10 Ways to Market Your Business without Spending a Dime

10 Ways to Market Your Business without Spending a Dime

Certainly, you can spend Facebook Ad money to grow your following.  But you’re growing it with strangers. Organic growth is slower (usually) but more personal and effective.

Here are 10 ways to share your dream, offer your services and grow your following without spending a dime.

Although Facebook pages are slower to develop than they were a few years ago, having an official Facebook page for your business and not using your personal profile is the professional and expected way to run a business.

Consider this your dynamic, interactive business card. When used interactively with a Facebook group and your personal profile (in appropriate ways), it’s still the platform where all the eyeballs are looking.

#1. Create a Facebook page for your business and link it to your personal Facebook profile.

Your personal profile is used to connect to Facebook groups and yes, people will stalk you and find your business that way. Invite people you know care about your mission to your Facebook page. Stay on mission and post once a day.

#2. When someone comments on your Facebook page posts, invite them to follow your page. 

#3. Link your Instagram to your Facebook so you are covering 2 platforms with one post.

You’ll need to do this from your Instagram account on your mobile phone.

#4. Use relatable #hashtags on your Instagram posts.

Comment and like on people in your #hashtag family for reciprocal follows and likes.

#5. Create a Facebook group and link it to that Facebook page.

Be active in it! Invite people to join your group. Start with a closed group. Use the “Ask Pending Members Questions” feature to learn about your audience.

#6. Create a graphic about your mission & make it the”featured photo” on your personal Facebook page.

Utilize the description on your featured photo to talk about your business.


#7. Share, but don’t overshare, what you’re doing in your business on your personal Facebook page.

Make it personal, clear & relatable. Those who care about you will want to know, what you’re up to. And they will all “know someone who needs this” and share it or bring it up to them at some point.

#8. Go Live!

Live video gets more views on the Facebook feed. People buy you and your message. So be you. Be brave. And get your message out there.

#9. Schedule your live videos 3-6 day in advance a Facebook event. 

The Facebook event should be co-hosted by your page and your personal profile. Share with your Facebook group and on your pages, on your page and profile, will get the most views. And people will need advance notice to plan to be there!

#10. Get in front of people in person!                                         

Go to networking events, conferences and any live event in your industry. In person, relationships are always more powerful than another like on your Facebook page.

 

Why This Busy Holiday Is Your Season to Break Free from the Cubicle Cell

Why This Busy Holiday Is Your Season to Break Free from the Cubicle Cell

What if you started the new year knowing you were weeks away from turning in your 2 week notice?

Or having the biggest revenue month ever in your online business?

Working moms like you are looking forward to being released from the chains of your day job for 5 or even 10 cubicle free days over the holidays.

And those of you already in the online business world are being bombarded with end of year planning wondering if this is going to be your year.

Enjoy some holiday cheer with your family. And then use that mental freedom to get serious about your business.

(The one that you can do from home every single day of the new year.)

After 20+ years in corporate, I used to LIVE FOR holiday breaks.

I had lists and lists of things I wanted to get done while the boss and team were away and the PRESSURE WAS OFF.

It was during some key holiday break seasons that my businesses made the biggest breakthroughs.

Now I run my own Virtual Professional agency and train other women like you who want to escape the corporate rat race and use your talents in a more meaningful way that includes flexibility for your family.

There’s a very scientific reason this season puts our brains in the right place for a business breakthrough during the busiest time of the year.

You are out of your normal routine.   This triggers old memories (good and bad) and opens new neuropathways that aren’t often explored.   It’s also a time of very reflective, introspective thinking.   Did I do what I wanted this year?   Wow the years go by so quickly!  I can’t let another year go by and be stuck in this office again.

It can be difficult to address some of those emotions.  I get it.  Disappointment can take over.   Or, determination can take over.   And you commit to not waiting until January 1st to start fresh.   Start right now.

The break from the pressure of the day job, or school or whatever is in your normal routine, frees up space in your thoughts.  And some amazing new ideas are born.

Now, most people fill that space with more gingerbread, more shopping, more parties and more of the mess, clean up and effort that goes with that.

I’m not saying to skip the holiday fun.  I’m saying to tame it.  Don’t let it rule you. (it’s about presence not presents, right?)  Choose to use this special season and channel that effort into making a final exit plan from the day job.

This year my gift to you is a free Holiday Breakthrough Guide.   It’s a workbook and a video workshop you can do at your pace that will walk through business strategy planning in a way you’ve never seen.   It’s not all dreamy and unrealistic.  It gets down to the right products, services, pricing and approach to grow your meaningful business in 2018.

