Lesson from Peru: When a five star rain poncho just won’t cut it!

We have seen some real power from the elements recently on this planet. We had our own brush while on the Amazon River in September. What started as a leisurely skiff ride down some tributaries, turned life altering when a storm surprised us.

Later, while sipping Pisco Sours back aboard the river boat, we realized we had quite the story to tell.

 

 

Later, while sipping Pisco Sours back aboard the river boat, we realized we had quite the story to tell.

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‘But I don’t feel ready!’ you say

My deepest apologies for yelling but – YOU will NEVER FEEL ready!

Can I be real with you? Can I just lay it all on the table and ask the tough questions?

How many times have you let opportunities drift away while you were waiting for that uneasy, uncomfortable-tummy-flip-feeling to go away? Waiting to ‘Get all your ducks in a row’. Or my favourite – ‘Get your poop in a group’

I want to let you off the hook and share with you what the tummy-flip is, what to do about it and… how to turn it off.
Because, then you will be able to move forward, towards your goals and life you really want to create. The one you deserve to create.

What is that Tummy-Flip?

Here it is – it’s not possible for your body to ‘feel’ anything different. That feeling you are having is a physiological response to something that is new. Your brain is alerting you to pay attention and be safe. When you are walking in a strange alley or if you come across a stray sabre tooth tiger, you will be so glad your brain still delivers this response. However it is not reliable in a way that makes for great decision making.

Decision making requires an external measure. Your body’s response can certainly be used as data. Here is an example;

I received an invitation to travel to Edmonton Alberta with our Designing Your Destiny:Leadership & Empowerment Weekend Training. This would be the first time we traveled with the event. There were unknowns and my body responded with a huge tummy flip. Jeff and I compared our business goals to the opportunity. In the end we decided that what we would learn from the experience itself would increase our pace towards our goals. We were rewarded with so much more than just successful event from that experience. 

If we had just gone based on our body’s response we would never have touched a foot in the airport let alone Edmonton.

When you have a goal, a true goal – one that requires you to grow and become more than you are today by achieving it – that means you have to step outside of what you are familiar with at more than one point along the way. Each time you do your body will register that as NEW! Which means you get that physiological response – the tummy flip. Celebrate it.

Here’s what to do when it happens to you:

  • Will this take me closer or further from my goals? When an opportunity presents itself and you get the tummy flip, the only job you have is to ask yourself whether or not it will take you closer to your goals and dreams.
  • Get off the fence! The fence is a toxic place to be – make a decision. If the opportunity takes you closer to your goals then jump on it before it gets away.
  • Celebrate it! Yeah your body is operating within normal parameters. Use it to know this opportunity will help you grow so you can handle even more with grace and ease as you move forward.

Here’s how to shut it off

Take Action – seriously. As soon as you take a step in the new way…it’s no longer new! You can imagine your body saying ‘oh Never mind, false alarm’.

So what is in front of you now? What piece of fruit is hanging within reach that you have been wondering if it’s really for you? You have been asking for change, you have been dreaming of change. Here is the secret…

If it’s in front of you – you ARE ready.

Measure your success with external evidence

Success? Failure? What was your evidence?

I was a great baker – Why did I forget everything Granny ever taught me?

Too often as entrepreneurs we flog ourselves for failure when there isn’t any measure of our progress towards success. Heck, was the success even defined in the first place?

Both of my grandmothers baked. My Dad’s Mom, my Granny, was a prolific baker. She supported the church bake sales, the neighbourhood events, and of course her own baking cupboard. It was always full of at least three different kinds of cookies, a loaf of some kind and at Christmas, a fruit cake that was not only edible but yummy beyond belief. Not a single one was ever used as a door stop.

I loved to bake with her. It was my job to measure, exactly, the sugar, nuts, flour, baking soda. She taught me how important it was that we measured along the way – all the ingredients. Now that doesn’t mean a few more chocolate chips didn’t go in for good measure.

