3 Tips to Overcome Public Speaking Nerves

Snakes, sharks, piranhas, spiders, being buried alive – these are just some of the things people consistently say they fear less than speaking in public. On almost every list or countdown of our greatest fears, public speaking is almost always at the top. The potential for massive embarrassment makes us shutter with fear. Unfortunately for some, public speaking is a vital skill in business. Frequently you will be required to speak in front of meetings, boardrooms, and gatherings. You will not only have to communicate adequately, but eloquently as well. A good public speech could be the key to motivating your employees, frightening your competition, or convincing new customers. To be a successful entrepreneur, you simply need to overcome your fear of public speaking. Hopefully, these tips will help.

1. Find Your Biggest Critic and Get Lots of Feedback

If you are afraid of public speaking, this tip may seem absolutely terrifying. Having someone critique your speaking failures may be as appealing as rubbing salt on an open wound. However, constructive criticism is perhaps your greatest tool for improvement. Critics can point out what isn’t working and can offer you a different perspective. They can call you out on things you would have never noticed. The initial criticism may sting a little, but it will make you stronger. Knowing that you have already faced your biggest critics and survived unscathed will undoubtedly fill you with confidence when it is time to make your next speech.

Don't write down your speech

This tip appears extremely counterintuitive. While preparation is absolutely vital to a good speech, writing it out word for word may not be the best idea. The best speakers are able to effectively utilize the language that people actually speak. Too often, prewritten speeches come off as overly formal and boring. The audience can tell when you are just reciting something prewritten and they quickly lose interest. You rarely use phrases like "In addition," or "In contrast," while having a normal conversation. The language of prewritten speeches can just be awkward when read out loud. In addition, one small slip up in your recital will destroy your flow and, especially if you are already timid, shatter your confidence.  

Don't let your nerves get the best of you

 Everyone gets nervous and no one wants to see you stumble and fail. A small slip up is usually all it takes for a nervous public speaker to totally lose confidence. Relax. Know that you will make mistakes, and that is okay. You do not have to be perfect. If you are really passionate about what you are saying, the words will flow naturally. It may take some getting used to, but public speaking is a vital skill you can learn.

Looking to Flex Your Word-of-Mouth Muscles?

A personal training business can be a difficult thing to market. While a strong online presence can definitely boost business, most of your clients are going to come from referrals and word-of-mouth advertising. When a client is happy with their progress, and enjoying their time in the gym, they’re going to tell others.

You’re not only training someone to be physically successful, but also helping them to be successful in general.

It’s a very logical outcome --when you work with a customer, not only do they see physical results, but they gain confidence actually feel different. They start to believe in themselves, and they talk about you to their significant other, to their family, to their friends & neighbors. Don’t forget that you're not only training someone to be physically successful, but also helping them to be successful in general. Now you have successful people advocating for you in the community.

Of course, you can expedite this process by taking steps to encourage referrals. Lynne Wells, a personal trainer in New York City, takes a very candid and simple approach, letting clients know when she has an opening in her schedule. “I'll also put postcards out around the neighborhood where I work,” she says. Or you can offer a financial incentive, such as giving clients a discount on their next month’s fee if they send a referral and that person becomes a client.

This doesn’t mean you can’t speed up the process and encourage referrals. Posting flyers in the neighborhood, sending out postcards can help keep you in your client's thoughts incase a friend mentions that “they need to get back in shape”. Financial incentives, such as group deals and bring-a-friend specials can also work wonders.

Create a gift certificate for a free evaluation and one or two exercise sessions to your clients for them to give to someone else. Do this around a holiday, or tie it to some seasonal event to make it stand out. A “get in shape for summer” is a great scare-tactic to touch on the fear of not being beach-body ready.

Getting your foot in with the medical community can be difficult to do, but well worth it. Participate in health conferences, speak at community organizations, and volunteer with groups where you're likely to make contact with health-care providers. If you meet a doctor at a social event, follow up later to let him know about your services, he may just recommend you to clients in need of exercise or a life change. If you have a studio, consider hosting an open house so health-care providers can see what you have to offer.

