Monthly Archives: December 2012

3 Steps to Starting the New Year on The Right Foot for Your Business

There’s no better time to take stock of your business than the time between the end of one year and the beginning of the next. It’s “out with the old, in with the new” and that includes out with anything that isn’t serving you or your business at the highest level, and in with what you want your business to look like.

To help you get on track for the fresh New Year and all its possibilities, I thought I’d share 3 simple steps to get you and your business started on the right foot.

1. Start by cleaning out the old year. Are you surrounded by stacks of papers or old files? Now is the time to clean those up and make room for all the new business and opportunities that are bound to come your way (unless there’s no room for them).

What about old products or programs? Is everything you’re offering in your business still a good fit? Or maybe there’s something you’ve outgrown or doesn’t work with your brand anymore?

And don’t forget to look at your mindset or your habits. What are you still not doing you know you should be? What habits or blocks are you finally ready to ditch for good?

Get it all out there. Write everything down you want to throw out with the old year. Then you may want to destroy it — burn the paper or shred it. Remember, this is all about clearing away what you don’t want or don’t need anymore.

2. Be grateful for what you HAVE accomplished. Now that you’ve gotten rid of the old and worn out, don’t forget to take a moment and write down everything you’ve accomplished last year. What are you grateful for? What are you most proud of? It’s time to celebrate your accomplishments — take the time to do this. (If you’re anything like me, this is the first thing to go. It’s difficult for me to celebrate anything, I’m constantly looking at all the things I WANTED to do and didn’t.)

3. Now, get set up for the New Year. Some of the things I do include getting my new calendar in place and writing down my goals in it. Then I put together a marketing and promotional plan for the year so I can reach those goals.

You also may want to take some time to lay out a plan for getting rid of those blocks. Is there a program you need to buy? A coach you need to hire? Or maybe there’s something you need to implement. (Ditto for the changing those habits — what do you need to do to ditch those old habits that no longer serve you for good?)

Now, when you set up a plan, make sure you do what many people do when training their dogs — set yourself up for success. Create the plan with your success in mind. Don’t make it so overwhelming or paint yourself in a corner so there’s no way for you to succeed. Push yourself but be realistic too. There’s no shame in taking small steps toward your goal — the only shame is making yourself feel bad because you didn’t give yourself a realistic plan to meet your goals.

And, whatever you do, don’t forget to celebrate! You deserve it.

3 Tips to Get You Out of Overwhelm

One of the biggest issues I hear from entrepreneurs is how much they struggle with overwhelm. Unfortunately there’s no easy answer to get you out of overwhelm completely, but if you start making a habit of the below 3 tips, chances are your life is going to get a lot easier.

1.  Get very clear on exactly what you personally should be doing. Look I get it. For years I had a very busy feast-or-famine freelance copywriting business. I know what it’s like to go at your business alone and just how many tasks you’re trying to squeeze into your days.

But the reality is there are only so many hours a day. And there are so many things you can do in one day. And if you’re not clear on the top activities you should be doing, you can quickly find yourself spending hours on tasks that other people should really be doing (or maybe even things that don’t need to get done at all).

Now once you’re clear on what you should and shouldn’t be doing, what do you do with the tasks you shouldn’t be doing but still need to be done? Well that’s where tip #2 comes in.

2. Surround yourself with a team that supports you because they do the tasks you shouldn’t be doing. It’s not just enough to build a team if that team isn’t actually taking things off your plate. The entire point is to have a team that frees you up to focus on your highest-payoff activities.

Now what do you do when you can’t afford a team? Well, what I always say is start small. Maybe 10 hours a month for bookkeeping or to start scheduling appointments. And then you make sure you take those 10 hours and do something that brings you income.

However, for this to work, you need to really make sure you do devote 10 hours to revenue-generating activities, which leads me to my third tip.

3. Set and maintain boundaries. This is probably the biggest tip of all. From my experience, entrepreneurs who are suffer the least from overwhelm are also the best at setting boundaries.

