- Imagine you're focused
- Imagine it's working
- Imagine you've mastered marketing
- Imagine you truly enjoy selling
- Imagine clients must qualify for you
- Imagine you're worth premium fees
- Imagine you have unlimited prospects
- Imagine money flowing easily to you
- Imagine punching people in the face with value
- Imagine your money worries fading away
- Imagine a clear game plan that you execute on daily
- Imagine your business doubling, then tripling
- Imagine working only when you want
- Imagine doing only work you want to do and delegating or outsourcing everything else
- Imagine you are #1
- Imagine you're a rock star in your industry
- Imagine you're booked solid
- Imagine you have your pick of high-profit projects
- Imagine moving from five figures to six figures - or from six figures to multiple six figures on your way to seven!
- Imagine speaking to hundreds of people regularly
- Imagine partnering with other experts whom you look up to as role models and now are lucky enough to call friends
- Imagine generating thousands of web visitors
- Imagine building a huge tribe of loyal followers, fans, and subscribers
- Imagine doing this all in 13 days, 13 weeks, 13 months, or if you're really slow and silly (like me) 13 years
- You can do it
p.s. I know you can
Because I did
Starting 13 years ago today
Knowing what I know now, I'm confident YOU can do much (or all) of this in the next 13 months
Do your future self a favor:
Make 2015 the year you develop a relentless focus...
A relentless focus on what matters most.
Every single day.
Focus on it.
Refocus on it.
Repeat it. Reinforce it. Review it.
Think, strategize, and DO accordingly.
Here's to an amazing, prosperous, and successful year ahead for you, your family, your business and your bank account!
p.s. Want to make sure your 2015 is focused on what matters most?
Download your copy of the Do It! Marketing Manifesto for free right here.
If you want to make the next 12 months more successful, more profitable, and more productive than the last 12 months, these ten strategies are for you.
By the way, this list isn’t just for a new calendar year – you can revisit this list at any time and create a real turning point in your business if you’re willing to reboot, reinvigorate, and reimagine your business success.
- List the three most important objectives for your business over the next year. These should be critical “big picture” accomplishments that will lead to profits and future achievement.
- For each objective listed above, identify your responsibility in achieving the objective. WHAT will you do? HOW will you do it? WHEN will you do it?
- Be crystal clear in separating strategies (how and why items) from tactics (what and when items) and use “Verb-noun-date” format to create specific action steps and put them on your calendar.
- Don’t think of the year as a whole. Break it down to monthly metrics and put quarterly goal-planning reviews on your calendar so you can adjust the dials on your plan, measure results, and take a strategic look at your marketing, sales, and business development activities every 90 days while keeping a close eye on results (profits, clients, projects, revenue) every 30 days.
- Don’t go it alone. Remember, lone wolves starve to death. Think of partners, allies, referral sources, influencers and joint venture partners who can help you leapfrog over obstacles and who are a great supplement and complement to your own products and services. Contact them and build (or grow) your relationship with them so you can collaborate more closely – starting right now.
- Write down a list of professional development goals for the next 12 months. What do you want to learn, do, or become as a business owner? Go to conferences? Gain additional certifications or professional designations? Speak more? Get more articles published? Be specific and put these activities on your calendar so you make sure they happen.
- Write down a list of personal goals for the next 12 months. What do you want to accomplish for yourself and how would you like to grow personally? Spend more time with your partner? Stay connected with your kids as they grow up and/or pursue their college or post-college adventures? Dig deeper into a special hobby or sport? Drop 10 pounds? Run a 5K? More golf? More vacation time? Where? When? With whom? Map it out to make it happen!
- Don’t get distracted. Shiny object syndrome has a powerful pull on most entrepreneurs and business owners. Stay focused on the big picture goals you set in Step 1 above – and then relentlessly ask yourself for every new idea, initiative or project, “Does this support one of my three goals? If so, how?” And don’t let yourself off the hook as easily as you might have done in the past. If it’s a no, it’s a no. Metaphorically speaking, stop opening up hot dog stands in the parking lot and redouble your efforts to make your gourmet restaurant thrive!
