Family Resurgence – Don’t I Know You?

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Family Resurgence – Don’t I Know You?

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Like most of our Country, and Worldwide alike, I have been glued to the reports about COVID-19 both on the news programs as well as scrolling through social media. The logical part of me says “Stop the madness! Turn the TV off, put the phone down!” I know we are in a devasting situation, but it’s not as dire as it could be, because we are doing the right thing. Focusing on keeping hospitals operable and slowing the spread. Simple right? But then there is the emotional side of me that wants to board up my windows, stay inside, and if I have to step out, make sure I’m completely covered in plastic wrap and wear a gas mask – yeah, I sort of have a flair for the dramatic ?

The more I assess the situation, from a reasonable, logical, sprinkled-with-just-a-tad-emotion, point of view, the more I can’t help but think, “Why not make the best of a bad situation”? A post from sun-gazing.com states exactly what I’m talking about, life did not get cancelled.

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I’m sure most of you are rolling your eyes and saying, “Ok Tammy, if you have all these answers, tell us how we grab the silver lining around this dark cloud.” I plan on doing just that! My suggestion is this – Family Time!  I grew up in an era of family time – family dinners at the table, games, conversations, and I always smile when I look back. My heart fills with gladness that I grew up when I did. So, what are some of the things YOU can do to bring back that wonderful era?

Family Dinner – make it a priority. Many localities are closing restaurants and gathering places. Bring your family back to the dining table for dinner. Cell phones and other devices stay in their rooms – not allowed at the table. Enjoy what your family has to say. And, everyone should have a part, from setting the table to removing the dishes, and cleaning up. By the way, this isn’t limited to just families. If you are in a roommate situation, or a couple, dinner together creates a unity of closeness.

Games and Puzzles – play a board game, or card game. Into jigsaw puzzles? They are truly my favorite! Find something in common, or dare to try something new, just get the whole clan in on the fun!

Start a family challenge – this could be sharing positive quotes or going a day without saying anything negative. Exercise challenges. Coming up with the best dinner ideas. A scavenger hunt! The list goes on and on, get creative!

Movie Night – most of us have some form of movies available to us, be it through cable pay-per-view, or a monthly subscription to Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, etc., and the cost of renting a movie through these channels run anywhere from $2.99 to $7.99 – one time charge! That’s a huge savings for a family of four going to the movies, where the cost of a ticket averages $15.00 per person! Still not convinced? Think about how much more enjoyable it will be to watch the movie at home. Make some popcorn, put some blankets on the floor, or everyone snuggle up on the couch. Oh, another plus – you can pause the movie for a bathroom break – you won’t miss a thing! Rules? Same as family dinner – cell phones and other devices are not allowed!

There are so many ways you can embrace this time. Check out this fantastic idea I found on Facebook this morning:

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I can’t think of any better way to beat this negative situation than by bringing back family time. Having actual in-person time promotes actual conversations. Maybe you’ll discover some amazing things about each other! And don’t forget to include your furbabies when coming up with ideas.

 

Coronavirus Is Changing The Workplace

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Coronavirus Is Changing The Workplace

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Coronavirus is here and has us scrambling. Google is recommending their North America employees work from home until April 10th,

“Out of an abundance of caution, and for the protection of Alphabet and the broader community, we now recommend the you work from home if your role allows,” the Tuesday email from Chris Rackow, Google’s vice president of global security, reads in part.

Northwell Health has sent their non-essential employees home to work as well, and are offering telemedicine for everyone, as well as New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who is asking businesses to allow people to work from home, or to stagger shifts to reduce potential exposure during high peak commute times.

As a virtual assistant, I will not feel as much of an impact as many other workers do. My home is my office, where I am afforded the benefit of video conferencing and email rather than in-person meetings and handshaking. Let me first say, working from home is not for the faint of heart. It requires a steady discipline and accountability, but it can be achieved with minimum disruption to your life.

You’ve been asked to work from home during this outbreak. What can you do to ease the transition from your office to a remote location, i.e. your home office? First, don’t panic. Your life does not have to suffer or come to a halt. The most important step is to take a moment to put together a quick time management program; a way to track the things you need to do each day, such as a task list that you can check off.

