My mission at Gefjon’s Gifts is Embracing Your Values, Serving Your Business. I spend a lot of time talking about how important your values are to running a successful business that fits into your life and fulfills your personal needs. As a small business owner, it’s just as important for me. I thought you might like to know a little bit about Gefjon’s Gifts values and why they are so important to me. I wrote these with some potential future in which GG isn’t just little ol’ me so please forgive all of the “royal we’s”.
It’s Personal – At Gefjon’s Gifts it’s always personal. We put people first. Clients, their employees, their customers, and the public interest is at the core of everything we do. Above all we are respectful.
At the tender age of 42, I’ve spent more than 2 decades working for various small, medium and large businesses. One of the most reliable indicators for how happy (and therefore productive) I have been at any of them is how well everyone was treated. When you put people first it shows.
Keep On Learning – You can always rely on change. While some tools that help people succeed in business seem constant, others evolve or dissipate completely. We strive to learn all about them so we can help people navigate changing landscapes.
I love technology. I know, it’s weird. I recognize that it comes with a lot of pain points but as long as we are still putting people first I don’t think there is anything to fear. I was going to keep on learning about this stuff one way or the other. I may as well tell you it’s something I find very important and valuable 🙂
Always Mean It – We mean what we say and we say what we mean. We are sincere in our dealings with everyone and candid about our capabilities. We won’t always be a good fit. You won’t always like our advice. We won’t always be able to offer what you need. If you need to look elsewhere, we will try to help you find the right resource.
People lie. People also say things they think are true but it turns out they aren’t. I might be a little too literal at times. It’s just really important to me that my word has weight always meaning it is my final core value.
So those are my values. I welcome your feedback. What are your values?
Good judgment comes from experience — and a lot of that comes from bad judgment. – Will Rodgers
Before you hit the ground running for the new year, why not take a moment to give good old 2018 one last moment in the sun. Spend some time thinking about what you have to be thankful for, what memories you will treasure and what lessons where granted to you.
Here is a worksheet to get you started. What good judgement did you gain in 2018?
What is Genius? In ‘The Inner Sky‘, Steven Forrest writes of this abundant Aquarian resource, “Genius is the capacity to think freshly, to view old problems in new ways.”
Chances are that you have seen and solved this puzzle. This little beauty is the nine dots puzzle. The instructions for the puzzle are to connect the dots by drawing four straight continuous lines. The lines must pass through each of the nine dots. You cannot lift the pencil from the paper until complete. All of the possible solutions require that you exceed the bounds of the dots. This puzzle is thought to be the source of the now cliché phrase “think outside the box”.
I think that this elusive thing that we call genius is primarily a matter of perspective. As a project manager, I spend a lot of time working with teams. When I gather a new team I ask them to be present and engaged through every discussion. I remind them that they have not only been chosen for their knowledge or skills in one area. They have also been selected for the way they can contribute to the team. If you spend 80% of your time hammering you tend to think that everything looks like a nail. Assembling a team of people with varied skills and tools is an easy way to create a diverse toolbox. They can help you put down your hammer and look at your old problems from the perspective of a new tool.
What if you are a solitary entrepreneur? How can you assemble a team to help you shift perspectives and inspire your genius? Enter the mastermind group. A mastermind group is a peer to peer mentor-ship used to help members achieve greater results together. The concept was coined in 1925 by author Napoleon Hill in his book ‘The Law of Success‘. Joining or creating the RIGHT mastermind group can hone your skills, inspire your genius, and change your life.
Mastermind groups can be formed for a multitude of purposes. Of course, as I mentioned, they can be used to support business ventures but also spiritual, political, or personal growth to name just a few. It’s just like a fitness buddy. Someone to hold you accountable, someone to cheer you on, someone to inspire you when things get tough. It’s also someone who is just as excited about what you are doing as you are!
So let’s talk about some of the things you should look for in the right mastermind group.
- Similar goals – If I am training to run a marathon and you are training to compete for Mr. Universe we probably aren’t going to be great fitness buddies. We have very different needs. However, your bodybuilding training business and my marathon gear shop would be a mastermind match made in fitness heaven. Marketing, growth, business planning and much more could help open up new avenues of thought. What’s your mission and can you find others with similar missions?
- Maturity level – It’s important that the mastermind group members are a similar place in their progress to the goal. The beauty of a peer to peer mentorship is that of sharing strengths. If the maturity level is off balanced it will quickly lose the joy for those not able to progress. A great way to measure maturity is documented plans or (if appropriate) contact list counts or sales figures.
