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Five Possible Reasons For Your Failed Launch

Five Possible Reasons For Your Failed Launch

“The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing.”
~ Henry Ford

In this blog, I want to talk about launching. Not how to launch, I have a workshop coming up on that. I’d like to shed some light on the possible reasons why launching may not have worked for you in the past. Either in that not enough people signed up for your offering or nobody at all did.

I believe there are 5 possible reasons a launch wouldn’t get the results you were hoping for or expecting.

1. What you offered wasn’t something your people wanted or needed

This happens when we create something we think our people need but we do so without consulting them about it first. I see this time and time again, business owners creating what their would-be clients need without taking the time to figure out what they actually want. Doing some simple audience research can solve this problem.

This could be in-depth audience research calls to find out what people need from you. I wrote a whole post on my approach to these calls here. If you are worried that asking what your people want won’t get the results you were hoping for I have something you can do instead. Instead of asking open-ended questions about what your people need support with, instead create a rough outline of thing you want to launch and then run it by some of the people in your audience who you think might be a fit. If they are willing, jump on a call and ask what you could do to make it a no-brainer for them to join. This is exactly how my yearlong mastermind got started.

If what you are offering doesn’t warrant a load of in-depth calls (because it’s a low-cost offering). it could be a simple post to say I’m thinking of launching this thing, what do you think?

My usual rule of thumb is to not launch anything unless I can think of 10 actual people in my audience who I believe would be a fit for what I’m launching.

2. You didn’t communicate the offering in a way that landed

Sometimes we spend so much of our care and attention on creating the thing we’re trying to sell that we have little left to give when it comes to the marketing. How we communicate our offering is crucial to the success of our launch.

Often people leave one of two things out of their communication. The problem itself — i.e. the problem your offering solves for people (pro tip: if it doesn’t solve a problem, you’ll have a hard time selling it) OR what life will be like after the problem is solved. Tad Hargrave refers to this as Island A and Island B. Island A being where you’re would-be customers or clients currently are and Island B being where they want to get to. Your product or service is what will get them from A to B.

It’s important that you include details of both of these in your launch communications.

It’s also here that we want to make sure that we are not pitching an offering that focuses on what people need versus what they want.

I often use the example here of a relationship coach. If someone is single and in search of their soulmate, even though you might know that what they need is to focus on loving themselves, marketing your offering in this way is unlikely to get you clients. A great example of this is the book “Calling In The One” which is marketed as a book to help you attract your soulmate, but the content of the book is very much focused on self-love and creating your best life.

3. Not enough people saw your launch announcements

This is very common with my clients. because most people have small audiences and at the same time a fear of bothering people, meaning they put 1 or 2 announcements out and hope for the best. It is possible to have a successful launch without bombarding people but that also gets the message out there.

In order to maximise your chances of having a successful launch it is crucial that you are marketing your offer effectively. I offer a 3-part strategy to maximise visibility of content which is to create (make valuable content), repurpose (re-share that content in as places as possible) and promote (use paid promotion on social media) to make sure your people see it. If you are just creating and publishing once, you are really missing a trick.

It’s also important to note that most people buy at the beginning and the end of a launch. Often if we get few or no sales at the start of the launch, then nothing in the middle, so we give up and don’t bother to let people know that our launch is ending. I’ve consistently found that at least 50% of my sales come from my “final call” emails and posts on social media, which typically go out 24 hours before the deadline to buy. It’s important that your marketing efforts don’t peter out because you’re feeling low about the numbers.

Another way to solve this issue is to make personal 1:1 invitations to people in your audience who you believe would be a fit. That way you can be sure they know that you having something on offer and you’re not solely relying on your marketing copy.

4. You’re heart isn’t in it

This can happen when we’re launching something because we feel we should be launching something. Perhaps we are launching something we think can make us money rather than the thing we really want to be doing or we don’t want to be in launch mode right now but money is tight and so we do it anyway. Whatever the reason, our energy is off and we’re showing up to our launch in a way that doesn’t serve the goal.

It may sound a bit woo, but so much of success in business, as I see it, comes down to energy and intention. I wrote a whole piece on this which you can read here.

