How to Choose the Perfect Blog Topic – And Why You Should

How to Choose the Perfect Blog Topic – And Why You Should
7 Graces Founder Lynn Serafinn tells why blogging is an ideal medium for marketing, and shows how to create many months’ worth of blog topics in a few minutes.

Here at the 7 Graces Project , the majority of our clients are small business owners who come to us for help in building their online marketing platforms. While they certainly come to us for practical and strategic advice, the reason they come to us specifically (as opposed to another marketing consultancy) is that they are attracted to the ethos we embrace. They don’t like to use loud, pushy, aggressive marketing strategies, because such strategies don’t resonate with their personalities or values.

But although they know what they don’t like, they don’t know how to create an alternative that feels right for them. They find themselves in what feels like an impossible space: they don’t LIKE marketing, but they know they need it if they want their businesses to succeed.

Fortunately, there is an effective and relatively painless online alternative to old-school marketing – blogging. From my experience, it’s the best way to do marketing without actually doing marketing. That’s why I focus so much on blogging with nearly all of my clients.

So hooray! Our problem is solved. Start to blog, and our marketing woes are over! Right?

Well…it’s not so simple. There is an art to turning your blogging into an effective and ethical vehicle for marketing. It has many ‘moving parts,’ and if you neglect to oil them properly, you’re bound to end up with one big squeaky wheel that doesn’t turn very smoothly at all.

One of the most important moving parts is something that many independent business owners find very daunting – choosing the right topics to blog about. So many of my new clients admit that they really don’t have a roadmap for what they write about on their blogs, and they tend to blog about whatever they feel like in the moment. This ad hoc approach to topic selection can create many problems down the line:

  • It will make for inconsistent blogging, which will negatively impact your web traffic, subscriptions and Google rankings.
  • There is likely to be a lack of congruence between your blog articles and the direction you want to take your business.
  • It is unlikely your articles will provide your audience with what they are looking for.
  • It is unlikely your efforts will result in sales/clients/customers.
  • Ultimately, when you gain little from your blogging efforts, you are likely to give up on blogging altogether.

The Importance of Choosing the Right Topics for Your Blog

I don’t own a TV, but I confess that I still watch a handful of programmes online. As I originally started in the music industry, I (shamefully!) still like to watch shows like X-Factor. Even if you’ve ever watched that programme, you’ll probably know that the judges and contestants are always going on about ‘song choice’. If a contestant happens to choose the ‘wrong’ song (one that doesn’t suit their voice or appeal to the audience), they’re at risk of being voted out of the competition. In fact, a good singer can often lose to a so-so singer if they make a poor song choice.

Similarly, choosing the ‘wrong’ topics for your blog can put you ‘out of the race’, in that your readers won’t bother to read your content (which kind of defeats the whole purpose of writing it). Some people think good blogging is all about being a great writer. While having well-written posts is certainly crucial, choosing the right topics for your articles constitutes, in my opinion, at least 50% of your success as a blogger. The other 50% is split between how well the article is written and how well you optimise and distribute the article on the Web.

The bottom line is this: even if you’re the world’s best writer, if you don’t put care into choosing the right topics for your ideal audience, there is little chance your blog will be an effective marketing tool that gives value to your audience and your business.

My Four-Step Formula for Unlocking Your Best Blog Topics

Because choosing the right topic is so crucial to blogging, I thought you might find it useful to see the process I use with my own clients in our Platform-Building Package. It has evolved over time and become so ingrained in me that I don’t even think about it anymore. While our clients often find it easier when I guide them through the process (because they often miss things when they try to do it on their own), I think you’ll see that it’s not at all rocket science.

I break it down into four steps:

  1. Define your audience clearly. Being able to define your audience in detail is absolutely vital to any business or marketing strategy. Nonetheless, it is often the biggest challenge for many of my new clients. Defining your audience means getting beneath the surface and really digging down into their hearts and minds.
  2. Define your audience’s chief challenges and concerns. Many new bloggers make the mistake of thinking their blogs are all about them and their businesses. They’re NOT. Your blog is all about your audience and what they are searching for when they go online. Your job as a blogger is to know your audience so well that you understand – in minute detail – their most pressing challenges and concerns. Ultimately, you need to be able to anticipate the questions they will be typing into Google (I’ll talk more about this below).
  3. Define your core message(s). As a business owner, if you wish to connect with your ideal audience, it is also essential for you to be able to define who you are, what you stand for, and why you do what you do. When you can articulate these things clearly (to yourself and to others), they become your ‘core message(s)’. If you’ve been doing business for some time, you might also tailor this message to the particular area of your business that is most relevant at this point in time. For example, if you have a product launch coming up, look at how your overarching message is expressed through that product.
  4. 1 + 2 + 3 = your content topics. The final step in the process is to connect the dots between your audience, their needs and your core message. Consider how your message addresses the challenges your audience face; conversely, consider how these challenges can be a vehicle for expressing your core message. When you do this, your content topics will suddenly pop out and become crystal clear to you.

CASE STUDY: The 7 Graces Project CIC Blog

To show you how this process works, here’s an example of how I might use these four steps when planning my topics for the 7 Graces Project blog.

STEP 1: Our primary audience is comprised of:

  1. Value-driven and socially focussed independent business owners who want to create ethical online-marketing platforms.
  2. The majority are sole proprietors, but they might use outsourced staff to support them in a variety of ways, such as admin, tech, billing and social media .
  3. The majority (probably about 90%) have been operating their business between three and 10 years. This is important because they are committed to the entrepreneurial lifestyle; they have passed the ‘danger zone’ many brand-new entrepreneurs face during the start-up period, when they are still questioning their decisions to be self-employed.
  4. Also, because I have been working as a consultant with authors for many years, I know that about two-thirds of the people who come to us as clients have also written (or are in the process of writing) non-fiction books that have a close connection to their businesses. This means that most of our audience enjoy writing and find it enjoyable to communicate through words.

STEP 2: Our audience’s chief challenges and concerns are:

  1. They feel alienated by all the old-school marketing courses they’ve seen or taken online, but they don’t know an alternative approach.
  2. They want to make a difference in the world, but they often feel alone, small and insignificant amidst all the big-business hype.
  3. They feel overwhelmed and confused by the technical and strategic challenges of blogging, social media and online marketing in general.
  4. They often lack the practical skills for their short- and long-term business-planning and marketing strategies. But, because they tend to be creative and idealistic, they don’t feel naturally attracted to dealing with the nuts-and-bolts of business organisation. This can also mean they have time-management challenges. They know these things are important but cannot find the information, training and support that speaks to the unique kind of business owners they are.

STEP 3: Our company’s primary messages are:

  1. Independent entrepreneurship is good for It gives you more freedom, allows you to express your values and creativity, removes the job vulnerability of working for employers and gives you a sense of achievement when you do it right.
  2. Independent entrepreneurship is good for the world. It makes the economy more resilient and less susceptible to economic crises; it provides a higher degree of personal service to customers; it enables you to create products and services that are highly relevant to specific geographic and ideological communities; it brings more diversity and choice to the marketplace; a small business is likely to be less damaging to the environment than a big corporation.
  3. Unethical marketing is bad for the world. It has contributed to worldwide overconsumption, economic imbalance, debt, environmental damage and poor health. (These are all topics I discuss in detail in my book The 7 Graces of Marketing ).
  4. Independent, ethical entrepreneurs can succeed on their own terms. They can succeed in business, contribute to society AND be true to their values when they know the ideological, technical and strategic elements of ethical marketing and business practice.

STEP 4: 1 + 2 + 3 = Our Topics

This is where the magic begins. Let me show you how this formula is working within the very article you are reading right now.

  1. Define audience: If you look above, you will notice that I have made it very clear, from the very first paragraph, who this article is for: value-driven and socially focussed independent business owners who want to create ethical online-marketing platforms. They also are probably interested in expressing themselves through the written word.
  2. Define their challenges and concerns: In this case, while I’m touching upon all of their main challenges, I have focused this article primarily on challenge #2: “They feel overwhelmed and confused by the technical and strategic challenges of blogging, social media and online marketing in general.” However, this is way too broad a topic for a single article; I am ONLY addressing the strategic challenges of blogging. Furthermore, I am addressing only one aspect of the strategic challenges of blogging. If I were to delve into the issue in greater depth, I could rapidly come up with a whole range of topics like:
  • How to structure your blog post effectively
  • Writing the perfect title for your blog post
  • How to blog for a launch or other marketing campaign
  • Writing effective ‘calls to action’ that don’t alienate your readers
  • Ways to distribute your content on the Web
  • How, when and why to work with guest bloggers
  • Creating a virtual blog tour
  • Planning, timing and organising your blog schedule
  • Repurposing your content into books, courses, etc.

These are only a handful of ideas that sprang to mind when I looked at ONE aspect of ONE challenge. When you go deeply into all aspects of all the challenges your audience face, the possibilities for coming up with good, solid, relevant topics are almost limitless.

  1. Add your core message. So far, we have put together 1 and 2 of the formula. So what about 3? How does that come in, and why is it important? Well, yes, I might be speaking to my perfect audience. And my article might be exactly what they are looking for. But the truth is that many other bloggers in cyberspace might publishing very similar information. So what will make readers want to read my articles when there is so much other content out there? This is where Part 3 of the formula steps in. To make my content relevant to my ideal audience, I need to marry their challenge(s) to at least one of my core messages. In this case, I’m focussing primarily on message #4: ‘Independent, ethical entrepreneurs can succeed on their own terms.’

Again, there is an art to this. You don’t necessarily need to come out and say, ‘This is my core message’; you can embed it within the context of your article. In fact, I’ve been expressing this message in one form or another throughout this entire article, and I will also emphasise it in my ‘Closing Thoughts’ at the end (leave me a comment to let me know if you notice).

