Remember when you were a kid and you got a love letter in your lunch box or found a surprise from your mom in your coat pocket? Remember how special you felt? As an adult entrepreneur, do you ever go to your email or walk into your office with that same excitement and wonder? Do you feel the same anticipation that you used to feel about unwrapping your school lunch? What surprises do your favorite people have in store for you today?
If you don’t feel that way about your business every day, its ok! You’re not alone. In fact, it can be a normal evolution of being in business. It can be easy to lose passion, motivation, and connection for various reasons. Sometimes it is goals that we set that we give up on. Sometimes it is big achievements that end up not feeling as fulfilling as we thought they should. Sometimes its the all too familiar business slump OR the business SLAM that leaves us little time to focus on our family and personal time. Sometimes its just not having enough help or the right kind of help and not feeling supported.
Whatever the situation, the good news is, if it was once there, it can be reclaimed! You reclaim your passion by recreating it yourself!
Your Business Loves You When…. You Love Your Business!
I’ve learned that we can create anything that we want for ourselves, our lives, and our businesses. It’s all about where we put our focus. And my Valentine for you this February is all about having and holding the intention of sharing with you business love letters- short tips for bite-sized love you can give your business each day!
Look at these love letters as little email ‘treats’ that will make you want to open your email with the same curiosity and joy you once felt at lunch time!
Today’s ‘Virtual Lunchbox Love Letter’ can be done in about 15 minutes, or as long as you want to spend. Go ahead, get carried away if you want to!
Connect with 5 of your longest and most profitable clients. Send them a thank-you card. Take a moment to really sit and become grateful for them FIRST and then send the card.
I’ve helped dozens of happy and successful clients connecting and re-connect to passion in my Visioning session. We meet together for 60 minutes and answer these 3 questions. Where are you now, where do you want to go, and how do you best get there from here? And when you are clear about your Vision, there is nothing that you can’t accomplish!
I invite you to join me for your visioning session. It’s a phone call away. Contact me now.
|© Odm | Dreamstime.com|
A few days ago, we talked about creating a poll and asking our referral sources and most valuable clients about their buying choices. What makes them decide to refer to you? What do they see in you? What do they value?
Now you have your results. You have a report card that tells you exactly what the outside world sees and what your clients and partners see. In a nutshell, your public brand as the world sees you.
You also have a very valuable and specific piece of information that companies pay billions to get their hands on. You have your client’s buying habits and decisions. You have specific reasons why each person said ‘yes’ to you. You now know not just what you had to do, you know what your client was thinking when they said ‘yes’.
One mistake that many businesses make is trying to delegate the marketing process. When I do my Precision Delegation questionnaire, I ask my clients what tasks they hate doing, procrastinate, or feel drained doing. Marketing your business is probably one of the few exceptions except for a very narrow demographic of businesses. Follow the money. There is a reason why industries are built around representing specific types of marketing. If it isn’t profitable, its because it doesn’t work. Most businesses that are built on the solo-model are based on the owner-expert. Expertise can not be delegated.
If your referrers, clients, and prospects see you as a solo business, but you are using a team or growing into a LLC or larger company, you know your brand is somehow being miscommunicated. If your clients see you as being small, busy, and scattered then have a look at your messaging. Is it consistent?
One of the hardest, longest looks I took at my business was in looking at my public brand. My public perception was that I was trying to do too many things, my focus was scattered, and I was not really serving my clients. Hearing the truth about public perception, seeing where my business was headed, and getting serious feedback from long-time clients was the wake-up call I needed to start to make big changes.
This year is the year of bringing my business back to center. Not just practicing what I teach, not just improving my public perception, but really rising to what is asked of me. When a client tells me the pros and cons of working with me, I listen. Are you listening to your client feedback? Are you making those measurable changes? Are you bringing it back to center?
Let’s look at what we’ve created so far:
To cash in on your report card, take a look
|© Andres Rodriguez | Dreamstime.com|
A few days ago we made a list of the longest and most profitable clients and the source of the referral. In this post we talked about taking this list, looking at the referral source, then creating a replicatable process that can be implementable and delegated.
