I still have the note of thanks that the CFO of International Dairy Queen wrote me 13 years ago when I worked for Oracle. You can probably guess sales reps don’t get too many notes of praise from their clients!
Well, I got a doozie of an email this week to add to my “praise file”.
It’s from a client, Brynn Breuner, who’s in my Evolve Accelerator. She sent it to me with the intention of sharing it with you. So here goes… unedited.
For a gal with perpetually redlined bank account I had no reservations about ponying up [for Evolve Accelerator]. None. Still don’t, think it’s one of the smartest things I’ve EVER done in anything and without hesitation the best thing I’ve ever done for my business.
If I could pay you more I would.
I feel like I’m finally learning things about how to run a business that I simply never knew before. If I’d gone to business school? Maybe, maybe not. But I know without question that this course is giving me the best chance for a long-term successful outcome.
I wish other entrepreneurs I know could afford it—I think of it like an entrepreneurial MBA. Each time we have a call I realize that I couldn’t afford NOT to do it.
I have a clear plan (ok, still evolving but it’s right there on the tip of my mind) about what I want my business to accomplish. Totally new!
I have for the first time a strong sense of working ON my business and not just IN it. I’ve read about that for a long time but doing it is like f*cking pure business oxygen. And I’m not gasping for breathe, I’m breathing deep and calm for the first time ever.
Sure sometimes I still get scared, but now I have things I can DO about it, and that beats the fear back into place and grows the capable, savvy badass.
Instead of being super positive and super enthusiastic and pushing the same old buttons while I work harder and harder and am still broke—now I’m super enthusiastic FOR A GOOD REASON. The difference is staggering.
You somehow make it possible to realize where and how I’ve been a complete idiot for two decades but not feel like an idiot—I feel like a normal person who just didn’t know and didn’t know how to find out.
It makes it hard to stay in the closet of shame when the door’s open, sun is shining, and a very smart, very savvy pro on the other side is there to help me kick my own ass into gear and have a ball doing it. In fact the relief I feel to not be making the same mistakes as I was is so huge and so sweet I feel almost evangelical.
You said once, “Hope is not a business strategy” and you couldn’t have nailed me better. Except to add Crossing your fingers isn’t a business plan either. Got it. Oh boy do I got it.
You’re getting me out of my little safe hiding place of mediocrity and challenging me to challenge myself to get my f*cking big girl panties on and make this thing happen.
And the guru thing. I don’t feel like I have to Be Like You to make this work—the opposite in fact:
I have to be like ME or else I’m sunk.
What a relief! And I don’t have to go to groupie parties or getaways or feel like I’m not good enough b/c I didn’t get invited to them. I just have to stay real and stay on it.
Know what I love? You don’t get 3,000 Facebook comments when you buy a pair of shoes or go to a restaurant or take a yoga class. I feel like the whole point isn’t to become a Carolyn disciple or wannabe, but to be me.
The value you offer doesn’t come from cookie cutter teacher worship (which ultimately makes me feel like I’m not good enough to do it on my own)—it comes from doing the damn work with other women who put it on the line, and hold my feet to the fire as much as I hold theirs. This alone is worth gold.
And the other people in the group? They’re gold too—and surprise, surprise, no matter how “far ahead” of me I think they may be in terms of experience or skills, it continues to amaze me that we all offer and find value in each other’s experience. In fact, of course our shared journey (however different we are) drives the learning far far deeper than I would’ve been able to take it on my own.
You want accountability? Honesty? Feedback? PROGRESS?? Join an Evolve group and get to work, sister!!
If Brynn’s letter speaks to you, apply to be a part of Evolve Accelerator. I want to get to know you. Visit the intro website to complete your application for an interview today.
If you feel like you’re making the same mistakes and want to stop circling success don’t stick this in your “think about it” or “get back to this later” files.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Most entrepreneurs are looking for shortcuts and hoping to avoid detours. Watch this video to learn the very first thing you can do to reach your destination more quickly!
It’s like going to Home Depot and an iParty [store] all at the same time!
This is how one of my clients described Evolve Accelerator earlier this week.
So in the spirit of fun, I’m going to celebrate today’s newsletter with 7 ways to make business more fun for you.
