Increased efficiency seems to be the Holy Grail of today’s modern fast-paced society. It’s created a multi-billion dollar industry composed of countless smartphone apps and self-help books promising to increase your ability to get things done. It’s all frankly quite distracting! Before you go spending your hard earned cash on that sort of thing, save yourself a few dollars and read the list below.
I believe at the heart of being efficient and being productive is the ability to stay on task. If you’re focused you can not only get things done quicker, you can then get a lot more things done. Pay attention in your office, or to your friends and you’ll soon notice the people who get the most done are the ones who start and finish things in one sitting. This is what the tech boffins in Silicon Valley mean when they say, “don’t work hard, work smart.”
So, here are my top 5 ways to stay focused throughout the day.
1. Keep a Tidy Workspace
You probably don’t spend a lot of time thinking about how neat your workspace is but you definitely should. Excluding your bed, you probably spend more time in your workspace than anywhere else on the planet. Keeping it tidy will improve your efficiency and reduce distractions.
I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase, “out of sight, out of mind.” Well, this is the attitude you should apply to your workspace. Every item within your line of sight should be relevant to what you do. By all means, personalize your workspace, put up pictures of loved ones, have a few pretty plants, but don’t place them directly in front of you. Having an organized workspace will dramatically unclutter your mind and help you focus on the task at hand.
2. Get More Sleep
Sleep has been referred to as the single greatest performance enhancer known to humankind. Oh sorry, correction, single greatest natural performance enhancer. I’m sure Lance Armstrong and his friends have a few other performance enhancers up their sleeves. But for you and I, nothing has the power to improve our ability to stay focused during the day than sleep.
Study after study has proven that individuals who sleep better are more accurate in their work, better at retaining and recalling information, more efficient, and better decision-makers. Should you want more detail, the team at the Sleep Advisor blog often discuss the importance of a good night’s rest has on mental performance in much greater length.
3. Experience the Benefits of a Power Nap
Nothing, and I mean nothing, can beat the cognitive performance boost that a good night’s sleep gives you. One thing does come close, however, and that’s a power nap. A microdose of sleep taken during the daylight hours.
Napping has been shown to be particularly effective if you are attempting to learn new skills or retain information. Studies have shown that individuals studying languages have an improved ability to recall words if they take a nap shortly after a study session.
Throughout the course of the day we all experience peaks and lows in terms of energy known as circadian rhythms. We are thought to be our most effective around 11 am and then comes the post-lunch slump, or the postprandial torpor, a decline in energy in the early afternoon.
Many power through this slump with caffeine. But a more sensible option is to lean into it and have a nap. You will find that after you wake you will have a vastly increased ability to focus. That’s what I call working smart!
When we worry, the body releases a chemical known as cortisol into your system, also known as the ‘stress hormone’. Apart from sleep, the most effective way to combat elevated levels of cortisol is to engage in physical activity. This can be anything from going for a jog at lunchtime, lifting some weights or targeting a flurry of jabs at a punching bag.
You might be saying to yourself, “who has time to exercise during the day?” Well, I’d answer that exercise again falls into the category of working smarter. An individual who sits at their desk all day worrying – their system flooded with cortisol – will have less ability to focus on the task at hand than someone who gets up, goes for a run and comes back with a clear head.
5. Make Lists in the Evening
Some of the most focused people I know are also the most avid list makers. They make them in the mornings and in the evenings. I even have one friend who makes lists of lists. While that might be taking it a step too far, I do firmly believe the process of writing a list has an incredible power to focus the mind on what’s really important.
Take five minutes in the evening to list your duties for the following day and then highlight the number one priority. This will give you a great boost to how you start the morning. Achieving that top goal should come before everything else, before you check emails, return calls, before anything. Then once you’ve ticked that off, you can get to work on the rest of your goals.
Well, there you have it my friends – five ways to stay focused throughout your day. I hope you managed to make it to the end without getting too distracted. If you didn’t, then maybe hit the hay a little earlier tonight. Give it a go. You can thank me in the morning – but not before you check a few things off your list!
As business owners, it’s easy to put the needs of others above our own. There is always somebody essential that wants or needs something – whether employees, clients, or even the dozens of emails waiting in your inbox. However, just because you have a demanding schedule, you don’t have to neglect self-care.
If you don’t make time for activities away from work, your mental and physical health will suffer – and so will your business. The healthier you feel inside and out, the more effectively you will be able to handle work responsibilities. Here are six ways to care for yourself while running a startup.
