All posts by Katrina Douglas

2015 My Year of No Goals

Goals

If you’ve been following this blog for a while or you know me personally, you will no doubt have realised that I am a stickler for a plan. I am a planner, my life has been mapped out with plans and much of what I have achieved in life to date has been the result of a plan.  So yes I like plans, they have served me well and if you’re not a planner there are huge benefits to having a plan as I’m sure you already know, they can significantly impove your productivity in life and in work and are well worth considering.

However, like most things in life there are pro’s and con’s and one of the con’s of planning is that if you take them too far they can confine you. Every year ever since I can remember, on the 31st of December I have taken time out to write out a series of goals for the proceeding year and assessed how I’ve faired that year, based on the goals set on the 31st of December the previous year. Once I got married I would hijack my husband for an hour or two to define the visions he had for our family for the next year. Now, my husband is a visionary, he’s just not as formal as I am, so  I can’t say he finds this yearly request riveting lol. Where as I will request a meeting for everything (including sending him  Outlook meeting requests for date nights) he likes to flow a little more freely. This year  I will be taking a leaf out of his book.

For the first time in my adult life, today  I will not be setting concrete goals for 2015. I have absolute clarity on the direction God is taking me, and I know without  a shadow of a doubt that 2015 will be a year of radical change, but I’m just getting ready to flow with God in  a way that I never have before. The thing about a plan is that it can cause you to close yourself off to great opportunities because they don’t fit neatly into your box. I sense that 2015 will be a year of divine opportunities, unexpected opportunities and even mind blowing opportunities. I’m reminded of the words of Isaiah:

Isaiah 55:8-9 New International Version (NIV)

8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.

I’m getting ready to enter my year of flow and I’m excited about it!

As you get ready for 2015 listen to what God is speaking to your heart, if you get quiet enough you’ll hear it, often it takes the form of a deep sense of peace or an innate sense of knowing. He has a plan for you that is more wonderful than you can comprehend and he wants to communicate it to you directly. So on that note there are two books that I highly recommend you read, both have impacted me tremendously and I believe reading them will profit you greatly:

  1. Living as a Spirit: Hearing the Voice of God on Purpose by Chris palmer
  2. Hearing God: Developing a Conversational Relationship with God by Dallas Willard.

Finally, thank you for visiting this blog I realy appreciate it and I pray you have a phenomenal 2015!

Love and blessings,
Katrina x

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Here’s to the Next Generation of Generals

God's generals

I’ve never really been into celebrity culture or had a tendency to idolise other men and women, I believe we are all frail and fallible. There are many people that I look up to and consider worthy of honour, like my parents and pastors but there is only one worthy of worship, God (Yahweh).

I do however believe that there are some great human beings in this world that we can learn from. These individuals may be near or far, prominent or obscure, but we must grasp every opportunity to learn from them, because all great leaders learn to follow first.  This requires being humble enough to serve others and learn from those that have gone before us. Working hard towards making someone else’s dream come true before realising our own, building credibility with others, being consistent and having integrity – developing character.

“Character is more important than power, power will kill you without character” – Myles Munroe

I think the definition of a great leader is subjective, for some it’s embodied in celebrities like Beyonce and for others political figures like President Obama. For me it’s simply someone  with the capacity and character to effect positive and lasting change in the lives of those they encounter. Someone that hones their gifts and utilises them to their full potential. Someone that leaves a legacy for future generations and not just an inheritance.

Great leaders are few and far between, Dr. Myles Munroe was one of them. He had many accolades but that’s not why I call him great, he was great to me because his life and work impacted me profoundly. Only a great leader can shape the lives of people they’ve never met,  and that he did.  His work introduced me to a Jesus I never knew, it taught me the purpose and power of being a women, and it enlightened me regarding  what it means to have vision and not just dreams – I encourage you to invest in his work.

Myles Munroe  passed away this week and I felt weak and utterly wounded when I heard the news. Men like him are rare and when they depart from this world it is very much our loss. I never knew him and yet I will miss him, miss the fact that we’ll never hear another sermon from him and they’ll never be another book.

Just yesterday I was thinking about the number of great prominent leaders that have passed away this year and all I could think is that God must be raising up a new army of generals. I intend to be one of them – how about you?

