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Become A Motivator, Write A Motivational Blog Post

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Your readers are not happy. At least, not completely happy. There’s some area in their life that they wish they could be better at, and it’s making them feel…

  1. Discouraged. Like the struggle that they’re having is pointless and they should just give up.
  2. Insecure. Like they are so much worse than everybody else.
  3. Weak. Like they’re overall a terrible person for not being able to do this one thing.
  4. Alone. Like they’re the only one who has the problem and everyone else is fine.

They feel all of the above and more.

BUT, what if your blog could be that positive voice inside their head? What if you could create a space where they could feel heard and understood?

It’s good to have a blog that provides solutions to other people’s problems. It’s BEST to have a blog that provides solutions with empathy.

Your readers and potential customers deserve your empathy and sympathy. They don’t just have a problem, they FEEL that problem. Their feelings are affected even if they can’t find the words to express it.

If you created your product/service to solve a problem -- which I think you did -- you KNOW how your readers feel.

You can put yourself in your readers' shoes and answer this question: How would I feel if I had the same problem?

Let me give you an example.

Your brand provides cleaning services.

Your readers may be this person: A lady who feels like a horrible mother because her house isn’t 100% clean 100% of the time.

What could she be feeling?

  1. Discouraged. Why bother cleaning anything at all when her house is going to get messy and dirty endlessly?
  2. Insecure. Other people’s homes are clean and tidy, like in the magazines.
  3. Weak. She’s a bad mother because she lets her children grow up in a messy home.
  4. Alone. She can’t admit the fact that she’s struggling to anyone because she feels like she'd be judged. Other people can't relate because they have nice clean homes.
 

How will writing a motivational blog post benefit ME?

You don't write motivational blog posts because you want to manipulate readers' feelings into buying your product/service. You don't write motivational blog posts because you want to mention at the end, "Buy my product/service!".

That's COMPLETELY not the point.

The point of writing motivational posts is to create a safe space for your readers. A place where they KNOW they can come for solutions without feeling totally inadequate.

It's like if you had to choose between asking about a problem from...

  1. Someone who's nice and understanding and makes you smile, OR...
  2. Someone who bites your head off for asking in the first place...

Which person would you choose? Everything boils down to the easy answer.

When you create this nice and safe space for your readers, they'll remember your brand as a GOOD brand. A brand that totally understands and cares about their customers.

So eventhough you won't mention your product/service at the end of the blog post, the effect is the same -- Your readers will trust you. And you'll feel good about helping them too.

 

What you just read above is an excerpt from my latest e-guide to blogging titled Blog for Profit. It's designed to help you write SEVEN different types of blog post that will convince potential customers to buy from you. I'm so excited to be working on it and can't wait to share it with you.

If you'd like to get a notification when it's ready, sign up below with your email! I'll give you a heads up. :)

Holler at you when the Blog for Profit is ready?

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For The Peeps Who Feel Like They've Been Wasting Too Much Time

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I started this year with good intentions. 2017 is my year! I'm gonna make it my best year yet. I'm gonna write all my goals nicely on a piece of paper, paste it on the wall and ACE THEM.

It's now August, the 8th month of the year, and I'm nowhere near achieving my goals.

And I feel depressed. With just 4 months left, I don't think 2017 will be my year. You know?

It's funny how a year used to feel forever to me, back in high school. Now that I'm working, it's SCARY how many days and months pass by without me really fully waking up.

And despite not wanting to, I've been living only for the weekends.

When you live only for the weekends, you keep wishing for time to pass faster during the week. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday... You feel like you want to skip them all.

I hate feeling like that. I hate feeling like I could only feel good or happy 8 days in a month.

And I also hate myself for not using my time to build something great for my future, you know? I know I'm supposed to DO more, but all I could manage is distract myself with entertainment. Youtube, Instagram, Facebook, streaming movies online... It's like my head is filled with other people's stories but I'm not writing MY story.

So that's why if you're struggling like me, I wanted to drop by and say it's OK.

It's OK to be disappointed and angry at yourself for squandering your limited time. You expected more of yourself.

It's OK to look back and feel ashamed at how you've been spending your time. You ruined your carefully made plans.

It's OK to be sad and envious when you look at other people's achievements. You feel left behind and insignificant where you're at now.

Wanna know why it's OK to feel all these negative emotions?

Because they're already there. Acknowledge them. Feel them. All the things you do to distract yourself are because you didn't want to feel these emotions.

If you don't confront these emotions, they're going to pile up. You'll feel heavier and gloomier until you lose hope.

Here's the thing, friend. You may not be able to achieve your goals this year. You may not be able to transform your life completely by the end of 2017. Life can't be compressed into a 2-hour movie. But keep your dreams alive.

It's easier to give up than to keep having all these negative emotions. If you gave up, you'd never have to feel disappointed in yourself again. But your dreams are worth it, aren't they?

