Week 2 on Clubhouse – learning new words like Peacocking lol

So the first 7 days was Clubhouse Chaos, I was addicted and and it was a wild ride with not much sleep. Week 2 has been ‘The Power of Clubhouse’ and I have made some AMAZING connections and have some great opportunities building!

As a single mum, homeschooling 2 boys and running the business from my dining room table… I sometimes feel like the movie Shirley Valentine. I am 44 so some might have no idea what I am talking about here! But Clubhouse has given me a new lease of life, amazing conversations, new friends and business collaborations.

I have started to host rooms, be a moderator for others and I have already been approached for global speaking opportunities! I have been open, honest, vulnerable, truthful, helpful and supportive. I am learning a lot from other founders and finding a brand new tribe to help me develop and grow.

I have connected with the lovely Jennifer Gilmour and we connected instantly! We have already hosted our first room and have established that we have so much synergy already. I received a lovely book after I shared that I still hear that voice and still feel fragile after a very painful divorce which lasted for over 3 years. Jennifer is AMAZING and has achieved so much in her business and life! A true inspiration for #AbuseTalk

Peacocking’ and ‘Willy Wagging’ are new words and phrases I have learnt lol! I am sure there will be lots of new words that come out of Clubhouse!

‘Put simply, peacocking is “something men do in order to highlight their strong points in order to stand out from their competition,” says dating expert and coach, James Preece. “It’s usually done in order to attract women, much like peacocks show off their feathers to attract a mate (or sales).’

There has been high profile and public arguments which have lead to new rooms discussing female equality, bullying and a call for the ‘Willy Wagging’ to stop! Men have moved over from the big groups to support the women in the new groups who have felt pushed out of the male dominated rooms.

If I am honest I am enjoying the smaller groups with interesting and genuine people / experts without the ego and the constant sales pitch from people who are already millionaires!

I am also loving all of the women who are holding their own, shouting about their success and leading the power of inspiration!

I am loving non business rooms like: The British Accent: How to be an 18 figure founder with @Tash_Courtenay

‘Fun and giggles on a Saturday night!’

Guess the accent was also a fun room and pretty surreal when an actress from Eastenders joins in. Tanya was lovely on air and the room was a fun one to be in on a Saturday night in lockdown.

Then a real giggle with Esther McVey about whipping, but not the whipping you are thinking…

The Chief Whip is a political office whose task is to administer the whipping system that tries to ensure that members of the party attend and vote as the party leadership desires.

Then everyone had an actor crush live on Clubhouse with Karl Queensborough from Hamilton. I am now going to have to watch this on Disney+ (watched it and loved it!)

https://broadwaynews.com/2020/05/12/hamilton-movie-to-premiere-on-disney-plus-in-july/

ClubHouse Town Hall News: 17/01/2021

1. Jobs for Android App developers – Apply @ jobs@joinclubhouse.com / https://jobs.lever.co/joinclubhouse

2. This week is all about DISCOVERY. Discover people, rooms and clubs that you might like to join. They really want to make sure that you are seeing the things you are interested in. So do follow those people who look interesting and might host fun or informative rooms.

3. Do you behave like you are at work or at a party? REALLY! I am sure everyone knows how to behave in rooms and if you want to be naughty or flirt… Then head off into a closed and private room lol!

4. Clubs – They are going through the club requests so it is just a case of being patient.

5. They are looking at all questions and feedback that is sent in, so if you have an idea or some advice then do contact them @ https://www.notion.so/Community-Guidelines-461a6860abda41649e17c34dc1dd4b5f

Read my Top 10 Tips to get started on Clubhouse @ https://sjpcollective.com/2021/01/12/my-top-10-tips-to-get-the-most-out-of-clubhouse-app/

My Top 10 Tips to get the most out of Clubhouse App

So the new year gifted us a new app and this one is super exciting!

What is Clubhouse? The new community-building for virtual events, global networking and conversations.

“Clubhouse is an exclusive, invite-only audio app where participants can move around virtual rooms discussing business, entrepreneurship, arts and culture, from popular TV shows to the state of the music industry and big social media Influencers too.”

Like any new social media platform it takes time to get used to it… However as all you have to do is listen or talk, then it is by far the best, in my opinion. As you are getting to speak with some of the biggest names in the world! Rappers, Grant Cardone and even Paris Hilton jumps into rooms for a chat with everyone!

Within 4 days I have been a room host moderator, guest speaker, asked Daniel Priestley a question in a huge room and I am making the most amazing contacts! #IamAddicted

ClubhouseApp

1. Do read the community guidelines (letter icon in top right corner) and google ‘clubhouse app’ as there are lots of blogs which have all the latest updates on the app! Get a feel for the app by listening in rooms, get a feel for the speakers, have a look at their bios and enjoy!

Clubhouse Town Hall

2. Listen to Clubhouse Town Hall on a Sunday at 5pm & follow the founders to keep updated … as it will be changing whilst in beta stage. Follow @paul and @rohan Switch the bell on when you tap their photo, so you are alerted when they go live. It was so refreshing to hear from the founders directly and know that they are actively looking at the users suggestions on how to make the App better!

