Archive | January, 2012

What are you selling?: How being yourself is the best marketing tool.

30 Jan

I can imagine your Goals list for 2012  – You’re dreaming big and that is a wonderful thing.

Before you rent out ‘Wall Street‘ and pump yourself up to take on the world, take a moment to recognize that simply being you increases your chance of succeeding.

That’s right! You are unique. Your personality, your smarts, who you know, what you’re passionate about – this all adds to why you are the awesome person you are, and why with those basic elements alone, you have an edge on everyone else.

You are your business.

What you stand for, your behaviour and  what you project are what you’re selling, and no one has mastered how to sell the same product as you, because only you have the right ingredients.

I have had a number of emails in the last few weeks as filmmakers across the country  flock to crowd sourcing sites to raise funds for their films. Along with being asked for advice (thanks to a small online film fundraiser I ran in 2010), I’ve also been asked if I could tweet and Facebook their fundraising site and encourage people to donate.

There’s nothing wrong with asking this of me – nothing whatsoever. However, I know that posting someone’s fundraising efforts on my Facebook wall will do little to help their cause. It’ll add to the online awareness of your film – sure. But my friends aren’t about to give a stranger money. Why?

People donate to causes and organisations that they connect with. There needs to be a story or an emotional understanding associated with the fundraiser, before we reach into our pockets. This is why you, as the ‘seller’ are the only person that can drive attention and assistance to your appeal.

I can’t give you a factual explanation as to why my fundraising efforts for my film ‘Something Fishy‘ were successful (it may have helped that we weren’t asking for millions).

One fact I can relay is that out of the 52 that donated only 2 of those 52 people hadn’t met me in real life.

This proved to me that the primary people interested in investing in your project are people you actually know. You are the first port of call – you are essentially who they’re donating to – not your film/start-up/product – YOU!

How you present yourself and communicate what you stand for in ‘real life’ is the most accurate version of who you are and the most effective way to engage with people.

We all have that one friend who is always smiling. We love hanging out with them because they make everything enjoyable. We associate positive experiences with them.

I like to call the exchanges you have with people “Emotional Experiences”.

When you meet someone for the first time they conjure an emotional reaction, sometimes good, sometimes bad, and from then on you connect your idea of them with that initial feeling.

What a person represents can change over a range of encounters but much like falling in love, some people simply have you at Hello! This kind of chemistry and positive Emotional Experience can only be achieved by being genuine and open. Yes. You must be you.

How can you be you if you’re busy feeling like you isn’t enough?!

I’ve heard plenty of people confess they pretend to be their idol when they’re at an important meeting or audition. I think this concept works – temporarily. Walking around pretending you are Cate Blanchett or Jack Dorsey will soon become tiring and people will recognise that you’re faking it. People want to trust you, not be weary of your motivations.

Instead of pasting up a range of post-it notes in your car and in your house to remind you to ‘Believe in yourself’, maybe try manipulating your physicality?

Conjure up confidence with a few physical modifications…. I’m not talking about Plastic Surgery! I’m talking poses. The way you stand – sit – the whole bit.

Your physicality tells a story on its own and Bad Posture and awkward physical habits send out the signal that says you don’t even buy you! So why would anyone else want to?!

This great study featured on the Harvard Business School site by Julia Hanna: ‘Power Posing: Fake it until you make it’ proves that sometimes we need to walk the walk so that we can talk the talk and somehow, our body gets tricked into believing we are the business.

If you still need the post-it notes to remind you that you’re worthwhile – keep them up. I like to think that those that are really worthwhile have also felt worthless.

“Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars.”
Khalil Gibran

Go out and embrace who you are this week and know that you are enough. Warts and all. Fears and insecurities. They exist because they shape you and keep you being an original product worth purchasing. I’d buy it.


Taking back what’s yours: Exist Offline.

16 Jan

There are 24 hours in a day. Yep, it surprised me too. Contrary to what some say – that’s plenty. You can fit the gym, work and a Chapter of that book you’re reading in each day, if you really want to.

Living and working in a Digital Age comes with its distractions. Our online lives, work lives and home lives all bleed into one, pressuring us all to constantly be “on”, contactable and responsive.

I’ve been reading Stephen R.Covey‘s ‘The 7 Habits of Highly effective people‘ and it really made me stop and re-assess how little time I spend “smelling the flowers”. I don’t want to arrive at 50 before I realise that me time is precious and an integral part to leading a balanced and prosperous life.

I found this great article called “9 Things every entrepreneur needs to learn from Woody Allen.” and it reinforced for me that successful people aren’t necessarily working any harder – just smarter.

We live in such a results oriented society, we put large amounts of pressure on ourselves to achieve and succeed immediately. I believe this pressure creates skewed expectations and blurs the line between being productive and unproductive. Time away from work is time lost, when really it should be time treasured.

Plato said “The part can never be well unless the whole is well” and success surely lies with those that are well-rounded.

I want to exist offline as much as I do online and I know I’m not alone on this.

Starting small.

