In today's episode, we're getting into the Ideal Customer Avatar, or ICA. But if you've heard of this concept before, it's not what you think. I actually have a real problem with the way this exercise is classically done in the entrepreneurial space, and I want to offer an extremely simple and clarifying alternative. My hope is that you'll feel relief from the hypothetical and sometimes paralyzing ICA exercises -- there's so much pressure to get it right and it's really hard to make up out of thin air. You'll have clarity around what you need to go do first or next in your business because you'll be able to ask the question, "What is the ONE next step my ideal person should take?"Read More
It's all about freedom: freedom to run your life on your terms, and do whatever it is that you want to do. On this episode, I want to share some ideas around the freedom to take things slowly and at your own pace, instead of pushing to get more and more done.Read More
How can you know when an investment is right for you? Should you hire this coach, or take that course? How do figure out if it's the right time, or the right price? In this episode, you're going to learn exactly how to make business purchasing decisions with confidence. So the next time you see a program, course, or package from a coach or service provider (or even a job opportunity!) you'll know whether it's right for you now or not.Read More
The final episode of my Courage & Clarity Summer Series is here!
I’ve saved the all-time fan favorite episode for last, my interview with Catherine Rains.
If you hate your day job and spend your hours wishing for something different, Catherine’s inspiring story is the mindset check you need.
It’s common to long for something different, especially when you’re dreaming of building a new business.
But as you’ll see in Catherine’s story, when you switch your mindset and love your present moment (challenges and all) you’ll welcome your dream opportunities to flow to you!
At age 37, Catherine Rains had all the outward makings of success. She trained and studied for a respectable career and worked at a well known University. But like so many of us in “dream jobs”, she secretly began to hate it.
Her deeper calling was to become an artist, but in her current job she felt trapped.
Acknowledging how unhappy she was at work; Catherine had the realization that what you resist persists.
So, counter to her initial reaction of being annoyed by her job and wishing for something different, she intentionally began accepting that she was exactly where she was supposed to be.
This meant in circumstances at work where she would have once complained and let her internal dialogue go off the rails in negativity, she now simply said to herself:
This moment is my destiny, everything in my life has led me exactly here.
After months of practicing this, an incredible thing happened; Catherine realized she actually loved her job!
With this new found contentment in her present moment, she was able to call in more good things in her life, without resisting or trying to force a different outcome.
Although she didn’t stay at that job forever, she learned the power of sinking into her present moment to accept where she was and to know that it was where she was meant to be. She eventually began making art full-time for years.
What makes Catherine’s story so inspiring is that it isn’t all positive.
She was able to cultivate this feeling of gratitude and connection to her present moment through a breast cancer diagnosis, divorce and her eventual return to corporate work from making art full-time.
Loving your life today doesn’t mean pretending nothing bad happens, it’s accepting exactly where you are as the path you’re meant to be on.
How can you learn from Catherine’s story and apply her transformative mindset shifts to your life? Here are 3 key practices she used that you can try today.
1. Repeat Affirmations
Affirmations are an incredibly powerful practice that you can incorporate into your life. And despite what you may have seen on Pinterest or self-help blogs, they aren’t just about pretending everything is perfect and ignoring the negative in life. Remember Catherine’s life-changing affirmation:
“This moment is my destiny”
Rather than fighting against the challenges she was presented with; these four simple words allowed a radical level of acceptance that removed her resistance.
The next time you feel annoyed with your present circumstance, try repeating this affirmation to yourself. You’re in this exact moment for a reason, and when you stop fighting against it, you’ll expand and grow.
2. Harness the Power of the Present Moment
Catherine shared an interesting phenomenon in her story – that once she stopped obsessing and longing over being “somewhere else”, more opportunities and the next right steps presented themselves to her.
If we don’t mindfully practice staying in the present moment, our whole lives can pass us by. Our brains constantly jumping from replaying past events to worrying about our futures. But the magic of life happens in the present moment. You can use affirmations to reconnect to the present moment as well. A traditional example is:
“I Am Here Now”
3. Stop Forcing, Go With the Flow
I’ve spoken about this on Courage & Clarity before. Don’t try andcontrol every detail in your life to force an outcome. The greatest moments in your life will happen when they’re allowed to unfold naturally.
Your job is to show up and take action each day, but at a certain point you need to accept that you don’t have control over every minute detail. You’ll know you’re in flow with your decisions when the choice is clear. Get quiet and listen for your intuition.
If you’re overthinking a decision or ignoring red flags that it’s not right, you’re forcing. Step back and look for signs that you’re on the right path, and be open to different circumstances coming true.
There will always be obstacles as you build a business you care about. They'll block your clarity and make you second guess if you’re “cut out for this”. Remember that if this were easy, everyone would be doing it. But they aren't.
The good news is that with self-awareness and small adjustments, you can bust through these common blockers.
For this Summer Series pick, we’re going back two years on the podcast! I share the 8 most common obstacles I’ve noticed coaching business owners.
See if you recognize one or more of these clarity blockers showing up in your business building journey…
You don’t know your Minimum Viable Income
Guesswork and your financial goals are a recipe for disaster. Why? The number in your head is almost always more than the actual amount needed. This causes unnecessary stress and worry. Take the time to complete the exercise in the link above, then come up with a concrete plan to generate the income you need. It really can be that simple!
Ask yourself: What can I do today to get myself to my minimum viable income?
You’re always learning for learning’s sake and you don’t apply it
In a world where any information is at your fingertips 24/7, it’s easy to binge on courses and articles that don’t support where you are right now. Practice “just in time learning” instead.
Make sure the information you consume is useful and relevant to the stage of business you’re in now. If you haven’t chosen a topic for your biz - you do NOT need to learn about SEO yet!
Ask yourself - what do I need to learn about right now?
You don’t put first things first
Think of your business building in terms of steps along a path. Many entrepreneurs stress themselves out and freeze up. How? They’re on step number one and worrying about step number ten! There’s a path for all of this, you simply can’t do it all at once. Don’t focus on what’s ahead, stay where you are. Remember: you won’t be the same person in a few steps. The person on step ten is more experienced and ready for what lies ahead.
Ask yourself: How can I trust my future self?
