My top tips on how NOT to get information overload!

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This post is a little off the marketing theme, however, I feel it is relevant and I wanted to share my thoughts about it, so here we go……

We all love them, the 10 top tips, the 3 reasons why or maybe the how to get the client of your dreams type of articles. I do enjoy reading them, but I also find that too many tips can become rather unhelpful to me.

I run a small consultancy, it’s just me, myself and I and sometimes I admit, I look to the internet and self-help books and articles for inspiration and motivation. One article links to another article and before you know it, it’s been an hour of what I am doing wrong! The New Year brings a deluge of this kind of reading, which at first can get the creative juices flowing and can set you on highly motivated path. However, what happens when you read too many ‘how tos’?

For me, this can create some negative emotions towards my work such as self-doubt and procrastination.  Add some ‘how to create a 6-figure business in six months’ podcast into the mix and boy, now we’re spiralling into a slightly depressive state! Why would this happen? Well, I have spent some time thinking about this and here is my opinion.

In a nutshell, we worry about what everyone else is doing, rather than focusing on our own business and goals. I ask myself questions such as “what if their tips are better than mine”? or “maybe I should be working on this rather than that”? These types of questions are completely counterproductive. They create self-doubt and take your energy away from your intended task to a place where the questions will have no end. Yes, there will always be someone with a different way of doing things, their tried and tested method is the best, but what is important is how YOU want to do things. It is your business, your life, your path and you know your strengths and weaknesses.

Ok, so let’s take me as an example. I am a very good copywriter; (modest as well hey)? I have a degree in Marketing and HR and I have worked with some amazing businesses over the years. My experience on paper is great, however, I am human and sometimes I worry that there is someone better than me out there. Realistically, yes, there maybe, but I know I am good at what I do, and they are good at what they do, so I just accept that and let it go. Going back to the top tip articles, treat them for what they are, another person’s opinion. You can acknowledge that and move on.

The point I am trying to make is that self-help books and ‘how to’ articles are good in small doses. They serve their purpose in our lives and the person writing them is just like you and me, they don’t know everything, especially not the best path for your life or business.

So, bearing all this in mind, here are my ‘top tips’ for preventing a self-help overload:

1.     Read your chosen poison with an open mind, don’t take their advice to heart and look at the content with a critical mind.
2.     Try not to focus on too many areas to improve. Sit down and think about the key area you want to work on and what will impact on you the most.  Focus on finding your podcasts, articles or books in that area. Taking on too many at once will not help in you achieving progress.
3.     Remember these individuals are not the all-seeing eye. They are only offering an opinion on what works for them. Please don’t try to fit into their mould and if it isn’t right for you, move on and try something or someone else.
4.     Don’t rule out speaking or confiding in your loved ones, friends or employer to get advice, they know you and they may have a simple fix to help?
5.     Most importantly, realise your own potential. You do not need a podcast or top tip to make you a success; it is in all of us with hard work and a positive attitude. Use the self-help and top tip articles to assist you, not as a problem solver.

What is your experience of the self-help craze? What are your top tips for managing information overload, does this affect you?

Thanks for reading.


Bye for now. Allyson
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What impact can Social Media Management, PR and a talented copywriter have on your small business?

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You are on a journey with your business, and there is no doubt that understanding where you want to be and how you are going to get there will put you on the path to success.

The power of a well-structured plan, incorporating your social platforms and promotion through local media and news outlets will help to grow your profile and brand. However, ensuring that you have the right words and tone, that is where an expert steps in.

Let’s break this down into some bitesize chunks:

Social Media Management

Social Media Management, exactly what is that? Well, it sounds quite simple, ‘I can do that’ I hear, but if not done properly, this relatively new form of marketing can make or break your business.

There is a definite science behind social media, encompassing your reputation, your customer service approach, evidence that you understand your customers and industry, whilst creating and curating rich content for your followers. To understand if your social accounts are performing, time needs to be scheduled to monitor the analytics, the progress, the crash and burn posts and the successes. This area of your business is exceptionally fluid, it will change, twist and turn and hence why giving ownership of this area to a professional, could produce untold riches for your businesses profile. 