- Get in sync with your sleep. I don’t set an alarm. I get up when my body tells me it’s time to get moving. And I looooooove a short afternoon nap when my body calls for it! Ditch the sleep rules and figure out what works for you
- Connect with your inner guides. That groggy morning time is when I get my best inspiration because I haven’t gotten into my head yet. I make it a practice to let my “soul team” guide me. Resource: Soul Language
- Move. It’s incredibly important to your body and mind to get your heart pumping and stretch and build your muscles so you feel strong. Don’t worry, you don’t have to become the female version of Arnold Schwarzenegger. I run, bike, walk and/or do yoga 4-5 times per week and still don’t have a perfect body, but I feel damn good!
- Stand in your power. I see far too many entrepreneurs shy away versus acknowledge the value they deliver. Quit trying to please everyone. Be who you are. Give yourself credit for how remarkable you are. And own it!
- Align your business. Declare what you want your business to do for you and define what you enjoy doing that brings value to your clients. (I love creating, inspiring, activating, accelerating.) Then design your business model with the right packaging and pricing to support that. You’ll want to include #1-4 in your declaration, btw. Resource: Evolve Accelerator
- Prioritize. You’ll never get it all done. Decide what’s important (doing #5 helps with this) and let the non-essential stuff fall away. Don’t worry, you’re the only one who will know (or notice).
- Play! All work and no play makes Jill a dull girl. So, Ma’am, step away from your business. Play hooky. Take vacations. Hove those toenails polished. Get massages & facials. Yummy!
This list could be 17… or 107 things to bring more fun to your business, but I’ll stop here. They’re the ones that have made the BIGGEST difference to me over the years… especially in 2013.
You may have noticed that few of these have to do directly with business. Hmmmm…
And as I plan out 2014, you can trust there’ll be even more FUN in store!
P.S. I just celebrated my 11-year business anniversary. Here’s the post I wrote for my 10 year anniversary. Thought you might enjoy it: http://www.thebiztruth.com/2012/10/
When I was a kid, I dreaded bath time because I knew that the “comb routine” afterward was a painful process with my long hair…. It would get all tangled up and so I spent many, many tearful nights having Mom battle running a comb through my hair.
And then one day, she put J&J No More Tears Detangler in my hair and the agony was gone. It was sooooo simple. Keep in mind that I’m the youngest of 5 and money was tiiiiiight but Mom found it worth the investment because she probably disliked that routine more than I did.
This is how I see so many women running their service based businesses. There’s so much to sort through that it gets all messed up. And hairy. And painful. You’re tangling with all sorts of complexities that could be smoothed out with the right solution… so to speak.
Unfortunately, there’s not a single bottle of tonic you can buy at your corner drugstore for $1.99 that’ll make all of your pain go away.
But there are 5 things you MUST do if you want to avoid getting caught in hairy biz mistakes:
- Stop mimicking other people’s bis model. Create an intentional plan for how to set up your business to support your personal goals
- Stop sounding like everyone else and regurgitating what you learn from your coaches. Learn how to develop yourself as a thought leader so you’re the voice, not the echo.
- Stop believing that email marketing is the only way to build your business. Response to email marketing is on the decline. Create marketing strategies to find and meet more of your perfect peeps.
- Stop treating sales so casually. Create a sales conversation strategy that converts more of your prospects to paying clients.
- Stop wasting your time on inconsequential crap. Get ruthless when it comes to prioritizing your goals, as well as managing your time and mindset.
If you feel like you’re tangled up in your business despite the coaching you’ve gotten (or not) and you’re not making the progress you’d expected, check out my Evolve Accelerator program where I walk up to 6 women through each of these keys over 6 months that brings you clarity, clients and cash.
Visit this intro page and apply now:
This is the program I wish I’d had when I started my business but it didn’t exist. I’m a biz vet who’s played a hand in the launch of over 100 businesses and trained thousands of entrepreneurs over the past 10+ years in business and I want to help you.
So complete the short application using the link at the bottom of http://www.evolveaccelerator.com/. I’ll personally review your app and schedule an interview to determine if we’re a fit for each other.
So let’s talk. I’d love to help you.
There is only one you.
My friend Matthew Goldfarb says, “It’s OK to fit in, but it’s better to stand out.”
Yet there are so many days I feel like I’m smack dab in the middle of an echo chamber.
For example, even though I don’t follow a particular marketing coach (I’ll call her Sally), I always know what Sally is teaching her Platinum Mastermind clients because I still get their emails.