1. Schedule Me Time
The only way to stay consistent with self-care is to purposefully incorporate it into your daily schedule. Make it a priority to schedule some me time every day, even if it’s just fifteen minutes before you start work. Use this time to do anything that will make you happy and relaxed, whether that be journaling, doing yoga, practicing meditation, or just enjoying a good book. Keep this up every day, and you’ll spend more of your waking hours in a state of calm, as opposed to stressed and anxious.
2. Get Regular Exercise
Exercise is known to be one of the best stress relievers – helping to ease tension, improve your sleep quality, and boost your mood. But you don’t need to spend hours on the treadmill or tons of money at the gym to reap the benefits of exercise. Doing small chunks of physical activity throughout the week is enough. During the work day, use your breaks to get moving outside, even it’s just to take the dog for a walk. Commit to a fun outdoor activity that you love on the weekends – this will give you the balance you need between work life and your personal time.
3. Plan Your Meals
The foods you consume impact your cognitive thinking. A busy schedule, however, can make maintaining a healthy diet a challenge – sometimes it’s easier to just grab fast-food or order takeout. To avoid making poor food choices, prioritize planning your meals ahead of time. Having healthy meals prepared for the week will save you time during your busy workday.
4. Take a Break from Technology
We are all guilty of spending too much time with technology. Startup business owners find it especially hard to get away from technology when you have constant emails, demands, requests, and messages coming in. This is why it’s so important to set boundaries around the times when you will respond.
When you’re taking a break, the best thing to do is put your phone and computer out of sight so that you aren’t tempted to look at work messages. This will make it less tempting to think about your business 24/7 and give you a much-needed break from technology screens.
5. Spend Time in Nature
Nature has a calming effect on the mind. The beauty and serenity of the outdoor world create a sense of peace you obviously don’t get in a working environment. Just getting outside during the week will rejuvenate your mind and help to relieve stress and mental fatigue. For additional benefit, try going barefoot – this has been shown to build muscle strength and reduce feelings of anxiety.
6. Plan a Weekend Getaway
Running a startup can be physically and mentally exhausting. If you can manage, make plans for a weekend getaway. Taking a few days to away in a new place will do wonders for your mindset and overall health. If you feel hesitant to take time off – keep in mind that it will be better for your business in the long run.
So, there you have them; six ways to care for yourself while running a startup. Do you practice any other methods for your own self-care? If so, please share them in the comment section below.
One evening a close friend and I were enjoying margaritas. We talked about how at midlife, we feel like we’re not doing what we’re truly meant to do. We
still have a lot left to contribute to society. My friend has a couple of decades of experience building successful business partnerships and I have about the same amount of experience developing compelling content and marketing
Then a light bulb went off. We wondered if other women in their
late 40s, early 50s, felt the same way. After talking with a lot of our
colleagues and friends, they also agreed they feel like there’s something
else they should be doing.
And I’m proud to say that at 50-something, we’ve launched our baby, Bon
Faire. We help women over 40 use the skills they’ve accumulated either at a job or raising a family to take the leap into something new: taking an idea or passion and turning it into a business with the intent of doing good for society.
Some of our family and friends think we’re crazy. Why the heck would we
want to do start a business at our age? It’s hard work. There’s no guarantee.
What if we fail? We’re doing it for all those reasons because we’re not done…
we’re just getting started. We have valuable insights and wisdom to share,
and there are a lot of women who need our help. There’s no better time to start a business in your 40s or 50s…especially with the state of the world the way it is today.
What if every woman at this stage of life tapped into her power to do good? What if these ladies used their skills, experience, and know-how to launch a business with a social purpose in mind? Wouldn’t that be exactly what the world needs now?
If you’ve had an idea that’s been vying for your attention, here are 10 reasons why you should take action and start a business in your 40s or 50s:
1. You Have Life Experience
The mere fact that you’ve been on this planet for 40+ years means you’ve
experienced a lot in life. Just because you aren’t a billionaire or
have an alphabet soup of credentials following your name doesn’t
mean that you don’t have something of value to share with the world.
Because you do.
2. You’ve Already Done Hard Things
Whether you’ve been at a job for the past 25+ years or you’ve been
raising a family, you’ve learned how to navigate through the pitfalls
and trials that life throws your way. It’s a challenge to start a business in your 40s or 50s but we’re pretty sure you’ve made it through some tough times in your life.
