How often do you find yourself in this scenario?
It's Monday morning and you're all geared up for a productive week ahead. You've got your to-do list (massive as it is) at the ready and you sit down at your desk to start checking things off.
As you begin to read down your list, you start to feel something in your gut. It's not a physical pain necessarily, just a feeling of something heavy starting to grow. You ignore it and continue reading your list, making stars next to the things that seem to be the most important to get done that day.
But the more you do this, the heavier that feeling gets, until it starts creeping up to your shoulders and finally settles in your head. All that enthusiasm you had when you first sat down is gone and the only thing you feel now is utter and complete overwhelm.
Sound familiar? I've been there, too, so I understand.
And it's not that all the tasks on your list aren't wonderful and/or doable. There are simply too many of them – and they all seem important right now – to expect that you can accomplish them all in the hours you have to work in any single day.
So what happens? You do a little of this, a little of that, and you really never complete a single project!
But you don't have to let another week pass without really accomplishing anything. Simply create a Priority Card.
A Priority Card will help you organize all your tasks in a way that will SHOW you every day what you should focus on. There are a lot of details that will threaten to take your mind off your priorities (this is where a virtual assistant can be of immense value), but those details are not necessarily what will move you forward in your business. To do that, you need to consistently focus on completing the projects that will move your business ahead big-time.
You can create a system for helping you focus on your priorities in a number of ways, but I'm going to give you mine. I only work about 15 hours a week on my business, so adjust your own plan accordingly.
At the beginning of each week, I choose 3 to 5 projects with looming deadlines (self-imposed as they may be) from my master task list (which really is so massive that I write it on a 8.5 x 14 legal pad). For example, at the moment, I am working on a bonus offering for a colleague's product, the Client Abundance Coaching Cafe membership, and a new website design.
On a colored index card, I write down those projects and prop the card in a standing clip holder, right in front of my computer screen. When I start to feel that sense of overwhelm, or when I find myself getting distracted by new ideas or other tasks (all of which seem important), I remind myself to look at my Priority Card and focus only on what's written there.
Once I started using my Priority Card, my own business growth lept forward ten times faster than when I was doing a little of this and a little of that, working on a dozen things, but taking much too long to actually complete just one project.
Know you won't be able to stick to this process 100% of the time, but even 80% will help you make dramatic strides in your business growth. You'll actually finish the projects you set out to do, and you'll not only feel great about doing so, you'll be inspired to do it again, and again, and again. Once you make this shift, you've learned the secret to wiping out overwhelm for yourself and your business!
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Writing valuable content-rich articles for your target market and submitting them to article directories and other publishers is one of the best ways to market your business, become known as an expert in your field, and add subscribers to your list.
For example, if you regularly write an article for your ezine, you can get a lot more mileage out of it if you submit it to article directories and other online publishing services. And making every piece you write work more than once for you is one way to work smarter and not harder. That’s called leverage.
There are several reasons why you want to do this. One is to get your name and your business out there so people will learn who you are and what you do, and it helps to position you as an expert. No more keeping yourself a secret and hiding behind your computer!
Another reason is that your articles give people a taste of your style, what it is that you offer, and it gives them an opportunity to get to know you a bit without risking anything.
At the end of each article include a resource box so if people want to find out more about you and your business, they have that information at their fingertips. Once someone reads your article, if they like your stuff, they will likely visit your website and sign up for your Free Taste (your free offering that gets people on your list). And writing articles is one of the fastest (and FREE) ways to get lots of exposure, especially if a publisher with a large list picks it up!
Want to get started? Here are the 4 easy steps:
1. Write the article or recycle one you’ve already written, giving it a fresh edit (it never hurts).
Write or revise an article targeted at your niche that is full of valuable content. A couple of tips: Articles can be anywhere from 400-800 words in length for the best chance of being picked up (if you have a longer article, consider chopping it in half and making it two shorter articles). Also, articles with lists, steps, or mini-chunks of information seem to be the most read.
2. Add your copyright.
Don’t forget to protect your work by adding a copyright. At the end of each article, put a copyright notice with the date of when you first published the article. For example, Copyright 2009 Alicia M Forest.
3. Write the copy for your author’s box.
After your copyright notice comes what’s usually referred to as the “resource box” or “author’s box.” In order for others to publish your work, ask that they include this information at the end of your article, keeping what you provide in it whole and intact. As this is standard practice, you’ll find most publishers will honor this request.
Write 3-5 lines that entice people to find out more about you by providing the web address to the sign-up page for your Free Taste. Using this space to encourage people to join your list by signing up for your ezine or other free offering is another way to leverage your article.
A tip: Again, don’t send your article readers to your home page. Send them to a page set up specifically to add them to your list. For example, say “for more articles like this, please visit www.yourezinepage.com to sign up!”
4. Submit your article.
Although this is one of the most time-consuming marketing tasks, it can be made much simplier by either hiring a Virtual Assistant to do it for you, or by using an article submission service.
There are literally hundreds of websites that offer free content for publishers who are in need of quality articles for their own publications or websites. Here are some of the best ones:
If you want to see stronger results from submitting your articles, contact directly those publishers of ezines and websites in your niche. Google publishers of ezines in your target market and then send a query to the editor/owner about submitting an article. Present yourself as a professional and offer your article for their use, provided the resource box remains intact. Paste your article under your message (attachments can get blocked, and if the receiver doesn’t know you it’s unlikely they will open and read it anyway).
Writing and submitting articles is one of the tried-and-true, if slow-and-steady, ways to build your list, become known as an expert, and offer value to your target market.