- Live out of your calendar, not your inbox. Plan your day – what MUST get done and WHEN? Chunk your day down into blocks and assign specific tasks to those blocks – Phone calls, emails, client tasks, whatever it is YOU want to do that will move you closer to your GOALS. Keep that calendar under your nose. All day. Make it your default screen. Hide, minimize or (gasp) close your email until “check email” pops up on your calendar.
- Breathe. Relax. You got this. Any time you’re creating an inflection point in your business, it can be scary. You’re letting go of the old – letting go of what no longer works or what no longer serves you well. And you’re embracing the new – the untried, the uncomfortable, perhaps even what seems risky. But the biggest risks of all are stagnation, arrogance, or complacency. Remember: a bend in the road is never a dead end… unless you fail to turn.
Ready to rock your 2015?
Grab your free copy of the Do It! Marketing Manifesto and get ready to go, go, GO!!!
Smart marketing is all about helping you generate MORE leads, BETTER prospects, and BIGGER sales. That also happens to be the purpose of this cheeky, powerful little manifesto. Grab yours here.
Guest post by Ivan Serrano
Focus on relationships first
Solo professionals are almost always providers of some kind of service. Whether you are freelancing, consulting or coaching, almost every gig is based on a relationship. Each of these relationships is characterized by a certain level of trust, and in every case, you must prove your credibility and establish some level of rapport before a new client will hire you to do whatever it is you do.
But, you must be findable
In many ways, an online presence is just like a business on Main Street in any town. Just like any brick-and-mortar business, solo practitioners who do all their marketing online, must know what they are selling, and they must know what their customers are buying. Of the two, understanding what your customers are buying is more important.
However, there are some new dimensions to an online business presence that are new–call them the digital dimensions.
Your digital address is not as easy to locate as an address on Main Street. The map of the internet hasn’t been published yet, alphabetical listings don’t work that well when there are zillions of businesses all competing for your attention. How do you get found? Another way of asking the same question is, “What can you do to stand out and rise to the top of the search listings?”
Marketing is the answer.
First, let’s agree on a simple definition of marketing. For the solo practitioner, the definition of marketing is deceptively simple; marketing is communicating your value proposition to people who either don’t know about you or who need to be reminded of the unique value you can provide. That’s it. Boiled down to its essence, marketing is simply communicating value.
The simpler your message, the better. Marketing is about repeating your simple message over and over, but finding new ways to communicate your value so you don’t sound like a broken record.
The better you are at marketing, the less you have to worry about sales.
What is digital marketing
Now, for the digital aspect of marketing. Digital marketing is all about how, where, and to whom you communicate your value in the online world. This means your web presence, you social media accounts, your blog, your email newsletter–anything where you click a button to publish something.
Every time you click to publish any kind of content, it should be communicating value. However, it doesn’t make much sense to be communicating your value to people who don’t care. Ideally, the people you want to be communicating with about your value are not suspect, not prospects, not leads, although these words get tossed around a lot. The people you want to be communicating with are probable purchasers–the people who are most likely buy what you are selling.
Answer these questions next
In order for your marketing to be effective, and actually reach probable purchasers you have to know a lot about who they are, what they are looking for, and more importantly where to find them online.
These three factors, more than anything else, should guide your marketing efforts, digital or otherwise.
Who are your customers? Ultimately, your customers are the ones who own the budget and write the check for whatever you are selling. The goal of your marketing efforts is to communicate your value to these people. Communicating with anyone else is wasting your time unless they can put you in front of these people either through referrals or introductions.
What are they looking for? Of course, everyone with money to spend isn’t a probable purchaser. You really only want to be spending your marketing efforts on people who are looking for what you are offering. Put yourself in their shoes and figure out what they want. They may want someone to handle something that is a headache for them. They may want a great website design because their competitor just got a wonderful new website design.
The point is, you’ve got to communicate your value in terms they can relate to. If you are solving a problem, it must be a problem your probable purchasers instantly recognize.
