Something we all tend to talk about easily but not always “do it”. It’s easier to tell someone else that they should push their boundaries BUT when it comes to yourself, we struggle…. Well sometimes I do.
“The future is completely open, and we are writing it moment to moment.” -~Pema Chodron
These past few months, I’ve been focusing on educating myself more to be able to do my own thing. When I left my full-time job to be with my son, I had this mind set of where I wanted to be and what to do other than must being a stay-at-home mom. Life happened and things didn’t turn out exactly as I wanted but I’m okay with it, I am happy. I still haven’t educated myself as much as I expected…not at all.
At first this wasn’t so easy, I was scared – I mean, I was in a comfort zone. I had a stable job, stable income and left it for the exact opposite.I left all of this to do what I always dreamed of for a complete unknown territory. This would be the second time in my life I had this opportunity.
The first time I was too afraid to do something on my own, to step out of my comfort zone, so I said no. It was a year later where the opportunity approached me again, and I realised that I had to step out of my comfort zone. I had to give it a try, or I will regret it for the rest of my life.
After a few weeks passed I realised that, my new “environment” had so much more to offer. AND that yes, this is unknown and completely out of my own comfort zone, that I might not do everything I planned but that whatever I get done will be good enough. It was only two weeks until I had enough clients/projects lined up to be more than okay. My son was happy & healthy to be with me at home.
I suspect I didn’t do as well as I wanted to with studying and educating myself because my head wasn’t in the right place. However, my mentality has since changed, and I now find my success from setting my own boundaries – or to set fewer boundaries.
I found that defining to large goals and targets detracts from what you really set out to do. The goals I set for myself in this unknown world – to be a full-time mom, to work all day, be a homemaker AND to study – weren’t achievable.
So, today – don’t set “permanent” goals. I have a rough idea in mind, the results to be outstanding. “There are no limits to your potential achievements.”
In my opinion, push the boundaries, by not making any OR if you have them – they need to be flexible in changing circumstance. Just put in all the energy and effort you can without exhausting your other responsibilities. You will create a sense of inner self-satisfaction AND never be too hard on yourself.
You will regret not trying something, but you will never regret doing something out of your comfort zone that can be good for you!
Some employees never thought of a future where they would be forced to work remotely for a week, two months or even longer than that. Many people lost their jobs or had to close their companies. Maybe you were a business owner who never dreamed that a ‘black swan’ like the coronavirus would hit, and now need to think of other ways to keep your business afloat or maybe you just need to start a new business so that you can earn a pay check.
When you decide to start a business, you first need to ensure that; your innovation or business idea is addressing a long term problem, it must solve a pain point, there must be a passionate market for your product or services and most importantly, it must be ethical and not be aimed at taking advantage of people during these difficult times.
If you are planning on starting a business, have no fear as a virtual assistant can help you with ANYTHING from administrative tasks to website design! We will ensure that all processes run smoothly and that your business can grow.
Here are some Covid-19 inspired business ideas that a Virtual Assistant could help with.
1. Become a professional speaker or move your speaking business online
Speakers would previously have travelled to different venues and events but since Covd-19 many of their coaching sessions, workshops and talks have now been cancelled. For this reason speakers need to turn their events into online experiences aimed at reaching audiences all over the world
We can help a professional speaker by:
- starting an online community of followers and running private Facebook groups
- deciding which tools, apps and platforms are best for you to host your webinars
- teaching you how to speak specifically to your audience online
- setting fee schedule documents which you can use to quickly respond to conference managers and event coordinators to ensure that you don’t miss out on any bookings
- helping you get onto podcasts
- helping you turn your conferences into books and designing book covers
- researching speaking opportunities that are a good fit for you and contacting the event coordinator on your behalf
- ensuing that you are paid after each event and assist you with the billing and bookkeeping
- giving you moral support and encouragement when you need it
2. Starting a Membership Programme
Many businesses like yours may have had to temporarily close their doors. Don’t view this as a total shutdown; this is a great opportunity to offer your services online. People are craving community and connection and may be facing isolation at home. Provide your clients the same value they would receive if your doors were open.
We can help you start a membership by:
- coming up with valuable content that will keep the members engaged and interested
- building and maintaining your website
- creating PDF’s, freebies and membership cards
- creating a Facebook group to encourage and manage your member community online
- writing and sending out invoices to members and keeping track of all monthly/annual subscriptions
3. Turning your Brick and Mortar Business into an online business
If your brick and mortar business is already thriving offline, then why not give web visitors the choice of either buying online or at your physical store? There are many different offline businesses that can be moved online. Here’s an example. If you like to bake, you can start baking customised wedding cakes, birthday cakes, fresh bread, cupcakes and pastries. These can be posted on your Instagram page or sent out in a WhatsApp group to people in your local area. People enjoy homemade baked goodies and may place repeat orders for two loaves of bread per week or a box of six cupcakes every Friday.
