Do You Have A 2016 Plan

cropped-eye-on-screen-150x150.jpg Do You Have A 2016 Plan?

The majority of ones time in this world of blogging and selling products online is spent in the isolation of a home or workplace office and in front of a computer screen. Trust me on this, a computer screen is not a great lunch or break companion. I would love to tell you that the computer or it’s screen does not talk back to you but in my case it does, usually several times an hour. If you want to feel really dumb, try talking back to your computer screen. In a matter of seconds you will realize this is not an argument you are going to win.

I came to this business after 53 years of one to one consulting over a cosmetic counter or in a department store dressing room. 53 glorious years of being in a happy and “I really need to have that product” business. Nothing will stop a woman from buying the latest shade of lipstick or the latest must have fashion garment.

When I first started in Internet Marketing, picking up emails was exciting. People from across the globe could contact you instantly. They had valuable information to share with you or they wanted your opinion on something important to them. Then came spam and computer robots. Email pickup became a frustrating and nonproductive chore.

Of course, we can’t forget the introduction of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, Pinterest and a dozen other social media companies. They translated into another five+ things you needed to do each day in order to have a successful business.

Put the time for email pickup, usually one hour on average and the two and one half hours of posting to social media together and you are up to three and one half hours of frustration.

Add another hour or two it takes to write your posts, tweets, take your selfies or collect photographs to include in your posts and you have a grand total of five and one half hours. Granted, busy time, but totally unproductive time. Okay, I get it. Being on social media may produce a sale or two each week, make you visible to other marketers and stroke your ego, but will it really provide you with a living?

Yes – if you have a team of people you outsource all the different areas of your IM business to with you standing at the forefront of said team and conducting them like an orchestra.

No – not for me. As a one person business it is impossible to spend five hours a day on email/social media and continue to write books, information products, website development and do the general business administration required.

So in keeping with what every business must do to be successful, I am taking the month of December to seriously think about and plan out how I will conduct my business in 2016.

The first thing I am doing is spending an hour a day unsubscribing from mailing list I have little or no interest in. That should wipe out 99 percent of my email. I have become lethal in the process, asking myself the same questions as each email comes in.

  1. Will this person or offer move my business forward in 2016?
  2. If I am in doubt, I star the email and sleep on the decision until tomorrow. I have yet to have one starred email make the cut for me to remain a subscriber. Of course we are only in day 8 of December.
  3. How well does this person communicate? Is there ever anything remotely personal or is it just sell, sell?
  4. If in doubt, I go back and seriously reevaluate the quality of the last two or three products I have previously purchased from them. That is usually a real deal breaker. Very few products end up being what you think or hope they will be.
  5. I am being extremely protective about the webinars or classes I sign up for or purchase. I have precious little time to work the email/social media machine, actual product development and implementation plus trying to master another course of study. Hence the limited number of 5 under the updates tab mentioned below.
  6. Ask myself one of the hardest questions to answer – for me anyway. Do I really need yet another blog planner or template – even if it is free? My hard drive is full of them – unused. Using software like Microsoft Notebook or Word works great. Get use to using the copy and paste function and you will never return to paper.

My goal for this endless exercise is simple.

  1. Keep my professional online friends, family members and friends under the Primary Gmail tab.
  2. Keep no more than five Internet Marketers under the Updates Gmail tab.
  3. For the most part ignore the Social Gmail tab, checking on it once a week at most.
  4. End up with a 100% empty inbox by the end of the day – every day. I know, for those of you thinking, “it didn’t work the last time she tried that, why does she think it will work this time?” Your right, I failed miserably the last time. What’s different this time? The goal of streamlining my business to a simple, strategically focused and manageable business model or shut it down completely.

My next business goal is to strategically plan my product development. No more doing it on a whim or on the fly. I worked on this three month in advance schedule  when I was working for magazines and in TV production. It is a proven success model, but not for those of us with procrastination as a middle name.

