It was decent – grammatically correct, short, to the point, direct language.
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.
I know I did.
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?
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.
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.
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…
As always, listen all the way to the end where I’ll share your reflection exercise and action step for this episode.
Monique on Social Media
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.
He turns to her and says “Take heart, daughter; your faith has made you well.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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…
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
The answer your looking for and the courage you need is inside you waiting to be accessed through a connection with the Holy Spirit.
In part one of this article, I talked about what self-sabotage is, shared some symptoms, and talked about what it takes to break free from it.
I shared the list of 10 elements to break free from self-sabotage and to begin to set yourself up for the break through you want and deserve.
In this article (which is actually an excerpt from the book I’m writing on being courageous in business), I share details about embracing and implementing the 10 elements.
Become Self-Aware. All change starts here.
Each of us has blind spots – aspects of ourselves and our personality that we don’t see, yet others do.
If you’re frustrated that you haven’t been able to achieve your professional or your personal goals, you have to ask yourself why that is.
The ego often stands in the way and keep us from seeing what others see, especially if we’ve been conditioned not to see it or if the ego senses facing it will be painful. And it can be. At about 24, I had it pointed out to me that I was incredibly negative and never had a nice word to say.
Naturally I thought the person who told me that was full of it and I said that. I found myself realizing she was right and that started me on the path to knowing myself, facing what I didn’t like, and making the changes I knew I needed to make. But it’s a never-ending journey.
Accept Responsibility. Once you become Aware, your next step is to Accept Responsibility for 4 things:
Give up blaming others, the economy, technology, or anything else that you think is standing in the way of achieving your goals and creating the abundant, joyful life you keep saying you want.
No one made you angry. The button was there to get pushed.
No one forced you to spend money you don’t have on a program that’s not right for you. You decided to do it. This can be very painful to do because the ego is trying desperately to protect you. It wants anyone and anything else to be responsible for your emotional pain, your financial problems, your business frustrations, and whatever else has you upset. Believe me, I know really awful stuff can happen in our lives and in the world in general. But as I discovered in my recovery from the lingering effects of abuse and the brain injury I sustained, each of us is in control of how we choose to think and act when things happen. I always say “you have to play the hand you’re dealt.” Will you play to win?
Get Clarity. It seems so simple, doesn’t it? To just declare what you want? I’ll bet we want lots of the same things – more clients, more money, we want to charge more, we want to write more books…create more programs and help more people. But that’s not clear at all.
We must be crystal clear about WHAT we want. It should be 3-D in our minds.
I tell clients that if what you want was a suspect then your description should be so clear that a cop would arrest them.
Often what keeps us from getting clear is we get caught up in trying to figure out the how.
We don’t have to agonize about the HOW. God….the Universe….Universal Intelligence….Source….whatever term you use to describe it (for me, it’s God), will take care of the HOW.
That doesn’t mean you don’t have to take action because a big bag of money is going to show up on your doorstep every morning. What it does mean is God / the Universe has you covered. Our job is to pay attention to the signals we’re sent and say “yes” to the opportunities we’re presented.
There are two big reasons we struggle to be clear about what we want.
The first one is we truly don’t know what we want. We’ve spent so much of our lives as employees fulfilling the company’s goals and mission that we don’t know what WE want. But the bigger issue is we don’t believe we deserve what we want.
That single issue will hold you back more than you know. It’s the heart of self-sabotaging behavior and it’s a false belief. It’s not even OUR belief. It’s something we absorbed from what others – typically in power over us – told us and / or showed us.
I’m here to tell you that you’re a part of the Divine. You are worthy of everything you dream of and hope for.
Get comfortable with discomfort. Every guru, coach, consultant, and probably therapist will tell you that you need to come out of your comfort zone when you’re an entrepreneur.
That’s something we nod our heads about – who doesn’t know you need to be an “out of the box” thinker? We’re all sick and tired of hearing that worn-out phrase, especially when no one really explains it. That famous philosopher, Anonymous, once said that “self-employment is the most intense personal development program you’ll ever be involved with.” I’d add “and the most expensive” to that.
