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How Your Work Is Received Is Not Up To You

How Your Work Is Received Is Not Up To You

“Continuous improvement is better than delayed perfection”

~ Mark Twain

In early 2021, I ran my first ever paid for online workshop. For the longest time, I had in one way or another been talking or thinking about offering online classes. However, until that point, I’d never sold a group class or workshop online.

But I had actually taught online a heap.

For the launch of my (now retired) Female Business Academy (FBA) back in 2017, I taught several free online workshops. Once the FBA was up and running, I taught several online classes to the members. I’ve also taught a lot of online classes to the 2020 and 2021 Conscious Business Mastermind (CBM) cohorts AND I taught free classes to huge audiences as part of the Embodiment Conference twice last year.

It’s safe to say that I have taught online regularly and I’m more than comfortable doing it.

YET…

For some reason, I’ve had huge resistance to offering regular, paid for online classes and workshops to my wider audience. Which I’ll admit baffled me for a while. Having been in business for myself in one way or another for close to a decade, I don’t usually have a problem with resistance. I felt sure that I had successfully fought and slayed the fear of failure and being more visible dragons long ago but, here I have been not wanting to offer a paid for online workshop.

I have one way to deal with resistance. I call it front-loading the fear. I take one big step to announce to the world that I am going to do the very thing I’m feeling resistance towards and then, motivated by the pressure to keep to my word, I take action. Which is exactly what I did, on the spur of the moment I decided to announce a free online class that very Friday.

I set everything up and promoted it across my social media channels and initially felt relief as people started signing up, which quickly turned to mild panic as the number rose to 40 people. It’s funny, I thought my biggest fear was that no one would show up, but it turns out that my biggest fear was a load of people turning up. Allow me to explain.

I have two core offerings, my 1:1 coaching and my Conscious Business Mastermind. For both of these, I don’t take anyone on I haven’t coached or spoken to at length first. Meaning, I get to choose who I work with. For a recovering control freak, this was more important to me than I realised. My fear of online workshops, it turns out, is that I have zero control over who turns up or how many people turn up.

Despite having a stonking headache about a half hour before the class and the fact that it was last thing on a Friday (by which time I usually pretty spent), I felt like it went okay. Because the main purpose in running the class was to practice my registration process, gain some confidence and get feedback, I told attendees at the end of the 90 minutes that should they wish to receive the recording and resource guide, they would need to complete the feedback form.

A link to the form went out 10 minutes after the call ended and I waited nervously for the first completed form to land. I didn’t have long to wait. I let out a huge sigh of relief as I read words like “It went beyond my expectations…You are a breath of fresh air.” and “not a single word was out of place.”, then the second form came in and it was just as positive.

Okay, I told myself, it looks like people liked it. When the third form came in, I had already concluded that the class had gone well, so when I read that this respondent found my delivery monotonous and that they felt they had learned nothing new in the class, I felt a wave of shame flood my body. The feeling was visceral. Another 20 forms came in over the next hour or so and they were all positive. All the other forms I received were positive, some extremely so.

YET,

Because of this one form, it took me several hours to shake off the feeling that I had seriously messed up.

Thankfully that feeling didn’t last long and with a bit of time, I was mostly just deeply grateful for the comments I received on all of the forms. In fact the one form that expressed disappointment in the class is the one form that I feel set me free.

As great as it is to get nice feedback, when the feedback we get is in the main positive, we’re much more likely to get complacent about our work and/or live in fear of the bad review, the unhappy customer or client. When the worst case happens and someone lets you know that they didn’t get much out of your offering, whilst it stings initially, with a little time and perspective, it’s actually quite liberating.

Even though I’ve always known on an intellectual level that we can’t please everybody, all of the time, I think as humans we deep down secretly try to. So when someone lets you know that what you created fell short for them, it actually bursts a bubble. A bubble in which you tell yourself that everything you put out into the world has to be perfect. Because here’s the thing.

How your work is received is not up to you.

When one person can say “It was one of the most value packed workshops I’ve been to (paid or free).” and another can say they “didn’t learn anything new.” then there is no clearer message to me that how my work is received is out of my hands and what a relief it is to let that go.

I probably don’t have to tell you why I am sharing this but just in case there is any doubt, I will.

I see amazing, smart, conscious business owners play small ALL the time, in an attempt to avoid “failing”, getting criticized or being disliked and I get it, we’re hardwired to avoid rejection. Hundreds and thousands of years ago rejection by our fellow humans would have meant death, but this isn’t the case anymore.

