Quarterly Review – 5 Critical Areas to Consider

It’s the end of Q1!

To ensure that your online business is on track and heading towards your goals, it’s important to do a quarterly review. Quarterly reviews allow you to take a step back, analyze your progress, and make informed decisions about your business’s direction. By doing so, you can optimize your online business’s performance, increase its profitability, and stay on track to meet your goals.

So, let’s assess your business’ performance over the past three months, identifying areas that need improvement, and setting new goals for the upcoming quarter, ok?

Here’s are the 5 areas I assess in my own business – it’s simple but effective!

What worked:

Reflecting on what worked during the past quarter is an essential step in your quarterly review. You want to identify and celebrate the things that went well and contributed to the growth of your business. Did you launch a new product or service that received a positive response from customers or clients? Did you run a successful marketing campaign that brought in more traffic to your website? Did you finish a project, enroll new clients, get that podcast going, create a new lead magnet? Take note of these successes, no matter how small, as they all matter. And recognizing your wins can boost your confidence and motivation to keep moving forward too!

What didn’t work:

On the flip side, you also need to acknowledge the things that didn’t work. This step is not meant to bring you down or make you feel bad about your efforts. Instead, it’s an opportunity to learn and make improvements moving forward. Did you experience a decrease in sales or traffic to your website? Did a particular marketing strategy fail to generate leads? Do a quick analysis of why something didn’t work and determine what changes you can make to get better results in the future.

What to amp up:

Now that you’ve identified what worked and what didn’t, it’s time to focus on the areas that have the potential to bring even more growth and success to your business. Think about the strategies or tactics that had a positive impact on your business, and brainstorm ways to amplify them. For instance, if you noticed that your social media presence helped increase your brand awareness, consider investing more time and effort into your social media marketing efforts. By amplifying the things that worked, you can maximize their impact and drive even more growth for your business.

What to release:

It’s also important to consider the things that you should release or let go of to make room for new opportunities. This could be anything from a product, program or service that’s no longer in demand to a marketing strategy that’s not producing results. Holding onto these things can take up valuable time and resources that could be better used elsewhere. Be honest with yourself about what’s not working and be willing to let go of these things to free up space for new and better opportunities. Plus it just feels good to let go!

What’s new to consider:

As you look ahead to the next quarter, consider what’s new and emerging in your industry or market. What new ideas or ways in which you work do you want to explore? Is there a new product, program or service that you can offer to your customers or clients? Just pick one to focus on at a time, while you continue to tweak and repeat what’s already working.

When you’re ready, here are some other ways that I can help you:

1. Check out just-in-time free and paid trainings and templates inside the Online Business Breakthrough Shop here

2. Simplify and streamline your online business into one that’s highly profitable in less than part-time hours inside the Online Business Breakthrough School. Click here for more and to join

quarterly review

22 Random Thoughts as I Celebrate 22 Years as an Entrepreneur

Today, I celebrate my 22nd anniversary of being an entrepreneur. 

It was 22 years ago that I was “downsized” from my last job and when I made the decision that I would never work for someone else again.

Best. Decision. Ever.

In reflection, I thought I’d share 22 random thoughts about the last 22 years of working for myself with you. Some are hard-won lessons, some are advice from my experience. All of it has been worth every moment.

1. Even when times are tough, being your own boss is still better than working for someone else.

As every entrepreneur knows, there are mountains and valleys in growing and sustaining a successful business, none of which I could have navigated without my husband’s ongoing support. And although I’ve always been able to stand on my own two feet (thanks to my parents instilling that in me), my journey has been made easier with my inner circle cheering me on from the sidelines. Even in the toughest moments of being in business for myself, the alternative – getting another job – has never been an option. And when it’s simply not an option, you figure out how to move forward (yes, sometimes after the breakdown ;-)).

2. Doing it my way is the only “right” way.

I’m a big believer in not reinventing the wheel, to model success, that, in fact, there are no new ideas, just new ways of presenting them. That said, while I take the lessons and suggestions of others who are further on the path than I am, I’ve never blindly followed anyone’s advice. I’ve always listened to my gut and have done things that have felt right and good to me, regardless what others think or do. It’s never mattered to me if other people didn’t understand. It only mattered that I knew what was the right next step for me.

