Take Five Minutes - Write an article about a problem you overcame

Write an article about a time that you had a business issue and solved it. Publish it as a LinkedIn article or as a blog post and then disseminate across your social media channels.

What is "Take Five Minutes"?


In this series I want to encourage you to take just five minutes out of your busy day to set yourself up for bigger, better success.

People wonder how they can make their dreams come true: very often, it's a matter of working out a way of making a small dent in a big ambition, putting the right systems in place, and making sure that it's easy for these systems to work.

I will share my own systems, so that you can test them and see whether they work for you.

If you want to share a five-minute system with my readers or indeed give me feedback on how this is working for you, tweet me @SusanHayes_

Remember, it only takes five minutes, right now, to change the course of history - your history at least!


Start or restart your business or career blog by writing a blog post with this template.


Write an article about a time that you had a business issue and solved it. Publish it as a LinkedIn article or as a blog post and then disseminate across your social media channels.

You might want to start a blog, or update your existing blog, because you've been told it's a smart asset to promote your business if you're an entrepreneur, or your career if you're an employee. And it's definitely true.

I can attest that a blog is a great way to get the word out about what you do. Writing is one of my go-to business strategies. Publishing articles on my blog has been one tool that has reliably brought me new business.



Writing a blog post in five minutes? Right...


But how do you write for business? How do you find the time, and what do you say? And surely it takes more than five minutes to write a good blog post? These are all valid questions - but I have experienced time and time again that you can make a great start on an exciting blog post in just five minutes.

Yes, writing the full blog post will take a bit more than that, but you can get started and make good headway on the project.

Do you have a blog that's languishing on your website and hasn't seen an update in months? This is just the five-minute strategy you need to kickstart the process of publishing more regularly.


What you need is a step-by-step plan


Here are a few pointers to get you started. Once you get the ball rolling, it will become easier.

1. Think of SEO (search engine optimisation). Make it easier for readers to find you by asking yourself: how would you describe the problem you faced? If you had that problem today, how would you Google it? See what words and phrases are used by other websites, online forums, articles, etc., and make a list of them.

Since you're writing a problem-solving post, make sure your post is easy to find for people who are running into that problem. And of course enhance the profile of your website by using a little SEO magic!

2. Use those keywords and phrases in your post, sprinkled throughout. They will also help you write the post by giving you prompts to think about and sentence starters.

3. A blog post can be succinct, 500 to 600 words will do. You can follow this structure:

- What problem you faced: state the problem you faced, describe how it was holding you back, describe your feelings (worried, powerless...).

- Describe any solution you tried that didn't work, in a few words, and why.

- Describe how you came across the solution that finally worked. Was it advice from a friend or peer? Was it a chance look at an article you discovered on LinkedIn? Was it a Google search? A workshop? Professional help, consulting?

- Describe that solution, where to find it, how to implement it.

- Throughout, keep in mind your ideal reader: somebody who is stuck in the same situation you were. What information do they need? What do you wish you had known at the time? How can you present the information so that it's really useful for them?

- Finally, describe your situation now, after your problem has been solved. What was the impact of the solution? What have you been able to achieve, now that your problem is solved? How did you move forward?

- Spend more time editing: sleep on it, and cut out any needless words. Give it to somebody else for proofreading and clarity.


The incredible advantages of blogging for business or career


This strategy is extremely valuable for so many reasons:

- It will allow you to retrace your steps and make sure you remember the lessons from your own journey

Related: Our Savvy Women podcast guest Amanda Newman started her blog The Career Mum for exactly that reason.

- It will help out others who will find value in your advice

- It's a great opportunity to spread the love and mention the people, agencies, friends, business contacts who helped you, as a way of thanking them. Give them space on your "digital real estate": mention them in your blog post and make sure to tag them, to add a link to their website, their Twitter feed, etc. Email them, tweet out to them, or leave a comment on their Facebook page to acknowledge their contribution, express your gratitude and add the link to your post.

- Over time, your blog will become an exciting archive of how far your business has come - so start today!

- By keeping a record of the problems you faced and how you overcame them, you demonstrate perseverance and self-reliance and how you're a creative problem-solver. Who wouldn't want to work with somebody like that?!

- By publishing and getting your article out there, you will get feedback - people will get in touch to share their own solutions to a similar problem, or will ask you for more advice. This spreads goodwill all round: you learn, you make new contacts, you help out other people.

And of course, publishing new content regularly will help your own website and social media and SEO!

Writing a blog post is a complex task, but it doesn't need to be difficult. What you need is a template, and a process.


"I can't think of any worthwhile problem to share with readers - it will all seem so humdrum..."


What seems trivial to you might not seem trivial to somebody else if they're just starting out. If a friend came to you asking for help with that problem, would you laugh them off and tell them their problem is too small? No, you would help them - and perhaps, if the problem is indeed a small one, they would be relieved to learn that there's a simple solution. Do the same for your readers.


"I will seem stupid: everybody will think 'Sure why was that even a problem?'"


You're never the only one. If you struggled with something, then it's a 100% chance it's not just you. Those who are facing the same issue will appreciate the advice, those who think it's an easy problem might reach out to give you more advice.


"I want to make a good impression - I don't want the competition or my clients to think I'm a failure."


Writing about overcoming problems is the antithesis of failure. There is only one constant in life: everybody struggles at some point. Readers will appreciate that the point is about showcasing how you've advanced and can learn from your journey.

Writing feels daunting for many people. That's why it's the perfect task to approach in five minute bursts if you're not familiar with it. Writing is a set of interrelated tasks: brainstorming topics, writing, editing... Once you break it down into its component parts, you will see it's a lot more doable and immensely enjoyable.


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