The biggest test always came near the end. Even with the care we took along the way, we never knew if they were going to taste as good as last time until they were done! We also didn’t want to burn them – that would not have been good after all that work.

Granny always set the timer for a few minutes before she expected them to be done. Once the timer went off we would open the oven, pull out the rack and she would stick her long wooden skewer into the center. I watched with anticipation to see whether it would come out clean. If it did then I knew the countdown was on for the baking to cool so I could taste it. If the skewer didn’t come out clean then back it went into the oven.

She was diligent about getting the cooking time just right; regardless of my assurances that it must be ready because my tummy said so.

Once she was convinced the baking was done, then it would come out to cool. The tasting was the final evidence of our success. It was so much fun to share our baking success with everyone.

Early on as an entrepreneur I seemed to have forgotten every lesson my Granny taught me about success.

Not once did Granny ever decide the cookies were a success because she thought so, or felt so. She measured. She knew in advance what success looked like and was diligent about waiting for it and actioning in the moment to ensure it happened.

It took a trusted and experienced adviser to point this out to us. It wasn’t something we saw from the inside. We just knew that our business ‘felt’ like it was succeeding or failing. When she asked us for our numbers we stood there with a blank look on our faces. When we were asked what we were planning on achieving at an upcoming conference we were attending we couldn’t answer the question.

She laughed, shook her head, and proceeded to explain to us about how leaders always use an External Evidence Procedure so they know what progress they are making. It was immediately familiar because of my time with Granny in her kitchen and after I stopped kicking myself uselessly, I found so many ideas on how we could implement this for us.

What a difference!

  • We set goals for each month and the quarter that are based on our annual revenue goals
  • The goals have been chunked down to activities that can be measured – I know how many people I need to chat with to find those with a need for my service.
  • Whether we feel things are going well or not, we go to the numbers to check on progress
  • We measure often and make course corrections
  • As goals are achieved we celebrate. When we learn from our experiences and understand why we didn’t achieve our goal – we celebrate. (Richard Branson agrees – link to his blog)

Summary

  1. When you have a vision you will not always know what the journey will be like.
  2. Set appropriate goals along the way and measure against them
  3. Measure your progress often
  4. Celebrate when you are on track
  5. Celebrate getting back on track

Success or Failure? What was your evidence?
How do you, or will you now, tell the difference between how you feel about your progress and your actual progress?

Learning comes in many forms

Book worm or 2 x 4 learner?

Learning comes in many forms but two main categories:

Academic and Experience

Academic learning includes lectures, reading books, webinars, articles, blogs, and reading instructions. Any learning that comes to you by taking information in. When you only focus on this category, you end up ‘knowing’ a lot but when put to the test the results are hit and/or miss.

Experience, conversely is any learning you receive by ‘doing’. This method builds muscle memory, and neurology that is very visceral. Although very important, when your focus is here only, then it’s kind of like learning with a chunk of 2×4 lumber. Often you learn the ‘hard way’ and this can take a long time to build the level of knowledge required to see the easier path for you and your client.

It might seem like one might be better than the other and I am here to tell you that it’s the blending of the two that makes you an expert.

Synergizing Academic and Experience will make the learning personally yours in a much shorter time. It also builds the all-important wisdom – the ability to make excellent educated guesses when you are confronted with something new in your field.

As an expert it is expected that you will have both academic and experience learning. Together these are what your clients do not have and do not want to invest the time to achieve. They invest their dollars instead. It’s up to you to deliver the experience for them.

To stay at the head of the pack, ahead of the other experts in your field, make a commitment to your ongoing learning. When investing your time and money on additional training and learning that keeps you at the head of the pack, look for opportunities that include both academic and experiential elements. This will be the best investment of your time and money.

A great learning plan includes:

  • Decision about where you need to grow to meet your business goals
  • Budget to invest in your training
  • Learning in your core field
  • Learning in an associate field to synergize and keep your edge fresh

Pull it all together and you will be the leader of every expert in your field.
What was your favourite learning that included both academic and experiential elements? Share with the rest of us!