BIO

3. Do your bio – add your links & first 3 lines are the most important. Think about who you would like to connect with – a bit like a dating bio. Add your Instagram & Twitter Links and grow your Insta account as well as your clubhouse account!

  • LOOK at other peoples bios for inspiration! I added ENFJ to mine as I would like to connect to other ENFJ personality members.

Search

4. Everything is searchable in your bio – Even emojis – Changing your @ handle makes you more searchable, but you can only change this once! – So search for the people you want to follow / connect with too.

HandsUp

5.Press the ‘hands up’ to join the stage (you have to do this when the room is asked to do to if it is a big group – You can control is as a moderator too)

Never be scared to put your hand up and get on that stage! Say yes then go for it – ask questions – share your story – become BFF’s with your favorite moderators too lol!

  • Ignore your beating chest and just go for it! This goes after you have spoken a few times and the hosts have all been nice and friendly so far.

Mute

6. Press mute when you join the stage!!! ( they are looking to automatically mute)

CLAP

7. Learn how to clap – Clap when you like what people say!
Hit your mic button on & off when you are a speaker on the stage.

FOLLOW

8. Follow the people in the rooms that you like… but do not ‘follow for follow’ to grow your followers quickly. This platform is not like Instagram and they do not want people to be judged on the number of followers they have!

  • Also do not follow too many as you will end up in #FOLLOWERJAIL
    They have standard rate limits and they keep changing them as they do not want this to be an ‘Influencer’ platform. Do not follow everyone and anyone to make sure you can get the best experience at the beginning whilst you find your feet.

HOST & Moderate

9. If you are used to hosting events or speaking on stage – Then own your stage and Start your own group. Collaborate with another speaker / speakers to make it more interesting and to reach a bigger audience.

Start a room – edit the title and invite some friends.

Start a club @ https://www.clubhouseguide.com/

  • You have to apply to run a club but it is worth it is you already have a brand that you would like to secure the same name on clubhouse.

Invitations

10, Be careful who you invite into the club – If they get blocked – You get blocked! Invitations are rare so use them wisely. Yes you can block people!

We don’t control who joins – YOU do! Invite the right people.

@paul clubhouse 2021

MUST NOT DO… Do not record!

#Facts

1. This app has already been valued at £100,000,000

2. Has 1 million users now!

3, It started from an idea – Dream Big & Go Big or go home!

I hope you found this useful – Check out my blog for some more #TopTips and see you in the Clubhouse @StrategySam https://sjpcollective.com/blog-2/

Also check out: https://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/clubhouse-app-how-to-get-started/

5 warning signs that mean you need help with your mental health…

So yesterday was #worldmentalhealthday 2020 and lots of people took to social media to talk about their mental health or moments in time that made them stop and listen.

Running your own business can be hugely rewarding, but for many small business owners having sole responsibility for the company’s success or failure can take its toll. Being an entrepreneur is one of the hardest roles that I have ever had and has brought the most amount of stress upon my already tired body and mind. Being a mum and entrepreneur really is a massive achievement and those that are doing this daily… I salute you!

In 2007 we set up a business and we knew that it was going to take many hours and a lot of dedication. So I took on the responsibility of making sure the home and our son were ok, as well as working night shifts. This allowed him to lock himself away so he could 100% focus on starting up the business. Even though he had my full support he also felt the pressure, and now I can understand a bit more than I did back then.

In the first 6 months of setting up my business the anxiety set in… It felt like an elephant was stood on my chest, and I was so emotional. The pressure of everything had reached capacity and the stress was causing feelings of anxiety. I recognised the feelings as they were similar to an episode I had in 2005 so I went straight to see the doctor. I have been on medication several times over the years and I now just treat it as a vitamin when I am struggling and need some extra support to help my wellbeing. Recognising your feelings and emotions is vital and so is reaching out and getting help asap.

Starting a business whilst going through a divorce was probably not one of my best moves (in hindsight) and led to increased stress and severe anxiety. It can rock the strongest of people to the core and turn your whole life upside down. So, it is hardly surprising that it can lead to mental health issues if the negative emotions and sudden challenges you find yourself having to cope with are not dealt with properly.

Anxiety can be debilitating, so it’s important to seek professional help if your symptoms are severe. If you feel anxious on the majority of days and experience one or more of the symptoms listed above for at least six months, it may be a sign of an anxiety disorder. Regardless of how long you have been experiencing symptoms, if you ever feel like your emotions are interfering with your life, you should seek professional help.

Other symptoms I have had since starting the business are:

  1. Constant Imposter Syndrome Thoughts:

Impostor syndrome (also known as impostor phenomenon, impostorism, fraud syndrome or the impostor experience) is a psychological pattern in which an individual doubts their skills, talents or accomplishments and has a persistent internalized fear of being exposed as a “fraud”.

Past experiences, trauma, or relationships can leave negative thoughts in your mind and this can be very damaging. The fear of not being good enough can lead to mental health complications, in some cases. You may experience anxiety, fear of being a fraud, depression, frustration, a lack of self-confidence, guilt, and shame.

Again back in 2019, I recognised that the constant Imposter syndrome needed to be dealt with, so I went to see Ali from https://www.bemoore.uk/. Therapy is an amazing way to deal with your past in a more productive way. Take time to reconnect with your true self, which then makes your path ahead clear – aligned with your values, and achieved with purpose and intention.

