Loss is not simply the sadness that radiates from the space someone leaves behind them when they're no longer there, it's the responsibility to keep on living deeply and joyfully in their absence. Because it is through living and celebrating each day, embracing every experience - the good, the bad, the mundane - that we do justice to the opportunity we have been given to be alive."
I wrote these words this morning after waking at 5am and remembering what day it was. 26 July. A day forever etched into my memory after an unimaginable family tragedy changed all of our lives forever 30 years ago.
I don't normally write about personal issues on this blog but I wanted to share these words here because I think they are so important to remember, regardless of whether you have suffered a loss or not.
Often when I work with clients we look at their values and beliefs. These often shape where they want to take their business. But I wonder how many of them know why they hold those values and beliefs. I've not really examined why I believe so strongly in freedom, honesty and adventure, for example. But on reading my own words back today, I realised that there is a part of me that wants to live fully to honour two people who can't. I want to be free to experience whatever comes my way, to say yes to new challenges and to live openly and honestly because I can.
It's the same reason I am self-critical and lack self-belief. Why I feel that I have never achieved enough. Because no matter how much I might try to do - even if I am unknowingly trying to do it to prove that I'm living a good life in their honour - nothing will ever be enough. Because I cannot make up for two missing lives. All I can do is live my own. And live it well.
Being successful or achieving great things so that you have a rich and fulfilling life is brilliant. But a more brilliant life is to be happy with the one you have. To accept every day, no matter what it brings, and be grateful for it.
The point of this post?
Simply to say that your life has made you who you are. You can't unmake it. You can simply continue the story. You have the ability to change the storyline anytime you like. You can make it as exciting or as mundane as you feel comfortable with. But whether you are writing an edge-of-your-seat blockbuster, or a repetitive, predictable plot, own it. It's your story. You are the author of your life.
If you're a parent, summer holidays have either started or will be soon. Even if you're not, summer is typically a quieter time for businesses as everyone heads off to the beach or drinks their bodyweight in Pimms while burning sausages on a bbq.
This quieter period is a brilliant time to catch up on the big projects you've been planning on doing but haven't had the chance to get to yet. Things like giving your website a makeover, or changing your business direction, plotting out new products or services, creating new marketing campaigns or comms plans for the rest of the year.
While others are sunbathing, you can be plotting out the rest of the year so that come September you are ready to roll!
Some ideas to use the quieter weeks well:
Here's how I can help you over this period:
Clarity - if you want to change your business in any way, whether that's new packages, new clients, an entirely new direction, new messages, I can help you get the clarity you need. I recently helped Juliet, a coach, restructure her packages. This is what she had to say:
"I just wanted to say that I've had time to go through the summary doc in detail and love all the ideas, the ones we discussed and the new ones. And the angles you've suggested for the copy. I'm now in the process of restructuring my services and creating new material. Argh so much to do, but it's fun too and am feeling a lot more positive about the future of the business."
Copy - if you need fresh copy for your website or any of your marketing materials - perhaps a job lot of blog posts or newsletter content for the next few months, I can write this for you. You can lie on the beach while I take care of the words you just can't seem to find. Return to a heap of new content all done for you. Here's how I helped a nutritionist, a new product and a life coach find the words they needed.
Communication - if you are finding it hard to come up with regular marketing updates, I can help you either with one-on-one coaching, or by spending an intensive day with you planning, brainstorming and training, or by writing you a communications plan that you can roll out. Here's what a producer of babywear said after I had a one-on-one strategy day and wrote her comms plan:
"I found the session very useful and feel like you managed to put into words what the brand stands for. I also think we nailed who the target consumer is. Thanks so much for the comms plan and for all your work – looks very comprehensive! I will start reading this evening – excited to get started with it!"
Publicity - a quiet period is also a good time to learn a new skill. So whether you want to spend just £49 and 75 minutes listening to my PR Masterclass on how to get in the press fast, or you want to get an in depth understanding of how to get in the media on an ongoing basis with my Publicity for Solopreneurs course, use the time wisely! I also have a PR Firestarter Kit that gives you the tools to get your story out to the press with minimal effort. Summer is quiet for media too and they are always on the hunt for good stories. Use the lull to get fabulous publicity.
