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Soft life flowers
Authentic Marketing

Soft Life Era: How to Build your Business without Losing Yourself

If you’ve landed on this soft life blog article – congratulations and welcome! It takes a brave soul to admit and commit to looking for a different way to do things in our personal and professional lives. The decision we make to live a different way and the unknown road to get there is a scary one. If you’re looking for a small business marketing coach, or a coach that can help you take quantum leaps to tap into your authentic offering, you’ve come to the right corner of the internet.

The term soft life came to life in 2022 and has gained significant traction in the last couple of years. Millennials and Gen-Zers’ are waking up to the effects of hustle culture and negative institutional structures in the capitalist structure of labour economies. Practically every other day, I come across accounts online, or people in real life, talking about their awakening to lead a different kind of life. I’ve strived personally since having my first kid in 2018 to find a way to live my life, free of bosses and arbitrary multi-  6 and 7 figure financial goals, but full of contentment, freedom to travel, enjoy my kids and pay the bills. It is possible, you might not believe it yet – but you will.

What does soft life mean?

Soft life basically means to step away from hustle culture, to prescribe to a lifestyle that promotes ease, balance in our health and our work, leaning in to wellbeing, leaning out of toxic money chasing and centering contentment – not cash at all costs. A life without struggle and stress. I use the term ‘Rich Life, Soft Life’ as the name of my twelve week course for business owners at the beginning of their journey.

I teach people their intuition and their desires are not unfathomable, unobtainable or unachievable – but we can very often mask our true desires by seeking the success of our neighbours. In order to lead a life that feels full of space, abundant in non-materialistic wealth, fun to lead, that centres human connection and says a big NO, to burnout – we’ve really got to tap into all of who we are.

That might mean exploring our shadow-self, identifying our strengths and our weaknesses. All too often, people think we cannot do the thing we desire because we lack something- this individualistic world lens has dazzled us, when we were made to build within and for community. We have become so stuck within the realms of our own immediate needs, we unable to pool resources to collectively move forward in our business.

What is small business burnout?

Small business burnout is a shockingly high amount of people with their own small business, that have experienced or are going through burnout from various stressors in their lives’. With a mixture of personal and professional commitments to leave perceived “employed security”, high financial stakes to transition from side hustle to fully fledged business boss, the precarity of finding customers and clients and the one-person source of innovation and creativity; it’s no wonder millions of people in the realm of self-employment face burnout. 

Social media has to be understood as a source of some of that dissociation many business owners feel. The reality is, there is immense stress and burden for anyone that prescribes to the modern day measure of entrepreneurial success.

As a Gen-Z baby myself, I’ve experienced many symptoms of modern society myself and have taken steps to really dig into my purpose on this earth to work in a way that brings me harmony – not chaos. As a business owner small business marketing expert and entrepreneur, I’m already somewhat used to redefining my working life. After five years in business and two children, the shape of what works and doesn’t has led to radical shifts and quantum leaps in who I am, the morals I stand upon and who I’m here to serve.

What is a life coach?

As a copywriter, unearthing the passion of people in their business has gone hand in hand with them sharing their fears too. Feelings of unworthiness, precarity, uncertainty, fear and failure. I’ve had the honour of supporting these business owners to find brand clarity – and it opened the door for me to expand my offering as a small business coach for women. I was so uncertain and so unsure about how to show up and sell myself as a multi-hyphenate, for so many years and so many reasons. It’s daunting to not fit in any box – especially at the start of your business journey. Having a small business marketing expert support you with your mental blocks; challenging you with compassion about how you show up and what you’re worth, combined with steps to create your best marketing efforts, align with your soul calling and your ideal client is transformational (even if I say so myself).

A life coach is someone that will hold space for you to open the door on those disavowed parts of yourself and hold the mirror up for you to find the truth of your own circumstance. We rarely, truly need the answers from an outside source, we simply need someone to hold our hand while the inauthentic parts we are so committed to, to fall away. 