A therapist can help you identify and explore the causes of any unexplained emotional symptoms, so reaching out is always a good option. They can teach you coping mechanisms to keep the thoughts at bay and you will feel stronger for facing your demons and dealing with them.

2. Brain Fog and lack of concentration:

Ever felt fuzzy-headed or unable to focus? That’s brain fog. It may be because of a medical condition or you may need to see a medical professional for a diagnosis. Brain fog is a term that describes when you have problems with focus, memory, logic, and problem solving. When insomnia kicks in I can feel like this, I get brain fog when I am super tired and just need some more sleep!

Feeling blue or stressed out once in a while is normal. But if you’ve been anxious, on edge, sad, or hopeless for more than two weeks, you might find it hard to think clearly. That’s because depression, anxiety, and even high stress can be mentally exhausting. These feelings can steal your focus from your day-to-day tasks and cause a lack of concentration. Again this is a red flag and time to see your doctor to see what is going on.

3. Overreacting to the smallest things:

This is the one thing that makes me realise that things are just not right. Losing your mind over something small or breaking down when something minor goes wrong…

Is this happening more often than usual?

Stress usually doesn’t just get better on its own and if you are noticing that you are overreacting… it may be time to seek help. You may have to actively work on getting control of the stress in your life so that it doesn’t control you. When you first identify how you react to stressful situations, you then can put yourself in a better position to manage the stress, even if you can’t eliminate it.

“It is not our stress that kills us, it is our reaction to it.” —Dr. Hans Selye

4. Feeling sad and becoming tearful:

Sometimes it is hard to know if what you are experiencing is sadness or depression. Depression is different from sadness, stress, anxiety or even grief. It is normal to feel sad or low at times. What distinguishes depression is a combination of factors, including continuously feeling miserable or losing interest in things that you usually enjoy, to the point where you feel you are no longer functioning.

Sometimes you might find yourself crying a lot more often than you’d like to or without an apparent cause. Being sad is a normal reaction to difficult times in life. But usually, the sadness goes away with a little time. Depression is different—it is a mood disorder that may cause severe symptoms that can affect how you feel, think, and handle daily activities such as sleeping, eating, or working.

Well-meaning friends or family members may try to tell someone with depression to “snap out of it,” “just be positive,” or “you can be happier if you just try harder.” But depression is not a sign of a person’s weakness or a character flaw. The truth is that most people who experience depression need treatment to get better.

5. Being distant and quiet:

When I become distant and quiet my mum notices straight away and is straight on the phone. Feeling lonely isn’t in itself a mental health problem, but the two are strongly linked, and having a mental health problem can increase your chance of feeling lonely or hiding away from friends and family!

You may experience social phobia – also known as social anxiety – and find it difficult to engage in everyday activities involving other people, which could lead to a lack of meaningful social contact and cause feelings of loneliness. The longer you hide away, the harder it is to socialise and communicate. So if you know you are currently doing this… again it may be time to reach out and start talking with those closest to you so they can help you.

Prolonged exposure to chronic stress can lead to memory loss, anxiety, irritability, depression, substance abuse, social withdrawal, weight gain, insomnia, suicidal thoughts, or worse. So if you are feeling any of the above feelings or symptoms, please do reach out and make an appointment to see your doctor.

No matter how much you love your work, it’s not worth sacrificing yourself for and the most important thing to remember is that you don’t have to do it alone.

Remember – Depression is common – It is not a sign of weakness – It is nothing to be ashamed about – It can be treated!

https://www.mind.org.uk/news-campaigns/britain-get-talking/

Been worried about how you’re feeling for a while? Don’t wait to ask for help – Mind is here for you.

Call the confidential Infoline on 0300 123 3393

October National & International Days.

International #CoffeeDay – 1st October
Wake up your customers with a great coffee quote post!
#TuesdayTip – Every Tuesday

Post a tip related to your followers that really helps you or your business.

#WorldSmileDay – 2nd October

Post a fab photo of you smiling and tell us what makes you happy!

#NationalTechiesDay – 3rd October

If you’ve been thinking about using a new tool to help you grow your business, this is the time to get it! Or tag a great piece of tech you always use.

#WorldAnimalDay – 4th October

The perfect opportunity for a cute pet post!

#WorldTeachersDay – 5th October

Lets celebrate our teachers? Let your followers know how they impacted you!

#MadHatterDay – 6th October

Ask your followers to share their wackiest ideas! Or your favourite afternoon tea venue?

#WednesdayWisdom – Every Wednesday

Tell our community something interesting about your business @ SJPoole Network.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/SJPooleNetwork

#WorldMentalHealthDay – 10th October
Extra important this year! Create a post that helps raise awareness.
#OwnBusinessDay – 13th October

Dedicated to all independent business owners in the world… Tell everyone about your business and why you set it up!

#WorldMathsDay – 14th October

A great opportunity to offer a 2 for 1 discount! Or buy 1 get 1 free!

#DessertDay – 15th October

You know what to do! My favorite is sticky toffee pudding! What it yours?

#SpreadsheetDay – 17th October

Are you a spreadsheet queen? How do they help your business? Or celebrate your VA or PA if they do this for you!

