#16 The danger behind loaded words

When you hear the word success how does it make you feel? What is your definition of success? Did you know that how you define certain words can hamper or help you achieve something—especially in business? We call these words “loaded” and Megan O’Neill joins me today to discuss what they mean for you and your business.

Megan is a Core Belief Engineering Practitioner who works with entrepreneurs. She works with her clients on a deep level to help them overcome their negative mindsets, including around a person’s beliefs behind loaded words.

Loaded words carry more meaning then their dictionary definition. People need to understand that there are words that are really loaded and that how they define these words can impact their business and how they work toward their goals. 

What are loaded words?

Loaded words have a visceral response to them; sometimes this response can be negative. If there is a word that automatically gets your back up then there is a belief within you that needs to be examined and your beliefs around it need to be changed.

The question becomes, how are you operating around the beliefs of this word? Meaning is your definition of a certain word or words preventing you from doing or achieving something? Many people have mindset blocks around a number of words that can impact how they perform in their business - loaded words such as rich, ambition, success, hustle, and busyness.

Ambition

How do you feel about the word ambition?

For Megan ambition is something to strive for; it’s an attribute. It is something you want to have in order to be successful. For Lara, ambition can be a risky path and does not always mean success - it's loaded for her with fears of too much work and sacrificing the joys of life.

Success

What do you feel when you think about success in your business?

Many people don’t define success for themselves, but instead they end up using society's definition of success, or what they've witnessed and believed to be successful around them in their lives. 

It is only when you start seeing what you truly want versus how someone else sees success that you can start breaking through your beliefs around a loaded word. For example, just because someone else has the desire and ability to vacation in St-Bart’s twice a year, doesn’t mean it defines success for you if that isn’t something you really desire to do. If the idea of being successful in your business feels overwhelming at all, it may be time to write down a new definition of personal success. 

Rich

Do you want to be rich?

While one person may think being rich would be perfect, another person may hate the idea of ever being rich because of what they believe having money will mean to them. Some people think that being rich makes you cold and disconnected and therefore don't want to ever be rich. That definition has a lot more meaning than just having lots of money.

Our definitions of loaded words form when we are children. Maybe it is from movies we have seen as children where the villain was rich, or perhaps it is from our parents’ belief that people with money are evil.

You need to learn that your definition of a word can put a lot of needless pressure on yourself. You also need to understand that these beliefs can be blocking you from achieving success. You could be viewing the definition of a word through a lens that is not giving you the true picture of your situation. If your definition of a word does not match your true beliefs around something then you need to take another look at the definition.

Hustle

There are two camps on what the word hustle can mean: If you’re hustling you’re working hard to be the best at your job, you love what you’re doing versus it sounds pushy, hard work, always in someone’s face, and never taking time for yourself.

Some people load it with positives, and some load it with negatives. Which camp are you in, or do you feel neutral about the word?

Busyness

Busy has become a synonymous with success. There is a belief that being busy is positive for a lot of people because they are always taking action ad are always doing something. The other side could be that they’re not taking time for themself, their family or for the things they really want to do. Instead they are doing the things they have to do and not what they want to do. Being busy does not have to be a bad thing.

What are your loaded words? What kind of unconscious beliefs are you running around these loaded words? You can change a definition around words at any time, you just need to get a new education regarding a word to change it and move forward.

Resources & Links

Megan’s Facebook Group

Megan O'Neill's website

Megan O'Neill on Facebook

Subscribe on iTunes

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#15 What's your business story?

When Deborah first came in to my Facebook community and introduced herself, she told a story. I've always known that stories are important - that stories are a way to connect to an audience, and that stories are important for business owners. Deborah's story clearly did all those things because the response was incredible. People wanted to know more about her, people wanted to follow her to her own group. 

She definitely sold her own product with that post and I wanted to have her on the podcast to talk more about storytelling because I think all business owners need to incorporate in more into their communications.


Who is Deborah?

Deborah Ager guides her clients through the process of finding the right words and using them in the right places to get more clients. She’s called a business muse, copywriter, marketing consultant, and business storyteller. She has 15+ years of marketing and copy experience for billion-dollar organizations, multimillion-dollar companies, and for small business owners—and with successes at each. She believes in serving those who aim to improve humanity. She lives in the Washington, DC area and is founder of Radiant Media Labs and host of a weekly free training on using words to grow your business.

What’s your story?

If you’re having a hard time finding clients, or are struggling to fill your funnel, the key to your success could be in the story of you and your business. Even if you don’t enjoy writing, or don’t believe you’ve had any interesting experiences, you have stories in you that, once shared, can help you attract your ideal customers.

Why does storytelling work?

A good story is compelling, peaks interest, and teaches people something. When you develop stories around your experiences in business that help people understand who you are and what you do, it helps your prospective customers sit up and pay attention.

What should you talk about?

Back in high school, we learned that a story had three basic parts to it: the introduction, or building of the action, the climax, and the denouement, or ending. This kind of story doesn’t translate well to the business world.

According to Deborah, a great story is a 6 part process:

1) Be clear on your audience

Who do you want to work with? This is a super important step when deciding what details to include in your story.

The more you know your target audience and what they like, want and need, the more you can create stories that speak directly to them. This means you’ll attract more of the people you want to work with, and fewer of the people that aren’t a great fit.

Pick a few of your favourite clients and make a list of the things that they have in common. What are they interested in? What could you include in a story that would really resonate with them? The more stories you tell them that really connect, the more potential clients will feel that you’re a person that understands where they’re coming from.

2) Be clear on what you do

Are you sure that your prospective client is clear on what it is that you do? How do you stand out from the pack? How are you different, better?

3) Be clear on why you do it

What are your beliefs? If you’re not sure what exactly you believe in, take a pen and paper and free write a page starting with “I believe”. If you let yourself just write continuously without stopping, you might just experience a breakthrough about yourself that can attract people with similar beliefs.

4) Include a struggle

People want to know that you’ve struggled. Don’t assume that appearing perfect will make people want to work with you. Easy might be desirable, but it sure isn’t interesting. You might write about a past business fail, a transformational process, or a problem you fixed that helped in your own business. If a prospective client sees that you’ve overcome the same struggles they’re having, they’ll know that you’re the right person to help them.

5) Add an element of surprise

People like intrigue and excitement, remember to bring in something that keeps things interesting to hold people's attention.

6) Add a satisfying ending

We want a solution to the problem and something that demonstrates that you've arrived in a place that your audience wants to be. Make sure not to leave people hanging - give them what they want in the conclusion.

Where do you want your prospective client to go next? You can include a call to action, a link to a freebie, or an invitation to the next step.

How much should you share?

You might be nervous about sharing personal info, or you might worry that sharing too many of your quirky qualities will push people away. Use words that are real and true for you and if someone doesn’t resonate with what you’re saying, that’s ok! If someone can’t accept you for who you are, you probably don’t want to work with them anyway.

Some people are totally ok with their lives being an open book, but others prefer to keep their private lives private. It comes down to deciding how much you’re comfortable with putting out there. Operate by your own rules, but err on the side of caution. Remember, once it’s out there, you can’t take it back.

What if you’re overwhelmed by creating content?

Storytelling can be a lot of fun, but people think they have to spend all day and night creating content. Work on small pieces of writing and don’t let it overwhelm you. You might want to start with a “safe” story like your business origins story and go from there. You can also find ways to repurpose your content to make it easier to create later on. Take baby steps—the better you get at it, the more you’ll enjoy it.

Start connecting to your audience through storytelling:

Download Deborah's blueprint help you build your brand/business origin story. It takes you through her 6 step process to produce your very own brand story!

Resources & Links

Deborah’s StoryLab Blueprint

Deborah's Website

Deborah's Facebook Group

Join the Free Facebook Biz Studio Community

Subscribe on iTunes

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#14 Why goal setting and planning suck

I hate planning - I really do. I'm the kind of gal who likes to fly by the seat of her pants; who likes to let inspiration take hold and GO GO GO!

There are so many reasons I hate it - any of these sound familiar?

  • I don't have time

  • I'm not ready for planning

  • Planning stifles my creativity

  • I'm doing fine without it

  • I don't follow the plans anyways!

  • It's all in my head so I don't need to write it down

If you've thought any of these things, let's keep talking and I'll tell you why I DO plan, even though I still think and feel these things on a regular basis. 

I don't have time

This is never going to go away - you're always going to have too much to do. You need to book in the time.

If you don't COMMIT to the time, you're not going to get things done. You need to figure out how to commit - do you need a coach? Do you need an accountability partner? Do you need to book a day out of your office somewhere to work on?

If you don't stop and think about your business, you end up missing all the places you have money you can be saving or making, all the places you can be saving time, or all the places that need re-evaluating.

You might be amazed how much extra time and money you find just stopping for a day and thinking about what you're doing and why.

I'm not ready

There are so many times when I'm talking to people and they tell me they aren't ready to work with a coach or stop and work on planning because they don't know what they want to do next.

I get it, you don't want to waste time working on the wrong thing; it's easier to stick with the status quo for now.

HOWEVER, if you don't stop and try to figure it out, if you don't talk to a coach or go through a workbook on planning, you're never going to make the time to get ready and you're going to keep running on that hamster wheel indefinitely. 

Don't let 'not feeling ready' stop you from taking the next step in your business. 

It stifles my creativity / I won't do it anyways

This is a BIG one for me. I never know what I want to do next. I don't want to be told what to do. This makes wanting to sit down and decide far in advance what will be happening next extremely unappealing to me.

