Creative businesses can be brilliant outlets for talented professionals, but they can also take a toll – the kind of toll we are not always ready to confront or confess. I began my own entrepreneurial career as a successful makeup artist for weddings and events. I eventually moved into a storefront and expanded into wedding planning as well. Unfortunately, business success does not always equal personal well-being. I became overworked and my health deteriorated.
I knew things had to change.
Emily Sullivan Events was born of this time in my life and career, as was a laser focus on keeping my company small, overhead low, and stress level down.
Do you see yourself in my story? More creatives do than you might expect. We pour our hearts and souls into our work, sometimes at a grave personal cost.
What kinds of changes would make a difference in your career and personal well-being?
Focus on the Basics
Taking stock of your personal and professional life is an important first step. What are your priorities? When you accept too many social invitations, even when they relate to business, what are you giving up? Time with your family? Opportunity to tend to self-care?
Limit appointments and events to the ones that will help you achieve your goals without overwhelming your schedule. Give your family obligations, children’s events, and time with your spouse as much weight, or more, as your business obligations.
Choose Your Team Carefully
Look for a team that complements your strengths. I searched for someone who could take some of the load off my plate and handle all of the physical activities. You might need someone who has the time to field phone calls, act as a leader on event days, or manage other employees’ days today. Get the help you need to prevent you from overdoing things and putting your own wellness in jeopardy.
Keep Your Health In Check
You hear it from everyone – your doctor, friends, and loved ones: you need to establish a routine that includes exercise, sleep, and healthy meals. By the time the ramifications of ignoring these instructions start to manifest, it can be too late to repair the damage. Arthritis flare-up that forced me to reconsider my business was my wake-up call. It was the evidence that convinced me that the stress of the job was affecting my health. Don’t wait for your body to send such a dramatic SOS. Start incorporating healthy habits today.
Establishing your limits and making your boundaries known are the best things you can do. Accept that your to-do list will never be done, but you can still be successful even so. Don’t allow the world around you to influence your values or your self-image.
Life is simply too short to allow your business to rob you and your family of your best. Make the changes that will give you all a better quality of life before it’s too late. You simply won’t regret it.
The original article by Emily Sullivan was originally published at Honeybook.com
About the Author:
Emily Sullivan is the owner of Emily Sullivan Events, a full-service wedding planning company based in New Orleans and serving couples everywhere. Her Website and Instagram
Featured Image Credits: Pixabay
With so many startups popping up every day, it seems that becoming an entrepreneur is a fairly simple thing to do. It appears that everybody with a bit of cash and a good idea can try their luck as novice entrepreneurs. In fact, it takes a lot more to succeed if you really want to bring your entrepreneurship dreams to reality.
There’s a certain set of skills shared by all successful entrepreneurs, no matter their field of expertise or years of experience. Even if they’re just starting out or they’re seasoned professionals, all truly great entrepreneurs have these common qualifications.
Read on so you too can learn how to separate yourself from the pack and pave your way to entrepreneurship stardom.
1. Managing your finances as an entrepreneur
Let’s get the most important things out of the way first. One crucial skill that all great entrepreneurs have is the ability to manage and grow their finances over time. Great financial management leads to sustainability, which will help your long-term financial goals.
From initial investments to closing major deals, knowing your way around finances is what will make or break your business development. If your personal finances are a complete mess, then it’s a safe bet that the entrepreneur lifestyle isn’t actually cut out for you.
Make sure you know the financial status of your business like the palm of your hand. You should know exactly how much money you spend and make every month, in order to make long-term strategies. Speaking of finances…
2. The essential ability to sell
It’s no use having a great product or a service if you’re unable to sell it. Some would say that selling is more of a natural talent than a skill you can learn, but we are confident it will come naturally with enough time and effort put into it.