3. It’s not about the money, it’s about what matters.

I’ve made over $2 million in sales in the last 22 years – and yes, I know that there are others who make that in a year (or even in a single launch), but I’ve never missed a moment of what matters to me. I’ve lived my life, for myself and with my family, for 22 years. I’ve been present for all of it – the little things and the major life shifts and everything in between. No amount of money replaces the time I’ve had with who and what I love the most.

4. Publishing my book was a huge accomplishment.

Writing the first draft of the book took me 3 weeks. Then it took me 7 years to actually publish it. Figuring out what took me so long to do that was an inner journey I had to take that has served me well since, even if the work itself was very hard to do. They say that being an entrepreneur is the best personal development ride you could ever take – and it’s true.

5. I know like I know like I know what my zone of joy is.

I’ve led everything from teleseminars (remember those?), webinars, group programs, online courses, virtual workshops, private retreats, private coaching programs, challenges, to 8 3-day live events, and I’ve loved them all for different reasons. And now I have the experience, the wisdom and the clarity of knowing exactly where my zone of joy is. Actually, I’ve always know – I’ve just decided to return to it fully.

6. Always have a mentor and peer support, even if you can’t ‘afford’ team support yet.

I’ve had a mentor since I was 13 years old. In the first year of my business, I learned from Thomas Leonard and Coachville. In year 2, I hired my first business coach, and I’ve worked with someone, either privately or in a group, ever since. I believe that skin in the game changes the game, and I’ve gotten every cent I’ve invested into working with the business coach back in spades.

7. Self-Care is #1.

This one really took some time to sink in. When I started my business, we didn’t have kids yet and I had loads of time to take care of myself (not that I did a great job of it then, honestly). Once Chloe Lynn and then Jack came along, everything shifted and I sucked at taking care of myself – for YEARS. When my physical health started breaking down, I finally got my act together and have become vocal with my students and clients that you need to take care of yourself so your business can take care of you.

8. Stand strong in your priorities.

Or said another way, create boundaries and honor them. Whether that’s about protecting your work time, your refund policies, the type of client you’ll work with or something else, when you honor what matters to you most, you’ll find holding your boundaries to be much easier and serve you better.

9. Gratitude and generosity go far.

Even in the darkest times, there’s always something that I’m grateful for to write about in my journal every day. I also say thank you out loud every single day – for my health, for my family’s health, and for keeping us safe and happy. I also try to be generous with my skills and knowledge, whether that’s personally or professionally. I believe there’s always more than enough for all, so there’s no reason to hold back or be threatened by others. I’m so grateful that I get to do what I do and that wouldn’t be possible without being able to be online all these years. I refuse to squander that by comparing myself to others and instead focus on helping thousands more to create and grow their own successful online business.

10. Don’t try to be/do “all the things” – just be/do YOU.

In a way, this last one sums up all the others. I’ve created and grown my own business in the way that serves me best first, so I can show up as my best for my students. And frankly, if I can’t do it in a way that brings me joy (most of the time ;-)), then why do it?

11. Respond – or not – and when/if is my choice.

Just because someone emails, calls, messages, texts, etc. does not mean you have to respond right away – or ever, in fact. If I reacted immediately with a response every time someone reaches out, I would never get anything else done. Often the person gets the answer they need before I get back to them. And some messages don’t require – or deserve – a response – and I’m ok with that.

12. You can’t think your way to success.

You have to take action and tweak as you go. The longer you sit in a brainstorming bubble, the longer it will take you to get into action and start growing your business and making money. I do like to plan and I do spend time in creative thinking space, but I spend far more time doing stuff than thinking about the stuff I’m going to do.

#13. Release your hold on time.

Sometimes we beat ourselves up for not making $X in Y time period. Or we try to force something to happen within a certain time frame. But time containers hold us back. They make us create arbitrary goals too. Who cares if you make your $X goal in 5 weeks instead of 30 days? Who cares if you hold your webinar every 6 weeks instead of every month? We’re the ones who restrain ourselves but putting such stringent parameters in place. That’s not to say don’t have a plan, don’t have goals – but I am saying give yourself the grace and the gift of a little leeway in time to meet them.