Boosting your word-of-mouth advertising is the best way to increase your client base. Steadily build your community reputation with these tips and tricks to grow your rate of referrals and boost your growth.  

3 Lessons for Service Based Startups

Often times when we hear of the word, “startup,” we tend to automatically think of Silicon Valley/Beach tech start ups. Or a garage-based company on the verge of becoming the next big Uber overnight. Let’s ditch the social connotations --This term is generally meant for any organization or business on a mission to find a good, repeatable, scalable business model. From Handlr’s personal experience, it’s quite a wonderful ride to be on. The struggles of working from sunrise to sunset, running off to a meeting that started 10 minutes ago, or just juggling life, they’re predominant in our lives. These struggles confront the face of any entrepreneur launching their start up business regardless of industry. We’d like to share 3 lessons we’ve learned along our journey with service based startups:

Bootstrap and hold on tight

Funding your business from your own savings account lights the biggest fire under your @$$. There’s no cushion from a wealthy bank or investor, just you, yourself, and your business-baby. Staying self-funded leaves you no other choice but to focus on revenue and makes you think, “What’s going to make me money from Day 1.” And the perks? You stay your own boss and you learn the value of the dollar much faster. This is why you chose this entrepreneur lifestyle, don’t forget it 

Stay self-funded as long as possible.
— Garrett Camp, founder of Expa, Uber, and StumbleUpon


Be fearless

Nothing will end your career as an entrepreneur faster than fear. Having doubts of the worklife you want will inhibit your visions to come to fruition. Fear is also a game of perception. You can see challenges as opportunities of growth, or obstacles that you’ll be stuck behind forever. Challenges, obstacles, failures, whatever your fear is and however you word it --will always be there and it’s a matter of how you react to them. Failure is expected in our industry and will happen at some point in your career. Just remember, be resilient, take it in stride, learn from it, and get back on the bull.

You jump off a cliff and you assemble an airplane on the way down.
— Reid Hoffman, LinkedIn co-founder


Solve a problem

If you can help people accomplish something in a much more efficient way, or solve a problem, you are probably off to a great beginning in the startup world. Ask yourself, “Is my idea/service different than the competitors in the market?” That’s your value. So provide a solution, find your value, and the profit will follow.

Make something people want.
— Alexis Ohanian, Founder / Reddit, Hipmunk, and Breadpig

Ch. 15 of the Comprehensive Checklist for Growing Your Business: Take time off

You’ve gotten this far into your business - congrats! Let’s take a moment to reflect where it all began. Remember when you thought, “If I start a business, I could avoid the 9 to 5 typical job!” But then, you quickly realized that it was a 24-hour job and you had to stretch your expertise in areas you never thought you needed? During those *precious* moments of scarfing down food in the car, or putting on the same clothes as yesterday because you don’t have time to do laundry, did you ever feel a glimpse of hope that this madness would calm itself down? You can stop the hamster wheel and achieve the freedom you deserve.

Let go of control and put the systems, processes, and people in place that you can trust to run your business without you. Always consider upgrades you can do in your business’ operations that will save time and money. Is it automating your processes? Shifting responsibilities to people with strength in that particular area or perhaps utilizing technology that saves countless labor hours and dollars? These are critical questions and a state of mind that a skilled business owner would always consider. What if something happened to you? Would your business still survive?

Write down your goals for 2016. What do you want your business and more importantly, your life, to look like? Life is short. Do everything you can to make the most out of it now. It may not happen in one night, but take the necessary steps to put your business on autopilot so that you can take a vacation and get paid while you’re not working. You may be burned out, but keep dreaming big and keep taking the steps to move towards your ultimate goal.

By now, if you've read every chapter of the comprehensive checklist, your business should be in a place where you can sit back and watch it run itself. If you’ve signed up to use Handlr, you can have a bird’s eye view of your business in action from anywhere in the world. Book that plane ticket, and experience life that you’ve worked so hard for. And give yourself a pat on the back! It takes guts, will, and fierce determination to be an entrepreneur. Here's to a bigger, better business!