Many entrepreneurs go through the pain of creating a great product or service, refining it to suit their market, advertising it, and then they’re unable to close a sale. It’s only natural to become nervous at this step, but if you’ve worked hard to come up with a solution to your audience’s needs, they won’t be reluctant to hand over their hard-earned cash.
If you’re not that keen on doing the sales part of your business – you can leave it up to somebody else from your team. However, the ability to sell yourself is key in attracting new opportunities, deals and becoming a successful entrepreneur.
3. Knowing how to hire and train people
There is no such thing as a great entrepreneur who made it on their own. It is always a team effort of several people who helped pave the way to a successful company. Your ability to choose those you collaborate with is extremely important in your path to success. Just like with everything else in life, don’t settle for less. If you want a top-performing team, choose A-team players.
The wrong hire will not only drain your bank account but also your energy. They will make you waste valuable resources instead of building a foundation for your company and enabling growth.
When it comes to hiring new people, the benefits gained are twofold. First off, you will be able to grow and utilize the strengths of your new team members. Second, as your company grows, you will develop a company culture that your staff will nurture and identify with.
Just as it is important to hire new staff, they won’t go far without proper training. Ensure that new employees have proper on-boarding and guidance until they are comfortable in their role. The initial investments in time and money when you hire new staff will pay dividends in the future.
4. Managing staff
Once you’ve hired and trained new employees, here comes the hardest part. If you’re a solo player, you won’t be used to working with people. It will take time to learn the right balance between authority and friendliness.
In the early stages of your entrepreneur career, your team will be small and tightly connected. This is the right time to learn how to manage, motivate and encourage your staff. When the time comes, you will be able to effectively manage a larger group of people.
5. Building relationships
There is no such thing as a lone wolf in the world of entrepreneurship. Everybody needs a helping hand from time to time, and knowing how to connect and build lasting relationships is one of the top skills when it comes to your career as an entrepreneur.
When we say relationships, we don’t mean customers in the traditional sense. These are long-lasting connections that you can establish without spending or asking for money.
You can expand your network by giving testimonials, endorsements, training, recommendations, you name it. No matter the state your company is currently in, having friends helps out with your business goals sooner than later.
6. Trying out new things (and failing)
“Show me a person who has never made a mistake and I’ll show you, someone, who has never achieved much,” said Joan Collins. When it comes to new ideas, you’ll never know if you don’t try.
This rule pertains to launching a new product, coming up with a new plan, trying new marketing strategies, making a breakthrough in a new market – you name it.
One common trait of all great entrepreneurs is that they made mistakes, whether they want to admit it or not. There is no progress without struggle in the world of entrepreneurship, and some of the most valuable lessons come from making errors. Remember, when you do fail – you just found another way things won’t work.
7. Predicting future trends
This is arguably the hardest item on the list. If you take a look at the most successful entrepreneurs out there, one of the common features they have is the ability to predict the future. Admittedly, it’s hard to be Nostradamus (or Steve Jobs), but with enough experience and insight, you will be able to forecast where your specific area of business will be moving in the future.
Many entrepreneurs today are in the tech industry, which moves at an incredibly fast pace. New startups are created and shut down on a daily basis. Use this to closely follow trends and learn from other businesses’ fatal mistakes, as it could save yours.
8. Providing value
We’re not generally speaking about value, as it needs to present in order to get clients to commit to your services and products. We’re talking about value versus money.
Many entrepreneurs get trapped in thinking about money first, which is only natural, especially if they’re just starting out. However, if money is the main driving force for you as an entrepreneur, you are bound to fail in your endeavors.
Putting money first means that you are bound to cut corners and think only about the bottom line. You will focus on the end goal and forget about all the steps it takes for you to establish a successful brand.
Instead, focus on what you can provide to your customers and what your unique proposition is. If you have a great product or provide a great service, with hard work money will come naturally.
Related to our previous point, you can only provide true value to your customers if you have a strong sense of empathy. Some would say this is more of an innate talent than a skill you can attain as an entrepreneur, but it can and should be learned.
