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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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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.

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The One Thing I Can’t Teach You About Business

The One Thing I Can’t Teach You About Business

“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 want to talk about the one thing I can’t teach you in relation to growing a sustainable business.

Let me start by sharing what I can teach you.

I can teach you what to do in your business to bring about more growth. A huge part of how you apply this is, however, out of my control.

The part I can’t teach you about achieving business success is how to feel in your business.

Let me break down what I mean by how to feel in your business.

I’m talking about a few things, the energy you bring to your work, your attitude, the intentions you set (consciously or not), the mindset you have and so much more. It’s the intangible part of running a business and as many of you (as coaches and healers) will know, it’s what makes the difference between getting the results we desire and not getting them.

This is precisely why I never promise results in my marketing and why you shouldn’t trust anyone who does.

It’s why I could work with two clients and teach them the exact same strategies and whilst client A will succeed, client B won’t gain any traction.

How a person feels and shows up in their business has a HUGE bearing on how well they will do in business.

Now whilst this isn’t something I teach primarily, I do cover this in my work with clients. Not as extensively as a Mindset Coach or healer might, but it’s impossible not to come up against this when trying to apply business strategy.

Allow me to share some of what I’ve learned in this area over the past 10 years of working for myself and coaching hundreds of clients.

Your energy is everything.

One of the biggest issues I see when it comes to business is the energy the business owner brings to the work. In the early days of business when money and clients aren’t yet flowing, it can be easy to fall into a “grasping” energy. This is when you might feel so desperate to get the next client that as you put out your content and marketing and connect with potential clients, you unwittingly give off a desperate and grasping energy.

This is where I lose people sometimes because it’s a bit woo. But stay with me.

In my world energy is everything. It’s not something we can see or touch but it’s why you can get a bad or a good feeling about someone you’ve just met.

It’s how I chose the construction company for our house reno. Despite not having the biggest team or the most experience, the head builder we went with has good energy and I felt it the moment I met him. Within minutes of speaking with him (even in a second language!) I instantly knew that he would care for our home just as he would his own. It wasn’t anything he said, I could just feel it. And I was right, he’s been hands down the best part of this whole process. This is what I mean when I talk about energy.

Sometimes if we’re not careful and we’re not feeling especially confident about our work we can put out an energy that feels off. That’s why when we show up to our work desperate to get the next client, we may be subconsciously sabotaging our strategic efforts.

Something my first business coach taught me when doing gift sessions, was that whilst I might need a new client, I didn’t necessarily need this particular person to become that next client, allowing me to release all neediness and simply focus on being of service.

You may have experienced this, perhaps you’ve done a discovery call or gift session with someone and they expressed some interest in potentially working with you, but then they go quiet, as a result, you obsess over them, checking your email constantly to see if they’ve been in touch, counting the hours or days until you can message them again just to “check in” or follow up.

Even if you don’t actually tell the other person that you desperately want them to become your next client, your energy may well be sending that message. Nobody wants to hire a needy practitioner, so this is a really important one to watch out for.

Your attitude matters.

What’s your attitude like around business? Do you have a good attitude about the work or a bad one? I’m aware that terms like ‘good’ and ‘bad’ are crude, but bear with me.

If you constantly sit down to your work with an internal narrative that says: this will never work, this is hopeless or when creating content to market yourself, continuously hear a voice muttering what’s the point, no one is ever going to read this, then it follows that you’re going to have problems.

A negative attitude permeates everything (not least your energy!). When we feel and think negatively about our business, our subconscious looks for evidence to prove our point of view.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not one to tell you to suck it up and think positively and all will be well, but I have found that the more I focus on the positive, the more I feel grateful for the small wins, the better I feel and the clearer my energy is for my work.

This undoubtedly helps me to make better connections with potential clients, spot more opportunities for collaborations and just makes me a nicer person to be around.

The mindset piece.

Closely linked to attitude but not quite the same. Mindset for me falls into one of two camps. We usually operate from a fixed mindset or a growth mindset. I’ve written a whole piece about this before which you can read here.

To illustrate the point, I’ll use the words of Carol Dweck, Author of the book Mindset:

“When we have a “growth mindset,” we believe that our intelligence, creative abilities, and character are things that we can improve in meaningful ways. We can always learn and get better at what we do.”

