How to Keep Moving Forward When You’re Feeling Overwhelmed

How to Keep Moving Forward When You’re Feeling Overwhelmed

If you are running your own business, and/or working full time and are trying to maintain a work-life balance, it is easy to feel overwhelmed. There is always so much to do every day and the list seems to grow ever longer as new technology, marketing methods, clients and so on all need to be dealt with.

Some people get so overwhelmed, they shut down completely. They literally donít know what to do next. Others give in to negativity and think they will never be successful or reach their goals. The good news is there are a number of ways to keep moving forward even when you are feeling overwhelmed. Here are some suggestions.

Review Your Current Goal(s)

You should be working on a particular goal to help grow your business or improve your career. If you don’t have one, set one.

Make a List of Action Steps That Can Help You Achieve That Goal

What things can you do, a couple every day, to help you reach the goal you have set?

Take a Break

Allow yourself breaks through the day. You don’t have to work every second.

Create a Timetable You Can Live With

Your timetable should include time for work, play, exercise, relaxation and stress relief every day. You won’t feel like you are forcing yourself as much if you are living a more balanced life.

Change Your Definitions

A lot of people struggle with “writer’s block” and find themselves stuck staring at a blank piece of paper or computer screen. Instead of stressing about not writing, rethink what writing is. It can be research, editing, polishing, curating content for your blog, and so on.

Automate Typical Tasks

In most businesses, there are typical tasks that need to be done regularly according to a set pattern. See if you can find software or apps that can help you automate as much of the task as possible so it doesn’t eat up your time.

Get Help

Overwhelm is the result of trying to do too much. Sooner or later, you will need to find one or more freelancers or virtual assistants who can help.

Break Down Your Work into Your Essential Roles

We all have tasks in our businesses that only we can do. Then there are tasks that can be delegated to a freelancer. Make a list of all the tasks you must do yourself. Then make a list of all the other tasks you are currently doing, but which could be outsourced.

Next, be honest. Think about the tasks you love doing versus the ones you find tedious or are really not very good at. These would also be good tasks to delegate. In this way, your time will be freed up so you can concentrate on things that really motivate you – particularly money-making tasks.

Learn How to Say No

A lot of us try to be people pleasers and agree to things even though they don’t match our mission in business or in life. As a result, we cause our own stress and feelings of being overwhelmed. It is important to learn how to say no, mean it, and stick to it. There’s no need for a lengthy explanation or apology. Just say you can’t manage at this time and leave it at that so on one tries to talk you around. Once you start to say no, you’ll feel freer and the sense of overwhelm will ease, making every day a lot less stressful.

Follow these tips to move forward instead of feeling overwhelmed.

Top Five Tools to Help You Get More Done in Less Time

Top Five Tools to Help You Get More Done in Less Time

Running your own business and being as productive as possible are likely to be two constant battles every day as you work towards your goals. Fortunately, there are a number of tools that can help you get more done in less time. It’s just a question of what you want to accomplish.

Here are some suggestions for five typical tasks every business owner needs to do in order to succeed.

1. An Email Marketing Platform

An email marketing platform allows you to automate as much of your email marketing as possible, driving sales and profits. A good free option is MailChimp.com, which will let you create a list of up to 2,500 people. Another is AWeber.com, which has many more features and starts at around $20 per month for the same number of subscribers.

Every business needs an email marketing list to build relationships with their target audience and to send promotional material to help make sales. As your list grows, it would be impossible to manage manually, so automation will be key. The sign-up, registration and confirmation parts of getting a person on your list are some of the ways an email marketing platform can help you run things as hands-free as possible.

The other is known as the autoresponder. In this area, you can queue up email messages in advance, so when a person signs up for your list, they will receive the pre-written emails and be able to learn more about your company and develop a sense of how much value you offer.

2. Social Media Management

There is so much to do on the top social networks that you could spend hours on this every day. If you are a staff of one to five people, however, the more efficiently you manage your social media interactions, the more time you have for everything else on your long to-do list.

There are a number of free and paid tools that can help. Buffer.com will allow one account and up to ten queued posts for free. Other levels of service will allow ten or more accounts, and unlimited queued posts. Hootsuite.com gives even more options, but with a price tag and learning curve to match.

Each social site is slightly different, but you can adjust the postings as needed for each and queue them up in batches. Buffer will also calculate the best times for you to post to your account and queue up your posts as per that schedule.

