Today’s article is about how to start your year on the right foot. We are in a brand new year and sometimes it’s so easy to get off track, especially when you have family obligations during the holidays. And let’s face it, most of us, as business owners need a little downtime during this last quarter of the year. If you’re anything like me, trying to do it all sometimes is a little too much, even for the strongest people in the business world.
All too often we charge in when it would be better to assess where we are first. Especially if you haven’t had time at the end of the year. It can be painful to look back to see our mistakes and shortcomings. And yet, it’s the best way to determine what we need to do to make significant changes in our lives.
Before you prepare to start the new year with loads of new resolutions and goals, take some time to reassess your life in these different areas. It will help you to not be distracted the entire month of January because you will have focus, determination, and a great plan.
Ever wish you had more time for what was genuinely important to you? I get it! So do something about it. Make some changes. The first step is by looking at all the things you’ve taken on that no longer feel important. Consider each committee, sponsorship, extended family, and friend obligations that no longer feel fun.
If they feel like a burden, it’s time to unload them. That may feel challenging. After all, no one wants to let others down. But this is your life, and it’s time to choose you instead of others’ wants. Do you feel me here? It’s for you to decide what’s important to you.
If you wish you had more money but can’t or don’t want to work more to get it, take a careful look at your finances. Quite often, little wants turn into needs. Scan through last year’s bank statements and make a note of any recurring payments. You may wince when you see how much you’ve spent on unnecessary things throughout the year. Having occasional treats for you and your family is okay. But if “shopping therapy” has become a burden, now’s the time to fix it.
Make a list of all the ways you could cut back on without feeling deprived. For example, could you eat out two nights a week instead of four? Is it essential that you shop for clothes every month? So, how much could you save if you took your lunch to work three days a week instead of getting take-out?
Do you find it fun to have four bazillion TV channels? You can’t possibly watch them all! These are just a few ways you can trim expenses, so you can save for things that matter to you instead.
Dreams and Goals
Many people decide that not having enough time or enough money is the reason why they stay in dead-end jobs, don’t pursue their passions, or make real changes in their lives. If that was you and you’ve taken our advice and reevaluated your obligations and finances, those excuses should no longer be holding you back. Am I right?
So, what do you want really? To go back to school and start a new career? Turn your side-hustle or hobby into a business? Purchase and cook homemade, whole foods that support your health and wellness? By choosing to make those two changes in your life, you’ve now opened up a whole new world for yourself.
Grab it, and don’t look back!
Picture yourself happy and content, making more money than you ever did, because you made some decisions about your life that would change your 2022. Isn’t it amazing that doing just one thing could change your life around for the better? No, nothing is easy. But if you want to succeed in life, you will do what is necessary to get there.
One thing I know for sure is if you fail to plan you plan to fail. Don’t let that happen to you!
Contact me using the form below and I’ll help you work on a plan that’s right for you.
Today’s article will teach you 21 different ways to become a better leader. I think you will really enjoy reading this article. It will teach you so many different ways on how to be a better leader. Because if you’re going to be a business owner, you also need to be a great leader. Right?
Being a better leader can be simplified down to ‘always thinking of more ways to listen and help’. It is also about modeling strong, positive leadership through example.
Being a Great Leader
Here are twenty-one ways to up your game as a positive leader.
- Get Out There and Make Connections
The best leaders are insatiable at learning and improving every area of their lives. Part of this involves just getting out there and networking. Talk to peers and competitors, to find out what’s important to them nowadays. Go to conferences and symposiums and talk to experts. Want to ask someone a question? If you are close enough to have their phone number, just phone and ask!
Some of the best leaders are also introverts. It’s tough cold-calling or putting yourself out there if you’re one too—but the successful introvert leaders all say the same thing: You just have to do it. (And that it does get easier!)
Weak leaders shame-and-blame. Strong leaders hone in on specific problems and look for solutions. And they’re especially good at thinking up ‘third alternatives’ or out-of-the-box fixes that far exceed the standard solutions.
Strong leaders not only look for solutions, but they are also the first to take action on them and implement them. Leaders will find out the best people for specific tasks while others are still discussing possibilities. Leaders will fix plumbing leaks, find caterers at the last minute while others are bewailing a cooking disaster, and generally build up a “get-‘er-done” mentality.
And that includes getting it done for your people!
Don’t Be a Weak Leader
Part of being solution-oriented and action-oriented is knowing when to admit you need help when to ask for help – and then doing so! A good leader never hesitates to say, “Can you show me how to do this?” or, “Will you explain this to me, please?”
