If you’re new here you may not know that I have been running a very successful lifestyle blog (Being Tazim) for over 5 years now. Decent traffic, income generation, loyal following. . .these are all things I can say BeingTazim.com has. It’s no accident, though and it definitely took me some trial and error to get things to the level they are at now. Here are a few of my favourite tools that I use to create zomg-worthy posts: [Read more…]
It’s easy to be really precious about what we’re putting out in the world—namely: our blogs. Or, on the flipside: being nonchalant about it–thinking it’s okay to just throw up any old post, because: who’s going to read it anyway?
Neither way of doing things is a good idea. Not if you want the content you’re creating to fit in to your bigger picture business plans.
Unless you’re writing a diary-style blog that you don’t share with anyone else, your blog doesn’t exist on it’s own. It’s tied to your brand. So, we need to think about your blog being part of a larger business plan—not just floating around willy-nilly.
One of the things that I’ve realized over the years is that I was working with someone else’s assumptions about what a blog could or should be. Also—the oohs and ahhs from the peanut gallery when I received new products to try out or invitations to media events? I took those too much to heart. Only I knew how much time and effort it took to write about each thing, promote it, and the overall value of whatever it was relative to what I put in to it.
I felt guilty when I didn’t have at least one blog post up per day, even as I was in university and working part-time. How did it feel when I gave in to the pressure to blog more frequently than I wanted to? Or when I caved and signed up for yet another blogging challenge? Sometimes, I felt pushed (in a good way), but mostly I felt like blogging was a chore. That is so not how I want to feel about blogging—never again!
Blogging isn’t always going to be fun, but it can still feel how you want it to. [Read more…]
Virtual entrepreneurship is on the rise and more and more people are starting and running successful blogs. And why not? Limitless potential clients, cheaper expenses, sweatpants are our uniforms…sounds divine. And for the most part, it is.
I’m sure we have all seen or heard these phrases, but what exactly do they mean?
Terms & Conditions (“T&C”)*
T&C on your site act as a metaphorical contract between your business and the site visitor. Depending on the type of business you have, terms can vary, but the essence is that the terms can help to protect your Company from potential legal action by visitors to your website and by stealing any of your intellectual property (blog posts, images, etc.). Here, you will provide the governing law of your site/your Company, provide limitations of liabilities, warranties for the goods or services, delivery terms/return policies, intellectual property information (such as all some of the content on the website belongs exclusively to your Company), etc. [Read more…]
Time flies when you’re having fun. It seems hard to believe that I’ve been blogging for over 5 years now (on my lifestyle blog BeingTazim.com). I’ve learnt a lot over the years and I’m still learning more and tweaking things as I keep going. Back in the day, not a lot of people knew what a blog was—I often got asked if it was like an online diary (like Livejournal), or a hobby fangirl site (I used to make fangirl websites for my favourite musicians back in the late 90s/early 2000s).
People still seem baffled that one can earn money from blogging, that it can be part of a bigger business strategy and that it creates something of value for readers and clients. So, I’m here to clear the confusion a bit. Not everyone considers their blog a business or part of a larger business. There are more ways to make money from your blog than with adsense ads. While blogs can be personal in nature, more and more consumers trust the recommendations and advice of bloggers.
I have so many memories (mostly good) about my 5 years of blogging:
Writing blog posts while sitting in front of the TV with my former partner, being excited about packages arriving from sponsors—then remembering that it means I’ll have to write about the products, promote my blog posts and dispose of the packaging materials, photographing my food before I eat it, writing in hashtags every time I post on Twitter, chatting with fellow bloggers in Facebook groups. . .
You know what’s awesome about working for yourself? You can decide how to spend your time!
Let’s talk productivity for a second. You know all those “tips” you read and hear about having a set routine to your day, starting and stopping at certain times each day, and the rest of that stuff? Right. Yes, I’m sure you’ve heard tons of conflicting advice about that, and maybe even read a few (dozen) lists about how to be more like the most successful people in the world. Okay, that’s all well and good—if the advice works for you. There is no set way to do things when it comes to your business.
I already shared with you how I plan to be spontaneous (over on my lifestyle blog), and how to do what works for you and leave the rest. Here are a few more things to consider when thinking about your ideal business model.
