FAITH, COURAGE & PERSISTENCE | Must Haves in Serving & Business

I’m so honoured to be invited by Fideliz Cruz to be featured on her lifestyle channel recently. 

FAITH, COURAGE & PERSISTENCE.
THE MUST HAVES IN SERVING & BUILDING A BUSINESS

Have you seen my interview with Fideliz Cruz? Watch the full episode here:

Here are my tips when serving and building your business:

1) Grace – allowing grace and remembering that we are all made uniquely different – when working with someone that works differently from you, and when you’re faced with a difficult or challenging situation, allow grace and trust in God’s plan.

2) Faith – trust that He [God] has a plan for you. you might not understand when you come across obstacles but keep going with courage.

3) Persistence – “You can not know whether it’s God’s plan or whether you’ve not done enough if you don’t persist. If you’ve persisted and its still not working you know that you can still trust in the plan. But if you didn’t persist and you didn’t give it your 100% you wonder whether it was me or what it was…”

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Fideliz Cruz Vision Casting & Life Strategies Workshop – July 2016

Thank you for having me at this workshop, Fideliz Cruz.

Not only was it such an honour to speak at this event, it was such a pamper for me to hear from other speakers.  It was definitely a rich day and well spent.

For those of you keen on networking, watch this space for the upcoming workshops.  Ladies walk out of this workshop rejuvenated and relaxed!  It’s not even about investing in your time on a Saturday.  It’s a ‘I-want-to-make-sure-I-can-make-it’ kind of event.

Topics covered include: Fashion, Skincare & Beauty, Health, Finance, Business and Lifestyle to name a few.

Follow my blog and social media channels to get updated.


 

Tweet Tweet, do you Twitter?

Today, I wore my Digital Marketer hat to a breakfast hosted by Twitter’s Australia office.

As a small business owner or owner of small businesses, to be precise, it’s highly relevant to stay on top of the latest on social media and where your customers are ‘hanging out’.  Whether it’s the latest fad (Snapchat, dare I say) or Facebook’s latest acquisition.

What do I think about Twitter?

I love cute Larry, the bird. I love that 1 billion tweets are sent globally every 2 days. I love Twitter staff, the office and their slick presentations.  I do believe in their branding impacts with video. I love that they house the world’s data signals with @ and #.  I love the fact that they came up with the # (hashtags). I do love that they popularised short-form content. 

Though from a SMB strategy perspective, if you ask me for an honest opinion on Twitter – I’ll admit that it is my least of priorities on the myriad of Social Media platforms I use.  Not necessarily because it’s ineffective but it has probably lost its relevancy in promoting businesses.  I do realise I’m being harsh here but honesty is the best policy when it comes to helping small businesses prioritise their efforts.   Would I recommend my clients to pay $12K on promoted trends (a hashtag) for a single day?  Yes I would, if they were a large, million dollar business and running a branding campaign.  But definitely not for SMB’s who are focussed on measurable impacts on their marketing dollars that they entrust us with.

That said, Twitter is still a place to be present in for all small businesses.  It’s free to set up accounts and there are quite some smart strategies that are free to help you understand the latest trending topics that your customers are interested in.  In turn, there are some nuggets that you can leverage in there to target your customers.  How?  Ask the experts?

If you lack the time to post separately on Twitter, the least you can do is to link up the account to your more active Social Media platforms such as Facebook or Instagram so that your updates are automatically pushed onto Twitter.   The are also plenty of tools out there which help you manage your multiple platforms in the one place.  The one we like is Hootsuite.   Is it effective then, to be just pushing automatic updates from Facebook to Twitter?  No, it’s not best practise.  But as a small business, we understand that you may lack the time to dedicate targeted messaging on each platform.  In this instance, better to have presence than none at all.  That’s our perspective.  Some will argue otherwise.  We’ll leave it you to test and analyse!

If this sparked your interest, send us an email on team@efficientmedia.com.au, visit http://www.efficientmedia.com.au for more information or give us a ‘like’ on Facebook .