It’s true. You come face to face with crap you didn’t even realize you had or is so old you thought you’d dealt with it ages ago.
Mark Baker a speaker, coach, and trainer in the UK explained on an [episode of my podcast](http://winnieanderson.com/abused)that our disempowering beliefs resurface every time we hit the next level or get ready to make a leap to that next level.
It doesn’t matter that we dealt with our unworthiness way back when. That fear comes back as you try to up-level your game and your business. And when it does we can easily get trapped all over again.
I think this is one of the biggest aha moments I’ve ever had myself. So we’ve got to accept that these thoughts are likely to reappear until we reach a supreme level of enlightenment.
We’re going to face challenges every step of the way as we build our business. It’s up to us to embrace it and move over, under, through, or around it.
Resolve Internal Conflicts. If you’ve heard me talk about how to sell when you hate selling or how to achieve your goals, you’ve likely heard me talk about this before.
I think it’s one of the big issues that we just don’t recognize: That our Needs are in Conflict with our wants.
Each of us has needs – all humans share about 15+ needs.
Some we’re born with – food, clothing, shelter, love – and some we develop over time, like my incredible need for independence.
Let’s say you want more clients (pretty vague I know but we’ll go with it for now). Getting clients may involve having marketing or sales conversations with people and that means putting yourself at risk of rejection.
If you have a Need for love and acceptance and if that Need is stronger than the Need(s) that would be fulfilled by landing a new client, you’re likely not going to make the sale and you could in all likelihood sabotage the meeting and not have the sale go through. Or you may never put yourself in the situation where you can have sales conversations with people because your ego is terrified of the hurt and rejection you feel when you hear “no”.
When you find yourself resisting something it’s likely because you have a Need that’s in direct conflict with the Want that you think you want. You’ve got to cross the “bridge of fear” to go from where you are to access the Want on the other side.
Detach from the Outcome. When we get upset – we’re depressed because a prospect said no or a current client isn’t going to renew…..we burst into tears because our website is infected with malware (ok that was me)…or some troll posts a negative review of a book….the reason we have an emotional reaction is because some emotional sore spot has been hit.
I grew up with a mother who called me stupid from the time I was a toddler. Even now, if I make a mistake it still stings because it raises that specter that I really am stupid.
The key here is to feel the emotion and name it. Then ask yourself “Where did this feeling come from?” Then you can acknowledge the emotion is an old one from an old wound.
I once worked with a client who sold memberships in an association. She told me that she felt that every “no” she got from a prospect was a direct rejection of her and it would depress her for days.
That’s an example of being emotionally invested in the outcome.
Those people weren’t rejecting her; they rejected membership in the association.
It was a business decision to them.
The greatest emotional freedom came for me when I realized this fact: That people make their decisions based on the information given to them and the emotional desire to have the transformation offered.
If people said no to working with me, they said no to working with me. That in no way meant I was less than a person. It wasn’t a reflection on me personally and it didn’t mean my husband or God would no longer love me.
See, that’s the problem. We’re truly looking for love in all the wrong places.
What we call “mistakes” or even “rejection” we must start to see as data and data only.
Because then we can begin to figure out how to get a result that’s closer to what we want.
If people aren’t opening your email, it doesn’t mean they hate you or that you can’t write. It could mean that your subject line didn’t grab them (well writing headlines is a skill you can learn), or your email might have landed in their spam folders (you can learn what triggers email to get in spam folders).
Allowing things to emotionally upset you gives your power away.
You’re still lovable. You’re still a good person. No matter what happens with your business.
Embrace Your Uniqueness. Teenagers are famous for this internal conflict of wanting to stand out yet wanting to fit in. As we age, we struggle with the same issue. And as corporate employees we know that there was a limit to how unique we could be.
While we wanted to stand out and be recognized so we’d get promoted (or just to keep our job!), we didn’t want to stand out too much or be seen as someone who was an egotistical jerk.
After a decade or more in corporate life we may become sogood at what we do that we don’t even see our skills as unique. There are lots of ways to position yourself – which involves claiming and embracing what makes you different. The point is to be unique in a way that matters to your audience and to amplify that.