Oh, and by the way, bringing your core message into your blog articles helps to define your brand. But that’s a big topic I shall leave for another day.

Why Choosing Your Blog Topics Systematically Is Great for Business

Whenever I work with a new platform-building client, we begin our work together by finding and choosing exactly the right blog topics (or vlog topics, if they do video blogging).

While I use more or less the same process I just showed you, it’s slightly different in a one-to-one scenario. I ask my clients lots of key questions. I listen very carefully to the words they use and take lots of notes (my past experiences as a coach and college lecturer have certainly helped me in this regard). Then, often to my clients’ amazement, all their blog topics appear – as if by magic – right from their own words. I still find it impressive to see how rapidly we can come up with as many as 20 topics – in just a few minutes. Think about it: if a client is going to post one blog every week, that’s about four months’ worth of blog topics all lined up and ready to go. Typically, we choose 12 from this list of 20 and then organise them into a schedule we will follow for the next three months. All they have to do is go through the list and write the content.

Having our topics decided in advance also allows us to create a marketing strategy for the next quarter of the year (or longer). Sometimes, we can break the topics down into even greater detail and come up with blog topics that can be developed into a multi-article series that spans many months. Often, this can become the focal point for the launch of a new product or service.

Having your topics lined up in advance also frees up a lot of head space. Once my clients learn some basics about structure and how to speak to their audiences appropriately, the act of writing the content is often a far easier task for them than figuring out WHAT to write. Knowing what topics they will be blogging about that week also means that their brains will be unconsciously composing the articles many days before they actually sit down to write them, making the whole process easier and quicker.

Closing Thoughts – The Confluence of Values and Value

I believe that, when done correctly, blogging is one of the most natural and organic ways for you as an independent business owner to express your values while also providing great value to your audience. It is a way to tell the world about what you do and what you stand for, without the need to compromise yourself through aggressive, hard-sell marketing strategies. It gives you the power to create, mould and cultivate a brand that is relevant to the specific needs of your audience, providing you with substantive marketing content that – unlike short-lived advertising campaigns – can serve both you and your customers for the long term.

If you’re thinking about using blogging to build an online marketing platform for your business, you might consider our Platform-Building Package here at the 7 Graces Project. The programme is delivered in 13-week blocks. We use blogging, social media and other strategies to develop a comprehensive marketing funnel with you, so you can create a steady, sustainable flow of business (and income). If you’re interested in exploring this programme with us, drop us a line via the contact form on this site and ask how you can set up a free 30-minute Skype consultation with us.

And for those who would love to have an all-in-one handbook on the subject, you might wish to check out my upcoming book, The Social Entrepreneur ’s Guide to Successful Blogging: An Effective, Creative & Ethical Way of Marketing for Visionaries & New Paradigm Business Leaders. If you’d like a sneak peek at it, you can download a FREE five-page template for writing effective blog posts at http://the7gracesofmarketing.com/blogging-book (you’ll also receive a reminder from me when the book is released in 2015).

I do hope this article gave you some ideas on how to come up with your next batch of blog topics, and that the next time you sit down to write a blog post, it will be one of the highlights of your week. Let me know! Come back and leave a comment (or question) after you’ve tried it.

Warm wishes,
Lynn Serafinn
7 November 2014

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Looking for a Tribe? 

Come join our 7 Graces group on Facebook, and join us at our monthly meetings. They’re free to attend and we have them both in person and online, so you can participate from anywhere in the world. This is NOT a “business group” but an active community where people actually know and support each other.

Find out more about how changing the paradigm can help make the world a better place:

The 7 Graces of Marketing BOOK COVER The 7 Graces of Marketing: how to heal humanity and the planet by changing the way we sellby Lynn Serafinn, where you can learn how the 7 Deadly Sins and the 7 Graces impact the world through media and marketing. Brit Writers Awards Finalist eLit Book Awards Silver Medal in Humanitarian & Ecological Social Issues

 

Tweep-e-licious: 158 Twitter Tips & Strategies for Writers, Social Entrepreneurs & Changemakers Who Want to Market Their Business Ethically by Lynn Serafinn, which can help you learn how to create meaningful collaborations through Twitter and other social media. eLit Book Awards Bronze Medal in Business and Sales.

Get instant access to a free 90-minute Twitter marketing class at http://tweepelicious.com

The Social Entrepreneur's Guide to Successful BloggingComing in 2015

The Social Entrepreneur’s Guide to Successful Blogging: An Effective, Creative & Ethical Way of Marketing for Visionaries & New Paradigm Business Leaders. To receive an update when that book is available, just click here. As a thank-you gift for showing your interest, you’ll get instant access to an exclusive, free 5-page PDF revealing the exact same blogging template we use with our clients and we teach to participants on the ethical marketing training courses at the 7 Graces Project.


Lynn Serafinn author of The 7 Graces of Marketing LYNN SERAFINN, MAED, CPCC is a certified, award-winning coach, teacher, marketer, social media expert, radio host, speaker and author of the number one bestseller The 7 Graces of Marketing — How to Heal Humanity and the Planet by Changing the Way We Sell and Tweep-e-licious! 158 Twitter Tips & Strategies for Writers, Social Entrepreneurs & Changemakers Who Want to Market their Business Ethically. She is listed in the Top 20 of the Top Marketing Authors on Twitter by Social Media Magazine and was a finalist for the prestigious Brit Writers Awards. She also received the eLit Book Awards Silver Medal in Humanitarian and Ecological Social Affairs, as well as the Bronze Medal in Business and Sales. Lynn’s eclectic approach to marketing incorporates her vast professional experience in the music industry and the educational sector along with more than two decades of study and practice of the spirituality of India. Her innovative marketing campaigns have produced a long list of bestselling non-fiction authors through her company Spirit Authors.

Lynn is also the Founder of the 7 Graces Project CIC, a not-for-profit social enterprise created to train, support, mentor and inspire independent business owners to market their business ethically, serve society and planet, and restore all that is best about humanity.

7 Graces Project CIC

Twitter: http://twitter.com/7GracesMarketng

Facebook: http://facebook.com/groups/7GracesGlobalGarden

 

 

Posted in 7 Graces Project, 7 Key Relationships, Blog, Blogging, Book, Business Tips, Lynn Serafinn, Marketing Tips, New Paradigm, News, Platform Building Programme, Relationship with Our Audience | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Getting Out of the Doldrums – 7 Tips for the Self-Employed

Getting Out of the Doldrums – 7 Tips for the Self-Employed
7 Graces co-director Nancy Goodyear explores what it’s like when you’ve lost motivation and passion for your work, and gives tips for pulling yourself out.

To be ‘in the doldrums’ is an old maritime expression. The doldrums is a belt of low pressure in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans that lies along the equator. Because of its location, the weather is either very tempestuous or incredibly calm. In fact, it gets so calm that the winds disappear altogether and sail-powered ships would get stuck ‘in the doldrums’ for days, or even weeks, until the wind picked up enough to get it moving again.

We business owners can also fall into our own kind of doldrums. We’ve all experienced those weeks when everything feels like an uphill battle – when finding the motivation to get out of bed takes all the energy we can muster. And as for getting ourselves to work…well, forget it!

Before I was self-employed, when I had a ‘proper job’, I could just about drag myself into the office and muddle through on autopilot on those days. Now that I’m self-employed, it’s a different matter. I’m my own boss. And, by nature, I’m not the kind of boss to breathe down my employees’ necks when they’re having a bad day.

The trouble is, when you work for yourself you have to be self-determining, self-motivating and self-managing. In those gloomy, low energy periods, that’s hard to do. And when the gloomy days stretch into gloomy weeks, how do you keep going? How do you stop yourself from quitting?

If you’re self-employed, it’s useful to have strategies to pull yourself out of the doldrums when you find it hard to keep going. Here are some of my personal tips:

TIP 1: Don’t panic.
First and foremost, don’t panic! It might not feel like it right now, but this will pass.

TIP 2: Take a break.
Clear your diary of everything non-essential and create some space to ‘just be’ in the gloom. Our tendency is usually to turn our backs on our negative emotions and try to will ourselves happy; but sometimes, leaning into your uncomfortable, unhappy places can be just the thing to bounce you back up into sunshine.

TIP 3: Be with people.
Working from home can be very isolating. We are social creatures and need human company from time to time. For me, sitting across a table from a real life, living, breathing human being is very different from chatting to them on Skype – even if I can see them on the computer screen. If you’re feeling low, perhaps you’re lonely and need some real life contact. Arrange to meet a friend for lunch or a coffee, or just go and be where people are, like a café or library.

TIP 4: Follow the energy.
If you feel bogged down by all the things you ‘should do’, you might find your mojo by looking the other way. Sometimes turning your back on the ‘should dos’ and focussing instead on something that inspires you can bring everything back into focus – even if you feel inspired to do something that bears no relevance to what you think are your current priorities. Go with it. It might lead somewhere completely unexpected.

TIP 5: Get into your body.
When we’re in work mode, we’re generally ‘in our heads’ and our energy can get stuck bouncing around inside our skulls with nowhere to go. Our bodies start to feel deprived of energy and attention, so moving away from the desk and the computer to do something physical can get the blood flowing and bring your energy back into balance. Go for a walk, put on some music and dance, go for a swim or to the gym, cook yourself a nice lunch or even just do the washing up – but step away from your desk and let your head switch off for a while.

TIP 6: Do the filing.
If you feel uninspired, lose yourself in the automatic, mundane tasks that need little or no concentration or effort. Instead of your usual work routine, do your accounts, tidy your desk or set up a new organisation system.