“The future is not ahead of you it’s inside you”- Myles Munroe

I am 32 years old and I consider that these 32 years have been training, don’t get me wrong God has blessed me with some significant wins and I am very grateful. However, I also realise that I’ve not yet got to the main event, but I see it on the horizon!

“See beyond your eyes and live for the unseen. Your vision determines your destiny” – Myles Munroe

So Here’s to the next generation of generals.

“The future is not ahead of you it’s inside you”- Myles Munroe

Blessings,
Katrina

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

4 Simple Advertising Tips

Simple advertising

Advertising doesn’t need to be costly,  time-consuming  or complicated. There are many ways you can advertise easily and efficiciently here are 4 of my favourites:

1.  Target your marketing message

I’ve mentioned the importance of tailoring your messages to reach different audiences in a previous post. I have also touched on the fact that advertising often receives a bad wrap because historically it has been untargeted and ineffective compared to other marketing methods.

Suffice to say that if your advertising isn’t targeted not only are you wasting money but you’re also wasting the time of those who receive your marketing and are not in the least bit interested. Many of these untargeted recipients won’t resemble your target audience in any way shape or form, which is not beneficial for you or them.

The good news is that the Internet has made targeting  your audience easier than it’s ever been. Online advertising platforms  such as AdWords and social media networks like Facebook and Twitter make targeting easy.

Facebook ad targeting

Twitter ad targeting

2.   Amplify your message with paid advertising

The simple truth is that the organic reach of  marketing is declining. What I mean is that when you post something online, social media update, blog post etc. it is seen by a lot less people than would have been the case in times passed. The reason is that there is a lot more content being published on the web daily, so we have to work a lot harder for our content to be noticed.

Social media without paid advertising doesn’t scale, if you are a business trying to leverage the benefits of social media, ideally you need both organic and paid content.

3.   Measure success

Results count. If something doesn’t work i.e. move you closer to the goal you are trying to achieve stop doing it. So often we continue certain practices out of habit, passed successes or because ‘it’s just the way we do things around here‘. My advice is to proliferate what works and eliminate what doesn’t. A key way to measure success is to monitor the activity and behaviour that takes place on your website, Google Analytics allows you to do that. It allows you to see a wealth of useful information, such as the number of people visiting your website, the most popular pages, where visitors come from and a lot more. I highly recommend implementing Google Analytics,   you can do this yourself or have your web designer do it for you, it’s free and takes just a few minutes.

4. Test and refine

The Internet provides a great opportunity for us to test and refine our online advertising efforts. Enabling advertisers to increase the effectiveness of advertising campaigns and increase return on investment. You can test your advertising efforts in many ways but here are 2 key tactics:

  • Test your headlines and advertising copy
    The aim is to determine which headlines and wording is most effective at getting potential customers to take action. The desired action may be clicking a link, completing a form, visiting your website, purchasing a product etc. You can do this simply with Google Adwords, within  Adwords there is a tool called Adwords Campaign Experiments which allows you to test variants of your ad on a small percentage of your target audience.  Enabling you to monitor results before investing fully,  and placing all your eggs in one basket.
  • Test elements of your landing pages
    Similar to testing advertising copy it’s important to test your landing pages (the pages people go to when they click on your ads) to determine what layouts, designs and content are most effective at converting vistors to customers. Similar to Adwords Campaign Experiements, Analytics Campaign Experiments allows you to test up to 10 variants of your landing page.

Done wisely online advertising can be very successful, cost effective and simple for your business to implement. The key is to equip yourself with the right knowledge and use the right tools to get the maximum return on your advertising spend.

If you need help putting these simple advertising tips into practice feel free to give me a shout :)

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Uncovering You

Uncovering you

Covering ourselves is often wise and decent, but have we got things a little twisted? It seems modern culture encourages us to bare more of our skin but hide more of our hearts. Perhaps it’s time to flip the script.

Romans 8:35 says;

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
I was reading this verse the other day and the word nakedness struck me. I’ve read this verse many times but had never really noticed it. So I began to ponder what nakedness really means.

Yes, the most common definition is to be without clothing or covering, but it’s more than that, as another definition puts it, it seems to imply being ‘exposed to harm and vulnerability’. With this in mind it stands to reason that we are prone to covering ourselves, no one wants to expose themselves to harm deliberately.

