Posts Tagged ‘accountability’

Now That I Have Video, Where Should I Post It?

I get asked a lot of questions about video. I have numerous blogs on what you need to produce video, but once you have it, now what? There are so many platforms out there, where do you begin? Let’s start with some stats:

YouTube

Inarguably the biggest video platform out there. With over two billion monthly active users, YouTube is the second most popular website in the world. Since it is also owned by Google, your video has an amazing chance of begin seen if you are doing your due diligence behind the scenes with descriptions, tags, etc. Since it is a huge platform, you need to make sure to know your audience and how to properly promote these videos.

Tik Tok

Per State of the Screens, 59% of Tik Tok’s audience is between the ages of 13-24, so it is appealing to a younger audience for sure. Only seven percent of users are over the age of 45. However, it is still holding its lead as the most downloaded app in the last 18 months that is a non-gaming app. It definitely has ongoing momentum, and should be at least considered in your digital marketing approach if it makes sense.

Facebook

Facebook still dominates the overall download trends, and with Facebook Live videos, IGTV, and Instagram Reels, you have A LOT of options for promoting your video. Since Facebook and Instagram are already largely populated platforms, it will be extra important to make sure you are producing relevant content to your audience so they will WANT to watch your videos. Facebook allows up to 20 minutes of view time, although studies show that most users are only watching for 21 seconds. So keep that in mind when you are producing your videos.

LinkedIn

This one is tricky. It does not have the functionality to create or host videos within the platform itself, (meaning there is no “Facebook Live” type of functionality), so you have to embed or attach your video links. This would definitely be a place to post knowledge based videos since it is geared toward business and learning and not a place people go to post recipes are funny cat videos.

 

At the end of the day, the answer to your question is “where is your audience hanging out?”

Since the pandemic when we were all forced to stay home and our only means of communicating was online, we learned quickly of the importance of video. Not only are there many places with restrictions still in place, marketers have found that video can reach people in a way that a lot of other methods of advertising can not. I have said this many times – video is the next best thing to being there in person. It helps to establish a relationship of trust much faster when your target market can see your face consistently. The key word here is CONSISTENTLY. You cannot expect a video strategy to work if you post occasionally or give up after a month or two. A relationship of trust takes time and effort. Don’t give up on it.

I know between shooting, editing, and posting, video can seem overwhelming. LET ME HELP YOU. I have multiple ways we can do this, so just ask. The important thing to remember is to not give up – because video is definitely not going anywhere!

 

It Takes A Team To Grow A Business

Growing a business takes a village – for every business owner. There simply are not enough hours in the day. Everything needs to be done, and it is so easy to let life get in the way and allow things to get put on the back burner. No matter what stage you are at in your business,  money can be tight and your schedule can be even tighter so you find yourself burning the midnight oil to try to get it all done. After all, if someone else is doing it, it will cost you money, right?

Well, sometimes yes, and sometimes no, and sometimes not as much as you think.

So with that in mind, here are my tips on trying to figure out what to delegate and what to handle yourself.

1. Make A List Of What Needs To Be Done

Sit down and write all the tasks that need to be done – in your business and in your home – from Accounting to Yardwork. I mean list everything. Even if you think it is a small detail, put it on the list. I found a helpful list online of tasks you can delegate. This list may help you get the wheels turning of all the tasks you need to do if you are having trouble – which I doubt!

2. Pick The Activities That You Like To Do

This one seems silly, but it is very important. The tasks that you actually enjoy doing are more likely to get done before the ones you don’t enjoy. It is just human nature to put off what you do not enjoy. You may also be in a rush to get through those tasks since you don’t enjoy them and the quality may go down. This will show in the long run and can be very detrimental to your reputation. Don’t let the name of your business suffer just because you don’t enjoy a specific task. So put your name next to all the tasks you actually enjoy.

