How to deal with the frustration of copycats

How to deal with the frustration of copycats

Copycats and how to deal with the pesky creatures 

On various occasions, I get a call for help from someone who has discovered that another person has started to copy their own content. And here is what I advise when faced with this upsetting situation.

Firstly, whilst incredibly frustrating, don’t fall into the trap of becoming so consumed with this person that you take your eye off your own business.  This will be giving her a wholly unfair advantage if you start to let things slip at your end because you are so enraged and obsessed with what they are doing.  You will be walking straight into their trap.  Acknowledge what they are up to and then ….. ignore them!

Yes, easier said than done I know but if you don’t, the situation will eat away at you and cause you no end of stress and sleepless nights.

If they are directly copying work that you have copyrighted or are using your trade name etc, you can go through the legal channels to get them to stop.  However, if they are just taking your ideas and using for their own business, there is nothing you can do to stop them.  And to be perfectly honest, how original are your ideas?  There is rarely a new idea out there these days.  Everything tends to be a variation of something that has been done before.

Focus on YOUR business and YOUR customers

What you need to be doing is focusing on YOUR business and YOUR customers.

If this other person has to copy your ideas, they are going to seriously struggle in the long term when the harsh realities of running a business kick in.  If they are so short of their own ideas and have no imagination, they will just be a poor imitation of you.

And there is only one you.  And that is the one everyone loves.  They are NOT you and never can be.  Your work has your personality and vibrancy injected into it.  This other person cannot physically have this.  Some people may prefer their style of working and some will prefer yours.  That’s life!

Keep in contact with your own customers.  Keep talking to them, finding out what they love and what they would like to see more of.  Keep building those relationships so if your customers see her work, they will still come back to you.

Don’t waste any more of your energy on this person.  Use all your energy for continuing to focus on building your own fabulous business.

And at the end of the day, be flattered.  People are obviously sitting up, taking notice and talking about you or otherwise you wouldn’t have attracted this attention.

 

Are You As Good As You Need To Be To Run Your Business?

Are You As Good As You Need To Be To Run Your Business?

If you are running your own business, when was the last time you updated your cv?  Probably not since you went self-employed I am guessing.  Well, why would you?  You run your own business and are not looking for a job so there is no need.

But just stop a moment.  This could be a really useful exercise to determine if you are the right person for the job.  And I can’t take credit for this idea.  It came from my husband.

He was made redundant recently, quite out of the blue.  He had been employed for many years so his cv was wholly out of date.  We sat down together and I helped him update all his information.  Some of this was work related but there was also a host of transferrable skill he had picked up from hobbies such as work with the local football team.

He was so nervous when we started but when he read it back, he was a little taken aback.  He couldn’t believe this was him.  He thought the cv sounded too good to be true.  But every word WAS true.  He had just failed over the years to realise how many talents he had and what assets he had that other people wanted.

It was then that he turned to me and said he thought everyone should have to re-do their c.v. every six months to give themselves the confidence boost that he had gained.

And it got me thinking.  What a good idea.

How about you go write a job description for the perfect person to run your business.  Remember to list all the essential skills required and the additional desirable skills.  Ask the question as to why the applicant would like to work for the company and why they feel they are better suited than anyone else.

Now go apply for this job.  And be honest with yourself.

One of two things may happen.

Firstly, you realise how bloody wonderful you are and what skills you have to offer to the world.  This can be a huge confidence boost as in the case of my other half.

Or, you may realise you are lacking a skill or desirable asset.  And if that is the case, as you have now identified this, you can go find out how to fill that gap in your skill set.  This will only make you better and more effective at your work which in turn, will help your business grow.

Have a go and let me know in the comments how you found this exercise.

How To Get Back On Track With Your Online Course

How To Get Back On Track With Your Online Course

Not enough hours for studying your online course?

Have you ever signed up to do an online course or follow a program full of good intentions and enthusiasm but then found you just don’t have enough hours in the week to dip into it?

When I run a new program I always give my ladies pre-course homework which includes top tips for blocking out time and treating their investment with the importance it deserves.  But inevitably, life happens and things get in the way.