That’s because a great leader knows his or her own worth but is immune to the ego.
Leaders and excuses don’t go together. A strong leader never hesitates to admit when he or she is wrong about something.
Great leaders are voracious learners. They read books, as well as search the net. They are not afraid to go to the source and ask the experts. They listen to podcasts in their cars; go to seminars and workshops; find out how things work and know exactly who to call on for a myriad of needs or situations.
This type of curiosity is a great habit to develop—and it will keep you ahead of your competition and help you come up with concrete or decisive answers when others are still dithering.
Do Some Research
Effective leaders will take the time to do the research. And if they commission other people to do the research for them, they take the time to go over the results and make sure they understand all implications.
Great leaders never think of themselves as the top of the heap: There is always someone else they admire, follow, model themselves after, or consult. And they’re not afraid to admit it or shout out to their mentors, either.
Think back over your life: Who was your inspiration? Your mentor? If you’ve let them drop by the wayside, use this as a reminder to reconnect and keep up that valuable connection.
Nothing will endear you to your community more than approachability … especially if you protect yourself by making sure you also have clear boundaries around access.
If people feel you are approachable, they also feel that you care about them. You’ll never be the dreaded “tyrant boss” or coach, and by setting times and ways for contact, it ensures that contact occurs in a controlled manner and doesn’t burn you out.
Do you Have Skills?
- Actively Develop Your Communication Skills
Great leaders have great communication skills. They use these to convey visions, inspire people, negotiate a positive way through conflicts, and above all, they are great listeners. But they also actively develop these skills. They know that most people aren’t born with them, and they will go out of their way to acquire the best communications skills they can.
When you use ‘I’ statements within a leadership role, you subconsciously set yourself on a pedestal. Are you focusing on tasks and goals to accomplish, including your team by saying ‘we’ and giving them ownership of the task and goal?
When you do say ‘I’ make sure it’s paired with statements such as appreciation or gratitude statements, or include as many ‘you’ and ‘we’ statements as ‘I’ ones.
Everybody Needs Somebody
- Learn to Read Beyond What’s Spoken
Another top leader super-skill: ‘Reading’ people. This means not just listening to what’s said, but being able to accurately interpret other clues, such as tone, body language, and facial expressions. Effective leaders don’t let such things slipstream over them. They are able to instantly recognize when someone is dubious about something they’re in the middle of agreeing to, or being evasive under expressions of confidence—and get to the heart of the matter in a positive and reassuring way.
- Give Your Team the Right Tools
One of the easiest ways to enable and encourage your team to not only do a great job but enjoy and be inspired by the process is to give them the right tools. Don’t skimp on this: Giving your contractor or team member the pro version of the right tool will increase productivity and speed up the creation process.
And your team members will really appreciate your support.
- Be Aware of Your Own Body Language, Too
Don’t just focus on the body language of the people you are speaking to. Check your own body language, too! Do you look people you are speaking to in the eyes? Are you smiling and focusing on radiating a positive attitude? Are you lethargic, animated—or too animated? Are you practice “open” body language (angling toward your guest, for example, not crossing your arms or legs; or using wide-arm gestures that include the audience and bring them in).
Have you previously even thought of what your own body language says?
Are You Creating the Best Experience?
- Develop an Engaging Speaking Style
Record yourself speaking on more than one occasion; both informally and formally (e.g. when giving a speech or running through a podcast or webinar script). Play these practice runs back and listen.
Do you put yourself to sleep or do you do the opposite, and chatter so fast that you sound like a squirrel after espresso? Do you practice good breathing, so that your voice is resonant, not squeaky or ‘thin’? Are you fall back too frequently on meaningless phrases like ‘basically’? Do you repeat clichés and specific words too often? Are you hemming and hawing and stumbling?
Above all, is your voice real, authentic, clear, and warm?
Analyze your own voice objectively. Listen for all these things, decide where and how you need to improve and do it!
- Make a Habit of Being Goal-Oriented
The best leaders zero in on whatever goal they’re working on and move toward it without distraction.
Learn to cut out tangents and irrelevancies, and focus on your goals, be they huge or small; the ‘big picture’ or a detail. Learn not to allow yourself to be distracted into reactive mode, and get your team members effortlessly back on track.
I AM The BOSS!
- Don’t Be a Boss: Be a Leader!
A boss suffers from pedestal thinking: She thinks of her team members as minions instead of fellow professionals.
A leader doesn’t regard herself as the center of the universe: She shares the spotlight, the problems, and the praise with her team.
She gives credit, not takes it: A leader steps back to let her team shine. A leader helps people grow and is remembered as an inspiration in years to come.