The important thing to remember here is that we need to set realistic expectations when it comes to the results of our planning. Not every single thing we plan is going to work out. Not every single plan is going to be the right decision for us. We need to be ready to learn, explore, and experiment. If we make plans and decide in a month that we made the wrong plan and need to change it - that's OK. It also doesn't mean that the time you took planning was a waste of time. You learned a lot from making the plan and then figuring out what about that plan isn't something you want to do in your business.

Here's the other thing - when you think about planning that doesn't work for you, maybe you're thinking about the wrong kind of planning!

Not every method of planning works for every person. If you balk at the idea of step-by-step plans with dates attached, maybe you need to be more flexible with the way you plan and come up with ideas. Be willing to experiment and play to your strengths.

It's all in my head and that's working fine!

Getting things out of your head so you can look at it from a different angle is so important. It's really hard to get a true picture of everything when it's in your head. Things get forgotten, and you can't think of every possibility. You need to see things from other perspectives. 

While a lot of the times we can easily talk ourselves out of doing the planning because we're do busy, we don't feel ready or we feel it's going to be a waste of time, the truth is that it IS worth the time and effort to stop and re-evaluate. I challenge you to commit to some planning and goal setting for your business in the next month and see what happens!

What to do next

1) Book time to work on your business

2) Bring someone else in to help support you: a coach, a friend, or take a course. Find a person you can talk things through with.

3) Don't be afraid of planning - there is a system for each style of thinking and way of working - you just need to figure out what the right system is for you.

4) Set realistic expectations - if you think that you're suddenly going to make 100% more profit once you do some planning and it doesn't work, you're going to be really frustrated. Know that a lot of this is all about just spending time thinking - not every idea of plan is THE best one, but the act of doing the planning will help you in the long run.

5) Stop keeping everything in your head - talk it out to someone and get their feedback, voice record yourself and listen back to it, or just write it down. Take the time to see what things look like when it's more than just ideas floating around in your head.

If you're looking for more support you can:
 

Join my free Facebook Community
Book a call with me to see if we're a good fit for coaching

Subscribe to the podcast

Subscribe on iTunes

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#13 - 3 Simple Steps for Managing Stress

How do you cope with stress?

Stress is common, but how entrepreneurs and business owners deal with it can vary; and sometimes it isn't coped with at all, until it is too late! Shulamit (Shula) Berlevtov is a social worker that works with busy women and businesswomen, offering support to help them manage and cope with stress. As Shula sees it, the problem is recognizing and dealing with stress before it gets too big.

 Businesswomen think there is something wrong with them because they feel some little thing (stress) has done them in. The first thing is to recognize that it is normal to feel this way. Secondly, realize that the effect of stress is cumulative. Think of stress like the weight limit on an elevator. The weight can build and build on an elevator, but eventually, if you surpass the weight limit, the elevator is going to break. You are the elevator and stress is the people – too much stress and you will break!

3 Simple Steps to Managing Stress

The irony is if you are in the elevator, you can’t see what is happening because everything that is happening is outside of the elevator – the cables start to fray, etc. Then when everything breaks you find yourself free falling and you don’t understand why you’re broken.

This is how stress works: it builds and builds, and unless you are paying attention it breaks you. If you don’t see stress coming you should be looking for signs, such as getting a short fuse or feeling constant exhaustion. Stress affects all bodily functions: mental health, emotional health, your respiratory system, your muscular skeletal system (body tension), digestion, heartburn, etc.  Stress affects the whole body.

Instead of living with the heartburn, etc. you should do something about it. Treat it like the “check engine” light in your car. You will be tempted to deal it later, but eventually that light could mean a larger problem.

So, what can we do in the moment?

As a businessperson, find a group or person who will put stress management on your regular agenda. Whether that is a mastermind group or a business coach – put stress management on your accountability list. Make a point of paying attention to the signals your body is giving you and then engage in stress reduction: discharge, soothe and nourish.

How to cope with stress

Discharge

To discharge is to release the built up energy in the body, which means moving. It does not necessarily mean working out, but just moving somehow. Identify your practice i.e. taking a walk, dancing to music, etc. You need to bring your awareness to this movement – don’t bring your stress with you.

Bring your attention inward and say to yourself that this is your stress reduction practice. If it’s a chore to do it will become stressful and will not be good for you. Make sure the movement is pleasurable for you.

Soothe

Soothing tells the nervous system that it doesn’t have to worry; and that it can relax. However you can’t just tell yourself to relax, your body responds to experience i.e., a hot bath or other calm, comfortable, soothing activity that will calm stress. This soothing activity is different for everyone. It is something that will make you say, “ahhhh.” And again you have to take the time to soothe yourself and find your calm. Commit to soothing your stress.

Nourish

Nourish has to do with feeding the nervous system the experiences it needs to thrive, such as joy, fun, inspiration, etc. For some people this means going to church, singing, playing with kids, reading a book or going to a good comedy show. Anything that makes you come out feeling enlivened. 

Find what works for you – you know what makes you feel good and you know what makes you feel that you’ve let steam off. If you don’t know, just bring an awareness to your feelings and you will quickly learn what your ideal stress reduction practice.

Stress is a part of being an entrepreneur (and a person!) but if you find the right techniques to release the stress the build up won't be such a problem. Leave a comment and let me know how you will discharge, soothe and nourish this week!

Resources & Links

Stress relief with breath and movement ebook and video

Shula's website

Join the Free Facebook Biz Studio Community

Subscribe on iTunes

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#12 – When Saying No is Right for your Business

Are you doing what you love? Does your business make you happy? If it isn’t then it may be time to change the way you run your business.

Today I am talking with Sam Hunter, a quilt pattern designer for the quilting industry. Quilting is a $4 billion dollar industry in the United States! Despite being associated as an activity for the elderly, quilting is a huge industry and Sam has capitalized on this with her designs. Sam joins me to discuss her experiences as a business owner and choosing the right projects for you. It’s all about doing what you want to be doing as opposed to doing what others (society) think you should be doing.

Why you should do what you love

When saying no is right for your business

Sam designs what she is passionate about because she believes the end result will be better. If a fabric company approaches her with a design and she tries to do it, i.e. table runners, she finds they don’t sell well. The fact that she isn’t committed in her heart to that work means they don’t sell well, so she only creates what turns her creativity on.

If you create a business with a lot of “poop sandwiches,” as writer Elizabeth Gilbert describes it, then it won’t sell well or do well because you are not going to give it your all; because your heart is not into it.

When you love what you do, you do it better

It’s easier to promote, sell and do the day-to-day when you love what you do! With every creative job there is the behind the scenes stuff that you also need to do, i.e. a website, social media, etc. and you need to get good at it or hire out for it, but in order to do this you must love and believe in what you do. You need to know that doing what you love means creating systems and processes that allow you to focus on this.

After reading the book Essentialism – The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown, Sam realized that when you’re in the business of doing your work, you are working on being more productive and efficient. Are you doing the right things in your business? Sometimes there are places in your business where you think “heck no,” but there are business reasons behind having to do whatever that thing is.

What is essential to your business?

In order to run a business that makes you happy, you need to protect your income stream, your body and your family and family relationships. Your body needs to come first in order to be able to do the rest.

Body and health

According to McKeown, our first asset is your body. Don’t work so hard that your body breaks down. Look at the decision processes for your business and think if it will stress you out, and if so, can you hire it out? Is it cost-effective? Does it support your health?

If you’re doing the wrong work your body will tell you through migraines, etc. It’s not all about having the time—it’s about whether or not it will exhaust you or cause you anxiety. If you are running at a level of busy that means you can’t maintain self-care then you will run out of steam. This doesn’t necessarily mean investing in yoga classes, but it could mean questioning what you are eating. Are you relying on take-out too often? Are there fruits and vegetables in your fridge?

Income stream

When it comes to your business tasks, you need to decide whether any of the things that must be done need to be done by you and if so can you hire that thing out. Outsourcing gives you back the time you need to do the things only you can do. You can outsource for graphic design, social media, bookkeeping, etc.

Family

It's simple - when was the last time you spent time with close friends and family - the people that nourish your soul?

Don’t do what you don’t want to do. Remember, just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should. Another thing to think about is 'can you do your best work within the time allotted to you?' Doing it well doesn’t come with the hustle. Can you be proud of your work in this situation? Do work you love AND you’re proud of.

The fear of saying no

You can have a sustainable income by saying no because it gives you more room to say yes to the work you do want to do and that you’re good at. The polarization within our society that if you’re A then you’re not B… and if you’re A then you don’t like B… this isn’t true—there is room for all of us.

Just as there is room for other quilter designers there is a room for other people within your industry – only you can do what you do and everyone else can do the rest. Don’t play in the realm of scarcity. Believe there will always be people who like your work. If you play in the realm of scarcity, you will get scarcity.

Competition

When it comes to competition, be all that you can be, but swim in your own lane. Don’t look too much at others; keep them in mind, but don’t focus too much on them. Instead focus on yourself and what you do.

We will all have frustrating days, but love what you do. Sam loves the puzzle of what she does. She has her mission and system that keeps her on track, for example she doesn’t do kits because she doesn’t want to. By figuring out what she likes to do she stays on track and keeps her goals in mind. Just because you say no to something doesn’t mean it’s permanent… they can become possibilities down the road—if you want them to be. Your business is constantly evolving – just make sure it is the business you want and that everything happening in your business is for a reason.

