13 May 2013
A prospective client said to me last week, “I will pay your fee for social media management services on commission. You do all my posting and I will pay you a percentage of every sale I make from your efforts, deal?” Well, that takes chutzpah, I thought to myself. I actually tossed around his unusual offer for about four days before I said “no.” First, he wined and dined me and my husband. And told me what a terrific team we would make. Every time he closed a home loan, I’d get a nice chunk of change. However, the only loans he would count are the ones that resulted directly from my efforts on social media. Current customers and repeat customers were off limits. Referrals from networking groups also were not in the mix.
I explained to him that social media marketing, when done correctly, is part of the overall marketing plan. Even referrals frequently check out the business profile of a service provider. Quite often, the professional presence on LinkedIn, Facebook, Google Plus and other social media sites seals the deal. I did not see how he could differentiate which clients came from my work creating an engaging, educational, informative platform and who called him based on other avenues. Especially since he pulled all of his direct mail and email campaigns.
When I explained this to him, he insisted I was being short-sighted. I took to Facebook to ask my social media counterparts and business associates to get their opinions. One person out of about two dozen said they might do it. The rest were emphatic that this guy was crazy and I should walk away. I did end up walking away, rather surprised that someone in this day and age would truly think this was a good deal.
A couple of interesting facts to add. I see this man every week at one of my networking meetings. I met him nine months ago at a different meeting and his last words to me were, “Call me, we can make a ton of money together.” I did call and email several times with no response. The first time he talked to me (after the nine months of ignoring me) was two weeks ago. While we were in the negotiation phase, he gave me a stunning testimonial, before even hiring me. To this day, he has not responded to me.
What would you do? What are our thoughts of payment by commission only?
28 Apr 2013
Sunday night and time to write the blog. Like everyone else, I sometimes have a major brain block. What do I write about? What has happened in the last week that people would be interested in knowing about social media? Well, I am sure lots is happening, but I don’t want to write about that.
As a coach and consultant, I tell my clients all the time – you are your brand. People want to know about you. Not the deep dark secrets – although I am sure some voyeuristic person would love to know all that stuff – but the things that make a difference to you personally. What are your values, what makes you tick, who is the real person behind the posts and videos and blog?
I’d like to share that this past week for me can be described in one word – empowering. I am treading into deep waters because I decided to makeover my website. And since one’s website is the social media funnel that all great information should be directed, I want a new, spiffy-looking site. Only this time, I decided not to hire a web designer. I am going to do it myself. Like I really have time to do a website – I don’t, but I have definite ideas of how I want it laid out, a new product suite and programs, and I am not going to pay a fortune to work with a web designer.
Enter The Online Empowerment Formula, led by entrepreneurs Marisa Goudy and Corinna Rake. Their program is a series of six coaching sessions and lots of work in between. But it’s good work – it has forced me to think deeply about my brand, my mission, my business and what I want to convey to others via my website, the hub of my business. Marisa and Corinna are a great team. I met them on Twitter – more proof that social media works!
Back to the website – it’s been challenging and sometimes frustrating because I am not a programmer or particularly technologically gifted. I have to work hard to learn left-brain stuff. I am way more creative than techy. Regardless, I committed to conquering my limiting belief about coding and have diligently dug in and embraced the work I need to do to have my finished product up and running.
What has resulted is a deep sense of pride and total ownership of my website. Not to mention, I am learning valuable new skills that will help me help my clients who often ask me questions about the back end of a Word Press site. I have been totally focused on accomplishing this task and will celebrate by having an extra glass of wine the day it is done! And that day is coming very, very soon.
What one word describes your week? What challenging project have you taken on recently that made you beam with pride? Would love to know, so please share.
Decrease overwhelm. Raise your hand if you want to do this, because I do. Here’s the conundrum of being a social media manager – not only do you come up with content and interesting, consistent marketing tips for your clients – after all you are being paid – but you have to continue to publish great stuff about yourself at the same time. And remember, there are only 24 hours in a day.
So, I have come up with some great coping mechanisms and systems that help me stay on track and thought I would share them in the event you feel overwhelmed with social media.
1) GetPocket.com – you know all those blogs and articles you want to read but have no time? This application lets you store them in one file in your browser to read at a later date. No need to bookmark – just “pocket” them. Love it!
2) Exercise – at least 45 minutes a day. And I mean breaking a sweat and really getting the heart pumping. I find this stimulates my brain power and helps me stay on track.
3) Sign up for an online class or webinar that teaches you something about your industry. I’ve done that twice in the past month because there is always someone who knows more than me and have learned a ton of new techniques and time saving methods.
4) If you work from home – take a nap if you can. I find a 30 minute snooze is refreshing and re-energizing.
5) Use a scheduler for your posts. There are many on the market. I use Sidekick because I manage several different accounts and do not want to mistakenly cross-post to another client’s account. A huge time-saver.
