Try to be original


jmpWhen you start out in business the four things that pop into your mind that are immediate. Name, website, business cards and social media. You spend ages getting the right name. Something that encompasses you and everything that you are and stand for. You jump on social media and make sure that your name is free and grab it quickly before anyone takes it and then comes the website and business cards as well as where I feel we, yes I include myself in that, jump in too quick.

There are companies that advertise low cost large amount of business cards and when you start in business it is really imageseasy to go to them and have a ‘generic’ card made. We think it is better to have a card than none at all and sometimes to a degree you could be right, however if you are handed a business card at an event that is the same as someone else as you have used the same template as someone else and it is on thin card they do get looked at and judged. The first thought can be, what makes them different to every other person that has this business card? My advice, it isn’t the easiest decision at the time and I fell victim to the low cost websites, invest. Stand out, get a quality business card because people do judge! Now this leads onto the website, and again I am talking from experience.

hink outside the boxYou see adverts all the time on the television and on the internet that say buy your domain name, hosting and build your website using our template we are the best. Yes, you can build your own and some people can do a really good job. If you have contacts (Hi Joel) that can help you it will do the job, however what I want to tell you is if you are setting up a business and you want to stand out, make sure your website does. Make sure it is you and it isn’t full on stock photos that you see on every website. Look at your competitors, review what looks good and what doesn’t. There are amazing people that can build you a website at a reasonable rate. Make sure that you are not under selling yourself or your product because you are awesome! There is no-one like you in this entire world, remember you are an individual and that is why people buy into your business…YOU!brand

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Hashtags why?

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My mother always said that you should always try and make someone smile first, so here is either a brilliant or awful use of a hashtag.

IMG_4757The reason I think that this could be brilliant is it got the press talking. In fact, poor Subo’s album party hashtag went viral. I think it got her more advertising than if it had looked innocent. I actually believe that it was an amazing marketing plan.  

Hashtags divide people. Many wonder why on earth they would use up some of their precious 140 characters to put this thing at the end.

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 Hastags are useful and not always about One Direction – I promise! Here are the stats to back me up! Tweets with hashtags get double the engagement of those without and if you have one or more hashtags, the tweet is 55% more likely to be retweeted!! It means that you can search and see all the people that are tweeting about the same thing.

downloadFor example, @PNDandMe does a Perinatal Mental Health Support Hour on
Wednesday 8-9pm using the hashtag #PNDHour.Women from all over the world tweet support or that they need support at this time using the hashtag and women reply. Hashtags can be used for good!

Hashtags-graphicI recently went on a Social Media course run by the beautiful Sarah Cook – Hi Sarah!!! – that made me realise that I, an avid hashtager, (however I don’t over hashtag, don’t get me started on that!) am not using them in the best way for my business. She has made me take a step back and review how and what I use as a hashtag. 

If you want any advice on hashtags etc, get in touch!

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Never stop networking

Tracey Marie SmolinskiOne of my first blogs that I published was written by the amazing Tracey Marie Smolinski who runs Introbiz with her husband Paul on her top 10 tips for networking.

I still find networking one of the hardest part of my business. I am learning and still developing the skills, however, it is always good to relate back to the master.

One thing that I want to say is that I do judge people on their business cards. If you have a light, thin business card, I would advise that you get a heavier GSM!

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10 Tips for Networking at Events 

I still remember clearly attending my first networking event and I loved it. What I noticed though, was that not everyone was a natural networker and I could see that some people were out of their comfort zone. Networking is a learned skill that needs regular practise to feel competent, confident and relaxed. If you are committed to networking and it is done right, it will work for your business.

Become a confident networker at events by following these simple tips

Be prepared. Before leaving for the event, check the venue details and parking arrangements, ensuring you have plenty of coins for the meters. Allow plenty of travel time so you arrive feeling relaxed.

Arrive early. It is much easier to enter a room with only a few people and initiate conversations with those over coffee or drinks than when everyone has made connections. This also gives you the chance to make connections before the event begins.

You only get one chance to make a good first impression. Wear something that conveys the professional image you want to portray. Body language says a great deal about a person, so stand tall, head high and smile.

Create a memorable introduction. Make your introduction short and simple avoiding ‘career terminology’. It should only be 2 or 3 sentences highlighting the benefits of what you do. It is not a time to sell. Your introduction should encourage conversation, not stop it!

