I’ve worked hard to mould my services listing into what it is today. Proud to announce the changes I’ve made to all my followers. Thank you for your continued support!
So I announced on Facebook that I’d be sharing a secret of mine on the blog today. Most wouldn’t find it that intriguing or exciting but as it’s a weight busting my shoulders to pieces, I thought I’d share.
As my followers would know, I’m a copywriter and Mum. What you might not know (unless you read my very early posts quite thoroughly) is that I’m also a Registered Nurse. I started nursing in 2001 and in that time, have gained a wealth of experience. I always felt drawn to nursing, in the same way that I love writing and what it does for my soul.
So my secret is, I think I’m at a crossroads and want to give Nursing away. I studied so hard to get where I ended up and I’m getting down on myself about that. But I think I’ve lost a bit of love for the profession that once I only had eyes and a heart for.
I want to write full time until I finish my current Masters program and then beyond. How do I do that?! Do I have the guts to take that leap and work for myself? Scary. Very scary.
That’s my secret. I’m scared and I’m confused but for pretty exciting reasons.
Can you give me any tips on how I come to make the right decision for me and for my family? Do I listen to my brain which tells me to go back to Oncology or my heart, which tells me that writing is it and a bit…… help!
Click the above link to download your copy of the finale to my mini series- 100 Cures for Blogger’s Block
Thanks for all of your supportive comments, I appreciate the love you share!
Little Red Writing Solutions
I’ve been contemplating how to move my small business forward in the last few days. Not just daydreaming about it, but putting pen to paper and working hard on a plan of action. I had to ask myself how I was going to move forward and what I needed to do it. I’m sure many of you are accomplished in your field, the highest of pedigree in your industry, but for little old me, I’ve started small and want to grow as much as I can and hopefully help other business owners along the way.
I started writing because I could. I love writing as much as I love being alive. It gives me a confidence and a sense of purpose that, other than my children, nothing else has.
So if you’re stuck between a rock and a hard place, you’re looking to grow but you’re not sure where to start planning, these are the 10 questions I really believe you need to answer before you can start to kick ass on a grander scale.
- Why should people use my service- how am I providing the best solutions around town?
- What problems do I need to solve in working with others?
- What solution do I have for the business problems of others?
- What do I want from my business?
- What do I want to give to others and “who” are those people?
- What are my long term priorities and goals?
- What are the best ways to project my messages and my service?
- What resources do I need to reach my short and long term goals? What are these goals? BE SPECIFIC
- Do I need to outsource- to whom, why, how and what?
- How and what do I need to develop my personal brand? Don’t get in way over your head here, know WHAT A BRAND IS!
Tomorrow on the blog, I’ll go into detail about these 10 questions and how I’ve used them to shape my business development strategy.
What else should we as small business owners be honing in on? How do we get better at knowing who we are and what we do?
Little Red Writing Solutions
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Drop me a Line: firstname.lastname@example.org
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(Image courtesy of http://www.marketingtechblog.com/7-steps-optimized-content-strategy/)
(image courtesy of http://www.womma.org/posts/2013/01/infographic-why-content-marketing-works)
I’ve been fiddling with my Little Red brochures for months: adjusting, simplifying, correcting, adding and subtracting. Now that I think I got it pretty much right, I want to share with you how I got there. Sometimes it takes a few drafts, sometimes not. Simple fact is, it’s gotta be damn good, a lot of people don’t read brochures. They collect them at expos or in the mail and then bin them. These are my tips on getting yours to work for you.
- CLEAN- focus on colour (3 maximum), font (2 maximum) and a simple, effective layout. If people wanted clutter, they could come and look in my Tupperware cupboard. Make your graphic designer work hard for their payment so working on your business brochure pays off for you.
- QUALITY PRINTING- Having a husband who works in printing, I know good and bad printing when I squint at it. Watch for irregular bleed, general fuzziness. Find a top-notch printing agency (stick with small business yeah?) who can produce high-resolution images on sleek pages. Now brochures can’t be sexy, but you get my drift. Make them look damn impressive.
- BRANDING- Is your brand easily identifiable? Make sure your brochure logos/images make all the other business material you are producing. Having your brand recognised by others is a difficult task to achieve but you can make it work when you work hard on your brand image.
