One of my favorite quotes…

"Hey, I own this business, kid. I built it. This is mine. I'm not at the mercy of some boss waiting and hoping to be chosen employee of the month for a couple extra hundred bucks and a plaque. I'm always employee of the month. I'm employee of the year, of the century, of the universe. You should be so lucky to have a job like mine."
~ Luke Danes, Gilmore Girls

Jack turns 2…

James and I were chuckling this morning, remembering when Jack decided he was ready to grace us with his presence - 3 hours shy of his scheduled c-section time 😉 Damn kid decided he was going to come when he decided, not when we did… two years later, that independent streak has only gotten stronger. But it's all good…

Here he is this morning as he turns 2… doesn't it go by in a blink? I'm grateful for every moment…


Strapped for Cash? 7 Ways to Have a Sale Today

Want to encourage people on your email list to buy one (or more) of your products or programs sooner than later? Have a sale! The following are 7 ways that you can provide value to your potential clients/customers and still bring in a profit for you at the same time.

1. Half-Off Sale

Offer your product or program for 50% off its usual price. That may seem like a big discount – and it is – which means that many more people are likely to buy it.

Or go one step further and offer all your products or programs at 50% off (except any one-on-one work with you, of course!). I've been thinking about buying a few products over the past year from one site, and when they had a 50% off sale recently, I jumped at the chance to buy not just one, but three products for half-price.

2. Close-Out Sale

Do you have a product or a program that you are no longer going to offer, perhaps to make room for some other offerings? Or are you coming out with a new version of one of your offerings? Have a close-out sale by offering a deep discount.

As an added bonus, you could then offer those people who bought your offering at the close-out price that same amount in a discount if they buy the new version.

Here's a bit of inspiration for you: My recent close-out sale brought me over $10k in less than a week.

3. Re-Gift Sale

Remember the Seinfeld episode about re-gifting? Do something similar for the stock of any of your products that have been returned. "Re-gift" the ones in good condition to a new buyer for a discount.

4. VIP Sale

Offer a coupon or promo code ONLY to your email list, or to your clients, or to those people who have bought from you before, that is good towards the purchase of any one or all of your offerings. You can set this up in your shopping cart system very easily, so there's no other extra work on your part.

5. Free Shipping Sale

Offer free shipping on any of your physical products for a limited time, or offer free shipping on all orders over a certain amount.

Personally, if I'm looking to purchase something online, I will hunt through a half dozen or so websites to find the one that offers free shipping and make my purchase through them (price of item being equal).

6. Bonus Sale

Add a valuable bonus or two to your offering for a limited time. It can be something you've created or something from one of your colleagues that your niche would benefit from.

Leverage this kind of sale by doing a "bonus sale swap" with a colleague, where they would offer a bonus from you and vice versa. Your own sale will bring you cash, and your bonus offering for your colleague's sale will bring you more subscribers to your list, which will ultimately bring you more cash.

7. Just Because Sale

This is a favorite of mine – having a sale just because – it's your birthday, you want to show your gratitude to your list, it's the 1, 5, or 10 year anniversary of when you went into business for yourself, or for any other reason you can think of.

Having a sale WILL increase your sales, but there are some cautions to take when doing so. Only have a sale occasionally, and when you do, have a compelling reason for it. Otherwise, if it seems you're always having a sale, you're planting a seed in your potential buyer's mind that your offerings may not be worth their usual price.

So, which kind of sale are you going to have to put some extra cash in your pocket?

5 Ways to Instantly Increase Your Opt-in Rate

Whenever someone new visits your website, your #1 goal is to get them on your email list. That way you have a method of keeping them up-to-date on your latest offerings, so when they're ready to hire you or buy your product, you're right there in their inbox.

And having a way for them to join your list that is both simple and effective will dramatically increase both your list numbers and your sales.

Here are the three biggest mistakes I see regularly on business websites:

1. Not having a way to capture your visitors. Most people don't bite on the first pass, and once they click away, it's unlikely they'll be back. Don't lose them by not having a way for them to sign up for your list.

2. The opt-in box is buried. If your visitor can't find the form to sign up, then how can they?

TIP: Testing shows that the upper right-hand corner of your webpage is one of the best spots for your opt-in box.

3. The sign-up form says something unenticing like "click here for mailing list" – ugh!

So, here are 5 proven ways that you can instantly increase your opt-in rates:

1. Give your visitor only one choice.

You may have heard of a 1-banana website, or single action website, or what I call an Invite Site, which is exactly that. You're giving your visitor only one option – the invitation to sign up for your list via your free ezine, special report, checklist, ebook, etc. They get their freebie in exchange for giving you their email address.

One of my clients recently implemented this idea for her coaching business, which was a big leap of faith for her. I just got a joyful email from her saying that she's noticed a substantial increase in her opt-ins since!

It works, so don't be afraid to try it. And by the way, a testimonial or two on your Invite Site doesn't hurt either.

