small business

#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

Subscribe on Stitcher

 

#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!

 

#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!