Often times when I'm woring with clients, they have a need to find stock photos online. The conversation usually ends up covering where to find photos onlie that are acceptable to use without infringing on copyright. There are plenty of places you can search online using the term "royalty free photos". With royalty free, however, you are still required to give credit to the person who took the photo. While I have no problem with that, especially since I love to promote other people, doing so often takes time because you have to figure out a simple way to get the person's info into the marketing piece you're creating. Awhile back I found PIXABAY and I was so excited! With Pixabay not only are the images free to use, they are amazing and there is NOT a requirement to list who took the photo. So the job of finding photos and using them suddenly became so much easier for me and I was in love with the site- and still am today. Most of the photos in the Z&B Online Academy have come from Pixabay. I encourage you to check them out.
After I suggest the site to clients a follow-up question usually comes up related to where to create the item they need the photo for. Maybe it's a Facebook Header, maybe it's a flyer, maybe it's an image for their website- regardless of what it is they are trying to create my answer is usually the same provided the client is NOT planning on doing tons of professional designing. What I recommend is Canva. Canva is so simple to use and allows you to easily brand your colors and has a bunch of templates that you can use for free. I also caution clients to be careful because Canva sells stock images in their software and it can be easy to rack up a big bill unnecessarily. Instead, I suggest they head over to Pixabay and find the image they want and then upload it to Canva.
Both softwares are easy enough to use for the average person. If you are thinking about giving them a try and run into trouble, you can head out to a Co-Working Day. Co-Working Days are great because you have a whole Friday to sit around like-minded professionals and get tons done while also getting coaching and feedback from myself. People love the nuggests they walk away from Co-Working Days with after picking my brain that's full of over 25 years of business and marketing experience. They are included in the Coaching Club 2.0 and Ongoing Consulting programs but can also be attended ala-carte when needed. I let people come for the first time as my guest to try it out. If you'd like to join us, you can register here and use the code LETMETRY!
My private Facebook Group is another great place to ask questions. Clients love that it's a place to get thoughts from others as well as my coaching. The only way to get access to the Z&B Facebook Community is to be a current or past client. You can learn about the different programs Z&B offers here including the Academy Membership that gives you access to over 20 online course at a low monthly fee.
This year my word is CONSISTENCY. It’s really all about putting best practices into place on a consistent level so that I can see consistent results. As I get more consistent at certain things in life and business, there will only be minor setbacks when the practices have to be forgotten because unexpected things happen. Although that’s a quick summary of my word, there’s so much more to it. If you’re curious, I’d encourage you to read on.
I've learned so much and planted so many seeds in the 6 years since I’ve started my business and they've all moved me forward. The seeds have not only been in my business, but also in my life. Things like eating well, exercising, spending time with family, meditating, making calls to potential clients, tracking my mileage, posting on facebook and sending my newsletter. The list truly is endless and I sit back in awe at the shear volume of things I’ve learned and how much I’ve grown. It’s also amazing to see how my family and my clients have grown as a result of my being willing to change and grow. As I’ve learned about each thing along the journey, I’ve put it into practice and been able to see how it can help my business and my clients. I've gotten to the point in my business where I know really well what works and what doesn't. That’s an awesome thing for the year that’s ahead!
Bring in the curve ball! There are so many balls that need to be juggled when starting a business and with being a mom and wife. Inevitably, one ball has to drop so another can be grabbed. This constant shift of needs and focus that naturally occurs makes it easy to start some great things and then not be able to go back to them no matter how much you want to. The amount of work is huge compared to the amount of hours in the day to get it all done. Contrary to what many people would do in this scenario, I was determined to avoid increasing my hours to fit more in. I’ve gone down the road of doing that when I worked for others and what it got me was a whole lot of health problems and very little time to be present with my family or myself. So being present meant not being able to get some of the things done for my business and life that I knew needed to be done. Things like regularly meditating or regularly sending out newsletters.
Knowing that I couldn’t increase my hours because doing so was out of alignment with my personal and family goals, I decided back in May to hire an assistant. This was a huge blessing because I was constantly exhausted and unhappy from doing the parts of my business I don’t love (the things that tie me to the computer). The things I didn’t love had to be done and were keeping me away from what truly brought me joy- having conversations with other people. And not having conversations with other people was preventing income from flowing into my business at the rate it could have been. As we sit at the start of 2020, I’m set up really well to spend the majority of my time on the guiding and leading of others that I love and to have my assistant do all the behind the scenes stuff that doesn’t bring me joy.
