The Top Tip To Getting Your Book Published – and 13 other things you didn’t know about what it takes

The Top Tip To Getting Your Book Published - and 13 other things you didn't know about what it takes

Writing a book is a common bucket list objective.

If you have dreams of seeing your name on the spine of a physical book, you’re not alone.

This past weekend I travelled from Victoria, BC Canada to Orlando, Florida USA to join 300 other attendees at a writers conference.

My objective was to find out: exactly what does it take to get a book published by a major publishing house?

What I learned out is that having a really great idea, or even a magnificent finished book has very little to do with whether or not you get published.

What I learned is not news to me.

I certainly did not need to take three planes across North America to learn that it’s not so much the quality of the end product, but the quality of the business plan and ultimately sale potential that matter most.

It is after all, what I preach loud and long to my small business owner and entrepreneur clients; if you’re in business, you’re in the business of selling.

CEO/Publisher Reid Tracy of Hay House said it at least 15 times over the course of the two day conference.

The most important deciding factor in whether or not your book gets published is the size of your platform.

Your platform means your direct relationship with your community of fans and customers.

Yes, you heard me right.

Getting your physical book published and out in the world is very much dependent on the size of your Facebook and Instagram followers and your email list.

Because of all that reading means to me personally,  and the long tradition of storytelling dating back since people drew on cave walls, I guess I was a bit surprised to hear this news.

I really love books.  I’ve loved them since I was a kid. I can be found deeply inhaling the pages of fresh new and musty old books alike.

Even though my clients call me things like social media guru (which makes me cringe, honestly), and I am more tech savvy than your average bear, I still prefer physical books to e readers or audio books.

Surrounded by people of all ages, including a few senior citizens, many including me were a bit dismayed to learn: the publishing business is simply another business, and the players exist to make a profit.

I GUESS I THOUGHT THERE WOULD BE MORE EMPHASIS ON WHETHER THE BOOK WAS LIKE, GOOD.

And of course, it does, to an extent.

But given the choice between two similar quality books, the author with the bigger platform wins.

I sat through the online marketing portion of the conference with a wry smile on my face.

The golden rules of online marketing apply to author platforms:

  • Have a mobile friendly, search optimized website with clear calls to action.
  • Use multimedia like images and videos
  • Have a very clear “elevator pitch” ; It should be very clear what problem you solve.
  • Gather email addresses by offering something valuable for free
  • Build your audience on Facebook and Instagram

Beyond developing your online platform, here are 10 other things I did not know about getting your book published.

  1. Unsolicited manuscripts sent to publishing houses end up in what’s called the Slush Pile and no one reads them
  2. The odds of getting published are not good: 80,000 books are published a year and less than 300 will sell more than 50,000 copies of their book
  3. It’s easier to get non-fiction published and sold than fiction. Unless you have a series, in which case that is more saleable.
  4. You need to submit a book proposal to get considered. A document that takes most people two months to create.
  5. You are well advised to get an actual professional editor to help you with your proposal. You can get a really good one for around $4000 USD.
  6. You may need an agent to help you submit the proposal to publishers (and get it read), but you probably don’t need a publicist. You’re advised to promote yourself.
  7. The book you write and the one you publish are likely two very different books.
  8. It takes at least a year, more often two, to go from proposal acceptance to holding the book in your hand.
  9. Traditional publishing exists because getting your book in stores used to be the only way to sell your book, and publishers were the only ones who could get your book in stores.
  10. The reasons getting published is an attractive idea is because your publisher takes on some of the risk, and helps you with getting the book out in the world. Then it’s your job to sell it.
  11. Your publisher will provide you with an advance against future royalties ( about $3-$5 a book ) and provide you with an editor who will help you personally as well as the book.
  12. Being a published author will not make you any money.
    I was told this repeatedly by some of the authors at the conference. They do coaching, speaking, retreats and all kinds of other things to make money.
  13. There are two other ways to get published beyond going the traditional publisher route.  Depending on your skills, budget and the amount of time you have, you may want more or less support.

