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What’s Holding You Back in Your Small Business? {And My Top 5 Tips to Help Rock Your World}

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I have to confess, my ethnicity held me back for many years. For 40 years in fact, I felt like a 2nd-class citizen. Being born in Sydney to migrant parents, and growing up in an “Anglo” area, I never quite felt “good enough” (or white enough). As a kid I would have killed for a shop-bought white-bread vegemite-sandwich like everyone else around me. Instead I sported home-made-salami and mum’s home-pickled-artichokes on chunky-pana-de-casa for lunch. However, rather than relishing my differences and celebrating my ethnicity, I slunk into a cycle of unconfidence and under-valuing myself. It was a tough gig.

I have run multiple successful multi-million-dollar businesses since I was 19, and in business I have always been confident. Coming from a family of entrepreneurs, being “good” at business has always come naturally to me. My mum always says I popped out at a quarter to nine on a Monday morning, bright and chirpy, ready to do business. And at 6, I was “selling” mudcakes from the window of our cubby-house to any willing passer-by, already a budding entrepreneur.

But even as an adult, at 40, I was not really “owning” my true talents. So on the eve of my 40th birthday (4 years ago) a series of catastrophic events in my personal life led me to an epiphany. And in that place of insight, I realised that my “ethnicity” was holding me back in business and in my personal life too. I felt I had nothing to offer, because I was never good enough, or so I believed. I needed to let go of that “ethnic” chip on my shoulder. It was more of a boulder, and it was holding me back from being who I really wanted to be. I decided I needed to let go of the “ethnic filter” that I was seeing the world through and that was my excuse for not taking the next step in my career. I needed to release myself from the yearning to be like “everyone else”. It was time to grow up. And it was the best thing I ever did. Because in doing this, The Like Effect was born, where I am now able to share what I have learned in my 24 years experience of business and help others avoid the inherent pitfalls of running a small business.

What changed for me significantly on the eve of my 40th birthday, was a realisation that I had the choice to focus on sharing my talents and what I was “good at” with the world, rather than focus on what I wasn’t good at. I made the conscious choice to believe that I have value. And slowly slowlyI started to believe that what I was good at, was worth sharing, and that my extensive experience in private, public and corporate business, could indeed help somebody else.

Business Facebook Mentoring in Byron Bay

This week I have helped other small business owners from Connecticut to Utah, from Sydney to the Gold Coast, from Lismore to Ballina, from Byron Bay to Bangalow, from Mullumbimby to London. And that’s just one typical week for me. And I have to say, that when I see my work in action these days, and I see that I am helping other small business owners kick some business goals of their own, every single week and every single day, I am truly humbled. But the confidence I have today hasn’t come easily. It has been a steep learning curve the last 4 years to be fully myself, and I didn’t get here by accident….

By the way, I am not sharing this story with you as a way of “personal purging”. My blog is not a place for me to vent or dump on you, my precious readers. I am sharing this piece of “personal me”, this side of my humanity, because many small business owners that mentor and workshop with me, have serious doubts about the value of their product and suffer the lack of confidence to price their products correctly (which is a reflection of their own lack of self-worth). And so I have shared my story with you today because one of the major restraints I see every day holding back many small-business owners, is THEMSELVES.

If you suffer from undervaluing yourself (and your products), then you may feel better to know that learning to “get out of your own way” is one of those universal challenges that many small business owners have in common, regardless of culture, country or education. You’re not alone.

Especially as your business starts to grow and expand, your insecurities will no doubt rise up with a vengeance and threaten to swallow you up. Or worse, your weaknesses could bottleneck your business and stop it from progressing and flourishing.

So, tell me, is there something holding you back? A belief that you are not good enough? A habit that devalues what you do? A voice inside your head that drives you to under-price your product and be in a constant cycle of discounting? Are there external forces (or people) bringing you down?

Until you stop blaming your race, education, parents and other external factors, your business will never grow. To truly take-off in your business, you have to believe that you (and your product) has value……

Having overcome this challenge myself over the last 4 years, I can say from experience that having belief in yourself takes some practice, daily practice. And if I have been able to overcome my fears, a shy geeky girl from non-English-speaking migrant parents who felt too uncool to share her talents most of her young (and adult) life, so can you. I can’t tell you how so incredibly empowering it feels to be sitting inside your own personal power. And that once you have felt the bliss of what this feels like, and tasted the sweet fruits that this personal power can yield to you, you will never want to look back.