Or perhaps we love our product or service and feel very excited about it but our heart isn’t in the marketing. We have a lot of bad feelings about “launching” or selling and because of that we just don’t do it in a way that supports our launch goals. This is common if you’ve been trying to sell or launch the “conventional” way but if you can reframe how you think about marketing and selling, you might be surprised how much you can come to enjoy it.

5. Your audience is too small

I’ve had many clients complain to me that they only got 3 or 4 people from their launch but when we analyse the numbers that’s actually a great number for their size of audience.

Allow me to share with you some math.

Let’s say you have an email list of 100 people and an open rate of 50% (which is high). That means that 50 people have read your launch email.

Of those 50 subscribers, it’s said that on average 2.91% will actually click through to the sales page for more information. This equates to 1.4 people who have actually bothered to head over to your sales page. Of those the average sales page conversion rate (according to my research on google) is 2.4%.

2.4% of 1.4 people is: 0.0336.

Which means if you got 1–3 sales from a list of 100 people you should be celebrating big time!! And if you got zero sales, that’s exactly to be expected.

Does that mean we shouldn’t bother if our audience is small? No of course not, it just means we have to adjust our definition of success and build in strategies that get our offer in front of people outside of our own audience.

My hope is that if you’ve had a failed launch in the past, that reading these 5 possible reasons gives you some hope that your next launch could be different.

Introducing Loving Launches

On Friday 21st July at 5pm CEST, I’ll be kicking off a workshop series on how to execute loving launches. The idea being that launching needn’t be painful for you or your audience and can actually be something you and your audience look forward to.

I’m running this in July so that you can feel ready and prepared to launch in September/October time should you be planning to do so.

In this class I’ll teach:

  • How to reframe your launches from painful to joyful.
  • How to be strategic in your launch rather than throwing spaghetti at the wall and hoping for the best.
  • 9 big launch ideas
  • A 6-step strategy for launching
  • Different types of launch content you can use in your loving launches
  • And I’ll also share a ton of templates and planning tools (as usual :))

If you know you want in, click here to register.

3 Ways To Conduct More Loving Launches

3 Ways To Conduct More Loving Launches

“Love is like the wind, you can’t see it but you can feel it.”
~ Nicholas Sparks

You’ve likely been on the receiving end of an annoying and spammy launch or two. You know the type, where we’re bombarded by emails laden with manipulation, using all the tricks in the book to get us to BUY NOW. Countdown timers, time related bonuses, language that plays on our fear of missing out, to name just a few of the tactics many online businesses employ to leave us feeling anxious and reaching for our credit card.

If you’ve ever felt stressed by someone else’s launch or anxious because you feel torn about whether or not you really need what’s being sold, then for sure you’ve been on the receiving end of some sort of launch manipulation.

Early on in my business, I noticed not only how stressed I felt by other people’s launches but also how uncomfortable I felt about running my own. I followed the mainstream advice about launching and it felt unnatural and icky to me. Did I make sales? Sure but I didn’t feel good doing it. Since then I’ve learned that it’s not only possible to feel good about launching but for it to feel good for your audience too.

A few years ago after experimenting in my own business and watching how some of my more ethical business mentors were launching, I came up with the concept of Loving Launches, which I’ve since taught to countless clients and mastermind participants. The main idea behind this approach is that your launches can feel loving to those on the receiving end of your launch materials and can therefore also feel good for you to execute.

I’d like to share with you 3 easy and practical ways to make your launches more loving.

1. Separate out your content and your sales copy

This is a big one and warrants some explanation.

Often what we see online is a manipulative blend of content (designed to appear useful) and the sales pitch (woven into the content). See below for an example of a launch email you could quite easily receive:

Subject: How to execute more loving launches

Email body: A load of description of the problem, much like the 3 paragraphs preceding point 1 of this email. But instead of actually giving you any information on how to conduct loving launches, it would instead segue into a sales pitch about a workshop or program where you could get this information.

See how the subject line draws you in because it looks like you are going to get some useful and practical information?

And then to really get you hooked, it digs into your pain points? But instead of giving you any practical advice to alleviate that pain, it simply points you to a sales page where you can buy or enrol in something that will alleviate that pain. The solution, it turns out, sits behind a paywall. 

