Resist “The Drift” on Your Coaching or Consulting Business (Part 2)

clock-1031503As promised in my last post, here’s my guidance and an action plan to help you make 2017 your best year yet. It all starts with focusing on the next 90 days and applying these six steps so you can implement and get results quickly.

Let’s do this!

Decide what you want

I know this sounds simple but it’s also a step I know I tend to overlook. It’s a lot harder to work toward something if you’re not sure what it is. No need to overthink it or make a lengthy list either. In fact, what my clients find helpful is thinking about the big goal then breaking it down into 90 day achievements. A couple of years ago, Wendy Sabin (hi Wendy) helped me understand the brilliance of this in my own business. We got together in early spring and after mulling the question over I realized what I really wanted was to find a way to generate more than enough money in the summer to pay for a few weeks of summer camp for my kids and enjoy vacation time with my family. We made a simple plan and it happened. Having immediate and concrete goal gets you in gear.

Who do you serve BEST?

Earlier in this series I talked about identifying the problems you love to solve and for whom. The other piece of this is figuring out what slice of your market gets the BEST results from working with you. What characteristics need to be in place in order for this to happen?

How do you serve the BEST?

I know you’re smart, multi-faceted and multi-skilled. This is a blessing and a curse. A blessing because you can do many things well. A curse because it’s easy to morph into someone who does a lot of things, some of which you really would rather not do. So if you realize that you have a bit of a sandwich board structure going on with your business and it’s dragging you down, it might be time to reassess. I recently heard a brilliant way of figuring out how to reframe this question.

What are you so confident you can do for your clients that you’d be willing to do and not get paid UNTIL after they got results?

Focus on THAT, and watch your business double, triple or more.

Pick NO MORE than two marketing activities

Here’s a mistake I’ve made (and I should know better) and I’ve seen other consultants and coaches make. There’s 100 or more ways to market your business and it’s easy to get caught in the self-defeating cycle of trying too many tactics at once. But not every tactic makes sense for yourbusiness. You need to think about your business model, your assets and the marketing that you actually like to do. The idea is to find one or two marketing activities and go deep. Focus on these tactics and ONLY these tactics for the next 90 days.

Track your progress

OK, I have to admit. Tracking and metrics is NOT always easy or fun . . . but think about it. When you’ve actually tracked your progress on anything – whether it’s revenue or physical training or nutrition – you accomplish your goals right? That’s because data helps you make better decisions. Information allows you to prevent massive drift. When you see yourself starting to stray off course, you catch it early and you can get back on track well before you’re a mile out to sea.

Analyze, streamline, repeat

Once you have the data on what worked well, then you can focus on making those things work better for even better results. Yes, you can always try new tactics, but figure out the foundation first before trying to learn and layer new things onto it. Don’t overthink this. Do you like to talk? Do you like to write? Do you like technology? Do you like making connections and forging relationships? Mold your marketing foundation around what comes naturally to you. For example, if you like to talk, speaking needs to be part of your marketing foundation. And speaking can encompass more than being on stage. Interviews, networking, webinars, videos . . . what kind of speaking do you want to focus on?

So here’s your super simple planning template for 2017.

Write down . . .

  • The ONE thing you want to achieve most in the next 90 days
  • The 2-3 objectives/goals you need to hit in order to accomplish it (Hint, use the second & third bullets to help you define this)
  • The 1-2 marketing activities you do well & get your results
  • The specific action steps you need to keep moving forward

If you need help mapping out your own custom plan so you can implement & get results like a MOFO in the next 90 days, schedule a free Simplify Your Business Session now.

 

Resist “The Drift” on Your Coaching or Consulting Business (Part 1)

raftingIf you haven’t already, it’s a good time to think about how you can simplify, leverage and work smarter as we cruise into another new year.

I’ll get to that in a moment. But first, a story . . .