Aim to connect with 2 or 3 people. Networking is not about ‘working the room’. It is better to have quality conversations with a few than the masses. You will feel far more confident in following up someone you have made a genuine connection with.

Give your business card once you have connected. There is no need to give your business card to everyone you meet as only those you have connected with will want it. Make sure your card is clean and professional, first impressions count about you .

Learn to listen to learn. Show genuine interest in others and ask questions. The one who asks the questions and listens to the answers controls the conversation.

It is not all about you! Let people talk about their favourite topic – themselves. This is not a time to sell your product or service it is a time to connect with others to see if there is some mutual benefit.

Politely enter groups with a smile. Peruse the room and look for a friendly group of people that are not too deep in conversation. Move toward them, catch someone’s eye and enter the group with a smile. Listen for a few moments to understand the conversation before contributing rather than entering and taking over.

Plan your follow up strategy. Before you leave the event, decide on how you will follow up those you made a connection with, within the next 48 hours.

So please FOLLOW UP, if you don’t, the time at the event has been a missed opportunity and you will not build up the trust with your new connections.

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11 reasons to do social media

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I have been thinking and I have put together a list of 11 reasons why you should do social media. I hope that these help!

  1. It helps you build trust with your audience. A professional account, authentic videos/pictures helps you connect with your audience and helps build their trust in your business.
  2. It is the easiest way to learn about your audience. The key to success in any business is knowing your audience & social media makes it not only possible but also easier to accomplish.
  3. It will help you target your audiences more effectively. Better target, better results.
  4. It will help you find new customers and expand your audience.
  5. It will allow you to connect with your audience and build better &meaningful relationships. Instant feedbacks from your customers gives you valuable insights into their perspectives, thereby making you stay on your feet to improvise.
  6. It will help you gain key information about your competitors, thereby improving your market intelligence and helping you stay ahead in your field by making strategic decisions.
  7. Social media will not only help you direct people to your website, but the more social media shares you receive, the higher your search ranking will be. 
  8. Get your content reach your audience in the shortest possible time.
  9. Want to generate leads? What better and easier way than social media and that too with one-third the cost of traditional marketing.
  10. You will be able to increase brand awareness and reach with little to no budget.
  11. Flaunt your expertise, your way – and let the world know that you are the master of your trade

If this helps you let me know! thank you

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This week has been a little crazy, four day weeks always catch me off guard as when you’re in 9-5, it is a celebration (less days), but once you’re self-employed, it turns into a panic to fit everything that you need to do into the short week! 


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I have had an amazing week. I have had meetings with some beauties and collaborated with some of the best! I had a mum moment where Jack (my 5yo nearly 6!) went back to school to start year one! He looked so smart and he ran in without looking back! To this day, I still don’t know what door his class is as he arrived and just left me, after a kiss and a hug! 

 He was desperate to go back to school as, in his words, the summer holidays were soooooo long and he missed his mates. I mean, we tried to see as many as we could but with both myself and Henry working, when we were off we tried to have our own mini adventures. We packed in as much as we could to the summer holidays and, to be fair, I thought that they were pretty good! 

christmas-countdown-2014-5-700x700 Where I am heading with this is time perception. As an adult, we constantly say things like, where has this week gone? Ooooh it is nearly Christmas…Henry and I had a conversation about why this was and one theory that Henry came out with was that in Jacks life span, 6 weeks is a way larger percentage if his life so far than it is of our 32 years. Now that could be true but I also think that it is down to attention span. With Jack (and Poppy) it is the here and now. Life goes from Poppy’s Birthday, Mummy’s Birthday, Daddy’s birthday, Halloween, Fire Works Night, his birthday and Christmas. Now there are MONTHS between the majority of these events but every time one passes the next one has to be NOW. What he loves, he loves 100%. What he does, he does at 100miles an hour. 

 IMG_2116Whereas, I put things off. I can procrastinate with the best of them, yes I am organised and that is my business, but with sorting out the washing, filling the dishwasher…ask Henry! I am up there with the best (worst). In fact, he said yesterday that my most used line in the evening is; “Don’t worry, I will do it tomorrow.” You see, I think that is the same with most adults. We get into a routine. Now Jack is in a routine as in he gets up at a time, goes to school, has lunch, comes home, tea and then bed. BUT the bits in-between are super fun. He draws, he plays, he runs, I mean this kid lives his life. I think that is it. He LIVES his life. How many things have you put off because  you are scared, it may be hard work or you’re just not sure. Then how many of those things have you done and they have been AWESOME!!! What is that….the majority of them, yup me too!