You don’t understand the audience and product cycle
To have a business all you need is a thing for sale and people to buy it. It’s simple in theory, difficult in practice! Everything in business comes back to this cycle.
In order to hit your MVI - you have to have an audience + a product/service/offer they want. Building an audience can be hard and involves discipline, you have to play the long game. As you grow your audience and release products, you’ll collect feedback iterate, then release again. There aren’t short cuts. The engine and heart of your biz will always be building your audience and improving your products.
Ask yourself: what am I doing to grow my audience + improve my product offerings?
You’re not keeping track of your progress
Building your own business is a long slog if you’re constantly chasing the next goal. You have to celebrate the small wins along the way. There will be many small wins on your path to “success” - don’t wait until you’re at an imaginary finish line to celebrate. Otherwise, it feels like a treadmill - you’ll always look to the next milestone. Trust me, the goal post always moves further - so you have to celebrate how far you’ve come at every step of the way.
Ask yourself: What small win and progress can I celebrate today?
You’ve stopped learning
This is the opposite of clarity blocker number 2! Some biz builders procrastinate by learning more than they need at the moment. But this blocker is reminder that you need to expand. It could be reading a book, listening to a podcast or taking a course. Learning more will inspire new ideas and new depth in your work. This may happen when you’ve reached a level of success where you feel too busy to learn. The risk here is letting your creativity get stale. Keep momentum and new energy in your business by learning what you need to know for your next step.
Ask yourself: What have I done to keep my edge lately?
Bells and whistles syndrome
Another common challenge when we have the internet at our fingertips 24/7! Great marketing will make you question if you have the tools you need. You may think you need all the new and shiny things to make progress. Remember, there will always be a new tool, app, platform and invention trying to get your attention. The core of your business will always be you. It’s important to know the difference between a tool that will make your work simpler and more effective vs shiny object syndrome.
Ask yourself: Is this investment necessary, or a distraction?
You’re not leading with your meaning
When you build a business you actually care about, everything must come back to your why. Don’t focus too much on the outcome. If you disconnect from why you’re doing this, it will be hollow. Stay anchored in what you care about, why you’re doing this and show up to serve your people.
Ask yourself: Do my daily actions connect with my deeper why?
This episode of the Summer Series is all about sales!
I’m on a mission to make sales simple, aligned and easy. This episode was in response to the common struggles I hear in my community:
“I hate selling + avoid it at all costs”
“I got burnt last time + am afraid to try again”
“I’m worried I haven’t nailed the perfect pitch”
“I freeze up when it’s time to ‘make the pitch’”
Can you relate? If sales make you feel this way, it’s no wonder they’re such an unpopular part of building a business!
There’s got to be a better way.
If you’re ready to actually enjoy selling and move past your fear of sales, there’s just one thing I need you to let go of.
Because it’s killing your sales and holding you back.
Can you guess what it is?
Sales based on desperation keep you stuck in a fear based mindset. The key to selling in a connected and easeful way is to have faith that whether you get the sale or not, you’re going to be okay.
Let go of that need for your launch or offer to work no matter what. Leave room for experimentation and play. Picture yourself with a lab coat on! You’re simply gathering data and making adjustments as needed.
To support you further on your selling journey, I’ve put together the following powerful statements you can turn to when you need them.
15 Supportive Affirmations (when you’re stuck in the fear of selling)
I am offering help that the right people would love to have.
I do not need to convince anyone to do anything. That’s not my job.
I’m genuinely excited to go out there and provide true value with my …
Selling is simply providing an invitation to go deeper.
I do not need my next offering to generate sales. I am safe, worthy and I will figure out how to get where I’m going.
Selling is fun & natural. If I’m not having fun I commit to taking a step back unti lI can re-approach with lightness.
If no one purchases my offer it isn’t a comment on me as a person. If that happens I’ll analyze the data and use if for my next step.
Making more sales won’t solve all of my problems.
I have what it takes to be an entrepreneur because I will NOT quit.
I’m in this for the long haul and recognize that good things take time. It’s ok to grow slow.
Here are all the reasons why this offer will truly help someone:
Ideas I have for offering free value that sound fun:
How can I talk about my offer as a natural way to go deeper if people want more?
Even if I completely bomb and my business closes forever I am going to be ok. I will be just fine. There are a million ways I can go and make money if I need to from Starbucks barista to corporate job. I believe in my ability to deal with that if it comes.
Selling can be fun and easy if I let it be fun and easy.
If you’d like a beautiful copy of these affirmations for your office, go to courageandclarity.com/sales to download your own!
For this episode of the Summer Series, I’m revisiting one of my personal favorites!
If you follow the online marketing world, you definitely know about Amy Porterfield. She’s a successful podcast host, course creator and master of profitable webinars. My favorite part of interviewing one of my biz heroes? She’s just as warm, authentic and amazing in person as her “online persona”!
In our conversation, you’ll hear three key topics.
Amy’s backstory and path to the million-dollar business owner she is today, why she recommends doubling down on one idea, and exactly how to host profitable webinars.
There’s so much goodness packed into our conversation, let’s get right into it!
Amy’s Early Days
You know that feeling when you want to share your gifts with the world, but a nasty little voice in your head whispers “what right do you have to be doing this?!” Ugh. It’s tough, and even business rockstars like Amy Porterfield battle these feelings. It even held her back from starting to act on her entrepreneurial dreams for over a year.
Amy’s backstory reminds us that we all have fears we must face in this journey. She also shares some really smart choices she made along the way.
Instead of leaping out of her corporate job with the Tony Robbins organization, she did so in small increments. She put herself in roles that were outside of her comfort zone, where she could learn and apprentice while still making a steady income. She took proactive steps to gather as much knowledge as she could before she struck out on her own.
She also learned the hard lesson of building a business of her own that she actually hated, and stayed in it for two whole years!
Now, you would think that once Amy started selling her own courses, they were a big hit right away, right?
Her first few launches were flops, but she kept at it.
How did she find her success?
Stick To One Thing
Even though Amy’s first launches weren’t home runs, she continued to listen to what her audience wanted. Once she had some mild success, she launched the same program multiple times.
Instead of chasing the next great idea, or giving up on a course after its first launch, she stuck to one thing.
Her revenue climbed from 30,000k to 900,000k by improving marketing and content on the same program.