By contrast, a fixed mindset describes people “who believe their intelligence, talents and personalities are fixed traits that cannot grow. They believe we are born with a certain level of ability (or special skills) and we are unable to improve our level abilities over time.” (From the Big Life Journal)

If you have a fixed mindset when it comes to your business skills, you will inevitably miss out on the many opportunities there are to improve your skills.

I hear people talking from a fixed mindset all the time. Often using sentences that start with the words “I’m just not someone who can…” and ending with things like: create content on demand, stick to a schedule, use spreadsheets, get to grips with technology, write web copy and so on and so on.

If you can shift from a fixed to a growth mindset, I have no doubt that it will benefit your business immensely.

Check your intention.

Something I see often is people getting tripped up by the intentions they hold as they put their work out into the world. In my work, I talk a lot about holding an intention to serve because I believe that when people feel truly served, they are more likely to buy from you. I also love this intention because for myself, and the types of business owners I work with, being of service is the main reason we’re doing this!

However, due to the need to make money sometimes this intention can get muddied. When we sit down to write a piece of content, rather than hold the intention that what we create truly helps our audience to overcome their struggles, we write from a place of hoping it makes them want to work with us or that it gets enough ‘likes’.

Or when we offer a gift session to someone, rather than holding the intention to serve and come from a place of generosity, we fall into the trap of focusing on the outcome of making the sale.

Of course, this is all perfectly natural and you’ll find no judgement here.

Holding an intention to serve has been a practice for me since day one. In the early days of my business when I was just starting out as a coach and it was easy to get caught up in wanting to impress the other person or come across as a good coach, I used to meditate before sessions so that I could get my ego out of the way just long enough to make my intention about the other person and not about me! My best sessions were always when I forgot about my “performance”.

How to improve how we feel in our business.

Having shared a few of the places that how we feel can derail our strategic efforts, I feel a bit bad about not giving you my best advice on how to work on this side of things, but here’s the issue.

There is no one way to improve how we feel about our business.

Personally, my journey with this has been long and complex. Over the years I’ve seen a myriad of therapists, coaches and healers.

Lately with all the external “stuff” going on in my world, feeling good both inside and outside of my business has been hard.

When this happens to me, I don’t hesitate to call in support. I book sessions with my most trusted healers, Laura Perkins and Megan Caper, I use my EFT sessions with Liesel Teversham to work on what’s coming up for me.

I lean on my favourite mindfulness practices like morning pages and taking walks in nature and most recently I jumped at the opportunity to get a customised flower essence made for me by the wonderfulTracy O’Meara Smith | Holistic Therapist.

I’m aware that not everyone might have the resources to hire help but that needn’t stop you. Some of the resources I mentioned above have come about from exchanges, i.e. swapping my business coaching skills in exchange for someone else’s skills.

In short, I do what I can to get back to a place of feeling centred and grounded and good in my mind, body and spirit. The effect this has on my bottom line is undeniable.

Your journey might look totally different, as it should do.

The point I’m trying to make here is that you can’t build a sustainable business without spending some time on the emotional and spiritual side of doing so.

I hope what I’ve shared here is useful to you, let me know what comes up for you in the comments.

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.

Is It Time to Consider the Big Picture of Your Life + Business?

Is It Time to Consider the Big Picture of Your Life + Business?

We are well into September and it’s precisely this time of year, as we near the end of quarter 3 and the start of 4, that I like to check in with my life and business to see if I’m on track to have the year I set out to have and more importantly to make sure that I am living the life, I want to live.

There are a few reasons I like to do this now. Firstly, the back-to-school vibe that’s in the air gives me renewed energy and excitement for the season ahead and also let’s be honest, trying to do our reviewing and planning in December (along with the holidays and all the stress that can bring) is sort of bonkers.

Instead, starting in September, I like to take my time and spend an hour here and there, looking at the big picture of my life and business with plenty of time before the holiday season hits. That way, when the year ends, writing up my goals and business plan for the year ahead is a pretty quick and simple task.

As I do this work, I thought it might be helpful to share with you what I’ve been up to.

Reviewing my offerings 

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been reviewing my business model and contemplating what, if any, new products and services I might want to birth in 2023. I also look at which products or services I may want to retire. 

I’ve already closed down my Back to Basics monthly subscription, to make space for new things I want to do next year. It’s always hard to let go of offerings you have created, especially when they’re bringing in money and have paying customers, but I learned many years ago that if I want to call in my true heart’s desires, I have to be willing to make space by letting go of that which no longer serves me. 

