Affiliates Need to Promote Travel as an Experience

promoting travel experiencesWith more people looking at travel as an experience, there’s a big push to promote it in a way that resonates with on a deeper, more emotional, and personal level with consumers.

Many would argue that travel is inherently experiential by definition. While that’s true, many consumer are looking for more unique, immersive experiences that align with their values, interests and spirit.

Whether your promoting ziplining in Bali, or spelunking the Blue Hole caves of Belize, or a family vacation to Orlando, you need to sell the experience.

Here are ways some ways to amp up the experiential factor and stand out from competitors:

Be the Source

Make your  travel site the central hub for all information that might be relevant for travelers. Have sections where people can find out more about your city or each destination beyond what is fun for leisure tourists. This includes the local culture, traditions, environment, and businesses. By putting all of this information in one place, you’ll make it extremely easy for visitors to learn about the destination. Strive to be the go-to source.

Use Video

Video is the most powerful visual medium. And there’s no denying the impact of using video as a persuasive tool to promote travel and tourism. But it doesn’t have to be just for beaches and excotic locales. Many people want an idea or some context about what the experience will be like with their travel plans. Check with the brands you promote to see if they have video you can use. Alternatively, you could simply create a video montage of the neighborhood surrounding the hotel property, add in some local events and local attractions, as well as scenery. The idea is to provide a sense of excitement and make them want to go visit.

Create Niche Itineraries

Instead of just listing attractions, restaurants and hotels, groups things together in fun ways. For example, The Ultimate Foodie Day in San Francisco or a Hidden Gems of Old Las Vegas. Creating a different guides or experiences are a good way to present your destinations that offer additional appeal for travelers.

Use Social Media

Many people’s travel experiences start on social media. They use Facebook and Pinterest for travel inspiration, and online reviews to select specific hotels and activities. Leverage these platforms not only for advertising, but by connecting with social media influencers, engaging with individual followers, and sharing engaging content. This can range from branded geofilters on Snapchat, to promoting the destination with 360-degree video and virtual reality experiences that can be shared on YouTube or Facebook.

Encourage User Generated Content

Find creative ways to get people to share their travel photos with you. And then post them on your site. You can run contests or offer a giveaways for those that share photos with you. You can request that your audience tag your site in their photos. Then add those images to a photo gallery. This is an impactful (and inexpensive) way to market to others. Consumer seeing these photos will likely be more encouraged to take similar trips.

Leverage Technology

To further set your site apart from the pack, think about including technology like augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) experiences on your site. VR experiences appeal directly to the experience-driven traveler. It allows them to see what exactly what travel to a specific location or attraction might be like. It’s also more likely to make them want to go in real life.

Extend Stays

Many travelers like to extend a business trip into a vacation. So, be sure to include messaging about extending trips, adding extra activities to their itinerary, or upgrading their travel experience.

Overall, the key for travel affiliates is to focus on memorable experiences and opportunities to share them with friends and family. The more experiential the marketing campaign, the more likely it is to attract travelers.

Winning at Affiliate Survivor

affiliate survivalSometimes being an affiliate can be like participating in Survivor. To win you have to need to outwit, outlast, and outplay your competitors.

There’s a reason the show Survivor has endured on TV for 36 seasons. The premise is very simple. However, it plays out with unexpected twists and turns each time as the mix of various personalities navigate a social experiment with many factors out of their control. Participants surely understand the basics. Many are even super-fans or devoted students of the game. But crucial to the competition are adaptability and savvy in all facets of the game.

And while there’s no getting voted off the affiliate island, consumers do “vote”with their wallets. That means affiliates must be able to deftly navigate a myriad of areas including social, content, brand building, SEO, business planning and more. Faltering in any of those areas might extinguish your affiliate aspirations. Game over.

Outwit

Have a Plan – You’ve got to have a plan and execute on it. It’s inevitable  that things change – and rapidly. You’ll need to adapt and be flexible. But without a solid plan going in or an evolving plan, you’re not going to be able to move forward.You should review your business plans every 6 months and update as necessary.

Go Deep – Going a mile wide and an inch deep, isn’t going to get you to success. Instead think about doing the opposite. By focusing on a very specific niche and taking deeper dive into that specific market, you’ll be able to better serve the needs of the audience. It’s a more effective tactic to have a small, extremely loyal user base. , than a huge base that isn’t invented in what you are promoting. Maybe as a travel affiliate your niche is Las Vegas or vacationing families or roadtrippers or foodies.