Resources & Links

Sam Hunter's website: Hunter's Design Studio

Join the Free Facebook Community

Subscribe on iTunes

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# 11 – Why your personal life can’t be separated from your business life

Trudy Chapman is a life coach that helps people with their personal development, in particular with transitions. Having moved over twenty times in her life, Trudy is very familiar with transitions and life changes, and brings this experience with her in her day-to-day work with clients.

Trudy joins me on The Biz Podcast to talk about the life part of being a business owner. She believes business owners need to keep their personal life in mind when it comes to running a business because people bring the same person to every part of their life, whether that is at an event for a child, a business meeting or coffee with a friend.

The importance of a life plan

Podcast #11 Life and business balance

When an entrepreneur comes to Trudy with a business plan, she asks them what their life plan is. She does this to make the entrepreneur question if they have enough space in their personal life for their business. Once an entrepreneur sets out their life plan, they often realize that some business goals may need to be set over a longer period of time, as time and business expands.

She asks entrepreneurs to think of their business and life plans as a pie. She asks: What does your life and business pie look like? How big is the spousal piece, parent piece, business piece, etc.?

Values

Trudy also looks at values. She asks: What do you value? How do you value it? If you value it, are you actually living it? Answering these questions brings clarity to a business owner’s life and tells them how things are at the present moment, before they set goals for the future.

Once a business owner determines their values, they can then set mindful decisions surrounding their business. Entrepreneurs need to make decisions based on the right reasons. A common struggle is figuring out what is important versus what someone else thinks you should do or based on what society thinks you should do.

Ask yourself: What do you like to do and how can you make that into something people will buy?

Each day you get up and are putting time into your business, so why shouldn’t you love it?  Think of it like a pair of shoes – if they pinch your feet take a look at those pinch points and find a more comfortable pair of shoes that don’t pinch.

Mindfulness

Trudy’s values and her life and business balance came out of providing for her children. She wanted to be there for her children as well as run her business. She committed to managing her work the best way possible so that the impact on her children was as minimal as possible. She recognized what she was good at and understood what she wanted and did not want from her business. She understood her values and was able to set mindful decisions surrounding her business.

Trudy leaves a situation better after she has been there than what it was before she got there. It’s how she lives her values and lives a mindful life.

How to get past the "shoulds"

To get beyond the “shoulds” business owners need to think with their head, heart and body. When your gut is telling you something doesn’t feel right, but your head is telling you it logically makes sense, the wrong decision can easily be made. So many times we listen to our head and then find ourselves in unhappy situations as opposed to listening to our guts. Tapping into your feelings gives you the power to get in touch with the values that are driving you. So many people don’t know how to take the time to do this and then know what to do with these feelings – this is what a coach can help you with.

Intentional Choices

Sometimes business owners make decisions that may not be what they really want, but are done because they feel they should do them. The ability to make intentional choices is completely dependent on mindfulness. Be aware of any consequences that may come from the choices you make. What are the trade offs? I.e., what won’t you be able to do if you decided to do XYZ?

It is very common for business owners to want to feel more fulfilled, and many are not sure how to do this. This is what a life coach can help people figure out. A coach can help you get comfortable with the uncomfortable. A coach can show you how things look now, how it serves you, how it doesn’t fit quite right and how to change it so it can fit right. Shifts should be regenerative through time and a coach can teach you to address any issues that may come up in the future – giving you a sense of durability and mindfulness.

Equipped with the right tools a business owner can live a fulfilling life and run a successful business.

Resources & Links

Trudy Chapman Coaching

Join the Free Facebook Community

Subscribe on iTunes

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You may also like these episodes:

#1:  Three strategies to get the life and biz you want

#10: Entrepreneurs and Confidence

#10 - Entrepreneurs and Confidence

Do you feel nervous or uncomfortable about putting yourself out there on social media or at a networking event? How does it make you feel when someone refers to you as an expert or guru? If either of these scenarios makes you want to pull back or hide then it may be time to look at your mindset to see why you are struggling with these.

When we talk about mindset in this context, we are talking about something that you may not be conscious of that is impacting how you behave in your business.  What are your beliefs around visibility, i.e. what makes you afraid to put yourself out there? How are your beliefs impacting your inability to be confident?

Lack of confidence can affect an entrepreneur’s ability to put themselves out there and be visible. Many entrepreneurs hesitate to put themselves out there in video, public speaking or at a networking event because they lack the confidence.

Podcast #10 - Entrepreneurship and confidence

My friend Megan O’Neill is a Core Belief Engineering Practitioner, who has many clients who are entrepreneurs and small business owners—some of whom struggle with confidence. Megan helps them determine why they struggle and what beliefs may be holding them back.

Lack of Confidence and Fearing Judgment

Megan recently spoke with a colleague who hesitates to do any public speaking because she feels she isn’t good enough and needs more training. In Megan’s eye, her colleague was already quite a good public speaker. Her colleague lacks the confidence to do public speaking and that is actually what is holding her back.

Similarly, Megan held back from doing videos for her business because she lacked confidence. She did not want people from her past, i.e. high school classmates to see and potentially judge these videos. Once she overcame this fear, she was able to create regular videos that allow people the opportunity to get to know her thereby helping grow her business.

People hold back because they fear judgment.

Imposter Syndrome

If you are afraid of looking like a fake or a phoney, you believe you are presenting yourself in a certain way that is not true. A lot of people who are extremely talented are, are actually some of the most likely to suffer from imposter syndrome.

You need to ask yourself how many years of experience or education do you need before you allow yourself to be qualified for what it is you do. Once you ask yourself this question you may start to realize there is no magic number, or magic certification... not really. (Though sometimes you really will want to get a piece of paper, that's ok too)

The same falls true for people who come from highly educated parents, they may feel they are not qualified enough because they are not at the same level of education, even though this is simply not true.

People will find ways to justify their fears. They don’t want to use the word expert or guru—but why? What are the beliefs behind not wanting to use these words?

There are old beliefs that you shouldn’t “toot your own horn.” Women in particular hesitate to do this because they fear they will not be liked and will look conceited, which is wrong because you are telling yourself to not be confident.

Imposter syndrome is really common - start to pinpoint where you're feeling stuck so you can start to move past the blocks in your thinking.

Measuring Up to Other People

Have you ever thought, “Who am I to believe I can do this?” This is one way we measure ourselves. We also tend to compare ourselves to other entrepreneurs who may be offering similar services or products. If you suffer from comparing yourself to other people it’s counterproductive. It does not motivate you and in fact, often causes people to pull back.

It is important to remember that the picture you hold of what someone else is doing, i.e. comparing your pricing, is done without knowing the other entrepreneur’s full picture. Maybe their prices do not reflect their reality. Maybe they are not making enough to support their lifestyle. Maybe they want to raise their prices, but are afraid to!

If you look at someone else, it is easy to fall into the trap of comparing.

Take Facebook for example, if you look at someone’s Facebook page you will think they are living the picture perfect life, and this can make you feel bad about your own life, even though it may not be that person’s true reality. People get caught up in artificial perceptions.

How Beliefs Affect Us

It comes down to how people value themselves—their self-worth. We are culturally taught to not value ourselves. Once you start to value yourself and look at what you bring to the table it can be a game-changer.

When you are a business owner or a solopreneur, you are IT! Go big or go home! Value your talents, your time and how you look and present yourself. You need to put yourself out there, so why not have the confidence to do so?

Become aware of your beliefs. Awareness is the first step to changing your negative beliefs. Notice and become aware of where your blocks are—write them down. If you are not taking action on something ask yourself why that is? What is holding you back? What part of you doesn’t want to do it?

Once you figure out these blocks ask yourself how you can change your mindset around these blocks. Can you talk it out with a friend or someone who is supportive of you and your entrepreneurial journey?

How can you change your change your mindset and be confident? And if that isn't working, book a call with Megan because she can help you dig down into the unconscious beliefs that can be hard to target on our own.

Resources & Links

Megan O'Neill's website

Megan's Facebook Community: Core Beliefs for Business

Join the Free Facebook Community

Subscribe on iTunes

Subscribe on Stitcher

Podcast Contest

As this new podcast gets off the ground, I’d really love your help to make sure that it gets in front of the right people. The first weeks of a podcast’s life are the most important in terms of the opportunities for iTunes to showcase you to other listeners. Because of that, I’m starting out this new podcast with a bang. There are 3 episodes available for you right now, and there will be at least two more episodes every week for the remainder of the eight weeks.

I thought I’d find some extra ways to thank you for all the sharing and supporting you do of the new podcast so every week until July 15th I’m going to be giving away one of my favourite business books to one person who either:

  • subscribe to the podcast or leave a review on iTunes; or
     
  • share the podcast on social media; or
     
  • come in to the Biz Studio and post your favourite tip from a specific episode (along with a link to that episode)

In all cases, you need to make sure that I either know who you are (email me a screen capture of the review or showing you are subscribed) or that the posts on social media are public and tag me (@larawellman) or the Biz Studio (on Facebook you can tag my page).

Each week I’ll be announcing the book winner on Wednesdays on my Facebook page

Some of the books I’ll be giving away are (I’ll be adding more titles soon):

  • Confidence Code by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman
  • It Starts with Why by Simon Synek
  • How to Live a Good Life by Jonathan Fields
  • E-myth Revisited by Michael Gerber

So get out there and start sharing your reviews and sharing the podcast and good luck. AND THANK YOU!

