Essential Tips for the COVID-preneur

Essential Tips for the COVID-preneur

Guest Blog Post by Amy Collett

In 2020, there was an average of 84,253 new business applications filed each week in the United States. The rise of COVID-preneurs was almost as difficult to predict as the pandemic itself. And so far, the trend remains unshaken this year.

The truth is, there’s no such thing as the perfect time to launch a startup. It’s always going to be challenging, and it’s always going to require you to work a little harder than the rest.

But there are some significant advantages to starting a business at the moment. For example, new consumer needs provide a wide-open door to entrepreneurs everywhere. The pool of talenthas never been broader or of higher quality. And then there’s the fact that you can do most—if not all—of your tasks and projects remotely, which comes with a slew of benefits on its own.

So, if you’re considering becoming a COVID-preneur, you have good reason to move forward with your plans. From testing out your business idea to working with a digital marketing and PR agency like PR ByIntention, here are some practical tips for how you can set yourself up for success:

Ensure your idea will meet a need. Coming up with a business idea is one thing. Making it work is another. Commit to researching your market to ensure that your idea will satisfy a consumer need. After all, that’s the only way you stand a chance of making a profit and enjoying long-term success. Conduct market research, put out surveys, and take any other steps that can help you determine how to refine your business idea to line up with your target market.

Carefully determine your business model.

Few things are as important as choosing the right business model. This will determine how your company handles everything from production to sales, from delivery methods to pricing strategy. In other words, it really is the model through which your business will be run. Take plenty of time to consider all the implications so that you can start off strong. Here are a few common types of business models to look into:

● Marketplace

● Franchise

● Advertising

● Pay-as-you-go

● Subscription

● Crowdsourcing

Choosing a business model is all about positioning your company to provide value to customers long-term. Make sure you figure out your target audience, business processes, unique selling proposition, and strategy for generating demand before moving forward.

Establish your company structure.

Your company structure is also essential. Many entrepreneurs operate as sole proprietors because it’s the easiest structure to set up and manage. But forming an LLC is typically worth the extra effort because it provides protection from liability and tax benefits, among many other perks. Plus, you can hire an online service to establish your LLC for you; this is much cheaper than hiring attorneys, and it will ensure that your LLC meets the rules and regulations of your state.

Create a digital advertising strategy.

As soon as you begin crafting your brand, it’s a good idea to start promoting online. Digital marketing can play an indispensable role in boosting your brand awareness, conversion rate, leads, and sales. And it’s quite cost-effective, especially when you consider the impact it can have on your business. Work with professionals like PR ByIntention, and you’ll be sure to see results, whether it’s through pay-per-click, social media, or any other type of marketing.

Plan to hire help.

Depending on your business, it’s likely that you’ll need to hire staff or even freelance workers to help with different aspects of your venture. For example, you may need several people to help with day-to-day operational needs. Or, if you aren’t savvy with web design and dislike the idea of a DIY build, you may need to connect with a freelance web designer and developer. It’s wiseto know your limitations and to plan for hiring our outsourcing to ensure a job is handled correctly and that you’re not wasting money or time in the long run.

Whatever type of worker you decide to hire, it’s important to have a payroll system in place so that everyone is compensated on time. While you can tackle this manually, you can avoid the risk of costly errors by using a reputable software system. A popular platform like QuickBooks can be a boon since it provides a wealth of capabilities that help with payroll such as automatic scheduling, tax filing and calculating. You can even tap into their mobile app which allows you to run your books from your phone.

There’s a wealth of opportunity right now to build a business that experiences long-term success. Do the homework to ensure that your business idea is filling a gap in the market, and take time to select a business model that will serve your company well in the long run. Finally, carefully choose your business structure, and invest in digital advertising early in the process.

There’s more involved in launching a thriving business, but following these tips will help you lay a solid foundation.

Photo Credit: RawPixels

The Most Important Tech for Your Small Business to Incorporate

The Most Important Tech for Your Small Business to Incorporate

Guest Post By Marcus Lansky

Technology is rapidly changing how the world does business, and to ignore that as a small business owner can come at a great cost. Yes, some of the tech out there is really expensive and may not prove worth the investment. However, some of it is affordable and can help your business operations so much that you may be wasting money by not using it. 

If you’re looking to give your small business a boost and realize your full potential, then check out these cost-effective tech solutions brought to you by PR ByIntention.