I also have kids on holidays so will have less time available to me so get in touch ASAP if you want my help with any of this before I get booked up. Email me.
Does this sound like you? You've been running your business for a while but it's no longer what you really want to do. There are bits of it you love and bits you'd like to drop. But you aren't sure how to make the switch. You'll need to come up with new packages, services, messages, copy and possibly even a new name, tagline and logo. You can't market the new things you want to offer because you have nothing to steer people to. It all seems too overwhelming so you don't do anything and stay stuck half-heartedly doing the thing you've always done while dabbling in the new bits.
I see this all the time. Clients who come to me in desperate need of clarity to help them make the shift. Sometimes it takes an outsider to validate the change and give them the confidence to take the leap.
I was recently contacted by Suné Markowitz-Shulman, a nutritionist who has spent years helping people lose weight. It's what she trained in but it is no longer her passion. Over the years of working with people trying to lose weight, she noticed that it wasn't what they were putting on their plate that was the problem, it was what was going on in their heads. She began to incorporate coaching but clients kept coming to her for a quick fix diet plan. She knew she wanted to change her offerings but she was stuck as to how to do that.
Should she change her business name? Should she target different people? Should she still offer the nutrition services? What should she offer? How could she make her business different? In fact, when she came to me, she said this:
"I have so much going on in my head that I may take up a lot of airtime explaining here. In short, I'm a nutritional therapist and have been in practice for over 10 years with various successes. I am looking to rebrand/revamp my career and message and do more coaching and although health and wellbeing has always what I've been doing, I'm a bit bored of the 'what is your diet like' question. Not sure if I should 'marry' all my skills or focus on the rebrand and what will that look or sounds like. As it looks like at the moment I need everything that you offer but would love to find out more and discuss what the best way forward is. I've had about 6 websites and have never been proud or happy about my offer and want to get it right without wanting to change everything every two years."
We decided that it was best for her to start with a Clarity session so we could get clear on what it was she wanted to offer. Suné had already completed my free Campfire Clarity Workbook so we used that as her starting point. Over two hours we chatted about what she was hoping to achieve. I then went away and condensed that into a summary document for her that included:
"Thank you SO much for this. The whole experience has been exactly what I needed. You are amazing at capturing my muddled thoughts. I am excited and inspired and reading it all over and over again!"
Next up, I got to work on her Copy & Canvas. We had a second short call to clarify a few things before I knuckled down to the process of transformation.
Here's what changed:
Business name: From Nutrition Redefined to Kitchen Table Coach (www.kitchentable.coach) - site not yet live
Tagline: A nutritionist for the mind
Her location: Suné works from home - out of the spare bedroom. But I suggested that she move her nutrition coaching into the kitchen. The idea was to create a feel of sitting at a kitchen table - the heart of any home and where nutrition really matters - with a friend who listens, encourages and educates.
Her opt in: We switched this to be a guide that helps people figure out what the real reason behind their weight problems are (and it's not what they eat)
Her packages: Suné had too many packages on offer, which became confusing. They also attracted the wrong kind of client - the type who wanted a quick diet fix. We changed this into a very simple process of:
Her ideal clients: Suné no longer wants to work with people who just want to know which foods to eat and in what quantities. She wants to work with people who want to address the real reasons behind why the eat what they do and how they can change their entire approach to food and thoughts about themselves.
Her message: We completely shifted the words on her site from being diet and nutrition focused to being about coaching, personal contentment and freedom from food.
Her logo, colour scheme, fonts and imagery: I mocked up a new modern logo for Suné, with suggested fonts and a choice of colour schemes. I asked her to send me a photograph of her kitchen and used the colours in that as the palette for her brand. I suggested the type of images she should have taken by a professional photographer. She will now get a designer to create a final logo version, get photography done and is building her new site.