#9 - Managing Your Social Media While On Vacation

How do you manage your social media when you’re on vacation? Blogger and content curator, Rebecca Stanisic, joins me to discuss how you can create a viable social media plan to keep you covered while you are disconnected and away from the office.

Many business owners intend to have a plan for their social media while they are away, but don’t follow through and instead let their social media channels go dark. This is not always ideal.

While vacations are important—disconnecting can be rejuvenating!—it does not have to be detrimental to your business. Think of a vacation as a chance to recharge your batteries, and when you plan ahead it can be stress-free.

So, how can you prevent your social channels from going dark while you're away?

Use a calendar

The first place to start is with a calendar. Have and use an editorial calendar of some sort—it does not have to be day-to-day, but you should still have a calendar you can refer to on a daily basis, even though it may be a calendar that breaks down your content schedule monthly.

Use this calendar to plan out what content you want to post and when you want to post it. When you use and consistently refer to this calendar you get a bigger picture and can see the blocks of time you have devoted to vacation. This will help you plan in advance and work with the goal of meeting deadlines way before your vacation as opposed to last minute. This will reduce stress and allow you to focus.

You need to plan and prepare yourself for the transitional time following a vacation as well—allow time to check email, prepare for meetings, etc. This should all be incorporated into your planning in the weeks (and months) leading up to a vacation.

What this means is that you should prepare and schedule your social media content for before, during and after your vacation to allow for some much needed buffer time.

Schedule Content

While some business owners do not schedule content and prefer to post live, if you know you are going to be unplugged while away then you need to create quality content and schedule it to publish while you are on vacation. 

This could be a timely evergreen piece that relates to the time of year, i.e. if it is over March break, do you have something that relates to this?  The same goes for Christmas and other holidays.

If you are planning on running a special event or sale sometime after you get back from vacation, then you need to think ahead about this as well; and create and schedule content that will build up to this so you are not frantically promoting last minute upon returning from vacation.

Plan your blog posts

If you have a small business blog then you might not need to publish a new blog post on your week away, however if you do need new content or if you owe someone a new post(s) then you need to plan ahead and make sure it is edited and ready to publish while you are away.

When it comes to all online content, the important thing is to be consistent—if your audience expects a blog post or newsletter while you are away then you need to stay consistent. Your content schedule depends on your business as well as your audience.

If you do not want to have your own material publish while you are away, then you can ask guest bloggers to guest post on your blog. Again you will need to plan this in advance and reach out and let them know your expectations, deadlines, etc. 

Let your clients know you will be away

If you regularly take appointments then you need to let your audience know that you will not be taking appointments the week you are away. The sooner you let our audience know, the better. You can do this via your email signature, out of office as well as Facebook messenger and on your website. You do not necessarily have to let your audience know that you are leaving town, just let them know you are unavailable, and if you will or will not be responding to emails.

Get help and set expectations

If you work with a social media manager or virtual assistant then you need to work with them and make sure they are aware of whether or not you are still responding to email or if you are completely off the grid while you are on vacation.

You should also let them know clear deadlines and have clear communication regarding expectations on them while you are away as well as leading up to your vacation.

You should always have someone available to put out your fires while you are away. For example, if you cannot get on your Facebook Page while away, then you should have someone who has the role of Page Admin to access your Page to answer queries, etc. The same applies to your website—have someone who can log in and address any malware issues or other problems.

Logging off and stepping away from your computer is healthy—allow yourself the time to enjoy it! With the proper amount of planning and preparation a week away is not only possible, it can easily become a regular part of your business planning.

How will you get ready for your next time away from your business? Leave a comment and let me know!

Resources & Links

Rebecca's website

Rebecca's blog

Join the Free Facebook Community

Subscribe on iTunes

Subscribe on Stitcher
 

Podcast Contest

CONGRATULATIONS KIM REYNOLDS WHO WON IT STARTS WITH WHY!

As this new podcast gets off the ground, I’d really love your help to make sure that it gets in front of the right people. The first weeks of a podcast’s life are the most important in terms of the opportunities for iTunes to showcase you to other listeners. Because of that, I’m starting out this new podcast with a bang. There are 3 episodes available for you right now, and there will be at least two more episodes every week for the remainder of the eight weeks.

I thought I’d find some extra ways to thank you for all the sharing and supporting you do of the new podcast so every week until July 15th I’m going to be giving away one of my favourite business books to one person who either:

  • subscribe to the podcast or leave a review on iTunes; or
     
  • share the podcast on social media; or
     
  • come in to the Biz Studio and post your favourite tip from a specific episode (along with a link to that episode)

In all cases, you need to make sure that I either know who you are (email me a screen capture of the review or showing you are subscribed) or that the posts on social media are public and tag me (@larawellman) or the Biz Studio (on Facebook you can tag my page).

Each week I’ll be announcing the book winner on Wednesdays on my Facebook page

Some of the books I’ll be giving away are (I’ll be adding more titles soon):

  • Confidence Code by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman
  • It Starts with Why by Simon Synek
  • How to Live a Good Life by Jonathan Fields
  • E-myth Revisited by Michael Gerber

So get out there and start sharing your reviews and sharing the podcast and good luck. AND THANK YOU!

 

#8 – Your Relationship with Money

When it comes to running your business, what is your relationship with money? Are you charging your worth? Are you spending the money necessary to grow your business? If you struggle with your relationship with money—you’re not alone. Many entrepreneurs and business owners don’t know their numbers or they’re afraid to talk about money.

your relationship with money

Johanna Lynn joins me on the podcast to talk about the relationship we all have with money. She works with what we inherit from our family. She believes none of us are who we are by accident; our childhood blueprint shows up in more than you may think, including in our relationships with people and with things, such as money. This is all due to our family and how we were raised.

Who taught you about money?

Even though money is so important, no one really teaches us about money and finances. As adults we make every day decisions when it comes to money and with those decisions come emotional attachments that live right below the surface.

Whether you are wealthy or struggling to get by, there are common themes in people’s relationship to money. You need to look at what is running you on the inside when it comes to money. It is more than just skills learned through financial books; we need to understand our feelings around money.

How our thoughts around money differ

Think about it: you could have two successful women entrepreneurs who own their own business, who are married and are both mothers and on the surface it may seem like we have some of the same things, however our blueprint, set out by our relationships with our parents, is different. It is our blueprint that makes people think and act differently from one another. Those two woman can make vastly different decisions with money, impacting how they spend it, how they receive it and how comfortable they feel with what they have or don't have.

When it comes to money you either think you have enough or you think of money in terms of scarcity – in turn this affects your relationship with money, right down to the little purchases you make. Money is a big part of being an entrepreneur. You need to spend money to earn money, whether that is investing in a business coach or equipment.  So, you need to be comfortable in your relationship with money.

Myth: You’re born a spender or a saver

Believing you’re born a spender or a saver is an unconscious loyalty that can come from seldom allowing ourselves to do better than our parents. If you have parents who were all about keeping up with the Joneses but did not have the money to support this habit, then as children we notice the strain of living beyond our means. In turn we grow up to repeat the same behaviours or grow up to do the opposite: save every penny we earn to avoid the strain our parents had.

Regardless of which path, our relationship with money is often not our own but is a subconscious relationship based on the relationship our parents had with money.

Your relationship should not be the same, though. You would not want your children to fall into these pitfalls and neither do your parents—they do not want you to make the same mistakes they did with money. At the same time, letting the pendulum swing too far the other way isn't necessarily a solution either.

It all comes back to clarity.

A fulfilled life is a lot more than just doing what you think you should – it’s thinking about what you really want. Does your spending match with your desires? If you’re overspending, but realize you want a different life then you need to examine what that is and match your spending to match your savings.

The grass is NOT always greener on the other side

We need to get clear on what we want. We can easily get caught up on the idea that making a certain amount will make us financially free. But what does that number mean to your ideal lifestyle? Will you keep working for it? Does your work make you happy?

Many people easily fall into a pattern of doing over being. This comes from an early memory in our body where we needed more from our mothers than she was able to give us at the time. We take this memory and turn it into our relationship with money – it’s never enough (money, affection from my spouse, etc.).

What does success look like for you?

Society’s picture of success is not your picture of success. It’s what’s behind your desire – is it paying off your mortgage, or paying off your car? Get behind your “why?” By getting clear on your money relationship you get a lot more clarity around how you are going to get to your ultimate goal.

Your relationship with money is a lot deeper than recognizing your credit card debt. It’s recognizing the feeling places in your body and how you feel when that credit card bill comes in and how it feels when you have to ask to borrow money to pay it off.

Johanna has spoken with multi-millionaires who are still not secure with their money because they are constantly afraid the rug will be pulled out from under them. This is about more than just the money, there is another underlying reason for their relationship with money that needs to be investigated and uncovered.

What to look at in your relationship with money

We need to look at how our early templates were formed and how they are affecting our current relationships. What were your parents like? What was your childhood like? We are affected up to three generations back as to how we will react with money. We need to understand our influences in order to get clear on why we make the decisions we do.

Money patterns are multi-generational and influence us until we address them by becoming conscious of our own patterns and then tracking it back to how we fit into our entire family system.