And the easiest way to find out from your clients why they decided to sign on the dotted line, is to ask! That is a great task that can be delegated to an assistant and it’s a great way to capture the essence of what your ‘brand’ is. Take a poll, and old fashioned, pick up the phone and call people poll. Speak to the decision makers who shook your hand and ask them WHY. Call the person who made the referral for you and ask them:
Once you have a list on paper for your referral sources, you have a framework for your clients.
Always remember your referral sources. This exercise should show you, if nothing else, they are not just your bread and butter, they are your champions, your advertisers, your best friends. They stick their rhetorical neck out for you knowing you will not let them down.
Next, we will look at what to do with the poll results. See you in a few days!
Creating a process of extrapolating the winning strategy that secures leads and indoctrinates them into your brand IS doable. For my clients we start with a Visioning session where we assess where you are, where you want to go, and how to best get there. I invite you to join me to vision your winning strategy. Contact me now.
In just 15 minutes, you can make a measurable, determined effort to start moving your business towards where you want to be for 2014. This is the BEST editorial calendar I have ever seen! It turns your blog into a marketing plan– which is what it should be, right?
Go to http://www.timeanddate.com/holidays/ and look at the holidays for the month. What is coming up that ties in to what you are blogging about? What do you have special expertise about that is holiday related? Is the holiday in and of itself quirky enough to blog about? Maybe talk like a pirate day inspires a blog about the evolution of acceptable language in the workplace.
You never know what can inspire you in just 15 minutes.
Try these popular holidays for starters:
Over the past several years I have admittedly neglected certain parts of my business. With the best of intentions, and thinking about my clients needs first, I put my own messaging, marketing, and business development on the back burner. In fact, every time I did try to look at it, it just became confusing to me. I wanted to work on my messaging and marketing but I told myself I was ‘too bleepin busy!’
Have you ever had those days? Maybe every day is a ‘too bleepin busy’ day? I felt like every day was a ‘too bleepin busy’ day for me!
Recently someone gave me some hard to swallow feedback. My social media was full of essential oils (a passion), my kids (of course) and Thirty One bags. My own expertise was nowhere to be found. People who meet me have this surprising (to me) habit of being impressed by the ideas that I come up with and the knowledge that I have about running a successful business online. However, my messaging was confusing. It alienated people. The people who wanted to help me, who wanted to share my expertise and refer me looked for some tid-bit of information that they could offer their friends and colleagues. It was disappointing. To them and to me. My mistake was in not practicing what I teach and allowing myself to think that it was allowed because I was putting everyone else’s needs first!
I felt overwhelmed and ‘too bleepin busy’ to do anything about it.
It’s amazing the things we make room for in our lives, even when we’re ‘too bleepin busy’! How much time did you spend with your best friend talking to her about her marriage, or a church service project, or other activities that mean a lot to you? It does not devalue those activities by claiming that YOU and your business are just as valuable as the time you spend in service to others.
This is probably the largest lesson for me so far in running a business: My needs are just as important as those of my clients and colleagues. That feels really difficult to reconcile when you are ‘too bleepin busy’!
I knew about that story about the cobbler’s kids. I joked about it. But here’s the thing about that story– if we talk the talk, we need to walk the walk. It’s the principle of practicing what you teach, and it is part of running an ethical and integral business. As a person who values her integrity, I was convinced. I must TAKE THE TIME. I must dig deep and find that thing that is standing between me knowing that this is important enough to make a priority, and all of the other things that come up from day to day. Once I find that ‘thing’ I get to choose. Was the excuse really as important as I thought, or was it an illusion?
‘Too Bleepin Busy’ Kills Business!
Is it clear when a prospect comes to your website, immediately, what you do, how you help people, and how you prefer to work with people? When someone is not ready to sign on the dotted line right away, or more importantly when a friend or colleague wants to send a referral your way, what is your system of indoctrination like? How do you teach these individuals in an easy to follow format what exactly you do? How you do it differently, and what makes you unique?