- APPROPRIATE IMAGES- Do the images match your content? This isn’t a trick question. I completed a brochure for a client who asked for pictures of puppies on their brochure when they wanted to show off their jewellery range. Puppies don’t usually wear jewellery (in Melbourne they don’t anyway) so use images to support your content. Don’t just throw them in there because “every brochure needs pictures”.
- SAY NO TO CHUNKS- Make sure your brochure isn’t wordy. No huge paragraphs or people won’t read them, or take your brand seriously. Using more words can often be misconstrued as not knowing what you are talking about. The layout won’t be as impressive if words take up all the useable space.
- KNOW ITS VALUE- Do you know how important brochures are? Do you know their purpose? Approximately 20% of people in the US have never searched for a business listing online (which means they’d need one of your brochures to get in contact with you again). The principle behind a brochure may seem old-school in this grand (new) digital age we reside in, but they never go out of style in business if they are created and used correctly.
- THINK STRATEGICALLY- Where are you going to send/hand out/ leave these brochures? This needs to be worked into your layout. You might not be with your brochure when people are seeing it for the first time. So it needs to be targeted to the appropriate audience and easy to read.
- CONTACT INFO- Make sure your contact details are clearly defined and UP TO DATE. You are creating a brochure to turn readers into buyers so the readers are at some point going to want to know how to get a hold of you.
- CTA INCLUDED- Related to #8, include a call-to-action. Provide value and information which entices your readers to want to know more and to act on what they discover in your brilliant layout.
- MOST IMPORTANT!!!! Your HEADLINE will be the decider. Five times more people read the headline than the body of any article of text. If the headline doesn’t attract them to read on, the time you spent on your brochure will be useless. Don’t get cheesy, be concise and clever.
Do you have any more tips to add to my list? I’d love to see what kind of brochures your businesses are producing. Remember that less is more in this case.
Products are harder to sell. You need to sell your products first, THEN you need to sell yourself. If your products are unique and handmade, you have a target group willing and more than able to purchase from you, you are set.
If your products are manufactured outside of your capable hands, you need to appropriately represent the manufacturer without selling yourself short at the same time.
Your marketing content should represent your business and to put it simply, should sell YOUR PRODUCTS or sell the reason why clients should by someone else’s products FROM YOU ONLY.
If your business is B2B, you’re selling your service/s to other savvy business owners. Be on the ball and get your bragging rights into gear. Think about why you are better at what you do than others in your industry. Think about how your experience and problem-solving expertise fills a widening gap in your market and how your quick-thinking, initiative, flexibility and availability makes you the EASIEST person to work with. Produce a stunning portfolio, show your personality and use your education and skills to tell both professional and personal stories about how you work together with business owners to SOLVE PROBLEMS.
Stay tuned for the “How To Brag About Products VS Services” piece in its entirety. Won’t be long now!
1. Can you introduce yourself and what you do (Soul Sistas, your writing, study, family etc)
My name is Christie Lyons and I am a Mum of two gorgeous boys, Brendon (10) and Nate (4 months). I am the co-founder of Soul Sistas Healing & Guidance, which I operate with my sister in law Jess Welsh. I am also a writer, and have regular articles published which are shared on the Building Beautiful Bonds website. I have also had two of my stories published, and am currently working on a novel. I also study the Tarot, Astrology and Psychology part time.
2. Can you describe the paths your career plans have taken you down? How have your career dreams and goals changed over the course of your working life?
I actually started out working in retail when I was a teenager and while I didn’t really feel as though it challenged me, I did gain a lot of confidence through customer service roles, and that was something I lacked previously. After my first son was born I decided to move to Geelong for a change, and I returned to study and gained my Diploma in Children’s Services. I very quickly learned that I loved working with children and as soon as I graduated, I moved into a full time role as a Kinder Teacher. Eventually, I was promoted to Director of the centre, however it ended up being sold out privately and I moved back to Melbourne where I commenced my role as Coordinator of a small community based childcare centre. While I was there, I gained my Advanced Diploma in Children’s services, as well as several other related qualifications, and once again, I gained so much knowledge and experience throughout my time there. Protecting children’s rights, as well as nurturing their emotional wellbeing will always be a passion of mine.
In early 2013, after a traumatic experience, I was reconnected with my passion for writing and found that it was extremely therapeutic. Since then, I have continued to write as a form of healing, and have even had two stories published and several articles on a regular basis. Writing is something that I thoroughly enjoy and knowing that my words are helping others just makes it even more worthwhile. I am currently working on a novel, which I hope to have completed and published by the end of the year.