And trust me…you ARE unique.
Be the Leader. Merriam-Webster.com defines “leader” as “a person who has commanding authority or influence”
With all the marketing noise out there, how is someone who hates selling (and who isn’t crazy about marketing either) going to stand out?
You’ve got to position yourself as the clear authority– someone who “has commanding authority or influence” to the audience you’re trying to reach and constituents you’re meant to serve.
This may create some serious discomfort as your Want – to serve and positively impact people with your work and message while earning a handsome income – comes into direct conflict with your Need for approval, for love, for acceptance.
Remember, you’ve got to cross over the bridge of fear to get to the other side. Doing things that help you stand out as a leader – writing a book, speaking, hosting a podcast, creating content in a variety of modalities that educates your audience and elevates you as the clear leader in their eyes.
The key to standing out, and the easiest way to do it, is to be the true, authentic you who stays on message and lets your audience know you have the solution to the problem they have as you inspire and invite them to take the next step in the journey.
That can be easier said than done when we’ve got secret fears and doubts.
Take Action. I once had a contract with a large government agency that shall remain nameless. They made me insane. I couldn’t get them to make a decision about anything. We would have executive committee meetings every week and every meeting we’d talk about the same things we talked about the week before.
But at some point I had to admit that I did the same things with my own business.
I’d think about a problem. I’d create plans. I’d get other people’s opinions. I’d change my plans. I’d second-guess myself to death.
Then I’d be frustrated because I didn’t have enough clients, or hadn’t finished that next book, or hadn’t launched the course. I had to admit I was afraid people would hate my message. I didn’t believe I was unique enough or that I could make a difference.
I was terrified of rejection; but since I wasn’t taking action I wasn’t giving anyone anything to reject or accept!
I discovered, that for me, the key is to take small actions on a regular basis to maintain that forward movement momentum and to build confidence with small successes.
Darren Hardy, publisher of Success Magazine and author of The Compound Effect calls ours a “microwave **society” because we want and expect quick results when it really takes much longer to produce what we want. And often that’s because we weren’t clear to begin with or we’ve got our Needs and Wants twisted up.
Have Faith. Like most words in the glorious English language, faith has several definitions. My favorite definitions from Merriam-Webster.com are “firm belief in something for which there is no proof” and “complete trust”.
One of the things I had to admit was, that although I SAID I was a person of faith, I really didn’t have “complete trust” in God (or the Universe, Spirit, Source, etc) or in myself for that matter. I had to acknowledge that I had deeply rooted issues of self-loathing (no mere “low self-esteem” for me).
That self-loathing combined with the conflicts between my Needs and Wants was keeping me paralyzed, unable to move forward with courage, clarity, and consistency.
To truly move forward and make the big impact we believe we’re meant to make, we have to rein in our ego and belief that we know best – that sheer determination and hard work will achieve our goal — and strengthen our ability to tune into the messages we’re being sent by the Divine and become willing to act when sent the answer.
This is one of the challenges faced when setting goals and creating plans. Our corporate brain tells us to plan the last detail; but, to quote the late Wayne Dyer, “your job isn’t to ask ‘How”; it’s to say ‘YES!’
Self-sabotage is a deep issue that can become pervasive, especially when driven by the conflict between your Needs and Wants.
The root of the issue is love. We must love ourselves first. We must believe that no matter what happens to our business, we’re loved. Business success does not define us, nor lead to us deserving to be loved.
We ARE loved and at our core we ARE love.
We already have the elements we need to let the success that’s inside of us, grow to full flower.
If you’re ready to have the break through you deserve and break free from self-doubt and self-sabotage to achieve the goals you have, then head over to learn more about the Action Takers Group and check out the next enrollment opportunity.
As much as you say you want to achieve success, if you’re frightened of that success – believe you aren’t good enough to solve your clients’ problems…that you won’t be able to manage the increased money you’ll earn….that others in your life will feel badly when you earn more than they do, or any other potential downside you believe could result from the success you dream of – then I’m going to bet you engage in thoughts and behaviors that, at a minimum are disempowering but are more likely self-defeating.
