In April this year, it will be my official first birthday after saying goodbye to the corporate world and dedicating 100% of my time to Fresh Brew Marketing.
A daunting thought. And I couldn’t be happier.
I currently find myself sitting in a pub, at 09:59 on a drizzly Tuesday morning in the heart of London town – where outside suits and heels frantically make their way from one tube stop to the next, where taxis and busses, delivery trucks and bicycles create the soundtrack of this grey day. But as I sit in this somewhat dreary environment, my heart is filled with joy, gratitude and humility. I’m doing ok. In fact, I’m doing wonderfully. Yes – I still don’t have the security of a monthly pay check – but then again, in today’s economical environment – who actually does? Yes – working independently does sometimes mean that there may be days when your biggest confident becomes your cocker spaniel. But, honestly? I wouldn’t have it any other way.
So, what have I learnt?
FEAR: Without the risk of uttering some cliche that ideally needs to be one some spiritual photograph of a flowing river, I’ve learnt that life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it. (Thanks Ferris). I’ve also learnt that fear has been the single biggest chain preventing me to follow my goal. Saying goodbye to a life routine that I’ve known for so many years, wasn’t a decision I took lightly. But when my English gentleman gave me a virtual flare gun and told me to use it when I needed to, I knew that the power to decide was absolutely in my hands – along with his support, the knowledge that I had something to offer, and a desire to do something completely new.
LONELINESS: I’ve learnt that an independent life, albeit wonderfully free, can be quite a lonely one. No longer do you have the daily faces that greet you from behind computer monitors, and the frustration of being pulled into endless meetings and discussions. Working independently means that now, you have to put in the effort to not become stagnant – but to actively seek out opportunities to build your network, spend time with like-minded people, and build on your client relationships, to a point where the independent, quiet hours become powerful result-producing times.
BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT: I’ve learnt that networks matter. Throughout my career, regardless of how frustratedly desperate I’ve been in full-time employment, I’ve always tried to maintain open and respectful communication with my employers. After all – while I was employed, it was because I chose to stay. If I was truly frustrated and angered by wrong decision, or didn’t agree with process, I would voice my opinion and try to influence change – but after all was said and done, it was my choice to stay. So – put up with it, or get out. And I stayed. I have always tried to leave employment on a constructive note – which proves itself in the fact that for every single employer that I’ve had the privilege to work for, I still hold dear the relationships I built up with my peers. And as an independent worker – building your network, looking for your next project, finding your next business lead, is supported heavily by the network you have built up. And I am so incredibly thankful to those clients who have seen my potential and have allowed me to work alongside them to deliver results for them, as I started this new journey.
KEEPING ACTIVE: Working independently also often means long periods of static, head-down, grafting. In the early days, I’d move directly from my bed, to the office, with a cup of coffee, and it was when the postman delivered the post at 11:30 that I’d realise, I hadn’t looked up once, I was still in my pyjamas and I had simply gone into auto-pilot mode. That changed quickly. I’ve learnt that working independently is all about setting your own routine now. So – most mornings now, wake up is at 6:30 / 7:00, head off to the gym for a swim and then the day can start with a good breakfast. The beauty of owning a dog is that throughout your day, you have the pleasure of nipping out for a quick, brisk walk – keeping her happy, and keeping your creative juices flowing.
GIVING MORE: What I’ve probably learnt most out of all of this is that through the beauty of a clearer mind, a more active routine, a proactive approach to learning and hearing more about the challenges that my clients face, I’ve developed an even bigger capacity to give more. So – where I have fixed myself, my clients benefit because they get someone who is more focussed, happy in the service that they offer, clearer-thought process and an excitement about every project that comes along. And that’s what it is all about, surely!
I’m not telling you to quit your job. In fact – I’m doing anything but. In no ways would I have been ready to take the plunge as I did last year, years prior. What I’m saying is that if you are ready to become independent – and you’re weighing up the pros and cons of a much more flexible working environment – then, I hope that my ramblings have some relevance to you.
And in the spirit of a new way of working, if my ramblings hold any relevance to you – why not get in touch. Let’s meet for coffee or have a call. After all – you never know when the opportunity may come for us to work together.