It’s vital for you to know how to gain control over your time.  Here are a few techniques that will help you organize your day, week, and month efficiently so that you get a lot more done.

Set Goals and Priorities

Before you can even start deciding on how to spend your time, you need to set your goals and priorities for the period in question. It works well to make an overall plan for the time you will be working from home and then translate that into smaller chunks. For example, monthly goals, weekly goals, and then finally into daily tasks.

Create Daily Rituals

Keep important commitments on the front burner by carving out a specific time for them each day.

Designate the hour before bed for reading stories with your children or learning something new.

Create momentum that will drive you forward through-out the day. Score a quick win when you go for a morning run or meditate while it’s still quiet.

Shorten Your To-Do List

Weed out the nonessential items. Decide which tasks require excellence and which can be considered good enough if you complete them on time. For example, as long as your bed sheets are washed and dried, maybe you can skip ironing them. Sheryl Sandberg, author of “Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead” said it best, “Done is better than perfect”.

Smart Scheduling

As you work your way through your goals, it’s tempting to guess how long things will take you to complete. However, the best thing to do is schedule everything in your daily to-do list realistically. By being realistic about how much time you need to do things, you’ll avoid roadblocks and bottlenecks.

Here is a useful formula for planning a project:

In minutes, calculate the normal time it takes you to do the task (x4) + fastest time you have achieved this task + the longest time it has taken you to achieve this task.  Divide that number by 6, this is the minimum plan time.

For example, when planning out a social media content calendar for a week:  (normal time) 240 min x 4 = 960 minutes + (fastest) 120 minutes + (longest) 300 minutes = 1,380 minutes divided by 6 = 230 minutes, or about 4 hrs rounded.

Include Flex Time

One mistake people often make when scheduling tasks is that they don’t take into consideration that time is fluid and needs flexibility. Remember to account for things taking longer than you think, and other variables; allow yourself 15 minutes in between tasks to help your brain switch gears to the next task.

Set Time Limits

When you set your schedule, it’s imperative to set time limits for tasks. Schedule blocks of time so that you don’t go down a rabbit hole and spend five hours there being unproductive while being busy.

Remember You Have a Life

Disconnect for a while. Limit the time you spend online, making calls, and watching TV. Rediscover the beauty of nature.

Health and Wellness

Self-care. I should be able to end this with a “ ‘nuf said”. When it comes to your health, nothing else should take priority. Focus on lessening your anxiety with yoga once a day, meditation 5 times a week, eating right, going to the doctor for yearly checkups, and so forth.

Take Breaks

 Downtime restores your ability to concentrate.

Many think they have to work non-stop when working from home. While it does help to fill in your calendar and daily schedule with everything that you need to do during any given day, don’t panic if you see empty space in your calendar. You deserve, and need, to have downtime and “me” time.

Be realistic about living your life. It’s great to have goals. However, you don’t want to overburden yourself with work from sunup until sundown. You want to organize your schedule so that you have time for all areas of life. Having downtime to do nothing is perfectly fine if you’re otherwise being as productive as you want to be.

If you interested in hiring a virtual assistant, contact us at thetaskva.com. If you are interested in becoming a virtual assistant check out the tools and resources at VAnetworking.com.

Get Out Of Your Head For Success

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Get Out Of Your Head For Success

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Success in business stems from success in other areas of your life. You can’t really succeed to the extent that you would like to financially without making sure you’re up to par in other parts of your life, such as your mental state and physical fitness.

By keeping up with those parts as well, you’ll be much more well-rounded and able to succeed so much easier. Mental wellness is a very important aspect of your life and it’s extremely important for your success.

Mental health, for many years, was overlooked and not seen as a priority. In recent years, a new term has emerged, “high functioning anxiety”. Although it is not yet a mental health diagnosis, it helps to give words to something so many are experiencing. It has been shown that mental health is extremely important and is directly linked with your success in life.

You can’t really go far in life when you’re struggling with things like anxiety, because you’ll always be in your own head and unable to make those advancements that you need for success. In her book, The Happier Approach, Nancy Jane Smith, walks people through how to get out of their head, and into their body. Shifting your focus is sometimes just what you need!

