We’ve all heard about businesses pivoting during the pandemic. Here’s one that did it in style. Lake Contracts provide high quality shop fitting services so when lockdown came their business went quiet. After all, who’s going to pay for shop fitting when all the pubs and most of the shops are shut?
They adapted with style, setting up a new business using their existing skills. We Are Bostin was created to provide new windows, doors and shop fronts to both residential and commercial customers. I don’t know about you, but our time at home has left me with a long list of home improvements. A new front door and some brand new windows are definitely on there somewhere!
Their web designer set to work and recommended that they add a blog to show their expertise. I’d got to know Andreea Lake, one of the management team, thanks to my networking habit and she got in touch. There was one big challenge – we only had three days to act before the web developer went on holiday for a month. Thankfully Andreea had loads of great ideas for the kind of posts they needed and their branding and customer knowledge was strong.
All of this meant that I was able to get to work quickly, turning the finished post around in just over 24 hours. (That’s officially a record for me – I’m pretty quick but it usually takes a smidgen longer than that.)
The result? One happy client with a gorgeous new blog. All that remains is to find out how many hits they get now the site is live. If you’d like to read the first two blogs and find out more about We Are Bostin’s services, here’s the link.
If you need high quality content on a schedule that works for you, or that helps you adapt now lockdown is starting to ease, get in touch. I write the words that speak your customers’ language.
I used to follow lots of business gurus who talked about ‘hustle’. They’d mention their families but the main thrust of their advice was that you needed to work, work then work some more until you’d ‘made it’. I never really saw much about what life would look like when you’d made it, or indeed whether there was an actual definition. The overall idea seemed to be that you shouldn’t take a holiday or even a day off until you’d got to the top. Hustle culture was everywhere. Even the people who had kids talked about the importance of balance but seemed to spend their evenings and weekends working. Of course, I don’t know what was happening behind the scenes. Everything I saw about these people was based on what they put on social media. All the same, it played on my mind. Did I really need to subscribe to hustle culture to have a successful business?
What’s my problem?
When I say I’m not buying into the hustle, that doesn’t mean I believe in slacking. Working hard is part of building a successful business. I think my issue is that hustle seems to go beyond that. It’s not just hard work. I’ve seen people talk about not sleeping or never taking a day off. As someone with two small children I know that not getting enough sleep is a form of slow torture. There’s no way I’m doing it voluntarily. There might be times that you need to work silly hours to get something done, but it’s not sustainable long term.
I knew that I needed to create my own definition of success and mark my own boundaries if I was going to get anywhere.
I see a lot of people online talking about earning 6 or 7 figures. That might be meaningful to some, but not me. Not that I’m longing to live in a cave or anything. I’d just rather make enough to have a nice life, quality time with the family and a few decent holidays. If that means I don’t get to be a millionaire that’s OK.
When it comes to role models I take social media posts with a pinch of salt and talk to people I actually know. The main thing I discovered is that everyone has different boundaries. The important thing is to look at how you want to spend your time and how that translates to reaching your goals.
I sometimes wonder whether ‘hustle’ is some people’s method of keeping themselves accountable. If you haven’t worked an 18 hour day you haven’t done enough. The truth is, you don’t have to hustle to set goals and get results. If I don’t take time off I get exhausted and make bad decisions. My holidays don’t just give me family time, they provide brain space too. Looking at the world from a different angle gives me new ideas for normal life.
I also have an amazing coaching group where we commit to take action and report back. That action can even include identifying times when we need to rest so we live to fight another day. That’s the kind of accountability that gets you where you need to go.
Why am I telling you this? Because I know that a lot of you struggle with it. My business isn’t just about writing. It’s about sharing the stories that mean something to you. If you need help speaking your customers’ language and finding the stories that are important to them, just get in touch.
Making the decision to outsource some of your business tasks is one thing. Finding someone you’d actually trust to do the work is quite another. If you’re looking for a full time employee you might be better off hiring someone to find suitable candidates. However, more and more businesses don’t want the hassle. It may even be that you only need someone for a couple of hours a week, or to work short term on a specific project. A freelancer with other clients is the ideal solution. But how do you find the right one?
Sole trader v Agency
Agencies or larger businesses are ideal if you’ve got a specific project or need help with a range of different things. There are agencies of all sizes, including some that are run by sole traders. The difference between an agency and one sole trader is that the agency will have built a team of people who can cover a range of different things and will manage them all for you.
Sole traders are great if you don’t need to outsource to lots of different people. For example, you might already have a designer who’s created your new website, but you need someone to write the copy. Managing two freelancers is relatively easy – it gets trickier if you need five or six different specialities.