Along the way I found some simple yet very powerful steps that helped to unstick me from holding myself back in doing what I really wanted to do when I grew up. And finally at a ripe age of 40 years young, I realised that coaching others to be more awesome versions of their already-talented selves and to help other small business owners find the juicer paths in their business, was the path that would bring me most joy and bliss in my life. And because I am a sharing-kinda-ethnic-gal…..

Here are My Top 5 Tips to Help Rock Your World….

1. Surround Yourself with Positive People. Eliminate toxic situations (and people) from your life. While you are caught up with who said what to whom, and which competitor is copying you now, you would’ve missed another golden opportunity to meet a new customer or discover a supplier that could change the course of how you could do things, for the better. *Negativity will only hinder your growth*

Cast Your Seeds onto the Most Fertile Soil. Don’t waste your time being caught up in unfertile activities. Focus on the Juicy tasks, only…

2. Streamline Your Business so that the stressful tasks are outsourced. Also outsource the tasks that you are not good at. For example, if you are not good at book-keeping, hire a freelance book-keeper. This not only frees you up to do what you are good at, it will also make you feel more confident in what you are doing, because you are spending less time sucking at what you’re not good at. *Your time is better spent on strengthening your talents. The more you do what you do, you will grow more confident, as you get better and better at it, every day.*

Sharpen Your Saw – Every Day – Get Better at What You’re Good At. This is where the well of confidence will spring from…

3. Seek Solid Support. From your partner. From a friend. To help you see what you are already great at. To help you navigate the sometimes uncertain waters of the business world. To help you weather the criticisms and stormy events you may encounter. And if help is not forthcoming, seek help from a mentor. You may be a team of one (or three) but you are a team none-the-less, and you are the captain of your ship. So seek out some extra team members to help you run your business. You are not Robinson Caruso, you are not meant to do this alone. And you don’t have to add full time staff by the way, but seeking out some support could be the sanity-saver you need. *It’s okay to seek guidance so that you don’t repeat the same mistakes that countless other business owners have already encountered before you. Learn from their mistakes.*

You didn’t sign up for “good enough” – you signed up for AWESOME. So get the help you need to be a better version of you, so that your business will not only survive, but also flourish into the future…

4. Make a “Dream” board and pin everything on it that you really desire in your business (and life). I don’t mean this in a hippie-dippy kinda-way, I mean this in a visual/inspiring/”these are my goals” kinda way. Because if you haven’t got a vision, then you won’t know which daily steps to take, to bring you closer to your goals. *Having a vision, a goal, a mission statement, whatever you want to call it, ensures that you are only focusing on the tasks that are relevant to your goal. Everything else just drops away as unimportant* 

A Ship Without a Rudder is a Ship Going Nowhere. Having a daily direction gives your business meaning, purpose and a road map…

Which brings me to my last point….

5. Take Focussed Steps Every Day, to bring you closer to your goals….. Change the board around. Remove the goals that cease to be important. Add goals that have bubbled up as being important to you right now. Be prepared that the goal posts may change, and that’s okay. Changing goals is inevitable when you are living a conscious and aware life. So don’t just be “busy” at the tasks that scream for your attention the loudest. Make the conscious choice, every day, to focus on the priorities THAT ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT, TODAY. *Focus daily on your most important goals and you will find that the accumulation of these steps over the course of a year, will add up to a highly focused, meaningful and fruitful year in business*

Masters Focus on what They are Good At, that’s How They Became Masters. Share your talents, share what you are good at, practice daily, focus on important goals daily, not just “busy” work, and you will reap the rewards…

And if you still don’t believe me, here’s some food for thought….

Facebook business

I still struggle sometimes with “comparing” myself with other people, but that’s part-and-parcel of breaking the “perfectionist” cycle that I encased myself in. But that’s a whole other blog post….

That’s my 2-cents worth Peeps – I’d love to hear your thoughts on this subject, as this kinda-stuff moves me. And seeing my clients start to really believe in their product and the possibility of their businesses really flourishing online, also makes me feel that I have done my job…… And if I can help even one person believe in themselves more, then I have fulfilled my purpose…..