It’s simple advice, but so incredibly powerful. Take your good idea and stick with it.
If you’re working on a project right now and plan on moving to something new next, maybe you can:
Tweak the marketing copy for better results
Survey your audience members for crucial feedback
Show your project (course, group program, coaching package) to trusted business builders from your inner circle for feedback
Amy’s story is an inspiring example of what you can achieve when you stick with one idea. When you improve a business offering rather than starting all over again from scratch, you optimize your time, energy and effort.
Most importantly, you have the opportunity to maximize your profits!
Now, let’s get into Amy’s favorite technique to sell your products.
Amy’s Top Tips for Effective & Profitable Webinars
Webinars, when done correctly, really are a thing of beauty. You can build an engaged audience, sell out group programs and sky rocket your course sales.
If your webinar is an hour long, the ratio should be 45 minutes of teaching and 15 minutes of selling. When the bulk of your content is focused on providing value and teaching something useful to your views, you earn the right to sell to them at the end.
Whether attendees buy your product or not, they must walk away feeling excited, inspired & driven to take action. ~ Amy Porterfield
How does Amy organize herself before a webinar? She recommends you give yourself a week to plan out your webinar, and have it ready far in advance of your dates. When you start planning, remember her helpful tips.
Use a slide deck – you don’t have to be on camera.
Take them on a journey – tell a story (about you or student) that the person watching will say “holy cow it’s me”. Give them an aha moment!
Figure out - where are your potential students? What are they struggling with? What do they need?
Amy’s Slide Framework:
Get them excited about the opportunity
Share a personal story
Get to the point and teach your content!
Flow through a step by step process and formula. Allow them to see the big picture.
Give attendees the “what” during your sides and explain that the product is the “how”
Before Your Webinar: How to Increase Signups & Engagement
Send a pre-webinar email series 7-5 days ahead of webinar.
Don’t invite too early and don’t assume people will see one invite and definitely come. They must be reminded!
Fast action bonuses are effective. What can you offer to those who sign up live on the call?
On video for beginning and ending Q+A can improve engagement and sales. Video is powerful and builds trust.
After Your Webinar: How to Convert & Increase Purchases
When the webinar’s finished, there’s still work to do! Make sure you have a post webinar email sequence complete and ready to go. Here’s an example of what to include in four followup emails:
Replay link (limited time 48-hour access)
Promote program – outline modules tell them exactly what they’ll learn
Case study, testimonial that proves your products value.
Time is running out! Encourage action and imply scarcity.
Interviewing Amy for Courage & Clarity’s 100th episode was an absolute dream come true. She’s a powerhouse business woman and someone I’ve looked up to as I build my own biz!
I’ve also personally used her webinar techniques and have seen incredible results with them.
Are you ready to host your own webinar? Head over to the Courage & Clarity Community and tell me all about it!
The Courage & Clarity Summer Series wouldn’t be complete without a Bizdom episode, featuring Megan Hale!
With all of the platforms and tactics available for you to use, business building can get over complicated and overwhelming, real quick! It’s easy to get caught up in trying ALL the things.
There’s no question that gaining momentum in the early days of your business is tough. So, for your own blueprint to building an audience with less frustration, keep reading below…
Know Your Ultimate Goal
Whether the number is 100 or 100,000 - it’s vital that you know why you’re aiming for a certain number of subscribers. If you just choose a number out of thin air or because you see others achieving the same, you’re simply chasing vanity metrics.
Ask yourself “what is my ultimate goal”?
Are you trying to fill a group program or land your first three clients? Once you know the answer to this question, you can work backwards to attract the numbers you’ll need. New entrepreneurs often think that more audience = more success. This type of thinking will keep you chasing the next milestone and may not even give you the business results you want!
Give yourself permission to be small but mighty. A tight, connected and valued audience of 50 may give better client results than an Instagram following of 2000. You can create a viable business from a smaller following, just always keep your ultimate goal in mind.
The Challenge Of Too Many Directions
Now that you know exactly why you’re building your audience, you can move into the how.
It’s common to spread yourself too thin, especially in the beginning. It’s good to test different tactics in your biz as you discover what works best for you and your audience. Just make sure that before you get traction, you’re focused and really going all in before you try another.
You’ll have more success if you give 100% in one area, than if you give 20% in multiple areas. You can’t be everywhere all at once, especially if you’re a solopreneur.
Plus, it takes time to learn and master the different platforms and techniques. Give yourself the knowledge and time in one key area before you move onto the next idea.
“When you spread your energy all over the place, you create overwhelm.”
- Megan Hale
How To Choose Where To Show Up
Popular business coaching advice makes it seem like there’s always a new trend you must follow in order to be successful. Megan and I do things differently than that. We teach entrepreneurs like you how to lean into your intuition and get clear on what will work best.
To choose a platform, simply ask yourself these four questions:
Where can I have the most impact?
Where am I most comfortable, so I can zero in and focus.
Where do I want to show up?
What feels exciting to me?
Feel Good Marketing
When you market from the heart without gimmicky tricks, it will feel like an authentic invitation. The best way to achieve this is to anchor your marketing around the transformation.
What story are you telling? Think of it like a bridge. Your audience must see themselves on the other side, after they’ve used your solution. What will their life look like after working with your or consuming your content?
To connect, you must paint the picture of where your clients want to be. This shows them you understand the path they’re on. With understanding comes trust, and with trust comes connection.
To take the pressure off, understand that your marketing will never end. At every subscriber milestone you reach, you have to stay in front of people and be visible. Otherwise, your message can lost amongst the noise.
Please let go of the myth that you’ll reach a point where your people will just come to you. It will take continuous work, but it can be fun!
What If You’re Still Stuck?
If you’re reading this article and thinking to yourself “yep, I’ve tried all of that!” but are still not building your audience, here are four troubleshooting questions to ask yourself:
Am I being specific enough? To build and audience and attract raving fans you must nail the answer to a question your potential audience has.
Have I completed Customer Conversations? It’s tempting to skip this step, but if you efforts are falling flat, the best way to learn your potential audience’s struggles and exact words they use is by talking directly with them. I even have a whole course on this topic in Fizzle you can check out!
