Soooo ... my brain defaults to "huh?"
One thing I've always struggled with is staying organized and REMEMBERING commitments ... heck, remembering someone's birthday would be nice ... ok, just remembering things in general!
As you can imagine - being a business owner, I need to stay organized. It's something I'm constantly struggling with, but also constantly improving upon. And one thing that's made a WORLD of difference is color. Throughout the years, I've come to realize that I NEED to use color to help me remember things that are important ... well to remember anything.
Convos with my husband goes like this ... "I don't remember her. What color was she wearing?" or "I don't remember her name, but she was wearing the pink lipstick." or "I don't remember if I saw it. What color was it?" or "Is that location beside the red building?" (I should mention he's color-blind, so his answer back is usually "I don't know. I can't see color." But hey, we make it work!!)
Color came to my rescue
I first noticed how much color helped me when I was in college and having a hard time studying for exams ... to me it felt like the whole premise of college was memorization. Which isn't my strong point. At all. To help myself remember important facts, I'd highlight them on the page in certain colors (I liked yellow and green). Then while taking my test I could visualize the page and where the colors stood out on the page. From there I'd then remember what text I had highlighted. Voila - better grades.
Fast forward to my first office job and I found out quickly that if I wrote something down with colored ink or better yet, wrote it on a colored post-it note and put it on my computer, then I actually remembered what I was supposed to be doing. (This is how much I rely on post-its - I love these "extreme" post-its that keep on sticking through thick and thin.)
Fast forward again to owning my own business and organizing the life of multiple children, I've found that once again the use of color was my saving grace. We have a huge marker board in our hallway where I write down everyone's schedule for the week and each person is in a different color. Instead of feeling frantic, I can visualize the marker board and which days have which colors on it and then it helps me to remember what was written down in that color.
I also use lots of color in my day planner as I map out my day - especially if I have a meeting coming up that I cannot forget. Meetings and appointments are highlighted in yellow and written in ALL CAPS.
All of this probably sounds crazy to those of you who remember everything all the time (I have a friend who remembers everyone from high school, their birth dates, what songs they liked to listen to ... the list goes on). But to the rest of us who walk into one room and can't remember why ... or look in the back seat to see if you've picked up your kids yet or not ... or leave a meeting and can't remember what you just talked about ... or standing at your front door staring at it wondering what you were supposed to grab on your way out ... this can be life changing. (Psst - those extreme post-its will stick on doors, too. We sometimes have up to 3 on ours so my kids can make it to school with everything they're supposed to have.)
I'm not revolutionary - this has been a "thing" for a while
So it turns out, this is a THING. Studies have been conducted on how much color helps us out (I won't go into it, but you can read it all here). Even the company who creates post-it notes has written about color helping to boost your memory.
Use more color in YOUR life
If you're wanting to add more color to your life, then start with these ideas:
Ready to color-code your planner? Use these tips from a pro.
What about email? Outlook let's you color code specific emails and lets you color-code your meetings as well. I'm a Gmail user and I don't use the calendar as much (Gmail let's you color-code your meetings, too.). Since I don't use the calendar as often, I've decided to look for another solution. I've started using a Gmail Chrome extension, called Boomerang, that allows me to schedule reminder emails TO MYSELF (and for my clients, too). In the subject line of the email I'll use a bright colorful emoji so it stands out and guess what ... I remember it!
Don't forget to let others help! Keep post-its handy for your spouse and kids. They can write reminders down as well! My daughter loves doing this (probably because it's like bossing mom around).
Good luck with staying organized! Our world just gets busier and busier each day. It's hard to stay on top of it all! Hopefully the use of color can help you like it helps me.
Let’s talk about your social voice. Your tone on social media. What should it sound like?
That seems like SUCH a simple question … until you get started. You might be thinking, “Well, my social voice is MY voice. I’ll just be myself.” OK, yeah that’s like 70% true. The other 30% (religion, politics, your new fad diet, weird passive-aggressive rants about family members who just take advantage … you get the point) needs to be left out. Don’t do it. Don’t drink and post. Don’t drama and post. Repeat after me … “I won’t do it.”
