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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.

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10 Practical Ways To Minimise Business Overwhelm

10 Practical Ways To Minimise Business Overwhelm

dded”Putting first things first means organizing and executing around your most important priorities. It is living and being driven by the principles you value most, not by the agendas and forces surrounding you.”
~ Dr. Stephen R. Covey

In this blog, I’m sharing 10 practical things you can do to better understand overwhelm and to minimise its impact on your day-to-day business activities.

For me overwhelm is nearly always an indicator of fear. When I feel overwhelmed I know that, in that moment, my mind has lost sight of the here and now, that I’ve become attached to some desired outcome in the future and the overwhelm has crept into the space between the two.

For me overwhelm is the fear that I won’t realise my desired outcome and a sign that I’ve become focused on how things should be versus how they are and then from that place taking the single most simple next step.

If overwhelm is affecting your ability to get things done in your business (or just making you feel low), take a look through this list and choose the actions that speak to you.

1. Get it out of your head.

The first thing I do when I recognise that I am feeling overwhelmed is to make a list of everything on my plate. It sounds super simple because it is. Making a list gets all of the various things you are juggling out of your head and onto a piece of paper, the key is to include everything no matter how small or silly they may seem.

I’ll never forget the most powerful coaching session I ever had (and I’ve had many!). I got on the call with my coach and I was feeling terrible, really low and totally overwhelmed. He told me to open up my notebook and write down the number one thing that was bothering me. After that, he asked me what else? And what else? And what else? Until I had filled four pages of my notebook. At the end of it, we reviewed the list and he said to me “no wonder you’re feeling overwhelmed, who wouldn’t with all of this to deal with?” I instantly felt better. Just getting those things off my chest and out of my head eased the feeling of overwhelm significantly.

The overwhelm was coming from feeling like I should have had it more together, the overwhelm dissipated when I found a place of acceptance with what was.

2. Prioritise.

Once you’ve made your list, you’ll want to organise it. Often when we are feeling overwhelmed, we’re ruminating on the million different things that we believe we could or should be doing, instead of focusing on the next most important step. Here’s where we need to prioritise. Personally, I like to organise my tasks using Stephen Covey’s 4 quadrants (see image below) so that I can quickly eliminate anything that is not important (Quadrants 3+4) and spend my valuable time on what is important (quadrants 1+2). I no longer need to use the 4 quadrants diagram to do this, these days, I instinctively know what is important and/or urgent and can disregard the rest.

To deal with my most important tasks for the day, I like to identify them and then schedule them in my diary, so that I can take into account any pre-existing appointments and how long things get done. If that means I can only do 1–3 of the urgent and important tasks on my list then that is what I schedule, nothing more.

I also recommend never committing to more than 3 tasks a day regardless of the time and space you have. Any more than 3 and our minds inevitably veer towards overwhelm. Besides, there’s nothing to stop you from doing more if you get your 3 things done early.

3. Limit your inputs.

Given the world we now live in, it’s no wonder that overwhelm is a common occurrence. We are bombarded by information on a second by second basis. With the internet, social media and the accompanying barrage of pings, notifications and reminders, not being in a state of overwhelm can often feel like an insurmountable task.

This is where it becomes really important to limit your inputs. There are plenty of things you can do to minimise this assault on your senses. Turn off notifications, remove apps from your phone if you have to, delay checking email until later in the day and avoid mainstream media at all costs (if you want to protect your mental health!).

I was talking to someone once who always seemed to be overwhelmed and depressed by the state of the world yet continued to digest the very mainstream media that perpetuated that state. I make a conscious choice not to watch or read mainstream media, precisely because I know that is designed to play on our fears in order to maximise profits.

If there are inputs in your life that don’t serve you, my best advice is to limit or eliminate them. This can take time, but it’s often easier to do than you think. Next time you’re on the receiving end of something that leaves you feeling overwhelmed ask yourself, can I eliminate this somehow? (unsubscribe, block, remove notifications or stop participating in).