Where are they? This is oftentimes the hardest question to answer, and will probably require some online detective work. But once you do, it can be liberating. If you find out your customers and probable purchasers are not online, don’t do a lot of needless digital marketing. You probably don’t need social media engagement. Instead, go where you know your customers are and get your message in front of the buyers.
The truth is, though, that quite a few of your probable purchasers are online, and more of them will be in the future, so it makes sense to figure out online marketing for your particular niche.
Answering these three questions is a requirement for developing a digital marketing strategy.
A word of caution
Social networks are not broadcast networks. Radio is a broadcast medium. TV is a broadcast medium. There’s a transmitter that transmits and receivers that receive whenever they are powered up. Social networks are always on, but the people you are looking for may not be tuned in. They may not even be on the platform you are broadcasting on.
But here’s the real kicker. People on social networks expect some interaction, some back-and-forth action. They aren’t interested in you just broadcasting your message to them. This means you must spend time online interacting.
Just like aimless surfing of the internet can eat up massive amounts of time, so can social media. Your time is not scalable, and it is not recoverable. Solo professionals, more than anything else, must be great stewards of their time. There are plenty of automation tools for email campaigns and social media posting, and they can save a lot of time.
Again, this is why it is so important to know who your customers are, what they are looking for, and where to find them. You can spend a ton of time having wonderful interactions with terrific people who will never buy anything from you.
You can’t do it all
Online marketing can seem complex, and can eat up a lot of your time. This is why it is so important to know who your customers are, what they are really looking for, and where to find them online. Spend your time where your customers are, online and offline. Focus on communicating with the people most likely to buy what you are selling.
More than anything else, you need to develop a deep understanding of your customers. The time and effort you invest in understanding your customers will return value to your over and over. This is the place to start to unlock your digital marketing success – and finally stop spinning your digital wheels.
Guest author: Ivan Serrano. You can follow him on Google+
Too many small and solo business owners get bent out of shape about referrals - they don’t get enough, or they give too many that go unappreciated, or they expect payment without ever asking for payment or making their expectations clear.
It’s just a mess.
So to help YOU avoid disappointment on both sides of the equation, here’s a template you can borrow - adapt - steal - whenever someone GIVES YOU a referral:
Thank you so much for the referral to Paul - I appreciate you.
Will keep you posted as to what develops.
Thinking optimistically - assuming Paul signs on as a client - how do you like to handle referrals financially speaking?
I'm happy to give some referral partners a 10% thank-you gift (for working with folks like Paul, the typical fee is XXXX so 10% is YYY) - some other folks just prefer a nice dinner out via a gift card - and some folks who refer business to me insist on nothing more than good karma and reciprocation when appropriate.
Just let me know and then we can bust the doors down for Paul!!
On the other hand, when GIVING a referral, and if that referral shows up at your referral partner’s door, this version of the same note might help you STOP feeling like a martyr and set clear expectations from the get-go that you DO like to be compensated while asking your referral partner what arrangement would make them comfortable:
I’m so glad Paul ended up connecting with you and that you two discussed the possibility of working together. Please do keep me posted as to what develops.
Thinking optimistically - assuming Paul signs on as a client - how do you like to handle referrals financially speaking?
Some of my referral partners share a 10% cash referral fee - some other folks underwrite a nice dinner out via a gift card - and others show their appreciation in other ways (services, discounts, lavish gift baskets, etc).
Just let me know how you like to operate and that will open the door for even more introductions to great folks like Paul in the future.
I appreciate you.
What do you think? How do you handle referrals? Please leave a comment below and let's discuss...
You did not start your speaking, consulting or professional practice because you woke up one day and said...
"Gee, I'm EXCITED to market and sell all day... Nothing I love more than hunting prospects and facing daily rejection, fear, uncertainty and doubt. Oh boy, I can't wait to start another day of THAT..."
But you probably DID start your speaking, consulting, or professional practice because you are EXCITED about entrepreneurship and running your own show... you are EXCITED about sharing your ideas... you are EXCITED about helping people and making an impact on their work, their lives, and their success.
Well, this EXCITEMENT might be precisely what is killing your business! More on this concept in a moment...