What if this holiday season you took that extra brain space and a couple hours alone and found your business breakthrough?

You could end this holiday break much differently.  Not with the holiday blues and, even though looking forward to routine again, not looking forward to that same old cubicle.  Same old commute.  Same feeling of weariness, missing your family and just knowing you were made for something more.

What if instead of being excited about 2 weeks off this holiday, you went with a plan to free yourself from the corporate chains forever?

The holidays are a time of magic. For children. For families. For anyone with a dream. I believe that. If you have a side business that you are working on it is time to make a huge shift in your business.

Download the Holiday Breakthrough Guide here.

 

When 45 Feels Like Forever 21

When 45 Feels Like Forever 21

If you are reading this and can’t believe this girl writing to you is going to be 45, join the club. Most days, I feel like I’m still the anxious 21, 22, 23 year old that jet-setted cross country in my brand new corporate job, super eager but lacking much experience. Here’s a clue…..that feeling of “am I good enough?” is one we will wrestle with every day of our life. At 45 I’m finally convinced of that and it’s mostly what keeps me jumping in the ring and facing fears every day.

For all of you 20 and 30 somethings out there, let me start by saying the 40s are legitimately the new 20s (with a slower recovery from late nights).

As I turn 45 this weekend, I’m teetering on that sharp edge of dreading the turn towards 50 and embracing the wisdom and freedom that comes with no longer caring what everyone thinks. My weak and vulnerable brain could fall either way depending on how well I’ve paid attention to my self-care, exercise, and diet to keep me in a positive place.

I’ve found a lot of me but there’s also still a lot to be discovered. As I’m “on my way to 50″, I’m also married to an even closer to a 50-year-old man. Honestly, with zero disrespect to my stud-muffin firefighter husband, I just don’t feel like I’m old enough to be married to someone who’s almost 50. 45 pushes me out of the “middle age” feel and into the “heading towards empty nester” season…..which is a mere 6.5 years away.

I hope this processing is as therapeutic for you as it is for me. The annual birthday blog always jumps out of nowhere in my brain and surprises me.

What is it about birthdays that makes me so introspective? Doesn’t matter. Here we go again.

Let me try to make this worth your while. Because serving women through my creative efforts is my opus in life. I spent a lot of time figuring that out in my early 40s and it couldn’t be more on point. No matter what I’m doing, I’ll be happy if I’m creating and serving, and especially serving women.

For those who aren’t to the 40’s yet, I encourage you to set a 42-year-old goal. That was an age that always stood out to me as “if you are doing this by 42, you’ve made it.” Whatever the heck ‘made it’ means to you.

My 42-year-old age milestone came from watching a new CEO take that title in my corporate world at age 42. It was my first realization that he seemed so young (to me in my 30’s) and that it IS possible for big accomplishments in the next few years. 

From a young age, like 15 or 16, I always had this vision that somehow I would be a CEO of a non-profit. It fully embodied my business brain and my heart’s desire to serve. I just wanted to DO GOOD in the world and wanted to build and lead something that would do so….instead of using my talents to simply line the pockets of another wealthy shareholder.

Honestly, I can’t tell you that I wrote that down, visualized it every day and made it happen. (Like all those 3 steps to your dream career blog posts tell you) It all sort of fell into place and when I started blogging at FirefighterWife.com in 2012, this was NOT where I expected to end up. I thought that blog would help me expand my web development business. Which it did, but what a wild ride now as 24-7 COMMITMENT, a national non-profit reaching millions coast-to-coast each month is changing lives. It’s the HARDEST, most important work I’ve ever done (next to marriage and parenting).

So here comes the “old lady wisdom” from this girl on the downhill slide to 50.

If you are in your 20s: LEARN. Get out there and get experiences. Work under a mentor who cares and helps develop your skills. And don’t let go of those dreams that you have no clue how you’re going to make happen. If you find yourself in a place that feels further away from those dreams and sucks your soul, get out and run fast. There’s so much more flexibility to pivot in your 20s before mortgages and babies.

If you are in your 30s: know that these are the WORKHORSE years as my husband and I call them. You are likely in high maintenance parenting zone and these are the core work years for putting away bank for retirement at the same time. Stay FOCUSED. Take time to play. Watch the seeds you are planting turn into a harvest. That blink of an eye thing with kids goes so fast (says the mom of a senior who was just a 3 lb preemie last week.)

