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Why you need to be clear on your personal brand

Why you need to be clear on your personal brand

If you only do one thing for your business to make a difference then make it this: get clear on your personal brand

Let me explain why this is important.

Why you need to get clear on your personal brand

I’m nearly at the end of my first full week of school/childcare for what feels like eleventy hundred years and I feel like a new woman! I hadn’t realised how much I’d missed a routine! Wow.

And I’ve been hanging out on Instagram a lot more recently (are we connected there? Come follow me!). I’ve noticed some really amazing content by VAs that truly taps into the pain points their ideal clients will be experiencing.

But do you know what else? I’ve also noticed a whole heap of VAs who are sharing tips and advice for other VAs or, well, no-one in particular. 

You see, the great thing about running a business is that you can treat it like a science experiment.⁠

You can give something a go, see if it works, tweak, adjust and then review its success.⁠ Nothing is set in stone.⁠

But content is one thing you don’t need to experiment with.⁠

  • ALL your social media content needs to speak DIRECTLY to YOUR ideal client. ⁠
  • Niche down as much as you can.⁠
  • The more specific you can be with your language, the better.⁠
  • Tap into those pain points. ⁠
  • Emphasise the transformation.⁠
  • Use the same wording and phrases as your target audience.

Now, it can seem a bit scary to do this at first. Putting yourself out there can be terrifying. But it’s made such a huge difference to my business. So I know it will make a huge difference to your business as well. 


I’ve broken it down for you here:

How to create a personal brand

lipsticks

Creating a personal brand boils down to three key areas:

1. Purpose – being well known for something

Regardless of your role or industry, at its most basic level, we’re all here to be of service (in one way or another).

Our aims and motivations may differ, but we all gain satisfaction and a sense of purpose if we create and nurture relationships with those whose values align with our own. And it’s as true for your personal life as for your work.  

It’s easier to glide through life when you’ve worked out what your core values are. In the world of work, this could fast-track you to feeling content, happy, and fulfilled.

A quick search for ‘how do I work out my core values’, produces heaps of resources that will help you with this soul-searching exercise.

If I relate this to my world, I know what my purpose is (my niche = VAs who want more from their business). And I am acutely aware of my core values; they feed into my broader marketing strategy and sales messaging.

By creating a solid reputation and being known for something, you may be surprised by the reaction. I recently received this LinkedIn connection request from a VA: “I am inspired by your podcast and it would be great to connect.”

2. Character – how you make others feel

Think about how you greet a barista in a coffee shop. Do you get a good level of service if you shout your order while sending a message on your phone? Probably, yes – the barista is there to do their job so you can go about your busy day. Job done, right?

Not quite.

What if you give the barista your full attention when you arrive? Greet them with a smile, ask about their day and then go on to request your order? Sure, the drink may be the same, but you’ve allowed your true character to shine.

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou

There’s a sandwich chain here in the UK where staff can give away a certain amount of hot drinks and food free every day. It might be because a customer is having a bad day. Or because they’ve been polite. Staff are able to show goodwill to their customers.

There aren’t any stats on the ripple effect from that sandwich chain’s generosity, but I’m sure you’re familiar with ‘paying it forward’. Altruism (and goodwill again) gives us a greater sense of meaning and fulfilment.

3. Reputation – being held in the highest regard at all times

If you want to be the type of person who’s held in the highest regard amongst your peers and even your own clients, the following traits are synonymous with creating a good reputation:

  • Doing what you say you’re going to do
  • Tailoring written/verbal communication to suit the reader/listener
  • Managing expectations (not over-promising and under-delivering)
  • Meeting deadlines
  • Adding value to every single task
  • Avoiding office gossips, Negative Noras and the like

By following the above suggestions, you’ll become known for qualities pivotal to a successful brand:

  • Credible
  • Relatable
  • Reliable
  • Timely
  • Thinks outside the box
  • Authentic and likeable

Let’s put this in context. In the middle of 2016, I became an active member of a Facebook group. It is for aspiring, new and established VAs. I immediately saw that it’s a highly supportive and collaborative group. And my conversations were not with my ‘competition’, but my peers and supporters. I share my thoughts on other people’s challenges, celebrate their successes and generally ‘be of service,’ adding value to others.

Quite out of the blue, the group owner contacted me and to ask if I would become a moderator. Unbeknownst to me, my collaborative approach within the group was recognised.