3. Who Do You Call?

Freelance people are a great option to go investigate. Especially now that working from home is so much easier than it used to be. There are many virtual assistants out there that can take on a multitude of different tasks including bookkeeping, content writing, social media, etc. Look at your list and start investigating local companies or online freelancers that can take on the more professional tasks for you. Ask your local Chamber of Commerce for help. Look at the people you network with on a regular basis. Take a look at the list I have below of just a few options:

  • Virtual Assistants – there are many local options, as well as online sources. Do your homework and check references. There is a lot that VA’s can do for you so you can focus on the tasks that make you money!
  • Copywriters – Keeping an up to date blog is very important for SEO purposes as well as establishing trust and credibility. Writing can be a daunting task if it is not your favorite thing. Blogs, press releases, any kind of printed material – get a professional to help you if this is not your thing.
  • Web Designers – Yes, WordPress and the like is basically simple. But investing the dollars to have someone set it up correctly will go a LONG WAY in the long run. If this is not your skill set – then call someone. You will be glad you did.
  • Online Business Presence – This means social media, video, email marketing – anything and everything that happens online. Make sure you are putting your best foot forward. When it comes to video and social media – I would love to help!
  • Business Coaches – even the highest paid athletes or biggest millionaires have someone coaching them and holding them accountable. Don’t rest on your laurels – challenge yourself. If you are the smartest person in the room, then you need to find a new room!

I understand this list covers a lot. I am happy to give recommendations on any of the above. Which leads me to point #4…..

4. Don’t Be Afraid To Ask For Help

Sadly, many entrepreneurs are still just too afraid to ask for help. Some reasons may be money, some are confidentiality, some are just plain fear someone will find out they are not Superman. Trust me, no one thinks you need to be a martyr or a super hero. If you do your homework, you will find reputable, trustworthy organizations or people. If you sit down and take the time to plan out who is in charge of what, it will allow you to do what YOU do best – make money!

So, what do you think? What are some services you have used that you can recommend to others that have really helped your company out? Let’s share them in the comments and help your fellow entrepreneur!

Smart Business Resources for Pandemic Recovery

pandemic recoveryAs business owners find their way to get back to normal, or to find their new normal, I was delighted to be spotlighted in a recent article on various resources you can use to get your business back on track. Thanks to Elena Stewart of ElenaStewart.com for the great shout out to me, as well as the other suggestions. Let me know what you think!

 

From delayed reopening to pandemic pivots, many businesses have struggled to maintain solvency throughout prolonged quarantine periods. The good news is that there are ways to keep growing your business, even if your physical doors are closed. Check out these resources to get a head start on your company’s pandemic recovery.

Learn Some New Moves

No matter what type of business you operate, there’s a workaround for sourcing income while your physical doors are closed. Consider these platforms and methods.

  • Upgrade your digital marketing by working with Queen Bee Consulting.
  • Use video streaming platforms and software to deliver virtual services to customers.
  • Implement e-commerce strategies for selling products and services online.
  • Go mobile with in-store offerings; curbside pickup and delivery are highly popular (and lucrative) models.
  • Start reaching new customer subsets with marketing research and implementation. You can use freelancers for market research services if this is outside your wheelhouse.

Keep Tabs on Your Cash

You may not have a ton of income coming in (for the moment). However, navigating your business finances is a crucial step toward post-pandemic success. Consider these resources for tracking your incoming and outgoing amounts.

  • Get started with a solid bookkeeping strategy so you’re organized and solvent.
  • Hire a financial consultant to make sense of your financial situation and any unique challenges.
  • Reduce overhead costs wherever possible to streamline your budget.
  • Check out small business grants to help make ends meet without complicated repayment requirements.

Work a Bit Smarter

You may still be putting hours in while your business is closed – and you’ll definitely be working overtime if you’re reopening. Either way, there are ways to work smarter and save your energy for when business ramps back up.

  • Explore technology that can make your life easier – think chatbots for your website, automated client emails, project management software, and more.
  • Set measurable goals with set deadlines so you can see progress happening.
  • Employ time management strategies to get the most hours of your day.
  • Avoid burnout by taking time away to recharge and refresh as a human, not a business owner.

There’s no foolproof approach for ensuring your business outlasts the pandemic. But with these resources, you have a solid plan for shaping a venture that has a fighting chance.

Ready to take your business to the next level? Working with a business coach from Queen Bee Consulting can help grow your business! Complete this form or call 618-530-7166.

