Cross Blog Conversation with Benecia Pondor – (Round 2)

BeneciaFUN!  This blog post conversation is more fun than I anticipated.

A few days ago, I started a cross blog conversation with Benecia Ponder. We have been discussing our businesses and how we keep ourselves motivated and upbeat.  Benecia shared some strategies for staying positive in her last post.  If you haven’t read it yet, I encourage you to go back and read the post. She provided helpful information for all women.

If you missed any part of the conversation so far, here are the links to our previous posts

Round 2 of the Conversation

Thanks for your response Benecia!

I so enjoyed reading your responses.  I especially enjoyed the four strategies you shared for staying positive.  I am planning to put number 3 into practice today!

I loved the quote you provided of what you wished every woman knew.

“You were created to live your life with an abundance of passion, purpose, power, and prosperity.”

Your mission touched me….to inspire and empower women to have it all in a way that doesn’t sacrifice their faith, family, or themselves in the process.   So many of us feel we can’t have success without sacrificing something of importance.  Thank you for being there to help us realize that is a myth.

Now, it is my turn to respond.  You have provided some thought provoking and challenging questions.

Benecia asks:  How did you get started in your business?

Answer:  Several years ago, I noticed an ad for an online course in social media.  I loved facebook and I thought that might be a great little part-time endeavor.  I took the course, and another, and another but never did a lot with it.  I had a few clients to keep me busy, but it was more of a hobby than a business.   Then last fall when my son was going to college, I decided to stop the hobby attitude and make it a true business.  I found that people wanted me to write blog posts and curations more than they desired social media content, so I have focused more on the writing aspects.

Benecia asks:   What are some of the biggest mistakes you see entrepreneurs make when it comes to building their social media presence?

Answer:  The two biggest mistakes I see are:

  1. People assume because they are a business, they should just get on facebook and sell, sell, sell. They only post what they want to sell someone.  It is social networking and should be used to build relationships so people like, know, and trust you and the company and then if they decide to purchase something, their business comes to mind.
  2. Most people would not go up to something they see at a party and say buy this, buy this, buy this. yet they feel they can do that without any other conversation on social media.   For every 5 posts that are relationship building, you can post a sales pitch.  More than that ratio of sales posts and people will consider you to be spam.
  3. Posting infrequently.   Businesses should be posting at least once a day, preferably more often to be seen in the streams of their followers.   If you only post once a week, why bother?   No one is going to see your posts.  There is so much you can post about.  Ask a question, post a quote, showcase a customer, share a picture, share a video, share other people’s posts.  You should be able to come up with at lest 3 or 4 different types of posts to share each day.

Benecia asks:  If there was one piece of advice you could give to entrepreneurs about social networking, what would it be?

Answer:  Build relationships!  Honestly care of about the people that are following you.  Let your personality shine through and be real.  The companies that do the best with social media are those that have learned the secrets of building relationships.

The second piece of advice I would give is if you don’t have time to do a good job with your social media, then hire someone who knows how to do it and have it done for you.

Benecia asks:  One of the issues I struggle with most is being consistent with my social media interaction.  What strategies do you have for social media engagement?

Answer:  I have a few strategies that might be helpful:

  • Use a scheduling software such as Hootsuite, Co-scheduler, or Buffer to pre-schedule posts so you don’t have to sit on social media all day.  If you don’t have time to be on a day, you are covered with the pre-scheduled items.
  • Create a calendar or list of items you want to post each day and then find the things to fit for each day.   Example:  Post a quote each day, post a picture, ask a question, share your own or someone else’s information.  There you have 4 things.   So all of them could be pre-scheduled a day, week or month in advance.   Then you can add the day to day things as you wish.
  • Be patient and consistent.  At first it may feel like you are talking to the air, but with time and consistency people will start to engage.  Just be patient and don’t quit.
  • Post as though you were talking to a friend.  Make your information on social media conversational. People want to relate to a person.

I have lots more tips but I will stop there for now.

Benecia asks:   When you’re not serving  your clients or building your business, what do you most love to do? 

Answer:  This is the easiest question to answer.  I love to spend time with my family and to travel. Vacation time, various trips we have taken as a family around the United States and other countries have given us many wonderful memories.  My husband and I have always enjoyed traveling.  When our son was 6 months old we started traveling again.  He had his first beach vacation when he was 6 months, his first airplane ride at about a year old.  We have been traveling ever since.   We have seen most of the US, visited Canada, Mexico, Bahamas, Caribbean Islands, France, and England.

I have included a picture of us this past summer on our European trip.

Paris

Entertaining and spending time with extended family is also important to me.  I also enjoy cooking and of course writing!

Benecia, thank you for asking these questions and sharing in this conversation with me.

Now, I have a few more questions for you…

  1. I find your passion so interesting.   What made you decide to go into this area?
  2. How do women respond when you begin to empower them?
  3. Do you find some women push-back to this type of motivation?
  4. I notice you have started adding video to your blog.  How is that going?  Do you like video?
  5. Ultimately what are your long range career goals?
  6. What kind of products and services do you have to offer my readers?
  7. When you’re not serving  your clients or building your business, what do you most love to do?

Looking forward to your responses as we begin the 3rd round of our converstaion.

Until next time..