By adding value to a Facebook group, somewhere I didn’t ever imagine I’d raise my profile or strengthen my personal brand, I have gone on to develop long-lasting friendships and strategic alliances with my fellow VAs. And I have been headhunted as the group owner’s VA. A role I stayed in for almost two years.

Your personal brand

“You are the only you there is and ever will be. I repeat, you are the only you there is and ever will be. Do not deny the world its one and only chance to bask in your brilliance.” – Jen Sincero

The most amazing thing about building your personal brand is that you remain totally authentic and likeable. Life is easier when you don’t have to pretend to be something you’re not. Additionally, you won’t need to resort to boasting or bragging about your achievements because your personal brand will speak volumes for you. And this all leads to further goodwill over time.

Creating a personal brand can open up the doors to opportunities you may not have considered. It’s about everything we do until it becomes totally natural. And can be worked on everywhere we go.

A poem by Nikita Gill, Be That Kind of Person:

“Be the kind of person who isn’t afraid to ask someone if they are okay twice if they say they are, but look like they aren’t.

Be the kind of person who smiles at people even if they don’t smile back.

Be the kind of person you wished for when no one was there for you.

Be the kind of person who is brave enough to stand alone in a crowd for what is right.

Be that person because we need more people like that in the world.

Be that person because people like that are rarer than the rarest diamonds and gold.”

How to turn your FOMO into JOMO

How to turn your FOMO into JOMO

You’ve probably heard of FOMO: fear of missing out.

But what about embracing JOMO: joy of missing out?

Or even having a personal policy that means you can stop saying yes to the things you don’t want to do AND not feel even slightly guilty about it?

Imagine how it would feel to say NO to:

  • That “quick call” with a prospective client wanting to pick your brain about an idea? We all know they’re phishing for information so they don’t have to pay for the time. And that’s an hour of your day you’ll not get back.
  • Volunteering at your child’s school fete. You don’t want to be mum-guilted into being there, selling crappy cakes baked with snot and hair. You’d rather relax on your weekend after working your ass off on your business all week.
  • Participating in that five-day challenge. You know you won’t learn what you need to bring in the money. It’s another form of procrastinating.

It’d be a relief, right? No more people-pleasing!

If you’re fed up of saying yes because you feel obliged, let this be your permission slip to start saying no to more things. Then let’s get you a step closer towards embracing JOMO.

Learning How to Say No

learn how to say no

My personal rule is that for everything I say ‘yes’ to, I then say ‘no’ to something else. It’s a bit like the one-in-one-out rule of buying clothes to avoid clutter.

But saying ‘no’ can feel like the hardest thing in the world.

I like keeping the peace and I hate letting people down. But my health and wellbeing are more important than making other people happy.

Fortunately, I found lots of resources to help me to learn how to say no, and here are a few of my faves.

Stop Giving a F*ck

Mark Manson’s amazing book The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck really helped me to understand which things are important to me and which ones I’m just doing because society tells me I should.

The secret to not giving a f*ck isn’t to say “f*ck it” to everything in life, but to the things that aren’t important to you. This gives you more time and energy to focus on the right things.

I’d thoroughly recommend giving the book a read, but this summary of the main points will give you more of an idea of the f*cking gold (sorry, couldn’t resist!) that Manson’s talking about.

Seriously, Stop Giving a F*ck

stop giving a f*ck

On a similar note, Sarah Knight’s The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck is a cross between Manson’s book and Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.

It’s like learning how to spring clean your priorities and to “choose joy over annoy”.

The subtitle “How to Stop Spending Time You Don’t Have with People You Don’t Like Doing Things You Don’t Want to Do” really sums it up. When you put it like that, why would anyone want to spend their precious time that way?!

The book is full of great quotes and nuggets of wisdom that sometimes verge on the offensive by how accurately they call you on your BS.

Do What’s Essential

Greg McKeown’s book Essentialism discusses “The Disciplined Pursuit of Less”, which is a great summary of what I believe JOMO to be. McKeown urges us to do “less but better”, choosing quality over quantity in our lives. This means asking yourself “What is essential?” and eliminating everything else.

These 10 essentialism hacks will give you a snapshot of the principle and how you can apply it to your life and work.

Miss Out More

By saying no to the things that don’t light you up or aren’t closest to the money right now, you’ll actually have more time AND mental energy to pursue the most important things to you.