IMG_4477So let’s take a lesson from the teacher’s pet 5…sorry nearly 6 year old…lets LIVE. Do things that scare you, do things that challenge you! Yes, to Jack, 6 weeks is crazy long and to us, it is short, but surely that just means we have to cram more living into our time!

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PDF’s…

One thing I am in the process of creating for you is a pack of several downloadable PDF’s with tips to help you. I thought that I would give you a teaser (though not in the cool format diabetes-tipsthat it will be soon)! Let me know what you think of them. I hope that they help you. 

 

LJ’s top 5 points for writing a kick-ass sales message!

1. Write Like You Talk

A friend once told me the reason they like how I wrote, was because it was a natural. Because it was how I spoke with them. We are continuously bombarded with sale pitches on everything from toilet doors to food packets. 

Write with your heart, speak as if you were speaking to them face-to-face. Remember to show them that you are human, don’t be afraid to share personal stories, don’t be afraid to be you. After all it’s you that you want them to identify with because people buy from people.

2. Tell the Truth

Be honest. If you can’t do something say so, there is nothing more harmful than a lie. It breaks trust and trust is the most important thing you can have with your client.People will tell five popel when they’ve had a good. honest service and double if it is bad. Be accountable for everything you say.

3. Talk in Their Language, not in industry code

 When I work in a really specific industry, I can come home and talk about my day to my husband and him not understand a single word I said because I used industry code. If you speak to people in industry code, they switch off. They don’t understand what you’re saying, which means that they will stop caring. 

4. Be Specific

Being specific means that you instil confidence in your product and that makes you more credible. I like a quote from other clients, give examples of exact projects I’ve done etc.

The more specific you are, the more trust they will give you, because you are proven. They will not question your rates, because other people have paid this rate and you have proved your worth.

 5. Get to the Point

 Depends on your business, audience and what you’re trying to sell. However, there is one thing that we’ve all learnt from twitter: concise will always beat wordy.

If you need to have long copy, no problem. But avoid upping your text with statistics and additional examples just to make it longer. Just tell them what they need to know, and just what they need to know. Everyone is busy, and everyone just wants to know the key points.

 Final Thoughts

The key thing with a sales message is to be real. Be authentic and don’t write for the hell of it. There is no such thing as perfect copy because we are all different. Stop stressing about following templates and formulas because you are you! Write from the heart. Authenticity will win every time.

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Catch up on my zzzzzzzz’s

kindleA few weeks ago I shared about my health and my sleep patten. I would like to say that I am on top of everything and I am epic, however I am only human.

Positives first; I am going to bed earlier. I have, to the massive annoyance of Henry tried to ban electronic devices from our bed room – however I know he has his phone in there. I had done a lot of reading about blue light and also had realised that I was, for no reason other than I could, going to check emails, social media and many other apps instead of trying to go to sleep. I have begun to use my kindle (it is one without a backlight). This has really helped. I am sleeping better. I have really had to put my foot down with myself and only work late on certain days.

I have started to work out more, this really helped me with focusing on work and getting going in the morning. I always said healthy body, healthy mind. I have always said this, but I don’t always live it and I am trying!

IMG_0468The negatives; I am still not getting a full nights sleep. Now this can be for many reasons. The small people that rule our house, my cat, my wonderful, wonderful husbands snoring but it is getting better. Other negatives involve Greenman. Now I am currently there as you are reading this and this has come at health kick time. Now this is a time of fun, music and I will have a beer. Greenman is also a positive and really clears the brain as there is nothing more amazing than live music in a field and face paint. It is our family time and we all love it, however there is only so much  pasta and sauce that you can make on the camp stove so we do end up eating the best chips in the world…the Hippy Chippy! If you ever see it buy, buy, buy!

Anyway I am still working on sorting my head and body out and I will keep you all up-to-date! Keep smiling and pray that the weather holds for me as I am currently in a field!