The ability to empathize as an entrepreneur means putting yourself in the shoes of your target audience and thinking about how to solve their problems, identify their obstacles and goals and think with a customer-first approach.
In fact, a lack of empathy can hurt your business so much to the point where it can completely fail. Many startups have gone down the drain because their target market simply could not believe that the company cares for them and wants to provide genuine solutions to their problems.
10. Being authentic
Authenticity naturally links to empathy. More of a sophisticated skill, being authentic means being true to what you say and walking the walk. In other words, saying that you care and want to provide value for your customers won’t mean much if you don’t actually show it in your actions.
With so much focus on social media presence nowadays, it is fairly easy for customers to see if a brand is not authentic and true to itself. This is why you should use your social media channels to nurture connections with your customer base. What’s more, seize every possible opportunity to genuinely connect with your customers and establish a relationship.
If you’ve decided that becoming an entrepreneur is a path you want to pursue, these are some of the major skills you need to help you on your way. Don’t let this list discourage you – becoming an entrepreneur is no easy feat, and few can achieve excellence. Note that these skills can be taught and improved upon, and that success will come with hard work and dedication.
The original article by Mile Zivkovic was originally published on Honeybook.com
About the Author:
Mile Živković is a content writer and work-life balance expert at Chanty – a simple and AI-powered Slack alternative. When Mile isn’t busy writing epic posts on productivity, work-life balance and time management for Chanty blog, he’s probably driving somewhere. His hobbies include cars (huge fan of Alfa Romeo), photography and collecting pocket knives. You can catch him on LinkedIn.
Featured Image Credits: Pixabay
SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
With over 100 million startups opening each year, it is becoming critical for new businesses to improve their online visibility and stand out among their competitors. In the digital era, the basic rule for business success is to effectively use SEO to engage customers, establish your brand, and drive profitability.
In this post, I’ll discuss some basic, but effective SEO tips that will maximize your startup’s visibility and connect you with your target audience.
- Know Your Audience
- Optimize Your Website with What Customers Are Looking for
- Utilize Social Websites and Social Media
- Your Blog Page Is a Star
- Leverage Free SEO Tools
1. Know Your Audience
Most businesses assume that SEO comprises preset rules and standard techniques. However, the fact is that your firm’s SEO efforts largely depend on how well you know your audience.
Which industry are you in? Which SEO strategies are your top competitors using to engage audience? Where does your target audience spend most of its time? Which social platform are they active on? How much time do they spend on their smart device? The answers to these questions will help you create and optimize a tailored SEO strategy for your new venture.
More than half of the world’s population is active online looking for solutions to their day-to-day issues, expressing their opinions, and making decisions. Therefore, it is critical to identify your audience’s unique traits, online behavior, and preferences.
For instance, if you are an online yoga instructor, 80% of your time should be spent on understanding where your audience is likely to find you and take an action in your favour (sign up for the yoga retreat or recommend others).
If you are targeting health-conscious customers, chances are you may find them on health and nutrition tracking apps, fitness blogs, or social media sites. Engaging your audience through these channels will strengthen your brand visibility. Set up your listing in various online directories like Google My Business, Yelp for Business Owners, Bing, and Yoga Trail, enabling your customers to find you.
2. Optimize Your Website with What Customers Are Looking for
Once you have defined your target audience, it is necessary to pinpoint what they are looking for. Here, you need to consider two critical areas: what your audience is searching for and how they are conducting the search.
Study the user’s intent behind typing a particular keyword. For instance, your user initially searches for “musical instruments seller,” however, you eventually discover keyword variations like “musical instruments for sale” or “local musical instruments shop.” Incorporating each of these variations will boost your startup’s SERP ranking.
It is a good idea to do some solid keyword research and design your website in a way that it lands your audience on what they are looking for (your webpage or blog).
