Category Archives: Business Mastermind

What Can Skillshare do for You?

Stephanie Angelo

Guest Post by Adrianna Huff

Disclaimer: I have paid for my own Skillshare membership, and this post is not sponsored by Skillshare. (#NotAnAd)

Lifelong learner

I call myself a lifelong learner, and when I find a great learning resource (at an affordable price), I have to share it. I’ve heard about Skillshare for a while now in various articles and blog posts over the years, but it wasn’t until our CFO (Chief Focus Officer) Stephanie Angelo from the High Stakes Mastermind Group started presenting Skillshare videos that I picked up a membership and started watching.

Skillshare is an online learning platform where teachers post videos that students can watch. Typically there are also projects that can be completed. What is great about Skillshare, is that anyone with a membership can watch videos that are of interest. Learners do not have to enroll in classes, and there is feedback from instructors. New videos are posted constantly, and as of this blog post there are over 21,000 classes.

Videos on all topics

There are videos on all topics, from Photography to Productivity, and I found myself being drawn to and watching videos relating to Entrepreneurship, Passive Income, Productivity and Efficiency Measures, and Developing a Great Workplace.

Stephanie currently has two classes live on Skillshare, “How to Make Workplace Accountability Cooler Than Your Competitors Do” and “Mastering Strategic Thinking Skills for Maximum Impact in Your Organization”. I watched both lessons (they were about 45 minutes each), which provided me with good information without leaving me committed for hours.

As a finance person, I found the workplace accountability lesson to be valuable in that Stephanie explained how workplace accountability can hurt companies in both productivity, but also the bottom line. For entrepreneurs especially, workers without accountability can de-rail a really successful company and make the already difficult entrepreneurial journey more challenging.

Strategic thinking

Additionally, the strategic thinking lesson was a great reminder to me to do two things in my own life and career work: think proactively and spend some time just thinking. I can sometimes get mired into the small details making my life very reactionary. By remembering to actually look at my goals and my entrepreneurial horizon I can develop new opportunities. As well, instead of just jumping (sometimes without thinking) I should take a step back and actually look at the whole picture.

What Stephanie teaches in her videos, is the same way she approaches our High Stakes Mastermind Group meetings. We have accountability from her to meet our goals as well as proactive work to keep our businesses moving forward. I would highly recommend both of her videos and to start taking Skillshare classes.

Have you heard of Skillshare? What are your favorite learning resources?

Stephanie Angelo creates #businessmastermind teams that make more money, blow away the competition and have better businesses as a result. Talk to Stephanie about #HighStakesMastermindGroups either by phone (480) 646-2400 or email at Stephanie@StephanieAngelo.com .

 

 

 

Fear and the Entrepreneur

 

Photo from Nordwood Themes – Unsplash

Guest Post by Adrianna Huff

I had been talking with #HighStakesMastermindGroups about signing up for the classes and getting my license for months, possibly years, but as my cursor hovered over the “Submit” button I was still full of fear. Thoughts like: Can I do this? Is this the right move?, What if I mess up?, ran through my head.

According to Psychology Today,

Fear is a vital response to physical and emotional danger — if we didn’t feel it, we couldn’t protect ourselves from legitimate threats. But often we fear situations that are far from life-or-death, and thus hang back for no good reason. Traumas or bad experiences can trigger a fear response within us that is hard to quell. Yet exposing ourselves to our personal demons is the best way to move past them.”

Fear is a normal human reaction. It originally protected us from lion attacks, but is still present in our everyday lives. I’m not exactly running from wild animals in my home in the suburbs, so why do I (did I) feel fear in this situation? In reality, it is because I was jumping into an unknown situation.

According to an article from the Harvard Business Review, “How Fear Helps (and Hurts) Entrepreneurs”, for many entrepreneurs, fear is a constant companion. Not only do you have fear of losing business, but all of your employees could also be hurt if the business is not successful. However, if entrepreneurs get stuck in this fearful mentality, they may find a more challenging climb for their business.

So, that begs the question, what should an entrepreneur do? Have a healthy level of fear. Simple enough, below are a few suggestions.

  1. Reach out to peers in business or your fellow High Stakes Mastermind Group These individuals have either been in a situation of fear or are feeling fearful. Either way, a supportive and understanding peer advisor or colleague can talk you through possible scenarios and brainstorm situations. Sometimes the hardest part of entrepreneurship is being responsible for all of the decisions. Talking with a like minded individual can be powerful support.
  2. Recognize the fear that you have and acknowledge the worst that could happen. Use this fear and understanding to propel yourself forward and push the business in a positive direction. By looking for all the potential issues in the company, you can fix these issues and greatly reduce the fear involved. Consider including steps to mitigate issues and fear in your High Stakes Mastermind Group goal plan.
  3. Power through. Sometimes fear can lead to paralysis by analysis. When there is such a fear of failure (or success for that matter), it can be easy to analyze over and over again. Instead of getting into this loop of analysis, preventing any actual work, make a decision and move forward. It is likely that most decisions can be modified and reversed if necessary.