The truth is that failure is an inevitable and extremely important part of growth.

Had I allowed my resistance to win, I might have had a more pleasant Friday night, but I wouldn’t have given myself this opportunity to grow. That one piece of less than positive feedback helped me to look more closely at all of the feedback I received and really dig deep for any and all improvements I can make for next time.

Because of all of the feedback, my future classes will be better. Rather than resting on my laurels, I’m motivated to do even better next time — not from a striving perfectionist place but from a place of curiosity about how to make continuous improvements to my work and my offerings. Trust me when I say that coming from a place of curiosity feels infinitely better than coming from a place of perfectionism.

So how about you? What have you been putting off launching to the world?

I know there’s something because we all have something! If you feel called to share it with me, comment below, and if you feel like trying my tactic of front-loading the fear, head over to my free Facebook Group right now and announce the launch of your thing to the world!

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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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10 Things That Support My Content Creation Habit

10 Things That Support My Content Creation Habit

In this blog, I share the tools and strategies I’ve adopted over the years to facilitate a consistent content creation habit for my business.

I hadn’t fully appreciated, till I started to really think about it, just how many things I have in place to make the delivery of my content marketing strategy as easeful as possible.

Without further ado let’s dive in.

1. I create sacred space

Since my business really took a few years ago, my schedule has become very full. Despite that, I have Monday mornings blocked off in my calendar for content creation. This time is held sacred, I don’t bump it to squeeze in other things, I don’t skip out on it when I don’t feel like it. Monday mornings = content creation and that’s just the way it is. Does that mean I always produce a finished piece? Nope, sometimes despite my best efforts, I don’t get a piece of content created or published but the commitment to trying is there.

Something to mention is that I used to have content creation in my schedule daily and I actually found that then it was easier to miss or skip those sessions. Knowing that the only space in my week is Monday mornings means that I know that if I don’t do it then, it won’t get done.

2. I have a deadline

Monday afternoons through to end of play Thursday are filled with 1:1 and group coaching calls. If I don’t get the piece written before lunchtime on Monday, I know it won’t go out because I literally don’t have the space in my week to finish it. This is what happened last week. I have a half written piece about Visibility sat in my drafts folder because it was too big a task to finish in the time I had available and half-way through writing it, I ran out of steam.

Having this lunchtime deadline on a Monday really helps to motivate me to get my ideas out of my head without overthinking it too much. It also means that if I miss the deadline, I don’t send out content that week.

3. I use accountability

This comes in the form of mindful coworking sessions from the cabin. These are 75 minute sessions that contain movement, meditation and a 52 minute focused working session. They are run by a client of mine, which gives me an extra reason to go and for me they are brilliant. I’m actually typing this very piece in my morning cabin session.

Coworking with others and sharing my intention for what I plan to get done during the session keeps me focused on the task at hand. Left to my own devices, with the whole morning open for content creation, it’s easy to succumb to distraction. To open up social media or my email and get lost in busy work. working alongside 4 or 5 other people, knowing that we’re all trying to complete an important task really helps me stay on task.

4. Never miss twice

Years ago I watched a video, in which someone shared the idea that if we endeavour to never miss a habit two days (or two times) in a row, we’re guaranteed to hit our target at least 50% of the time. I loved this idea so much and it has played a big part in how I approach habits in my life and business ever since. Allow me to explain what this means in practice, when it comes to content creation.

My commitment is to create one piece of long form content a week. However, there are times I don’t manage to do this. Maybe I’m just really not feeling it that day and as hard as I try the words won’t come, sometimes I’m sick or one of my children is, sometimes I’m exhausted (two children under the age of 5 will do that) and I just need to go back to bed for an hour. Whatever the reason, I don’t execute my plan to create content every single week and I am completely okay with that. If I miss a week, for whatever reason, I’m not going to give myself a hard time about it.

What I’m less relaxed about is missing my commitment two weeks in a row. This never miss twice idea makes so much sense to me that it’s how I overcame my resistance to writing this very letter this morning. Because I missed last week, I knew that missing today would break my never miss twice rule and the reason I’m so strict about it is because if we go too many days or times in a row without honouring our commitment we undermine our self-trust and it becomes increasingly more difficult to get back on track. To hear James Clear, author of Atomic Habits talking about this in a super short video click here.

5. My Content Strategy

Another things that provides accountability for my habit of content creation is that my entire content strategy depends on it. My whole approach to content marketing is to create one solid piece of content each week and then repurpose it so that I can publish daily content without having to create daily content.