Self publishing:
Upload your word doc and graphic through amazon and boom – you’re a published author! Whether it will sell is another story.

Assisted self publishing:
There are a few places, that for a fee, can provide fee for service editors, cover designers and book marketing people. They can also help you with printing and distribution.

Do you have any questions about publishing your book, or building your author platform?
Email me – la@laurelannestark.com and I’m happy to answer your questions and share what I learned.

Struggling to build your platform?
Learn how to succeed at social media marketing in  just 17 minutes a day.
Download a free copy of the book here

Just wanna see pics?
Check out photos and videos of the trip on my Instagram

Fat Wallet, Skinny Waist – The Suprising Link Between Them

Did you know there is a really surprising link between your wallet and your waistline?

fat-wallet-skinny-waist-laurel-anne-stark

No, I’m not talking about the scientific correlation between poverty and obesity , but prosperity and fitness. The idea has been proven by science. No matter what your objectives, whether it’s to improve your fitness or increase your earnings, the strategy to achieving it is the same.

So, you have some objectives.

There’s a difference between where you are and where you want to be. The way to get there in my experience whether it is your waistline or it’s your wallet is to figure out what your objective is. Figure out what’s realistic, and make it a smart goal.

What is a Smart Goal? It’s:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Actionable
  • Realistic
  • Time Bound

Now that you’ve got your smart goal, it’s time to create a plan.
Your plan is the second part of this whole equation. It’s where you sit down with a pen and a piece of paper or your computer and you figure out “What do I have to do to get where I want to be.”

In the case of your waistline, you probably want to eat right and go work out. Then, you want to look at how often am you’re going to be doing these things.
“Am I going to the gym five days a week or seven days a week?”

The key here is the application of consistent effort. It’s focus and consistency.
>> It’s the same thing with your online marketing plan. <<

Focus and Consistency wins the race

If you want to get more leads or if you want to get more revenue or if you want to get more traffic to your website – whatever the case is – if that’s your objective, then you need to create a plan.

Then, more importantly you need to execute consistently. You need to do certain things every single day, certain things every single week, and certain things every single month. You need to just keep doing it until you hit your goal.

That’s how results happen.

Because if you don’t apply the effort consistently and with focus, you’re not going to get anywhere. If you just go to the gym once every six weeks you’re not going to see any difference. If you change your approach and you don’t stick to your plan in marketing, you’re not going to see results either. It’s the application of the plan. It takes some time to see results.

Usually, it’s the 80/20 rule, 80% of effort for 20% of the results. That applies here as well with your online marketing. What I see too often is people who are not committed to writing out the course. You need to create your plan, and then write it out for at least three months, and then measure your results, and then tweak. Don’t change midcourse; otherwise, you’re not going to see the results.

Please share with your network if you found this valuable, and if you want more online marketing tips, go to LaurelAnneStark.com

The Weird “Hat” Hack That Will Explode Your Blog Post’s Effectiveness.

HAT Hack - header image

Watch / Listen to this post instead,  

All those hats can get heavy!

Small business owners, on any given day, may find themselves fulfilling duties ranging from CEO to janitor. We wear a lot of “hats”.

And while you’re working your hats off, you may have noticed there aren’t that many folks around you doing the same. HAT HACK for social mediaWhile it may be tempting to demand 5 times more effectiveness from the intern, drivers on your commute and your local barista, it’s not realistic.

The good news is, I’m sharing with you what I call The Hat Hack, which will make your blog post (almost) as an effective multitasker as you are.

You’re probably letting your blog posts off the hook way too easily.

Whether it’s a newsletter, blog post or social media post,  you know you need to do this kind of online marketing work in order to stay competitive and effectively market yourself online.

And once you’ve completed your blog post, typically speaking we just hit publish, feel the relief for a minute and go back to our busy lives.