Things to think about:
- What is your ideal lifestyle? I believe in building your business around your ideal lifestyle. So, first decide what that is. For me, it follows along with what I write down when I’m asked to describe my ideal day. I would love to wake up with a fresh smoothie to start my day, working for a few hours, then exploring for a bit. Exploring could be within my city or wherever I am at the moment. My ideal lifestyle includes being location independent. I would like to be able to pick up my business and work from anywhere. I spent 7 weeks with my family, both in my city and in my hometown of Calgary, Alberta, in 2014. I was able to work during that time because of choices I made in my business.
- How do you like to work? I’m an introvert, so enjoy spending time by myself (on my computer) chatting with and connecting with entrepreneurs online. I also really love connecting with people in person and running in-person workshops and coaching sessions. Because of this, I like to have a combination of in-person workshops (which I can run anywhere I set things up around the world), online programs and residual income from eBooks and other products. This is considered a combination of active and residual income.
- What do you consider to be a rich life? For me, being able to take off mid-day to go hiking for a few hours, go for an afternoon walk, grab a coffee and hang out for a while with a good book or meet up with a friend are all things that make me feel rich. Buying a book from a bookstore or spending an hour at the library are also on that rich life list.
Not sure how to take your ideal business model and turn it in to a sustainable business, or how to promote your passion (your service-based business) to the world? Find out how I can help by checking out my services page.
A little over a year ago, I didn’t know who Marie Forleo was. The wonderful world of business coaches, webinars, tele summits. . .it was all new to me. Once I jumped in, I was hooked. I wanted to learn everything I could about. . .everything. While working my bridge job, continuing to update my lifestyle blog (BeingTazim.com)
But then came feeling overwhelmed! There were SO many great resources out there telling me I needed to know about “this awesome newsletter trick” or “how creating an eBook will entice people to sign up for your mailing list and ultimately bring you tons of traffic.” You’ll never find that kind of advice here, by the way. Not in a form like that. There’s no shortage of information out there on blogs that will make you feel like you don’t know very much at all—but if you know this one thing your traffic will SOAR—SOAR I tell you! Anyway, I guess a few things became clear to me during that period of my life: 1. I have an addictive personality. It’s a good thing I’m not in to drugs or drinking. 2. Presenting information to my readers/clients in that way is SO not my bag. 3. Making a million tweaks to every aspect of my business, website, and social media profiles takes a lot of time and doesn’t necessarily bring me a little thing called money or traffic in and of itself. . . which leads to clients/money-making.
Something had to give!
From creating the “perfect” about page, to tweaking your Facebook page header to look a certain way, to starting a blog, and using every single social media platform out there, the noise is seemingly endless! Realizing that I am just not that in to changing tiny things to do with social media promotion that don’t add up to very much ROI was a start. Noticing that I had notebooks full of information from all the webinars and what-not I’d been spending time watching and reading instead of really working on things was when I knew I needed to change things for myself. The last straw was when I added up all the courses I’d enrolled in that I hadn’t even started or completed yet. Rebecca Tracey of The Uncaged Life totally got me over my course addiction with her program Uncage your Business.*
The Uncaged Life and Hey, Nice Package! are totally awesome programs that I wholeheartedly endorse.
I was in way too deep with all the biz information coming my way, and I didn’t know how to get out—until one day I decided to quit cold turkey. I unsubscribed from dozens of newsletter emails, stopped signing up for every single “best thing in the world” challenge/webinar/course, and focused on creating a clear picture of what methods and ways of doing business work for me. Once I left all of that noise behind I was able to really focus on what I wanted to do for my business. Maybe it took being “part of that world” (queue pictures of Ariel from The Little Mermaid) for half to ¾ of a year to really know what I did and didn’t want my business to be like. To be clear, I was freelancing as a virtual assistant last summer (2013) and didn’t make the leap to a business name and doing things differently until late November.