Fear is a double edged sword. It can propel entrepreneurs to greatness, or it can prevent them from getting any work done. How do you handle fear?

Your Facebook Questions Answered- Part II

Photo by William Iven

Guest Writer: Adrianna Huff
At our last High Stakes Mastermind Group session, a few more Facebook questions came up. I love researching, so here are the answers to the best of my knowledge.
Now on to the questions:
1. How often does Facebook change its instruction book?

This is a great question, and important for us in our Business Mastermind. I’m making the assumption here that instruction book means algorithm. Based on the article, “Facebook Newsfeed Algorithm History” which has all of the updates since 2006, Facebook makes small updates several times a year. From a general perspective, the updates work to increase user engagement and authenticity across the platform. Recent updates have been to: verify news sources, remove click bait, and focus on personal interaction between users.

While Facebook is constantly making changes, it is still a valuable resource for businesses and marketers to use. It may just take some time to figure out the new layout.

2. Would it help if we “like” each other’s Facebook pages and interact with them?

Yes, it would be a great first step to “like” each other’s Facebook pages. To make sure that all of the posts are seen, under Notifications on the professional pages select “All Posts”. When All Posts are selected, you will be able to see all posts.

While “liking” the pages is a good starting point, it would be even better to share Facebook posts and comment on those posts. Sharing and commenting drives engagement which moves the posts higher up the News Feed.

3. Tell me more about Facebook advertisements. Can you customize them or target to different audiences?

Yes. What is great about Facebook, is that users voluntarily provide demographic information about themselves which can be used for marketing purposes. When developing Facebook advertisements, you can create custom audiences to receive your advertisements. These are created by uploading your current contact and lead lists. Facebook also allows for “Lookalike Audiences” who allow you to create an advertisement audience based off the custom audience. The article, “5 Ridiculously Powerful Facebook Ad Targeting Strategies”, outlines more about advertising with Facebook.

4. What is the average dollar output for targeted advertisements based on various breakdowns with size, reach, etc?
Facebook has a great help section all about advertisements here. Unfortunately, there is no one figure on the average dollar output for targeted advertisements, but according to the AdEspresso article “The Complete Resource to Understanding Facebook Ads Cost -2016 Benchmarks” the average cost per click for Q3 2016 was 27.29 cents and the cost per 1000 impressions was $7.19.
If you decide to use Facebook advertisements, you can select the budget you are willing to spend to run your advertisement. With that budget in mind, Facebook advertisement costs are also dependent on the following factors: the targeted audience (the more competitive the audience, the more the advertisement may cost), the quality of the advertisement (the relevance to the target audience), and the time of year (holiday seasons for example have higher advertisement costs).
5. Is Instagram or Facebook used to validate and hire a professional?
Having strong Instagram and Facebook pages are definitely used when looking to hire a professional. It is always a good idea for small businesses to invest in strong social media presences, because it is a way to affordably display the product or service. Facebook is a great tool, as its reach is huge, and depending on your business, Instagram can also be tremendously beneficial. Artistic professional or service businesses are a good fit for Instagram.
When using Instagram or Facebook, some ideas for marketing your business are to: demonstrate your product or service, go behind the scenes of your product (make it personable), include the whole team, and have your customers show off your work. For us, this is valuable in our peer advisory group.
6. Are advertisements useful or beneficial for service based businesses?

Facebook advertisements can be useful for service based businesses. Based on several articles, including “Choosing the Right Facebook Ad Types for Your Business” by Disruptive Advertising, Facebook advertisements can be a great form of lead generation for service businesses on Facebook. One way to craft this lead generation is provide useful information for the Facebook user that they can only access by providing their email. With this email, the service based business can now interact with a potential client.

7. What type of content is most appealing to potential clients? Company culture? Service based deals?

Both. Although that doesn’t narrow down the content scope, for Facebook business pages, a mixture of both company culture and service based deals can round out the picture for potential clients. When thinking about your overall content for Facebook, the most important aspect is to make your content engaging. The more discussion on the content, the more likely it is to be visible in potential user’s news feeds.

This wraps up your Facebook Questions Asked Part II. How do you use Facebook in your business?

Handling “Stuckness”

Photo by Rob Potter

By Adrianna Huff

A few years ago, I started to feel stuck. I didn’t just wake up one morning and feel stuck, but rather it snuck up on me slowly. Since it felt like more of a professional “stuckness”, I started frantically applying for jobs, looking for classes, and haphazardly trying to change my professional world. I wasted a lot of money, and ended up feeling a little burnt out before I found my right direction.

I learned some valuable lessons on feeling stuck and how to handle “stuckness”. Here are the suggestions I would give to myself in the future.

  1. Assess the current situation:

For me at least, feeling stuck drives from not being challenged. Instead of making a drastic movement to get out of “stuckness”, take a minute and review the situation. Talk about it with a friend, co-worker, or fellow High Stakes Mastermind Group member. Is there a new role or challenge that I can be taking? Can I find a new niche within what I am doing that will give me the challenge? Sometimes, it just takes a little thinking outside the box to find a new opportunity to get unstuck.