TIP 7: Rethink and review.
Perhaps the reason you feel stuck and flat is because something isn’t working for you anymore. Maybe you have no energy for your work because you’ve evolved and are ready to move in a new direction. Take time to reflect on where you are now – in this moment. Are you bored by what you’re doing? Is it no longer challenging? Does it no longer feel relevant to you? What do you feel called to do, now?

Closing Thoughts

Let’s be clear: being stuck in the doldrums doesn’t mean you feel any less passionate about the work you do. It’s not that you hate being self-employed and want to go back to being employed. Nor does it mean you’re lazy, flaky or not cut out for self-employment. It’s just that, for some reason or another, your ‘get up and go’ has wandered off for a while, leaving you feeling stranded.

The doldrums can give you a feeling of disconnection from your business – but also from yourself. There is no wind in your sails to keep you on course. It can feel like you have been cast adrift, waiting and waiting for the wind to pick up again.

But be assured: the wind will pick up. It might take a day, a week, or perhaps even longer. But eventually, it will happen. And when it does, you will feel more confident in your ability to ride out the inevitable storms that will impact you as a business owner over the years, and reconnect with your work in a deeper, more thoughtful way.

We at the 7 Graces Project CIC specialise in helping self-employed, ethical business owners and social entrepreneurs discover and maintain a deep connection with their work, so they can become inspired, motivated and resilient leaders in society. We do this through our platform building packages, ethical marketing courses and community activities. If you’d like to find out more about how we can help you grow and market your ethical business, feel free to drop us a line via the contact form on this site.

We also welcome you to become part of our ever-growing community on Facebook.

Nancy Goodyear
31st October 2014

Nancy V Goodyear, Co-Director of the 7 Graces Project CICNancy V Goodyear is a Business Mentor and Coach who loves to help social entrepreneurs and small business owners cultivate their relationship with self, their business and their audience. With a BA (Hons) in Learning Disability Nursing, she has extensive professional experience working in health & social care within the non-profit sector. She is fluent in French having lived in France for some time. She is a graduate of the Coaches Training Institute and the Co-Active Leadership programme. She is also a director of The 7 Graces Project CIC.

Nancy on Twitter: @NancyVGoodyear
Nancy’s website – http://nancyvgoodyear.com

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Looking for a Tribe?

Come join our 7 Graces group on Facebook, and join us at our monthly meetings. They’re free to attend and we have them both in person and online, so you can participate from anywhere in the world. This is NOT a “business group” but an active community where people actually know and support each other.

Find out more about how changing the paradigm can help make the world a better place:

The 7 Graces of Marketing BOOK COVER The 7 Graces of Marketing: how to heal humanity and the planet by changing the way we sell, by Lynn Serafinn, where you can learn how the 7 Deadly Sins and the 7 Graces impact the world through media and marketing. Brit Writers Awards Finalist eLit Book Awards Silver Medal in Humanitarian & Ecological Social Issues

 

Tweep-e-licious: 158 Twitter Tips & Strategies for Writers, Social Entrepreneurs & Changemakers Who Want to Market Their Business Ethically by Lynn Serafinn, which can help you learn how to create meaningful collaborations through Twitter and other social media. eLit Book Awards Bronze Medal in Business and Sales.

Get instant access to a free 90-minute Twitter marketing class at http://tweepelicious.com

The Social Entrepreneur's Guide to Successful BloggingComing later in 2014

The Social Entrepreneur’s Guide to Successful Blogging: An Effective, Creative & Ethical Way of Marketing for Visionaries & New Paradigm Business Leaders. To receive an update when that book is available, just click here. As a thank-you gift for showing your interest, you’ll get instant access to an exclusive, free 5-page PDF revealing the exact same blogging template we use with our clients and we teach to participants on the ethical marketing training courses at the 7 Graces Project.


Lynn Serafinn author of The 7 Graces of Marketing LYNN SERAFINN, MAED, CPCC is a certified, award-winning coach, teacher, marketer, social media expert, radio host, speaker and author of the number one bestseller The 7 Graces of Marketing — How to Heal Humanity and the Planet by Changing the Way We Sell and Tweep-e-licious! 158 Twitter Tips & Strategies for Writers, Social Entrepreneurs & Changemakers Who Want to Market their Business Ethically. She is listed in the Top 20 of the Top Marketing Authors on Twitter by Social Media Magazine and was a finalist for the prestigious Brit Writers Awards. She also received the eLit Book Awards Silver Medal in Humanitarian and Ecological Social Affairs, as well as the Bronze Medal in Business and Sales. Lynn’s eclectic approach to marketing incorporates her vast professional experience in the music industry and the educational sector along with more than two decades of study and practice of the spirituality of India. Her innovative marketing campaigns have produced a long list of bestselling non-fiction authors through her company Spirit Authors.

Lynn is also the Founder of the 7 Graces Project CIC, a not-for-profit social enterprise created to train, support, mentor and inspire independent business owners to market their business ethically, serve society and planet, and restore all that is best about humanity.

7 Graces Project CICTwitter: http://twitter.com/7GracesMarketng

Facebook: http://facebook.com/groups/7GracesGlobalGarden

Posted in 7 Deadly Sins, 7 Key Relationships, Blog, Business Tips, Community Blogger, Disconnection, Nancy Goodyear, Relationship with Our Business, Relationship with Self, Social Enterprise | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Your Website: To Be or Not to Be – That Is the Question!

Your Website: To Be or Not to Be – That Is the Question!

Sue Ellam shares some crucial guidelines for business owners that can save you money and frustration when working with a web designer for your website.

When we start our businesses, we’re full of great ideas and enthusiasm. But while ideas and enthusiasm are great, most successful businesses these days also require a website. Unfortunately, many of us know little about websites when we first start out, and we are prepared to spend whatever money it takes to create the website of our dreams.

For some, this happens without a hitch; for others, the dream turns into a nightmare of delays and broken promises. Sadly, I’m a member of the latter club. Rather than running my business for the past two years, I have been chasing web designers who, though they have the skills, don’t appear to have any sense of accountability. There will be weeks of silence, then a spurt of work that gives me the false hope that they will finally deliver. Then they simply disappear again. It’s like dealing with rebellious teenagers.

The upside is that, by dint of all my negative experiences, I’ve ended up learning a lot about websites and the web design industry as a whole. So today, I want to share some of my insights about working with web designers, in the hope that it might help you avoid the pitfalls I experienced, and navigate your way to a speedy and successful business launch.

Web Designers and Accountability

One thing I discovered on my misadventures is there is no professional regulatory body to mandate accountability between a web designer and their clients. Freelancers and web design companies are something of a law unto themselves, leaving the client pretty much on their own if something goes amiss. Anyone who knows how to build websites can set themselves up as a business. True, if they aren’t very good at it, it’s unlikely they will attract much business, but even they could leave a few disappointed customers in their wake. Andy Budd of Clearleft explains:

The thing is, web design is a problematic industry. There’s a pretty low barrier to entry, in that you can become a web designer with very little outlay. It’s open to anyone who can teach themselves the tools of the trade. But at the lower end of the spectrum, there are many, many companies fighting for the same small amount of work. It’s an easy market to enter, but at the same time it’s quite difficult to make a success of things. It’s a different industry now to ten years ago. Then, the industry itself was quite immature, so you could get a foothold really quickly. Now, the quality of design work is so high that you have to be really, really good to actually get work.

When It’s Time to Consider Your Options

Sometimes, your web designer fails to deliver the goods in a timely fashion. In my case these delays, I was told, were due to a plethora of reasons: family circumstances, long-term sickness, unannounced holidays, lost mobile phones (no new number was ever provided), errant employees and a recurring computer virus.

If things aren’t going smoothly with your website build and you are receiving frequent excuses from your designer, it might be time to consider your options. It states in the Advice Guide – Citizens Advice Bureau website:

‘It’s not normally reasonable to wait a long time because a trader has taken on more jobs than they can manage or because a trader has poor time-management skills. These are things that are within the trader’s control. If a trader has not carried out a service in a reasonable time, you can take steps to make time of the essence. This gives the trader a deadline to keep to. If they don’t keep to this deadline, you can stop the service and claim back any money already paid.’

All excuses aside, the fact remains that your contract (even if just a verbal one) with your designer is a business agreement. A good design company will have contingency plans built into their business, so clients aren’t impacted by any unforeseen circumstances.

When deadlines are missed, your calls aren’t taken and your emails are rarely answered, it’s time to take action. Threats of legal action can get work started again for a short period, but be prepared to go in circles if the work comes to a halt after the dust has settled. Being told your website is their top priority doesn’t mean it is; actions speak louder than words.

