One of the questions I often ask my clients is this: “what do you need to release in order to make room for the thing you’re calling in.” This year, I’m taking my own advice in a big way. My inner calling is shifting, and I’m trying to clear enough space to hear my “inside” voice.
Marie Kondo has nothing on me. For the past weeks, I’ve hauled a wide array of stuff, junk, and clutter out of my house. There are:
Bags filled with clothes I no longer wear for whatever reason
Bags filled with files, papers, calendars, and notes going back to the 1990s
Boxes filled with books, school supplies, and random items to donate
Boxes filled with outgrown toys to move on to a range of people and places
Truckloads and carloads of donations have left the station. The front porch has become a staging area for the next load.
My eye has become merciless in its unwavering focus. It is my desire to be unburdened. Over the years, I have agreed to carry burdens for others, to take care of their unfinished business. To store their unfinished projects.
The load has become more than I can bear.
Thus, what my family will later call the Great Spring Purge of 2020. This event has a historical significance and may actually end up in the history books.
Here are the criteria I’m using to haul away piles of stuff that is getting in the way of the life I truly desire and am actively calling in.
1. Is it REPLACEABLE?
If something is replaceable, out of date, the wrong size, or outgrown, it goes to a donation site.
2. Is it VITAL?
If an item is vital to my work, my practice, my heart, if I use it regularly, and if it means something very special to me, it stays – and is put in its rightful place.
3. Is it DONE?
If it’s damaged, worn out, unusued, or just plain old and dingy, trash it. No-one else wants it.
4. Would someone else BENEFIT?
If someone else would benefit from it more than me, pass it on: sell, donate, gift or regift.
5. Does it need REPAIR?
Is it worth the time, energy and money to update, adjust or repair? If so, make a plan to make it so. If not, set it on the curb next to your trash bins.
These tasks are not for the faint of heart. My heartstrings are definitely tugged when I open certain bins to determine what goes. For some of these, I will enlist a buddy for emotional support. After all, it’s hard to let go – not of the things, but of the parts of you they represent.
“I courageously release what no longer serves,” is my mantra.
As 2020 ticks forward one day at a time, I am envisioning a shift for the future in which I choose to dwell. One day at a time, I am creating the change I want to be. After all, wildflowers like me need room to grow and bloom.
What do you need to release in order to create the change you want to be? I’d love to know. Please hit respond to this post to share your thoughts.
A new 27-page complimentary download from author Sherri L. McLendon, MA
Professional Moneta International, LLC, announces the release of a new, high-value e-book, “Build Your Brand Leadership With Press Releases: A Beginner’s Guide to Making News.”
The publication, authored by founder and director Sherri L. McLendon, MA, is designed for out-of-the-box entrepreneurs who are ready to build their personal brand leadership through public relations and press releases.
In its pages, readers will discover practical, down to earth advice such as:
• Top 3 Reasons Entrepreneurs Need PR
• Drawbacks & Advantages to Do-It-Yourself Press Releases
• 5 Great Questions to Orient Brand Storytellers
• An Open Letter to People Whose Stories Land Features
• Common Sense Crisis Communication Strategies
• And much more!
Client questions were the inspiration for the book, according to Sherri L. McLendon, author and founding director of Professional Moneta, a boutique marketing public relations consulting agency.
“Beginners to public relations want to make news, but aren’t sure where to begin,” she says. “This publication looks at some of the questions entrepreneurs most often have about PR and press releases, and offers practical advice to move forward.”
Small business owners often want and need to showcase brand leadership and build business and reputation.
“Public relations practice is an important part of the marketing function for businesses of any size,” she says.
I’m that crazy lady in your neighborhood who never takes down her holiday decorations. However, my current thoughts of the next big holiday season have little to do with my dubious taste in yard art. The ability to make like an elf and get ahead of the holidaze is a must-do if you wish to celebrate business growth. This year, you’ll want to plan your campaigns for brand awareness, list building, increasing engagement, or ringing in sales along with the New Year.
Entrepreneurs, like elves, know it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, Yule, Winter Solstice, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa right now. Here are 5 steps to keep you from playing catch-up in October:
Step 1: Treat the campaign as a special event.
If you planned a party for 100 VIP guests, would you wing it? Probably not. Creating a promotion or campaign for your business should have the same degree of intention. Set a date, decide who to invite, set benchmarks for preparation.
Choose the holiday or holidays for which aligned promotions are part of your plan.
Brainstorm ideas for promotions, then narrow your list to 3-5.
