10 steps to ensure you correctly take risks in your business

10 steps to ensure you correctly take risks in your business

One of the biggest blocks business owners face is not willing to try something new or take a risk.  Some of the best risks do pay off. Taking a risk is about doing something in your business that truly resonates with you and that you are confidently willing to try to see how your audience feels.  It doesn’t mean doing things that you don’t wholeheartedly feel is right.

Tony Robbins says

“If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten.”

 

For business owners, sometimes taking risks can just feel overwhelming and another added pressure they don’t want to deal with.  But risk isn’t a big ugly scary thing, risks can be small steps towards an end goal.  Taking risk is about trying something new to see how it’s accepted or not accepted by your target market.

Stepping outside your comfort zone and trying a new thing in business can actually be an exhilarating journey and one that has you asking why on earth you never tried it earlier.

In taking risks it’s about ensuring it’s done in a practical and safe guarded manner.

Being patient

For heaven sakes, taking a risk isn’t about taking your clothes off right this minute and running the streets naked. It’s about patiently waiting for the right time for YOU and when it feels right take the leap.

Be aware that any setbacks or blocks are not ones you’ve created because you’re scared of failure.  Remember it’s better to have tried than live with the regret you never tried.

Having risk assessment plans

What if? It’s a bit like planning for an event, whilst it might be a glorious sunny day, you still make sure you have a contingency plan for ‘in case it rains’.  Back up plans are smart and strategic.  They help eliminent any panic and reduce your stresses because you know you have it covered….just in case.

Gather your intel

Don’t just do something without at least doing your research on potential risks, what your audience possible reactions may be and how you can counter-measure them.  Gathering intel can be in the form of surveys with your target market, or market research to see what the latest trends are.

Identify your variables against your controls

As with many projects there are some risks that are 100% controllable and others that are variable and non-controllable.  Doing a risk assessment plan should enable you to clearly identify possible solutions for all.

Be ready and willing to step outside the norm

Take a deep breathe and be okay with doing something outside of the norm. We are always looking for the next best thing and you might just have it.  So no more thinking inside the box.  Go on, you CAN do it.

Financial backing or fallback

Perhaps your idea is needing financial support, think about how you can fund it if you personally can’t pay for it all yourself.  Perhaps a loan, if you believe in your project, and are will to back yourself with a loan then why not talk to your banks.  If they believe it’s a good risk, and they’ll do their own risk assessment, then provide the financial support.  However, be aware of what you’re up for if it goes south!  

Doing it alone versus bringing in a partner or investors

Sometime business owners can feel it’s just too overwhelming to do it alone, so consider others who might benefit in the project (how are not a competitor to you business) to join the venture.  Psst….don’t forget to make sure an agreement is signed and all is protected, so don’t share anything with anyone without having legal protection for you and your idea.

Safeguards

Of course, depending on your idea do you need to speak to your insurance provider for extra coverage for this project.  As it might not fall within the scope of your current insurance.  Insurance adds the extra security that you are covered for the worst possible scenario.  It adds great peace of mind.

Taking your time

Don’t rush things because everyone else says it needs to be there yesterday.  When you feel you have everything covered and are ready to go, then go for it.  You are the one it will fall back on, not those telling you what to do.

Assess

Every step of the way you should be assessing and re-assessing how the projects is progressing to ensure you are clearly identify any ‘changes’ that might have occurred or any unexpected obstacles.

 

AND, make sure you enjoy the ride.  This is your adventure and one risk you might come to love and encourage you to take further for the love of your people!

 

Risk assessments do not just apply to one area in business, it applies to ALL areas.  Consider adding this to your ‘To Do’ list as a priority and conduct a full risk assessment of your business.  You might learn some amazing things about you and your business that you hadn’t realised. 

 

You can find out lots of information on these websites.

www.riskmanagement.com.au/

www.standards.org.au/

www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/

https://www.saiglobal.com

 

What does a virtual assistant do?

What does a virtual assistant do?

A virtual assistant is a business owner that works remotely providing services from administration through to desktop publishing and website development, to other business owners. Virtual assistants work from their homes, providing support to businesses across the world. Virtual assistants are paid generally for the time spent working for businesses, at an hourly rate or project rate.