Powerful Internet Capabilities

As Entrepreneur explains, these days, day-to-day affairs are increasingly virtual, and that seems unlikely to change. The last thing you want is for your streaming sessions to lag when you’re in the midst of an important meeting; little is more undermining than having to ask an important client or associate to have to repeat information. Thankfully, 5G is now available in the Chicagoland area; shop around to see if you can subscribe.  

Digital Marketing

As mentioned above, everything is moving to the web. If you don’t have a robust digital marketing plan, you’re already behind the times. But between the shifting sands of the business climate and the ever-changing world of social media, you don’t have time to manage your outreach and grow your business, too. 

But there is hope! You should connect with an agency well-versed in creating unique, integrative campaigns that are effective and success-oriented. Ensure your messaging is unified, conveys your values, and promotes your brand in a manner that resonates positively with your target audience.

Data Recovery 

One unfortunate byproduct of technological development is cybercrime. And it’s rampant, particularly among small businesses. If you experience a database or hard drive crash, phishing attack, or another form of cyberattack that results in lost data, you should take steps to remedy the situation. 

You can attempt to recover your lost information with a software application, but it oftentimes requires the help of a professional. Connect with a computer forensics expert for your best chance of success. 

Cybersecurity Measures

Ideally, you won’t experience a cyberattack that jeopardizes the fate of your company. But the fact is, from 2017 to 2018, there was a 424 percent increase in small business breaches, and 60 percent of small business owners who encountered a cyberattack are out of business in six months. Needless to say, putting effective data security measures in place is critical, even though it often requires an investment upfront. 

The quickest and most effective way to do this is to run a risk assessment tool. If you find trouble, then consider hiring professionals to handle it; you can hire a freelance agency to ensure you’re well-protected. It may even be worth considering keeping them on retainer so you can rest assured knowing your business and customer data is secure. 

Many small business owners feel overwhelmed and don’t know where to start when addressing such an overarching and complex issue. However, IT professionals can provide invaluable help in this regard. A well-established security firm can put everything in place for you, such as helping you develop cybersecurity protocols and implementing software to protect data within your company’s on-site infrastructure, mobile apps, cloud applications, and endpoint devices. 

Remote Work

If you need to hire new workers, consider putting together a distributed team. This can save you loads of money on overhead, and it removes the restrictions that come with only hiring locally. 

There are many kinds of affordable tech tools to make this not only possible but cost-effective as well. For instance, you can find, interview, and hire qualified workers from around the globe by going through online job boards — many of which pre-vet candidates, which means they’re weeding out the duds so you don’t have to. 

You can use collaboration tools and project management tools to communicate with your team and get projects done effectively. You can even hold weekly or monthly virtual team meetings by incorporating video conference software. These days, the possibilities are nearly endless!

Technology plays an undeniable role in today’s business world, and it’s essential to embrace it if your business is going to thrive. If you invest in tech solutions like these, you will likely see a big payoff in no time. 

For more ideas and inspiration that will grow your business, connect with PR ByIntention!

Image via Rawpixel

Feeling Entrepreneurial Doubts? Try These Tips for Pushing Through.

BusinessWomanFrustrated

A few years ago, I wrote a post about overcoming entrepreneurial fears and doubts. As a small business owner myself, I understand how important your mind-set is in overcoming challenges, and in the last two years, I’ve had to draw upon my own advice. And I’ve learned a few more lessons along the way.

It’s a given that your success depends on your ability to handle ongoing challenges, however, often times the biggest obstacles you’ll face come not from the outside, but from within.

“Successful entrepreneurs and small-business owners alike routinely note that overcoming self-doubt, fear and procrastination are three of the greatest challenges they face.”

They have very real effects on your business, including crushing your drive and compromising your ability to play it big, or even at all, for that matter.

Here are some tips to help you push through:

Feel the fear, act anyway. Almost all business owners experience fear. Fear of making mistakes, fear of rejection, fear of failure – the list goes on. What separates those who are successful from those who allow fear to hold them back is willingness to feel the fear and to act in spite of it. The best way to get over fear is to face it head-on – it’s never as bad as you think.