In March 2013, my sister in law Jess and I decided to start a Facebook business called Soul Sistas Healing & Guidance. The main aim of this idea was for us to share our spiritual journey with others, and to pass on any knowledge we gained throughout our experiences. It has grown rapidly over the last 12 months, and we now offer several types of readings, guidance and products.
After my second son was born in October last year, I decided to resign from my position in early childhood to focus on being a Mum. After he was born with a congenital heart defect and had to undergo open heart surgery, my entire outlook on life changed. My priorities no longer laid with my career; but with my family. I decided that I wanted to spend as much time as possible concentrating on being the best Mum I can be with my sons. This shift in focus, as well as the time at home that I’d had on maternity leave also gave me the time to realise that I was no longer passionate about my job in early childhood, but that my writing and my journey with Soul Sistas was where I was meant to be. Being able to help others on such a bigger scale made me feel like I was truly on the right path.
3. Please describe your work as a writer. What projects have you published (we can add links in here) and what are you working on at the minute? Is there anyone you’d like to collaborate with? What drew you in to writing? What do you love to write about and is there anything you will never write about?
I’ve always loved to write; and used to actually write quite a lot as a child, but somehow that passion became lost amongst all the day to day things and for years, the only writing I continued to do was in my journal. It was when I lost my angel baby in December 2012 that I came across Karen McDermott’s book ‘The Visitor’, which is a beautiful, spiritually based story about going through this process, that I found my passion for writing come to the surface again. After reading her book, I contacted Karen and she encouraged me to write about my personal journey. I did this, and had a very detailed and long story about my life completed within just a few days. It was so amazingly therapeutic for me, and I found that it really helped me to heal from my past hurts and traumas just through the process of writing it out. This story ended up being published in a book called ‘Journey to Inner Light’, which is a collection of inspiring stories from people who have found strength and peace through their life journey.
From that point on I felt a need to share more of my life experience, and so I was encouraged once again by the beautiful Karen to share my thoughts and feelings through published articles on the website www.buildingbeautifulbonds.com. I continue to do this on a regular basis, and more often than not, a thought just pops into my head and I write these articles as it comes to me. My articles so far can be read through the Building Beautiful Bonds website (above) and I also have a Facebook page set up to share my writing journey.
I have recently had a very special book published, which is aimed at children and families of children that have been affected by congenital heart disease called ‘Nate’s Special Healing Heart’. I wrote this after my eldest son suggested the idea to me after my youngest son Nate underwent open heart surgery at just ten days old. Once again, Karen McDermott (who also owns and operates Innerlight Publishing) kindly offered to cover the publishing costs of this book, so we are able to donate 100% of proceeds to HeartKids. This book can be purchased here.
At the moment I am working on a couple of projects. I have started writing my very first novel, which is all about my life journey and how my boys have influenced and brought about so many changes in my life. I am also working on some spiritually based children’s books with my sister in law and business partner Jess, where the main focus will be on encouraging children’s confidence and emotional wellbeing.
4. My readers may not have heard of Soul Sistas- can you describe what you do? Who are your targetted clients? (please add links to your business social media profiles if you’d like to)
Soul Sistas Healing & Guidance started out as a small Facebook page where my sister in law Jess and I wanted to share our spiritual journey with other like-minded people. We found that it grew very rapidly, and we now have over 1500 members that regularly interact with the page – it is more like a little community. It is a very interactive community, and we are always more than happy to discuss different aspects of spirituality with others, whether it be publicly on the page, or in private. The list is endless, but some of the recent focuses have been dealing with grief, communicating with spirit and angels, letting go of the past, and meditation tips. We regularly share positive affirmations, and the page is one full of understanding, love and compassion for each other. We do not believe that we are any more knowledgeable than anyone else on the page; and are continually learning ourselves.
Both Jess and myself have received over twelve months extensive training in reading the Tarot, as well as a basic course in Astrology, and our mentor Lynda is an amazing woman with years and years of the further gifts that are being brought to the surface for us as we continue to open up spiritually. Often when we are performing a reading for a client, we will also receive messages from our guides, the angels or loved ones in spirit.