Small business branding

There is so much opportunity to play with your small business branding when you set out. It makes me bubble with excitement! Nobody is doing what you do, or how you do it, but do you believe it? Digging down into what feels good for you in terms of how you show up and where, is equally important if not more than who you’re trying to reach. The feelings of ambivalence and fear that make us freeze, are often attached to a feeling of being found out as a fraud when we are unsure of who we really are. It’s important to do your research before launching into every venture about the audience you intend to serve, but we’ve also got to nail down what makes us feel worthy and connected with what we’re offering too.

Building your business with the visualisation of the feeling you want it to give you whenever you establish yourself is key to making sure your principles are centred in contentment and joy, not just toxic comparison. This is one of the biggest steps you can take towards building your soft life.

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Authentic Marketing stock image of slogan "punch today in the face"
Authentic Marketing

Authentic Marketing Approaches Your Nervous System Will Thank You For

I don’t know any entrepreneurs who haven’t felt overwhelmed when tackling the beast that is: marketing their business. If you’re here, it’s because you’re someone who wants it to be authentic marketing, too.

Even if you’re the most confident voice in the room, knowing what works in your business, and moves the needle towards success (the definition I’m applying here is coming shortly). It can still bring certain somatic responses if we don’t use marketing in a way that feels ethical and not completely cringe and energy-sapping. Authentic marketing requires forethought, testing and logical reasoning.

What is business success?

The reality is, that we all set out in business intending to offer something we love to others. To find people who hopefully share our enthusiasm and passion for what we offer and can be helped in their lives with the solution we provide. What success means to you is personal (always happy to hear from you if you have a thought or an idea to share), but for clarity here, the term “success” means:

  • Gaining new customers.
  • Continuing to work with customers that you already have a relationship with.
  • Sales.
  • New, engaged subscribers.
  • Earning enough to pay your bills and enjoy life outside of work (a little, at least!).
  • New, collaborative opportunities to teach and share your knowledge.

Separating ourselves from panic when we’re trying to: survive and pay staff invoices, meet the customer’s needs, find transparent and ethical suppliers, and service providers, enjoy some kind of life outside of work and reinvest in whatever brings us sales can be a challenging and stressful task.

Remaining objective when it comes to making a living can be tricky. Failure is such a scary thought, especially when we’re already going against the grain to build something of our own and not rely solely on a paycheck.

The Performance Trap of Misaligned Marketing

So, we get our heads down and “get down to business”, but somewhere along the line we realise people are executing their vision with strategy underpinning it (who knew!?) and we sit up to pay attention because we realise, maybe we should be doing that too.

But what is the best method to apply marketing strategies to our business venture? Whose approach looks most replicable? How do we know which tools to use and when do we know it’s time to find help; whether that be a community or specialist, a team member or even someone in the same industry as us in a skill exchange – helping us sustain what we’ve built or grow to the next level.

This article is focused on authentic marketing solutions. I hope you finish reading it feeling as though it helped you logically consider the questions above. Keep reading to see if anything resonates and helps you find ease in how you market your business. At the very least, I hope you have the outline of an authentic marketing strategy to use as a road map – bringing you back in line with what you’re trying to cultivate.

What’s your personality and how to use it in authentic marketing?

I want you to take a moment to think about the type of personality you are: High-energy, crowded room type of personality, or a slow, connected, curated dinner, kind of person? 

Could the platforms you use to build a presence be out of integrity with who you are and more importantly, is the energy you invest showing up on them significantly moving the needle in your business?

If it is, great. Compare it to wherever else you’re showing up and look at those impressions, insights and more importantly events that occur as a result of what you’re sharing (I define “events” as the tangible outcomes: leads, sales, partnership, direct outreach action, opportunity).

What is the best method to apply authentic marketing strategies to your business venture?

It’s so crazy to think we’re worrying about not gaining traction on our social media results when none of us are experts. Heck, the number of people I speak to about their online presence, entrepreneurs that cringe about having to go ‘live’, fatigued after spending hours on Canva, getting lost in editing rabbit holes to make reels with perfect transitions, and others, screaming at their carousels when they notice a spelling mistake, after meticulously sizing it to post.