4. Watch your mindset.

Sometimes when we have found something overwhelming in the past (like schedules, social media, finances or planning), we develop a fixed mindset around it, i.e. we get very black and white about it. We start to believe that we just don’t do well with that thing and immediately start to feel overwhelmed when faced with it.

I’d like to gently challenge you here to cultivate a growth mindset and create space for something new to emerge. I’ll give you a personal example. For years, I told myself that I was terrible at focus and found it very hard to concentrate for more than a few minutes at a time. After living for several years with someone who is incredibly focused (sometimes to the extreme), I started to notice my own capacity for focused work increase.

When I allowed myself to question the assumption that I was a person who was very easily distracted and therefore unable to focus, change became possible. These days I wouldn’t dream of describing myself as unfocused — quite the opposite. I’m perfectly capable of sitting down to a piece of work and getting into a focused state for several hours if I have to. By allowing myself to believe that I could become a focused person and working on the skillset to achieve that, I became one.

Consider when in your business life you always revert to a state of overwhelm, is there a possible mindset shift here?

6. Shine a light.

Fear lives in the dark — when we shine a light on something, it can become less scary and overwhelming, If we’re scared of numbers, then working on our financials will feel overwhelming and uncomfortable. That’s because there is a barely audible script running in the background telling us we don’t know what we’re doing.

If you become conscious of that script and seek to change it by empowering yourself with knowledge, then change is possible. Why not take some to learn more about something you find overwhelming and watch the overwhelm dissipate.

When we know how to do something, we feel good about doing it.

So consider now what things in your business are causing overwhelm because of a lack of knowledge or skill and then take some steps to rectify that.

7. Focus on the present.

As I’ve already mentioned I’m a firm believer that overwhelm occurs when we’ve become disconnected from the present moment. So it follows that one way to ease feelings of overwhelm is to do something to connect with the present moment.

One way to do this is to bring our attention to the breath. Another might be to get out of our heads and into our bodies. If you don’t have a regular mindfulness practice like meditation, yoga, movement or dance, consider starting one. I truly believe you’ll notice the impact it has on your feelings of overwhelm.

8. Simplify the task/offering.

Often we feel overwhelmed because we simply have too much to do. I know that there are times in my working week when there are more things that need to be completed than I have time in the day to complete them.

Here is where I recommend scaling back what you do to make your tasks/offerings simpler. Let me give you some examples.

If you offer 1:1 and started out by always writing up post-session notes to send to clients, but as you’ve got more and more clients, now struggle to find the time, stop doing it.

If when you send your weekly newsletter you always like to share at least 5 links to other useful resources but you’re finding it takes too long to pull these together, give yourself permission to stop doing it.

A lot of the people I work with (and I include myself in this camp) are chronic over givers/perfectionists. Meaning there is often scope to scale back how much we do in any given task or client offering. It can feel challenging to pare things down but believe me, the extra space it will give you will be worth it.

9. Adjust your expectations.

Closely related to #8 but more focused on how we think about what we offer. It’s important to acknowledge when our expectations are too high.

I was talking to a client a while ago who has these amazing templates she uses in her business, they are gold. In a beta collaboration, she was working on, she had agreed to turn her (already amazing) templates into workbooks, but doing so was kicking her butt, she was facing a launch deadline and on top of her heavy client load, she was struggling to get the work done.

I suggested that she simply use the templates as they were. Nobody would know the difference having seen neither format and given the templates, as is, are already brilliant and worth more than the whole beta program would cost, it wouldn’t devalue the offering one bit. Such a simple shift, but one that took a whole lot of pressure off and created a truckload of new space in her calendar.

10. Choose differently.

In another piece of writing, I talk about how my own personal epiphany about overwhelm came after reading an article by a coach who argued that overwhelm is a choice. This idea can be triggering for some people, but for me it was life-changing. Knowing that there are things I do that contribute to my feeling of overwhelm and things I can do to minimise them means that I have some control over whether I am in a state of overwhelm or not.