I’m here to tell you, if you’re doing that you’re making a mistake and missing out on an opportunity!

I believe your blog post should work (at least) 5 times harder than that…

Each piece of content you create should be repurposed so you have five different online marketing assets with, count em, a total of 15 significant benefits and results.

1.Blog Post On Your Website:

Once you’ve completed your blog post, you’ve got the first piece of content done – woohoo! If well written, your blog post should help establish you as a thought leader, help prospective clients know, like and trust you, help you get better ranking on search engines like Google, and keep your website updated. Four major benefits from one web asset!

1.Video :

As the MOST effective online marketing tool, think about summarizing your blog post in a short video. You can then post thevideo to YouTube, upload to Facebook and share on your website.

Videos are effective because they help audiences remember you and trust you, they’re also more likely to share the video, spend more time on your website and buy from you.

(This ads another 5 benefits to your humble blog post, totalling 9 benefits, so far!)

3.Email:

Your blog post should be sent out via email to at least 5 people. You can send it out with a personal note, or a mass email (assuming you have permission to email your list)

Canadians prefer to receive marketing materials via email newsletter and it’s a great way to stay top-of-mind with associates and clients. That’s two more benefits – totalling 11.

4.Social media:

A good blog post should grab attention with a creative headline and keep attention by providing information people can use, or value in some way.

If your blog post fulfils these these criteria than it should get plenty of shares and comments on social media.

A well written and creative blog post can get more free exposure on social media than a paid ad.

Additionally, every share, comment and like acts as a form of social proof, or implicit endorsement.

If my numbers are right that’s 13 benefits – from just one idea.

5.Images:

In the age of instagram, a visual representation of your blog post is all but a requirement.

Create or source and image you can use as the header for your post, and then it gives you another online asset to share on image-only social sites.

A picture is, after all, worth a thousand words and can help folks remember your content.

Additionally, there are many documented cases of consumers purchasing items after they’ve favorited it on Pinterest – another image heavy social media site.

I’ve shown you exactly how one blog post can become 5 online assets giving you 15 solid benefits.

Now, that’s working your hat off 😉

Click the share button now to spread the love and don’t forget to grab more free resources on my website at www.laurelannestark.com

What do you think of the “hat hack”? Do you think you’ll use it? Share in the comments below.

How To Actually Make Time For Your Online Marketing

If you DON’T feel overwhelmed by marketing your business online marketing – you may be doing it wrong.

Really.

Let me be the first to admit it, small business owners like myself already have towering to-do lists.

Many of us have deadlines that would send your average worker bee into straight up panic mode.

Add in a huge amount of information about a constantly changing set of circumstances that is the world of online marketing, and it’s pretty standard to feel overwhelmed!

People are surprised to hear me say this.  I get called a social media guru pretty regularly and I guess people think that I am calm, cool and collected and perfectly organized when it comes to my online marketing. The truth is, I’m not at all.

One of my favorite personal development truths is that if you can’t change the person, change the environment, and so that’s what I’ve done.

So, walk and talk with me!

Join me and Moe as we walk in the park and I’ll share my system with you.

Why this matters: Your job isn’t what you think it is:

If you’re in business for yourself, you are definitely in the business of marketing yourself. If you don’t have clients and you don’t have sales, you don’t really have a business, do you?

So, your online marketing has to be a priority to ensure your sales funnel and pipeline stay full!

Clarity Kills Confusion

The first thing I do is get really, really clear on my strategy.

What is it that I’m actually doing that is going to drive my business forward?

What specific actions will translate into more credibility, exposure and working with the clients that I want to work with. I also want more profit so I have enough time to get outside and enjoy the sunshine every once in awhile, you know…Because it’s all about the life balance and I want to create a life and a business that works for me, not the other way around.

