Category Archives for General Blog

5 Tips to Hear Those Magic Words From Potential Clients

person helping friend over a wall“You’re the only person who can help me.”

Those are the words we all dream of hearing from clients, isn’t it?

I heard them twice in the past 6 weeks.

I also heard, “You’re the only person I’d want to work with on this.”

That came from a potential JV partner who wanted to discuss a potentially lucrative project idea he had.

Let me tell you what I did — that you can do too — that got the right people – to say those things to me and how you can hear them too.

  1. Embrace your story. I was talking with a potential joint venture (JV) partner last week and this was a recurring theme. One of the things he complimented me on was how I’ve embraced my story and how I don’t hide from it. It was hard to come to terms with to be honest. But once I did I started to see how important it was to what differentiated me.Your story – your hero’s journey if you will – is what gives you the unique perspective on the problem you solve. It’s part of what gives you your street cred if you will.

    No one wants diet tips from Kate Moss. We want diet tips from Jennifer Hudson, Marie Osmond, and others who’ve struggled and won the battle. Your mistakes, obstacles, or challenges aren’t wounds; they’re medals of honor. Wear them proudly.

    Just make sure you’re using your story to help others learn the key points you want them to get out of your message. Remember, there are 4 steps to the marketing / sales process:  educate, elevate, inspire, and invite.

  2. guy on one knee shooting videoUse multi-media. I produce a podcast, called The Courageous Entrepreneur Show. I film it as a video and release it as an audio podcast. I also do Facebook Live videos once a week. Video and audio are powerful because of the emotional connection viewers and listeners are able to make with you. Sometimes I’ve gotten choked up doing an interview or doing a livestream. I just let it happen.What I’ve heard 4 times over the past 6 weeks is that people have watched either my main show or the FB Lives I do as an “after show” on Wednesdays and they’ve felt connected to me. They emotionally knew I was the right person for them. It’s that combination of your message and the emotions you communicate that really connects.

    Believe me, I’m not perfect when I do them. And that’s what they actually like most.

    If you’re resisting using video or audio, ask yourself why. If you can stay focused on the message your sharing and the people who need and want to hear it you’ll become a lot less self-conscious

  3. Write. The written word is still powerful and makes up the foundation of the web. I use my show and FB Lives as fuel for written content. You don’t have to be Shakespeare or JK Rowlings for that matter. Just organize your thoughts and write in a conversational tone and you’ll be fine.You do want to do basic things like use spell check and grammar check. And it can help if you’ve got someone who can review your writing and edit it, but don’t let that stop you.
  4. people standing around talking Participate in online groups. I’m geographically impaired – I live north of Niagara Falls, NY on the US side and if you pay even modest attention to the weather, you know it’s not exactly a fun place to drive in winter – which starts in October or November and lasts until early April and sometimes the beginning of May. So participating in online groups is my primary networking strategy. Follow the group leader’s rules and focus on giving first. Be helpful, supportive, and kind. Let people know what you do without being pushy about it. I now get 98% of my clients and students through groups.
  5. Be you. You can’t be me. I have a hard enough time being me. But I can’t be you either. A massive part of client attraction is attracting the right clients. Few things suck more than working with a client who isn’t a good fit. Marketing and sales are all about helping people decide. A recent study showed that buyers are typically about 60% of the way through the buying process before they want to talk to someone in sales. That means we need to give them plenty of information so when they reach out to us we can help them make that final decision. We’re either right for them or not. And if they decide not, then we should be happy for them and for ourselves. The hardest part of all this is owning who you are and being comfortable with being you. I’m long since passed trying to be someone I’m not. It’s one of the gifts of aging.

We all want clients to come to us ready to buy. And it would be fabulous if JV partners came to us convinced we’d be a perfect match for each other.

To achieve that, we’ve got to get comfortable with and clear about our message, then have the courage to put it out there.

Don’t worry about the people who unsubscribe, tune out, or disconnect from you. They wouldn’t have bought anyway. You don’t need that many buyers to make a really good living and from there you need a few passionate advocates to help you share your story.

But it all starts with a clear message that you courageously share.

So what’s holding you back from getting your message out there?

Branding Lessons from the World’s Only Consulting Detective, Sherlock Holmes

I could read by the time I was 3 and entered Kindergarten reading at a 3rd grade level.

My parents read mysteries so that’s what they bought me, starting with Encyclopedia Brown, Boy Detective.

I soon progressed to Nancy Drew and read every story more than once.

By the summer I turned 9 I had read every book that was even remotely appropriate. So when my mother came home from work one rainy summer day and found me reading one of her police procedurals, she knew she had to do something.

She took it away from me, handed me another book, and said “Here. This should keep you busy.”

book on black table, Sherlock Holmes and The Hound of the Baskervilles

This is the well-worn copy of The Hound of the Baskervilles that I got from my mom in 1971.

It was The Hound of the Baskervilles.

To say I loved it would be a gross understatement.

I read that book over and over and over.

And soon I discovered the rest of the Canon:  56 short stories and 4 novels.

I was in heaven.

I found them in the library and soon started receiving books as gifts, including my prized possession – the two-volume set of The Annotated Sherlock Holmes by William S. Baring-Gould.

In Sherlock, I didn’t just find entertainment through good stories with quirky characters, I found a mentor. A hero.

And a bit of myself.

Sherlock taught me how to observe, how to think, and how to make deductions — sometimes leaps — based on those observations.

Of course I also learned that at home. When you grow up in an abusive environment you tend to develop those skills as you try to avoid triggering the abuse. So reading people and situations quickly and well becomes an important skill.

Sherlock has enjoyed a renaissance in the last few years, especially with the BBC’s modern version starring Benedict Cumberbatch.

I love Sherlock. More now than ever.

