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The 5-Step Process for Your 2020 Planning by @JThiefels



by Jessica Thiefels | Featured Contributor

I’m starting to hear the 2020 planning talk, but I’m not a big New Year goal setter. In fact, it stresses me out as January 1st gets closer and it’s all anyone can talk about. I’m more a year-round goal-setting kind of girl. This allows me to ebb and flow with changes while staying excited and on track—rather than putting undue pressure on one time of the year, which inevitably leads to giving it all up… but that’s a topic for another day.

Even still, I go into each year knowing what I want to accomplish and I realized recently that I hadn’t painted a clear picture of what 2020 looks like for me. Someone asked: “So, what do you hope to accomplish speaking-wise next year?” I was like, “Ummm, to do it?” Not a great answer.⁠ I’m traveling the world, running a business and writing a book—planning for next year hadn’t quite crossed my mind with all of that going on.

A few days later, I was talking with my coach and he said, “What’s possible if you start planning 2020?” My first thought was, “Well I’ll have a roadmap. Just like I talk about in my book. If you don’t know where you’re going, how can you get there?”⁠

As I kept thinking about that question though, I realized: With a plan, I can do the work, visualize the outcome, and manifest my way there—and baby, I’m manifesting some seriously big things!⁠ 

If you’re ready to kick ass in 2020, now is a great time to start thinking about what you want to accomplish and manifest into reality. You don’t need to have specific, quantifiable goals. Simply outlining what you want to do is an important step toward committing to create the life you want to live

To start this new decade off on the right foot, use my 5-step planning process. I do this myself and love the flow and exploration of the planning experience when done this way.

Step 1: The Dream Dump

2020 planning

My 2020 Dream Dump

Start with a brainstorm, or what I lovingly like to call, a Dream Dump. Separate your plans into the various areas of focus for planning. For me, these are:

  • Book
  • Business
  • Speaking
  • Writing
  • Personal

List out all the things you want to accomplish within those areas. Then, let it sit for a few days so you can come back and add to your lists as more ideas come up. Remember: this is a list of the WHAT, not the HOW. So don’t hold back. If you want to accomplish something in 2020, it belongs on this list.

Step 2: The Action Steps

Once your list is complete, it’s time to look at the HOW. Start on a fresh page and break each area of focus into lists of action items. Some of the items on my book’s action list are:

  • Improve speaking (I.E. should I hire a coach?)
  • Create website
  • Outreach to podcasts

Your lists will likely be long, but this is your chance to get it all down on paper. Big or small, add the task to your list. We’ll come back and refine later.

Step 3: The Resource List

This tip is from my upcoming book and it’s crucial if you want to be successful: create a Resource List. This is a list of all the people and things that you can leverage to start moving toward those goals and checking off those action steps.

Think about people you know that can help along with things like a Udemy credit that hasn’t been used yet. My Resource List includes: 

  • Previous speaking connections at local college
  • Editorial relationships
  • Someone I met on an airplane (yes, I’m serious)
  • Client connections
  • Networking groups that I find beneficial

You may need to create a list for every area of focus—for me, many of them overlapped. You’ll figure it out as you start brainstorming. 

Step 4: The Refining

Now that your general action steps are written down, and you have a big ol’ list of potential people, places and things that you can leverage, it’s time to refine your action list and prioritize. This way, when January rolls around, you’re ready to hit the ground running. 

Start with the refining. Take the big action steps and break them down into smaller ones. Don’t forget to add action steps based on your resource List. I.E. Reach out to old boss or Buy tickets for conference.

Now, you need to prioritize. A prioritized list ensures that you know what needs to happen first. If you’re like me and have a lot of action steps, this will help reduce that overwhelm. Much of my initial 2020 work will revolve around my business and lining up experts to tap into when my book gets published. Then, when my book is out (and on the bestseller list!), I plan to move into the next area of focus: speaking, workshops, and general book promotion.

Consider how your action steps can be refined and prioritized in this way to head into 2020 with a plan you can rely on.

Step 5: The Manifesting

You know what you want. You know what you have to do to get there. Now it’s time to manifest your goals into reality. To do so effectively, follow a simple equation:

Visualize + do the work = manifest

I’m giving you this “equation” because I want to make something clear: visualizing alone, won’t allow you to manifest what you want. Not to mention, doing the work without a vision doesn’t get you far either. To manifest the big-amazing-holy-shit things, you have to do both! And you can start right now.

