1. It’s OK not to know everything. There’s a learning curve to trying something new.  Scuba diving for the first time. Making the perfect crepe. Creating killer graphics with cool tools. Inspiring hundreds to take action when you speak. Some say it takes 10,000 hours to become an expert. But, when you embrace that we’re all really experts in training, you’ll find it easier to receive and share information. Viva the 80/20 rule.

2. Sometimes you don’t know what will happen. At the bottom of the ocean, you don’t know what you’ll see or what you might have to do. So, you have to be trained. Your mask might fill up with water. You push the wrong button and go flying to the top (don’t try that). When we’re in execution mode, the best PR and marketing plans might have to be tweaked at the last minute or even scrubbed. Being trained and knowing the options can be a dream come true.

3. Follow best practices. PR specialists and marketers in every stage of their growth learn from a variety of sources. The internet, coaches, books, You Tube, fellow colleagues and the list goes on. To save time and to be more effective, learn from the experience of others and follow established guidelines, hopefully not repeating their mistakes. Best practices in marketing can increase revenue, expert status and visibility, and showcase the star you really are.

4. Paying attention matters. There have been a number of instances where paying attention has been critical to my survival. Scuba diving is one example, hot air ballooning and surfing others.  I could say jumping out of a plane, but I haven’t done that yet. As influencers and marketers, we need to pay attention to what’s going on around us, and what’s really important to our brand, not just what would be nice. Paying attention can put you ahead of the crowd or keep you at rock bottom. It’s always your choice.

5. Listening = Watching. 
There isn’t one of us who couldn’t learn to listen better. When you’re underwater, listening means watching the signs – of your instructor and fellow divers. In business, learning to read the signs could include understanding body language or noticing office discord, without hearing a word. Watching for positive and negative signs of your team and key players could save you time, effort and a big HR mess. Keep your eyes and ears open. Your gut reaction is usually right.

Everyone in my family is back to work on Thursday. One of my daughters is prepping for a 3 week trip to Australia, another is head high in client work and training for a trek to Patagonia.  I’m excited about new business opportunities this month and upcoming speaking gigs at Constant Contact and Sleek Marketing University.

This New Year will bring us new adventures.

What ‘bout you?

Your business is growing, you’re taking on more clients and the responsibility that goes with it – and you’re swamped.  There’s no question, you need help.

But, you’re so busy, you don’t have time to think about interviewing or training someone new.

Sound familiar?

Luckily, there are ways to build your team without spending too much time away from your business. The key is to find qualified people who work independently and already know about your industry – and what needs to be done.

Ask many of the successful entrepreneurs you know and they’ll tell you. They’ve hired outsourced independent contractors for jobs like a VA (virtual assistant), social media manager, graphic designer, web master, editor, email marketer or PR specialist.

These professionals are business owners themselves and can help you become more productive by taking tasks off your plate so you can your spend time doing what you do best – and earning the most.

About 5 years ago, I hired Lisa, who is my right and left hand. Even though she works virtually and lives in New Mexico, I trust her to always look out for me and remind me of everything I forget. And sometimes, that’s a lot!

If you’re looking for a virtual assistant to help with your business so you can concentrate on your brilliance, read these articles…

In How To Choose A Virtual Assistant, Karyn Greenstreet shares her journey in moving away from a personal assistant and hiring a Virtual Assistant who lives 2,500 miles away.  Her valuable insights and excellent tips are noteworthy.  Remember, there’s a learning curve involved.  They’re not you (that’s why you hired them) and they’re not always in your time zone!

If you aren’t sure what types of tasks a Virtual Assistant can do for you and your business, Entrepreneur Magazine provides a list of 10 Tasks To Outsource To A Virtual Assistant. I am eternally grateful to my first VA who got my daughter out of New Orleans in her freshman year during the scare after Katrina. She kept close contact and guided Lauren off campus and to the airport – with an overnight in Chicago – and calmed me too, along the way.

Before you start the search for your own virtual assistant, check out this article ‘When is a Virtual Assistant not a Virtual Assistant…?!’ by guest blogger Michelle Dale.  She explains the virtual part in virtual assistant – just so we’re all on the same page – and part of the world.

