Why we think spring is the right time to set your goals for the year ahead

Why we think spring is the right time to set your goals for the year ahead

Neither of us has ever been a fan of New Year’s Resolutions; we’ve both watched friends and business associates boldly declare the long list of things they’re going to give up doing or start doing, proudly updating us almost hourly on their progress for the whole month of January, only to fall into a pit of sudden silence on the subject by February.  To be honest, it’s hardly surprising to us that setting yourself up to get motivated about change, when it’s cold most of the time and dark for most of the day, is a plan that tends to fail more often than succeed.

springtime road

Think, for a moment, about springtime.  The first signs of new and renewed life are making their way above ground.  Birds are greeting you with the rising sun each day, and you’re wearing fewer layers as the temperatures stay above “thermals required”.  Everything about the spring is positive and fills us with hope.  What better time could there be to start refuelling your business with some new ideas, new dreams, new targets, or new goals?

Spring can help you to think about the type of changes you may want to implement, in a way that means they are more likely to be long-term and produce results. Here are a few tips to help get you started on your springtime goal-setting journey:

  1. One thing at a time. Have you noticed how spring chooses not to reveal all she has to offer in one burst of glory?  She teases us with snowdrops, adds some crocus, and perhaps some Primulas, but keeps you holding on for what seems like an age before she brings out that glorious burst of yellow from the daffodils, or the mesmerising carpet of blue-haze from bluebells?  This is good practice, and if you work on the same principal of one step at a time, you’ll achieve the bigger goals, and make permanent change for the better.
  2. If something worked well last year, bring it back.  When you’re setting goals it’s easy to forget to keep doing the things that are going really well.  Don’t forget to include these on your list.
  3. Anticipate the odd cold snap. Just because spring has arrived, does not guarantee sunshine every day, and the early bloomers will usually survive a frost. When you’re making changes to the way you work, or adding a goal that requires constant action, it can be easy to lose momentum when things don’t go the way you’d expected.  Put some plans in place early on, for what you’ll do if things don’t go according to plan.
  4. Show-off a little; not bold and brash like summer, but subtly and with real appreciation for the world around you. When we tell people around us about the goals we’re working towards, it bring a level of accountability that helps to motivate us to continue.  Make sure you tell people about your progress and share your successes.  Everyone could do with some good news.

We find the biggest positive impact of spring is the ability to get outside more often, without getting soaked or frozen.  The impact even the smallest amount of fresh air has on our mood is noticeable and often, as we have the luxury of living in the beautiful Welsh countryside, we pop out into the woodland during the day to top up on the benefits that spring brings.

How does the changing weather impact your focus?  Have you found yourself more motivated to get some goals set since the spring started to break through?

Hannah and Dinah

Content ideas for Facebook business pages

Content ideas for Facebook business pages

facebook business page content inspiration

As a business owner, you may have been recommended to create a Facebook page. You go into it with all guns blazing, and then business tasks get in the way, and you may not feel quite as inspired as you were at the beginning.

As a customer, coming to a page which hasn’t been updated for a few months feels like the business may no longer be trading, or that it is sporadic. This is not what you want to make people feel! So, if you are feeling uninspired, or just unsure of what to post, we wanted to create some ideas for you, that may be a little “out of the box”.

  1. Create images with quotes which inspire or motivate you (we highly recommend Canva). Pictures say a thousand words, and ones with quotes in them say even more. You can then share why this quote is one you feel inspired by, and why you chose to share it. Bonus idea – share a question to ask for others to share their favourite quotes in their comments – this will build engagement and may give you some new quotes to use in future posts!
  2. Share your week ahead. This is a really easy way to showcase what you do in your business, without sharing a sales post. Consider sharing events you are attending, people you are working with, or tasks you are carrying out in preparation for services you provide. This is an excellent idea for those of us who provide services and find it difficult to showcase how we help others.
  3. Share a testimonial or case study. These work really well in images as well, so you can input some recent kind words from a client in an image, and then share in the post how you helped the person who shared those thoughts.
  4. Recommend other businesses. This can be an excellent way to build relationships with your collaborative partners. You can share why you use them, how they help your clients, or simply just to boost a contact’s business page. Remember to link to their page by @ mentioning them.
  5. Share blogs and videos from others. This can be of blogs you have read recently, videos you recommend watching, or ones that are in relation to the services you provide. TEDtalks are excellent for coaches, for example!

