July 23, 2012

I'm Being Used

To the 'person' who has hijacked my domain:

For 3 weeks now you have been making up email addresses that end with my domain name and sending spam emails on my behalf.

Is it working for you? Are you making lots of money? Or just having a thrill?

Please go find something more useful to do. Earn an honest living. Volunteer those techie skills for a good cause.

Leave me alone. I don't want to get blacklisted again!

July 13, 2012

You Reap What You Sow

My garden was on the Gardens Galore tour in support of the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of Canada last weekend, so I have been spending a lot of time getting it ready for company. It was all very exciting and, while preparing, I decided my garden is a lot like my business. How did I come to that conclusion? Here's a bit of fun...

Planning and Design
This is all about figuring out what I want my garden to look like in the end and then figuring out what I need to do to get there. It means pulling out a pencil and paper, roughing out ideas, and firming them up.

Tools and Supplies
Pruners, shovels and rakes: investing in good tools makes a difference. Twist ties, stakes and mulch: there are some supplies I always need to have handy to keep my momentum going.

Landscaping (the Hard Work)
I need energy and perseverance (and my husband) to move all the rocks, dig all the holes, and plant all the plants. Some of the work is tedious and some of it is fun - but it all needs to get done in order to make progress.

Adding compost here, watering there - it's all important if not exactly exciting. But if I don't do it, plants (like plans) can die.

I try to deal with the small icky things before they become big ugly things that are hard to get rid of.

This plant thrives better in shade and that one likes acidic soil. It's all about learning from mistakes, finding great solutions, and becoming more in tune with what works and what doesn't.

Here's where the real fun starts. All that learning made me confident and curious - I want to stretch the boundaries. I try new plants that are a challenge to grow. I redesign half the garden. I trade and share with other gardeners. I become expert.

And the biggest similarity? Ultimately, in my garden and my business, I reap only what I sow.

Originally published in Work Better, Not Harder on July 12, 2012

July 3, 2012

5 Ways to Grow Your List this Summer

Your contact list doesn’t grow on its own and summer is when we all tend to slow down. Here are some practical, yet easy ways to grow your contact list over the summer months and still enjoy some time off.

eMail Auto Responder
When you set up your ‘out of office’ vacation notification, include a call to action and link to your newsletter sign-up form.

Scheduled social media posts
Set up a series of posts using Hootsuite or similar to encourage sign-ups. You can direct people to your sign-up form, to your archive, or to specific past issues that still make good reading.

Review your current and prospective client list
When you’re preparing for your fall sales activities, also note those that aren’t already receiving your newsletter and encourage them to sign up by sending a personal note. Review not only the contacts in your CRM system, but also those you’ve connected with on LinkedIn, Facebook, etc. You could also consider mailing a copy of your most recent newsletter.

Networking events

The number of networking events tends to drop over the summer and the atmosphere is generally more relaxed. When you meet new people at these events, ask them on the spot if you can sign them up for your newsletter.

Fun with Family and Friends

Your 3 F’s - friends, family and fans – can help get your newsletter out to a larger audience. While you’re relaxing on the beach, remind them that you’d appreciate their help by sharing your newsletter on social media platforms or by email. These are the people that care about you, they are always happy to help!

Enjoy a slower work pace over the summer and build your business at the same time.

We are trying to grow our list this summer too!
Our monthly newsletter is full of ideas and tips for busy business owners.

Originally published in the RWN Summer 2013 Newsletter issue.