But is nakednes always negative and does it always leave us exposed to harm? – No, it depends who we are exposing our vulnerabilities to.

We fear that our nakedness; the baring of who we are – the good, the bad and the ugly will make us unloveable. To society at large perhaps. But that’s only because for the most part, most of us are working with an inferior definition of love, suffice to say God is love and there can be nothing more liberating than to bare all before Him. Not even the uncovering of our sin and shame can seperate us from the love of God.

Many of us seem ashamed to bare our true selves, we feel the need to embellish ourselves, as if it’s not enough just to be who we were created to be.

It started in the Garden of Eden, Genesis 3:10 states;

So he said, “I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself.
We walk around camouflaged – from the way we dress, to morphing into different people depending on who we’re around, the situation or circumstance. There’s a better way.

I’m a Christians for many reasons but one of the main reasons is that in Christ I don’t have to hide anymore, hiding is hard work! Now I walk free.

God covers us with His love, grace, peace and truth. He covers our imperfection with His perfection and transforms us from the inside out.

We aught not be ashamed to bring the things that aren’t right into the light, because the truth is, we can only be delivered from the dark things in our lives when they are exposed. We first  have to expose ourselves to the light, before we can be transformed by the light.

2 Corinthians 3:18 states;

So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.

So I encourage you to allow the real you to stand up and walk into the light, His name is Jesus!

 In Jesus we’ve been invited to go back to Genesis 2:25;

 Now the man and his wife were both naked, but they felt no shame.
(As I was contemplating this topic I remembered a book I read years ago by TD Jakes called It’s Time to Reveal What God Longs to Heal: Naked and Not Ashamed definitely worth a read.)

 

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Good leaders are like gold miners

Panning for gold in teams

The difference between good and great, mediocrity and excellence  is often in the detail and the subtle nuances of behaviour. It is a crucial part of a leaders role to be able to detect these nuances and bring out the best in their team members.  To do so you have to look very closely, it reminds me of panning for gold.

The problem is, the closer you look is the more you see, not only does the gold show up, but so does the dirt. When goldminers are looking for gold they have to sift through a lot of dirt and debris, in the same way good leaders often have to sift through mistakes, character flaws and other shortcomings to get to the gems in their teams. This can be quite tedious and often painful, but if we remain patient the gold soon begins to emerge.

This has been one of those weeks where I’ve uncovered a lot of dirt, both in myself and in others and I’ve had to remind myself to continue panning for gold  - if you can relate here are three reminders for you too!

1. There is always treasure to be found

Teams are inherently dysfunctional as Patrick Lencioni points out in The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable, because they are made up of flawed individuals, no matter how talented we are, we all have flaws. But the good news is the greatest treasure is not in one person as much as it is in the collective capability of the team, good leaders can get the team rowing in the same direction and this is often where the gold lies. Difficult to get to, but definitely attainable. I highly recommend reading Patrick Lencioni’s book for practical advice on how to accomplish this.

2. Gold never just shows up there is always a refining process

The process of refining gold involves removing all impurities, which requires purification through fire. If you want pure gold there are no shortcuts. It reminds me of the Storming phase of team formation.

Forming Storming Norming Performing

Storming often starts where there is a conflict between team members’ natural working styles. In this phase team members may challenge your authority, or jockey for position as their roles are clarified. It can be a frustrating time for all involved but it’s a natural part of developing a high performing team.

2. Uncover your gold and let it shine

Mathew 5:15 (NLV)
No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house

You can’t motivate people. The best you can hope for is to inspire them with your actions (wise words borrwoed from 38 Life Lessons I’ve learnt in 38 years)

So this week, I fully intend to keep mining for gold, I hope you do too.

Blessings,
Katrina

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Facebook Advertising: 5 ways to get more for your money

we all have a story to tell

A few weeks ago I was involved in a workshop regarding Facebook advertising. In a previous post I’ve spoken about why I think Facebook advertising can be beneficial, but there was one particular  thought which cropped up that I wanted to share with you, and that’s:

You may pay for advertising but you still have to earn your place at the Facebook table

Facebook is public but most people use it to share somewhat private information and communicate  with loved ones. As such it’s not the primary place many of us choose to hear from brands.