Confessions of a Life-Coachee

I’ve successfully completed my first life-coaching program and I’m so grateful to Jesus for dragging me onto this path when I wasn’t ready.  After the first session of this program, I already knew  I was called into it.  Fideliz Cruz, my dearest sister-in-Christ, is God-send.  Through her, the Lord gave me answers to questions that I didn’t want to ask.  He gave answers to unanswered questions.  It’s my pleasure and obligation to share this journey with you here.

Whenever I told people that I was getting life coached, they would literally raise their eyebrows.  Some with perplexed looks, others with skepticism and a small number who flat out thinks it’s a joke.

If you’re a life coach, please don’t take offence as you read on. For the record, you people are gifted, chosen and totally worth the investment.  However, I think the general perception of this increasingly popular career seems to met with ‘skepticism’ and ‘hesitation’.  Admittedly, I speak from experience.

If you ask me why, I think it’s because humans are inherently arrogant or self-righteous, to say the least. They are unwilling to hand over their arrogance and accept that they need an external, skilled person to help them tunnel their vision towards their REAL goals.

From my own surveying, it seems that the older the generation, the deeper the frown and skepticism when asked if he/she would invest in a life coach.

Baby boomers seem to be the most dismissive of such expertise (although they all seem to act like a life coach of some sort themselves.) The Gen X’s are working too hard to even bother.  Gen Y’s are probably the most receptive and open-minded to being coached.  The Millenials are just all Life Coaching each other.

I’m a Gen Y. But a frugal one.  Although I would fit into a life coach’s typical target audience,  it’s not easy to sell me ANYTHING.  Life coaching would be far down the list of things I would dream to invest in.  But it was God’s path for me.   The way Fideliz intercepted my life and how I bit the bullet into life coaching is Divine intervention.  I’ll save that story for if and when you and I to meet face to face.

The impacts of my life coaching program are HUGE.  Not little.  HUGE. And real.

Here were the 3 goals that Fideliz help me come up with and baby, did I score!

GOAL ONE – “Building a ministry that glorifies God, blessing me with an overwhelming sense of fulfilment”

From the first session where I wasn’t sure where I wanted to take Holy Yoga or where Holy Yoga was going to take me, I came out of the program having a solid goal, direction and upcoming business plan.  I’m so excited about this wellness centre that I even came up with a Mission Statement, “Feeding the mind, body and soul with God’s love through wellness and fitness services for spiritual women.

GOAL TWO – “Finding peace & comfort in my relationships & my success, empowering me to live in security & acceptance.”

I didn’t realise how much my daily personal relationships were shaping my goals, my vision and the way I act and react.  Having Fideliz guide me through those relationships, I had a new perspective and developed new techniques to manage relationship blockages in my life.  Most importantly, Fideliz gave me spiritual guidance and pointed back to Scripture (Ecclesiastes 3) on the seasons of life – when to nurture, when to let go.   On managing relationships, I learnt a beautiful technique – ‘nice girl’ vs ‘mean girl’ dialogue.  This technique required me to dig deep into problematic voices  I hear from certain relationships (aka ‘mean girl’ voice) and meeting those voices with my ‘nice girl’ voice.  I literally created a table like this one below:

MEAN GIRL KIND GIRL
[ACCUSATION] You were such a rebel.  You’re like an animal, can’t be tamed. That’s not true.  I accept that this is how it made you feel but I would love of us to walk around this stumbling block and move forward together, not allowing this to impact our future relationship.
[GUILT]  You didn’t reach out and care for your friends (even though you already know it’s a one-way situation) You tried your best, Jo.  There is a time of peace. [Ecclesiastes 3]
[HURTFUL] I wished you enjoyed being a stay-at-home mum.  I guess I’ll have to come to terms with not marrying that type of woman. I am good enough.  God has created a unique me.  I would make for a lousy someone else.  He wants me to be me and use my gifts to serve.  My gift may not be the ‘stay at home mum’ but I am certainly gifted in areas that I will serve in His Glory.

Lastly, I didn’t realise that I’d been carrying my resentment from years ago.  Fideliz gave me the courage and compassion to face those emotions.  Some of which were to grieve over losses of dreams that I would never be able to live.  Grieving was hard but it was required to find  closure and move on in positive light.   I came to realise that grieving is not limited to the loss of loved ones but even ones dreams.