Do I have any feedback from past attempts to grow my audience? If you put together a workshop or email opt-in and the results are underwhelming, ask why! To build a healthy business, you must accept and seek out constructive feedback to grow and do better.
Am I leveraging my network? - Own your message and share it bravely. You can write personal emails with specific asks. Your connections want to help you! There’s no end to the creative ways you can get in front of potential clients.
Did I miss anything on this list? Head over to the Courage & Clarity Community and share your best tips to get your first (or next) 100 subscribers!
I’m super excited to revisit today’s Summer Series episode – all about my 15 Minute Planner Method!
Why all the excitement? Not only was this *the* community anchor that changed the course of Courage & Clarity forever – but I also have a freshly updated version of it for you to download!
Get your hands on the brand new design here: courageandclarity.com/plan
I created The 15 Minute Planner based off of direct feedback from my audience AND my own personal experiences. This episode is a refresher course on how to plan and organize your week with:
Structure to get the right things done instead of waking up wondering what to work on
Flexibility to account for real life and the surprises it throws at you
Prioritization of the important tasks that often gets pushed aside
A Lesson in Productivity
If you’ve ever felt like you’re busy all the time but don’t get enough done, the following analogy will help you see why.
If you were to fill a jar with rocks, pebbles and sand, the only way for them all to fit would be to add them in that exact order. Try it any other way, and the same amount simply won’t fit.
Now, let’s take those items and assign a type of task for each:
Rocks are your commitments and pre-scheduled appointments. They are time bound, and you’ve said yes to them. These could be business related or personal, such as meetings or doctor’s appointments.
Pebbles are the GBAs growth-based actions of your business. Examples are writing blog articles, creating products, recording podcasts. These tasks have no timeline. Because of this, they feel optional – exciting but not urgent.
Sand is your administrative work.. They’re recurring baseline tasks like email, social media and chores. You always have to do them, but they’re never done! We often see them as urgent obligations that we have to tend to consistently.
Where we tend to go wrong…
If you spend the majority of your week showing up to your Rock commitments and getting the busy work or your admin Sand done - you won’t have time left for your pebbles aka GBAs! Just like the jar, your tasks won’t fit.
The 15 Minute Planner Method shows you how to prioritize the right actions in your business, every week, without fail.
New for 2019!
My updated 15 Minute Planner download includes not only a new beautiful, easier to read format, but also a fillable PDF version! This is perfect if you’d like to print out the worksheet each week OR type right into the document (for all my digital planner lovers out there!)
If you’d like a beautiful, illustrated version of this worksheet, just go to courageandclarity.com/plan and download your own copy today.
We’re halfway through the Courage & Clarity Summer Series – 12 must-listen episodes I’ve chosen to revisit and showcase!
Today we’re talking about how to run your own Business Staycation. A practice that some may see as frivolous, but I believe is necessary. You’ll take 24-48 hours check yourself into a local hotel (ideally) and plan out your next quarter or year.
It’s like a corporate retreat – that anyone can host for themselves.
This episode was an instant hit when it aired last year. Our community rallied around this idea and was eager to learn how to run their own.
This practice will help lift you out of worker bee mode and straight into strategic CEO mode – so you can stop spinning your tires and start making meaningful progress on your business.
Why Should You Run Your Own Business Staycation?
If you’ve ever found yourself in a rut or uninspired by showing up to the same work space day after day, a change of scenery will boost your creative and innovative energy. Switch up your environment, even for one night, and you’ll break repetitive patterns and gain new perspective on your business. Often, we work so intensely IN our businesses, we don’t work ON our businesses.
If you follow my framework below and include some “you time” in your Staycation – you’ll leave with a strategic yet flexible business plan and a refreshed sense of spirit.
This is important if you spend time and energy on your business but have trouble making time for yourself. You are the engine that keeps your business running, when you make yourself a priority, your business will improve as well.
Now that you understand why you should have a Biz Staycation, let’s get into the details of what will happen during it!
The Details Of Running A Business Staycation
To get the full benefits of this practice, I highly recommend taking a minimum of 24 hours away from everyday life. Clear your calendar, drop your kids off at a sitter and put your email on “out of office” mode.
The goal is to remove distractions so you can get intentional with your self-care and business planning.
You can make this idea work at any budget. It doesn’t have to be fancy, I book a hotel in the suburbs of the city I live in. When you do this your ability to innovate will sky rocket – there’s a reason successful corporations run retreats for their employees!
You can book Staycations quarterly or bi-annually. They’re also great to schedule when your creative energy is in a dip. If you listen closely and watch for ebbs and flows in your energy throughout the year, you’ll start to see patterns and seasons where you feel creative, excited and on top of everything or drained and needing space to plan the next big phase.
A Staycation scheduled when you know your energy is dipping is just the boost you may need.
You can book your Staycation by yourself, or if you have team members nearby, consider making it a retreat with them as well. You can also use messaging and walkie-talkie apps to keep your non-local accountability buddy or biz bestie near by to bounce ideas off of.
The 4 Step Planning Framework I Use During My Staycations
You can follow your intuition and plan however you choose. But if you’d like an easy to follow guide, I’ll show you mine below. Get yourself some poster board, tape, sharpies and set your room up so you’re ready to write when the brainstorm session begins. Then, set up four poster boards with the following titles:
Dreams 2019 and beyond
Set a timer for 30 minutes and write everything you want to do if you know you couldn’t fail. Don’t hold back here - get all of your biggest dreams out around your work, finances, travel and personal life. No dream is too big to get a spot on this list, go for it!
What’s working/ what’s not
Get honest with yourself and get it all out on paper. It’s normal for you to feel disappointment when you list what’s not working. It can be painful, but don’t beat yourself up. To grow, improve and succeed you must identify what needs to change. Then you can move forward and make progress.
Get clear on your revenue goals, there’s no need to guess at how much you should make. Map out how you can make the money and tie it into your dreams. Take your yearly revenue goal and work backwards. What services and products are needed and how much of each do you need to sell? You’ll leave this exercise with clarity on what work you need to focus on.
Turn your vision into a plan by looking ahead by quarter or 6 months and map out what content you’ll produce to support your products and grow your audience. You’ll feel confident and ready as you add these content buckets to your calendar. No more guessing each week on what you should be writing or podcasting about!