What You Can Do to Protect Yourself

Though there is no ‘official’ way to tackle dead-beat web designers, there are a number of ways you can protect yourself. Here are a few suggestions, some of which I have gleaned from my own hard-earned experience:

  • Shop around. Don’t give your business to the first web designer you contact, just because it’s easier. Talk with a number of different designers and take the time you need to make your choice.
  • Ask trusted associates for recommendations. You are far more likely to find an ethical company or individual if someone you know has had a previous rewarding experience with them.
  • Check out their work. Ask for links to websites they have designed for past clients. And while you’re at it, have a good look at their own website. If you see mistakes or poor quality design, it’s probable they will make similar mistakes on your website, too.
  • Check out their online profiles. I find LinkedIn particularly useful to learn more about a company that might not be immediately apparent on their website.
  • Look for RECENT Testimonials. Sometimes testimonials are so old, they are no longer relevant to the current state of the company. Try to look for testimonials, reviews or comments made in the last six months.
  • Don’t be seduced by deals. If you never get the website, you won’t have saved anything.
  • Don’t pay in advance. Once paid, some companies can forget you’re still a client! If you pay in instalments, don’t pay the last instalment – no matter what apparent trust has been built – until the company has completed the work to your satisfaction and it is ready for launch.
  • Be sure YOU test every moving part of your site thoroughly before ‘signing it off’. Don’t leave it to your web designer to say it’s finished and working.
  • Don’t EVER allow your designer to host your website on their server. This is tantamount to your website being held hostage. Many will tell you this will enable them to provide you with ongoing maintenance. Don’t fall for it. Not only will you be paying for services you will never receive, but you will be severely limited in what you can do with your site in the long-term. Besides, as the Canadian web company Abivia state: ‘Website developers and designers can move, switch jobs, or change careers. Sometimes they just seem to disappear. If you depended on your developer to maintain your site, this can be a real cause for concern.’ If your designer suggests this, insist that your website be built on the host of your choice, and refuse to give them your business if they are unwilling to comply.
  • Buy your own domain and know where it’s hosted. Sadly, so many new business owners have no clue who owns their domain or where it is hosted. This is usually due to their not understanding what these terms mean. Often, they’ve given control of these things to their web designer, thinking it will make life easier, only to find they don’t actually own or have any control of their website later down the line.
  • If you’re dealing with a local company, try to arrange a face-to-face meeting. Personally, I like to know a physical address that I can visit if the need arises. If you’re hiring someone at a distance, be extra vigilant by taking all of the above precautions. Again, hiring someone on the referral of someone you trust is the best protection you can have.
  • Be prepared to move your website if you aren’t getting the services you agreed to. I know this sounds like a nightmare, but it’s far less painful than the prospect of being trapped in a dysfunctional relationship with a dead-beat designer.
  • Educate yourself. Perform due diligence. Don’t depend on others to make your decisions for you. Read articles (like this one) and learn about the whole process of web development so you have an idea of what to expect. Knowledge is your best form of protection.

Our Own Human Vulnerabilities and Limitations

I read an article the other day about vulnerable people who become targets of unscrupulous individuals who strike up a friendship with them, often through dating sites, and then profess to have fallen in love. The target is often identified through their profile indicating they are bereaved, lonely or divorced. Because these victims are at such vulnerable stages in their lives, the perpetrators convince them they are loved and have another chance of happiness. Then the requests for money start coming, and eventually the true intentions of these con-artists come to light.

When we read stories like these, we might be bewildered that the victims could have been so naïve. How could they have fallen for such a scam? But we must remember the perpetrators are skilled at human psychology and they are more than a match for someone in dire need of love and human connection.

You might wonder what this has to do with the subject of this article, but I think there is a very strong parallel. Substitute ‘love’ for ‘business’. When we get into a tangle with an unscrupulous web designer (or any other unethical service provider), haven’t we also been conned into paying money – but for our business instead of for love? Don’t we feel just as betrayed and foolish when what we had hoped would materialise does not?

The Mutual Responsibility to Communicate Clearly

I don’t believe the majority of unfinished website incidents are intentional. I think most problems arise due to a lack of clear and honest communication – either a client who doesn’t know exactly what they want and keeps changing their mind, or a designer who tries to build a website beyond their capabilities, or underestimates the time and cost involved.

Where it all breaks down completely is when either party disappears – the web designer loses a client and has worked for nothing, or the client loses the website when the designer terminates communication.

I’m sure none of us would go into a shop and buy a washing machine, or other device, and accept it if it arrived in an incomplete, non-functioning state. The same should apply to business services. When services have been paid for, we should be able to rely on the delivery of those services. Therefore, the onus is on the web designers to deliver the websites for which they have been paid, and on the client to pay for the services they have received. If the situation becomes untenable, either party has recourse to legal advice to resolve the matter. There is no excuse for either party to stop communication and not hold up their end of the bargain. This is a business arrangement, not an argument with family or friends.

Closing Thoughts

If your website is reasonably straightforward and doesn’t have to be ‘all singing, all dancing’, you might consider the option of building your own site, at least to start. There are a number of step-by-step tutorials online that demystify the process. I have personally done a few tutorials of Tyler Moore’s, which were excellent (I have no connection to him and won’t benefit from this recommendation).

If you need something more complicated, hiring a professional is probably the only option. If you do go that route, please take note of the tips I’ve shared above, so you don’t go into your business agreement blindly. Most of all, I believe if everyone relied on recommendations from trusted friends and associates, the unethical companies would gradually run out of steam.

My final recommendation is: communicate, communicate and communicate some more! The whole idea of hiring a web designer is for them to make your dream a reality. Be as clear as you can and explain exactly what you want. This will make both your and their lives easier.

If all else fails and you still cannot get the response you want from your web designer, consider contacting consumer programmes such as ‘Watchdog’ (in the UK), or ask the Citizen’s Advice Bureau or a legal firm to help you bring closure to the situation.

And to all you web designers – if you don’t have time to contact your clients personally, hire an admin person for a few hours a week to make those calls, so your clients don’t feel abandoned and disconnected from their businesses.

Hopefully, your experience working with a web designer will be a wonderful one. I’d love to know about your own experiences – good and bad. Please feel free to share them in the comments below.

And if you’re looking to connect with a community of independent business owners who are devoted to ethical practice, I hope you’ll join us in the 7 Graces community on Facebook.

Sue Ellam
24 October 2014

Sue is a graduate of our
7 Graces ‘Foundations of Ethical Marketing’ course.

Sue-EllamSUE ELLAM is fascinated by the power of mind over matter and was initially guided towards spiritual healing and medium-ship. She is a professionally trained graphologist of 21 years standing and has travelled extensively using this skill, as well as that of tarot reading, participating in many festivals worldwide. Currently she is developing Soulfully Connecting which is a global website dedicated to the healing of mind, body, soul and planet. Her vision is to connect like-minded individuals around the world through the sharing of knowledge, providing a platform so that the change-makers can be seen, appreciated and supported.

Twitter: @soulfullysue

Soulfully Connecting Facebook Page

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Find out more about how changing the paradigm can help make the world a better place:

The 7 Graces of Marketing BOOK COVER The 7 Graces of Marketing: how to heal humanity and the planet by changing the way we sell, by Lynn Serafinn, where you can learn how the 7 Deadly Sins and the 7 Graces impact the world through media and marketing. Brit Writers Awards Finalist eLit Book Awards Silver Medal in Humanitarian & Ecological Social Issues

 

Tweep-e-licious: 158 Twitter Tips & Strategies for Writers, Social Entrepreneurs & Changemakers Who Want to Market Their Business Ethically by Lynn Serafinn, which can help you learn how to create meaningful collaborations through Twitter and other social media. eLit Book Awards Bronze Medal in Business and Sales.

Get instant access to a free 90-minute Twitter marketing class at http://tweepelicious.com

The Social Entrepreneur's Guide to Successful BloggingComing later in 2014

The Social Entrepreneur’s Guide to Successful Blogging: An Effective, Creative & Ethical Way of Marketing for Visionaries & New Paradigm Business Leaders. To receive an update when that book is available, just click here. As a thank-you gift for showing your interest, you’ll get instant access to an exclusive, free 5-page PDF revealing the exact same blogging template we use with our clients and we teach to participants on the ethical marketing training courses at the 7 Graces Project.


Lynn Serafinn author of The 7 Graces of Marketing LYNN SERAFINN, MAED, CPCC is a certified, award-winning coach, teacher, marketer, social media expert, radio host, speaker and author of the number one bestseller The 7 Graces of Marketing — How to Heal Humanity and the Planet by Changing the Way We Sell and Tweep-e-licious! 158 Twitter Tips & Strategies for Writers, Social Entrepreneurs & Changemakers Who Want to Market their Business Ethically. She is listed in the Top 20 of the Top Marketing Authors on Twitter by Social Media Magazine and was a finalist for the prestigious Brit Writers Awards. She also received the eLit Book Awards Silver Medal in Humanitarian and Ecological Social Affairs, as well as the Bronze Medal in Business and Sales. Lynn’s eclectic approach to marketing incorporates her vast professional experience in the music industry and the educational sector along with more than two decades of study and practice of the spirituality of India. Her innovative marketing campaigns have produced a long list of bestselling non-fiction authors through her company Spirit Authors.

Lynn is also the Founder of the 7 Graces Project CIC, a not-for-profit social enterprise created to train, support, mentor and inspire independent business owners to market their business ethically, serve society and planet, and restore all that is best about humanity.

7 Graces Project CIC

Twitter: http://twitter.com/7GracesMarketng

Facebook: http://facebook.com/groups/7GracesGlobalGarden

MeetUp: http://www.meetup.com/7-Graces-Global-Community-London

(not just for Londoners, as we meet also on Skype)

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The Great DropBox Hacker Scandal: Keep Calm and Carry On!

The Great DropBox Hacker Scandal
Lynn Serafinn tells how to keep your DropBox account secure, and suggests ethical, responsible ways to respond to hackers and other blips in cyberspace.

Yesterday, there was a big buzz on social media suggesting that DropBox, the preferred cloud storage service for so many of us, had been hacked.

Before I say anything more, let me assure you:

Nobody hacked into DropBox.

Some unscrupulous person(s) stole a few hundred expired DropBox user names and passwords from someone else (not DropBox, apparently). They then shared them on the popular bookmarking site Reddit, with a promise to share millions more if people gave them money.

Yes, I know. It sounds insane.

When the alarm went out, DropBox was quick to respond, explaining that the usernames and passwords ‘were unfortunately stolen from other services and used in attempts to log into Dropbox accounts’. They went on to assure users that the passwords shared were all expired and useless.

The bottom line of all this:

DropBox itself was NOT hacked and there is no imminent threat to DropBox users.

I thought I’d get that out of the way as quickly as possible.

