How to Overcome the 4 Most Common Struggles of Every Entrepreneur

While the message and the market of your business may be different, there are some stumbling blocks that seem to pop up for even the seasoned entrepreneur.

Here are four of the ones that I frequently coach on with my private clients:

1. Not moving ahead even when they know what to do.

Almost always, this is a fear-based immobility. Whether it’s fear of failure or fear of success (the later seems more prevalent for entrepreneurs, including myself).

We come up with all kinds of excuses as to why something isn’t getting done, but most often it has nothing to do with anything other than fear of the possible result of moving forward.

If you’re afraid of failing, remember that in our online world, we get to test things out with very little risk. My favorite strategy is to ‘fail fast’. Put it out there, see what happens, tweak until you get the result you want.

If you’re afraid of success, then you need to take a look at your Big Money Why (BMW – see #4) to see how you can make it more powerful and motivating (tip: money is never enough of a motivator, believe it or not). And you need to put a process in place for how you will handle the abundance that’s too come.

2. Being self-disciplined enough to make and stick to self-imposed deadlines.

The wonderful thing about being an entrepreneur is that you’re your own boss. The tricky thing about that is most, if not all, of our deadlines are self-imposed. Which makes them very easy to move, doesn’t it? I know because I’ve struggled with this one more than once.

If we go back to knowing what your emotionally driven motivator is for the success you desire, you’ll be more likely to stick to those self-imposed deadlines – but only if that BMW is strong enough.

Here’s a simple but very powerful tip for you in sticking to your own deadlines: Make them public. When I launched my first info-product, I told my ezine list that they would be able to buy it on a certain date, which gave me about 3 weeks to get it done. And done it was.

3. Claiming leadership status and fully stepping into the role of the CEO of your business.

Once an entrepreneur gets the foundational pieces in place for their business, it’s actually easy to stay in the start-up phase, because it’s comfortable. And because often they don’t know what the next step is, what the next layer of the business should look like, to take them to the next level.

The sooner they can take on the leadership role, by becoming the CEO of their business (even if they don’t call themselves that), the faster the growth of both the entrepreneur and the business.

One of the ways you can step more fully into that role is by delegating. So if you’ve been in business for a couple of years and you’re still doing too much of the managing of it, and especially if you’re doing all the admin work, and you haven’t hired an assistant yet, it’s time. Start with one small project and add from there.

For every task in your business, ask yourself, “Is this something I should be doing?”

Because remember, even if you CAN do something doesn’t mean you SHOULD.

If the answer is no, then pass it off to a capable assistant.

4. Having an emotionally driven motivator for your Big Money Why (BMW).

This is probably the most important one…

Money is NOT enough of a motivator, no matter how much you want it, or are attached to the ’6-Figure’ or “million-dollar’ mark. There has to be a reason behind wanting it, something that is so strong that it drives you and the business forward, no matter what.

If you find things aren’t moving as quickly as you’d like, or it feels too hard much of the time, or you just aren’t using your time and talent effectively, take a look at your Big Money Why. And if you haven’t done this before, then that’s your coaching homework.

In as much detail as possible, write out why you want the financial success you do. Is it to give to your family, is it to give to others, is it to create a charitable foundation, is it to take care of elderly parents, is it to enable your children to get the best education you can give them, is it to travel and expand your world view, is it to buy a nicer home for your family, is it to give experiences to those you love – they are a thousand reasons why, but you need to be very clear of what they are for YOU before you can make them happen.

At my annual Online Business Breakthrough Workshop, we focused a whole session on your Big Money Why, and it’s one of the most powerful sessions for shifting the attendees into passionate action in their business.

This year, we’ll be doing this session virtually as part of my Lively Biz Business Club.

Click here to get on the wait-list to be first to find out when the Club officially opens

I love to know how this resonates with you – share with me your thoughts below…

Setting Intentions: Meet the Universe Half-Way by Deciding What Your Intentions Are

I am a big believer in making decisions and moving forward while course-correcting along the way.

And one of the ways I know my business grows is through making decisions and setting clear intentions.

So every summer while we’re at the lake, I review the last business year, releasing anything that no longer feels good and right for where I’m headed, and take with me the lessons and insights learned along the way while I set new intentions.

Then I get really practical. 😉

I decide what my intentions are for moving closer to my business and lifestyle goals and the big picture decisions that will help get me there. I share these in-depth with my private clients, so I thought it might be helpful to give you an idea of what I mean too.

For this business year (for me that’s September-May, with summer being allocated to travel, rest, and creative space), here’s what I’ll be focused on:

1. List Growth.

I’ll be leading a List-Building Mastery monthly training because I’m a firm believer based on my own experience and that of my clients that growing your list supports a thriving business. I’ll be focusing on specific strategies to growing my lists consistently each and every month, so that’s what I’ll be doing with private clients too.