To put it simply, this sucks. I really dislike this practice. Primarily because it’s manipulative and dishonest but also because it wastes our time. As someone who is busy, when I open an email expecting to get something of value and instead get sold to, I feel totally duped. It damages my relationship with the business and over time makes me less likely to open future emails.

If you’re not sure what I’m talking about, I invite you to pay attention to the emails you are receiving from mailing lists you are subscribed to. Notice if you see a subject line and think “oh that sounds like it will be useful to read”, only to feel disappointed when you do read it because it made it sound like you were going to get an answer to a problem you have, but the contents of the email only hint at the solution and then invite you into some pricey program or course in which you’ll learn the answer for real. That’s what I’m talking about here.

What to do instead:

What I like to do instead is to make my content and my sales copy distinct so that someone can read my content and get value from it whether or not they choose to buy whatever it is that I may be selling at the time. Why do I do this? Because it lights me up to be of service and it develops meaningful trust over the long term between me and my audience, which is essential to future sales. If you want to read more about how I make my content more effective click here.

How does this work in practice?

Instead of combining your content and sales pitch, separate them out. So for example, when announcing your new product or service, announce it with a sales email solely dedicated to the sale of your offering, making it super clear in the subject line that, that is what you are doing. See below for an example from my own business:

When I was launching a workshop, I sent the following email announcement:

Subject line: Book Your Spot on My Upcoming Client Creation Workshop — Notice how clear it is that I am selling something? There’s no hook to draw people in, I make it clear I’m selling something before you even open the email — yet when I do this my open rate is usually a touch higher than when I’m not specifically selling something. (I’ll let you in on a secret — people want to know what you have to offer!)

If you want to see exactly what that sales email contained — click here — essentially it reads like a mini sales page because that’s what it is — a sales letter.

No manipulation here. Just a simple and transparent invitation to book a spot on my upcoming workshop. If you already know you don’t want, or can’t afford, to attend a workshop, you don’t even have to open the email.

Following this email, I did put reminders at the bottom of future e-letters, but I still kept it separate from the (hopefully) valuable content I was providing. I do this so that the email has value for the reader whether or not they are interested in what I am launching.

Another example is this blog post, I have a CTA at the bottom for my Loving Launches Workshop but I’ve hopefully given you enough value in this piece to make it worth a read, regardless of if you sign up. 

2. Allow people to opt out

This isn’t necessary for a small, say 2-week launch where you’re only going to send maybe one or two more emails than usual but if you are doing a big launch where you might be sending a larger number of sales emails over a 6–12 week period then, I would also recommend giving people the option to opt out up front

This is where you provide a link for people to click to opt out of sales emails while staying on your main mailing list.

It always surprises me that more people don’t do this because it’s a such win-win. First of all you empower your subscribers to opt-out of your sales emails if they already know that they don’t want to buy your new offering and it also minimises the amount of unsubscribes you might otherwise get from your mailing list from people who don’t want to hear about something they are not interested in.

I first saw this approach from from fellow ethical business coach, Mark Silver of Heart of Business. He always includes a link at the top of launch emails to give people the option to stay on his email list but not receive sales emails. See the image below for an example.

It’s super easy to do in the back end of your mailing service provider and really frees you up to share about your new offering with the people who want to know about it, without worrying about annoying those that aren’t interested.

3. Sell the concept not the product

This is one I learned from ethical marketer, Tad Hargrave, as I observed and analysed a number of his launches.

In traditional launches, what we usually see is a bombardment of information about what makes *this* offering so great. We’ll likely see a ton of information about the benefits and features of doing *this* program or course and countless details about how you won’t necessarily find the same information elsewhere.

In typical launches, the business owner is doing a hard sell on the product. Why you should buy it and what makes it so special and irresistible.

When you sell the concept, you share a lot of information about the subject of your offering rather than the offering itself. So if, for example, you are selling a program about embodied movement, rather than constantly talking about why your embodiment program is so great, you would instead talk about why embodiment, in general, is so great for people.

You would use your launch content to educate people about embodiment and why it’s important and share useful and practical information on how to be more embodied in your life. And you needn’t worry about it harming sales either. Many people think if they give away too much of the good stuff in their free content, that people won’t then go on to buy the course or program on offer. This has not been my experience.

