10 Random Thoughts as I Celebrate 20 Years as an Entrepreneur

Today, I celebrate my 20th anniversary of being an entrepreneur. 

It was 20 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 20 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 in 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 close to $2 million in sales in the last 20 years – and yes, I know that there are others who make that in a year (or even in a 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 20 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 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 members and clients that you need to take care of yourself so your business can take care of you. (In fact, that mantra and concept is what I teach in this month’s Lively Biz Business Club video mini-mod training).

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 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 clients and members of my Business Club better. And frankly, if I can’t do it in a way that brings me joy (most of the time ;-)), then why do it?

I shared this post on Facebook here – I’d love to know your thoughts so come on over and join the conversation.

Because of snow days…

Lights flashing through the bedroom windows, the scrape of the plow as it clears the snow from the driveway – ah, the sounds of a 4:30am wake-up call… 😉

As I write this, we’re in our first real snowstorm of the season, and while normally it would have been a snow day for the kids, they had to make a quick shift to remote learning this week due to their first positive case, so alas… no day off just yet.

It reminds me, though, of one of the very reasons I wanted to be my own boss…

and that was so I could skip the stress when the kids’ schools called a snow day (which happens quite frequently in the northeast).

I didn’t have to get permission from a boss to take the day off or use a personal or vacation day.

I’ve never had to have a discussion with my husband about who was going to stay home from work to be with the kids.

Plus, come on, snow days are just FUN. 😉

So, after the kids finish classes today, maybe we’ll go play in the snow, or (more likely ;-)), maybe we’ll light a fire and watch a movie – just because we can.

And I LOVE that about my business – the flexibility of it, the freedom of it… and that’s probably one of the reasons you’re your own boss too.

This year has likely been one when you’ve needed to have a lot of flexibility, especially if your kids have been remote learning, or if other members of your family needed care, or if your own business was forced to change due to the pandemic.

Wherever you are today, I firmly believe that our best times lay ahead.

I’ve been spending time, energy and money in preparing to both make that happen and enjoy it when it does.

I’ve simply refused to let this time in lockdown be in vain.

So while we may not be able to control what’s happening externally, we CAN control what happens in our business and our life.

I’d love to share more about this with you in my free mini-workshop that’s coming up soon.

I’m calling it the Online Business Reset – because I believe that’s exactly what we all need as we turn the calendar to a new year…

… a reset that includes more freedom and flexibility for you. 

Reserve your free spot here

If this was helpful, I’d love it if you’d share it using the buttons below – thanks so much!

The snow as it piles up in our backyard this morning….

5 Simple Steps to Creating a Fresh Compelling Lead Magnet

Is your current Lead Magnet in need of a refresh or replacement?

Here’s the thing…

If you don’t have a really compelling free Lead Magnet to offer to your audience, you won’t have an audience to make your paid offer to.

My first Lead Magnet was ugly and had too much content.

But that Lead Magnet was the key to my converting over 40% to those who opted-in into buyers of my first digital product.

If you don’t get this piece right, it’s an uphill battle.

Here are 5 simple steps to creating a fresh and compelling Lead Magnet:

Step 1. Choose it

Before you create a new free content opt-in, be sure it’s something your audience wants. If you don’t know what that is, just ask them.

Ask your prospects a simple, open-ended question, like “What’s your biggest challenge with building your business online?” or “What’s the one thing you’d like to learn more about that relates to balancing your work and family life?”

Tailor the question to your area of expertise and use the answers you get to help spark ideas for your new freebie.

Remember, your market will tell you what it wants, if you’ll just ask them. 😉

Step 2: Write it

Once you know the topic of your freebie based on your research, it’s time to write it.

(Even if you’re filming a video, you’ll still need some form of written content to to help your viewers consumer your content – plus it doubles as your script).

I find the easiest way to create new content is to write an outline first and then fill it in.

Remember to keep it short so your reader actually consumes your content.

Step 3. Design it

Once you’re done writing your content, decide how to package it for your subscriber.

Here’s some of the most simple and highest-converting options:

Quiz
Checklist
Cheat Sheet
Short Guide
One-Page Blueprint
MP3
Infographic

If design is not your forte, use Canva.com

Step 4. Deliver it

Once your freebie is ready to be released, create your opt-in page and thank you page and connect it to your email list service provider.

To make the entire process a snap, I highly recommend Leadpages. http://leadpages.pxf.io/c/491472/390538/5673

Step 5. Promote it

Yay! You’ve done the hard work, so now it’s just a matter of letting your market know that your fresh and compelling Lead Magnet is available.

The first thing I like to do is send it to my existing list (it’s a surprise bonus to them for already being on my list) and share it in my paid program groups. I’ll ask them to share the Lead Magnet with their circles as well.

Then we set up an automated system for sending out the Lead Magnet promos on a consistent basis so we can consistently build my list.

There you have it… 5 simple steps to creating a fresh compelling Lead Magnet!

When yours is ready, I’d love to see it. Feel free to share it inside our free Facebook community here:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/livelybiz/

I’m leading a workshop in this topic soon and we’re gathering an “I’m interested” list – click here if you’re interested too

If this was helpful, I’d love it if you’d share it using the buttons below – thanks so much!

What’s your Better Normal going to be?

I’ve been talking a lot about what I’m calling the “better normal”… how to use this time well so that that your life and business is better on the other side of it. 😉
 
In my business, one of the ways I’m doing that is to further firm up some boundaries, both to protect my mental and emotional energy and to further simplify my biz and my life as a result.
 
For example, right now, our kids are back to in-person school, but I know that may change any day – and on a day-to-day basis.
 
In order for me to be as flexible as possible around that as well as to lessen my own stress about being available at moment’s notice, I’ve designed my scheduled for this entire school year so that I’m only booked for two hours one day a week.
 
Funny, this is how I ran my business for years when the kids were small – in fact, it used to be only once a month – but I loosened up that schedule as they grew up and needed me much less, and especially the last few years when they’ve been at school most days from 8-5.
 
Only booking for a couple of hours one day a week enables me to be as flexible as needed during this time.
 
It’s also given me back time to work ON my business more, which I’ll talk about in another post.
 
What changes have you made or are you making in your business right now so it allows you more flexibility and less stress?
 

What’s your unique message?

What’s your unique message?

You may wonder what your ‘unique message’ has to do with building your business.
 
It’s simple, really…
 
If you come from an authentic place, success is inevitable.
 
Your 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 Lively Biz Business Club members.
 
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 a service 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 a service 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 a service 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 story?
 
PS: Figuring out your unique message is something I LOVE to work on with members of the Lively Biz Business Club inside the Foundation Pillar of the Club.
 
Interested in finding out more? Click here and I’ll fill you in. 🙂

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 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 successful masterminds since 2010, and 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 (and especially the things you don’t) to get 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.

In my Lively Biz Mastery, you get this kind of personalized coaching and sacred support from an intimate group (max of 12) of other like-minded and lovely lady entrepreneurs.

Interested? Limited spots open in a few days so join the VIP waitlist here.

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