Sherlock Holmes teddy bear, Sherlock Holmes pipe, magnifying glass, The Enclyclopedia of Sherlockiana, Elementary My Dear Watson book, deerstalker

A very tiny segment of my Sherlock collection

And I promise you it has nothing to do with Mr. Cumberbatch and his singular characterization of the Great Detective.

Sherlock was a hit from the start. And when his creator, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle decided he’d had enough of the character he’d created, he knew he needed to get rid of him once and for all. So he crafted a story that had Sherlock plunge to his death in a fight with his arch-enemy, “the Napoleon of Crime”, Professor Moriarty.

The outcry was deafening.

Fashionable men of the day wore black arm bands over their suit coats in mourning.

He is truly an iconic character. So much so that Time magazine featured him in one of their special editions:  “The 100 Most Influential People Who Never Lived.”

His image or quotes from the stories (including the misquoted, “elementary, my dear Watson”) have been used to sell all sorts of products and services, much to the chagrin of the Doyle estate I’m sure.

And we know of Sherlock’s impact on forensic science.

But Sherlock even has lessons for us as entrepreneurs. He was self-employed after all.

So since January 6th was his unofficial birthday I wanted to share some branding lessons we can learn from The Great Detective.

Branding Lessons from Sherlock Holmes

Have a clear point of view and don’t be afraid to share it. Whether in modern times or his original, Victorian time period, Sherlock was always direct to say the least.

Be a thought leader. Holmes regularly talked about the “monographs” he published including one on cigar ash. His reputation went far and wide so heads of state and the local police force sought out his advice.

Work on projects that entertain and challenge you. Sherlock didn’t work with everyone and neither should you.

Stay in your genius zone. When Holmes was really focused on thinking he’d even have Watson read things to him.

Give yourself a great — but clear — title so people get what you do. Sherlock is a “consulting detective” and he made the title up.

If you hate marketing yourself, get help. We all know Watson was Holmes’ chronicler. Or in the BBC version, his blogger.

Have a consistent look that presents you well and communicates you’re an expert. Holmes’ deerstalker hat, Inverness cape, and curvy pipe are even more iconic than Benedict Cumberbtach’s coat and scarf.

Keep a close circle of experts you trust who help you and who you involve in your projects. We all need a Mrs. Hudson and a whole group of “Irregulars” to call on when we need help. And it goes without saying that we’d all love to have as loyal a friend as Dr. Watson to work with.

Above all, be you. Because you’re the only one too.

Happy birthday Mr. Holmes.

 

 

It’s a Wonderful (Business) Life When You Accept Your Role as George Bailey

boy sits on crescent moon dreamingAll his life, George made sacrifices while dreaming of a future full of exciting places and big adventures.

He dreamed of creating big buildings and traveling to exotic locations.

As he dreamed, he lived a life of service and sacrifice; preparing and waiting for his dreams to come true.

George had been dreaming of the day he’d escape the tiny town he lived in and had saved a lot of money. He looked forward to spending some of that on his honeymoon with Mary, the love of his life.

Unfortunately for him he got married on the day there was a financial crisis that caused a run on the bank and on the savings bank he ran.

His money went to keep his business afloat.

He worked hard to serve his clients and to be a good member of his community. But he often resented the sacrifices he made and wished business wasn’t so hard.

He once had a big juicy carrot dangled in front of him in the form of a job working for Mr. Potter…the richest man in town who owned everything but the business George and his family had built.

Boy it was tempting to take that carrot.

Enough money to live comfortably for the first time in his life. To be able to give his family the sort of things he wanted them to have and to live in a nicer home.

But he realized for just a moment that if he bent his values and lost control, his customers would have no choice but to turn to the spider-like Mr. Potter whose primary mission in life was control and profit.

So he turned Mr. Potter down and went back to work with his ethics in tact but his bank account still low.

George carried his uncle in his business until one day when the absent-minded uncle made a huge financial mistake on the worst of all possible days to make one – when the auditors showed up.

George believed he was ruined.

He had scrimped and saved and sacrificed…for what? To be arrested for embezzlement and to go to prison when he had done nothing wrong? To have his family shamed?

But George could see no way out of his problem.

snow-covered bridgeStanding on the bridge in the middle of a blizzard, George believed he’d be worth more dead than alive. And as he looked at the freezing, black water below he believed he and everyone else would have been better off had he never been born.

You know the rest of the story.

Clarence, George’s guardian angel, gave George the amazing gift of seeing what the world would have truly been like had George never been born.

George saw what would have happened had he not been around to save people like Mr. Gower, the pharmacist driven by his own broken heart to fill a prescription with poison; Harry, George’s brother who George pulled from the freezing lake when the ice broke and who went on to save thousands of men in the war; his Uncle Billy who couldn’t run the family business on his own and went insane when it failed; the hundreds of depositors who were unable to afford homes or grow their businesses because George wasn’t around to help them. And the community that wasn’t able to grow and become a desirable place to live because George’s impact wasn’t able to ripple out to touch even those who didn’t know him.

Instead negativity rippled out because George wasn’t there.

YOU’RE George Bailey to hundreds, if not thousands, of people.

Your message and your solutions ripple out as people embrace them and apply the information you share, benefit from the skills you teach and use the advice you share.

But each time you choose to play small…to hold yourself back….to not put out a piece of content or share your message…you keep others from benefiting and from living up to their full potential.

The secret to attracting more clients is to put yourself out there more. It’s to demonstrate – to pre-sell – your knowledge, skills, and expertise in a way that resonates with those you’re meant to serve. And that gives them a clear idea of what it would be like to work with you.

I know that can be scary.

You run the risk of rejection.

And it can feel as if it’s hard to get your message right, to choose the right platform to deliver it, to focus your message so it resonates with just the right people.

Marketing isn’t about us, the entrepreneur. It’s about the person we’re meant to help. It’s a way to communicate valuable information that educates and inspires.

Remember, the word “sell” comes from the word “sellan” and the original definition was “to give.”