2. Write enticing copy.

Remember that people tend to skim what they read online, so make sure you have an attention-getting headline and some additional brief copy describing the benefits your visitor will receive by signing up for your list. As always, make sure it answers the most prominent question in your visitor's mind, "what's in it for me?"

3. Have only two form fields: First Name and Primary Email

If you capture someone's name along with their email address, you can easily personalize any future correspondence with them, which is proven to increase open and response rates. In other words, if you address something to someone individually, they feel more connected and are more likely to respond well to your mailings.

If you ask for a Primary Email address, many people will give it to you, as opposed to a back-up email address that they hardly ever check. And you'll get higher quality email addresses simply by asking them to give you their primary one, which means you'll have less bounce-backs and your emails will actually get through to the people who asked to receive them.

Only having these two form fields makes it a snap for someone to sign up, so you've made it as simple as possible for your visitor to do so.

4. Have a clear submit button.

Like having a single action website, you want to make it very clear what it is that you want your visitor to do. Have your submit button say something like, "subscribe" or "sign me up now" or "send me the ecourse".

5. Share your privacy policy.

Share your privacy policy on the same page, and keep it simple. Something like, "We will never share your email address, period." will work wonders for alleviating your visitors' fears of getting lots of spam.

Follow these 5 easy-to-implement strategies and you will dramatically increase the number of websites visitors who sign up for your list!

Lessons from Scarlett: The Original Female Entrepreneur

I think if you've been a survivor of any sort, you can relate to Scarlett O'Hara from Gone with the Wind. Sure, she used her womanly wiles to get what she wanted, but hey… who hasn't? (And men, you've got 'wiles' of your own, so don't think you're off the hook.)

When Scarlett tore down her mother's green velvet drapes to make the dress that ultimately saved Tara from the tax collectors, it was 'necessity is the mother of invention' in action. It's sheer ingenuity to look at those curtains, one of the only things left by the Yankees, and see a fancy dress that could be the solution to her problem.

Scarlett was smart, savvy and had the spitfire spirit of her successful entreprenuerial-minded immigrant father. Over and over, Scarlett relies on her wits to maneuver her way out of predicament after predicament. And maybe some of her actions weren't those of a lady playing nice (like marrying her sister's beau) – but to her, the end result always justified her behavior. She took care of herself and her 'folk' with no apologies – and she made riches from it.

So, how does Scarlett's smart and savvy personality relate to your business?

Your biggest client decides to quit working with you, for no apparent reason, leaving you with a huge in^come hole to fill. Your shopping cart bills your customers three times for a single purchase. Your virtual assistant decides to fly off for a spur-of-the-moment week away, leaving you with hours of admin nightmare to deal with.

There isn't a businessowner around who hasn't been surprised by these or similar challenges once they've been in business for awhile.

Yes, it would be nice to be prepared for all of our worst-case-scenarios with back-up procedures and the like, but please… especially if you're the creative/idea type – who's going to deal with all that detail for the 'just in cases'? Not me…

When Scarlett turned that green velvet from drapery to dress, my heroine didn't know she was carrying out a perfect example of exactly how to zig-zag your way very quickly from problem to solution:

Here's how:

1. She stayed focused

Scarlett didn't let herself get all spun up about only having one dirty dress to wear, picking cotton herself, or having no food to eat during the war that was going on around her. What she did was stay focused on the task at hand: saving Tara.

All the decisions she made and actions she took came from focusing on that single goal.

2. She quickly shifted priorities when necessary

Scarlett's mantra of "I can't think about that now. I'll think about it tomorrow" kept her focused and on task, and allowed her to shift her priorities when necessary.

3. She was willing to fail quickly

Scarlett made a decision and took action. If things didn't work out the way she wanted them to, she took stock, made another decision quickly, and took action again. By being willing to fail quickly, instead of trying to figure out and manage all the potential pitfalls beforehand, she was able to rebuild her life on her terms much more quickly.

4. She was open to receiving

So maybe marrying two gentlemen she wasn't in love with for all the wrong reasons doesn't speak well of her heart, but Scarlett saw both marriages as a solution to a current predicament.

She wanted to stay close to Ashley Wilkes so she married his brother-in-law. She wanted $300 to pay the taxes on Tara to keep it, so she married her sister's beau to get it. She wanted the store and mill to make more mo*ney, so she did business with those who were willing and able to pay, even if it was with the Yankees and carpetbaggers.

5. She didn't let anyone stop her

Whenever Mammy protested Scarlett's plans, Scarlett persisted. When her sisters protested her behavior with her gentleman callers, she persisted. When she wanted to hire convicts as laborers for the mill, and both the men in her life told her it was wrong, she did it anyway.

If you know that a solution you've figured out is right for you, don't let anyone talk you out of it. Even if it doesn't work out, at least you know you stuck to your guns and your integrity to yourself is intact.

And lest you think I'm blind to some of the deeper layers of Miss Scarlett, let me assure you that no one is more satisfied than I when Rhett tells her, "Frankly, my darling, I don't give a damn."

And yet you can't argue with her results.