GOAL THREE – “Floating around adventurously, dancing in freedom, happiness & love”

From there, Fids was gifted in helping me realise that my current life and lifestyle wasn’t so far off from the drivers of my dreams.  The reasons for my dreams and the emotional elements of my ‘shattered dream’ could still and is actually being fulfilled on a daily basis.  It was just that I need to stitch together my fragmented and disillusioned puzzles of my ‘dream’ and make them come true in other ways.  What manifested what a ‘self-love’ manual where I put down the ‘goals of my dreams’ into every day, practical examples.  Before I knew it, I was loving life already.  More so than ever before. I’m unstoppable now!

And here’s how this self-love manual manifested itself…something like this.  The WHEN is not real but you get the point!

— WHAT — 
— FREQUENCY— 
— WHEN —
Practice Holy Yoga
3 times a week
Mon, Wed, Fri
1 full day “me-time”
Weekly
Mon
Date night with hubby
Weekly
Tue
Family day
Weekly
Sat
Personal Growth & Development time
Monthly
1st Tue of every month
Girls night out dinner
Monthly
Last Thu of every month
Pamper Treatment
Monthly
Last Sat of every month
Travel getaway
Yearly
Eat healthy & feel good
Constant
So, why a life-coach?  Because they are trained.  Fideliz made a good point. She’s not God.  She does not have the answers.  God does and most of the time, we do.  Her job is not to answer the questions but to bring out the answers inside us or help us find the answers ourselves.  I describe it as the loose puzzle pieces or gold coins that are trapped inside a transparent glass piggy bank.  You know it’s there, you may even see them.  To access them, you need someone to smash the piggy bank for you and put the puzzle pieces together.  That driving force of the hammer IS the LIFE COACH.
Whether you are struggling to find purpose in life or whether you’re a go-getter with goals stuck on your vision board already, this is my recommendation.  Next time you meet a life coach you can connect with, give it your time and thought on investing in yourself.  Not investing in them.  Investing in yourself.  Because the returns of the breaking that piggy bank is worth it.

“Time Waits for No Man” | Life of an Entrepreneur interview

I was very honoured to be interviewed by Daniel K Cheung, Founder of The Wedding Entrepreneur and ChopeIt.com, to share my experience as a mum and an entrepreneur. The actual interview deviated a little from the original transcript below. But I’m very excited to share the interview here. I hope you all enjoy it.

  

INTRODUCTION
Jo is a mother of 2 young boys, self-proclaimed “serial entrepreneur” who also dedicates her time in ministry teaching Christian Yoga.  Growing up in two cities (Hong Kong & Sydney) with the influences of Asian and Aussie cultures have shaped her strong views on the need to embrace technology in business, life and parenting.  She currently lives in Sydney running a digital marketing agency, teaching yoga and looking after her 2 young boys.  Her entrepreneurial spirit lends itself with the crystal clear objective to help people’s lives.  In her spare time, she is sitting there intentionally doing..’nothing’.

Do you have a favourite success/motivation quote?

“Time waits for no man”  For me, that is a reminder for me to put every second of my life in ‘intentional’ good use, whether this is work, play or doing ‘nothing’.  All is intentional.

You’re at a networking party, someone walks up to you and asks “What exactly do you do?”. How do you answer that in 10-seconds?

Together with a good friend, I run a boutique digital marketing agency which help businesses with all things ‘digital marketing’ related.  I juggle that job with teaching Christian Yoga as well.

How did you start this journey of becoming an entrepreneur?

I suppose I was either born with that itch or I wanted to mirror my parents’ success in entrepreneurship.

I’m sure that I was heavily influenced by my parents’ encouraging stories and success in their experience.

A few years ago, I left the corporate world to venture into the life of an entrepreneur starting an online fashion accessories shop.  That business has not done as well as I had hoped and has now become more of a legacy and turned into a hobby for me. Since then, I have tapped into a few other business ideas but have come to realise that digital consultancy is my edge and has proven to be the most successful business I’ve been running thus far.

And following on from that, how did you get your first client? Was it a paid job?