Match your best ideas to your windows of opportunity.
Create multiple campaigns for niches within your audience to promote list growth.
Generally, the campaign delivery date should be about 4 weeks before the holiday.
Step 2: Get clear about your goals.
Good sales goals are measurable and specific. Here’s how I choose mine:
Identify the biggest problems or needs I have in my business
Set a goal that I’ll meet once I’ve addressed the problem.
Identify a tactic which is ideally suited to helping me create a solution and meet the goal.
For example, I will gripe to my friend, “I need to grow my list.” But I may stop there. The problem is too big and the ranges of solutions are too broad. Instead, I ask myself, “how?” I know the secret lies in getting consent from my future clients to share information about my offers. I might:
Run a contest to celebrate a special occasion
Ask for “votes” on an issue or question for a chance to win a prize
Share an incentive, such a promotion code or mobile-friendly coupon
Offer a giveaway now to grow my list for future interaction
So my goal becomes “Grow my list by 10% in order to be ready for the December holiday rush.” I decide to offer a timely, limited giveaway that’s relevant to my brand, the content of which my ideal client really wants and needs and values. In exchange, I will ask for the visitor’s name, email, and current feedback on an important aspect of the work we might do together. The visitor will opt to receive future mailings from me.
Step 3: Publishing the Campaign
Start with a landing page, a designated web page with a unique url (address) to create a hub for your offer. This choice allows use of Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, a blog, newsletter, or email campaign to deliver the news of the offer.
Thanks to easily customizable templates readily available online, even non-designers can find a platform and options for creating their own landing pages. A savvy marketer with a do-it-yourself work ethic will want to go light on information, heavy on high quality images or graphics, and issue a clear call to action.
When it comes to a campaign launch, timing can be everything. Holiday calendars already organized around advertising “hot” zones are readily available from publishers online, such as Metro. As a rule of thumb, the behind-the-scenes writing, testing, and syncing, begins about six weeks before the public kickoff, more if you’re working with new team. The campaign may last for any duration of time you choose, though the most successful are limited by hours or days.
Step 4: Promote the Campaign
Promotions for a campaign common sensibly include free as well as paid options. Free options include:
Updating headers across social platforms
Adding the campaign landing page link to bios, email tag lines, and headers
Share compelling images that link viewers back to the campaign page
Publish freemium, on-message content to promote the campaign in article or video forms
An email series creating an understanding of value and increasing demand
Create how-to guides as an infographic or slide share “content pillar”
If I had to choose a favorite, it would be email communications. Despite the rise of social media influencers over the past decade, email marketing continues to convert contacts into paying clients at a rate three times higher than social media – or more. In 2016, social media accounted for about 1.2 percent of total online sales, while email offers generated more than 22 percent.
Affordable paid options include social media ads and promoted posts, Google Adwords, video ads or promos, display ads online, and magazine and news print advertisements. Print advertisements remain particularly effective for increasing brand awareness among highly targeted audiences, which already know, like and trust the publication. Advertisers should opt to combine online and print options for maximum effectiveness.
Step 5: Idea to Action.
When the idea becomes action, the steps include getting launch plan on the calendar, creating benchmarks and accountability, and crafting the content and delivery pieces. Quality, well planned campaigns definitely help lead future clients to a yes.
Need help getting your idea out of your head and into the world? I’m here for you.
Sherri L. McLendon, MA, is a presence-based business coach and lead content strategist with Professional Moneta International, L. L. C., www.professionalmoneta.com, a boutique marketing public relations consultancy helping exceptional entrepreneurs and executives grow their multi-platform brand influence locally and globally.
With the holiday season barreling toward us, it’s easy to be trapped in the land of not enough. Instead, make clever choices that help you source the money for happy holidays.
Not enough money. Not enough resources. Not enough clients. Not enough… well, you get the picture. Sadly, what we focus on, grows, and so the not enough-ness becomes magnified, especially during the hectic holiday season.
Even the Nutcracker might grind his teeth when he figures out Clara is worried about the number of nuts in her bank box. It’s like everything in the imaginary land of fear and money: we paste on a smile even as we cringe. The thought of travel expenses, gift-giving, and specialty menus threaten to destroy our budgets and fragile sense of self-worth.
Forget pictures of sugarplums dancing in our heads. Like misfit toys, we’re focused on worry. Not to say the problems with the economy are imaginary. Like all things government, the recent election has far-reaching implications on the mindset of everyone who spends and earns.
