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.
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.
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,
Is your business starting to feel stagnant?
Or is it at a standstill completely?
Are you just not as enthused about it as you used to be?
Or does it feel just OFF and you’re not quite sure why?
There are many reasons this could be happening to you (especially with how much has changed in online business) but some of the more simple things to look at are if your current look and feel, messaging, and model are aligned with who you are and the work you most want to do as well who you want to do it with and for.
Often times, a simple ‘refresh’ of what we’re doing, that’s more closely aligned with who we are today and the work that makes us light up inside, and being of service to just the right people, can move the energy and rekindle your enthusiasm.
Here are 3 simple ways you can hit the refresh button in your business today:
1. Look and Feel
When you look at your website, what does it feel like to you? Does it make you smile? Does it give off the energy you want it to? Does it work the way you want it to? Do you love it?
When you look at your marketing materials, ask yourself the same questions. If you’re not feeling it with your stuff, chances are that your target market isn’t either.
As you grow personally and as your business grows, your look and feel should change to reflect more accurately your current state of being.
Where in your business can you refresh the look and feel to more accurately reflect where you are in your business today?
Think about the main message you deliver to your market. Is that message still accurate? Has it changed over the last year? Does it feel like it needs to change to more accurately reflect who you serve and how you serve them?
As you become more clear about what it is that you do and to whom you do it for and with, you’ll want to adjust your message accordingly.
For example, my message for many years was about mentoring women entrepreneurs to break through to 6 figures and beyond so they can live the life they ache for. And while that is still true, it became clearer to me what really matters is not the 6 figures necessarily, but what really matters to them personally – and that’s reflected in my new brand, Lively Biz.
A Lively Biz is playful, purposeful and profitable and part-time. It inspires you to live your life first. It allows you to enjoy this crazy entrepreneurial journey without making you crazy. And it enables you to make a lot more money.
Take a mini-audit of your offerings. What parts of the work that you do do you love to delivery and in what way? What parts could you let go of and feel really great about?
For example, after two years of year-long coaching programs, I reduced them to 8-month programs. When I restarted a monthly membership, I changed from live teleclasses to pre-recorded ones. I now offer virtual retreats in addition to in-person retreats. All of these changes better suit my chosen lifestyle and resonate with my best clients as well.
What changes can you make in your business model to better serve you?
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…
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.