Those of us who hate selling need to remember that selling isn’t about getting or convincing. It’s about giving.

Giving our message…giving our services…giving our support and processes. Giving our best.

And that means we receive when the person we serve gives back to us in the form of compensation. It’s simply and exchange of value.

We give free information as an introduction and for those who are ready for the changes we help them make, that deeper help has a higher value.

There’s no shame in charging the prices you charge. You deserve to be well compensated so you can do even more good in the world.

So when you resist putting yourself out there…you don’t use video….you don’t update your blog….you don’t create courses and books…you don’t have a podcast or live stream show…and don’t appear as a guest on others shows…and give in to let your ego and pride take over to keep you safe by convincing you that no one wants to hear what you have to say or that they’ve heard it all before….

You’re keeping someone from doing, being, or having all they could.

You’re keeping someone from healing…from learning…from improving…from experiencing the abundance waiting for them. From improving their environment.

No one said this would be easy.

The entrepreneurial life is full of sacrifice and tough choices. But it’s also full of rewards that come from giving our best in service to others.

Each of us is the star of the movie that is our life. But we’re also playing a part in the lives of others.

Sometimes we’re a co-star. Other times we’re a supporting or a bit player.

But if you refuse the role you could play, it’s harder if not impossible for that person to be, do, or have all they could if you only stood up and put yourself out there.

The choice is yours.

woman peeking through a holeYou can stay hidden and protect your ego; or you can come out of hiding and get your message out in a bigger, bolder way and help others as you help yourself and contribute to creating a better world for everyone. Because it really is a wonderful life when you fulfill your potential and help others fulfill theirs.

7 Tips for Painless Holiday Networking – especially for introverted entrepreneurs

Woman with long brown hair has her face in her hands seated at her desk facing her laptop. She's unhappy with or doesn't like what she sees.

Is this you when you get an email to a holiday mixer?

It’s the holiday season and that means lots of parties and networking opportunities.

Did I just hear you groan?

I get it.

As an introvert, I’ve never liked going to rubber chicken lunches or dinners, sitting next to people I don’t know, and feeling like everyone I was talking to was either trying to impress me with their amazing background or was trying to sell me on working with them.

Most of the time, both of those things.

As if that’s not bad enough, then there are the events we have to go to during the holidays with our significant other.

Theoretically we know these are great opportunities to make connections and we know we need to approach these things with a positive mindset, it’s still hard to muster positive feelings when our past experience has been negative.

Like the time I was at an event and a guy walked up to the group I was in, handed us all his business card (like he was a walking poker dealer), and then just walked away.

Or the time when I got home from an event and discovered 3 people had added me to their newsletter list without asking.

Sigh…

But, you can really turn these events into a positive one (or at least make them less painful) by trying one or more of my favorite strategies.

  1. Set a positive intention. Often we go to these things because we feel we have to or we tell ourselves we haven’t been to anything in a while and the holiday event is when lots of other people (who also haven’t been to anything in a while) will come to. So we really don’t have a good reason to go. Or it’s one of those “duty dates” we go on with our significant other. (That’s what my husband and I call an event one of us attends to support the other one.) My positive intention is typically that I’ll have a good time, eat some good food, and make my husband happy (for those duty dates). For my events, I set the intention that I’ll meet some nice people and learn about what they do.
  2. Set a specific objective. I know there are people who use goal and objective interchangeably but here’s how I differentiate them. An objective is the really big picture goal. “Fill my coaching group” is an example. A goal then is a milepost on the way to reaching the objective. “Have an information session with 20 people” is a goal. Goals are more measurable in my mind. So my objective at an event is to meet good potential referral partners.I always focus on referral partners rather than finding prospective clients because if I can increase the number of good referrals I get it’s like other people are doing my marketing. And no one wants to feel sold to at these events anyway.
  3. Set a reasonable goal. Maybe you want to meet 2 potential referral partners. Or you need a graphic designer. Or you want to learn more about the organization hosting the event. Take some pressure off of yourself and recognize the event is just one small step in the whole process of connecting with people And if you’re going on a “duty date” then maybe your goal is to learn more about the people your significant other works with (because they might be able to refer you to clients or opportunities too).
  4. Wear (or carry) something unique. I’m super uncomfortable approaching people I don’t know and introducing myself. I know…the hallmark of an introvert. I love vintage pins though and have a pretty nice collection. I even have vintage holiday pins from the 1960’s. I always wear a vintage pin — something big and eye catching. Sometimes I’ll carry a really unique handbag (I don’t do both). I also love vintage handbags and have some pretty cool ones, but my favorite one to carry to an event is one that was made from a Sherlock Holmes book.  Someone always comments on the pin or the bag and introduces themselves. Ice broken!
    woman's handbag made from a vintage Sherlock Holmes book

    My Sherlock Holmes handbag. Isn’t it awesome?

  5. Have a couple of versions of your introduction. Please don’t think of this as a commercial. You don’t want to hear one anymore than those you’re talking to do. There are a couple of different styles of introduction you can use. And depending on the group or the type of event you might be limited to just 30 seconds or you might have slightly more time. The best thing to do is to talk in terms of the problems you solve and the people you serve. You probably know you never want to lead with your title. That leaves people to define you based on others they’ve met in your past.You could start with “I..what you do…who you do it for…so they can…”But my favorite way to introduce myself is with my Big Idea.You start out by either stating the problem you solve (“You know how….) or state a belief you have (“I believe..). Then give a short sentence or two (no more) about the impact of that problem. You then talk about the general solution most people try to solve the problem; and transition into a sentence or two about your specific solution.