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Hidden Talents

This week, I have been thinking about the people that I am very blessed to know. This blog topic will go on over a few weeks as there are so many of them, however, I want to show you something that I have learnt about presumptions.

This couple is one of the loveliest and coolest that you will meet. Here is Andries playing TMNT with Jack at my daughters Christening in 2013 (Rosie seems to have escaped!)

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oooh that is possibly Rosie’s arm on the RHS

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Some of you will recognise them, however, I had no clue what they did. All I knew is that they were Rosie and Andries, friends of my friend Ricardo. My little boy, Jack, gravitated towards Andries. Maybe it was his stature, maybe it was because he was sat next to his best mate – Ricardo, but either way he became a firm favourite. At the end of our second meeting, someone approached me and said, “You know that he is the Cardiff Blues Captain, don’t you!”

article-2548132-1AA83DB800000578-486_306x423-230x317Having no clue about rugby (yes I know I am Welsh, but football is my game), this meant nothing to me. What it meant was that instead of wanting something (fan girling over him or talking rugby), I got to know him and his wife. They are two lovely people, however, people sometimes miss that. People see a Rugby player and a Welsh International Netball player (sorry, I forgot to mention that not only is Rosie beautiful, she is an International)! People forget to look below the surface and look at what they do and not who they are.

I have a few more of these amazing friends. This is Tori. Tori and I recently met 1304torijames-3after several months of communicating about Sport and West Wales. Look at her. What would you assume? Meek and mild? Now Google her, Tori James.

Tori James Google

Yup, this meek and mild young lady was the first ever Welsh Woman and, at the time, the youngest female to conquer Everest. That’s right people DEATH ZONE!  She hasn’t just rested
on that though, 
oh no – challenge after challenge, she continues to inspire young people to achieve their dreams. But if you live in Cardiff, you have probably walked past her in the street and wouldn’t have even thought….

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Scary? No petrifying!

IMG_9082Ignite…the most brilliant and petrifying experience of my life. Previously I would have said that walking up Ben Nevis for the John Harrison Foundation last year was that, however Ignite, congratulations you are the 2015 title winners and it only happened end of July! 

I embraced it, I decided that if I was going out of my comfort zone I wasoverthinking going to run into it and not just dip my toe in. I spoke on Mental Health. I spoke open and honestly for the first time. It was hard and emotional, but boy was it liberating. At the end so many people came up to me and thanked me, I couldn’t believe it. I thought I didn’t completely screw up, but it be good…mmmmm. I went home afterwards and was on a high, it probably helped that the kids were away for the night so I had a full night sleep, but this high didn’t leave for a few days.

Ignite inspired me, educated me and it recharged me and it made me realise that you can make a difference. All the speakers were amazing and I was lucky enough to share the bill with a friend of mine, the comedy genius of Matt Gallivan here is his Twitter and here is his talk! I can confirm that he is like that all the time!

So I am going to stop blabbering on and just give you the link. PLEASE let me know what you think about the talk and if you want to talk to me get in touch through Twitter, Facebook, email, telephone, comments anything just remember to talk.

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Did you miss me?????

11745898_10153497681647442_4991636207792524078_nDid you miss me? I would apologise but I had a totally amazing time away with my family. We had no phone signal and no wifi. Totally cut off, just a field, nature and my crazy family!

So when you come back from holiday you tend to take it slow, but not me! Straight back to working with my gorgeous clients and then I spoke at Ignite Cardiff on Wednesday.

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Let me tell you about Ignite Cardiff. The first Ignite took place in December 2006 in Seattle and now has events throughout America and Europe. Ignite invite regular people like you and me to speak on a subject of their choice that they are truly passionate about. It definitely isn’t a forum for self-promotion or a marketing tool, so you won’t be bombarded by sales pitches.

What will get are a number of 5 minute talks, accompanied by 20 powerpoint slides that automatically transition every 15 seconds to keep the speaker succinct. Getting the talk to match with the slides is an art form in itself, so there is no time for waffle, which for me is hard! 

overthinkingIgnite Cardiff, launched back in 2008, was the first of its kind in the UK!

Ignite Cardiff hosts around 450 people every second month at the Glee Club in Cardiff. Tickets are like gold dust!

You can find lots of information on their website www.ignite.wales

I am not going to tell you any more as the video is released next week and I will put it in next week’s blog, but I thought that I would whet your appetite.

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