PR

Public Relations or PR for short, just what do you think of when you hear these words? Companies getting into trouble and a huge PR firm swoops in and saves the day? Or maybe the very idea of having a PR professional would be out of your reach as they are too expensive?

PR is what your local paper is made from. Local businesses and organisations, promoting their wins and successes, or maybe a launch of a new product. Perhaps they have helped a local charity and want to shout about it? All of these stories and more could be you and your business. Local papers want to hear about newsworthy editorial, and hiring a PR bod will help you to decipher what is relevant to put forward and what should perhaps be promoted internally or on your social profiles. Again, having the expertise to help you, will ensure you have a fighting chance to get your name and story mentioned.

A talented Copywriter

Ok, so you may not have heard of a copywriter, or maybe you have, but you do not understand completely what we do.

Here we go. A copywriter, (me), well I write anything a business or organisation needs. This can range from website copy (SEO) friendly of course, brochure text, newsletters, articles, press releases and social media posts to name just a few. My job is to ensure all copy is on point, accurate, interesting and gets the required message across to the reader. Words are such a powerful tool; they can make you laugh, cry or get angry and want to act. Having this skill working within your business can set you apart from your competitors, it can give you that edge and help to ensure that you will never worry about bad grammar or spelling mistakes again!

I have offered my experience and advice on what you should expect from each of these vital areas of your marketing mix. These areas should work in sync together to create a seamless plan of action and bring success for building your brand over time.

I am very fortunate to work with some amazing small business clients and over the years, I have learned what works and what doesn’t.

If you would like to discuss these areas of your business in more detail and how you can achieve a flawless marketing experience with results, please get in touch using my social accounts or email allyson@claritycopy.co.uk


Bye for now, Allyson
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Motivation...keep it going

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It's a fact that we all start the New Year with a renewed sense of vigour to achieve more, laugh more, blog more, read more or whatever it may be. My resolutions this year are in fact to be more organised, read more, be more proactive and take my business to a different level by the end of the year.
These all seem achievable right? However, the reality of life, kids, work, family can all take over and your well intended plans and deadlines can get shifted, leaving you feeling a little disheartened and your focus a little cloudy.
As a self employed person, motivation can sometimes waver, as you are constantly trying to grow all aspects of your business from social media to client base. There is only you to do these things and only 24 hours in the day, so what is a girl to do? Well, I can only share how I overcome my motivational hurdles, and here they are:

Working from home
I have worked from home for many years, and I love it. I adore the peace and quiet, the freedom to work without interruptions, choosing my own hours around my family commitments. This way of working can come with some negatives however, in the shape of temptations, to watch T.V, catch up on some household chores, or have the occasional gossip on the phone to my friends. (me.....never)!
To combat these potential problems, I have a designated place to work and I have to be strict with myself. I plan out my day in the diary, even outlining a half hour lunch. Ticking off a to do list is a very rewarding outcome at the end of the day, ensuring you are motivated and self disciplined.

Stay organised
Now this is a massive part of staying motivated. I am not just referring to your actual working methods, but the surroundings you are working in. I'll be honest, last week I had a real cull of admin related mess quite frankly. My office had become a dumping ground for all sorts of bits, shredding, filing, Christmas cards, paper..which was not good for creativity or motivation. Keeping on top of your admin will help you to keep on top of your game.

Get dressed for goodness sake
This is just such a no brainer for me. Why would you not get showered, dressed and looking professional just because you are working from home? You are in effect in an office, so the same rules apply. This is a must to ensure your productivity, motivation and personal development is maintained. Make sure you spritz some nice perfume or aftershave on for good measure, look good and you will feel good, trust me!

