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.
Remember when you first got that idea for your business? It felt so exciting. The possibilities were endless. You had butterflies. It's all you could think about. It even kept you awake at night. In fact it felt very similar to the start of a new romantic relationship where you are almost giddy with the excitement of it all.
But over time, that initial passion can ease off as the reality of running your business starts to hit home, much the same way the realities of a relationship start to crop up. In a relationship, it's the way your partner chews their food, leaves their dirty coffee mugs lying around and always forgets to put the toilet seat down that takes the shine off that first flush of love. Running a business is no different. The dull admin, the clients who are no longer inspiring you, the relentless marketing that never seems to generate results.....slowly that passion you had for it can get ground down.
Much like relationships, as business owners we change. We outgrow what we were originally offering or there is a shift in who we want to work with. But often we don't recognise it. We just don't feel right. Things aren't aligned. You can soldier on feeling unfulfilled, break up with your business or you can work on it to fix it.
That's where I want to help. I offer a clarity service where we talk through where your business is now and where you want to take it. It could be the type of clients you want to work with or the services you're offering. Perhaps your web copy and images just don't reflect who you are any more. You could be casting around for a purpose or vision, something to make you feel that passion again that you used to have. Whatever your issue is, we get super clear in a one off clarity session. And if you need fresh words and images for your site, I do that for you too.
As a special Valentine's Day gift to you, I am offering 20% off my Clarity, Copy and Copy & Canvas packages if you book them before 16 February 2017. All you need to do to book is email me and tell me which package you want. We will schedule a session (to take place during March) and I will ask you to complete my Campfire Clarity Workbook to get your creative juices flowing. Payment will only be taken in March. If you go on to book a second package within March, you will get the 20% discount for that too.
So stop feeling as though your business is a relationship you want to get out of. Reignite the passion and those first flickers of excitement you felt. Let me help you create a business that makes you leap out of bed in the morning. You will be so glad you did. Here's what some previous clients I've helped have said:
I contacted Melissa about creating the copy for my website, little did I know that my experience with her would not only completely change my mindset about what my website “should” be like but she was able to also clearly articulate my unique service offering. With one conversation, she created copy and set the tone for my brand in a way that represented me a way that I never could have gotten to by myself. When she delivered her first draft, I literally sat in my car with tears of joy – she was able to articulate my value in a way that I’ve never been able to do in as succinct a manner." Carolyn Delayney
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. " Catherine Bowyer
Had a great 1st coaching session with Melissa. It was a real eye opener! In fact just after changing a little bit of my wording around I got a new email subscriber that very afternoon! Super excited to continue working with Melissa and I definitely would recommend her to any small business owner." Brittany Hagler
Cutting through the ambiguity and finding the clarity" This is who you are. You were sitting in that lounge speaking to the women there and one after the other you were cutting through the gunk and showing them what they were doing, what they stood for, what their business is. It was like you were unveiling their confusion and offering them the gift of clarity." Misbah Khan
You are just so good at what you do, I really don't think I have come across anyone so dynamic. The way that you can translate every different type of business that you come across, and you just "get them" is really inspiring. It puts a fire in my belly.'" Ruth Harris
I feel inspired and encouraged. I also feel as if the whole business idea has expanded in one phone call."
Melissa has been incredible. She got me and what my business was about right from the start and understood what I was trying to achieve, which was empowering and refreshing! She helped my vision come alive.'' Kirsten Davis
In September I launched my online course - Publicity for Solopreneurs.
Next week I am going to share my actual results from the launch and my learnings from it, but first I want to share why I even bothered to create a course in the first place.
Perhaps creating a course isn't something you've ever considered. Or perhaps you have but thought: 'I don't know how', so didn't take it any further. But I want you to know that you should consider doing it and you can learn how to do it. There are opportunities and course ideas everywhere.