#WorldStatisticsDay – 20th October

Check in with with your followers and engage with new accounts that you are interested in. Analytics and insights are so important for your business and statistics can give you so much valuable information.

#MakeADifferenceDay – 24th October

How can you #makeadifference ? Ask your followers what they’ve done this year to effect change.

#HumpDay – Every Wednesday

Help your audience get through the week with an inspirational quote!

#ChecklistDay – 30th October

I love a ‘to do’ list and I love crossing it out when complete! What is on your to do list today?

#Halloween

Support small businesses selling Halloween goods! Share posts from great bloggers too.

Like this one from Guardian Angels Childcare: https://www.guardianangelschildcare.co.uk/blog/halloween-ideas-for-2020.html

Building a Successful Business as a Single Mother in 2020

My 2nd Podcast of 2020 – It is a long one but I really enjoyed talking to Alex from Shifts to Success about life pre the accelerator programme and how I am now scaling the business with success.

#PostShare from https://www.shiftstosuccess.com/successstories/

SAMANTHA POOLE
Samantha worked for Thames Valley Police for 13 years, but after her second child turned one year old, her husband’s business required him to work away most weeks. So Sam made the decision to leave the control room and work in the family business.

Sam had suffered from chronic stress in the past due to the pressure of working nights and caring for two children. She was sleep-deprived, and after her divorce, she was faced with a decision to go back to that environment or set up her own business.

Sam decided to continue her entrepreneurial journey that she had started in 2015 and set up as a self-employed social media manager. In year 2, she turned over £50,000. She however quickly realised that she did not know how to manage or scale a business properly.

Sam spoke with Robin Waite, one of the mentors at Shifts to Success, and attended a Success QuickStart Day in August 2019. Soon after that, she joined the Shifts to Success Accelerator and started getting serious about the business she had grown.

Her confidence was at all time low and she was very emotional in the early days but with the mentor’s and her cohort’s support… her strength grew every day!

Since then Sam’s businesses have thrived. She has:

  • Turned over £75,000 sales at the end of year 3
  • A finalist in the SMBN awards 2020 for the Multi Mixer Award
  • Hired her first member of staff and also supports 4 freelancers
  • Has 250 businesses on her business directory
  • Has over 30,000 social media followers and members
  • Had her first 18k month and is set to scale her business to over six figures

We asked Sam how her life has now changed…

“Shifts to Success has impacted me on so many levels. The portal took me right back to basics and the GSD tasks took me way out of my comfort zone but for the better. My boys have a happier mummy and I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Most importantly I have made some like-minded friends for life who are my biggest cheerleaders!

Thank you so much to Cohort 4 & all the mentors.”

Watch our interview with Samantha Poole here: https://youtu.be/Mbm3WpVgp3o

10 things you must do for your business before the end of this year…

Can you believe there are only 4 months and 9 days left of 2020?

For many this year has been a year of major disruption, but it has also been a year of major initiation too. I have found over the last 4 months that there are two very clear mindsets business owners have… Positive and negative. At the end of the day, we can’t just keep sitting here being disrupted and we must be positive about the situation! We must start taking action to move forward and I am going to share the top 10 things I have done to help me stride through 2020 ready for 2021.

  1. Profit and lossI did this in February and realised that my services were not making enough profit so it was time to put my prices up! I now review this monthly and also use a sales CRM to keep track of invoices due and monthly payments received.
  • Take time to take an honest look at how much your business brought this past year versus how much you spent and stop being an ostrich about this. This may not be the most fun task, but the last thing you want to do is start your next month without knowing what your finances look like! It can be hard to get an overall picture of your profits and losses without using some form of tracking software. Most banks or your accountant will have advice on the best one for you to use – Xero or Quickbooks are some popular platforms for this.
  • Regular cash flow forecasting can highlight where problems occurred in the past and where there could be improvements made for the future. However, most importantly, a cash flow forecast will give you a good idea of the health of your business cash flow at a glance.

2. One year and then five-year business plan I always do a 1-year business plan and for the last 3 years I have achieved my goals. Set the financial goal and then work out what you need to do to achieve this goal.

  • Sit down with your team and put together a business plan for the next year.
  • Pull together some financials and create goals. Are your financial projections still in sync? If noticeable changes have occurred, edit your business plan to reflect them.
  • Put together a detailed business strategy for how you will attain those goals.
  • Then every month – Stop and check it! Are you hitting all the short and long-term goals, and the objectives you had for your business? If you are not then you need to focus on what is working well in your business.

3. Have a 12-month Marketing Strategy Social Media is changing every day and so is the technology you can use to grow your business. You need a great mix of advertising across print, online directories, social media, podcasts, and radio too. This is why I set up my business like I have, so I can help lots of small businesses advertise affordably and to their target customers.

  • Referrals have made up 80% of my business this year!
  • Social Media Management has to be a priority – Update your social media presence and stay visible.
  • Evergreen content that you can use across multiple channels is going to be the best PR for your business over the next year.
  • What has had the most engagement over the last 6 months and focus on more of that – Make analytics your best friend and engage, engage, and engage!

