Do you make this mistake?

welcome

Is your website just an online brochure? Then it’s time to kick it up a notch!

Many solo entrepreneurs have websites that are online brochures. They create websites that give out lots of information about the company and what they offer, but they miss a critical step.

Most people that find your website may be interested in what you have to offer, but unless you have a strategy to capture their attention, and permission to follow up with them later, they’ll likely never go back to your site. This isn’t because they’re not interested in what you have to offer, but often people forget to check back or can’t remember how they got there.

So, for each page of your website, you should ask yourself the following 3 questions.

1)      Who is coming?

2)      What do I want them to do?

3)      How will I get them to do it?

We want to first think about who is coming to each page of our website. You may have pages on your site that are for different audiences. For instance, a business coach may have a services page for entrepreneurs that are interested in their services, but she might also have a speaking page for organizations to find out more about hiring her to speak. That’s two different audiences with different objectives.

So, once we determine who is coming to each page of our website, the next thing we want to decide is what you want them to do. This could be to give you a call or send you an email, but if it’s a first time visitor to your site, they might not be ready for that step. This is why you should have an opt-in form on each page of your site that offers valuable, irresistible information in exchange for their email address. You should have a form on each page of your site. Many entrepreneurs will have a form on their home page, but not the other pages of their site. Visitors won’t always go to the home page of your site, so you have to capture their attention where they are. If you have different audiences for different pages of your site, consider having different opt in forms with different offers. Once you have their email address you can follow up with them over time.

Finally, you really need to think through how you will get the visitors to you site to take that step to call you, email you, or leave their email address. You have to give a really strong, compelling reason for them to do so. Test your offers until you find one that’s really compelling and drives your visitors to want to keep in touch with you. This is key. Please don’t think that’s it’s enough to have a free offer on your website that you haven’t tested. You could be losing a lot of subscribers without even knowing it.

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Do you know why people buy?

shopping

Do you know why people buy your services? They’re either looking to solve a big problem or to achieve a big result. However, as business owners, we usually like to talk all about the features of what we sell. It’s only natural. We know how great our services are compared to the competition. We know we offer more value.  We get caught up in telling all about how we work and the details of what we offer.

The problem is that the potential client doesn’t care about the features until she can answer this question for herself. “Does this person help me get what I want?” Until she really understands that you can solve her big problem or deliver a big result for her, the features are meaningless.

This means we have to be able to articulate the big result, or the big problem that we solve in clear, simple language. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve talked to business owners about what they do for their clients and failed to get a straightforward response. I urge you to stop trying to “pretty up” what you do with poetic language.

Whenever someone asks you what you do, just remember that one question in her mind and describe the biggest result that you provide. Forget the elevator speech and just describe the single biggest result that you get for your clients. You’ll be happier because you don’t have to deliver an unnatural sounding elevator speech and the people that you talk to will immediately know if you can help them.

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Size Doesn’t Matter

santa

Ok, I know that’s a little bit of a provocative title, but hear me out. There’s a lot of emphasis in the online marketing community about building a large list. There’s so much emphasis on it that a lot of people worry about their list size and even experience a little bit of list size shame, as if anything under that magic 10,000 number just doesn’t cut it. This can cause some business owners to focus so much on list building that they fail to concentrate on building relationships with the people on their list, as if getting to a certain list size number will somehow solve all of their problems.

Now don’t get me wrong, you can and do need a list of prospects. Systematically building that list should be a priority for you. What should be an even bigger priority is building a relationship with the people on your list no matter how small. You absolutely can do amazing things with a small list if you have a good relationship with them.

I was just speaking to one of my clients about how much she’s grown her business this year. She has quadrupled her income this year. She will finish up this year  with over  $116,000 in sales, more than 4 times what she sold last year. In case you’re wondering, this wasn’t just a few high dollar sales to some corporation, this was nose-to-nose, one at a time selling to consumers. She did it while working a fulltime job and she did it with a list of 200. That’s right, just 200 people on her list. How did she do it? She focused on the relationship more than the size of her list.

