2 Woo-Woo Moves & 2 Practical Steps to Reaching Your Dream this Year

 

What’s your dream?
 

If you haven’t spent a few minutes thinking about, visualizing, writing, or creating a vision board about what you want to bring into being in 2019, take at least a few minutes today to do so.

Mine is to complete my manuscript of Book #2. 🙂

Truth be told, that’s been on my dream list for more than a few years (and at least since my first book was published in 2014), but as much as I wanted to write my next book, I wasn’t really doing anything about it.

Do you have a dream like that too? Here’s what I’m doing that’s helping me stay on track that may help you too.

1. Write it down

Write down your dream every single day. I’m serious. Add this 10-second ritual to your morning to support you in achieving your dream. And handwrite it – that makes all the difference.

I write, “I’m a NY Times Bestselling Author” every single morning. Will Book #2 get me there? Who knows? But I’m setting my intention and sending it out to the Universe every single day. I won’t be surprised when it happens – giddy, but not surprised.

2. Create a container for your dream

In my case, that’s Scrivener. Scrivener is a word processor and project management tool created specifically for writers, but that really doesn’t even come close to covering what it actually can do. In my case, it gives me a separate place to write my book. Not jumbled up with Word or Pages, which creates just one long document.

Scrivener works the way my brain works. When I wrote my first book, I created a table of contents, chapter headings, and some of the front and back matter in Word. I printed those out, 3-hole punched them and put them into a physical binder. Then I would add pieces of content I’d already written by printing them, punching them and adding them to the binder wherever made the most sense. I’m a visual person and if I can see how something fits together, it’s much easier for me.

But Scrivener does that for me! I created a binder and I add chapters as I go, that I can easily re-organize however I want. And the best part is the cork board, where I can stick post-it notes of content I want to be sure to include in my books somewhere – stores or tips or concepts I want to expand on.

What container do you need for your dream? Is it specific software, or a course, or an artist’s date (like in The Artist’s Way) with yourself once a week to work on it? Is it a coach or mentor or a friend who holds you accountable? What will support you in moving steadily towards your dream?

3. Ask for help

Ok, now I’m going to get pretty woo-woo on you. I’m going to share something I learned from Christy Marie Sheldon many years ago called What Would It Take. Now, I don’t know why this works, and honestly, I don’t care. But it works for me and when my clients embrace this, it works for them too.

Here’s what you do. Think of your dream. Then ask this question to the Universe.

“What would it take for <fill in your dream>”?

An example of one of mine is: “What would it take for me to become a NY Times bestselling author?”

Now, here’s the trick. You’re NOT asking for the HOW. You’re putting it out to the Universe to send you the HOW. That may look like an idea that pops into your head, an email that shows up, the course or program or book or a conversation with someone that will help you move closer to your dream.

Sidenote: If you have a hard letting go of the HOW (like, ahem, me), this is an excellent practice for you.

I ask my WWIT when I’m getting ready in the mornings (I actually have WWIT written on my bathroom mirror to remind me) and it’s not the same every day. I ask about what’s the priority for me in that moment, so it might be “WWIT for me to manifest an extra $20k before my birthday?” or “What would it take for us to be awarded enough financial aid for the kids to stay at their school?” or “What would it take for us to find the right next cottage to book for the whole summer?”

By the way, those were ALL ones I’ve put out there and here’s what happened: I made/manifested (pick your preferred word) $22k in 6 weeks (10 weeks before my birthday). We received an award package for the kids’ tuition that was way beyond what we could have ever expected. And we’re heading into our third summer at the perfect ‘next’ cottage.

I don’t question it, I just do it. And perhaps the lack of attachment to the outcome helps too. 😉

4. 15 minutes a day

Now to get back to the practical… I work on my current dream for 15 minutes a day. I write for 15 minutes in Scrivener, usually early morning, though sometimes it happens later in the day. But I can always find 15 minutes to write even if the muse is missing and the writing is crap. Writing from a blank page is always hardest. Rewriting is easy. But you can’t rewrite it you don’t get something down first.