This kind of character and tenacity is exactly what you need to make a
3. You Know a Lot of People
If you sat down and wrote a list of all the people you know, you’d be shocked at how long that list would be. These people are your network, which will be critical for you to leverage as you get started. Don’t be afraid to tap into this network because somewhere down the line, you’ll be able to help them too. Business is successful when people help each other.
4. You Know What You Want—and What You Don’t
A key to success in business is clarity and focus. When you’re tuned into what you want, and what you don’t, you won’t be spreading yourself too thin by saying “yes” to everything you think will help you reach your goals. You’ll know what is right for you because you’ve “been there, done that” and likely don’t want to go through it again.
5. You’ve Failed Before
By the time you’ve reached your late 40s, you’ve made some mistakes. You’ve learned some hard-won lessons. And you also know you can’t stop. The willingness to try and fail is a critical characteristic you’ll need as an entrepreneur, but you’ve got that covered because you’ve been doing it your whole life.
6. You’ve Got More Money Now
To start a business in your 40s or 50s, you’ll need some capital. Luckily, you won’t need much if you start an online venture. You’re in a better place financially now since you’re likely not juggling the cost of starting a company with other major life investments like repaying student loans, buying a home or raising kids, though you may have some in college.
7. You Don’t Care What Other People Think
This is probably the most liberating part of midlife: you don’t give a rat’s patootie what other people think of you. This freedom gives you the courage to take your passion and turn it into profit…even if that passion is painting ceramic frogs. When you were younger, you’d worry about what your parents or friends would say but now you simply don’t care, you’re ready to take the leap.
8. You Know How to Take Responsibility
You may have had to care for children, a friend, family members, or yourself. You know what you have to do to pay the bills so you’re not averse to doing whatever it takes to get the job done. Taking responsibility and ownership will be an important skill you’ll need to ensure success.
9. Your Options Are Limitless
Because of your network, knowledge, experience, and skills, you can start any kind of business you want. This is more challenging when you’re younger because you haven’t earned a lot of money, developed a set up transferable skills, or experience. At this stage of your life, you have more options on the path to entrepreneurship. You can start from where you are now and move forward freely.
This is a good thing, especially if you procrastinate or are easily distracted by that shiny new object. You no longer have the luxury of the “someday syndrome.” Your time on this Earth is more limited than it was 20 years ago. You have an idea, a passion, a purpose and it’s just waiting to happen. All you need to do is take that first step.
Maybe we’re crazy. But we think you’re crazy if you allow society to tell you what midlife should look like, and if you believe that since you’re over a certain age you’re just supposed to sit back and fade away. You’ve got skills and value to contribute. And there’s still work to be done. Now, let’s get to it! Visit Bon Faire and take our quiz to see what kind of Bon Faire woman you are.
I work with women every day who are dying to get out of their 9 to 5 straight jacket. They frequently say they have always wanted to own a business, but the time was never right… until now. The time is often right because a woman’s asset base is now large enough to give a bit of cushion, but sometimes it’s due to a layoff or she feels the universe is giving her a nudge.
Unfortunately for a woman in this situation, the investment parameter is usually tight. The most she could come up with (either out of pocket or with me helping her get a little SBA express loan) is under $200,000. No startup business is so magical that when you open your doors the cash and profits just flow. Having 200K in available capital means the total cost to launch should be well under $150,000. And ideally under $100,000 because – surprise – there are bumps in the road and marketing costs to consider.
And at that investment level, (franchises under 100k) you are priced out of trendy brick and mortar stores where you envision yourself as the hostess having fun every day. Plus, that’s a delusion. No business is fun every day.
Simply put, at this price point your options are home-based businesses with no inventory or service businesses. You will be starting out in your home office offering some sort of service to entrepreneurs or homeowners. That is what is commonly referred to as ‘B to B’ or ‘B to C’ (business to business or business to consumer).
B to Bs generally require you to get out there and do business development – that’s code for networking your rear off and/or making cold calls or scheduling appointments. B to C means you are dealing with the public who can be picky. But those businesses can be advertising driven – i.e. you throw your money into marketing campaigns and, hopefully, your phone rings with potential customers.
So, with that in mind, here are a few franchises under 100k that I think are great and maybe even fun to operate:
#1 Just Between Friends
This one gets the award for lowest investment with a franchise fee of just $17,900 and a technology fee of $1,500. Just between friends is a ‘pop-up’ consignment business. You will put on large (and I do mean large – like you need to find a space with at least 10,000 Sq Ft to stage your events) consignment sales two or three times a year. You won’t make enough income to replace your salary – but you can bring in some serious spending money with what is essentially 2 months of work a year. Learn more about this opportunity here.