 

Resources & Links

Johanna’s virtual workshop: Your Inner Relationship with Money

Join the Free Facebook Community

Subscribe on iTunes

Subscribe on Stitcher

May 4, 2017

Podcast Contest

Congratulations Marie Shinmoto and Kim Be who have won The Big Leap and You're a Badass!

As this new podcast gets off the ground, I’d really love your help to make sure that it gets in front of the right people. The first weeks of a podcast’s life are the most important in terms of the opportunities for iTunes to showcase you to other listeners. Because of that, I’m starting out this new podcast with a bang. There are 3 episodes available for you right now, and there will be at least two more episodes every week for the remainder of the eight weeks.

I thought I’d find some extra ways to thank you for all the sharing and supporting you do of the new podcast so every week until July 15th I’m going to be giving away one of my favourite business books to one person who either:

  • subscribe to the podcast or leave a review on iTunes; or
     
  • share the podcast on social media; or
     
  • come in to the Biz Studio and post your favourite tip from a specific episode (along with a link to that episode)

In all cases, you need to make sure that I either know who you are (email me a screen capture of the review or showing you are subscribed) or that the posts on social media are public and tag me (@larawellman) or the Biz Studio (on Facebook you can tag my page).

Each week I’ll be announcing the book winner on Wednesdays on my Facebook page

Some of the books I’ll be giving away are (I’ll be adding more titles soon):

  • The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks
  • It Starts with Why by Simon Synek
  • How to Live a Good Life by Jonathan Fields
  • E-myth Revisited by Michael Gerber

So get out there and start sharing your reviews and sharing the podcast and good luck. AND THANK YOU!

#7 - How to make sure your website is found on Google

Rachel Di Martino is owner of Geek Unicorn, a company that focuses on website optimization and brand presence for businesses. I asked Rachel to join me to talk about brand optimization and why business owners need to care about Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for their businesses.

What is SEO?

Rachel Di Martino SEO

SEO is bringing your web page up onto the search results so if someone looks for a specific subject, a link to your website comes up. This is important because you don’t want to be paying for marketing all the time. Certainly paid marketing through Facebook ads, etc. is important, but wouldn’t it be nice to have nonpaid leads through Google and Bing searches as well?

Years ago, the typical SEO strategy was to pay someone to stuff keywords into the code of your website, but it doesn’t work that way anymore. There have been more hours devoted to developers looking into the search algorithm then anything else – search engines have gotten smart; especially Google and Bing. We need to understand a bit more about how it all works so that we can help ourselves be more findable online.

How does SEO work?

Search engines no longer just look for one specific word or phrase, i.e. cat or dog because they realized that it was too easy to manipulate and people were abusing it. So, now search engines want to be your friend. What does that mean? Search engines want you to think of search the same way you would if you were to ask a friend for a restaurant recommendation. If a friend were to ask you for your recommendation it would be based on many things: service, speed, location, menu, and price. Google wants to do the same – they want to be a trusted friend and make a recommendation based on over 200 factors.

Google also wants us to find quality information – based on more than just one word. To tell Google that you are more than just a word or phrase is to think about what your user is thinking and to think of a search engine like the restaurant in terms of service, speed, etc. So, you want to make sure all the information on your website is easy to find, i.e. is your contact information easy to find, is the information you provide in blog posts relevant, accurate, easily consumable and shareable?

How does Google know something is true?

Google looks for clues to ensure things are accurate, including how long someone has spent on your website, i.e. on blog posts, etc. If someone spends a lot of time on your website then Google will assume it is good content.

Google also looks at your bounce rate i.e., if someone clicks on a page and then leaves right away for whatever reason, they bounced. Maybe the content wasn’t relevant or the site took to long to load. Regardless, Google takes your bounce rate into account.

Google also looks for how the page has been shared on social media and whether the page has other links out there, including backlinks and referral links that link back to your website or blog post.

What are some tips for being Google friendly?

One goal is not to have irritating popups that are difficult to close because people will become frustrated and leave quickly – giving you a bad bounce rate and negatively affecting your SEO.

You also need good content so people will stay and backlinks to build your credibility. (If you can get people to link to your content that will help with your search engine rankings.)

Finally, you need to think about your traffic – how many people are visiting your website in a week or a month? This is where a newsletter is good because then everyone in your network is visiting your website based on the links in your newsletter, and this builds up your numbers and your SEO.

You should also make sure your website is mobile responsive. If it’s not mobile friendly then you are going to have a hard time ranking because it is not current with best practices. If you’re not sure, then you should use Google’s mobile responsive test website to determine if your site is mobile responsive.

Make sure to always approach new content with a little bit of SEO in mind every time – write about topics and trends that are currently popular but where there is an opportunity for better content. Or create content that will be highly liked and valued by your demographic – put your voice into a problem your audience wants an answer or that you can add value to. The more value you provide the more likely people will visit your website, spend time with it and share it.

Build your referral links –partner with other sites through guest podcasting, guest blogging or by being a trusted and strategic partner in their business i.e. a doula can partner with a lactation consultant, etc.

Building your SEO may take time, but the good news is that is something that once you get started and start seeing results, it gets easier.

Resources & Links

Geek Unicorn

Geek Unicorn on Facebook

Join the Free Facebook Community

Subscribe on iTunes

Subscribe on Stitcher

Podcast Contest

As this new podcast gets off the ground, I’d really love your help to make sure that it gets in front of the right people. The first weeks of a podcast’s life are the most important in terms of the opportunities for iTunes to showcase you to other listeners. Because of that, I’m starting out this new podcast with a bang. There are 3 episodes available for you right now, and there will be at least two more episodes every week for the remainder of the eight weeks.

I thought I’d find some extra ways to thank you for all the sharing and supporting you do of the new podcast so every week until July 15th I’m going to be giving away one of my favourite business books to one person who either:

  • subscribe to the podcast or leave a review on iTunes; or
     
  • share the podcast on social media; or
     
  • come in to the Biz Studio and post your favourite tip from a specific episode (along with a link to that episode)

In all cases, you need to make sure that I either know who you are (email me a screen capture of the review or showing you are subscribed) or that the posts on social media are public and tag me (@larawellman) or the Biz Studio (on Facebook you can tag my page).

Each week I’ll be announcing the book winner on Wednesdays on my Facebook page

Some of the books I’ll be giving away are (I’ll be adding more titles soon):

  • The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks
  • It Starts with Why by Simon Synek
  • How to Live a Good Life by Jonathan Fields
  • E-myth Revisited by Michael Gerber

So get out there and start sharing your reviews and sharing the podcast and good luck. AND THANK YOU!

#6 - The dot com alternative: Choosing an alternative domain extension

Maris Callahan joins me on today’s podcast to discuss alternative domain extensions. Maris is Director of Public Relations for Donuts Inc., an Internet domain registry company that offers alternatives to the traditional dot com naming conventions. Many companies are moving away or adding to their dot com domain name, but there is a lot to think about when it comes to buying personalized and other alternative domain extensions.

What is an alternative domain extension?

Maris Callahan - alternative domain extensions

For businesses and entrepreneurs who are experts in their field, the purchase of an alternative domain name means they may be able to purchase a domain extension that better suits their area of expertise, i.e. yourname.yourfield, which allows businesses to clearly tell the world who they are and what they do. For example, if a photographer named Bob Smith has the domain name BobSmith.com, it does not tell people what Bob does, however the domain name BobSmith.photographer clearly tells people Bob is a photographer.

Why would I want an alternative domain extension?

Let’s face it—there are less dot com’s available nowadays! Dot com’s have been around for 30 years and online real estate is shrinking. Donuts Inc. has worked for three years to bring new domain extensions to market. These alternative extensions have been trickling out for three years and are finally hitting the mainstream, including with larger brands, such as Google who uses blog.Google and domains.Google. Hollywood movie studios are using alternative domain extensions, such as dot movies, take LaLaLand.movie, for example.

The alternative domain extensions are new, but they do not have to be backup domain names either. Businesses are also not being told to drop their dot com’s, but they should know they do have a choice if they are looking to personalize their domain names. There are so many alternative domain extension choices, including dot media or dot computer or more lighthearted ones such asdot cool,  dot life ordot pizza – to name just a few. You can be very creative to the left of the dot and very specific to the right of the dot, for example thebiz.studio.

Are there a lot of alternative domain extensions available?

There are over 1000 specific and generic dot coms as well as some geographic options, i.e. dot NYC or dot Vegas, as well as branded domains, which are for large brands who went out and bought their brand name as their extension, i.e. dot Marriott. Alternative domain extensions can also be used for microsites or marketing purposes, especially for brands, i.e. see what BMW has done.

How can I use an alternative domain name in addition to my dot com?

Because the dot com domain extension has been around for a long time it is definitely more recognizable. A common objection is that people won’t take a company seriously unless they have a dot com, which is why we are not suggesting people move away from that.

Another objection is if a business already has a dot com, why would they need another domain? Donuts Inc. doesn’t exist so people will drop their dot coms. If a business already has a dot com then a unique domain extension may be in addition to a long web address—a shorter one may make sense for marketing or word of mouth.

You may also want to increase your SEO with an additional alternative domain extension. For example, if you are a shoe store who also sells jewelry or clothes you may want to buy the dot shoes, dot jewelry and dot clothing to increase your brand’s SEO. Amazon does this well.

Again, creating microsites to compliment a main website is also a good use of an alternative domain extension. There are a few pet food companies who use this to market their specific pet food i.e. dot dog, etc.