2. Storybrand.

If you don’t know Don Miller’s work, I strongly suggest you check it out here. I’ve been working through this material this summer and it’s been very helpful for gaining so much clarity and definition around what I do and for whom that I’ll be using it with clients this year specifically as well. Don’s free information is a super-helpful place to start if you know you need help in clarifying your message (and don’t we all?).

3. Facebook Growth.

Because Facebook is my main social media channel for connecting with more of my audience, I’ll be working on growing my Facebook page and group and will be sharing what’s working for me, my before-and-after results, and more with private clients. (My personal not-so-secret weapon for all-things-Facebook? Rachel Miller – check her out here).

I see this as imperative to growing my brand-new Lively Biz Business Club membership, which leads me to…

4. Membership.

The Lively Biz Business Club launches this fall (private clients get membership for free, of course), so it’s going to be a lot of membership-focused stuff going forward! I’ve been a part of Stu McLaren’s Tribe for the past few years and it’s been invaluable for helping me create the foundation for what will ultimately be one of my two main revenue streams.

So now that I’ve covered the tangibles, a piece that’s even more important going forward is this…

5. Money Mindset

Yeah, that old clunker is still kicking around. With so much of my mental and emotional energy focused on intense family matters the last 18 months, much of the time I was just letting the flow take me and support me.

That said, without any effort on my part going forward from here, I’m not going to get where I most want to be!

My plan this summer was to focus some time on learning new business growth strategies and making a plan of action for the fall because that’s what I do and what I’m really good at.

However, I found myself reading three different books on money, re-opening a course I invested in over a year ago, and listening to inspirational audiobooks on my walks along the water (namely Rachel Hollis’ Girl, Wash Your Face and Tosha Silver’s Outrageous Openness – both excellent).

So, there you have it – a peek inside what’s happening here at Lively Biz.

I’d love to know what decisions you’re making and intentions you’re setting as well, so please share in the comments. 🙂

Growing Your List with Attention

One of the most important assets in your business is your email list.

Growing my list was what changed everything in my business, moving it from a very slow 1:1 sales cycle to a much more lucrative 1:many sales cycle instead.

But how do you grow your list, consistently and easily?

By paying attention to it.

Because, just like money, your list likes to be paid attention to. And if you don’t pay attention to your list, it will demand your attention one way or another.

If you pay attention to it, it will reward you with more income, more joint venture opportunities, better relationships with your audience, and a lot more.

But if you don’t pay attention to it… well, none of those things can happen.

Luckily, paying attention to your list is easy. 🙂

It’s just three simple steps: Create, Schedule, Automate

Step 1: Create your promotions channel list

Once you’ve created your fresh and compelling free content opt-in, the next step is to create a list of places you can promote it.

Depending on what channels you’re using to grow your audience, this may include using social media, pay-per-click ads, sharing with memberships or organizations you’re a part of, or other avenues through which you can reach your market.

Because my business in 95% online, my main channel I use to promote my freebie is social media, and mostly on Facebook.

Your first step is to make a list of the various channels you can use to promote your free content opt-in.

2. Schedule your promotions

Your second step is to create a promotion schedule for your free content opt-in. Decide where and how often you’ll promote your freebie through each of your channels.

Because I mainly grow my email list via social media, my schedule may look like this:

– 1 Tweet per day
– 1 Facebook Page post per week
– 1 Free Facebook Group post per week (my group)
– 1 LinkedIn post per week
– 1 Google+ post per week
– 1 Instagram post per week

Ok, your turn –> Create your own promotion schedule for your freebie, using the list of channels you wrote in step 1.

3. Automate the promotion of your free content opt-in

While you can promote your freebie manually, as soon as you can, either hire someone to do this task for you, or considering investing in a third-party scheduling service, like Meet Edgar or Hootsuite.

Just a note: At the moment, Facebook prefers that you post directly through their platform and not through a third-party scheduler.

In my business, we do a hybrid – direct posting to Facebook, and automated posting via Hootsuite to LinkedIn and Twitter.

Now that you know where and when to promote your free content opt-in, your next step is to further pay attention to it by nurturing the list you’re growing. Stay tuned for more on that soon!

If this was helpful, I’d love it if you’d comment and/or share!

Get my personal List-Building System, Ignite Your List for 1/2 off here

5 Simple Steps to Creating a Fresh Compelling Opt-in

Is your main free content opt-in in need of a refresh or replacement?

Yup, mine too!

So while I’ve been working on mine, I thought I’d share the process to help you too. 🙂

Here are 5 simple steps to creating a fresh and compelling opt-in.

Step 1. Choose it

Before you create a new free content opt-in, be sure it’s something your audience wants. If you don’t know what that is, just ask them.

– Ask them

Ask your prospects a simple, open-ended question, like “What’s your biggest challenge with building your business online?” or “What’s the one thing you’d like to learn more about that relates to balancing your work and family life?”

Tailor the question to your area of expertise and use the answers you get to help spark ideas for your new freebie.

– Do a simple survey that asks 1-10 questions using a survey tool like Survey Monkey.