Just last week I was talking to my cleaner who had won a listeners' choice award in our local area. We got to chatting about where they could take the business and we discussed a franchise model. But really, most cleaning franchises (in my experience as a customer) tend to charge customers more and do a job that is less good. And becoming a franchisor is a BIG intimidating step for a sole trader.
So I said, 'If you want to grow your revenue but are limited by how many hours you can physically work in a week and don't want to manage an ever increasing staff contingent, why not create a course and sell it?'
I could see the 'Huh?' in his eyes.
I explained, 'Well you guys do a great job cleaning. And I bet there are loads of people out there who could clean and make some money but don't know how to start finding customers or how to do a good job or manage payment etc. You guys could take all of your knowledge of starting up an award-winning cleaning business and sell it as a course that other potential cleaners could buy. You make passive income without working more hours.'
I could see the cogs start whirring in his brain. I was onto something.
You see as long as you know something and have some experience or knowledge, you can create a course. So why would you want to?
Here are the five top reasons why I created an online course - perhaps they'll inspire you:
Having the freedom to spend my time they way I wish is hugely important to me. If I want to go watch my kids at an all day rugby tournament, I want to be able to do it. If I want to take two weeks to climb Kilimanjaro and go on a safari, then I don't want anyone telling me I can't. Heck, if I wake up and decide I feel like lying in my PJs eating dry cereal out of a box while watching 'Say yes to the dress' on repeat, then try stopping me. I want the freedom to live life on my terms. But I also want to make money. That old chestnut. So making a course was a way for me to earn money while retaining my freedom.
2. Stop trading hours for cash
This links nicely to point one. It's not just about being free. Even if I could care less about being free, I still only have a finite number of hours in any given day. To make more money, I need to either never sleep or I need to charge more and more and more. And eventually I will price myself out of the market. The only way to stop trading your hours for cash is to find an alternative. That alternative for me was a course.
I want to be able to grow. I'm not talking world domination here. But I want my revenue to be greater than it would be if I just sold hours. And I want to reach more people. With an online course, you can sell it to people around the world. They don't have to be local clients.
4. A sense of creating something
I have spent my entire life helping clients grab the limelight. I help them win awards. I get their products and services in the press. They are creators of things and I have always felt like the person who helped them promote their thing, rather than being a creator of things myself. So making a course meant that I was creating something that I could call mine. It is an asset. I've have literally taken the knowledge I have in my head and turned it into something I can sell for money. And that is cool.
5. To help small business owners get publicity
I believe that when small business owners do their own PR, they get the best results because they are building direct relationships with a journalist, rather than going through a middle man. Yet I see many small businesses paying a fortune for PR companies and getting no results, or who just avoid doing PR because they don't know how to do it. I wanted to teach them how they could get amazing publicity really easily if they just learnt the basics. So my course had a 'bigger than me' element to it too.
So there you have it, my top five reasons for creating an online course. Next week - as I said - I will share my actual figures and learnings from doing this, but if you are interested in learning more about this topic, I suggest you sign up for David Siteman Garland's free video series that is out now. It that will take you through some seriously in-depth training on how to create an online course.
I bought David's course on how to create an online course and without it, I couldn't have done it. But for now you don't have to buy anything. You can just get some fabulous free training. I learnt so much from his training and it put a fire in my belly to get this goal of creating a course done. This time last year, I was watching his training. A year later, I have launched my course. Which means this time next year, you could have launched a course too.
Here's the link to the training again. In the comments, why not let me know what course you'd create if you could and what your number one reason for creating it would be.
A year ago I wrote this blog about the things I'd learned in my first year of business. Well this week heralds my second business anniversary. So I thought I'd share my learnings from year two. It could be summed up quite simply as -
Here are my learnings:
You have to be brave
In the last year I have launched a new service called Ignite, that took me into the world of design and website building, not my core skillset. I also launched an online course that dropped kicked me so far out of my comfort zone I could scarcely remember where I used to be. And I ran my first ever weekend-long retreat, something I had zero experience in doing. I spoke in front of 30 people. I raised my prices. I said no to clients I didn't want to work with.