Now let’s focus on that other 70%. Go head – be yourself (after all – that’s why you’re so successful!) and start connecting with your clients. While communicating with your clients, make sure you SHOW your audience your voice and values – don’t just TELL them. What’s the difference?
Post A: “I just love my clients. You guys always make me feel special!” (Zzzzzz….)
Post B: “Oh my gosh! Look at this little cutie who stopped in with her grandma today! Customer in training!!” [insert the MOST adorable picture you’ve ever seen]
Post C: “Stop in this weekend, tell me what you LOVE about our community, and I’ll give you 15% off your order! Stay tuned … I’ll be posting all of the wonderful things I hear!” (Don’t forget to throw in some hashtags! #smalltownlife #bestcommunity #bestneighborhood, etc.)
So obviously, I’m a fan of B and C. A … eh, you can do better. Your business isn’t about how your customers make YOU feel. It’s about how you make THEM feel.
See the difference? I knew you would!
Be yourself. Be weird. Be quirky (you can tell I am!). Be compassionate. Be “real” and open. Just leave that 30% out while you’re doing it.
Let’s talk about failure.
It’s embarrassing. It serves as a quick and effective reminder that maybe (just maybe) you don’t know everything and it’s one of the best ways to become humble (because – let’s face it – you have no other choice).
Fear of failure is a huge hurdle in the marketing world. You’re charged with positively impacting your company’s bottom line … and no pressure, but EVERYBODY’S WATCHING. Also, you probably work with that person who meets all of your ideas with “What if it doesn’t work?”
Here’s how to get past those people and any fear that’s stopping you from implementing kick-ass ideas.
1. Learn How to Talk to Nay-Sayers
Those people who are constantly scared to try ANYTHING because WHAT IF IT DOESN’T WORK. Well, remember, sometimes that’s the point and you’re probably going to have to explain that to them. Every project – even the ones that seem to fail – serve their purpose and help you learn more about your audience and communication strategy. Explain how your goal is to learn about how your audience responds to messaging and the only way to do that is to try new things. Also, put the numbers in front of them – show them results from previous projects, data modeling, and success stories from other companies to back up your idea.
2. Limit Your Risk
Limit how many resources are spent on this new venture. Don’t use your whole marketing budget or every single person on your CRM list (for example) when trying something new. Use a small sample of your audience and just part of your budget to test out your idea.
3. Understand the Marketing Process
Guess what, at the end of the day – whether your project was in the red or the black – you’re going to step back, look at your results, your audience, etc. and decide what you’re going to do differently to make it better next time. Win or fail – you still have the same process. You don’t get an award for a great idea – you get charged with making it even better next time.
Don't Hold Back
In summary – don’t be scared of failure. Don’t let others minimize your ideas because they are scared. Be confident. Back up your ideas with data. And get it done already! 🙂
Whew! Marketing to a tough crowd?
I once heard a freelance writer tell a story about a direct mail piece he was working on for a teachers association. In the past the audience (the teachers) would call in and complain about any grammar mistakes or other mistakes they found in the letter. The main complaint: "How can you send a letter to TEACHERS with a typo in it?! Not professional at all!"
To beat them at their own game, he put a teaser on the OSE (outside envelope) that said “There’s a typo in this letter. Can you find it?” … He had the letter proof read like always, didn’t leave a typo on purpose or anything, but knew there’d be something in there they would probably complain about.
The response was amazing and positive. The teachers LOVED it and thought it was funny. And they decided to purchase what the company was selling. The moral of the story? Get creative and beat the haters at their own game. Your audience just might reward you for it.
And … how many mistakes can you find in my post? (Ok, don’t actually tell me.)
Turn your home office into a place you want to be without spending a fortune!
Make work feel, well…like less work
Does your home office call to you? Is it a sanctuary? Does it get your creative juices flowing? Or does it feel like a struggle just to go in there? Making a work space personal, pretty, functional and comfortable will result in making work feel, well…like less work.
