As 2016 comes to an end and 2017 starts I'm starting to look at other ways I could utilise my podcast and one of the ways I want to do that is start talking about more topics that support women in business. I'm interested in many things from social media to business set up to helping women in business to fitness and nutrition to finding new apps and technologies to finding a work/life balance. I'm a very curious person and love connecting and reaching out to people to find out what there story is. I'm in the middle of brainstorming new ideas for 2017 so I can really make a go of 2017 and reach some key objectives. I've already set one goal and that is to walk around 150km of the Camino in March 2017 so I've started training for that! Can't wait! :) Earlier this year I walked 100km across the desert. So going forward my podcast will start to change and start to focus on conversations with people that can support women in business. My focus will be on talking to people from this region as we have so much great talent now in the Middle East I think they have a lot to offer. So if you have any suggestions, topic ideas or people you think I should have on the podcast then do let me know..... so on with today podcast.
In The Beginning
I remember when I started my first Facebook Group back in 2010. I couldn't decide if I should have done a group or a Fan Page. I remember researching trying to change my group to a fan page and couldn't do it unless I started again! anyway... 6.5 years on I'm glad I didn't. That group I created called 'Muscat - Where can I find' (MWCIF) is now over 44,000 members big and its purpose is to help people find what they are looking for in Muscat. Simple! Since then that group concept has been replicated in a number of cities and probably by members in cities I don't even know about.
I love Facebook Groups. I think they are just great spaces to build relationships, find answers, share with a community and feel connected. I'm part of many Facebook Groups myself and they too have helped me learn, grow, test and discover so much new stuff I may have not have found. I love it when I find someone who has asked a similar question - it reminds me that I'm not alone.
Facebook groups can support your business objectives and can be the right choice for your business. They are open spaces and I believe today they can create more traction than what Facebook Fan pages can because your audience choose you and identify with your key group objectives as something that could benefit them. We all know our organic reach of our Facebook posts are really low and if we want traction we need to pay for Facebook Ads that help generate leads or sales. This is where I think the power of Facebook Groups could come in useful for your business and maybe save you some money along the way too. So here are my 5 ways Facebook Groups can support your business objectives.
Networking and Relationship Building
Networking and Connecting support our brand awareness objectives and Facebook Groups are great spaces to do that. I know that connecting and reaching our audience is really tough these days. We are all so busy and our messages don't always reach our clients or prospects so this is where a Facebook Group would be a great safe space to share, connect and build relationships with people you know you can help. The key to any new business is building those relationship and networking your space to see where you can help. People buy from people they know and trust aswell as the research they've done first to explore the buying options. In a Facebook Group you can share questions, quotes, images, video, queries, ideas all as ways to generate that engagement and build relationships with new prospects or enhance existing client relations. In that space you don't sell to them, you share your knowledge or other people's wisdom that you know your group will benefit from. Through my own groups and through groups I'm part of, I've connected with so many amazing people that I would have never discovered if it wasn't for that group.
When someone posts in your group or comments in groups you are in you get a notification message in your news feed thus driving traffic to your group. In my opinion, Facebook Group do better with organic reach than fan pages. My MWCIF Fan Page has over 5700 likes but my group has over 44,000 members. I'd love it if people liked the fan page too when they join the group but really people will not bother. Its the group they want, not the fan page and they want to get on with asking or finding what it is they want. However, don't discount Facebook Fan Page they are still an enormously powerful marketing resources to use. I always promote my podcasts on the Learning Curve Fan Page and it always does well. However, I'm paying for that. In a group when a discussion is hot people will naturally be attracted to it and start sharing their comments and so organic reach is there.
Create Community Around Your Topic
I love being part of a community where there is like minded people and I bet you are the same. I've moved 3 times in 8 years and each time I've moved I've set about exploring key Facebook Groups in that city because I know the people in the know will be in that group and I'll be able to ask questions I need answers too. Its the same with your business, creating that space where you create purpose, community and fulfilment of the members questions is super powerful. People love to know the answer to their query is a question typing session away. You save them from researching google or asking friends or family. Sharing your content or content of others gives your members something to think about or read and it might help them at that moment too. My tag line for my group, MWCIF is 'somebody always knows something' - and its true. If there is an active community engagement around your topic in your Facebook Group people will be willing to help. it feels great to help someone find/answer/get something and help them on their way. I do this many times in my groups and in others I'm part off. And lastly on this point, keep your group active. Schedule your posts if you have too, stay involved in the conversations, help where you can, suggest/recommend where you can - being a part of the community is key to its success.