How many times have you looked at these questions, looked at your website, looked at your marketing plan and felt like you were ‘too bleepin busy’ to do anything about it today? Maybe you rationalized that you would get to it tomorrow, but tomorrow comes and you are just as ‘bleepin busy’ as yesterday.
Guess what? ‘Too bleepin busy’ is a choice. It is a state of allowing yourself to remain undecided. For me, it was a way for me to allow myself to put everyone else before myself. I believed at the time that everyone else was more important. I had heard the story about the flight attendant instructions: “put your own oxygen mask on first — you can’t help anyone if you are passed out!” But in my heart and soul it was not my belief, it was not my natural way of being. For me it takes effort. I choose to act in a way that is contradictory to my natural way of being– for now!
What about you?
Is it enough of a priority to you to think strategically about your business for 2014? Is it important enough to you to find out what is keeping ‘too bleepin busy’ activated in your life?
Then the sad truth is, by February 1, 2014, you’ll return to ‘too bleepin busy’.
In just 15 minutes a day, one day a week, with a concentrated effort, you can move your business from where it is now, to a place far beyond your goals and dreams for 2014! But it takes action. The first step, for my clients, is called a Visioning session in which we look at where you are today, where you want to be, and how to best get there. Contact me today and schedule your Visioning session. If you are willing to set aside ‘too bleepin busy’ and take the time to strategically plan for how to get from here to there, there is NOTHING you can’t do in 2014!
Committed to your success!
Your personality is how you chose to experience life. It’s what you show
others, and how you present yourself to the world.
So consider this, you are wired to succeed. Would your soul design it any
Wouldn’t your soul design your personality to perfectly accommodate the life
you want to live at a soul level?
You could say that your personality is perfect, because it is! Even the
patterns we create and label as “counterproductive”, are tools to grow and
evolve by. We just have to no notice what way of being no longer works for
us, then get the lesson … without making ourselves wrong, or blaming
Everything in life is designed to support your soul growth as you play in
the sandbox of time and space. You are designed to succeed!
So, how would your life shift right now… if you lived from the inner
knowing that you are divine perfection, AND wired to succeed?
How would you see yourself? What actions would you take now? How would you
Any feeling of hardship or struggle is just a signal that you’re not keeping
up with who you truly are. So, what’s the fastest path to soul freedom, and
living the life you were born to enjoy?
Go in the direction of your dreams, let joy and happiness lead the way.
Your friend and partner celebrating your perfection, Elari Onawa (aka Laura Cardone)
The mission of this company, and those we partner with, is to help you create a life that fulfills you on every level! We do this through transformative programs, one-on-one mentoring, and online services and tools. We enthusiastically serve all those who are ready align with their heartfelt dreams and desires!
by Maggie Ruch, Virtual Assistant
Have you ever seen a newsletter that you just KNEW was crafted by the person who sent it? Compared to something professionally designed, there are big differences. If you can see the difference, then your customers will see it too. So will your competition. Here are some simple tips to help you design a professional looking newsletter.
1- Use your website’s style as your guide. (Need more details on what you are looking for? Check out my post about having a style guide.) Having a look that is consistent from website to newsletter helps your readers immediately connect the dots and know who the newsletter is coming from. What color is your website’s background? Does it have a border around the body of the website or does it stretch across the page?
2- Use a template. Keep it consistent from month to month by using the same template. You can have a different template for announcements and special sales etc, but your newsletter template should always be the same. Why? Consistency builds trust. People will be able to easily spot your newsletter because it has the same look from month to month or week to week. Studies show that keeping it consistent increases clicks and decreases unsubscribes.
3- Catchy titles. Your title should be something that your readers (at least your target customers) should want to open and read about. Sometimes vague works- sometimes it works against you. Sometimes being too creative about the title creates confusion. If you need to make a list of reasons why someone should read your newsletter then choose one of those reasons for the subject. It will definitely get some opens.
4- Simple is better. Unless it is part of the design, and the colors tie in to some photo or piece of art in a very obvious way, too many colors in a newsletter can be distracting. Your message (the content) is the focal point here. A rainbow of colors leaves readers unable to focus and they will eventually lose interest.