Outplay

Leverage Content – One way to outplay rivals is to create content they can’t compete with. Because affiliates are often smaller companies they are more nimble than the brands they promote. This enables them to innovate more quickly. That’s true of leveraging content marketing as well. Creating unique, compelling content that has a laser focus on the target market, can be done very quickly by affiliates. And by using analytics it’s simple to see what resonates with the audience and what converts.

Be a Trendsetter – Get in front of breakout and seasonal trends. If you’re planning in advance it’s easier to see in July what might be hot for the holidays. There are also more seasonal events emerging – like Spring Break. Always be on the lookout for new trends in pop culture, art, among celebrities, etc. Often trends from other areas can be easily translated (with a bit of creativity) to specific niches. It might be a color that is hot, a style of decor or a something in fashion. For example if you’re a travel affiliate, you could leverage a return to nostalgia. More people are looking for experience getaways that recreate their childhood – like renting an RV and visiting all the National Parks or taking in baseball games at several major league parks.

Get Creative with Content – Think beyond the blog. Posts are great for some content. But think about mixing it up. You can use quizzes, infographics, video, reviews, user generated content. unusual content formats for recommending products and more. Variety keeps regular visitors interested. It also adds interest and can help with search rankings. Check out more ways to get creative with your content.

Outlast

Build a Brand – Consider what you’re doing to develop the brand of your affiliate website. That’s because brand building comes with many benefits. They include recognition, loyalty, a perception of size and quality, and the perception of experience and reliability.  These combine to provide a significant comfort level for potential customers. Establishing overall trust helps shoppers eventually become repeat customers, which can increase average order value and lifetime customer value – all important success metrics.

Think Recurring Revenue – With affiliate marketing, there is no assurance that your current strategy will work in a month. It could be Google updating their ranking algorithm, your favorite affiliate program shutting down, or media buying costs increasing. It’s wise to mitigate against the possibility of major changes.

Diversify Revenue –  Don’t rely on a single traffic source or a single monetization method. Affiliate, pay-per-click, sponsorships, paid placements all help your affiliate business from being vulnerable to one source of making money.

Look for New Promotional Opportunities – There may be some brands that perform well for your affiliate sites, but consider also joining new programs. Don’t get stuck in what’s working now. But you may be overlooking other programs to help increase your affiliate revenue and work well with in your niche.

Take Advantage of Tech Trends – Staying on top of what’s hot in tech can put you ahead of the competition. Whether it’s AI, chatbots, new mobile tech, blockchain and cryptocurrency developments or whatever else is coming down the pike, it’s always an advantage to be thinking about how developments might impact your business. Or better yet, how you can leverage that tech to make more money.

Careful consideration of all these areas can help make you the ultimate affiliate survivor with a sustainable, successful business.

Do Black Friday and Cyber Monday Matter Anymore?

black friday cyber monday holiday salesSpring may have just arrived, but it’s not too early for affiliates to be thinking about this year’s holiday season.

And with researchers predicting this holiday period to stretch for an even longer duration, it’s imperative affiliates understand shifting consumer shopping habits as well as how online retailers plan to tackle the holidays.

The Christmas Creep

Thanks to ecommerce, consumers can shop 24x7x365 on nearly any device. And better fulfillment options allow for delivery up to the last minute during the holidays. That’s good and bad news for affiliates. Those factors enable affiliates to promote holiday offers for a longer period and earn more money. But, it can also cause some consumers to become numb or even turned off at the barrage of holiday offers that start too early or last too long.

For Christmas studies show that many consumers begin shopping as early as Labor Day. In 2016 some 34 million people had already started their holiday shopping in early September, according to CreditCards.com and close to one million were already done by that time.

Consumers are becoming a little more accustom and slightly less annoyed by early holiday promotions, according to a survey by RichRelevance. Still, more than half of those surveyed (55 percent) said they were annoyed or very annoyed by holiday goods appearing in stores (and online) before Halloween. However, that’s down from 71 percent in 2014.

A week of Black Friday?

Complicating matters are evolving patterns related to individual shopping days, such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday. In the past these single-shopping days often dominated the holiday season. But a shift has been taking place and these single-day events have also grown to encompasses multiple days. In some cases brands are divorcing these terms from the actual holiday period and also using them for other seasonal promotions (think Black Friday sales in July).

