How Can Financial Advisers Rock on Social Media?

Anna Kochetkova: How Can Financial Advisers Rock on Social Media?

Social media marketing has been one of the most controversial marketing tools for financial industry (small biz). On other hand, marketers absolutely in love with social media because it is one of easiest ways to implement and measure when it comes to marketing efforts. Apart from referrals I cannot think of a better marketing tool than social media.

Saying that, I am a strong believer in the full implementation of a whole marketing machine including website, landing pages, data capturing tools, email marketing, public relations, content, blogging, social media and sales.

I’ve been lucky to work with a few financial industry businesses helping with their events, email marketing, content and social media. I’ve gone through a massive learning curve I am very eager to share with anyone starting up their content or social media marketing. They say, if in doubt – don’t do it. This is true to some extent. When we face the unknown we are more pron to errors. However, if never approached – never learnt hence never benefited from. I encourage financial planners and accountants to take a tiny little bit of interest in their marketing strategy, spend more time with their marketing managers or agencies. Similarly, we all should be taking more care of our financial statements.

Financial advisers, mortgage brokers, accountants, business coaches and IT providers can benefit from implementing social media strategy; however many are missing out on this opportunity. I can’t blame them. There are three main reasons I’ve identified why financial industry businesses fail to utilize social media. 

  1. First of all, lack of understanding how social media works as well as sour experience of dealing with bad social media marketers.
  2. Secondly, not giving it enough time and expecting quick ROI.
  3. Finally, an assumption that social media only works with retail and that Facebook is for teenagers to post their food pictures and inappropriate self portraits.

Social media provides a common space for users to hang out. Businesses are also invited to hang out… with their customers. Social media, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and others, provides a channel for businesses to communicate their offerings through.

Financial planners, mortgage brokers, accountants and business coaches are, in fact, extremely suitable businesses for social media. No doubt that retail and other mainly B2C businesses are doing really well using their social media channels. Mind you though, they are doing well because they are targeting their audience correctly. There are hundreds of B2C businesses doing it wrong as well.

There are a few important elements to keep in mind when building your B2B business digital presence.

  1. First of all, your message aka content. Keep it short, clear and fun. Less selling – more helping.
  2. Secondly, image quality is crucial. Ditch your little pixelated Google images and adopt high resolution branded pictures.
  3. Finally, be relevant to your customers aka provide information your customers are looking for instead of selling to them.

I am sure you are familiar with all three elements and probably have been told a numerous times about them. However I am going to try my best to explain in different way how and why each of the mentioned social media elements can make your business rock. Social media is not a rocket science; however if badly explained it is most likely never understood.

When I say ‘good content’ I mean easy to read, quick and clear. I don’t mean that you need a 1000 word essay about how amazing your business is. I am sure it is. However on social media, ‘strangers’ don’t care. What they might care about is health co-payments news, discounted holiday vouchers, new child’s care facilities in the area and a new BMW range release. In other words, people want to read about themselves. People want to know things that would make their lives better, easier, funner, cheaper, crazier, calmer, etc, etc, etc.

I decided to bring an example in to show you what I mean. American Express (image below) has nothing to do with sunsets or surfing or anything remotely related to water sports or beach culture. Or does it? The image below is a snapshot of the American Express Facebook Page which is a colorful representation of what their customers like. Do you want to read about how amazing their credit card policies are or do you want to read about the best places in Australia to go on holidays to? Well, 2100 people liked the idea of best summer places in Australia and 146 people liked it so much they wishes they had it on their wall so they shared it.

This doesn’t mean that now American Express has 100 new clients or Facebook paid them for being awesome. Most likely they will be paying Facebook to get such even moderate results. However 146 people who shared the American Express image and 2100 people who liked it have now exposed the American Express brand to their network including their friends, family, work, etc.

Thus, this is 2246 opportunities to spread a word about your awesome business. All these brand ambassadors have shown your business to everyone in their network. Potentially, we are talking about exposure to hundreds and hundred thousands of people with the help of one warm worded content, high resolution image and zero selling Facebook post.

 

Anna Kochetkova: American Express facebook post

So why many small businesses in the financial industry don’t get it? Well, everyone has their own reasons. However I’ve learnt a few typical perception mistakes which many of us are guilty of from time to time.

Many financial industry businesses believe that they are bound to be serious and boring. Professionalism is not just a word for them, it is almost a legal obligation. Many business owners are slightly scared of being different. No wonder, standing out means being noticed which will attract both positive and negative feedback from the outside world. Moreover, becoming different most likely means adjusting your branding or maybe even totally re-branding your business. Losing the identity you are very comfortable with is extremely hard and no doubt painful. No change is easy. However nothing good comes from easy. Saying that, I don’t preach leg breaking changes but I encourage small adjustments.