Nonetheless, as soon as the words ‘DropBox’ and ‘hacked’ leaked into the social net, people went into a panic. Many on Twitter, Facebook or in blog comment threads used it as an opportunity to ‘dis’ DropBox in favour of other cloud platforms. Others worked themselves into paranoia about the safety of cloud storage altogether.

Not Catering to Hacker Mentality

I can’t pretend to understand the mentality of a hacker, and I’m sure different hackers are motivated by different things. For example, in this scenario, they may have been targeting DropBox specifically, or they may have merely seized a random opportunity that presented itself. Regardless of their specific motivations, the one thing I’m certain every hacker desires is viral public reaction. As far as they’re concerned, the more panic they create, the better.

What’s interesting is that such panic often causes as much (or more) harm as the actual ‘attack’ (depending upon the extent of the attack, of course). An imagined threat can be just as powerful a force as a real one. To see an example of this, we only need to think back to the late 1990s when many people were hoarding food, household products and even guns in fear of the so-called Y2K doomsday, when the world of technology was supposed to end.

Cyber-terrorism is both unethical and irresponsible; the ends will never justify the means, especially when millions of people depend upon technology for their livelihood in one form or another. Even if hackers are trying to make some sort of idealistic or political statement, their actions can never be considered acceptable, as their ultimate aim is to create widespread social disturbance.

But no matter how destructive hackers are, I believe we, the public, have a duty of care when responding to such ‘attacks’, whether real or imagined. Even if hackers are unethical and irresponsible, it is up to us to respond to hackers ethically and responsibly.

What do I mean by that? I mean we should respond to cyber-attacks the same way we would respond to a natural disaster or other catastrophe:

  1. We take proper precautions to ensure our own safety.
  2. We don’t spread rumours without knowing the facts.
  3. We don’t contribute to public panic by allowing our own fear or anger to take over.

It’s not about being kind and understanding to hackers. It’s about being personally and socially responsible. Let’s walk through these three steps as they apply to the DropBox ‘scandal’.

How to Ensure the Safety of Your DropBox Account

Many times, when someone’s online account or blog gets hacked, it’s partially because they didn’t take the right precautions. Their passwords were too easy to guess (usually because they wanted to remember them) and they didn’t set up any extra security on their site or account. Last year, I wrote an article on ways to prevent your blog from getting hacked. After all, as the old saying goes, ‘An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.’

This adage is no less relevant when it comes to cloud storage. Ensuring the safety of your DropBox account is really easy, as long as you take these precautions:

  1. Log into your DropBox account ONLINE (http://dropbox.com) and change your password. Be sure it’s a COMPLEX password that includes upper/lowercase letters, numbers and at least one symbol (such as ?!$, etc.). Do not use whole words or sequential number patterns.
  2. After you change your password, go to your account settings and enable the ‘2-step verification’ process. This extra step will require you to enter a verification code (DropBox will text this code to your mobile phone) when you log into a new device for the first time. This means no one else will be able to log into your account unless they have your mobile phone. You can also enter a backup phone number to use in case the other one gets lost or stolen.
  3. Change your password regularly (at least every couple of months). If you haven’t changed it since the recent ‘scare’, do it now, just in case. It’s not going to hurt anything.

Some people worry the 2-step verification will make it hard to access DropBox, but this is not the case. If you have downloaded DropBox onto your computer, you will still be able to access all your files from your documents list without having to log in. The log-in and verification are only used when you or someone else tries to access your account via the DropBox website (as a hacker would have to).

Don’t Spread Rumours without Knowing the Facts

Now let’s look at the wider issue of personal and social responsibility in the face of cyber-invaders.

It’s so tempting (and easy) to ReTweet and share things we see in cyberspace. But if we share things based solely upon the headlines without checking the facts behind them, we could unwittingly be giving strength to hoaxes and contributing to public frenzy.

Photos can be ‘visual rumours’ just as much as words can be verbal ones. Recently, one of my colleagues on Facebook exposed viral photos of alleged public disasters, all of which seem to have the same people in them. I remember back when Hurricane Sandy hit the shores of New Jersey, thousands of people on Twitter and Facebook passed around an ominous image that was allegedly a photo of the eye of the storm, when it was actually a still shot from a Hollywood disaster film. I have no idea who started the ‘practical joke’, but I don’t find this kind of noise particularly funny or helpful when so many people were in such genuine danger.

One of the main reasons I assured you DropBox had NOT been hacked right at the top of this article is that I know people often scan what they read online and then repeat what they’ve scanned. If I didn’t cut to the chase quickly, many people might have clicked away in a big panic and given energy to the rumour by passing around half-truths. It was better to nip the rumour in the bud, and explain the details after.

Don’t Allow Your Fear or Anger to Take Over

Hackers are like arsonists: they light the ‘fire’ and get excited when it goes out of control and creates a panic. When we allow our emotions to get out of control online, we’re only adding fuel to that fire, and giving greater satisfaction to the hacker. Really, the best way to diffuse a hacker (after you’ve put your technical precautions in place) is to ‘keep calm and carry on’.

It’s natural to feel violated when someone hacks into our account, and it’s difficult not to feel outraged. But if we allow our fears and anger to get the best of us, we’re bound to say things that contribute to other people’s fear and anger in a less than constructive way.

For example, the vast majority of the blog comments left on the articles I read about the DropBox issue blurred the issue and created a lot of irrelevant ‘noise’. Buried amidst all the shouting were a few useful comments, but I had to trawl through a lot of pointless venting and opportunistic spamming before I found them. While there’s nothing categorically wrong with people expressing their feelings, it was entirely misdirected: rather than attack DropBox and ‘the cloud’, they should have been angry at the hackers. Thus, I felt most of the commentary to be irresponsible, as it only served to distort the facts and contribute to public panic.

Expressing our emotions in a reckless way online (whether in words or images) can unsettle emotions in others. I cannot count the number of times (especially on Facebook and YouTube) I’ve seen someone post a provocative statement, video or image, only to result in a mud-slinging match of nasty, personal insults and even racists remarks. A few years ago, a good friend of mine sent me a photo he had seen, because he found it disturbing and didn’t know what to make of it. This photo depicted an atrocity being performed by a group of people from a specific ethnic group. Even though it was immediately apparent to me that this photo was a fake and had been doctored in Photoshop for the purpose of creating feelings of hatred toward that ethnic group, it upset me. In fact, I still feel sickened when I think of it.

But here are the big questions: How many others had shared this photo before (and after) my friend had shared it with me? How many of them felt anger boil inside them at the apparent atrocity they saw in the photo? How many of them had silent thoughts of bigotry (or at least racial stereotypes), as a result of seeing it? How many of them actually spoke these thoughts aloud? What really happened as a result of this fake picture? My guess is that, sadly, far more people became angry at the ethnic group than at the creators of the fake photo. Again, it’s a case of misdirected emotions.

When we express our thoughts and emotions in a socially responsible way, we stop the cycle of lies, hatred, snap judgements and destructiveness. When we take time to discern fact from fabrication, and give some forethought to the impact we’re likely to create by our responses, we start to quell the fires of the cyber-arsonists. We become conduits for useful information. We inspire respectful debate. We invite others to share their insights and we encourage collaborative problem-solving.

In short, when we make the choice to engage in constructive dialogue rather than succumb to the wildfire of a viral rant, we become living examples of all the 7 Graces:

7 Graces and 7 Deadly Sins of MarketingClosing Thoughts

I started this article talking about the supposed DropBox ‘hack’. While I hope the tips I’ve shared are useful to you in protecting your account, I hope you will consider some of the points I made about how we respond to hackers and other online ‘scandals’.

It really is a matter of choosing whether we want to be part of the problem or part of the solution.

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, I’m sure you’re the latter. If so, I invite you to subscribe so you can receive our twice-weekly articles, and join us in our ever-evolving 7 Graces community on Facebook.

Warm wishes,
Lynn Serafinn
15 October 2014

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Looking for a Tribe? 

Come join our 7 Graces group on Facebook, and join us at our monthly meetings. They’re free to attend and we have them both in person and online, so you can participate from anywhere in the world. This is NOT a “business group” but an active community where people actually know and support each other.

Find out more about how changing the paradigm can help make the world a better place:

The 7 Graces of Marketing BOOK COVER The 7 Graces of Marketing: how to heal humanity and the planet by changing the way we sellby Lynn Serafinn, where you can learn how the 7 Deadly Sins and the 7 Graces impact the world through media and marketing. Brit Writers Awards Finalist eLit Book Awards Silver Medal in Humanitarian & Ecological Social Issues

 

Tweep-e-licious: 158 Twitter Tips & Strategies for Writers, Social Entrepreneurs & Changemakers Who Want to Market Their Business Ethically by Lynn Serafinn, which can help you learn how to create meaningful collaborations through Twitter and other social media. eLit Book Awards Bronze Medal in Business and Sales.

Get instant access to a free 90-minute Twitter marketing class at http://tweepelicious.com

The Social Entrepreneur's Guide to Successful BloggingComing later in 2014

The Social Entrepreneur’s Guide to Successful Blogging: An Effective, Creative & Ethical Way of Marketing for Visionaries & New Paradigm Business Leaders. To receive an update when that book is available, just click here. As a thank-you gift for showing your interest, you’ll get instant access to an exclusive, free 5-page PDF revealing the exact same blogging template we use with our clients and we teach to participants on the ethical marketing training courses at the 7 Graces Project.