I can read the subject line and first paragraph of 2-3 of her client’s emails and will know that Sally’s been talking about “profit”.
Then a few months later, I’ll notice they’re all being “vulnerable” and sharing their deepest, darkest fears and secrets.
And I loved it when they all started writing about “truth”. Really, I did. You can’t have too much truth!
But in an effort to fit in, too many entrepreneurs become the echo, not the voice.
We stop thinking for ourselves. We try to please others by following rules, guidelines and social norms so that we can fit in. Or do what Sally is doing.
And we lose ourselves in the process.
The alternative is to be dangerously you.
- What if you were a thought leader, rather than a follower?
- What if you spoke your truth, instead of filtering yourself?
- What if you said what’s really on your mind, versus being polite?
Feels risky, doesn’t it?
Yes. But I’d much rather be “dangerously me” by being my absolute, true, authentic self and piss a few people off along the way.
And I’m willing to take that risk because I know I can’t be all things to all people. And neither can you.
Think for yourself. Speak for yourself. Be yourself.
Learn more about HOW to think (not WHAT to think) to position yourself as a thought leader. This is just one of the things I’ll cover on my brand new webinar that’s happening tomorrow, September 12th:
Your Speedway to Success
5 Crucial Keys to Shorten Your Learning Curve and Accelerate Your Earning Curve
Register here: http://thebiztruth.com/accelerate
Dare to be dangerously you.
It ain’t always easy.
When I saw my parents walking down the sidewalk holding hands on Sunday, I couldn’t help but consider of what great roles models they are for us as entrepreneurs.
They’ve been married for almost 56 years. Raised 5 kids. Moved four times. Undergone countless surgeries. Belong to different churches. Disagree on plenty of topics. And dealt with their share of challenges and adversity over the past 5+ decades.
Despite the challenges that life presents, they still hold hands every now and then.
So I asked them what one word they would use to describe what it’s taken to make things work.
They both replied “commitment”.
Interestingly, I talk to plenty of entrepreneurs who don’t have that same commitment to their business.
So I have a suggestion for when the going gets tough.
Commit to your goals (not your business).
Achieving your goals is what will bring you satisfaction. Your business is simply a vehicle to help you get there.
If your biz isn’t set up to allow you to reach them, you need to do one of two things:
- Change your business model to support your goals
- Change your goals to endure your business model
And then commit to the path you choose.
My parents have changed their “marriage model” multiple times to support their shifting goals over the past 50+ years. They have the stories to prove it’s not always pretty, but are still holding hands as evidence that it works when you stay committed.
If your business isn’t supporting…
Why you started in the first place; helping you earn the
Income you want; enjoying the
Lifestyle you want and creating the
Legacy you’d like…
Explore the W.I.L.L. Formula™ further to whip things into shape.
Dare to commit.
Life is short and business can be tricky.
Not so long ago, I was in a meeting with about a dozen of my peers and everyone around me was talking about how great things are in their lives and businesses.
When it was my turn to speak I said, “I dare entrepreneurs to live their truth, but I don’t feel like I’m fully living mine.”
You see, I’d spent much of three years working to master the secrets to success in the online world so that I could make millions while I sleep. I had some wins, but never felt like I really connected with people using these tactics because they didn’t feel true to me.
For example, earlier this year I followed a big-name guru’s blueprint for doing a launch and it was a disaster. I didn’t increase enrollments over past launches, and what’s worse is that I burned my relationship with my online community. In fact, my open rates are now HALF of what they were before I followed her advice. (Please forgive me for the error of my ways!) I knew her system didn’t feel right, but promised myself to follow it to the letter because it works for her. BIG mistake.
The truth is that I’m an accelerator. An activator. An artisan.
And I haven’t found an authentic way for those things to translate online. (At least not using other people’s methods.)
The truth is what really feeds me is giving others my full, undivided attention through conversation.
Not copy or complicated email campaigns.
Yes, good old fashioned conversation.
The truth is that I’ll continue to use the internet and email as tools to teach, start conversation and spread the word. But the greatest impact I have on entrepreneurs is listening… really listening to what’s going on and helping you find solutions to your problems.
As an entrepreneur, you must find and live YOUR truth.
Don’t let anyone shoehorn you into doing something that’s “proven” to work if it doesn’t feel true to you.
