Monthly Archives: January 2011

3 Mistakes Entrepreneurs Make While Building Their Business

Over the years I’ve had the pleasure of working with both very successful entrepreneurs and ones who aren’t so successful. What makes one entrepreneur successful while the other one not-so-much? Chances are they’re making one (or all three) of these mistakes. Read on to learn more.

1. Marketing their business is not a priority. This is probably the biggest reason why I see businesses fail or either get sucked into a stressful feast-or-famine model (either too many or too few clients). They don’t make marketing their business a priority.

If you want to have a full pipeline of clients at all times then it’s crucial you make marketing a priority.

So what do I mean exactly by marketing your business? Basically two things — you have one or more ways to bring new leads in the door and you have one or more ways to turn those leads into clients. One of the easiest ways to do this is to set up an opt-in box on your website so you can collect the names and email addresses of the people who visit your site, then have a follow up system in place once they give you their email address to start warming them up so they become clients. Ezines and teleclasses are two great tactics to use as follow up.

2. They don’t take action (or they don’t take action fast enough). Successful businesses are built on momentum. Momentum is built on taking action. Whether it’s creating information products, launching new programs or even getting your new website up (or your ezine out), it’s all about taking action.

Now there is a caveat here. It’s not enough just to take action. You need to take the RIGHT action at the RIGHT time in the RIGHT order. So how do you know if you’re doing that or not?

Well, one way to do that is to educate yourself about marketing and business-building. Or an easier (and faster) way is to find yourself a business/marketing coach or mentor who can quickly assess your situation and give you a plan of action. (Of course, once you have that, then you need to make sure you actually implement that plan.)

3. They give up too soon. Look, every successful business person and entrepreneur I know has had a few stinkers. The difference is they’ve been in a business long enough to know a failure or two every now and then is normal and they move on. Entrepreneurs who are new or a little unsure of themselves tend to create a story around their failures that are simply not true. They’ll instead think there’s a problem with the product or the industry or themselves or something else — you get the picture. When the reality could be they didn’t market enough or they didn’t take enough action or they skipped a couple of steps when they were marketing their product or a myriad other easily preventable mistakes.

Before you throw in the towel on something — whether it’s a product you just created or your entire business, stop and ask for some help. Find out if success if just a few tweaks away or you really do need to do something more drastic.

The 10-Minute Miracle

Here’s a juicy tip I learned from my friend and productivity mentor Alison Marks — The 10-Minute Miracle.

Is there stuff on your to-do you’re just not getting to?

Do you feel guilty about procrastinating?

Do you have clutter or disorganization in any area of your business?

This game is for you anytime to have a big project you want to accomplish that doesn’t have a deadline -– something that’s important, but not urgent.

Make a commitment to work on it just 10-minutes a day.

Here are a few things to help you make the most of this time —

1. Set a timer to help you focus

2. Mark on your calendar the days you did your 10-minutes

3. Before you start, get clear on what your project is and what it isn’t so you only do things related to getting it done

This is the kind of valuable, real-life information we’re going to share on The 6 Figure Home Office Insider Secrets Telesummit.

Click here to learn more:

The Telesummit is already underway (but it’s not too late to join in!).

I’ll be speaking TODAY (Jan 18) at 12:00 Pacific/3:00 Eastern. The other speakers and I aren’t talking about what we usually talk about… we’re revealing how-to secrets we rarely share in public.

Plus we’re sharing real-life habits and strategies we use everyday to run 6-figure and 7-figure businesses from our homes.

You’ll learn:

*How to stop spinning your wheels, focus, and actually get things DONE

*How to take charge of your to-do list so you know exactly what to do next

*How to stop email and social media from eating up your day

*The secrets to getting organized and staying organized

*How to have better work/life balance– and actually take time off!

*Some changes you can make in your work space – whether it’s a dining room table or an executive suite – that will support your inspiration and productivity

*How to build the support team you need and deserve – even if you don’t think you have the money for it

*And more!

The 6 Figure Home Office Insider Secrets Telesummit will help you improve your productivity and your bottom line forever.