5- Speak to your audience. Your message should be clear and concise. Refrain from using a lot of jargon or acronyms unless that is what is expected by your audience. If you are writing to mothers about a sale on baby clothes, then don’t use language that an accountant would use. No one likes acronyms (except for the US Military) so leave them A.L.O.N.E.
6- Be direct. Consider having at least one paragraph where you speak directly to the reader in a more conversational tone. This helps build that relationship that builds business. Remember this is not your BFF or your college roommate, so conversational should be appropriate for a business luncheon or networking event—casual but appropriate.
7- Punch it up with pictures. A photo that you have taken yourself is appropriate if you are a great photographer or if you are talking about an event you attended or relating a personal story. You can get a more professional look by using stock photos from websites like dreamstime.com or istockphoto.com. Usually these images can be purchased using credits which are very inexpensive. If you are selling something with your newsletter, then the best quality photos of the actual products are best.
8- To click or not to click. Some people like to have everything in one place. They prefer to keep the content interesting and to have it all on the newsletter. The thinking is that it’s easier to read. Some like to publish multiple articles and to have short intro paragraphs with a link to read the rest of the article. There are good reasons for this. More clicks equals more traffic and more traffic equals better SEO. Either way, as long as your newsletter is written to your intended audience (your customer) there is no right or wrong way to do this. in the end it’s your personal preference. Someone who is interested in what you have to say will take the three seconds to click the link and read the rest on your site. Not interested=no click.
Use these tips and track the performance of your next eblast!
Maggie Ruch is a Virtual Assistant who specializes in assisting entrepreneurs who have an online presence with website and blog design, social media, and brand management. For over 4 years she has partnered with successful coaches and consultants as an integral part of building their businesses. Her website, virtualwebsiteassistant.com showcases examples of her website and fan page design. Visit her site to view testimonials from happy customers. Sign up here for her free course and ebook on branding.
Gwyneth, Before Gwyneth, After
Powerful brands stand out. They never blend in with the rest of the products on the shelf. Branding for People© is pretty much the same. When you’re with a crowd of people, you need to stand out and look head and shoulders above the others. This doesn’t mean you need Hollywood glamour or glitzy garments or colors. As you can see, Gwyneth stands out much more in the After photo than in the before photo.
Gwyneth is a very attractive woman, by any standards. She has been in the mortgage banking business for 25 years and wanted a makeover in order to be taken more seriously. At times she felt dismissed and occasionally thought she was taken advantage of.
I told Gwyneth that the reason people dismissed her was because of the wimpy pastels she wore consistently. “The darker the color, the higher the authority; so pastels convey little to no authority,” I explained, “and they make you look invisible.”
“But I was told by an image consultant a number of years ago that I need to wear pastels, like this baby pink jacket” she replied. She was also advised to wear pearls. Gwyneth admitted that her closet was filled with hodgy podgy pastels. “A friend of mine tried to talk me out of buying a pastel pink sweater a year ago,” she recalls, “but I bought it anyway. I think I wore it twice, and then I gave it away. I’d like to discover the colors that make me look good, but also the ones that make me feel good about myself. My friend was a client of yours, so I guess she knew what she was talking about,” Gwyneth sighed. “I wish I had listened to her.”
“The truth is,” I reassured her, “most people choose colors from the “heart and soul” and not from the mirror, so it’s literally impossible to argue successfully with a person about the colors they habitually wear. And it’s even more difficult when you’ve been told by an “expert” that you look your best in pastels. It’s no wonder you ignored your friend’s advice. Let’s discover for once and for all the colors that make you feel like a million and look absolutely fabulous.”
After the color analysis, Gwyneth saw for herself that pastels washed her out and also made her hair and eyes look dull. Once she saw how beautiful she looked in bold colors like royal blue and fuchsia, she was excited about discovering more colors that made her look and feel good.
When Gwyneth tried on the magenta jacket, she remarked that she would never have chosen a color that bold. One look in the mirror, however, and she beamed with delight. “This is who I want to be; a confident woman who exudes power but isn’t overbearing; a woman who commands respect. I’m tired of being a Plain Jane executive,” she exclaimed.”
