It’s OK to not be OK: How to work through tough times

tough times

I’ve never been a fan of the ‘How are you doing?’ conversation. Don’t get me wrong, I know that people mean well when they ask this question! But, it’s usually a pleasant way to start speaking to someone, when they are in a good place. This conversation doesn’t really set people up for dealing with ‘you know what… I’m not so great at the moment’. 

Most people have juggled the idea of saying ‘I’m fine’ to just get the conversation over and done with OR telling the truth and admitting that they aren’t in a great place. A lot of the time there’s an internal conflict because we struggle to ask for help, or want to keep up appearances. But ultimately, that’s not sustainable. We all need to rely on our friends and loved ones when things are tough, that’s what they’re there for after all. The one constant in life is that there will be highs and lows that we all have to go through. However, you do not have to do that alone.

So, if you’re fighting your own battles, here are some tips about dealing with tough times and, hopefully, they will help you to accept that it’s OK to not be OK. 

Don’t feel guilty about sharing

Guilt is a strong emotion and when you’re going through a tough time, you become more aware that others are also experiencing difficulties that you know nothing about. This can be one of many reasons that stops us from opening up and sharing with the people who truly care. You have no reason to feel guilty about sharing your thoughts and feelings. There are people in your life who care and want to know when you aren’t at your best so they can step in and be there for you. Remember, you deserve to be looked after too. 

Find someone you trust and start talking

When you’ve managed to get past the feeling of guilt, think about the people who you really trust and lighten the load by talking to them about what you’re going through. The closer you are to that person, and the more you feel you can trust them, the more comfortable you’re likely to feel. 

 Learn to say no

Having time to yourself is equally important as helping others. A bit of time out can do you a world of good, so again, don’t feel guilty about saying no. Taking time out to clear your mind and channel your energy into the things that you care about gives you the opportunity to focus on the things that make you happy. 

 Pay attention to your self talk

During periods of high stress, you need to be kind to yourself. That means positive self-talk and accepting that you need time to bounce back. Challenge any negative self-talk that you catch yourself saying and offer more supportive ones. 

There are many more things you can do to take care of yourself during tough times, but starting with these can put you in the right direction. Stay strong!

Celebrating Each Other’s Success

We have got to get out of the “win-lose” mindset and start celebrating each other’s success. Some of us are there, but I still see it as being so incredibly prevalent, particularly in the workplace. If someone you work with succeeds, that’s (not necessarily) a direct correlation to you losing (your job, a promotion, etc.). I’m not saying it doesn’t happen, but I’m saying the chances of it happening must be smaller if we work together instead of competing against each other all the time.

I know, “collaboration” has become such a (barf!) buzzword. What I’m really talking about is about making space for others to come up around you. We have got to stop stepping on each other and being afraid of others’ success. Getting even more specific, I’m talking about white women not being afraid of the success of anyone who doesn’t look like them – and speaking of women of color and minority backgrounds, in particular. Seriously. If you’re guilty of this, it needs to stop. As a white woman, I am telling you – other white women – that you will be amazing if you allow women who are not like you and don’t look like you to enter your spaces, take your place on panels, speak at conferences, and be part of your mastermind groups.

Next time someone is looking for a speaker, recommend a woman of color (and not only to speak on diversity topics!). Are you not sure where to start?

I’ve got some suggestions for you.

(Click through to find each woman on Twitter!)

Amber Lee – Lifestyle, Blogging, Millennial women, Health & wellness, Entrepreneurship

Angela Hemans – Twitter marketing, Marketing, Building your brand online

Antoinette Minor – Podcasting, Entrepreneurship

Contrecia Tharpe – Branding, Communications, Marketing, PR

Eulanda Shead Osagiede – Travel, Entrepreneurship, Living your best life

Faiza Yousuf – Building communities for women, Technology, Coding

Gennette Cordova – Philanthropy, Activism, Nonprofits, Empowerment

Jade Phillips – Entrepreneurship, Branding

Jasmine Powers – Digital Strategy, Marketing

Joy Donnell – Writing, Branding, Public Speaking

Kali Wilder, Sirita Wright, and Safon Floyd of EstroHaze – The cannabis industry, Entrepreneurship

Kavita Chintapalli – Social media strategy, Ending violence against women

Lisa Fitzpatrick, MD – Healthcare, Public health, Health literacy, Health tech

Melissa Kimble – Relationship building, The creative movement, Branding, Writing

Nora Rahimian – The music biz (production, best practices, etc.), Women’s rights, Activism, Art as a vehicle for social change

Sabrina Medora – The culinary world, Entrepreneurship, Branding, Marketing

Sherese Maynard – Healthcare, Healthcare IT, #WomenInHIT

This list barely scratches the surface of the incredible, talented, powerful women of color doing amazing work in the world. Let’s keep it growing! Tweet me at @AnOrchidInBloom and let me know who you’d like to add.