You’ll pick up easy-to-implement tips, tools and systems that will bring YOU the focus, freedom and financial success that you want.

Go ahead and register for free right now.

Sign up now:

Looking forward to “seeing” you there!

Michele interviewed by USA Today

I was interviewed by USA Today!

Now that I got your attention, let me tell you what REALLY happened. While at the Rose Bowl, USA Today was there doing “man on the streets” interviews about whether or not college football should move to a playoff system.

Normally I think these “man on the streets” interviews are a little silly. It’s sort of like listening to famous actors yack about politics — like I care what their views are, I really only want to watch them act.

But, bolstered by some tailgating alcohol fun, I thought to myself “why not?” And I have a contrarian view about the college football and playoffs anyway so bring it on!

Here I am:

It’s 2 minutes 30 seconds long — if you’re going to watch it, you gotta watch the whole thing. I’m featured a lot at the end (probably because of that whole contrarian thing). I’m the one wearing a long-sleeved black Rose Bowl shirt with some colorful Wisconsin beads.

In other news, I got a number of emails from those of you having trouble with the “The Secret to Success (is Service)” telesummit link. Hopefully the problem is now fixed, but if you are having any trouble, please feel free to email Stacie and she can help you out:

To Your Success,

Michele PW

5 Things I Did Right to Start Seeing Consistent Business Growth, Income and Success! Part 2

I was very excited about how I ended 2010. I finally hit a financial milestone.

However, I wasn’t an overnight success. I started this process in 2005 to transform my business from a one-woman freelance copywriter to president of a copywriting and marketing company.

And in these next series of articles I’m going through all the things I did so you can duplicate my success. Below are the next 5 things:

1. Started attending events. Now, I’m not talking about becoming an event junkie. But I do believe going to events is key to taking your business to the next level.

There are so many benefits from attending events beyond what you’re going to learn from the speakers — networking, connecting with your “tribe,” getting out of your own little world so you can get some fresh ideas for your business, meeting the “movers and shakers” in your industry and more.

In addition to all of that, you also may discover your business starts to take off because you’re finally taking yourself and your business seriously.

2. Started regularly marketing. This one is tough if you don’t have a support system, but it’s crucial if you want to break the feast-famine cycle (either too much or too little business — when there’s too much you stop marketing because you’re crazy busy and when there’s too little you’re in “desperation marketing mode.”)

If you want to have a steady stream of clients and customers and a full pipeline of leads, the way to do that is by regularly marketing. It’s that simple…and that difficult.

But there are 2 things you can do to make this MUCH easier — change your mindset so you put as much emphasis on marketing as you do everything else in your business and implement a system to make it easier for both you to follow through and your team to support you.

3. Got in alignment with what I teach. In my case, it meant making marketing my own business as important as marketing my clients’ businesses. In your case it may look different. But the reality is, you personally need to be in alignment with what you teach or how can you possibly stand tall and value your gifts and your brilliance?

Now, I have an important note about this — do NOT use this as an excuse to not move forward in your business. If you feel like you’re not in alignment, then get yourself in alignment. The only way you’re going to transform your business is if you do what you need to do to be an alignment and practice what you preach. (And if you can’t get yourself in alignment, maybe you need to take a hard look at what you’re providing. You might need to tweak your offering — this could be a message from the universe you’re not doing what you’re truly meant to do.)

4. Surrounded myself with the right people. You can’t do it all yourself. If you want to grow your business, you need to get a team in place to support you. Now this is something else that can feel scary — after all, hiring people is a big commitment. So what I would suggest is start small. Hire a VA (virtual assistant) for a few hours a month or a bookkeeper. Then make sure you use that time for revenue-producing activities.

Eventually, you’re going to reach a point where you have a big team working for you. The only problem with that is then you suddenly find yourself spending a bunch of time managing them. That’s when you want to look into getting a COO or a business manager for your business. I was lucky. My husband has joined the business as the COO and that has made a HUGE difference in being able to grow the business.

5. Did what I needed to do to work through my blocks. You may have heard the quote (and I’m paraphrasing) that the best self-development tool is having a business. ALL your obstacles and blocks will show up as you start and grow a business. And don’t be surprised if some of the biggest blocks show up when everything looks good on the surface.