In order to have a healthy mind, you need to give yourself time to relax and decompress, because, if you’re crowding your life with all work all the time, you’re going to get burnt out and start to dislike the job you’re doing. If you don’t enjoy what you do, it’s going to go downhill fast. You’ll put in less and less effort and you’ll never attain that success that you want.

Just as your mental well-being is important, so is your physical health.

Good physical health allows you to wake up each day feeling refreshed and ready to go, something that’s very important for your happiness and for your success. Being physically active and fit is good for your health, and it also helps you find happiness more frequently.

Keeping your body hydrated, properly nourished, and challenging yourself physically are the best ways to keep you in top physical health. I can hear you saying “but I don’t have time to workout”. Guess what, you really do have the time, you just need to find it.

“Workout, workout as hard as you can, and workout without excuses nor apologies. The discipline of tough physical training is obviously great for mental and physical strength, but over time, it also instills many more important lessons in a gradual and subtle progression. … It is the sheer effort but also the rest, nutrition and focus. These same skills, that are so important to our business and personal life, cannot become better engrained than through challenging training.” –Itay Rosenfeld, CEO of Voxbone, a provider of Communications-as-a-Service (CaaS)

Without a healthy mental state and physical fitness, life can become a bit stale. Tracking progress in both of these categories is crucial. When you’re journaling or making notes about your day, talk about things that you’ve done to better your physical and mental health and be specific.

By keeping notes on your progress, you can tweak your methods in order to have better results, especially after seeing what worked for you and what didn’t. Everyone has different needs, so what might work for one person might not work for you. Find your balance.

Remember, as tempting as it is to only focus on success, you need to focus on all aspects of your life in order to truly be successful,. Take a look at  33 Daily Habits, which gives you simple, daily habits of successful entrepreneurs. There’s no fun in being financially well-off if you’re depressed and out of shape.

Negative Social Media Comments: How to Deal

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Social Media Is A Relationship Building Tool

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As you become more popular you’re going to get more people who love you, but also more people who hate you. Some people don’t even hate you, they just like to be trolls. It’s important to know how to deal with these types of people so that you can use social media marketing to build traffic, make more connections, and increase your return on investment.

Develop a Policy

If you have many people helping you manage social media, you need to develop a policy. There is a difference between a troll and someone who has something negative to say. Therefore, you want to treat them differently. A troll should be blocked, and their comments deleted. Someone who is negative might just need some extra attention to turn them around.

Ignore Real Trolls

When someone is a real troll they have nothing useful to say at all and are intent on disrupting a discussion or even an entire business. These types of people may even be paid. You have no way of knowing. The best course of action is to ignore them, delete, and block them. There is an exception to this rule. If the issue becomes widely known due to not deleting fast enough you may have to fight back by outing the troll for who they are and let your real audience deal with them.

Make a Joke Out of It

Sometimes trolls and negative people are a little bit funny. It depends on your audience of course, but if you can make a joke out of something that’s a great way to deal with it. For example, if someone asked you what’s taking so long for a shipment to get to them and you know you mailed it the day they ordered it you may need to point out in a humorous way that you have no control over the post office.

Look for The Deeper Message

Sometimes trolls or people who make negative comments are just unhappy people who need something. If you can read between the lines and find a better message answer that message and ignore the nastiness. Killing them with kindness can work very well for riding your feed of trolls.

Hire or Get Volunteer Moderators

When your community grows very large you may need to get help managing your social media to prevent the proliferation of spammers and trolls from taking over your page or community. One of the reasons some big-time coaches have ended their Facebook Groups has to do with poor group management. If it’s getting too big, get some help.

Build Relationships with Your Community

Don’t just talk one way to your community. Don’t just sell them all the time. Have real conversations with members of your community and let them get to know you. When someone is nasty or trolling they’ll report it and probably attack the offender on their own even if you’re sleeping in bed.

Show the Facts

If it’s appropriate baffle the negative person or troll with facts. If you have facts you can prove with real study and research, you’ll find that most of your community will value what you’re saying a lot more than someone who drives by with some negative info.

Dealing with trolls and negative people can be daunting. But, if this starts happening take heart in the fact that it’s mostly because your community is growing, which is a good thing. But don’t take it personally. When it’s possible the very best thing you can do about a troll is not provide a platform for them and delete and block them.

