How to LEAP Forward in Your Business (and Personal) Growth

For the first year in my business, I tried to do it all alone. Then I joined a group here and there, mostly free forums and free classes. And they helped some. But the real momentum and shifting came when I joined a paid mastermind group.

It was $5400- and at the time, I couldn’t afford it. And yet, I couldn’t afford not to get the expert help and the group support I so desperately needed so I wouldn’t have to resort to getting a J-O-B.

The first year in that mastermind took my business from $15k to $43k. Ok, so not to a million bucks or even 6 figures, but I was pretty darn happy with tripling my income, considering I was still only working about an HOUR a day on my business, as I tended to my young family.

The second mastermind I joined had some private coaching peppered in, and that year my income doubled, getting me to just shy of that $100k mark, while still only working about 15 hours a week.

Then I took the big leap into a high-level private program, and that pulled me into the multiple 6-figure mark, with a net of $127k cash in the bank. And I still only worked less than part-time AND took the entire summer off (again).

I’ve been leading my own highly successful Mastery of Business Academy Coaching & Training Programs since 2010, and I thought it would be helpful to share why this format is so incredibly powerful.

I’ve noted three things that seem to help the members make the BIG shifts they’re seeking:

  1. Focus

In our intimate mastermind, you get to focus on monetizing what you already have or are about to create. You get to focus on where you’re headed, instead of staying stuck in where you are. You get to focus on getting crystal-clear on who you’re serving and how you love to serve them, within a structure that honors your highest values.

  1. Implementation

You get the support you need to implement everything you already know to get the money in the door sooner than later, all while honoring your values and lifestyle. And when you invest in yourself at a high level, it spurs you into taking the big leaps so you get the most out of your investment (that certainly happened for me!).

  1. Sacred Support

You get the kind of support from the other members that may be really hard to find otherwise. Your spouse, best friend, or mom may not ‘get’ what you’re doing but your mastermind members do – and they are available to you in a moment to help you push past your fear, give you that next piece of information you need to take that next step, listen to you vent, offer advice and suggestions on how to move past any challenge, and giving you loving support whenever you need it.

So here’s what I know:

When you’re going it alone, it can be much more difficult to focus, to implement and to get the kind of sacred support we all need to bring our messages out into the world in a much bigger way.

In the beginning, I resisted this – I thought I liked being a lone-ranger. But once I open up to the possibility of allowing a group of lovely like-minded people to support me (and vice versa) everything changed in my business – and my life – for the better.

Find out how you can enjoy this level of support, no matter where you are on your business-building path here.

 

7 Ways Attending Live Events Can Boost Your Business

Are you the kind of business owner who tends to hide behind your computer screen?

You network online through virtual groups, but you’re hesitant to leave the comfort of your home office to actually meet others in person?

 

Whether you’re a natural introvert or extrovert, attending live events and meeting peers and colleagues in person can make a dramatic difference in the success of your business. If you’ve been the lone wolf type, it’s time to get out and start gathering with your pack.

 

When I was in the public relations/higher education field, I attended dozens of conferences, but when I started my consulting practice, money was tight and it took me a few years to get back out on the circuit.

 

The first event I attended in my capacity as a consultant/coach changed my business and my life. I hesitated about attending because it was a lot of money to invest back then and I was going to be starting over in a way in a new industry, which were both risks for me at the time.

 

Was it worth it? Let’s just say that I still have the card from the Irish pub my husband and I went to the final evening of the event where we figured out how I was going to make this business work. It really is when everything changed.

 

Not only did I learn a ton of great stuff, I met some amazing people who have become colleagues, joint venture partners and even friends. And I truly believe that what you put out is what you get back, and by attending this event, I was sending the message that I was ready to start playing big.

 

One of the best investments you can make in your business is in your continuous learning, by attending events, as well as investing in high-quality education products and programs. Part of my own marketing budget is dedicated solely to my learning (and believe me, it’s hard to keep the lid on it!).


So, are you thinking maybe you’ll take the risk and attend a live event in your industry?