As an advertiser you are not competing with other companies as much as  personal posts. For example – your advertising could quite easily end up between a picture of a sonogram announcing a close friends pregnancy and cool photos of family on their summer holidays in sunnier climes. Therefore Facebook advertising can easily seem  like an intrusion.

So the question is; how do you as a brand earn yourself an invitation to the Facebook table as opposed to being written off as an intruder?

1. Inspire by communicating your why

We all know that traditional advertising is not the purchase driver that it once was, and one of the reasons is that customers don’t want fluffy fake marketing messages, they want real and meaningful. Your brand has to be about more than selling, it’s about  telling a story, one that is real and resonates with your audience, and that has to begin with why your business exists. A lot of businesses know what they do but few know why, and if you don’t understand the why, your story is always  going to be flaky. Simon Sinek elaborates on this in his infamous Ted Talk on the Golden circle:

2. Leverage the power of visual story telling

visual story telling

Often nothing says it better and quicker than a picture, you can convey a thousand words in a single picture, this is increasingly important in our society where time poverty seems to be an epidemic.

Pictures are also a lot more emotive than words and have the ability to move people in an instant. So much of what is posted on Facebook is motivated by emotion; feelings of joy, anger, happiness and sadness, so it seems fitting that ads convey some level of emotional sentiment.

Facebook has also acknowledged the impact of imagery by recently redesigning ad formats so that all ads are centred around a key visual.

Facebook ad formats

3. You’re creative should fit in, but your message should stand out

What I mean is that your ad shouldn’t look like an ad it should fit into the Facebook environment. This is the point of native advertising it shouldn’t be intrusive but instead fit into the flow of Facebook content.

And yet the message should stand out, yep I know this sounds like a bit of a contradiction but these examples from  Shopify illustrate what I mean.

Shopify Facebook ad right

Shopify Facebook ad

You can see clearly how both ads fit comfortably in a Facebook newsfeed and yet they’re interesting enough to cause you to stop and pay attention.

4. Tailor your messages to reach different audiences

When you go on a date, you don’t want to feel like the person is sorting through options, you want to know that the person is interested in you as an individual. Advertising is similar, don’t deliver one size fits all messages, tailor your message to your audience. Facebook provides numerous options for targeting your messages accordingly.

As mentioned in an article from The Guardian on the atomisation of advertising, brands need to ‘contextualise the message by atomising advertising into a series of sustainable, high quality messages that are relevant irrespective of where the consumer chooses to engage with you’.

For example, if you’re a car dealer, you might have two ads for the same car; one targeting budget conscious men, one targeting mums.

The headline targeting men might say; ‘more miles for your money’.
The headline targeting mum’s might say; ‘it’s a car but it’s as safe as houses’.

5. Test your creative and ask the following questions:
  • Does it meet your objective - is the tone of voice on brand?
  • Is it a compelling story?
  • Does it have thumb stopping power? (i.e. is it good enough to make a Facebook user stop scrolling down their Facebook feed )

If you are using or considering Facebook advertising I hope this post helps, and for more on brand story telling I highly recommend the ebook below.

If you have any comments or questions I’d love to hear from you, so please feel free to leave them below.
Speak soon,
Katrina
facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

know thyself

know thyself

Know thyself

I recently had to attend a speed awareness course. Reason being I was in in such a rush to get to work one morning that I ‘crept’ over the speed limit ‘marginally’. Now I’d like to say unequivocally that I didn’t realise, however my moral convictions compel me to tell you the whole truth and nothing but the truth :),  so the truth is that I may have been acutely aware that I had crossed the speed limit but at that moment getting to work a few minutes faster was more of a priority for me than whether or not I inched over the speed limit by a few miles an hour (eek! – don’t judge me).

Although I was initially pained to pay for and attend the course it was an unexpectedly valuable experience, because it caused me to reflect on myself and my actions in a way that I previously hadn’t. It got me thinking about how we can be so focused on getting to our ‘goals’ and destinations that we fail to take stock of our behaviour along the way, and how it impacts others.

