How To Keep Your Personal And Professional Life Separate On FacebookPretty much everyone has a Facebook page. There are over 1 billion users on Facebook. Naturally, with that large of an audience it’s important that your business be there.

Marketing your business via Facebook is a great way to get new business as well as create free word of mouth marketing.

In addition, it’s easy to create Facebook advertisements. But, there are some serious roadblocks with social media that can cause problems for any business owner. You innocently click “like” on someone’s picture, article, or meme and before you know it someone you do business with is offended and fires you.

Dr. Phil says that perception is reality, so it doesn’t really matter if you’re within your rights to have your own opinions when it comes to social media. Of course, you do! However, so do your potential clients. There are some best practices for using social media when it comes to business. One of those best practices is to keep your business and personal life separate.  (You may also read personal branding vs business branding)

The way to keep your business and personal life separate is to:

Create separate accounts — Choose very carefully when business associates or acquaintances want to follow or friend you on your social media. It’s perfectly within your right to turn someone down to be your friend. Creating separate accounts can solve a lot of issues.

Think twice before doing — On social media where people can follow you without your permission, it’s important to consider the ramifications of the things that you choose to share. If you want to be controversial, think about it first.

Use privacy settings — On social media where you can set privacy features, and even block people; ensure that you take advantage of the technology. No one will know they are blocked or that your account is even there in most cases, if you set your privacy settings right. Don’t underestimate the power of keeping private things private.

Understand the technology – When you set up any social media accounts be sure to understand how it all works. For instance, consider the chain of events that occur when you “like” something. Who sees your “like”? Do you care who sees your “like”? Is it really private?

What will your Grandmother think? – A good test to see if something is appropriate to post, including pictures, memes, and thoughts — is to know whether you would want your Grandmother to see it or not. If the answer is no, don’t post it.

Stay focused on your audience – When using social media to promote your business stay focused on what your target audience wants to see from you. It’s okay to promote your business on private networks occasionally so that your family and friends know what you’re up to, but don’t share private matters unless necessary on your business social networks.

Your personal life is none of your clients’ business. It’s likely that they don’t want to know much about your private life either, especially super private information that covers the three topics that you should not discuss in mixed company: Religion, Politics and Money. Keep that in mind going forward and keep your personal and private lives separate on social media as much as possible.

 

10 Reasons You Need a Business Plan for Your Online Business

A business plan is a document that should be written before the startup phase of any business idea. It’s normally a way for an entrepreneur to attract investors to their business.

Most online business ventures are of the solopreneur variety and don’t usually ask for investors, so they often skip the important business planning stage of start up. However, it is a big mistake.

Here are 10 important reasons you need a business plan for your online business.

 

1. Create a plan of action —  At its core, a business plan is a plan of action that, when and if you get lost, you can look back at it to help clarify where you are, and where you’re going. The plan doesn’t always have to be followed to a “T”, but the essential components of the business plan can keep you focused and clear on the actions you need to take to get to where you want to go.

2. Clarify your intentions — If you were not sure why you are embarking on a specific business journey, the business plan will help clarify your intentions and answer the all important question: Why? Knowing your why is an important aspect of anything you do in life, including starting an online business.

3. Identify your target audience — Most people go into business with a product or service already thought out. But the truth is, it’s better to know who your target audience is, their needs, hopes, dreams, desires, and fears, and then create a product or service that solves one of their problems. So, if you’ve done it the other way, you’ll need to define your target audience, which will help you learn the best way to market your product or service.

4. Define your services/products —  Once you get into the nitty-gritty of business planning, you’ll be able to better define your product or service more than if you don’t write the business plan. You will want to create a prototype, and perfect the product or service until you know how you’ll create it, how you’ll deliver it, and how you’ll collect the money. Additionally, this process will help you identify opportunities to up-sell.

5. Determine competition —  Every business should take a look at their competition, not just at start up phase but throughout the life of their business. Knowing what they are doing, and how they’re doing it, can help you differentiate yourself enough to stand apart from them.

6. Circumvent mistakes — As you write out the processes from beginning to end, through the business cycle, you’ll see where mistakes can be made and you’ll eliminate the possibility of errors by creating processes that prevent them.

7. Describe procedures — Every business needs standard operating procedures. How will you accept money, how will you pay your bills? How will you deliver your product or service to the client. How will you identify clients? How will you communicate with clients? The list goes on.

8. Establish personnel needs — As you determine each aspect of your offerings and how they run through the business cycle, you will identify areas where you cannot deliver alone. You may need a bookkeeper, an accountant, contractors, a manufacturer, and so on. You’ll not only know what you need, but who you will use as you create the business plan.

9. Discover technology needs — As you go through the business cycle in your business plan you’ll also discover needs for technology such as hardware, and software. Perhaps you want to start a graphic design business. You may identify various software apps from Adobe or other software developers that you need. Along with that comes a price point, which will determine the start up costs of your business.

10. Illuminate your mission — The process of doing the business plan forces you to figure out what your mission is, how you’ll deliver it, and why you’re delivering it. By illuminating these important questions you answer the who, what, where, why and how of your entire business from the ground up.

 

Business GoalsIn order to be a successful online business owner it’s important to plan. Business like anything in life always work better when you have good plans. Even taking a trip works out better when you have a map or use GPS.

Thorough business planning is like GPS for your business.  You’ll be able to choose where you’re going based on actual evidence of where you’ve been and the goals you create from your plans.