Failed again? Forgive yourself and fail forward. We’ve all been there; it’s not uncommon to screw up a project or to fail repeatedly until you find your way in business, however, you have to be able to let it go and move on to what does works Being able to forgive yourself and failing forward is crucial to your success. I’ve personally experienced the awful feeling of realizing that I’ve taken a misstep with a project that I’m working on; it’s painful and can be immobilizing. When that happens, I quickly focus on what is working and shift back into that direction. Which leads me to the next tip…

• Move into your momentum. One of the best ways to overcome fear of failure is to remember past successes. If you’re fixated on failing, put that energy into revisiting past successes and accomplishments. How did it feel? If you can tap into your past successes and relive how you felt in that moment, you’ll feel more confident facing new challenges. This will also help you to get past failures.

• Break through your comfort zones. Most people tend to avoid uncomfortable situations. If you want to succeed, learn to be comfortable even when you’re outside your comfort zone. It can be scary, but it won’t kill you. Really, it won’t

• Find what motivates you. It’s important to remember your “why.” Passion trumps fear and when you focus on your dreams (and not your fears), you’ll shift your momentum and eliminate procrastination.

• You’ve just got to BELIEVE. Having self-confidence and belief in yourself and your business is hands down the most important aspect of achieving success. Boost your self-confidence and belief by having a solid foundation and staying current on best practices in your industry.

• Focus on relationships you have. Fear shrinks your perspective. Participating in small business groups or meet-ups gives you access to ideas and experiences beyond your own and can help you focus on the big picture. Also, surrounding yourself with like-minded business professionals will remind you that you’re not alone, which in itself can go a long way toward conquering your fears.

April Neill is a brand strategist, lifelong entrepreneur and founder/CEO of April Neill Public Relations, a boutique public relations firm serving small businesses and non-profits in Chicagoland. April is also a guest contributor to NBC Chicago’s Inc. Well Blog where a version of these tips first appeared.

Free PR Resources to Help Build Brand Awareness

Free PR Resources to Help Build Brand Awareness

April Neill Public Relations is happy to share some awesome FREE PR resources that we use and recommend to our clients on a regular basis. Use these to help build your brand awareness.

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H.A.R.O. (Help A Reporter Out) – www.HelpAReporter.com

Everyone’s an expert at something. Sharing your expertise may land you that big media interview you’ve been looking for! Journalists post specific queries – up to 90 each day. You respond directly to them if you are a good source for their needs. From The New York Times, to ABC News, to HuffingtonPost.com and everyone in between, nearly 50,000 members of the media have quoted HARO sources in their stories.

Business2Blogger.com – www.Business2Blogger.com

Fill out a form with a specific PR request, such as, “Looking for bloggers to test and write about best chip less nail polishes.” Business2Blogger blasts it out to thousands of Bloggers who sign up to receive your offers. Those interested in your offer get directly in touch with you to get started. This can result in some great articles for your business.

Google Alerts – www.Google.com/alerts

Google Alerts are email updates of the latest relevant Google results (web, news, etc.) based on your choice of query or topic. Some handy uses of Google Alerts include:

  • monitoring a developing news story
  • keeping current on an industry or competitor
  • monitoring mentions about your business
  • keeping tabs on mentions regarding your name and monitoring your reputation

SocialMention.com – www.SocialMention.com

Social Media Alerts like Google Alerts but for social media. Receive free daily email alerts of your brand, company, CEO, marketing campaign, or on a developing news story or competitor.

Free-Press-Release.comwww.Free-Press-Release.com

A great site to submit press releases for free online, or pay up to $30 for additional optimization and features including hyperlinks, no ads, additional keywords etc. Note that this service puts your release online only; it doesn’t actually submit it to any media sources.

PubArticles.comwww.PubArticles.com

Sign up and posting of articles is 100% free. If your article meets 4 requirements: It’s totally original, it hasn’t been published anywhere else, it’s useful or helpful information and it meets the site’s writing guidelines, it will get ‘exclusive’ service which brings a variety of benefits including being posted to Google News, distribution to Twitter and other social media and your article being published on PubArticle’s homepage.

HootSuite.com – www.HootSuite.com

This service allows you to post and update ALL of your social media in one place. Populate the content of your Facebook, Twitter, Linked-In, Flicker, blog and other social sites all at once, or schedule them to go out at predetermined times in the future. HootSuite provides basic measuring – such as showing you how many people click on your links or re-tweet your posts – for free. For one account it’s free, to manage multiple accounts it’s less than $10 per month.

Animoto.com – www.Animoto.com

Animoto automatically produces beautifully orchestrated, completely unique video pieces from your photos, video clips and music. Fast, free and super easy! Animoto syncs with Facebook, Flickr, Picasa, Photobucket, and SmugMug to get your images in a snap. Add text and emphasize specific images with the touch of a button. Upload your own mp3 or choose from Animoto’s collection of tunes in several different genres.

