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This Week’s Episode
On this week’s show, I share a recording of the first live episode of the Creative Yarn Entrepreneur Show! During this Google+ Hangout on Air, I talked with Carlota Zimmerman, the forensic coach, author, blogger, social media expert, and entrepreneur behind the Creativity Yenta©. We shared our tips for starting or expanding your business in the New Year and responded to questions from the audience.
About Carlota Zimmerman
Carlota Zimmerman is the forensic coach, social media expert, blogger, and writer known as the Creativity Yenta©. Carlota helps her clients articulate their professional goals — from writing a book to starting a small business — and then helps them create the opportunities necessary to bring their dreams to life. She writes for the Huffington Post and Thought Catalog, and was listed as a social media expert by US News & World Report.
About the Google+ Hangout
Carlota started off by sharing her recommendation that entrepreneurs avoid feeling pressure to make 2015 “the best year ever!” She suggested starting the year off with manageable goals and by creating commitments (with yourself). When you meet these goals, you can build your own confidence as an entrepreneur. On a related note, I suggested building habits and structures for growing your business. We shared our stories about the challenges of working from home for the first time, and Carlota shared her tips for building the confidence you need for your business to be successful.
I shared some suggestions from my interview with Lindsey Stephens from Poetry in Yarn, who I interviewed here in Episode 10: Time Management Tips. One of Lindsey’s tips was to know how much time each task takes. This can be especially critical when you are switching from having a business “on the side” to becoming a full time entrepreneur.
Carlota suggested creating a content cheat sheet or calendar to use when you aren’t feeling creative. This list is something you can go back to you when you aren’t feeling inspired or need to feel more in control of your business. She also mentioned that to be successful, you need to find strategies and habits that work for YOU.
Christina Sofina asked about how to generate traffic to your blog or videos. I had several suggestions:
- Join online communities of other entrepreneurs in your field (such as Google+ communities, Facebook groups, or niche social media communities within your field). If you’re in a community of likeminded entrepreneurs in your field, you can get support and share each other’s content on social media.
- Find your voice on the different social media platforms, and take a slightly different approach on each platform (even when promoting the same content).
- Share consistently (while being realistic about your time).
- Reach out to other colleagues and comment on their posts, Tweets, and shares to start a conversation. Their fans may be interested in your work after seeing your interactions.
- Connect with influential bloggers who aggregate or curate content in your niche. Many fans look to these bloggers to curate content for them (making you more discoverable), and these bloggers need regular content.
Carlota added several additional pointers:
- Show, don’t just tell. Use multimedia content when possible.
- Differentiate yourself. Share your background, journey, and lifestyle with your followers. This creates a sense of interest among your audience.
- Observe people you admire online. Consider what they are doing and what you may want to incorporate into your own social media behaviors.
- If you speak multiple languages, don’t forget to Tweet (or participate in other social networks) in both languages.
- Use relevant hashtags.
- Join and participate in relevant niche online communities.
- Be patient. It’s better to have a small number of engaged fans than a large number of uninterested followers, and it takes time to build your own community online.
We talked about trolls (or hostile, negative people) for a bit, since they tend to become more noticeable as you get more traffic to your content. Feel free to delete those comments! While it’s ok to commiserate for a few minutes, you should not let negative responses stop you from reaching your goals. The fact that trolls are even contacting you means that you are becoming more noticed!
Carlota mentioned that the stress of “being a success” can prevent you from learning from your own failures. Striving for perfection can hamper your development as an entrepreneur. We both discussed the importance of learning from your failures and mistakes so you can improve your business.
Marinke Slump asked about time management. Carlota’s suggestions included:
- Prioritize 1-3 tasks each day that will create opportunities for the next day (or in the near future).
- Focus on your priority tasks during the time of day when you feel the most alert and creative.
- Work backwards from major goals.
I added some tips:
- Don’t let your work expand beyond your capacity. A solopreneur’s work can continuously expand, especially when your business is launching or in a growth phase.
- Outsource some of your work, specifically the work that doesn’t produce income, that you don’t enjoy, and/or that you aren’t very good (or efficient) at completing. If your financial situation isn’t yet strong enough to support hiring, you might consider high school or college student interns, bartering with related professionals, or working with a retired volunteer.
Christina asked about the balance between making money and taking lessons to improve your skills. Both Carlota and I believe that continual improvement is critical to the long-term success for your business.
We suggested several ways to finance improving your skills:
- Consider bartering with teachers. Do you have a skill that your teacher might be interested in learning?
- Take on a freelance gig or part-time job specifically to earn money for your training and professional development. Ideally, the job should be high paying, utilize skills you want to highlight, and/or be simple and not energy-draining.
- Reach out to authors, online teachers, and other sources for free review copies/courses that you can review on your blog or elsewhere online.
We thanked the audience for sharing questions, and Carlota mentioned that she will share a free consultation with you if you like her Facebook page.
Our next live Google+ Hangout will take place in January (we’ll share the date soon), which will cover topics including social media strategies, search engine optimization (SEO), time management, and budgeting.
This morning, I received Crochet Concupisence‘s 2014 Awesome Crochet Blogger Award for Best Crochet Blog Post Series. Kathryn Vercillo does a great job curating this awards series each December, so you should check it out! I always find great, new-to-me blogs this way.
What suggestions do you have for our next live Google+ Hangout? Leave a comment below, Tweet me at @cyeshow (or Carlota at @kittenmagix), add me to your G+ circle and send me a note, or leave a message at 646-713-8973. (You can call me for free through the Contact page.)
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