Her future plans: We plotted out some ideas to expand both the number of one-on-one clients she will see, to holding group cooking demonstrations in her kitchen to writing a book. But these are all plotted out in a way that feel manageable and achievable rather than overwhelming.
This is what Suné had to say once she got the completed copy and canvas package:
"I was so excited to get your email on Friday and the excitement is lasting. You have totally captured my message and brand so beautifully and this is the one thing that has been holding me back for way too long. I am looking forward to building the website and getting out there promoting my new brand and concise message to the world. You have been so professional and speedy, which is also a great inspiration, but I can think of so many people who would benefit from your work. THANK YOU!"
Many nutritionists have before and after pictures of their clients - pre weight loss and after. Well here are some before and after pictures of the nutritionist! She's lost her old business and gained an entirely new one! (I should say that these images are suggestions only. The final product will come from a designer.) But now Suné has an in-depth brief she can take to a designer to ensure that her new business comes alive.
Could I help you do the same for your business? Get in touch.
I know it seems insane to be thinking about Christmas in June, but if you have a product that you think would make a great Christmas gift and want to get it into the press, you need to act fast (by 15 June for this opportunity).
I have teamed up with Kate Woodward - an expert in placing products in shopping and product news round up pages - to provide three businesses with the chance to get their products in front of key shopping editors for the winter and christmas period.
It is only available to three businesses - and I need all three spots to be taken to make it affordable to all. And I need all three spots taken by 15 June at the very latest.
So what is it?
YOUR CHANCE TO GET INTO CHRISTMAS GIFT GUIDES AND SHOPPING PAGES OF NATIONAL MAGAZINES AND NEWSPAPERS (POSSIBLY EVEN TV!)
Kate and I go way back (she was a freelancer for me in my previous PR business). She has spent years focusing specifically on getting products placed in magazines. You know the pages I mean – What’s hot, Top Five lists, Shopping, Product news…. well she has all of the editors of those pages on speed dial. Her contacts span a range of national and weekly magazines and newspapers plus contacts at This Morning and Lorraine. We're talking everything from women's weeklies to luxury titles.
During the last week of June, she will head to London to have meetings with these contacts. Why the last week of June? Because all of the Christmas preview events happen in July and this is the best chance of getting in before they're deluged. Why only three clients? Because any more than that and it becomes overwhelming for the press. Any less than that, it becomes less affordable per client as the costs of her time can't be shared three ways.
Who is this suitable for?
Who is it not suitable for?
What's the benefit of doing this?
What do you get?
£1,300 per client if all three spots are taken.
How does it work?
To make this cost effective we ideally need three clients to join in. Any more and we over face the press. Any less, and the costs go up. So if you want one of the three spots, please email me ASAP
I will take a brief from you to determine your ideal publications and to check that you are right for this.
I will craft a one-page backgrounder document on your products. This isn’t a press release. It’s a product overview with key information. Once approved by you, I will send this to Kate.
You will send your images via dropbox or WeTransfer to Kate, who will select them based on suitability and what she knows the press will like.
Kate will secure a series of face to face meetings with the editors of magazines in London, to take place during the last week of June. Timing is critical. Miss this slot, and you miss the Christmas gift guides.
Kate will take your product, backgrounder and images along to the meetings. She will show your product to the editors, explaining the different features they can be used in (it won’t just be Christmas focused – it could cover winter warmers or top five new products etc)
Expect up to 9 face to face meetings with key editors. She will then send out your product information to a further 10 relevant publications, depending on the number of relevant magazines. She will call them up to secure interest.
Kate will repeat this process again in September to hit the newspapers and weekly magazines, that have shorter deadlines than the monthly magazines.
If she sees any relevant reactive opportunities in the build up to Christmas, she’ll respond to those on your behalf too. She’ll also send out your info to a further 10 titles.
A summary report of the publications that have been targeted with expected or actual coverage received.
Do you guarantee press coverage?
