10 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 today 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 10 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?

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.

About Being Lucky…

I’m a believer in creating your own luck in business. I’m not ‘lucky’ to have a successful online business for almost two decades. I created it, I earned it. And I did that by doing 4 things consistently:
 
  1. Learning

I’m always learning something new or re-learning something I already knew. If you’re not learning, you’re not growing. If you’re not growing, your business won’t grow. The more you grow inside, the more successful your business will be.

So whether I’m learning a new marketing tactic or studying ‘divine success’, I know that learning will ultimately show up in the success of my business and my life.

  1. Implementing

Of course if you don’t implement what you learn, what’s the point? I implement more often than most, which shows up in my success. I’ve also learned to delegate much more to my team which means we collectively get a lot more done.

My coach’s request to you is to pick one thing you’ve been meaning to implement, either choose to do it yourself or decide who to delegate it to, pick a completion date and get it done!

  1. Leveraging

You can’t create a truly lucrative business without leveraging as much of your time and your talent as possible. One way I do this is via my ‘3+’ rule. Whenever I’m trying to decide whether or not to implement something, I ask myself if I’ll be able to use whatever it is I’m considering in three or more ways.

A simple example of this is writing blog posts about my area of expertise. Those blog posts become articles on niche publication sites, podcast episodes, and social media posts that invite readers back to my website to subscribe to my email list.

  1. Mentoring

I’ve had at least one mentor since I was 13 years old. One of the many lessons I learned from him was that I didn’t have to go it alone, that I could ask for help and be given it without strings attached.

As I grew up, I’ve had different personal and professional mentors, which is why it’s always an easy decision for me to make that investment, in both time and money, especially when it comes to my business.

Which of these four resonates the most with you right now? Pick one and start creating your own luck by putting it into action right away.

I’ll be sharing a lot more how-to’s in my upcoming free workshop series – join us here.

 

 

What’s your unique message?

 

What’s your Unique Message?

You may wonder what your Unique Message has to do with building your online business.

It’s simple, really…

If you come from an authentic place, success is inevitable.

Your Unique Message is what you do and who you do it for.

And the more you make it uniquely you, the more it will resonate with the right people.

Here’s something I do with my Online Business Breakthrough students.

It’s called the Center of Authenticity question.

(hat-tip to my very first coach for teaching me this – thanks cb!)

If you’re just starting out in your online business, then answering this question will move you leaps towards making it stand out from the crowd.

If you’re already in business for yourself, answering this question will help you define the benefits of what you offer from an even deeper authentic place that will not only make you more memorable, but will draw more of those ideal clients to you as well.

Here’s the question:

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

For example, maybe you’ve gone through a divorce that was difficult and the people in your life seem to remark frequently how well you’ve handled things. You could create an online business around helping others through the same experience.

Or maybe you’re a teacher and you constantly get accolades from parents and colleagues about how well you work with the difficult kids in the classroom. You could create an online business where you work with those kids specifically.

Or perhaps you’re a stay-at-home mom who is exceptionally good at living well on a budget. You could create an online business based on your tips and techniques that have worked well for you.

Or maybe you’re a yoga instructor, massage therapist, day spa owner, or provide other healing arts services. You can take your experience and knowledge about your industry online to create additional income streams for your business.

All of the above are real-life student examples, by the way. 😉

Once you have a compelling answer to the Center of Authenticity question and have weaved a story around it that you can share with others, you will be creating a connection with them that simply doesn’t come from saying, ‘I’m an author and a speaker’ or ‘I’m a life coach.’

Telling people your story – how you got to where you are and why you are doing what you do – makes them feel connected to you.

It helps them get to know you, learn to like you, and trust that you are who you say you are and know what you’re talking about.

And you know that people only buy things from people they know, like and trust, right? 😉

Your answer to the Center of Authenticity is one of the easiest roads to building your own successful and sustainable 6-figure business.

So, what’s your Unique Message?

PS: Figuring out your Unique Message is one of the first steps inside the Online Business Breakthrough!

Interested in finding out more? Join me upcoming free workshop here.