I was told about Evernote at the end of 2011 but it wasn't until Nov 2012 after reading Chris Guillebeau's 100 Start Up, I was reminded about Evernote from one of his success stories - Brett Kelly who wrote Evernote Essentials. So I really started looking into it, reading blogs and seeing the full potential. Now I don't remember what life was like without it.

One of the main advantages of Evernote (other than it being FREE!) is the brilliant search function, it can even search in pdfs. It is cloud based, and has free apps that all sync, so no matter where you are you can get access to your information.

You can also share notes with other people, so if you have minutes of meetings this is a great easy way of sharing docs, notes etc. I take all my notes using this and it syncs with my laptop, phone and tablet so I don't have to worry about where I saved something.

A huge benefit has been helping me with decluttering my office. I had bits of paper everywhere, different notes and articles all being kept 'just in case'. But there was no order, I couldn't find anything and my piles of paper were getting out of control.

I started going through my piles of paper, scanning notes, bills and documents and shredding any of the originals that I didn't need to keep. Also with Evernote I created a note of where my actual paper copy is filed in my physical filing system so if I needed to find the original I know where it is.

From there everything now gets scanned, from prescriptions, old greeting cards, business cards, websites I want to review and even my blog idea and posts. Yes you maybe able to tell I'm a bit of a hoarder and hate to throw things away, but with Evernote my recycling bin is now overflowing and I still have the memories that I can search on. I have a Samsung Tablet so when I say scanned, its usually a photo taken from my Evernote app, so its very quick and easy.

I know I've just skimmed the surface of what is possible with this great tool, and am sure I will keep coming up with great ideas and enhancing my system. 

Being organised and improving processes is an important part of running a small business, and if we are not constantly reviewing these things we can get static and start to go backwards.

What tools do you use to help you get organised?
As part of the networking group I belong to, I gave a short presentation on Facebook today and this was my handout with tips on facebook pages:

  • Give people a reason to like your page – there are so many pages out there, why should people like your page!

  • Only 12-16% of your posts get seen so ensure you are posting at times when you target audience are on Facebook

  • Photos and short posts get more engagement

  • Ensure you are providing valuable content – only 20% of posts should be offers

  • To switch to your Business page profile to post comments, like and share on other pages follow these instructions

  • Change your facebook URL so it is easier for people to find you and looks better on your business cards etc:
           To Change – click on Edit Page/Update Page Info and update ‘Page              Address’

  • Share your Facebook URL on your marketing material – including business cards, your email signature, etc

  • Think about what you like and comment on and then apply that logic to your own likers

 Ideas for your facebook page content:
  • Tips and information that can help solve your clients issues
  • New and exciting things happening in your industry
  • Updates on your team and business 
  • Events and things you are part of or going to
  • Calendar specific things – eg Valetines Day, Fathers Day 
  • Quotes and inspirational things
  • Current events relevant to your industry           

For more tips and information like defined on facebook: www.facebook.com/definedcoach

Some of the most frequent questions I'm hearing at the moment is how do I differentiate between my personal profile and Business page profile and then comment on other pages under my Business name?

So follow these instructions:

1. Login to facebook and click on the Star on the top right hand corner
2. It should give you the heading 'Use Facebook as:" and list all the pages you are an Administrator on. Then select the Page you want to start commenting from.
3. Once you have selected the Page, the Top Header will change from your name to the name of the Page you are now in the profile of:
You should now be able to comment/like/share etc on other people's links and posts under your Business Page profile.

Please feel free if this has been helpful or any questions you may around this.
Have you set any new years resolutions? Chances are if you have, most of them will already be invalid or broken and we are only 15 days into the beginning of 2013.

Why bother:
Goals need to be written down and reviewed regularly, and beginning by reviewing the past year, helps us identify what worked/didn't work so we can learn what to do next time. If your a small business owner then this planning process becomes even more important - how do you measure success if you don't know what your aiming for? We are also notorious for moving on after achieving something without haven't taken the time to review and celebrate what we have accomplished.

A favourite blogger of mine - Chris Guillebeau has a great process he uses to reflect on the past year and then plan for the year ahead , starting with the questions - What went well and What didn't go well? 

I attempted to start this at the end of 2011 last year but didn't get very far, so this year I've made a conscious effort to reflect, capture my learnings from 2012 and record my goals for 2013. I really liked Chris's process but when it came to planning my 2013 goals, I got a bit stuck and started doing some research as to what other people do and combined it into something which made it easier for me.

Steps to follow for annual planning:
Take some time out, where you can concentrate to reflect and then plan for this coming year.

  1. Go through your calender, Facebook and other social network posts from 2012 - remind yourself what happened, what are the key things that stood out, things you did or people you met? (Thanks to Kerrie Phipps for this great suggestion)                                      
  2. Review your goals from last year - did you achieve them, what did you learn, what worked/didn't work?
  3. Note down and answer any other questions to help you reflect.  I liked Meg Appleby's questions. 
  4. Set new goals - make sure you write them down and have specific measures in place. Still not sure what to do, my previous post on goal setting may help? I also liked this 2 hour plan for helping me with the measures.
  5. Prioritise your goals and start creating an action list for each one. Its good to have 3 main goals to focus on every quarter.

I would find doing this all in one go a bit overwhelming, so I have done it in stages over the past 10 days or so. Also this requires quite a bit of brain power so if you are feeling stuck, when we walk away or focus on something different our unconscious mind is still busy contemplating your thoughts, so you may come up with more information each time you come back. 

Saying that, you don't want to make this a month long process, so you need to identify what complete looks like.

Other things you could do:
  1. SWOT analysis - take a good look at your business or personal life right now, or get an external perspective and start an action plan to move forward with
  2. Mark some time out at least quarterly to review your goals
  3. Share your goals with others
  4. Create a dream or vision board to help your goals really come to life and stick them somewhere you will see them everyday
  5. Celebrate your achievements from the past year

So have you done your planning for 2013
I’ve just realised I’ve hit a major milestone of 2 years running my own business. I’m taking some time to reflect and celebrate taking the big leap and venturing out on my own, without the backup of an employment contract and the certainty of money every fortnight.
So, Why did I start my own business? 

I have asked myself that quite a number of times over the last couple of years, and the thing that keeps coming back to me is to make a difference.  Yes, I realise I can do that working for someone else, but its not quite the same as doing it yourself. Making a difference to the people and businesses that surround us, enabling them to meet their own goals and aspirations which then has a knock on effect.  And this is where I think it gets exciting – growing businesses to enable them to employ more people, which increases people’s ability to spend and support our local community, growing the economy and all round making it better for future generations to come.

I’ve always wanted to run my own business since I was little, but was never sure what it would be in. When I rediscovered coaching a few years ago, I knew that was it.  And after signing up for the coaching course with Results, I was truly in my element!  

I’m not saying it has been easy, more like a huge rollercoaster ride. So many things to learn, and its an ongoing process as things are changing constantly and so quickly.  But when you follow your dreams (or even just get clarity of what those dreams are!) then the possibilities are endless.

So a huge thank you to everyone that has supported me in this journey so far, I really couldn’t have done it on my own!

Achieving your goals is hard work, it takes effort, motivation and commitment. You have days, weeks or even months where you just never seem to have the time to complete any actions, let alone even think about your goals.

So you need to do everything possible to help support you in achieving your goals, and a having a support network can be one of the best motivators I know.

There are lots of things to do to help build your support networks. Here are a few ideas:

Share with friends and family

One of the easiest things is to do is tell your friends and family about your goals. They only want to see you succeed and can offer some great tips and suggestions for helping you move forward. You will find they will often ask how you are getting on - imagine that feeling of telling them your what you have achieved. It might even inspire them to take action

Personal Journal

Another way is creating a personal journal. By reflecting on both your achievements and the obstacles you have faced, this is a great way to help you learn what works and what doesn’t work. A great way of being able to look back and see how far you have come.


Or you can just tell the whole world, social media makes things so much easier. Facebook updates, blogging, twitter – you name it.  No this is not for everyone, but it’s a great way of motivating yourself with a huge support network following you. This is blog I have found recently about a guy wanting to travel the world, very inspiring! http://chrisguillebeau.com/3x5/

Or if you are still stuck at the beginning and having trouble deciding what your goals are, check out this blog with my step by step instructions.
  • Commit your goals to writing you’re 40% more likely to achieve them                                                                     
  • If you tell someone else, you’re 60% more likely to achieve them.
  • If you have a coach you’re 95% more likely to achieve your goal
What support networks do you have to help you achieve your goals?

When someone mentions the word Christmas, what is your reaction?

It may still be over 6 months till the big day, but if you do a little bit of preplanning now you can turn the stress of Christmas into something easy and even fun!  

It’s all about breaking it down into small steps and start taking action as soon as possible.

My top 10 list for Christmas planning:

1.  Identify the people you want to give to

2.  Estimate an amount to spend on each person

3.  Work out the total you want to spend – if total is too much, go back and reduce estimates on each person

4.  Work out how long till Christmas and how much you need to save per payday

5.  Review your budget to identify where to get extra $$ from

6.  Setup a separate Christmas bank account and setup a direct    debit each payday

7.  Get a notebook to capture present ideas

8.  Brainstorm ideas for presents for each person

List ideas of what they might want or need, you may be having a   conversation with them and they mention something like I could really use this, or i really want this - list it down

9.  Try and buy a couple of presents each month – look for sales and the one day websites are fantastic too. Check out this great website listing all the one day type websites and deals http://www.loveonedaysales.co.nz/

Also think about using your loyalty points – a yearly magazine subscription starts from 210 Flybuys points?

And to reduce costs even more, look at utilising your creative skills and make them something.

10. Buy Christmas Club vouchers

Make the most of special deals, personally I love Woolworths Christmas Club – you can use the vouchers right throughout December and January – I didn’t use all mine up at Christmas but sure came in handy buying the food and alcohol for the summer camping holiday– all with an extra 5% off. A $10 voucher each week till Christmas will give you $270 if you start this week!

Also the good old Warehouse has a Christmas Club too - http://www.thewarehouse.co.nz/red/content/homepage/customer-services/christmas-club

If you start planning Christmas now, when it gets to those last few mad weeks before Christmas, filled with lunches, parties, and shops crammed with people – you can sit back and relax and start thinking about enjoying your Christmas holidays.

So what is the one thing you can do this week to help get you started?

At the end of the each day, do you celebrate what you’ve achieved or sit there and freak out about the things you still have to do?

So often we get hung up on what we haven’t done, all the things adding to our ever amounting to do list, which keeps overwhelming us and feels like we are getting nowhere. But we also overlook or dismiss the things we have achieved - no matter how big or small that achievement was. We have to remember that the action we have just completed required us to put in some of our own muscle power and motivation, and we should acknowledge and be proud of that.

So many of my clients do this with their own goals. They feel guilty when they haven’t quite completed all their actions for the week and feel embarrassed when we come to discuss them. However, this can actually be a good thing, not only can we take the time to recognise the hard work they have put into their completed actions, but also use their insights to apply it to completing other actions.

I recently have been working on a goal of getting up early every morning. I’m not a great morning person and when that alarm goes off, at the moment it feels like the hardest thing to just get up.  There are so many times I have just reached for snooze button and another 30 minutes has passed. I’ve now been attempting this for a number of weeks and I think I’m now actually waking before my alarm – I’m not necessarily getting straight out of bed, but I’m generally not falling back asleep now either. When I do get up that extra time makes a real difference to my day. So I can’t get hung up on what I’m not doing and instead feel good that I’m slowly breaking a habit of a lifetime.

Remember all the small actions do add up, and don’t beat yourself up for what you haven’t done. Just ask yourself what worked for you with the stuff you have completed, and how can you apply that to the things you keep putting off?

Before I did my coach training, I was always interested in goal setting and improvement but wasn’t quite sure how to go about it and so I never got very far. I then took on a coach myself to find out what coaching was really all about and help me define and achieve my goals.  

Three months later I had decided I wanted to become a coach, found a part-time contracting role that would enable me to setup my own coaching business and had found a way to look at continuously growing and improving myself.  I don’t think I would have made those decisions and taken the action needed without the support and encouragement from having a coach.  It was one of the best things I have ever done.

1 year later, I’m lucky enough to be living in Taiwan with my partner, and have the luxury of all the time in the world. So I’m making the most of it, I have set some more goals and am really committing to achieving these – all using methods I have learnt from my coaching, but it’s a lot harder without the accountability and encouragement from someone else.  I am going to take on another coach in July and go through and set some more goals – you could say I’m addicted.  

It’s all about walking the talk, there are so many people out there marketing themselves and their business – how many of them use their own products and services?  If you don’t use them how do you expect to promote them to other people.  It just doesn’t make sense.

So I know that coaching works for me, I want to inspire people through my own achievements and show you that you can achieve the things you really want. It takes commitment and a great support structure, but when you get to that finish line – its an unbelievable feeling.  

Walking the talk is what its all about for me!

I have always been keen on achieving, learning and creating goals for myself. However, I always found it really difficult in actually committing to what I wanted my goals to be, so I never seemed to get much further than thinking about it. 

We all know the benefits of goal setting and have heard about making it SMART – Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely.  We also have heard many times to make sure you write your goals down.  All sounds very easy in theory, but how do you even decide what goals you want?

When I took on my first coach, I finally had the opportunity to decide what goals I wanted and better yet I got to the step of making them SMART and writing them down.  So what made this process different to what I was trying to do before?

  1. We started off by reviewing all the areas of my life and applying a rating of where I thought I was in each of those areas right now
  2. We then looked at the areas where the rating was lowest and picked 3 areas to focus on
  3. With each of the 3 areas, I then had to decide what would change the rating to 100%
  4. From there I had to then take those ideas and turn them into a SMART goal, with a clear measure and timeframe for each
  5. Then commit to it – write it down on paper
  6. Finally start getting excited about what it would mean to achieve these goals

Simple right? So how many of us actually even get past step 1 – probably not many of us. So the next question is what do you need to do differently to get through all the six steps to come out with 3 clear exciting goals.

I encourage you to have a go, and let me know how you get on – did you manage to come up with 3 clear goals, what worked well, what didn’t work well? Good luck!

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