Archives: Business Chat
You’ll never be able to move forward in your business (or in life) without making a decision. Let’s get real, it all starts there. But here is the nemesis of making a decision – self-doubt!
Self-doubt often creeps in after making a decision. There are many reasons for this. Habit, upbringing, and environment are just some of things that can a play a role in self-doubt. It can be truly insidious! Self-doubt often causes you to change directions … which can be detrimental to your business.
But rest assured. It all starts with making a decision. And if you are doing so, you’re on the right track! The more practice you have with decision-making, the better you’ll get at it. Eventually you’ll be able to keep the self-doubt in check.
Just do your homework, go with your gut, and be willing to make mistakes. Thomas Watson, President of IBM, once stated,
The key to success is massive failure!
A couple of weeks ago I was invited to do a keynote at the Public Speakers Association. Yay!
One of the strategies I committed to doing more of this year was public speaking. Sure I’ve done it before – but not nearly as much as I wanted to.
But I must confess. It’s never easy. As pumped up as I was about doing it, there was a part of me that was scared shitless.
Some things never change …
Let me share with you the real deal. What really goes on every time I step onto that stage.
The Inner Workings of the Public Speaker
As she stood in front of the room and began to introduce me, all I could hear were snippets of words coming from her mouth. Words such as ‘… needs no introduction,” “awesome marketer” and “Michele Welch’ was about all I could hear.
Seemed like a great intro. Wish I had paid attention …
My heart was thumping so loud , I swore they could hear it. I slowly took a few deep breaths. Maybe they wouldn’t notice the drastic rising and falling of my chest… or the sweat starting to form on my forehead… or my now flushed cheeks.
“Just remember the opening Michele,” I told myself. “You got this.” “You’re awesome.” “You know your shit.”
I’ve learned the art of pumping myself up. It usually worked. I’ve always managed to get through it.
The first few minutes is always the hardest. Inside my head an on going battle between remembering what I needed to say and my inner voice begging, “Oh please don’t forget your spiel!”
This is not how I practiced it.
What was that all too important point I wanted to make in the beginning??
But then something cool began to happen. As I continued to look at all those in front of me; feeling their desire for me to do well, there was a shift.
A couple of years ago I decided to make a transition in my business. I decided to add “coaching” to my list of business services. It seemed like the right move. In essence I was already coaching my clients. Many came to me for web or social media services, and ultimately I found myself coaching them through various business and life challenges.
I’ve always loved to troubleshoot and be the catalyst to other’s having a complete shift in how they were thinking and approaching things in their business. I dare say I had talent for seeing things others couldn’t – and was able to hone in on the root cause of what was keeping them stuck.
Sometimes they were stuck due to technical issues or simply bad habits. But often times it was a mindset issue. Being able to guide someone through the process of looking at things from a different perspective that they hadn’t thought of before, and hearing in their voice the shift from feeling helpless and defeated to optimistic and relieved – as if a weight has been lifted off their shoulders – is truly a gift to witness.
So you can see why I decided to add coaching to my repertoire of services. It truly was the natural step for me in my business. But taking that natural step and being able to create a sustainable business doing something you love are two very different things.
I don’t have any regrets about my decision – and I’m still coaching (part-time). But in hindsight, I would of done a LOT of things differently before taking the plunge. You just don’t know what you don’t know and often times by the time you know it, you’ve dug such a deep ditch that you wonder how you’ll ever climb your way back out again.
Let me explain …
I guess when I decided to begin promoting my coaching services that much like my consulting service, clients would simply show up and ready pay to work with me! I mean why wouldn’t they?! I had a skill-set for goodness sake! I was one of the most tech-savvy coaches I knew, so you where getting the best of both worlds – a coach that could not only tell you what to do, hold you accountable, but show you HOW to do it.
Seemed like a no-brainer to me …
Not the case!
I was so completely “sold” on the idea of coaching that I promoted my consulting services less and less. As a result, my client base decreased over a course of time … and my income along with it. Eventually I decided to take a position as Marketing Director for a local company – which don’t get me wrong, I LOVE. But it didn’t fit in with my long-term vision.