6) Have a glass of wine when it’s 6:00 p.m. Enough said about that.
On a serious note, as an entrepreneur with no support staff except my Virtual Assistant, it is so easy to get overwhelmed to the point of shutting down sometimes. My Virgo work ethic kicks in and before I know it, hours have passed and I have not gotten up from my desk to have lunch or take a break.
Scheduling “me” time into my work week makes me more productive. Lightening up by chatting with my Facebook friends for a few minutes helps. Attending my in-person networking groups twice a week breaks up the monotony of being in my office – and I get some great referrals, too.
What do you when you feel your cup is overflowing and you feel like shutting down? How do you regroup and get back on track? Would love your feedback and stories. Share them here.
17 Mar 2013
At 8:30 a.m. last Monday morning I was at the court house with MacBook in hand, ready to spend the day in the jury pool. In my mind I thought, “Cool. A whole day to work without interruption.” I dragged along my briefcase, found a plug and a comfy chair and settled in with my hot tea, comfy sweat pants and warm sweatshirt. In all the years I have been called to jury duty, I was picked once for a civil case that was over in one day. And that was about twenty years ago. So, I thought I was safe. In California, if you select a day, like I did, and do not get called for a jury, you are released by about 3:30 and have fulfilled your civil duty for an entire year.
Well, not so fast. A clerk appeared at 8:32 and read the first list of names to report to a courtroom. Sure enough, my name was called. No worries, there was no chance I would make it on a jury. I’m self-employed and most judges see that as a hardship. And, I am opinionated and most defense attorneys don’t like that, so I figured I’d be in and out within half an hour. Meanwhile, I pulled out my pad of paper and got my pen ready because I was certain I would have lots of good stuff to blog about from this experience.
Wrong again. I was questioned by the judge and opted not to tell him I was self-employed. It struck me that if I was on trial I would want someone like me on the jury. After being grilled by both attorneys, I became known as Jury #10, serving on a child molestation case. I had no idea the week would be filled with such gut wrenching emotion. I put my pad and pen down. It didn’t seem appropriate to blog about the woman who sat down to be questioned and burst into tears, causing the judge to clear the courtroom. Or the man who vehemently hated all peace officers, another woman who spoke so loudly we needed ear plugs, and the man who spoke so softly, I couldn’t even hear him and I was sitting next to him.
Testimony began on Thursday morning, after three days of interviewing over forty people to be jurors. The District Attorney’s star witness was a ten year old girl who was sexually abused twice in the same day by her grandfather, the defendant. Then her mother and her aunt who were also abused when they were ten. Three police officers testified and then it was over. The People rested their case. The defense attorney delivered his closing argument and by Friday at 3:45 we were in the jury deliberation room and I was elected foreperson.
Twelve people from all walks of life deciding the case on the evidence and the laws. It was unanimous – guilty on both counts. We were emotionally spent. Our decision sent the defendant to jail for life. Life in prison. Can you even imagine such a thing?
We were banned from social media for the entire week. I could not bring myself to make one note for my blog. I truly did not intend to blog about this experience, but an entire week away from my consulting business and social networking reminded me why I do what I do for a living. I like meeting people online, coaching, mentoring, teaching, and speaking. And I also enjoy my freedom and respect our system of justice in this country.
Have you ever tried to get out of jury duty? Have you served on a jury? Did it profoundly affect you? Share your stories.
Laurie Hurley is the host of The Social Networking NewsHour every Wednesday at 2:00 p.m PST and has an active membership group, Social Networking Made Simple.
13 Jan 2013
Google + and I are finally going steady. Yes, we flirted for over a year, totally broke up once or twice and went through a phase not even speaking to each other. It got so bad that I even bad-mouthed Google + publicly. Then, one day about three weeks ago, all of that changed.
I’m not sure what it was. Hard for me to put my finger on, actually. I had been very happy with Facebook and the amount of engagement and activity in that relationship. I even spent some money and invested in a Facebook ad which brought me over 300 new targeted followers for a mere $36.00. The relationship was good, but growing stale. I was getting bored with the same old stuff. Ads running down the right-hand side of my page, lots of “likes” but no direct answers to some of my questions. Facebook was showing me its aloof side.
Meanwhile, a Google + community popped into my email. Sure, trying to lure me in with the work “community.” I fell for it. I joined the community and discovered people actually were leaving comments, not just “plus 1′ing each other.” I became intrigued.
I felt daring and strong and confident. So, I created my own Google + community to see if I should think about getting back together with G+. Lo and behold, my community is growing. People are joining and actually participating. To make it even more fun, I came up with Wisdom Wednesdays where the members can share a hot tip and Theatre Thursdays, where we all share our videos – business, no sales – and comment on at least two of them.