Photo via Unsplash

How To Utilize Remote Workers To Help You Run Your Business

remote workersDELEGATE – this is a word I have often used in previous blog posts.  Prioritizing your time and focusing on doing what you do best and delegating the rest is key to growing your business. When I bring this up with my clients, I often hear a lot of skepticism and fear of turning over certain tasks. That is why I am pleased to bring you a guest post from my friend, Tina Martin, on how to properly choose and vet remote workers so you can rest easy. Let me know your thoughts!

 

Guest post by Tina Martin, Life Coach and Creator of Ideaspired.com

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you’ve likely noticed that remote work has exploded within the last year. While working from home used to be something solely associated with mass-market cookware and beauty MLMs, today most desk jobs can be done remotely. And as a business owner, there are plenty of perks for you — if you choose your workers wisely.

Why Hire Remotely?

First, having remote employees is part of a smart business strategy. It allows you to have a broader group of talent so that you can bring the best products and services to your clients. The Undercover Recruiter also suggests that a remote staff is happier and more productive, more diverse, and can actually save you money in overhead. Just as importantly, remote work is becoming the norm. Many employees, especially in IT and other tech-centric roles, prefer to work from home. You’ll have a better chance of putting together a solid staff if you don’t limit yourself to only those who can show up for a 9-to-5 job.

 How to Protect Your Business

Despite the benefits, there are some inherent risks of hiring remotely. One is that it’s more difficult to establish a meaningful relationship with your employees. This means you don’t really get to know them unless you make a conscious effort to break away from the grind for things like videoconferencing one-on-ones or in-person retreats.

One of the biggest issues with not being able to get to know your employees is that you may overlook issues in their past that might cause problems. Doing a background check can help alleviate some of this worry, but you still have to protect your assets in the off chance your employees — or yourself — run into trouble. You can keep your personal finances guarded against legal action by forming an LLC. Although the rules and regulations vary from state to state, using a formation service can help you get the job done without breaking up too many expenses. Further, there are some tax advantages, and you can grow your business with whatever management structure you choose as an LLC.

Choosing the Right People

Hiring a remote staff is similar to putting together an in-person team. The biggest difference is you must first decide which jobs you are comfortable with not being able to supervise in real time. Next, decide on working hours. Keep in mind that a worker in England won’t have the same daylight hours as your US-based workforce. As a result, this can create lags and stall time-sensitive projects. However, this doesn’t mean that you can’t use online collaboration software to keep everyone on the same page.

When you are writing your job description, make sure to include that the position is remote and note any expectations you have, such as if they must work for a stationary location or if the job is suitable for those who travel. You’ll also want to conduct Zoom interviews; Career Protocol lists several online interview tips for employees which you can use to measure the professionalism of your interviewee.

Always ask for an expected salary range. Your employees may expect a higher or lower paycheck depending on where they live. If you have multiple potential employees with a vastly different dollar amount in mind, it may be time to revisit how you pay your remote workers. Start out with a fair salary based on your location and the experience required to do the job.

Having remote employees is no longer considered weird or impractical. The coronavirus pandemic taught us that many jobs can be done remotely without the expense and hassle of maintaining an office. There are things to consider and legal matters to attend to just as with a brick-and-mortar setting. Although it might still be a new situation, remote workers are here to stay, and getting on board now is the best way to prepare your company for growth in the future.

Stop Being Afraid Of Using Video To Market Your Business

USING VIDEO TO MARKET YOUR BUSINESS“Being able to tolerate the sound of your own voice in a video is probably the highest form of self acceptance.”

When I’m working with video clients, I often hear one similar worry from them, an anxiety conveyed by this quote I found on Facebook today. So many people are afraid to market themselves with video because of cosmetic concerns: hair, clothing, voice, anything. What everyone forgets, though (yes, even I do from time to time!), is that we are our harshest critic. When a viewer watches your video, they’re not thinking about your hairstyle, your outfit, or the pitch of your voice — they’re listening to what you have to say, and realizing that you are the expert. And that’s because you are! You know your business better than anyone.

When you engage viewers face-to-face, you start a relationship with them. Even in our digital world, people will STILL want to do business with those they know, like, and trust. Think of videos like a conversation — it’s the closest thing to having an in-person discussion. Overall, the thing that truly matters is consistent engagement, consistent relationship building. Talk with your viewers and show them what you know often. Plus, don’t be afraid to show your personality! After all, you are your business. Being true to yourself will come through in videos and make your viewers feel comfortable as well. Be their friend, and I promise, they will respond in kind. All you need is a tripod, some lighting, (because no one wants to watch a shaky video and they need to see your face) and your expertise. Check out some of my equipment recommendations here.