 

Here are some specific reasons why you should:

 

1. Dedicated time and focus on the event topic

 

I bet you have at least a few books, CDs, home study courses, etc. that you’ve probably listened to or read, but that you haven’t actually applied. I know I do. And I also know that when I get out of my office and dedicate time and focus to one thing, I make some big breakthroughs.

 

2. Sharing space with like-minded individuals

 

Nothing inspires me more than being around others who are as passionate about what we do as I am. Collaborations come naturally and we easily share ideas and resources. Taking the time to share space with these folks helps keep me motivated and excited about moving forward.

 

3. More high-quality connections

 

Not only do I end up with a ton of business cards, but there’s also a handful of strategic partnership opportunities, as well as new ezine subscribers and new customers of my products. And by attending an event comprised of others in my industry, the quality of the connections I’m making is much higher for my business building than attending something like a local chamber event.

 

4. Discounts on materials to increase your learning

 

Typically the speakers of these events will offer special discounts to attendees on their products and programs. And if the event has vendor booths, the same usually applies. Events are a great place to “shop” for the next tool that will help boost your business.

 

5. It’s guaranteed and tax-deductible

 

I think this is something most small business owners forget. They just look at the price tag of the event, and then shy away. But remember, whatever you put out as an investment in your business is tax-deductible. Be sure to check with your accountant for details, but stop to think about how much you could increase your bottom line by attending the event, instead of how much it costs.

Besides, most reputable events offer a money-back guarantee, so if you really felt it wasn’t worthwhile, you can always ask for a refund.

 

6. Meet the experts

 

Most of the time, the speakers at the events are accessible, so don’t be shy and go on up and introduce yourself. You may not have another chance and you never know where that connection may lead!

 

7. Enjoy yourself outside of the event

 

Don’t forget that you can take in the place where the event is being held. Do a little research ahead of time and plan at least some time away from the event to enjoy wherever it is you’re visiting, even if it’s in your home state.

 

Once you’re home and recovered from being out and about at the event, you’ll be both excited and recharged to jump in with all your new knowledge and connections!

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this – please share them in the comments below…

How to Unhook from the Future

by Alicia Forest MBA
Intuitive Business Strategist & Lifestyle Designer


Chloe has a children’s book (soon to be a movie!) titled Milton’s Secret: An Adventure of Discovery through Then, When, and the Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle and Robert S. Friedman, which really simplifies the concept of living in the present moment, and how the practice of that will, for the boy in the story, eliminate fear and worry.

I wanted to explore that as it pertains to your business, with a slightly different slant. I wonder if you, like so many of my clients, and myself as well from time to time, are so hooked into the future that we’re missing the NOW and not fully enjoying the journey?

So how do we unhook from it to allow what we truly want to come to pass without always feeling like we’re striving for it?

Here are 5 ideas:

1. Let go of the goals that take you away from the present.

Let me say first that you can have everything you want – and there’s no judgement here on what those things are.

That being said, do you want a mansion, to be the #1 speaker in your market, to be the one with the biggest email list in your market, to be a New York Times bestselling author, to make a million dollars? There’s nothing wrong with any of those lofty (yet completely attainable) goals.

And, what happens is when we’re so focused on the sexy dream we tend to get ourselves so riled up about getting there that we miss all the amazing stuff happening NOW.

What I’ve noticed is that people get impatient, sad, frustrated, and even angry when they’re so focused on the future goal that the present seems uninteresting at best, despairing at worst. The antidote? See #2.

2. Polish the present

I want to encourage you to stop striving so hard and thrive in your present. What I mean is that if you make what you already have better, and polish what’s already good and working, you uplevel your life without expending that energy on something that doesn’t exist yet.

Yes, it’s about appreciating what’s already good and right in your world and in your business AND it’s about how you can make what’s already there fulfill you even more. It’s true that if you make the most of what you already have, you’ll get more and better of it with a lot less effort on your part.

3. Don’t plan so much

I’m all about having the big picture plan down to the day-to-day details, and yet I know that most of the time, the plan changes.