If you’d like even more detail and support for the four step framework, join my Year On The Wall Training! I’ll show you exactly how to plan the last half of 2019 to have your best six months yet. You can register at courageandclarity.com/wall
Welcome back to episode 5 of the Summer Series!
You’re in for a treat today. Not only is my interview with Dana from Minimalist Baker the most downloaded C&C episode ever, but it includes her best tips to create a rock-solid brand that you and your audience will love.
If you’ve ever been asked “what do you do?” and end up tripping over your words, this is the episode for you.
Before we get into Dana’s juicy branding tips, there’s another reason this episode is a must listen.
You may look at Dana’s super successful blog, 1.6 million Instagram followers, her print and electronic cookbooks and online courses and think she’s always had success.
But like we’ve seen many times on this podcast before, we all have to start somewhere. Dana learned the basics of blogging on a completely different website (one that isn’t even available on the Internet anymore!)
In her courage half of this episode, she describes all the early mistakes she made as a newbie blogger. Her site had no real focus,and she attempted to build a lifestyle blog before she had built an audience. She would write about whatever she wanted – fitness, recipes, travel. You name it, she wrote about it!
What she realizes now as a veteran and successful blogger is that those early days were like her training wheels. Her writing skills improved, she learned the basics of how to set up and post on her blog. Once she realized that recipe posts were gaining in popularity, she wiped the slate clean and started over with Minimalist Baker.
Remember, the heroes that you look up to now were not always at the level they are now. Dana credits not giving up and letting a fear of making a fool of herself as a key to her success.
Principles for Branding
30 mins or less, 1 bowl, 10 ingredients or less – Minimalist Baker’s core message is crystal clear, and readers know exactly what to expect from the blog. Here are Dana’s top tips to create a strong brand that builds trust.
Internet interactions aren’t real life.
You have between 30-60 seconds to grab a reader’s attention and show them what you’re all about. Visitors to your site and your brand should know exactly what they’ll get when they find you.
Try and look at your blog with fresh eyes, is it clear what you’re offering?
You WILL repel customers and attract your dream customers.
This may scare early stage content creators, but it’s true. If you’re talking to everybody, you’re talking to nobody. You have to get okay with not everyone liking you or what you’re building. Get clear on who you are writing for, and write only for them. Trying to appeal to too many people will water down your message and hurt your brand. Stay focused and let anyone who isn’t into what you’re doing find something else. You’re there for YOUR people.
Stay essential to your core message.
Build your foundation around one core idea to begin. Stay tuned because you’ll read Dana’s tips for creating a concise and powerful mission statement later in this article.
Your core message should be what all of your content and effort orbits around. It connects you to your audience, and when you stay consistent with your message, you build trust.
But if you’re worried you won’t get to grow and end up feeling stifled by your core message, the next tip is for you…
A brand will evolve as the creator evolves.
We are multi-passionate beings and we have a diverse and exciting range of topics that we’re passionate about. Because of this, you may worry that you’re limiting your opportunities by focusing on one message.
Remember, as your brand and yourself or team grow, there will be time to evolve and add in new ideas.
This will happen naturally, but only after you’ve remained true to your original core idea.
The Power Of Consistency
Dana credits much of her success to her commitment to a consistent posting schedule. For the beginning years of Minimalist Baker she posted recipes every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. Her followers knew they could count on her blog for fresh, inspiring content like clockwork.
You don’t have to be the best, but you do have to add value and remain consistent.
- Dana Shultz
Be wise in the schedule you commit to, and don’t make excuses. She will often work 1-2 months ahead of schedule to give her grace if and when an unexpected life event pops up. She doesn’t use them as an excuse, she is always ready to adjust and stick to her posting schedule.
Crafting your mission statement
A well written and authentic mission statement will shape every facet of your business + content. Use it as a filter to influence you’re doing or not doing.
Before you try and write or re-write yours – ask friends and colleagues “what do you think I do here?”
Their answers will be very telling to how clear your brand is.
After you’ve done your research, take the common threads from your friends’ answers + your own answer, and distill it all down into one sentence.
Keep it concise – people don’t have time to figure out what you do. Compare “I share easy recipes” with “I share recipes that require one bowl, ten ingredients or less and thirty minutes or less.”
Do you see the difference?
Dana tells her readers exactly how her recipes are easy.
Where can you refine your brand?
Now it’s your turn. Take a look at your content, your website, the copy you write – is it crystal clear what you do? Ask your friends the same question and be open to their answers.
Then I challenge you to write a one sentence description of your brand and share it in the Courage & Clarity Community.
Episode 4 of the Summer Series takes us back to June 2017 and my interview with Rachel and Kristin of Clarity on Fire. If you ever look around at work and wonder why everyone looks happy but you, or if you’ve felt pressure to turn your passion into a profitable business - you need to hear what these ladies have to say.
Rachel and Kristin are life coaches who created a Passion Profile Quiz that has been taken over 300,000 times! This is clearly a topic that a lot of us feel confusion around.
We know we want to be happy, we know we need to work and we’ve been told over and over again that we should have a passion. But what if we don’t know what our passion is, or what if we confuse what we’re good at with being our passion?
It’s time to get out of this confusion and move forward with clarity.
In this episode you’ll hear the 3 steps to find your passion - and how to use this information to create a life and career you love.
The Pressure Placed On Our Passions
The ultimate answer to all of your problems. THE thing that will change everything in an instant. The way some people write and teach about finding your passion, it gets touted as the cure all that you’ve been waiting for.
You need to hear this: finding your passion will not solve everything.
In fact, it doesn’t have to be a big deal.
Doesn’t that sound like a relief? With so much pressure placed on one decision as a fix all - your decisions are forced and out of flow. Instead, lets look at insightful ways to find your passion AND how to actually create positive change in your life (instead of more pressure!)
3 Steps To Find Your Passion
1 - Understand that is is NOT an individual thing, prepackaged career job title or achievement
When you think of your passion a static thing to acquire, it limits the possibilities and your ability to grow and change as we all do.
Think of it this way…
If you decide your passion is to become a lawyer, and then put in years of study, student loan debt and hours and hours of work to finally become one. What happens if you ever decide to switch careers?
Does it mean you don’t have a passion anymore? Absolutely not.