What has informed my thinking here is looking at my business model to figure out what makes most sense from a sustainability point of view. That means looking at my offerings from the point of view of how much time and effort they take versus the income they bring. If the former greatly exceeds the latter or I know that for the same amount of time, I could bring in more, I know that it’s time to make a change.

Tracking my finances

I track and review my finances on a monthly basis because I believe that, like anything, our finances thrive when we give them our loving attention and whither when we bury our head in the sand and pretend like they don’t exist.

Around this time of year, I can safely estimate what my end of year income and expenses will be. This helps me to set future financial goals that are rooted in reality rather than setting pie in the sky targets that I inevitably never reach.

Armed with this knowledge, I can do the maths to figure out what I want to make next year and how many of each of my products and services I would need to sell to make that happen.

Loosely thinking about my vision and goals for 2023 

I’ve also been giving myself permission to tap into my goals and dreams for 2023. Not just business but generally. Asking myself questions like: where do I see myself and my family next year? What are my priorities? What didn’t work this year that I would like to change? 

As I start to gently consider how I want my business to run next year, I can’t help but consider the life I want to live. That includes things like the number of hours I want to work each day and the number of days I want to work each week. How many holidays do I want to have a year and how much time do I need for my personal hobbies and fitness activities?

Given that I’ve been doing this kind of reflection for years, my business model is pretty well set up for having a healthy work life balance. However, it is very reliant on my 1:1 coaching practice, something that I’m giving more and more thought to is how to reduce my reliance on my 1:1 income and start bringing in more solid revenue from group offerings and digital products, thus allowing me to make more per hour of my time.  

Resistant to planning? 

I love doing this kind of thinking and nothing gets me more excited than a fresh page in a notebook and the intention to make new plans. I do know, however, that not everyone shares my same passion for planning.

With this in mind, if you are someone who typically avoids planning, I would encourage you at the very least to spend some time tapping into what isn’t working for you right now and what needs to change as well as what has worked well over the course of the year and how you can best make the most of that going forward.

Above all I would suggest that you give yourself permission to dream. I truly believe that we are all powerful creators and that when we put our minds to whatever it is that we want to create, magic happens.

Over the next few months I’ll be running several workshops on Creating a Sustainable Business model plus a 2-part Business Review and Planning Workshop. To receive dates and registration details, be sure to subscribe to my Soulful Strategies Weekly here.   

 

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.

Why I Don’t Recommend Starting A Business To Most People

Why I Don’t Recommend Starting A Business To Most People

“If you’re starting something on your own, you better have a passion for it, because this is hard work.”
~ Sallie Krawcheck, Co-founder of Ellevest

In this blog, I share with you why I don’t recommend starting a business to most people who ask me about it.

Given what I do — running my own business (from home) and coaching others on how to build and grow theirs — you can bet that I get a lot of people wanting to talk to me about how they might get started as a coach or other online business owner.

I’ve had it many times over the years, basically from people who are unhappy in their 9–5 job and searching for an alternative. Once they learn about what I do, the freedom it affords me and the success I’ve had with it, they are intrigued to explore if the online business world is something that they might also get into.

90% of the time, when I get approached in this way, my heart sinks.

Why?

Because usually, they are enquiring about starting their own business for all the wrong reasons.

The wrong reasons

The main reasons people are wanting to explore starting a business or becoming a coach include:

  • Hating their 9–5 job
  • Wanting to work from home so that they don’t have to deal with office politics (and can work in their pyjamas!)
  • Wanting more freedom to be able to work whenever and wherever they want
  • The ability to make more money than they can working for someone else.
  • Wanting to do work that they enjoy more than the work they currently do.
  • Loving the idea of being a coach and getting paid to talk to people.

Now while there’s nothing inherently wrong with any of these reasons (I can totally relate personally to each and every one of these), if these are the only reasons a person has, I think building a successful and sustainable business is going to be an uphill struggle.

Let’s dive into the 6 reasons why I think this.

1. Running your own business is harder than working 9–5

A lot of people think that running an online business will be easier than working 9–5 and in many ways, it’s actually the opposite. For many people, 9–5 is a breeze compared to running their own business.

Why?

Because when you run your own business you have lots more to deal with than you do in a paid job. You have to be good at all of the things: admin, finance, planning, marketing, networking, systems and so much more.

It’s not enough to be good at the service you provide (such as coaching or healing), you absolutely need to be skilled in all of the areas it takes to run a successful business. Do you need to be an ace at these skills right off the bat? No, of course not, but you do need to be willing to learn and uplevel your skills in all of these areas and more.