Sometimes I write longer than 15 minutes but never shorter. We’re 21 days into 2019 and I’m at 9069 words. At this pace, I will end up with at least 100k words by the end of this year, which roughly equals about a 210-page manuscript, which is more than enough to publish it.

How can you chunk down your dream in 15 minutes a day?

If you’re not sure, ask yourself what’s ONE thing you can do today to move forward towards your dream? If you’re still not sure, do a mind-purge of all the things it’s going to take for you to achieve your dream and keep it handy. Look at it every morning and pick one thing. Even if that one thing can’t be completed in 15 minutes, you can at least get started and keep working on it in your 15-minute dream-achieving time, right?

There you have it. This is how I make stuff happen. A little woo and a little practical equals a lot of dream-achieving. Try it, and let me know what happens!

 

2018 – A Snapshop Review

This year was another “float” year. After my Dad’s passing just after Thanksgiving 2017, I didn’t realize how much that would take out of me, emotionally, mentally and physically, and I spent most of 2018 just trying to hold it together, be there for my family, and stay afloat in my business.

I’m grateful that my business did stay afloat, especially because I didn’t have it in me to do all the things I planned to do. After our summer at the lake, I finally started to feel like I had my feet back under me, and was emotionally and mentally able to get back in the game, which I know is what my Dad would have wanted.

Out With The Old, In With The New

I had decided after my last live event that I needed a break from it. I had been leading a 3-day live event every year since 2010, and even though I tightened it up to 2 days last year, I really just needed to let it go for a year, re-evaluate it, and decided if it was really something I wanted to do anymore. I realized that I had been doing it for a couple of years just because the attendees wanted it (which is not a bad problem to have) instead of it being enough of a return on my investment as well.

Instead, I decided that I was finally going to launch my Lively Biz Business Club membership in November. I started seeding it and pulling together all the launch details, building the wait list, and developing the membership site itself. I put a ton of time, energy and effort into this launch, especially during the open cart week, and it paid off. I also got a lot of comments on how impressive the launch was, and I share that only because it was a live launch, where I literally was going live with the videos and emails every day – it wasn’t a polished and queued-up kind of launch. Although it was scary to decide not to do my live event this year (because it did bring in a big chunk of revenue for me), not doing it was absolutely the right decision for me.

Shifting Gears

Much like not doing my live event, I also knew I needed to work with less clients one-on-one or in smaller packages, so that I could truly serve them with the capacity I had while I moved through the grieving process.

I renewed private client contracts with those I truly love working with, and basically only offered short-term packages to new clients, like my 3-hour Business Breakthrough virtual retreats. I’ve been consciously lowering the number of clients I work with 1:1 over the last few years, from 12 to 8 to 5, because I’ve wanted to tip the scales back to being able to serve a lot more people in the membership. At the moment, I’m only working privately with two clients, which gives me the capacity to focus on the Lively Biz Business Club members and the growth of the membership – and that combination feels really right.

Looking Ahead

I’ve heard (via IttyBiz’s astro guide) that 2019 is going to be a great year for getting things off the ground and growing, and after 2018 being such a drag, I’m jumping on this bandwagon!

For Lively Biz, that means hitting 100+ members in the Club before summer, a full Lively Biz Accelerator program (we’re almost there already), a handful of openings for Business Breakthrough virtual retreats, my second book written and published (I’ve already written 8776 words!), a reboot and fresh launch of my podcast, hiring another team member to help with back-end stuff, and three brand-new virtual workshops. It also means continuing to tip the scales back from 1:1 to 1:many so that I can inspire and inform a lot more women business owners with creating their own priority-based and profitable online business in less than part-time hours.

I’m spending time during this pause between Christmas and New Year’s in a more in-depth review of business – and life – and I invite you to do the same. There are things I want to acknowledge, thank and release from 2018 – a lot of things actually – and things I want to bring into being in 2019.

When James lights the fire as we get ready to ring in the new year, I’ll be ceremoniously burning a list of those things I’m ready to release, while posting the things I most want to welcome in my office where I can see it every day as I do the work – both inner and outer – of continuing to create the lifestyle business I most desire in the year ahead and beyond.

In the meantime, know I’m wishing you and yours all good things in 2019!

cheers & xoxo,
~ A

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!

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