    Here’s a quick example for a tax accountant:
    “I believe small business owners should definitely pay all the taxes and fees they owe the government. But not a penny more. Entrepreneurs have enough to do trying to run and grow a profitable business. Trying to manage the financial end of things and keep track of when to make tax payments is not something they want to worry about but missing a payment can lead to a big penalty and a lot of stress. They try using an accounting software and may even have a bookkeeper but as the business grows and becomes more complex, more attention and focus is needed specifically on the tax situation. That’s where my firm comes in. We help small businesses of up to 50 employees pay their local, state, and federal taxes easily and without a hassle. And our focus often helps clients save money.”

    If that seems too long for you then try simplifying your introduction to focus on just the problem or just the solution.

    Our accountant would say “My firm helps small businesses save on their taxes.” That would lead someone to say “Wow. How do you do that?”

    And suddenly you’re in a conversation and actually talking about your offerings.

    Just keep your statements brief, and focused on the problem and those you solve it for.

  6. Ask lots of questions. I despise talking about myself. So when I’m at an event I ask as many questions as I can without making a person feel like they’re on 60 Minutes and the clock is ticking. So even if they’ve been asking about you and things are going great, start asking them questions about what they do. Resist the temptation to start grilling them about how they handle the problem you solve. Instead, make a genuine effort to learn about them and their business and what they need. This can lead to a good reason to reach out to them after the event is over.
  7. Follow up. This is the only thing business cards are good for. You can write on them about what you talked about and what you want to follow up with them about. If you use something more high tech…like an app or a notes function in your phone…that’s great. The point is to follow up with them in a way that’s appropriate and encourages a deeper conversation. Focus on sharing something useful like an article or resource that could help them with whatever you two talked about.

If you’re really uncomfortable about going to an event, here are two bonus tips that work for me.

First, reach out to a well-connected friend who may be going and ask him / her to introduce you to specific types of people who will be there. This could be owners of certain types of businesses…people who live near you…etc.

And if you don’t know anyone going, then reach out to the organizer of the event. Explain your situation and ask for them to introduce you to some people to help you break the ice at the event. You could ask them to introduce you to the best connected person in the group or someone they think is a natural connector.

Holiday events can be great opportunities to make new connections for the coming year, so don’t dread them; embrace them. The tips I shared can help you stand out and connect with others easier.

What strategies work for you?

How to Easily Add Emotion to Your Copy – Without being sleazy or salesy

I recently reviewed a piece of copy for a client.

It was decent – grammatically correct, short, to the point, direct language.

The problem?

It didn’t make me want to take the action she wants the reader to take.

This client is probably one of the smartest people I know. The work she does is incredibly high value and makes a tremendous impact on the clients she works with by improving sales and cash flow while reducing their stress.

But her copy was “just the facts ma’am” sort of copy.

I understand where this comes from because I suffered from it myself when I first started as a copywriter.

One of the things the clients I served (while working at two different agencies) liked was that they believed I sounded like them and wrote what they’d say if they could think like that.

The biggest thing they liked was that I never made them sound salesy.

While I never tried to be one of those “BUY NOW!!” copywriters, I knew I had to touch potential clients in their heart as well as in their head.

That means that the headline is compelling – it gets the reader’s attention and draws them in to read the next sentence in the copy.

And every sentence is written with the intention of inspiring the prospective client to read the next line.

But you can’t be blah. People are in a hurry. They’re busy. They’re juggling multiple issues.

You’ve got to grab their attention and inspire them to action…whether that’s to join your community by opting in, opt-in for a bigger piece of content than “just” your newsletter, or to make a purchase.

And we’re all super pressured and time-crunched. Especially entrepreneurs, self-employed professionals, and owners of micro firms.

You know that in theory right?

You know that people buy on emotion and rationalize with logic. (Just ask my husband who came home from the car dealership with a different car than the one he went there to buy.)

Here are 4 common reasons you likely find it hard to add emotion to your blog posts, sales pages, and emails. Let’s see which one(s) resonate with you.

  1. You don’t want to be one of “those people.” You know the kind. The ones who make these outrageous promises about the results you could get based on the fact that one outlier client of theirs achieved something big one time. You also know the importance of managing someone’s expectations and the problems that ensue when you lead someone to believe they’ll be rolling in dough virtually overnight.
  2. You’re naturally in control of your emotions. Several years ago when I was working on my husband’s resume and cover letters I reached out to people he worked with and asked them what they liked best about him. What did they think made him so special? One of the things mentioned time and time again was his ability to remain calm in a stressful situation and help them get and remain calm too. That’s actually one of many things I love about him.If you’ve been a manager or higher in an organization I’ll bet people would say the same thing about you.If you’re like me, you saw people who would freak out over the slightest problem (maybe you reported to people like that). You had people coming to you talking about a “crisis” or the latest “disaster.” And I’ll bet you prided yourself on being the voice of reason…the calm in the storm.

    I know I did.

  3. You tend to under promise and over deliver. If you start out making what you see as wild promises you fear you can’t deliver on them so you keep the emotion in your copy very low-key.
  4. You think your audience will believe you’re coming on too strong. I know some of you sell to CEOs, CIOs, and all the other C-suite people, and others sell to entrepreneurs who run multi-six figure and even 7-figure or higher companies. But unless you show you know exactly what they’re feeling as well as what they’re thinking you’re just not going to get their attention.

So here are a few easy ways to dip your toe in to adding more emotion and connecting with the dominant emotions of your audience.

Get to the emotion behind what your audience wants. Yes, your potential client wants to have their problem solved but they want it solved for the emotional outcome solving it provides. People aren’t just “happy” you solved their problem. Are they “relieved” because you took a project over that they weren’t going to get done? Do they now have “less stress” and are “able to be fully present” with family on the weekends now. Think about what you give them. There are emotions in there. Identify them.

Use testimonials. Can’t come up with the words to emotionalize a benefit? Take excerpts from a testimonial. Your clients have no problem gushing about how fabulous you are and the joy they felt when you helped them achieve something.