This type of goal orientated tunnel visioned behaviour is typical of type ‘A’ personalities.  In a nutshell, type A personalities tend to be hard driving and competitive and type B personalities more easy going and laid back. It’s not that one type is necessarily more goal orientated than the other, but more that they go about achieving their goals in very different ways. I’m naturally type A and although there are some positive aspects it can be a problem; type A’s can be prone to causing collateral damage, in the sense that they are so focused on the end goal that they can loose sight of the importance of those around them. I’ve had to learn to check myself on this to make sure my ‘behaviour’ doesn’t get out of wack in the name of ‘achieving a goal’.

Check yourself before you wreck yourself

One of the most important qualities I look for when evaluating whether or not to promote the individuals I manage is self-awareness. Their ability to take an accurate inventory of their strengths and weaknesses and modify their behaviour accordingly.

In fact I feel so strongly about this that  the one and only occasion I’ve felt the need to relinquish someone of their job was because of a detrimental lack of self-awareness. I dismissed this person not  because they made mistakes but because their perception of their ability was so inflated that they were unable to see their mistakes, receive correction and therefore improve their performance. Essentially their confidence exceeded their capability and this is always a slippery slope.

It occurred to me that in our digitally driven age where knowledge is created, shared and consumed at a rate more rapid than at any other point in history, it seems we know a lot more about ‘stuff’ and a lot less about ‘ourselves’.

Has social media hindered our ability to see ourselves clearly?

I’m a big fan of social media but one of the downsides is that it can feed narcissism, in that it thrives on ‘grandiose exhibitionism, inflated self-views, superficial personalities and shameless self-promotion‘.  

We all have a tendency to display are best bits on social media and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that per se,  but we can be deceived into thinking that those 100 likes on that flawless photo render us faultless. it’s very easy to ‘believe the hype’ and forfeit humility for pride (the quality of having an excessively high opinion of oneself or one’s importance) so that we no longer see our weaknesses, only our strengths.

It would seem that this Old Testament Bible verse could have been written for us today:

Obadiah 1:3

The pride of your heart has deceived you, you who live in the clefts of the rocks and make your home on the heights, you who say to yourself, ‘Who can bring me down to the ground?

I believe social media is a positive addition to society but balance is key in everything and I believe it’s important to remain grounded.

So here’s 4 practices that I think keep us grounded

I’m listening to Dan Pinks audio book Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us at the moment, in it there is a section entitled ‘Move 5 Steps Closer to Mastery’ (Mastery is the urge to get better and better at something that matters) ironically I also think they’re beneficial for keeping us grounded:

1. Practice: To improve performance practice is essential. Both Dan Pink and Malcolm Gladwell (in Outliers: The Story of Success) mention that it takes about 10 years of consistent effort and hard work to master your craft. In fact mastery is impossible to realise fully as there is always more to learn and always room to get better. This in itself is humbling.

2. Repeat: In the words of Robert Collier: success is the sum of small efforts repeated day in and day out. Monotony is also humbling, I’m reminded of the ‘wax on, wax off’ scene in Karate kid:

3. Seek feedback: To seek feedback means we acknowledge that we don’t know everything and we can learn from others.

4. Focus on where you need help: This requires us to acknowledge our flaws in the first place.

I say all that to say this, it’s great to know stuff but even more important to ‘know thyself’.

Speak soon,
Katrina

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Innovation, Inspiration and Infants

We are all born creative. We just got it educated out of us. -  @ThamKhaiMeng

Born creative

I spent Tuesday at Internet World promoting the new .London domain on the Dot London stand which I was pleased to be doing as it’s probably one of the most promising of the new top level domains being released this year.  However, If you’ve ever manned a trade show stand for any length of time, no matter how interesting the product or solution you’re promoting may be, the experience is generally  less than joyful lol.

The highlight of my day was in fact the arrival of three young boys aged between about 11 and 13, at first I thought nothing of their presence until I heard them speaking quite articulately to one of my colleagues about domains, their website, a game they had created and how the three of them had formed a partnership to realise their idea.

I actually felt so emotional and filled with pride at their enthusiasm, determination and creativity that anyone would have thought they were related to me and not three strangers that I had just met (I think that type of emotional overflow is one of the weird side effects of motherhood). According to the father that was with them, under 18′s aren’t typically allowed to these trade shows and they had to apply especially for the rules to be waivered,  I was so inspired by them it got me thinking about how kids inspire me in general.

I just love that children are not deterred by barriers; their natural inclination is to get under them, around them or over them and there is much we can learn from this attitude.