Once the searchers are directed to your website or mobile application, your ultimate goal should be to offer an amazing user experience (UX). Firstly, is your website mobile-friendly? With people spending an average of six hours per day on smart devices like mobiles and tablets, it is pertinent that businesses use Responsive Web Design to cater to various device types, thereby improving the user experience.
Users typically take 0.05 seconds to decide whether or not to stay on your site. What’s more, nearly 60% of searches on the internet come from mobile devices. Thus, in order to optimize your SEO efforts, you should leverage responsive web app development.
Focus on user experience to improve the site speed and ensure ease of navigation, thereby converting the clicks into conversions. Browse through the top UX design websites to learn how you can use the best illustrations, user interface, and branding to engage your audience.
3. Utilize Social Websites and Social Media
In 2017, 71% of internet users had an active social media account and this figure has only grown since then. The ever-increasing social network penetration is making it imperative for businesses to stay active on these platforms to engage their target audience and drive conversions.
Image Source Statista
StumbleUpon (now Mix) is one such social networking website that categorizes and recommends tailored content to users based on their personal tastes and interests. Thus, if a user has liked your webpage, it gets added into the StumbleUpon lineup and is featured to other users who are randomly searching on a specific topic using the Stumble button. Submitting your site to StumbleUpon can help you improve your social following and brand awareness.
Social media sites possess the largest demographics globally, making it critical for businesses to build a massive following on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and, Snapchat, among other platforms.
Image Source Statista
People aren’t merely interacting on these social platforms, they are using them to make purchasing decisions and recommend a product or service to their friends. Did you know that 70% of B2C marketers have acquired their customers through Facebook? That’s the power of staying active on social networking platforms.
4. Your Blog Page Is a Star
According to the Content Marketing Institute, 80% of B2B marketers and 75 percent of B2C marketers include blogging in their current marketing strategies. Devising an effective content marketing strategy for your blog can help you retain loyal customers, attract qualified leads, promote your brand, and nurture customer relationships.
The content presented to the target audience should be relevant, insightful, and value-adding. Serving your audience with the content they are looking for on Google is a sure way of getting their attention and engaging them on your website.
In order to improve your startup’s visibility, share knowledge, advice, or entertainment in consumable formats like blog articles, videos, podcasts, emails, infographics, and webinars. When you share informative content on your blog, you come across as a domain expert, thereby increasing your website traffic and generating conversions.
5. Leverage Free SEO Tools
If yours is a young startup, you will need to conduct keyword research, analyze competitor performance, track traffic and conversion trends for your site, and assess the performance of your content marketing strategy. However, technology has made it possible to effortlessly measure new business success with several effective and free SEO tools.
SEO tools, such as Google Analytics, Google PageSpeed Insights, Google Search Console, Screaming Frog, and Ahrefs can help you create a strong online presence without spending a dime. Another free SEO tool, SEO Minion is an amazing Google Chrome extension that analyzes on-page SEO, checks broken links and redirects, simulates multi-location SERP, and improves the CTR by boosting your site’s search engine ranking.
These SEO tools can help you gain organic traffic and nail the SERP ranking with the least marketing budget.
With the world going digital, new ventures heavily depend on fresh and organic traffic to stand out from the competition and drive business profits. Building your startup’s visibility allows potential customers to know about your products/services and helps strengthen your online brand reputation.
SEO has been a key marketing tool used by startups to thrive in today’s competitive business environment. Use the effective SEO tips shared in this post to improve your brand performance and conversions.
This article by Jaykishan Panchal was previously published on Smallbizdaily.com
About the Author:
Jaykishan Panchal is an SEO & Content Marketing Manager at E2M Solutions Inc. and implements cutting edge SEO strategies to help businesses strengthen their online presence. Apart from helping small and big businesses he loves to jot down valuable resources for Entrepreneurs, Start Ups, and Technology Geeks.
Featured Image Credits: Pixabay
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