5 Reasons Why Small Businesses Fail


01. Not staying on top of consumer needs

In our previous blog post, “Don’t Fear the Feedback” we stress the importance of always keeping the dialogue open with your customers on how they’re feeling about your business. By always engaging with your audience, you get a direct response of areas of improvements that you may have never identified. This doesn’t necessarily mean taking every word literally and doing as they wish. But figuring out why they have these hiccups with your business, and implementing a strategy that best fits your business’ needs is the way to go. You can broaden the scope of how you collect your feedback by emailing a simple survey, leaving a quick form to fill, or if you’re using Handlr, your customers can automatically review/rate your business right after the service is performed, straight off their phone.

02. Burnout

Burnout is way too common of a problem with small business owners. It’s a double-edged sword to do what you love but it requires so much effort to see little growth sometimes. No one realizes that to be an entrepreneur, is to also sign-up for a 24 hour job. You live, breath, and sleep your business and that can throw you into a crazy, go-go-go mentally. Some tips to avoid the entrepreneurial burnout:

  1. Hire a team you can trust - find skilled, high-quality workers that want to be apart of your business’ growth. From our past experiences, our best employees come from referrals from family and friends, or using hiring platforms like Hireology to match up better candidates and hire smarter.

  2. Don’t be afraid to delegate the work - have trust in your team members to check off some of your tasks. It will challenge them in ways that help them grow, and make them feel like a true MVP on the team.

  3. Put automation in place - by utilizing business management platforms like Handlr, it can save you hours and hours per week on mundane tasks. Forget dealing with that stack of paperwork, and embrace freedom with automated scheduling, invoicing, and more.

  4. Take a vacation once in awhile and don’t feel guilty about it - we all know and need that friend that forces us to go on a weekend getaway. And once in a blue moon, you’ll half-heartedly say yes and go. But so does your laptop, your phone, your forms, and before you know it, you’re still working on your R&R time. Taking a step back and breaking your work state-of-mind is a great thing to do. Listen - it’s a great thing to give yourself a real break. Taking a vacation refreshes the mind and lets you come back to your Monday more focused with new perspectives.

03. Not staying on top of digital trends

Technology is an ever evolving industry, and it’s a challenge for business owners to stay current with already little spare time. This little investment of just keeping in-the-know with the tech industry can pay off big amounts for your business. Check in on the “technology” section of your news source, get ideas from your customers and other business owners, or discovering emerging platforms on your own that could potentially help launch your business is what this is all about. And don’t be afraid to learn new things! Being complacent with your software that was designed in 1999 is definitely holding your business’ potential back - exponentially. It’s time for that upgrade. This also ties in with point 1. of keeping up to date with your customers’ needs. If your customers are always using their phone to find information or buy products, it’s a clear indicator of perhaps you’d want to expand that way as well.

04. Profitable Business Model

At the end of the day, if your business isn’t showing profit, it’s in a state of decline. Identify where the money gets made and shift your focus. It’s a game of trial and error but there’s a tremendous amount of gains to be made. We all know of the beginning story of Zappos where they weren’t even sure consumers would be comfortable with buying shoes online. So what did they do? They threw up images of shoes and a couple of “Buy Now” buttons to gauge the response. Orders flooded in, and they had to scramble to buy shoes from retailers to fulfill orders. Now, they make over $2 Billion in gross merchandise sales per year. The lesson learned? They weren’t afraid to research and investigate where the money was. Identify your profitable strengths or else you’ll end up in the 80% business failure bracket.

05. Out-of-Control Growth

This is an unfortunate scenario of overnight success that we’ve seen too frequent in the past. Businesses nail a product and the demand is skyrocketing high. But the infrastructure is lacking - not enough hands on deck, manufacturers aren’t solidified, the business owner takes out a huge loan to make the ends meet, and things just go flying out of control. Sometimes, baby steps to scaling a business is the route to go where you can control and fine-tune details just the way is needed.

The take aways: Failure is expected in the entrepreneur world but it’s the reaction to it that matters. See failures as a learning opportunity and lesson for the future. A true entrepreneur will get back up from the failures, find a new venture, AND apply the lessons learned from past failures to come back stronger than ever. Be resilient, persistent, and dedicated to the work will pay off down the road.