- Be Prepared to Be a Decision Maker and Take Risks
Great leaders do something else that sets them apart from other professionals: After they have done the research, analyzed the facts, and brainstormed with their teams, they:
- Make decisions
- Take risks
This is because they have taught themselves not to fear failure. Great leaders know that sometimes projects or ideas fall short.
But they also know that avoiding decision-making and never taking a chance is the real failure!
- Listen for the ‘Wee Small Voice’
Great leaders are also not afraid to question themselves and their assumptions. They learn to be aware of that niggling inner voice that tells one that something isn’t right; or simply leads to a hint of nervousness or fear.
Experienced leaders question this ‘wee small voice’ immediately on becoming aware of it. They get to the ‘why’ behind the doubt or fear and face it head-on. Then they take action to eliminate potential problems that might have been causing the fear. They never let fear rule them or hide in sabotage.
- Be Proactive—not Reactive
It’s easy—especially when you are an online entrepreneur—to slip into reactive mode, and end up feeling like a chicken running around with its head cut off: Especially when you have many irons in the fire and people depending on you. But be sure to make time for things that matter (like your health and personal life), and be as proactive as you can. Plan things ahead of time. Delegate.
And once you’ve done all that, learn how to let things go.
- Make Time for the Things That Matter
Great leaders do their best to avoid burnout. They know they are human, just like everyone else. And they make sure they recharge their batteries with strong, healthy self-care—and they nurture important personal relationships. You should know that they carry the same respect they show in the workplace back home.
Take Care of Yourself
So, develop a healthy self-care routine:
- Meditate or pray
- Eat as many fresh fruits and vegetables as possible
- Drink at least six glasses of water daily
- Cut down on carbs and alcohol
- Cut down on other bad habits that can sabotage your health (such as smoking, inactivity)
- Be grateful
- Take time to notice all your blessings
- Do something fun
- Focus on your family
- Give back to your local community or charities you believe in
- Read entertaining books and listen to fun podcasts, as well as business ones
- Get a hobby
- Get a good night’s sleep every night
Do even half of the above, and you’ll find yourself more alert, more focused—and you’ll have more fun being the leader you were meant to be!
Did you know that having an online business has lots of advantages for you? Online business owners can save a ton of money on gas, and they don’t have to worry about dressing a certain way for work. All that is needed is to designate work time for your business. They can even take their work with them anywhere they go, as long as an internet connection is available.
But every type of business has its pitfalls, and online businesses are no exception.
One of the biggest challenges that online business owners face is staying on task. The internet is a big place, so to speak, and it is full of distractions. There are forums, chatrooms, and blog conversations to participate in. Then there are friends and family to send instant messages to. And don’t forget about those emails to check! The list goes on and on. And I’m sure you have a big checklist of things to do for your clients as well!
It’s very easy to get sidetracked when you work online. But it is important not to let distractions affect your productivity. Even if you’re not getting paid by the hour, time is still money.
So how do you designate work time for your business? Do you set aside so many hours a day, so many hours a week or do you just play it by ear? This last one gets you nowhere by the way!
Set Hours and Stick to Them
One of the advantages of being your own boss is the ability to set your own hours. This is particularly true when you have an online business because you don’t necessarily have to keep hours that are convenient to your customers. But it is important to actually set working hours instead of just working when the mood strikes you.
During designated work time, avoid using the internet for non-work-related activities as this is essential to your productivity.
Here are some ways you can help yourself do that:
Use one address for personal correspondence and another for business purposes. Set your email program up to automatically check the business one only.
If something pops into your head that you must attend to online, don’t let it interrupt your work. Write it down and take care of it during non-work hours. A good app for that is Keep and you can get that right in your Gmail account.
Write yourself a note reminding yourself that work time is for work only, or put up an “Open” sign. It can serve as a gentle reminder that business is the only thing that should be taking place.
Use Flexibility Wisely
Another great thing about working online is flexibility. If something comes up and you need to attend to it right away, you can drop what you’re doing and attend to it. But it’s crucial to only use that privilege when absolutely necessary.
When you have an unexpected interruption, you lose working hours. If you were working at a regular job, you would have to either take sick or vacation time or lose pay. When you work for yourself, you can make the hours up at a time that is convenient for you. It is, however, important to make them up at some point.
An online business is one of the most convenient and flexible ways to work from home. It also presents more opportunities for distraction than many people imagine.
Online business success requires a lot of discipline, but the rewards are many.
One thing that works really well is to have a daily schedule you can look at to make sure you’re on track for your day. So here’s one you can use to keep you on track.