So to get your business out there, to get people to consider using your company, you have to put yourself out there – ON A CONSISTENT BASIS!

You have to get comfortable with being uncomfortable, or else nothing is going to change. Embrace your personality. Realize that you are the expert on your business, and know that I am here to help you along the way! My video program will make this easy. I help you with topics, take care of the shooting, editing and promoting, but most of all – the ACCOUNTABILITY of being consistent! Hit me up and let’s take your business to the next level next year!

How To Prepare Video and Marketing Content For 2021

video and marketing contentMy mind has already been on 2021. Whose mind isn’t, who doesn’t want this year to end? Even though no one could have predicted this year, it is still time to ask yourself: what can I do better? What did my marketing efforts of 2020 actually accomplish? I ask myself, and my clients, all of these questions as I sit down to prepare what I plan to take on for my marketing content for 2021.

Even though so much has changed in how we run our business, we still need to organize our marketing content. Since less people are getting out and about – your marketing strategy absolutely must include a way to get your face in front of your prospective audience. The best way to do that is to get yourself a video marketing strategy. One of the first things I hear my clients fuss about is: what am I going to talk about?

First step: Get a calendar together. I prefer to keep things simple. I have a very simple spreadsheet that outlines the twelve months of the year and I brainstorm different events or anniversaries that make sense for me to comment on.  It is basically a “big picture” approach about the kind of content I feel would be relevant to my readers and clients. I take that information and formulate the various blog posts I want to write about that make sense with certain times of year. I am always open to move topics around to adjust to current events and moments in time that have events where the need for a little shuffling is in order. Always remain flexible and have the ability to capitalize on current events.

If you are not into spreadsheets or documents, another great place to organize your calendar is on Trello. I have mentioned Trello in the past. It is a FABULOUS online tool that multiple people can log onto and all of your team members can brainstorm content for the following year. This is a great one if you have a team, or if you want to share it with your business coach. **hint hint***

A lot of my clients – and other business owners – like to put their topics and ideas on their actual calendar. Having your due dates in front of you when you can glance at it and prepare for it weeks in advance allows you to prepare for it so you are not running around at the eleventh hour trying to meet a deadline.  You can either color code your online calendar, but quite often it is even very useful to do it the old fashioned way – with post its and stickers! Below is a the folks at CoSchedule who make a WordPress plugin for an editorial calendar, and they are still using sticky notes! Whatever works for you – do it!

marketing and video content

But what does one do when they sit down to a calendar and come up with nothing but a blank piece of paper? One resource is from the fine folks a WeVideo entitled 30 Quick And Easy Video Marketing Ideas.

And if that doesn’t do it for you – here are some of my suggestions!

1. Google alerts – setting an alert with some of your industry’s key words. This can give you an endless supply.

2. Riff on a popular post. Post your reaction and thoughts to a popular blogger’s thoughts, someone else’s video that has gone viral, or any hot topic that can get people talking about your business.

3. Look everywhere for inspiration. Check out YouTube videos, podcasts, or one of MY personal favorites: watch some TV for inspiration. Shark Tank is one of my favorites!

4. Do an interview. Do you have a favorite person you like to follow online or connect with at networking groups? The answer is no unless you ask them for an interview! I am sure they won’t mind the free publicity!

5. Take an entire day off.  I love this one. Recharge your brain for a whole day by doing something you love. Go focus on your hobby and enjoy yourself. Giving your brain a break may be just what you need!

6. Do a product review. Is there something in your business you use every day that you just LOVE? Write about it and spread the love with your readers! This is the time of year people are doing product reviews in anticipation for the holidays – why not you?

7. Recruit a guest. When all else fails, call for back up! Schedule an interview of someone you respect that you can feature in your video marketing. Make sure their content is what your readers are looking for and it makes sense with the overall feel of your message. But don’t get lazy and rely on them every month!