My whole strategy is create — repurpose — promote.

If I skip the create part too many weeks in a row the whole strategy collapses. It’s taken me years to create a marketing system that is simple, enjoyable and that brings in new clients, so the idea of not showing up for the most important part of that system is often enough to get my butt in the chair.

6. I plan ahead

Planning what I’m going to write about before I sit down to write is make or break for me. If I sit down to my Monday morning cabin session with no idea what I’m going to write about or several ideas for what I could write about, I know for a fact that I won’t get a newsletter out that day. No joke it’s that clear cut.

Not having thought about my content idea ahead of time means I inevitably spend the time allocated to create, thinking instead. My ideal is to have come up with the topic for my piece of content the Friday before so that my subconscious can chew it over in the background over the weekend. Sometimes, however, like with this piece, I came up with the idea less than 30 minutes before I sat down at my desk, but that still gave me enough of a head start to be able to start writing as soon as my content creation session began.

7. I write about what is

Years ago I dreamt about being the kind of content creator who could batch create content and have a month of newsletters or blog posts pre-written and pre-scheduled but since then, I’ve well and truly let that dream go. Why? Because I feel inspired to create when it relates to what is going on for me and/or my clients in the present moment.

Let’s use this piece for example. It started life as a newsletter and the Monday it was due to be sent, I hadn’t come up with an idea for it on the previous Friday. Given my weekends are busy with my family, I didn’t get a chance to think about it until the morning it was due to go out. On my walk I went back and forth on several ideas, capturing some of them by talking into my phone, but none of them felt right (you know how it goes). Then the thought of not sending a newsletter out popped into my head and all of the reasons I’ve outlined above started to come up. I’d missed the week before, so don’t want to miss another week, I had a cabin session planned in so I didn’t want to waste or miss it, if I didn’t write something that day, my assistant wouldn’t have anything to repurpose a month from now etc etc.

And then it hit me, I could simply share with you all the things I have in place to support my content creation habit. Et voila 🙂 Looking at what is present for me right now, is often all the inspiration I need.

8. I draw on real conversations

Similar to my last point, I also draw much of my inspiration from my conversations with other business owners, my clients and mastermind participants, I have many coaching sessions each week and these conversations are rich with ideas and topics for content that I know will help my audience.

Side note: In case you are wondering, this is where I got up to in my 52 minute coworking session — not bad eh? What happens when I put a timer on a task and throw in some shared accountability is nothing short of magic! 🙂

Now if you don’t have a schedule filled with client sessions to draw on, don’t despair. There is nothing to stop you having regular conversations with your ideal clients. These could be complimentary sessions, research calls or just virtual coffee dates, the format doesn’t really matter. What matters is that you are out in the world talking to the very people you’re trying to support. Hearing from your ideal clients directly about what they are struggling with and need support with has been an endless source of inspiration for me.

9. I always have you in mind

If I didn’t have the reader in mind when I sit down to create content, I think I would find it overwhelming. There are so many things I could talk about in the realm of business and so many ways to talk about them that I would struggle to know where to even begin. What works for me is to think, first and foremost, about what would support you the reader, as I craft my piece of content.

It’s for this reason that I focus mainly on content that moves the reader from doubt and resistance to clarity and action.

My hope for nearly every piece of content I create is that they contain practical strategies you can go away and try on for size, that the content is genuinely useful and practical rather than simply inspiring or thought-provoking. Don’t get me wrong, inspiring content has its place but always coming back to the question: What can I share that will support my audience to grow their business? really helps me to create my content with more ease and flow.

10. I have space to think

And last but not least, I walk every day — now for an hour, which gives me 5 hours of thinking time each week. Time to mull over content ideas as well as listen to business podcasts (a brilliant source of inspiration). Having space to think (albeit no so much that I overthink) is essential to me and it’s why I upped my morning walk from 30 minutes to an hour.

Of course I don’t just think about content, I think about my offerings and business model, my business goals and other ways to make my business work for me, so that I can enjoy life as much as possible. Not just that, but I’m finding that as a result of these daily walks I have so much more energy and feel so much more alert than before. And it’s worth noting that sometimes I don’t think about work at all and instead spend the time taking beautiful sunrise photos, leave voice love notes for friends and family or simply listening to music.

So there you have it, ten things I do to support my content creation habit. I truly hope that you find a few things in this list that you can use to support you. If you feel called to, please leave a comment and let me know what practices you might adopt in your own content creation efforts.