Research shows that recently Black Friday has gone on much longer than just the day after Thanksgiving. In fact, there are cases where it lasts for weeks. A recent Econsultancy study cites Amazon as an example of an online retailer stretching out a Black Friday event for up to 14 days.

In the Econsultancy survey, retailers were asked about the duration of their Black Friday events. Fully 35% characterized it as the four-day weekend (from Black Friday to Cyber Monday), while 45% said it extended beyond four days.

What Days Matter

According to Adobe, Cyber Monday was the largest online shopping day of 2017, accounting for $6.59 billion in sales. Black Friday ranked second with $5.03 billion. And Thanksgiving Day has also become a shopping holiday in its own right, responsible for $2.87 billion in retail ecommerce sales last year.

This research seems to underscore multiple points:

  • Black Friday promotions are continuing to bleed into the surrounding days.
  • Black Friday and Cyber Monday continue to be as important as ever.
  • New individual shopping days are emerging.
  • Consumers remain responsive to big holiday shopping days.
  • These individual holiday promotions may be less about getting deals and instead about consumers’ desire to participate in the actual events.

But just as many consumers are starting their holiday shopping earlier, many are also waiting until the last minute. According to MasterCard, the second largest weekly growth rate in US retail ecommerce sales during the 2017 holiday season occurred the week of December 17, when sales increased 23.7%. And December 23, a Saturday, was the second highest shopping day of the year. Now digital shoppers are postponing purchases until the eve of Christmas Eve.

So, it’s to the affiliate’s advantage to spread out the holiday sales since there is less likelihood of retailers’ websites crashing and delayed deliveries. But the surge of shoppers starting sooner, can also result in returns, which impacts affiliate commissions.

The bottom line is that affiliates must delicately balance the idea of seizing the multitude of holiday promotional opportunities, but not alienating or frustrating consumers.

Get Creative with Your Content

affiliate content and creativityEveryone gets stuck in a content rut. If you’re a travel affiliate or have a travel blog, you know that creating content feels like feeding a beast with an insatiable appetite. So, what to write? Another story about an amazing travel destination or how fun and exciting the vacation of a lifetime will be? Maybe. But you’ve been there and done that – many times over.

It’s time to get more creative. Here are some suggestions to get your creative content juices flowing:

Be Bold

Don’t be afraid to be “out there.” Even if you think your idea or topic is wacky or offbeat – consider it. Bold gets noticed. I’m sure it wasn’t immediately clear that a TV show about life after the Zombie Apocalypse would be one of the biggest hits ever. But the Walking Dead captivated the attention of millions of loyal (okay, obsessed) viewers.

And, of course, being out there doesn’t mean taking a contrary stance on something simply to inflame people. But instead, flipping something on its head can attract attention.

For example: Everyone seems to be on a diet or eating according to some kind of rules (Keto, Paleo, Whole 30, Atkins, Dash Diet, Weight Watchers, Zone, etc.). You could do a blog post about how to eat in a particular destination according the guidelines of one of those diets. Or instead, focus on how many of these eating plans allow a cheat day or days. Write your where and what to eat post about how to “Make Your Food Cheat Day in Vegas Worth It!”

Think Like a Journalist

When a national news event or happening takes place your local news people will put a regional spin on it. What they’re thinking is “how does impact our specific audience?” So, the next time there is something in the news, look at through the lens of your target audience.

For example: Shootings and gun safety are big items in the news. You could do a post on the Safest Cities to Vacation In. You don’t need to specifically call out the issues related to guns. Simply by doing a post of that nature you are tapping into the emotions of people without throwing it in their face or getting into a polarizing political debate.

However, be careful about capitalizing on tragedy or disasters. It takes a deft hand to do it right and not seem like an opportunist.

Borrow from Pop Culture

See what’s hot in the world of music, movies, celebrities, food, art, culture, social discourse and more. Make a list. For example, right now mid-century modern is all the rage in furniture and decor. This design shift was sparked in part by the popularity of the TV show Mad Men. If you’re a travel affiliate, it might seem like that has absolutely no bearing on what you promote to your audience. But it could. Create a post about staying in mid-century Airbnb houses for a Mad Men weekend getaway. Or highlight destinations that feature tours of the homes of famed mid-century modern architect Frank Lloyd Wright.  Focus on hotels that offer that a cool mid-century modern vibe. Or how to do Vegas Don Draper Style.

