Biz Bits & Tips
A wealth of knowledge contributed by our members, experts and Biz 2 Biz Links staff.
Founder, The Village Hive Coworking
We are hearing more and more about the crisis of loneliness around the world. Now Britain has appointed a minister for loneliness. It’s no joke. Kudos to them for taking this issue seriously, very seriously. The Harvard Business Review report on Work and the Loneliness epidemic states, "Loneliness is also associated with a greater risk of cardiovascular disease, dementia, depression, and anxiety." (author Vice Admiral Vivek H. Murthy (@vivek_murthy) who served as the 19th Surgeon General of the United States, from 2014 to 2017).
Typical situations of loneliness can be death of a spouse, a young student going off to university in a new town, immigrating to a new country and not knowing anyone let alone the language. But now we are seeing a whole new cause of loneliness,technology. Yes, technology allows us to keep in touch with people more easily and allows us to work remotely from home (everybody’s dream, right?), order food, clothing, basically anything you could possibly need without leaving your home but we are missing out on the face-to-face interactions that were once so important. It is so easy to back out of commitments now because we can text someone to say ‘I’m sorry, I can’t make it” when we are feeling lazy or maybe feeling down or we've been working in our pjs all day and just don't want to bother to shower and get dressed. If we had to pick up the phone to cancel as we all had to do in the good old days, we likely wouldn’t cancel. We'd pick ourselves up and go out and socialize.
"But to truly solve loneliness requires the engagement of institutions where people spend the bulk of their time: families, schools, social organizations, and the workplace."
(Harvard Business Review)
Does Canada need a loneliness strategy? Sure, that would be great but it doesn't solve the problem today. We need to take action on this NOW while the government figures out what they can do and when.
There are many things we, as neighbours, parents, colleagues, teachers, business owners can do. Invite a new neighbour over for a coffee, encourage your kids to set up playdates with new students in their class (almost every month it seems my children have new kids in their class and 9 times out of 10 they are coming from another country and likely know nobody), check in on seniors in your neighbourhood, lift your head up and smile and say hi to people instead of walking around with your head down texting.
If you are working from home like many entrepreneurs, consultants, freelancers and remote workers are doing and you are feeling cabin-feverish and lonely due to the cold winter we are having, I would highly recommend joining a coworking space. The coworking movement thanks to, Global Coworking Conference Unconference (GCUC) otherwise know as "Juicy". It is the largest coworking conference series in the world. Spaces are literally popping up everywhere. They are not just in the big urban centres, like Toronto or New York City. For example, in Ontario there are coworking spaces in Markham, Barrie, Huntsville, Kitchener / Waterloo, Newmarket, Collingwood, and more.
If you belong to one coworking space, you can visit other spaces all over the world for free days. I opened up a coworking space in Markham Ontario two years ago called The Village Hive. I didn’t want to commute downtown Toronto for a job (been there done that), I was tired of the corporate rat race, I wanted to further explore consulting or start my own company but didn’t want to be at home alone everyday. I was inspired, a few years back, when I went downtown to watch a TEDxToronto event at The Centre for Social Innovation. I spent breaks and lunch hour talking to the entrepreneurs and freelancers who were members of CSI. A group of like-minded people coming to together to share workspace but more importantly, to share ideas, collaborate and share a few laughs.
The Village Hive is located in an old schoolhouse in Markham Village. You walk in the doors and you can feel the warm energy of everyone that has spent time in the space since the mid 1800's. We are small but mighty with close to 100 people in our community who come together for networking lunches, pop in to use our flex desks or 'hot desks' as they are called in the coworking world, they rent offices and the boardroom, they hold workshops (everything from weekly work sprints, to how to navigate social media, content strategy for creating products, sales & marketing, how to write a blog, weekly meditation, monthly wellness circles and more!) Sometimes our members just stop in for a visit to see who is around and to say 'hi'. It is their home away from home for those who need to get out of their home offices once in a while. When I ask our members or people who come for a tour, their reason for joining or considering coworking is loneliness and lack of focus at home. Members may come every day, once a week or even just for our Thursday networking lunches to tell stories, share business tips or just to talk about the weather. It gives people a sense of belonging to something, to a community.
I still enjoy working from home in my pjs some days, but I love, even more, knowing that I have a community of amazing individuals that I can call on for support, to share ideas with, to dream with and grow. Coworking is much more than sharing space, it is, as my coworking colleagues across the globe would say, dismantling loneliness.
STARTING & NAMING YOUR NEWSLETTER, EASY OR NOT?
Elsie Silva Kniff
CEO & Founder of Biz 2 Biz Links Inc. www.biz2bizlinks.com
Choosing a name for your newsletter can often time be daunting and the most difficult part of bringing a newsletter to life.
In starting it you need to create and decide on a name that is unique and catchy tile that is engaging. That is not too long or not too short. That is just right.
So as you find yourself in this conundrum, remember there is a process that can simplify.
Step 1 - Target Audience - Who is this newsletter intended for? What they like and dislike? What brings this target audience to this newsletter
Step 2 - Define its purpose - Many times entrepreneurs and small business owners are told, you need a blog and a newsletter. However without a purpose you will be "freestyling" and you will confuse readers resulting in not building the follow-ship of your target audience.
Step 3 - Choosing a name - In essence a reader should have a basic understanding as to what the newsletter is about. You can use Rhyming for example, industry sector words, etc. It is always a great idea to do a brainstorm of words and see if any blend together or flow.
Step 4 - Really know your target audience - Seriously! This is so important we mentioned it twice. Depending on what you want your brand to represent and why you want them to return. Business newsletter, for example can be fun, but may be more serious than a newsletter geared towards kids or parents. You can still be quirky but be relevant.
Step 5 - Determine your content - ensure that your content is fulfilling the purpose of the newsletter and represents your organization's brand, your values and styles. Brand is more than just a logo. The article, the images, the wording, etc. all represents your brand. An image displaying a joke about discrimination would not be your best image for a Human resources website.
Step 6 - Be consistent! If you only have time to produce it once a quarter, then do that and be consistent and on time. If you are committing to a weekly newsletter, consider if your audience will feel inundated and if you can keep it up...every week.
Do you need to get the creative juices flowing? Here are some ideas to get started...
There are so many different categories and audiences. Do his over a lunch and learn in the office or ask for help in you favourite networking group.
Do you have better ideas than mine? Awesome!!! Please comment below and let's share.