Fresh Brew Marketing is often asked for guidance and social media training to help people and businesses kickstart their social media activity. If you’re reading this, then you probably already understand the importance of using Twitter for your business, and if you’re reading this, then you’re probably also a little unsure as to where to start.
Here are 10 tips to help set your path for Twitter success.
1. It’s all about your Bio
Your Biography speaks for you long before you’ve composed your first tweet. And surprisingly, so many people overlook the importance of a good biography. In the training sessions we present, we usually run a little exercise whereby I ask individuals to introduce themselves to me in 10 seconds. Many go straight for the, “My name is Katy Roberts and I’m a Marketing Manager for XYZ Ltd”. That’s great – if people are specifically interested in your job title. But when people look at your biography, they are more than likely interested in knowing more about you, what you like, what you represent, what’s important to you. The introductions that stand out to me most are ones that form conversation pieces.
eg: My name is Katy Roberts. I’m a South African living in Dorset who loves to bake, geocache and help businesses grow.
That’s much more interesting – and may probably get a response from the person I’m talking to.
2. Understand your audience
There’s no point preaching to the converted, and definitely no point preaching to people who simply don’t want to hear. A large part of Twitter success is understanding your audience. Unfortunately, the measure of good Twitter activity is not always the increase of your follower numbers. Yes, that is great – but what good is it having someone follow you who may not be interested in what you have to say, never plans to talk to you and more importantly, never plans to buy from you.
If you already have an existing audience – great. Now is the time to start building on what you have. If you don’t already have a follower audience – great. Now is the time to start building one. Actively building an audience relies mainly on a sense of self-understanding:
Once you understand the above, then building an audience is simple. You want to find followers who answer to any of the above points. Be careful not to become imbalanced by only targeting potential customers – remember, credibility will soon speak for you and your followers will quickly pick up whether you’re just in it to sell it.
Once you have determined what your audience wants to hear, what they are talking about, what’s important to them – well then starting a conversation with them is easy, and structuring your Tweets around those conversations, even easier.
Remember, credibility is KING – and no, buying followers, and likes, is not the way to building your audience.
3. URL abbreviator
You are probably very aware that Twitter only provides 140 characters for you to say your say. But what do you do when you have a mighty-long URL that you want to include in your tweet, but simply don’t have enough space to do it?
You abbreviate it.
There are loads of great tools that can help you do that – and whether you’re using a tool like Hootsuite or Tweetdeck that give you that option, or whether you’re composing your tweets manually – abbreviating your tweets not only gives you space to say more, but it gives your followers a better user experience.
Some tools to use for URL abbreviation:
TinyURL – http://tinyurl.com/
Goo.gl – https://goo.gl/
Bitly – https://bitly.com/
4. Pictures don’t use character-space. Use them!
Until recently, adding an image to a tweet used your character allowance for that Tweet. Thankfull, Twitter came to their senses and removed that which means that you can now add images or GIFs to your tweets which don’t take up character space.
With that change in place – the point of a well thought-out tweet is to get someone to stop scrolling in order to read your tweet. An image instantly grabs attention and speaks more for you than the letters you’ve used in your tweet. Whether you’re looking to shock, encourage, question or challenge – an image is the perfect way to get noticed.
5. Polls, Questions and Challenges
Another one of Twitter’s latest features which work well, is the Poll. Social media is a 2-way conversation – and is done on your audience’s terms. Nobody likes a broadcaster who simply self-promotes in order to dominate conversations – and a poll is a great way to identify what your audience enjoys, how they feel about key issues and invite interaction and conversation.
People love to give their opinion, and when it’s anonymous and affects something they believe in, they are more than likely to give you their input. But you need to ask.
Compose your tweets with questions and challenges. Think about how you structure a tweet. Stimulate conversation and even edge on the controversial. Play with techniques and tactics until you find the one that works for you.
And then click “Tweet”. That’s all there is to it.
Like what you see? Why not sign up for a Social Media training course to learn the ins and outs of activating your business social media presence. Our training leaves you feeling confident and armed with the tools you need to smoothly ramp up your online presence – without feeling out of your depth.