I love sleeping for around 8 hours a night. I used to feel totally under pressure to stay up late, wake up early and do every single thing myself in my business. I hired some help when I was able to, for brief moments in time, but now I’m back to doing only the most important things that will really push my business forward (by myself). I so often hear that entrepreneurs need to delegate and hire help for things that they’re not experts in or things that someone else could be doing for less money. I full support this, and plan on hiring some help with my bookkeeping and stuff next year. I feel blessed and full of abundance knowing that I have a few business coaches to turn to and awesome communities of entrepreneurs to bounce ideas off of. That’s what works for me at the moment.
We have to stop judging what other people do with their time.
That entrepreneur who insists you’re not taking your business seriously enough if you’re not waking up at 5am and staying up crazy late—cause theirs so much stuff to do (when is there not stuff to do? Seriously, welcome to the world.), or your friend who is trying to one-up the other with tales of how busy or tired they are? Not cool, and not unique. I’m not at all saying I have everything covered, and that I somehow have found “balance”—as a single woman who doesn’t have any close friends in the city or family that I regularly see, I find it hard to justify not working at times.
Lately I’ve been working on ways to plan to be spontaneous. It’s summer, and this lovely weather isn’t going to last long. I know I’m going to push myself twice as hard to get new courses and things done in the fall and through winter/spring—so I’m okay with taking off to spend a few hours at the beach in the middle of the day, or sleeping in late because I decided to stay up and write or work on things when I was feeling inspired. A regular schedule for myself and how I spend my days would not be included in any ideal day exercises or future planning. Sure, I have an editorial calendar and a rough idea of when I want to have blog posts published, but I’m allowing myself to feel free to shift those things around as I see fit. This is what works for me. I don’t care that someone else says I should post 3 times a week, create a vlog and also a podcast. Watch Natalie MacNeil’s latest vlog: “It’s Your Choice: The Antidote For Being Too Busy” for more about this whole “busy” thing.
Here is something else that I am being told to do/focus on (that I’m totally ignoring): Locally, there are dozens of business/marketing related in-person meetups taking place—and I feel so pressured to attend them. They each cost a minimum of $10 and take approximately 2 to 4 hours to attend (between the learning part, the “networking” part and the commute). It’s not like I haven’t been to some in the past (and not like I won’t continue to go to a few), but going to new ones each week without actually taking the time to implement what I’m learning just doesn’t seem like a good use of my time. Besides, have I ever mentioned how much I love being home?
What well-intentioned advice are you totally ignoring for the good of your business and your sanity?
so. . .you can spend more time doing things you enjoy. . .like hot air ballooning. That’s a thing, right?
Create a quick list of things that you keep hearing that you should do in your business. Read through the list, then cross out anything that you’re choosing not to do.
Make a second list of things you want to do from the first list, adding in extras that appeal to you.
For example, maybe you really want to podcast, run local workshops or create your own conference. Don’t worry about making it look perfect—jot down your lists on scrap paper or whatever you have handy.
Use your phone, if you’d like.
P.S. If you want to figure out which social media platforms you will benefit most from—so that you can try them out to see if they’re your bag—sign up to get your free copy of my little social media cheat sheet. I only encourage my clients to find out about all the social media platforms so they can choose which ones they like. And I want you to do what works for you, too.
Whether we are creating content, devising new programmes, working on our sales copy or planning a strategy, staying fresh and innovative is at the heart of being successful.
So, we know we need to stay creative, but what stops us?
Well for starters we are flooded with information, 24/7.
Messages fly at us from Twitter, Facebook, emails, texts, Whatsapps, calls, Hangouts…you name it, we are being bombarded by it.
The web has opened up SO many amazing channels of opportunity for us in the way we can work and live, and we now have access to so many inspiring materials right at our fingertips.
I have some tips on how to harness your creative thinking for business, to get into your zone and create awesome ideas without having to live in a yurt for 6 months (although, FYI, I am so down with that!).
Find your flow
Knowing how to work in your flow and let ideas come is a skill that can be tweaked and honed and developed.
As a designer and copywriter in my previous career “lives”, I knew that in order to come up with great concepts I would need a quiet room, a fresh coffee, a banana, and some Daft Punk music to get me in the zone and ship ideas on time (don’t judge, ok!?).
Now as I write blogs or work on my products, I use Focus at Will or some drum and bass music, and I set a timer to concentrate in chunks of 25 minutes at a time.
Whatever works for you.