Start Your 2020 Planning

Now’s the time to start thinking about 2020—before the holidays hit, along with the stress, chaos and distractions that come with them. Use this 5-step process to get your big plans out of your head and onto paper. With a crystal clear picture of what you want to accomplish, and even better, how to make it happen, 2020 will undoubtedly be a year to remember.

The post The 5-Step Process for Your 2020 Planning by @JThiefels appeared first on She Owns It.

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How I Made $8794.50 By Sending Out 1300 Postcards – Marketing Experiment



In this experiment I'm sending out 1000 post cards to homes recently listed for sale in my area in attempt to gain more sales for my moving company. I will cover design, my tactics, the total expense, the results.

Flyer Design

I have done a slight redesign to my flyer. I did away with discounts and replaced the spot that used to be a coupons with a smiling face. In services I find smiling faces and a friendly look matter a whole lot more than technical details. You can't touch or hold a service like you can a product but you can "feel" its impression.

Why I Like Postcard Flyers

  1. They are cheaper to send than regular mail. Post card stamps are currently $0.35. This really adds up as you send hundreds of flyers out.
  2. It's an easy activity for admin staff to do during downtime.

Total Cost

After sending out the initial 1000 post cards I noticed that there were still a few hundred houses left in the area so I decided to hit them all, resulting in 1300 total flyers sent. This is the total expense.

Postage $455 (1300 at $0.35 a piece)

Labor $120

Flyers $39 ($0.03 a piece)

Total $614


We sent the flyers and waited about 6 weeks to tabulate the results. A certain number of flyers are always returned to sender. In this case 300 of the 1300 flyers were returned due to vacancies or address issues.

Of the 1000 that were actually sent we ended up booking 6 jobs. That doesn't sound like a whole lot but the caveat here is we only sent flyers to homes for sale for over $400,000 so each job is of significant size.

This is proven with the first job we landed for a whopping $4600. This single job paid for every single flyer PLUS some.

The total revenue from sending 1300 flyers was $8794.50!

At a 20% year end profit margin that comes out to $1758.90 in net profit on $614 in expense. A 286% return on investment!

What I Attribute the Results To

  1. The flyer design. On the first in-home estimate we did the customer said "we just loved your flyer" and when I heard that I knew this would work well
  2. We have great reviews online. I don't believe our results would be nearly as impressive if we didn't already have a great online presence.
  3. My office staff is trained and relentless. I have 3 salespeople who book jobs for me and they are very good at closing sales and following up with customers. They don't leave anything on the table.

The best marketing plan is only as good as the company behind it. The best form of advertisement for your service is simply being a wonderfully ran service.

To watch more on this or check out the flyer design elements click this link:

submitted by /u/mmaher13

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Social Media Trends to Watch in 2020 by @DONNAAMOS



by Donna Amos | Featured Contributor 

There are trends that are occurring in social media that business owners can take advantage of to help them grow their businesses. As changes take place on platforms, it may benefit business owners to stay current on the changes so that you don’t use outdated practices that no longer work on social networking sites.

Growth of Tik Tok

This site has gained popularity as a social networking site for business owners. Tik Tok is a social networking site that has become very popular with Generation Z.

Individuals who are micro-influencers have gained popularity on this social networking video app. Influencers are aware that using the site to promote video can benefit small businesses because it’s not geared towards traditional sales. The lack of hard sales on the site is popular with users. By connecting with followers through good video content, it will help small businesses expand and provide opportunities to sell products. It’s expected that one of the social media trends for 2020 will include the expansion of Tik Tok to allow platform users to shop online like other social networking channels.

Increase in social shopping

Entrepreneurs can benefit from using social shopping on their company sites because of the growth of e-commerce. During the past decade, social networking sites have contributed to the growth of e-commerce. It’s now the norm for social shopping to occur on social networking channels. Customers enjoy connecting with brands and building relationships with them on social networking sites. Consumers enjoy having access to brands without leaving platforms to purchase products and services. Entrepreneurs can look to expand social shopping on their social channels.

The rise of small business owners as influencers

Small businesses can benefit from the increase in popularity that they have experienced as influencers. Users on various social platforms desire to connect with small businesses rather than huge companies. The ability to connect with an audience on a small-scale is something that small business owners can take advantage of because they have a unique following.