So before I do any marketing at all,  I get clear on:
who my ideal clients are and

  1. how I can find them online
  2. what the most effective way for me to spend my marketing time and dollars are.

Do you pencil yourself into your own calendar?

Once I’m clear on my strategic objectives, the second thing to do is then actually make time for working on and executing these objectives. Of course, that’s much easier said than done although the tactic is simple.

I basically have to book off time to work on my marketing in my calendar and I have to stick to the time slots I’ve dedicated to this.

How to leverage shame for personal gain

I find that if I don’t make myself accountable to another person then I will not actually execute all the marketing stuff that I promised myself I would do.

So, I have a weekly accountability call with my partner, Wendy, and every week I tell her what I did last week that I said I was going to and what I’m going to do this week and she does the same with me.

I feel like a schmuck if I don’t do the things that I said I was going to do. So I use that to my advantage.

“I basically leverage personal shame to achieve my business objectives.”

But you know what? It works like a charm because I don’t want to let Wendy down and it makes me do the things that I said that I was going to do.

Those are my top tactics for getting clear on the right action, making the time to do the work and motivating myself to get it done.

I’ll need a snack with that.

Believe it or not, I have trouble writing blog posts and filming the videos I do. I am a procrastinator, and even when I have the time blocked off in my calendar, I still find it difficult to get started.

What I do in this situation is  break my tasks and timing up into little chunks, like a half hour at a time. I give myself a little break after each chunk of time, to have a snack or a coffee or go outside and I give myself a pat on the back once I’ve done it as well.

Bulk scheduling tasks.

Because I find 80% of the effort is getting into the right headspace to get my online marketing tasks done, I want to get as much done once I am there as possible.

When it comes to videos and blog posts I typically will do 4-5 at once, all in one day.

I get my equipment set up, I’m in the zone and I can be really, really productive.That’s just what works for me.

In summary.

I hope you found this helpful! If you want more online marketing tips, check out my website at www.laurelannestark.com and don’t forget to like, comment and share this video.

I look forward to hearing your thoughts on making time for your own marketing, please weigh in below!.

Thanks for watching.

DIY Video Hacks for Small Businesses: LIVE Behind The Scenes, How To

Video is the most powerful tool you can use to generate sales from your online marketing efforts.

When it comes to getting results from online marketing, my favorite tools are the ones that consistently show strong performance metrics in more than one area and video certainly does!

The top five reasons to start using video to market your business online.

  1. People tend to know, like and trust you faster if you are using videos instead of just text to communicate.  The reason for this is that 99% of our communication is nonverbal. Viewers will get a pretty good idea of who you are and if they will like and trust you based solely on body language.
  2. Videos make you more memorable. Viewers are much more likely to remember you if they’ve seen you on video, than read a bunch of text. That in itself is a victory when there is so much online competing for your customers attention!
  3. Statistically, videos will keep your website visitors on your website for longer than if you don’t have videos on your website.  The more time visitors spend on your website, the better your odds of convincing them to contact you or buy from you
  4. People are more likely to think that you are an expert if they’ve seen you on video. Video not only boosts trust, but credibility as well.
  5. Viewers are more likely to share videos then they would just text.

Even though the reasons to start using video are powerful and plentiful, many DIY marketers still aren’t using it.

Besides the obvious not wanting to look terrible on camera, there are also several logistical bstacles to getting started on video.

The most common question I hear is, what kind of equipment do I need?

I went on Facebook live last week to address the equipment question by taking you through my two setups, for a startup and intermediate budget.

I’ve been filming an average of a 4 videos a month for the last 6 years and I shared my DIY Video Hacks for Small Businesses. Click the video to watch, or read the summary below:

One of the comments I got  live on Facebook, was that maybe lighting or equipment wasn’t really required at all.

And that can be true too. It just depends on what level of quality you’re comfortable with. Check out three options, with samples below:

On The Cheap / Startup / No Budget

I’ve filmed many videos on an iphone in my car.