So if I have helped you rock your world, I would feel as famous as a rockstar if you shared this blog post with your friends in your favourite online space…

Thank you for reading. And here are the buttons to share with….

Read reviews about the awesome work I do, here Buy “Novice2Ninja – Facebook for Business” , eBook or Printed, here Request a Call-Back to chat about a 1-on-1 Session with Francesca Grab your seat to the upcoming Facebook Business Workshop here Join us at “The Social Media Club” here

With Incredible Gratitude
Francesca Esposito-Rose B.Inf.Tech.
Business Mentor, Online Strategist, Author, Speaker & Social Media Business Specialist

{Both Photos from facebook.com/UnitedHumanists}

Relevant vs. Random: A Strategy for Success

Last month, I ran a competition on my Facebook Page. The competition was asking a question in response to this video here by Eden Riley of Edenland….

And the question ran along the lines of ….

What does this blogger do to make her win the award of Australian Blogger of the Year?”

The person that answered this question correctly, not only won a free copy of my eBook Novice2Ninja, they also understood the primary factor that is the basis of online success. Jodie Heylen of The Gift Post (Gold Coast) won the competition and I promised to blog about this once the competition was over.

However this is such an important concept to get your head around that I re-ran this competition last night at “The Social Media Club” and yep, I gave away another free copy of my Book to the first person that guessed correctly.  This time, it was  a printed copy of my book. And for those of you that have followed this competition twice already, I promise there won’t be a 3rd!

So here goes, and the answer is.. {drum roll} RELEVANCE. Do you want to know why RELEVANCE is THE most important factor to ONLINE SUCCESS?

Here is “RELEVANCE defined”….

Relevance is like current, but current is only about timing.

Relevance is similar to important, but important is only about the order of priorities.

Relevant is almost like related, but not that’s only the half of it.

RELEVANT is the opposite to RANDOM, and a whole lot more.

You see, when I first started in Social Media about 4 years ago, I posted randomly for several months. My page sucked and I felt microscopic. I finally figured that RANDOM POSTING DOES NOT WORK. If you adopt “Random Posting” as your strategy, you will end up with a Facebook Business Page or Blog that is made up of loosely connected ideas, that may or may not be related to your business, and basically you will end up with a mish-mash of concepts. And guess what the problem with a random strategy is? It is not clear, it’s not focussed and not targetted. Bottom line, “Random Posting” will not help your business and will certainly not generate any sales.

There are many reasons why Edenland is a successful blog. But the one single reason why Eden Riley won “Australian Blogger of the Year” is because what she blogs about is RELEVANT. Edenland is a collection of thoughts and opinions on what is currently controversial and what is happening at the forefront of current culture. Riley’s “product” is controversy and anything topical. She is also very engaging, authentic, honest, real, human, kind, she’s all those things. But most of all, the essence of what she talks about is RELEVANT to her Fans. Why? Because her Followers are also concerned about the impact that these emerging issues have on society and how it will affect their lives, jobs and future security. Riley taps into that big-time.

So let’s start with “the Don’t's”….  Here is what NOT TO DO online….

  • Take for example, a lawyer that has mostly a Generation-Y market of 25-35 year olds. If this lawyer was to blog about Lady Gaga, this would make this lawyer’s blog current. But it wouldn’t be relevant because Lady Gaga has nothing to do with law.
  • If you were a real estate agent and you posted Footy Tips, this could be interesting and fun to some of your Fans, but this is NOT ON TOPIC. Footy Tips are not relevant to your business or to your customers (who are on your Page as property buyers and renters).
  • If you were a Tourism Page, posting about the gripes you have with city centre parking or the complaints you have about the new Highway coming through, this is NOT RELEVANT to the fans that are buying your products (Tourists are interested in the tourist experience, not the dirty laundry/behind-the-scenes-infrastructure-issues).
  • If you were an oil painter, and you blogged about jewellery, this would be INTERESTING and loosely related to canvas painting, however if you kept this up, you would soon start to lose your Fans or at least, they will stop engaging with you on your core topic of oil painting on canvas.