Because here’s the thing. People don’t take your program or course because they want more information. They sign up to work with you because they want the personal hand-holding or accountability that comes from getting the information packaged in a certain way. If it’s a high-touch program, then they’re signing up because they want greater access to you.

This is great news because it means you can feel free to generously share useful information about your subject-area without worrying that it will harm sales of your product or service.

So there you have it, 3 ways to make your launch more loving for you and your audience. Please let me know in the comments if you found this information useful.

Introducing Loving Launches

On Friday 21st July at 5pm CEST, I’ll be kicking off a workshop series on how to execute loving launches. The idea being that launching needn’t be painful for you or your audience and can actually be something you and your audience look forward to.

I’m running this in July so that you can feel ready and prepared to launch in September/October time should you be planning to do so.

In this class I’ll teach:

  • How to reframe your launches from painful to joyful.
  • How to be strategic in your launch rather than throwing spaghetti at the wall and hoping for the best.
  • 9 big launch ideas
  • A 6-step strategy for launching
  • Different types of launch content you can use in your loving launches
  • And I’ll also share a ton of templates and planning tools (as usual :))

If you know you want in, click here to register.

The Most Important Skill For Introverts In Business To Master

The Most Important Skill For Introverts In Business To Master

“We cannot live only for ourselves. A thousand fibers connect us with our fellow men; and among those fibers, as sympathetic threads, our actions run as causes, and they come back to us as effects.”
~ Herman Melville

SIGN UP FOR MY SOULFUL STRATEGIES WEEKLY

 

Once a week, in the form of an e-letter, I share the best of what I know about building a business with integrity for conscious business owners.

The intention behind these letters is to be a voice for integrity within your (undoubtedly) cluttered inbox. To be the one email you can count on to contain strategic and soulful advice for building a business without selling your soul.

If you want to receive the Soulful Strategies Weekly, simply share with me your name and email address below and you’ll start recieving emails right away.

How To Cultivate A Strong Business Network

How To Cultivate A Strong Business Network

“No matter how brilliant your mind or strategy, if you’re playing a solo game, you’ll always lose out to a team.”
~ Reid Hoffman

I wanted to talk to you about building a solid business network so that you can feel less alone on your business journey as well as reap the benefits of having more income, opportunities for support and collaboration and growth.

Operating as a solopreneur can be a lonely business indeed. Many of us spend all day home alone, working in front of a computer with nobody to bounce ideas off, share our coffee breaks with or to give us encouragement when we start to doubt ourselves.

It’s for this reason that I believe it’s so important to consciously create a business community to surround ourselves with. That is, a group of people who support and have an influence (directly or indirectly) on your business. Whether we do this or not, there will always be people who influence our business but not necessarily always in positive ways. I’d like to make the case for getting intentional about creating a business network that includes the following people:

  1. Your ideal clients.
  2. Your mentors.
  3. Your collaborators.
  4. Your Mastermind.

Your Ideal Clients

I know that you’ve probably already heard this a million times already, but it bears repeating. Having clarity on who your ideal client is, is incredibly important for your business. If you don’t get intentional about who your business serves and then making serious efforts to be in touch with those people on a regular basis, your business simply won’t grow. A lot of people get stuck trying to define their ideal client – with client avatar exercises a plenty on the internet, it can sometimes feel impossible to get down to the level of detail that we’re expected to. I have a few suggestions to make this process easier.

  1. Think about your ideal client for now. When we feel pressured to come up with our perfect ideal client for evermore, it can feel overwhelming and restrictive at the same time. Don’t worry about whether or not this is going to be your one and only, simply think about who you feel called to work with now. This takes some of the pressure off.
  2. Forget about demographics. Something that trips many entrepreneurs up when it comes to identifying and reaching their ideal client is nailing down the demographics such as age, ethnicity, location, gender, income etc, but I’m here to tell you that these matter far less than who your ideal client is on the inside. I much prefer to focus in on characteristics, traits, personal values and ways of being. Are they introverts or extroverts? Which do they value more, wealth or having an impact? Are they ambitious action-takers or are they currently feeling stuck and confused?
  3. Where are they on the journey? If the work you do supports people on a journey to get some place, where in the journey do you and your services come into the equation? For example, if you’re a coach who helps people get better at self care, is your ideal client someone who is heading for burnt out and needs urgent support before it’s too late, or someone who has already experienced burnout and is ready to finally start practicing self care to avoid it happening again? Knowing where your ideal clients are on the journey, really helps you to not only tailor your products and services to them, but to more easily find and connect with them.

