Monthly Archives: November 2013

3 Ways Gratitude Can Grow Your Business

I love Thanksgiving. It’s my favorite holiday. Family, food, friends and football thrown in for good measure. But I digress.

What I REALLY like about Thanksgiving is it’s about giving thanks. And I think gratitude is one of the most powerful emotions out there. Why is it so powerful? Because it has the capacity to change your life.

Like all entrepreneurs, I’ve had plenty of ups and downs during my business journey — and more than a few times where things were looking quite bleak. During one particularly bleak time, a friend told me to just start listing everything I had in my life to be grateful for. Now, when things are looking pretty bad, in can be easy to say “everything sucks, I have nothing to be grateful for.” But, if we’re honest, we know that isn’t true. There’s always something, no matter how small, you can be grateful for, and sometimes you just need to take a step back to see it.

What’s so amazing about gratitude is it’s so simple yet it has so much power – in fact, it’s so powerful it can start turning things around for you. Now, granted, being grateful all by itself will probably not turn a sinking business into a profitable one. But, it CAN be the catalyst to a transformation.

Why does this work? Well, if you’re a fan of the law of attraction, you’ve heard the phrase “what you focus on expands.” So if you focus on all the things you’re grateful for instead of all the things that aren’t working, the universe will bring you more things to be grateful for and less of the things that aren’t working.

Now, while I do think this is true, I also know a lot of people who either don’t believe this or don’t think it’s true for them. So, might I suggest another, more practical reason, for why gratitude works — because it makes you feel better.

Yes, if you start to think about all the wonderful things that are in your life and that you have to be grateful for, things don’t look quite so bleak. You’re able to break, even for just a few moments, the funk you might have sunk into. And, with that improved mindset, you most likely can see your situation a bit more clearer and start coming up with some solutions (and maybe even take some actions) to get yourself out of it.

But gratitude isn’t just about when things are going wrong, it’s also powerful when things are going right. When you’re on top of the world, it’s still an amazing practice to give thanks. If nothing else, it gives you a moment to fully appreciate how wonderful things are right now. (And isn’t that a nice feeling to enjoy?)

So, how do you start adding a practice of gratitude to your life? Here are 3 tips to get you started:

1. Feelings are important. It’s not enough to just think about being grateful, you have to feel grateful as well. When you think about all the things you’re grateful for, really feel that gratitude throughout your body. Focus on it, and feel it radiate everywhere, from your fingers to your toes. Another tip is to imagine you have a dial in front of you, and when you turn up that dial you’re amplifying that emotion. It only takes a few moments to do, but the results are amazing. Try it and see if you don’t feel so much better afterwards.

2. Write it down. Writing is a physical activity, so again you’re anchoring that gratitude feeling in your body. If you’re really struggling right now, I would suggest taking a few minutes and writing down everything you’re grateful for each day.

3. Put out a reminder. My grandfather gave me a stuffed bear. But not just any stuffed bear, this bear has a little button on it and a story. The story is a bit longer than what I want to get into now, but the gist of it is this — the bear comes from a magical land and represents an emotion. When you push the button and give it a hug, the emotion is released. My particular bear is about love. I’ve put the bear out so I can see it every day, and when I see it, it reminds me to be grateful. (And yes, sometimes I push the button and give it a hug as well.)

I agree, it’s a little silly. But it works. And if there’s something you can put out that reminds you to be grateful, then it’s an easy way to make being grateful a daily part of your routine.

It only takes a few minutes, but the results can be amazing. I challenge all of you to try it for 30 days and see if your business and your life start to improve.

Stuck in the “entrepreneurial lows?” 3 Truths to Help You Navigate Through It

Don’t despair – you’re not alone. Following are some truths I want to share with you, that you can hang on to as you navigate the sometimes choppy waters of entrepreneurship.Uphill Climb

We all talk about the entrepreneurial journey — how when you embark, the highs will be some of the best highs of your life … but there will be some lows too.

The reality is that just as the highs you can reach running your own biz are some of the highest you’ll experience, very few things may beat how low the lows can go.

And when you hit rock bottom, you can REALLY hit rock bottom. Because the truth of the matter is you can’t have the highs without the lows. They’re a part of the journey and they also make the highs soooo much more sweeter.