Here are a few small changes tips for financial industry small businesses: 

  1. Allocate a few hours on deciding who is your best client. Write down their characteristics, habits, marital status, interests, hobbies etc. Identify 3 key themes you know your customers are interested in. For example, a friend of mine is a business coach. His best client (by ‘best’ I mean the one it is easier to sell to and you enjoy working with) is a business woman wishing to start her own business  instead of working for someone her entire life, she is recently married, loves traveling, exercise and planing children within the next 3-5 years. My friend identified 3 themes his best clients loves: business tips, travel & active lifestyle and children & home planning.
  2. When you have your 3 key themes, spend a good day or two browsing around for good sources of information you could share on your social media. Spend some time finding copyright free high resolution images. When you find your articles, images, infographics or you make them all this is your content you are now ready to unleash.
  3. Plan your content. Take a calendar, print or online, and write down what, where and when you will be posting. Before even creating your Facebook page, make sure your entire month in advance is full of content. Start posting 3-4 days a week and see how you go.

This is your little start: go with two social media channels, research your customers, identify themes / topics you want to be an expert in, plan your posts and start scheduling. It’s free! It’s easy! It’s fun when you get into it!

There is more to it,of course; however this is something to start your social media adventure with. If you feel like you don’t know what to share on social media you are probably thinking about your industry and your business. Start thinking about your clients, their business, their life, their problems, etc and the content ideas will start flowing to you.

Similar concept is applicable to blogging. If you decided to start a blog page on your website, congratulations – this is an awesome way of growing your brand. However, you need to think it through, plan ahead and take it seriously just like you think of your business.

I will share more tips on content creation and planning for your business blogging. Feel free to send me your particular questions so I can include them in my next blog post.

When Hated, Give Love And Walk Away

Anna Kochetkova: Haters Gonna Hate

You see someone’s new blog post or an image uploaded to a social media channel, someone’s birthday update or fans’ comments… and blood is boiling in your head. You think that social media is stupid and de-moralizing, all these seemingly social and successful people don’t have real friends or work and that all these annoying social butterflies spend their entire lives on Facebook telling people how awesome they are, stealing your sleep at night. You think their updates are stupid. You think their followers are blind. And you know it is all artificial and everyone is brainwashed. However, you are also on Facebook… You are probably a hater – and haters will hate!

Life is not a black and white movie. There are other colors as well as other people. You cannot be loved by literally everyone no matter how amazing you are. Whether you are running a charity or a terrorism group, some people will support you and other won’t. Moreover, some people won’t just dislike but hate you (and what you do). This is a special type of people, they are called haters.

There is an enormous amount of articles written about haters and you’d think ‘enough of giving them a platform’. I agree; however I am going to talk about it because although I don’t often get haters ‘love’, I recently met a few random people who happened to be mutual friends with many others I know, spreading hateful opinions. Without naming any names, I’d simply like to remind everyone that haters will hate hence keep calm and ignore them.

haters always hate something

I updated my LinkedIn status on Friday writing three quick tips on social media, the tips that worked for me and a number of successful businesses. Although this is not much of a drama I decided to use it as an example today to remind everyone that being hated is nothing to do with you or your work. You cannot control angry with themselves people but you can control how you feel about it and what you do. 

I put together a few tips which I apply when I face haters online or offline. I felt like sharing it you hoping that they could he useful for you. If you have some other ways of ‘managing’ haters, please share, I’d love to learn. 

1. Let yourself feel. I’ve learnt, over a period of a few years, that hiding feelings can often result in a hurtful burst. Trying to make yourself feel nothing would most likely result in stressing yourself. If you are upset about someone’s hatred towards you or someone you know, express it (in a safe way). I, for example, simply accept what I feel. I say out-loud that something upsets me and I move on. Sometimes it takes a second, sometimes it takes a day but the negativity is always gone eventually.

2. Give love. When you are upset you don’t feel like loving because you need to be loved yourself. However if you give love as a reply to someone’s hatred you disarm them. Accept your feelings, move on and simply give some love back. Don’t forget to breath to calm yourself down if you need to.

3. Don’t defend – listen & accept. Interestingly, defending yourself is often seen as accepting the guilt or taking the blame. At the same time, naturally, we know that when we are attacked, we need to defend. Haters rarely have grounds to attack anyone on, it is simply an expression of their unhappiness with themselves (or any other unrelated to you reason) hence there is really no need to defend from them. Walk away! Let them get it all out, smile at them and give some love in return, walking away.

4. Don’t take is personal. And we often do. However this is something you need to practice to master. As a writer, for example, I don’t always get everything 100% because people perceive things differently. When my client is upset with something I deal with the facts they are upset about, not their or y feelings. Any negative feedback is a feedback as well hence I take it under consideration because I value criticism. However if I identify a hater, I lose the interest and walk away (usually giving love).

5. Many people I talked to about ‘managing’ haters suggested I practice yoga. I don’t; however I’ve included it today because it works for a large number of people I work with or friends with or both. If this is something you do, please share your outcomes.

“Haters will hate by default. Be a lover and share your love by default leaving haters disarmed.”

- Anna Kochetkova

Anna Kochetkova: give love

Embrace Your Perfect Imperfection

Some of you might not know that I strive for perfection often forcing myself to stop chasing invisible perfect. I am sure you know a person or two who are a perfectionist. Although I wouldn’t call myself a perfectionist I really enjoy a good order in my life… which is by the way inaccessible.

some of you might not know but I am also into fitness including running, cycling and weights lifting. I’ve always been into trying new bodybuilding plans & approaches, going to the gym and buying quirky gym clothes. Don’t get me wrong, I am in no way a gym junkie, I’d like to think of myself as averagely passionate.

There are a few people on the Internet that I found very useful during my fitness journey so I continue checking in with them to see what they are up to. I enjoy their tips and found them applicable in my life.

Naming a few… Heidi Powell is a trainer and transformation specialist on ABC’s Extreme Weight Loss, in the USA. Natalie Hodson, who shares some amazing lean recipes and exercise planning, has been another person I truly felt like ‘stalking’ online in order to learn exercising, eating and happy thinking.

Talking about happy thinking… I bumped into a joined campaign both Heidi and Natalie participated in. ‘Perfectly Imperfect’ is a movement symbolising the fact that we all have some kind of imperfections and it is absolutely perfect.

Heidi Powell & Natalie Hodson: perfectly imperfect

Here what Heidi says:

“We are ALL perfect in our imperfect states. In a world saturated with social media and online-everything – looking too-perfect-to-be-true – it’s hard to believe that imperfection is actually perfection. So much value is seemingly placed on the sexy selfies we take, the places we visit, the “experiences” we have, and the successes we portray. I will be the first to say that social media, blogging, and most anything online tends to only portray the happy, easy, and beautiful parts in my own life. Like you, though, I am normal – I want to be loved and accepted like everyone else. I yell at my kids, I fight like a madwoman with Chris every now and then, and I oftentimes am embarrassed to find myself enviously stalking others’ Instagram accounts.”

I loved the ladies’ movement so decided to share it because all of us lose the sense of reality from time to time affected by the perfect wold of The Internet. This is why I am going to share Natalie’s tips of staying happy and easy on yourself maintaining health living.

Natalie confesses that although her Facebook Page has 200,000 followers (MAMA MIA WOW) she feels like she is not always a perfect friend and often struggles with communication. So, here what helps her to stay on the horse of happiness by embracing the imperfections.

  1. Keep your circle tight. If anyone among your friends is making you feel unworthy or unhappy or not enough, kick them out. Do not hold on to the people who do not value you.
  2. Start setting micro goals. Writing down and following through with a few little goals will help you improve your lifestyle. When you set your small goals up and achieve them you feel much better about conquering the bigger ones. You are also training yourself to keep your promise.

Bottom line, everyone is imperfect. If you are following someone on social media looking perfect, behaving perfect, making perfect money, having perfect job, driving perfect car, etc you are seeing what they display carefully choosing the best bits which believe it or not could also be a rare occasion. We all are perfectly imperfect and it is time to embrace it! 

Don’t Stop Building Your Brand Because of The Christmas Fever

I’ve been researching into brand building recently and I’ve been talking to a few experts about it exchanging our opinions and experiences as well. So, I decided that I am gong to share a few thoughts with you today.

Christmas is coming and everyone is super busy with finishing everything on their plate, planning for next year as well. Therefore no one is taking up new projects which is understandable. However one of the possible projects could be really beneficial for you in new year if you start it not, in December.

You know how we often say Christmas is very commercialized? Sometimes we feel like its been pushed upon us – we are buying certain things because we are told so (advertising). It is, of course, all about family gatherings, presents and the smell in the air. I totally understand that. However there is also a commercial tint to it; and we feel it.

Your business can really benefit from the commercialized Christmas fever. Take all the negativity out, of course, and show what’s your business up to. What do I mean? This is the time for you to embrace easy social media benefits and beautiful content marketing.

  1. Take some behind the scene pictures
  2. Write predictions blogs on your website (or for other publications)
  3. Distribute your extremely relevant & timely content through social media

There are a lot of cool things you can do before and throughout Christmas so don’t close your doors just yet, don’t stop building your brand.

One of the tips I am giving you today is to get your camera rolling. I suggest you dress up your office, put a Christmas tree, run an office competition or a dress up party and take some high-resolution pictures. Moreover, find some awesome quotes to put together with your unique images and here is your amazing content. You could even shoot a video to say Merry Christmas to your customer.

All I am trying to say is open your doors up, show who you are and don’t get scared if you mess it up a little.

Now, my new project I am taking up now, in December, is videos. I waited a year and it is time to master one of my all time favorite content types. This is my first video since I was 12 when I used to constantly video record myself.

Narrow Down Your Marketing Focus

I visited Coogee Beach today enjoying the warm overcast day by the ocean. Although, because I don’t swim in Australia often (yes, it is too cold for me) I truly enjoy spending time on the beach either reading a book or listening to a podcast getting some Vitamin D in me.

THE AUSSIE ICON

Today though I was with a few friends and we decided to move away from the increasingly muggy beach to the pub on the beach. As soon as we sat down and my friends got themselves a few beers one of them said “I prefer Coogee. I don’t understand the fuss about Bondi Beach, to be honest” so my other friend replied “Yeah I don’t know. Why is it all about Bondi, it is not even nice?”

Anna Kochetkova: Bondi beach

Similarly to Opera House, Harbor Bridge, kangaroos and scorching hot summer, Bondi Beach is one of the well known icons of Australia. Why Bondi? Well, this is not the correct question. 

ATTENTION MARKETING

Bondi Beach started as a very cheap piece of land no one wanted. The Jewish immigration at the time was infused by the enthusiastic and hard working people looking to purchase new homes on the land no one was interested in (imagine how cheap it was) with some prime ocean views. Nowadays, Bondi area has become one of the most expensive neighborhoods in Sydney. However this is not what matters.

When I sit down with my clients I often recommend to focus on a few best-selling services of products to start their marketing campaigns rolling. People’s attention span is incredibly quick. The amount of information produced and distributed every minute is beyond digestible. Therefore, in order to market your business smarter you need to find a few, two or three or five, distinguished items to show cast to your audience.

Australia, as a touristic destination, is also a business which applies same marketing techniques to keep people coming. This is why there are only a handful of ‘wonders’ aggressively advertised. There is no need to overload customers with all the potential amazing places they can visit during their traveling.

Your message consumers are more likely to pay attention to your communications if you make your message relevant to them. Talking about your customers’ needs, rather than about your own is incredibly important when selling your business’ services or products. Bondi Beach is a wide beach with never stopping waves and cafes along the shore. Backpackers, surfers, shopaholics and tourists love Bondi because it meets their expectations. Focusing on just one product or service, for example Bondi Beach, means spending adequate resources on making our advertised messages viral.

One of the effective attention marketing factors is the fact that consumers want to know they will get what they paid for when they shop. This is why so much attention has been pulled towards Bondi Beach creating the rush and sending excited tourists back home who then engage in free advertising describing their amazing experience associated with Bondi Beach.

Photos, illustrations and typography can infuse any marketing message increasing your customers engagement. Bondi Beach offers some stunning views for marketers and tourists to photograph and spread all over the world attracting more customers.

Thus, I always recommend keeping your marketing message short, clear and narrowed down to as few (or better one) meanings as possible. Whether you are selling a country or pets’ food, marketing core techniques are the same.

If you’d like to learn more, feel free to get in touch. Join the conversation on Twitter @TheContentQ

Anna Kochetkova: attention marketing

What Is The Vital Difference Between Recruiting And Networking?

stop recruiting and start networking

If you’ve ever dealt with recruitment agencies, whether as an individual or a business, I am sure you went through a few ups and downs often finding yourself in a funds draining and time consuming situation.

Personally, I’ve experienced recruiting process from all sorts of angles and, I must be honest with you, have not been satisfied yet. Don’t get me wrong, I value and respect the trade. Moreover, I keep in touch with some great talent seekers and finders; however it has never really worked for me as a job seeker as well as a talent acquirer. In the course of my career I had to hire and train people as well as I went through a few creative recruitment agencies when looking for contract clients or even full time employment. I figured either I don’t fit the system or recruiters are not doing their job as excellent as I’d love them to.

On other hand, networking has generated endless benefits for me allowing to find people to work with, to work for and to hire. Although recruitment agents are trained to find the best sources they are missing a few core ingredients in their work. Going through a recruitment process means being judged by a number of standardized elements such as your resume, your dress and your half an hour self-pitch. Although I understand and respect the system it never fully allowed me to understand potential candidates well enough or be able to present all my skills and experiences in depth.

Networking, on other hand, allows people to introduce themselves in a way no recruitment process has access to. Meeting people in the networking environment creates this little circle of trust and interest which enables professionals to speak from their hearts. This is the moment where we can truly see if we are standing in front of our perfect match.

The vital difference between recruiting and networking is the lack or the presence of the human. It might appear slightly controversial, you’d say. Recruiters are people and they interview people. I cannot agree more with you. However, recruiting is a job, it is a process people follow which almost de-humanizes them disabling true human connection. How so?

In the course of my networking experience, I met people (and their businesses) I recommended to others. I also met people who were thrilled to work with me and I ended up partnering up with them. All the clients I had over the course of my career discovered me through networking either online or offline. Moreover, networking is such an inspirational process allowing me to activate my creativity doubling ideas and projects. Recruiters, on other hand, often cause frustration and disappointment.

Thus, I say stop recruiting and start networking. Turn your eyes and ears to social media such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, blogs, radio stations, etc. Browse yours contacts, ask for recommendations and referrals, ask your friends and colleagues. I hope recruiters won’t take it hard; however over the last few years I have never benefited from contacting a recruiter. Although larger businesses often rely on recruitment agencies, smaller fellows seldom don’t get much love there.

To avoid being blunt in my statements, I would like to share one of the examples I have up my sleeve. Trust me, I have a few.

I worked for a medium size marketing agency a few years ago. We looked at hiring an additional copywriter. Working with a recruiting agency put a stop to any recruitment processes for us for good.

We had a few prospects sent to our office by the agency we dealt with at the time. Shockingly, out of four interviews none of them were remotely suitable due to a number of obvious reasons. One of the candidates had to travel from Canberra to Sydney with no intention to settle down in the Big Smoke. Another writing professional had sexually offensive comments on their Twitter account and two others had no experience in writing for businesses.

All four people were referred to us by the recruiting agency which was briefed in detail regarding a person we looked at hiring. I am sure these people were valuable professionals; however not suitable for our needs.

I, by no means, want to discourage recruiters from helping businesses to find best talents; however I would like to encourage proactive conversations, networking and CEOs and managers spending time on researching, meeting people and putting more effort into building a team.

I am a strong believer in meeting people for no reason sometimes. I enjoy getting out there, sitting down or walking together and sharing personal stories, eventually finding points of connection and creating something amazing together.

Today I was happy to meet Sarah Gardan and we talked about her Sarah Gardan Photography business and my writing career as well my new social media project. I met Sarah in the course of my branding research as I am writing a series of articles about professional brand development. Sarah and I found a lot of points of connection agreeing on a few crucial brand development techniques (I will be publishing about – watch the space). I’d like everyone to put it on their New Year resolution list – go out and meet people, create alliances, work together, collaborate, innovate and find the best people to work with. It doesn’t matter if you start your journey online or offline, what matters though is finding the right people to be with in order to grow and develop personally and professionally.

How do you find talents in your business? Share your ideas, tips and what to be aware of advice. Connect on Twitter @TheContentQ to continue the conversation. 

Why Introverts Are So Introverted?

Anna kochetkova: Why Introverts Are So Introverted?

I’ve originally written this article in my blog mainly devoted to physical and mental  exploration of the humankind. Today I decided to bring this topic over here and keep this conversation going, keep it alive.

I’ve looked into extroverts and introverts from the scientific point of view trying to explain how they operate. Believe it or not (and you better believe it) but there is a number of studies showing physical differences inside the brain of an introvert and an extrovert making us understand that, similarly to homosexuality, ‘extroversia’ or ‘introversia’ is not a chosen lifestyle but a pre-determined physical characteristic.

ONE vs ANOTHER

Extroverts are the ones who are always bubbly, surrounded by million of friends and feel guilty if stay at home and do “nothing” for too long. Introverts on other hand are often seen as anti-social, self absorbed and … weird. Extroverts are loved by everyone and noticeable everywhere, they are loud and fun and everyone wants to be with them. Introverts are quite, don’t have many friends and no one really notices them. Extroverts become successful business people (do they?), managers and leaders whereas introverts work in a library or get involved in some boring science activities. Extroverts are always happy and introverts are always depressed. Extroverts are always stressed and introverts are always mellow. Or are they?

BRAIN ENGINEERING 

In fact it is not entirely true! Although introverts are often seen as shy, reserved and typically self-centered individuals they are simply thinkers. Introverts  have an aptitude for developing ideas, undertaking strategic planning and endeavoring to understand and rationalise concepts which makes great scientists and writers. Great! However WHY introverts appear so “anti-social”, quite and selfish?

Believe it or not but introverts are the way they are because of their brain. They have different to extroverts wiring in their brain.

Positron emission tomography (PET) scan is used to look at how our bodies use substances such as glucose, ammonia, water and oxygen. We need to observe it to see how and where molecules move through your body, and where they are being used. Computer analysis the data and produces a picture of what is happening in the body, anywhere including brain. It is often used to find potential diseases or damages; however can also help us understand different personalities.

Inside The Introverts & Extroverts

1. BLOOD FLOW

One of the studies used PET to observe the blood flow in the brain of an extrovert and an introvert while both of them were resting. Amazingly, introverts’ blood flow is richer than extroverts even when they are resting. However this stronger blood flow is connected to the part of the brain responsible for problem solving and planning. Why is it important? Well, more blood flow causes more stimulation therefore while an introvert is resting he / she is still very active but inside the brain.

Now, extroverts blood flow is targeting sensory part of the brain traveling on a straight “highway”. Therefore while introverts were drowned in their thinking extroverts were actively analysing what was happening in the environment around them. Don’t get me wrong, their blood flow is not wrong, just different.

2. CHEMICALS

I will try to be as simple as possible to explain the following idea. It involves chemical called dopamine. In plain language it is a signal transmitter in the brain which is also very important for movement, attention, alert states, learning and reward-motivated behavior. Dopamine is crucial for human beings but too much of it causes hallucinations and paranoia, and too little causes depression, lethargy and misery.

Now, this “right” amount of dopamine is different for an introvert and an extrovert. Introverts are highly sensitive to it and don’t need too much stimulation to get over-excited and anxious whereas extroverts crave more of it to simply feel well.

Introverts, in fact, rely on a different chemical – acetylcholine which is a neurotransmitter in both the peripheral nervous system (PNS) and central nervous system (CNS) in many organisms including us, human beings. Introverts’ brain does not like dopamine much (because it can easily over-excite) hence prefers to use acetylcholine. It is a different chemical but it is available in everyone’s brain, it is simply one of many other transmitters. Extroverts’ brain simply does not like it as much as introverts’ one does.

3. TRANSMITTING HIGHWAYS

Another reason why introverts and extroverts are so different from one another is relatively hard to understand if you are not an introvert (kidding). According to “The Introvert Advantage” by Marti Olsen Laney [as many authors I’ve read recommended to reference], the pathway which is a highway for chemicals or a transmitter for the stimulus is different in extroverts and introverts’ brains.

Amygdala is the emotional center in our brain.Whatever we feel we need to be transmitted to amygdala for further analysis. Brain receives the data and simply makes sense of it. However, we now know that different brain does it differently

Basically introverts rely on different chemicals in the brain rather than extroverts as well as different sizes pathway. Different chemicals affect different nervous systems. Therefore an introvert and an extrovert are almost different type of humans. 

Why Introverts Are So Introverted?

Image Source: “The Rise of the Introvert”

This is why introverts need to take breaks from people to re-charge while extroverts are re-charging while (& by) interacting with others.

Now, imagine an introvert hanging out with an extrovert!? It will most likely be draining for one and puzzling for the other. This sentence explains it better than I can paraphrase it:

“… after an hour or two of being socially “on,” we introverts need to turn off and recharge. My own formula is roughly two hours alone for every hour of socializing. This isn’t antisocial. It isn’t a sign of depression. It does not call for medication. For introverts, to be alone with our thoughts is as restorative as sleeping, as nourishing as eating” [Source: “The Rise of the Introvert”]

If you are still embarrassed or ashamed to admit that you are an introvert, don’t be. Be proud of being different no matter whether you are inverted or extroverted.

I believe that understanding yourself is crucial. It is even more important to accept yourself. Knowing who you really are can assist in living happier, easier and brighter without fear, doubt or regret. Building your business brand would be impossible without understanding yourself.

Useful sources: “introverts bring extraordinary talents and abilities to the world, and should be encouraged and celebrated“ and Introverts and a writing career. 

Join our conversation on Twitter @TheContentQ and Facebook:  www.facebook.com/pages/Anna-Kochetkova-The-Content-Queen

Stop Starting a New Life and Keep Moving Forward Instead

Stop Starting a New Life and Keep Moving Forward Instead

Welcome to December. What a curious month it is! Did you know that it is also known as summer solstice (22nd of December) which basically means that the tilt of a planet’s semi-axis, in either the northern or the southern hemisphere, is most inclined toward the star (sun) that it orbits. Earth’s maximum axial tilt toward the sun is 23° 26′. This happens twice each year, at which times the sun reaches its highest position in the sky as seen from the north or the south pole.

Secondly, summer gets really hot in Australia, not just because of the rising temperature but due to people setting their nerves on fire during the Christmas shopping. I prefer to shop in October and November to avoid December fever.

Finally, businesses either get super busy or extremely lazy. Big brands are in a hurry to finalise everything for the year. Smaller businesses continue freezing deciding ‘to start it all over fresh’ next year. Are you familiar with Russian cinematography, especially the classics? There are some valuable films to learn from. One of them states the following: “Who ever starts a new life on Monday books an appointment with a psychotherapist on Tuesday” basically meaning if you want to do something do it now. Christmas procrastination can make more harm than you think. Let me explain why. 

The New Year Resolution disaster. 

Many of us promise to quit smoking, stop  eating cake, learn a new language, travel more or start a crowd funding in a new year. However, most of these promised are broken by the Valentines Day. This is no surprise to me because making radical promises doesn’t imply radical changes. Whether dealing with a weight loss program or a business re-branding, for example, starting fresh sounds tempting but, in fact, not very effective. Don’t get me wrong, making promises in a way of setting up clear and reasonable goals is a good exercise; however do not forget about also setting your time frame, allocating tools and committing to your work. ‘I promise to stop eating cakes’ is not really a measurable or manageable aim because it doesn’t have a time frame or a reason and let’s be honest you love cakes (giggling).

Setting goals up for your new year work is crucial for your business, your brand or your weight loss commitments, for instance. However, you cannot cut yourself from your life by deciding to never eat a cake again. How about looking at it as a 12 or 24 week strategy plan where you cut your sugar intake replacing cake’s craving with apples indulgence or whatever substitute you are fond of? How about writing your plan down, deciding on a few back up strategies in case the resistance is almost impossible? Maybe getting help and hiring a dietitian or applying for a fitness course? What I am trying to say is that deciding to stop eating cakes or deciding to work on your business more is not an overnight enlightenment. In order to succeed and commit to your decision you will need some planning and rational thinking.

I am starting a new life on the 1st of January. 

Now, this is rubbish. I apologise for my sharp opinion; however starting a ‘new life’ in January will most likely disappoint you by the February so I felt like letting you know.

Cakes or businesses, the change we seek in a new year requires time and moderate evolution. Therefore, although many smaller businesses stop being active by the end of a year, I truly believe they are better of treating December as any other month. Why? As simple as once popped, you cannot stop. As I mentioned in my branding blog post a few weeks ago, working on your business only during the times when you feel like it won’t get it far. As a social media enthusiasts, I understand how important it is to be consistent and regular. This is why starting your new Facebook marketing strategy, setting up your blog page or starting up a new bakery shouldn’t be left till the moment ‘your website changes are done’, ‘new year kicks in’ or ‘more clients walk through the door’. Working on your business now will get you ahead many others who are starting their new lives in January.

CAUTION: Xmas fever!

I was brought up in Russia where Christmas comes in January. Moreover, Christmas is a highly religious holiday which is celebrated by visiting a church, followed by having a family dinner with all your extended relatives. Moving to Australia and having my first Christmas was truly exciting. I’ve always enjoyed the idea of ‘Hollywood’ Christmas where you get to anticipate some sort of magic, wrapping up presents, waiting for Santa, etc. Russian Christmas is a fairly conservative holiday which is not really about cheers and laughter but traditions and, let’s face it, vodka (giggling).

Australian Christmas is especially interesting because it is in the middle of summer and it is incredibly commercialised. Besides, the surfing and picnics and sunburn, Christmas Down Under is empowering, making everyone feeling like they are in a hurry, stressed, broke, etc. It is increasing difficult to make decisions when everyone around is under a lot of holidays pressure. This is why I prefer to treat December as if it was July, continuing gradually working towards my goals. Nothing stops in my life when Christmas comes. I plan my social media out for the holidays period, I am still checking news out on Christmas morning and I don’t feel stressed or obliged about it. Christmas can also be a great marketing tool almost no mater what business you run. Since the holidays has already been commercialised all you need to do is to plan your strategy smart and correct the benefits.

Of course, while keep moving forward in your business or weight loss, for example, do not forget to have fun, catch up with family and friends and maybe even get some sleep.

Join our chat on Twitter @TheContentQ – let me know what is your plan for the December and how are you tackling January?

How Trail Running Is Similar to Running Your Business?

 

How Trail Running Is Similar to Running Your Business

You might wonder what my passion for running has to do with my passion for writing. You might think I went mad and confused my fitness blog with my personal page. You might think I’ve gone sidetrack losing the consistency of my writing. No! No! No!

Apart from marketing and writing I am a big fan of exercising including weights lifting and trail running, two of my favorite fee time enjoyments.

It was a really hot day today in Sydney. It didn’t stop three European women from getting into the car and travelling all the way to the Manly Dam on the Northern side of Sydney. Locals would come down here all the time, however Western and Eastern dwellers often enjoy their local natural beauties. Not us! Coming to the Dam has become our weekly habit. Although we try to vary our trail running tracks finding new bush areas, we often come back to the Dam to tackle the puzzling forest again and again.

I usually run together with my friend keeping up the pace getting around the dam. I didn’t feel 100% today and got left behind catching up at the end of the track. While getting through the bush alone, climbing over the sharp rocks, steep hills and endless stairs I started to think of the increasing similarities between tackling a trail run course and starting up a business.

Trail running basically involves running in the bush or a forest enjoying bush tracks instead of a hard road surface. Trail running encompasses more muscles than road running, also improving overall cardiovascular fitness due to the constantly changing conditions of running. It can be dangerous due to the obstacles and uneven surface but it is surely a lot of fun. It might appear tough especially to the beginners; however so does starting up a business.

Running in the bush requires focus, stamina and none slippery shoes. Trail running is similar to an easy obstacle course including sneaky roots, unexpected branches, constantly changing surface conditions, exhausting heat, giant lizards, birds, insects, etc. Some parts of the course would usually be easier and others more difficult. Manly Dam encompasses forest, rocks, mountain bikes sandy dirt roads, beach, road and a bridge. Therefore you are inevitably changing your speed along the course picking up on straight harder roads and slowing down going through the jungle scenery.

manly dam collage

Similarly, in business water is never calm. Running a business requires focus, patience and some practical skills would be off some value too. However, just like I don’t own trail running shoes you might not possess certain skills assisting you in running your business smoother. You can always start off without it. Similarly, starting off, or running your business, not a road jog, it is a journey full of obstacles.

Sometimes you will have to slow down tackling a hill or speed up when finding a smooth track. Business is no road running, it is trail running with its uneven surface, jumping out of nowhere animals, changing conditions and natural obstacles along the way. 

Depending on personality traits, and businesses’ brand, everyone is getting through a trail differently. We all run our businesses different form one another. Some of us prefer to take over hills as quickly as possible; others slow down taking one step at a time. Some people love sprinting whenever see a flat track, others treat it as an active rest trying to maintain a steady pace.

Whether trail running or working on your business, we often need to push harder to get to the end. Either pushing yourself up the hill to make the time or staying up till late to finish all the invoicing, trail running and a business both require some good determination and strong will.

Getting lost in the bush also resembles getting lost in the business ‘bush’, taking a wrong turn or making a wrong step can slow anyone down or even leave an injury. Whether running in the forest or running a business, it is inevitable to take a wrong turn at some point; getting back up is what matters.

Moreover, heading to the forest alone or with fellow runners can make a big difference. Helping each other along the way can speed the whole process up. In case someone is lost or injured, others can assist continuing the run whether it is in the bush or on the business arena.

As I continued my run as well as my train of thought I got lost myself, getting back on the road finishing the course on harder surface. Sometimes you just don’t know where your journey will take you – you just gotta have fun along the way!

Share your experience with me on Twitter @TheContentQ

Vision Is The Most Important Sense We Have

Vision Is The Most Important Sense We Have

Vision Is The Most Important Sense We Have: the art school painting

I am not going to pretend that I know art. However I appreciate it and, as a writer, understand the need of expression.

Yesterday I didn’t go to the Eagle Waves networking event, although I was planning to visit, in order to attend The National Art School Graduate Exhibition 2014. The show was presented by Saatchi & Saatchi and is the highly anticipated annual showcase of 90 emerging artists completing the Bachelor of Fine Art degree.

So, we are talking arts students completing their underground arts degree in painting, printing, sculpturing and God knows what. As you can imagine, you must be an art lover in order to ditch a business networking evening for a green hair and blue lips crowd hanging out.

The opening night attracts more than 1,000 visitors; it is a real celebration and the artwork is diverse, thought-provoking and of extremely high calibre. For the first time ever, we will be selling the graduate art online, a fantastic opportunity to purchase emerging art at anytime, anywhere in the world.” For example, here is a piece of art called ‘Anna’ and sold for $300 each portrait. Interested? 

Vision Is The Most Important Sense We Have: the art school exhibition

I rarely try to understand or interpret art because the eyes and the mind of an artist only belong to the artist. Whether it is a painting or a printing or a sculpture in contemporary art motives or a landscape, portrait or abstract, it is really up to our imagination to see what we see. It doesn’t mean it will match the artist’s vision.

The National Art School is located in between Darlinghurst and Kings Cross in Sydney. It is an eerie, dusty and an old building which, I think, represents the state of arts in Australia very well.  I must say I didn’t like their champagne which students seem to enjoy greatly.

The Graduation Show opened most of the arts studios letting people into the students halls, working and living areas. The only student I knew was Alisa Kalinina who I met a few years ago but have not kept in touch unfortunately. Alisa has painted a few selfies, as she calls them, which I am personally fond of. I also enjoyed the work of Sean Wadey and Wendi Toohey which were less abstract than most of the paintings I saw on the day. I thought it was entertaining to see some bananas as well.

I prefer painting to any other type of art. However I am also interested in installations and, so to speak, odd sculptures. Therefore I especially enjoyed the room where I found a ‘Lets play Heart Transplant’ made of a number of different materials. Yes, Hilary Sandeman won my heart last night. Her work took first place in my mind. I love the detail. I enjoy how I can think of hundreds of stories interpreting her work.

The School of Arts - Hilary Sandeman

Vision Is The Most Important Sense We Have: the art school art

Art is not about what it looks like but how it makes you feel. I cannot agree more. However things make us feel certain ways based on what they look like and because we are perceiving it though our eyes and mind. Coincidentally, while I was browsing through the arts students studios, a friend of mine sent me a curious video about vision and how we see the same things incredibly different based on our mindset.

Emily Balcetis, social psychologist, explains how eyes work showing us how different one same thing can be to several people. Vision is the most important sense that we have, she says, explaining why. Emily mentioned a research she conducted which allowed her to make some curious conclusions.

we see things differently

 

She asked a number of respondents to choose which image represented Barack Obama, The USA President, better. People were going through images one by one without being mentioned to that some of the Obama’s images were lightened up and others were not. Whenever people saw Obama whiter they voted for him, whenever he appeared darker people went for McCain. Check it out.

It was not a racism test, it was an example of how our perception changes depending on what we see. To understand it we need to understand that, accordingly, our focused eyes can only see as much as a size of out thumb on an outstretched arm. Everything around the thumb is blurry. As a result, we have a focused middle and blurred out the rest of the world which our mind finds ways to fill out this gap.

Emily Balcetis-Why some people find exercise harder than others

Perception is a subjective experience hence we see everything through our minds’ eyes. Therefore whether we see a glass half full or half empty it really depends on our mind and either scenario is truth to the perceiver. So, what is it one person is thinking and feeling that it leads them to seeing things in an absolutely different way? Why some of the  The National Art School‘s art seemed to me immature to me whereas other pieces caught my eye and excited my mind?

We see things differently and sometimes it might not line up with the reality; however it doesn’t mean that one of us is wrong and other one is right.” Emily Balcetis.

The National Art School Graduate Exhibition 2014 was filled with incredibly different people. Some of them were students, others teachers, many were family and friends. Most of people looked extremely different from what I am used to and there were a lot of art pieces I didn’t understand or like. However it doesn’t matter. These quirky, geeky people with green hair, blue lips and careless attitude towards life are the creative bunch who sees the world different from entrepreneurs and business minded people. It enriches our being allowing more colors and varieties. It allows lawyers and engineers to look at their work differently finding new approaches. However based on the awful taste of campaign, the absence of air conditioning and incredibly old walls and floors, it seems like we are forgetting how different people are and we must encourage all kinds of minds because collaboration is the answer to all world-wide problems.

Vision is the most important sense that we have. The wider our experiences are the more flexible our vision is and the more answers will be found whether it is understanding art or curing cancer.