Small, achievable goals lead to greater accomplishments and keeping goals manageable will also keep you committed.

Starting with phones –

  • BlackBerry/iPhone/Android – Our phones have become our lives. A one stop shop for our connection with the world. They keep us organised and entertained. They also allow for distraction and disconnection.

Challenge: Checkout. It’s possible to turn your phone off one night a week after work. As soon as you exit your workspace. Ride the train home/ drive home without it on. Take note of what you replace that time with. It’s interesting what we choose to do when we have choice to dictate how we use our time. If switching it off on a weeknight is completely impossible, pick one day on the weekend. Take a holiday from your smartphone.

“The real problem of leisure time is how to keep others from using yours.” – Arthur Lacey

Then there’s the internet –

  • Internet browsing/Social Media – Social Media is a large part of my life and I’m a strong advocate of the digital world but when it starts to eat into your productivity, as well as your down time, boundaries are necessary.

Challenge: It can wait. Logout of all your Social Media profiles. Make it harder for them to be a click away. Login once tomorrow and once only. Choose the morning or the night but restrict it to 20 minutes. If like me, your Social Media notifications are pushed through to your smartphone, make sure that you leave checking these notifications till later, again, allowing 20 minutes to flick through what’s important and what’s not and move on.

For the super addicted in need of outside help – the following are all programs you can use to curb your online procrastination

  1. Leech Block
  2. Temptation Blocker
  3. Minutes Please
  4. MeeTimer
  5. Page Addict
  6. The Procrastinator’s Clock

There’s also True Time Tracker which will help you understand just how much time you’re spending watching videos, checking emails or ‘working’.

All in all – Don’t let today be devoured by distractions.

Be present, switching off long enough to really engage with the world around you.

Leave work at the office. Find a source of inspiration each week. Keep living. Keep learning.

One day, all you will have is your memories – make them worthwhile.

“I am what I am today because of the choices I made yesterday.” Stephen R. Covey

I like him but does he like me back?

9 Jan

I’ll be honest, I have Googled – ‘How to tell if he likes you’.

If you’re honest, you’ll probably admit to doing this too.

You can sit there, shake your head and pretend you haven’t – I KNOW YOU HAVE.

Crushing on someone who has no clue you like them, usually leads to this kind of behaviour.

This rush of teenage girly excitement has you living the optimistic life of those that see the glass half full. Regardless of the fact that you initiate all texts,emails and catch-ups, you’re hopeful that some Blog out there is going to tell you that he hasn’t made a move because he’s scared of commitment, or in need of ‘time’; that he definitely likes you, in fact he really likes you, and don’t feel bad for scribbling his name across your post-it note pad whilst you were on a work call this morning, he’s probably doing the same thing, he’s just too shy to tell you.

Like most women, I know how to pick them – it’s a curse – He’s still in love with his ex, has just started a new job and hasn’t time to commit, or has major anger management issues and punched a wall on the first date (which obviously expels him from any further dates). Yep. Sometimes it feels like you’re on Candid Camera …. Finally, when you do find a guy you really like, that has you grinning from ear to ear – he doesn’t like you back. You are not alone! This crazy business is standard. We are all in the same boat and regardless of how fabulous, intelligent or attractive you are – you have filled these shoes at some point in your life or are wearing these smelly hand-me-downs right this minute.

Being single is like living in a Soapie. Your drama filled dates become the focus of all girly pow wows and hey, regardless of how awful the dates you have are – the laughter filled debrief’s are worth it.  But when you like someone who you’re yet to go on an actual date with, you spend a great deal of time obsessing over where you and he are at. You  and your friends dissect all his texts, have a slideshow viewing of his pics from Facebook and regurgitate every conversation you’ve had with him, all  in attempt to fossick for signs. Signs that he may like you too but c’mon ladies! What in the name of Riggins are we doing?!

We are wasting a hell of a lot of time and energy! That’s what! I did some Googling (again) and I read a wide array of Blogs and articles from how to know if a guy likes you (make sure you read this to the end, because this guy let’s you in on how his girlfriend kept him and it had nothing to do with her amazing conversation)  to why you’re not married and apart from feeling entirely discouraged about the future of my dating life, I was lead to one conclusion – If he likes you, you’ll know.

If he likes you, you won’t have to chat about it with friends and look for an ‘x’ at the end of a text. You will know! He’ll step up to the plate, he’ll ask you out and you’ll do more than the first awkward dinner and go figure – he’ll generally want to see you as much as you want to see him!

All that energy you just expelled, would have been better put into the relationships you already have, the ones that actually exist with your friends and family. I’m not saying you can’t spend a little time imagining what it’d be like to go out with him – just don’t let it take over your life.

I know it’s hard to switch that part of your brain off that is constantly thinking about your crush, but you have to. Focus on other things! Hang out with your friends. Work on your own projects. Live your life! I have been boy crazy for as long as I can remember, so I am that girl who needs to hear this the most! But think about it – if you can just find a way to redirect that radar to add to your life, instead of detract from it – you will be much happier
and happy people are attractive people! Win/win!