Who Should Have A Facebook Group?
Facebook Groups have a fit in lots of places. If you are a coach then tell your clients and prospects about your group. Its a space where you can share more knowledge, create more engagement and share great articles that will support your clients and prospects. If you make something - use the space to show off what you are working on, or feedback from clients or use the space to research what your clients are looking for and ways you can help solve their pain factors. If you have a hobby and want to share and connect with likeminded people. Become that space where people that have the same interest can come to share ideas, thoughts, opinion, articles, stories, videos and even podcasts. If you are not sure if a Facebook Group is right for you then let me know - we can explore it. I love brainstorming facebook Group ideas.
Owning An Active Engaged Facebook Group Is A Marketing Tool.
If you have an active, engaged, busy group then believe me you are on to a winner. Companies and Brands will be very keen to be part of your community in someway so they can benefit from your activity. MWCIF has over the years appeared in newspapers and been on the radio just because the community loves the group and gives people assurance they can find what they are looking for. Because of this traction brands have over the years wanted to collaborate and use the group to get their product in front of the Muscat community. Your Groups could do the same. You can cross promote with another brand to generate more engagement. You could have a joint venture partnership that takes traffic to the place you want potential customers to go. You could dedicate a day in your line up of posts to advertisers to get some free promotion space or charge them for it. Don't underestimate the power of your group - it could be an awesome tool for many other reasons beyond why you created it.
Facebook Groups are an awesome tool to help meet your business objectives and serve your clients and prospects when you are not serving them directly at a particular moment. You keep yourself in their facebook activity loop they create for themselves. Being a place where they can wonder through, see whats going on, interact and serve is a powerful space. And long term I think Facebook Groups are going to become even more powerful. The downside of group is the lack of analytics but I'm sure there are people out there working on it to get stats for us. Please do use them and if you need any help then let me know. I've created many community spaces with Facebook Groups in Oman and the United Arab Emirates. I love creating community spaces that aim to serve the community. I'm taking part in a seminar on the 21st November in Abu Dhabi about the power of Facebook Groups and I'll be there sharing my own stories about my Facebook Groups and helping people understand their powers. I'm currently working on a few offerings to support the event so I'll link it in the blog when the offering are ready.
#92 [PODCAST & BLOG] My 5 Correlations between My Weight Loss and my Entrepreneurship journey. With Nicholla henderson Hall - Creator and Host of the Learning Curve Podcast (Dubai, United Arab Emirates)
Have you ever thought about the correlation between a weight loss journey and entrepreneurship? I've recently connected the two. If you spotted the correlation yourself, then awesome and I'd love to hear how you see them syncing up. So summer 2016 for me is about 2 key objectives, a) starting my business, and b) weight loss and getting my fitness back. To achieve both I've been spending the first part of the early morning on the treadmill where for one hour I walk and run to achieve around 9000 steps. My aim is to average around 12000 daily steps. This morning effort really boosts that number to achieve my daily step count. It also helps with the 2nd objective of starting my business by helping me get clear, having a healthy mindset and achieve my daily 'to do' list about what I need to get done. Apart from this morning exercise boost, the majority of my day is very sedentary. I spend a chunk of time in front of the computer or in meetings, a car or just relaxing. Its pretty hot outside so going out really isn't advisable so getting my exercise done first thing is crucial. I'm not a afternoon gym person nor an evening person so the mornings gets it done.
So during these sessions I've been listening to a podcast called 'Tips of the Scale'. It's a great podcast and community about people sharing their weight loss journeys. I have found all these stories inspirational and really help boost my own weight loss journey. Me and weight loss have always been at odds but I know I'm healthy and fit. I don't have an issue running a 10km run and so I do pride myself on that achievement. This coming winter I plan to get some more runs under me. I'm even contemplating doing the 42km Dubai marathon as opposed to the usual 10km - which I've been doing for 6 years. Still not sure. The distance does bother me!!!
I was listening to a particular podcast with a lady called Elizabeth Benton and she spoke about how alot about how weigh loss and motivation is a mindset thing. I heard her loud and clear. There are times on the treadmill where I just want to stop and give up but I try super hard to not listen to that inner voice and tell myself that this is awesome and my body needs this fitness.
But as I listened and ran I thought about my other key objective and that was starting my social media business. I realised as Sam (the host) and Elizabeth chatted that there were similarities between a weight loss journey and entrepreneurship. I'd never made the connection before. But here it was. So I wanted to share with you these connections and so when you are next at the gym or know someone on a weight loss journey you can totally relate to them. Only the topic is different.