Get out a thesaurus. Whether you use the online version or whip out your trusty Roget’s, sometimes you just need help coming up with a better word. You can also grab the list of 317 Power Words on Jon Morrow’s SmartBlogger site. Remember, you’re goal isn’t to choose the biggest words, just the ones that are more compelling than the not so exciting ones you’re using.

Remember, you’ve got to connect emotionally with your audience as well as communicate a message that makes sense to them logically.

But clients choose to work with you because they trust you, feel you understand them, and want the solution you offer in the way you offer it. Let them see how much you understand them by using emotional terms that reflects what’s going on in their heart and head.

Do you struggle to use emotion in your copy?

Launching a Nonprofit: Business Lessons for All Startups


To listen to this episode here on the website, click the triangle to the far left of the play bar. To download and save for playing on your preferred device, click this link; then click the down facing arrow on the far right of the play bar.

 

Welcome to the Courageous Entrepreneur Show. This is the show that shares information and inspiration to help you break free from self-doubt, limiting beliefs, and disempowering patterns and break through to create the thriving, successful business you dream of and deserve.

The show features interviews with entrepreneurs who’ve overcome amazing challenges to create success on their terms and experts who share insight and practical information that can help you get past your blocks and move forward with courage, confidence, and clarity.

The show is available in both video and audio format on a variety of platforms including iTunes, I Heart Radio, in the Google Play store, on You Tube and here on my website.

If you like what you hear I hope you’ll share the show with others and I hope you’ll decide to join my community. When you do you’ll get episodes delivered right to your inbox along with information, tips, and resources to help you position and pre-sell yourself as the unique solution provider you are, and ultimately to profit from your expertise and build a business in alignment with your faith, beliefs, and values.

Show Notes

While you may not be thinking about starting a nonprofit, there are many lessons to be learned by hearing about the ups and downs of launching one since as my guest says, it’s really just another form of a business.

This episode has a little longer set of application exercises which I explain at the end of the interview.

In this episode you’ll meet Dr. Monique Y. Wells who is the founder of The Wells International Foundation. Monique is a native of Houston TX and a resident of Paris, France. She is a veterinary pathologist and toxicologist, world-traveler, serial entrepreneur, and arts enthusiast. Her dedication to empowering minorities, women, and young people led her to launch her foundation in 2015 and is the driving force behind its mission.

Listen in as Monique and I discuss…

  • Why she decided to reorganize her entrepreneurial activities under the business model of a nonprofit
  • How she got the foundation off the ground and the hardest part of doing that
  • The difference between a nonprofit and not for profit
  • Things that surprised her about starting and running a foundation
  • What we both wish others knew about foundations and nonprofits
  • The single things she’s most proud of since starting the foundation
  • The similarities between profit making and non profit organizations

As always, listen all the way to the end where I’ll share your reflection exercise and action step for this episode.

Guest Contact Information

The Wells International Foundation Website

WIF on YouTube

Monique on Social Media

Facebook

Twitter

LinkedIn

YouTube

Additional Research, Resources and Information

Business Models for Dummies

Nonprofit Kit for Dummies

 

Need Support and Accountability? Ready to Become Part of a Small Group of Like-Minded Professionals?

Being self-employed is wonderful. Except that it’s easy to get distracted, grab at every Bright Shiny Object, and get confused following every guru.

If you’re ready to get off that merry-go-round and get support to stay focused, identify what to do, and get encouragement along with questions answered on the way to success, then check out the Action Takers Club. Enrollment is open once a month. Get more information here and add your contact details to get information sent to you before open enrollment starts.

 

It Takes Faith in Yourself as Well as Faith in God to Grow Your Business

In today’s gospel reading includes a well-known example of faith:  the woman who had suffered from hemorrhages for years who was healed after touching Jesus’ cloak.

He turns to her and says “Take heart, daughter; your faith has made you well.”

I think this is a great example of the 7 keys to achieving your goals.