  • Saying no to that “quick call” with a prospective client turns into an hour of writing time for your next blog post.
  • Declining the chance to volunteer at your child’s school fete turns into a lazy morning without any time constraints, means you can wander to the school fete when you feel like it. Just remember to avoid the snot cakes.
  • Saying no to the live training means that you can fully absorb yourself in that TV show, to the point that it feels decadently indulgent because it doesn’t happen often enough.*

It’s a bit like my 8 Weeks to OBM training. If stepping into your OBM expertise is something that you feel really strongly because you know it’s closest to the money right now, then say yes to that and no to all the other crap to make time and space for your personal development.

If the training isn’t what’s closest to the money for you right now, then say no and don’t feel even slightly guilty about that decision.

So go on – what will you be saying no to over the coming week?

And yes, this post has been written from experience.

Not sure if you have JOMO or FOMO re the training? Take my free quiz to find out. 👇🏻

Don’t fall into this trap

Don’t fall into this trap

I want to shine a light on something I’ve seen a LOT recently.  If you’ve fallen into this trap, it could well be stopping you from achieving the levels of success you deserve.

Before I start, I want to add a disclaimer: if emotions run high after reading this blog, ask yourself what those feelings are telling you. Because believe me, this comes completely from a place of wanting to help you play bigger in your business. 

Are you ready?

Never ASSUME, because when you ASSUME, you make an ASS of U and ME.

Something you’ve heard all too often before, I bet.

But that phrase really hit home for me recently when I wrongly assumed I could hire the right freelancer quicker than most people. I knew the process inside out. I knew a lot of freelancers. And I could do this with speed!

Hiring a freelancer

Hiring a freelancer

Here’s the story.

I thought about what I needed from a freelancer. So, I carefully considered the skills, systems, scope, availability and pricing. Then I started my keyword search on Facebook and LinkedIn.

I found a handful of people who were a potential fit.  I did a bit more digging, and realised they all fell into one of three categories:  

1. Freelancer Type A

Freelance Type A is active on social media and posts her content regularly. This is super useful because I get to see their personality through her tone of voice. It interests me enough to head over to the website. And the website shows me that she’s taking time to market her business and generate leads.

2. Freelancer Type B

Freelancer B is primarily sharing other people’s content and not creating their own. It’s kinda useful. But it doesn’t tell me more about their services. Nor can I get to know their personality from their tone of voice.

3. Freelancer Type C

Poor freelance C. They only have posts from months ago and the page look a bit sad and seriously neglected.

How you look from the outside

Initially, I assume that the freelancers with no posts were fully booked up. There is nothing online to show me they’re spending any time marketing or drumming up business. But I discover that some of these business owners are actually complaining in Facebook groups about not having enough client work.

They did have the capacity to take on another client.

They did want more work.

It’s confusing. Their lack of online presence means I immediately assume they don’t have time to market themselves because they were already fully booked. But the brutal truth is that they don’t have enough work and aren’t taking any action to change that.

If you need more clients then you must do these things

For the love of all things holy, if you need more clients then you absolutely have to:

  • Have a presence on at least one social media platform. And choose the one where your target audience is already hanging out. I hereby give you permission to deactivate accounts which don’t bring sales or you neglect. Closing down the Twitter account I hate (but the experts told me would be a lead-generating machine) was utterly liberating and one less thing clogging up my head.
  • Post your own conversational/inspirational/awareness-raising content and allow your personality to shine through.
  • Make a commitment to post regularly. It doesn’t matter if that’s daily, twice a week or fortnightly. Be unwaveringly consistent so your profile looks loved and nurtured. And make sure there’s something new at least every month.
  • If you have a pinned post, let it showcase your expertise and is no more than a couple of months old. It’s the first post people will see when they view your profile. Do you really want them to clock that it’s dated last year and assume you haven’t created any other pin-worthy content since then?

Do all of the above even when you’re fully booked. Then you’re constantly top of mind when potential clients need your services and you create a steady stream of enquiries.

Tough love

So there’s a little bit of tough love.  Whether you’re a VA or OBM or fall into that Type C category, you are losing out on prospective clients just like me.  We wrongly assume that a lack of online presence means you don’t need to market your business because you have enough work already.

How to make your SMART goal even better

How to make your SMART goal even better

When you think about a goal for your business (or yourself), it’s generally something that will make you more successful. For whatever success looks like for you. How we measure success is very much a personal thing. It can be money or awards and recognition, or it can be something completely different. 