I’m not saying that it’s always as simple as choosing not to be overwhelmed but acknowledging that there is a choice really helps me. To understand more what I mean by this final point head here to read an article I wrote on this very idea.

And there you have it, 10 things you can do to minimise business related overwhelm. I hope you find them useful.

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 Cover Your Vacations When You Are A Solopreneur

How To Cover Your Vacations When You Are A Solopreneur

“There is virtue in work and there is virtue in rest. Use both and overlook neither.”
― Alan Cohen

Something that I’ve had to work at over the years is how to keep my business ticking over whenever I do take a break from work. In the early days of my business, I either didn’t take a full break, making sure I always had my laptop with me, so that I could grab time to work whenever the opportunity arose or I did take a full break and consequently dropped the ball on my business as a result. 

Neither of these are options is advisable, especially the first. Having quality time away from your business that is fully focused on yourself and your loved ones is essential for your sanity, your relationships, your health and it also benefits your business too. When we’ve taken a proper break from work, we come back with our energy and creativity levels refreshed and restored. I honestly can’t recommend it enough. Simply dropping the ball on your business obviously isn’t ideal either so what’s the solution?

I have a few simple tips to cover your vacations as a solopreneur: 

1. Plan your holidays with your business in mind. For example, avoid those times when you know that business is generally busier for you. For example, for me, this tends to be in the New Year or around September/October time. Instead, choose your breaks at times when you either have less going on or that you predict will be less busy given your past experience. We often forget to do this for our own businesses even though if we worked for someone else we most certainly wouldn’t be able to book holiday during a particularly busy time. It would be expected that you would choose to take leave at a time that has as little impact on the team as possible or find ways to cover your role in your absence. Why should it be any different for your business? 

2. Once your holiday is planned, be sure to let all your existing clients know and, if appropriate, your audience in general. Letting people know that you’ll be away and potentially less responsive or (ideally for you) completely unresponsive during that time helps to manage people’s expectations. You’ll also want to set up an autoresponder through your email provider so that when people do get in touch, they get a message that lets them know that you are away and not actively managing your inbox at this time. Be sure to let them know when you’ll be back and when they can expect to get a response from you. Failure to communicate when we’re away and simply not responding to communication not only makes us look highly unprofessional but it can leave our people feeling ignored or neglected. Not what we want as the caring, conscious, business owners we strive to be. 

3. Think about a few key ways you usually show up for your audience and plan ahead to make sure that you can still be there for your people even while on holiday. For me, one key way is this letter to you. If I didn’t pre-write and schedule newsletters, you wouldn’t hear from me, and because I know the importance of consistency, that’s just not good enough for me. Spending a few hours crafting and scheduling a couple of newsletters to go out in my absence is a simple but effective way of keeping my business running smoothly without me. You can also do this with social media posts, blog posts, and all manner of content. If you feel too busy to create extra content for the time you are away, simply repurpose something you’ve already written, or re-share content that you haven’t shared in a while.

Covering your holidays when you’re a solopreneur doesn’t have to require a ton of extra effort or energy. Really all that it requires is some forethought and planning.

With this in mind, my challenge for you today is to open up your calendar and consider when you’ll next be away from your business for a considerable amount of time (I’d say anything from 3–4 days+ requires a bit of planning) and make a few notes of what you’ll put in place to keep your business ticking over in your absence. Be sure to schedule in the time you’ll need to put things in place ahead of your holiday so that it goes from being an intention to an action you actually take. 

I hope you’ve found these tips helpful, I’d be happy to answer any questions you have about how else I manage my business while I’m away.

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.

10 Income Generating Activities To Try Out In Your Business

10 Income Generating Activities To Try Out In Your Business

“If you want your income to grow, you too must grow.”
~ Idowu Koyenikan

In this blog, I want to talk about “income generating activities”, what they are, how you identify them and some specific activities you can do to bring more money into your business this year.

