When do you start creating marketing campaigns for Christmas? Are you too early? Have you left it too late? When it the right time?
Often we leave it far too late to make a proper impact with our Christmas marketing. You see Christmas stock appearing in the shops as soon as summer finishes and we may think to ourselves “wow that’s early” and ignore what we see. But the truth is that some people do start buying or at least thinking about Christmas well before December. That means September / October time is the perfect chance to put ideas into people’s minds and to give them the inspiration they need for Christmas.
Set your targets
A common mistake with business owners is that they don’t set proper targets for their sales for different seasons of the year. This is one vital piece of the puzzle when it comes to putting your marketing efforts into action as it will give you an indication whether you’re doing enough marketing in order to reach financial goals. As with any business plan, set your targets, create a budget, put a strategy and plan in place and make the magic happen.
Research your audience and product
It may be an obvious point to add in but there are many who do not do their research when it comes to marketing a product or service. They know the product they have and put a few posts out there for all to see, however, not everyone is applicable for that particular product and then the marketing gets lost in translation. Do your due diligence, research who your product is for, the right competitive price, the right look / feel and branding – everything that you would normally do when selling or marketing. Christmas is no exception and there is much more competition at this time of year so you want it to reach the correct audience at the right price, in the right place and time.
If you’re unsure, why not conduct some surveys or polls on your social media channels and understand first-hand what your audience wants? Ask people when speaking to them, ask friends and family their thoughts or views. Get as much research done as possible so that you know that when you’re when you market your product it’s going to be right. This is both cost effective and efficient productivity!
Get your content out there
One thing that you actually have to do is make your content visible for the world to see. You may have the best product to hit the shelves for Christmas but if you don’t let people know about it in time, it won’t be a very successful year. It’s that simple. Getting the timing right in your Christmas marketing is important.
But don’t worry, social media is your friend! Everyone is online in some capacity. Yes people may still trawl the shops the nearer they get to Christmas or for last minute panic buying ideas but everyone spends time online in a social capacity everyday of every week of every month of every year. Reach out to them and get ahead of their thinking. Be the inspiration that they are looking for. Be the reason they actually decide to buy your product. Make them think, make them decide that your product is the perfect gift.
Why? That’s your selling point.
What makes your product the best? What makes your product the one for them? Why should they buy from you?
Tell them. Show them. Demonstrate. Give them a reason to get ahead of their Christmas shopping.
“The best marketing doesn’t feel like marketing.” – Tom Fishburne
The real trick is making a reader not realise that they’re actually being sold to! If you’re clever in the way that you produce your content, you’ll be telling a story, getting into the minds of your audience and speaking their language without the need for ‘selling’. Become a reliable and trusted source, a place of inspiration, a brand that is known for its integrity and worth. Love your audience, your customers both old and new, and give them a product that speaks for itself.
The best thing is to just get started with your marketing. Create a strategy, make a plan, and go for it. It’s never too early to start promoting for Christmas and it’s always better to be early than late in anything in life!
Here’s our blog post giving you eight top tips for Christmas marketing campaigns – if you want to talk through any of them, please do give us a call. Or if you have any extra tips to add, leave us a comment below!
If you’re looking for inspiration when it comes to marketing your business online, or you’re just not sure how to do Christmas marketing well, we’d love to chat with you. Get in touch and let’s talk Christmas strategy.
In the meantime, if you’d like to receive social media tips and tricks to your inbox, join our online community where inspiration and encouragement in growing your business online is our priority.
Many people strive for success and this can come in various forms depending on what success means for you. Financial freedom, a good work-life balance, owning a business – each and every person has their own thoughts on what success means for them.
If you’re not completely satisfied with how your career or work life is going or heading, and you’re not feeling the joy of success, perhaps it’s time to take a step back and re-evaluate.
Setting up a business and working for yourself can have huge implications to your life, especially if you’re seeking a better work-life balance, and can be the answer that you’re looking for in order to be a more happier, independent and passionate person.
Many people dream about having their own business but get stuck on the ‘how to’ of getting started, often causing a stumbling block and even an excuse not to get started. But if you’re looking for encouragement in getting started and help along the way – we’re here to offer that and to give you as much guidance as we can to help you on your way. Don’t let barriers get in your way, hurdles and obstacles can be overcome – but you need to be in the right mindset to get there.