Social Media is a Relationship Building Tool

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Social Media Is A Relationship Building Tool

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Social media is an amazing invention that puts word-of-mouth marketing on steroids. It’s like having a coffee shop, community center, and bar all from the comfort of your home where you can talk to a wide variety of people about almost any topic you can think of. That’s why, at its heart, social media is a relationship building tool.

Building relationships online takes a little time and effort but the pay off is huge. Let’s look at some ways you can use social media to build relationships.

Be Authentic

No one likes to find out someone they admired lied. If you’re not running a six-figure business don’t try to tell others how to do it and don’t make people think you are. You will be found out. Instead, just be who you are, because that’s so much easier. You won’t ever have to feel fake or get nervous because you are who you are.

Understand Your Niche

Every single day keep studying your niche and your audience. Killer apps come along every single day and disrupt businesses all across the world. It can happen to you too if you’re not keeping your ear to the ground and paying attention to industry news. Consider how fast technology is changing in relation to your niche so you can stay ahead of the game. Plus, when you show a deep understanding you can better engage intelligently with your audience.

The Customer is Right

Most business owners hate hearing this but even when the customer is wrong, on social media the customer needs to be right. Do not fight with customers on social media. Even if they say hateful things cancel out all that and address only the issue at hand that you can fix for them. They likely told you how they want you to fix it, so now it’s up to you to do that, even if they’re really wrong because the optics of this type of situation on social media can spell the end of any business fast.

Create Brand Ambassadors

One way to make your customers rave about you is to rave about them. Share projects with them that aren’t complete, ask their advice. Use social media to communicate directly with your audience. Make them feel as if they’re part of your company because you listen to them so much that the products and services you create make some of your audience feel as if you’re reading their mind. You can even incentivize some of your customers by making them referral partners if you wish.

Follow Everyone Back

On some social networks, you have a choice of following people back who follow you or not. But, you should follow them back. The more people you have in your social networks the better. You never know who they’re connected to that might see something they “like” or share of yours so always when possible reciprocate. One exception is your personal Facebook Profile where you only get 5000 friends.

Building relationships with your audience can take some time. But, once you set up a process for succeeding with social media marketing to build traffic to your website, if you don’t skip the engagement portion of social media marketing you’re going to do fabulously.

Evergreen and Immediate Social Media Traffic Tactics

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Evergreen and Immediate Social Media Traffic Tactics

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When using social media to drive traffic it’s important to recognize that some activities provide short-term, quick bursts of traffic while others work for the longer term.

For example, when you post something on Twitter, it runs through the feed and people either see it and click on it, or they don’t. When you put something on Pinterest it’s searchable for as long as it’s on Pinterest and will send traffic for the long-term.

Ensure that you have a good mix of evergreen content and trending content with the focus primarily on evergreen content. This tactic allows you to use social media marketing successfully to drive traffic all the time, not just when you share something in the moment.

  • Read Industry News – This is a great way to find things to share on Twitter, but also provide good fodder for original content that you can create for other platforms like Pinterest or a blog post for your blog.
  • Provide Quality over Quantity – Whether it’s evergreen content or trending content ensure that anything you create, or share is high quality, accurate, and relevant to your audience. In the quest to find content to drive traffic it can be tempting to skip that step but if there is no reason that is relevant to your audience to share the content, don’t do it.
  • Mix it Up – Do both Evergreen content and trending content. Set up your Social Media Planner according to your promotions you already know about, industry events you already know about, and then keep up to date on the news so that you can add in trending information. Share all of it across all of your social media platforms.
  • Change up The Format -Don’t focus your content on only text content. Use different formats to present the same content. For example, if you read a trending article that really made you think, make a video about it to introduce it and then link to it.
  • Add in Seasonal Content – One type of trending content that you should consider adding if it’s appropriate for your niche is seasonal content. Let’s say your industry group is having a Christmas party, that’s something to talk about and to blog that will get a lot of attention.
  • Share Everything – Whether it’s evergreen content or not, focus on sharing it in its various forms on every social media platform that you use. That way you get both short bursts of traffic plus set yourself up for having traffic build slowly over the long-term.
  • Focus More on Evergreen Content – The most important content you can create for your business is evergreen content. That is content that will be useful to your clients for a long period of time. With today’s advancing technology it may not be good forever, but evergreen content should be good at least a year.