  1. Clarity. This involves knowing what you want and being able to realistically assess where you are. No exaggerating your circumstances. Just look at the facts and claim them as they are.This woman certainly recognized the severity of her problem. This story is told in two places in the gospel — Matthew and Mark.Mark’s retelling gives a little more detail than Matthew’s. Mark reports the woman had been suffering with continuous bleeding for 12 years. She’d “suffered many things from many physicians. She had spent all she had and was no better, but grew worse.”After learning about Jesus, she decided that He was her only hope and she decided she needed to try to see him.
  2. Beliefs. Making change and achieving any goal requires believing that change can and will happen. We’ve got to believe several things in order to make change happen and to achieve our goals.We’ve got to believe in God and that He has a plan that includes us. That ultimately all things work for His glory and our benefit.It’s patience to get to that other side and experience the benefit that’s so hard.But the other part that’s hard is to believe that we’re worthy of the outcome we want.
  3. Environment. We have an external environment and an internal environment. Both have to support our efforts to create a life and business in sync with our faith, beliefs, and values. We need an active prayer and spiritual life and need to keep that life “tidy.” We also need to keep our thoughts optimistic (that’s different from just being positive) and focused.Our external environment doesn’t just focus on the state of our homes and offices. It also speaks to the people we work with, live with, and associate with.Science has known for a long time that “gloomy thinking can be contagious” and that shouldn’t surprise us. Just think about the places you’ve worked, where you most happy and where you were most unhappy. One of my earliest jobs was as a secretary in the purchasing department of an engineering firm. The woman at the next desk was one of the  most miserable people I’ve ever known.  As much as I tried to ignore her, I couldn’t. She kept up an ongoing monologue of complaints about everything from the vendors we dealt with to employees in other departments to the weather. Eventually it wore me down and led me to focus on the negative of every day. I was sorry for her but happy for me when her job was eliminated.But I was pretty negative on my own. I had to tune in to my own thoughts and begin to turn them around in order to save myself.
  4. Strategy. The woman in the gospel reading had heard about Jesus. She knew he was powerful and had a reputation for healing. She believed he was her last and only hope to heal her sickness. But she needed a strategy to get there and come in contact with him. There must have been hundreds if not thousands of people who wanted to see and touch him. How would she get there? How would she navigate the crowd to come into contact with him? It took a solid, but flexible plan to achieve the end result.
  5. Skills. In this case, she focused on what she could do. She could take herself there and take advantage of the opportunity that presented itself. Maybe she had called out to him and he didn’t hear her. Maybe she realized that the crowd was too loud or that she’d never get his attention. But her belief that his power was so strong that all she had to do was touch his cloak was enough.One problem we can develop is that we believe we don’t have the skills it takes to achieve our goals. We look outside of ourselves because we’re not enough….not smart enough…not talented enough…there’s something that’s just not good enough about the skills we do have.But skills grow from within. They need the right fertilizer to grow. Sometimes we do need help from an outside source but we need to choose the right one and do what will propel us to growth and goal achievement. We need to focus on the core skills that will move us forward and not on the skills that won’t get us where we want to go or those that distract or soothe us from taking courageous action to move forward.
  6. Courage. It’s defined as action in the face of fear. Standing up for yourself. Identifying your core message and saying it loud and clear. Focusing on communicating to the audience that most wants to hear your message and that will resonate most with it and you. It comes from listening to God and feeling his presence. To moving forward with what you know to be right even though others tell you that you’re making a mistake.If you find yourself chronically unable to take action, ask yourself what you’re afraid of. Fear is often a memory that we project on to something in the future.When you connect your intended action with your faith, beliefs, and values it can give you strength to take the action you need to. Remember, you’re never alone. These are the best times to pray and ask for courage, wisdom, and strength.
  7. Action. Maybe the woman from the gospel story would have gotten well “on her own.” Maybe some new doctor would learn of her case and save her. She could have kept waiting. After all, she’d been sick fore than a decade. She was probably used to it.But she didn’t. What did she have to lose?So she got herself to where Jesus would be and touched his cloak.Can you imagine the joy of hearing “your faith has made you well” after so many years of being sick?Have you been looking outside of yourself for answers that have been inside of you all along? Have you given your power to someone else in the hope that they can “cure” you? Or are you willing to turn inward, to connect with God, and allow what’s inside of you to come out?

Which Classic Monster Are You Most Like When It Comes to Content Marketing

I have a love-hate relationship with Halloween.

I’ve never really understood why people get dressed up and go to the homes of strangers who are then supposed to give them candy. Can’t you just buy it?

And the town I live in says Halloween has to start at some ridiculous time like 5pm.

I’m supposed to stop working early because strangers are at my door and they want free candy?

Makes no sense to me.

Which is why, when I was 8 years old, I told my parents I wasn’t doing it.

The candy was where I was already. I didn’t have to go get more.

But one thing I do love is decorating for Halloween.

Since we moved, I don’t decorate as elaborately as I used to. But I still love to put my favorite pieces out.

This week, as I was putting out my Halloween classic monster beanies, it dawned on me that many of us have content strategies that are aligned with classic Hollywood monsters.

So with all due respect to the various copyright holders, let’s see which classic monster you’re most like when it comes to your content creation, delivery, and marketing.

Wolfman. We all remember this story. A guy gets bitten by a wolf that’s actually a wolfman. The next time the full moon rises, he shows up and starts attacking.

Your monster avatar is Wolfman if you only create and distribute content once in a full….scratch that…blue moon.

Building a brand that solidly positions you as the obvious, trusted authority that creates desire in your audience to learn more and work only with you requires putting out great content on a consistent basis. The absolute minimum is once a month in my opinion. I think it’s reasonable to create something twice a month. So if you’re not sending out regular communications — more than once every 28 days — then it’s time to ask yourself why and create a plan to step it up.

Frankenstein’s Monster. The poor monster maker, Dr. Frankenstein, got overshadowed by his creation and we don’t refer to the monster as his credit says in the movie (“the monster”…how original). Instead we refer to the monster by the doc’s last name.

You have the Monster as an avatar if your content is a hodge-podge of topics, themes, and messages. At least you’re putting out SOMETHING…but since you don’t have a clear and  consistent message then your content doesn’t get people too excited. You actually confuse people about what you do and what you’re the expert at. And we all know “a confused mind never buys.”

You’re not building a strong brand that sets you apart as the go-to person so you’re hard to find and even harder to refer. Without strong positioning as a go-to authority, potential clients or students are likely to waste money on big, expensive programs that don’t meet their needs because the person selling it has a bigger “name” than you do. When you finally do talk to people or put in proposals, you have to work harder for the person to say yes.

Mummy.   Maybe you put out content pretty regularly. And the content is good. But once you publish it you never share it again. In effect, it’s buried. Just like Imhotep, the original mummy played by the legendary Boris Karloff.

Your solid piece of content sits on your website but it might as well be buried inside a tomb. The web visitor had to work hard to find the content and you. Maybe Google and the other search engines have to work hard to find your content to have it appear in the search results because, without the right elements and without consistent, unified content, what you create  might as well be inside a sarcophagus deep inside a pyramid.

Ghost.  The first ghost that comes into my mind isn’t really scary. It’s Casper. Hey, he’s a friendly ghost right (boy am I dating myself or what?)? The problem is Casper only appears to certain people. He’s a scaredy-ghost.

Your monster avatar is Casper if you only create content for “friends”…People who are on your list or otherwise already in your community. You don’t provide that “top of the funnel” sort of content that a new audience member would find helpful to introduce you and your approach.

You’re also a Casper if you create content that doesn’t invite people to take the next step, whether that’s take a quiz, attend an event, or more importantly work with you or otherwise go deeper to achieve the transformation they want and that you provide.

Casper was too nice. He just wanted people to be his friend. Which is nice, but you want a list of people who are highly engaged and ready to take action to get to the next level.

