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Solopreneur (noun) – a person who sets up and runs a business on their own. Also known as professional plate spinner and Jack-of-all-trades!


The absence of a boss telling you what to do feels fantastic. But being the leader, employee, marketing manager, accounts executive and customer services supervisor all rolled into one can leave us feeling like we’re being pulled in so many different directions EVERY. SINGLE. DAY!


This can have a major effect on our productivity, and ultimately, our mental well-being.

Being a solopreneur is such a different experience from working as part of a corporate team, where everyone has their individual tasks and goals to concentrate on.


If an urgent client issue arises, you can’t just bat that off to someone else. You have to deal with it and pick up the other things you were doing later (probably after you’ve seen to the family’s needs and when you should be trying to carve out some well-deserved ‘me time’!)

pomodoro method, productivity for small business owners, time management tips, time management tools, productivity methods
Pomodoro method

That’s why I believe it’s so important to perfect our productivity skills, to allow us to create that all-important work-life balance and avoid burnout further down the line.


So, with it being Mental Health Awareness Day recently, I thought this would be a good time to write a blog that would help give a balance in work and life too.


I’m going to talk you through my top 5 productivity tips. I hope you find them helpful!


1. Be accountable

Research shows that social pressure boosts motivation.


Do you always show up for phone calls or Zooms with clients? Of course you do! (unless you accidentally forget). Your clients are expecting something from you and will feel pretty annoyed if you’re a no-show.


On the flip side, do you often put off or struggle to finish tasks you’ve started? Like creating sales copy for a new product you’re launching or sitting down to work on your marketing strategy? Nobody is relying on you to deliver these, so they easily get pushed down the priority list!


At the end of the day, it all boils down to accountability. So, try to make yourself more responsible for your tasks.


Keep your vision in mind as you embark on these tasks. Consider how each piece of work slots into the jigsaw of your business and how it will help you achieve your long-term goals.


2. Cooking up a storm

Do you find those small distractions often derail your day? Do you routinely work beyond the point of being productive? Do you feel overwhelmed by open-ended tasks such as research? Do you create endless to-do lists only to find that you rarely cross anything off them? Do you really like tomatoes? Wait! What?


When it comes to staying productive, millions swear by the life-changing Pomodoro (Italian for tomato) method of time management.


I’m a huge advocate of it. We even use it in Social Savvy School when we’re working together in Homeroom. More on that later though!


The Pomodoro Method for staying focussed and mentally fresh is simple! All you have to do is:

  1. Pick a task

  2. Set a 25-minute timer and work until the timer runs out

  3. Then take a 5-minute break

  4. After 4 pomodoros (4 x 25-minute tasks), take a longer break of 15-30 minutes


25 minutes is an ideal duration. It’s neither too short that you can’t get anything worthwhile done nor too long that you begin to procrastinate. And 2 pomodoros are an hour of your day. Simple, eh?!




3. Set boundaries

Anyone who runs their own business will tell you how difficult it can be to switch off! There are always new ideas popping into our heads, tasks we’re chomping at the bit to get on with and endless emails to answer!


Like I mentioned earlier, it’s so important to create a healthy work-life balance. Not only for ourselves but for those around us. Working ourselves into the ground isn’t helpful to us or our families. So, it’s time to set some boundaries!


This could be:

· Setting ‘work’ hours (and, more importantly, sticking to them!)

· Not checking emails first thing in the morning or last thing at night

· Setting time aside each day to get fresh air, exercise or do something else you enjoy

· Managing customer expectations


4. Set deadlines

It’s so easy to delay projects when they’re just pipe dreams. Set a deadline though, and people are expecting something. It all goes back to the accountability I mentioned in tip 1. I like to use events, Lives or tell people when I’m going to do things by. It’s more difficult to allow yourself to put things off when you have a definite deadline.


Use your Outlook or Google calendar to put tasks in. If you’ve tried this before and found yourself constantly pushing tasks back a day or two, then you need to test the Pomodoro Method to help you concentrate and stay on task.


