out my own way of dealing with this pressure. Here are some of the tips that have helped me to deal with the pressure:

Acknowledge the reality

Thumbs-UpSmiley-512We can handle the situation better when we accept there is a situation, same is with this. The pressure is a byproduct of working for oneself. So it is better to accept this reality. As in any work, there are some pros and cons and entrepreneurship is no different. Once we have accepted this reality, it is easier to then work on it. It is always efficient to deal with the known than the unknown. Once you know this fact, you now have to think of ways that keep you productive and on course.

Creating a system

gearFor me personally, I like to start the day with gratitude. It helps me keep the negatives away and focus my mind to recognizing the things I have. Also, I like to watch something motivational before I start my work. I do that as it puts me in the right frame of mind. This is a system I have to keep me on course when I am all by myself working staring at the same wall, sitting at the same place for days together.

Motivation booster

We are all human and we have our good days and bad days. It is normal to lose our motivation and it is almost impossible to stay upbeat all the time. To keep my motivation high, I watch and read. I take the time to read books that either increases my belief like biographies of successful entrepreneurs, some of my favourites are Screw it let’s do it by Richard Branson, along with positive mental attitude books like Think and Grow Rich, Compound Effect and not to forget spiritual like Your Best Life Now by Joel Osteen. I also like to watch Tedex videos as it not only inspires me but also teaches me communication skills.

Support Group

team-icon-4590263I think this is a very crucial element for every entrepreneur. You need to find a support group where you can meet people like you who are going through the same struggles. It not only helps you get belief that you are not alone, but you can get ideas from them on how to handle certain situations. This can be in person as a networking group or online.

Take breaks

icon_12712It is important for us to replenish our souls. An axe when used to cut trees without stopping to sharpen it will get blunt and won’t be productive. Same way, your mind which is the most important power house you have needs to discharge and recharge. Do the things that make you feel good, for some it could be exercise, for some it could be music, just going out shopping or taking a day trip somewhere. You know it best. Just remember to forget all work and reach out to the soul and nourish it and refuel it. In the hunt to do excel, we sometimes forget to be kind to ourselves.

Hope I have been able to help you with some of the tips. Should you need more help and need help elevate your business to the next level, feel free to email me and I will be happy to help.

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Rise of Women Entrepreneurship

If there was ever a better time for women to take up entrepreneurship, it is now. If there is anything good that has come out of the roller coaster ride of the economy, it is the fact that it has pushed women to start their own entrepreneurship journey. And boy have it woken the giants within – you better believe it. Here are some data that supports my claim.Women-Entrepreneurs

Female entrepreneurship is on the rise around the world, according to a recent study. The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor Women’s Report released in November 2015 reveals that female entrepreneurs have narrowed the gender gap by six percent since 2012, with women ages 25-34 leading the way.

According to the 2016 BNP Paribas Global Entrepreneur Report, for which Scorpio Partnership consultancy surveyed about 2,600 high and “ultra-high” net worth entrepreneurs from 18 countries, the researchers found that almost 90% of women entrepreneurs expected their companies’ gross profits to increase or remain stable in the next year. More specifically, 61% expected profits to rise, compared to an average of 58% among all entrepreneurs.

Women have been found more trust worthy – they come with the perfect mix of heart and brain. While the business world runs with data and numbers, you cannot ignore the human aspect and people involved. As we all know its people who move products not the other way round. This is probably why more and more women are gaining success. Women have always been able to find that fine balance of people and purpose. Here are some statistics that will blow your mind:

Women Owned Business in the United States

  • More than 9.1 million firms are owned by women, employing nearly 7.9 million people, and generating $1.4 trillion in sales as of 2014.
  • Women-owned firms (50% or more) account for 30% of all privately held firms and contribute 14% of employment and 11% of revenues.
  • Over the past seven years, the overall increase of 8.3 million (net) new jobs is comprised of a 9.2 million increase in employment in large, publicly traded corporations, combined with a 893,000 decline in employment among smaller, privately held companies.

