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.
07 Apr 2013
Do you ever feel like you are going at top speed in your business and not getting anywhere. You know the old saying, “Going nowhere fast.” It is so easy to do when you own your own business and are working alone, without a large support staff or any staff at all. Making the choice to become an entrepreneur is a risky one, albeit one with great benefits if you have tenacity and gumption. Yes, it takes guts to go it alone. And heart and soul and passion.
But, there are limits to what one person can accomplish and knowing those limits and honoring yourself and your abilities to only do so much is of utmost importance if you are going to succeed. My guest this week on The Social Networking NewsHour was Stephanie Calahan of Calahan Solutions, Inc. She is living proof that going above and beyond one’s limits can have disastrous consequences. You can listen to the entire podcast here.
We discussed the analogy of being like a hamster in a wheel, a big wheel going, going, going all the time but never getting anything accomplished. My takeaways from our show are these:
1) Recognize you have a problem and seek some guidance in the form of a business or life coach.
2) Create marketing systems that save you time and maximize your messaging.
3) Honor your personal needs because they are paramount to being productive.
4) Take a step back and know who your customer is – target the right audience for your product or service or you will be wasting valuable time and energy.
5) After identifying your challenges, accept them and be realistic about what you can accomplish.
6) Find the balance in your life, family, self, and business. Without balance, personal freedom and enjoyment is so difficult to obtain.
Having been that hamster in a big wheel several years ago, I totally related to Stephanie and her personal story. Listen this moving podcast and please share – have you ever been on the brink of feeling you are losing control? What did you do to overcome the situation?
Laurie Hurley is a social media mentor, coach and consultant who helps small business owners deal with overwhelm in regards to their social media marketing. She believes in scheduling your marketing time, just like a networking meeting.
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.
Being an entrepreneur has so many upsides, it would be difficult for me to list them all right here without going over the 500 word limit I have for my blog posts. I could probably fill an entire notebook with the reasons I love working for myself. What disturbs me though is when I meet other single business owners and they do not appear to be satisfied; in fact some are darn right negative about running their own business and it shows in many ways. Poor preparation at a networking meeting, slovenly appearance, disorganized, no follow up; generally not easy to do business with. I say to those folks, get a real job!
But, how do you fall in love with your work? Here are some surefire ways to know for sure that you and your business are a good match:
1) You show up smiling, positive, upbeat – online, in person, on the phone, on your business cards (yes, put a photograph on your business card) and in all of your advertising.
2) You are monetizing something you are passionate about while helping people solve their problems. Whether it is being a landscaper or a high-level business coach, you are easing a pain your target audience is experiencing and have a deep sense of fulfillment every single day.
3) You self-educate. Webinars, telesummits, conferences – you choose wisely and attend to network (of course!) but also to learn something new in your industry and you don’t complain that you have committed to an online course or need to travel somewhere for two nights. You soak up the information like a sponge and return to your office totally pumped and ready to implement.
4) You have mastered the fine art of time management. Your systems are in place, you have outsourced if necessary and you do not work 75 hours a week. Quality time invested in your business, sometimes at odd hours, turns you on and keeps you going day after day. You are never bored.
Two people that are in love with each other and their business are Joe and Laurie Battaglia of Living The Dream Coaches. The name says it all, right? Joe and Laurie were on my internet radio show this past week and they shared what it’s like to work together every day. Baby boomers who found each other after being married for over twenty years to someone else, Joe and Laurie share a passion for helping people find their passion in relationships and business. Every one of their clients get this dynamic duo when they come to the Battaglia’s for coaching. Their skill sets balances each other perfectly and they certainly are living their dream of being deeply in love with each other and their job. You can listen to the entire broadcast here.
Ask yourself what you love the most about what you do. Is going to “work” something you avoid or something you immerse yourself in like a warm bubble bath and say “ahhhhh?” Share your comments below.
Laurie Hurley is a social media mentor and consultant, totally in love with her business. She has an active membership group online where she shares her love for social media daily. Check it out here.
