Quarter four is upon us!! This is the home stretch of the year — and it’s not just about business goals to finish this year strong, it’s about setting up a foundation for the following year so you can hit the ground running as soon as the holidays are over… and maybe, accomplish a few goals before it even begins.
For the past six years, I’ve started counting down to the new year in October. It may seem like I’m not “in the moment” but I can promise you that by doing my 10 Weeks to whatever the next year is, I’m actually more present, strategic and mindful of my goals.
The best part? I usually knock a few off before we even hit the holidays.
Why am I telling you this? Well, last year, I used this time to get serious about my brand focus for 2017. And it worked. It worked so well that my company earned multiple six figures this year — our second full year in business. It worked so well that I brought on two new team members, managed dozens of projects and still found time to get a little press along the way. It worked so well that I cleared 10K on Instagram and continue to grow an engaged following that ACTUALLY converts. It worked so well that I found the love (of self), sweat (of hard #werk) and tears (of joy) mantra and ACTUALLY felt what that means for me.
It worked so well that beyond all those tangible success items, I found myself in a whole new way.
This next year, 2018, is a big one for me. It’s my third full year in business and the start of my third decade on this earth. I’ve recently gotten more into the Woo (more on that on my lifestyle blog) and I’ve found that it has helped me burn old stories and break the cassette tapes that no longer served me.
And I found that in the 10 weeks leading up to 2017 last fall.
That’s why I am so passionate about making this quarter count. It may seem like a slower time period — with family, holiday and travel chaos — but that means there are more pockets for YOU to find time to just be. To allow your mind to really go there when it comes to the possibilities that you may have denied yourself in the past.
Here are four things I’ve done in the last quarter of the year to create MASSIVE success in the next year — they may not all be for you but they may be something you can “vix” for yourself and that? THAT is the most powerful thing of all.
The List of 100 Dreams
In 2011, I was 23 years old a little lost. I knew I wanted to change the world — I’ve known that my whole life — but the path to doing that seemed foggy. I purchased the book “What Color is Your Parachute?” I read about one-third of it and then decided I had what I needed and could move on. The most important part for me, at that moment in my life? The List of 100 Dreams. I wrote down everything I wanted to do in this life — including (most importantly) things I’d already accomplished. It helped me put my path into perspective. And best of all? Three months after I did that? I got the biggest job of my career and forged a new path in uncharted territory that led me here. Write the list this fall. Take the time to do it — in a place that makes YOU happiest — and think about what goals you can tackle in 2018. You’ll be surprised by what you’ve done already and how far you’ve come… I know it.
Calm in the Chaos
Meditation is something I committed to at the end of 2016 as well and as we circle back around on this ride we call life, I can tell you I haven’t kept up the practice as I thought I would BUT I did keep the intention. I live in NYC, it is a chaotic city — full of energy, motion and go-go-go. And I love every second of it. The entrepreneur guilt can often feel like that too — am I doing enough — and so meditation was one way I decided to calm my mind. I thought it meant that I had to sit, cross-legged on my couch, clearing my mind of all thoughts. That was not what worked for me — Instead, it’s a daily listen to freevibeoftheday.com, checking my horoscope and walking to my morning workout class without any expectation of what thoughts will pop into my head. Finding the calm in the chaos of my routine helped me stay the course. My advice for you? Find three things that calm you. Learn three new tools in this season to help you stay calm in the chaos and block time to do them every, single week of the first quarter of the new year. Knowing that you have a plan to tackle anything that comes your way IS half of the battle and this is one of the most powerful things you can do.
Healthy Body, Healthy Mind
I’ve had a regular, stable, consistent workout schedule since I’m 17. It has been a constant in my life through ALL of the changes in this defining decade and it is one I am eternally grateful for. I also went gluten- and dairy- free in my 20s. Trying a new food or workout routine is not easy during the holidays but the holidays are a few weeks away — take October to really consider what your “normal” eating habits are and how you can clean them up (or open them up) to give yourself more energy throughout the day. Find small tweaks that work for you. This isn’t something that I can really advise you on BUT I can tell you that paying attention to this — especially in my solopreneur days — helped me through a LOT of ups and downs.
I set goals, a lot. Quarterly goals, daily goals, weekly goals. I am #goalsongoalsongoals all damn day! Goals help me stay grounded and they help ME make the decisions I need to move forward. Each week of the next three months, write down three goals you want to accomplish that week. I find a hybrid of business and personal goals really makes me feel fulfilled so try that to see if it helps for you too. Write them on a post-it and tape them to your laptop or desktop each Sunday. On the following Sunday, block 15-20 minutes to evaluate your accomplishments and another 15-20 to set new goals for the following week. This intention setting allowed me to not only hit my financial goals for this year, but it actually allowed me to surpass them without even thinking about it. Powerful. Stuff.