You are not doomed! You will find it when you least expect it. That old saying has stood the test of time for a reason. Take the pressure off,  worry about the bigger picture, and watch everything fall into place. When you’re busy doing what you love doing – you’ll meet him; or that guy you were obsessing about, might come back! A lot can change in 6 months to a year and sometimes people just aren’t ready! The more you push – the further you push them away.

You know that guy you went on a date with last year that was too keen? Do you remember how off-putting that was? That is you. Right now. Stop it.

Or, if you really, really want to know if he likes you – just ask! Cut to the chase, cut out the drama and get the tears out-of-the-way.

I like him but does he like me back?

You know the answer to that.

2012 – The year of ‘BRING IT!’

2 Jan


A few years back everyone was remarking what an awful year they had. From my memory it was 2008. I don’t think I met a single person that enjoyed ’08 and they were more than happy to bring in 2009.

People’s sentiments on 2011 were a little bit different. I’ve mostly heard people say that 2011 was a  pretty good year and they can’t wait to crank it up a notch in 2012. Maybe it has to do with who I’ve been hanging out with? Or our age?… Whatever the reason,  it appears there are a fair few people ready to ‘bring it’ in 2012.

I thought I’d put together a list of my own personal positive gems to start the year. I hope they inspire a few of you and please, feel free to share your own list by commenting on this post.

1. Be Savvy.

For some reason I haven’t finished a book in a few years. I have at least 30 books that I have read half of and lost interest in, leaving them to gather dust at various places around the house. Last night I finally finished a book, actually, let me re-phrase that – devoured a book. Dan Schawbel‘s Me 2.0 is a great read for anyone interested in Branding and Social Media. I loved it and for those of you scared of Facebook and Twitter, Dan makes social media palatable. Dan encourages his readers to lend ‘Me 2.0’ to friends but I can’t risk losing it. It’s definitely the kind of book you can refer back to; it’s literally overflowing with great websites and resources to make your online life more productive. So, I urge you to buy it, not borrow it from me! And I look forward to never having to show any of you (you know who you are) how to create a page or an event on Facebook ever again! 😉

2. Be Fearless.

If you’re itching  to go out on your own and take the plunge on that amazing idea of yours – do it! Having started my first business when I was 18, I sure learnt a lot on the job but now that I have changed paths and started afresh, I feel like I can do with all the help and support I can gather. I found this list that covers the books I have been told to read in the past and not so surprisingly, never got round to doing. I also wouldn’t mind adding two more that were suggested to me on Twitter just today – ‘Igniting your true purpose and passion’ By Michael Robert Fried and ‘Linchpin’ By Seth Godin.  I go by the motto ‘The bigger the risk the greater the reward’ and I’d like to thank ‘Feel the fear and do it anyway’ By Susan Jeffers for reminding me that the only person in your way is you! I read that book many years ago and never forgot it’s message. No one is keeping a report card of your success or failure – just do it! I also recently discovered a great Web Series about Entrepeneur’s called ‘Trepping out’. If you’re more of a viewer then a reader, the trepping out webisodes are a great insight into the lives of people who took the plunge.

3. Be Inspired.

There are no excuses in life. I love being reminded  that anything is possible. It is ridiculously easy to be ready with a reason for your shortcomings. I found an amazing line in Barack Obama’sDreams from my father‘ years ago and at the time would regularly misquote it – so much so that now, I have well and truly butchered it. I have tried Googling and scanning the pages of the book to find the exact wording but I can’t. It basically went along the lines of – Don’t allow your reality to be shaped by how you believe others perceive you. This rung true for me because I was constantly looking at myself through the eyes of others, forever seeing all the reasons why it would be impossible for me to achieve my dreams. It’s very easy to believe that age, race, gender and upbringing can inhibit your success or at least throw some serious speed bumps on the road to fulfilment. We all have a story and have each been smacked in the face with hardship at some stage in our lives; check out these CEO’s who went from rags to riches. Believe and succeed. It is possible.

4. Be Patient.

Sometimes a new year is a time to heal. I don’t believe we have to put pressure on ourselves to start the year in a ‘hit the ground running’ style if it isn’t in our best interest. I began following The Daily Love when my grandfather died in 2009. I was searching for ‘something’, as most of us do when we lose a loved one. I relied on these quotes for a number of months and I still enjoy reading them on my Twitter timeline. Sometimes an Inspirational quote goes a long way. If you’re on Twitter follow them at @TheDailyLove or sign up to their emails at TheDailylove.com Another great source for healing for me was  ‘A New Earth‘ By Eckhart Tolle. I read half of this book during this tough period (there I go – only reading half a book again) and really savoured what was covered.  With every difficult moment in life I believe we must relish what we learn about ourselves. We will never stop learning and as we allow ourselves to heal, a Phoenix rises from the ashes, wiser and stronger.

I am really looking forward to what 2012 brings for all of you and I wish everyone a safe, happy and healthy year.

Remember to BRING IT!

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