To your magnificence
Karen

Image credit: andresr / 123RF Stock Photo

3 Easy Steps to Snap You Out of Overwhelm

Entrepreneurs are responsible for everything from strategic financing to paper clips. Moving from the abstract ideas to the specific details and back again is a skill that not every entrepreneur has developed yet.

For me when I worked for someone else, I was responsible for specific staff, specific deliverables, and specific reporting. There were whole departments who handled HR, Finances, Technology, and Legal. They were just concepts to me. When I needed to know more, I didn’t need to know much more than whom to call and ask. This was an important part of how I could focus on what I was paid to do and do it really well.  

As an entrepreneur, that all changed. You and I, both, are responsible for all of these ‘concepts’ in a much more concrete way.

So suddenly, it was my job not only care about the things I loved to do and was good at, but also to consider how that fit into the overall strategic plan, what assistance I would need from other professionals, namely HR, Finances, IT, Legal, and on and on.

I experienced that sense of overwhelm almost immediately. I was missing something. It was such a relief to find the solution.

Overwhelm happens when you get stuck in the abstract.

You might be in Overwhelm if:

  • There is so much to worry about but nothing is actually being accomplished
  • You often don’t know where to start
  • Fear is a companion as you find your mind wandering to worst case scenarios

We call this a ‘Chunk Up’ problem.

When a person gets stuck in the abstract and can’t find the path down to anything actionable a slow spin starts, making it more difficult to find anything tangible to hold onto. Without a solution this can lead to increasing levels of stress, sleep deprivations, and left unchecked – bankruptcy.

Good news, once you know exactly how the problem is constructed, we can design the best solution.

Solution to Overwhelm

Putting a stop to overwhelm is all about getting grounded in reality. 3 easy steps to snap you out of overwhelm:

  1. Get a grip: Grab a cup of your favourite beverage, a pen, a pad of paper, and take three deep breaths to create a centre of calmness to work from.
  2. Brainstorm: Write down all of the things in your business that feels out of your reach. Notice how large the items on your list are – sales, marketing, social media – all these things are very large chunks of your business.
  3. Chunk Down: Select one at a time and ask yourself ‘What specifically needs to happen to start moving forward?’ Ask the question over and over until you have a tangible action list that you can complete.

Example:

Chunk down by asking "How specifically?'

Chunk down by asking “How specifically?’

Once you are grounded, that feeling of overwhelm will leave and your right-thinking mind will wake up to help you pull a plan of action together. Make this process your go-to process. . . every time.

To your magnificence

Karen

Website traps and pitfalls

Caught in the Web – Three pitfalls new entrepreneurs make with their website

When you decide to start your own business, you can find advice everywhere. I mean EVERYWHERE. A quick search on Google will turn up thousands of lists of the basic things a business must have. What you really need depends on what your products and services are. These days, one of those items for you is likely a website.

Successfully launching a website can turn out to be a real hazard for entrepreneurs. There are so many elements and each can create a drain on your time, money, and energy.

Over the course of evolving our business and web presence along with the experiences of those who attend our Build Your Website Workshop, there are common traps. Read on to find three of the most costly and the solutions you are looking for.

What traps have you or someone you know fallen into? Please comment below and bring the traps into our awareness.

Trap #1 – Handing Over Control

You want your website; you aren’t as tech savvy as you need to be to create it yourself. Even with today’s simple tools like WordPress, the whole process can be confusing and complex. However, you find a savior. He or she is a web developer and is going to help you out. Sounds great right? Well, that depends. The trap is your savior also holds the keys to your website. They go out and purchase your domain and control it. If you want to own it, they may charge you a premium for it. I just purchased two new domains. They cost $9.95 each.

They also create your website. Regardless of what platform they use, you do not have the login and password for it. If you want changes, you have to go to them. You have to pay them.

What is the solution? Simple. Buy your domain and hosting. Then, when you hire your web developer, you have control and can take action if things are not going the right way.