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!
My blogs usually have to do with social media. I carefully write them, thinking about strategy and keyword placement, just like I tell my clients to do. Write first, then go back and move some words around to optimize keywords. However, in this week’s post – that is all the social media strategy advise I will dole out.
Why? Because my daughters begin school soon; about two weeks from now and I am feeling melancholy. My oldest one begins her senior year. She has already started filling out her college applications (Berkeley, USC and UCSD in that order) and working on her essay prompts. I will miss her terribly when she leaves home, knowing that once we drop her off, her life truly begins as a young adult and I am left behind as the grieving (although thrilled for her) mother. She is my first-born, my baby, my child who is tuned into my moods and thoughts, who keeps me company and gives me her unsolicited opinions on many things I do (or don’t do).
My youngest is just starting high school. An innocent freshman who is terrified to be let loose on a huge campus of over 3,000 kids. She was in Special Education until one month ago. No more accommodations for her, no special treatment; she is being thrown to the wolves and she is not ready emotionally. After nine years of IEP programs, hand-picked teachers, plenty of time to complete homework in class and more time for exams, the State of California has decided she no longer needs any services and she is free to mingle amongst the “normal” kids. She is not ready, but I can no longer fight the system. It’s time for her to go it alone. And I am dreading it.
It’s hard to be a mom to two completely different children. One who readily accepts my advice and respects me and one who is emotionally inept and functioning at a sixth grade level, if that. I worry about them. Even though they will be attending the same school this year, they are not close and my older daughter is too involved with her studies, sports, and friends to pay much attention. My younger one won’t admit to anyone that she is scared and wouldn’t lean on her sister anyway – not cool – as she would say.
So this year my ears will perk up when the phone rings during school hours, hoping it’s not a “come and get your younger daughter” call. My eyes will be glued to the mailbox, which I can see from my home office window, waiting anxiously for the college acceptance letters to remain unopened until the oldest comes home.
The end of feeling secure that my youngest is safe and the beginning of truly letting go of my oldest to find her place in world. Do you feel sad or blue when school begins and your children are reaching new milestones? Please share, misery loves company.
23 Jul 2012
Being an entrepreneur has its challenges. Sure, it’s nice to say, “I work for myself and can create my own schedule.” Ha, ha to all those people who clock in and work 9-5. I have the freedom of getting up late, working out when I feel like it, taking a day off to enjoy my kids, or just spending two hours at my desk and calling it a day. No boss, no employee reviews, unlimited vacation time. It all sounds so wonderful. And most of the time it is.
But, after returning from a two-day working weekend event to sharpen my speaking skills, it occurred to me that I didn’t have a day off last week. And now, being it’s Monday morning, I am beginning my week playing catch up.
Many of the things I do require my personal attention - coaching my clients mostly, writing my speaking presentations, attending networking meetings and just generally keeping things rolling smoothly. Some days I think back on my days in Corporate America and remember the good times. Two days off a week, a structured workday, a large staff to manage and delegate to, as well as rarely bringing my work home with me.
Now, all of my work is at home and sometimes when it piles up and I find I am still in my pajamas at noon because I didn’t have time to take a shower, I step back and reassess my systems and priorities. What can I let go, what can I do more efficiently, what can I assign to my Virtual Assistant, what is making me money?
On a day like today when I am totally overwhelmed with emails, projects, phone calls, Tweets to write, videos to make and clients to satisfy, I wonder if I would be happier clocking in and out. The answer is NO, I wouldn’t.
Being an entrepreneur has it’s downside that many people don’t talk about or face, but the upside of freedom, creativity, flexibility and empowerment of my financial future is worth the fact that some weeks are seven days of work. I seriously do not think I would trade where I am now for where I was twenty years ago. It’s all about balance.
If you are an entrepreneur, working from home, what are your secrets to striking a balance? Do you shut down or rise to the occasion when your desk is a mess and the phone won’t stop ringing? Please share!