#2 Spaulding Decon
Okay, admittedly this is not for everyone. As an owner of a Spaulding Decon franchise, you are offering meth lab, crime scene, and hoarding cleanup services. Some people think that’s sexy, ok? You’ll own a tremendously profitable business and as a bonus, you’ll hire EMT’s and firefighters to be your contract workers. Who wouldn’t want to work in with a bunch of physically fit guys and gals wanting to make extra money?
This type of company is a good fit for public speakers, networkers, and workers who have empathy. You will be in close contact with families on the worst days of their lives. But you will be providing a needed and valuable service to your community.
#3 Senior Placement Referral Businesses
Referral companies offer a free service to families who have an elder or disabled person who needs more assistance and are no longer capable of staying in their home. You’ll be providing value and getting paid nice commissions by the network of assisted living facilities that you refer.
Like a realtor, you’ll learn the client’s needs and budget, go into your database and generate a report with two or three local providers that are good matches. Then you’ll tour the facilities – and the client picks one. Once they have signed up the facility pays you a hefty fee. This industry entails plenty of networking and calling on the referral sources. Who are, for the most part, happy to learn about what you can provide.
#4 Patrice and Associates (Recruiting with a Niche)
Patrice and Associates is the nation’s largest and oldest hospitality recruiting firm. Talk to any restaurant or hotel chain of size and chances are they already use their services. As an owner, you can start at home and hire one recruiter to come with you to training sessions. These businesses can scale easily by hiring more recruiters and opening an office. You are recruiting management positions and calling on your local large restaurants, hotels, and casinos to land their placement business.
You will also interview and maintain resumes of folks wanting to move up the career ladder. This can be very profitable if you are willing to be on the phone for as much as eight hours per day. We’re talking headsets on and dialing for dollars.
#5 Challenge Island
This is one of the only franchises under 100k offering after-school enrichment programs that are on the cutting edge of S.T.E.A.M. (science, technology, engineering, art, and math). Challenge Island’s proprietary curriculum has earned countless accolades from schools, teachers, and parents.
You will hire teachers who are looking for extra pay to lead your classes. Many owners do not lead a class of their own. To provide additional revenue streams you can offer to hold birthday parties, summer camps, and girl scouts events through a national partnership the company has with the Girl Scouts of America. This is a fun business and you can achieve a great return in short order. The investment is low and the profit margins are high with little to no inventory or overhead.
There are many other franchises under 100k to consider. Make sure to fully explore the alternatives with an expert, like me, to identify the right one that will incorporate your interests and transferable skills.
One of the most exciting things about the world of entrepreneurship is that initiatives are not bound by a retirement age. Business owners are often stereotypically seen as young twenty-somethings straight out of college (or dropouts in some cases), however, the spirit of entrepreneurship should not be limited by this perception. It can be argued that late-life entrepreneurship might be better than starting early since individuals can learn from their work and life experiences to make much more innovative and critical decisions of problem-solving.
Shun the traditional ageist view that only the young can have aspirations of their own. The bottom line is that hopes, dreams, and aspirations do not expire and you should not let societal expectations hold you back.
Entrepreneurship provides you with an opportunity to give back something of value to your next generations – be a role model for your children and grandchildren. Contribute as much as you can while you can! Moreover, startups at later age also allow you to act as a mentor for the young people you will involve in your initiative, a chance to train those who will respect you for your wisdom and experience.
2. There Are Examples of Midlife Success
You are never too old to seek a new venture and the following people are prime examples of this statement. From the exemplary founders of Starbucks and McDonalds who were both in their 50s to Harland Sanders who founded KFC when he was 62 and Charles Flint who started IBM when he was 61. There are countless examples of success stories; people who did not let their age hold them back and polished their ideas to successfully launch businesses.
3. In Today’s Era, There Are Endless Opportunities
Technology has penetrated the traditional framework behind startups in such a way that it is now easier than ever to take an initiative with a solid business idea. In today’s business environment, there are a variety of ways to enter the realm of entrepreneurship as long as you are taking up a relevant challenge and giving solutions for the needs of your consumers.
There are a plethora of options available for your startup venture, aided by the increasing involvement of digital technologies. The virtual world is inextricably linked to the business world and has emphatically altered the way we used to view entrepreneurship by reducing the bounds of time and space as well as organizational agility.