Swap out thinking of your passion as a thing, and instead know that it is a set of desires, values, and what fascinates and lights you up inside.
These values can be present in a multitude of careers and life experiences. No matter what you do or where you work, you can return to your values.
2 - What you’re good at doesn’t equal your passion
You may have received praise and good grades for a certain subject in school. Or maybe there are skills in your life that you’re naturally good at.
Great, but that doesn’t always mean they are your passion. It’s possible those natural skills could be your passion, but it’s not a prerequisite.
The sweet spot to aim for is the overlap of interest and what you’re great at. This is where you can show up to work everyday feeling in alignment and happiness.
If you’re not a natural at what you’re interested in, don’t fear. You can always take trainings and educate yourself.
3 - Not everyone is meant to work in the same way or combine work & passion in the exact way
We too often look outside of ourselves and think we just should be happy because others around us are too.
The flaw in this way of thinking is that we are all unique - and our ideal work environments will be too!
Rachel and Kristen’s Passion Profile suggests you get clear on your beliefs around time, money and passion.
Some women take comfort and find relief in the steadiness and predictability of a 9-5 job, while others need an array of hours and work scenarios to feel fulfilled. Neither woman is right or wrong, they merely have differing values around time.
The same holds true for money. I might need a steady paycheck direct in my bank account every two weeks - where you might feel completely stifled and held back if you were able to directly influence and determine the exact amount of money you could make week to week.
When it comes to passion, there is also different beliefs that everyone has. Popular opinion may have in the past judged someone for not turning their passion into profit. However, we now see that this can be an incredibly respectful way that some protect and cherish their passions. By not putting financial pressure on them, as Liz Gilbert wrote in Big Magic.
It’s about HOW you want to be working
If you’re unhappy at your current job, it’s not what you’re doing, but how you’re doing it. You could be in a job that seemingly checks off all of the boxes, but if it goes against your values around time, money or passion, it will feel out of alignment.
When we feel out of alignment, it will only increases until we do something about it. You’re not broken, you just might be in the wrong job. When you get clear on your values you can find the right setting and system that will give you all that you dream of in your career.
We’re all meant to show up and work in different ways.
There’s no cookie cutter “right” career for anyone. Remember, your jobs can change but as long as they are aligned with your values you’ll find the peace within that we all crave.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this episode, two years after the original air date. Head over to The Courage & Clarity Community and share your favorite takeaway from this conversation!
It’s time for episode 3 of the Summer Series!
This is an action packed and super tactical episode about getting clients, with solid steps and advice to make your biggest dreams a reality.
Remember, you don’t control all of the “hows” in your business. You only control:
Keeping your eyes firmly planted on where we want to go, what the end destination looks and feels like + the unshakable belief you can get there
Taking your next best step
This episode highlights my 5 best tips for you to get real, paying customers. It involves some elbow grease and proven sales strategies - but not the ones you might think.
When you’re first getting started, I don’t recommend advertising, funnels or even a sales page.
Instead, you can use these universal practices that anyone can do, no matter your financial situation or circumstances.
If you’re struggling to get your first customers, these steps may surprise you in their simplicity. While they aren’t easy, they are the most direct and actionable path for you to get clients rolling in.
1. Go One On One With Your Services
If you’re looking for the quickest way to get paid, this is it. While creating content, building a following and offering an online course is often the dream - that’s playing the long game. The time it takes to find and grow your audience will be much longer than narrowing down your search to finding 2-3 clients to work with directly.
Trust me, even if you don’t plan on working with clients one on one forever, as a starting point this method can’t be beat. Why?
When you work one on one with clients, you can charge more for your time and you don’t need to find as many people. You may be scared off by popular business advice telling you not to trade time for money - but working with a small core group of clients will enable you to hone your craft and generate income. You can scale later, but this will build your solid foundation.
The best way to work one on one with clients? I’ll cover that in my second recommendation...
2. Craft ONE Core Offer
I wish I had done this when I was first starting out! In the hopes of helping and reaching as many people as I could with my services, I had multiple offers trying to solve multiple problems.
The problem with this was twofold.
It was confusing for my potential clients and for me! Having too many directions at once meant when people checked me out they had decision fatigue. All of my offers made it unclear how I could help them specifically. Plus, my wide range of offers meant I had a tough time pitching myself and explaining exactly who I helped and how.
Creating one, solid core offer solves these issues.
As the business owner, you can share your offer with ease and clear language. There’s no guessing. And anyone wondering if your services will help them will know in detail how you help, how long you help for and what it will cost.
To create your core offer, consider the following.
Think about your business and services. What’s an ideal time frame you would need to work with someone to help them with their transformation? Make this the length of your offer. Then decide on a price, based on the value they receive not the hours involved. Know the overarching details of your offer, such as number of calls clients get with you and practice saying it aloud.
Now you’re ready to sell what you do!
3. Leverage IRL (In Real Life) Opportunities
I’ve noticed a funny thing when a new entrepreneur decides to start an online business. They completely overlook the multitude of ways they can create connections and find clients in their own community!
No amount of online marketing wisdom can compete with the power of face to face connections when you’re first starting out.
If you’re thinking to yourself, “Ugh, networking? It’s so awkward!” I’ll gently remind you about that one piece of this all you can control. Showing up and taking your next best step. To make it on your entrepreneurial journey, you’ve got to put in the work - even the awkward work you’d rather skip.
Remember, the goal of networking isn’t even about selling your services on the spot. You need to be out there talking about what you do, because there’s always someone who knows someone else.
Your message spreading outward from people you’ve looked in the eye and shaken hands with is powerful and underutilized in our dreams of working completely online.
4. Use The Power Of Your Personal Connections
Remember the elbow grease I was talking about at the beginning of this article? Here’s where that really comes into play.
Instead of tinkering with your website and sales page- try this instead:
Make a contact list of anyone (seriously, anyone that might be a fit) that you can reach out to, to tell them about what you’re working on. Let them know you’re looking for people who may be interested in having a coffee chat about the problem you’re solving with your biz.
These aren’t hard sales calls, these are opportunities to talk about their pains and you being helpful.
Set a weekly goal for yourself for how many coffee chats you’re going to have. This is the work that will bring paying clients closer to you. Showing up, being visible and being helpful. Could you commit to booking five calls a week? If you can continue this practice, it’s only a matter of time before you’ll land clients.
