Tag Archives: Business Chat
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:
A couple of weeks I watched, with millions of others, the Grammys. Great show as usual, but I have to say my favorite part by far was the Tribute to Bob Marley with a joint performance by Sting, Bruno Mars, Rihanna, and Ziggy Marley. The rocked it! You can check out the performance here if you missed it.
But as my warped brain normally works I thought, wouldn’t this be an great topic to discuss? I mean here you have American, English, and Jamaican musicians coming together to sing one of the greatest hits of all time. Artists from completely different genres coming together to celebrate what they love most – music.
However, we see these sort of “joint ventures” everywhere. Even if we don’t realize it. Companies joining forces to expand their reach, increase exposure, and grow their brands and companies. We’ve seen it with Apple and Microsoft, SONY and BMG, Abbot and Costello. And YES, Abbot and Costello was a joint venture! Where would Abbot be without Costello, and vice-versa.
Joint ventures is the backbone of many success stories and continues to be. And if you want to take your business to the next level (as I do), this is a very important step.
I have to confess. I have not taken advantage of this powerful strategy as often as I should, but it’s definitely on my checklist for this year! However, I will share with you my past and most successful joint venture and the results I had from it, so you can begin to do the same for yourself.
I’m always looking to see how I can grow my business, where do I still need to grow, and what do I need to do to fill that gap. Growing your business takes times, the willingness to evaluate what works and what doesn’t work, and LOTS of course correcting.
I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to grow a business. I’ve made many mistakes and have had MANY failures along the way, but here’s the cool thing – I was determined to learn from them! With every new little lesson, changes were made – systems where changed, ideologies updated, powerful new beliefs put into place.
Here are the 7 top rules I’ve learned this past year in growing my business powerfully. These are rules that have made ALL the difference in me being able to move my business forward and I have no doubt it will catapult my success in the years to come.
7 Rules to Growing your Business Powerfully:
- Get support! This is a lesson that took me a long while to get. Like most entrepreneurs, I suffer from the “Lone Ranger” mentality. But switching my conversation from ‘doing it all by myself’ to ‘who can support me in my business growth’, has had a dramatic effect in my business (and sanity!).
- Don’t make everything a sense of urgency. Your Facebook timeline cover doesn’t have to be changed RIGHT NOW. Schedule low priority tasks at appropriate times throughout your week and get clear on your true priorities.
- Put systems in place. I have a system for EVERYTHING – using social media, marketing strategies, email scripts, even down to my weekly family menu. I know that last one sounds silly, but I realized that having to think each and every day, three times a day, seven days a week, what to cook for me and my family was exhausting. Now I plan for the whole week at once. It’s a such a huge time saver and relief!
- Follow the two minute rule. If it can be done in two minutes, do it. If not, delete it, delegate it, or reschedule it for a more appropriate time.
- Get some skin in the game. Money talks baby! You’re more likely to value and follow-through on the things you pay for. Free is great – but only to an extent.
- Get uncomfortable and “burn the boats.” Sorry to break the news, but if you’re comfortable, you’re playing it safe. Which means your business is stagnant. Being uncomfortable is a good sign that you are on track and moving your business forward.
- Don’t be afraid to rock that boat... Ho… yeah… put your hands up! We’ve always been taught not to rock the boat, but when it comes to business a little rocking it good. Be willing to bend the rules and question your “learned” values – they just may be holding you back.
Sales… yuck! I hear you. I’ve always been a natural born networker, but add sales to the process and I would get the heebie-jeebies. I seriously despised sales. My last J-O-B (prior to starting my own business) involved sales and it felt like a living nightmare! I often felt, if they want what I have to sell, they’ll just ask for it!
… nothing could of been further from the truth.
Having your own business really gets you present to the importance (and necessity) of sales. You don’t sell, you have NO business … simple as that.
But I couldn’t shake the icky feeling I got when I was put in a position where I was “forced” to ask the sale – as if someone was putting a gun to my head. 😉 I had to think long and hard on what were my beliefs about sales. Why was I so put off by the process? I knew if I didn’t get my shit together and figure this out, might as well kiss my business goodbye.
Growing up, when I thought of sales people, I thought of greasy-haired, yellow-teethed car salesmen (no offensive if you are reading this and happen to be greasy-haired, yellow-toothed, car salesmen). But seriously, it was not my fault. These where the images I was presented with growing up – TV, movies, commercial ads. It’s no wonder I was pre-programmed to get the ickies when I thought of sales.
… thankfully I’ve grown up a bit since then.
Bottom line – after much reflection and changing my perspective on what sales really is, I realized that sales is not something you do TO someone, but rather FOR someone. Hmm…
According to Wikipedia.com to sell means:
To agree to transfer goods or provide services in exchange for money.
… a simple definition for a simple process.
The Wikipedia definition doesn’t mention sleazeball tactics; it doesn’t mention “forcing” someone to buy something they don’t really want or need. It’s just simply an exchange of services or goods for money. You have something to offer and the recipient either wants to buy it or not.
So now that we got that out of the way and we’ve concluded that sales it actually a rather simple process at a fundamental level, how then can we ask for the sale?
Yes, I understand using the word Decepticons is strange, but I think it’s a fairly polite way of referring to people whose sole purpose is to steal all your hard work and claim it as theirs – or give it to someone else to use! Let me explain further.
We all “borrow”, right? Most businesses are created following the model of other already successful businesses. It’s a rarity where you see something completely original. However, that being said, many of us have created a process, project, program, communication brief, etc., that is specific to our business and although other businesses may have inspired us, it’s our own creation nonetheless.
Let’s take my Communication Brief that I send to prospective and paid clients when conducting my Free Introductory Assessments. If you viewed it, it’s not an original piece of work. There are no new words, questions you haven’t heard before, or anything of that sort.
However, it’s created systematically to take you along a path that will allow you to see very clearly where you’re at in your business, where you want to go, and what’s missing. It’s taken me a long time to develop it to be so. I know those who fill out this form often have a transformation just by doing so.
I don’t want some ‘Decepticon’, not only wasting my time, but adding insult to injury by taking my material and using it for their own purposes. Idea and material theft is a concern for many business owners, especially for Small Business Professionals. Often times we have to cough up reports, questionnairres and proposals way before even entertaining the possibility that this person will become a client of ours.
You’ve read or watched the Wizard of Oz, right? It’s a story about a young girl named Dorothy that after a terrible storm back in Kansas lands in a mysterious, unknown, yet beautiful place called the Land of Oz.
Immediately upon her arrival she is greeted by the Munchkins, and they joyfully celebrate the demise of the Wicked Witch. The glee is quickly cut short as the Wicked Witch of the West enters and promises that she will get Dorothy back for killing her sister, the Wicked Witch of the East – the former evil tyrant of the Munchkins.
But joy is once again restored when Glinda, the beautiful Good Witch of the South, explains to her that all she needs to do to get back home is to “follow the yellow brick road” and go seek out the Wizard of Oz – for he will help her to get home. She also explains to her to never take off the red slippers – as this is what the Witch wants most, but can’t have as long as they are on her.