Things can be done, plans can be made and implementations can be carried out, all from the comfort of your home now. This can be even more effective if you plan to initiate an online business. The opportunities are truly endless.
You can take it easy and enjoy a more leisurely routine. But if you envision something different for yourself as you enter midlife and beyond, know that the only thing holding you back is your will. All that is required is for you to have a clear vision of what you want to do and combined with initiative, it can take you a long way toward your own successful startup business!
As I have said many times before, I love podcasts. I listen to all sorts too. Whether it’s a show dedicated to solving real crime mysteries or one intended to expand my knowledge on an exciting topic, I’m an avid listener. But my favorite shows are about creating and growing successful businesses. So, in my quest to add quality shows to my audio library, I thought I’d make a list of the most potent podcasts for you; the businesswoman over 40.
#1 About That with Marga Ortigas – This show is about professional and personal transitions at midlife and beyond. Guests discuss how they have successfully navigated life’s changes.
Favorite episode: Breaking Ground with mental health professional, Darby Latshaw
#3 AgeWYZ with Jana Panarites – This weekly broadcast deals with the emotional topic of caregiving and provides resources to those struggling to balance work life and the duties of caring for an aging family member. It’s perfect for the businesswoman over 40 who is tending to the needs of elderly parents.
Favorite episode: The Legacy with caretaker Maggie McClane
#4 The Second Act with Benita Adams – This one isn’t actually a podcast. You can listen to Benita’s radio show or watch her on TV or catch episodes on YouTube. Either way, you’ll be entertained by her stories and interviews with reinvention experts. Check out Benita’s show in this video: What Would I Tell My Younger Self?
#5 Feisty Side of Fifty with Mary Eileen Williams – Mary dedicates her show to boomers and gen Xers who embrace positive change in all aspects of life and look forward to the years ahead. It’s a real ‘life is just beginning’ type of podcast.
#6 Women in the Middle with Suzy Rosenstein – The host, Suzy, is a Master Certified Life and Weight Coach who’s areas of expertise are midlife and transitions. Her podcast encourages “frustrated women to get excited about their lives again.”
#7 Second Act Stories with Andy Levine – In each new show, (offered every other week) inspiring people recount their experiences of making a significant career change in pursuit of a rewarding professional life.
#8 Forever Fierce with Catherine Grace O’Connell – Each week Catherine is joined by a co-host to discuss a wide range of topics that midlife women find quite interesting. The show can be heard live Tuesdays at 2 PM EST on LA Talk Radio or downloaded from iTunes or Stitcher.
Favorite episode: Interview with the woman who stood up to Tony Robbins on the #metoo issue: Nanine McCool
#9 Experience 50 with Mary Rogers – Mary is on the same mission as me; helping midlife women succeed in business. So, I naturally gravitated toward her show. If that’s the type of help you need, have a listen.
#10 Advice to My Younger Me with Sara Holtz – I love the concept of this ‘pay it forward’ show. Older, wiser, more experienced guests discuss strategies to help younger women achieve career success. This podcast is all about the things you wish you had known as a professional in your 20s and 30s.
#11 Women Killing It with Sally Hubbard – Sally is an investigative journalist who has created an inspirational broadcast that celebrates and features rockstar businesswomen. They share what has worked in their careers and what pitfalls to avoid to thrive in any job.
I hope I piqued your interest with a few of these podcasts for the businesswoman over 40. Let them motivate you to reach for the stars in your quest for success. If you have any suggestions for new podcasts we should listen to, please leave a comment below. And, as I always say…
Running an online business can be wonderfully rewarding. It gives you the freedom to work when and where you want and, hopefully, the financial stability to meet your current needs and also plan a little for the future.
However, there will come a time when you desire change. But it’s always hard to know if now is the right moment to make a life-altering decision. It’s difficult to tell the difference between true stagnation and simple frustration or anxiety.
Consider these top five reasons for selling your business now to help you figure out if the moment has arrived for you to cash out and move on.
You No Longer Enjoy Running It
This one should go without saying, but so many people don’t consider this reason to be as important as it really is. Without being too morbid, we can never forget our time on Earth is limited, and that it can be taken from us at any moment.
There will always be things we enjoy doing more than others, but it’s our responsibility to weed out those things we don’t like and replace them with what we love. Your work is no different.