Not only this but you have to deal with the stress of inconsistent income and sales, at least for the first few years. No longer do you have a steady paycheck that drops into your bank account on the same day each month, some months you’ll make nothing or barely scrape by. This can and does take its toll.

Unlike a 9–5, where you can take sick days, maternity leave and holidays without it impacting your pay (at least in the UK) or the overall success of the business, when you run your own business, every day off typically means closing down your business during that time. There are no colleagues to delegate to or to take up the slack while you’re not there. And when no one is working on the business for too many days in a row, this can have a negative impact on your bottom line. Inconsistent marketing inevitably leads to inconsistent income.

2. In the short term you’ll make far less money than working in a normal job

Especially in the online world, there is a huge misconception that it’s easy to get to a place of consistent and sustainable income relatively quickly. Allow me to burst that bubble for you right now.

In the offline world, it’s a given that if you want to start a new business, you’re going to need some investment to cover you for at least the first few years. That’s because it takes years to become profitable (if you even do — many business fail in their first year). Just take a quick look at the google search results I got when I asked: How long does it take a new business to become profitable?

If you’re interested in starting an online business, purely for the potential financial gains, you’re going to really struggle when you learn that it’s not an overnight thing (despite what many online marketers would have you believe). It’s much more realistic to expect it to take anywhere between 2–4 years to get to a place of profitability.

AND…

… ‘profitable’ only means you are making money after all expenses have been taken into account, how much money you are making is another story. It may not mean you are making the kind of money you were making or could make with a 9–5 job, that could in fact take even longer.

3. It’s not enough to love what you do

A lot of people are drawn to becoming business owners because they fall in love with a modality, (such as coaching, somatics, dance, therapy or healing) and want to build a business in which they can spend their days sharing their skills in that area, with the people they believe most need it.

Given what I mentioned above about all of the hats you’ll be required to wear as a solopreneur, if you don’t also love the actual business side of running a business, you’re going to struggle. I can’t tell you how often I talk to frustrated business owners who feel disillusioned with their business precisely because they don’t enjoy nor want to do the business building activities (such as marketing and outreach) that will help them get the growth they so desperately need to be sustainable.

If you hate marketing, planning, finances and systems your business will suffer. Most new business owners can’t afford to outsource these things in the early years and they are essential business survival activities that you’ll not only need to master but ideally learn to enjoy. If you don’t, growing your business will become a drudgery.

4. Running a successful business is a full time job

A lot of the people I talk to were drawn to entrepreneurship precisely because they thought they would have more free time. Now while this might be something you can achieve down the line, in the first few years of getting a business off the ground, the reality is that you’ll be working at least 9–5 on your business. I’ve always worked full-time on my business and it’s only in the last year or so (years 4–5 in business) that I’ve been able to scale back some of my hours to work less.

Caveat: If you can’t work full-time on your business, that’s okay but it will in all likelihood take you longer to achieve what someone working full-time could.

The 4-hour work week and other unhelpful noise online about making big money in your sleep is actually a rarity and even then tends to come after a lot of hours of work (and years) have been put in.

Let’s consider “passive” income for a moment. The idea that you can make money in your sleep, it’s possible for sure, I do it on the regular. It’s not uncommon for me to check my email in the morning and to see that I made sales of digital products overnight.

The work I had to do up front, however, to not only create those products but also to do the marketing and build the engaged audience I need to buy those products, took significant time.

I say it all the time, but if it were really that easy to make money in your sleep, working 4 hours a week, no one would work a 9–5 job. Ever.

5. The freedom of working for yourself isn’t the freedom you imagined it would be

The freedom to work whenever and wherever you want is a huge draw of being an online business owner for many people. But it’s not quite that simple. Whilst you may not have a boss to answer to, you do (and should want to) have clients and customers (or potential ones at least) to take into account.

During those years when I didn’t have a full client roster, if I had taken the day off every time I felt like it, then I wouldn’t be where I am today in business. Now with a full client roster, if I cancelled appointments every time I felt like doing something else, I would tank my reputation and the flow of new clients would quickly dry up.

Do I have more freedom than in my old 9–5 job? Absolutely, without a doubt. Do I have the freedom to work whenever or wherever I want, no, not by a long shot. So the reality is somewhere in between these two and it’s often a shock to people who decided to start their own business to have more freedom when they realise that this is not always possible.