The use of social media to develop consumer confidence

Small business owners can benefit from using their social platforms to develop a relationship with followers that are based on trust. Followers can develop relationships based on the quality of content that is promoted that informs followers about the value that a business brings into the market. By having real conversations with followers and connecting on a human level, companies establish relationships on a much richer level because of the connection that is made by showing the company as a place where real people work.

Use of LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a powerful social platform because the site is geared toward business professionals. Business owners can reach decision-makers on LinkedIn to grow their businesses. If a company has products and services to sell and its budget is limited, being active on the platform can help generate sales and gain the attention of decision-makers.

Fewer boundaries between personal and professional lives

Social media trends include witnessing fewer boundaries between the professional and personal lives of business owners. Small business owners can grow their online audience by interacting with followers and showing them aspects of the personal and professional lives. Sharing unique content that shows followers portions of the daily lives allows followers to connect with business owners on a genuine level.

An increase in the number of brief posts

Businesses are posting new content that is online for a short amount of time, and this will continue to increase in 2020. These posts occur on sites such as Instagram, Facebook, and Tikk Tok. The time-limited posts are primarily videos and allow businesses to share content that may be more personal and allows business owners to share special offers of their products and services.

Increase focus on customer interaction

Brands are working to focus more on customer responses in 2020. By responding to customer service issues that arise, businesses can learn what is necessary to meet the needs of their customers. Small businesses can gain attention from their followers by working to connect with followers and meeting the needs they address about the products and services they desire to purchase.

Expansion of the use of storytelling

Companies have increased their use of storytelling on social media sites using different types of media such as video and written content. By sharing what a company represents, it allows businesses to reach followers and potential customers. Business owners can engage with their audience telling stories on different social platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.

Increase in video content

There is an increase expected in the amount of video content that brands produce in 2020 on social networking sites. Small businesses can increase their number of customers and followers by producing content that is appealing to followers. Business owners can determine which platforms work best for their followers and provide content that is based on what works best for their audience.

More social messenger apps

Small business owners can benefit from using social messenger apps to connect with their customers. The top messenger apps are used primarily by millennials. The top messenger apps include the following.

• Messenger
• WeChat
• Viber

There are over 2 billion messages sent on Messenger each month from businesses. The app is on over 1.2 billion phones. The potential exists for greater customer experiences to occur because of the growth of the social messaging service. Messaging apps that were developed using artificial intelligence have improved customer engagement. It’s expected that the customer experience will continue to improve because of the unique way that companies can improve the artificial intelligence they use to have more unique engagement with customers using social messaging services.

The use of messenger apps outranks the top social networking sites which include the following.

• Instagram
• Facebook
• Twitter
• LinkedIn

Small business owners can work to expand their businesses by using social networking sites and social messaging services. By working to create personalized experiences with customers and potential customers, businesses can expand and provide their customers with good experiences. Having an awareness of what their customers desire will help small businesses grow and effectively market to customers of all ages.

The post Social Media Trends to Watch in 2020 by @DONNAAMOS appeared first on She Owns It.

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Hard Decisions Require Empathy



In the past two weeks we have entered perhaps to most surreal experience in any of our lives. I think intuitively many of us believe it may be a more lasting impact than just “60 days at home,” which is why we almost have a nervous laughter when we call (Zoom!) somebody we haven’t spoken to since before the crisis and acknowledge how bizarre we all feel right now. I have seen the insides of more people’s homes and apartments than I probably ever have as we’re invited into this intimate world of videoconferencing.

Just two weeks into it we are just starting to come to grips with what will no doubt wreak big financial, emotional and obviously dire health consequences and suffering for many.

In our business lives we’re having to deal with decisions that could have lasting impacts on our companies without any compass to guide us in the direction we’re heading . It feels a bit like choosing a fork in the road amidst dense fog and with nobody to guide us what to do.

In our personal lives we’re having to change our routines and figure out how to remain productive — often with other people sharing our homes who have their own ideas of how to use our collective space and time. What do we eat? Where do we shop? What is safe? What are my parents doing — are they being safe? Can I plan a Winter vacation or attend a wedding or travel anywhere again this year?

Who the fuck knows.

But you should know that everybody is in exactly this mind space. That’s what makes this so surreal. I find myself struggling to fully relax at bedtime, with my mind spinning about the world that lies ahead and the infinite amount of weekly decisions I’m having to process. I imagine many of you are, too. It goes without saying that if you find yourself in a really negative headspace PLEASE reach out to any trusted mentor, friend or family member. I promise we’ll all get through this some way and there’s always tomorrow, whatever that holds. I have lost friends who didn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel in past economic hardships.