5. Make apps your co-workers!

There are so many amazing, useful apps out there, just waiting to make your life that little bit easier. Need help invoicing and payment tracking? There’s an app for that! Need to plan and store your content creation ideas? There’s an app for that too!


A couple of my favourites are Trello (a visual tool for list-making and collaboratively managing projects) and Otter (for turning voice conversations into smart notes that can be searched and shared).


Seek and you shall find!


Did you find these tips helpful?

If you found these top tips helpful, then I’d love for you to come and join Social Savvy School. It’s a fantastic community of like-minded folk who want to learn more about social media marketing and online business.


For some awesome quick wins, I also have a Time Management Bundle!


Any questions at all, feel free to email me at emma@gossipgals.co.uk


Love,


Emma x



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It’s so easy to get caught up in WHAT we’re trying to sell that we can easily lose sight of WHO we’re trying to sell to!


That’s why defining your Ideal Client Avatar (ICA) is such an important exercise to work through. By marketing directly to the ‘right’ people, your products or services will resonate with them so much more and pretty much sell themselves!


In this blog, I’d like to explain what an Ideal Client Avatar (ICA) is, how to go about defining yours and how you can start using it to add real value to your business.


Let’s dive in!

How to set your Ideal Client Avatar, What is an ICA? Why do you need an ICA? How to get marketing messaging right?
What is an ICA? - Ideal Client Avatar

What is an ICA?

Just like you would see in a video game or the online world, an avatar is simply an icon or figure representing a particular person. In this case, it’s the kind of customer you’d love to see walking into your business or checking you out online.


Why is it important for me to define my ICA?

Without clearly defining your ICA, your marketing messaging can easily get lost and fail to hit the spot with any of your potential customers. You could have the most amazing product, but it's completely useless if you’re marketing it to the wrong people!


When you have your ICA mapped out, you should find that people come to you and say, 'It was like you were talking straight to me in your post!' or 'You always bring out services or products I need right now. It's like you're a mind reader!'


These are things that people have actually said to me since I really drilled down and got to know my ICA inside and out. Now I know how I can market directly to them and make their lives that little bit easier!


Once you can truly visualise your target audience, all your interactions with them (your customer touchpoints) can be carefully planned and maximised, from content creation to product development to special offers.


How to define your ICA

Follow these simple steps and you’ll have your avatar defined in no time!


1. Characteristics

Consider your ICA’s demographics, such as age, gender, income level, education, relationship status and geographical location.


What does your ideal customer do and what influences them at work or in their personal lives? Also, think about what might be stopping your ideal customer from buying from you or using your service.


Really get to ‘know’ them by thinking about their attributes, hobbies, interests and values.


Delve deep into your avatar’s goals, challenges and pain points. What stands in the way of them achieving their ambitions or what frustrates them? Your ICA might be just like you, or they might be having the problems you had 5-10 years ago. Try to think back to that time, especially how you felt and what would have made your life easier!


Consider defining your non-ICA avatars too, so you know who you don’t want to be marketing to as well!


2. Research

If possible, involve other team members (e.g., sales and marketing) to gain an insight into your existing customer base. This is useful to find the most common queries they’re asked, what people like, love and loathe about your products or services, and the objections they hear. Another way to obtain this valuable intelligence is to conduct an online survey or hold polls on your social media accounts.


Take some time to delve deep into your website and email analytics. Which types of content or special offers have worked well and which ones have flopped? This will provide more helpful information on how you can shape your marketing messages in the future.


3. Bring your avatar to life

Make your avatars more human by giving them catchy names to help you visualise them! So maybe you’ve defined a Glamorous Gina, a Stressed-out Steve or a Time-Poor Tom!




Some dos and don’ts!

This is an exploration exercise. It's not a decision you have to stick with for the rest of your business life. Your avatars may well evolve over time, or you may wish to tweak them slightly once you’ve tested them out. Nevertheless, it’s worthwhile having an ICA at each stage of your business, as it certainly makes a massive difference to your marketing. Trust me. I’ve witnessed it first-hand in my own business!


