3 of my favourite tools right now

I thought I’d kick off the weekend with 3 of my favourite tools right now. They’ve all come into my life relatively recently (one just this past week), but they’ve each had a profound impact on how I run my life and my business.

Let’s start with the Carrot app.

1) Carrot

Kudos to my BFF for turning me on to this one. As far as I know, it’s only available in Canada.

This app syncs up with your Fitbit or your Google Fit account and tracks your steps. If you meet your daily step goal, you’re awarded points towards a loyalty program you’re a member of. They also occasionally release quizzes and challenges for you to earn bonus points.

Since I don’t drive and walk almost everywhere I need to go, this app was a no brainer to sign up for!

Currently it’s partnered with these loyalty programs:

  • Drop
  • Scene
  • Petro-Points
  • More Rewards
  • Aeroplan

They say they’re working on adding more programs, too.

You can get the app at www.carrotrewards.ca. If you sign up with my personal bonus code of katyt9957 you’ll earn 50% more points and I’ll get some bonus points, as well.

2) The Momentum Planner

This showed up in an ad in my Facebook feed about a month ago and it’s easily the best six bucks I’ve ever spent (it was a special offer to get a half-year of the planner for half the price… so yeah, it’s still only $12 and totally worth it).

One of the many things I love about this planner is that it’s teaching me just how long it takes to perform different tasks, and how much energy is required to perform each task. Until I started using it, I didn’t really understand how much time I need for the various things I do. Now that I’m starting to grasp it, I’m able to better plan for the week ahead and stay on top of deadlines.

The planner itself is broken out in to annual, quarterly, monthly, weekly and daily sections, with a focus on setting goals and then breaking down those goals into actionable steps. It’s right up my alley and I highly recommend checking it out.

Find it at www.productiveflourishing.com. (Not an affiliate link)

3) Mailbird

Mailbird is an email client for Windows that my work wife helpfully found for me last week after I finally decided to break up with G Suite.

Not only is it an email client, it also integrates with a number of other apps, including Facebook, WhatsApp, Slack, Trello, Asana, and Google Calendar – to name a few.

I’ve written extensively about my true feelings towards email and how I manage it. I do whatever I can to spend as little time in it as possible!

Since switching over to Mailbird a week ago, I’ve been really pleased. I almost enjoy checking email again. Almost. The learning curve for the switch hasn’t been difficult, either.

You can find out more about Mailbird at www.getmailbird.com. (Also not an affiliate link)

What are some of the tools you’ve been using in your life or business that you absolutely love? How do they help you? Inquiring minds want to know!

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Casting a Wide Net is NOT the Answer

Last night, I posted a rant about a certain prevailing theme I’ve been seeing in a lot of Facebook Ads over the past few days.

Not all of y’all follow me on Facebook, so I thought I’d share it here with you today, because it’s too important for y’all not to hear it. Here goes…

hissing cat

My inner cat, every time I read an ad that promises to solve all my problems and make me a millionaire by reading a 2-page, graphic-heavy PDF.

The last few days my newsfeed has been crammed with ads for quick fixes to grow my business from 0 to 7 figures in an arbitrarily short amount of time. Usually by watching a 30-minute free masterclass or downloading a 2-page PDF.

I haven’t heard of the majority of the marketers who are showing up in my feed lately. That’s not really an issue… the issue is that because I don’t know them, I haven’t had the opportunity to figure out if I even like or (most importantly) trust them.

So when these ads show up in my newsfeed, they feel intrusive. I’m automatically skeptical and distrustful.

Part of that distrust stems from the fact that it’s clear the marketer hasn’t put any kind of care into how they’re targeting these ads. If they were, I wouldn’t be seeing them because I’m not a brand new business owner, I’m not a health coach, I’m not a network marketer, and I’m already “living the dream life” of a social media manager.

(The latter is not all it’s cracked up to be. More on that another time.)

They’re not putting in the right level of care because casting this wide net reduces their cost per conversion as they grow their marketing list. While that number looks great on reports when you can keep it low, it actually costs you more in the long run.