All of these things took guts. But the old saying of you can't make an omelette unless you crack a few eggs is true. Doing new things is scary. Putting yourself out in front of others who may judge you is scary. Creating a product that you think will work but you won't really know until you try is scary. Raising your prices and saying no - both scary. In fact there is so much to be scared about it's a wonder any businesses ever thrive.
But I've learnt that you just have to try. If you fail, you've learnt something. And if you succeed, you've succeeded. So you can't ever really fail. You'll always get something out of it.
You have to believe in yourself
I have suffered from a lack of belief and low self-esteem for as long as I can remember. But this year, I decided to start off every day doing four things (as I wrote in this post). One day I literally sent myself a post card that said: I am enough. I stuck it on my office wall and every time one of those aforementioned scary things came up and the self doubt pixies starting pounding my brain, I'd say out loud: I am enough. And you know what? Gradually I started to believe it.
We all compare ourselves to others. It is exceptionally difficult not to. At my recent Campfire Retreat we all had to say one thing that was holding us back, and so many people around that campfire all said the same thing: We're not good enough.
Well sod that. We bloody well are. This has been a major turning point for me this year and while those pesky pixies still linger, I can ignore them more easily now.
You have to constantly learn
When you work in a big company, you get sent on all sorts of professional development courses. When you work on your own, you don't. It's up to you to keep on learning. Do you know what the best way to learn is? By doing.
This year I have learnt how to create a course from start to finish, including the complicated back end membership systems and payment thingies and building the website and how to market it using sales funnels and email automation. And that's just one new product of several I have created this year. To grow, you have to be willing to learn.
You have to outsource
Now I've just said you have to learn, but you also need to outsource. Sometimes other people are just better at stuff than you are. And if there is something that is going to take you weeks and weeks to do and not do well, then outsource it. This year I outsourced design, some website building, email automation & other tech bits to a VA, and my Facebook advertising. I can do all of these things - because I've learnt how. But I know that other people can do them better and I can learn from them as I go along, while freeing up my time.
You have to make connections
I don't really like networking, entering a room of people I don't know and trying to make conversation. But it is through networking that I met the person who helped me get my retreat off the ground. It helped me meet a designer who I could team up with on my Ignite package. And it's opened up a few speaking opportunities for me. I've also really worked hard at making connections with the press for my own business. As a result, I now have a lovely roster of press coverage and contacts I can turn to when I have a story.
Sure you can stay hiding away behind your screen, but I refer you to point one above. You have to be brave. Get yourself out there. Everyone else is feeling the same way. Just be yourself, be helpful rather than salesy and people will be drawn to you. You never know who you might meet and what direction it could take your business in.
You have to invest
When you first start out you try to spend as little money as possible a) because you don't have any and b) because what you're selling isn't proven yet so it's a bigger risk. But there will come a point where you need to invest, whether that's in outsourced help; paying for a course or training or coach of some kind; in a new website or Facebook advertising or whatever.
The old adage of 'you have to spend money to make money' is kinda true. You don't have to break the bank. But think carefully about the help you need and then invest in that. Keep an eye on your profitability but be prepared to make a loss or just break even at first. Remember, not everything you gain is monetary. Often it's the experience and learning that is where the real gain lies.
You have to keep refining your offer - but keep your brand story consistent
Two years in and I'm still reshaping what it is I actually offer. It is a work in progress. It probably always will be. But what has stayed true is my commitment to my brand story - the concept of the Campfire - the sense of adventure and freedom that comes with that. I'm getting clearer and clearer on my vision and purpose. It's evolving and stretching with me.
When Steve Jobs brought out the first iphone, do you think he decided not to because in the future there would be better versions? Nope. Same goes for your business. Just start. Refine and learn as you go. Tweak it. Sculpt it. Improve it. But do it.