Self belief
This is a bit of a sharing moment! Yes, I have times where I lose my ability to recognise my skills and can at times, lose my self confidence.  I am sure that this happens to others who spend a lot of time working alone and constantly pushing themselves. If left, this can have a significant impact on motivation, and in some cases can lead to reduced productivity. How do you pull yourself back? Easy, step out of yourself, look at your achievements and for me, communicate your emotions. I am very fortunate to have a super supportive network around me, and discussing your fears and perceived obstacles can give you right royal kick back to it!

Health
It is a fear for all self employed people to be ill. When you are ill, you feel sorry for yourself and want to melt into the sofa and watch that daytime TV! How can you? Who will manage your clients if you can't? Well, to be honest, I find that the flexibility of working from home helps here. Just being able to reply to emails and queries remotely while sipping your Lemsip can maintain some form of motivation.
Being poorly is no fun, but it happens. Clients will understand, it is just important to keep them well informed and deal with any urgent enquiries. My advice is to eat well, drink plenty of water and exercise as often as you can. I am actually starting an exercise programme from home this week. I want to grow my energy levels and tone up. We know exercise is a great mood lifter and I'm looking to maintain my optimistic outlook so......Watch this space!
These are just a few of the areas to focus on which I feel are very important. Embrace your business, pat yourself on the back now and again and enjoy the journey to success!
What helps motivate you? Drop me a line and share....
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Working from home, it’s not as easy as it sounds…

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So, we have all been there, you are in the office at 8am, you’ve already fought with the alarm clock, battled through the traffic and now you are sat, waiting for the day’s barrage of challenges. Your colleague rings in to say they are ‘working from home’ today and a pang of jealousy jabs you, because the thought of working from home is great, easy, relaxed, but is it? Let’s discuss. Throughout my pre-children career, I worked in numerous offices, ranging from converted barns to concrete jungles. For me, the consistent trait that I found with all offices is the feeling of restriction. Once you are there, you know that it is for at least nine hours, if it is not a happy place, then that is a long time to be miserable!
I am very fortunate now to have the privilege of working from home, because I have my own consultancy and beauty blog, but also, I have two little people to care for. Setting up my own business was the most cost and time effective way for us, as a family, to be able to look after the children, but I also maintain my career. I will be honest; at times I find it difficult to dip in and out of my two personalities, mummy and serious business owner. Forward planning in all areas of my life is essential to ensure that I can maintain professionalism and deadlines. I do not tolerate lateness, and I don’t expect anyone else to. Businesses do not want to know if my children are ill or that I was tired so I couldn’t get their press release to them on time. This is the downside to working from your home office, working for yourself and being mummy, it's all on you!
The scenario I described in the introduction is obviously very different to mine, but the principal of working from home is still the same. It takes a great deal of determination, focus and self-control not to get involved in the more appealing aspects of home working, such as having the TV on in the background or sitting in the lounge with your sandwich. I have made these fatal errors in my early days, time just slips away and you are left feeling deflated for not achieving your goals for the day.
Talking about feelings for a moment; working from home can be a lonely place if you are not happy with your own company, especially if you have left an office environment and starting up on your own. I found it very difficult in the early days to ramp up the motivation to sit upstairs with no office banter or atmosphere. Once I took on some clients, and started making my calls and emails, it is just the best place to be.  The main piece of advice for regular home workers is to set yourself goals for the day, just as you would in the office. There has to be rules, rules about coffee breaks, lunch and definitely no TV or Facebook! 
I have an amazing office space now, away from the family environment, so I can differentiate between them and not feel like I am constantly at work. It is also important to leave your home office area clutter free and organised, just as you would at a workplace. Thinking that home working is easy and relaxed will lead you to an unstable working ethic, and would be a mistake. Yes, the positives outweigh the negatives for me a million to one, but I have trained myself to adapt to a very disciplined way of working. There needs to be structure, to work towards achieving life and career goals and maintaining professionalism.
To conclude, home working does not suit everyone, even if they think it is the easiest option. Depending on what stage you are in your life and career, it can be a very productive and cost effective solution, for individuals and companies alike.
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