Screenr – www.screenr.com

Screenr’s web-based screen recorder makes it easy to create and share screencasts around the web. Just click the record button, capture your screen & voice and share the link.

Do you have any free PR resources to share that aren’t listed above? We’d love to hear what’s working for you!

April Neill is a brand strategist, lifelong entrepreneur and founder/CEO at April Neill Public Relations, a boutique public relations firm serving small businesses and non-profits in Chicagoland. You can find April on Twitter and also connect with April Neill PR on Facebook.

April Neill Public Relations is passionate about helping small businesses position themselves as experts in their industry. We offer a complimentary 30-minute in-person or phone consultation. Email AprilNeill@gmail.com to make your appointment today or call 312.772.3832 for more information.

Gain Trust and Attract Business with Education-Based Marketing

Gain Trust and Attract Business with Education-Based Marketing

Marketing signThere is a common misconception amongst small businesses that your marketing’s most important function is to promote your products and services to prospects ready to buy. In fact, the most important function of your marketing strategy should be to establish that you’re an expert in your industry, that you have knowledge to share, and that you can be trusted.

It’s a given that consumers like to do business with people and brands they trust. That said, even if you have the lowest prices, if you’re not perceived to be trustworthy, it might be difficult to attract customers. This is the basis for Education-Based Marketing.

A powerful marketing strategy that establishes trust and credibility using strategic educational messaging, Education-Based Marketing is the direct opposite of traditional marketing, which leverages selling-based messaging.

People are tired of being bombarded with sales pitches. Alarm bells go off the moment you launch into your spiel. In comparison, consumers are more likely to listen when you offer value by sharing expert information and helpful tips and facts that not only help them live better but also help them make better buying decisions. And even if they are not ready to buy, you’re planting seeds and gaining consumer trust that will likely pay off when they are ready to purchase your product or service.

Stay tuned for our next post that will delve deeper into how to craft your educational message.

April Neill is a brand strategist, lifelong entrepreneur and founder/CEO at April Neill Public Relations, a boutique public relations firm serving small businesses and non-profits in Chicagoland. You can find April on Twitter and also connect with April Neill PR on Facebook.

April Neill Public Relations is passionate about helping small businesses position themselves as experts in their industry. We offer a complimentary 30-minute in-person or phone consultation. Email AprilNeill@gmail.com to make your appointment today or call 312.772.3832 for more information.

Facebook’s Latest Newsfeed Algorithm a Game-Changer for Brands

Facebook’s Latest Newsfeed Algorithm a Game-Changer for Brands

FacebookAlgorithmImageBy April Neill, CEO/Founder April Neill Public Relations

For brands and small businesses who have put in the sweat equity over the last few years to build their Facebook following and gain consumer confidence and loyalty through intelligent, thoughtful brand publishing, Facebook’s latest newsfeed algorithm is going to be a game-changer.

In a recent article titled, The Great Facebook Swindle And What To Do About It published on Social Media Explorer, Jason Falls explains how the rules have changed and it doesn’t bode well for brands. First of all, with the changes, even though your audience “Likes” your page, there is a strong likelihood that Facebook won’t let most of them see your posts organically in their news stream. They can still visit your page to see it, however, unless you pay to promote it, many of your followers won’t see it. As a matter of fact, with the changes, Facebook is ratcheting down organic exposure of brand page content to 1-2% at best. This is not good!

Here are the highlights on how brands can still win.

  1. Direct people to your Facebook URL It’s no longer enough for to tell our audience to “Like” us on Facebook. Now we have to ensure they know that we offer great content there but Facebook won’t let them see it unless they go to the Facebook page just like they would come to our website and they are going to have to type in our brand name or URL to see our content. For traditional communications, stop using the “Like us on Facebook” call to action and start using the “Visit us on Facebook at facebook.com/yournamehere” one.
  2. “Share” is now the new “Like” When a user does find your content, intentionally or not, and uses the Facebook “Share” button, it places that content on their timeline as if posted by them. They are recommending that content to their friends and followers. This circumvents Facebook’s brand classification as it sees the post as being from the individual. It is content they are organically recommending. So every single call-to-action must be “Share with your friends.” By building a loyal group of advocates, readers, fans or customers who will go the extra mile to type in your URL or bookmark your Facebook page, plus who will Share rather than like, perhaps even writing a little lead in to tell their friends why they should go see this content, you can still organically reach a lot of people. The challenge is that your content has got to be dynamite and your audience has got to love you beyond their love of most other brands.
  3. Pay to play I know … this isn’t organic. But now you know that in order to achieve organic success you need a highly engaged audience willing to share. When you have content that will attract that kind of user or you can target to find that kind of user, take advantage of the fact you can offer up a little bit of money to get it in front of more of the kinds of people you want to collect. It’s a numbers game, in a way. For every 20 users, you’ll probably have one that really digs you enough to type in the ULR and/or “Share” your content. (Your traction here may vary from 1:20, but that’s a good starting point.) The more users you have the more advocates you’ll have to choose from.

So there you have it. It might also be a great time to spend more time promoting your brand on other social media platforms. Twitter is starting to look better and better! What do you think? Will you put in the extra effort and energy to reach your followers on Facebook or will you leverage other vehicles to get your message out?

April Neill, CEO/Founder April Neill Public Relations
April Neill, CEO of April Neill Public Relations

April Neill is a brand strategist, lifelong entrepreneur and founder/CEO at April Neill Public Relations, a boutique public relations firm serving small businesses and non-profits in Chicagoland. You can find April on Twitter and also connect with April Neill PR on Facebook.

April Neill Public Relations is passionate about helping small businesses position themselves as experts in their industry. We offer a complimentary 30-minute in-person or phone consultation. Email AprilNeill@gmail.com to make your appointment today or call 312.772.3832 for more information.

 

Showing Appreciation is Good for Business

Showing Appreciation is Good for Business


Oscar-statues-001Watching the Academy Awards last night, I was struck with the awesomeness of the acceptance speeches and the genuine gratitude the winners expressed. Winning an Oscar can be a huge boost to an Actors’ personal brand and earning potential, for sure, and on this night they are at the height of their fame. Hearing them express gratitude and thanks to those who have touched their lives and to those who have helped them along the way was truly inspiring.

Businesses can benefit greatly from adopting this “attitude of gratitude” and if I had to pick one thing that can have the biggest impact on business, I’d say gratitude tops the list. This quote sums it up perfectly:

“At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.” –Albert Schweitzer 

As a brand, we want to be perceived positively by consumers. It’s necessary before being memorable, engaged or advocated for.

The more deep gratitude and appreciation you show as a brand, whether it’s your personal brand or business, for every contribution no matter how small, the more love, support and success will come your way.

That said, it’s super important to demonstrate gratitude and to acknowledge the people that have helped you get where you are. This was demonstrated during the awards ceremony last night perfectly by Best Supporting Actor winner Jared Leto, snagging the coveted golden statue for his riveting role in Dallas Buyers Club, who not only thanked his single mom for teaching him to dream, but also the 36 million people what have lost the battle to aids.

“And this is for the 36 million people who have lost the battle to Aids and to those of you out there who have ever felt injustice because of who you are or who you love, tonight I stand here in front of the world with you and for you. Thank you so much and goodnight,” –Jared Leto.

It just doesn’t get much better than that.

Gratitude Helps Build Consumer Confidence and Trust.

How do you stand out in someone’s mind? How do you engage and inspire them to speak positively on your behalf? To inspire your audiences to risk their reputation and advocate for you, you must demonstrate that you are worthy. There’s no better way to build trust and consumer confidence than to incorporate gratitude into your brand communication plan. Appreciation and acknowledgement can go a long way in building brand advocates who will not only love you, like we all loved Jared last night, but who will sing your praises as well.

Say a Sincere, Authentic Thank You!

There’s nothing like the unexpected, genuine, sincere thank you. So, the next time you have the chance to express gratitude, go for it! It’s good for your business.

April Neill is a brand strategist, lifelong entrepreneur and founder/CEO of April Neill Public Relations, a boutique public relations firm serving small businesses and non-profits in Chicagoland. You can find April online at www.AprilNeillPR.com or at www.Facebook.com/AprilNeillPR.
April Neill Public Relations is passionate about helping small businesses position themselves as experts in their industry. We offer a complimentary 30-minute in-person or phone consultation. Email AprilNeill@gmail.com to make your appointment today or call (312) 772-3832 for more information.

Tips for overcoming entrepreneurial fears and doubts.

Tips for overcoming entrepreneurial fears and doubts.

By April Neill, CEO/Founder April Neill Public Relations

Fearless

As a small-business owner, your success depends on your ability to handle ongoing challenges including finding the right market-fit and acquiring new business, to name a few. But oftentimes the biggest obstacles you’ll face come not from the outside, but from within. Successful entrepreneurs and small-business owners alike routinely note that overcoming self-doubt, fear and procrastination are three of the greatest challenges they face. They have very real effects on your business, including crushing your drive and compromising your ability to play it big, or even at all, for that matter.

Here are some tips to help you push through:

Feel the fear, act anyway. Almost all business owners experience fear. Fear of making mistakes, fear of rejection and fear of failure – the list goes on. What separates those who are successful from those who allow fear to hold them back is willingness to feel the fear and to act in spite of it. The best way to get over fear is to face it head-on – it’s never as bad as you think.

Break through your comfort zones. Most people tend to avoid uncomfortable situations. If you want to succeed, learn to be comfortable even when you’re outside your comfort zone. It can be scary, but it won’t kill you. Really, it won’t.

• Remember the feel of success. One of the best ways to overcome fear of failure is to remember past successes. If you’re fixated on failing, put that energy into revisiting past successes and accomplishments. How did it feel? If you can tap into your past successes and relive how you felt in that moment, you’ll feel more confident facing new challenges.

Find what motivates you. It’s important to remember your “why.” Passion trumps fear and when you focus on your dream (and not your fears), you’ll shift your momentum and eliminate procrastination.

Belief and self-confidence. Having self-confidence and belief in yourself and your business is hands down the most important aspect of achieving success. Boost your self-confidence and belief by having a solid foundation, including researching the opportunity (or new project) thoroughly, and drafting a solid business plan.

Focus on relationships you have. Fear shrinks your perspective. Participating in small business groups or meet-ups gives you access to ideas and experiences beyond your own and can help you focus on the big picture. Also, surrounding yourself with like-minded business professionals will remind you that you’re not alone, which in itself can go a long way toward conquering your fears.

This post written by April Neill Public Relations’ CEO April Neill first appeared on NBC Chicago’s Inc. Well Blog on August 5, 2013.

 April Neill is a brand strategist, lifelong entrepreneur and founder/CEO of April Neill Public Relations, a boutique public relations firm serving small businesses and non-profits in Chicagoland. You can find April online at www.AprilNeillPR.com or at www.Facebook.com/AprilNeillPR.

Source: http://www.nbcchicago.com/blogs/inc-well/How-to-Overcome-Entrepreneurial-Fear-Doubt-and-Procrastination-218346831.html#ixzz2bQr5DuE9

Find Your Purpose, Follow Your Bliss

By April Neill, CEO/Founder April Neill Public Relations

“Every man has a purpose, something special that he can do better than anyone else. Your work is to discover this, then give yourself to it. The extent to which you use your skills to add to the world determines your happiness.”—Deepak Chopra

BlissPic

I had a conversation the other day with my son, Steven, who is contemplating whether to pursue his Master’s Degree (he currently holds a BS in Psychology from Loyola University – so proud of him!) or to venture off as an entrepreneur starting a design business with his best friend. Or maybe a janitorial business? So many choices! He currently has a great job at a hospital, although not in his chosen field, and it got me to thinking about how important it is to find your passion when you are considering your career path. My advice to my son? Do what you love to do!

According to a recent survey conducted by Yahoo! Finance/PARADE almost 60 percent of Americans polled would choose a different career. That means for most of us, if you work in a profession that you’re not charged up about, you could end up feeling uninspired and unfulfilled for a huge chunk of your life. That’s a lot of time and years to waste!

I personally didn’t start out as a publicist. I studied Criminal Justice and dreamed of a career as a profiler. That dream changed after I got married and had four beautiful children (my greatest love and passion, for sure!) and it wasn’t until I was in my early 30s that I started on a path to my chosen profession. With no formal education or experience in marketing or publishing, I launched a career as an entrepreneur and started my own Christian publishing company. I discovered a passion and a great love for marketing and publicity and embarked on an exciting and fulfilling journey which led me from running my own business for 15 years to leading the PR efforts of a large chiropractic group for 5 years and then back to my entrepreneurial roots with my own PR firm. Why did I end up working in publicity? Because I LOVE it! It’s my passion; it’s what gets me up in the morning and what I think about day-in and day-out. Simply put, I can’t imagine doing anything else. And being able to help other businesses and non-profits expand their reach and grow their market share? Giving back in this way brings me great joy. The inner profiler in me still loves watching Criminal Minds, however, I discovered that publicity was my true calling.

There are many reasons people get up to go to work every day and more often than not, it’s not just about getting paid. Some people find fulfillment by working for a company that shares their vision for helping people. Some people love their company culture – I hear Zappos employees are having tons of fun in their highly creative and zany workplace—and some are just nuts about crunching numbers all day. The key to happiness at work is to figure out what you are passionate about and what truly inspires you. Here’s the advice I gave to my son. Ask yourself what you would do with your life if you had everything? What would you do if you didn’t need the money?

If you’re contemplating changing careers, ask yourself the following: Is your current work meaningful and do you feel challenged? Do you enjoy it? Also, are you proud of the work you do and the company you work for? Do you feel like you’re part of the larger picture? An important question that I had to ask myself was whether I felt appreciated at work. That was a big one for me…and one that ultimately led me on a different path.

If you can’t answer yes to most of these simple questions about your job, it may be time to find inspiration in a new career. And if you’re just now pondering what it is that you want to do with your life career-wise, consider this: Life is short. Do more of what makes you happy, more of what brings value to others, and follow your bliss!

April Neill Public Relations is passionate about helping small businesses position themselves as experts in their industry. We offer a complimentary 30-minute in-person or phone consultation. Email AprilNeill@gmail.com to make your appointment today or call (312) 772-3832 for more information. Visit us online at AprilNeillPR.com. Follow ANPR on Facebook at Facebook.com/AprilNeillPR.

 

6 Tips for Branding Yourself as an Expert in your Field

Being recognized as an industry expert can be powerful and persuasive.
Being recognized as an industry expert can be powerful and persuasive.

In every buying decision, whether it’s hiring an accountant or finding a good mechanic, we all want an expert. We want to pay someone who has a real solution and we don’t want to waste our money or our time.

That said, you want prospects to look to your company for solutions when they are ready to buy or hire a consultant and a great way to gain market share is to position yourself as the go-to expert in your industry. Few things are as powerful or as persuasive in business.

Branding yourself as an expert has many benefits including standing out in a crowded marketplace, getting media attention, gaining partnerships that help your business grow and being able to charge higher fees due to your expert status.

Here are six tips to help brand yourself an expert in your industry:

  1. Define Your Expertise. One of the most effective ways to communicate your expert/authority status is to create an “expert” website. A professional headshot, professional design and highlights of your social influence (proof numbers of fans, followers, subscribers) along with a press room highlighting the places where your work has been featured will go a long way in positioning and defining your expert status.
  2. Deliver fresh, educational or informative content: Deliver regular content on the internet through article marketing and blogging that is informative and offers value and solutions to readers. Pay attention to hot topics that are trending and if they’re relevant to your industry, craft blog posts about those topics. In no time at all, you will be considered an expert in your field.
  3. Take part in online conversations: Post comments on other influential blogs and social media sites. Additionally, respond to comments left on your blog; it’s a great way to start a discussion and to showcase your expert knowledge.
  4. Position yourself as an expert source to the media. Pay attention to what’s going on in the news. Do you have a unique perspective to bring to a story that is trending or seasonal tips to share? Let the media know that you are available as an expert source in your industry. Also reach out to reporters and editors when there is a news story that you can weigh in on. Reporters are always looking for sources for stories and segments and this may be your chance to get your business on the 10 o’clock news!
  5. Post on YouTube: Post helpful and instructional videos on YouTube about your products or services. Soon enough, consumers will start to look to you for solutions.
  6. Seek Out Endorsements and Testimonials. Once in a while, you will get an unsolicited testimonial from a client, which will make your day. More often than not, you will have to ask. So ask! Send an email to your clients asking them to share their experience with working with you and how it has helped them. Reach out to colleagues to ask them for endorsements of your expertise. LinkinIn has a great platform for seeking out endorsements and is a great space to build your reputation.

April Neill Public Relations is passionate about helping small businesses position themselves as experts in their industry. We offer a complimentary 30-minute in-person or phone consultation. Email AprilNeill@gmail.com to make your appointment today or call (312) 772-3832 for more information. Visit us online at AprilNeillPR.com. Follow ANPR on Facebook at Facebook.com/AprilNeillPR.