You have to be true to you
It is so easy to get sucked into what everyone else is doing. In the online PR world, for example, almost all of my competitors are hugely feminine in their branding. Flat lay images and inspiring desk spaces with pretty flowers abound. But I'm not a pretty, pink, flowers and high heels person. I wear boots. And jeans and I like going outdoors and cutting to the chase. But the minute you try and copy someone else's style, you lose you. And YOU are what makes your business different and valuable. So figure out who you are and stick with that.
I'm sure there is a whole bunch more I have learnt this year but these are the things that came to mind first. All of them have stretched me. But the good thing about getting stretched (as my Yogabomb friend Lou will know), is you become more flexible, stronger, lean and supple. And that's the kind of business that succeeds.
Were these lessons helpful? What lessons have you learnt? Share them with me below or pop over to my Facebook page. And if you feel you need some help to get clear on where you want to take your business, do check out my new Clarity package, Copy & Canvas Package or try my new Campfire Marketing coach-sulting package.
Onwards! Here's to year 3.
This morning I watched Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan do something extraordinary. They set out a vision: to cure, prevent or manage all diseases by 2100.
To do this, they were giving $3 billion to fund medical research over the next decade. Their three-pronged plan aims to:
As I watched, I just kept thinking: 'Wow'.
Once upon a time there was a very bright chap who decided to create a website that connected university friends. And that went on to become Facebook which now connects 1.7 billion people across the planet. And then using the money he made from that he set up an initiative with his wife to invest in improved education. And when that wasn't enough, they set out to eradicate disease. He's 32.
There's achieving success. And then there's that. It can make you feel fairly paltry in comparison.
I took a lot of learnings away from watching their Facebook Live address - like how this is a seismic shift in corporate philanthropy, and how this interconnected generation has the possibility to become ever more humane while living in an increasingly technological world. It gave me an immense amount of optimism for the type of world my own children will inherit - and made me want to remind them to finish their science homework.
But it also gave me pause for thought in terms of my own vision. When I work with clients on their brand story, I ask them what their vision is. What do they bring to the world? How is the world a better place for their being here?
And those are really big questions. Because as much as we may like to, there are very few Zuckerbergs. Most of us will have far smaller visions, a far less significant impact on the world. But that doesn't make them any less important.
It can be hard to know what your vision is. It can feel forced, as though you ought to have a big vision, rather than just doing what you do because it's what you enjoy or what you're good at. It's easy to claim to have a vision, but if you don't back it up with tangible actions, is it more of a pipe dream rather than something achievable.
I seriously doubt that when Mark Zuckerberg started out with his original idea, he had aspirations to stop all diseases within a generation. But his vision has grown as his business has.
Yours can too. But you first need to identify what your current vision is. Do you have one? Here are some questions you can answer to help you figure out what your vision is:
If you still aren't sure what your vision is, start with your values. Your values are the things that you really, truly believe in. They are the things that you rant about. The rules you live by. The stuff you do every day without thinking about because it's just part of who you are. So think about that - what do you really value? Once you know that, you'll start to get a sense of what you could change in this world. And that will give you your vision.
Here's an example using my business:
I believe that you only have on life to live and that you should be able to live it on your terms. I believe everyone deserves work life balance. I believe in entrepreneurship for everyone who desires it. I believe in honesty, over delivering, having a relaxed approach to business, in freedom.
These are my values. Which have helped me shape my vision:
To help small business owners create a business that is perfect for them.
My vision is tiny when compared to the likes of Mark Zuckerberg. But that's ok. As long as I keep delivering on my vision - and as long as you deliver on yours - collectively, we can all work towards a better world. And that's a nice thought.
It you want help figuring out your brand story, get in touch. Or take a look at my Clarity package, in which I help you get clear on issues like this.
What's your vision? Leave me a comment and tell me.
Disclaimer: I believe in honesty and keeping it real so that small business owners and solopreneurs feel less alone. If you want fakery, head over to the Facebook sponsored ads section....