Some people find they need to work offline, in a coffee shop or a coworking space. You could always dictate ideas to Evernote via your smartphone when out and about, or make notes offline and photograph them to sync to Evernote later.
If you like the coffee shop vibe but need to work solo, try Coffitivity for size, it may just be what you need.
Do something new to help ideas find their feet
This doesn’t have to be anything massively adventurous, but making tiny changes to your usual routine each day helps create space for ideas to flow by feeding your brain new materials.
Known in the NLP space as pattern interrupt, it’s a simple method of taking a new viewpoint. It can be as simple as ordering a different coffee one day, listening to a new album or podcast, working somewhere new, wearing a new lipstick, changing the way you walk to the gym/office/pub. Whatever it is, a new thing a day quickly adds up to a lot of new experiences which will go a long way to producing new ideas. [Read more…]
As entrepreneurs, tips about anything from social media to how to network, to ways to design your sales pages are free-flowing. Often times, the tips and advice given are really general and don’t have much to do with specific situations.
Some people give advice at the most unwelcome times. Once, I posted my new sales page in one of my favourite Facebook groups and someone thought it was a good idea to pick it apart and give me advice on how to change it. I was so not asking for that! I was so offended that I couldn’t respond. I didn’t care about the quality of the advice, because the unsolicited nature There are people who’s advice I totally trust (an awesome business coach I’ve been working with, my best friend, my favourite cousins) but, I still need to decide whether or not I want to follow it at that particular time.
The hair thing? Totally true! I know people who wash their hair every other day, once a week or less often. But for me, the tried and true amount to wash my hair is daily. Advice from magazines, beauty companies etc tell me that my hair will be dry and my scalp irritated with too-frequent washing. I have to say that my hair is pretty awesome—doesn’t need to be dyed, processed or covered with tons of beauty products. It’s shiny and smooth and naturally wavy. Clearly, ignoring that piece of advice has been working for me.
If anyone has advice on how to tell people I don’t want want their advice, please let me know. 🙂
All advice isn’t good advice, no matter who’s offering it up.
How I do things differently (’cause I am not in the business of sleaze-balling. Yes, that’s totally a real verb.) when I network.
Networking. What do you think of when someone says that word? If you picture business men in suits standing on tabletops throwing their business cards in to the air, dispersing them throughout the room. . .well, you have a very active imagination. But seriously, doesn’t it feel like this is how some people ‘do’ networking? Of course it’s okay and encouraged to hand out your business cards—but there’s so much more to networking than that! Read on for my networking tips, to let you how to do it so you don’t feel sleazy.
Tip #1: Get Real About your Goals and Objectives
Okay, let’s keep it real: do you really schedule in events, conferences and meetings JUST to network? OR—is the ultimate goal something else? My advice: go to learn, connecting with people is a bonus. . .but, maybe you really just want to collect a ton of business cards. Set yourself goals for who to connect with, when you will follow up and how long you will stay for. As long as your goals aren’t nefarious, go forth and network!
Tip #2: Be Yourself, my Dear!
This is so cliché, but—do you! I’m an introvert, so I’m not going to go up to a group of people who clearly know each other and start selling. I’d rather find someone to chat with at the refreshment table, or someone who is sitting down with an empty seat beside them.
You’ve likely heard that you should “fake it till you make it”—or maybe “fake it till you become it”? Yes? I both do and don’t agree with this—yes, I believe in going outside your comfort zone sometimes, putting on a (genuine) smile, and presenting you and your business in the best light possible. . .but coming across as ‘fake’ because you’re trying to be someone you’re not?! No, thank you!
Going along with this—don’t pretend things are going swimmingly, when they’re not! Instead, tell the truth. Here are a few ways you can do this:
1. “Things are going well, but I could use a few more clients.”
2. “I’m looking to get the word out about. . .”
OR a different approach entirely:
3. Share one of your successes or highlights of your week, and don’t forget to ask the same from the other person.
Note that you’re not directly asking for help or a sale, but just putting it out there that you’re looking for more (whatever it is). Maybe the person you’re speaking to knows someone who could help you out or someone they can connect you with. Or, maybe stating what you’re looking for will manifest just that in your life? Can’t hurt, can it?