Read on to learn some very easy and inexpensive ways to make your home office feel pleasant, special, even inspiring and place that you…well…actually want to be! While you can’t eliminate the work that needs to be done in your home office, (it’s called work for a reason), you can make a few changes to make being there much nicer!
Budget-friendly changes can change your world
Whether you’re working full time in your home office, or just on the occasional snow day or when you pay bills, your work space can easily be transformed to be more efficient and to feel more inspiring. Bringing a sense of your personality will make your home office a place uniquely yours. A few minor budget-friendly changes can seriously change your home office world.
For some, a chair and a laptop is all that’s needed. For many of us, more is better. Filing space, a white board, special art, a TV and other electronics might be called for. Do you need additional seating for collaboration? The possibilities and option are countless! No matter what your specific needs may be, you’ll feel better if the space is especially yours. And, doing so will improve your productivity!
We’ll provide some inspiration to make your workspace comfy, functional and a place you’ll actually want to do your best work.
We’ve all done it. Office work drifted into the kitchen, and had inevitable disasters like spaghetti sauce splattered on an important proposal. Let’s look at some easy ways you can make your home office unique to only office work, not cooking. We’ll suggest ways to add needed elements, in a creative and inexpensive way and how it will improve the space by making it a more efficient and inspiring place to work.
Storage and filing space
If space is limited, it will be especially important to creatively incorporate storage and filing space without crowding the entire office. A less cluttered and more open space will improve concentration and creativity. Get rid of anything that isn’t useful to your work there. If the dedicated office has become a dumping ground, get busy removing all things that aren’t supposed to be there!
Creating physical space between furnishings/equipment will improve air quality and will make the space more appealing. The space you create by clearing out clutter, not only improves the flow of air, but science has proved that it also impacts the way your brain works. Less clutter brings clearer thinking and improved creative energy.
If you’re starting from scratch or need a desk solution, check out these budget friendly ideas to combine work space with storage:
Align the style of desk with your personality, work style and existing furnishings. Clean white, mirrored surfaces as well as farmhouse styles can be found here. And, if you’re a DIYer, combine your favorite reclaimed wood with filing cabinets to make your own personal statement. You’ll save on space too! See some of these super creative options on BuzzFeed.
A comfy chair is a must have
There are so many options in addition to traditional desk chairs purchased at the “office store”. Your local consignment shop is a great place for unique, one-of-a-kind options like, small captain’s chairs, club chairs, parsons style (once used for dining rooms) to funky molded plastic for a contemporary fun look. You’ll find a unique bargain to suit your style. Consider a coordinating cushion for added comfort and warmth. Be sure to align the style and coordinate the colors of your chair with your desk, and other furnishings.
Rugs and art add warmth, color and personality to your office
Your office will take on a new polished personality with rugs and art. The rug placement should encompass the desk and the chair to designate and include both in the space. The rug should be large enough to scoot the office chairs back from the desk. Avoid fringe and thick piled rugs to make moving chairs easier. If you have visitor seating space in front of or near your desk for collaboration, include this in the rug sizing and positioning so that the seating is included on the rug.
Again, consignment furniture stores are a great resource to find unique rugs at affordable prices. Wayfair and Target also have beautiful options under $300.00. Your favorite art should also share the space. Add color and beauty in a favorite art piece to help you muse over an idea or imagine beautiful places as you brainstorm.
Lighting is important for tasks and can really add impact and flair
For unique finds, check out your local consignment shops for desk lamps and chandeliers. Mixing antiques or quirky lighting (things that make you smile) will quickly add personality and functionality. When looking to provide ambient lighting, (not task) check out floor lamps with up-directional lighting. You’ll add beautiful lighting to darker corners of the room.
Bring in plants
Bring happy life to your office by adding a plant or two. If your green thumb is brown, use a quality faux plant. Faux succulents look real and will add extra softness to the space. A succulent and a cute pot will add a smile to your bookshelves or the top of your desk. Faux grasses can look beautiful as well. Make sure you regularly wash them to keep the faux looking real.