But it’s not always this way.  It can just be a case of poor planning.  You think, oh, it’s ok, I’ll start next week and catch up.  And then the next week comes and you put it off again.  And so on.

What then happens is that you forget why you signed up in the first place.  Everyone else on the course or in the Facebook group seems to be miles ahead of you.  You get disillusioned and you add the online course or program to a number of others gathering dust in your computer archives.

Sound familiar?  Yes?  Well, I am guilty too.

A couple of months ago I signed up to a course that cost me thousands of pounds.  Whilst I have half-heartedly dipped in and out, I haven’t been truly focused and have slipped way behind everyone else.  It was then that I thought I ought to practice what I preach.

Here is my solution …

Rather than wasting my hard-earned money and also rather than moving significantly forward with my business that I know this course can teach me, I am taking a different approach.

I am booking myself a few days away.  Yes, more money, but much more economical than wasting the thousands that I have already spent as I will make more with my new learnings.  I am pretending I am going to a conference.

Why?  Because if I did sign up for a conference, I would have to go and wouldn’t have the day to day distractions I have by trying to study at home.  And it’s going to be a nice little break for me.

Just a two-night stay will give me 3 days of uninterrupted learning so I can get back on track.

If you have found yourself in the same predicament, why not try this for yourself?  You don’t have to stay in a luxury hotel.  If funds are tight, how about seeing if a friend is away on holiday and would let you use their house? (I’ve done this before and they were more than happy for someone to be around for a few days rather than the house sit empty.)  If you love camping, this can be incredibly cost effective.  Download all your materials so you don’t need internet access (even less disruption) and take yourself off.  Please do be sensible with safety precautions of course though.  Go online and find a last-minute deal.  There are some great bargains to be had.

And then when you return, make sure you have a plan to stay on track with your online course in the future.  I have just booked myself a weekly slot at my local library.  UK libraries allow you a desk and computer with internet access for free up to two hours.  You can have longer at a small cost but you may be amazed what you can achieve in two hours when you get laser focused and have no interruptions.

Give it a try and let me know how you get on.  Just by realising that growth and learning are vital to your future business success can help you plan this into your weekly or monthly routine.

If you have any ideas of your own, please leave a comment below.

Can I pick your brain?

Can I pick your brain?

Can I pick your brains?

Do you ever get asked this?  I do constantly.  By people who have been given an inch in the past and then want to come back and take a mile.

These, without fail, are people who I have helped for free in the past and then think they can take advantage of this generosity.

I really do find it incredible how often people who already a decent income, and would never dream of giving anything themselves, will ask for time and information that will make or save them a significant amount of money, but they aren’t prepared to pay for the answer.

Among messages I have received are:

  • Can I pick your brains?
  • Just a quick question to run by you…
  • Let’s meet up for a coffee. I have something I would love to chat with you about.
  • How about lunch so I can have a chat about my business? My shout for a sandwich and a coffee.

Hmm, now let me think about these for a moment …

How about NO!!!

A sandwich and a coffee aren’t going to pay my bills.  The time I spend on lunch would also be wasted time that could be better spent looking after my paying clients.

But for some people, they honestly believe that I should give them my valued time and attention for nothing.  They think they should pay absolutely zero for:

  • The wisdom I have found from the hundreds of books I have read
  • The lessons I have learnt from the thousands of hours I have studied
  • The expertise I have built up whilst gaining my qualifications and accreditations
  • The knowledge I have gained from the mentors and coaches I have worked under
  • The practical experience I have from working with hundreds of small businesses over the years
  • The insights to the mistakes I have made whilst building my own businesses and how to avoid them
  • The solutions I have found from the thousands I have spent in learning and practical applications
  • The know-how and learning I continue to build daily from running my own successful business

They don’t want to put the time and effort in to learn all this themselves.  They want me to give it to them for free.

And I bet you get asked this too.  Too often we want to help everyone and start to feel guilty for saying no to free requests.  Go write down all the things that you have learned that are of value to others like I have done above.  And when someone asks you for free advice for the umpteenth time, go back to this list and realise how much your knowledge is worth.  I’m not saying don’t give away free info when building relationships but I am saying turn away those that your gut is telling you are taking you for a ride.