Comfort and joy? Bah, humbug. It’s as obvious as the midnight clear that present uncertainties suggest the wisdom of hoarding resources. Lack is on lots of minds. In actuality, hoarding money or dwelling on what one does not have makes it well nigh impossible to feel one iota of gratitude – or to create more of what you need.
If you don’t believe me, ask the Grinch. He’ll be around in a week or two for his annual visit.
Hope Is Headed Your Way
Really, it’s time to call in a higher level of consciousness around our holiday experience, and around money. I’m calling in hope.
Hope is needed to save the holiday season. Together, you and I are going to change our thinking about the way we can source abundantly throughout the holiday season. No lumps of coal in our stockings. In a non-literal sense, we’re holding space for silver and gold and presents under every single tree.
So please accept this holiday present from me to you, offered in love and trust and from a place of delight that’s merry and bright. You’ll be surprised how many monetary resources you actually have lying around. I know I am, every time I try this tactic to create that teeny bit of extra cash for special treats.
Here is my faithful list of 11 tried and true ways to immediately create more money and positive energy all around during the holiday season (none of which require credit cards):
Collect all the change from around your house. Then, take it to the bank and turn it into cash so you can carry it in your wallet and immediately feel richer.
Take an inventory of all your unused gift cards. Those go in your wallet, too, along with my urging to go out and use them immediately to do something nice for yourself or someone you love.
Take a look at your subscriptions and memberships. Is there anything there you can let go? Honestly, I find all those perfect women pictured in magazines with their perfect kids and immaculate homes a bit depressing, anyway.
Close out unused accounts, and consolidate the money into one place. Often, bank or credit union accounts require a minimum balance, so those little chunks of money could add up.
Collect outstanding loans from family and friends. This tactic feels a bit weird, but when you’ve addressed the matter, you’ll find you feel much better about breaking bread across from them at Grandma’s house.
Sell things you no matter want or need. Craigslist, ebay, the classifieds, or an interested friend may help you clear space and source the resources you desire.
Clip coupons for everything from gifts to groceries. If you don’t know this already, your favorite retailers often send great coupon deals in their email communications. It’s not unusual to get 50 percent off the already marked 50% off rack. So that $100 gift just magically became… $25.
Cut out unnecessary expenditures. I confess, I’ve got a serious coffee habit. On busy days when I’m networking or meeting colleagues for work sessions, I can spend $30 easily on caffeinated beverages – and repeat the spending patter regularly. If I were my client, I’d suggest making this an exception, not a rule. So I’m cutting back on the café au lait, making a good pot of coffee at home, and socking those dollars into my bank account.
Use buy now, pay later options. These types of options, popularized by PayPal, allow you to defer payment on gift items for up to 90 days. This tactic works great if you budget appropriately and pay on time.
Take out a small signature loan. If you pay a small loan back over time, you can actually build your credit and get yourself out of a tight spot. A caution: don’t try this one if you’re out of work, or if your expenses always exceed your income.
Don’t barter. Ask people to pay in cash so that you can source what you need from your own expenditures of energy.
May you enjoy an abundantly blessed holiday, and may you source more than you need.
Sherri L. McLendon, M.A., is owner-founder and managing director of Professional Moneta International, LLC, a marketing public relations consultancy. She also coaches feminine leaders who cultivate an abundance mindset when marketing their businesses at http://www.professionalmoneta.com.
An earlier version of this updated article appeared in WNC Woman Magazine.
Saturated with poignancy, the Autumn speaks to us of transformation. In a patchwork of pieces drawn from our lives, we’re drawn into a landscape of our own design. We shift and change, age, alter our perspectives. We become aware of our own innate wisdom and attend our creations.
In a word, we are becoming “mindful.” Whether we’re smoothing an apron, laying bricks, or ironing out a deal in the boardroom, we must place our attention in a manner to create ease in the work. We do not come to attention; rather, it already resides within us.
Attendance, or Aten’s Dance, asks us to place heightened attention the way we receive understandings about our creations and co-creations. As the Sun God rests at night, as Gaia slumbers and Persephone retreats, so must we, too, honor this time of composting.
Scarlet, purple and gold litter the pathways of the nature trail near my home like confetti. Nature’s artistry reminds me that these rests, like pauses in a line of music, are necessary for new awareness to emerge. In music, a rest stop lies silent; in dance, we find it in the stillness which lie in the space between breaths.
The emptiness is to be embraced. Like time or a river, we allow it to flow past. Watch, each thought as a leaf in the stream. Present, then not. Needle, stitch.