You may have already seen the details of our next FREE teleseminar program and thus my questions for you:
- Did you make a New Year's Resolution LAST year to kick it up a notch (or three) in your speaking, consulting, or professional services practice?
- Are you tired of being the best kept secret in your industry or professional expertise?
- Do you want to raise your personal visibility as an expert in front of your prospects and clients?
EXCITEMENT vs. EXECUTION:
Excitement... is fleeting - and what's worse, it is unfocused. As entrepreneurs, we often get excited about NEW ideas, NEW business models, NEW opportunities - and too often these turn out to be NEW distractions that reduce our level of focus, clarity, and momentum. Excitement is about SPENDING emotional energy.
Yes, it's positive and fun - but it can often lead you to suffer from "shiny object syndrome" where you're excited about your new ideas but end up spinning your wheels in frustration because your new ideas have no traction or framework to be turned into results.
Execution... is permanent - It is about getting into focused daily action and moving things - one at a time - from your "TO DO" list to your "DONE" list! The more you execute, the more you will find yourself having greater levels of focus, clarity and momentum.
Action begets action.
The path emerges where one step leads to the next and pretty soon, you have accomplished more, gotten concrete results, and built a new foundation for doing even better in the future.
Execution is a muscle - When you exercise it, it gets stronger and stronger. And the bonus? When you execute and succeed - you earn the other kind of excitement - the kind that PAYS YOU BACK in emotional energy and gratification.
If you are ready to EXECUTE (and become excited about your progress), please check out the details on this FREE training call: Your 2015 Strategic Marketing Blueprint.
Hope you'll consider adding some EXECUTION to your EXCITEMENT about your coming year of business success!
Here are some thought-provoking questions for creating your best 2015. These are from the Soul Purpose Institute and they struck me as especially relevant for consultants, speakers, authors, coaches and independent professionals.
Not only will these questions help you clarify your goals, focus, and themes for 2015 - they will also help you narrow down your choices, remove some overwhelm, kill some unnecessary "shoulds" in your marketing mix and generally help you focus on what matters most to your business, professional, personal and financial success.
13 Questions for Creating Your Best 2015
- What would you like to be your biggest triumph this year?
- What advice would you like to give yourself?
- What is the major effort you plan to do to improve your financial results?
- What would you be most happy about completing?
- What major indulgence are you willing to experience?
- What would you most like to change about yourself?
- What are you looking forward to learning?
- What do you think your biggest risk will be in 2015?
- What about your work, are you most committed to changing and improving?
- What is one as yet undeveloped talent you are willing to explore?
- What brings you the most joy and how are you going to do or have more of it?
- Who or what, other than yourself, are you most committed to loving and serving?
- What one word would you like to have as your 2015 theme?
Want to kick it up a notch in your business for 2015
and get a grip on your most important marketing, sales and business growth strategies and say goodbye to spinning your wheels, inertia, and overwhelm? GOOD! I thought so... Sign up NOW for "Your 2015 Strategic Marketing Blueprint" FREE teleseminar on 11/20/14
As a marketing coach for consultants, speakers, authors, and solo professionals, I'm often asked some variation of the following questions:
- What's more important - a focused marketing plan or consistent marketing activity?
- Do I need to change my marketing strategy?
- What should I be doing more of - and less of - to get more clients?
- How do I know the kind of marketing that will work for what I offer?
- How can I stop spinning my wheels and do a FEW simple things consistently to generate leads, prospects and sales?
Here's my answer in very sophisticated and technical marketing lingo:
"Wow... I dunno."
Now before you dismiss me as a complete marketing moron, let me put that insightful statement into some context for you.
If you don't know who you're marketing to, what they want, what they're willing to pay for, and how to position yourself as the "Ah - at last!!" solution they've been looking for, then these questions will merely:
- Confuse you
- Scare you
- Piss you off
And it's hard to be a successful entrepreneur when you're running around confused, scared and pissed off all the time.
So stop it.
The first thing you need to decide is - which do YOU need more of? A new master plan (More THINKING)? Or some healthy ass-kicking to IMPLEMENT (More DOING) what you ALREADY know you need to do?