One of the reasons we – as business owners – plan so much is because it gives us a sense of control and it helps to alleviate the fears and doubts we have about knowing what we’re doing.

So have the plan and be willing to be flexible with it. Let it be a guide but not the only way. If you get wrapped up in THE PLAN you’ll actually hold yourself and your business back from being able to adapt quickly when things change – and they always do.

Assess if you spend more time planning than doing – and if you do, stop right now. And if you tend to fly by the seat of your pants more often than not, you might want a lightly-built framework around you to give you some sense of stability.

4. Get out of the striver’s club

Stop trying to acquire a better future with others who are striving. It’s just too exhausting. I’m not saying to surround yourself with lazy folks, but to get out of the overdrive club if you want to relax into a currently compelling present instead of an exhausting still ‘out there somewhere’ future.

5. Get off the ‘if/when’ rollercoaster

I admit this is a pet peeve of mine. Not from people who are decisive, but from people who use it as an excuse to not be happy now. When you make ‘if/when’ statements, you’re living in the future. Dreaming and visioning is one thing; otherwise it’s a holding pattern for you but even worse, you’re not enjoying where you’re at right now!

Now take and implement these five ideas to unhook from the future so you can enjoy the present – I promise you’ll thank me for it. 🙂

I’d love to hear you thoughts on this – please comment below…

3 Tips For Making Space and Opening the Flow for the New Year

I’ve been spending time lately getting ready for the new year – planning, organizing, strategizing, visioning, and more. There are many transitions and transformations on the horizon for me and my business, and much to do to prepare for them, so I’m making space and opening the flow.

Here are some of the ways I’m doing this in my business that you can do too:

1. Clean Up Your Business Time

Time is your only non-renewable resource. If you’ve ever experienced days when you don’t know where the time has gone, but you do know you haven’t accomplished much, then you need to take a serious look at just what is eating up those precious minutes.

My coach’s request of you is to track your time for the next two weeks. Like a food diary makes you intensely aware of what you’re eating, a time log will allow you to quickly and easily identify where you’re frittering time away.

Most likely culprits?… Email and TV (yes, I know some of you are ‘watching’ TV while you’re online, and no, that’s not multi-tasking, that’s just pure distraction).

Once you are aware of where your time is going, make a conscious effort to redirect it to more productive – or even more restful – activities. Turn the TV off (or TIVO/DVR whatever it is you must watch and give it your full attention later). And don’t leave your email open all day long! Allot specific time to read and respond to it instead.

You’ll be amazed at how just doing this simple exercise will free up the time you want for more important (and fun!) things. (Be sure to read Part 2 of this article next week where I’ll share more specific and effective tips for handling email overload.)

2. Clean Up Your Business Space

Now is a great time to go through your files – computer and physical – and delete or organize them for moving forward into the new year. I spent several hours going through my physical files recently, shredding lots of documents (I love to purge!), and setting up new files for my new private clients as well as empty files for the ones yet to come. During this process both online and off, I also found a lot of gems I’d forgotten about – pieces of content, systems and processes, tools, resources, audios, and more.

And now that I have a recent visual in my mind of what’s in my files, it’s literally at my fingertips as I move forward in building my business. Energetically and electronically, I can feel how much more open the flow is by doing this.

3. Clean up Your Business Circle

This one can be a bit difficult, but it’s necessary to prune the people you surround yourself with from time to time. It doesn’t mean you have to completely disconnect from them (unless they’re just weighing you down energetically), but do make a conscious choice to spend more time in the company of those who lift you up.

Let me give you a simple example. If you’re on someone’s ezine list just because everyone else is or you feel like you should be, but you either a) don’t read it or b) don’t feel good when you do read it, just unsubscribe and allow the space for something that resonates with you to take its place.

Or maybe you’re part of a mastermind group that you feel you’ve outgrown. Now is the time to graciously bow out. Once you do, you open the space for a new group to form around you that better supports where you are now.