No matter what practices, tactics and tools you use, setting yourself up for success in Quarter Four IS a crucial part of making the BOSS moves you need to succeed in the year ahead. The simplest thing to do? Get a handle on your expenses, write-offs and tax deductions for April — that is one way to understand your accomplishments this year AND how to maximize your success next year.
Every expert will tell you something different about what it means to build a digital business. This quick start guide will help you get the building blocks in place so you can expand as you go along without having to scramble for key assets and systems last minute, allowing you to take full advantage of all the opportunities coming your way.
Understanding what you’re going to talk about is the first part of building a digital brand. What key areas will you “own” as an expert? Will you create a blog or plan to share content on social media? Are you going to train your audience to expect a podcast, video series or to convert to a group program?
Here are a few resources to help you get started:
The Only Branding Cheatsheet You’ll Ever Need
Buzzwords and Your Digital Strategy
3 Content Objectives and 5 Ways to Achieve Them
Content Planning for Entrepreneurs
The 5 W’s and an H of Content Planning
Website or Landing Page — Or Social Media Page
No matter what your hub is, you need a hub to send your new audience to. That hub can be a website, landing page or series of social media profiles.
My advice? Start with a simple website (like these that we’ve created for clients) with a home, about, contact and services page. This allows you to start collecting email addresses quickly (to build your list from Day 1; even if you’re not sending them anything yet, it’s an important digital branding step!) and it will also allow you to employ some of that content planning you’ve been working on — on the About page, think about what you want to own, your why and how you can provide services and products to YOUR ideal client. That will help you start to inform your content strategy AND give you something to share on social media.
If you decide to start with a social media page or profile? Consider where your ideal client hangs out before deciding which one to focus your energies on. And if you’re not building a website at all? Stay off Twitter, you won’t have the content to support a solid strategy and then the brand building efforts there will fall flat.
Social Media Strategy
If you do nothing else when building a digital brand, you MUST reserve your business name (or your name) on all social media platforms. Even if you plan to NEVER use that platform to promote your business, you never know which way the tides will turn so reserve all of your handles on Day 1 to make sure you never, ever have to think about this again!
Then, it’s about deciding where your ideal client hangs out and how many times a day you can reasonably post.
If you’re only on Facebook, you ARE leaving money on the table, but if you’re just starting out, it is better to be focused so take the time to build a rapport with your community.
All of the resources we have on social media planning can be found here.
No matter what you’re doing, you want to get paid. Whether you’re a side-hustler, a naptime ninja or a weekend warrior, you’re starting a side business and digital brand to get paid. If you’re an influencer, you’ll be using your digital influence to get paid in a variety of ways… but you’re still GETTING PAID! Think about the easiest way for YOU to handle payments. Start by creating an excel sheet for expenses and income tracking so that when tax time rolls around, you’re not wasting valuable time scrambling for receipts and payment records.
A resource to get started:
3 Payment Systems to Rock Your Business
You may not know what types of content you’ll be sending via email but owning an email list is one of the most important parts of building a digital brand. Yes, all of these parts are important, that’s why they’re the building blocks! But having the ability to reach your customers 1:1? THAT is priceless. Always remember, the social platforms that we invest so much time, energy and money into are public (some are even publicly traded) and can go away in an instant. And if they do? How would you connect with your audience? This is something that the Vine influencers dealt with a little over a year ago and it was not pretty. Don’t ever allow yourself to be in this position! Get ahead of it from Day 1 with an email system that suits YOUR needs and can scale with your business.
There you have it! Of course, there are MANY more elements to consider as you build, scale and grow your business and digital brand, but this is a great way to get started.
The investment you make in social media — and marketing in general — is one of the most important investments you’ll make in business. How much should you invest? That depends on how quickly you want to get to success AND what success looks like for you, your business and your brand.
Social Media Marketing is something everyone can physically do but not something everyone can do well. And since it is my zone of excellence, I decided it was time to shed light on what the investment should be and what that will yield for your business.
Social Media is one of the most important investments you’ll make in your business. [Click to Tweet] It is also one area where most entrepreneurs and influencers under invest, resulting in low quality work and all sorts of stumbles along the way.