Ask yourself if you really enjoy running your online business. Do you still feel that same challenge pushing you forward? Or do you feel overcome with dread and anger every time you sit down at your computer? If you identify more with option two, then it’s time to move on. Simple as that.
“But what about the money?” a lot of people will say.
No amount of money is worth your happiness and well-being, so if you can’t approach your business with joy and gratitude, then cash out and begin looking for something else.
You’ve Got Other Projects To Work On
Hopefully, you’ve figured out by now that one of the great secrets of success is focusing on one thing at a time (and if you haven’t, well, you’re welcome). This isn’t to say that you can only do one thing, but it does mean you need to be realistic about what you can and can’t do at this current moment.
There’s a good chance your online business was once a side hustle, and there’s an even better chance that it didn’t become something more until you decided to treat it as your top priority.
So if you’ve found other projects you enjoy working on but don’t get the attention they deserve because of your online business, then it’s time to move on. And since you don’t want to ignore your company and wait for it to die, you can sell it and use the money to get you going on your next venture.
It’s Taking You Away From What Matters
Family needs to come first. To be happy and well, you need to make sure you’re spending enough time with those who mean the most to you. If your online business is preventing this from happening, you need to make a change.
It’s true that there’s never enough time. But work shouldn’t ever be the top priority. Even when you’re making good money, if you find yourself reaching the end of the day wishing you’d spent more time with your kids, partner or friends, there’s a good chance you’re working too hard.
It’s Worth A Lot Of Money
Switching over to more practical, professional arguments, it could be time to sell your online business because your company is worth more now than ever. Get it evaluated, and if it’s worth enough, and you’ve got other things going on, then sell out while you can and invest the money in something else.
This one really aligns with the other reasons; you shouldn’t sell out only because there’s lots of money to be made. But if the business has matured and is making you money, and you find your interest and attention elsewhere, it might be time to cash in on your hard work and move on. Another thing to look out for is industry risk. If you’re worried about the direction of the company, selling out now could be a way to get maximum value before it’s too late.
Generally speaking, businesses are worth 2.5 times their yearly revenue, so use this as a jumping off point. But consider getting a professional valuation so that you can see what your business is really worth.
Growth Has Plateaued
This one is a bit tricky since businesses that are growing are traditionally worth more. But if your company has leveled out a bit regarding growth, and you don’t think you have the time or resources to jump-start it, then you might want to consider selling.
Overall, it’s much better to sell at this moment rather than when sales start going down. As revenues shrink, so does value, making it much harder to attract serious offers. If things have slowed, and you can’t or don’t want to speed them back up, consider selling and starting something new.
If you’re on the fence about selling your business, consider these top reasons why you should. If they apply to you, then it’s time to make a change. If not, stick it out and keep working. But be aware of when situations change so you can sell and move on before it’s too late.
Digital marketing is an expensive and risky venture for all businesses. Results take time and services do not come free. Due to the heavy upfront costs, many companies are quite hesitant to employ this to their means. Securing referrals and proving your worth in the business can be done. But these strategies take effort. Especially when competition is tough and you are new to the game.
Marketing, both actual and digital, play major roles in the profit drive of any company. Successful marketing campaigns drive greater returns and profits that their upfront costs.
In Singapore, more people are becoming active online, with growing interactions on social media sites. In 2017, more than 95% of internet users had at least one social media account and spent an average of 2.5 hours per day on their accounts. Half of the said users watched online videos daily. Product research and comparison are done online by 42% of Singaporeans before actually making final purchase decisions. These statistics show the huge digital penetration and usage in Singapore.
With the emergence and support of new technologies in online marketing, not all businesses get the same successful outcomes. Many still go through problems that hinder them from getting ideal results. One obstacle to success is marketing to the wrong audience. And this problem takes place almost everywhere.
Knowing your target audience is so important since it helps you implement and direct your marketing plans. For example, a company selling customized cigars had a mistargeted online strategy when they first launched their business. Their ads were directed at cigar users. They eventually found out their customers are composed mainly of the friends and family of cigar users.
How would you know if the effort, time, and money you are spending on marketing are directed at the wrong audience? Here are three signs to watch for to avoid burning your resources.
#1 Low Visit to Lead Conversion Rates
In online marketing, lead conversion rates are gold. The number of visits to your site is just a number and does not quantify anything if the visits do not convert to sales. Your visitors should become customers when your plan is working. If not, this is a hint that you may be barking up the wrong tree. To correct this, you may want to check how you are marketing your products. Do the customers really get what you are advertising? Or are there hidden details in your ads that confuse or deceive them?