If you are in your 40s: well, let’s not give up together ok? My face may not be the clear, smooth, shiny face that lights up facebook lives, but we can hide that video view (or make it tiny in the corner with a special diva light filter) and still drop mega wisdom on a screen share video ok? I’m only right here with you but I have a feeling that we’ve only just begun.

This year I lost my father who was 70 years and 8 days old when he passed after an aggressive 10 week battle with brain cancer that first took his mental clarity before it took his life. And when I think of all the amazing stuff my father accomplished between age 45 and 70, I realize we still have 2 maybe 3 or 4 full cycles of amazing work ahead of us!

If you are in your 50s or 60s or more and reading this, can I ask you to step alongside me and others like me as mentors and friends?

Judging from my 45 years here on this earth, there seems to be a great gap, especially in female mentorship.

In fact, when I was in my 43rd year (right after that spectacular 42nd year), I experienced a deep valley of grief and loneliness feeling like I was running this business and life race solo. Where were the women who had gone before me? I thought I had found a couple in my space only to be burned and used up. People I trusted as friends and confidantes who in the end, only wanted a piece of the pie and some of the glory. Which I’m happy to share because I’m really not about the glory….. but there’s this thing about givers and takers in friendship and I had started attracting a TON of takers.

It hurt badly.

I thought they were friends but there were qualifications around that friendship and manipulative efforts. I vowed to not let that experience cause me to hide my core values of transparency, openness and giving towards others, but to simply be more aware of the motives of others as I enter into business relationship with them.  And the internet can disguise a whole lot of stuff.  Someone who “appears” to have it all together and is “coaching” women, but has a houseful of disgruntled teenagers running away and doing drugs, maybe isn’t the person to take parenting advice from.  I’ve realized some people are so blinded by their own hurts and emotional baggage, they can’t see your situation with enough objectiveness to speak truth into your life.   They are speaking through their own -isms.   Be careful who you are taking advice from is the short way to say that.   (and as one who mentors women, I find myself being so cautious that the words I speak are not slanted by my limited views in places where I have my own -isms.)

So back to the 50s and 60s, from what I see now, women older than me who appears to possibly be a mentor, are struggling too. Their marriages are hard too. Their teenage and grown children are facing challenges too. Their business isn’t always running optimally. And the pressure feels a little stronger as the “workhorse” days are shorter on our bodies.

What’s sitting on my brain now at age 45 and heading into my 50s?

This phrase is on a post it on my bathroom sink that I scribbled while listening to a podcast one morning (#neverstoplearning)

“How will I make the next level of contribution?”

How will I give back and serve into these spaces in my heart? As a mom to my teens? As a wife to an almost 50-year-old man who could retire from the job of his dreams in as few as 6 years? To my Firefighter wives. Mom’s in corporate. Exhausted entrepreneurs who just want me to fix all that internet ninja magic for them.

May this 45th birthday milestone inspire you to think about your next level of contribution no matter what season or decade you are facing now.

And if your jaw dropped hearing that I’m 45, thank you.  It feels surreal to me each year as I age.   I still feel like I’m in my 20s and wonder if I’m really “old enough to adult like a 45 year old”.   

I want to feel Forever 21 and young at heart, even as the beautiful streaks of silver, my mom and grandma share are starting to grow at a faster rate. I predict, maybe insist, that silver will be the new purple by the time I’m 52.

And for those who want to “be like Lori when they grow up” which entirely cracks me up everytime I hear it, these are all my best free resources to change the world virtually from your home office.

But a word of caution, you may end up CEO of a national movement and wonder who gave you the keys to this important mission?   (Praise God who is always good.)

Why Finding Your First Client Is The Hardest

Why Finding Your First Client Is The Hardest

Your first client.

It’s going to come easy if it’s your sister-in-law, neighbor or former employee. But that first “you don’t know me” client is going to be the most challenging you ever land.

Why is this?

Think about the first time riding a bike.

The first time you went on a date with someone.

The first time you took calculus.

The first time you had to figure out how to cook a Thanksgiving turkey.

No matter how many books your read or how prepared you thought you were, it was still kind of hard. You made some mistakes. You fell down. You had to erase. You said some things you wish you could take back.

But you did it. You didn’t sit and ponder. In some cases, you had schedules and deadlines forcing you to just do it.

And if you’re reading this, it’s clear you survived.

Getting up the nerve to bid on new projects and talk with prospective new clients for the first time can feel exactly like this.