Lynn Serafinn author of The 7 Graces of Marketing LYNN SERAFINN, MAED, CPCC is a certified, award-winning coach, teacher, marketer, social media expert, radio host, speaker and author of the number one bestseller The 7 Graces of Marketing — How to Heal Humanity and the Planet by Changing the Way We Sell and Tweep-e-licious! 158 Twitter Tips & Strategies for Writers, Social Entrepreneurs & Changemakers Who Want to Market their Business Ethically. She is listed in the Top 20 of the Top Marketing Authors on Twitter by Social Media Magazine and was a finalist for the prestigious Brit Writers Awards. She also received the eLit Book Awards Silver Medal in Humanitarian and Ecological Social Affairs, as well as the Bronze Medal in Business and Sales. Lynn’s eclectic approach to marketing incorporates her vast professional experience in the music industry and the educational sector along with more than two decades of study and practice of the spirituality of India. Her innovative marketing campaigns have produced a long list of bestselling non-fiction authors through her company Spirit Authors.

Lynn is also the Founder of the 7 Graces Project CIC, a not-for-profit social enterprise created to train, support, mentor and inspire independent business owners to market their business ethically, serve society and planet, and restore all that is best about humanity.

7 Graces Project CIC

Twitter: http://twitter.com/7GracesMarketng

Facebook: http://facebook.com/groups/7GracesGlobalGarden

 

Posted in 7 Graces, Blog, Business Tips, Collaboration, Inspiration, Invitation, Lynn Serafinn, Marketing Tips, New Paradigm, News, Relationship with Others, Social Media, Twitter | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How ‘Inviting’ Are Your Terms and Conditions?

How ‘Inviting’ Are Your Terms and Conditions?
7 Graces community member and lawyer Lubna Gem Arielle tells how defining your company’s terms and conditions can become a value-based asset to your business.

Here’s a quick test. I’d like you to take a deep breath and answer one simple question without thinking.

Ready? Breathe in. Breathe out. And go:

When I say the word ‘law’, what’s the first thought that springs to your mind?

Now, I’m guessing that many of you have the taste of metal in your mouth; or maybe your stomach has knotted. Maybe you are frowning. Or maybe the words or concepts that have sprung to mind are things like: rules… boring… policing… slow… complicated… expensive… hurdle…

You can admit it. Even though I am a lawyer, I won’t be hurt or surprised if you are not full of wide-eyed wonder. I’m all too aware of the corner legal matters get thrown into – the corner of last resort. Law is often the afterthought, the thing you look at when it all goes wrong and the thing you worry is going to burn up all your money.

In my experience, many people equate law with dealing with problems and fighting court cases. That side of the law usually is fraught, expensive and, actually, avoidable. However, there is whole other terrain to law that is forward-looking and geared for avoiding problems and disputes in the first place.

The Brighter Side of Law

What many entrepreneurs and businesses overlook is the creative, cheerful side of the law: the process of setting up your business for success by ensuring that you put appropriate business and legal frameworks in place. And for many businesses, this includes having clear and robust terms of business – AKA ‘Terms and Conditions’ or standard client contract.

I’ll refer to them here as T&Cs.

These legal niceties are too often neglected or put into place without ensuring that they really fit. ‘Too little, too late’ is often a recipe for disaster. Almost all of my commercial-litigator friends (those who deal with business disputes) agree that businesses could save thousands or even tens of thousands of pounds in litigation costs – not to speak of irretrievable time and untold misery – simply by having spent a teeny-tiny proportion of that to define their T&Cs at the outset. Disputes often arise because obligations and responsibilities weren’t set out clearly – or even talked through at all – so there isn’t a mechanism to deal with a particular issue. The parties often can’t agree what to do when things go wrong, because their ideas of what is fair or reasonable or what should happen are poles apart.

Defining your T&Cs need not be an ordeal. Here are five tips to make your T&Cs work hard for your business, rather than making them hard work.

TIP 1. Write Your T&Cs to Fit Your Business

In other words, don’t let your T&Cs tell you how to run your business. This might sound obvious, but the inbuilt danger of using T&Cs you have bought online or borrowed from a friend is that they reflect someone else’s business processes instead of your own. T&Cs should accurately reflect the way you do business and your processes. To achieve this, your processes need to come first, not the other way round.

Never resort to ‘standard’ terms or templates; they have been written either for someone else’s business or for an imaginary, generic one. So, at best, they will be clunky and vaguely acceptable; at worst, they will be like trying to force a square peg into a round hole.

TIP 2: Do It Early

Start developing your T&Cs early on by reviewing what policies or procedures you already have in place, and what have yet to be defined. For example, have you decided how you will deal with cancellations or complaints? If so, capture your processes and procedures as you formulate them in practice and then standardise them into a policy. This saves time in the long run and helps you avoid having to re-cover old ground later on down the line.

Attending to your T&Cs also enables you to plan and develop your business with more rigour. It’s a prompt to think about the workings of your business, enabling you to pre-empt any potential glitches, insert mechanisms for dealing with them and avoid future disputes. Thus, it actually serves a dual purpose.

TIP 3: Choose Your Language Carefully

Any communications expert will tell you that everything your business does will reflect on your branding. This includes your T&Cs. If, as a forward-thinking business owner, your core values include integrity or kindness, why would you want T&Cs written in eye-watering language or microscopic font size? Using clear language in a style that is similar to (or at least not entirely at odds with) your business ethos will be more ‘on brand’.

Direct and transparent communications allow clients to understand what they are signing. Their expectations can be set from the outset, thus avoiding disputes further down the line.

Editor’s side note:
Directness and Transparency are two of the 7 Graces of Marketing.

TIP 4: Know When to Engage a Lawyer

In the early stages of setting up a business, your resources can be stretched. If you are still in the process of developing your offering, it may be premature to start thinking about allocating any of your budget to legal fees. This doesn’t necessarily have to be a problem. It is possible to write your own simple contract spelling out your T&Cs. If this is your only option, even a DIY contract could help keep you out of a lot of trouble.

However, you must bear in mind that such a DIY contract may help cover the basics, but it won’t be comprehensive. You’ll need a lawyer to advise you on more complicated topics you may not be deeply familiar with, like how far you can legitimately attempt to limit your liability, or how to deal with compliance and regulatory issues such as entering into contracts with consumers.

Even if you already have a DIY contract, I suggest obtaining tailored, professional T&Cs as soon as you can. In high-value, regulated or high-risk areas such as employment or investment, I always recommend that you obtain legal advice.

TIP 5: Invoke the Grace of Invitation

As I’ve suggested above, having jargon-riddled, muddled and poorly laid-out T&Cs in a miniscule font is not a good idea. It can even be – in 7 Graces parlance – downright ‘invasive’ (Invasion being one of the 7 Deadly Sins of marketing).

For example, many larger businesses have standard T&Cs that are completely one sided and aggressive. They may even seem arbitrary or capricious. We, the weary customers, are meant to smile sweetly and agree without questioning them. These one-sided T&Cs often arise because any well-intended lawyer wants to ensure their client that they are in a strong position, which then gets translated into ‘the client gets all they can’. Businesses often buy into this mean, tough stance.

The truth is, however, that these T&Cs may not actually stand up in a court of law if they are challenged. But many businesses will use them anyway on the assumption that they are unlikely to be challenged by their customers. After all, even if a customer realises that taking them to court is an option, the cost of doing so is often disproportionate to the issue or possible outcome.

But I believe there is an alternative way to approach T&Cs.

As a 7 Graces Community member and graduate of the 7 Graces Foundations of Ethical Marketing course, the Graces are part of my business values. And to me, having clear, well-thought-out T&Cs invokes the Grace of Invitation.

The Grace of Invitation suggests that we invite clients and customers into our businesses just as we would invite treasured guests into our homes. Instead of bullying our customers into submission with complex, furtive and aggressive T&Cs, we can give them a breath of fresh air by being clear, simple, direct, consistent and (most of all) respectful. To me, being in a ‘strong position’ means to create win-win solutions – to work with a collaborative mind-set.

Editor’s side note:
Collaboration is another one of the 7 Graces of Marketing.

The point is this: just because they are legal contracts, that doesn’t mean T&Cs have to be heavy. They can even be…charming! You have the choice when it comes to your own business. You can create crystal-clear T&Cs that reflect your core values.

So NOW…

When I say the word ‘law’, what’s the first thought that springs to your mind?

Is your response different now from what it was a few minutes ago?

I’d love to know your thoughts. What do you think about T&Cs? How have you approached them in your own business? How will you make them your own? I invite you to leave your comments (or questions) below.

Until next time,

Lubna Gem Arielle
10 October 2014

Lubna is a graduate of the 7 Graces Foundations of Ethical Marketing course. Click the image below to find out about the course, and to listen to an info call about what it covers and how it can help your business.

4 Foundations of Ethical Marketing

Lubna Gem ArielleLUBNA GEM ARIELLE is a lawyer who went back to art school and has a portfolio career. As a legal educator, she lectures on MA programmes at Birkbeck and Sotheby’s Institute of Art, makes law accessible for creatives as a professional speaker and trainer and is a writer/presenter for Legal Network Television. She is a legal adviser to Artquest, providing advice to visual artists. In her creative practice, Lubna works with sharing and integrating information, stories and knowledge across real and virtual media. She is also a legal experiential practitioner specialising in outcomes-focused communication with the Personal Communications Academy. Lubna is a graduate of the 7 Graces Foundations of Ethical Marketing Course and member of the 7 Graces Community and the Professional Speaking Association.

CLICK HERE to read other articles by Lubna on this website.

Lubna on Twitter @info_bites

Lubna’s Website: http://www.6minutebites.com

Like this blog?

Then please subscribe using the form at the upper right side of this page, so you can receive our articles to your inbox.