This allows you to ask more specific questions to elicit more specific responses – very cool!

Tip: To entice people to share their thoughts with you, offer them a free gift for answering your question or taking your survey. It’s also a nice way to say thank you for their time.

Put this question to your market:

– periodically in your email communications
– ask them on social media
– as an autoresponder when they sign up for your freebie

Remember, your market will tell you what it wants, if you’ll just ask them. 😉

Step 2: Write it

Once you know the topic of your freebie based on your research, it’s time to write it.

(Even if you’re filming a video, you’ll still need some form of written content to to help your viewers consumer your content – plus it doubles as your script).

I find the easiest way to create new content is to write an outline first, and then fill it in.

How about a simple outline to follow?

– Title (make this benefit-oriented)
– Intro paragraph (3-5 sentences; describe the problem and why your reader needs to solve it)
– 3-10 info bullets (your solution to the problem broken down)
– Closing paragraph (3-5 sentence summary)
– Call-to-Action (what should they do next? Tell them here)

Remember to keep it short so your reader actually consumes your content.

Step 3. Design it

Once you’re done writing your content, decide how to package it for your subscriber.

Here’s some of the most simple and highest-converting options:

Checklist
Cheat Sheet
Short Guide
One-Page Blueprint
MP3
Infographic

If design is not your forte, use Canva, Designsta, or Fiverr.

Step 4. Deliver it

Once your freebie is ready to be released, create a thank you page on your website and then upload your freebie to that page on your website, like this –> http://aliciaforest.com/thank-you/

If you’re creating a stand-alone opt-in page, I highly recommend (and use for all my opt-ins) Leadpages.

Step 5. Promote it

Yay! You’ve done the hard work, so now it’s just a matter of letting your market know your fresh and compelling opt-in is available.

The first thing I like to do is send it to my existing list (it’s a surprise bonus to them for already being on my list) and share it in my paid program groups. I’ll ask them to share the opt-in page with their circles as well.

Then we set up an automated system for sending the URL to the opt-in page on a consistent basis so we can consistently build my list.

That might look something like this:

– 1 Tweet per day
– 1 Facebook Page post per week
– 1 Free Facebook Group post per week (my group)
– 1 LinkedIn post per week
– 1 Google+ post per week
– 1 Instagram post per week
– Facebook Groups I belong to made up of my market posts as allowed

There you have it… 5 simple steps to creating a fresh compelling opt-in!

When yours is ready, I’d love to see it. Feel free to share it in the comments below… 🙂

If this was helpful, I’d love it if you’d share it using the buttons below – thanks so much!

Get my personal List-Building System, Ignite Your List for 1/2 off here

What to do when you’re not moving forward (3 tips)

I’m generally a quick decision-maker and fast implementor.

But something James said to me recently really struck me. And reminded me instantly of the Rule of 3* (at least my interpretation of it).

He was good-naturedly teasing me about my tendency to procrastinate.

As soon as he said that, my first thought was about launching the Lively Biz Business Club. Or more accurately, my lack of launching it.

It’s 90% ready to go. What needs to be completed before opening the doors is easy and can be done within a couple of days.

So… why haven’t I opened it yet?

I lamented about this to my mastermind group. They reminded me that I’m still grieving. I showed the sales page and membership site to a private client as an example for her own, and she told me with certainty that I was going to open it in the fall. When I talked to James about it, he said, “It’s hard to put your heart into something when your heart’s breaking.”

Oy.

And in that moment, I knew what I needed to do. I need more time and space to heal. I need more time and space to be fully present for this program. I need the summer, I need the lake, I need to breathe in so I can breathe out come the fall.

So I’m honoring that, knowing that it is the best decision, for me and for you. What a release that is.

Here are three things that helped me get from feeling off about launching this new program to feeling really excited and good about it again:

1. Trust that things are unfolding as they’re meant to

I know that when I don’t move forward with something, there’s a reason. I don’t usually know the reason at the time, but I do trust that there is a reason that in some way is supporting my best and highest good.

That doesn’t mean it’s easy to sit in that place of unknowing. When it’s really hard, I have to remind myself of all the other times I’ve been in limbo and how it always works out. Always.

2. *Listen to the whispers

I trust my own intuition AND I tend to pay far more attention when the “whispers” show up in 3’s. When my mastermind group offered insight on giving myself more time and space, I listened. When my private client said to wait until the fall, I listened. When James understood my heart and expressed it so succinctly, I listened. And then I made a new plan.

3. Make a new plan

Once I decided that I wasn’t going to launch the membership before the summer, that cleared my mind and my desk so I could figure out what I was going to do instead, which took about 10 minutes. That alone affirmed this was the right decision.

Where in your business (or your life) are you not moving forward? Are you open to hearing the whispers to guide you to making a different decision?

 

What’s your sweet spot?

I was invited to Jack’s class this morning for a very special reason, and something that happened made me think about how critical it is to find your sweet spot in business… watch for more and leave your comments! 🙂

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