Timelines can help you achieve success

When we are busy focussing on our own career we often forget to look backwards at how far we have come. Timelines can help you achieve success if you use them in the right way.

I am writing this article a couple of days after my birthday (yes that’s crazy eyed me on my first birthday!).

Birthdays are always a good point in the year to reflect on how far you have come, and what you have achieved with your life so far. It isn’t a moment to put undue pressure on yourself! It is a time to appreciate all that you have done, to get where you are right now.

We forget that when we entered this world we didn’t know anything. We had to learn how to blow out that candle on the cake until eventually we were baking our own. It is the same with your career path. We gaze lovingly at the people who are ahead of us and believe that we can never do as well as them.

Not only is this damaging to your self confidence, but you also have no idea whether they have had help to get where they are today, or have grown up with family members to help them into the industry.

It is important to focus on your own path. In this week’s podcast I talk through ways that you can do this, and how to use timelines to plot out- not only where you have been, but where you are heading as well.

Continue reading “Timelines can help you achieve success”

Planning For A Great Year

success-doesnt-just-happen-its-planned-for-2

As we race towards the end of the year, I always think that this is a great time to review what you have achieved so far, and to plan for 2017.

Planning for a great year takes structure, and not just the odd to-do-list. This is more about looking at what you want to achieve, and setting those points as markers for how the rest of the year will be structured.

I explain how to do this in the podcast that you can listen to below.

I still use to-do-lists (I know they can be addictive!), but if the major events aren’t planned out, it makes it hard for you to know when you need help, support or finance to get the project done. It is also crucial to make sure that you have given yourself enough time to complete the project.

Too often we think that we can achieve something in a certain time frame, and then life gets in the way. Make sure you build in contingency planning, both in terms of time and money, in case something goes wrong. It is better not to need it, than to wish you had it!

A challenge for you

At the end of the podcast I talk about a challenge for you to plan your own year ahead. Here are some of the key things you need to think about:

  • Do you know the deadlines for your project?
  • Do you have all the people you need to help you?
  • Have you got finance in place for the project?
  • If you don’t have finance in place, have you planned how and when you will need it?
  • Are there press and PR moments that you need to plot out for the project? (Remember that some magazines have 3 months lead times!)
  • Do you have support plotted out for the year, so that you are able to achieve what you need?
  • Have you plotted out holidays and fun times with family and friends? It is so important to take breaks so that you have the energy to go back and finish the project.
  • Have you plotted out points in the year to review your progress? By making moments to review, you can see if something is working or not, and whether you should continue with it or try something else.

Above all have fun with this. Things are flexible, and can be changed as we go along. Unless we know what the big challenges are, we can’t prepare for them. It might mean that you only focus on one big thing a year rather than several, but it is better to have achieved one thing, than to fail at several.

Let me know in the comments below what you are going to aim for next year. Is there any help that you need with it? 

Why you need to build a community of clients.

They are so many benefits to building a community of your clients and customers.

When I set up the CWI I wanted to create a place for women to come together, share ideas, help and inspire each other. We have members from over 27 countries that are generous with their advice and support. It is this type of community that I want to talk about today.

When we work as freelancers we have to continually innovate and find new customers and clients to sell our work to. It is important to understand how the climate has changed in terms of customer service and need.

Gone are the days when we met our prospective clients and customers for the first time during an interview. We now use the power of Google to check out who wants to hire us, or whom we can sell to.

I like to think that we have gone back 100 years in terms of customer service. Our ancestors would have shopped in the corner store before super markets were invented. The owner would have known what you bought last week, what you might like from the new stock, how your mother is and whether you need to pay on credit or can pay the full bill this week.

They knew your name, your family and neighbours; they were part of your community. This is how it is now that social media and on-line selling has arrived. We want to know whom we are buying from and if they share the same values as us. We want to know if there is a story behind the work, which makes it all the more valuable by knowing it.

Why you need to build a community of clients

Whether you sell face-to-face, online, with one client or many customers, to make a success you must now create your own community. A community will spread the word, be your biggest cheerleaders and fans.

In this week’s podcast I talk about the benefits of thinking this way. How you can make people value what you sell to them, and how they can become your biggest fans and part of your marketing strategy. I also talk about how they can make or break your business, and must be handled with care. I talk about a FREE workbook that you can get access to if you sign up to the mailing list at the bottom of this page.

Continue reading “Why you need to build a community of clients.”

How do you know if you’re ready?