Let’s start with what I mean by income generating activities. These are the things you do in your business that generate new clients or more sales in your business. They are not the products or services themselves (because it’s absolutely possible to have a solid suite of products and services and not be making money) nor is it the creation of them. Instead it’s what you do in your business to generate more sales of the ones you’ve got.

Now before I start to share with you my suggestions, I want you to stop for a moment and consider what has previously worked in your business to bring in money. Because here’s the thing, often when I talk to business owners, they are in what I call the feast and famine stage of their business growth, meaning they make some sales and all is well followed by a painful period of no sales and therefore no income.

Typically they’re looking for a coach precisely because they need more consistent income. When I ask these business owners what has worked to generate income in the past, they almost always have an answer. Their feast phases can almost always be attributed to something the business owner was doing at the time.

Let me give you an example of how a typical conversation might go:

Me: So how did you get the last few clients you had?
Client: Oh I was doing a lot of networking at the time and several people sent leads my way.
Me: Oh so are you doing that sort of networking now?
Client: No I haven’t done it in a while, I sort of fell out of the habit.

Now we can replace networking for a wide range of activities, but the key here is that all of the income we’ve generated thus far in our business can be traced back to some specific action or set of actions on behalf of the business owner. That’s why for me, it’s super important that you analyse your own activities first and look back at how your previous income was generated.

ACTION: Grab a notepad and pen, yes right now, I want you to do this before reading on. On a clean sheet of paper write down the names of your last 5–10 clients. Next to each name write a few words about how they came to be your client and then consider the following questions.

  • Do you see any patterns, are there any obvious themes emerging?
  • Is there one person or platform sending you the majority of your leads?
  • Is there one blog post that people keep finding, that has them then book a call with you?
  • Do you even know exactly how people found you and are you keeping a record? This last point is so important if you want to deepen your understanding of your best income generating activities.

Often when trying to build or grow a business, we get so overwhelmed by all of the advice out there and all of the things we think should be doing that we end up wasting a lot of time on busy work, rather than focusing our attention on the activities that will bring us the most return on investment for our time and energy. Read on for some of my thoughts on where I recommend focusing your attention.

Income generation in a nutshell

If you were to ask me to share with you what activities I believe have brought in the most money in my business, I would say in a nutshell, providing value, solving problems and connecting 1:1 with people. I have done this primarily through consistently creating content that serves my ideal client gifting complimentary sessions. Of course, within that there are a whole load of specific activities and strategies one can do. But for those who like to keep it simple, this is the bottom line.

People buy from people they know, like and trust. When we provide value, solve problems and be in connection with the very people we hope to have as clients, we build relationships with people who then better know, like and trust us. This perhaps sounds more contrived than it’s meant to. In more everyday terms — be a good egg and help people out and they’re more likely to want to buy from you. It really is that simple. But how exactly do we do this? Read on for some specific activities I recommend.

1. Be in conversation with people

This is top of the list for a reason. It’s one of the most overlooked activities in business and one of the most effective in terms of generating new business. We’re all familiar with the term networking and the reason this concept is so popular is because when it comes to business being in conversation with people works.

Traditional networking is flawed in my opinion because it asks us to go in search of people to buy our products and services rather than look for people we can help. It has us in pitch mode rather than serve mode and in this day and age where consumers are being clobbered over the head for the sale at every turn, this approach to networking is no longer as effective as it once was.

Instead, I talk about something called authentic outreach, which has us connect with people in a more authentic and genuine way, with an intention to serve rather than sell. If this sounds like an activity you’d prefer to do in place of spending countless hours on social media, read here for some practical examples of what this might look like and/or watch this class.

2. Make personal invitations

Often when we are in sales mode, trying to sell a new product or service or trying to fill a group program, we put all our attention on what I call one-to-many marketing such as posting on social media or emailing our mailing list. Whilst these are important things to do when you’re in launch mode, a commonly overlooked activity is making one-to-one personal invitations to people in your audience who could benefit.