The journey is worth it, right?

Baby steps. Baby steps.

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3 Ways to Turn Your Hobby Into A Business

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Do you have a hobby and you go, wouldn’t it be nice to make money from this so that I don’t have to work my dayjob anymore?

I’ve read so many stories about successful entrepreneurs who said that they started out ‘for fun’ and it eventually snowballed into a five-figure, six-figure business.

And of course, that got me all inspired to start my own business. In fact, my first business did start from a hobby (hand-lettering), but as far as I know, I’m not a millionaire. (Yet.)

All jokes aside though, today’s newsletter is about figuring out how to JUMP into a business that’s based on something you love doing. I’ve got three ways you can approach this!

 

1) Help other people to get into the same hobby.

One of my aunts love quilling. At first I was like, quilling as in making quills? What the heck IS quilling??

Turns out quilling is the art of rolling paper and putting them together to make decorative designs.

She bought a quilling ‘starter kit’ from another ‘quiller’ (not sure if that’s what they’re called) that has a few tools and strips of coloured paper.

Which is pretty neat! My aunt could learn from Youtube videos, but getting the tools themselves wasn’t so easy. It was great that she didn’t have to hunt down the tools herself before she could get started.

So let's say that your hobby is something that requires tools or special components. Why not sell those tools that could help other people who would also want to get into the hobby?

You can:

  1. Make the tools or components yourself.
  2. Put together your own 'starter kit’ filled with recommended brands so that people could start out with quality stuff.
  3. Import hard-to-get stuff and resell them.
 
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2) Teach people the basics of the hobby.

If your hobby is the kind of hobby that requires a level of skill, you can also teach people that skill so that people can enjoy the hobby more.

For example, painting. If you can teach people how to paint basic flower shapes, they're going to enjoy painting a whole lot more!

Case in point: me. I don’t know anything about watercolour painting. So every time after a ‘painting session’, I end up feeling totally gloomy because the end result is complete crap.

Nobody enjoys an activity where they totally suck at it. LOL.

So what can you do is maybe plan a class or workshop where people can actually accomplish something small but concrete. You don’t have to turn them into Picassos.

Just give them the confidence to start that hobby!

 

3) Apply your hobby in another context.

Your hobby in itself may not be something that you can make money from. For example, if you like origami, people might not line up just to buy your paper cranes.

But if you can apply your hobby into another context or situation, there’s money-making potential!

Using the origami example, you can make origami flower bouquets that can be used to decorate all the guest tables at a kenduri. So in a way, you’re personalizing your origami hobby to fit the market.

 

Anyway, I'm not saying ALL hobbies can be turned into a business. There's probably a small percentage of hobbies that aren’t aligned with any kind of market.

BUT, unless you have a really unique, totally niche, what-the-heck-is-that hobby, you could definitely explore how you can turn something you already love doing into a business. Who knows, maybe you could eventually do it full-time. :)

What’s your hobby and how do you think it can be turned into a business? Let me know by commenting!

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What I Learned from Japan About Branding: Japanese People & Wrapping Paper.

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I was in Tokyo for 9 days for a holiday with my family. It was GLORIOUS. But when I got back to the office, I had 41 missed calls. ( Well, that’s not too bad, considering.)

Anyway, my observation from shopping around Tokyo? Japanese people really, REALLY like wrapping paper.

When I bought knick knacks and souvenirs from several stores, the store assistants would always insist on wrapping each thing INDIVIDUALLY with wrapping paper. Refer to photo below for a sample:

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When my mum bought cute pouches for her sisters, the shop owner asked, “Present?” And then proceeded to putting each pouch in a plastic sleeve, put ribbons and ‘Made in Japan’ stickers on each of them.

Sounds pretty excessive and wasteful in a way, doesn’t it? It’s like the Japanese are using MORE plastic, MORE paper for the packaging than what is absolutely necessary.

Also, when they were wrapping my stuff, I was like “Ummm are you done?” I wanted to leave but it took a while for them to finish. But then I thought: Maybe it’s not excessive.

Maybe they’re on to something here.

Here are my thoughts:

 

1) Some products deserve that special treatment.

I was buying things like pretty handkerchiefs, keychains and stuff, not groceries. So it kinda makes sense for them to be wrapped. They’re not "every day" products.

It’s like, some things deserve to be wrapped, some are fine in plastic bags. Yaknow?

Since souvenirs have that extra sentimental value + cost relatively more, it makes sense that the shops would take an extra step to make them look more special.

This would definitely work for you if you’re selling something that’s also ‘special’. Like a handmade item, something that’s made with love or something that you want to make more premium.

I think it's a great investment to make for your brand. Anyway, if you go with wrapping paper like the Japanese, you’ll do fine with:

  1. Thin paper in your brand colours / patterns. Choose something like tissue paper rather than anything thicker. Makes it easier to wrap around your product.
  2. A small sticker / tape to secure the wrapping. It can also be in your brand colours / patterns.
 