Lastly, you will want to set some sort of alert and an accountability system in place so this task actually gets completed. If alarms work for you, wonderful. If you need an accountability partner to make sure it gets done, then set that up. You will be amazed how much you get done when someone else is watching!

If you flat out need someone to tackle this video beast for you – I can help you with that!

Let’s all take 2021 by the horns and show it who is boss! Contact me if you need some help.

Does Your Business Have A State Of The Union? – 2020 Edition

business state of the unionStarting in 2009, I took it upon myself to develop a Business State of the Union. My company had been growing since its inception in 2008, and with the way technology was changing all the time I felt I needed to have everything in one place. I needed to have information available to me or someone I trusted in case something were to happen to me.  Articles have been written that touch on pieces of what was going through my mind. In fact, there was an article from the The Atlantic about having a social media will. Now, more than ever, I believe this is extra important considering the pandemic our world is facing.

But it is not just about social media. Think about your entire business. The infrastructure, the access, the passwords, the chain of command. What happens to all of that if something unexpectedly happens to you?  Who has access? Where are the passwords? You never know when you will need to have these things ready for someone to take care of your estate.

Setting up your own State of the Union (SOTU) is an essential part of running your business. I am on my 12th year of doing so, and remind everyone annually at this time. So let’s go through the basics of what you need to do in order to set up your own personal SOTU.

Step One: Collect all the data.

  1. Business Systems – what technology do you have in place that is a vital part to running your business? Is it a specific software or database? Who has access? Where are the passwords? Does someone else understand how it works? A common one that comes to mind is Quickbooks. But this can also include any type of industry software that helps you run your business.
  2. Social Media –  As it stands, Facebook will not give you access to your loved one’s account when they pass. They will “memorialize the account” so only confirmed friends can see and still post. Now for most people this may not be that big of a deal, but what if you have a lot of Facebook Ads tied to this account? Pictures? You cannot access this without the name and login.  There are types of legislation the will assist in certain cases, but why not avoid it altogether and have your login and password accessible to the person that will need it? This of course also applies to Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, you name it. Gather your logins and passwords to all the social media sites you frequent and list them on your SOTU.
  3. Email – Where is it hosted? What are the passwords? Do you have access to all of the machines, such as home or work laptops, phones, iPads, etc.  where you can log on to the email?
  4. Websites – Again, where is it hosted? What are the logins and passwords? How many domain names do you own, and when do they expire? Where did you register them? This is especially true if your livelihood is tied to your brand and website.
  5. Internet/Back Ups – Gather your logins and passwords to deal with our internet account. Do you know your wireless network password? Do you have a guest account with a password? Do you have a Time Capsule or other back up hard drive that is password protected? You need to know what these are!
  6. Cell Phone Accounts – Again, having access to logins, passwords, and plan information is vital. It is extremely rare that anyone has a land line any more, so you need to be able to get on the carrier’s website and adjust whatever is necessary.
  7. iCloud/iTunes – Apple is typically very helpful in retrieving someone’s music if they have passed, but if you have access to these accounts and can relieve a lot of extra work and aggravation.

I could go on and on with the list of different programs, products, services like PayPal, Amazon and various people like lawyers and insurance agents, but you get the idea. You also need to know that Hulu and Netflix accounts cannot be changed. If those accounts are set up under you, a new account will need to be created.

Step 2: Where To Store It

Now that you have all of this technical data in one place, what do you do with it? First, I recommend using an encrypted system to store all of your vital passwords. Once I can recommend is Passpack. Passpack.com is a password management system that will allow you to manage and organize your passwords, create accounts for family members or team members, and it is all encrypted and secure.

Next, it is time to create the official SOTU: a Word document or Excel spreadsheet that lists the physical location as to where to find your important documents, such as wills, life insurance policies, bank accounts and so on, and then also include your Passpack account information. This document can be as simple or as thorough as you want it to be. Then you find a place to put it.

Last year I even placed everything “in order of importance” to the best of my ability, just to make it easier on my executor. I have placed my SOTU onto Dropbox, which is not only accessible to me and my executor, but makes it easy to update the information. I also have a printed copy that I keep with the wills in a safety deposit box – just because I am anal like that.

Step 3: Update on an annual basis.