De-clutter and add your personal touch
Whether it’s a creative, eclectic look or a polished minimalist feel that you’re trying to achieve, adding just a few touches and de-cluttering the space will get you an office space that you’ll soon enjoy, and actually want to work there.
Contact Kerry Fletcher for a one-on-one consultation. She makes it super simple for you to get started on your own and will even go a step further by personally helping you shop for the best furniture and decor pieces. Your home office (and other areas of your home!) will look amazing.
You'll love coming home after you work with Kerry!
Email Kerry at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit her on Facebook (check out her gorgeous art pieces!).
Answer: Not as stupid as you think.
So now that we've gotten that out of the way. Let's talk about how to jump in to video during the holidays. This is a great time of year to post video on social media.
You already know video is huge right now. You'll read about it in industry publications, online articles, hear about it from consultants and marketing peers. Plus, I'm telling you about it right now.
Here's the one thing I want you to remember. There are a lot of really cool things you can do with video and I don't want you to worry about that yet. Because first I just want you to focus on getting your first video out there before running down rabbit holes of "cool stuff" you can do. Here are 5 tips to help you get started in video:
1. Get out of your own way
From all of the clients I've talked to, the ONLY thing holding them back from creating and posting a video on social media is themselves. I get it! It's a new world! Suddenly you have to make your own videos - from your phone! - and post them yourself. But if you think about it - this is actually a blessing. It's more affordable then finding a studio. It's faster than booking a studio and acting talent. And it's much more personable. People LOVE seeing the owners and employees of businesses on social media. It helps them connect to you.
2. Get some inexpensive equipment
There are a few (cheap) things you can buy to make your videos look a bit more profesh (i.e., professional).
Get a tripod to keep your phone steady (and then you don't have to use your laptop camera which might give you that "second-chin" look you weren't going for.
Use lapel microphone to cut out background noise.
Employ a selfie light to brighten up your video. Makes your eyes look brighter!
3. Grab some help
So this sounds crazy, but just asking someone to be in your video with you (even if they're just standing there nodding at the camera) can calm you down, make you less nervous, and help you perform better. So grab a co-worker and ask them to nod into the camera while you talk.
It also doesn't hurt to ask around to see if any employees/co-workers LIKE to be on camera. Hey, maybe they want the spotlight and you can be behind the scenes.
4. Have fun ... please just have fun
Because people can tell when you're not. Talk about awkward. You're worried about your hair and outfit and sounding stupid. Your audience is wondering if they should call 911 because it looks like you're having a stroke. I'm serious when I say, don't be so serious. SMILE! Breath. You'll get through it - promise!
5. Put on your Nikes and Just Do It
(You don't really need Nikes.) Set a date/time for when you're going to make your video (or even go live on Facebook!) and crank it out. Force yourself to do it. Get it done. Check it off your list. Then sit back, relax, and enjoy because you'll see it wasn't so bad and you didn't look stupid.
Thank you for donating!
THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU to everyone who donated pads and tampons. And deodorant and soap and so much more! Together, we donated 1,464 pads and 634 tampons to homeless women!!! This is so amazing! One of the employees I spoke with was grateful and practically shouted, "yes! We are ALWAYS VERY MUCH in need!" Melted my heart when I realized how many we had and that we doubled what we donated last year. You all came through and I'm very grateful!
Pads. Tampons. Periods.
Say it with me three times. Get comfortable with it.
Our uncomfortable reaction to this completely normal part of being a human with female reproductive organs is holding us back from helping homeless women who need pads and tampons.
Women who don't have access to these items often skip work because they know it's going to be a horrible embarrassing mess. Then they get fired. Image getting a job, feeling positive, and then BAM, your period comes. Women who use "make-shift" items (ex. fabric from old t-shirts) often have to reuse those items and can end up getting infections. And other women end up ruining the ONLY pair of underwear they have. The only pair.