Come on, let’s be real here. Do you ever find yourself on the word vomit train when attempting to sell anything? Yes? No? Well, today’s topic of discussion is how to get clients even if you hate selling and pitching. That’s right, let’s get with it!
So, you know the place that makes zero stops and is stationed in TimBuckTwo? The one where you’re chatting with a potential client and you find yourself having an out-of-body experience where you hear yourself doing things like…
- Overly explaining what it is that you do to justify your service
- Adding on additional promises because you don’t think they’re convinced of the value
- Filling silences with discounts or amendments to the process just so they say something
- Feel like you’re a fraud because what you offer isn’t all that special when you say it out loud
Yeah, been there, done that!
If you find yourself doing any (or all) of that, there’s a huge disconnect in your selling process. You know it and your client knows it too!
So, you convince yourself that you’re just not good at selling.
Or that your market can’t afford to pay you what you need to run your business.
That you’ll never be able to convince your prospects why they need to hire you.
If you had a tried and true approach to “selling” your service, you wouldn’t have to be in this position. No more Conductor status of the Word Vomit Train.
No more feeling icky or slimy or like you’re tricking your clients into hiring you.
Without a reliable selling strategy, you’re likely leaving thousands of dollars on the table. But more importantly, it’s leaving you feeling inadequate about your service and it will 100% be the reason why you end up quitting.
So how do you fix it?
- Understand your results
- Use this formula to close the deal
No, not this one, it’s much too complicated!!
UNDERSTAND YOUR RESULTS
Before you can even begin to serve, you need to know the exact role your service plays in your client’s life. Most people sell their service like a product. When in reality it needs to be sold as a result.
Most service-based business owners will hype up the features of what their service provides. For example, a web designer might spend more time talking about how many pages they offer in the package, the optimization of those pages, etc. Basically, what your client gets out of it all.
Successful business owners tap into the emotional results of their service. What will life look like after your client experiences your service? What will change? What will be better? What will they have?
As soon as you can create an emotional relationship for your client with your service you’re off to the races.
So How Do You Use This Method?
Now that you understand the true purpose of your service, it’s time to start talking serious business with your connections. We’ve already taught you how to get in front of warm and qualified leads.
If you haven’t spent time doing that piece yet, go back and work on that first. I want you knocking this out of the ballpark, and it works best on leads that already know, like, and trust you.
This method, when used on warm and qualified leads, will be your secret weapon to closing clients faster and confidently. Just imagine a world where you don’t have to send another awkward follow-up email asking if someone wants to actually work with you or not.
The steps within this method are all played out in a single conversation, ideally in this order. Before sitting down in this meeting, you need to be prepared. If we’re wanting to avoid those awkward follow-up emails you need to come ready to close the deal in this meeting. Be sure to print out and have a copy of your contract and proposal handy.
Most service-based business owners make a crucial mistake by only relying on follow-up conversations to close the deal. This method shifts this way of doing business so you can close more deals on the spot (and get paid faster).
The Steps to the Process
STEP ONE: PROVE THAT WHAT YOU HAVE IS WHAT THEY NEED
This is where your skills of talking about your service as a result instead of a product truly come in. You don’t need decades of experience, a beefy portfolio, or to even be the expert at what you offer.
You simply need to believe in the power of your service.
Try framing this conversation using phrases that assume you’ll be hired. Let them know how their life is going to be different once they start working with you.
Try using a phrase like this:
“…After working together you’ll have…”
This is called “The Assumptive Close” and it’s a tactic that works time and time again. If you’ve played your part well up to this point this specific piece will play a huge part in, you are landing this client.
STEP TWO: REITERATE THEIR WORDS BACK TO THEM
What you’ll want to weave in next is the fact that you understand and hear their needs. This not only helps you understand where your role in serving them truly is, but it secures confidence from your client early on.
Try using phrases like:
“…So, what I’m hearing you say is…”
“…Based on what you told me…”
After working with many people myself, I know that great communication is one of (if not the) biggest factors in the relationship. Showing them that you understand their desire and need for hiring you on Day 1 is crucial.
This isn’t just a “sales tactic”, my friends! Letting your potential client feel heard and understood goes an incredibly long way in starting out your work together on the right foot and sets the stage for a more connected and long-term relationship.
STEP THREE: TALK THEM THROUGH YOUR PROCESS
At this point, you’ve established that you’re the woman for the job and made it clear you understand what they need and why. Now, it’s time to walk them through how this all works.