Ready to be less stressed and more productive?

I thought so. Think about a VA.

RSI Press KitIf you’ve taken the leap to become press worthy, first of all, Congratulations! It’s essential that you’re prepared to showcase who you are and your accomplishments, as well as be armed to present your expertise and story in a way that is professional, organized and interesting.

Every reporter has an audience they are catering to, and your expertise may be just what they’re looking for. It’s important that they know you’re the real deal!

A press or media kit (electronic or otherwise) can be as simple or as complicated as you choose. Content can also vary depending upon your industry, the type and amount of press you’ve had, where you’d like to be featured as an expert and how much information you’d like to share.

Electronic press kits, which are typically the most common, can be designed to incorporate the look and feel of your brand. Most often, they are located as a tab or link on a website, and that link can be shared when the press contacts you, as well as when you reach out to be interviewed. A media kit can also be saved as a PDF file, to be used as an attachment.

A media kit isn’t built overnight, so getting publicity and published articles should be part of continuous PR and promotions plan. Whether you start with a strong media portfolio, or are building one from scratch, the basics are important. Typically, experts aren’t featured on CNN or NBC from the get-go. They build their profile, just as they have built their expertise, taking advantage of every opportunity.

Here are 5 Essential Components of a Press Kit

1) A professional headshot is an important part of your media kit. Your photo should be recent — within the last three years — and it should look like you! If it doesn’t, there’s a potential trust factor at risk.

Presenting your photo to the world is part of the integrity of who you are. Look like you say you do. Your headshots should be used everywhere you brand yourself professionally, so make it a point to invest in them wisely. Depending upon your industry, lifestyle photos can also be added to your press kit. They add another dimension to your profile – your personality, which gives your image a life of it’s own.

2) You’ll also want to make sure you have an updated short and long bio. A bio should be written to not only say who you are and what you’ve done (aka a human do-ing) but also portray a picture of your essence. A reporter wants to know that you’re not only accomplished, but also human. Add some personal and fun facts to your bio. I have mentioned at different times that I was a beekeeper, had a dog Lucy, loved to travel and Greek meatballs were my specialty. Not all at once, mind you. The media is looking for a human interest side to stories.

3) For credibility, it’s important to also include examples of published articles, links to past media experiences, speaking engagements, and so on. If you’ve been interviewed in the media, or written about, include the link. It’s proof you’ve ‘been there and done that’. As you grow your media profile, you can edit your portfolio to include more powerful and recognizable brands. If you have none, start getting noticed with responding to HelpAReporterOut.com requests. I’m happy to share with you a format that works, time and time again.

4) Show that you’re connected on social media. The media loves to share. By providing working links to your LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, YouTube and Facebook page (if appropriate), you’re showing that you’re part of several networks with millions of viewers.

Make sure that your profiles are media ready and fine-tuned for the discerning eye. Whether you’ll be interviewed for the press or not, it’s important that your branding is consistent on all platforms. Take the time to complete on-line profiles, update missing information and delete any ‘offbeat’postings. Use this time wisely for a PR check-up.

5) Provide clear contact information. Make sure that you give the press an easy way to reach you. Typically, reporters respond by email, but if there’s a deadline or more information is needed, they’ll contact you by phone. Make sure they have your cell phone number and that your voice mail message, as with all social platforms, are ‘brand on.’

There are, of course, additional items that can and should be added to a media kit depending on the expert, what their specialty is, and where they want to be featured. Other items might include interview questions and answers, testimonials, speaker profiles, press releases, background sheets, credentials and so on. What’s important is that when you’re contacted, you deliver the same expertise and deliverables as in your press kit. There’s a learning curve for sure, but with practice you’ll be a pro in no time.

YOUR TURN

What does your photo say about you? Need an update?

If you were a reporter checking you out, what would be their impression?

What fun or interesting facts would you add to your bio that shows your personality and human-ness?

Thoughts? Share below.