So I’m not writing this because I want to scare you away from the lows — on the contrary. The lows have made me who I am today (and I wouldn’t trade that). Why I’m writing this is to give you some support and love if you are going through a low right now.

I think the worst part of the lows in the entrepreneurial journey (which is why I think the lows are that much lower) is how alone you feel. You own your own business — who are you going to lean on in your life who “gets” it? And who do you have who can help you through it who has “been there, done that and got the tee shirt to prove it?”

So that’s why I want to share these truths you can hang on to as you navigate the sometimes choppy waters of entrepreneurship.

1. You’re not alone. I know I just said this but it’s worth repeating. When you’re in the middle of muddling through a low, you may feel like you’re all alone — but you’re not. Everyone who has run a business has been there. It’s just part of the path of being an entrepreneur.

2. It won’t last. No matter how bad things look and feel right now, know this is only a part of the journey. Things WILL turn around. And the reality is, the more you feel like you’ve hit rock bottom, the faster you’ll experience the turnaround.

Now this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be taking action to change it. Not at all — instead I just want you to really feel this isn’t your “new” reality (no matter how much it may feel like it is) and instead know deep down that it’s just a part of the journey.

3. Only what challenges you changes you. I actually saw this at my local YMCA. They of course were referring to actually doing a tough workout (versus showing up and going through the motions and calling it a workout) but this actually is applicable to all sorts of things in life. If it’s NOT challenging you, then it’s probably not changing you. So if you are in a challenging spot, know that if you’re open and you let it, it could actually be the catalyst that transforms you.

Now if you are stuck in the lows, you may be thinking to yourself “Well Michele, this is all well and good, but I don’t want to be here anymore. How do I get myself out?”

I’m so glad you asked! If this IS you, then here’s something you can do to get yourself back on track – out of the lows and heading into the highs:

Don’t do what you’ve always done.

I’m serious. We’ve all been in lows before and you probably have something you do to cope (maybe it’s a bad habit — like drinking an extra glass of wine or collapsing in front of the television — or maybe it’s something you don’t think is bad, like overworking). I’d like to suggest maybe you DON’T do what you always do, and instead do something different. (And if you’re not sure what that would look like, you could try doing the exact opposite from what you normally would do.)

Regardless of what you choose, just keep breathing. You’re not alone and it WILL pass.

Ask PW — Do those puppy pics really work?

This is a question that came up at the event I’m at (Lisa Cherney’s “Be Juicy! 6-Figures On Your Terms”). Does “cute” actually work to promote yourself on Facebook? Does posting puppy pics and talking about what you had for lunch actually translate into clients and sales?

And the answer is (like many things) both yes and no. Yes, cute gets more attention on Facebook (and food too) but if that’s all you do, it’s not going to lead to anything.

I would view puppy pics as the “headline” — it’s the way to get people’s attention and to start the conversation so you can connect and engage. People want to get to know you, and once they know you, they can move to like and trust (and people generally only buy from people they know, like and trust).

But eventually, in order to buy from you, they’ll need to know what you sell. So the key is to move between the cute and the engaging to letting them know about your biz. It’s like a dance — moving between promoting and connecting, and making each seem organic and effortless.

Now it’s important to keep in mind when you do move to promoting, do NOT get into hype-y or sales-y or forcing your message down their throats. Instead view it as an invitation, you’re inviting the people who have connected with you and are resonating with what you offer to take a step toward doing business with you.

And that’s when the magic of Facebook (and social networking in general) really pays off.

So what are your thoughts about this? Do you have any tips that have worked for you? Please share below in the comment section. Or if you have a question about marketing, business or writing copy, feel free to put in the comment section and I’ll answer those in a future Ask PW column.

Are You (and Your Biz) Being Sabotaged By Your Subconscious? 2 Ways to Test Yourself

The first time I heard that your subconscious could be sabotaging you, 2 things went through my mind.

The first was relief — OH maybe this isn’t completely my fault after all.

uphill ClimbThe second was confusion — what the heck does this even mean? All I want is more clients, and I’m doing all this work to get more clients — how can my subconscious mind be stopping me from getting more clients when my actions are all about getting more clients?