Evergreen content, for the most part, will start on your blog. It doesn’t matter if it’s text content or content in another form, but it’s on your blog too. Trending content sometimes will go on your blog first, but often it’s a matter of sharing it because someone else talked about it. But sharing it is important too, because it shows that you’re paying attention to your industry.

The Importance of Being Consistent in Brand and Message

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The Importance of Being Consistent in Brand and Message

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Your brand, whether personal or business, is how other people view you. If you use the right methods, you can control the message and optimize how your brand is presented to others. This is called branding. If you want to be known as your brand, it’s important to be consistent in brand and message across all social media platforms.

Know Your Audience

Everything you do starts with your audience, so it cannot be repeated enough. Remember just because you studied your audience last year doesn’t mean you’re done. They will continue to grow and evolve so it’s important you keep studying your audience.

Consider that Dove has been around for a long time, but if you look at their marketing, it’s changed because, while their customer’s demographics have not changed, the way they talk to them has. Why? Because the customers have changed with the times. Yours will too.

Find Your Brand’s Voice

A great way to determine your brand’s voice is to think about what you want to stand for and how you want to talk to people. Do you want to be soft and subtle, polite and nice, or do you want to be bold, irreverent, and maybe even loud?

One way to accomplish this is to look at how you are as a person. If your company involves you as a solopreneur that makes it easy. You are going to be more comfortable if your brand mirrors your personal brand. Another way is to look at your competition and determine how you can use your brand’s voice to differentiate your brand from the others.

Repurpose Content

You don’t have to make brand-new content for each social media platform. You can share the same exact content across all channels. But, what you want to do is change the blurb, change up the images in terms of size and type of image, but you want the message to be the same regardless of the channel you’re delivering it on.

Stay Relevant

To maintain a brand takes a lot of work on your part. You’ll need to stay up to date on what’s new within your industry and niche so that you can improve your knowledge and be the go-to person in your field. But, don’t do that by changing your brand’s voice, logo, images, and so forth because you want people to recognize you on any platform.

Maintain Consistency

You’re more trustworthy when you are consistent. It’s also easier to find and recognize you. Ensuring that you are consistent means that you’ll see a steadier stream of prospects, develop rewarding partnerships, and your perceived value will increase. Your audience will feel listened to and inspired because the more they see you the more they’re going to trust you.

It’s a lot simpler when you realize that you want to be the same person/business on each network. All you really must tweak is how you deliver the message, not the entire message or the content that you’re linking to. Keep the same business name, personal name, logo, and colors across all networks and you’ll become recognized.

The Art of Sacrifice

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The Art of Sacrifice

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The negative connotation connected to sacrifice can be linked back centuries. Even most definitions scream SACRIFICE IS BAD. Upon utilizing the almighty Google, the very first definition is about living sacrifices for religious purposes. Well, I can promise you the sacrifice I want to talk about has nothing to do with throwing poor innocent women into a bubbling volcano for the sake of appeasing the ancient gods.

The Law of Sacrifice is very simple: In order to get what you want, you have to give something. Success is measured by the individual wanting to succeed. However, there is no success without small sacrifices, sometimes big, along the way. Let’s talk about the most common sacrifices.

Time Is The Number One Sacrifice Made

It is often the first. Trying to succeed in college? You are sacrificing time spent playing Call of Duty or going to that house party. Need success in business? You may miss out on the office birthday party or even sleep. This doesn’t necessarily mean you become boring and undependable. I talked a lot about time in a previous article, so I won’t repeat myself, but priority is key in all things.

Things!

If you are trying to save for a house or vacation, you will probably sacrifice your daily coffee from that super hip coffeehouse or pack your lunch. Maybe you won’t use your weekly budget on that great pair of shoes or floor tickets to that basketball game. All these small sacrifices will lead to something better in the long run right? Seriously…. needing validation as I sip my Folgers this morning.

Stability.