So what do I mean by setting and maintaining boundaries? Here’s a partial list:

  • If you’ve committed to 10 hours a month of revenue-generating activities to pay for your monthly bookkeeper, then you spend that time doing revenue-generating activities.
  • You allow your team to do their work and support you — YOU don’t start doing their work because it’s “easier” than delegating
  • You work during those times you designated as working time, and you don’t work during those times you have other plans. Now, that doesn’t mean you can’t get up early in the morning or stay up late to finish a project — what this means is you discipline yourself to work when you’re supposed to (and don’t allow distractions to keep you from getting your work done) and don’t work when you should be doing something else — for instance skipping your workout class or cancelling girl’s night out or not showing up for your child’s soccer game.

The last one is probably the hardest to do but if you can master it, it will do wonders to helping you get out of overwhelm.

3 Tips to Creating a Free Gift Your Ideal Clients Actually Want

If you’re like many entrepreneurs, concern (or even distress) about the size of your email list is a major issue. And for good reason.

Your email list — which is a list of folks that have given you permission to email or otherwise contact them — is the foundation of business success. Those are the people who are interested in building a relationship with you and eventually may turn into a customer of yours. The more people on that list, the easier it is to build a profitable, sustainable business.

So how DO you grow that list? Well, one tried-and-true strategy is to come up with a free gift or “taste” of your offer in exchange for getting your ideal client’s contact information. (An example of this is a special report or a video or audio recording and you set up an opt-in page to collect the name and email address in exchange for giving them access to that content.)

The problem is, how do you figure out what the best gift should be? Below are 3 tips to help you do exactly that:

1. Create your gift around what’s keeping your ideal client’s up at night. No matter what it is you sell, there’s one major problem keeping your ideal client’s up at night that your products or services would solve. That’s what you want to focus on — what I call the “gateway” problem.

This is important to remember — while I know some of you reading this offer very complicated and thorough coaching or healing programs that end solving lots of issues your ideal clients have, they didn’t actually buy the your program because of ALL those results. They bought it because of ONE major issue they were having, and now that your program solved other problems, they’re really excited about it but that’s not what caused them to buy your program in the first place.

If you try and get too cute or complicated in your initial gift, your ideal clients aren’t going to be that interested in giving you their name and email for the gift (much less actually going through what you put together).

2. Spend some time crafting a hooky title for your gift. The title is what is going to catch their eye and encourage them to read more about what you’re offering for free.

So how do you create a hooky title? Go back to what’s keeping your ideal clients up at night. For instance, you’re a weight-loss coach, you could focus on 5 foods that make you fat. Or if you’re a business coach you could focus on 5 mindset traps keeping you from building a successful business.

Now, what’s keeping your ideal clients up at night is only the first step. As you can see by my examples there are a couple of other tips to help you craft a hooky title:

  • Putting a number in there. It helps to have X tips or steps or secrets or strategies. Adding that detail makes it more specific for your ideal clients plus it implies you’ve laid out the information in a way that makes sense for them to consume.
  • The smaller the slice, the better. Notice I focus on 5 foods that make you fat or 5 mindset traps. Not EVERYTHING that is making you fat or EVERYTHING that is keeping you from growing a business. One piece of the puzzle. Again, that specificity makes it very clear exactly what your ideal clients are getting, and the more clear they are, the more likely it is they’ll want it (if it appeals to them).

3. Don’t be afraid to make it content-rich — but don’t give away the store. Okay, so how on earth can you do that?

The best way to do this is to completely answer whatever you promised them you would answer, but your answer should open up another question. So, for the mindset traps, you tell them exactly what the mindset traps are, but if they want more personalized help to avoid them, they’ll need your product. Or you share what the 5 foods are, but then you may need something to replace those foods (or maybe eliminating those foods isn’t enough and they’ll need more help) and that’s where your program comes in.

The problem I’ve seen with content sharing is either people clearly hold back information so it’s obviously incomplete (which irritates your ideal clients) or they share too much information and their ideal clients end up feeling satisfied and have no need to take the next step (EVEN if it’s a false sense of satisfaction).

Again, this can be helped if you narrow down what your gift is covering to a very small piece of the puzzle. If you do that, you (hopefully) won’t share so much your ideal clients feel complete, and if you answer that small piece completely, they’ll feel like you gave them a great deal of content.