Once you have this clarity, your next step is to begin forming relationships with these people, reaching out to them, offering your support, finding out more about what they are struggling with. Ideally, you’ll want the people in your community, who like and follow you on social media and who subscribe to your newsletter to be as close as possible to your ideal client.

Your mentors

Having mentors to support you on your entrepreneurial journey is absolutely crucial to your business success and your sanity. I certainly would not have the business I have today without the support and guidance of several incredible mentors along the way.

Now whilst I am, of course, an advocate for investing in business coaching, it’s not always the right time to hire somebody, nor it is it always feasible, for many small business owners to do so. That doesn’t mean that you can’t have mentors.

For the purposes of your business network, I would consider a mentor to be anyone whose business advice you are listening to and acting upon on a fairly regular basis. Sometimes we unconsciously create business mentors just by listening to their advice, perhaps it’s by subscribing to a newsletter (like this one!), reading their blog or listening to their podcast, without even realising, we begin buying into the approach they are sharing.

I believe it’s absolutely essential that we get intentional about whose advice we are listening to. I realised that much of the “business advice” I was consuming ran contrary to my own personal and professional values and beliefs. When I began to pay closer attention to whose blogs and newsletters I was reading, I was surprised to realise what advice I was allowing to filter into my consciousness. Now I’m much more intentional about the advice and information I consume, I’m especially mindful of who I allow into my inbox.

My suggestion is that you consider your business and select 5 people whose advice you want to follow, both when it comes to business in general and your industry specifically and then unsubscribe from everyone else. Not only does this help with inbox overwhelm but it ensures that you’re conscious of what advice you’re listening to.

Once you have identified your list of mentors, make efforts to connect and engage with their content and courses. Have them know that they are in your tribe by sharing the impact of their work on you and your business.

Your collaborators 

Having fellow business owners to collaborate with can be a wonderful thing indeed and collaborations can come in many forms. Back in 2018, I made collaboration one of my strategic priorities because I knew that my habit of going it alone was only ever going to get me so far. Nothing could have prepared me for the countless benefits that came as a result of the collaborations I have since formed. To give you a few examples, from my business, of how and who you might collaborate with.

  1. You can collaborate with people on content – for example I have over the years interviewed several amazing women and you can see examples of the results here and here. Or if playing the role of interviewer doesn’t appeal, you can collaborate by being the curator of content which I did for a 2-part blog series on creating clients which you can read here and here.
  2. You can collaborate with people on products – I co-created and co-hosted a 3-part online workshop series called The Business of Coaching with a former client, friend and mastermind partner. Helen and I created an enormous amount of content for this series, which took us half the time than it would have, had we done it alone. We were also always there to cheer each other on, when the task before us felt too huge.
  3. You can collaborate with people on services – you might invite your peers, for example to be guest experts for your program or membership, giving them more exposure at the same time as providing valuable content to your people. This is what I occasionally do in the Conscious Business Mastermind and as a result the breadth of teaching I’ve been able to provide for my members is richer than if I taught all of the classes myself.

The key here is to look at your peers and consider those people who you admire and perhaps those who are doing similar work and reaching a similar audience. Rather than view them as competitors, see the opportunity to collaborate instead.

Your mastermind

A business mastermind needn’t be a paid for program like mine, it can be a small group of business owners who meet regularly to share mutual advice, feedback and support. I’m a huge fan of being in mastermind with others and for much of my career as a business owner, I’ve been in a such a group.

If you are going to set up your own mastermind group with some of your peers, I recommend discussing the following with your potential mastermind partners before you begin:

  • The purpose of the mastermind and what you hope to get out of it. For example do you want compassion and nurturing or do you want to be challenged and held accountable? Are you all on the same page? 
  • How often and for how long you’ll meet. What can you each commit to? 
  • How you will organise the mastermind sessions? For example, with you have an agenda or a chair? Will you have set topics or see what comes up on each call? 
  • How will you dissolve the mastermind? It’s always good to discuss up front how you will end the mastermind, should it no longer feel like a fit for one or all of you? 