KINDLE users 

You can help subsidise ethical marketing training courses for young social entrepreneurs in need. Just subscribe to the blog on Amazon for 99 cents a month (77p UK), and you’ll receive all our articles delivered directly to your Kindle device. All profits go to our 7 Graces Scholarship Fund. You can take a 14-day free trial before you decide. You’ll get a new article 2 or 3 times per week. Check it out at Amazon US or Amazon UK.

Looking for a Tribe? 

Come join our 7 Graces group on Facebook, and join us at our monthly meetings. They’re free to attend and we have them both in person and online, so you can participate from anywhere in the world. This is NOT a “business group” but an active community where people actually know and support each other.

Find out more about how changing the paradigm can help make the world a better place:

The 7 Graces of Marketing BOOK COVER The 7 Graces of Marketing: how to heal humanity and the planet by changing the way we sellby Lynn Serafinn, where you can learn how the 7 Deadly Sins and the 7 Graces impact the world through media and marketing. Brit Writers Awards Finalist eLit Book Awards Silver Medal in Humanitarian & Ecological Social Issues

 

Tweep-e-licious: 158 Twitter Tips & Strategies for Writers, Social Entrepreneurs & Changemakers Who Want to Market Their Business Ethically by Lynn Serafinn, which can help you learn how to create meaningful collaborations through Twitter and other social media. eLit Book Awards Bronze Medal in Business and Sales.

Get instant access to a free 90-minute Twitter marketing class at http://tweepelicious.com

The Social Entrepreneur's Guide to Successful BloggingComing later in 2014

The Social Entrepreneur’s Guide to Successful Blogging: An Effective, Creative & Ethical Way of Marketing for Visionaries & New Paradigm Business Leaders. To receive an update when that book is available, just click here. As a thank-you gift for showing your interest, you’ll get instant access to an exclusive, free 5-page PDF revealing the exact same blogging template we use with our clients and we teach to participants on the ethical marketing training courses at the 7 Graces Project.


Lynn Serafinn author of The 7 Graces of Marketing LYNN SERAFINN, MAED, CPCC is a certified, award-winning coach, teacher, marketer, social media expert, radio host, speaker and author of the number one bestseller The 7 Graces of Marketing — How to Heal Humanity and the Planet by Changing the Way We Sell and Tweep-e-licious! 158 Twitter Tips & Strategies for Writers, Social Entrepreneurs & Changemakers Who Want to Market their Business Ethically. She is listed in the Top 20 of the Top Marketing Authors on Twitter by Social Media Magazine and was a finalist for the prestigious Brit Writers Awards. She also received the eLit Book Awards Silver Medal in Humanitarian and Ecological Social Affairs, as well as the Bronze Medal in Business and Sales. Lynn’s eclectic approach to marketing incorporates her vast professional experience in the music industry and the educational sector along with more than two decades of study and practice of the spirituality of India. Her innovative marketing campaigns have produced a long list of bestselling non-fiction authors through her company Spirit Authors.

Lynn is also the Founder of the 7 Graces Project CIC, a not-for-profit social enterprise created to train, support, mentor and inspire independent business owners to market their business ethically, serve society and planet, and restore all that is best about humanity.

7 Graces Project CIC

Twitter: http://twitter.com/7GracesMarketng

Facebook: http://facebook.com/groups/7GracesGlobalGarden

MeetUp: http://www.meetup.com/7-Graces-Global-Community-London

(not just for Londoners, as we meet also on Skype)

 

Posted in 7 Graces, Blog, Business Tips, Community Blogger, Directness, Invitation, Law and Legal Tips, Lubna Gem Arielle, Relationship with Our Audience, Relationship with Our Business, Transparency | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Disconnection – What Entrepreneurs Can Learn from the Shadow

Disconnection: What Entrepreneurs Can Learn from the Shadow
7 Graces co-director Nancy Goodyear explores the dark side of the 7 Graces and explains how the Deadly Sin of Disconnection can affect all our relationships.

In the 7 Graces model, Disconnection – the first of the 7 Deadly Sins of marketing – is the foundation from which all the other ‘sins’ emerge. By definition, if we are disconnected, we are living and working in isolation with no connection to anyone or anything. When we feel no connection to anyone or anything, all our decisions and actions are determined only by what is in our own best interests and what is right for us alone.

This kind of worldview will inevitably lead to decisions and actions that are damaging to other people, to society or to the planet:

  • If I feel no connection to other people, why would I not simply take what I want from them – money, things, support, sex, etc.?
  • If I feel no connection to society, why would I not manipulate it for my own ends with no thought for the long-term implications for other people or for humanity as a whole?
  • If I feel no connection to the planet, why would I not exploit its natural resources to fit my purposes with no thought for the legacy I’m leaving future generations or the impact it has on the environment?

Essentially, if I feel disconnected from everyone and everything, then nobody and nothing matters to me. I can be as ruthless and selfish as I want, because there are no implications that matter. I get what I want and stuff the rest – it’s nothing to do with me.

The thing is, life isn’t like that. It’s our natural inclination as human beings to feel connected to at least some people and some things. And if you’re a frequent reader of this blog, the likelihood is you are already keenly aware of your connection to humanity, society and the planet.

In addition to the 7 Graces and 7 Deadly Sins of marketing, threaded through the 7 Graces model are 7 Key Relationships that are integral to the notion of ethical marketing and business. These are (your relationship with):

  1. Self
  2. Source
  3. Others
  4. Your Business
  5. Your Audience
  6. Money
  7. Marketing

Today, I want to invite you to take a walk with me on the dark side, to explore how the Deadly Sin of Disconnection can show up in each of these relationships and how this can affect our lives and our businesses.

Disconnection and Your Relationship with Self

This one is a biggie.

If we are disconnected from Self, we don’t know who we are. We don’t know what’s important to us or what we believe in. We don’t know what we care about or even how to take care of ourselves (beyond the universal basics of food, water and shelter). If we have a poorly defined relationship with Self, how can we possibly understand what we think or feel about any of our other relationships? This is why this is the first of the Key Relationships; the journey to awareness always starts with Self.

From a ‘life’ point of view, disconnection from Self is pretty bleak:

  • You feel lost, because you haven’t gotten to know who you are.
  • You’re probably not taking good care of yourself, because you don’t know what you really need or want.
  • You probably have no sense of purpose, because you don’t know what you believe or where you are heading.

But how does disconnection from Self affect us from a business point of view?

  • If you are disconnected from your Self, you might be a workaholic with no work/life balance – life feels purposeless and empty, so you focus all your energy into work.
  • You might struggle to get your business off the ground, because you are constantly flitting from one business idea to the next – you don’t have a clear sense of what you’re here to do.

To sum up, if we have weak or disconnected relationships with Self, it’s very difficult for us to understand or develop the other six Key Relationships.

Disconnection and Your Relationship with Source

By ‘Source’, I mean the planet and everything on it. To understand more about the 7 Graces definition of Source, I recommend you read this article.

If you feel disconnected from Source:

  • You may well feel like you don’t ‘belong’ anywhere.
  • You may feel no responsibility for – or control over – what happens in society or to the planet.
  • You may not be aware of (or simply not care about) the impact your decisions have on society as a whole, the environment, nature or the planet.
  • Ultimately, you may feel small, insignificant and powerless to change or influence things on this large scale. This may leave you thinking, ‘Why bother?’

Disconnection from Source will inevitably also influence how you run your business:

  • You will be more likely to focus on the small day-to-day details of running your business than to take time to look beyond this at how those details influence the bigger picture of Source.
  • If you don’t feel like you ‘belong’ to the planet, humanity, society or nature, you may feel as though it’s all none of your business; for example, you may feel that environmental issues are not your problem or responsibility.
  • You will also see other people – your audience, your clients/customers, your business associates, etc. – as separate from you rather than as part of the same whole. Your feelings of disconnection will be reflected in how you conduct your business, in your marketing decisions and in all your communications. The tone and choice of words addressing someone we see as ‘outside’ us is likely to be more aggressive, colder or even more manipulative than when we feel connected to them at a primal (Source) level.

And that leads us nicely to the next Key Relationship…

Disconnection and Your Relationship with Others

Unless you live the life of a complete hermit, never leaving the house, not owning a phone or a computer, never reading the papers and living entirely self-sufficiently, it is impossible to avoid other people. ‘Others’ includes family and friends, of course, but it also includes also the postman, the person behind the till at the supermarket, the person on the other end of the phone who cold-called to try to sell you double glazing, the person you sit next to on the bus.

When you are disconnected from others, you’re unlikely to be interested in what they think, feel or say, preferring your own stories and experiences. You might be perceived as aloof or self-absorbed, because you don’t see the relevance of others to you and your life, apart from how they can serve your own wants. Your interactions with other people may be unsatisfactory to you and to them, as you give nothing of yourself and see nothing of interest in them.

We’ve all had those days when we got up on the wrong side of bed, when everything and everyone is irritating to us and we want to be anywhere other than where we are. On those days, if we go into a shop, we don’t look at the person serving us (never mind going for eye contact!). We don’t smile, and we say as little as we can get away. Then we leave, often hating ourselves and them, bemoaning the poor customer service we’ve just received. And on those days, that bad service probably had absolutely nothing to do with the poor person on the till and everything to do with our own feelings of disconnection!

In business, disconnection from other people can have serious consequences. Our businesses are dependent upon others, whether they be customers, clients, colleagues, employees or service providers. If we feel no connection to them, we might see them as interchangeable and not take the trouble to find the right people for us. Or we might not care about all the niceties of human relationships and create a bad-tempered, stressful and unhappy working environment. When we neglect our relationships with other people – in life or in business – the world becomes a dark and unfriendly place.

If we do somehow manage to bypass our disconnection and muster the energy to look at the person serving us in the shop, we might find a friendly smile and a kind word that lifts us out of our mood just a little bit.