Why/how?

Because the misaligned folks on your list are dead weight. When misaligned folks are on your list, your open rates plummet. And if they’re not opening your emails, they’re sure as hell not buying from you.

So yeah, I’m automatically distrustful of these marketers because to them I am just a nameless, faceless email address in a sea of other nameless, faceless email addresses.

There are smarter strategies to using FB Ads to list build. Strategies that foster KLT – know, like, trust.

They are long-game strategies, though. The kind that take months. And, holy Hanna, the pay out! But they require investments of time, money, and patience… 3 things I’ve come to discover that many of these quick-fix peddlers simply don’t have.

(I might have mentioned my skepticism and distrust?)

My point here is, take the time to test and fine-tune your Facebook ad demographics. Accept a higher cost per conversion and a smaller target audience when it means you can enter into a relationship with a person aligned with your mission and message. It’s so worth it.

(Y’all may recall my Great Email List Purge a month ago. It resulted in a doubling of my open rate.)

Also, when I say “take the time,” what I actually am saying is “hire someone who will take the time.” Because if you’re still trying to do your own ads, and you’re not a FB Ad person by trade… Well. I don’t want to make my mother-in-law blush.

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Aint nobody got time for THAT! ⌛

I don’t know what it’s like where you live, but here at my International HQ in London, Ontario, we’ve been having hot, sunny weather the last few days. Although the weekend is calling for thunderstorms. Either way, this is weather I love! 🙂

For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been doing daily (well, Mon-Thurs) FB Live broadcasts, sharing tips and ideas to help you do social media better.

Yesterday I talked about an exercise I like to lead my VIP clients through, which I lovingly call “Aint Nobody Got Time For THAT!” — essentially it’s a series of questions to ask before you even consider outsourcing your social media to a virtual assistant.

I’ve included the video below so that you don’t have to go digging through my FB timeline to find it. Enjoy!

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[VIDEO] #socialmediaspringclean episode 3: Facebook Friends

Did you know you could filter your Facebook friends so they only see certain posts from you, and also so that you only see posts from them?

In this video (8:45) I demonstrate how you can implement this more advanced Facebook skill to declutter your newsfeed and make browsing Facebook more fun and less time consuming.

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[VIDEO] #socialmediaspringclean episode 2: Facebook Pages

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[VIDEO] #socialmediaspringclean episode 1: Facebook Groups

Now that spring has officially sprung, I’m feeling the urge to declutter.

This applies to my home and office, for sure. But it also applies to my social media accounts.

Could your Facebook newsfeed use some decluttering? Mine sure could, and I’m a pro! So yesterday I unsubscribed from 26 FB groups. Watch the video below (2:45) and find out how you, too, can feel this liberated.

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How to Get Your Creativity Flowing Again by Doing Things You’ve Never Done Before

I’m sitting here doing the absolute opposite of everything I would normally do.

I’m working from home. (I have office space.)

Not only that, I’m working from the couch and I’m wearing pyjamas. (I have a staunch business-casual dress code for when I’m working, and when I did run my business from home, I had a dedicated room from whence to run it.)

I just finished broadcasting a pep talk to 27 of my client’s clients, in my role as her Community Wrangler, during which I declared today “Opposite Day.” Dressed in the aforementioned pyjamas and also wearing a tiara because, well, why not?

No, I haven’t lost my mind.

I’ve lost my creativity.

As someone who is usually in near-constant ideation mode, to lose my creativity feels a little like my soul is dying. I’ve experienced that soul-dying feeling twice before, and both times they resulted in nervous breakdowns that pulled the rug out from under me. I’m both blessed and relieved to now be able to recognize when I’m experiencing this feeling and, more importantly, how to turn the boat around when I’m hurtling towards the darkness that is depression.

I noticed that my creativity was beginning to die late last year, and so I declared that my personal theme for 2017 would be CREATIVITY & INNOVATION.

Tall order for someone who felt like she couldn’t creatively innovate her way out of a paper bag.