For me, that just happens to be every July or August. Set a date on your calendar – one that you will stick to. It only takes me less than an hour to go over any changes to passwords, business systems, bank accounts, etc. Just a small amount of time can really save you a lot of grief and struggle in the long run.

The SOTU is very personal since everyone utilizes technology and social media in different ways. Honestly – you don’t need to be a business owner to have one. Everyone should. Get your info together and then pick a person in charge. I make all of my Accountability Program clients do this.

So consider this your annual reminder! How many of you have a SOTU? Am I the only one? Did I get your wheels spinning? What are your thoughts?

Six Tips For Business Owners To Survive The Coronavirus Quarantine

Tips For Business Owners To Survive The Coronavirus QuarantineHere we are – in the middle of a pandemic, and everyone is on edge. We are surrounded by people being laid off, losing jobs, losing income and almost about to lose their minds.  But you have to still have a business to run. And you still have to make money. Obviously, some distractions are harder to overcome than others, such as those of you who have also become your child’s teacher. The fact of the matter is now you have to adjust to what will become your new normal for a while. How long this will be for is hard to say. In the spirit of  “quaran-teaming”, I have come up with a list of tips that are helping me, as well as my clients, stay focused. I hope you find these helpful for your business as well.

1. Adjust Your Schedule
For most of you, working hours have already taken on a new meaning, but now that we are all forced into working from home, it is imperative that your working hours be flexible. We are dealing with people who have kids at home, or having to connect with people from different time zones. Not everything is going to work as it did before. The important thing is to access who needs your attention and when, then adjust your schedule accordingly.

This may mean you get up earlier in the day and work a few hours, take breaks for the kids, and then work some more. Maybe you work in the morning and the evening, but take the afternoon off.  There are more hours in the day than just 9-5, so use them!

2. Make A To-Do List
I am a HUGE fan of lists. Lists help me stay focused on my tasks. They help me remember every detail. They hold me accountable to the things I know I HAVE to get done. There is something about seeing it on the list that really motivates me to get it done so I can do the best part: CROSSING IT OFF! I know we have a lot of ways to keep lists, but there is something so empowering about physically crossing off an item on your list. I feel such a sense of accomplishment when I do it. It also serves as a reward!  A way to do this online is to use Trello. Big fan of this one too.

3. Take A Look At Your Technology
So you want to take a break but you are still waiting on that ever important email. With all of the technology available to us today, you can make your office mobile any time you wish. But you have to have the right technology in place to do it.  Take a look at your smart phone, is it up to the task? If not, now would be a great time to upgrade.

How are you saving your documents? Do you utilize cloud based services like Dropbox to access your documents from anywhere? Cloud based systems are often free or low cost so you don’t have to be beholden to your desktop or laptop. Just access them from your smart phone or iPad and move on.

Zoom is offering a lot of their services free right now, so make sure you check them out. Video conferencing is obviously the next best thing to being there in person!

4. Take A Class
Sometimes, a little knowledge will go a long way. I find that taking an online class or webinar that will teach me something renews my goals and helps me focus on my vision. Clients definitely will be thrilled that you are staying current with your craft. Knowledge is power. Take advantage of the time and sign up for a class and learn something new. It will motivate you to stay on target, and who knows? Whatever it is you learn will help you make additions to your current offerings which equals more money! Who wouldn’t want to make more money?

5. Get Over Your Fear Of Video
Video is the next best thing to being there in person. Even though you are stuck in your home for the unforeseeable future, you can still reach your clients and possible new customers with the power of video. Start simple with something like Facebook Live. You can also use Instagram, YouTube, or whatever platform you feel comfortable on. Video accounts for the highest amount of engagement on social media. It is time to lose the fear. Everyone is connecting from their homes. This is the most opportune time to connect – people will be delighted to see your face because they miss you – and they miss interaction. They will be more likely to listen to what you have to say. It is time to drop the inhibition and go for it. If you have more questions, I invite you to read through my blog – I have lots of tips there. You can also reach out to me directly.

6. Get An Accountability Partner
I have talked about this many times, but it is especially important when you have extra distractions going on. You can adjust your schedule, make to-do lists, examine technology and take classes all you want – if you actually DO THEM. Big ideas are great – but the success lies in the EXECUTION. An accountability partner makes sure you stick to your goals and helps you to have skin in the game. I have one – you should too. I would be happy to help you as well.