And so my journey on the long, twisty road of personal development/spiritual development began, and many times, what my teachers told me and what I actually SAW in my life felt like two very different things.

So today I want to talk about exactly HOW your subconscious blocks you, so you can start recognizing the signs and patterns. Because the only way you can start getting a handle on your blocks is if you can finally see them (and they’re tough little buggers to see).

Here are 2 signs to look for in your life (and while I’m going to be giving business examples, the reality is we all have blocks in lots of areas in our lives, so this can also be applied to anywhere you’re feeling stuck).

1. You don’t like what you see in your outer world (i.e. your reality). So in this case, you don’t like what’s going on in your biz. You don’t have enough clients, you aren’t making enough money or maybe you’re stuck at a certain income level and you can’t figure out how to make more money.

And you may be doing everything you can to get more clients, but it’s just not working and it hasn’t in awhile. So you may also be blaming external factors (i.e. economy or how much time you have or even how much support you have).

Now I’m not saying those external factors aren’t a part of the equation, but what I AM saying is you also have some blocks going on that are preventing you from creating the reality you want.

So how do these blocks work? Well, that’s where the next sign comes in.

2. The definition of insanity — doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. So in your mind, you’re busy doing all this stuff to get more clients in the door.

But are you really?

Here’s what I mean. What are you actually doing to get more clients? Do you:

• Work super hard during slow periods — doing everything you possibly can to bring leads in — and then as soon as you land clients, you stop marketing? You may still have marketing activities on your to-do list, so you may say you’re still marketing, but deep down you know you aren’t and you won’t until your current clients drop off again.

• Have every intention of marketing on a regular basis, but somehow something always comes up, so things either never happen or happen sporadically? You know what you SHOULD be doing, but somehow life gets in the way and it never gets done – or if it does get done, it’s fast and sloppy — you just throw it out there so you can say you’re marketing.

• Not really know what you SHOUD be doing to bring in more clients? Maybe you’ve even looked into buying products, or hiring someone to help, but either you don’t actually spend any money (because nothing seems right or maybe you want to wait until you make X amount of money before you spend it, but because you don’t know what to do, you never do make X amount). Or, maybe you actually have invested in a product or a program or a person, but the information is sitting on a shelf because you don’t have “time” to go through it. Or maybe you attend an event because you know you need to network, and you spend the whole time with the friend you went there with rather than meeting new people. Or maybe you DO meet new folks and come home with biz cards, that then sit on your desk because you’re “too busy” to follow up with. (And you don’t have any other system in place to follow up with them.)

• Hire a team to help you, but something always seems to happen to the team so things still aren’t getting done? Your team isn’t doing what you want or keeps dropping the ball or quitting (or you keep firing them because they just “aren’t right”).

Now, why I’m going through this is NOT to give you a reason to beat yourself up, but to help you see your pattern. Where you STOP in the pattern is where the block happens.

Willpower may get you so far — it may get you to the event or have you buy the program and even start to go through it — but then something always happens that you’re probably not even aware of that keeps you from finishing. It may even seem like a really good reason as well, but if you have a pattern of “good reasons” that keep stopping you from the activities you need to do to consistently grow your business, that’s when you know you have a block.

But remember, knowing you have a block is the first step to unblocking yourself. So once you can pinpoint exactly when the block shows up, rather then doing what you always do to get through it (i.e. maybe you try to push through it or you give up and start surfing the Internet all day) do something else instead. One thing you can do is try breathing into the block, or journaling about it to see if you can try a different approach to getting through it.

Podcast: PW Unplugged — Will Western Women REALLY Change the World?

Play

If you’ve been knocking around this spiritual/personal development space for any length of time, you’ve probably run into that famous quote from the Dali Lama where he says (and I paraphrase) Western women are the ones who are going to change the world.

But are they really? My friend Tanya Paluso, Tribal Truth, has a different take on that.

You can hear all about it and more on this week’s podcast. Just click here to download or Listen:

(Oh and if you like what you hear, make sure you check out Tanya’s new book Open Your Heart, Tell The Truth, Change The World)

Ask PW — What’s a good tip for authentically promoting your services on Facebook?

