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.
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…
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. 🙂
One of the questions I get asked the most is how I take the summers off, so I thought I’d answer that a bit for you in this post.
The purpose of this content is about much more than just taking the summer off – or any extended holiday – it’s to help you get really clear on your plan for the next 6-12 months and beyond, what it’s going to be all about for you, both from a pragmatic view as well as from a big picture view.
You likely know that I take 12 weeks off (half of June, and all of July and August) as vacation to spend it with my family at the lake where I spent my summers growing up.
When I first decided that I wanted to be off for the entire summer, I had to figure out how to make that work and still run and grow my business.
So in the beginning, it was a very slightly working vacation, maybe 10% of the time. So the first time I did this, I did certain things to prepare for it:
1. I decided on what main projects I was going to focus on, two in total.
2. I decided what my VA would focus on, all the admin details that I didn’t want to be troubled with, but that I had a hard time letting go of beforehand.
3. I went through all my files and only brought those with me that I had to have to work on those 2 main projects. (As a back-up, I used a remote access program in case I had to get something on my desktop).
4. I clean up my laptop and rigged it for wireless.
5. I let my clients and customers know (more than once) that I was on vacation, that I would respond to emails but that it might take a little longer than usual, but that I was also living this model.
Those were basically the things I did to get ready.
Much to my surprise, because I think I was so busy-busy all the time that I wasn’t moving forward very quickly with anything and spent a lot of time putting out fires, I was actually MORE productive – and MORE profitable – during those summer weeks than I had been the previous 6 months working from my home office.
So what was different?
1. I chose two main projects to focus on that only I could do (writing my book and my membership program) and either let the rest go (absolutely nothing negative happened as a result) or delegated it.
So I was really focused on my ‘genius’ work, which is what will always bring your more money sooner than focusing on fixing your website or other admin tasks you shouldn’t be doing.
2. I had scheduled work time. This was a biggee for me. At home, I worked when the kids slept (naptime or nighttime) and then all kinds of in-between time when they were playing by themselves or when Daddy was taking care of them.
During those early summers of implementing this model, I only worked a total of about 2 hours a day, between pre-wake-up time and post-bedtime, 3-4 days a week. I get up at 5:30am and work for an hour or so before the kids get up, but that’s also my time to sit on the dock,watch the loons and write in my journal, and drink my coffee while it’s still hot.
When I worked it was only on those one or two projects, and answering emails that were a priority, like those from Platinum clients. Anything else I did was a bonus. I wasn’t stressed at all, and when I was with kids, I was completely focused on them, not on the business.
Since then, I’ve restructured my business so that I don’t offer anything ‘live’ with me while I’m off for the summer, my coaching and training programs end around Memorial Day weekend, and the only work I do over the summer is write the personal note in my ezine each week. Almost everything else is done and queued up before Memorial Day or is delegated to my team to take care of while I’m off.
There’s quote a bit more to it than this, of course, but if you’re seeking to take more time off, whatever time of year it is and for whatever reason, this should get you thinking about the first steps to take so you can do it too.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this – comment below or share in our Facebook group here
How often do you find yourself in this scenario?
It’s Monday morning and you’re all geared up for a productive week ahead. You’ve got your to-do list (massive as it is) at the ready and you sit down at your desk to start checking things off.
As you begin to read down your list, you start to feel something in your gut. It’s not a physical pain necessarily, just a feeling of something heavy starting to grow. You ignore it and continue reading your list, making stars next to the things that seem to be the most important to get done that day.
But the more you do this, the heavier that feeling gets, until it starts creeping up to your shoulders and finally settles in your head. All that enthusiasm you had when you first sat down is gone and the only thing you feel now is utter and complete overwhelm.
Sound familiar? I’ve been there, too, so I understand.
And it’s not that all the tasks on your list aren’t wonderful and/or doable. There are simply too many of them – and they all seem important right now – to expect that you can accomplish them all in the hours you have to work in any single day.
So what happens? You do a little of this, a little of that, and you really never complete a single project!
But you don’t have to let another week pass without really accomplishing anything. Simply create a Priority Card.
A Priority Card will help you organize all your tasks in a way that will SHOW you every day what you should focus on.
There are a lot of details that will threaten to take your mind off your priorities (this is where a virtual assistant can be of immense value), but those details are not necessarily what will move you forward in your business. To do that, you need to consistently focus on completing the projects that will move your business ahead big-time.
You can create a system for helping you focus on your priorities in a number of ways, but I’m going to give you mine. I only work about 15 hours a week on my business, so adjust your own plan accordingly.
At the beginning of each week, I choose 3 projects with looming deadlines (self-imposed as they may be) from my master task list (which really is so massive that it has its own notebook).
For example, at the moment, I am working on a sales page, content for a program, and a new offer.