Robin Sig

Cross Blog Conversation with Benecia Ponder

BeneciaI’m trying some new, fun and interesting things this month on my blog.  I had my first guest blogger last week when Ponn Sabra wrote a post, Simple Tips to Help You Blog Faster.  Today I am participating in a Cross Blog Conversation with a new friend, Benecia Ponder.

Benecia and I are both participating in the Stretch Yourself Challenge this month and this is one of the activities we are doing to stretch ourselves.

If you have never heard of a Cross Blog Conversation let me explain….

The Unstoppable YouYou get to “listen in” on an interesting conversation between two people. (Benecia and I)  But instead of an in-person conversation, it is on our blogs.  You can chime in if you want in the comment area. Benecia kicked off the conversation yesterday with her post, Cross Blog Conversation with  Robin Smith and today I am responding to her questions.

Benecia’s website is The Unstoppable You Revolution.  Benecia and I are both solopreneurs building businesses doing work we are super passionate about. We’re also both at a place in our businesses where we are ready for more.  We are stepping it up so that we can impact and serve more people.

Our Conversation

Hi Benecia,

I’m so glad we are doing this Stretch Challenge together.

I was surprised to learn as a professional speaker, you don’t feel comfortable starting conversations. I had to chuckle when you mentioned checking your phone messages and running to the restroom to give yourself pep talks.

You did a great job of initiating this conversation, even if it was intimidating.

For the past couple years I have been in learning mode.   Learning as much as I could, but not activating or implementing.  In August, I vowed to change that and I have been actively implementing since then.  I write for people and it seems all my time is going to writing for others. Just as you mentioned, “I was helping others to step it up, but I was not doing the same for myself.”  So, I joined the “stretch” to focus some time on my business and taking it to the next level.

Benecia asked:  You help entrepreneurs grow their businesses by enhancing their social media presence.  Have you ever helped a client with something and then realized that you needed to do it for yourself?

Answer:  All the time.  I will come up with great ideas for blog posts, find little tweaks that need to be made to clients’ websites, etc. and I make sure they are well taken care of.  My motto is to exceed expectations!  But till I get them all fixed, I sometimes don’t have time to do my own.

Also, I am a great cheerleader for others to take care of themselves, to get enough rest, to celebrate the little things, to give themselves grace and not push themselves so hard.   I need to take my own advice in these areas.

Benecia asked: How did you handle it?

Answer:  I can’t say I have handled it as well as I would have liked. I still work a full time job.  I enjoy the work, but it takes a huge amount of my time.  So my time to work on my business is limited.  I will admit, that sometimes I get stressed.  If I have lots going on at work and my personal life and then a couple big projects for clients, I cheat myself of sleep and that has very negative consequences.  (Ask my husband!  lol)

What I have done this month is cut back on some client work to make a bit more time for my own stuff.  I just finished a couple big projects for clients and instead of jumping right in with the next big thing, I have carved out some time for the things I want to focus on for the stretch.  I’m still doing the routine work for clients, just not extra projects.

I always try to over-deliver to clients and end up short changing my own business. After tracking my time I realized I was giving customers their allotted time and some of my time to over-achieve for them.  Now that I realize it is a problem, I will take the steps necessary to better schedule my time. Come May I will pick back up on projects and seeking new customers, but I hope to be more strict with my time and allow equal time to work on my own projects as I do for clients.

I’m also making a concerted effort to get more rest.  Four and five hours of sleep every night is just not enough.  I’ve also been trying to give myself more grace.  Everything doesn’t have to be perfect.

Benecia asked:  Do you have any strategies to make sure that you’re “practicing what you preach”?

Answer:  Yes, I do.

1.  Track your time.   I found this to be extremely helpful in realizing customers were getting much more of my time than I had allotted for them.  So now I am sticking to strict time limits.  Yes some things will take more time, but on average, I should be able to complete the work in the time allotted.

2.  Know the difference between actual working online and wasting time.   Commenting on facebook to personal posts, answering email etc. is important and deserves its own time, but if it isn’t actually part of the work you need to do, it is a waste of your valuable time.

3.  Schedule specific time to work on YOUR business and YOUR projects.  If you don’t, time will disappear and your work won’t get done.

Go to Bed4.  Schedule sleep!  Yes, I actually write on my schedule, “Go to BED!”   If I don’t, I will be up till 2 AM.  I am a night owl, but going to be at 2 and getting up at 5:30 or 6 gets old.  Anyway, sleep affects your focus, your concentration, your thought processes, your mood and so much more.

5.  Schedule other down time for fun.  I love what I do and I could work all day and all night.  But that makes for a boring person.  So I deliberately schedule downtime and fun activities.

6.  Accept that sometimes “good enough” is truly good enough!   Everything doesn’t have to be perfect.  It is OK to eat soup instead of a gourmet meal.  It is OK to ask others to help you do laundry, etc.  It is ok to get a job completed without over-delivering sometimes.

Questions for Benecia:

Now we will turn the conversation back to Benecia to answer some questions.

1.  You encourage women to be positive and live their passion.  How do you stay motivated to encourage others?

2.  Have you ever helped other women with an issue and realized you also needed to help yourself?

3.  Have other women’s issues ever been depressing for you?

4. What strategies can you share for staying positive?

5.  What is the one thing you wish ever woman would believe?

I’m hoping you are getting more comfortable with our cross blog challenge.  I can’t wait to read your responses tomorrow.
Robin Sig