Here’s the catch…
The critical distinction is knowing the difference between your truth and your fear.
Your truth is what’s deep inside of you. A knowing.
Fear is your ego playing games with you and your truth. It can force you to hide behind excuses.
When you’re resistant to doing something, go deep within yourself to distinguish what’s stopping you. Are you fearful of trying something new? Failure? Success? Looking bad? Or do you have a knowing that’s inside of you… that this action doesn’t support you and your people.
If it’s fear, go take the action. (We’ve all heard the famous quote, “Feel the fear and do it anyway.”)
If it’s the knowing, then follow your truth.
The truth is that pure magic happens when I connect through conversation with entrepreneurs because as an activator, accelerator and artisan… I’m able to inspire, motivate and problem-solve in ways that can’t happen in a mass email campaign.
Dare to find and live your truth.
What’s your truth?
Hope isn’t a business strategy.
As an entrepreneur, your success isn’t guaranteed.
Unfortunately, far too many people cheat themselves out of success by taking chances with their time, money and opportunities. They do this by patching together a series of well-intentioned advice and “hope” it all works out in the end.
To vastly improve your odds for enjoying success, you must establish these 6 keys to grow your business with confidence:
1. A sound, simple business model. You’ll get stuck and struggle needlessly until you package and price your services to support your clients AND you every step of the way.
2. A point of view. You can be a thought leader or a follower. Which do you think potential clients value most?
3. A marketing strategy. Based on your business model and what (and who) you stand for, what are the BEST ways for you to elevate your profile to attract clients?
4. A sales strategy. I know you hate this part, but without it, you’ll never have a successful business. The good news is there are ways for you to get clients without the dread you probably feel now.
5. The ability to identify and manage priorities. Far too many entrepreneurs admit to chasing far too many shiny objects, only to abandon them to chase the next shiny object. Knowing your priorities allows you to pursue what matters most.
6. Money management. This is my least favorite (to my retired banker dad’s chagrin). I love to make it and I love to spend it, but I don’t like to manage it. It is, however, a key to improving your profitability.
Once you have these building blocks in place, the odds that your venture will succeed are far greater than skipping past these steps.
If you’re an entrepreneur who started a business based on your desire to serve others in a big way, but don’t necessarily know the ropes when it comes to creating business success and would like to learn from someone who’s played a hand in the launch of over 100 businesses, I encourage you to visit us here.
Dare to CHART, not chance your success.
There will always be “what ifs.”
When I talk with entrepreneurs who are starting out, they have a lot of “what ifs” that weigh them down and stop them from moving forward.
What if I don’t know what to do?
What if I make a mistake?
What if they don’t like it?
What if it doesn’t work?
What if I run out of runway?
Imagine if you were to “what if” yourself UP, instead of “what iffing” yourself down.
What if you replace your fears and doubts with faith?
What if you trust that you’ll succeed instead of fail?
What if you look for reasons to say yes, rather than look for reasons to say no?
What if you do what it takes to realize your dreams, rather than stay stuck in inaction and indecision?
Dare to “what if” yourself UP vs. down.
Mistakes are inevitable.
A common refrain among many of the entrepreneurs is, “I can’t afford to make a mistake.”
I wholeheartedly disagree!
The reality is that you can’t NOT afford to make mistakes.
Sure, it sounds logical when you consider that money is tight, time is at a premium and morale is waning.
What do mistakes really tell you?
Mistakes are our turn signals. They’re indicators that we need to change course. If you take action and learn from your mistakes – you’ll get to your destination more quickly.
The alternative is to allow your fear of making mistakes to paralyze you.
What gets done when you’re not taking action?
Worse yet, you backslide because you feel so awful about not making forward progress.
What’s the worst that can happen if you make a mistake?
You have to answer this one for yourself.
I can tell you that in my 10+ years as an entrepreneur, I’ve never come up with an awful enough reason to stop me from taking a leap of faith on a decision – big or small. And believe it or not, one of my worst-that-can-happen-scenarios was that I might have to sleep on a park bench if I couldn’t make it in NYC!
Start with small things (send the email, pick up the phone, ask for an intro, submit a speaker proposal) and the bigger actions will become easier (hosting your own event, launching a bigger program, moving to Thailand).
So take a breath. Don’t belabor the decision. And take action.
Dare to do.