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.

The Difference Between Strategies, Tactics + Tools

The Difference Between Strategies, Tactics + Tools

“The best marketing strategy ever: Care.”

~ Gary Vaynerchuck.

I want to share with you my thoughts on the difference between strategy, tactics and tools when it comes to marketing your business and why I think the distinction is important.

Let me start by saying that a simple google search on these terms would bring up a plethora of definitions so if you have a set idea about what these terms mean, I invite you to suspend those for a moment, as I share with you what they mean for me.

In a nutshell, I would say this.

Strategy is your overall approach/plan, tactics are the ways in which you execute that strategy and tools are quite simply what you use to get the job done.

The terms, in and of themselves, are pretty irrelevant. What matters to me and what I’d like to get across to you in this article is the difference between the overall approach (strategy) vs the ways in which you might execute that approach (tactics).

It’s also worth noting that these terms can sometimes feel quite triggering, given how they have been used in the past, so it makes sense that you might feel some resistance as you read them here. Just searching for an appropriate quote about strategy and tactics this morning, kept bring up quotes about war, battle and winning and losing. This is not at all what conscious business is about, with this in mind, I invite you to look past the words and find the meaning I’m giving to them here.

So why is looking at this distinction even important?

Because, in my experience, people get far too focused on tactics and tools and pay scant attention to strategy and approach.

Let me give you some examples to bring this to life.

Strategy = Deliver valuable content that truly serves my audience and demonstrates my expertise.

Tactic = A weekly newsletter.

Tools = Mailchimp (email provider) + Unsplash (for the photo) + The Cabin (for mindful coworking sessions)

Here’s another.

Strategy = Practice authentic outreach to create and deepen relationships with members of my network.

Tactic = Show up and engage in relevant Facebook groups.

Tool = Facebook.

For each of the above “strategies” there are a multitude of tactics I could employ to execute the strategy, but they matter less to me than the strategy itself. What I care about in my business and what I want you to care about in yours is the overall strategy or approach.

Delivering value, being of service and building relationships are my preferred strategies of choice when it comes to growing my business.

People often ask me questions like:

Should I use Facebook or Instagram (tools) to grow my audience?

Should I do pre-recorded videos or live videos (tactics) to deliver my content?

Should I do reels or stories (tactics) to promote my services on Instagram?

The thing with tactics and tools is that they come and go. They go in and out of fashion and with new trends coming up regularly, it’s easy to burn yourself out trying to keep up. If we are trying to keep up with the latest tactic then we’re doing ourselves and our audience a disservice.

I have a thriving business yet I’ve never done an Instagram reel, I’m not on Clubhouse and I only did my first ever Instagram live in June. Rather than try to keep up with tactics and trends, I stay true to my strategy of creating valuable content and choose the tools that feel most aligned with how I want to show up in my business. I ignore the pressure to keep up with what’s trending and as a result let go of all of the shoulds — how liberating!

Do reels look like fun? Yes. Am I intrigued by Clubhouse? Sure. Do I want to spend the time and energy playing around with shiny new things rather than spend that time creating meaningful content for my people? No I don’t.

Evergreen strategies like offering value and developing and deepening relationships don’t go out of fashion. They have been staples of business growth strategy since way before the Internet was born (which was 1983 in case you were wondering) Imagine!

Now I’m not saying don’t play or experiment in your business, heaven forbid!

But I’m fairly certain that if you were to stop for a minute and get really honest with yourself, you would be able to discern between when you are experimenting and when you are grasping for the next magic solution to all your business woes.

What I’d love for you to do today or this week is the following.

Spend some time considering which evergreen strategies you feel called to employ to grow your business (I highly recommend the two I shared above!) and then look at how you want to execute them. Think first about the strategy and second about which tactics or tools feel good to you.

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 Things I Want You To Know About Email Marketing

10 Things I Want You To Know About Email Marketing

“If you obey all the rules you miss all the fun.”
~ Katharine Hepburn

In this blog I share 10 ideas about email marketing that will hopefully dispel some common myths about this business practice, as well as give you some ideas to inspire your own email marketing efforts.

I’ve alluded to these ideas in various ways throughout my teaching and 1:1 work but this is the first time I’ve pulled together, in one place, all of my thoughts on email marketing and how to make the most of it for your business. Whilst I am using the catch-all term “email marketing”, what I am mainly referring to here is the practice of sending newsletters to your subscribers.

