I was excited to be featured on The Executive Blog as a contributor to the article, 37 High-Converting Sales Tips Straight Form The Experts. It was an honor working with Jimmy Rodela, so we collaborated on another set of useful tips for the business owner: strategies for beating the business blues. I find this to be very timely – especially with the weather getting nicer. Makes it hard to stay focused! Let us know what you think!
As much as many of us would hate it, sooner or later, we all find ourselves in a rut — whether you’re going through the same day-to-day tasks grudgingly, or running low on inspiration — it’s only human for us to feel this.
And so the question becomes, “What do you do in these situations?”
Allow me to share with you nine strategies that can help you with beating the business blues.
1. Refresh Your Mindset
A pessimistic viewpoint won’t help much in inspiring a better outlook translating that into poor performance. Experts tell of several ways to achieve this, through meditation, reading a book or psychological hacks, your renewed perspective will serve to be a good launchpad to run your business better.
2. Take A Walk
When experiencing mental and emotional blocks simply take a break and walk around. Take your work out to new places. This way you might even spot opportunities and inspiration from experiences you haven’t felt before.
3. Get A Pep Talk
Join a seminar or watch videos featuring people from varied industries, gain a fresh perspective on how they tackle similar problems you have.
Sometimes the voice inside your head is your enemy; you have to drown it out with inspiration from outside sources.
4. Revamp Your Workplace
Have you seen the offices of the most famous software giants?
Your office may have turned too bland to produce a happy working environment. Add a bit of color, rearrange desks, throw out clutter, you’ll be amazed how some of these adjustments can change moods.
5. Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff
Try your best not to micromanage, find tasks that you think you can delegate to others.
At times, your problems may not even be caused by the overall nature of your business but may be of the nitty-gritty things.
6. But Relish The Small Wins
Acknowledge that even the smaller wins contribute to the overall betterment of your business.
Did you save up on operations expense? Celebrate it! Did you find an app that can make your business run smoother? That’s another reason to be happy.
7. Identify Your Stress Points
Your daily energy is also a limited commodity. Learn to identify the other causes of your energy drain, whether relationship problems or health problems, solving these issues first could help boost your mood in the office.
8. Streamline Your Time
The other limited commodity is time. Pinpoint what the industry calls organizational drag, wherein the company identifies the non-essential things in the company spends time on. You need to be proactive about getting yourself out of your business blues. These strategies will help you first pinpoint the cause of your blues and find ways to solve it.
9. Spice Up Your Marketing
The quickest and most efficient way to do this is to add video to your branding message. There are multiple ways and multiple platforms in which to do this. And…if you don’t know how or where to start, I would be thrilled to help you! I have written many blog articles on video – and it is no secret that video gets the most attention on social media. So let’s get started!
So, get moving. Put these points into action as WHEN you take your first steps is crucial as what steps you would take.
Have other suggestions or strategies of your own? Do let us know if this article helped you out and sent it to anyone you think may be going through this challenges.
I recently read an article with Entreprenuer.com, “3 Lies They Tell You In School That Hurt You In Business.” Although these lessons we learn in school are important, that doesn’t help you when you’re out here in the real world trying to make a living. The very things they point out in this article apply when it comes to implementing video in your marketing strategy. If you’re trying to break into video marketing to promote your business, here are 3 rules you might have learned in business and/or school that you need to break.
- Don’t Copy
In the context of being in school and taking tests or writing papers, this is absolutely true. And in the real world it holds true to an extent. If you just copy other people’s content, you won’t attract your target audience because you won’t be your authentic self and they’ll figure out they can get the same content somewhere else.
What you can do is copy what is working for someone else and apply it to your own business. Did one of your competitors make a video about a particular subject? You can cover the same topic in a way that reflects your brand and targets your ideal clients. Have you noticed a friend crushing it on social media by doing reels? Try doing reels for your own business and see what kind of results you get. Instead of stealing from your peers, you can choose to be inspired by them. Austin Kleon used that idea as the basis of his book, Steal Like An Artist.