Make the Connection

If you’re immersed in your business and thinking about it all the time, you might find that mundane things also spark ideas. The tedious weekly task of gathering up the recyclables for pickup might get you thinking about reuse and repurposing of items. That could lead to you reviewing your old content and maybe repurposing it. Or perhaps, you might be inspired to write about eco-friendly hotels or vacations where helping people in other parts of the world may make a difference to the health of the planet.

Walking by a bookstore and just catching a glimpse of the tile “The Tibetan Art of Living and Dying” could yield a host of inspiration (Why Tibet Must be on Your Bucket List, The Top Spiritual and Wellness Destinations, Las Vegas: Balancing Spirits and Spirituality). You may not even be conscious that the book title registered with you. Or maybe just seeing a window display of books ignites something – Book Lovers Vacations, The Best Beaches for Your Summer Read, etc.

Free Yourself

Ever notice that when you sit down to come up with ideas, it’s almost makes the task harder? You often can’t “will” yourself to think of something creative. People often say, “I have my best ideas while in the shower.” Well, for you, it might not be the shower. Maybe it’s the grocery store or while driving. That’s because your mind is freed up to wander. That’s often when inspiration strikes. So, walk the dog. Take a hike. Just take a short break to load the dishwasher. Deviating from normal patterns and routines also helps. These are the moments when ideas come – when you’re not forcing them.

Jot it Down

You never know when inspiration may strike. Keep a notepad (or use your phone) to write or record your ideas. Keep a running list of ideas – no matter how out there they seem. Not all of them will be winners or even turn into blog posts. But having that list, in and of itself, is a reminder to come up with new ideas. Plus, you can look back and might find that one of the ideas sparks a totally different idea.

Inspiration is everywhere. All you have to do is be open, receptive and allow yourself the time and space to let the creativity flow.

Make a Difference in 20 Minutes

20 minutes productivityDoes it seems like there’s never enough time in the day to accomplish everything on your to-do list? We hear you. But we think that somewhere in each day you might have just 20 minutes that could be used differently.

Twenty minutes might seem like a big hunk of time to carve out of your jam-packed day. But then again, it might not seem like enough time to actually accomplish something meaningful. However,  20 minutes is the perfect amount of time (depending on how you use it) to see a variety of benefits, including:

  • Breaking up your routine
  • Helping you be more productive
  • Letting you tackle tasks you dread or having been putting off
  • Enabling you to learn something new
  • Sparking your creativity
  • Getting yourself connected to others
  • Allowing you time to rejuvenate and get centered

Doing things in short bursts and having a set time limit can make a big difference in your life and work.  

Here are some things that you can do in 20 minutes:

  • Go for a one mile walk (or run)
  • Take a power nap
  • Brainstorm blog post ideas
  • Write a to-do list for the next day
  • Run a quick errand
  • Call a friend and spend some time catching up with them
  • Write snail mail to a friend, family member, or business colleague
  • Do some yoga stretches
  • Update your phone, computer, tablet, etc
  • Clean up your desk
  • Read
  • Tackle interruptions that emerged from earlier interruptions
  • Calendar your to-do list and move items into scheduled activities
  • Blast through paperwork (or any other task you dread)
  • Get out of your office
  • Acknowledge someone else’s accomplishments in an email or a phone call
  • Decide the first thing you need to do tomorrow as schedule it as a priority
  • Attend to your network by asking a peer if there is something you can do to help them
  • Solicit feedback from your audience, peers or trusted advisors
  • Forward an article of interest to someone
  • Meditate
  • Organize something in your house if you work from home

Additionally, another thing you can do in 20 minutes is get some top-notch advice from experts who want to see your business succeed. Interested in learning more about a free 20 minute consultation with someone on the Chateau20 team to help take your affiliate efforts to the next level? Contact Tiffany Ponds-Kimbro (tpondskimbro@chateau20.com).  We’re here to help you.

Get Started Promoting New Affiliate Programs – Part 2

getting started new affiliate programIn the previous post we looked at helping you get motivated to begin promoting an affiliate  program after you’ve signed up. In Part 2 , we want to offer some tips that will help immediately kick off your promotional efforts.

Here are 10 ways to jumpstart your affiliate promotions of a new program:

1. Put up the Creative

Ask the affiliate program manager for the best-converting creative. They know what works best to drive sales and conversions and will be happy to share it with you. This means you’ll hit the ground running. If you do nothing else (and we don’t recommend that option) this is the single most important step to getting started.