Students use alternative domain extensions, such as dot land or dot world to house their online portfolios that directs people directly to what it is they do. Professionals also use them when applying for jobs i.e. dot engineering.

Where can I purchase an alternative domain extension?

To purchase an alternative domain extension visit Google Domains, GoDaddy or Name.com and type in what you are looking for to see if it is available. You can also go to Donuts.domains to find out more about how to chose a name and Name.kitchen for naming inspiration.

There are many fun and inspirational domain names to choose from. Just remember to keep it relevant and easy to remember, if you can!

If you have bought an alternate doman extension, leave me a comment and let me know what it is. You can check mine out at www.thebiz.studio!

Resources & Links

Donuts Inc. 

Google Domains

Name.Kitchen

GoDaddy

Podcast Contest

As this new podcast gets off the ground, I’d really love your help to make sure that it gets in front of the right people. The first weeks of a podcast’s life are the most important in terms of the opportunities for iTunes to showcase you to other listeners. Because of that, I’m starting out this new podcast with a bang. There are 3 episodes available for you right now, and there will be at least two more episodes every week for the remainder of the eight weeks.

I thought I’d find some extra ways to thank you for all the sharing and supporting you do of the new podcast so every week until July 15th I’m going to be giving away one of my favourite business books to one person who either:

  • subscribe to the podcast or leave a review on iTunes; or
     
  • share the podcast on social media; or
     
  • come in to the Biz Studio and post your favourite tip from a specific episode (along with a link to that episode)

In all cases, you need to make sure that I either know who you are (email me a screen capture of the review or showing you are subscribed) or that the posts on social media are public and tag me (@larawellman) or the Biz Studio (on Facebook you can tag my page).

Each week I’ll be announcing the book winner on Wednesdays on my Facebook page

Some of the books I’ll be giving away are (I’ll be adding more titles soon):

  • The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks
  • You are a badass by Jen Sincero
  • It Starts with Why by Simon Synek
  • How to Live a Good Life by Jonathan Fields
  • E-myth Revisited by Michael Gerber

So get out there and start sharing your reviews and sharing the podcast and good luck. AND THANK YOU!

#5 Moving your business beyond the startup stage

In the first couple of years, business owners often struggle with understanding how much work running a business is and how long it can take to have a profitable business.

Angela Sutcliffe is a business consultant (and Smart Old Broad) who draws on 30 years of knowledge  and experience to move her clients beyond the start up phase. Angela works with business owners to  design and implement strategies that are relevant to their business and their industry to make them consistently profitable. Over the years, she has won many awards for her business acumen, as have her clients, but the one thing she is most proud of is being selected by Kevin O'Leary's production company to work with the winner and runner up of his reality TV show, Redemption Inc. as they rolled out their new businesses.

 

I spoke with Angela about what she believes every business owner needs to know before taking his or her business to the next level.

Know your numbers

According to Angela, 90% of businesses are gone within two years. Business owners don’t understand what profitable means because they don’t pay attention to their numbers—instead they work to build a business that makes their clients happy, but does not make money. If you’re not bringing home a pay cheque then your business is not going to work.

If a business owner does not know how much money they are making or if they don’t know if they are making enough to support the lifestyle surrounding it (their bottom line) then they are working to please their customers while simultaneously going broke. If you start your business with a number in mind then you can work from there.

You can’t make up numbers based on what you think people will pay instead of what you need to earn. Money is the one thing people avoid, but once you understand that a number is just a number you can work towards earning that number.

How much it costs to run her businesses and how big her pay cheque needs to be – those are the two numbers that, added together, make up her sales target.

Freedom and comfort comes from knowing your numbers. If you know your numbers and see that you're not hitting them, then you can look and see if you are trying to sell high price items to a market that cannot afford it, etc. so you can determine what exactly is not working.

Know your sales cycles

Have you heard about the hundred percent solution? It goes like this: in your first two years of business you sell to your friends and family and their friends, and then at the end of those two years, your sales stop.  That’s because you made the easiest sales possible—you sold to the 20% of the market that will buy from you now.

In order to succeed, within 1.5 years of selling you have to learn about how the sales cycle and process works, and how to sell to the other 80% of the marketplace. If you don’t, you will fail.

So, what is a sales cycle? Well, think about how many business owners believe a customer when they say they have to 'think it over'? Most think that means they'll never buy, but believe it or not, most customers really do need to think about it. Did you know that 24-36 months after an initial interaction is when 80% of your sales will happen? When you think about the number of people who come back to you a year or so after they are first introduced to your business or product, that's a good demonstration of you sales cycle.

There are generally three steps to a sales process – meet a potential client and follow up with card, go out for coffee, and have a closing conversation. However, people may surprise you and want to meet for coffee and say they are following you online, or met you at a networking event a year or so ago and now they're ready to work with you even though you've never met them—it’s happened to Angela! But to get there you need to do the work because the sales cycle was happening behind the scenes.

It can be discouraging and you may not think anyone is listening to you, but remember the 20% and 80%! Think long term and in two years you will be closing the 80%. Sales isn’t anyone’s job, activity is the job—sales is the result. If you have good marketing activity and get yourself out there then you will make the sale. Just keep in mind that you won’t be a millionaire by midnight.

Keep in touch with past clients

Your next best sale can come from your past clients – they know you and love you and have had a great experience with you, so you should always keep in touch with them—and not in a salesy way. There are all kinds of ways to keep in touch with people, including inviting them to attend events, or just catching up on social media. Make them feel important.

While they may not work with you now, past clients may know someone who would be perfect for you, so keeping those relationships healthy is in your best interest.

Stop doing, start planning

One of the hardest things for business owners, at any level, is the drive to keep doing things. Before you exhaust yourself by doing things that may be futile, remember that the best thing anyone can do is to stop and plan.

Plan your finances – for marketing and your business.

Stop and get advice, so that you’re optimizing your products and business. Business can get expensive, so it’s important to stop running your business and plan what comes next.

 The keys to the kingdom are in planning.

All business owners stumble. Even Angela had to get help with her business; she had almost bankrupted her cleaning business and it took two hard years to turn it around. You have to swallow your pride and ask for help, plan and work. Seek help from the right people – it’s the behind the scenes that can make or break your business.

Leave a comment and tell us what your sales cycle is, or let us know if you have any questions!
 

Resources & Links

Angela's website: Smart Old Broad

Join the Free Facebook Community

Subscribe on iTunes

Subscribe on Stitcher

Podcast Contest

As this new podcast gets off the ground, I’d really love your help to make sure that it gets in front of the right people. The first weeks of a podcast’s life are the most important in terms of the opportunities for iTunes to showcase you to other listeners. Because of that, I’m starting out this new podcast with a bang. There are 3 episodes available for you right now, and there will be at least two more episodes every week for the remainder of the eight weeks.

I thought I’d find some extra ways to thank you for all the sharing and supporting you do of the new podcast so every week until July 15th I’m going to be giving away one of my favourite business books to one person who either:

  • subscribe to the podcast or leave a review on iTunes; or
     
  • share the podcast on social media; or
     
  • come in to the Biz Studio and post your favourite tip from a specific episode (along with a link to that episode)

In all cases, you need to make sure that I either know who you are (email me a screen capture of the review or showing you are subscribed) or that the posts on social media are public and tag me (@larawellman) or the Biz Studio (on Facebook you can tag my page).

Each week I’ll be announcing the book winner on Wednesdays on my Facebook page

Some of the books I’ll be giving away are (I’ll be adding more titles soon):

  • The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks
  • It Starts with Why by Simon Synek
  • How to Live a Good Life by Jonathan Fields
  • E-myth Revisited by Michael Gerber

So get out there and start sharing your reviews and sharing the podcast and good luck. AND THANK YOU!

 

#4 Where to start before starting a business

Are you thinking about starting a business, but have no idea what that really means when it comes to time commitment or how it will fit into your current lifestyle? Pamela Eastwood, owner of By The Horns, a business that helps new business owners get their business off the ground, joins me on the podcast today to discuss what it really means when you say you’re going to start a business. With over eighteen years experience in SME development and franchise ownership, Pamela has a reputation for working with her mind, heart and her gut and has a talent for relating with others. Together we get under the hood to help aspiring business owners figure out as much as they can before launching their business.

 

Are you prepared for time management changes?

When you first start out as a business owner you must start with a conversation with your family. A business starts at home. You need to speak with your immediate family to ensure they fully understand your endeavour—they need to understand what they are signing up for, including you working longer hours, adjusting your level of home commitments, and any changing roles within the family. You need to look at your current schedule and then look to see if your tasks can be delegated or if you need to change your schedule around in order to make your business work with your family life.

There is a preconceived notion that being an entrepreneur means you will have more time on your hands, and while this is sometimes the case and it can mean more flexible hours, it also means you may be working more evenings and weekends than you ever did before.

And while you must be aware of the changes in hours and potentially longer hours, you should also keep in mind and discuss the benefits, such as the freedom to accompany your kids on school field trips.

You need to ask yourself and your family: what matters to you as an entrepreneur that will make the not-so good parts worth it?

Are you ready for any financial changes?

In addition to time management and schedules, starting a business impacts a family’s money. Finances is another deciding factor for any big business decision-can you invest in your business financially? Consider everything that you will need to spend money on: marketing, business cards, etc.—can you afford these? If there is a physical product, do you need to spend money on product development, etc.?

For some business owners this means looking into a small business loan, while for others it may mean changing their personal spending habits in order to invest in their business. Are you (and your family) ready for these financial changes?