Let’s take a look at those ideas.

1. Your email list is not your business.

Most mainstream marketing advice will have you believe that your email list is everything. That without a solid list of newsletter subscribers, it’s impossible for your business to succeed. Now whilst I’m a huge fan of writing and sending newsletters to my people and highly recommend it for your business (if you so feel inclined), I don’t believe that any one business strategy or tool is the be all and end all for your business.

For sure there are successful businesses out there who don’t have an email list, as well as many unsuccessful businesses that do!

2. You don’t have to have a big list to make money.

Since I’ve been working online (circa 10 years) the idea that the size of your list determines the level of income you are able to generate has been doing the rounds. I remember years ago working hard to achieve the goal of 1000 subscribers because it was (and still is) said that 1000 subscribers is the magic number needed to start being truly profitable in your business.

This is simply not true.

I’m actually making a lot more money now with a list of less than 1000 than I was in my old life coaching business with a list greater than 1000.

And it’s not just me, I remember collaborating with two colleagues of mine to sell one of my group programs. They agreed to share details of it with their list in exchange for an affiliate payment for any purchases made from their subscribers. The colleague whose list exceeded 1000 and was far bigger than my own at the time, made zero affiliate sales. The second colleague whose list was tiny and far smaller than my own, did.

The moral of this story? When it comes to your email list, quality over quantity is key.

3. You don’t have to focus on list-building.

Say what?! Honestly it’s true. I do not and have not focused on building my list for years now and yet I have a steady rate of growth, which on average looks like a new subscriber every couple of days. Now if you’re looking to get tens of thousands on your list in a fairly short period of time then a new subscriber every other day isn’t going to cut it, but given that I don’t believe that huge numbers are even necessary then this level of growth works well for me.

Even with a smallish list and an average growth of 15 new subscribers a month, my coaching practice is booked up with a waitlist and I often have several applications in for my mastermind, before I’ve even launched it.

So you might be wondering where these new subscribers are coming from if I’m not really doing any list-building activities. Well instead of list-building, my focus is, and has been for many years, on creating valuable content for my audience. Because of this content, people find my articles from searching on Google and on platforms like this and then come to my site to find out more. Once there, because the content they read is helpful to them, they sign-up to my newsletter to get more of the same.

In terms of promoting my newsletter I do just 1 or 2 things. Most of my blog posts have an opt-in box for my newsletter at the bottom (I don’t use pop-ups because we all hate them don’t we?!) which means when people find my content, which I do make an effort to promote, they also get to hear about my newsletter. Very occasionally, I’ll also put out a post letting my audience know the subject of my next email and inviting them to join my list to receive it (just like this one).

4. You do have to focus on engagement.

Whilst I don’t focus on growing my list or selling to my list, one thing I do focus on is engaging with my list. For me, I want to look past the numbers and focus on the very real people who are actually taking the time each week to read what I have to say. I do this in a number of ways.

  • As mentioned above, I make the intention of my newsletters to be practical and useful to the reader.
  • I make invitations to engage directly with me into every single email.
  • In my welcome email, I invite people to complete a short survey so that I can find out more about their particular needs.
  • Now and again, I’ll incorporate surveys into my emails to find out more about what my subscribers want from me.
  • Less so these days because of time constraints, but many times over the years, I’ve looked at who is reading my emails most regularly and will send them a direct and personal email to say hello and ask how I can help.

Engaging with my “list” serves to remind me that real people are on the other side of the metrics (number of subscribers, open rate etc), which is a far more important focus than the stats.

5. You don’t have to sell in every email.

In my research for this piece, I came across this definition from Neil Patel:

“Email marketing is the act of sending promotional messages to people in mass quantities. It typically is to generate sales or leads and it may contain advertising.”

If this is the accepted definition of email marketing then what I’m talking about in this piece is not email marketing.

Do I sell in my emails? Yes (well “sell” might be an overstatement, I prefer to think of it as letting my readers know what’s on offer. Is the primary purpose of my emails to generate sales or leads? No. If it were, I think I’d be dealing with a far higher numbers of unsubscribes. We’ve all been on the receiving end of emails designed to make a sale and we’ve also likely been on the receiving end of emails designed to serve.

I show up to write my newsletter as close to weekly as possible, as a means to serve my audience and deepen relationships with my subscribers. Do I hope to make sales as a result? Of course, I’d be lying if I said otherwise, but I never hold that as the intention behind my words. In fact the opposite, my intention as I write my letters is to help my readers to grow their business whether they decide to buy from me or not.