 

Skeleton. OK, skeletons aren’t exactly scary but you can still have one as your content monster avatar.

You’re represented by this monster if you only send out super thin content.

Your articles might share tips but they never have the kind of “meaty” detail that would help them truly understand the action to take.

Maybe you’re stuck in the mindset that “if I share my best tips and how-to’s no one will hire me.” That’s flat out wrong. Someone on a webinar made a great analogy:  You still go to a movie even though you saw the trailer, right? Content that’s meaty and longer does a great job of solidly positioning you as the knowledgeable expert authority while it educates the reader (or viewer…or listener….of whatever). Meaty copy  (1600 words) is actually what people want and gets consumed.

People want real value. And as long as your content addresses an important problem and shares how to fix it, your audience will read it.

It takes longer-ish copy for you to pre-sell your POV, and inspire your consumer enough to take action when you invite them to do so (in other words action on your call to action).

Dracula.  I grew up watching Dark Shadows. Yes, the ORIGINAL one. And no I didn’t watch the reruns.

I ran home from school every day to see it.

I ended up so scared every SINGLE night that I slept with the covers pulled up around my throat until I started having hot flashes 40 years later.

Listen, I know you hate selling. That’s actually a big part of the problem. You’re so terrified of becoming like “them” that you avoid putting out content and when you do put something out you can’t bring yourself to make an offer for fear that people will think you’re salesy.

But…you DO have to eat and you DO have to keep the electricity and Internet on.

So Dracula is your Content Monster Avatar if you only send out content when you want something. When you (your content) shows up, people KNOW an offer is coming and to be honest, they’re not really interested because you’re never around sharing useful information that educates them while elevating you in their eyes and heart. Then you go into hiding again because you’re disgusted by acting like a taker (like Drac…he’s the ultimate taker).

And of course if you act like one of these monsters your business isn’t growing, your brand isn’t growing, and you have to work harder than you want to or feel you should.

This is why a content strategy and content calendar are so important.

Quick Tips to Use Content to Position and Pre-Sell You

Here are some quick tips to really leverage content to position and pre-sell you and make it easier for great clients to say yes to working or learning from you:

Identify your core message, your sub-messages, and stick to them. Remember, your objective is to be seen as the go-to person in the eyes of those you serve.

You can only do that when you continuously share content that’s consistently on-message.

Know what your offerings are and when you’ll promote them. Whether you provide custom solutions all year or you have courses you offer, naturally you want everything to be bought all the time.

But to effectively manage your time and leverage it well you must focus on certain offerings at certain times. Create a calendar – even if it means ballparking what you’ll promote in quarters – and then start mapping out content topics that will inspire and invite the content consumer to take the next step.

You can plan to fill in gaps in your calendar with related topics that may simply inspire people to stay in or join your community. You don’t need to have an explicit call to action to buy or do something.

About 6 to 8 weeks before you launch, start sharing educationally-focused content tied directly to the problem addressed by your offering.

Get people excited about the next content piece in the process. Help them see that this is a series and encourage them to keep an eye out for the next piece. Share a couple of bullet points with them to get them interested in it.

Identify themes and events then tie them to your content. That’s what I did here. I capitalized on the holiday of Halloween and used what was in my house. This helps inspiration show up for work and do her job.

Create a calendar and schedule the work. This is one that I’m still working on myself.

To make sure our work has as much impact as possible, we need to map out our schedule to include time every day to work on the small pieces of content (like articles or short videos) and the big pieces of content (white papers, books, or video series for example).

Micro steps are the best way to do it. Just a few minutes every day where you capture your thoughts on your content will get you farther than trying to block out an entire day or even an hour to get something done.

Publish, share, share again. Sure you posted the article on your blog and maybe shared it on your other social sites, but do you have it automated through a tool like Hoot Suite to go out periodically?

Re-sharing content is a very smart move, especially if your content is evergreen.

Content creation doesn’t have to be scary.

It’s exactly the best strategy for someone like you who hates to sell and isn’t crazy about marketing.

The word Sell comes from the word Sellan which means to give.

So embrace that original definition and the formula, Educate => Elevate => Inspire => Invite. Then you’ll be on your way to position and presell yourself as the go-to trusted authority for your best clients.

Upcoming Content Strategy Workshop: The Write Plan

Ready to create a simple content plan you can stick to, that positions and pre-sells you as the trusted authority you are? Then come to my upcoming workshop The Write Plan. In this interactive workshop taught live over two half-days, you’ll…

  • Focus your message
  • Create a content strategy
  • Plan an editorial calendar that warms up your audience and supports your offerings
  • Plan your work schedule so you know what to create, when to create it, and do it without killing
  • yourself.

How the course is taught

The course is taught live and you’ll have access to the recordings, get the handouts, and templates. And I’ll be hosting open Q&A calls as a way to support you through the implementation process for at least 3 months after the event.

Who the course is for

The program is specifically for coaches, consultants, and other solo service providers who hate selling (aren’t crazy about marketing) and who want to position themselves as the clear solution to their audience’s problem.

Cost

The early-bird price for the course is $147 and goes up to $197 at 5pm on Monday, October 16th.  Click this link to register.

Does Your Business or Offering Pass the Toilet Paper Test?

roll of toilet paper on holder mounted on wall“…Your business needs to be like toilet paper and toothpaste…”

That’s the advice Jason Alba, founder of JibberJobber.com  and this week’s guest on The Courageous Entrepreneur Show  got from someone he was discussing his pricing model with.

The advisor went on to explain that toilet paper and toothpaste are the sort of thing that people look at and immediately understand what they are and what they do. The potential buyer can then quickly decide to purchase without a lot of agonizing over the decision.

He recommended that Jason’s pricing model be that clear and simple.

That got me thinking about all the times I’ve met someone at an event and couldn’t understand what they did or offered.

And it got me thinking critically about my own rebrand and my new offerings.