4. Build a great team both Freelance and employedI am lucky to have a really great team now that is a mix of Freelance experts and my first employee this year too! Outsourcing is helping my business grow and I would not be where I am today without my awesome team!

  • Make a list of what you enjoy doing and what you do not and make a list of everything that you spend time doing. This should include work-related tasks, marketing, projects, goals, etc. Identify any things that you no longer enjoy doing or that might be distracting you from working toward your bigger goals. Then eliminate extraneous time-suckers.
  • There’s a difference between working toward something worthwhile and simply wanting to finish something in order to feel disciplined. A great trick I learned last week was to put £ signs next to everything on my to-do list and do the biggest £££ first! This will help you figure out which activities and projects are the most important and rewarding to you. Is there a project that has lost steam?
  • Is there a task you can outsource or delegate? I promise you that once you can let go… It will be the best decision you ever made!

5. Customer engagement, feedback & testimonialsWhilst I am fully focused on customer engagement, I find it hard to ask for feedback and testimonials. Testimonials are amazing though and when you do ask for them, they remind you where your strengths are and how your support is appreciated!

Top Tips I will be adopting this year:

  • Send out a handwritten thank you card.
  • Create an email campaign that converts.
  • Visit your customers in person.
  • Spend a few hours each week reaching out to your best customers or future prospects to prepare for the future.

6. Find a mentor or coachInvesting in a mentorship programme and listening to many of the great coaches podcasts recently has seriously helped me define my business model and grow in confidence.

The specific benefits of being mentored include:

  • being encouraged and empowered in personal development
  • being helped to identify and achieve career goals
  • being helped to identify and correct gaps in generic skills and knowledge
  • increasing your confidence
  • developing and maintaining a broader perspective on career options and opportunities
  • having access to a good role model who has the experience
  • developing your own mentoring/coaching skills

7. Listen to the advice they give you and implement it as soon as possible! How many times have you been given advice by an expert and not listened? Or listened but not taken action?

L-isten – I-mplement – S-ales – T-eam – E-ngage – N-iche

  • Work on all of the above and you will notice a massive difference in focus and growth!
  • With thousands of business podcasts available for download and more created every day, it doesn’t matter who you are, what level of experience you have, or what industry you are in. There is a podcast available right now that can benefit you in some way.

8. Focus 100% on the business and how you can make it betterAs soon as Covid-19 hit the UK and we went into lockdown I knew things had to change. I found a great Business Growth Expert and made a bootstrapping strategy plan.

  • Get to know your business inside and out, and bootstrap as much as possible to get through what is left of 2020. Focus, grit and sheer determination are the qualities which are going to get you there…So keep going!
  • Get better at creating content and do an equal amount short term content (Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter posts) and long term content (Pinterest, Blogs, Podcasts, LinkedIn Articles, YouTube, and saved Facebook Lives).
  • Look at your systems, can you implement automation?

9. Never be afraid of a failure or a mistakeThis year has made me realise that I have made quite a few mistakes along the way and some of them have been very painful indeed. However, I have grown so much over the last 3 years and these mistakes have definitely made me stronger and I have learned from every failure!

  • Good businesses don’t thrive by playing it safe. And failure is a natural risk when you push the limits and try new ideas. But failures can also lead to huge leaps in efficiency and profitability.
  • Take some thoughtful risks and study a failure thoroughly to discover the little jewels of knowledge and experience that you wouldn’t have known otherwise! It’ll make you and your business better…I promise!
  • Never quit after a mistake or failure, try again and again until you get it right!

10. Have the courage to step out of your comfort zone!

There is a lot of content and advice here but I hope you find this helpful. I have learnt a lot over the last three years and I would now like to help others in the early stages of building a business. If you think I can help you then feel free to book in a call @ https://sjpcollective.com/book-a-call/

“Samantha is an asset to any business small or large. She has built her contacts from nothing and really sees the importance of social media marketing to get the business known. Her knowledge is golden. She helps businesses grow, think outside the box and, has many angles where they can be seen. Samantha just gets you the minute she meets you. Her personal input makes you go far. Thank you Sam for all your input over the years.” Carol – LinkedIn

7 Reasons to support small businesses through COVID-19 and beyond.

It has been a super tough four months for many of my clients, friends and myself… I just wrote this for my magazine so I thought I would share it here too.

  1. Family Business

Many people set up a business to fit around their family or for a better work / life balance after years of corporate life. This business supports the owners families and it takes a lot of strength and organisation to run a successful small business. So when you support it, you support lots of little people too.

  1. Excluded from Furlough

Many small businesses had to close for 4 months to be able to claim furlough and for many this was just not an option! Many have had to change their business models and go online, and some have had to create something totally different. There has been zero support for LTD businesses and we have already seen some close and staff lose their jobs. There have still been bills to pay and in some cases nothing coming in for over 4 months to cover these fees. 

  1. We do a happy dance

Honestly, ask any business owner and they will all say the same… 

“When you buy from a small business, an actual person does a little happy dance.”

The feeling you get when you create your own business and make your first sales is just amazing! A lot of energy goes into starting up a business and the proof is in the pudding, happy customers make happy business owners!

Gift Cards are a great way to support our local businesses too. Buying a gift card from a local business and saving it to use in the future is an immediate way to put cash into your favourite shop, salon, theatre or restaurant and recommend it to others. It is also a great way to show business owners how much you appreciate their work and a gesture of customer loyalty in uncertain times.

  1. Passion & Why

Most small business owners are driven to succeed; they want to see their businesses grow, from startup to established business. Drive is a very common characteristic among successful entrepreneurs because starting a business can be challenging, and some challenges call for a moderate amount of competitiveness, determination, and motivation. This is why we need to support them and keep their motivation alive, lets celebrate these movers and shakers!

  1. Handmade with love

No two handmade items are exactly alike. Variations in color, shading, texture, shape and grain are inherent in a handmade item. No two items are alike, so that every single one is one-of-a-kind. This means that every handmade item you purchase is also one-of-a-kind. We have some amazing businesses in Milton Keynes who make everything from soaps to beautiful keepsakes. 

See Thefollysoapco.selz.com for details

  1. Long hours and sometimes 7 days a week

While many companies follow a standard 9-to-5, 40-hour workweek, entrepreneurs find themselves working at odd times of the day, many times more than 40 hours per week. For new or aspiring entrepreneurs being bombarded from all angles with the “entrepreneurial grind” on social media, it’s hard to know how many hours entrepreneurs truly work. 

  1. Iceberg sacrifice

Success is an iceberg. There is what people see on the surface: confidence, wealth, beauty, relationships, seniority. Then there is what people don’t see hiding below the surface: persistence, failure, sacrifice, disappointment, good habits, hard work and dedication.

By supporting locals, you’re directly putting money back into your own community. You’re funding great ideas and ventures that can only exist if we support the makers, entrepreneurs and go getters!” – Samantha Poole 

To support your local businesses see: www.mumsrate.com for our Local Business Directory.

Twitter Tweets…

10 Top Tips to get you started on Twitter – What types of businesses need this platform?

“LinkedIn is for the people you know. Facebook is for the people you used to know. Twitter is for people you want to know.”

Unknown

Twitter is perfect for those who have a story to tell and need to connect with journalists and celebs! It is the perfect platform to share news and charity events. I have grown an audience of 3,000 quite easily and it is a platform I dip in and out of depending on what I am sharing.

Local hours like #mkhour is a great way to network online and I love a bit of #SBS with the fabulous https://twitter.com/TheoPaphitis

Sam’s 10 Top Tips for Twitter:

  1. Get involved with charity campaigns – #RT and why you are supporting…
  2. It is the first place for news – So get on the #RT and share your views…
  3. It has taken me 4 years to get to 3097 followers on my personal account so stick with it!
  4. My work has been shared all over the world, my photos have been on the front page of national papers and I have some amazing followers who gave me a reach of 102k last month… So be you! You never know who is watching you and where it may take you.
  5. Enjoy it! #RT all the things you connect with and feel passionate about.
  6. It is FREE! So do use it. You do not have to tweet your own content 15 times a day, but you can share with #RT 15 times a day on days / hours special to you i.e #WednesdayWisdom #MondayMotivation #CharityTuesday #FollowFriday See: BBC – 10-of-the-most-popular #
  7. Think about what you want to achieve? Find all # relevant to your business and use to the max!
  8. Make real contacts and #Network follow all of us on this list and #Share #RT #Follow
  9. Create a #TwitterHour or campaign and go for it…
  10. Be patient #PracticeMakesPerfect

All social media platforms take time to build and nurture but for the right businesses Twitter is still very much in the game in 2020!

Samantha Poole #SharingIsCaring @ https://twitter.com/spoole2013

1:2:1 Twitter training available @ https://calendly.com/sjpoole/2-hour-social-training-or-strategy-session

Use LinkedIn Like a Pro!

I absolutely love LinkedIn and I cannot stress enough, that if your Business is B to B you need to show up! You also need to show up whilst the exposure is superb and the platform is working with you rather than against you.

There is a lot to learn with LinkedIn but the best thing to do is start!

Here are my Top 10 Tips to getting started on this fantastic platform.

Tip #1 – Use a professional photo.

  • LinkedIn profiles with photos get 21 x more views and 36 x more messages. Plus we like to see who we are talking to! A professional headshot is the best option, so get booked in with a local photographer if you need one and get this done asap.

Tip #2 – Update your information & Strapline

Your summary should clearly state what you do, and how you can help your target market. Concentrate on what makes you different from the crowd and create your brand message and strapline around that. This helps convince your audience that you are worth their time, connection, and engagement.

  • Use clear and simple language – avoid jargon and acronyms
  • Communicate concrete results you provide to your customers
  • State how your offering is different than what else is in the marketplace
  • Avoid hype and superlatives. For example, don’t claim you’re “the greatest” at something. Stick to facts and measurable achievements
  • Make it easy to read and skim
  • Include a call-to-action
  • Provide your contact information
  • Add external links such as your website and other social profiles

 Tip #3 – Make use of your personal profile

  • Strangers who come across your profile on LinkedIn are more likely to follow you than to connect with you if they like your content. This is why it’s useful to change your default button on your profile to ‘Follow’ instead of ‘Connect.’
  • Changing the button can grow your network faster, and lead to more engagement. Plus, once people follow you, you can personally reach out and invite them to connect with them as well.

Tip #4 – Seek out connections – aim for 10 per day

  • Join LinkedIn groups – it allows you to connect with anyone in the group
  • LinkedIn hosts thousands of groups, often run by leading industry professionals. Contributing valuable content to these groups can help establish your credibility as an industry leader – plus, it’s a unique opportunity to connect with people in your audience.
  • Belonging to a group instantly grants you access to sending connection invites to every other member within that group.
  • You can also set up and run your own LinkedIn group. Not only could you stand to benefit from upcoming changes, but establishing a group can also help your target market find and engage with you.

Tip #5 – Optimize your posts

There are three types of content you can create directly on LinkedIn:

  • Posts – this is short content, such as status updates and quick shares – Making sure you add 5 x #
  • Videos – you can directly upload video files to LinkedIn
  • Articles – LinkedIn Publisher enables you to publish long-form articles

You have up to 1300 characters for each post, but the first 2–3 lines are critical because everything after this is hidden unless the viewer clicks ‘…see more.’

Tip #6 – Engage with others

  • Liking and commenting on other people’s posts can boost your own engagement and lead to new connections.
  • The clap / curious / ideas are all ways of standing out too.

Tip #7 – Be consistent

LinkedIn’s feed algorithm promotes those who post frequently. Most advice suggests at least 1–2 times per day.

  • 500 million LinkedIn users – 260 million are logging in each month.
  • It’s B2B online networking 24/7
  • It’s where most Fortune 500 decision-makers and executives like to spend their spare time.
  • LinkedIn users typically use the platform to find relevant content, meaning they’ll be much more willing to check out what you’re sharing.
  • Many LinkedIn users are senior level influencer’s and 40 million are in decision-making positions.
  • Only 3 million users share content weekly
  • Only 1 million users have published an article on LinkedIn.

Tip #8 – Use Hashtags to Get Discovered

  • You should also aim to use no more than 5–6 hashtags per post (including long-form content).
  • LinkedIn gives you suggestions under your post so have a look at the recommendations.
  • LinkedIn users can follow a hashtag to get content on that topic in their feed even if they don’t follow specific influencers for that topic.

Tip #9 – Write More

  • Posts: You have 1,300 characters available to you on a personal LinkedIn post. It turns out, at least in this case, longer is better.
  • Articles: 1900 word articles usually get the most shares, so aiming for between 1700 & 2100 words should give your content a great boost. Aim for 2 per week if you can and you can then break this down for other social media ‘bite size’ gems!

Tip #10 – Tag People in LinkedIn Posts

Once you’ve formatted the perfect post that provides value to your readers it’s time to tag your network and core fans! The post may start #Trending if lots of people engage with it and comment on it! If you want it to be seen, tag your team or associates.

I could write another 20 Top Tips but I will leave you to put these ones in action first. If you need some help then feel free to book a call @ https://scollectivecouk.wordpress.com/book-a-call/

“LinkedIn is for life, not just for a season”

My Top Ten tips to setting up your own Facebook Group.

Facebook Group Guide 2020

Do you want to set up a Facebook group but do not know where to start?

Now really is the time to engage with Facebook groups as there are some great communities out there, and now you might even have time to create your own? It takes time and trust to grow a great group but once you have it, it really is a great asset to your business. I have been asked by many of my clients this week these same questions so I thought I would do a blog about this and share some tips with you…

How do I know about this? 

Well I set up my first Facebook group over 10 years ago to put all my new mum friends in as it was pre ‘WhatsApp’ days where we could have a group chat rather than individual text messages. I put all of my new mum friends into the group and started sharing information. Before we knew it we were on 100 members and 10 years later we have 17,500 in this group and it grows by 300 new members per month. It’s a place where members can ask questions, charities can promote their events, members can ask for advice, local businesses can promote their services (if they are in our business directory) and it has become an online community in a vast and growing town/city.

Over the years I have built trust by providing value. I have been consistent for over 10 years now and the group just grows from strength to strength. Without trust, you won’t have a highly engaged group, you won’t drive interest to your call to action, your polls won’t receive feedback and any offers you announce won’t be well received. You may have a few people who do not like the way you run your group, along the way! But that is the great thing about building your own group… You can grow the community that you would like to engage with!

To build trust, you must be part of the group daily and talk to the group. Things like sharing first-hand experience, answering questions and simply providing the community can all help strengthen the relationship between you, your members and your business. Holding question-and-answer sessions and creating exclusive content for your group are just a couple examples of how you can provide added value. 

So: Create your own?

What type of group?

Or become ‘best friends’ with the admin of the biggest groups online.

The 3 group types:

  • Closed Groups: Everyone can search, find and request to join the group but needs to wait for the approval from the group admin, and only members can see the posts in the group.
  • Public Groups: Anyone can search and find this group but in order to get a notification the user has to request to join. Everyone can see the posts of this group even if they’re not a member. 
  • Secret Groups: Only the group members can search and see this group. So no one can send a join request to the admin of this type of group. This is really useful if you don’t want to show your group existence to others. Only the admins can accept the join requests to this group.

From a business perspective, the closed groups are more suitable for their optimized moderation and visibility control.