A virtual assistant can assist you by:
- making your social media pages look amazing by creating beautiful posters of your products for sale
- taking orders and ensuring that your customer s have made payments
- building brand awareness and dealing with online customer queries
- offering discounts, promotions and fun events to give people a reason to shop at your store
4. Starting up a Cleaning Company
Do you enjoy cleaning so much that you wouldn’t mind opening your own cleaning business? This is the perfect time to follow your dream as sanitation and hygiene are of utmost importance right now. Offices and homes need to be cleaned more often than before. As your commercial or residential cleaning business starts to grow, things can get tough and you will need an extra pair of hands such as ours.
A virtual assistant can help by:
- managing your schedule-there is nothing worse than being double booked
- creating contracts, invoices, service proposals and cleaning logs
- ensuring you have sufficient cleaning supplies, detergents and PPE (masks and gloves)-keeping stock of the different products can be time consuming
- placing ads on career websites and interviewing cleaning/driving staff and conducting background and criminal checks
- creating social media pages and campaigns to boost your business and show off the work that you have done for other clients
5. Starting up a Gardening Club
Most people are staying home and gardening as it is one of the most stress relieving hobbies that you can have. Some of us need a breath of fresh air every now and then as we get tired of being indoors. You can plant trees, flowers or even grow your own food. You can offer your expertise to other gardeners. You can give advice and information on how to grow a specific flower or vegetable, or how to get rid of garden bugs or you can record a video on how to arrange flowers in vase. How big your gardening business becomes depends on the time you put into it and the creativity that you have.
If you only want to be involved in the gardening part of things, we can always help with the administration by:
- coming up with creative ideas for your website and social media pages
- planning and organising how you will showcase your plants or flowers
- finding interesting new ideas all the time, such as an online cooking show using vegetables from your garden
Don’t be afraid to start that business, transform your business slightly or give it a total make over altogether. Whichever you choose, a virtual assistant will be able to provide the business support that you need.
With the current state of the world it is extremely difficult to stay motivated – even the most driven people struggle.
Staying motivated to achieve sales targets in any climate can be taxing. Managers and supervisors can get frustrated and use methods of motivation that may be detrimental rather than effective, such as negative reinforcement. I personally do not respond positively to negative reinforcement and having managed a small sales team for a few years, neither did they.
A great demonstration of this is shown in a Netflix series called 100 humans that experimented with this theory in an episode named Pain versus Pleasure. This episode centers around how humans respond to criticism versus praise, and which works better.
Criticism and praise
The participants are tasked with spinning plates on a stick, and there are two rounds. In the first round, participants are either criticized or praised for their performance, regardless of how well they perform. The results from this round show that individuals that performed exceptionally well but were criticized, lost confidence, and performed poorly in the second round. Whereas the participants that performed poorly in the first round but were praised excelled in the second round. This experiment proves that despite the performances, positive reinforcement was more successful in motivating the participants than negative reinforcement.
Tried and tested methods
It can be frustrating to keep everyone motivated under normal circumstances, let alone during a pandemic, primarily when targets are not being met. Here are a few examples on what I have used in the past and my tips on what keeps me enthusiastic to reach or exceed my sales goals.
- Praise for small wins – I received praise by a simple phone call from my COO for a closed deal from a personal sales lead. Even though it was a small order, it showed that every bit of my effort was appreciated and drove me to close an even bigger deal. This can be used at every level to reassure your team that their hard work does not go unnoticed.
- Tiered targets – Having a target for a set timeline. I have used a 3-tier quarterly incentive approach with a large bonus for the top salesperson, a local holiday trip for the second tier, and a valuable prize, such as a laptop for the 3rd tier prize.
- Performance based commission structure – Not only do you reward your sales team fairly, but it also drives under-performing sales team members to thrive especially when their colleagues are receiving higher commissions. It also instills a level of healthy competition within the team.
Innovation and creativity
However challenging this period may be for your sales teams, innovation and creativity needs to be a massive part of your motivation strategy. Having regular check-ins and listening to your team’s suggestions on what motivates them is vital. The most important thing is to try and test various methods with your team to find out what works, whether it’s a pat on the back or something more tangible.