When it comes to finding the right person, getting a recommendation from someone you trust is by far the best option. You can get a personal recommendation based on their own experience so you can outsource with confidence. Of course, it’s worth bearing in mind that their needs might not be exactly the same as yours and their approach to work may be completely different.
Networking events have been invaluable for me in finding people to work with. My main memberships focus on relationship building so I’ve got to know a range of people and discovered who I get on with. Then when I need a particular service I’ve often already got someone in mind.
Personality is key
Whilst access to specialist skills is one of the main benefits of working with a freelancer, you’ll still need to consider whether their personality fits with yours. This not only makes the working relationship easier, it will get you better results. No matter what work you’re planning to outsource, communication is the key to getting it done well.
I’ve met and worked with all kinds of different business owners, but they all have one thing in common. I’ve found it easy to build a rapport with them. When I’m choosing service providers for my own business the only difference between two equally qualified people has often been that I like one better than the other.
Of course, there’s more to it than personality. It’s important to be upfront about what your budget is when you’re talking to people. This enables them to tell you whether you need more funds, to adjust your expectations. They might also be able to recommend someone else. It’s a waste of everyone’s time if a freelancer takes the time to prepare a quote only for you to find it’s double what you can afford.
Also, think about whether their working style is a good fit. You may simply need someone who gives you regular updates or uses resources that allow you to check progress. If you’re looking for coaching I’d also recommend looking at their whole approach. Some coaches help you to become more personally effective, others look at your whole business and deliver strategic operations to achieve growth. Which kind do you need?
If you’re ready to outsource your copywriting, get in touch and let’s have a chat. If you’re looking for a DIY approach, visit my online shop for resources that will help or sign up to my mailing list for monthly hints and tips as well as a copy of my free guide ‘Stop hiding your business! 5 ways to be seen online’ as a thank you.
It’s one of the most common misconceptions about blogging. “Shouldn’t I be writing that myself?” Well, if you’re writing as an individual about your personal life, yes. Otherwise, for most people, no. There are a couple of reasons why writing your own business blog is a good idea (I’ll come to those) but a few others which mean it’s a better idea to outsource. Here goes…
When writing it yourself is a great idea
If you’re writing a personal blog, it should be, well, personal. That probably also applies to influencer type bloggers too. However, if you’re writing a blog for your business it’s not necessarily about you. You’ll be talking about your business but focusing on what your customer needs or wants. However, when you first start out you’ll spend some time finding your way. There’ll be trial and error while you work out what people like and how you want to sound. You might even be working out where blogging fits in your marketing. If this describes you, keep writing. (If you’re struggling to get going because you need ideas, this book is for you.) If you eventually hand your blog over to a writer it’s much better for everyone if you have a clear style that your writer can adopt.
Help with talking to your customers
There will always be trial and error when it comes to blogging, but what if you’ve been trying for ages and getting mostly error? You know exactly what you want to say but it just doesn’t come out right. When you outsource and a writer can take random ideas from your head and turn them into sentences that sound like you (this is where ghost writing gets a bit spooky). The other benefit is that a writer or marketing expert isn’t part of your business. You might see something as boring and routine when it’s exactly what your customer needs to hear about. Sometimes it’s as simple as asking you to explain what’s in it for your customer or helping you to spot the things they don’t understand.
What’s your time worth?
Blogs are slippery little beasts because you never know who is watching. I’ve had new customers tell me that they love my blog but they’ve never visibly engaged with it. I’m telling you this because I know how disheartening it is to slave over a blog and get tumbleweed. It’s even worse if you’ve spent time on it that you could have spent having fun or doing something more productive. The truth is, if your analytics tell you that people are reading, it’s probably working. It builds your profile and it’s hard to put a figure on that. I pay a cleaner because I don’t want to spend my day off cleaning. If you resent the time you’re spending writing get it off your plate and go and play with your kids instead.
How much do you love writing?
If the days, hours or minutes you spend writing content for your business are an absolute joy, keep going. The more you do it, the better you get. If the time came when writing was competing with other things that are important to you, you might have to decide to let it go. If, on the other hand, you sit down to write with a sigh because you hate it, then stop. I know you might have to get some income into your business before you can do that, but you could make it something to aim for. Goals don’t just have to be about income. It could be ‘I want to earn enough to outsource my blog/pay someone to do my filing/ [insert your least favourite task here]’.
Are you ready to outsource your blog? Drop me an email and let’s have a chat (and if you just want to ask me how much it would cost so you can put a figure on your goal, that’s fine too).