I believe that having this as the purpose of my emails makes me enjoy writing them so much more and my hope is that it helps my subscribers enjoy reading them so much more.

I do feel I have to add here that this isn’t your permission slip to never talk about your products and services because if you don’t, then you’re doing yourself and your would-be clients a disservice. You absolutely must find a regular rhythm of sharing about your products and services but it does not have to be the focus of your emails. Read this amazing article for another perspective on this.

6. You don’t need a freebie opt-in to grow your list.

I can still remember when I believed that having a freebie opt-in and using content upgrades was the only way to grow my list. Hours were spent trying to figure out what I could possibly create to entice people onto my list. More time spent messing around in Canva to create beautiful PDFs and even more time spent (aka wasted!) trying to figure out how to work the backend so that I could offer different opt-ins and only have one list.

And then about 3 years ago I read an article from the brilliant George Kao titled No More Lead Magnets. In it he argues that making someone pay for something “free” with their email address (i.e. their time and attention), is neither truly authentic nor effective. When people join your list because they want your freebie, you’ll find that they’ll either unsubscribe shortly after downloading said freebie (we’ve all done it!) or they’ll stay on your list but rarely (or never) open your subsequent emails. Which makes sense because they weren’t signing up to receive your newsletters, they were signing up to get the freebie you promoted to them.

Since reading George’s post all those years ago, I got rid of the freebie opt-in on my site and instead focused on promoting and creating a newsletter that people would want to receive. I have a whole page (which you can read here) dedicated to explaining why you might want to join my list

7. You don’t need to pack your emails with lots of content.

Generally, when I start working with clients on their newsletter strategy, they often think that they need to have a ton of content in each email, with links to their own content as well as featuring other people’s content as well as useful resources, what I’m reading etc, etc! Personally I think this is what keeps most people from getting an email out on a regular basis — when we make the task of creating and pulling together our newsletter so big, it can be easy to use the time it takes as an excuse.

I like to keep it super simple by choosing a topic that I know is relevant to my audience (generally it’s something that keeps coming up in my client calls) and I share my best strategies and advice on that one topic. It typically looks like a long-form piece of writing which could also be an article or blog post. Sometimes at the end of the email I’ll share details of one of my products and services and oftentimes I don’t.

When it comes to writing for your business, I have a simple rule — if it feels burdensome and like hard work to create, it will feel burdensome and like hard work to read. Keep it simple for your sake and your readers.

8. You’re not bothering your audience.

More often than not, when we inevitably begin to discuss the idea of sending regular emails to subscribers, clients of mine tend to fear that they’ll be “bothering” their audience by sending out regular emails. This makes sense because for sure, we’ve all at some point or another felt irritated by a barrage of salesy emails from a business owner, we now regret handing our email over to.

The thing is, the people I work with — the likes of you and I — don’t do salesy and barrage, we endeavour to serve and support. Who wouldn’t want to receive a weekly email that contains relevant information for the very thing you are struggling with/working on? Think about the newsletters you love — do you feel bothered by them? No of course not — are they fairly regular and consistent? My best guess, if they are an established business, that they are.

Please drop this idea that you are bothering people when you email them. If you have your newsletter sign up setup ethically, then they have given you their email address with the express wish that you send them useful information.

9. You can repurpose your newsletters.

Rather than see my newsletter as just one more marketing task I have to take on, I use these letters as the place where my newest, most up to date content is created. I then over the course of several months repurpose that content into articles for Medium, LinkedIn and my blog as well as create various posts and stories for social media. This very piece started out as a newsletter!

Rather than these emails be something that I put a lot of effort into creating, to then send to a list of which only half of my subscribers will read, I repurpose the hell out of each and every one and you can do the same. If you want the full low-down on my approach to content marketing head here.

10. You can break the rules (including your own).

My hope is that much of what I’ve shared here goes some way to showing you that many of the email marketing rules out there in the mainstream, can in fact be broken. There absolutely is no one way to do email marketing, there are many and what works for one business owner may fall flat for someone else.

The key is to do what feels aligned. To create what feels exciting for you to create and once you’ve found what works best for you and your readers don’t fall into the trap of thinking you can never change things up. Yes, you can even break your own rules.

So there you have it, 10 things I wanted you to know about email marketing. Was this list helpful? If so, leave a comment below and let me know. I’d love to hear from you.