2. Create a Landing Page

Having a dedicated landing page for a product or service sets up a clear action for users to take. And makes it as easy as possible for them to take that action. You can feature the product on your home page or in a category from the home page. But a landing page might be useful if you have several pieces of information about a single product or service (such as blog posts, reviews, in-depth descriptions or specs).  Additionally, when you link a landing page to a specific campaign, piece of content, action, or source, you can see which channels are bringing in the most leads. You can also determine , which topics and offerings are of most interest, or which campaigns are the highest performing. This generates valuable insights that can help refine your knowledge of your target audience and your campaign strategies, and improve your overall effectiveness. Of course, you can also simply link to the merchant’s landing page. 

3. Write a Blog Post

At the very least write one blog post. It gets the ball rolling for the content to be found when consumers are searching. Link the post to the product landing page. Having unique content helps you with search and give consumers the feeling that you care about what you are promoting and not just bombarding them with offers to buy. (In future posts we’ll cover easy and creative ways to generate compelling, unique content on a consistent basis).

4. Do a Review

People are far more likely to give credence to a product or service when there is a review. The more personal, the better. Generic reviews that are glowing don’t always do the trick to drive conversions. Consumers are often skeptical of reviews that are too positive. So, strive for balance and honesty based on your experience. Also, be sure to tag the review (whether it’s a blog post, video, or user-generated reviews) as a review. People often search for the name of something + review. This will also help you get noticed in the search rankings.

5. Make a Video

If you are promoting offers for a product that you can show or demonstrate – make a a video. Or do an unboxing video. Video is a an effective and powerful way to show off a product. It also will get people to spend time on your site. If the offers are for a service or something that doesn’t lend itself to being demonstrated, you can still do  video. but you’ll need to get creative. For example: you can use software to weave together still images of a hotel or destination you re promoting. Overlaying text on the images can make it more unique. Your audience will still have the visual experience even if it’s not “live” moving images.

6. Celebrate a Holiday

We’re not talking about just leveraging the big/obvious ones like Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, etc. There are plenty of other days that you can use as a hook to tie into promotions. There are calendars that show offbeat and funny holidays (think Golfer’s Day, International Museum Day, National Wine Day, National Dog Day, and more).  You can use these as a jumping off point to create interest and excitement For example: if you’re promoting a hotel, or a travel destination, and it’s Golfer’s Day, you could promote the idea that the hotel brand has many locations close to great golf courses. Or for National Dog Day, you might highlight that the brand has pet friendly policies. Earth day – showcase elements that show he brand is eco-friendly.

7. Get Social

Don’’t be shy about spreading the news across your social media. One of the most effective ways to drive people to specific landing pages or pieces of content is to promote those offers to your followers. Use consistent branding and links across all platform, but tailor each message to the audience on the specific social outlet.

8. Boost a Post

If you have an offer, content or something that you’ve promoted on social media and you feel that it’s simply not getting the attention it deserves – boost the post. It’s often just a few dollars to boost a post on a social media platform. On Facebook the cost an be as little as $10. This enables you to see how these offers perform and if it’s worth it to purchase an ad on that platform in the future.

9. Leverage your Newsletter/Email List

If you’ve recently signed up with a program, let those that have opted into your email list or newsletter know. You can send them an email with the new offers. Including any new promotions in your newsletter is also a great idea. Highlight new programs offers as “Hot Deals”. Think about maybe even offering special or exclusive deals to your newsletters subscribers. Be sure to include offer links that go directly to your landing page.

10. Pin It!

If you already have a Pinterest account, add a board that specifically focuses on whatever you’re promoting from the newest program you’ve joined. Pinterest is a good way to visual promote offers. And remember that Pinterest is often aspirational. So, if you’re promoting travel and destinations, use compelling images that evoke emotions.

Good luck with promoting the new program you’ve joined. And, as always, reach out to  the affiliate program manager if you have any questions. Chateau 20 loves to help affiliates be productive and successful.

Read Get Started Promoting New Affiliate Programs – Part 1

Get Started Promoting New Affiliate Programs – Part 1

started with new affiliate programsYou know that feeling of excitement when you first sign up for an affiliate program? There are thoughts of “I bet I could make a lot of money with this one”. But then you get distracted. You get in the weeds with day-to-day tasks – social media, adding offers for other programs, writing blog posts, etc. The list goes on and on.

Chances are that if you didn’t start promoting offers from that new program immediately, you’re going to keep putting off. Eventually, you might just forget you even signed up.