Businesses Owned by Women of Color

  • 9 million firms are majority-owned by women of color in the U.S.
  • These firms employ 1.4 million people and generate $226 billion in revenues annually.

Million Dollar Businesses

  • One in five firms with revenue of $1 million or more is woman-owned.
  • 2% of all women-owned firms have revenues of 1 million or more.

High growth firms

  • Women-owned firms exceeded their own expectations regarding growth. Compared to men, women were less likely to expect rapid firm growth, but were more likely to actually see rapid growth.
  • High growth women-owned firms were more likely to be owned by teams, more likely to be in high-tech industries, more likely to be incorporated, and less likely to be home-based. They tended to have owners with higher credit scores and more education.
  • Gender differences exist even among firms with high growth potential. Women business owners of high growth firms had less startup experience and industry experience than their male counterparts, and their firms had fewer employees, less intellectual property, and were less likely to be in high-tech industries.

This is just the tipping point as there is so much potential still untapped. There is tremendous power in women entrepreneurship and some of us are losing out. Stop being a spectator, become a player.

You can do it. If you need help, contact me to get a copy of the book Sheroes Next Door that will really help you get motivated, inspired but above all feel confident of yourself.

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Tips on working from home

It’s been over 3 years that I have been working out of my home office. It is a privilege and I really do not take it lightly. I enjoy every moment of it and count my blessings for the opportunity. As in anything, it comes with some pros and cons and if we do not pay attention, it can really take down your productivity. If you watch the trend, more and more people now have the flexibility to work from home if not a full week at least few days of the week. Then there is a large number of people like us entrepreneurs, start- ups, mompreneur who are working from home.

Here are some common best practices for working from home. Whether you have recently transitioned from employee to business owner or work often from your home office, you’ll love these work from home productivity tips.bbb9baa7-4051-4ab9-8262-6788e96d9ec3

Dress for office

The way you dress affects the way you feel. It will also get reflected in your work. The best thing you can to feeling professional is pulling off the pajamas and slipping into something business casual or more professional.

For example, my biggest productivity killer is staying in my pyjamas all day. However, dressing in comfortable, business casual clothing helps me get my day started. Plus it can make you feel the part and in return you will act the part.

Set office hours

You need to be disciplined about your working hours when you work from home. This will make or break your productivity and effectiveness. Often times, entrepreneurs who work from home think that they can do chores, and spend time with friends all throughout the day. If you want to improve your focus and attention span this is not the way to go. However, setting and sticking to office hours will maximize productivity and make it easier to tell your friends no to impromptu hangout sessions.

Creating a to-do list

I personally make my to-do list every day. It helps me staying on track and stick to my schedule. The other thing I do is to set time on my phone – allocating time slots for certain projects, which makes me stay on time and not let any distraction come in my way.

Step outside

Sitting in the same space for hours, staring at the same four walls all day without interaction can easily make you feel drained and isolated. Getting some fresh air, taking breaks, and leaving your home office for lunch or just a walk will help you refreshed.

If you’re not convinced, stepping outside can boost your energy levels (it’s a scientific fact). “Inhaling fresh air helps clear your lungs and enables you to take deeper, longer breaths of air — which increases the amount of oxygen that’s transported to your body’s cells. Increased oxygen in your body translates to greater energy and clarity of mind (Livestrong).”

Go offline

Without anyone monitoring with you self-discipline is key. Put your mobile devices in Airplane mode if you need to work on something that requires full attention. Social media can be a biggest killer of time, monitor how much time you’re spending on social media. I prefer keeping phone’s ringer off and pre-empt common distractions to avoid wasting my day. Limit time waster activities to breaks and after work hours to get the most from your work day.

Switch it up

I feel trapped sitting at the same place and looking at the same walls for days. I love switching my work places to a nice cafe be it Starbucks or some other cozy cafe with minimal traffic. There are a lot of perks to working from home so take advantage of it! If you’re sick work from your living room sofa, if your restless take your laptop to Starbucks for the day, and if you want to take a trip the world is your office. A change in scenery or a comfortable location can make you more effective.