Once we discovered Gwyneth’s correct color category, it was time to look at makeup. “I don’t wear lipstick,” she explained, “and only a little bit of mineral powder on my face.”
We began with a very light application of foundation that matched her skin perfectly. It made her truly good skin look even better, and the result was youthful skin that didn’t look made up. She liked it, because foundation had always seemed so thick and heavy to her before, which was why she opted for powder. A gentle dusting of pink blusher gave her an even more feminine and youthful look.
Next she tried a soft fuchsia lipstick that gave a subtle touch of color. She was okay with that. However, she needed a deeper shade with the magenta suit, and once she saw how it brightened up her entire face, especially her eyes, she changed her attitude about “bright lipstick.”
Most women are afraid of lipstick, because they’ve never given it a chance. The truth is, lipstick ensures that the face always remains the focal point. When the face is a sea of beige, our eyes wander. Lipstick literally keeps our attention on the eyes and even makes them glisten. Gwyneth couldn’t believe what the magenta lipstick did for her turquoise eyes. “They look much brighter now,” she said in amazement.
The finishing touch was tweaking her hair a little. Her hair was healthy and attractive, but I recommended she change the part from the middle to a side part. She has a natural cowlick that she was trying to avoid, but it actually turned out to be a blessing, since it enabled me to sweep the hair away from her beautiful face. Her old hairdo made her face look slightly rectangular. Once I smoothed her hair out with a flat iron and brought it away from her face, everything changed. Her face was framed and brought out by her hair, instead of being overwhelmed by it. I recommended she ask her hairdresser to even out the length a bit, since her old hairstyle was long in the front and much shorter in the back. This style is ever popular, but it often gives a droopy effect to the face, as Gwyneth discovered.
Most people constantly improve their skills, but they don’t think of improving their image. There’s nothing nicer than looking in the mirror, seeing the “new you” and beaming from ear to ear. When you change your image, you can actually change your life, because you leave the house each day with a whole new attitude about yourself!
Sandy Dumont is an internationally-known image consultant with 30 years experience. Her latest product is a 12-DVD Video set for women, and you can have it at a fabulous introductory price at her website: www.theimagearchitect.com.
We can’t create barriers and roadblocks, and expect a smooth journey. Yet we do this every time we give into a self-defeating thought or habit!
Instead, choose to see a clear road, choose to live happy!
- Turn toward the answers, instead of dwelling on the problems.
- Notice what’s working well, more than what seems to be wrong.
- Appreciate all of the goodness in your life, and more will come.
- Count your blessings, instead of your worries.
- Smile more, frown less.
- Make being happy you’re highest priority and what you desire will fall easily into place, guaranteed!
- Create a “DONE list”, and see the “To Dos” take care of themselves!
- Decide that it really can be that easy, smooth, and fun, and it will be.
- Surround yourself with people who lift you up!
- Give more hugs!
- Believe, instead of doubting.
- Forgive faster.
- Expect more pleasure and ease, and you’ll have it.
- See yourself soaring with the birds, instead of swimming with the fishes!
- Sit under the stars, or marvel at the sunrise.
- Jump in more puddles!
- Fire the inner critic and forget the severance package. Bye, Bye!
- Feel more, think less.
- Laugh as much as possible.
- Play at work.
- Love yourself, and you’ll be able to love everyone else!
These are choices, simple, yet very powerful choices. And this moment is a potential turning point for you!
If you really want a breakthrough, if you want to stop recreating something in your current reality, stop now. Pause, breathe deeply, let it go on the exhale, and relax.
Now start at the beginning and read this again. This time, allow yourself to fully absorb the true power of this message.
Then decide. Are you ready to release what no longer works? If so, declare that it’s time to give it up, and let it go! It’s done, gone, finished!
See yourself easily choosing what you truly want to expand in your experience. Now how does that feel? Sit with this for a moment, and really feel it in every cell of your body. Claim it as yours now! Know that this IS a liberating TURNING POINT for you. You are a master. Live happy! You’ve got the power!