No – because no-one can guarantee press coverage without paying for the space. That’s why people pay (a lot per magazine) to advertise. PR is seen as more credible because your products or company are selected on their merit. So we can’t guarantee coverage but we will do our utmost to get you included. Kate typically gets a third conversion of the number of titles she reaches out to.
How many press do you reach out to?
There will be approximately 9 face to face meetings in June, and roughly the same again in Sept. In addition, the product info will be sent out and followed up with approximately 20 other publications. So approximately 40 targeted titles.
Do I get a list of press contacts?
You will be send a summary of the publications that your product went to e.g. Shopping Editor at Good Housekeeping but you won’t receive their contact details as those are Kate’s hard-earned contacts.
What is the timing of it all?
So do you want one of the spots?
Email me ASAP to get one. First come, first served. Final decision date about whether we have three spots and therefore can do this at this price is 15 June.
This could be your chance to rapidly ramp up your visibility and boost your credibility and make those all important Christmas sales. No more playing small!
If you want to learn how to do your own PR for service-based businesses, check out my Publicity for Solopreneurs course.
Is there anything lovelier than a hand written note? Whether it's a love letter or a note of friendship or even a personal journal, there is something utterly beguiling about the written word. Even more so when that note is secreted away, waiting to be found.
Which is exactly what you get with a brand new product called My Billet Doux. Literally translated as 'sweet note', My Billet Doux is a beautiful handmade silk cushion that has a discreet pocket on the back for a hidden notebook and pen. The cushions are decorated with a vintage ribbon, each with a story of its own and some dating back to the 1800s.
Natalia Willmott, the creator of the cushions, asked for my help in crafting the words for her new website. She explains: 'I needed help getting word clarity for my website and to explain a new concept. My product is unique but can be difficult to describe. I wanted to really capture the romance and history behind the idea.'
As a Publicity for Solopreneurs student, I already knew Natalia but this is a brand new business venture for her and she wanted to nail the words to explain the concept. I spent a bit of time with her, looking at the cushions, and seeing the details and finishing touches that make the products so unique. I learnt about her back story and her motivation behind the cushion idea. Then I set to work.
It was a lovely, but tough, challenge. It's a tricky concept to explain and as the cushions can be used for so many reasons - from romantic wedding gifts, a gift between friends, or a keepsake item to be handed down - it took a careful use of words to get the tone just right. There were also many elements that needed explaining, like the concept of love letters, the quality of the silk cushions, the vintage stories of the ribbons and the ways in which the cushions could be used. Not forgetting that we needed the words to be SEO friendly and had to sound beautiful too!
The scope of the copywriting work included her about page - including the idea behind the products and her back story - and product category descriptions. But I also helped Natalia flesh out some new ways the cushions could be used to broaden their appeal even further and I came up with ideas on how to turn her blog into a series of love letters.
This is what Natalia had to say: 'Melissa got the message I wanted to convey and tone of the website spot on. She has the ability to 'tidy' your words and sentences into proper language that is clear and engaging. She works really well under time pressure and delivers everything (and more) she offers. Thanks for helping me out!'
You're welcome Natalia - it was a fabulous project to work on. And best of luck with your new venture.
If you know anyone who would love a gorgeous gift like this, please do check out her website (and while you're there, read the copy!)
If you would like help with your website copy, take a look at my Copy packages and then get in touch.
I want to tell you a tale of two brands - and my experiences with them - that will explain why some brands can charge a premium. It also shows why some brands are better loved than others and what you can do to improve yours.
Like many busy working mums, I order my food shop online. Contrary to what my children believe, food shopping is not a task that I relish. It is tedious. Not least because you have to do it week after week after week (it's so annoying how everyone keeps needing to be fed, right?) Which is why anything that can make the experience easier will be appreciated.
I have used Ocado for years because they were the first company to deliver to where I used to live. And because I had all my favourite foods saved in the system, it was easier for me to keep going back to them.
