Tuesday, 11 March 2014

What the Internet Means to Me

The web is my go to resource, whatever I need I look for it online first. Whether it’s a phone number I need, a menu I want to check, directions to somewhere, research for a business project, or just keeping up with the latest online marketing trends.

I use the web every day.

However I would say my usage is probably not typical of my age group, not in terms of time sent online, but in the things we do online I use the internet it in a functional way rather than for entertainment. Practical things like banking, paying bills and booking holidays rather than watching funny You Tube clips or playing games. Mostly using it for business, online learning and continual professional development whereas I imagine my peers will be doing more online shopping, downloading films/music/books, snapchatting and skyping, getting their daily news and celeb gossip fix, perhaps even managing their diaries.    

I am a bit of a traditionalist preferring to visit physical stores, read a real book and talk to people on the telephone. I haven’t completely embraced the virtual word and don’t yet trade in bitcoins.

Because I sit working at a PC all day long, at home there are some evenings where I can’t bring myself to switch my laptop on. So I am grateful for smart phones, I forget that apps like Facebook and Twitter are web based as they are now synonymous with using my phone. This has been a lifeline for me, and now rely on social media sites for much of my interpersonal interaction to stay close to friends and relatives who are far away so I still feel part of their lives even though we are separated by distance.

The internet plays a critical part in my business plans for the future as online marketing is dependent upon it, but I also realise that a large proportion of my target market - small business owners will not necessarily be online, especially those of an older generation who have yet to embrace social platforms and these are the people who need my help the most to promote their business through online marketing and digital channels.

How would I visualise it?

Web Science: How the web is changing the world
Personal impact of the web assignment 
University of Southampton 2014

I am taking part in FutureLearn a pilot series of free, high quality online courses from some of the world’s leading universities and other outstanding cultural institutions.

<< Read the 30 Day Blog Challenge
Day 12 Reflect on your uniqueness

Sunday, 23 February 2014

Finding your Who

It’s important for entrepreneurs to create their USP, (unique special proposition) and during the 30 Day Blog Challenge Natalie recommends developing your USP by finding your why, exploring why you do what you do not just stating the things you do.

However, throughout this process I have been obsessed with finding my who: 
  • Who were my audience?
  • Who was I going to sell to?
  • Who were my target market of ideal clients?
  • What products or services would my ideal clients pay for?

For any marketer it’s vital to understand as much as you can about your audience, who they are, where they are, what they like/don’t like and what their problems are. If you don’t know who you are helping then how do you know how to help and with what? How can you answer their questions or provide them with the solutions they are looking for?

In my role I would never create a product or service or even write an article without first thinking about who would use it or read it and why it is relevant to them. 

With nearly 10 years marketing experience under my belt in a wide cross section of industries from kiddies gummy bears to modular construction buildings puts me in a position to help almost any business with any aspect of their marketing.
  • Who did I want to help most?
  • Who would benefit most from my knowledge and expertise?
  • Who would I get most satisfaction from helping?

And then during a spot of pre Christmas pampering, all these questions were answered. I was enjoying a relaxing massage in a beautiful boutique salon run by my friend Tracey. She is pursuing her dream of running her own business doing what she loves. We always bounce around ideas for marketing and promotions. But on this occasion we got talking about websites. Tracey had a problem, the salon doesn’t appear in Google searches for any of the treatments they offer. So I gave her some advice on SEO and what she needs to do. But she was struggling to find time to dedicate to making changes to the website and was getting a bit lost in the content management system.

So I offered to do it for her.

Two weeks later the salon ranks 2nd in Google’s organic search for massage in the local area.
I felt an enormous sense of satisfaction, knowing that my skills and expertise has been put to good use, not lining the pockets of some faceless corporation, but delivering practical help to someone who needed it to enable them to continue to pursue their passion.  

These are the people that I want to help; small business owners who are good at what they do, that are building a business around their passion. They get to concentrate on their passion and doing what they love and I get to help them by doing what I enjoy.

I couldn’t have developed my USP without first finding my who.

How did you find your who? I'd love to hear about it in the comments below. 

If you are just starting out running your own business then you might like some of my motivational articles on the Mindset for Success blog like tips for setting SMART goals and avoiding procrastination, I'd love to see you over there.