It's up to us to help these women. Luckily there's enough of us to make a difference!
I'm Collecting Donations Through October 17th
I have some pretty amazing friends and they're helping me collect in their places of work, too. I will drive to pick up your donations if you'd like to collect these items where you work, go to church, host your book club, etc. Let me know!
These superheros are collecting donations where they work:
What should you donate?
We're needing pads and tampons. Packaged from the store (not from the already-opened box in your bathroom). Last year some women also donated deodorant and body spray - that's fine too! Keep in mind that tampons are GREAT but can cause TSS if left in too long. Sometimes pads might be a safer bet for a woman trying to make ONE sanitary item last as long as possible. But we will take ANYTHING - pads and tampons.
Based on me being a smart @ss, I also threw in these little donations rules this year:
Let's Keep This Going
We did pretty good last year. We only collected at one office location. This time we're collecting at MULTIPLE locations so my dream is that we get even more donations! Contact me today if you'd like to help!
"Everybody wants to be relevant. We want to be relevant personally. We want to be relevant in our businesses." -Rick Warren TED Talk
Businesses are told to stay relevant and it's implied that you can do this via social media. So what does "staying relevant" even mean? And how do you do it? Let's look at "relevancy" together.
First, let's look at the Urban Dictionary
I mean ... they're not usually WRONG ...
"the most amazing group of people ever, having to do with things that are real and that matter"
The Urban Dictionary's definition revolves around a person or business wanting to stand out and make a difference, be heard. This is how most people think of "relevancy" and they definitely are not wrong. However, this definition can be a major turn off to a small-to-medium sized business who is just trying to keep in touch with their customers and not wanting to march in protests or host public talks ... and definitely don't want to post about private information - along with almost-nude photos - like the Kardashians. So let's keep looking ...
Next, let's look at Dictionary.com
Let's have a look-see at the actual dictionary's definition - they're never wrong.
"bearing upon or connected with the matter in hand; pertinent:
a relevant remark."
Whew, this is getting complicated. It's starting to sound like too much work, right?
Don't worry it isn't. To understand what it takes to stay relevant, maybe we should first look at WHY we want to stay relevant. Then I'll show you how a small-to-medium sized business can go about doing that.
Put your video camera down, luckily you won't need a sex tape, an activist tape, a parody video, or an extreme-sports video. Let's look at an example of relevancy on a personal level ...
Let's read a story
When I was younger I hung out with a girl ... let's call her Katie (that really is her name) ... we lost touch throughout high school and college, but then one day I saw that she was following me on Instagram. So I followed her back and was alerted to the fact that my "request" to follow Katie was "pending". And then I forgot all about her.
A couple months later I ran into her in public and was excited to see her - I mean she DID follow me on Instagram and I think maybe I was following her back? (I couldn't remember if she accepted my follow request or not.) So I ran up and said "hi, how are you?!" and she looked at me like she's never seen me before. So I told her who I was and she said "yes, I remember you," without offering up conversation or asking how I was or even answering my original question and telling me how she was doing. She seemed really put out about having to talk to me. I left totally confused!
A couple months later I saw that she liked one of my photos on Instagram so I clicked on her name to see her profile. It said I had to send a request to follow her. Again. So I did. Again. I mean ... maybe I got it wrong and our public face-to-face awkward reunion was all in my head? Maybe she thought it went smashingly? So I sent another request to follow her and was again told my "request" was "pending." And then I forgot all about her. Again.
A couple months later I ran into her in public. AGAIN. And we had the EXACT SAME exchange! Needless to say I was confused and a little pissed. Out of curiosity I went back into Instagram to see if she ever excepted my request to follow her - she hadn't. I could send it again if I wanted to. I didn't want to.
So why am I telling you this? What's the moral of the story? The moral of the story ... is WTF! Don't ever act like this! Katie's actions are turning people away, not helping her connect with them. She still likes my photos on Instagram and basically hides when she sees me in public. I probably would have went through life feeling indifferent toward her, but now I'm bordering on not even liking her that much. If she were a brand, I'd stop buying. I now consider her less of a social connection and more of an annoyance. She might come out of hiding to "like" a photo of mine (ohhhh, some would call that "engagement") but she won't actually connect with me on Instagram AND more importantly, she won't connect with me in real life.