Disconnection and Your Relationship with Your Business

If you have your own business, you inevitably have a relationship with it; and like all relationships, it has its ups and downs. Sometimes you love your business and are deeply inspired by the work you do. Those are the days you feel connected to it. But other days, you just don’t feel that connection at all. You wonder why you started it, you wonder why you pour all these endless hours into it, sometimes for very little reward, and you wonder why you don’t just give it all up and go and get a ‘proper job’.

When you feel like this about your business, it’s not going to get your best attention – the attention it deserves and needs to thrive. And, again like all relationships, if you neglect your relationship with your business, it’s not going to give you what you need in return.

Sometimes disconnection can arise when:

  • Your business is not in alignment with your own values, passion and purpose.
  • You’ve changed, but your business (which may have been right for you in the past) hasn’t kept up with you.
  • You’ve been working on this business a long time and you’re simply bored with it.
  • You’re not reaping the rewards you had anticipated and feel fed up with slogging your guts out without proper recompense.

Whatever the reason, when you have a disconnected relationship with your business, you feel like work is no longer as fun and inspiring as it used to be (if it ever was).

Disconnection and Your Relationship with Your Audience

Your audience includes your past, current and potential clients and customers. When you have a disconnected relationship with these people, they are unlikely to hire you or buy from you. Of course, this will cause your business to stagnate, falter and ultimately fail.

Unless you know who your audience is, what they are seeking and how you provide this for them, there is simply no way to communicate with them effectively.

When you are disconnected from your audience:

  • You might not know whom you are putting all this effort into your business for.
  • You might feel resentful, because you are constantly attracting the wrong clients (or no clients at all!).
  • You might feel that your audience is stupid, because they ‘just don’t get what we do!’

Disconnection from your audience is the kiss of death for business owners; after all, a business without customers is no business at all!

Disconnection and Your Relationship with Money

This is another big one. We all have to handle money; it’s pretty hard to live without it these days. One of the main reasons for being in business is to make at least a modest living. To do this, all you really need is a decent income that exceeds what you spend on the running of your business. But in spite of that simple equation, many of us have difficult and complicated feelings about money that can get in the way of us achieving it.

If you feel disconnected from money:

  • You might try to convince yourself you don’t need it.
  • You might feel you don’t have enough of it.
  • You might feel you deserve so much more than what you have.
  • Conversely, you might feel you have more than you deserve.
  • You might hate the fact that you need money.
  • You might be afraid of not having enough, or that money will dry up altogether and you will become destitute.
  • You might do everything you can to avoid asking people (i.e., your clients and customers) for money and, as a result, either not get paid for your work or not get paid enough.

Our relationship with money might well be one of the most commonly disconnected Key Relationships of all. When we have a disconnected relationship with money, there is no way we can run a truly successful business.

Disconnection and Your Relationship with Marketing

Finally, we must consider our relationship with marketing. We live in a world where we are constantly being marketed to and, even if we’re not in business, we are constantly marketing ourselves. Whether we’re talking about Facebook or the dreaded dating-site profile, it’s all a form of marketing in that we are telling people why they should be interested in us.

Marketing is about communication: communicating to others what we have to offer (either as people or as businesses). If we are disconnected from that communication, it will be very difficult to find a balance between beating people over the head with a shouty hard sell full of hype and exclamation marks (‘BUY NOW!!!! This is AMAZING!!!!’) and something more balanced, respectful and informative.

If we have a disconnected relationship with marketing:

  • We may not be aware of when we are being manipulated by marketers into buying something we don’t want or need.
  • We might believe that shouting at people and deceiving them is the only way to get people to notice us.
  • We might alienate our audiences by employing some (or all) of the 7 Deadly Sins in our marketing campaigns.

As business owners, understanding our relationship with marketing is crucial to our success because not only are we being constantly marketed at but we also need to do marketing of our own. If we feel disconnected from our marketing, how can we know whether or not it sits easily with the image and values we want to portray about our Self and our business?

Final Thoughts

While writing this article, I could feel how gloomy the topic of Disconnection is. This is because Disconnection is within the ‘shadow side’ of our Key Relationships. I noticed how much I wanted to make it better for you and even started writing tips on how to reconnect to each relationship. However, I made a conscious decision not to do that – to leave you in the shadow. This is because I believe it’s important that we spend a little while there from time to time: examining it, exploring it and playing in it. This way, we can come to understand what we don’t want, and what works and doesn’t work in our relationships.

Instead of leaving this article all nice and tidy, I invite you to get down and dirty in the shadows. Allow yourself some time to really wallow in the gloom of Disconnection. See what it feels like, and observe how it changes your perspective on your Key Relationships.

And don’t worry about getting stuck there. I know that when you allow yourself to dive down and really dig around in the depths, you will naturally bob back up to the surface of the water and into the sunlight in your own time.

And when you do, that sunlight will seem so much brighter and stronger and warmer.

I therefore make no apologies for leaving you in the gloom and am, instead, really excited to know what you discover down there. Please let me know by leaving a comment.

And, of course, if you’d like to learn more about the 7 Deadly Sins AND the 7 Graces of Marketing, I hope you’ll consider coming onto our 7 Graces Foundations of Ethical Marketing course, where we explore both the light and shadow of marketing, and how to use this awareness to create a more ethical, sustainable and satisfying way to run your business. To listen to the replay of a free information call about our Foundations course, just CLICK HERE.

4 Foundations of Ethical Marketing

Stay connected!

Nancy Goodyear
30 September 2014

Nancy V Goodyear, Co-Director of the 7 Graces Project CICNancy V Goodyear is a Business Mentor and Coach who loves to help social entrepreneurs and small business owners cultivate their relationship with self, their business and their audience. With a BA (Hons) in Learning Disability Nursing, she has extensive professional experience working in health & social care within the non-profit sector. She is fluent in French having lived in France for some time. She is a graduate of the Coaches Training Institute and the Co-Active Leadership programme. She is also a director of The 7 Graces Project CIC.

Nancy on Twitter: @NancyVGoodyear
Nancy’s website – http://nancyvgoodyear.com

Like this blog?

Then please subscribe using the form at the upper right side of this page, so you can receive our articles to your inbox.

KINDLE users

You can help subsidise ethical marketing training courses for young social entrepreneurs in need. Just subscribe to the blog on Amazon for 99 cents a month (77p UK), and you’ll receive all our articles delivered directly to your Kindle device. All profits go to our 7 Graces Scholarship Fund. You can take a 14-day free trial before you decide. You’ll get a new article 2 or 3 times per week. Check it out at Amazon US or Amazon UK.

Looking for a Tribe?

Come join our 7 Graces group on Facebook, and join us at our monthly meetings. They’re free to attend and we have them both in person and online, so you can participate from anywhere in the world. This is NOT a “business group” but an active community where people actually know and support each other.

Find out more about how changing the paradigm can help make the world a better place:

The 7 Graces of Marketing BOOK COVER The 7 Graces of Marketing: how to heal humanity and the planet by changing the way we sell, by Lynn Serafinn, where you can learn how the 7 Deadly Sins and the 7 Graces impact the world through media and marketing. Brit Writers Awards Finalist eLit Book Awards Silver Medal in Humanitarian & Ecological Social Issues

 

Tweep-e-licious: 158 Twitter Tips & Strategies for Writers, Social Entrepreneurs & Changemakers Who Want to Market Their Business Ethically by Lynn Serafinn, which can help you learn how to create meaningful collaborations through Twitter and other social media. eLit Book Awards Bronze Medal in Business and Sales.

Get instant access to a free 90-minute Twitter marketing class at http://tweepelicious.com

The Social Entrepreneur's Guide to Successful BloggingComing later in 2014

The Social Entrepreneur’s Guide to Successful Blogging: An Effective, Creative & Ethical Way of Marketing for Visionaries & New Paradigm Business Leaders. To receive an update when that book is available, just click here. As a thank-you gift for showing your interest, you’ll get instant access to an exclusive, free 5-page PDF revealing the exact same blogging template we use with our clients and we teach to participants on the ethical marketing training courses at the 7 Graces Project.


Lynn Serafinn author of The 7 Graces of Marketing LYNN SERAFINN, MAED, CPCC is a certified, award-winning coach, teacher, marketer, social media expert, radio host, speaker and author of the number one bestseller The 7 Graces of Marketing — How to Heal Humanity and the Planet by Changing the Way We Sell and Tweep-e-licious! 158 Twitter Tips & Strategies for Writers, Social Entrepreneurs & Changemakers Who Want to Market their Business Ethically. She is listed in the Top 20 of the Top Marketing Authors on Twitter by Social Media Magazine and was a finalist for the prestigious Brit Writers Awards. She also received the eLit Book Awards Silver Medal in Humanitarian and Ecological Social Affairs, as well as the Bronze Medal in Business and Sales. Lynn’s eclectic approach to marketing incorporates her vast professional experience in the music industry and the educational sector along with more than two decades of study and practice of the spirituality of India. Her innovative marketing campaigns have produced a long list of bestselling non-fiction authors through her company Spirit Authors.

Lynn is also the Founder of the 7 Graces Project CIC, a not-for-profit social enterprise created to train, support, mentor and inspire independent business owners to market their business ethically, serve society and planet, and restore all that is best about humanity.

7 Graces Project CICTwitter: http://twitter.com/7GracesMarketng

Facebook: http://facebook.com/groups/7GracesGlobalGarden

Posted in 7 Deadly Sins, 7 Key Relationships, Blog, Community Blogger, Disconnection, Foundations of Ethical Marketing, Nancy Goodyear, New Paradigm, Relationship with Marketing, Relationship with Money, Relationship with Others, Relationship with Our Audience, Relationship with Our Business, Relationship with Self, Relationship with Source | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment