personal growth

Top 5 Blog Posts of 2017

Since I pump out new blog content every week, it stands to reason that you may have missed a post or two in the hubbub of your workdays. But my goal is to continually provide marketing and communication information, resources, tools, and tips for nonprofits and social enterprises—and the people who lead and run them. I do this because I want to see you get noticed and grow.

However, if you're short on time and playing catch-up, I've done the hard work and narrowed it down to this year's top five posts. So, grab some coffee, a snack, and start reading . . . 

Signify's Top 5 Blog Posts of 2017

1. A COMPARISON OF 13 POPULAR SOCIAL MEDIA SCHEDULING TOOLS

Even as a marketer, I know that I should be marketing my blog posts much more than I am actually writing them, but they both have to get done, so my time is always split. It's a common frustration many of us share, right?

There are, of course, a lot of ways to get traffic to your site, but for most of us, the day in and day out formula revolves around social media. And if you spend several hours writing a blog post, but only promote it on social media a couple of times, it could easily go to the internet graveyard. #RIP

So, what's the solution? I think it might be a social media scheduling tool, especially if you do not have someone who is solely dedicated to your social media strategy. There are a lot of popular options out there, and I took the time to review 13 of them. None were perfect (though some come close!), and several were quite similar, but I think you'll find some great choices for your nonprofit or social enterprise.

Read the full post . . . 

 

2. 8 WAYS YOU'RE SABOTAGING YOUR LAUNCHES (AND HOW TO FIX THEM!)

Every launch is a big deal. It takes your valuable time and resources, not to mention oodles of effort. So, whether it's the launch of a new website, a book, a campaign, an event, or a product, it needs to get the job done. After all, you don't have time to waste. I know this because I know many others like you, and you've got too much on your plate for missed opportunities.

But what happens when a launch is just okay? Or maybe it's good, but it wasn't as good as you'd hoped. Or, sadly, what if it flops? (FYI, even successful launches have room for improvement.)

No matter which of these situations you find yourself in, I've observed a number reasons throughout my career in marketing, PR, and events (among other things) that may be causing you to unconsciously sabotage your launches. I'll touch on eight of them here. But don't worry, there is hope! I'll also show you how to fix them so that your next launch is your best yet.

Read the full post . . .

 

3. WHAT YOU NEED TO CONVINCE POTENTIAL SPONSORS AND PARTNERS

Whether you're a nonprofit or for-profit social enterprise, chances are that you're on the hunt for a corporate sponsor or partner. It could be for a long-term initiative, upcoming event, or special campaign. 

And why wouldn't you be? Corporate sponsors and partners bring in new revenue, as well as a new audience that is potentially untapped by your organization or cause. The benefits to you are crystal clear.

However, have you stopped to think about what you bring to the table? There's plenty in it for the companies you're asking as well. Never sell yourself short.

These kinds of collaborations are called "cause marketing," and friends, I have really good news. There is no better time for it, and I'm about to tell you why. The bad news is that you may have the wrong approach.

Read the full post . . . 

(By the way, do you need a sponsor/partner presentation template?)

 

4. 10 TOOLS TO MAKE YOUR SMALL BUSINESS LOOK MORE PROFESSIONAL (MOST ARE FREE!)

I'm not sure running a small business will ever get easier, because I don't really know anyone, anywhere, at any size company who wishes they had more to do. But when you have a larger team, you at least have more of a division of responsibility. So, it can be challenging to look like a larger organization when it's just you at a desk in your guest bedroom, or just you and a few friends who decided to jump in and solve one of the world's problems over coffee one afternoon. However, looking more professional, like a large business would, can often mean more sales or donations, more support, sponsors, and more attention. 

So, how do you make that happen? I still have a lot to learn myself, but here are just a few of the tools that help my one-woman show look a wee bit bigger and more professional.

Read the full post . . .

 

5. HOW TO EASILY INVEST IN YOURSELF AND YOUR ORGANIZATION

First of all, I'm not just talking about throwing money at the latest software, or buying fancy computers, or getting team t-shirts, though that would be snazzy. I'm talking about the "deeper" investments for personal and professional growth, which leads to added value and growth for your organization.

When you invest in yourself personally, you knowingly—and unknowingly—apply that new knowledge and experience everywhere around you. So, even then, you're benefitting your organization. And when you invest in yourself for your job, or on behalf of your organization, your directly applying that new knowledge to your role and your cause. Intentionally investing in yourself also often provides renewed energy, focus, determination, know-how, and purpose. So, why not get on board?

Read the full post . . .

 

And those are this year's top five posts! What did you enjoy? Did you have a different favorite?

PSST: Don't forget that you only have a couple more days to try and win a Communications Strategy Session, valued at over $500! Details here. Resolve to make your marketing better in 2018.



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my goal is to continually provide marketing and communication information, resources, tools, and tips for nonprofits and social enterprises—and the people who lead and run them.

Kristi Porter, founder at www.signify.solutions

I'm Kristi Porter, and I started Signify to provide writing, consulting and strategy services to nonprofits and for-profit organizations with a social mission, primarily through copywriting, marketing, and business communications. I believe that cause-focused organizations like yours are the future of business. You're proof that companies can both make money and do good. And I'm here to help you get noticed and grow. When you succeed, we all win.


How to Easily Invest in Yourself and Your Organization

This past weekend I attended the Tribe Conference, a gathering primarily for writers. It was a really terrific event, and while all the speakers did a wonderful job, a few of them made points that struck me more deeply. I'm sure you can relate.

One of those was Dan Miller, an enormously successful speaker and author, who's session was about the importance of investing in yourself. In his talk, he cited Brian Tracy's advice, which is to invest 3% of your income on personal growth and development, and then to bump it up to 5% once you pass $50,000.

Could you do that? Investing in myself has been a high priority of mine for quite a while now, but I was surprised to see how many people around me didn't seem to have a personal investment plan, despite attending this event. I don't want this for you. I want you to prioritize it, despite the actual (and perceived) costs. 

How to Invest in Yourself and Your Organization

Why Invest in Yourself and Your Organization?

First of all, I'm not just talking about throwing money at the latest software, or buying fancy computers, or getting team t-shirts, though that would be snazzy. I'm talking about the "deeper" investments for personal and professional growth, which leads to added value and growth for your organization.

When you invest in yourself personally, you knowingly—and unknowingly—apply that new knowledge and experience everywhere around you. So, even then, you're benefitting your organization. And when you invest in yourself for your job, or on behalf of your organization, your directly applying that new knowledge to your role and your cause. Intentionally investing in yourself also often provides renewed energy, focus, determination, know-how, and purpose. So, why not get on board?

Invest in Micro-Learning

Mico-learning is a fancy, hyphenated word I made up for a category that includes books, podcasts, webinars, videos, email lists, and those kinds of things—honestly, because I wasn't sure what else to call it! ;) But this includes anything that is focused, small, and easily consumable. These examples are what the majority of us would turn to first as a learning opportunity, or personal investment. And, of course, most of these items are free, or can be acquired cheaply, so it's an easy sell.

In fact, because they're all around you, my advice would be to take advantage of these kinds of media weekly, if not more frequently. People who are always learning and trying to better themselves in some way are likely to be the ones that make a bigger difference, are valued more at their organizations, lead others more successfully, and generally do better overall. You may have even heard the phrases "leaders are readers" or "leaders are learners." It's true! I guarantee the people you most admire, from business leaders to celebrities, invest in themselves in these ways.

Invest in Live Events

In the world we now live in, there are opportunities at every turn to watch events online, participate in webinars, and connect digitally with influencers and peers. However, there is still no replacement for attending in-person. It's hard to replicate that feeling of a live event. It's more invigorating and motivating. And the connections made there are stronger than they would be online. 

I was reminded of that this past weekend. Right now, I probably watch a webinar each week, and I also belong to a membership site with monthly video trainings and a Facebook group. But as I sat there with a group of peers, took notes in a real notebook, had conversations after each session, and shared meals with others who are trying to grow, I remembered, yet again, that there is just no substitute. 

Depending on your budget, I understand this could be a large financial commitment. Most one-day events are around $100 or less, but multi-day events could easily be several hundred to several thousand, plus travel. And that's not always feasible. But I would highly encourage you to plan for at least one in-person conference each year. You won't regret it!

Invest in Down Time

I'll let you define "down time" for yourself since we're all a bit different. Some of us are extroverts and some of us are introverts. We have difference preferences, and things that light us up. For me, this looks like a day of binge-watching Netflix, coffee with a friend, a few hours at the movies, or if I'm really lucky, a trip. Can you tell that I'm an introvert? ;)

But the point is to find something that will renew your energy and breathe life back into your spirit. It's vital to your mental, physical, spiritual, and emotional health. And, most importantly, don't wait until burnout. Do it regularly. Maybe making consistent time comes only in small increments, like 30 minutes or an hour each week. That's totally fine. See what works for you, and what you can manage, without rescheduling or pushing it back until you theoretically have "more time."

I also think, however, that you should schedule larger blocks of time (like several days) on an annual basis. Call it a vacation, call it a personal retreat, or call it your "me time." It doesn't matter what you call it, only that you take it.

Investing in yourself, and in turn, your organization, will be worth far more in the end than what the actual costs were. In my opinion, personal growth and investment is priceless. See if you can take the first step this week, even if it's just making a plan for your action steps! Once you get in a rhythm with it, you'll wonder why you didn't start sooner.

(PSST—If you'd like to read all of my notes from the Tribe Conference, you can do that here on my personal blog.)


A Limited-Time Opportunity

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  • Interviewing and hiring

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I'm an affiliate for this bundle, but this deal is so good, I snatched it up myself in the first few hours it was available! I can't wait to sort through everything, and I know it will be worth the money.

In fact, if any of the topics above sound good to you, then you'd probably pay close to $100 (or more) for a single course on that subject. So, why not jump on this bundle and get way more bang for your buck!

What are you waiting for? Click here or the banner below for more details!



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Investing in yourself, and in turn, your organization, will be worth far more in the end than what the actual costs were. In my opinion, personal growth and investment is priceless.

Kristi Porter, founder at www.signify.solutions

I'm Kristi Porter, and I started Signify to provide writing, consulting and strategy services to nonprofits and for-profit organizations with a social mission, primarily through copywriting, marketing, and business communications. I believe that cause-focused organizations like yours are the future of business. You're proof that companies can both make money and do good. And I'm here to help you get noticed and grow. When you succeed, we all win.


3 Tips for Finding a Personal Mentor

Ever wish you could borrow from someone's experience? 

Would you like to bounce ideas off of someone with greater expertise?

Do you need feedback from a professional in your field?

Could you use some encouragement and support from someone who's "been there?"

3 Tips for Finding a Personal Mentor

These are the kind of perks you get by having a mentor. (Plus, so much more!)

It really doesn't matter what kind of role you fill at your organization. Anyone from the founder to the part-time assistant can benefit from a mentor, because if you care about what you do (and I know you do!), you want to do it better.

I've had the benefit of having four official mentors during my life. The first two were spiritual mentors. The third is still currently my all-around mentor. And the fourth is new. She serves as a business mentor since launching Signify was a completely new endeavor with a lot of unique, and exciting, challenges.

My guess is that one of these might be of interest to you as well. I know many of us are in Facebook Groups, signed up for online courses, and attend networking groups because we want to learn from successful people. And whether you want to entirely emulate them or just pick up a few pointers in a specific area, mentors are one of the best ways to make this happen. And guess what—the rules are up to the two of you!

I wanted to share this guest post with you because I've been deeply appreciative of having caring mentors over the years, and I've also been asked about how I found my mentors. I'd love for you to have the same opportunity, whether it comes along naturally, or you give it a little nudge.

Read My 3 Tips for Finding a Personal Mentor.

I also talk extensively about mentors here:

The Key to Your Success May Be Staring You In The Face—Literally (blog post)

How to Find a Mentor When You’re a Freelancer or Entrepreneur (interview by The Penny Hoarder)

Let me know how it goes!

PS: I use the term "personal" mentor just to define a one-on-one relationship, not the type of mentoring. It's up to you to decide!



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It really doesn't matter what kind of role you fill at your organization. Anyone from the founder to the part-time assistant can benefit from a mentor, because if you care about what you do (and I know you do!), you want to do it better.

Kristi Porter, founder at www.signify.solutions

I'm Kristi Porter, and I started Signify to provide writing, consulting and strategy services to nonprofits and for-profit organizations with a social mission, primarily through copywriting, marketing and business communications. I believe that cause-focused organizations like yours are the future of business. You're proof that companies can both make money and do good. And I'm here to help you get noticed and grow. When you succeed, we all win.


5 Essential TED Talks for Social Enterprise Leaders

Last week, I shared 5 Must-See TED Talks for Nonprofit Leaders, but as this blog is devoted to both for- and non-profit organizations driven by a cause, I wanted to give equal time to my social enterprise peeps. 

While both traditional businesses and nonprofits have been around for a long time, social enterprises are still an emerging model. But, like you, I hope and believe that they are the future of business. Make money, and do good—at the same time? Yes, please! I can't wait to see what happens next in this movement.

And because I want you to also have fun and be successful, here are five TED Talks that I think will encourage social enterprise leaders, and employees, on their way to making a meaningful impact.

(PS: You don't have to work at a social enterprise to like them!)

5 Essential TED Talks for Social Enterprises

1. Tony Robbins: Why we do what we do

This speech will help you find, or remember, why you lead or work at a social enterprise. It's educational and motivational. It can be difficult to remember your "why" when funds are low, days are spent combing through email, you feel unappreciated or distracted, meetings never seem to end, or you're just caught up in the day-to-day of work. Sometimes we remember the "why" all on our own, and sometimes it takes someone to intervene. If you need the latter, use this talk. 

2. Elizabeth Gilbert: Your elusive creative genius

Whether you've reached your career-defining moment or not, you'll be encouraged by her talk. This is evidently the prelude to her latest, lovely memoir, Big Magic, and an opportunity to breathe a sigh of relief. I believe many social entrepreneurs are "feelers" because they place the mission first. They're all about the business of improving lives, and while that can be attributed to the head, I think it's more likely attributed to the heart. Elizabeth gives us a way to deal with success, failure, and more importantly, the everyday in-between. I love her refrain to "keep showing up," and think you will too.

3. Shawn Achor: The happy secret to better work

In this funny, 12-minute video Shawn will back up your theory that happy employees are better employees. And he reveals some incredibly interesting research that shows you how to think differently about success, because your views on success impact not only your happiness, but the happiness of those around you. Because these are two things that matter to each of us, I hope you'll pay attention. He's challenging us to create a new reality. Are you up for it?

4. Jacqueline Novogratz: Inspiring a life of immersion

If you've ever received any criticism, skepticism, strange looks, odd comments, or even raised eyebrows when you tell people about your work, you'll be interested in this talk. Though she tells a number of stories, I believe the theme of legacy is what binds them together. As a social entrepreneur, you're all about creating a better future, not just for yourself, but for others who need a partner or helping hand to make it so. Your work is designed to improve lives now, and for generations. You'll identify with her journey as you strive to live your own life of immersion.

5. Ricardo Semler: How to run a company with (almost) no rules

In some ways, a social enterprise is a hybrid between a traditional business and a nonprofit. This offers a lot of gifts, and a few challenges. And the social enterprises I know have two things in common. First, they all (obviously) choose to not to do business as usual. They want a more innovative environment, and want to run things a little differently. Second, there are usually at least a few people who have had more traditional business jobs, and therefore, bring that experience (or baggage) to the enterprise. Given these two things, creating a compelling office culture is vital in helping differentiate your organization and instill loyalty to your mission. In this talk, Ricardo is definitely a disruptor to traditional office culture. He may give you some ideas you want to explore, and maybe even a few you prefer to ignore. The point? You get to decide because it's your organization! 

6. BONUS: Richard St. John: Success is a continuous journey

Part cautionary tale and part business lecture, this four-minute video will remind you to stay focused on why you started your organization: for your customers and the people your work benefits. Success is relative, but hopefully not fleeting. And second chances are available to all of us.

By the way, I spent the better part of a day watching talk after talk to bring you five+ that I thought would help you be a better social entrepreneur. Whew—grueling work, but I'm here for you! Did I miss any of your favorites?



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5 Essential TED Talks for Social Enterprise Leaders

Kristi Porter, founder at www.signify.solutions

I'm Kristi Porter, and I started Signify to provide writing, consulting and strategy services to nonprofits and for-profit organizations with a social mission, primarily through copywriting, marketing and business communications. I believe that cause-focused organizations like yours are the future of business. You're proof that companies can both make money and do good. And I'm here to help you get noticed and grow. When you succeed, we all win.