Dear tired soul,
You really don't have to do everything. You don't have to stretch yourself so thin. You don't have to fill in all the white spaces until there's no margin at all.
You really don't have to say "yes" to everyone who needs you.
You don't have to shoulder everything on your own.
That project that is driving you crazy?! You don't have to do it. Nope. You can let someone help you. You can hire someone. You can delegate it.
I know you're strong. I do. I know you've done this before and it's easier and faster to just do it yourself. I get it.
I know you've been burned by hiring people and then they leave. They get a different job. They go a different direction. They have left you in a lurch. I get it. I really, really do.
I know it's scary and overwhelming, but you really can hire someone again. It's scary and vulnerable, but you can do it. In fact, you must.
You can't keep going like this.
I see you. You're so tired. You're so exhausted and depleted. And you just keep pushing through.
It's time to make a change. It's time to take a new road. You simply can't keep going like you are.
The stress will eat you alive. Your health will start to fail.
You can't live on caffeine and limited meals.
You are the author of this story. You are not a victim of circumstance. You can rise above. You can make a list of what you WANT and what you DON'T WANT and adjust accordingly. You can make a plan and execute it. You are STRONG. You are amazing. Look what you've done to get this far! You are a warrior and an overcomer. You can overcome this.
It's time to put your foot down. You don't need to keep going like this. It's time to make a change. It's YOUR time.
You've got this.
And if you need help, you just let us know.
All week I've been talking to my coaching clients about the importance of a monthly newsletter. It seems so old fashioned, doesn't it? But I actually count it as one of the most important elements of my marketing!
A newsletter is a fun, casual way to stay in front of your customers and prospects. It's not "salesy" and it's predictable. When you add someone to your newsletter list, you know they are going to hear from you every month. For prospects, it's a gentle reminder that you're still here, ready for them to sign up/join/buy when they are ready. For current clients, it keeps you on their radar, and when you ask them to refer you to their friends, they will!
Let's face it. Your current clients may use your services, but they may not know you are taking new clients. You have to actually say, "Tell your friends! We have room for more!"
When your prospects request more info, call you, or email you, they may not be ready to buy yet. You don't want to hound them forever, do you? Yuck. So you reach out a couple times and then put them on your newsletter list. It's a very easy way to systematically reach out to them, without them feeling like you're chasing them down.
Here are some tips for connecting with your clients via newsletters:
Don't be formal, be fun!
No reason to use a professional voice--be casual, like the tone of this blog. Write FUN articles about you, your family, the weather, the changing seasons, your dog (seriously!), sports, or anything else you love to write about!
Blast your message on multiple channels
When you write your newsletter each month, you need to send the message on multiple channels: Post it on your website, send it as an email, post it on Facebook (use the website link), and also mail it to their mailbox! Don't worry--you aren't bombarding people. Some will read it via email, others don't even check their email! Some will catch it on Facebook, and others will be surprised to get some fun mail (instead of just bills!)
Be Real and Be You
In the social media age, we are all hungry for people who are "real" and authentic. We don't need stiff and formal. (Seriously. Even if you're an insurance agent or dentist!) Write a really fun front page article (or ask your spouse to help you). The goal is to touch base with your clients and prospects in a friendly, engaging way. You want them to LIKE you, so they will buy from you!
Entertain your reader
Please, for the love, do not write about technical things. If you're a dentist, don't tell me how to clean my teeth! If you're a chiropractor, don't write about subluxation. Just entertain me! Add a funny comic strip or pictures of your pets! If you're not fun or interesting, they won't read it, and you'll be wasting your time, and that will be a bummer, now won't it?!
Use lots of pictures (and pull from your Facebook page)
A GREAT idea for filling your newsletter is to pull content that you already posted on Facebook! Whoo hoo! Reusing material is a great idea! You already posted those pictures--now go grab them and add them to your newsletter. Most people didn't see them on Facebook the first time around, and even if they did, things move so quickly now days that they can see them again. No problemo.
Listen--I'm an avid reader, but most people aren't. They love to SCAN and they love pictures! So fill your newsletter with fun pictures!
Get your newsletter in the mailbox
I know. It's a ton of work to actually mail a paper newsletter to your list's mailbox. But you know what? NO ONE is doing this! Do you want to stand out? Do you want more clients? You do? Then it's worth all the work and effort to design a newsletter, print it, address it, and send it in the mail! (You can pay companies to help you with this, too.)
If you really, truly want to grow your business, you need to ramp up your newsletters. Put reminders on your phone for the first of every month to start writing your front page article. Put another reminder to send it to the printers on the 10th of the month.
Get your office staff to do the bulk of the work for you! You can even write several articles at once for the next couple months! (Totally ninja, I know!)
It all comes down to systems. You have to make a system for getting your newsletter done every month. It takes discipline for sure. But if you want to grow your business, you have to make this a priority! It works. I promise.
(You can see my newsletter link on my website HERE.)
It's a common complaint. People get soooo much email. So, as business owners, how do we still use email but not drive our customers crazy?
1. Keep it simple.
No need for multiple columns or fancy designs anymore. People are reading their email on their phone and you need to keep your communication to a one column design.
2. Once a week
Try to keep your communication no more than once a week. Be simple and use bullet points, when you can. Think of busy people checking their email on the go. You want to be clear and concise!
3. Be entertaining!
Have a lighter tone in your email (not corporate or formal) and make people want to read your emails. If you're always boring or rude or forceful, they'll delete it without even opening it.
4. Be conversational
As you're writing, think of one person in your mind. Write like you're writing to a friend. It will be so much more enjoyable for everyone to read. Drop the formal tone. Just be yourself!
4. Use a BIG font!
You can't always control how your email will look on a mobile device, but you can help by making your font BIG when you send it. When the font is too tiny, it's frustrating to try to squeeze and pinch and try to read all the words!
4. Use a REAL email provider.
No more Outlook. No more gmail. If you are running a company, and sending bulk emails, you must use a real email provider, like Mail Chimp (our favorite). First of all, it's much easier to keep track of your lists and email contacts. Secondly, it's the law that people must be able to opt out of your list. You must have an "unsubscribe" link at the bottom of your email.
(Obviously I'm not talking about emails to one person. I'm talking about your mailing list, advertisements, sending out your blog, or emailing your newsletter. Yes, still use gmail for every day emailing!)
5. Be consistent
If you're running a company, I know things get busy and crazy. But make it your goal to email your list at least once a month. Once a week is better. When you disappear and go silent, it can be very confusing when you show up in their inbox again. "Who is this again??" they will ask. And if it's been awhile, come right out and introduce yourself again! It will help.
6. Open Rates
If you're watching the open rate statistics in your email provider, don't get discouraged. The numbers aren't always accurate for people reading your emails on their phones (which is almost everyone). One tip to increase your open rate is to use a very causal subject line, like you are writing to a friend. This makes people curious and they want to read what you've written.
7. Broadcast on multiple "channels"
When you send an email, be sure to send the SAME message in multiple ways. Post it on Facebook, post it on your blog, hang up flyers in your brick and mortar location, or hand out flyers. People need to see a message multiple times, and plus, there's always that one guy with 2,000 unread emails. Send your info in multiple ways and you're more likely to be heard.
Remember--our world is noisy and filled with information and messages. Be interesting and conversational and keep it simple. Focus on connecting with your reader! Then your message will be heard!
Once in awhile, I find my heart pounding, emotions rising, blood pressure escalating. I feel resistance: "I don't want to do this" I mutter. I push through. "Gotta get this done." I slam my fist on the desk, frustrated.
Other times in my business, I breeze through tasks, amazed at how quickly and easily I can maneuver my way through the situation. I click through items one by one, happily checking things off my list.
What's makes all the difference in these two scenarios? It's all in how we are wired.
Some people love to physically do things with their hands. You may like building, fixing, using machinery, untangling things, or making a physical model. Some of us get angry and frustrated while attempting to do the same things.
Some people are wired to create systems, organization, and rules. Others buck systems and love to question "Why?"
Figuring out how you are wired and what comes easily and naturally is a huge key to more happiness in life. If you can avoid the stress of doing things you are not naturally good at, you can spend more time on the things you love. And here's the thing: the thing that YOU love is difficult for other people! So if we stick to our strengths, we all win.
A couple years ago I was preparing for a big family meal at our house. Relatives were driving from out of town and the house was buzzing with excitement and anticipation. I needed another rack added in the oven so I could bake more food at one time. This particular oven rack was curved at one end and I could not figure out how which direction the rack should go in. Was it backwards? Upside down? I felt my blood pressure rising, but instead of getting frustrated, I called out to my hubby, Chris. He installed the new rack, easily and with no effort. What was frustrating for me was easy to him.
Very often in our business, we send out emails to our clients. Chris can labor over the words and phrases and waste time and effort, or he can ask me to pound out a couple paragraphs in a minute or two. It's not that he can't write--it's just much easier for me.
Having a team for your business is crucial so that you can figure out how each person is wired. I love giving assessments to my staff so I know what they enjoy and what stresses them out. Studies have proven that we all love doing a job that we enjoy, that we feel is meaningful, and where we feel useful. "Delegate" isn't such a scary word when you re-frame it and think of assigning tasks based on who truly thrives in each area.
We've all been taught to "power through" or to do the unpleasant tasks first. "No pain, no gain." But I'm going to challenge your thinking. Every time you do something that brings up feelings of anger, stress, or resentment, write it down. (Or make a mental note. Or tell Siri to jot it down.) Conversely, when you breeze through certain tasks, write those down too. Bonus points if the task isn't just easy, but you truly love doing it. After assembling your list for a few weeks, analyze it. What tasks should you stop doing? What can you give to your team instead? Don't delegate because you "should" delegate, delegate the items that frustrate you or stress you out. Keep things on your list that you truly enjoy and love to do. Here's why: You gain energy from doing things that come easily or naturally to you. When you gain energy, you can get more things done! Why drain your battery doing something that someone else could do easily and naturally?
A business owner recently told me that she delegated all her favorite tasks to her staff because she thought as the owner that she "should" do the unpleasant things. NO! Everyone defines "unpleasant" differently. Keep the tasks that you love and are good at. Assign tasks to your staff based on what they are good at. Then we all win!
I hate numbers, but Chris loves them. The same task in a spreadsheet that would put me in a bad mood takes Chris effortless time.
I love copywriting. I can whip out a headline, an email subject or a blog in just a few minutes. Chris will waste time and energy trying to do the same thing.
Some of my kids are really good at some things, and others are good at other things. I pay attention and assign them chores based on their natural abilities. I'll tell you a little secret: it makes the whole family happier when we all get to do the things that we are naturally wired to do.
I challenge you to re-think your To Do list. Who can help you? Who can you delegate tasks to? Who can you hire? And what can you do more of just because you love it and it comes naturally?
Accept this challenge and watch your life change. Guaranteed.
Hi, I'm Jen Hickle!