Heather Jernigan asked “What’s a good tip for authentically promoting your services on Facebook? (And not sounding like you have a megaphone in your hand or repeating yourself like a broken record?)”

Great question Heather! This is especially timely as right now 3 of the biggest platforms to market your business are (in no particular order) Facebook, Amazon and iTunes.

So let’s talk about Facebook and how to market your services authentically and without a megaphone.

First off, remember the old adage “do onto others as you would do onto them.” In other words, just as you don’t like pushy, obnoxious people in your face trying to get you to buy their offerings, other people probably won’t respond well to you doing that either. So the name of the game is connection and relationship first, business and sales second.

Now, this is one of those pieces of advice that can be very frustrating if you really could use a few leads right NOW and you don’t want to wait. (Because of course what I’m advocating is NOT a fast strategy — rather this is a long-term strategy because building relationships take time and nurturing.)

So, my second piece of advice is while you’re connecting and building relationships is to be creative about talking about your services.

Is there something you can take on in your industry that’s a bit controversial? Or maybe go on a rant? Or just take a different angle on? Just something that sounds different and new — maybe you tell a story or bring in something you saw on a television show or a current event.

Now, once you know what you want to talk about, then it’s time to shoot a video or write an article or blog post, and post THAT on Facebook. And if you provide solid, powerful content in the article or video it’s perfectly okay to add a little line in the end saying if they want more/go deeper to contact you or opt in for more information.

So what are your thoughts about promoting your services on Facebook? Do you have any tips that have worked for you? Please share below in the comment section. Or if you have a question about marketing, business or writing copy, feel free to put in the comment section and I’ll answer those in a future Ask PW column.

When The Treat Turns Into a Trick — How To Gracefully Move From Offering Free to Getting Paid

We’ve all heard the advice: You need a list to be successful in biz. And to build a list, you need to offer something for free.

Alas, like most things in life, it’s just not as simple or easy as all of that.

 

First, while I still do believe offering something free is one of the best ways to grow your list, there are a few problems with it:

* While there is no question you will attract legitimate buyers with a freebie, you also will attract freebie-seekers who will never buy a thing. The real question is exactly how many of each end up on your list. (And that will partially determine how responsive your list is.)

* Getting people on your list is simply the first step. The REAL work is building a relationship with them. And depending on what you do, you could end up building a relationship where you’ve trained everyone — even your prospective buyers — to be freebie seekers. Or you could build a relationship based on suspicion, because they are skeptical about your motives. Or you could NOT build a relationship at all, because you rarely send an email.

So what do you do? Well, here are 3 steps to building a solid relationship based on trust with your prospects, so they WANT to become paying clients.

1. Just like in real life, building a relationship with your list takes time and effort. So, make sure you carve out time to build and nurture your list. That means offering great content, getting your personality into your marketing, letting your list get to know you, and maybe even being entertaining. You want your list to look forward to getting your emails, right?

2. Now, as much as you may love giving away free content and really detest selling, if you don’t offer a mix of selling and content, you’ll train everyone on your list to only want the freebies from you. So then when you finally get around to making them an offer, everyone will be upset with you because it’s not what they’re used to. The trick is the balance — creating the right balance between free and paid offers, so people feel like they’re really getting something out of being on your list, and they look forward to seeing what you’re offering to find out if it’s a good fit for them.

3. Take a look at your mindset when you’re about to make an offer to your list. Are you shrinking because you would rather not (you really hate the idea of selling) or are you feeling desperate because you need money? If you have anything negative going on around selling (or even sending an email for that matter) that’s going to come through your message, which is going to affect how your list receives your offers.

In addition, I would look at your “come from” — what’s your come from when you send an email selling your program? Are you only looking at your numbers and how many people you get into your paid program? Or are you offering an invitation to anyone who wants to join you, because they want to go deeper with you (and you’re unattached to the outcome)?

Your list can sense your come from, so if they think you’re just viewing them as “walking wallets” instead of as real people, they’re going to resent it – which means they’ll reject all your offers. But if they feel like you’re inviting them to join you, and whatever they decide is fine with you, they’ll be more open to your offers and not feel like they’re being “sold” to.