However, Ocado has two problems. First, if you forget to order your food until the evening, it's unlikely you'll manage to get a delivery slot for the next day - unless you're prepared to wait until 10pm at night. Second, it is more expensive despite claiming to price match. I've been prepared to pay the premium though thanks to the convenience and the fact that they guarantee the food life, rather than giving you a bunch of stuff that is about to go off the day it is delivered (glares at Tesco and Morrisons....).
This week I decided to try Sainsburys online as I'd left it too late to get an Ocado delivery and even my ready steady cook abilities were being challenged (there's only so much you can do with half a bag of cous cous and some baked beans.) As I regularly shop an in store Sainburys and as I have a Nectar card that tracks all my shopping purchases, all of my favourites should be stored in Sainsbury's system. And Sainsburys has a new tool that allows you to import your favourites from another online shopping site. All of which should make it easy. Right?
Except that using the Sainsbury's site is difficult. It's hard to navigate to find the things I want. It's just not intuitive. And once you have things in your trolley and you want an overview of what you've got, it's difficult to get a single view to check what you're missing. If you want to add or delete something in your trolley, the page reloads after each addition, meaning that you have to scroll down to where you were in your list again. You lose your place and it takes an age. As a result, I ended up with two jars of honey and no bread in this week's shop.
But it's not just the IT user interface that is less pleasant with Sainsburys. When you order from Ocado, you get a cheeky text message reminding you that Bob in the Onion van will be with you in the next hour. Just that little message personalises the experience. And when Bob in his onion van arrives, he is smiling and helpful, taking the bags out of the crates, offering to carry them in for you or at least handing them to you. Then he'll ask whether you want to return any shopping bags and will give you a cheery goodbye.
Contrast that with Sainsburys. No text or reminder that anyone is coming. No personalisation. When the unnamed delivery guy arrived he had the crates stacked outside the door and stood back and watched as I wrangled the bags free, even though he could have started to ready the next set of bags as I carried a load into the kitchen. He didn't offer to take old bags and wasn't particularly friendly.
After an Ocado shop, I feel a tiny bit of joy, that hard to name feeling that comes from a pleasant experience and a sense that the world is a friendly place. After the Sainsburys shop, I felt 'meh', just another job ticked off my to do list.
My point is this: A brand isn't what your logo or colour scheme says it is. Your brand is everything that you do - from user experience, to tone of voice use, to quirky additions to friendliness of customer service. And, the easier you make it for people to buy from you, the more likely they are to do it.
If Sainsburys polished up its customer service, made it's online shopping experience more user friendly and added a few clever marketing twists, I'd use it as it's cheaper and it's easier to get a delivery. Hey Sainsburys, I've got some ideas for you if you want them!
You don't need to be a giant supermarket chain to implement ideas that build brand loyalty. Even if you're a solopreneur, if you are battling to differentiate your brand from multiple other similar offerings out there, take a look at the little things you could change to delight your customers and to make it easier for them to work with you. Even a little change could make a huge difference.
If you fancy brainstorming ideas with someone to get clarity on how to differentiate your brand, book my Campfire Clarity session. To make it super easy for you, click HERE to find out more about it or click HERE to email me to set up a free 15 minute campfire chat to find out whether I am really what you need before you commit to buy.
Sometimes when you run your own business, you get stuck. You aren’t even sure why you’re stuck, you just know that you are. It makes it really difficult to try and figure out what kind of help you need because you aren’t quite sure where the problem lies. Sound familiar?
Well here’s an example of a client I worked with and how we got her unstuck.
In January this year I got an email from a lovely lady – Catherine Bowyer - in Australia. Here’s a snippet of what she said:
I have a business in Canberra, Australia where I conduct corporate training and coaching with Government organisations. I also conduct some personal coaching for private clients.
In relation to setting up my personal programs, I'm not really 100% sure of how to progress this. I have the concepts of what I want to do (big picture) and sort of know how they fit together. I get frustrated because I want to be doing everything now, but know I have to take baby steps and focus on one thing at a time.
I have had a website designed, because I felt I had to do something. I am happy with the layout and the look of the site, however I don't think it is very well written and there needs to be so much more done in relation to engaging with clients. I feel pretty overwhelmed thinking about it, because I honestly don't know what I don't know. Funny - I help people get unstuck as part of my business, but find it really hard doing it for myself. So that's where you come in .....