On a colored index card, I write down those projects and prop the card in a standing clip holder, right in front of my computer screen. When I start to feel that sense of overwhelm, or when I find myself getting distracted by new ideas or other tasks (all of which seem important), I remind myself to look at my Priority Card and focus only on what’s written there.
Once I started using my Priority Card, my own business growth leapt forward ten times faster than when I was doing a little of this and a little of that, working on a dozen things, but taking much too long to actually complete just one project.
Know you won’t be able to stick to this process 100% of the time, but even 80% will help you make dramatic strides in your business growth. You’ll actually finish the projects you set out to do, and you’ll not only feel great about doing so, you’ll be inspired to do it again, and again, and again. Once you make this shift, you’ve learned the secret to wiping out overwhelm for yourself and your business!
Want to know more of my best tips for beating overwhelm and simplifying everything in your business so it’s less stressful and much more fun?
Be sure to check out my Lively Biz Business Club – get on the wait list here.
If you’re a woman entrepreneur who’s building a leveraged online business so you can keep your family first, this is for you.
As the same, I’m always looking for ways to leverage what’s already working in my business to improve my results so I can grow my business more quickly without more effort.
Where in your business could you do the same? Take this mini-assessment to find out.
__ 1. Do you know your priorities?
You need to know the highest-payoff activities to focus on in your business before you can fully leverage them for a far greater result.
If you often feel scattered, and that you’re too often flying by the seat of your pants, and you would LOVE to have a much more streamlined and simplified process for creating flow in your business on every level, it starts with knowing and focusing only on what matters.
What’s your #1 highest-payoff activity in your business today?
__ 2. Are your sales lacking?
If you’re not making as many sales as you want, there’s likely some missing pieces in your sales flow. I’m sure you know that just putting something out there online does not equal a successful offer. There are several critical pieces you need to have in place first, and then a strategy to convert from offer to sale.
What is the #1 missing piece in your sales process today?
__ 3. Do you abandon your current clients/customers?
It is far easier to sell something to someone who has already bought from you, and yet this is one of the most common places where entrepreneurs leave money on the table.
What is the natural next step you could offer to your current clients/customers?
__ 4. Do you leave your prospects hanging?
70% of your sales are in the follow-up. Don’t leave your potential clients and customers hanging just because your offer went live. Keep touching base with them, making sure they don’t feel abandoned, that you truly do want to help them.
Where in your current or next offer could you add a follow-up process?
__ 5. Do you have an “easy yes” offer?
Do you have a way to work with your market that’s an easy yes for them? I’m not talking about private work at your highest level. I’m talking about being able to experience your work in a way that leverages your time yet supports your client as well?
What simple product or program could you create that walks your client through your process in a do-it-yourself way?
These are just 5 areas to be looking at where you could up the ante on what you already have in place in your business – or what you should have in place to create the success you desire. We’ll cover 5 more in Part 2, but in the meantime, spend some time figuring out for yourself where you can apply the above to start seeing better results for less effort.
If you want my help in answering these questions with you, be sure to get on the wait list for the brand-new Lively Biz Business Club that’s opening soon!
If you’re running your own business, you’re going to have days, weeks, even months, when Life Interrupts and shifts all of your best laid plans.
Of course, the beauty of being your own boss is that you have a great amount of freedom and flexibility, so how do you roll with it when all those plans go awry?
Here are 3 simple ways to ride it out with as much ease and grace as possible:
1. Let Go
Planned on getting that sales page done? Wanted to finish writing those final chapters of your book? Hoped to attend a networking event? Set up to shoot that video series? Write your new free taste? Offer a new program?
But then Life threw a wrench into your plans and so nothing happened. A child or a parent is sick and needs you, your computer died, you got the flu, your child is having trouble in school, you’ve had a fight with a loved one, or some other emotional or physical upheaval has occurred.
I’m a planner, and I’ve learned, especially once I had the kids, that things don’t often go to plan. And if I don’t want to be frustrated and stressed, then I need to be flexible and patient (and yes, that’s still hard sometimes).
The only thing you can do when your heart, mind and energy is needed elsewhere is to go with it.
Let go of the plan and go where you are needed.
2. The ‘One Thing’ Rule
I want to share with you one of my secrets to my enduring success that you can apply when your plan gets knocked off-track or you find yourself with little time to work on your business.
Ask yourself this one simple question:
What’s the ONE THING I can do today to move my business forward?
When you simply don’t have the capacity or the time to work your plan, there is often one thing that you can do that will make you feel that you accomplished something in that day, which will help to fortify you moving forward.
3. Get support
Of course, sailing more smoothly through troubled waters requires support – family, friend, colleague, mentor, and business assistant support.
When Life is tumultuous, reach out for the support you need to help you through. Whether it’s a shoulder to lean on, a vent session, an emergency call, or adding another team member – reach out and support yourself by asking for whatever kind of help you need.