Oftentimes the thought of this makes people feel like they would be being salesy or pushy, but a genuine note to a person you have a relationship with already can go a long way. Something like: Hey I don’t know if you’ve seen it already, but I have a new group program (about xxx) starting in a week and I think you would be a wonderful addition to the group. No pressure at all, I just wanted you to know that there is a spot here for you if you want it. Let me know if you want more info or would like to hop on a quick call to discuss.

When I’ve done this from a place of genuinely wanting that specific person involved rather than desperately trying to get sign ups at all costs, it has worked. People have been pleased and even flattered to receive the personal invitation and oftentimes it’s led to a sale that’s a win-win for everyone involved.

3. Offer complimentary sessions

Anyone who knows anything about my work, knows that this is my all-time favourite strategy for creating clients and one of my favourite activities to do in my business. Why? Because it’s the most effective way I have found to build a strong enough connection between myself and a person interested in my work to have them asking me how we can work together.

I’m not a fan of sales pitches or asking for the sale in a conversation. For me it’s awkward and cringy and also makes it very hard for the other person to say no. That’s why people often come to me complaining that they get a lot of people saying yes on their sales calls only to then find they’ve been ghosted or the person has changed their mind later on.

This post goes into the why and how of comp sessions in much more detail than I can share here, but let me just say that whenever I’ve found myself short of clients in my business, I’ve simply opened up my calendar to offer complimentary sessions and within a few weeks I’ve had more money coming in.

4. Ask for referrals

This isn’t exactly what it sounds like. I’m not a fan of writing to people in your network and asking them to send you leads.

Instead what I teach is an approach to generating referrals based on generosity. Rather than reach out to former clients and others in your network with an ask, I suggest sending a note to these people, offering them the opportunity to gift a complimentary session to someone else in their network.

Ideally, it will be someone who knows a little about your work (that’s why former clients or former comp session recipients are a good idea) and in the note you’ll say something about the type of person you’d like to gift sessions to. To read an example of one such message I sent several years ago head here.

5. Increase your visibility

I’ve worked with many business owners who are highly skilled at what they do, get high praise from the few clients they’ve had but who can’t seem to get enough clients to make the business viable. Why? Because people don’t know they exist, they’re not visible to enough people to generate enough sales. An obvious activity to get more eyes on your business is creating consistent content.

We’re not talking any old content. I’m talking about high value, expertise demonstrating, problem-solving content. Content that has your audience better understand how your work can help them to achieve the transformation they so deeply desire. I teach a 3-stage process on this in my Kinder Content Marketing training which is CREATE — REPURPOSE — PROMOTE. You can read more about it in a post I wrote here.

6. Streamline your business model

Rather than something you do to get more sales, this is something to remove, which may be preventing sales. Something I see a lot of is convoluted and confusing business models. This is where a business has a LOT of products and services, with not enough distinction between them so that people are left wondering which one of these should I even buy?? Or sometimes there are just a few offers but the amount of purchasing options for those offers are highly confusing.

I’m a firm believer that a confused mind says no and that less is more. So why not make it easier for people to buy by getting rid of any confusion in your offers and eliminating those products and services (or purchasing options) that nobody ever buys?

7. Launch a new product or service (or repurpose an existing one)

I include this one with caution. Mainly because I see a lot of business owners suffering under the illusion that in order to make more money, they must be constantly launching something new. Nothing could be further from the truth. I launch my mastermind only once a year and for the rest of the year I use my content and outreach to keep my 1:1 practice full.

However, for some businesses, launching a new product and service might be exactly what is required to get that income flowing in, but don’t go gung ho on this one, make sure to talk to your audience first — I highly recommend setting up hour long market research calls with people in your network, where you ask research questions for 30 minutes and then use the second 30 minutes to be of service by coaching, teaching or healing. These audience research calls are great on many levels as they hit numbers 1, 3, 5 and 8 on this list and are nearly always a good idea, whether you are launching something new or not.

You can also use audience research to get feedback on existing offers to make improvements and changes that may very well bring in more sales.