This is not to say that I’ve given up on my business. NEVER!! I’ve always have and always will be an entrepreneur at heart and my desire to be a financially free and a successful business owner still resides in my heart. It’s just going to take a bit longer than expected. 😉
So what went wrong?? And why am I sharing this with you?
Have you ever seen the movie Searching for Bobby Fischer? Great movie about a young child prodigy who has a natural talent for playing chess and was constantly being compared Bobby Fischer, one of the worlds’ best chess players.
There’s a scene in the movie where the coach tells the young boy who is studying chess moves, “Don’t move until you see it.” Basically, he was telling him not to move his next chess piece until he can see all the moves necessary to win the game.
The little boy looks at the board and tells the coach, “I can’t see it.” And the coach in turn continues to tell the boy, “Don’t move until you see it. Don’t move until you see it…”
Such an amazing line and great lesson because many entrepreneurs and small business owners go about their day-to-day operations without any rhyme or reason… Without having a vision. Whether it’s an overall vision for your business or specific vision for a project, workshop, event, etc.
Every had one of those moments in life when you are having an exceptional experience? Maybe you’ve just had a great time at a restaurant or purchased a product that seemed to transform your life.
The experience left you feeling elated, calm, assured, taken cared of, euphoric. In that moment in time, all felt right.
I had an experience recently like this. I met up with some long time friends at a restaurant in NYC called Wine 30 for dinner. It was three hours of great food, great service and great company. We laughed. We connected. We reminisced.
The bruschetta melted in your mouth ….
Ever watch the movie Jerry McGuire? Where Tom Cruise (playing Jerry of course) has a “nervous breakdown,” (although I’d like to call it more of an AWAKENING), writes a mission statement about the truth behind the sports industry and what he was going to do to make it better.
If you haven’t seen the movie, let’s just say it doesn’t go as smoothly as he had planned. I won’t spoil it for those who haven’t watched it, but there are a lot of twists and turns that keep you on the edge of your seat the whole time.
A must watch for all entrepreneurs in my book!
So why am I mentioning this movie? What does this movie have to do with a day in the life of the online entrepreneur?
Well the reality is that the life of the entrepreneur is not all bells and whistles. There’s almost always a lot going on behind the scenes that clients, associates, and leads do not see … the bare naked truth.
The only way for me to explain the bare naked truth is to go back … back into time. Share with you my struggles and heartaches and those of the COUNTLESS number of entrepreneurs and business owners I’ve had the privilege to speak to in-depth about the realities of starting and running a business.
I’ve been working on my business for over three years now; and anyone who’s ever told you that you can have a successful business up and running in six months to a year is either lying to you or are the VERY select few that managed to turn water into gold in that short period of time.
Reality Check: It can take YEARS sometimes for you to even begin to see some significant progress in your business. So if you’re just starting out, get ready for the ride of your life. And if you don’t have the stomach to stick it out, my suggestion? Get a J.O.B.
Here’s what it looks like for the typical online entrepreneur:
Have you ever looked at someone successful and wonder how they’re different than you? They seem to have everything they could ever want and you can’t seem to find your way out of a shallow hole with a flashlight, ladder and map?
The truth is that they likely didn’t get in the position they’re in overnight (although it may seem that way). In every success story, most people only see the end result but never question what it took for the person to reach the levels they were able to reach. You aren’t face to face with the work and effort it took to get them there, so it seems like it was effortless to them.
While most articles focus on what you should do to achieve success, this one focuses on the things that prevent a lot of people (maybe even you) from seeing their dreams come to pass. So, here are the seven things that will absolutely ensure that you don’t succeed, and what you can do to overcome them:
#1 Bad self-esteem or low self-worth
This one thing in and of itself will absolutely stop the greatness you contain from coming into reality. When you don’t believe that you’re good enough or smart enough to do something, it’s pretty hard to find the energy to determine whether you’re right or you’re wrong.
You need to realize that although you may have faults (who doesn’t?) you also have many, many strengths. Maybe you’re great at organizing things or perhaps you have wonderful compassion and empathy, making you a great people person.