How are you making space and opening the flow for the new year? Leave your comments below…

CONFIDENT CREATING By Eric Maisel

I’m really enjoying Making Your Creative Mark by Eric Maisel – and you know I love ‘chunked’ info so here’s an except I have permission to share with you… Enjoy!

CONFIDENT CREATING
By Eric Maisel

If you want to live a creative life and make your mark in some competitive art field like writing, film-making, the visual arts, or music, and if at the same time you want to live an emotionally healthy life full of love and satisfaction, you need an intimate understanding of certain key ideas and how they relate to the creative process.

One key idea is that you must act confidently whether or not you feel confident. You need to manifest confidence in every stage of the creative process if you want to get your creative work accomplished. Here’s what confidence looks like throughout the creative process.

Stage 1. Wishing

‘Wishing’ is a pre-contemplation stage where you haven’t really decided that you intend to create. You dabble at making art, you don’t find your efforts very satisfying, and you don’t feel that you go deep all that often. The confidence that you need to manifest during this stage of the process is the confidence that you are equal to the rigors of creating. If you don’t confidently accept the reality of process and the reality of difficulty you may never really get started.

Stage 2. Incubation/Contemplation

During this second stage of the process you need to be able to remain open to what wants to come rather than defensively settling on a first idea or an easy idea. The task is remaining open and not settling for something that relieves your anxiety and your discomfort. The confidence needed here is the confidence to stay open.

Stage 3. Choosing Your Next Subject

Choosing is a crucial part of the creative process. At some point you need the confidence to say, “I am ready to work on this.”  You need the confidence to name a project clearly (even if that naming is “Now I go to the blank canvas without a pre-conceived idea and just start”), to commit to it, and to make sure that you aren’t leaking confidence even as you choose this project.

Stage 4. Starting Your Work

When you start a new creative work you start with certain ideas for the work, certain hopes and enthusiasms, certain doubts and fears – that is, you start with an array of thoughts and feelings, some positive and some negative. The confidence you need at that moment is the confidence that you can weather all those thoughts and feelings and the confidence to go into the unknown.

Stage 5. Working

Once you are actually working on your creative project, you enter into the long process of fits and starts, ups and downs, excellent moments and terrible moments – the gamut of human experiences that attach to real work. For this stage you need the confidence that you can deal with your own doubts and resistances and the confidence that you can handle whatever the work throws at you.

Stage 6. Completing

At some point you will be near completing the work. It is often hard to complete what we start because then we are obliged to appraise it, learn if it is good or bad, deal with the rigors of showing and selling, and so on. The confidence required during this stage is the confidence to weather the very ideas of appraisal, criticism, rejection, disappointment and everything else that we fear may be coming once we announce that the work is done.

Stage 7. Showing

A time comes when we are obliged to show our work. The confidence needed here is not only the confidence to weather the ideas of appraisal, criticism, and rejection but the confidence to weather the reality of appraisal, criticism, and rejection. Like so many other manifestations of confidence, the basic confidence here sounds like “Bring it on!” You are agreeing to let the world do its thing and announcing that you can survive any blows that the world delivers.

Stage 8. Selling

A confident seller can negotiate, think on her feet, make pitches and presentations, advocate for her work, explain why her work is wanted, and so on. You don’t have to be over-confident, exuberant, over the top – you simply need to get yourself to the place of being a calmly confident seller, someone who first makes a thing and then sells it in a business-like manner.

Stage 9: New Incubation and Contemplation

While you are showing and selling your completed works you are also incubating and contemplating new projects and starting the process all over again. The confidence required here is the confident belief that you have more good ideas in you. You want to confidently assert that you have plenty more to say and plenty more to do – even if you don’t know what that “something” is quite yet.

Stage 10: Simultaneous and Shifting States and Stages

I’ve made the creative process sound rather neat and linear and usually it is anything but. Often we are stalled on one thing, contemplating another thing, trying to sell a third thing, and so on. The confidence needed throughout the process is the quiet, confident belief that you can stay organized, successfully handle all of the thoughts and feelings going on inside of you, get your work done, and manage everything. This is a juggler’s confidence—it is you announcing, “You bet that I can keep all of these balls in the air!”