At the moment we offer several different products and services, including but not limited to: Oracle and Angel Card Readings, Mediumship Readings, Numerology and Tarot. We also sell oracle cards, books and metaphysical products. Our services are certainly not limited to this however, as we are continually sharing our ideas, research and thoughts with all the members on the page. If there is something we are unsure about, or need more information on, we take the time to find out! We are learning just as much as everyone else, every time someone has a question that they would like answered. An example of this is when one of our members asked us about ‘Empaths’. Not only were we able to answer their question with loads of information, but it also allowed us to learn more about Empaths as well.
Soul Sistas is a wonderful caring community of like-minded people who simply wish to share their spiritual journey with others. The fact that we can provide clients with a reading if they wish, is just an added bonus of this wonderfully inspiring page.
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/SoulSistasHealing
5. Could you describe your personal and professional goals?
At the moment my focus is first and foremost on being a Mum. I want to be able to be there emotionally as well as physically for my sons, and for them to know that they can talk to me about anything. I intend on encouraging them to be exactly who they are, for them to have pride in themselves and their strengths, and to live the life that THEY wish to live.
As Soul Sistas continues to grow, we have plans to one day have our own shop where we can offer face to face readings and have a sanctuary for our clients to relax in. I also plan on training in Reiki later this year and this will be another service that we can offer. Jess has almost completed her Life Coaching qualification, so I am sure that this will be something that she will be offering as well.
Jess and I both intend on extending our guidance to children sometime in the future; through books and possibly even workshops. The sky is the limit as far as we are concerned, as more and more people are opening up to the fact that there is more to life than they realise.
6. In terms of small business with Soul Sistas and being a published writer,
- do you have any advice for up and coming writers?
My main advice would be to ‘go for it’. Everyone has a story within them, and once you start, you will find that it flows very easily. I also suggest speaking with Innerlight Publishing, as they are an amazing publishing company who focus on helping new writers to start their journey.
– what struggles have you faced in business and what are the most important lessons you have learnt?
The most important thing I have learned so far is to make sure I take time for myself. There’s no point in working 24 hours a day and not enjoying life, because that’s not what life is all about. The other important thing I would suggest is to always, always listen to what your clients want. I mean really listen, and act upon it when you can.
– what and or who inspires you and what motivates you to achieve your goals?
My sons inspire me. My eldest son Brendon is such a unique, emotionally intelligent soul, and he often gives me inspirational ideas. My motivation is purely because I receive joy from helping others.
– describe your writing process
Like I said earlier, I generally get a thought pop into my head, and I have to write it down straight away. I actually receive channeled messages from spirit as well, and so some of my work is through a process called ‘automatic writing’. Basically what happens is, I tune into the energy of my guides or spirit, and type whatever comes into my mind. Sounds simple really, but it is an amazing gift and I am very blessed to have it.
– do you put high expectations on yourself and how do you deal with setbacks?
I do often try to get too much done in one day. I have recently learned to take a step back and take some time out for myself so that I don’t burn out. In the business that I’m in, I am confident that my clients would much prefer that my mind is clear before reading for them, and so they understand that Jess and I have children and other commitments as well.
– what do you gain from writing ?
Oh wow, so so much. It’s a healing process for me, especially when I am writing about my own experiences. I also find that when I’m writing it is extremely relaxing for me; almost like meditation. Knowing that my words have helped others gives me so much joy and fulfillment.
– how do you deal with writers block? is there such a thing?
I believe there probably is such a thing, but I also believe that if you’re finding it hard to write at a certain point in time, then the words aren’t meant to be written yet.
10 Fast Facts:
1. your favourite food
2. your favourite non-alcoholic beverage
3. your favourite book- non fiction!
The Visitor by Karen McDermott as it changed my life
4. the quote you live by
Everything happens for a reason
5. your lucky charm/s
I have several crystal pendants (each one with different uses)
6. your interesting or quirky talent
Still developing this, but I believe I have Reiki abilities
7. your favourite word
8. your least favourite sound
9. your next project in one sentence
Helping children through spirituality
10. three words to describe you as a person
Passionate, determined, Kind
Christie (L) & her SIL and partner in healing, Jess
(Image courtesy of the talented Christie herself)
Thank you SO SO much Christie for sharing your story, experience and dreams with me. I can’t wait to watch it all unfold and cheer you on along the way
Happy to be contacted about writing/Soul Sistas etc: email@example.com
I’ve also attached a photo of Jess and I
Happy to put up a link and information re: Heart Kids if you’d like, up to you.
Thank you to the uber-talented Paula Funston from Media Bird Design for creating this Little Red beauty. It’s so me and I am totally in love with this design. Your thoughts?