So the first thing I had to do was define what those words meant for me. It all boils down to these 2 things:

  1. Do everything differently.
  2. Go back to basics.

Neither of those things sound particularly creative nor innovative to me, but I’m also harshly critical of myself at the best of times, so I’ll let that slide for now.

Doing things differently.

While I may have declared today “Opposite Day” to my client’s clients, I’ve actually declared 2017 as “Opposite Year” to myself and my staff, and to some extent, my clients.

Whenever we plan something, I ask the question, Is this something we would have done in 2016?

If the answer is “yes,” (and there’s nothing wrong with that, per se) I issue the following challenge:

How can we do it differently?

Sometimes, we can’t. (And there’s nothing wrong with that, either.)

But most of the time, we can!!

It’s brought forth some amazing results – chiefly because we’re doing things no one expects (or what’s known as a pattern interrupt):

  • One of my clients is offering a free webinar every 6 weeks or so. There’s not really anything creative or innovative about that, except it’s broadcast over Facebook Live and you don’t have to trade your email address in order to watch it! Now THAT’S refreshing.
  • If you and I are connected personally on Facebook, you’re likely familiar with the #cherylandkatyshow, where my wife and I demonstrate that same-sex marriages are just like heterosexual marriages (only gayer). Up until recently, the “episodes” had been delivered strictly as text-only Facebook status updates, but we’re now including images in select posts and this past weekend we experimented with the first video episode.
  • In 2016, I launched my first ever group program, Killer Social Media LIVE!. It was fantastic, and I blocked off time in my calendar to deliver it 4 more times in 2017. But upon further reflection, I realised it took me away from what I really love to do, which is working one-on-one with entrepreneurs. For the foreseeable future, Killer Social Media LIVE! is on the backburner so I can do what I enjoy most of all.

And so I issue the same question and challenge to you as you work on your business this year: Is this something you would have done in 2016? And if so, how can you do it differently?

Going back to basics.

My business coach reminds me regularly that there are periods of expansion and contraction in business. Any business.

One of the areas where I’m “contracting” in my business right now is in my service offerings; this is the area in which I’m choosing to go back to basics this quarter.

I mentioned above that I’ve nixed my group program for the time being. It will be back, but it’s not my focus right now.

Instead, I’m going back to what I love: working one-on-one.

This means there’s currently only 2 ways to work with me:

  1. A VIP social media strategy session, where we dive deep into your business goals, how social media can support them, which platforms you’ll target and with what content, and how to measure and analyse your results for continuous improvement. You leave with a documented strategy that you and/or your existing team can implement right away.
  2. A full-service management package that includes a VIP social media strategy session, where my team and I create, execute and manage your entire social media strategy, so you can stop tearing your hair out and focus on what you do best for your clients.

I must insist on having a strategy session when you wish to work with me long-term, otherwise we’ll both be miserable. Without a proper strategy in place, our marketing efforts will be fractured and will ultimately fall flat. I want to create real, meaningful results for you, and I simply cannot do that if we haven’t created that strategy together first!

My intention for sharing all this with you is to get you thinking about how you can get some fresh perspective in your business.

What can you do differently this year? Where you can you take a step back to see the bigger picture before taking a giant leap forward?

Feel free to share in the comments!

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4 Marketing Lessons Learned from #bathtubsofbunz

I’d like to introduce you to my new friend, Ken Ferguson.

I’ve actually known of Ken for several years, as he’s a close friend of my BFF’s little sister, but I’ve never had the opportunity to meet or talk to him until now.

Unlike most people I follow on social media, Ken doesn’t run a business. I doubt he ever will. But he recently started a movement on Facebook and Instagram that I find incredibly beautiful to behold, and I think it’s important that you, as a business owner, know not only what Ken’s doing, but why he’s doing it and why it works.

Following the 2016 US election, along with everything else happening in the world, Ken was tired of all the negativity he was seeing on social media. I can’t say I blame him – we can probably all agree that social media has been emotionally exhausting for the past several months.

So Ken decided he wanted to do something that would make him and others happy, laugh, and just generally bring the kid out in all of us. He was particularly inspired by Humans of New York, its impact on people and its daily moral messages.