You may have to make some educated guesses on the kinds of things your ideal customers enjoy, so get creative! The more vivid your ICA is in your mind, the more engaging your content will be. For example, you could mention a holiday destination in one of your posts or email newsletter. Or you could reference a TV show they might enjoy watching. When they see you talking about things that resonate with them, it automatically builds familiarity, fosters a stronger relationship with your brand, and hopefully leads to more conversions!


When completing this exercise, you may have to drill down into a person’s age demographic. For example, saying someone is 35-45 years old may be too broad, so you might have to choose an arbitrary age of 37. Of course, this doesn’t mean you will only work with 37-year-olds. It just means you get a clearer picture of your avatar for your marketing purposes.


Need some extra help?

If you need some extra help identifying your ideal client, book a 121 session with me and we’ll thrash it out together!


Much love,


Emma x

Updated: Jan 31, 2022

Social media is a bit like Marmite. You either love it or (kind of) hate it! I hear this a lot from the amazing women I work with, as well as through the grapevine. I personally love social media and really enjoy helping my clients navigate themselves around it.


Am I on social media 24/7 as a result though? Absolutely not! I have a successful business to run, my son to look after, and all those other juggles that being a busy working mum brings. No, I’m way smarter with my social media management than that!


If you’re finding you don't have time to post consistently on social media, don't worry. It’s not just you! While apps like Facebook and Instagram can be addictive, with their pesky notifications enticing you to have a quick peek, as business owners, we need to be shrewd, so we can work effectively and spend our time productively.

In this blog, I’d like to share my top 5 tips to make your life a little easier and help you create a better relationship with your business social media accounts.


1. Make social media one of your tasks

My first expert tip is to treat social media as you would any of your other work-related tasks. By this, I mean view it as a regular piece of work that must be completed as efficiently as possible. For example, imagine you were writing a blog or an email newsletter. You’d open the relevant app, complete the job at hand and come straight out of it so that you could get on with the next thing on your to-do list. You wouldn’t stay in there and start browsing around the app, would you? So, you should adopt a similar, strict routine with your social media accounts too. In a nutshell, spend the minimum amount of time in there!


2. Note ideas

Next, create a bank of ideas. This doesn’t have to be anything fancy. It might be a list on your phone, or I like to use Trello - a simple, flexible tool for organising plans and projects. When inspiration strikes (usually just as we’re falling asleep!), or when you spot some eye-catching, engaging posts you’d like to reproduce, quickly jot them down or save them for later. Then, when it comes to your planning, you can easily refer back to them and you’re not starting from scratch.




3. Fail to plan, plan to fail

Do you find yourself throwing things up on social media because you panic that you haven’t shared anything for a few days or weeks? Don’t worry. We’ve all been there at some point. If this is how you usually operate, it’s time to create a plan! Set some time aside to work out which platforms are really working for your business, the types of content your audience engage with and how often you’re going to show up. Again, this doesn’t have to be anything fancy or over the top. It could be notes in a paper diary or something online. The main thing is to have clarity on what you’re aiming for. Once you’ve got that, your content creation will be quicker and more purposeful.


4. Define your content pillars

Content pillars (also known as content buckets) are a quick and easy way of organising your content topics, with the sole aim of making them as exciting and engaging as possible. Your content pillars should be based around three or four key areas that demonstrate your niche, talk to your ideal clients and help resolve the key issues they may be facing. Examples of content that will then fall into your pillars may include product or service demos, customer testimonials, ‘behind the scenes’ info to build rapport with your audience, motivational topics, FAQs etc.


5. Batch create your content

My final tip is to set aside some time each week or month to focus solely on your content creation, and more importantly, to stick to it! I think this helps because you can definitely get in the ‘zone’ and see the bigger picture, rather than spending a few minutes here and there, getting distracted and failing to create a cohesive message. If you’ve also developed some branded templates, then plugging in motivational quotes, questions or top tips becomes a doddle and takes next to no time at all!


Find these tips helpful?

If you found these top tips useful, then come and join the Social Media Content Planning Masterclass! By the end of this amazing training, you'll know how to generate ideas easily and have a system in place so that you can schedule your posts for the month ahead!


Hopefully see you there!


Emma x

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