How much are you worth?

CoinsLast week I decided to put my prices up. I was feeling frazzled, over-worked, under-paid and running around like a chook with its head cut off. So I added 10% to my normal prices and sent a quote to a lady I’d seen that morning, and I got my first rejection. Hmmm… now apparently this is a good thing, if you don’t get complaints about your prices it’s supposed to mean you’re too cheap. So that’s OK. Or is it?

I sat with it for a few days and imagined living a life of luxury, the mansion on the hill, drinking pina coladas every day and working less hours for more money, you know, all those clichés. It felt lonely.  And I came to realise that none of that is what makes me happy. What gives me joy is helping other business people to make their dreams tangible, to use my skills to take their ideas and turn them into something that can be seen and touched. To give their business an identity that resonates with them and makes them proud. That, my friend, just lights my fire and gets me super excited!

So, I’ve decided I’m not in it for the big money. If I could afford to, I’d do this for free, seriously. Because I love it. But the reality is I need to eat and pay the bills and put fuel in my car, so I have to ask for money in exchange for my design services. This of itself is, in my estimation, an indication of the value of what I do. In return I value the services and skills that others can offer me, and I’m more than happy to pay them for it, so what goes around comes around.

I used to have a lot of trouble asking for money in exchange for my services, but as I learn to acknowledge that what I offer adds enormous value – not to mention the fact that I have years of experience and a hard-earned uni degree – it’s becoming easier.

Ultimately though, the thing that gives me joy and happiness is the thing I get to do every day. I wonder how many people can honestly say that their job makes them happy? I suspect there are more of us every day as we begin to understand the importance of happiness, and that’s a wonderful thing. What makes you happy?

How to make your website work for you

Write it
Make sure your web text is well written. Writing for the web is a lot different to writing for advertisements or articles. Your text needs to be compelling and engaging to keep your reader reading. It’s also a great idea to offer benefits, reminding your reader of the benefits of your services or products, keep it short, sharp and interesting. There’s nothing worse that meaningless waffle.

Build it
Once you’ve got people going to your website, you want to keep them there. Use your website to capture your reader’s details. By offering a free e-book or a regular newsletter, a webinar or any number of other freebies, your reader can sign up and then go on to your database. You can now build a list of interested readers who value what you offer and could be potential clients. Treat them like family.

Promote it
Market your site in all possible places. Google loves a website that has lots of visitors. There are a multitude of ways to market and promote your site. Add your web address to your social media sites, put it on your business cards and brochures, write comments on other people’s blogs and offer testimonials. Can you think of any others?

Blog it
Blog blog blog! The benefits of blogging are huge. Not only do you keep your web content fresh and new – Google loves fresh content – you can send your blog to your database and connect with those who’ve subscribed to your site. Blogging helps to promote your business and gives you expert status. Don’t know what to blog about? Ask yourself “what are the main problems my clients have?”, then blog the answer! Connect your blog with facebook and twitter so it reaches even further.

Maintain it
Commit to spending some time on your website every week. It’s as important as doing your bookwork! Keep content fresh, blog regularly and send out newsletters. Adding video and audio is great too. If you’ve invested your hard-earned cash in your website, you need to make sure it keeps working for you.

Do you have any other tips to offer? Comment below and don’t forget to leave your web address 🙂 Have a happy day!

Public Speaking and me

Have you ever felt the heart-stopping terror of standing up in front of people you’ve never met and speaking? Scary stuff right? I never, in a million years, thought I’d do that of my own free will, and yet it happened. And it was awesome! Hard to believe I know, and unless you’ve done it and loved it you probably still won’t believe me, but I loved it.

The last 12 months have been an amazing journey for me and it began with attending the Art of Public Speaking Seminar with Carren Smith of Quantum Leadership. I’m still not entirely sure why I felt compelled to do this intense two-day course at the time, I just knew instinctively that it would be a life-changing experience. And I’ve never looked back. It was the catalyst for quitting my job and making massive changes, 12 months later I now run my own very successful and extremely busy business.

As a result of having my business, I was recently invited to speak to a group of 65 women at the Enlightened Goddesses NetConnect Seminar. Was I terrified? Hell yeah! But I knew that it would be yet another turning point in my life, so I committed to it and did it.

Here’s the secret – be well prepared and know your stuff. I practiced that 20 minute talk until I was saying it in my sleep, I said it to the mirror, I said it into my iphone (yes, I found a cool little recording thingy in there!) and I played it back, I said it to my hubby and my hairdresser, I said it to video and watched myself saying it – it all got a bit boring after a while but it was SO worth it, because by the time I was standing in front of 65 women I knew that sucker inside out!  And when I knew it I could relax, be me and not get caught up in the details, and it flowed like a river on a sunny spring day.

So give it a try, maybe you’ll find your inner rock star and learn to love it too!

Blog Challenge Day # 5

High Heels5 January 2011

You can’t go out looking like that!

I don’t know about you, but I can’t walk outside without at least brushing my teeth. When you go to meet a client or to a networking event, do you bother to brush your hair, have a wash, dress neatly and apply some makeup (that one was for the girls)? Of course you do.

You are the face of your business, so it makes sense to dress professionally and look polished. I don’t necessarily mean suits and stockings either, because personally I like nothing better than a well cut pair of jeans and colourful tops – that’s my corporate image and being a creative person, I can get away with it. You can still look smart and professional as long as it’s done with style and pizzazz!

Now, take a look at your business card. Are you proud to hand it over to someone you’ve never met? What does it feel like? Is it smooth and up-market, or cheap and flimsy? Is it professionally designed and printed on quality paper? Is it branded with your business identity?  If so, that’s fantastic, you obviously understand the importance of first impressions and branding and you’ve invested time and money into developing that, well done!

If not… it’s time to reflect on your business and get serious about your business branding. First impressions do count, and one of the very first things people see is your business card. It needs to communicate more than just your contact details, it needs to tell a story and connect to you, the person behind the name.

Business is rapidly changing, people are no longer happy to do business with faceless companies, there’s a desire to trust and connect on a personal level and as a business person, you need to understand that and do everything you possibly can to build relationships with your clients and associates so that they’ll trust and respect you.

Next time you hand over your business card, make sure you do it with pride and a smile!