But success – however you see it – needs action

And I want to ask the big question here: what do successful people do that others don’t?

Successful business owners

Because it’s not wealth or connections or luck or their horoscopes, or getting up at 5 am and having a morning routine set in stone.

It’s their attitude towards life.

Successful people are confidenttenacious, and driven

These are all attitudes, not skills.

So I’d love to take a hot moment and explore how we can set you up for success with your goal-setting for the second half of this year.

SMART Goals

And the default advice is always the SMART snore-fest:

  • Specific >>> know exactly what you want
  • Measurable >>> be able to follow the progress
  • Achievable >>> be within your capabilities
  • Realistic >>> be possible to do while staying directly relevant to your core strategy
  • Time >>> you must make time to do the thing and set a deadline

You’ve heard of it before, right? It’s not a new concept.

So here’s a challenge to crank it up a notch.

What if I asked you to make your goals not just smart, but smartEST?

SMART-EST Goals

  • Exciting >>> you need to feel flippin’ excited about the goal! It needs to light you up! Tune into how achieving this goal will make you feel. Maybe: proud, assured, secure, successful, encouraged, delighted. The list goes on.
  • Super-charged >>> your goals need to disrupt your current status quo and explode through those comfort zones that you have going on in your own universe. The things that give you the sweaty palms just thinking about them. Great things never come from comfort zones. Keep stretching yourself.
  • Task-driven >>> it’s not about creating a goal and then hoping you get there, it’s about detailing aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaall of the teeny-tiny tasks you need to tick through along the way to stop the overwhelm and promote progress you can measure. If you don’t do this, you’re likely to move into procrastination through overwhelm.

Whatever your goals are, they’re going to take time, focus and dedication to achieve. So when you consider what’s next in your business game plan – things like updating website copy or email marketing, the next step is to break those goals into tasks and deadlines and be superlative using the SMARTEST method*. 

* I totally made this up. In all honesty, I was hoping for a TRETIS-related acronym, but I’ll have to save that idea for another day.

Why you need to reflect and review your goals right now

Why you need to reflect and review your goals right now

Gosh, time flies and we’re hurtling towards the second half of 2020. 

I think it’s fair to say that this year hasn’t gone to plan for any of us, so here’s a quick recap of what’s happened in my world since January:

Review of my 2020 so far

  • I started the year on a total high and a JFDI attitude
  • I was pregnant and wanted to work ALL the hours to save ALL the cash to have a proper maternity leave (my mat leave with Freya was cut short because my role was made redundant)
  • A blog I wrote about networking was featured in a well-known entrepreneurial e-magazine 
  • An uh-may-zing author agreed to come on my podcast show (total fangirl moment right there!)
  • Then the pregnancy turned into another miscarriage with complications that lasted for months
  • I couldn’t align diaries with the superstar author between time zones, so the interview was cancelled in between hospital appointments
  • I was invited to an entrepreneur’s podcast… but she’d announced her own 13-week pregnancy scan photos and I honest-to-god couldn’t face it because I felt jealous… so I politely declined
  • No matter how much I loved the VA Matchmaking side of my business, it wasn’t profitable, nor did potential clients see the value, so I closed it down
  • Coronavirus hit and suddenly life and priorities felt very different
  • Doing #AllTheThings no longer seemed so important

Regular Reflection

reflection and review

I think we all need to make time for regular reflection and introspection, and I like to do this every six months, coffee in hand, to set the right tone for the rest of the year (pandemics permitting).

For the last couple of weeks, I’ve kept coming back to and tweaking my goals for the second half of 2020, and I wanted to share the biggest ones with you. 

Goal One

To spend no more than five hours each week on business development

I class business development as writing marketing materials (social media posts, weekly emails, blogs, repurposing existing content), social media engagement, and training.

I’m curious – do you think five hours a week is too much or too little?

I ask because I’ve been averaging around 11 hours a week on business development. Thank goodness for those stats hitting me in the face via Toggl… and no wonder I’m tired. 

This is all about working smarter, not harder (read more about that here). I want to challenge the idea that working less is going to have a hugely detrimental effect.

And I feel super inspired to do this after picking up the book Do Less: A Revolutionary Approach to Time and Energy Management for Ambitious Women by Kate Northrup. So, I’m gonna try it over the next three months.