- Time commitment – How much time are willing to commit to the group? There should be homework. There should be actions that you assign for yourself. Groups will meet as often as weekly and if you are joining one it should be a priority. They can she short term midterm or long term but everyone should share the same level of commitment for however long the group agrees.
- Group Management – How will the group be managed? Who is at the helm? What is the meeting structure? All of these are very important to the fit of your right group and often it’s just a matter of trial and error until you find what works for you.
What do you think? Are you ready to collaborate your way into some genius ideas that will change your life?
Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions!
So you want to start a newsletter? It’s a fantastic way to build connections with your audience. Here are a few tips that I think are the most important to get you started.
- It’s not all about you. It’s your newsletter. The most important things you can put into it are your voice, philosophy, character. That being said, it is actually about the subscriber. Specifically, it’s about building a relationship with the subscriber. Subscribers stick with you when they are getting something from the interaction. Keep the sales pitches below the 30% mark. Offer your subscribers your genuine self because it’s always the one thing they can’t get anywhere else.
- Make it look and sound like you. If you don’t already have a brand standard for promotional materials I would suggest establishing one. Your brand standard should include a specific voice, story, logo, font set(s), color palette and imagery style. Apply them consistently to all of your media (website, email, social, etc). You can update portions (fonts, colors, or imagery) for new projects or as trends change. Revisit the full package every three to five years to refresh.
- Be consistent but not boring. Monthly newsletters are best sent monthly and around the same time. Select a schedule and stick with it. In my personal experience, most people aren’t sure which is which between the prefixes semi and bi so I recommend that you keep it simple. Tell them what they are going to get and then deliver it as promised. No more. No less. When you keep the interior content fresh consistency doesn’t become boring.
- Subject lines matter. All email marketing experts and data agree. Subject lines matter. They should be short enough to fit on most email clients. Since about half of the population receives email on their phone I suggest no more than 30 characters. The most important thing to think about is catching their attention. Give them a glimpse of what’s in the newsletter and always use the preview text. If your email marketing tool has the capability to try some A/B testing of multiple subject lines to see what sparks your subscribers’ interest.
- Images need alt text. A lot of email clients will automatically load emails without images. If for no other reason than this you should include alt text for any images in your newsletter. Make the descriptions complete and enticing. If you are using a royalty-free image service they have great descriptions ready made for you to customize.
- Feed your email list. You will get unsubscribes. People’s interests change and that’s ok. Make sure you are using your social media presence, your website, and your other promotional opportunities to get people on your mailing list. All email marketing tools have subscription page options and you should make sure you are using them. Don’t be afraid to run re-engagement campaigns and then sunset unengaged subscribers.
- Content is key. Think about your brand, your goals, and your relationship with the subscriber and make a list of the types of content your newsletter will include. I suggest a minimum of 6 with no more than 9 types and no matter how many only 30% are sales related. Select 3 that are the core of your newsletter and will be represented in every edition and the others can be cycled in and out to keep things fresh. Your core need not include a sales item. Keep a list of ideas and topics somewhere so you can add them whenever fresh ideas come to you. Make a checklist for your newsletter. It’s easy to forget to check links, add alt text, or even proofread. Once these emails are gone they are gone. Sending retractions and oops emails are often more distracting than our small mistakes.
Here’s the game-changer. I think it’s the one rule you should be following in your business and in your life. Begin with the end in mind.
Sounds familiar, right? In “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” Stephen Covey’s 2nd habit says, “Begin with the End in Mind”. This first time I read this sentence I had an ah-ha moment. I have always been a planner. I like to know exactly how something will happen before it starts. My epiphany (the great ah-ha) was simply that not everyone plans! How might it feel to NOT have a plan??
What do I mean about beginning with the end in mind? If the Beltane celebration starts at 6 pm. It takes me an hour to get there, I need 20 minutes to stop and get wine, 30 minutes to get ready, and another 30 minutes to pack up my potluck items. So for potluck, ready, wine, drive, and Beltane at 6, I start at 3:30. I’m rarely late and don’t believe in pagan standard time 🙂
So, where do you want to go? Let’s forget scary words like business plan, marketing strategy, and financial planning. Do you want to make and sell custom ritual supplies on your own website? Do you want to provide professional psychic reading services at Hollywood parties? Figure out where you want to be in the end and start working backward.
From my perspective, if you aren’t working to a plan your life is happening by default. A default life might lead to some fantastic stories but heck, if that is what you are after you, can plan for those too!
What is the end that you have in mind?