5. You Don’t Have To Get Paid, But You Have To Get Something
“Steph, I’m just starting out. Should I charge clients right away or offer my services for free to gain experience?!” - I’ve heard this question once or a hundred times.
If you ask ten business coaches this question, chances are you’re going to get ten different answers. It really is a personal decision that depends on where you’re at in your journey.
If you’re new in your business but confident your skills can take your clients from point A to point B in their lives - consider charging an introductory rate. This will allow you to get paid while gaining confidence and sharpening your skills and services.
But - if you’re so new in the game that thought of charging clients makes you freeze up, you can trade your services for referrals and/or testimonials. You need to get something out of this transaction, and no, experience isn’t enough!
You Have To Be Willing To Do The Work
There you have it, my top five tips to get your first three clients!
These aren’t tricks or hacks to avoid the inevitable hard work needed to succeed. They are actions you can take starting today to get one step (and one client) closer to your dream becoming a reality.
Episode two of the Summer Series is here!
Today I’m showcasing episode 108: “Is Your Dream Really Possible?” After a student of mine described her backup plan (that her coaching business needed to succeed in ten years or she was returning to retail) I knew I needed to dig into the topic of backup plans. This episode shows why this way of thinking can sabotage our greatest efforts without us realizing it.
Backup plans are common, and they can feel practical and comforting! But what you’ll hear in this episode is that a backup plan is like whispering to The Universe: “psssst, I’m not sure if this is really going to work”.
This is dangerous thinking for you as a business builder, so let’s dig into how to create an unshakable belief that yes you can do this.
The Danger of Backup Plans
Expect your dreams to come true in a predictable and comfortable way and you ask for the impossible. While it’s common for new entrepreneurs to clutch and hold onto the “how” of their success, this becomes a mental block where it appears so on the surface or not.
A backup plan is in direct odds with the energy of your dreams. It places limits on how you might achieve success and creates thoughts that will ultimately hold you back rather than move you forward.
If your thoughts are already focusing on what to do if you don’t reach your dreams, your mind has already been made up. You see an end result where you don’t succeed, and your thoughts and actions will follow.
To see your dreams into reality, you must accept and be ready for a level of discomfort that may scare you. It takes a lot of trust to continue believing even when things look uncertain.
This Isn’t About Being Reckless
Letting go of your limiting beliefs and backup plans doesn’t mean you jeopardize your relationships or financial security. This isn’t what it takes to be “all in”.
So how do you ditch the backup plans without throwing responsibility to the wind?
The first step is always to take a hard look at the conditions you’re setting for yourself. Do you know your minimum viable income? Or are you only going to launch your coaching business until you have an emergency fund of $100,000 saved away?
Most of us create backup plans and limitations because we believe we need more than we actually do.
Dreams don’t come true without some uncomfortable moments along the way, to see this through to the end you’ll need to accept and welcome this.
If you’re adverse to discomfort, it becomes easier to make excuses. You need to be so sure of your inevitable success that excuses become irrelevant.
If you’re wondering how you could possibly develop this unshakable belief in yourself, keep reading for my best actionable tips to get you there…
7 Ways To Believe In The Largeness Of Your Dream
See where you’re going - it’s important to know that you every step in your journey. Have a clear vision of where you’re headed and be open to the non-linear path to get there. What do you want your dream to look and feel like? What fuels your desire for your dream?
Trust that showing up is enough - know that the effort you’re putting in today is enough. Keep taking steps even when it seems like they aren’t leading anywhere.
Believe that every step is a part of your unfolding of your dream - there is nothing you’re doing right now that isn’t a part of your future dreams coming true. Even if you receive surprising or challenging news that throws you off track, there are no missteps.
Accept that you don’t have (or ever will) have all of the answers - your job is to keep showing up and taking action.
You don’t control the timeline - a surprise incident could change everything in a second. You never know when the right person is going to hear your podcast or the right influencer will share your blog post. The only thing you control is your actions and ability to keep showing up.
Trust your future self to take care of future problems or success - fear of success is a real thing because more success can mean more pressure. Know that In the future you’ll be equipped to handle anything that comes your way, even if you doubt that now.
Stop overthinking and look for your next best step - you don’t need to know ten steps ahead., this is sure path to analysis paralysis. Note when you get lost in a sea of overthinking and instead get comfortable with taking ONLY your next best step.
Bonus Tip: The Post-It Trick
Here’s a fun, easy and tactile visualization exercise to help you take action.
The next time you want to bring more of your people in, place blank post-it notes somewhere visible near where you do your work.
Maybe you have a launch coming up or are on the hunt for you next three clients.
Then look at those blank papers and know, have faith that the names will begin filling in. You won’t know who they are yet, or exactly when it’s going to happen, and be okay with that.
I used this practice during a launch for my pre-sale of a course. Why did it work so well? It felt like a game! It was energizing and motivating and allowed me to celebrate each name that was added. The more you can celebrate the little successes in your business, the more momentum and fun you’ll build.
Welcome to the Courage & Clarity Summer Series!
For the next twelve weeks, we’re going deep into the archives to revisit 12 must listen episodes of the podcast. I hope you’ll find a new nugget inspiration out of each episode. Especially if your own business has changed since these episodes originally aired.
I believe this podcast balances the head and the heart of entrepreneurship.
So, in true C&C style the Summer Series celebrates our best “head” (actionable, tactical advice to help you build the biz of your dreams) and “heart” episodes (think - mindset, courage, values driven inspiration).
To start the series off, we’re going back almost 100 episodes, to my first interview with my current coach, Jessica Eley.
In this episode she talks about two different kinds of money you can make as an entrepreneur - and why it’s important you know the difference between them.
You can’t think your way to clarity. Action always comes first. - Jessica Eley
Quick and dirty vs fun and passion driven money
As an entrepreneur, you’ve got big dreams, and a “calling” to do something special in the world. This is what fun and passion driven work is all about.
But - before you place all your bets on your big lofty goals - Jessica explains why getting your feet wet (and keeping money rolling in) through quick and dirty work is essential. She also shares her personal experience of replacing her corporate income in two (!) weeks using this method as a copywriter.