It is 1 June. Yes. June. The sixth month of the year. Someone seems to have cranked up a time machine and hit the fast forward button. Back in January I wrote a plan about what I wanted to achieve this year. Here are some of the items:
So about that online PR course....
I have written about my learnings on creating an online course here. I am so close now, but I still have a HUGE amount of work to do. When you create a course it can either become all consuming so that you take your eye off the ball in other areas of your business, or you do the other areas of your business and end up procrastinating on getting your course done. I have probably done both!
But to put it into context, I have:
On balance, how does my mid year report card look?
Although I feel as though I haven't ticked off nearly as many of my goals as I would have liked to and I'm still not earning what I want, I have made huge inroads into my goals. If I think back to my goal for running this business, it was to have financial freedom to live life on my terms, with time off to go on adventures and be with my children and husband. And given I took most of April off to explore New Zealand, I think I need to cut myself some slack and say, 'Actually lady, you're doing ok.'
So how are you doing? How is your year going? Are you where you want to be, ahead, behind? What can I do to help? If you have any areas in your business that you need to just get off your to do list, let me know. That way, you'll be helping me reach my goals and I'll be helping you. A win/win.
Leave a comment below or just email me. Let's have a chat.
Now onwards and let's see what awesomeness we can achieve.
An Irishman, a Mancunian and a Liverpudlian walk into a bar….well actually it was an office in Leeds where I was meeting them to take a brief to help figure out their general brand strategy and web copy for their new venture. They knew what they wanted to do, they just didn't know how to say it.
Development and property managers for £1 million plus developments, they needed a website that had gravitas to appeal to their clients. But more importantly, it needed to be different from all the others out there that seemed to put buildings - rather than people - front and centre. That was the brief.
We got to work. By work, I mean I listened to the banter between these three friends as they spoke about what they felt made them different. Sure they had heaps of experience. And yes, they did think differently, cleverly and delivered amazing service while leading from the front. But we still hadn't nailed THE big idea. There was work to do.
I left the meeting with copious notes and a smile on my face, because they were genuinely funny guys. Back at my desk I scratched my head. What was it that was really different about their business?
Then it hit me. It was them.
They were this business. Their individual personalities, the fact that they love sport, hiking together, that they all bring different strengths to the party. They were a team. And when they work with their clients, they pull the client's team together.
So I led with that - teamwork. I found images that demonstrated teamwork in sports, something we all agreed would appeal to their clients too. The same images also reflected some of their other values: challenge, adventurous spirit and being at the top of their game. We opted for simple, crisp black and white images to set off their bright pink logo (which in itself is pretty different for this sector).
I wrote their web copy in a personal yet professional tone of voice, with concise, punchy words, not corporate speak. It had to be human to reflect them, while still having the gravitas to appeal to clients.
It took a few drafts, as we refined and tweaked it so that all three were happy.
But we got there in the end. Their designer created their site. I wrapped up their brand style guide. Now their website is live. Thanks to John, Justin and Graham from Box Clever for a project that was brilliant fun. All the best in your new endeavour.
This is what they had to say:
In January I launched Ignite, a new service that turns an idea into a business. While it was initially aimed at people just starting up their business, it quickly became apparent that it was also hugely appealing to existing business owners who needed a business refresh.
Many of us when setting up a business decide on a name, logo, website and direction pretty quickly. But as we start working with clients, things change. Our services adapt to what our clients want. We fall out of love with some bits and want to refocus on others. Sometimes that means a new name, a new logo, new packages or services and it almost certainly means a new website is needed.
One such client was Cynthia Sillars. She is a natural health practitioner. Before going through the Ignite process, Cynthia felt her branding and website were dated. She no longer offered some of her services and wanted to add new ones. But she couldn't alter her website because of the way it had been created. You can see her old site here.
It was time for a fresh start.