By doing any of the above you would start losing your Fans and your page would start to suck dismally, or worse, bomb all together. Put simply, you will lose your tribe. Your Peeps will simply go elsewhere to get their “fix” of the love they want on that particular topic. This is because your fans are following you specifically because they want to connect with WHAT YOU DO and WHAT YOU REPRESENT.

Let’s then define the “Do’s” of how to achieve Online Success….

You need to blog or post about what is RELEVANT to your business PLUS what is relevant to your TARGET MARKET.

  • So if you’re an oil painter, post about oil painting only. Best brushes to use at home, different techniques to achieve different effects, top-tips to properly wash brushes…..
  • If you’re a real estate agent, post about how great it is to live in your area, news about events coming up that make the region a joy to live in, renovation success stories that turned a mega profit….
  • As a business lawyer, blog about copyright issues that are currently in contention, business issues to watch out for, new workplace laws that may affect small business owners….
  •  In tourism, post about events coming to the area, restaurants and the accolades they have recently won, or the best coffee in town….

Eden Riley blogs about topics that her Fans are interested in PLUS the topics that are current and are MEANINGFUL to her Followers. Therefore Edenland is a highly RELEVANT blog. The week she blogged about chicken fillets to represent breast implants, there had been recent debate in the media about young girls having plastic surgery to feel beautiful and accepted. So this video was ON TOPIC and relevant to her Peeps, at the time…

I therefore define RELEVANCE as being

  • BOTH RELATED to your business
  • AND ALSO RELATED TO your target market

I also use RELEVANCE as the number one FUNNEL to cross-check my content before I post anything on any of my Facebook Pages. So before I post to my blog or Facebook page, if the topic does not make it through the RELEVANCE funnel, then I scrap it. It is not the right CONTENT for my page or blog if it does not make it through my filter.

I consider this principle of RELEVANCE vs. RANDOM to be the most important underlying factor to your success online. Get this wrong and your Facebook Business Page or blog will bomb. Yes you have to be engaging, the more engaging you are, the more your Fans will dig what you do. But you can be engaging and still be irrelevant. You can be engaging and random. It is important therefore to be engaging AND RELEVANT.

So the keys to ONLINE SUCCESS are….

  1. UNDERSTAND your target market and what they want to hear & read about
  2. Make sure your topics are CONNECTED to your business and are ON-TOPIC with what you do
  3. With these two filters in mind, then generate posts that are both MEANINGFUL to your target market (1) and CONNECTED to your business (2) = THIS WILL GIVE YOU RELEVANT CONTENT

Laywers, I advise you hold back on blogging about the latest Monster-Ball rap and stick to the topics that your Peeps are interested in, and if your Fans are mostly Generation-Y, then why not blog about the latest “Stop & Search” laws which would be of huge interest to this age bracket? Knowing their rights when they go out may be at the fore-front of their minds and may spark some great discussion (and engagement) on your Facebook Page or blog. Yes you must understand what your target market likes and wants to read about, but that’s only the half of it. What you talk about on your blog or Facebook Page must also be related and connected to your business (see poster below).

Social Media Strategy

I share my extensive research on the topic of  “Content Strategy” in detail in my book “Novice2Ninja – Facebook for Business”. Hope it can help you too.

Buy “Novice2Ninja – Facebook for Business” , eBook or Printed, here

Request a Call-Back to chat about a 1-on-1 Session with Francesca

Grab your seat to the upcoming Facebook Business Workshop here

Join us at “The Social Media Club” here

And I would be as happy as a little girl in a lolly-shop if you shared this post with your friends in your favourite online playground. Thank you xx

With Gratitude
Francesca Esposito-Rose B.Inf.Tech.
Business Mentor, Online Specialist, Author, Speaker & FaceBook Business Specialist

 

 

 

 

Optimism for Business is UP (lessons we can all learn from Walt Disney)

coaching small businessesMy friend who trades the stock market tells me that the Australian Stock Market hit rock bottom last week and that the economy is on the way up. Bear in mind that I am not a financial advisor, however I can certainly feel a signficant shift in market sentiment over the last few weeks. Everyone is alot more positive about their businesses, customers are spending, and willing to spend more.  It’s like the fear of potential world meltdown is over or the grief and shock of the stock market crash a few years ago has been processed into our psyches and we are now feeling “it’s okay, it had to happen, the bubble had to burst for us to all experience a rude reality wake up call“.