Does this resonate somewhere deep inside you? It doesn’t surprise me. You likely launched your business because you wanted to make a positive impact in the lives of others.

And like you, when you were first exploring your business ideas, Ken explored his own ideas about what he could do to break the constant negativity surrounding him.

Ken tells me he has something of a bucket list of all his crazy ideas that he wants to do, so this movement he’s created is just one of many things we may see from him in the future.

So just what is this movement he’s created, you ask?

Oh, I can’t wait to share it with you!

Ken takes baths in other people’s houses.

I kid you not.

Since returning to Canada a few years ago after teaching English in Japan, Ken has only ever had apartments with shower stalls, no bathtubs, and he quite frankly missed taking baths.

What started as a lark to entertain his friends, Ken set a goal of taking a bath at a different person’s house every day for the month of January 2017. He used the website Bunz to help find people to host his daily bath, and called the “campaign” #bathtubsofbunz. (Bunz is an online community where people trade goods and services)

The thing that has me fascinated about Ken’s goal is how passionate other people became about his mission!

By sharing photos and stories of each bath host on Facebook and Instagram, excitement and curiosity grew about what Ken was doing. He received over 100 requests to host his bath time in the city of Toronto, and media coverage all over the world, including Canada, the US, Germany, Sweden, and the Ukraine.

Ken’s initial goal of giving people something to laugh about has been met; what he didn’t expect was how #bathtubsofbunz changed him. The people who opened their homes to Ken shared their personal stories with him, which has been incredibly humbling for him.

One such host, who really stands out for Ken, is a lady named Mariana. Ken was the first guest in her home since she finished chemo treatments. Another is lady with such severe social anxiety, she rarely leaves her house.

This is powerful stuff, my friends. Social media is powerful.

So why do I want you to know about Ken and his wacky #bathtubsofbunz movement?

Simple, really. As entrepreneurs, there are a few things we can learn about from what Ken is doing and why it’s working:

1. It’s all about the stories…

Ken discovered quite quickly the reason his mission caught on is because people loved hearing the stories about the people he was meeting.

2. …which means it has nothing to do with you.

From the get-go, Ken’s intentions were to make other people happy. Yes, he was the catalyst, and he’s a weird and wonderful guy, but at the end of the day, he tells the stories of the people he meets.

3. The reward is greater than the risk.

Yes, Ken took precautions meeting strangers off the internet. But that’s not the risk I’m referring to… and nor would I suggest you start doing something like what Ken did. Chiefly because it’s Ken’s idea!

The risk was that Ken chose to be vulnerable by taking an action that could have backfired. Instead, he was rewarded by creating a community of people who are entertained and moved by what he does.

Where could you step outside of your comfort zone to bring people together in your own community?

4. There are hidden opportunities everywhere.

Ken only intended for this to last a month. Instead, it took on a life of its own, and Ken chose to run with it.

He has now received requests to take #bathtubsofbunz global, including the possibility of creating a documentary, but because this is not a money-making venture for him, he needs some help getting the next phase of #bathtubsofbunz off the ground.

A GoFundMe has been created to help offset some of the costs, so if Ken’s movement has inspired you in some way or has made you laugh, I encourage you to check out what Ken has to say about it in his own words, and perhaps make a small contribution to his efforts.

You can also check out Ken on Facebook and Instagram.

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[VIDEO] [ASK KATY] How do I turn followers on Facebook into paying clients?

I recently asked some of my colleagues and Facebook followers the following questions:

  • What do you want to know about social media and how to use it to grow or market your business?
  • What tools, tips, or tricks would make your life easier?

I got some great responses, so today I’m answering the first question, which comes from Diane Y.:

How do I turn followers on Facebook into paying clients?

love this question as it’s about one of my favourite topics. Watch the video below for my answer:

I also wrote a more in-depth blog about this, so be sure to check that out.

Still have questions? Leave me a comment or better yet – let’s chat!

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How to come up with titles and content for your blog posts

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