Permission to Unplug

Do you ever feel like you are just so overwhelmed with emails, newsletters and google alerts that you don’t know what to respond to first? Or that if you don’t keep up with everything  related to your business you will miss something vitally important?  Between invitations to join free tele-seminars, podcasts and  webinars, you can easily spend the entire day without even connecting on the social networks or checking the blog posts in your RSS feed reader.

In the fall of last year, I was feeling absolutely overwhelmed with electronic information.  My head was spinning with all the input and I had no time or energy left for “output” such as product creation or my own writing.  I wasn’t sleeping well because I couldn’t stop the flow of ideas and felt that I never had time to execute all of them.

What I previously saw as a gift, my ability to continuously generate new ideas, felt more like a curse. Nonstop internal chatter was beginning to interfere with my ability to give my private clients the focused attention they deserved. Because my commitment to clients is my priority,  I wasn’t following through on several projects I’d started. While I solved that by sharing some of those business ideas with colleagues and clients who could implement them, I was feeling anxiety about not developing new programs for 2011.

My son was coming for a week at Thanksgiving and I didn’t want to be frazzled and grouchy so I made a BIG, DRASTIC DECISION. I gave myself permission to UNPLUG. Not just for a few days but for as long as it took to refresh and refocus. I did scroll through emails once daily just to make sure there was nothing urgent from family or friends, but left hundreds of emails unopened, didn’t check in on Facebook or Twitter or read blogs. And my world didn’t fall apart. Rather, things started coming together again.

Yes, this is contradictory to the advise you receive from business coaches and mentors. I too recommend reaching out to your readers and followers regularly through blog posts, newsletters and social networking. You do need to stay current on what’s happening in your industry, but at what point are you trying to process so much information that you put off making decisions for fear of making the wrong decision?

There’s lots of information online about how to manage your time, apps for handling that information and an overwhelming number of articles about how to get out of overwhelm. Even with good time management, there is just so much information out there that if you try to read everything for fear of missing something, you may just end up doing nothing. Maybe it’s time you give yourself permission to unplug and get centered. You’ll likely come back refreshed, recharged and ready to focus.

As always, your comments are welcome below.  I’d love to hear how you handle information overload.

Social Media Tips for Artisans and Professional Crafters

Our guest blogger today is Sandy Dempsey of the Dreaming Cafe

As artisans and crafters you work in one of the worlds oldest mobile professions. Many of you travel yearly to attend and participate in craft fairs, festivals and outdoor expos.

You may have a website (or you should have) and maybe an Etsy store, but you may also be wondering how to take advantage social media and use Facebook and Twitter to grow your business and make more money.

Here a few quick tips to get you started.

  • Collect email and physical addresses from people stopping by your booth or exhibit. Use a guest book or do a giveaway/prize drawing as an incentive for people to give you their personal information.
  • Include your website, Facebook page and Twitter ID on ALL of your marketing materials (flyers, brochures, business cards, packaging labels, etc) and encourage people to ‘Follow’ you on Twitter and ‘Like’ your Facebook Fan page or send you a ‘Friend’ request for your Facebook personal page.
  • When people engage you via social media, thank them, talk to them and encourage ongoing conversations.
  • Use Facebook and Twitter to share where you will be (venue, city, state, booth, etc) in the upcoming months.
  • Encourage people to stop by and visit you. Offer them a Fan or Follower only discount or special offer.
  • Using the email addresses you have collected to stay in touch. These people have already shown an interest in your work. Share what you are doing, new projects you are working on or share some industry insiders secrets – an enthusiastic, well educated customer is usually your best customer.

Bio: Sandy Dempsey is the founder and creative director of Dreaming Cafe Ventures, LLC, a diverse education and consulting company dedicated to serving the needs of the lifelong learning community with a primary focus in the areas of personal growth and development, creative self-expression, self-employment and social media and technology.

Sandy also writes about, talks about and teaches journaling, creative self-expression, time management and productivity, dream building and goal-setting, using social media and using free or low cost online tools and technology to help start and grow a businesses and make more money.

You can find Sandy blogging at thedreamingcafe.com

Who are your True Friends?

Do you “friend” everyone who “friends” you on Facebook? Even people you’ve never heard of who’s business or life has no relevance to yours? What about Twitter? Do you “Follow” back everyone who follows you?

What began as relationship marketing seems to have quickly turned into a numbers game. Daily, Twitterers  follow me who I’ve never heard of and who are pitching something that has no relevance to my life or businesses, nor I to theirs. It’s obviously that they are randomly trying to simply build their follower numbers. I don’t follow them back.

When I initially signed up for Facebook, I “friended”  some fellow inspired entrepreneurs. Suddenly every internet marketer wanted to be my friend.

I understand people’s thinking that the more people who know you’re out there and what you do, the more business you’ll get, right?   “Even if I don’t need what you have, maybe I know someone or will meet someone who does”.

Well, I’m not buying into it. Here’s why. Continue reading