3. Project Management and To-Do List

If you have a lot of projects and deadlines, a project management tool and to-do list can help you juggle all of your needs. If you are working as a team, it can also help you all be on the same page. There are a couple of easy and affordable choices. Trello.com uses a card system to publish projects, assignments and to-dos.

Basecamp.com is another good option, with projects, a calendar, management tools and more. Both programs are user-friendly even for beginners. Both also email assigned participants, so everyone is on the same page about the work that needs to be done.

4. IFTTT

IFTTT.com stands for IF This, Then That. It connects up a wide range of apps you use every day to help automate certain functions. For example, if you publish a new post at your blog, you could set up a parameter to tweet it at your Twitter account too. There are lots of parameters ready to use right out of the box, so you can work smarter, not harder.

5. Google Analytics

This is the top analytics program for tracking the performance of your site, and what your audience is doing. Access it free with a Gmail account. Add a small snippet of code to your site and you should soon start getting an impressive amount of data to help you grow your business strategically.

These tools will help you automate routine tasks so that your time is freed up to earn more money.

Don’t Forget to Share Your Customer Stories

Don’t Forget to Share Your Customer Stories

Sharing customer stories can be an effective means of marketing your business in a number of ways. Reviews and testimonials are amongst the most credible forms of marketing because customer stories come from real people and real experiences. So too are case studies – more detailed stories written by clients who have used your products and services and been able to achieve the results they hoped for.

While it is true that some unscrupulous marketers try to manipulate sales at Amazon and other sites that accept customer reviews, it is also true that honesty is the best policy. The more genuine, positive reviews you get from your customers, the more you will look like the “real deal” and worth trusting.

There are different ways to get customer stories and to share them.

Getting Customer Stories

The best way to get customer stories is to remember to ask for them on a regular basis. If you sell information products such as eBooks, for example, ask for reviews to be posted on Amazon. They can be written and video-based. Request they send written reviews and testimonials via email as well. You will soon have a library of customer stories related to your products.

Creating a Template

You can create a template that offers suggestions on how to write a review. It could be something like:

* What problem were you experiencing?
* What other products had you already tried?
* Why was our product the right solution for you?
* What results did you get in the end?
* Why would you recommend it to another person?

This will help get more believable details so not all your reviews look the same, and also give them some useful prompts in case they are not sure what to write.

Testimonials

Testimonials can be slightly different in that they are often longer, and frequently written by people who work in your niche or industry. They are very powerful tools because these people are considered to be experts in their niche. Getting a foreword for your latest eBook by a prominent person in your niche can be a powerful tool for that book selling well.

Case Studies

Case studies are like a before-and-after snapshot of a problem a person faced, what action they took, and what results they achieved. Case studies often provide screenshots, reports and statistics to illustrate what was done and what results were obtained. If you sell products or services designed to help your customer reach a particular goal, it might be worth it to ask for a case study. These questions can act as prompts:

* What problem were you experiencing?
* What other products had you already tried?
* Who implemented our product?
* What results did you get in the end?
* Why was our product the right solution for you?

Ask for screenshots and reports if possible. Get a legal release form that will allow you to use the material. Be sensitive about not disclosing any information that might harm the person or company in any way.

Sharing Customer Stories

Once you get the reviews and testimonials, share them:

* On your site
* In your sales letters
* At your blog (use a testimonial rotator plugin to help)
* Include quotes from advanced reviews in your eBooks and other products
* In your online marketing material, such as at Amazon
* In your email marketing
* On social media
* Snippets added to your signature in emails and on discussion boards

Make a more conscious effort to gather customer stories and use them, and see what a difference it makes to your marketing mix.

Grow Your Business by Refining and Mastering Your Craft

Grow Your Business by Refining and Mastering Your Craft

Starting a new business is always exciting. There’s so much to do and you are so full of enthusiasm; every day seems like a new adventure. Sadly, for many, if they don’t get the (financial) results they are hoping for, their dream business can turn into a nightmare.

Fortunately, there are a number of ways to grow your business and make the most of the opportunities it offers. Refining and mastering your craft is one of the best.

1. Know Yourself

Hopefully, you have chosen to start your business in a niche or industry you know a good deal about, and are also genuinely interested in. Some people will just try to go for the money and pick a niche because they have heard it was profitable. But unless you are really interested in learning more about it, you will get bored – especially if it does not turn into the money-spinner you were hoping it would be. Follow your passions, not just your purse.