Once you’ve thought about who you would like to be in mastermind with, don’t be shy, reach out and see if they feel the same way. You might be surprised how many of your peers could use the support of a mastermind too.

Then of course there are paid masterminds, just like my Conscious Business Mastermind, where you not only get the support and encouragement from peers but guidance and training from a professional in your field. I’ve utilised both paid and free masterminds over the years and found both to be extremely valuable. 

So there you have it, 4 sets of people you want to begin consciously identifying and cultivating deeper connections with as you navigate the road of entrepreneurship. On the tough days, nothing helps you more than having a solid group of people in your corner.

SIGN UP FOR MY SOULFUL STRATEGIES WEEKLY

 

Once a week, in the form of an e-letter, I share the best of what I know about building a business with integrity for conscious business owners.

The intention behind these letters is to be a voice for integrity within your (undoubtedly) cluttered inbox. To be the one email you can count on to contain strategic and soulful advice for building a business without selling your soul.

If you want to receive the Soulful Strategies Weekly, simply share with me your name and email address below and you’ll start recieving emails right away.

5 Goal-Setting Mistakes To Avoid

5 Goal-Setting Mistakes To Avoid

“A goal without a plan is just a wish.”
~ Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

I want to share with you 5 common mistakes we often make when it comes to setting goals for our business (or our life!). I share these in the hope that they’ll help you as you think about your own business + life goals for next year. 

1. An absence of strategy

If you operate anything like I used to, around this time of year you may well be starting to think about all the things you’d like to achieve in your life and business next year. Before I came up with my own approach, I did this too.

Over the years, I tried all the business planning tools I could get my hands on (paid and free). Planners, goal-setting workshops, you name it I tried it. What I noticed, was that all of the guidance I was finding on business planning only ever seemed to talk about goals.

As someone who ran the business planning process for a former employer back in my project management career, I’ve been well aware for some time that goals (or targets) are just the way in which we state what we hope to get done in a period of time, but how we decide what needs to get done or how those things are actually going to get done is a whole other piece of work.

This is where we need to consider our big picture. The overall objective of our business for the year. This will differ greatly depending on your particular business and where you are at on the business growth journey. For some it might include streamlining your business model, whereas for another business it might be to expand your product range. I’ve had clients whose overall objective was to double their income whereas for others it was to maintain the income level they currently have. Once we know what we are trying to achieve, we can then set our priorities strategically and only then look at setting goals in service to those priorities.

2. Setting waaay too many goals 

Nearly every conversation I ever have with a business owner about their goals for the coming year, results in me telling them they are trying to take on too much. I don’t think I’ve ever had to tell someone that they should set more goals. 

Any of my clients will tell you that I often quote Bill Gates on this one: 

“Most people overestimate what they can do in one year and underestimate what they can do in ten years.”

Having been working for myself now for over a decade and having been the person setting the agenda for my own workload, I speak with experience when I say that we can usually achieve far less than we set out to at the beginning of the year. Why? Well overestimating what’s possible is one reason and also because we suffer from a fear of missing out. Many business owners suffer from shiny object syndrome and look at what other business owners are doing and feel pulled to try something similar. 

For this reason, it’s hard for most people to choose just 1 or 2 key priorities to work on because there’s so much they want to do. But when we fail to focus and set ourselves too many goals, we inevitably fail in more areas than we would if, instead, we focused our efforts.

Personally, I’d much rather focus on 1 or 2 things. That way I can get those accomplished more quickly and create more space for the next thing, rather than overwhelm myself with a huge set of goals, many of which I’ll do some work on, but few, if any, I’ll be able to complete. 

3. Setting unrealistic goals 

I fell foul to this so many times in my early years in business. Undoubtedly swayed by all the noise in the online business world, I bought into the idea that I could make 6 figures in a short amount of time or go viral overnight with a winning piece of content. 

Don’t get me wrong, I’m always the first to say that anything is possible and there are always exceptions, but in my experience, making big numbers fast, whether that be in income, sign ups or audience growth, rarely happens in a way that is authentic, ethical or sustainable over the long-term.