When I get these type of requests now, I tend to reply with:

“Thanks for reaching out to me but my diary is so packed at the moment that I can only take calls and meet with paying clients. Thanks for understanding.  And of course, if you would like to see me as a paid client you can book at …”

And do you know what happens next?  9 times out of ten I never hear from them again.  Surprise surprise!

Not my ideal client in the slightest.

If you get asked this and aren’t sure how to reply, try my message above.  Be fair both to yourself and to those that value you enough to pay for your services.  You are worth it.

 

Getting in the right mindset for business

Getting in the right mindset for business

This month in my business club, I am working with the ladies on getting into the right mindset for business.  But why is this so important.

Well, it’s as simple as this.  You can have the best product or service out there, you can know everything there is to know about how to market it to your ideal client, but if you don’t have the right mindset, you just won’t have the confidence to go out there and go after those paying clients.

You may well dabble a little here and there but you will get sporadic results.  You will stumble when asked for a discount and may well end up giving one!  You may start to lose motivation when you get rejected by someone and you find out they buy elsewhere.

Getting in the right mindset is critical and the very first thing you need to before anything else when building a business in my opinion.  Forget reading up and watching more webinars on how to grow sales through Facebook until you truly believe in yourself and your product and are prepared to stand up and shout it out from the rooftops how fabulous you are.

And once you have that cracked, as fired up and enthused as you may be about creating your own business, it will take hard work, commitment and personal investment on your own part along with self-responsibility for making things happen.

There is no point sitting and dreaming about what you are going to do.  You have to get off your backside and do it!

Putting it quite simply …

Action takers win

The following tip is from one of the wonderful ladies in my business group. We were talking about how it’s ok doing all your planning and getting motivated, but at some point you are simply going to have to take action.

Karen Thomas from Red Oak Coaching showed us an example of what she uses in her workshops.  She held a tealight in her hand and asked everyone to close their eyes and really focus on blowing out the candle.  The reality of course was that when everyone opened their eyes, the candle was still lit.

It was only when someone took action and used their breath that the candle was able to be blown out.  It’s all very well having plans and dreams but basically until you get off your arse and take some action, nothing is going to materialise.

Harsh but fair.

And Karen has allowed me to share her video with you to watch.

What are you going to take action on today?  Leave a comment below and let me know.

 

Related article: Having the mindset of a successful business owner

 

How To Supercharge Your Business (And Life) With One Powerful Tip

How To Supercharge Your Business (And Life) With One Powerful Tip

Guest post by Hazel Butler from The Write Copy Girl

 

A few years ago I was in a really bad way. Severe illness had decimated my health and career. A disastrous relationship had gutted me emotionally. My life had gone up in flames (literally, my ex set the house on fire). I was living in my mum’s box room, flat broke, in tens of thousands of pounds worth of debt, and utterly devoid of hope.

Starting my own business was a revelation for me. Working on my terms, to my timetable. I could focus on what I love (writing), earn a living, and still have time to work on my health.

Entrepreneurship was a gift from the gods, truly, but it wasn’t half a lot of work…

How I Escaped The Eternal Hamster Wheel…

For the first couple of years I did okay. I paid down my debt. Everything ticked over. But I was nowhere near the income level needed to bust me out of the rut in which I was myred. I craved independence, freedom, an escape from the eternal hamster wheel of marketing (not to mention my mother’s box room). I’d done all the courses, watched all the vlogs, read all the blogs; I’d devoured everything I could find on digital marketing but something wasn’t quite clicking.

It was kind of working.

I had clients, money was coming in, I was steadily raising my profile, it just wasn’t enough

Enter Angie Taffs: The Woman Who Changed My Business (And Life)…  

Hustling my butt off for a couple of years had one tangible benefit: I had a lot of friends and contacts in the entrepreneurial world. One of those was Angie. I was a member of her Facebook group, and had been following her for a while, so when a webinar she was running popped up in my newsfeed, I jumped right on it.