Why I Split My Website in Order to Streamline My Business

A box of office supplies

When confronted…Well…confronted is too strong a term…Let me begin again….

When some boss friends confided that the religious undertones in my website were a turn-off, it became a concern for me. They admitted that if they didn’t know me already, they would worry about being judged, preached to, or that I would try to convert them into nuns standing on street corners, in a sandwich board, screaming lines from Exodus. (Can you picture it?)

I am a United Methodist through and through BUT I don’t preach and don’t judge when talking to my clients (although, I have cussed out my computer and bad drivers from time to time). A while after I met my boss friends, they learned that I have a strong faith and want to help churches and faith-based organizations spread their word, their work, and their good. I also want the local bread shop, barber, tattoo artist, or any other small business to succeed. I don’t believe that a church has to work strictly with a faith-focused business and also that a secular business can’t work with a Christian business owner. We should all be able to work together to make the client’s goal a success no matter if we are Bible thumpers or Marilyn Manson concert goers (great concert by the way.  A bit too long between costume changes, but great show!). We should be able to see the business’s or organization’s vision and help it come to virtual reality.

Everybody get together try to love one another right now.

As a digital marketing specialist, I thought it would be smart to create a second website called Covered-Dish.com. Covered-Dish.Com focuses on digital marketing and web design for faith-based organizations. On my original website, PetreyDish.com, I removed all mentions of faith. Well, almost all. I kept some details in my bio.

Here’s why I split my business (web-wise) in two

Major reasons:

• Clarify target market
• Remove possible confusion
•Remove religious undertones
• Strengthen religious tones

Minor reasons:

• Better SEO
• Better targeting for faith based groups
•Prevent secular businesses from being biased (no preaching or quoting
scripture here!)

Katey at work
(Photo credit: Sarah Kane Photography)

Does it take twice as much time to market?

Surprisingly… No! Yes, I did create a separate Facebook Page and Instagram account. I’m not really focused on those at this time, but they are there and I post sporadically. When I do spend time on social media marketing, it takes about ten extra minutes. Hootsuite has been a great help with that. Hootsuite allows me to schedule out posts in advance so when the ideas are flying and get knock them out and get them scheduled. I also make sure to spread them out so it’s not ten posts one week and then nothing for the next two weeks. Some consistency is important.

I am focusing more on the websites for now. Using the same article, I can change “business” to “church” or “faith based organization” and change “clients” to “community” to create two different pieces. One for each site. I also reword the content a little so it’s not exact because Google is a smart bot and doesn’t like it when posts are too similar.

No, I didn’t get a second business license. I did not set up a second billing system. I do not have a separate location or a different pet to have in the office for my Covered-Dish.Com clients. For clarity and to appease the Biblically sensitive, I made a simple change in marketing strategy and use the same email on both websites. Have my main site and marketing more secular and have a second site be more Peace, Love, and Joy. Now go and be blessed.

Can’t we all just get along?
For crying out loud!
Come on!

Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.

Social Media Marketing Basics (Not Just for Dummies)

Metrics Metrics Everywhere

Social media marketing doesn’t come easy for everyone.

It’s different than curating a personal account. There are times when it feels like it takes a doctorate to make social media work for business. Figuring out who your audience is and what your audience wants can be difficult. It takes work, consistency, energy, strategy, and time. And by time, I mean many months to a year or more to truly understand your audience and begin a flow of natural community engagement.

I’m not an early adopter. My motto is to learn one platform and get comfortable before moving on to the next one. Give the new platform time to grow and be consistent. Give it the attention it deserves for you to learn it well. And know that all platforms measure differently. I know not everyone works this way, but it works for me.

Social media is constantly updating and the algorithms change all the time, too, keeping you on your toes. Facebook will change its whole format (as it recently did!), leaving you lost and confused. Where did Page milestones go? How do I get to my Page’s wall again? Oh… so my Page’s wall is now called Feed? What’s up with the circles at the top of Instagram? Where did my favorite filter go?

It’s worse than going to the grocery that was “revamped”. The organic section is gone and they switched the aisles around. Some days the changes are fun like hide and seek. Other days? Not so much.

 

Facebook

Metrics: Paying attention to your metrics will help you determine when and what to post. The best days and hours are different for everyone, but understanding your target market and what excites your fans by reviewing your metrics helps to narrow that window down. Also keep in mind the type of content you post. Based on my own experience and several experts, typically, from worst to best, it’s text, link, photo, gallery, and killing it is video.

Things to look at when reviewing your posts:

• Why did one post do better than another?
• Was it timing? Topic? Clever wording?
Did you remember to tag people, locations, or businesses? (You have a better chance of your post being seen or shared if you do this.)
What type of post did you put out? (text, link, photo, gallery, video)
What’s in your post content? (educational, entertaining, celebration, random, etc)

Because Facebook wants your money these days, they continue to make it increasingly more challenge to reach your fans/supporters naturally. Sharing your Page’s content to your personal feed greatly increases your chance of getting seen and natural (unpaid) interactions taking place.