Years ago, I went on a white water rafting trip with some buddies up in The Forks of Maine (yep, that’s me in the back under the arrow). The first day we paddled our arms off through class IV rapids on the Kennebec River. There’s something so thrilling about eight people sitting on the edges of a rubber raft paddling in unison as big water tosses you around like a cork. It takes great focus on doing the ONE thing that’s going to get you down the river without falling out or flipping the raft. As long as you paddle at the right time and stop paddling at the right time, you’ll avoid going for a violent swim.

On day 2 of our trip we went rafting on the Dead River. Even though the water on the Dead River seemed tamer than the Kennebec, we made a paddling error that pinned the side of our raft against a huge boulder in the middle of the river. The water pushed the ends of the raft around the boulder as we all tried to scramble to the top of the rock but one by one we all tumbled into the water.

I’ll never forget the rapids pushing me down and smashing me into the rocky riverbed. I couldn’t believe how fast I was moving compared to how slowly our raft seemed to be going downstream just moments ago. I popped out of the water just in time to see that I had missed my chance to get into another raft. Other rafts were within my sight but they felt miles away as I rapidly drifted downstream.

Then I heard a man screaming “SWIM. SWIM. SWIM.”

And I finally realized I was just floating along. No wonder I was at the mercy of the shockingly swift current.

I swam like a mad woman until I felt someone hoisting me out of the water and into a raft. I was stunned and exhausted.

I was also alive. Damn that was close.

Many entrepreneurs experience this with their business. They get pushed down and around by external forces and find themselves far away from where they thought they’d be.

At best, it’s disappointing and exhausting. At worst, it’s a terrifying fight for your life . . . or at the very least a fight for your livelihood.

Michael Hyatt, virtual mentor & author of Platform, calls it “the drift.”

This time of year you may be picking up your head only to realize you’ve drifted away from where you intended to be at the start of the year.

If you feel that you’ve drifted off course, stay tuned. In the next email I’m going to give you guidance and an action plan to help you get back on track now so that you can go avoid swirling around in an eddy in 2017.

If you’d like to minimize your drift and take control of your business like the boss you already are, take advantage of my free Simplify Your Business Session.  

How Savvy Coaches & Consultants Find Clients

notebook-womanEver notice how we entrepreneurs talk in code about our real problems?

For example, the most common question I get from other business owners is “how do I find clients?”

If you’ve ever asked that question then you know there’s more lurking between the lines than the words coming out of your mouth.

So let’s unpack . . .

How do I find clients?

What I’ve found from my own experience and from working with my private clients is that this question is often code for one or more of these scenarios:

  • “I need to get my first clients”
  • “I need more clients”
  • “I need better clients”

No matter which of these is true for you, here’s what to do . . .

Instead of bogging down your brain with how do I find clients, get it working on a question that will lighten the brain overload.

What problem do I love to solve and who do I want to help solve this problem?

What you do may solve hundreds of problems but when you focus on the problems you love to solve (e.g., I love to help my clients talk about their business clearly, confidently & compellingly), it’s a lot easier to offer something of value to another person.

So if you teach people how to meditate, for example, maybe what you especially love about meditation is when you help a person who is stressed out, overworked & distracted become focused & productive.

Which brings us to the second half of the question in italics  . . . who is that person?

Because if you can’t answer this, you’re marketing to EVERYONE which gets you NO ONE. Ok, maybe you get SOMEONE but it takes a lot more time and effort because you have to sort through EVERYONE.

Know what I mean?

At the very least, you want to narrow it down to a group of people you’d like to help.

Why?

Because once you know what group of people (aka your audience) you want to work with, it’s a lot easier for you to find out WHERE they are and get your smart, problem-solving self in front of them. (Not to mention you can also tailor your marketing messages specifically to them.)

So, let’s say you love to help professional women improve their focus and productivity through meditation.

Get in front of them at:

  • Business & networking events
  • Social networking groups on LinkedIn & Facebook
  • Your own event that you host specifically for them

For most people, “networking” is about as much fun as a root canal BECAUSE they put so much freakin’ pressure on themselves.