The products I have planned for 2016 are governed by theme and the scheduled  launch date. Right now I am working on February themed products that MUST be complete by December 30th. and put online by January 1st.

When you take a calendar and work backwards from the online launch date it is empowering. You know what you need to write and when. You know when that website needs to be completely populated with the posts, articles and pages you will need to make your sales process successful.

Wow, now there is a concept – plan things out, work in advance and have everything ready by the launch date.

 

 

 

 

Just checking In To See If You’re Okay

bird hatching out of eggLast week, I received an email with the header “Just checking in to see if you’re okay?”  I was left speechless and shocked beyond belief because it was an email received from one of my online vendors.  It takes a lot to surprise me and even more to make me smile and feel good inside.

This email started out on an extremely high note by simply saying “Hi” and not Hey. I’m not sure when and where hey became a proper way to address someone but it sure can send my blood pressure off the charts.

I take great pride in being raised southern but I can’t for the life of me remember addressing another person using the word hey. I remember the TV show Dallas using it a lot and now Nashville is over using it, but what the “hey”, I digress. Back to that wonderful email.

The gentleman that sent it provides over the top quality products that leave nothing to question or worry about. So it should not have surprised me when the following email showed up in my inbox.

 Hi, it’s Aurelius.

I wanted to check in and see how you’re going in your business?

It’s nearing the end of 2015, and you’ve probably accumulated a lot of products and lots of ideas that’s waiting for implementation.

I know the feeling. It can get quite overwhelming and sometimes you just question whether it’s going to work or not.

Don’t give up. You have to keep going when results don’t show just yet. Even though it may feel like you’re making no progress, don’t be too harsh on yourself because you’re actually closer to reaching your goals than you think.

My questions to you are…

What are you finding your biggest struggle is?

What do you feel is holding you back?

Hit the Reply button and let me know.

I’m here to help where I possibly can through my emails, video training and blog posts.

Looking forward to hearing from you.

Best Regards,
Aurelius Tjin

I must be missing something here.  I don’t see a product for sale. There isn’t an affiliate link to click on anywhere! Just two simple questions to answer – if I want to. The rest is pure encouragement and support.

I realize that the same email went out to his entire list of several thousand. But what is important here is how it renewed me personally. I had given up on so many things in life. I know I have documented so many times over the past five years about how little value I feel I have since closing my retail store.

After thinking about it for a couple of days I found myself back in my office, at my desk with pen in hand and writing. I started looking through the mess I have left online and vowed to simplify and focus, from this point forward. I am very proud to say I have accomplished more in the past few days than I have in the past year, simply because of one email asking if I was okay.

My whole world has always been about support  and reaching out to others that may need a helping hand, for whatever reason. Unfortunately, I can’t remember a time in the past year or so that I have extended that courtesy to others. I know, it is something we should do without thinking and on a daily basis. The past few days I have made a point of reconnecting with some longtime friends.  It is amazing how wonderful it feels to hear their voice instead of looking at their their Facebook page.

One of those friends and I were talking about the death of  a young man we knew and how sudden it was. Then we got down to the nitty gritty of it and the realization of how so many people are alone and broken and how because of social media we see only the hope and happy stuff, not the reality of life.

Please don’t let that happen to you this holiday season. Promise me you will reach out to the friends who have slipped off your radar. Just call them, say hello and ask how things are going in their lives. Don’t make excuses for the lapse of time or keep telling them how busy you have been.  Now here is the biggie – please stop thinking about what you are going to say to them when they take a breath or pause. If the pause seems awkward, ask them a question and just listen to what they are saying, with your heart.

Winter Storm Car Emergency Kit

winter-street-scenery-1380245-m

Do you have a winter storm car emergency kit inside (not in the trunk) your car right now? Having one can make your next road trip safe and comfortable.

Today Winter Storm Warnings went up for a huge portion on the country, from the Midwest to the East Coast.

Once again Kentucky is going to take a direct hit. Even though I have not recovered from having my  entire 40+ years of being in business computer files stripped from my hard drive and my computer being returned totally blank, I decided to spend the day trying to find this file online so I could update it a bit.

