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.
How many podcasts do you listen too? I bet the number is either none, some or loads!!! Its really fascinating when you talk to people about podcasting and they are either totally into them or haven't got a clue!! Often the cluelessness is based around the 'Why would I listen to them?' or 'Where do I get them?' or quite plainly 'what is a podcast'. Living here in the UAE I have to say the latter of those questions is the most common, but then weird things happen like, I get the opportunity to be part of The National newspaper on podcasting. That was awesome by the way! :) So it really is a 'learning curve' when it comes to podcasting!
So if you are one that sits of the fence as a listener or as someone that could see the medium as a tool then here are my 4 superpowers of podcasts that 'hopefully' will help you jump off the fence to downloading a couple to listen to some or start your own. Really there are thousands of podcasts. I am part of 4 communities on Facebook where there are podcasters producing shows and episodes and nearly everyday we see a new show launching around another niche area. From health & wellness to fly fishing, there are literally thousands of podcasts out there! Check out ITunes or Stitcher and Im sure you will find something you like.
They Can Educate - Don't stop Learning!
A recent guest of mine Rana El Chemailly said to me 'if you stop learning you will fail'. She's right! Just because we have finished school and got that degree doesn't mean we need to stop learning. To move forward and be successful at whatever we do, we need to be learning all the time.
But the big issue to learning is time! We are all so busy with our lives with work, kids and trying to have fun ourselves, when do we schedule in learn? I've recently starting asking this question on my podcast because it was something I was struggling with too. How are these ladies still continuing to grow and learn and still run a business? Good question right? The answer was simple. They all made time to learn. Some were up early and studied and some added it as a 'to do' item into their schedule. I'm still bartering time and learning I have to say but one tool I know I can do is learn and be on the go! I have the school runs, I have traffic jams, I have walk training and I have trips to Dubai. All these trips equal time and that is when I can learn. I can download my favourite podcasts and get myself plugged in and while I either exercise or just 'get through the journey' I can listen, learn and question. This is what a podcast can do, it can educate you. There are soooo many great podcasts out there from educators, consultants, facilitators or councillors who are keen to share their knowledge and insight to help you with your journey. You can do the same. Show off your insight and knowledge. Create that thought leader persona that is inside you and help build your business and drive your career.
They Can Entertain - Find a podcast that fits your mood!
We all need to be swept out of our daily life and just be entertained. Much like Friends of the 1990's or 'How I met your mother' in the 2000's - its nice just to be entertained. Take us away from our daily chores or work and just sit back and let the story unravel in-front of us. Podcast can do that too! I don't know about you but when I get on a plane I want to zone out, be undisturbed for the duration of the flight. Much like a good book or a movie, listening to a podcast is just another form of engagement and you can binge listen much like you would with a TV series or a good book. But the cool thing is you can physically be doing something while you indulge in your favourite episode. So you can de-clutter your closet, clean out the car, paint a picture or weed the garden all while you are being entertained. Things we would all rather NOT to but have to do from time to time. So use the time productively and be entertained at the same time.
They Can Inform - Give yourself An Edge
Being informed has many advantages. Being informed helps you build informed opinions, helps you get off the fence and help influence a line of thought at work, at home or on a cause you are passionate about. Being informed helps you learn about other cultures outside of your own. Being informed sparks engaging discussions, positive debate and helps grows awareness about issues around you. Being informed helps you travel, it supplies you with useful and insightful knowledge to help you get from A to B. Being informed gives you an advantage. Just this week a friend of mine did an interview and she had to make a presentation based on the case study presented to her for the interview. She used some right up to date knowledge she had learnt via a podcast making part of her presentation bang up to date. She came across as knowledgeable, informed and forward thinking! Great eh! So this could be you too. As a podcaster you can share your views, opinions or be a content curator and really give your audience the information they need to support their career or business. As a podcast listener, the work is done for you. You get information in structured setting, you are able to articulate it and go away and do further work around it. You are informed.
They Can Inspire - Give yourself a daily dose of goodness
You have probably heard these expression. 'You are who you surround yourself with. Well here is another, 'You are what you listen too'. I've read alot recently from thought leaders that say 'weed out the negative people' or 'hang around with smarter people' or 'be the person you want to become' and I do believe there is a lot of merit to this. The power of the mind to cling to negativity is magnetic. Its so much easier to be negative than it is too be positive so we need to really work at keeping a positive mindset so why not be inspired.