So if you’re feeling a little bit of list size shame, just remember this. A list of 200 people that you have a good relationship with can outperform a list of 10,000 barely interested people. Also, they’re a whole lot more fun to talk to.

 

P.S. If you haven’t yet signed up for a free “Get More Clients” session yet, click HERE to apply today and make it  your best year ever.

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Are you getting ready?

ready

I can’t believe how this year has flown by. Just think, soon we’ll be closing out 2014 and getting ready for the new year. I can’t believe how different things are in my business this year than they were this time last year. It’s amazing how fast things can change when you set an intention and start taking steps.

The process of building a business inevitably involves implementing change. If you’re not happy with the amount of money your business is creating, or if your business is not giving you the lifestyle that you want, it’s time to do something different.

We all know when we need to make a change. Very often, we even know what we need to do to create the changes that we want. The reason we resist the change is fear. Fear of failure and fear of the unknown can keep us firmly in place. The fear can be so strong that it keeps us from taking the next step that we know we should take.

We see how fear plays out in our business when we procrastinate. You’ll recognize it when you find yourself constantly “getting ready”. You stay way to long in a learning phase, waiting until you have all of the information you think you need. You keep tweaking things trying to make them perfect before you release it out into the world. You’re waiting for the “right time” to make your move.

All of these things protect you from the fear, but they won’t move you any closer to your goals. Yes, people will sometimes say “no” to you. Some people might not like what you do. Some things you try might not work. However, some people will happily say yes. Some people will absolutely love what you do. Some things you do will work amazingly well. How will you know if you don’t push through that invisible barrier of fear?

I challenge you to take the next big step to finally achieve your goals. Don’t look back a year from now and wish you’d done something different. You’ll know you’re on the right track when it feels a little scary. It’s supposed to.

If you’d like some help taking that next big step in your business, click HERE to send me an email and tell me what you’d like to achieve

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What’s the cost?

goals

What’s the cost of not getting enough clients?

I’m a numbers girl. Whether it’s sales, conversion rates, opt-in rates, open rates, or click through rates, I love to track numbers. I never was a stellar math student, but I do love benchmarks. It’s how I know I’m making progress.

One of the “fun with math” things I like to do is “what if” scenarios. They can be a real eye opener and motivator. So, let’s take a hypothetical example. Let’s say you made $40,000 in your business this year. You haven’t quite figured out how to get enough clients in your business yet, so you keep trying to figure things out on your own. You’re hoping to get to $100,000 per year but you don’t really have a plan. You’re not sure if you’re on the right track and the clients aren’t coming fast enough.

What if you woke up three years later and you still hadn’t figured it out and $100K is still out of reach? What’s the cost of that?

An extra $60,000 per year over the three years would be $180,000. Let’s say instead that you do accept help to achieve your goal, you reach $100k per year, and you keep your business for just 12 years. That’s an extra $1 million in just 12 years if you factor in a low and reasonable return of just 4% on the extra money. Chances are you wouldn’t stay at $100k per year, though. Once you get your business to $100k, you’ll likely keep growing your business. Over time, the cost of not figuring out how to get clients could be in the millions.

The whole reason we go into our businesses in the first place is to enjoy our lives, spend more time with our families, go on vacation, and splurge a little. Perhaps you have goals like paying off bills or doing some improvements around the house. What’s the emotional cost of not being able to do that? Are you prepared to wake up three years from now not having done those things?

Now is the time. You owe it to yourself. Think of the things you could do.

I can help you get filled to capacity with clients. You just have to take the first step. Send me a message and let me know what you’d really like to achieve in your business.

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Can you handle rejection?

rejection

Entrepreneurs face rejection a lot. It’s part of the deal. Even if you’re out there every day being completely giving, open, and honest, you’ll still face some rejection. Everyone won’t buy from you. Not everyone will want what you have to offer. It’s what you do with that rejection that will decide your level of success.