- Learn Everything Before Implementing
I have seen so many entrepreneurs get stuck in what I call “analysis paralysis.” They obsess about everything being perfect, taking countless webinars and reading books and online papers trying to be the master before they even launch their first video. The only thing this will do is frustrate you and keep you from your goal.
The reality is that our world keeps changing, so as soon as you learn something, it changes, and you have to learn it all over again. If one this is for certain it is this: technology is going to change every day. You will never learn everything because there is always some new platform, new gadget, or even new ways of doing things that will trip you up.
The world of video marketing is also constantly changing. Not only are we getting new equipment and software on an almost daily basis to help us make and distribute videos, but the rules keep changing as well. For example, getting dressed up before going on camera may have been expected in the days before social media, but in the Digital Age people like seeing the real you, even if that means you pull out your camera just after having rolled out of bed, or when you’re still sweaty from your run. Remember, done is better than perfect. So just get it done.
- Don’t Make Mistakes
You’re bound to make mistakes, so don’t think every video has to be perfect. You get good at making videos by making videos and seeing what works and what doesn’t. As long as you learn from those mistakes and incorporate those lessons into your next video, you have nothing to worry about.
Another thing they don’t tell you in business school is the importance of consistency. Keep making videos, keep engaging with your audience, and they will respond. Think of videos like exercising – you have to do them often in order for them to work.
If all of this is daunting, or you simply do not have the time to implement these strategies because you are running your business, give me a call! Let me help you with figuring out topics as well as the process of shooting, editing, and/or promoting the video, with my video program. It will also help keep you accountable, so you stay consistent until you start seeing results from your videos. I love helping my clients use the power of video to spread their message. I would be honored to help you. Contact me today.
“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, and you are addressing a concern or need they have, 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 my children were younger, they would get so pissed off when they were not perfect at something right out of the gate. I would always have to tell them that perfection is EARNED BY BEING CONSISTENT.
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.
My friend and mentor, Lou Bortone, shared a recent blog where he shared this graphic that Wave.video made – and this is really everyone’s issue in a nutshell:
To address the top issues, getting started, as far as equipment goes, is the easy part. 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.
Content – answer questions, solve problems, educate – that is what your target audience needs. Even if you think it is silly or “everyone already knows that”, trust me – they DON’T. Share your knowledge, your resources, it builds the trust people need to hire you. So to get your business out there, to get people to consider using your company, you have to put yourself out there – ONCE AGAIN, 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! As far as finding time goes, if you cannot make this happen, stop whining! Get some help! Don’t drag your feet and miss out on getting your face out there. Hire help – like I am sure you do for a number of things in your business.
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 this year!
Hi, everybody. Danelle Brown with Queen Bee Consulting. I’m here to talk to you today about the importance of putting your content on multiple platforms. Now, we all know what happened last week with the shutdown with Facebook, and a lot of people were in a panic. Fortunately, I was not worried. I help my clients put their content on multiple platforms. If you are making sure to hit multiple platforms, then one being down will not be a big deal. Speaking of platforms, the one I really want to focus on today is video.
Video is the next best thing to being there in person. And when you put your videos on YouTube, for example, a different platform, not just Facebook, you’re also searchable on Google, which is very, very important in order to get your content to more people. You can also use that same video to upload to LinkedIn or Twitter or any other platform where your target market is hanging out.
A common question I get, is how long should the video be? And that’s the big question. According to a recent study, 37% of videos are watched when they’re in the one to four minute timeframe. And that’s great. You can keep your message clear and concise. But the next closest popular amount of time, which was 22% of people, said they enjoyed watching videos that were 10 to 19 minutes long. The only way that works though, is if you keep your content engaging, relevant, entertaining, and really bring the information that people want to the video. They’ll keep watching if you’re giving them what they want.