What are the main benefits to owning a business and working for yourself?
1) Financial freedom
Working for yourself means that you have the opportunity to work the hours you want or need in order to obtain the financial income that you want, or need. Depending on the industry that you head into, and the other commitments you may have, the world is your oyster in how much you can benefit financially when becoming your own boss.
However be aware that it is harder to motivate yourself and stay on track when you’re running your own business! There’s no one there to push you forward, telling you to get the work finished or making you stay 9-5 … you have to do this yourself. Not having a time-sheet or accountability can be hard at first, but when you are in a routine and have the motivation to want to earn, you’re on the right track. It may not happen overnight, but you will get there if you persevere.
Set goals of what income you need in order to see financial freedom – and what does financial freedom actually mean for you as this is different for everyone. Little by little you can reach your financial goals until you hit the place where you need to be. Once you’re there, make a plan in order to sustain that income.
2) Work-life balance
Yes it’s hard work being a business owner, especially when you first start out but if you can start out with the mindset that this is going to work around your other commitments and personal life, you’ll have a better chance that your work-life balance is going to be successful. Start as you mean to go on!
On the flip side of that, you still need to give 100%. This may mean working in a way that you are not used to, or working different hours to accommodate, it’s about balance and finding a routine that works for you personally.
What does a work-life balance mean for you?
Do you have family responsibilities, volunteer commitments, regular things that you need to do? However you balance your workload is completely up to you when you’re a business owner – find a pattern that is sustainable, try not to commit to things that are out of reach or make life harder, and enjoy the benefits of both a happy lifestyle and business that is passionate for you.
When you own your business, you can set your own goals and see them achieved.
When you’re working for someone else you can often feel trapped into achieving someone else’s goals. This is your chance to find your feet, set your own targets and head directly for your own success.
- What do you want to achieve?
- What have you always wanted to do that could be brought into the goals of your new business?
The best way to see success and achieve your goals is to set out a business and marketing plan aligned with where you want to be and how you’re going to get there. Follow the plan and if necessary find someone that you can be accountable to in order to stay on track of your plan.
4) Organisation & Efficiency
If you’re not one for being efficient and simply doing ‘what you need when you need to’, running your own business (should) shape you into being effective in all that you do. Productivity is a must if you want to be successful – start with this mindset when you begin your business and stay in this habit in order for it to continue long-term.
- How do you plan your day?
- What steps do you do in order to see something accomplished?
How about starting with a physical planner where you write down your goals, create step by step targets to achieve them and work out a plan of action in order to see the results? Much better than playing it by ear and hoping for the best! Efficiency and productivity are great tools but ones that need to be worked at and adhered to. However when you get into the routine of following them, you’ll see a more positive outcome and better results.
5) Positive Attitude
When you’re doing something you love, you’ll have the motivation to do it. Unlike a 9-5 where you go because you have to, watching the time tick by, you’ll be positive in what you’re doing. When you’re positive and happy in what you’re doing, you’ll see better results.
“What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.” ~ Zig Ziglar
Success and achievement have an effect not just on the physical aspect of what you’re doing but in your personal attitude and lifestyle too.
Everyone dreams, everyone has goals that they’d love to see come to fruition. If you can put that desire into your own business and see dreams achieved, how much more confident and passionate will you become?
When it comes to starting a business, ensure that you find something that you are passionate about. Once you’ve found that passion, create a plan of action and a timeline of how you’re going to get started and what you need to move forward. Set SMART goals – be realistic in achievements and plan out your marketing to reach those goals.
Get creative, find inspiration, be motivated by passion.
Are you thinking about starting a business? Once you’re ready to get started, give us a call to talk about an online marketing strategy – we’d love to hear your story, see what you’re looking to do and help you get there. Speak soon!
Life can be chaotic, we’re busy people leading busy lives and it all has the potential to become stressful after a while. Running your own business comes with its own stress points too. However, how you manage that stress and the various scenarios that take place, can play a big part of whether that stress will bring you down / create burnout, or make you stronger.
As a business owner, there are things that will keep you up at night and play on your mind, and it can be hard to switch off, keeping work and pleasure separate. So, how can you manage the stress and the constant flow of interruptions? The quicker you can learn to manage stress levels as a business owner, the better your health and business success will be.