Even one actually driving, where I share even more video marketing tips: I don’t do this anymore, promise.

Budget DIY Video Marketing Set Up

I have two pieces of equipment in my low budget DIY Video Marketing setup:

  1. A light (a Day Light)
  2. My smartphone (currently an iphone 5)

I also film against a white wall.

The total cost, excluding my time, is about $200 for the light.

A sample video with this equipment is here:

Semi Pro DIY Video Marketing Set Up

I wanted a more polished look and feel so I invested in the following pieces of equipment:

  1. Canon Rebel EOS (approx $1200)
  2. Tripod for said Canon Rebel (approx $100)
  3. Complete Lighting Set (approx $200)
  4. Add on Mic (approx $150)

A sample video with this equipment is here:

Professional Video

I am really happy with my semi-pro setup. The level of control and quality it gives me is perfect for my needs.

That being said, pro videos aren’t something you should rule out if you’re looking to skip the techie stuff and get on with your day.

Here are two examples of professional videos I did a few years ago:

In summary, there are definitely options for every budget.

I’d love your feedback – are you using video ? If you aren’t yet, do you think you will? And if you’re not, are there any tips you’d like to add?

Let me know in the comments below!

How To Get Your Website To Show Up On Google. Part One: (for Beginners).

How to get your website to show up on google

How To Get Your Website To Show Up On Google. Part One: (for Beginners).

Have you ever wondered “How do I get my website to rank higher on Google?”

It’s a question I get asked a lot so I thought I would answer the question (or at least part of it, in today’s article).

The short answer is that there’s no short answer…

But really, the answer is a big one, so I’m gonna break it up into a couple of different posts for you.
What I’ll cover today are basics and first steps.

What do people search for, when they’re looking for what you sell?

Successfully arriving anywhere begins with knowing your destination.

As so with this exercise; the very first thing to do is determine where on Google you want to show up.

What words are your prospective clients typing into Google? Or, what are people searching for when they’ree looking for what you sell?

Typically, people type in a couple different types of words into Google, we call these keywords.

One type is location specific, so things like “vacuum repair, Vancouver,” “Vancouver vacuum repair,” “Vancouver vacuum sales,” so location specific. That’s one set.

Another type is kind of like a big ramble. If you think about how you use Google and what you type into Google, then this will give you a pretty good idea. Questions like, “Where do I get my vacuum fixed in Vancouver?” Or,”What’s the best vacuum repair store in Vancouver?” These types of things are called long tail keywords.

Ideally, you’ll have a list of two type of keywords, short and/or location specific keywords and long tail keywords, which are more sort of rambles or questions.

Compile a list of these key phrases first and get, 30 as a great place to start.

Then once you have these words, associate each keyword or group of keywords with a page on your website, or the pages that you want to show up on Google in response to those searches.

Put out the welcome mat and turn the lights on.

Making your website friendly and welcoming for Google and for your future customers involve many of the same activities.

There’s some pretty obvious stuff that you can start off with to make your website Google friendly. Look at your website from the perspective of whether or not your website is easy to use.

How fast does your website load?

There’s a bunch of different things that you can do to get your website to be sped up. One of those things is definitely making sure that your images are compressed. You can do all kinds of speed tests online and website developers can help you speed your site. That’s one really basic thing.

Is your website mobile friendly?

Another basic thing is looking and being sure that your website is mobile friendly so if you use a tablet or a phone to access your website, you can actually click on the buttons, it’s not impossible to use.

Is your website structure helpful?

Referring back to your list of keywords, all of the pages on your website should answer the questions, or at least be relevant to the key phrases that people are typing into Google.

The three little letters that mean a lot.

Every single page on your website should be what we call “search engine optimized.”, or SEO’d if you want to sound like a pro :-)
This means associating a specific target keyword or key phrase to each page and then optimized each page for that keyword or key phrase.