We often hear that if you want to be great it pays to follow and take notes from those that have tread the path before us, I believe that there is great value in that  and it’s one of the reasons business mentors are so important. However, I also think there is much to be learnt from our children and young people,  so I thought I’d share 3 things I’ve learnt from mine:

1.   They are totally unrealistic

We as adults are often hindered by what we feel is ‘realistic’, that is what is ‘sensible’, ‘practical’, ‘achievable’ and ‘expected’, which is fine but limiting if you want to achieve anything significant in life.

Children just flow with their imagination, and embrace the possibilities, the issue of whether or not something is ‘realistic’ never pops into their heads. As we get older we loose this ability to think freely and often impose invisible boundaries on ourselves. I am by no means encouraging recklessness, there are indeed times when realism serves us well. But, we’ll also do well to  free ourselves from what is ‘realistic’ sometimes and pursue those things  we once dreamed about. If others have done so and succeeded why not you?

Richard Branson certainly wasn’t thinking about what was realistic when he founded Virgin Galactic and decided to make space tourism a reality.

2.   They have mastered the art of  ‘bouncebackability’

Children just aren’t discouraged by failure, they just get up and go again. Often we’re paralysed by failure or the fear of it, but there comes a point when you’ve just got to feel the fear and do it anyway. In the words of Tim Storey a set back is a set-up for a come back”.

3.  They have an incredible capacity and willingness to learn

Children have such a thirst for knowledge and never stop asking questions, I’m often fascinated by my children’s capacity to learn and retain information, their brains are indeed like sponges.  As we get older our thirst for knowledge tends to cease and we get bogged down in what we already know, which can limit not only our thinking but also our prospects. There is an extricable link between economic prosperity and the ability to acquire knowledge.

One of my favourite Bible verses is 1 Corinthians 2:9 which says:

But as it is written: “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him.”

I believe there are things that God has for us that we haven’t even imagined.

I’m reading a book at the moment called ‘Faith For Like: Overcoming Everyday Challenges’ and in it Bishop Keith A. Butler says:

“God gave you imagination not so that you could make movies with nine-feet tall blue people in a tree. God gave you imagination so that you could see the promise in advance.”

Richard Branson could see the reality of space tourism in his minds eye probably way before he founded Virgin Galactic. Today, not only has the commercial spacecraft been built, but as seen in the video above it has just completed it’s third test flight into space.

So finally, my question is – what can you see on the inside of you and what are you going to do about it?

Speak soon,
Katrina

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Are you one of the 50% of SME’s without a website?

no website

Yes you read right! According to Lloyds Bank UK Business Digital Index 2014:

“Only 50% have a website and on the whole, those that do are only providing basic functionality.”

If you are are one of the 50% without a website then this post is for you. I won’t bore you with all the reasons why you should be online, suffice to say that the UK is the most active eCommerce market in Europe and there are 1.2 billion potential customers online, including your competitors.

Despite this  29% of SMEs and charities still believe being online isn’t relevant to their business. In actual fact the internet is the number one global resource for finding information and sourcing suppliers. Believe it or not people are searching for your very business online, the only thing is you’re not there! So in this post I wanted to tell you about 3 easy and cost effective ways to get online fast.

1.  Social Media Page

Facebook page example

If you’re not ready for you’re own website yet then dip your toe in the water with a Facebook page these are easy and free to set-up. Here’s 5 top tips for creating an effective page:

    1. Customise your page e.g. take advantage of the vanity url, use apps and custom tabs
    2. Keep your page current with news, company info, offers etc.
    3. Engage, engage and engage some more - people buy from people so share your personality and update your page often
    4. Use multi-media – posts that include images and video receive a lot more engagement than those without
    5. Advertise – your own posts and updates will only get you so far, it’s work running some cost-effective ad campaigns, to boost traffic, especially if your page is new

 2.  Website Builder

website builder

A website builder is essentially an easy to use control panel that allows you to build a professional website yourself, prices start from free to about £30 per month. The 1&1 website builder for example is currently available for £0.99/month and offers:

    • Quick creation – drag and drop functionality to change layout,  pictures and add apps
    • Industry specific text and images, plus functionality based on your industry
    • Advanced functionality with 140 drag and drop web apps such as slideshare, shopping apps, contact forms, eCommerce apps and more

3.  Host a WordPress site (like this one)

Wordpress

You can purchase web hosting (the service providing space on the Internet for websites) and then build a WordPress site yourself in a few easy steps.

