Over on the Campfire Club, someone asked how you manage when you simply have too much to do. I shared some tips on making a list of what has to happen and then outsourcing. But it got me thinking. There are just 5 weeks until Christmas and only 6 until 2018. It's like someone put the clocks on fast forward. And for many people, there is too much to do and not enough time to do it in.
Often the worry of what we need to do is actually bigger than the thing itself. Once you've written a list, it's easier to see what you have to do and can start to tick it off. But sometimes it will still be easier to hand some of the tasks over to someone else.
But that in itself can seem like a job: Find someone to do XYZ, brief them, manage them. What if they don't do it well enough? And so you don't do anything and your to do list gets longer.
I wanted to share three examples from the last week of how I helped people by taking something off their plate effortlessly. They didn't need to spoon feed me or wait on lengthy proposals or micro manage the process. They simply got in touch, explained what they needed and I did it. Job done.
Peter got in touch on Sunday and asked me to write an award submission for him as the deadline was fast approaching but he couldn't find the right words. I chatted to him at 3pm yesterday. He had his completed award submission by 6pm. Job done. He said:
'Thanks Melissa, That looks good.'
Jane got in touch last week, saying she needed words for a flyer for an event, but didn't seem to be getting to it because of everything else she had to do. I took a brief in the morning and she had her copy that afternoon. It's now with her designer and printer. She can hit her event with marketing materials sorted. Job done. She said:
'Yep - this fits the bill very nicely!! Thanks, Melissa - I knew you’d crack to for me!'
I went to see Helen and team on Wednesday last week. She had some blog posts that needed to be written, one of which I felt could make a good press story. By yesterday afternoon I had written a communications plan; four blog posts; three emails going to staff, customers and colleges; researched an industry issue; discovered that it was going to be covered in the Autumn budget speech tomorrow; wrote up a press release; found the email for the CEO of a company we wanted a quote from; reached out to her and got her quote approved via her press team; wrote tailored pitches for trade, regional, national and broadcast press; found the right press contacts; sent the news out; put the news on a wire service; sourced a videographer for them; identified three award opportunities for the company and am now working on those. Job in progress but mostly done. They said:
'Thank you Melissa. All fantastic!' and 'You are a machine!'
My point? You don't have to do this all yourself. If you have little thing that needs to be written or a major project that you need help with, I - or someone like me - can take it off your plate. I work fast and efficiently. If I see marketing opportunities that may benefit you or have ideas that might work, I'll suggest them free of charge.
I charge an hourly rate or if it's a big project, can give you a project-based quote in advance. It doesn't matter if you are a sole trader or a big company, I am the extra pair of hands you need to help you get through your to do list. Get in touch and give yourself the gift of time this crazy season. You will be so glad you did.
I spent most of last year creating an online PR course. It literally took me from January through to September to create it and September to December to launch it.
I sold it to 12 people. 12. Those 12 sales just about covered my costs to create the course but they certainly didn't pay for the hours and hours of time I'd invested in creating it.
Of the 12 who bought it, I'm not sure anyone completed it, even when I ran a bonus Publicity Challenge, guiding and motivating them step by step.
Was it a crap course?
No it wasn't. If they had followed the course they would have learnt a huge amount about how to get in the press. They would have generated publicity for their businesses and had an ongoing content plan to keep rolling out stories to the press, in social media and via blogs and newsletters. Some of the course participants did manage to achieve press coverage regardless by diving on the opportunities I sent their way. I wanted to give them real value and I believe I did.
But here's what I learned. People - even with the best of intentions - don't have time to stick to a course unless it is for an immediate and pressing need. (I'm bolding that just in case you are thinking about creating a course yourself - remember this!).
When I wanted to learn how to create an online course, I bought a course that taught me how to do it. I followed it and completed it because I had set myself a clear goal to get it done. But had I just liked the idea of creating a course but not been committed to doing it, I wouldn't have completed it. Because it took a lot of work! In fact I've recently wasted money on a Facebook advertising course because it all got too complicated and time consuming to the detriment of the rest of my work. Lack of time, lack of a real need and a big financial investment are going to stop people buying your stuff.
What I realised is that while my course was teaching people how to do PR, what they really wanted to know was how to do a specific thing that they needed at a specific time. For example, if they are about to launch a new product and need a press release, they want to learn how to write a press release. Or they might have spotted a press opportunity relevant to them but they don't know how to respond to it. Or they might even have got in the papers but now aren't sure how to make the most of it.
Each of these are specific problems they are facing at a very specific time. They don't have the time to go through a whole course just to get the answer they need right now.
So I've been ignoring my course all of this year, feeling disheartened and unsure what to do with all that hard work that I did last year. Do I keep pouring money into it, advertising it and hoping that people will buy it? Frankly, I didn't have the heart (or money) to keep doing that. Here's what I've done instead:
I've created Campfire Coaching.
I took the modules in that course and reworked them. I made each module answer the specific questions I was hearing from people about how to do a particular thing. And I turned them into short 30 minute videos with downloadable cheat sheets or workbooks to help them do the thing they need help with. I have also priced them so that they are £30 or less except for the first video - How to get publicity effortlessly.
(That particular video is £45 because anyone who watches it and implements the very simple steps I tell them, will get in the press with almost zero effort. I show exactly how I got into Top Sante, Healthy, Good Housekeeping, Psychologies, Telegraph and BBC in this video. I believe it is hugely valuable and people I have delivered this training too have said the same. If you do no other training on how to get publicity, do this one.)
Here are the direct links to the various coaching modules:
On top of these coaching modules, everyone is also welcome to join The Campfire Club - my Facebook group - for free. So you can get even more advice and support there.
I intend to add to the Campfire Coaching section of my site with other short training modules on a variety of topics - e.g. how to write great web copy, how to create a USP, how to write blogs people want to read and share, how to create and run a Facebook group, how to write newsletters people want to read and respond to, or how to create a content calendar. I'd love to know what you need the answer to. If I can answer it, I will make a training video for it. Leave me a note in the comments about what training you'd love.
Please do go and check out the brand new Campfire Coaching section of my website. If you order any of the coaching modules between today and 30 November and use the code: CampfireCoupon at checkout, you will get 10% off.