Relax, breathe & do what you would normally do in a SOCIAL situation.

That’s it!

There’s a time and place for your elevator pitch, and REAL conversation isn’t always it. Hey, here’s some rebellious advice (not really), if the idea of passing out your business card to as many people as possible or barfing your elevator pitch all over them like a robot doesn’t work for you, DON’T DO IT!

(Yes, I can hear that sigh of relief from here.)

Just focus on having a conversation that leads to another conversation that will lead to working with that person OR another conversation with them down the line. When someone asks you “what do you do?”, my friend Cami Baker has the best advice . . . Get them to talk about themselves first!

Here’s what that might look like for our imaginary meditation teacher.

When you say “Oh, I’d love to share with you what I do, but how about you go first?” they give youinformation. Information is your secret weapon, so listen carefully to their response.

Maybe she says “I’m a paralegal in a busy law firm working on high profile civil suits.”

Then you can say “Oh, that’s really interesting. I help busy professional women like you improve their focus and productivity. Is it difficult for you to stay focused and productive in that kind of environment?”

She says, “Oh you have no idea. I get interrupted and pulled in a million directions all day every day.”

Then you say, “Have you ever tried meditation?”

She says, “Huh, meditation? No, I don’t even have time to go to the bathroom, never mind meditate.”

You say, “I bet. Many of my clients feel the same way. And once they see how little time it actually takes and how quickly it improves their focus, productivity and mood, they can’t live without it. In fact, one of my clients finally got the big promotion she’d been trying to land for months after I lead her through my meditation program.”

She says, “Really? How can do that?”

You say, “It depends on your situation and the best way for me to assess that is for you to have one of my complimentary Finally Focused Sessions. Would you like to set that up?”

“YES! What do you have available next week?”

Simple right?

And if you already know this, you might be thinking no news here but if you’re in the “need more/better clients” camp it’s time to revisit those questions again.  Because as you work with more people, you get clearer about who you REALLY want to work with and who you REALLY don’t want to work with. But even when you’ve made an upgrade in your mind, that doesn’t mean your messaging, branding and marketing automatically upgrades too.

So whether you’re a marketing newbie or a marketing master, you want to regularly ask the questions

What problem do I love to solve?

Who do I want to help solve this problem?

(Leave a comment below if you have the answers to these questions!)

Then go get them, because I don’t care if you build something that’s straight out of Field of Dreams . . . they won’t come if they don’t know who you are and what you can do for them.

If you’d like to know how you can solve your favorite problems for more of your favorite people (and get paid handsomely for it), take advantage of my free Simplify Your Marketing Session.  

Enough With “Playing Small”

If you’re a coach you’ve most likely encouraged clients to play a bigger game, & you’ve likely received the same piece of advice.

I’m all for pushing your boundaries & comfort zones, but I’m fed up with “playing small” being treated like a red-headed step-child.

So does “playing small” has a place & a purpose in your life & business?

(I say yes! Watch the video to see why.)

WARNING: If you don’t want anyone else hearing my f-bombs, use headphones!

Reconnect to the Emotion In Your Story

😀 😢 😠 😟

If you saw my last post about how to tell a better story, you know that the first step is to go deeper emotionally (if not, check it out here).

Why?

Because people love to be moved by story. We all like to imagine ourselves in situations that challenge us and provide us an opportunity to rise to the occasion.

So if you want to tell a better story that will move people, you have to rediscover your emotion. When I started my business, I would gloss over the emotion in my story. I’d lean on similar career experiences because I simply “didn’t want to go there.”

I was doing what I love and what I was good at, but I wasn’t making much money.

And that didn’t turn around until I made friends with the deeper emotional themes in my story.

If you’re asking yourself “How do I rediscover my emotion?” these questions (taken directly from my Tell to Sell Story Creation Home Learning Program) will help you reconnect.

Have fun with it, and stay tuned for more ways you can tell a better story.

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