We started with a strategy call to get really clear on what Cynthia was offering, who she was offering it to, how she helped her clients and the best way to reflect what it was she did as it's fairly complex and difficult to explain. Here's what we got clear on:
Speaking to Cynthia, one thing became clear - her belief in the healing power of nature. In one of those weird synchronicity moments, I said to Cynthia that to me she takes her clients on a journey. Her imagery should be around a path, walking outdoors, going on a journey into nature. And she replied that those were the exact images she had already pinned to her Pinterest board. Spooky.
In another slightly surreal moment, I mocked up a logo which I thought reflected Cynthia, despite never having met her face to face. When I asked her what type of logo she was thinking of, she said she'd like something that looked like her handwriting. She then sent me a scan of her handwriting. It was an almost identical match to the font I'd selected for her logo.
We had the basics in place. While I began work on her web copy, my designer Meg created a logo and brand palette.
Writing the copy was another challenge. Cynthia offers a broad range of services, many of which are exceptionally complex to explain. They also had to be written about in a way that would appeal to her clients, many of whom don't need to know how they will have their health problems fixed, they just want them fixed. This was a case of cutting back. Less is more.
With copy, imagery, fonts and branding in place, Meg set about creating the website. Cynthia wanted something simple that she could change and adapt as she needed to, including adding blog posts. We advised her to create a free opt in to build up her email list. We gave her pointers on what it should cover, suggested title names and set up her Mailchimp account so that she could start to build an email list.
Meg also designed her Facebook header, her Mailchimp newsletter template and branded up her free opt in ebook. Finally Cynthia received her Next Steps guide and marketing plan template so that she could crack on with marketing her business.
We've both been on hand throughout the process to answer any of Cynthia's questions. In just 30 days, her website went from this:
You can see the website here. We have advised Cynthia to get her own photographs taken that reflect each of her service sectors - the path, the journey, the view - which she will be doing down the line. For now though, she has a beautiful looking website that captures what she does for clients without being overly medical, overly complicated or too wordy.
This is what Cynthia had to say about the process: “I had been searching around for ages to find a web designer, one who was affordable and who could help me get through my problem, which is that I’m over methodical.
Each of them had something to offer, but in the final analysis, when it came to the copy, they said ‘That’s your bit – you write it’.
A chance meeting with a colleague after Christmas put me in touch with Melissa. I knew straight away that she could do the bit I couldn’t, plus Meg could do all the web design.
Job sorted, it was an intensive 14 days of putting the copy together in a way that truly expressed what I do, but in a way that would make it entirely accessible to everyone.
Then on to the web site, learning how to use the back of the site (so easy!) putting together Mailchimp, tying in the Facebook page, and setting up the fonts on my computer so I can maintain ‘brand’.
I’ve been in practice a long time, but the start-up package called Ignite, with it’s one stop shop approach, was perfect for me because I’m busy and needed to get the job finished in the quickest possible time.
Thank you Melissa and Meg, you were both so helpful."
Would you like to transform your business? The Ignite package is no longer available, but with the Clarity, Copy & Canvas packages, you can go through a similar transformation for your business.
This month I was contacted by a lovely lady who needed some help turning her idea into a business. She asked if I could help her with her web copy and give her a sense of what her website could look like, although she'd create the site herself - my copy & canvas package.
We had a call. She outlined what it was she did for clients and gave me an idea of what she thought her site should look like. She's an online business manager. She handles all the technical, process-driven, project management back end stuff for successful online entrepreneurs who are helping people transform their lives. Carolyn felt that her website and words should demonstrate what she did by being no-nonsense, process focused, using images like puzzle pieces or cogs, to reflect how she pulls all the different parts of a business together.
I suggested she flip her thinking.
Instead of having a website that reflected what she did, why not create a site that would demonstrate how working with her would make her clients feel?
Her clients - typically women who tend to have very feminine brands - are overworked, stressed, having sleepless nights. Carolyn takes all that stress away from them. Working with her lets her clients relax, rediscover their love for their business and actually get a full night's sleep. Interestingly, although Carolyn didn't want swirly, girly fonts, she did say that her favourite colour was purple and that if her website had a smell, it would be lavender.