My advice? Follow the Teddy Roosevelt principle of "Do what you can, with what you have, where you are."
That means you need to STOP GETTING READY TO GET READY until...
- You get your next professional certification...
- You finish writing your book...
- Your kids are a little older...
- You build your updated website...
- You have a few more clients...
- You start making more money...
Can you SMELL the stinky pile of rotten excuses suffocating you with their disgusting stench?
DO YOU NEED A ROCK SOLID MARKETING/BUSINESS STRATEGY?
The short answer is a screaming YES with racing stripes and flames coming out the tailpipes.
Do you need a 60-page marketing/business plan with charts and graphs and financial projections for the next 5 years? No you do not.
You need some flip charts, markers, paper, plenty of wall space and at least an hour to map out:
- Your business and marketing objectives and strategies
- Your current and future revenue streams
- Your thought leadership strategies (speaking, publishing, social media)
- Your business systems and processes
- Your current and future staffing and outsourcing game plan
- Simple templates and scripts to operationalize your plan
- Your pricing structure including new ways to monetize your expertise
- Your marketing action plan with daily, weekly and monthly tasks
I do this with my clients all the time - it's called a VIP Coaching Day and the process and the output look something like the flipcharts and action notes you'll see smack in the middle of this page.
DO YOU NEED TO FOCUS ON AND EXECUTE YOUR ACTION ITEMS?
The short answer is a screaming YES with racing stripes and flames coming out the tailpipes.
Do you need a 1,000% laser focus with a non-stop implementation mindset? No you do not. That's not realistic and it's never going to happen.
You need a calendar, just a little bit of focus, some serious accountability for a short period of time, and your to-do list (which probably contains some long-overdue "big ideas" which you've simply never gotten around to doing even though they might be the exact things you need to FINISH so that you get out of your rut, find your groove and grow your business significantly!)
What kinds of to-do items might you tackle on such a focused day of implementation?
- Rewrite the home page of your website
- Record a series of videos or audios that showcase your services
- Do some writing to better articulate your fabulousness
- Create a few simple tools to help you generate more leads
- Clean up your office or empty your inbox to streamline your daily work
- Develop (or refresh) your consulting or service/project offerings
- Optimize your social media profiles so that more prospects find (and contact!) you
- Draft the outline for your book, product, or signature program
- Map out your proactive referral and networking strategy (who, what, where, when)
Good news: You have just such an opportunity coming up later this month. It's called a DO IT! DAY and you can find out more about it here. Sign up and I'd be honored to do a little ass-kicking with YOU over a single focused day... and cheer you on as you cross the finish line on what YOU need to get done.
What do you think? Use the COMMENTS area below to talk about your experiences with strategy vs. implementation for YOUR business...
Halloween can be a scary time.
In honor of this sugar-filled yet frightful holiday, here are 17 things that should scare the heck out of YOU and any small business owner, entrepreneur, or independent professional...
- Prospects who lie. And they all lie all the time.
- Business partnerships. No, no, noooooo!!! Don’t do it. EVER.
- Inertia (Yours and your prospects and clients too)
- Not having a sales process - or not sticking to the one you have
- Nightmare clients from hell
- Tire-kickers, price shoppers, and broke-ass losers
- Social media overload
- Making payroll every two weeks - even if it’s only paying yourself
- Hiring, firing, and everything in between
- Prospects who ask for free consulting
- Not hiring a great IP attorney to protect your brand/ logo/ trademarks
- Waking up in a cold sweat realizing your REAL job is sales
- Prospects seeing your products, services, and programs as a commodity
- Not outsourcing and delegating everything you possibly can
- Collecting great marketing ideas - but never implementing them (Aaarghhhhh!!)
What would YOU add to this list?
Please leave a comment below and let's discuss...
6 Reasons Why I Spent $1000 When I Could've Bought a $20 Book on Amazon Instead - and Why YOU Might Want to Do the Same...
Some of my friends and clients are surprised that as the marketing coach and "marketing guru," I still invest in other people's courses, programs, and seminars.
Well, stop being surprised.