Gurus talk about the need to get out of your comfort zone. What they don’t tell you is that you have to pack up and MOVE out of that comfort zone and completely move into the Discomfort Zone.
The challenge we face as solopreneurs is to become comfortable with discomfort.
Growing a business is all about discomfort. You push yourself to do, be, and have more and you have to do things you’ve never done before and focus on things you may have only briefly considered in your past life as a corporate professional.
It doesn’t make it any easier that you feel your financial life is on the line each time you have a conversation with a potential client or referral partner.
You may have led a department, a division, or even an entire organization and had responsibility for millions of dollars of the company’s money. You worked as a professional inside a larger organization for decades; so once you left, you lost a big part of your identity.
I know when you first went out on your own you dreamed of spending the next phase of your professional life doing what you love – that thing you do. Only later did it really sink in that you’ve got to actually inspire someone to give you money so you CAN do the thing you do.
And you discovered you hate that part.
So with a million and one things that need to be done, it can be easy to convince yourself that you need to buy this hot tool….take the guru’s course….go to the big event….learn how to create a website…because the person selling it says those things will attract clients to you and make it easier for them to say yes to you.
Without you’re having to actually put yourself in a sales conversation – which could lead to painful rejection.
But it’s time to admit what you’re really doing: You’re sabotaging yourself.
Are you chronically late for important appointments? Believe you always say the wrong thing in meetings with prospects? Chronically undercharge? Do you constantly tweak your course, video, or other project and never get around to launching it? Continuously buy course after course, program after program but don’t take action to implement the information?
That’s what self-sabotage looks like.
According to PsycologyToday.com self-sabotage is behavior that “creates problems and interferes with long-standing goals.”
I describe it as thinking and acting in ways that subconsciously and continuously reinforce negative beliefs about yourself.
To understand what’s going on, tune into what you’re doing, saying, and thinking – who you’re being – and how that may negatively impact your path to achieve your goals and create the successful, abundant business and life you dream of.
Developing self-awareness can be challenging because the ego works hard to protect you. It rationalizes your thoughts, beliefs, and actions to make them seem and sound completely reasonable.
It works to protect the wounds you have to ensure you won’t hurt yourself by exposing yourself to what it sees as risky situations.
This is why small actions can be more healing than massive actions to break down the ego’s resistance and get it to stand down from its high-alert vigilance.
The problem is the ego makes those rationalizations from a place of fear and self-protection rather than from a place of abundance and opportunity.
We subconsciously engage in thoughts and actions that derail us and keep us from getting the very thing we say we want so badly: a bigger brand…to be seen as a leader in our industry segment…to have more clients….more impact…more revenue.
Self-sabotage is, at its essence, a defense mechanism. It’s the ego’s effort to protect us. So I think of it as an attempt to avoid pain.
So you don’t take the action you know you “should” take to get your business to the level of success you want. Whether that’s putting yourself “out there” more through the use of social media or video…or whether it’s creating a high-end offering….or finally writing that book or launching the podcast…or forming JV relationships.
And self-sabotage isn’t something that just those in feast or famine mode deal with.
I’ve known executives earning hundreds of thousands of dollars a year – one who was earning more than a million – who did something incredibly stupid that got them fired instantly.
You may know a sales person who seems to fall apart as she gets close to achieving her quota.
Or maybe you have a friend who makes really bad decisions with money every time he gets a big bonus or big check from a client.
Understanding where it comes from and why we do it is the easy part. Recognizing the payoff our ego thinks it gets from continuing to engage in self-sabotaging behavior is harder.
Stopping it is the real challenge.
I want you to know it’s not impossible. It takes commitment and consistent actions along with the support of a core group of people – or even just one person – who truly understands and encourages you.
It is definitely possible to let go of those beliefs and to begin to take the steps needed to live to your potential, share your great gifts with the world, and receive the full abundance you dream of and deserve.