So here’s what we did.
Step 1: Clarity Workbook
Catherine found me as she had downloaded my free Campfire Clarity workbook and she’d completed it. This is a simple way to start getting clarity in your business, so if you need some help and aren’t sure where to start, get the workbook here. We used Catherine's completed workbook as a briefing document for our clarity session.
Step 2: Clarity session
We held a clarity session over skype. This involved a one to two hour call during which we discussed where she was currently at and what she wanted her new business to be. We clarified who her ideal target clients were, what problem they faced and how they felt. Then we looked at the programmes and packages she could offer to solve these problems and how to structure them. We analysed what similar coaches were offering and found her USP to stand out from the competition. Next we looked at the tone of voice she should use on her site and the type of imagery she should have. Lastly we identified issues with her current website and next steps.
What became clear through this process was that there was a mismatch between what she wanted the business to be and what her website reflected. For example:
We decided that Catherine’s USPs are that:
The imagery and words had to capture the excitement, possibility and freedom that women – who she worked with – would feel. I gave her four different imagery approaches to choose from, depending on which resonated most with her.
Step 3: Copy & Canvas
Catherine could have taken the summary document, complete with mini collages of imagery types and reworked her website herself.
But she chose my Copy & Canvas package instead. This involves plotting out a site map, writing all the web copy and creating an image canvas for the entire site. Some people want to have a photo shoot of their own. So for them I give them image types and styles with suggested pictures to include in the shoot to ensure that they reflect the words.
For others who want to buy or use free stock images, I help find those images for them and create a private Pinterest board so that they have them complete with purchase links. My clients can then hand this entire board and all the copy over to a web designer, who can weave their design magic and makeover the site.
Catherine loved the retro images of women who were living happy lives of freedom. She wanted to create a sense of fun and possibility. I felt that she needed to share her own story and her sense of fun and happiness through her site, so I suggested she intersperse plenty of pictures of her in the site.
I wrote the copy based on some of the exact words she’d said in our clarity call. I also took what we’d discussed in our clarity session and helped her shape her packages.
For example, Catherine was confused about how to structure her various offerings. Through the clarity and copywriting process, we created four distinct offerings:
That last one proved our biggest challenge. Catherine wanted to call it The High Heels Connection, because the events would help women ‘step up into success in all aspects of their lives.’ But I wasn’t keen on the name. To me, the high heels bit felt too corporate again. It didn’t say ‘happy’, which is what the rest of the site was trying to achieve.
Catherine suggested ‘Happiness Boutique’, which was a strong contender, but I still didn’t feel that we’d nailed it. I came up with a bunch of different names, with corresponding images and copy to support it. In the end, we both agreed that the Happiness Hive worked, as it gave energy, a buzz and excitement.
By the end of January, Catherine had all of this work done. She handed it over to her web designer to take care of while she focused on her existing corporate clients.
Her site is now live and she is beginning to market it. If you are a woman in the Canberra area or indeed anywhere in the world who needs coaching to live a happier life, do check out her website.
This is what Catherine said at the time about the work I did:
O M G!!! I've just had an initial read through while I'm sitting at the hairdresser and it is looking and sounding AMAZING! You are so talented - taken my garbled messages and woven your magic to make them sound wonderful. I almost cried when I was reading through it - it is really reflecting what my business and I are about. Thank you.
And more recently, this is what she has said about the process:
"Now that I'm several months down the track from the Clarity and Copy and Canvas programs I did with you I can see the real value of your work. Gaining clarity of how everything in my business fits together has catapulted me forward - I bring everything back to 'what is the core message of my business'. I make sure the messages in my marketing, correspondence and even how I speak with people all come back to my core message. You definitely helped me to get unstuck and move forward. Gaining clarity has done more than help me set the direction of my business, it has been freed up my thinking so I can work on the things that really matter. Thanks again for your amazing work! Cxx"
So if you are feeling stuck and want some help moving your business forward, get in touch.