Make a list of all the attributes you have that will assist you in your quest to reach your goals. Knowing your key strengths will help you use them when you need to and it will also remind you that you really do possess the capability to go to new levels.
#2 Negative thoughts or never moving beyond bad past experiences
We all have those moments in our past when we wish we had behaved or acted differently. We either did or did not do something we regret so we harbor bad thoughts about ourselves, often calling ourselves “stupid” or “foolish” or some other demeaning descriptor.
Or, maybe our distant past (such as when we were children) has taught us that bad things always happen and all we want to do is escape them. Either way, we feel like we’ve lost the fight even before it began.
Not only does holding on to the past serve no real purpose since you can’t go back and change it, it also stops you from moving forward. After all, how can you focus on today and tomorrow when you’re stuck in yesterday, right?
It’s time to let go of the chains that keep you bound to things you clearly can’t do anything about and let yourself move forward. If you screwed up, you screwed up. Just admit your mistake, learn from it and work towards making better decisions in the future.
If life wasn’t the greatest, then so be it. You can either continue to live in lack and disappointment or you can change it so you have all you’ve ever wanted…and more!
Feedly rocks! End post. Just kidding. Seriously though, ever since Google announced that Google Reader was going bye bye as of July 1st, 2013 I began wondering what I could use in place of it.
I have to confess. I didn’t use Google Reader all that much to begin with it. I’m a visual person and quite frankly Google Reader was so aesthetically unpleasing that I often relied on Google Alerts and Triberr to let me know when new articles popped up from some of my favorite blogs. Or I would browse my Twitter lists to see what my peeps was up to … Not always the most efficiently way with staying in the know.
As with everything I do – EVENTUALLY I come to the question, how can I do this more efficiently and/or inexpensively? I knew grabbing bits and pieces of content from multiple resources was not the best use of my time. And getting Google Alerts each time a blog posted a new article, was cluttering up my inbox. NOT fun!!
Recently as I was listening to one of Michael Hyatt’s podcasts; he had mentioned Feedly. Go Michael! I have heard of this service before, but never gave it much thought until now. The minute I logged in, I was hooked. I had found a home for all my content consumption … Okay. At least most of it.
Organize your favorite blogs, news sites, podcasts and Youtube channels and access them all in one place (or sync with Google Reader).
Outside of the fact that Feedly is just so much purtier ;-), it’s a lot easier to use and you can import your feeds from Google Reader so you don’t have to lose the feeds you’ve already added.
One of the questions I often get asked is how do you find out what your prospective leads TRULY want? What are their actual pain points and problems?
One of the things I did when I first started out in my business was to type into Google.com specific keywords relevant to my industry plus a key operator such as (+).
For example, online marketing + forums.
I also did this with other platforms such as:
- + message boards
- + blogs
- + groups
In the process I was able to tap into the minds and speaking of my prospective leads. I was able to discover their pain points, problems, and challenges and tailor my programs and services accordingly.
In the book, The Consulting Bible by Alan Weiss, PhD, he stated:
Think of the fourth sale first. A client is never an event, but part of a relationship that endures as long as you provide value and volition.”
The minute I read this I immediately wrote it down and was determined to commit it to memory. And I was better for doing so as it has shaped how I run my business.
Now if only I had read this when I first started my business four years ago …
You see when I first started my business way back when, I was focused solely on “the sale.” You’re probably wondering what’s wrong with that? Well nothing per say; unless you’re looking for that one time sale and not considering customer retention and repeat business as part of your business model!
If you are, boy are you in for a struggle!
Your focus should always be on “how can I continue to offer more value to the client over and over?” You can only do this by offering the client the opportunity to go deeper with you with what you offer.
Did you know that 80% of your sales will come from 20% of your customers? These are people who will continue to buy from you as long as you can continue to offer new and improved products and services. They will also be the true loyal fans that will act as your unpaid sales force sharing how great you are with their friends and family – but that’s another discussion.
But you can only take advantage of that statistic if you are willing to create a client path. Let’s first define what I mean by client path.
The Client Path is the order in which you take a person through so they can continue to experience and benefit from a specific set of results.
Huh? No worries. I’ll get into this further.