There is a lot to be said about ignoring our body’s signals to stop. There is even more to be gained from slowing down to notice what feels good in our bodies and subsequently our business.

If it isn’t making you feel good, what would it look like to simply stop? Stop showing up in that place, or at least drastically reduce the frequency and amount of energy you’re spending there and redirect it to whatever is the lead marketing tool for you. Go on, close your eyes and imagine for a minute.

Did your chest just loosen, and your shoulders relax at the thought of getting rid of that extra task? Okay, so maybe we’re on to something. If your worry is about stopping cold turkey, handing that task off, or at least allocating a smaller percentage of time to it could be a rewarding step.

So, whose authentic marketing approach looks most replicable? 

“Comparison is the death of joy”, a famous person once said. I’m inclined to agree for the most part, but here’s where I offer a different perspective. We just reflected on our personality types, and I’d dare to say whether you’re an introvert, extrovert or ambivert, there is someone else in your industry or space who feels exactly the way you do about marketing – love it or hate it.

I’m not telling you to copy someone you see that you aspire to be like, but it is sometimes helpful to look at how and where they show up. This can help you get a sense of what feels good to you as well, maybe even inspired by how or what they share: but the real question is, do you have the feeling of possibility and the commitment to show up on that platform and in a sustainable way, for you? If you’re already coming up with objections – it’s probably not right for you.

It took me so long to realise where my strengths lay, and even longer to prioritise authentic marketing approaches that played to my strengths. When I took a step back to look at where I moved the needle in my business, and how; two things became clear:

  1. people value my professional insights, they respect my opinion, and they recommend me because of it.
  2. Gathering social proof, offering advice and networking are three of my strongest skills – they are the foundations of my authentic marketing strategies.

How do I know which digital marketing tools to use?

Once we know where we’ve found/can find success in our marketing we can replicate the process with tools that help us achieve this on repeat.

For me, that looks like a lot of systems and automation BTS (behind the scenes). If you’re not quite there yet just think of the things in your day-to-day world that make your life easier! I for example use Convert Kit, Calendly, VidYard, Typeform and Stripe as everyday systems to make my job easier, either by giving me more time or directly as the marketing tool.

Next, think about the practical tools that match your personality. Here is an example:

If you nurture a lovely list of people in a small community (hey, subscribiessss!); with weekly newsletters, membership platforms and groups, or regular meetings IRL. 

  • What are the tools that help you achieve that?
  • Can those tools be used more efficiently to maximise the outcomes they bring for you?
  • Is the tool + time spent, something that informs, engages and nurtures those connections?
  • How much time in the week are you dedicating to your marketing channels based on the proven return?
  • Are those tasks permanently scheduled in your diary and do you factor in time to receive feedback and measure outcomes?

Here’s another example: If you’re somebody who thrives by networking; do you have something scheduled at regular intervals that gets you in a room of potential opportunities? What things do you need to succeed in that room: 

  • An elevator pitch? 
  • Contact cards?
  • Some research before attending about who is who.

So, when do we know it’s time to find business help and expertise?

This is really a matter of personal priorities and risk. The availability of resources around you – to either ask for or pay for help. Can you do skill swaps and other community-driven exchanges too, sure. But for the purpose of this article, let’s assume: 

– You’re operating/ creating/ delivering in a way that defines you as a business owner.

– You’ve answered all the questions we covered earlier in the article and now it’s time to draw up a plan.

Now we know what moves the needle in our business; (website traffic, networking, crazy TikToks and reels), we can do more with our time to focus our authentic marketing efforts on those platforms. But depending on what we’ve found out, how do we redirect our efforts from platforms that weren’t moving our bottom line? It’s time to think strategically about those authentic marketing methods that have proven to bring better value to our ideal client and less stress to us, so we can show them what the hell we’re here to do and convert them.

Depending on what landed as your most successful marketing stream, you might be jumping for joy or woefully worrying about not wanting to show up. Well, take this as your first indicator of if now is the time to seek help.

Some reflective prompts to help you reach a decision:

Is it something that you could do and would enjoy with the right guidance? If the answer is yes maybe you need a specialist that can stand alongside you to advise, strategise and leave you with a plan to execute.