Many people think that getting publicity is difficult. That it takes a lot of time and effort and planning and writing press releases and calling journalists….
But it doesn’t have to be. You simply need to know where to look and how to respond to opportunities that arise.
Take this example I had recently.
A freelance journalist was writing an article for the Telegraph Small Business section about business values. She put out a request on Twitter using the hashtag #journorequest, saying that she needed to interview people on the subject.
So here’s what I could have done:
Here’s what I did:
Subject line: Business Values (so she would know which feature I was emailing her about)
Let's look at that a little closer:
She replied and said:
This is brill, thank you Melissa. Am hoping to include.
A few days later she sent me the text she would be including in her article, so that I could fact check it. I did. I also said this in my reply to her:
One more thing – not sure if you need an image for this piece, but I've attached two. Both were taken at my Campfire Retreat where I helped small businesses get clear on their business values while demonstrating my own values of freedom and adventure via the setting.
By offering a picture, I was potentially making her life easier. And if it was used, it would give me a bigger focus within the piece. Publications often need images to bring stories to life, so by offering one it can save the journalist and picture editor time.
A week or so later, the article appeared. You can read it here.
What's great about it?
You can get in the press very easily if you know where to find the opportunities and how to respond to them. Hopefully this post will have given you some pointers (like looking at #journorequest on Twitter for a start), but if you want more tips, I have a 75 minute online PR masterclass you can buy immediately and watch in your own time. It will tell you where you can find press opportunities (not just on Twitter), how to respond to them, what kind of stories the press want, how to create news, how to work with the press – and a whole bunch more including plenty more real life examples to learn from.
It is a content packed 75 minutes that you can put into practice immediately. And it only costs £49. Get it here. Then let me know how you get on!
Incidentally, if you want help figuring out your brand values as per the article mentioned, check out my Clarity package.
I can't wait to see you in the press.
I am often told by small businesses owners that they don't think they're big enough to get in the press. Or they're just starting up. Or they don't have clients yet. So why would a journalist want to talk to them?
Well in the last two months I've been featured in two national glossy magazines and been on BBC Radio twice. And all of that publicity happened without me having a business or single client (it was publicity about my walking group, not my normal Campfire business). But it didn't matter that my walking group was just an idea without a real plan or single client or any revenue. What I had was a story. I knew how to tell it. And I knew where to look for the press opportunities.
I want to show you how you can do this too. I have compressed what I know into a content-rich two hour online PR masterclass. This is not going to be a webinar where I spend most of it trying to sell you something, with a paltry 15 minutes of content thrown in.
This is going to be a SALES FREE online training masterclass.
It is going to cover:
It will be taking place on Thursday 30 March 2017 from 1pm - 3pm. If you can't make that time, don't worry, it will be recorded and emailed to you afterwards. But by being on the call, you will be able to ask any specific PR questions you have relevant to your business.
Because this is not a sales webinar and is a live training masterclass, there is a cost associated with it. But I've kept it super low. It is just £49. All you need to do is get one piece of press coverage and you will recover that amount about ten times over (probably more!).
I hope you can join me.
BOOK YOUR SPOT HERE.
Please do share the link with anyone else you think would benefit from learning how to get in the press.
I have just returned from climbing - and summiting - Mount Kilimanjaro, the world's highest freestanding mountain. I am not a mega fit, courageous adventurer. I'm a 40-something woman who enjoys walking, who should probably lose a stone and who far prefers a comfy bed and glass of wine to a tent and peeing in a bottle. But a friend asked me to climb it with her for charity and I said yes.
That was the sum total of my qualifications. I simply said yes. I didn't think about how I would do it or whether I could do it or how difficult would be. And that is the first learning you can apply to business:
Say yes first. Figure it out later. Don't overthink it. Don't read the fine print because it will scare you off. Just say yes.