Goal Two

To create more innovative solutions and enable you to play bigger 

I have a heap of ideas that I know will help you (and others like you) make bolder decisions and achieve success more quickly. 

PDFs, courses, a membership. I’m chock full of ideas.

BUT I haven’t moved forward with any of them. Yet.

Stay tuned! 

Goal Three

To update my website

When I closed down my VA Matchmaking business, I removed the vast majority of pages from my website. It felt too overwhelming to tackle rewriting everything all at once.

During this second half of the year, I’m going to add in my services and a regular blog. Plus all the other juicy stuff that helps explain to new people how my core values and skills help transform OBMs into highly successful (and well-paid) business owners.

So, there you have it.

There’s nothing like sharing your goals with a business bestie to stay accountable.

And I think it’s really important to set goals because it gives focus and direction. You know the saying, “the only way to coast is downhill”.

What about you? What is your #1 goal for the second half of 2020?

I love to know more about your plans.

Here’s to a productive rest of the year – I hope it goes more to plan than the first half. 

How to work smarter (not harder)

How to work smarter (not harder)

I hate working hard. Wanting to work smarter and not harder doesn’t make you lazy or afraid of hard work.

It means you don’t want your work to feel like hard work.

As a business owner/partner/mummy, my time is squeezed at the best of times. And more so right now while the schools are closed and the childcare/homeschool/work juggle is very real. I want to be as freakin’ efficient as possible AND feel like I’m making progress.

Fixing the working harder problem

work-harder-alarm-clock

Who else is fed up of working hard? All. The. Freaking. Time. Early mornings. Late nights. Weekends. Trying to do #AllTheThings was getting really tiring. Yet we all have the same hours in a day as Beyonce sooooo.

I came across a phrase that is a PROPER lightbulb moment, and it’s stuck with me ever since.

Although, it’s been a real tricky time to get my head around it because I have to call myself out on the BS I carry around. 

And getting my head around this ONE phrase makes such a big difference to achieving goals and keeping your sanity. 

In fact, not doing this one this is the reason things keep falling apart. Why you are constantly in planning mode and never finishing the doing. 

Do you want to know what it is?

It’s to stop confusing motion with action.

 

Motion versus Action

 

Motion is diligently helping your clients and staying behind the scenes because because it pays the bills and you’re grateful to have clients. I mean, we’ll ignore the idea that some of the tasks bore you to tears, because that work keeps a roof over your head and, hello, there’s a recession, people! Sometimes, you do try to speak up and offer intelligent and relevant suggestions, but you never feel like your ideas are truly heard or appreciated because you can’t seem to shift the label of helper. Nothing is particularly wrong per se. But you do want more. Something more. Not-quite-sure-what more.

When I heard about this motion versus action idea, I seriously needed to call out my own internal BS, but I found understanding the true meaning of it all a little tricky, so here are a few other examples that you might relate to:

Motion is staying small behind the scenes while diligently helping your clients because it pays the bills even it bores you. You try to step up and offer intelligent suggestions, but your ideas are not heard or appreciated your client views you as just the admin.

Action is deciding your ideas ARE worth hearing because you have more to give. You call out your own BS and look at your current reality versus where you want to be, and come up with a plan for change.

Motion is putting on your big girl pants and deciding that you too can benefit from email marketing. So you pop it on your to-do list… for next month.

Action is creating a smart marketing plan and regularly driving your ideal client towards a freebie download that’s relevant to what you offer. And you build an email list to generate more leads.

Motion is signing up for another super fun five-day challenge about how to write that training course in your head. 

Action is doing the hard thing and dedicating an hour a day to write the course that you want to publish and sell. 

Motion is carefully writing the copy for your new sales page to get it absolutely perfect. (Side note to your subconscious: could this be procrastination through perfection?)

Action is hitting publish on that sales page AND consistently telling people about it over the course of weeks. 

Motion is often fun, and it can be the right next step, but it’s never going to help you build your empire or play bigger if you never transition to the next stage – and that’s action.

 

Action is the hard thing

 

Action makes you vulnerable because there is the possibility you’ll have a gigantic wet kipper slapped in your face. No-one wants that. I get it.

But without doing the hard thing, your beautiful ideas aren’t going to make you any money because your audience doesn’t know your creative, innovative and intelligent solutions exist.

Over to you… do you call yourself out when you find yourself stuck in motion rather than action?