This is, personally, one of my favorite parts of this process. It enables you to get in your zone of genius, geeking out on your process. This is another crucial place to use assumption wording. Remember, they’re going to absolutely decide to work with you, so talk like it!
Try using phrases like:
“Once we get started next week this will be our first step…”
“After you get your documents back, we’ll be able to move on to this part of the process…”
You’re accomplishing two very important things at this step:
- Get the client in a world where they’ve already said yes to working with you
- Get the client total understanding of every step of the process
At this point your client should be grinning ear to ear, nodding along, and agreeing with your statements – clearly excited and ready to get started. If this is happening your final two steps of this process will be a breeze.
STEP FOUR: CLARIFY THE CONTRACT AND NEXT STEPS
You think you might be heading into boring or uncomfortable territory, but trust me, this part is just as crucial as the rest. Outlining clear parts of your contract not only protect your client, but it protects you. Both of you need to be on the same page from the start.
I suggest having an actual contract to show them that’s ready to sign, you can send this out to them digitally. Once you’ve outlined your terms it’s important for you to cover the very next step for your client. Even though you outlined the entire process above, it’s time to take it back to the beginning.
It’s important to use clear language here, like:
“These are the important details of the contract I wanted to point out and here’s what they mean. Once you sign, I can take your payment today, we can get started right away. So let’s look at the calendar to schedule our first meeting, alright?”
STEP FIVE: HERE’S THE PRICE
Let me say a quick word about pricing before I outline this step. I believe in pricing transparency with every client. That means, no client should get this far into the process without having some idea of a range of what it’s going to cost to work with you.
It does a disservice to your client to not share expectations early on and it can be a huge waste of your time if you don’t. This could look differently depending on your business model, but I’ve added a single item on my pricing page, and it’s done the trick.
“Pricing starts at…under each process.”
Dealing with sticker shock is a killer to closing client deals for both you and the client. It’s awkward, it’s uncomfortable and it makes both people feel inadequate.
Ok, I’ll rest my case for pricing transparency (for now).
Alright, so you’re at this part of the process. And it’s one where, in the past, you might have tripped over your tongue somewhat. It’s okay. We’re going to fix that.
However long you think this conversation should be…cut it in half. Seriously.
Your only role at this step is to state the price and then be quiet.
The desire to keep talking after stating the price is because you’re uncomfortable, which I totally get. However, your client deserves this time to process and go through her own mental checklist before you chime in.
Try practicing this until you become comfortable with it. lt will drastically increase the number of clients you land and your confidence in the process. This, like so many things in business, takes a bit of practice to perfect. But by following this method you’ll have a step-by-step system to rely on the next time you’re talking to a client.
By utilizing these steps, you’ll be able to craft an amazing experience for you and your client.
Remember, at the end of the day, you’re here to serve your clients. And of course, to make a profit!
Today’s article is about conducting target market research. What am I talking about? Market research, that’s what. So what is target market research? Every business should be doing it, but unfortunately, they either aren’t doing it at all or aren’t doing it effectively. Without conducting detailed research about your target market, your business won’t reach its potential and will more than likely meet its demise. Oh oh, you say!
What is Market Research?
In order to tell you HOW to conduct market research, you must know what market research is. In a nutshell, market research is research that you do in order to determine what it is that makes your customers buy. Because for goodness sake, that’s why you’re in business. To make money right?
Here is a great list of things that you can do to conduct market research that will tell you what your customers want and need so that you can make more sales and grow your business. This is YOUR business purpose!
First, find the question or questions you want answers to. Be as specific as possible so that you have the answers you need. Going too broad may not really get to the answers you are really in search of. For instance, if you are thinking of adding a product to your line, is it something your target market is in need or want of? What would they most likely spend on a product or service such as the one you are asking about?
Methods of Research
Take the questions and get your answers by doing the following:
– Conduct a survey of current and potential customers.
– Visit online forums and groups that include members of your market. Remember to build relationships in these groups. Don’t just go to the forums and post your survey or question.
– Interview other business owners in your market.
– Monitor business trends in your market by reading and watching various media outlets.
– Research your competition by being a customer and/or inquiring about their products or services.
– Mail or telephone interviews.
– For those with online businesses, set up a test page revolving around the product or service you are thinking of offering. Give plenty of time to test the page and the traffic and activity of the visitors.
These are only a few of the ways you can conduct research for your target market. The key isn’t what research you do, it’s the fact that you are doing something to learn more about the habits of that market.
By taking the time to find out more about the people you are targeting, you’ll come to realize that knowing those in your market is one of the best things you can do for your business.
If you a struggling with how to figure this out, book a call with me, and let’s work on it together. Book Now