2) How you present your product reflects on your brand.

Wrapping paper is not just wrapping paper. The packaging is not pointless ruffles.

When the shop assistants wrapped my stuff, the act of wrapping itself represented the values of ‘Made in Japan’. Craftsmanship, quality and pride.

It’s as if Japanese people have this nation-wide conspiracy to make people fall completely in love with Japanese brands, and not just the products. And it worked! (I bought a lot of knick knacks.)

It’s like when my grandma takes out her nice cups and plates when we have guests over. She would NEVER serve guests with our everyday plates, even if logically her cooking will taste the same.

The whole principle behind it is that how you present your creation (or product) reflects on your brand itself. If you present it beautifully, people can appreciate the product AND the brand.

But if you ignore the presentation aspect, people may appreciate the quality of the product, but they may not fall in love with the brand.

It really depends on how you want people to perceive your brand. What kind of values do you want to present? See if you can infuse those values into the whole buying process from A to Z.

 

3) The experience doesn’t end when the customer hands over the money.

Logically, wrapping the products or putting them in nice packaging AFTER the customer has bought them isn’t necessary. The customer has already paid. Put the stuff in a plastic bag and say bye-bye. The customer will enjoy the product any way.

And if you asked me: Hey, do you want wrapping? It’ll add an extra 50 sen and 3 minutes. I’ll be like nah, it’s fine. Not necessary.

Most customers won’t say yes to something that adds cost and time to their purchase. We always want a good deal. We don’t want to spend more on things that we don’t think is necessary.

But when I got back home, it honestly felt so nice to unwrap the souvenirs. It felt special, AGAIN. I already know what’s inside the wrapping paper, but it felt special all the same.

There’s nothing wrong with a plastic bag of course. I’m not even someone who cares if her presents are wrapped or not. But unwrapping my things made me happy!

My point is: you may need to make that nice unwrapping experience ‘obligatory’ for your customers. Make the act of unwrapping or opening the packaging of your product a great experience. As if they’re opening a present for themselves.

This isn’t an excuse to charge high prices just because of nice packaging. But if your ‘unwrapping’ or opening the packaging will create a legit experience that customers will enjoy, go ahead!

Here’s some ideas for your wrapping/packaging:

  • Scented tissue paper wrapping.
  • Nice solid box.
  • A note for the customer.
  • A cute sticker.

These are just my ideas, so feel free to brainstorm according to your brand’s personality!

Over time, your customers will begin to think that your brand and products = special. It’s like when you go to a really fancy restaurant. The food may be really good, but it’s the decor, ambience and the way waiters treat you that make the meal extra special. And whenever you want to feel special again, you go to that fancy restaurant.

 

At first, I thought that my things were wrapped and packed so nicely because I was clearly a tourist buying souvenirs. But I saw that other Japanese customers also got the same treatment. So I guess it’s their culture.

I don’t think that as Malaysian brands are doing anything wrong. But there’s something to learn from Japanese people and their wrapping paper, for sure. 😊

Do you think wrapping products is a worthy investment for a brand? Let me know by commenting!

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A Simple Diagram to Help You Place Your Brand in the Market

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Hey! I know I haven't been around much in May, and now it's June. I'll tell you about it in my next post, but TODAY...

I have a very neat thing to show you.

I've told you that I work in the financial services sector right? To be more specific, I work in business financing. And one of my jobs is to prepare contracts for entrepreneurs whose applications for financing have been approved.

Along the way, I've read a lot of cool business proposals. Different industries. Different kinds of businesses. I've always made a point to read through all the proposals to see what business-related stuff I can learn.

And one day, I saw this diagram that immediately lit a huge lightbulb over my head:

What's the actual name of this kind of graph...thingy?

What's the actual name of this kind of graph...thingy?

It's a great way of looking at the kind of brands that are ALREADY in the market and how your brand fits into it.

You can also picture it as a map. Where is your brand right now?

I'm not an expert on handbags, but I sure do know that it's fricking impossible for us mere mortals to get a Hermes Birkin bag. I've read somewhere that you've got to know people -- JUST TO GET ON A LIST.

Super duper exclusive, right? And the price matches that level of exclusitivity.

On the other hand, Longchamps! They're not considered cheap, but I guess I wouldn't call them a luxury handbag either. And though I always see people carrying Longchamps everywhere, they're not exactly available at your local boutique or mall.

The biggest lesson I got from this diagram is that your brand can't be everything. It can't be accessible, affordable, exclusive and expensive all at the same time. You've got to find your PLACE in the market.

Basically, you need to choose what you want your brand to be.

The diagram up there is about handbags, but you can definitely do it with any other industry or product. Food, skincare and even notebooks (ahem, Moleskine).

Anyway, comment below and let me know which industry/product you most like to analyze!

P.S. Salam Ramadhan!

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