#14. Don’t hoard or hide your stuff.

At one of my live workshops years ago, a treasured client said to me, “How come I can’t buy your stuff?” I looked at her perplexed, because she’d invested in several things from me in the past. When I asked her what she meant, she explained that when someone visited my website, with the exception of once or twice a year, they couldn’t buy anything – because everything was ‘closed’. And while it took some time for that lightbulb to brighten for me, what I realized was that not only was I following a closed marketing model (which is fine, if it works for you), but I was actually hoarding all of my experience and expertise and hiding it inside my ‘closed’ programs. As I shifted my business model over the last few years to the Online Business Breakthrough School and opening my online shop, I’m now always open for business – what a concept!

#15. Create a centerpiece for your business

Having a centerpiece offer in my business has been the reason I’ve been able to easily create multiple income streams over the years. My centerpiece is the Online Business Breakthrough System, which is an online course that’s my process for creating and growing an online business. And I’ve shared this system as a free talk, a print book, live 4-, 8- or 10-week online live training programs, 6-9 month group coaching programs, eight 3-day live workshops and more since its inception in 2006. And that’s accounted for 80% of my sales revenue. What I often see is service-based business owners creating new offers all the time instead of leveraging what they already have. It’s very likely you have a process you walk your clients or students through to get them to the results they desire. And putting that into a ‘system’ of sorts and making it the centerpiece of your business that you then leverage in multiple ways can create a lot more revenue for you (and it makes your marketing so much easier too, but that’s #16…).

 

 

Guarantees: Why You Should Offer Them

There are many questions that often come up for new small business owners around offering guarantees – what kind, how long, am I risking too much by doing so, and even if they should offer them at all.

In my business, I offer a guarantee on almost everything I sell (I don’t offer guarantees for my 1:1 coaching and consulting services as I can’t control what the client does or doesn’t do), and the one thing they have in common is this:

Guarantees remove the risk from your buyer.

And yes, that means that then the “risk” is on your shoulders, but that’s exactly where it should be. After all, if you’re providing something of value that you believe in, standing behind it should be very easy to do.

Here are some other thoughts about offering guarantees for your products/programs, based on my experience:

1. Guarantees make it easier for your prospect to buy.

If you offer a 100% money-back, no-questions-asked guarantee, you’ve answered your potential buyer’s #1 objection – “But what if it doesn’t work for me?”

By assuring them that, if your product or program doesn’t do what you say it will for your buyer, you’ll give them their money back without demanding a reason, you’re assured more sales.

2. Guarantees are proven to make more sales.

You may think that by offering a guarantee people are going to take advantage of it unscrupulously, especially if you’re selling a digital product. After all, you can’t really take an ebook back once someone has downloaded it to their computer (and yes, I know there is software available that turns “off” a returned copy, although I don’t recommend you use it).

But so few people will really do that that it’s not worth not offering a guarantee. There will always be a few turkeys who will take advantage, but I suggest you leave it up to the Universe or Karma or whatever to take care of them.

3. Offer a strong guarantee.

Meaning, 100% money-back, no-questions-asked guarantee.

Also, studies show that the longer the guarantee, the less returns you’ll get. Why? Because people are busy, and they will appreciate a longer time to try something out before they have to return it. And frankly, unless they are furious about a purchase, it’s unlikely they will ask for their money back, especially it’s been awhile since they bought it.

But even a 7-day guarantee on a smaller digital product to give your buyer a chance to actually access it and decide it’s right for them will make you more sales.

4. Guarantees are promises.

If you offer something of value and you believe in it, then it’s easy for you to make promises about what it can do. It should be equally as easy, then, to offer an iron-clad guarantee to back up those promises.

Offering a strong guarantee will put your potential buyer at ease and make more sales for you.

If you want to learn more about creating strong guarantees that you and your buyer will feel good about, then check out the Online Business Breakthrough School here.

Your Online Business Sales Cycle

Online Business Sales Cycle

 

Creating a profitable business online is a process, just like creating any other business.

And regardless of what it is that you’re offering, your cash flow is based on your sales.

Once you know and implement the online business sales cycle (which anyone can follow), you’ll be able to create consistent cash flow for your business, too.