As many business owners start to grow their business, they can find themselves at a turning point where their focus truly needs to be on the business growth and development, not being weighed down with various administration tasks or business functions that could easily be outsourced and managed by external parties, giving them back their valuable time.

A virtual assistant is a great stepping-stone for the business owner who isn’t quite ready to hire a full time or part time employee, or have the needed finances to cover overheads such as computers, wages, insurance, and so forth.

In Australia, Virtual Assistant rates range on average from $30 to $70, depending on their skill and industry knowledge and experience. In my role as a virtual assistant, I work with multiple businesses providing a range of services from administration, email/diary management, social media and online business strategies, blogging, newsletter, desktop publishing and website updates.

Virtual assistants can be hired hourly for a one off project, or for a set number of hours per week or month.  When it comes to hiring, don’t allow yourself to be blocked by the price of a virtual assistant, as it is important that your business needs are being met. It is important to know, that whilst a virtual assistant might cost $50 an hour, that task that takes you 2 hours is mostly likely going to take a virtual assistant 1 hour or less.

 Virtual assistants work remotely, and use programs such as Skype, Dropbox, project management software, to enable them to work for businesses across the globe.

Business owners can source overseas virtual assistants, which can have many pros and cons. If your business need a 24 hour service, having a virtual assistant both locally and overseas can enable you to provide a 24 hour service.  There are many programs that can be used to streamline processes between your virtual team and ensure smooth running of your business.

When you feel you are ready to bring a virtual assistant into your team, but may be unsure where to start and how to hire one.

I recommend reading the following articles:

How to start working with a virtual assistant

How can a Virtual Assistant help you in your business?

Then seek referrals from colleagues and friends, on virtual assistants they recommend.  Another method is to review testimonials on virtual assistant websites to see what previous clients have to say.  Be sure to talk to several virtual assistant businesses, to ensure you feel comfortable with their ability to meet your business needs and understanding.  Also, see if they offer a trial period so you can be sure it’s going to be a perfect match!

If you have any additional questions on what a virtual assistant does, please feel to connect with me. 

5 items to include in your newsletter

5 items to include in your newsletter

Do you find yourself struggling to think of content for your regular newsletter to your mailing list? Do you feel like you have writers block? Do you feel like you have nothing to say?

Let me make it easier for you. 

Have you considered having a pre-set template? This is a great way to help you pre-plan your content and create your newsletter in a more timely manner. But what do incorporate?

Here are 5 items to include in your newsletters as regular content;

#1 Introduction


Always open with a brief hello and what you’re up to. Connecting with your audience is vital and sharing a little about you, makes them know you’re real and that you care about them as your audience.

Connection is the key.

TIP: Make sure you personalise the email to include their name. Small personal touches go a long way.

 

#2 Valuable information  

Imagine getting an email that is giving you some awesome information relevant to you. Now imagine getting an email that’s all about them and salesy. That’s right … a real turn off. Give a little to gain a little, or hopefully more.

 

#3 Your latest projects or blogs

Don’t always assume your audience is reading your blogs or social media post. Remember, they’ve invited you into their personal space by allow YOU to have their email address because they may not have time for social media or may not be online as often as assumed. 

Depending on the length of your blog, you may want to put the whole things in your newsletter, or insert a portion of it and link the rest back to your website.

 

#4 Links to other services


We often assume that everyone remembers what we do. But be honest, do you remember what everyone does? Don’t be afraid to have dedicate a section to your other services, this can be done in the form of images with the service title and of course ensure its linkable to your website where further details are.

If you have a special running, then you can dedicate this area to that. Just don’t make the whole newsletter about you, remember it’s a relationship with your target audience so a bit of give and take goes a long way.

 

#5 Bio

In the footer of your newsletter you can have your social media platform linked and why not add a photo of you and a short paragraph blurb about who and what you do (another refresher for your audience).

TIP: Use a professional headshot, it’s the best investment you’ll make. 

 

#6 But I sell products not services

If you’re a retail product selling business, then you may have heard the term ‘picture tells a thousand words’. Use images of your products in your newsletter. You may have a product you’re wanting to move the last stock items off, so promote it in your newsletter, say something like ‘whilst stock lasts’ or ‘limited stock left, don’t miss out’.  Putting an ‘urgency’ with it, makes people take action faster.