Your own group:
Pros:

  • It gives you the opportunity to be more personal as you are the face behind the group, not a company name and logo. Members want to engage with a person, not a company. So it makes it a bit easier to engage when you have products that they might like to buy. Groups are a place where you can gather your ideal clients and members of a group are usually more loyal and active, than likers of a page. Therefore, the rate of engagement is higher in groups.
  • You can control it – Control who posts (switch post approval on in the settings) and control who is in the group! Sometimes people join the group to be ‘inspired’ by your content or to sell on YOUR members. So if it is your group you can delete the comments and block members if necessary! Also, groups can be self-sustaining. It’s possible that the group members will continue to be active and create new conversations which will keep the group going without any activity on your side.
  • Your members can make friends with each other in a safe space, support each other and also tell their friends about your amazing group! Mum to Mum’s success has a huge word of mouth following.
  • You can promote your content, pin a post to the top of the group and mark posts as ‘announcements’ so your members can view them. This is great if you are looking to send traffic to your website and it is a great way to highlight other members or experts too.
  • Facebook users are increasing like never before. It means that investing time and money on Facebook for the marketing and sales strategy will be an amazingly wise idea.
  • When you post in the group, unlike Facebook pages, your posts will be seen and you can also search for relevant past posts too. You can comment on a previous post and it will jump back up to the top of the group to be seen again, and again. Facebook groups enhance the exposure of your posts and really help your brand awareness.
  • You can Promote ‘Offers’ with more visibility to an instant audience. If you have a group full of your potential customers, you will be able to provide them with various offers. A great place to drop a ‘lead magnet’ to obtain email addresses to also do traditional email marketing approach. Offering the ‘special rates’ within the group though, cuts cost and ensures an added amount of reach to your fanbase. It also makes them feel special!
  • When all of your members interact with each other in a meaningful way, and you consistently become a part of conversations, these people will be appreciative of you making this entire experience enjoyable. This will translate to a better reputation for your brand and potentially more product sales.

Cons:

  • You will need to dedicate at least 30 minutes to 1 hour per day maintaining it. Including at the weekends unless you set rules in place that state otherwise. You must create content that engages with your members or that helps them engage with others.
  • They can take years to grow but it really is worth the time and effort in the long run! You have to be in it for the long haul…
  • You don’t own the platform – When you don’t have control over the tools you use for your business then you have some degree of risk.
  • You have to spend time setting expectations for that community in what is appropriate for posting and rules for the group in general. It’s possible that a group member misunderstands your policy, or does not like your rules and they then form a negative opinion on you or your service.
  • Likewise you can have members who complain, spam posts every day and people trying to pitch their own businesses (even when you have asked them not to). However, you can block these people once you become aware of them.
  • Groups won’t show up on Google searches, whereas pages will, so it is good to have both and make sure you link the page to the group.

Established Groups:
Pros:

  • The admin has already done all the hard work and you have immediate access to a ‘readymade’ community.
  • If you become recognised as a ‘contributor’ the admin might ask you to help manage the group. You might be able to work with the admin to feature as the main banner over the group or share your blogs if they are relevant to the group and help admin with content.
  • You can use the search facility to see what kind of questions are asked and find out lots of valuable information from past posts.

Cons:

  • Your posts may get deleted by admin.
  • You might not be able to share your business links or PR/sell in the group.
  • You have no control over the banner, the posts and the rules!
  • You might even get blocked from the group.

So here are my 10 Top Tips…

  1. If you do set up a group: Name the group something that can be found easily when future members are searching Facebook groups.
  2. Invite some friends to get it started. Creating a niched Facebook Group is a good thing to do because people in it will actually be happy to be a part of it and meet new people that like the same thing as they do.
  3. Be ready to be in it for the long haul and add value every week! Have a clear strategy and ideas plan that will help you with the management of the group.
  4. Take 10-20 minutes a day (depending on the size of your group) to thank new members for choosing to join your group, and write, or share some interesting content based on the purpose of your group.
  5. Ask other ‘experts’ if relevant to your brand to join the group and engage with the members. Especially if this is a community group.
  6. Set rules for the group, that way if a member breaks them… You can remove them from the group. Be vigilant and don’t often make exceptions from your rules, otherwise, everyone will start disobeying. This sounds a bit harsh, but only by creating and respecting some rules, your group will become the community you want to grow.
  7. Vet your members, see if they fit your group by having a quick look at their profile before you approve them. Any you are not sure about, do not add. 
  8. Remember that people choose to be in a group because they want to learn and support each other with ideas and advice. This will not happen if the group is full of adverts or constantly trying to sell!
  9. Also have a clear idea of what you want the group to be, who you would like in the group and why, and have time to engage with your members in every way you can.
  10. Go Live in your group at least once a week so they can get to know you. Maybe invite some guest experts too and really be there for your members. 

I hope this article sheds a bit of light into the pros and cons of running a Facebook group. If you don’t have a Facebook group, then it might be time to create a group and boost your brand awareness to your new community. If you think to have the time and the patience to ‘go with the flow’ and build your trusted tribe! #GoForIt

Feel free to connect with me @ www.linkedin.com/in/samantha-poole

www.facebook.com/groups/SJPooleNetwork

www.facebook.com/groups/MumtoMumGroup

Facebook for business: Starting Out