8. Regularly let your audience know what you have on offer

Most of the people I work with are not doing this nearly enough. Even I don’t do it nearly enough and that’s because it’s hard to be in “sales mode”. No one enjoys asking for the sale and so I like to offer my clients a reframe.

Instead of feeling like the sleazy car salesman, instead, I invite you to embody the courteous waiter. Think about the last time you went to a nice restaurant. How did you feel when at the end of the meal the waiter asked if you’d like to see the dessert menu? Did you feel annoyed and like he was intruding on your meal and trying to upsell you? No of course not, the chances are that you felt pleased you didn’t have to spend 5 minutes trying to catch his eye and welcomed the opportunity to look at the menu even if you don’t think you could possibly eat one more thing (maybe that’s just me!)

Instead of feeling salesy, consider getting into a habit of gently letting your audience know what’s on offer, if your audience is engaged and interested you can bet that simply reminding people what you have to support them will generate more sales. I see this with my Back to Basics offer which I rarely share about, but whenever I do someone new signs up!

9. Put your prices up

This is another I share with caution. Too many business coaches use big price hikes as a way to get their clients more money. I’m not one of them, premium prices is not something I necessarily advocate. To read more about my approach to pricing you can read an article I wrote on the topic here.

That said it’s not uncommon for me to work with business owners who are undercharging out of fear or who haven’t raised their prices in years despite great feedback from their existing clients. Incremental price rises are normal and expected and can give a nice boost to your bottom line and most of the time people won’t notice or mind.

10. Invest in advertising

Although this links closely to point number 5, I wanted to spell this one out because many people who follow my content strategy are for some reason comfortable with creating content and even repurposing it and then drop the strategy at the promote part — advertising. And I think I know why, many of the people I’ve worked with have dabbled with FB or Instagram ads with little to show for it and to learn how to execute an advertising strategy effectively can feel overwhelming, but I invite you to reconsider.

When we put countless hours into creating valuable content that barely anyone sees it can be soul-destroying not to mention a real waste of time. Spending a small amount of money to ensure your best content is seen by your existing audience as well as people who would likely be interested in your offerings can definitely be an effective income generator. The best strategy I know for FB advertising in particular, comes from George Kao. I also teach a pared down version of his strategy in my content marketing training.

And there you have it, 10 activities or actions you can take to generate more income for your business this year. I hope you’ve found this list useful, if you have be a love and let me know, it’s always great to hear from my audience that what I’m creating is helpful.

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Are You Paying Enough Attention to Your Business Model?

Are You Paying Enough Attention to Your Business Model?

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

I don’t know why, but “business model” is not something I see talked about all that often when it comes to building a sustainable online business, but it’s absolutely key to your business and personal success.

If you’re sitting here wondering what exactly I mean by business model, don’t worry I’ve got you.

The term business model is one of those business concepts that many business owners will have some idea of what it means, but if pressed couldn’t quite articulate or describe all of the key elements. Like many other business terms, the definition will change depending on who you talk to or which google search result you look at.

One technical definition is this:

“A business model is a company’s core strategy for profitably doing business. Models generally include information like products or services the business plans to sell, target markets, and any anticipated expenses. The two levers of a business model are pricing and costs.”

For micro businesses like ours, a more simple and therefore useful definition is:

How you make money in your business.

The second seems simple enough, but when you look at this more closely — what exactly are we talking about when we ask: How do you make money on your business? Are we talking about the offerings you have? The way you market those offerings? Or how people find your offerings? The specific combination of offerings you have and/or their relative price points?

For me, business model is a combination of all of these things and the combination we end up with determines the kind of business we have. And, if we’re not intentional about the business model we create, we’re in danger of building a business at odds with the kind of life we want to live.

Where most people fall down is that they don’t think about the overall business model they are creating and instead dive headfirst into creating products and services. If we are not intentionally creating products and services with our overall business model in mind, then we tend to create for one of the following three reasons:

1. It’s something you feel like creating.
2. It’s something you think you should create based on what other people are creating
3. You feel the need to be launching something new in order to make more money.

Let’s take each of these in turn.