Okay, before any of you leave me clip little responses like “Have you heard of backing up your files lady” or ”Have you ever thought to back up those files?”, etc., the answer is yes and yes. But this guy was a genius at his trade. He had all my passwords, online and off, but more about that adventure in the upcoming months. FYI – he also managed to get into my Facebook pages and email accounts, so if something seems odd about them, that is why. Back to the post…

Several years ago Louisville experienced a horrific storm that crippled the city for over a week. The Governor declared a state of emergency and closed all the roads and expressways. Unfortunately, there were thousands of cars and people on the roads at the time and it took an extremely long time to rescue everyone. Cars were abandoned and people tried to walk to safety. Most make it out okay, but there were also a few that didn’t.

At the time I was  working with medical clients, some of which were on the roads going to or coming from treatment that day.  Louisville is a regional treatment center, so some traveled a long distance to get here.

Even though I was snug-as-a-bug and warm, curled up in front of the TV watching this horrific event unfold, the writer side of me kicked in full gear and I started working on a brochure to prepare my clients in case such a winter storm happen again.

When I first started handing out the brochure to my clients, most would just laugh and say a storm like that could never happen again. A few clients packed their emergency kits and put them in their cars for the duration of the winter months.

Then the thank you calls and notes started coming in. Thankfully, most never needed everything that was in their emergency bag, but having that one or two things that made a difference when needed and that was all that mattered.

We are not talking fashion statements here – only comfort, so nothing has to be in great condition or color coordinated. Pull out all the oldies in your closet and you will be set.

If  you travel 45-minutes or more away from home, be sure to top off your gas tank when it reaches 3/4 full, especially when the temperatures fall below freezing. If you get stuck, you want to be able to run your car for 15 minutes every hour to keep warm. During this run time plug in your PDA/Phone chargers to keep those items available for use. If you need to make an emergency call, turn your car on to do so. This is not the time to make call backs, pick up email or talk to friends.

Be sure to leave a detailed travel route with a family member or friend.

Print out the list below for future reference and put a copy of it in the bag, on top-so you can mark off the items you may have borrow  from the bag, so you can replace them, the sooner the better.

Keep the bag of batteries on top of your emergency bag so you can rotate them. Cold weather will take a batteries down in a shorter period of time during the winter months.

You will need one of each item for each person that travels in the car with you.

The bag needs to be inside the car, not in the trunk. This keeps you from getting cold and wet feet and hands. Pack your emergency bag with the following items;

  • A list of ALL the medication you are taking and your pharmacy number. EMS and Emergency Room staff will find it invaluable.
  • A list of family/friends with contact information.
  • Hand Warmer Packets, for you hands and feet. I would buying at least a dozen to work with.
  • Gloves
  • Rubber boots or water-resistant boots
  • Long scarf for wrapping around neck and face
  • A blanket or two
  • Socks
  • Watch/clock
  • Reading material/games, etc.
  • Tissues, paper towels and TP
  • 2-extra large Zip-Loc* bags  ( common sense will take over when you need them) and trash bags.
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • PDA/Phone chargers (if they are not kept in the car already)
  • Pen/Paper
  • Flares/Emergency sign
  • Snap and break light sticks.
  • First Aid Kit
  • 12-Bottles of Water
  • Vaseline and lip balm
  • Long sleeve tee and turtle neck shirts (cotton if you have sensitive skin)
  • Extra batteries to fit items in bag that use them
  • Change purse with extra money (think cab fare or towing expenses)
  • Snacks, nuts, gum, mints, etc. Think big – you can always take the extras  out of your bag and replace them before your next trip.

Just last year Louisville had a couple of small snow storms that closed the expressways for hours on end. The local news interviewed people stuck for long periods of time and they all said the same thing, “you just don’t know how small that huge oversize soft drink and candy bar can become – quickly.

*Zip-Loc is a registered trademark