Maybe I’m overthinking this, perhaps  it’s just the happiness of Spring to complement a delightfully dry and delicate August after a long long long wet season in Australia (36 months, on and off, but who’s counting). Maybe everyone’s just happy that the sun is shining again, at every level, economically and psychologically.

Either way, OPTIMISM FOR BUSINESS IS DEFINITELY UP. So whenever my clients are feeling down about the outlook for their businesses (we’ve all been there right?) I remind them about this little quote that I have stuck to my PC….

Mickey Mouse® popped out of my mind onto a drawing pad . . . when the business fortunes of my brother Roy and myself were at their lowest ebb and disaster seemed right around the corner.
- Walt Disney®. Producer. Director

Yes I coach business strategy (after 24 years of running businesses, I’ve got a few tools under my  belt), yes I share my online business acumen and secrets (after 15 years online, I’ve learnt a thing or three), but most importantly, what I do is to help my clients work out what their super-powers are. Yes, that’s not a typo, and I’m not getting all hippie-dippie on you. Getting clear on what your strengths are is at the core of what I do and is at the core of your business success. And guess what, “owning” what you are good at is also going to help you survive the next few years in business as we navigate a new economic landscape, both online and offline….

So if you feel you’ve hit rock-bottom in your business, or not sure where to go or where to start in your business, reach out to me, because I’ve been there too, and it’s time we got you off the negative downward spiral and onto a positive trajectory… sound good? Here’s some reviews from some of my happy clients….

For more business inspiration and other great ways to optimise your Facebook for Business Page to help your business achieve success, get my book. Or if 1-on-1 is more your style, I am available for personal business coaching sessions in person, over the phone, over email or let’s chat over skype in our summer t-shirts (that’s how serious business is done these days)….

Buy Book Now “Novice2Ninja” Book a Session with Francesca

If you found this information useful, please share this post to your favourite online playground. I would be as happy as Walt Disney with appreciation for helping me share the knowledge and the love (I am a small business too)…

 

With Gratitude

Francesca Esposito-Rose B.Inf.Tech.

Business Mentor, Online Specialist, Author, Speaker & FaceBook Business Specialist

[Photo copyright en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Mickey_Mouse.svg]

Finding Your Kill-Switch: Saved by Daggy-Dancing

business longevity

This morning I did a Zumba class with the wicked Janie (instructor). Yup, I’m a self-confessed daggy-dancer. I love the 80′s disco/pop music, it transports me to a place in my 20′s when life was footloose and fancy-free. I love the hall that we dance in, an old 1900′s church in the ecclectic Byron hinterland village of Federal. I love reconnecting with my little girl energy, the freedom to “dance like nobody is watching”. I love the instructor, she’s a gentle and kind soul that woops your arse (into shape) without hesitation. I love the drive home with the party still going on in my head, feeling like I have super-charged my spare-battery, quite literally.

I have been doing Zumba for 18 months now and it has changed me. It’s not just the physical exercise, it’s my way of mentally switching off, letting go and finding the space between my brain cells. In short, it’s my (IKS) Instant Kill-Switch and my weekly saviour.

It’s so important as a business owner to have a regular way to release your Fu-Fu valve, a way to reconnect with your Mojo, a way to rewitness your true essence, a way to let go and jump out of any negative spiral you may have been caught up in that week. Finding your Kill-Switch is crucial to staying on an even keel mentally, the first step to the longevity of your business and essential for your success. If you are not taking active steps to release your pressure valve on a regular basis, you are in the express lane to burn-out, unhappiness and loss.

Do you have an Insant Kill-Switch? What do you do to MENTALLY switch off and save your sanity? Not just physical exercise, what activity do you do to pause the constant barrage of thoughts, tasks and technology that can easily drop you into a state of overwhelm and panic if left to run rampant? 

So that other small business owners may also discover ways to stay strong, clear and focussed, leave a comment below and share what you do to save your sanity? Do I hear you screaming “Sanity for Small Business?”  Like, Share and Comment if you agree?

Francesca Esposito-Rose

Self-Confessed Daggy-Dancer saved by Zumba