The key takeaways about the quick and dirty money approach:
It’s not meant to be forever. In fact, it’s not sustainable and it’s not supposed to be.
You can take a skill set you honed at a previous job and leverage it into your first entrepreneurial hustle.
You don’t need a website! You can get on the phone, hop on a Skype call, make some real life connections - and be in business right away.
Pay attention to what you like and don’t like while you help others. It will create clarity in your bigger grander vision.
You’ll need to think on your feet, be nimble and get clear on how you like to work - all important parts of working for yourself.
This episode and the wisdom Jessica drops is required listening for the C&C Community.
If you could make some calls and make some quick and dirty money, how would you do it? Or if you’ve already taken this path (like I talk about doing in the episode) I want to hear how you did it!
Head over to our free FB group and let me know what ideas you have to try out!
After 139 episodes I'm ready to stop.
(Don't worry, it's not what you think!)
This year I’m focused on going deeper. After a whirlwind 2018 full of new ideas and experiments, I've got to be honest with you, I'm excited to slow things down.
What does slowing things down look like for me? It’s creating space in my business to look at the big picture and leverage the body of work I've been hard at work creating for the past 2.5 years.
Yes friends, this summer I'm taking a strategic pause on publishing new podcast episodes.
Tune into this episode to hear:
My main motivations for pausing on creating new weekly content
How I'm revamping and breathing fresh life into my existing catalog of podcasts
Could this idea work for you? I share my best advice on how to know if it's time to hit pause - or push through and keep creating.
Listen, no matter your business, niche or work ethic, at some point creating fresh new content week after week is going to be hard. Instead of pretend like this never happens, I’m sharing my truth and taking you along for the ride to learn with me.
I hope you enjoy this vulnerable episode. Have you ever taken a strategic pause on making new weekly content? Hop over to The Courage & Clarity Community and tell us all about it!
Do you often ask yourself “what’s next!?” when it comes to your biz?
Today I'm sharing my personal experience of trying ALL the business things in 2018. In 2019, I've slowed down, become deliberate and focused on refreshing my existing projects in 2019.
I realized after an incredible year of trying multiple business offerings (1:1 client work, group programs, retreats, courses … the list goes on!)
I’m now ready to focus in on the best offerings and make them even better.
If you feel like your business is a treadmill of never ending new project ideas OR it feels stale and needs a refresh - this episode is for you!
If you’ve been around the Courage & Clarity Community for a little while now, you know that my year didn’t get off to the best start.
Normally I’m ready to hit January hard with goals that stick and a guiding word to lead me forward.
This year, not so much.
I gave myself some space and grace and knew when the time was right, my word and motivation would come to me. It took three months, but after a mastermind get together with my closest business pals, I had my word: DEEPER!
I’m usually all about starting the next project, trying out the next idea.
But 2019, and this podcast episode is all about tactical ways to bring fresh elements to an existing project. Now I ask myself: how can I get even better at past content and creations without starting all over again?
If you normally start new projects because they’re shiny, seemingly easier and fresh, have a listen to this episode and then ask yourself:
How can I go deeper with what I already have?
And when you have your answer, head over to The Courage & Clarity Community and share your answers with all of us!
If you’ve ever wondered if you “have what it takes” to be an entrepreneur - this episode is required listening.
Today’s guest, my friend and student Esmé Wang, is an author whose latest book Collected Schizophrenias debuted at #3 on the New York Times best sellers list. She’s also been featured in People magazine and the Today Show.
Her website Esméwang.com is an essential resource for ambitious people living with limitations such as chronic illness, mental health and care taking responsibilities.
She’s proof that with quality work and perseverance, you can achieve great things in your life. I’m thrilled for you to hear her inspiring story.
Esmé’s story begins working in a tech startup in San Francisco. While also writing her first book she endured extremely hard times including health issues that went undiagnosed.
After writing a book she believed fully in, she faced 41 rejections from publishers. Imagine her devastation - the book took five years to write. Her high hopes were dashed.
With her health deteriorating requested more and more remote work at her startup. She slowly became curious about entrepreneurship, listening to podcasts like The Fizzle Show.
In 2013/2014 - her health plummeted and she left her job. She then started a small online copy-writing and branding biz.
She never gave up on her love of writing and now, five years later she is celebrating great success in her career.
There is SO much to take away from Esmé’s incredible story.
In her Clarity episode you'll hear:
What an “Unexpected Shape” is (and why it will forever change your view on challenges)
How to reframe your limitations into boundaries
How to be creative and change your tools depending on your situation (friends, she wrote her bestselling book on an Iphone & Ipad Mini)
The value of persistence and taking matters into your own hands
Why giving yourself space and following your rhythms with work is essential
What “Phase Fog” is + why keeping records is so important
If you’ve been around the Courage & Clarity podcast for long enough, you may remember that one of my first guests was Claire Pelletreau. Today, she’s back and we get into all sorts of good stuff around business and money.
Claire is the host of the Get Paid Podcast, and has an unmatched curiosity and ability to ask the tough questions that not many others are willing to ask. In the past five years she’s grown her Facebook Ads consulting business and she has so much experience to share.
Claire and I get real in this episode about the truth behind those “six figure businesses” you keep hearing about + she spills the #1 reason she raised her rates after many years. Plus, we get into her own early money mindset story, and how she went from scared and scarcity focused to confident and unafraid to talk about, and make great money.
You know you have an important message to share. Your people need to hear from you.
You may have gone through seasons where it was easy to put yourself out there consistently, or maybe you’re just getting started.
What can you do when you’re stuck and lose your voice? When you just need to hit send or publish and… you freeze up.
Today’s bizdom episode is a vulnerable and honest conversation between Steph and Megan Hale that listeners will instantly relate to.
Today’s conversation weaves between Steph and Megan’s shared experiences creating content. Megan opens up about the 15 month break she’s taken from podcasting and what fears are coming up for her now that she’s getting ready to launch a new season.
In this episode you’ll hear:
The risk of putting too much pressure on ourselves
Why you don’t have to be an expert to show up and be heard
How to show up courageously for your audience, even if you’re just a few steps ahead of them
Why doing it messy is essential
If you’re facing resistance and fear when you try to get your voice out there, know that you’re not alone. This conversation will be the motivation you need to show up bravely and put your work out there!