So, here are some simple ways to get productive with a new program immediately – even if you feel like you have some hurdles.

Change Your Mindset

Don’t think of joining a new program as more work for you. Instead, remember that for every day you’re not promoting that program, you’re leaving money on the table. So, if you feel your time is worth $15 or $25 or $50 an hour and you spend 4 hours working on getting started, you may have spent up to $200 worth of effort. However, if that effort yields an additional $200 a month, it more than paid for your initial time.

Don’t Procrastinate

It’s human nature to put things off. We get it, you’re busy. But even if you just start with baby steps, it’s better than nothing. Just put up the links. Build the landing page. Write a blog post. Promote the program in your newsletter. Also, once you do something (anything, really) you’re more apt to continue. It’s kind of like changing eating habits. It’s always a big effort at first, but once you start to see results, there’s more motivation to keep going. And earning commissions should be the ultimate motivation for your affiliate business.

Look at What Others are Doing

Maybe you signed up for program on a whim. The opportunity was there right in front of you  and you just figured what the heck. But now you’re not even sure what is the most effective way to promote this program. Or maybe you just can’t think of an appropriate blog post, if you’re content affiliate. There’s no harm in checking out what other affiliates are doing. It’s easy enough to do a search for the merchant and see what is ranking. You can then see if there are affiliate links on any of those page. Spend some time perusing affiliate sites and see how they’ve promoted the offers. We’re not advocating you copy from other affiliates, but rather look to them for inspiration. Then you can put your own twist on things.

Don’t Ignore Communications

Your inbox is bursting at the virtual seams. But don’t ignore the communications from the affiliate manager. Most affiliate managers try to be respectful of your time and if they sent you an email, there’s worthwhile information or offers included. The same goes for the regular newsletter communications. Be sure to read them to make sure you’re not missing out on a valuable promotional opportunity that will make you money. Often these communications will also include quick tips and ideas that can help you get started.

Ask for Help

Affiliate program managers want you to succeed. So, if there’s something you need (additional creative, more details about the best methods for promotion, specific target demographic info) speak up! Shoot an email. Pick up the phone. A good affiliate manager is eager to help you. They are immersed in the program and should have educational materials, ideas, and knowledge of what works and what doesn’t. Ashley Holyoak, Chateau 20’s Publisher Development Manager, suggests asking your affiliate manager for the best-converting creative. They’ll be thrilled to send it to you.

The important thing is simply to get started. However, once you’ve decided to put forth some effort to begin promoting a program, you’ll need a plan for making the most of the opportunity.

Read get Started Promoting New Affiliate Programs – Part 2 for actionable promotion tips.

Focus on the Big Picture of Your Affiliate Business

big picture affiliate businessSometimes affiliates can get mired in the day-to-day running of their business. That can mean a daily deluge of posting new creatives, updating offers, adding new content, and engaging and promoting via social media. It can be overwhelming – not to mention time consuming.

It’s often said that in order to move your business forward you need to work ON your business and not IN your business.Sometimes it’s difficult to see the larger picture. Especially when your earnings are the direct result of executing your daily tasks.

Imagine, instead of spending all your time on the day-to-day,  taking a full week to implement efforts that will make you more money. You may sacrifice earnings from a single week. Perhaps a costly choice. But what if that effort produced a 10 to 20% lift in weekly income going forward? Wouldn’t that make working ON your business a worthwhile priority?

Here are some signs that you might be working too much IN your business and not enough ON your business:

1. You’re Not Questioning the Status Quo

If you’re simply moving from activity to activity, or project to project without a plan, that is cause for concern. Growing your business is not just about getting the daily tasks done. You can hire someone to tackle those things. You shouldn’t always be heads down. Instead, you should be asking why are we doing things this way? What would take the business to the next level? How can I improve things? Are there new partners I can work with?

Red Flag: No planning blocks scheduled on your calendar.

2. You’ve Stopped Listening

You’re not seeking input from those working with or for you. You are not soliciting idea, insights or suggested improvements.  It’s never healthy to think or behave as if you have all the answers to every problem. By ignoring outside perspectives you’re missing out on more than information–you’re missing out on building team moral.

Red Flag: Thinking or saying: “This is how we’ve always done things!” is a signal you’re shut down.

3. You’ve Become a Control Freak

It’s your business and you know best what and how to do everything.