In the three ventures I currently run, they all started with word of mouth or referral business.  When you launch , it’s always your closest who buy/become your first client or spread the word for you.

To answer your question specifically, I’ll use my online fashion business.  Following on from friends and family, my first customer was from a Facebook ad who was looking for a gift for her fiancé and wanted a customised card sent out together with the purchase.  And man, do you bend over backwards for your first ever real customer!

Can you describe the worst entrepreneurial moment that you have had? What happened? How did it make you feel? And how did you address it?

Hmm….It would have to be “breaking up” with my initial business partner. I must have lost 2 weeks of sleep over that saga.

I’m sure plenty of entrepreneurs go into partnership with a beautiful vision of how ‘you two (or three or four) would work collaboratively as a solid team’, each being able to contribute their skills and complement one another.  You kind of ‘know’ about your differences and ‘hope’ that those differences never surface into anything significant.  But I tell you what, ‘know those differences’  and make sure you have a game plan as to how you manage them when you enter into business partnership.  And especially if they are friends.  It’s not a pleasant conversation to have when you want to go separate ways.

For me, I was very blessed.  My friend and I were very civil about it.  We both knew to place friendship over business.  But I know and have heard of partnerships that went sour and it makes me feel so bad to hear those stories because I’ve seen what can happen if the friendship IS placed first.  Everything always works out in the end.  People just sometimes need to let go of the business and self-righteousness.  Easier said than done, I know..

Anyways, we went separate ways and that has not impacted our friendship a slight bit.  She’s gone and built an empire for herself in the same industry, and turned her business into something far more successful that I have in that industry.  We’re very supportive of each other and I don’t regret ending that partnership at all.

Can you describe the best entrepreneurial moment that you have had?

Can this question be rephrased in ‘plural’ form?  “Moments”

Gosh there are so many but can I talk to my ministry work here? It’s not intentionally ‘entrepreneurial’ but something that entrepreneurs can relate to and this is something that happened recently.

I sent out a flyer for my Christian yoga class to one of the mother’s at my son’s school just ‘hoping’ that I would get some extra students for my classes.  That flyer went viral (DIGITALLY! “sorry, I had to clarify that).  I then had the biggest turn out that a yoga teacher, church minister could ever hope for.  Not only that, this has turned into a regular class with more students that I could ever ask and opened opportunities for more classes.  Of course, I have that mother, a good friend of mine, to thank as well.

The moral of the story is that every avenue to spread word about your business is an opportunity.  Whilst that example wasn’t intentional, in hindsight, it was definitely a learning.  So, don’t be afraid, I say.  Just spread the word.

Entrepreneurs are often told to raise their prices. What are your thoughts on the matter?

Yes, this is a challenging topic.

Fundamentally, I believe that you should never undervalue your services.  On saying that, as an entrepreneur, I know that it’s easy to get emotional and you do whatever it takes to get that business through the door.  Often with lots of excuses and justification because you ‘want THAT CUSTOMER’ …be it your first, be it your biggest.

HOWEVER, I am also a commercial director at heart.  Don’t let the emotions take over.  Do the math.

My view on this is, don’t undervalue your services and be scared to say ‘no’ because when you do, you are entering a vicious cycle of ‘in scalability’.  When you take on services at a loss, you can’t afford to grow your business while you continue to spend time trying to deliver the best.  You are compromising your most important asset as an entrepreneur, your TIME.

If you are going to offer ‘free’ services, make sure you exchange it for something like a ‘testimonial’, a ‘speaking spot’ at a big event or anything that can help you grow your ‘brand’ awareness.  Not because you WANT to have that FIRST or BIGGEST customer.

What is your point of differentiation in the market? What makes you you?

With my digital agency business, our point of differentiation is ‘quick wins’ and ‘efficiency’.  We don’t like to harp on about the strategic 10 year plan that NEVER gets executed on.  We’ll leave that for large corporate boardrooms.  We pride ourselves in delivering results for small/medium sized business.

With my yoga teaching, my point of differentiation is that the meditation and focus is on the Bible.  I am one of two Christian Yoga teachers in this country.

What social media do you use for your business? Which one converts the most for you?