I would love to hear some of your tips. What is keeping you motivated during this quarantine? What helps you stay on task so you can take some time off and enjoy the weather? Post your thoughts in the comments below!

Does Your Business Have A State Of The Union – 2019

business state of the unionStarting in 2009, I took it upon myself to develop a Business State of the Union. My company had been growing since its inception in 2008, and with the way technology was changing all the time I felt I needed to have everything in one place. I needed to have information available to me or someone I trusted in case something were to happen to me.  Articles have been written that touch on pieces of what was going through my mind. In fact, there was an article from the The Atlantic about having a social media will.

But it is not just about social media. Think about your entire business. The infrastructure, the access, the passwords, the chain of command. What happens to all of that if something unexpectedly happens to you?  Who has access? Where are the passwords?

Setting up your own State of the Union (SOTU) is an essential part of running your business. I am on my 10th year of doing so, and remind everyone annually at this time. So let’s go through the basics of what you need to do in order to set up your own personal SOTU.

Step One: Collect all the data.

  1. Business Systems – what technology do you have in place that is a vital part to running your business? Is it a specific software or database? Who has access? Where are the passwords? Does someone else understand how it works? A common one that comes to mind is Quickbooks. But this can also include any type of industry software that helps you run your business.
  2. Social Media –  As it stands, Facebook will not give you access to your loved one’s account when they pass. They will “memorialize the account” so only confirmed friends can see and still post. Now for most people this may not be that big of a deal, but what if you have a lot of Facebook Ads tied to this account? Pictures? You cannot access this without the name and login.  There are types of legislation the will assist in certain cases, but why not avoid it altogether and have your login and password accessible to the person that will need it? This of course also applies to Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, you name it. Gather your logins and passwords to all the social media sites you frequent and list them on your SOTU.
  3. Email – Where is it hosted? What are the passwords? Do you have access to all of the machines, such as home or work laptops, phones, iPads, etc.  where you can log on to the email?
  4. Websites – Again, where is it hosted? What are the logins and passwords? How many domain names do you own, and when do they expire? Where did you register them? This is especially true if your livelihood is tied to your brand and website.
  5. Internet/Back Ups – Gather your logins and passwords to deal with our internet account. Do you know your wireless network password? Do you have a guest account with a password? Do you have a Time Capsule or other back up hard drive that is password protected? You need to know what these are!
  6. Cell Phone Accounts – Again, having access to logins, passwords, and plan information is vital. It is extremely rare that anyone has a land line any more, so you need to be able to get on the carrier’s website and adjust whatever is necessary.
  7. iCloud/iTunes – Apple is typically very helpful in retrieving someone’s music if they have passed, but if you have access to these accounts and can relieve a lot of extra work and aggravation.

I could go on and on with the list of different programs, products, services like PayPal, Amazon and various people like lawyers and insurance agents, but you get the idea. You also need to know that Hulu and Netflix accounts cannot be changed. If those accounts are set up under you, a new account will need to be created.

Step 2: Where To Store It

Now that you have all of this technical data in one place, what do you do with it? First, I recommend using an encrypted system to store all of your vital passwords. I use and recommend Passpack. Passpack.com is a password management system that will allow you to manage and organize your passwords, create accounts for family members or team members, and it is all encrypted and secure.

Next, it is time to create the official SOTU: a Word document or Excel spreadsheet that lists the physical location as to where to find your important documents, such as wills, life insurance policies, bank accounts and so on, and then also include your Passpack account information. This document can be as simple or as thorough as you want it to be. Then you find a place to put it.

Last year I even placed everything “in order of importance” to the best of my ability, just to make it easier on my executor. I have placed my SOTU onto Dropbox, which is not only accessible to me and my executor, but makes it easy to update the information. I also have a printed copy that I keep with the wills in a safety deposit box – just because I am anal like that.

Step 3: Update on an annual basis.

For me, that just happens to be every July or August. Set a date on your calendar – one that you will stick to. It only takes me less than an hour to go over any changes to passwords, business systems, bank accounts, etc. Just a small amount of time can really save you a lot of grief and struggle in the long run.