Little did I know…

Angie’s webinar was a revelation. She shared one fairly simple tip for managing clients and it transformed my business. I honestly wouldn’t have believed how powerful it was until it actually happened.

The premise is really simple: give people a free sample of what you can do; leave them craving more.

Yes, free.

Not a freebie, or a download, a cheat sheet, or a blog/vlog, an actual sample of your paid products or services.

I baulked at this to begin with. Badly. I’m a copywriter. Offering a free sample of my work meant a lot of work for me. Writing a whole blog post, in fact. But Angie’s explanation made a great deal of sense, and while I was going great guns building my tribe, I was really struggling to convert them.

Educating them on the benefits of hiring a copywriter to produce regular, awesome content was easy enough. Getting them to take that final leap was considerably harder.

Hiring a freelancer is scary.

Seriously.

What if they’re a bad fit? What if they can’t really write? What if they take your money and don’t deliver? What if, what if, what if…

Allaying Their Fears And Showing My Chops…

Much as it made me flinch, I had faith. I began offering a free blog post. No strings, no catch. An actual, bonafide, free version of a service that would usually set you back (at that time) £25.

Totally free.

This did two things: allayed my tribe’s fears and concerns about making that final leap; and allowed me to really show my writing chops. It’s one thing to say you’re a great copywriter, it’s quite another to hand over a shining, polished, perfect example of exactly what you can do for a person’s business, complete with all the bells and whistles (in my case, royalty free images, memes, and a week’s worth of Tweets…yes, still for free!).

The Results Of Angie’s One Super Powerful Trick…

The response was phenomenal.

In marketing, a 2% conversion rate is reasonably good. 5% is good. 10% is epic. Anything above 10% is magical wildfire of supernatural origin.

The free post I instigated using Angie’s method has…wait for it… a 75% conversion rate.

Not kidding.

75%!

Yes, it’s a lot of work writing them, but it’s so worth it!

Here’s How You (More Than) Double Your Income…

You want serious numbers? I analysed the conversions on my free blog post, here’s what I found…

  • Three out of four people who sign up for a free post become paying clients.
  • Of those clients, one in three spend an average of £35 on a one-off service.
  • One in three spend an average of £300 on either a one off service bundle, or repeat business in lower-ticket items.
  • One in three spend an average of £3,500 on monthly blog packages (and that’s just how much they had spent in December 2016 – most are still monthly clients, so that figure gets higher every month!).
  • One in three of these new clients recommend me to a friend, who sign up for their own free post, or simply buy a service outright, to the tune of £500 a piece (again, on average, again, growing each month!).
  • The financial reward I receive is over £1,000 per free blog post I write (including those that don’t convert) and growing monthly.

Supercharge Your Business

The Bottom Line…

Since I started running this offer, my business has thrived. I soon had a gaggle of clients. I put my prices up, expecting to lose a fair few. I didn’t lose any. I kept on hustling, and before the year was out I was debt free, and living in a house of my own. I invested more in the tech needed to action Angie’s epic system, and experienced another big boom in my income.

I had more clients than I could handle.

After rebranding and refocusing entirely on copywriting, I put my prices up again.

The free posts I offer are now worth £55 a piece, and they are still available for free to all new clients. I’ve not done the maths on the offer since the end of 2016, but I can tell you that my monthly income has more than doubled since then. Angie’s offer isn’t the only thing affecting that; I launched a new vlog in January that had a massive impact. But content marketing can only get you so far. It builds you tribe, it grows your list, but you still need that ineffable magic charm that converts your audience into paying clients.

That gives them the final shove.

Of all the coaches I’ve worked with, watched, read and listened to, Angie is the only one who showed me exactly how to do this. For that reason alone, I refer to her as The Woman Who Changed My Business.

But she didn’t just change my business, she also transformed my life.

If you want your business to be the mechanism that enables you to live a happy, fulfilling life of freedom, doing what you love best, this girl can show you how…

Thanks, Angie, you’re an absolute superstar!

 

 

Many thanks to Hazel Butler from The Write Copy Girl for this wonderful guest post.  Having feedback like this fills me with joy and makes all my work worthwhile.

Angie x