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Why + How to Slow Down the Sale

Why + How to Slow Down the Sale

“Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.”
~ Lao Tzu

In this blog post I talk about slowing down the sale. Both the importance of it and some practical ways to do it.

It’s important to note that what we’re talking about here is, in the main, the kind of sales made within the context of a conversation, i.e. higher priced services such as 1:1 work or group programs, although some of what I share can be applied to your sales pages for lower priced digital products too.

We are living in a world where speed is celebrated as the be all and end all and nowhere do we see this more than in the world of online business.

Most marketing practices we see online are designed to get people to buy now. We’re encouraged to use false deadlines, trip wires and countdown timers to hurry people along in their decision to buy.

Just recently, whilst reading a newsletter, I felt a wave of disappointment when I followed a link to a recommended training and realised it was one of those pages that gives you just minutes to decide if you want to attend it and then invites you to book a time slot, even though it’s a recording, so the very idea of time slots is something of a nonsense!

We’re taught to play on people’s fear of missing out in order to get them to buy, whether or not it is in their best interests to do so.

In traditional online marketing the focus is on getting the sale and getting it quick before the buyer has a chance to change their mind or figure out that what’s on offer isn’t what they truly need or want!

Some business experts will even encourage you to tell buyers to get out their credit card and make high ticket purchases on the call — yuck!

As conscious business owners, this is not how you want to treat your potential clients and customers, yet it can sometimes feel like this is the only way to really make money in your business.

In this article, I want to get across the point that there is another way.

In fact, what I’m going to share is an approach that not only differs from what we’re usually told about “closing the sale” but that actually flies in the face of it.

What I’m talking about is slowing down the sale.

Taking the foot off the gas pedal and creating time and space in which our customers can make an informed decision about whether or not to buy from us.

Why is this so important?

Slowing down the sale is important for several reasons.

Top of the list for me is that it cultivates trust. Unlike what many online marketers would have you believe, rather than letting the sale escape, what it actually does is make a true and genuine yes much more likely. This is because people have the space to say no, meaning that when they say yes, you can count on it.

I can’t tell you how many times, clients have come to me complaining that people have said yes to working with them on a sales call, only to later change their mind or, worse still, have started to ghost them. The reason? They felt pressured to say yes, but deep down didn’t want to or they didn’t have enough time to make the right decision for them in the first place.

Slowing down the sale also ensures that you only work with right-fit clients. When you’ve spent adequate time with another person, getting to know them and taking the time to ensure that what you offer and what they need is a fit, then you are much more likely to enrol people who will benefit from your service. Working with ideal clients means you get to do your best work, which in turn means you’re much more likely to have a greater impact, which in turn leads to glowing testimonials and word of mouth referrals. If you’ve already experienced working with a less than ideal client or a perfect one, you’ll know what I mean.

Another important reason to slow down the sale is that it feels better for you as the business owner and for your would-be clients. No one likes to feel like they are pressuring someone into saying yes and nobody enjoys being pressured to make a decision faster than feels comfortable for them. When we as business owners create space for the right decision for all to be make, it makes such a refreshing change from the usual online practice of closing the sale quickly, that people really feel the difference and feel enormously grateful as a result.

And last but definitely not least, I believe we should slow down the sale because it’s the right thing to do. Might we lose some people, who would otherwise say yes with a bit more pressure? Maybe, but for those people who do say yes, what we create are relationships far more likely to last over time, because they are built on a foundation of trust and respect. So slowing down the sale is both the right thing to do and doesn’t have to mean less income in the long run, because when you work with people who trust you, they will buy from you again and again. I have seen lots of evidence of this in my own business.

That covers much of the why around slowing down the sale but how do we do it in practical terms. Below you’ll find six practical steps you can take to slow down the sale.

1. Slow yourself down

Slowing yourself down absolutely has to happen before you can genuinely slow down the sale for the customer. Oftentimes, before the money is flowing consistently in our business, we might find ourselves feeling needy or even desperate for the sale, so much so that when someone shows interest, it can be hard not to pounce on the opportunity.

Regardless of our financial needs, keeping our energy in check is crucial, if we are serious about creating the necessary space and conditions for a right-fit sale to occur. In the early days of my business, before talking to someone about working together I would remind myself that whilst I might need (or really want) to make a sale, I didn’t need to make this sale. That was my way of reminding myself that there would be other sales conversations and that getting a sale was not more important than enrolling the right person to my coaching program. Ahead of complimentary sessions or sales conversations, I would often meditate to get into a calm and trusting space — this really helped me to slow down.