Trap #2 – Too Much Too Soon

The trap is spending lots of money when you first start. You can spend thousands of dollars on a site in areas of copywriting, graphics design, web development, and search engine optimization. As you develop your ideas and identify who you want to serve, you may think you have it nailed. You have found the people you want to serve forever. For some, that might be true. As you start to have customers come through your business, who you actually want to serve will evolve. You, like us, might look back after three years and realize that who you thought your clients were going to be in the beginning have little in common with who your clients are now.

Solution: Although there will eventually be a place for all of these in regards to your website, the time to do it is after you have clear and concise focus on who your tribe is and you have already set aside the money to invest in a more robust web presence.

Click here and download my one page document to keep track of all your components to your web presence.

Trap #3 – Lost in Perfection

When someone asks, “Do you have a website?” and you keep responding, “I’m still working on it”. First off, perfection is a trap. Yes, you can tweak and tweak until you die. There is no end. Unfortunately, while you tweak, you are not out there talking to your tribe and making money. So in reality, the trap is twofold. You are working towards something that is impossible to achieve, and you are hiding and going broke.

Solution: Keep it simple and professional. Just put it out there. It’s about progression. As you talk to your tribe, your will hear their words. Then you tweak it and talk to your tribe again.

Focus on the people. Focus on serving the people and you will thrive.

Image credit: iqoncept / 123RF Stock Photo

Layared Funnel on white background over a target

‘Down the drain’ is a good thing

Funnels? Staircases? How could this have anything to do with growing my business? All this can be confusing for anyone. As a new or aspiring entrepreneur they are often way down on the list of things to worry about.

Better yet – how about you learn to build a business that you love and will love for a long time?

That’s why we streamlined and combined these key techniques so you can take advantage, focus on results, and make more money now. There is a whole workshop available to you – ‘How Many Coffee’s Does it Take?‘ It is offered monthly as a space for you to learn and get assistance while you design the business you love.

Below is an overview of how ‘Down the Drain’ is a good thing – try it out.

Theory

  • Even with a narrow focus, you will cast your net wide to see who is interested in your message. The more focused and clear the message the greater the response.
  • Those that resonate with their interaction with you will lean in for more. Those that saw value, but just not for them will refer you to friends and family.
  • Since we need to build trust along the way it’s important to offer a taste for free, a nibble for a small fee, and then a snack and finally the whole picnic basket.
  • Re-use, re-use, re-use.

Building your Funnel.

Although you fill the funnel from the top – it’s important to create from the bottom.

  1. What is the service you love to provide? The one that you personalize.
    • This will be your priciest service and the bottom of the funnel
    • examples: 1 on 1 coaching, exclusive events/training for small numbers of people
  2. How can you leverage this product/service you love to provide? Can you offer it to more people with just a few tweaks? Let them do more for themselves in a more general way? Still provides loads of value?
    • Charge less than the personalized program
    • examples: mastermind group, 2 day workshop
  3. What one theme can you pull out of your high level program? One that can stand on its own.
    • Charge a nominal amount that allows people to invest in finding out more about what you have to offer without too much personal risk
    • Pricing may range from $7 to $97 depending on what you are offering
    • examples: evening workshop, video training
  4. This last piece, your irresistible free offer, your ‘pink spoon‘ will have such value you might get a titch squirmish about it.
    • This will be a free glimpse into the value you will provide
    • examples: white paper, video, worksheet, quiz

Summary

Build your funnel to allow everyone who might either be or know someone in your narrow focus to find out about you, to taste a bit of what you have to offer. If they are hungry they will lean in for more. Allow people to self-select into your business. Those that stay want to be there and share in what you have. Those that don’t may know others and we bless them as they go on their merry way. In the end you are offering your high end services to people you love to work with and who love to work with you. You know you have it right when people lean in and think ‘Down the drain’ is a good thing.

Clear a single path to your door. . .Now

You have narrowed your focus – congratulations!

Now you are a beacon for the people who really need you and want to be served by you. Unlike your colleagues who are creating a fog of confusion with their generic messaging.