And remember, tomorrow is another day. 🙂
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this – share them with me below…
Connecting with my colleagues on a Facebook thread recently, there was a conversation about business coaches who post photos of their big houses, exotic trips, private jets (ok, that’s mostly just Frank Kern (and it’s so totally him, I can handle it)), and of course, the obligatory convertible shot – not that there’s anything wrong with that – I have a Jeep and I’ve taken my own top-off shots to share. 😉
But this thread was more about using these lifestyle photos in ads, mostly all of them with the promise of a 6-figure+ income.
(I still don’t get the ad that shows a pair of red high heel promising coaches how to get more clients – what do those spiked heels have to do with growing your business?)
I’ve been in this business for 15+ years, and I’ve watched the market become saturated with every form of business coach imaginable (general, sales, marketing, social media, etc.).
Basically it’s coaches coaching coaches on how to make money coaching.
Being around the block for awhile, I’ve sensed and seen the bubbles bursting (remember those $100k programs?) and this one is most definitely brimming.
It’s already happening – coaches who are closing up shop, moving from entrepreneur to employee again, deciding it’s time to do something else.
And that’s ok…
But if you’re a business coach who’s actually good at what you do, then the ‘everyone’s a (business) coach’ conundrum can hurt you.
So how do we stand out and thrive and not be part of the bubble when it bursts?
Show your credentials
I don’t necessarily believe that you have to have an MBA to be a business coach, but if you do – tell people.
If you have a successful background in business BEFORE you became a coach – tell people.
If you’ve logged time doing what you do successfully for yourself and your clients – tell people.
I earned my MBA in Leadership. I’ve been in business for myself in one form or another since 2001 (really, since I was 12). I was on the Board of Directors for a university for several years, helping to grow its strategic marketing and financial standing. I was a senior level public relations and marketing director. I’ve been in sales. I have credentials in the field of business law. I’ve worked with hundreds of clients who’ve successfully built businesses of their own – both on and offline – for over 15 years.
I’m going to continue to be successful because I actually know what I’m doing. There, I said it. And you should say it too.
Do things differently
I absolutely believe in following a proven system or process to get started in business. There simply are foundational pieces that must be in place and critical operations that must occur as the business grows. That’s true for ALL businesses.
And then there’s the point of customizing for growth. That’s when your coaching needs to be customized for your clients.
And if you do that, make sure you let people know.
Not just in terms of helping your client to create something that’s truly in alignment with who they are and their work and purpose on the planet… but also if you do the running of the business differently too.
Yes, I customized, particularly with my private clients. And I’ve saved my clients thousands of dollars by sharing with them how they can get the same result they’re looking for, for a far lower expense, in regards to their business operations.
And I make it ok for them to do so. I don’t tell them they have to hire this certain person, or invest in this particular service, or buy this piece of software or equipment, or else they aren’t ‘playing big enough’ – ugh.
I run a lean business (<$500/mo) and make very good money on the other side. My clients do too. If you do these things for your clients, make sure you tell people.
Diversify your clientele
When meeting someone outside of business circles and asked what I do, I usually reply, “I’m a business coach” because it just makes small talk easier.
When asked who I work with, though, this is where it gets interesting…
While there was a period of time when many of my clients were business coaches (though they may call themselves something more specific) who were coaching more business coaches who were… you get the idea… over the last several years, my private clientele has become much more diversified.
One client focuses on helping nurses reconnect with the passion they once felt for nursing so they can enjoy being a nurse again.
Another client empowers her clients to follow their soul’s guidance so they can lead an expression-filled life of joy.
Another client is coaching women leaders to be the leaders in their own life.
And another is taking her success with owning and operating two Montessori schools online, through offering a way for families to bring Montessori teaching into the home.
In fact, none of my current clients are coaching coaches on how to make money.
Make sure that your proverbial client eggs aren’t all in one basket either.
Do your due diligence
Just because someone spent $5k on a photo shoot or have fabulous aerial videos shot from a drone doesn’t mean they know what they’re talking about when it comes to helping you succeed in your business.
I know more than one business coach who had THE photos done – full glamour shots – that really give off the impression of wealth and success… and yet, I also know they’re drowning in debt and can’t pay their bills.
On the other hand, I know another business coach who invested in the most amazing drone-shot videos for a recent launch of his program. Did his ‘impression’ live up to his promise? Yes, and then some… how do I know? Because I invested in that program and it’s been worth every penny.
So it’s not to say that a coach who’s spent money on professional, polished, branded, even slick marketing isn’t worth your hard-earned cash – just know WHO you’re investing in before you do.
Do your due diligence.
Business coaching is always going to be a viable enterprise, but as the industry evolves, especially in this virtual arena, it’s up to us to have the gumption to stand out, stand up, and show up, if we want to thrive outside the bubble.