Take, for example, if you advertise free shipping on all orders. Potential customers visit your site only to discover they have to order a minimum amount to get free shipping. This misleading ad can cause bounce rates instead of conversions. Pay attention to your marketing message and make sure your audience really understands what you are telling them.
#2 Low Engagement Rates
Likes, shares, and comments are measures of customer engagement. They provide useful indications of whether your content has successfully reached your audience. If your engagement rates are low, there is a chance that your content is not reaching your target audience. Either they cannot completely relate to your content or your content is totally irrelevant to them.
After subscribing to your email list, many people may unsubscribe after a day or two. Another bad sign is when they download a free ebook or PDF file from you and then unsubscribe. If you are seeing this trend you may be attracting the wrong audience or not engaging them properly. You can try adding a step-by-step eCourse they can subscribe to and build a relationship with your customers. That way, you have a vantage point in interacting with them.
Success in online marketing does not merely depend on strategies alone; you have to be keen on the ongoings of your site as well. You may not be getting what you are supposed to for the amount you are spending on marketing. Always remember to pay attention to the details of your sales conversions.
Whether you own a business with a blog, you’re a freelance writer or a traditional blogger, learning to write a shareable blog post quickly is an essential skill that can be quite lucrative. Even if you’ve never written a post before, knowing how to do so can break down barriers and provide opportunities to guest blog on other sites and grow your business.
Do you know how to create a shareable blog post quickly? Your answer obviously depends on what I mean by ‘quickly.‘ After all, the word is a bit vague. Some people can crank out a post or two every day. For others, like me, it’s a slower process affected by time constraints, professional obligations, and family commitments. So, my definition of the word may be substantially different from yours.
Nonetheless, I would argue most writers would love to increase their output and improve the quality of their posts. That is where the word ‘shareable’ comes into play. Will your articles get the love, attention, and engagement they deserve? Will readers clamor to share your content on social media? If you’re uncertain, consider what you can do to compose more shareable content and increase your writing speed.
Ramp Up Your Productivity
Personally, when I need to produce an article quickly, I use a time management method called the Pomodoro Technique. I avoid ALL distractions and work on my post for twenty-five minutes. Then, I take a five-minute break to perform other tasks. I can answer an email, start a load of laundry, etc. After my break, the process begins again. After completing four rounds, I allow myself a more extended break of thirty minutes to relax, eat a meal or exercise.
This technique is amazingly effective, and I suggest using it throughout the entire process of creating your content.
Perhaps you’re saying, “I’ll just write shorter posts. Then I can produce more in less time.” Well, you can do that. However, your site will not please Google if it’s packed with mini posts. Google will respond by pushing you down the rankings. Better to publish articles of at least 600 words. And audiences share longer articles more often anyway.
Create a Catchy Title
I can’t tell you how many times I have read a strange, unclear, or incredibly long post title and ask, “What was this writer thinking?” Of course, I don’t click on the link because I don’t want to waste my time. That may sound harsh, but it’s hard to take bloggers seriously when they don’t understand or adhere to basic rules.
The title should be a clear statement or question
It should be relatively short – six to ten words is usually plenty
Powerful and emotional words like ‘you’ or ‘free’ or ‘easy’ should be incorporated
Numbered posts and how-to articles typically generate more interest
Chose a Relevant Yet Interesting Image
Another important aspect of a shareable blog post is the image your readers see. You don’t have to break the bank to obtain eye-catching pictures for your content. Plenty of free-to-use sites offer professional photos for you to upload to your blog. Here are a few:
For example, this video was free for me to use in this post.
Use Images, Graphs, or Videos Within Your Post
Readers will likely find your content more appealing if it contains a little visual stimulation. Include a relevant photo from the sites I mentioned above or embed an emotional Tweet or instructional video for impact. People share posts that entertain and provide value.
Make the Words Stand Out (In a Good Way)
Most professional bloggers keep their paragraphs short. They would likely tell you to vary the length of your sentences too. Readers have become accustomed to this style of writing because they’re skimmers. They simply love subheaders and bullet points. So use them.
This brings me to another point. I know it sounds boring, but use a large, standard looking font when you blog. People can’t read tiny words on a mobile device and won’t stay on your post, let alone share it. And if at all possible, use black lettering on white background. You might think this is ho-hum, but you’ll look like a pro. And that will result in social media shares.