Truth is, all the top experts in any field are continually learning, developing, and studying the brilliance of others.
I've had folks take MY courses who were incredibly successful, 7-figure+ consultants, speakers, and entrepreneurs.
Why? Not because I knew "more" than they did - but I did have some specialized knowledge, strategies, expertise and experience that they lacked. As top-performing (and top-earning) experts, they recognized the gap - and wanted to fill it. Thus, they signed up to work with me, either 1-on-1 or through one of my online group trainings.
Which brings me back to the main story - why I spent $1,000 when I could've (maybe) gotten the same info from a $20 book.
Here's what I mean...
A few weeks ago, I signed up for Amy Porterfield's Facebook Profits Lab. It is an amazing program - and no, I'm not an affiliate and there's no link and I don't want you to sign up for anything. The program has two levels - $397 for the basic course and $997 for the VIP level where you get access to Amy and her team and get some very cool bonus materials.
Amy co-authored a $20 book - Facebook Marketing All-in-One for Dummies - that contains much, if not all, of the same information.
I could've just bought that, right? Well... No actually.
Here are 6 reasons I invested with Amy and spent $980 more than I "had" to...
- Social media and digital marketing (Facebook especially) changes by the week. Any book is going to be instantly outdated upon publication.
- I loved the way Amy ran the (huge) marketing campaign to fill her course. She won me over not only with what she was teaching, but what she was DOING to get me to buy.
- The free content Amy provided during her launch was nothing short of top-notch. Detailed, specific, actionable, and valuable. I could've just consumed the free content and learned a ton. Ironically, that's why I bought. Don't lose the impact of this point. If your free content is a "Happy Meal" in itself, it makes people MORE hungry (not less) for your full 7-course gourmet experience.
- Part of what Amy offered (and part of what I've always offered in every one of my group training programs) is to not only TEACH you, but to SHOW you what she does in her own business with the exact same strategies you're learning. This "preach only what you practice" approach is sadly rare in our business. Most gurus only scratch the surface and almost never reveal what's REALLY working for them right now, in today's market, with today's technology, tools, and platforms. Amy shows you. I show you. That's worth gold right there.
- Community is huge. Part of Amy's program (and again, this is something I've done since 2008) is to connect her students with each other. This provides a learning environment that is so much more motivating, actionable, and collaborative. Back in the day, I used Yahoo Groups to provide a private forum and "online hangout" for the participants in my programs. Then in later years, moved to Linkedin, and most recently started using Private Facebook Groups which works best of all. Part of why I invested at the $997 VIP level with Amy was her "VIP Only" Facebook group with personal access to Amy and her team plus all the other VIP level members. The idea is to connect your community so they can ask and answer questions of each other, share success stories, ask for feedback, get advice, insights and recommendations from you and from others, and build a sense of shared momentum. In one of my group programs earlier this year, we had over 100 pieces of completed work posted in our collaborative forum. Seeing other's progress motivated people and it just built up to a point where everyone was crushing it. Yay!! That's the point, right?
- You need to sell the way you buy. I could not, in good conscience, ask YOU to invest with me if I refuse to invest in myself. This one is multi-layered - but just think about it... Imagine if I asked you to spend money to learn from me BUT I don't spend money to learn from others. What a huge psychological disconnect that would be! Of course I believe in my heart and soul that you should invest with me to learn something valuable, profitable, and immediately actionable like speaker marketing, book marketing, or how to run profitable coaching programs. Why? Because I invest in myself all the time to learn more about new things that are outside of my expertise like podcasting, Facebook advertising, and joint venture marketing. If you don't buy because you believe - you'll never be able to sell because you believe... and that's where your sales success DNA (core beliefs, mindset, skill set) lives!!
So put down that $20 book. How could you multiply your investment AND magnify your results?
Please leave a comment below with your own advice, insights or questions about how YOU, as a consultant, coach, teacher, expert, or guru, continually sharpen your own expertise and invest in your own learning so that you may better serve YOUR clients... Why do you do it? Why do you not? How does it impact your own ability to sell learning and development opportunities to your OWN tribe?