Now, another question people keep asking me, “Well, how do I get started?” It’s very simple. You don’t need a lot of equipment. For example, I’m shooting this on my iPhone. You just need a phone. And a tripod is very important. And if you don’t have good lighting, get a ring light. They’re not expensive. You can find them on Amazon.
One of the biggest pushbacks when it comes to video that I hear from people is, “I have no idea what to say, or I’m too scared. I’m really nervous about being on video.” And I get it. I get it. You got to really get over your fears and jump in with both feet. Maybe in the beginning, it won’t be the best, but you will get better in time. Now, a good friend of mine, his name is Tom Bailey, has a company called Succeed Through Speaking. And he has a five-step plan that he can help you get over your fears and focus on what you need to do to reach your target market. Click here for the link so you can sign up.
His next program introduction is November 4th and it’s FREE. You literally can’t lose anything here. All you got to do is listen to what the man has to say. It’s completely virtual. You don’t have to go anywhere. Listen to what he has to say. Once you get over your fears and you need help with your video, that’s when you call me.
So again, make sure you’re putting your content on multiple platforms. Video really is the place to be because that’s how you connect with your audience. They can still see your face, hear your voice and start to form that relationship with you. If you have any questions, contact me today!
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!
As 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
DELEGATE – 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.
My 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!
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!
Let’s all take 2021 by the horns and show it who is boss! Contact me if you need some help.
Time to wake up: Since Corona took over our lives, everyone is getting their information online. Before this, every year – heck every week – we were seeing massive strides in the way companies were using video to market their business, as well as the platforms making changes allowing them to take their video to the next level.
YouTube traffic expanded more than 60% since last year, and continues to have a billion users watching millions of hours every single day. The thing you have to remember is that these are not super high quality edited videos by professionals. These are quick and easy videos that people are simply using cell phones to shoot in many cases. But that is getting it done. The content is out there, you are creating a relationship by being in front of them and it is increasing your credibility.
Facebook Live videos continue to be a game changer, that include adjustments to make the videos shot vertically look better on mobile devices, the watch and scroll feature that allows you to keep watching the video but allowing you to keep scrolling through your feed, and a new app for watching Facebook videos on TV with the use of an Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV and Samsung Smart TV. Instagram TV is a game changer as well.
Video is really leveling the playing field when it comes to marketing your company. For a small business, video is an inexpensive and relatively quick way to get in front of your target market. It allows you to connect with your audience in ways you never could before. You can answer frequently asked questions, showcase new products, interview happy customers, demonstrate your products, the list goes on and on.
So what are some more ways you can use video to market your business?
- Add video to your marketing emails. Studies show it will boost your click through rate by 200-300%
- Embed videos on landing pages of your website. This will help boost your website’s SEO. Sixty-five percent of people will visit a website after viewing a branded video they find online or via social media channels.
- Start utilizing the Facebook Live video feature. Facebook gives more attention to live video and will therefore make sure it shows up in a person’s feed. For those of you using this feature already, you may have noticed a recent spike in views thanks to this change in their algorithm. Don’t forget to save it to your camera roll on your phone so you can upload it to YouTube for additional exposure.
- Answer emails with a video message. I recently tried this out to a prospective client. I had left phone calls and emails to schedule a meeting and heard nothing. Then I recorded a video and sent that back to their email. They called me back!
Video is the next best thing to being there in person. If you can’t show up in the flesh, do it on video. It makes a bigger impact than just an email or a text. It is amazing what the power of your face can do! I recently wrote several posts on how to utilize video to market your company.
I recently read a quote that said “To not have any kind of video support and/or strategy that lives with and/or complements your existing communications would be a fool’s errand. It’s time to learn to love video.”
I completely agree. Using video to market your business is definitely not going away and I am sure we will see a lot more this year in technological advances that will make it even more simple to do. Time to quit dragging your feet and get started.
Starting 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?
- 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.
- 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!
- 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.
- 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?