Ch. 14 of the Comprehensive Checklist for Growing Your Business: Preparing the Army

Putting your business in the forefront of your network will give you the exposure your business needs to reach its potential. If you’re a mobile business ready to scale, Handlr will do that and more. However, some questions must be answered before you make the jump. Are you mentally ready for growth? Do you have enough team members to support all of these new customers? Here are some great starting points if you’re looking to bulk up the size of your company.

Hiring a Bigger Team

  • Ask for referrals. Sometimes, the best workers come from a friend of a friend that knows the person on a closer level. These referrals can vouch for a person’s character and give you more insight to what he/she is like versus sifting through a stack of applications.

  • Use your resources. If your referrals don’t seem promising, it’s okay to turn to Craigslist, Indeed, LinkedIn or ZipRecruiter to find new team members. Some best practices include asking specific questions relevant to the job responsibilities and requiring a cover letter to discover the perfect candidates.

  • Dig deeper. Once you weed out a majority of the candidates, ask for more detailed information in an email and then seal it in by scheduling a phone interview. Once they have passed the phone interview, meet in-person. Just remember, it’s good to have options so don’t be in a rush to hire the first good candidate you come across. Go through all the possible candidates, take your time in getting to know them and invest in a highly skilled team member who’s willing to stay long-term.

  • The nitty gritty. Run a background check on your new hire. It’s a necessity now these days with the job market. Too many candidates make false claims of themselves that could backfire against your business. Depending on your business type, if the team member is required to drive a car for their duties, it’s wise to get a driving record check to make sure that you are hiring someone with a clean record. We like using Checkr to perform all of these tasks.

Now, what?

Paperwork first! If they are an employee, make sure that they read and agree to your Employee Handbook and don’t forget to give them their W-4 form. If they are an independent contractor, be sure to give them their Independent Contractor Agreement and a W-9 Form to fill out.

Update your bookkeeper about your new hires and add them to payroll. You can also use platforms like Zenefits to keep hiring streamlined and easy.

The most important thing you can do to make your new team member feel welcome is to have them build authentic, personal relationships with other members of your team.
— Matt Stjernholm, ReWork Blog

When hiring a new person to join your team, invest a great amount of time to fully train them. Ride along with them for at least one week and then have them ride along with a few of your other team members. This ensures that they get a fully immersive training experience. Setting up a buddy system is setting up them up for success. New hires need resources to turn to when they don’t know what to do or if they have questions.

Bigger Business Book Club: 02

There's nothing quite like opening up an inspirational book to get your creative business minds cranking. Here's our second roundup of business management books we recommend taking a peak at that will benefit you and your business:

  • The Lean Start Up by Eric Ries - "Rather than wasting time creating elaborate business plans, The Lean Startup offers entrepreneurs - in companies of all sizes - a way to test their vision continuously, to adapt and adjust before it’s too late. Ries provides a scientific approach to creating and managing successful startups in a age when companies need to innovate more than ever."
  • From Idea to Exit by Jeffrey Weber - "From Idea to Exit takes a more comprehensive approach, tackling the entire entrepreneurial journey from the initial seed idea through a well-planned exit strategy. Through a persuasive narrative, the author draws from his own success a practical call to action for those who dream of taking that first big step."
  • The Art of the Start by Guy Kawasaki - "Whether you're an aspiring entrepreneur, small-business owner, intrapreneur, or not-for-profit leader, there's no shortage of advice on topics such as innovating, recruiting, fund raising, and branding. In fact, there are so many books, articles, websites, blogs, webinars, and conferences that many startups get paralyzed, or they focus on the wrong priorities and go broke before they succeed. "

Ch. 13 of the Comprehensive Checklist for Growing Your Business: Don’t Fear the Feedback

Often times, we business owners cringe in fetal position with the thought of hearing criticism and feedback from our own customers. Sometimes, hearing those comments can be a little bit too raw and too personal to see the bigger picture it serves. When we talked with a local pet walking business owner, she shared, “I get anxiety attacks when I see an email from Yelp that I’ve had a new review!” I think we can all share that feeling. Let’s try and retrain our minds on how we handle and manage feedback for our business positively.