Say for example, we’re working with this vacuum store in Vancouver, so on the about page they should use those words quite a bit, and say why they are the best vacuum repair store in Vancouver, and how to find the best vacuum store in Vancouver, like where the address is, et cetera. You want to have a whole bunch of content that actually uses those words people are searching for.

Also, provide images, as they are very helpful.

Search engine optimization is also fairly technical, the page URL, for example, www.johnsvacuums.com/aboutbestvacuumstorevancouver – each page URLshould use the keywords as well.

If you have a WordPress site you can use this plugin called Yoast, it’s a fantastic plugin, it basically tells you exactly what to do.

You can download that and then optimize each page accordingly. That’s kind of an overview of your on-site optimization that you can do to help your website rank higher in Google.

Another thing, depending on the resources that you have, and the amount of time that you have, but generally I recommend blogging regularly.

This just shows Google that you are relevant site, and contender, and that your site isn’t old and outdated. Also gives lots of great content that you can share on social media. It’s great for your users as well. I recommend blogging, again, based on those keywords.

Blog for people, not robots!

Now, back in the day, it used to be that you would just write it for the search engines, and all the content on the website, it didn’t really matter if a human could read it.

But now, it definitely has to be relevant, it has to be readable, and it has to be useful to the person who is making that search.

It’s a tricky balance between making sure that the keywords are in there and it’s all based on a particular topic, as well as making sure that it’s coded appropriately according to Google, and people would actually stay on the page, and look at it, and find value in what it is that you’ve written there as well.

How did I do?

If you found this valuable, please consider sharing with your network. In fact, just hit that share button right now and share away.

If you want more information, you can download more free resources here on my website at www.laurelannestark.com.

And if you disagree or think I missed anything, please weigh in in the comments section below.

Thanks for watching!

What The Heck To Post on Social Media (For Business)

wHAT SHOULD I POST
“What should I post on social media?”

The lady asking this question isn’t personally on social media all that much.

She was asking for work and she hadn’t posted to any of the business’ social media accounts for six months or so.
This is much more common than you might think.

If you’re in the same situation, I’m going to help walk you through creating a document that’s going to completely answer that question for you – for the rest of this year.

You will never have to think “Oh Jeez, What do I post on social media?” again!

What we’re going to create is what I call an editorial calendar.

It’s a plan for the year and days of the week we’re going to create in advance, so you stay up to date and have a record of what you’re going to post.
I usually create it as an Excel sheet and I put columns for every single month and have another tab for theme days of the week – like “Sneak a Peek Sundays”

If you don’t have an editorial calendar, following this plan, it will take you, I would say probably, 15 to 20 minutes to sit down and create that calendar.

The 15-20 minutes you spend today will pay off in dividends. Trust me on this one!

Get Festive!

First thing you want to do is grab a calendar, whether it’s paper or electronic, and take a look at all the holidays that happen every single year.

I mean, we all know the obvious ones around a typical holiday season. There’s smaller ones like St. Patrick’s Day that you might want to incorporate.

Once you populate your Excel spreadsheet with all the holidays that are happening in every single year, you’re already going to have so many more things that you could possibly post about on social media!

What’s Happening?

Then, I want you to take it a step further and take a look at the news and events that are happening internally within your company.

Perhaps you would attend a trade show every single year at the same time.
Perhaps it’s your really busy season every single year at the same time.
Perhaps there’s deadlines that your customers need to know about every single year at the same time.
Again, put these events in your editorial calendar so that way next time you take a look at it you know, “Oh. This is what’s coming up this month.”

Channel Your Inner Photographer

Second thing I want you to do, is start thinking about taking behind the scenes photos.

Put it in your calendar once a week to spend a few minutes taking pictures. People love photos of other people so take photos of your staff, your customers if they’ll let you. Post it on social and just do a little introduction as to who we’re looking at here.
This helps people to know, like and trust your business by providing a little bit behind the scenes.