Include a Call-to-Action At the End
If a reader makes it all the way through your post, you have kept their interest and provided valuable information. It’s the perfect time to ask them to:
1. Leave a comment about your post
2. Join your email list or Facebook group
3. Follow you on social media
4. Share your post
Don’t ask your audience to complete more than one action. Their time is important, and you’ll likely irritate them if you request too much.
Triple Check for Spelling and Grammar Errors
The following paragraphs contain affiliate links. If you click on one of the product links, I’ll receive a small percentage of the sale at no additional cost to you.
Before you publish your content, edit it. Then do it two more times. Go through each paragraph line by line. Does it make the grade? Nothing will ruin the quality of a post like a series of typos. You won’t look professional and neither will your work.
When I began my journey as a blogger, I wanted to hire a proofreader. However, I could not afford one. So, I purchased Grammarly. It is an inexpensive program that edits my posts, Microsoft Word documents, and my emails. I still rely on it to correct my work daily. If you just can’t swing it at this time, ask a trusted friend or family member to review your article.
For Goodness Sake, Include Share Buttons
How can anyone pass along your epic post without share buttons? Don’t make it difficult for your fans to sing your praises. No share buttons translate into little attention or exposure to potential readers or clients. Perish the thought!
Several plugins give writers the ability to place share buttons on their site. After much research, I opted for Social Warfare. This tool has helped my business grow with professional looking buttons that look great on desktop and mobile.
From time to time, we all experience feelings of boredom, dissatisfaction or even exasperation in our jobs. Most of us muddle through, knowing these feelings ebb and flow, as they often do throughout a long career. But what should you do if those feelings persist and grow stronger with each passing week? When you are longing for change and beginning to resent work, you might be on the road to a professional midlife meltdown. In other words, you’re approaching career burnout.
You realize it’s important to be careful in this situation. You’ve probably known people who faced a similar dilemma and took leave, not only of their senses but their jobs as well. These restless souls decided suddenly to resign and jump without looking. Gutsy and a bit foolish, yes? But that’s not you. At least you don’t want it to be.
Well, what can you do to keep from going through this type of crisis? Let’s break it down. There are five steps you can take to avoid a midlife meltdown, thus saving your career, relationships, and mental state.
#1. Acknowledge Your Feelings
As the old saying goes, “Perception is reality.” You don’t need anyone else to validate your emotions or tell you that you’re wrong. There’s a reason for your angst or malcontent, even if you haven’t discovered what it is yet. Let the feelings flow, and you may discover the cause of or solution to your problem.
#2. Add a Few Minutes of Mindfulness to Your Routine
Mindfulness is a therapeutic technique used by successful professionals to avoid stress, negativity, and frustration. When you focus awareness on the present, it becomes impossible to dwell on the regrets of your past or the worries of your future. Meditation, yoga, and relaxation exercises are all popular forms of mindfulness. Consider adding one or more of these activities to your daily regimen to stave off a midlife meltdown.
#3. Determine if the Situation is Temporary or Not
Once you have accepted and pondered the situation for a while, consider whether it’s a temporary irritation or one that’s bound to continue. How long are you willing to tolerate the current state of affairs? If your job is unbearable or you dread Monday mornings, it might be time to make a plan or take action and make positive changes.
#4. Investigate a Different Career
Do you daydream starting a more fulfilling career? If so, check out this epic list of potential jobs and resources: 11 Midlife Career Change Ideas that Don’t Suck. These positions take less than two years of education and pay a starting salary of 40k – 76K. You may discover a more satisfying professional life is not out of reach.
#5. Plan to Become the Entrepreneur You’ve Always Wanted to Be
If, however, you long to start a side-hustle or become a full-time entrepreneur, you will need to do some investigation and devise a plan. Do you know what type startups to consider? If so, have you researched your competition? How much money can you get your hands on to fund a potential business? How long can you afford to go without a steady income?
All are critical questions to answer before leaving your current position. Check out this basic guide from the Small Business Administration to help you start a business plan. While some people don’t think a structured plan is critical to success, I firmly believe even a shortened version can save you thousands of dollars and countless headaches throughout the first few years of your startup.
Following these five steps regarding your career can help you steer clear of a midlife meltdown. You can have a satisfying professional life again. But it will take patience, research, and commitment. Let’s face it, anything worthwhile does!
Remember, life is better when we lift each other up.
I'm Jen Monks. A small business strategist, a serial entrepreneur, and a steadfast optimist devoted to helping women over 40 create and grow profitable businesses within a community they love.