Our courtship is going well. Rumor has it Facebook is rolling out some other big changes this week. Since I am addicted to Facebook, I will hang in there with them, but I am cheating on the side. And it feels good. More fulfilling. Not to mention the traffic on my website has increased by more than 44% over the last twenty-one days, according to my Google analytics.
Are you and Google + tight? Or, do you have a love/hate relationship like I did? Please share.
Laurie Hurley is a social media consultant and has an active membership group, teaching basic social media to entrepreneurs. Laurie is also the hostess of The Social Networking NewsHour, which airs every Wednesday at 2pm on the Woo Hoo Radio Network.
23 Dec 2012
I walked into the room for my Mastermind session and thought I was in an Arts and Crafts class. Believe it or not, I am in my fifties and have never created a collage or, what is known in the business world as a Vision Board. Being artistic is not one of my strengths. I have trouble drawing a stick figure, but this was cut and paste, which I was fairly certain I could handle.
Our leader instructed us to flip through the large piles of magazines she had brought and find visuals that inspired us and reflect what we want to accomplish in 2013. I am a very visual person, so I thought this would be easy. And, throw in a ton of fashion magazines and gossip mags, and I was all over this!
As a began to browse the pages, I surprised myself at what jumped out at me. Words, sayings, headlines, quotes, and taglines. For me, it wasn’t so much the pictures – although I did cut out a giant scoop of chocolate ice cream and a picture of Claire Danes from Homeland. Not that I over-indulge in sweets or plan to join the CIA. When I look at those two pictures they remind me to have more fun, i.e. eat ice cream and relax more – watch Homeland, sometimes twice to analyze the plot.
Anyway, back to the vision board. Some of my favorite words from my board are:
- never settle
- please elaborate
- get more of what you love
- be in no one’s shadow
- laughing matters
When I was finished with my masterpiece, I took it home and hung it prominently in my office, somewhere that I can see it everyday. As a home-based business owner, it is important to remind myself what is important. What is the vision you forsee for yourself, as a professional, but also as a parent, friend, partner, caregiver? After one has created a small business, it is oh so easy to get caught up in work, work, work all the time. Striking a balance with some fun is important!
Gazing at my vision board reminds me to strap on my running shoes and hit the pavement even with a full in box. To laugh at myself more often, to let my needs be heard, to forge ahead after a client turns down my proposal, to not be tempted to be a follower, but to continue being the leader of my own destiny, embracing my goals even when I set the bar high.
I recommend every small business owner grab some scissors and glue sticks and document your vision for yourself and your business. You may be surprised at what speaks to you from the pages of a dog-eared magazine.
Have you ever created a vision board? Did a theme emerge? Was it dominated by pictures or words? Please share!
16 Dec 2012
Being a solopreneur and WAHM is wonderful. If I had to go back to corporate life, I would not be very happy. However, it’s easy sometimes to over extend and commit to certain things that just aren’t going to happen.
That is what my week was like. Two opportunities came my way that seemed great on the surface. One was being part of a program in January that really spoke to me and my business ethics. It involved giving away a free service, without expecting anything in return. Just giving for the sake of giving to help expose my expertise to a large group of people. I was all over that.
Until I looked at the list of what I had to do to prepare. Opt-in forms, a webpage, email blasts, and more. Typically things I love that come very naturally. But, given some family issues to which I will need to attend to that will take me out of town for a week or so right after New Years, I had to decline the invitation to participate.
Second was joining a well-reputed guest blogging site. I love blogging and writing and having more eyeballs read my stuff. I joined the site in November, wrote one article and stepped back to reassess. I spilled my guts out in this article about a situation that happened to me that had to do with a very personal story. Much more than I usually share online. It was perfect for the target market of their site, but not in line with my messaging to my target audience. So, I gracefully called my contact and explained why I was taking a step back.
Lesson learned here is this – you can’t be everywhere doing everything that comes your way in regards to your business. The cool thing is it was easy to contact each person involved in my two situations and tell them I was not moving forward. Standing in my own power and feeling confident that I was doing what was right for me and my business growth was very freeing.
This past week got me thinking about how sometimes we, especially women, tend to want to please everyone at the cost of perhaps not taking care of the priorities – in my case growing my email list and my social media membership group. As the New Year approaches and I am planning out my marketing strategy, being very careful about where and how I spend my time.
How do you decide what is worth your involvement and what is not? Do you do a cost benefit analysis or do you go with your intuition, which is what I did. Have you ever over-reached to the point of complete burnout or failure? What worked for you this year and what did you step away from? Share please!
18 Nov 2012
I recently attended a funeral and started thinking about branding in the middle of the service. What kind of legacy will your business leave? If three people who have never met each other stood up to talk about you. would they all say the same thing?
Interested in your comments!
Laurie Hurley is a social media consultant and mentor with an active Social Media Made Simple Membership program. She is also the host of The Social Networking NewsHour which airs every Wednesday at 2pm PST.