Perhaps it’s something you can’t bear the thought of tackling any longer, in which case, maybe it’s time to outsource entirely.

Feeling confident in your strategy on the identified platform(s)? Think about documenting those processes for someone less senior to take the reins.

Could you redefine boundaries on time spent, to test what type of content gains traction and content that it’s time to leave behind?

What to do next?

From here, you should have a pretty good idea of your content pillars. You can do it old school with the old “brainstorm”, and “thought cloud” method. Think about what your ideal customer is struggling with so you can demonstrate expertise with a solution share, or dip your toe and test A.I with some prompts to generate content ideas on your chosen platform that you can use, lose or refuse.

The freedom you should feel after these steps (strides if we’re being honest), could be the difference to how your business feels this year and I’m sure your body will thank you for that!

Enjoyed what you’ve read? Why not sign up for my weekly newsletter? Dark Side of The Light Chasers, in it, I offer insights about how to leverage data to get ahead in your biz and occasional updates about my life in Barcelona! 

Dee x.

Personal Growth. Black Woman, reading: 'Girl, Woman, Other'
Personal Development

Personal Growth and Its Afflictions

Personal growth had alluded me, I had gone, all in on raising my kids. When I looked up, five years had passed. On the way back to knowing myself, I realised I hadn’t laughed. Not a deep belly laugh from the depth of my stomach, for a long time.

Existing Outside of Motherhood

I ventured to London last week for myself, for work and for space to exist outside of Motherhood. Never able to completely disconnect; whether reminded by the container of milk from pumped breasts or people’s enquiries about the kids or my self-incited mention of them and how I’d missed them (even though all I’d wanted for the past year was this trip).

The same contradiction of the love/hate afflictions of Motherhood could be applied to working for yourself. It feels so good when it’s going well, but it hurts so much when it isn’t. Days where it feels overwhelming and insurmountable. Days where we don’t know if we’re doing it well, doing it right or giving away too much of ourselves. We want to grow, but, how when we are short of oxygen and sunshine?

Personal Growth Comes from Reconnection with Our Shadow

The reality is, that not knowing is normally from a place of dishonesty with ourselves. I experienced those moments because I was stalling – I wasn’t ready to act out of authenticity. Rather, I was trying to be what I thought people wanted –  not what felt right for me. Evolution, levelling up, elevating, and personal growth; isn’t always nice, but it’s necessary if we are interested in being better humans. It will cause us to question what we know, what we thought we knew and what we thought we wanted. One of the ways I’ve been able to elevate through these experiences is by accepting that some parts will hurt and acknowledging the pain and where it’s located. Probing ourselves to understand our “readiness”, to say what the root of the pain stems from. Fear of failure, fear of shame, fear of weakness, fear of abandonment, fear of being alone – is big work.

The Bits We Don’t See Online

My understanding of self-care is that I see many people advocate for it, but it’s at a surface level. Silence ensues when we’re faced with the bits that don’t feel nice. So we check out. I’m guilty of doing it too. These were things about myself that I had to admit whilst reflecting on last week:

  • – My priorities have changed since becoming a Mum of two and spending time with them is more important than I’d cared to admit.
  • – I thought I would lose “myself” and be judged by outsiders for admitting that, but the reality is: that I’m surrounded by people who love and encourage me. They see the power in taking breaks, stepping back and listening to our bodies. They’re my people, so other people’s judgement doesn’t (really) matter.
  • – I can help many people, which I do, but that doesn’t mean it should come at a cost to my wellbeing.
  • – I don’t have to do one thing, but I do need to concentrate and do my best on the projects I choose to work on. That is at the core of me. I like doing things well.
  • It’s okay to feel scared but to still say yes. It doesn’t mean you’re going to fail. You’re doing fucking great!!

If you like what you’ve read, you can sign up for my newsletter The Dark Side of The Light Chasers to get a weekly email about, life, personal growth in business, motherhood and both and ways to use data to reach your ideal audience in your day-to-day of building a business.