I believe that it goes without saying that if you take care of your employees, they will take care of your business.
Podcasts are definitely the marketing tool of the moment as well as the future. Marketing gurus have noted the changing needs of marketing from the written word to audio and because of this are now using podcasting as their main marketing medium in this very competitive market.
Podcasting has grown exponentially over the last few years and is fast becoming the more popular medium for advertising. Because consumers no longer have the time to browse through newspapers, pamphlets, magazines etc. many businesses are using the very powerful marketing tool of podcasts to boost their sales as well as their brand.
The augmented usage of mobile phones is considered to be one of the main factors for the explosive growth of podcasting and podcasts have therefore become the new talk radio of the mobile devices.
Eight major promoting benefits to podcasting:
- Drive traffic.
- Better search results
- Allows users to listen and carry on with their life
- Increase followers
- Diversifying your content
- Relationship building
- Increase brand awareness
- Builds trust in your brand
The best way to get your marketing message across to listeners is to use the content of the podcast to relate to the product or brand which you are trying to sell. Using 3rd party ads can annoy listeners and subsequently chase them away.
Audio is a welcoming break from the information overload of written content. Podcasts enable the speaker to get the message across to listeners in an interactive way that the written content might not be able to.
It is predicted that with podcasts becoming more popular that in the future there will be a lot more integration with our devices. An example is that your alarm clock could be set to wake you up with the most recent episode of your morning podcast. Your smart devices would also be able to alert you as to when a new episode of your favorite or most listened to podcasts become available.
A small disadvantage to podcasting is that if you are listening to your podcasts using the same network it is likely that you are hearing the same ads over and over again.
Hopefully future podcasting ads will be able to be targeted to user interests and demographics which will reduce the repetition of ads. Recent research has been shown consumers would be more likely purchase a product from a brand that appeals to their personal experience and needs.
It is predicted that podcast networks of the future will be able to inform you of the podcasts they think you will like, almost the same way Netflix currently does with movies you have watched. For instance, if you generally listen to podcasts at 12:00 during your lunch hour, you could get notifications that there are new episodes ready for download at 11:30 which will help you to avoid searching for new episodes.
So, to answer the question, “Will Podcast Marketing Ever Rule the Web?” My prediction is yes, it is very possible that it will. Watch this space.
“If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change”. Dr Wayne Dyer
Wise words from a great man and of extreme relevance in this current situation in which we find ourselves. An unsettling time of unchartered territory where we feel that we are standing in the corridor, waiting for a door to open, revealing the new way of life into which we will emerge.
COVID 19 has affected every one of our daily lives in many ways, and none have remained untouched. Our lives are no longer the same and this brings about opportunities for self-introspection and evolvement. We need to start looking at things differently, with fresh eyes, from a new angle, in other words, gain a new perspective. It can make the acceptance of our new way of life an easy transition.
What is perspective?
Perspective is the way we see life through our filters. A skill that we use to navigate our path, adding to our ever-growing subconscious library of reference. As humans, we have feelings and emotions associated with our experiences according to our make-up. Our view of one situation may be completely different from another person, yet both entirely correct as seen from their perspective.
Where to begin?
As with anything we wish to change, the first steps are recognition, acceptance and willingness to change. So, take a step back. Try to look at the situation objectively, as if you were a by-stander and do not allow your emotions to take over. If we observe from the outside, we can start to see it with fresh eyes, expand our thinking and bring in some new possibilities we may be willing to try. Decide on what you want to change and give it a go.
Some tools you can use
Sound too easy? I agree that sometimes it is hard to see the forest for the trees when you are in the situation, and at times there doesn’t seem to be a solution at hand besides the only one you can see. Take some time to sit with yourself in reflection and try one or two of the following methods.
- Questioning – Ask a couple of people for their perspectives or solutions and ponder over them, trying to see things from a different angle.
- Meditation – find a quiet place or time and go into deep thought around the subject. Note afterwards any changes you may have discovered.
- Journaling – write about your thoughts and whatever ideas come into your head as you are doing this. Reflect on your writing afterwards and see if there is another viewpoint you can adopt.
- Mind-mapping – either on paper or there are many mind-map apps out there you can explore and use to jot down your thoughts and see how they can expand, open and change.
- Do things differently – even if it just starts with the way you approach your chores, your regular routes or your exercise routine. Changing things around physically can help you to shift thought patterns.
You have the power
You have the inner power to change how you view things around you, of forming new patterns and looking at life. It is not about changing who you are, but rather about your expansion and growth, so go ahead and treat yourself to a broadened perspective.