Surf’s up big time in Puerto Rico, and if any of you are surfers, you know what a learning curve there is in the beginning, let a lone the paddle, paddle, paddle past the impact zone.

It doesn’t matter if you’re learning to surf or experimenting with new business strategies, the secret is getting through the impact zone “a series of crashing waves or obstacles” that meet you along the way, and overcoming them, challenge by challenge.

As a newbie surfer, and seasoned entrepreneur, I couldn’t help but notice:

5 Ways Surfing “the Waves” is Like Business

  • You have to do it, to know it. You’ll never know what it’s like to start a business unless you’ve been there. You can read 100 books, take a class or brave it solo, but there’s no manual telling you what to do.Similarly, there’s no one way to surf the waves, just different techniques. Business and surfing can be scary, exciting and exhausting all at the same time, but attitude and perseverance will save you from drowning.
  • Be prepared to paddle, even if you’re exhausted. It takes time to paddle past head-high waves, but the sooner you’re able to break through, the faster you’ll get to a resting spot. In business, you’ll paddle through and pick up speed depending on the urgency at hand.Since the ocean and business often show no mercy, learn to push when you need to and guard your valuable energy.
  • Be ready on a dime. When you see a perfect wave, you have to be ready: in position, in the right direction, watching other surfers and yielding to those in the line up.When it’s your turn, you paddle like there’s no tomorrow, and hopefully, lift off. It can be a thrilling ride, even though it may be a short one.

    In business, being prepared for action is critical for success. Confidence comes from preparation and knowing what to do — even if you hit a wave.

  • Maintain your cool. It can be frustrating to learn how to surf, let alone face multiple challenges in the water. Waves are relentless. You’re never learning fast enough. You fail often.Although surfing and business can be tense, you have to learn how to breathe through the tough times, then relax. An uptight body in the water sinks faster. An uptight body in life gets stressed out and gets sick. Keeping cool under pressure is a learned art, and can save your life (and business).
  • Respect the powers that be. My surf instructor told me the ocean is a mighty force and my surf board is not my friend — and I had to learn to deal with both. Being swept to shore with a board and leash tied to your ankle can be humbling. In business, it’s humbling to make mistakes and take a hit.If you’re lucky, mistakes will become learning opportunities to move you to the next level. Respect knowledge, ability and experience, but don’t forget to respect your own power. You hold the key.

This week, I’ve been away at an Internet Boot Camp which has taught me some behind the scenes techniques that I’ve never heard about, thought of, or imagined. It’s amazing to learn new strategies that can impact your brand or products, and influence who sees your message and acts on it. Targeted links that with the click of a mouse or push of a button can elicit reactions or buying decisions – all over the world — based on brilliant keyboarding hidden from the eye. Amazing to observe, and fascinating to explore!

Since it’s impossible to know everything, conceptual knowledge is important, especially in your field or what you have interest in. That’s why I took this course and others on a consistent basis. To learn. To stretch my thinking, look at the world from another viewpoint and meet others who will teach me their insights or tricks of the trade. To be open to do things a different way, because the SOSO (same old same old) doesn’t always work, especially when we want different results.

I’ve always been a proponent to change things up, even when I’m fighting and screaming the whole way. One of my favorite coaches who had a great impact on me recently told a fellow colleague that I was “the most resistant person she ever met.” I thought she was joking really. But, she wasn’t. I was fortunate to learn what I had to from her, and since then, my life has been transformed. It wasn’t easy. I challenged my learning curve and hers, but came out on the other side, blooming. What a journey, with so many stops along the way. For now, I came home to Me, and where I’m supposed to Be.

Today is 11/11/11 and whatever you think or believe in spiritually, on paper it’s a date with a series of numbers. Perfectly balanced. All ones.

Worldwide You is about You as #1 in this world, and a choice to acknowledge who you are and expand your horizons in a bigger, better and bolder way to make a difference in this world.

My experience is that when you’re comfortable in your own skin, you can travel freely through all circles of life, helping others who aren’t ready yet to be #1.

Worldwide You.

It’s a good thing. Whenever you’re ready.

Rock on,

Robin