The SOTU is very personal since everyone utilizes technology and social media in different ways. Honestly – you don’t need to be a business owner to have one. Everyone should. Get your info together and then pick a person in charge. I make all of my Accountability Program clients do this.

So consider this your annual reminder! How many of you have a SOTU? Am I the only one? Did I get your wheels spinning? What are your thoughts?

What Are You Spending Your Energy On While Running Your Business?

spending your energy onI recently picked up a book again that I had gotten away from. It is called Big Magic, by Elizabeth Gilbert. For those of you who don’t know who she is, she is a well-known author probably best known for her book Eat, Pray, Love. In Big Magic however, she was talking about how to have more energy in your life. Although she was referring to someone personally, it made me think: where am I spending all of my energy in my business?

It is so easy to get caught up in what we think we are supposed to be doing. We read articles, blogs, and books. We watch videos and take online classes. We typically listen to whatever catches our eye and spend time coming up with plans based on the latest and greatest promotions and methods. I have a radical idea here.

Stop it.

Stop chasing what everyone says you are supposed to be doing and really evaluate WHAT WORKS FOR YOU.

I know you are thinking, how do I do this though? Sadly, there really isn’t a quick and easy answer. I don’t care what anyone says. In order to know what really works for you, you have to come up with a plan of attack based on what you do best and what your target market really is looking for. Develop a marketing plan on how you will educate people that you are the person to give them what they are looking for, and then TRACK AND MEASURE your efforts. (I recently wrote a post about this.)

That is why this is not a quick and easy answer. Tracking and measuring takes time. You need to be consistent with your approach and your methods at a minimum of one quarter. You cannot try something once and give up. You have to be consistent with how you are marketing yourself, what you are promoting, and then providing whatever that is. When that is all said and done, you do what is commonly called a “Monday Morning Quarterback”  recap where you assess what went right, and what went wrong. Once you have this data, you can make a decision on how to move forward. Then you look at the next step.

 Did you enjoy it? Was it fun?

Most entrepreneurs start out with excitement and a fire in their belly because they love what they do. But all too often they get caught up in those latest and greatest ways to promote themselves and they start to loose sight of why they started their business in the first place. Running your own business is supposed to be fun! A lot of work, yes, but definitely fun! If you are finding yourself dreading getting out of bed to go run your business, then the time is now to re-evaluate. Just because one method is working like gang busters for someone else does not mean it will work that way for you. Maybe that method is correct, but you just need someone else to carry it out while you focus on something that YOU love to do. My coach and mentor, Michael Port, often says he wants you to have a mad love affair with your business. He could not be more correct. If you don’t even remember why you became an entrepreneur then it is time to stop the madness and focus on where your energy is going and if it is doing you any good. Again, the only way to know this is to TRACK AND MEASURE, and then have a brutally honest conversation with yourself to determine if you had fun. And for heavens sake – if it is a task you hate doing, then DELEGATE. It is not a dirty word!

Just Say NO

In the last two years, I made a conscious effort to step down from every board position I had. As this has been going on, I find myself getting questioned thoroughly as to why. And I simply told them the truth: it was time to say YES to ME. I run my company, I am a Mom of two adorable girls that are in the throws of finishing high school and needing a lot more of my attention to prepare them to leave the nest,  and I am wanting to explore new interests and don’t want to be in charge of anything that is not necessary for a while.

The response was amazing to me. Not one, but EVERY woman that heard my response was in awe. They all called me courageous and were so proud of the example that I was setting for other women in business. This made me feel good, but at the same time, made me very sad. At what point did we get labeled “SuperWoman”? Why do we, as women, feel if we are not “doing it all” then we are somehow failing ourselves and our families?

I for one, am not going to let the fear of saying one little word cripple me any longer. I am going to start really looking at my responsibilities and prioritizing better. Of course it is a great idea to donate some of your time to worthy causes, but one of the worthy causes that gets your time SHOULD be your family and your livelihood.

“When you stop chasing the wrong things, you give the right things a chance to catch up.”

So I ask you: what are you spending your energy on while running your business? What can you let go of and do differently? What will make you fall in love with your business all over again?

Helping entrepreneurs get clarity and focus is one of my favorite parts of my business. If you are looking for some guidance and are interested in learning how I can help with customized strategy sessions, contact me today so we can make 2019 your best year yet!