At CreatiVix Media, we charge between $1250-$10,000 per month for social media marketing strategy, management and content creation and curation. That’s a wide range and it is inline with most digital branding agencies. The CreatiVix Media difference? It’s a 360 approach so the value you’re getting is MUCH more than any other agency out there and, the best part? I, Vix Reitano, can actually DO all of the services my company offers. That means there’s no back and forth waiting for my “team” to get in touch with you.
The strategies I create for my clients not only focus on what’s actually being posted in the copy of their Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, InstaStory (etc; we do it all, you get the idea) posts, but also the images, links, landing pages, email funnels and sales copy.
AND I focus on how these strategies will get you the digital PR you need to succeed.
Your followers are just clients you haven’t signed yet [click to tweet] but that also means that if you’re not engaging with them and showing up in the places (podcasts, blogs, newsletters, Facebook groups) where they hang out, it can seem like you’re just beating the drum in a vacuum. If no one is citing you as an expert, you cannot truly call yourself one.
What Does Social Media Marketing Include?
Social Media Marketing includes everything and anything shared by and for your business online to attract press and feature opportunities, to increase your followers, to sign clients and to create funnels and strategies to sell your offerings, services and programs. It is a way to use the free tools at our fingertips to strategically create buzz around you as an expert to fill your client list and keep the new clients coming in to your funnels for years to come.
How Does It Build My Business?
Social Media CAN, in 2017, make or break your business. [Click to Tweet] That’s why hiring someone who looks at it from a 360 perspective — with the question of “how will this make my client more money” at the forefront of her mind — is imperative. If you have someone who thinks it’s enough to drive traffic to your site and then leave you hanging, that’s someone that shouldn’t be in your business.
How Much Does it Cost for Social Media Marketing and Management?
Social Media Marketing is a tricky thing to price. Luckily, I’ve been side hustling long enough to know what the “right” range is.
That Seems Like What a VA Does, Isn’t It the Same?
Nope. A VA is brilliant and a wonderful investment. I work with a VA to get my posts into more Facebook groups where my audience hangs out. The best part about that is that I can focus on other activities while she supports me in this way. Investing in my VA (and you can check her out here) is one of the best things I’ve done for my business in 2017. It is why I’ve made 6-figures in 6 months, it’s why I have grown my email list by 130%. BUT she is not going to post for me if I don’t create content or create a clear strategy. VA’s offer support, guidance and execution but a Chief Marketing Strategist and her team (like the one I’ve created here at CreatiVix Media!) will not only do all of that, they’ll also find strategic ways to quickly and efficiently convert the traffic you’re getting by looking at the whole picture as part of your monthly investment! If they’re doing it right, they’ll even write your email content AND schedule it to give you the max ROI based on your level of investment in the hours they provide.
What About Facebook Ads?
Most companies charge a minimum management fee for Facebook ads ($250+) on top of 10-20% of your overall ad budget. At CreatiVix Media, we see paid and organic social media as the only way to truly move forward (that’s how we’ve gotten massive results, like 147% in increased engagement on Facebook and per-post engagement on Instagram up 62%… in four weeks or less) so we don’t charge any additional fees for Facebook, Instagram or Twitter ads. We include those in the offering in every package of 20 hours per month or more.
What About Digital PR and SEO/SEM?
Digital PR is often NOT included in social media marketing packages but, again, I built CreatiVix Media to be the “Vix” to the norm and so we do see digital PR as part of the strategy. That includes weekly pitches for features, podcast/radio appearances and guest posts, curation of influencers to engage with for paid and organic content curation opportunities (basically, when someone with a larger following than you shares, likes or comments on your post, photo or video), affiliate management and marketing programs to increase the reach of your content and so much more! Most Social Media Marketing agencies charge $2000+ just for strategy! That’s something to really think about before deciding your level of investment and who you’re investing with.
Are Images Included in Social Media Marketing Packages?
Not always but in our packages, we do include a certain number of images per social media platform in every, single offering we have. Often, the biggest results come from a clean branding image and, lucky for you, I not only have the Photoshop skills to get the job done, I’ve also got a team of talented illustrators and graphic artists to tap when needed — and pay them out of your monthly budget so there are no additional fees for recurring projects.
As you can see, social media offerings vary in what’s included, what’s not and how companies charge. The most important thing to remember is that you need to invest in what works for you. What will give your brand the biggest return. And what will actually turn followers into clients.
And for my clients? That’s a 360 strategy that also includes coaching. If you’re ready to learn more about why investing in a 360 strategy is right for you and how we can grow with you, click here to schedule a free call!
This episode helps you find the hacks you need to learn about expanding your skills, broadening your mindset and getting the information you need to succeed in all areas of your work, life and play.