Similarly, if you can’t get anyone to pose for a photo you can also just take pictures about what’s going on around the office. Perhaps someone dropped of donuts or perhaps your parking lot is icy. Seems again, like a little bit of an overshare, but this is the type of stuff that happens on social media, and again, will get people to know, like and trust you.

Change Your Perspective

Then, I want you to put yourself in the shoes of your prospective customers.

What do they care about?
What are they interested in?

In the case of, say for example, you are a contractor, your customers care about making their homes look good.

Perhaps you could share tips and trends about interior decorating or landscaping tips or trends in lighting. Stuff that’s going to be valuable for your customers.

Prove It!

Another thing that is really super powerful to share on social media is what I call “social proof.”

Social proof is the phenomenon where people make decisions based on the decisions that other people have made. By sharing testimonials and reviews on social media, you convince other people that you’re a trustworthy business to do business with.
Even if people are not posting these reviews on social media, you can go into your email and screencap those awesome comments you’re getting and share those on social as well.

Put it in your calendar once a week to spend a few minutes gathering and posting testimonials.

Educate & Influence:

Say, for example, you’re a drywall company, you can share educational things like, what people need to know before they shop for a drywall contractor.

Perhaps any safety information or certification that’s updated and going on. Things like that will really help you to fill up that content calendar with thoughtful, themed content each month.
Once you go through this process once, I promise you will have an editorial calendar that will be fantastic and work for you perfectly.

If you like this article, please share with your network!
You can visit me online for more marketing tips at www.laurelannestark.com

What No One Will Tell You About Your Brand New Website

Reading a good book can change your outlook on life.

Philosophically speaking, you may even be a different person than you were before you read the book.

Most of the successful business owners I know are voracious readers, they have coaches and consultants and are in regular attendance at workshops and seminars.

Their growth game is strong.

The continued evolution of their offering, brand, services and approach to business and life has a downside no-one talks about.

Sometimes, you can evolve so fast, the online reflection of your business is outdated as soon as you launch.

Yep. Your website is outdated the minute you launch.

The text, images, wording…call to action, all of it is the product of your reality 3-6 months ago, when you were working to get it launched.

If you’re a perfectionist, or like the feeling of being done, once and for all, or even for this quarter, this can eat away at you.

Whether you change your hair as often as Madonna used to, or you’re committed to providing the best in service you possibly can, you’re going to be out of date.

It’s the side-effect of being an evolving entrepreneur.

And it’s ok!

The web has enabled you to become your own broadcaster – and that’s wonderful.

Just know that it’s iterative. Your website, your headshots, your official bio…all of it.

It’s all progress.

It’s never, ever going to be perfect.

And that’s ok.

Going into your new website development or product design or photo shoot or whatever it is with this knowledge can save you a ton of time and frustration.

It may never, ever, ever feel done, or perfect, or 100%.

But it can be an improvement on the last iteration.

Don’t let great be the enemy of good.

Just launch your website, then refine it.

Launch and refine, launch and refine, launch and refine.

That’s the evolutionary way.

But do continue to evolve your online presence on a somewhat regular basis.

Don’t just give up and settle for the online equivalent of an 80’s perm.

What no one will tell you about your brand new site

Stop Watching Cat Videos And Start Marketing On Social Media

Stop Watching Cat Videos And Start Marketing On Social Media

Scrolling through your Facebook feed while your coffee gets cold isn’t social media marketing.

You’re supposed to be doing something to promote your business online, but all those videos of cats can be awfully distracting.

The next thing you know, 20 minutes of your life has slipped away, and you still haven’t done anything productive.

The scenario I just described is typical for small business owners succumbing to the pressure to get on social media.

The thing is, without a plan of attack, many small business owners don’t get very far online.

Instead they face:

  1. Overwhelm: all the new, shiny tools!
  2. Wasted time: mucking about, without a strategy
  3. A sinking feeling: they’re missing out on a world of opportunity.