2. Be Willing to Learn

Being willing to learn is another cornerstone to success. No niche stays exactly the same. And unless you have an MBA in marketing, there is always something new to learn about online marketing, especially when new techniques and trends come down the pipeline.

There are many ways to gain knowledge, from regularly reading top websites and blogs, to taking courses online at college, to getting coaching from an expert in your niche or in marketing techniques that really work. Invest time each day to learn more about new techniques. Make it a point of attending online webinars on hot topics related to your business. Watch how-to videos on YouTube.

Set aside some of your profits to get coaching, attend an online course, or go to an industry summit. Remember, keep all your receipts in order to deduct the expenses on your taxes. Being a lifelong learner is one of the best ways to get an edge on your competition and grow a thriving business.

3. Practice Makes Perfect

Practicing your craft every day is bound to help you improve it. Learning a new marketing method will not be much use if you don’t use the skills you’ve learned to get better at them and to grow your business in a whole new direction.

You might also find yourself dusting off some old skills you haven’t used in a while, but which are just what you need to expand your business.

4. Challenge Yourself to Do Better

Running your own business can be a profitable path to personal growth as well as business growth. Why settle for average results when you can push yourself a little bit harder and do better.

5. Track and Test Regularly

Many online business owners are not fond of tracking or testing. Yet the two together are essential for business growth. Tracking shows you what has happened at your site. Testing shows you how you can improve your results.

Tracking and testing require patience and effort, but just think, if testing can boost your sales rate from 1% to 5%, just think what increasing your profits by 500% could do for your business. Make the most of free tools like Google Analytics and Google Experiments, and watch your business grow by leaps and bounds.

 

 

Email Marketing Trends to Be Aware Of

Email Marketing Trends to Be Aware Of

Email marketing can be one of the most effective tools for driving sales in your business, but as with most forms of marketing, it rarely stands still. There are always new techniques to try, and important rules and regulations to be aware of.

Here are some of the current trends to watch out for as you formulate your email marketing campaigns.

1. Increased Regulations

Privacy is a top concern. So is the way you use the data you collect. Read over your current privacy policy and terms of service for your site to ensure you are compliant. Also, check your welcome email for each list that you have created to ensure you have stated accurately what they may expect.

The big one is that you will not share their email address with a third party. Say it and mean it. If you are going to share or sell data, you need to be honest about it upfront. And you would need to edit your policies and mail them about it to get permission, such as to ask them to opt into a new list if they wish to continue being a subscriber.

2. An Increased Push for Mobile-Friendly Emails

Your email should look good on any device that your target customer chooses to read it on. Check it on various models of smartphones and tablets. Sign up for free at http://mobiletest.me/ in order to gain access to mobile phone emulators that will allow you to view your content on a range of simulated screens.

3. Attractive Email Rendering

There is a similar problem with the way emails appear in different email services. Check the appearance of your emails at Yahoo! mail, Gmail, Hotmail and so on to be sure it does not look ragged.

4. Coding Issues

Some marketers opt for HTML coded emails, while others choose plain text. Any HTML coding errors could destroy the appearance of the email, or even block some or all of it from being seen. Check your code at a site like Dirty Markup https://www.10bestdesign.com/dirtymarkup/ and clean up any errors.

5. Proofread and Test

Be sure to proofread carefully any email before you send it. Check for typos and make sure the link clicks through to the right page. Make certain that things like the date and time of an event are correct. People are very busy and don’t have time for you to send two or three emails on the same subject, trying to correct basic errors you should have caught in the first place.

Once you are sure the email is perfect, send a test and check it in a range of email services to make sure it is all there and nothing has been cut off or looks strange.

6. Beware of the Message as Image Email

Some marketers create an attractive graphic, such as a discount coupon or an invitation to a live event such as a webinar. The trouble is that these are images, and images are still seen as suspicious by certain email providers because they have been used so often as the delivery mechanism for nasty computer viruses. Plain text is just fine.

7. Use Personalization

Take the time to personalize the emails using the personalization tags available in your email marketing platform. It is a little thing but really does help build relationships with your target audience.

8. Use Segmentation

Don’t lump everyone onto the same list. Create different lists based on the “lead magnets” or free items you are giving away. If they buy a product from you, put them on a customer list for that product so you will no longer send them messages related to that product.

9. Send High-Quality Information, Not Just Sales Info

Make sure all your emails are relevant and interesting to your target audience. Do more than just try to sell them stuff, and chances are they will remain on your list, look forward to your emails and open them, and even forward the emails to other people.