For all my ventures, we are on almost everything.  Like I said before, every avenue is an opportunity and especially social media where it’s free and there is a relevant audience.

To name a few, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest, Polyvore.

I would like to say for ‘B2C’ businesses, Facebook definitely converts best.  It can get complicated but let’s not.

My rule of thumb is to be present where your customers are mingling.

Do you have a website/blog? How often do you update it and why?

Yes, I do.  My personal blog is an extension of my brain and also serves as my blog for my yoga teaching and digital marketing opinions.

I update it several times a month.  Why? Because I love writing. I also love capturing memories in words.  I also love sharing my passions with others over the Internet!

My blog is celebrating it’s 10 year anniversary and I’m very proud of it, I must say.

Share one of your personal habits that you do have that contributes to your success.

Scheduling and sticking to plan. Action over words.

Do you have a resource like an Evernote that you can recommend to the audience?

Yup. And you named it.

I also recommend Xero for small business accounting. Check it out.

What is one habit that you wish you had?

I wish I was a morning person.  Enough said.

What is the best piece of advice you have received?

This piece of advice was given to me by my father.  “Any decision is better than NO decision”.

What was stopping you from becoming an entrepreneur?       

For me, it was money. I’m naturally quite risk-adverse which is sometimes a stumbling block for entrepreneurship.  I waited till I could afford to ‘lose’ before I ‘gambled’.

What is the best way to contact you? And what is a parting piece of advice that you would like to share with our listeners?

Email. I am great with emails. I always respond and I’ll have a well thought-out response.

“Do everything wholeheartedly, efficiently, with kindness and with your audience in mind first. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes because they become your story.”

Thank you for allowing me to share my story today!

Drive More Sales with Google for SMB’s | Google Partner Event at Efficient Media

Today, together with Google, we are hosting a partner event.  We’ve invited friends and family or those running small businesses to come and join us for a nice lunch at our offices at Protein Studios, Level 3, 2 Lacey Street, Surry Hills NSW.

***

   
         At this lunch, we spoke about how Efficient Media can help small businesses drive more brand awareness and sales to their businesses simply and efficiently.  To most, it may seem like a no brainer.  Trust me, as an entrepreneur and small business owner who runs markets and pop up stalls, I can tell you that a ‘no-brainer’ for you is seen as ‘expertise’ to many mum-and-pop shops.  More often that not, the biggest road block is ‘time’.

How often have I heard?

“I don’t have time for this.  I have enough business that I can’t handle already.  I don’t want to pay for more advertising.  I’ve done some stuff in the past.  It doesn’t work.  I don’t use Facebook.”

The simple view we have on ALL of these statements?

Well, it’s not about YOU.  It’s more about YOUR CUSTOMERS!

You don’t have time?  Find time! Surely, if you have more business, you will find a way to make it scale.  Who doesn’t want to grow their business?

So what are these ‘no-brainers’?

  1. Have a website. 
  2. Have a mobile & tablet friendly version of your website! Google has announced a new algorithm that rewards websites that are built mobile friendly and rank them higher. Read more here. 
  3. Have a dedicated phone number for your customers to call through regarding sales/service enquiries. 
  4. Be present where your customers are! Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and whatever social forum that is critical in your industry. For example, if it’s fashion, then Polyvore and Pinterest. If you run a restaurant, cafe, catering business, then platforms like Urban Spoon and Eatability.
  5. With all the foundations set up, it’s about choosing the right media channels to communicate your sales/service proposition to your customers! Now, this is marketing and advertising. This is where Efficient Media adds tremendous value. We help businesses turn the above even keel statements into uplifting positives!
  6. Now, specifically regarding this event that we hosted, experts from Google talk about the importance of having presence on Google’s search results in the form of targeted ads. This is what is often known as Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising or Search Engine Marketing (SEM). As the name suggests, you only pay when someone clicks on the ad.  This pricing model makes this form of advertising far more appealing than its traditional counterparts, where you pay once the ad is displayed.

That’s the long and the short of it. Without over-complicating things, if you’re interested in how your business can benefit from a few simple steps, follow Efficient Media’s Facebook page or Contact Us directly!

Thank you! Jo xx