I’m taking part in the Suitcase Entrepreneur’s 30 Day Blog Challenge, to create freedom and adventure in life. Today, I’m expanding on Day 12’s question “What is your USP, Unique Special Proposition that sets you apart from the crowd?”

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Reflect on your uniqueness

In this digital age, no idea stays unique for long, in fact somebody, somewhere is probably already doing it. And there are hundreds, if not thousands of people like me who have a marketing qualification and want to earn some money from offering their marketing services. So what makes me different? Why should someone do business with me instead of someone else?

When I look in the mirror,
What do I see?
Do I see another Tigger
Staring back at me?

This is me:
Bull- free zone: I won’t just tell you what you want to hear and I won’t sell you something you don’t need. I won’t waste your time.
_  Jargon free: I will talk in words that you understand, whatever your level of technical understanding.
Practical: I will start by applying the fundamental marketing concepts to create a strong foundation to build on, get the basics right before progressing to the next level.
Understanding: I will take the time to understand your business needs and your customers, one size does not fit all.  
 Affordable: I know small business have small to non-existent budgets, I will work to create a marketing package that fits your resources.
· Action: I will actually implement the strategies and tactical plans and do the marketing work for you, I won’t just write reams of recommendations and then leave you to it. (Action is also my theme for 2014)
¨ Educational: Unless you want to learn how to do it yourself?  I will teach you, I can create a training program to suit you and I will share my knowledge and advice with you.
 Analytical:  Analysing data, results and reports are important to determining success, I want you to see a return on your marketing investment and I will provide you with real facts and figures to demonstrate the results of any activity.
Y Personal: I will treat your customers as if they were my customers.
Ü Long term: I am not here to make a quick buck, I want to develop sustainable repeat business built on quality work, satisfied customers and referrals. I want to help business develop long term online success through digital channels.

Tuesday, 31 December 2013

2014: Action

It’s that time of year where everyone is looking back at 2013, maybe even writing a review, but at least considering what went well, what went badly and what was learnt. Of course most people are also making New Year’s resolutions. Over the years I’ve tried different approaches to resolutions, including 10 for 2010, 30 before 30 and 4Ps for 2011.

This year after attending Natalie MacNeil’s highly motivating #Limitless 2014 I have decided on a theme for 2014: 


Less talking, less thinking, more doing.

So I am not going to be writing a long blog post looking back at 2013, I am going to focus on moving forwards to create a 2014 without limits and put my plans in action to achieve my dreams and business goals.

Starting now…instead of thinking about my business model, my USP or worrying about not having a website, I’m off to write a proposal for my first client on how I can improve their search engine rankings and increase online bookings.

Wishing everyone an action packed 2014! 

Do you have a theme or focus for 2014? Leave a link to your blog in the comments below.

My USP >>
<< Read 3 steps to 
choosing a business model

Saturday, 2 November 2013

3 steps to choosing a business model

After considering the 3 online income streams covered in Day 10,  today we are asked “Which business model is best for you and what one revenue stream is most feasible?”

Step 1: What do I want to do?

My gut is leaning towards creating products or offering my services, I have the positive affirmation post it notes on my desktop background to remind me that I am worthy of achieving the lifestyle I want.  They serve as a nice little inspirational pep talk every time I open up my laptop, and today these two jumped out at me:
  • I know I have something to offer the world
  • I believe I’ve gained valuable knowledge and skills in my lifetime

I also keep thinking about how awesome it would be if I could create a product that helps me out too, you know when you think "wouldn’t it be great if there was an app for that, why hasn’t anyone built it yet?" Well, why I can’t be that person, instead of waiting for someone else to do it?!

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Ideas spiralling out of control

Bit of a blog hiatus as I was struck down by a migraine last weekend. But on the plus side as I

was going through every trick in the book to relieve my symptoms I started to think about a product range I could develop that would help. Although it’s not as straightforward as writing an e-book or delivering an online course. I would need to find a company to produce it, package it and distribute it, hell might as well get someone to design it and build an e-commerce platform for it!
So what do I have…an idea, that’s all.

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Money, Money Money

Now we are in Act 2 of our 30 day blog challenge we are getting down to the nitty gritty of how to make money online as a lifestyle entrepreneur. And Natalie hits the spot – it’s difficult to figure out ways I can make money that don’t seem scammy or out of kilter with my values