Launching a new product, then share it. Maybe even offer an upsell product that would go well with the product.

TIP: Do not flood your newsletter with millions of images, it gets to overwhelming for your audience.

 

Feel like it’s all a bit hard and just want someone to create your branded newsletter for you. Guess what? I can, I am a Mailchimp expert and can create your branded newsletter templates, or automation series. Contact me today if you would like to know more.

 

 

 

 

10 Things You Should Have On Your Website

10 Things You Should Have On Your Website

Building a website is not a cheap investment, especially for start-up businesses. Therefore it is so important that you are doing it the right way the first time. It’s also important to note, that not all website designers offer all the things you need. Some may simply ‘design’ the look of your website. For those who already have a website built, it’s important to check you do have all your bases covered.

A general website has the main menu items such as

  • Home Page – it doesn’t need to be long and overflowing with words, but it should immediately allow your visitor to know what it is you offer
  • About Page – it’s not entirely about you, a strategic About page will be make reference about how you backstory is beneficial to the visitor
  • Products or Services Page – whatever you’re offering
  • Testimonials Page – these little babies do help sell
  • Contact Page – have a page solely designated to the contact options available for visitors. Always keep in mind how your ideal client will want to contact you. (These can also be featured in the footer to top header of your home page too)

 

Now for some crucial elements you should be including:

  • Back Up System – I am always surprised how many website I come across and there is NO back-up system in place. What happens if you’re website is hacked, you loose everything.  I use BackUpBuddy to back up my websites, you can learn about them here. 
  • Security System – Hackers and bots are constantly on the prowl for vulnerable websites they can hack or destroy. Having a good security system will block out hacking attempts and notify you of attempts. I use iThemes Security Pro.
  • SEO – Search Engine Optimisation can feel very overwhelming for some, but Yoast SEO is a great website plugin that is user friendly. 
  • Terms and Conditions, Disclaimer and Privacy Policy – if you are an online business, which most are these day, these little gems are extremely important. Under NO circumstances should you ever copy these of another website. My go-to team is Legal123, who sell a Website Legal Package and lots more other key documents businesses should have. 
  • Mobile Friendly Theme – in today’s society everyone is using mobile and always browsing the net, so it is important that your website is mobile friendly. I build my website’s using Elegant Themes – Divi. They allow you to make variations on pages suitable for desktop, iPad and mobile.  

 

If you are looking to either build a new website, refresh or simply looking for regular maintenance, then please feel free to contact me at hello@annecclark.com and we can catch about your needs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Please note this article does contain some affiliate links.  

The why and how of building an email list

The why and how of building an email list

I work with clients helping them to build their mailing list funnels. The purpose of building a quality email list is it gives you the opportunity to communicate directly with your audience, build trust and convert sales. It’s your direct line of communication to your target market.

Why build a mailing list?

If Facebook, Instagram or whatever platform you’re using to connect with your target market were to close tomorrow how will you communicate with your target market. You would be left with no market, no audience and no opportunity to continue connecting with your audience to gain revenue.

You own your mailing list, you don’t own the social media platforms.

Where to start?

A list building funnel is an opportunity for you to offer something free (like a sample) to your audience that would
answers their question (pain point)
showcases your expertise

Types of freebies

Freebies or commonly referred to as Opt-Ins can be anything you desire to showcase your expertise. Some examples are:

  • Checklist
  • Ebooks
  • Mini Courses
  • Challenges
  • Videos
  • Exercises
  • Cheat Sheet
  • Templates
  • Workbook / worksheet
  • Spreadsheet
  • Tutorial
  • Free course
  • Printables
  • Report
  • Mindmap
  • Quiz

Opt-in Goal

Determine your end goal for your opt-in sequence. Yes, you are list building, however you are not just giving away things for free. Your email sequence wants to have an end goal.

For example:

  • Buy product
  • Book in for coaching service
  • Enrol in course or workshop

The email sequence

A general rule for email opt-in sequences is as follows:

  • Send your freebie and welcome them
  • Offer something extra that compliments your freebie they’ve already received, and introduce yourself
  • Talk about how you solve your audience pain points
  • Present your goal product or service
  • Pitch your final offer on the service or have a countdown until the offer expires.

 

If you would like to start building your email list, contact me today and let’s talk about how we can make this happen.

