Why I’m starting the year with unsubscribes

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I’m starting my year off by focusing on what is really important – my time.

When I first started in business I wanted ALL the inspiration. I signed up to e-newsletters, got blogs on my Feedly and followed dozens and dozens of other cool creative businesses on Facebook.

But I’m a little exhausted by it all now. The constant stream of inspiration – and the time it takes to check it all – has left me a little drained. I want to be doing my thing and doing it well so I’m starting off my year with a whole bunch of unsubscribes!

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It is nothing personal for these fab creatives, like I say they provide so much good inspiration for me. But I just can’t have them in my head all day long.

So I’m clearing my schedule to allow for more creativity, and in the peace and quiet I can almost see it.

What are you going to do this year to allow creativity in? I’d love to hear.

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Top tips on finding a niche

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I think it is really important for small businesses to get their niche small and perfectly formed. You ideally want to be in a place where you own it, you understand it and you are rocking it.

We always hear stories about how trying to do too much is dangerous, and means you won’t do anything well. I’m starting to see the benefit of specialising in a niche in my own business and wanted to share a few tips and tricks on finding your specialist target area.

It might not happen overnight. Finding your passion – let alone your niche – can take awhile so don’t be in a rush to find something and make it happen quickly – you might end up in the wrong direction. Take your time and find where you are meant to be.

Think about your passions, and edit, edit, edit. Start with what you know and love. Perhaps you are a fan of crochet, or a super fan of cards and writing letters. Think about what you love to do day to day and then start to work out how this could be incorporated into a business. A number of creatives these days are starting a blog first to see if you can commit to it on an ongoing basis before considering how to turn your ideas and passion into a business.

Own it and rock it. Whatever it is that you decide to do, make sure you are 100% committed. Being fully in it will ensure that your head is in the right place and you are ready and willing to take on any opportunities that come your way. You will also need to do your homework, make sure you have a unique take on your target idea and that you can sustain your plans for the long term.

Find your tribe. I’ve talked about this a little before but finding your tribe and your place is so important for business success. You need to find who else loves your style, your position and your niche and this will ensure you are on a solid track. Your tribe will motivate you too along your journey.

What challenges are you facing within your business trying to find your niche? I’d love to help if I can.

Want to know what small businesses are doing wrong on Facebook?

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Every day I see small businesses struggling on social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram.

I see lots of complaints about Facebook’s algorithms changing the game and businesses worrying about how to best get customers to receive notifications from their page.

But the single biggest mistake I see small businesses making is not putting the effort into a regular, consistent and content heavy social media schedule.

This is the single biggest way to get seen and shared on Facebook.

As a small business I know you are constantly trying to cut through the piles of paper and emails and general administration to even get to the creative stuff, let alone the marketing and social media. But it can be easy and quick and I want to show you how.

Sign up for my new Love Ideas Creative newsletter now to get this and other articles first and in full and be first to know when my new e-book launches!

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The power of Facebook

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I love Facebook. It’s a confession I’m happy to make considering the impact Facebook has had on promoting my small businesses to the world. And new data made public just recently shows – in a New Zealand specific way – why you have to take Facebook seriously – especially if you are a small business too.

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The Head of Facebook New Zealand, Spencer Bailey released NZ specific data for the first time showing the power of Facebook when it comes to sharing and promoting your business. Of particular interest are the following pieces of information:

One. 1.9 million New Zealanders access Facebook every day.

Two. 1.5 million New Zealanders access Facebook from mobile devices.

Three. Average daily visits to Facebook is 14.

Four. 82% of NZ based Mums access Facebook every day.

Five. 71% of people access Facebook to be “entertained”.

What does this tell us? Well for a start it is a hugely powerful active market of a broad range of New Zealanders. Facebook is a way you can easily and quickly start a Marketing campaign online – for no upfront cost – and keep an open conversation with many potential customers.

Facebook also has an immense amount of power to connect you with audiences not just in New Zealand but worldwide and  it all can be done using a set of very basic marketing concepts.

Connect. Look for your tribe and connect with them. Share content with them that is interesting, entertaining and beneficial. Keep the conversation open and current. And enjoy yourself – it will be catching.

Key takeaway – If you are a small business and you want to market your product or service then Facebook is a great place to start and build your brand.