Setting goals we are unlikely to achieve can also cause damage to our mindset and motivation. Many of us know, only too well, the disappointment that comes from failing to achieve our goals time and time again.

I used to wish for exponential results but these days my goals are rooted in sustainable and steady growth, “Slow and steady wins the race” is one of my favourite business mantras! 

I also base my future goals on past experience. I’ve taken the time to track my annual income over the years and can tell you exactly what my percentage increase in revenue has been year on year since 2017, what my average percentage growth has been over the last 6 years and therefore, what percentage my income and sales are likely to increase over the next year. Arming myself with this knowledge, gives me confidence in the financial business goals I set myself. 

4. Not sharing your goals with anyone 

You might have done this — set goals but not told anyone what they are, so that should you fail you don’t lose face. Whilst you might never have to deal with the shame of having to admit you failed, you also miss out on the power of accountability. Knowing that people know what we are planning to do, can actually be a strong motivator when it comes to following through on our goals.

I’ve definitely used this to my advantage over the years. I remember back when I started my first blog, I set myself some huge and scary life goals, one of which was to quit, not just my job, but my entire career to travel the world and create a new more fulfilling and rewarding career as a coach. I genuinely don’t think I would have achieved half the goals I did during that period of my life, if I hadn’t been talking about them every week on my blog. 

I’m not saying you have to share your goals all over the internet but sharing them with your partner, friend, business buddy or even your business audience can really help some people to dig deep when it inevitably gets hard to take action. 

5. Not creating systems for your goals

This one has been huge for me. When I first learnt of this idea from George Kao, it blew my mind. George has this to say:

“The more you focus on the specifics of the goal, the more you become attached to how it must turn out.

If the end result doesn’t happen in the way you visualized — or in the timeline you expected — it can deal a blow to your self-identity, and erode your sense of self-empowerment.

I prefer to look at goals in a different, perhaps healthier way:

I focus on my systems — my daily processes — rather than my goals. “

So what does a focus on systems actually look like?

Well, let’s consider the goal of getting 100 new subscribers to your list. Most business plans would leave it there but creating a system for this goal might look like this:

Every other week on Friday afternoons, I will preview my Monday newsletter, by posting on my Facebook page what next week’s newsletter is all about along with a subscribe link for people who want to be sure to receive it. 

Even better, you would then schedule this activity into your calendar and focus on following through with the system rather than the 100 new subscribers goal. 

So there you have it, 5 goal-setting mistakes to avoid and what to do instead for a better chance of success with your plans next year. I’m curious, were these helpful? If so, please hit reply and let me know what your biggest insight was.

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Balance Work Life

Balance Work Life

“Life is a balance between what we can control and what we cannot. I am learning to live between effort and surrender.”
~ Danielle Orner

 

In this blog, I share with you my thoughts on work/life balance and a few practical strategies to better manage your business when life seemingly gets in the way.

Let me begin by sharing something I heard many years ago from Danielle Laporte.

Balance is a myth.

I remember being struck by those words and whilst I don’t remember everything she said on the topic I remember feeling the truth of those 4 words deep in my bones.

The idea here is that we don’t get to a place where work and life are perfectly balanced, without one taking up more space than the other. Instead the balance tips in favour of one or the other at different points in time. Allow me to explain. If you are sick or need to take care of a sick loved one, then for sure life is going to take priority. It has to.

If all is well on the personal front and we’re in the middle of a big launch in our business, then the scales are going to tip on the side of business for a while. That’s inevitable.

The liberating key here is to acknowledge that. To understand that the balance we often strive for is a myth. That then frees us up to figure out how to better manage things when the scales are tipped one way vs the other. I.e. how do we not drop all the balls on our business when life is feeling full on? And how do we not lose ourselves in our work when business is full on?

I can’t claim to have all the answers here, but for what they are worth, here are my thoughts for how to stay connected with your work when life is fighting for your attention.

Manage your expectations

Whilst on a call with a fellow business owner whose Dad has been seriously ill and who is herself recovering from a second bout of Covid, she shared that she hadn’t been feeling the ability to create content lately, which has never happened before and was asking how she might get her inspiration back. When I reminded her how much she is dealing with on a personal level and how normal it is therefore that she isn’t feeling creative, she broke down in tears.

I see some version of this all the time.