In “The Four Agreements”, Don Miguel Ruiz suggests that whatever happens around us, we have to not take it personally, even if we’re faced with scathing criticism. You take it personally when you inwardly agree with the rejection. This means that you believe when someone says “no” to you that it has something to do with you personally rather than something to do with them.

Your prospects live in their own world. They are dealing with their own fears, frustrations, and beliefs that have nothing to do with you. It’s just the way that they see the world.

Now, having said that, I know that’s really hard to do. As social creatures we are wired to seek approval and avoid rejection. However, it’s really important to not let that cause you to avoid situations where you might be rejected or told “no”. In order to be successful as a solopreneur, you have to put yourself out into the world in a big way. You have to speak your mind, write about what you believe in, and sell your services.

Not everyone will agree with you. Not everyone will buy. That’s okay.

So, what can you do to take the sting out of “no”?

# 1 – Turn off the unsubscribe notifications.

If you get an email every time someone unsubscribes from your list, contact your email marketing software company and find out how to turn those notifications off. Yes, you do need to periodically check your overall unsubscribe rate to make sure it’s not too high, but can you really stop yourself from feeling a little rejected every time you get one of those notices? It’s too much of a mental distraction. Turn them off.

# 2 – Turn the tables.

Instead of wondering what you did wrong and blaming yourself when a prospect says no, try to find out what belief, fear, or frustration they have that’s holding them back and address it directly. Remember, it’s not about you.

# 3 – Delete the nasty.

If you get a nasty email or social media comment from some stranger in internet land with an axe to grind or anger issues, delete it immediately. Don’t respond and don’t save it.

Now, I’m not talking about legitimate complaints, I’m talking about the emails that attack you personally and are clearly from someone wrestling with their own personal demons. Don’t engage in that sort of dialogue no matter how much you want to defend yourself. That’s just what they want from you. Don’t give it to them.

# 4 – Change your mindset.

Each “no” is a step closer to “yes”. Every time someone unsubscribes from your list, you know that your list just got a little more awesome because the people that value what you have to say are still there.

Each time a prospect says “no” is an opportunity to ask questions and find out more about what your prospects really need and want, making you a better marketer.

When you can reframe rejection in this way, you’ll understand that rejection is just a way to move you closer to building a better tribe of friends, followers, and clients. After all, isn’t that what you really want?

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Do You Know Your “Why”?

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Do you know what you stand for in the world? Do your clients?

As a solo entrepreneur, you personal brand is very important. Brands aren’t just for big corporations. However, you’re not like Apple, McDonalds, or Starbucks. Your potential clients aren’t looking for a big company brand, they’re more interested in you and who you are.

When you have a clear personal brand, you are communicating to the world who you are, what you do, who you serve, and why you do what you do. As a solo entrepreneur, your potential clients will be working with you closely, so they will look for a strong personal brand when deciding with whom they want to work. They want to know that you’re a good fit for them. Your marketing has to communicate your personal brand to the world so that the right people know that you’re meant for them.

One of the components of a personal brand that many solo entrepreneurs miss is creating a strong “why you do it” statement. This statement tells people why you get up every day to do the work that you do. This is all about what you stand for in the world.

You potential clients need to feel that they can connect with you on an emotional level. They want to know that you see the world the way that they do. If they resonate with the reasons why you do the work that you do, they’ll be drawn to you and not your competitors. This will help you to stand out in a crowded marketplace.

Furthermore, when you are truly connected to the reasons why you do what you do, the people you attract will be ideal for you because they are in harmony with your vision. This is the very reason why your purpose in business has to be more than “to pay the bills”.

In order to find real joy in your work, you have to feel plugged into the kind of change you’d like to see in the world. This requires you to think bigger about what you do. What is your purpose? What really fires you up?

An example might be “I want to help people see their true beauty” or “I want to help people live more vibrant lives”.