Here are the six basic steps in the online business sales cycle:

 

Step 1. Choose Your Prospects

“Prospects” is business-speak for potential clients and/or customers. So, who is the person who is ideally suited for your product, program or service? Who’s your ideal client or customer? Who makes up your target market? Is it parents, health professionals, copywriters, dancers, artists, entrepreneurs, boat owners?

It’s critical for the success of any business to choose a group of people to work with, even if that group is very broad at first. As you become more and more aware of what kind of client or customer shows up for you, you’ll be able to more narrowly target that portion of the market, which will make your marketing a lot easier and bring you cash flow a lot quicker.

 

Step 2. Invite Them into Your Funnel

Once you know who your prospects are, you’ll want to invite them into your sales flow – in the business model I teach, I call it your Funnel – by giving them a free taste of what it is that you offer in exchange for their email address.

There are many ways to do this – creating PDFs like checklists and templates, offering free introductory webinars, virtual or live speaking, Google Adwords, Facebook Ads, publishing blog posts, participating in groups made up of your target market, etc.

 

Step 3. Keep in Touch

Once your prospects are in your sales flow, you’ll want to keep in touch with them on a consistent basis.

Common marketing knowledge tells us that it takes a minimum of 5-12 times for your prospects to see your message before it even registers.

That’s why so many direct marketers will send you postcard after postcard with the same offer. They know that the only way to get you to take action on their offer is to expose you to the same or similar message over and over until you’re ready to hear it.

A very effective way to keep in touch with your prospects then is via regular email communications. Because following up with your prospects is vital to making sales from them, sending a weekly or even daily email does this work for you.

The bonus is that you can follow up with all of your prospects at once, instead of one by one, which leverages your time – something you should always be striving for.

 

Step 4. Make Offers

And because we want to leverage our time, if we’re putting in the work to connect and engage with our email subscribers regularly, then we want to make sure that we are getting a return on that investment.

To do so, you want to make at least one offer a week that can result in sales for you.

You want to be sure to provide valuable content, but you also want to make sure that you invite people to take advantage of one of your offers on a regular basis.

 

If you don’t make the ask, you won’t make the money.

 

Step 5. Master the Upsell

It takes most new small business owners awhile to grasp the concept of an upsell, but once they do, it takes their business to a whole new level.

Once you have one offer to make to your prospects, start putting together your next offer. You always want to have a place for them to go to next, always have something else to invite them to or to take advantage of.

Find out what else they want from you, then create and offer it to them.

The more products you have to offer, the more sales you’ll make because, instead of having to find new people all the time to buy your one product, you can upsell your current clients and customers into your other offer. And selling to people who have already bought from you is much easier than converting new prospects all the time.

 

Step 6. Repeat the Process

The online business sales cycle is pretty simple really. Once you’ve done it once, it’s very easy to repeat.

As you’re creating your own sales cycle, I suggest documenting what you do as you go along to make it that much easier to duplicate the next time around.

Each time you repeat the process, your list of prospects will grow and so will your income!

Do you know what your Center of Authenticity is?

Do you know what your Center of Authenticity is?

My very first business coach introduced me to the concept of Your Center of Authenticity.

Basically, it’s your WHY.

It’s the condensed story of why you do what you do for your online business.

Where the passion and desire come from.

And when we know what that is, and weave a story around it, that’s when it has the magic to connect with our perfect people, our market of those whom we most want to serve.

So what is it? Well, if you’re brand-new to figuring out what you want to do and who you want to do it with and for, it’s your answer to this question:

What has happened in your life, good or bad, that would be of the most use to share with others?

Once you start digging into your answer to that questions, you’ll start to see the possibilities of what you can help people with.

If you’re a little further along in your business, you can deepen your resonance with your market by applying it to your current messaging.

What has happened in your business, good or bad, that would be of the most use to share with others?

The more clear and specific we can be with our messages, the easier and more quickly we can grow our online business.

Your Action Step: Ask yourself the Center of Authenticity question – either as it applies to your life or your business – and take what you learn from this exercise and apply it to your messaging.

This is one of my favorite things to do with my clients – work on their messaging. If you’d like my help with this, find out how here.