Tag Archives forbig idea

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.


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?

From Food Stamps to Six-Figure Coach | Interview with Jessica Yarbrough

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 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. You can become a fan of the show at Winnie Anderson.com/fans. When you do you’ll get episodes delivered right to your inbox along with information, tips, and resources to help you consistently move forward with courage, confidence, and clarity so you position and pre-sell yourself as the unique solution provider you are, and ultimately to profit from your expertise.

Show Notes

If you ever get caught up in the “I can’t” syndrome or “I don’t know how” or “I don’t know enough” or “I’m not good enough” mantras that can run through our heads then you want to make sure you listen to today’s episode because today’s guest shows the only thing stopping us from creating a wildly profitable life-style based business is that lump of grey matter inside our heads.

Jessica Yarbrough is a business coach for high – achieving women who want to break out of corporate life and quickly build a six-figure business. She’s a former corporate executive who followed her heart and ended up having to move back in with her parents as she rebuilt her life and career.

Listen in as Jessica shares:

  • How she went from a passion-centered profession to unemployed, living with her parents and collecting food stamps to feed her baby daughter. And how she began to rise up to create the thriving coaching practice she has today and do it in just 18 months.
  • How she dealt with the voice inside her that told her to go get a job as well as the voice of her parents telling her to get one.
  • The biggest blocks and mistakes that women have and make that hold us back from achieving what we really want.
  • And some great tips to begin to move forward to create the life and business of your dreams.

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

Related Episodes

Sometimes one episode mentions one or more other episodes; or I may feel that one or more past episodes fit together. When that happens I list them so you can easily find them.

Mark Baker

Grace Bell

Guest Contact Information

Jessica’s webste

Jessica on Facebook

Jessica’s group on Facebook

Jessica’s You Tube channel

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The “Where to Start” Advice Every Guru Gives That’s Dead Wrong (and what to do instead)

red_tulips_white_tulipEvery guru says to start at the same point – identify your Ideal Client. They tell you that’s the most important thing and that without clarity on that you’ll struggle.

I think they’re dead wrong when they’re talking to service professionals – coaches, consultants, healers, and licensed professionals – like us.

You started your practice because you…

  • Have skills you love to use and want to spend all your time using them
  • Have a passion for the work you do, for the outcome you deliver – whether it’s for helping others manage stress, grow their business, write better books, or something else. You want to help others do, be, and have more than they have now.
  • Feel called to a mission. I’ve asked service providers why they do what they do and many feel drawn to solve a problem or make an impact in some way. They almost can’t explain why they do it; they just know they have to.

There’s some internal knowing that this is the work you were meant to do. Service professionals are led by the service they want to deliver.

That’s what drives you — making a difference…serving others…through the skills you have.

So when the gurus start preaching that your first step is to focus on an Ideal Client or target market you struggle to figure out who that is or should be for you.

This can leave you feeling like you’re stupid because you can’t figure out something that they say is basic.

But they’ve got it backwards. At least when it comes to service professionals like coaches, consultants, or healers.

What You Need to Do Before Worrying About Who Your Ideal Client Is

Before we can possibly know our Ideal Client, we need to be clear on our Big Idea.

Legendary advertising executive David Ogilvy is credited with coining the phrase, “Big Idea”. And his effectiveness with using it was a good part of what made him legendary.

Having a Big Idea means you’ve got a unique approach to a problem. It’s your unique solution built on your unique slant on a specific problem.

So expressing a Big Idea means communicating…

  • The problem you solve
  • Your Point of View about the problem you solve
  • The outcome or transformation you provide

When you’re trying to grow a business, have bills to pay, and empty cupboards to fill it can make you feel a bit panicky to  focus on what you think of as a small segment of  the population.

You’re likely nervous about turning people down or saying you only with a specific type of person or that you only solve a specific type of problem.

You can also feel really uncomfortable (to put it mildly) about putting yourself out there.

Benefits of Getting Clear About Your Big Idea

But talking about your Big Idea…talking about the problem that needs to be solved and why people struggle to solve it…is a lot easier. It put’s the attention on the problem, not on you.

And when you deeply understand the problem you solve and the outcome you provide, better than anyone else, then you can start to see who has that problem and who wants the outcome you offer.

When you’re clear about your Big Idea and stay on message talking about issues that relate to  it then you’re going to attract people who have that problem you solve and who want the solution you provide in the way you provide it.

You become the go-to person for your particular audience.

The Foundation of Your Big Idea

The most important element that forms the foundation of your Big Idea is your Point of View (POV).

Your POV is the set of beliefs you have about the work you do and the problem you solve. It’s your approach and philosophy about solving the problem.

It informs everything you do and guides the way you do it.

Here’s a quick example.

On a video call, my friends who are livestreaming experts they told me I needed to check out a new livestream service that’s all the rage.

But a friend of mine in an English speaking country outside of the US posted on Facebook a negative experience he had with this company.

My friend’s assessment was the livestreaming company’s rep had no idea how to talk to a professional and acted like a child.

What my friend described certainly sounded like very poor service. Since he was dealing with a manager of this new company, it sounds like they either don’t know how to hire good people or they’re developing a culture with a chip on its shoulder — one that doesn’t value clients.

So my reaction when my friends suggested I have this company on the show was very strong.


I don’t want to help bad companies get attention and attract business when they obviously don’t put the effort into hiring and / or training top notch people. Or they care so little about their staff that they create an environment that causes these people to then act out.

Can you hear my values in there? The importance I place on staffing, training, and organizational development?

That forms the foundation of my POV about service, culture, and staffing.

Your beliefs, values, and philosophy become very obvious when something tests them.

So when you hear some guru go on about how the first thing you need to do is identify a target market… and you struggle to identify one…it’s easy to feel like you’re stupid. But you’re not.

They just assume you’re clear on your Big Idea. That you’re clear on your core message, the problem you solve, and the outcome you deliver.

But it’s very likely that you’re not.

That’s not because you’re stupid. It’s because you’ve been focusing too hard on getting clients.

But you can’t get as many clients — or Ideal Clients — until you’re clear on your core message.

You do need a clear audience to communicate with, and the more you know about them the easier it is to attract them.

But you can’t attract them if you don’t understand their problem and your solution and why your solution is right for them.

You’ll struggle to attract them if you don’t have a Big Idea and if you don’t have a clear message delivered consistently across different platforms.

So if you’ve been sweating to figure out an ideal client, or avatar, or brand persona, or whatever is the buzz phrase of the moment, I’m giving you permission to stop worrying about that right now.

Instead, focus on gaining crystal clarity on your Big Idea.

Focus on being clear about the problem you solve, the solution you provide, the POV you have, and packaging all that into your Big Idea so people understand you and what you’re all about.

Then get your message out powerfully — in a way that reaches and resonates with your ideal client so she takes the next step to learn more about you and the solution you provide.

Then as you see who is naturally attracted to you, you can decide how to adjust your message in order to attract more of those people who you truly want to work with and less of those who aren’t a perfect fit.

Your Ideal Client or Avatar will make itself known to you because that’s who resonates with your message.