Ending self-sabotage takes facing long-held beliefs that are actually not yours to begin with. They’re beliefs that you absorbed from the environments you’ve been in, starting with your family of origin and moving right through your life as an adult in the many roles you play and groups you’re involved in.
It requires accepting ourselves and adopting our own beliefs.
Most of all, we have to love ourselves.
And it is a process, believe me. It requires making conscious choices on a continuous basis as we re-condition our mind and establish new patterns of thinking and acting.
There are 10 elements to break free from self-sabotage and to becoming a courageous entrepreneur:
I explain them in the next post.
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Or maybe you’re frustrated because it’s taking you so long to see a difference in your business.
What a coincidence. It happens to me too.
And I think it’s an awful feeling. It distracts us and makes us feel like we’re spinning our wheels.
So let me take you through the steps I use now to help me zero-in on what I should be working on when I’m feeling like I’m drowning in work.
Step 1: Identify what deadlines you have. And if you don’t have any deadlines pick some because that’s likely part of the problem. When nothing has weight over anything else it sets you up to be paralyzed.
Most of us – especially former corporate or organizational employees – do better when we have deadlines because our whole professional life was built around deadlines.
Let the deadlines drive your priorities initially; but once you get the initial deadlines met be sure to reflect on whether you’re really doing things that are moving you and your business forward or are you caught doing what Tony Robbins says people do – letting the urgent get in the way of the important.
Step 2: Rank your projects. What will have the biggest impact on your business right now? If you have cash flow problems then you need to follow the money and get it flowing again. If you’ve got a few long term clients then you might want to focus on building a list of interested prospects who you can nurture and build a relationship with so if you have a long term client leave you’ll have people who may be ready to move forward to work with you.
What does your audience – think existing clients first — want most? I’m making changes to my book writing course based on what participants told me they’d like to see added.
If you’re unsure what you should be focusing on, examine your Profit Path (the flow of prospects who discover you, connect with you, get nurtured by you and make a decision to buy from you, and then who become fans). Look for areas where there are gaps and focus on that area.
When you’re in this place you become vulnerable to every bright shiny object that comes your way and promises you more clients, more revenue. It’s more likely that a better use of your time or money would be working on your processes, or working with someone to get clear about your next step. When you’re feeling compelled to buy something, stop and give yourself some time to reflect on whether this is the right move for you.
Step 3: Build relationships with current and past clients. This is critical. When I would do marketing funnel or sales process consulting, the client would always be focused on getting new clients. But the reality is that new client engagements will be projects that have the lowest percentage of profitability.
Profit really lies in retaining clients and in generating referrals from satisfied clients. So when prioritizing work be sure to include time for client relationship building.
According to Emmett C and Mark A. Murphy,“a commitment to customer experience results in up to 25% higher customer retention” which is obviously going to impact sales and revenue. So some of your time has to be spent building relationships with your existing client base and improving their outcomes. You want to have a significant level of clients become raving fans.
Step 4: Manage your calendar and start saying “no”. This is particularly critical when you’re feeling confused, frustrated, or overwhelmed. Building a business is an exercise in juggling. Time is the most important resource we have and it’s non-renewable. Once today is gone, it’s over. We know that. So while being open to new opportunities is important, it’s critical that we ruthlessly protect our calendar and that we manage our time well. That means blocking our time in our schedule to create and distribute content, work on new offerings, follow up with people we’ve met and cultivating relationships with them, including developing referral relationships.
Remember the story of the professor who brings in an empty jar, some rocks, sand, and a cup of coffee to his class? The only way to get everything in the jar is to put the big rocks in first, then the smaller pebbles, then the sand, and finally the coffee.
This story varies based on who tells it but the big lesson is that in order to achieve your biggest goals you need to focus on them first – so block out your calendar and schedule around your “big rocks”.
Stay on top of administrative tasks. With all due respect to Mike Michalowicz author of Profit First, you don’t get to pay yourself first, you need to pay the government first. So admin tasks might be a gigantic drag but they’re important and part of running a business like a business. Send invoices on time, keep your receipts and expenses organized, keep your projects organized and your email inbox cleaned out and organized. And if this isn’t in your “wheel house” as my friend Lisa Roberts would say, then you’ve got to create systems to help you stay on top of things and you need to hire someone to help you.