It feels good to have a steady paycheck and steady working hours. However, the greatest successes start with the most uncertainty. To reach a goal you will sacrifice this warm blanket of income and insurance for highs, lows, and a lot of faith. This sacrifice is truly the hardest to make and the bravest. Having a great support system will be imperative.

Remember sacrifice is not evil, and it will change over to time. Give up something good now for something even better. You can do this, and TASKVA is here to help along the way.

Plan Ahead to Take the Stress Out of Tax Day

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Plan Ahead to Take the Stress Out of Tax Day

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April 15 is a dreadful day for many people, simply because it’s the deadline for filing income taxes. The truth is this day doesn’t have to be ominous or overwhelming. You can reduce your stress and improve your financial future simply by getting a jump on your income tax preparation early.

Gather your records early. Take the time to gather all of your documentation together beforehand so you have everything you need to get started. Gather your past tax returns as well, as these will provide valuable insight for where you can save money on your taxes in comparison to previous years.

Look to government resources for help. The Internal Revenue Service website and taxing authority websites for each individual state are valuable resources for individuals seeking tax help. Use these free resources to your advantage to get some extra assistance while filing your taxes.

Make last minute tax-deductible purchases. Especially if it looks like you’ll owe money on your return, before the end of December, make any purchases that can give you an extra tax deduction. If you’re self-employed, purchase necessary items for your business.

Donate cash or items. Remember to make your donations before December 31st so you’ll receive your tax deduction for this year. Be sure to get a receipt!

E-File your return. There are a number of benefits to e-filing, or electronically filing, your tax return. For example, most E-file software will compute tax credits and deductions for you based on the information that you put in. Plus, if you’re getting a refund, it’s quicker than mailing your return.

The Bottom Line

The best way to get the most out of your income taxes is simply to get a jump on them early. With planning and preparation, you can maximize your deductions and simplify the filing process without stressing yourself out along the way.

You Have To Know Where You Are

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You Have To Know Where You Are

To Get To Where You Want To Be

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Are you ready to take your business to the next level and watch some explosive growth unfold over the coming months? That’s Great! Before you start to plot and plan what you want to do to make that happen, it’s important to stop and look at where you’re at right now.

Business planning for future success is all about data. You can work most efficiently and spend your time and money most effectively if you know exactly where you are starting from. By recording data, you can start to see what’s working, what isn’t, and what trends are starting to play out. And it all starts with recording where you’re at right now.

Let’s take a look at some of the things you want to record. First though, you should decide how you want to record this information.  You can write it down by hand in a notebook, open up a word document to do it digitally, or use a spreadsheet. I prefer a spreadsheet because I have the option to have it calculate fun additional information like weekly and monthly averages and even map it all out in graphics to help me get a clearer picture…and well, it’s a spreadsheet! Truly my idea of a good time!! No Kidding!

Traffic – To grow you need to expand your reach. That means getting more traffic, but also engaging the people that come to your site by encouraging them to click around and read more. Good things to keep track of are total visitors, unique visitors, bounce rate, and of course where the traffic is coming from. We’ll talk more about this in upcoming segments.

List / Subscribers – Your next goal is always to get these people on your list. If you don’t have a list, you need to start one! Digital Marketing is no joke, and a necessity for today’s businesses. Here you want to track total number of subscribers, conversion rates for each of your opt-in forms and pages, open rates for your emails, and also unsubscribes. As you start to collect and review this data regularly, you’ll get a much better picture of your subscribers. We’ll cover digital marketing another time.

Customers – Subscribers are great, customers are better. Start by keeping track of how many total customers you have and how many purchases per day, week, and month. Other good numbers to look at are total lifetime value of your average customer, repeat purchases, and refund rates.

Income & Expenses – Last but probably should be first, look at your bottom line. This is your typical accounting data. You want to keep track of your income as well as your expenses. With those two sets of numbers, you can easily calculate your overall profit. I find it helpful to look at profit for the month, but track income on a daily basis.

Yes, you can look at most of this data in various different places like Google Analytics, your shopping cart, and your autoresponder service for example, but it’s important to have it all in one place. This makes it much easier to connect the dots and see the relationships between the different sets of numbers.

Now that you have your initial data collection set up, make it a habit to update the numbers regularly so you can see what’s working, what isn’t, and how much you’re growing as you move through the coming months and years.