Why You Need a VA to Manage Your Blog and Newsletter

Why You Need a VA to Manage Your Blog and Newsletter

Keeping your business in the ‘eye of the customer’ is essential in order for your business to grow. As a business owner, you can easily become consumed dealing with our day-to-day matters, and not giving our business the time needed to action strategies for growth.  

Two of the best avenues to gently remind your customers you are there, are through your newsletters and blogs. 

A virtual assistant (VA) can assistant you in maintaining your customer contact. Creating a regular schedule on when blogs and newsletters need to be composed and released, enables you to know your timelines and your VA to know what deadlines they are working to. 

Before you start going crazy producing blogs and newsletters, you firstly need to determine how frequently you should create your content and will meet your target customers’ interest. You need to make sure you are not over or under-producing them. This can be a bit of trial and error. Once you have determined this, you need to commit to your schedule.

The best way to ensure deadlines are met is to talk to your VA about;

  • how much time they need to create the content
  • how much time you need to review the work, and
  • allow time for final edits and touch ups.

Once this is locked in, you can then start brainstorming the content needed for blogs and newsletters. Do some research to see what your customers love and don’t love. Don’t be scare to even ask your customers, using such means as a survey.  

The best strategy when working your schedule is to try and keep 2 to 3 blogs ahead of yourself, you can preschedule these to be released on your website on a set date. 

How can your VA get this all happening for you, so you’re not stressed trying to keep on top it all 

BLOG:

  • Create a list of key topics you want covered in blogs. Don’t be afraid to create a series of blogs, if your content is going to be to long.
  • Create a schedule of when the blogs are to be released. Working backward to create the first draft due date.
  • Your VA can draft the article for your review and can incorporate a call to actions at the end of your blog.
  • Determine what type of call to action you want from your audience. It is always good to encourage readers to comment, offer feedback or share an experience. Or you can encourage them to buy a product or service. Ensure you communicate to your VA what key call to actions you want incorporated into specific blogs.
  • Source free images – there are many website that offer free image to use for blogs. Some require acknowledgement from you sourcing the images from that specific website. Otherwise, your VA can use programs such as PicMonkey or Canva to create original artwork for your blog.
  • Update SEO – It is vital that in order for you to be found that your blog has it’s SEO words added. Your VA can enter these, and research on what other keywords would be relevant to your blog/business.

Your newsletter keeps you in your customer’s inbox. Don’t make your newsletters too wordy. A lot of people don’t love to read a lot of words (unless it’s a novel). A great way to create a newsletter is to mix up words and images and make as many things as possible linkable to your website. Remember, Traffic = Sales Conversion on your website.

Include your blogs in your newsletter too, again make sure your newsletter is linked to various aspects of your website to drive your traffic across.   For example, for your blog including your newsletter your title, image and the first couple of lines, then insert a ‘read more’ and link it to your website (also link the image).

The strategy behind this is to get your customers to your website, where you have the opportunity to convert them from visitor to a customer.

Newsletter

Brainstorm with your VA on the main section you want for your newsletter. Eg: The Blog, Shop, Latest News, Special, or Sales.

Your VA can create your newsletter template, and there are programs such as Mailchimp that have a free level for under a set number of subscribers. It is important that your business ‘branding’ is kept consistent through the newsletters. Why? Because branding is what people say about you when you’re not there!

Your VA can source and create content, create images and links to your various website sections. They can also create a draft of your written content, you will need to guide them on key aspect such as items on sales, specials coming up or key items you want to be highlighted in the newsletter.

Once your newsletter content is created and ready to go, make sure your VA checks all the links are working, and that they send you a copy to review.

Your VA can schedule and once your newsletter has gone, you’re VA will be able to advise you the open and click rates, as most newsletter programs advise this for you.

Don’t be afraid to test various styles and formats for your newsletter to see which format gets the most higher click rate with your readers.

 

If you have any questions, or would like to know more information feel free to contact me via my contact page.

 

 

 

Learn how to SYSTEMISE, AUTOMATE & OUTSOURCE your business

This guide will help you understand the difference in all 3 areas - systemising, automating and outsourcing. You will be able to complete exercises to help you identify what areas you can potentially be changing in your business to give you the flexibility you need. 

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