Once you get over the overwhelm then you want to do your best to stay focused on the RIGHT priorities.
Keep your vision and mission in focus. This might feel trite but it’s important for you to know where you’re going. I have mine written in a notebook with my big goals and I read them every day. It only takes a few minutes and keeps me focused on them. I also write affirmations in the same notebook and this helps me emotionally connect with my vision, mission, and goals.
Are you giving too much time away? I added up the time I was giving away to friends and colleagues and it averaged 8 hours a week. A whole day!! I decided I can’t keep doing that so I had my friends join a Facebook group for a new offering I’m creating. This helped me stay connected to them, share ideas, and it helps me capture their successes that relate to my advice so I can use those as case studies and testimonials.
Understand how long it takes you to get work done and stop over-booking yourself.
This was a huge issue for me. I had to really remind myself how long it takes to create a course or how long it takes me to write anything. Then I had to allow enough time in each week to get all that done.
Stop telling yourself you work best under pressure. You work best under pressure because you’ve conditioned yourself to constantly work under pressure. This is unhealthy and causes unneeded stress.
You’re in charge of your schedule so if your schedule is overwhelming then be the leader you are and start controlling it.
Keep focused. When you’re working, work. Log out of everything else except the tools you need to do the work. Keep a notepad by your side and when you feel an impulse to go off task, write down the thought that came into your head so you don’t lose the thought.
Take small steps but keep moving.
Schedule everything.I Just like “what gets measured gets improved’, “what gets scheduled gets done”.
I had to create an elaborate weekly calendar tool and a daily time management tool to manage my schedule and maximize my time.
Being a solopreneur and managing a growing business is hectic to say the least and it requires applying your best management and leadership strategies while staying focused on what’s really important to you, your clients, and your business.
If you’re ready to commit to achieving your goals, check out the Entrepreneur Achievers Club. It will help you zero in on your core priorities and stay focused so you’re getting more done with less stress.
Luke 10:1-17 (NKJV) shares how Jesus appointed 70 disciples to go on ahead of him in pairs to the towns and places he wanted to go. I think this reading has several illustrations for us as business people and marketers.
The fact that he “sent them on ahead of him” is sort of like getting messages out to build awareness of you and to prepare the audience for the offering you’ll be launching.
Rather than just springing an offering on people, it’s more effective to begin to share content — blog posts, videos, podcast episodes, and social media posts — on the subject of your offer.
You have to prepare people even if the offer is something for free. You have to get them ready to want to learn more.
Jesus used His disciples . In addition to the content sharing strategies I mentioned, you could work with referral partners or even hire people to represent you.
Big brands pay bloggers and spokespeople to talk about their offerings. So there are lots of ways to get your message out that range from low tech to high tech; low touch to high touch; and self-directed to other-directed.
In this section of Luke, Jesus gave the 70 disciples instructions to go to one house and stay there. They weren’t to move from house to house and they were to eat or drink whatever was put in front of them. Meaning, don’t worry about whether it fits the dietary laws and restrictions.
I think this relates to business in several ways.
First of all, I think it relates to staying on message. Don’t bounce from message to message. Eating and drinking whatever is in front of them means be accommodating and respectful.
Remember, Jesus stressed that whatever went into the body goes into the stomach and would be eliminated. But whatever is spoken comes from the heart. So I think that relates to creating a message that’s consistent with your brand essence and to stay true to yourself.
Then Jesus goes on to tell them that if they’re not welcome they’re to shake the dust from their feet and leave.
I can see this relating to taking your message (and your skills) to others who will gladly receive it and not worry about those who don’t. Like “preaching to the choir”.
Yes, we should consider tweaking our message so it resonates with those we’re trying to reach, but the core message resonates with those who are ready to hear it and ready to receive it.
So “go on your way”. Share your core message from a place of service and love but also be true to yourself and your business while staying in alignment with your faith and values.