Copyright© Laura Cardone 2003-2011 All Rights Reserved. www.profitswithpurpose.com is for inspired dreamers in action, and adventurous souls who are just too marvelous for words!
You’re chomping at the bit to serve powerfully. You know you need a website because EVERYONE and their mother uses the Internet to research before taking action (and she’s on Facebook, too, so watch out!). However, you’re a bit overwhelmed on how to get started building a site that is going to drive clients or members to you. Here are some basics that every coaching, counseling, consulting or non-profit site should have if you are just starting to get your name out there.
Andy Stanley and Joyce Meyers could put pictures of crickets on their front page and people would show up by the hundreds for the concert, but all the rest of us need to actually communicate clearly.
1. I suggest WordPress to start out with and the reason is, you will have control and can update it at no cost. I went with GoDaddy to start with and was irritated at the core with their “Hoochie Momma” advertising, so I switched to a faith-based company and have received the same excellent customer service. Contrary to what you have heard, you do not need to spend thousands of dollars creating a website. A simple, visually- clean site with no more than two accent colors is what profitable and site’s create. No music, flash graphics or anything that would delay them from reading further. Your website needs to ATTRACT, not distract, your customer as you only have 5 seconds to clearly communicate how you serve. A consistent brand, logo, and oh, no more than two sizes of fonts for headlines and then content.
2. Oh my gosh, this is an area that people really sabotage themselves with. Your front page is about your potential client/member. Not your accreditation’s or networks. Secondly, EXPERTS grow, Jack-of-all-trades don’t. Think heart surgeon. If you’re dying, do you go to a doc-in-the-box? Nope! You will invest deeply in someone who gets you and can take you EXACTLY where you want to go.
Tips for Success? IF you put your picture on front page, it should be small, professionally taken (no Facebook pics) and in the header. Many people don’t even put their pic on the front page, but rather, use pictures to draw the reader into the copy. I tested both and got better results with replacing my picture with a woman who looked like she was going to go postal if she didn’t get better results. And I enjoyed looking at my front page because it makes me laugh.
3. Create compelling copy. Now, this is of utmost importance. What are your members/clients laying in bed at night wrestling over? What would they pay any amount of money to solve? Get specific. Write down four or five exact feelings and emotions they are experiencing. Then, be sure to relay at least three specific results they will get from partnering with you. Here is what Ray Edwards, a professional copywriter we interviewed for our membership group, Slingshot Success, told us:
Great copy will have three things:
As a speaker, coach, counselor, consultant or ministry leader, you are looked upon as the person to lead your clients to a better situation. Your website will need to do the same. Lead your visitors to the results they are looking for. If you don’t have a clear sense of what you want visitors to do, your vision as a leader is weakened, and the desire to hire or invest in your organization is greatly diminished.
4. Your website should give your audience information that is relevant, fresh and ideally, the resources they need to accomplish what it is they are looking for. If you have a blog, writing it consistently is the key, even if that is once a month on the same day. People associate consistency with stability. It is always a good idea to provide them with a gift for connecting with you that is reflective of your unique identity. If you are a large organization, providing a picture and an email of the person they need to connect with to receive that help is a great idea. Along with the room or place they are providing, in case they want to show up at the last minute. Lastly, include your phone number that they can use to reach you or direct email if they want more information.
5. Have powerful testimonials that give specifics about the results that are consistent with what you are branding. Testimonials are important and assure your audience that you can deliver quickly and consistently. A paragraph about how nice you are and how much integrity you operate in are useless if you are telling people that you can help them solve marriage problems. People want to know one thing: “What’s in it for me?” So tell them EXACTLY. When you finish serving people, have a template that asks them specific questions and confirms if you can edit their testimonials as long as you keep them in context. I always send my testimonials to the individual before publishing them in case a prospect contacts them as a reference wanting to know the testimonial is not exaggerated. As my husband tells our teenagers, ”The truth will do.”
Maggie @ VirtualWebsiteAssistant Dot Com
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Virginia Beach, VA 23464
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