Doesn't this sound awful and like completely bizarre behavior?
Well, what if I told you that unfortunately, some businesses act like this too. They're "pulling Katies" left and right - taking minimal effort to "engage" with a customer but don't follow through and aren't acting like they care that much. "Liking" a customer's content but not providing a way for the customer to engage with them. Or even worse, not replying back to comments a customer is leaving on their own posts.
This is the opposite of staying relevant, but it's also what a lot of companies are doing right now.
How can you stay relevant?
It's pretty simple. You can start by actually BEING THERE. Join a conversation, start a conversation, support conversations. You don't need to start controversial conversations - they can be simple conversations, but make sure you're having them.
The dictionary can't help us define relevance. YOU define it by jumping in and understanding your audience, joining their conversations, taking simple actions and following through with what you say. That's it. That's being relevant.
Now that we've all agreed to stop "pulling Katies" let's look at tips you can use to get started and stay relevant.
Tips for Staying Relevant
1. Become more aware
Get in the habit of continually taking a step back and assessing everything.
This helps form a picture of where you're currently at and where you should be going. Follow your prospects and clients so it's easier for them to connect with you. Don't make them find you ... because they probably won't! You need to find them and meet them where they like to hang out.
Take advantage of trends. What's going to change the way you communicate or do business in the next 6 months?
Get ready for it today.
2. Find out where your customers are & join them
Where is your audience hanging out online? That's where you want to be. Pay attention to:
Start following conversations that are already happening. You'll learn about their wants, needs, expectations, and more. Start by monitoring:
Once you start monitoring the conversations you can jump in, too. Start talking about what everyone else is talking about - just join the conversation. Now you're connecting with your audience in a way they want to connect!
(Psst ... keep an eye out - this is a great way to start planning your messaging and marketing content. You'll get a feel for what kind of content you should be creating and even how to word your headlines so they stand out to your audience.)
3. Join the conversation as a business
78.6% of sales people using social media to sell outperformed those who weren't using social media. Response was 23% higher! - Source: fastcompany.com
Who stays relevant?
The person or company who stays in touch, reaches out, and includes others.
Who doesn't say relevant?
The person or company who only reaches out when they want to get something out of it. Those whom you never hear from, never see active on social media, until they need something.
Moral of the story? Stay engaged. Don't pull a Katie. It's all about two-way communication now!
April 23rd is "Take a Chance Day"
I think it's great that we're given this nudge from the calendar. It's a reminder that we're still capable of great things ... or crazy things ... both, if we're lucky ... and we need to get out there and do those things.
From what I can tell this was a holiday that was started on the Internet and isn't official. ** BUT ** I don't care! I'm using "Take a Chance Day" to get over fears and try new things. I'm still deciding which big item I want to cross off my list. I'm thinking about trying rock climbing. I'm not a fan of heights and I'm not rock-climbing fit. But it looks amazing and I'd be so proud of myself if I accomplished it! (Inside, at a rock-climbing facility, with an instructor, and a safety harness. Let's not get too crazy!)
What are you going to do?
If you're not sure what to do on "Take a Chance Day" ... here are some ideas to try!
Try Goat Yoga
Join a Networking Group
Ask For a Raise
Try a New Workout Routine
End Toxic Relationships
Try Extreme Ironing
As you can see there are so many things to choose from! So, TODAY sit down and make a list of things you want to have done by or to do on "Take a Chance Day". Have your list narrowed down by April 1st and then know that you have 22 days to prepare and start making it happen!
I'm so excited! Comment below and let me know what you plan to do!
First, I'm the mother of three crazy, sassy, sarcastic, hilarious children. Second, I work in the world of social media, email, digital marketing. Third, I'll probably try to tell you what to do.