Listening to Podcasts really can inspire you. From exercising to commuting or working you can be inspired at any time. They are some GREAT people out there just driving positive change and energy. They are fiercely fighting the negative, weeding out the sh&t and helping you be better you, or better at your job or be a better member of the community. Yes I know its easy to go down the negative path but when so many great people are just offering you up daily doses of inspiration, why fall for the dark stuff! Get yourself on ITunes or Stitcher and type in your keyword and be inspired.
So where do I start?
I am very much a person who has a wide interest in many things. I am a people explorer and a subject geek. Podcasts give me quick access to themes, ideas, stories, people and topics which can be absorbed in 30 minutes. I am a slow reader and I don't have much time these days to sit an enjoy a movie or many documentaries. Podcasts offer up these superpowers and I love to listen to stuff that will give me that edge, keep me informed or use as a reference when I need it. And the best part of all is I get to update my knowledge bank without spending a penny because Podcasts are free knowledge. I don't by magazine anymore, I just head over to ITunes or Stitcher or use one of the podcast directory apps and research keywords or topics. Then I download. If I don't like it, there is a delete button! There is no clutter, no mess and if I want to refer back to something, I can just upload that episode again and find what I need.
I really recommend you give it a go! I know its new and will definitely feel weird to start with but you will find a library of topics that you love and be on your way to the super powers of podcasts.
ps. I have no idea what you like and rally thre are thousands of podcast but here are a few links to some good articles on podcasts. You may like.
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
Picture this: you’ve spent months (years even) plowing all of your energy into your big, brilliant idea and you finally get in front of someone who matters.
You deliver your pitch and… it falls flat. For whatever reason, that potential client, investor or other third party just doesn’t get it.
So, what do you do? First up, it’s natural to feel like the world is closing in on you and you can’t breathe. If you weren’t feeling this way, it’d be fair to say you’re not really passionate about what you’re trying to get up off the ground.
The thing is, rejection is inevitable at some point for all entrepreneurs.
Consider these famous tales:
When it comes to rejection, the real problem lies in our perception of it. Far too often, it stops people dead in their tracks… there’s the embarrassment, the shame, the fear that the saying about ‘light at the end of the tunnel’, is just a myth.
What separates those who succeed from those who fail, is their ability to fall and rise again. The quicker you get back up, the quicker who can continue moving ahead.
If you’ve just experienced a rejection that rocked you to the core, keep these 5 things in mind.
#1 – Not everyone is going to love what you do
This one’s just a fact of life. Think of your favourite movie… not everyone loves it right? Well that’s how you need to think of whatever you’re trying to create business-wise. You’ll have your fans and then you’ll have people who just don’t fit into your target market.
#2 – Ask yourself what you can take away from the rejection
Give yourself a couple of days to allow the emotion to settle. Then, go back to the feedback and consider whether there’s any substance as to what’s being said. In the long run, this will only help you to improve whatever it is you’re trying to do.
#3 – Remember it’s all part of the process
Entrepreneurship is no easy gig. Otherwise, everyone would be doing it. However, remind yourself why you first chose this journey as opposed to having a standard 9am to 5pm job. Anyone who tells you what you’re doing will be easy, is lying. But the rewards are likely to be sweeter in the end.
#4 – Don’t take it personally
If someone has given you their honest feedback, the worst thing you can do is lash out and be unpleasant. Just be polite and remember this: you never know when you may run into someone again. You don’t want to burn bridges unnecessarily.
#5 – Keep going!
If you have faith in whatever you’re trying to create, don’t allow rejection to stop you in your tracks. Keep at it… keep persevering and refining whatever it is you have on your hands.
Most importantly, remember that easy success is very much the exception… keep your eyes forward and focus on the positives. Sure, learn from the negatives but don’t allow yourself to drown in them.
Ok this isn't an episode about Ghosts, goblins and Halloween this is about the subject of Ghost writing. Sarah refers to being a ghost-writer as someone who is your 'invisible pen'. Someone who you help you achieve your content strategy goals. Someone who 'gets' your passion and can package up your ideas and your key bullet points into an eloquent way that might be more difficult for you to achieve if you are time deficient, writing isn't your forte or even your English is your second language. In this interview we discover the real truths behind ghost writing, What they can do for you and what are the advantages of using them. Go Sarah........... :) Listen NOW
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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.