I have 2 suggestions: First, know this is normal and be prepared for it. Second, don’t stop investing in yourself. Whatever you need to do to keep moving forward and busting through those blocks. Maybe you need a coach, a product, or something else. Or maybe you need to finally outsource something you’ve been reluctant to let go of (your copywriting for instance?)

Chances are you know what you need to do to keep moving forward, so what I want to encourage you to do is honor that feeling start taking action.

Which leads me to the last (bonus) tip:

6. Take action. Nothing happens if you don’t take action. The best advice I can give you (other than marketing yourself regularly) is take action. Get those to-do’s crossed off your to-do list and watch your business grow!

Business Success — 3 Things I Did Right to Start Seeing Consistent Business Growth, Income and Success!

Last year I hit a big financial milestone in my business.

Now, I’m not telling you this to brag. I’m telling you this because I want this for you, and I believe you can do it too.

Look, I made every mistake in the book (and probably even a few that aren’t in the book). I also probably started my business exactly the way you did — as a solopreneur.

In 1998 I started out as a freelancer copywriter, which basically meant I created a job for myself. The problem with that is because I was the one actually doing the work, the marketing part of my business was hit or miss (sound familiar?). I created a horrible feast/famine cycle for myself and that was my life for years.

It was 2005 that I finally decided I needed a different business model. The problem was I had no idea what it would look like or how to do it. Other writers were no help, they had the same business I had.

So after a lot of struggling and flailing around, I finally got it together and started generating the success and income I had always dreamed of.

So how did I do it? Here are the first 3 things. Next week I’ll have the rest and the last article I’ll cover (ahem) some of my mistakes.

1. Took Einstein’s quote to heart. As a reminder, it’s the quote that says “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”

In December 2004, I made a horrible discovery. For some reason, I’m not sure why, I went through my Quickbook statements and started comparing how much I made each year. To my disgust, I discovered that I basically made the same amount of money each year ($40,000 to $50,000).

You see, over the years when I was in the “feast” cycle of my business, I would proudly tell people I was “growing” my business. Never mind the “famine” cycles were completely wiping out any gains from the “feast” cycle. I had also raised my rates over the years. And yet, nothing had changed. In fact, my best year was one of the years when my hourly rate was the lowest.

All of a sudden the realization hit me. I wasn’t growing a business. I had reached a plateau and I was stuck there.

At about the same time I saw the “Seinfeld” episode where George decides he doesn’t like his life right now (broke, jobless, living at home, no girlfriend) so he decides do it the opposite of what he always did. And it worked, by the end of the show he had a girlfriend and a job with the New York Yankees.

So I decided to also do the opposite. 2005 became the year I did the opposite of what I always did. Which leads me number 2.

2. Hire a coach or a mentor. Once I discovered that I was stuck, I realized that I probably needed some help getting unstuck.

You see, there are 2 issues going on. The first one is realizing you’re the reason why you’re in this situation in the first place. The second is actually doing something to change it.

And it’s not as easy as it sounds to change things. Your perspective on yourself, your thoughts, your actions, etc. are cloudy at best. Now there’s no question you can change things, but it’s a lot more difficult without someone to point things out to you.

There are also some other benefits to hiring a coach or a mentor for yourself. When you do, you’re telling yourself (and the universe) that you’re ready to take yourself seriously and do what it takes to be successful. You’re also saying you’re worth the investment. (Because that IS what you’re doing — you’re investing in yourself by getting coaching, mentoring and education from someone who has been there so you can get to where you want to go a lot faster and with fewer detours.)

Now you do need to make sure you hire the right coach or mentor — not all are created equal (I’ll talk about that more when I get to mistakes).

3. Make sure your business is the right entity for tax and legal purposes. I can tell you as soon as I incorporated, I felt like I actually had a business. There was something about going through that process that made me feel like I finally had a “grown up” business.

I’m not an expert on this, so what I would suggest is making an appointment with the experts (i.e. a CPA and an attorney) and discuss it with them.

Stay tuned for next week when I share more of what I did right!