  1. Complete some outside of work training:
    While I would like to think I get my entire professional fulfillment from work, this isn’t true. In the future, I would look for classes to take to broaden my career knowledge or personal interests. There are opportunities through Skillshare.com (including those taught by High Stakes Mastermind Group leader, Stephanie Angelo), Coursera.com, local community college classes, and even webinars online. Not only could I have continued to develop myself professionally, but I may have found personal fulfillment in the training.
  2. Research, Research, Research:
    I sound like my music instructor from my childhood (practice, practice, practice), but I can’t stress more the importance of research. If you decide to change roles or the way you structure your business, read about the benefits and implications. Make sure it is a good fit, before jumping.
  3. Step away:
    One of the best things for me when I feel stuck is to step away from the situation. I don’t mean to completely avoid it, but instead I try to stop focusing on it. Stepping away for a short break provides me with clarity, and allows me to think clearly. Instead of feeling like I must fix the problem, I am able to make sure I know what I need. Again, speaking with a friend, co-worker, or your fellow High Stakes Mastermind participant may provide you with a new perspective.
  4. Make a plan of action:
    Instead of acting in panic mode, slowly and carefully make a plan of action. I don’t know of any situations that have been well handled in a reactionary state. Draft up a goal plan (like we do in our High Stakes Mastermind Group) and make logical steps to complete those goals. Either have your High Stakes Mastermind Group hold you accountable or a friend or co-worker can keep you accountable to your new action plan.
  5. Give yourself grace:
    If in the end, if you take what you believe to be a well considered leap, and it doesn’t work out, give yourself grace. Everyone makes mistakes, I firmly believe it is better to try something new (and later find out it was not right) than to live in constant fear of not making the right choice. I would rather learn my decision did not completely meet my needs than to live in a state of “if only”.

How do you handle “stuckness”? Do you have any additional suggestions on how to make professional or personal changes?

 

Adrianna Huff is a member of High Stakes Mastermind Groups

 

 

 

Productivity Hacks

Six easy hacks can change your life

By guest writer Adrianna Huff

Now that I am a Mom, I find that if I get lucky, I can get four hours total of productive work during the day. Unfortunately, this time is not in one four-hour chunk, but about four one-hour chunks. With my new time constraint, I have found myself devouring information on how to be my most productive self.

Based on my research and firsthand experience, these are my best productivity hacks.

1. Develop a Structure: Without creating some structure to my day, I end up mindlessly reading articles and not actually getting anything done. For some, this structure could look like meetings on Mondays, designing on Tuesdays, and so forth. If you develop a structure, and time block yourself for specific activities that you only do during those times, you will likely be more productive and efficient. Some individuals even go so far as to only respond to emails pertinent to their daily structure on the assigned days, but I’m not that strict.

2. Write Everything Down: When I am my most productive self, I am a list making machine. I have my to-do list, my call list, and my idea list. If I have everything written down on my list, I don’t have to expend brain power time trying to remember what I need to do. In addition, when I accomplish a task, I get to have the feeling of immense success by crossing it off the list. Finally, when I find myself with a spare few minutes, for example if I arrive early to a meeting, or a call ends early, I can knock out a small task and get a little more done.

3. Work When I am Most Productive: I am a morning person, and my best ideas occur when I am somewhat refreshed after a night of sleep. Thus, in my daily structure, you will see me writing in the morning and administrative tasks when I am the most tired. By working with my body’s natural productivity inclinations, I don’t waste valuable time working on mindless tasks when I am most alert.

4. Make a “Landing Zone”: Having all of my important paperwork in one specific landing zone makes it much easier to crank through the work. As soon as it comes to me (mail, email, carrier pigeon), I open it, assess it, and put it in the landing zone as needed. When I have the pre-assigned chunk of time to work on this task, I no longer have to look for it, or remember to do it. The work is staring me right in the face. Again, by taking out the brain power of remembering the task, I can be more productive.

5. Unsubscribe or Unfollow: My email inbox can be a time suck for me. Between the emails I need to read and respond to as well as all of the emails I have subscribed to throughout the years, it is easy to lose large chunks of time to the less important emails. Periodically, I set aside a 15-20 minute chunk of time to actually unsubscribe or unfollow these emails. Without the constant barrage of unnecessary content, I can stay more focused when my email is staring back at me. And if I decide the need to get certain subscription based emails again, I can always re-follow.

6. Set a deadline: In Tim Ferriss’ book, “The Four Hour Work Week”, Ferriss explains that working more efficiently for a few hours can vastly increase productivity. This may seem like a no-brainer idea, but forcing shorter deadlines forces you to actually work more efficiently. If I give myself two weeks, I am likely to start working on the task in 2 weeks, if I give myself 2 days, I am more likely to complete it right away.

What are your great productivity hacks? How do you keep yourself accountable and motivated?