 

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Can you build your brand with no money?

As a startup or an entrepreneur who has just started their business, this is a question that often pops up. I totally understand we all have our bills to pay and priorities to take care. It is really hard to come up with the extra cash to spend on “brand building”. Not only that, in the initial stage when nothing is coming, it is hard to justify too.

It’s a horrible feeling to feel stuck between having this great idea or passion and being able to actually make it real. I know what it feels like, because I have been there. Simply put, as entrepreneurs we know, it takes money to make money.

Let’s not get me started on how life somehow keeps adding extra things to your plate when you finally decided that this month, you’d buy that domain or pay for that company logo. I get it. I’ve been there. In spite of all these, we understand that we need to invest in building our brand. We’ve all been there, most brands don’t start with investors and I personally, am not rich. But I did have a plan. Coming from marketing and communications background, I understood that in order to make this happen, I’d have to make some sacrifices and be diligent and conscientious in my approach. I had to make it happen, no matter what.EVERYTHING

No Funds, No Big Deal

Most business owner when starting does not have funds. Does that mean, you just sit and watch? So, what should you do until you have the funds? You can still create a voice for your brand that people love, without spending a dime. In today’s day and age thankfully, there are plenty of ways to establish your brand while you’re getting your business finances together.

Most people have not even scratched the surface with the potential of social media. You can start a blog, social media profile, videos that has potential to go viral that enforces the brand. Not only is it free but it is also in your control. People are always on social media, they can access your brand story from anywhere across the globe. You can establish yourself as an authority in your industry even before you are ready to promote and sell your product or service – rather you should do it.

Here are some of the things you can do to get started and these are things that I did as I am building my brand as a business strategist and an author:

 Company Name – Based on the service I am going to provide and my expertise, I would decide on my company name. Once I have done that I want to make sure that it is available for me to brand it.

Logo –I made my own logo, at first. It wasn’t amazing, but it served its purpose until I was able to rebrand and invest in a new one created by a professional graphic designer.

Domain and Web Host –Today there are so many ways you can get a domain name. You can services like GoDaddy, 1&1 Internet where you can not only get the domain name but also hosting should you chose.  (Note: There are numerous online promotional offers for a “free domain name for a year” along with coupon codes from trusted web hosts; research the best host for your business needs.)

Website –When you buy the domain name and the hosting you have the ability to create your website through WordPress if you are open to learning. If you have a techy friend to help you set up your WordPress domain and you can pretty much take it from there. You can also use website builders like Wix.com, Square Space, etc. who offer amazing and user-friendly resources to create your own website. I suggest learn to create the website in WordPress as this is a skill you should know and it will help you customize your website the way you want. Later, I used the barter system to get an even better website. I gave business to a budding web designer and in exchange he finessed my website.

Content – Content is king and I cannot emphasize how important it is for you to launch your brand. This is one area where you get the chance to differentiate yourself from your competition. You need to do a very small investment for this. You can create some amazing visuals with simple apps like Canva, Pickmonkey etc. Also if you need some specific images, you can purchase a camera and created visuals to go along with the content. (Note: You can create great, free visuals with most smartphone cameras on the market today, and the right lighting.) I recorded and edited my own videos on iMovie and upload it on You Tube. By the way the editor of You Tube is equally easy to use. Learn what kind of content you need to put on social media, because there is always a method to madness in a good way.

 Marketing – Before you invest in building your brand, figure out what your brand stands for and get familiar with the art of guerrilla marketing. Stand for something that your target audience can relate to so they can join in on your mission. You’re attracting a tribe of people that believe in your brand values. You are the voice, and your goal is to create brand loyalty. Once you are considered an industry authority, launching products and services will come easy.

As you start to build your brand through the above mentioned tips, and start to gain some traction, make sure you are communicating with your audience regularly and growing your base. You can then get into taking to the next level by using Pay per click (PPC) as this would give you the control on your budget and the type of target audience.

 

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