Now that your prospective clients see your beacon over the hill – would you like them to find you easily and effortlessly? For them to come straight and unwaveringly to you?

The next step is to clear a single path to your door. . .Now. There are only a small handful of possible paths clients can take to your business – Four (4) to be exact – pick one!

  • Business Path – for serving the needs of your clients in the context of their business
  • Spiritual Path – for serving the needs of your clients in the context of their spiritual journey
  • Health & Wellness Path – for serving the needs of your clients in the context of their own health & wellness
  • Relationship Path – for serving the needs of your clients in the context of their relationships with self and/or others

Listen, listen, listen…even though your experience, tools, and techniques may assist clients in more than one or even all contexts – you must pick one context to market to your clients – or you risk confusion and an immediate ‘No’.

Here are some examples;

Example 1: Sandra is a Yoga instructor. Although it seems intuitive to clear the  Health & Wellness path for her clients to get to her door, she could also choose to clear the Relationship path and do Yoga seminars and classes for couples or Mom and Tots to build stronger relationships and bonding. Although she may offer both services in her studio – she will choose to pick just one to market and become known as an expert.

Example 2: Theresa is an NLP Coach. Her tools can help everyone do anything. Sounds like a blessing but ends up being marketing fog if she doesn’t clear a single path. She decides that based on her point of view and the people she loves to serve, they would most easily find her on the business path – she decides to market herself as an Executive Coach. The fact that her clients’ Relationships and Health & Wellness will improve through the process of working with her become a bonus.

Example 3: Brenda is a Distributor in an amazing network marketing company. She has aspirations of being a leader and helping other women create flexible part-time home based businesses like hers. Regardless of the products available through this company Brenda will have to decide if she will be marketing the business or the products. The products will determine a specific path – there are lots of network marketing companies that are in the Health & Wellness space for instance. However, if she decides it’s about building her team, then she needs to highlight and market the business to be ultimately successful.

The last example is probably the best to illustrate how confusing it can be for people when you do not clear a single path to your door. “I have great products and you can build a business too!” Your potential client’s mind just blows, they feel confused and just say no.

In Summary

Even when you can legitimately serve clients on more than one path – it’s important to distinguish between what clients will experience once inside your door, vs the path they take to get to your door.

More than one path creates confusion – pick just one to market.

Which is the one path for your clients? Share it below. Not sure? Ask below and we can help you.

Image credit: lightwise / 123RF Stock Photo

Narrow your focus to make more money – Part 3 of 3

Now it’s time to be bold. Very bold. If you have been following along this three part series focused on narrowing your client focus to make more money, then you will now have removed the excuses you may had lingering about whether or not you could be an expert, and have two lists of people. Of the two lists, the first is filled with people you would love to work with, and the second is a list of those you wouldn’t. Simple as that.

It’s not possible to overstate the point that a narrowly focused section of the population will lead to greater revenue generation. Here are some examples to prove my point;

  • The narrow focus allows for you to be highly specific in your marketing
  • Specific marketing will allow your people to self-identify and ‘know’ that you are for them
  • Time wasted with people you can’t help or don’t want to be helped is virtually eliminated from your schedule
  • Your programs are so tailored that your clients are awed at the very real value you provide. They insist on showering you with referrals and amazing testimonials
  • People not part of your narrow focus will immediately know which of their family and friends should connect with you
  • You will become seen as the expert by a growing group of people you have never met
  • Other entrepreneurs with a similar narrow focus but providing a complimentary service will want to ‘joint venture’ with you, bringin hundreds of potential clients within your reach

Now listen, listen, listen – this whole process does not mean you won’t accept other clients for other services you provide. What it does mean is that you will be managing your time and money marketing to people who have a clear understanding that they need you.

Now – what do you do with your list? Great question!

Pull out all the names that you circled and reorder them. List those that have four checkmarks at the top, draw a line and put those with three, then draw a line and put the final names down – those with two and one check marks.