So, now that I’m set up with a great foundation and support, I’m in a good place to focus daily, weekly and monthly on the key things that I have learned bring me success. That’s where my word of the year comes in: CONSISTENCY. For me this year is not about tons of new things being brought into play, that’s happened with all I’ve built the past 6 years and I’m so grateful for all of it. What this year is about is finally doing some core best practices consistently on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. As I do, I know that the seeds I’ve planted the first 6 years are going to blossom in a very fruitful way. Provided I’m consistent, they will continue to flourish even as a habit or two needs to stop, as is often the case.
I’m part of the sandwich generation. The generation that is taking care of our children and families but also starting to help with our parents when the needs arise. Whether it’s the children or our parents or even my husband or myself, if one of us is suddenly in need, I want to be there and having my own business allows me to do that. I’ve built the business so that when things unexpectedly come up, I can be ever present for the people that are most important to me…..and my clients can also get the support they need without being held up because my life was thrown an unexpected curve ball. I unfortunately lost a close family member a year ago, a man who was like a father to me. He was sick for 1 ½ years and I went to a lot of his doctor appointments with him to be an extra set of ears. Taking the time to do that was a no brainer for me, but it did slow down my business. I was able to easily support the clients who were enrolled, but I wasn’t able to make daily calls to potential clients so the funnel stopped flowing during this time. The same thing happened the summer after he died when I was focused very heavily all summer on helping my oldest son find the college that was the best fit for him. Similar to helping dad, supporting my son wasn’t given a second thought but did impact my business in the same way. Fortunately this time I had support and things were able to be kept moving during times I was away.
I’m grateful for the timing of both experiences because they allowed me to see how I best want to set up my programs and services. I had been thinking about the online academy at the start of dad being sick and realized it was a great thing for me to push forward since it allows me to provide my expertise and training to people without being there. As the academy was built I then started creating varying ways that clients can work with me, keeping in mind how many clients I wanted at a more private level. I often limit that number so they can get my undivided attention, even when I’m away unexpectedly as can happen. I had a coach once pushing me to have 10 or more private clients at a time and that just didn’t feel comfortable for me because it would have meant that I was constantly in calls with clients and didn’t have much time to spend on myself or be present with my family. As a mom, I know my kids will only be young once and I want to enjoy them while I can. I instead built my group programs where clients had access to me one day per month all at the same time and once a quarter for two days. I later added another group program where those clients got a group coaching call once a month. All of this paired with the online academy where they don’t get any time with me unless they are in one of the higher programs- which for some people is perfect.
As I went through the process of figuring out my word of the year, I realized that it wasn’t about one thing but rather an overall tie to many things. As I sat, it just came to me. CONSISTENCY. I’ve done so much and have everything set up well, now it’s time to be consistent. Consistent in how I eat, consistent in exercising, consistent in sleeping, consistent in taking time for me, consistent in spending time with the family, consistent with a bed time/routine, consistent with journaling, consistent with finances, consistent with reaching out to potential clients, consistent with booking speaking engagements, consistent with writing, consistent with posting on Facebook. The list goes on and on, as I said earlier. The word, CONSISTENT, is just so perfect for me at this point in my life and business and I’m so excited that it came to me!
You may be wondering how it came to me and what process I went through. A dear friend and former client, Felicity Joy, has an Intention Party each year and I’ve gone nearly every year since I’ve started my business. This year she did it online through a Facebook Group. It’s a free group and she has a short video pinned to it that explains her process. Part of the process is reflecting on the past year. To do that, I did the Celebrate Your Year Training in the Z&B Online Academy. I have to say it was pretty surreal to do my own training. I’m glad I did, though, because it brought me some great insights. If you’d like to join the group and watch the video on the process you can do so here.
In one of my earlier years in the business, my word of the year was “Foundation”. You can learn more about that word and view the image I created that still sits laminated on my desk, in this old blog article.
So now I’m wondering about you. What is your word of the year? How did you come up with it and what does it mean for you? Comment below. I’d love to see.
Also, if you can relate to what I shared about the struggles related to keeping your business and life going while juggling all the things that come with it, I’d love to hear about that too, so share your comments below. You can also check out the It Takes a Village training in the online academy. Clients love how it helps them figure out which balls they can drop and which ones they can pass off to others.
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