As a bonus idea, you can use your Facebook page to share your personal and business life – images and posts that show what you are getting up to tend to get the highest reach and engagement, and you can do these direct from your mobile device, so you can instantly share an image of you walking the dog, or getting a coffee from your local coffee shop before a meeting with a client.

We hope you have found these ideas a boost to help you get started in creating posts for your business page on Facebook, we’d love to hear some ways you are using your Facebook page in the comments below, and if you have any questions at all, do share them too!

New Year resolutions for business owners

New Year resolutions for business owners

I keep hearing, every year, how people will be following New Year’s resolutions, and then potentially failing at them. I wanted to have a post where we all, as business owners, can share one thing we would love to achieve in 2018 that would make our business lives better, easier, more inspired, or just happier.

goal setting

So I shall start!

One thing that will make my business life better in 2018 is to have time to learn new things. I love being able to help others with their businesses, and I love that most of my day is taken helping my clients, however, how do I stay ahead of the game, if I don’t give myself time to learn new skillsets?

So I will be signing up to a few new courses every few months, to help me learn new skills. Starting with SEO, and then signing up to a fantastic new tool called Tomorrow’s VA, aimed at helping VAs become more productive. I know the owner very well, and have had the privilege to be a part of the beginning process of it launching. It will share tips and tricks to saving time whilst using Microsoft tools, such as Excel, Word, PowerPoint and Outlook. I already have utilised some fantastic tips from the free downloads, and can’t wait to learn new ways to be even more efficient!

So, over to you – what will you be resolving to do in 2018 to help you within your business? I’d love to hear it!

PS, if like me you are rubbish at setting goals, I will be on this free webinar by Elaine Sullivan on 28th January.

The 12 days of Christmas – How to prepare for a holiday

The 12 days of Christmas – How to prepare for a holiday

Oh yes, the holiday, an enemy for some entrepreneurs, but one that is essential to have when running a business to help your mind and body take some much needed R&R.

How can you prepare for a holiday, to make sure your stress levels aren’t sky-high while away, that you need a holiday to make up for the stress of a holiday?

Here are my tips as a virtual assistant, that I have learned for myself or from clients I help. I hope you find them useful, and perhaps share some of your preparation with us too, in the comments!

  1. It’s all about the notifications! Let your clients know that you will be away, and how they can contact you in case of an emergency. What I have found is, when I share this emergency contact information, most clients really don’t need it, and never use it, but having it is a good way to put them (and yourself!) at ease.
  2. Add an extra day onto the arrival date, so you have enough time to go through your inbox, and to recover from the jet lag. If you are having a long-haul flight, this is an essential, so you can recuperate and have some rest after the flight. Even if you aren’t flying anywhere, you will need some time to unpack, get everything in order, and clear out your inbox (especially if you don’t have someone like a VA managing it for you while you are away). Give yourself this extra time, I promise you it will be truly helpful to your sanity.
  3. Do not find a hotel with Wi-Fi, unless it’s a working holiday. You will just get tempted to check your emails and continue to work, making it…surprise…not a blooming holiday! All too often do I have clients ask me to manage their email inbox, and I spot them replying and checking in – why ask someone to care for your emails for you, when you are going to cheekily check them yourself? It also means that those who are with you will potentially get a little miffed, if you are spending a few hours each day replying to messages!
  4. Turn off your phone, even if it’s only for the excursions. Take that time to be truly free from notifications and disruptions, so you can enjoy your holiday. If your only means of photographing the holiday are your phone, turn it onto Do Not Disturb, so you don’t get any calls or interruptions while you take in the sites, and enjoy the time with your friends and/or family.
  5. Take a notebook with you, for ideas that pop into your mind. I often find my best ideas for my business are during my downtime, so I personally take a notebook with me for when I have these ideas, so I don’t forget them. If you are similar to me in that respect, why not take a special “holiday ideas” notepad with you. It’s a great reason to go to your favourite stationary store and treat yourself! (Am I the only one who loves stationary shops?!)

BONUS TIP – actually take some holidays. Coming from someone who has had a few years without a holiday, prior to realising the necessity for time off, I can attest to how helpful they are for productivity and inspiration. We can get stuck in our own day-to-day lives as entrepreneurs, and it can make us feel low, and demotivated. Start with a long weekend away, to see how that feels, then you can upgrade to a few days off in the week.

How do you prepare for a holiday? I’d love to hear!