We don’t acknowledge what is going on for us and then on top of everything we might already be dealing with on a personal level, we have unreasonable expectations of ourselves to keep on keeping on. When we can truly acknowledge that our capacity for work may be limited, we’re better able to do the bare minimum than when we try to carry on at full capacity, which just adds more weight to an already unbearably heavy load.

On this same call, I was asked what I wanted to commit to for the next two weeks and without missing a beat I said: maintaining my business until our house renovation is complete. That means nothing extra, no big launches, no working on new things, no bold moves, or big steps. As boring and as safe as it might sound, my only job for the next month is to stick to my content schedule and serve my existing clients.

Even though that is more than enough, there still was a voice that whispered but you should be doing more.

It’s so important to be aware of that voice and to gently and respectively ignore her.

 Plan ahead

This one is a work in progress for me but making the most of the extra time I have in my business when things are quiet on the personal front is key to feeling less stressed when life gets busy or challenging.

That means that when I know I’ll be taking time off for a planned holiday, I can, for example, work a bit harder in advance to prepare content to be scheduled in my absence.

Much like it was in my old corporate life when I knew I had to take leave, there would also be a little bit of intensity ahead of the break, getting things set up for when I wouldn’t be there or handing stuff over to colleagues.

This doesn’t necessarily help when unexpected things happen like sudden sickness, but if you can endeavour to get ahead of yourself in for example your content creation, then you’ll have some leeway to work with when you suddenly find yourself busy with personal things. The trick is to be more productive when the space is there to do it so that you can step back when you need to, without dropping your business essentials.

Get help

Even though most of us work solo in our business that doesn’t mean we can’t recruit others to help take up the slack when we need to take a step back. There are several things you can do to find cover for while you are away that doesn’t require too much work up front for you.

You might, for example, invite a colleague to do a content takeover for your newsletter. This is something I’ve done for my dear colleague Eli Trier in the past. When she was busy getting married, she invited two or three of her most trusted colleagues to come in and write a newsletter on a topic relevant to her audience that she could schedule to go out while she was busy with her wedding. It was great for us as we got the opportunity to be exposed to a new group of people and could share links to our business and therefore get new followers and it was great for Eli, who had three weeks of quality newsletters she didn’t have to write or pre-prepare.

You can even do this with services. Years ago when I was on maternity leave with my first son, I was running a women’s circle with weekly calls. I invited 3 of my dearest colleagues to host calls in my absence and it was great, my women really appreciated that the calls continued while I was away bonding with my baby and my colleagues loved the opportunity to host a group call and share their skills.

And inside my mastermind program, I had a week off and had to miss one of the group calls, instead of cancelling it, I invited one of the amazing women inside the program to test out her new workshop on her fellow mastermind participants, meaning that the women benefited from her wisdom and she was able to get some validation and feedback on her new workshop. So it was a win win, with no extra work from me.

Give yourself grace

Always important but specifically relevant for those times when planning and calling in help just isn’t viable, it’s important to give yourself some grace when navigating difficult personal issues like illness, death of a loved one, birth of a child, children home from school, moving house (or house renovations!!) and all other big life events that inevitably mean our work has to take a back seat.

We would never be hard on a friend or valued colleague during times like these and would find it super easy to show empathy, understanding and love to someone else in this situation. Why then is it so hard for us to extend this kindness to ourselves?

Next time you find yourself in a situation where you’re dealing with some big personal life issues and catch yourself being hard on yourself about work, remember to show yourself some compassion. All being hard on ourselves does is make things even harder. In my experience, the more you’re able to lean into self-compassion, the sooner you’ll be ready to get back to doing what you can.

And there you have it, three things you can do to survive in business when your personal life is a struggle. Is there anything you’d add to this list? Feel free to let me know in the comments below.

SIGN UP FOR MY SOULFUL STRATEGIES WEEKLY

 

Once a week, in the form of an e-letter, I share the best of what I know about building a business with integrity for conscious business owners.

The intention behind these letters is to be a voice for integrity within your (undoubtedly) cluttered inbox. To be the one email you can count on to contain strategic and soulful advice for building a business without selling your soul.

If you want to receive the Soulful Strategies Weekly, simply share with me your name and email address below and you’ll start recieving emails right away.