Entrepreneurship is an all immersing experience
The other day I interviewed a very smart and astute business woman called Saana Azzam - she is the founder of MENA Speakers and she said, 'Entrepreneurship is an all immersing experience'. I couldn't agree more with her statement. The whole subject of passion for your idea, creating it and making it happen just totally takes over your life. You eat, sleep and breath the subject and are constantly fired up by the energy that this passion it creates. You spend your time talking, sharing, building, thriving and trailblazing all in the name of your idea so you can see it become the vision you had in your head. Weight loss is very much the same. It is an all immersing experience. With weight loss its an all or nothing experience. You have to exercise, pay attention to your food, educate yourself, stay informed, read and just embrace it, in its totality otherwise you will not break old habits or achieve the goals you so want to see and feel.
With both weight loss and entrepreneurship there is a heavy sense of isolation despite in both cases you will have the support of family and friends around you. When you are building your business you spend a lot of time in front of the computer reading, building and strategizing. A lot of this time can be on your own or quite lonely. Unlike in a large corporate office you have teams or individuals that are involved in the same projects or tasks as you. The same with the weight loss journey. It can, a lot of the time be done in isolation. You go the gym but folk rarely speak or interact, you go to dinner and you are having internal conversations with yourself about the menu. What looks good, what's off the menu for you, how can you compromise so you can still enjoy yourself but have something yummy! You do these conversations in isolation too. Well I do!! Ultimately you have to make the effort yourself, you have to take responsibility even with community and friends around. That is what isolation can be.
Endless Courses and Diets
Elizabeth spoke about the number of different diets she had done during her life to lose weight. All promised weight loss and all promised a new level of confidence. She would lose the weight and then as soon as the diet was done she would see the weight return. An endless cycle of torcher for her mentally as well as physically. Entrepreneurship is very much the same. How many of you have bought the, 'I went from $0 to a six figure dollar sum in 4 months - and my life change forever' courses? Who has done it? I have. Eventually you learn schemes and quick fixes NEVER solve the problem long term nor do they deal wit the fundamental space in your head which makes all of this effort happen.
The Emotional Journey
Weight loss and entrepreneurship are both emotional journeys. You've seen that classic iceberg picture where it dissects the iceberg so you can see the tip and what goes on under water and that truly is a mental and emotional journey. There are great days, awful days, give up days, I'm done days and the best days.... oh the cycle goes up and down like the stock market. Its the same with your weight loss journey... those days when you've worked out all week, you've kept to your plan and then you get on the scales and nothing has changed or you've even put on a pound. Those days are the worst. Then there are days when you eat a burger and you are having an 'off' day and you lose weight!!! what is that all about!!! Anyway the key thing is, is that that too is an emotional journey. For both entrepreneurs and those on their weight loss journey they all have to constantly stay aware of their thoughts so they don't impact your feelings and land up creating a negative day or experience. I find this correlations the most fascinating!
Have to Find Like Minded People
Finding people like yourself really is crucial to your growth and your confidence. I find that when I speak to non like minded people they can often question my intent or direction and then land up causing me confusion and mental misdirection in my head. That really does annoy me particularly for both my journeys through weight loss and entrepreneurship. I have to remind myself that I'm dealing with their fears and reckless attitudes, not mine! When I was younger found myself to be more easily persuaded by someone else's ideas and thoughts. Today I still have that a little bit but i do make sure I remain in a questioning state as best I can. Its a muscle I have to keep training I suppose. Its the same with both entrepreneurship and weight loss - find people that relate. Find people that you can connect with and 'get' where you are coming from. Its so easy to be sucked into negative non-like minded people who might think they are coming from a place of caring and sharing but for you its all wrong and it you don't nip it in the bud you could fall pray to negative thinking and falling from your objectives and mission. Find your Tribe.
So, what do you think? I'm sure you can see the correlations yourself and probably a lot more like I mentioned earlier. Both journeys are filled with hurdles, bumps, detours all sorts of moments and you just have to forgive yourself when the negative stuff comes around and just push through. Both are long term goals that require consistency, energy, positivity and mental strength. I'm working on both and its without a doubt tough They are both heavily intertwined and not separate objectives for me - they both feed from the same source and if I can keep the power up hopefully by the end of year I would have lost the stone I'm hoping to lose, ran a number of 10km or further distances that i wanted and my business is pushing through to it s 6 month anniversary. Its a social media service for women in business, business if you are interested.