Criticism = Opportunity

No one likes to be criticized and we all like to believe that we’re Beyonce-level flawless. Unfortunately, no one is without flaw and we tend to discredit them and even ignore criticism altogether. However, most feedbacks that our customers provide presents a great opportunity for improvement. We should want it. If no one ever told us how to do things a better way, our businesses would be in a constant state of mediocrity. Don’t be afraid to ask your customers if they’re happy with your service!

Utilizing Yelp

As biased as Yelp can be, it is a necessary evil. Asking your customers to post their reviews to help you boost your presence on Yelp can benefit your business greatly.  After all, Yelp has 86 million monthly mobile visitors on their platform and most likely, your customers are going to it to seek information about your business.

Ask For It!

Asking for reviews means you also have to monitor it and follow up with them. Even though we’re quick to search for the ‘delete’ button when a 1-star appears for that stickler of a customer, it speaks greater volumes to deal with it. Go head first into the problem and reach out to that customer and make it right. With the latter approach, we often see 1-star reviews get bumped up to a terrific 5-star.

Even sparking the conversation in real-life (I know, what a thought) could open up trust with your customers. A question as simple as, “Are you happy with our service today?” Or following up next time with, “Were you pleased with XYZ last time?” Gives your customers an opportunity to share their thoughts and insights about your business.

How Do You Handle It?

Do you have an internal method of handling customer suggestions and opinions? Some opt in for the good ol’ paper form, some send a survey in an email afterwards, or some might find it conveniently on their smartphone. As the general consumer population is increasingly referring to their phones for everything, a lot of mobile apps are now offering follow-up strategies this way. Particularly with mobile and on-demand services, it’s quite a challenge to find an app that helps you run your business, yet alone manage customer feedback and reviews, until Handlr came along. With Handlr, every service your business completes prompts your customer to tap a star-rating and write a review if they want to. This way, you as the business owner get a precise evaluation for each employee and service. It also alleviates the middle man (Yelp) and directs those not so happy customers directly to you.

So what do you do with all of this information? It’s great to sit and assess what pain points you hear often, patternistic issues that keep recurring, and strategize how to apply changes to your business to minimize those concerns. Again, feedback and reviews don’t have to be hair-pulling and personal. It’s to benefit you as a business owner and your business itself.


A picture’s worth a thousand...dollars?

Blake Warren, Director of Marketing at Handlr

Looking for a proven, sure-fire way to boost engagement and gain more attention to your business? Compelling visuals can be just as important as the content, using high-quality, attractive images can help tell your company's story, and engage your viewers.


Hubspot recently dropped some stats regarding the importance of quality images:


  • Facebook posts featuring images get 2.3 times more engagement than posts without images.

  • Articles featuring an image every 75-100 words pull double the number of social shares than articles with fewer images.

  • Infographics are liked and shared on social media three times more than any other type of content.

  • Buffer reported that for its user base, tweets with images were retweeted 150 percent more than text-only tweets.


Clearly, if photos aren’t a focus in your social media, email campaigns and other customer outlets, they should be. Now where do you find these images? Obviously if you have the means, taking photos or having your staff take them can provide real, genuine insight into your business. Unfortunately, many of us don’t have access to quality cameras and an iPhone can only take us so far. Or maybe your business doesn’t exactly offer the most exciting subjects to photograph. So, while Shutterstock and other paid services provide great quality photos, there are plenty of free options to consider as well. Here are a couple of our favorites:


Picjumbo, “totally free photos for your commercial and personal works,” Thousand of High-res photos with an easy to browse catalogue.

FreeImages has a huge library of images provided by the public. Most are free, however a few do ask you to pay.

Shutterstock - If you’re willing to budget in a small monthly payment, you simply can’t go wrong with Shutterstock. Boasting the most extensive library of images on the web, there’s a reason it’s number one.


Want to edit your new photos? Canva is a great option for a free editing tools to customize and get those images just right.