Manifest confidence throughout the creative process. Failing to manifest confidence at any stage will stall the process. It isn’t easy living the artist’s life: the work is taxing, the shadows of your personality interfere, and the art marketplace if fiercely competitive. If you learn some key ideas, for instance that you must act confidently whether or not you feel confident, you give yourself the best chance possible for a productive and rewarding life in the arts.

**
Eric Maisel is the author of Making Your Creative Mark and twenty other creativity titles including Mastering Creative Anxiety, Brainstorm, Creativity for Life, and Coaching the Artist Within. America’s foremost creativity coach, he is widely known as a creativity expert who coaches individuals and trains creativity coaches through workshops and keynotes nationally and internationally. He has blogs on the Huffington Post and Psychology Today and writes a column for Professional Artist Magazine. Visit him online at http://www.ericmaisel.com.

Adapted from the new book Making Your Creative Mark ©2013 by Eric Maisel.  Published with permission of New World Library http://www.newworldlibrary.com

Go back in time with me?

As I enjoyed celebrating our freedom here at the lake yesterday, surrounded by family and friends, laughing and reminiscing together, in my mind, I went back in time for a moment…

…to when Chloe was 4 months old, and we lived in New York, and we bought one of those small easy-set pools so I could ‘swim’ with her… and then when she was 6 months old and we spent a week at the lake at my parents’ cottage and I cried the moment I laid her on the little beach down the hill from the cottage, and how I smiled so much it hurt when she went into the water in her little float that first time, feeling overwhelmed with gratitude for being able to share this very special place with her.

As much as I had always wanted to spend my summers at the lake like I did from the time I was 3 months old until I was 22, I had to get a ‘real’ job after graduating from college instead of another summer job waitressing. Nothing was more motivating to me to figure out how to create a lucrative business of my own designed around the life that I wanted than that first brief visit here with my daughter.

And by the next summer, I had secured a waterfront cottage for us for 4 weeks, which James, Chloe and I enjoyed together, and Chloe and I spent another 3 weeks with my parents at their place with James joining us on the weekends. (Each year since, we’ve added a week or two (and our son Jack), and seven summers later are enjoying 11+weeks together as a family.)

That was also the first summer I embraced this concept, offered to me by my mentor, coach and friend, Andrea Lee…

To double your income, the first thing you must be willing to do, is do LESS THAN HALF of what you’re currently doing.

Gulp. At first, I thought, there’s no way I could possibly work less. I had an 18-month-old who took a few 30 minute naps a day at best, which is when I worked…

But I knew intuitively there was something to this and there was no better time for me to test it out than during the summer.

So I did – for 7 weeks I sent my ezine each week and that was pretty much it… and you know what happened?

I made more money during those 7 weeks than I had in the previous 6 months. Amazing.

Thus, that concept has become one of the principles I’ve built my business on since.

This one can be a bit hard to grasp – it was for me, since I grew up with a work ethic grounded in an Irish immigrant great-great-grandfather who landed on the docks in Boston and started the legacy of a long line of longshoremen on my father’s side, including my dad, the same day.

I’m inviting you now to consider it though… what can you do less of or not do anymore at all that will empower you to create more income?

I guarantee there is something that you could let go of today that will start you on the path of more income today.

This concept, and others like it that have made a huge difference in the success of my own business, are part of what I’ll be sharing with you in our intimate gathering at my Online Business Breakthrough Workshop 2012.

I’ll be sharing with you specifically how to cut your workload in half while doubling your income, so if this is calling to you – then go ahead and reserve one of the last few seats available here:

http://www.obbw2012.com

(If you have ANY questions about OBBW, just hit reply with them and we’ll get right back to you.)

Then watch for a message from me on Friday, as I’m going to offer you an opportunity to create or strengthen the foundation of your online business so you can create the same kind of FREEDOM I have in my business.

’til then…

Cheers,
~ A