Expertise is valuable. Dependency is crippling. If your business can’t operate effectively without you, it’s vulnerable to instability. Doing more (and more) yourself, with higher expectations for better outcomes, adds personal stress–not professional scale.

Red Flag: A profound sense of ‘security’ based on your lengthy To-Do list.

4. You’re Unable to Admit Mistakes

The ability to admit you were wrong is no longer there. Or maybe you’ve become too attached to your ideas. Or maybe a strong sense of perseverance won’t let you stop – even when what you’re doing is unsustainable. In either situation, the result is ultimately the same: the big picture is lost.

Red Flag: You rarely acknowledge wrongdoing — even minor goofs.

5.You’re Just Too Busy

“I just don’t have the time to do anything else!” If that is your daily mantra, you may be in trouble. Additionally, it’s a problem if you’ve started to rationalize NOT taking the time to do other things. This is a clear sign that you have started down a path of potential misfires and bad decisions.

Red Flag: Others frequently tell you: You’re really busy.

If you find that you have experienced one or more of these warning signs recently, do yourself and your business a favor: take a half-day for yourself. Get out of your own way. Spend time away from your office and business. Think about where you want your business to be in the next several months or year. It’s a good time to dust off your business plan and see how close you are to the plan with your current state of affairs.

Chateau20 Celebrates National Puppy Day

It’s National Puppy Day!  The C20 team loves our canine pets. So, we thought we’d share some photos of our furry, four-legged family members. Not all of them are pups anymore, but they’re still adorable.

C20’s Doggie Team Members

[caption id="attachment_1422" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Brandi Feuer’s pup Emma[/caption]

 

 

[caption id="attachment_1420" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Chris Park’s office helpers Colt the Yellow Lab and Mauser the Miniature Schnauzer[/caption]

 

[caption id="attachment_1421" align="aligncenter" width="225"] Lisa Riolo’s buddy Connor[/caption]

 

Our clients also love pets too.  Choice Hotels offers more than 2,500 pet-friendly hotels where pets can stay with their humans. That’s just one of many reasons to love Choice Hotels.  Are you currently part of the Choice Hotels affiliate program? If not, contact Chris Park (cpark@chateau20.com).

 

Meet the Team: Ashley Holyoak

At Chateau 20 we enjoy really getting to know our clients, partners, and affiliates. Actually, we’re pretty obsessed about it. And we’d also like you to know more about us. You have probably talked with a Chateau 20 team member on the phone. You’ve definitely gotten emails from them. So, if you’ve ever wondered, “What is Ashley Holyoak’s pet peeve?” or “Does Ashley have a hidden talent?”  Here’s your chance to find out.

Ashley Holyoak, Chateau 20 Publisher Development Manager,  answers 20 questions

Favorite food to eat: Indian Curry

2.The one dish you cook to impress someone: Chile Rellenos

3 .Go-to karaoke song  Uhhh.. I will sit back and watch 🙂

4. First job you ever had: I was the mouse at Chuck E. Cheese. I quit after two weeks.

5 .Biggest pet peeve: People chomping!

6. Hidden talent: When I was younger I used to replicate characters from VHS movie covers.

7. Proudest accomplishment: My husband and I recently patented our first product!

8. Most cherished possession: My family

9. When it comes to social gatherings – is your preference to be the party thrower or the party goer?: I love the thought of having people over and entertaining, but don’t want to clean the mess. So, I usually opt to be the party-goer.

10. Your biggest fear: Circumstances I can’t improve or change.

11.Three words your friends would use to describe you: Positive, supportive, and driven

12. Your quirkiest habit: I love smelling soap containers – dish soap, laundry soap. It’s a problem.

13. Band or musical act you’ve seen at least 3 times: I don’t get out very often, but I did get to see Danny Gans perform 3 times before he passed. He was a great performer!

14. Dogs or cats?: Dogs! Especially small ones!

15. A book you love and have gifted to several friends: I haven’t gifted any books, but my favorite are personal and spiritual growth books.

16. Describe your personal style/look: Somewhat trendy, but also comfortable.

17. Your perfect Sunday: Disconnecting from technology and enjoying time with my family.

18. Your celebrity crush: I don’t really have any, but I used to be way into Scott Stapp, who was the lead singer of Creed.

19. Your first car: Toyota Corolla

20: What are you passionate about?: Finding happiness and enjoyment in everything I do.

Want to know more about Ashely’s professional background? Check out her LinkedIn profile.