This new list is the seed-list to help you discover ‘your people’. The people at the top of the list with four checkmarks have all of the necessary criteria;

  • They have a problem for which they are seeking a solution
  • They are willing and able to pay for that solution
  • You are willing to lead them – and they will appreciate being led by you
  • You would find joy in serving them and people just like them over and over again.

This is the recipe for fueling your business, your revenue, your dream.

Really reflect on these people. What do they have in common? Do they have any of these in common?

  • Workplace
  • Income level
  • Marital status
  • Neighbourhoods
  • Shopping
  • Vacations
  • Size and make up of family (kids/parents)
  • Pain points
  • Hobbies
  • Education level
  • Etc

Once you have this list, you will automatically know where other people just like them are likely to be, how to communicate to them specifically and how to notice them in a room during a networking event.

Do you get how much time and energy this saves you? How much more joy it will bring?

It’s just like if those huge big box stores had a drive thru! You wouldn’t have to find parking, get in line to go in, get lost trying to find the one thing you need, come out with too much stuff, and then have a fit over how you forgot the one thing you went in for.

So we have covered a lot of ground from why you should feel like an expert, why you should narrow your focus and how to do it.

Next time we will be using all of this to answer some very key questions about the path your narrowly focused peeps will travel to get to your door.

‘til then, stay magnificent!

Karen

Narrow your focus, be the expert, make more money Part Two

Wanted: Entrepreneurs who want to sleep well at night while they build a high revenue expert model based business

Is that specific enough for you?

What did you do inside when you read that title? Did you do an internal check to see if this applied to you? I bet you did. That is what you want people to do for you. For many that read that title and it didn’t fit them, they are likely reading someone else’s article right now. It’s great for them – they are not wasting their time here.

You are here either because this title fits you and so you know the content will be applicable to you, or you thought of someone you care about and want to see if you should forward the link to them.

Either way that is good for you, them, and me.

This is part two of a three part article series on finding your focus in the expert model. In part one we challenged some excuses about whether or not you can be an expert out of the gate. Now that it’s settled, we can move on to narrow your focus to the clients you will choose to take on in your business…assuming you want faster revenue growth than you have experienced to date.

It has taken three years to figure out who I should be working with. At first I didn’t have the guidance I needed. I didn’t even know I was implementing the expert model. Then I didn’t listen. Once I noticed that others in the expert model were narrowing and focusing their efforts were really growing fast, I was willing to tentatively put my toe in the water (I know, slow learner).

I started with these questions: Who are the people that naturally will gain the most from what I have to offer? Who are the people that will find the shortest and least expensive path to their goals through the services I offer? Who is it that breaks my heart everytime I see them struggling without my solution? Heck, who were our favourite clients and why?

Before, when nothing really resonated with us strongly and consistently, making money felt hard and it just wouldn’t flow. I will tell you a secret, if it doesn’t resonate with you, it won’t resonate with them!

So now it’s your turn to decide who you choose to serve.

We all acknowledge that everybody needs you. Who will have the honour of working with you? If this still gives you a stomach flip when you think about all those ‘other people’ – can we just pretend? For 30 minutes? Take the advice of someone who thought she knew better and just play along. Answer the questions below for your expert model business and then we will talk about how to use it next time.

  1. What problem(s) do you have the solution for?
  2. Create a list of people who you know have/had this problem (even if you think for some reason they won’t work with you e.g. have already passed on or feel out of your reach right now)
  3. Read each name, think about the person and circle the ones you would love to work with
  4. Read the four statements below and apply to each circled name – if true then put a check mark next to the name
    • Has a problem for which they are seeking a solution
    • Willing and able to pay for that solution
    • You are willing to lead them
    • If you could copy them and serve them again and again you would

You will have two lists now. Those you would prefer to work with and those you don’t. Set some time aside to think about the common characteristics of both lists.

So what surprised you? Tell us in the comments below how this exercise changed how you see your potential and current client list.

Next time I will take you through how you use both of these lists to fuel your expert model business.

To your magnificence

Karen