Spend Extra Time Wisely

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Spend Extra Time Wisely

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According to statista.com a study done in November of 2019 showed people, on average, spent 63% of their day on some form of digital media. Although not all of that is simply goofing off, I am quite sure there is a larger than ideal percentage of that number wasted on mindless scrolling through social media and trying for the 38th time to beat level 287 in Candy Crush.

Infographic: The Mobile Takeover Continues | Statista You will find more infographics at Statista

We, as a society, strive to be more efficient and squeeze as much as possible into 24 tiny hours. We use pressure cookers to save time serving quality meals. We use smart devices to start coffee or make our grocery lists. We even have automatic feeders for our pets that save us precious few minutes. And we have hired a virtual assistant to handle our most time-consuming tasks in our businesses.

What do we do with all these saved hours? If your response is less than ideal, allow me to make 5 suggestions on how to transform extra time into productive time!

  1. Learn a new skill:  This is not as daunting as it sounds. Find something you’ve always wanted to do and set forth on your digital media to uncover how to videos! There are tutorials online for virtually everything from painting snow to learning all the really neat things you can do with office software. You never know what new skill could further your business!
  2. Try new ways to promote yourself and your business: send out promotional postcards to your contact list or even write an article for a newsletter! Anything for contacts and new customers.
  3. Contact someone you would like to have a business relationship with: Find out who you admire and who you would like to connect with then have a power session. You could get an interview or even secrets to success. Never a bad idea to have solid contacts with whom you collaborate!
  4. Do some research: What’s new in the industry? What is most needed. Brainstorm ways to incorporate those ideas into your own success.
  5. Do what you enjoy! Read a book, take a cooking class, host a game night. Strengthen your relationships and remind yourself of who you are without the stress of business.

Whatever you do with your time, make sure you use it wisely!

Is Your Comfort Zone Holding You Back? Part 2

Struggling to achieve your goals?

Maybe your comfort zone is the reason.

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We all have high aspirations. However, it can be hard to turn those dreams and goals into a reality. The truth is many of us struggle to reach our goals. The reason frequently involves our apprehension about stepping out of our comfort zone.

It’s true that nothing ever happens in our comfort zone. It’s the place that keeps us in the “someday” mode of pushing our goals to the side until the time is right, for another day or when you have more skills, money, and time.

Unfortunately, “someday” never happens. Eventually the life you dreamed of becomes a memory, a wish-I-would-have thought. Our fear of trying something different, putting ourselves out there and going for it keeps us from taking action. We let our comfort zone keep us safe.

Your comfort zone keeps you paralyzed from attempting what you desire. You may have goals and dreams but are afraid of the what-if’s that might happen when you do try. Instead, it’s safer to stay where you’re comfortable instead of getting hurt or humiliated by attempting your goal.

Maybe you’re afraid of speaking to a large group of people so you don’t go after the next level in your career, even though it is what you desire. You keep to yourself and stay in your current position instead where you’re comfortable.

Maybe you don’t go after your desire to start your own business because you’re afraid of failing. You stay in a job that you hate instead. Maybe you don’t try new adventures because you have an aversion to meeting new people and looking foolish. So you stay at home in your comfort zone.

Some of the reasons you stay in your comfort zone might be from:

  • Fear of the unknown, uncertainty
  • Anxiety over change
  • Negative mindset, pessimistic outlook
  • Lack of clarity and focus
  • Fear of failing (or succeeding)

No matter what it looks like, your comfort zone is keeping you trapped. You stop advancing professionally. You don’t grow and develop personally. You eat the same way, live in the same place, drive the same kind of car, and associate with the same people.

Your comfort zone lets you willingly pass up important opportunities. Because of this, you might lose touch with your relationships, your health may begin to have serious problems, and you end up living a life of mediocrity.

Your unwillingness to take action and step out of your comfort zone, for whatever reason, directly impacts your goals. If you are afraid to take the next step, and never do, you’ll stay where you’re at. If you worry what will happen if you go for your goal so you end up not going for it, then you won’t ever reach it.

When you see yourself struggling to achieve your goals it’s often because you are stuck in your comfort zone. You are afraid of change, of doing things differently and being someone different.

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