As I started building my first business back in 2014, I was what some people call a “digital nomad”. I had left the UK (and my career in programme management) in 2012 and didn’t have a permanent residency anywhere. I had been living in Thailand for a few years and then, shortly after meeting Joan, we travelled to Colombia before settling down for a year in Mexico.

I used to get so wound up by the pictures I’d see online from business owners with their laptops out by the pool or on the beach. As a travelling business owner, I knew only too well how different the reality of running a business on the road is.

Allow me to dispel the myth — You can’t work outside in the sunshine because you can’t actually see your screen, also it’s far less likely that you’ll have a strong enough wifi connection to actually do anything productive online outdoors. Not to mention how uncomfortable it is to work in a hammock!!! These pictures were and are staged to present and sell a certain lifestyle and it works, we make 6-figure businesses buying into that BS.

If you talk to anyone running a successful business abroad, they’ll tell you that they spend more time at the local co-working place or cooped up in their room than they do relaxing by the pool.

6. Running your own business requires courage and resilience

Whilst you might have to step outside of your comfort zone in a 9–5 job (I certainly did in my former career), it’s a daily requirement when you run your own business.

There’s no place to hide when you’re the boss. If you don’t exercise courage on the regular, no one will know you even exist. To exercise courage on the regular, you need resilience. You’ve got to be able to face the critics (inner and possibly outer) and come out relatively unscathed.

Running your own business requires you to embrace failure rather than run from it. To get good at anything, you have to fail first, I know this from personal experience and I see it every day as I raise two young children.

Nobody steps out of the gate doing everything perfectly. When you see someone’s flawless and polished video or perfectly presented webinar, you can bet that they started out with a DIY version that was far more rough around the edges.

The thing is we rarely see most people’s practice runs or failed attempts, we see the end result of years of failing, improving and practising. If you’re not up for the experimentation (and possibly falling flat on your face) part, you’re unlikely to reach the successful, expertly executed part. Fact.

So there you have it 6 reasons I believe that running a business isn’t for everyone. Now, you might be forgiven for thinking that I don’t believe having more time, freedom and money is possible when you run your own business but nothing could be further from the truth. These absolutely are possible. But if you are going into business just for them and expecting that you’ll have them quickly and easily, it’s my belief that you’re in for a bumpy ride.

Given I’m sharing here the top reasons I don’t recommend most people start a business, you might be wondering when I would recommend it.

That’s easy.

When you can understand and appreciate all of the above and still know in your heart that it’s what you want to do 100%.

Even though I didn’t know all of these upfront, I soon learned. My passion to do work that has an impact as well as my desire to be my own boss (with all that that entails) has never wavered.

Is there anything you would add to this list? Or any of the above that you are struggling with? If so, let me know in the comments.

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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.

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Are You Doing This Often Enough?

Are You Doing This Often Enough?

“A salesperson’s ethics and values contribute more to sales success than do techniques or strategies.”
~ Ron Willingham

In this blog, I talk to you about something that so many of the business owners I work with struggle to implement — regularly letting your audience know about your products and services. I plan to share with you an approach for sharing your offers authentically and to give you a suggested plan to make sure you do it.

A while back I asked members of my Mastermind, the following question:

How often are you putting your paid offerings in front of your audience (and how)?

And I was a tad taken aback by the response, the vast majority of the women said that they weren’t doing it at all or if so, were doing it rarely and infrequently.

Now I shouldn’t really be surprised because the kind of business owner that is attracted to my work tends to be so precisely because they don’t like the sales and marketing aspect of running a business. They like my work because I focus on generosity and giving versus manipulation and hard selling. I myself have built a successful business, selling as infrequently as possible AND…

It’s so, so, so important to be letting your people know what you have to offer on a regular and consistent basis.

A chilling parable

Years ago I heard a story that had a huge impact on me, I have no idea where or how I heard this story and despite searching online (many times!), I’ve never been able to find it since. So this is my version of it. It’s the story of a doctor who moved to a remote village.

He didn’t want to tell the villagers on his first day there that he was a doctor, lest he come across as bragging or full of himself. That first night, shortly after he arrived he heard a commotion in the early hours of the morning, but didn’t think too much of it. The next day, he awoke to find the village in mourning. When he asked what had happened, he was told that a little girl had come down with fever and died because the nearest doctor lived miles away and they couldn’t get to him in time.

Of course, the doctor was devastated, he had assumed that a doctor must already live in the village and by not letting the villagers know his profession, a young girl had died.