Sharing Posts: Remember to add a comment when you share to your personal page, too (whether it’s from your page or somewhere else on Facebook). A quick “This is awesome” or “What do you think about…?” will not only draw people into your posts and allow for conversation, Facebook likes it better when you do, too. Is the post also relevant to a group you’re a part of? Share it there too. Please remember to follow the rules of the group! Testing out these sharing methods before throwing money at your posts can positively impact your visibility and interactions without spending money. (That said, there are times when you will need/want to put fund behind a post. Remember to think about the purpose of what you’re promoting.)

A Note on Videos: Share videos directly to Facebook, not as a link. Sharing a link does not allow for autoplay. Autoplay is the secret to being eye-catching because it’s flashy on an otherwise static screen. You add a video to a Facebook post the same way you add a photo. Videos that work well with and without sound do better than videos that require sound. Facebook allows you add captioning and this is strongly recommended. Some people are unable to hear or never turn the sound on for their videos. (Warning: If you turn the volume on for a video and do not turn it off when you are done, videos can autoplay one after the next and the following video will start with the sound.)

Reposting: Don’t forget to wrap shares of your posts into your content calendar. When you create your page post, you can share it right then, but you can also share a little later, too, and you will reap the benefits of the repost. Doing this will keep interest in your post over the course of a few days or maybe even a few weeks, bringing it top of mind for people who already liked it and also getting into the feeds of others who may be interested but didn’t see it the first time around.

Use Your Events! You’d be amazed at how many companies create events on Facebook and then don’t continue to feed the excitement for the event. They make the event and then nothing. Be excited about what you’re hosting! Interaction is best.

 

Instagram

Your Metrics: Do you know how to find your analytics/metrics on Instagram? From your smartphone:

• Make sure your account is set up as a business account (in settings). Personal accounts do not have metrics.
• Go to your profile.
Click on the bar graph icon (top right for Android, bottom right for iPhone).
View your metrics for impressions, followers, posts, stories, and any promotions you may have.

Use the data gleaned here to help market to your demographic and post at your peak times and days. There is no point in posting on Sunday at 2 p.m. if your audience isn’t present. Also make sure your account is public! If your account is private, the only people who will see your posts (even when you use hashtags) is people who already follow you.

Analyze your data.

• Why did one post do better than another?
Was it timing? Topic? Quality?
A particular type of post (quote, photo, video, meme)?
Which hashtags were used?
• How was the commentary on the post?
Was is personal, very basic, informative, or funny?
Was is shared across other social media accounts?

Crossposting: If your Instagram post isn’t quite getting the results you wanted, try sharing the image with a different caption on Twitter or Facebook. Maybe your audience isn’t on Instagram, which is why your post didn’t perform well.

When crossposting from Instagram to Facebook Pages, make sure you have the correct Facebook account selected. Technology is (as we know) not infallible and Instagram can get confused and post on your personal Facebook profile from time to time. You will know if you are posting to your Facebook Page because your page’s name will be next to the Facebook Share button. If the Page name doesn’t appear, it will post to your personal account.

 

Twitter

Build Relationships: It’s easy to get lost in the shuffle on Twitter. I see Twitter as a great resource for learning and building relationships. Participating in chats allows me to learn from others and build relationships. When participating in a Twitter chat, your reach becomes so large it’s mind-blowing! I learned that by participating in two Twitter chats in the same week my impressions can go up to 140,000. As a solopreneur, that’s HUGE. The value of those conversations is worth so much more than many of the news or inspirational posts I see clogging my feed.

Remember:

• Don’t be a robot
• Add value
Participate in conversation
Interact with others (like, comment, retweet, follow)

Reposting: On that same note of how to not get lost in the shuffle, Twitter is a great place to share content multiple times. It is so full of chatter, that your previous post can easily get lost. Setting your site/blog up to post on Twitter is great. I get the most interaction after hours, not including chats. There are also some social media management tools like HootSuite, Buffer, and TweetDeck. Or, if you have a CMS, many use an addon or plugin that will post for you. Not only do you get interaction on Twitter, viewers click through and return to your site. YAY for viewer increase! The key here is to be engaging – with people liking/commenting/sharing your own posts and the same with your interactions for the posts of others.

 

Be Bold

Don’t worry about trolls or mean comments. (Unless you’re famous or create hateful posts, you probably don’t have much to worry about.) Most trolls are looking for a fight because they are unhappy in life. It’s not personal. Use judgment to determine the difference between a difference of opinion and trolls. If someone gets too rude, all of the social media platforms I use have a magic “block” button.

Be bold! Share! Post! Interact! Like! Don’t be a robot!

Don’t stand at the back of the line. Interact with others, build relationships, and get in front of future clients and friends. Social media will get you great exposure and is the best way to build connections. Social interactions across platforms strengthen relationships that you can later tap into as resources when the time is appropriate.

 

Is anyone else singing “A Whole New World” from Aladdin?