It doesn’t matter what service you provide, there is a bigger purpose in what you do, you just have to connect to it.

So, how do you connect to your vision if you’re not sure?

Take some time to think really big about your purpose. If there were no limits, what could you achieve through your work? Write down three possible statements of why you do what you do. If you still have trouble, get help. Ask friends and family that know you well to help you. Sometimes others can see things in you that you can’t see in yourself.

When you feel like your work and your purpose are joined, you will love the work that you do. You’ll feel the power of the change that you can create in the world. You’ll do greater work and your potential clients will feel and respond to your energy.

Now, go and make the world a better place. We’ll all thank you for it.

 

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Are You Ready for the Next Big Step?

leap

I’m currently taking a big leap in my business. It’s exciting, but I feel a little bit like I did as a kid at the amusement park standing in line for the big roller coaster. I’m both excited and a little nervous.

Big steps in your business are never easy. They almost always mean a bit of a leap into the unknown and there’s always a chance that it won’t work out. However, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do it.

If we want to take our businesses to the next level, we have to do what we’ve never done before. We have to do things we don’t have experience with. It can be a little intimidating.

So, how do you know when it’s the right time to make that leap?

Here are three ways to know when it’s time to take the next big step in your business.

Your growth has stagnated

If your business just isn’t growing or the growth is very slow, it’s time to make a change. There’s an old saying in business that if you’re not growing, you’re dying. It’s true. Your business has to make forward progress or eventually it will start to slow down. Over time, that can be a death sentence for your business.

Furthermore, you didn’t start your business to have it just get by, right? Now is the time to take the next big step before it’s too late and your business is already on death row.

The opportunity won’t wait

Bill Gates left college to pursue an opportunity that he knew might not wait until he graduated. The time was right, so he made the leap right then. He was right, and he became the wealthiest man in America.

We live in a time where change happens very quickly and opportunities don’t wait for us to decide we’re ready. Sometimes we have to jump in before it’s too late. This is the reason I’m taking a big step in my own business. I see an opportunity that won’t wait.

I believe there are some wonderful opportunities right now to take a small business to the next level. Now is the time to get in the game.

Your intuition says it’s time

Not to get all new age on you, but sometimes you just know it’s the right time to make a change. Many of us ignore that gentle nudge and go through the motions every day anyway, but you know when you need to take the next step.

The problem is that we tell ourselves that now is not the right time, for whatever reason. Maybe you think you don’t have the money yet, or you should wait until your kids are older and you have more time, or you’ll wait until some other situation settles down. The truth is that there will always be something going on in your life. If you wait until the “perfect time”, you’ll never reach your dreams.

If you continue to ignore that gut feeling that it’s time to make a change, eventually you’ll come to a crisis point that will force you to change. I’ve been guilty of that in the past. Believe me when I tell you that it’s ugly. Don’t wait for that to happen. Do it now. Trust your gut.

 

You don’t have to do it alone

You know those brave mountain climbers that conquer Mount Everest? They don’t do it alone. For every photo of the proud climber on top of the mountain that they’ve conquered, there are the Sherpas, the assistants, and the team in the background that helped them reach the summit.

You don’t have to take a big step in your business alone. You don’t have to feel like you’re stepping off into the unknown. Take a guide with you. Your own personal Sherpa that’s been to the mountain top before and can show you the way.

I love to guide business owners up the mountain. If you’re ready to take the next big step in your business and you’re looking for a guide, send me an email, we just might make a good team.

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First Steps

baby step

One of the first questions that I ask a coaching client is, “What is the biggest question that the people that you serve ask themselves when they first discover that they have a problem?”. Then the next question is, “What would be their first step after they ask themselves that question?” If  you were to take your prospect all the way back to when they first realized that they had a problem, what situation were they in?