2. Slow the customer down

You get to set the pace, just because someone you’ve never met before writes and asks you to share details of your packages, doesn’t mean you have to send over your prices in a heartbeat. Instead, you can say something like: before we get to that, let’s look at what you really need and whether or not what I offer can truly help you.

I see this with clients all the time. They are in reaction mode when someone expresses an interest in working together and because they haven’t taken the time to slow themselves down, they feel like they have to respond as quickly as possible with whatever the potential client has asked for.

Personally I won’t agree to work with someone unless I’ve coached or had a conversation with them and feel certain that there is something I can support them with. With that in mind, discussing the logistics of working together feels very premature. Besides which all of those details are on my sales page. I would much rather get into a conversation about why they are looking for help and what kind of help they are looking for before we even think about buying or selling.

3. Carve out adequate time and space to have a sales conversation

Of course sales conversations largely relate to the kind of services that people enrol for (such as coaching or group programs) because people are highly unlikely to put down several thousands dollars for such a service without having a conversation with you first.

Many online services providers will offer a short “discovery call” for this purpose but I am not a fan of these (you can read more here for my reasons). If you are currently allocating 30 or 40 minutes for these conversations, I would encourage you to extend the time. You might even have several conversations. Or like me, offer a complimentary session before you even get to the conversation about sales so that you both really get to experience what working together would feel like.

The reason I like to give more than 30 or 40 minutes is because really discussing what the potential client is dealing with and what support they are needing takes time. Why rush it? If the income is going to be several thousands of dollars or more, isn’t it worth spending an hour (or more) to give the potential client the best enrollment experience possible?

4. Test the yes

Even when someone says yes, I encourage you to ask questions that test the yes. It can feel counterintuitive to do this when you want to make the sale but it’s essential if you want to enrol someone who is a right-fit for your service. I encourage you to ask questions like:

Are you sure? Are you a hell yes?

Who else do you need to talk to before you can make this decision?

Do you need more time or information in order to make this decision?

Why do you want to do *this* program?

Why do you want to hire *me* specifically? Why not another coach or healer?

These questions slow down the sale and they let the would-be client know that you are not desperate to make the sale and that you genuinely want them to make the right decision for them (which incidentally will be the right decision for both of you!).

It’s such a different approach to trying to overcome the person’s objections (a practice I loathe), because it’s actually encouraging the objections and then allowing space for the potential client to either honour those objections or overcome them for themselves. In my experience, if I have to work hard to help a client overcome their objections, then they’re not an ideal client. Part of what makes a person ideal for me is that they are 100% in and excited to get started, anything less makes for a less than ideal working relationship.

As conscious business owners we know that each person has all the wisdom they need within themselves to make the right decisions — doing sales in this way honours that truth.

And even if you’re selling something that doesn’t require a sales conversation you can still slow the sale down. The next two points relate to things you can do on your sales page in service to this idea.

5. State clearly who your products and services are not for

On my sales pages I like to make it clear who my product or service is *not* a fit for. We so often fear turning people away that we would never dream of doing this but the clearer you can be about who you can and can’t help and who you want and don’t want to work with, the more likely you are to get clients and customers who are a perfect fit.

I love the way Tad Hargrave does this with some of his offerings — he has what he calls an Are you sure? page, which pops up when you try to buy some of his services and then he basically lists all of the reasons why you shouldn’t buy. It flies in the face of conventional marketing and personally I think it’s both clever and kind. I love what he does on his 1:1 coaching page to manage expectations and ensure fit. You can check it out here.

6. Be mindful of your language

Are you using wording like BUY NOW and/or creating false scarcity or using arbitrary deadlines? If so, I recommend you stop doing so. You may get the sale in the short-term but you’ll seriously erode trust and may find that you end up with unhappy customers because they bought something that wasn’t truly a fit.

The last thing we want is to have lots of unsatisfied clients out in the world sharing their dissatisfaction about our work with others. Instead of creating false scarcity why not let people know (if it’s true) that there will be other opportunities to join your program or purchase your product. Again, this slows down the sale and has people buy from a centered place rather than out of anxiety or FOMO. It makes such a difference.

We get told that we need to use pressurising tactics in order to get the sale but by slowing the sale down, what you ultimately do is cultivate a deep trust, something that over time will help you to build a sustainable and deeply impactful business with truly loyal customers who sing your praises every chance they get. Now doesn’t that sound preferable to the alternative?

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.