1. When we create what we feel like creating, we fail to take into account what our audience actually wants or needs. Then when it comes to launching, we may have a beautifully crafted product or service, made with love and all the best intentions, but nobody buys because it isn’t what they asked for, want or need. The solution? Don’t create anything that you haven’t already tested or researched with your audience.

2. I’ve talked about it before but many years ago, I made my first big business model mistake when I became seduced by the idea of a low cost membership program. This was a classic case of choosing to create something based on what others were creating. It felt like a no-brainer to me to charge people a low monthly rate for regular content and classes and in no time be making thousands of euros a month.

With just 200 people paying €25 a month, I would be bringing in €5000, or so my thought process went.

It didn’t work out like that. My audience was so tiny that whilst I had a good initial take-up, because of the low monthly rate I was hardly making anything. Whilst 200 people paying 25€ didn’t seem like a crazy goal, when we dive deeper and consider average conversion rates, I would have had to have an email list of nearly 7000 people, 3% of those signing up, to get 200 people into my membership. For the record, (average conversion rates are between 1–5%) and that’s not even taking into account that around 50% of my list don’t even open my emails so that would mean 14,000.

Now I don’t know about you but I’m some way off 14,000 subscribers. And, the marketing tactics I would need to employ to grow my list to those kinds of numbers are not the kind of marketing tactics I’m prepared to spend my time on.

So, what happened in the end was that I found myself on a treadmill of creating new resources and classes every month so that I didn’t lose the few people I had, with little time to do the marketing required to get new people in or to grow my list. It was exhausting and I finally found the courage to close the doors on that offering at the end of 2019.

I’ve been a lot more mindful since then about what products and services I create.

3. Another common reason for creating a new product or service seems to come from a belief that we need to be launching something new in order to generate income.

This can be an issue particularly at this time of year when we’re busy making plans for the year ahead. It’s not uncommon for me to look over a client’s goals for the year and express concern about how much they are trying to achieve, in particular, how many new things they are planning to create, launch and sell.

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

Whilst this quote can seem disheartening at first glance, when the truth of it is embraced, we can actually take heart in what’s possible over the course of a decade or even the next 5 years. If we take me for example, I walked away from my career in program management nearly 10 years ago in 2012. People thought I was crazy to walk away from something I had spent over a decade building and the stability of a well-paid job.

If you had asked me each year since how I was doing, you would have had vastly different answers, some years were great, some years were terrible (emotionally and financially) and yet as I stand, with a decade of effort behind me, I’m excited to acknowledge that my business is thriving and I’m now making double what I was making in the well-paid management position people told me I was crazy to leave.

The key to my success?

One of the keys to my success is the simplicity of my business model. I make 99% of my income from just two things. 1:1 Coaching and the Conscious Business Mastermind. The former, I don’t market at all and yet I have a full practice and a waitlist and the latter I market and launch just once a year.

This is by design. Being in sales/launch mode is not something I particularly enjoy. Creating valuable free content on the other hand is my happy place. This is why I have purposely built a business model that does not require me to be constantly hustling for new business and that allows me space to serve my audience with meaningful content.

This is not only easier on me but also on my audience. When we’re constantly in launch mode, we exhaust our audience, haemorrhage subscribers and generally spend a lot of energy for little return. People are also much more inclined to get confused when you have a vast array of services versus just 1–3 signature offerings. In my opinion, less is definitely more when it comes to business model.

So how do we avoid making these business model mistakes? Before creating something new, ask yourself these questions.

1. Is this something my audience have told me they want me to create?
2. If not, have I done adequate research or testing to know that this would be successful if I created and launched it?
3. Have I thought through what it will require from me to create, deliver and market this — when I consider this, does it fit in with the kind of life I want to live.
4. If 3% of my mailing list bought my new product or service would it be economically viable?
5. How willing or able am I to have this thing start small and spend a few years growing the numbers?

Have you started working on your business plan? Has what I’ve shared today been useful? Let me know by commenting and letting me know.

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.