How do you know if you’re ready- is something we all need to think about. It might be as simple as being ready to leave the house each day, with your keys, handbag and phone. The type of ready that I want you to think about is being ready for your career.

When we are starting out, or old pros, we will still be having new experiences and making new connections. Being as ready as we possibly can, will make the difference between a success or failure of an event, piece of work, or even your mental state.

In film (my day job is a production manager) if I haven’t prepared and got everything ready before every one descends onto the set, it affects not just me, but an entire film crew. I want you to image that your actions also have an affect on the people around you.

www.Creativewomeninternational.com

So what do we need to do? 

You may be a solo-entrepreneur, or freelancing and carrying your work around to new clients, or trying to make the first steps up the creative career ladder. You are not alone. Each interaction that you have to move your career forward has an impact on how people work with you, remember you, and whether they want to hire you again.

Now I’m not trying to get you to panic so that you over analyse each action you make! What I want you to do is to remember to also look at the small stuff. It is the small stuff like ordering business cards, getting our newsletter out, working out the best route to our interview, or whether you have left enough time to complete the work, that we tend to leave till last. These things can actually have a huge effect.

In the podcast below I explain why it is important to sort the small stuff, and why you need to be ready for your creative career, and how to do it.

If you don’t have a career plan, it makes it hard to you know where you are going. Where do you want your career to be in three years time? Tell me your vision in the comments below, and let’s see if we can help you on your journey.

If you need a bit of help to get a plan or talk through your goals, you can find out about CWI mentoring here: MENTORING 

How to tame the social media beast

Some times social media can feel like a bit of a beast. It is always nagging you in the background, or stealing all of the time you could be creative instead. We feel like we need to be on every social media platform, chatting to every person, but it doesn’t have to be this way. We can tame the social media beast!

Social media can work for you if you answer these three questions first before you go anywhere near it:

  1. Why do you want to use social media?
  2. Who are you talking too?
  3. What do you want to get out of it? -(Your goal).

That really is as simple as it needs to be. We panic and try to do too much, too often, without any direct focus. All this achieves is a stressed out you, and no clear guidelines of whether you are achieving anything by posting anything!

In this podcast I talk through ways to make it work for you, from identifying your audience, to the right type of content and the best times of day to post it.

Continue reading “How to tame the social media beast”

How not to feel overwhelmed

At some point in your creative career there will come a moment when you realise that you can’t do it all alone. You feel overwhelmed. You find yourself wearing the hat of book keeper, accountant, social media whizz, the photographer, accountant and office cleaner!-At some point in the mix, you are meant to be creating your work as well, but have no time left or feel exhausted.

Does this sound familiar?  When we are building our career or businesses we feel that we have to be in control of every little detail. It is our baby that we are growing and we believe that no-one understands it the way we do. This might be true but what you don’t want to happen is that you are so busy building, that you have no time for creating.

Creating is the life blood of your business. Without it there is nothing to sell, nothing to be passionate about and it generally feels like a depressing place to be.

What we need to be spending most time on, is creating. By creating new work, we can find new clients, get our income and so the circle of life continues. If we are so bogged down with all of the paper work and marketing, that life circle gets squished, and before you know it, there is no new work to sell and we have nothing in the bank.

I’m not suggesting that you have to go and hire a load of people to help you with your work load, or hire staff on a full time basis when there is nothing in the bank. What I am suggesting though, is that you start to think about, and make plans, to get some help for those areas of your business that stops you making creative work. Even working out new ways of time management can help with the small stuff.

We can’t do everything alone.

Community

Continue reading “How not to feel overwhelmed”

Making the best of your time.

Making the best of your time is something that we hear all of, well..the time! We are told that we need to be busy 24/7 to make use of this life. We are told that we have to be working ourselves into the ground to achieve anything. I believe that there is another way.

When we try to work ourselves to exhaustion point, not only does our work suffer but we also stop loving what we are doing, or forget the dream that we were aiming for. We begin to compare ourselves to our competitors or question if we are as busy as our colleagues. There is a real culture of ‘busy’ that is making people ineffective with their time, and taking too long to complete tasks and generally ending up making people feeling awful.

Being forced to take a break when I was ill made me think about time, and how we structure our days. I used to try to cram too much into one day. I had lists as long as my arm, and would feel defeated at the end of the day if I hadn’t ticked everything off.

One cannot manage too many affairs_ like pumpkins in the water, one pops up while you try to hold down the other.Chinese Proverb

Continue reading “Making the best of your time.”