Do you have any transferable skills?

How do you have to think as an entrepreneur? Pamela runs an assessment with clients to determine their strengths and weaknesses. Everyone has transferable skills that will benefit their business.

For example, are you genuinely the kind of person who can just walk into a room and talk to someone? This is a transferable skill that works well when running a business because it transfers well into sales and marketing, which are essential in running a business.

This also refers to typing, social media, customer services and technological skills. As a business owner you are probably doing a lot of this stuff yourself, unless you have a lot of capital.  So, if you want to sell jewelry you probably don’t have a lot of capital starting out, therefore you have to be honest with yourself and see if you can do it all yourself.

You also need to be honest about your personal assets—are you organized, driven, is your office cluttered? Will this impact the success of your business?

Having a basic understanding of your skill levels from the very start will let you know where you will have to really work at certain areas more than others. If you wait until you are already in business and you have your hands in 10 different pots and are trying to learn these things while running your business, you may be setting yourself up for failure. Try to get enough of a foundation prior to starting your business.

How much money do you need to start?

How much money you need to start a business depends on the type of business you are starting. For example, if you are looking to start a lawn maintenance company, but already have most of the equipment needed then you only need to spend money on registering your business, for office supplies, and perhaps on local marketing and networking. So, this would be about $250 to start to get the word out about your business.

But if you are a baker baking cupcakes then you need money for inventory, inspections, permits, ingredients, a commercial kitchen, etc. There is a longer process to starting and setting up a bakery so you will need more money for that as well as money for office supplies, marketing and advertising.

You need to ask yourself what you need to start your business. If you’re not sure then you can research this through free business resources at the public library, innovation centres and community programs. There are also a lot of social groups that offer free tips and resources.

You can also barter for services—if someone needs a website and you have that skill, offer your skills in exchange for a website. Don’t be afraid to ask! You may be surprised at what you get. Just make sure it is for something you actually want and need—you need to make sure it makes sense for both parties. You want to treat a barter transaction as you would any business transaction.

Are you committed?

Commitment means asking yourself if this is the right time for you and your family—Do you have the flexibility required to make it work? Do you have the money needed to start?

Sometimes you may have the flexibility, but not the money and that means you may need to get a part time job to support your business. This the means you have to commit to setting aside certain days and time to work in and on your business.

Your commitment can vary depending on your situation—if you’re unsure you can commit to a certain period of time, such as three months. Just be sure to discuss this with your family and make sure it works for everyone.

When starting any business, it is important to know your skill sets and assets and then seek out help for the rest. You may want to look at hiring a consultant, such as Pamela, who can help you define the services and customers that are unique to your business.

Then establish early foundations in operations management. This means keeping receipts and invoices organized, get the appropriate processes, etc. Having these in place means you will spend the time working on making your business a success instead of spinning your wheels.

In essence, starting a business takes more than just loving what you do. You need to have make sure everyone close to you is on board, and have the foundation needed to ensure you have everything you need to give your business the best shot.

 

Resources & Links

Pamela's website: By The Horns

By The Horns Facebook Page

By The Horns Community Resources

Subscribe on iTunes

Subscribe on Stitcher

Podcast Contest

As this new podcast gets off the ground, I’d really love your help to make sure that it gets in front of the right people. The first weeks of a podcast’s life are the most important in terms of the opportunities for iTunes to showcase you to other listeners. Because of that, I’m starting out this new podcast with a bang. There are 3 episodes available for you right now, and there will be at least two more episodes every week for the remainder of the eight weeks.

I thought I’d find some extra ways to thank you for all the sharing and supporting you do of the new podcast so every week until July 15th I’m going to be giving away one of my favourite business books to one person who either:

  • subscribe to the podcast or leave a review on iTunes; or
     
  • share the podcast on social media; or
     
  • come in to the Biz Studio and post your favourite tip from a specific episode (along with a link to that episode)

In all cases, you need to make sure that I either know who you are (email me a screen capture of the review or showing you are subscribed) or that the posts on social media are public and tag me (@larawellman) or the Biz Studio (on Facebook you can tag my page).

Each week I’ll be announcing the book winner on Wednesdays on my Facebook page

Some of the books I’ll be giving away are (I’ll be adding more titles soon):

  • The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks
  • It Starts with Why by Simon Synek
  • How to Live a Good Life by Jonathan Fields
  • E-myth Revisited by Michael Gerber

So get out there and start sharing your reviews and sharing the podcast and good luck. AND THANK YOU!

 

 

 

 

 

#3 Why Business Owners Should Be Using Facebook Live

Are you a small business owner looking to build your audience and increase your know, like and trust factor with potential clients? Live video is the latest marketing technique used to educate audiences on what it is you have to offer, and social channels, such as Facebook are rewarding those who have ventured in to live video.

Allison Hardy is a Business Strategist for mompreneurs who focuses on the importance of Facebook Live. I first saw Allison in a Facebook Live in a popular group I'm a member of and knew I needed to talk to her—so she is joining me on the podcast today.

Allison uses Facebook Live because she believes live video builds your know, like and trust factor. When we buy something, it is because we have developed a relationship of knowing and trust with a business or person.

Why choose Facebook Live?

Facebook Live is real time– you cannot hide or edit. Viewers can ask questions live and you can answer in real-time creating a genuine connection.

Periscope started the live video trend in 2015 and business owners were quick to start building big empires by connecting with people via live video. Because of this Facebook created Facebook Live and reward those who use it.


How does Facebook favour Facebook Live?

Facebook Live videos will show up in newsfeeds more than other text-based posts. They want people watching Facebook live videos so when people do them they show up in newsfeeds more. A lot of pages and groups also will send you a notification when someone you know is on live, which means even more viewers. Facebook Live will get you in front of your people more often.

In addition to favouring people using it, Facebook also favours engagement. If you are offering really valuable comment, people are going to share, react and give you comments. The more people engage with your Facebook Live, the more it will continue to be seen long after the live is over.

Another thing to note is that Facebook likes it when people stay on Facebook. Creating native content (uploading a video directly to Facebook or a Facebook Live) is a way to keep people where Facebook wants them and can get you better reach than when you direct them to another website.

One way to get more bang from your live is to broadcast your Facebook Live video from your Business Page and then share it into other groups. This helps more people see it and shares are popular with the algorithm.

The value to broadcasting Facebook Lives directly within a group is that you are providing added value for being a member of that group. 

What if I make a mistake?

People make mistakes and that’s okay! The more you do Facebook Live the more confident you will be. Find a safe place and just do it. More often than not people are supportive when mistakes happen. You just have to muster up the guts and confidence to do it. People realize you are putting yourself out there—not everyone does live video so it is something that people will tune into and want to watch. They want to learn from you. They want to see how you relate and what you have to offer.

What should I talk about?

What are you working on right now? What mistakes have you made and how are you going to fix them? Talk about the things you are working on in your business or a mistake that you made or how you are setting yourself up for success. People want to hear about what you are working on, so talk about that. Even if you don’t find a certain topic interesting, someone else out there does. There is always someone out there looking to learn from you.

Final tip

When you are doing Facebook Live always ask for engagement. Invite followers to engage from the very beginning. Ask them to say “hello,” then, when you launch into your content, ask them pointed questions. Asking questions builds engagement and increases your know, like and trust factor and means more and more people will keep seeing the content you've taken the time to create.

Will you be using Facebook Live? Leave a comment with a link to one so we can come and check it out, or come on over to the Biz Studio Community and try Facebook Live out with us!

Resources & Links

Allison’s Ultimate Facebook Live Checklist

Subscribe on iTunes

Subscribe on Stitcher

Biz Studio Community

 

Podcast Contest

As this new podcast gets off the ground, I’d really love your help to make sure that it gets in front of the right people. The first weeks of a podcast’s life are the most important in terms of the opportunities for iTunes to showcase you to other listeners. Because of that, I’m starting out this new podcast with a bang. There are 3 episodes available for you right now, and there will be at least two more episodes every week for the remainder of the eight weeks.

I thought I’d find some extra ways to thank you for all the sharing and supporting you do of the new podcast so every week until July 15th I’m going to be giving away one of my favourite business books to one person who either:

  • subscribe to the podcast or leave a review on iTunes; or
     
  • share the podcast on social media; or
     
  • come in to the Biz Studio and post your favourite tip from a specific episode (along with a link to that episode)

In all cases, you need to make sure that I either know who you are (email me a screen capture of the review or showing you are subscribed) or that the posts on social media are public and tag me (@larawellman) or the Biz Studio (on Facebook you can tag my page).

Each week I’ll be announcing the book winner on Wednesdays on my Facebook page

Some of the books I’ll be giving away are (I’ll be adding more titles soon):

  • The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks
  • It Starts with Why by Simon Synek
  • How to Live a Good Life by Jonathan Fields
  • E-myth Revisited by Michael Gerber

So get out there and start sharing your reviews and sharing the podcast and good luck. AND THANK YOU!

#2 - The value of being authentic

Amanda Jetté Knox is a writer, public speaker, radio host and human rights activist. Her writing has influenced people in so many ways, including the topic of being authentic. It is an important topic to her because for years she tried to be everybody but herself. She thought that was going to get her ahead in life, but in truth, she didn’t value herself as a person. She wore ill-fitting hats and wore a lot of masks, until her life forced her to be authentic.