You Get Over the Fear of the Unknown

“Can I really do this? what if I fail? what if they say no? Or worse, what if they think I’m a crazy lady?”

You Get Experience

Everything gets easier with practice. What do you tell your first time soccer player? Keep practicing! Touch that ball 500 times a day was what one coach shared with my daughter. Pretty soon it feels natural having that ball on your feet. On every part of them actually. Top, bottom, sides, toes.

The first time you start you don’t know what it feels like to have a pushy client…

… a wishy-washy client…

… a client who never returns messages…

… a last-minute Lucy.

You don’t know what it feels like when they push back on price or ask for a service you don’t know or offer and ask for an unrealistic deadline or ask you to propose a plan for them.

Then, Word Gets Out

When you do good work, word gets out. And your next and your next and your next clients come from this reputation and network you are building.

Your first is going to be the hardest, I promise.

So How Do You Get Started?

Stop thinking and start doing. Get over that learning curve quickly.

Research prospects.

BID on jobs.

Write up your services and pricing.

Bid on jobs.

Ask others what they think.

Bid on jobs.

Create something for your portfolio.

Bid on jobs.

Make a deadline for yourself (do this by next Friday. There. I just gave you one!)

Do it in community. Where you can ask for support and feedback (like over in our How She Quits – How She Succeeds Community).

The freight train of your Virtual Professional business starts rolling along faster and faster with each new client you add.

Columbus, Ohio:  “Chief of All Details” for Non-Profit, Partial Remote Work

Columbus, Ohio: “Chief of All Details” for Non-Profit, Partial Remote Work

(Partially) Virtual Job Posting: LoriMercerCTO.com

LOCATION:  Columbus, Ohio

Contract Job Description: Chief of all the Details  (AKA Project + Operations Manager)

Our national non-profit 24-7 COMMITMENT, headquartered in Lewis Center, Ohio, is in need of a Chief coordinator of all the details.   The single point person we go to and keep all the mission-serving initiatives rolling along efficiently and effectively. This is a project / event / operations manager role to make sure all the i’s are dotted and t’s are crossed and the execution of the mission moves forward, while taking the burden of these details off the plate of the Executive Director.

You will work personally and closely with the Executive Director and become the go-to person for all answers aside from strategy and business direction.

We have a small, high performing team who has served the marketing, community management and merchandise space for almost 5 years now.  We have an amazing crew of volunteers who lead many other initiatives and help us pull off our big events.   But we’ve outgrown ourselves and it’s time to take our mission to the next level.

We believe that adding this resource will not just cover the cost of those resources but increase the funding for the organization to be able to deliver more services.

Today this work is performed primarily by Executive Director, Lori Mercer and supported by Jessie, a VA who has been with the organization since the beginning in 2012 and is a master as Canva graphics, social media scheduling, managing our wordpress and membership community and has a strong feel for the copy that needs to be written for this audience.

For this role, we are looking for someone who is:
– detail oriented
– a strong project manager
– efficient and values a lean operation
– has a friendly heart for customer service
– can take a concept and break it down into all the steps and be sure they are assigned, completed and followed thru on to deliver a quality program
– comfortable with technology and online communications – Zoom meetings, google drive sharing, Asana project management, Facebook admin
– able to work closely with our marketing team to direct marketing projects
– able to be self-directed and work independently and with remote team members

Hours required:
– initially 10-15 / week M-F between 9 – 4 pm
– located in Columbus, Ohio
– some work required from the office (shipping, meetings, etc)
– 2 travel events / weekend projects: April conference and July conference

This is an hourly contract position.

Projects and Responsibilities include:
– monthly new member welcome kits
– shipping and customer support for our books and programs
– event planning and detail management for 1 annual couples retreat (Columbus July 2018) and 1 large trade show where we sell merchandise primarily (Indy in April)
– reporting, organizing and keeping everyone up to speed on the status of projects and programs
– setting up and defining processes where they are missing
– donor and supporter gifts / giving letters
– general project management of campaigns and initiatives
– finding and sourcing new merchandise relevant to the mission
– filing and organizing both physical and digital paperwork for the organization
– leading and coordinating team and volunteer meetings and updates
– additional personal assistant tasks as needed by the Executive Director – booking flights, travel, etc. (could expand for her other businesses based on work performance)

How will your performance be measured?
– By how much work you can take off the Executive Directors plate
– On time delivery of initiatives
– Happy customer responses

Candidate must be a strong proponent of healthy marriages (our mission) but does not need to be married to do the work.

To apply, complete this form.

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