It’s not easy to be “like toilet paper and toothpaste.”

Here are some tough questions to ask we all need to ask ourselves that can help us see if we passed the TP test.

  1. Does your offering solve a problem that people are highly motivated to solve? If it’s seen as something that’s “nice but not necessary” it’s probably something the buyer finds easy to say no to, cut back on, or completely eliminate from their life. That means you need to focus your offering(s) and position them so they’re targeted to an audience who is highly motivated to take action or they’re structured to fix a problem that’s critical to solve.
  2. Is the perceived value and perceived uniqueness of what you offer so significant that the buyer is willing to pay your price without negotiating? One of the reasons I got out of pure consulting is because I hated the whole proposal-writing / negotiating thing. I don’t inflate or pad my prices.

That means I didn’t have anything to negotiate with.

If there was something in the proposal that someone was willing to live without or an outcome they were willing to do without then I could remove that which would lower the price but there’s no negotiating. But lots of people feel like they have to negotiate because they’re conditioned to with an entrepreneur whose business is built on a consulting model.

I also had to admit that I wasn’t perceived as totally unique.

This is painful to admit but important.

Once you recognize that you’re out of alignment with yourself and your beliefs, you can recognize things like you’re trying to follow a model that’s not right for you.

  1. Is your messaging so clear and to the point that when someone comes to your website they can make a relatively fast decision to take action — by buying from / working with you or reaching out to you to have a conversation that more often than not leads to a sale? Answering this question takes knowing your numbers and your stats – things like number of unique visitors to your site, length of time on a page, bounce rate (the percentage of visitors who click away from your site after viewing just the page they landed on), along with your number of opt-ins, marketing or sales conversations, or actual purchases.
  2. Is your messaging so clear and to the point that when you meet someone for the first time and they hear your answer to “So…what do you do?” they tell you they know someone who needs your services? And when they connect you to that person they were right – it IS a person who needs your services.

Really tune into the nonverbal cues others are displaying when you talk and fully listen to what is being said in response to you.

Also examine the quantity and quality of your referrals. If you’re constantly wondering why you get poor quality referrals — people you don’t and can’t truly help — then that’s a sign your message isn’t simple or clear.

  1. Are you where your targeted audience segments can easily find you? Toilet paper and toothpaste are now sold virtually everywhere but we know two places where we can always find them – the grocery store and drug store. If you’re not everywhere your audience is, are you in at least the top two places they go for information? That means are you being found when they search for information and are you in one other place where they commonly go? If you don’t know what words they search with or what they commonly look for then I recommend doing some research by talking to potential great clients. You can also join groups where your best clients are likely to be and then listen to their conversations and read their posts.

Keeping your messaging, offers, and pricing simple while sharing useful content through blog posts and social networking sites is a key element of selling your services when you hate selling. It helps you communicate what makes you truly unique, educate your audience while elevating yourself as a trusted authority and demonstrating your expertise which can help you pre-sell someone on working with you, buying from you, or referring to you.

Which of these questions do you struggle with the most?

 

The Answers You’re Looking for Are Inside You

In Monday’s episode of The Courageous Entrepreneur, Dorit Sasson and I discussed her “running away” from life in the United States to a new life in Israel where she had / has duel citizenship.

She was in college at the time and was what I’d call a “seeker.” Someone who had no idea what they wanted, where they were going, or even who they were.

In other words, she was a typical college student.

She was also looking to escape a mother who had become suffocating.

Although Dorit’s mother loved her and was a talented musician with her own career as a concert pianist, she was “fearful of everything.” That’s naturally suffocating; and Dorit was anxious to get as far away from her and that feeling of suffocation as possible.

Relocating to Israel was certainly a way to escape.

One of the issues that resonated with me and that left me thinking long after the interview was this issue of running away.

I know there are people out there who would tell Dorit that she should have stood up to her mother and said “enough!” Or that she should have just ignored the woman and her fears.

Just like there are people who think I should have stood up to my mother when she began to belittle and verbally abuse me in adult hood.

But WE’RE in the moment. It’s up to us to make the best decision we can IN that moment.

And sometimes, running away is actually the best thing to do.

True it might be avoiding the problem but I think of it as giving ourselves time for self-protection and to allow us time to collect our thoughts so we can address the problem in a healthy way.

Of course we think we’re running away FROM someone or something…something outside of ourselves, and running TOWARDS something else — a person…a place….a thing….even just running towards the unknown when the KNOWN is not what we want.

We believe that the answer is outside of us when in reality it’s INSIDE us.

Dorit had to work through different issues when she was in Israel. Life wasn’t perfect.

It’s never perfect anywhere (at least not until we grow to the point we’re able to see the perfect imperfection in it all).

She had to reflect, and grow, and figure things out for herself. And she needed to do all that without her mother’s interference.

If you missed this episode you can access the full post with show notes here or you can listen or download the recording here.

Reflect on what you may be running from in your life.

What truth are you not facing? Who and what would you and could you become if you faced it and used it as an opportunity to truly grow.

Are you still haunted by a mistake you made?  By some perceived failure?

Are you running away from some situation that’s left you guilt ridden?

The answer to our greatest problem is inside ourselves.

Accessing that answer takes reflection…prayer….connecting with God and deepening our faith and trust in Him.

Looking outside of ourselves for answers — from gurus or pundits or so-called experts — but what really needs to happen is to become more in tune with God’s message for us.

I heard pastor Joel Osteen say that we don’t hear God’s message because we’re listening for it with our ears and He’s speaking to us in our hearts.

We also struggle to access the wisdom within because we feel so inadequate…as if we’re not good enough…to know the answer. Others must be smarter than we are.

So instead of running away from a problem, what if you ran towards God and asked for help….for strength….for clarity…for wisdom?

The answer your looking for and the courage you need is inside you waiting to be accessed through a connection with the Holy Spirit.

 

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