Amanda joined me on the podcast to discuss the value being authentic can have on a person’s life and on their business.

Amanda Jette Knox Authenticity

Her journey into being her authentic self began just about three years ago when her middle child came out as transgender—after 11 years of thinking they were raising a boy, Amanda and her spouse discovered they were raising a girl. As someone who cared way too much about what other people thought she suddenly had to let that go because she had to support her child who really needed her and she knew not everyone would agree with letting her child be who she really is.

This took Amanda’s writing in a different direction. Although she had written on parenting and mental health issues, she hadn’t dug as deep as she did after her daughter, Alexis, came out. In an effort to raise awareness, Amanda shared her daughter’s journey on her blog, in newspapers and on TV—this meant she had to step out of her comfort zone.

It also meant Amanda had to be authentic. Her life wasn’t always bliss; she didn’t paint herself as being a perfect parent, but she did paint it as being a loving and supportive one.

Eighteen months after her daughter came out, Amanda’s spouse came out as transgender, so what little worry she had left in regards to what other people thought really had to go out the window because now Amanda was outwardly married to a woman.

Authenticity, although it felt forced, has been such a gift for Amanda. She now speaks publicly in front of small and large crowds to get the message out—her goal is to make the road easier for other trans people and families. Sharing her story has helped many people in many different situations.

Not everyone has to share their entire life story to be authentic, but it does help connect with your audience, and this can be valuable for business owners. Authenticity helps people understand other people better.

The value of being authentic

Sharing the real you with the world is freeing — but to get there you have to walk through this minefield of “what ifs?” and fear people rejecting you. This journey allows you to get to a place of being comfortable and be yourself.

When you think about all the time you spend trying to be someone you’re not just to please other people, you have to ask yourself why? Being yourself allows you to get in touch with yourself and care for yourself. When you’re true to yourself and learn to love yourself for who you are, taking care of yourself becomes even easier.

There is nothing more creative than being yourself… when you bury your true self you bury your creativity. Amanda’s creativity got so much better and easier with authenticity.

How to deal with people’s reactions

There was a big reaction to Amanda’s authenticity, and it certainly wasn't the one she feared.

Her readership has soared; her speaking engagements and her calendar is full! People are eager to find out what is happening with her family and her life. Her audience is engaged and growing.

This has taught Amanda that when she is more authentic she does business more authentically. People are able to look at her story and journey and say, “me too.” They can relate and that makes them want to connect with her. Of course there are trolls, that’s par for the course, but you need to see beyond that. See the acceptance.

What should people know about putting themselves out there?

Anytime you put yourself out there, there is a certain level of vulnerability. You will be scared to let people see what it is you are sharing. There is also a “vulnerability hangover.”

Amanda shares a lot, but her business is her—she is her “brand.” Because of that she looks for connection in every business she seeks out, she doesn’t need to know everything about them, but they need to be authentic. Putting forward a certain level of perfection is okay, but you should also put a human side to your stories. When you share a piece of yourself it will make people want to share with you.

Will people care?

It’s normal to wonder this, but people want to relate to something. So, if you struggle with something such as mental health, miscarriages, etc. then it makes sense to do a drive for this and put this out there—this will connect with people who have had similar experiences. The little things you share can have a big impact.

Not feeling alone is really big—human beings are social creatures and need to connect. So, the next time you create content, whether it is on a personal or professional level, ask yourself if you are being authentic and if what you are putting out there will connect with someone. Taking that extra step to share more of you could make a huge and positive difference on your business!

 

Resources & Links

Amanda's website

Amanda's speaker page

Join the Free Facebook Community

Subscribe on iTunes

Subscribe on Stitcher

Podcast Contest

As this new podcast gets off the ground, I’d really love your help to make sure that it gets in front of the right people. The first weeks of a podcast’s life are the most important in terms of the opportunities for iTunes to showcase you to other listeners. Because of that, I’m starting out this new podcast with a bang. There are 3 episodes available for you right now, and there will be at least two more episodes every week for the remainder of the eight weeks.

I thought I’d find some extra ways to thank you for all the sharing and supporting you do of the new podcast so every week until July 15th I’m going to be giving away one of my favourite business books to one person who either:

  • subscribe to the podcast or leave a review on iTunes; or
     
  • share the podcast on social media; or
     
  • come in to the Biz Studio and post your favourite tip from a specific episode (along with a link to that episode)

In all cases, you need to make sure that I either know who you are (email me a screen capture of the review or showing you are subscribed) or that the posts on social media are public and tag me (@larawellman) or the Biz Studio (on Facebook you can tag my page).

Each week I’ll be announcing the book winner on Wednesdays on my Facebook page

Some of the books I’ll be giving away are (I’ll be adding more titles soon):

  • The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks
  • It Starts with Why by Simon Synek
  • How to Live a Good Life by Jonathan Fields
  • E-myth Revisited by Michael Gerber

So get out there and start sharing your reviews and sharing the podcast and good luck. AND THANK YOU!

#1 - Three strategies to get the life and biz you want

Entrepreneurs often start their own business because they want freedom and flexibility, but so many of them quickly fall into overwhelm and frustration. Sound familiar?

As a certified business coach I enjoy working with entrepreneurs and small business owners. I help them find the support they need, and help them find the clarity and actions needed to reach their business goals.

On this first episode of my new Biz Studio podcast, I am introducing business owners to how I can help with mindset, marketing and sales, as well as find the right support. The Biz Podcast is going to be a mix of just me sharing my business tips and advice with you, as well as interviews with experts in their field that I know can help other business owners.

Three strategies to get the life and biz you want

On a regular basis I hear these concerns from business owners: they feel stuck, they feel overwhelmed or they don’t know if they should continue with their business.

If you want to feel good about yourself and your business start with these three things:

1) Know what you want your life to look like

If you don’t know what you want your life to look like then you don’t know what your business should look like. Design your business to fit in with the life you want. You need to be clear on what it is you want to do for yourself—do you want to work 2 to 5 hours a week? Or do you want to work 80 hours a week? There is room in the entrepreneurial space for both kinds of entrepreneurs; you just have to figure out which kind is best for you and your life.

How do you figure this out? Write it down. How many hours are you willing to work in a week? What about weekends and evenings? What about time off, including vacation time? This can vary a lot based on your business, and there is no right answer.

You want to figure out what your priories are and how that’s going to fit into your life. Do you need flexibility for your family? What about other commitments you may have, such as volunteering? Set it all out so it will help you better understand how much time you have to devote to your business.

I am not pretending you can make $1 million working four hours a week. You need to think about the base amount you need to make in order for you to be okay. And then think about money for extra things, such as vacations, hiring a housecleaner, etc.? 

This is all part of figuring out what you want your life to look like. Your thinking and your business plan must align and writing it all out is the best way to figure this out.

Not sure how to get started? I have a worksheet that will allow you to write this all down and map it out.

2) Make concrete plans

This may sound obvious, but here’s the thing: many of us have these great plans that are stuck in our head, but not many of us write them down.

Having ideas is great, but these ideas need to be on paper to make them concrete. This can be on computer or in a journal, they just needs to be out of your head.

3) Find community

I have been an entrepreneur for 10 years… but I did it alone for many of those years. Talk to other business owners to figure out what is a good (and bad) idea, etc. Entrepreneurs are busy people, but they need a community to bounce ideas off of or hold them accountable. Whether it is a free online community, mastermind group or local in-person networking group, a supportive community of like-minded people can make a big difference in your business.

A community can help you not feel alone and offer valuable business tips and ideas. It will help normalize many of the concerns and struggles you may be having as a business owner. It will also help you see things about your business that you may not have otherwise noticed.

There are so many things business owners should consider when running a business. It may feel like a never-ending race on a hamster wheel, and you know there are lots to prioritize. This is why I started The Biz Studio podcast: to help fellow business owners stay in control, offer support and share resources and tips I know will help.

Make sure to grab your free download from today’s podcast and subscribe to hear more informative podcast episodes of The Biz Studio podcast.

Resources & Links

Free Planning Worksheet

The Biz Studio FREE Online Community

Subscribe on Stitcher

Subscribe on iTunes

Podcast Contest

As this new podcast gets off the ground, I’d really love your help to make sure that it gets in front of the right people. The first weeks of a podcast’s life are the most important in terms of the opportunities for iTunes to showcase you to other listeners. Because of that, I’m starting out this new podcast with a bang. There are 3 episodes available for you right now, and there will be at least two more episodes every week for the remainder of the eight weeks.

I thought I’d find some extra ways to thank you for all the sharing and supporting you do of the new podcast so every week until July 15th I’m going to be giving away one of my favourite business books to one person who either:

  • subscribe to the podcast or leave a review on iTunes; or
     
  • share the podcast on social media; or
     
  • come in to the Biz Studio and post your favourite tip from a specific episode (along with a link to that episode)

In all cases, you need to make sure that I either know who you are (email me a screen capture of the review or showing you are subscribed) or that the posts on social media are public and tag me (@larawellman) or the Biz Studio (on Facebook you can tag my page).

Each week I’ll be announcing the book winner on Wednesdays on my Facebook page

Some of the books I’ll be giving away are (I’ll be adding more titles soon):

  • The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks
  • It Starts with Why by Simon Synek
  • How to Live a Good Life by Jonathan Fields
  • E-myth Revisited by Michael Gerber

So get out there and start sharing your reviews and sharing the podcast and good luck. AND THANK YOU!