Thanks for listening or reading, which ever way you consumer your knowledge. Do let me know where else you see a correlation in your own journeys. It might not be weight loss and business start up but that's ok. I'm looking for patterns. Have an awesome day.
PODCAST #73 - 'I trusted My own Intuition & Quit My job', says Chérine Kurdi, Transformation Coach & lifestyle Entrepreneur (Abu Dhabi, UAE.) (Part 1)
When you think about taking the plunge to entrepreneurship, what are the thoughts that come into your head? Obviously there is a lot of success, passion and positivity, but behind that there's also 'the big fear'. The fear of failure, getting out of your comfort zone, the doubt, the worry. There is lots that starts to grow when - Read More & Listen
pODCAST #67 - everyday I go home feeling happy I have changed the life of a young person in algeria' says Leen Abdel Jaber Al Ashhab, Founder & Executive Director of Injaz El Djazair. (Algeria)
The Learning Curve Podcast - THE Podcast for Women Entrepreneurs in the Middle East.
Yes.. Everyday Leen goes home feeling happy she is making a difference in a young persons life. She's the founder of the Algerian connection for Injaz Al Arab, is a non-profit organization that drives youth education and training in workforce readiness, financial literacy and entrepreneurship across the Arab World.
Leen has been with the organisation since 2000 but it was her move to Algeria in 2010 that took all her skills and training to the next level when she decided she wanted to start Injaz in Algeria. Read More & Listen
PODCAST #49 - Natavan Askerova - Founder & Business Development Director for 'Acorn Executive Services'
'You Feel Like You Are Cooked Already'
by Natavan Askerova
The Learning Curve Podcast - THE Podcast for Women Entrepreneurs in the Middle East and North Africa Region: Nicholla had the opportunity to talk with Natavan Askerova. Founder & Business Development Director of Acorn Executive Services. They specialise in providing expat services to new expats arriving in the UAE. From pre-move assistance, too school assistance, to car rental services and assistance with administration and visa's. Nata is your personal assistant on the ground. She helps you weave your way through the initial confusion of getting settled and creates clarity and a order to your day so you can get on with the reason why you are in the UAE, ie. your job. Read More and Listen Here
It's now been four months since I took the plunge and decided to drive my own professional writing business. So how would I describe my past four months in business?
I'll be honest: it's been a period of lessons. From learning how to network well, to figuring out my ideal client, to quoting and sticking by my pricing... anyone who tells you starting your own business is easy, is downright fibbing!
I believe it's incredibly important for us all to share our stories. The entrepreneurial journey can be incredibly tough and at times, lonely. From my perspective, as a 28-year-old, I'd love to be having a big night out on a Saturday evening instead of tapping away on my laptop. I've had all of those kind of moments in which I've questioned why I don't just get another job like most other people.
I shared my experience so far with Rebecca Gordon on The Coaching Lounge earlier this month:
Let's cut to the chase: owning and running your own business isn't easy and that's exactly why I'm a big believer in sharing the highs and lows and being as transparent as possible.
As a sometimes grumpy, sometimes happy, sometimes stressed (you get the drift) business owner, here are my top 5 reasons why I love hearing stories from other business owners.
#1 - I'm genuinely interested in other people's 'why?'
At the end of the day, we buy people, not products or services. As a business owner, I know my own why? but hearing other people's stories has often made me think about someone (and their company), in a completely different way.
Most entrepreneurs I know are working 24/7 and their desire to live in a way that often sees them sacrificing the things others wouldn't, all relates back to their why.
#2 - I need to know there's light at the end of the tunnel
I've had times when I know I'm in for a 3am evening to finish off work that's due the next day. Sometimes, during moments like these, it all just seems to hard. To have that ability to keep on keeping on in the face of an excessive workload, setbacks, rejection and fear of failure, is tough.
We need to hear from successful business owners who've struggled their way through business. The kind of people who've been there and done that. Often, we hear about people once they've made it but I think we need more stories from lesser profile people and even those still struggling to get their business formula where it needs to be.
To Read this full article CLICK HERE
PODCAST EPISODE #39 - Manar Al Hinai - Emirati Woman Entrepreneur, Award Winning Writer & Communications Consultant. She says 'Narrow Your Focus & BE Excellent at One or Two Topics.
The Learning Curve Podcast - THE Podcast for Women Entrepreneurs in the Middle East and North Africa Region sat down with Manar Al Hinai who is award winning Emirati Writer and Communications Consultant from Abu Dhabi. She is the Founder of 'Move' Consultancy and has found her niche in bringing together international tastes with local culture through the medium she has loved since a child.