We’re all fatigued by the internet. And that makes us make some pretty bad decisions. If you’re only reading content that you agree with, are you really growing?
Hello and Welcome to The Get. I’m your host, Vix Reitano. This podcast is a new content effort of mine, something of a passion project.
I’m a social media expert, media enthusiast and content strategy expert with a nose for news. Stories, in my opinion, are the only constant in this world — the give and take of information is what allows us to grow as a society as individuals, so why the hell are we fighting it?
This episode of The Get falls into our “Get Informed” category. Because how can you truly advance unless you’re getting properly informed about your options?
Yesterday, I was looking for a refresher on building a GIF in Photoshop. I knew there was a way to do it but I hadn’t done it for a minute so I couldn’t remember the exact steps to make it look the way I wanted it to.
I came across every-tuesday.com and Teela is an expert. I also came across a lot of other “tutorials” in my search and they were not experts. How did I know the difference?
Well, for starters, every-tuesday.com has a HUGE library of resources, that was my first indication that she actually knew what she was talking about.
And then, many of her resources built on one another — the ability to create a series is another indication of an expert.
And finally, if you’re really not sure — ASK THEM QUESTIONS!! A true expert should be able to expand on the topic and also offer you customized solutions.
If they can’t do that, then it might be worth looking into their background a bit more before you decide that they are YOUR guru.
Guru is something I’m also thinking about today… it’s #WisdomWednesday after all, one of the most popular trends on the Web. Last week, we talked about getting on the trending train and if you haven’t listened to that episode, you totally should. It’s a great 5-part exercise to help you identify what type of content will trend for you and how you can jump into other trends.
Which is why all of the clients I work with share some sort of content on Wisdom Wednesday related to the trending topic — but why is it popular?
According to Forbes, 59% of people will share a story without even reading it. Think about your own habits — how can get you get informed if you’re only reading 140 characters? OR LESS!!! Getting informed is about understanding the story behind the headline, which is something we SO rarely read.
And, of course, digital fatigue is real so, sometimes, it can be a challenge to read more than the headline, especially if you’ve had a long day of research.
What’s the solution?
Finding your own hacks!!! That’s why I created a new DIY Digital Hacks series on YouTube. I also use Newsletters and Podcasts to hack my way around the content that is coming at me each and every day. You do have to be careful here as well –> if you bookmark too many things, you can fall into the same trap of not really reading anything, but newsletters can be great, especially if you block time in your calendar to read them.
Some of my favorite newsletters are:
The Daily Carnage
The Lily by The Washington Post
Levo’s Daily Newsletter
MuckRack’s Daily Newsletter
Another great way to get this information? Podcasts! But you’re listening to this so you already know that!
Getting informed is about finding content that challenges any preconceived notions you might have and allows you to have a larger conversation. It doesn’t always feel great, but it is necessary.
I’d love to hear what YOU are reading these days and what newsletters and podcasts you’re listening to. Let’s connect in my FREE Facebook Group which you can find by searching for DIY Your Digital Empire.
I’m gearing up to do a series of interviews for this podcast and I can’t wait to share them with you!!!!
Don’t forget to subscribe and leave feedback on Apple podcasts, I’d love to hear your thoughts on The Get and what else you’d like to learn about.
Here’s to another week of expanding your skillset, knowledge and abilities so that you can get the life you want.
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Instagram is the social media It girl of the moment. It’s a great way to showcase the behind-the-scenes of your business and allows your audience to experience things only YOU can share with them… but it does also have its own unique language, customs and challenges.
If social media is a party, Instagram is the hottest club of the moment. It’s where everyone wants to be and where everyone who is anyone is “seen.” It’s the Meatpacking District of the 90s.
Ok, I get that it’s popular, but what’s the best content to share?
This all depends on YOUR goals.
The best content to share on Instagram is beautiful photos from a Mobile device with filters that work for your audience.
One general tip? Mayfair is the best filter for engagement. Valencia is high up there too.
ColorStory and VSCO Cam are great ways to tap into the filter communities (yes, there are filter communities) and allow you to give your photos a little more pop.
If video is your game, then it’s all about the quick hit. Sixty seconds, no more, no less.
But the best type of content to share on Instagram?
Geo-tagged, authentic content that will engage your audience.
It should be a mix of images, memes/quote cards and videos and should accurately represent who YOU are as a brand.
All in all, it’s about creating a dialogue through images and videos, telling the story of your brand in a way that SELLS.
And when you’re ready to do that, let’s talk. My #InstaGoalsPod Mastermind might be for you, click here to learn more.