Prioritise your time
It’s easy to get snowed under with the pressures of work, to take on everything yourself and to find yourself in the middle of high workloads without a hole to breathe from. And the way to get through this is to learn to prioritise. Without schedules or a plan, it can be easy for tasks to merge into one and to forget what is most important, leaving half-done jobs left on the table. (You may find our social media checklist beneficial)
When you get to this point, it’s time to take some ‘me time’. Burnout is a real issue and more and more business owners are facing this scenario way too often. Me time is important to take stock, refocus, rethink priorities and what matters most.
The art of delegation can be a small business owners’ best friend. It’s not a case of ‘giving up’, it’s a part of growing a business and expanding and taking on the responsibilities that you need and want to, finding other people to help support you as you grow. This takes away the stress from you, and relieves you from certain responsibilities that can free up your time for what you need to do, including taking some personal time for you and your family.
Use tools to help your business
Gone are the days where everything has to be done manually. There are many tools out there which can help with the automation of your business, tools that can make your life much easier and manageable when it comes through getting through daily tasks.
Apps, software, online-programmes, equipment etc, there any so many tools that can help you manage your business, taking the stress away from you as a solo business owner. Yes it can take a trial and error period to realise what works for you, but when you find the ones that do work, you’ll never look back!
Make a list of what tasks you need help with and research what tools could possibly help the health of you and your business. Ask other business owners what they use and what they could recommend. You could try social media groups to ask for advice and to discover new tools that already work for other business owners that you could try. In turn for finding new ways to manage your business, you can manage your stress levels.
Listen to your body
Our bodies are great at indicating when they need to stop or slow down and there comes to a point where we need to listen to those signs. If you need a break, take one. If your body needs to stop and get some fresh air, a chance to refresh and take stock – give your body what it needs.
Your body knows when it’s tired and we lose concentration when our body gets to the point that it feels it’s losing. That’s when it is time to stop – listen to your body!
A rest will give your body time to refresh and breathe. You may not be one for stopping but taking that time to refresh can far out way the time it takes to rectify any errors – it’s worth taking the time.
“Rest when you’re weary. Refresh and renew yourself, your body, your mind, your spirit. Then get back to work.” ~ Ralph Marston
Learn to recognise what works well
When we’re feeling stressed, it can be easy to focus on the negative things that are happening rather that what is working well. Recognising achievements and positive outcomes can have a positive effect in our mindset. Stress comes when we feel we are not coping or are not achieving what we set out to achieve. When we switch the mindset to praise ourselves for the good and the positive, our bodies realise that we are in control of what outcomes we produce and are more inclined to think positivity and feel happier about what’s happening around us.
We can also learn from the good things too and by focusing on these things, we keep our minds active, stay vigilant and break the cycle of negative thinking.
Let go of what is not working
You may have been doing something for months or even years, but if it’s not working – ditch it! There is absolutely no point in carrying on with something that does not work for you. This can also be said for things that are not working in the practicalities of your business and personal life. Find a routine that works for you, whether that be a change in the way you manage your daily activities or the way you organise your projects. When something works, it gives you a better sense of achievement and you’re likely to feel happier in yourself and more productive.
Managing stress levels as a small business owner can be tricky but it’s achievable. Stress can get you down, it can even result in burnout but before you get to that level, do something about it. Talk to the people around you, find networking groups for support, discover different places to work or meet new faces. There are a number of ways in which you can help stress levels stay on par.
As we’ve mentioned above, delegation and outsourcing is an effective way to manage your workload which results in less stress for you. If marketing plays a big part in this and you’ve not got the time to get out there and tell people about your business, perhaps it’s time to outsource. We’re here and happy to help at the click of button, even if it’s just a sounding board to see what options are available for you. Get in touch and let’s talk.
Are you a business owner that could do with an extra pair of hands at certain points throughout a month? You’re aware that it wouldn’t necessarily make sense to hire a part-time assistant at this point in time, but an extra pair of hands is definitely needed in order to keen you sane and on top of your workload! Sound familiar?
Many business owners when they are starting out (or are not quite at the stage of hiring more team members), fall short because they don’t have enough time to get the vital and necessary things done in order to stay afloat. A lot of business owners when they first start out tend to work odd and ‘around-the-family’ hours just to get work completed. This is all well and good and of course complementary that there is commitment and hard work involved – however is it at the detriment of your health, or your family, or your social life?
This is where a freelancer worker or a Virtual Assistant (VA) comes in. A freelance worker is there to suit your business and will work the hours that you ask of them – when they are needed – and nothing more. You won’t be stuck with a huge salary to pay at the end of every month and you are able to stay on top of your finances in regards to paying for what work you need doing.
Here are 4 benefits to hiring a Virtual Assistant or freelancer (rather than hiring an employee)
You’re hiring an expert
Hiring an expert in a given field rather than an employee that may or may not know how to perform a particular task (and who could take a long time to complete that particular task) is a much more cost-effective way of getting a job done. Hiring an expert will give you peace of mind that they will complete a task for you, in a timeframe you specify and to a high standard. This is reassurance that your tasks are completed well and effectively.
A freelancer will have a wealth of knowledge in their given field and will provide a pool of resource for you and your business. One off tasks or on-going projects – you can hire one freelancer that can cover the lot or a selection of workers to complete individual tasks. The decision is yours. This is the way that freelancers and virtual assistants work and they expect to be used for one-off tasks.
You’re saving time and money
Hiring a full time or part time employee takes time and effort. Advertising a position, recruitment, interviewing, awaiting a start date – followed by being required to provide holiday and sick pay plus other benefits for employees. Let’s be honest, not everyone has the time to go through all that and especially if you are just starting out in business. Whilst is may be nice to have someone full time with you to build rapport with, recruiting an employee is not always the most cost-efficient way to spend your budget.
Hiring a virtual assistant has many cost benefits and a freelancer that works from home provides a great cost-saving expense to start with! No office space required. No equipment required. Simply hire your assistant, request the work and receive the work. You will only pay for the work that they are performing on your behalf.
You’re receiving a variety of skillsets
When you hire an employee, you are limited to their individual skill set. This can be great if they have every skill that you require and can be on hand to cover everything you need. However, how much more sense would it make to hire virtual assistants who performed the individual tasks for you. A selection of people, all with different expertise and willing to work together to bring your business together. You will end up with a pool of resources, contacts and connections that you know you can rely on anytime you need a task completed. If you choose to work with a bigger VA company, they will have team of assistants who can manage your workload and although you would be getting a variety of people working on your projects, you’d have one point of contact and one avenue of communication, making the process even more streamlined.
These freelancers could also bring ideas to the table that you had not even thought of, with the passion of growing your business and seeing potential in avenues that you may not have even gone down. It’s a case of a second pair of eyes that are focused on your business success.
You’re also getting flexibility
Most virtual assistants or freelancers are used to working with a variety of clients, all at the same time. They are highly organised people and manage their workloads well. Therefore, you have the ability to call on them whenever you need a task completing. Not working the usual 9-5 but need something completing in an evening? A freelancer will be there for you.
Working with a freelancer will give you way more flexibility than you could imagine and if you’re used to sticking to a 9-5 regime, it’s a great thing to realise that there is assistance for you 24/7.
It works both ways too as often a freelancer has chosen this career to work around other commitments or family circumstances and therefore is looking for a more flexible approach to working. You may be working on a project during an evening and send the required work over to your VA when you wrap for the night. Depending on your VA, you could wake up in the morning to the completed project in your inbox!
Flexibility is key to working with freelancers and as long as you are open with them and keep good lines of communication going, they will do their utmost to provide a loyal, outstanding level of service to you and your business.
Hiring a virtual assistant or freelancer is a sensible move for many small business owners and entrepreneurs who simply don’t have the time, funds or resources of a larger organisation when it comes to employing more team members. Building relationships with VA’s and knowing you can rely on them to complete your tasks at hand is a reassuring thought and a way to be able to let go of the mundane and daily repetitive tasks and go out and enjoy the parts of the business that you love to do.
Why did you start your business? What is it that you want to achieve? Go back to the basics of these questions and get motivated again to push yourself in the direction of your first passion, knowing that you will succeed if you have a good backing and a solid, reliable team behind you.
If you’d like to discuss the opportunity of hiring a virtual assistant, our team would love work with you. We offer a range of services that you can rely on, so get in touch for an initial free consultation.