But there are many other learnings that came out of my experience of climbing a mountain that are exactly like running a business:
Put the effort in before you start
Walking for miles in the cold while lugging a backpack, hitting the gym and spending hours researching what kit you need isn't a huge amount of fun. In fact, it's hard work. But the more effort you put into your training and preparation before you start, the easier the actual climb is. The same is true for business. If you are trying to launch something, the more effort and research you put in before you launch, the more successful you're likely to be. Don't confuse this with researching and training before saying yes. Say yes, then research and train!
Have a hard deadline to focus your mind
If I had decided to climb Kilimanjaro at some point, I wouldn't have had any pressure on me to really ramp up my fitness or get my gear together. I had a hard date I had to be ready for. Same goes for your business. Unless you set yourself a specific date you want to get something done by, you will let the deadline drift and you'll never get it done. Particularly if it's a difficult thing you have to do.
Get expert help
I paid for a personal trainer, a specialist boot fitter and spoke to numerous people who had climbed the mountain first to ensure I was prepared. I could have done it without their help, but perhaps I wouldn't have made it to the summit or perhaps I would have hated every minute of the experience, instead of enjoying it - like I did. In your business, you can probably do things for yourself without paying for an expert, but getting some guidance and expertise can make all the difference to your success and enjoyment.
A positive mindset will overcome any challenge
I was told that climbing Kilimanjaro is a physical challenge, but really it's the mental side of it that will affect you most. I was determined to maintain a positive mindset. That meant I refused to worry about what ifs. I didn't dwell on the tough bits. I stopped myself from complaining as much as possible. I tried to help others. I visualised being at the summit. I never doubted that I'd get there. I didn't compare myself to others climbing. I just remained focused and positive. Funnily, it was easier for me to do this climbing a mountain than it is running my business, where I am regularly knocked back by comparison-itis or self-doubt. I will be taking that focus and positive mental attitude from the mountain and will apply it to my business. You can too.
Being fastest doesn't always equal success. Slow and steady perseverance has a higher success rate.
On the mountain, you are told to go 'pole pole', which is Swahili for slowly slowly. People who charge ahead up the mountain are often the ones who don't reach the summit as they haven't given themselves a chance to acclimatise. In business, we see the small business superstars who seem to have overnight success and multi-million pound businesses in less than a year. It makes us feel like we should be going faster to be successful. But going pole pole can give you more sustained growth at a pace that you can manage. Perseverance really does have a higher success rate than those who strike out fast and collapse.
Just keep putting one foot in front of the other and you will get there eventually
On summit night, you walk for 9 hours in the dark before you finally reach Uhuru Peak. There are many times during those nine hours in sub zero temperatures and little oxygen where you might want to turn back. But you simply have to keep putting one foot in front of the other, and you eventually get there. A business is exactly like that. There are times when it all just feels to difficult, you want to give up or stop and cry. Just keep going. The steps don't have to be big or fast. They just need to keep you going forward and eventually you will reach the top.
Enjoy the journey - even the tough bits and take time to appreciate the view
I am a firm believer that every journey - no matter how uncomfortable - is worth taking because you see so much and learn so much. You will find pockets of elation and utter beauty right alongside your darkest moments. The important thing is to look up and around you, appreciate the view from where you are right now and embrace all you see. It's very easy when you run a business to get bogged down in how tough it is or the busy-ness of it all, that we forget to enjoy it. Stop, breathe, look around, appreciate where you are and the journey you're on - and then keep going.
Just because a challenge seems daunting doesn't mean you shouldn't do it. You may just surprise yourself at your resilience, tenacity and ability to succeed
I wasn't looking to climb a mountain. The opportunity presented itself to me. I could have said no because it seemed too much of a scary challenge. But I said yes. And I now I can say that I've stood on the roof of Africa. If an opportunity comes your way, remember to say yes. You can figure it out later. You may just surprise yourself at how capable you really are.
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If I can help you get clarity in where you want to take your business or what your brand story should be, write your copy for you, coach you in how to communicate your story to your ideal clients or help you connect with other like minded small business owners at my Campfire Retreat, please get in touch.
Now go climb that mountain!