For founders of startups or for executives tasked with making decisions with all of this incomplete information, the moment calls for decisiveness on every front:

  • how to deal with customers,
  • what to do about expenses,
  • what to tell board members / investors,
  • what happens with fund raising,
  • do I need to lay off employees or deal with a furlough,
  • do I qualify for government assistance?

If your head isn’t spinning you haven’t fully grasped the severity of the situation.

Each of these decisions could be a blog post in its own right but for today I want to avoid tactical advice and offer something more about your temperament as you wade through complexity and deal with decisions that affects the lives and the livelihoods of others. To say it simply ….

Show empathy.

I know that I shouldn’t have to say that, as it seems obvious. But in the past two weeks I’ve heard many cavalier comments about: cuts, renegotiations, changing terms, “the market environment dictates this” or “never waste a good crisis” or “you just need to cut 25% of your staff” because it seems everybody is doing it. I know that many people are just short-handing given stressful times but do try and pause and think about your actions & words and how they will affect others (or whether they’re the right actions in the first place).

In the words of my friend and a CEO with whom I work,

“Yeah, I know I need to make some cuts because our demand has changed, but I want to do this with a scalpel and not with an axe.”

He produced a very detailed analysis of his customer base and which would be affected. He enacted a program to proactively offer payment holidays to customers in obviously “hit” industries like travel & entertainment. He showed industries where demand was likely to hold strong and he outlined a case for how he could protect as many jobs as possible. He asked for a few more weeks to gather market signals before enacting change. It was the thoughtful response of an empathetic leader.

The driver of your decisions must be logical, rational and economically sound. You need to consider:

  • Has demand for my product fundamentally changed in ways that will persist?
  • How long is my cash runway if this demand doesn’t recover for the foreseeable future?
  • Is there a viable path to raising money / strengthening my balance sheet as one solution?
  • If not, how much must a reduce costs to give our company enough runway to weather this current storm?

The inevitable decisions may mean you shed employees, suppliers, offices, bonuses, contractors — you name it. But here is where empathy becomes most critical. It is very easy to want to insulate yourself from feeling the extreme emotions that will come from the loss of a job or for a supplier of yours with the loss of an important customer. Don’t insulate yourself — handle things personally and be a leader that is present in times of crisis. And if you have to make these hard decisions, empathy goes a long way.

If you have to let employees go or have to furlough them do it 1–1 or have senior members of your staff divide up employees and do each one 1–1 (or 2–1 if you need to have HR in the room (or “in the Zoom”) but my point is that each affected employee deserves a private meeting. And they deserve compassion because whatever stress level you are under, your actions are going to make their stress levels just as bad if not worse.

They don’t need to hear you say in an antiseptic way, “Look, we have no choice. It’s your job or we all run out of cash.” That might be true, but it lacks empathy. It should be something more like, “Sadly we have made a decision that your job is being made redundant. I’m very sorry that this will affect you and I don’t take lightly what a burden it must be to you.” Of course that doesn’t change the outcome, but it’s the humane thing to say.

You can insert you own wording or phrasing but the point is to acknowledge the pain, the cost, the consequence of your actions — even if you had no choice. Let the other person speak. Let them emote. It might be that they have to cry or they might have to yell at you — whatever. This isn’t the time to argue back that you had no choice or that “they weren’t really pulling their weight anyways” or whatever else is playing in your head. This is the moment to let them have their say. It doesn’t change anything. This is a moment to be calm, let others vent and politely move on.

Empathy can also be financial. You need to make sure that you’re making sound economic decisions for your company so I’m not advocating being cavalier about money because ultimately if you run out of cash then everybody loses his or her job and every investor loses his or her money. But at the margin if there are things you can do to be compassionate about severance or medical benefits or helping people navigate government assistance — you should do all that you can. If your company can help with job search, or resume writing or providing references or calling other companies to tell them you did redundancies — you should do it.

The month of March, 2020 has been hard on our country and on the world and the sad reality is that this is still likely just the first act in a long series of heart-breaking stories and circumstances around the world. In times like these your friends, family, associates, colleagues, employees and business partners need you more than ever.

If we know each other personally and you think I can help you please reach out. I promise I will make time.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Hard Decisions Require Empathy was originally published in Both Sides of the Table on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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