GOOGLE; GA4; SEO
SEO

Why should I be creating SEO “legacy content”?

FAQs

  1. What is legacy content?
  2. Why should I create legacy content?
  3. How do I choose what to write about for blog content?
  4. How can I use it on other social platforms?
  5. How do I make sure my blog content is optimised for SEO?

What is legacy content?

SEO is not a new term, but “legacy content” has popped up like a dizzying Gen-Z pop word, that is swirling around in online business groups, in the morning huddles of companies, behind the doors of businesses across the globe and in the latest Tik Tok insights of marketing moguls everywhere!

Legacy content is the cornerstone content that continues to be helpful and relevant to your ideal audience. It’s useful if it also ties in nicely with your USP and product or service offers, because it helps to establish you as the person or business to seek out and go to for information on said key topic or area.

Even after you’ve written blog posts on those key areas of your expertise, it continues to drive traffic to your website when people search for terms that link to your blog topic. You can update it over time, but you can also recycle the long-form blog post and break it down to use as micro posts on social media or vlogs on platforms like TikTok and YouTube.

Google; GA4; SEO

As Google gears up to introduce Google Analytics 4 or (GA4 for short!) and “sunset” the standard Universal Google Analytics as we know it, we’re faced with an opportunity to really hone in on what we’re good at and showcase the hell out of it!

The discoverability of thorough and well-composed articles will be crucial in the next couple of months to gain traction with Google’s algorithm. Particularly whilst Google works on simultaneously bringing together Google search integrations with AI technologies in the coming months. Now is the time to write that ever-faithful SEO legacy content you’ve been putting off, since forever.

Why should I create legacy content?

If you’ve been putting off writing key, legacy content for your business now is the time to take a step back and look at the bigger picture. Taking the time to create legacy content over the next month before the full rollout of Google Analytics 4 on the 1st of July could have your business seeing returns for years to come from people finding your products and services online.

Google responds well to expertise and trustworthiness (amongst two other points in the E-E-A-T acronym, Experience, Expertise, Authority and Trustworthiness). The Quality Raters Guidelines help Google assessors from across the globe, determine the usefulness of search results; particularly if “people searching find relevant and reliable as intended”.

Does your content provide a benefit or help solve a problem for people who come across it? This is no time to play small, trust me I know. I have put a lot of work into continuing to play the supporting act in my own business, but the truth is – it’s time to put those doubts to bed and write about what I know, so you and I can grow.

How do I choose what to write about for blog content?

Your knowledge and industry expertise are invaluable to creating those cornerstone blog posts and cementing your position as a leader in your field. Don’t sleep on SEO, and if you’re not sure there is a usefulness to AI in niching down on content topics and taking your crown as an industry leader.

Keep reading to find out how to pick your legacy content topics and set out a realistic plan to write those pieces in the next few months.

Nobody in their right mind wants more things to do as we head into summer, I mean, if you do get a sniff of some kind of break and time out from your business – we’re guna take it, am I right? So, trust your intuition and instinct and start with a topic that is something you could muscle through a 20-minute presentation with next-to-no preparation. These are the topics that you feel comfortable striking up a conversation about at a dinner party or networking event.

The thing is, it can feel incredibly overwhelming and leave you feeling underqualified if you spend too long trying to be clever about what you’re going to talk about in your blog posts when the reality is, that most people have landed on your site because they are less than an expert or native – they are beginners or happy to have something laid out for them that saves them time and make their life easier –  which is exactly why they’re coming to you!

Allow AI to lighten the load.

Despite ongoing debate in the marketing industry- AI technology such as Chat GPT is here to stay and for anyone smart enough, using it just enough to make our day-to-day tasks more efficient is the same as hiring a VA in my eyes. Using AI-type platforms to help brainstorm keywords, and metatags and to expand on our initial ideas to streamline each article can help you focus on the finer details of getting down on paper (or G-doc if you’re so inclined, as I am. It clears space in my mind to just write and allows me the chance to put my personality into whatever I’m writing about.

Why not use AI and try this simple prompt?