I started with her ideal clients. I thought about the type of websites they had, the imagery they used, the vibe they gave off. I knew that they would be more drawn to something similar in style. These are not process people, so a website using techy type imagery and words would turn them off, not on. I put myself in their shoes. How would I feel? What would calm me if I was stressed out and at breaking point with my business?
The solution was immediately obvious. Lavender. Known for it's relaxation and sleep inducing properties, it is also feminine and likely to appeal to her ideal clients. I used that as the central theme running throughout the site. I sourced free images, wrote the copy and gave a very clear brief as to how the site should be structured.
I asked my designer Meg to create a brand palette to reflect the site that Carolyn could work from. Then we sent her the words, website outline, suggested imagery, a Pinterest board with links to the free images and the style guide.
Within 48 hours of the initial call, Carolyn had her site up and live. She has a business she can now take to market that will appeal to her ideal clients. This is what Carolyn said about the process:
“I contacted Melissa about creating the copy for my website, little did I know that my experience with her would not only completely change my mindset about what my website “should” be like but she was able to also clearly articulate my unique service offering. With one conversation, she created copy and set the tone for my brand in a way that represented me a way that I never could have gotten to by myself.
When she delivered her first draft, I literally sat in my car with tears of joy – she was able to articulate my value in a way that I’ve never been able to do in as succinct a manner. Looking forward to doing more business with her in the future.”
If you are writing copy or creating a new website for your business, follow these tips:
If you'd like the words and design to revamp your business, take a look at the Copy & Canvas options.
Last week I came back from two weeks of holiday. Before I went away, I had decided that I was going to take a real break. No scheduling of tweets, posts or newsletters to make it look like I was still working. No checking in. Just silence from me.
Before I left, I sent an email to my newsletter list telling them exactly that.
And I stuck to my guns.
When I returned I felt as though I had left my work mojo in a Namibian desert. Getting started was hard. I knew I needed to send out a newsletter and crank up the social media marketing again, but I was sorely lacking inspiration. For someone whose speciality is writing, I was lost for words.
Eventually, with no great ideas coming to me, I simply wrote a short email that told my subscribers that I was back and I included a list of the different ways I could help them. Nothing fancy. Nothing super creative, just a list of my services saying that I was available if they needed help.
I hit send and looked at my holiday snaps for a while.
Less than a week after sending that email I have made over £2000 in sales and I am booked solid for the next couple of weeks.
So what's the lesson here? Three key learnings:
1. Be unavailable occasionally
There's a saying, 'Absence makes the heart grow fonder.' This flies in the face of all marketing advice that says you have to keep your visibility up all the time. And it goes against the gut instinct of most hard-working entrepreneurs who are programmed to be always on, always available.
Yes your marketing should be consistent, but making yourself unavailable every now and then makes people realise that they actually need you. It's why people who run successful membership clubs or training programmes only open up enrolment at certain times. So don't be afraid to step away every now and then. Just remember to tell people. Make it a conscious absence rather than a silent disappearing act.
2. Tell people that you're back and open for business
It's easy to return from a holiday or absence and assume that because your 'out of office' is switched off and you're being active on social media again that people know you are available to take on new work. This isn't always the case. Remember, they are busy and may not even have noticed that you've been gone. So tell them that you're back and ready to help them.
3. Remind people of what you do
We are often so busy thinking of clever content that we forget that some people aren't actually all that familiar with what we do. Even those who do know your business well can benefit from an occasional reminder. This can be a very simple list stating clearly what you do and how you can help them. It seems so blindingly obvious, but when last did you let your clients know specifically how you could help them?
So to recap:
1. Tell people you're going away and be properly away
2. Tell people you are back and open for business
3. Remind them how you can help them
Take a look at my services to find out how I could help you.