Manar and I were keen to get started as this was our first podcast together and her first podcast episode ever. She's a young dynamic women with great energy and know how. She's a firm believer in staying focused and being excellent and one or two things. And this attitude has been reflected in the awards and accolades she has received. In 2011 she was the Arab Woman of the Year in Abu Dhabi. In 2012 & 2014 she was included in the 100 most inspiring individuals in the UAE. She's a women on a mission. This is her interview have a listen
The Learning Curve Podcast - THE Podcast for Women Entrepreneurs in the Middle East and North Africa Region: We sat down with Ludmilla Figueiredo, the Business Development Manager for Eureeca to find out more about the concept of Crowd Investing and how Investors and business could benefit from this innovative funding strategy.
How would you like to take your business to the next level? As an entrepreneur have you ever thought about Crowdinvesting? As an investor, looking for opportunities have you ever thought about crowd investing? What is crowdinvesting? Its a process where by businesses raise capital to expand and grow from a crowd of investors in exchange for shares in the business. Nicholla sat down with Ludmilla to find out more about this concept. We explored the opportunity for both businesses and investors and how both parties could benefit from Eureeca's funding strategy. Read More and Listen to this Interview
“Do. Or do not. There is no try.” – Yoda, Jedi Master
We’re channeling the wisdom of Yoda from Star Wars here in order to tackle the first big question in our month long focus on entrepreneurs. That question is…
Can all of us become entrepreneurs?
The answer is… It’s complicated! Fact is, not everyone can be their own boss. Ask any entrepreneur and they’ll tell you that you have to put a lot on the line to be an entrepreneur.
You have to be willing to lose things in order to make way for all of the things the universe is likely to be throwing your way.
Additionally, you need to have drive – The kind of drive that means you’re working into the early hours in the morning instead of sleeping or hitting the party scene with your besties.
Focus, commitment, self-belief and the ability to overcome fear… They’re all key ingredients any successful entrepreneur boasts.
Most importantly, you need to have a mindset in which you’re okay with being outside of your comfort zone. A lot.
This way of life isn’t for everyone: Some people enjoy routines, stability and not having to worry about how they’re going to transform an idea into more.
Some people just aren’t risk takers and that means they’re not cutout to be an entrepreneur. We’re talking about the kind of people who take calculated risks and are willing to back themselves when others wouldn’t.
When you look at the most successful entrepreneurs, they see beyond themselves. They’re big vision people… The kind of people who fail five times and get up six times.
Failure is part of the entrepreneurial journey. Often, what differentiates a successful person from everyone else, is their ability to pick themselves up and continue going when others would give up.
This is harsh but oh so true: It’s not going to get you far just by being ‘good at something.’ An entrepreneur is more than just talented… They have a business brain and while they don’t have all of the answers, they’re good at asking the questions they need to and digging until they find those answers.
They’re the kind of people who don’t just have an ‘idea’ – They’re the kind of people who have an idea, make sure it’s more than just a passing whim and do
whatever they need to in order to determine their ideal client and to make their business profitable.
Not to mention, these days, business is about so much more than making money – Organisations have a social and commercial responsibility and if you look at the most successful entrepreneurs, they always have a vision that’s bigger than themselves. They seek to change lives.
Finally, any entrepreneur needs to be good at networking and communicating. Even the most talented of people get help on their way up… Being able to make people listen to your message and having the ability to think outside yourself and ask how you’re going to help others first, is essential.
Why? Without people, you have no business.
So, let’s answer the question that’s front-and-centre: Can all of us become entrepreneurs?
Yes. Ultimately, anyone can do anything they set their mind to… But that doesn’t mean they should!
Before we go, here’s a 55-point checklist to grading entrepreneurs published on Forbes.com.
And don’t forget to check out our interviews with a selection of female entrepreneurs to discover how they’re making a difference.
What do you think? Can everyone be an entrepreneur (share your thoughts below)?
Got a topic you’d like us to blog about? Click here to tell us now.
Ever wondered about the 'do's and don't' of starting a business in ABu Dhabi? Have you had conflicting advise and feel a bit confused? Meet Jenny Hunt, CEO and Co - Founder of 'The GateWay Group of Companies. She is a company formation specialist. She is your professional corporate sponsorship platform for your mainland business in the United Arab Emirates. We sat down to talk about business set up in Abu Dhabi.
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Share interviews with Arab and Expat women entrepreneurs, sharing their entrepreneurial journey with their top business advise. We blog about knowledge, articles, FAQ on social media and share tools and resources to help us get going in our niche.