“Help me choose 5 relevant blog topics to discuss as an industry expert in *[your industry] * for *[audience type] *”

Once you have three to 5 ideas, spend a few minutes bullet-pointing the headings that could bring each piece together and move forward with two to three that you can dedicate an hour a week to over the next few weeks. We don’t want it to feel so scary that we become paralysed into doing nothing at all.

How can I use it on other social platforms?

Holistic content calendars or streamlined content is a way to maximise your time and efforts by using one piece of long-form blog content across all your vertical channels of communication to connect with your ideal audience. One of the biggest burdens of businesses is generating new ideas. Working on your business is time-consuming and even if you have the budget to have something that looks like a “marketing team”, that team can sometimes miss huge opportunities to marry up the content you produce by having people work across different aspects and platforms.

Social media should really be working for you, not against your efforts – heck, why are you doubling, or sometimes tripling the work by trying to think of completely different topics to show up and talk about on the gram, TikTok and in that underwhelming newsletter update?

When you are the whole marketing team, there is even more reason to look at your business and the content plan as one harmonious orchestra of recycled music; meaning put your efforts into one grand composition that can pay dividends for years to come in all the places you show up.

I’ve written this piece for my blog, but you can be damn sure I’ll give a teaser on Instagram, a little intro to the topic on TikTok and remind mailing list subscribers to get their ducks in a row and do the damn same. All from this one article.

Quality, not quantity counts here.

You may have 100s of ideas swirling around that preoccupied brain of yours, but the reality here is that even if you could write one hundred credible blog posts – why would you want to put yourself through it?  Your time is valuable and there really isn’t much of it left in the week after making sales and finding new customers, so set a timer and dive into those questions you’re asked time and again by your customers or use apps such as Answer the Public, Google Search Console or even start typing in Google Search for a quick way to see frequently asked questions appear in the automated search response as you type a question. Pick 10 and try to group them into 2 or three key areas you can relate to your offer and what you sell.

‘People Also Ask’ the SEO Hack

For example, the results I found were questions such as “How do I know what to focus on in my business?”, “how do I write great content for SEO?”. From that, I’ve selected two key areas I want to focus on: small business ownership and SEO.

You can also type in a question your audience would ask on Google and scroll down to the section that follows shortly after your search responses to a section called ‘People Also Ask’, literally a goldmine of other questions on the mind of the people you’re aiming to serve.

I can confidently say I can write about small business ownership as I am one myself and a huge part of my work as a copywriter is delving into research for my clients to understand what clients are saying about their business. I can equally write about SEO as I write blog content every month for clients who pay me to craft great and insightful articles about different aspects of their industry.

Blog content doesn’t have to be perfect.

We can deliberate allll summer long about grammar and spelling and if we’ve struck the right balance with our brand voice. This content is legacy content for a reason- we can go back to refine it and tweak it as we see fit. Sometimes you just have to press publish! If you want some support with grammar, free online spell-checking platforms such as Grammarly and Writer can help.

How do I optimise my blog content for SEO?

This is a pretty simple overview, you can find a more detailed resource here, but there are some standard parts to remember to complete to optimise your on-page SEO, whatever you write for your audience:

Keywords – aiming for keywords that are relevant to your audience and what they may be searching for that includes those words is vital, aim to use those words throughout your article. Using your analytics data can be really helpful here, if you know there are things that your audience wants to know it can be a great place to start to share your knowledge.

Keywords(s) in Heading – Including one of those keywords in the search title helps Google distinguish what your blog post is about and how relevant it is to people searching the topic you are writing about as well.

Meta description– Easy information for browsers to determine what your page is about and it allows searchers to quickly decide if your article could help them find a solution to their search.

Internal links – Not only do internal links provide visibility to your offers and other areas of expertise, but clickable internal links also help a reader to navigate your website and support Google in adding your website’s pages to its indices.

External links – Adds value to the article for the reader, providing them with further relevant information around the topic areas you talk about without duplication.

Reutilise your content

Whatever platform you’re using to show up and show out – maximise the work you put into those legacy blog posts by using snippets wherever you currently have a presence and sharing that knowledge EVERYWHERE.