For instance, if you’re a fitness coach, maybe your prospect had a visit to the doctor and found out his weight was life threatening. If you’re a real estate agent, perhaps it was an unexpected career change when a couple realized they needed to sell their home and move. If you’re a financial adviser, it  could be the birth of a child when a couple wonders if they’ll be able to save enough for college.

Once you have a handle on the situations that cause your prospects to then go look for a solution, you can now ask yourself, “What’s their biggest question at that moment?” So, if we go back to our examples, the man at the doctor might ask himself, “How will I lose the weight?”. The couple that needs to move might ask, “How can I sell quickly and for the most money?” The new parents could ask, “How can we make sure we’ll save enough in time?”

Now that you know what their biggest question is, what’s their first step after they ask that question? Would they go home and do a Google search? If so, what words or phrases would they use? Would they ask other people that they know? If so, who? Would they look for meetings or groups to join? Would they read certain magazines? Would they search YouTube for instructional videos? What search terms would they use?  You really need to understand how they go about looking for a solution so you know where you need to show up.

This will also give you amazing clarity on the type of content you need to create (blog posts, webinars, audios, videos, etc.) that will address those questions your prospects are asking themselves.

Now this does not necessarily mean that these people  are ready to buy your solution right now. Some may be ready, others won’t be ready just yet. So, you should have a plan in place to be able to reach out to those that are ready to work with you immediately and to nurture those that aren’t quite ready to buy from you right now, but will be ready in the future.

If you have a plan to lead and nurture these prospects, it will create the momentum in your business that you need to finally get you off of the roller coaster ride of an unsteady flow of clients. So, do you have a plan to reach out to prospects that are ready now and in the future? If not, I can help you put one in place and get you on the path to a waiting list of clients.

 

 

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Do You Trust Yourself?

trust-5

Stephen Covey in “The Speed of Trust” talks about how trust is critical in business and in your personal life. Simply put, costs go down and things happen quicker when there are high levels of trust. It takes a lot less time and money to acquire new clients when they trust you. However, trust isn’t just about whether or not people trust you and you trust them, it really goes deeper. Covey says that “trust flows from the inside out”. This means that trust starts with you and whether or not you really trust yourself.

So, what does it mean to trust yourself? Self trust is all about the confidence you have in yourself. Do you believe yourself when you make commitments? Are you making promises to yourself that you don’t keep? If you want others to trust you, you have to inspire trust in them. This begins by keeping the promises that you make to yourself. However, we break promises to ourselves a lot. We say we’ll start that diet Monday, we’ll commit to walk a mile a day, eat better, blog every week, write that report, book more customers, get the help we need, but we break those commitments. We say to ourselves, “Who’s it really hurting?” “Life happens, right?” “I’ll get it done later”.

Here’s the thing. Before others can really trust you, they have to see that you’re credible. You have to become a person worthy of trust. This means that others have to see you fulfilling promises to others AND yourself. An amazing thing happens when you fulfill commitments to yourself. Your confidence will skyrocket. People will be able to see and feel that confidence and as a result will trust you more. Goals that you set will be achieved and your business and life will expand as a result.

Now, how do you learn to trust yourself? Start by setting new goals. What goals do you need to set in your business and in your personal life that if you were to keep them would make a dramatic difference a year from now? Break it down. What needs to happen every day or every week without fail to make it happen? Make a commitment right now to stop disappointing yourself and fulfill those promises you made to yourself. If you think broken promises to yourself won’t affect the people around you, think again.

Finally, get the help you need. It is just too easy to put your goals aside to address whatever crisis seems to be happening almost every day. There’s always something taking your attention. Consider getting a coach or at least a really good accountability partner to help keep you on track. All kinds of excuses and “stuff” comes up when it comes to fulfilling the goals you set for yourself. You need someone to keep you accountable and moving forward.

If you’re not sure what you need to do to fulfill your goals, you need a system. Consider investing in yourself and your future by getting the education you need, and if getting your business booked solid with ideal clients is one of your goals, I’m here to help.

 

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