WordPress is the number one content management system in the world with more than 73 million websites globally. WordPress usage is growing fast. Approximately 20% of existing websites are built with WordPress

I’m a big fan, this blog is a WordPress site which I created myself within a couple of hours with no previous experience or knowledge of website design.

There is no need to go without a website, all three options mentioned above can be created yourself, for a  few pounds a month within a few hours. It’s literally that easy to get online and join the millions of businesses on the web benefiting from online success.

I spoke on this topic in more depth at The Business Show last month take a look at the video below for more tips and insights.

If you need help with any of the options mentioned above give me a shout and I’ll be happy to assist.

Speak soon,
Katrina

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

5 ways to monetise your big idea

monetise ideas

Most of us have had a great idea hit us at one time or another. That light bulb moment where you’re filled with adrenaline and excitement about the possibilities. Sometimes the way to make money from that idea is obvious, but often it’s not and you experience that sudden jolt back to reality, as you’re hit with the realisation that you need to pay bills and provide your family with food and sustenance. That idea soon falls by the way side as quickly as it came. What a travesty! If you can relate then this post is for you.

Firstly I’d like to say I do believe that ‘where there’s a will there’s a way’ and if you think long and hard enough I’m sure you’ll find a ways to make money from your idea, persistence pays. However, if you’re experiencing a ‘brain block’ (as we all do at some point) that last statement really isn’t any help to you. So I thought I’d be a little more helpful and provide you with 5 concrete ways you can monetise your ideas.

1. Attach a paid service 

If your idea is to provide a free service e.g. a membership offering, the provision of information or perhaps an online tool, then there is the option to add paid services that are related to your free service  to your portfolio. Often times people think why not just charge for the main service, however charging can be a bad idea. For example your business may be dependent on attracting a high number of users (e.g. a social platform of some sort) charging for your service would hinder your ability to attract the volume you need. Another reason may be that competitors don’t charge for the service, so if you did, you would immediately put you business at a huge disadvantage.

This is why the freemium business model has become so popular. This is when a business provides a version of their offering  for free and then charges for a more complete version with premium features. Here are 7 types of freemium strategies.

2. White label and license

A white-label product or service is a product or service produced by one company (the producer) that other companies (the marketers) rebrand to make it appear as if they made it.

White labelling is done a lot in the food industry with famous brands such as Heinz, creating ‘own brand’ versions of their products for supermarkets. It also occurs often  in the  finance industry where department stores for example, offer store cards that are provided by banks as a white labelled services and then the stores brand and market it as there own. If you have an idea for a product that you think you’d have a hard time selling, but more established businesses could sell it with ease, then you could offer it to these businesses as a white-labelled product for them to sell.

3. Set-up an affiliate program

Affiliate marketing is a type of performance-based marketing in which a business rewards one or more affiliates for each visitor or customer brought by the affiliate’s own marketing efforts.

Essentially you pay other businesses and/or individuals a commission for selling your product. They simply place banners for your product or service on their website and you then pay the affiliates a commission from every sale they make. Companies like Affilinet and Comission Junction make it very easy to start an affiliate marketing program, here’s a guide to creating an affiliate marketing strategy for your business.

4. Attract a sponsor

Perhaps your idea is to set-up an event or an information based website for example, one way to finance this and generate revenue is to  attract a key sponsor.

A sponsor will provide money to a business  (typically in sports, arts, entertainment or causes) in return for access to a specific target audience and access to the commercial opportunities that association with a business provides. This may involve the sponsor having their logo on your website right through to speaking at your events and marketing to your customers or members. Here’s some sound advice on how to attract a corporate sponsor

5. Sell advertising

One of the most popular ideas for monetising an idea is to sell advertising a lot of bloggers do this and it simply involves allowing businesses that offer services that are relevant to your customers/members/users to advertise on your website for a fee.

If you’ve been struggling to come up with ways to commercialise your idea then I hope I’ve given you some food for thought.

If you’ve thought of other creative ideas to monetise your ideas I’d love to hear about them so please feel free to comment below,

Speak soon,
Katrina

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather