Overcoming the fear of failure

It’s something that haunts most of us. Chances are, it’s what is really stopping you from making the first step in your new venture. Starting on a new project, creating a company, a website or building the app you’ve been talking about for ages now. It’s the fear of failure, that big bastard.

Fear of failure and fear of others’ judgement of ourselves and our work hold us back from starting. Fear is cause for procrastination. It may also look like perfectionism: we think what we do is never good enough, never ready for prime time. The result? We just never set off to start, we don’t make that phonecall, we wait too long to put our website live. We keep making excuses, the name is not good, the logo is not right, email is not the best channel, the landing page could be optimised, the sign up button should be orange, orange converts better!

Our own fears

A year ago we wanted to test the simple business idea of providing small businesses with responsive websites based on templates. We decided to try it quickly, in a week we could start selling I said. Instead we took a day for the name, Milksites, pretty good we thought, and we have the .com. The logo took 2 days, quite pretty though. A basic website was done in a week, but we decided to build configurable landing pages that would allow us to tailor to different customers segments, that took an extra week. Then, well, we HAD to build at least 3 templates to start with. That took us a month and a half. We wanted them to be stunning – we’re as good as our templates we thought. The result?

After all that time, when we launched we struggled to find customers, those that we found were a big headache to manage and just not worth the candle. We shut down the project quite quickly. Could we have done it different? Sure, we could have been out there looking for customers on day 1, through email, phone and a number of other ways. We could have attempted selling a competitor’s service and immediately test our ability to find customers, our cost per acquisition and learnt the same things we learnt with three months of work to build a nice facade for our product. What stopped us? Fear of rejection by our potential customers. Fear of picking up the phone and making a cold call to a stranger.

We’re all great at finding reasons for not taking action. And our friends, families and colleagues are great support in that. We’re all genetically trained to point out everything that could go wrong. And most of us will find themselves, at some point, thinking the obvious: by taking action, I’ll risk to fail, hence better not trying at all. Or let’s just wait, a bit more. Who hasn’t thought about that? And it seems to make a lot of sense. If we fail, we’ll think less of us, we’ll feel embarassed about it with our friends and family, who might think less of us. And we can loose money, our reputation, our job, our house, the list of what’s at stake is potentially endless. And the more public the results of our actions are, the worse the fear. This applies to almost every business or career decision you’ll take.

The only failure

But hold on. What’s the worst failure, or may I say, the only failure? I’d argue it’s not trying at all. Won’t you really be failing yourself and everyone by never trying? Sure, you don’t have to try. And most people don’t – which is good news, as if you do choose to try, you’ll be part of the minority of the risk-takers. And that alone puts you on the path to success. And with risk, comes the reward.

“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing which you think you cannot do.”

Eleanor Roosevelt

What you can do about it

So if you’re really keen on becoming an entrepreneur, building a product, getting your dream job, making a dent in the universe or even just amassing a considerable wealth for yourself, I’m afraid you’ll have to overcome your fear of failure. There’s no way around it.

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”

Winston Churchill

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Don’t take it personal

The best advice I think I can give you to get started with overcoming your fear is: don’t take it personal. You are not your project. You are not your product, company or blog. You’re much more then that. Somehow we lose sight of this, and we fear looking like complete idiots if our projects don’t succeed. Some might end up thinking of themselves as complete idiots when facing failure. Some may take all and every blame for a failure, when perhaps the circumstances are to blame. If you think like this, fear will keep you frozen and you’ll never take action.

Moreover, whatever you fail at, most times you can find something positive about. For example you might fail a French test but in preparing it you would still have improved your French! Always think positive. If you don’t succeed immediately, change your plans but do not change your goal. Little by little, you’ll get there.

Define success

Make sure you’re not trying to succeed by trying to meet other people’s expectactions or definitions of success. Define what success means for you, and work towards that. Is it about money? Impact? Doing what you love?

“I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody.”

Bill Cosby

Or just forget about it

Remember when failure and success didn’t even exist in your mind as concepts? Remember that freedom and enjoyment in just trying, doing, making, attempting new things in life? The last time you did it you were probably a kid. Try to get back to that, focus on the process, don’t worry about the future, don’t regret the past and try to get in the zone, that area of intense focus on what you’re doing which is what great artists and successful people thrive in.

So go ahead. Fail. And again. Fail until you get rid of that fear. Try something new. Put yourself out there. Go ask a stranger a silly question. Send those difficult emails. Call your customers. Get into the habit of doing the things you fear, and slowly you’ll get better at it. And when the time comes to take that decision that might change your life and put you on the path to being who you want to be, following your real passion and making your dreams come true, just do it. Failure doesn’t exist. There’s just trying and learning. And try to enjoy the process, as that’s the key to doing good work.

What will you start on?

Pietro Saccomani

Email Marketing: what you should know

Is your email marketing working? Do people even read your mails? Email marketing can be your best marketing and customer acquisition channel. Get started with email marketing today following our tips.

1- Email Title

If you try to sell already something in your title with the words “buy” or “sell”, people may be reluctant to read it. You could instead try to raise their interest,  with a story ” I had a discussion yesterday about…”, with a joke or just with a very sober title, really specific, and which clearly states why it is useful to open the mail.

2- Content

A good email title without interesting content might be disappointing for your readers as they have some expectations. Newsletters, email online courses, stories, discounts, news… What works well is to teach something, to be passionate about it. You can check Appsumo and subscribe to their newsletter to have a good example of email marketing campaigns.

 3-  Keep a casual tone

Keep your mail friendly, you can allow yourself being casual. People usually like when they have the impression that you, as a person, speak to them personally. It persuades them more.

4- Encourage them to reply

Like a call-to-action button, you can encourage your readers to do the thing you want. First, consider using a real email address and not a no-reply one. Then, ask them to give you a feedback, to answer a question or to take part into a debate. Let them be involved also on this platform.

5 - Layout of the mail

Pay attention to the images you want to use. They often are not displayed on the mail and the reader needs to authorise them. Try not to put too many images then.

Keep your mail simple,  short and with a lot of spaces. Separate the articles and make paragraphs.

Finally, do not forget to put sharing buttons at the end and an UNSUBSCRIBE one!

6 - Avoid the spam

The goal here is to avoid being in the spam box. Some tips can help you.

First, try to avoid these kind of typical marketing titles ” FREE STUFF INSIDE “ or ” Open to get a discount”. They contain keywords that the spam box notices and filters. Other little things increase the probability to be in the spam box: the capslock, the exaggerated punctuation “!!!!!! ?????”, too many numbers, too many colours/fonts/different sizes in your content.

Finally for your emails, you can use a different email address. In case of this one being filtered as spam, you would still have your normal address to send regular emails.

And… I guess that’s all, people! If you follow all these rules and provide interesting content, you won’t annoy anybody and you will be able to keep them in touch!

Anything else in your mind?

______________

Victoria B.A

5 Tips To Get More From Your Linkedin Profile

Linkedin is becoming a must-have for business marketing, it has more than doubled its membership number in the last year and now grows at a person every second.
It is more powerful than Facebook or Twitter when it concerns your business and career as it is the largest business networking site in the world. Everything is more professional,your content but also the conversation you will have with other members.

1. Use Linkedin to improve your SEO

By being on Linkedin you will automatically improve your ranking but get the more of it by optimizing your profile. You have to fill every part of your profile especially the keywords. Do not forget to add the keywords and find the relevant ones as it will improve your ranking in the search result.
Plus, your Linkedin business page will automatically be ranking in the 10 search result for your business.

2. Use Linkedin Groups for networking

Linkedin groups are online forums on specific topics where you can chat with other members of the groups on the topic of your interest. It will allow you to share best practices and help out other members but also get some tips from them. To get value from it focus on few groups so that you could take time to participate regularly.

3. Use Linkedin Answers

Linkedin answers let members ask and answer questions on several topics. By answering or asking questions you could put yourself as a specialist in your area and be more than just a business that sells products/services. It is a way to socialize with other members and find prospect easily. 4. Find business service

4. Find business service

Linkedin is a business networking where you can find all the types of businesses so take advantage of it. You can easily reach business and find out more about their services/products. And if you look for a specific service like a developer you can find their skills, formations and more interesting their recommendations if they have one.

5. Ask for recommendations

With Linkedin you can have recommendations, it will appear on your profile and on the person that have done the recommendation profile. That’s why you should ask for recommendations from customers, clients and business partners. You’ll reach more people and get more credibility for your work.

It’s up to you now !

 


Safia C.

4 Marketing trends you should care about in 2013.

Hello !

We are almost in June and I just realised 2013 was not the “New Year” anymore. That’s incredible how time goes by so fast.Where have the new resolutions gone? I hope you did well with yours!

Anyway, we can now see what have been the marketing trends for the first months of 2013!

1) Content marketing

Oh no, I know that’s no news. But I have the impression that people really understood how much content was essential for a business. Look at this infographic:

Producing ENOUGH content is a key to success. What could be this content?

- blog

- e-book, free white papers

- newsletter

- guest post

- testimonials

- infographics…

Anything is good to attract new customers through your blog, engage them and make them stay in touch.

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2) Social Media

Social media is still the best way to engage with the customers.

But Facebook and Twitter are not the only social media platforms. Others are not well-used and can represent for you the opportunity to stand out from the crowd. The key word is originality. And engagement. – I actually have two key words then. But I strongly believe in both of them.

Here are some examples of other social media platforms. Get started with them first before everybody else use them!

- REDDIT is the front face of the Internet (more useful than facebook)

- Pinterest marketing

- Slideshare marketing

- Tumblr marketing

- Instagram marketing

- Linkedin marketing

- Youtube marketing

- Vine marketing

- Google + marketing

3) Trends in image marketing

If you want to post photos or images in your blog or for your business, this is basically what you can do to improve sharing:

  • People like filters. Filters, filters everywhere. You have of course Instagram, or you can use PSD Photoshop colouring (that you can easily find on Deviantart, or sites/forums specialised in design).

  • Then the typography is important. Helvetica, Arial, aka the basic ones, are still well used and will always look good. But you can choose a more feminine one, play with the bold or the italic options…  Comic Sans Ms, having now a bad reputation now, is to avoid, like  illegible typos..

  • Finally, there are two beautiful effects in photography now. The first one is to blur the background, to make an object look really cool and stand out. The second one is to make composite photos: you blend two images to create one (but you will need Photoshop skills or a good designer!)

4) Emotion

Take the Anar Foundation ad for example , which had great impact.

The advertisement has no superfluous, it just talks about what is really essential. No funny things, no kittens, just a smart way to help children.

Be smart in the idea, not in the TV spot: that could be one good advice.

 

 

Do not hesitate to tell me what are your thoughts on these marketing trends, and if you have other points you would like to speak about.

Cheers ; )

______________

Victoria B.A

6 WordPress Plugins I need to have, and that you need too.

Most of the sites are now on WordPress.

And I am pretty sure the plugins have something to do with that. They allow you to have a beautiful design and great features for your site. In a word, it is essential if you want to know what success looks like.

You have plugins for almost everything: social media, seo, design, coding….

1) Social Stickers

They are the cutest and the most colourful buttons I have seen so far.

Insert them in your widget on your sidebar for example, and people will be able to share your thoughts on any platform of your choice from Facebook to Pinterest.

2) Digg Digg

Digg Digg is a very famous plugin. It is a floating share bar. Thanks to it you can see all your social media at once and make the sharing easier.

Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, Pinterest and Google+ are the first social media platforms you should focus on.

3) Clickdesk

Clickdesk is a live chat plugin. Your visitors can chat or call directly with you from their browser and you can even add your skype ID to receive the call easier.

It is simple to use and doesn’t require complicated stuff.

Be closer to your visitors!

4) Leaflets Maps Makers

Create the best map for free for your website. Your visitors will be happy not to have to find your address and go to Google Maps.

And you can pin, organize and share all your favorite spots!

Install it and choose the map of your dreams.

5) Slidedeck 2

“SlideDeck 2 for WordPress is a responsive slider plugin that lets you easily create content sliders out of almost any content. Connect to a variety of Content Sources like YouTube, Flickr, Twitter, WordPress posts and Pinterest to create gorgeous, dynamic sliders in a few clicks – no coding is required.”

Nothing to add, this is just genius!

It turns any wordpress blog into a much cooler one.

See great examples on the plugin website:

6) Finally a little plugin for your design. It is not compulsory for your business, but it makes your design look cooler: Page Navi

It replaces your old ← Older posts | Newer posts → links with beautiful new links!

And that’s all for the 6 plugins I like particularly these days…

Which one do you guys like the most?

______________

Victoria B.A

Small Businesses and Social Media

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Using social medial for small businesses becomes an important part of their marketing strategy as most of them have a Facebook or Twitter account. Linkedin, Google + or Pinterest are obviously less used but certainly not less interesting.

Actually, several factors are to be considered before getting social: your business type, your target, which platform do your target use, how often they use it, which content do they like…
As many factors that will help you define your digital strategy and which campaign you’ll set up in the next months.

What kind of Social Media do you use ?

 

iOS app downloads still twice Android downloads

The chart below is quite telling. Read it in the context of Android taking now 56% of the smartphone market share and you get an accurate picture of how different the average Android user is compared to an iOS user.

The great majority of Android devices on the market are low-end devices which are bought as cheap phones, by people who download maybe a couple of apps, and one is probably Facebook.

If you’re in the business of making apps, you’re targeting the app users market, not the smartphone users market, so keep these numbers in mind.

 

appdownloads

Via Mobile Statistics – Statistics Made Visual.

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