Now whilst people might not die as a result of your silence about what you have to offer, it’s my honest belief that when we fail to share what it is that we can do for others (on the regular), we are depriving the very people we are trying to help from accessing products and services that could help them to live happier and healthier lives.

So, with that said, how do you let people know what you are up to without feeling like a sleazy car salesman? It’s easier than you think.

A simple reframe

I want to offer you a reframe from the sleazy car salesman stereotype to the courteous waiter.

We’re all familiar with the sleazy car salesman stereotype. The slick salesman who will use every trick in the book to get us to buy a car, even when said car is not in our best interests to buy. We see him as pushy and aggressive in his use of sales tactics and for conscious business owners like us, the thought of coming across as even slightly salesy in this way leaves us feeling cold.

Now think about when you go out for a meal in a restaurant and those points in the evening when the waiter brings over the menu, first so that you can choose your starter and main course and then again later so that you can see the desert menu and, if so inclined, order some coffee.

Do you feel sold to in those moments? No of course not, you’re usually grateful if the waiter or waitress comes over without you having to make eye contact and wave across a crowded dining room. When they come to ask if we want desserts or coffee, we don’t think “uff, I wish this guy would stop trying to upsell me!” No, quite the opposite, we consider it to be a service, one of the very reasons we’re out for dinner in the first place.

But at the end of the day, the waiter is in fact simply sharing what is available for you to buy. Yet for some reason, we never feel sold to. Why is that? Because waiters don’t have a vested interest in how much we spend, they aren’t trying to manipulate us into buying the most food possible. They are simply sharing with us what is on offer and we feel this.

When we can embody the courteous waiter as we share what we have to offer, we too can sell without feeling salesy.

Creating a schedule

What I’ve done to get over my own resistance to sharing about my products and services is to create a schedule for it. I now recommend to all my clients that they too create a schedule of sharing offers, gentle invitations, if you will, to buy something they have created that could help the very people they are trying to serve.

What I recommend my clients do, is to create a schedule for sharing offers/CTAs (calls to actions) that incorporates both those things you have on offer that are paid for as well as things you have on offer that are free. I have a tab in my content schedule spreadsheet just for this purpose (see image below). In it, I have details of all of my offerings, such as my online trainings (paid) and also invitations to subscribe to my newsletter or join my facebook group (free) plus the copy that I would use to share the details with my audience.

I then have a slot for these once a week in my actual content schedule that details where and when I’ll share this information (usually on Instagram or Facebook). I recommend that you share one of your offerings after every 5–7 pieces of valuable free content. Given that I publish content every day and I alternate between sharing about a paid offer and a free offer, I can do this weekly.

If you are not sharing free content as regularly, then your schedule might be different. However, I would recommend not going more than a month without sharing details of one of your offers with your audience at least once. At this rate, you’ll only be letting your people know about your offers 12 times in the whole year.

The reason I love to have a schedule with the copy pre-populated in a spreadsheet is because it makes it easier to share. Given that most conscious business folks I know (myself included) have some resistance to “selling”, automating the process as much as possible really can help. If I have to write the copy every week when it comes up in my schedule, you can bet that I’ll skip over it as soon as resistance rears its head.

It takes a bit of work up front, but once created, a pre-populated, schedule makes the whole process of regularly sharing your offers so much easier.

Some advice about your sales copy

Speaking from personal experience, the hardest part of getting this system set up is creating the copy that accompanies each offering. Here’s my best advice on how to do that. Stop worrying about trying to make it sound enticing, convincing or exciting. That’s where we start to feel inauthentic and salesy and as a result, resistance comes up.

Instead, remember the courteous waiter and simply share clearly and transparently what you have to offer that might help your ideal clients. I like to include all the details (no hiding the price over here) and also say who it’s for and who it’s not for so that people can self select in or out.

The key for me is to always stay out of the realm of trying to convince people that it’s what they need and instead to present clearly what’s on offer so that they themselves can decide if it’s something they want to buy or do.

Of course, this doesn’t mean excluding the potential benefits of your offer, but that’s very different to some of the sales copy you’ll see on the internet that focuses on pain points and uses manipulation and inflated promises to try and get the sale.

My sincere hope?

That after reading this, you’ll see the importance of sharing with your audience, details of your products, services and other opportunities to go deeper with you, without a fear of coming across as pushy or salesy.

And that you can totally do it in a way that provides a service to your people.

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.