 

When you first start a business, during the start up phase a business plan is created. This business plan helps a business owner determine if their ideas are feasible or not. It also establishes a budget, and forecasts future income based on possible sales due to the marketing activities planned for in the business plan. As long as the assumptions made in the business plan are made based on research and education the numbers shouldn’t be far from reality.

Even after your business is established, there are times where you have to plan more. For instance, when you create a new product or service. Research must be done, strategy must be made, and tactics identified in order to ensure that the new product or service becomes a profitable addition to your online business. Without planning, creating a new successful product or service is a crap shoot. You don’t want your business to be a crap shoot.

Therefore,  when you have goals you can also create a plan to reach them. When you set a goal, be clear and precise on what the goal is. A goal is not a wish. It is something that is truly achievable if the steps to reach that goal are implemented. For instance, let’s say that one of your goals is to double your income within 12 months. You will need to state exactly how you will actually reach that goal. Will you sell more product? How many more products will you need to sell per year, month, week and day? How exactly will you sell more product?   What steps will you take to sell more product? How will you change your marketing that you currently do?

With proper planning in every aspect of your online business, you will be more likely to reach each goal that you set. By setting a goal, and then planning out the steps to take in order to reach that goal, you will identify possible roadblocks to success. Your research will identify issues and concerns. For instance ,with the above example of selling more product, perhaps you will discover that selling more product is impossible.

Therefore, you will have to come up with another plan to generate more income. Perhaps, during research you’ll discover that your target audience has another need that you can fill with a new product that will generate the need sales to double your income in 12 months. You may even identify more than one possible avenue to reaching your income goals. Without the planning phase you will miss out on the truth potential of your business. Business planning for your online business is an essential component to helping you reach your business goals :)

How to Self-Publishing Print Books Without a Traditional Publisher

How to Self-Publishing Print Books Without a Traditional Publisher

Self-publishing is an excellent way to break into becoming a book author. Your book can become your calling card and garner you more respect, expert status, and business than almost any other method. But, a lot of people get side tracked when trying to self-publish and get ahead of themselves. Let’s go through the steps to get you to the finish line without losing too much sleep.

Write Your Book — Yes, this is the very first step to self-publishing. In fact, if you don’t have a book written yet, you’re probably making one of the first mistakes of self-publishing. Not writing. You’re not a writer until you write a book. There is nothing to publish until you write a book. So, get to writing. If you need to know more about the process of writing, that is what you should research at this point. Once you have something to publish, then it’s time to research publishing. Until then. Write.

Proof & Edit The Book — Once you’ve written the book, after you’ve gone through your own editing process, and you think the book is finished, it’s important to let someone else proof your book. There are professionals who will proof and edit the book for you. You can hire someone to do a variety of levels of proofing and editing duties from grammar, to sentence structure and word usage, to making the book more interesting, to ensuring the formatting is done properly. It’s up to you how far you want an editor to go. But at least have someone edit for grammar and errors even if you just ask a few trusted friends to do this for you.

Create a Telling Title — A title is an important component of marketing your book. If the title doesn’t explain the book very well, the people it’s meant for, might not read it. Ask for advice for the title from those whom you’ve allowed to read the book, and from editors. Take a day and brainstorm various titles and ask people what the title says to them. Then choose a title, and move forward.

Get a Professional Cover Designed — If you’re not a graphic designer, please don’t try to design the cover yourself. This is where you should spend money to ensure an excellent cover is designed in the formats that you’ll need as you go through the publishing and marketing process. There are designers at all price points, ask people for recommendations. If you already have a following you could even make it a contest. If not, seek out portfolios and choose someone whose work you admire, within your price range. Fiverr.com is a great place to get a Cover for $5

Copyright Right — Adding copyright legal language is legally enough to copyright your work. However, it’s best to submit your work to the copyright office to ensure iron clad legal protection on your work. You can find out more about copyrighting by visiting Copyright.gov.  It’s not difficult, so don’t let this scare you.

Buy an ISBN Number — It’s important that you purchase an ISBN. This number will be a unique number that identifies your title. If you use a self-publishing company they may give you one of theirs but ultimately it’s better to have your own. The problem is that you have to buy them in groups of 10. To get an ISBN you can go to https://www.myidentifiers.com. As of today, you can get ten ISBNs for $250.00. If you plan to publish in multiple formats you may need many numbers per book.

Choose a Printer — There are many ways to have your manuscript printed toady on line. But, now that you’ve got a book, it’s okay to choose a printer! The POD printers today are createspace.com, lulu.com, lightningsource.com, and others. Research the various options to decide what you want to do. Some of these services offer add on services such as editing, formatting, cover art, and ISBNs so ensure that you use the service you’re most comfortable with.

Market your Book — That’s right, after you finish writing and publishing the book, your work is not over. Now you need to market your book via every method you can such as online via blogs, youtube, blogtalkradio interviews as well as offline via book signings, talks, readings, newspapers, magazines, and more. Leave no stone unturned. If there as a place you can be that your target audience will see you, be there.

The big secret of traditional publishing that they don’t want you to know is that the marketing part is the hardest part of publishing. And guess what, unless you’re already super famous, they don’t market you very much. They expect you to do that for yourself. So, you’re not at a disadvantage by self-publishing in the least. If you’ve followed the steps above, created a product you’re proud to promote, get out there and promote it.

 

All the best,