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The Blogcademy 2014 – Lessons Learnt Pt 2

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The Blogcademy 2014 - Auckland

The Blogcademy Auckland 2014

As you know I attended (and styled) The Blogcademy in Auckland at the end of last year and it was really an amazing couple of days for me. I had wanted to attend the first time round but had some prior commitments so when I heard the team were coming back I blocked out my calendar so I could head along and soak up the inspiration.

Here are my top three takeaways from the course.

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The Blogcademy Auckland 2014

As well as getting amazing content, inspiration and tips and tricks, one of the best things about The Blogcademy is getting to mingle and chat with the other attendees. The odds are these guys are very similiar to you – whether they have a blog, are new to blogging and want to be inspired or are old hands at the practice. The thing you will find you have in common is a passion for creativity, a desire to fill yourself with knowledge and a yearning to be your own boss and do something great. Now a room full of these locals makes for an awe inspiring two days – you can imagine!

This is why getting out and networking is such a great takeaway. Being behind a computer is all very well but getting out into the real world and chatting and plotting/planning/dreaming with other people just like you is such a great thing and should be on everyone’s to do list for the year.

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The Blogcademy Auckland 2014

A great takeaway from all three headmistresses is that you have to do the work to get to where you want to be. All three started in a place where the gift they wanted to share with the world was coming from a place of love and passion. It seems really easy to start something big or momentous when you are really excited about what you are talking about – think about writing the first chapter of that book, making the first DIY for your upcoming wedding or the first blog post. But beyond that you have to push through, you have to consistently publish and research and write or design or create – and do the work.

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The Blogcademy Auckland 2014

My final – and favourite – takeaway from The Blogcademy is simply to be yourself and tell your story. The headmistresses really emphasised that they are where they are today because of their unique point of view. They didn’t try to be someone else, to promote things they weren’t passionate about or didn’t care for – they were strictly on point with who they were and what they wanted to say. You are the only you there is and your angle or your take on the world is something people might be interested in – so give it a go and let your personality and weirdness shine through!

PS you can take The Blogcademy online now so no excuses not to go!

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Do I really need to embrace social media?

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The most common grumble I hear from small businesses is around Marketing – and more specifically Social Media. In today’s Bright Business post I’m going to break it down and make it easy for you to see why you should be getting into it.

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Do I really need to embrace Social Media? Well the choice is entirely yours of course, but in my opinion YES! Get serious about Marketing and use the power of Social Media to make things happen in your business.

Jane Stanley from PHD Group sums it up perfectly – “It is not over-hyped; it’s essential. Social is now an integral part of any … plan.” Social Media makes it super easy to connect with your customers and share exactly what you want to say and how you want to say it. And most platforms only require an investment of time – streets ahead of any massive investment in media or advertising I know you are not keen to make.

So what is the point of all of this?

one. Find your Tribe. In every type of Marketing platform there is a place for you and your people (also known as your customers). Think about magazines, or TV shows, or websites. You know yourself when you land on a website you can tell almost instantly if it is for you. The same goes for Social Media. Find where you are comfortable and then look for the type of people you want to inspire, or socialise with, or hope to be like one day. You might decide that Instagram is the only platform you like – or you might decide to investigate all of them – slowly. It is totally your choice. But once you are in there, I promise you’ll find people that will make you want to stay.

two. Make connections. Once you’ve found your place, find people – and lots of them. Networking in Social Media land is about the same as networking in person but it has a much softer approach. Start by following, then liking and commenting on those you want to connect with. Then strike up a message or two. Your connections in the online world are just as powerful – if not more powerful – than those in person, so put yourself out there and get connecting. Amazing things just might happen.

three. Share your story. This is the nicest bit about Social Media I think. It is really easy to share your story, your brand, your product or service. Start small and post a few insights from your life and business and before you know it you will be promoting like a star. Of course Social Media is not all about you. Don’t forget to share what makes you smile, and laugh and cry. People from all over the world will begin to see your personality – and that of your brand – crystal clear once they see your story and your day to day world. And just like that you are Marketing your business.

four. Enjoy it. Surprisingly enough you might actually enjoy yourself. This medium is designed to be fun and interactive and much more playful than the ‘serious’ marketing of previous decades. Throw yourself into it and see what eventuates. What is the worst that could happen? You decide one or all of the Social platforms are not for you. But the best? A whole new world of connections, sales and growing that business in ways you only dreamed of.

Go on – give it a whirl.