The way to be effective on social media is to know your audience.

Imagine you sell cat beds.

Probably, sharing all those cat videos on social media would be a great idea, because your ideal customer likes cats.

That’s an obvious one, but if you can get into the mind of your target market and figure out who they are, you can then create and share content (videos, articles, images) that will be received well.

Content that is well received will:

  • Generate likes, comments and shares (increasing your exposure)
  • Drive traffic to your website (assuming you provide a link to your site)
  • Teach your prospects something (building trust and positioning you as a thought leader)

How do you figure out who your target audience is?

Hint: Here’s a handy video that shows you just how to figure that out, easily.

Take out a pen and paper and imagine your ideal client. Start brainstorming the answers to questions like:

  • What keeps them up at night?
  • What problem do they want to solve?
  • What are their hobbies and interests?
  • Where else do they spend money?
  • How do they see themselves?
  • What do they stand for?
  • What media do they consume?
  • What are they ready for?
  • What questions they ask before they buy what you sell?

The answers to these questions will give you an idea of what’s important to your target, and what types of content they would like to see.

Answer the questions you get asked every day in the form of a blog post.

Think about it.

You get asked the same questions over and over and over.

Obviously, the answers are important to your existing customers, so the odds are good the answers will be important to your prospective customers.

Why not answer that question, in depth in a blog post. This handy video will give you tips on how to get that done more quickly and easily than you thought possible.


A social media strategy that is based on what your target audience cares about is the most effective strategy.

But, knowing your target audience is just the first step

One of my clients said today “I thought going to social media camp I’d learn everything I’d need to know about social media and be done – HA! That didn’t happen”

He’s right.

Successfully marketing your business on social media can be complicated, if you try to figure it all out on your own.

Or you can grab a complimentary copy of my book Social in 17 – how to be successful on social media in just 17 minutes a day.

This is what people are saying about Social in 17:

Really! Social Media can be done in 17 minutes a day. Laurel gives you the structure, the tips, and the ideas. This book is quick and easy to read. She touches on all the major social media platforms but she isn’t short on details. I enjoyed Laurel’s clear and concise style. Well worth my time (and I teach courses on social media). Jeff Nelson, Calgary.

Grab your free copy, here:  www.laurelannestark.com

How Doing Good is Increasing Profits for Business

How Doing Good is Increasing Profits for Business The first rule of business is make money.

Whether it’s donating a certain percentage of profits to charity, organizing staff volunteering events or committing to being “green”, doing good doesn’t always make the high priority list for busy entrepreneurs.

Business owners focus on ensuring profits are good and operations are going smoothly before considering any altruistic programs.

This is called a transactional business model and it’s a common way of doing business. Essentially, someone buys a product or service from you and they give you money for it, and that is it.

But studies are showing that transactional businesses are facing a growing disadvantage.

According to a survey by Goodmustgrow.com 30% of respondents said that they expect to increase the amount of goods and services they buy from socially-responsible companies and 60% of people said that buying goods from socially-responsible companies is important to them.

We can see sales of up to 10% more by having a seal at the bottom of your website that says, “hey, a certain percentage of these sales are going to charity.”

The world is getting smaller, and we are all feeling the impact of things like environmental disasters, refugees, wars etc. and it’s becoming more and more important from both a fiscally and an ethically responsible perspective to make sure that your business is a force for good.

The alternative to a transactional business model is a transformational business model.

A great example of a transformational business is Tom’s Shoes, they’ve got what’s called a triple bottom line. That is, impact, amount of people served, as well as profits. If you’re not familiar with Tom’s Shoes, every time you buy a pair of shoes they give a pair of shoes to a child in need.

I’m asking you now, how do you think that you could use your business as a force for good in the world, and turn it into a transformational instead of a transactional business?

I’d love to hear your thoughts. If you like this video/blog post please “like” it, and consider sharing it with your network.